Tag: "Fox Business Network"

Thursday, July 16, 2020

| July 16, 2020

Newsmax TV Shows Impressive Audience Gains. The Newsmax TV service has been rolling out new programming and has seen ratings triple over the last six months, becoming one of if not the fastest-growing cable news channel in the U.S. In a piece published by TALKERS magazine today (7/16), executive editor Kevin Casey writes that “the service from multi-platform news organization Newsmax Media has shown notable growth in the first half of 2020 in terms of audience increase and programming development in the highly competitive OTT [over-the-top] arena.” As Newsmax TV’s ratings show impressive increases, the company tells TALKERS its insurgent news channel is on course to overtake FOX Business Network (FBN) in viewership by the end of this year. Newsmax TV has already surpassed established brands like C-SPAN and Bloomberg TV and is closing in on FBN, which sits at 6.5 million in weekly reach. The network’s weekly household reach went from less than one million in 2019 to more than 3.5 million households, according to most recent Comscore data. Read the whole story here.

Report: DOJ Allows Liberty Media to Increase Stake in iHeartMedia. According to a story in Politico, the Department of Justice is agreeing to let Liberty Media add to its current 5% stake in iHeartMedia, allowing it to acquire up to 50% of its shares. The piece notes that Liberty Media also owns a controlling stake in SiriusXM Satellite Radio (which recently acquired Pandora) as well as a 33% stake in Live Nation Entertainment. A number of consumer advocate groups had opposed the deal saying it would be “likely catastrophic” on radio markets.

Rico Beard Joins Mike Valenti on WXYT-FM, Detroit. Motor City sports media pro Rico Beard is joining Entercom’s sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit for the afternoon drive program. The station says Beard will be heard alongside Mike Valenti on “The Mike Valenti Show with Rico,” weekdays from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, beginning August 3. Mike Sullivan has been a producer and on-air contributor for the program since 2014. His last day at the station will be July 31. Entercom Detroit president and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Rico’s immeasurable experience covering all avenues of the Detroit sports scene has granted him a front row ticket to some of the biggest stages in sports. Rico has been on our wish list of talent to join our team for quite some time and we look forward to him joining Mike Valenti in offering a dynamic afternoon show for our listeners. We thank Mike Sullivan for his contributions to the team and wish him all the best in his new endeavor.” During his career, Beard has served as a host of “The Spartan Beat” podcast as well as a co-host of “The Ryan and Rico Show” for ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’ He also worked on air at WJBK-TV, Detroit and WSYM-TV, Lansing.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the sports talk format. Without live sports since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sports talk format has suffered in the monthly PPM ratings. Compared to the May 2020 survey, just 16% of sports talk stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers go up while 73% were down. The starkest comparison is June 2019 to June 2020 in which 19% of stations managed to improve while 75% of sports talk stations declined. In this case, iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis is the outlier posting a gain of 1.5 shares to finish June with a 5.6 share and climbs from the #12 rank to #7. Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia is the highest-ranked sports talker in the PPM markets during the June survey, posting a 4.7 share good for the #6 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete analysis here.

NPR Acknowledges Audience Hit from COVID-19 Pandemic. In a story by David Folkenflik at NPR.org, the extent of the ratings hit that NPR programming has taken since commuters largely vanished back in March is revealed. The story indicates that broadcast ratings for the network’s radio programs show they lost nearly 25% of their listeners. NPR senior director of audience insights Lori Kaplan says, “We anticipated these changes. This kind of change was going to take place over the next decade. But the pandemic has shown us what our future is now.” She says research shows the NPR audience is disproportionately made up of professionals who are working from home and appear to want to continue to do so after the pandemic is over.

Sandy Beach to Retire from WBEN-AM, Buffalo. Longtime Buffalo talk radio personality Sandy Beach is retiring from the station at the end of this month. The Buffalo News reports that Beach is wrapping his 23-year stint hosting the late morning show (9:00 am to 12:00 noon) on Entercom’s WBEN-AM, Buffalo at the end of this month. Sandy Beach’s career in Buffalo goes back to 1968 when he became part of the lineup at legendary CHR outlet WWKB-AM (then WKBW-AM). It’s also notable that Beach is enshrined in three halls of fame: the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

SportsGrid Radio’s Scott Ferrall to Air on ‘The Mightier 1090’ in San Diego. When XEPRS-AM, San Diego returns talk programming to its signal at “The Mightier 1090” – operated by advertising executive Bill Hagen – sports talk personality Scott Ferrall will be part of the station’s talent pool. Ferrall – part of the Elvis Duran Group’s specialized talent roster – is being syndicated by SportsGrid Radio Network (formerly the Fantasy Sports Radio Network). When the station begins the new format, it will air “Ferrall Coast to Coast” live from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and “Ferrall on the Bench” live from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Ferrall comments, “Returning to XEPRS is an amazing opportunity for me to reconnect with my loyal Southern California fans, many of whom have become friends through the years. Sun, fun and sports are my passion and I jumped at the opportunity to work with the Southern California flagship station to create a dynamic experience for our fans. I’m honored to bring back my gnarly, irritating, annoying, old leather voice to 1090 AM for many years to come. Shake it up!!”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report in Politico, President Trump has appointed Salem Media Group talk radio host (and former Trump aide) Sebastian Gorka to a four-year term on the National Security Education Board – which oversees the National Security Education Program that Politico reports “was created in 1991 to promote a pool of U.S. citizens fluent in foreign languages and skilled in international affairs.” Gorka worked in the White House for eight months, leaving in August of 2017…..According to a report published by Breitbart, the San Francisco police department has opened an investigation into death threats against Westwood One syndicated talk show host Michael Savage. The story says Savage received “two threats in the last seven days — one by postcard to his San Francisco home on July 10 and the second via Guerrilla Mail, an email address service where received emails are deleted after one hour.”…..Chicago media reporter Robert Feder writes that Midway Broadcasting’s news/talk WVON will be incorporating content from iHeartMedia’s new BIN: Black Information Network into its news programming. BIN programming is currently airing on WVAZ-HD2 in Chicago. Midway chair and CEO Melody Spann Cooper says, “WVON is hyperlocal, but what impacts Black America impacts us here in Chicago, where we represent one-third of the city’s population. Enhanced news is needed and iHeart’s timing is perfect.”…..ESPN reports that its ESPN Podcasts experienced 42.7 million downloads during the month of June, the eighth month in the last nine with a total of 40 million or more. The figure represents a 31% increase over June 2019. ESPN also says that according to The Podtrac Podcast Category Audience Rankings, in the sports podcast category ESPN has 11 of the top 30 podcasts, with “The Dan LeBatard Show” finishing as the third ranked podcast in the sports category…..Virtual News Center announces that Camellia City Communications’ WTHO, Thomson, Georgia is now using its services. WTHO now features the work of reporter Darrell Moody in its daily newscasts.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Navarro-Fauci Spat, Fall School Debate, Twitter Hack, Trump Tax Returns, Presidential Race/Primary Elections, Washington Redskins Name Change, and Sports Leagues Opening Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/15). The spiking COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases; the sparring between White House trade official Peter Navarro and Dr. Tony Fauci; the ongoing debate over opening schools this fall; the hack of Twitter accounts belonging to high-profile users Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Bill Gates and others; lawyers for President Trump continue to fight the SCOTUS ruling he must turn his tax returns over to the Manhattan district attorney; the presidential race and this week’s primary races in Alabama, Maine, and Texas; the NFL’s Washington Redskins agree to change their name; and the various U.S. pro sports leagues prepare to begin playing games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Groundbreaking Talk Radio Consultant and Talent Coach Bill McMahon Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  TALKERS magazine will celebrate its 30th anniversary on July 23 and talent coach Bill McMahon, who was featured as “The TALKERS Interview” in its first (print) issue, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” McMahon was one of the most influential talk radio consultants in the early years of the format’s modern era – which many historians credit as beginning with the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 and the subsequent rise of Rush Limbaugh. McMahon, founder and CEO of The Authentic Personality Biz based in Boise, Idaho, started out as a radio salesman in the 1970s and then rose through the ranks to manage and set the programming vision for highly successful personality-oriented talk stations KIRO, Seattle and KSDO, San Diego. He went on to provide programming consulting services to many of America’s most successful talk radio stations and personalities.  In 1988, he created the first formal training system for radio air personalities and program directors (also titled The Authentic Personality™ ) which is a method that identifies the common elements of great radio performances regardless of style or content. Over the years, nearly 1,000 air personalities and program directors from stations owned by the most successful broadcasting companies in the United States and Great Britain have participated in Authentic Personality™ seminars/workshops. McMahon has personally conducted hundreds of individual coaching sessions with great (and not so great) radio air personalities using his training concepts and methods.  These include Rush LimbaughDr. Laura SchlessingerKidd KraddickJeff ElliottMichael Harrison and Johnny Vaughan just to name a handful. In this podcast, Harrison and McMahon take a deep dive into the 14 basic traits possessed by successful radio talk show hosts and provide a panoramic view of radio’s past, present, and future.  Don’t miss this!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the aftermath of Nick Cannon’s anti-Semitic remarks on his podcast, his firing from his MTV show by ViacomCBS, and his subsequent apology, he’s taking time away from his radio shows. He says via Facebook: “Morning radio family. I have decided to take some time away from my radio show so I can commit myself to deeper, more thorough reflection and education. I will use this time to establish an action plan towards real, impactful change and advocacy aimed at bringing people together. I continue to express my gratitude to the Rabbis, community leaders, and institutions who have reached out to me to help enlighten me. Their input and friendship will help me as I further commit myself to more profound learning and towards strengthening the bond between the Black and Jewish cultures every day going forward.” Cannon hosts mornings on Muerelo Media’s KPWR, Los Angeles as well as a syndicated afternoon show. Syndicator Skyview Networks says, “Nick Cannon has begun a period of self-reflection to address the pain he caused, and while we recognize his apology, this time is needed to establish an action plan towards real change and advocacy.  During this period, production of the ‘Nick Cannon Radio’ show will pause. Skyview Networks values all communities and faiths and we expect all programs and personalities we syndicate to adhere to these principles.” While Skyview syndicates the program, Cannon is the executive producer in collaboration with Ncredible Productions and Meruelo Media…..iHeartMedia promotes Carson to program director for country WNCB-FM, Raleigh “B93.9.” She has been serving as music director and midday host and she takes over the PD role from Carletta Blake, who moved to the PD position at the company’s country WGAR-FM, Cleveland…..iHeartMedia Memphis Gospel outlet WHAL-FM “95.7 Hallelujah FM” is hosting its Virtual Hallelujah Summer Jam tomorrow (7/17) at 7:00 pm. The station says the event will bring together the top gospel artists in the industry for a night of praise and fellowship on-air via “95.7 Hallelujah FM,” HallelujahFM.com and on Facebook Live. The event is made possible with support from Cricket Wireless, MidSouth Transplant Foundation, and Plummer Financial.

Newsmax TV Shows Impressive Audience Gains

| July 16, 2020

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS magazine
Executive Editor

 

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Newsmax TV, a service of the influential Newsmax Media multi-platform news organization, has shown notable growth in the first half of 2020 in terms of audience increase and programming development in the highly competitive OTT arena.

OTT stands for “over-the-top,” the term used for the delivery of film and TV content via the internet, without requiring users to subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite provider.  Some OTT channels require a pay subscription (such as Netflix) and others (such as Newsmax TV) are free.

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Friday, March 6, 2020

| March 6, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled “This is No Gaffing Matter!” looks back at this past week of March 2-6, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSVictoria Jones; executive director, DC Radio Company; Martha Zoller, talk show host, WDUN, Gainesville, Georgia; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD MediaJoshua Philipp, senior investigative reporter, The Epoch Times; and Bali Samra, human resources consultant/commentator, Pioneer Valley Radio. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD “Freedom 93.7”, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

FOX News Radio Names Jimmy Failla Host of ‘FOX Across America.’ The new, permanent host of FOX News Radio’s midday “FOX Across America” show is comedian Jimmy Failla, who takes over on Monday (3/9).  “FOX Across America” has been airing in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart with a rotating cast of hosts since Todd Starnes – host of “FOX News and Commentary” – exited FNR back in the fall of 2019.  FNR says, “Based in FNR’s New York City studio, ‘FOX Across America with Jimmy Failla’ will feature guests from across the political spectrum for lively discussions on the day’s leading headlines.  A standup comedian and former head writer for FOX Business Network’s “Kennedy” (weekdays 9:00 pm ET), Failla will also utilize his comedic talents to help navigate the partisan divide, providing an honest look at the important issues that affect every American.”  In addition to airing weekdays on FNR, the show will also be available for download via FOX News Podcast Network, with full video recordings of each airing streaming exclusively on FOX Nation, FNC’s online subscription-based streaming service.

Denver’s ‘The Fan’ Celebrates 25th Anniversary. Denver sports talk outlet KKFN-FM “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan” turns 25 today and the Bonneville station is launching a campaign that will culminate in a 25th anniversary celebration in June.  As part of the celebration, ‘The Fan’ will welcome back influential figures from the station’s history for a reunion broadcast that will allow Denver listeners to reconnect with talent from the past.  Bonneville Denver SVP and market manager Bob Call says, “Twenty-five years ago, we launched Denver’s first 24-hour, all-sports radio station.  Over the years, ‘The Fan’ has featured some of Denver’s most-loved personalities, starting with Doug Moe and Tom Green – who signed the station on the air – to legendary personalities like Irv Brown, Joe Williams, and Sandy Clough, who continues to entertain Denver sports fans today.  Through the years, ‘The Fan’ has been built on great live and local talent.  We are grateful for our many listeners and business partners who have been a part of this remarkable legacy.”

Westwood One to End NBC Sports Radio Distribution. Affiliates of the Westwood One-distributed NBC Sports Radio network are being notified that WWO will discontinue its distribution of the network at the end of this month. Westwood One also handles distribution for the CBS Sports Radio network and affiliates are being offered the option to take that network’s programming.  NBC Sports Radio had been offering 24/7 content but reduced that in January of last year but continued to offer sports talk shows such as “ProFootballTalk Live with Mike Florio” and “The Safety Blitz with Rodney Harrison and Dan Schwartzman.”  Those shows will continue to be available on various digital platforms.

Lyndsay Keith Named Co-Host of ‘Spicer & Co.’ Pictured above on the set of the Newsmax TV show “Spicer & Co.” is co-host Lyndsay Keith (left) and host (former White House Press Secretary) Sean Spicer (right).  “Spicer & Co.” debuted Tuesday (3/3) and airs weekdays at 6 pm ET.  Prior to joining Newsmax, Keith worked at Google as a brand strategist.  She has also served as deputy communications director for the Republican National Committee.  She also served as an adviser to the Mitt Romney presidential campaign.

TALKERS News Notes. The 8th Annual Contact in the Desert event takes place at Indian Wells Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, California May 29 through June 1 and one of the participants will be Premiere Networks late-night host George Noory.  The event is described as “an epic adventure weekend into the science of UFOs, communication with non-human intelligence, ancient astronauts, human origins, crop circles, military sightings, government disclosure, artificial intelligence, downed craft technology, the evolution of consciousness, forbidden archaeology, cosmic teachings, contact experiences, interplanetary living, and much more.”  The host of “Coast to Coast AM” is one of 70 “experts, scientists, researchers, and military insiders.”…..iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR, New York and LaborPress.org are presenting a panel discussion called “The Future of Healthcare” on March 19 at The Cutting Room in New York City.  The 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm event will feature opening remarks by NYS Building & Construction Trades Council president James Cahill and is being moderated by filmmaker Joe Pantoliano (The Sopranos, The Matrix) who also produced and directed the documentary film that addresses mental illness titled, No Kidding! Me 2!!…..Comedian and talk host Dennis Miller begins hosting a twice-weekly show on RT America called, “Dennis Miller +1.”  The interview show airs live at 9:00 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.  Miller says, “What do I like in an interview?  I like it when the host asks a question and then listens to the guest’s answer and then reacts to that answer with an amplification through the next question.  I promise you, I will not sit here finding myself overly precious and thinking only about my next query.  I’m going to have a conversation!”  Miller talks to actor and comedian Jeff Dunham on the first episode…..The Washington Examiner is launching a weekly podcast called, “Mag Men,” that offers analysis and commentary of the week’s news and what stories the editors are working on for the week ahead.  It’s being hosted by executive editor Seth Mandel, managing editor Jay Caruso, Life and Arts editor Park MacDougal and deputy editor J. Grant Addison.  The show is on the Ricochet platform that also hosts other Washington Examiner podcasts, including the “Hashing it Out,” a weekly podcast hosted by Siraj Hashmi, “The Byron York Show,” hosted by Washington Examiner chief political correspondent Byron York, and “Examining Politics, “a daily podcast hosted by Cumulus Media and WMAL-FM, Washington talk-show host Larry O’Connor…..Happy 61st birthday to talk host Lars Larson, who also celebrates 45 years on the radio this month.  Larson, who hosts his daily KXL-FM, Portland-based Pacific Northwest show as well as his Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated show, says, “Forty-five years ago this month, I landed my first paid job in radio spinnin’ records and reading news from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight Monday thru Friday on the “Mighty 1590” KTIL from a cinderblock building in a cow pasture outside Tillamook, Oregon.  Forty years ago next week, I came to work at KXL.  This month, I mark 23 years of Radio Northwest Network syndication in Oregon, Washington and Idaho… I did my 20 years in the liberal gulag of TV news, but I never stopped doing radio.  When a kind-hearted TV management informed me I had a ‘face for radio’ and demanded that I choose – TV or radio – it wasn’t hard at all.  My first love, radio… God blessed me with Tina, my wonderful wife, who puts up with the weird hours and strange demands of this business.  I have looked forward to each and every day I get to open a mic and talk with folks.  My personal goal is to stay behind the mic as long as my hero Paul Harvey did.”

RTDNF Honors Journalists at 30th Annual First Amendment Awards. Last night (3/5), the Radio Television Digital News Foundation honored journalism professionals dedicated to defending the First Amendment and the public’s right to know at the 30th Annual First Amendment Awards in Washington, D.C.  The evening’s program began with RTDNA/RTDNF executive director Dan Shelley’s call to action, “Your viewers and listeners in the cities and towns you serve need the refreshing drink of water and the pleasant fragrance of a blossoming local news product that reflect an even stronger commitment to serving them – to empowering them to make positive changes in their communities… By joining forces, we can place America’s dust bowls of journalism into the dustbin of history.”  This year’s honorees were: David Muir of ABC News; “60 Minutes” produced by CBS News; Robert Horner of NBC News; Barbara Maushard of Hearst Television; Lori Montenegro of Telemundo; Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT); and Steve Andrews of WFLA-TV, Tampa.

Presidential Race/Super Tuesday Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 2-6. The race for the Democratic nomination, the Super Tuesday elections, and the candidates who dropped out were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the coronavirus pandemic. Coming in at #3 was the financial markets activity and the Fed’s interest rate cut, followed by health care reform, climate change, and race relations tied at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s complete chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programmer John Candelaria is leaving his position with Beasley Media Group as PD of rhythmic AC WMGC “105.1 The Bounce” and urban AC WDMK “Kiss 105.9” in Detroit and national brand manager for urban and rhythmic AC to relocate to his home town of Albuquerque…..“The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show” co-host J-Si Chavez and contributor Jenna Owens are launching their new podcast, “Fitish,” and the first episode reached the top 50 on the Apple Podcasts chart.  Owens, who recently announced that she is taking a step back from day-to-day co-hosting at “The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show,” states, “I’m thrilled to be able to talk more openly about things I haven’t been able to discuss on the morning show and do it all with my favorite radio partner and occasionally our real-life partners as well!”…..Pictured at left is Premiere Networks senior director of rock programming and specials Sal Cirrincione (left) and rock legend Roger Daltrey (right) aboard Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas for the sold out Rock Legends Cruise VIII.  Cirrincione helped entertain passengers by hosting Q&A sessions with three Daltrey, The DoorsRobby Krieger and Heart’s Nancy Wilson.  The annual cruise benefits the Native American Heritage Association, a charitable non-profit organization dedicated to helping Native American families in need who live on Reservations in South Dakota and Wyoming.

Friday, November 6, 2015

| November 6, 2015

womentalkart15The State of Women on Talk Radio: Part 5.  Today (11/6), TALKERS magazine concludes its multi-part story looking at the status of women on talk radio in 2015.  Written by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, it addresses one of the most-asked questions TALKERS editors hear: Why aren’t there more women on talk radio?  Today we sum up the opinions and philosophies and ask what does it all really mean?  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says management often makes the mistake of trying to duplicate a successful artistic product – whether it is movies, television shows, books, or, in this case, radio programming – by approaching it formulaically… a mindset that totally misses the point.  “When Rush Limbaugh became a phenomenon by talking conservative politics, corporate focused on the conservative aspect of his stunning success as the magic formula and a whole slew of talent-challenged Rush wannabes spewing conservative talking points just for the sake of ‘being conservative’ were unleashed upon the airwaves.  Only a relative handful of them who were truly ‘talented’ have withstood the test of time.”  And so it is with women on talk radio.  The problem is not so much an equal opportunity “employment” issue as it is the larger question of where “news/talk radio” is willing to go to increase its audience, broaden its demos and insure its viability to survive in the years ahead in what is clearly becoming a brave new world… while remaining an “issues-oriented” medium.  One answer may be to find “magnetic” women and see what they can do in news/talk radio versus laying out the formula for a news/talk show and filling the job with a woman.  Read the entire piece here.

wtop logo NEW 1-15Rumors of Cuts at Hubbard’s WTOP and WFED in Washington.  TALKERS sources in the Washington market tell us that budget-related cuts are taking place today at Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP and its sister station WFED.  Some of the staffers reported to be exiting are traffic reporter Ari Ashe, digital manager John Myer, and WFED afternoon personality Francis RoseTALKERS is also hearing that the company will not fill the role vacated recently by reporter Andrew Mollenbeck and that there may be an unnamed sales staffer who is also out.

entercomEntercom Q3 Report: Up 3% on Same-Station Basis.  This quarter’s financial report from Entercom reflects the new income from its deals with Lincoln Financial Media and Bonneville International that saw Entercom add stations in major and large markets — Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles and San Diego.  As a result, the company posts a net revenue increase of 15% on $114.7 million compared to the same period a year ago.  Entercom CEO David Field states, “I am pleased to report anfielddavid outstanding quarter for Entercom driven by strong organic revenue growth across our station group and the seamless integration of our new acquisitions in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, San Diego and Denver.  While we are delighted with our progress and opportunities at the new stations, we are particularly pleased by our strong market share gains in the rest of our markets which enabled us to post approximately 3% same-station revenue growth for the quarter, and just over 4% growth when excluding the impact of political advertising.  We also achieved strong double-digit growth in free cash flow and adjusted net income per share and believe we are very well positioned for continued strong performance in 2016 and beyond.”

cumulus logoNew Cumulus CEO Mary Berner Reports Q3 Financial Data: Net Revenue Dips 7.8%.  Chief executive officer Mary Berner has been on the job for less than a month after replacing Lew Dickey and her first quarterly report was full of financial challenges for the company; but as a board member since the spring, she knew all the figures.  Cumulus Media stock has been beaten up over the past year, and not without cause.  The 2015 Q3 net revenue was $289.4 million, that’s a 7.8% drop versus the same period a year ago.  For the first three quarters of the year, net revenue was $859.9 million, down 8% year-bernermaryover-year.  Cumulus also recorded an impairment against intangible assets and goodwill of $565.6 million.  For the quarter, broadcast advertising was down 4.3% while digital advertising sunk 35.4%.  Berner says, “Despite Cumulus’ recent challenges, my early experiences have reinforced my appreciation for the strength of the company’s aggregate assets, including its people.  I was hired by the company’s board of directors to maximize the value of those assets and I believe that, through focused execution, we will be able to capitalize on the operational leverage that appears to exist in the company.  While such efforts will not be easy nor, in many cases, immediate, I intend to institute a relentless commitment to improvement over the coming months to drive results for all stakeholders.”

ewscrippsE.W. Scripps Radio Segment Flat in Q3.  The Cincinnati-based company got into the radio business as a result of the merger with Journal Communications, acquiring its TV and radio properties (with Journal getting E.W. Scripps’ publication segment).  In this third quarter report, Scripps president and CEO Rich Boehne says the radio segment was flat.  “Radio revenue and expenses of $20.4 million and $16.3 million were essentially flat with the prior period.  Segment profit in the radio division was $4.1 million in the third quarter of 2015, compared to $4.5 million in the 2014 quarter.  The company is committed to its digital segment and recently acquired podcast platform Midroll earlier this year.  “Digital revenues were $10.9 million, up $3.7 million from the prior period.  Excluding Midroll, revenue increased 25%…Segment loss in the digital division was $3.6 million in the third quarter of 2015, compared to $5.6 million in the 2014 quarter.”

iheartmedia logo smalliHeartMedia Partners with FOX Business Network and FNC for GOP Debate Coverage.  The means that audio of the November 10 GOP primary debates in Milwaukee will air on 130foxbusiness iHeartMedia-owned news/talk stations.  FOX Business Network and FOX News Channel are producing the debate in conjunction with The Wall Street Journal.  The FBN primetime debate will be moderated by managing editor of business news Neil Cavuto and global markets editor Maria Bartiromo, along with WSJ’s editor-in-chief Gerard Baker.  iHeartMedia says that radio stations broadcasting the event will also host debate parties highlighted by pre and post-event coverage from local personalities.

beckerKMBZObama15Radio Personalities Visit White House for ObamaCare Event.  The White House calls it the “latest installment of ‘Live from the White House’” with President Obama conducting a round of interviews with radio personalities on the topic of the Affordable Care Act and the importance of reducing the number of people without health insurance.  The radio news anchors spent Thursday, November 5 with Obama Administration advisors and the president himself.  Taking part were: Mary Shedden of non-commercial WUSF, Tampa; Alice Rios of news/talk KRLD, Dallas; E.J. Becker of news/talk KMBZ, Kansas City; Dave Ross of news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle; and Ryan Cameron of urban contemporary WVEE, Atlanta “V103.”  Pictured here is KMBZ’s E.J. Becker (left) interviewing President Obama (right) in the Oval Office.  Becker says, “It’s not every day that you get a call from the White House, asking if you can be in Washington the next day.  With the current political landscape, the importance of so many issues affecting Kansas Citians, along with the honor of interviewing a sitting President, who could say no!”

bobandtomBob Kevoian Announces Retirement at National Radio Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.  One half of the Bob & Tom Show morning team took the opportunity of last night’s induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame to announce his retirement from the business.  Bob Kevoian told the gathering in Chicago that he will retire from the nationally syndicated radio program by year’s end.  Kevoin said, “I always thought you had to die or be retired for five years to be considered for any hall of fame.  Thank God I’m not dead, but I am going to retire at the end of this year and walk away from the mic.”  Partner Tom Griswold commented, “It was a huge thrill to be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame with my partner Bob.  He will always be a part of the Bob & Tom Show, and his presence will continue to be felt as we broadcast the show for many years to come.”

ramseyCruzeHoF15Dave Ramsey Inducted into National Radio Hall of Fame.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame last night (11/5).  Although Dave himself was unable to make it to Chicago for the ceremony, his daughter, New York Times best-selling author Rachel Cruze (pictured), was there to accept the award on his behalf.

2016 Presidential Race and Trump’s ‘SNL’ Appearance Tied for Top News/Talk Story of the Week.  The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the controversy over Republican hopeful Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance on “Saturday Night Live” tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was the crash/possible bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt.  Coming in at #3 was the military relationship between Russia and Syria followed by the UC-Merced stabbings at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

| April 28, 2015

WBALBaltimore Protests Turn Violent. Owing to that fact, Hearst talker WBAL-AM, Baltimore advanced yesterday (Monday, 4/27) to “continuous coverage,” after a weekend of “extensive coverage.” According to WBAL-AM president and general manager Cary Pahigian, “We are sharing resources with our sister station, WBAL-TV (Channel 11), which is flying their helicopter almost nonstop. Our goal is to keep the community up-to-the-minute and to provide an opportunity to discuss and analyze the situation with WBAL-AM talk hosts in a responsible manner. It is very fluid, so we are staying nimble and flexible.” The unrest in the Maryland city increased following the funeral of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died just over one week ago (4/19), after suffering spinal injuries while in police custody. At least one Baltimore building has been torched; several of the city’s police cars have been set on fire; and protesters have thrown bricks at Baltimore police officers. Six Baltimore police officers have been seriously injured in Monday’s violence. Maryland governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard, while Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake states every possible resource is being deployed to “gain control of this situation.”

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallWFAN Sports Giant Mike Francesa Is Extremely Bullish on Radio – Says the Medium Is Here to Stay on Michael Harrison’s “Up Close and Far Out” Podcast.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews WFAN sports talk superstar Mike Francesa on this week’s installment of the international hit podcast series, “Up Close and Far Out.”  In an exclusive 30-minute conversation, Harrison and Francesa cover a variety of fascinating topics including authenticity in broadcasting, internet critics, digital era audiences, radio versus television, changes in pop culture, the phenomenal growth of sports and the future of radio in a world of screens.francesamike  Francesa credits the authenticity, for which Harrison praises him, in part, to being on the air an unusually long five-and-a-half hours per day, pointing out that you can’t be live on radio that long every day without being your real self.  According to Francesa, one of the big changes faced by hosts in both sports and general talk programming today is the audience has as much, if not more, access to information as you do – which means merely presenting news is not enough.  A host’s success is dependent on having an interesting “take” on the events of the day.  He says the internet has made it much easier to break into broadcasting but much more difficult to get noticed.  Of his critics, he states the worst thing that can happen is to be ignored.  “If you are ignored, you are dead.”  Francesa tells Harrison that he very seldom responds to his critics – refusing to give them the exposure of his larger platform that they seek.  In addition to having a growing national following due to television and radio syndication, Mike Francesa has long been one of the highest profile media figures in New York and has been ranked by TALKERS magazine for the past two years in a row in the #1 spot on its “Heavy Hundred” of sports talk radio (“The 100 Most Important Radio Sports Talk Hosts in America”).  After several years of being carried by the YES Network, Francesa’s daily local radio show is presently simulcast nationally on Fox Sports 1.   In comparing radio to television, Francesa says, “Television is a director’s medium.  Radio is a performer’s medium.”  He explains, “Radio is unvarnished.  It is visceral.  It is emotional.  Television is more packaged and homogenized.”  Regarding the survival and future of radio, Francesa states, “Radio will be here long, long past us.  People have been trying to kill radio since the first days of television.  They’ve tried to kill radio 40 different times in multiple generations.  They will never kill it because its appeal of being live, local, personal and mobile will never be equaled.”  Francesa sees the rise of mobile digital media as actually being a good thing for radio, acknowledging that “radio will change.”  He confidently says, “It will be enhanced because of the smart phone.  It is the new transistor radio. Who carried a transistor radio for the past 30 years?  Now everyone does.  THAT is an opportunity!”  In describing Mike Francesa, Michael Harrison states, “I know Francesa has his share of critics – but that comes with the territory of being ‘out there’ the way he is and being a compelling radio talk show host in the modern era, sports or otherwise.  What makes him so successful is he has that special ‘something’ that only a handful of performers have ever had in this business – he rises above technique!  All he needs to do is bring his authentic, unique personhood to the airwaves each time he’s on and that – at least to this point – is enough.  He is one of my handful of all-time favorites and I am delighted that he is still going strong.”  To listen to Mike Francesa on “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” please click here or click on the special player box in the right hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

guptashow placardDr. Sanjay Gupta Reports from Nepal for Westwood One.  Internationally known medical doctor and media figure Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in Nepal doing both media work and helping doctors there deal with the overwhelming number of casualties from Saturday’s earthquake.  In addition to his work covering the aftermath for CNN, Dr. Gupta is also doing live hits for Westwood One affiliate stations.  His “A Better Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta” is syndicated by Westwood One.  Dr. Gupta was called into action in the operating room, asked to help perform brain surgery on a 15-year-old girl in Kathmandu after a wall of her family’s home fell on her as she collected water outside.

siriusxmSiriusXM 2015 Q1 Revenue Up 8%.  Satellite radio operator SiriusXM delivered its 2015 first quarter financial numbers today (4/28) and, compared to the same period a year ago, revenue was $1.08 billion – up 8%.  Net income was $106 million, up 12% from $94 million in the first quarter of 2014.  Net income per diluted common share was $0.02 in the first quarter of 2015 and 2014.  Adjusted EBITDA was $399 million in the first quarter of 2015, up 19% from $335 million in the first quarter of 2014.  The satcaster says that it added 431,000 net new subscribers in the first quarter, a 61% increase from the 267,000 net new subscribers added in the first quarter of 2014.  Sirius CEO Jim Meyer says, “The year is off to a fantastic start at SiriusXM. We are increasing our subscriber guidance to approximately 1.4 million net additions and revenue guidance to approximately $4.47 billion after reporting our best first quarter for self-pay subscriber additions since 2008.  Our results demonstrate that SiriusXM’s bundle of live news and sports, exclusive talk and comedy, and curated, commercial-free music is resonating with more and more consumers every day,”

Odds & Sods.  Nationally syndicated, WABC, New York-based morning personality Don Imus announced to his listeners his simulcast on cable’s Fox Business Network will end on May 29.  The program has been airing onimusdon both since 2009.  Though Imus didn’t elaborate on the reason for the change, The New York Daily News reports Imus and wife Deirdre plan to spend the summer at their new ranch in Texas and that property has no TV uplink facilities.  Read the Daily News story here…..Atlanta real estate broker Bryan Crabtree crabtreebryanis adding a daily show on Salem Communications’ business talk WAFS, Atlanta “biz 1190,” debuting May 4 and airing from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Crabtree and his wife Mackenzie have been hosting the “Housedog.com Real Estate Show” on both WAFS and sister news/talk WGKA on weekends and that show will continue on both outlets.   WAFS station manager Adam Wattenbarger says, “We are so excited to bring Bryan aboard to add to our live and local lineup.  biz 1190 is committed to giving the Atlanta community something we’ve been lacking for years – real talk about real issues affecting ourbrandotim neighborhoods.”…..Sports talk personality Tim Brando is wrapping his daily, eponymous show heard on SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation channel.  The final show is this Thursday.  Brando will continue to be heard on the radio via FOX Sports Radio as he’ll handle play-by-play for college football and basketball as well as the network’s coverage of this June’s US Open golf tournament…..The program “Entertainment This Week” is joining the America’s Talk Radio Network effective May 3.  “Mr. Hollywood” Shannon Rose and co-host James Lowe will discuss Hollywood gossip, comics, movies, television, pro-wrestling, and so much more during the “fastest hour on national radio.”

wtmj logoWTMJ, Milwaukee Helps Raise Funds for Accessible Playground Equipment.  Last Saturday, Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee unveiled new accessible playground equipment at a local elementary school for which the station helped raise funds.  The need for the equipment came after the station learned of eight-year-old Ben Nelson who uses a wheelchair due to his Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  Ben’s family began raising funds for the equipment and WTMJ joined forces with the family and was able to – through the help of listeners – raise $50,000.   WTMJ Radio VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “WTMJ firmly believes we do well by doing good.  We serve Wisconsin – and we’re getting behind our air personalities by giving them a month where we use our resources to give back to our community.  [Morning host] Jodi Becker is first on our team to lead in this new community betterment initiative.  We are pleased to help – and we thank our listeners and great businesses for helping to build this wonderful playground.”

limbaughrushLimbaugh and Mahindra Partner on Tractor Giveaway.  For the second year in a row, Rush Limbaugh and Mahindra USA have joined together to give away a Mahindra eMax 22HST with loader to an active duty service member or U.S. military veteran.  The winner will be selected in a random drawing on May 26.  Last year, more than 4,500 service men and women entered for an opportunity to win a Mahindra tractor.  It was awarded to Lieutenant Colonel Mike Petzinger of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, who has served his country for 25 years in the Army.

beckandrewwkMusic and Pop Culture Figure Andrew W.K. to Host Weekly Show on TheBlaze Radio Network.  New to the weekend lineup at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network is the show “America W.K.,” hosted by musician, writer, TV host and lecturer Andrew W. K.  TheBlaze Radio Network says the show will be a “raw and penetrating discussion of what it is to be alive – meaning, motivation, mindset, and making dreams come true, all included in a celebration of life itself – and all with a positive and honest outlook. Andrew will also field questions and input from the audience, adding an engaging interactive component.”  Andrew W.K. is probably most known for his 2001 rock album titled, I Get Wet, the cover of which featured a photo of him with a bloody nose.  During his musical career he’s penned a number of rock anthems that have appeared in video games, movies and as pro sports team themes.   Andrew W.K. (pictured here at left with Glenn Beck at right) says, “When Glenn asked me to do my own radio show on TheBlaze, I was shocked but excited, as I knew he would allow me the unrestrained freedom to say exactly what I wanted.  I’m very dedicated to exploring and learning from different people in different places, and always with an open heart.  If people never went outside their own box, life would be boring.  After all, why would I only want to talk with people who already think exactly like me?”

Baltimore Protests, White House Correspondents Dinner, Bush Criticism of Obama Foreign Policy, Nepal Earthquake Aftermath, SCOTUS Hears Same-Sex Marriage Argument, Clinton Foundation Scrutiny, James Holmes Trial Begins, and the Bruce Jenner Transgender Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/27).  The intensifying, violent protests in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody; the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner and President Obama’s performance; former President George W. Bush comments on Obama Administration’s foreign policy; the devastation in Nepal after Saturday’s earthquake; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments as anti-gay marriage statutes in four states are challenged; ongoing scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation financial operations; the opening of the trial of Aurora, Colorado movie theater killer James Holmes; and the chatter about Bruce Jenner’s sex change procedure and his recent interview were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

| February 26, 2014

waldengregCongressman Greg Walden Intends to Kill FCC’s Critical Information Needs Study.  It wouldn’t be out of line to suggest Oregon Congressman Greg Walden doesn’t trust the FCC not to step over the line regarding its Critical Information Needs study.  The controversial study would send researchers into the field to determine how stations and news personnel are choosing and presenting news and information and whether the conclusions reached somehowfccnew create a barrier to entry into station ownership for minorities.  Last week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler backed off the study as initially created and he has said the Commission has no intention of regulating the content of journalists or broadcasters.  Walden is promising to craft legislation to end the CIN study permanently.  He says “The very existence of this CIN study is an affront to the First Amendment and should have never been proposed in the first place.  As someone with a journalism degree, I was alarmed from the moment I saw it, which is why we wrote to Chairman Wheeler in December to urge him to stop the study.  To date, Chairman Wheeler has insisted upon only making small tweaks, and what he has proposed to do isn’t enough.  The study should be eradicated completely.  The potential for violation of the First Amendment is exceptionally egregious, but it is also concerning that the commission believes it can prescribe what ‘critical information needs’ are in communities across the country.”

wnymlogoSalem Names Joe Piscopo Permanent Morning Host at WNYM, New York.  Former “Saturday Night Live” cast member, comic and actor Joe Piscopo has been sitting in hosting the morning show on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” since the beginning of the year.  Now the company makes it official as he’s named morning host of “Piscopo in the Morning.”  He is joined on the air by morningpiscopojoe show producer Frank Morano and newsman Al Gatullo.  Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “One of the best things I get to do in this job is find talented people who have accomplished something on one stage and are ready to take on another one.  Joe is extremely talented on the radio, bringing a level of entertainment to mix with the information that you seldom get to hear.  This is a very connected morning show in the nation’s top market.”  Piscopo has been involved in a variety of projects since he left SNL, and still does a number of nationwide tours with former cast members. In addition to numerous movie appearances, and comedy club gigs, he is soon to be featured in a national reality TV show for a major network.  He comments, “I have my college degree in broadcasting.  I remain a dedicated student of the most intimate medium, radio.  And with legendary broadcast giants like GM Jerry Crowley and current day guru of all radio personalities past and present, Phil Boyce, this is the positively perfect storm of talk radio.  I honestly believe that this is not only the reinvention, renaissance and revitalization of AM radio, (not to mention a totally new and exciting journey of my career) but the best thing to happen to NY radio since David Sarnoff.”  Crowley says, “We have had a huge positive reaction to Joe, both from listeners and advertisers, since he joined us. This is going to be a true home run.”

sabowalterImprove Your PPM Performance.  Media consultant Walter Sabo offers five quick tips for improving your talk radio station’s performance in PPM (or frankly, any) markets.  Sabo writes that one of the biggest gripes from general managers at stations which he consults is that the program director doesn’t coach the talent.  That can lead to bad habits.  To read his quick five-point prescription for getting on the track to better audience engagement, click here.

casonbrittneyWFNZ, Charlotte’s Brittney Cason Tells Chilling Tale of Narrow Escape from Human Trafficking Ring.  There’s no word how far the FBI is in its investigation of what happened – or almost happened – to media personality and WFNZ, Charlotte air talent Brittney Cason, but as the former NFL cheerleader writes in a column on XOJane.com, her dashed dream to cover the Sochi Olympics turned out to be a probable life-saving event.  You can read her story here, but here’s a summary: After being recruited to cover the Winter Games by whom Cason thought was a legitimate agent, Cason discovered through her own dogged pursuit of answers to questions that bugged her that the man pretending to be an agent was likely involved in a human trafficking ring operating around the Sochi Games.  Cason notes that one of the most common pretenses for abducting women for trafficking purposes is a modeling gig.  Cason’s experience in the broadcasting and modeling business may have saved her life.

reckfordlauraCape Cod Broadcasting Names Reckford News Director.  General manager Beverly Tilden announces that Cape Cod Broadcasting is naming Laura Reckford news director for the company.  Tilden says, “Cape Cod Broadcasting has been a trusted resource for local Cape Cod news and information.  Laura’s experience and leadership will assure that we continue that tradition as we grow and expand our news offerings.”  Reckford most recently worked in the communications & development department at Housing Assistance Corporation.  She is also the founder of the new online magazine CapeCodWave.com where she currently is editor and publisher.  Cape Cod Broadcasting says it will partner with CapeCodWave.com as part of its development of its website CapeCod.com.  She has worked at Cape Cod Life as managing editor and served with The Falmouth Enterprise in the same capacity.  She began her media career in New York City at Entertainment Weekly, Good Housekeeping, Viacom and 20th Century Fox.  Reckman comments, “After working in film, television, magazines, and newspapers, I am excited to be working in radio, a medium I have long admired.  In addition, I am looking forward to bringing local journalism to CapeCod.com and also enhancing that website with the magazine-style journalism of Cape Cod Wave.”

herskovitzalPolitical Ad Season Is for Everyone.  Media sales maven Al Herskovitz, president of H-and-H Broadcasting, writes about the already-upon-us political advertising season and what radio stations can do to get their fair share of the pie.  Herskovitz notes that political is a busy category at major and large market stations but that smaller market stations and shows that may have considered themselves too small or “unconnected” can follow some strategies to make sure they are exhausting all possible sources of revenue in this category.  Read Herskovitz’s column here.

deanmichaelwDean Adds Nightly Show to GCN Lineup.  “Freedom Feens” co-host Michael W. Dean is hosting his own nightly show distributed by Genesis Communications Network beginning Monday, March 10.  In addition to the weekly “Freedom Feens” program he hosts with Neema Vedadi, “Michael Dean After Dark” will air from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight PT.  Dean says the program will feature him and a rotating cast of co-hosts for the two-hour show.

komandotvWeighing in on Net Neutrality.  Nationally syndicated talk show host, columnist and digital expert Kim Komando (right) is seen here in this screen shot during an appearance on the Fox Business Network’s “The Willis Report” hosted by Gerri Willis (left).  During the segment, Komando discussed the net neutrality issue and a potential deal between Netflix and AT&T for faster download speeds.

Arizona Religious Rights Bill, ObamaCare Criticism, Hagel Army Reduction Plan, Defense of Marriage Laws Controversy, Bitcoin Exchange Troubles, and Ukraine Turmoil-Russian Influence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/25).  The controversy over the Arizona bill that would allow business owners to discriminate against customers based on their own religious beliefs; the plan of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to downsize the Army to its lowest level since after WWII; the edict from Attorney General Eric Holder that state attorneys general do not have to enforce “defense of marriage” laws; the question of the solvency of bitcoin exchange Mt.Gox; and the political turmoil in the Ukraine and Russia’s influence in the region were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

| January 23, 2014

rabRAB Connects Radio and Home Improvement Spending.  According to the Radio Advertising Bureau’s Finding Consumer Trends (F.C.T.) Report, “when consumers are determining their next home improvement project, radio ads influence that decision.  Also, listener trust is positively influenced when a favorite radio station personality promotes a particular home improvement project or service – especially among 18-34 year olds.”  Radio Advertising Bureau president and CEO Erica Farber adds, “The findings from the survey demonstrate radio’s ability to persuade and influence behavior.  With 75% of the survey respondents being homeowners, it’s clear that radio is a key medium for home farberericanewimprovement companies and services to reach their target audience.”  The study was conducted from October 29 to November 19, 2013 and queried over 12,300 respondents aged 18+ about their home improvement plans, timelines and estimated budgets.  The RAB worked with Presslaff Interactive Revenue on the study and determined some of the top goals of homeowners regarding home improvement projects.  Presslaff president Ruth Presslaff states, “The information from this report provides RAB members with the information they need to drive sales for their stations.  The identification of consumers’ home improvement goals and preferences is certain to open doors for radio sellers and create a dialogue with local home improvement businesses and services.”  The RAB and Presslaff are presenting a webinar on this study on January 30 for members.  To become an RAB member, please call Member Response at 800-232-3131.

hannityseanSean Hannity for Senator? Governor? President?  There’s often speculation in the media about the possibility high-profile personalities – especially those in the news/talk game – would ever run for public office.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated radio star and Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity entertained that notion during the #Ask Sean segment of his FNC show on January 21.  His response?  “The answer is ‘yes, I think about it.’” When asked about what office he’d consider, he responded, “I’m leaving New York as you know…so it would be either in Texas or Florida.”  If Hannity does seriously consider a run for office, it would be down the road as he indicates he has ties to New York for the near future – kids in school, etc. – and contractual obligations that have him working in New York.  In case you missed it, Hannity’s plans to leave New York come after Governor Andrew Cuomo made public comments critical of those with traditional conservative values including being pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, and opposed to same-sex marriage.  The idea of Sean Hannity being political office “material” is not new, especially as a concept floated in TALKERS.  Almost a decade ago the print version of this publication featured a bold cover with an artist’s rendition of a gray “mature” version of the handsome radio star delivering a mythical presidential press conference as the nation’s Commander in Chief.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who is vehemently non-partisan as a function of his role in the broadcasting industry, makes no secret of his admiration for Hannity’s qualities as a person of substance and potential leadership skills outside the radio show world.  Regarding today’s news story, Harrison states, “Regardless of where you stand on his political positions, on the larger playing field of life, Sean Hannity is an extremely authentic human being with remarkable ‘people skills.’  I have witnessed him in action long enough and know enough radio broadcasters over the years to recognize how out of the ordinary he is.  Hannity might be a staunch conservative and Republican Party advocate, which serves a purpose in the mosaic of things in radio and the larger marketplace of ideas – but forget the stereotypes…he is also one of the most compassionate and generous human beings in terms of his day-to-day life, his charitable work, and his dealings with colleagues in the business of all stripes.  He also works a room (from the position of central player) better than anyone I have EVER seen, including Bill Clinton!  I’m not saying Sean Hannity will be president.  But I believe he would be extremely effective as a congressional or gubernatorial candidate in the right situation.  In the meantime, from a purely selfish perspective, I truly hope he forestalls any such ambitions for years to come.  We need people of his talent and character in this business and we need them now.”

spadaforadanDan Spadafora Named Brand Manager at WHTC, Holland, Michigan.  In West Michigan, Midwest Communications brings Dan Spadafora aboard as brand manager and morning drive personality at WHTC, Holland, Michigan (25 miles southwest of Grand Rapids).  Spadafora comes to WHTC from his most recent position with Clear Channel’s sports talk WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids “96.1 FM ESPN” and sister news/talk combo WOOD-AM/FM.  He says in a statement, “Radio to me has always been more than simply a job.  It is about providing a service to the community while also doing something I love.  I want to show that not only is radio alive and well, but this station in town can be a station people can depend on for local news and information.  ‘Holland’s Hometown Station’ should be a news leader.”

wexlersteveJournal Broadcast Group Re-Aligns; Separates Radio and TV.  The move means that Journal Broadcast Group EVP and GM for the Milwaukee TV and radio stations Steve Wexler takes on the new role of EVP of radio for the company.  Debbie Turner is named EVP of television.  Journal Communications president and CFO Andre Fernandez explains, “As we have invested in our broadcast businesses and expanded our geographic footprint over the last decade, we believe that repositioning our broadcast segment around television and radio recognizes the unique expertise we’ve always had in Journal Broadcast Group around each medium.  These changes also ensure the appropriate strategic focus and resourcing for each business, and should help us further improve our operational performance.”

coxmediagroupCox Media Group Announces Openings in Tampa Cluster.  With the promotion of Tim Clarke to director of digital audience and the departure of program director Michael Sharkey, Cox Media Group Tampa has three new programming positions as a result of organizational changes following these events.  Tampa VP and market manager Keith Lawless states, “CMG has invested the last four years in creating some of the biggest and most successful brands in Tampa Bay.  This is a very unique opportunity that CMG Tampa has not seen in decades.  The entire CMG family is eager to welcome the next programming leaders to help take these big brands to the next level.”  Positions include:

  • CMG Tampa Operations Manager (OM): This new position will oversee all programming and content for CMG Tampa’s six top rated FM brands. Those stations include WWRM “Magic 94.9,” WSUN “97X,” WPOI “HOT 101.5,” WHPT “102.5 The Bone,” WDUV “105.5 The Dove,” and WXGL “107.3 The Eagle.”  This individual will oversee all program directors and will report to the Tampa VP/market manager.  The OM will also have PD responsibilities for one or more stations.
  • WPOI/WSUN Program Director:  This individual will be responsible for the branding and growth of Tampa Bay’s most innovative 18-49 brands, “HOT 101.5” and “97X.”  In its third year in format, “HOT 101.5” is a top ranked CHR while “97X” delivers one of the deepest relationships with its listeners as America’s premiere Listener Driven Radio station.  This individual must have a track record of successfully developing brands as well as a deep understanding of emerging digital and social platforms. This position will report to the OM.
  • WHPT 102.5 The Bone Program Director: This person will be responsible for the overall operation of America’s hottest talk radio station.  “The Bone” has one of radio’s largest personalities with the highest ratings, all on Florida’s hottest signal.  The successful candidate will have a track record of successfully operating talk-based formats, working with high-profile talent, and creatively marketing and growing brands like “The Bone.”

Interested candidates should send their resumes and cover letter to Keith Lawless:  1015.Lawless@coxinc.com.

cookehollandTwitter Tip: Think Twice.  Broadcasters using Twitter to connect with their audience are offered some tips from media consultant Holland Cooke who writes the following.  Observation: You won’t lose followers by not Tweeting.  Twitter is a powerful tool.  I myself was a late-adopter, and I’m real impressed.  AND IT’S FREE…and that’s a double-edged sword.  Tip: Pretend that each Tweet costs you a dollar.  Why?  Watch your followers numbers.  They tend to go down right after you’ve Tweeted something, which, apparently, one or more followers didn’t find relevant.  Don’t take it personally!  Whoever just left (and I wish there was a way to know who) might’ve followed you in the first place because an earlier Tweet was as enticing as the one that turned ‘em off wasn’t.  You yourself will un-follow after perhaps even a Tweet doesn’t grab you.  Spam is spam, whatever the platform.  I was recently exposed to some research that demonstrated something you might find unsurprising: Tweets about one’s self get re-Tweeted less than Tweets which link to third party internet content.  In Contagious: Why Things Catch On (Simon & Schuster), Wharton prof Jonah Berger writes, “People like to pass along practical useful information.  News others can use.”  Social media is sharing.  Facebook seems to be degenerating into pictures of what the waiter just delivered.

stigallchrisOdds & Sods.  WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive talk host Chris Stigall got the chance to do an in-studio segment with WestwoodOne syndicated talk host, SNL alum and comic Dennis Miller as the latter was on the East Coast for a stand-up gig at a nearby Delaware casino.  The two talked about Jimmy Fallon succeeding Jay Leno, his take on the job President Obama is doing and a look ahead to a possible Chris ChristieHillary Clinton race in 2016…..Nationally syndicated Nashville-based talk host Phil Valentine will appear on Fox Business Channel this evening (1/23) to discuss the issue of global warming on John Stossel’s program.  Valentine recently produced the film “An Inconsistent Truth” challenging current global warming conclusions.  Also appearing on tonight’s show are Bill Nye the Science Guy and Marc Morano who runs the website ClimateDepot.com…..Fox Sports Radio Network is announcing it will be broadcasting live from New York next week leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII as it has for the past 13 years.  Beginning Monday, Fox Sports Radio will bring listeners programming and updates from several locations throughout New York City as the Dan Patrick show, “Jay Mohr Sports,” J.T. The Brick and “Steve Gorman SPORTS!” broadcast live from the center of the action…..Once again ESPN Deportes Radio is presenting play-by-play of the Super Bowl in Spanish.  Coverage will begin with a three-hour special Super Bowl preview from the stadium with analysis by Kenneth Garay, Sebastian Christensen, Eduardo Martell, Carlos Arratia and Marcelo Sandrin.  Game coverage starts at 6:00 p.m. with Garay (play-by-play) alongside Christensen (analysis) in the booth, and Sandrin reporting from the field…..The San Franciso 49ers name former NFL player Tim Ryan color analyst for 49ers radio broadcasts.  He replaces Eric Davis and will work with Ted Robinson.  Cumulus Media‘s sports KNBR and rock KSAN serve as flagships for San Franciso football games.

Global Warming/Eastern Freeze-Western Drought, Roe v. Wade Anniversary, ObamaCare Rollout, Bob McDonnell Investigation, ‘Real’ U.S. Unemployment Figures, and Iran Nuclear Deal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/22).  The freezing winter weather affecting the East and the Western drought plus talk of their possible relationship to global warming; the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; the investigation of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell on corruption charges; the report that the real unemployment figure in the United States is over 30%; and the deal being struck with Iran over its nuclear program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

| December 5, 2013

weineranthonyRumor: Anthony Weiner to Try Talk Radio.  Here we go again! Another disgraced politician – this time it’s former congressman and former NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner – is rumored to be in the running for a talk show on one of two New York City radio signals.  The New York Daily News is reporting that sources say Weiner is in talks to begin hosting a show on either Cumulus Media’s WABC (where the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot is opening in the New Year) or on Clear Channel’s WOR.  WABC operations manager Tony Mascaro tells the paper they are looking at a lot of candidates for the slot but denies Weiner is one of them.  The track record of former politicians – especially disgraced ones – succeeding in talk radio is not good.  Most managers and programmers are either aware – or find out very quickly – that the tradeoff for hiring such a person is not usually worth it.  Yes, one gets instant recognition of the person from the public, but the long hours, challenging work, glamorless working conditions and time needed to get traction in the ratings usually turns off former pols who are used to a different sort of workday.  Oh, and then there’s the fact that they almost always have no broadcasting skills whatsoever.  Stay tuned, the Weiner-watch is on!

cumulus logoCumulus Media Holdings to Refinance $2.23 Billion in Debt.  According to a Reuters report, Cumulus Media Holdings has set terms on a new $2.23 billion loan that would serve to reduce its interest payments over the course of the loan.  The company is marketing a $200 million, five-year revolver and a $2.025 billion, seven-year, first-lien term loan.  The proceeds would refinance Cumulus’ current first- and second-lien loans.  Moody’s Investor Services VP and senior credit officer Carl Salas is quoted saying, “It’s a meaningful improvement in their annual debt service.  They will save upwards of $30 million to $35 million in interest costs which adds nicely to their free cash flow generation.”

rouhierdannyCBS Radio’s WJFK, Washington Hears It from Redskins About Game Broadcast Parodies.  NFL fans are aware that the Washington Redskins – owned by the litigious and sensitive Dan Snyder – are having a tough season (3-9 right now) after making the playoffs last year.  That’s been the source of much frustration on the part of fans and the source of material for WJFK host Danny Rouhier and producer Ajay Atayee who’ve been producing bits that are mock-ups of game broadcasts.  Rouhier does the voices of Redskins radio play-by-play announcers Larry Michael and Sonny wjfkfmJurgensen and splices in actual drops of color man and former ‘Skin Chris Cooley.  The hysterically funny bits have been critical of the team’s play, the fan experience at FedEx Field and Snyder’s public image, so much so that, according to the Washington Post, WJFK Redskins beat reporter Grant Paulsen was told by team spokesman Tony Wyllie that the bits are so malicious that they could prompt legal action.  This may be water under the bridge since the Post reports Wyllie says after talking with the station and being assured it’s all in good fun, the team has no problem with the station’s content.  Since the station has no intention of stopping Rouhier from producing more similarly themed bits, we’ll see how the rest of the season plays out.

kennedyKYSR, Los Angeles Morning Personality Kennedy to Host Fox Business Net Show.  Former MTV VJ and current morning drive host at Clear Channel’s alternative KYSR, Los Angeles, Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, will begin a new nightly current events talk show on Fox Business Network titled “The Independents” that will premiere on Monday, December 9.  The Hollywood Reporter states that Kennedy will co-host with Reason magazine’s Matt Welch, America’s Future Foundation’s Kmele Foster and a rotating panel of money experts.  Kennedy herself writes on her KYSR blog that the show will be “aimed at all the mealy-mouthed, partisan faithful out there.  Has the 2 party system totally failed you?  Yeah, me too!  Tune in 4 nights a week on FBN, and just remember, music and politics go hand in hand. I will always hold hands with you.”  Kennedy has been a contributor to FBN making regular appearances on “Stossel.”

ohana logoVali Named Interim GM of Ohana Broadcast, Hawaii.  The name Austin Vali is widely-known in Hawaii radio and, as Ohana Broadcast Company‘s interim general manager, he will oversee four Oahu stations and five Kauai facilities.  Owner/president Jason Wolff comments, “Austin brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and relationships in the Honolulu market.  He will be a tremendous asset as we strive to produce the best possible radio for our listeners and clients.”   Recently, Vali was vice president/general manager of Cox Media Group‘s three-station Long Island cluster.  During his 40-year radio career, he has worked in Pittsburgh, Norfolk, and Louisville; however, Vali is perhaps best known for his experience in Hawaii.  Since arriving there in 1978, he worked at Honolulu’s KIKI and KQMQ and he co-owned KRTR-FM and KXME in that market.

runningwithnaturePodcastOne Adds Mariel Hemingway Program to Stable.  Titled after her best-selling book  Running with Nature, actress and author Mariel Hemingway, along with her partner, stuntman, actor, health and wellness expert, Bobby Williams, are launching their new podcast via PodcastOne.  The podcast invites listeners to “join them on their adventures; from Hollywood to Holistic healing…transforming relationships to finding the most meaningful ways of living every day, Mariel and Bobby are here bringing laughter, wonder and awe with some great advice.”  The first podcast episode “features nutrition tips, a review of her just released documentary called ‘Running from Crazy,’ and exercise tips from Bobby and Mariel’s ‘Meditation Moment.’”  PodcastOne COO Greg Batusic says, “Mariel and Bobby offer a refreshing and unique take on life that their fans and new listeners will surely benefit from.  We’re happy to have them join our stellar lineup.”

madiganbobWTOP, Washington’s Bob Madigan to Retire.  Drive time news anchor Bob Madigan will retire from his position at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington, DC at the end of the year.  Outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley (also retiring, see next story) says in a memo to his DC staff, “Bob has been in this crazy business of ours for 50 years, 20 of them here at WTOP and WASH when both stations were co-owned.  He and I worked for 11 years at NBC News….I have been inflicted on Bob for 27 of his 50 years in the business.  By the way, if you are wondering how he got in 50 years ago, he started working in radio during high school.”  Farley goes on to say that as WTOP’s “Man About Town,” he “was a one-person ‘good news’ department covering everything from charity galas to scholarship awards and chili cook-offs for a good cause.  Bob covered so many events, that in less than a year on the beat, he was emcee, announcer or celebrity judge at many of them.  He became a one-man marketing machine for WTOP, getting our name out there in a positive way that was priceless!  He was chosen to announce the Inaugural Parade along Pennsylvania Avenue for both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.  At the Bush Inaugural Parade he was paired with…Meat Loaf.  For years he announced the start of the Race for the Cure live on WTOP.  He has a long, long list of awards and honors including a (rare for a journalist) RAMMY Award, “The Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award.”  RAMMY’s are awarded by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.

cookefarleyA Farewell to Jim Farley.  Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke (right) poses for a selfie with outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley at a retirement bash for the longtime WTOP, Washington programmer at the Newseum in Washington, DC.  After 17 years with the station, Farley is “slowing down but not retiring” as he’ll step down from his current post but consult WTOP for the next two years. He’s also open to consult others with their news and/or digital strategies.  Current WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo is stepping into the post at year’s end.  Cooke reports that modern-day WTOP-ers, Hubbard execs and many alumni toasted Farley at the bash.  Among other things said at the farewell party, Farley told staffers, “What a crowd!  YOU did it.  YOU GUYS do all the heavy lifting, and I got all the credit.  I’m gettin’ out before they catch me.”

kmbzGood Fences Make Good Neighbors.  Usually that’s the case but at the Entercom AM transmitter site in Westwood, Kansas, just how a good fence is defined appears to be the issue.  The towers for KMBZ and KUDL are surrounded by residential neighborhoods – that wasn’t the case in the 1930s when the towers went up.  According to the Prairie Village Post, now neighbors are challenging the renewal of Entercom’s special use permit for the site claiming they want improvements there.  After meeting with residents, a plan commission sub-committee is suggesting the current chain-link fence with barbed wire makes the property look “blighted” and recommends removal of the perimeter fence and replacement with fencing that complies with current code.  Entercom fears liability issues without a perimeter fence.  In 2008, a trespassing teenager was killed after falling from a tower on the site.  Expect some sort of compromise on this issue since moving the station towers would be very difficult yet protection of the transmitters and towers needs to continue for obvious reasons.

junkiesCredit to WJFK-FM, Washington’s “Junkies” for Nabbing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Segment.  He’s been one of the hot talk radio topics for the past several weeks (as documented in TALKERS magazine’s weekly top topics chart The Talkers TenTM), so why not book him as a guest?  CBS Radio’s “The Junkies” did just that and got a cool 25-minute segment with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on WJFK-FM, Washington today.  Ford, who’s obviously been in the news a bit lately and doesn’t seem to be very mic-shy, talked with the Junkies about football (he offered his NFL picks for the week), the drug use allegations against him, President Obama, and his run for re-election next fall (which he says he’ll win because he has the support of the people).

kgmzlogoOdds & Sods.  Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco is preparing to begin a listener giveaway of tickets and cool memorabilia for its six area pro sports teams.  “95.7 The Game” is calling the promotion “The Six Teams of Christmas” and will give listeners a chance to win game ticket packages to see the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, Oakland As, Golden State Warriors and San Jose Sharks…..CBS Radio’s New York stations (including sports WFAN-AM/FM and all-news WINS and WCBS) are announcing a new promotion: The Firehouse Chili Cook-Off.  After entries were submitted from all across the tri-state area, semi-finalists will compete to see whose chili recipe cbsfirehousereigns supreme.  At establishments in New Jersey and New York, the staple food of firefighters will be cooked, tasted and judged by local sports figures, and one fire company at each event will move into the final round of the competition.  The grand prize winner will receive VIP tickets to a 2014 New York Yankees game…..Entercom’s Boston Red Sox flagship WEEI, Boston is broadcasting from the MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando next week.  Live coverage of the meetings will begin with Salk & Holley from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday through Wednesday.  The Mut & Merloni show will also originate from the Swan and Dolphin Resort from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Tuesday through Thursday.

kirofmhollidaymagicHoliday Magic at KIRO-FM, Seattle.  Pictured here is KIRO-FM, Seattle afternoon drive duo Ron & Don manning the tote board at last year’s “Holiday Magic Radiothon.”  The Bonneville news/talk station, in partnership with Treehouse (a non-profit agency that ensures that kids in foster care have access to the essential services required to help them make it to high school graduation and beyond), are hosting the 25th Annual Foster Child Holiday Magic Radiothon today.  The station set a record last year raising more than $500,000.  The 12-hour “Holiday Magic Radiothon” helps local foster kids by raising money to provide each child in the program with one significant holiday gift along with support programs and services throughout the year.

humphriesdamian2Rusty Humphries on the Set in Bucharest.  That’s talk show host and actor Rusty Humphries (left) with actor Michael Damian (right) on location in Bucharest, Romania on the set of the romantic comedy Love By Design.  Humphries says he plays a reporter covering a big fashion show in New York City.  He notes that Bucharest is a popular location to shoot NYC scenes since it can be made to look like the streets of New York and the production costs are much less.  The movie also stars Jane Seymour.  Humphries was in Bucharest for seven days filming.  He tells TALKERS, “I had a blast.  I love the fact that I’m having the opportunity to really live out my dreams: radio, TV and film.  This is my third major motion picture, and it’s always an honor to be involved with a project as special as this.”

ObamaCare Criticism, NSA Cell Location Database, Obama Millennial Support Diminishing, Detroit Bankruptcy, Bashir Resignation, and Fast Food Minimum Wage Effort Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5).  Analysis of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NSA policy that reportedly gathers the location of cell phone users; the loss of support from Millennials for President Obama; the Detroit bankruptcy case ruling; Martin Bashir’s resignation from MSNBC after his Sarah Palin comments; and the move by organized labor to push for a national minimum wage for fast food workers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Taking Care of Business

| September 12, 2013

Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS magazine

  LOS ANGELESThose fancying a career in radio typically lead a nomadic existence, as they pay their dues in small markets and relocate numerous times – often before even reaching their 30th birthday.

Tom Sullivan 150Such was not the case however for Tom Sullivan, whose resumé cites just one radio station – Sacramento’s heritage talk outlet KFBK.

Fox News RadioFor the past six years, Sullivan has hosted a three-hour (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm) show on Fox News Radio and he can be seen weekends fronting his own program on the Fox Business Channel.


First Social Media

As a teenager growing up in Seattle, Sullivan made it a top priority to meet one of the Emerald City’s major radio personalities, who graciously wound up asking if he wanted to get a first-hand look at how radio works. “I hung out with him during his shift,” Sullivan fondly recalls. “I had that interest in radio then, but I think many [others that age] did at the time because that is where we got our music. Radio was our social world.”

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Monday, February 13, 2012

| February 13, 2012

Stephanie Miller Riding High on Radio, Live Show and Comedy Record Success.  WYD Media Management and Dial Global syndicated progressive talk radio host Stephanie Miller rolls into 2012 surfing the wave of success she began in 2011 using her popular radio show – and social media – to help promote her “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” and the recently released comedy album of the same name that’s topping the charts.  With the help of comedian pals John Fugelsang and Hal Sparks – both of whom make weekly appearances on Miller’s Los Angeles-based radio show – the “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” has been selling out shows across the country and grossed more than $1.4 million over the last 12 months.  Miller is astounded by the success of the tour and the album.  “Last spring when we performed in Madison, Wisconsin to support the recall efforts of Governor Scott Walker we had no expectations that the show would be as well received as it was, let alone set upon a nationwide tour raising money for locally focused progressive causes,” Miller says.  The resulting comedy album, released digitally, has been hugely successful.  Miller tells TALKERS, “The ‘Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour’ has become the first political comedy album to reach # 1 on the comedy charts for iTunes, Amazon and Billboard, and has remained on the Billboard Comedy Album charts for six weeks since its release in late-December, 2011.  The idea of progressive comedy making such a connection to people across America must be causing some serious Republican angina…at least I hope so!”  Miller, Fugelsang and Sparks continue to hit the road with the live show stopping at the Orpheum Theatre on Phoenix on February 25 and the Chicago Theatre in Chicago on March 3.

WQAM, Miami’s Sid Rosenberg Back in the News with Alleged Gambling Debt.  The Miami Herald is reporting that WQAM, Miami PM drive sports talk host Sid Rosenberg has a gambling debt of more than $44,000 he owes to an offshore gambling operation called www.1betvegas.com.  Gossip Extra columnist Jose Lambiet quotes a man named Frank Soviero who says he works for the gambling site – based in Costa Rica – and says he’s been in Miami for two months now trying to collect the debt.  Soviero tells Lambiet, “We can’t sue Sid since what we do is illegal in the United States.  I’ve tried everything.  He comes up with 100 bucks here and there, and he gives me a big hug.  It ticks me off because I talked my boss into giving Sid a few chances.  And I’ve seen [my boss] do things when he gets mad.”  Neither Rosenberg nor WQAM have commented to the paper.  Rosenberg was off the air for six weeks prior to the holidays and there was speculation then that he was being punished by the station for trying to repay a gambling debt via plugola – something Rosenberg vehemently denied to TALKERS.  Station management also did not confirm the story to local media but only said that Rosenberg was off and would return on January 2, which he did.  When asked by TALKERS to specifically clarify why he was off the air during that time, Rosenberg did not reply.  Read the Miami Herald story here.

WLW, Cincinnati’s Bill Cunningham Gets Big Network Pickup for TV Show.  Tribune Company launched “The Bill Cunningham Show” last September on a number of its O&O TV stations.  Now, Tribune announces the show is being picked up by the CW Network and will air in the 3:00 pm ET slot beginning in September.  Tribune Broadcasting president of programming and entertainment Sean Compton – one of the few remaining former Clear Channel execs brought to Tribune by Randy Michaels – tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, “Since the launch of ‘The Bill Cunningham Show’ six months ago, the show has exceeded expectations and found a strong voice in the daytime talk landscape…The renewal and expansion of the show to a national platform are a testament to Bill’s staying power.”  Kiesewetter reports that Cunnigham’s TV show is more popular in New York, Chicago, Miami and Dallas than it is in his hometown of Cincinnati.  While taping the show, Cunningham does his WLW program from studios in Manhattan.

Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside Exit WOW-FM, Des Moines After Five Weeks.  The duo moved over to the news/talk sister station from Cumulus Media Group’s classic rock KGGO-FM in January after 13 years as a duo in morning drive there.  But after just five weeks hosting the AM drive show on 98.3 WOW (KWQW-FM), Sipolt and Burnside surprised their listeners with an 8:40 am announcement on Friday, February 10 that they were leaving local radio to pursue other interests.  Sipolt does a motorsports talk show on Fox Sports Channel.  Burnside isn’t saying what she’ll do next.

Fox Business Network Drops Three Prime Time Shows; Will Replay Early Evening Programs.  The four- and a half-year-old Fox Business Network cancels the three prime time shows airing between 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm ET – “Freedom Watch,” hosted by Andrew Napolitano; “Power & Money” with host David Asman; and “Follow the Money” with Eric Bolling – and will re-air its 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm programming.  The move puts what Fox execs consider their top personalities on in prime time: “The Willis Report” with Gerri Willis; “Cavuto” with Neil Cavuto; and “Lou Dobbs Tonight” hosted by Lou Dobbs.  David Asman co-hosts the 4:00 pm “After the Bell” program and will continue in that role while Eric Bolling remains in his role on Fox News Channel co-hosting “The Five.” Fox executive vice president Kevin Magee states, “Neil Cavuto, Lou Dobbs and Gerri Willis are the most trusted names in business news, and this new lineup affords Fox Business viewers additional access to their no-nonsense take on the day’s financial events.”

Talk Show Hosts Wow 275 at American Jewish University Panel.  Approximately 275 avid talk radio fans showed up for a two-hour panel discussion held Sunday (2/12) afternoon at American Jewish University in Bel-Air, California.  Moderated by veteran Los Angeles broadcaster Bill Moran, the panel featured Bill Handel and Bill Carroll of KFI, Los Angeles; Patt Morrison of KPCC, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Broadcasting; and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison.  The fast-paced discussion blended a spectrum of hot topics in the news – everything from health care to Israel/Iran tensions to social media to Whitney Houston – plus behind-the-scenes radio shop talk and ended with a spirited question and answer session with the audience.  This was the fifth annual installment of this panel, one of AJU’s most popular events in its outstanding speakers series.

Salem Radio Network and Radio America Reach News Service Deal.  A pact between Dallas-based Salem Radio Network and Washington-based Radio America is being struck that will make SRN News the exclusive top- and bottom-of-the-hour news service distributed by Radio America.  This move adds some 400 Radio America affiliates as potential carriers of SRN’s news product.  SRN president Greg Anderson states, “The potential of adding up to 400 Radio America affiliates to our roster of almost 1,300 current SRN News affiliates is very exciting for us.  We look forward to a great partnership with Radio America and their affiliates in the days ahead.”  Radio America COO Mike Paradiso comments, “SRN News is a great fit in our lineup of talk programs and will serve our 400-plus stations well in this election year.  We’re excited to be partnering with SRN on this venture.”

Blue Star Media Promotes Jon Patch to VP of Affiliate Sales.  Jon Patch has been with Blue Star Media Group’s Business TalkRadio Network and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network for the past 15 years serving in numerous capacities, most recently working in affiliate sales and hosting the 21 year-old talk radio show “Talkin’ Pets.”  Now, Blue Star ups Patch to vice president of affiliate sales for the organization.  Patch says, “I believe in working with our stations as partners and offering the best service possible since, by keeping them happy, it in turn keeps the hosts, listeners and all others involved satisfied and happy as well.”

Bonneville’s Arizona Sports Enters into Marketing Agreement with University of Phoenix.  Bonneville International’s Phoenix-based sports media initiative – Arizona Sports – agrees to a broadening of its relationship with University of Phoenix that includes the naming rights to the Arizona Sports studios.  Bonneville describes Arizona Sports as “a first-of-its-kind sports marketing and media super brand encompassing all of Bonneville Phoenix sports media properties including: Arizona Sports 620 KTAR-AM, Arizona Sports.com, Arizona Diamondbacks baseball, Arizona Cardinals football, Phoenix Suns basketball, Arizona State football and men’s basketball, ESPN radio, AIA and the Fiesta Bowl.”  Bonneville Phoenix VP of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says, “Bill Pepicello (University of Phoenix president) and his entire team have been a great partner of ours for many years.  We’re excited that – from “Mike and Mike in the Morning” to “Doug and Wolf on the drive home – all of our shows will now be broadcast from the University of Phoenix Studios.”

CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles Continues “On Your Corner” Series in Culver City.  The CBS Radio Los Angeles all-news outlet will broadcast live from the Culver Hotel in Culver City on Friday, March 9 as part of its series that provides an “in-depth look at Southern California’s diverse communities.”  The day’s broadcasts will include civic and business leaders, along with colorful personalities connected to Culver City’s rich history and revitalization who will be featured guests as the city marks its 95th anniversary.  Additionally, a business mixer open to the public beginning at 5:00 pm will culminate the day’s events.  A special luncheon for invited business leaders will be hosted by Frank Mottek prior to his KNX Business Hour broadcast.

KMOX, St. Louis Holds Spring Training Correspondent Contest.  In conjunction with sponsor Lindenwood University, CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis is conducting a contest to give one lucky winner a spring training correspondent position alongside sports director Tom Ackerman in Jupiter, Florida.  The winner gets an all-expenses-paid trip and will perform on-air and online Spring Training reports.  The station has been holding open auditions for the past month.  Nearly 200 people auditioned and 10 finalists have been announced.  Listeners to KMOX can vote on their favorite through February 21.

 

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