Tag: "Fox Sports Radio"

Thursday, June 5, 2014

| June 5, 2014

wtoplogoMore Sports Content on WTOP’s Digital Platform.  Intent on continuing to build its digital platform’s reputation as part of the Washington, DC station’s news brand, Hubbard Radio’s WTOP is expanding sports coverage with the addition of a new beefed-up sports section and the hiring of Noah Frank as digital sports editor.  Frank most recently worked with MLB’s Washington Nationals.  He’s also worked with the Fresno Grizzlies, San Antonio Missions and the Chicago Cubs.  WTOP says its “sports section will go beyond the typical scores and stats of many online sports sites, taking a deeper look into the stories of the people and personalities that make the sports world so compelling.”  Director of digital media John Meyer adds, “In order to continue to evolve the WTOP news brand in Washington, we must transform the way we originate our content.  Dedicating resources to creating original digital content puts us in a better position to efficiently use this content across other platforms such as radio, social and mobile.”  WTOP says the section is the fourth in its online expansion, following the launch of the Living, Technology and Entertainment sections.  The sports section will launch the week of June 23.

cbsradiocubs comboCBS RADIO Chicago and Cubs Deal Official; Wrigley Field to Be Site of Concert Events.  The expected announcement that CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM-AM, Chicago will be the new home for Chicago Cubs play-by-play beginning with the 2015 season is confirmed in a press release from CBS.  The terms of the deal are not public yet but one of the facets of the deal includes the Cubs and CBS RADIO working together to present concerts at venerable Wrigley Field.  CBS RADIO president and CEO Dan Mason says, “This partnership also capitalizes on the expertise of our local stations to create one-of-a-kind events utilizing the inherent synergies of music and sports.  Being able to interact with fans both in and out of the ballpark provides us a unique opportunity to connect with the community and grow our relationships with local businesses and national brands.”  Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer will continue to call the action and a weekly, one-hour “Cubs Corner” program will also air on WBBM-AM.  The MLB team and Tribune’s WGN are parting ways after this season after 90 years in broadcast partnership.

reesegeicoRadio Mercury Winners Announced.  The 23rd annual Radio Mercury Awards were held in New York last night in a ceremony produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau at le Poisson Rouge.  This year’s $50,000 Best of Show award was given to Wieden+Kennedy for the spot, “MomSong” for client Old Spice.  The Marketer of the Year award was given to insurance giant GEICO.  This year’s chief judge, Matt Eastwood, worldwide chief creative officer at JWT, stated, “MomSong was the clear choice and the most engaging spot we heard.  All of this year’s winners deserve to be recognized for their inspiring and exceptionally creative spots and campaigns.”  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber adds, “These winning spots and campaigns are true testaments to radio’s ability to engage consumers, build brands and inspire the next generation of creative minds.  Our mission is to recognize those storytellers who create an audiophoric world and truly capture our hearts and minds.”  Hubbard Radio president and CEO Bruce Reese (left) presented the Marketer of the Year award to GEICO broadcast marketing manager Amy Hooks (right).  The ceremony was hosted by Eric and Kathy from Hubbard Radio’s “101.9 The Mix” in Chicago, and included presenters: Jim & Kim from CBS RADIO’s WWFS, New York “Fresh 102.7”; Wendy Wild from Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s WKTU, New York; DJ Enuff from Emmis Communication’s WQHT, New York “Hot 97”; and Ino Gomez from Univision Radio’s WADO, New York.  DJ Whutevva from Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s WWPR, New York “Power 105.1” served as the guest DJ for the night.

bubbaBubba the Love Sponge and Affiliate Present Fundraiser for Highway Crash Victims.  Syndicated, multi-format talk show host Bubba the Love Sponge and country affiliate WTRS, Gainesville/Ocala “102.3 My Country FM” are presenting “Bikes for Badges,” a charity motorcycle run on Saturday, June 14 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala.  All monies raised will go directly to the families of fallen Florida Highway Patrol officer Chelsea Richard, as well as civilians George Phillips and John Duggan, who died in a tragic I-75 pile-up on Saturday, May 3.  WTRS program director Dave Tyler says, “Bubba the Love Sponge and ‘102.3 My Country FM’ are committed to giving back to our community.  This is our hometown.  Tragedy can strike anywhere and we want to ensure the families of our fallen heroes are well taken care of.  The Bubba the Love Sponge Foundation to date has given nearly half a million dollars in funds to families of these heroes.  Now we are honored to take care of the three families affected by this accident.”

Odds & Sods.  On tomorrow’s 70th anniversary of the invasion at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France – D-Day – Fox News Radio is providing coverage to affiliate stations.  Jeff Monosso and Simon Owen will be reporting from Normandy.  Monosso is also hosting a special, “D-Day: We Remember: A Fox News Radio Special,” which takes a look back at the events that unfolded during the D-Day invasion as well as the day’s ceremonies of remembrance…..Mark Halverson is the new vice president and general manager for Journal Broadcast Group’s Omaha station group that includes sports talk KXSP “590 ESPN Radio.”…..At Broadway Media’s Salt Lake City cluster, Corey O’Brien is promoted to digital content director for the six-station cluster that includes sports talk KALL “ESPN 700.”

gormanwilliamsHolly Williams Talks Music and Sports with Steve Gorman.  Pictured here are Fox Sports Radio personality Steve Gorman (right), host of “Steve Gorman SPORTS!,” country music artist Holly Williams (center), and show co-host Jeffrey Gorman (left), in the Nashville studios of Fox Sports Radio.  Williams, daughter of country legend Hank Williams, Jr. (and granddaughter of Hank Williams!), stopped by the studios to talk with the Gormans about her new album The Highway and share stories about growing up as the daughter of Hank Williams, Jr.  She also told of her failed attempt at playing basketball as a child.  Answering the question asked of every guest who appears on the program, Williams announced her favorite musical artists are Jay-Z and Tom Waits.

schlessingerlauraDr. Laura Goes to Bat for KidsEmail.  Talk radio superstar Dr. Laura Schlessinger – heard daily on SiriusXM Satellite Radio – is encouraging parents to use KidsEmail for their children’s internet communications.  A press statement from KidsEmail says, “Recognizing the difficulty parents face with protecting their kids from cyberbullying, predators, vulgarity, spam, pornography, and other internet dangers, Dr. Laura encourages that parents use KidsEmail to help safeguard their kids.”  Dr. Laura adds, “KidsEmail is an excellent tool for parents to use when playing an active role in keeping their kids safe from online dangers.  It also helps parents teach their kids how to use the internet safely and responsibly.”  KidsEmail.org founder and CEO Jacob Andersen states, “We are extremely excited that Dr. Laura recognizes how valuable a service like KidsEmail is in helping parents raise their children in a safe environment.   It’s always been our mission to protect children while helping them learn about and enjoy technology in a safe environment.”

robertsrobinGracie Awards Luncheon to Feature Roberts. ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” anchor and 2014 national Gracie Award recipient Robin Roberts will be a special guest at the 39th annual Gracie Awards luncheon next Wednesday (6/11) in New York City.  Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF) chair Kay Olin states that this particular “memorable” event “honors and shares the compelling work of so many women in media, as well as recognizes the next generation of media stars.  We are pleased to award Robin Roberts with a Gracie statue at our luncheon; she is a notable reporter whose work serves as inspiration to all in attendance.”  This year’s local, online, public, and student winners include MPR News‘ “Betrayed by Silence,” AARP’s “Beyond the Face of Alzheimer’s — A Few Good Men,” “George Washington University’s Plus Size: The New Normal,” KNX, Los Angeles’ “Healthcare Uncovered,” and Mudbath Productions’ “Satellite Sisters.” Moll Anderson and Nancy Giles will host this year’s luncheon ceremony.

Bergdahl Prisoner Swap/al Qaeda Threats, Slenderman Stabbing Case, Influx of Illegal Aliens in Southwest, New Donald Sterling Allegations, Latest Justin Bieber Controversy and NBA-NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/4).  The controversy over the swap of five terrorist prisoners for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and concerns about the renewed strength of al Qaeda and recent threats by the terrorist group; the case of the 12-year-old Wisconsin girl stabbed by two friends to please a fictitious internet character; recent waves of illegal immigrants appearing in Southwest cities and questions about responsibility for the occurrences; new allegations of racist and sexist behavior by Clippers owner Donald Sterling; another incident of racist language by troubled pop singer Justin Bieber; and the NBA and NHL finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

| April 29, 2014

brownjeffCumulus Ups Jeff Brown to SVP.  There are new corporate SVP stripes for Jeff Brown as Cumulus Media promotes him from VP/market manager of its Atlanta cluster to senior vice president, Cumulus Corporate.  In this new post, Brown will be responsible for regional operations oversight in 26 Cumulus markets and he will report to EVP and co-COO Jon Pinch, who comments, “We are thrilled to be able to promote from within for this high level position. Jeff has the energy, intellect and experience that will make him a valuable resource for our market managers.”  Brown states, “It is a tremendous honor to be asked to play a larger role in the development of our ever-expanding platform and the execution of our key strategies.  I am truly excited to help drive the continued growth and evolution of Cumulus, as it creates and distributes the very best in entertainment products and services for our listeners, communities and advertisers.”  A search for Brown’s replacement at the Atlanta cluster is underway.

davistedDavis Joins Heller in Wisconsin Sports Talk Simulcast.  Milwaukee Bucks radio play-by-play voice Ted Davis is becoming part of the Mike Heller show heard on Clear Channel’s WOKY,  Milwaukee “The Big 920 Milwaukee” and WTSO, Madison “The Big 1070 AM.”  Heller’s program airs from 2:00 pm to 6:00hellermike pm and Davis will join from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  The company says Davis will bring 26 years of NBA play-by-play experience to Mike Heller’s show.  CCM+E regional market president Jeff Tyler comments, “We are extremely excited to have a pro like Ted join Mike Heller and the rest of our great on-air team.  Ted will bring another dimension to the best sports talk line up in Madison.  With Ted Davis, the exclusive Wisconsin Badgers broadcast franchises, and more exciting plans on the horizon, we know Madison will continue to embrace ‘The Big 1070’ as Madison’s choice for sports talk and play-by-play.”

cumulus logoCumulus Q1 Revenue Up 3.7%.  For the first three months of 2014, Cumulus Media reports net revenue, on a pro forma basis, was up 3.7%.  The company reports “net revenue increased $10.5 million to $292.0 million, from $281.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2013. The increase was due to $3.1 million in broadcast advertising revenue, of which $2.2 million was from an LMA in Chicago entered into in January 2014 (the ‘Chicago LMA’), offset by a $9.9 million decline in network spot sales and the loss of approximately $2.2 million of third party network station compensation.  Broadcast advertising revenue growth also benefited from $13.0 million of reduced producer revenue shares at WestwoodOne.  Digital advertising increased $4.5 million due to revenue from our partnership with Rdio and revenue increases from our streaming and digital commerce initiatives.  There was a $1.3 million increase in political advertising revenue; and a $1.6 million increase in affiliate license fees and other non-ad-based revenue.”  In a statement, CEO Lew Dickey says, “This quarter was marked by the accelerated integration of WestwoodOne.  We now expect to complete the two-year integration approximately three quarters ahead of time and will exceed the stated synergies by 5% to 10%.”

nab logoNAB Radio Board Makes Appointments. Named to two-year NAB Radio board seats are: Lincoln Financial Media president/chief executive officer Don Benson; Radio One chief executive officer Alfred Liggins; CBS Radio president/chief executive officer Dan Mason; Hubbard Radio chair Ginny Morris; Clear Channel chair/chief executive officer Bob Pittman; and Federated Media vice president Tony Richards.  Those appointments take effect in June.  Meanwhile, NRG Media president/chief executive officer Mary Quass is unanimously elected to the first vice chair seat of the NAB’s executive committee.  Eagle Communications general manager Gary Exline is appointed to fill a vacant board seat, while Jawco Inc. owner John Wharff is appointed to serve until June 2015.

adlargelogoAdLarge Media, Motor Racing Network Team for Exclusive Sales Agreement.  The pact is for national advertising sales representation of Motor Racing Network’s NASCAR racing on radio and digital audio platforms.  It includes all MRN flag-to-flag coverage, including 51 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and qualifying events; 21 NASCAR Nationwide Series events; 22 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events; and 13 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar championship events.  AdLarge Media chief executive officer/co-founder Gary Schonfeld states, “This outstanding addition to the sports properties we represent drives our company forward in network radio sports, and places us at the forefront of auto racing on radio and digital audio.  If it has four wheels and goes really fast, you can buy the audio advertising from AdLarge.”  The firm’s president/co-founder Cathy Csukas comments, “Each week, millions of radio listeners hear MRN’s vivid descriptions of exciting, fast-paced NASCAR racing action.  Their live coverage and in-depth programming produces the kind of consistent listener engagement that national advertisers want.  We are excited to partner with MRN again and to deliver their passionate NASCAR audience to our advertisers.”  According to MRN president/executive producer David Hyatt, “With Gary, Cathy, and their excellent team, national advertising sales representation is a collaborative partnership that generates success for advertisers and affiliates.  Their independent status allows them to be adaptable and innovative.  They create customized campaigns that connect advertisers with NASCAR fans.”  AdLarge is seeking a sports sales executive who will be dedicated to this undertaking.  Chief revenue officer/radio sales Don Wachsmith remarks that, “It is imperative we expand our sales management to include a focused sports sales leader to spearhead our national advertising sales efforts with MRN’s motor sports coverage.”  This is MRN’s 45th consecutive year covering NASCAR; more than 600 radio stations carry the broadcasts.

Cool Job Opportunities.  “Think CNN with a hint of the Daily Show!”  We’re on the hunt for America’s SMARTEST, most authentic, engaging, entertaining news personalities - real people who can react to, comment on and amplify the news… and do it in short, 3-minute  segments.  These are NOT “anchor” positions, we’ve got that covered.  It’s not a talk show. It’s a true INTEGRATION of news and personality.  If you…are a world-class storyteller, talk TO the listener, not AT them, eat, sleep and breathe news, are smart (but not cerebral), have a point of view but aren’t an ideologue, understand what “shareable” content is, know how to integrate social media, are comfortable with the fact that NEWS is the DNA of the radio station (your job is to generate TSL), are a winner and a team player and want to work in a highly desirable LARGE market…send cover letter, resume and mp3 of your work to: randylaneco@gmail.com

westwoodone logoOdds & Sods.  New York market traffic reporter Joe Nolan is recovering after suffering a heart attack over the weekend.  Nolan does traffic on WCBS-FM on the Scott Shannon program…..In conjunction with cable’s Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports Radio will provide coverage of the 2014 NFL Draft beginning Thursday, May 8 live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City.  Jay Glazer and anchor Don Bell will cover the first three rounds on Thursday and Friday.  Weekend coverage will showcase the final four rounds that take place on Saturday…..NBC Sports Radio – the WestwoodOne and NBC Sports Group joint venture – is celebrating a major milestone today as the network announces it has passed the 400 station mark.  WestwoodOne COO Charles Steinhauer comments, “We are very proud of the tremendous growth the NBC Sports Radio Network has experienced since inception.  Thanks to the dedication and hard work of our top-rate talent, producers, and affiliate sales team we are able to continue to extend the reach of this outstanding sports talk content for our listeners and advertisers.”

nielsen logoNielsen Study Reports Radio Listening at ‘All-Time High’; Hispanic and African America Audience Makes Up Almost 30%.  In its quarterly State of the Media: Audio Today report, Nielsen concludes radio listening in the United States reached an all-time high with 244 million Americans listening to the radio each week – that’s 92% of all Americans 12-plus.  But this report dives into the numbers of Hispanic and African American listeners.  The increase in total 12+ cume for each demographic was not dramatic – Hispanic listening went up 1.4% from last March to this, and African American listening rose just 0.6% during the same period.  But the report notes interesting conclusions about usage.  For example, the top daypart for listening by Hispanics is the midday 10:00 am to 3:00 pm and the average time spent with radio each week is 12 hours and 13 minutes.  For African Americans, midday is also the top daypart for listening and the time spent with radio each averages 12 hours and 10 minutes.  Check out the study here.

clippers logoSponsors Quickly React to Less-Than-Sterling Remarks.  Fallout over racist comments attributed to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling continues, as CarMax, Kia, State Farm, and Virgin America pull advertising support from the NBA team.  According to a CarMax official, “These views [by Sterling] directly conflict with CarMax’s culture of respect for all individuals.  While we have been a proud Clippers sponsor for nine years and support the team, fans and community, these statements necessitate that CarMax end its sponsorship.”  A Kia official states, “Comments allegedly made by Clippers owner Donald Sterling are offensive and reprehensible.  They are inconsistent with our views and values.  We are suspending our advertising and sponsorship activations with the Clippers.  Meanwhile, as fans of the game of basketball, our support of the players and the sport is unwavering.”  Two high-profile Clippers players are spokespersons for two of those advertisers: NBA Players’ Association president Chris Paul for State Farm and Blake Griffin for Kia.  A State Farm representative notes that, “The remarks attributed to the Clippers’ owner are offensive.  While those involved sort out the facts, we will be taking a pause in our relationship with the organization.  We are monitoring the situation and we will continually assess our options.  We have a great relationship with Chris Paul and will continue supporting the ‘Born to Assist’ advertising campaign involving Chris and now other NBA players.”  The Clippers on Sunday lost game four of its playoff series to the Golden State Warriors.  It was the highest-rated game of the playoffs so far (ABC-TV), registering a 5.0 overnight rating.  In San Francisco (the Warriors play in Oakland), the game had a 9.8, the third-highest-rated first round game on any network in more than a decade.

gravelineshishaIndulging in Local Customs.  That’s “Into Tomorrow” host Dave Graveline enjoying a shisha while visiting Turkey.  Graveline tells TALKERS he’s been in the Mediterranean to serve as moderator at the annual Global Press Conference for IFA – the big consumer tech show that takes place in Berlin every September, from which Graveline broadcasts his show.  He explains, “Each year in April, they bring nearly 400 journalists from around the world to a venue in the Mediterranean to talk about the latest trends in consumer electronics, leading up to that trade show.  This year I was asked to be emcee for the event.”  Graveline says he moderated several panels in addition to the press conference.

Donald Sterling Racist Recording, Obama Asia Trip, Midwest Tornadoes, Kerry Israel ‘Apartheid’ Comments, Russian Aggression/Sanctions, and ObamaCare Criticism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28).  The case of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s recorded racist rants; President Obama’s trip to Asia; the deadly tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest on Sunday; controversy over Secretary of State John Kerry’s comment that Israel runs the risk of becoming an apartheid state; new sanctions being levied against Russia and Vladimir Putin’s continued aggression in Ukraine; and scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

| January 29, 2014

journalbroadcastgroupTom Langmyer Promoted to VP/GM of Journal’s Milwaukee Radio Ops.  Radio programming and management pro Tom Langmyer rises to vice president and general manager of Journal Broadcast Group’s Milwaukee operations.  In this new post he’ll oversee news/talk WTMJ, adult hits WLWK “94.5 The Lake” and thelangmyertom company’s radio sports play-by-play operations in Milwaukee.  Langmyer, who’s served as VP/GM of WGN, Chicago; VP/GM of KMOX, St. Louis and vice president of news/talk programming for CBS RADIO, to name a few, came to Journal as vice president, news/talk programming in August 2013.  His promotion comes as Journal EVP – Radio Steve Wexler moves into that new role and away from his day-to-day general manager role to focus on Journal’s 35-station radio division.  Wexler comments, “Tom is a trusted leader with a well-known track record of success.  Our radio stations are in excellent hands with Tom at the helm.  Tom has already made significant contributions to our company, and I’m thrilled to have a broadcaster of his caliber running our flagship stations.” Langmyer will continue to support Journal’s spoken-word stations as vice president of news/talk programming.

wls-am logoWLS, Chicago Re-Tools 5:00 pm Hour.  As detailed in a column by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Cumulus Media Windy City news/talk WLS-AM will end the sports-focused 5:00 pm hour of the Roe & Roper show after today’s broadcast.  The “89 WLS Sports Pregame Show” during which Roe Conn and Richard Roeper are joined by “Fox 32” sports anchor Lou Canellis ends after a year during which Feder reports “listeners tuned out in droves.”  Under new operations manager and program director Peter Bolger, the drive time hour will revert to news/talk programming.  Read Feder’s column here.

goldenmikeawardThe ‘Golden Mike’ Awards Set for February 24 in NYC.  The annual black-tie fundraiser presented by the Broadcasters Foundation of America takes place on Monday, February 24 at the Plaza Hotel in New York with an all-star cast of guests and performers.  This year’s “Golden Mike Award” honors BMI president Del Bryant.  This annual gala is one of the biggest fundraisers for the BFoA – the charity that helps TV and radio professionals whose lives have been affected by serious illness, accidents, and other life-alteringschiefferbob circumstances.  The evening will be hosted by Bob Schieffer, the acclaimed anchor and moderator of CBS’s “Face the Nation.”  Entertainment will feature the legendary Kris Kristofferson, recent recipient of a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award and a Country Music Hall of Famer who ranks kristoffersonkrisamong the most versatile of American talents.  Also joining the program in honor of Bryant is culinary and home style expert Sandra Lee, who will be a presenter.  The evening is also attracting famed singer/songwriters from rock to country, including Michael Bolton and Mac Davis.  Bryant has spent more than four decades at BMI, working with singer/songwriters and broadcasters alike.  He played the leading role in re-engineering and modernizing BMI’s royalty distribution system.  Bryant directed the implementation of the structure introduced in 1987 as part of an aggressive writer acquisition campaign that marked a sharp turn-around at BMI and attracted many of the best new writers across key genres of music.  Heralding from a musical family, Bryant is the son of noted songwriters Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, who penned such classics as “Bye, Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” and “All I Have To Do Is Dream.”  The Broadcasters Foundation of America has distributed millions of dollars in aid to hundreds of broadcasters who lost their livelihood through a catastrophic event, debilitating disease, or unforeseen family tragedy.  Individual membership is only $150 a year and can make a difference in the life of a colleague who has fallen on desperate times.  Donations can be made as a personal gift to the Foundation and corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative.

sekoffroySekoff to Keynote NAB Show Disruptive Media Conference.  At the Digital Media Wire-co-produced Disruptive Media Conference segment of the coming NAB Show in Las Vegas, Huffington Post founding editor Roy Sekoff will present the keynote address on Wednesday, April 9.  Sekoff’s keynote will address how the rise of online video and viewers’ growing desire to engage with content is significantly impacting programming, distribution and advertising in media and entertainment.  Before helping to launch HuffPost and HuffPost Live, Sekoff was a writer and on-air correspondent for Michael Moore‘s “TV Nation.”  His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The Village Voice and The London Times.  Sekoff is a frequent guest on a wide-range of TV and radio shows, including MSNBC and Fox News.  The Disruptive Media Conference, produced in partnership with Digital Media Wire, gathers professionals who oversee the digital and interactive divisions within their companies to explore developments in online video, mobile and branded entertainment.

charestbrettAmerican Target Network Expands Radio Initiative.  The American Target Network “creates unwired media networks that deliver flexible, customizable national, regional and local advertising buys at deeply discounted rates.”  The company announces it is expanding its radio initiative by hiring Brett Charest as vice president of radio networks.  Charest was most recently media buying director at Barrington Media Group.  He began his career in radio at Hartford’s WMRQ-FM and then moved into marketing and promotion with Clear Channel, where he was responsible for four stations.  Charest then jumped to the agency side, becoming operations manager at Mediaworx LLC.  ATN vice president of ad sales Kevin Hayes states, “With Brett’s strong experience in packaging results-oriented radio campaigns with major market radio stations and national ad agencies, he is the ideal executive to lead American Target Network’s radio expansion.  He has established himself as one of the foremost experts on the direct marketing side of radio, and we know that his relationships, strategic planning and astute buying expertise will open the doors we need to create a new level of leadership in this arena.”  Charest will operate out of American Target Network’s West Coast office and be primarily responsible for network development and affiliate relations.

micscarfOdds & Sods.  A new podcast is being offered by Sports USA featuring sports agent Leigh Steinberg.  Sports USA president Bob Moore says of the new “Leigh Steinberg on Sports,” “Leigh is an American sports icon and the preeminent sports agent of all time.  His experiences over more than 40 years working with America’s top athletes will power this exciting weekly show. ‘Leigh Steinberg on Sports’ will cover anything and everything about sports, the personalities involved, and the most important issues of the day.”…..That “boing” sound from your spring-loaded mic stand bothering you?  “Freedom Feens” co-host Michael W. Dean has a quick solution (see photo): “Wrap a scarf around the springs of a microphone scissor arm to prevent ‘boing!’ sounds from leaking into the mic when you move it.  Plus it looks totally rock ‘n’ roll, kind of 70s freeform FM music radio. Plus, visual cues can inspire shifts in talk style.  An influence of 70s freeform FM music radio can be fun and useful in talk radio.”

WW1graymanningMedia Day at Super Bowl XLVIII.  As America gears up for Sunday’s game, Tuesday saw the players and the media converge during Media Day.  Pictured here is WestwoodOne Sports reporter Jim Gray (left) interviewing Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (right) for broadcast over the radio network.  While it looks like Gray and Manning are having a good coxmohrsportsconversation, Media Day is often looked at as drudgery by the players and a source for very little new or insightful commentary from the media’s perspective.  Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr decided to challenge his crew to have some fun with it as they tried to inject as many “Jay Mohr Sports sound drops” into their questions for the players as possible.  Anchor Dan Beyer and associate producer Matty Cox (pictured here at right interviewing Denver Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard) competed to see who could sneak the most sound drops into their conversations.  Phrases such as “dead giveaway,” “that’s terrific,” “Long Liland,” “New York City” (accent included), and “Jonathan Quick – there’s a reason why that is his last name.  What’s that for?  Because he’s quick,” were used.

State of the Union Address, Winter Weather, ObamaCare Rollout, Financial Markets Activity, Immigration Legislation, and Super Bowl Run-up Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/28).  The anticipation of the president’s State of the Union Address; the cold and snow hitting the Midwest, South and East; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; activity in the world’s financial markets; immigration reform legislation that includes amnesty for illegal aliens; and the run-up to Super Bowl XLVIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio on Tuesday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

| January 22, 2014

paxtonpatEntercom Promotes Pat Paxton to President of Programming.  Fifteen-year programming staffer Pat Paxton is promoted to president of programming for Entercom Communications Corp.  Paxton has served as senior vice president of programming since 2001.  He began his work with the company in 1999 as OM at the old AC WQSX “Star 93.7.”  Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “Pat has played a vital role in Entercom’s growth and development over his 15 years with the company.  He is an energizing leader, a terrific strategist and a deeply knowledgeable programmer.  We are truly fortunate to have him on our team.”  Paxton says of the promotion, “The past 15 years with Entercom have been tremendously rewarding, both personally and professionally.  Our entire Entercom team has worked tirelessly to create one of today’s most admired media companies, which has not happened accidentally.  I am proud to have been part of this team and I look forward to continuing to help create the very best audio brands in the industry.  Huge thanks to David Field for his vision and leadership that has allowed all of us at Entercom to thrive.”

wtarWTAR, Norfolk Drops Comedy for News/Talk/Sports.  The Sinclair-owned AM signal WTAR, Norfolk will drop the comedy format it is currently airing and flip to a hybrid talk/sports format that will feature “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” from 6:00 am to 9:00 am; Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; FSN’s “Jay Mohr Sports” 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; and Cumulus Media NetworksMichael Savage from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Tony Macrini, morning host at sister talk station WNIS made the announcement on January 20.  General manager Lisa Sinclair says, “There’s always something new to talk about and AM 850 WTAR keeps you engaged, informed and always entertained.”

sternbirthdaybashSiriusXM Opens Howard Stern Birthday Bash to Non-Subscribers.  When the “Howard Stern Birthday Bash” begins at 4:00 pm ET on January 31 live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, the world will be invited to the party as SiriusXM is opening its internet service at siriusxm.com to non-subscribers.  The company says that this unprecedented access to Howard Stern’s live broadcast is a first for SiriusXM and Howard Stern.  In addition to SiriusXM subscribers, anyone can stream “Howard Stern’s Birthday Bash,” an evening of unforgettable performances and special appearances from the biggest names in entertainment. The free stream will be available on compatible mobile devices as well as online through simple one-click listening; no need to download an app or enter credentials.  Stern comments on the approaching broadcast to celebrate his 60th birthday.  “I am honored by the number of performers who want to join me on stage, and the number of fans who want to get in.  Now, thanks to SiriusXM, I can give the world access to this event for free through this special internet audio stream in addition to my fans listening on their satellite radios.”  The event is being hosted by Jimmy Kimmel with guests including Louis C.K., David Letterman and Sarah Silverman, with musical performances by Jon Bon Jovi, John Fogerty, Steven Tyler and many others.

hartelmikeHartel to Head Up L&L’s Columbia, South Carolina Group.  The new SVP and market manager for L&L Broadcasting’s Columbia South Carolina cluster is Mike Hartel – who most recently served as vice president and general manager of Curtis Media Group’s WBBB, Raleigh.  L&L CEO Bob Proffitt says of the move, “We had the huge benefit of having Bill McElveen step up as not only an in-market radio veteran, but to help us in the recruitment process to get the very best fit and talent to manage Columbia.  Mike Hartel is a great fit for our Columbia cluster with his excellent track record, interactive focus, and competitive nature – a perfect addition to our growing company.”  Hartel comments, “I love what Larry and Bob are creating and I’m thrilled to be a part of their team.  There is no place I would rather be than with a company that is hyper-focused on using live and local radio to serve our community, our clients, and our employees.”  The L&L Columbia cluster includes sports talk WOIC “ESPN Columbia 1230.”

perezfelixNYMRAD Announces New Executive Committee.  At the New York Market Radio Association (NYMRAD), the executive committee of the board of directors has some new additions and changes in titles: Felix Perez, general manager, Univision Radio New York, moves into the chairman slot replacing Clear Channel Music + Entertainment’s Joe Puglise who remains on the board of directors.  Jennifer Donohue, director of sales, CBS RADIO New York, replaces Don Bouloukos as vice chairperson and Alex Cameron, SVP and market manager, Emmis New York, remains on the committee as secretary.  NYMRAD executive director Deborah Beagan says, “I am very excited about working with Felix during this seamless transition of the executive committee.  Felix has infused energy in his contributions to board meetings and under his leadership we will continue to develop initiatives that will advance radio in the vibrant New York marketplace.”  Perez adds, “I welcome the opportunity to work with Deborah and our radio colleagues to advance the value of NYMRAD to its members and aggressively increasing the profile and revenue share of New York radio.”

nielsen logoHoliday 2013 PPM Data Released.  The ratings for the Holiday 2013 PPM survey period are being released by Nielsen Audio.  The first 12 markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union are out and that data can be found at our sister publication RadioInfo.com right here.  Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the first round of the Holiday PPM here.

freemanedgeOdds & Sods.  KNX, Los Angeles announces the return of the “Ask the Mayor” program to its airwaves on January 29.  The CBS RADIO all-newser states that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will be in the studio at 10:00 am when the show will be hosted by KNX 1070 news anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman and will “give Angelinos the opportunity to put the mayor in the hot seat.”…..Not so fast, KCAA, Lorma Linda, “Free Talk Live” has been accepting Bitcoins as payment for airtime since 2011.  Yesterday, TALKERS reported the Fred Lundgren-owned SoCal station claims to be the first it knows of in the U.S. to accept the cryptocurrency for ad time, but Mark Edge of the independently syndicated “Free Talk Live” program tells TALKERS he and co-host Ian Freeman have been accepting Bitcoins for more than two years.  He adds, “We take Litecoin, too.”…..Hoops fanatic and filmmaker Spike Lee is hosting the bi-weekly, “Spike Lee’s Best Seat in the House” program on SiriusXM’s NBA channel.  The first show will air on January 30 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Eastern Freeze/Western Drought, Sochi Olympics Security Concerns, Chris Christie Scandals Aftermath, ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, Andrew Cuomo Anti-Conservative Remarks, and Roe v. Wade Anniversary Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/21).  The snow and cold weather affecting the East and the dry rainy season in the West leading to drought conditions there; concerns about security at the looming Sochi Winter Games; the effects of the recent scandals plaguing the administration of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; reaction to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s comments about conservative beliefs; and the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

| December 19, 2013

lujacklarryFarewell: Legendary Larry Lujack.  Notwithstanding words such as “legendary” and “iconic” are grossly overused, Larry Lujack was nonetheless an unquestionable legendary, iconic Chicago personality.  The radio world lost a quintessential on-air talent Wednesday night when the 73-year-old “Super Jock” passed away at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Especially in the Midwest, countless air personalities hoping to advance to the biggest of the big timekinosianmike when AM radio was king would talk up vocals on audition tapes, liberally using signature slogans like “The Big 89,” “The Rock of Chicago,” and “Music Radio, W-L-S.”  Radio pro Mike Kinosian, who serves as managing editor and West Coast bureau chief for TALKERS and its sister publication RadioInfo, wrote a beautiful tribute to the life and career of Lujack.  Kinosian interviewed Lujack in 2003 and Kinosian shares some of Lujack’s thoughts about top 40 radio, the state of the industry at the time and, of course, his own career.  Read Kinosian’s story on RadioInfo here.

shapirobenBen Shapiro Named Afternoon Host at KTTH, Seattle.  Rising young talk radio personality Ben Shapiro joins Bonneville Seattle’s conservative news/talk station KTTH to host the afternoon drive program.  The New York Times best-selling author, Harvard Law School grad and talk media personality will continue his current position with Salem Communications co-hosting the morning drive show at KRLA, Los Angeles alongside Brian Whitman and Elisha Krauss in addition to his new position in Seattle.  Shapiro comments, “I couldn’t be more excited about joining the stellar lineup at AM 770 KTTH.  What I love most is the opportunity to enrich the public discourse.  It’s not often that hosts get that freedom.  Thanks to KTTH’s forward thinking approach, I’m overjoyed to have that opportunity.”  KTTH is now airing live programming in both morning and afternoon drive.  David Boze hosts the morning show.

macnowglenGlen Macnow Remains with WIP-FM, Philadelphia but Rob Ellis Is New PM Drive Co-Host.  As had been predicted by Philadelphia media watchers, including Kyle Scott of CrossingBroad.com, sports talk personality Glen Macnow will move off the afternoon drive show on WIP-FM “SportsRadio 94 WIP” where he’s been co-hosting with Anthony Gargano and remain with CBS Radio Philadelphia in a different capacity.  At the same time, the stationellisrob announces evening host Rob Ellis will join Gargano as co-host of the PM drive show.  Taking over Ellis’ evening show role is Josh Innes who comes to WIP-FM from the company’s KILT, Houston where he’s been hosting PM drive.  CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield announces that Macnow’s new responsibilities will include appearances on all-news KYW and news/talk WPHT while he continues to host his long-running Saturday program from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm WIP-FM with Pro Football Hall of Fame writer Ray Didinger.   Rayfield adds, “I’m pleased we have reached an agreement with Glen that supports his relationship with WIP, and also allows us to increase his presence within the CBS Radio Philly family of stations.  Being able to use his expertise across more of our platforms is a real win for our stations, the listeners and Philadelphia’s passionate sports fan base.”  Beginning in January 2014, Macnow will be heard on KYW’s afternoon broadcast of the “Reporter’s Roundup,” and, during football season, with Harry Donahue on the station’s top-rated morning show.  Additionally, he will be featured during Phillies pre- and post-game shows on WPHT, flagship broadcaster for the local team.

levinmarkCumulus Syndicated Star Mark Levin to be Featured on C-SPAN’s BookTV.  Perennial Heavy Hundred personality Mark Levin will be the featured guest author on C-SPAN‘s extremely popular and prestigious literary program “BookTV’s In Depth” on Sunday, January 5.  Not only is Levin a top-rated radio talker but he is an attorney and nationally recognized expert on Constitutional Law as well as a best-selling author.  The syndicated radio talk show host and former Reagan administration official will spend three hours taking viewers’ calls, Facebook comments,cspanbooktv emails and tweets on topics such as the role of the federal government, recent Supreme Court decisions and the upcoming 2014 elections, among others.  The president of the Landmark Legal Foundation, Levin is the author of five non-fiction books, including “Rescuing Sprite” “Liberty & Tyranny” and his 2013 release, “The Liberty Amendments.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “Mark Levin is the quintessential example of a radio talk show host who is also a very successful author who actually sells a ton of books time after time.  Talk talent from all sides of the ideological spectrum can learn from his precise way of explaining complex issues from both historical and contemporary perspectives and putting forth his opinions in a compelling and credible manner.”  The live airing of Mark Levin will be Sunday, January 5, from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET on Book TV on C-SPAN2.  Archived on demand editions will be available after the airing at http://booktv.org/.

romanogeneGene Romano Takes on Talent Development Duties with Clear Channel.  There’s a sort of re-alignment going on within the executive ranks of Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s programming department.  As National Programming Platforms EVP Darren Davis explains in a memo to company staff, some execs are getting more duties and Gene Romano is the latest to take on more.  Davis writes: “You’ve seen over the past several days we’ve been announcing some expanded duties for several of CCM+E’s senior programmers.  It’s all part of an overall strategy to closely link the E/SVPP Team with NPP — so that our local efforts and national efforts are totally in sync.  And today, I have another bit of great news to share.  EVPP Gene Romano will have expanded duties effective today.  In addition to the East Major Markets he oversees, Gene will also oversee Programming Talent Recruitment and Development for CCM+E.  CCM+E has attracted best-in-class programming talent over the past couple of years from a variety of companies and industries.  Gene will lead our efforts to accelerate our recruitment of the very best into our company.  Gene will also work with our E/SVPPs, Brand Managers and VPPs to identify the future stars already inside the company to mentor, grow and provide the tools and resources for their continued advancement with CCM+E.”

hannityseanClear Channel’s Denver News/Talkers Tweak Program Schedules; Hannity and Limbaugh to Air Live.  Program schedule adjustments at Clear Channel’s KOA and KHOW in Denver will take effect in January.  Some of the noteworthy moves are bringing Premiere Networks syndicated star Sean Hannity from an evening delayed broadcast to the live 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm shift on KHOW.  Tom Martino will air from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and an hour is trimmed off Michael Brown’s afternoon show which will air from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Across the hall at KOA, the morning program with Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh expands by an hour to 5:00 am to 10:00 am followed by live carriage of Rush Limbaugh from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.  Local personality Mike Rosen moves from late mornings to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm shift.

kdkafmlogoOn-Air Lineup Modifications in Store for Pittsburgh’s “Fan.”  CBS Radio Pittsburgh sports outlet KDKA-FM “The Fan” afternoon drive talent Josh Miller will shift to 6:00 am – 10:00 am; Andrew Fillipponi will co-host 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; and Colin Dunlap will succeed Fillipponi at 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm.  Program director Ryan Maguire comments, “This is an exciting step forward in the evolution of ‘The Fan.’  We are eager to showcase this new lineup that highlights the incredible talents of Pittsburgh’s foremost sports experts.  Josh’s unique sense of humor and insight will set the tone for the remainder of the day.  Andrew is a solid, thought-provoking sports talk show host who has shown he can deliver an informative and opinion-driven program.  Colin has grown both as a talk show host and writer in the past year; his work has scored big with our audiences.”  Former Pittsburgh Steelers punter Josh Miller spent 12 seasons in the NFL.  He joined “The Fan” in 2010 as a talk show host and football analyst.  Fillipponi has been with “The Fan” since the station debuted nearly four years ago.  Onetime Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports writer Dunlap began as a part-time “Fan” host in 2010.  Lineup changes on “The Fan” go into effect Monday, January 6.

kfsq logoPalm Springs’ KFUT Becomes “Fox Sports 1270.”  Yesterday at noon (12/18), MCC Radio transitioned Spanish oldies KFUT, Palm Springs, California to “Fox Sports 1270.”  The station’s lineup includes “Fox Sports Daybreak” with Andy Furman and Mike North (6:00 am – 9:00 am); “Jay Mohr Sports” (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Fox Sports Primetime” (12:00 noon – 4:00pm); “TMZ Sports” (4:00 pm – 5:00 pm); and “Petros and Money” (5:00 pm – 7:00 pm). “Fox Sports Radio programming originates in Southern California,” program director Mike Oakes points out.  “We are thrilled to bring it to the desert, serving Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley.  I am especially excited to launch two rising shows in the sports talk universe, ‘Jay Mohr Sports’ and ‘TMZ Sports.’  These are the cutting-edge of the sports talk genre.” Associated with the format flip, the station has changed calls from KFUT to KFSQ.

kdkaNews Staff at KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Affected by Cuts.  Details aren’t complete but TALKERS hears that lead reporter and morning drive news anchor Adam Kirk has exited CBS Radio’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh as part of the budget-related cuts taking place at the company’s stations across the country.  There are reports that Kirk is not the only news staffer to be let go and that the station is adjusting its news presentation and will eliminate local news in the late night and overnight hours.

wbez logoWBEZ, Chicago Staffers Vote to Join SAG-AFTRA.  The 49 staffers who produce content for Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ, Chicago and its digital properties will be represented by SAG-AFTRA following the staff’s 40-7 vote in favor of the change.  WBEZ criminal and legal affairs reporter Rob Wildeboer says in a statement, “Chicago Public Media is a valuable resource to all Chicagoans.  The staff of CPM cares deeply about this organization and its mission.  Public radio is more than a job.  Staff at CPM are deeply committed to the station and we love our work.  We have great leaders and a committed board and we believe organizing as staff members is an important step to achieving the goals we all share here: producing excellent journalism that serves the public and making this important local institution even stronger than it is today.”

savagemichaelOdds & Sods.  Cumulus Media Networks announces the number of stations carrying the Michael Savage show when it moves to PM drive in Eastern Time and debuts on Cumulus news/talk outlets in the New Year will be more than 200.  Savage says of the move, “This is the culmination of two decades in talk radio.  I was born for drive time where my pace matches that of America.  Everyone dreams of being on the Cumulus powerhouse signals. This is my dream come true.”…..PodcastOne earns props from the iTunes editorial team as two podcasts it makes available are named tops. pattiznorm The “Adam & Dr. Drew Show” is named best new audio podcast of 2013 while the Steve Austin show was selected as the top pick in the sports/recent debuts category.  PodcastOne chairman Norm Pattiz says, “We thank the editorial team at iTunes for selecting these programs.  We will proudly display the ‘iTunes Best of 2013’ badge prominently when presenting and promoting these programs.  Our lineup of the best-of-the-best in podcasting is validated with recognition like this.”…..Motley Fool’s Chris Hill also wins accolades from the iTunes editorial team as his “Investor Beat” podcast has been included among the iTunes Best of 2013.

hdradio logoRadio Companies Get Extension in HD Radio Patent Infringement Case.  As tipped by Radio World, the major radio companies who are being targeted by Delaware Radio Technologies and affiliated company Wyncomm LLC have won an extension for filing replies to the allegations leveled at them in connection with their HD radio transmissions.  They now have until February 24, 2014.  Industry watchers call Wyncomm a patent troll, nonetheless it is seeking damages via a jury trial for what it says are infringements of the patents it holds with regard to voice and data transmission over in-band, on-channel digital broadcasts.  The radio companies being sued include: Beasley Broadcast Group, CBS Radio, CC Media Holdings, Cox Media Group, Cumulus Media, Entercom, Entravision, Greater Media, Hubbard Radio, Radio Disney, Radio One, Saga Communications, Townsquare Media and Univision.

gamblingdinnerA Farewell Party for John Gambling.  As John Gambling prepares to wrap his legendary New York City radio career with his final show on Clear Channel’s WOR tomorrow (12/20), Gambling and former co-workers gathered at a New York eatery to congratulate him on his colorful career.  Gambling is pictured here (second from right) between former news anchor Babita Hariani (right) and former producer Jill Vitale (third from right).  Also in attendance were former WABC colleagues Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby, former engineer Frank D’Elia, former call screener Andre Lelong, former intern and current WABC staffer Mike Gunzelman, and WNYM producer and talk host Frank Morano.

carrjagcontest‘Win Howie’s Jag’ Contest Wraps with Live Broadcast.  The holiday contest taking place at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston entered the finalist stage on Wednesday as afternoon drive talk host Howie Carr (right) broadcast live from The Fairways at Woburn Country Club as part of Happy Howie Days.  During the show, Carr and WRKO gave 20 pre-determined qualifiers the chance to “Win Howie’s Jaguar!”  Each of the 20 qualifiers received a $50 gift card to The Green’s Grill and Pub at Woburn Country Club and a gift package, courtesy of Perfect Smiles of Nashua, New Hampshire.  Finalist, John Treggiari of Salem (left), unfortunately was not able to drive off in the 2013 Jaguar XF, courtesy of Jaguar Exeter.  However, he did win a two-night stay at The Old Harbor Inn in Chatham, located on Cape Cod.

Indian Diplomat Incident, ObamaCare Criticism, NSA Spying Program, Rodman Visits N. Korea, Budget Deal, ‘Duck Dynasty’ Patriarch on Hiatus over Gay Comments, and Limbaugh-Pope Francis Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/18).  Tensions between the U.S. and India over the arrest and treatment of an Indian diplomat in New York; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; scrutiny of the NSA’s spying policies; former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s return visit to N. Korea; the recently passed congressional budget deal; A&E puts “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson on hiatus after gay criticisms in GQ article; and the continuing flap over Rush Limbaugh’s calling Pope Francis a Marxist were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

| December 18, 2013

sanchezrickRick Sanchez Joins WIOD, Miami in New Lineup.  Clear Channel Media + Entertainment news/talk WIOD, Miami announces a new program lineup that includes cable news/talk veteran Rick Sanchez in the latewiod logo morning slot.  Program director Grace Blazer says on the station’s website, “Our new lineup reflects 610 WIOD’S strengthening commitment to high-quality local news, accurate weather, important traffic conditions, and the perfect balance of highly talented local and national personalities.  The result will be a topical, informative and entertaining listener experience for the residents and businesses of South Florida.”  The lineup includes “South Florida’s First News with Jimmy Cefalo” in morning drive, Sanchez from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon followed by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.  The new program schedule takes effect on January 6.

grzanichsteveCuts at CBS Chicago Leave Anchor/Reporter Steve Grzanich Out.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder has been writing about budget-related cuts at the CBS Radio cluster in Chicago for several days and now we know more about who’s been affected.  At all-news WBBM-AM, anchor/reporter Steve Grzanich exits after 20 years with thewbbmlogo station.  ChicagoRadioandMedia.com tips us that Grzanich posted the following message on his Facebook page: “Dear Friends: I have breaking news…about me!  After 20 years, I am signing off at WBBM Newsradio to explore other opportunities.  I am hungry for a new challenge and must embark on the journey to find it starting now.  But don’t go away!  I’ll still be here in Chicago and on Facebook with news, weather and other stuff…just not on the 8s.  Thank you for listening!  Stay tuned for news about my next chapter.”  The cluster also saw the release of longtime production/imaging staffer Michael Horn who worked for sister CHR WBBM-FM “B96.”  Horn has been working with Killer Hertz since May of 2012 and ChicagoRadioandMedia.com reports he will continue to do freelance imaging work while he looks for his next opportunity.  Feder reports that a number of sales staffers have been let go from the cluster.

cbsradio logoOther CBS Radio Cuts Hit Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Atlanta.  According to sources in Southern California, there have been four layoffs at CBS stations there including KTRH news anchor Bob Malik and KNX traffic reporter Tommy Jaxson.  The two others are believed to be front office staffers.  In Pittsburgh, changes come to sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” as Vinnie Richichi exits the Vinnie & Cook midday program and Paul Alexander leaves the morning drive show.  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Bob Smizik reports that Richichi and Ron Cook never got along, it was obvious on the air and that led to Richichi’s departure, plus morning host Gregg Giannotti was not happy working with Alexander.  Finally, in Atlanta Kendra G. and Christopher “Crash” Clark exit the Ryan Cameron morning show at urban contemporary WVEE “V103.”

foxsportsradio logoLineup Changes at Fox Sports Radio Network in the New Year.  The national lineup from Fox Sports Radio Network will look a little different come January 5, 2014.  Gone from the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET slot will be Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman from “Fox Sports Primetime” with replacement(s) to be announced later.  J.T. the Brick moves from the overnight slot to the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET slot accompanied by sidekick Tomm Looney, displacing the current Petros & Money show.  Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith will continue to be heard on Clear Channel’s KLAC, Los Angeles.  Rob Dibble and Amy Van Dyken leave “Fox Sports Tonight” and the NFL Network’s and Fox Sports Network’s Jason Smith takes over that show airing from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am ET while Fox Sports Radio weekend personality Ben Maller becomes the 2:00 am to 6:00 am host.

dyerjohnCox Enterprises Promotes Dyer to President/CEO.  Current chief operating officer John Dyer will be elevated to Cox Enterprises president/chief executive officer when he officially succeeds retiring CEO Jimmy Hayes on Wednesday, January 1.  Cox Enterprises is the parent company of Cox Media Group. According to Cox Enterprises chairman Jim Kennedy, “In the 36 years John has worked at Cox, he has always done a terrific job and always risen to meet every new challenge he was presented.  He has been an incredible chief operating officer and he understands all our businesses.  He is committed to our employees and our customers.  I am excited to work with [him] as he leads our company in an exciting future.”  Dyer comments, “Cox is a company that values its employees, delivers superior products and services to its customers, and strives to be a responsible and sustainable corporate partner in the communities in which we operate.  I am excited about the ways we will continue to grow our existing businesses and invest in future opportunities.”  In addition to Cox Media Group, Dyer will be responsible for Cox Communications, Manheim, and AutoTrader Group, as well as corporate functions including financial operations, human resources and administration.

murraybobBob Murray Takes Leave from WTAX, Springfield to Battle Brain Tumor.  “Morning Newswatch” host Bob Murray tells listeners in an open letter that he is taking time from the Saga Communications news/talk outlet to focus on “getting better and being with loved ones.”  Murray writes: “As you have probably heard, I have decided to elect for an extended medical leave of absence from my post as the host of the ‘WTAX Morning Newswatch’ due to newly discovered health concerns.  Many people have enquired (sic) into what is going on, and I thought it would be best you hear it from me.  I have been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer and will be taking this leave from work as an opportunity to focus my time on getting better and being with family and loved ones.  While this is far from an ideal situation, we are remaining positive and focusing on staying strong.  In the days following the announcement, it has been so incredibly humbling to feel the outpour of prayers and support from all directions, and I am pretty positive I will never be able to properly express how much that means to my family and me.  I also want to thank the WTAX family and central Illinois area for their many years of loyal listenership.  It has truly been an honor to start each day with you, tackling the issues that matter to us.  I hope to be back in the capital soon, focusing on what I love, delivering the news, sports, entertainment and important local happenings to you.”

jaybradley‘Jay Talking’ Permanent Overnight Show on WBZ-AM, Boston.  Bradley Jay’s “Jay Talking” program is now the official overnight program on CBS Radio’s news and talk WBZ-AM, Boston.  Jay has been working in the news and talk realm for some time (he also serves as the executive producer for “Nightside with Dan Rea”) but he got his start in music radio and worked at the legendary rock outlet WBCN.  In fact, he hosted the last show at “The Rock of Boston” before a frequency swap and format change ended the station’s run.

daviscrashNRG, Omaha Names Davis KOOO Brand Manager.  In addition to being appointed brand manager of NRG Media, Omaha adult hits KOOO “Big O 101.9,” talk host Crash Davis takes on marketing director duties for that Nebraska market’s entire NRG cluster.  Operations manager Jeff Lynn comments, “Crash has been an integral part of our team for the past year.  He is very versatile and has a keen sense of what the Omaha listener wants and loves about ‘Big O.’  He brings many of the talents and skill sets we need to propel ‘Big O’ to new heights in the ratings and to drive results for our advertisers.”  Davis remarks, “I am delighted to have a more prominent role on a station I have watched evolve over the past several years.  I have great respect for [morning talent] Dave Wingert and the rest of the on-air team.  Our great variety of music and the content we talk about resonates with listeners.  I will do my part to enhance our reputation with the listeners and advertisers.”  Davis has been in Omaha radio the past 15 years, including as a host on NRG talk outlet KOIL “The Mighty 1290″ and as the afternoon drive talent on cross-town Clear Channel-owned talk station KFAB.

wrightfrankdrSalem Selects Dr. Frank Wright As President/COO.  Eleven-year National Religious Broadcasters president/chief executive officer Dr. Frank Wright will join Salem Communications Corporation on Wednesday, January 1 as president/chief operating officer.  Dr. Wright will report directly to Salem chief executive officer and director Edward Atsinger.  “Frank has more than 20 years of experience working in – and with – broadcast media organizations,” Atsinger comments.  “He has also developed a robust network among DC-based public policy organizations, as well as DC-based political organizations.  Frank is an effective leader and team-builder with a strong entrepreneurial background, and he has extensive executive experience in strategic planning and organizational structure.  I expect him to hit the ground running and work closely with me in executing our business strategies.”  Before joining the NRB, Dr. Wright spent seven years as executive director of the Center for Christian Statesmanship; he has a doctorate in finance.

eaglepub logoWill Salem Purchase Eagle Publishing on January 15?  The story that Politico reported late last week is a done deal, according to BuzzFeed which states staffers at Eagle Publishing have been told the sale will take place on January 15.  According to the BuzzFeed piece, Salem Communications will add to its conservative print and digital assets with the acquisition and that as many as 90% of staffers will remain with the Eagle division; it’s the upper management positions that will be eliminated due to redundancy.  Eagle operates RedState.com, Human Events and Regnery Publishing.  Salem recently acquired Twitchy.com from conservative pundit, columnist and author Michelle Malkin.

hannityrcmhstudioSean’s New Digs!  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Sean Hannity (right) is pictured here with pundit and author Ann Coulter (center) and fellow Premiere star Glenn Beck (left) at Hannity’s new Premiere Networks studios at Radio City Music Hall in New York.  Hannity leaves his longtime home base at WABC, New York at the end of the year and his program will emanate from flagship WOR, New York beginning in January.

Budget Deal, NSA Data Mining Ruling, ObamaCare Criticism, Mega Millions Jackpot, and Limbaugh-Pope Francis Marxism Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/17).  The battle in the U.S. Senate over the details of the Congressional budget deal; the aftermath of a judge’s ruling the NSA data mining program “probably unconstitutional”; scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; the $636 million Mega Millions jackpot; and the continuing flap over Rush Limbaugh’s comments about Pope Francis’ “Marxist” economic philosophy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, November 4, 2013

| November 4, 2013

wor710It’s Official: WOR, New York Is New Home of the Mets.  What had been reported several weeks ago as a sure bet is being confirmed as MLB’s New York Mets and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment agree to “the launch of a five-year, landmark multimedia marketing partnership.”  The centerpiece of the deal is CC’s news/talk WOR, New York will serve as the flagship station for Mets play-by-play and pre- and post-game shows.  Clear Channel is mets logotouting its multi-platform assets in addition to the over-the-air play-by-play.  It will provide custom promotion opportunities across all its NYC radio stations including WHTZ, WKTU, WLTW, WAXQ, and WWPR.  Also, in addition to promotion on the stations, each station website and iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s industry-leading, all-in-one digital service, will promote the Mets and Mets-related programming; Clear Channel Outdoor’s strategically located media inventory will also market the Mets and WOR relationship throughout the New York Metropolitan Area; the Mets and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will work together to enhance in-game entertainment at Citi Field and jointly explore the production and promotion of top name concerts, festivals and large-scale entertainment events at Citi Field; and the Mets and Clear Channel Communities, the charitable arm of Clear Channel, will also jointly develop a number of outreach and grass roots programs to meet the needs of the communities they serve.  Mets COO Jeff Wilpon states, “This breakthrough partnership provides us with the ability to serve our loyal fans and attract a new generation of fans through Clear Channel’s massive reach and ability to target key demographics across the New York market.  Our agreement delivers more promotion of the club to a broader audience than this franchise ever has had before with additional opportunities to advance our efforts to make Citi Field one of the leading sports and entertainment destinations in the country.”

pattizglanville‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Star Brandi Glanville Joins PodcastOne.  Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne signs Brandi Glanville, star of TV’s “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” to produce a new weekly podcast called “Brandi Glanville Unfiltered.”  On Glanville’s maiden program on Tuesday, November 5, she’ll welcome actress Jennifer Gimenez and television personality Dr. Will Kirby as her first guests.  The company says that in addition to interviewing star guests on the one-hour show, Glanville dishes about pop culture, fashion and celebrity gossip.  She comments, “It’s great being the one who gets to ask the questions.  We’re making the show entertaining, informative, fun and as spontaneous as possible, so you never know what someone is going to say next.”  Courtside Entertainment and PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz adds, “Brandi is a natural, in every sense of the word.  No thought goes unspoken and what you hear is who she is.  She was born for this medium. We’re glad to have her at PodcastOne.”

millerchrisGetting Results for Your Station from Facebook Ads.  Digital consultant Chris Miller admits he was not a fan of Facebook ads when they debuted but now he says the Facebook ad platform has improved to the point where he can “use them to drive specific, direct response for clients who want to sell more cars, houses, wine, books and downloads.”  Miller says that for a station event or remote, this is a very affordable way to zero in on whom you’re trying to reach.  “Facebook will let you target your message pretty precisely, too.  You can choose who you want to see your message by age, gender, zip code, and a host of other criteria.  You can also choose exactly when and for how long your message will be posted, too.  I keep this time period pretty short and pretty immediate, too.  If I were promoting an on-air contest or on-site promotion, I would promote it for a day and a half or two days leading up to it.”  For more advice on using Facebook ads, see Chris Miller’s entire piece here.

kuhnerjeffWRKO, Boston Celebrates One-Year Anniversary of Jeff Kuhner AM Show.  It’s been a year since Entercom’s WRKO, Boston installed Jeff Kuhner as host of the morning drive program and the station is celebrating the anniversary with a listener party at the Pearl Street Café in suburban Saugus, Massachusetts on Wednesday evening.  Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times, where his column appears every Friday and WRKO says his column is consistently one of the most read and popular in The Times’ commentary section.  He is also the president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a Washington think tank.  On his one-year anniversary, Kuhner says, “The people of Boston have welcomed me with open arms.  Well, except for Deval, Menino and the rest of the liberal establishment.  But, let that go.”

apontejulioSun Broadcast Group Promotes Julio Aponte.  Hispanic marketing pro Julio Aponte joined Sun Broadcast Group, Inc. earlier this year as director of Hispanic sales.  Now, the company announces he’s being promoted to senior vice president of Hispanic initiatives.  SBG says he’ll be in charge of researching, developingsunbroadcastgrouplogo and launching new programming and affiliate partnerships exclusive to Sun Latino, its Spanish Language division.  He will also oversee sales strategies as well as develop new measurement and accountability initiatives that will be implemented across the network.  SBG CEO Jason Bailey says, “When we welcomed Julio to the Sun family earlier this year, I knew he would quickly become an important member of our executive team.  In the short time that he’s been with us, he has been instrumental in helping us create Sun Latino, the #1 Spanish language network for news and information.  Julio represents all the good that we believe this industry to be.  He is so well liked and respected by everyone here in our family, and more impressively, by all those who have ever had the opportunity to work with him.”  Sun Latino provides sales and promotional services for CNN en Español, Fox Deportes and customized, local weather forecasts with AccuWeather en Español.  It is also home to MusiMundo, an all music network and InfoMundo, a national business and information network.

wckg logoWCKG, Elmhurst, Illinois to Be Purchased by GM Matt DuBiel.  The suburban Chicago AM signal is owned by Joseph Gentile Inc. and is currently airing a slate of largely syndicated talk programming including Mancow, DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick, GCN-distributed Alex Jones, and independently syndicated “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge.  General manager Matt Dubiel and Arthur DuBiel will pay $290,000 cash for the property.  In addition to operating WCKG, DuBiel is also marketing the Q101.com website that features several alternative, rock and classic rock music streams under the brand of now defunct alternative Chicago station WKQX.

ramseydaveOdds & Sods.  Connoisseur Media flips WCHR-AM, Trenton, New Jersey from religion to news/talk featuring Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck and independently syndicated talk star Dave Ramsey…..Colonial Radio Group’s sports WVTT-FM, Olean, New York “SportsRadio 93.9” names Joel McGuirk – who goes by the moniker “The Mouth” – the afternoon host of “The Cage with the Mouth.”…..At Entercom’s Portland, Oregon cluster, KMTT flips from a local music and triple A format to sports talk with programming from CBS Sports Radio.  The station is being branded “Sports 910.”

sileodanWMEN, West Palm Beach Host Dan Sileo Apologizes for Bounty Tweet.  “640 Sports” midday personality Dan Sileo was so incensed at Saturday night’s drubbing of his alma mater (University of Miami) at the hands of Florida State that he offered a $1,000 reward to any player who “takes out” Seminoles running back Devonta Freeman.  According to CBSSports.com, Sileo Tweeted, “in 6 weeks…I will PAY A $1,000 BUCKS to ANY @hurricanesports PLAYER to TAKES THIS KID OUT #MHFREEMAN.”  Sileo has since removed the Tweets and apologized, saying he didn’t mean to offer a bounty in subsequent Tweets.

katzboltonTalk Radio Diplomacy.  Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton (left) is pictured here with Boston-based media personality Jeff Katz (who serves as a columnist for The Boston Herald and commentator for Boston Herald Radio).  Katz was a featured speaker at a special Christians & Jews United For Israel event where John Bolton appeared as the keynote speaker.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

| July 31, 2013

cumulusMore Q2 News from Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey.  Yesterday TALKERS reported Cumulus Media’s second quarter revenue figures and the fact that Lew Dickey largely avoided the Rush Limbaugh-Sean Hannity flap by saying he wouldn’t discuss it because they are still in contract negotiations.  He addressed other topics TALKERS readers may be interested in: those 10 “code red” stations (big news/talkers bringing down the rest of the company); the health of the CBS Sports Radio Network project for which Cumulus is handling affiliate and ad sales; and the state of network talk programming.  First, Dickey told investors the number of “code red” stations is down from 10 to 1 but didn’t specify which station still lags.  Second, hedickeylew states the CBS Sports Radio format is on 300 affiliate stations and is exceeding its revenue plans.  “We’re highly encouraged by our early success and expect CBS Sports Radio to be a material growth driver for our company in 2014 and beyond.”  And third, addressing the state of the Cumulus Media Networks (which includes syndicated talk – Huckabee, Savage, “Red Eye Radio” – as well as a lot of music programming) Dickey reports it’s been a bit “choppy” but he sees it settling down.  “It grew for us in the second quarter and we look for it to be positive in the back half of the year.  It’s a pretty fragmented space that ultimately begs for more consolidations… it did turn in a positive performance for us in second quarter.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript.  Members can see the entire conference call here.

abramsonnancyWall Street Journal Radio Network Executive Director Nancy Abramson to Exit Post.  Radio management pro Nancy Abramson tells TALKERS the company is reorganizing its management structure and she is moving on.  She says she’ll remain with the company through mid-September to assist with the transition.  As for the rest of the staff with which the industry is familiar, Abramson says the affiliate team of Susan O’Connell and Susan Moran will continue to service  the affiliates of “The Wall Street Journal Report,” “The Wall Street Journal This Morning,” “The Dow Jones Money Report” and “MarketWatch.com Reports.”  John Wordock and Patrice Sikora will continue to oversee the news product for The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch.com Radio Networks.  Abramson says she is excited about new opportunities and looking forward to the next adventure.  Abramson has served with WSJRN since 1996.

mccannjakeGreater Media Promotes Jake McCann to Director of Sales for Detroit Stations.  Jake McCann moves from Greater Media’s Philadelphia stations where he was general sales manager at sports talk WPEN “97.5 The Fanatic” and classic rock WMGK.  In Detroit he’ll be in charge of sales for rock WRIF, classic rock WCSX and currently-AC-but-rumored-to-soon-be sports talk WMGC.  The fact that McCann has experience selling sports talk could be part of the reason McCann is making this move if, as expected, WMGC flips to sports in August.  In a statement, Greater Media Detroit market manager Steve Chessare says, “Jake is the right person to lead our three station sales operation in the Motor City.  His passion, dedication and leadership are exactly what we need to take our three outstanding radio properties to the next level.”

wcfn sports logoRadio One Gives Up on FM Sports in Cincinnati.  After seven months, WCFN, Cincinnati “FM 100.3 The Fan” has let go most of its staff, cut ties with CBS Sports Radio Network and flips back to an urban oldies format as “Old School 100.3.”  The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter reports that production manager Rob Williams was the only staffer to survive the change.  Tom GambleRichard SkinnerWill ChambersChad BrendelRick UcchinoRick BroeringJeremy Lance, former Reds pitcher Joe Price, and Steve Harris all exited the station on Tuesday morning.  Richard Skinner, who hosted “Two Angry Guys” along with Tom Gamble, tells Kiesewetter he’s not angry about the change, “Radio is so cyclical, that you know your time is coming (to get fired).  They (Radio One) didn’t seem to have a plan of attack, and they’re pulling the format at a time of the year when all the people are listening for football and baseball.”  Clear Channel operates two sports talk stations in the market – WSAI, a Fox Sports Radio affiliate and WCKY, which uses ESPN Radio programming – both of which air largely national shows.

cookehollandHolland Cooke: Radio from the Newspaper.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke adds to the discussion about newspapers entering into the digital talk radio streaming business that’s been a major part of industry chatter in the wake of the Boston Herald’s announcement about the creation of Boston Herald Radio coming Monday, August 5.  Cooke has experience in this arena and he offers advice to publications considering the move.  Among some dos and don’ts: don’t separate the studio from the newsroom (the sound of busy reporters is crucial!); don’t assume good reporters make good talk hosts; do promote you’re emanating from a storied newsroom; and do make content available for download and later playback.  Read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.

kroi logo‘News 92 FM’ and ‘Yahoo Sports Radio 1560’ in Houston Agree to Content Sharing Deal.  Radio One’s all-news KROI and Gow Media’s sports talk KGOW in Houston agree to a content sharing deal that will have KROI producing newscasts for KGOW and the latter producing sports updates and actualities for KROI.  Here’s how it will work: kgow logoBeginning in early August, “News 92 FM” reporters will provide hourly, short-form news updates to “Yahoo Sports Radio 1560,” initially for use on nights and weekends, and ramping up to a full broadcast schedule shortly thereafter.  In like manner, “Yahoo Sports Radio 1560” reporters will provide sports updates and actualities twice per hour for integration into the “News 92 FM” broadcast clock between 7:00 pm and midnight daily, and from 6:00 am to noon on weekends.  Radio One RVP Doug Abernethy and Gow Media CEO David Gow began discussing the possibility earlier this year.  Abernethy states, “Research suggests that news and sports stations have shared listener bases. So this makes sense for both stations.  We have the best newsgathering and reporting resources in the city, and ‘Yahoo Sports Radio 1560’ enjoys an equivalent reputation in the world of sports.  We’re leveraging our respective strengths so that the ‘News 92 FM’ listener can get a quick sports update from ‘Yahoo Radio 1560,’ and their listeners can get top-flight news from ‘News 92 FM.’”

zwerlingmichaelZWERLING: The Smartest Programming Move I Ever Made for My Radio Stations.  You might be surprised to learn which syndicated host turned out to be so spectacularly successful for outspoken, independent radio station owner Michael L. Zwerling at his widely admired AM combo of KSCO and KOMY, Santa Cruz, California that he felt compelled to share it with the entire industry.  Then again, you might not.  Find out the answer and more in a new exclusive TALKERS opinion piece posted today (7/31) by clicking here.

sportsusa‘Broadway Joe’ Joins Sports USA for Weekly Podcast.  Sports USA announces NFL great Joe Namath will join the company to produce a weekly podcast for the company during the 2013 football season.  Sports USA president Bob Moore says Namath’s podcast will begin in the middle of August and run through this year’s Super Bowl.  Moore states, “It doesn’t get bigger than Joe Namath!  Joe is extremely passionate about football and his insights are amazing.  This podcast will give him the platform to reach all of his fans across the country and beyond.”  Namath comments, “I’m thrilled to join the Sports USA team with my new weekly podcast.  I look forward to expressing my opinions on both the NFL and college football each week from the beginning of the season all the way through the Super Bowl.”

rollinsvsbubbaWTKS, Orlando’s Russ Rollins to Face Bubba the Love Sponge in Wrestling Match.  Yes, you read that right.  As you see in the poster here, it’ll take place at the Arena Bowl in Orlando on August 17 and feature “The Monsters” vs “Bubba’s Army” as Russ Rollins & The Demon take on Bubba the Love Sponge & Kevin Nash with Marc Mero as a special guest referee.  Rollins tells TALKERS it’s the “Battle of the #1 morning shows!” and pits Clear Channel against Cox Media in front of 15,000 to 16,000 screaming fans!

2016 Presidential Race, Weiner Sexting Scandal, NSA Surveillance Program, ObamaCare Implementation, and Bradley Manning Verdict Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/30).  The possible candidates in the 2016 presidential election; the ongoing backlash from the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal; new developments in the NSA surveillance program case; the costs of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; and the verdict against Bradley Manning in the Wikileaks case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

| June 12, 2013

smerconishspeechMichael Smerconish Delivers Annual “State of the First Amendment Address” at Talkers New York 2013.  It is considered an honor to be invited to deliver the annual “State of the First Amendment Address” at the annual TALKERS conference – a traditional component of the Freedom of Speech Ceremony that dates back to the early 1990s when the late and legendary talk show host Gene Burns delivered an impromptu speech extolling the importance of free speech in American society and the vital role it plays in the pertinence of talk radio.  Bringing the concept full circle, Burns further articulated how talk radio plays a crucial role in exercising and preserving the First Amendment.  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “That was a magic moment when Gene Burns explained how free speech and talk radio are intrinsically unified in preserving the very foundation of liberty upon which everything we consider to be ‘American’ is supported.”  Harrison recalls, “Gene reprised this role for the nextburnsgene couple of years leading up to it becoming an industry tradition carried on by free speech-aware orators.  We began inviting individuals from the broadcasting industry who understood and displayed from their own actions the importance of the First Amendment and comment on the state of its health – based upon the premise ‘use it or lose it.’”  Since then, a diverse roster of industry players, who have in their own way challenged the establishment, have delivered their versions of this important address including Al Franken, Michael Medved, Alan Colmes, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Jerry Springer, Neal Boortz, Jim Bohannon and many more.  This year, the editorial board invited Michael Smerconish, who recently walked away from his daily on-air job with CBS O&O WPHT, Philadelphia and his own syndicated network of approximately 80 affiliates to take a position as host of a show on the SiriusXM political channel, to deliver the address.  According to Harrison, “Smerconish, a moderate conservative, was quite outspoken in his protest against the extreme left-versus-right polarity presently manifested in the stationality of most AM/FM news/talk stations and opted for the ideological freedom provided by his new satellite platform.  Standing up to the conventional wisdom and practices of one’s own industry can be even more challenging and bold a stance for a talk show host to take than protesting the government.  He was an apt choice to deliver the address this year and he did a great job.”  Smerconish began the speech by recounting a media experience he had while still a teenager.  Pink Floyd’s legendary “The Wall” LP was released when he was a senior in high school.  The band was reluctant to tour in support of the double-album, but as part of its record deal, Pink Floyd was obligated to do a certain number of dates.  “I was able to see them and was the envy of my friends,” commented Smerconish, who at the time, was the editor of The Chatterbox, his high school newspaper. “When I came home from the concert, I decided to write a review of ‘The Wall.’” Speculating what the “wall” was and what it symbolized, Smerconish recounted it could have been a prison wall or a wall around a person seeking isolation.  When his review came out, he was summoned to the principal’s office. “The principal said he was disappointed that I had written the review and requested a retraction, not because of anything in particular that I had written, but because I had addressed the subject at all,” Smerconish explained.  “He wanted me to do a follow up and be critical of the group’s music.”  The then 17-year-old Smerconish (who went on to become an attorney) was “only superficially familiar” with the First Amendment.  “I doubt that I could have defined ‘censorship’ or ‘prior restraint,’ but I knew enough that something he was asking of me just was not right,” he recollected.  “I weighed his request and I did not do it.  More than 30 years later, I spend all of my time talking about such dilemmas, speaking my mind, and rendering judgments about matters of public controversy – only now – I do so with profound appreciation for the source of our freedom.  Establishing a government framework for the weighty subjects of religion, speech, assembly, and petition is exactly what was accomplished in 1791 when the First Amendment and the entire Bill of Rights were adopted.”  Of added significance is the fact that, as Smerconish mentioned, it was done in just 45 words and in a manner that would be relevant for 222 years and counting.  “It is so simple and yet so prescient,” he commented. “This guidepost was written two centuries before the advent of the internet.”  The succinct way in which Smerconish assessed the state of the First Amendment was “resilient.”  To view a video of Michael Smerconish’s entire speech, please click here.

farbernmsinterviewErica Farber: “There’s Nothing We Can’t Do Anymore!”  Brimming with optimism, Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) CEO/president Erica Farber tells TalkersTV, “For the first time in the history of radio, we are integrated marketers.”  In an interview conducted at the recent Talkers New York 2013 convention (6/6) by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, Farber explains how radio can not only offer commercials on our broadcast signals but also video, special events and a variety of methods of exposure on our digital platforms as well.  Farber praises what she describes as “great energy” in the radio business and says that those of us who are in radio are here because “we love it” and although we are facing obvious challenges, there are also great opportunities.  When asked to define her role at the RAB as well as the organization’s role she states, “We are advocates of the industry to anyone who will listen – advertisers, agencies, broadcasters, and consumer media.”  She strongly believes that far more people are listening to radio than detractors of the medium would have you believe.  To see a video of the entire interview with Erica Farber, please click here.

mhchineseradioTALKERS Magazine Building Bridge Between American and Chinese Radio.  At the same time President Barack Obama was meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week, another diplomatic meeting between the two nations was taking place at United Nations headquarters on Manhattan’s East Side (6/7).  Broadcasters from China Radio International (CRI), the state-owned-and-operated radio station/network of the People’s Republic of China participated in the seventh annual “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” a cultural initiative presented by TALKERS magazine and Talk Radio News Service in association with the United Nations Foundation.  This was the first time a delegation of Chinese broadcasters participated in this event.  Pictured (above, left) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison being interviewed by the delegation for broadcast on CRI answering questions about how talk radio in America operates and what differences exist between the culture of broadcasting in both countries.  When asked what he hopes can be achieved by the meeting that was taking place that day between the presidents of the two nations Harrison stated, “I hope good things come from it, but I have learned through years of experience not to put too much stock in the words and actions of ANY politicians, regardless of what country they represent.  I believe, however, in the PEOPLE of different countries as evidenced by the ‘love fest’ taking place right here, right now, between your broadcasters and ours.  Radio is first andchineseradiogroupsm foremost a medium to unite people.  May today be just the beginning in our quest to unite the people of our great countries on the basis of mutual respect and common human interests.  If we do that, perhaps the politicians will have no choice other than to be reasonable.”  According to Harrison, “This was one of the most exciting conversations I have ever had in my 45 year career in broadcasting.  The radio folks from China seemed absolutely fascinated by how different the business is here – especially the American concept of free speech.  However they were clearly quite worldly and educated to many aspects of American business and culture. I will always remember this wonderful meeting.”  Li Ping, director general of CRI North America, told Harrison that she hopes “this will be the beginning of a long and productive relationship between Chinese and American radio broadcasters.”  Pictured above, right (l-r) Xu Leiying, reporter, CRI; Josephine Cheng, president, Chinese Radio Network (CRI’s partner in New York); Harrison; Li Ping, director general, CRI North America; Dong Xiaole, reporter, CRI; and You Yu, reporter/assistant to director general, CRI, North America.

villanuccijimLongtime Albuquerque Personality Jim Villanucci Lands in Portland.  After a not-so-amicable split from his 14-year home at Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque, talk show host Jim Villanucci will take over the late morning slot at Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland “FM News 101” beginning June 24.  Villanucci will fill the slot currently held by Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck show.  Villanucci was a huge ratings-getter for KKOB over the course of his stay there in afternoon drive and now brings his broad talk host skills to the Pacific Northwest leading into market icon Lars Larson who hosts the early afternoon show.  The move reunites Villanucci with market manager Milt McConnell with whom he worked in Albuquerque.

podcastone logoYahoo! Sports Radio Podcasts to Be Featured on PodcastOne.  The Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne and Gow Broadcasting, operator of Yahoo! Sports Radio in partnership with Yahoo! Sports, announce a multi-year deal to make Yahoo! Sports Radio podcasts available to listeners for free onyahoosportsradiologo PodcastOne.com and via the PodcastOne mobile app.  Additionally, Yahoo! Sports Radio Network podcasts will be represented for advertising sales by Pattiz’s Launchpad Digital Media.  PodcastOne/Launchpad Digital Media chief financial officer, Dan Yukelson states, “As ‘radio’ continues to be redefined as ‘audio,’ the sports-talk format has never been more popular.  Yahoo! Sports Radio is a leader in on-demand sports content and we are looking forward to ushering sports talk into the digital age together.  Along with our current PodcastOne lineup of sports/talk programming such as category leaders Steve Austin and Ross Tucker, the addition of Yahoo! Sports Radio will further strengthen our platform and reach.”  Yahoo! Sports Radio podcasts now available on PodcastOne and represented exclusively by Launchpad Digital Media include Bryan Benway, Terry Ford, Dylan Gwinn, Rick Horrow, Travis Rogers, Pat Forde, Dan Wetzel, Geoff Ketchum, Doug Farrar, Steve Czaban, “Calling All Sports with Marty Tirrell and Bob Ryan,” “The War Room with John Harris” and the “Mouthpiece Boxing Podcast.”

kgme logoClear Channel’s KGME, Phoenix Re-Brands as Fox Sports 910 Phoenix; Adds Local Midday Show.  Clear Channel’s Phoenix sports talk outlet KGME announces it has re-branded as “Fox Sports 910 Phoenix,” leaving behind the old “Xtra Sports” brand.  The station also adds a new live and local midday show called “The Freaks with Kenny & Crash,” featuring hosts Kenny Sargent and Crash Gladys that airs from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm beginning today (6/12).  Program director Neil Larrimore states, “This programming change will create a better experience for sports talk radio listeners in Phoenix.  ‘Fox Sports Radio 910 Phoenix’ and the addition of ‘Kenny & Crash’ will provide listeners with phenomenal sports talk programming with a rock ‘n’ roll attitude and the best conversations in the Valley.”

cclogoKelly Kibler Is Promoted to SVP of Operations for CC’s Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio Markets.  Moving up from her most recent post as the company’s market president in Dallas, Kelly Kibler is named senior vice president of operations, effective immediately.  In her new role with the company, she’ll oversee the Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio markets and will report to Tom Schurr, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment‘s president of operations — major markets.  Kibler has been with CC for more than 16 years, holding a variety of leadership and sales positions in the Dallas, San Diego and Las Vegas markets.  Schurr states, “Kelly’s strong performance and high level of achievement make her the perfect choice to oversee and lead our Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio markets.  Her track record is one of continuous success with the company.”

wachsmithdonAdLarge Promotes Don Wachsmith to Chief Revenue Officer, Radio Sales. AdLarge Media reports that EVP, radio sales Don Wachsmith is promoted to chief revenue officer, radio sales for the company.  AdLarge Media CEO and co-founder Gary Schonfeld states, “Don has done an incredible job of exceeding revenue goals, two years in a row.  His client relationships and ability to develop targeted national radio advertising packages have dramatically increased sales results for AdLarge.”  AdLarge president and co-founder Cathy Csukas adds, “With Don’s leadership, Adlarge has already surpassed 2012 results and achieved exceptional growth in 2013.  This is a well-deserved promotion for Don and recognition for his contribution to our success.”  Wachsmith states, “The past two years at AdLarge have been a wonderfully rewarding experience.  As AdLarge continues to expand partnerships with content providers, I look forward to delivering targeted branding experiences for our national advertising clients.”  Wachsmith joined AdLarge in 2011.  Prior to that, Wachsmith was executive vice president, sales, at Dial Global Media.

GfK MRI logoArbitron Announces ‘Model-Ready’ PPM Data Available in GfK MRI’s Granularity Portal.  Arbitron Inc. reports that Model-Ready Radio data is now available in media and consumer research firm GfK MRI‘s Granularity Portal.  The company states that “the model-ready radio ratings data is linked with Media Monitors commercial airplay data to enable advertisers to get a better read on radio’s contribution to marketing and sales results.  Its presence in the Granularity portal is designed to boost radio’s presence in marketing mix models and make it easier, faster and less error prone to use for advertisers, agencies and modelers.”  The model-ready data is now available in Granularity to all subscribers of the new data set.  It had previously been available in a beta version for a limited number of trial users, which was announced in October 2011.  Arbitron also states, “A series of case studies demonstrated that the model-ready Arbitron PPM Radio Ratings Data can help improve the statistical reliability of marketing mix models and provide advertisers with a better understanding of radio’s ability to drive marketing ROI.  The data is based on PPM radio ratings which is linked to commercial occurrence data from Media Monitors for the specific date, quarter-hour, and station on which each commercial ran.”

sontagfrankKKLA, Los Angeles Names Frank Sontag PM Drive Host.  The untimely death of talk show host Frank Pastore after a motorcycle accident in November of 2012 left Salem Communications’ Christian talk station KKLA, Los Angeles seeking a new afternoon drive host.  Now, the company announces Frank Sontag takes over the program that airs from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm.  Program director Chuck Tyler says, “We are excited about having Frank Sontag join our lineup in the critical afternoon drive position.  Frank is a true veteran of Los Angeles radio having worked at KLOS-FM for 27 years.”  Sontag served as news director, disc jockey and was part of the popular Mark and Brian program.  During that time he also hosted his own talk radio show – “The Impact Program” – for 21 years.

abcnewsradioABC News Radio Recognized with Three Edward R. Murrow Awards.  The national Edward R. Murrow Awards have been announced by the Radio Television Digital News Association and ABC News Radio is recognized with awards in three categories. ABC won Best Breaking News Coverage for its handling of the Newtown, Connecticut school massacre; Best Continuing Coverage for its work reporting on Hurricane Sandy; and Best News Series for its The 2012 Campaign and Election: Your Choice Your Vote.”  You can hear the winning entries here.

beckslaterSiriusXMGlenn Beck Promotes New Novel on SiriusXM’s‘Author Confidential.’  Talk media superstar Glenn Beck (l) is the featured guest on this weekend’s edition of SiriusXM’s “Author Confidential” as he talks with SiriusXM Patriot Channel host Mike Slater (r) about his new novel The Eye of Moloch (Threshold Editions 2013).  The book is the follow-up to his previous New York Times bestseller The Overton Window and incorporates themes of tyranny, freedom, high-tech surveillance and more.  The program premieres on Saturday, June 15 at 10:00 am on the Patriot Channel.

Gerard Media Purchases Talk WHFB, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph, Michigan.  Gerard Media owns news/talk WIMS, Michigan City, Indiana and will add 5,000-watt class D AM WHFB, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph, Michigan to its portfolio for $175,000.  The seller is WHFB Broadcast Associates.

wrkotownhallWRKO, Boston Holds Live Town Hall Broadcast with Former U.S. Senator Scott Brown.  WRKO, Boston morning drive host Jeff Kuhner will take part in a live broadcast town hall meeting at Bentley University on Thursday, June 20 at 7:00 pm with former U.S. Senator Scott Brown.  The station says Kuhner and Brown will discuss topical political issues, including National Security privacy issue, the IRS scandal, the Benghazi attack and the Senate special election.  The program will end with an open session for audience questions and will be moderated by June Knight.

Alleged State Department Cover-Up, Immigration Legislation, NSA Data Collection Program, Severe Weather ‘Derecho’ Threat, and Plan B Pill Policy Among top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/11).  Allegations of a State Department cover-up of illegal activities including prostitution and drug abuse among staffers abroad; immigration legislation making its way through Congress; the NSA data collection program and the revealing of secrets by Edward Snowden; the threat of a dangerous weather system possibly forming a “derecho” that could affect the eastern half of the country; and the controversy over the Obama Administration’s policy on the Plan B pill were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, December 21, 2012

| December 21, 2012

wor710WOR, New York Eliminates Air Staff as Clear Channel Takes Over.  Yesterday, WOR, New York began making changes to its staffing – both on-air and off – in preparation for Clear Channel Media and brownejoyEntertainment’s takeover of the station a couple of months after the $30 million purchase of the venerable New York City signal.  Buckley Broadcasting CEO Joe Bilotta announced that CC’s acquisition of the station patersondavidhas officially closed and he thanked the station’s employees for their service.  The air staff we know are out include Dr. Joy Browne, PM drive host and former New York Governor David Paterson, and the news staff.  Syndicated programs that have been dropped immediately include: Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher, Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle and Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee.  Those local talent still with the station as of today (12/21) include morning host John Gambling and midday host Joan Hamburg.  Nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey is also still listed on the station’s program schedule.  Off the air, WOR Radio Network director of affiliate relations Willis Damalt has been let go.  Governor Paterson appeared on the Curtis Sliwa morning program on Salem Communications‘ crosstown WNYM “970 The Answer” to talk about the changes. Hear his discussion with Sliwa by clicking below.

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kalz logoClear Channel Officially Announces New Fresno Talk Combo; Jay Bohannon Named PD.  That Clear Channel was going to flip an FM music outlet in the Fresno market to talk is not news; Peak Broadcasting received notice Premiere Networks was exercising its out-clause on such shows as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity earlier in the fall, so the clues were not hard to follow.  Now, the company bohannonjayannounces hot AC KALZ, Fowler “Alice 96.7” and sports talk KRZR, Visalia will become “Power Talk 96.7 FM/1400 AM” on January 1.  The program schedule includes Limbaugh, Hannity, Glenn Beck, “America Now” with Andy Dean, and “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory, plus local host Bill Manders from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle.  The company also welcomes back program director Jay Bohannon who previously programmed its WPGB, Pittsburgh.  Company regional programming manager Tony Banks says, “We have assembled top-notch talent behind the mic and behind-the-scenes with program director Jay Bohannon, who is one of the premiere news/talk programmers in the country.  He has a proven track record of winning in every market he has led.”

wnox logoJournal Broadcast Group Adds News/Talk WNOX, Knoxville to Its Cluster.  Milwaukee-based Journal Broadcast Group buys news/talk WNOX, Knoxville from Oak Ridge FM, Inc. for an undisclosed amount, adding the outlet to its three-station cluster there.  Prior to Citadel Broadcasting’s filing for bankruptcy protection in December of 2009, it operated WNOX under an LMA from Oak Ridge.  In 2010, Citadel gave up operation of the station and Oak Ridge resumed control.  No word on if or when Journal will take over under an LMA.  The sale must go through the usual FCC approval process.

mccullough truth netDoing Good for Christmas.  XtreMedia CEO Kevin McCullough (r) sits in Truth Broadcasting Corporation’s the Truth Network studios in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with an unidentified host as he broadcasts across the Truth Network to affiliate stations working to reach the Do Good Christmas goal of supporting 800 orphans for the next year.  TALKERS has written previously about McCullough’s Do Good charity developed to raise funds to assist orphans across the globe.  On Thursday, McCullough spent some 18 hours on the radio, across numerous formats, working to attain the goal.  He appeared on the “Truth Network” along with News/Talk AM 980 “The Eagle” and “The Light” Black Gospel Music Network to attempt to feed 800 Orphans for the entirety of 2013.  He says, “They had me hoppin’ formats and stations for what seemed like every fifteen minutes.  But it was worth it to know that 800 children in Africa and Central America in particular are going to be fed this Christmas and all through next year until Christmas 2013 because of the efforts.”  McCullough hosts his own daily radio talk show, a weekend program with actor Stephen Baldwin called “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.”  His company also produces the Dani Johnson radio show as well as the national television syndication for “Hannah Help Me” hosted by Hannah Keeley.

patrickmattHoliday Fill-In Work for Matt Patrick.  Talk host Matt Patrick – AM drive on KTRH, Houston and PM drive on KPRC, Houston – will fill in for Bill Cunningham on his Premiere Networks nationally syndicated Sunday evening show on Sunday, December 30.

FSNmohrpetrosmoneyFox Sports Radio’s Petros & Money Take Over ‘NFL on Fox’ Studios.  The nationally syndicated, Los Angeles-based Petros & Money show – hosted by Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith – broadcast a special program before a live, studio audience of contest winners on the set of television’s “NFL on Fox” program.  Pictured here are Smith (l) and Papadakis (r) welcoming new Fox Sports Radio host Jay Mohr (c) to the network.  Joining Petros & Money on this show were special guests Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jay Glazer, “UFC Tonight” star Leeann Tweeden and the first-ever female UFC fighter Ronda Rousey.

 

Gun Law Changes Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 17-21.  The national debate over making changes to the gun laws in the U.S. was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, pushing the “fiscal cliff” issue off the top where it’s been for the past four weeks.  Coming in at #2 were the mental health care system tied with the aftermath of the Newtown massacre.  At #3 was the “fiscal cliff” negotiations and following at #4 was the Benghazi-State Department report.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

| December 12, 2012

Don Imus Signs Extension with Cumulus to Remain on WABC and in Syndication.  Radio legend Don Imus inks a deal that will keep him in the morning slot on WABC, New York for another three years.  The 72-year-old broadcasting icon has been hosting mornings on WABC for the past five years.  Cumulus chief operating officer John Dickey says in a statement, “I am delighted that our listeners and advertisers have the certainty of knowing Don and his amazing team at ‘Imus In The Morning’ will remain on 77 WABC for at least three more years.  Don is a radio legend and is an important part of our team.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was quoted in The New York Times addressing the quality of the Imus audience when asked by reporter Ben Sisario about Imus’ ratings relative to other big-name talk hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.  Harrison told the Times, “Although ratings count, they don’t count as much with Imus.  He’s always had a very loyal and upper-echelon clientele.  They’re active, affluent, and tuned in to politics, business and popular culture on the kind of level that radio companies and ad agencies like.”

The Laura Ingraham Watch Continues; Cumulus Denies Rumors of Ingraham Deal.  Rumors of where talk media personality Laura Ingraham will surface with a new, nationally syndicated talk show after parting from Talk Radio Network several weeks ago continue to pop up.  But Cumulus Media COO John Dickey tells TALKERS there is no truth to the rumor she is joining his company for a national syndication deal.  TALKERS sources are hearing rumblings that instead of hooking up with a broadcasting corporation that also owns stations (Clear Channel, Cumulus), Ingraham is busy working on a project for a new radio talk show with legendary syndicator Norm Pattiz in that effort.  Ingraham mentioned on Fox News Channel on December 7 that she would announce something this week but, as most broadcasters know, issues can pop up that delay these types of announcements.

“The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio” Panel from LA Seminar Now on TALKERS TV.  One of the main panels at the recent TALKERS magazine New Media Seminar 2012 held in Los Angeles is now playing on TALKERS TV.  “The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio” features an outstanding lineup of industry leaders from various points on the spectrum of talk radio programming including Don Martin, VP programming, Fox Sports Radio/OM, KLAC, Los Angeles; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media/WYM Media; Phil Boyce, VP/director, Spoken Word Format, Salem Communications; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; and Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News.  The panel is moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who describes the session as “a sweeping overview of the key issues facing talk radio in 2012.”  To view it please see the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.

Red Zebra Suspends Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin for “Intolerant” and “Insensitive” Language.  Afternoon drive hosts Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin – hosts of the “Sports Reporters” program on Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980” – were suspended for two days this week after they were deemed to have engaged in “intolerant” and “insensitive” behavior while talking about a transgender athlete.  The segment centered around an article about 50-year-old Gabrielle Ludwig, a junior college basketball player who wants to get back into organized sports to set an example for others.  During the conversation, Czaban and Pollin referred to Ludwig as “it.”  Director of programming Chuck Sapienza wrote in a statement, “We strongly believe two of our employees crossed the line when discussing a transsexual person on their program last Thursday. Such intolerance and insensitivity will never be tolerated by this company.  Due to the nature of their conversation, the pair have been temporarily removed from ESPN980’s ‘Sports Reporters’ program.”  On Monday’s program the two read an apology on air.

KCSP, Kansas City Names John Hanson Program Director.  Entercom’s sports talk KCSP, Kansas City “610 Sports Radio” announces John Hanson is the new program director, taking over for Ryan Maguire who exited to take the PD post at CBS Radio’s sports outlet KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh.  Hanson comes to KCSP from the Minneapolis market where he has worked with KSTP-TV and KSTP-AM “1500 ESPN.”  Previously he programmed both KBAD “ESPN Radio 920” and KENO “Fox Sports Radio 1460” in Las Vegas.  Entercom vice president and market manager Dave Alpert states, “Kansas City is a highly competitive sports radio market.  I know that John’s drive and passion for sports radio, along with his extensive radio and broadcast experience, will build on the station’s success and take it to the next level.”  On taking the gig at KCSP, Hanson says, “I’m leaving an excellent situation in my own hometown to take this opportunity at ‘610 Sports Radio.’  That sums up how much I think of what has been built there, and what can still be accomplished.  Kansas City and ‘610 Sports Radio’ are simply too great for me to pass up.”  Hanson begins his new post on January 14.

Odds & Sods.  SiriusXM gives comedian and Opie & Anthony co-host Jim Norton his own weekly advice program on the O&A channel.  Norton, who also hosts a music show called “Norton’s Obsessed” on Ozzie’s Boneyard channel, begins his one-hour, call-in show at 10:00 am today (12/12)…..WOLB, Baltimore morning drive host Larry Young will do a live broadcast at The AFRO headquarters from 6:00 am to 10:00 am for the 12th Annual Toy Teddy Bear and Clothing Drive.  Young says, “I’m always excited about Christmas and being able to help others, especially the children.  Last year we took care of more than 500 kids and we expect to at least match that this year.”…..Vox Radio Group eliminates the news anchor position of 16-year market veteran Tom Conklin who handled morning news duties at WBEC-FM, Pittsfield, Massachusetts and WSBS, Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Fighting Golic.  ESPN Radio and ESPN2 morning show co-star Mike Golic gives the camera his best “Fighting Irish” pose after being presented with a 50th birthday cake in the same image.  Golic’s alma mater Notre Dame — for which his two sons currently play — is facing Alabama in the National Championship game January 7.

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, NC ‘Choose Life’ License Plate Flap, Syria Violence, Egypt Protests, and North Korea Rocket Launch Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11).  The fight in Washington over solving the “fiscal cliff” problem; the political controversy in North Carolina over the court’s ruling on its “choose life” license plate; continuing violence in Syria and the threat of chemical weapons use; protests in Egypt and the region’s instability; and North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Arbitron Client Conference Day Two: Scary Talk About In-Car, Straight Talk About Sports, Plain Talk About Politics

| December 7, 2012

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

ANNAPOLIS — Recently, one auto maker announced that it will no longer factory-install AM radios.  In this case, it’s because the high-end car’s high-tech composite body material would interfere with reception.  Still, the specter of AM’s fade was jarring, particularly to those in news/talk/sports radio, now actively migrating to FM, but still predominantly AM formats.

Again this week, another such harbinger, this one a whack-on-the-side-of-the-head to FM broadcasters too…

Read More

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

| October 17, 2012

Creating Content Available Nowhere Else at Bonneville Seattle.  News/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle and parent company Bonneville announce a changing role for “Seattle’s Morning News” anchor Linda Thomas that puts the radio personality and journalist in the driver’s seat for bringing unique, local content to both KIRO-FM and the company’s digital space MyNorthwest.com.  Bonneville says Thomas will “devote 100% of her time and energy to original enterprise reporting for radio and digital channels in a groundbreaking new role announced today by KIRO Radio and MyNorthwest.com.  As senior features reporter at KIRO Radio and MyNorthwest.com, her role is to meet intriguing people and tell their stories.  In her role as digital journalist, Linda will continue her award-winning blog and file original reports to MyNorthwest.com covering topics from parenting and politics to technology and trends.”

During numerous presentations at industry gatherings, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has stated that what radio must do to survive this convergence of media and the changes in consumer behavior it is fostering, is to create content that is only available in one place – your radio station.  KIRO’s move combines this notion with the concept of a “media station” – a digital destination for unique multi-media content.  Bonneville’s radio and digital news director Peter Gammell says, “Original local reporting is what fuels KIRO Radio’s conversations and drives our users to visit MyNorthwest.com.  Linda has a proven ear for the compelling story, and she’s one of our most prolific reporters.  This role frees her to focus on what only she can do.”

Thomas relishes her opportunity to pursue her journalistic endeavors.  “I believe everybody has a story, and I want to know what’s yours.  I meet so many people whose stories have value, and someone hearing or reading them is going to have their life changed by their bravery and originality.”  Program director Larry Gifford states, “I’ve always been impressed with the compassion in Linda’s reporting.  She finds real, interesting people in the community, has a personal conversation with them and shares what she’s learned.  I can’t wait to hear who she introduces me to next.”

Thomas will continue her popular “News Chick” efforts.  Tweeting and posting on social media as “The News Chick,” Thomas is among the most-followed local journalists in the U.S., according to Bonneville.  The company says she promises her social media followers on Twitter @thenewschick and Facebook will continue to be fed her customary stream of sharable gems.  “The value of social media for me is connecting – in real life when possible – with people in the community, and being there when they want to interact with me.”  In addition to her longer-form radio and online feature reporting, social media are where she will continue sharing viral videos, photos, links to eye-catching stories from Seattle to Hollywood and around the world — along with Thomas’ famed fascination with her boots.

Cumulus Media Inks Agreement to Buy New York Market FM.  Pending approval from the FCC, Cumulus Media will have a third New York City station after closing on Family Stations, Inc.’s WFME, Newark, New Jersey.  Cumulus states in a press release that it will announce format plans for the Class B FM at 94.7 upon closing and expects that to happen sometime in the fourth quarter of this year.  Crain’s New York Business cites an industry insider saying Cumulus got WFME for a bargain: $40 million. Family Stations has undergone changes during the past year and is said to be cash-strapped after Family Stations chief Harold Camping’s apocalyptic predictions on the date of Christ’s reappearance last year failed on two occasions.  CEO Lew Dickey says, “This strategic acquisition of our second FM in the nation’s largest market will enable us to provide compelling new programming for our listeners and a powerful marketing vehicle for our advertising partners.”  Of course, although Cumulus is remaining vague about the specifics of its programming intentions with the new acquisition, industry observers are actively speculating as to what might be in store for the Big Apple’s soon-to-be competitive commercial FM.  For years, through several ownerships, WABC program directors have privately confessed that they wished talk-formatted WABC had a NYC FM outlet for its programming.  But the fact that its only sister FM, hot AC WPLJ (95.5) has been such a consistent ratings and revenue success put up a roadblock to that happening easily.  Now with the New York talk market in flux per Clear Channel‘s soon-to-be-completed takeover of WOR and Cumulus launching new high-profile syndicated talk shows such as Mike Huckabee and Geraldo Rivera, and with the end of their contracts with Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity shows looming – it makes sense that they would be looking for a new Gotham outlet for their considerably valuable talk properties.  Of course, this is just speculation.

Tavis Smiley Takes on WBEZ, Chicago in Open Letter After Public Station Cancels Weekend “Smiley & West” Program.  Talk media personality Tavis Smiley wrote an open letter to Chicago Public Media president and CEO Torey Malatia after the station cancelled his weekend program “Smiley & West,” co-hosted by Princeton professor Cornel West.  In the letter, Smiley reacts to his work being called “less than inclusive” and being compared to Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly but Malatia in response to WBEZ cancelling his program.  Read the entire letter here.

KTTH, Seattle Announces New Schedule; Names David Boze AM Drive Host.  Beginning in January, Seattle talk radio personality David Boze will have a new role with the Bonneville talk station.  Boze currently does a one-hour program at 3:00 pm on KTTH that serves as a local hour between Salem Radio Network’s Michael Medved and Premiere NetworksSean Hannity on the station.  In January, Boze will host the three-hour morning drive show and bumps Premiere’s Glenn Beck from the AM drive slot on the station.  Bonneville Seattle program director Larry Gifford states, “David is a stand-up guy with a traditional Northwest sensibility.  He’s someone you’d want as a neighbor – who happens to host a great radio show.  He always leaves me better informed and mentally energized.”  Boze, who began his talk radio career as a producer for Peter Weissbach at KVI in 1999, has been with KTTH for 10 years.  He says, “I try to live my life with the same traditional values as my listeners do; decency, liberty, hard work, and doing what’s right.  I want to create a friendly gathering place where people can digest the news and we can talk about important stories that other media misinterpret or miss altogether.”

Talk Radio’s Unique Sales Advantage.  H & H Communications president Al Herskovitz says the unique place talk radio occupies in the stew of formats is that it is a foreground format that brings a better value to its advertisers.  This is not a new concept but Herskovitz writes that talk sales staffers can be very creative in taking advantage of this in bringing new categories of advertisers to the format.  “It would be hard to believe that the Rolls Royce manufacturer or even the local Rolls dealer would want to buy a spot in that Sunday 5:30 am auto show,” Herskovitz states.  “But an Atlanta station saleswoman I know did sell that very program to a salvage yard in her market coupled with a weekday spot package and a handful of promos.  Now that’s creative salesmanship!”  Read Al Herskovitz’s entire piece here.

WHNZ, Tampa to Add Sports Talk from Fox Sports Radio.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WHNZ, Tampa – currently airing a combination of brokered local shows and syndicated news/talk fare, begins adding Fox Sports Radio content to the station beginning with the overnight “J.T. the Brick” program airing from 1:00 am to 5:00 am.  In 2013, the station plans to add FSRN’s “Petros & Money” and “Fox Sports Tonight” programs to the lineup.  Program director Steve Versnick states, “We are excited to launch the powerful brand of Fox Sports Radio on WHNZ in Tampa Bay.  This adds star power to the station for us.”

Fox Sports Radio Changes “Loose Cannons” Lineup; Vic “The Brick” Jacobs to KLAC Duties.  The trio of Pat O’Brien, Steve Hartman and Vic “The Brick” Jacobs – known as the “Loose Cannons” on Fox Sports Radio Network – will continue with just O’Brien and Hartman as Jacobs has been re-assigned to the sports news updates role at flagship KLAC, Los Angeles.  He’ll also serve as a reporter covering Lakers basketball.

Second Presidential Debate, Libya Attack Investigation, Malala Yousufzai Case, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/16).  The second presidential debate from Hofstra University on Long Island; the ongoing investigation and controversy over the attack on the Banghazi consulate; the case of Pakistani wounded teen Malala Yousufzai; Iran’s nuclear weapons program; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

| October 2, 2012

TRN Promotes Jerry Doyle to Network Slot Where Savage Aired.  Calling it the show with which “stations will get more light and less heat, a show that they can sell locally with pride, but also a show that will respect its stations, advertisers and audiences with a brilliance that sets great shows apart from good ones,” Talk Radio Network moves Jerry Doyle into the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT time slot formerly held by Michael Savage.  TRN states, “For too long, we’ve had to choose between ratings and salability, but no longer…Jet pilot, Wall Street investment banker for 10 years, Hollywood star for 12 years, former congressional nominee and now radio giant who has earned his right to this spot for close to nine years, Jerry Doyle is the future of talk radio.  He will bring massive audiences through word of mouth because he is brilliant and funny, showing both emotional and intellectual range that is beyond rare.”  As it announces Doyle’s move into the West Coast afternoon drive slot, TRN promises, “He understands the advertising business like few others; Jerry is a triple-rated William Morris Agency voice-over artist who has voiced national ads for AT&T, Chevrolet, TGI Fridays, Anheuser-Busch, Panasonic, The US Armed Forces and many others.  Jerry will work with his stations reading their ads and promos, because he understands radio isn’t about host ego, it’s about high levels of performance, and it’s about business.”  Michael Savage exited TRN last week after winning in arbitration to get out of his contract with the syndicator.  Filling in for Doyle’s program in his previous network time is Dr. Bill Wattenburg until a permanent replacement is named.

CBS Sports Radio Announces Scott Ferrall to Be Late Night Host.  When CBS Radio’s new 24/7 national sports talk network kicks off in January, longtime sports talk pro Scott Ferrall will hold down the 10:00 pm to 2:00 am ET slot with his “Ferrall on the Bench” program.  So far, we know the new CBS Sports Radio network will feature Jim Rome for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot followed by Doug Gottlieb from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  Network director of programming Eric Spitz says, “Scott is widely recognized as having set the standard for what a successful national evening sports radio show should be.  He’s got an amazing knowledge of sports that rivals even the most noted experts, and with his fast-paced style of high-octane sports talk, listeners and our affiliates are guaranteed to get the very best program each and every night.”  Ferrall is currently hosting a sports talk show for SiriusXM.  In the past he has worked for SportsNet New York, several NHL properties, Fox Sports Radio, and Sportsfan Radio Network, as well as major market stations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami and Pittsburgh.

Don Wade Update from Chicago.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that WLS-AM, Chicago morning host Don Wade came through his brain surgery successfully and is resting at home, according to wife and on-air partner Roma.  In case you missed it, the longtime WLS-AM morning personality was diagnosed with a growth in early September for which he underwent surgery last Thursday.  Now, the Wades’ agent, Eliot Ephriam, tells Feder, “The surgery went as expected and Don came out of it really well.  We’re awaiting the results of tests and that will determine what’s next.”  Don Wade is expected to remain at home for several weeks.  Station executives report the duo had good ratings news as the September PPM numbers indicate WLS-AM was #1 with listeners 12+ from 6:00 am to 10:00 am scoring a 7.0 share – the program’s highest ratings in more than four years.

Genesis Communications’ SportsTalkFlorida Aligns with NBC Sports Radio.  Several months ago, Genesis Communications stated it was going to drop the ESPN Radio affiliation for its sports talk stations WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando.  Now the company reveals its programming plans and its new affiliation with the fledgling NBC Sports Radio network.  The stations have been named “NBC Sports Talk 1040 The Team Tampa Bay” and “NBC Sports Talk 1080 The Team Orlando,” respectively.  The new lineup at the two stations includes: local host David Baumann in AM drive; DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; local host Whitney Johnson from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; for PM drive, WHBO airs local host Charlie Bernstein and WHOO broadcasts local duo Mike Tuck and Jerry O’Neill; both stations air NBC’s Erik Kuselias.  Both outlets are carrying sports news updates from NBC Sports Radio.

Clark Howard Returns to Middays at WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando.  The Mel Robbins program, heard from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Cox Media’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando will exit that time slot and Clark Howard will return to that time slot beginning October 12.  Howard was bumped to the late night 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot back in March when WDBO brought Robbins aboard for a live midday program.

 

KOZN, Omaha Names Damon Benning Morning Co-Host.  Former Nebraska running back and 1996 Orange Bowl MVP Damon Benning is named co-host of the 7:00 am to 11:00 am show alongside Gary Sharp on NRG Media’s “1620 The Zone.”  Benning has served as an analyst on the Big Ten Network, NET Television, Cox Communications, and made numerous guest appearances on “1620 The ZONE” over the years.  Today he begins on-air duties on “Sharp & Benning in the Morning” with KOZN sports director Gary Sharp.  NRG Media Omaha market manager Andy Ruback says, “For years we have had Benning on the station as he has been a vital part of our broadcast team and our extensive Husker coverage.  Now, we will be able to take advantage of his expertise full time, all year long.”

WISN, Milwaukee Talk Host Mark Belling Faces Backlash for “Thug” Comments.  Community activists in Milwaukee are promising a rally on Thursday to demand an apology from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment talk host Mark Belling who hosts the PM drive show on news/talk WISN.  Activists in the market are upset with comments Belling made about Derek Williams – an African-American man – who died in the back of a Milwaukee Police squad car.  An account from the Milwaukee Journal states Williams pleaded with officers for help saying he could not breathe but they ignored his pleas and he died.  The case was recently reclassified as a homicide.  Critics say Belling’s characterizing Williams as a “dirty, rotten thug” was inappropriate and not relevant to the care he should have received while in police custody.

Odds & Sods.  CBS Radio’s KRLD-AM, Dallas “Newsradio 1080” announces the hiring of award-winning weatherman Bob Goosmann as chief meteorologist for the station.  VP of news/talk/sports Bruce Gilbert states, “Bob lives and breathes North Texas weather and greatly respects KRLD’s commitment to accurate and dependable forecast information every ten minutes.  ‘NewsRadio 1080 KRLD’ listeners can rely on him, not only for accurate forecasts, but also for the information they need to stay safe when severe weather strikes.”  Goosmann most recently served as chief meteorologist for KDAF-TV, Dallas…..Clear Channel’s Quad Cities cluster enters into a deal with New Young Broadcasting Holding Company’s KWQC-TV, Davenport, Iowa that has the TV station producing news and weather content for news/talk WOC and other cluster stations in exchange for CC creating daily entertainment reports for the television station.

Clear Channel’s WTAM Scores Indians Renewal.  According to Northeast Ohio’s Chronicle-Telegram, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WTAM, Cleveland has won the rights to Indians baseball – for how long, though, is not known.  The report has not been confirmed by Clear Channel.  WTAM – which has been the home of Indians baseball for the past 14 years – was reportedly getting a strong challenge for the play-by-play rights from CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talk WKRK “92.3 The Fan.”

Obama-Romney Debate Preview, Iran Nukes Threat, Potential New ObamaCare Challenge, and Fate of ‘Fast and Furious’ Guns Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/1).  The looming presidential candidate debate; concern over Iran’s nuclear weapons program; a new, potential  Supreme Court challenge to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; and the charge that guns from the ‘Fast and Furious’ program ended up in Mexican drug cartel’s hands were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, September 10, 2012

| September 10, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

| July 24, 2012

Arbitrator Rules in Favor of Former XEPRS, San Diego Hosts Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith.  Sports talk hosts Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith were fired by XEPRS, San Diego – XX Sports Radio 1090 – in February after Kaplan made derogatory comments about the appearance of Mountain West TV Network sports personality Andrea Lloyd.  Kaplan and Smith contended they were let go in violation of their contract which outlined a process by which the station was to address content issues in case of a disagreement.  An arbitrator – retired Superior Court Judge Linda Quinn ruled in the hosts’ favor and has awarded the two more than $490,000 in damages based on their respective salaries, commissions, endorsements and incentives as provided by their contracts.  U-T San Diego (for which Kaplan now works co-hosting an online TV show called “Scott, B.R. + Amber”) reports Kaplan and Smith feel vindicated with Kaplan stating, “I feel vindicated.  They breached the contract.  I knew that from the beginning.  There was a lot of embarrassment that came with the termination.  I spent 11 great years on the radio…I loved what I did and I loved who I worked for.”  XEPRS has not paid the duo yet and has filed a motion asking Quinn to reconsider her decision.

NPR Hires Lobbying Firm to Fight GOP Effort to Defund CFPB.  Congressional Republicans are again organizing efforts to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and NPR is hiring the lobbying firm Navigators Global to help shut that down.  The Hill reports NPR spokesperson Dana Rehm says that the organization is a content provider but is also a trade organization representing member stations.  “It is part of our mission to represent the interests of NPR member stations to Congress, executive, regulatory and judicial bodies.  At a time when the federal government is running a large deficit, every program and function of the government deserves to be scrutinized, and a review of federal funding to public broadcasting is fair and to be expected.”  Rehm says the firm’s job is to explain “how the federal investment in public radio stations and larger public broadcasting system provides one of the most effective returns of any program authorized by Congress.”

Talk Radio Rises to the Occasion in Covering Aurora Massacre Aftermath.  The natural progression of the analysis and coverage of the killing of 12 and wounding of dozens of others at the Aurora, Colorado premiere of “Dark Knight Rises” continues and talk radio is rising to the occasion to serve its listeners with compelling and responsible discussion.  Examples of talk outlets rising to a high level of performance through the use of experts in the fields of psychology, law enforcement, media violence, gun control and more are being reported to TALKERS from all over the country.  Here two examples of similar coverage:  Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt featured an interview with shooting victim Pierce O’Farrill, who was hit three times by bullets from the shooter’s gun.  O’Farrill described live on the air the chilling events at the theater, his perspective on the gunman, the death penalty, and his visit with President ObamaXtreMedia president Kevin McCullough tells TALKERS several of his company’s programs – his own Kevin McCullough show, the Saturday evening “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE” broadcast  and the Sunday night Dani Johnson show spent the bulk of their collective platforms allowing hurting, confused and stunned listeners to respond to the attacks.  Actor Stephen Baldwin took time out from a publicity tour in neighboring Cheyenne, Wyoming (90 minutes from Aurora) to meet with those in Aurora whose lives have been touched by the shootings.  While there, CNN‘s Don Lemon asked Baldwin (see photo) to weigh in on his perspective of the events.  Baldwin told CNN, “It may be time for those of us in the Hollywood community to re-examine how we advance violence through films, television, and video games.  It also blows my mind that someone could purchase 6,000 rounds of ammo in 45 days.  I’m a gun enthusiast but a red flag should’ve gone off somewhere.”

Progressive Town Hall Forum in Seattle.  Premiere Networks syndicated talk host Randi Rhodes (center) was one of eight panelists who took part in “Showdown 2012: Recapturing Democracy,” a progressive town hall forum presented by Seattle’s Progressive Talk AM1090 (CBS Radio’s KPTK) at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington on Saturday, July 21.  Rhodes appeared on a panel focused on the evolving role citizens play in the political and public policy process, including strategies to protect our role in democracy and to build a better future for everyone.  Panelists in this picture are (from l-r): Congressman Jim McDermott, WYD Media talk host Thom Hartmann,  talk host Mike Papantonio, Compass Media Networks talk host Norman Goldman, Rhodes, talk host Sam Seder, talk host Ron Reagan, and panel moderator David Postman, former chief political reporter for the Seattle Times.

KESN, Dallas Renews Contract with Cowboys Great Drew Pearson.  ESPN O&O KESN, Dallas – ESPN Dallas 103.3 – announces it is renewing its deal with Dallas Cowboys great Drew Pearson for another season.  Under the terms of the contract, Pearson will join “Ben & Skin” co-hosts Ben Rogers & Jeff “Skin” Wade on Mondays from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon, do Friday call-ins to the “Galloway and Company” show, and co-host the “5th Quarter Cowboys” post-game show.  Pearson will act as the “go-to guy” for any breaking Cowboys or NFL news, and do a weekly video segment with “Galloway and Company.”  Pearson states, “I am very happy and excited to be joining the ESPN Radio team for my third season as Cowboys/NFL analyst.  My role with ESPN provides a platform for me to express my sports opinions and it also allows me the opportunity to continue my association with the ‘Worldwide Leader in Sports’ – ESPN – which to me is priceless.”

Old Friends.  Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller (r) poses for a shot with former “Saturday Night Live” cast member and co-star David Spade (c) and show promoter Bill Blumenreich (l) at Miller’s recent live concert at Boston’s Wilbur Theater.  Spade snuck into the theater and found his way to Miller’s dressing room where they chatted and caught up.

Fox Sports Radio and Yardbarker Enhance Content Relationship.  The latter is described by Fox Sports Radio as a sports opinion site and blog network.  It’s a property of Fox Sports Interactive Media and now it and Fox Sports Radio Network will begin working together more closely beginning with incorporating FSRN’s “Loose Cannons” into Yardbarker’s content.  FSRN states “‘Loose Cannons’ will feature a daily segment with co-hosts Pat O’Brien, Steve Hartman and Vic ‘The Brick’ Jacobs as they take listeners into O’Brien’s ‘backyard’ for all the dirt from Yardbarker.  Fox Sports Radio will soon add similar segments across other network programs.  In addition, Yardbarker will feature select content from Fox Sports Radio on its website and social media platforms.”  Yardbarker VP of operations Jack Kloster states, “Yardbarker is incredibly excited to partner with Fox Sports Radio and to introduce our content to the loyal listeners of ‘Loose Cannons.’  The partnership is a natural fit.  Our content is inherently conversational and Fox Sports Radio is home base for sports conversation.”

Geoff Neuhoff Passes Away at Age 59.  Neuhoff Communications president and CEO Geoff Neuhoff died Sunday after falling ill suddenly on Saturday.  Neuhoff owned and operated stations in rural Illinois including clusters in Springfield and Decatur.  The company operated news/talk WSOY, Decatur and sports talk WFMB, Springfield.  Neuhoff COO Mike Hulvey tells the State Journal-Register, “Geoff Neuhoff was a giant among small- and medium-market broadcasters.  Geoff demanded from all of us a dedication of greatness and excellence no matter the market size or the power of the station.  Geoff believed strongly that innovation was the way forward and he embraced new technologies with enthusiasm.  He will be missed by his team, but the legacy he leaves behind will last for years to come.”  Neuhoff is survived by his wife and three children.

Aurora Movie Theater Massacre, Penn State Penalties, Syria Instability, and European Debt Worries/Financial Markets Activities Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/23).  The aftermath of the massacre at the “Dark Knight Rises” showing in Aurora, Colorado; the severe penalties levied against Penn State in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal; Syria’s political instability and threat to use weapons of mass destruction; and ongoing concerns over the debt of some European nations and the effect on world financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, July 23, 2012

| July 23, 2012

Aurora Tragedy Sparks and Challenges Talk Radio.  There are few events that news/talk radio programmers in the age of cutbacks fear more than a major story that captures the entire nation’s consciousness breaking on a weekend when their stations’ key stars are off and brokered or syndicated “how-to” shows are on.  The Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre came very close to being such a story, except that it technically broke on a Friday morning, giving weekday hosts the opportunity to at least address it in the early stages of information being available and programmers a full day to organize a weekend strategy.  This type of blood-chilling, high-drama story takes days to develop as information slowly disseminates amidst knee-jerk speculation, leaving a number of news/talk outlets incapable of fully diving into it on a Saturday and Sunday when personnel is at a minimum and “regular” programming takes a break from core stationality.   Regardless, the industry has had all too many unfortunate chances to learn from this problem in recent years and according to TALKERS monitors across the country and conversations with programmers, there was a far better state of readiness to appropriately handle the Aurora tragedy than for similar instances in the past.  Initial reports indicate that the main topics and debates being fueled by this mega-story are gun control, violence in entertainment, and the relationship between mental illness and crime.  There has also been strong interest in talking about appropriate parenting prompted by the fact that a child and an infant were in attendance at the midnight movie.  As an example of news/talk radio taking control of this situation, Salem Radio Networks VP of programming, Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “On SRN News, we gave the shooting priority coverage — including three hours of Special Reports — and we are featuring perspective from Murphy Wells, a KNUS, Denver reporter who is part of the local morning show at KNUS with studios in Aurora. Also Larry O’Connor, editor-in-chief of Breitbart.TV guest-hosted a special edition of the Hugh Hewitt show on Friday from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET focusing exclusively on the deaths and injuries in the shootings.”   At WGN, Chicago, program director Bill White tells TALKERS, “On Friday Jonathon Brandmeierlead with the story throughout his morning show after it broke during our live overnight show.  Jonathon spoke with witnesses who were in the multiplex when the shooting occurred and authorities from Aurora, and he actually confirmed the death count to 12 before most media outlets.  He also took calls from Chicago and throughout the Midwest as listeners coped with the tragic news.”  In Boston at Greater Media‘s WTKK, program director Grace Blazer says the station was live and local from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm both Friday and Saturday.  “We ran the important new conferences from Denver with President Obama and Mitt Romney.  We spoke with reporters live from Denver plus local experts such as Jack Levin, Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Northeastern University and author of several mass murder books, and Ty Burr, film critic from the Boston Globe, who discussed violence in the Batman movies.  On Saturday, Paul Ferrazzani, a registered instructor from the Firearm Safety Academy in Medford, Massachusetts gave listeners the inside scoop on our gun statutes.”

Fox Sports Radio and Mile High Sports Remember Colorado Shooting Victim.  By now, most of us who work in the media are aware that one of the victims of Thursday’s movie-theater shootings was a young woman named Jessica Ghawi who had just missed being a potential victim of a similar shooting in Toronto in June.  The San Antonio native had interned at Lincoln Financial Media’s KKFN, Denver earlier this year and was due to speak with Mile High Sports Magazine editor-in-chief Doug Ottewill about her sports media career the next day.  On Friday, Mile High Sports and Fox Sports Radio talk host Peter Burns spoke with Fox Sports Radio’s “Loose Cannons” about Jessica.  Burns told the program’s listeners, “Her mom told me early this morning, ‘I want you to talk as much as you can.  Celebrate everything that Jessica did, and celebrate everything that these victims did.’  And I’m glad that you guys are giving me the time to celebrate that and talk about how amazing of a person she is, rather than giving a minute or 30 seconds to this coward that did this.”  Burns recounted how Ghawi wanted to set up a charity to help the victims of the Colorado wildfires and was working toward that goal when her life ended tragically on Thursday night.

Cox Media Group Realigns Corporate Management to Fit New TV Signals and Announces Radio and TV Properties to Be Sold.  Twenty-seven radio signals in six markets are going on the block as Cox Media Group announces a realignment of its business strategy that will include the sale of several TV operations and some corporate officer changes to dovetail with the recent acquisition of several TV stations.  The only spoken-word format up for sale is the new sports talk FM WZNN, Birmingham that had been part of the Paul Finebuam-Cumulus contract dispute that’s since been settled.  The rest of the signals are music FMs and AMs or ethnic outlets in Birmingham, Alabama; Greenville, South Carolina; Hawaii; Louisville, Kentucky; Richmond, Virginia; and Southern Connecticut.  There are five TV signals in four cities going on the market.  As to the corporate structure changes, former group VP Kim Guthrie is named Cox’s new senior vice president responsible for radio markets, and former Austin American-Statesman publisher Jane Williams is the company’s new senior vice president responsible for TV markets, both reporting to Bill Hoffman, EVP over broadcast.  Other additional leadership changes effective immediately include: former group VP Rich Reis who becomes VP and GM of digital operations reporting to EVP Neil Johnston; former group VP Ben Reed is now VP and market manager of Atlanta radio reporting to Kim Guthrie; former group VP Jay O’Connor, as previously announced, is the new VP and GM at KIRO-TV, Seattle.  EVP Mike Joseph continues to oversee CMG’s newspaper operations and CMG Ohio.   Cox Media Group president Doug Franklin states, “This simplified structure will enable CMG to capitalize on continued growth and synergies, while retaining its size financially.  All of our media outlets, regardless of size, are valuable, profitable brands with strong futures thanks to the hard work and dedication of our talented professionals who serve their audiences, advertisers and communities.  We thank the leaders and employees in the locations we’re selling for their outstanding contributions to this company over the years and the valuable service they will continue to provide their respective communities.”

Cuts Hit St. Paul-Based American Public Media.  MinnPost.com’s David Brauer reports 10 employees of the St. Paul, Minnesota public radio company American Public Media are being let go as the organization deals with the changes in the contemporary media business.  Brauer reports engineer Rick “Scooter” Hebzynski, public relations staffer Christina Schmitt and digital archivist Jenel Farrell are three of the casualties and that Current.org is saying “Marketplace” D.C. chief John Dimsdale also is being let go.  Minnesota Public Radio CEO John McTaggart writes to staffers in a memo: “There’s no question today’s constantly changing media landscape presents challenges, but we at APM also see opportunities.  The changes we are making today are really about APM’s future and help to position us for future audience service and growth.  We are reorganizing around two key areas: content and development.  We are aligning our priorities to focus on two main divisions that create value for our audiences and cultivate vital relationships with our members, donors and funders.  The result is a more streamlined organization design that gives us a strong footing as we look ahead.”  To that end McTaggart announces MPR COO Dave Kansas leads the content division SVP and chief development officer Randi Yoder heads up the development division.

Longtime KFI, Los Angeles Traffic Reporter Recovering After Crash.  Los Angeles traffic reporter Mike Nolan suffered fractured ribs and a broken collar bone in the Friday evening crash of a Cessna single engine plane he was piloting near the Corona Municipal Airport.  KFI’s Neil Saavedra tells the Los Angeles Times Nolan was flying with a student and family friend – who was not seriously injured – when the crash occurred in Riverside County.  Saavedra tells the paper Nolan – a KFI employee since the mid-1980s – had more than 40 years of experience as a pilot.  He was headed home to land in time to take off again for his two last traffic newscasts when the accident took place.  The plane lost power and hit electricity lines.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  WTKK, Boston talk host Doug Meehan is broadcasting live from Camp Harbor View this Thursday morning to help raise awareness and funds for the special camp that offers hundreds of children who live in Boston’s at-risk neighborhoods the opportunity to have fun and learn at summer camp.  Thursday’s broadcast will feature coverage of the camp’s 5k road race event…..WFAS, Westchester, New York talk host Lisa Wexler, whose program airs live on the station from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm daily, will have her show re-broadcast  from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm daily beginning tonight.  WFAS GM Marty Sheehan says, “We are very proud of all that Lisa has accomplished in the short time she has been with us.  We want to meet the demand to hear more of Lisa and introduce more of our audience to her show.”…..Sports USA is making the Little League World Series U.S. Championship and International Championship games available to radio stations across the country.  The games are being played the weekend of August 25 and 26.  Ad sales are being handled by Skyview Networks.

Sirius About Fantasy Football.  Sports talk hosts and celebrities invaded the Hard Rock Café in New York City’s Times Square over the weekend for SiriusXM’s Celebrity Fantasy Football Draft broadcast.  In addition to SiriusXM talk hosts Steve Phillips, Jay Thomas, Scott Ferrall, Steve Covino and Rich Davis, celebrities including actor George Wendt, guitarist Zakk Wylde and Jaguars running back Maurice Drew-Jones took part in the promotion.  Pictured here are DirecTV/Premiere Networks talk hosts Nick Di Paolo and Artie Lange who also took part.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

| June 5, 2012

Neal Boortz Announces Retirement from Daily Talk Radio; Hermain Cain to Take Over WSB and Syndicated Shows.  Yesterday’s bombshell was a surprise to the talk media industry as 42-year talk veteran and legend Neal Boortz announced he will retire from the radio business on January 18, 2013.  In a joint statement from Cox Media and Dial Global – also aired on Boortz’s flagship WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta – Boortz said, “Believe me, this wasn’t a decision I made lightly.  I love this business and everything it has afforded me.  I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to be doing my talk show for 42 years.  I’ll certainly miss the listeners and callers; but most of all I’ll miss my radio family, executive producer Belinda Skelton and researcher Cristina Gonzalez.”  WSB says Herman Cain, who previously hosted the evening show on WSB before running for president, will take over the slot on WSB and will launch his own nationally syndicated talk show on January 21, 2013.  Cox Media Atlanta VP and market manager Dan Kearney says Boortz will continue to record his daily rants that will air several times a day on WSB. Dial Global SVP/GM of news and talk Amy Bolton says, “Neal’s fearless wit and intellect made him phenomenally successful.  It has been terrific working with such a tremendous talent all these years.  He will be missed, but his successor couldn’t be more perfect.  Herman has the experienced radio chops and is a bona fide media and political personality with a huge loyal following.  We look forward to a seamless transition and continued success with our affiliates and advertisers for many years to come.”

Two Former Governors to Speak at New Media Seminar/NYC.  In an interesting turn of ironic symmetry, two former governors – one a Republican, the other a Democrat — who have gone on to become major talk show hosts, will appear and speak at the sold-out New Media Seminar in New York City this Thursday, June 7.  Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, now nationally syndicated on radio by Cumulus Media and presented on cable by Fox News Channel, is scheduled to deliver a special address discussing his evolution from presidential politics to talk media and his take on the nature of public discourse in America.  Former New York Governor David Paterson, now heard daily in the Big Apple afternoons on Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, will make an appearance at the NMS Freedom of Speech Luncheon where he will greet attendees to the Empire State and discuss the important role of community service in radio.  To see the complete New Media Seminar agenda click here.  For information call 413-565-5413.

NRG Media Adds Another Sports Talker to the Omaha Market.  The success of its existing “Zone” brand of sports talk on KOZN 1620 and the market’s hunger for more sports is the reason NRG Media is adding more sports with the flip of talk KOIL at 1180 AM to sports as “Zone 2.” Operations manager Neil Nelkin states, “We have enjoyed such enormous success with our Zone brand with our local and national sports programming that we needed to expand the brand even further to fill the market’s need. With the Zone 2 on the air, we will now be able to offer even more local college play-by-play with powerful local franchises such as Creighton University, the Storm Chasers, special broadcast coverage of 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London featuring 1620 The Zone’s Kevin Kugler, and play-by-play of the Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals.” Zone 2 will carry programming from Yahoo! Sports Radio as well as DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio‘s Dan Patrick.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason will be honored with the 2012 National Radio Award at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas on Friday, September 21…..The progressive political convention Netroots Nation will take over SiriusXM‘s Left channel on Saturday, June 9 will air live programming from the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment‘s WGY-AM/FM, Albany takes three New York State Associated Press Awards: for Best Regularly Scheduled News Program, Best Spot News (Hurricane Irene Coverage) and Best Enterprise Reporting (Halloween Sex Offender Enforcement). The station also received special mention for Best News Special (Clear View public affairs program), Best Spot News (August Earthquake Coverage), and General Excellence in Use of Medium (Halloween Sex Offender Enforcement)…..Sports USA announces its full lineup of college football play-by-play broadcasts available for the coming 2012 season that begins with Boise State vs. Michigan State on August 31. Sports USA president Larry Kahn says this is the company’s 12th season presenting the “College Football Game of the Week.”…..Lincoln Financial Media promotes Donna Mairs from regional sales manager to national sales manager for its South Florida operations. Mairs will represent sports WAXY, Miami among other stations in South Florida…..Journal Communications names Jason R. Graham vice president and corporate controller.

2012 Presidential Race, Sinking Global Financial Markets, Wisconsin Recall Election, and Jerry Sandusky Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/4).  The 2012 campaign for president; tepid jobs and manufacturing data plus the Euro Zone instability and their impact on the global financial markets; the Wisconsin recall election of Republican Governor Scott Walker; and the start of the Jerry Sandusky trial were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Only You.  That’s Las Vegas-based syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (r) with Sonny Turner of the Platters (l). Dr. Wachs tells TALKERS that Sonny and she met up at a convention center in Vegas where she was emceeing at an event for the Corner4Success Foundation that benefits community outreach programs including the Girls Club. Turner is a fan of hers and Daliah says she and he will sing together at a future event – a dream of hers!

Monday, May 21, 2012

| May 21, 2012

The State of News in News/Talk Radio.  The rise of digital news sources, today’s quickening news cycle and the economic realities of our times are forcing news/talk radio stations to evaluate their news product and adapt to continue to serve their listeners.  In a feature story by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey, some of today’s top news/talk programmers speak on the record about their news philosophy, how they are integrating digital tools, news as a cume builder, the relationship between news and talk and their thoughts on the state of journalism.   Read this feature piece here.

NOW-Organized Protest of Rush Limbaugh at WMAL, Washington Fizzles.  The National Organization for Women-sponsored “Enough Rush” campaign got off to an ignominious start outside the studios of affiliate WMAL, Washington, DC Friday, May 18 as just seven protesters marched.  As reported by Fox News, NOW announced the campaign against the Premiere Networks talk radio superstar in April and has partnered with Media Matters for America to target affiliate stations and their advertisers.  Friday’s event in DC was part of a national protest scheduled for that day.  Reports of substantial protests at other Limbaugh affiliate stations have not surfaced.

Cox Media Offers to End Paul Finebaum Issue with Contract Buyout.  The Birmingham Business Journal is reporting that Cox Media – which put sports talk outlet WZNN-FM, Birmingham on the air last September – is again offering to buy out sports talk host Paul Finebaum’s contract with Cumulus Media and its WJOX-FM, Birmingham.  Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the ongoing legal battle between Cumulus and Finebaum that goes back to when the station was part of the Citadel group.  Finebaum’s popular sports talk show has been based at WJOX-FM and regionally syndicated.  While Cumulus would probably like to stop paying legal fees in the ongoing dispute, it may not want to have Finebaum working for a competing station in the market – at least not right away – however it’s likely he’ll end up working there eventually.  There’s no response yet from Cumulus on the offer.

RAB Reports Radio Revenue Up 1% in First Quarter of 2012.  The Radio Advertising Bureau issued a report on Friday, May 18 concluding advertising revenue for all of radio was up 1% for the first quarter of 2012 – the third consecutive Q1 increase – for total revenue of $3.814 billion.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Q1 2012 results confirm that radio commands a solid position in brands’ total marketing plans.  While advertisers continue to capitalize on radio’s spot and network efficiencies, they’re increasingly utilizing local digital capabilities and audience engagement that this medium affords.”  From a category standpoint, spot revenue was flat, network was up 8%, digital rose 10%, and off-air was up 3% for Q1 in 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  WXKS, Boston – Talk Radio 1200 – morning drive talk host Jeff Katz wins two Associated Press Awards – one for “Best Talk Show in Boston” and the other for “Best Public Affairs Broadcast” for his special remote from the Fisher House in Boston…..Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager co-hosts CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report” alongside Brian Sullivan tonight at 7:00 pm ET.  SRN states, “With the just-launched IPO for Facebook as well as the unfolding 2012 battle between Mitt Romney and President Obama, Dennis Prager brings his unique background as a talk radio host, author, lecturer and societal observer to CNBC in what will surely be an eye-opening experience for ‘Kudlow Report’ viewers!”…..SiriusXM announces veteran soccer commentator and former player and coach Ray Hudson will host ‘The Football Show’ alongside fellow soccer experts Charlie Stillitano, Neil Barnett and John Harkes.  Hudson has been a commentator for Gol TV since 2004 and is widely known for his elaborate and excitable play-calling style.  Also from SiriusXM, three-time SEC Coach of the Year Houston Nutt has joined SiriusXM as an analyst on its 24/7 college sports channel.  Nutt will host multiple shows each week on SiriusXM College Sports Nation including ‘College Sports Today’ with Mark Packer and ‘College Football Playbook’ with Jack Arute…..Former WGNU, St. Louis talk host Leonardo Drisdel was found guilty of the 2005 murder of Cassandra Kovack on Friday.  He’ll be sentenced on June 29.

Clark Howard to Help Break Ground for New Home for Joplin Tornado Victims.  Cox Media syndicated talk show host Clark Howard heads to Joplin, Missouri tomorrow along with a team of his listeners to break ground on a new home for a family that lost its home to last spring’s tornado that hit the city.  Howard will broadcast his Tuesday program live from the build site to recognize the one-year anniversary of the tornado.  Clark Howard is funding the Joplin home himself.  However, he joined forces with Cox’s KRMG, Tulsa to promote the build and KRMG even had advertisers chip in for a storm shelter for the house and due to the listeners’ overwhelming support for the build in Joplin, they teamed with Clark to build a home in Tulsa this past weekend.  The home is being funded by monies raised by listeners and Howard.  He says, “I love Habitat for Humanity because it is a hand up and not a hand out.  Homeowners have to meet strict qualification guidelines and put in hundreds of hours of sweat equity to build their own home and other Habitat homes.  It is not a free house.  It is a low-cost mortgage.”

Vic “The Brick” Jacobs Rides the Zamboni at L.A. Kings Game.  Yes, that’s Fox Sports Radio sports talk host Vic “The Brick” Jacobs – of the network’s “Loose Cannons” show – on the zamboni during last Thursday’s L.A. Kings NHL playoff game.  In addition to being at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the game, Jacobs (decked out in his Kings jersey and crown) did a post-game interview with Kings rookie Dwight King who scored the winning goal.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

| May 15, 2012

Power-Packed Agenda Set for New Media Seminar June 7.  According to TALKERS magazine VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “In all the years we have been presenting radio industry conferences, I do not remember one quite like this in which so many outstanding speakers were packed into a single day’s event.  Our innovative model designed for an economically challenging era seems to be striking a very positive chord.  The New York City installment of 2012’s bi-coastal conference is only a few days away from being sold out.”  More than 60 industry leaders will address the key issues facing talk media between 9:00 am to 6:30 pm on Thursday, June 7 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  For registration and sponsorship information for this industry-only event call 413-565-5413.  To see the agenda click here.

Rush Limbaugh Named “Famous Missourian”; Choice Irks State Democrats.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians yesterday in a closed ceremony at the state capitol in Jefferson City.  A bronze bust of the talk host was unveiled during the event.  State Democrats were disturbed by the ceremony that was not announced until 20 minutes prior to it beginning.  It took place in the chambers of the House of Representatives and Democrats were not allowed in.  Missouri House Speaker Steven Tilley told the Kansas City Star the ceremony was closed because of the controversy and so that Limbaugh and his family could attend and be “treated respectfully.”  Democrats were not invited because earlier they signed a letter protesting the induction.  In a speech at the induction Limbaugh stated, “This is something I never, ever thought would happen to me…I want to express my deep gratitude. I’m exceptionally proud to accept this honor, and really very humbled.”  Limbaugh joins the ranks of such famous Missourians as Mark TwainHarry Truman and Dred Scott.

Dial Global’s Dennis Miller to Perform with Adam Carolla in November.  Nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller had comedian, TV star and podcaster Adam Carolla on his program yesterday (5/14) and the two announced they will perform live on stage together at the City National Grove in Anaheim on November 16.  Miller tells Carolla, “You know what I think about the way your mind works – it’s genius.”  In addition to his radio program, Dennis Miller has been doing live performances with Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly on their “Bolder and Fresher Tour 2012.”  The duo recently performed at New York City’s Town Hall.

Anniversary Bash.  Journal Broadcasting’s KQTH-FM, Tucson – 104.1 The Truth – celebrated its fifth anniversary on Saturday, May 12 at the Casino Del Sol Resort.  Program director Ryan McCredden tells TALKERS, “The listeners, speakers, staff and sponsor response to the event was tremendous and we’re looking forward to another five great years of ‘The Truth’ in Tucson!”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Author and townhall.com writer Katie Pavlich, Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock, author and commentator S.E. Cupp, Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle, KQTH-FM morning host Jon Justice and midday host James T. Harris.

New York Festivals Announces 2012 Radio Program and Promotion Awards World’s Best Radio Programs Finalists.  The New York Festivals breaks down the entries by country.  For the United States among commercial talk broadcasters, ESPN Radio is named a finalist in the Best Human Interest Story and Best Investigative Reporting categories.  “The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap” is a finalist for Best Regularly Scheduled Sports Program.  SiriusXM’sHoward Stern is a finalist for Best Special Event.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFBK, Sacramento is a finalist in the Health/Medical category.  Winners will be honored at a gala awards ceremony on June 18 at New York City’s Manhattan Penthouse.  See the entire slate of finalists here.

 

Compass Media Networks Names Booth Talent for Baseball Broadcasts.  For its 25 broadcasts of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim games Compass Media Networks recently announced it would distribute, the company has named its game coverage talent.  Former New York Mets general manager and current SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio morning host Steve Phillipswill be analyst for the broadcasts.  Others, whose appearance on the broadcasts will be determined by travel schedule and other commitments, include play-by-play announcers Chris Carrino and Steve Quis and analyst and former MLB player and executive Darryl Hamilton.

CBS Radio’s Stacie Schmidt Moves from Las Vegas to Cleveland.  Stacie Schmidt currently serves as director of marketing for CBS Radio’s Las Vegas cluster that includes news/talk KXNT-AM/FM.  She’s moving back to her home town of Cleveland to take the integrated sales and marketing position at CBS Radio’s cluster there that includes sports WKRK-FM – 92.3 the Fan.

Obama Newsweek Cover, 2012 Presidential Race, Euro Zone Hangs in Balance, JP Morgan Chase Loss and California Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/14).  The “first gay president”Newsweek cover; the 2012 presidential race; the future of the euro zone as countries threaten to leave; the $2 billion loss at JP Morgan Chase; and California’s enormous debt problem were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Brooklyn in the House.  Sure, it’s easy to get supermodel and actress Brooklyn Decker to visit your radio show when hubby Andy Roddick is co-host of the program.  Decker is pictured here in the Fox Sports Radio studios with husband and tennis great Andy Roddick (c) and radio personality Bobby Bones (l).  The “Roddick and Bones” show airs on weekends on the FSRN.  During the interview Decker promoted her two new films, “Battleship” and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” both being released on May 18.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

| March 19, 2012

Power-Packed Agenda Set for New Media Seminar June 7.  According to TALKERS magazine VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “In all the years we have been presenting radio industry conferences, I do not remember one quite like this in which so many outstanding speakers were packed into a single day’s event.  Our innovative model designed for an economically challenging era seems to be striking a very positive chord.  The New York City installment of 2012’s bi-coastal conference is only a few days away from being sold out.”  More than 60 industry leaders will address the key issues facing talk media between 9:00 am to 6:30 pm on Thursday, June 7 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  For registration and sponsorship information for this industry-only event call 413-565-5413.  To see the agenda click here.

Rush Limbaugh Named “Famous Missourian”; Choice Irks State Democrats.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians yesterday in a closed ceremony at the state capitol in Jefferson City.  A bronze bust of the talk host was unveiled during the event.  State Democrats were disturbed by the ceremony that was not announced until 20 minutes prior to it beginning.  It took place in the chambers of the House of Representatives and Democrats were not allowed in.  Missouri House Speaker Steven Tilley told the Kansas City Star the ceremony was closed because of the controversy and so that Limbaugh and his family could attend and be “treated respectfully.”  Democrats were not invited because earlier they signed a letter protesting the induction.  In a speech at the induction Limbaugh stated, “This is something I never, ever thought would happen to me…I want to express my deep gratitude. I’m exceptionally proud to accept this honor, and really very humbled.”  Limbaugh joins the ranks of such famous Missourians as Mark Twain, Harry Truman and Dred Scott.

Dial Global’s Dennis Miller to Perform with Adam Carolla in November.  Nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller had comedian, TV star and podcaster Adam Carolla on his program yesterday (5/14) and the two announced they will perform live on stage together at the City National Grove in Anaheim on November 16.  Miller tells Carolla, “You know what I think about the way your mind works – it’s genius.”  In addition to his radio program, Dennis Miller has been doing live performances with Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly on their “Bolder and Fresher Tour 2012.”  The duo recently performed at New York City’s Town Hall.

Anniversary Bash.  Journal Broadcasting’s KQTH-FM, Tucson – 104.1 The Truth – celebrated its fifth anniversary on Saturday, May 19 at the Casino Del Sol Resort.  Program director Ryan McCredden tells TALKERS, “The listeners, speakers, staff and sponsor response to the event was tremendous and we’re looking forward to another five great years of ‘The Truth’ in Tucson!”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Author and townhall.com writer Katie Pavlich, Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock, author and commentator S.E. Cupp, Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle, KQTH-FM morning host Jon Justice and midday host James T. Harris.

New York Festivals Announces 2012 Radio Program and Promotion Awards World’s Best Radio Programs Finalists.  The New York Festivals breaks down the entries by country.  For the United States among commercial talk broadcasters, ESPN Radio is named a finalist in the Best Human Interest Story and Best Investigative Reporting categories.  “The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap” is a finalist for Best Regularly Scheduled Sports Program.  SiriusXM’s Howard Stern is a finalist for Best Special Event.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFBK, Sacramento is a finalist in the Health/Medical category.  Winners will be honored at a gala awards ceremony on June 18 at New York City’s Manhattan Penthouse.  See the entire slate of finalists here.

 

Compass Media Networks Names Booth Talent for Baseball Broadcasts.  For its 25 broadcasts of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim games Compass Media Networks recently announced it would distribute, the company has named its game coverage talent.  Former New York Mets general manager and current SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio morning host Steve Phillips will be analyst for the broadcasts.  Others, whose appearance on the broadcasts will be determined by travel schedule and other commitments, include play-by-play announcers Chris Carrino and Steve Quis and analyst and former MLB player and executive Darryl Hamilton.

CBS Radio’s Stacie Schmidt Moves from Las Vegas to Cleveland.  Stacie Schmidt currently serves as director of marketing for CBS Radio’s Las Vegas cluster that includes news/talk KXNT-AM/FM.  She’s moving back to her home town of Cleveland to take the integrated sales and marketing position at CBS Radio’s cluster there that includes sports WKRK-FM – 92.3 the Fan.

Obama Newsweek Cover, 2012 Presidential Race, Euro Zone Hangs in Balance, JP Morgan Chase Loss and California Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/14).  The “first gay president” Newsweek cover; the 2012 presidential race; the future of the euro zone as countries threaten to leave; the $2 billion loss at JP Morgan Chase; and California’s enormous debt problem were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Brooklyn in the House.  Sure, it’s easy to get supermodel and actress Brooklyn Decker to visit your radio show when hubby Andy Roddick is co-host of the program.  Decker is pictured here in the Fox Sports Radio studios with husband and tennis great Andy Roddick (c) and radio personality Bobby Bones (l).  The “Roddick and Bones” show airs on weekends on the FSRN.  During the interview Decker promoted her two new films, “Battleship” and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” both being released on May 18.

Friday, March 16, 2012

| March 16, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

| February 29, 2012

KFI, Los Angeles Management Meets with Black Activists; Promises Plan to Address Staff Diversity.  KFI, Los Angeles afternoon drive duo John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou returned to the air this week after a seven-day suspension for insensitive language about Whitney HoustonClear Channel Los Angeles management – as well as John and Ken themselves – met with a group of black activists to discuss the situation and, according to the Los Angeles Times, KFI is promising to devise a plan to address the station’s lack of diversity.  Activist Jasmyne Cannick tells the paper, “KFI has 14 shows, and 13 of them are hosted by white men.  There are no blacks in their newsroom.  This fosters an environment where insensitive comments like this can happen.  And they are not living up to Clear Channel’s statement of a commitment to diversity.”  Management didn’t speak to the Times but local activist Najee Ali seems convinced the station is sincere about addressing their concerns.  The Times quotes him saying, “The station pledged to make substantive changes in diversity.  They are trying to build a bridge.  John and Ken really want to put this behind them and move forward.  Their voices are needed in Southern California and they have done some good things.  We can’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.”

Entercom Reports 7% Drop in Revenue in 2011 Q4; FM Flips a Factor.  During a conference call yesterday announcing Entercom Communications’ financial numbers for the fourth quarter of 2011, CEO David Field referred to his company’s station portfolio as having gone through some pretty big changes in the last 12 months with seven format changes – three in two of the company’s biggest markets.  Of course he’s talking about blowing up San Francisco’s country KBWF-FM to create that market’s FM sports talk outlet as well as the changes in Boston to give sports WEEI an FM signal.  Also, news/talker KMBZ, Kansas City and WBEN, Buffalo were given FM signals at the expense of music FMs.  All this means an immediate loss of revenue that the company hopes will be paid back in time.  In a statement, Field said, “These moves significantly enhance our future growth potential and are expected to contribute positively to revenue growth commencing in the second quarter.  However, they diluted our fourth quarter revenues by 4%.  Excluding political and stations reformatted in 2011, fourth quarter revenues were flat.  We are optimistic on 2012 growth, bolstered by improving economic conditions, accelerating performance from newly reformatted stations and political advertising.  And we are highly encouraged by strong industry fundamentals as innovation accelerates, audience usage trends remain outstanding and radio remains the most cost-effective major advertising medium.”

MSNBC Beats CNN in February Prime Time Ratings.  CNN has been working to re-tool its programming to gain back some of the viewers it has been losing but the cable news/talk channel was not able to pull out a victory over competitor MSNBC in February despite the intense GOP primary election  season – including a Republican debate – and the death of Whitney Houston.  According to TVWeek, MSNBC averaged 988,000 total viewers during prime time in February to CNN’s 804,000.

Schnitt Happens in Detroit.  Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is pictured here in the studios at affiliate station WXYT, Detroit broadcasting live on Tuesday (2/28) as Michigan Republicans went to the polls to vote in the primary election.  Detroit was one of Schnitt’s key stops on the road to the Republican National Convention which will take place in Tampa the week of August 27.  Schnitt’s program is based at WFLA, Tampa from which he will bring his listeners a full-access pass.

Cumulus Media Networks Touts Affiliation Surge for “Red Eye Radio.”  Since changing the tone of the program through the merger of “Red Eye Radio” with the “Midnight Radio Network” hosted by Eric Harley and Gary McNamara, Cumulus Media Networks reports it has added 22 new affiliates to the station’s roster.  With major market O&Os WLS, Chicago and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington leading the pack, the network also reports stations including KCMO, Kansas City; WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence; WGOW-FM, Chattanooga; and KKOB, Albuquerque have picked up the overnight talk show.

WDBO, Orlando Brings Mel Robbins Aboard for Live Midday Show.  Cox Media Group’s WDBO, Orlando notes it will be the first time in 11 years the station will have a local weekday talk host when Mel Robbins takes over the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot, bumping Dial Global’s Clark Howard to the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am shift.  Robbins hosts the A&E cable show “Monster in Law” and worked for five years as a public defender in Manhattan.  The station says when Robbins isn’t doing her radio show or filming for TV she “travels around the country on speaking engagements for Fortune 500 companies.  Robbins has appeared with Dr. Phil discussing her life coaching skills and is a regular on Anderson Cooper’s daytime program, ABC’s ‘Good Morning America,’ a bestselling author, and more.”  Robbins’ program will originate from her rural Massachusetts farm but will make frequent trips to Orlando.

Cumulus Gives Myrtle Beach Sports FM Better Signal; Splits AM Simulcast Off.  Cumulus Media Group is moving 93.9 The Team (WJXY-FM) to the 100.3 dial position currently occupied by CHR i100.3 (WSEA-FM) beginning March 5.  There are programming changes as well.  The station becomes ESPN Radio 100.3 and takes the ESPN programming with it as well as the local PM drive show hosted by Aaron Marks.  He’s the sports director and will be charged with programming the station.  The other change is the AM simulcast on WHSC splits off and becomes Fox Sports Radio 1050.  That station will air DirecTV/Premiere NetworksDan Patrick live, Premiere’s Jim Rome, Fox Sports Radio programming and play-by-play sports including minor league baseball.  WJXY-FM is in a trust to be sold.  It’s still unclear if Cumulus will simply move the CHR format over to 93.9 while that signal is on the market.  Aaron Marks says of the moves, “We are thrilled with the addition of Fox Sports Radio to our cluster of stations.  If there has been one complaint about our station I have heard since I started here last July, it is that Dan Patrick is a great show but doesn’t sound good unless it runs live.  The additional station will also allow us to provide the proper coverage to all of our local and regional colleges and professional teams. Every team can have a place to call home for all of their games and we’ll be able to add even more play-by-play than ever before at the high school, college, and pro level.”

Salem Radio Network Talk Star Mike Gallagher Broadcasts Live from WHK, Cleveland.  In the wake of the tragic deaths of three high school students in the Cleveland suburb of Chardon, Mike Gallagher traveled to Salem Communications’ O&O WHK, Cleveland to broadcast his program live from the area on Tuesday.  Gallagher railed against the news that the suspected shooter was bullied.  “That’s ridiculous, in my view, to go down this path, of suggesting that bullying is somehow to blame.  It might be part of the story, it might be part of the narrative.  It might be factual.  This kid’s some freak, who’s a goth who acts weird and is anti-social and he’s gonna get picked on.  Well, welcome to the real world…please don’t pretend that the kids who can’t handle it, who say they’re bullied, and therefore have to go get a gun and blow kids brains out somehow aren’t evil.  That IS evil.  E-v-i-l.  They are evil monsters who frankly ought to be executed for what they’ve done.  This kid ought to face the death penalty for his cold-blooded acts of violence.”

Business TalkRadio Network Announces New Daily Schedule.  Beginning March 5, Business TalkRadio Network adjusts its afternoon schedule with the addition of “The Big Biz Show” with Bob “Sully” Sullivan airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET; “Catalyst Radio Show” from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm; and the Tom O’Brien show from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  President and CEO Michael Metter states, “Sometimes in life things work out for a reason and this is truly one of those reasons.  We are proud about Bob ‘Sully’ Sullivan coming back to BTRN and even more so that he is anchoring our midday block.  With ‘Catalyst Radio’ our partners will truly embrace this Superman of the business world along with Tom O’Brien, a seasoned pro in the financial world.  You’ve seen them on many of the national television news outlets now experience them on your radio stations through Business TalkRadio Network.”

Virginia Tech and WJFK-FM, Washington Renew Multi-Year Deal.  CBS Radio’s Washington, DC sports talk outlet WJFK-FM and Virginia Tech IMG Sports Network strike a deal that will see Hokies football and men’s basketball play-by-play on the station’s schedule through the 2014-15 season.  The deal also includes airing of the weekly “Tech Talk Live” show featuring the school’s football and basketball coaches.

Ohio School Shooting Fatalities Grow, GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Rising Gas Prices, and Government Waste Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/28).  The fatal Ohio high school shooting; the Michigan and Arizona primaries and the larger 2012 presidential race; rising gas prices and Iran’s role; and the new report of redundant government programs and the money they are wasting were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Dave Ramsey Helps Celebrate 90 Years for WOR, New York.  Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey broadcast his program live from the Big Apple on February 27 – the first day his show aired live on WOR, New York’s program lineup.  WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “Rarely in life, even as broadcasters, do we get the opportunity to affect the lives of many in one fell swoop.  Well, WOR is doing just that by airing the advice and wisdom of the great Dave Ramsey daily, in our coveted 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot on 710am.  At a time when the entire Tri-State area is stressed and in need of help with their finances, WOR comes to the rescue with Dave’s sage knowledge and direction which can, and has, changed the lives of many for the positive.  We are blessed to have him.”  While there, Ramsey helped WOR celebrate its 90th anniversary on the air.  Pictured here (from l-r) are WOR personalities Joe Bartlett, Dr. Joy Browne, Ramsey, Joan Hamburg and Dave Spencer.

 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

| February 23, 2012

Hot Rumor!  Dial Global’s Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz are cooperating to deliver a one-two punch of top progressive talk radio.  TALKERS columnist Mona Lipschitz reports her sources indicate two of the industry’s biggest progressive talk radio hosts – both syndicated by Dial Global and currently distributed live at the same time – are agreeing to be heard live back-to-back in order to give affiliates six straight hours of quality lib talk!  Read more here.

 

Non-Com WAMU-FM, Washington News Director Resigns on Principle.  Depending on whom you ask, former WAMU-FM, Washington news director Jim Asendio is either a very principled journalist or a relic of the past.  Asendio resigned from the popular public radio station as news director after learning that some of his reporters were to attend a get-together with high-profile donors and he was expected to attend as well.  Asendio tells the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple that, after learning about the “major station event” and indicating to management that he would not attend because it broke down the “firewall” between the journalistic and the business aspects of operating the station, he was told his refusal would signal he was not part of the team and that would be a problem.  Instead, Asendio chose to resign his position.  Licensee American University has no comment on the matter and Asendio says he wishes his newsroom “all the success.”

Opinion:  When it Comes to Ethnic Slurs, Just Don’t Go There.  In his latest column, TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer writes that American broadcasting standards are changing.  Anyone who is on the air or writes for broadcast has to be especially aware of and sensitive to words and phrases that can be interpreted as ethnic slurs.  As the recent cases involving sports media giant ESPN and New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin and KFI, Los Angeles’ John and Ken and the death of Whitney Houston illustrate, there are no more excuses for not “getting it.”  Read more here.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Premiere Networks’ Delilah, Fox Sports Radio’s Deb Carson and Greater Media’s Sheri Lynch Among 2012 Gracie Award Winners.  The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces the 2012 national winners of the 37th Annual Gracie Awards to be presented on May 22 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.  The Gracies recognize “exemplary programming created for women, by women and about women in all facets of media and entertainment, as well as individuals who have made contributions to the industry.  The awards program also encourages the realistic and multifaceted portrayal of women in entertainment, news, features and other programs.”  MSNBC star Rachel Maddow is being recognized in the “Outstanding Host – News/Non-Fiction” category.  Premiere Networks late-night radio host Delilah is named the winner in the “Outstanding Host – Entertainment/Information” category.  Fox Sports Radio national sports anchor Deb Carson wins for “Outstanding Reporter/Correspondent.”  Greater Media Charlotte-based talk host Sheri Lynch (of the Bob & Sheri show) wins for the Sheri Lynch Commencement Address in the “Outstanding Talk Show – Entertainment/Information” category.

Legendary Actress Hosting South Florida Talk Show.  Show biz star Jo Ann Pflug – you probably remember her from her role as Lt. Maria “Dish” Schneider in the movie M*A*S*H – hosts a weekend talk show on Seaview Radio based at WSVU, North Palm Beach, Florida.  Her unique show on this standards station targets the demo beautifully.  TALKERS columnist Mona Lipschitz writes about Ms. Pflug’s show, and the station, in her latest column here.

CKWX, Vancouver Traffic Reporter Bruce Williams Dies Unexpectedly.  Bruce Williams was a longtime traffic reporter and air personality at Rogers Media’s CKWX, Vancouver BC.  He had been treated for colon cancer in 2010 but recovered quickly and returned to work at News 1130.  Station program director Treena Wood states, “We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to Bruce’s family at this difficult time, and our hearts and thoughts are with them.”  Vice president and general manager Geoff Poulton said, “Bruce will be remembered for his humility and as the first to lend a hand.  He was the calm voice of reason for the afternoon commute, and will be deeply missed by all the entire Rogers Radio family and his loyal listeners.”

SRN’s Dennis Prager Does Live Event in Torrance, California on Sunday.  The Salem Radio Network talk show host will appear at the James Armstrong Theater in Torrance, California on Sunday, February 26 to deliver a presentation titled, “Happiness is not a feeling: It’s a moral obligation.”  The event is produced by the Torrance Cultural Arts Foundation and sponsored locally by Toyota Motor Sales USA.  TCAF promotes Dennis Prager’s presentation stating, “One of America’s most popular speakers, Dennis Prager is truly a 21st century Renaissance Man.  He’s a syndicated columnist and radio show host, bestselling author, a classical-music conductor, even a respected authority on morality, religion and happiness.  Dennis comes to the Armstrong for another of his entertaining and enlightening speeches… reminding us that Happiness is not a feeling: It’s a moral obligation.”

GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Syria Violence Claims Journalists, Afghanistan Protests, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, and Rising Gas Prices Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/22).  The looming Michigan and Arizona GOP primaries and last night’s Republican debate in Phoenix; the ongoing violence in Syria and the deaths of two journalists there; continuing protests in Afghanistan over the desecration of a Koran at a U.S. military base; Iran’s nuclear ambitions; and rising gas prices in the United States were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

| January 5, 2012

Compass Media Networks to Open New Marketing Division; Continues Relationship with Dial Global.  In a major, two-pronged announcement Compass Media Networks announces it is launching a national ad sales firm called Compass Media Marketing – an advertising representation firm for the audio industry.  CEO and founder Peter Kosann built Compass Media Networks three years ago as a programming and distribution company.  He says they now see a similar opportunity for a sales rep firm “leveraging on our brand, relationships, and expertise.”  Kosann continues, “We are extremely excited to build a focused advertising sales organization that can work hand-and-glove with program suppliers to help them maximize their advertising sales by, in turn, super-serving the advertiser.”  Kosann says they will announce a full roster of programs and networks shortly and they have signed an agreement with Dial Global under which Dial Global will provide Compass Media Marketing with support systems and marketing services.  At the same time, Compass enters into a long-term relationship with Dial Global to continue representing the company’s programming – including entertainment-talk shows “Free Beer & Hot Wings,” the Lars Larson show, Norman Goldman and Schnitt Show plus services and short-form reports as well as Compass’ sports play-by-play that includes college basketball, college football, NFL Doubleheaders and Compass’ presentation of the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders Radio Networks.  Kosann says, “Dial Global has done a tremendous job for us and we are extremely appreciative of their hard work and support.”

Tom Leykis to Begin Internet Talk Show in April.  Radio personality Tom Leykis is being paid by CBS Radio not to do a talk show since the company blew up hot talk KLSX-FM, Los Angeles in February of 2009.  Now, with that agreement to end in April, Leykis tells the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan he’s set to debut his new talk program on April 2.  But, as Leykis tells Lycan, it seems unlikely he will appear on any terrestrial stations – the show will be available only through digital means.  He says, “I’ve had my tires kicked over the last few months and I am having a hard time getting excited about joining in on the non-stop ‘Obamacare’ or all-politics talk formats that currently exist.”  TALKERS readers know Leykis has not been idle during his talk show exile.  He’s told TALKERS TV and New Media Seminar attendees about his New Normal venture that’s currently distributing music and other talk via the internet.  New Normal will be the company that owns and operates his new talk program as well.  Leykis says, “There will be a 24/7 stream devoted to the show.  We will do it live for anywhere from 2 to 5 hours every weekday, followed by continuous replays until the next show.  Apps such as TuneIn, Windows Media Player, Winamp, WunderRadio, even iTunes will receive the show.  PCs, Macs, iPads and all Android tablets, all smartphones and WiFi enabled vehicles.  All you need to listen will be found at www.blowmeuptom.com.”

Analysis: Holland Cooke on Social Media Research, Radio and the Auto, and Multi-Platform Use.  McVay/Cook & Associates news/talk specialist Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS from the recent Arbitron Client Conference on several topics: He cites recent research into effective ways radio stations can use social media – and pitfalls to avoid; plus how one of the most important demographics – women running households with children – use Facebook and other social media.  He reports significant data on media use in the automobile and explains how multi-platform media usage is a boon for those who do it right.  Cooke distills the info-packed Abritron event in this easy-to-read piece here.

Rob “T-Man” Tepper Named Fox Sports Radio Evening Co-Host.  Longtime Seattle radio personality Rob “T-Man” Tepper begins co-hosting Fox Sports Radio Network’s 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET “Fox Sports Tonight” program alongside former baseball great Rob Dibble on January 9.  Tepper says, “Being on the air in more than 200 cities across the country on ‘Fox Sports Tonight’ is very exciting.  I’m hoping my crazy personality can add to what Rob Dibble is starting to build.  I can’t wait to get started.”  Tepper hosted the AM drive show on CHR KUBE-FM, Seattle for 14 years.  Recently he’s been doing fill-in work at Fox Sports Radio.

Clear Channel Houston Tweaks AM Talk Lineups; Matt Patrick Adds More Air Time.  Beginning Monday, January 9, talk host Michael Berry will be heard exclusively on KTRH, Houston while KTRH morning co-host Matt Patrick will also do a show on sister crosstown talker KPRC.  Berry keeps his 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show on KTRH but drops his 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm KPRC show and instead will host the 8:00 am to 11:00 am show on KTRH.  He replaces Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck who moves over to KPRC in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot.  Meanwhile, “KTRH Morning News” co-host Matt Patrick adds the KPRC 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm show to his duties.  To make room for Beck on KPRC, Dave Garfield moves his show to the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot which knocks Outlaw Dave to the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm time slot.  Whew!

Entercom’s WGR, Buffalo Grabs Bills Play-by-Play.  The NFL’s Buffalo Bills have been heard on Cumulus Media’s classic rock WGRF-FM and active rock WDGE-FM for the past several years.  After Cumulus exited the negotiating table Entercom swooped in and is nabbing Bills play-by-play for sports WGR as well as the Rochester market’s sports WROC and classic rock WCMF-FM.  Entercom Buffalo VP/GM Greg Ried says, “With our 24/7 WGR 550 AM Sports station, partnering with the Bills and adding them to our lineup complements our other programming, enhances the experience for loyal fans and attracts new listeners.  Big-time sports on a big-time sports station is what listeners expect and the Bills certainly help provide all of that.”

Former KTAR, Phoenix Host and Wife Found Dead in Apparent Double Suicide.  Bill Heywood and his wife Susan were found dead in a motel room in Scottsdale, Arizona yesterday (1/4) in what authorities say is a double suicide.  A note was found in the room and although police are not stating the specific content of the note, it points to suicide.  KTAR is reporting that longtime market personality Pat McMahon saw Heywood at a recent holiday party and learned of Susan’s illness which he said was more serious than he had previously realized.  Reports in local media indicate the couple had been dealing with financial problems as well.  Heywood hosted the morning show on KTAR and crosstown KFYI for many years.

Bubba the Love Sponge Re-Signs with Cox to Remain on Terrestrial Radio.  After pursuing other options – including talking to Clear Channel, the company that fired him in 2005 – Bubba the Love Sponge inks a three-year deal to stick with Cox Media Group’s WHPT-FM, Tampa Bay – “The Bone” – as his home base.  The show is regionally syndicated to stations in Fort Myers, Florida and Charleston, South Carolina.  In a statement, Bubba says, “After weighing my options and much consideration, I am happy to return to The Bone.  Cox believed in me when no one else did and I am excited to return the love.  I have a great relationship with local management and The Bone will remain my home in Tampa Bay.”

Cumulus Media Names Two to Affiliate Sales Positions.  Cumulus Media announces Marcella Turk is the new VP of affiliate sales in the Dallas offices where she’ll manage affiliate sales for the entertainment products and the company’s 24/7 formats.  In New York, Nick DeGregorio is appointed affiliate sales director where he’ll be in charge of affiliations for production libraries as well as special projects.  Both Turk and DeGregorio most recently worked at Westwood One/Dial Global.

Santorum Surge and Bachman Suspends, Obama Administration Defense Strategy, L.A. Arson Case and Iran Military Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/4).  The surge of GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum and the suspension of Michele Bachmann’s campaign, the Obama Administration’s soon-to-be announced new U.S. defense strategy, the bizarre Los Angeles arson case and Iran’s continued military saber-rattling were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

| January 4, 2012

Don Martin Interviewed on TALKERS TV.  He is one of the most influential management figures in sports talk radio.  Don Martin wears both national and local feathers in his sports cap serving as vice president/general manager of Fox Sports Radio and general manager/program director of sports talk KLAC, Los AngelesTALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian caught up with Martin at the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (10/20/11) and interviewed him about the state of sports talk radio including the local and national perspectives, where to find new talent and the importance of stations having play-by-play associations with a popular sports franchise.  Martin also discusses the impact that the PPM is having on the sports talk genre saying that it is showing the format in a positive light.  According to Martin, sports talk radio is one area of the talk media world that is less impacted by these difficult times than most.  He credits the fact that so many talented hosts are out of work as providing a vibrant talent pool from which to pick when openings come and points to the continual crop of retiring athletes as being another source of potential sports talk broadcasters.   Check out this must see video in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.

KSFO, San Francisco Makes Program Changes; Melanie Morgan Returns to AM Drive and J.D. Hayworth Takes Over Late Mornings.  Almost four years after exiting the AM drive show she co-hosted with Lee Rodgers, Melanie Morgan is back on the Cumulus Media station alongside morning host Brian Sussman.  KSFO program director Paul Hosley states, “We’re thrilled to have Melanie back on KSFO.  She’s very popular with listeners and we’re looking forward to her many contributions on the revamped morning show.”  Cumulus fills the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot vacated by Rush Limbaugh when the Premiere Networks star moved across town to Clear Channel’s new KKSF with former Arizona congressman KFYI, Phoenix talk host J.D. Hayworth.  Hayworth says of his new gig, “As a ‘recovering’ Congressman, I’ll ‘pull back the curtains’ and explain why politicians do the things they do.  With the help of KSFO listeners, we’ll endeavor to provide common sense and clarity in these challenging and confusing times.”

Bob Lonsberry to Host Local Show for Clear Channel’s WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse.  Bob Lonsberry tells the Syracuse Post-Standard he’ll make his new show local for Syracuse listeners even though he’ll be a commuter from his home market of Rochester where he hosts the midday show on WHAM.  Lonsberry takes over the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program beginning January 9.  The shift was formerly held by Jim Reith who exited the station at the end of October.  Lonsberry tells the paper, “I want something that literally speaks to a Syracuse listener, is representative of them and is a service to them.”  Lonsberry will lead into WSYR-AM/FM’s 5:00 pm news-oriented  “Daily Wrap with Joe Galuski and Kevin Schenk.”

Gene Burns to Begin KKSF, San Francisco Show Next Week After Apparent Health Issues.  The new lineup at Clear Channel’s KKSF, San Francisco began this week but former KGO talk host Gene Burns was missing in action.  Numerous reports in the media trades cite a mini-stroke suffered by Burns as the reason he’s not on the air.  However, Bay Area blogger Rich Lieberman reports that Burns did not suffer a stroke of any kind, that he has another unspecified medical condition and is expected to be on the radio next week.

WXOS-FM, St. Louis Tweaks Lineup; Former Cardinal Chris Duncan Moves to PM Drive.  Hubbard Radio’s 101 ESPN (WXOS-FM) moves former St. Louis Cardinals star Chris Duncan from his role on the evening show to “The Fast Lane” PM drive program where he’ll work alongside Randy Karraker and D’Marco FarrBob Ramsey, who had been part of the “Fast Lane” show, moves to the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show with co-host Brian Stull for the newly named “Stully & Rammer” show.  Ramsey also maintains his role as voice of the St. Louis Billikens calling St. Louis University men’s basketball games on the station.  Program director Kent Sterling states, “We are excited to put Chris Duncan on ‘The Fast Lane.’  He is a unique communicator with an incredible work ethic, and a great guy.  He has lived a life in the eye of the sports hurricane and he speaks with an authority that is captivating.  Media is all about finding great communicators and Chris is one of the most gifted in America.”

CBS Radio Announces Debut of DC All-News Outlet.  CBS Radio’s all-news WNEW-FM, Washington will hit the airwaves on January 19 and will feature the following talent lineup: Bill Rehkopf and Amy Morris in AM drive, Jenny Glick and Chas Henry in middays, Evan Haning and Nancy Lyons in PM drive, and Sarah Jacobs and Cheryl Simone in evenings.  Program director Robert Sanchez says of the new station, “We are very excited to have put together such a great group of professionals who have spent many years covering local and national news.  Each brings a specialty to WNEW creating a great team which will deliver important and compelling news that matters to local residents.  When Washington needs to know, this team will have them covered.”

Rob Williams New OM/PD at WQRT, Cincinnati; New PM Drive Show Debuts.  The Florence, Kentucky-licensed talk station owned by Christian Broadcasting System Ltd. names former Clear Channel programmer Rob Williams operations manager and program director for “Real Talk 1160” – WQRT.  Williams replaces Cary Pall.  At the same time, as talk host Andy Furman begins his new position hosting morning drive on the Fox Sports Radio Network, he leaves WQRT and makes way for “The Other Guys” afternoon sports talk show featuring Fox Sports Ohio’s Jeff Piecoro, former producer and co-host of the Furman show Rick “the Brick” Wall, and Metro NetworksJeremy “J-Lance” Lance.

Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions, Fracking-Related Earthquakes and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/3).  The GOP Iowa Caucuses held yesterday, Iran’s nuclear ambitions and warnings to the U.S. about carriers in the region, reports of earthquakes in Northeastern Ohio thought to be related to oil and gas fracking and the first financial markets activity of the new year were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Mona Lipschitz Debuts New Column.  Full of gossip, rumors, personal asides and unbridled opinion about the industry and the people in it, Mona Lipschitz debuts her new column “Straight from The Lip” today at Talkers.com.  In it she offers some keen insights about recent changes at Merlin Media and Cumulus Media as well as some pointed advice for Anderson Cooper.  Mona has been the news editor of TALKERS magazine for the past 21 years and she knows where all the bodies are buried in this business.  Let the dishing begin!  To read the first installment of “Straight from The Lip,” click here.

Monday, December 5, 2011

| December 5, 2011

“Johnny B” Takes Over Mornings on WGN.  Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago announces Chicago radio legend Jonathon Brandmeier replaces Greg Jarrett as host of the morning drive program effective December 9.  WGN vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “Jonathon Brandmeier is a Chicago superstar and we’re thrilled to have him on the air at the station where he belongs.  Johnny’s high energy, humor and unique Chicago experience make him an exceptional fit as ‘The Voice of Chicago’ evolves with another generation of listeners.”  Brandmeier had a successful 14-year career at WLUP-AM/FM but in 1997 the station made a change and he worked at WCKG-FM, Chicago before moving to Los Angeles to host programs at KLSX-FM and KCBS-FM.  He returned to WLUP-FM to host mornings from 2005 through 2009.  He’s also hosted various television projects and recorded numerous music/comedy projects.  The change in mornings at WGN and the ousting of Jarrett represents another move away from the programming brought to the station under the leadership of former Tribune CEO Randy Michaels and the PD he brought to WGN, Kevin Metheny.  Jarrett moved to WGN in June of 2009 after spending more than eight years at KGO, San Francisco in the news department.  WGN notes changes in the news department includes news anchor Steve Bertrand moving to mornings with Brandmeier and Jim Gudas shifting to middays/afternoons.   While Chicagoans may welcome the return of Johnny B to the radio, some will be upset with the replacement of husband-and-wife team Steve King and Johnnie Putman in the 12:00 midnight to 5:30 am slot with Bill Leff.  King has been with WGN for more than 25 years and Johnnie almost as long.

Clear Channel and Cumulus Partner Up for Two-Pronged Deal.  The New York Times is reporting that Clear Channel and Cumulus – the two largest radio operators in America – have struck a deal that will give Cumulus spots for its SweetJack daily-deals program on Clear Channel radio stations and that will put Cumulus radio stations on CC’s iHeartRadio platform.  Cumulus has SweetJack operating in 16 markets with plans to expand.  Recently, Clear Channel struck a deal to work with daily-deals operator LivingSocial.  Under the terms of the deal, all 570 Cumulus stations in 120 markets will be available on the iHeartRadio platform.  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman is quoted saying the deal provides “one more data point that proves radio is not a laggard, that we do see the future, and that we’re moving toward it in a smart and fast way.”  SweetJack was created by Cumulus in April and has local market salespeople working in all 16 markets.  Cumulus reports it has approximately 1 million users at this time.  Clear Channel and Cumulus have a revenue-sharing deal for SweetJack.  Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey says of the service, “SweetJack is our exciting new social commerce platform.  It’s a break-through brand in a sea of sameness that’s fueled by the power of radio to connect local merchants with consumers.  This agreement with Clear Channel enables us to scale SweetJack into a true nationwide platform which we believe is essential to competing successfully in this rapidly growing space.”

KGO, San Francisco Update: Peter Finch and Doug McIntyre in for Nights.  In the wake of last week’s blockbuster news of the dismissal of four of its longtime talk hosts for a more news-intensive program schedule comes the news that former KFOG-FM, San Francisco morning host Peter Finch is the new 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm news anchor and Doug McIntyre’s “Red Eye Radio” is in for the 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am slot.  McIntyre’s show is a Cumulus Media Networks production and costs the station nothing – in fact, it gives the company a nice San Francisco affiliate.

Kevin Straley Joins TuneIn as VP of Programming.  The former XM Satellite Radio and WRKO, Boston programmer becomes vice president of programming for the free service that allows users to listen to music, sports and news from around the world.  Kevin Straley – who most recently was founder and president of KMS Media Partners – will work with audio content distributors to optimize their digital strategies.  TuneIn CEO John Donham states, “We’re thrilled to welcome Kevin Straley to the TuneIn executive team.  His track record of building strategic relationships and working with audio partners in innovative ways will help us take the company to the next level.”  TuneIn describes itself as a service that “offers over 50,000 AM, FM, HD and internet radio stations and more than one million on-demand shows and programs streaming from every continent.  The company’s mobile applications are highly ranked worldwide.  TuneIn is available in 10 languages across all major smart phones and tablets, connected home stereos, smart TVs, connected automobiles and online at tunein.com.  Straley says, “Now, more than ever, audio content creators are looking for complimentary platforms to deliver their content to the growing audience that embraces digital…TuneIn is a powerful way to drive new listening and new opportunities for everyone.”

New Host for KLAC’s “Dodger Talk” Program Expected.  The Los Angeles Daily News reports Josh Suchon and Joe Block will not be retained to host the “Dodger Talk” post-game show as the Dodgers transition to Clear Channel’s KLAC, Los Angeles this season.  The Daily NewsTom Hoffarth reports former big league manager Kevin Kennedy is likely to be the new host of the show for the 2012 season.  Kennedy is a Fox Sports baseball analyst.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Launches “Holiday Giving Campaign.”  The 60-year-old foundation that provides aid to broadcasters and their families in need, is kicking off its “Holiday Giving Campaign” encouraging donations and memberships at this time of year.  BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo says, “The sole purpose of the Broadcasters Foundation is to provide financial relief to broadcasters in need.  Through the generous support of individuals and corporations in our industry, we can maintain the ability to help colleagues whose lives have been devastated by unthinkable circumstances.  I ask every broadcaster to consider making a donation or becoming a member.”  This year the foundation will grant more than $675,000 in assistance – an increase of 35% over last year with more requests arriving daily.  Current recipients include the family of a 20-year broadcast veteran who died of a sudden massive stroke, leaving two children and a wife who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis; an elderly couple who have outlived their savings and are saddled with enormous medical costs; and a man who in the prime of his life and at the peak of his career became paralyzed by a tragic accident that has left him confined to a wheel chair.  To make a donation, please visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org, or call 212-373-8250.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

| November 9, 2011

Courtside Entertainment Delivers Blockbuster O’ Reilly Special.  Bill O’Reilly’s “National Radio Election Town Hall” scored big Monday night on 169 top talk stations including WOR, New York; WPHT, Philadelphia; KLIF, Dallas; WTKK-FM, Boston; and WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta.  This marked the first radio special from Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group in the post-Westwood One era. The program featured O’Reilly’s live interviews with all of the major Republican presidential candidates, listener calls and a straw poll taken during the program.  The results showed #1 Herman Cain, #2 Newt Gingrich, #3 Mitt Romney, all tightly bunched at the top.  Courtside managing partner Norm Pattiz tells TALKERS, “It’s great to kick off our programming boutique with Bill O’Reilly doing a show of this caliber.  I’m also happy to be working with the folks at Dial Global who distributed the show.”  Courtside also owns and produces “Loveline” and is launching the “One Minute Clinic” with Dr. Drew Pinsky, which is already airing in New York and Chicago.  Norm Pattiz’s special address at the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum was a huge hit as radio professionals remain fascinated by his colorful history and extraordinary contributions to the business model of modern syndication.  In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Few people have shaped the radio business in the past 35 years like Norm Pattiz.  Even though he has stated that Courtside Entertainment is not designed to be another Westwood One – but simply a vehicle with which he can remain involved in radio and dabble in projects of special interest to him – we should all pay close attention to this latest endeavor of the master.  If this O’ Reilly project is indicative of things to come, we can expect Courtside Entertainment to be an influential force for positive industry growth and innovation.”

Dial Global and CBS News Renew “The Osgood File” Deal.  Dial Global and CBS News agree to an extension of their deal to distribute Charles Osgood’s “The Osgood File” to radio stations across the country.  The feature is heard four times daily on some 350 stations including in all of the top 25 markets.  Dial Global co-CEOs Spencer Brown, David Landau and Ken Williams comment, “Charles Osgood is a true media icon and it is our privilege to deliver his legendary voice to millions of radio listeners each day.  More than a valuable asset to Dial Global’s advertisers and affiliates, Charles Osgood is an asset to American journalism and we are proud to continue our partnership.”

KLAC, Los Angeles Honors American Service Personnel with Radio-thon.  AM570 Fox Sports Los Angeles (KLAC) is broadcasting its fourth annual commercial-free radio-thon and online auction to benefit the Paralyzed Veterans of America in honor of Veteran’s Day on Friday.  The broadcast takes place today (11/9) from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm PT on the station and special guests will include NFL great Eric Dickerson, Dodgers first baseman James Loney, Lakers guard Shannon Brown and NBA Hall-of-Famer James Worthy.  The station’s goal is to raise $120,000 for the PVA.  KLAC general manager Don Martin states, “This is a chance to give back to our family members, friends, neighbors and fellow Americans who have become paralyzed while fighting for our freedoms.  This is our way of giving thanks for their ultimate sacrifice.”

Cumulus Providence Stations Host Fundraising Luncheon for Female Veterans Facility.  News/talk WPRO & 99.7 FM in Providence (along with its sister music FMs) is hosting the inaugural Women’s Warrior Luncheon on Veterans Day on Friday to raise funds for the operation of the Holly Charette House.  Marine Lance Corporal Holly Charette was killed in action at age 21 while serving in Anbar province, Iraq.  She was the seventh Rhode Islander and the first Rhode Island woman to give her life in duty to her country in Iraq.  She was nicknamed “The Marine Who Brings Good News” for her cheery, positive spirit and military occupation as a mail carrier.  She had been assigned to checkpoints in Fallujah where she and a group of fellow Marines were struck by a suicide bomber on June 23, 2005 while returning to their base.  The Holly Charette House, located in Johnston, Rhode Island, was named in her memory and is a home that provides transitional housing for in-need female veterans.  WPRO program director Paul Giammarco says, “The Holly Charette House will forever be a reminder of our need to honor our returning woman heroines, and that freedom isn’t free.  WPRO is incredibly proud and humbled to be associated with such a worthy and noble event and we look forward to supporting the Holly Charette House and this event for years to come.”

Penn State Abuse Scandal, Euro Zone Stability/Berlusconi Resigns, Herman Cain Assault Accusations and Obama-Sarkozy Live Mic Incident Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/8).  The explosion of accusations of sexual abuse of young boys by a former Penn State football coach, the Euro Zone economic stability and the resignation of Italy’s Berlusconi, Herman Cain’s campaign and the sexual assault accusations against him plus Obama’s and Sarkozy’s griping about Netanyahu while unknowingly on live mics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Sedano Sandwich.  That’s WAXY, Miami morning drive host Jorge Sedano squished between pro wrestling legends Shawn Michaels (l) and Triple H (r).  The duo were in Miami at WAXY promoting the coming “Wrestlemania 28″ which will be broadcast from Miami in April of 2012.

Friday, October 7, 2011

| October 7, 2011

KFI, Los Angeles Cancels Meeting with Immigrant Rights Group.  Clear Channel Los Angeles market manager Greg Ashlock tells the Los Angeles Times he canceled a meeting with heads of regional immigrants’ rights advocacy groups because their request to meet became an ultimatum that John & Ken be fired.  The groups became upset after KFI PM drive hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou gave the cell phone number of activist Jorge-Mario Cabrera over the air telling listeners to let him know how they feel about his support for California legislation called ‘The Dream Act’ that would provide educational financial assistance to illegal aliens.  Cabrera says he received more than 400 phone calls – some very angry and filled with foul language.  KFI management had initially agreed to meet with activist leader to discuss the issue but Ashlock tells the Times, “I’m more than happy to sit down with anybody who has a concern and talk it out but we’re not going to be held hostage to demands that are outlandish.”  Leaders of the groups say they will boycott the John & Ken show.

Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix to Debut New Local Show.  Yesterday we told you Premiere’s Glenn Beck was joining the lineup at Clear Channel’s crosstown KFYI.  That’s because he’s leaving KTAR-FM and Bonneville responds by getting back to “its old roots” with an “all-local-news daytime focus.”  The Karie & Chuck show hits the air later this month in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot featuring 20-year KTAR staffer Karie Dozer and market sports talk personality Chuck Powell.  Powell and on-air partner Vince Marotta have been hosting the AM drive show at Sandusky’s sports KDUS since January.  Powell, Marotta and sales pro Lee Rosenthal formed GOAT Media Group to create, produce and sell the program to the station.  Powell is wrapping up that deal before joining KTAR-FM.  Bonneville Phoenix VP for news and sports content Ryan Hatch says of the new show, “The chemistry between Karie and Chuck is off the charts.  They are two distinct, smart and fun personalities who bring unique perspectives from their life experiences.  This show will connect emotionally and intellectually with our audience in a meaningful, relatable way.”  The new program is described as being “built around conversations on current events and the biggest news stories of the day.  It features local and national news stories, political issues, pop culture and entertainment along with regular interviews with newsmakers.”

Willy Daunic Exits Cumulus’ WGFX-FM, Nashville.  Willy Daunic worked alongside longtime WGFX-FM PM drive host George Plaster since 2003 on “The Sports Zone” program.  Now, just a month after Plaster left the station, Daunic fails to come to contract terms on a renewal of his deal that expired August 31 and he exits.  The Tennessean reports Daunic says of his exit, “My time at 104.5 The Zone was the best eight years of my radio career.  The success that we’ve had and the fun that we’ve had is something I’ll always cherish.  Starting the show from scratch and seeing it build into what it is today was tremendously rewarding.”

Premiere Networks to Distribute DIRECTV’s “Nick and Artie Show.”  The sports/comedy program featuring comic personalities Artie Lange and Nick DiPaolo, being produced by DIRECTV and currently being streamed on the web is being offered to radio stations via Premiere Networks.  DIRECTV says a video simulcast of the program will be added to its Audience Network “next year.”  The program was developed over the summer with Lange and DiPaolo doing some sub work for the Tony Bruno show on Fox Sports Radio.  However, the program is not airing on Fox Sports Radio Network.  FSRN filled Tony Bruno’s old 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot with “Fox Sports Tonight” hosted by Mike North and Lincoln Kennedy.  The “Nick and Artie Show” also airs live in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am time slot.

NRG Omaha Adds Two Veteran AEs to its Sales Team.  NRG Media general sales manager Heather Gossett announces Omaha market sales pros Vickie Majorek and Kim Earl join the sales staff at its seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KKAR and sports KOZN.  Gossett states, “Vickie’s and Kim’s passion and love for radio makes them the problem solvers for clients in the Omaha Metro Area.  They never fail to make a difference in the life of a client and their business.  They strive to provide results in all that they do…it’s truly what makes the difference at NRG Media in Omaha.”

TALKERS Affiliation Roundup.  Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck joins KFYI, Phoenix for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot…..Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis picks up WVNJ, Oakland, New Jersey as an affiliate…..KCJJ, Iowa City signs United Stations Radio NetworksLex & Terry for middays at the station…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with Chris Markowski adds KNIF-FM, Boise…..The Dr. Dahlia show joins the Genesis Communications Network and picks up affiliates KBOZ, Bozeman, Montana; WSRJ, Traverse City, Michigan; WSRT, Petoskey, Michigan; and WGGH, Marion, Illinois…..“Gun Talk” with Tom Gresham is added to the program schedule at KZYM, Joplin, Missouri; WHUB, Cookeville, Tennessee; KVFC, Cortez, Colorado; KNPT, Newport, Oregon; and KBSZ, Apache Junction, Arizona…..Delta Media’s “Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds the program to affiliates WEBY, Milton/Pensacola, Florida; KJJR, Kalispell, Montana; and KWKC, Abilene, Texas…..“The Rose Hollywood Report” with Shannon Rose picks up CKTB, St. Catharines, Ontario.

Obama Jobs Bill/Economic Policy Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 3-7.  President Obama’s jobs bill and his administration’s economic policy was the topic that landed at the top of the Talkers TenTM this week.  According to ongoing research from TALKERS, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests were the #2 story of the week.  The 2012 presidential race was #3 and coming in at #4 was the European economic jitters and the strike and violence in Greece.  The Talkers TenTM is published weekly at Talkers.com.  To view the week’s entire chart, click on the banner below.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

| September 13, 2011

Atlanta Drops Two Positions in Arbitron Market Rank to #9; Philly and DC Move Up.  Arbitron announced the Fall 2011 update of its market ranks based on populations changes compared to the Fall 2010 survey.  Atlanta’s loss of population drops it to #9 with Philadelphia and Washington, DC moving up one position to market numbers 7 and 8 respectively.  Other market moves of note include: San Antonio moves up three positions to market #28;  San Jose drops three positions to market #37; and Jacksonville loses four positions to end up at market #50.  Arbitron created a brand new metro called the Hudson Valley consisting of several counties just north of New York City that ranks #39.  It also added additional counties to a number of metros causing big jumps.  Markets benefitting from those additions (with their new rank) are: New Orleans, #47; Des Moines, #73; Portland, Maine, #90; Corpus Christi, #111; Fort Smith, Arkansas, #160; Amarillo, Texas, #169; Bryan-College Station, Texas, #198; Jonesboro, Arkansas, #229; and Albany, Georgia, #241.

More Local Sports Talk at WXOS-FM, St. Louis.  Hubbard Broadcasting’s 101 ESPN (WXOS-FM) moves “The Late Shift” with Cliff Saunders to an earlier 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm airing and debuts a new 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm program on October 3 featuring former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Chris Duncan and station Cardinal’s insider Brian Stull.  According to the station, the addition of the “Stully & Duncan” show means the station offers 13 consecutive hours of live and local sports talk programming.  The new program and the time change of “The Late Shift” bumps ESPN Radio’s Brian Kenny show from the program schedule.  Program director Kent Sterling says, “This is a dynamic pairing of a respected sports radio host/journalist Brian Stull and the former professional athlete Chris Duncan, who until six months ago was known only as a former Cardinal.  Now, Chris Duncan is a radio host who has become a valuable member of the 101 ESPN team.  His analysis of all sports – not just baseball – has been a boon for us over the past Cardinals season and he has demonstrated a work ethic and sense of fun that has been a great addition to the 101 ESPN brand.”

Troy Aikman Adds Radio Appearances to His Duties.  The Fox Sports NFL broadcaster and Hall of Fame player begins weekly appearances on three major market sports talk stations through Fox Sports Radio.  Aikman appears on CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York with Mike Francesa in the 5:00 pm hour each Friday; on CBS Radio’s WSCR, Chicago with Mike Mulligan and Brian Hanley during the 8:00 am hour each Monday; and on Fox Sports Radio’s KLAC, Los Angeles-based Petros & Money program during the 5:00 pm hour each Tuesday.  Petros & Money is part of Fox Sports Radio’s lineup and is heard on some 245 affiliate stations across the country.

Harry Hurley Takes Morning Show to WENJ, Atlantic City.  Yes, WENJ is Townsquare Media’s ESPN-affiliated sports talk simulcast (WENJ-AM/FM) but Harry Hurley’s local news/talk show will air in morning drive on the AM side (1450) beginning in October after five years at crosstown WIBG.  Hurley tells The Press of Atlantic City, “The reasons I’m moving are because of the people I’ll be working with and the company I’ll be working for.”  Still, Hurley thanks WIBG owner Rick Brancadora for his time there and says, “I’ve learned to take nothing for granted.  You always earn it.  I’ve been lucky to have the most fiercely loyal listenership in radio. I’m confident they will move with me.”

Jim Walsh Returns to KFYR, Bismarck.  Walsh worked at the station in 2003 and 2004 and then went on to host programs at WILM, Wilmington and WASK, Lafayette, Indiana.  He takes over the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program at the Clear Channel station full time beginning September 19.  He replaces Scott Bachmeier who leaves his full-time gig at the station to focus on non-radio work but maintains his syndicated “Dakota Prairie Outdoors” program as well as the Friday afternoon “Energy Matters” program on KFYR.

Obama Jobs Bill, 9/11 Anniversary, and 2012 GOP Candidates Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/12).  Criticism and analysis of President Obama’s jobs creation bill, the 9/11 anniversary and the 2012 GOP candidates for president – including anticipation of last night’s debate on CNN – were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Mohawk Valley Talk Host Publishes History Book.  This is not a boring treatise on the history of a region.  Instead, WVTL, Amsterdam, New York morning host Bob Cudmore has taken more than 40 of the most interesting and unusual stories about people and places in the Mohawk Valley he’s culled over the years for his weekly column in the Daily Gazette and put them together in this new book, Stories from the Mohawk Valley: The Painted Rocks, the Good Benedict Arnold and More (Nero Publishing 2011).  Cudmore’s book includes tales about psychedelic philosopher Benjamin Paul Blood, actor Kirk Douglas, Fonda’s Queen Libby, “The Daiquiris” bandleader Alex Torres, controversial Amsterdam mayor Theron Akin, singer Arlene Fontana, banker Pasquale DiMezza and the unofficial Polish mayor of Amsterdam Michael J. Wytrwal.  Cudmore has a book signing scheduled for this Saturday.  Check out his website http://www.bobcudmore.com/

Friday, September 9, 2011

| September 9, 2011

How Is Talk Radio Handling the 9/11 Anniversary?  The 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011 is Sunday and – indicative of the important role those attacks and their aftermath have played in the programming of American news/talk stations over the past decade – many of these stations are treating this Sunday as if it were a weekday, with their top talent broadcasting live and special programming pre-empting the usual Sunday schedule.  Read on as talk radio programmers, content providers and talent express what this tragedy means to, not only the broadcast outlets, but to talk media’s P1’s and the genre’s practitioners.  More here.

Talk Media Mega-Star Sean Hannity Celebrates 10 Years in National Syndication.  Hannity began his foray into national syndication the day before September 11, 2001 and he went on to become an extremely important media figure broadcasting to a newly expanded audience in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks that would consume the American consciousness in the weeks and months that followed.  Initially syndicated via the old ABC Radio Networks and now by Premiere Networks, 10 years later Hannity’s show is heard on more than 500 stations across the country by more than 14 million listeners each week, according to the most recent ratings research from TALKERS (see that data here.).  In a statement, Sean Hannity says, “After 10 years in syndication and nearly 25 years on air, my love for radio continues to grow.  I’m grateful to be working with some of the best people in the business — from my staff, to affiliates, to my radio partners and sponsors; I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together.  Thank you to the listeners and fans who join me on this radio journey each day and help make this one of the best jobs in the world.”

Fox Sports Radio’s Pat O’Brien Featured in 9/11 TV Documentary.  The program is titled The Love We Make” and airs tomorrow (9/10) at 9:00 pm ET on Showtime.  It is a collaboration between Paul McCartney and filmmaker Albert Maysles.  Maysles followed McCartney around New York a month after the horrific attacks on the city, and Pat O’Brien interviews McCartney as part of the documentary.  McCartney was on a plane on the tarmac at LaGuardia preparing to take off when the first plane hit the World Trade Center.  O’Brien is co-host of FSR’s midday program “Loose Cannons” alongside Steve Hartman and Vic “The Brick” Jacobs.

WAXY, Miami Host Dan LeBatard’s TV Show Set at ESPN2.  The half-hour TV show that has been in development titled, “Dan LeBatard Is Highly Questionable,” finds its home from 4:00 to 4:30 pm ET on ESPN2 beginning Monday (9/12).  The development of a TV show for LeBatard – who is a regular fill-in host on ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” – was announced earlier this summer.  According to ESPN VP of production Marcia Keegan, LeBatard’s 72-year-old father Gonzalo LeBatard will also be part of the program.  She states, “Given the popularity of our afternoon lineup of discussion and debate shows, we know that our audience is drawn to accessible and engaging personalities so we expect Dan’s smart-yet-irreverent take on sports combined with the often diverting and occasionally thoroughly pointless interaction with his father to make for an oddly compelling program.  If nothing else, don’t say we never take chances.”  In addition to his radio and TV work, Le Batard is a columnist for the Miami Herald.

Tony Bruno Exits FSR; Mike North and Rob Dibble to Fill In.  Sports talk host Tony Bruno is leaving his “Into the Night” nationally syndicated sports talk show produced by DirectTV and airing on Fox Sports Radio Network to return to the air at Greater Media’s WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia in middays.  Filling in that shift on the network are Chicago-based sports talker Mike North and former Cincinnati Reds “nasty boy” Rob Dibble for the show “FSR Evenings” airing from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET.  North has been hosting a weekend show for FSR and Dibble has worked for ESPN and the Washington Nationals on the TV side.

WTKK-FM, Boston’s Doug Meehan Begins Segment Honoring First Responders.  Doug Meehan is debuting a new weekly segment on Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston called “First Responder Friday” that acknowledges the efforts of first responders in New England.  This segment – airing its debut at a time when first responders involved (and in too many cases killed) in the 9/11 attacks are being honored – according to the station “is a way of saying ‘thank you’ to the firefighters, police officers and emergency medical responders who make the necessary sacrifices to put other’s needs above their own.”  Meehan states, “I feel this is a unique opportunity to recognize those in our community who often go unrecognized for their service to the community on a daily basis.”  The first recipient of the First Responders Award will be today on Meehan’s program.  Then beginning October 7, Meehan’s show will honor an individual or group of first responders in the region.  Nominations are accepted by their community or chosen based on an event that affected the lives of individuals.

ESPN Combines TV Simulcasts of Radio Shows.  ESPN moves the “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” and “The Scott Van Pelt Show” from The U and ESPN2 respectively to its ESPNews where they’ll air back-to-back from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

President Obama’s Jobs Speech Most-Talked-About Topic on News/Talk Radio for Week of September 5-9.  President Obama’s much-anticipated speech to a joint session of Congress and the nation was #1 on the Talkers Ten™ chart of the top talk topics this week.  At #2 was Wednesday’s GOP candidate’s debate and the 2012 presidential election.   Following at #3 was financial markets activity and severe weather across the nation and its financial implications came in at #4.  The Talkers Ten™ is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View all 10 topics and the 10 most-talked-about people by clicking the banner below.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

| September 7, 2011

Larry King to Address Breakfast at “Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011.”  Some of the most important names in American talk radio will be assembling for six power-packed hours of give and take at what is aptly being described as a “new kind of industry gathering.”  Now the addition of one of the most legendary of the legends brings the roster of heavyweights over the top as Larry King signs on as the special breakfast speaker for “Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011.”  The first of its kind event is being presented by TALKERS in conjunction with the Los Angeles Press Club on Thursday, October 20 between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. Organizers report that as of 4:00 pm ET yesterday the free (including continental breakfast and lunch) mega-regional event has reached capacity for reservations.  However names of attendees will still be taken for a standby list on a first-come basis.  (The event is open only to members of the working media and press.)  Some 30 speakers have been recruited including keynoter Bill Handel, morning host of KFI, Los Angeles; and special guest solo speakers Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment; Don Barrett, publisher, LARadio.com; and Holland Cooke, consultant, McVay/Cook Media.  Moderators, panelists, presenters and introducers include (in alphabetical order):  Cliff Albert, KOGO, San Diego; Robin Bertolucci, KFI, Los Angeles; Kevin Casey, TALKERS; Chris Crump, Comrex Corporation; Skip Essick, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Charles Feldman, KNX, Los Angeles; Jessica Gillette, C. Crane Company; Michael Harrison, TALKERS; Roger Hedgecock, KOGO, San Diego/Radio America; Jason Insalaco, KFI, Los Angeles; Mike Kinosian, TALKERS; Tom Leykis, The New Normal; Don Martin, KLAC, Los Angeles/Fox Sports Radio; Doug McIntyre, KABC, Los Angeles/Citadel Media; John McMullen, Desert Radio Group, Palm Springs; Stephanie Miller, KTLK, Los Angeles/Dial Global; Bill Moran, Bill Moran & Associates; Patt Morrison, KPCC-FM, Los Angeles/Southern California Public Radio; John Phillips, KABC, Los Angeles; Josefa Salinas, Hot 92.3, Los Angeles; Jack Silver, KABC, Los Angeles; Dave Sniff, KFMB, San Diego; Doug Stephan, Stephan Multimedia; H. Leighton Steward, Plants Need CO2; Chuck Tyler, KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles; and Jeff Wasserman, Life Coach Media.  TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey states, “This event has taken off like a rocket. It is extremely gratifying to see so much interest in this new concept. Part of its charm and appeal is its intimacy.  That being said, if we don’t cut off registrations at this point we’ll have to move it from the Los Angeles Press Club at the Steve Allen Theater to the Staples Center.”  For further information, click here.

Cox Media Group Birmingham Makes Offer to Paul Finebaum.  Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum’s legal action against employer Citadel probably won’t be settled in the very near future, especially since recent attempts to settle the dispute out of court appear to have failed, but he may have a place to go if he leaves Citadel’s WJOX-FM.  The Birmingham Business Journal reports CMG Birmingham GM David DuBose has made an offer to Finebaum to join his new sports talk WZNN-FM should his separation from Citadel be legally executed.  Finebaum is in a battle with Citadel over compensation and contract language.  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman recently wrote about the case and you can read that here.  DuBose tells the Journal of the conditional offer, “Cox certainly is interested in Mr. Finebaum, but it is all contingent on his release from his existing contract or from a court order that his contract is no longer valid.”

Governor David Paterson Hits Ground Running on WOR, New York.  If local is the goal with the hiring of former New York Governor David Paterson on Buckley’s WOR, New York, he accomplished that yesterday.  He hosted the two candidates for former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s job on his first program after taking over for Steve Malzberg in the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot.  Bob Turner and David Weprin appeared for an in-studio debate.  Former Governor Eliot Spitzer and former NYPD and Los Angeles Police Department commissioner Bill Bratton also joined Paterson yesterday.

Salem Communications Announces October 3 Start for Steve Cochran on WIND, Chicago.  Longtime WGN, Chicago talk show host Steve Cochran – let go from the Tribune station in June of 2010 — will begin his 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm air shift on Salem’s crosstown WIND on October 3, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder.  Cochran’s joining the station was announced last month but a start date was not announced.  Cochran currently holds two air shifts at CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis – 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm – and Cochran says he’ll continue both but, obviously, something has to give with the 6:00 pm hour at KTRS.

Steve Gill Show Adds Local Hour to WLAC, Nashville Program.  The Steve Gill show is nationally syndicated via Radio America from its base at Clear Channel’s WLAC, Nashville from 5:00 am to 8:00 am.  Beginning Monday, September 12, the program adds the 8:00 am to 9:00 am hour on WLAC only.  Gill says, “We are thrilled to add an extra hour in morning drive that allows us to provide more local talk and listener interaction.   Additionally, we will continue to provide the A-list guests, commentary and remote broadcasts that we always have.  The combination of national impact and local availability to our affiliates is what sets us apart from other syndicated shows and we will provide more local emphasis in the Nashville and Middle Tennessee areas with the additional hour.”

Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean Gains Major Market Clearance.  Premiere’s “America Now” with Andy Dean clears WSB, Atlanta and 95.5 FM.  Prior to gaining national syndication through Premiere Networks, Dean hosted the nightly overnight program on the Cox Media Group station.  WSB, program director Pete Spriggs says, “Andy just breaks through.  He’s extremely smart and informed, but there’s also a great flippant sense of humor to go with all the incredible content.  You can’t stop listening.  His potential is really unlimited.”

Tony Bruno Returns to WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia.  Bruno left the midday show he co-hosted with Harry Mayes back in June to concentrate on his Fox Sports Radio syndicated late-night “Into the Night” show.  Now, WPEN-AM/FM announces Bruno returns to his place alongside Mayes (12:00 noon to 2:00 pm) on October 3.

 

Westwood One Snags Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald for National Broadcasts.  Westwood One spices up its pre-game show broadcasts with commitments from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald to appear for weekly interview segments with Jim Gray during NFL games.  Brady will appear weekly during Monday Night Football pre-game broadcasts and Fitzgerald will also make weekly appearances during broadcasts of select games.  Gray says, “We have the best quarterback and the best wide receiver in the NFL joining us now every week.  In fact, they could be the best two players in the league, period, and we will be the only ones to have them both on a regular basis.  I am looking forward to a great season.”

Arbitron Promotes Two.  Jon Miller is upped from his post as an embedded account manager for CBS Radio to director of programming services where he’ll be the primary resource for radio programmers.  Jenny Tsao moves from PPM market manager to programming and marketing operations manager where she’ll develop training content, presentations and studies to help Arbitron’s clients better understand and utilize the company’s services to make programming decisions.

Obama Jobs Plan, European Economic Turmoil and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/6).  President Obama’s plan to announce his jobs creation package before a joint session of Congress tomorrow, the uncertainty over European economic stability and the effect on U.S. financial markets were three of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

“Ay Dios Mio, FIU!” That’s former CNN personality Rick Sanchez in the booth as color analyst for Florida International University’s football broadcasts (from video posted on the Chicago Tribune’s website).  Sanchez is working the broadcasts without compensation (his two sons attend the school) but reviews of his initial performance were largely positive.  Some say he was a bit too exuberant in his praise of the home team but his knowledge of the game and professional broadcaster technique added to the broadcast.  He even came with his own catch-phrase for the game, “Ay dios mio, FIU,” which translates to, “Oh, my God, FIU!”  FIU has a large number of students of Hispanic heritage.

 

Friday, September 2, 2011

| September 2, 2011

Steve Malzberg Out; Former Governor David Paterson Named WOR, New York PM Drive Host.  Citing a desire to be locally focused, WOR, New York ousts Steve Malzberg from the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program and brings former Governor David Paterson in to host the show.  WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “During his frequent stints as a fill-in host on WOR, Governor David Paterson proved to be a favorite with our listeners throughout the tri-state area.  He was the obvious choice to be the man behind the microphone as we extend our locally focused drive-time programming to the afternoon.”  Paterson is a confessed “radio junkie” states WOR program director Scott Lakefield.  “He is truly a fan of the medium.”  Malzberg is the second conservative talk show host to leave the station within the past year.  Premiere Networks host Glenn Beck exited the station at the beginning of the year.  But Lakefield tells TALKERS that from a positioning standpoint, there’s nothing to read into this move.  “This is all about our belief in David Paterson.”  He says of Malzberg, “Steve is a fine broadcaster and we have the utmost respect for him.”  Since leaving the governor’s mansion, Paterson has done some fill in work at sports WFAN among other New York radio outlets.  He begins his new show Tuesday, September 6.   As for Steve Malzberg, he writes on his website, “I am extremely proud of the four years in PM drive there.  I could not have imagined the great success, which came very quickly. (Not entirely true, I knew we would rock!) I wish my successor David Paterson all the best.  Please understand that this is not the end of the Steve Malzberg show, just a detour on the road to a better and bigger forum for all of us.”  Malzberg is available for fill-in work.  Contact Frank Murphy at 732-741-5456.

Norm Pattiz Set as Special Guest Speaker at “Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011.”   What began as a “Who’s Who” of talk radio people in Southern California has blossomed into a “Who’s Who of Broadcasters in America” as Norman J. Pattiz, CEO of Courtside Entertainment and legendary founder of Westwood One joins the amazing roster of speakers set for the forthcoming “Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011.” The first-time groundbreaking event, described as a “new kind of broadcast industry gathering” is being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club in the City of Angels on Thursday, October 20 between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm.  Conference director (and TALKERS publisher) Michael Harrison states, “Having Norm Pattiz speak at this conference really ties it all together in a very special way.  Norm is one of the major figures of the modern era of radio of all formats.  I had the privilege of working with him in the late 1970s and early 1980s during the dawn of Westwood One when my ‘Great American Radio Show’ was one of the then-fledgling firm’s earliest offerings and I have personally witnessed how this great man embodies the very essence of Southern California radio and its connection to the entire globe.”  Pattiz’s address is aptly titled “From Westwood to the World, a View from Courtside.”  The Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011 features a line-up of more than 30 leading talk broadcasters including keynote speaker Bill Handel of KFI, Los Angeles and most of the top program directors from the major talk stations in Southern California.  For the complete up-to-the-minute agenda and registration information, please click here.

KPAM, Portland Drops News Block; Adds Terry Boyd in PM Drive.  Pamplin’s KPAM, Portland brings market media personality Terry Boyd aboard to host the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program called “Terry Boyd’s World” beginning Tuesday (9/6).  Program director Dennis Glasgow says, “I’ve known Terry for several years and he has a loyal following of listeners that are going to be elated that he’s back on the air here in Portland.  He brings a unique brand of energy, enthusiasm and entertaining talk that our listeners are definitely going to enjoy.”  Matt Wilcox is named executive producer for the new program.  KPAM is dropping the afternoon news block it began in late May but VP/GM Dave Saxe notes the station remains live and local, “Terry Boyd is a great addition to Portland’s only live and local talk station.  Terry will be the most entertaining local afternoon show in Portland radio and will round out the AM 860 live and local talk line up from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm.”

KSL’s Jay Mcfarland Releases New iPad App.  Mcfarland co-hosts KSL, Salt Lake City’s unique mid-afternoon show “The Browser” with Amy Iverson.  He also creates iPhone and Android apps and now he releases an iPad version of his popular iPhone app Pocket Politician that he says is “a fun and easy to use sound board of all the best political gaffes of our recent history.  From President Bush’s ‘recruitaments,’ to Obama’s ‘57 states,’ to Palin’s ‘I can see Russia,’ all of your favorites are ready to play at the press of a button.”  Check out all of Mcfarland’s games and app at his website jaymcfarland.com.

Curtis Media Group Changes Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point AM Management.  Tom Hamilton exits the general manager post at Curtis Media’s AM stations in the Triad market – news/talk WSJS and the three-station Triad Sports Network – and Ken Salyer takes his place.  Curtis Media president and COO Phil Zachary says of Salyer’s hiring, “Ken Salyer has successfully managed in three different rated markets in the Carolinas and I’m just thrilled at our good fortune.  Ken’s years of experience, colloquial knowledge of the regional marketplace and proven leadership skills can only build upon the strong foundation and outstanding team already in place with our Triad stations.”  Salyer will also manage the sales effort at talk WZTK-FM, Burlington, North Carolina – “North Carolina’s Superstation.”

Obama Economic Policy/Jobs Speech Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 29 – September 2.  President Obama’s handling of the economy and his planned jobs program speech before a joint session of Congress and the nation was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Coming in at #2 on the Talkers Ten was the 2012 presidential race.  Following at #3 was Libya turmoil and the U.S. policy there followed by financial markets activity at #4.  The Talkers Ten is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  Click on the banner below to view the entire chart.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Citadel Media’s “Red Eye Radio” hosted by Doug McIntyre adds KFMB, San Diego…..Fox Sports Radio’s J.T. the Brick and Ben Maller pick up WKRK-FM, Cleveland…..“Watchdog on Wall Street” host Chris Markowski get his “Money Minutes” feature added to WNRR, North Augusta, South Carolina.

WEEI in the Spotlight.  That’s Entercom Boston director of AM programming Jason Wolfe on the big screen at Fenway Park accepting the Boston Red Sox Jimmy Fund Award on Wednesday night (8/31).  The award was presented at a pre-game ceremony to Wolfe, WEEI and (regional cable network) NESN in recognition of the 10th Annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon to benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Institute that took place on August 30-31.  The effort raised some $3.3 million dollars for Dana Farber – topping last year’s $3.1 million – to put the radio-telethon’s 10-year fundraising total at more than $28 million.  Wolfe said, “I am incredibly honored to receive this award…I’m very lucky to have played a part in its success, and I want to thank the WEEI listeners and the NESN viewers for their amazing support over the last nine years. It’s their donations that have helped make such a difference and have saved so many lives.”

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

| August 30, 2011

Walter Sabo Says Merlin’s FM News Operations in New York and Chicago off to Good Start.  In an exclusive interview for TALKERS TV conducted this past Friday in New York City (right before Hurricane Irene made its way up the coast to the Big Apple), Merlin Media COO Walter Sabo praises his company’s talent roster, sales staff, and CEO Randy Michaels for creating and marketing all-news FM products in New York and Chicago strategically targeted for 25-54 year old working families.  These are WEMP-FM, New York (FM News 101.9) and WWWN-FM, Chicago (FM News 101.1).  When asked to further define the term “working families,” Sabo responds, “Families in which mom and dad go to work.”  He says compared to the audiences of today’s traditional all-news stations, 25-54 represents the younger demographic.  “They need the same information as everyone else but the key to reaching them is to understand they are extremely busy.”   He explains, “They are busy running to their jobs, going to day care, picking up the kids.  Their day is a series of high-pressure points regarding the clock.  They don’t have time to listen to any information that isn’t right to the point.”  He credits the impressive list of advertisers already signed up for these relatively brand new stations to the competence of their sales department and the fact that advertisers “immediately embrace” the concept of all news targeted to a young working audience.  TALKERS monitors on the ground in New York City report that FM News 101.9 delivered “superb coverage” of Hurricane Irene throughout all phases of its assault on the region.  View this must-see interview, “Lunch with Walter Sabo,” on TALKERS TV on this page.

CBS Aggressively Leads Sports Talk Invasion of FM.  The FM band is quickly being populated by sports talk radio and it’s not a stretch to say CBS is leading the charge.  TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian writes that when the company launched WXYT-FM, Detroit four years ago, it wasn’t planning beyond that station.  But as CBS Radio SVP of programming Chris Oliviero tells TALKERS, “We realized this is a road we should go down from a programming, as well as a general radio business standpoint.  We love the format and think we are good at doing it.”  With the simulcast of WIP, Philadelphia beginning on September 6, CBS will have nine sports outlets on FM in the top 30 markets.  Read Mike Kinosian’s in-depth look at CBS Radio’s FM sports initiative here.

Josefa Salinas of Hot 92.3 to Speak at Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011.  Well-known Los Angeles radio personality Josefa Salinas who hosts a widely-heard weekend community affairs talk program on Clear Channel’s urban oldies “Hot 92.3” (WHHT-FM) will join the growing all-star roster of speakers at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum.  Salinas will participate on the panel titled “The Issues Facing Southern California: Challenges and Solutions.”  Moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison it will be the only panel at the event which focuses entirely on public issues outside the industry.  (The rest of the event will address inner-industry issues.)  Panelists include Charles Feldman of KNX, Los Angeles; Roger Hedgecock of KOGO, San Diego and Radio America; Stephanie Miller of KTLK, Los Angeles and Dial Global; Doug McIntyre of KABC, Los Angeles and Citadel Media; Patt Morrison of KPCC, FM Los Angeles and Southern California Public Radio; and John Phillips of KABC, Los Angeles.  TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey states, “We have an amazingly well balanced panel of stars coming together here and the addition of such a community-involved radio broadcaster as Josefa Salinas really rounds it out beautifully.  Considering the intensely controversial issues facing the region and the firepower that’ll be sitting up there on that stage, we should be in for an explosive session in the tradition of our most exciting Talk Rumbles.”  The Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011, presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club, will take place on Thursday, October 20 between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm.  It features a lineup of more than 30 leading talk broadcasters including keynote speaker Bill Handel of KFI, Los Angeles and most of the top program directors from the major talk stations in Southern California.  For the complete up-to-the-minute agenda and registration information, please click here.

WQXI, Atlanta Adds Dave Archer to PM Drive Show.  Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback and current Falcons Radio Network analyst Dave Archer is named co-host of the Lincoln Financial Media station’s PM drive show alongside Mike Bell.  Archer replaces David Pollack who becomes co-host of the new Palmer and Pollack show on the station.  WQXI general manager Andrew Saltzman states, “There is no question that Dave Archer is the perfect guy to co-host our afternoon drive show.  As an eight-year veteran of the Atlanta Falcons Radio Network, along with his six-year career as a NFL quarterback, Dave truly understands the intricacies of collegiate and professional sports.  Most important is his tremendous chemistry with Bell.  These guys have a lot of fun together and so will our listeners.”

Changes in PM Drive at KTSA, San Antonio?  Nothing confirmed by owner Border Media Partners yet but TALKERS hears PM drive host Kevin Wall is out at KTSA, San Antonio and Sean Rima takes over his show.  Rima worked for BMP in Austin at KXBT-FM before the company flipped it from talk to oldies.  There was a report Rima was going to host a program at an online talk venture BMP was developing but the status of that is unclear.

 

Stephan Multi-Media Producing “Different” 9/11 Special.  Doug Stephan, host of the nationally syndicated morning show, “Good Day,” is producing a September 11 anniversary special available for broadcast the weekend of September, 9-11.  Media Management Group’s Craig Whetstine says, “We think it is different from most of the specials.  It is a three-hour special, entitled, “Stronger Than Ever: Ten Years Past September 11.”  Doug isn’t going to be looking back at the events of 9/11/01; he’ll be focused on where we are today and looking forward.”  The program is being made available to non-affiliates of “Good Day” providing the program is not already heard in the market.  Contact Whetstine at 212-545-8383.

Clear Channel Changes Market Managers in Seattle.  Michele Grosenick is suddenly out as market manager of Clear Channel’s Seattle-Tacoma stations that include sports KJR.  In is former CBS Radio manager Lisa Decker who left that company earlier this year.  CC EVP of operations for the Western Region Susan Karis says of Decker, “Lisa is an amazing addition to the Clear Channel team.  She has proven success with an impressive track record in delivering results in a highly competitive field.”

 

WDFN, Detroit Personality Tom Kowalski Dies Unexpectedly at 51.  Known as Tom “Killer” Kowalski, he wrote for the Oakland Press and co-hosted PM drive at Clear Channel’s sports WDFN with Sean Baligian and Ryan Terpstra.  His beat was the Detroit Lions and he got his nickname for his dogged pursuit as a reporter.  CC Detroit market manager Til Levesque posted the following on WDFN’s website: “It is with a very heavy heart that I share with you that Tom Kowalski passed away this morning.  Tom was a tremendous talent and his passion for all things Lions and the NFL never faltered.  He was a tremendous asset to us on WDFN AM.  His presence will be greatly missed in afternoons not to mention in the hallways and around the building.  Having him on our team made us a better sports talk station and for that I will always be thankful of his time with CCD.”

Former WCCO, Minneapolis Talk Host Brad Walton Dies at Age 60.  Walton was a Twin Cities media figure who spent 11 years at CBS Radio’s WCCO handling weekend overnights and fill-in shifts beginning in 1997.  Walton wrote a book in 2004 titled, How Does the Heart Know Love?, a personal story about his life after open heart surgery.

 

Fox Sports Radio Hits 400 Affiliate Mark.  The addition of CBS Radio’s new Cleveland FM sports talk outlet, “SportsRadio 92.3 The Fan” (WKRK-FM), on August 29 gives Fox Sports Radio 400 affiliate stations 11 years after its debut in August of 2000.  FSRN vice president and general manager Don Martin says of the milestone, “This is a proud moment for the FSR family, as we welcome Cleveland’s WKRK 92.3 ‘The Fan’ and eclipse the 400-affiliate mark.  None of this would be possible without the tremendous product that our talent delivers every day and, most importantly, the relationships we have with our incredible affiliates.  Fox Sports Radio and our affiliates are the true definition of a team.”

Obama Economic Policy, 2012 Presidential Race, Irene Aftermath/Global Warming and Libya Turmoil Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/29).  President Obama’s plan to fix the ailing economy, the 2012 presidential race, the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and global warming and the state of Libya as the Gaddhafi family flees were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.