Tag: "Howard Stern"

If Weekends were Weekdays?
Hey, they ARE!

| February 28, 2014

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
CEO
sabowalterwriterNEW YORK — No station consulted by Sabo Media has ever had paid-for programming on the weekend. Paid-for programming destroys weekday revenue by suppressing audience and aging demos.

The core issue is that Saturday middays is the second highest Homes Using Radio daypart. By default it’s vital.

There is a little known trend indicator that reveals how vital weekends are to weekdays. In diary markets, Saturday midday is predictive of the next rating period. If Saturday midday is up compared to weekdays, the next -overall- rating period will be up. If it is down, the next -overall- period will be down.

Bart Walsh, a very smart radio manager (formerly WKYS-FM, Washington, DC) taught me that.

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Alex Bennett: Still Pioneering After All These Years

Alex Bennett: Still Pioneering After All These Years

| February 5, 2014

A Good Listen to a Good Guy 

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

 

kinosianLOS ANGELESSome view their own age and/or that of others as a roadblock – a barrier to achieving an untold number of additional hopes and dreams.

To others, age – more correctly – is merely a meaningless number with no attached strings or restrictions.

Alex Bennett #1It would have been quite easy and understandable for Alex Bennett to take leave and retreat from the business in which he has been an integral part for several decades. After all, the legendary broadcaster was 73 years old when Sirius XM unceremoniously pink-slipped him last June after more than nine years of service at the satcaster (he turned 74 two months ago).

Notwithstanding an imposing and lengthy list of accomplishments and vitae, which the native Californian could trumpet as an entree to retirement, he has become an entrepreneur with “Alex Bennett’s Great American Broadcasts” being the centerpiece of his novel take to talk radio.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

| January 22, 2014

paxtonpatEntercom Promotes Pat Paxton to President of Programming.  Fifteen-year programming staffer Pat Paxton is promoted to president of programming for Entercom Communications Corp.  Paxton has served as senior vice president of programming since 2001.  He began his work with the company in 1999 as OM at the old AC WQSX “Star 93.7.”  Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “Pat has played a vital role in Entercom’s growth and development over his 15 years with the company.  He is an energizing leader, a terrific strategist and a deeply knowledgeable programmer.  We are truly fortunate to have him on our team.”  Paxton says of the promotion, “The past 15 years with Entercom have been tremendously rewarding, both personally and professionally.  Our entire Entercom team has worked tirelessly to create one of today’s most admired media companies, which has not happened accidentally.  I am proud to have been part of this team and I look forward to continuing to help create the very best audio brands in the industry.  Huge thanks to David Field for his vision and leadership that has allowed all of us at Entercom to thrive.”

wtarWTAR, Norfolk Drops Comedy for News/Talk/Sports.  The Sinclair-owned AM signal WTAR, Norfolk will drop the comedy format it is currently airing and flip to a hybrid talk/sports format that will feature “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” from 6:00 am to 9:00 am; Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; FSN’s “Jay Mohr Sports” 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; and Cumulus Media NetworksMichael Savage from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Tony Macrini, morning host at sister talk station WNIS made the announcement on January 20.  General manager Lisa Sinclair says, “There’s always something new to talk about and AM 850 WTAR keeps you engaged, informed and always entertained.”

sternbirthdaybashSiriusXM Opens Howard Stern Birthday Bash to Non-Subscribers.  When the “Howard Stern Birthday Bash” begins at 4:00 pm ET on January 31 live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, the world will be invited to the party as SiriusXM is opening its internet service at siriusxm.com to non-subscribers.  The company says that this unprecedented access to Howard Stern’s live broadcast is a first for SiriusXM and Howard Stern.  In addition to SiriusXM subscribers, anyone can stream “Howard Stern’s Birthday Bash,” an evening of unforgettable performances and special appearances from the biggest names in entertainment. The free stream will be available on compatible mobile devices as well as online through simple one-click listening; no need to download an app or enter credentials.  Stern comments on the approaching broadcast to celebrate his 60th birthday.  “I am honored by the number of performers who want to join me on stage, and the number of fans who want to get in.  Now, thanks to SiriusXM, I can give the world access to this event for free through this special internet audio stream in addition to my fans listening on their satellite radios.”  The event is being hosted by Jimmy Kimmel with guests including Louis C.K., David Letterman and Sarah Silverman, with musical performances by Jon Bon Jovi, John Fogerty, Steven Tyler and many others.

hartelmikeHartel to Head Up L&L’s Columbia, South Carolina Group.  The new SVP and market manager for L&L Broadcasting’s Columbia South Carolina cluster is Mike Hartel – who most recently served as vice president and general manager of Curtis Media Group’s WBBB, Raleigh.  L&L CEO Bob Proffitt says of the move, “We had the huge benefit of having Bill McElveen step up as not only an in-market radio veteran, but to help us in the recruitment process to get the very best fit and talent to manage Columbia.  Mike Hartel is a great fit for our Columbia cluster with his excellent track record, interactive focus, and competitive nature – a perfect addition to our growing company.”  Hartel comments, “I love what Larry and Bob are creating and I’m thrilled to be a part of their team.  There is no place I would rather be than with a company that is hyper-focused on using live and local radio to serve our community, our clients, and our employees.”  The L&L Columbia cluster includes sports talk WOIC “ESPN Columbia 1230.”

perezfelixNYMRAD Announces New Executive Committee.  At the New York Market Radio Association (NYMRAD), the executive committee of the board of directors has some new additions and changes in titles: Felix Perez, general manager, Univision Radio New York, moves into the chairman slot replacing Clear Channel Music + Entertainment’s Joe Puglise who remains on the board of directors.  Jennifer Donohue, director of sales, CBS RADIO New York, replaces Don Bouloukos as vice chairperson and Alex Cameron, SVP and market manager, Emmis New York, remains on the committee as secretary.  NYMRAD executive director Deborah Beagan says, “I am very excited about working with Felix during this seamless transition of the executive committee.  Felix has infused energy in his contributions to board meetings and under his leadership we will continue to develop initiatives that will advance radio in the vibrant New York marketplace.”  Perez adds, “I welcome the opportunity to work with Deborah and our radio colleagues to advance the value of NYMRAD to its members and aggressively increasing the profile and revenue share of New York radio.”

nielsen logoHoliday 2013 PPM Data Released.  The ratings for the Holiday 2013 PPM survey period are being released by Nielsen Audio.  The first 12 markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union are out and that data can be found at our sister publication RadioInfo.com right here.  Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the first round of the Holiday PPM here.

freemanedgeOdds & Sods.  KNX, Los Angeles announces the return of the “Ask the Mayor” program to its airwaves on January 29.  The CBS RADIO all-newser states that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will be in the studio at 10:00 am when the show will be hosted by KNX 1070 news anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman and will “give Angelinos the opportunity to put the mayor in the hot seat.”…..Not so fast, KCAA, Lorma Linda, “Free Talk Live” has been accepting Bitcoins as payment for airtime since 2011.  Yesterday, TALKERS reported the Fred Lundgren-owned SoCal station claims to be the first it knows of in the U.S. to accept the cryptocurrency for ad time, but Mark Edge of the independently syndicated “Free Talk Live” program tells TALKERS he and co-host Ian Freeman have been accepting Bitcoins for more than two years.  He adds, “We take Litecoin, too.”…..Hoops fanatic and filmmaker Spike Lee is hosting the bi-weekly, “Spike Lee’s Best Seat in the House” program on SiriusXM’s NBA channel.  The first show will air on January 30 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Eastern Freeze/Western Drought, Sochi Olympics Security Concerns, Chris Christie Scandals Aftermath, ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, Andrew Cuomo Anti-Conservative Remarks, and Roe v. Wade Anniversary Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/21).  The snow and cold weather affecting the East and the dry rainy season in the West leading to drought conditions there; concerns about security at the looming Sochi Winter Games; the effects of the recent scandals plaguing the administration of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; reaction to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s comments about conservative beliefs; and the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

| January 14, 2014

dollarsignJohn Hogan’s Exit from Clear Channel Cushioned with Cash.  Although the official line from former Clear Channel Media + Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan and the company is that he wanted to “spend more time with his family” and the time was right, a fair number of jaded industry watchers will never believe he wasn’t forced out – especially just seven months after he was moved to the company’s New York City offices to work more closely with CC Media Holdings chairman and CEO Bob Pittman.  The company’s 8-K filing details what Hogan is walking away with after his time leading the division.  Here’s what he can counthoganjohn on: $900,000, representing the amount previously earned by Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2012 performance; an annual bonus of $77,250 for performance during 2013; and a prorated annual bonus with respect to the days he was employed during 2014.  Pursuant to the Separation Agreement and in consideration of the extension by Mr. Hogan of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, the vesting of 93,076 restricted shares of Class A Common Stock of CCMH granted to Mr. Hogan on October 22, 2012 will be accelerated and CCMH will repurchase 83,938 of such shares (the aggregate repurchase amount of such repurchased shares, the “Repurchase Amount”), provided Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement.  Additionally, in exchange for the Separation Agreement, Mr. Hogan’s release of claims and the extension of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, and provided that Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement, CCB agreed to pay Mr. Hogan: $333,000, representing the remaining amount earned by Mr. Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2011 performance; an “equity value preservation payment” equal to $1,027,355, paid in a lump sum payment; a lump sum severance payment equal to (x) $1,538,000 minus (y) the Repurchase Amount; a severance payment equal to $3,297,000, paid over 36 months; and a payment of $1,000,000, paid over 12 months, beginning on the first anniversary of the date of separation.  Hogan is also entitled to receive continued healthcare coverage for 36 months, continued secretarial services for 6 months, $20,000 in outplacement services, and a housing allowance of $25,000 per month for up to 9 months, which amount is grossed up for certain applicable taxes; provided, that the housing allowance payments will stop if Mr. Hogan ceases to have obligations under the terms of his current lease agreement.  CCB also will pay up to $25,000 for Mr. Hogan’s reasonable legal fees incurred in connection with the negotiation of the Separation Agreement.

hannityseanSean Hannity to Air on Salem’s WDTK, Detroit.  The Motor City destination for Premiere NetworksSean Hannity show is Salem Communications-owned WDTK.  The program will air live in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot.wdtk logo  It previously was heard on crosstown news/talk WJR since its 2001 national debut.  WDTK general manager Chris MacCourtney states, “The opportunity to bring Sean Hannity aboard was one we felt we could not pass up.  Sean was an instant hit when he came to Detroit and he continues to be one of the most popular talk personalities in the market.  He will join an already solid lineup of talk talent on ‘News/Talk 1400.’”  Since the first of the year, Hannity’s program had been added to Salem outlets WIND, Chicago; WWRC, Washington; and KSKY, Dallas.

quigleyalexDouble Shot of WGN, Chicago News.  Two items from Tribune’s WGN, Chicago: First, as Chicago media writer Robert Feder reported over the weekend, assistant program director Alex Quigley has been upped to operations manager at news/talk WGN, Chicago.  Quigley worked in the market at former Emmis alternative rock WKQX as interactive program manager.  When he first came to WGN he hosted the weekend show “ChicagoNow Radio” and “Chicago Preps Plus.”  WGN vice president of creative content Todd Manley said in a memo to staffers, “This is a recognition of Alex’s role in our expanding future…He’ll be mentoring producers and searching for new talent that builds our farm system, coordinating special programming, scheduling, digging deep on ratings analysis, and dreaming big dreams.”  Second,jacobsonwalter longtime television news personality Walter Jacobson brings his “Perspective” commentaries to the station beginning this Thursday.  Robert Feder reports that the longtime WBBM-TV anchor who exited the station last February will present his 90-second feature on Thursdays during Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano’s midday show and they will be repeated on the weekend during “The Sunday Spin: Politics with Rick Pearson” program.  Jacobson will also appear as a contributor to various shows on WGN.  Jacobson tells Feder, “Having been listening to WGN Radio since the day I became a reporter, and believing it’s the best in the business, I’m thrilled to be joining the team.  For me, it’s a perfect fit at a perfect time.  The station’s coming back, and 2014 is going to be an intriguing and exciting year in Chicago’s wild and woolly politics.”

salemcommunicationsSalem Communications Buys Eagle Publishing for $8.5 Million.  It had been reported recently that this deal was on the way and now it’s official as Salem Communications enters into a deal to purchase the assets of Eagle Publishing that includes conservative book publisher Regnery Publishing, and digital properties RedState.com and HumanEvents.com.  In a statement, Salem CEO Edward Atsinger IIIeaglepub logo says, “Eagle is one of the most influential companies in the conservative media space.  Its addition to Salem brings together a unique portfolio of conservative media properties and fits with our strategy of integrating traditional media and new media assets all serving the same target audience.  The opportunity we like most about this acquisition is that each of Eagle’s businesses matches up so well with Salem’s extensive media platform.  With 102 radio stations and a dozen major national websites all targeting the conservative community, this provides a perfect marketing platform to promote Eagle’s products to a wider audience.”  The purchase price is $8.5 million and current Eagle CEO Jeff Carneal will exit the organization as a result of the acquisition.

sternhoward‘A-List’ Talent Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty Added to Howard Stern Birthday Broadcast.  The January 31 birthday bash broadcast for SiriusXM’s Howard Stern just added two more “A-list” talents as Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty will join Steven Tyler, David Letterman and Louis C.K. for the show to be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.  On his program, Stern announced, “We have told you on the music side of things that we have Steven Tyler coming by to do a little number in honor of my birthday, I’m so honored…[today] I am excited [to announce that]…Jon Bon Jovi is going to perform…I am very excited to see Jon and thank him for that.  And also one of my heroes will perform that night—one of the greats, the all-time greats.  A guy whose every record I bought when he was in Creedence Clearwater Revival, and later his solo stuff, John Fogerty will come by to perform two great songs – I won’t say what the songs are, [but] we’re really excited about that…the list just begins there, Robin, it just begins there [there is] a huge amount of musicians coming by to help us out…it’s great.”

dubayjeffSports Talk Host Jeff Dubay Exits KSTP, Minneapolis in Budget Move.  Twin Cities sports talk personality Jeff Dubay, who fought a public battle against drug addiction to return to the airwaves in the market on Hubbard Radio’s KSTP, has left the station in what he says is a budget-related move.  The Star-Tribune reports Dubay – who worked at Clear Channel’s “KFAN” sports talk brand for 10 years before a crack cocaine addiction sidelined him – sent social media messages indicating that he was let go from the late morning show he co-hosted with Judd Zulgad because of financial reasons.  The station posted a message on its Facebook page confirming the matter was financial and not performance related.  The paper reports KSTP waived Dubay’s non-compete and he is free to work in the market if the opportunity arises.

shannonmikecardsShannon Staying With the Redbirds. St. Louis Cardinals fans will continue to hear Mike Shannon as the voice of the National League team that appeared in the 2013 World Series, as the former MLB player signs a two-year contract extension.  This will be Shannon’s 42nd year as a Cardinals broadcaster and 56th year with the team.  According to club president Bill DeWitt, “Mike’s voice has become the soundtrack to St. Louis baseball.  We look forward to having him back in the booth this season and for years to come.”  It is anticipated that Shannon will call all Cardinals’ home games this year for St. Louis flagship KMOX and roughly 30 road games for the CBS Radio-owned talk station.  Fox Sports Midwest‘s Rick Horton and former lefty relief pitcher Al Hrabosky will do the remaining road games.  Shannon will continue his work throughout the year on KMOX pre-game, post-game, and morning drive call-in segments.

mhblasingamebookGreat Read!  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is pictured intensely absorbing the new book authored by independently syndicated talk show host Jim Blasingame titled The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance  (2014 SBN Books).  Blasingame is the longtime host of the very successful program “The Small Business Advocate Show” which is targeted to helping independent entrepreneurs and business owners cope with the day-to-day issues that face people running their own companies during this era of rapidly accelerating change.  This book, Blasingame’s third, is “his best work yet,” according to Harrison and “must-reading for anyone out there on the perilous high seas of today’s turbulent marketplace…especially those who are doing it independently without the backing of the Wall Street/banking/big-time money machine.”  Harrison goes on to say, “This includes those brave and hardy ‘Davids’ owning and operating independent radio stations and small groups, syndication companies and internet communications startups bucking the death grip of today’s mega-corporate ‘Goliaths.’”  The premise of the book is that small business owners are operating at a time that is so momentous it has never happened before.  Blasingame, a veteran of TALKERS magazine’s Heavy Hundred, identifies it as an epochal marketplace shift that’s causing the 10,000 year old Age of the Seller to be replaced by the Age of the Customer.  With an introduction by Steve Forbes, Blasingame’s book reveals how these two ages are existing concurrently in parallel universes, and how much time business-people have left to join the emerging universe.  He says relevance is replacing competitiveness and explains how to recognize when you arrive at the “moment of relevance,” how to connect with “new-influencers” who co-own your brand message; why you must be a good storyteller; the good, the bad and the ugly of social media; and he identifies the “killer app” that wasn’t a part of your past but will dominate your future.  Broadcasters interested in learning more about this book and perhaps scheduling Jim Blasingame as a guest can visit AgeoftheConsumer.com or email jim@jbsba.com.

cpb logoWHYY, Philadelphia-Led Local Journalism Center Awarded CPB Grant.  The recipient organization of a Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant for $1.5 million is the new multimedia local journalism center (LJC), Keystone Crossroads — a collaboration of Pennsylvania public media stations.  The new Keystone Crossroads is led by WHYY, Philadelphia.  Pittsburgh’s WQED and WESA FM, Central Pennsylvania’s WPSU and Harrisburg’s WITF will be partner stations.  The LJC will focus on the challenges the cities are facing, including a shrinking tax base and crumbling infrastructure, and enormous budget deficits.  The Corporation for Public Broadcasting  states, “By combining smart storytelling with energetic civic engagement, Keystone Crossroads will help Pennsylvanians see the challenges of their cities more clearly, understand how they are related, and create a forum for potential solutions at both the local and state levels.”  CPB president Pat Harrison adds, “Local Journalism Centers are really centers of collaboration comprising public media stations working together to report on local stories with significant impact.  This kind of focused collaboration ensures in depth reporting on issues of importance and concern to Pennsylvanians and of interest to all Americans.”  In addition to Keystone Crossroads, CPB  funds six other LJCs across the country, including:  EarthFix based in the Northwest; Fronteras in the Southwest; Harvest in the Midwest; Innovation Trail in upstate New York, the Southern Education Desk in the South, and most recently the Energy LJC in the Rocky Mountains.

Chris Christie Scandal, Hillary Clinton in 2016, New Congressional Spending Deal, ObamaCare Enrollment Status, A-Rod Suspension/Legal Challenge, and Golden Globe Awards Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13).  The ongoing analysis of the Chris Christie lane closure scandal and apology press conference; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s plans to run for president in 2016; the new $1 trillion spending plan approved by Congress; enrollment in healthcare plans via the Affordable Care Act; Alex Rodriguez 162-game suspension and his plans to challenge the arbitration ruling; and the aftermath of Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

| November 20, 2013

trn logoMatt Ray New Anchor of ‘America’s Morning News.’  The Talk Radio Network-produced “America’s Morning News” program has a new permanent host in Matt Ray.  Ray — a 12-year broadcast veteran whose stints include KXL, Portland; KGO and KSFO, San Francisco – takes over as anchor of the program heard in more than 140 markets immediately.  Ray states, “It is an exciting opportunity to work with the team at ‘America’s Morning News.’  Our focus continues to be journalism without agenda – the key ingredient to the success of ‘America’s Morning News’: compelling, breaking news and interviews delivered in a fast-paced environment.”  TRN CEO Mark Masters adds, “Matt was a natural fit and he tested overwhelmingly positive.  His credentials are impressive and we think Matt will take the morning news to new levels of success in the years to come.  We are thrilled to see Matt on board at AMN.”

radeltreyFormer ’92.5 Fox News’ Fort Myers Morning Host – Now Congressman – Trey Radel Arrested on Cocaine Charges.  Congressman Trey Radel won his first political race last November taking Florida’s 19th Congressional District seat as a Republican after Rep. Connie Mack chose to give up the seat and run for the U.S. Senate.  But Radel’s experience has been in broadcasting.  He was an anchor on WINK-TV and had made the move to radio as morning host on Meridian Broadcasting’s news/talk “92.5 Fox News” in the Fort Myers market (a trimulcast of WFSX-AM/FM and WNOG-AM).  He left that gig to run for office.  Radel was busted as part of a sting after allegedly purchasing cocaine in Washington’s Dupont Circle.  Radel issued the following statement: “I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice.  Believe me, I am disappointed in myself, and I stand ready to face the consequences of my actions.  However, this unfortunate event does have a positive side: It offers me an opportunity to seek treatment and counseling.  As the father of a young son and a husband to a loving wife, I need to get help so I can be a better man for both of them.”

beckgiffordGlenn Beck Promotes New Book on NBC’s ‘Today.’  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host – and founder of the digital destination TheBlaze  – Glenn Beck, sat down with NBC’s Kathie Lee Gifford on the “Today” show to talk about his new book, Miracles and Massacres: True and Untold Stories of the Making of America (Threshold Editions 2013).  In the photo here, Beck is seen being interviewed by Gifford in his Dallas, Texas studios where programming for TheBlaze is produced.  During the interview, Beck talked about the desire to provide more detail and color in fleshing out historical characters and events being the impetus for writing this book.

joycebrianTalk Radio and Social Media Push Local Commercial into the Limelight.  WGOW, Chattanooga afternoon drive talk host Brian Joyce tells TALKERS magazine how the power of talk radio and social media helped create a sensation out of a local TV commercial.  He says, “Around 2:00 am last Friday morning, I saw a commercial on local television for a small business called Mike’s Golf Shop.  It was so awful, so hilarious, and so awesome that I had to share it with my listeners!  So I played the commercial on my show Friday afternoon, then I shared it on Facebook and sent it to a friend of mine whowgow logo writes for Jimmy Fallon.  At the time, the commercial had 27 views on YouTube. By Monday morning, it had 64,000 views.  Today, it has 70,000 views.  Tosh.O just shared it on their Facebook page, MSNBC and Comedy Central featured in on their websites, and Mike’s Golf Shop is trending on Yahoo!”  Joyce says the lesson in this story is that it all started on “Talk Radio 102.3.”  What’s more, it’s likely to bring in business.  “We met with Mike on Monday morning.  He was so excited about what we had done for him that now he wants to advertise with us regularly.  The power of talk radio and social media is alive and well, and stronger than ever!”  You can see the commercial here.

matthewskevinKevin Matthews to Take On Voice and Imaging Role at WGN.FM.  Chicago radio legend Kevin Matthews’ voice is returning to a Chicago-based audio platform after years of full-time work in his resident city of Grand Rapids.  According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the radio pro that rose to prominence on rocker WLUP-FM “The Loop” will be the imaging voice of Tribune’s online audio platform WGN.FM, currently host to Jonathon Brandmeier’s program and other shows.  Matthews, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008, returned to his hometown of Grand Rapids in 2005 and was a personality at Cumulus Media classic rock WLAV for several years.  He’s been out of terrestrial radio for a while but has been contributing to Steve Dahl’s podcast efforts.  Matthews will continue to work from his home studio in Grand Rapids.

superbowl logoWestwoodOne to Rank Best Audio Super Bowl Ads.  WestwoodOne – the radio home of Super Bowl XLVIII – is preparing to launch its Super Bowl Audio Index, the first-ever consumer-driven index ranking the most creative audio commercials aired during the Super Bowl.  The company says that the index will be comprised of all commercials aired on the 700-plus radio stations that broadcast its exclusive, play-by-play coverage of the game.  Each of the commercials will be available for consumer voting throughwestwoodone logo WestwoodOne.com on February 2, 2014.  Two awards will be announced across WestwoodOne’s on-air and online broadcast network.  The first will be Listener’s Choice, selected by consumers through an online voting process that can also be leveraged by marketers through social media, and activated through SoundHound, to create even more engaging experiences for listeners.  The second will be Media Choice, selected by an advisory council comprised of leading advertising, media and creative executives across multiple consumer categories.  WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine states, “For brands wanting to engage a captive audience with the largest reach, there is no comparison to the Super Bowl.  We created the Index as a new way for all brands to leverage the power of sound and capitalize on this massive advertising moment.  The index enables marketers to engage more intimately with 26 million-plus listeners, expanding their campaigns and maximizing their marketing dollars.”

sternhowardOdds & Sods.  SiriusXM superstar Howard Stern announces he will return for another season of “America’s Got Talent.” Stern told listeners to his radio show on Tuesday that although he’d like more personal time, “that big black hole inside of me that demands attention” won and he’ll return for his third season judging on the show…..Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk will debut her own weekly radio show this Saturday, November 23.  Silk, who has provided commentary for her company’s Alan Nathan show, will host the one-hour show which airs live from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm ET…..Chicago radio personalities Steve King and Johnnie Putman – longtime overnight hosts on Tribune’s WGN – are returning to the station for fill-in work.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder tips us that the husband-and-wife duo will sub for morning drive host Steve Cochran during Christmas week.  King and Putman retired from the station in December of 2011…..AARP has renewed its radio representation agreement with Media Management Group for 2014.  MMG continues to be responsible for ad sales, distribution and business development for the Baby Boomer-targeted feature programming.  AARP’s radio content can be heard on hundreds of stations across the country.

adlargelogoAdLarge Media and PromoSuite Enter National Advertising Sales Rep Agreement.  The exclusive pact covers inventory already measured in Nielsen Audio’s RADAR service and moving into AdLarge’s Return On Investment (ROI) Network.  AdLarge co-founder/chief executive officer Gary Schonfeld comments that the partnership “gives our national advertisers access to an enormous amount of inventory, and intensifies our already strong coverage in major markets.”  AdLarge co-founder/president Cathy Csukas adds, “Our objective when we created the ROI Network was to offer clients a wide-reaching, RADAR-measured network with solid top-market coverage and a non-controversial format environment.  With the inclusion of PromoSuite‘s vast array of music-formatted radio station inventory, we are proud to have surpassed that goal.”  Meanwhile, PromoSuite chief executive officer Rocco Macri remarks, “It is inevitable that our two companies struck up a partnership.  You have two independent, forward-thinking companies that are agile enough to make quick decisions, yet big enough to have an impact.  Together, we will continue to build and maintain relationships within the radio and advertising communities.”  Customized advertising sales rep AdLarge was founded in 2010; PromoSuite services more than 1,500 radio stations and is included in all top 50 markets.

mohrgordonMixing in Pop Culture.  Fox Sports Radio Network host Jay Mohr (right) poses for a photo with Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman (left) in the FSR studios.  Gorman was in town to talk about his new tour with the Black Crowes, his new band Trigger Hippy as well as chat about sports.  The two discussed the controversial end to the Monday Night Football game between the Patriots and Panthers and Gorman also participated in the first-ever Jay Mohr Sports Front Man Draft.  As part of the segment, the crew drafted a team of various band front men, including Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury and the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson.

sweeneyMHBHPutting on the Greasepaint.  Pictured here are TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (right) and his wife Bernadette Duncan Harrison (left) with TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey (center) in costume for his role as Beadle Bamford in the Monson, Massachusetts-based Greene Room Productions presentation of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

ObamaCare Criticism, JFK Assassination Anniversary, Iran Nukes Talks, Sinking Obama Approval Numbers, Toronto Mayor Case and Midwest Tornadoes Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/19).  Scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the state of the government’s health care sign-up website; the coming anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy; the potential talks with Iran about its nuclear policy and the debate in Washington over increasing economic sanctions against the Islamic state; the sinking approval ratings for President Obama; the bizarre case of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford; and the aftermath of the devastating tornadoes that swept across the Midwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

| November 5, 2013

bellartArt Bell Says Adios to SiriusXM After Six Weeks.  On his website, late night talk radio icon Art Bell writes that he’s leaving SiriusXM where his “Art Bell’s Dark Matter” program was airing after just six weeks for three reasons: SiriusXM’s web player is notoriously unreliable, causing a loss of subscribers and a degraded listening experience for those who remain listening online; for a “caller driven” show, the caller pool for Art’s show is just too small; and international listeners have no legitimate way to hear the show.  SiriusXM has not commented on Bell’s post nor any issues the two parties may be having.  TALKERS editors can’t help but wonder how these points weren’t discovered and dealt with prior to the announcement Bell would be joining the satcaster, especially in light of Bell’s additional comments.  They are: “This is not the first time that we have heard issues relating to the internet platform offered up by SiriusXM.  There have been a host of issues from the functionality to being booted off, to having longer shows reset from the beginning after an hour and a half, making it almost impossible to listen to a two hour show on demand.”  The post is written in third person and continues: “The departure of Bell, as unfortunate as it is, should be a signal to SiriusXM.  The company has a compelling product, great content, and great potential, but in some ways has lost the edge that it once had.  The frustrations of Bell can be heard on other channels as well.  Opie & Anthony, Howard Stern, Jay Thomas, and others have all at times expressed a great deal of frustration.  In some ways, the complaints of on air personalities ring back to the old FM days of terrestrial radio, a path that many consumers and on air personalities could not wait to get away from.”

millerstephanieMichael Medved and Stephanie Miller to Debate in Chicago.  WYD Media Management syndicated progressive talk host Stephanie Miller – based out of KTLK, Los Angeles – and KTTH, Seattle-based Salem Radio Networkmedvedmichael syndicated personality Michael Medved will meet in the Windy City for a debate of the hot issues of the day on Thursday at The Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.   The event is titled “The Great Debate 3” and will be moderated by WGN-TV political analyst Paul Lisnek.  Medved is heard in the market on Salem O&O WIND “AM 560 The Answer” and Miller’s show is carried on WCPT.  Issues debated will include: Will the Affordable Care Act be fully implemented or repealed?  Which is the bigger threat to American prosperity: big business or big government?  Is it constitutional for the NSA to spy on foreign leaders or the American people?

sileodan

Sports Talker Dan Sileo Fired from WMEN, West Palm Beach for Tweet.  Yesterday TALKERS magazine reported that Florida sports talk host Dan Sileo – who previously worked for WDAE, Tampa and WQAM, Miami prior to joining WMEN  “640 Sports” – Tweeted that he’d pay $1,000 to whichever player “took out” Florida State player Devonta Freeman because he felt Freeman was disrespecting his alma mater Miami during Florida State’s crushing win over the Hurricanes.  He then deleted the Tweet and apologized but that wasn’t enough for James Crystal Radio which let him go on Monday.  Sileo wrote on his Facebook page: “I want to first start this letter off by saying…We thank 640 AM SPORTS for having us on the station the last few months…was VERY COOL!!….With that…640 and myself are parting ways over a TWEET I made about an FSU player who I thought was DISRESPECTING the UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI…It was a moment of emotion when I said I would like to pay $1,000 for anybody to take him out…..NOW….I NEVER thought ANYBODY would take that serious but they have…a MOUNTAIN of BACKLASH has come against 640 and my family…There are NOW DEATH THREATS against me and my family and I have hired a private COP to protect US….So we UNDERSTAND that some of U took my comment serious…..AGAIN….Was just an EX Player saying a feeling that was wrong….To FSU…we APOLOGIZE…NO WAY would I ever want a kid hurt…..GOOD LUCK TO 640 AND THE CANES!”

sternhowardJimmy Kimmel to Host Howard Stern Birthday Bash on SiriusXM.  The satcaster says that for the first time on satellite radio the infamous Howard Stern Birthday Bash show will be heard on the evening of January 31, 2014 tokimmeljimmy commemorate Stern’s 60th birthday.  Jimmy Kimmel is expected to host the live broadcast from a major New York venue with an audience of VIPs and fans.  As he loves to do, Stern will reveal more about the show – including VIP guests, performers and the special location – over the next few months on his SiriusXM show.  Stern says, “With this birthday bash, we are finally one step closer to making my birthday the national holiday it deserves to be.”  Kimmel adds, “I am honored and excited to take part in a celebration of the life of my friend and hero Howard Stern.  This should be the best BaBa-birthday party ever.”

libertymedia logoLiberty Media Reports SiriusXM Q3 Financials: Revenue Up 11%.  Although Liberty Media acquired a controlling interest of SiriusXM in January of this year, Liberty is reporting the satcaster’s financial numbers separately because it “believes the presentation of financial results as reported by SiriusXM is useful to investors as the comparability of those results are best understood in the context of SiriusXM’s historical financial presentation.”  Highlights of SiriusXM’s earnings include: record revenue of $962 million, up 11% from third quarter of 2012; net income of $63 million; adjusted EBITDA grew 21% to a record $296 million; the company repurchased $1.6 billion in shares from January 1 through September 30, 2013.  Initial 2014 guidance is: revenue of over $4 billion and adjusted EBITDA of approximately $1.38 billion.

kassanmichaelMichael Kassan Media-Focused Feature to Begin on WOR, New York.  The Clear Channel news/talk outlet announces that “Medialinked — Inside Advertising and Media with Michael Kassan” debuts today.  The company says the new show offering industry reports from the highly influential business and media strategist will also be available on iHeartRadio and at wor710.com.  Kassan, who is founder, chairman and CEO of MediaLink and also serves as special advisor to CC chairman Bob Pittman, will provide a daily inside look at the advertising and media worlds featuring exclusive interviews with his personally selected list of major media and advertising figures as well as commentary on significant industry topics.  Special features will also include Kassan’s expert analysis and reports on key industry events including Ad Week, Association of National Advertisers (ANA), American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAA), Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and more.  Clear Channel New York market president Joe Puglise says, “Michael Kassan is an internationally recognized media specialist and his expert opinion will provide WOR listeners inside analysis of the media and advertising industry.  His passion and enthusiasm for the industry will resonate well with WOR listeners and provide an avenue for partners and advertisers to engage in the conversation.”

martinroland newsonenowbig‘News One Now with Roland Martin’ Debuts.  Radio One’s radio and television project featuring former CNN star Roland Martin debuted on Monday.  “News One Now with Roland Martin” is a three-hour radio show being syndicated by Radio One in which the third hour of the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm daily program is simulcast on the company’s TV One cable channel.  On the program’s premiere, Martin discussed topics including the controversial death of Kendrick Johnson; the Detroit mayoral race; Africa’s economic boom as well as spoke with Radio One and TV One CEO Alfred Liggins about minority ownership in the media.  Martin told the Houston Chronicle’s David Barron that this program, especially on the TV side, will bring important black Americans into the media to talk about today’s issues.  “This is a chance for us to show the breadth and depth of black America.  When was the last time you saw a black economist talking on television?  Other than Colin Powell, when was the last time you saw a black general talking about the military?  We can showcase that talent.”

bellaviadavidDavid Bellavia’s Stint at WBEN Buffaloed by Employer.  Last month Entercom announced that frequent fill-in and weekend talk show host David Bellavia was being given his own late night talk show – airing from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am – on news/talk WBEN.  Now, after just two weeks hosting the program, Bellavia has had to step down from the show after his full-time employer objected to his taking the position.  Not only will Bellavia not host his own daily program, he’s apparently not working for WBEN at all, including as the go-to fill-in personality for Sandy Beach and Tom Bauerle when they are away, which he had been doing in the recent past.  Reports from Buffalo indicate that Bellavia’s employer had a change of heart about his work with WBEN.  Michael Caputo is filling in for Sandy Beach and the station is running “Best of” programming in the late night slot.

ObamaCare Criticisms, 2014 and 2016 Elections, Virginia Governor Race, Dolphins Suspend Player for Misconduct, and New Jersey Mall Scare Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/4).  The ongoing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; speculation about the GOP’s prospects in the 2014 mid-term elections and the 2016 presidential race; today’s Virginia governor contest, the suspension of a Miami Dolphins veteran over allegations of misconduct toward another rookie teammate; and the tensions caused by the suicide of a man at a New Jersey mall were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

| October 3, 2013

kxl logoMore News/Talk Radio Success Stories.  Yes, you read that right, contrary to the pronouncement – largely in the mainstream media (but some trades are generalizing as well) – that news/talk radio is suffering an overall ratings decline because there’s something wrong with the programming, the signals or its P1s, there are news/talk stations that are doing well.  In a piece published yesterday (see Wednesday’s news below) we knrs logomentioned a few news/talk stations that are performing well such as WMAL, KMOX, WSB-AM, KIRO-FM and others but more have come to light and we believe it’s worth delving into again.  The editors at TALKERS magazine understand we are running the risk of sounding like cheerleaders but it’s not because we are blind to reality, it’s that we are irked by sweeping conclusions based on less-than-complete information that brands an kmbzentire format as dead or dying.  Yes, some news/talk stations are dealing with low ratings and, yes, there are some entire markets that have seen – at least according to Nielsen Audio’s data – listening to news/talk decline.  But for those who work at Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL-FM, Portland; Clear Channel’s KFBK, Sacramento, KNRS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City or WLW, Cincinnati; Bonneville’s KSL, Salt Lake City; Cox Media Group’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando; or Entercom’s KMBZ, Kansas City, are enjoying the fruits of their hard work in the form of larsonlarsnews/talk stations that are performing well in their markets in spite of this gloomy environment.  Digging a bit deeper at villanuccijimKXL-FM, the midday shows – Jim Villanucci from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and Lars Larson from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm – are both in the top six spots in Persons 25-54.  Villanucci (brand new to Portland listeners) is ranked #6 in the market with Persons 25-54 and Larson, a conservative political talker, ranks #2 in the market with Persons 25-54.  Larson is also tied for #1 with Men 18-34 with a 9.2 share.  And he does it in liberal Portland!  In conclusion, it is not only in the best interests of the country for news/talk radio to remain a vital medium — it is in the interests of the entire radio industry because – let’s face it – most of the buzz, news, high-profile personalities, controversy, and hoopla concerning radio as an iconic component of contemporary culture has emanated from news/talk radio.  After that, a close runner up has been the more general (lifestyle and entertainment) approach to “talk” radio as practiced by talents such as Howard Stern (incorrectly described by mainstream media as “shock jocks.”)  Can you imagine what the state of radio would be today had it not been for news/talk and general talk radio during the past 25 years?   The industry should not be so quick to discount the viability of this genre of radio and the key it holds to the continued pertinence of radio itself.  Lars Larson says his philosophy about the focus of his show is simple: “I figure the future of talk is in young listeners who get into the habit and like the format and what we put on the air.  I hope to keep them in my audience for the next 20 years.”

brienjenBrief Tenure at WBZ-AM, Boston for Jen Brien.  Just three months after beginning her position as permanent overnight host at CBS Radio’s WBZ-AM, Boston, talk show host Jen Brien exits with no reason given by management.  An announcement was made at the beginning of the overnight program on Thursday morning (10/3) that Brien was no longer the host of the show.  Brien won the job after Steve LeVeille retired in June of 2012.  The station featured a number of fill-in hosts in the overnight slot for a year before giving Brien the gig.  She had previously worked at crosstown WRKO hosting midday show.

mohrlenoJay Mohr Visits ‘The Tonight Show.’  Fox Sports Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jay Mohr is pictured here on the set of “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno.  Mohr appeared on the program to talk about his sports talk radio show as well as his upcoming stand-up comedy shows in his Houston and San Antonio markets.  Mohr plugged the fact that his show can be heard on iHeartRadio – prompting a shout from an audience member who, Mohr quipped, “has the app!”

wfan logoCBS Radio Brings Soccer to NYC.  CBS Radio sports talk WFAN-AM/FM, New York agrees to a multi-year deal with the New York City Football Club to begin broadcasting the team’s matches on the stations beginning in 2015.  WFAN says it is “the first radio provider to broadcast Major League Soccer (MLS) in English in New York City.”  Manchester City Football Club owns the NYC Football Club and CEO Ferran Soriano says, “We’re thrilled to partner with a station as prestigious as WFAN.  This is a huge opportunity for the team to bring football to all New Yorkers, right from the onset of our playing debut.”  Clearly, growing interest in soccer in the U.S. is something CBS Radio hopes will continue to blossom.  CBS Radio SVP and market manager Don Bouloukos adds, “As the nation’s leading sports radio station, we always look for ways to bring every type of sport to the New York area’s fans.  Soccer is beloved across the world, and with the New York City Football Club coming to New York, it’s the perfect time to further ignite the passion soccer fans have and bring coverage and play-by-play of this new team to the Tri-State area listeners.”

weei logoOdds & Sods.  Entercom’s WEEI, Boston kicks off the Red Sox post-season play with a live remote broadcast following a shortened edition of the Salk and Holley show.  A “Red Sox Roundtable” will be broadcast live from Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar and Grill in Fenway Park from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  Mike Salk, Michael Holley and fellow WEEI personalities John Dennis, Mike Mutnansky, Lou Merloni, Mikey Adams, Kirk Minihane, Alex Speier and Rob Bradford, as well as the Sox broadcast team of Dave O’Brien and Joe Castiglione will be on hand to discuss the Sox’ impending American League Division Series matchup…..Speaking of Joe Castiglione, he’s been nominated as one of 10 finalists for the Ford C. Frick award, given to baseball broadcasters of long and meritorious service.  Castiglione has been calling Boston Red Sox games on the radio for 31 years, having joined their broadcast team in 1983…..Northwestern alumnus, Mike Greenberg, and “Mike & Mike” co-host Mike Golic, will broadcast their show live from Northwestern’s Evanston, Illinois campus tomorrow morning (10/4) in advance of Saturday’s Homecoming game between the Wildcats and the Ohio State Buckeyes, as part of the third annual ESPN Audio Fall Football Tour.  Greenberg will also serve as grand marshal of University’s 2013 Homecoming Parade tomorrow evening.

hochmanheatMedia Day with the Heat.  Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talker WAXY-AM/FM, Miami “The Ticket” morning drive hosts Marc Hochman (left) and Jonathon Zaslow (right) attended Miami Heat media day recently and took the time to pose for a shot with Heat center Joel Anthony (the tall guy in the middle).

Government Shutdown, ObamaCare Implementation, IPCC Climate Report, U.S.-Iran Relations, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/2).  The political maneuvering to fix the government shutdown; the beginning of the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act; the release of the latest climate report from the IPCC; speculation about future relations between the U.S. and Iran; and financial markets activity were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, September 27, 2013

| September 27, 2013

glasgowdennisDennis Glasgow Named OM/PD at Capitol Broadcasting’s Sports Properties.  Sports talk radio programming pro Dennis Glasgow joins Capitol Broadcasting as program director and operations manager for the company’s sports talk operations including WCMC-FM, Raleigh “99.9 The Fan”; WDNC, Durham “620 The Buzz”; WCLY, Raleigh “ESPN Deportes”; and WCMC-HD3 “99.9 The Ticket.”  During his career Glasgow has served as vice president and operations manager for Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington; PD at KFXX, Portland and KNML, Albuquerque; and most recently programmed Pamplin’s news/talk KPAM, Portland.  Capitol Sports Radio general manager Brian Maloney says, “Dennis brings passion and a wealth of knowledge about radio along with experience and understanding of social media and web, both of which are a key part of the sports radio listener lifestyle.”  Glasgow adds, “Having the opportunity to work for Capitol Broadcasting and their sports properties is a genuine thrill.  I look forward to continuing the commitment of great sports radio in the Triangle region.”

TalkersLA2013“Shotgun” Tom Kelly to Speak at Talkers Los Angeles 2013 on October 10.  For the first time in the 16-year history of TALKERS magazine’s annual convention, a music radio “disc jockey” will be presented as an official speaker in the agenda line-up.  KRTH, Los Angeles “K-Earth 101” late afternoon/early evening legend “Shotgun” Tom Kelly will be participating as a panelist at “Talkers Los Angeles 2013″ – a one-day, power-packed gathering of movers and shakers from the talk radio industry representing talent, sales, management and ownership.  Kelly will be on a panel moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison titled “The Big Picture” which, in addition to Kelly, will include Phil Boyce, VP Spoken Word Format, Salem Communications; Kraig Kitchin, CEO,kellytomshotgun Sound Mind, LLC; Mike McVay, SVP programming, Cumulus Media; and Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News.  The session will be introduced by Don Martin, SVP sports programming, Fox Sports Radio.  In making the announcement of Kelly’s inclusion on this panel and as a speaker at this conference, Harrison states, “This particular panel has always dealt with the broad strokes overview of where talk radio fits into the overall radio scene – not just now but over the horizon – and where radio, in general, fits into the larger media/cultural landscape.  At this point in the evolution of radio, it is appropriate that the beleaguered role of the music radio disc jockey be examined because we believe that the very existence of music radio in the new digital age DEPENDS upon the revitalization and to a certain extent, the reinvention, of the position within the mix of elements that will keep radio a distinct and unique genre capable of warding off exotic digital age competition and the perils of being assimilated into the utilitarian ‘sameness’ easily imposed by the internet.  We also believe that in order for talk radio to have a healthy future within the context of being ‘radio’ we need to preserve the health and viability of music radio as well.  ‘Shotgun’ Tom Kelly is the quintessential radio disc jockey whose mastery of the art form and ability to survive and thrive decades of change while still going strong makes him the perfect person to perform this function as a speaker at the conference.”  The sold-out “Talkers Los Angeles 2013″ is open only to members of the working media.  It is being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the historic Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood on Thursday, October 10 between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm.  For information and remaining sponsorship opportunities call 413-565-5413.  To see the entire up-to-date agenda, please click here.

conwaysimonSimon Conway is a Busy Man.  WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway is pulling double duty today and on Monday.  Conway will host his 4:00 pm CT show on the Clear Channel news/talk outlet and then sit in as host on Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” this evening.  On Monday, Conway will sub in morning drive on Clear Channel’s WFLF, Orlando “News Talk WFLA FM 104.5 and AM 540” in addition to his regular show on WHO.

sternhowardSiriusXM’s Jim Meyer Says Howard Stern and NFL Remain Important to Satcaster.  At the Goldman Sachs Communacopia taking place in New York during Advertising Week, SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer told analysts that two of the big contracts the company would like to renew when they come up at the end of 2015 are those of Howard Stern and the NFL.  Meyer said the company is very comfortable with the amount of money it is spending on content right now and sees both franchises as important.  Regarding Stern, Meyer said, “I will be clear with you today.  As long as Howard Stern wants to work and as long as Howard Stern is as motivated as he is today to make a show as good as it is today, we want him on SiriusXM Radio.”  But in a follow-up question from an analyst, Meyer said Stern would have to remain exclusive to SiriusXM for him to remain.

le batard danOdds & Sods.  As had been predicted, CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” signs a deal to serve as the flagship radio station for Boston Celtics basketball.  It’s a multi-year deal that brings the Celts to WBZ-FM from Entercom-owned crosstown rival WEEI which chose not to renew with the team after last season…..Dan Le Batard’s nationally syndicated sports talk program debuts on ESPN Radio Monday, September 30.  Le Batard – whose show emanates from Lincoln Financial Media’s WAXY, Miami “The Ticket” – will continue to do a local hour from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm but goes national from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Le Batard also is featured on ESPN2’s “Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable.”…..Collegiate multimedia rights holders IMG College and Learfield Sports extend their deals with SiriusXM through June of 2016.  The new pacts will allow listeners to hear live coverage of NCAA football and men’s basketball games from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12, American Athletic Conference and Army, as well as basketball from teams from the Big East and several mid-major conferences.  In addition, it will feature select coaches’ shows and college athletic programming on SiriusXM College Sports Nation.

wmallogoWMAL, Washington’s Mark Weaver Retires After 45 Year Career.  DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes reports that WMAL, Washington afternoon news anchor Mark Weaver is working his last shift for the Cumulus Media news/talk outlet today (9/27) and will retire to Florida.  Weaver worked for WMAL for the last 25 years of his 45-year career.  Weaver will be replaced at WMAL by news pro Rachel Sutherland who most recently worked at America’s Radio News Network.  Prior to that, she served for 10 years at Metro Networks in the DC market.

stephandougTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Cumulus Media NetworksMichael Savage is added to the program schedule at WGTK-FM, Greenville, South Carolina and WIQO, Lynchburg, Virginia…..Cumulus’ Mark Levin picks up new affiliates KBND, Bend, Oregon; KPSI, Palm Springs; and KYYA, Billings…..Doug Stephan’s nationally syndicated “Good Morning” program adds a dozen new affiliate stations.  They are: WTNT-AM/FM, Washington; WVWI, San Juan, Puerto Rio; KLPW, St. Louis; KLO, Ogden, Utah; WVOV, Chattanooga, Tennessee; WRHL, Rockford, Illinois; WCCM, Manchester, New Hampshire; KBTM-AM/FM, Jonesboro, Arkansas; WRPW-FM, Bloomington, Illinois; WRIK, Paducah, Kentucky; WATX, Algood, Tennessee; and WFLN, Arcadia, Florida…..Talk radio personality Chris Markowski – host of the weekly “Watchdog on Wall Street” show, also produces the free, daily feature called “Money Minutes.”  That feature is added to the programming at WMPL, Hancock, Michigan…..Talk Media Network’s “Frontlines of Freedom” with Lt. Col. Denny Gillem is added to the program schedule at WENY, Elmira and WENI, Corning, New York.

The Implementation of ObamaCare Tops Talkers TenTM for week of September 23-27.  The move by some Republicans to defund the Affordable Care Act and controversy over what the implementation of the law will mean was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week.  Coming in at #2 on the Talkers TenTM was the threat of a government shutdown.  At #3 was Iran’s nuclear program and the nation’s diplomatic overtures to the U.S., and at #4 was the continuing unrest in Syria and the United States’ policy regarding the use of chemical weapons.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  You can view this week’s entire chart here.

dreslercherCher Chats with ABC News Radio.  Hollywood icon Cher (l) sits down with ABC News Radio’s Andrea Dresdale (r) during Cher’s visit to ABC TV’s “Live with Kelly and Michael” to promote her new album “Closer to the Truth.”

The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is… Ourselves.

| September 13, 2013

Jason Bailey
Sun Broadcast Group, Inc.
CEO

baileyjasonNEW YORK — It was another sad week for network radio as more great people: mothers, fathers, sons and daughters… dreamers of great ideas, writers of great content, communicators of the stories that shape our world, were sent to the unemployment line. Was it greed? Was it failure to evolve? Was it competition? Maybe. But in my humble opinion it was something simpler yet more devastating… Fear. Fear to be bold, fear to take risks and most important, fear to defend.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

| September 10, 2013

trn logoDrama Continues to Unfold Around Talk Radio Network.  On the heels of Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters’ announcement on Monday afternoon  (9/9) that his ongoing battle with WestwoodOne (formerly Dial Global) over ad sales revenue has caused him to have to shut down the America’s Radio News Network and greatly pare his TRN staff as well as ask those still with the company to work without paytantarosandrea temporarily, come a number of developments over the past 24 hours.  First, late morning talk host (and Fox News Channel personality) Andrea Tantaros continues to host her program live as of Tuesday morning.  However, sources doylejerryreport to TALKERS that midday talk personality Jerry Doyle is not doing live, new programs and is exploring options to continue his talk show outside of the TRN operational framework.  The morning drive “America’s Morning News” went live on Monday and this morning, co-anchors John McCaslin and Lori Lundin reported to work and prepared to do the full program again.  Sources indicate McCaslin was unhappy with the state of the support staff and exited after one segment was broadcast.  Lundin remained for the rest of one hour before leaving the studios,humphriesrusty whereupon affiliates airing the program received repeat feeds of the first hour.  In afternoon drive, talk host Rusty Humphries began Monday’s program with the intent of explaining some of what has been going on within the context of the assault by special interest groups on talk radio advertisers but was shut down by engineering staff and a repeat of his program ran on Monday afternoon.  Whether Humphries returns to the air live on Tuesday afternoon remains to be seen as the situation at TRN is fluid, to say the least.

cclogoGreg Strassell Leaves CBS Radio for Same Post at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  When news broke yesterday afternoon that Greg Strassell was exiting his SVP of programming post at CBS Radio, it was unknown where he would land.  Now, Clear Channel Media and Entertainmentstrassellgreg announces Strassell is joining the company in the same capacity.  CC says, he “will help lead programming initiatives and will report to Matt Martin, president of operations — regional markets.  Further, the company says, “Strassell is a multi-format programming veteran whose strategic brand management has impacted many major radio stations across the country…At CBS Strassell oversaw the programming strategies and teams for many brands with a special focus on the company’s pop music station expansion.  Prior to CBS he served as vice president of product development and programming for American Radio Systems.

bostonheraldradio logoTalkersTV Presents Video Documentary Tour of Boston Herald and Boston Herald Radio.  Last week (9/5) TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison visited the Boston Herald newspaper in Boston with a video camera and was given a “point of view” guided tour of the newspaper and its one-month-old, multimedia initiative - Boston Herald Radio.  The tour was guided by Boston Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca, Boston Herald Radio executive producer Tom Shattuck and George Capalbo of Backbone Networks. The result is an informative one-hour documentary tour of one of talk media’s leading-edge hot spots.  To view this not-to-be-missed content please click on the TalkersTV box on the upper right column on this page.

bergmansandiMEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Cliff Gardiner – Clifton Gardiner & Company, LLC.  In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Cliff Gardiner of Clifton Gardiner & Company, LLC located in Denver, Colorado.  Like many top-notch professional brokers, Gardiner has a radio background going back to 1956 that includes on-air work, management, and station and network ownership.  Regarding his view of the state of station sales today, he says, “We are beginning to see station sale activity awaken a bit from a long sleep.  The industry has changed and seems to be embracing a new reality, one that will likely remain in the future.  While no one is happy with a much lower EBITDA multiple, the reality is that this has always existed for most other business categories.  This adjustment is happening as well as the seeing the necessity for sellers to carefully consider, and embrace, realistic carrybacks for buyers, especially in smaller markets.”  To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.

ktrsKTRS, St. Louis Fills Gap Left by Steve Cochran.  Talk show host Steve Cochran had been doing a midday show for CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis from Chicago where he’s now fully ensconced in the morning drive gig at Tribune’s WGN.  To fill the gap, the station moves Martin Kilcoyne to the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm shift and former night personality John Carney to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot with the two co-hosting the 12:00 noon hour.

whfs save baseballCBS Radio’s ’98.7 The Fan’ Launches Campaign to Save Rays Baseball.  Losing a Major League Baseball franchise would be a blow to CBS Radio’s drive to build a successful sports talk station in the market.  But MLB commissioner Bud Selig has stated the league is not happy with the support the market is giving the Tampa Bay Rays in terms of attendance despite the club fielding successful teams.  The league states, “Last year, the 30 Major League clubs averaged nearly 2.5 million in total attendance; the Rays, who finished with a 90-72 record, drew 1,559,681, which ranked last in the game.”  So WHFS-FM “98.7 The Fan” is launching “Save Tampa Bay Baseball,” a multi-tiered campaign to help keep the Rays in the region. But because St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster has said Major League Baseball does not “seem interested in a cooperative effort to keep the Rays in the Tampa Bay region for the long term,” the station is taking action.  The campaign involves launching the website www.SaveTampaBayBaseball.com to raise awareness that the Rays may be in danger of leaving Tampa Bay, as well as a petition drive to let Major League Baseball know that the Rays belong in Tampa Bay.  The “98.7 The Fan” Street Team will canvass the downtown area offering Save Tampa Bay Baseball window stickers to all local merchants who support the Rays.  In addition, “98.7 The Fan” will host an official Save Tampa Bay Baseball Rally on September 12 at Ferg’s Sports Bar & Grill – home of the 98.7 The Fan “Fan Cave” – before the Rays vs. Boston Red Sox game.  WHFS-FM program director John O’Connell states, “At ‘98.7 The Fan,’ we strongly believe it’s in the best interest of the Tampa Bay community to keep Major League Baseball here.  We will support our hometown Rays every way we can, and encourage Rays fans and the Tampa/St. Petersburg community to join us.”

Marlene Trevino Returns to Clear Channel as Market Manager for San Antonio.  Marlene Trevino moves to San Antonio from her most recent position with CBS Radio as general sales manager at Spanish KMVK, Dallas “La Grande 107.5.”  Now, she’ll head up Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s San Antonio cluster as president and market manager.  She says, “Since I am a product of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s training and leadership development, I am most excited about the opportunity to come back to the Clear Channel family.  I am proud to have the opportunity to lead a successful market like San Antonio.  With the help of the current San Antonio team and the diverse opportunities this market offers, I am thrilled to get started on the efforts that will bring us even greater growth.”  She served as senior account executive for the company’s hot AC KDMX in Dallas in 2002.

quiversrobinRobin Quivers Reports She’s Cancer Free.  Longtime Howard Stern sidekick Robin Quivers has been away from the SiriusXM Howard Stern studios for most of the past year.  She opened up on the program about her status saying she had a mass on her pelvis that doctors were certain was cancer and she underwent surgery to remove what turned out to be a tumor the size of a grapefruit.  Quivers said the tumor began in her endometrial tissue and since the surgery has been undergoing chemotherapy.  She says the doctors believe her to be cancer free.  She has been working from a studio in her home during her treatment.

jacobsleighNuVoodoo Appoints Leigh Jacobs EVP of Perceptual Research.  NuVoodoo Media Services CEO Carolyn Gilbert announces Leigh Jacobs – a co-founder of the company – is being charged with heading its perceptual studies services, analyzing consumer research for radio stations, television and newspaper as EVP of perceptual research.  Jacobs served as EVP, research, for Critical Mass Media for nearly a decade and was named VP, research, for the Tribune Company in 2008.  He specializes in perceptual analysis and consumer insights across radio, television and newspaper, and has consulted with media outlets in every major U.S. media market.  Jacobs moved into media research after a 15-year career as program director for AC, hot AC and classic rock stations in Louisville, Detroit, Baltimore and Philadelphia, and for iconic talk station New Jersey 101.5.  Gilbert states, “As primary perceptual analyst for Critical Mass Media for many years and later as VP of research for the Tribune Company, Leigh Jacobs distinguished himself as one of the most talented perceptual analysts in media research.  He has looked under the hoods of hundreds of America’s top radio stations and given them reliable data and nuanced insights that have helped drive the growth of their audiences and brands.  His extensive perceptual work with television news and newspapers while at the Tribune Company makes Leigh the whole package.  He’s a research powerhouse and secret weapon for leading media outlets across the radio-television-newspaper spectrum.  We are proud to share Leigh’s expertise and insights with NuVoodoo clients.”

kex logoClear Channel Drops News/Talk KEX Simulcast, Debuts Alternative ‘Radio 102.3’ in Portland.  The FM simulcast of Clear Channel’s news/talk KEX, Portland is gone as the company creates an alternative rock station to air on translator K272EL.  It’s unclear just how much juice KEX was getting from the FM signal – though it has a good location pretty much smack-dab in the middle of the Portland metro.  Recent PPM data from Arbitron show KEX riding several shares behind competitor KXL in the 6+ demo.

ecigEmerging Category May Be Looking at an Ad Ban. Billion-dollar industries – with attractive ad budgets – are not exactly popping up every few months, and a relative newcomer that fits that criterion may already be preparing to encounter marketing restrictions.  According to a report last week from financial services group CLSA Americas, the Food and Drug Administration will likely propose a television ban for advertising e-cigarettes.  It would figure that if television were to be affected, a similar impact would be felt in radio.  A Citibank report earlier this year indicated that spending on e-cigarette TV commercials climbed roughly 18% (2011 – 2012), while print ad spending among e-cigarette marketers increased 72%.  Whereas tobacco companies have been off radio and television for more than 40 years, the e-cigarette category is unregulated.  E-cigarette makers say they will continue marketing their product across a range of media unless – and until – a ban is introduced.  Reynolds American spokesperson David Howard told Ad Age last week, “In lieu of regulations, we will look at all mediums – including TV, print, radio, point of sale and direct mail – to communicate with adult smokers.”  The FDA is expected to weigh in on the matter next month.

Syria Tensions/Assad Interview, India Gang Rape Conviction, Massachusetts ‘Under God’ Challenge, and NFL Season Kicks Off Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/9).  The debate over taking military action against Syria and Bashar al Assad’s interview with Charlie Rose; the conviction of four Indian men in the fatal gang rape of a student; the Massachusetts Superior Court case challenging the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools; and the start of the 2013 NFL season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Self-Syndication is Berry, Berry Good

| May 15, 2013

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

Meet Michael Berry

Michael Berry #1LOS ANGELES — Granted, it doesn’t quite convey the magnitude of Howard Stern’s “King of All Media” bravado, but “Czar of Talk Radio” is the tongue-in-cheek manner Michael Berry refers to himself. “If President Obama can name a czar for everything, then I’m the ‘Czar of Talk Radio,’” Berry reasons.

The moniker took off when he started it four years ago and Berry has capitalized on it. “Other talk hosts say they wish they branded it before I did.”

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The Secret of Managing Controversy

| May 8, 2013

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
Chairman

mcallanbobNEW YORK — Bob McAllan is the CEO of Press Broadcasting. He put on the two most successful FM Talk stations in the world: New Jersey 101.5 — going into its 22 year — and WTKS-FM Real Radio 104.1 Orlando, launched 1994. Bob and GM John Dziuba made a strategic decision that enabled the station’s hosts to present the most controversial, often outrageous opinions with minimal fallout.

newjersey1015wtks125Their single decision gave management the freedom to sell advertising on the stations, defend the hosts and manage the talent in an environment void of fear. Bob and John decided that their STATIONS must never present an opinion or point of view.  Simultaneously they realized that to have winning stations, the hosts must have well prepared, very strong points of view on every single topic.

After consulting and operating the largest talk stations in the world, I believe the paragraph you just read sums up the programming infrastructure for success.

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A Serious Loss for Howard Stern

| April 15, 2013

By Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS
Legal Editor

sternhowardBOSTON — Sometimes it is, as Mel Brooks commented in his movie “The History of the World, Part One,” good to be the king.  But other times it is not.  Howard Stern, the self-proclaimed (and not too far off) “King of All Media” took a hit last week when the dismissal of his lawsuit against Sirius XM Radio, Inc. in which he sought more than $300 million in stock awards was upheld by the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court.

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Monday, April 15, 2013

| April 15, 2013

sheppardpeteWeekend Talk Host Pete Sheppard Quits During WEEI, Boston Saturday Program.  Telling listeners that he’s no longer happy working for the company, WEEI, Boston weekend talk host Pete Sheppard abruptly quit on-air during his Saturday evening show.  Sheppard, who was a long-time fixture on the former Glenn Ordway-hosted PM drive “Big Show” and was fired from that post due to budget cuts in 2010, was hired back for part-time duties about a year ago.  Sheppard even went so far as to tease his on-air exit by Tweeting that he had something special coming up.  He also specified that his problem was with Entercom management and not program director Jason Wolfe.

sternhowardLegal Analysis and Brief Historical Background of “Stern Versus Sirius” Suit.  Sometimes it is, as Mel Brooks commented in his movie “The History of the World, Part One,” good to be the king.  But other times it is not.  Howard Stern, the self-proclaimed “King of All Media” took a hit last week when the dismissal of his lawsuit against Sirius XM Radio, Inc. in which he sought more than $300 million in stock awards was upheld by the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court.  In order to understand Stern’s lawsuit, which he filed in 2011, it is important to review the history of Stern’s relationship with Sirius.  In an illuminating article posted today (4/15) TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman explains both the background and legal tenets of this important, high-profile (and big bucks) radio industry case.  To read it, click here.

oneildannyBonneville’s KIRO-AM, Seattle Names Danny O’Neil Late Morning Co-Host.  Bonneville’s “710 ESPN Seattle” names market sports journalist Danny O’Neil co-host of the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program alongside Brock Huard.  O’Neil replaces Mike Salk who moved to WEEI, Boston earlier this month.  The “Brock & Danny Show” debuts today.  The station states that in addition to his on-air duties, O’Neil will write a daily Seattle-focused sports column/blog on 710Sports.com.  During the NFL season, O’Neil will cover the Seattle Seahawks to provide fans with an inside perspective on the team.  O’Neil did three stints with the Seattle Times (1996-97; 1999-2002; 2006-2013) and also wrote for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer from 2002-2006.  KIRO-AM vice president and general manager Dave Pridemore states, “We are extremely excited about teaming up Danny O’Neil with Brock Huard on 710 ESPN Seattle.  I’m sure our listeners will appreciate the combination of an athlete’s insight and analysis with a journalist’s curiosity and straight forward perspective.”  Program director Brian Long says, “Brock and Danny have a natural chemistry and genuine likability that will make for a smart entertaining listen for the Seattle sports fan.”

millerchrisEncouragement and Advice for Lonely Digital “True Believers” at Radio Stations.  Noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller says, “True Believers are the radio folks I talk to who just know deep in their heart of hearts that the brilliant use of our digital tools could help radio be the best it could possibly be.  When I talk with them, they often just see so clearly how to fit all our different platforms together and how to use them.  Most of them seem to feel a level of frustration, too.  I suspect that’s because they are often the one person at work who is both knowledgeable and passionate about the potential of these tools.”  If you think that describes you, in an article posted to today in TALKERS, Miller serves up several good ideas on how to lessen your frustration level as well as help position you as the radio/digital expert in your workplace and help accomplish your goals.  He suggests starting small, pressing for constant improvement and creating an industry-wide community of like-minded broadcasters.  To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, click here.

beckglennGlenn Beck Named Recipient of 2013 Freedom of Speech Award.  The editorial board of TALKERS magazine has named Premiere Networks syndicated radio host, CEO/founder of Mercury Radio Arts, and founder of TheBlazeGlenn Beck the recipient of the 2013 Freedom of Speech Award.  The award is one of the most prestigious honors presented annually in the talk media industry.  The award is presented to an individual in the talk media industry who courageously demonstrates the First Amendment in action, productively promotes its vitality, and inspires increased public awareness of its tenets.  It has an extremely colorful history, sparking heated controversial battles on some occasions, and accruing a roster of outspoken, dynamic recipients as diverse as the medium itself.  Past honorees include Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Michael Savage, Bob Grant, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Al Franken, Juan Williams, Joe Madison, Matt Drudge, Norm Pattiz, Brian Lamb, Jim Farley and more. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This is a tough award to present – especially when the recipient is a politically controversial figure — because people who view the world through the lens of partisan politics immediately see the award as an endorsement of the position expressed by the recipient, as opposed to its deeper, principled meaning.  The only political position held and espoused by TALKERS magazine is our devotion to the tenets of the First Amendment.  Otherwise we are about as non-partisan as you can get.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “This year’s recipient deserves the award for several reasons: First, he has shown enormous courage and creativity in expressing extremely controversial views on both talk radio and cable television; second, he stood up to the powers-that-be at his biggest single platform and dared to risk (and eventually lost) his lucrative job in the process; three, he demonstrates the vital role of showmanship and entertainment in artfully executing his craft within the commercial marketplace while still getting his points across (which is what this business is ultimately about); and four, he has intelligently designed a model of independent broadcasting through his pioneering development of an entrepreneurial ‘media station’ that serves to inspire others, create jobs and pave the way for the next generation of talk show hosts to carve their meaningful niches in the new 21st Century digital reality.”  The 2013 Freedom of Speech Award will be presented to Glenn Beck at Talkers New York 2013.  To see the entire up to the minute agenda, click here.

whi logoSalem Communications Re-Brands WHK, Cleveland “The Answer.”  Following the trend in branding taken by its news/talk stations in New York, Los Angeles, Riverside, Dallas, Houston, Columbus, and Chicago, Salem Communications announced WHK, Cleveland becomes “AM 1420 The Answer.”  Salem VP director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “As our listeners are preparing to write Uncle Sam that fat check, I can’t think of a better day to give Cleveland ‘The Answer’ to why their taxes are so high.  We have the answer for little things like ‘why am I stuck in traffic’ to bigger things like what can conservatives do to win back the White House.”  The on-air lineup, consisting of Salem Radio Network programs, remains the same.  The station adds morning news anchor Jim McIntyre, “one of the most trusted news voices in Greater Cleveland,” as part of its local news, traffic and weather team.  The station is adding a new late night program dubbed, “The 11th Hour,” hosted by McIntyre and Cleveland talk host Tom Kelly that will air at 11:00 pm.  The station says the show “will focus on both local and statewide stories that affect the WHK audience, with news updates and interviews of the day’s newsmakers and journalists.”  Station general manager Mark Jaycox states, “These are very exciting times at Salem Communications of Northeast Ohio.  To be able to take a station like WHK – one rich in Cleveland heritage and Ohio tradition and celebrating its 91st birthday this year – and make it even more relevant and current, while maintaining that strong identity, we are confident our WHK listeners will be pleased with this change.”

mid-westfamilybroadcasting logoMid-West Family Broadcasting Acquires Wisconsin and Illinois Stations from Maverick for $15.5 Million.  Just days after Connecticut-based Maverick Media announced the sale of its Santa Rosa, California stations to Lawrence Amaturo-led Sonoma Media Group, we learn that Mid-West Family Broadcasting is buying Maverick’s Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Rockford Illinois clusters.  The stations in the Rockford market are: adult hits WRTB “Bob FM 95.3,” AC WGFB “B103 FM,” rock WXRX, and comedy WNTA-AM/FM “Funny 1330.”  In Eau Claire, the stations are: news/talk WAYY, sports talk WEAU “ESPN 1150,” classic rock WECL “92.9 The Big Cheese,” AC WIAL, “I-94,” adult hits WDRK “Bob FM 99.9,” and country WAXX.  In a statement, Mid-West Family Broadcasting president Tom Walker says, “We have wanted to grow our company for some time and want to bring the ideals of locally owned radio back to these two cities.  The stations in both Eau Claire and Rockford will continue serving their local markets with the quality programming Mid-West Family brings to all its stations.”

mcconnellmiltMilt McConnell Joins Alpha Broadcasting’s Portland Cluster as SVP and GM.  Former Cumulus Albuquerque market manager Milt McConnell is named the senior vice president and general manager at Alpha Broadcasting’s Portland, Oregon cluster.  McConnell was part of a recent exodus of staffers from the Albuquerque operations that included longtime KKOB talk host Jim Villanucci.  On his new post in Portland overseeing properties including hot AC KBFF “Live 95.5,” triple A KINK, country KUPL “98.7 The Bull,” sports KXTG-AM “750 The Game,” news/talk KXL “FM News 101,” and talk KUFO “Freedom 970,” McConnell says, “I am just thrilled to get back to live and locally owned radio.  What Larry Wilson and Bob Proffitt have crafted with these premier brands at Alpha/Portland is incredible and I am excited about growing our influence in this dynamic city.  The Alpha culture is very reminiscent of the boom years when we were growing Citadel.  The cherry on top is that I get to work with formats that I have experience with and am extremely passionate about.”

smerconishmichaelOdds & Sods.  CBS Radio’s WPHT, Philadelphia debuts its new PM drive program hosted by Dick Morris.  The show is airing from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm…..Meanwhile, longtime WPHT personality Michael Smerconish makes his move to SiriusXM Satellite Radio today.  The program airs on the POTUS channel from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET….Speaking of SiriusXM, the satcaster began a six-week run of a special program hosted by Breitbart News Network chairman Stephen K. Bannon called “Breitbart News Sunday with Stephen K. Bannon” last night at 7:00 pm ET on its conservative talk SiriusXM Patriot channel.  The three-hour call-in show is said to feature commentary and analysis on the stories and narratives that will drive the upcoming week’s news cycle from the editors and contributors of the Breitbart News Network.

miklaszbernieBernie Miklasz to Appear on WXOS, St. Louis Daily.  When WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” midday talk host Bernie Miklasz announced he’d be leaving his daily program on the Hubbard Broadcasting sports talker to focus on his work with the St. Louis Dispatch, the station said it hoped to still have him contributing on a regular basis.  Now, it’s announced that Miklasz will be a regular guest and will be featured at the following times: Monday afternoons at 4:30 on “The Fast Lane,” Tuesday mornings at 9:30 with “Zach and Rammer,” Wednesday evenings at 5:30 on “The Fast Lane,” Thursday mornings 10:30 with “Zach and Rammer,” and Friday afternoons at 12:30 on the new midday program.  Program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert states, “We are thrilled that Bernie Miklasz will still be a part of the ‘101ESPN’ team.  His experienced analysis regarding the local St. Louis and national sports scene is immeasurable, and our listeners really value his comments and opinions.”

barberrickLongtime Denver Talk Host Rick Barber Facing ALS Battle.  Rick Barber was a talk show host on KOA, Denver for more than 30 years.  He exited the station in January of 2012 and was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease — amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – several months ago.  Now, former fellow Denver talk host Peter Boyles is helping alert the industry to Barber’s situation and providing information where people can make donations.  Find that on Boyles’ KHOW, Denver page here.

greatermediagoodguysGreater Media’s Peter Smyth Honored by Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus.  Greater Media chairman and CEO Peter Smyth is pictured here at the 12th Annual Good Guys Awards on Thursday, April 11 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston.  The awards event was produced by the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus which honored Smyth for his continued support of women and families in Massachusetts.  Smyth is an active philanthropist working with many organizations that advocate for women and families including the United Way of Massachusetts, the New England Baptist Hospital and Emerson College. In addition, he is a supporter of GRLZ Radio, a radio station giving young women a voice in their community.  MWPC executive director Priti Rao states, “We were very excited to honor Peter Smyth as one of our Good Guys.  His dedicated advocacy to advance women serves as a role model to our community. His support of programs and initiatives that improve the welfare and safety of women and families has been indispensable.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Greater Media VP of corporate communication Heidi Raphael, “HOT 96.9” morning show co-host Pebbles, Greater Media Boston market manager Rob Williams, Smyth, “Hot 96.9” APD and digital media brand manager Jill Strada, WROR general sales manager Matt DiRoberto and Greater Media VP of program development Buzz Knight.

Friday, April 12, 2013

| April 12, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leave It To Leykis To Blow It Up

| March 19, 2013

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

mcmahonfieldmarshallLOS ANGELES — Master marketer Vince McMahon continues to build a vast “Sports Entertainment” empire largely owing to his uncanny knack of giving the “universe” of WWE fans the product they crave, a philosophy congruous with that of Massachusetts-born entrepreneur Marshall Field, who stressed that his Chicago-based department stores should, “Give the lady what she wants.”

Simon & GarfunkelThose taking heed of Messrs. McMahon and Field will – as Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel intoned in 1970 – “Keep the Customer Satisfied” (the “B” side of “Bridge over Troubled Water”).

Not only is the same applicable to an intensely entertaining and astute talk radio personality, it is his program’s cornerstone mantra.

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Sports Talk Network Update: Heavyweights Covering All Bases

| January 2, 2013

Part One: CBS Launches New Network

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELES — “Happy Sports Year!”

That could easily be the battle cry sentiment among ardent fans to welcome 2013, even if it means that many of them will require scorecards to track the whereabouts of some of their favorite sports radio personalities.

A perennial sports talk talent MVP tops the headlines by switching teams, while some new names get to crack opening-day lineups, as not one – but two – national sports networks are being introduced this year, each carrying instantly-recognizable name branding.

One of them in fact, is making its maiden voyage today (Wednesday, January 2) and, if all goes according to plan, many radio station managers and programmers will be echoing that “Happy Sports Year!” declaration in about 11 months as their way of assessing 2013.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

| December 20, 2012

obamabarackPresidential Election Tops List of Most-Discussed Stories on News/Talk Radio in 2012.  Obama is Most Talked-About Person.  According to TALKERS magazine’s tabulations, the Presidential Election ranks as the most-talked-about story of 2012 on the nation’s news/talk radio stations and programs.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It isn’t even close.  The election stood out far and away as a topic in its own right, as well as a catalyst for so many of the other subjects that comprise the meat and potatoes of news/talk conversation ranging from economics to foreign policy to personality gossip.  It is difficult to track and calculate a list of this nature because stories and subjects overlap and play into and off of each other.  The presidential race is both an ongoing process and then a climactic event that brings so many different issues into play; it permeates the very fiber of what this format is all about.”   Casey adds, “Interestingly, there is so much overlap and interplay between stories that even with the effort to sort them out individually certain stories are so connected that we list them as ties in the Top 10 – such as the connection between the so called Fiscal Cliff and Euro Zone Troubles, or the Benghazi Attack and the Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal.”

The following are the 10 most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio in 2012:

1)      2012 Presidential Election

2)      ‘Fiscal Cliff’/Euro Zone Troubles

3)      SCOTUS ObamaCare Decision

4)      Benghazi Attack/Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal

5)      Newtown Massacre/Aurora Theater Slayings

6)      Syria Revolt/Egypt Instability

7)      Rush Limbaugh “Slut” Controversy

8)      Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Ambitions

9)      Trayvon Martin Case

10)    Hurricane Sandy

Other major news/talk radio topics worthy of mention include the Wisconsin Recall Election, the “Fast and Furious” Investigation, the Sandusky Trial and the Facebook IPO.

President Barack Obama tops the TALKERS list of the most-talked-about people on news/talk radio in 2012 which according to limbaughrushKevin Casey is no surprise: “The President of the United States has topped this survey in all of the 22 years that TALKERS magazine has been conducting it – election year or not.  This includes George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.”  It is interesting to note that Rush Limbaugh is on this year’s list – not the first time it has happened – indicating what a huge newsmaker the format’s most-listened-to-player is in addition to being someone who talks about key figures.  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “The colorful people who perform on this great stage love to talk about the medium itself.  Limbaugh, of course, is constantly in the news and has long been an ongoing topic as well as talker.  Others who fit this bill over many years include Howard Stern, Michael Savage, Don Imus and Dr. Laura Schlessinger to name the standouts. They sure do bring a lot to the table.”

The following are the 10 most-talked-about people on news/talk radio in 2012.  Note, in cases in which two people are intrinsically connected in terms of the story in which they were co-players, they are listed as tied for their position:

1)      Barack Obama

2)      Mitt Romney

3)      John Boehner

4)      Hillary Clinton

5)      John Roberts

6)      David Petraeus/Paula Broadwell

7)      Christopher Stevens/Susan Rice

8)      Adam Lanza/James Holmes

9)      Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman

10)    Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke

tantarosandreaTRN Entertainment Debuts the Andrea Tantaros Show in January.  National talk programming syndicator Talk Radio Network Entertainment announces it is bringing political commentator, syndicated columnist and Fox News Channel personality Andrea Tantaros to the radio for a three-hour program to air live in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET slot formerly held by Laura Ingraham.  Tantaros is a co-host of the popular FNC program, “The Five.”  TRNE describes the program saying it “will engage listeners who want to be informed and entertained with smart, edgy, and funny but matterajasonresponsible commentary on politics, pop culture, Wall Street and entertainment.  The show is designed to attract the broadcast spectrum of listeners profitably for its station affiliates.”  Tantaros will be joined by Jason Mattera, a two-time New York Times best-selling author, the youngest editor of a national periodical, Human Events, and the host of “The Jason Mattera Show” on weekends at WABC in New York.  TRNE CEO Mark Masters says, “In a post 2008–2009 economy, we have been seeking shows that are highly entertaining, yet responsible and profitable for our station affiliates and advertisers.  Andrea has the ability to do both.  She’s a fresh voice who will inject new energy to the airwaves.”  Tantaros says she’s delighted to partner with TRN on this project.  “They’re the best in the business at making sure affiliates and audiences get hard-hitting and informative commentary that keeps them coming back for more.  I promise you this: it’s going to be fun.”

DG-logoHorizontalLaunchpad Digital Media and Dial Global Partner for Podcast Programming.  This deal gives Dial Global an avenue for podcasting from its talent pool – Dennis Miller, “Loveline,” Billy BushCharles Osgood, country programming, DG Sports and NBC Sports Radio – via the Courtside Entertainment digital division Launchpad Digital Media.  Dial Global co-CEO Spencer Brown states, “Defining great media means delivering the highest quality content to the largest launchpad logobrownspenceraudience.  This new partnership with Launchpad Digital Media significantly augments Dial Global’s capability to do both by opening new creative avenues for top talent and new doors for advertisers to access the widening on-demand podcast audience.”  Courtside Entertainment founder and Launchpad chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Since we announced our move into podcasting the response has been off the charts.  The partnership between Kit Gray and Courtside establishes Launchpad with a proven track record of revenue generating success.  We have now added new programming which is currently delivering over 90 million downloads per month, including our deal with Dial Global.  We are excited to partner with Dial Global to bring some of the most well-known and trusted brands in sports, news and entertainment to the growing roster of Launchpad podcast offerings.”

kinosianmikeNovember Was Very Good to All-News Radio.  Arbitron’s November PPM data was, in general, very good to the nation’s all-news outlets.  Recently, TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian detailed his analysis of news/talk’s November PPM data, concluding it was generally a very good month for that format.  Here, Kinosian runs the numbers for major all-news outlets and gives four-month trends for those stations.  See his analysis of the nation’s all-news stations here.

kmjlogoKMJ-AM/FM, Fresno Names John Broeske and Jennifer Lipp Midday Partners.  Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno announces a new local talk program that will air from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on both KMJ-AM and KMJ-FM, beginning January 2.  The John and Jen show will feature current KMJ-FM morning drive host Jennifer Lipp (who will continue to host the 6:00 am to 8:00 am program) and longtime Fresno market radio lippjenpro John Broeske.  A release from KMJ says Broeske has been a talk host, programmer, manager and consultant.  He led the station from 1987 to 2007, “directing it to the leadership position that continues to this day.”  KMJ and Peak Broadcasting SVP Patty Hixson says, “There is simply no better choice for this important time slot than the merger of two of the biggest names in Central California radio…they will bring their extensive experience and name recognition to a broad-based, advertiser-friendly show that will be a big success on KMJ for years to come.”  Operations manager Skip Essick adds, “The John and Jen show will be a fast-paced, topical, entertaining view of life in Central California as lived by two people who know the area very well.  From politics to pop culture, local or national, if it matters to the Central Valley, it will be covered by John and Jen on KMJ every day.”

pinkusgeoffWCKG, Chicago Adds Geoff Pinkus for Middays.  Suburban talk outlet WCKG, Elmhurst, Illinois announces local personality Geoff Pinkus will host the midday show on “The Voice of DuPage County” beginning January 7.  In a press release, Pinkus states, “For years I was told I’d get a daily show ‘when hell freezes over!’  The Twinkie is gone.  The Mayan calendar is ending…and now WCKG finally decides to hire me?  Coincidence?  Maybe.  All I know is I’ve got some storable food, water stockpiles, good cigars, and a microphone ready.  Starting January 7, 11:00 am, we’re rockin’ the suburbs.  We’re going to have fun on the radio again with real people.”  WCKG airs “Mancow in the Morning,” and Dan Patrick among other syndicated programs.

jonesadamCBS Radio’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” Tabs Adam Jones for Evening Show.  With the departure of Damon Amendolara to CBS Radio Sports Network to host his “D.A. Show” in the overnight slot on the network, CBS Boston woos Adam Jones away from ESPN to take over the 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm program on “98.5 The Sports Hub.”  Jones had been working for ESPN Radio handling a fill-in role and hosting the online Adam Jones show.  Before that he had been working with WBZ-FM as a fill-in host and co-hosting a weekend show with Boston sports writer Dan Shaughnessy.  CBS Radio Boston vice president of programming Mike Thomas says, “It’ll be great to have Adam back at ‘The Sports Hub.’  We had a lot of very good candidates apply for this job, but with his previous work here and the experience he gained after leaving ‘The Sports Hub,’ Adam was the clear choice.  Damon did a fantastic job coming into this market and hosting the evening show.  I’m confident Adam can pick up where D.A. left off and continue to grow the audience.”

nielsen logoNon-Subscriber Station Exec Speaks His Mind on Arbitron/Nielsen Merger.  Fred Lundgren, CEO of talker KCAA, Yoma Linda, California, hopes that Nielsen will change what he describes as thearbitron “exclusionary methodology” of Arbitron.  In an opinion piece posted today (12/20) in TALKERS, Lundgren writes, “Moreover, let’s hope Nielsen’s acquisition will lead to comprehensive listener surveys across all platforms, which will add value to our industry, rather than further draining resources from traditional media already stagnated by the economy and over-consolidation.”  In a biting commentary, Lundgren asks, “According to Arbitron, nobody listens to KCAA.  Are we to believe that KCAA has no listeners to any of 50-plus locally produced, weekly programs on subjects ranging from a vegan lifestyle to marijuana legalization?  According to Arbitron, no one listens to any broadcaster on KCAA, not even Roseanne Barr, Joyce Riley, Don Imus, Dave Ramsey, Alex Jones or Ed Schultz.   Read Fred Lundgren’s article here.

noorygeorgePremiere Networks’ George Noory Hosts “End of the World” Show Friday.  With the ancient Mayan calendar possibly predicting the end of the world on Friday the 21st, “Coast to Coast AM” personality George Noory is hosting a special “End of the World” edition of his program.  The show will feature a number of special guests and experts, including author/prophecy expert John Hogue and author/lecturer/aerospace engineer Mike Bara, who will share their predictions, in addition to conversations with listeners.  Noory shared his own doomsday prediction in a December 19 Huffington Post story in which he states, “Any calamity that might occur doesn’t affect one, it affects all of us, and we’ll get through it together as a team, one way or another.”

hayworthjdTalk Host J.D. Hayworth Keeps Busy This Holiday Season.  Former Arizona Congressman and talk radio pro J.D. Hayworth is all over the radio this holiday season on a series of fill-in gigs.  Hayworth tells TALKERS magazine he’s sitting in on the morning show at Clear Channel’s “Rush Radio” in North Carolina – WPTI, Greensboro and WRDU, Raleigh – December 26 – 31.  He’ll be in afternoon drive on Cumulus’ KABC, Los Angeles December 24 – 28 (with a break on Christmas Day).  Plus, he’ll sit in for Mike Huckabee on his national program December 26 – 28 and January 2 – 4.  Additional appearances include guest stints at KSFO, San Francisco; WLS, Chicago; and WMAL, Washington…as well as continuing fill-in work in Philly on WPHT.

tuneinlogoTuneIn Adds 18 Broadcasters to the Service.  Digital content aggregator TuneIn announces it has signed deals with 18 more broadcasters to distribute their programming via TuneIn’s global digital application.  New broadcasters include Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” program, Motley Fool Radio, Progressive Voices and others.  The company states, “This news comes at a period of continued growth and momentum for TuneIn, which has 40 million monthly active listeners, 70,000 AM, FM, HD and Internet radio stations and more than two million on-demand programs streaming from every continent.  As part of these alliances, TuneIn will provide each broadcaster with access to free, industry-leading tools, such as analytics through TuneIn Amplifier, and access to the audio service’s ad platform.”

Gun Law Changes, Mental Health Care System, ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Debate, Benghazi-State Department Report, and Mayan ‘Doomsday’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/19).  The debate over changes to America’s gun laws; discussion about mental health care and screenings in the U.S.; the debate in Washington over avoiding the “fiscal cliff”; the report on the State Department’s handling of the Libya situation; and the Mayan calendar’s “end of the world” prediction were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

| December 4, 2012

Howard Stern Returns for Another Season on “America’s Got Talent.”  The rest of the judges panel is not set but SiriusXM superstar talk host Howard Stern announced to his listeners on Monday that he’s back for another season of “America’s Got Talent.”  Access Hollywood reports Stern said, “I really feel my work is unfinished there.  I really do think I can find a superstar act.  I really just feel like I can do something great.”  Stern says he’ll miss Sharon Osbourne, who has elected not to return to the program this season.  But in true Howard Stern fashion, he mentioned he’s concerned about who the other judges will be, saying if they’re not good, it makes the job a drag.  “That’s gonna make the job tedious, and boring and aggravating.”

KIRO-FM, Seattle Promotes Andrew Walsh to Evening Host.  Producer and radio personality Andrew Walsh is named the host of the evening program on Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle, filling the slot left open when John Curley was promoted to anchor of the station’s morning drive show.  Walsh has been a fill-in host at the station in addition to his work as producer of the “Ross and Burbank Show” and co-host of the “Too Beautiful to Live” podcast with Luke Burbank.  Program director Larry Gifford states, “Andrew continues to impress me with his news sense, story-telling ability, self-effacing humor and unique point of view.  Andrew will be a terrific addition to our daily KIRO Radio programming lineup.”  Walsh started his radio career in New Hampshire where he served as a public radio producer for eight years.  He spent one year at KUOW Public Radio in Seattle as producer.  About his new position, Walsh says, “I’m going to use this show to try to pull listeners a little closer to their radios, and sometimes pull them right into the radio with us.  I see this as a chance to develop a new type of relationship with the KIRO audience — and not the unhealthy kind that my therapist keeps warning me about.”

Sabo Media Launches Internet Radio Initiatives; Enters into Relationship with Party 934.  Media consultant Walter Sabo announces his company, Sabo Media, through its Internet Radio Initiatives, is identifying “several online entertainment companies that are at the cutting edge of presenting fresh, new shows.”  One of the products of that is his new relationship with The Freeform Radio Initiative’s PARTY 934.  Sabo states, “PARTY 934 curates its programs in a stunning, easy-to-use manner.  The shows are passionate, fun and involve the community.  It is in the best spirit of progressive rock, free-form radio and compelling talk radio.  In working with PARTY 934 we will help the organization achieve its goals in content creation while preserving the spirit of citizen broadcasters…For a decade we have advised media clients to deliver on the promise of the first name of the internet: World Wide.  PARTY 934 brings that promise to life, giving listeners a fresh, global radio experience.”  Party 934 is an official project of The Freeform Radio Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  It is the mission of The Freeform Radio Initiative and Party 934 to provide diverse and innovative online broadcasting that reflects the interests and concerns of the community, thus, creating broad cultural and educational experiences for communities impacted negatively by the lack of digital and technological advancement in innovative new media.  Freeform Radio Initiative founder Scott McWilliams says, “Walter is helping to make our on-air personalities more professional.  As a station that encourages ‘regular people’ to do radio shows, people like Walter mentor and guide our personalities to be the best they can be.  Walter is a great addition to our team because of his extensive background and attention to detail.  We are glad to have him on board.”

Dave Ramsey to Be Inducted into NAB Hall of Fame.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Dave Ramsey will be inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the NAB Show in April.  The NAB’s executive vice president of radio John David says in announcing the honor, “Dave Ramsey has influenced countless Americans through his sound financial advice and inspirational messages.  We are pleased to induct him into NAB’s Broadcasting Hall of Fame.”  The induction will take place during the NAB Show Radio Luncheon, on Tuesday, April 9 in Las Vegas and sponsored by ASCAP.  Ramsey will join such radio greats as Bob Uecker, Gerry House, Ron Chapman, Vin Scully, Jack Buck, Harry Carey, Larry Lujack, Rick Dees, Dick Purtan and Dick Orkin in the Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

KIDO, Boise and Host Kevin Miller Help Score Cash for Local Animal Shelter.  Peak Broadcasting’s KIDO, Boise and morning drive talk host Kevin Miller (pictured here as you-know-who at a recent fundraiser) worked to help the local Canyon County Animal Shelter take second place in the national ASPCA/Rachael Ray $100,000 Adoption Challenge.  The Canyon County Animal Shelter, with the help of Peak Broadcasting donating PSA time to the cause and Kevin Miller’s PR stunt of living in a cage for a week, won the second-place prize of $50,000.  The shelter was able to get 2,082 animals adopted coming in second only to San Antonio, which won the first-place prize.

Talk Pro Jeff Katz Heard in Miami This Week.  Talk radio personality Jeff Katz, most recently working for Clear Channel at its former news/talk outlet WXKS-AM, Boston, is heard this week in Miami as he fills in on Clear Channel’s news/talk WIOD in the afternoon drive slot today, Thursday and Friday.

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Status, Syria Chemical Weapons Charge, Jovan Belcher Case, and UN Internet Regulation Plans Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/3).  The ongoing posturing in Washington over the coming “fiscal cliff”; intelligence claims that Syria is preparing chemical weapons to use on rebel fighters; the murder-suicide of NFL player Jovan Belcher and Bob Costas’ anti-gun comment; and the UN-proposed internet regulations were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

| September 19, 2012

NAB/RAB Radio Show Opens in Dallas Today.  Thousands of broadcasters from around the nation are gathering at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas for the annual “Radio Show” jointly presented by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).  The theme of this year’s event is ‘Hear What’s Next.”  The entire conference, which runs from this morning until the closing Radio Show Luncheon on Friday afternoon, is devoted to the medium of radio and its commercial industry with an eye on the future — from the music royalties issue to the general challenge of integrating into the digital era.  CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason served as chair of this year’s Radio Show Steering Committee.  TALKERS has correspondents on the scene and will provide coverage of the key events as they unfold.

Michael Harrison to Deliver Address This Morning:  “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?”   TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will be presenting an “info-session” at the Radio Show this morning sponsored by this publication in which he addresses the question, “Can terrestrial radio thrive in the digital era?”  Harrison says, “Survival is not enough.  Survival is just a form of slow death.”  In an accompanying article he writes, “Survival is already happening and it isn’t as much fun as it’s cracked up to be as a spectator sport on the Discovery Channel.  In the reality show called terrestrial radio, sooner than later, survival will run out of gas.  For terrestrial radio, ‘survival’ is simply a slower form of imminent death.  It should be the goal of terrestrial radio to thrive in the digital era. Thrive? Is that even possible? Of course it is — but only if the medium’s players, from the very top on down, muster up the will to conquer the daunting obstacles standing before them.  It will take vision and courage fueled by bold ideas and action to slay the five-headed dragon threatening terrestrial radio with premature obsolescence.”  To read the entire article, click here.  If you are in Dallas, you can attend Harrison’s presentation in the Emerald Room at 10:15 am CT.

Entercom Announces Deal with ESPN to Split WEEI, Boston’s AM and FM Signals.  Beginning October 5, ESPN Radio’s national sports talk lineup will be heard on WEEI-AM at 850 in Boston and the local talk of Entercom’s Boston sports brand will broadcast solely on WEEI-FM at 93.7.  This is a great deal for ESPN, which gets a Boston clear for its sports talk programming and play-by-play, including the entire MLB schedule (including this year’s playoffs), the NBA and college hoops and football.  The AM side is being re-branded “ESPN on WEEI.”  On the FM side, the Boston sports talker will still be the exclusive home of Red Sox baseball, Celtics basketball and NFL play-by-play.  For WEEI’s web presence, ESPNBoston.com will power WEEI.com’s video player with ESPN video content.  Entercom president and CEO David Field states, “We are excited to be expanding our partnership with ESPN in such a meaningful way.  Combining Boston’s leading sports station, WEEI-FM, and the new ESPN on WEEI 850 AM, together with our ability to cross promote content through our existing mobile and digital platforms, gives passionate Boston sports fans the very best in local and national sports content.”

WSAU-AM/FM, Wausau, Wisconsin Give Political Candidate Free Air Time in Equal Time Deal.  Pat Snyder is the morning drive host on Midwest Communications news/talk combo WSAU-AM/FM, Wausau, Wisconsin.  He’s also a Republican candidate for State Assembly but his popularity with listeners meant the station didn’t want to take him off the air until it had to.  The Wausau Daily Herald reports that since Snyder worked until August 30 – almost two weeks after Democrat Mandy Wright became his opponent on August 14 – Wright became eligible for equal time compensation.  So the station will give Wright five-and-a-half hours of time in the form of commercials to air between now and election day.  She tells the paper she’s happy with the deal and that the station was “amicable” in dealing with her.

Jim Ingstad’s Radio Fargo-Moorhead to Sell Cluster to Midwest Communications.  The six-station cluster of Jim Ingstad’s Radio Fargo-Moorhead will be sold to Wausau, Wisconsin-based Midwest Communications, pending FCC approval.  The stations are: news/talk KFGO-AM, sports KVOX-AM, classic hits KBVB-FM, Top 40 WDAY-FM, talk KRWK-FM and CHR KMJO-FM.  Six years ago Ingstad bought the stations from Clear Channel – the company that had purchased the stations from him several years prior.  No purchase price has been announced.

Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart to Debate Prior to the Election.  Dubbed “The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium” and taking place at Washington, DC’s George Washington University on October 6, Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly (also heard on news/talk radio stations via his daily feature distributed by Courtside Entertainment) and “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart will mix it up in a 90-minute debate about election issues.  O’Reilly and Stewart have a friendly but adversarial relationship and have both appeared on each other’s shows.  According to Deadline.com, the debate will be broadcast over the internet in a pay-per-view model.

WJJG, Chicago Flips Calls to Historic WCKG.  Talk outlet WJJG (licensed to Elmhurst, Illinois) is taking the calls of the former CBS Radio hot talk outlet WCKG-FM – once home to Howard Stern, Steve Dahl and others during its heyday.  The station says in a statement, “WCKG has boasted Chicago and national radio stars the likes of Bob Sirott, Steve Dahl, Howard Stern, Kevin Matthews, Jonathon Brandmeier, Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew Pinsky, Garry Meier, and Stephanie Miller.  Now, WCKG fans can add Mancow Muller, Alex Jones, and Michael Savage to the list of radio superstars linked to WCKG, on AM 1530.  General manager Matt Dubiel has been operating the station for the past year and has re-tooled the station’s programming lineup, marketing, studios and engineering.  He says he has plans to add live and local talk shows and a suburban showcase studio next.  “My mission is to bring WCKG to a worthy DuPage County suburb.  It’s high time for DuPage to have a marquee radio station with top-level talent serving our communities and Main Street businesses.”

Managing the Tight Sports Talk Playlist.  Sports talk hosts wishing to depart from the small number of stories in which their audience is interested on any given day do so at the risk of massive tune out.  WFAN, New York host Richard Neer writes that today’s sports talk host must work that much harder to keep those few topics fresh to serve both the new listeners coming in and the ones who’ve been along for the ride for some time.  Doing that and avoiding the temptation to veer off into uncharted waters are two of the biggest challenges for sports talkers.  Read Richard Neer’s column here.

Morning Host Hank Bonecutter Let Go from WJZM, Clarksville, Tennessee.  The twist here is that Hank Bonecutter, host of “The Bone Show” on news/talk/sports WJZM, Clarksville, Tennessee, is the former owner of the station and he just completed the sale of it to new owners Dave Loos Jr., Greg Walker and Mike Parchman in August.  He’d been affiliated with the station since 1973 and bought it in 1994.  He tells The Leaf Chronicle, “I have no ill will.  They have to do what they have to do.  I wasn’t sure I’d stay on to the end of the year anyway…My reporting and all we were doing was not in their whole scope of what the station would be about.  I don’t think there’s any question I’ve rubbed a lot of people the wrong way for several years.  I’m sure they were taking a lot of heat from some folks in town, but I can’t speak to whether that was part of their decision or not.”

Critics Slamming NBC TV’s Ouster of Ann Curry from “Today.”  In a story in the New York Post, many industry watchers are saying the network’s move to bump Ann Curry from its morning news/talk show “Today” is not getting the intended result: improved ratings.  In the three months since Curry was replaced by Savannah Guthrie, the ratings have slid further.  According to the story, with Ann Curry in the lineup the show averaged 4.94 million total viewers and 2.1 million viewers in the 25 to 54 demo in the 10 weeks before she left.  Since then, “Today” has dropped to 4.6 million total viewers and 1.9 million in the 25 to 54 demo in the 10 weeks after she was replaced.

Odds & Sods.  CBS Radio gears up for the 29th NewsRadio 1020 KDKA Spaghetti Breakfast being held this Friday from 5:00 am to 9:00 am at the Heinz Hall Garden Plaza in downtown Pittsburgh.  The breakfast feast features “KDKA Morning News co-hosts Larry Richert and John Shumway…..WHO, Des Moines PM drive host Simon Conway sits in today through Friday for Premiere Networks’ “America Now” with Andy Dean…..Corporate Turnaround partners with Broadcast Affiliate Sales to debut its new daily radio feature that consists of intriguing stories about ways business can improve and grow.  BAS’ Mike Tyler says, “Corporate Turnaround’s daily feature discusses many ways small business can improve their financial condition.  This feature will help radio stations get new advertisers.  The listeners will enjoy the feature and small business will get much needed information.”

Romney ‘Reliant on Government’ Comments, Media Matters-DOJ Relationship, and Libya U.S. Consulate Attack Aftermath/Muslim World Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/18).  The fallout from a secretly recorded video of Mitt Romney speaking to donors about the 47% of President Obama’s base who are “reliant on government”; questions about whether Media Matters for America has a working relationship with the Department of Justice; the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya and the ongoing anti-America protests in the Muslim world were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Please Stop Copying

| September 17, 2012

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
Chairman

NEW YORK — Each talk host has a unique set of life experiences, opinions and feelings. When a host is encouraged and allowed to express their unique world view, the result is compelling radio and the cume grows. Tragically, and it is tragic, at some point most hosts are told to “sound more like…” or “did you hear so and so today?”

The reason Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura have been so successful is that they copy no one.  You may be surprised to learn that Howard Stern has never listened to most of the other hosts he’s bashed.

When working with talent it is never wise to encourage them to listen to other hosts because it destroys their internal navigation system. Each host has stories they want to tell, ideas they want to present and blessed opinions that must be heard. When they are forced to monitor other hosts, their own instincts soften and ultimately crumble.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

| August 29, 2012

Other Defendants Named in Mark Masters’ TRN Lawsuit Against Dial Global Claiming Monopoly Practices.  As reported yesterday (8/28) by TALKERS, these companies, referred to generally in the industry as Talk Radio Network (TRN), include The Original Talk Radio Network, Inc., Talk Radio Network Enterprises, LLC and Talk Radio Network-FM, Inc.   They have initiated the filing of a Federal action against Dial Global, Inc. and multiple other parties, asserting antitrust, anti-monopoly and other claims. The complaint, which demands a jury trial, is titled “Complaint for Violations of the Sherman Act and the Cartwright Act, and for Fraudulent Inducement, Interference with Contract and Interference with Prospective advantage.”  In addition to Dial Global, it specifically names: Excelsior Radio Networks, Triton Radio Networks, Triton Media Group, Oaktree Capital Management, Verge Media Companies, Courstide, LLC, Compass Media Networks, Compass Media Marketing, and WYD Media Management.  Individuals named include Spencer Brown, David Landau, and  Ken Williams of  Dial Global, Ron Hartenbaum of WYD, Peter Kosann of Compass, and Norm Pattiz of Courtside.  To see the entire complaint click here.

Big Staffing Changes at Federated Media in Fort Wayne.  Last week TALKERS reported the departure of WOWO, Fort Wayne program director Gregg Henson and his replacement by Woody Zimmerman.  Now, after almost 18 years with Federated Media, chief operating officer Mark DePrez announces his departure from the company.  Brad Williams, who had been overseeing the Indiana markets of South Bend, Elkhart and Warsaw, will also be in charge of the company’s Fort Wayne and Auburn, Indiana markets as he becomes COO.  But that’s not all, as Indiana Radio Watch reports national sales manager Mary DePrez, production director Steve Starbrelz (this November would mark his 35th year there), classic hits WMEE, Fort Wayne middayer Zack Skyler, country WQHK, Fort Wayne GSM Suzee Leavell and several sales staffers have also left the building.  IRW also reports Clint Marsh becomes GM of the South Bend properties.  On his tenure with Federated Media, DePrez states, “After almost 18 years I’m leaving Federated Media.  We accomplished great things in Fort Wayne but all good things must come to an end.  I am grateful to the Dille family for the four promotions over those 18 years including my recent tenure as COO.  For a decade it has been my distinct honor to be the custodian of such iconic brands as WOWO, WQHK (K-105) WMEE and more recently WBYR (98.9 The Bear).  I am immensely proud of the talented team we assembled and know they will continue to do great things.”  DePrez is available for his next challenge.  He says, “For employers looking for an executive obsessed with top line performance and profit optimization they can contact me at markdeprez2@gmail.com or 260-385-2574.”

ESPN and Major League Baseball Agree to $5.6 Billion Deal.  The new contract between ESPN and MLB goes through 2021 and runs an average of $700 million per year for TV, digital, radio and other rights.  ESPN is currently paying about $305 million per year for TV and about $50 million for radio rights.  The new contract would almost double that but gives ESPN more flexibility, some playoff game rights as well as international rights.  For radio it means increased ESPN Radio rights, including the additional right to co-exist during two Saturday windows per team, per year.

Patt Morrison’s Southern California Public Radio Show Cancelled.  The popular Southern California public radio figure will remain with the organization but Patt Morrison’s six-year-old afternoon program will end on September 10.  The move is part of a series of programming changes at KPCC, Pasadena that include the expansion of the Brand & Martinez program and the addition of the “BBC News Hour” and “The World.”  KPCC VP for content Russ Stanton is quoted telling the Los Angeles Daily News, “While the show may be leaving, Patt isn’t.  What we’re trying to do is take a lot of the segments that she’s produced – which are very popular with a large part of our listening audience – and spread those a little more throughout the programming day when there are a lot more listeners than there are in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot.”  SCPR notes Morrison will still cover the Democratic National Convention for the organization.

NBC Sports Radio and Dial Global Announce More Sports Talk Hires.  As NBC Sports Radio continues to prepare for the September 4 launch of the new network, more hosts and sports anchors are being hired.  Former NFL star Amani Toomer will team with Eytan Shander (most recently with SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio) for a 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET sports talk show.  Dan Schwartzman  – who’s worked for WPEN, Philadelphia and ESPN in New York – will host an overnight show from 1:00 am to 5:00 am ET Tuesdays through Saturdays and Kay Adams joins the network as sports anchor working the 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm shift Monday through Friday.  Dial Global is NBC’s partner in ad and affiliation sales and distribution.

Forbes Releases New Highest Paid Celebrities List.  Four radio stars landed on the Forbes list of the most recent Highest Paid Celebrities.  Of the 21 celebs noted this time around, Howard Stern is the highest at #7 (although he makes a ton of cash from his SiriusXM gig, the NBC TV job helps!); Glenn Beck comes in at #11; Rush Limbaugh lands at #15 and Ryan Seacrest follows at #19.

Larry King to Host Coverage of the RNC on YouTube’s Elections Hub Channel; Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean Joins King on Panel.  Longtime CNN star and broadcasting icon Larry King is now working with Ora TV – the digital on-demand TV network funded by Mexican media magnate Carlos Slim Helu – and Ora TV is partnering with YouTube to produce the Elections Hub channel.  Tonight, King will host coverage of the Republican National Convention live from Los Angeles featuring a roundtable of well-known celebrities and guests on the special series “Ora 2012 with Larry King” from 11:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean will take part on the panel.

Entercom and University of Florida Enter into Sales Agreement.  The college and Entercom Communications have struck a deal which will have Entercom provide sales for the school’s two radio stations – country WRUF-FM and sports talk WRUF-AM.  It’s a seven-year deal that begins in September.  The university notes that the deal “will provide the College with a guaranteed monthly revenue.  Additionally, the stations will participate in a revenue share agreement with Entercom that allows for additional revenue to flow to the stations based on monthly sales performances.  In addition to the joint sales agreement, Entercom is launching an academic enhancement initiative to create internships and student opportunities for the College’s students at the company’s stations in Gainesville and around the country.  These student involvement opportunities, subject to faculty approval, will include sales, digital marketing programming, news, sports, public relations, strategic communications and promotions.”  The stations’ operations director, Jerry Butler, will stay on and co-ordinate the relationship between the stations and Entercom.

Hundreds of Talk Show Hosts from Across Country Broadcasting from RNC.  The invention of the “radio row” – largely developed in the modern talk radio era by Washington, DC-based Talk Radio News Service – has really come into its own at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.  Numerous networks and syndicators have set up shop in elaborate clusters of tables, microphones, remote equipment, banners and, of course, big talking personalities on both sides of the mic.  One of the biggest of these assemblages is again hosted by Talk Radio News Service for its affiliates which include the likes of Rusty Humphries, Phil Valentine, Roger Hedgecock and many more.  TRNS bureau chief Ellen Ratner tells TALKERS, “We have more stations than ever – about 40 stations and programs.  The RNC gave us a prime spot, right next to their booking office.  We are not in the arena but in the building next to it that houses all the press.  Other than press conferences, some longer television interviews and hall confrontations between the news media, radio row is the only place to have an in-depth conversation.  Radio might have lost some of its audience to the internet, but you would never know it from radio row.  Big time politicians want to be there and obviously feel they will get a chance to say what they want. It is still the spot to be and the place to be heard.”

WMAL Morning Hosts on the Scene in Tampa.  The final day of the Republican National Convention is today and talk radio and the national press have been busy bringing the political talk home to their constituents.  Pictured here are WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning drive team Brian Wilson (c) and Bryan Nehman (r) interviewing former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton (l).

Republican National Convention, Tropical Storm Isaac, and Iran-Syria Connection Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/28).  The progress of tropical storm Isaac and the activity from the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay were two of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio.  The growing connection between Iran’s military and the violence in Syria was also a major topic.

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.

 

Friday, June 29, 2012

| June 29, 2012

Programmer Jack Silver Exits Cumulus Los Angeles Post.  The KLOS and KABC program director tells Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor that he’s leaving the position with “solid numbers” at the classic rock FMer KLOS.  And it sounds as though he’s ready for his next opportunity as he says, “I’ve got many miles left on my odometer.”  KLOS is facing a big change in the fall as one half of the quarter-century old AM drive team of Mark and BrianMark Thompson – will retire in August leaving a challenge for the station’s next programming team.  As for news/talk KABC, Arbitron’s May PPM has the station in 22nd place (persons 6+) with a 0.9 share and a cume of 349,500.  Bringing KABC back to ratings (and presumably) revenue relevance is considered one of the most formidable challenges in talk radio since the station faces competition in the form of Clear Channel’s perennial crosstown juggernaut KFI, whose May PPM numbers put the station in third place with a 4.5 share (persons 6+) and a cume of 1,105,300.  There’s been no announcement by Cumulus Media about Silver’s replacement although industry observers speculate that the program director position will continue to be one person overseeing both outlets just as Silver had been doing and as the company recently instituted at its NYC combo, CHR FMer WPLJ and AM news/talker WABC.

Howard Stern to Be Inducted into Radio Hall of Fame.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports the Radio Hall of Fame steering committee voted to induct the legendary but controversial broadcaster into the Chicago institution at its November 10 ceremonies in the Windy City.  As Feder writes, “The most conspicuous and embarrassing omission to the Radio Hall of Fame finally will be corrected this fall when Howard Stern takes his place in the Chicago-based shrine to radio’s all-time greats.”  Chairman Bruce DuMont tells Feder, “There wasn’t any great controversy involving Howard’s induction because I think everyone has believed for a long time that he deserved to be inducted.”  Feder says, don’t bet on Stern showing up to accept his award as he’s been outspoken in condemning the Hall as a “sham” and griped about being passed over four times in the past.  Other 2012 inductees include: Gary Burbank, Ron Chapman, Art Laboe, Luther Massingill, Jack Cooper (posthumously), and NPR’s “Fresh Air, hosted by Terry Gross.

WFAN, New York Hosts, Execs to Ring Closing Bell on the NYSE Today.  As CBS Radio’s sports talk WFAN, New York prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary (and the founding of the sports talk radio format) on Sunday, July 1, representatives of the station are being honored by being asked to ring the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange this afternoon at 4:00 pm ET.  Morning drive hosts Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton, and evening host and 25-year WFAN veteran Steve Somers will ring the closing bell.  They’ll be joined at the podium by CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason, CBS Radio COO Anton Guitano, CBS Radio SVP of programming Chris Oliviero, and CBS Radio New York SVP and market manager Don Bouloukos.

Pollster Scott Rasmussen to Debut TV Show in September.  Rasmussen Reports founder Scott Rasmussen – whose daily features are syndicated to radio stations across America via the WOR Radio Network – will begin production of a weekly TV show titled “What America Thinks with Scott Rasmussen” in September.  So far, stations committed to airing the program include: WCBS-TV, New York; KCBS-TV, Los Angeles; KYW-TV, Philadelphia; WADL, Detroit and others.

Financial Talk Host Chris Markowski to Host Daily Program on Salem’s WGUL/WLSS, Tampa.  Talk host and financial expert Chris Markowski – whose weekend talk show “The Watchdog on Wall Street” is syndicated on weekends by Talk Radio Network to more than 100 markets – returns to a daily talk program on Salem Communications’ Tampa-area simulcast of WGUL and WLSS.  The show will air daily from 5:00 am to 6:00 am beginning Monday, July 2.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  The 8th annual “Don’t Give Up ESPYS V Foundation Auction” is being held Sunday, July 1 to Wednesday, July 11.  The 11-day online and on-air public auction will feature hundreds of items and experiences for bid to raise money and awareness for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. Last year’s ESPN Radio “Don’t Give Up ESPYS V Foundation Auction” raised $810,000 in net proceeds for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.  The event has raised more than $4.9 million in its seven years…..Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston announces Jim Braude and Margery Eagan will host the only radio debate between Republican U.S. Senator Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren.  The date and time for the debate are being worked out…..SiriusXM is offering comprehensive coverage of MLB’s All-Star Week featuring Cal Ripken Jr. and Bill Ripken’s “Ripken Baseball” live from the MLB All-Star FanFest live on July 9.

Best of the Best.  Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 (WKXW, Trenton) was honored with the “Best of the Best” award by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association for its “Ask the Governor” program that features New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  The Governor was presented the award by the NJBA president and CEO Paul Rotella after the production of the June 28 edition of the program.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Governor Christie, NJ 101.5 executive director news Eric Scott, Paul Rotella, and NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson.

Supreme Court Upholds ObamaCare Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 25-29.  The Supreme Court’s ruling upholding President Obama’s Affordable Care Act – and the anticipation leading up to Thursday’s ruling – was the most-talked-about story of the week landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart.  Coming in at #2 was the 2012 presidential race.  At #3 was the Arizona illegal immigration law ruling and following at #4 was the Eric Holder contempt vote.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the week’s top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published each Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup.  Premiere Networks’ “At Home with Gary Sullivan” weekend home improvement show hits the 200-station mark with recent affiliate additions that include WWIQ-FM, Philadelphia; WTAM, Cleveland; and KPHX, Phoenix…..The Kevin McCullough show adds new affiliates WMCA, New York; KCBQ, San Diego; and KKVV, Las Vegas.  XtreMedia reports the addition of these affiliates pushes the Kevin McCullough show to the 245-affiliate mark…..Dial Global’s “Jill on Money” adds WCCO, Minneapolis to its affiliate roster.  It also reports the CBS Radio-produced “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson is now heard on WAVH, Mobile, Alabama…..KFMB, San Diego adds CBS News Radio to its programming…..The Steve Deace show is added to the programming schedule at WNTP, Philadelphia.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

| June 27, 2012

More Groups Board the iHeartRadio Digital Train.  In what seems to be an industry-wide strategy to battle Pandora in the digital realm, two more groups – Cox Media Group and Emmis Communications – have joined Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio digital audio app.  Cox Media Group will present 86 of its stations from 19 markets and Emmis will offer 20 stations from six markets on the platform.  The iHeartRadio platform now boasts audio from more than 1,000 terrestrial stations from some 150 markets (plus the ability of users to create custom “stations” via song or artist) is available.  Cox Media Group president Doug Franklin says, “Cox Media Group is impressed with the progress that iHeartRadio has made over the last year.  Our strategy is to serve our listeners on as many digital platforms as possible.  We look forward to extending our reach in partnership with iHeartRadio.”  At Emmis, chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan states, “By joining iHeartRadio, we offer our listeners – including listeners of our premiere hip-hop brands Hot 97 in New York and Power 106 in Los Angeles – a great way to continue to enjoy our stations’ content.”

Jacobs Media Study Shows News/Talk Listeners Love Smartphones and Tablets; Not So Big on Social Media.  The results of Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey 8 – data culled from regular radio listeners – indicates regular listeners to news/talk stations like the hardware but are as fond of using social media as primary listeners of other radio formats.  The data was presented in a Jacobs Media webinar yesterday. Jacobs has been offering the webinars in format-specific chunks and yesterday’s focused on news/talk listeners.  Fred Jacobs fed participants data from his company’s annual study and some of the takeaways included interesting data about their media consumption habits such as: News/talk listeners use cellphones, the internet, TV and AM/FM radio on par with listeners to other formats but their using of social media such as Facebook and Twitter is considerably less.  However, when it comes to social media sites, their usage of LinkedIn exceeds that of usage by other format devotees.  As for “first occasion” – which media is consumed first after waking up – 43% of news/talk listeners use radio either at home or in the car.  They are also more likely than users of other formats to check their e-mail or read a newspaper (either in print or online) as their first media experience of the day.  If it’s any inspiration for beefing up the news department, 70% of news/talk listeners cite getting the news/weather/traffic as the number one reason for listening to AM/FM radio compared to 22% for all other formats combined.  Of all the formats, news/talk fans are least likely to “like” a station’s Facebook page but 21% say they check the station’s website every day.  And when it comes to following a station or personality on Twitter, sports talk is the hands-down winner with 51% of sports talk fans saying they do so.  News/talk aficionados do that less than the median with only 24% saying they follow a station or personality on Twitter.  Finally, when it comes to audio and video streaming, 33% of news/talk listeners listen to the station’s stream once per week – below the average of 38% — but 61% of them will stream video once per week – that’s above the average.  When they do, news/talk listeners get their video from network TV first, then cable TV, and their third favorite choice is your news/talk station.

ABC News Radio Partners with Slacker to Offer Lifestyle Talk Channels.  Digital audio service Slacker and ABC News Radio will work together to offer lifestyle talk content targeting men and women – dubbed “Men’s Life” and “Women’s Life.”  Slacker states in a release that the stations can be customized by the user to control the content they hear based on its relevance to them.  Slacker SVP of marketing Jonathan Sasse says, “Our new lifestyle stations capture the most interesting content for men and women from experts in over a dozen subjects.  No other radio service is providing access to content like this, and it is important to us that these stations include the option to customize based on the topics each listener finds most interesting.”  Categories of content available to users include: (for men) Health & Fitness, Games & Gadgets, Food & Drink, Style & Fashion, Cars & Gear, Tech, Travel & Adventure, Entertainment, Money, Relationships, Green Living and Home Improvement. And for women: Hair & Beauty, Style & Fashion, Relationships, Health & Fitness, Money, Entertainment, Food & Drink, Home Living, Tech, Parenting, Travel & Adventure and Green Living.  ABC News Radio VP and general manager Steve Jones says, “Since men and women often have different interests, our new Men’s Life and Women’s Life channels appeal to different sensibilities and styles.  We curate this content to make it unique but ultimately Slacker listeners drive their own experience since they can skip stories within each channel just as they do now with songs.”

Google and SiriusXM Enter into Content Sharing Deal.  Searching for ways to give a boost to its lagging Google TV service, the digital giant has struck a deal with SiriusXM to allow users of Google TV to hear all of the satcaster’s programming – including Howard Stern and the live sports programming.  According to Reuters, the deal is to be announced at a Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco today.  Google TV is a software built in to television sets currently manufactured by Sony, LG Electronics and Vizio.  Major broadcasters have blocked online versions of their content from appearing on Google TV and the service has had a rough start, to say the least.  Netflix and Amazon.com have joined Google TV as well.

Comedian and Morning Show Host Rickey Smiley Extends Deal with Radio One; Two TV Deals in the Works.  Morning radio show host Rickey Smiley inks a contract extension with Radio One that will keep him with the company.  Currently his morning show is heard in 55 markets on urban outlets.  In addition, Smiley is developing a weekly TV sitcom for TV One currently in production in Atlanta.  He will also be part of Fox TV’s “Dish Nation” show that features a number of morning radio hosts from around the country.  Radio One CEO and TV One chairman Alfred Liggins states, “Radio One and TV One are huge believers in investing in quality content.  Rickey Smiley represents a significant multi-media talent and our enhanced backing and long-term investment in his brand represents a commitment we believe is core to our companies’ future strategy.  Rickey Smiley is not only a current star, but he is one of the fastest-growing entertainment brands in any media today.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Adam Carolla’s Carolla Digital enters into a partnership with TuneIn to deliver his content via the digital audio service.  All episodes of every recent Carolla Digital will be available on the service that has some 30 million monthly active listeners…..SiriusXM sports talk host Dino Costa and former college basketball coach Steve Lappas will co-host the satcaster’s coverage of the NBA draft on Thursday, June 28 beginning at 7:00 pm on Mad Dog Radio…..WBZ-FM, Boston – 98.5 the Sports Hub – weekend sports talk host Nick Cattles heads south to become PM drive host at ESPN 94.1 FM (WVSP) serving the Norfolk, Virginia market.  He takes over for Tony Mercurio who exited the station last month…..ESPN Radio presents live, exclusive coverage of the UEFA Euro 2012 Final on Sunday, July 1 at 2:30 pm ET.

Wisconsin Station Flips to Talk Beginning in July.  The La Crosse Radio Group will flip standard WLFN, La Crosse, Wisconsin to news/talk beginning July 1.  The station’s program lineup will feature local talk host Bob Schmidt in morning drive and an eclectic lineup of nationally syndicated talent including: “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” with Gordon Deal, Dial Global’s Dennis Miller, WIBA, Madison-based Vicki McKenna, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish, The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap” with Michael Castner, Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes, and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson.  WLFN program director Neil Klos tells TALKERS, “This radio station was designed local first giving our local listeners a voice.  Our design was not to be ‘political,’ but entertaining and informative.”

Arizona Illegal Immigration Ruling, ‘Fast and Furious’ Contempt Vote, Colorado Wildfire, Looming ObamaCare Decision and Charles Rangel Wins Primary Battle Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/26).  The aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling on the Arizona immigration law; a potential House contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder in the ‘Fast and Furious’ case; the Colorado wildfire that’s displaced more than 30,000 people; the expected decision from the Supreme Court on ObamaCare; and New York Congressman Charles Rangel’s primary election victory were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

| June 20, 2012

Marvin Kalb, Howard Stern Top List of Winners at New York Festivals Radio Awards Show.  Radio legends and new faces shared the stage at New York Festivals’ 30th annual Radio Awards ceremony in Manhattan Monday to honor the most original and innovative work in broadcasting over the past year.  The 2012 edition of the World’s Best Radio Programs featured entries from private stations, public broadcasters and production companies from 28 different countries.  George Washington University’s Global Media Institute was awarded The Grand Jury Trophy for the Best Talk/Interview Special with “The Kalb Report-Anchoring 9/11: The Day and The Decade,” a discussion on the impact of the twin tower attacks with Dan Rather, Brit Hume, Charles Gibson and Frank Sesno.  Host Marvin Kalb attended the awards ceremony, as did his former colleague Richard C. Hottelet, one of the original “Murrow Boys” who covered the Second World War for the CBS Radio News team led by legendary reporter Edward R. Murrow.  (Pictured here is GWU professor and program executive producer Michael Freedman accepting the award.)  Some of the most popular American radio hosts like SiriusXM’s Howard Stern and ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap were also honored.  The Howard Stern Show won a Gold Trophy for “Stern and SNL,” an in-depth special on Saturday Night Live cast member appearances on the hit morning show, while “The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap” received the top award for best regularly scheduled sports program.  On the local level, Clear Channel-owned news/talk KFBK, Sacramento anchor Amy Lewis won the Silver Radio Trophy for Best Health Documentary with her acclaimed “31 survivors in 31 days,” a series of interviews commemorating breast cancer awareness month.  Irish state broadcaster RTE had a big night on the international side, winning the Best Broadcaster of the Year Award for the second year running as well as a combined 15 gold, silver and bronze trophies for various segments.  Several public radio programs from Australia, Austria, Canada, the Netherlands, the UK, Romania, New Zealand and South Korea were also honored. (Story by Sam Trudeau of the Talk Radio News Service)

Jacobs Media News/Talk Webinar Set for June 26.  The last of seven format-specific webinars produced by Jacobs Media and coinciding with the release of data from the firm’s Techsurvey 8 study takes place on Tuesday, June 26 at 2:00 pm ET.  This webinar is designed specifically for news/talk practitioners and promises to provide information on the digital, social and media habits of radio listeners from the largest research project in the industry’s history, according to president Fred Jacobs.  He states, “Response to the study has been amazing since we released the top-line findings.  But the story is deeper in the format data because they’re all different.  Each format-centric audience has a digital footprint.”  Broadcasters wishing to take part in the webinar can find registration information here.

TALKERS New Media Seminar in New York Receives Rave Reviews; Sights Now Set on L.A. Event October 11.  The first of two installments of TALKERS magazine’s innovative and economical one-day model for the New Media Seminar seems to have struck the right chord – at least for the approximately 400 industry professionals who recently packed the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side on Thursday, June 7.  Photo, videos and letters of praise clearly indicate that the first half of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention was a home run that soared, as the saying goes, out of the park.  Now as the editors of TALKERS magazine begin to post pictures, videos and comments from the Big Apple “happening,” the industry begins to anticipate part-two of the exciting event scheduled for Thursday, October 11 in Los Angeles.  See photo gallery and read more here.

Des Moines-Based Steve Deace Becomes Weekly Columnist at the Register.  Syndicated talk radio host Steve Deace is based in Des Moines where his daily two-hour program is heard on Clear Channel’s news/talk WHO.  Sunday, June 24 he begins writing a weekly column for the Des Moines Register that will alternate between Saturdays and Sundays.  Deace says, “I am excited about this opportunity because it gives me a chance to have a bigger platform to specifically address local issues in the community in which I am raising my children, while at the same time it allows me to continue to pursue the goals we have for our syndicated show.”  Deace’s talk program is distributed by The Truth Network.  Although a Christian talk network, many of Deace’s affiliate stations are secular outlets.

Rusty Humphries Headlines Conservative Media Conference.  Talk Radio Network and WGST, Atlanta talk show host Rusty Humphries (pictured here with columnist and media figure Michelle Malkin) was a featured speaker at the recent “RightOnline” conference produced by Americans for Prosperity and held at the Venetian in Las Vegas.  The new media and technology-focused conference spanned two days and Humphries was part of the program at the closing dinner that also included speakers Sarah Palin, Malkin and Scott Rasmussen.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  WLAC, Nashville-based talk host Steve Gill has published – along with co-authors Noelle Federico and Celeste Triola – a new book called, The Patriots Guide to Prayer.  The 136-page, 30-day devotional contains quotes from the Founding Fathers and the Bible and Gill says, “Our Founders were men of deep faith and conviction.  Almost all of them were well versed in the Bible and relied upon it for both spiritual guidance as well as a foundation for the creation of a new nation.  Their words, and the word of God, are as relevant and instructional today as they ever have been.”…..Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee wins a National Edward R. Murrow Award for sports reporting for Dan O’Donnell’s piece about a young boy killed by a drunk driver and his family’s effort to build a baseball field in his honor.  The company’s KTTS-FM, Springfield, Missouri wins a National Edward R. Murrow Award for continuing coverage of last year’s tornado that destroyed much of Joplin, Missouri…..CBS Radio’s KILT, Houston reports baseball great Roger Clemens chose to give the local sports talk station’s Barry Warner and Shaun Bijani the first exclusive interview following his acquittal on perjury charges earlier this week.  Program director Gavin Spittle says, “I think this is great for local radio and proves that once again, it’s one of the top go-to outlets!”

Public Radio Personality Jim Packard Dies at 70.  Jim Packard was a longtime Wisconsin Public Radio personality and also served as the voice of Public Radio International’s “Whad’ya Know?”  Packard, who’d been suffering from cardiopulmonary disease, became sick while in New York on June 9 to tape the PRI program.  He died on Monday, June 18.  He worked for Wisconsin Public Radio from 1981 through 2010.

Euro Zone Debt Crisis, Eric Holder ‘Fast and Furious’ Standoff, 2012 Presidential Race, ‘Flame’ Virus, G20 Summit, and Obama Youth Amnesty Proposal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/19).  The debt crisis facing the European Union; Attorney General Eric Holder’s standoff with Congress on ‘Fast and Furious’ program; the 2012 presidential race; U.S. and Israel’s alleged work to create ‘Flame” virus to slow Iran’s nuclear program’; President Obama faces Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit; and the president’s proposal to give amnesty to illegal alien youths in America were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

The Next Generation.  “Into Tomorrow” nationally syndicated talk host Dave Graveline – he’s the tall one on the left – gives a local cub scout pack a tour of the new studios for his consumer electronics and technology program.  Graveline’s program is produced in South Florida.

Friday, June 15, 2012

| June 15, 2012

WCHB, Detroit Morning Host Mildred Gaddis Investigated by Federal Authorities.  According to a piece in the Detroit News, urban talk WCHB, Detroit morning drive talk host Mildred Gaddis is being scrutinized by federal agents for receiving $75,000 in payments to her ExCel Media company from two former public officials who have been indicted on charges of pocketing public money.  Former Highland Park school board member Robert Davis and former Wayne County assistant executive Michael Grundy were regular guests on Gaddis’ program and authorities are investigating whether the two were buying influence through advertising on the station.  Invoices to Gaddis’ company indicate the money was for “ads and interviews.”  Spokesman Greg Bowens acknowledges firms operated by Davis and Grundy made payments to Gaddis’ company but says they did not receive favorable treatment as a result.  The Detroit News quotes media lawyer and Michigan State journalism professor Jane Briggs-Bunting saying, “Ethically, there are big issues but as far as an FCC violation, I don’t see one.”

Pioneering AOR/Talk Program Director Pat Evans Dies.  The woman who programmed the first FM station to feature Howard Stern in the morning and album rock the rest of the day, Pat Evans, has died in San Francisco after a two-year battle with lung cancer.  Evans came to New York City from her home town of Detroit in 1985 upon being hired by then-Infinity CEO Mel Karmazin to program WXRK (“K-Rock”) where, in addition to working with an outstanding line up of AOR personalities such as Jimmy Fink, Tony Pigg, Meg Griffin, Marc Coppola, Jo Maeder and Maria Malito, she served as one of the first modern era music radio PDs to develop pop culture (“shock jock”) talk in the morning, handling the monumentally historic challenge of working with local AM drive host Howard Stern during his rise to prominence on FM.  She later served as PD of the legendary K-FOG in San Francisco and VP of communications at public broadcasting’s KQED in that city.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who worked with Pat Evans in 1989 as co-producers of the ABC Radio Networks mega special “The Official History of Rock and Roll” states, “Pat was an extraordinary human being who has tragically been taken away from us while still in the prime of her life.  Her love of radio, its music and personalities, was a powerful inspiration to me and so many others.  Her work behind the scenes in facilitating Howard Stern’s early days as an emerging force on the FM dial was a vital component in shaping the course of things to come for decades in this field.  She was one of the true greats of our industry.”

Sports Talk Listeners Very Tech-Savvy According to Jacobs Media Study.  The results of its Techsurvey 8 indicate sports talk radio listeners are extremely tech-savvy and use digital technology to feed their appetite for sports.  Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs states, “Sports radio fans are highly engaged, into gadgets, and especially likely to be connected via Twitter.  They know how to access the sports news and happenings they crave and they deftly use the available tools.  Radio needs to work hard to be their go-to medium.”  Jacobs says the study reveals Twitter is a favorite of sports talk fans and says, “Sports talk fans lead the league for tweeting.  Of those who use this platform, more than half follow a sports talk radio station and/or personality on Twitter.”  Learn more about the study at JacobsMedia.com.

WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey Personality Jack Ellery Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award for NJBA.  New Jersey talk radio personality Jack Ellery has spent close to 50 years of his career at Greater Media’s WCTC, New Brunswick – he started there in 1962 – and he was honored at the recent New Jersey Broadcasters Association conference on June 12 and 13 with the organization’s “Lifetime Achievement” award.  Ellery was also one of eight broadcasters to be inducted into the inaugural class of the NJBA’s Hall of Fame.

Pandora Engages Local Newspapers to Sell Ads for its Service.  The digital music service is entering into relationships with some local newspapers for a reseller program in which newspaper sales staffs sell ads on the Pandora platform.  Papers including the Miami Herald, Salt Lake City Tribune, Tacoma News Tribune and U-T San Diego are working with Pandora on the project.  Pandora has always stated one of its goals is to sell locally – something that sticks in the craw of local radio.  And although Pandora – with its claims of large listening stats – certainly has the users to back up its presence, unlike radio, the more people who listen, the more Pandora must pay for its content.  The service needs to find as much revenue as possible and this deal with local papers is a cost-effective way to get feet on the ground in local markets.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 is honored with two “Best of the Best” awards at the New Jersey Broadcasters Association annual convention.  The station was recognized for “Best News” for its 100+ hours of coverage of Hurricane Irene and “Best Public Affairs” for its monthly “Ask the Governor” program…..Heritage St. Louis news/talk KMOX will soon move to new offices as CBS Radio consolidates its three stations – KEZK-FM, WYKY-FM and KMOX into one office in the Park Pacific building in downtown St. Louis.  Currently, the two music outlets and KMOX are in separate buildings.  KMOX will be the first station to move and should be there by the end of 2012…..SiriusXM announces it will cover every game of the 2012 NCAA College Men’s World Series beginning today through June 24 from TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  America’s Radio News Network adds news blocks to new affiliate WMNI-AM/FM, Columbus…..“Baldwin/McCullough Live” featuring Stephen Baldwin and Kevin McCullough joins stations KCBQ, San Diego; WORL, Orlando; WPNW, Zeeland, Michigan; and KAPE-AM/FM, Cape Girardeau, Missouri…..Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon joins the lineup at WMNI-AM/FM, Columbus…..The Leslie Marshall show joins the lineup at WRJN, Racine, Wisconsin…..Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” is added to the program schedule at WMCD-FM, Statesboro, Georgia; WKBZ, Muskegon, Michigan; WSNJ, Millville, New Jersey.

2012 Presidential Race Returns to Top of Talkers TenTM.  The 2012 campaign for president was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio in America for the week of June 11-15 after dropping to #2 last week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Following at #2 was the Russia-Syria arms connection.  At #3 was the GOP’s pressure on Attorney General Eric Holder in the ‘Fast and Furious’ case followed by the financial instability in the European Union at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, June 11, 2012

| June 10, 2012

Right and Left Come Together at the TALKERS New Media Seminar to Denounce the Practice of Organized Advertiser Boycotts.  They might not agree on many things but a love for the business of talk broadcasting and its role as a vehicle for the practice of the First Amendment can indeed make for strange political bedfellows.  In a rare display of unity, two of the highest-
profile and distinctly politically opposite talk show hosts in the business condemned the increased practice of organized advertiser boycotts by political organizations as a means of shutting down voices on radio and television with which they disagree. 
Conservative host Sean Hannity (Fox News Channel and Premiere Networks) and progressive host Ed Schultz (MSNBC and the independently syndicated Ed Schultz show) delivered their powerful remarks at the TALKERS New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7.  Hannity included the statement as part of his keynote address which opened the conference.  Schultz presented his opinion while delivering the event’s “Annual State of the First Amendment Address.”  During his presentation at the non-partisan, industry-wide gathering, Hannity played excerpts from a variety of well-known talk show hosts making controversial statements on the air that subsequently resulted in calls for advertiser boycotts and/or the firing of the hosts.  The clips included hosts from all over the spectrum – left, right and popular culture (still referred to by many as “shock jocks”) – with ear-perking clips from Don Imus, Howard Stern, Opie & Anthony, Mike Malloy and more.  Both Rush Limbaugh’s reference to Sandra Fluke and Ed Schultz’s description of Laura Ingraham as “sluts” were included to underscore the point that no single faction of the talk radio universe was exempt from participating in the practice of political or artistic controversy.  Hannity’s remedy: Change the dial.  Schultz concurred.  Both made their cases for the sake and survival of the talk radio industry as well as protecting the spirit of the First Amendment. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for complete coverage of the New Media Seminar in the coming days and weeks.

Cumulus Media Officially Announces Geraldo Rivera Rollout.  This has been expected since shortly after Geraldo Rivera made his talk radio debut on Cumulus Media‘s WABC, New York and KABC, Los Angeles in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Now, Cumulus says it will expand the show to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET time slot and begin a national rollout on August 13. In a statement, Cumulus Media COO John Dickey says, “When Geraldo agreed to host shows for Cumulus stations in New York and L.A. we had a hunch there’d be substantial national listener interest in his incisive and insightful style. And now we’re thrilled that with Geraldo such a success in those two markets, the show will be available across the country.”

Glenn Beck Renews with Premiere Networks for 5 Years and a Reported $20 Million per Year.  That figure is according to The New York TimesBrian Stelter who cites a “person with direct knowledge” saying the deal will pay Glenn Beck $100 million over the course of the new, five-year deal. In addition to handling affiliate and ad sales for Beck’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET nationally syndicated radio show, Premiere Networks also assists in ad sales for some of Beck’s non-radio efforts including his internet video channel GBTV on which his daily afternoon talk show is broadcast.

NBC Partners with Dial Global for Syndication of Sports Radio Content as NBC Sports Radio Network.  According to what Rob Simmelkjaer, senior vice president of NBC Sports Ventures and International tells USA Today, the new project will start with hourly sports updates and a couple of short-form features. But Simmelkjaer says NBC hopes to have two three-hour evening sports talk shows (one each for 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm ET starts) ready for syndication by fall. He says, “The goal is to start with a beachhead of programming and gradually expand to 24 hours per day, seven days per week maybe in 3 to 5 years.” Dial Global will handle affiliate and ad sales for the service and Simmelkjaer says it will be sold in tandem with Dial Global’s NFL radio broadcasts.

Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire Surface at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  Talk show hosts Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire had most recently hosted the morning drive show on Curtis Media Group‘s WZTK-FM, Burlington, North Carolina before the station flipped formats to Spanish music earlier this year. Now, the duo will replace Vince Coakley in the PM drive slot beginning July 2. In June of last year, Coakley took over the afternoon show for Tara Servatius who currently hosts mornings on WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. WBT program director Carl East says, “These guys bring a great sense of energy and fun to the air. Those who have been in Charlotte for a while already know what Brad is capable of. They are very clever observers of the issues of the day, whether they are local or national. The audience is going to love engaging them.” Brad Krantz previously hosted afternoons at WBT alongside Richard Spires for four years from 1999 to 2003.

KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Names Chuck Meyer News Director.  CBS Radio‘s news/talk KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas brings news pro Chuck Meyer aboard as news/director and anchor for the station’s PM drive news block. Meyer previously served as news director at WIOD, Miami and KING, Seattle and as program director at KVET, Austin and KCUB, Tucson. KXNT-AM/FM program director Andrew Paul says, “Chuck brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our staff. We are thrilled to have him lead our news team on multiple platforms.” The move allows former news director Joe Gillespie to focus on his duties as host of the station’s morning drive news program.

Jay Cutler to Join WMVP, Chicago for Weekly Appearance.  ESPN Chicago announces Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will be live in the studio with ESPN 1000′s Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman each Monday from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. In announcing the multi-year deal, ESPN 1000 president and general manager John Craven states, “ESPN Chicago could not be more excited to welcome Jay Cutler to our already solid on-air lineup. Waddle & Silvy’s extended access to Jay will give Bears fans his insights into the game and a glimpse of his personality they have never heard before both on air and online.” ESPN has sold the show to Miller Lite, the official beer of the Chicago Bears.

Talk Host Michael Smerconish to Welcome NAB Crystal Radio Award Winners Tonight.  Nationally syndicated WYD Media talk host Michael Smerconish will use the “magic” of technology to gather together all 10 NAB Crystal Radio Award winners at the NAB Education Foundation’s “Service to America” black-tie fundraiser taking place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC this evening. Smerconish will welcome the winners to the stage and acknowledge their accomplishments.

The End of an Era as NPR’s “Car Talk” Hosts Retire in September.  Hosts of the ubiquitous weekend public radio show “Car Talk” on NPR – brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi – will retire in September and record no more calls from Americans with questions usually having to do with their cars. But the show will go on for at least a few more years. NPR will continue to produce the show with previously aired audio from the show’s dense library of content. TALKERS magazine spoke with “Car Talk” producer Doug Berman several years ago for a feature story about the production of weekend talk programs. Unlike many shows, car talk is not a “live” call-in show. Calls are recorded during the week or callers are asked to call in at specific production times. As a result, the show has probably gathered more content than necessary at times and, in addition to “repurposed” content, there may be some calls to “Car Talk” that have not seen the light of day. Also, Berman tells the Boston Herald that they’ve reviewed the ratings for new shows and repeats and have found no difference. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was asked about the future success of “Car Talk” by the Los Angeles Times and he stated, “Not many shows that are maintenance, how-to shows can carry it off where people listen to be entertained. That makes the show extremely potent.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Cox Media Group‘s WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta nabs 11 from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. Among the accolades WSB picked up include “Station of the Year” large market and “Best Radio Program” and “Best Talk Host” honors for WSB-based nationally syndicated star Neal Boortz…..Beasley Broadcasting‘s news/talk WGAC, Augusta, Georgia wins the Georgia Association of Broadcasters “Radio Station of the Year” award in the mid-sized market category. The station’s personalities also were individually recognized with coveted “Gabby” Awards: News director and morning show host  Mary Liz Nolan won “Best Newscast; sports director Ashley Brown won “Best Sportscast” and “Best Sports Story or Series” and Dallas Reece was honored for the year’s “Best Commercial.”…..WBZ, Boston news anchor Joe Mathieu interviews “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley at the WBZ NewsRadio Business Breakfast about his first year as anchor of CBS’ evening news program Tuesday, June 12 at 8:00 am…..Fox Sports Radio continues its coverage of mixed martial arts with simulcasts of FX‘s “UFC on FX: Fight Night.” FSRN simulcast last Friday’s program and will do it again on June 22 at 9:00 pm ET with a two-hour post-fight call-in show beginning at 11:00 pm ET.

You’re Never Too Old…to Play Pro Football.  That’s 50-year-old Stan Nawalaniec of the Stan & Haney PM drive show on Beasley Broadcasting‘s hot talk WRXK-FM, Bonita Springs, Florida – 96 K-Rock Talk That Rocks – suited up with two unidentified players on the United Indoor Football League‘s Florida Tarpons. Stan signed on for a one-game deal with the undefeated team and was a member for its last regular season game Saturday, June 9 played at Southwest Florida’s Germain Arena in Estero.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

| May 22, 2012

Arbitron Releases Spring 2012 Edition of ‘Radio Today by the Numbers.’  The research-based brochure published by Arbitron with data from Scarborough Research, 2012 USA TouchPoints and the Radio Effectiveness Program, Ipsos OTX 2010-2011 that quantifies the reach and value of radio as an advertising tool is being released to clients.  The study is packed with slides designed for use by stations and groups to demonstrate to broadcasters, agencies and advertisers in presentations the effectiveness of the medium.  For example, the slide seen here indicates American adults ages 18-64 spend 69% of their audio entertainment time with radio compared to 11% with iPods/mp3s, 9% with satellite radio, 6% with CD players and 5% with streaming internet.  Arbitron states the data also makes a case for radio advertisings’ brand awareness and purchasing intent and more.

Morning Show Changes at KSEV, Houston; Sam Malone Out, ‘Mack’ Machowicz In.  Houston radio personality Sam Malone is out as morning drive host at Dan Patrick’s KSEV, Houston after two years as morning drive host.  Malone tells the Houston Chronicle owner Dan Patrick told him he wants to take the morning show “in another direction.”  KSEV general manager Marc McCoy tells the paper “topic selection, the way the topics would be discussed and the interaction with the audience would be better served with Mack.”  That’s Richard “Mack” Machowicz, new morning host and former Navy SEAL and television host who’s produced shows including Discovery Channel’s “FutureWeapons” and Spike TV’s “Deadliest Warriors.”  He’s also contributed to History Channel’s “America: The Story of US.”  Prior to his work at KSEV, Malone had worked at crosstown music-formatted KRBE-FM for 12 years.

Gregg Hersholt Returns to Seattle to Co-Host AM Drive at Fisher’s KOMO.  For 25 years Gregg Hersholt was a morning drive voice on crosstown KIRO, Seattle.  He left KIRO-FM in 2010 and spent time at Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL-FM, Portland as PM drive anchor and managing editor.  Now, he’s back in Seattle alongside Manda Factor on KOMO-AM/FM’s morning show.  He replaces Bill Yeend who recently retired.  KOMO program director Paul Duckworth tells Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor Hersholt has a lot of equity in the market.  “Bill Yeend is one-of-a-kind, but I’m excited to hear Gregg team up with Manda Factor, who I think is one of the very best in this business.”  Hersholt starts on June 11.

WDAE, Tampa Names Tom Jones and Rick Stroud AM Drive Hosts.  Clear Channel’s Tampa-market sports talk outlet announces the permanent replacements for former AM drive host Dan Sileo who exited the station in March.  Tampa Bay Times sports writers Tom Jones and Rick Stroud begin hosting the station’s morning show today (5/22).  In a statement, CC Tampa president and market manager Sam Nein says, “Tom Jones and Rick Stroud are Tampa Bay sports experts and we’re excited to have them host mornings on 620 WDAE.  Their wealth of knowledge, relationships and history in the market will make mornings on 620 WDAE the place for Tampa Bay sports fans to start their day.” Jones and Stroud have worked together in Tampa sports journalism for more than 20 years.

Talk Host Neal Boortz Nominated for Seat on Georgia Supreme Court.  The Cox Media nationally syndicated talk host is one of almost three dozen Georgia attorneys nominated for an opening seat on the state’s highest court.  Neal Boortz practiced law until 1992 before making talk radio his sole full-time gig.  In order to be considered for the judicial post he must complete the Judicial Nominating Commission’s application packet, something Boortz has indicated he will do.  The sheer volume of candidates – including several sitting judges – seems to indicate Boortz is a longshot for the post even if he’s serious about being considered.  Nonetheless, it’s a pretty cool piece of PR for the Atlanta-based talk superstar.

Howard Stern Show’s Robin Quivers to Have Surgery for Tumor.  The longtime co-host of the Howard Stern program announced to the show’s listeners that she will undergo surgery for a tumor in the near future.  Robin Quivers, Stern’s sidekick since 1981, stated on the SiriusXM show that doctors say she has a large tumor pressing against her bladder – whether the tumor is cancerous or not is not known – and that she has a surgery date scheduled.

Odds ‘n’ Sods. Premiere Networks talk host George Noory is the narrator in the film “Joplin, Missouri,” being released today (5/22) on the first anniversary of the tornado that decimated the town.  Noory states, “After witnessing the horror of that Joplin tornado, friends from Missouri asked me if I’d participate in this documentary, and without hesitation, I said ‘Yes!’”  Noory (r) is pictured here with the film’s producer and director Chip Gubera (l) at Smith-Lee Studios in St. Louis.  The documentary premieres today in Columbia, Missouri with two screenings at Ragtag Cinema…..Thursday evening at 6:00 pm ET, SiriusXM’s Book Radio presents “A Conversation with Conan O’Brien” from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.  The satcaster states the award-winning television host, comedian, writer and producer will discuss the art of comedy, his fascination with presidential history and politics and his connection to President Kennedy…..Hubbard Broadcasting announces the web portal GovEvents.com will power the events section of Washington, DC station WFED’s website.  GovEvents delivers news of government and military-related events worldwide and, says WFED, “Federal News Radio listeners now have access to federally-focused conferences and events happening in the DC-metro area.”…..Cumulus Media’s WPRO and 99.7 FM News in Providence wins the Associated Press’ News Station of the Year award.  The news/talk outlet also won for Best Coverage of Breaking News, Best Continuing Coverage, Best Website and Investigative Reporting.

2012 Presidential Race, Catholics Challenge ObamaCare in Court, G8/NATO Summits, Facebook Stock Sinks and Rutgers Student Verdict Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/21).  The 2012 campaign for president; the suits by various Catholic organizations against the Obama Administration over its health care law reproductive medicine stipulations; the weekend’s G8 and NATO summits and the resulting Afghanistan policies; the criticism over the NASDAQ Facebook IPO; and the sentencing of a former Rutgers University student in the suicide of his former roommate were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

KIDO, Boise’s Kevin Miller Visits Fort Hood.  KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller recently visited Fort Hood, Texas to see off members of the Idaho Army National Guard’s 168th General Aviation Battalion as they deploy to Afghanistan.  Miller says he delivered “stories of training, patriotism and sacrifice” as the soldiers prepared to leave the country.  He also visited with Idaho Army National Guard staff sergeant Jason Rzepa (pictured here at right with Miller).  Rzepa is a double amputee who is rehabbing at Fort Sam Houston after being injured in an IED attack that killed two fellow Idaho National Guard soldiers and cost him his legs.  Miller tells TALKERS magazine he is proud of the multi-platform efforts of the Peak Broadcasting station in supporting the troops.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

| May 17, 2012

Sean Hannity Named to Keynote New Media Seminar in New York on June 7.  The Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar has been named to headline an agenda of talk media industry luminaries that includes leaders from the ranks of talent, programming, management and sales.  Sean Hannity tells TALKERS his address will cover such pressing industry issues as confusion over non-rated platforms, attempts to silence opposition speech, proliferation of multi-media talk venues and the imminent explosion of a wide variety of content. He says, “My speeches in the past have focused on the theme, ‘the best is yet to come,’ which I still fully believe – but we face a number of present-day obstacles that have popped up along the way that we as an industry must address and overcome.”  Hannity joins the ranks of more than 60 speakers who will be addressing a capacity gathering of 500 attendees at the East Coast installment of this year’s New Media Seminar (the West Coast installment is set for Los Angeles on October 11).  Organizers expect the industry-only New York segment to be sold out by early next week.  For last-minute registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  To see the latest complete agenda, click here.

Clear Channel Agrees to Buy Alternative WFNX-FM, Boston for Rumored $11 Million.  Stephen Mindich is the publisher of the Boston Phoenix alt-weekly who’s owned WFNX-FM since 1983.  He says the station has been difficult to keep afloat since the recession began in late 2008 so he’s selling it to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  Now, the format rumor mill begins grinding and there’s certainly reason for CC to give low-ranking news/talk outlet WXKS – at 1200 on the AM dial – an FM boost.  The station carries Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and despite the talent of morning drive talk pro Jeff Katz and PM drive market vet Jay Severin the station continues to underperform.  As is customary, CC is not tipping its hand about a format change but local media reports indicate 17 of the 21 staffers at the station have been notified of their termination.  Releases from both parties do not indicate if Clear Channel will begin operating the station under an LMA or wait for FCC approval of the sale.

Report:  Streaming Media East Confab Provides Insights for Talk Radio.  Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke delivers nuggets like this: “It’s not how many Friends you have, it’s how many are talking about you,” as he distills some of the advice on building media brands via Facebook (and more) that he gathered at this week’s Streaming Media East conference in New York City.  Read Holland’s entire report here

Forbes Releases World’s Most Powerful Celebrities List for 2012; Limbaugh, Beck, and Stern Make the Grade.  The annual World’s Most Powerful Celebrities List has been released by Forbes and Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Rush Limbaugh is the highest-ranked radio talk host at #19.  Fellow Premiere host Glenn Beck is close behind at #23 and SiriusXM talk star Howard Stern landed at #30.  Forbes ranks celebs based on how they score in five factors: money, TV/radio, press, web and social.

Utah Jazz Owner to Buy KZNS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City.  The Larry H. Miller Group – owner of the NBA’s Utah Jazz – is finalizing a deal to buy sports talk KZNS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City which would become the radio base for the team.  Currently, LHM Group is LMAing crosstown KFNZ but that deal ends this month and owner Cumulus Media is not interested in continuing to LMA the station, according to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune.  LHM Group and Utah Jazz president Randy Rigby tells the paper the group will put together the best sports talk hosts from both KZNS and KFNZ, “This is going to be a super sports powerhouse radio station.”  It is currently negotiating with talent and did not disclose which of the two stations’ current hosts will end up working at KZNS.  The station is owned by the SLC Divestiture Trust operated by Larry Patrick.

Courtside Entertainment Group’s “Loveline” Partners with Ustream for Web Video Distribution.  Fans of Courtside Entertainment Group’s “Loveline” radio show hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky, Simone Bienne and Mike Catherwood will be able to see streaming video of the program via Ustream.  In addition to the program being seen live on ustream.tv, affiliate stations will have access to the embedded Ustream player for fans to view and interact with on their websites.  Courtside vice president Katie Walsh states, “By partnering with Ustream to offer a video component of ‘Loveline,’ we are able to provide fans with more access and interaction than ever before.  We look forward to extending our reach and providing fans with more ways to connect with ‘Loveline’ through Ustream.”  Courtside reports that after working with Ustream for a month, it saw a 107% increase in “Loveline” viewers on its Ustream channel – more than doubling “Loveline” viewership in a one-month period.

Daily “Sports Biz Today” Program Debuts in Syndication May 21.  The AudioTracks Broadcasting Services-produced “Sports Biz Today” program hosted by Fred Wallin and Howard Bloom goes live and into national syndication on Monday, May 21.  Both Wallin and Bloom have long sports media resumes: Wallin has worked at Fox Sports Radio and The Sports Radio Network as well as at ESPN and Fox Sports Net and Bloom publishes SportsBusinessNews.com and has worked with Fox Sports Radio and Sporting News Radio to name a few.  The program is available for terrestrial stations via Cable Radio Network and is also being broadcast on the web via Passionate Talk Radio and Mile Hi Radio.  It airs live from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm ET.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  CBS Radio names Danny Bortnick vice president and director of sales for its Washington, DC cluster that includes sports talk WJFK-FM and all-news WNEW-FM…..SiriusXM adds “Dan Dunn’s Happy Hour” to its lineup on the SiriusXM Stars Too channel.  The weekly show hosted by the former Playboy writer and mixology expert will air live on Thursday evenings at 7:00…..The nationally syndicated Dawson McAillster-hosted “The Hopeline” names Jessica McVay-Kershner on-air co-host/internet radio coordinator for the show.  Jessica is the daughter of long time consultant and current Cumulus Media VP/programming Mike McVay…..James Ingstad-owned KJOX, Kennewick, Washington – 1340 ESPN Tri-Cities – begins airing programming from Bonneville’s KIRO, Seattle from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.  The station is also the market’s affiliate for Seattle Mariners baseball….. The regionally syndicated, Rochelle, Illinois-based Michael Koolidge program expands to WTAD, Quincy, Illinois and WKAN, Kankakee, Illinois…..KMOX, St. Louis business reporter Rick Desloge died on Monday at age 63 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Montreal Broadcaster Ted Bird Joins CKGM, Montreal Morning Show.  Popular Montreal radio personality Ted Bird becomes part of the morning show at TSN Radio 990 (CKGM, Montreal) alongside Elliott Price and Shaun Starr.  Bird will focus on the Montreal sports scene.  He tells Broadcaster Magazine Canada, “I am extremely excited to join Elliott and Shaun on TSN Radio 990 and indulge in my passion for talking sports.  I feel privileged to work for the flagship radio station of the Montreal Canadiens and hitch my wagon with the TSN brand.  It will be an interesting off-season for the Canadiens, so we’ll have lots to talk about.  I can’t wait to get started.”  Bird recently left CHRK-FM, Montreal in a well-publicized  split that ended with him working at a Canadian aboriginal station.

2012 Presidential Race, Greece Teeters on Brink, Upcoming NATO Summit, Trayvon Martin Case and Budget Debate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/16).  Some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday included the 2012 presidential race; the precarious state of Greece’s fiscal situation and its effect on the euro; the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago, new information in the Trayvon Martin case; and the U.S. budget debate in Washington, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

| May 16, 2012

Howard Stern’s Debut on “America’s Got Talent” Gets Mixed Ratings Results.  Although billed as a “judge,” iconic talk radio star Howard Stern’s debut on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” was one of the most-judged elements on the program.  The show’s season opener was one of Monday’s top shows with a 3.6 average rating in the 18-49 demo but that number was down from the program’s debut episode last season when it scored 4.3 average rating.  TVbytheNumbers reports the program faced stiffer competition this year.  Ratings for reality talent and music competition programs are down pretty much across the board this season and Stern’s effect on “America’s Got Talent” will be hard to judge.  The TV industry is dealing with softer ratings in prime time for almost all programming this season.  Meanwhile, TALKERS editorial board members report noticing that it seemed strange seeing Stern in the role of prime time TV “celebrity team player,” as opposed to being the focal point of his own edgy show.  Those expecting anything approaching “The Howard Stern Show” came away disappointed — including media watchdog groups.

Cumulus to Move Atlanta All-Newser Closer to the City.  Cumulus Media’s WYAY-FM, Gainesville, Georgia – soon to be the company’s new all-news outlet in the Atlanta market – will move from 106.7 to 106.5 and take Sandy Springs as its city of license if the FCC grants approval for the changes.  The move would put the new station’s tower much closer to the downtown area.  Currently, WYAY-FM’s class C signal emanates from a tower location about halfway between Atlanta and Athens to the east.

Social Media Ad Spending to Near $10 Billion by 2016.  That’s from BIA/Kelsey’s U.S. Local Media Forecast and it predicts that ad spending on social media will climb from the 2011 level of $3.8 billion spent to $9.8 billion in 2016.  The local segment of that revenue will go from 2011’s $840 million to $3.1 billion in 2016.  BIA/Kelsey’s Jed Williams states, “Better performance, coupled with richer formats and creative elements, like video, will be the principal social ad market growth drivers.  Social advertising’s local business penetration will steadily increase as SMBs’ understanding of social media deepens, and as the networks continually improve the ease of onboarding and campaign management.  Facebook opening its Ads API to more partners, including those that work with SMBs, and Twitter’s self-serve platform will help to ‘democratize’ social ads, which will ultimately lead to more local growth.”

Emmis Stock Continues to Be Traded on the NASDAQ.  Emmis’ listing on the NASDAQ was in jeopardy after falling under the $1 threshold late last year earning a de-listing notice from NASDAQ.  But Emmis stock rose above the $1 mark in late April and even hit $1.63 on May 2.  Emmis stated its case to a NASDAQ panel and the company was just informed it will continue to be traded on the board.

ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt Agrees to New Multi-Year Deal.  Twelve-year ESPN personality Scott Van Pelt agrees to a new multi-year extension with ESPN to remain a SportsCenter anchor and host his eponymous daily sports talk radio program.  Van Pelt joined ESPN in 2001 as its lead professional golf reporter.  He says he’s thrilled how his career at ESPN has turned out.  “I’ve always been a guy who was kind of on the wave wherever it took me.  And somehow it took me to where it did and I’m thankful.  I’m happy to stay in this boat, on this wave, until they’re done with me. . .None of this was even thinkable but here we are.  It’s baffling to me.”  The details of the new contract are not being disclosed.

WQAM, Miami Seals Contract Extension with University of Miami.  The Beasley Broadcasting sports talk station agrees with Hurricane Sports Properties to a five-year contract extension to keep football and men’s basketball games on WQAM.  The financial terms of the deal were not released.  The deal also calls for a certain number of baseball games to air as well as the weekly coaches’ shows with Joe Zagacki.  WQAM vice president and general manager Joe Bell states, “UM sports have been a huge part of WQAM for over a decade and we’re excited to continue that relationship.  Our listeners have come to expect the best from WQAM and it doesn’t get any better than Hurricane sports.”

ESPN Radio Unveils New App for iPhone, iPad and iTouch.  The sports entertainment giant announces it is releasing a new ESPN Radio app touting it as its “single, most definitive ESPN Radio app optimized for iPhone, iPod touch and – for the first time – iPad.  The app, sponsored by Lowe’s, creates a seamless, personalized sports listening experience both live and on demand and includes a new feature that allows fans to build their own sports stations. Additionally, fans now have the option to rewind live audio streams, including ESPN Deportes Radio.”  ESPN digital and print media vice president Marc Horine says, “With this update, fans now have complete control over their listening experience as the app provides the functionality to customize specifically by sports, teams and athletes they care most about.”

Euro Zone Tensions, Financial Markets Activity, 2012 Presidential Race, Obama Gay Marriage Stance, and Trayvon Martin Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/15).  The possibility of  Greece’s exit from the EU; the European effect on world financial markets; the 2012 presidential race; President Obama’s stance on gay marriage; and new information about George Zimmerman’s injuries in the Trayvon Martin case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

| May 15, 2012

Power-Packed Agenda Set for New Media Seminar June 7.  According to TALKERS magazine VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “In all the years we have been presenting radio industry conferences, I do not remember one quite like this in which so many outstanding speakers were packed into a single day’s event.  Our innovative model designed for an economically challenging era seems to be striking a very positive chord.  The New York City installment of 2012’s bi-coastal conference is only a few days away from being sold out.”  More than 60 industry leaders will address the key issues facing talk media between 9:00 am to 6:30 pm on Thursday, June 7 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  For registration and sponsorship information for this industry-only event call 413-565-5413.  To see the agenda click here.

Rush Limbaugh Named “Famous Missourian”; Choice Irks State Democrats.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians yesterday in a closed ceremony at the state capitol in Jefferson City.  A bronze bust of the talk host was unveiled during the event.  State Democrats were disturbed by the ceremony that was not announced until 20 minutes prior to it beginning.  It took place in the chambers of the House of Representatives and Democrats were not allowed in.  Missouri House Speaker Steven Tilley told the Kansas City Star the ceremony was closed because of the controversy and so that Limbaugh and his family could attend and be “treated respectfully.”  Democrats were not invited because earlier they signed a letter protesting the induction.  In a speech at the induction Limbaugh stated, “This is something I never, ever thought would happen to me…I want to express my deep gratitude. I’m exceptionally proud to accept this honor, and really very humbled.”  Limbaugh joins the ranks of such famous Missourians as Mark TwainHarry Truman and Dred Scott.

Dial Global’s Dennis Miller to Perform with Adam Carolla in November.  Nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller had comedian, TV star and podcaster Adam Carolla on his program yesterday (5/14) and the two announced they will perform live on stage together at the City National Grove in Anaheim on November 16.  Miller tells Carolla, “You know what I think about the way your mind works – it’s genius.”  In addition to his radio program, Dennis Miller has been doing live performances with Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly on their “Bolder and Fresher Tour 2012.”  The duo recently performed at New York City’s Town Hall.

Anniversary Bash.  Journal Broadcasting’s KQTH-FM, Tucson – 104.1 The Truth – celebrated its fifth anniversary on Saturday, May 12 at the Casino Del Sol Resort.  Program director Ryan McCredden tells TALKERS, “The listeners, speakers, staff and sponsor response to the event was tremendous and we’re looking forward to another five great years of ‘The Truth’ in Tucson!”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Author and townhall.com writer Katie Pavlich, Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock, author and commentator S.E. Cupp, Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle, KQTH-FM morning host Jon Justice and midday host James T. Harris.

New York Festivals Announces 2012 Radio Program and Promotion Awards World’s Best Radio Programs Finalists.  The New York Festivals breaks down the entries by country.  For the United States among commercial talk broadcasters, ESPN Radio is named a finalist in the Best Human Interest Story and Best Investigative Reporting categories.  “The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap” is a finalist for Best Regularly Scheduled Sports Program.  SiriusXM’sHoward Stern is a finalist for Best Special Event.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFBK, Sacramento is a finalist in the Health/Medical category.  Winners will be honored at a gala awards ceremony on June 18 at New York City’s Manhattan Penthouse.  See the entire slate of finalists here.

 

Compass Media Networks Names Booth Talent for Baseball Broadcasts.  For its 25 broadcasts of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim games Compass Media Networks recently announced it would distribute, the company has named its game coverage talent.  Former New York Mets general manager and current SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio morning host Steve Phillipswill be analyst for the broadcasts.  Others, whose appearance on the broadcasts will be determined by travel schedule and other commitments, include play-by-play announcers Chris Carrino and Steve Quis and analyst and former MLB player and executive Darryl Hamilton.

CBS Radio’s Stacie Schmidt Moves from Las Vegas to Cleveland.  Stacie Schmidt currently serves as director of marketing for CBS Radio’s Las Vegas cluster that includes news/talk KXNT-AM/FM.  She’s moving back to her home town of Cleveland to take the integrated sales and marketing position at CBS Radio’s cluster there that includes sports WKRK-FM – 92.3 the Fan.

Obama Newsweek Cover, 2012 Presidential Race, Euro Zone Hangs in Balance, JP Morgan Chase Loss and California Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/14).  The “first gay president”Newsweek cover; the 2012 presidential race; the future of the euro zone as countries threaten to leave; the $2 billion loss at JP Morgan Chase; and California’s enormous debt problem were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Brooklyn in the House.  Sure, it’s easy to get supermodel and actress Brooklyn Decker to visit your radio show when hubby Andy Roddick is co-host of the program.  Decker is pictured here in the Fox Sports Radio studios with husband and tennis great Andy Roddick (c) and radio personality Bobby Bones (l).  The “Roddick and Bones” show airs on weekends on the FSRN.  During the interview Decker promoted her two new films, “Battleship” and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” both being released on May 18.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

| April 18, 2012

SiriusXM Bests Howard Stern in Court.  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman reports on a New York State Supreme Court judge’s decision to throw out Howard Stern’s $300 million suit against employer SiriusXM.  Weisman notes that the judge concluded that Stern and agent Don Buchwald were paid bonuses due as the result of the Sirius and XM merger but that Stern’s contention his bonus was calculated improperly was dismissed.  Read more here.

Tom Becka Returns to Air in Omaha on NRG’s KKAR.  Talk host Tom Becka recently joined Radio Fargo-Moorhead’s new FM talk outlet KRWK-FM, Fargo – 101.9 Talk FM – where he serves as program director and morning drive host.  He retains that post but adds a two-hour PM drive talk show at NRG Media’s KKAR, Omaha airing from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Becka was heard in the market for years on Clear Channel’s crosstown KFAB until he parted ways with the station last fall.  NRG Omaha market manager Andy Ruback states, “I had a short but critical list of talent I wanted to recruit to our cluster of stations and having the legendary Tom Becka join the lineup on ‘The Mighty 1290’ truly offers our listeners localized content with an edge.  Having Tom on our team provides a perfect fit for our Mighty 1290 brand and I am confident the listeners will definitely tune in to hear Tom’s take on everything from politics, lifestyle, newsmakers and more.”  On his return to the air in Omaha, Becka says, “I’m looking forward to working very hard for two great companies doing what I love to do.  I’m having a blast building a new FM talker for Radio Fargo-Moorhead, and now NRG Media and ‘The Mighty 1290’ are giving me a chance to continue to have a strong presence in Omaha.  I have the best of all worlds.  I’m a blessed man to be able to have these two great opportunities.”

ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg Co-Hosts “Live with Kelly” Today.  ESPN Radio personality Mike Greenberg – one half of the Mike & Mike syndicated morning drive show – will co-host ABC’s “Live with Kelly” show this morning at 9:00 am ET.  Host Kelly Ripa called in to the Mike & Mike show yesterday to promote Greenberg’s appearance.  She notes actress Olivia Wilde is among today’s guests prompting Greenberg to say, “I want every girl who ignored me in high school to tune in tomorrow.”  Ripa quickly replied, “Think we’ll get a boost in ratings when every girl who was mean to you tunes in?”

New “Business for Breakfast” Morning Show Airs on Colorado Financial Talk Outlets.  Radio Colorado Network’s new “Business for Breakfast” show is the new AM drive show on Pilgrim Communications’ KRCN, Denver/Ft. Collins and KREL, Colorado Springs/Pueblo.  Hosted by Marc Mandel, Harriet Fox and Roger Cridlebaugh, the program is produced by Radio Colorado Network which promotes the program stating “the new and improved ‘Business for Breakfast’ gives listeners current market analysis, economic updates and timely interviews with featured guests.  This show is informative, educational and entertaining with the intent to best position listeners for the opening bell and start of the day.”

Palm Springs Talk Host Lee Rayburn Resigns; Announces Move “Back East.”  Until last Friday, Lee Rayburn was afternoon host at Morris Communications’ KNEWS multi-cast in the Palm Springs market.  Rayburn resigned on air at the end of his show on April 13 stating he was taking a position “back East.”  Rayburn and KNEWS have been embroiled in a controversy surrounding a civil suit for defamation, libel and invasion of privacy against Rayburn and the station by local business person Pete ChryssThe Desert Sun reports Chryss alleges Rayburn and the station made false and malicious statements about him on the radio – charges the station denies.  Chryss was providing security services for a number of city-owned buildings but those contracts were canceled in the wake of public scrutiny over Chryss’ relationship with a former city councilor.

Cumulus Media Providence Helps Raise More Than $600k for Children’s Hospital.  Last week’s Cumulus Media-sponsored, two-day radiothon for the Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence helped raise $611,312.  The Cumulus cluster – including news/talk WPRO/WEAN-FM — encouraged listeners and website visitors to donate in support of the hospital while on-air personalities interviewed dozens of patients and family members of the hospital, hoping to raise awareness of the doctors, hospital and care they provide.  WPRO/WEAN-FM program director Paul Giammarco says, “Cumulus Media Providence and our affiliated stations would like to extend our heartfelt thank you to everyone who donated to this incredible cause, you all made a difference in the lives of so many local children and families.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Dr. Thomas Tracy; Tony Torres, 2012 Champion Child; WPRO/WEAN PM drive talk host Buddy Cianci; WPRO/WEAN-FM morning news host Tara Granahan; and Dr. Robert Klein.

2012 Presidential Race, Obama Oil Price Regulation Program, GSA Scandal and North Korea Military Ambitions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/17).  The 2012 presidential showdown between President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney; President Obama’s program to regulate oil prices; the testimony about the Government Services Agency spending scandal; and concern over North Korea’s military ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Support for Fisher House Recognized.  ABC News Radio vice president and general manager Steve Jones (l) accepts a plaque from Fisher House vice president of community relations Cynthia Campbell (r) for ABC’s assistance to the veterans organization.  Fisher House, which provides housing to the families of military personnel being treated at military and VA hospitals, says ABC lent critical pro bono technical support to “The Gift,” Fisher House’s Christmas radio broadcast, which aired on 85 radio stations and helped generate a 30% year-to-year increase in giving during the last week of 2011.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

| March 19, 2012

Power-Packed Agenda Set for New Media Seminar June 7.  According to TALKERS magazine VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “In all the years we have been presenting radio industry conferences, I do not remember one quite like this in which so many outstanding speakers were packed into a single day’s event.  Our innovative model designed for an economically challenging era seems to be striking a very positive chord.  The New York City installment of 2012’s bi-coastal conference is only a few days away from being sold out.”  More than 60 industry leaders will address the key issues facing talk media between 9:00 am to 6:30 pm on Thursday, June 7 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  For registration and sponsorship information for this industry-only event call 413-565-5413.  To see the agenda click here.

Rush Limbaugh Named “Famous Missourian”; Choice Irks State Democrats.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians yesterday in a closed ceremony at the state capitol in Jefferson City.  A bronze bust of the talk host was unveiled during the event.  State Democrats were disturbed by the ceremony that was not announced until 20 minutes prior to it beginning.  It took place in the chambers of the House of Representatives and Democrats were not allowed in.  Missouri House Speaker Steven Tilley told the Kansas City Star the ceremony was closed because of the controversy and so that Limbaugh and his family could attend and be “treated respectfully.”  Democrats were not invited because earlier they signed a letter protesting the induction.  In a speech at the induction Limbaugh stated, “This is something I never, ever thought would happen to me…I want to express my deep gratitude. I’m exceptionally proud to accept this honor, and really very humbled.”  Limbaugh joins the ranks of such famous Missourians as Mark Twain, Harry Truman and Dred Scott.

Dial Global’s Dennis Miller to Perform with Adam Carolla in November.  Nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller had comedian, TV star and podcaster Adam Carolla on his program yesterday (5/14) and the two announced they will perform live on stage together at the City National Grove in Anaheim on November 16.  Miller tells Carolla, “You know what I think about the way your mind works – it’s genius.”  In addition to his radio program, Dennis Miller has been doing live performances with Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly on their “Bolder and Fresher Tour 2012.”  The duo recently performed at New York City’s Town Hall.

Anniversary Bash.  Journal Broadcasting’s KQTH-FM, Tucson – 104.1 The Truth – celebrated its fifth anniversary on Saturday, May 19 at the Casino Del Sol Resort.  Program director Ryan McCredden tells TALKERS, “The listeners, speakers, staff and sponsor response to the event was tremendous and we’re looking forward to another five great years of ‘The Truth’ in Tucson!”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Author and townhall.com writer Katie Pavlich, Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock, author and commentator S.E. Cupp, Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle, KQTH-FM morning host Jon Justice and midday host James T. Harris.

New York Festivals Announces 2012 Radio Program and Promotion Awards World’s Best Radio Programs Finalists.  The New York Festivals breaks down the entries by country.  For the United States among commercial talk broadcasters, ESPN Radio is named a finalist in the Best Human Interest Story and Best Investigative Reporting categories.  “The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap” is a finalist for Best Regularly Scheduled Sports Program.  SiriusXM’s Howard Stern is a finalist for Best Special Event.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFBK, Sacramento is a finalist in the Health/Medical category.  Winners will be honored at a gala awards ceremony on June 18 at New York City’s Manhattan Penthouse.  See the entire slate of finalists here.

 

Compass Media Networks Names Booth Talent for Baseball Broadcasts.  For its 25 broadcasts of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim games Compass Media Networks recently announced it would distribute, the company has named its game coverage talent.  Former New York Mets general manager and current SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio morning host Steve Phillips will be analyst for the broadcasts.  Others, whose appearance on the broadcasts will be determined by travel schedule and other commitments, include play-by-play announcers Chris Carrino and Steve Quis and analyst and former MLB player and executive Darryl Hamilton.

CBS Radio’s Stacie Schmidt Moves from Las Vegas to Cleveland.  Stacie Schmidt currently serves as director of marketing for CBS Radio’s Las Vegas cluster that includes news/talk KXNT-AM/FM.  She’s moving back to her home town of Cleveland to take the integrated sales and marketing position at CBS Radio’s cluster there that includes sports WKRK-FM – 92.3 the Fan.

Obama Newsweek Cover, 2012 Presidential Race, Euro Zone Hangs in Balance, JP Morgan Chase Loss and California Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/14).  The “first gay president” Newsweek cover; the 2012 presidential race; the future of the euro zone as countries threaten to leave; the $2 billion loss at JP Morgan Chase; and California’s enormous debt problem were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Brooklyn in the House.  Sure, it’s easy to get supermodel and actress Brooklyn Decker to visit your radio show when hubby Andy Roddick is co-host of the program.  Decker is pictured here in the Fox Sports Radio studios with husband and tennis great Andy Roddick (c) and radio personality Bobby Bones (l).  The “Roddick and Bones” show airs on weekends on the FSRN.  During the interview Decker promoted her two new films, “Battleship” and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” both being released on May 18.

Friday, December 16, 2011

| December 16, 2011

Will Howard Stern’s Role on “America’s Got Talent” Hurt NBC’s Ability to Sell Ads?  By now you know that it’s official that Sirius XM’s Howard Stern is replacing Piers Morgan on the very successful summer talent search program, “America’s Got Talent.”  It didn’t take long for the Parents Television Council to react (they probably had the press release ready weeks ago!).  PTC president Tim Winter stated, “In an act of desperation for a flailing network, NBC has hired Howard Stern – a performer who is synonymous with shock, profanity and obscenity – as a judge on a prime-time talent competition.  The once-proud broadcast network has lost its way and has made it clear it holds no concern whatsoever for children and families.  It also risks losing millions in advertising dollars.”  We are not sure about the “flailing network” part – “America’s Got Talent” was the number one non-sports program among the four networks last summer and NBC has probably seriously considered what Stern’s effect on the program will be.  Certainly Stern won’t be interviewing porn stars on the TV show but he does come with a reputation and if the PTC and other groups decide to mount a serious campaign against NBC, will they be able to hurt the network over Stern’s reputation and not what actually transpires on the show?  Stay tuned.

Occupy KGO Draws Protesters to San Francisco Studios.  Earlier this week TALKERS reported the planned Occupy KGO event scheduled for yesterday (12/15) in reaction to Cumulus Media’s firing of Gene Burns, Ray Taliaferro, Gil Gross and several other talk hosts as the station moves to a newsier format.  The protest took place and, according to Matthew Lasar of RadioSurvivor.com, there were about 50 people gathered outside the studios at the height of the activity (accompanying photo from RadioSurvivor.com), including recently dismissed talk host John Rothman.  Lasar says Rothman told him, “Our hope is that Mickey Luckoff, our former president and general manager, is in the process of putting together a deal which would take all of us to one station and hopefully we will go with our advertisers, and we’ll begin all over again.” KGO issues the following statement regarding the protest: “KGO listeners are passionate about their station.  We appreciate their input and feedback as we evolve from a news/talk format to more news and information.”  Occupy KGO protesters say they’ll be back on December 30 for another march.

New KABC, Los Angeles Lineup: Geraldo in, Elder to PM Drive and More.  The Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan reports reliable sources tell him the new lineup for Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles is set and will debut in January.  Already known is that Doug McIntyre and Terri-Rae Elmer will host “McIntyre in the Morning.”  Lycan reports that Geraldo Rivera – emanating from WABC, New York – will host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show on delay.  Other changes include evening host John Phillips moving from his current slot to a one-hour 9:00 am to 10:00 am program.  Premiere NetworksSean Hannity remains in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot followed by Larry Elder, who moves to the PM drive daypart from late mornings.  Current AM driver Peter Tilden moves to the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show following Citadel Media NetworksMark Levin in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm position.

Female Demo Innovator Debbie Nigro Targets 40-Plus Female Audience with “Still a Babe” Concept.  One of the holy grails in talk radio programming is figuring out a dependable method of connecting with the underserved, under-reached female market.  If anyone out there has experience and a degree of success in this arena, it’s radio pro Debbie Nigro of “Working Mom on the Run” fame.  Now Debbie Nigro has turned her attention to reaching women ages 40-65 with her StillaBabe.com initiative.  The veteran of WPIX-FM, New York and the aforementioned nationally syndicated “Working Mom on the Run” program which made a big buzz in the 1990s says the “Still a Babe” concept comes from the sum of her life’s experiences.  She tells TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian, “It is about figuring out how to enjoy your life through it all and being around people who bring out the best in you.  I have great instincts about people and have so much information to share.  My revenue will come from media, product sales, offline events and licensing.  This is a collective power of the purse.  Women want to play with whom they trust.  I let my guard down so they know who I am.”  Nigro’s track record warrants industry attention.  Read more and see her very cool video presentation here.

“Free Talk Live” Jumps into the Fray Between Mark Levin and Michael Savage.  You already know that TRN host Michael Savage offered New Gingrich $1 million to quit the GOP race and, in response, Mark Levin offered Savage $100,000 to quit his radio program.  “Free Talk Live” host and founder Ian Freeman isn’t asking either host to quit his job for money.  Here’s his offer: “‘Free Talk Live’ will give $1,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital if Mark Levin and Michael Savage will have lunch with an Orthodox Muslim and also an undocumented immigrant that is working to feed his or her family.  Levin and Savage will have to video record their encounters and do less than 40% of the talking in each conversation.  Each host can earn up to $500 for St. Jude by submitting one video for their lunch with the Muslim and another for the immigrant.  Upon public upload to YouTube and once verified that the host listened in a video to at least 60% of the conversation, $250 will be given to St. Jude.  If by 2012 the hosts have not accomplished this goal, ‘Free Talk Live’ will raise at least $1,000 to be given to St. Jude in the name of peace, freedom, and compassion for other humans.”  If you’re interested in hearing more about this offer from Freeman, e-mail him at ian@freetalklive.com.

Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts Leases Irving, Texas Studio Space for Production and Live Events.  Since moving his personal residence to Texas, Premiere Networks star Glenn Beck has been working to relocate his Mercury Radio Arts production company to the Lone Star State and now it appears he’s found the space.  The Studios at Las Colinas is an existing facility that’s been home to the production of Hollywood films (“Robocop,” “JFK” and “Talk Radio” to name a few).  Mercury Radio Arts will lease space there for his GBTV studios from Muller Entertainment Studio Operations.  The site comes complete with a 500-plus seat theater for live performances and Beck will invite live audiences for tapings of his eponymous GBTV show.  He will also produce his radio program from the location.  In a release, Beck says, “I have come to know and respect the people of Texas and could not be more excited about GBTV studios – the future home of GBTV and a multi-platform destination for the fusion of entertainment and enlightenment.  We are proud to become part of the Dallas-Fort Worth area and are eager to become good neighbors and members of the local community.”

Cumulus Media Networks Names Jerry King Director of Operations in Dallas.  Mike McVay recently left his consulting firm McVay/Cook & Associates to take the SVP of corporate programming at Cumulus.  Now another McVay/Cook executive joins the Cumulus fold as Jerry King leaves his VP of operations and programming post there for the director of operations position with syndication arm Cumulus Media Networks in Dallas.  King will oversee the network’s Dallas operations, as well as the program directors and the 24/7 satellite delivered radio programming in fourteen different formats originating from Dallas beginning January 1.  Mike McVay states, “Jerry’s multi-format experience and expertise of the radio industry makes him a perfect fit for running our worldwide satellite operations as well as our diverse programming.”

Greater Media Introduces Anthony Michaels as New WLNK-FM, Charlotte PD.  The talk-intensive Hot AC station features Bob & Sheri in AM drive and Matt and Ramona in PM drive.  Anthony Michaels is the evening host and has served as interim PD for the station.  Now, Greater Media Charlotte VP and market manager Rick Feinblatt announces Michaels’ new role as program director.  “Anthony has done an amazing job as interim PD, along with his duties as APD and a night air shift. We look forward to him taking the station to the next level under his leadership.”  Michaels replaces Kris Abrams who exited the post four months ago.

2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 12-16.  The battle between GOP primary candidates and the issues being discussed as part of the 2012 presidential race landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart this week.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research into the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio across America and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  Also on the chart this week at #2 is the threatened government shutdown/payroll tax cut issue.  At #3 is the Iraq troop withdrawl and at #4 is NTSB cell phone ban proposal.  View the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Dial Global’s Dennis Miller is picked up by Pamplin’s KKOV, Vancouver, Washington…..“The Handyman Show with Glenn Haege” adds WGDJ, Albany; WILS, Lansing; WGHN, Grand Haven, Michigan; and KSZL, Barstow, California.

Monday, November 28, 2011

| November 28, 2011

Randy Michaels Gets $650,000 Settlement from Tribune Co.  Former Tribune Company CEO – and current Merlin Media LLC CEO – Randy Michaels is getting a $650,000 settlement from Tribune after being ousted from the company this past fall.  Michaels sought the pro-rated portion of his 2010 management incentive bonus — $900,000 – arguing he was terminated without cause.  Tribune considered challenging the assertion with which it disagreed but decided to settle to avoid a drawn out legal battle.  Michaels will also get $50,000 to cover his legal fees.  According to the Chicago Tribune, part of the settlement includes a non-disparagement clause, provisions to protect Tribune’s intellectual property and a limit of its future liability to claims brought by Michaels.

Report: NBC Still Negotiating with Howard Stern to Judge “America’s Got Talent.”  The New York Post is reporting that NBC is still in talks with Howard Stern to bring the Sirius/XM personality aboard its “America’s Got Talent” program to take the place of Piers Morgan who’s exiting to concentrate on his CNN duties.  Some industry watchers are skeptical that NBC would pay Stern $20 million and move the show from Los Angeles to New York to have Stern join the show but the Post says some sources close to the process say creator and executive producer Simon Cowell really wants Stern for the role.  Neither NBC nor Cowell are commenting stating their policy of not addressing ongoing negotiations in the media.

KTAR-FM, Phoenix Adds Two Local Programs to Weekend Schedule.  Bonneville’s KTAR-Phoenix announces the addition of two new local programs to the Saturday schedule.  Author and business owner Steve Henry hosts his eponymous program from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm focusing on small business and the role it plays in the country’s economy.  Henry states, “I couldn’t be more excited to bring our show to one of the best news stations in the country.  It’s time to take back control of our financial future by starting our own small businesses and investing in ourselves.”  Henry’s program is followed by current KTAR producer and on-air contributor Rob Hunter paired up with Phoenix market radio pro Mark Devine for the Rob and Mark show.  Hunter says, “Mark and I come from different perspectives in life as he’s a dad raising two kids and I’m recently married.  This dynamic will provide a fun, interesting and relatable Saturday afternoon show for the KTAR audience.”  KTAR-FM vice president of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says of the additions, “Unfortunately in our business, most media companies are filling weekends with more syndicated shows and less local programming to save money.  At KTAR, we see the world differently and believe strongly that weekends provide the perfect opportunity to develop new, engaging local content for our audiences regardless of expense.”

Seventh Annual Domestic Violence Radio Row Set for December 8.  For the seventh consecutive year, TALKERS magazine will present “It’s Time to Talk Day” — a massive radio row produced in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc.  Held in the fashion showroom of the Midtown Manhattan corporate offices of Liz Claiborne, Inc., the ambitious event brings together more than 20 talk media hosts from around the country who broadcast their shows live or record interviews for delayed broadcast speaking with a non-stop parade of experts, victims, celebrities and public officials from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on the insidious societal problems of domestic violence and teenage dating abuse.  This year’s participants include Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio; Dr. Joy Browne of WOR Radio Network; Mark Riley of WWRL, New York; Curtis Sliwa of WNYM (The Apple), New York; Roberta Facinelli of “Doug Stephan’s Good Day;”  John Fugelsang of “The Stephanie Miller Show;” Kevin McCullough of “The Kevin McCullough Show” and “Baldwin/McCullough;” Maria Bailey of “Mom Talk Radio;”  Gary Baumgarten of Paltalk; Lionel of WPIX-TV, New York Channel 11 and LionelMedia.com; Barry Farber of Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk Radio; Lisa Wexler of “The Lisa Wexler Show;”  Ken Pittman of WBSM, New Bedford, MA/Providence, RI; Dr. Renee Kohanski of PodJockey; Dan Patterson of KoPoint and  Ellen Ratner and Geoff Holtzman of Talk Radio News Service who will be broadcasting throughout the day to several hundred of the news service’s affiliates.  Joining the lineup this year will be representatives of college talk radio with WRHU, Hempstead of Hofstra University; WLIU, Brooklyn of Long Island University and WNEK, Springfield, MA of Western New England University in attendance. Included among those who will be taking live and recorded feeds from the event are Thom Hartmann of “The Thom Hartmann Show;” Dom Giordano of WPHT, Philadelphia; and Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” with several more to be announced.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “‘It’s Time to Talk Day’ is certainly one of our most important annual events.  It raises consciousness about a societal problem that impacts a frighteningly large segment of the population and it cuts across all gender, ethnic and demographic boundaries.  There isn’t a spoken-word format that doesn’t find the topic of domestic violence applicable to its audience and extremely compelling.  Most importantly, we get feedback each year that this radio row, upon reaching millions of talk radio listeners, really does make a huge difference in the lives of real people.  It doesn’t get better than that.  We are grateful to Liz Claiborne, Inc. for their public-mindedness in supporting such a valuable project.”  Talkers.com will provide full coverage of the event.

Connecticut Talk Host Lisa Wexler Joins WFAS, White Plains, New York; Station to Flip to Talk.  Cumulus’ WFAS, White Plains currently airs soft AC but will flip to talk soon and former WSTC, Stamford/WNLK, Norwalk, Connecticut talk host Lisa Wexler will host the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program.  Wexler exited WSTC and WNLK when Cox Media Group agreed to sell the two stations to Sacred Heart University which is taking them non-commercial.  Wexler will broadcast live from the “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row in New York City on December 8.  The event is designed to raise awareness of domestic violence and is produced by TALKERS magazine in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc.  Back to WFAS, the Westchester County station will reportedly also air Dial Global’s Clark Howard as part of the talk lineup.

WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia Brings Former Flyers Lindros and LeClair Together to Benefit Children’s Hospital.  Greater Media’s Philadelphia sports talk outlet “97.5 The Fanatic” is bringing former Philadelphia Flyers Eric Lindros and John LeClair back together for a series of events to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in conjunction with sponsor TD Bank.  Lindros and LeClair will appear on Mike Missanelli’s PM drive program from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on December 14; they’ll be part of a charity luncheon at Morton’s The Steakhouse the following day; and will appear at a public signing at the Granite Run Mall in Media, Pennsylvania on Friday, December 16.  One hundred percent of the proceeds from the events will benefit the hospital.  WPEN-AM/FM program director Matt Nahigian says, “It’s really going to be great.  For Eric and John to partner with the station and to do so for a terrific cause such as CHOP is really tremendous.  I know the listeners will enjoy the opportunity to attend these events.  We’re very excited.”

Milwaukee Media Writer Tim Cuprisin Passes Away at 53.  Tim Cuprisin covered radio and TV for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for 23 years before accepting a buyout from Journal Communications in 2009.  Since exiting Journal, he’d been continuing to cover the Milwaukee radio and TV beat via the blog OnMilwaukee.com.  The Chicago native died on November 23 after complications from advanced melanoma.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

| November 23, 2011


Clear Channel Names Jason Furst PD at WHAM, Rochester.  Jason Furst adds programming oversight of Clear Channel’s news/talk WHAM, Rochester and sports WHTK-AM/FM to his duties.  Furst programs WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse and will continue in that role.  He will, however, give up the PD reins at CHR WWHT, Syracuse.  Furst fills the vacant programming position in Rochester that opened when Jeff Howlett was let go from the station he’d been working at for the past 25 years.

Emmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Partners with WRTV-TV for News and Weather.  Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis announces a partnership with McGraw-Hill’s local ABC affiliate WRTV-TV for news and weather coverage.  Emmis VP and market manager Charlie Morgan says of the new deal, “In our 21st-Century world of news and information consumption, it just makes sense for our TV and radio newsrooms to work together to ensure we are delivering the most relevant information to our consumers wherever they are…at home, at work, in their cars, wherever.  This partnership will allow us to provide Indianapolis viewers and listeners with the latest information wherever they are, whether they are listening to the radio, watching TV, going online or on their mobile phones.”  WRTV meteorologists Kevin Gregory, Todd Klaassen and Stephanie Ortmann will provide forecasts throughout the day on WIBC.  They will also provide live updates during severe weather situations.

Buckley Broadcasting Adds FM Signal to KNZR, Bakersfield.  The Buckley Broadcasting news/talk outlet at 1560 on the AM dial states on its website, “KNZR made Bakersfield radio history by being the first news/talk station in the market to simulcast on the FM dial.  Our market leading 1560 AM news/talk programming is now also heard on 97.7 FM.  The move to simulcast on FM allows us to better serve our local community as well as provide increased audience reach and value to our advertisers.”  To accommodate the move, Buckley drops AC music on KSMJ licensed to Shafter, California.

WTOP-FM, Washington Hires Former CNN Correspondent.  Jeanne Meserve worked at cable news giant CNN for the past 20 years – most recently as homeland security correspondent.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington brings her aboard as a freelance anchor.

 

 

KTRH, Houston’s Matt Patrick Has Busy Black Friday.  It’s safe to say KTRH, Houston morning drive host Matt Patrick will not be at the shopping mall on Friday.  Patrick hosts his regular AM drive show on KTRH from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, then fills in for Bill Cunningham on WLW, Cincinnati from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  But wait there’s more!  Patrick will sit in for fellow Clear Channel Houston host Michael Berry on KTRH from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Thanksgiving Holiday, 2012 Presidential Race, Euro Zone Debt Crisis, Super Committee Failure, Immigration Law Challenges Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/22).  The Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the GOP contenders for president in 2012, the ongoing Euro Zone debt crisis, the effect the Super Committee’s failure to address U.S. debt and challenges to states’ immigration laws were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, November 11, 2011

| November 11, 2011

Blogworld New Media Expo/Los Angeles Hosts Thousands of Communicators.  It’s true that the majority of the attendees of last month’s Blogworld New Media Expo in Los Angeles last month don’t make a full-time living with their digital efforts but, as consultant Holland Cooke reports for TALKERS from Los Angeles, that is changing quickly and ad dollars “are simply following listeners from The Old to The New.”  Cooke reports what Ford chief marketing officer Jim Farley has to say about new Fords with built-in digital media access, relates thoughts from Edison Research VP/strategy & marketing Tom Webster (keynote speaker at the Blogworld/L.A. event) on understanding digital media and boils down what talk pros can learn from these confabs.  Read Holland Cooke’s report here.

Howard Stern Being Considered for Judge Role on “America’s Got Talent.”  Piers Morgan is stepping down from his role on the NBC reality show “America’s Got Talent” to focus on his nightly CNN program and The Wall Street Journal reports NBC is in talks with Sirius XM talk star Howard Stern to take over Morgan’s role on the program alongside Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne.  The paper reports Stern is asking for $15 million per year and to move the show from Los Angeles to New York.  Though the report states the discussions are serious, Howard Stern has a knack for inserting himself into stories like this leaving industry observers to wonder if this is another publicity stunt at which Stern excels so well.  Stern was reportedly considered for a judge role on Fox’s “American Idol” several years ago, as well.

KPAM, Portland to Broadcast Live from ‘Occupy Portland” Eviction.  Portland, Oregon Mayor Sam Adams issued an order giving the ‘Occupy Portland’ protesters until midnight Saturday to leave two downtown parks or be evicted by authorities.  KPAM program director Dennis Glasgow says the station will begin live coverage at 11:00 pm on Saturday evening with anchor and news director Tim Hohl at the radio station studios joined by midday host Victoria Taft, KPAM reporter Mark Provost and Portland Tribune columnists’ Jim Redden and Peter Korn.  Glasgow states, “This is an excellent opportunity for our listeners to enjoy live coverage as it happens at ‘Occupy Portland’ and get the very latest breaking news while the historic event comes to a head.  This type of local programming continues to be our promise to our listeners, that we are the leaders in local breaking news as ‘The Voice of Portland.’”

President Obama to Appear on Westwood One Sports’ College Hoops Broadcast.  Sportscaster Jim Gray will interview President Obama during halftime of this evening’s college basketball game – the Quicken Loans Carrie Classic – being played on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier stationed in San Diego.  Tonight’s Veterans Day game tips off Dial Global/Westwood One’s coverage of the 2011-2012 college basketball season.

MSNBC Reportedly Won’t Let Pat Buchanan Promote His Latest Book.  MSNBC personality Pat Buchanan has been appearing on other cable news/talk channels – CNN, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network – but he won’t be allowed to plug his latest book on the network for which he works.  According to TVNewser, an MSNBC executive says the network has made a conscious decision not to allow Buchanan to plug Suicide of a Superpower (Thomas Dunne Books 2011) because some consider the book’s message to be bigoted.   The theme of the book is described on Amazon.com this way: “America was born a Western Christian republic but is being transformed into a multiracial, multicultural, multilingual, multiethnic stew of a nation that has no successful precedent in the history of the world.”  The groups CREDO Action and ColorofChange.org are pushing for MSNBC to fire Buchanan for his views and “long history of bigoted rhetoric.”

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  WSJRN’s “The Daily Wrap  from the Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner”  picks up 16 new affiliates including WHJJ, Providence; Buckley Broadcasting’s Hartford, Connecticut simulcast of WDRC/WMMW/WWCO/WSNG; KQV, Pittsburgh; and WGIR, Manchester, New Hampshire…..Radio America’s Peter Schiff show adds KKOV, Portland to its roster of affiliates…..the Kevin McCullough show is added to the program lineup at WGCF-FM, Paducah, Kentucky; KAPG-FM, Bentonville/Fayetteville, Arkansas; and KJSB, Jonesboro, Arkansas…..Talk Shows USA-syndicated “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” picks up WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia; WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois; WHUB, Cookeville, Tennessee; and WTHQ, Brookport, Illinois.

Special Veterans Day Broadcast.  WXKS, Boston morning drive host Jeff Katz (l) is pictured here with United States Marine Corps General John Kelly (r) at Katz’s special broadcast live from the Fisher House at the V.A. Hospital in Boston.  Katz broadcast a special tribute for the 236th anniversary of the USMC and had an emotional interview with General Kelly whose son Robert was killed in action one year ago.  The general was at the Fisher House to dedicate a garden in memory of his son.

 

Herman Cain Accusations/2012 Presidential Race/GOP Debate Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 7-11.  Landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the week of November 7-11 was the combined story of the accusations of sexual impropriety by candidate Herman Cain, the 2012 presidential race and Wednesday evening’s GOP debate.  Coming in at #2 was the Penn State scandal followed by the Euro Zone economic jitters and Silvio Berlusconi resignation followed by the financial markets activity at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  Click the banner below to view the entire chart.

The Changing Program Director/Talent Dynamic

| November 8, 2011

Critiquing talk radio talent in the modern era proves challenging as the role of the PD and structure
of the industry undergo massive changes 

By Mike Kinosian
Special Features Correspondent

“This could hurt your feelings, but it is being said for your own good.”

Such verbiage has been the basis for any one of countless program director-conducted aircheck sessions throughout the years in every conceivable radio format.

Quite possibly even more so than ever and as hyperbolic as it may sound, a program director supremely performing duties as a motivating talent coach is worth his or her weight in gold, silver, bronze and platinum.

“Directing” is, of course, a derivative form of the program director title.  Analyzing on-air personalities while simultaneously providing key components of constructive criticism, positive encouragement and guidance was once a basic calling card for anyone aspiring to be an upper-echelon programmer.  To say it is a dying, if not lost, proficiency is the height of understatement.  It is however clearly a two-way process, deeply rooted on a foundation of reciprocated trust.  If or when that is shattered, progression for the two parties becomes tenuous at best.

Achieving the elusive goal of “success” can have its downsides since that particular nebulous description can lead one to think he or she is above any form of critique or direction – especially from someone they perceive to be a “lowly” program director.  Chaos becomes the inevitable and seamy result.

Read More

Thursday, September 29, 2011

| September 29, 2011

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to Speak at Talkers Forum.  When the closing panel, “The Issues Facing Southern California – Challenges and Solutions” takes place at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum, not only will it have the eyes and ears of the local broadcasting and media community upon it — but the mayor of the nation’s second most populated city as well.  He will be in attendance preparing to deliver the concluding remarks at the first-time event that is aptly being described as a “who’s who of everybody who’s anybody in Southern California talk radio.”  Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be the closing solo speaker at the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club on Thursday, October 20 between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm rounding out what managing editor Kevin Casey calls “the most amazing roster of speakers we’ve ever seen crammed into a one-day radio industry event…this is a real happening!”  More than 30 speakers including Larry King, Norm Pattiz, Bill Handel, Don Barrett, eight program directors of the leading talk stations in the region and a star-studded array of talk show hosts constitute the roster of what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison terms “a new kind of industry gathering.”  Although already filled to capacity, a stand-by registration list has been set up to fill vacancies in the case of cancellations and the entire forum will be shown shortly thereafter on TALKERS TV.  For complete information click here.

Cumulus Does Some Management Restructuring in San Francisco.  Specifically, KGO and KSFO general manager Deidra Lieberman becomes vice president of sales for the six-station cluster that now also includes sports KNBR.  Cumulus manager Bill Bungeroth – already overseeing KNBR and music-formatted stations KFOG-FM and KSAN-FM – becomes market manager for the entire cluster.  So far this is a restructuring of management and there are no reports of positions being consolidated.

WKNR, Cleveland Makes PM Drive Show Changes.  Ohio Media Watch reports that Good Karma’s sports WKNR, Cleveland – unchallenged in sports talk programming until the recent debut of CBS Radio’s WKRK-FM – moves its current PM drive show “Afternoon R&R” with Michael Reghi and Kenny Roda to evenings and prepares to debut a new PM drive show on October 3 hosted by well-known market reporter Bruce Hooley and current WKNR staffers Greg Brinda and Chris Fedor.  Previously, Hooley covered Ohio State Buckeyes football for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and he also worked at RadiOhio’s WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus.

Artie Lange and Nick DiPaolo Program Set to Debut.  According to TMZ, former Howard Stern cast member Artie Lange and fellow comedian and one-time WFNY-FM, New York personality Nick DiPaolo have struck a deal with DirecTV to produce a pop culture-style talk show also heavy on sports for DirecTV and for radio in national syndication.  The show is reportedly to begin Monday, October 3 although the story doesn’t cite any affiliate radio stations for the program.  The report does state Lange and DiPaolo are to make $500,000 each per year of the three-year deal.

Buckley’s Joe Bilotta Named to BFoA Board of Directors.  Buckley Broadcasting president and CEO Joe Bilotta has been named to the Broadcasters Foundation of America board of directors.  Bilotta, who rose to president and CEO of Buckley Broadcasting after the passing of Rick Buckley this summer, says it’s an honor to serve on the board of an organization that gives back to the industry.  “Whether it’s an emergency grant for a broadcaster whose home was devastated while they stayed on the air during a disaster, or one who experienced a tragic and unforeseen debilitating accident, the Broadcasters Foundation is there to provide aid when there is nowhere else to turn.  I would encourage everyone to support this charitable mission of helping broadcasters in need.”

WGN, Chicago’s John Williams and Listeners Attempt Speed Golf World Record.  In the realm of goofy station promotions, this one is up near the top.  WGN midday talk host John Williams has recruited about 100 listeners to assist him in a speed golf relay format in an attempt to break the world record for the fastest round of golf played.  Dubbing it “King John & His Royal Court’s Speed Golf World Record Challenge,” the golfers are assigned locations along the course in accordance with their best club as they hit the ball to each other in progression.  The current world record is seven minutes and 56 seconds.  But Williams says, “It’s not just a world record we’re going after.  It’s a stupid world record, so that’s a natural for us.  I think of this more as an excuse to have a beer by 9:00 am.”

South Bend Broadcaster Turns to Public for Format Suggestions.  Artistic Media Partners has shut down the talk and sports format on WDND, South Bend after it and ESPN could not come to terms on a contract renewal to continue carrying ESPN content.  For now the station at 1620 on the AM dial is simulcasting the company’s FM sister Top 40 format but company president Arthur Angotti says that’s temporary and they’re willing to hear what listeners have to say.  “We’re trying not to make a decision in haste.  We’ve taken a lot of calls from people wanting to know what happened and they’ve had some interesting ideas.”

2012 GOP Candidates, Iran Military Ambitions, and Obama Economic Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/28).  The Republican candidates for president including the rise of Herman Cain in the polls, Iran’s military posturing and talk of new cruise missiles plus President Obama’s economic policies were all among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from Talkers.

Monday, September 26, 2011

| September 26, 2011

Don Barrett’s “Labor of Love” Closes its Doors after 15 Years.  LARadio.com uploaded its final daily news on Saturday – actually the news was a goodbye from publisher Don Barrett.  Barrett started tracking and posting news of Los Angeles Radio People – LARP – in 1996 and his self-described “labor of love” was unique in the American radio scene: a regional radio-only news service for fans, insiders and Southern California radio history freaks.  While the service was appreciated by many current and former LARP and their fans, the times aren’t kind to a subscription-based business model and Barrett was forced to shut the daily news feeds down.  Los Angeles-based personality Doug McIntyre who hosts Cumulus Media’s nationally syndicated “Red Eye Radio” and WABC, New York’s “Talking the News,” wrote a letter to TALKERS magazine about the end of LA Radio.com published in the current print edition.  It reads:  “In radio as well as in life, change is the only thing that stays the same.  Shows get the axe, new shows try their luck, formats flip as battalion after battalion of consultants airlift in to fix mornings, tweak afternoons or transform imagining.  In Southern California, the man who kept track of it all wasn’t actually in the radio industry — he’s a movie publicist by trade — but harbored a deep love for the spoken word and those who do the speaking.  Don Barrett’s LARadio.com website was the morning must-read for 15 years in Los Angeles. Sadly, for his small army of fans, the final posting was uploaded on September 24th andLARadio.com is no more.  Focusing mostly on the Southern California radio scene, all formats were covered with countless breaking industry stories first reported by Barrett.  ‘LARadio.com was the glue that held the industry together,’ says KABC Los Angeles’ John Phillips.  ‘In an industry where people don’t get to see each other often, Don’s website created a community.’  And that community could sometimes be contentious, snarky, occasionally nasty, but always 100% real.  Barrett’s LARadio.com forum allowed radio professionals and partisans learn, leak and love the medium that has been sadly and inexplicably ignored by other media, despite the incredible reach and connection to its audience.  There are other great radio writers around America, including David Hinckley of the New York Daily News and Gary Lycan of the Orange County Register, but Barrett’s column went a step beyond reporting, it was in a way a shoulder to cry on; therapy for a community of professionals whose world was shrinking consolidation and recession and the fickle fate of changing tastes and trends.  Broadcasters down on their luck physically or financially always found a sympathetic ear from Barrett and his readers. Increasingly rare job openings were posted. Practical advice for career development or re-invention was offered on a daily basis. Profiles of working pros both on-air and off-air included put a spotlight on the many unheralded craftsmen who rarely got the respect they merited.  Making the ‘LA.Radio.com Annual Top 10 Readers Poll’ was always an honor, even though everyone knew Vin Scully would and should win. We were okay with fighting for 2nd place.  And of course, there were always rumors and personal feuds just to keep it fun.  After carrying the torch for a decade and a half, Don is ready to move on.  The Los Angeles radio community will miss our daily dose of Don, but will never forget his love for the art and craft of radio and those who make it happen.”  TALKERS is pleased to present Don Barrett as a special solo speaker at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum set for October 20. At that time he will be presented with a special TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award for what publisher Michael Harrison describes as “Don Barrett’s years of unique, selfless service and invaluable contributions to the Southern California radio broadcasting community.”  Harrison adds, “All of us at TALKERS appreciate just what intense dedication such a commitment demands.  Thus, we are honored to honor one of our own.”  For complete information about the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum click here.

Elite Broadcast Panel Discusses Social Media at SMW Panel in Chicago.  Social Media Week – last week’s international four-day, nine-city conference devoted to discussing the big-picture impact of social media – included activities in Los Angeles and Chicago.  These cities represented the U.S. among concurrent activities also taking place in Beruit, Berlin, Bogata, Buenos Aires, Glasgow, Milan, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, San Paulo and Vancouver.  The week closed in Chicago this past Friday evening with an insightful and often hilarious panel titled, “Reinventing a Media Career on Alternative Platforms.”  Panel participants included Emmy winning WGN-TV reporter, Nancy Loo; Robert Feder, the authority on the Chicago radio and television community for 28 years at the Chicago Sun Times, and now with his daily blog through Time Out Chicago; Richard Roeper, co-host of Roe/Roeper on WLS-AM, Chicago Sun-Times columnist, and former co-host of Ebert & Roeper “At the Movies.”  Completing the quartet was very-longtime Chicago talk radio host Steve Dahl who currently produces and hosts a subscription-based podcast.  Bill Adee, VP digital for the Chicago Tribune moderated the event and kept things rolling along quite effectively in spite of all the jokes and jabs among the panelists.  Some of the notable comments from this quartet of traditional media pros who have reinvented themselves to be received on alternative digital platforms include Steve Dahl stating, “CBS paid me to not work for two and a half years.  I started podcasting out of boredom for something to do.  It was either that or drinking.  I bought dahl.com in 1995 and paid a lot for it.  As a comparison, the Chicago Tribune bought their domain in 1998.  I can do my complete show in ninety minutes, vs. Roe (Conn at WLS) who takes a whole shift because of all of the commercials.  What is your time worth?  The podcast model does not support advertising because no one will sit there and listen to twenty minutes of commercials.  Content has always been king, even more so now.  Talent will win out.”  Robert Feder said, “There was a time when I had no cell phone and didn’t know how to text.  After 28 years at the Chicago Sun Times I had to learn a lot or call it a day.  I had to see media as part of the real world, get educated or get ready to take tickets at Disney World.  The Sun Times was happy with the way things were for 30 years.  You can’t depend on big media anymore.  They’re like the old Hollywood Studios that did everything.  Now we’re all independents.  Journalists have to find out where the audience is – where people are receiving their information.  Quality of content is what matters.”  Nancy Loo added, “Web metrics are as important as broadcast ratings.  Generation Z has never picked up a newspaper…all their info is from tablets and phones.” Loo then raised the question, “17% Twitter vs. 80% on Facebook — are twitterers the more influential crowd, the media elite, those with the ability to get their point across in a concise, clear fashion?”  Roeper shared his perspective: “I acquired the richardroeper.com domain in the late 90’s after a series of frustrating conversations with Disney who was reluctant to do original content on their website.  I activated it when I left “Ebert & Roeper” and in 2008 started tweeting from the Oscars.” Regarding people who comment, he asked, “How much time do these people have on their hands?  My favorite is YouTube because you get the global idiocy like the kid from Finland who wants to kill you because you gave ‘The Green Lantern’ a bad review.”  (Story covered for TALKERS by Beverly Padratzik)

Report:  Sports Talk War in Boston Hits WEEI’s Glenn Ordway in the Wallet.  A report in the Boston Globe states WEEI, Boston “Big Show” co-host Glenn Ordway took a big hit in the paycheck recently after a clause in his contract was exercised by Entercom that allows it to reduce his compensation based on the program’s ratings.  According to the piece, Ordway’s salary has been almost halved from its $1 million annual level.  Many programmers and talent are paid bonuses for hitting certain ratings goals but, according to the Globe report, sources say Ordway’s contract had a clause that allows the company to cut his pay if the show’s ratings dropped out of the top three in the Men 25-54 demographic in the Boston PPM.  It’s not clear how often the ratings are calculated for this purpose as Boston gets PPM ratings monthly, but the Globe’s report appears based on the seasonal Arbitron “books.”  It states “The Big Show” was #5 in that demo in the Spring Book.  CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM has given WEEI competition in the sports talk format in which it previously enjoyed a monopoly since signing on in August of 2009.  Ordway’s contract was signed in January of that year.

YouSendIt to Launch Half Million Dollar Talk Radio Advertising Campaign.   YouSendIt, Inc. – a leading business content collaboration service – has announced it is embarking upon its first national radio advertising campaign designed to reach professionals who listen to a wide range of talk radio programs while they commute.  The campaign utilizes five leading talk personalities who will share their own personal experiences using YouSendIt and recommend it to their listeners.  The campaign will run from today until the end of the year.  Participating hosts include Howard Stern, Sirius Satellite Radio; Jim Rome, Premiere Networks; Mark Levin, Cumulus Media; Neal Boortz, Dial Global; and Stephanie Miller, Dial Global. Sandra Vaughan, chief marketing officer of YouSendIt, tells TALKERS, “YouSendIt is well known for its file transfer service, but today we offer much more. By leveraging a proven medium such as radio, we are able to introduce our business content collaboration services and mobile application to a broader audience. Listeners will enjoy hearing how these radio personalities are using our new services.”

Westwood One Gets into the Web Content Game.  With its new WestwoodOneSports.com, the syndicator begins competing directly in the consumer content business with a website that offers sports fans network exclusive radio audio.  The company states the new site “features pregame interviews with coaches and players, exclusive online commentary from Westwood One broadcasters, including Boomer Esiason, Jim Gray, James Lofton, Terry Donahue, Eddie George, Mark Malone, Tony Boselli and more. In addition, WestwoodOneSports.com features broadcast schedules, announcer bios and a station finder to help fans locate local stations airing Westwood One Sports broadcasts.”  Other attractions include Tom Brady’s Monday Night Football pre-game conversation with Jim Gray, 1995 Heisman Trophy-winner Eddie George’s “Heisman Watch,” Hall of Fame wide receiver James Lofton’s interview with a fellow Pro Football Hall of Famer on “Legend to Legend,” and College Football Hall of Famer Terry Donahue’s coach’s perspective on NCAA Football in “T.D.’s Extra Point.”

Michael Savage’s Abuse of Power Debuts at #4 on NYTimes Bestseller List.  Talk Radio Network star Michael Savage’s new fiction thriller debuted at #4 on the New York Times Bestseller List this weekend. Abuse of Power (St. Martin’s Press 2011) – the story of a “smeared network journalist who uncovers a terrorist plot” — is Savage’s first novel.  He’s written 26 books over the course of his career with eight bestsellers to his name.  The book’s protagonist – Jack Hatfield – is a hardened war correspondent who’s “smeared as a bigot and extremist by a radical leftist media-watchdog group, he ultimately loses his job and finds himself working in obscurity as a freelance news producer in San Francisco.”  It is there he uncovers a terrorist plot that sets the story in motion.  Savage has said he used his experience being banned from Britain by former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith as a catalyst for his book.

CBS Radio’s WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia Deals Programming to Atlantic City Outlet.  Longport Media’s WBSS, Atlantic City and CBS Radio’s WIP-AM/FM Philadelphia have a deal in which the former is airing WIP’s programming 24/7 as the station flips from news/talk to sports.  The change took place on Friday (9/23).  There are no details on the financial structure of the deal.

Orlando’s Shannon Burke Goes “Internet Only.”  The former WTKS-FM, Orlando talk host – who served time on a weapons charge that cost him his job at the Clear Channel hot talk outlet – is leaving his current terrestrial radio job at Star Over Orlando-owned WEUS, Orlando to host the PM drive time slot on RadioIO.  He’ll be on the “Bubba’s Army” video channel, the same on which Bubba the Love Sponge’s program is distributed in morning drive.

Sage Analysis.  WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (l) covers the Fox News/Google GOP candidates debate with expert analysis from Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol (r) on his afternoon drive program.  Bernier was part of the radio row at the event held in Orlando, Florida.

 

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.

Monday, August 29, 2011

| August 29, 2011

All-News and Talk Radio Stations Keep Public Informed During Hurricane Irene.  The hurricane/tropical storm that swept up the East Coast over the weekend pushed radio stations, especially news and talk radio stations, into their familiar and historical roles as providers of timely and emergency information as Irene bore down upon their markets.  While radio of all formats can deliver this kind of information, news and talk radio does so without breaking format – they just alter the type of news, information and talk they provide.  Their P1s expect to be kept informed during these times and the many news and talk stations up and down the East Coast did an exemplary job of being there for their listeners.  (There were simply too many examples of stations serving their listeners this weekend to name them all!)  According to TALKERS monitoring of radio during the Irene event, the approach to coverage went through three basic phases: First, tracking and speculating on the direction, timing and tips for preparing for the storm.  Second, being in the storm itself when the power goes out and all hell is breaking loose (a crucial phase for radio).  Third, the aftermath — the details and politics of recovery.  The past 10 months have provided ample opportunity for coverage of natural disasters with a higher-than-usual occurrence of these, from intense snowstorms to floods to tornadoes and recent earthquakes.  News and talk radio remains the best link to accurate and timely information when the power goes out.  The bigger questions now include: Should emergency preparedness and local, on-the-ground coverage become a more institutional component of the competitive terrestrial radio infrastructure?  Also, should talk radio of all genres focus primarily on super-serving its most loyal fans (who are still in the habit of using radio) or break out of that role and aggressively try to bring new listeners to the format (or in the case of those who have left, back to the format)?  (Photo courtesy of NOAA.)

WJOX-FM, Birmingham Sports Host Finebuam’s Suit Against Citadel Revealed.  Thanks to a judge for unsealing the suits filed by Paul Finebaum against Citadel’s WJOX-FM, Birmingham, we know more about the claims.  The Birmingham News reports Finebaum – who has a deal with Citadel to host a show on WJOX-FM that is regionally syndicated – accuses WJOX-FM of breach of contract when Citadel declared bankruptcy in December 2009.  Finebaum further alleges he was subsequently forced to agree to contract changes under duress that have caused him “great financial impact.”  Finebaum alleges WJOX-FM, GM Bill Thomas threatened to remove his show from its affiliates and Sirius XM if he didn’t agree to a reduction in revenue from the show.  Citadel says Finebaum was fully aware it filed for bankruptcy when he signed the contract addendum in January 2010.  The company also states any talk of removing the show from affiliates was due to poor financial performance that the company did not want to continue.  Finally, Citadel questions why Finebaum is filing the suits now since Citadel exited bankruptcy protection more than a year ago and calls the suits a “pretense by which Mr. Finebaum hopes to avoid fulfilling his obligations under the employment agreement.”  Finebaum is under contract to Citadel through January 2013.

Clear Channel Ousts Vassilaros from WPTI-FM, Greensboro; Simulcasts Raleigh AM Show.  WRDU-FM, Raleigh’s “Morning Rush” program hosted by KC O’Dea and Carmen Connors is now heard on the company’s WPTI-FM, Greensboro as well.  Morning drive host Dimitri Vassilaros – who left his newspaper and part time radio gigs in Pittsburgh in January to take the WPTI-FM job – is out.  Vassilaros hosted a weekend show at CBS Radio’s KDKA and wrote a column for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review prior to heading south.

Michael Harrison Writing a Book with Mike Kinosian about Talk Radio Set for Publication February 2012. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has announced he is writing a book about talk radio, in collaboration with TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian.  Talkers: The Irrepressible Voices of Radio will be published by Talkers Books and will be part history, part memoir and part commentary based upon radio pioneer Harrison’s 21 years as publisher of TALKERS, 45 years as a professional broadcaster, and his lifelong love affair with popular culture and media.  The primary focus will be Harrison’s observations of many leading figures of contemporary talk radio set against the backdrop of key events connected to the scene’s colorful history.  Material will be drawn from his professional and personal experiences with these extraordinary individuals and supplemented by the extensive database accumulated over the decades in the TALKERS archives.  He also delves back into his own roots as a kid listening to New York City Top 40 in the 1950s and 1960s to becoming an FM album rock groundbreaker on both coasts in the 1970s, an innovator in the trades and eventually one of the driving forces behind the modern talk radio era.  With more than a quarter century of insight and experience at Radio & Records, Inside Radio and now TALKERS — and as one of the radio trade publication world’s most prolific interviewers — collaborator Mike Kinosian brings his formidable radio background and writing skills to the project.  According to Harrison, “Between the two of us we know just about everyone who’s anyone in the talk business from a number of angles.  Mike Kinosian has personally interviewed and written biographical profiles of more than 100 spoken-word radio stars in his illustrious career as an industry chronicler.  His legendary “Mike Kinosian Interviews” remain the gold standard of radio trade journalism.  Having a professional of his stature supporting my efforts in this undertaking is nothing short of inspirational!”  Commenting on his joining forces with Harrison on this ambitious endeavor, Kinosian states, “It is a high honor and a rare privilege to serve as this book’s collaborator, not solely since the subject matter is so personally appealing, but also — and much more significantly — because it is with Michael Harrison.  No one else in the talk radio industry commands Michael’s immense level of respect and credibility.  His behind-the-scenes knowledge of the industry, credentials, accomplishments, detail to recount facts and especially his character are impeccable.”  Among those examined beneath their professional personas are Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Glenn Beck, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, G. Gordon Liddy, Michael Savage, Jerry Williams, Gene Burns and many more.  Harrison shares never-before-published stories about his personal conversations and dealings with Bill Clinton and George W. Bush regarding their relationships with the media.  He finally reveals the back story and truth about his controversial encounter with Al Franken during the future U.S. Senator’s Freedom of Speech Award acceptance at the New Media Seminar.  He talks about his longtime friendship with Alan Colmes, going back to the dreams they shared as part-time MOR jocks on a small Long Island AM daytimer 43 years ago.  He resurrects the colorful decade (1975-1985) he spent as one of the first FM “youth talkers” hosting a trailblazing talk show on L.A.’s legendary rocker, KMET.  Talkers: The Irrepressible Voices of Radio by Michael Harrison with Mike Kinosian promises to reveal a side of talk radio never before exposed to the public.  Summing it up, Kinosian states, “Unsurpassed quality is the dominant theme the two of us have stressed to each other in writing this book.  Based on the early drafts, we are well on our way to accomplishing that goal.”  The promotion of Talkers: The Irrepressible Voices of Radio will be supported with a national tour.

Scott Hennen Signs with Genesis Communications Network for National Distribution.  Talk radio pro Scott Hennen’s Fargo-based talk show, “Common Sense Club,” (heard in North Dakota on KNOX, Grand Forks from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm) will be distributed for national syndication via the Genesis Communications Network.  Hennen tells the Fargo Forum he expects to debut on about a dozen stations.

 

“The Talk” May Be Adding Two New Hosts for this Season.  The CBS daytime TV talk show “The Talk” lost hosts Leah Rimini and Holly Robinson Peete – their contracts were not renewed for the show’s second season.  The network is preparing to fill their slots alongside Sara Gilbert, Julie Chen and Sharon Osbourne with radio host and comedian Sheryl Underwood and Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner.  Jenner is signed to fill in for Osbourne for the show’s first two weeks of the new season but may stay on as Osbourne’s regular fill in.  Underwood will also be part of the first two weeks but is expected to be a regular this season.

Recognition of a Job Well Done.  CBS Radio’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles was recently recognized by Los Angeles City councilman Dennis Zine for its coverage of Carmageddon – the July shutdown of the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles.  Pictured here from left to right are: traffic reporters Jeff Baugh, Tommy Jaxson and Meghan Reyes; Councilman Dennis Zine, news director Julie Chin, and director of programming Andy Ludlum.