Tag: "iHeartRadio"

The Infinite Dial 2014

| March 6, 2014

Holland Cooke
TALKERS Contributor
Media Consultant

 

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, R.I. — It was like telling the punch line at the beginning of the joke, when Edison Research VP/Strategy & Marketing Tom Webster began a well-attended webinar: “It’s hard to overstate the impact of the smartphone on the American consumer.”

“The Infinite Dial 2014” is #22 in an ongoing series researching consumer adoption of digital media.  As Webster and Mike Agovino — COO of Triton Digital, which sponsored the study – narrated their presentation, they had plenty of good news for radio broadcasters.  But the undeniable headline was that those who merely feed audio to transmitters aren’t fishing where the fish are swimming to.

Among data presented, based on a just-released survey of 2023 Americans P12+: 

61% of Americans – an estimated 160 million — now own a smartphone.  That’s 500% growth in 5 years.  Eight-in-ten P18-34.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

| February 25, 2014

levinmarkMark Levin to Be Honored at CPAC.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin will receive the inaugural Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, March 6.  According to a story on Breitbart.com’s Big Journalism, Breitbart News editor-in-chief Alex Marlow will introduce Citizens United president David Bossie, who will present the award to Levin along with Breitbart News president and CEO Larry Solov and Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon.  Solov says, “Mark Levin fearlessly and passionately stands up for conservatives and everyday Americans whose voices the mainstream press often tries to marginalize or silence.  And like Andrew Breitbart, Levin has a way of cutting through the mainstream press’s filter with his words and is never afraid to have arrows slung at him by the institutional left on the front lines of the fight.”  David Bossie comments, “Levin is not only a friend, but supports and defends the vision of our Founding Fathers on his nationally syndicated radio program daily.  There is nobody better to receive this inaugural award and I am happy that he will be joining us at CPAC to accept it.”  Levin’s show is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks.

kkfn logoProgramming Additions at LFM’s Denver Sports Outlets.  At Lincoln Financial Media’s Denver cluster, changes are taking place beginning Monday, March 3 that will put Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick on KKFN “104.3 The Fan,” moving over from sister sports station KEPN “1600 The Zone.”  To make room, Sandy Clough leaves the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot where Patrick will air and joins Drew Goodman and Scott Hastings for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show.  Program director Nate Lundy states, “Like many in Denver, I’m a big fan of Dan Patrick.  As we take the next step in our evolution, it only makes sense to bring the number one national personality to ‘The Fan.’  His perspective and top-level guests will further solidify our commitment to the best sports talk in town.”  KKFN is also debuting a new evening show called “The Fan Late Night with Ryan Edwards and Shawn Drotar” that is airing from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  Lundy adds, “Sandy Clough has been part of The Fan’s success for over 17 years and putting him alongside two other outstanding Denver sports veterans will make for a great show for our listeners.  ‘The Fan Late Night’ will give fans of Denver’s four major pro sports teams a chance to sound off as part of their postgame experience.”  Lundy says a new lineup on KEPN will be announced in the near future as Patrick’s show transitions to “104.3 The Fan.”

mhnrbapanelMichael Harrison Speaks at NRB 2014 in Nashville.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (c) participated as a keynote speaker yesterday afternoon (2/24) at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) conference in Nashville in a general session focused on “Values in American Popular Media.”  The presentation included an opening address by Harrison followed by a spirited panel discussion in which he was joined by DeVon Franklin, SVP of production, Columbia Tristar Pictures (l) and Russell Moore, president, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (r).  Harrison used the platform as an opportunity to espouse his personal and professional philosophy that the combination of vigilant community service and high ethical standards equate to good and successful business strategy in the media industries – especially radio.  Harrison told the conference, “Radio of all formats – not just Christian specifically – should never miss an opportunity to be a hero and serve the true needs of humanity within its local, national and even global market reach.  Why wait for a hurricane or natural disaster to suddenly go into emergency mode?  Why limit our potential to just being the ‘Sterno’ of media?  Day-to-day life provides a nonstop series of emergencies, pain, fear, sorrow and loss on a very human scale that we have the power to calm and alleviate in addition to providing our regular menus of music and talk entertainment, information and discussion.  If we do this with sincerity and authenticity on a consistent level, the communities we serve will amply reward us with both ratings and financial support and the self-fulfilling prophecy about radio being a dying medium will be forestalled for decades to come.”  Harrison warned the crowd that “Christian and religious broadcasting has a head start on fulfilling this role because it is woven into the basic fabric of its service – however, in its passion and zeal to compete in the same marketplace of ideas and commerce co-occupied by secular media, it should be careful not to fall into the trap of stifling the First Amendment rights of dissenting voices and lifestyles nor succumb to the present-day widespread practice to seeking victory at the expense of truth for commercial and political advantage.”

meyersstevenSteven Meyers Heads Digital Strategy at Greater Media.  This is a promotion for Steven Meyers who joined Greater Media Philadelphia in 2012 as digital manager.  Now, in this new director of digital strategy role for all of Greater Media, he will be responsible for helping to grow Greater Media’s audiences and revenue by developing new digital platforms that deepen listener engagement while providing new opportunities to the company’s commercial partners.  He comments, “Greater Media understands that ‘digital’ isn’t just a separate line of business, but a foundational component of our brand experiences and client value.  I’m very excited to become a larger part of shaping that vision.”  Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth adds, “We look forward to having Steve share his valuable knowledge and insight with our teams as we continue to grow and drive our company’s interactive efforts into the future.”

fornicolajasonHubbard’s WFED, Washington Names Fornicola Director of Custom Media.  Coming to Hubbard’s Washington, DC talk and federal news outlet WFED is Jason Fornicola in the new position, director of custom media.  Fornicola recently worked as communications specialist for the American Federation of Government Employees.  He also hosted the weekly AFGE radio program “Inside Government.”  In a statement, director of federal sales Ralph Renzi comments, “We have worked with Jason for seven years and are impressed with his experience and success in journalism, as well as his innovative outreach.  Our investment in providing greater resources for our clients will help us solve more complex marketing objectives.”

edisonresearchEdison Research to Present ‘Infinite Dial 2014’ Next Week.  In a teaser for the free webinar from Edison Research and new partner Triton Digital, the companies report that data from this year’s study shows “31% of Americans 12+ report using the internet radio service Pandora on a monthly basis, up from 27% one year ago.  iHeartRadio is used by 9% monthly, while iTunes Radio, which debuted in 2013, comes in third with 8% monthly usage, followed by 6% using Spotify.”  The webinar takes place Wednesday,tritondigital March 5 at 2:00 pm ET.  Edison says this is the 22nd study in “The Infinite Dial” series, one of the longest-running research series covering consumer use of media, technology and digital platforms.  The webinar will be co-presented by Edison Research VP of strategy Tom Webster, and Triton Digital COO Mike Agovino.  Topics covered will include:  An update on Internet Audio usage, including new data on iTunes Radio, Beats Music, and other services; recent growth in podcasting; the growth in smartphone ownership, and how it has changed consumer behavior; updates on social media usage for services including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and more; and the connected car, and in-car usage of digital media.

alexanderbarbraFinancial Talk Host Convicted in Fraud Case.  A federal jury convicted Barbra Alexander Monterey, California on 28 counts of conspiracy and fraud for her role in a Ponzi scheme.  Sixty-four-year-old Alexander worked with APS Funding partner Michael Swanson to host “Money Dots” on Clear Channel-owned KION, Monterey and other outlets.  Prosecutors had alleged Alexander and Swanson bilked investors of some $4 million.  Alexander is expected to get a lengthy prison term.  Swanson was previously convicted.

pregnantNew Maternity Leave Policy for Cumulus Announced.  Radio giant Cumulus Media announces a change to its human resources policy by adding “the implementation of an industry-leading maternity leave policy providing new mothers with six weeks of fully paid time off in addition to the paid time off and disabilitycumulus logo benefits currently provided to employees.”  The company says the policy takes effect immediately and is available to all full-time, non-commission employees with at least one year of service.  Chairman and CEO Lew Dickey states, “Cumulus continues to grow and innovate thanks to the dedication of our colleagues across the country.  We are committed to providing benefits that recognize employees’ health and family needs, and providing fully paid leave to new mothers after they give birth is the right thing to do.”

nabcrystalawardNAB Crystal Award Finalists Announced.  The 50 finalists for the 2014 Crystal Awards have been announced and that list can be found here.  The National Association of Broadcasters states that since 1987, the NAB Crystal Radio Awards have recognized radio stations for their outstanding year-round commitment to community service.  Winners will be announced and the finalists will be honored at the NAB Radio Luncheon.  The Luncheon will be held Tuesday, April 8 during the 2014 NAB Show in Las Vegas.  During the luncheon, Yahoo tech columnist David Pogue will present a keynote address and popular national radio personality, television host and best-selling author Steve Harvey will be inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

kfwbcargiveawayThis Brand New Car Is No Mirage.  Well, actually it is.  It’s a 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage and it’s now the property of Anita Gowing of Whittier, California (right).  She was the winner of the KFWB, Los Angeles giveaway that took place at South Coast Mitsubishi on Sunday, February 23.  Gowing is seen reacting as her key starts the car.  Inside the car with her is KFWB afternoon news co-anchor Maggie McKay (left).  As part of the contest, 124 listeners won a pair of tickets to an upcoming LA Clippers game and got a key for a chance to win the car.

ObamaCare Criticism, NFL N-word Penalty, Arizona Religious Rights Bill, Ukraine Unrest-Russian Influence, Hagel’s Proposed Military Cuts, and Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/24).  Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NFL’s new rule penalizing teams for players’ use of the n-word during games; the Arizona bill that would allow businesses to discriminate for religious reasons; the political turmoil in Ukraine and the influence of Putin’s Russia; Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposed shrinking of the Army to its smallest size in 74 years; and a new round of winter weather for the East were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, February 24, 2014

| February 24, 2014

espnupstateEntercom Adds Sports Talker ‘ESPN Upstate’ to Greenville Brands.  In the Greenville, South Carolina market, Entercom is taking the WORD-AM and WYRD-AM signals and pairing them with Spartanburg, South Carolina translator W246BU and the HD-3 channel of WFBC and creating the new sports talk brand “ESPN Upstate.”  The station will carry the full ESPN Radio lineup except for the afternoon drive daypart which is being hosted by local personality Greg McKinney.  According to the station, McKinney “has done play-by-play for Greenville High School and national high school powerhouses Byrnes and Dorman High Schools.  He served on the football and basketball broadcast teams for Wofford College.  McKinney was inducted into the Wofford College Hall of Fame as recognition for his contributions to their play-by-play broadcasts.  He currently anchors ‘College Football Today,’ on ‘93.3 The Planet,’ prior to each Clemson football game.  Vice president and market manager Steve Sinicropi comments, “ESPN is the biggest name in sports and adding the most powerful brand in sports makes our dominant cluster of radio stations even stronger.  This past year we have had tremendous success in the sports arena with Clemson football play-by-play, Greg McKinney anchoring our ‘College Football Today’ pregame show, and Carolina Panthers football with our ‘Carolina Kick Off’ pre-game show hosted by The Rise Guys.  Adding ESPN is another major step as Entercom Upstate becomes THE place for sports radio in the market.”

dicarojulieTribune Moves DiCaro to Radio Operations.  In a move reported by Chicagoland Radio and Media, Julie DiCaro moves from her community manager role at the Chicago Tribune’s ChicagoNow site to a new post two floors up at Tribune Tower to WGN Radio where she’s now handling social media for news/talk WGN, online project WGN.fm and new sports talker WGWG “The Game 87.7.”  She will also oversee writing sports blogs for the stations and have an on-air role at WGWG.  DiCaro is an attorney who gave up practicing criminal and family law to pursue her passion of writing about sports.  She founded the Chicago Cubs-intensive blog A League of Her Own as well as the network of female blog writers titled Aerys Sports Network.

toryjohnCFRB, Toronto Talk Host John Tory to Run for Mayor.  Add former CFRB “The Live Drive” talk host John Tory to the growing list of people challenging colorful and embattled Mayor Rob Ford for the Toronto mayoral seat.  Tory has been host of “The Live Drive” since the fall of 2009. He was president and CEO of Rogers Communications from 1995 to 1999 (he is still a member of the Rogers board of directors) and has worked in the offices of notable Canadian politicians including former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.  Tory is resigning from his show to run for office and program director Mike Bendixen is quoted in a story on the “Newstalk 1010” website saying, “We would love John to stick around but…the station supports him in his endeavours in running for political office.”  As for the station’s treatment of him, Bendixen adds, “We’re gonna be just as hard on him as we would be on Rob Ford, as we would be with David Soknacki and Karen Stintz and Olivia Chow and whoever else decides to run.”

sokoljasenSokol to Host Late Morning Show on WAKR, Akron.  Another local program is added to the schedule at Rubber City Radio news/talker WAKR, Akron as news anchor and reporter Jasen Sokol begins hosting a two-hour show airing at 10:00 am today (2/24).  Sokol became part of the station’s news department after working at Kent State-owned WKSU, Kent while attending as a Walton D. Clarke Graduate Fellow.  Vice president of information media for Rubber City Ed Esposito comments, “We are proud to present the next generation of talent from Northeast Ohio.  Jasen is a true pro, with experience during his college career.  He’s smart, asks the questions that need to be asked but most importantly has the northeast Ohio sensibility and sensitivity WAKR listeners have come to expect.”

hunnicuttclayClear Channel Promotes Clay Hunnicutt to EVP and GM of National Programming Platforms.  This is a bump up from his most recent post as EVP of programming for the company’s largest markets.  According to a statement, in this new post, Hunnicutt will “work with [president of National Programming Platforms Tom] Poleman to oversee all aspects of the National Programming Platforms team, which develops and manages Clear Channel’s national programming ­ all on-air and digital content across the company’s radio stations and websites. He will work closely with Clear Channel’s senior and executive vice presidents of programming to emphasize the connection between Clearcclogo Channel’s 850 local radio stations and the National Programming Platforms assets, such as live events like the iHeartRadio Music Festival, iHeartRadio Ultimate Pool Party, iHeartRadio Country Festival and iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour, while also leveraging groups like the brand management in-house format team.  He will manage a team of programmers focused on sales integration with station programming , as well as the programming operations center and the Premium Choice network to ensure all content is executed and seamlessly integrated for Clear Channel’s national programming and advertising initiatives.  Hunnicutt will also continue as the company-wide brand manager for Clear Channel’s country stations.”  Poleman comments, “Clay has an unmatched connection with our local markets and knows how to link our national capabilities to our local assets.  He has a great understanding of the day-to-day programming of our local radio stations and what it takes to drive ratings and revenue.  His expertise will ensure our national platforms are of benefit to all of our radio stations nationwide, which gives us a huge competitive advantage.”

westbrianExecutive Changes at Nielsen.  Two executive moves at Nielsen are announced as chief financial officer Brian West is upped to chief operating officer and Jamere Jackson joins the company as CFO from his most recent post with General Electric.  The changes are effective March 10.  West takes over for Mitchell Habib who “moves to the next phase of his career, after a transition period.”  Nielsen CEO Mitch Barns says, “Our company has never been in a better place, due in large measure to Brian’s vision, leadership, and execution over the last seven years.  Brian is a trusted colleague and an exceptional business partner, with a proven track record of value creation.  As a key member of our leadership team, he has played an integral role in defining our growth strategy, allocating capital and delivering value to our shareholders.  His deep understanding of Nielsen’s people, operations, and clients well positions him to drive value in his new role as COO.”

morganpiersOdds & Sods.  The end is near for “Piers Morgan Tonight” on CNNThe New York Times columnist David Carr reports that the date of the final program is not certain but that the continued poor ratings are the reason.  Morgan tells Carr, “It’s been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings…Look, I am a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns, which has been very polarizing, and there is no doubt that there are many in the audience who are tired of me banging on about it.”  He says the show has “run its course and [CNN president Jeff istookernestZucker] and I have been talking for some time about different ways of using me.”…..Chisholm Trail Broadcasting’s KZLS – recently flipped to talk radio as “1640 The Eagle” – adds Ernest Istook’s syndicated talk show to the program quiversrobinschedule.  Istook represented the 5th Congressional District in Oklahoma for 14 years before leaving congress and pursuing other interests including broadcasting.  He says he intends to add more outlets for his program as it grows…..At Cumulus Media’s sports talk KFNZ, Salt Lake City, program director and air personality Tim Montemayor moves from the afternoon drive show where he was co-hosting with Kyle Gunther to the morning drive daypart…..Howard Stern show personality Robin Quivers was honored for Outstanding Literary Work by the NAACP at its “Image Awards” on Saturday, February 22.  Quivers recently published The Vegucation of Robin: How Real Food Saved My Life (Avery 2013).

SCBA colorSCBA Blog Introduces Auto Focus Report.  The latest blog from the Southern California Broadcasters Association and president Thom Callahan has been published and in this edition, Callahan introduces what it calls “an ambitious SCBA initiative to help regional auto dealer associations reach more customers more profitably by simply using more radio.”  Callahan comments, “The auto industry in Southern California and the nation, is facing a challenging year ahead with record new model introductions as well as a loomingcallahanthom factory incentive battle among most manufacturers.  This spells trouble for dealer profitability and makes the need to re-evaluate traditional radio/TV spending levels as an immediate focus.”  The SCBA Auto Focus Report will be “a detailed look at dealer association ad spending levels for radio and TV and compare those budgets to actual sales by dealership.  Using verified Polk Auto Data to document sales by dealership, the SCBA Auto Focus Report will create custom solutions and recommendations for each participating dealer association.”  Callahan adds, “Rather than just waving a ‘radio is great’ flag, we are approaching this project from a business point of view.  We have a compelling story to tell about cost of sales, profitability, and bringing substantive value to radio’s relationship with the auto industry.”

wearableiHeartRadio to Be Featured on Samsung Gear 2.  In the very near future when you’re doing your best Dick Tracy impersonation, your cool, new wrist device will allow you to hear your favorite music and talk programming as Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio is being featured on the new Samsung Gear 2 (pictured here).  The wrist-worn Gear 2 is a new device that keeps Samsung phone users connected with their phones and allows them to receive “Quick Glance notifications, such as texts, emails and phone calls, all on your wrist.”  Now, users will be able to control their iHeartRadio app operations from their wrist, as well.  The industry is calling this new device a “wearable” for obvious reasons.  CC president of digital Brian Lakamp says, “iHeartRadio is dedicated to providing even more access to the music, news and entertainment that our listeners love.  Wearables are an emerging access point for music fans, and Clear Channel continues to make iHeartRadio available everywhere our users are listening.  The sleek design and interface of the Samsung Gear 2 lends itself well to the iHeartRadio user experience and we believe it will be popular among our listeners.”

tradupuziNational Religious Broadcasters Conference Underway.  In Nashville, the National Religious Broadcasters Association conference is taking place and one of the companies with a presence is Salem Radio Networks.  Pictured here is SRN VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left) presenting and SRN clock to Israeli minister of tourism Dr. Uzi Landau (right).  Tradup reports that Landau spoke about reporting truthfully on world events and warned of Iran’s atomic weapons program.  The conference is billed as an event that networks thousands of Christian communicators, from program producers to authors, pastors to engineers, directors to vendors presenting outstanding internationally known speakers and musicians and giving attendees the opportunity to attend numerous educational sessions on radio, TV, film, church media, internet and leadership, and receive helpful industry training.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is keynoting a two-hour session today (2/24).

Vegas Two-Fer: Tuesday Update

| January 7, 2014

Holland Cooke
TALKERS Contributor
Media Consultant

 

cookewriterLAS VEGAS — It’s interesting to see which radio people are here for CES and who’s here for NMX; and REAL impressive seeing some familiar faces at both.  

The Consumer Electronics Association has asked that news media here NOT call this event the “Consumer Electronics Show.”  They prefer “International CES,” reflecting its global draw, and because the ways digital technology is changing everyday life go way beyond gadgets.  I tried, with mixed emotions, since “CES” is lingo to “real people” listeners.  I felt less-guilty reverting when I heard CBS News lapse.

NMX is short for “New Media Expo,” formerly Blogworld, which also pulls an impressively international crowd of bloggers and podcasters.  If you missed my notes from NMX Saturday/Sunday sessions: http://www.talkers.com/2014/01/06/2014-nmx-lots-about-branding-not-a-word-about-benghazi/

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

| December 11, 2013

uptonfredCongressmen Question FCC Chair Wheeler About ‘Fairness Doctrine 2.0.’  In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) requests Wheeler take immediate steps to suspend the field test for the research design of the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs” the FCC is undertaking.  Supported by Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and 14 other congressmen, Upton charges the initiative is nothing more that the “Fairness Doctrine 2.0” and that the FCC has no jurisdiction to be undertaking a field test of this sort and that its actions are unconstitutional.  Upton states, fccnew“Although the Commission’s stated reason for the reports is to inform the Commission in taking regulatory action to lower ‘market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses,’ it is hard to read this and see it for anything other than what it is, Fairness Doctrine 2.0.”  Upton references the study plan which states its goals are to “ascertain the process by which stories are selected, station priorities (for content, production quality and populations served), perceived station bias, perceived percentage of news dedicated to each of the eight CINs, and perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.”  Upton then states, “The Commission has no business probing the news media’s editorial judgment and expertise, nor does it have any business in prescribing a set diet of ‘critical information.’  These goals are plainly inappropriate and are at bottom an incursion by the government into the constitutionally protected operations of the professional news media.”  Upton requests Wheeler’s office respond to seven specific questions about the field test by January 10.  You can read the entire letter here.

sottolanojeffWIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia PD Jeff Sottolano Promoted to Corporate Director of Programming for CBS Radio.  CBS Radio EVP of programming Chris Oliviero announces the promotion of WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia program director Jeff Sottolano to director, programming, CBS RADIO, effective January 2.  Oliviero says, “Jeff has consistentlycbsradio logo and successfully answered every challenge he’s faced during his career at CBS RADIO.  With such diverse format experience and a respected reputation, both in and outside our company, I have no doubt he is ready to tackle this exciting and critical next chapter.  Jeff will be a great complement to our corporate programming team.”  Sottolano’s duties include supporting program directors in 27 major markets who oversee 126 stations.  The company says he “will focus on identifying and recruiting on-air talent, both established and up-and-coming, as well as seek out new format opportunities.  Additionally, Sottolano will maintain ongoing communications with external industry and charitable organizations, and work closely with the division’s digital media business to ensure a seamless cross-platform product and brand experience.”  Sottolano came to CBS RADIO in 2001 as an intern at WZNE, Rochester.  He worked his way up to promotions director in 2002 and to PD and air talent in 2004.  In 2006, Sottolano transferred to WYSP-FM in Philadelphia where he assumed a variety of programming and marketing roles during his tenure, including program director beginning in 2008.  He was instrumental in launching the Danny Bonaduce show that same year, and worked closely with record labels, concert promoters and artists to create one-of-a-kind events and promotions.  In 2011 he assumed programming oversight of sports talk WIP when it began simulcasting on WYSP as “SportsRadio 94WIP.”

clarketimCox Media Group Names Tim Clarke Director of Digital Audience.  Moving up from his role as program director for the company’s CHR WPOI, Tampa “Hot 101.5,” Tim Clarke is promoted to director of digital audience for radio at Cox Media Group.  The company says that in this role Clarke “will be the liaison between CMG’s radio and digital divisions to help drive the digital brand strategy and product development for coxmediagroupgrowing audience and engagement at all CMG’s radio stations.”  EVP of radio Kim Guthrie adds, “We have some of the more cutting edge efforts in the digital space, and it is exciting to be able to dedicate one of our best talents to that effort.  We are evolving our super brands into the digital future, and Tim will play an instrumental role in that overall success.”  In addition to programming “HOT 101.5,” Clarke was director of social media for all six Tampa stations.  His other career highlights include time as PD at WAPE, Jacksonville and music director at WBLI, Long Island.  Clarke comments, “The digital future for CMG’s super brands is extremely bright and filled with tons of opportunity to engage our audiences in even deeper, more personalized and more meaningful ways.  I’m looking forward to working with our teams to serve our users on these growing platforms.”

mohrjayiHeartradio Adds Jay Mohr Sports Channel.  Actor/comedian Jay Mohr does his daily Fox Sports Radio Network program from Clear Channel-owned Los Angeles flagship KLAC. Now, the “Gary Unmarried” star launches “Jay Mohr Sports,” a live digital iHeartRadio station.  “This channel is about the fans and giving them 24/7 access to the show wherever they are,” Mohr enthusiastically states.  “I am so happy to be able to share this with listeners in celebration of the upcoming one-year anniversary of ‘Jay Mohr Sports.’”  The digital iHeartRadio channel features sports talk and entertainment, as well as Mohr’s conversations with athletes and celebrities.

mcmullenjohnMcMullen Named WMBD, Peoria PD.  Talk radio programmer John McMullen joins Monterey Licenses-owned news/talk WMBD, Peoria.  McMullen most recently served as program director at Morris Communications’ “KNEWS” news/talk trimulcast KNWZ and KNWQ, Palm Springs and KNWH, Yucca Valley where he’s been since 2007.  During his career, McMullen has also served with Sirius Satellite Radio.

wgnlogoSteve Bertrand Reunites with Kathy & Judy on WGN.  As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN, Chicago newsman Steve Bertrand will trade off a weekday shift for the Saturday shift during which he’ll be reunited with Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey during their weekly 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  Bertrand will also work with “Mr. Fix-It” Lou Manfredini whose show airs from 7:00 am to 10:00 am on Saturdays.  Bertrand, O’Malley and Markey worked together when the Kathy & Judy show was a regular midday program on WGN from 1989 through 2009.  Feder reports that WGN VP of creative content Todd Manley says Bertrand will continue to work the news desk during Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano’s midday show as well as during Garry Meier’s afternoon program.

wkzologoWKZO, Kalamazoo Names Lawrence Brand Manager.  At Midwest Communications’ Kalamazoo cluster, Jeremy Lawrence is named brand manager for news/talk outlet WKZO and sports talk WQLR.  In addition, Lawrence serves as the afternoon drive co-host on WKZO’s “The Trifecta” program alongside Jim McKinney and Roger Taylor.  Lawrence takes over for Jay Morris who leaves that post to focus on his work as brand manager for the company’s alternative rock outlets WZOX, Kalamazoo and WVIC, Lansing.

yacobushrickNew Market Manager and Director of Sales at Clear Channel Syracuse.  Clear Channel Media + Entertainment announces Rick Yacobush has been named market manager for the company’s five-station cluster in Syracuse and Barbara Miller has been appointed director of sales for the cluster.  Yacobush has been with the CC Syracuse stations for more than 26 years, holding a variety of roles including account manager, general sales manager and director of sales.  SVP of operations for the Northeast Region Kevin LeGrett says, “We are very excited to have Rick Yacobush lead the extremely talented team in Syracuse.  Rick’s sales leadership over the last 18 years has led to unprecedented performance.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment reaches more people in Syracuse than any other media and Rick’s unique ability to maximize our assets will allow us to serve the community as well as our advertisers in a multi-platform fashion.”  Meanwhile, 18-year CC veteran Barbara Miller moves up to director of sales for the cluster and LeGrett says of her, “Barbara has a proven track record of developing revenue growth opportunities.  She has demonstrated the vision and creativity necessary to implement 21st century competitive media strategies for our organization.  She has consistently exceeded revenue targets, while providing leadership and ensuring high quality standards are maintained across the organization.”  The CC Syracuse cluster includes news/talk WSYR, AC WYYY “Y94,” country WBBS “B104.7,” CHR WWHT “Hot 107.9,” and urban contemporary WHEN “Power 620.”

raytomTom Ray Warns Radio Broadcasters to Avoid EAS Confusion and Potential Fines.  TALKERS technical editor and noted engineering consultant Tom Ray passes along the following important information to our readers who program and operate radio stations.  Perhaps you heard about the recent $25,000 fines given out by the Commission regarding EAS violations.  The violations concerned airing either an EAS alert tone, EAS data burst, or sound alikes.  Both are prohibited under part 11 of the Commission’s rules.  Why?  If you are airing the EAS data bursts, this is something that could beeas logo decoded by downstream EAS decoders.  This can be confusing for station personnel, but more importantly, may in fact trigger an EAS alert when an emergency condition doesn’t exist.  And airing of something that sounds like the EAS data bursts and/or the two-tone alert signal starts to desensitize the public to an actual message.  It could, in fact, panic the public.  The recent cases involved EAS like sounds involved in commercials for movies.  In one case, when the cell phone alert apps were downloaded to person’s phones without their knowledge, I heard a television newscast run the sounds the phone made – which sound close enough to an EAS alert that it was a violation – regardless of whether it was news.  Some of this stems from our ways of operating these days.  Spots used to arrive on reel-to-reel tape, and you had to listen to the spot to transfer it to cart before airing and could catch the fact that EAS tones were in a spot.  Today, the spot arrives as a file and most automation systems can take the spot in without anyone listening to it ahead of time.  In the case of the TV newscast, the news producer obviously did not know the FCC regulations.  In the case of ingesting spots directly into your system, they should always be listened to not only for content, but also for problems like distortion.  To take something in without listening to it is irresponsible.  The bottom line – don’t air something that sounds like an EAS alert.  The FCC takes it seriously.  The public takes it seriously.  And it shouldn’t happen.  For more information about this topic Tom Ray can be phoned at 845-418-5065 or emailed at tomray@tomrayconsulting.com.

twitchy logoMalkin Sells Website to Salem Communications.  Conservative media commentator Michelle Malkin has sold her Twitchy.com site to Salem Communications for an undisclosed sum.  Malkin founded the site which serves as a curation destination for Twitter posts and commentary on said Tweets.  Salem Communications has had success with its digital efforts and already operated TownHall.com and HotAir.com in addition to numerous Christian-themed sites.  Salem VP/GM Jonathan Garthwaite comments, “Since its inception almost two years ago, Twitchy has fast become a leader in online news reporting.  They have harnessed the power of social media to create a real-time newswire for the modern, interconnected world.  With the addition of Twitchy to our growing network of news and political websites, there is no better collection of conservative news and opinion on the web.”

localfocus logoLocal Focus Purchased by McGavren Guild Parent.  Genesis Media Holdings picks up Kay Olin and Dave Demer‘s Atlanta-based Local Focus rep firm.  GMH owns McGavren Guild Media, which will operate independently of its new sibling.  In addition, Genesis Media Holdings brings in Cumulus Media director of national sales Kevin Garrity as manager.  GMH chief financial officer Billy McEntee comments, “Local Focus is an innovative firm powered by a team of highly accomplished sales professionals.  We look forward to working with them to provide an even greater level of service to radio stations and advertisers.  Kevin Garrity has excelled at every level of radio sales management.  With his addition and the acquisition of Local Focus, we are poised for rapid expansion and growth.  Management will continue to drive revenue for their respective station partners, while capitalizing on opportunities afforded through the larger Genesis Media group.”  Garrity remarks, “Genesis Media Holdings’ commitment to building their platform and investing in the long-term growth of their properties is very exciting. I look forward to playing an integral part in shaping that growth.”  McGavren Guild Media president Lisa Sirotka-Sonnenklar adds, “I am extremely excited to be working with Kevin to further build McGavren Guild Media.  I look forward to the additional support I will gain from his depth of industry experience.”  Garrity’s background includes 20 years at Interep, the last five of those as president of ABC Radio Sales.  In tandem with these announcements, vice president of revenue Dave Demer becomes president of Local Focus, while the rep firm’s founder Kay Olin will act as a consultant to Genesis Media.  “Kay has been instrumental in facilitating the evolution of Local Focus and preparing it for this next step in its growth,” Demer notes.  “She will add immense value to Genesis Media.”  Previously, Demer held marketing and sales positions with Clear Channel and Cox Media Group. Local Focus represents more than 350 stations.

iglesiasgabriel24/7 Comedy Celebrates Christmas with Gabriel Iglesias.  Premiere Networks-syndicated 24/7 Comedy – the 24-hour, all-comedy format – is celebrating the holiday season with special guest host Gabriel Iglesias.   From December 14 through December 27, the format will feature “The 12 Days of Fluffy” (for 13 days), giving listeners a peek behind the stage persona of the internationally acclaimed comedian and highlighting some of his most popular stand-up bits.  Connecting with listeners every hour throughout “The 12 Days of Fluffy,” fans will also have the chance to hear select tracks from his latest Comedy Central DVD special, “Aloha Fluffy.”

ObamaCare Criticism, Obama Selfie Flap/Castro Handshake, New Budget Deal, India Gay Sex Ruling, Iran Nukes Talks, and NSA Targets Video Gamers Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/10).  The ongoing criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and HHS director Kathleen Sebelius; the flap over President Obama’s “selfie” taken at the service for Nelson Mandela and his handshake with Raul Castro; the new budget deal struck in Congress; India’s high court ruling outlawing gay sex; foundering talks with Iran over its nuclear program; and the NSA’s targeting of video gamers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

| November 7, 2013

sportshh2013TALKERS Publishes Second Annual “Heavy Hundred” of Sports Talk Radio.  The editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, have compiled the second annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America.  The eagerly anticipated list is posted today (11/7).  Like its long-established “sister list” – the long-running (18 years) annual “Heavy Hundred” that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine have ranked sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from 1 to 100 based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors.  The results are, admittedly, subjective.  Being  true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due.  Those qualities include:  courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness.  The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station at the time of publication.  TALKERS salutes the fine broadcasters who made this year’s second annual list!  To see the entire roster, please click here.

parksdarrylDarryl Parks Exits Clear Channel.  The longtime WLW, Cincinnati steward and architect of so many of the talk shows that aired on the station has been let go by Clear Channel.  Programmer Darryl Parks was PD of WLW from 1999 to 2010 when he was promoted to vice president of news/talk operations for the entire company.  He remained based at the Cincinnati cluster and hosted a Saturday morning talk show on WLW.  The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter broke the news on Wednesday afternoon and in his report calls Parks “arguably the most influential person in Cincinnati radio” during his time as PD of WLW.  As per policy, Clear Channel doesn’t comment on personnel matters but has confirmed that Parks is no longer with the company.  The move is likely a restructuring of management within the company but Parks drew attention to himself last month with a blog post criticizing acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn’s AM revitalization program and referred to the NAB/RAB Radio Show as a “circle jerk.”

cbsradioCBS Corporation Reveals Q3 Numbers: Radio Up 1%.  For the company as a whole, revenue was up 11% but the radio division’s net revenue rose just 1%.  With so much of CBS’ revenue from television and cable, the company doesn’t spend much time talking about radio.  EVP of investor relations Adam Townsend did single out the fledgling CBS Sports Radio Network, saying, “CBS Sports Radio network continues to help drive our results.  Plus, digital revenue was up 19% in the quarter.  And nontraditional revenue, including our growing local events business, was up 9%.”  The company says it expects the radio division to be up in the low single digits in the fourth quarter.

cclogoClear Channel Radio Revenue Up 3%.  CC Media Holdings issued its third quarter 2013 financial results and the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment division’s revenue increased by 3% or $25 million.  Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “Strategically and financially, our third quarter results reflect the growing strength of our Media+Entertainment business, while we continue to make meaningful progress in moving Outdoor forward internationally and in the Americas.  At Media+Entertainment, we outperformed the entire radio sector in revenue growth, including in our major markets. Increasingly, our radio business is benefiting from our strategic approach to advertising that sets us apart in the marketplace.”  Among numerous other points made about the division’s recent achievements, the company notes that there are now “39 million iHeartRadio registered users as of September 30, 2013, up 114% from the end of the 2012 third quarter, and crossing the 30 million registered user mark faster than Facebook, Twitter, Spotify or Pandora, and second only to Instagram.  iHeartRadio’s total listening hours were up 30% in the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.  Mobile represented 60% of iHeartRadio total listening hours during the quarter.”

katztonyTony Katz to Host Evening Show on WIBC-FM, Indianapolis.  Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis and talk show host Tony Katz have agreed to terms for Katz to debut his “Tony Katz Tonight” program on the station airing from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight beginning Monday, November 11.  Katz will be based out of his Tomorrow Media Network studios in Los Angeles.  Katz most recently hosted a weekend program on Emmis-owned KFTK-FM, St. Louis “FM News Talk 97.1” where he also serves as the regular fill-in for the station’s Dana Loesch.  Katz states, “I’m thrilled to be with Emmis, a company that has fought hard to be strong in this ever-shifting radio landscape.  I’ve had a great relationship with the company, with Dana and especially KFTK program director Jeff Allen, who gave me nothing but support, opportunity and encouragement.  To go from there to the capable and fearless hands of WIBC program director David Wood makes me truly believe that this is the start of a long, profitable relationship.”  Katz is a columnist with TownHall and Christian Post and a frequent commentator on “Fox and Friends” and “The Kudlow Report” on CNBC.  He is also a sought after public speaker.

cunninghambillBill Cunningham’s TV Show Renews on The CW.  WLW, Cincinnati talk show host Bill Cunningham can also claim success in his other media endeavor – the Tribune-produced television talk program “The Bill Cunningham Show.”  Now, Cable & Broadcasting reports that the show has been picked up for another season – its third – by The CW Network which airs the show at 3:00 pm ET.  The TV project was one of those that began back when former Clear Channel radio president Randy Michaels was heading up Tribune.  Former Clear Channel programmer Sean Compton is one of the executives whom Michaels brought to Chicago and has risen to president of programming and entertainment for Tribune Broadcasting.  Compton is quoted in the piece saying, “The growth of ‘The Bill Cunningham Show’ over the past three seasons has exceeded all expectations.  When compared to perceptually bigger shows, Cunningham consistently comes out on top.  His demo conversion steadily yields impressive results and we are extremely proud of this show.”

cookehollandA Peek Inside: NAB Futures 2013.  Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke was recently invited to attend – and deliver a keynote speech! – at the invitation only NAB Futures 2013 that took place in Laguna Beach, California.  Cooke describes it as “a think tank about how broadcasters can embrace and exploit the ‘disruption’ that has changed how consumers consume media.”  He reports back interesting tidbits from such speakers as: James McQuivey, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research and the author of Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation; Scott Burnell, global lead, business development & partner management at Ford Motor Company; Jason Dorsey, “The Gen Y Guy” who wrote Y-Size Your Business: How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business.  Get Holland Cooke’s scoop on the NAB Futures 2013 here.

westwoodone logoWestwoodOne Opens Creative and Production Studio for Radio Marketers.  Saying that it wants to help marketers develop “world-class audio,” WestwoodOne announces the opening of a full-service Creative Services division to be “powered” in part by TM Studios.  The company says it will “provide multi-platform marketing solutions including on-air, digital and experiential components, built upon the company’s core service producing engaging audio experiences that connect people with their passions in life.  The studio is currently preparing to work with marketers to produce audio ads for WestwoodOne’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII.”  WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine states, “Audio plays a vital role in the new media landscape and WestwoodOne is uniquely positioned to help marketers integrate creative, multiplatform audio advertising into the mix.  Marketers need a reliable partner who understands how, where and when today’s mobile consumers are interacting with audio and the ability to develop audio content that can stand out from the competition.  Be it mobile, terrestrial or digital consumption, the team at WestwoodOne Studio has the talent and expertise to create the most compelling and effective advertising to give our marketers the most exposure.”

valentinephilPhil Valentine Kicks Off ‘Spreading the Truth’ Tour.  Nashville-based syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine is launching what he’s calling the “Spreading the Truth” tour to promote the newly released DVD of his film “An Inconsistent Truth.”  Valentine will be in Pensacola, Florida at the Cordova Mall on Sunday, November 10 in conjunction with his Pensacola affiliate station WCOA.  Valentine reports that the movie – which challenges the notion of runaway, man-made global warming and takes its title from a twist on Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth – “hit the #1 spot on Amazon.com’s documentary list shortly after its release.  It’s the winner of three film festival awards including the Nevada Film Festival.  The film enjoyed a limited run last year in select theaters and was the top-grossing movie per screen in the entire country its first two weeks out.  It’s the 20th top-grossing nature documentary of all time, out-grossing films like “Cool It, Gasland and Fuel.”  Valentine states, “I think the fact that we hit #1 on Amazon so quickly is a testament to the appetite out there for the truth.  People inherently know carbon dioxide is not some kind of poison.  They instinctively know they’re being lied to.  We just arm them with the facts.”  The Spreading the Truth tour kicks off in Pensacola then moves to Nashville.  Other tour dates are being added.

morelandkeithOdds & Sods.  Chicago Cubs radio color analyst Keith Moreland is stepping down from his role.  WGN, Chicago announces the former Cub has made the decision to leave the broadcast booth to spend more time with his family.  In a note to the WGN staff, Moreland stated, “I would like to thank the fans, the folks at WGN Radio, my colleagues in the booth, the Ricketts family, and the Cubs for this great opportunity.  After spending three years doing it, I’ve simply decided that I want to spend more time at home in Texas.”  Moreland became a permanent fixture with play-by-play broadcaster Pat Hughes in February of 2011…..Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston announces the return of its off-season baseball show “Red Sox Hot Stove,” a weekly, one-hour program hosted by WEEI.com editor Rob Bradford and Red Sox reporter Alex Speier that will air every Thursday night from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm through February.  The program will focus on all off-season moves made by the Red Sox and in Major League Baseball, including free agency and trades, the GM and owners’ meetings and the league’s annual Winter Meetings, taking place this year from December 9-12 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, FL.  Bradford and Speier will be joined on a recurring basis by Red Sox manager John Farrell, general manager Ben Cherington and assistant general manager Mike Hazen.  In addition, listeners will regularly hear from other managers, general managers, agents and players from around baseball.

zimneymissindy‘There She/He Is, Miss Indiana…’  Okay, so that’s not exactly how the song goes.  Nonetheless, the attractive woman you see here is Mekayla Diehl (right) who was crowned Miss Indiana USA 2014 this past Sunday.  The handsome lad seated and wearing the tiara is Federated Media news and programming guru Jon Zimney of ‘95.3 FM MNC’ (Michiana News Channel) in South Bend, Indiana, and WOWO-AM/FM in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Miss Diehl visited the broadcasting facility to talk about her being crowned to represent the state of Indiana.

ObamaCare Criticism, Election Day Results, Benghazi Case, GOP 2014 and 2016 Strategies, Iran Nukes, Miami Dolphins ‘Bullying’ Story and Tony Dorsett Health Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/6).  The ongoing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; Tuesday’s election results; renewed criticism of the handling of the deadly Benghazi attacks; Republican prospects and strategies for the mid-term elections in 2014 and the presidential election in 2016; Iran’s nuclear weapons program; controversy over the suspension of Miami Dolphins player Richie Incognito; and former NFL great Tony Dorsett’s admission he suffers from possible effects of football injuries were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

| September 11, 2013

wfan logoYankees to Remain with CBS Radio but Move to WFAN; Status of Mets Unclear.  In a story in The New York Times, an executive privy to the negotiations tells the paper that the New York Yankees have re-upped with CBSyankees logo Radio to the tune of $15 million per year for 10 years – a $150 commitment on the part of CBS Radio. (The current contract for the Yankees on WCBS pays the team $14 million per season.)  However, the company’s flagship sports talk station WFAN-AM/FM will be where fans will hear the Yankees and not the National League rival Mets as they have for the past 25 years.  Reports indicate the Mets are confirming they will not be on WFAN next year but there’s no indication which NYC outlets they may be talking to.  Obvious candidates would include ESPN O&O WEPN-FM, Clear Channel’s WOR and Cumulus Media’s WABC.  Mets COO Jeff Wilpon tells the Times he expects negotiations to be resolved in about six weeks.

hoffmanbillCox Media Group’s Bill Hoffman Loves TV-Newspaper-Radio Synergy; Says Data from Dayton and Atlanta Proves it Works.  In an interview with TVNewsCheck’s Harry Jessell, Cox Media Group president Bill Hoffman says the synergy of having a television outlet, daily newspaper and radio properties (specifically news/talk outlets) has been very good for the company.  So much so that when it had the opportunity to buy TV stations, it chose Jacksonville and Tulsa – markets where it operates successful news/talk stations WOKV-AM/FM and KRMG-AM/FM, respectively.  Hoffman tells TVNewsCheck its Dayton and Atlanta clusters – each with a news/talk radio station, TV outlet and a daily newspaper – wsb logoperform well as a result.  “We have really made Dayton kind of this incubation center for collaboration because it’s the market where all three media — newspaper, radio, TV — are all under the same roof.  Every single data point says that whio logogroup is performing outstandingly — the station and the individual entities altogether.  We just have a juggernaut of a media outlet there between newspaper, TV and radio.”  He adds, “Atlanta [where Cox owns the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB-TV and WSB-AM/FM] is a much bigger market.  To listeners, readers, viewers in Atlanta, they feel like it’s three distinctive brands. But behind the scenes the kind of collaboration that’s going on in content, marketing, sales, back-room efficiencies is very robust.  It’s leading to better financial performance.  The brands are stronger by whatever use-metrics you can put against them.”  To read more of Harry Jessell’s interview with Bill Hoffman, click here.

nissan logoClear Channel Makes Inroads into the Digital Dash Via Nissan.  With today’s announcement that its iHeartRadio digital audio app will be available in-dash in select 2014 Nissan vehicles via its made-for-driving application – iHeartAuto – Clear Channel Media and Entertainment makes progress toward inclusion in the digital dashboard.  Beginning this fall, iHeartRadio will be available in select Nissan vehicles equipped with NissanConnect (available in SV and SL models) an in-vehicle global smartphone integration platform for Android and iPhone operating systems.  Once a user connects their compatible smartphone with the NissanConnect App, drivers can control and personalize their iHeartRadio listening experience directly through the dashboard or via steering wheel controls, allowing easy access for in-vehicle enjoyment.  There is no monthly fee or subscription to NissanConnect but the rates that apply to the user’s smartphone apply to use of the car’s system.  CC president of digital Brian Lakamp states, “Working with Nissan to integrate iHeartRadio into the NissanConnect platform allows our listeners to seamlessly access the stations they love in a way designed to minimize distraction.  Now, Nissan drivers will be able to tune into radio stations from anywhere in the country and keep connected to their favorite on-air personalities without having to worry about driving out of range.”

kroi logoDenise Bishop Exits Radio One’s ‘News92 FM’ in Houston.  Houston media blogger Mike McGuff reports that news director Denise Bishop has left the building at Radio One’s all-news KROI, Houston “News92 FM.”  McGuff further reports that Bishop’s position is being eliminated and that a staffer who wishes to remain anonymous told him, “I’m beyond stunned.  I’m heartbroken.  She’s a fine woman and a pro.”  Bishop was with the station since its inception in 2011 and came from a news background that includes having served as news director at KRIV-TV, Houston for 16 years.

TalkersLA2013Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Will Sell Out by End of Business Friday!  The third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention set for Thursday, October 10 is shaping up to be a blockbuster.  The gathering is closing in on being an advance sellout some four weeks before the event so it is advisable for media professionals interested in attending to register now!  Due to space limitations at the intimate Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood reaching maximum capacity, reservations ($149 per person) will be sold out by the end of business (5:00 pm ET) this coming Friday (9/13).  The conference is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm.  TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are very enthusiastic about the growth and positive impact of this Southern California gathering.  It started out three years ago as an experimental LA regional get-together and blossomed into an exciting companion to our big New York convention.”   The event - open only to members of the working media – will feature a power-packed day of panel discussions, keynote addresses, special presentations, technology and services exhibits by leading companies such as Comrex Corp. and Broadcasters General Store, tremendous networking opportunities and abundant food and refreshments lavishly catered by the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company (lunch is sponsored by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity who will address the attendees from New York).  For registration or sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  To see the latest agenda, click here.

phillipswaltWalt Phillips to Lead Cox Media Group’s Atlanta Sales Efforts.  Cox Media Group announces it has named Walt Phillips director of sales for its four Atlanta stations that include: news/talk WSB-AM and 95.5 FM; AC WSB-FM “B98.5 FM”; classic hits WSRV “97.1 The River”; and urban contemporary WALR “Kiss 104.1 FM.”  Cox Atlanta market manager Ben Reed says, “I am very pleased that we have an exceptional talent like Walt Phillips stepping in to lead radio’s best sales organization.  Walt is a proven, respected, talented and inspirational leader, and CMG Atlanta radio will rise to new levels under his leadership.”  Phillips most recently was director of sales at Citadel’s Nashville cluster.

talkersradio logoTalkersRadio Soft Launches Yesterday (9/10) with Two New Live Shows.  In what TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein describes as “an extremely soft and gentle launch of a very different kind of radio station,” the brand new “TalkersRadio” internet stream, operating on the platform of Talkers.com, launched with four hours of original programming.  “The Robbie Student Show” originating in New York City (hosted by talk show host/record producer Robbie Student) streamed live between 1:00 pm ET and 3:00 pm ET.  It was followed by the launch of “The Brent & Meg Show” (hosted by the husband/wife team of Brent Seltzer and Megstudentrobbie McDonald pictured below) originating in Los Angeles which streamed live between 3:00 pm ET and 5:00 pm ET.  Both programs were re-streamed as repeats for the rest of the day.  Both will air again today with new live programs in their respective afternoon brentmegtime periods and will serve as limited engagement anchor shows for TalkersRadio as the rest of what will shortly be a full-time outlet is built around them during the next several weeks.  The next new program to join the lineup will be “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes,” (hosted by Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes) scheduled to debut live from New York City this Sunday evening (9/15) between 8:00 pm ET and 9:00 pm ET.  According to Bernstein, “Industry people and the most ardent talk radio fans tuning in to TalkersRadio during these next few weeks will not only hear some reallycolmesalan interesting and creative programs un-self-consciously going through a public dress rehearsal, they will also hear a radio station being put together right out there on the bare stage of the internet.  It will be as if they arrived at the theater hours before the curtain rises and get to see how the sets and props and lighting all comes together.  This is truly going to be an experimental, no BS talk programming laboratory.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “We are delighted with the way this thing lifted off the ground.  I haven’t had this much fun being involved in a radio station since July 1, 1970 when we launched the legendary progressive rocker WLIR on Long Island.”  TalkersRadio is powered by a revolutionary new software system designed by Backbone Networks of Westborough, Massachusetts - the same system currently in place at Boston Herald Radio. The mission of TalkersRadio is to serve as a workshop for new and innovative talk programming concepts as well as numerous other functions not presently served by the commercial talk radio establishment.  To listen to TalkersRadio click here.

rdmusicmarketing logoLegendary Broadcaster/Promotions Expert Rich Piombino’s RD Music & Marketing Signs LM Communications as Client.  He was one of the most dynamic rock radio programming and promotions managers in the 1980s and 1990s working at such heritage outlets as KMET, Los Angeles and WMMS, Cleveland, among others.  He has gone on to establish Atlanta-based RD Music & Marketing as a force in the independent multi-media promotions arena working with a diverse roster of clients that includes such disparate entities as rising musical star Tora Fisher and NASCAR.  Now Rich Piombino announces that RD Music & Marketing has signed a consultant/client relationship as group promotions consultant with Lynn Martin‘s LM Communications. LM has six radio stations in Lexington, five in Charleston, WV (including the iconic WKLC “Rock 105,” and two in Charleston, South Carolina.  LM Communications also owns WBKI-TV in Louisville.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says of Piombino, “Rich Piombino served as promotions director during my time as PD at KMET, Los Angeles in the early 1980s and I have to say that I have seldom seen anyone in this business in that capacity with his level of ‘clever energy’ — he is focused like a laser and one of the best in the business, indeed!”

raytomTOM RAY: What the Heck Is a Codec?  To some, the answer to that question is elementary, but others may simply know a codec as “one of those things in the studio rack that brings outside audio into the board.”  That’s mostly correct, but for those who’d like a concise and thorough explanation of what a codec is, how it works and what its relationship is to your audio chain, TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray is here to help.  Click here for Tom’s column.

arbitronLatest Arbitron RADAR: Radio Increases Reach.  Arbitron Inc. reports in its September 2013 RADAR 118 National Radio Listening Report that “radio’s audience again increased year over year, adding more than 500,000 weekly listeners.  Radio now reaches 242.2 million listeners, or 92% of persons, age 12 and older, on an average weekly basis.”  The ratings giant also states that its data indicates “daily time spent listening to radio among persons age 12 and older held steady versus the September 2012 RADAR report. People aged 12 and older who listen to the radio spend approximately 2 hours and 35 minutes a day with the medium.”  With regard to minority audiences, Arbitron reports several findings: 1) Radio’s Hispanic audience aged 12 and older added 468,000 weekly listeners versus the September 2012 RADAR report. Radio reaches 94 percent of Hispanic listeners aged 12 and older in an average week; 2) Young Hispanic teens aged 12 to 17 showed impressive gains versus last year, adding 265,000 weekly listeners. Radio now reaches 5.2 million Hispanic teens in an average week; 3) Radio now reaches nearly 31 million Black (non-Hispanic) listeners, age 12 and older, in an average week, or 92 percent of this demographic; and 4) Radio’s Black (non-Hispanic) teen audience aged 12 to 17 again remained steady versus the September 2012 report.  Arbitron RADAR (Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research) September 2013 is the standard currency for national network radio ratings and measures 45 individual radio networks. These networks are operated by American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Cumulus Media Networks, Premiere Radio Networks, United Stations Radio Networks and WestwoodOne.

diminochrisOdds & Sods.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports Chris Dimino – one third of the former “Mayhem in the AM” show from WQXI, Atlanta “790 The Zone” – has been hired by Dickey Broadcasting’s crosstown sports talk WCNN “680 The Fan.”  Dimino appeared at a recent Atlanta Falcons press conference as a credentialed reporter for the station but he has a non-compete and won’t appear on the air on WCNN until that runs out in another six months.  Dimino, along with Steak Shapiro and Nick Cellini, were fired by WQXI after a bit which mocked former NFLer Steve Gleason who suffers from ALS…..Longtime WGN, Chicago host (and WGN-TV’s Emmy award-winning entertainment critic andrichardsdean reporter), Dean Richards, will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at The Naperville Independent Film Festival’s 6th annual event on Saturday, September 21.  The award commemorates Richards’ contribution and dedication to the entertainment industry.  Richards can be heard talking entertainment on WGN daily at 8:20 am on “The Steve Cochran Morning Show” and also on his own show, Sundays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.  He has accumulated over 30 local and national awards during a career that has spanned more than three decades……Yahoo! Sports Radio adds a new Friday evening show hosted by Elissa Walker Campbell titled “The Big E Show” airing from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET.

Syria Chemical Weapons Deal, Iran Threatens U.S., 9/11 Anniversary, and New Miley Cyrus Video Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/10).  The proposal by Secretary of State John Kerry to have Syria give up its chemical weapons to avoid a U.S. strike; threats by Iran to attack the U.S. and its allies if Syria is struck; the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11; and controversy over Miley Cyrus’ latest video were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Talk Hosts are Wise to Add Writing to their Communication Toolbox

| May 31, 2013

By Lisa Wexler
WFAS-AM, Westchester, NY
Talk Show Host

wexlerlisaWESTCHESTER, NY — “Honey, you’re famous,” my husband Bill called upstairs to me on Saturday morning. Really, why so? “Rick the shoe man says he read your op-ed in the Connecticut Post and he agrees with you. He wants me to tell you that. He thinks you are right, told me to thank you for writing it.”  Made my day. I haven’t seen Rick the shoe man in about three years. He doesn’t live or work within my radio range. Unless he takes the trouble to find me on iHeartRadio or on-line, I don’t reach this man. Not unless I make the effort to write as well as speak.

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Friday, May 3, 2013

| May 3, 2013

cc media logoClear Channel Highlights Artist Promotion Deals at Investor Conference Call; Radio Down 2% in Q1.  At the top of the conference call for investors for Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings (the publicly traded arm Clear Channel Media Holdings) chief financial officer and EVP Thomas Casey made it a point to shine a light on Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s work with high-profile artists.  He said, “I want to highlight with you one recent example of the opportunity Clear Channel is leveraging to monetize our multi-platform reach, and it’s the launch of the new Justin Timberlake album, ‘The 20/20 Experience.’  I’m using this as an example because it shows how we are constantly working with major advertisers to adjust their specific marketing challenges by developing innovative new caseytomproducts, services, content and events that bring new advertising dollars into the company.  Two months ago, Clear Channel utilized most of our key assets: radio, online, mobile, outdoor, entertainment, events, contests and talent relationships, in an innovative and coordinated partnership with national retailer Target to launch Justin Timberlake’s new album.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment ran a first-of-its-kind, two-minute live road block across 800 stations, in essence, a virtual press conference, simulcast across all the stations at the same time that enabled Justin to both introduce his new album and kick off the exclusive ‘iHeart Album Release Party with Justin Timberlake.’”  Casey stated there are many other examples of CC using its many platforms to create coordinated campaigns for advertisers.  As for the numbers, Casey reported that CC premiere networks 2Media Holdings was down 0.5% compared to the same quarter in 2012 and the Media and Entertainment division revenue was down 2%.  But he said solid growth in radio and digital was offset by the traffic business that company is continuing to integrate.  Addressing the radio division, Casey reported, “For the quarter, national sales for our stations were up 2%, outpacing global.  Excluding the impact of political advertising, national sales were up 4%, and local was about up approximately 1%.  Our fastest growing larger advertising categories were financial services, retail and telecom.  We also saw a strong lift in digital revenue, with our iHeartRadio listening hours growing 31% over the first quarter of 2012. Although today digital listening for the industry represents only 7.6% of all audio listening, we are excited about the growth of iHeart and its new features, content and other innovations.”  Speaking to a question about network radio, Casey alluded to Premiere Networks having had a soft start to 2013 and said “that has modulated back” and the company feels good about that aspect of the business. Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the call transcript.  See the whole call here.

journalbroadcastgroupJournal Communications Q1: Radio Up 6.7%.  The radio division of Journal CommunicationsJournal Broadcast Group reported an increase of 6.7% on revenue of $15.9 million.  The company reports that is 2.8% on a same-station basis.  The numbers break down this way: Local advertising revenue, excluding political, increased 7.2%, or 3.3% on a same-station basis, primarily due to an increase in retail advertising; National advertising revenue, excluding political, increased 2.1%, but decreased 1.3% on a same-station basis, primarily due to a decrease in communications advertising; Operating earnings from radio stations were $2.4 million compared to $2.9 million, a decrease of 15.3%; Radio operating expenses increased 11.9%, or 8.1% on a same-station basis, primarily due to employee-related expense increases and a non-cash building impairment charge of $0.2 million.

unitednationsTalk Radio Day at the United Nations Set for Friday, June 7.  After a one-year hiatus, TALKERS magazine announces the revival of its annual international initiative, “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations.”  Presented in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and in association with the United Nations Foundation, the event consists of a massive radio row held in the heart of the United Nations’ iconic headquarters on the East Side of Manhattan. trns logo Approximately 20 talk show hosts and programs from around the country are given the opportunity to do live shows or simply record interviews on the scene for later playback with a wide variety of special guests, including UN officials, foreign ambassadors, international policy experts and representatives of the arts and sciences from harrisonmichaelaround the world.  “This is one of our most prideful annual events,” states TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “and I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to bring it back after a year off in 2012.”  Harrison says, “It accomplishes a number of important things – most notably, it gives a variety of talk show hosts and millions of their listeners in every corner of the country the opportunity to shift gears and discuss international news stories of significant consequence that rarely, if ever, are covered or discussed in the mainstream American media.  Some of these stories have enormous implications on war, peace, life and death.”  Harrison also points out, “Hosts of just about every political and ideological persuasion have raved about this event over the many years we have been doing it saying that it has proven to be a personally rewarding experience for them as much as it has provided a spectacular bit of special programming to their stations and networks.”  Talk Radio Day at the United Nations conveniently takes place the day after Talkers New York 2013 when many talk show hosts are already in New York City.  Hosts already on board include Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio, Michael Berry of Clear Channel, Doug Stephan of the “Good Day” show, Martha Zoller of WGAU, Athens, GA, Ethan Bearman of GCN and KSCO, Santa Cruz, Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” and more.  All equipment and broadcast setups are provided at no cost for the convenience of the participants – but placement is limited and this will fill up rapidly, so interested hosts should call 413-565-5413 quickly to inquire about signing up.

humphhart“The Hartmann and Humphries Show” Brings Two Different Hosts, Ideologies and Programs Together for Rare Simulcast.  It was one of those spontaneous one-time events that really clicked as TRN syndicated host Rusty Humphries (left) stopped by WYD Media syndicated host Thom Hartmann‘s Washington, DC studiohumphhartgreen (Hartmann at right) during a recent visit to the nation’s capital and the two personalities did a simulcast of their individual shows which ran on both of their collective affiliates.  The Heavy Hundred performers engaged in refreshingly civil but spirited banter bringing their opposite points of view on a number of hot issues to the table.  Both hosts tell TALKERS that they enjoyed the experience and received very positive feedback from their respective audiences which encourages them to do it again sometime down the road.  In the photo at top left shows the two shots of each host the producer sees in the booth with background images in place.  The lower picture shows Humphries and Hartmann chatting in the studio in front of the green screen.

ktrstvbigKTRS, St. Louis Morning Drive Show Gets Video Accolades.  The McGraw Milhaven morning show on CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis has been producing an online video component of its program for two months and the show has already surpassed the one million viewer minutes mark, according to the station.  The station has a full-time video director in Andrew Dowd and he utilizes four HD cameras as well as pictures, graphics, video and sports highlights to help tell the story each morning.  Also, guests can “skype” into the show and bring the listener moving pictures to go along with their spoken words.  The video segments of Milhaven’s radio show are then re-tweeted and shared through social media.  Milhaven tells TALKERS that even St. Louis Post-Dispatch TV critic Gail Pennington gives the video a thumbs up.  “It’s the best internet TV I’ve ever seen.  It’s so clear, and the video and graphics are amazing.”  Milhaven himself tells TALKERS, “We had a feeling people were going to enjoy the enhanced TV side of the broadcast, but we had no idea so many people would embrace it.  The time spent listening, or watching I should say, is off the charts.  One million viewer minutes in just over two months?  Wow, we wanted to let it grow naturally as we worked out all the kinks, but these numbers are better than we had ever expected.  All these people watching and we have just scratched the surface of what we can do with the TV side.”  In the image you see here is sports reporter Jason Lamar (left) interacting with Milhaven (right).

jtthebrickWEEI-FM, Boston Brings J.T. the Brick Back to Overnights.  The Fox Sports Radio Network star has aired on Entercom’s WEEI in the past and, as vice president of programming Jason Wolfe states, with much success.  “Even though he’s a diehard Yankees fan, J.T.’s show has always been extremely popular here in Boston.  The show was a winner for us when we aired it years ago, and I’m very pleased to be able to bring him back now.  Adding J.T.’s show provides a great balance to our overnight portfolio as we already air a very solid program in ESPN Radio’s SportsCenter Tonight on 850 AM.”

noorygeorgeOdds & Sods.  Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory takes over the 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am slot at Emmis’ KFTK, St. Louis beginning Monday, May 6…..Entercom is making sports talk WMC-AM, Memphis a CBS Sports Radio Network affiliate beginning next week.  The station will carry the network lineup plus local and regional play-by-play.  Entercom also operates ESPN Radio affiliate WMFS-AM/FM in the market…..WEPN-FM, New York “ESPN New York 98.7” adds Mike Westhoff and Ray Lucas to the pre-game show for New York Jets broadcasts this fall.  The duo will make regular appearances on WEPN-FM during the season and former Jet Lucas will also continue his role on the post-game show…..Morris Communications’ KHAR, Anchorage flips from adult standards to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network programming.

carrremote13WRKO’s Howie Carr Promotes New Gangster Book.  WRKO, Boston afternoon drive host (and longtime Boston Herald columnist) Howie Carr is pictured here with listener Lori Vozzella and her daughter at Thursday’s remote broadcast from La Verdad Mexican Restaurant in the city’s Fenway neighborhood.  Carr did his show live from the restaurant to promote his latest book on an infamous Boston crime figure – Steven “Rifleman” Flemmi.  Carr’s book, Rifleman (Frandel LLC 2013) details the grisly career of the notorious mobster.  Carr has also written books about brothers Billy and Whitey Bulger and Johnny Martorano.

fema logoFEMA and Premiere Networks Cooperate on EAS Service.  Radio syndicator Premiere Networks and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are announcing a cooperative effort to provide an alternative method for radio stations to receive emergency information during a national emergency.  FEMA has added Premiere Networks as a Primary Entry Point station, which delivers information and instructions to the public in an emergency when there is no commercial power.  As part of the cooperative effort, Premiere, would use its satellite program receivers in thousands of affiliate radio stations across the country as another tool for delivering national Emergency Alert System (EAS) messages.  The radio affiliates would in turn broadcast the emergency messages to the public within its network.  FEMA’s Damon Penn states, “This cooperative effort between FEMA and Premiere Networks is one of the latest initiatives to engage the private sector’s cooperation in raising community preparedness across the nation.  We count on the broadcasting industry to alert and warn the public through the standard broadcast Emergency Alert System (EAS) including AM, FM, and satellite radio, as well as broadcast, cable and satellite TV, if a national emergency occurs.”

Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath Remains Top Talk Radio Story for Week of April 29 – May 3.  The aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, spurred by the arrests of several of suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s friends and the ongoing investigation into the planning and execution of the attack, was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was immigration legislation.  Coming in at #3 was the Benghazi attack investigation followed by Syria tensions at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

| September 6, 2012

Glenn Beck’s The Blaze Fires Up Digital Audio Network; Jay Severin Among Talk Talent.  It’s called – what else? – TheBlaze Radio Network and the new online radio channel will be heard via Beck’s own TheBlaze iPhone and iPad apps as well as via iHeartRadio and at TheBlaze.com.  Beck’s company says the network will be the new exclusive home for “renowned nationally syndicated talk radio personality and Marconi Award-nominee Jay Severin.”  The lineup will also include a simulcast of Beck’s radio show, a re-launched show hosted by Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray as well as audio simulcasts of TheBlaze TV shows.  Dom Theodore, through his consulting firm RadioAnimal, LLC, will serve as the network’s program director.  When the network launches later this month, the lineup will be: the Glenn Beck program from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET;  Pat and Stu from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm; Jay Severin from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm; the simulcast of Beck’s TV show from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm and a simulcast of “Real News from the Blaze” from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  TheBlaze chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “We are excited to continue making TheBlaze a destination for news, information and entertainment programming across multiple platforms.  Jay is an incredible talent and is the perfect host to launch The Blaze Network.”

SEC Charging Financial Talker Ray Lucia with Violating Laws, Conducting Misleading Investment Seminars.  The Securities and Exchange Commission announces it is charging nationally syndicated talk host and financial advice author Ray Lucia with violating several sections of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.  The SEC says Lucia’s investment seminars, dubbed “Buckets of Money,” mislead potential investors when Lucia claimed his strategy “had been empirically ‘backtested’ over actual bear market periods.”  Further, the SEC states, “Lucia and RJL have admitted during the SEC’s investigation that the only testing they actually performed were some calculations that Lucia made in the late 1990s – copies of which no longer exist – and two two-page spreadsheets.”  The upshot, according to the FCC, is “Lucia and RJL left their seminar attendees with a false sense of comfort about the Buckets of Money strategy.”  SEC Los Angeles regional director Michele Wein Layne says, “The so-called backtests weren’t really backtests, and the strategy wasn’t proven as they claimed.”  The SEC is seeking “financial penalties and other remedial action in the proceedings.”

KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry’s the Flashpoint of Controversy in Houston After Tweet.  Former Houston city councilman Michael Berry and talk host at Clear Channel’s news/talk KTRH is the subject of chatter in Houston after a tweet he sent during Michelle Obama’s speech on Tuesday evening has some charging Berry used racist lingo.  Here’s what Berry tweeted: “Several black people were shot by other black people in Chicago while Michelle was speaking.”  He hash tagged it #knuckadeads.  Some say “knucka” or “nucka” is substitute slang for “nigga.”  Berry replies to My Fox Houston reporter Isiah Carey that he meant no racist intent and said Mrs. Obama has used the term to mean hard-headed, like knucklehead.  Carey writes Berry said he was trying to show the Obama administration’s lack of concern over the black-on-black violence in Chicago.

KMJ-FM, Fresno Names Jennifer Lipp AM Drive Host.  Peak Broadcasting brings popular Fresno radio personality Jennifer Lipp to morning drive on the FM side of its KMJ news/talk duo.  Lipp and former co-host Chris Daniel dominated mornings at crosstown rock KRZR in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  Daniel moved on to KMJ and Lipp worked at classic rock KKBZ, Fresno until Lotus Broadcasting let her go in November of 2011.  Now Lipp will host the morning show and Chris Daniel moves from the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot to 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on KMJ-FM.  On her new gig, Lipp states, “It is a dream come true to grow with the KMJ brand.  This is the most exciting endeavor of my career and I am looking forward to the journey with both the listeners who have joined me in the past and those I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting.”  Lipp begins her new show on September 10.

Use Twitter to Help Save Your Job!  Consultant Holland Cooke explains how the Twitter era is forcing talk hosts, news staffers and DJs to “keep it moving” to keep the listener/reader engaged and make money in the process – if those media people use social media efficiently and wisely.  Cooke explains how he advised his clients covering the Republican and Democratic National Conventions to use Twitter to deliver content like no one else and how to make money with it.  Read this enlightening and smart advice here.

Clear Channel Albany Names Josh Everett Program Director for WGY and WOFX.  In addition to programming news/talk WGY-AM/FM and sports talk WOFX, Josh Everett will oversee the News Hub which provides news for 10 Clear Channel Media and Entertainment markets in the Northeast.  CC regional programming manager John Cooper states, “Josh’s extensive background in news/talk as well as sports programming will be an invaluable addition to WGY’s rich heritage and will help us grow WGY, Fox Sports and our News Hub.”  Everett comes to Albany from Clear Channel’s Lexington, Kentucky cluster where he programmed news/talk WLAP and managed local production of the University of Kentucky Wildcats coverage.

Michael Harrison to Speak at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will deliver an address provocatively titled, “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?” at the forthcoming NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas.  According to Harrison, “The main challenge concerning FM and AM broadcasting at this perilous time in its rich and colorful history is making the transition to the digital age without prematurely sacrificing the value of the stick which is still the economic foundation of this industry and main source of livelihood for its practitioners.”  Harrison also believes that it is important for “radio to be smart and use its traditional on-air assets in confident balanced harmony with its unlimited online potential.”  He states, “The cultural heritage of what we all grew up to think of as ‘radio’ is deeply rooted in the traditions of over -the-air transmission and it is vitally important that in its rush to put everything it has into one internet basket, radio avoids losing its core identity, its soul, that separates it from being just another online music or informational utility.”  Harrison advises that just as talk radio has claimed “ownership” of politics in America and sports radio has claimed “ownership” of the country’s sports juggernaut, “music radio must reclaim its lost ownership of the music culture.”  He says the first step in accomplishing this is to bring back the colorful DJ as the backbone of the radio station’s presentation and the street savvy music director as its ear to what’s really going on out there.  Radio must not only ‘relate’ to this element, it must aggressively lead it as well.”  Harrison will be speaking at a special info-session sponsored by TALKERS magazine on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:15 am and 11:15 am.  All Radio Show registrants are encouraged to attend.

Day Three at DNC in Charlotte.  President Obama’s nomination acceptance speech will cap the three-day Democratic National Convention this evening and talk hosts, news networks and reporters spent yesterday covering the political chatter, campaigning and critiques of this convention.  Talk Radio Network O&O news organization America’s Radio News Network is one of the national radio news operations on the ground at this convention.  ARNN tells TALKERS co-anchors Lori Lundin and Rachel Crowson along with producers and technical staff, have been supplying live interviews and news updates to all five of the three-hour, long-form news programs the network offers.  Guests on the network from yesterday included: Eleanor Smeal, a two-time president of the National Organization for Women; Diana Degette (D-CO), chief deputy whip; Cumulus Media Networks host and journalist Geraldo Rivera; and acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank, among others.  ABC News Radio and Salem Radio Network are also covering the convention and ABC’s Steve Jones (l) and Salem’s Tom Tradup (r) took a moment to pose for this shot from the convention center for TALKERS.

Talent Shuffle at Alpha Broadcasting’s Sports KXTG, Portland.  A programming shift at “750 The Game” in Portland brings DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio syndicated host Dan Patrick to the station for morning drive beginning today.  The move bumps morning host Chad Doing to the PM drive slot and current afternoon host John Canzano to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show.  Business and marketing expert Brian Berger gives up his midday show but remains with the station to dispense his wisdom on the station’s various programs and online.

DirecTV Gives “The Nick and Artie Show” a TV Simulcast.  The syndicated radio version of the sports and entertainment-centric show hosted by comedians Nick Di Paolo and Artie Lange has been produced by DirecTV since its inception.  Now DirecTV does for “Nick and Artie” what the company’s Dan Patrick has enjoyed – a TV simulcast on DirecTV’s Audience Network channel.  Airing from 10:00 pm to 1:00 pm ET beginning tomorrow night, the company says the duo will “tackle TV with the most outrageous observational humor to be found anywhere.  The guys will review and give their unique takes on the day’s top sports and entertainment stories, along with celebrity interviews, movie reviews, live musical performances and a variety of in-studio segments, from cooking with Artie’s Mom to a game of pool.”

WTOP Promotes Dick Uliano to Full-Time Anchor/Reporter.  The veteran Washington newsman has been working with Hubbard Radio’s WTOP part time as well as contributing to SiriusXM’s POTUS channel and doing part-time anchoring at NPR.  Now, Dick Uliano joins the full-time staff at WTOP.  Uliano’s previous experience includes time spent with the Associated Press and CNN Radio.

Odds & Sods.  NFL great Joe Namath – who is part of Michael Kay’s show on ESPN O&O WEPN-FM, New York where he hosts the “Joe Namath Hour” – discusses the upcoming NFL season in a media conference call today at 10:00 am ET….. Former New Jersey 101.5 night host Tommy G returns to host “New Jersey Today” on Greater Media’s WCTC, New Brunswick from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Monday, September 10 and Friday, September 14.  He fills in for station PD Bert Baron, who says, “Tommy G is one of the biggest stars in all of New Jersey radio.  I’m blessed that a talent of his caliber, record of success and current following is a mere phone call away.  He’s a ratings winner that simply makes my station sound better.”…..JC Corcoran has been heard on the airwaves in Chicago as he’s been filling in on Tribune’s WGN.  The longtime St. Louis personality most recently hosted a program at KTRS.  Corcoran tells TALKERS he’ll have Fox Sports star Joe Buck on his show on WGN on Sunday morning at 10:00 am.  Corcoran says Buck is already predicting trouble with the NFL replacement officials, telling him, “I think something catastrophic could happen early in the season that could cost a team a ballgame.”….. Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR, San Francisco will serve as the flagship station for Golden State Warriors basketball through the 2015-16 season, the station announces.  It’s been the flagship of the NBA club since the 1976-77 season with the exception of one season in the 1980s.  Cumulus president and CEO Lew Dickey and Warriors co-executive chairman and CEO Joe Lacob appeared on the Murph & Mac show on Wednesday to announce the new deal.

Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle Featured Speaker at Liberty PAC.  The Liberty Political Action Conference takes place September 13-15 in Chantilly, Virginia and funds “Congressman Ron Paul’s political activities as he travels the country to fight for the principles that many hold dear: Liberty, Limited Government and a strong, pro-American foreign policy.”  The three-day conference will include training sessions and personal one-on-one meetings with various speakers and supporters.  Jerry Doyle will be one of the speakers at the conference.

Presidential Campaign/Democratic National Convention, Arizona Immigration Ruling and Hillary Clinton in China Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/5).  The coverage of the Democratic National Convention and the presidential campaign; a federal judge’s ruling that Arizona officers can inquire about immigration status while pursuing information about other crimes; and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to China were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

| August 7, 2012

New Sports Radio Network Entrant NBC Announces First Round of Talent Hires.  The venture between NBC Sports and Dial Global that debuts September 4 – NBC Sports Radio Network – is beginning with an evening sports talk show hosted by Erik Kuselias (airing 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET).  The morning drive sports updates from the network will be delivered by Jon Stashower.  Kuselias has been working with NBC on its cable sports network.  He’s worked for the Golf Channel as well as ESPN.  Stashower has also worked at ESPN.  Expect some more talent announcements prior to the network’s post-Labor Day debut.

Dead Air: A Dynamic Reminder for Talk Show Hosts.  Vocal dynamics is not a discipline that is really taught to broadcasters anymore.  With more and more talk talent coming to the medium from outside the traditional communications schools, talent who use the dynamics of their voices effectively are becoming rare.  WFAN, New York talk host Richard Neer offers some suggestions about employing these techniques and the reasons why they are still valid for today’s broadcasters.  Read Richard’s piece here.

Salem Communications Posts Q2 Revenue Increase of 3.9%; Broadcast Up 2.1%.  That’s the good news for Salem.  On the downside, operating income for the entire company dropped 61.1% and the company realized a net loss of $1.8 million or $0.07 net loss per share.  Though the broadcast division revenue was up 2.1%, station operating income decreased 3.1%.  Internet is still the big winner for Salem with Q2 revenue up 16.6% and operating income up 42.8%.

Federated Media Joins iHeartRadio.  Indiana-based Federated Media adds its 17 radio stations to the iHeartRadio digital platform owned and operated by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  Federated Media’s markets include Fort Wayne, South Bend and Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana.  Stations now heard on the platform include heritage news/talk WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne.  Federated Media chief strategy officer James Derby says, “We’re very excited to partner with iHeartRadio.  We want to offer our customers and clients both terrestrial and digital listening experiences.  It’s important that we partner with those that are open to shared content and opportunities.  iHeartRadio is very popular in our local markets and we’re happy to now be a part of it.”

TuneIn Announces New Funding; Increase in Monthly Active Listener Stats.  Digital audio service TuneIn reports it has just acquired new sources of funding led by General Catalyst Partners with participation from Jafco Ventures, Google Ventures and existing business partner Sequoia Capital totaling $16 million.  TuneIn will use the new funding to scale the company’s technical and business operations worldwide.  At the same time, the company reports its monthly active listeners figure has increased to 40 million.  TuneIn CEO John Donham says, “Our mission is to deliver the best listening experience possible, and it is so meaningful to us that 40 million people have chosen to listen to the world – every month – through TuneIn.  This investment will help us fulfill our mission while increasing our headcount and growing our product development and marketing initiatives.”  TuneIn says its service is available anywhere there is an internet signal and offers 70,000 stations and two million on-demand programs.

AdLarge Media Becomes Sales Rep for Gow-Operated Yahoo! Sports Radio.  Houston-based Gow Broadcasting operates Yahoo! Sports Radio and the company announces it enters into an agreement with AdLarge Media for the latter to sell national advertising for Yahoo!’s radio, streamed audio and mobile platforms.  AdLarge Media CEO Gary Schonfeld states, “Yahoo! Sports Radio has a highly respected lineup of sports journalists and commentators, including Tim Brando, Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Steve Czaban, and more.  Yahoosports.com is the number one sports website on the internet.  With that as our base, Yahoo! Sports Radio delivers insights and reports from sports experts that fans relish, creating an engaging environment for advertisers to reach an extremely passionate audience.”

Odds & Sods.  Texas-based Clear Channel talk host (KTRH and WOAI) Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo fills in for Premiere Networks star Glenn Beck on his radio show today and Friday…..ESPN Radio now offers an app for smartphones using the Windows Phone platform and is available in the Windows Marketplace.  ESPN reports its app is now available on all three major smartphone operating systems…..SiriusXM is broadcasting coverage of the 2012 PGA Championship beginning this Thursday from the Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina.

Presidential Race, Wisconsin Sikh Shooting, London Olympics, and Mars Landing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/6).  The campaign for president in the 2012 elections; the fatal shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin; the 2012 London Olympics; and the landing of the rover on Mars were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, August 6, 2012

| August 6, 2012

Dave Ramsey Joins the iHeartRadio Platform.  Nationally syndicated personal finance talk radio host Dave Ramsey becomes part of the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio digital platform beginning today becoming the first independently syndicated personality channel available on the platform.  Ramsey’s show won’t air live though.  The service will provide fans 24/7 access to the previous day’s content of the Dave Ramsey show and it will be updated daily on weekdays at 5:00 pm ET.  Ramsey VP of broadcast Brian Mayfield states, “We are very proud of what the Dave Ramsey show has achieved with the help of our 500-plus existing radio affiliates.  This new partnership with iHeartRadio provides the perfect platform to expose Dave’s straight talk on life and money to a new audience that now consumes media through mobile and online applications.”

Entercom Reports Q2 Revenue Flat.  The second quarter of 2012 saw revenue flat at $104.6 million compared to the same quarter a year ago for Entercom.  But the reduction in expenses of 5% produced a 10% rise in station operating income.

Entercom’s WEEI to Split AM and FM Signals; AM to Become ESPN Outlet.  In a story from the Boston Globe, Entercom’s Boston sports talk brand WEEI will soon split the current simulcast of the radio station and make the 850 AM signal a full-time ESPN Radio outlet.  WEEI has had a relationship with ESPN Radio for almost three years now with the station airing some ESPN programming and ESPN personalities such as Buster Olney making appearances on WEEI programs.  It’s expected the regular national lineup of ESPN Radio shows will air on the signal when the split takes place in the early fall.

Mike Costa to Co-Host PM Drive at Xtra Sports 1360 in San Diego.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s San Diego cluster moves Mike Costa from his position as host of “The Show “ on rock KIOZ to co-host of the PM drive show on sports talk KLSD – Xtra Sports 1360 effective today.  Costa is partnered up with Judson Richards for the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program.  Costa, who’s been a sideline reporter for San Diego Chargers football for radio broadcasts, will continue in that role.

Award-Winning Journalist.  WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta assistant program director Condace Pressley (c) accepts the 2012 Pioneer Journalist Award from actor Malcolm Jamal Warner (l) and Atlanta Association of Black Journalists president Tenisha Bell of CNN (r).  Pressley received the honor during the 30th Pioneer Black Journalists Awards on July 29.  The awards ceremony is a presentation of the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists.  Tenisha Bell says of Pressley, “Condace has spent her career mentoring and supporting young journalists who aspire to walk in her footsteps.  She has always been an avid supporter of AABJ and its mission and I am thrilled that our membership has chosen her for this well-deserved award.”

Half-Hour Weekend Talk Show’s Success Inspires Music Show Syndicator to Eyeball More Spoken Word Offerings.  Los Angeles-based MannGroup Radio, headed by radio vet and co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, Ed Mann, has avoided talk radio for almost the entire 14 years of its existence as an independent syndicator of such fare as GrooveWorx Imaging and music libraries, CPR consulting with Paige Nienaber, She Prep with Beth Bacall and other products geared to music stations.  In early 2011, MG took on the marketing of a short 30 minute-per-weekend program for talk stations called “Issues Today with Bob Gourley,” the success of which has obviously meant a great deal to Mann.  The fast-paced half hour, hosted by veteran broadcaster and Southern California-based journalist Bob Gourley, chronicles topical subjects from health to the economy.  It began at KPPC where Gourley served as public affairs director.  In a recent extremely candid conversation with the TALKERS editors, Mann reveals, “Extreme polarized talk has always left a sour taste in my mouth, particularly the very far right and left issues that never resolve on a broadcast forum, yet, as an avid listener of talk radio, I’ve always been starved for an intelligent, entertaining approach to issues for the day.  As we’ve taken on this relatively small but meaningful program, Bob Gourley’s ‘Issues Today,’ and watched how it’s grown and how the affiliates and listeners embrace it, I’m more encouraged than ever to hear from producers, stations and hosts in the hope of developing and marketing other like-minded programs for national distribution that can cut a swath in talk radio without sitting on either side of the seesaw and sticking their tongues out at each other.  Some have already come my way, and I sense a shift in the marketplace.  Our company is jazzed at the notion of collaborating with producers, hosts and radio stations who can see the need on the listener level for level-headed broadcasting.”  Independent hosts and producers can contact Mann at 310-346-4991 or via e-mail at ed@manngroupradio.com.

Fourth Station Joins the “Sports Animal Network.”  KITO, Vinita, Oklahoma drops country and becomes the fourth station to join Oklahoma’s “Sports Animal Network.”  The station is airing content from the Tulsa version of the network from KYAL, Muskogee/Tulsa.  The programming includes shows from Cumulus Media’s WWLS, Oklahoma City as well as Yahoo! Sports Radio.  The station will also broadcast Oklahoma University, Oklahoma State University and Tulsa football.

Odds & Sods.  Clear Channel’s WHAM and WHTK, Rochester will be the local radio home of the 95th PGA Championship to be played next summer – August 5 – 11, 2013 – at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester…..The NFL’s San Francisco 49ers will air on heritage news/talk KGO, San Francisco this season after airing on Cumulus Media’s sports KNBR and rock KSAN…..Stephen Giuttari becomes the operations manager for Townsquare Media’s Albany cluster that includes sports talk WTMM…..WXKS, Boston – Talk 1200 – morning drive host Jeff Katz is subbing for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated personality Todd Schnitt today and Friday…..Account manager Cody Hicks announces his exit from Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk 790 The Zone — WQXI, Atlanta — where he worked his way up from promotions assistant to marketing director to account manager in eight years…..WFED, Washington morning drive host Francis Rose will be a regular substitute for Cumulus Media NetworksJohn Batchelor live from New York once per month.  Rose will also be a stand by fill-in host as needed for the program working from Cumulus’ studios at WMAL, Washington…..The NBA’s Portland Trailblazers jump across town as the team’s new radio flagship is Clear Channel’s KEX, Portland.  Games had been heard on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL for the past 12 seasons.

Katz and West Catch Up.  Old friends Jeff Katz, host of the morning drive show at Clear Channel’s Talk 1200 – WXKS, Boston – and Congressman Alan West, representing Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, pose for a photo on a recent Sunday during which the two participated in a series of speaking events around the Greater Boston area.  Katz got to know West while the congressman was running for office and Katz was working at South Florida talk station WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

| July 25, 2012

Salem Communications Joins iHeartRadio.  The latest broadcast group to join the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment digital media platform is Salem Communications.  The company’s 97 stations in 37 markets will become available on iHeartRadio beginning in September.  Salem radio division president David Santrella states, “It’s important that our content be available to our listeners no matter where or how they want to receive it.  Clearly iHeartRadio is a dominant player in the space and we are excited to be able to offer our content on the platform.”  In contract to the secular broadcast companies that have signed on with Clear Channel’s platform, Salem brings Christian-formatted radio stations into the mix.  Salem director of digital media Rodney Whitaker says, “We are looking forward to the launch of our partnership with iHeartRadio and the increased audience it will bring us, both online and through the mobile app. It’s clear they are dedicated to innovation and providing listeners with an ever-improving experience.”

No FM Signal for Clear Channel’s Boston News/Talker.  At the time it was announced the company was purchasing Phoenix Media Group’s WFNX, Boston, some industry watchers suspected Clear Channel would take the 101.7 frequency of the former alternative rocker and give it to news/talk WXKS – Talk 1200.  The recent revelation the company acquired call letters WHBA seemed to indicate that would not be the case and it turns out it is not.  Yesterday, Clear Channel unveiled variety hits “The Harbor” with the airing of the Standells’ ode to Boston, “Dirty Water.”

Augusta, Georgia Talk Host Austin Rhodes Celebrates 20 Years in PM Drive at WGAC-AM/FM.  The station tells TALKERS magazine talk host Austin Rhodes’ 20-year stint as host of the PM drive show on Beasley Broadcasting’s WGAC-AM/FM, Augusta is the longest-running drive time radio presence on one station in the history of the Augusta media market.  Rhodes’ media career began 29 years ago assisting the late Matt Stovall in his radio broadcasts of local high school football games with WMTZ in Augusta.  He began a full-time career in radio broadcasting in 1987, as a radio news reporter and anchor for WGAC.  In 1989, Austin moved to television news, where he stayed until 1992.  On July 16, 1992, Rhodes rejoined WGAC, assuming afternoon hosting duties for what was then, “Voice of the People.”  The station also notes that Rhodes has been regularly named Augusta’s favorite radio host in such publications as Augusta Magazine, The Metro Spirit and Columbia County Magazine.  He’s also been recognized by the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.

Prime Program Director Job Open at Cox Media Group’s KRMG, Tulsa.  With longtime KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa programmer Drew Anderssen moving to the company’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando, CMG is looking for a program director for the legendary news/talk outlet.  The station says, “This position demands a candidate with the ability and experience to lead a dynamic, veteran news department and programming staff.  Because of this station’s profile locally and nationally, only candidates with the highest level of execution, creativity and leadership will be considered.”  The deadline for application is August 12 and interested applicants should apply to: Janet Bergquist, Cox Media Group – Tulsa, 7136 S. Yale Avenue, Suite 500, Tulsa, OK  74136.  Or e-mail cover letter, resume and audio to: tulsajobs@coxinc.com.  CMG requests no phone calls.

WQAM, Miami PM Drive Host Dan Sileo Joins Hurricanes Post-Game Show.  Sports talk host Dan Sileo – who hosts the PM drive show on Beasley’s sports talk WQAM, Miami and played football at the University of Miami during the mid-1980s – becomes part of the broadcasts for Hurricanes football this season.  Sileo will be on the team that handles the post-game show.  He tells TALKERS, “It is an awesome honor for me to be part of a program that I helped build and I have incredible love for the University of Miami.  My daughter will be going to games with her dad this year…a dream come true.”

Raising the Demo.  Talk radio hosts and programmers should avoid the temptation to narrow their “target demo” to a number, says consultant Holland Cooke.  “Recently published Nielsen data affirms what you may have suspected all along: The vaunted 25-54 demo is malarkey.  Although only 5% of ad dollars are aimed at ‘em, 35-64 accounts for half of product purchases.”  Cooke writes that the key to making the sales department happy is cutting through the clutter and being “remarkable” to people who have children, of any age, still living at home.  Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.

KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Adds Slate of New Weekend Shows.  CBS Radio’s news/talk outlet KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas announces a number of new weekend programs to be heard on the station.  The lineup is as follows: Saturday, 9:00 am, “The 19th Hole Weekend Edition” with Dennis Silvers and TPC Summerlin general manager Lee Smith; 11:00 am, “Pet Talk with Dr. B”; 2:00 pm, “Pawn Talk Live with Michael Mack”; 3:00 pm, “Asked and Answered” with Las Vegas personal injury and criminal defense attorney Marc Saggese; 4:00 pm, “Debt Free LV with Chris Parker”; 5:00 pm, “Over and Under with Chad Forster” covering local and national sports; Sunday, 3:00 pm, “Real Estate Live with Kevin Mikrut”; 5:00 pm, “Get Fired Up with Bob Irwin” – all things guns, politics and self defense.

ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt Extends His Deal with the Sports Media Giant.  The new contract means ESPN personality Scott Van Pelt will add several on-site “College GameDay Built by the Home Depot” appearances throughout the football season.  He will travel to some of the “GameDay” locations in support of his features, interviews and reports related to the game, teams and players involved.  He will also be part of ESPN’s BCS Championship Game coverage.  This is in addition to Van Pelt’s duties as “SportsCenter” anchor and his ESPN Radio talk show.  He is also lead reporter and host of the network’s major golf coverage, including the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open Championship.

KFKA, Greeley, Colorado Adds Local Sports Talk Show.  Broadcast Media’s News Talk 1310 KFKA in Greeley, Colorado announces the addition of “SportsDay” with Troy Coverdale and Brady Hull to the daily lineup, airing from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm beginning August 6.  Coverdale is the voice of the University of Northern Colorado Bears play-by-play and Hull is the station’s sales manager who has been a steady presence on the station’s air since 2008 with prep sports coverage.  In a release, the station says, “With a heavy focus on local sports teams, including expanded preps, UNC and Colorado State coverage, ‘SportsDay’ is expected to fill a hole in the marketplace, as Northern Colorado has seen sports talk programs come and go over the past 10 years.”

Aurora Massacre Aftermath, Presidential Campaign, Tax Cut Issue, European Debt Crisis, and Financial Markets Activities Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/24).  The aftermath of the Aurora; Colorado movie theater massacre; the presidential campaign; Congressional moves regarding the Bush-era tax cuts; the debt crisis in Euro Zone nations and global financial markets activities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

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.

 

Friday, May 18, 2012

| May 18, 2012

Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio Hits 10 Million Registered Users in Eight Months.  The digital media player that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has been vigorously promoting is growing, according to CC, “faster than nearly all other entertainment platforms, including Pandora, Facebook, Spotify and Instagram.”  The iHeartRadio player has more than 10 million users since the 10 million figure includes just registered users – only required for the custom station service.  Brian Lekamp, president of digital for CCME, states, “iHeartRadio has demonstrated incredibly rapid adoption, more than two times faster than other leading entertainment services – it’s mind-blowing.  We are thrilled with the consumer reaction and feedback.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, using the tremendous promotional power of our broadcast radio properties, has been able to drive this adoption like no other company could.  iHeartRadio offers a great product supported by unparalleled promotional capabilities.”

NPR Facing Fiscal Downturn; May End Year in the Red.  In a piece by Paul Farhi for the Washington Post, the challenging financial situation NPR is dealing with as the U.S. economy continues to struggle is brought to light.  New CEO Gary Knell tells Farhi NPR has operated at a deficit three out of the past four years and had to dip into its endowment fund to cover expenses.  This comes after the brutal 2008 fiscal year in which NPR was forced to cut 7% of its workforce after coming up $23 million short.  The situation for NPR is that corporate underwriting – or advertising – has fallen dramatically.  Instability in some of the corporate positions responsible for fundraising and underwriting have not helped the content provider, either.  NPR states that through March of this year, it was operating at a deficit of $2.6 million beyond what the endowment covers and when the end of its fiscal year rolls around in September, it may still be in the red.  Knell has told employees the last thing he wants to do is cut staffing and programming but he also states NPR cannot continue to operate as it is.  He tells the Post, “NPR has been withdrawing from the bank and we can’t keep doing that,” he said. “We have to be at break-even or be in a positive position on an annual basis, or I can tell you at some point we’re going to have to turn the lights off.”

CNN Suffers Lowest Prime Time Rating in 15 Years.  Time Warner’s CNN is getting more bad news after getting clobbered in the April Nielsen’s released last week.  Now, TVNewser reports “Piers Morgan Tonight” – which aired at 9:00 ET – pulled in just 39,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo on Tuesday, May 15.  The show garnered 284,000 total viewers which was not a record low.  The piece notes the program faced competition in the form of the season finale of “NCIS: L.A.,” “America’s Got Talent” and “Dancing with the Stars” which, all together, had 39 million total viewers.

WOWO, Fort Wayne Reporter Held in Contempt for Phone Use in Court.  WOWO, Fort Wayne news director Dave Wheaton was found in contempt at the Allen County Superior Court for using a station-owned iPhone while covering a guilty plea at a murder case at the courthouse.  Two sheriff’s deputies noticed Wheaton texting on the phone – a violation of court rules – and confiscated the phone.  Wheaton told Judge Fran Gull he did not see the numerous signs warning of the ban on phones in the courtroom to which the judge replied, “Candidly, I don’t believe you,” reports the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.  The ban has been in effect since 2007 after courtroom attendees were found taking photos.  The judge ordered the phone destroyed but allowed WOWO owner Federated Media to download the contents first.

The State and Future of News on America’s News/Talk Radio Stations.  The rise of digital news sources, today’s quickening news cycle and the economic realities of our times are forcing news/talk radio stations to evaluate their news product and adapt to continue to serve their listeners.  In a feature story by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey coming to Talkers.com next week, programmers speak on the record about their news philosophy and its practical application.  KMOX, St. Louis operations director Steve Moore says despite the factors some think puts radio at a disadvantage for news, it’s still a very important element.  “Local news is the foundation for everything we do and that includes providing content and information for our programming staffs.  That relationship goes both ways.  Talent use their connections to flesh out stories that are heard on our newscasts.  A strong, local news department should be the perfect complement to a good talk show host.”  Read what some of today’s top news/talk programmers are saying about the state of news on their stations and in the larger media mix at Talkers.com next week.

Michael Harrison to Speak at New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference.  June promises to be a busy month for Michael Harrison.  Less than one short week after the New Media Seminar in NYC, the publisher and founder of TALKERS magazine will deliver a special address at the 65th Annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference on June 13.  The address titled, “The Future of the Stick and the Shtick: How Terrestrial Radio can Thrive in the Digital Age,” will provide a realistic focus on the key issues and challenges facing AM and FM radio today as it finds its place in the new and exotic landscape of 21st century technology and culture.  One of the key points that Harrison plans to make is that even though talk radio broadcasters are licking their chops at the prospect of music radio’s demise, one of the keys to talk radio’s growth in the coming years will actually be the survival and revival of music radio as a commercial and cultural force.  Harrison says, “An AM and FM band of only spoken word programming will not be enough to keep terrestrial radio afloat.  For terrestrial radio of all formats to have a healthy place from which to operate, it must reclaim ownership of the music scene - no doubt a daunting task.”  Harrison goes on to say that this can actually be done.  “The music scene in America has a desperate need for big-time leadership in terms of breaking new artists and product as well as defining and creating a cultural environment in which a healthy and  purposeful industry can operate.  This is something that radio has historically done effectively and can do again in the new century.”  Harrison suggests the key to doing this is to bring back the disc jockey as a viable broadcasting art form and the plugged-in music director as a connection to the street and marketplace.  “When music radio gave up its franchise on personalities - on-air talents who can present, deliver, and ‘sell’ a song, it set in motion its own destruction as well as inflicting damage to the music business itself.  It is not too late to correct this.”  The 65th Annual NJBA Conference will take place at Caesar’s Atlantic City June 12-13.  For information call 888-657-2346.

2012 Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for 7th Consecutive Week.  The race for president between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney once again was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of May 14-18, 2012.  Following at #2 was the Greece and Euro Zone fiscal crisis; at #3 was world financial markets activity; and at #4 was President Obama’s gay marriage stance.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart of the top stories and people on news/talk radio here.

Commentators of the Year.  That’s ESPN’s Mike Golic – co-host of ESPN Radio’s and ESPN2’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show (c) – holding the awards given to him and co-host Mike Greenberg (not pictured) for being named Team ESPN’s Volunteer Commentators of the Year.  Next to Golic are ESPN EVP of production John Wildhack (l) and president of ESPN, Inc. John Skipper (r).  Golic and Greenberg were honored at a luncheon yesterday (5/17) with the award given to an ESPN commentator “who provides positive impact in the community through his or her volunteer efforts.”  The duo led the way on ESPN Radio for the “Don’t Give Up ESPYs V Foundation Auction” which raised more than $800,000 for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.  They have contributed their personal time to emcee the Jimmy V Basketball dinner, and visit military sites, like the Intrepid this year for ESPN’s Veterans Week.  Each received $1,000 to be donated to the charity of their choice and both elected to give it to The V Foundation.

Monday, May 14, 2012

| May 14, 2012

TALKERS TV: WTOP Reporter Does All Field Reports on iPhone or iPad.  Things have changed, at least technologically, since WTOP, Washington reporter Neal Augenstein joined the heritage all-news outlet in 1999.  The newsroom was still equipped with reel-to-reel tape recorders and the portable bag phones that weighed as much as 15 pounds.  Since 2010, Neal has earned the distinction of being the first major market radio reporter who does all of his field production on an iPhone or iPad.  This week TALKERS TV presents the final installment of an exclusive three-part feature on the inner workings of all-news giant WTOP with an interview with Neal Augenstein in which he explains the theory behind and the method of using Apple’s smart phone as an extremely innovative and convenient tool for gathering, producing and presenting news in a multimedia venue.  See TALKERS TV at the top of the column on the upper right side of this page.

New Media Seminar New York Nears Sellout – Features Power-Packed Agenda.  Thursday, June 7 promises to be an important and exciting day for talk radio and related talk media as the East Coast installment of the industry’s largest and longest-running convention nears a sellout.  More than 60 industry leaders are scheduled to speak including (in alphabetical order): Nancy Abramson, executive director, Wall Street Journal Radio Network; Chuck Armstrong, APD, WABC, New York; Mike “Bax” Baxendale, co-host, “Bax and O’Brien” morning show, Rock 102, Springfield, MA; Rennie Bishop, PD WWRL, New York; Jim Bohannon, host, Dial Global Radio Networks; Phil Boyce, VP/director, spoken word format, Salem Communications; Dr. Joy Browne, host, WOR Radio; Laurie Cantillo, PD, WTOP, Washington, DC; Kevin Casey, VP/managing editor, TALKERS; Michael Castner, host, Wall Street Journal Radio Network; Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Alan Colmes, Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel; Holland Cooke, consultant, McVay/Cook Media; Andy Dean, host Premiere Networks; Dave Elswick, PD, KARN, Little Rock; Boomer Esiason, host, WFAN, New York; Barry Farber, host, Talk Radio Network/CRN Digital Talk Radio; Jim Farley, VP news and programming, WTOP, Washington, DC;  Terry Foxx, PD, KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh; Ian Freeman, co-host, Free Talk Live; Mike Gallagher, host, Salem Radio Network; Dom Giordano, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Heidi Harris, host, KRLA, Los Angeles/KTIE, San Bernadino; Matthew B. Harrison, senior partner, Harrison Strategies; Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media; Thom Hartmann, host, WYD Media; Bill Hess, PD, WMAL, Washington, DC;  Gabe Hobbs, president, Gabe Hobbs Media;  Jim Horn, PD, WSBA, York;  Gov. Mike Huckabee, host, Cumulus Media/Fox News Channel;  Rusty Humphries, host Talk Radio Network/WGST, Atlanta; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, WGN, Chicago; Tom Leykis, president, The New Normal; Lionel, president, LionelMedia.com; Mark Masters, CEO, Talk Radio Network; Mike McVay, SVP programming, Cumulus Media; Harvey Nagler, VP Radio, CBS News; Chris Oliviero,  SVP programming, CBS Radio; Cary Pahigian, market manager, Saga Communications/Portland; John Parikhal, president, Joint Communications; Ellen Ratner, bureau chief, Talk Radio News Service;  Mark Riley, host, WWRL, New York; Walter Sabo, president, Sabo Media; Todd Schnitt, host, Compass Media Networks; Ed Schultz, host, MSNBC/The Ed Schultz Show;  Doug Stephan, president, Stephan Multimedia; Chris Stigall, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Alan Stock, host, KDWN, Las Vegas;  Peter Thiele, PD, WMCA/WNYM, New York; Joe Thomas, PD, WCHV, Charlottesville; Paul Vandenburg, president/GM, WGDJ, Albany; Steven J.J. Weisman, senior partner, Harrison Strategies; and Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; with more to be announced. A full agenda will be posted here tomorrow.  Also, today is the final day that discount rooms for seminar attendees at the nearby Doubletree will be available.  For registration and hotel information call 413-565-5413.

Sabo Sez:  If Every Station Was a Talk Station…  “Imagine if every radio station, except one, in every city was programmed fulltime as a talk station.  How would those talk stations differentiate themselves to the listener?  They couldn’t all take the same approach, they would have to appeal to different demos and psychographics,” says Sabo Media president Walter Sabo.  In his latest column for TALKERS, Sabo says that’s why spoken-word radio must be differentiated and targeted just as music-based radio is and therein lays the key to making a profit from an FM talk station.  Read Walter Sabo’s piece here.

Geraldo Rivera to Broadcast from WABC, New York-Sponsored Job Fair.  Cumulus Media news/talk WABC, New York and sister Hot AC WPLJ-FM are sponsoring the “Putting America Back to Work” job fair being held tomorrow (5/15) at the Jacob Javits Center and WABC and KABC, Los Angeles talk host Geraldo Rivera will broadcast his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program live from the event.  Part of the broadcast will feature a panel of experts and CEOs discussing practical advice and tips for job seekers.  Cumulus New York states there will also be some 100 job recruiters from a wide range of industries with positions available on the scene.

KFWB, Los Angeles Re-Ups with NBA’s Clippers.  The NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and news/talk KFWB, Los Angeles sign a multi-year extension to keep the franchise’s games on the station.  Details of the terms are not being disclosed per team and station policy.  Station general manager Valerie K. Blackburn states, “We are so happy to forge forward with our relationship with the Clippers who have captured the hearts of Southern Californians and fans across the country.  The Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as a fan favorite in this town and are an extremely important part of our ongoing commitment to provide quality programming to our listeners.”  KFWB is operated by the KFWB Asset Trust and the KFWB License Trust, divestiture trusts under the management of Diane Sutter, president and CEO of ShootingStar Broadcasting.

Cumulus Media Signs With Triton Digital for Its Online Platform.  The country’s second largest radio station operator (measured by station count) will move the online platform of its more than 530 radio stations to the Triton Digital platform, according to a story in Radio InkCumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey states the company’s stations will be able to take advantage of the services provided by Triton Digital as well as providing a standard platform which will enable the transition to putting all of the company’s stations on iHeartRadio as announced several months ago.  It is expected the Cumulus stations will be available on Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio within the next 45 to 60 days.

Greater Media Charlotte Names Billy Black Imaging Director.  News/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte and talk intensive sister Hot AC WLNK-FM have hired imaging pro Billy Black to serve as the imaging director for the stations.  For the past 10 years Black has worked at Clear Channel’s rock WRXR-FM, Chattanooga where he served as morning show host, program director and imaging director.  Greater Media Charlotte marketing administrator Jessica Reeves RoBards says, “He has imaged a ton of Clear Channel stations and made work parts and shells from scratch for companies like Frost Bytes.  This is unique because most imaging guys use pre-made beds and work parts, he makes his own.  He also had a stint at Media Base.  He will image both stations.  His ideas and creativity are something these stations have been craving.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Cumulus Media nabs market manager Kevin Waltman from Clear Channel’s Tallahassee operations that include news/talk WFLA-FM.  Waltman heads up Cumulus’ Montgomery, Alabama cluster that includes news/talk WLWI and sports talk WMSP…..Forever Broadcasting is picking up a stronger signal for its “TJ Network” news/talk format based at WTJS, Jackson Tennessee.  It will swap with Grace Broadcasting Services giving Grace its WTJW-FM, Humboldt, Tennessee at 105.3 plus $525,000 and get WTGP-FM, Trenton, Tennessee at 97.7…..SiriusXM names National Soccer Hall of Famer John Harkes host of its daily soccer talk show “The Football Show” that airs from 7:00 am to 9:00 am.  Harkes will be joined on the show by co-hosts Charlie Stillitano and Neil Barnett.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

| April 17, 2012

All-Hannity Stunt Points to New FM Talker in Philly.  Merlin Media dropped the Christian talk on its new WKDN-FM, Philadelphia and began airing Premiere NetworksSean Hannity round the clock.  The move seems to back the speculation that Merlin will not follow the footsteps of its New York and Chicago FMs with an all-news format but will go news/talk.  It’s expected the station will soon clear Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh and possibly Glenn Beck as well as it builds an FM talk station with Philadelphia native son Al Gardner as PD and morning drive host.  Merlin also changed the call letters of the station to WWIQ-FM.

News/Talk KFI, Los Angeles Wins March PPM Battle.  It’s not often a commercial news/talk station is ranked the top station in a PPM market, but Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles topped sister Top 40 KIIS-FM by a tenth of a point to win the March PPM contest with a 4.9 share.  A few news/talk stations have landed in the top spot in the monthly PPMs – Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee has a track record of dominance in that market as does Cox Media‘s WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville – but for the most part, the number one slot is usually nabbed by a music or all-news station.  It goes to show the astounding cume KFI has in the market.

Clear Channel Reorganizes Marketing Structure; Tim Castelli Replaces Charlie Rahilly.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment makes a major move to “unify and align its marketing offerings under one umbrella” with the creation of a new, unified sales and marketing group led by former AOL executive Tim Castelli.  CC states, “This move, the latest in the company’s transformation to a fully integrated, multi-platform media and entertainment company, creates an unprecedented opportunity for partners to tap into the company’s unparalleled reach of 237 million people a month (the largest of any radio or television outlet in America) and unmatched collection of media assets.”  CCME chairman and CEO John Hogan says, “This is an entirely new way to leverage the unmatched national reach with local engagement capabilities of Clear Channel Radio Sales, Strategic Partnerships, Clear Channel Connections, Digital, event sponsorships and Premiere Radio Networks Sales supported by innovative programs and world class custom marketing insights.”  In addition to Castelli’s hiring, Clear Channel announces Condé Nast’s Holly Lang joins the company as senior vice president, marketing solutions.  Lang is responsible for conceiving and implementing innovative marketing programs for national advertisers, with a special focus on consumer brands.  Also, Chris Monteleone, formerly vice president of partner strategy at Madison Square Garden, has been named senior vice president, event sponsorship sales and development.

New Jersey 101.5 Gives Steve Trevelise the Evening Show.  Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton – New Jersey 101.5 – announces part-time staffer Steve Trevelise is named permanent host of the evening show on the station.  Trevelise has been sitting in hosting the evening program since the station parted ways with Michelle Jerson.  Now, brand manager Eric Johnson states, “There are few in radio that I know who sound more Jersey than Steve!  We are thrilled he is bringing his passion and knowledge of the state to weekday evenings on New Jersey 101.5.  Having been here part-time for a few years now, he has worked hard to earn this position and knows how to relate to our more than 1 million listeners.”  In addition to his radio career, Trevelise is a stand-up comic and has performed at comedy clubs throughout New Jersey.  He currently owns and operates Sarcasm Comedy Club in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Midway Broadcasting’s WVON, Chicago Joins iHeartRadio.  The Windy City’s urban talk outlet, WVON, is the latest station to join Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s mobile/digital radio service iHeartRadio.  Midway Broadcasting chairman Melody Spann Cooper states, “I think this is a win-win for both WVON and iHeartRadio.  We’ll reach a national audience, our listeners will have the benefit of taking the station wherever they go by using their smart phones, and iHeartRadio gets the benefit of our best-in-class urban talk format.”  The station says it is embarking on an aggressive promotional campaign to introduce iHeartRadio and to educate its listeners on its usage.

Gabe Hobbs Named Strategic Advisor at Listener Driven Radio.  Former Clear Channel news/talk and sports corporate programmer Gabe Hobbs joins Listener Driven Radio to spearhead the company’s LDR.TopicPulse – what the company describes as “a new system that offers real time social media topic tracking, so news/talk stations can see what local audiences are talking about up-to-the-second.”  LDR further describes LDR.TopicPulse as “valuable real-time information to show producers and hosts on which topics and news stories are ‘getting buzz’ in their market on social media.  The system scans all available news sources, local blogs, Facebook posts, Tweets and other social media.  Then, producers can see a report – which is updated to the second – on the hottest trending topics and their shelf life.”  On his new position, Hobbs states, “LDR’s team is the finest group of interactive innovators in the country.  I’m proud to join the team to translate the success LDR is having at music radio to the news/talk/sports formats.”

Salem Radio Network Host Dr. Richard Land Responds to Plagiarism Accusations.  Southern Baptist Dr. Richard Land – host of the “Richard Land Live” Saturday program syndicated by Salem Radio Network – responds to accusations he pulled direct commentary for a monologue about the Trayvon Martin case from an editorial by Jeffrey Kuhner of the Washington Times.  Land admits he failed to provide verbal attribution on the program for using some content and apologizes.  Land states he did not intend to deceive and always posts his source material on his program’s website.  SRN VP of news and talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “SRN stands firmly behind Dr. Richard Land, whose ethical standards and intellect are recognized around the world.  An oversight in giving an on-air mention to a source he clearly posted on his website hardly rises to the level of ‘plagiarism.’  That standard is reserved for individuals like Vice President Joe Biden, who was forced to abandon his 2008 presidential campaign when it was revealed he was recycling entire speeches from British Labour Policy figure Neal Kinnock. Or President Obama himself, who was found to be lifting entire sections of speeches formerly delivered by his friend DeVal Patrick, the Governor of Massachusetts.  It says a lot about Richard Land that he has acknowledged that he can do better…and that he has pledged to do just that.”

Dial Global Names Michael Schreck SVP/Director of Corporate Sports.  In his new position as senior vice president and director of corporate sports, Michael Schreck will be responsible for sports sales and marketing as well as league and team negotiations for Dial Global.  Co-president and CEO David Landau states, “Michael has a proven track record of success in cultivating both advertiser and league partnerships.  With his leadership, we are looking forward to continuing to define great moments for our advertisers and the millions of sports fans our broadcasts touch.”

Dave Ramsey Invades San Antonio.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey (pictured here on stage in San Antonio) addressed more than 6,000 fans during the presentation of his “Total Money Makeover Live.”  Ramsey also spoke before some 1,000 local business people  as he presented his EntreLeadership 1-Day event.  Affiliate KTSA, San Antonio benefitted from Ramsey’s appearance in town.  General sales manager Coreena Hazelett says, “One of the invaluable things about Dave’s Live Event visit is the time he puts aside for our sponsors.  The clients really get the opportunity to connect one on one with Dave, and they are moved by his desire to see their businesses succeed.  He’s not just a host on the radio, he’s a true partner who’s committed to the success of our station and our advertisers.”

Secret Service Prostitute Scandal, 2012 Presidential Race, ‘Buffet Rule’ Blocked by Senate GOP, GSA Wasteful Spending and ObamaCare Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/16).  The backlash against the Secret Service after agents found in prostitution scandal in South America; the 2012 presidential race including the flap over Ann Romney homemaker comments; the Senate GOP’s blocking of the ‘Buffet Rule’ to tax the super rich; the investigation into wasteful spending by the General Services Administration and the legal status of ObamaCare were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

| April 12, 2012

Cox Media Group Goes Hot Talk in Tampa on “The Bone.”  The rock music stops on Cox Media Group’s WHPT-FM, Tampa – The Bone – on Monday, April 23 as the company builds a hot talk station around morning drive star Bubba the Love Sponge and PM drive personality Cowhead.  Cox will add the DirecTV-produced Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange show for late nights and is considering programs for middays and early evenings.  Cox Tampa VP/market manager Keith Lawless says, “‘The Bone’ dominates the morning and afternoon drive talk shows and has room to grow in the midday and evening classic rock shows.  Evolving this station into an all-talk station is an obvious move.  Bubba plays no music and is clearly the market’s leader in mornings.  Filling in the other dayparts with compelling talk and removing all music from the already successful Cowhead show will make ‘The Bone’ dominant with men and adults all day long.”

KNBR, San Francisco Parts Company with Ralph Barbieri After 28 Years.  Ralph Barbieri – the Razor – has been a part of sports talk on KNBR, San Francisco since 1984 but he’s been let go by Cumulus Media as the result of a “management decision,” according to the San Jose Mercury News.  Barbieri’s co-host Tom Tolbert – Mr. T – continues as solo host of the PM drive show.  Barbieri wrote for Sport magazine before joining KNBR in 1984 and became one of the pillars upon which KNBR was built.  Last fall, Barbieri revealed to the San Francisco Chronicle that he’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2005 and that he disclosed the diagnosis to Cumulus as the two sides began negotiating a contract renewal.  Barbieri said he believed it was only fair to Cumulus.  He also reported that CEO Lew Dickey told him the company wanted him back.  Barbieri wrote to the Mercury News stating: “…All I can say is that I’m weighing my options, which are considerable.  I’ll have more to say later on.  For now, I just want to say that I’ve seen a couple of articles that have characterized this as an amicable parting.  Well, that’s not exactly the case.  I came to work (Tuesday) morning with no idea that anything of this nature was afoot, especially since my contract does not expire until November 1.  I was immediately told that the general manager wanted to see me.  I went to his office and the program director was there as well.  I was told that I was being terminated and that April 10, was to be my last day at KNBR.”

All-News WBBM Top Biller in Chicago in 2011.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports data from BIA/Kelsey that indicates all-news has been good for CBS Radio in the Windy City.  The most recent quarterly “Investing in Radio Market Report” from BIA/Kelsey ranks the top five radio billers in Chicago and ranks WBBM – with its recent FM simulcast addition – at the top with $48 million in billing in 2011 (an increase from $42.5 million in 2010).  Hubbard Broadcasting’s AC WTMX-FM is in second place followed by Tribune’s news/talk WGN in third ($35.5 million).  Univision’s Regional Mexican WOJO-FM comes in fourth and CBS Radio’s country WUSN-FM is in fifth place.

Tribune’s WGN, Chicago Jumps on Board iHeartRadio.  Stating that the new platform provides listeners with greater access to WGN, station VP/general manager Tom Langmyer announces Tribune Company’s news/talk WGN will be heard on Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio digital platform.  “This additional platform provides even greater access to WGN, and exposes new listeners to one of America’s premier personality-based talk, news and sports stations.”  Clear Channel Digital president Brian LeKamp says, “Adding a station like WGN to iHeartRadio further delivers on our mission to be wherever our listeners are with the products and services they expect, expanding our ability to offer our users an even more diverse and exciting listening experience.  As one of the top stations in Chicago, WGN features news, information, entertainment and sports and is an excellent addition to our platform.”

Jorge Sedano Leaves Post as AM Drive Host at WAXY, Miami.  South Florida sports talk host Jorge Sedano tweets to his fans that he’s left Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk WAXY, Miami’s morning drive show:  “After four great yrs at 790 THE TICKET I’ve decided 2 move on effective immediately.  W/ all the new projects I’m working on its just too hard 2 do it all.  I want to thank all wonderful people I worked with in my time there.  Also, thank you the audience for some great radio.  Without you guys, I wouldn’t be in this great position to make this move.  I’m looking forward to the next chapter & hoping u all come along.  Thanks again for all your support.  You have no idea what it means to me. All the best. Love JORGE.”  Chatter in the sports talk world is that Sedano, who has previously worked at Fox Sports Radio Network, is developing a show to air on the new CBS Sports Network – possibly as a lead in to Jim Rome’s new show on the cable channel.  For now, Brandon Guzio is hosting the morning show at WAXY.

Salem Communications Partners with TuneIn.  Camarillo, California-based Salem Communications is the latest broadcaster to partner with internet audio company TuneIn to broadcast its stations via the web.  Salem makes its almost 100 radio properties available to listeners everywhere via the service.  Salem Radio president David Santrella says in a statement, “Through our partnership with TuneIn, we have expanded the number of access points to our content.  We have made it easier for our current listeners to access our programming from wherever they are and have opened up our broadcasts to new audiences.  Overnight we’ve expanded our footprint in digital and have gained a suite of first-of-their-kind analysis tools from TuneIn that help us further tailor programming to our listeners everywhere.”

Arbitron CFO Richard Surratt to Leave the Company.  A press release from Arbitron headquarters in Columbia, Maryland says Richard Surratt is leaving his role at the ratings giant for personal reasons and that EVP/COO Sean Creamer will take over the CFO role when Surratt’s exit takes place in May.  Meanwhile, the company has hired Crist Kolder Associates to search for a new CFO.

2012 Presidential Race, Charges Filed Against George Zimmerman, Obama Care Status, Tepid U.S. Jobs Creation and European Economic Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/11).  Mitt Romney’s apparent capturing of the GOP nomination and the 2012 presidential campaign, second degree murder charges filed against George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin, the legal status of President Obama’s Patient Accessibility and Affordable Care Act, meager job growth in the U.S. and economic tensions in the Euro zone were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Bonneville Seattle Gets Behind Fisher House Campaign.  Bonneville Seattle – which includes news/talk KIRO-FM, talk KTTH, and sports talk KIRO – is supporting a campaign to upgrade the Fisher House at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Washington.  The current house – which provides lodging for the families of American service personnel recovering from treatment after being wounded in the line of duty –  has been in use since 1992 and there is a need for a larger facility.  Bonneville VP/market manager Carl Gardner states, “Healing our wounded warriors and caring for their families is a mission all of us in the Pacific Northwest want to join.  At Bonneville, we’re excited to pull together our community of friends and bring this new Fisher House to life, to give something back to the soldiers and their families who have given us so much over these past ten years.”  Pictured here are Bonneville Seattle staffers and military personnel from the base.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

| February 15, 2012

Arbitron Reports 2011 Revenue Increase of 6.8%; Expects 5%-7% Growth in 2012.  That’s the news from Arbitron’s release of its financials from 2011.  The company realized a fourth quarter revenue increase of 7.6% over the same quarter the year prior, telling radio operators who subscribe to the PPM what they probably presumed – the high cost of PPM is largely responsible for those numbers.  “The increase was primarily due to increased cost of revenue associated with providing PPM and Diary services, operating costs incurred by Arbitron Mobile, as well as year-over-year increases in performance and share-based compensation,” Arbitron stated in its report.  CEO William T. Kerr says, “For 2012 and beyond, we see our basic strategies as unchanged.  We will pursue opportunities to improve performance and deliver compelling returns by leveraging our existing PPM and diary platforms, by continuing to seek out cost efficiencies and by deploying our financial and other resources to cultivate new markets.  We will pursue these strategies with the goal of building long-term value for our customers, our employees and our shareholders.”  The other aspect of the business the PPM and Diary services are paying for is the development of new products.  The company is developing a digital measurement service that would track usage of services like Pandora and iHeart Radio but there is no timetable on when such a service would be available.  Meanwhile, in Tuesday’s conference call, CFO Sean Creamer admitted the loss of accreditation for the five PPM markets that it announced recently was disappointing but Creamer says the company is determined to work with the Media Rating Council to earn accreditation for as many PPM markets as possible.

KRLD-FM, Dallas Sports Talk Host and Baseball Announcer Josh Lewin Named New Mets Play-By-Play Broadcaster.  The New York Mets and WFAN, New York announced Josh Lewin will take his place in the broadcast booth alongside Howie Rose this season as the play-by-play announcer.  Lewin has been part of Fox Sports baseball coverage since 1996.  He was the Texas Rangers TV play-by-play man from 2002 through 2010 and most recently has been co-hosting the midday sports talk show at CBS Radio’s KRLD-FM – The Fan in Dallas.  Lewin says, “It’s exciting to be part of the Mets broadcast team with Howie Rose, who is one of the best in the business.  It’s a thrill to be able to come back to my roots in New York and call games for the team I rooted for as a kid on the pre-eminent sports talk radio station in the country.”

WDRC, Hartford PM Drive Talk Host Dan Lovallo Exits in Budget Move.  Dan Lovallo has been with the Buckley Broadcasting outlet since 1996 and has been hosting his own PM drive talk show since 2006.  He tells the Hartford Courant he was told by management that it is going in a different direction as part of a budgetary move.  WDRC offers a simple statement to that effect on its Facebook page, noting it wishes Lovallo well.  WDRC is part of Buckley’s four-station “Talk of Connecticut” simulcast that includes WMMW, Meriden; WWCO, Waterbury; and WSNG, Torrington.

A Bowlful of Dollars.  The recent Super Bowl broadcast was again the annual bacchanal of ad spending: $3.5 million for a 30-second spot this year.  But it’s the largest single-event audience in American media although it’s really a showcase – not so much a campaign.  H&H Broadcasting president Al Herskovitz explains that talk radio sales pros should be able to turn this extravaganza on its head and be inspired to illustrate the economy and effectiveness of the reach, frequency and flexibility of a talk radio ad campaign.  Read more here.

WOYK, York Sports Talk Host Adam McAllister Resigns from Afternoon Show.  Telling the York Dispatch that his decision to resign from the four-month-old PM drive sports talk show  stems from his “frustrations” with management, Adam McAllister says he plans to be back on radio somewhere else but he’s not sure where.  McAllister was part of the M&M morning show with Jim Marlin that began in 2010.  Last year the program moved to afternoons but in October, McAllister went solo.  WOYK president Doug George tells the paper, “He sent me a message late last week saying he was resigning and his vision with the radio station didn’t agree with others.  Things like that happen.  I told Adam he’s certainly entitled to his own belief.  I’m not sure there is a whole lot more for me to say.”  WOYK will fill the slot with content from Yahoo! Sports.

Noted Radio Consultant Valerie Geller to Write Weekly Trade Piece.  Leading talk radio consultant Valerie Geller – president of Geller Media International – begins writing the weekly News Talk Edge column for Radio-Info.com this Thursday.  Geller is respected throughout the radio industry for her programming credentials, her consulting work with news, talk and personality radio as well as for her popular broadcasting books, including her latest, Beyond Powerful Radio – A Communicator’s Guide to the Internet Age (Focal Press 2011).  Recently, Geller worked with the Independent Documentary Series advising the producers of the recently aired PBS documentary film, “Daisy Bates – First Lady of Little Rock.”  TALKERS asked Geller about her involvement consulting a documentary film and she replied it’s a natural connection.  “Filmmakers tell stories just as talk show hosts, news writers and good radio personalities do.”

Journal Broadcasting Names Michael Gay VP of Interactive.  Michael Gay most recently served as corporate executive producer for digital media with Hearst Television.  Now he joins Journal Broadcasting as vice president of interactive where he’s charged with designing and implementing the company’s digital initiative across its TV and radio properties.

KDWN, Las Vegas Talk Host Alan Stock’s Local TV Show Adds Evening Broadcast.  Longtime Las Vegas talk show host Alan Stock – now heard from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on Beasley’s Broadcasting’s news/talk KWDN – announces his local TV show on KTUD-TV is airing at 1:00 pm and 10:00 pm PT.  Stock tells TALKERS the evening broadcast of the program is getting ratings as he’s been interviewing all the movers and shakers – political, social, cultural and entertainment –in the Las Vegas and Nevada community.   The program is taped in the KDWN studios and also serves to cross-promote the radio show.

Obama Budget, Iran Sanctions, GOP Primary Race, U.S. Syria Policy and Whitney Houston Funeral Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/14).  The 2013 budget submitted by President Obama, the threat of new sanctions on Iran, the GOP primary race, the ongoing violence in Syria and questions about the U.S.’s role and the funeral of singer Whitney Houston were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, January, 23, 2012

| January 23, 2012

Lou Dobbs Syndicated Radio Show to End in February.  Word has emerged from inside sources at United Stations Radio Networks that the syndicator has sent letters to the affiliates of the Lou Dobbs Show informing them that the four-year-old program is coming to an end in February.  Citing a decision reached with Dobbs by “mutual agreement,” the sources close to the program state that the veteran newsman/commentator wants to devote more of his busy schedule to his nightly program on the Fox Business Network, one of that cable operation’s top-rated shows.  United Stations will also cease production and distribution of Dobbs’ syndicated short-form features but sources close to Dobbs indicate that the former CNN icon might continue that enterprise independently.

Two More Pubcasters Join iHeartRadio Platform.  Popular Southern California public radio outlets KCRW-FM, Santa Monica and KUSC-FM, Los Angeles begin streaming their audio via Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio app.  KCRW-FM is a hybrid news, talk and music outlet while KUSC-FM is a classical station.  KCRW-FM, general manager Jennifer Ferro states, “KCRW is always looking for exciting partnership opportunities knowing that even among hundreds of radio stations, what we offer is entirely unique.  By combining our compelling content and iHeartRadio’s vast reach, we’re inviting a new audience to discover and engage with KCRW.”  CC Digital president Brian Lekamp says, “We want to be everywhere our listeners are with a variety of programming options to appeal to the widest possible audience, and adding these public radio stations to iHeartRadio offers listeners an even more interesting and diverse listening experience.”

Missouri Authorities Consider Charges Against Man for Threatening Language on the Radio.  Police in Arnold, Missouri spoke with a local man who made what could be considered threats against St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke while calling into the McGraw Milhaven show on CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis.  The discussion surrounded Kroenke’s announcement of Jeff Fisher as new head coach of the Rams and Kroenke’s apparent refusal to state he would not consider moving the Rams out of St. Louis.  The caller reportedly stated, “I, I ain’t gonna say nothin’, but the only thing I could put into it other than jack is lead like the dude in Kirkwood.  I don’t blame him a bit for what he did.”  The caller was referencing the killing of six people at the Kirkwood, Missouri town hall in 2008.  KTRS alerted police who’ve interviewed the man.  No charges have been filed yet but prosecutors are considering charges.

Cumulus Media Erie Sports Talk Host Exits; Cites Compensation Issues.  Until Friday, Mike “Chico” Boorman hosted a popular sports talk show on Cumulus Media’s WRIE, Erie – ESPN 1260.  But Boorman tells the Erie Times – News that recent pay cuts and management’s unwillingness to negotiate his salary left him no option.  Boorman is quoted in the paper saying, “They weren’t going to pay me what I felt I needed to continue doing what I was doing.  I was making $40 a day.  As I told a buddy of mine, that’s a nice name for a show on The Food Network, but it’s tough to make a living that way.”  Cumulus Media Erie management declined to comment specifically on Boorman’s contract but GM Jim Riley told the paper, “We regret his decision to depart.  We think we had a very popular show with him and we had a good response from listeners.”

CBS Radio Launches WNEW-FM, Washington on Sunday Afternoon.  CBS Radio took the opportunity of a Sunday afternoon with bad weather approaching to launch its new all-news FM outlet in the Nation’s Capital.  The company moved the hard launch from Thursday, January 19 to this morning (1/23) due to some engineering issues but opted to test the new equipment with staffers yesterday afternoon.

KOGO, San Diego Adds Lynda Martin as News Anchor.  The former XETV-TV and KSWB-TV, San Diego reporter and anchor Lynda Martin becomes part of the news staff at Clear Channel’s KOGO, San Diego morning drive show hosted by Chip Franklin.

Smerconish Book Club Plays Hardball.  Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish (l) interviews author and MSNBC personality Chris Matthews (r) during one of the Smerconish Book Club live events before some 1,000 attendees at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, New Jersey on January 19.  The event, in which Smerconish interviewed Matthews about his recent book Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero (Simon & Schuster 2011) was co-presented by affiliate WPHT, Philadelphia.

 

Radio Rows Have Talk Hosts Focused on Hot-Button Issues.  Talk show hosts from around the nation converged on South Carolina prior to the state’s primary election on Saturday for a two-day radio row organized by Talk Radio News Service and SupportPopularVote.com.  In South Carolina, talk hosts including Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries, Radio America’s Rodger Hedgecock, Nashville-based talk host Steve Gill, Clear Channel Texas host Michael Berry, North Dakota-based talker Scott Hennen and others brought the primary race and 2012 presidential election issues home to their listeners through interviews with people such as former senator and presidential candidate Fred Thompson, tax policy expert Grover Norquist, former candidate Herman Cain and GOP candidate Rick Santorum.  Earlier in the week, more than 20 talk show hosts from around the country took part in the Families USA Radio Row in Washington, DC from the organization’s Health Action Conference.   Hosts including Dial Global’s Thom Hartmann; WWRL, New York’s Mark Riley; “America Tonight” host Kate Delaney; independently syndicated Leslie Marshall; nationally syndicated “Good Day” host Doug Stephan; and nationally syndicated host Carole Marks from “A Touch of Grey” talked health care issues.  The event offered radio hosts a unique opportunity to interview key administration officials, numerous members of Congress, health care advocates from across the country, and leaders within the progressive community while broadcasting live from Families USA’s Health Action Conference.

Monday, January 16, 2012

| January 16, 2012

Clear Channel Drops the “Radio”; Becomes Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  Clear Channel Media Holdings chief executive officer Bob Pittman announces the “radio division” of the company is changing its name to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment to reflect its mission to deliver content via means beyond just terrestrial radio.  “Over the last few years, I’ve watched as Clear Channel Radio has pushed beyond the traditional boundaries of radio to reach more Americans every month than any other media company through an unmatched combination of broadcast, satellite, online and mobile assets,” states Pittman.  “Under John Hogan’s continued strong leadership, the new Clear Channel Media and Entertainment brand underscores that we are taking our brands and content wherever our listeners expect to find it.  And, in the future, as new places emerge where people want to access our powerful brands and content, we’ll be there, too.”  At the center of Clear Channel’s initiatives to move beyond radio station transmitters is the iHeartRadio website and app that delivers audio from its O&O radio stations of all formats, offers user-customizable stations plus audio from Cumulus Media, and soon, Greater Media radio stations as well.  The company is clearly putting forth the iHeartRadio internet site and mobile and tablet application as its primary weapon in the battle for ears being waged by Pandora, Slacker, Spotify and others.  John Hogan states, “Radio is both our history and the foundation upon which we will grow our company moving forward.  That will not change.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment represents our evolution as we prove our relationship with our listeners is so much more than just our transmitters and towers.  We will continue to serve our increasingly diverse audiences and local communities with the best content – music, news, emergency information, and public service – wherever they expect it, while supporting advertisers, strategic partners, music labels and artists with creative, multi-platform marketing opportunities that reach, activate and engage target audiences like no one else.”  It clearly appears that this move on the part of the largest owner/operator of terrestrial radio station licenses crystallizes the reality of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison‘s forecast originally published in 2007 that the entity known as the “radio station” would evolve into something more aptly described as the “media station” — a multi-tiered broadcasting entity the ranks of which are comprised of both licensed and unlicensed outlets operating on the even playing field of the internet.  According to Harrison, “Hogan’s statement that ‘radio is both our history and the foundation upon which we will grow our company moving forward’ is quite revealing and says it all… basically that a ‘radio’ station that defines itself as being just that — a ‘radio’ station – is behind the times.  An audio-only media brand in this new era is as incomplete as a newspaper without photographs or a motion picture without sound and as limited in its accessibility as the old yellow pages.”  Harrison goes on to comment, “Stick owners should beware of this inevitable development.  Although strategic use of the internet and digital distribution expands the radio station’s brand and evolves it into the media station, it also serves as a catalyst for non-licensed media stations to share the same space and compete for the same audience while unencumbered by the debt of stick ownership.”

Boston Herald Blasts Entercom Chief David Field’s Memo.  This is one of those motivational missives that some will think is right on and others will shake their heads at, but the Boston Herald’s Jessica Heslam pulls no punches in criticizing a memo from Entercom CEO David Field in which he uses his recent African safari vacation as a backdrop and the animal kingdom as a metaphor for the working world.  Field writes about the need for all employees – including himself – to bring their “A-game” to work because the tough business world is a survival-of-the-fittest place just like the African savannah he witnessed on his trip.  He alludes to American society as pampering us and not always holding us accountable as the wild of Africa does to its inhabitants.  He beckons the reader to strive for greatness at every moment of each workday generously stating his belief in everyone’s “untapped potential.”  Critics of this memo will point to Field’s elitist use of a transcontinental holiday as the basis of his memo, an unwitting comparison of his employees as animals, the assumption that they are not “giving it their all” in the first place, and that they are quick to blame others for any lack of success.  Some might go so far as to point to Field’s naiveté in needing to witness the wild close up to be reminded that life and the business world are both challenging and unforgiving.  Still, supporters of Field’s action will state that he’s only trying to point out that harnessing our talents and pushing ourselves to succeed is what makes great companies great, and that whining about tough circumstances will achieve nothing.  Heslam’s criticism could also cause managers and employees alike to debate – either internally or out loud – whether this type of motivational memo is truly effective.  How do the majority of employees see it?  As a thought-provoking pep talk…or an insulting memo from “corporate?”  See Heslam’s story and the entire memo here.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to Impact Talk Radio Conversation.  Most Federal holidays cause slow-downs in the normal processes of running live radio in the form of fill-in hosts, repeats and a diversion from the serious issues of the day.  However, MLK, Jr. Day has a history of doing just the opposite.  Although Federal agencies and a number of private business offices close today – it is even more than “business as usual” on the radio talk show airwaves of America as the holiday inspires discussion of a wide variety of compelling issues including civil rights, social justice, race relations and more.

Former New Jersey 101.5 Host Tommy G Launches Internet Show.  As a growing number of terrestrial broadcasters who find themselves off the air are doing, former WKXW-FM, Trenton overnight host Tommy G (Tom Gordon) is taking his talk host talents to the internet.  Gordon says he wants to cut out the “middleman” and bring his programming straight to the listener digitally.  In an exclusive piece for TALKERS magazine, Tommy G explains his mission and how he’s making it happen.  Read it here.

Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels Beats OVI Rap.  Media executive Randy Michaels pled guilty to driving improperly in a construction zone and the prosecutor agreed to drop the charge of operating a vehicle while impaired after Michaels’ attorney Steve Adams argued successfully that the officer had filled out the citation incorrectly and failed to fix it within the allotted 90-day period.  Michaels was charged in October of 2011 after Middletown, Ohio police found his car disabled in a road construction area during a rain storm.  The officer recorded that Michaels smelled of alcohol and failed roadside sobriety tests although he declined to take a breathalyzer.

Talk Radio Network Names Dave Nourie National Affiliate Consultant.  TRN CEO Mark Masters makes the announcement that Dave Nourie is joining his team to grow Talk Radio Network programs that include Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, Rusty Humphries, Jerry Doyle, Phil Hendrie, Mancow and the America’s Radio News Network news blocks.  “We are all very happy to have Dave join the Talk Radio Network family of companies, with the incredible growth of the news network, we needed someone with his skills and expertise to help serve our ever-growing list of affiliated stations.”

KOA, Denver Talk Host Dave Logan Loses High School Football Coaching Job.  The former Denver Broncos great and current Broncos radio play-by-play voice and PM drive host on Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver is out of his football coaching gig after independent Catholic high school Mullen High chose to take a different road.  It wasn’t for lack of victories or Dave Logan’s popularity with the students and team – in nine years at Mullen, Logan’s teams won four state titles with a record of 110 – 12.  School CEO Ryan Clement tells the Denver Post that the issue was Logan’s celebrity combined with the school’s desire to have a full-time staff member serve as coach.  Logan worked the gig with no pay.  But the Post reports Clement said Logan “had become the face of the school and that’s not what the new administration wanted, especially from someone who didn’t work at the school full time.”  Some students protested the firing and the paper notes Logan may surface to coach somewhere else as other schools are already seeking to talk to him about coaching.

Newsman Kevin Patrick Leaves Chicago for Washington, DC.  Chicago Radio and Media is reporting that Kevin Patrick is leaving Merlin Media’s WIQI-FM, Chicago – FM News 101.1 – to take a position with CBS Radio’s new all-news outlet WNEW-FM, Washington.  Though the move hasn’t been officially announced by either CBS or Merlin, the site reports WIQI-FM overnight anchor Mike Wilson will move onto the daytime schedule to fill Patrick’s role.  It’s unclear exactly what Patrick’s new position at WNEW-FM will be.

Arizona Broadcasters Hold Two-Hour Tribute to Bill Heywood.  A little more than two weeks after Phoenix-market radio legend Bill Heywood and his wife Susan took their lives in a Scottsdale hotel room, numerous Arizona broadcasters who knew and worked with Heywood took part in a two-hour tribute broadcast to him on Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix.  Hosts and jocks taking part in the Friday afternoon broadcast included: Pat McMahon, Preston Westmoreland, Bruce Kelly, Tim Hattrick, Jeff Scott and Michael Dixon.  Susan Heywood had been ill for some time and friends say the couple had been beset by financial troubles.  A memorial service was held on Saturday for Heywood and his wife.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

| January 11, 2012

SCOTUS Hears Broadcast Indecency Arguments; Sweeping Changes Unlikely.  TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says although Attorney Carter Phillips – representing Fox Television – argued convincingly that broadcasters are responsible to their audiences and advertisers and would not, therefore, engage in a “race to the bottom” with regard to indecency, he believes the Supreme Court will not throw out the current indecency rules as some broadcasters might hope it would.  Attorneys representing the Federal Communications Commission, Fox Television and ABC Television argued before the Court yesterday for the first time since the Pacifica case in 1978.  Read Attorney Weisman’s analysis here.

TRN Entertainment Syndicates Former KGO Weekender Dr. Bill Wattenburg.  Bill Wattenburg was one of the KGO, San Francisco talk show hosts let go by Cumulus Media in December.  Now, TRN Entertainment begins offering Dr. Wattenburg in national syndication Sunday evenings from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am ET beginning January 22.  TRN Entertainment CEO Mark Masters says, “We are ecstatic to have a person of Dr. Bill Wattenburg’s caliber join our network.  His vast knowledge of science and physics will enlighten all of his listeners.  We believe he will quickly develop legions of dedicated fans that want to improve their personal knowledge and way of life.”  Bay Area talk radio listeners are aware of Dr. Wattenburg’s credentials but the rest of the nation may not know that he is a senior research scientist at the Research Foundation, California State University, Chico; and a scientific consultant for the University of California Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and many other institutions.  He is a former nuclear weapons designer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; a former member of the US Air Force Scientific Advisory Board; and a former UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering.  TRN Entertainment describes Dr. Wattenburg’s show as “mostly an open-line, listener-driven call-in show in which he answers questions ranging from fixing cars to physics, and everything in between.  His combination of experiences and scientific background give him a great wealth of knowledge that he applies to entertain and inform his audience.”

Clear Channel Takes Another Step Toward Making iHeartRadio a Ubiquitous Media Application.  The broadcast giant announces it is making its application programming interface (API) and affiliate program available to third parties and developers so they can integrate its content and services into their own products, web pages and apps.  Clear Channel states, “Developers will have the opportunity to create their own innovative versions of iHeartRadio on their platforms.  The iHeartRadio API includes access to many of the service’s features, including its live broadcast and digital-only stations and Custom Stations as well as a deep social media integration.”  Clear Channel Digital president Brian Lakamp says, “Opening our API will unlock exciting opportunities to enrich the unique, combined live and custom radio experience that only iHeartRadio provides.  This move also builds on our commitment to be everywhere our listeners expect us to be, with the best products and services.”  The company is clearly moving full-speed-ahead to compete in digital media distribution device race and this is another smart move to try to enhance iHeartRadio’s useage.

CBS Radio Names Two More to WNEW-FM, Washington Staff.  When CBS Radio’s all-newser WNEW-FM, Washington debuts on January 19, Lisa Baden will be handling the traffic reporting in one of the nation’s most congested commuter markets and Jill Schlesinger joins the station for twice-hourly business reports.  Baden has been broadcasting traffic reports in the DC market for two decades, most notably with crosstown WTOP-FM and Metro Traffic before that.  Schlesinger is editor-at-large of CBS Moneywatch and also hosts her own nationally syndicated weekend financial talk program syndicated by Dial Global.

Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean Hits 50-Affiliate Mark.  Nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean, host of “America Now,” marks the 50-affilliate plateau.  Premiere Networks SVP of affiliate relations Peter Tripi says, “The rapid growth we’ve experienced with this program is a testament to Andy’s talent, dedication and hard work.  We look forward to reaching many more milestones together.”  Dean’s program is heard on talk outlets across America including WSB, Atlanta; KSTE, Sacramento; WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton; WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville; and KNST-AM/FM, Tucson.

National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Announces Honorees.  It’s the time of year when the NSSA announces winners of its best-of honors for their accomplishments in 2011.  Here are just a few of those just announced:  WGN, Chicago morning sports anchor and Northwestern Wildcats football and basketball play-by-play announcer Dave Eanet is named the 2011 Illinois Sportscaster of the Year.  WGN VP/GM Tom Langmyer states, “Dave Eanet is a tremendous broadcaster and a class act.  His passion, integrity and professionalism are apparent in everything that he does and we’re proud to have him on the WGN radio team.”…..Drew Deener of Sports Radio 790 WKRD, Louisville is named Sportscaster of the Year in the State of Kentucky.  Deener hosts “The Early Birds Morning Show” and “The Cardinal Insider” on WKRD.  He also serves as the TV play-by-play voice of University of Louisville football and basketball on WHAS-TV…..KOZN, Omaha’s Kevin Kugler, host of the popular sports talk program “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” and play-by-play host of the College World Series, earns the Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year award for the eighth year.  KOZN program director Neil Nelkin states, “It truly is remarkable that someone this early on his career would be recognized at this level and at this frequency.  It just goes to show how much talent Kevin has behind the mic and in the world of sportscasting.”

Former St. Louis PM Drive Team Thom and Jeff Begin Internet Initiative.  The longtime PM drive team at Emmis’ alternative KPNT, St. Louis, Thom West and Jeff Burton, are producing an internet talk show available via iTunes or their website.  Thom and Jeff were “downsized” in August and began producing podcasts in September.  They say they are now averaging 40,000 downloads per day.  The team has grown to include Scottie “Boom Boom,” Coach, and Kara the Lesbian.  Daily guests add to the non-stop entertainment including comedians, visits from bands, athletes, and local and national celebrities.  Jeff Burton says, “I really enjoyed the old radio show but with the added people and no FCC regulations we are free to do and say whatever we want…and we do!”

Longtime WMAL, Washington Personality Bill Trumball Dies at 77.  Bill Trumball retired from WMAL, Washington in 1996 after spending more than 35 years with the station.  He was partnered with Chris Core on the “Core and Trumball” show for many of those years.  He passed away on January 10 from respiratory failure.

New Hampshire Primary, Iran Saber-Rattling and World Financial Markets Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/10).  The GOP race to take the nation’s first primary election of the 2012 presidential campaign, the ongoing saber-rattling by Iran and speculation about its drive to develop nuclear weapons and the state of the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio across America yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

| January 10, 2012

Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio to Feature Greater Media Stations.  First it was Cumulus Media striking at deal with Clear Channel to have its radio stations available nationwide via the iHeartRadio digital radio platform, now Greater Media climbs aboard.  Beginning in April, Greater Media’s 22 stations in Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, New Jersey and Charlotte will be available via the iHeartRadio app.  Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth states, “We are thrilled to be able to provide our listeners with even greater access to our stations  anywhere they may be listening throughout the country with this exciting platform.”  Clear Channel president and CEO John Hogan says, “Adding Greater Media to iHeartRadio only improves our leading digital destination for consumers, expanding their ability to find the best and most complete online radio experience anywhere.  Clear Channel Radio and Greater Media understand that radio connects local businesses to consumers like no other medium can, and this agreement offers more choices for our listeners which is what they want.”

Don Martin Promoted to Senior Vice President, Sports Programming for Premiere Networks.  This is a promotion from his role as vice president and general manager for Fox Sports Radio Network which has been a division of Premiere Networks since it began collaborating on sports programming with Fox Sports more than 10 years ago.  In this new role, Martin oversees all sports programming and operations for Premiere.  Martin reports to Premiere president of content and affiliations Julie Talbott who says, “This is a well-deserved promotion, as Don’s leadership has been instrumental in the growth and strength of the Fox Sports Radio Network.  His expertise, as well as his passion and dedication to this industry, make him a tremendous asset as we expand in the sports arena.  With Don at the helm, I’m confident we will continue to see the positive impact and success of our programming.”  Under Martin’s watch, FSRN has reached an all-time high of 400-plus affiliates.  He continues in his role as general manager and program director of Clear Channel’s KLAC, Los Angeles.  TALKERS magazine’s Mike Kinosian recently spoke with Don Martin about his work with Fox Sports Radio and KLAC.  See the video in the Talkers TV box on the right side of this page.

KFTK-FM, St. Louis Adds More Local Talk;  Expanded Shows for Dana Loesch and Dave Glover.  Emmis Communications’ news/talk KFTK-FM, St. Louis is adding more live and local programming to its daily schedule with the expansion of the Dana Loesch and Dave Glover shows.  Loesch moves from the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot beginning January 30.  Dave Glover, the station’s longtime PM drive host, adds an hour to make his show live from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Program director Jeff Allen says, “Now with more Dana and Dave we can better cover the issues that matter to our St. Louis listeners.  This is just another step in our commitment to respond to the local audience and to better cover breaking news anytime it happens.”  The expansion of the two shows means TRN’s Laura Ingraham program will exit the station.  Dana Loesch also does a live hour on Emmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm and Allen says that will continue.

Compass Media Marketing Announces Executive Staff.  The newly formed advertising representation firm being organized by Compass Media Networks founder and CEO Peter Kosann announces Paul Gregery is installed as president of sales & marketing; Mary Giesen is named VP of sales planning; and Laura Peyer is New York account manager.  The appointments are effective immediately and Peter Kosann says, “We are extremely fortunate to have these executives join us.  This is a tremendous first step for our sales organization.”  Paul Gregery served at Westwood One for more than eight years in a variety of capacities, including president of sales.  Before that, he managed West Coast sales for the AMFM Radio Networks prior to its being acquired by Premiere Networks.  Gregery also worked for more than a decade at the ABC Radio Network in a variety of sales positions.  He will work out of Compass’ Los Angeles offices.  Mary Giesen also worked at Westwood One where she quickly rose through the sales management ranks, ultimately serving as VP of sales planning, traffic & continuity, managing the sales planning staff and overseeing the management of the commercial inventory.  She will work out of Compass’ New York offices.  Laura Peyer previously served as the sports network sales executive at Skyview Networks, managing advertising relationships with clients throughout the New York, New England and the Midwest markets.  Prior to Skyview, she held positions as national broadcast supervisor at MPG and sales planner at Westwood One.  She also will work out of Compass’ New York offices.

Glenn Beck’s GBTV to Debut New Roundtable Show.  In association with Glenn Beck’s internet news site The Blaze, GBTV will feature “Real News from The Blaze” airing weeknights from 7:00 to 8:00 beginning January 18.  GBTV personality Amy Holmes will moderate the roundtable discussion of the day’s news.  Participants will include Blaze editor-in-chief Scott Baker, Buck Sexton, Will Cain and S.E. Cupp.  GBTV president of programming Joel Cheatwood says, “While GBTV is and will remain an information and entertainment network, we saw a real opportunity to provide the news that our audience is looking for and is too often ignored by the mainstream media.  We are passionate about offering our audience a deeply reported and engaging look at the news and are excited to be able to draw on the incredible editorial resources at The Blaze.”

WIP, Philadelphia Brings Brian Haddad Aboard for Creative Services Director Post.  The former KDKB-FM, Phoenix morning drive host is named creative services director and part-time host at the CBS Radio sports talk station.  Operations manager Andy Bloom says, “We embarked on a three-plus month search to find the person who would make WIP the best-produced station in the country.  There is no question we found the most creative mind and talented person to help us accomplish that goal.  We view Brian as our new secret weapon.”  Brian “Sludge” Haddad joined Sandusky’s rock KDKB-FM in June of 2010 to host the morning show.  Previously, he’d worked at Cox Media’s WDYL-FM, Richmond.

KFNS, St. Louis Host Kevin Slaten Goes Solo After Ashlee Feldman Exits.  The PM drive show on Grand Slam Sports’ KFNS, St. Louis will go with Kevin Slaten solo for a while after former MTV reality show star Ashlee Feldman exited the program.  STLToday.com reports Feldman – a former college basketball player and star of MTV’s “Real World New Orleans” – missed her family in the East and decided to leave the program after a year.  Slaten tells the site he’s not certain if he’ll remain solo or be paired up with another partner.

Fisher Communications’ KVI, Seattle Loses PD Travis Box to Home Life.  Program director and producer Travis Box announces he’s leaving Fisher Communications to begin the most difficult job he’ll ever undertake – stay-at-home dad!  Box has been producing the KOMO-AM/FM “Newsline” program and programmed KVI as it made the recent transition from oldies back to talk.  KVI talk host Scott Carty will serve as interim PD.

New Hampshire Primary, Iran Nuclear Ambitions/American Sentenced to Death, Obama Chief of Staff to Exit and Tebow Rallies Boncos Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/9).  The GOP New Hampshire Primary race, Iran’s nuclear weapons program and its sentencing to death  American Amir Mirzaie Hekmati on charges of being a spy, the Obama Administration’s chief of staff Bill Daley to exit and Tim Tebow’s rallying the Broncos to victory over the Steelers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, January 9, 2012

| January 9, 2012

Talk Radio Hosts Invade New Hampshire.  The New Hampshire Primary election is tomorrow (1/10) and in what has become a talk radio tradition – the New Hampshire Primary Radio Row – is putting the candidates and the issues on the air for local listeners and national audiences alike.  The radio row event is organized by TALKERS magazine and the Talk Radio News Service and includes more than 45 programs broadcasting live from the Manchester Radisson.  National programs include: Dial Global’s Neal Boortz, Thom Hartmann and Michael Smerconish; Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock; Genesis Communications Network’s Kate Delaney; Syndication One’s Al Sharpton and Warren Ballentine; Main Street Radio Network’s Alan Nathan; “A Touch of Grey” with Carole Marks; Michael Skoda; Dr. Gina Loudon; and Ed Morrissey.  Local talk hosts include: WOR, New York’s John Gambling; WTKK-FM, Boston’s Jim Braude and Margery Eagan; WTKK’s Michael Graham; Stephen K. Bannon of KABC, Los Angeles; Marc Bernier of WNDB, Daytona Beach; Michael Berry of KTRH, Houston; Lee Davis of WYDE-FM, Birmingham; Scott Hennen of KNOX, Grand Forks, North Dakota; Mark Skoda of WMPS, Memphis; Lisa Wexler of WFAS, Westchester, New York; Ken Pittman and Phil Paleologos of WBSM, New Bedford; Richard Girard of WGAM, Manchester; Paul Westcott of WGIR, Manchester; Dan Mitchell of WKBK, Keene; George Russell of WSMN, Nashua; Mark Johnson of WDEV, Waterbury, Vermont; Steve West of WKVT, Brattleboro, Vermont; John Harper of WUVR, Dartmouth, New Hampshire; Tony Lopes of WVBF, Taunton, Massachusetts; and Jeff Santos of WWZN, Boston.

SCOTUS Hears Indecency Arguments Tomorrow.  This day seems like a long time coming but tomorrow the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments about the FCC’s handling of broadcast indecency.  The case comes to the Court with regard to television violations but the rules are the same for radio.  Recent fines against ABC and Fox were overturned by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals after the court ruled the regulations are vague and unevenly applied – especially concerning the difference between how the rules are applied to over-the-air broadcast versus cable and satellite.  That’s what ABC and Fox will argue tomorrow.  The FCC will argue that even in the current era, most Americans expect broadcast TV (and radio by extension) to be “relatively safe” media for family consumption.  Many legal observers believe that the likely ruling from the Supreme Court will be the request that the FCC make the indecency rules very clear and that its method of enforcement be just as clear.  Interestingly, former FCC chairman Michael Powell – who now works for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association – is quoted by Bloomberg saying if he were voting on the cases in question again, he would dissent this time.  “I’ve always been deeply troubled by the way the First Amendment changes when you change channels.”

Programmer Neil Larrimore Lands KFYI/KGME, Phoenix PD Position.  Clear Channel Phoenix names former KMBZ, Kansas City program director Neil Larrimore PD for news/talk KFYI and sports talker Xtra Sports 910 (KGME).  CC Phoenix director of operations and programming Smokey Rivers states, “Neil is the perfect complement to our Phoenix programming team.   He is totally immersed in the flow of news and sports.  In this ‘that’s so thirty seconds ago’ age, having a quality programmer focused solely on the output of our information products is essential to maintaining our quality edge.”  Larrimore, who recently exited Entercom’s Kansas City news/talk outlet, says, “Information is the lifeblood of all media, now more than ever.  The opportunity to work with these powerful brands and continue to evolve them on-air, on-site and online, is extraordinary!  I can’t wait to get started!”

Rick Barber Retires from KOA, Denver.  After 30 years on the air in Denver, Rick Barber retires from his late-night talk show on Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver.  The Clear Channel station is filling the time with Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM.”

Drew Steele Takes Over AM Drive on WFSX-FM, Fort Myers; Trey Radel Exits to Run for Congress.  Trey Radel announces his candidacy for Florida’s 14th Congressional District seat and exits the morning drive show at Meridian’s “92.5 Fox News” (WFSX-FM) in the Ft. Myers/Naples market.  Meridian hands the reins of the morning drive show over to Drew Steele.  Radel is a longtime media figure in the market serving as anchor on WINK-TV for years before joining “92.5 Fox News.”  Radel is running as a Republican for the seat being vacated by Connie Mack who’s running for the U.S. Senate.

ESPN Radio Celebrates 20 Years in Operation.  Once just a small part of the ESPN cable television-focused broadcasting company, ESPN Audio is now a major component of the ESPN brand.  In January of 1992, ESPN Radio consisted of weekday drive-time commentaries on about 100 affiliates.  The network now has 300 full-time affiliates and ESPN owns four stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas.  SVP of ESPN Audio Mo Davenport states, “In 20 years, we’ve gone from airing only weekday, drive-time commentaries on 104 radio stations, to the amazing success of “Mike & Mike,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” Scott Van Pelt, Doug Gottlieb, and having ESPN Radio become the most-listened-to sports stream on the planet.  Additionally, our local markets give fans the local angle on air and online. It is a tribute to our listeners and our team, which pushes us forward to greater success in serving the sports fan.”

Jim Rome Takes TV Show to CBS Sports Network.  There’s no official confirmation from ESPN or Jim Rome’s camp but Big Lead Sports is reporting that Jim Rome’s “Rome is Burning” show will soon disappear from ESPN2 and Rome will begin a TV presence on the new CBS Sports Network.  The site reports that Rome was offered a multi-year deal to remain with ESPN but he’s choosing to begin TV life anew with CBS’ new cable initiative.  There would appear to be no affect on Rome’s radio program with Premiere Networks as a result of this.

KNX, Los Angeles Business Series Offers “The Business of Going Green.”  The next event in all-news KNX, Los Angeles’ Business Breakfast Series is titled, “The Business of Going Green” and takes place Friday, January 20 at 8:00 am at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  CBS Radio Los Angeles says “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Mottek will moderate a discussion that will explore how a sustainability strategy can be good for generating revenue and why being socially responsible doesn’t have to mean being fiscally irresponsible.  The free event will include a resource expo, continental breakfast and expert panelists H. David Nahai and Paul Polizzotto.  Nahai was senior advisor to the Clinton Climate Initiative and is president of David Nahai Consulting Services which advises and assists public and private entities involved in the environmental sector.  Polizzotto is president of EcoMedia, a division of CBS Corporation, whose mission is to raise public awareness about environmental issues.

KIRO-FM, Seattle Debuts New Local Food Show.  Hosted by local restaurateurs Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau and produced by Tina Cole, “Seattle Kitchen” airs Saturday mornings at 8:00 and Sundays at 10:00 am.  As you’d expect, the program will feature restaurant reviews of Puget Sound eateries as well as recipes and, of course, fielding listeners’ questions.  Program director Larry Gifford says, “Tom and Thierry are a natural fit and great addition.  For the weekend chef, who better to learn from, laugh with and relax to than these guys?”

Monday, December 5, 2011

| December 5, 2011

“Johnny B” Takes Over Mornings on WGN.  Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago announces Chicago radio legend Jonathon Brandmeier replaces Greg Jarrett as host of the morning drive program effective December 9.  WGN vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “Jonathon Brandmeier is a Chicago superstar and we’re thrilled to have him on the air at the station where he belongs.  Johnny’s high energy, humor and unique Chicago experience make him an exceptional fit as ‘The Voice of Chicago’ evolves with another generation of listeners.”  Brandmeier had a successful 14-year career at WLUP-AM/FM but in 1997 the station made a change and he worked at WCKG-FM, Chicago before moving to Los Angeles to host programs at KLSX-FM and KCBS-FM.  He returned to WLUP-FM to host mornings from 2005 through 2009.  He’s also hosted various television projects and recorded numerous music/comedy projects.  The change in mornings at WGN and the ousting of Jarrett represents another move away from the programming brought to the station under the leadership of former Tribune CEO Randy Michaels and the PD he brought to WGN, Kevin Metheny.  Jarrett moved to WGN in June of 2009 after spending more than eight years at KGO, San Francisco in the news department.  WGN notes changes in the news department includes news anchor Steve Bertrand moving to mornings with Brandmeier and Jim Gudas shifting to middays/afternoons.   While Chicagoans may welcome the return of Johnny B to the radio, some will be upset with the replacement of husband-and-wife team Steve King and Johnnie Putman in the 12:00 midnight to 5:30 am slot with Bill Leff.  King has been with WGN for more than 25 years and Johnnie almost as long.

Clear Channel and Cumulus Partner Up for Two-Pronged Deal.  The New York Times is reporting that Clear Channel and Cumulus – the two largest radio operators in America – have struck a deal that will give Cumulus spots for its SweetJack daily-deals program on Clear Channel radio stations and that will put Cumulus radio stations on CC’s iHeartRadio platform.  Cumulus has SweetJack operating in 16 markets with plans to expand.  Recently, Clear Channel struck a deal to work with daily-deals operator LivingSocial.  Under the terms of the deal, all 570 Cumulus stations in 120 markets will be available on the iHeartRadio platform.  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman is quoted saying the deal provides “one more data point that proves radio is not a laggard, that we do see the future, and that we’re moving toward it in a smart and fast way.”  SweetJack was created by Cumulus in April and has local market salespeople working in all 16 markets.  Cumulus reports it has approximately 1 million users at this time.  Clear Channel and Cumulus have a revenue-sharing deal for SweetJack.  Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey says of the service, “SweetJack is our exciting new social commerce platform.  It’s a break-through brand in a sea of sameness that’s fueled by the power of radio to connect local merchants with consumers.  This agreement with Clear Channel enables us to scale SweetJack into a true nationwide platform which we believe is essential to competing successfully in this rapidly growing space.”

KGO, San Francisco Update: Peter Finch and Doug McIntyre in for Nights.  In the wake of last week’s blockbuster news of the dismissal of four of its longtime talk hosts for a more news-intensive program schedule comes the news that former KFOG-FM, San Francisco morning host Peter Finch is the new 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm news anchor and Doug McIntyre’s “Red Eye Radio” is in for the 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am slot.  McIntyre’s show is a Cumulus Media Networks production and costs the station nothing – in fact, it gives the company a nice San Francisco affiliate.

Kevin Straley Joins TuneIn as VP of Programming.  The former XM Satellite Radio and WRKO, Boston programmer becomes vice president of programming for the free service that allows users to listen to music, sports and news from around the world.  Kevin Straley – who most recently was founder and president of KMS Media Partners – will work with audio content distributors to optimize their digital strategies.  TuneIn CEO John Donham states, “We’re thrilled to welcome Kevin Straley to the TuneIn executive team.  His track record of building strategic relationships and working with audio partners in innovative ways will help us take the company to the next level.”  TuneIn describes itself as a service that “offers over 50,000 AM, FM, HD and internet radio stations and more than one million on-demand shows and programs streaming from every continent.  The company’s mobile applications are highly ranked worldwide.  TuneIn is available in 10 languages across all major smart phones and tablets, connected home stereos, smart TVs, connected automobiles and online at tunein.com.  Straley says, “Now, more than ever, audio content creators are looking for complimentary platforms to deliver their content to the growing audience that embraces digital…TuneIn is a powerful way to drive new listening and new opportunities for everyone.”

New Host for KLAC’s “Dodger Talk” Program Expected.  The Los Angeles Daily News reports Josh Suchon and Joe Block will not be retained to host the “Dodger Talk” post-game show as the Dodgers transition to Clear Channel’s KLAC, Los Angeles this season.  The Daily NewsTom Hoffarth reports former big league manager Kevin Kennedy is likely to be the new host of the show for the 2012 season.  Kennedy is a Fox Sports baseball analyst.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Launches “Holiday Giving Campaign.”  The 60-year-old foundation that provides aid to broadcasters and their families in need, is kicking off its “Holiday Giving Campaign” encouraging donations and memberships at this time of year.  BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo says, “The sole purpose of the Broadcasters Foundation is to provide financial relief to broadcasters in need.  Through the generous support of individuals and corporations in our industry, we can maintain the ability to help colleagues whose lives have been devastated by unthinkable circumstances.  I ask every broadcaster to consider making a donation or becoming a member.”  This year the foundation will grant more than $675,000 in assistance – an increase of 35% over last year with more requests arriving daily.  Current recipients include the family of a 20-year broadcast veteran who died of a sudden massive stroke, leaving two children and a wife who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis; an elderly couple who have outlived their savings and are saddled with enormous medical costs; and a man who in the prime of his life and at the peak of his career became paralyzed by a tragic accident that has left him confined to a wheel chair.  To make a donation, please visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org, or call 212-373-8250.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

| October 18, 2011

Los Angeles Regional Talk Seminar Set For Thursday.  It is being described as “a new kind of industry gathering” — accessible, short and free (including breakfast and lunch) with a power-packed line up of speakers and agenda that could rival the largest of national conferences.  Set for Thursday, October 20th between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, the one-day event, being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club, promises to bring together a diverse variety of factions, formats and companies comprising the Southern California talk radio community and tackle a number of the hottest issues facing the industry today.  Filled to capacity within two weeks of being announced, the event will feature 30 leading industry speakers including solo presentations by the legendary Larry King of CNN; Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz of Courtside Entertainment; Don Barrett of LARadio.com; consultant Holland Cooke of McVay/Cook Media; and a special guest appearance by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  The keynote speaker is KFI morning titan Bill Handel.  Eight major Southern California talk radio station programmers will be on panels including Cliff Albert of KOGO, San Diego; Robin Bertolucci of KFI, Los Angeles; Skip Essick of KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Don Martin of KLAC, Los Angeles and Fox Sports Radio;  John McMullen of Dessert Radio Group, Palm Springs; Jack Silver of KABC, Los Angeles; David Sniff of KFMB, San Diego; and Chuck Tyler of KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles.   Some of the radio personalities speaking will include Andy Dean of Premiere Networks; LaFern Cusack of SCBA and ESPN, Los Angeles; Charles Feldman of KNX, Los Angeles; Roger Hedgecock of KOGO, San Diego and Radio America; Tom Leykis of the New Normal;  Stephanie Miller of KTLK, Los Angeles and Dial Global; Doug McIntyre of KABC, Los Angeles and Cumulus Media;  Patt Morrison of KPCC-FM, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Radio;  John Phillips of KABC, Los Angeles; Josefa Salinas of Hot 92.3 FM, Los Angeles and Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia.  Rounding out the line-up of presenters and moderators are Jason Insalaco of KFI, Los Angeles; Bill Moran of Bill Moran and Associates; and Kevin Casey, Mike Kinosian and Michael Harrison of TALKERS.  There will be displays of the latest remote broadcasting equipment by Comrex Corporation and the latest radios by C. Crane Company.  Although the event has reached maximum registration capacity there will be ample opportunity for broadcasters around the country to see and hear much of the event’s activities in the form of stories, photos and videos at Talkers.com shortly after the event.  For the complete LARTF agenda, click here.

Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio to Distribute WNYC, New York Programs.  Hot on the heels of the launch of its new iHeartRadio, Clear Channel announces it will begin making three of the more popular public radio talk programs from WNYC, New York available to users of the mobile phone app.  “WNYC News and Conversation” will feature “The Brian Lehrer Show,” “The Leonard Lopate Show” and the WNYC-Public Radio International production “The Takeaway.”  New York Public Radio vice president and chief digital officer Thomas Hjelm says, “We are delighted that Clear Channel will offer a selection of programming from WNYC on iHeartRadio.  We are committed to making our programming available to the widest possible audience.  Given iHeartRadio’s affinity with talk radio fans, it is an effective platform to extend the reach of our programming among news/talk listeners across the country.”

Sean Hannity Announces Holiday Concert Series to Benefit Troops.  Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity is hosting an exclusive four-city concert series to benefit the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund.  “Sean Hannity’s Holiday Concert Salute to the Troops” includes three-time Grammy winner Michael W. Smith, Oliver North and John Ondrasik of the group Five for Fighting, and more.  Concerts will take place at New York City’s famed Hammerstein Ballroom on November 27; Pittsburgh’s Byham Theater on December 2; Washington, D.C.’s Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill on December 3; and Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Centre on December 18.  Hannity says, “At this time of year it is so important that we not only recognize the sacrifices the men and women of our Armed Forces make, but we also take time out to honor them and pay tribute to the freedoms we’ve been given through their service to our country.  These concerts are a great avenue for us to be able to come together as families, enjoy the holiday season and celebrate our troops. I’m honored to have some extremely talented friends join me on stage for what is sure to be a series of very special nights honoring some very special people.”  The concert series is being produced by Townsquare Media and benefits Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund which goes to the education of children of U.S. service members who have been killed or permanently disabled in an operational mission or training accident.

Chicago Legend Steve Dahl Returns to Windy City Airwaves on WJJG.  Since exiting CBS Radio’s WJMK-FM, Chicago, Steve Dahl has been producing podcasts available at his own dahl.com website.  Now, the “Dahlcast” will be part of the lineup at WJJG, Chicago.  WJJG general manager Matt Dubiel says, “Steve Dahl is a radio genius and I couldn’t be more pleased to be working with him and his team.  This is a huge victory for Chicago radio listeners.  These are Steve’s listeners.  I’d be delighted if 1530 WJJG reacquaints Dahl fans with Steve and perhaps introduces new fans.  That’s what radio is supposed to do!  And if you like Steve on 1530, you’ll LOVE getting the Dahlcast Daily.”  WJJG recently added Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage and Mancow to its daily program schedule.

WBAL, Baltimore Midday Host Rom Smith Has Cancer.  Ron Smith announced to his listeners today (10/17) that he went to the doctor after experiencing abdominal pain about two weeks ago and tests revealed a tumor on his pancreas.  His doctor said the cancer has spread to his liver and lungs.  When Smith asked his doctor if it was worth trying to fight, he replied that is was and he’s seen worse cases successfully treated.  Smith will undergo chemotherapy and will remain on the air as long as he is able.  The 69-year-old Smith has been at WBAL for more than a quarter century.

Cumulus Promotes Two.  Stu Gorlick moves from his post as vice president of sales at the company’s Poughkeepsie-based Hudson Valley station group to VP/market manager for the Danbury market.  Aaron Hyland leaves his position as VP/market manger at the company’s Fort Walton Beach, Florida to become vice president and market manager at the Hudson Valley station group.

 

Friday, October 14, 2011

| October 14, 2011

Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels Arrested on Drunken Driving Charge.  In Ohio it’s called OVI – operating a vehicle impaired – and that’s the charge Middletown, Ohio police are filing against Randy Michaels after he was found by police in his car stuck in mud and water in a construction zone around 2:00 am on Friday (10/14).  Authorities noticed the smell of alcohol on Michael’s breath and administered field tests which authorities say he failed.  Michaels refused a Breathalyzer test.  He is expected to be in Middletown Court today.  Middletown is about 35 miles north of the Cincinnati area where Michaels reportedly maintains a residence.  The unconventional – some have called it “frat house” – workplace culture Michaels encourages is not surprising to many Clear Channel employees whom Michaels led for many years as president of that company’s radio division, but it ruffled the feathers of many Tribune Company employees when Michaels served as its CEO.  It remains to be seen if this incident will affect Michaels’ relationship with Merlin Media’s investors, especially in light of the mounting criticism facing the recent launch of the FM news operations in New York and Chicago and their disappointing early ratings.

Hispanic Group Pickets KFI, Los Angeles in Protest of John & Ken.  The National Hispanic Media Coalition held a press conference and peaceful protest outside the studios of Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles yesterday.  About 35 people picketed the station’s Olive Street facilities in Burbank.  The group tells L.A. Weekly that “at least three major advertisers are pulling out of the John & Ken show” and though the advertisers were not named there, the Los Angeles Times reports the activists say Verizon and AT&T have pulled advertising from the show and grocery chains Vons and Ralphs have agreed not to advertise on the show in the future.  The protest and boycott were triggered after immigrant advocate Jorge-Mario Cabrera claimed to have received some 400 phone calls from John & Ken listeners after the duo gave out Cabrera’s cell number and asked listeners to tell him what they think of his support for the Dream Act which provides tuition subsidies for illegal immigrants.  Initially, Clear Channel Los Angeles management agreed to meet with Hispanic leaders to discuss the issue but the meeting was canceled after one leader demanded that John & Ken be taken off the air and CC market manager Greg Ashlock refused to acquiesce to an ultimatum.  Clear Channel did not address the issue of advertisers leaving the show but issued the following written statement, “Expressing your opinion is not a firing offense.  KFI stands behind John and Ken and their right to speak their minds — opinions shared, incidentally, by over a million California listeners each week and protected by the First Amendment.”  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “This situation being faced by KFI in Los Angeles is a quintessential example of a whole slew of core news/talk radio concerns – special interest pressure, advertising boycotts, free speech rights, political correctness, and management resolve – all crashing together in one escalating story.  It warrants the industry’s undivided attention.”   The heated debate over illegal immigration as well as the managing of controversy in news/talk radio will be among the topics discussed at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum set for October 20.

CBS Radio Reportedly Interested in Annapolis FM for All-Newser.  Rumors continue to swirl about CBS Radio’s interest in acquiring a DC-area FM – specifically Christian WFSI-FM, Annapolis – in order to put on its own FM all-news outlet in the Nation’s Capital.  WFSI-FM is owned by evangelist Harold Camping’s Family Stations, Inc.  The presence of CBS Radio Washington market manager Steve Swenson, who has a ton of experience in news having worked for years in various capacities at the company’s New York news stations WCBS and WINS, is lending credence to the rumor.

Clear Channel Promotes Brian Lekamp to President of CC Digital.   Brian Lekamp moves up from his post as EVP of digital media to the newly created position.  Lekamp’s duties include his responsibility for Clear Channel’s digital strategy – with its iHeartRadio service at the top of that — as well as the infrastructure, tools and social media integration for its local stations’ branded Internet properties.  He will also continue to work with key partners to develop cutting-edge tools and products for all of Clear Channel’s radio, media and entertainment properties.  Lekamp states, “At Clear Channel, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the best people in the business – they are smart, dedicated and focused on innovation.  The development of the new iHeartRadio was supercharged with our acquisition of Thumbplay in March and our strong integrated digital team will continue to develop new digital music products and experiences that support the iHeartRadio platform and Clear Channel’s network of radio station websites.  This is a team effort that I am honored to lead.”

CBS Radio Ups Mike Thomas to VP of Programming in Boston.  Mike Thomas has been PD at classic rock WZLX, Boston since 2006 and has programmed WBZ-FM – 98.5 The Sports Hub – since its debut in 2009.  Now, CBS Radio ups Thomas to vice president of programming for the cluster that also includes hot AC WBMX-FM, oldies WODS-FM and news WBZ.  SVP and market manager Mark Hannon says, “Since Mike’s arrival at WZLX in 2006, he has built the station into a consistent ratings powerhouse.  His launch of 98.5 The Sports Hub in 2009 has been one of the most successful in recent radio history, and the station being named ‘Sports Station of the Year’ at the 2011 NAB Marconi Radio Awards was a tremendous accomplishment.  I look forward to using his strategic approach and programming insights to impact the overall CBS Radio stable of stations in Boston.”

CC Denver Produces Successful “Battle of the Talk Show Hosts” Live Event.  The 2nd annual “Battle of the Talk Show Hosts” was produced on Thursday, October 6 by Clear Channel Denver and entertained a sold-out house at the Comedy Works Landmark in Denver.  Personalities from the three Denver talk stations – KOA, KHOW and KKZN – batted around the hot issues of the day before the live audience.  Taking part were: Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh, Mike Rosen, Dave Logan, Michael Brown, John Caldara and Rick Barber from KOA; Peter Boyles, Tom Martino and Dan Caplis & Craig Silverman from KHOW; and David Sirota and Thom Hartmann from KKZN.  The event was heavily sponsored by local businesses and admission was charged.  Pictured here are progressive talk KKZN morning host David Sirota (l) and KOA midday host Mike Rosen (r).

Buckley Broadcasting’s Jennifer Buckley Named to RAB Board.  The daughter of the late Rick Buckley (once chair of the RAB board) is elected to the Radio Advertising Bureau board.  Jennifer Buckley is vice president and director of sales for WOR, New York and the WOR Radio Network.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” adds WTRC-AM/FM, South Bend, Indiana for its brand new live Sunday evening show hosted by Mark Edge and Stephanie…..“The Career Clinic” with Maureen Anderson picks up affiliates WLRT, Lexington, Kentucky; KBJT, Fordyce, Arkansas; WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois; and KTUI, Sullivan Missouri.

2012 Presidential Race/999 Plan Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 10-14.  The GOP race for the nomination for the 2012 presidential election and Herman Cain’s ‘999 plan’ topped the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories of the week.  At #2 was the Iran assassination plot allegation.  Close behind at #3 was the ‘Occupy’ protest movement and at #4 was President Obama’s Jobs Bill.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published each Friday at Talkers.com.  To view the entire chart, click the banner below.

 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

| October 6, 2011

iHeartRadio to Invade American Living Rooms.  In an innovative development that significantly bolsters traditional radio programming’s digital distribution potential, Clear Channel’s expanded deal with Microsoft to include its iHeartRadio in the Xbox LIVE service could put CC stations into the homes of millions of Americans.  Clear Channel says this is an expansion of its multi-year deal with Microsoft that integrates iHeartRadio on Windows Phone 7 and brought the recent two-day iHeartRadio music festival into homes exclusively on the Xbox 360.  Beginning this winter it will work this way: The New iHeartRadio will be available for free to Xbox LIVE Gold members.  Through this new agreement, Gold members who have Kinect for Xbox 360 can use the product’s revolutionary sensor to experience an entertainment first: the ability to control digital radio in their living room using their voice and body.  Gold members who have Xbox 360, but do not have Kinect, can operate the New iHeartRadio using their controller.  Regardless of whether they have Kinect or not, all Xbox 360 Gold members will have access to the New iHeartRadio’s features, including more than 800 of the nation’s most popular live broadcast and digital-only radio stations from 150 cities, plus custom stations with more songs, better music intelligence and more user control.  The deal will also give users access to social features through CC’s deal with Facebook.  Clear Channel CEO John Hogan tells TALKERS, “Clear Channel is committed to innovation and deep social integration.  We want to continually deliver new experiences that consumers have never seen before – like the recent launch of the New iHeartRadio, which combines broadcast and digital-only stations and user-created stations in one service for the first time.  The New iHeartRadio’s integration with the Xbox 360 enables Kinect users to control digital radio in their living room using just their voice and body.  There is nothing else like it on the market and it’s another example of how we are committed to being wherever our listeners are with the programming and services they want and expect.”

Financial Expert Charles Payne to Launch National Radio Show Via Sun Broadcast Group.  Charles Payne is well known to viewers of Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel as well as to KFI, Los Angeles where he’s hosted a Saturday afternoon program.  Now, Payne partners with Sun Broadcast Group to begin a nationally syndicated two-hour financial talk show airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily starting October 17.  “Payne Nation with Charles Payne” will emanate from Fox studios in New York.  Chad Wilkinson is named executive producer, Gabe Hobbs and Jim Robinson are aboard in a consulting capacity and the show will feature the voice talents of Edd Hall.  Sun CEO and founder Jay Bailey states, “We’re very excited to welcome Charles to the Sun Broadcast lineup.  We believe the industry is ready for an uplifting, positive financial show that will provide real answers for real people in this turbulent time in our nation.”  Payne says, “Everyone asks me how I am going to be different from other hosts out there, and I tell them that I am simply going to be real.  No scare tactics.  I’m not going to sugarcoat anything in fact I go right at the issues by digging beneath the surface, seeking facts, relying on history and connecting all the dots for real assessments and real solutions.”

Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels Scores Exclusive Perspective of Airline Passenger Arrest.  WJIM, Lansing-based talk show host Michael Patrick Shiels happened to be returning from Amsterdam to Detroit when a man on the Delta plane began ranting about a hijacking.  The man was quickly restrained by air marshals.  Shiels tells TALKERS, “While observing from up close, I discreetly used the e-mail function of Delta’s in-flight entertainment system to send e-mails and texts to my producer and other media outlets.  The result was an exclusive story for my radio network and a press gaggle waiting for me when I emerged from the aircraft, resulting in national publicity on the major TV networks.”  Shiels says the man appeared to be American and in his 30s.  He says many passengers became agitated since it was an Amsterdam to Detroit flight that the infamous “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to blow up on Christmas Day 2009.

Paul Finebaum Gets Favorable Ruling in Legal Tussle with Cumulus.  Regionally syndicated and WJOX-FM, Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum was successful in getting his civil suit against Citadel – now Cumulus – returned to state court in Alabama.  Federal judge L. Scott Coogler ruled Cumulus was not able to prove the dispute went above the $75,000 threshold to make it a federal civil suit.  Legal experts say Finebaum stands a better chance in state court due to the legal standards.  Finebaum has two suits filed against Cumulus: one in which Citadel agreed to bankruptcy reorganization without his consent and the other that he was coerced into amending his contract and that Citadel violated its deal with him by manipulating revenue for his program away from him.

KNBR, San Francisco Host Ralph Barbieri Comes Out with Parkinson’s Diagnosis.  In a story in the San Francisco Chronicle, KNBR sports talk host Ralph Barbieri – co-host of “The Razor and Mr. T” alongside Tom Tolbert – confesses to having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2002 and telling no one except Tolbert until now.  Barbieri tells the paper he decided to reveal his diagnosis now since he is coming to the end of his contract and wanted to be honest as he and Cumulus negotiate a new deal.  He tells the paper, “If I am to continue at KNBR, I’d like to start with all our cards on the table, face-up.  I’ve gotten to know Lew Dickey a little bit, and my gut feeling was that he could deal with my situation at an honorable level, so I gave him a call and told him everything.  He let me know that KNBR wants me back.  He didn’t say on what terms, but the fact that he didn’t view the Parkinson’s as a red flag, that was a huge relief to me.”

Premiere Networks Scores Large Market Add for Glenn Beck: Phoenix.  Clear Channel’s KFYI, Phoenix agrees to add the Glenn Beck show to its daily program schedule in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm time slot bumping Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage from the slot.  Clear Channel Phoenix director of programming and operations Smokey Rivers states, “Glenn has a sizeable and loyal local following.   His unique and stimulating perspectives will be a welcome addition to the station.”

WROK, Rockford-Based Michael Koolidge Show Names New Producer.  Michael Koolidge’s regionally and independently syndicated talk show is based out of Cumulus-owned WROK, Rockford, Illinois and syndicated to WRHL, Rochelle, Illinois and WLBK, DeKalb, Illinois.  Koolidge announces he brings on Natalie Zee Fenwick as his program’s first full-time producer.  “Thanks specifically to our outstanding advertiser support over the last year, we can afford to officially create our first bona fide job.  Even though it’s just a single job, we’re proud to join the ranks of ‘job creators’ of America.  I’ve had a rotation of great part-time producers and interns over the years, but we’re finally in a position where we’re ready to hire a regular producer.  And we’re thrilled that we found Natalie.”  Koolidge’s business model – serving as an independent contractor to regional radio stations – is one the industry is likely to see more of as companies and stations seek quality local or regional talent without taking on the expenses of traditional employees.  Koolidge’s highly rated program is one industry watchers are keeping an eye on.

Talk Host Jim Walsh and KFYR, Bismarck Part Company.  It’s only been two weeks since talk personality Jim Walsh returned to Clear Channel’s KFYR, Bismarck – a station he worked at in 2003 and 2004 – to host the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program formerly held by Scott Bachmeier.  Not sure what happened there but Walsh cryptically tells TALKERS, “I have stepped down from the afternoon talk show at KFYR, Bismarck by mutual consent.  I’m still there part-time, at least for the time being.  I’m currently exploring my options and can be reached at 701-226-8449.”  Bachmeier had exited the full-time shift to concentrate on non-radio work but the station lists him as host of the time slot – at least for now.

Occupy Wall Street, Steve Jobs Passes, 2012 GOP Candidates and Obama Jobs Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/5).  The growing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, the death of Apple innovator Steve Jobs, the Republican candidates for president in 2012 and President Obama’s job creation plan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.