Tag: "Garret Lewis"

Thursday, September 27, 2012

| September 27, 2012

Big Changes in Atlanta Talk Radio: Clear Channel to Flip WGST-AM/FM, Atlanta to Spanish or Comedy and Rush Limbaugh Moves to Cox’s WSB-AM/FM.  Exactly what format Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will flip longtime news/talk WGST-AM (which is simulcast on an FM translator at 92.3) to – whether it will be a Spanish format or a comedy format – remains to be seen.  But talk pro Rusty Humphries, who handled PM drive for the station is gone and Premiere’s Glenn Beck ran in his place Wednesday.  The status of morning hosts Rob Johnson and Dave Merlino is not known, however WGST is airing “The Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal” in place of Johnson and Merlino.  Humphries, who hosts a separate program that is nationally syndicated via Talk Radio Network, tells TALKERS magazine, “It is always sad to see a news/talk facility such as WGST change to another format but I am grateful for the time I had there and was able to spend doing local radio in Atlanta.  The people at Clear Channel are fine people and I enjoyed working with them.  For me, the good news is that I will have a lot more time to devote to my nationally syndicated TRN program which is growing by leaps and bounds.”  Attempts by TALKERS to get response from Clear Channel management in Atlanta confirming the format change have not been successful.  Meanwhile, across town at Cox Media’s WSB-AM/FM, the station announces Rush Limbaugh, who is heard on WGST, will move to WSB beginning Monday, October 1.  At the same time WSB announces a new long-term deal with Premiere’s Sean Hannity for the PM drive slot and the return of “Atlanta’s Evening News” airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm hosted by Erick Erickson.  Cox Media’s Clark Howard will still emanate from WSB for his nationally syndicated program heard on some 200 affiliates across the country but will move to the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot on WSB.  In order to accommodate the Limbaugh acquisition, the Neal Boortz program moves to the 8:30 am to 12:00 noon slot.

Armstrong & Getty Return Today.  KSTE, Sacramento-based morning duo Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty are back on the air this morning with Armstrong telling Sacramento TV station KTXL “Fox40” that the reason the duo was off the air on Tuesday and Wednesday was due to an “internal” reason and not because of their call to have listeners post cartoons, photos etc. that criticize Islam.  It had been widely reported the two had been suspended for the incident.  In fact, Armstrong tells the TV station the audio file of Monday’s controversial show will return to the online archives soon.  He says they will address the matter first thing today on the program at 6:00 am PT.

Talk Host Phil Valentine Decries Political Correctness.  Writing that the fear of offending those groups of people from which terrorists have sprung has put the shoe on the other foot and now the media is being terrorized, nationally syndicated talk host Phil Valentine laments the state of the media in America.  He says, “I’ve often joked that the only two groups we in talk radio can get away with offending are the deaf and the Amish.  Other offenses might require throwing yourself at the mercy of Jesse Jackson or apologizing to some LGBT group.  Now there is an offense from which you may never come back and that is offending a Muslim.”  Valentine penned this piece for TALKERS after hearing about the case of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty.  Valentine’s piece is an interesting look at the intersection of politics and media in our current age.  Read it here.

Media Blogger Rich Lieberman Stands By Ronn Owens Story.  Rich Lieberman, who operates the 415 Media blog, wrote a post recently predicting that KGO, San Francisco talk legend Ronn Owens would have his contract – which expires at the end of this year – bought out and he would disappear from KGO early with the station moving in a newsier direction.  TALKERS reported this and Owens responded that Lieberman’s report is “totally made up.”  He also told TALKERS Lieberman has been attacking him for the past year for the changes that have taken place at KGO since Cumulus Media took over the station.  Now, Lieberman tells TALKERS he stands by his story.  “My sources are strong and I believe in them.  This has been a story I have sat on for nearly three weeks.  I finally went with it after talk and e-mailing Bay Area broadcast people familiar with the subject at hand.  I do NOT just dish out any speculation and innuendo without first trying to get it right.”  Apparently, only time will tell what the future holds for Ronn Owens at KGO.

20 Years and Going Strong.  Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey is pictured here holding the pewter statuette of a classic radio microphone given to him by his staff in honor of his 20th anniversary in the talk radio business.  Ramsey’s “official” anniversary is tomorrow – September 28 – and commemorates the day he and some friends took to the air on WWTN-FM, Nashville in a brokered time deal with the then-bankrupt station.  On Friday, a special episode of the program will air and include well-wishes from celebrities, friends and family; glimpses into the party at Ramsey’s Financial Peace Plaza; a look back at the history of the show; and calls from long-time listeners and second-generation callers.  Video of the show will be streamed live online.   Ramsey says, “I’m still surprised and honored that people call me at some of the most difficult and personal moments in their lives.  Giving people hope for their future and seeing lives changed is why I do this every day.”  He also credits his team for helping him achieve the success he has.  “I didn’t do this on my own.  Our producer, Blake Thompson, associate producer, Lara Johnson, engineer Matt Aaron and many other people have made it what it is today.  I have the best crew in radio, and we’ve been together for a long time, which is unheard of in the radio industry.”

The Young Guns of Talk Radio.  Ask anyone, especially those working for the consumer media, and they’ll tell you that personalities working as hosts on news/talk stations are all old, white men.  Radio’s general lack of a “farm system” doesn’t help that misconception much, but the truth is there are young people – some men and some women – working in news/talk radio today.  TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey writes about some of the young broadcasters working in news/talk now.  Not all of them agree that by being young, they have the ability to attract a younger audience to the format.  But some believe it can be a factor.  KNST, Tucson host and PD Garret Lewis, for example, says, “The fact that I’m 35 and my friends are around my age gives me an advantage because I know what makes a person in their late 20s and 30s get fired up emotionally and what interests them.”  Hosts talk with Casey about the issues of the demographic, who inspired them, how they approach their programs and what, if anything, can be done to get young people into the talk business.  Read this story here.

Looking for Political Ad Dollars.  Getting those political ad dollars – even getting them late – is a nice boost to a station’s or group’s revenue.  TALKERS magazine managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian talks with Portland Radio Group president and general manager Cary Pahigian about status of political money.  Pahigian says if you’re not in a potential swing state, the numbers (at least for presidential dollars) for radio are not rosy – at least not yet.  “With the exception of a few states, there does seem to be a lull,” Pahigian says.  He says the same pattern has developed over the past few election cycles.  “Depending on the landscape and circumstances, television is first in line and radio is second.  Everything changes though if there are issues and/or a tight race going on.”  Read Mike Kinosian’s full story here.

Three Senators and a Hopeful.  WIBC, Indianapolis late morning host Greg Garrison was visited by three U.S. Senators and one who hopes to become the next senator from the state of Indiana on his program on Wednesday during a campaign swing through the state capital.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: WIBC’s Todd Meyer, Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Garrison, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Indiana State Treasurer and senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock, and Senator Dan Coats (R-IN).

Presidential Campaign Polls, Libya-al Qaeda Connection, Iran/Middle East Tensions, and NFL Referees Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/26).  The conflicting presidential election polls; the continuing query into the cause of the Libya terrorist attack; the state of Iran’s nuclear weapons program and the political climate in the Middle East; and the status of the NFL’s referee situation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

The Young Guns of Talk Radio

| September 27, 2012

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS magazine
Executive Editor

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – There’s a perception held by many – especially those working in the consumer media – that all talk show hosts doing shows on news/talk stations are men 50 years of age or older.  They further postulate that when those hosts retire (or die!) there will be no one left to work in the format.

Given the radio industry’s general lack of a farm system, it’s hard to blame those who think it’s an industry of old white men.  But the truth is there are young people breaking into talk radio and working successfully at stations across the country.  We asked some of them what influence they believe their youth plays in hosting a radio talk show on a news/talk station.

Read More

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

| September 12, 2012

CBS Radio Flips WNEW-AM, Washington to Government and Business News.  The AM side of the CBS Radio Washington, DC all-news duo (licensed to Morningside, Maryland) will become “Gov.Biz Radio 1580 AM” on October 1 – putting it in a head-to-head battle with Hubbard’s WFED, Washington.  The station will feature content from The Wall Street Journal Radio Network, Bloomberg Radio and The Hill.  Local programming will include host Nancy Lyons on a morning show called “The Daily Briefing” and a midday program dubbed, “The Capitol Report.”

Pilgrim Communications Adds AM Signal to Indy News/Talk WFDM-FM.  The new and improved 950 AM signal of WXLW will help fill in the coverage of Pilgrim’s news/talk station in the Indianapolis market.  WFDM-FM (“Freedom 95.9”) is licensed to Franklin, Indiana about 25 miles south of downtown Indy.   Vice president and general manager Randy Tipmore says, “Hamilton and Hendricks Counties are not only the fastest-growing counties in Indiana, but also the two most Republican counties in the entire state.  We wanted to better serve those listeners who love our conservative news/talk format which features five of the top six radio talk show hosts in national syndication.  The new 950 AM signal covers two-thirds of Indiana and allows us to expand our audience reach by a factor of 10.”  Tipmore says they chose to debut the new signal on the anniversary of 9/11 “the day that reminds us of the preciousness of America’s freedom.  It is also the anniversary of Sean Hannity‘s launch into national syndication.  On September 12, we’re honored to have Dave Ramsey coming to the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre for his EntreLeadership, 1-day business training event.  It’s the perfect way to celebrate our new simulcast.”

Cumulus Media to Restore Matching 401k for Employees.  The radio operator announces to its 7,000-plus employees that, beginning in October, it will reinstate the matching 401k contribution that it ceased in early 2009 after the real estate crash of 2008 triggered the Great Recession.  Entercom and Journal have also reinstated matching 401k programs for employees since suspending them in order to conserve on cash flow.

Two More Panels Set for the TALKERS Los Angeles New Media Seminar.  As the forthcoming Los Angeles installment of TALKERS magazine’s New Media Seminar nears an early sellout, two more dynamic panel discussions have been added to the growing power-packed agenda.  “The Modern Pioneers” will feature (in alphabetical order): Sam Hasson, president and founder of LATalkRadio.com; Mike Horn, CEO and founder of CRN Digital Talk; Tom Leykis, president and founder of The New Normal; and LA-based national broadcasting legend Shadoe Stevens of “MentalRadio” on SiriusXM and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.”  A talk personality panel titled “The Challenges of Hosting in 2012” will feature (in alphabetical order):  Lars Larson of Compass Media Networks and KXL, Portland; Bill Handel of KFI, Los Angeles; Heidi Harris of KRLA, Los Angeles; Doug Stephan of  the “Good Day” morning show; and Alan Stock of KDWN, Las Vegas; with more to be announced.  The panel will be moderated by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian.  Highlights of the event will include the presentation of the TALKERS magazine’s annual “Woman of the Year” award to KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci by last year’s recipient, Stephanie Miller of WYD Media and Current TV.  Courtside Entertainment CEO and Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz will deliver the morning keynote address.  Noted talk radio consultant Holland Cooke will deliver a special presentation “Database your Tribe NOW!”  Other highlights include “The State of Local News/Talk Radio,” with (in alphabetical order);  Robin Bertolucci, PD of KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles; Skip Essick, PD of KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Andy Ludlum, PD of KNX, Los Angeles; Garret Lewis, PD/morning host of KNST, Tucson; Dave Sniff, PD of KFMB, San Diego; and Chuck Tyler, PD of KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles. It will be moderated by Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS.  The panel “Spoken Word Radio; The Big Picture” features (in alphabetical order): Phil Boyce, VP/director ,spoken word format, Salem Communications; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media;  Kraig Kitchin, CEO Sound Mind, LLC; and Mike McVay, senior VP/programming, Cumulus Media.  The moderator will be Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS.  Additional speakers include (in alphabetical order: Kevin LaRue, program director KSL, Salt Lake City; Don Martin, OM/GM, KLAC, Los Angeles and VP programming, Fox Sports Radio; Patt Morrison, host/commentator KPCC, Los Angeles/Southern California Public Radio; Ken Rutkowski, host of “Business Rock Stars,” KFWB, Los Angeles; and Eric Stanger, vice president of operations, the Sean Hannity Show, Premiere Networks.  As those of you who have been following the development of this amazing conference know, the above is just the tip of the iceberg with a whole lot more scheduled.  The complete up-to-the-minute agenda will be posted tomorrow at Talkers.com.  In total, the seminar will feature more than 60 leading industry speakers who will examine the key issues facing the talk radio/media industries.  It will take place in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 11 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club.  To assure registration, attendees are advised to sign up now.  Registration is a recession-era low $99 which includes everything.  Because it is open only to working media there will be no online registration – only by telephone.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.

Clear Channel Flips KVNS, Brownsville, Texas to Sports Talk.  The station – at 1700 AM – switches from classic hits to sports talk on September 17 airing Fox Sports Radio Network’s lineup of “Fox Sports Daybreak,” Dan Patrick, Jim Rome, “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, and “Fox Sports Tonight” plus will serve the market as a Dallas Cowboys play-by-play affiliate.  Clear Channel market manager John Richards says, “There are too many sports fans in the valley to not yet have a sports/talk station in the market.  Like advertisers, we know sports fans are passionate about their favorite sports, teams and hosts, so we are very passionate about partnering with Fox Sports Radio for this launch.”

Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel Star Sean Hannity Hits Silver Screen in “Atlas Shrugged: Part II.”  When the second part of the Ayn Rand saga hits theaters in October, moviegoers will get a glimpse of Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity as he plays a cable news TV anchor in one scene.  A still from the flick is seen here as Hannity (far right) sits on the fictitious cable news network set with actual Fox News Channel correspondents (from l-r) Bob Beckel, Juan Williams, and Tamara Holder.  In addition to Hannity’s cameo appearance in the movie, his radio show will be offering exclusive content, movie gear and tickets leading up to the movie’s premiere in Washington, D.C. in October.

Michael Harrison to Speak at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will deliver an address provocatively titled, “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?” at the forthcoming NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas.  According to Harrison, “The main challenge concerning FM and AM broadcasting at this perilous time is making the transition to the digital age without prematurely sacrificing the value of the stick which is still the economic foundation of this industry and main source of livelihood for its practitioners.”  Harrison describes the danger facing terrestrial radio as a “five-headed dragon” of  1) smothering debt, 2) exotic media rivals, 3) blurry ratings methodology, 4) an unprecedented generational divide, and 5) 60 and 30 second commercial spots (which when put together in clusters become “PPM pits of purgatory”).   Harrison says “radio must be smart and use its traditional on-air assets in balanced harmony with its unlimited online potential.”  He states, “The cultural heritage of what we  grew up thinking as ‘radio’ is deeply rooted in the traditions of over -the-air transmission and it is vitally important that in its rush to put everything it has into one internet basket, radio avoids losing its core identity, its soul, that separates it from being just another online music or informational utility.”  Harrison advises that just as talk radio has claimed “ownership” of politics in America and sports radio has claimed “ownership” of the country’s sports juggernaut, “music radio must reclaim its lost ownership of the music culture.”  He says the first step in accomplishing this is to bring back the colorful DJ as the backbone of the radio station’s presentation and the street savvy music director as its ear to what’s really going on out there.  Radio must not only ‘relate’ to this element, it must aggressively lead it as well.”  Harrison will be speaking at a special info-session sponsored by TALKERS magazine on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:15 am and 11:15 am.  All Radio Show registrants are encouraged to attend.

WFNC, Fayetteville, North Carolina Debuts “Goldy and Jim” AM Show.  North Carolina talk host Curtis Wright had been heard on the Cumulus Media station though he broadcast from the coastal market of Wilmington, North Carolina (his show was also heard there on Cumulus’ news/talk WAAV).  Cumulus recently dropped Wright’s show for the more general interest “Good Morning Fayetteville with Goldy and Jim” (that’s Jim Gold and Jim Cooke).  According to the Fayetteville Observer’s Andrew Barksdale and Paul Woolverton, Wright’s program was very political and, since it emanated from Wilmington, contained a lot of Wilmington political talk.  WAAV, Wilmington has filled the slot Wright occupied with Tyler Cralle.  As for Wright, he’s embarked on an online-only internet TV venture called “Curtis Wright on the Beat Virtual.”

NRG Media’s Omaha Sports Brand “The Zone” to Air UNO Contests.  In a deal brokered by Nelligan Sports Marketing – the exclusive agent for University of Nebraska Omaha sports – NRG Media’s sports talk duo KOZN and KZOT, Omaha – “The Zone” and “The Zone 2” respectively – will air UNO basketball and hockey play-by-play for the next five seasons.  Between the two sports, the stations will air more than 60 games during the 2012-2013 season.  Zone general manager Andy Ruback states, “This is a tremendous partnership for our stations.  Listeners are deeply rooted in the UNO sports tradition and both teams have a following on a regional level.  The dual coverage on both Zone and Zone 2 will mean listeners can always stay in touch with the two premiere sports programs.”

WTOP, Washington Promotes David Dildine to Full-Time Traffic Team.  David Dildine joined WTOP in 2010 during the launch of its in-house traffic center, taking on the weekend afternoon shifts.  Now he becomes a member of the full-time staff where he’ll also work on traffic and weather related features.  Interestingly, Dildine has another passion – storm chasing.  Dildine is a seasoned storm chaser and weather research analyst having worked in Oklahoma and Texas where he chased severe storms and tornados for a living.  WTOP states, “Dildine serves as a valuable resource for WTOP’s traffic, weather and news departments – recently analyzing Hurricane Isaac, flying with Hurricane Hunters into Hurricane Irene and producing popular traffic/news stories such as “DC’s Worst Traffic Merges.”

TuneIn to Be Included in 2013 Chevy Spark MyLink Dash.  Digital audio content aggregator TuneIn strikes a deal with GM to use Livio Connect technology so its app can be integrated into the MyLink Radio dashboard of 2013 Chevrolet Spark models made globally.  According to a release, Livio Connect is a middleware framework protocol that enables hardware devices and mobile apps, now including TuneIn, to connect to and interact with one another.  GM uses Livio Connect technology, which allows owners of Chevy Sparks equipped with the MyLink Radio to enjoy 70,000 stations.  Livio Connect technology bridges the app, featured on iPhone and Android mobile devices, with MyLink.  While connected through Livio Connect, all of the TuneIn buttons and controls from the mobile device will be available on MyLink’s seven-inch touch screen, while the app on the phone itself will be disabled to help promote safer driving.

Schnitt Wows ‘Em in Memphis.  Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is pictured here in the studio at affiliate WREC, Memphis hosting his program on 9/11.  The previous evening, Schnitt hosted a sold-out “Right Night with Schnitt” where more than 200 WREC listeners paid to attend the event held at the popular Memphis eatery Owen Brennans.

9/11 Anniversary, Chicago Teachers Strike, Obama Convention Bounce, and ‘Fast and Furious’ Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/11).  The anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; the political implications of the Chicago teachers strike; President Obama’s “convention bounce” in the campaign polls; and the inspector general’s report on the Justice Department’s ‘Fast and Furious’ gun-running sting were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.