WWXX License Renewal Objection Draws Response. The FCC is considering whether it should rule if the team name of the NFL‘s Washington franchise (“Redskins”) is indecent. One of that team’s three radio flagships – Red Zebra Broadcasting-owned WWXX – has filed its answer to objections regarding the renewal of its broadcast license. WWXT (92.7) and WWXX (94.3) repeat the signal of primary flagship WTEM “ESPN 980.” Red Zebra states that its response “makes clear that under the Communications Act and the First Amendment, the FCC should not be in the business of censoring the content of radio stations. Any debate about the team’s name and its meaning should be held in the free marketplace of ideas, not in the halls of the FCC or any other governmental agency.” Red Zebra counsel Andrew McBride of Wiley Rein LLP comments, “We hope the FCC will swiftly reject this transparent attempt to use the license renewal process to intimidate broadcasters across the country with the baseless threat that accurately reporting on the Washington football franchise by using the team’s full name violates any law or FCC regulation.” Many consider the name of the DC franchise a slur to Native Americans and they have called on team owner – and Red Zebra primary investor – Dan Snyder to change it. President Barack Obama is among those asking the NFL to endorse a name alteration, as are at least one-half the members of the U.S. Senate. In a preliminary 18-page formal petition to deny renewal of a station’s FCC broadcast license, petitioner John F. Banzhaf III, “a listener to station WWXX, respectfully requests on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, and who are like himself adversely affected or aggrieved, that the agency deny the renewal of this station’s license and any other requests. It deliberately, repeatedly, and unnecessarily broadcasts the word ‘R*dskins’ during most of its broadcasting day, and especially in prime time where its well documented adverse impact on impressionable young Indian as well as non-Indian children is greatest. Through its licensee and controlling owner Dan Snyder, also actively encourages or indeed forces many other broadcasters to likewise broadcast a derogatory racial and ethnic slur contrary to the public interest.” Banzhaf is an American legal activist and a law professor at George Washington University Law School. The Washington Post editorial board has stopped using the team’s name, and a panel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the team’s trademark registration four months ago. Even so, Snyder vows to keep the name. TALKERS legal editor Steve J.J. Weisman recently wrote a column about this matter addressing the FCC’s jurisdiction to rule on the issue. Read that piece here.
Cooke: Two Weekend Problems, Two Solutions. In a piece written exclusively for TALKERS, radio consultant Holland Cooke addresses two weekend problems that face talk radio stations and offers a couple of solutions. He says ask-the-expert shows – i.e. brokered programming from local attorneys, real estate agents, veterinarians, etc. – don’t have to sound bad! Coach them so their broadcasts are well-executed and informative. Plus, let these clients use your listen-on-demand capabilities to reach more potential customers and they will be more satisfied with the money they are spending on your station. Read Cooke’s entire piece here.
How Mobile Can Save Your Talk Radio Brand. Digital media pro Gabe Barnes says, in a column exclusive to TALKERS, that he’s surprised by the number of radio execs who are put off by the reported amount of radio app usage that takes place outside of the station’s broadcast range. They see primarily the streaming fees for a listener who’s outside the “market.” The Mersoft Media director, business development says that’s not necessarily bad. “Many of those listening out of the broadcast range are actually local residents or have some ties to that local community. A local advertisement would be just as effective, provided the advertisement is compelling and targeted.” But there are more advantages for getting fans of your programming to go “mobile” with it. Read Barnes’ entire column here.
WTIC, Hartford License Renewal on Enforcement Hold. With the conviction of former Connecticut Governor John Rowland – until April of 2014 the afternoon drive personality on WTIC, Hartford – on campaign fraud charges in the rear view, CBS RADIO’s news/talk WTIC, Hartford is now waiting out an enforcement hold on his license renewal with the FCC. In a story in the Hartford Courant, Edmund Mahony writes that the hold on the process is due to a “payola” complaint to the FCC related to Rowland’s actions promoting a Republican candidate in a primary race without disclosing – either to the radio audience or the FEC – that he was on that candidate’s payroll. The FCC doesn’t comment on the specifics of these matters and CBS RADIO is simply confirming that the process is on hold but the company does not know why. Rowland is set to be sentenced in January. The station certainly took its share of criticism for hiring Rowland after his first conviction in 2004 on corruption charges related to activities while in the governor’s office. Now, the station may be liable for a fine or reprimand, according to experts Mahony cites in his story. Most experts agree a denial of the license renewal for WTIC is unlikely, to say the least.
ESPN Radio to Air World Series. This marks the seventeenth straight year that ESPN Radio has exclusive radio rights to MLB‘s World Series. ESPN “Sunday Night Baseball” lead play-by-play announcer Dan Shulman and analyst Aaron Boone will function in those capacities on the radio broadcasts for the best-of-seven series that commences tomorrow night (10/21) between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants. Pre-game and post-game coverage will be handled by Jon Sciambi, analyst Chris Singleton, ESPN MLB insider Peter Pascarelli, and Marc Kestecher. Meanwhile, for the tenth successive year, ESPN Deportes Radio will broadcast every game for a Spanish-speaking audience. San Diego Padres Spanish-language announcer Eduardo Ortega will be joined by Renato Bermudez, Armando Talavera, and Jose Francisco Rivera.
Cool Job Opportunity. One of the top newsrooms in the country, KMBZ in Kansas City, has an immediate opening for a Morning Show Executive News Producer. This is a unique opportunity for someone with great writing skills, an appetite for everything news, and a desire to create exclusive content each and every day. Candidates need to have a news background, and a good understanding of news-wheel operations. Reporting experience would be very good as well. “Kansas City’s Morning News” and KMBZ are committed to finding the right person to fill this position. If you have what it takes, send a resume, along with anything else that will make you shine to KMBZJobs@gmail.com. KMBZ and Entercom Kansas City are an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Salem Personalities in Israel. Four Salem Communications Christian teaching talk personalities are accompanying more than 350 listeners on a trip through the Holy Land. Pictured here from left to right are: Mark Daniels, WFIL, Philadelphia; Frank Sontag, KKLA, Los Angeles; Georgene Rice, KPDQ, Portland; and Kevin McCullough, nationally syndicated and WMCA, New York after a lunch on Mt. Carmel in Haifa, Israel. Also joining the listeners and personalities on this trip is Salem Communications radio division president David Santrella.
Alpha Media to Buy Buckley’s California Stations. In a deal just announced today, Portland-based Alpha Media enters into a definitive agreement to purchase radio stations from Buckley Broadcasting of California, LLC and Buckley Communications, Inc. The properties are: In Bakersfield, rhythmic oldies KKBB “Groove 99.3,” CHR KLLY “Kelly 95.3,” and KNZR-AM and KNZR-FM, a simulcast news/talk operation; in Merced, CHR KHTN “Hot 104.7” and country KUBB. Alpha chairman Larry Wilson comments, “The Buckley clusters in California will be a great addition to the West Coast footprint. Merced is a unique city with a thriving arts scene and is an adventurous community. As one of the fastest-growing regions in the nation, Bakersfield is a rich and vibrant city full of live and local opportunities.” The acquisition, after FCC approval, will give Alpha Media 74 radio properties.
Budget Time Is for Planning Programming Promotions. Syndication and programming consultant Tony Garcia writes in today’s edition of TALKERS magazine that while the newly arrived Fourth Quarter is a traditional budget time in business, it’s also a great time for programmers to plan promotion strategy. Garcia says that even though it seems elementary, the calendar really is a great tool with which to get a concrete grasp on the things that may affect your show during 2015. “The multi-level-marketers have a saying: Plan your work, then work your plan…Look at the dates you want your events to take place, then work backward from there and create a to-do list that is comfortable for you to work with, but leaves enough time for brainstorming your idea and lining up the resources you need, whether that be money, a graphics designer, a direct mail house or a trade publication or conference organizer.” Read Garcia’s entire piece here.
Reverend Will Marotti Steps Away from WTIC, Hartford Afternoons. Operations manager Steve Salhaney tells the Hartford Courant that Reverend Will Marotti’s stint as afternoon drive host was never intended to be permanent. He’d been hosting the show since the departure of former Governor John Rowland – recently convicted of campaign finance violations – back in April. When Rowland first joined WTIC in 2010, he co-hosted afternoons with Marotti for a show called “State and Church” that lasted until 2012, when Marotti left for personal reasons. Salhaney tells the paper that sports radio personality – and voice of the University of Connecticut Huskies – Joe D’Ambrosio will serve as temporary host of the afternoon show while it seeks a permanent replacement.
Pattiz Feted for Podcast Industry Leadership. The founder and CEO of Podcast One, Norm Pattiz, is pictured here with a few of the honors he received for his work in furthering the podcasting industry. Few outside of the broadcasting and podcasting worlds were probably aware that September 30, 2014 was National Podcast Day. But Pattiz certainly was aware, especially after being lauded by legislative leaders for his company’s leadership in promoting the media format. Pattiz, the founder of syndication giant Westwood One, has been acknowledged with numerous radio honors during his illustrious career, including being recognized in June of this year by TALKERS magazine with its Lifetime Achievement Award.
Stumping in Iowa. Acclaimed radio host Jim Bohannon is not running for office but he was in Iowa recently speaking at the IowaWatch Free Press Champion Awards, sponsored by the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism. The event honored two Iowa journalists for promoting and showing, by example, the benefits of transparent government in the state. Bohannon, host of Westwood One’s Jim Bohannon show and the news program “America in the Morning,” was a guest speaker at the event. The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism is an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan news service, founded in 2010, that collaborates with Iowa media partners to produce investigative and explanatory journalism, and trains college students to do this kind of work at a professional and ethical level.
Where There’s Smoke… Nationally syndicated dynamic talk duo Brent & Meg join Los Angeles City Fire Station 78 in Studio City, California in support of the campaign to put a smoke alarm in every home and business. Of the 20 fire-related deaths in Los Angeles this year, 16 took place in buildings without working smoke alarms. Chances of survival go up 50% when there’s a working smoke alarm. The LA City Fire Department has been running a smoke alarm giveaway at each of its 106 fire stations since March, with home security company First Alert donating 500 alarms a month to the city. Pictured with the good-looking team of brave and dedicated firefighters at Station 78 are the husband/wife team of (l-r) Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald. The Brent & Meg Show – billed as “The kind of Boomers Millennials wish their parents were like” — is syndicated by Genesis Communications Network (GCN) and airs live middays daily 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison recently described the Brent & Meg show as “a great example of the kind of talk radio available to news/talk stations that breaks the mold of predictable left/right ‘puppet mouth’ politics without losing an iota of compelling social relevance, biting humor and human interest…if I owned a talk station in any sized market, I’d find a spot – live or in delay — for this remarkably fresh and innovative two-hour chat show that appeals to generations born on both sides of the digital divide.”
KCAA, Loma Linda Owner Debuts ‘The Post Hole’ Blog. Getting his columns shot down by publishers for “political or ideological” reasons was the impetus behind KCAA, Loma Linda owner Fred Lundgren’s launching of ThePostHole.com – a news aggregator and public blog that welcomes a full spectrum of written views. Lundgren says that he had articles rejected by both progressive and conservative online publications for apparently varying from the general political philosophy of those publications. Lundgren says this shows how “writers across the political and ideological spectrum are being funneled into small compartments that reinforce reader bias and discourage open debate.” Hence, the birth of ThePostHole.com, which Lundgren calls “the place to go when your editor says ‘NO!’”
TALKERS Affiliate Update. The GCN-distributed “Freedom Feens” program is added to the lineup at KZNU, St. George, Utah; KRSY, Alamogordo, New Mexico; WNZS, Bangor; and KVLI, Lake Isabella, California.
ABC News Radio Visits with Batman. At the New York Comic Con, ABC News Radio entertainment correspondent David Blaustein had the chance to chat with the original TV Batman, actor Adam West. ABC News Radio affiliates had the opportunity to present to their listeners West’s thoughts about the character, the movie franchise and his role in the history of the superhero character. They also spoke about West’s first-ever meeting with George Clooney who also played Batman, albeit on the big screen.
U.S. Ebola Cases/Pandemic Threat Top Talkers TenTM for Week of October 6. The threat of a global Ebola pandemic and the recent case of Thomas Eric Duncan dying of the virus in Texas were part of the greater topic of the Ebola threat that was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. At #2 was the battle against ISIS and Joe Biden’s remarks that angered Saudi and UAE leaders. Following at #3 was the new Leon Panetta book Worthy Fights tied with the Supreme Court gay marriage cases, and, at #4 was the aftermath of the Bill Maher and Ben Affleck spat on Maher’s HBO show over his comments on Islam. 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 magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Former Connecticut Governor and WTIC, Hartford Talk Host Found Guilty of Campaign Law Violations. He’d already served 10 months in prison for a 2004 conviction on corruption charges when CBS RADIO’s news/talk WTIC, Hartford hired John Rowland to host a daily afternoon drive radio talk show. Now, after Friday’s conviction on seven counts of campaign finance law violations, it appears that Rowland is likely headed back to prison. Sentencing is scheduled for December 12 but his attorneys plan to appeal. According to the Hartford Courant’s account, Rowland, who resigned from WTIC in April just before being indicted on the charges, chose not to take a plea deal for 18 months jail time and tested his luck with the jury. It didn’t work as the jury found him guilty of all charges related to his scheme to consult a Republican political candidate in 2012 and hide the fact that he was accepting the cash for those purposes. Read Edmund Mahony’s Courant story here.
Local On-Air Talent CAN Become Indispensable. Media consultant Holland Cooke revisits (and expands upon!) the point he made the “pages” of TALKERS four years ago that “if you’re in RADIO, you’re in SALES” in a column published today (9/22). It’s easy to pick apart the effectiveness of another medium’s advertising components but radio must look in the mirror for, as Cooke writes, criticism of a lot of radio’s not-so-great spots is justified because “at many stations, including some in major markets, there’s no creative department. Reps write their own copy, a task that’s not sellers’ core competency.” Effectiveness is directly related to quality, so how to up the quality? Cooke offers some suggestions and you can check them out here.
Consultant Fred Jacobs Encourages Radio Talent to Learn and Exploit Expanded Array of Available Media Tools. Reaction and commentary continues to buzz throughout the industry on the topic of the role of the aural media arts (non-visual radio and music) in the increasingly multi-media/visual environment of the digital era – instigated largely last week by comments made by TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison in the aftermath of the Clear Channel name/branding change to iHEARTMEDIA. According to Harrison, “I am delighted by the enormous number of responses – mostly overwhelmingly positive – that my comments sparked. Of course, there were those who immediately jumped to the conclusion that I am against the word ‘media’ or that I do not believe radio should be involved in internet, satellite or visual media at all. This is, of course, preposterous! The name of our company that owns TALKERS is Talk Media, Inc.; the name of our convention was the New Media Seminar way back in 1998; TALKERS magazine’s slogan is The Bible of Talk Radio and the New Talk Media; I have championed a concept known as “The Media Station” for more than a decade and the list goes on. All I am saying is we should remain sensitive and respectful to the idea that there is a very important place in this emerging mix for pure audio-only radio and music in terms of the fundamentals of these processes – and that by doing so, we will be serving the best interests of our industry, the people who work in it and the consumers who love radio and music on their basic terms.” Harrison continues, “My friend, noted radio consultant/researcher Fred Jacobs, CEO of Jacobs Media, — also an industry voice who is outspoken on this most compelling issue — has written and posted a blog today (9/22) that I believe adds an important dimension to the subject that warrants attention. Jacobs makes a case, somewhat counterpoint (but not contradictory) to mine, that I find inspirational.” In the blog, Jacobs writes, “I started thinking about this notion that the proliferation of screens will narrow the field for talkers, DJs, and hosts who are great with words, but not so wonderful visually. As he [Michael Harrison] notes, screens of all sizes are becoming dominant parts of how people consume media. Thankfully, radio has been able to participate on most of those screens, whether on smartphones or tablets. Over time as autonomous driving becomes more common, those who ride in these cars will gravitate to entertainment that is visual in origin – at least at a higher percentage than they are able to consume now while dangerously texting and driving. So is this the beginning of the end for radio, or is it simply the beginning of the beginning? Because as we have explored in this blog during the past few years, disruption forces old stars to adapt while bringing new ones to the center stage. Notably, two of the “Best Motion Picture” Oscars in just the past few years have focused on this topic. The King’s Speech starring Colin Firth was a story about changing technology, as the King of England was forced to learn how to communicate on the radio. Of course, he struggled, but in the end he was able to adapt. And in The Artist, the film’s silent film star refused to adapt to ‘talkies’ and is eventually displaced by a new brand of movie icons. Change is uncomfortable and it can be bitter, as depicted in this amazing film. The ending eventually become a happy one, but the road was arduous and difficult because of the tech disruption caused by the advent of movie sound. Change is hard, especially for those who have enjoyed the status quo. It tests everyone in all strata of the organization and the industry. Accepting, adapting, and adjusting is hard work. It can be quite uncomfortable in workplaces that were once always fun and even kind of easy. But these are the necessary skills that radio people need to exude in order to make the transition. We see signs of this every day in broadcast radio. Those who have the ability to connect with audiences – in person and in social spaces – have a unique edge. The old paradigm of the DJ hermit, locked down the hall in the air studio, is breaking apart. Today’s air talent need to be able to mix it up with listeners, clients, and community leaders. Not every film star is handsome. The public appreciates an interesting face, whether it’s Peter Dinklage on Game of Thrones or Linda Hunt on NCIS. They may be exceptions, but they stand out because they’re different, captivating, and worthy of our attention. They’re also immensely talented actors. And the same will be the case on the radios of the future. While good-looking DJs like Ryan Seacrest or Bobby Bones may have inherent advantages, Howard Stern proves that must-hear content trumps a pretty face. And he’s not alone. Words matter, and they will continue to in a media ecosphere that is now dominated by visuals. Screens or not, it’s the thought that counts. These are changes that radio need to roll with. Let’s open up new visual doors, new avenues, and new paths for our content. And let’s embrace them because it’s truly a media world.” To read Fred Jacobs’ entire blog, please click here.
Radio Management Pro Warren Named VP/MM for Cumulus Nashville. Jumping from the Austin cluster of Entercom where she was director of sales and taking on the vice president and market manager role at Cumulus Media Nashville is Allison Warren. Cumulus SVP Jeff Brown comments, “Allison was a key part of my team in Denver some years back. She did great work there and has since built a portfolio of successes in vibrant radio markets including Austin, Madison and Milwaukee. Her results-driven, collaborative leadership style will infuse our Nashville operations with the energy and focus needed at this pivotal point in the cluster’s growth. Allison will be an incredible asset to Cumulus’ leadership team.” Warren also served with Entercom at its Madison and Milwaukee clusters as well as with CBS RADIO in Denver. Cumulus operates six stations in the market including news/talk WWTN-FM “SuperTalk 99.7,” sports talker WGFX “104.5 The Zone,” as well as the Tennessee Titans Radio Network.
Cross Platform Media Acquires IRN/USA Radio Network. The president and CEO of Cross Platform Media, Sam Hassell, says the acquisition of IRN/USA Radio Network “rounds out the services of Cross Platform that is already deeply embedded in the national media space.” Hassell continues, “We are very excited to make this announcement. We look forward to fulfilling the original vision of USA Radio Network by providing audience-engaging news and content to the independent and group station owners around the country.” Christian and conservative broadcast pioneer Marlin Maddoux launched the USA Radio Network in 1985 and Hassell adds, “We are very respectful of the Maddoux legacy and proud to continue syndicating ‘Point of View,’ ‘Daybreak USA,’ IRN/USA News and so many other significant programs.” IRN/USA Radio Network currently produces and/or distributes more than 20 nationally syndicated radio programs with audience-targeted formatting primarily for news/talk and Christian radio (both commercial and non-commercial).
BIA/Kelsey Forecast for 2015 Local Media Revenue: Up 1.6%. But, of course, the increase comes as beneficial for those in the online/digital media realm (+13.1%) and, not surprisingly, traditional media is expected to see another dip (-1.7%). BIA/Kelsey is presenting these results and more at its Leading in Local: SMB Digital Marketing conference in New Orleans this week. The company predicts that in 2015, online/digital will account for more than one-quarter (25.2%) of total local media revenues in 2015. Revenues for online/digital are expected to grow from $31 billion in 2014 to $35 billion in 2015, representing a 13.1% growth rate. Other forecasts include: Mobile local ad revenues will grow from $4.3 billion in 2014 to $6.6 billion in 2015; Local social media revenues will grow from $2.5 billion in 2014 to $3.6 billion in 2015; Local search revenues will grow from $7.1 billion in 2014 to $7.2 billion in 2015; Local display revenues will grow from $4.3 billion in 2014 to $4.9 billion in 2015; and Local online video revenues will grow from $2.3 billion in 2014 to $3.0 billion in 2015.
Dolans and Seaview Radio Hit Home Run with Live Event in South Florida. Proving there is life after WOR, New York, the legendary husband/wife money media team of Ken & Daria Dolan (pictured here, Daria at left, Ken at right) joined forces with WSVU (960 AM/95.9 FM/ 106.9 FM), North Palm Beach “Seaview Radio” this past Saturday (9/20) presenting a successful, day-long listener/sponsor event titled, “South Florida Wealth & Health Expo 2014,” at the prestigious Jupiter Maltz Theatre in Jupiter, Florida. The event brought local businesses and services from the fields of health, finance and better living together highlighted with on-stage financial advice presentations by the Dolans. Seaview Radio general manager Chet Tart tells TALKERS, “The event gave us a wonderful opportunity to establish new and heightened relationships with sponsors from one of the most dynamic business sectors in the market. We immediately received positive response with attendees and vendors already asking about next year’s event. I think we might have to find a larger venue, next time around.” The Dolans, now based in Jupiter, are best remembered for their stunning run of success at WOR, New York and the WOR Radio Network in the 90s and early-2000s – supplemented by their hosting hot shows on CNN, MSNBC and other cable news/talk networks as well as penning best-selling books on the topic of personal finance. Known for their entertaining banter and solid advice both on air and on stage, the Dolans went into semi-retirement several years ago – but have had difficulty steering clear of offers that keep coming their way for live appearances and their broadcast sales consulting services. The result has been the birth of the increasingly active firm Dolan Media. CEO Ken Dolan tells TALKERS, “There are huge revenue and promotional opportunities for local radio stations in live events – especially in the areas that strike home to most people – health and money. The two go together beautifully as we have just proven at this event in Florida. Daria and I are strongly considering taking this show on the road and helping stations around the country create a very exciting form of financial and PR synergy so dearly needed by small and middle-sized operators at this time.” Perennial members of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred during their run at WOR, the Dolans have been ranked #75 on the prestigious Heaviest Hundred list of the “100 Most important Radio Talk Show Hosts of All Time.” WSVU, North Palm Beach was recently sold by North Palm Beach Broadcasters to JVC Media. GM Chet Tart – one of the most connected broadcast executives in the market – will stay on as GM of the new expanded operation planned by the acquiring owners, telling TALKERS, “With this transition to JVC, I find myself even more focused than ever… offering leadership, encouragement and inspiration to the staff. That’s my focus!” Chet Tart can be reached by email at email@example.com. Ken Dolan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Odds & Sods. At the iHeartMedia Des Moines cluster, alternative KXDA PD Mike Killabrew takes on the programming responsibilities for sister sports talker KXNO, leaving WHO programmer Van Harden to focus on his duties with the heritage news/talker…..Radio personality Denny Schaffer – most recently with iHeartMedia news/talker WRNO, New Orleans and former host at the company’s WSPD, Toledo – is back in Toledo as morning jock on Cumulus Media’s hot AC WWWM “Star 105.”…..Dallas news pro Jim Ryan joins ABC News Radio full time. Ryan — a current staffer at WBAP, Dallas and part-time contributor to ABC News Radio, makes the switch starting November 1.
Sarasota Talk Station Owner Says, “AM Radio Is the Future of Radio!” Time and time again, the question is asked, “What does the future hold for AM radio?” Articles are written with predictions of AM’s demise due to the lack of interest of the “Millennials,” or how internet and satellite radio will make it almost impossible for AM to compete in such a fickle industry. While these predictions seem to make sense to the untrained ear, WSRQ, Sarasota owner/GM Susan Nilon writes, “It reminds me of a time several decades earlier when experts attributed the demise of movie theaters due to the advent of the video cassette recorder. Or the slow death of vinyl records, due to the portability and popularity of the compact disc. Well, here we are 30 years later, and the US and Canada box office revenue in 2013 was $10.9 billion with 68% of the population in attendance and ‘vinyl sales hit their highest level since at least 1991, with six million units sold’ according to industry data. While it’s fun and sometimes smart to try to predict the future, if these ‘predictions’ impact the decision makers of this industry by encouraging them to enter into a self-fulfilling prophecy of AM radio, then they are not only short-sighted, but are foolish as well.” Nilon goes on to provide a solution to avoid the danger of this negative syndrome in a new article posted today (8/28) in TALKERS. To read it, please click here.
New Challenge for Dan Snyder’s “Redskins” Problem. As you know, the critics of the NFL’s Washington Redskins team name are getting more persistent but now a George Washington University professor is vowing to challenge the FCC-granted licenses of radio outlets that carry Redskins football play-by-play. In a piece in Broadcasting & Cable by John Eggerton, professor John Banzhaf lays out a laundry list of tactics – starting with challenging the licenses of stations owned by Dan Snyder’s Red Zebra Broadcasting that carry Washington football – to force the name change. Banzhaf tells B&C/Multichannel News, “One could argue by analogy to obscenities (including even fleeting ones), to hate speech, to profanity (‘including language so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance’), to the Drug Lyrics Policy, or more generally that using racist derogatory words on the air when it isn’t necessary isn’t consistent with the legal requirement to operate in the ‘public interest, convenience, and necessity.’” It’s not difficult to imagine the arguments that could be made in court surrounding many of Banzhaf’s potential tactics and most raise the issue of the FCC getting involved in regulating content beyond obscenity. Read the entire piece here.
WSCR, Chicago Fills Dan McNeil’s Shoes with Former Bear Patrick Mannelly. The CBS RADIO sports talk station didn’t take long to find a partner for midday personality Matt Spiegel after contract talks finally ended with longtime WSCR personality Dan McNeil. Recently retired Chicago Bears long snapper Patrick Mannelly will join Spiegel for “The Spiegel and Mannelly Show, effective September 2. In a press release, “The Score” program director Mitch Rosen says, “For Mannelly to join our team just a couple months removed from playing for the Bears and the NFL is what makes this work so well. His insight, opinions and energy will make this a terrific Chicago sports radio show. Spiegel and Mannelly bring a great mix of intelligent sports content and insider knowledge to our team.”
Jeff Zito Named Afternoon Personality at Fort Myers Sports Talker. Market pro Jeff Zito – who is well known for his work with former partner Bob Garrett on the “Zito and Garrett” show that aired on crosstown talk WXRK and rock WJBX – is joining Sun Broadcasting’s sports talk duo WFWN, Fort Myers/WNOG, Naples “1240/1270 The Fan” to host the afternoon drive show. Other changes at the station include the addition of DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick in late mornings and CBS Sports Radio Network programming in the evenings. Program director Joseph Lopez says, “I am very excited for the new additions to ‘The Fan!’ I honestly feel with [morning host] Thom Abraham and Jeff giving the community their local takes plus national voices as well respected as Dan Patrick and Jim Rome, this makes for the best sports lineup Southwest Florida has ever seen.”
Lineup Changes at Hubbard’s WFED, Washington. A new role is created for current morning drive co-host Emily Kopp at Hubbard Radio’s WFED, Washington “Federal News Radio.” Kopp will leave her role alongside morning host Tom Temin to begin serving as a full-time reporter for the station’s digital and radio operations, effective September 2. As such she will contribute to the morning program and will be featured on the Francis Rose-hosted “In-Depth” program. At the same time, current morning digital writer/editor Shefali Kapadia becomes producer of the morning show and the station will hire a new digital writer to fill her current position. WFED program director Lisa Wolfe states, “Emily has quite a bit of expertise that we can now take full advantage of. She will become our special correspondent at the intersection of radio and digital news. Her reporting, writing and video skills will help enhance the efforts of the entire organization.”
Klonk Chosen as Connoisseur Connecticut Promotions Chief. Former classic rock WCCC, Hartford promotion director and on-air talent Klonk is appointed promotion director for Connoisseur Media Connecticut. Regional operations manager Keith Dakin observes that, “Klonk not only has strong name recognition in the market, but has the experience and knowledge of this area that these stations truly need. She will be an immediate asset as we continue to redefine our stations.” Klonk states, “I am very excited to start the next chapter of my radio career at such a great station and company. I’m very grateful for this great opportunity that Connoisseur Connecticut has given me; it is an honor to be a part of this fantastic team.” Klonk – who begins her new assignment next Tuesday (9/2) – spent over 10 years at WCCC. When Educational Media Foundation acquired WCCC from Marlin Broadcasting the first of this month (8/1), it transitioned the station to its contemporary Christian K-LOVE format. Connoisseur Media Connecticut consists of WDRC-AM “The Talk of Connecticut,” Hartford; classic hits WDRC-FM, Hartford; talk WMMW, Meriden; talk WSNG, Torrington; and talk WWCO, Waterbury.
Portland Media Deal to Give Thom Hartmann and Carl Wolfson Better Market Coverage. After the demise two years ago of progressive talker KPOJ, Portland, fans of personalities such as local host Carl Wolfson and national figure Thom Hartmann were relegated to hearing them online via XRAY.fm or on 7-watt low power FM KXRY. Now, Willamette Week reports a deal with MetroEast Community Media will give the two personalities more coverage as they will also be heard on translator K296FT at 107.1 which covers more of the metro – especially the southwestern suburbs. The deal will be fully consummated this fall and will create a non-commercial trifecta that will include talk, news and music.
Odds & Sods. A new channel is debuting on SiriusXM as the satcaster and the Turner Broadcasting-owned Bleacher Report agree to program a new sports destination. In a statement, SiriusXM says Bleacher Report is “the leading digital destination for team-specific sports content and real-time event coverage and is one of the fastest-growing digital properties in the U.S.” SiriusXM began airing a daily Bleacher Report-branded show in 2013 and now expands to give it a full channel of its own…..Fans of Western Michigan University sports will still be able to hear play-by-play on Midwest Communications stations as the school and the company have extended their deal in the Kalamazoo market that will have alternative WZOX serve as the flagship for football, men’s basketball and hockey…..The Philadelphia Eagles and CBS RADIO‘s “SportsRadio 94WIP” are announcing the annual Eagles Radiothon hits the airwaves at 6:00 am on Tuesday, September 2 and closes on Thursday, September 4 at 6:00 pm. Fans will be able to bid on exclusive sports and entertainment prizes with many involving their favorite Eagles players and “SportsRadio 94WIP” personalities. All proceeds benefit Eagles Youth Partnership’s vital health and education programs that serve over 50,000 low-income children in the area.
The Conclave Announces Dates, Tuition for November Conference. The 39th annual Conclave Learning Conference will be held November 14-15, 2014 at the Crown Plaza Hotel Airport in Minneapolis, and is presented in partnership with the Minnesota Broadcasters Association (MBA). The Conclave announces that the deadline to save $50 on early bird registration for the event is August 31. After that, registration jumps from $249 to $299. To register, visit theconclave.com.
Obama Climate Change Ploy, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, ISIS Campaigns/U.S. Military Policy in Iraq and Syria, Michael Brown Death Aftermath, Burger King Leaving America Controversy, Ebola Threat, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, and ESPN’s Michael Sam Shower Story Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/27). Reports that President Obama plans to skirt the Senate for a global climate change treaty; new indications Russia is backing Ukrainian rebels with military force; the ISIS campaigns and U.S. military policy in Iraq and Syria; talk about race relations in America and police brutality against minorities in the wake of the Michael Brown death in Ferguson, Missouri; controversy over Burger King’s plans to merge with Tim Horton’s and avoid the U.S. corporate tax rate; the ongoing threat of an Ebola pandemic; the looming mid-term elections and chatter about the frontrunners in the 2016 presidential race; and ESPN’s apology for its story about openly gay NFL player Michael Sam’s showering habits were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Minority Workforce in Radio ‘Highest Since Mid-1990s.’ That’s according to a recent RTDNA study by Robert Papper, professor emeritus at Hofstra University. The latest edition of this annual study, titled “Women and Minorities in Newsrooms,” examines the state of minorities and women working in both television and radio news organizations. The minority workforce in radio over the past 24 years peaked in 1995 at 14.7%. Results for this year show the minority workforce in radio at 13%. Breaking down the radio minority workforce, the data show African Americans make up 4.8% of the workforce with Hispanics making up 6.2%. However, Papper concludes that the number of minorities working at non-commercial stations is “two to three times as high” compared to the workforce at commercial stations. Read the entire study here.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Panel Discussion, “Developing and Managing a Talk Show Hosting Career.” Today (7/30) marks the 12th consecutive business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with a panel discussion moderated by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian titled, “Developing and Managing a Talk Show Hosting Career.” Featured speakers include: Tom Becka, KOIL, Omaha; Ron Hartenbaum, WYD Media; Tom Marr, WCBM, Baltimore; Joe Piscopo, WNYM, New York; and Martha Zoller, WGAU, Athens, GA/Georgia News Network. The session was introduced by noted industry attorney, Steve Weisman, legal editor, TALKERS who compares these days to Charles Dickens’ “best and worst” of times for being a radio talent. Weisman advises those who think these are the worst of times to “get out now, because they are right.” But he also says for those who see it the other way, they are also right — these are the best of times because of all the “unparalleled opportunities” that exist among the changes at hand. Moderator Kinosian sets the tone opening the session with the statement, “As a former program director, the greatest joy I had was dealing with talent. I loved the formatics, the elements… I loved everything about programming a radio station — but nothing interested me more than the talent. What it’s like to be a personality. This [panel] is about personalities on the air, their lives and their profession. I am interested in them as human beings.” To view the entire presentation, please click here. Coming tomorrow: “The Talk Rumble” moderated by Lionel with a special introduction by Dr. Joy Browne. Rumblers include: Bubba the Love Sponge, Bubba Radio Network; Alan Colmes, Fox News Radio/FNC; Mike Gallagher, Salem Radio Network; Thom Hartmann, WYD Media; Joyce Kaufman, WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale; Kevin McCullough, XtreMEDIA; and David Webb, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. The Talkers New York 2014 conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
‘Patriot-Made Audiocast’ Celebrates Three Years. Creating American jobs and celebrating the ingenuity that leads to those jobs is the keystone of the mindset of Debra Grobman and Rita Rich, co-producers of the program “Patriot-Made Audiocast.” The show is celebrating its third year of “telling stories about creating, and keeping jobs in America.” Grobman, based in L.A., says, “The ‘Patriot-Made Audiocast’ is a made-in-the-USA podcast production and the appetite for positive stories about American inventors, designers, artists and musicians is great throughout North America. Washington-based Rita Rich, former longtime producer of the Jim Bohannon show, adds, “As I talk to people about their work, I learned that patriotism and pride in being American is the bedrock of so many of their stories.” Some of the people and companies the program has featured so far include: Annie and William Chilakian, mother and son owners of Silver Moon Bay Convalescent Apparel; Victoria Hunter Closson, inventor of The Headbone; Dal LaMagna, the CEO of IceStone; a green flooring and countertop manufacturer; Chris Miceli, marketing director of Porta-Brace customized carry cases; Judy Smith, co-inventor of Wine-A-Rita drink mix; and Laura Wilkenson-Sinton, co-inventor of FreshTape. Grobman adds, “Consumers are looking for fellowship and a sense of connectedness everywhere, including the marketplace. Rita and I present stories that make the people who make stuff and present ideas as more human and real. That way folks will want to spend money on goods made in the USA. If you put a good story behind the things people buy and you make it worth it.”
Chattanooga AM Trio Debuts News/Talk/Sports Format. Operating as Hot News Talk Radio LLC, principals Sab Cupelli and David Tulis are programming a new news/talk/sports format on three Chattanooga signals: WSDT 1240 AM, WEPG 910 AM, WSDQ 1190 AM. The stations are featuring Westwood One’s Don Imus and Dennis Miller, Courtside Entertainment Group’s Laura Ingraham, Premiere Network’s “Coast to Coast AM” plus local programming including “Nooganomics” with David Tulis and various sports programming. Cupelli is an experienced station owner and programmer. Tulis is a veteran business news editor at the Chattanooga Free Press and a talk show host.
One-Week Suspension for ESPN’s Smith. Concrete proof is hardly required to illustrate the kind of ramifications that can result from a sports talk host’s off-the-cuff remarks. Those seeking evidence, however, need only examine two incidents from this month. TALKERS has been following and reporting on the fallout from disparaging remarks WEEI, Boston “Dennis & Callahan” morning show member Kirk Minihane made regarding Fox reporter Erin Andrews. Add to that what happened last Friday (7/25) on ESPN‘s “First Take” when Stephen A. Smith inferred that women should consider how they are the ones who provoke violence against themselves. In a staff memo, ESPN president John Skipper writes that Smith will not appear on “First Take” or ESPN Radio for one week. In the note, Skipper states, “As many of you know, there has been substantial news coverage in the past few days related to comments Stephen A. made in the wake of the NFL‘s decision to suspend Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games following charges of assaulting his then fiancée, now wife, a few months ago. Those remarks did not reflect our company’s point of view, or our values. They certainly don’t reflect my personal beliefs. We have been engaged in thoughtful discussion about appropriate next steps. Those conversations have involved a diverse group of women and men in our company. Our women’s ERG has added to the conversation and going forward, I know they will help us continue constructive discussion on this and related issues.” Smith was quoted that his particular remark was, “the most egregious mistake” of his career. According to Skipper, “I believe his apology was sincere and that he and we have learned from what we’ve collectively experienced. I am confident we will all move forward with a greater sense of enlightenment and perspective as the lasting impact of these last few days.” According to Skipper’s memo, Smith will return to ESPN one week from today (Wednesday, 8/6).
Odds & Sods. Joining the Salem Communications Houston operations is 30-year market pro Michael Shiloh who is named news director and morning anchor at the station group that includes news/talk KNTH “1070 The Answer,” business talk KTEK, and Christian talk KKHT…..The University of Houston has a radio flagship for its football play-by-play this season as games will be broadcast on Clear Channel news/talk KPRC, Houston with Kevin Eschenfelder and Ted Pardee in the booth and Jeremy Branham on the sidelines. Cougars football aired on CC’s sister sports talker KBME last season…..Towson University football and men’s basketball play-by-play will air on CBS RADIO’s sports talker WJZ-AM “CBS Sports Radio 1300” this season. In addition to the gamecasts, football coach Rob Ambrose and basketball coach Pat Skerry will make appearances on sister sports talk WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan.”
Former Marconi Winners to Help Celebrate 25th Anniversary of NAB Honor. In recognizing the 25th anniversary of the NAB Marconi Awards, five former recipients of the honor with be part of the awards dinner and show at the 2014 Radio Show in September in Indianapolis. Ron Chapman, Edgar “Shoboy” Sotelo, Big Boy, and Bob Kevoian and Tom Griswold of the “The Bob & Tom Show” will serve as emcees and presenters throughout the evening on September 11. Helping lead the festivities and serving as presenters will be NAB Radio Board chair Don Benson of Lincoln Financial Media, Radio Show steering committee chair and Cox Media Group‘s Kim Guthrie and NAB Joint Board chair Charles Warfield of YMF Media LLC.
New England Broadcaster Dave Thatcher Dies at 70. Longtime radio personality Dave Thatcher died on July 26 at age 70. Thatcher worked for years in both the Springfield, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut markets. Early in his career he was a morning drive personality in Springfield, working at a number of stations in the market. He also produced talk shows at WHYN and WNNZ in Springfield.
Gaza Violence, Flight 17 Probe/Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Obama Impeachment Move, Immigration Reform/Border Crisis, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, Ebola Threat, and Ray Rice Suspension Reaction Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/29). The continuing violence in the Gaza Strip and Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to broker peace; the investigation into the downing of Flight 17 and Russia’s continued involvement in Ukrainian instability; the move to impeach President Obama; immigration reform, amnesty proposals and the crisis at the U.S.’s Southeastern border; the looming mid-term elections and the 2016 presidential race; the renewed threat of the Ebola virus; and the aftermath of the NFL’s two-game suspension of Ray Rice were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Power of WTIC, Hartford Key to Prosecutors’ Case Against Former Governor John Rowland. According to a story in the Hartford Courant by Edmund H. Mahoney and John Lender, prosecutors in Connecticut are contending that former Governor John Rowland, who was working as the afternoon drive talk personality on CBS RADIO’s WTIC, Hartford, was “secretly selling the muscle behind his long-running political talk show on” the station when pitching his political consultation services. Rowland is facing conspiracy, obstruction and other charges connected to his setting up of secret consulting contracts. The paper notes that in Connecticut political circles it was known that Rowland’s radio program was used to push his personal agenda, but the court filing is the first time the allegation has been detailed to this degree. Rowland is accused of making a calculated on-air campaign against the political opponent of one of his paying clients. Read the Courant story here.
TALKERS Career Moves. In a promotion for Clear Channel West Palm Beach director of sales Mike Scott, he takes on the new role of regional market manager overseeing the Mobile-Pensacola, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Biloxi and Laurel/Hattiesburg markets for the company. Scott says of his new gig, “I am thrilled to become a part of these five amazing markets — they are filled with great people and fantastic stations. I also owe a big thank you to the incredible West Palm Beach team.”…..Nationally known financial expert and talk show host Chris Markowski is embarking on his first week as host of the new morning show at Genesis Communications-owned Florida news/talk duo WWBA, Tampa and WAMT, Orlando. Markowski is known for his nationally syndicated program, “Watchdog on Wall Street.” He leads the ensemble of personalities including Jenna Laine, most recently the Tampa Bay Buccaneers insider for Sports Talk Florida, news anchor Robert Pankau and entertainment talent Kurt Shriner. Markowski says, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be covering all the important news and events in one of the most important areas in the country – Tampa Bay, Orlando and the entire I-4 corridor.”……NAB nabs FCC chief of technical analysis Robert Weller who is joining the organization to serve as vice president/spectrum policy. With the FCC, Weller has led the group charged with rulemaking and analysis of spectrum policy areas, including radio propagation, interference, RF safety, frequency allotments and new technologies.
No Reissue of PPM Data for Los Angeles. A memo to client stations from Nielsen Audio states that after the completion of an impact analysis relative to the presence of a media-affiliated household in the Los Angeles PPM panel for the past year, it has concluded that a reissue of the ratings beyond what has already been done is unnecessary. The memo states, in part, “After comparing the audience estimates without this home in the panel to those we originally published which included the household, we have decided not to reissue currency Los Angeles data for any prior report periods. We have concluded that a reissue of prior currency data would be of limited commercial benefit to customers and would result in further disruption to the marketplace.”
Round Two of June PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of June 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 May 22 through June 18. 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 at RadioInfo.com here.
WGAC, Augusta Host Austin Rhodes Threatened; Accused Teen in Custody. The person who threatened KFTK, St. Louis and Radio America personality Dana Loesch via Twitter recently may never be identified because he or she took precautions to hide their identity. The teenager accused of threatening WGAC, Augusta, Georgia talk show host Austin Rhodes via Facebook did not and has been arrested for terroristic threats. WRDW-TV, Augusta reports the teen is not being identified because he doesn’t face adult charges in the case at this point. Rhodes himself reported the threat to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office after seeing a thread that said his show would “be dead” and that he further received a private message saying, “You a dead man.” The suspect also threatened Rhodes’ wife. The suspect is being held at the Regional Youth Detention Center.
Bonneville to Split ‘Arizona Sports’ Simulcast; ESPN Radio to Air on KTAR. The simulcast of KMVP-FM and KTAR-AM in Phoenix – branded “Arizona Sports” – will end on September 15 and KTAR-AM will become “ESPN Phoenix” carrying ESPN Radio shows including Mike & Mike, “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” and “The Dan Le Batard Show,” along with signature programs like “ESPN Gameday” and broadcasts of the Major League Baseball playoffs, the NBA Finals and other significant sporting events. Bonneville Phoenix vice president and market manager Scott Sutherland says “It’s the best of both sports worlds as we’ll now be providing world-class local programming on ‘Arizona Sports 98.7’ as well as full-time programming from the worldwide sports leader on ‘ESPN Phoenix 620.’” Sutherland adds that “ESPN Phoenix 620” will attract many Valley sports fans who now live in Arizona but closely follow sports news from their hometowns. “This now gives our advertising community a chance to leverage the power of sports marketing from a local, national and even global perspective.”
Odds & Sods. Rhode Island Monthly names WPRO-AM, Providence talk show host John DePetro’s program Best Talk Show in Rhode Island as part of its Best of Rhode Island feature. DePetro comments, “I am honored the people have chosen me, voted for me, and continue to support the work I do on WPRO. I have always wanted to do a talk show that was entertaining and informative, and it is rewarding that so many people enjoy my work, and took the time to vote me ‘Best Talk Show.’”…..A new show will air on cable’s ESPN 2 comprised of the best segments of Colin Cowherd’s daily ESPN Radio-syndicated program. The 30-minute show is called “You Herd Me” and will air at 4:30 pm ET beginning Monday, July 14. ESPN says, “The fast-paced production will be highlighted by Cowherd’s unique opinions and personality. He will introduce the segments from that day’s radio show and at times provide additional context. During football season, the show will feature the best moments from “Colin’s Football Show” including “Cage Confessionals,” interviews with top names in sports and entertainment…..At SiriusXM, a new morning show hosted by the satcaster’s Taylor Zarzour and former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy titled “The First Team” begins airing on July 14 on the College Sports Nation channel. The show will air from 7:00 am to 10:00 am ET. Zarzour previously worked with Marc James as co-host of “The Drive” at CBS RADIO’s Charlotte sports talker WFNZ “The Fan” before joining SiriusXM.
PodcastOne Debuts Eddie Trunk Podcast. Rock and heavy metal radio and TV personality Eddie Trunk begins a relationship with Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne producing the Eddie Trunk Podcast with premiere guest Judas Priest. The new, weekly podcast will focus on Trunk’s expertise and connections in the world of heavy metal music and will “bring his insight, commentary, reviews and in-depth, unfiltered interviews to the podcast world in a way like never before!” Trunk comments, “I’ve been asked for many years by fans about adding a podcast to my platforms. Really excited to finally launch one with PodcastOne and see where this new adventure takes me. Look forward to connecting with everyone on this exciting new outlet.”
Child Immigration Crisis, President Obama’s Strained Relationship with Democrats, Israeli-Palestinian Violence, ISIS Iraq Campaign, Obama in Colorado, Hillary Clinton in 2016 Prospects, and Obama Impeachment Talk Subsides Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/9). The continuing controversy over the influx of child illegals in the Southwest and the concerns over infectious diseases; speculation about the strained relationship between high-profile Democrats and President Obama in the wake of his sinking approval ratings; escalating violence between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip; the continuing campaign of ISIS in Iraq; President Obama’s visit to Colorado; chatter over Hillary Clinton’s prospects for the 2016 presidential race; and the subsiding talk about impeachment proceedings against President Obama were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Limbaugh Commenting on Colbert’s Hiring: “War on the Heartland of America.” Clearly – not everyone was doing cartwheels regarding yesterday’s announcement that CBS-TV has selected Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman as “Late Show” host when Letterman departs sometime next year. Colbert will gear up for the new assignment by retiring his fake conservative persona (which he has described as a “well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot”) on Comedy Central‘s “Colbert Report” at the end of this year. Perhaps the most vociferous and vitriolic public comments concerning the late-night succession involving Colbert were made by Rush Limbaugh on Thursday’s (4/10) Premiere Networks broadcast. He claims that CBS-TV’s hiring of Colbert has, “declared war on the heartland of America. No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values, conservative values. Now it is just out in the open. What this hire means is a redefinition of what is funny, and a redefinition of what is comedy, and they’re blowing up the 11:30 format.” Limbaugh and Letterman are hardly allies, yet Limbaugh noted that, “The world is changing – people don’t want the kind of comedy that Carson gave us, or even Letterman gave us. It is the media planting a flag. There is no unity in this hire.” Furthermore, Limbaugh contends that CBS-TV has, “hired a partisan, [a] so-called comedian, to run a comedy show.”
WABC, New York’s John Batchelor to Debut Author Video Series on WABCradio.com. WABC, New York and WestwoodOne syndicated talk show host John Batchelor begins a new online video program titled “John Batchelor Author Series” (sponsored by online bookseller Entitle) in which he “takes his appreciation of literature, history, and political intrigue to a new level” via long-form interviews with today’s most intriguing authors. Batchelor comments, “I used to be an author, and I enjoy the enthusiasm of hearing in depth of a new book, well told by the person who survived the research, the writing and the publishing. It’s fun for me to learn the stories of the making of the stories.” WABC program director Craig Schwalb states, “No one does books better than John Batchelor, and the ‘Author Series’ proves that. This is a natural extension of John’s passion and we hope that his listeners in New York and across the country will enjoy it.” The program launches with an in-depth interview of Thomas Cahill the author of Heretics and Heroes. Future episodes include: Robert Klara author of FDR’s Funeral Train, Eri Hotta author of Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy and George H. Nash author of The Crusade Years 1933-1955. Fresh episodes will appear weekly on wabcradio.com.
KARN-FM, Little Rock Names PD; Seeks Afternoon Host. Little Rock news/talker KARN-FM names Adam Thomas program director for the station and the Arkansas Radio Network. Thomas takes over for longtime PD and PM drive host Dave Elswick who, along with morning host Bob Steel and news director Jack Heinritz, exited the station last week. Thomas is seeking a new afternoon drive personality for the station and says, “The afternoon show should be a compelling blend of information and entertainment. Opinion and point-of-view are important, but this program must appeal to a broad segment of the Little Rock community. Candidates must have a mastery of current events, a relentless curiosity, and the ability and desire to talk about more than politics. A willingness and ability to engage the audience outside the show via personal appearances, digital media and other channels is a must.” Send resumes and airchecks or links to email@example.com with “Little Rock PM Host” in the subject line. Cumulus Media is an EOE.
Former Governor, WTIC Host John Rowland Indicted on Federal Elections Violations Charges. A week after former Connecticut Governor John Rowland resigned from his afternoon drive talk show on CBS RADIO’s WTIC, Hartford, he has been indicted by a federal grand jury on seven counts related to alleged illegal campaign activity. Rowland, who resigned from the governor’s office in 2004 and eventually served 10 months in prison after being charged with corruption, is this time accused of scheming to work for two Connecticut political campaigns and trying to conceal from both the public and the Federal Elections Commission that he was being paid by the campaigns.
WTJK, Janesville to Flip to News/Talk. The newly acquired Janesville, Wisconsin sports talker that Scott Thompson’s Big Radio purchased from Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting is flipping to news/talk as “The Big AM 1380” beginning Monday, April 14. The station – an ESPN Radio outlet under Good Karma’s ownership – will focus on local content and Scott Thompson will host the morning drive show. The rest of the day will feature: Glenn Smith from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, Andrew Liebetrau & Andy Gannon from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, Tony Huml from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and Sly from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Program director Andrew Liebetrau comments, “We are incredibly excited to do more for our local listeners, partners and communities. Not only will we have a lot of great new and local content, but we will continue to offer some of the great local programs we have had for years.”
Odds & Sods. Former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer is producing a weekly podcast for Sports USA Network. Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Jake Plummer is a true superstar with a huge following in the college and pro football sports world. We are excited to add Jake’s show to our growing list of digital audio programs as we continue to produce current, fresh, and informative sports programming.” Plummer is currently an NFL game analyst on Sports USA’s “Sunday Doubleheader” package as well as a college football analyst on the Pac-12 Television Network…..Alison Cuddy exits Chicago Public Media-owned WBEZ, Chicago where she has been serving as arts & culture reporter and producer. She leaves to become program director for the Chicago Humanities Festival…..The “Sports Business Radio” show, hosted by creator Brian Berger, celebrates its 10th year on the air. It debuted on KXL, Portland and then moved to national syndication via Sports Byline USA Network.
Meet the New Boss. The New York-based staff of ABC News Radio poses for a photo with newly named ABC News president James Goldston (at center). Goldston was given a standing ovation by the ABC News Radio staff when he visited them today just hours after getting the top job at the network. Goldston, most recently senior vice president overseeing content and development, succeeds Ben Sherwood who is stepping down from the president position in a few weeks after assisting Goldston during the transition phase.
ObamaCare Criticism Top Talk Story for Week of April 7-11. The ongoing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 was the 2016 presidential race tied with this fall’s mid-term elections. Following at #3 was global warming and at #4 was the move to charge former IRS official Lois Lerner with contempt tied with Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation as Health and Human Services Secretary. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Former Connecticut Governor John Rowland Resigns from WTIC, Hartford Show as New Corruption Probe Intensifies. The former Connecticut governor resigned from office in 2004 amidst corruption charges to which he eventually pleaded guilty and served 10 months in federal prison. He began a talk show host career on CBS RADIO’s WTIC, Hartford in 2010 – for the first two years with co-host Pastor Will Marotti of the New Life Church in Meriden before going solo – but now that gig is over as Rowland stepped down yesterday without addressing the new allegations. The Hartford Courant reports that testimony from local businessman Brian Foley and his wife, Lisa Wilson-Foley (a former congressional candidate) stated in federal court that they used a phony consulting contract with Rowland to pay him for political assistance to Wilson-Foley’s failed 2012 campaign. Rowland faces possible indictment by a grand jury. WTIC program director Jenneen Lee tells the paper Pastor Will Marotti will step into the afternoon drive slot beginning Monday. Read the entire Courant piece here.
Big Changes at KARN-FM, Little Rock; PM Driver Dave Elswick Out along with AM Drive’s Bob Steel and ND. Longtime afternoon drive personality and program director Dave Elswick announces via Facebook that he’s out at Cumulus Media’s KARN-FM, Little Rock. Here’s his post: “I ask for your prayers tonight. After nearly 14 years on KARN I was fired by Cumulus Media. Bob Steel and news director Jack Heintz were also fired. I have no idea what will be on the station tomorrow. Know that I love every one of you who have supported me over these years. God Bless.” There were rumors of change at the news/talk outlet swirling but nothing concrete had been put out. As of now, the KARN-FM website lists the AM and PM drive dayparts generically. It’s possible Cumulus is clearing the afternoon deck to move Michael Savage into a live slot from the current late night delayed broadcast.
Criticism of Mets Infielder’s Paternity Leave Reversed as WFAN’s Boomer Esiason Apologizes. The decision by New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy to miss two games to be with his wife in Florida after she delivered their son on Opening Day was a hot topic of conversation on New York sports talk radio and both WFAN afternoon host Mike Francesa and morning drive co-host Boomer Esiason opined that two games was too many to miss. But during the initial chatter, Esiason said that he’d have asked his wife to schedule a C-section in order to be with his teammates for the games. The MLB CBA allows for up to three days of paternity leave. Esiason apologized on WFAN’s morning show today (4/4), calling his comments “insensitive” and expressing contrition for having put the Murphy family’s personal lives “under a spotlight.” He also said his C-section comment was not intended to mean he was telling women what to do with their bodies.
Nielsen Audio Quantifies the Obvious: Opening Day Is Big for Radio. What’s well known to radio practitioners is put into numbers by Nielsen Audio from this season’s Opening Day. While baseball – from a ratings standpoint – will be good to most MLB flagships this year, some of the Opening Day numbers are truly spectacular. In Cincinnati, flagship WLW pulled a 46.6 share with Men 25-54 on a 12+ cume of 270,700. Also, it’s interesting to note the difference in cume and share from the Cubs at Pirates broadcasts where the woebegone Cubs fans in Chicago didn’t appear to have the same passion (via radio, anyway) as the recharged Bucs backers in Pittsburgh. Check out the data here.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network Reports Streaming Success. The digital side of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network reports that it makes its debut as one of the top 20 most-listened-to streams in America, according to Triton Digital‘s February 2014 ranker. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “When we launched TheBlaze Radio Network in January 2013 we did so with the goal of being one of the top online radio stations in America. In our first month of accredited measurement, it is exciting to see our single stream on the same list as these established multi-stream services.”
Entercom Boston Boosts Mozdiez to Director of Integrated Media Strategies. It is a position the cluster specifically crafts for Carlson Mozdiez, who is elevated from director of digital operations. New responsibilities for the Syracuse University graduate include developing/executing customer-facing brand messaging, including live events, contesting and promotions, external advertising, websites, video, and social media. Entercom Boston vice president/market manager Phil Zachary comments, “Streamlining our ever-expanding array of digital and marketing channels, which connect the most valuable radio consumers in New England to our brands and our advertisers, makes logistical sense. Carlson is the ideal leader to spearhead these innovative efforts.” Mozdiez remarks that, “It is an exciting time as we continue to develop and optimize the ways people interact with our stations while creating new means for advertisers to access our audiences.” Entercom Boston consists of rock WAAF, sports WEEI-FM, sports WEEI-AM, news/talk WRKO, the Boston Red Sox Radio Network and their respective web properties. Mozdiez joined Entercom in 2002 as promotion coordinator for WEEI and WRKO.
Dennis Miller Celebrates Radio Anniversary. Today marks the seventh anniversary of entertainer Dennis Miller’s nationally syndicated WestwoodOne radio program. The “Saturday Night Live” alum is commemorating the day with special guests including: Mark Steyn, nationally syndicated columnist and author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon; Bob Saget, comedian and author of Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian; Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky; David Spade, comedian; Frank Sinatra Jr.; and fellow SNL alum Dana Carvey.
KDKA-AM’s Larry Richert to Be Roasted for Charity. Pittsburgh talk radio personality Larry Richert – co-host of the “KDKA Morning News on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA” will be the guest of honor at a Roast & Toast on Friday, April 25 to be roasted and toasted by friends and co-workers to benefit the Roxsan Betters Albanese Foundation. This foundation helps financially challenged families with children who are terminally ill or face a life threatening situation. Fellow KDKA-AM talk host Rob Pratte will serve as Master of Ceremonies.
Odds & Sods. When Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” hits the air tonight, WTAG, Worcester morning drive talk show host Paul Westcott will be in the host chair. Westcott has become a regular fill-in for Dean when he’s away…..This weekend’s NCAA Final Four is being covered by SiriusXM. The satcaster says it’ll offer subscribers comprehensive coverage of this weekend’s action plus analysis on the College Sports Nation channel from hoops experts such as three-time ACC Coach of the Year Bobby Cremins, Hall of Fame Michigan State guard Mateen Cleaves, former Villanova and UMass coach Steve Lappas, former University of Vermont coach Tom Brennan, plus Tim Brando, Mark Packer, Chris Childers and Jason Horowitz…..Birach Broadcasting’s sports talker KXRQ, Des Moines announces it’s the newest affiliate for Kansas City Royals baseball play-by-play……Sunrise Broadcasting strikes an agreement with Sea-Comm Media to use the latter’s translator W240AS, Wilmington at 95.9 FM to augment the signal of its sports talk WMFD “ESPN Wilmington,” heard on 630 AM.
ObamaCare Criticism Remains Atop Talkers TenTM. The major political issue of the past year – the passage of the Affordable Care Act – continues to be one of the top news/talk radio stories and was again the most-talked-about topic this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Coming in at #2 this week was the deadly Fort Hood Shooting. At #3 was the looming mid-term elections tied with the potential candidates in the 2016 presidential election, and at #4 was this week’s Supreme Court campaign donation ruling. 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.
The Infinite Dial 2014. Media consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke sat in on yesterday’s annual webinar presented by Edison Research and Triton Digital that detailed the results of the 2014 version of the Infinite Dial study. Many results are not surprising: smartphone use is growing rapidly with 61% of Americans owning cell phones – a 500% increase in five years. Although the “digital dashboard” – newer model cars with in-dash infotainment systems – gets a lot of press coverage as new deals are struck between app-makers, service providers and car manufacturers, as of today the smartphone is more important. The study reports 43% of persons 12-24 listen with a smartphone while in the car and 27% of persons 25-54 do the same. Still, AM/FM owns the auto for now and is still the primary source for discovering new music. Read more results from the study and Holland Cooke’s analysis here.
Dana Barrett to Host New Local Show on ‘biz 1190’ in Atlanta. On Salem Communications’ business talk WAFS, Atlanta “biz 1190,” local media personality Dana Barrett debuts a new program dedicated to “a unique look into ‘the business of everyday life’” debuting on Monday, March 10. Barrett states, “Atlanta is such a dynamic business market with an incredible diversity of industries. Healthcare, real estate, entertainment, retail…you name it, we do it here. I want to celebrate and embrace that diversity by talking to the business leaders and entrepreneurs that make our region go.” The daily show will air from 9:00 am to 10:00 am with a repeat from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Program director Aaron Williams adds, “It’s the perfect match for us. As the market’s only station dedicated to business, we couldn’t be happier to bring Dana’s unique knowledge of the metro Atlanta area to our audience.”
Mike Bower Exits ’97.9 ESPN Hartford.’ The afternoon drive program hosted by Mike Bower at Clear Channel’s Hartford sports talk outlet WUCS “97.9 ESPN Hartford” is cancelled and the station is actively seeking a new personality for the daypart. In a message posted on his Facebook page, Bower announces, “Unfortunately The Bower Show’s time on ‘97.9 ESPN’ in Hartford and ‘ESPN Radio 1300’ in New Haven has come to an end. Clear Channel opted to not renew the show but we would like to thank them for giving us the opportunity to talk sports with you every day for the past two years. More importantly, we would like to thank all of YOU…our listeners, for your continued support of The Bower Show.” The Bower Show was the only local daily show on the program schedule.
Rosenthal Promoted at Katz Media Group. With this promotion, Mark Rosenthal – currently CEO of Katz Radio Group – adds the title CEO of Katz Media Group in which he will also oversee Katz Television Group, KMG’s television representation company. The company says that as CEO of Katz Radio Group, Rosenthal will remain focused on building the radio sector, working closely with Katz Radio Group president Mark Gray to drive additional media dollars into radio. Effective immediately though, he will now also work closely with KTG presidents Leo MacCourtney and Craig Broitman to grow and further develop KTG’s assets, advocacy and revenue-generating efforts.
Salem Study: Christian Teaching Listeners Younger Than Perceived. The results of a study by Nielsen Audio commissioned by Salem Communications looking at the make-up of the audience for Christian teaching and talk-formatted radio shows indicates the audience is younger than may be commonly perceived. Half of the listeners to the format are under 55 and are spending 6.1 hours per week listening to stations airing the format. The study also indicates younger listenership is growing. Salem VP, director of spoken word format Phil Boyce states, “There is this perception that these are your father or even grandfathers radio stations, but we found there is a significant pool of younger listeners spending a great deal of time with our CTT format.”
Geoff Edwards Passes. No sooner had we reflected on the life and career of Los Angeles and Bay Area radio personality/television game show host Jim Lange (who succumbed to a heart attack last week) than we must now sadly note the passing of Geoff Edwards. Much like the 81-year-old Lange, Edwards, 83, amassed considerable fame from his Los Angeles radio days and nationally through several game show-hosting stints. Edwards died yesterday (3/5) of complications of pneumonia at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California. Wink Martindale, Lange, and Edwards toiled together in Los Angeles at the once iconic KMPC. “Geoff was one of the cleverest, funniest radio and television personalities I have worked with,” Martindale states of Westfield, New Jersey native Edwards, who was heard on KMPC from 1968 – 1979. He was also on-air in Los Angeles at KHJ (1964 -1965) and two go-rounds at KFI (1966 – 1968 and 1987 – 1989). According to Edwards’ agent of many years, Fred Westbrook, Edwards succeeded in television by making several bold fashion statements. He favored jeans over suits and his hair was longer than that of most other talents at the time. “He was part of the new breed,” Westbrook comments. Tributes on Facebook regarding Edwards’ death included this observation from renowned voiceover talent/studio audience warm-up announcer/”Price is Right” announcer Randy West. “Geoff was a wonderfully kind and joyous guy, very bright, with a great natural talent for creating joy, both over the air and in person. For me, it was more laughs per hour with Geoff than anyone else since high school. What a pro, what a sweet man, what a character, what a ball. He was loved and respected by everybody. We laughed and giggled every time we were together.” Sonoma Music Group president Michael O’Shea checked in by remarking, “What a shock. Geoff was our 9:00 am – 12:00 noon personality at KMPC. Personable, authentic, real and natural. We played tennis a time or two. This is very sad.” Longtime KOST, Los Angeles on-air personality Ted Ziegenbusch notes that Edwards was, “One of my favorite lunchroom pals. Thanks for the laughter, the stories and the fun. I know you have always enjoyed travel. This journey is the best one ever.” Veteran Los Angeles traffic reporter Mike Nolan comments that he was, “a fan for years, then honored to work with him at KFI, so happy to have called him a friend.” Fellow television game show host Jim MacKrell remarks, “I am deeply saddened by the news of Geoff’s passing. I know of no one in our business with a better reputation and a multitude of friends. I am glad I was one of them.” Edwards’ national television resume includes hosting “Jackpot!”, “Chain Reaction,” “Play the Percentages,” “Treasure Hunt” and “The New Treasure Hunt.” In Los Angeles, he and Meredith MacRae won Emmy Awards for co-hosting the daily “Mid-Morning L.A.” For nine years (1986 – 1995), he co-hosted the California Lottery‘s “Big Spin.” An eyewitness to one of America’s most memorable moments, then-news reporter Edwards was in the basement of the Dallas Police Department on November 24, 1963 when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected assassin of President John F. Kennedy. Funeral plans are pending for Edwards, who is survived by his wife, two stepsons, his ex-wife and their three children, as well as nine grandchildren.
Obama vs. Putin/Ukraine-Crimea Intrigue, ObamaCare Criticism, IRS Scandal, Obama Approval Ratings Sink, and 2016 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/5). The political storm in Ukraine and Crimea and how President Obama is handling Vladimir Putin’s moving Russian troops into the region; scrutiny of the Affordable Care Act as the administration announces current health plans can be kept through 2016; Lois Lerner’s refusal to testify in new hearings looking into the IRS scandal; dipping approval ratings for President Obama; and speculation about candidates for president in the 2016 election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Buckley to Sell Connecticut Stations to Connoisseur. Led by Hartford classic hits outlet WDRC-FM, the Connecticut stations Buckley Broadcasting is selling to Connoisseur Media also includes talk WDRC-AM and its simulcast AMs WMMW, Meriden; WSNG, Torrington; and WWCO, Waterbury. The price on this deal is not being made public yet. Buckley is being represented by Richard A. Foreman Associates. In a memo to staff, Buckley president and CEO Joe Bilotta says, “After much reflection, the Board of Trustees has decided that the reality of the evolving competitive landscape, and our sincere desire to see this historic brand continue, are cause for a change in the ownership of our Connecticut properties. Our decision to negotiate with, and eventually sell WDRC-AM/FM to Connoisseur, gives our audience, advertisers, and employees access to the considerable resources of this multi-dimensional media and entertainment company. For over half of a century Buckley Broadcasting has been the steward of these great call letters and there is not a better company than Connoisseur to ensure the continued and accelerated future success of the WDRC brand.”
Fox Sports and Premiere Networks Renew FSRN Deal. The relationship between Clear Channel subsidiary Premiere Networks and Fox Sports goes back to August of 2000 when the two companies agreed to work together to debut the Fox Sports Radio Network. Now, almost 14 years later, the two companies agree to a long-term extension of the partnership. Premiere Networks will continue to produce and distribute Fox Sports Radio Network to its radio affiliates. Additionally, “Premiere Networks and Fox Sports will continue working together across multiple platforms to synchronize the audio, digital, online and television assets of Fox Sports, FOXSports.com and Fox Sports Radio, further extending the reach, visibility and engagement of these brands with millions of consumers. Additionally, with the recently-launched 24-hour television network Fox Sports 1, the radio and television divisions will work closely to increase cross-promotional opportunities and highlight Fox Sports’ established team of top insiders, analysts and personalities.”
Nielsen’s Cross-Platform Report: Smartphone Use Rising, AM/FM Use Decreasing. The numbers are nothing astronomical with regard to the decline in use of AM/FM radio, but they show a trend. According to the March 2014 Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, the hours of use per day for adults 18+ for AM/FM radio have dropped from 2:53 minutes to 2:46 minutes from the fourth quarter of 2011 through the fourth quarter of 2013. At the same time, use of smartphones has risen from :48 minutes per day to 1:07 minutes per day over the same three-year period. Again, this is not a dramatic change but it certainly shows that the use of smartphones continues to rise for adults and the use of the AM/FM radio is declining. You can check out the report here.
And Speaking of Smartphones…The increase in usage of smartphones by Americans has risen to 61% (persons 12+), according to Edison Research and Triton Digital – the two companies presenting their “Infinite Dial 2014” webinar today at 2:00 pm ET. Edison releases this little teaser in advance of today’s event indicating that in 2009 just 10% of Americans owned smartphones. That number climbed to 44% in 2012 and has soared to 61% in 2014 and Edison estimates that means about 160 million people in raw numbers.
Just a Few Slots Left at FAIR’s ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row. The topic of immigration reform continues to be a much-discussed one on news/talk radio with related legislation brewing in Congress. The Federation for American Immigration Reform-sponsored “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row taking place April 9 and 10 in Washington, DC is nearing a full slate. FAIR communications director Bob Dane tells TALKERS magazine, “It’s ‘last call’ for one broadcast booth remaining in morning drive, one in afternoon drive, and two in midday.” Broadcast slots are granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested hosts should contact Dane 202-328-7004 ASAP to discuss details. Dane says, “Attendees enjoy Capitol Hill access to lawmakers, immigration activists, experts and law enforcement working in tandem to secure our borders and to enforce the rule of law.”
‘Radio Guy’ Jim Lange Remembered. When Jim Lange passed away last week at age 81, he was remembered by most for his role as host of television’s “The Dating Game.” But as TALKERS managing editor and bureau chief Mike Kinosian writes, “Jim Lange was one of the finest ambassadors radio could ever hope to have.” A few years back, Kinosian did a profile of Lange and learned more about his radio career – including why he always kept a radio job even during the heyday of “The Dating Game” and his other TV game shows. He said that if the TV job failed, he always had radio. Lange told him, “I noticed that all the game show hosts were radio guys. They were hired because they could adlib. There is no script on a game show. You have rules, but that is it.” Read Mike Kinosian’s story about Jim Lange here.
Ukraine-Crimea Unrest/Obama vs. Putin, ObamaCare Criticism, MSNBC Programming Changes, Texas Primaries, U.S. Marijuana Policy, and Hillary in 2016 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/4). The crisis in the Ukraine and Crimea and criticism of President Obama’s stance against Russia’s Vladimir Putin; ongoing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the cable news/talk wars and the performance of new MSNBC programs; Tuesday’s Texas primary elections; the changes in marijuana policy in the United States; and speculation that Hillary Clinton will emerge the the Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 presidential election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
New York Losing Progressive Talk Outlet WWRL. Progressive talk host Karel – whose Long Beach, California-based talk show is heard on Access.1’s WWRL, New York – reports the station says it will flip to Spanish-language programming on December 27. The station airs progressive talk programming including Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Premiere’s Randi Rhodes, and Leslie Marshall as well as non-political shows including Radio America’s Dr. Joy Browne, WYD Media’s Phil Hendrie plus various health and wellness shows. New York’s Amsterdam News reports the station is telling employees “low advertising revenue” is the reason for the format flip.
Brown Boosted to Bonneville International President. KSL Broadcast Group president Darrell Brown is promoted to president of parent company Bonneville International. Brown will oversee Bonneville’s 12 radio properties in Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City, as well as Salt Lake City television outlet KSL-TV. “Bonneville International is known across the industry for its integrity and quality,” he comments. “As a group, these stations are committed to serving and building-up their local communities. I am honored to be part of Bonneville’s legacy.” Brown joined KSL last August, after having previously spent 28 years at McGraw-Hill Broadcasting.
Sports Talker WFAN, New York Sponsors Red Hot Chili Peppers-Headlines Show at Barclay Center. With the Super Bowl just across the river the next day, CBS Radio sports talk giant WFAN, New York is sponsoring a big event across the other river at the Barclays Center titled, “WFAN’s Big Hello to Brooklyn.” The announcement was made this morning as WFAN morning team Boomer Esiason (left) and Craig Carton (right) welcomed Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith (center) into the studio and announced his band will be headlining the show on Saturday, February 1, 2014. The concert will also include: New Politics, MS MR, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, and Basic Vacation. CBS calls it “the biggest weekend in sports and entertainment, and is the exciting conclusion to Barclays Center’s “Kickoff In Brooklyn” series which also includes championship boxing (1/30/2014) and a match-up between the Brooklyn Nets and the Oklahoma City Thunder (1/31/2014). CBS Radio SVP, strategic events and partnerships Amy Stevens says, “The intersection of sports and music is never bigger than during the weekend of the Super Bowl. Red Hot Chili Peppers are an American institution and rock ‘n’roll icons, and what better way to celebrate football’s championship than with this incredible lineup of artists for local fans and the thousands in New York from around the world.”
WFAN’s Mike Francesa to Exit YES Network. The New York TV simulcast of WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa will end on January 31 after the current contract expires and WEPN-FM afternoon drive host Michael Kay’s program will take over the time slot on the Yankees-owned cable channel. The New York Daily News reports that the change was a financial matter and that CBS Radio was asking more for the rights to the program than YES wanted to pay. The Daily News piece speculates that cable’s Madison Square Garden Network may have the “inside track” with Francesa as he’s considered close to Garden management. The story also notes that fledgling cable channel CBS Sports Network, which is airing WFAN’s Boomer & Carton morning show, is not enticing to Francesa because he fears he’d have to change his content to appeal to the national audience.
Steak Added to WCNN Menu. In addition to existing members Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran, “The Front Row” on Dickey Broadcasting, Atlanta’s WCNN “Sports Radio 680 The Fan” will be comprised of Stephen “Steak” Shapiro as well. Formerly the 17-year host of “Mayhem in the AM” on Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone,” Shapiro has won numerous Georgia broadcasting awards and starts his daily 9:00 am – 12:00 noon assignment on January 2. WCNN president/general manager David Dickey comments, “I am excited to have ‘Steak’ back on ‘The Fan.’ He is one of the best-known and most-talented sports personalities in the country. ‘Steak’ will become an important part of what is already the region’s biggest and most-experienced sports-talk line-up. His homecoming is yet another example of Dickey Broadcasting’s ongoing commitment to invest in the best talent, the best content and the biggest partnerships.” Shapiro, who replaces Ray Mariner, adds, “‘The Fan’ gave me my start and is the reason I moved to Atlanta [from Boston] almost 20 years ago. I am ecstatic to be back doing what I love. ‘The Fan’ has been the number one sports talk station in the south for so many years. To be able to be a part of such a winning team with so many folks I have worked alongside in the past and consider friends is really thrilling.” Shapiro founded Big League Broadcasting in 1997 and was its president for roughly 14 years.
Dare to be Crap-Free. When it comes to online content, it’s easy to think you have a staffing problem or a time management problem or a resources problem, when what you really have is a crap problem. In a new column posted today (12/16) by noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, he writes, “There’s stuff on your site that is irrelevant to your station and is keeping people from finding what they DO want to find there. Your social media is probably influenced more by what everyone else is doing in social media, rather than what will cause your biggest fans to love you all the more.” To read how Chris Miller can help you get crap-free and focused on results for 2014, please click here.
Odds & Sods. Connecticut talk show host Mary Jones announces she’ll retire from Buckley Broadcasting-owned news/talk station WDRC-AM, Hartford as of December 23 in order to spend more time with her husband and enjoy winters in Florida. Jones tells TALKERS it was a big decision but she is excited about the change….. WMAL-AM/FM, Washington “Mornings on the Mall” co-host Larry O’Connor is doing some double duty during the holiday season. O’Connor will sub for WABC, New York-based Geraldo Rivera beginning December 20 through the end of the year (and the end of his national syndication run) and will also sit in for WestwoodOne-syndicated personality Dennis Miller on January 2 and 3 – the last two days of his 10:00 am to 1:00 pm airing (the show begins airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on 1/6)…..“Libertarian-conservative” media personality Wayne Allyn Root will be guest host on Cumulus Media Networks’ “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage from December 23 – 30. Root is author of The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide (Regnery 2013) and serves as a commentator on Fox News Channel and TheBlaze.
KSCO, Santa Cruz Personality Ethan Bearman’s Profile Rising. Talk radio personality and writer Ethan Bearman is getting more recognition in the Santa Cruz market as his locally focused talk show on Zwerling-owned KSCO, Santa Cruz grows in popularity. Recently, Bearman was a go-to media voice for a KION-TV news piece (captured here) on the anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. View that video here. Also, Bearman, who has intensely covered the hot issue of dirty needles, trash and other refuse in the town’s parks that’s making it unsafe for people to use, was part of a clean-up crew that made the news for its work. Read about that issue in a piece in the Santa Cruz Patch here. Bearman is a visible example of a growing trend in news/talk radio in which talk hosts are eschewing monolithic political party doctrine and instead are approaching their programs on an issue-by-issue basis.
Hawkins Scores With CRN Special. Over the weekend (Saturday, 12/14), former NBA player Tommy Hawkins premiered his CRN Digital Talk Radio holiday special “We Wish You a Jazzy Christmas.” According to CRN chief executive officer Michael Horn, “‘We Wish You a Jazzy Christmas’ is filled with holiday-themed jazz music, along with Tommy’s infectious, warm personality. His love of jazz and the holidays combine for such a treat. It is the perfect accompaniment for an evening by a Christmas tree.” Following a standout collegiate career at Notre Dame (where he was a two-year All-American), Hawkins went on to play in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers and Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings). He later became vice president of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. For approximately 15 years beginning in 1970, “Hawk” was a staple on Los Angeles siblings KABC and KLOS. As part of his basketball-to-broadcasting transition Hawkins not only became KABC’s sports director, he also did “Sports Snorts” weekday mornings with remarkably talented Frazer Smith on KLOS. In addition to doing weekends on KKJZ “K-Jazz,” Los Angeles, Hawkins has written “Life’s Reflections: Poetry for the People.” His CRN special will play throughout the holiday season.
Over $120,000 Raised in KFXX Special Olympics Radio-thon. Entercom-owned sports outlet KFXX “1080 The Fan” afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) hosts Isaac Ropp (pictured here at left with some female fans) and Jason Scukanec (second from right) anchored the third annual 28-hour Special Olympics Oregon radio-thon, which brought in more than $120,000. Program director Jeff Austin comments, “We are proud to partner with Special Olympics Oregon. The overwhelming support of our station’s staff, our listeners, and advertisers was a testament to the bond Isaac and Suke have with their audience.” Scukanec (“Suke”) states, “We cannot thank our listeners enough – Portland is a special community and this is a very special cause. We talk about sports and high-powered athletes every day, but these Olympians are the real athletes. They are the real champions and we are privileged to honor their spirit and dedication.” Special Olympics Oregon chief development officer Kim Bergstrom adds, “We are honored to partner with [KFXX]. Isaac and Suke’s radio-thon helps raise funds to support year-round sports training and competition opportunities for thousands of individuals with intellectual disability. In addition, they generate immeasurable awareness of the importance of Special Olympics Oregon programs for athletes and their families.” This year’s $120,000 radio-thon total surpassed last year’s mark by more than $45,000.
Broadcast Electronics Bumps Up Bealor To President. Effective immediately, Broadcast Electronics executive vice president of product development Tim Bealor is upped to president of the Quincy, Illinois-based company. “I am honored to be asked to lead BE into its 55th year and the next phase of the company’s growth,” he comments. “Next year is going to be an exciting time for Broadcast Electronics and its customers.” Bealor began his Broadcast Electronics career as a technician in 1975. Over the past 38 years, he has held a variety of technical, support, product management, sales leadership, and marketing positions with the company.
KTRS, St. Louis Talk Show Host JC Corcoran Responds to TALKERS Feature Story. St. Louis talk show host JC Corcoran’s Twitter exchange that got him suspended from talk station KTRS last fall was an example cited in the TALKERS feature piece, “Social Media: Handle with Care,” published on Friday. Corcoran responded with an insightful letter to the editors that adds new levels to the story and the larger issue of social media use by talk and sports radio broadcasters. Read the piece and Corcoran’s response here.
Talent Shake-Up at WLW, Cincinnati; Eddie Fingers Returns. Today sees a revamped talk host lineup at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s “Big One” WLW, Cincinnati highlighted by what Queen City media observers are calling the bizarre return of Eddie Fingers to the PM drive show 15 months after he was fired from the same show. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, Fingers will rejoin co-host Tracy Jones for the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program. Jones’ partner since October of 2010 – former Cincinnati Reds outfielder Scott Sloan – moves to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. That means late morning host Doc Thompson is the odd man out. Kiesewetter reports Thompson was fired last week while on his honeymoon with WHIO-TV, Dayton reporter Yuna Lee. Thompson still works for Clear Channel hosting the PM drive show at the company’s WRVA, Richmond. Back to Cincy, Fingers has been a personality in town since the early 1980s. He moves from rock WEBN-FM to WLW in 2007. Kiesewetter reports Fingers has no animosity toward the station for his October 2010 firing, stating, “I never had a problem with anyone in the building all along. The decision on firing me came from corporate, and I get the impression some of them have moved along. I loved it there. I loved those guys. This is unprecedented. This is a load off my shoulders.”
Programmer Jack Landreth Named KMBZ-AM/FM, Kansas City PD. Entercom Kansas City announces talk radio programmer Jack Landreth takes over the PD position at news/talk KMBZ-AM/FM beginning Monday, January 30. Landreth most recently held the PD post at CBS Radio’s KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas. During his career he has also programmed KTSA, San Antonio; KNST, Tucson; and WWTN-FM, Nashville. Landreth says, “KMBZ is the premiere radio station in Kansas City and I could not be more honored to work with such a great team of local, top-notch broadcasters. My sincere gratitude goes out to Pat Paxton, Ken Beck and, of course, Dave Alpert. My family and I look forward to coming back to the Midwest and calling Kansas City our true home.”
“Loveline” Tweaking Format to Appeal to Talk Stations as Courtside Offering. The former Westwood One talk show, now in Norm Pattiz’s growing Courtside Entertainment stable, has been a nighttime music radio mainstay for almost 30 years. It is heard on more than 50 alternative rock, classic rock and CHR stations with a strong base in the top 25 markets. Hosted by noted medical authority Dr. Drew Pinsky and well-known LA-based pop culture broadcaster Mike Catherwood with the recent addition of British radio and TV personality (and sex therapist) Simone Bienne, the nightly program which airs live 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight PT has evolved and adapted over the years from a free form Sunday night KROQ, Los Angeles show, appealing to a very young audience, to a formatted, highly-planned and targeted production designed to deliver a more mature, diverse 18-54 audience. Along the course of its colorful history, Loveline’s hosts included such figures as Adam Corolla, deejays Jim “Poorman” Trenton and Swedish Egil (Egil Aalvik) and former MTV veejay Riki Rachtman. Courtside Entertainment founder and CEO Norm Pattiz tells TALKERS, “Unlike many talk shows on music radio, this program does not play music and never did. However, it does include well-known music personalities among its diverse guests a la Jay Leno and David Letterman.” Pattiz unequivocally states, “Yes we are now going after talkers… the growing number that think a talk show with equal parts information, entertainment and advice is right at night. This show attracts a loyal audience. Current stations really like what we are doing with Loveline as we have phased it in this new direction over the past six months. It has a distinct format which is very important in a PPM world. Every quarter hour is planned with calls, subject, host features and guests. Master programmer Bert Kleinman oversees this aspect of the production on a daily basis. It is a unique product that has stood the test of time by continuously adapting.”
Clear Channel Gives Hartford an FM Sports Talker. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment puts into effect the changes that had been brewing with its Hartford and Springfield, Massachusetts stations last spring. The “Kix” country format leaves WPKX-FM as the station becomes an FM simulcast of CC’s sports talk WPOP, Hartford and moves its city of license from Enfield, Connecticut closer to Hartford in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. That leaves the country format on the former AAA WRNX-FM, Amherst, Massachusetts serving the Springfield market. The new 97.9 ESPN obviously uses programming from ESPN Radio but it’s being reported that CC Hartford is looking to put a local PM drive show on the station.
WGDJ, Albany’s Paul Vandenburgh to Host Daily Afternoon TV Show. WGDJ, Albany is co-owned by president and general manager Paul Vandenburgh. He also hosts the morning drive show on the station. Beginning Monday, Vandenburgh will host the Paul Vandenburgh Show on Albany’s MyNetworkTV affiliate My 4 Albany from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. My 4 TV’s Chuck Hunt says, “Vandenburgh has long been the premiere talk show host in the Capital District and adding his expertise to television increases the reach, visibility and credibility of MY 4 Albany. His show will be topical each day, keeping people up to date with the major news stories of the Capital District. Live callers will also be included in the program. We are thrilled to have Paul on the MY 4 Albany team.” Prior to his endeavor with WGDJ, Vandenburgh hosted the morning drive show on crosstown WROW. He also hosted at WQBK, Albany.
Sirius XM Adds Two High-Profile Talk Shows. Former Indianapolis Colts GM Bill Polian becomes part of the satcaster’s NFL Radio channel with his debut tonight on the “Late Hits” program from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm. He’ll appear again for shows on Wednesday and Friday prior to the Super Bowl and will host regular shows throughout the year. Polian says, “I’ve been a guest on SiriusXM NFL Radio many times and it is an outstanding source for league news and information. Now I get to be the one asking the questions. I’m excited to get on the air to talk shop with players, executives and coaches around the league and interact daily with many of the great fans who have helped make the NFL the most successful sports league in the world.” In other Sirius XM news, former New York City police chief Howard Safir is hosting a limited run program called, “The Badge with Howard Safir,” focusing on the “drama, heroism and challenges facing law enforcement today.” The series will air Sunday evenings and run for six weeks.
Northeast Ohio Sports Media Figure Joe Pete Dies at 45. Joseph J. Pete, Jr. broadcast the “Sports Report with Joe Pete” on WFUN, Ashtabula, Ohio. He was a play-by-play announcer for prep athletics in the region and wrote about sports in the region for numerous publications. He passed away on Thursday, January 26 at the Cleveland Clinic.
October Northeast Storm Knocks Two Weeks Out of November PPM in Hartford. Arbitron delivers the news to the Hartford market that the November 2011 PPM report – consisting of the time period October 13 through November 9 – will not include the two weeks of October 27 through November 9 during which a substantial portion of the market was without power. In a message to clients, Arbitron writes, “Arbitron has carefully monitored Average Daily In-Tab and other performance metrics throughout this interval. Based on these metrics, Arbitron will be releasing a November 2011 Hartford-New Britain-Middletown report based exclusively on November Weeks 1 and 2 (October 13-October 26).” It is painfully ironic that radio – relied upon during times of emergencies such as these and often lauded for its tremendous dedication to keeping listeners in the market informed under difficult circumstances – is at the mercy of a ratings system that relies upon electricity at a time when stations in the market should get credit for the huge number of people who used it during that period.
CBS Radio’s KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Names Kevin Wall PM Drive Host. Several months after parting ways with longtime station personality Alan Stock, CBS Radio Las Vegas announces the new permanent PM drive host at FM News Radio 100.5 KXNT is Kevin Wall. Most recently at Border Media Partners’ KTSA, San Antonio, Wall has also served as a fill-in host for Glenn Beck, Bill Bennett and Fox News Radio. KXNT program director Andrew Paul states, “We couldn’t be happier to have Kevin join our team. Kevin is talented, bright, articulate and an excellent communicator. Heading into next year’s general election, we face a critical juncture in our nation’s future. Kevin will be able to relate the important issues to Southern Nevada through his informative and entertaining style.” Also from KXNT, Jason Pothier is named the new producer for Kevin Wall’s “Live and Local” program. Pothier spent eight years in Boston as a producer at WEEI, WRKO and WXKS. Samantha Stone joins the station as the new morning news anchor. She worked for many years in Reno as a reporter/producer for Nevada Newsmakers and a reporter for Vegas PBS and Cumulus’ KKOH. Trevor Smith also joins KXNT as a news reporter after spending the past four years as news director at KZBI-FM in Elko, Nevada.
Clear Channel Adds FM Simulcast to KNST, Tucson; Drops Spanish Music on 97.1. Beginning Monday, November 28 the Spanish language music format at KTZR-FM ends and a simulcast of KNST begins. Clear Channel Tucson market manager Shanna McCoy states, “Bringing our heritage News Talk KNST 790 to 97.1 FM will help us deliver the most powerful programming lineup in the market. We’re committed to bringing our listeners the absolute best programming.” Market operations manager Chris Pickett says, “KNST will join the growing movement of great news/talk programming moving to FM. This is an important time for listeners to tune in with a presidential primary coming in February, and I can’t think of a better time to make the change.” Journal Broadcast Group has been operating news/talk KQTH-FM in the market since April of 2007.
MSNBC Names Meghan McCain Contributor. The daughter of Senator John McCain has been a media figure for some time now and has been a frequent guest on cable news/talk TV. Now MSNBC puts her on the payroll as a contributor. In a statement, Meghan McCain says, “I couldn’t more be more excited to be joining the MSNBC family. It’s a unique opportunity to share my perspective as a Republican on a network I respect and have built a relationship with over the past two years.”
Jim Bohannon Recognized by RTDNA. Dial Global talk personality Jim Bohannon – host of the “America in the Morning” news program and his eponymous overnight talk show – is being honored by the Radio Television Digital News Association with a Special Recognition First Amendment Award. Bohannon and three other journalists will be honored at the RTDNA’s 22nd annual First Amendment Awards Dinner on March 15 in Washington, DC. The RTDNA states, “Bohannon is the originator of National Freedom of Information Day, a concept he first presented to the national convention of the Society of Professional Journalists at their 1979 convention in New York City. Bohannon has broadcast dozens of programs about freedom of information issues.”
BookMarc from Miami. Sirius/XM talk host Bob Edwards (l) chats with WNDB, Daytona Beach talk personality Marc Bernier (r) about Edwards being forced out of NPR. Bernier took his special program about books to the Miami Book Fair International where he interviewed 43 authors over the course of the weekend. Broadcasting live from Miami-Dade College, the site of the nation’s largest book fair, it was Bernier’s seventh visit to the annual event as he conducted 10 hours of interviews on Saturday and Sunday live on WNDB and produced streaming video of the event on kenneytv.com.
Super Committee Fails, Markets Tumble, 2012 Presidential Race, Egypt Unrest, and Freeh to Head Penn State Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/21). The failure of the Congressional Super Committee to come to terms on federal spending cuts, the financial markets’ reactions to Euro Zone debt and the Super Committee’s failure, the 2012 presidential race, new political unrest in Egypt and Louis Freeh’s appointment to lead the Penn State sex abuse scandal investigation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.