Tag: "Gary R’nel"

Monday, December 11, 2017

| December 11, 2017

WBUR, Boston Talk Personality Tom Ashbrook Suspended During Investigation.  “On Point” is a public radio talk show produced by WBUR, Boston – owned and operated by Boston University – and syndicated to almost 300 NPR affiliate stations.  As reported by WBUR.org, host Tom Ashbrook has been suspended while the school and the station conduct an investigation into allegations, the details of which are not being specified by the station.  It released this statement on Friday (12/8): “Yesterday, Boston University and WBUR received some allegations against Tom Ashbrook.  Tom will be on leave from his duties at WBUR while an outside organization hired by Boston University examines these allegations.  We will decide a course of action after getting the results of this investigation.”  In the WBUR.org story, Ashbrook says he’s “stunned at the situation” and says he respects the process the school must go through in this situation.

Mark Kaye Hosting New Daily Talk Show on WOKV, Jacksonville.  CHR radio pro Mark Kaye is now hosting a daily talk show on Cox Media Group’s WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville.  Kaye is the morning drive host on the company’s sister CHR WAPE.  His new talk show airs from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon, in between the Herman Cain show and Rush Limbaugh on the program schedule.   Kaye has worked for WOKV in the past, hosting a weekend show.

Former Nevada Broadcasters Association Founding President Admits to Improper Behavior.  Radio personality and former Nevada Broadcasters Association president Bob Fisher admits to engaging in “improper behavior” with teenage boys back in the 1980s.  This was reported in a piece in Jewish Week that reveals the details of allegations by two men who were 18 and 16 at the time Fisher was a leader of the Pacific Southwest Region of United Synagogue Youth.  In the story, Fisher admits to the allegations and says he is ashamed of his behavior, though he says he never forced himself on anyone.  He also tells the paper of his dysfunctional childhood and being raped as a child and as a college student.

Nielsen and Cumulus Renew Deal for Ratings Services.  The ratings giant is owed approximately $6.65 million by Cumulus Media – that figure was released by Cumulus as part of its Chapter 11 filing.  But, Nielsen Audio knows that Cumulus needs its services to help sell its radio stations and national programming on Westwood One.  This renewal means Cumulus continues to use the ratings service but will also have access to data from Nielsen Scarborough, enhanced talent analytics from Nielsen N-Score and national networks ratings from Nielsen RADAR.  Cumulus EVP of operations Bob Walker comments, “Despite the abundance of media options, radio continues to lead the way in reach and ROI.  We are excited to extend our agreement with Nielsen so that we can continue to leverage their vast datasets and analytical insights to provide the proof that we do indeed deliver the highest ROI of any local media to our advertisers.”

PPM Analysis:  NBA FlagshipsTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations that serve as flagship stations for play-by-play broadcasts for NBA teams.  Note that this isn’t a review of PPM ratings for game broadcasts, but for weekly 6+ AQH shares for stations that serve as flagships.  A number of these stations serve as flagships for NFL and MLB franchises, as well.  In addition to charts comparing stations’ ratings in numerous ways, Kinosian reports the station ranks for the Nielsen Audio’s November PPM survey and the five previous surveys.  At the top of the heap, WBZ-FM, Boston ranked #3 (6+) in November.  WTMJ, Milwaukee ranked #4 and WFAN, New York and WXYT-FM, Detroit ranked #5 in their respective markets.  See the whole report here.

News Pro Chuck Rich Dead at 65.  News pro Charles “Chuck” Rich died suddenly on Friday (12/8) at the age of 65.  Chuck Rich was married to Washington, DC public relations pro Rita Rich.  During his career, he held positions with WTOP-TV (WUSA), WTOP Radio, AP Radio and for well over 25 years, Westwood One Radio Networks. He also spent many years with Voice of America. He also was a contributing editor for Washingtonian Magazine.

Trump Jerusalem Recognition Reactions, California Wildfires, Iraq’s ISIS Liberation, Roy Moore Campaign, North Korea Nuclear Program, Trump-Russia Probe, Bitcoin Activity, Sunday’s NFL Games, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The violent protests in the Middle East over President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; the raging California wildfires and authorities’ concerns there’s no end in sight to the Santa Ana winds; Iraq declares the country liberated from the ISIS forces that had held control over numerous Iraqi cities; the U.S. Senate campaign of former Alabama judge Roy Moore and allegations of his history of sexual predation; the North Korea nuclear program and the war of words between President Trump and Kim Jong Un; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible ties between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the volatility of Bitcoin; Sunday’s NFL games and attendance figures; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.

Radio’s Greatest Storytellers.  Pictured above at the Entercom broadcast center in Philadelphia are some of radio’s “greatest storytellers” gathered to appear on the Westwood One-syndicated “Sterling on Sunday” program starring Walter M. Sterling.  From left to right are: Douglas Henderson Jr., Michael Tearson, Denny Somach, Gary R’Nel, Tommy McCarthy, Rasa Kaye, AJ Essington, Lee Harris, Ross Brittain, Sterling, and Allen Shaw.  (Not pictured but on the broadcast were Tommy Woods and Dick Summer.) On the couch is Judy Anderson and Neil Pohl who had a major announcement: He asked her to marry him live on the air and she said “yes.”  Sterling tells TALKERS that listeners heard how album rock radio was really invented by Allen Shaw.  Michael Tearson revealed the early days of prog rock.  Ross Brittain explained that HE was responsible for “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”  Doug Henderson described the work of his dad Jocko which aired on a Philly station and a New York City station thanks to a daily train commute.  You can hear and download the show on www.waltermsterling.com Tuesday (12/12).

TALKERS News Notes.  Radio executive Charlie Ferguson is retiring from Saga Communications where he’s been the VP and general manager at its Springfield, Illinois station group for the past three years.  The 65-year-old Ferguson tells the State Journal-Register, “It occurred to me that I have not seen any of my seven grandchildren more than once a year for the last several years.  This is probably the right time.”  Saga operates news/talk WTAX and six other music formatted signals in the market…..CNN Money is reporting that SiriusXM is getting some “celebrity backlash” from Stephen K. Bannon’s return to the satcaster’s airwaves.  As TALKERS reported last week, Bannon is back on the “Breitbart News Daily” morning program that’s part of the Patriot channel lineup and that has some celebs, including musician Melissa Etheridge, vowing not to appear on the radio service.  Etheridge says she’s no longer going to do her “Melissa’s Basement” interview show that aired on the Volume channel.  Actors Seth Rogan and John Leguizamo have also said they’ll not appear on SiriusXM anymore…..In Columbus, Ohio, sports talk host (and former NFL linebacker) Bobby Carpenter renews with RadiOhio’s sports talk WBNS-FM “97.1 The Fan” for a multi-year deal to continue co-hosting the midday “Carpenter and Rothman” show with Anthony Rothman.

Howie Carr Hosts NH Toy Drive.  Regionally syndicated New England talk radio superstar Howie Carr held a special toy drive event in partnership with Two International Group in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Friday (12/8).  Carr broadcast his program from the lobby of Two International Group and collected toys for the Toys For Tots program.  Carr is pictured here with four New Hampshire State Police Troopers who came by to donate toys. Howie Carr’s show is heard on more than 25 affiliate stations in New England and is seen nationwide on Newsmax TV.

Mitch Albom Radiothon Raises Record Dough for Detroit Charities.  Pictured above, WJR, Detroit afternoon drive host Mitch Albom (second from right) celebrates the announcement of the record $1.25 million raised during last Thursday’s radiothon event to benefit Mitch Albom Charities (which benefits other Detroit charities).  Post-radiothon donations have boosted that total to more than $1.8 million!  The 15-hour show was hosted by Albom, with dozens of celebrity guests appearing, including: Dr. Phil, Hugh Jackman, Hank Azaria, Matthew Stafford and more.

Beasley NYC Holiday Bash.  Last Friday (12/8), Beasley Media Group held its Holiday Soiree at the Park Central Hotel in New York City.  The festivities included performances by SEAL and Brothers Osborne.  Pictured above are (from l-r): Bruce Beasley, SEAL, Caroline Beasley and Brian Beasley.

KSFO, San Francisco Morning Host Brian Sussman is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the nation’s hottest local morning radio talk show hosts, Brian Sussman of Cumulus Media O&O KSFO, San Francisco, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Sussman discusses the challenges of doing competitive morning news/talk radio which requires finding the correct balance between hard political issues and more general interest areas of pop culture and fun. He also talks about his fascinating transition from being one of the most popular TV meteorologists in the Bay Area for many years to becoming a radio talker. Don’t miss this interesting and informative conversation! To listen to the entire podcast please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  St. Louis CHR KSLZ “Z107.7” names Jordan host of the morning drive program.  The iHeartMedia SVP of programming for St. Louis A.J. says, “Jordan is one of the best radio talents in the industry.  Moving him to mornings will help write the next chapter in ‘Z107.7’ history.  During his time in St. Louis, Jordan has had tremendous success with afternoons and we are very excited for him to host a fun, compelling and local morning show for St. Louis.”…..In iHeartMedia’s Denver Region, changes take place in its rock radio formats.  Effective today, KBPI, Denver “Rocks the Rockies” programming is being simulcast on KPAW, Fort Collins and KDZA, Colorado Springs.  The station’s programming includes “Your Morning Show with Willie B” and air personalities Beardo and Colfax. At the same time, the KPAW, Fort Collins format will replace the adult contemporary format on KYWY, Warren AFB, Wyoming.

Former Radio Exec Perry Ury Passes at 91.  Retired radio executive Perry Ury passed away at his home in Sarasota, Florida a week shy of his 92nd birthday.  Ury led WRKO, Boston “Big 68” during its CHR days.  He went on to manage all of the RKO radio stations.  After serving with RKO, he managed WTIC-AM and WTIC-FM in Hartford until his retirement.

Friday, October 31, 2014

| October 31, 2014

2014hhsports-header only 200TALKERS Magazine Presents 2014 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk.  Today (10/31), the editors of TALKERS magazine present the third annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America.  This list ranks sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from 1 to 100, based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors.  The genre of sports talk radio has evolved greatly and grown exponentially over the past 10 years to go from being a fringe format to an important sub-genre of spoken-word radio programming.  With this in mind, the editors of TALKERS debuted the Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk in 2012 to acknowledge the hard-working air personalities on sports talk radio.  The results of this list are, admittedly, subjective.  Being  true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due.  Those qualities include: courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness.  The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station – at the time of publication.  Now you know the criteria, so who’s #1 this year? Number two, and three?  Click here to find out.

ppmunitRound Four of October PPM Data Released.  The fourth of four rounds of October 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  The survey period was September 11 through October 8.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.

salemcommunicationsTwo More Salem News/Talkers Take ‘The Answer’ Brand.  Joining the 11 Salem Communications-owned news/talk station to begin using “The Answer” as their brand are WRC, Washington and KLUP, San Antonio.  Beginning November 4, they become “AM 1260 The Answer” and “AM 930 The Truth,” respectively.  Salem VP director of spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “Since this is decision day in America, we felt the perfect time to make the brand name switch was on Election Day, and both markets were ready to go.”  Boyce says the brand has resonated with listeners in the markets where the company is using it.

napabroadcasting logoSchechtman Launches Local Digital Effort NapaBroadcasting.com.  Napa Valley broadcasting pro Jeff Schechtman – for the past 10 years the GM of radio stations KVON and KVYN in the region – is launching an online radio station targeting the Napa Valley community.  Schechtman is partnering with Napa Valley College and the operation’s offices and studios are located on the school’s campus.  In a press release, Schechtman notes that since leaving KVON and KVYN, former local talk station KVON flipped to sports using Fox schechtmanjeffSports Radio and he says both stations have outsourced their news.  “There is currently no original audio reporting and no chance for the community to hear the voices of local leaders, opinion makers or other citizens.”  He says his venture hopes to provide that local content.  “Suddenly it became clear to me and others in the community that there was a huge need for local programming that wasn’t being served.  Napa also provides a unique economic opportunity, because in addition to local news and talk, we can expand the effort to incorporate wine, food and health programing, which has both local and worldwide appeal.  We can use the internet for both local, regional and worldwide purposes.”  The partnership with Napa Valley College provides both programming and creative personnel.  Music programing will also start in January.  Schechtman believes that being on a college campus helps provide the energy and creativity that represents what this effort is about.  “This is radio for the way we live now,” he explains.

r'nelgaryOdds & Sods.  With the move of evening host Rich Zeoli from the evening shift to afternoon drive at CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia, current afternoon drive co-host Gary R’nel slides back into the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot.  R’nel has been working with Dick Morris who exits the station on November 5…..New general managers are named by Salem Communications for its San Diego and Sacramento station groups.  Dale Hendry relocates to San Diego to lead the team there. He moves south from the company’s Sacramento cluster where he’s been serving as GM.  Taking over Hendry’s role in Sacramento is Mark Durkin who is promoted from his director of sales position.  And Scott Hamilton becomes general sales manager in Sacramento.

B&OLive showBig Bax & O’Brien Bash in Springfield.  The long-running, highly-successful morning talk team of Bax & O’Brien (Mike “Bax” Baxendale and John O’Brien) of Saga Communications’ classic rocker, WAQY (Rock 102), Springfield, Massachusetts presented their second annual “Thursday Night Live” show last night (10/30).  The bawdy, irreverent comedy spectacular played before a sold-out house of more than 200 core fans at downtown Springfield’s prestigious City Stage theater whoharrisongoldsteinBOsmall paid $27 each for the honor of being entertained by a slew of guests and performers that included salty crooner Red Peters & the Alan Pinchloaf Singers, show producer/newsman/sidekick Steve Nagel, a “mystery guest,” comedic appearances by several high-profile local sponsors as well as hilarious video drop ins from Lionel of LionelMedia.com and show regular, Fitsy. Pictured above (l-r):  Bax & O’Brien on stage.  Pictured at right (l-r): Saga Communications EVP Steve Goldstein and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison with a photo bomb appearance of associate publisher Matthew B. Harrison taken at a selfie machine set up in the theater lobby.

journalcommunicationsJournal Reports Radio Revenue Up 5.1% in Q3.  Bucking the industry-wide third quarter trend, Journal Communications is reporting a downright outstanding quarter for its radio and television division.  On the radio side, operating earnings were up 16.1% and the net revenue figure of $21.6 million saw a percentage hike of 5.1%.  Television net revenue was up 22.8% but publishing fell 5.4%.  The irony here is that Journal is entering into a complex deal with E.W. Scripps that would put the combined TV and radio properties into one company and the publishing platform into another called Journal Media Group.  Journal Communications CEO Steve Smith states, “Journal benefitted from continued growth in television retransmission revenue along with significant political and issue advertising spending in a number of our markets.  Our focused broadcast sales efforts grew both television and radio revenue, excluding retransmission and political, by approximately 3% and drove television and radio digital revenue up 22% and 31%, respectively.”  Journal has fared better than other radio station owners in the political advertising arena by luck of the draw – it owns stations in states and markets with tight and high-profile races and ballot issues.

wmaldiner10-14Another Stop on the ‘WMAL Diner Tour.’  This photo is from the latest stop on the October “WMAL Diner Tour” in which the station broadcasts (each Friday this month) live from a different diner in Maryland or Virginia.  It’s all part of the station’s content leading up to Tuesday’s elections.  Seen here are (from left to right): guest Ed Henry, Fox News White House correspondent; WMAL “Mornings On The Mall” hosts Larry O’Connor and Brian Wilson.

Mid-Term Elections Take Over Top Spot on Talkers TenTM.  After three weeks of the Ebola pandemic threat as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, the run-up to Tuesday’s mid-term elections was the prevailing topic this week.  At #2 was the domestic Ebola cases and the threat of a global pandemic.  Coming in at #3 was the battle against ISIS in Iraq and Western citizens joining the radical organization, followed by the 2016 presidential prospects at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

KFWBsports legendsLos Angeles Sports Media Legends.  The opening of the Los Angeles Clippers 2014-15 season was the reason for the remote broadcast from “Fan Fest” outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the team’s flagship KFWB “The Beast 980.”  Pictured here are (from left to right): Ralph Lawler, who appears on the station at 7:30 each morning; midday personality Fred Roggin; and late morning syndicated talk host Jim Rome.  Additionally, the station’s other weekday personalities Marques Johnson, Jeanne Zelasko, Brett Winterble and George Wrighster appeared at the broadcast.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

| October 29, 2014

zeolirichRich Zeoli Named PM Drive Host at WPHT, Philadelphia.  Evening personality Rich Zeoli will move from the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot on CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia to the afternoon drive slot being vacated by Dick Morris beginning November 5.  Morris has been partnered with Gary R’nel in afternoons since January of 2013.  He’s exiting the radio business to return to political consulting full time.  CBS RADIO SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “We are thrilled that Rich is moving to afternoons at WPHT.  He’s a smart, energetic, entertaining talk show host who can tackle a variety of issues that relate to his audience.”  Zeoli comments, “This is a passionate town and we have opinions on everything.  I love nothing more than challenging the audience and they challenge me right back.  There are many local issues that impact our lives and we need a place to talk about them.  That’s what the show is all about and what I plan to bring to afternoon drive on WPHT – a place for the Delaware Valley to talk. I’m just as interested in talking about pop-up beer gardens as I am about NSA spying.  What makes this town like nowhere else in America is its passion, and we’ll share a lot of passion on the drive home together.”  There’s no comment at this time from WPHT on the status of R’nel after Morris exits.

ppmunitRound Two of October PPM Data Released.  The second of four rounds of October 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  The survey period was August 14 through September 10.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.

cookehollandCooke: DEVOUR iPhoneReporting.com.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke is urging news and news/talk professionals to follow the advice he offers in this column to help give your station a chance to compete in the evolving media world.  The first tip: DEVOUR WTOP, Washington reporter Neal Augenstein’s iPhoneReporting.com site to learn all the tips and tricks for using the Apple product for news purposes.  And pay special attention to that built-in camera.  Cooke says, “Beyond improving/refining/optimizing audio gathering, a smartphone camera can capture the photos and video that stations need to compete for ad dollars that are shifting from legacy media to digital.”  He goes on to say that it’s the perfect tool for making your station indispensable again.  “There’s mounting evidence of the value of radio reverting to local content, which got clobbered during draconian post-consolidation bloodlettings, and as sound-alike syndicated programming seems to have run its course.”  For more about the intersection of digital tools and radio, read Cooke’s column here.

bishopgregOdds & Sods.  The Associated Press is reporting that WMAY, Springfield, Illinois talk show host and news pro Greg Bishop is joining the Illinois News Network to be the voice of the INN’s radio efforts.  The organization – a reporting service focusing on economic policy and government started by the Illinois Policy Institute in 2012 – is developing a radio division and is bringing Bishop aboard to lead that project.  Bishop will continue to host his “Bishop On Air” program on WMAY…..The NBA’s Phoenix Suns and Bonneville’s sports talk simulcast “Arizona Sports” heard on KTAR-AM and KMVP-FM ink a deal to continue broadcasting Suns play-by-play on the stations.  This is the 39th season for Suns hoops on KTAR-AM – dating back to when the station was a news/talk outlet.  In addition to the games and ancillary programming, a “Suns Spotlight” feature will air on sister news/talker KTAR-FM…..Total Traffic Network Milwaukee staffer Andi Miller is leaving the company to relocate to Wausau, Wisconsin where her husband has accepted a position.  Miller has been a regular voice on Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ and adult hits WLWK “The Lake.”

iheartmedia logoBressler: Ad World Moving to Buy ROI.  During yesterday’s investor conference call, iHeartMedia president and CFO Rich Bressler spoke at length about the company’s plans to become the number one multi-platform media company – the underlying company goal that was the force behind the name change from Clear Channel to iHeartMedia.  But from a sales standpoint, Bressler told analysts that, “The advertising world is moving to buy ROI – return on investment – not ratings or impressions as it does today, and we stand to greatly benefit from this trend since we provide huge ROI reflecting our audience size, our scale and the impact we have, none of which have been fully monetized.”  The goal of reaching Millennials is important to Madison Avenue and Bressler noted the 4th annual iHeartRadio Music Festival, held last month in Las Vegas, saw social media impressions double from the previous year “reaching over five billion which is on par with the Academy Awards and more than twice the size of the Halftime Show of the Super Bowl.”  He says 80% of social media posts related to the festival came from the 18-35 demographic.  Bressler delivered the latest data about the iHeartRadio platform saying it now has 56 million registered users and total listening hours are up 10% compared to the same quarter a year ago.  Looking at the financials, iHeartMedia reported a net revenue increase of 1% and Bressler said that although the radio industry experienced a soft Q3, the company outperformed the markets based on Miller Kaplan data.

nrhof 14Melissa Etheridge and Ingrid Michaelson to Perform at National Radio Hall of Fame Induction.  This is the first Los Angeles induction ceremony after 24 years of the National Radio Hall of Fame event taking place in Chicago.  On November 9 at the Cicada in downtown Los Angeles, Charlie & Harrigan, Barry Farber, Ira Glass, Stanley E. Hubbard, Jon Miller, Agnes Moorehead and Dick Orkin will be inducted.  Performing at the event will be Melissa Etheridge and Ingrid Michaelson.  In addition, a special kitchinkraigtribute to Casey Kasem will take place.  National radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “This is an event that brings us all together to honor and celebrate the best in our business.  We have an opportunity to show our support and ensure the vitality of this institution by attending.  And if that’s not possible, please consider making a donation to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, which provides a showcase for the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago year round.”  Noted broadcasters participating in the ceremony will include Ryan Seacrest, Larry King, Rick Dees, Delilah, Michael Jackson, Kerri Kasem and more.

rabiHeartMedia’s Hartley Adkins Elected RAB Board of Directors Chairman.  At its annual board of directors meeting the Radio Advertising Bureau announced new officers and iHeartMedia EVP major markets Hartley Adkins was elected chairman.  Also on the board are (RAB duties noted inadkinshartley parentheses): Hubbard Radio chair and CEO Ginny Morris (vice chair); Cox Media Group EVP radio Kim Guthrie (finance chair); Commonwealth Broadcasting president and CEO Steve Newberry (secretary); Cromwell Group president and founder Bud Walters (immediate past chair).  Newly elected board members are: Hubbard Radio president and COO Drew Horowitz; Alpha Media EVP southern region Bill McElveen; Emmis COO and CFO Pat Walsh; and Journal Broadcast Group EVP Steve Wexler.

Ebola Pandemic Concerns, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, Hillary Clinton Jobs Creation Statement Flap, Battle Against ISIS/Domestic Terror Threats, Weather Channel Founder on Climate Change, and World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/28).  The continuing concerns about the spread of the Ebola virus and the U.S.’s policy regarding international travel and quarantines; next week’s mid-term elections and chatter about the presidential prospects for 2016; controversy over Hillary Clinton’s comment that businesses don’t create jobs and her attempts to clarify the statement; the progress of ISIS in Iraq and the increase of “lone wolf” domestic terror attacks; Weather Channel founder John Coleman’s challenging the climate change theory; and the Royals-Giants World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

| October 23, 2014

morrisdickDick Morris to Leave WPHT, Philadelphia Talk Show.  The notorious political operative has been hosting the afternoon drive program on CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia for the past 18 months, but now informs the company he will exit after the mid-term elections to return to the political campaign business, focusing on assisting Republicans in 2016.  Dick Morris made the announcement on his Wednesday program and the Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that CBS RADIO Philly SVP and market manager Marcwpht logo Rayfield says, “He has done a great job for WPHT and we knew his busy schedule might one day make doing a daily radio show difficult.”  Rayfield expects to have news of the station’s plans for the daypart as soon as next week.  Philadelphia talk radio pro Gary R’nel co-hosts the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show alongside Morris and has been a largely unsung component of the program’s professional smoothness and appeal.  Also, it is reported in the Daily News story that noted media consultant Walter Sabo has been seen at the station in recent weeks and has even recently hosted several talk programs during nighttime hours under a fictitious name – fueling speculation that the Sabo Media CEO is either involved in the station as a sabowalterconsultant or even more provocatively as a potential replacement for an on-air talent opening.  Although Sabo’s involvement is officially denied by CBS market management, TALKERS magazine editorial intelligence indicates it is not unusual for well-known programming consultants to occasionally moonlight as fill-in talent simply for the sake of keeping their first-hand “feel” for the format active… or as is likely in the case of Sabo, simply for the fun of it.  Regarding developments at WPHT, Walter Sabo tells TALKERS, “Under [OM] Andy Bloom and [PD] Jared Hart, WPHT has become a dynamic, Philadelphia radio station. They’ve made a series of great decisions, they will make the right one again.”

veittomNew Local Show to Debut on WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando.  The two sports talk stations are operated by Genesis Communications and, although they carry the slogan “The Team,” are branded collectively along with the website of the same name, “Sports Talk Florida.” Now the simulcast adds a new local show to the program lineup.  Debuting in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot is “The Front Office,” hosted by Tom Veit, a.k.a. The GM.  The station says the program “will take a unique look at the Central Florida sports world giving listeners the perspective from those that make the deals and the sports insiders that know how they’re made. Veit is a seasoned sports executive with over 25 years of experience in the sports and entertainment industry.”  Veit comments, “With 10 major professional sports teams and seven all sport Division I collegiate programs in Florida, there needs to be a place during the midday to talk local sports.  Every day there will be passionate debates on the hot topics.  After spending so many years working in the Central Florida sports scene, the one thing I know is that there is passion from every point of view.”

westwood one sportsWestwood One’s Unique Fourth Down. Pro football fans this Sunday (10/26) will experience either pure nirvana or pigskin overkill when Westwood One airs four consecutive NFL games. The league’s “International Series” affair between the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons from London’s Wembley Stadium kicks off the coverage, beginning at 9:00 am (ET).  Assigned to that contest are Dave Sims and Mark Malone.  Kevin Lee and Ross Tucker will call the Houston Texans versus Tennessee Titans game, which starts at 12:30 pm (ET). Immediately following, the Philadelphia Eagles play the Arizona Cardinals, with Tom McCarthy and Rod Woodson handling play-by-play and analysis duties, respectively.  Wrapping up Westwood One’s quadruple-header marathon is the 7:30 pm (ET) tussle between the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints, with Kevin Kugler, James Lofton, and Chris Doering doing the broadcasting honors.

abcKaterskyOttawaOn the Scene in Ottawa.  As Canada deals with the attacks at the country’s National War Memorial and Parliament that happened on Tuesday, ABC News Radio‘s Aaron Katersky is on the scene.  He’s pictured here just down the road from the Parliament building in Ottawa reporting after Michael Zehaf-Bibeau killed Canadian Army reservist Nathan Cirillo who was serving as a guard at the capitol.   

Michael Brown Autopsy Report/Ferguson Tensions, Mid-Term Elections, Ebola Pandemic Threat, Monica Lewinsky Speech, Canadian Killings, Battle Against ISIS, and Renee Zellweger Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/22).  The unofficial release of the autopsy report on Michael Brown indicating he was shot at close range and the tensions in Ferguson, Missouri; the looming mid-term elections and speculation about a majority change in the Senate; the Ebola pandemic threat and the Obama Administration’s response; the revisiting of the Monica LewinskyBill Clinton affair after Lewinsky’s recent speech blaming the Drudge Report for “ruining” her life; the recent killings in Canada related to homegrown “jihadists”; the coalition battle against ISIS in Iraq; and the flap over actress Renee Zellweger’s changed appearance were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, November 11, 2013

| November 11, 2013

gamblingjohnrWOR, New York’s John R. Gambling Announces Retirement.  New York City radio legend John Gambling – who followed in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather in entertaining Big Apple radio listeners – told his audience this morning (11/11) that he will retire at the end of the year.  Gambling has worked in radio for the past 40 years, 35 of that in New York City.  He told listeners his last show will be December 20.  John R. Gambling is the grandson of John B. Gambling who was the morning host on WOR, New York from 1925 to 1959 when his son, John A. Gambling assumed the morning host role at the station.  John R. co-hosted the “Rambling with Gambling” show with his father John A. on WOR from 1985 to 1991.  Gambling states, “I have done and accomplished so much.  My radio career has given me the privilege to entertain and inform millions of New Yorkers.  Each day, to watch the greatest city on earth from behind the microphone has been a thrill and I’ve been blessed with an audience that has been loyal and engaging.  To say it has been exciting doesn’t come close to the joy I have had.”  Clear Channel is beginning a search for a replacement morning show.

wpht logoWPHT, Philadelphia Airs Veterans Day Broadcasts.  CBS Radio news/talker WPHT, Philadelphia is airing a day of remote broadcasts in honor of Veterans Day.  Today, Rich Zeoli broadcast from the Delaware County Veterans Memorial from 6:00 am to 9:00 am.  Midday host Dom Giordano is doing his show live from the 54th Media, Pennsylvania “Annual Veterans Day Parade.”  During afternoon drive, “Talk Radio 1210” personalities Dick Morris, Gary R’nel and Rich Zeoli are broadcasting live from The Green Parrot Restaurant in Newtown.

duanedoobie graphicVeterans Day Offers Radio Broadcasters the Opportunity to be Heroes. RadioInfo (TALKERS magazine’s sister publication on the music side) music editor/director Duane Doobie says that although most of the radio industry is open for business as usual today (including the trades), “In the communications business – particularly radio — you can probably do more to honor the true meaning of a holiday as significant as Veterans Day by going to work and raising consciousness about the meaning of the holiday. It sure beats taking a day off and paying tribute to the purpose of the observation by having a backyard barbeque or going to the beach or a sporting event and drinking a lot of beer, watching endless hours of a Twilight Zone marathon… or buying a car, or worse, planning to camp out on the sidewalk in front of a box store fully prepared to stampede your neighbors in order to save money on a new flat screen television or smart phone with the latest bells and whistles.” In a special commentary posted today (11/11) Doobie continues, “Our publisher Michael Harrison has been speaking at major industry events calling upon radio broadcasters to ‘never miss any opportunity to be a hero.’  He says it is a principle of radio broadcasting that strikes a chord into the very heart of what we are all about – a practice that is good for BOTH business and the soul. Thus, I ask you to look around and ask yourself, is your radio station – are you on your show – doing something special today to be a hero?  Are you doing anything special today to be a hero by honoring the true heroes in every single market in America… our veterans?”  To read Duane Doobie’s entire column, please click here.

espnaudiologoESPN Audio Reorganization Puts Jim Pastor in Charge of ESPN Local.  ESPN confirms the changes in the structure of its O&O radio stations and their websites.  Former WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” general manager Jim Pastor is named SVP of ESPN Local.  This puts him in charge of the company’s three O&O stations (WMVP, Chicago; WEPN-FM, New York and KSPN, Los Angeles) as well as their websites and ESPNDallas.com.  Current WMVP VP/GM John Cravens will take the new title vice president of local revenue and KSPN VP/GM Scott McCarthy will become vice president of local content and will report to Pastor.  The move separates the national and local sectors with SVP Mo Davenport overseeing ESPN Network Audio.  ESPN senior vice president, production business divisions Traug Keller says, “We have identified two key areas – network and local business – to align leaders with division priorities to provide better services and products for our fans.  The successful partnership of our ESPN local websites and owned radio stations has helped our local business thrive.  Organizing by function will allow us to leverage individual and team strengths across the entire business.”

pintekmikeKDKA-AM, Pittsburgh’s ‘High School Tour’ Brings Teen Issues to the Fore.  CBS Radio news/talk station KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh continues its “High School Tour” on Thursday, November 14 as midday talk host Mike Pintek broadcasts live from Woodland Hills High School in Churchill, Pennsylvania.  The station states that the “’The High School Tour’ is a chance for KDKA to talk with students in different areas of our region about current events and the issues that affect them.  Some of the topics Pintek has focused on are social media concerns, bullying, texting while driving as well as events in the current news cycle.  The schools select students that participate in the broadcast.”  During the broadcasts, Pintek elicits the perspective of the school’s superintendent, principal or other faculty.

sexyliberalTwo More Stops Added to Stephanie Miller’s ‘Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour.’  WYD Media Management nationally syndicated talk show host Stephanie Miller (center) is taking her “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” out on the road again in 2014 and has added two more cities to the itinerary.  Miller – along with fellow comedians and radio show contributors Hal Sparks (right) and John Fugelsang (left) – will be visiting the Barrymore Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin on March 29 as well as the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix on February 14.  The tour begins in Seattle on December 14 of this year at the Paramount Theatre.

wheelerkevinWXOS, St. Louis Adds Thompson and Wheeler to Air Staff.  Hubbard Radio’s sports talk WXOS “101ESPN” brings former MLB player Brad Thompson and sports talk pro Kevin Wheeler aboard the air staff.  Wheeler begins hosting an eponymous show on November 25 to air in a yet-to-be-announced daypart.  Thompson will join the afternoon drive “Fastlane” show alongside D’Marco Farr and Randy Karraker beginning in January.  Thompson has been serving as a fill-in host for the station on its daily programs and most notably subbed for former St. Louis Cardinals star Chris Duncan during his recent recovery from brain surgery.  Wheeler is coming to WXOS from his most recent position at crosstown news/talk KMOX where he hosted the “Sports Open Line” show as well as a pre- and post-game shows for both the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues.  Program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “Both Brad Thompson and Kevin Wheeler bring unique perspectives and experience to the ‘101ESPN’ team, and I am looking forward to getting them both on the air to enlighten and entertain our listeners.”

capalbogeorgejBroadcast Engineer Legend George J. Capalbo Passes at 86.  Pioneering broadcast engineer George J. Capalbo passed away on Friday, November 8.  He is remembered for his contributions to the radio broadcasting industry.  Capalbo’s many accomplishments include serving as chief engineer for WRKO, Boston when the station launched as top 40 outlet “Big 68” in 1967.  He also built the FM station WAAF, Worcester, now owned by Entercom, that serves both the Boston and Worcester metros.  Capalbo is credited by WRKO’s then-general manager Mel Phillips with putting together a state-of-the-art broadcast facility for television and radio “from scratch” at 7 Bulfinch Place in Boston, and with developing WRKO’s radio automation system.  Capalbo served as president of engineering for the RKO Radio division and supervised seven AM stations and seven FM stations in markets including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.  He is also credited with building the RKO Satellite Network, the first radio satellite delivery network.  For the RKO Satellite Network, Capalbo designed the distribution network in New York City as well as the news bureau in Washington, DC.  Capalbo enlisted in the Armed forces in 1944 at the age of 17 right out of high school and served for two years until the end of World War II.  He left the service with a rank of Radioman Second Class.

wsrq logoWSRQ, Sarasota Partners with Gannett’s WTSP-TV for Content.  Florida Talk Radio-owned news/talk WSRQ, Sarasota (also heard on translator W295BH, Sarasota) enters into a deal with Gannett’s WTSP-TV “10 News” to locate two staffers from the television station in the former’s Sarasota studios.  Sarasota reporter Isabel Mascareñas, along with “10 News” photojournalist Tim Burquest will be based in the newsroom, allowing “10 News” to quickly cover breaking news and events in the Sarasota area.  Additionally, WTSP will provide video, weather radar and custom Sarasota weather forecasts for WSRQ.  WSRQ general manager Susan Nilon states, “Our goal is to focus specifically on Sarasota issues.  This partnership with ‘10 News’ allows for even better coverage of the wonderful place we call home.”

cfrbEmbattled Toronto Mayor’s Radio Show Ends.  Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s weekly radio program that aired on Bell Media’s CFRB, Toronto “Newstalk 1010” has been eliminated from the station’s program schedule by a mutual decision, according to station management.  Rob Ford and his brother, Toronto city councilor Doug Ford, hosted “The City with Mayor Rob Ford” that aired Sunday afternoons from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.  Rob Ford has been at the center of a drug use scandal that has been a major news story not only in Toronto and Canada but across the United States as well.

townsquaremediaFCC Tightens Divestiture Trust Policy with Townsquare’s Cedar Rapids Application.  The long period of time during which radio stations have sat in divestiture trusts while still putting money into the pockets of the “previous” owners has been a sore spot for some broadcasters, but that is changing as the FCC signals it’s not going to approve long-termed trusts.  The commission is approving the transfer of two of Townsquare Media’s Cedar Rapids stations – KKHQ-FM, Oelwein and KOEL-FM, Cedar Falls – to the Cedar Rapids Divestiture Trust on the condition that the term of the trust is two years and the trustee file reports every six months describing the efforts to sell them.  In discussing the matter, the commission notes that the economy, and therefore the climate for buying and selling radio stations, is in much better shape than it was in 2008 when Clear Channel created the Aloha Trust.  It notes that five years later, 37 of the 57 stations put in the trust have been sold with the sale of two more pending.  The commission concludes that “a reasonable limitation on the duration of a divestiture trust will best serve the public interest by requiring the parties to a trust agreement to meet a deadline to place the stations with a new operator to ensure long-term compliance with the requirements of the Local Radio Ownership Rule.”

beckkalinerGlenn Beck Visits Asheville.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Glenn Beck is pictured here with WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina afternoon drive talk show host Pete Kaliner at the WWNC studios.  Beck did his radio program from the station on November 8 while in town for the celebration of Reverend Billy Graham’s 95th birthday.  The event was attended by some 900 well-wishers including Donald Trump and Sarah Palin.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

| October 15, 2013

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity Return to Philly on WPHT.  CBS Radio brings Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh back to Philly on its news/talk WPHT.  Premiere’s Sean Hannity will also return to the station delay broadcast in the evening.  WPHT drops no daytime local programming but changes the times of the current shifts to accommodatewpht logo Limbaugh.  Morning drive host Chris Stigall wraps his show at 9:00 am, Dom Giordano airs from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.  After Limbaugh, Dick Morris and Gary R’nel begin the PM drive show at 3:00 pm.  It does appear that Casey Bartholomew’s late night program will end to make way for the Hannity show.  CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “We couldn’t be more pleased to bring Rush and Sean home to WPHT.  They are leaders in the format and the standard by which talk radio is measured.  Rush will be the lead-in for Dick Morris who has been developing a strong program the past six months.”

savagemichaelMichael Savage to Conference Call with New Station Management.  On Thursday at 12:00 noon ET, Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Michael Savage will host a conference call with program directors and station managers in anticipation of his move to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET show time to which the program moves in the New Year.  In a statement, Savage says, “I am thrilled that the new timeslot debut is just around the corner.  This call will give station managers the chance to hear direct from me what the coveted drivetime means for ‘The Savage Nation.’”  The company reports that the program will air on more than 200 affiliates of Cumulus Media Networks, including 60 stations owned and operated by Cumulus.  It says “Some of the cities where ‘The Savage Nation’ will air during drivetime include: New York (WABC), Chicago (WLS), Dallas (WBAP), Washington(WMAL), San Francisco (KSFO) and WJR (Detroit).

bobandtomBob & Tom to Leave Premiere Networks for Cumulus Media Networks.  Longtime WFBQ, Indianapolis-based morning drive team Bob Kevoian (left) and Tom Griswold (right) – known simply as Bob & Tom – are leaving longtime syndicator Premiere Networks and are partnering with Cumulus Media Networks for “operational and advertising sales” beginning in January 2014.  The show is currently heard on some 130 affiliate stations across the country as well as on the American Forces Radio Network.  Griswold states, “We have enjoyed a tremendous relationship with Premiere Networks and Clear Channel Media & Entertainment for many years.  Cumulus Media stations have always supported the Bob & Tom show in some of our largest markets, and once I had an opportunity to meet with John Dickey, it became clear that our visions aligned for the future.  We really appreciate the years of dedication from Julie Talbott and the staff at Premiere Networks, and we look forward to continuing to work with Clear Channel stations in the future.”

wdbz logoCincinnati Trombo Looks to Lewis as VP/GM.  Radio One‘s Blue Chip Broadcasting, Cincinnati appoints John Lewis vice president/general manager.  He will oversee urban contemporary WIZF “The Wiz,” urban oldies WOSL “Old School 100.3,” and talk WDBZ “The Buzz.”  Regional vice president Jeffrey Wilson comments, “John brings an outstanding blend of experience, vision, professionalism, and integrity to our mission to lead and serve the people of Cincinnati.”  Lewis notes, “I look forward to helping Radio One, Cincinnati realize its full potential.”  Lewis previously held management positions for Cumulus-owned stations in Lexington, Kentucky; Pensacola, Florida; and Albany, Georgia.

murphyjimBrahmin Broadcasting Brings in Murphy as Group PD.  Veteran programmer Jim Murphy is appointed group program director for 24 Brahmin Broadcasting Western Division stations. Murphy – who most recently was director of career services at the Ohio Center for Broadcasting – will begin his new duties next Monday (10/21); he will be based in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  “Jim will direct and oversee the programming and operations for all our Western stations,” explains Brahmin Broadcasting Corporation president Steven Silberberg.  “Jim started his broadcast career in New England, but for the last 20 years, he has managed the day-to-day operations and programming for a number of top broadcast companies in the Rocky Mountain West.”  Murphy spent 15 years at Jones Radio Networks, where he was vice president/country and recently programmed Cumulus country outlet KATC, Colorado Springs for 14 months.

krel logoFormer MLB Pitcher Mark Knudson to Manage KREL, Colorado Springs.  Radio Colorado Network announces former Major League Baseball pitcher Mark Knudson is named general manager for its sports talk outlet KREL, Colorado Springs “ESPN 1580.”  After retiring from baseball Knudson entered sports media working as an on-air host at KOA, Denver; AM 950 ‘The Fan’ and ESPN Radio.  He’s also been a contributing editor for Mile High Sports Magazine and helped launch Mile High Sports Radio.  Additionally, the company announces Warren McCarty is named program director for the station.  McCarty spent 11 years in pro football coaching, scouting, and in management prior to launching the “My Passion is Football” radio show.

garcettiericKNX, Los Angeles Begins Quarterly ‘Ask the Mayor’ Show.  Newly elected Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will make his first appearance on CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles on October 24 at 10:00 am for the first in a quarterly series of “Ask the Mayor” programs.  The live, listener call-in-formatted show will be hosted by KNX news anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman and, says the station, “will give Angelinos the opportunity to put the mayor in the hot seat.”  Angelinos can call the show or Tweet their questions to the mayor.

gallaghermikeOdds & Sods.  CBS Radio names Craig Heist sports reporter at its Washington, DC cluster.  Heist will do sports updates on all-news WNEW-FM and on sports talker WJFK-FM.  Heist worked in the market for almost 15 years at Hubbard’s crosstown all-news WTOP…..Texas Governor Rick Perry appeared on Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher show on Monday to promote his Americans for Economic Freedom non-profit that will buy ads on cable news/talk and talk radio to promote conservative policy.  On Gallagher’s show he said of the organization, “These are some folks that wanted to highlight the differences in policies between the states, and identify what works to create jobs, freedom and opportunity.”…..WEEI, Boston midday sports talk host (and former Red Sox player) Lou Merloni is sitting in the broadcast booth alongside Joe Castiglione and Dave O’Brien as a commentator for all of the ALCS games at Fenway Park.  Merloni co-hosts the midday show on WEEI with Mike Mutnansky.

sandersbobChicago Radio Legend Bob Sanders Passes.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder tips us that longtime WBBM-AM, Chicago personality Bob Sanders has died at age 89.  Sanders and his wife Betty were a duo who reigned in middays on WBBM-AM as the station transitioned from music to talk and later all-news.  Sanders joined WBBM in 1956 and the two began broadcasting as a husband-and-wife team in 1972.  They were let go from the station in 1982 and worked at crosstown WCFL for two years after that.

goslingooseFormer KDKA Sports Personality Goose Goslin Dies.  CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh reports that Marvin “Goose” Goslin died over the weekend.  Goslin, who retired from radio in 2003, was a sports personality on the station for 25 years.  During much of his time at KDKA, Goslin would do both morning and afternoon drive sports.  He is also being remembered for singing the national anthem before Penguins games and for knowing how to sing the Canadian national anthem in French.

Government Shutdown, Debt Ceiling, ObamaCare Implementation, MLB Playoffs and ‘Redskins’ Controversy Among Top News Stories Yesterday (10/14).  The negotiations on Washington to end the government shutdown and its effects; the congressional battle over the debt ceiling; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the Major League Baseball playoffs; and the controversy over the Washington Redskins name were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, April 12, 2013

| April 12, 2013

wls-am logoWLS, Chicago Celebrates 89th Anniversary with Special Event.  Afternoon drive co-host Roe Conn will emcee a star-studded array of the biggest names in Chicago radio – past and present – who will be taking part in a special broadcast this evening from historic Navy Pier to celebrate 89 years of WLS Radio entertaining Chicago.  Joining Conn at the event will be some of the biggest names from WLS’ past — Dick Biondi, Catherine Johns and Wayne Messmer – plus special birthday greetings from Larry Lujack, Jeff Hendrix, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Rep. Peter Roskam and Notre Dame Football Coach Brian Kelly.  Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will be on hand to present WLS with a special proclamation.   “The Big 89” launched the careers of many celebrities, including Gene Autry, Larry Lujack and Bob Sirott.  Other local personalities like Dick Biondi and John Records Landecker are still heard on Cumulus Media’s sister classic hits WLS-FM.  Landecker states, “When I got into radio I never expected one set of call letters to mean so much to me, and to so many listeners.  WLS, ‘The Big 89,’ truly is the 50,000 watt blow torch of the Midwest.”  The station debuted on the evening of April 12, 1924 from the Sherman House Hotel in Chicago.  The WLS call letters were taken from the nickname – World’s Largest Store – for Sears-Roebuck’s West Side Headquarters on Homan Avenue.  Cumulus COO John Dickey says, “What started as the world’s largest store has become one of the world’s legendary stations.  Happy birthday 89. You don’t sound a day over 40!”

sternhowardAppeals Court Sinks Stern’s SiriusXM Suit.  A New York state appeals court rejected SiriusXM personality Howard Stern’s argument that the satcaster should have paid him bonus money based on the subscriber count of XM Satellite Radio.  Stern, through his production company One Twelve, had argued that when he was paid stock awards for performance based upon subscribers to Sirius, the company should also have counted subscribers to XM which merged with Sirius in 2008.  Stern lost the $330 million suit in the lower level court and appealed the decision.  But the appeals court – in a one-paragraph decision – stated that Stern’s 2004 contract with Sirius was “unambiguous” and denied the appeal.

fishercommunicationsSinclair to Keep Fisher’s Seattle Radio Stations.  In reporting yesterday’s announcement of the acquisition of Fisher Communications by Sinclair Broadcast Group, we questioned whether Sinclair – which got out of the radio business almost 14 years ago – would want to keep the three Seattle stations or offload them once the deal is consummated.  But during a conference call with analysts, Sinclair chief financial officer, executive vice president,komologo secretary of SCI and secretary of Sinclair Television Group Inc. David B. Amy addressed the radio stations, “Our understanding is that they work very closely with the Seattle television stations, and are complementary to, and benefit the Seattle television stations.  So we’ve been in radio in the past, and we’re familiar with what works and what doesn’t work within a television market in that regard.  So it will take us some time to, I guess, verify those comments that are being made to us. But at this point, no, we haven’t made any decision to do anything but to continue the way they are.”  Fisher owns hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5,” all-news KOMO-AM and news/talk KVI.  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript of the call.  You can read it in its entirety here.

weei logoDavid Field to Speak to Entercom Boston Staffers Today.  Bruce Allen’s Boston Sports Media Watch is reporting that Entercom CEO David Field is making an appearance at the Boston offices in a “town hall meeting”fielddavid style in which he’ll attempt to deal with what Allen is calling a “toxic environment” at the cluster.  Allen writes that he’ll presumably “attempt to assuage hard feelings and improve morale.  The source says the meeting is to tell employees that ‘everything is fine, and to enjoy the brand.’”  This comes on the heels of Boston Red Sox Network air personality Jon Rish’s decision to exit the network as the baseball season is just beginning rather than take what was reported to be a 30% pay cut.  Allen also is reporting that his source says Field will take questions from the staff but that questions had to be submitted in advance.

wphtWPHT, Philadelphia Moves Gary R’nel to Afternoon Co-Host Position; Rich Zeoli to Evenings.  At CBS Radio news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia, current afternoon drive co-host Rich Zeoli is moving to the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot as Gary R’nel moves to the afternoon drive slot as new afternoon host Dick Morris’ partner.  In February, WPHT announced that political consultant and former Fox News Channel contributor Morris would join the station for PM drive as part of changes to accommodate the move of longtime WPHT host Michael Smerconish to SiriusXM.  Zeoli posted the confirmation of his status on his Facebook page when he wrote, “It’s official, starting April 15th I will be moving to 6:00 to 10:00 on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT.  Thanks friends for your support and encouragement the last several weeks.”

fair50 Talk Show Hosts Heading to DC Next Week for Live Broadcasts Discussing and Opposing the Senate Amnesty Bill – More Invited to Participate from Home.  Wednesday, April 17 and Thursday, April 18 are the dates set for this year’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” mega-radio row held in the nation’s capital by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).  50 talk show hosts will be originating their programs during those two days from Capitol Hill, interviewing a parade of high-profile guests from politics, government, the media and public policy organizations.  Due to the overwhelming interest expressed by far more hosts than can be accommodated on the scene at this live event, FAIR is encouraging interested talk show hosts around the country to participate from their home markets with a “concentrated, collective and loud” nationwide push to alert listeners, who might be so pre-disposed, to oppose amnesty.  FAIR communications director Bob Dane has issued the following statement to hosts around the nation: “Please join 50 of your colleagues at ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ by devoting some, or all, of your program on April 17 and 18 to talking about the massive immigration giveaway moving through Congress.  The bill is complex but the call-to-action is simple.  As we did successfully in 2007, we need you to ask your listeners to call their lawmakers, say ‘no,’ and flood the Capitol switchboard on those two days.” For more information click herehttp://www.fairus.org/VoicesAgainstAmnesty

kupersteinadamNBC Sports Radio Network Adds Weekend Shows. Rounding out its weekend programming, the NBC Sports and Dial Global sports radio network initiative announces that last Sunday, the network debuted “Kup and Schultz,” featuring Miami’s Adam “Kup” Kuperstein and Huffington Post sports columnist Jordan Schultz.  “Kup and Schultz” will air schultzjordanregularly on Sundays from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.  Also, the network assigns a weekend show to weekday overnight host Dan Schwartzman as he debuts “Schwartzman Saturdays,” airing from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET. Kuperstein states, “I’m honored to be in such good company on the NBC Sports Radio team. Our show will be a fast-paced, fun, fresh look at sports.  I can’t wait to get started!”  Schultz adds, “I’m thrilled to be hosting a new show for NBC Sports Radio where I can bring my Huff Post perspective and passion for sports to a new audience.  It’s a tremendous opportunity to work with a highly respected network that already provides great sports talk.”

hedgecockrogerRadio America’s Roger Hedgecock Adds Six New Affiliates.  Six more stations add the nationally syndicated and San Diego-based Roger Hedgecock program to their lineups.  They are: KMJ-AM, Fresno; KGNC, Amarillo; KION, Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz, California; KHQN, Salt Lake City; WLFJ, Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina; KCNR, Redding, California.

kozntorreNRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha Broadcasts from Bob Gibson Statue Unveiling.  NRG Media sports talker KOZN, Omaha “The Zone” broadcast from the recent unveiling of a statue of St. Louis Cardinals great Bob Gibson by the Sarpy County (Nebraska) Sports Commission and the minor league Omaha Storm Chasers at the club’s Werner Park on April 11.  During the five-hour live remote, KOZN Damon Benning and Gary Sharp welcomed numerous high-profile guests including former MLB manager Joe Torre.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Benning, Torre and Sharp.

Obama 2014 Budget Top Talk Story for Week of April 8-12. President Obama’s Fiscal 2014 Federal Budget along with the sequester and other spending issues were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Coming in at #2 was gun legislation proposals followed by North Korea missile threats at #3.  At #4 was the immigration reform bill.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

| April 11, 2012

CBS Radio’s WPHT Touts New “Live and Local” Lineup.  With WYD Media talk show host Michael Smerconish soon to air live on his flagship station WPHT, Philadelphia as he replaces Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh, CBS Radio is promoting its dedication to “live and local” talk radio on the Philly news/talker.  Philadelphia market manager Marc Rayfield states, “We pride ourselves on being local and serving Philadelphians first.  Having Michael broadcast live is another example of our commitment to the audience.  The November election is one of the most important ever and WPHT will continue to offer a local platform no matter what side of the aisle you sit on.”  WPHT’s morning show (for years hosted by Smerconish) is hosted by Chris Stigall, Dom Giordano is late morning talent, Smerconish takes over 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, Gary R’nel hosts evenings and the station promises to bring a new live and local PM drive show to the station to replace Smerconish’s delayed broadcast.

BIA/Kelsey Reports Radio’s On-Air Revenue Flat in 2011.  The quarterly “Investing in Radio Market Report” from BIA/Kelsey indicates revenue from over-the-air radio rose a modest 0.4% over 2010 numbers to $14.1 billion in 2011.  While the revenue for over-the-air was basically flat, digital revenue rose 15.1% to reach $439 million.  In the report, BIA/Kelsey predicts online revenue will continue to grow at a fast pace to $505 million in 2012 and to $767 million in 2016.  Political spending in 2012 is also expected to boost total radio revenue by as much as 3.5% over 2011 figures.  BIA/Kelsey VP and chief economist Mark Fratrik says, “Although radio’s revenue ascent has been slow since its bottoming in 2009, the industry always picks up steam in an election year and is continuing to prove itself as a valuable local advertising medium, particularly as the integration between over-the-air and online improves.  News stations, in particular, continue to be leaders in many markets by creating comprehensive over-the-air and digital portfolios of ad products and formats to drive deeper advertiser engagement and prove their value in the ad buying mix.”

All-News WCBS Tops New York Revenue Pile for Third Straight Year.  Although revenue was actually down from year-to-year – billing dropped from $49 million in 2010 to $47.5 million – all-news WCBS was still the top biller in the Big Apple, according to Crain’s New York Business.  The story includes analysis of the BIA/Kelsey report in the story above.  The top five revenue-generating stations in New York for 2011 were:  WCBS, CHR WHTZ-FM, lite rock WLTW-FM, all-news WINS, and sports talk WFAN.

Sports Talk Host Dan Sileo Takes Over PM Drive at WQAM, Miami.  Former WDAE, Tampa talk show host Dan Sileo is joining Beasley Broadcasting’s sports talk WQAM, Miami to replace Sid Rosenberg as host of the PM drive show.  Sileo exited Clear Channel Media and Entertianment’s WDAE several weeks ago after a number of years with the station.  Beasley Broadcasting VP/market manager Joe Bell tells TALKERS, “I have followed Dan’s career for years and am very excited about his joining our team!  Dan has a passion for sports, has demonstrated ratings success and at heart is a “Miami guy” having played on two UM National Championship football teams.

Production Talent Changes at Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM.”  With longtime production voice Ross Mitchell leaving the show to pursue other interests, Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” announces Dick Ervasti and Charles Thomas join the program.  The network states, “Dick Ervasti now lends his voice to the program’s introductions, while Charles Thomas voices on-air announcements and promos, as well as “Somewhere in Time with Art Bell.”  Based in Minneapolis, Ervasti is a veteran voice actor with credits ranging from “America’s Most Wanted” and the blockbuster film “Transformers,” to The History Channel and the CBS hit drama “NCIS.”  Thomas also has a wide range of credits, which include commercials for Samsung, Chevy Silverado, The Home Depot, the Syfy original series “Warehouse 13” and Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Talk Radio Pioneer Bruce Williams Returns to Biz Via Podcast.  Iconic talk radio star Bruce Williams, who left his regularly aired radio show several years ago, is returning to the business with new podcasts available three days per week.  The podcasts are being produced from calls to Williams during other times.  Fans with questions for Williams are being asked to call during specific times when Williams will be able to record their conversations – today from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm ET, for example.  An e-mail blast from his office states, “Remember, this Wednesday April 11 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm ET, Bruce will be taking calls off the air which will air next Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Tuesday, April 17 and Thursday, April 19 of next week he will be live taking calls from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET.  For now this will be the weekly schedule. Think of all those questions you wanted to ask him for the last two years and were not able to and give him a call, even if it’s to just welcome him back.  The call in number is 855-85-CALL TAE (855-852-2558).  The show will also be on iTunes with the past seven shows available.  All shows will be available at www.taeradio.com.

WGOW-FM, Chattanooga Names Brian Joyce Midday Host.  Brian Joyce most recently worked at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston hosting a weekend talk program.  His bio lists his varied work experience including: truck driver, bartender and stand-up comic, among others.  Joyce tells the local Nooga.com that he considers himself part of the “radical center.”  “This is the new movement, especially in my head, for politics.  There will be issues where I will fall far to the left or far to the right.  And maybe people won’t understand it at first.  I don’t think media addresses this currently.” WGOW-FM news director Kevin West says Joyce’s hiring sends a signal about how they’d like the station to sound, “I want it to be a place where it is not predetermined what you’re going to get with any issue.  I think Brian is going to surprise a lot of people.”  Joyce’s program airs from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on the Cumulus Media news/talk outlet.

“The Wall Street Journal This Morning” Airs in Denver.  The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s morning drive – or early morning drive in Mountain Time – program “The Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal” clears large market KOA, Denver.  Station operations director Greg Foster states, “‘The Wall Street Journal This Morning’ helps reinforce 850 KOA’s news image during the early ‘executive drive time’ hours.  More than just money news – ‘The Wall Street Journal This Morning’ is a perfect lead-in to our ‘Colorado’s Morning News.’”

NBC May Be Preparing to Give Matt Lauer More Air Time.  News of “Today” show star Matt Lauer’s contract extension with NBC to remain with the program for many more years broke over the weekend.  Now, it’s being reported that NBC is considering expanding the Lauer franchise – possibly by developing the “Today’s Professionals” segment in which Lauer bats around the hot topics of the day with talent such as Star Jones, Donny Deutsch and Dr. Nancy Snyderman – into either a fifth hour of “Today” or another show altogether.  TVGuide reports the details are not set in stone but it also reports Lauer’s new deal with NBC gives him a share in the ownership of any new show outside of “Today.”

Santorum Drops Out of GOP Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Facebook Buys Instagram, North Korean Rocket Test, Trayvon Martin Case and Ozzie Guillen’s Castro Flap Among Top Stories on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (4/10).  Rick Santorum’s suspension of his campaign for the GOP nomination and the larger 2012 presidential race, Facebook’s $1 billion purchase of Instagram, North Korea’s new rocket test, the Trayvon Martin case and Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen’s Castro comments were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.