Tag: "Gary Knell"

Monday, July 30, 2012

| July 30, 2012

KABC, Los Angeles Adds John Phillips to AM Drive.  Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor is reporting Cumulus Media’s KABC moves talk host John Phillips to the “McIntyre in the Morning with Terri Rae Elmer” program with host Doug McIntyre and news anchor Elmer.  Phillips had been the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon host at KABC until the company began developing Geraldo Rivera in the late-morning slot on WABC, New York and then adding him to KABC.  For a while, Phillips was doing just the 9:00 am hour and a lot of fill-ins around the schedule.  Now, it looks as though Phillips becomes a morning drive cast member at KABC.  Earlier in his radio career, Phillips was sports anchor and executive producer for KABC’s “McIntyre in the Morning Show” and he also produced the station’s Al Rantel program.  He also served as a newswriter at crosstown KNX, Los Angeles.

Beasley Broadcast Group Q2 Revenue Down 2.8%.  Total revenue was down to $24.8 million for the second quarter of 2012 – a drop of 2.8% compared to the same period in 2011.  Beasley Broadcast Group attributes the lower revenue to declines at its Fayetteville, North Carolina cluster.  However, station operating income was up 11.6% for the period reflecting declining station operating expense and more than offsetting the lower revenue.  Chairman and CEO George Beasley says, “Our second quarter revenue performance principally reflects overall industry weakness in the first month of the quarter, a revenue decline at our Fayetteville cluster partially related to lower levels of auto advertising and lower revenue in the Ft. Myers market due to the fact that in the year-ago period we hosted a concert.  While net revenue was down mid-single digits in April, low single-digit revenue growth resumed in May and June and extended through July.  The company’s streamlined operating structure and ongoing expense management initiatives combined with a music license fee settlement drove the $1.1 million rise in 2012 second quarter station operating income.”

Estate of the Late Neil Rogers Settled; Feds Take the Balance.  According to Jose Lambiet’s “Gossip Extra,” the late Miami talk host had about $4 million to his name four years ago but he loved to play the ponies and was not a very savvy personal finances guy, so after the lawyers get paid and the IRS takes about $500,000, there’s basically nothing left in his estate.  Longtime friend, agent and estate executor Norman Kent tells Lambiet Rogers basically spent his money.  He cashed in taxable annuities prior to his 2010 death from multiple medical issues at age 68.  The piece also notes Rogers spent about $700,000 on a home in Toronto where he lived with a 21-year-old man when he wasn’t in South Florida or Amsterdam.  Several of Rogers’ friends had been contesting his wills – apparently there were more than one that conflicted – but ultimately, there appears to have been little left over which to fight.

Compass Media Networks Expands and Extends Relationship with Learfield Sports.  This is for college basketball and football play-by-play – the arena in which Compass Media Networks has been expanding so rapidly.  Learfield Sports is the exclusive broadcast and sports marketing partner to more than 50 of the nation’s leading colleges and universities including Alabama, Boise State, Indiana University, Iowa, NC State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Purdue, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, University of North Carolina, Wisconsin and the Big Ten Conference.  Under the terms of the extension Compass retains first right of refusal to broadcast any Learfield Sports home football and men’s basketball  games, retains the exclusive national radio rights to broadcast The Big Ten Football Championship Game and the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, and will broadcast expanded coverage of regular season men’s basketball and football games.  The exact number of games Compass will broadcast has yet to be determined but the new agreement calls for a minimum of 20 football and 20 men’s basketball games to be broadcast.  Compass Media Networks will then produce a unique, national, play-by-play broadcast of these games available to radio outlets across the country.  Compass CEO Peter Kosann states, “Learfield Sports has been a wonderful partner.  We are honored to continue this partnership and will continue to expand the breadth and depth of our coverage.”

Journalist and Radio Host Indicted on Felony Wiretapping Charges.  “Free Talk Live” co-host Adam “Ademo” Mueller faces three counts of felony wiretapping after recording on-duty public officials while preparing a vlog about a case of alleged police misconduct, according to “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman.  The comments were part of a video report posted on the site CopBlock.org.  He tells TALKERS, “A public official who is on duty and in a public space has no expectation of privacy, the First Circuit Court of Appeals has already ruled on this in Glik v. Cunniffe.  The person who should face consequences is the officer who threw that poor kid into a table during lunch at the school cafeteria, not the journalist who reported about it.”  Freeman says each charge of felony wiretapping could carry seven years, meaning Mueller faces up to 21 years in prison if convicted.

NPR and WWNO, New Orleans Partner for Non-Profit News Source.  University of New Orleans-owned classical and news/talk WWNO is entering into a partnership with NPR to staff and operate the “non-profit multimedia newsroom” neworleansreporter.org.  The site plans to create reports for WWNO and will be available on a mobile app and for other local and national outlets free of charge.  NPR president and CEO Gary Knell states, “NPR is honored to join with the University of New Orleans and WWNO as they launch this ground-breaking news service. We are excited about the opportunity to provide national support for this critically important local effort to serve the public in creative and new ways.”

CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton to Resign at Year End.  Saying he believes “CNN needs new thinking,” Jim Walton will end his 30-year career at the cable news broadcaster when his contract expires in December, according to TVWeek.  Walton says the new thinking “starts with a new leader who brings a different perspective, different experiences and a new plan, one who will build on our great foundation and will commit to seeing it through.  And I’m ready for a change.  I have interests to explore and I want to give myself time to do it.”  Walton has been in the leadership role at CNN Worldwide for almost 10 years.  Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent leads the search for Walton’s successor.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive host Pat Campbell fills in for late-morning talk host Charlie Sykes on Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee August 1-3…..Talk show host and former Congressman J.D. Hayworth sits in for WPGB, Pittsburgh-based Quinn & Rose every day this week except Wednesday.  On that day, he’s filling in on the KCMO, Kansas City AM drive program…..Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO, Ft. Wayne, Indiana adds Notre Dame football to its fall sports schedule…..Britain’s UTV Media announces its talkSport network acquires exclusive rights to broadcast Football Association’s FA Cup in the UK and the worldwide rights to talkSport International scheduled to launch on August 18…..KTRB, San Francisco – 860 AM ESPN Deportes – will carry Spanish-language play-by-play of San Francisco 49ers football through the 2018 season.

Chicken: Banned in Boston?  That’s WRKO, Boston PM drive host Howie Carr (l) with, well…a chicken (r).  Carr is wearing a t-shirt with a caricature of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and holding a Chick-fil-A sandwich – both of which Carr and staff gave out to people on the streets in front of Boston City Hall after Mayor Menino jumped on the anti-Chick-fil-A bandwagon and threatened to prevent the company from opening a restaurant in the neighborhood after the company’s president publicly supported those campaigning against gay marriage.  Menino has since backed off the threat to stop the restaurant from opening the Boston store.

 

Friday, May 18, 2012

| May 18, 2012

Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio Hits 10 Million Registered Users in Eight Months.  The digital media player that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has been vigorously promoting is growing, according to CC, “faster than nearly all other entertainment platforms, including Pandora, Facebook, Spotify and Instagram.”  The iHeartRadio player has more than 10 million users since the 10 million figure includes just registered users – only required for the custom station service.  Brian Lekamp, president of digital for CCME, states, “iHeartRadio has demonstrated incredibly rapid adoption, more than two times faster than other leading entertainment services – it’s mind-blowing.  We are thrilled with the consumer reaction and feedback.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, using the tremendous promotional power of our broadcast radio properties, has been able to drive this adoption like no other company could.  iHeartRadio offers a great product supported by unparalleled promotional capabilities.”

NPR Facing Fiscal Downturn; May End Year in the Red.  In a piece by Paul Farhi for the Washington Post, the challenging financial situation NPR is dealing with as the U.S. economy continues to struggle is brought to light.  New CEO Gary Knell tells Farhi NPR has operated at a deficit three out of the past four years and had to dip into its endowment fund to cover expenses.  This comes after the brutal 2008 fiscal year in which NPR was forced to cut 7% of its workforce after coming up $23 million short.  The situation for NPR is that corporate underwriting – or advertising – has fallen dramatically.  Instability in some of the corporate positions responsible for fundraising and underwriting have not helped the content provider, either.  NPR states that through March of this year, it was operating at a deficit of $2.6 million beyond what the endowment covers and when the end of its fiscal year rolls around in September, it may still be in the red.  Knell has told employees the last thing he wants to do is cut staffing and programming but he also states NPR cannot continue to operate as it is.  He tells the Post, “NPR has been withdrawing from the bank and we can’t keep doing that,” he said. “We have to be at break-even or be in a positive position on an annual basis, or I can tell you at some point we’re going to have to turn the lights off.”

CNN Suffers Lowest Prime Time Rating in 15 Years.  Time Warner’s CNN is getting more bad news after getting clobbered in the April Nielsen’s released last week.  Now, TVNewser reports “Piers Morgan Tonight” – which aired at 9:00 ET – pulled in just 39,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo on Tuesday, May 15.  The show garnered 284,000 total viewers which was not a record low.  The piece notes the program faced competition in the form of the season finale of “NCIS: L.A.,” “America’s Got Talent” and “Dancing with the Stars” which, all together, had 39 million total viewers.

WOWO, Fort Wayne Reporter Held in Contempt for Phone Use in Court.  WOWO, Fort Wayne news director Dave Wheaton was found in contempt at the Allen County Superior Court for using a station-owned iPhone while covering a guilty plea at a murder case at the courthouse.  Two sheriff’s deputies noticed Wheaton texting on the phone – a violation of court rules – and confiscated the phone.  Wheaton told Judge Fran Gull he did not see the numerous signs warning of the ban on phones in the courtroom to which the judge replied, “Candidly, I don’t believe you,” reports the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.  The ban has been in effect since 2007 after courtroom attendees were found taking photos.  The judge ordered the phone destroyed but allowed WOWO owner Federated Media to download the contents first.

The State and Future of News on America’s News/Talk Radio Stations.  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 coming to Talkers.com next week, programmers speak on the record about their news philosophy and its practical application.  KMOX, St. Louis operations director Steve Moore says despite the factors some think puts radio at a disadvantage for news, it’s still a very important element.  “Local news is the foundation for everything we do and that includes providing content and information for our programming staffs.  That relationship goes both ways.  Talent use their connections to flesh out stories that are heard on our newscasts.  A strong, local news department should be the perfect complement to a good talk show host.”  Read what some of today’s top news/talk programmers are saying about the state of news on their stations and in the larger media mix at Talkers.com next week.

Michael Harrison to Speak at New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference.  June promises to be a busy month for Michael Harrison.  Less than one short week after the New Media Seminar in NYC, the publisher and founder of TALKERS magazine will deliver a special address at the 65th Annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference on June 13.  The address titled, “The Future of the Stick and the Shtick: How Terrestrial Radio can Thrive in the Digital Age,” will provide a realistic focus on the key issues and challenges facing AM and FM radio today as it finds its place in the new and exotic landscape of 21st century technology and culture.  One of the key points that Harrison plans to make is that even though talk radio broadcasters are licking their chops at the prospect of music radio’s demise, one of the keys to talk radio’s growth in the coming years will actually be the survival and revival of music radio as a commercial and cultural force.  Harrison says, “An AM and FM band of only spoken word programming will not be enough to keep terrestrial radio afloat.  For terrestrial radio of all formats to have a healthy place from which to operate, it must reclaim ownership of the music scene - no doubt a daunting task.”  Harrison goes on to say that this can actually be done.  “The music scene in America has a desperate need for big-time leadership in terms of breaking new artists and product as well as defining and creating a cultural environment in which a healthy and  purposeful industry can operate.  This is something that radio has historically done effectively and can do again in the new century.”  Harrison suggests the key to doing this is to bring back the disc jockey as a viable broadcasting art form and the plugged-in music director as a connection to the street and marketplace.  “When music radio gave up its franchise on personalities - on-air talents who can present, deliver, and ‘sell’ a song, it set in motion its own destruction as well as inflicting damage to the music business itself.  It is not too late to correct this.”  The 65th Annual NJBA Conference will take place at Caesar’s Atlantic City June 12-13.  For information call 888-657-2346.

2012 Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for 7th Consecutive Week.  The race for president between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney once again was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of May 14-18, 2012.  Following at #2 was the Greece and Euro Zone fiscal crisis; at #3 was world financial markets activity; and at #4 was President Obama’s gay marriage stance.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart of the top stories and people on news/talk radio here.

Commentators of the Year.  That’s ESPN’s Mike Golic – co-host of ESPN Radio’s and ESPN2’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show (c) – holding the awards given to him and co-host Mike Greenberg (not pictured) for being named Team ESPN’s Volunteer Commentators of the Year.  Next to Golic are ESPN EVP of production John Wildhack (l) and president of ESPN, Inc. John Skipper (r).  Golic and Greenberg were honored at a luncheon yesterday (5/17) with the award given to an ESPN commentator “who provides positive impact in the community through his or her volunteer efforts.”  The duo led the way on ESPN Radio for the “Don’t Give Up ESPYs V Foundation Auction” which raised more than $800,000 for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.  They have contributed their personal time to emcee the Jimmy V Basketball dinner, and visit military sites, like the Intrepid this year for ESPN’s Veterans Week.  Each received $1,000 to be donated to the charity of their choice and both elected to give it to The V Foundation.

Monday, February 27, 2012

| February 27, 2012

GOP Candidates Flocking to Talk Radio in Close Primary Race.  In a piece on Mitt Romney’s talk radio appearances in Michigan and Arizona prior to tomorrow’s primaries in those states at Politico yesterday (2/26), writer Keach Hagey speaks with local and national talk show hosts on candidates’ use of talk radio during a campaign like this.  The piece notes that Romney has historically been a bit aloof towards talk radio – unlike Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich – but with the race with Santorum particularly close, he’s been all over the medium.  Hagey quotes TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison offering the reason for this turn of events.  “When they’re ahead, they don’t like going on talk radio because they are afraid of making a mistake, and talk radio is a wonderful place for making a mistake.  If he were clearly the front-runner, then he would do less talk radio.”  During a GOP primary race when candidates are speaking to core voters on conservative talk radio-formatted stations, they use the medium to differentiate themselves from the others.  Hagey’s piece quotes Santorum national communications director Hogan Gidley saying, “Mitt Romney’s well-funded attack machine is on their seek-and-destroy mission, and talk radio is often the avenue Rick Santorum uses to dispel those false accusations.  We have been on talk radio probably more than any of the other candidates combined.”  With the Michigan and Arizona primaries tomorrow, Talk Radio Network-syndicated “America’s Morning News” with John McCaslin and Dana Mills is the beneficiary with interviews with  Mitt Romney at 8:15 am today and Rick Santorum at 8:30 am.

INNOVATIVE MODEL SET FOR NEW MEDIA SEMINAR 2012.  Plans have been set for the 15th annual installment of the New Media Seminar, the longest-running, largest and most important annual talk media industry convention.  This year’s version marks the innovative launch of an updated model sensitive to the tough economic and stressful conditions of the times. Significant restructuring has been applied to lower the costs of registration, accommodations and travel as well as moving the event from the weekend to a weekday.  According to TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, “Both conferences will be national in scope and regional in flavor, a recipe that worked amazingly well at last year’s successful experiment, the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum.”

NMS 2012 will consist of two one-day conferences.  The first will be held in New York City on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  The second – presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club – will take place on Thursday, October 11 in Los Angeles at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.

According to Harrison, “We learned a tremendous amount at last year’s ‘happening’ in L.A.  There is something very exciting, fulfilling and productive about one single, power-packed day with no time-wasting fat or money-wasting frills.  It was executed purposefully under the radar to test the waters for this new model on a national scale and it succeeded beyond our wildest expectations, reaching maximum registration capacity in a matter of days.  Although the New Media Seminar has actually grown consistently larger and has been a sell-out every year of its existence, we recognize that conditions are such that a change would eventually be necessary as well as beneficial to the working person in our business – at least during this stressful period of tight budgets and high industry economic uncertainty.  At TALKERS we insist on being ahead of the curve.  Industry conferences need to include and be accessible to professionals in the trenches as well as the corporate elite.  This new model is a gift to the business.”

Because quick sell-outs for each event are expected, registration will be limited to working media.  For registration and sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or e-mail her at barbara@talkers.com.  Further details, agenda updates and hotel information will be announced in the coming days here at Talkers.com and in the TALKERS morning headlines e-mailer.  Stay tuned!

NPR Announces Promotions and New Executive Structure.  NPR promotes Kinsey Wilson to the position executive vice president and chief content officer and makes Margaret Low Smith the senior vice president of NPR news, a position she’s been serving in the “acting” vein since last January.  NPR president and CEO Gary Knell states, “This is a time of great opportunity for NPR and our member stations.  In Kinsey and Margaret we have two journalists, strategists and leaders with a keen understanding of the craft that distinguishes NPR – and how we must continue to innovate and evolve.  Our collective aim is to work with stations to become an unrivaled leader in news and cultural coverage that reaches all Americans, no matter how they tune in.”  Wilson has been with NPR since 2008 as SVP and general manager of digital media.  NPR also announces Eric Nuzum steps permanently into the vice president for programming role.  Plus, vice president of diversity in news & operations Keith Woods is charged with broadening with member stations to support public radio’s drive for greater diversity in its audience, staffing and content.  Woods will work closely with vice president for membership and audience partnership Joyce MacDonald.

Ric Edelman’s Weekly Financial Talk Show Clears KFI, Los Angeles.  “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman” – the nationally syndicated financial talk show hosted by one of the nation’s top-ranked financial advisors – is added to the weekend lineup at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles airing Sundays from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  Edelman’s program is now heard in 54 markets, including 25 of the top 30 markets.  Edelman says. “I’m excited to join KFI’s outstanding lineup and look forward to bringing financial education to so many people in Southern California.”

KGO, San Francisco Makes Changes to Weekend Schedule; More News Content Added.  Responding to listener feedback, the Cumulus Media Group station announces changes to its weekend schedule that includes the addition of traffic reports every 10 minutes plus live weather reports with ABC 7 meteorologists to serve listeners out in their cars on the weekend.  News and program director Brian Hosley announces two new programs: “Cooking with Ryan Scott,” airing Saturdays from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and “The Monty Show,” hosted by Tim Montemayor and airing from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.  Hosley says Montemayor’s show will address local and timely issues.  Montemayor is an East Bay resident who has worked in Los Angeles, Chicago and St. Louis as well as being syndicated nationally with Sporting News Radio.  “He is a self-proclaimed ‘news junkie’ and is excited to talk with listeners about the stories that matter to them most.”

Cox Media Group’s WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia Prepares for Martha Zoller’s Congressional Run.  The station positioned as “Bulldog 103.7” – Cox Media Group’s talk and sports hybrid WXKT-FM – is running a contest for a fill-in for “one of our most popular hosts” who “will be occupied for a few months.”  The station doesn’t mention Martha Zoller by name but the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon host has said she’ll run as a Republican for the new congressional seat created by population changes and redistricting.  The station is asking, “Do you have strong ties to the Gainesville area?  Do you keep abreast of local, state and national issues?  Can you have civil discussions with those who hold differing viewpoints?  Can you keep talking and keep it interesting for hours on end?  Then Bulldog 103.7 has a microphone with your name on it.”  Applicants must write the station and in 100 words or less tell why they should get the gig.

Clear Channel’s Hartford Sports Talkers Split Affiliation.  The new FM sports talk station Clear Channel Media and Entertainment put on the air recently – WUCS 97.9 FM ESPN – has been simulcasting with AM sister WPOP.  Beginning March 5, WPOP will break off from the simulcast and affiliate with Fox Sports Radio.  It will also carry the DirecTV-produced and Premiere Networks-distributed Dan Patrick show.

Opinion: Richard Neer Responds to Phil Valentine.  Regarding the debate over the use of terms or phrases on broadcasts or in print historically regarded as ethnic slurs, TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer responds to Dial Global Nashville-based talk host Phil Valentine who wrote this opinion piece called “Controlling the Language” published by TALKERS on Friday (2/24).  Valentine was responding to Neer’s original column published last week here.  In his response, Neer contests the notion that “words can’t hurt” and points out humanity’s tendency toward ethnic pride as one of the underlying reasons why ethnic slurs exist in the first place.  Read Neer’s piece here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

| December 15, 2011

WTOP, Washington Expands Multi-Platform News Operation; News and Programming Pro Laurie Cantillo Named to Newly Created Program Director Position.  Former WABC, New York program director Laurie Cantillo joins Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington where she’ll work closely with vice president of news and programming Jim Farley for the organization that is also announcing the expansion and restructuring of its news and broadcasting staff.  In a statement, WTOP explains, “One of the primary reasons for the new structure is to redefine the news workflow.  Instead of the traditional model which takes broadcast content and tries to fit it into a digital hole, WTOP’s strategy will focus on the creation of news stories at the beginning of a process.  A story’s execution will be determined at its origin.  It will then be optimized for all the distribution platforms WTOP offers: radio, web, Facebook, Twitter and mobile.  In addition to Cantillo joining the organization, other staff changes include: Current director of digital operations John Meyer moving into the newsroom as the architect of the social and digital strategy as it comes together with the current broadcast operation; current news director Mike McMearty becomes senior news director; assistant news director Mitchell Miller is upped to news director; Mike Gartell is now managing editor; Gary Emerling is named senior digital editor; and Darci Marchese becomes executive producer.  Jim Farley states, “We will now have both a digital editor and a radio editor working together 24/7.  No other radio station in America does this.  And we are not just talking the talk; we are hiring more people, re-evaluating everything we do and making the necessary changes no matter how sacred or ingrained.  The future is digital and WTOP will be the leader heading into that future.”  Regarding Laurie Cantillo’s joining the WTOP operation, Farley says, “Laurie is one of the best, most-admired and well-liked program directors in America.  She has solid news credentials, a great track record of ratings success in major markets and a great understanding of the power and potential of digital and social media.”

NPR Uses Grant for Digital Media Training and Multi-Platform News.  Through a $1.5 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, NPR is expanding its training initiatives to increase the use of digital tools both at NPR member stations and in the NPR newsroom.  According to NPR, “Building on successful training piloted by NPR a few years ago, the grant provides for the development of extensive training for more than 70 local public radio stations.  Topics include strategies to build multi-media news operations, writing for the web, photography and the role of social media in newsgathering.  These resources will dramatically improve the ability of participating stations to broaden and deepen their news production and better serve both new and existing audiences.  The grant will also fund digital coaches for NPR journalists.”  NPR chief executive officer Gary Knell says, “NPR is a major force in media today, helping more than 34 million people make sense of what is going on in the world.  These digital training resources will ensure that NPR and hundreds of member stations nationwide continue to pioneer the use of new technologies to connect with new and existing audiences.”

Standard & Poor’s Downgrades CC Media Holdings on Long-term Debt Concerns.  Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Michael Altberg states that softening ad demand and the uncertain global economy may slow the growth of revenue for Clear Channel’s parent company and while the ability to pay the debt that comes due in 2012 and 2013 isn’t seen as a problem, the notes that mature in 2014 and 2016 are bigger issues.  The company faces secured and unsecured debt maturities of $2.9 billion in 2014 and $12.3 billion in 2016.  S&P notes CC Media Holdings is considered highly leveraged and that could negatively affect its ability to re-finance before those debts come due.  When that time comes, anyone looking to buy a radio station might find opportunity in what could potentially be the biggest fire sale selloff of sticks in recent history.

CBS Local Digital Media Partners with Examiner.com for Content Creation.  The network of websites and mobile apps that make up CBS Local Digital Media is entering into a content creation relationship with Examiner.com to produce unique content for CBS’ locally targeted properties in more than two dozen major markets across the country.  Examiner.com is a leading online publisher featuring local expertise from over 85,000 contributors, known as Examiners.  The lifestyle content created through this partnership is described as “‘Best Of’ guides and ‘Top Spots’ lists covering a range of topics including arts and culture, shopping, food and drink, nightlife and music, as well as travel and outdoors.”  CBS Local Digital Media president Ezra Kucharz states, “Over the course of the past 18 months we’ve built a platform that quickly garnered interest from millions of users searching for the best local news, information and entertainment.  Taking our vision one step further by working with a stable of contributors with expertise in their field will greatly enhance the audience’s experience.  This is not just about telling you where to go and what to see – it’s providing ‘insider access’ to a city you may be visiting or have lived your whole life that you can’t get anywhere else.”

Dr. Joy Browne Appears on TALKERS TV.  She is by far the most successful psychology and relationships talker on radio in America.  WOR Radio Network star Dr. Joy Browne is interviewed by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey at the seventh annual “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row designed to raise consciousness about domestic violence and teenage dating abuse presented recently by TALKERS and Talk Radio News Service in conjunction with corporate sponsor Liz Claiborne, Inc.  The event was held in the showroom at the Midtown Manhattan headquarters of the fashion company.  Browne candidly discusses the state of relationship talk radio’s place within the news/talk playing field and explains the connections between psychology and all the hot issues discussed within the genre.  To view this not-to-be-missed video, see TALKERS TV at the right on this page.

Glenn Beck’s GBTV Takes Over “Apocalypse” Reality Show.  The program was once called, “Apocalypse, PA” when it ran on the History Channel last year but on Beck’s online venture GBTV it will be called, “Independence USA.”  It follows Frank Belcastro and his family as they prepare to survive in a post-apocalyptic world by such means as devising a car that runs on wood instead of gasoline, becoming expert hunters and creating his own alcohol for barter when the money system collapses.  According to TVNewser, the program debuts on January 18 with new episodes every Wednesday.  It is the first reality show to become part of Beck’s GBTV where his own daily TV program is seen.

KFI, Los Angeles Debuts New Food Show with Neil Saavedra in January.  The program is called, “The Fork Report,” and will have its premier airing on Saturday, January 7 hosted by KFI’s Neil Saavedra.  The station says, “‘The Fork Report’ will be a food show like no other food show, delving into all things edible.  The show will run the food gamut from local restaurants to kitchen gadgets, interviews with chefs to food news (like recalls, new products).  If you can eat it or it’s a gizmo to help you prepare it…Saavedra talks about it.”  Saavedra also hosts the KFI-based and Premiere Networks syndicated “Jesus Christ Show” and serves as the director of marketing for the Clear Channel station.

Katy Pavelonis Named VP of Sales at Grand Slam Sports.  The St.Louis-based sports media company operates KFNS, St. Louis, KFNS.com, St. Louis Sports Magazine, Grand Slam Sports Promotions, SportsRadio 1380 and SportsRadio1380.com.  Katy Pavelonis previously served as VP/director of sales at CBS Radio’s St. Louis cluster that includes news/talk KMOX.  On her new position, Pavelonis states, “I am excited about starting with Grand Slam Sports.  Having sold Cardinal baseball, Blues hockey and University of Missouri products in the past, I know how passionate the sports fans are here and how supportive the local advertising community can be for local sports.  Marketing the incredible media mix that Grand Slam Sports provides to those advertisers is something I am very much looking forward to.”

NTSB Cell Phone Ban, 2012 Presidential Race, Payroll Tax Cut Issue and Iraq Troop Withdrawl Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14).  The National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation that no personal electronic devices be allowed to be operated by motorists in the U.S., the GOP race to challenge President Obama in the 2012 election, Congressional leaders’ work to deal with the budget deficit and the payroll tax cut issue plus the withdrawl of U.S. troops from Iraq were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 3, 2011

| October 3, 2011

Bob Pittman Named CEO of Clear Channel Media Holdings.  Acting on the faith it has in Bob Pittman to take Clear Channel into the future, the company’s board of directors announces it is naming him chief executive officer of CC Media Holdings which includes Clear Channel Radio and Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings.  He came aboard last November as an investor and chairman of media and entertainment platforms.  Pittman’s career includes his visionary work as co-founder of the MTV Network, CEO of AOL Networks, Six Flags Theme Parks, Quantum Media, Century 21 Real Estate, and Time Warner Enterprises.  In his new role he’ll join the board of directors of CC Media Holdings, Inc. and Clear Channel Communications, Inc.  In addition, he will join the board of directors of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc., as its executive chairman.  Bain Capital managing director John Connaughton says, “I’m thrilled we were able recruit Bob into the CEO role at Clear Channel.  He is the perfect fit to lead this incredibly powerful media platform.  He embraces creativity and has given employees the motivation and freedom to innovate, take risks and succeed.  He thinks big, is not afraid of change and is intensely focused on driving new businesses, expanding our creative talent and maximizing the full value of Clear Channel’s extraordinary assets, ideas and people.”

NPR Announces Gary Knell CEO.  He doesn’t start until December 1 but the chief of Sesame Workshop will take over the CEO post at NPR left vacant after the spring firing of former CEO Vivian Schiller.  Knell’s experience in politics (working in both the California legislature and in Washington, DC as counsel) and in broadcasting make him an appealing candidate to take NPR past the controversy that has dogged it recently.  NPR board chairman Dave Edwards calls Knell, “an extraordinary leader with extensive experience in public media, programming and education.”  Knell tells NPR’s David Folkenflick he intends to depoliticize the company.  “It’s not about liberal or conservative — it’s about fairness.  We’ve got to make the case we’re delivering a fair service, not only in the way we do our jobs, but in the way we disseminate the news.”

AURN Cancels the Bev Smith Show.  American Urban Radio Networks announces the Bev Smith show will cease being offered by the network after October 28.  It was reported recently that Smith would wrap up production of her show due in part to illness but Smith denies that, telling the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the cancellation is “about being a certain age and gender.”  AURN president of program operations and affiliations Jerry Lopes tells the Post-Gazette that the audience for Smith’s show made it difficult to sell due to it being much older than the 25-54 demographic.  “Her audience numbers were, frankly, skewing a lot older than that, which made the show less attractive to advertisers.  We were forced to make some changes, and her show, unfortunately, was one of the casualties.”  Smith says she is working on getting another company to support her show so it can continue.  She says, “I’m the town crier. I’m the voice of people who never get a chance to express their voice. I believe in this show.”

Entercom Buffalo Names Allan Davis Program Director.  Davis becomes program director at Entercom’s sports WGR, Buffalo.  Davis most recently served as programmer for Genesis Communications’ stations in Tampa.  He has programmed sports talk at KCSP, Kansas City; KFXX, Portland; CJCL, Toronto and more.

Katerina Perez Named Market Manager for CC Norfolk.  Clear Channel announces Katerina Perez moves from her post as vice president and market manager at the company’s Melbourne, Florida cluster to the market manager position at its Norfolk, Virginia cluster.

Ian Punnett Writes Children’s Book for Halloween.  Multifaceted talk show host Ian Punnett is known as somewhat of a renaissance man, between co-hosting a daily morning show in the Twin Cities with his wife of 27 years, Marge, on Hubbard Radio’s myTalk107.1FM, serving as the regular Saturday night host of Premiere Networks’ Coast to Coast AM, in addition to being  the associate producer for two HD-DVD commercial productions of Minnesota Opera, an ordained pastor, a father of two sons, and a loving owner to a very peculiar dog that dreams of catching squirrels.  Punnett has now immortalized his Boston Terrier, Jack, (adopted from a local rescue) in a children’s book specifically designed for the coming Halloween holiday and what he describes as today’s “edgier” young readers.  Written with a “note of menace,” the book is titled, Jackula the Vampire Dog.  Punnett is donating all profits generated by the sale of the book in support of children’s and animal charities nationwide.  Published by Beaver’s Pond Press, the hardcover book is available for $16.95 at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell’s Books, Booktopia, and local boutique book stores.  Punnett tells TALKERS, “It’s important to me to do creative work for a greater purpose.  Children’s books can make kids laugh, bring families together and raise money at the same time.”  No stranger to things that go bump in the night, Jackula is the story of a little girl suffering from bad dreams who takes comfort in a stray dog that watches over her while she sleeps.  But the dog has a secret – a secret that’s good news for lonely little girls and bad news for the neighborhood squirrels.  The book’s dark humor has earned Punnett the honor of being called “Shel Silverstein-esque.”

KGO, San Francisco Raises $200,000-Plus for Bay Area Food Banks.  During a 14-hour broadcast on September 16, KGO and its listeners helped raise more than $200,000 for the Bay Area Food Banks.  The KGO Fights Hunger Day Radio-thon consisted of special programming about the realities of hunger from both the KGO air staff and directly from families in the area affected by the struggle to provide healthy food even though they are employed.  KGO operations director Jack Swanson says, “I am so proud of what our listeners and staff were able to accomplish in just 14 hours.  This was an eye-opening experience for all of us and we all now know how much these vital services are needed in our community.”  As part of the programming, KGO personalities Jennifer Jones Lee, Ronn Owens, Gil Gross kept the focus on hunger throughout the day and KGO reporters Jeffrey Schaub and Rob Artigo aired interviews and poignant profiles of food bank clients from all walks of life.

31 Survivors in 31 Days.  That’s what KFBK, Sacramento morning news anchor Amy Lewis and the station are calling the breast cancer awareness campaign they are airing this month.  In conjunction with the local Albie Carson Breast Cancer Foundation, Lewis is airing her interviews with 31 breast cancer survivors – one on each day this month – during morning and afternoon news.  Lewis states, “Many of my friends and family are survivors of breast cancer.  It was my goal to interview 31 survivors for the 31 days of October to remind people who are currently fighting it that they are not alone.  No matter how long and difficult the battle might be, they’re not fighting it by themselves.  Because, to fight the battle against breast cancer, to help in the research, and to someday find a cure, we have to fight it – together.”

WGN, Chicago Engineer Ed Wilk Passes Away.  Longtime WGN, Chicago engineer Ed Wilk passed away last week.  WGN general manager Tom Langmyer posted the following statement on his Facebook page over the weekend: “Ed was an incredible broadcast engineer and a tremendous man. He was positive, resourceful, dedicated and a man of great character & integrity. Ed worked at WGN for more than 30 years. He was a WGN family member who will be sorely missed.  Condolences to Adrienne, the rest of his family and many friends.”