Tag: "Howard Eskin"

Friday, August 7, 2020

| August 7, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled “Each Passing Tik of the Clok!” looks back at this past week of August 3-7, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSMike Gallagher, talk show host, Salem Radio NetworkPat McCrory, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte / former Governor of North Carolina; Howard Monroe, talk show host / station owner, WVLY, Wheeling, WV; Levi Browde, executive director, Falun Dafa Information Center; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Salem Media Group Q2 Revenue Down 18.3%. Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2020, Salem Media Group says revenue for the quarter was $52.9 million, a decrease of 18.3% compared to the same period in 2019. Operating expenses decreased 9% during the quarter to $53.8 million from $59.1 million. After posting operating income of $5.6 million in Q2 of 2019, Salem reports an operating loss of $0.9 million. Breaking down the report by segment, net broadcast revenue decreased 19.6% to $39.5 million from $49.1 million; Station Operating Income (“SOI”) decreased 43.9% to $6.4 million from $11.4 million; and Same Station net broadcast revenue decreased 17.4% to $38.7 million from $46.9 million; and Same Station SOI decreased 43.9% to $6.5 million from $11.6 million. Salem’s digital media revenue decreased 5.2% to $9.4 million from $10.0 million; and digital media operating income decreased 22.6% to $1.8 million from $2.3 million. Publishing revenue was down 29.8% to $4 million from $5.6 million; and publishing operating loss increased to $1.6 million from $0.1 million.

Entercom’s Q2 2020 Revenue Decreases 54%. The second quarter 2020 financial report from Entercom reveals net revenue was $175.9 million, a decrease of 54% from the $380.7 million reported in Q2 of 2019. Spot revenue declined 65% on a year-over-year basis while digital revenue rose 19%. Entercom reports that reflecting its cost management initiatives implemented to address the pandemic and lower levels of advertising spending, station expenses for the quarter declined 32% to $188.9 million, compared to $277.9 million in the second quarter of 2019 while corporate expenses for the quarter declined 45% to $8.4 million, compared to $15.2 million in the second quarter of 2019. The company reported operating income of $64.8 million in Q2 of 2019, but this year reported an operating loss of $45.3 million (that included a non-cash impairment charge of $4.2 million). Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was a loss of $20 million, compared to income of $87.6 million in the second quarter of 2019. Entercom president and CEO David J. Field says, “While Entercom generated significant revenue and EBITDA growth prior to the pandemic, second quarter results reflect the impact of the national economic challenges that quickly emerged as many advertisers closed businesses and significantly reduced their ad spend. Given our national leadership position in sports, second quarter top-line results were also significantly impacted by the cancellation of virtually all scheduled sporting events during the quarter. Excluding the impact of cancelled sports play-by-play, second quarter revenues declined 47%. However, after bottoming out in April, we have achieved significant sequential improvement every month through the summer with third quarter business on books already 30% greater than where the second quarter finished. The pandemic challenges accelerated our on-going transformation initiatives with a heightened focus on enhancing our business model, accelerating our growth opportunities, more fully integrating our powerful product offerings, and improving our service to both listeners and customers. In this regard, we implemented a range of company-wide initiatives, which lowered second quarter total cash operating expense by approximately $97 million, which exceeded our budget. In addition, we secured our strong liquidity position through an amendment to our credit facility and ended the second quarter with $208 million of cash, up from $189 million at the end of March. Looking ahead, as the country’s #1 creator of original, premium audio content with robust data, analytics and attribution capabilities, scaled audience reach and a leadership position in virtually every segment of the dynamic and growing audio market, including broadcasting, podcasting, digital, events, network, sports and news, Entercom is strategically well-positioned for future growth and performance. Improving revenue trends combined with enhancements to our business model and active management of our balance sheet will enable Entercom to emerge as an even stronger company and build meaningful shareholder value. I want to thank our team for their resilience, dedication, and exceptional work as they have gone above and beyond to serve our listeners, advertisers and communities under the most challenging of circumstances over the past several months.”

Round Four of July PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s July 2020 survey period covered June 18 – July 15. You can see all the 6+ data from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Austin, Waterloo Media Group’s news/talk KLBJ-AM tacks on two-tenths for a 5.7 share and the #3 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM, Raleigh rises from the #6 rank to #3 after adding six-tenths and finishing the survey with a 6.8 share. Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis inches up one-tenth to a 7.5 share, good for the #4 rank. In Milwaukee, Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ holds steady at a 5.5 share but rises one spot to the #5 rank while iHeartMedia’s news/talk WISN dips four-tenths to a 6.8 share and the #4 rank. Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville adds two-tenths to wrap the survey with a 4.8 share good for the #9 rank. In Jacksonville, Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM continues in the #2 rank after dipping four-tenths and finishing with a 9.5 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report here.

NAB’s Gordon Smith Averted Stroke. The report of NAB CEO Gordon Smith’s stroke yesterday (8/6) was premature, according to Smith himself. He issued a public statement that clarifies the original press release from the NAB and thanks people for the outpouring of support he’s received. He says, “Your prayers and kind words have meant the world to me and my family. I am delighted to tell you that after a very extensive MRI last night it was discovered that I did have a blood clot, but thanks to the quick medical intervention I received, an actual stroke was averted.”

Cumulus Media Announces New Employment Agreement with Exec Suzanne Grimes. A new employment agreement between Cumulus Media and Suzanne Grimes has been filed with the SEC. Grimes will continue to serve as executive vice president of corporate marketing for Cumulus and president of Westwood One. The pact runs through December 2022 and includes provisions for automatic one-year extensions. Grimes’ base salary is $650,000 and she’s eligible for performance-based bonuses.

Shaffer Adds APD Duties at ‘104.5 The Zone’ in Nashville. WGFX-FM, Nashville
“104.5 The Zone” morning show producer Jonathan Shaffer adds assistant program director duties to his responsibilities. Cumulus Media says the 14-year Nashville radio pro will continue in his role as morning show producer for the sports talk station. Station PD Paul Mason says, “Jonathan has demonstrated that he is ready for this challenge. He’s earned this opportunity and I look forward to working with him as we move forward toward reaching our goals at ‘104.5 The Zone.’” Shaffer comments, “I am proud and honored to be part of such a talented, committed team at ‘104.5 The Zone’. I am very excited about this opportunity and am looking forward to contributing to The Zone’s continued success.”

iHeartMedia Names Tias Schuster SVP of Programming for West New York. Programming pro Tias Schuster moves from iHeartMedia’s Norfolk, Virginia operations where he was SVP of programming and PD for two of its music brands, to West New York to serve as SVP of programming for Rochester, Syracuse and Binghamton. In this new role, Schuster will oversee more than 19 stations in the Rochester, Syracuse, and Binghamton markets. He’ll report to iHeartMedia West New York president Robert Morgan. Schuster says, “It is great to be back with my iHeartRadio family in Upstate New York. I’m honored to work alongside the legendary personalities and management in these markets! I want to give a special thanks to iHeartMedia for the opportunity.”

WIP, Philadelphia’s Howard Eskin ‘Walks to Tampa’ for Charity. Philadelphia sports media figure Howard Eskin is almost three-quarters of the way to Tampa (figuratively speaking) as he continues his PDQ Signature Systems-sponsored, two-month charitable effort. “Howard Walks to Tampa” has the “SportsRadio 94WIP” air personality walking the virtual 1,103-mile distance between the Philadelphia Eagles’ home base of Lincoln Financial Field and Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, the location of Super Bowl LV, to raise money for fighting local hunger and animal welfare. Money raised from Eskin’s daily walks, which will run through September 13 prior to the start of the Eagles 2020 season, will benefit Philabundance, Delaware Valley’s largest hunger relief organization, and the Brandywine Valley SPCA, a nationally recognized leader in progressive and lifesaving initiatives in animal welfare. Eskin says, “It’s been a tough time in our country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Without any games or practices to attend, I needed an escape. So, I started walking. It’s been great for my physical and mental health and raising money for two great charities like Philabundance and Brandywine Valley SPCA makes it even better.” To date, Eskin has walked 736 miles with only 367 miles to go before September 13 and has raised more than $10,000 for Philabundance and Brandywine Valley SPCA.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a documentary about the rise and fall of former WFAN, New York sports talk personality Craig Carton set to be released on October 7 from HBO Sports and StreetSmartVideo titled, “Wild Card: The Downfall of a Radio Loudmouth.” According to a story in the Rockland/Westchester Journal, the film will include Carton talking about his story in his own words. Carton was released early from his three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for fraud in June and is finishing his sentence in home confinement. HBO Sports VP Peter Nelson says, “Craig Carton’s radio persona gained him a public following, while his private struggles lost him everything one casino run at a time. Many knew Carton, but never knew his secrets, as we learn from Carton himself in this documentary about success, self-destruction, lies and blackjack.”…..According to a report in Dmagazine, a documentary film about the life and career of Dallas sports talk radio legend Mike Rhyner is being produced. Dallas media pro Crystal Vasquez – who met the now-retired KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas personality while filling in as a traffic reporter on Rhyner’s “The Hardline” program – is heading up the documentary project. Vasquez tells Dmagazine, “It’s not a documentary on ‘The Ticket.’ That’s his identity to a certain extent, but it’s a story about Mike’s life.”…..The “Bubba the Love Sponge” program adds a new affiliate station in 1TV.Com Inc.’s classic rock KBSZ-AM/K247CF, Apache Junction, Arizona “97.3 The Rattler.”…..Entercom’s all-news 1010 WINS, New York is inviting listeners to a wedding on Sunday! The station reports, “Ashley Isaacs, who works at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and her fiancé Israel Reches (both pictured at left) will reunite for the first time in months at their own wedding after spending time apart due to the pandemic and Reches’ health. As Isaacs was working to save patients with COVID-19 this past spring, Reches was battling stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, forcing the couple to separate. With Reches in remission just in time for the big day, the two are set to marry on Sunday, August 9 in a small backyard ceremony, and 1010 WINS listeners are ‘invited’ to the festivities. The station will be onsite the day of the wedding, airing audio of the ceremony on air and streaming it in its entirety via Facebook Live.”

WWJ News Radio 950 in Detroit Starts ‘Breaking Down the Barriers’ Initiative. Detroit all-news WWJ “News Radio 950” unveils its two-part community programming initiative called “Breaking Down the Barriers” dedicated to celebrating the diversity of the city and its surrounding suburbs. The initiative includes two segments, “Voices of the Community” and “Black Business Minute,” both beginning August 10. “Voices of the Community” is hosted by WWJ traffic operations manager Lloyd Jackson and will profile community leaders, activists, and residents who are making a difference in their neighborhoods and throughout Detroit. “Black Business Minute” is hosted by WWJ city beat reporter Vickie Thomas and highlights local businesses in which Black business owners will discuss their companies, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and how they are contributing to the success of Detroit. It will air five times daily each weekday. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “The diverse citizens of Detroit are an integral part of the fabric of this great city and we’re proud to use our platform to champion their stories. There are countless cases of business owners and leaders helping residents get through this crisis, and we look forward to employing this series as another way to shine the spotlight on them.”

95.5 WSB ‘Care-a-Thon’ Raises $1.5 Million for Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. This year’s 95.5 WSB Care-a-Thon two-day radio event was the 20th annual produced by the Cox Media Group news/talk station and helped raise more than $1.5 million for research and programs at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. This year, due to COVID-19, Scott Slade, Clark Howard, Eric Von Haessler, Mark Arum, Erick Erickson, Brian Kilmeade and many other local radio personalities participated in the 95.5 WSB Care-a-Thon by interviewing patients and their families virtually via video and phone calls. The team encouraged listeners to donate and purchase one-of-a-kind experiences throughout the special radio broadcast. WSB director of branding and programming Drew Anderssen says, “Our entire team is so thankful for the phenomenal support we have received from our loyal listeners who continue to give to the Care-a-Thon, and all of our community service efforts at 95.5 WSB, year after year. This year’s fundraiser is one we’ll never forget because of the incredible financial strain coronavirus presented to our community of donors. I’m tremendously proud of the teams at 95.5 WSB and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for their work adapting this year’s effort to become ‘virtual’ as a result of the pandemic.”

The Presidential Race, Politics and the Vote-By-Mail Debate Top News/Talk Stories for Week of August 3-7. The November presidential election, politics, and the controversy over President Trump’s allegation that voting by mail encourages voter fraud were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Tied at #2 this week was the interview with President Trump by Axios reporter Jonathan Swan and Deutsch Bank being subpoenaed by the New York Attorney General in a Trump Organization investigation. Coming in at #3 was the debate over opening schools, followed by health care, medications and the mask debate at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Beasley Media Group announces the cancellation of WKML-FM, Fayetteville, North Carolina’s 2020 Stars & Guitars concert. Beasley VP/GM Kent Dunn says, “Thank you to our amazing sponsor and fans throughout the years for supporting Stars & Guitars event. These are unprecedented times. The safety of our community, staff, and country artists is our number one priority. As a result, we have made the decision to cancel this year’s event. We’ll be back bigger and better than ever in 2021!” To help fill in the gap, WKML-FM has hosted a series of special Stars & Guitars at Home social media concert experiences with some of the top artists in country music on the station’s website as well as entertained listeners with the station’s special Superstar Mini Concert series.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

| August 9, 2012

Pioneering Radio Owner Peter Straus Dies at 89.  His Straus Communications owned WMCA, New York when it was a part of the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll radio and after it became a talk radio outlet in 1970 until the time it was sold in 1986.  From a talk radio perspective Straus’ WMCA employed legendary talk hosts including Barry Gray, Barry Farber, Bob Grant and Bruce Williams.  The station is now owned by Salem Communications and broadcasts a Christian format.  Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS he has fond memories of working for Straus as executive producer of the talk shows in the early 1980s.  “I worked with Peter at a time when WMCA was a petri dish of talk radio creativity.  Legendary hosts like Barry Gray, Bob Grant, Bruce Williams and Barry Farber were all local hosts on WMCA…and our 5,000-watt station (albeit in the middle of Midtown Manhattan!) was the home of every important New York politician including NYC mayor Ed Koch, New York Lt. Governor (and later Governor) Mario Cuomo, New York city clerk (and future mayor) David Dinkins and many more.  The hallways of WMCA were always full, and it was a rare day one didn’t run into a guest like Marlon Brando or Woody Allen or Tony Randall or Robert Vaughn.”  Tradup says the station was “vibrant but challenged” during his time there as it battled WOR and WABC but Straus was “one in a million.  Peter instituted a ‘first radio in New York’ policy, meaning if an author appeared on another NYC station before WMCA, we wouldn’t book him.  And son of a gun, we started getting all the big authors first because publishers knew he meant it.  This taught me a lesson I’ve never forgotten: If you act as if your radio station is #1, people will treat you like #1.  Peter was a winner, an exceptional leader, and the talk radio industry owes him respect and gratitude.”

Howard Stern Appeals Suit Dismissal in Beef with SiriusXM.  Talk radio legend Howard Stern and agent Don Buchwald are not going to let one dismissal get in the way of their goal of getting some $300 million in stock bonuses they say is due them as the result of the satcaster’s success.  According to the New York Daily News, Stern and Buchwald – through Stern’s 112 Inc. production company – filed suit in the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division.  The Daily News reports the suit hasn’t even been processed yet so the documents aren’t available but we have a pretty good idea what Stern is claiming: That he is owed the $300 million in stock bonuses because his program is responsible for a large degree of SiriusXM’s success, even the success that came after the merger of Sirius and XM.  In April of this year though, New York Supreme Court Justice Barbara Kapnick disagreed with Stern’s logic and dismissed the case ruling the language in Stern’s contract is “clear” and “unambiguous.”  In other words, he’s gotten everything the contract promised him.

Howard Eskin Returns to TV Sports Anchor Role.  Longtime WIP, Philadelphia sports talk personality Howard Eskin goes back to the little screen as sports anchor at WTXF-TV Fox 29 in Philadelphia.  The station says Eskin helped launch its 10:00 pm news back in 1986 and now he’ll be behind the sports desk for the Fox News 29 at 5:00 pm, 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm newscasts as well as “Fox 29 Sports Sunday,” “Game Time Live,” and he’ll contribute to “Good Day Philadelphia.”  After leaving his full-time talk show position at WIP, Eskin continued to work with the station as part of the Eagles pre- and post-game shows and as a sideline reporter.  Eskin will remain with WIP to host programs, the Eagles pre-game show and handle sideline reporting for the station.

Shara Fryer Added to KTRH, Houston AM Drive Show.  Longtime Houston market television news personality Shara Fryer will join Matt Patrick as co-host of KTRH’s “Houston’s Morning News.”  Fryer is currently director of the World Affairs Council of Houston but served as co-anchor of KTRK-TV, Houston’s 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm evening newscasts for more than 25 years.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Houston president and market manager Eddie Martiny says, “Over 25 years of major-market broadcast excellence combined with her commitment to numerous charities in Houston make Shara the perfect choice for mornings on KTRH.”  Fryer says, “I’m excited by the energy and raw spirit of radio.  It’s a brand new world for me…There’s a spark with Matt and the entire KTRH team that I hope listeners will feel and join us weekday mornings.”  She begins her new duties on September 4.

Al Gore to Anchor Current TV’s Convention Coverage.  Former Vice President Al Gore – founder of the cable news/talk channel Current TV taps himself to anchor the channel’s coverage of the two political conventions.  Current TV states, “Gore will be joined by former Michigan governor and ‘The War Room’ host, Jennifer Granholm, former New York governor and ‘Viewpoint’ host, Eliot Spitzer and ‘The Young Turks’ host, Cenk Uygur.  Additionally, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will join the panel for the RNC coverage.”  Current TV hosts Joy Behar and John Fugelsang will also assist in the coverage of the RNC beginning August 27 and the DNC beginning September 4.  In a statement, Gore says, “I’m pleased to be participating in Current TV’s impressive lineup throughout the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.  Cenk, Jennifer and Eliot provide the keen insight and spot-on analysis our viewers have come to expect, combined with decades of experience in public service and a deep understanding of politics.  I have no doubt that our coverage will be innovative and informative, and I look forward to working with them.”

Olympian Brings Home the Gold.  Bethesda, Maryland teen Katie Ledecky (pictured here with WTOP, Washington program director Laurie Cantillo) stopped by WTOP to talk with the news organization about her experiences at the London Olympics.  The gold-medal-winning 15-year-old won the 800-meter freestyle and spoke with WTOP anchors Shawn Anderson and John Aaron about the games and answered her critics who predicted she swam too fast in the beginning of the race and would tire before the end.  Obviously, she didn’t.

Odds & Sods.  SiriusXM’s Opie & Anthony bring their program to Chicago for a live remote broadcast tomorrow from the 115 Bourbon Street Bar in suburban Merrionette Park.  The special afternoon edition of the program kicks off at 3:00 pm CT…..CBS Radio names Laura Gonzalez local sales manager for sports talk WJFK, Washington, DC…..Cumulus Media splits off the AM side of sports simulcast WLQR, Toledo to go talk using all Cumulus Media Networks programs: Imus, Geraldo, Mike Huckabee, Mark Levin, John Batchelor and “Red Eye Radio”…..Clear Channel’s sports WPOP, Hartford will carry Central Connecticut State football and basketball play-by-play for the next four seasons…..Attorney Eddie Gadrix begins hosting a Monday hour-long program focused on senior issues on WVNJ, Washington Township, New Jersey (Philadelphia market) on Monday mornings at 9:00.  Gadrix has been hosting the “Divorce & Custody Show” on Fridays at 9:00 am on the station and continues that program…..Talk host Matt Bruce fills in on the AM drive show on the simulcast of WWJB, Brooksville and WXJB, Homosassa Springs, Florida today through August 14.

A Sign of the Times.  WRKO, Boston talk host Barry Armstrong – Boston-area financial advisor and host of the daily “The Financial Exchange” program – is pictured here during one of the presentations that was part of the two-day financial seminar event on the economy, social security and estate planning.  More than 1,000 people attended the seminars that were only promoted on Armstrong’s show on WRKO.  Many listeners decided to also get an inside look into the production of Armstrong’s program as he conducted the entire program in front of a live audience.

Presidential Campaign Ads, Neo-Nazi Hate Groups, London Olympics, Mars ‘Curiosity’ Mission and Randy Travis Arrest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/8).  The state of the presidential campaign ads in the 2012 election; neo-Nazi groups and the aftermath of the Wisconsin Sikh temple shootings; the London Olympics; the ‘Curiosity’ mission on Mars; and the arrest of country star Randy Travis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

| January 17, 2012

Radio Personality Tom Joyner Honors Tuskegee Airmen.  As part of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event, nationally syndicated “fly jock” Tom Joyner presented the Martin Luther King Jr. Day convocation at his alma mater Tuskegee University where he also saluted the Tuskegee Airmen, of which his father was one.  Pictured here is Joyner (l), his son Oscar (r) and photos of Joyner’s father and the Tuskegee Airmen program.  Joyner then joined others in a discussion about the Tuskegee Airmen as portrayed in George Lucas’ new film “Red Tails.”  Joyner’s father was a flyer and his mother worked in the office at the program.

“Free Talk Live” Donates to St. Jude’s After Dare Offered to Michael Savage and Mark Levin.  TALKERS readers may remember that in response to Talk Radio Network host Michael Savage’s offer of $1 million to Newt Gingrich to drop out of the race and of Cumulus Media Network host Mark Levin’s offer of $100,000 to Savage to end his radio show, “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman offered to donate $1,000 to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital if either Savage or Levin would have lunch with a Muslim or  undocumented worker, do less than 40% of the talking and document the event with video.  Freeman tells TALKERS, “As expected, neither Mark Levin nor Michael Savage took us up on our offer…they failed.  Of course, why should they bother?  If they actually listened to the people they appear to hate, they might learn something and discover they actually have the capability to empathize with other people.”  Freeman says “Free Talk Live” held up its end of the bargain and is donating $1066 to St. Jude’s “in the name of peace, freedom, and compassion for other humans.”

WRKO, Boson Talk Host Howie Carr Publishes Crime Novel.  Longtime Boston Herald columnist and Boston talk radio institution Howie Carr publishes another book, but this time, instead of being about real criminals like his previous tomes about famous Boston crime figures, this one is a fictional work in the spirit of the noir novels he consumed as a youngster.  The WRKO, PM drive host appeared at a Boston-area Barnes & Noble over the weekend to promote Hard Knocks (Forge Books 2012) and chat with his fans about Boston crime legends.  Carr tells the Hingham Patch, “I’ve been reading these things since I was a kid so I’ve always wanted to write something like this.  I wrote it a while back but it was before I had anything published.  Then I wrote the non-fiction books and they did really well.  It’s easier when you’ve had some success, even in non-fiction, to get fiction published so I took advantage of my opportunity.”

Spike Eskin Returns to the CBS Philadelphia Operation.  The son of Philadelphia sports talk legend Howard Eskin was a jock at CBS Radio’s rock WYSP-FM, Philadelphia until it met its fate as the FM simulcast of sports WIP in the fall of last year.  Now, Spike Eskin returns to the CBS Philly operations as editor of the CBSPhilly.com sports section.  He’ll also handle some sports duties for the company’s all-news KYW.

Connecticut AMs Strike Deal to Carry Hartford TV News Content.  Two Crossroads Communications AM stations in Connecticut have agreed to a deal to broadcast Meredith Corporation’s WFSB-TV’s 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm newscasts.  WFSB-TV is a CBS affiliate and the two stations to carry the programming are WMRD, Middletown, Connecticut and WLIS, Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

GOP Primary Race/Huntsman Drops Out, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, Rising Gas Prices and Italian Cruise Liner Disaster Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday.  Jon Huntsman drops out of the GOP primary race prior to last night’s South Carolina debate, Iran’s military and nuclear ambitions, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, prices continue to rise at the pumps as many experts predict high gas prices for some time and divers continue to search for missing people in the grounding of an Italian cruise liner.  These were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, November 21, 2011

| November 21, 2011

Fisher’s Plans for KVI, Seattle Outlined.  An e-mail to clients of Fisher Communications’ oldies-formatted KVI, Seattle announces the former talk stations will revert to talk – but not as a conservative talk station.  After the holidays, KVI will be called “Smart Talk 570 KVI” and will be positioned as “Smart talk for a Sound life.”  The memo states the station will feature “lifestyle, health, local and entertainment news.”  In addition to Friday’s story about Dial Global’s Clark Howard joining the station, the morning show will be called “Sunrise Seattle” hosted by Mark Christopher and Elisa Jaffe of KOMO TV 4.  TRN’s Phil Hendrie and The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “Daily Wrap with Michael Castner” are on the schedule along with a local program, “The Buzz” hosted by Scott Carty.

Political Influence of Conservative Talk Radio Analyzed in Timely Politico Article.  A hard-hitting article posted this morning (11/18) on the popular political news and opinion website Politico presents a particularly insightful and fascinating analysis of the role conservative talk radio hosts play in the process of presidential elections.  The story written by Keach Hagey and Glenn Thrush looks specifically at the meteoric candidacy of Herman Cain – a former radio talker – and examines the direct influence radio personalities such as Rush LimbaughSean Hannity,Laura Ingraham, and Mark Levin have had and are still having on his unexpectedly prominent position in the polls and national conversation.  The interesting and timely article appearing in one of the political world’s leading news websites poses the question, “How long will the love last now that Cain is on the rocks?” — referring to radio talk show hosts’ reaction to Cain’s propensity toward gaffes such as the Libya incident and embroilment in an alleged sexual harassment scandal.  Read the Politico story here.

RAB/Miller, Kaplan, Arase Data Shows Radio Revenue Up 2% for Q3.  That increase is due in large part to gains in digital for the radio industry.  The Radio Advertising Bureau and Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. report data that shows spot revenue for the third quarter was flat, network revene up 2%, digital up 17%, and off-air up 10%.  The data also indicates that total revenue for the first three quarters of the year is up 2% as well.

“Christopher Walken” Interview on WTEM, Washington Spooks AP After Natalie Wood Case Re-Opened.  It wasn’t exactly a “War of the Worlds” situation but apparently WTEM, Washington producer Marc Sterne does a pretty good Christopher Walken imitation and someone at the Associated Press bit.  The back story is that Sterne does a regular Friday segment on the Red Zebra Broadcasting sports talk station in which “Walken” talks fantasy football.  With the re-opening of the Natalie Wood case in the news and Walken’s link to the case, Sterne referenced the investigation during the segment last Friday and the AP reported it as a real interview, then realized what happened and reported it as a hoax.  However, the Washington Post writes that WTEM PD Chuck Sapienza says the “hoax” part bugs him because it implies underhandedness.  “No one [from AP] called us to see if it was real, and then they call it a hoax,” he told the Post. “A hoax makes it sound like it’s our fault.  We’ve been doing this [impersonation] for two years.  They’re taking no responsibility for shoddy journalism.”  The AP isn’t identifying the person who heard the segment and reported it as fact.

Howard Eskin and Wally Kennedy Inducted by Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia.  The non-profit Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia honors people from every aspect of the broadcasting industry who’ve contributed to the business for at least 10 years.  On Friday, the organization recognized WIP, Philadelphia sports personality Howard Eskin – WIP’s very first talk show sportscaster – and KYW news anchor Wally Kennedy.  Eskin began hosting sports talk radio shows in Philly in 1986.  He recently stepped down from his daily PM drive show to concentrate on Eagles game day coverage and other projects.  Kennedy – who’s worked in Philadelphia radio and television for 30 years – is morning news anchor at KYW.  CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “CBS Radio is fortunate to showcase incredible talent on all of our properties.  Legends like Howard Eskin and Wally Kennedy have been heard in the Philadelphia area for decades.  It’s no surprise that they would be inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.  Both have contributed greatly to the success of our radio stations.”

Thom Hartmann Co-Authored Kennedy Book to Be Made into Movie by Leonardo DiCaprio.  According to columnist Liz Smith, the book Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination (Counterpoint 2009), authored by Lamar Waldron with Dial Global talk host Thom Hartmann, will be made into a movie by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way film company.  Smith reports that DiCaprio would play FBI informant Jack Van Laningham and Robert De Niro will play Carlos Marcello.  According to its Amazon description, the almost 950-page book suggests three Mafia bosses used John F. Kennedy’s and Robert F. Kennedy’s plan to stage a coup against Fidel Castro to murder the president.

Dave Graveline’s “Into Tomorrow” to Be Produced in New, Street-Level Studios.  Dave Graveline’s nationally syndicated consumer technology program will begin broadcasting and shooting video podcasts at new street-level studios in the Miami Lakes Broadcast Center.  The move will allow passersby to view the program as it’s being produced.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

| September 6, 2011

On Any Given Monday.  In a PPM world, holidays such as Labor Day cannot be considered a programming throw away.  In a special feature story written by associate editor Alan Linder, published yesterday, radio execs tell TALKERS that although star hosts are still usually given time off for three and four day weekends, holidays must receive the same level of programming attention as regular weekdays.  This is generally accomplished by upgrading the production value invested in creating “best-of” shows or, in the case of stations using the “live-and-local” element as a signature asset, being sure that the station’s talent bench of fill-in hosts is up to the task of keeping the audience satisfied.  No longer are “best-of” shows just “okay” recent shows kept in the can for repeats on holidays.  They are special montages of outstanding elements culled from a variety of shows supplemented by previously unheard features and interviews prerecorded especially for such occasions.  For the live-and-local stations, careful thought and care is given to the selection and nurturing of fill-ins.  In today’s competitive talk radio, bench and weekend talent (including the emergence of “super part-timers”) are as important to the line-up as designated hitters and relief pitchers are in baseball.  Then there’s the dedicated syndicated morning star who loves what he does so much that he never misses a live show regardless of whether it is a holiday.  Read all about it here.

Today Is the First Official Day on FM for WIP, Philadelphia.  The changeover actually began Friday as rock WYSP-FM, Philadelphia played its last song (“Fade to Black” by Metallica) and flipped to a simulcast of sports WIP.  The station is now positioned as “94 SportsRadio WIP.”  The first day of WIP on FM was also the last day of the regular afternoon program for Philadelphia sports talk legend Howard Eskin.  He signed off his regular program after a 25-year career hosting a sports talk show in Philly.  Eskin remains with the station to host Eagles game day programming and will continue to work with WIP on part-time projects while exploring other media options.   The station’s new schedule premiers today with Angelo Cataldi remaining in AM drive, Comcast SportsNet host Michael Barkann joining Eskin’s former partner Ike Reese for the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show and Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow in the 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm time slot.  On Friday, Sirius XM’s Howard Stern appeared on WYSP-FM with Spike Eskin (Howard Eskin’s son who stayed on the air with his dad for his last show) to talk about his love for Philadelphia and bid adieu to the rock station.  WYSP-FM was the first station to pick up Stern’s program as it began its move into syndication from New York’s WXRK-FM.  On a side note, Longport Media’s WBSS, Atlantic City, New Jersey will begin simulcasting WIP soon.  Longport Media president David Coskey tells the Press of Atlantic City Philadelphia sports is an important part of his market’s interest so the move makes sense.  By the way, if you haven’t read TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian’s excellent piece on CBS Radio’s FM sports talk stations, check it out here.

Emmis Communications Receives Delisting Notice.  Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan was not surprised by the NASDAQ notice that it has until February 27, 2012 to get its stock price above $1 for 10 consecutive business days or be delisted.  The notice came just a day before Emmis closed on the sale of WWWN-FM and WLUP-FM, Chicago and WEMP-FM, New York to Merlin Media for $120 million.  Emmis is using the influx of cash to pay down debt while retaining an interest in the Merlin properties.

WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans Talk Host Garland Robinette Cited in Bribery Probe.  Robinette’s attorney tells the New Orleans Times-Picayune that his client – the WWL-AM/FM “Think Tank” host – has been told he is not a target of the investigation.  But federal authorities have spoken with Robinette numerous times after the investigation showed Robinette received $250,000 from local landfill owner Fred Heebe.  The issue here is Heebe’s campaign to shut down two other competing landfills in the area, theoretically so that his facility could accept more of the post-Katrina waste needing to be dumped.  Robinette enters the picture due to the money he received and his addressing the landfill issue regularly on his radio program in which he stated he believed the two competing landfills were not safe.  Robinette, through his attorney, states the money he received from his friend Heebe was a personal loan that he expects to pay back.  Meanwhile, Heebe allegedly paid $460,000 in bribes to a former state official to lobby to close one of the competing landfills.

Atlantic Coast Radio Splits WLOB-AM/FM, Portland Talk Simulcast.  WLOB-AM remains news/talk but the FM side picks up the sports programming signal from WPEI-FM and begins simulcasting it.  WLOB-FM is licensed to Topsham, Maine near Brunswick and gives Atlantic Coast coverage for the northern side of the newly expanded metro while WPEI-FM is licensed to Saco, Maine to the south of Portland, thereby covering that side of the market.

Jobs Creation, 2012 GOP Candidates, Post Office Financial Woes and Texas Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/5).  President Obama’s and Congress’ plans for jobs creation, the 2012 GOP presidential candidates, the looming threat of the USPS shutdown and the wildfires affecting Texas were all among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

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