Tag: "Inc."

AM Radio — What Do We Do About It?

| August 20, 2014

By Bill Brady
Futures & Options, Inc.
President/CEO

 

bradybillJUPITER, FL — No entity has suffered more from the disastrous effects of radio consolidation than AM radio.  No format has suffered more than news/talk.  The fates of both are intertwined.

News/talk isn’t just a different format, it’s a different business.  News/talk stations used to be stand-alone operations managed by broadcasters who nurtured and cared for them.  They were sold by dedicated sales teams who knew well the format’s ability to bring customers through their client’s doors.

With the dawn of consolidation, news/talk stations suddenly found themselves in big station clusters with managers who were preoccupied with their other stations.  Often, these were music station GMs without news/talk backgrounds — and they weren’t at all prepared for the cranky, petulant, expense-laden news/talk AMs they were suddenly forced to deal with.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

| August 20, 2014

Bicentennial SSB Cover 175Views “Rising” on Rock Band’s “Spangled” Song Interpretation. Several months ago, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison — a showman at heart — pondered the advantages of — and reaction to — opening the publication’s annual New York City seminar in June with a rousing, dramatic version of — all things — the National Anthem. The more he deliberated on it, the more he reasoned, why not. It has famously preceded every major sporting event and, truth be told, a multitude of minor ones as well. When done correctly and under optimum circumstances though, a spirited rendition of this country’s anthem can elicit powerfully positive emotions. Such was the case two months ago (6/20) at that very TALKERS confab when patriotic rock band Madison Rising gripped everyone’s attention and brought several to a misty-eye state with their “Star Spangled Banner” performance. The group now boasts sales of over 100,000 of “The Star Spangled Banner,” which celebrates its 200th birthday in about four weeks. Francis Scott Key wrote it on the morning of September 14, 1814, as he watched the American flag rise over Ft. McHenry. Madison Rising has updated and re-energized the anthem just in time for this momentous occasion. Thus far, there have been nearly six million unique YouTube video views of Madison Rising’s “Star Spangled Banner” performance. The band, a creation of New York City entrepreneur Richard Mgrdechian, hopes to reach 10 million views by the September 14 anniversary.  To view it, please click here.

price howardFerguson Wake Up Call: Is your Emergency Planning Proactive or Reactive?  The turmoil in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, MO illustrates the need for radio stations – particularly those in the news/talk/information genre – to be prepared in the event that something like what is happening in Ferguson strikes close to home.  Howard B. Price, director, business continuity, ABC Television Network expert (and one of the huge stars of the recent Talkers New York 2014 seminar) shares his expertise on this subject in a new piece posted today (8/20) writing: “We don’t yet know the full story behind the shooting of an unarmed African-American man by a white police officer in Ferguson…but what has emerged in the days of protest, rioting and looting that have followed is both a cautionary tale and a teachable moment for broadcasters. They – and digital newsgatherers, too – are being tested on their ability to ramp up meaningful coverage of contentious social issues simmering in communities large and small. Also being tested is their preparedness to both report the story while protecting their people and property.  To read Price’s entire priceless piece, please click here.

gallagher mikeGallagher Encourages Listeners to Support Local Police. The call-to-action by Salem talk show host Mike Gallagher comes after last weekend’s fatal shooting by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer of 18-year-old Michael Brown and the aftermath there and elsewhere. Some protesters are calling for retribution for the officer involved in Brown’s death but Gallagher hopes his audience can “turn a negative into a positive” by donating to his 501c3 non-profit “Gallagher’sArmy Fallen Officer Fund,” which provides money to families of officers killed in the line of duty. According to Gallagher, the mission of that endeavor is simple: “We want to get a check into the hands of the surviving family members of a police officer who has been killed in the line of duty as quickly as possible,” he states. “This show of financial support to be used in any way the family sees fit will in no way compensate for their loss; rather, it is a sign of appreciation, respect and support from a grateful nation.” Violence and confrontations in Ferguson are generating headlines, but Gallagher maintains that incidents there are “detracting from the solid work” local police departments do in cities and towns throughout America.

brady billBrady: What Do We Do About AM Radio?  The somber financial and technological state of AM radio as a viable commercial medium going forward is the subject of almost-daily articles both in the consumer media and the media trades. The recent Walt Disney Company  announcement of its intention to sell off 23 of its 24 AM stations only added fuel to these fires of worry and pessimism.  It’s not unusual to read the opinion that AM radio has an “image problem” or is virtually “non-existent” to younger demos — but as Futures & Options, Inc. president and CEO Bill Brady writes in a new TALKERS piece published today (8/20), news/talk radio can step up to the plate and again save AM radio (and itself) in the process.  But in order to do so, there is going to have to be new thinking, creativity and commitment on the part of all involved.  Brady writes:  “News/talk isn’t just a different format, it’s a different business.  News/talk stations used to be stand-alone operations managed by broadcasters who nurtured and cared for them.  They were sold by dedicated sales teams who knew well the format’s ability to bring customers through their client’s doors.  With the dawn of consolidation, news/talk stations suddenly found themselves in big station clusters with managers who were preoccupied with their other stations.  Often, these were music station GMs without news/talk backgrounds — and they weren’t at all prepared for the cranky, petulant, expense-laden news/talk AMs they were suddenly forced to deal with. News/talk stations can be a handful.  Their audiences are vocal, and they complain.  A lot.  Then, there are the hosts.  They are often high-maintenance.  There are pressure groups and PR crises which can’t be ignored.  Then, there’s the expense.  News/talk hosts make a lot of money.  A lot more than FM jocks do.  With news and support staffs, news/talk stations can cost a lot to operate.  To consolidation era GMs, news/talk stations were a pain and the expense reductions were irresistible.  GMs cut the guts out of their news/talk stations.  Gone, too, is the “time suck” of local hosts and their shenanigans.  GMs no longer have to spend their days talking to complaining listeners, or newspaper reporters seeking comment on controversial local hosts. All is now quiet on the western front.  Too quiet.”  To read media management pro Brady’s entire article, please click here.

wckgChicago’s WCKG Relocates. Elmhurst, Illinois-licensed/DuPage Radio-owned talker WCKG “The Voice of DuPage County” is moving to state-of-the-art studios and offices in suburban Chicago. Their facilities will be in Carr Workplaces’ Oak Brook Terrace Tower. With the exception of those in Chicago, it is the tallest building (31 stories) in Illinois. Station manager Matt Dubiel explains, “I wanted to move WCKG to the tallest building in the Chicago suburbs. Carr Workplaces make it possible for small businesses like ours to afford a world-class office environment – smack dab in the middle of Chicago-land, which is exactly what we need to serve the community and our local advertising partners. WCKG program director Leslie Harris remarks, “It is the best place to be in the suburbs. Like [TV's George & Louise Jefferson said], “We’re moving on up to the east side … of DuPage.” WCKG does not appear in print in Nielsen Audio‘s July 2014 PPM report for Chicago.

WPEN-FM LogoMidday Changes Coming to Philadelphia’s “Fanatic.” WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” will institute football season midday lineup modifications on the Greater Media-owned Philadelphia sports outlet. One constant is that Harry Mayes will be on every day 10:00 am – 12:00 noon. Each Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday — he will be paired with Brian Baldinger. Every Monday and Friday, Mayes’ on-air teammate will be another “Brian,” Brian Westbrook, who has been a regular “Fanatic” contributor in recent years. While a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, he hosted his own show on the station during the 2008 – 2009 NFL season. The Eagles drafted Westbrook in 2002 out of Villanova University. He spent eight seasons with the Eagles; made two NFL Pro Bowl squads; played in four NFC Championship Games; and in one Super Bowl. A “Fanatic” contributor since 2010, Baldinger — or “Baldy” — joined the Eagles in 1992. After his playing career ended in 1993, Baldinger developed a second career in broadcasting. This new “Fanatic” midday roster takes shape in about two weeks (9/2).

Return of Boston’s “Jimmy Fund” Radio-Telethon. Considerably more often than not in recent memory, the Boston Red Sox are serious contenders for post-season play, although the defending (2013) World Series champions have been in a protracted slump this year. That issue notwithstanding, its radio flagship – Entercom‘s WEEI – and the cable network that broadcasts all their games – the New England Sports Network (NESN) – have commenced the 36-year, 13th annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon. Dating back to the days of the “Splendid Splinter,” Ted Williams, and when Hall of Famer Curt Gowdy called the games, the Jimmy Fund has been the Red Sox charity of choice. Regardless of a player’s tenure with the club, he becomes immersed in the exemplary effort to support pediatric and adult cancer care/research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. As usual, this year’s broadcast is featuring David Ross croppedheart-tugging, compelling stories from Dana-Farber patients, doctors, researchers and nurses. Interspersed are celebrity guests and athletes, including a huge dose of those with a past or present Red Sox connection. The mission, of course, is to inspire people to contribute to Dana-Farber’s lifesaving mission and, since 2002, more than $34 million has been raised. Every charity nowadays needs corporate sponsorship and the WEEI – NESN Radio-Telethon is no exception. It is being aided by the Arbella Insurance Foundation, which contributes $50 for every strikeout by a Red Sox pitcher (up to $100,000).In addition, whenever a Red Sox player smacks a “Wall Ball” off Fenway Park‘s fabled “Green Monster,” Walgreens will give the Radio-Telethon $100. Perhaps the most touching part of this deeply moving event is seeing wide smiles on faces of young cancer patients when they see their favorite Red Sox stars face-to-face. Case in point is this adorable child with her new best friend, Red Sox catcher David Ross.

CBS Sports RRadio 2CBS Sports Radio Sets Weekend NFL Programming Roster. Beginning next Saturday (8/30), CBS Sports Radio anchor Rich Ackerman will host “Eye on College Football” (2:00 noon – 8:00 pm, ET), which will include reports from all top college games, as well as interviews. Co-hosted on a rotating basis by CBSSports.com senior fantasy football writers Adam Aizer, Dave Richard and Jamey Eisenberg, “Eye on Fantasy Football” will air Saturdays (10:00 pm – 12:00 midnight, ET) and will be broadcast from CBSSports.com’s Fort Lauderdale studios. CBS Radio all-sports WFAN, New York afternoon drive personality Mike Francesca will host “Mike Francesa’s Football Sunday” (9:00 am – 11:00 am). While that show starts on the network September 7, it has been on WFAN the past 25 years. Another show kicking off September 7 – and following Francesca – is a one-hour simulcast of CBSSports.com’s Adam Aizer-hosted “Fantasy Football Today.” Rich Ackerman’s “Eye on Football” (12:00 noon – 8:00 pm) will offer a national perspective on all of that day’s NFL games; it also starts September 7. Beginning with Saturday, here is a complete look at the network’s weekend lineup, with all times listed ET. Marc “Moose” Malusis and Maggie Gray (6:00 am – 10:00 am); “Eye on Baseball” with Adam Gerstenhaber and CJ Nitkowski (10:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Eye on College Football” (12:00 noon – 8:00 pm); Jody McDonald (8:00 pm – 10:00 pm); and “Eye on Fantasy Football” (10:00 pm – 12:00 midnight). The Sunday schedule is: Bill Simonson (12:00 midnight – 2:00 am); Amy Lawrence (2:00 am – 6:00 am); John Kincade (6:00 am – 9:00 am); “Mike Francesa’s Football Sunday” (9:00 am – 11:00 am); “Fantasy Football Today” (11:00 am -12:00 noon); “Eye on Football” (12:00 noon – 8:00 pm); and Jody McDonald (8:00 pm – 10:00 pm).

stephan dougMilking The Ice Bucket Challenge. Ever since going viral via social media, the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to raise awareness and donations for ALS has become nothing short of a legitimate phenomenon. Logistics are simple: After accepting someone’s dare to do so, a person fills a bucket with ice and (presumably) ice water and douses it over their head. They then extend the challenge to others and post the video on their social media site. “Good Day” host Doug Stephan participated, but presented a different twist. Not only is he one of the industry’s most tireless workers, Stephan is also a Massachusetts dairy farmer. So, let’s just say water was not in the bucket. Click  here to see what Stephan dumped on his head instead.

llbws-logo100Tonight’s Taney Dragons Game To Air on Philly’s “Fanatic.” The Philadelphia Taney Dragons Little League World Series game versus the team from Las Vegas will be broadcast tonight (8/20) on Greater Media‘s all-sports outlet WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.” What makes this so noteworthy is that the Taney Dragons are led by starting pitcher Mo’ne Davis, who owing to her pitching prowess and personality, has become a national media star. In fact, she is the first Little Leaguer ever to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. WPEN-FM midday personality Jon Marks will host a viewing party at Paganos on Market Street. Tonight’s game begins at 7:30 pm.

SBG LogoSun Broadcast Group Basks in Glow of Inc. Magazine Honor. Specifically, Sun Broadcast Group is proclaimed by Inc. Magazine as being one of America’s fastest growing companies. In rankings released today (8/20), the publication grades America’s quickest- rising private companies, based on percentage of revenue increase over three years. Sun Broadcast Group chief executive officer Jason Bailey proudly enthuses, “I have had the pleasure to announce many great things over these six years, but today I am ecstatic to share this news – what an accomplishment. For the many who never understood our strategy, and for those [who] still do not, receiving this award only affirms to the great people who work at Sun and the amazing agency partners who support us, that we truly are leading the way to a new era of network radio. It is caring about your partners, providing an honest, transparent sales process and always thinking big that will completely change our industry for the better. We are proof that it can be done and we are just getting started.” During the period measured that led to this year’s Inc. Magazine honor, SBG’s revenue jumped more 520%. In that time, the company added 15 fulltime positions between its New York City and Boca Raton (Florida) offices. Bailey and his SBG team will be recognized later this year in Phoenix at the “Inc. 5000 Conference & Awards Ceremony.” Sun’s programming roster includes, among others, “The Marilu Henner Show,” “The Little League World Series,” “Nashville Music Minute,” “Six-Second Reviews with Mr. Movieman,” Accuweather en Español, horse racing’s triple crown, and The Breeders Cup.

 

MVS RadioSD_Logo_Horz_2lines_April2014 lgCross-Border Partnership Involves Stardome and MVS Radio. The result will be an expansion of their respective syndicated branded programming and services in the United States and Mexico. Mexico-based MVS Radio will spearhead ad sales and affiliate relations for Stardome in Mexico; Stardome will do the same for MVS Radio-produced programming/services in the United States. Stardome managing director and chief executive officer Anthony Michael Hernandez states that, “Of all the Mexico-based companies I have worked with throughout the years, none has demonstrated the highest regard for professionalism, strong business ethics, and an undeviating work focus like my friends at MVS Radio. This is truly a partnership and a team effort in the making.” MVS Radio president and chief executive officer Alejandro Vargas remarks, “We are enthusiastic about this alliance with Stardome. We recognize them as ideal strategic partners to expand the coverage of our content in the USA and to represent its brands in Latin America. We are sure this is the beginning of new and prosperous businesses for both companies.” Stardome will service current MVS Radio owned-and-operated stations and affiliates across the southwest border of the United States, while distributing MVS Radio’s branded 24/7 formats, syndicated talk shows and morning shows in the USA Hispanic media marketplace. It adds the entire roster of over 160 MVS Radio affiliates, and owned-and-operated stations in Mexico and Central and South America as part of its duties for Pan Regional Network Radio. MVS Radio will act as Stardome’s in-country Mexico sales office and develop affiliations, network radio, and digital ad sales for Stardome’s soon-to-launch Noti-America radio news network.

Napa lgSite Vows To Keep Pace with Napa. Mention “Napa” to anyone in California and “wine country” will undoubtedly be the instant word-association response. With a 2010 census population of 76,915, Napa is California’s 100th largest city. Maintaining that their site “will not be anything like your father’s radio station or your grandfather’s newspaper, executives at NAPAbroadcasting.com declare, “You won’t hear Katy Perry or Pink ten times a day and you won’t hear sports programs from out of town.” Instead,  local conversations and local voices, “talking, in depth, about local issues” will be emphasized. They will be leaving the “daily police blotter to others” but promise “plenty of controversy” since, “no one here will be afraid to say what is on their minds.” According to a NAPAbroadcasting.com communication, “For years, television was about programs and radio was about formats. Those days are over. Today it’s all about programs and personalities – and it can’t be on someone else’s schedule. Appointment television or radio, is so over. NAPAbroadcasting.com is all about being on demand.” The site is partnering with Napa Valley College. Students, faculty, and staff there will contribute community-focused programming. “On the music side, we will be about music discovery and new kinds of music programs. We will not be another streaming music service, an online jukebox, or a place for mindless patter. Our music programs might be about anything under the musical sun, from jazz to oldies to rock. We will also be interactive, with lots of reviews, samplers and information about the business of contemporary music.” Admitting the site will always be a work in progress, a NAPAbroadcasting.com spokesperson writes, “If you stay with us, you will learn a lot about the wine, food, the hospitality business, and many of the larger-than-life, but often lesser known personalities, who live in this Valley. We think that what is good for the visitors is also good for those of us who live here.”

Ferguson Turmoil, ISIS/US Strife, Rick Perry Indictment, Robin Williams, and Gaza Crisis Among Top Talk Stories Yesterday (8/19).  The stories listed in this headline were some of the most talked about on news/talk radio yesterday  However the breaking story of ISIS beheading American journalist James Wright Foley is dominating conversation on American talk radio today (8/20) according to the ongoing research from TALKERS.

Radio’s Precarious Financial Position: Are We at the Tipping Point?

| August 15, 2014

By Bill Brady
Futures & Options, Inc.
President/CEO

JUPITER, FL — The recent Wall Street quarterly earnings calls for radio’s publicly traded companies were pretty alarming.  In three quarters radio has gone from slow growth to no growth to negative growth in an astoundingly short period of time.

Those in denial will try to explain it away by blaming it on the Olympics or the World Cup — or because radio is a “mature industry.”

The real worry here is that 15 years of post-consolidation chickens are finally coming home to roost.  Homogenized programming, time-spent listening declines and the decimation of sales departments are now taking their toll.

Corporate radio apologists have been heard to say, “Stop talking about the good old days, get used to the industry as it exists today.”  Well, the truth is, there’s a lot wrong with how radio operates today.

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Media Broker Spotlight –
Brett Miller, MCH Enterprises, Inc.

| September 17, 2013

Talkers RadioInfo composite 2This week’s spotlighted broker:

 Brett Miller  •  MCH Enterprises, Inc.

Miller, Brett

Bergman, Sandi rev_81313

 

This interview was conducted by Sandi Bergman

 


Sandi: 
What did you do before becoming a media broker?

Miller:  I started in broadcasting in 1966, working my way through college: everything from cleaning the coffee pot, to DJ, news, and sales. I finished the BA and MA degrees while working for various radio and TV stations in the Fresno and Santa Maria markets in California. I managed several cable TV systems in California, and then did mergers and acquisitions work for a Denver-based cable TV company.  In 1989, my wife and I started consulting and brokering and our company name says it all: MCH: Miracles Can Happen. Twenty-four years and we are still in business. Along the way we also owned our own radio stations in California and Washington, which we think gives us a unique skill-set when working with owners, sellers, and buyers.

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How to Keep the Zimmerman Verdict and Rolling Stone Cover Stories Relevant for More than Two Weeks

| July 23, 2013

It comes down to understanding the difference between “feelers” and “thinkers”

By  Dr. John Tantillo
Branding and Marketing Group, Inc.
President

NEW YORK — Yes, you can use the “F” word and get away with it.

It’s the word that will keep your content fresh and relevant as well as extending the shelf life of any topic you choose.  And I bet you it will keep your phones ringing beyond what you could imagine.

That “F” word:  FEEL!

And the question to ask yourself:

Are you a feeler or thinker?

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Media Broker Spotlight –
Burt Sherwood, Burt Sherwood & Associates

| July 2, 2013

Talkers RadioInfo composite 2This week’s spotlighted broker:

 Burt Sherwood  •  Burt Sherwood & Associates

sherwood new

Bergman, Sandi rev

 

This interview was conducted by Sandi Bergman

 

 

Sandi:  What did you do before becoming a media broker?

Sherwood:  I am a broadcaster.  I started out as an announcer in 1947 and went from WWXL Peoria Illinois to WMCA New York.  I was there to help usher in the beginning of Rock and Roll.  Following that (immediately before brokering) I became a General Manager of radio stations, and stockholder in some, including Brattleboro, VT (WTSA) Portland, Me (WLOB) and Albany, NY (WTRY).  Other stations that I managed and/or held stock included WNHC, New Haven, CT; WMEE /WMEF Ft. Wayne, IN (plus others in the group);  WIBG, Philadelphia; and WMAQ/WKQX, Chicago, for NBC.

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Media Broker Spotlight –
Glen Dingley, Kingtron, Inc.

| June 25, 2013

Talkers RadioInfo composite 2This week’s spotlighted broker:

 Glen Dingley  •  Kingtron, Inc.

Dingley, Glen

Bergman, Sandi rev

 

This interview was conducted by Sandi Bergman

 

 

Sandi:  What did you do before becoming a media broker?

Dingley:  Chief engineer.  I am unique in that I have been involved in broadcast engineering for the last 30 years. I bring a different prospective for my clients and evaluations in that I know the station equipment better than anyone. So much equipment is outdated and incompatible out there. My clients really respect my insights and advice. When you are buying or selling a station, you are mainly purchasing equipment with which to broadcast. Station personnel, policies, and other assets can change, but without good equipment, you are not competitive.

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Sports Offers Social Success Templates

| January 8, 2013

By Holland Cooke
News/Talk/Sports Consultant

LAS VEGAS–Broadcasters scrambling to understand and exploit the unprecedented power of social media can benefit from success templates in the sports world.  A keynoter at the New Media Expo (the re-branded Blogworld conference) shared experiences and guidelines.

With nearly 1.3 million Twitter followers of her own, Amy Jo Martin knows whereof she speaks.  After three years managing social media for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, she founded Digital Royalty, Inc., whose clients include Shaquille O’Neal, the Chicago White Sox, and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).  She is the author of the New York Times best-seller “Renegades Write the Rules: How the Digital Royalty Use Social Media to Innovate.”

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A Conversation with Sandi Bergman

| November 1, 2012

Sandi Bergman, whom Michael Harrison describes as being “a dynamic rising star among today’s crop of media brokers,” is president/CEO of RadioTVDeals.com – an innovative website dedicated to bringing media outlet buyers and sellers together – and MyMediaBroker.com, a leading edge New Mexico-based national media brokerage firm.  An experienced radio station owner/operator in her own right, Bergman served as president/CEO of  Bergman Broadcasting Company, Inc, licensee of KSEL-AM and KSEL-FM, Portales, NM and RICKochet Communications, Inc., licensee of KSMX FM, Clovis, NM, from 1994-2002.  In 1997, Bergman was recognized by the Small Business Administration as a finalist for “Small Business Person of the Year.” She is actively involved in the National Association of Media Brokers (NAMB).  The following Talkers Interview was conducted by Michael Harrison.

TALKERS:  Please give us a brief overview of your days in radio station ownership and your transition to becoming a media broker.

SANDI BERGMAN:  “You can sell a sports package for $200 with 40 spots ROS or a $300 package with 60, and give them two spots in all the games.”  That was the sum total of education I received on the topic of “how to sell radio advertising” when I was handed the keys to KSEL AM & FM in Portales, NM.  Fortunately, I am a quick learner!

Barring a small panic attack the night before we closed (I realized I didn’t even know how to operate the Marti unit), I was able to make it to the closing table, all for the love of radio.

However, getting into the business to begin with was “tricky”, to say the least.

There was no “sugar daddy” involved to help us get started.  With seller financing, my dad did agree to allow us to mortgage his home in order to come up with the down payment.  No capital was available to pay the first month’s expenses so I approached many of the existing advertisers to ask them to pre-pay the first month.  Surprisingly, no one turned me down.  That meant we had to practically double up on sales the following month to stay ahead in the game.  Not an easy feat.  We did it, and we lived to tell the story!  Within a year we were able to secure an SBA loan to purchase a dark 100kW stick and put it on the air (KSMX-FM).  It turned into a winner for us.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

| August 17, 2012

Talk Media, Inc. and In3media, Inc. Entering Corporate Merger for ownership of Radio-Info.com.  Radio Industry Trade Publications, Talkers and Radio-Info.com to Maintain Independent Brands, Identities and Websites. Talk Media, Inc. and In3media, Inc. – owners of two of the radio industry’s leading trade publications, TALKERS and Radio-Info.com – have announced a corporate merger that will bring ownership of Radio-Info.com into a partnership between them.  The new corporate entity, named Radio Info, Inc., will serve as owner and operator of Radio-Info.com.  TALKERS will remain under the corporate ownership of Talk Media, Inc. TALKERS, founded in 1990 by its current publisher Michael Harrison, is the leading trade publication serving the talk radio and talk media industries.  Radio-Info.com, founded by the late Doug Fleming in 1999 and published since his tragic death in 2005 by his parents Diana and Rick Fleming, is a unique trade publication serving the general radio community. The Flemings have planned to retire. The deal, which does not include ownership or operation of the Radio-Info Message Boards becomes effective on Monday, August 20, 2012 at which time Radio-Info.com will begin operating out of Talk Media, Inc. headquarters in Springfield, Massachusetts with Michael Harrison serving as publisher of both trades.  Harrison issued the following statement, “All of us in the TALKERS organization are proud and humbled to carry on the legacy of Doug Fleming, a great broadcasting innovator and pioneer, who loved radio dearly.  After what we expect will be a chaotic week with an “Under Construction” sign hanging in the window, radio professionals can expect the next chapter of RadioInfo to be an aggressive and dynamic trade publication that will work tirelessly toward supporting, encouraging and instigating a new golden age of 21st century rock, CHR and adult contemporary music radio.”

Mark Thompson to do Final Show this Morning as Co-Host of Mark & Brian Show at KLOS, Los Angeles.  After a 25 year ride as the longest running morning show in the nation’s #2 radio market, today marks the final day of the mega-successful Mark & Brian Show – at least the “Mark” part of it.  The 56 year old Mark Thompson will retire to move to North Carolina and do “other things,” telling the Los Angeles Times, “It’s just time…guys my age are dropping dead. There are other things I want to do.”  Meantime, speculation abounds as to what will happen to the show as Thompson’s partner Brian Phelps – although publicly stating that he wants to continue with the station, perhaps with a new, undisclosed co-host – is still in negotiations with KLOS owner Cumulus Media working out the details of a new contract.

Boomer Esiason Tapped for Big Role at CBS Sports Radio.  Leading television analyst and WFAN, New York morning co-host (with Craig Carton) Boomer Esiason will play a key role in the new CBS Sports Radio network’s programming when it launches in September on at least 90 stations nationwide.  The 14-year veteran and NFL Most Valuable Player will deliver commentary and updates on the current headlines during the “CBS Sports Minute.”  Additionally, Esiason will provide unique insight and opinion as CBS Sports Radio’s senior NFL analyst.  Esiason will be heard weekday mornings near the top of the hour from 6:00 am to 10:00 am on affiliate stations, including top outlets WFAN in New York, WSCR in Chicago, KNBR in San Francisco and WIP-FM in Philadelphia, among others.  Audiences across the country will also hear directly from Esiason throughout the NFL season as he weighs in on players, coaches, upcoming match-ups, and the day’s trending topics.  Esiason, who recently received the “Humanitarian of the Year” award from TALKERS, says, “I’ve been fortunate to find a career that allows me to interact with fans who are just as passionate about sports as I am. I am thrilled to be taking on this new opportunity, which not only gives me the platform to discuss football, but a forum to voice my opinion on a variety of different topics in the world of sports.”

Sacramento Radio Veteran Phil Cowan joins KTKZ-AM for Morning Drive.  It was announced today by Salem Communications that its news/talk station in Sacramento, AM 1380 KTKZ will be adding Phil Cowan to the lineup, 7:00 am to 9:00 am, beginning Monday, August 27th. Cowan has a long and storied career doing morning radio in Sacramento, where he was one half of the morning team “Paul and Phil” for 18 years on KGBY-FM, dominating the ratings for most of those years. He later appeared doing a solo talk show on KSTE before starting his own business. Cowan, who describes himself as a conservative red neck, tells TALKERS, “Recently, I have dabbled in advertising and video production, but the itch to sit down behind a daily microphone has returned.” Upon the choice of Cowan being made official, Salem Sacramento GM, Dale Hendry tells TALKERS, “We are excited to add a Sacramento radio market legend to the KTKZ programming line-up.” Salem VP/director of spoken word format, Phil Boyce adds, “The addition of Phil Cowan to the KTKZ Line-Up gives our station an even stronger chance to compete in the state capital of the nation’s largest state.”

Odds & Sods.  Internet radio pioneer and terrestrial radio legend Tom Leykis is the subject of an interesting and hard-hitting article just published by The Hollywood Reporter examining the aging of the news/talk radio audience as well as its leading stars.  The piece, written by THR music editor Shirley Halperin quotes TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as stating, “That’s not necessarily terrible. The upper demos today are wealthy, involved and active and have a lot of years ahead of them. The same is true of older DJs and talk show hosts – they’re not over the hill; with age comes better talent and wisdom.”  Harrison goes on to cite the names of a number of up and coming young talk radio stars. To read the article click here…. The very talented Simon Conway who hosts his own show for the past 16 months on WHO, Des Moines will be filling in on Monday for host Andy Dean on Premiere Networks’ “America Now” show.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Round Up.  Dial Global reports “Ask Dr. Phil” and “Rach on the Radio” are added to KIVA Albuquerque; “Daily Dose of Dr. Oz” is added to KTDE, Gualala/Bodega; NBC News Radio added to WQKT-FM, Wooster, WMXR-FM, Woodstock/Lebanon, WCLX-FM, Burlington, and KWTY-FM, Cartago; and “Marketwatch” added to KWTY-FM, Cartego…. Genesis Communications Networks reports the “Dr. Daliah Show” (Dr. Daliah Wachs)  has been added to WEGP, Presque Isle; Famous inventor Akos Jankura has added News Talk 990, WNTP, Philadelphia….Envision Radio Networks added WXKQ-FM, Whitesburg as an affiliate of SpotVO, a turnkey radio spot production service.

Mitt Romney’s Selection of Rep. Paul Ryan Top News/Talk Story for the week of August 13-17.  The Republican VP ticket choice was the leader among all stories discussed on news/talk stations this past week followed by debate over the Federal budget and Medicare, the Family Research Council shooting, and the ex-SEALS video critical of President Obama’s leaks regarding the killing of Osama bin Laden.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.