Tag: "Gene Valicenti"

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

| June 26, 2013

npg logoClear Channel Faces Suit by Photo Company Alleging Illegal Use.  National Photo Group LLC has filed a complaint in United States District Court Western District of Texas alleging Clear Channel radio stations infringed on its copyrights by using pictures of various celebrities on the websites of some of its radio stations.  The complaint names 11 CC radio stations and alleges photos of celebrities including Jason Aldean, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Drew Barrymore and others were used without permission and with knowledge that the photos were copyrighted.  NPG is seeking $150,000 per infringement plus legal fees and any other relief the Court deems just and proper.

marrtomlgWCBM, Baltimore Extends Talk Host Tom Marr’s Contract Through 2017.  Baltimore talk radio institution Tom Marr will be heard on WCBM through 2017 as the station’s vice president, Nick Mangione. Jr., announces the station extends his no-cut contract for another four years.  The official announcement was made June 24 by WCBM program director and operations manager Sean Casey at the start of Marr’s show that day.  Mangione, Jr. states, “I am delighted we have reached the agreement on the extension. To quote my late father, Tom is still at the top of his game both as a broadcaster in general and talk show host in particular.  We are delighted he will be on the air until 2017 with WCBM and he just may decide to stay longer.  There will always be room for him in the WCBM family.  Tom has a good sense for the business.  As an example, he is the first one to suggest that we add both Sean Hannity and Mark Levin to our lineup.  Tom has a large following within the reach of our 50 thousand watt transmitter and is building a solid national and international following on WCBM’s worldwide reach via the internet.”  Marr, who began his career as a high school sports broadcaster on WWDC-AM, Washington, DC in 1960, says, “I am deeply honored that Nick and the Mangione Family Enterprises agreed to the extension.  I look forward to the challenges ahead for talk radio and its increasing role in the media especially in view of our relationship with the digital world.”

brienjenWBZ-AM, Boston Names Jen Brien Overnight Talk Host.  After the retirement of Steve LeVeille last year, the station has been featuring a number of talk radio personalities in the overnight slot.  Now, program director Peter Casey announces Jennifer “Jen” Brien is named to the permanent position.  The station says the program “will be a mix of pop culture, current events, politics, and the comings and goings of people in New England.”  In addition to WBZ-AM’s monster signal that penetrates the entire East Coast at that time of night, the show can be heard on CBS Radio’s Radio.com.  Brien joined WBZ from Entercom’s crosstown news/talk WRKO where she hosted a daily program.  She has also hosted shows on WPRO and WHJJ in Providence, and WCOD and WXTK on Cape Cod.  Before beginning her career in radio, Brien spent more than five years as a soldier in the United States Army where she was selected for the prestigious “Soldier of the Year” award.

bennettalexSiriusXM Cancels Long-Running Alex Bennett Show.  One of modern talk radio’s true pioneers, Alex Bennett, has reportedly been let go “without cause” from SiriusXM Satellite Radio‘s “Sirius Left” channel where he was doing the daily 7:00 am to 10:00 am program.  Bennett has been with Sirius for almost a decade and, according to insiders close to the host, was caught by surprise and is “distraught” over what transpired.  Bennett has had a colorful, unique on-air career that goes back to the late-1960s when he was the lone talk show host on the old WMCA, New York when it was still the “Home of the Good Guys.”  He subsequently went on to do both rock music and talk broadcasting serving as one of the original prototypes for the pop culture-oriented (some call it “shock jock”) and “progressive” genres of modern day talk radio.  Between WMCA and Sirius, he served in ground-breaking stints at such great stations as WPLJ in New York and KMEL, KITS (“Live 105″) and KQAK (“The Quake”) in San Francisco.  At press time, it is not clear if this was a cost-cutting move on the part of Sirius or indicative of a re-direction in programming.  Bennett is still on the air and is reportedly doing his final program for the satellite radio service this Friday.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “In my opinion Alex Bennett is one of the most important talents ever to grace a microphone during my lifetime.  His show on WMCA — in which he did extremely progressive talk about the issues of the day such as the Vietnam War – was on a station that was otherwise a hip music station.  In the midst of all the fun, cool hipness of the rock ‘n’ roll and the zany DJs of that fabulous station, Bennett was fearlessly talking to the kids about extremely important controversial issues.  That show served as the original inspiration for me to launch an issues-oriented talk show (“Harrison’s Mic”) five years later on rocker KMET in Los Angeles and my own talk career that paralleled my music radio work.  If I had not heard Alex Bennett in 1969, there might not have ever been a TALKERS magazine.”

cookehollandHOLLAND COOKE: The Future of AM/FM in the Car.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from the Consumer Electronic Association’s Connected Car Conference in New York City and her says that the bottom line after “four-and-a-half-hours of thoughtful discussion, research, and prognostication by automotive, electronics, and media thinkers:  Whatever the dashboard is about to morph into matters less to AM/FM radio than what’s already happened.”  Cooke writes that people who matter have already connected their media to the car speakers and offers some thoughts about what radio programmers can do to stand out from the digital competition.  Read his analysis here.

wznn logoSummitMedia to Pull the Plug on Sports Talk In Birmingham.  SummitMedia announces it will drop the sports talk format on WZNN, Birmingham “97.3 The Zone” and flip to a different – most likely music – format.  SummitMedia EVP and COO David DuBose tells the Birmingham News, “We have been evaluating the sportsfinebaumpaul format in light of multiple factors, including [Paul] Finebaum‘s placement.  After nearly two years, it became clear the market did not support two competing sports stations.  “Therefore, we have determined we should focus on other format opportunities.”  SummitMedia purchased the Birmingham cluster from Cox Media Group earlier this year.  The station was flipped to sports in August of 2011 when Cox had its eye on building the station around mega-successful Southeast sports personality Paul Finebaum by bringing him over from Cumulus Media’s crosstown sports WJOX.  Finebaum, who’d had legal squabbles with WJOX and wanted out of that relationship, ended up working out his contract there, sat out a non-compete and will begin a new sports talk radio venture with ESPN based out of Charlotte.  It’s believed he will return to WJOX via ESPN syndication when the new program debuts later this summer.

mynorthwest logoBonneville Seattle Brings Unique Talk to MyNorthwest.comThe Bonneville Seattle cluster that includes news/talk KIRO-FM, sports KIRO-AM and talk KTTH is beginning a series of unique audio programs to the web venture it calls MyNorthwest.com.  Dubbed “MyNorthwest Chats,” the weekly, one-hour programs will stream on Wednesday’s from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm beginning with today’s chat featuring nationally acclaimed restaurateur Tom DouglasMyNorthwest.com editor Stephanie Klein says, “We’re excited to have the opportunity to connect our readers directly to the experts and start an inspiring dialogue that makes an impact.  We want the conversation to spark a chain of discussion in our readers’ lives.”  Other chats lined up for July include talk show host Michael Medved and Seattle Mariners insider Shannon Drayer.

ryderturiProgramming Changes at WGN, Chicago; Turi Ryder to Exit.  Chicago radio pro Turi Ryder has been in the late night slot at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago since the beginning of this year but now the company says it’s going in a different direction and will end her program.  Ryder will get a chance to say goodbye to her WGN listeners as she’ll work this evening and Thursday before wrapping things up there.  The station has not announced what will air in the time slot.  Ryder also hosts “America Weekend” for Envision Radio Networks.

wproCumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence Tackles Immigration Issue with Live Debate.  News/talk WPRO-AM’s Tara Granahan is moderating a debate that will take place today at the Providence Marriott from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm called, “Green Light on Green Cards,” featuring a panel of experts from each side of the illegal immigration issue.  The granahantaradiscussion will be streamed live online at the station’s 630wpro.com and will be the center piece of a “WPRO Special Report” scheduled to air during the “WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti” the week of July 1.  The debate features two immigration lawyers, a state representative, a member of the local clergy and the head of an illegal immigration enforcement organization.  The stations states, “The debate will address the issues that have emerged from illegal immigration including; licenses for illegal immigrants, how immigration effects the Rhode Island economy, and potential solutions moving forward.”

telesouth logoTeleSouth Communications to Buy WOSM, Ocean Springs, Mississippi.  TeleSouth operates the Mississippi talk radio network known as “SuperTalk Mississippi” and the purchase of WOSM, Ocean Springs (103.1 FM) – between Biloxi and Pascagoula on the Gulf Coast – will be added to that network.  The company states, “The addition of WOSM to the network will give coast listeners the best choice in Mississippi programming with ‘The Gallo Radio Show,’ ‘The JT Show’ and ‘Head to Head with Matt Wyatt and Richard Cross,’ all homegrown programs that keep a watch on state government, entertainment, sports, unique happenings in Mississippi, with a local take on national issues.”  In addition to Mississippi-based programs, ‘SuperTalk’ is also home to Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee and Compass Media NetworksLars Larson and Todd Schnitt.  WOSM is owned and operated by Charles Cooper and airs Christian programming.  TeleSouth CEO Steve Davenport states, “We are excited about growing the ‘SuperTalk Network’ with the addition of WOSM.  Mr. Cooper has worked hard for years building an audience loyal to traditional family values.  We are confident that WOSM listeners will hear those values in the programs featured each day on ‘SuperTalk.’”  Long-time coast talk show host and programmer Kipp Greggory will serve as general manager of WOSM.

rutherforddaveCHQR, Calgary Talk Host Dave Rutherford to End Daily Show.  Canadian talk show host Dave Rutherford will wrap a 21-year career hosting a daily talk show at CHQR, Calgary after his last show on July 26.  The conservative personality and pedigreed newsman tells the Edmonton Journal he believes the broadcast news industry is dumbing down and there may be no place for a broadcaster like him.  “I don’t think there’s the desire to ask the next question, maybe to ask any questions.  But I sense that the whole industry, the broadcast news business, television and radio, is dumbing down.”

cnnradioThe End of the Line for CNN Radio.  The service was a shell of its former self after Dial Global ended its distribution of the news product and replaced it with NBC News Radio last year, effectively becoming a digital-only product.  Now, CNN states that after completing “a review of its radio business,” it “has made the decision to cease production of CNN Radio podcasts, effective immediately.”  CNN has indicated that some of the staff will be relocated to positions elsewhere in the company.

huntallenAllen Hunt to End WSB, Atlanta Program.  Christian broadcaster Allen Hunt announces he’ll end his Sunday evening program that has aired on WSB, Atlanta since its inception after the June 30 broadcast.  Hunt says he was approached by Cox Media to move the time of his program and he decided that due to his busy schedule with the Dynamic Catholic Institute and the requested change, he decided it would be better to end the show.  Hunt built the program at WSB and, for a couple of years, put the show into national syndication.

mohrbillboardThe Roving Jay Mohr Billboard.  Fox Sports Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jay Mohr’s flagship station, “AM570 FOX Sports LA” (KLAC, Los Angeles) surprised Mohr with a mobile billboard promoting his program.  While Mohr was on the air, the billboard stopped by the studio during its route through Los Angeles and the show crew seized the opportunity for a quick photo-op.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: intern Ben Haley, technical producer John Ramos, social media producer Matty Cox, assistant producer Justin Frosburg, Mohr, update anchor “Diamond” Dan Beyer, associate producer Mike Lingard and executive producer Greg “Hong Kong” Toohey.

Former KMOX, St. Louis Personality Bruce Bradley Dies.  Bruce Bradley was a personality on CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis from 1986 to 1992.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports he passed away on Saturday, June 22 in Lake St. Louis at age 79.  Prior to his career in St. Louis, Bradley also worked in the New York, Philadelphia and Boston markets.

President Obama’s Global Warming Policy, SCOTUS Gay Marriage Rulings, George Zimmerman Trial, Paula Deen Freefall, and Texas Anti-Abortion Bill Fails Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/25).  President Obama’s policy to bypass Congress to enact greenhouse gas emissions regulations; the Supreme Court’s rulings on gay marriage issues; the trial of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin; the demise of Paula Deen’s media career in the wake of allegations of racist language; and the failure of anti-abortion legislation in Texas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, February 18, 2013

| February 18, 2013

blazergraceGrace Blazer Lands at Clear Channel Miami.  Former WTKK, Boston program director Grace Blazer is the new PD at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WIOD and sports WINZ, Miami.  She exited the Greater Media talk station when it flipped to rhythmic AC at the end of 2012.  Prior to WTKK, Blazer programmed WPHT, Philadelphia.  In a statement, Blazer says, “The depth of Clear Channel’s resources is phenomenal.  Working for our industry’s leading media company and programming WIOD and WINZ is a superb opportunity.  I’m excited to partner with Alex Tear, Lonny Anger and the talented staffs of ‘News Radio 610/100.3FM’ and 940’s ‘Sports Animal’ to grow these stations.”  The programming position at WIOD and WINZ opened up when Ken Charles moved up to the VP of programming position at Clear Channel’s Sacramento cluster.

cainhermanHermain Cain Joins Fox News Channel as Contributor.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Herman Cain becomes part of the Fox News Channel stable of contributors.  Cain, who took over the late morning slot long held by talk radio pioneer Neal Boortz at Cox Media’s WSB, Atlanta and his national syndication distributed by Dial Global, will make regular appearances on FNC where EVP of programming Bill Shine says in a statement, “Cain’s impressive resume makes him a valuable addition to the Fox News and Fox Business lineup.  As a political expert with business savvy, he brings an important voice to the nation’s debates.”  In addition to his recent run for president, Cain also was CEO of the Godfather’s Pizza chain and held the CEO position at the National Restaurant Association.

wfan logoNY Post Reports CBS Radio New York Weighing WFAN-AM/FM Options.  The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick writes that the brass at CBS Radio in New York City is weighing its programming options for the sports talk tandem of WFAN-AM and FM as the company must be eager to get the fledgling CBS Sports Radio Network programming on in the largest market in the country.  Currently, the full schedule of WFAN programming is heard on both signals but the need to get the new national network some Big Apple exposure is pressing.  A statement from the company to the Post goes, “We have a number of great options and are closely examining each one.”  At issue is the fact that WFAN-AM’s 660 signal is huge and the 101.9 FM signal is decent but nowhere near as far-reaching as 660 AM.  Will the local sports talk remain on 660 AM and the national network appear on 101.9 FM?  Will it be the other way around or a mixture of the two?  As Mushnick hints, you can bet some of the WFAN stalwarts – including PM driver Mike Francesa and AM drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton – would like to stay on the huge 660 AM signal.  CBS Radio is expected to make a decision within the next few months.

DG-logoHorizontalDial Global to Cease SEC Reporting.  The company cites, among other things, “the relatively limited historical volume of trading in the Company’s common stock and the applicable federal securities laws” as one of the reasons it will suspend its reporting obligations under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Dial Global’s board of directors determined that such action would be in the best interests of the company.  It says, “In reaching this conclusion, the Company’s Board of Directors considered numerous factors including the compliance costs associated with filing periodic reports with the SEC and the diversion of management attention from other matters that result from being a reporting company.”  Dial Global left the NASDAQ and its stock is traded on OTC Pink.  It states, “There can be no assurance, however, that a trading market in the Company’s common stock through the over-the-counter market or any other market will be maintained.”

landaudavidDavid Landau Gets Nice Severance from Dial Global.  Technically it’s not a severance but regardless, former co-CEO of Dial Global David Landau will receive $600, 000 per annum for the next two years plus other unspecified benefits after the company decided to re-align its corporate management structure and make Spencer Brown sole CEO and former co-CEO Ken Williams president.

stpierreronWPRO, Providence Lets Ron St. Pierre Go.  In a move that appears to be about saving money, Ron St. Pierre exits his role as PM drive host Buddy Cianci’s sidekick/executive producer.  GoLocalProv.com reports that this is the latest in a series of moves at the Cumulus Media station that began with the ouster of Andrew Gobiel from the WPRO morning show and the re-assignment of Tara Granahan from the AM show to other news duties.  The station brought WJAR-TV anchor Gene Valicenti in to host the morning program.  St. Pierre has served at WPRO as program director – the first time in 1988 – as general manager, and as host of the station’s morning show.  Ron can be reached at ron.stpierre@cox.net.

millerchrisGood Writing Is at the Core of Digital Success.  Writing for the internet is a very different art form than writing for the radio.  Noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller says, “Good writing is at the heart of what we do online, and how we communicate with our fans.  Don’t just do it for the art of it; do it because it can help stretch your few thousand Facebook fans into tens of millions of annual impressions.  Do it because it will help get your tweets re-tweeted.  We’re talking about building your numbers here!”  Miller advises TALKERS readers to avoid three common mistakes in writing for the web: 1) over-selling; 2) being boring; and 3) social desperation.  Read his entire piece here.

raytomWINTER ADVICE:  Be Sure to Install Deicers on your Antenna.  It is not too late to do it or to be concerned.  The failure to properly install deicers on your antenna to save a few bucks in the short term can not only interfere with the quality of your signal, it can put you off the air entirely, not to mention cause severe costly damage to your components and even create a major fire hazard.  TALKERS technical editor and noted engineering consultant Tom Ray says, “While money is tight all over, the last thing you need is your transmitter and/or building to be a smoking hulk.  Consult with someone qualified to guide you.  Think of it like buying an insurance policy.  You may not want to spend the cash, but it could save you a bundle in the long run.  Read Tom Ray’s entire article here.

trumpdonaldTrump-Maher Suit “Stretches Credulity.”  TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes that the $5 million suit Donald Trump is filing against Bill Maher has no chance of success, little chance of getting a day in court and could incur sanctions against Trump and his attorney for filing a frivolous lawsuit.  In case you missed it, Maher went on “The Tonight Show” in January and – based on the color of Trump’s hair – joked that he would donate $5 million to a charity of Trump’s choice if he would produce his birth certificate to show he is not the son of an orangutan.  Read more of Weisman’s account about why this spat is still going on and upon what legal ground the complaint stands (or doesn’t as the case may be).  It’s here.

johnsondanistudioXtreMEDIA Syndicated Host Dani Johnson Profiled in Forbes.  The host of the weekly XtreMEDIA-syndicated Dani Johnson program was profiled on Forbes.com on Thursday and, according to XtreMEDIA CEO Kevin McCullough, the story went viral “with 15,700 shares on Facebook in a little more than a day.  Heading into the weekend it was still the ‘Most Popular’ and ‘Most Read’ piece on Forbes.com.”  McCullough tells TALKERS, “Her story as a broke homeless woman to becoming a multiple millionaire to even now helping others get out of debt, restore relationships, and expand their influence is a story that rocketed her from one affiliate station in January of 2012 to 95 stations and counting in January of 2013.  Dani is the most important voice in all of American media – not just talk radio – that most of the nation still hasn’t heard from.  Hundreds of thousands of lives changed for the better, only proves the point that she has something that real audiences are looking for… connection!”  Read the Forbes story here.

Friday, January 4, 2013

| January 4, 2013

simonemarkMark Simone Begins Late Morning Show on WOR, New York.  Longtime WABC, New York personality Mark Simone is heading downtown to begin a new chapter in his career with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WOR.  Simone tells TALKERS he’s excited to begin hosting the daily 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  He says, “It’ll be a fast and fun daily look at what’s going on in the world, the city, entertainment, politics, tech, gossip, food, nightlife, my life, lives and whatever else they want to talk about.  Lots of great guests and listener calls, too.”  Simone says his 13 years at WABC wor710were great.  Management was always good to him and he’s finding it hard to leave his fellow co-workers but he’s encouraged to be re-joining general manager Steve Borneman who recently left WABC and is now with WOR.  “He’s a great leader and the best GM we ever had on the 17th floor at WABC and everyone on the air there would tell you that they would follow him anywhere.  He’s also hiring the best and smartest programming mastermind around.  This is just the beginning.  So, while I hate leaving the best co-workers in radio, it may not be long before many of them decide to join me here.”  Simone’s program fills the slot on WOR previously held by Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher.

valicenti show logoWPRO, Providence Makes AM Drive Change; Gene Valicenti to Anchor.  Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM, Providence announces WJAR-TV co-anchor Gene Valicenti (pictured at left) is the new host of its “WPRO Morning News” program.  The station says “Gene brings more than 20 years of Rhode Island news broadcasting experience to the ‘WPRO Morning News’ each and every weekday.  With an intimate knowledge of Rhode Island and neighboring Massachusetts, the ‘WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti’ will help listeners get their weekday started with news, traffic, weather and the unique touch of Gene Valicenti.”  For more than two years Valicenti has been hosting his eponymous Saturday morning show on WPRO.  He says, “Rhode Island has been waking up to WPRO since the days of Salty Brine.  It goes without saying that hosting the ‘WPRO Morning News’ is a real honor for me.”  TALKERS columnist and respected industry consultant Holland Cooke, who happens to be a longtime resident of Rhode Island, comments that he believes this to be a very good move.  “I’ve been a big Gene Valicenti fan for years, but who here in Rhode Island isn’t?  His NBC10 newscasts have consistently led the ratings.  Beyond those impressive news chops, Gene’s approach to talk radio demonstrates what I hear as a welcome new trend, an antidote to the format’s caricature.  His Saturday radio show SMILES more than most other talkers I hear; and, though topical, he’s not obsessed with politics.  Gene strikes me as ‘a next-gen Salty Brine.’”  In related news, current morning news host Tara Granahan is promoted to assistant program director for the station.

kinosianmikeTALKERS magazine’s Sports Radio Feature, Part 3.  Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian wraps up a special three-part sports talk radio feature with a look at the December 2012 PPM ratings for sports talk stations in those markets.  Numbers freaks will enjoy checking out how some of the nation’s most prominent sports talk outlets performed during that period.  Peruse that data here.  Mike Kinosian’s three-part feature kicked off with a thorough look at the new CBS Sports Radio Network that debuted on Wednesday.  If you missed that, read it here.  The second part of this piece covered the new sports talk venture from NBC and Dial Global that premieres its weekend programming tomorrow prior to a full launch in April.  You can read that piece here.

noorygeorgeGeorge Noory Celebrates 10 Years as Host of ‘Coast to Coast AM.’  It was 10 years ago this weekend that George Noory took over the permanent host gig at Premiere Networks’ super-successful overnight program “Coast to Coast AM” and he plans a special show Sunday evening to celebrate.  The show will feature appearances by many fan-favorite guests, including paranormal investigator Joshua P. Warren and internationally known psychic Joseph Jacobs.  Noory will also share memorable interviews and highlights from the past decade.  Of the anniversary, Noory says, “It’s amazing how fast 10 years goes by and I’m looking forward to 10 more.  We have grown the affiliate base from 445 stations when I came on to 564, and have increased our digital, multi-platform audiences tremendously.  I want to thank my staff of dedicated producers and engineers, our affiliates, as well as the entire Premiere Networks team – they are the best in the business.”  Premiere Networks EVP of news, talk and sports programming Carl Anderson states, “After 10 successful years, George continues to take ‘Coast to Coast AM’ to new heights.  His ability to not only entertain and engage his loyal following of sleep-deprived listeners across multiple platforms, but also deliver positive results for stations and sponsors, is what makes him a stand-out star in the world of talk radio.  We look forward to celebrating many more milestones together.”

DG-logoHorizontalBig NFL Weekend for Dial Global Sports.  The first round of the NFL playoffs is here and Dial Global is providing radio broadcasts of the four Wild Card round games this weekend.  Play-by-play of the NFL playoffs has been a successful venture for Dial Global (and Westwood One before that).  Last year, the company commissioned a study by Edison Research to calculate listenership to the playoff games and the Super Bowl which, according to Edison, pulled in 23.1 million unique listeners to last year’s championship game, underscoring how many Americans aren’t able to be near a TV and turn to the radio to hear the big game.

snlkaganSNL Kagan Reports Current TV-Al Jazeera Deal a Challenge for Middle East Operator.  The pending $500 million sale of Al Gore-founded cable news/talk channel Current TV to Qatar-operated Al Jazeera is a bounty for Al Gore and Joel Hyatt but will likely be a big hurdle for Al Jazeera.  SNL Kagan states, “We think Al Jazeera may have to drop the license fee to zero in order to gain widespread support for carrying the channel in the U.S., a move that would certainly imperil its economic model, which relies upon license fees for 80% of the network’s revenue.  But maybe this is the only way for Al Jazeera America to gain a solid foothold in the U.S…In the U.S., the channel is available only in New York; Washington; Burlington, Vt.; Toledo, Ohio; and Bristol, R.I., versus 250 million households across the world in 120 countries.”

weei logoEntercom’s WEEI Expands Its Brand in the Granite State.  New England’s Boston-based WEEI sports talk radio brand expands in New Hampshire adding its eighth affiliate – Great Eastern Radio’s WZEI, Meredith.  WZEI is a class A FM covering the Lakes Region of New Hampshire.  The station will carry the entire WEEI daily sports talk lineup, its weekend programming and Boston Celtics basketball.  Great Eastern CEO Jeff Shapiro says, “We are very excited to bring coverage of everything New England sports to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire with 101.5 WZEI.  Great Eastern Radio and WEEI have a great partnership that has been key to great sports programming in northern New England for the past few years, and we look forward to extending that for years to come!”

kgologoKGO, San Francisco Wins Regional News Awards.  Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco picks up two 2012 awards for broadcasting excellence from the NorCal Radio Television News Directors Association.  The station won “Best News Broadcast” for the in-depth coverage of the Occupy protest and closure of the Port of Oakland anchored by Bret Burkhart and Chris Brecher; produced by Linnea Edmeier and Laura Podolak.  The judges said it “grabs you right out of the box (with) passionate and engaged reporting (and) paints a good word picture of what was going on.”  KGO reporter Scott Lettieri won “Best Light Feature Reporting” for his “Spotlight 810” piece on inmates performing Shakespeare in San Quentin.  The judges said it was “interesting and meaningful,” with a “great mix of dramatic Shakespeare readings, music, (and) inmate reflections on what they’re gaining personally by taking part.”  KGO program director Paul Hosley says, “We’re humbled by these awards.  The 5:00 pm hour is highly popular with listeners and features contributions from the entire news team.  We’re thrilled to have Scott Lettieri recognized for his remarkable work as well.  Scott is a master story teller and it showed in this report about inmates performing Shakespeare behind bars.”

Bloomberg’s WBBR, New York Celebrates 20th Anniversary.  Bloomberg’s WBBR, New York is celebrating its 20th anniversary as Bloomberg Radio – the 24-hour business and financial news outlet in the Big Apple.  To mark the occasion, anchor Tom Keene and reporter Charlie Pellett will join staffers at the New York Stock Exchange to ring the closing bell.

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Legislation Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 31 – January 4.  Debate over and passage of the laws designed to avoid the “fiscal cliff” was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, putting it at #1 on the Talkers TenTM.   Coming in at #2 was the Boehner House Speaker vote.  At #3 was financial markets activity followed by Hurricane Sandy aid legislation at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.