Tag: "J.D. Hayworth"

Thursday, March 13, 2014

| March 13, 2014

francesamikeWFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa Gets Video Deal with Fox 1.  After exiting the YES Network for the TV simulcast of his radio show in early February when his contract ran out, New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa’s WFAN show will land on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 in a deal just announced.  The companies say they’ve reached foxsports1a “multi-year, multi-media agreement.”  Fox Sports 1 and 2 general manager and COO David Nathanson says, “We are thrilled to add Mike Francesa to our Fox Sports family of channels.  Mike is without question one of the most popular sports personalities in New York and has maintained a significant national reputation through his syndicated NFL show and his WFAN program…He’s knowledgeable and opinionated with an ability to attract top-name guests who appeal to sports fans everywhere.  This is a fantastic addition to FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2.”  The simulcast begins on March 24 when it will air from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on Fox Sports 1 and then from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Fox Sports 2.  It will also be streamed live via Fox Sports GO through participating video providers.  Francesa will deliver the Sports Keynote Address at the Talkers New York 2014 conference on Friday, June 20, 2014.

weei logoSalk Exits WEEI-FM, Boston After a Year.  The homecoming for Boston-bred sports talk personality Mike Salk lasted just about a year.  Salk has left the station for a new gig elsewhere (reportedly back to KIRO-AM, Seattle where he was co-hosting with Brock Huard).  The changes at WEEI-FM since former afternoonsalkmike drive personality Glenn Ordway was forced out have been numerous: program director Jason Wolfe exited and the general manager who brought Salk to WEEI – Jeff Brown – abruptly left in September of 2013.  Boston Globe writer Chad Finn analyzes the situation and states that although Salk was raised in the area and worked at other Boston AM signals for a time, “his homogenized style, honed during his time at ESPN radio, made him seem like an outsider.”  Finn reports the station will begin pairing up a rotating cast of co-hosts for Michael Holley in the PM drive slot as is works to find a permanent replacement for Salk.

ktth logoKTTH, Seattle Produces ‘Panel Series’ to Debate Policy Issues.  Seattle news/talker KTTH is beginning a panel series aimed at “encouraging robust discussion of important issues in Western Washington,” and it will start with an April 9 debate over the proposed $15 minimum wage.  Afternoon talk host Ben Shapiro will take part in the debate and morning drive personality David Boze will moderate.  Also taking part in the debate will be Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, National Employment Law Project deputy director Rebecca Smith, and Washington Policy Center vice president for research Paul Guppy.  The debate is open to the public.

catsimatidisWNYM, New York to Air ‘The Cats Roundtable.’ New York business mogul and former mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis begins hosting an hour-long Sunday morning program on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” this weekend.  The station says the show will feature interviews, listener call-ins and John’s unique take on the news affecting New York.  Catsimatidis is CEO of The Red Apple Group and Gristedes Foods.  His first guests on the 3/16 program will include former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former New York Governor George Pataki.  Catsimatidis comments, “I’m incredibly excited about this.  After the mayor’s race, I was struck by how many New Yorkers from all walks of life were anxious to continue the conversation about how to improve our city.  As a lifelong fan of local radio, I’m convinced that this is the best way to do that.”

smithrandySmith to Named to GSM Post at Cox Tulsa.  Moving over from the television side of Cox Media Group’s Tulsa operations is Randy Smith who is named general sales manager for the group that includes classic rock KJSR, AC KRAV, news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, and country KWEN.  Cox Tulsa general manager Gene Vidler says, “I am excited to have Randy join our radio cluster.  I have known Randy for many years, first as a competitor and more recently as a colleague with our sister TV stations.  Randy’s knowledge of the market and his relationships in Tulsa will be a great fit to help our radio cluster continue to grow.  Randy is very well respected and well known in the media community.”

knxgridlockKNX, Los Angeles to Air Daylong Programming on Region’s Traffic Problems.  Southern California’s traffic problems are legendary and CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX “1070 NEWSRADIO” is presenting what it calls a “comprehensive and unprecedented examination of Southern California’s infamous traffic congestion that often turns the region’s freeways and streets into a continuum of parking lots.”  It’s a day-long series titled, “Driven to Gridlock: L.A.’s Never-Ending Sig Alert,” airing on Thursday, March 27 from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm.  The station says, “Producers Charles Feldman and Laraine Herman, along with KNX 1070’s award-winning news staff, will explore the past, present and future of SoCal’s traffic situation with help from urban planners, civic leaders, technology experts, law enforcement and commuters.  Among the topics to be covered in 26 special reports will be the evolution of our region’s car culture; why traffic congestion will likely worsen before it improves; the future of mass transit; the financial impact of traffic jams on business; coping with an aging infrastructure and growing population; the impact of past ‘solutions’ such as signal synchronization, car pool lanes, ridesharing, and toll lanes; and more-recent ideas like congestion pricing popular in Europe and flexible work schedules.”

conwaysimonOdds & Sods.  Hard-working talk radio personality Simon Conway – afternoon drive host at Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines – is continuing his fill-in work subbing for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated host Andy Dean.  Iron-man Conway is used to double-duty having hosted the morning show at WFLF, Orlando for six days earlier this month…..Public radio WNYC, New York welcomes Sean Bowditch to the organization as executive editor.  Bowditch has served in the past as senior producer for “Marketplace Morning Report,” and producer at NPR and WBUR, Boston…..ESPN Radio is expanding its “SportsCenter All Night” program to seven nights a week.  Joining veteran ESPN Radio “SportsCenter” host Jay Reynolds, who will continue to host SportsCenter All Night Sunday into Monday through Thursday into Friday, will be John Brickley, who will serve as host of the late Friday and Saturday shows.

mhruddygroupPosh Palm Beach Pow Wow!  Noticing that more than a handful of his talk radio pals were in Florida’s Palm Beach County at the same time, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy invited them all to dinner and conversation last evening (3/12) at Donald Trump’s palatial Palm Beach Island estate, Mar-A-Lago.  The result was a real yak-fest.  Among the many topics of conversation — which ran the gamut from industry gossip to the future of radio in the digital age – was inside-information about Newsmax’s forthcoming plunge into the news/talk television wars.  Pictured (l-r): Rush Limbaugh show producer James Golden; WRKO, Boston personality Howie Carr; WFTL, Fort Lauderdale VP/GM Steve Lapa; former U.S. Rep. (R-AZ), talk show host and Newsmax TV contributor J.D. Hayworth; TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison; and Ruddy.

katz mg logoKatz Media Group Helps Raise $170,000 for Broadcasters Foundation of America.  After its 5th annual membership drive to support the Broadcasters Foundation of America, Katz Media Group announces this year’s contributions bring Katz’s total support to more than $170,000.  The BFoA provides financial assistance to those in the radio and television profession who find themselves in acute need.  Katz Radio Group president Mark Gray states, “The Broadcasters Foundation does incredible work for those in need.  Every year, our company looks forward to the opportunity to come together and make a difference.  I’m enormously proud of our employees continued dedication, which to date has raised more than $170,000 over the past five years.  The contributions have even more meaning for Katz as it supports the Stu Olds Memorial Fund, in honor and memory of our former president and CEO.”

ObamaCare Criticism, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mystery, Obama vs. Putin/Crimea-Ukraine Crisis, 2016 Presidential Race, Winter Weather/Global Warming, and Overtime Pay Hike Proposal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/12).  Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane and the theories of its disappearance; President Obama’s standoff with Vladimir Putin over the Crimea-Ukraine crisis; speculation about possible candidates in the 2016 presidential election; the latest bout of winter weather hitting the East and debate over global warming; and President Obama’s proposal to enact mandatory hikes in overtime pay were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, December 13, 2013

| December 13, 2013

westwoodone logoCumulus Announces Closing of WestwoodOne Acquisition.  Although the Department of Justice’s anti-trust division is still reviewing the merger, Cumulus Media Inc. announces the completion of the $260 million deal.  Cumulus says that although the merger was not subject to the pre-closing notification requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act,cumulus logo the review is taking place and it can’t predict if the DOJ will elect to seek, or obtain, any remedies, or the effect that any remedies may have on its business, financial condition or results of operations.  Cumulus maintains it does not believe the deal raises any anti-competitive issues.  Back to the deal, Cumulus notes it consists of approximately $45 million attributable to the equity of WWO and the retirement of $215 million of debt of WWO.  Cumulus used cash on hand, including approximately $238 million in cash proceeds from the Company’s previously completed sale of 53 radio stations to Townsquare Media, LLC.

cookehollandNews/Talk #1 Format Reports Nielsen from Client Conference.  Among the information shared at this week’s two-day Nielsen Client Conference was the capper at the end of day two when Nielsen director of programming services Jon Miller announced the results of the company’s top ten formats of 2013 based on AQH share in the 48 PPM-rated markets.  The news was particularly good for news/talk as it tops the pile with a 6+ AQH share of 9.3.  It’s also been a good year for CHR which comes in #2 with an 8.2 share.  Following, in order, are: country – 7.8 share; adult contemporary – 7.7 share; hot AC – 5.5 share; classic hits – 5.3 share; urban AC 5.0 share; and sports talk and classic rock tie with a 4.3 share.  There was much more discussed as consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke writes about the attending CEOs who lamented the industry’s status quo mentality as well as more presentations about integrating social media into listener interaction, and much more.  Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.

whitmanbrianBrian Whitman Signs Extension with Salem’s KRLA, Los Angeles.  Longtime Los Angeles radio personality Brian Whitman inks a deal to continue his work as morning drive personality on Salem Communications’ KRLA, Los Angeles.  Whitman will remain part of “The Morning Answer” on “AM 870 The Answer” alongside Ben Shapiro and Elisha Krauss.  Whitman has also worked at such LA signals as KIIS-FM, KLSX-FM and KABC-AM as well as WABC, New York.krlalogo  Salem VP/director, spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “Brian Whitman is one of the most talented voices on Los Angeles radio, and we are delighted to keep this growing show together for the foreseeable future.  I have worked with Brian since 1996 when I hired him at WABC in New York, and used him across the country as one of the funniest voice over guys on the air.  But his skills go much beyond comedy voices.  He has grown into a very talented talk show host doing morning drive in Market #2.”  Whitman adds, “I’ve been truly blessed to be on the air here in Los Angeles since 1991.  I am excited about the continued growth of our radio show, our station and our brand.  I am so grateful for the truly overwhelming support I’ve received from Salem’s chief executive officer Ed Atsinger, and the entire management team.”

hayworthjdJ.D. Hayworth Subs for Cumulus Media Networks as Huckabee Show Winds Down.  Governor Mike Huckabee did his last live show for Cumulus Media Networks as his show goes into holiday mode before ending on January 3.  Former congressman and talk radio personality J.D. Hayworth is subbing on the network beginning today through January 3 on the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program.  Hayworth says he’ll be on the radio all of next week as well as December 26 and 27 and January 2 and 3.  “Governor Huckabee was very gracious to allow me to serve as his guest host on several occasions, and I welcome this opportunity as well.  For me, Friday the 13th is a lucky day.  I thank Cumulus for entrusting me with ‘Mike’s mic’ into the New Year.”

ericksonerickErickson to Sub for Rush Limbaugh.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that Georgia-based talk show host Erick Erickson will be fulfilling a dream when he sits in for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Rush Limbaugh over the holidays.  Erickson – who serves as editor-in-chief of RedState.com in addition to his radio work – will host Limbaugh’s program on December 20, 24 and 26.  Erickson’s regular radio job is afternoon drive personality on Cox Media Group’s WSB, Atlanta where he’s heard from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Erickson tells the AJC, “I’m really excited.  It’s one of the few things I ever wanted to do going back to college.  I listened to him every day.  I’d plan classes around his show so I’d be able to listen in my dorm for a couple of hours.”

deptrojohnRhode Island Governor Signs on to Petition to Oust WPRO’s John DePetro.  According to a report in the Providence Journal, the union-led drive to compel WPRO, Providence to remove talk show host John DePetro from his daily talk show on the station has garnered support from the state’s Governor Lincoln Chafee.  The paper reports that the boycott against WPRO’s advertisers – jewelry dealer Alex and Ani has been singled out – is being coordinated by the AFL-CIO‘s secretary treasurer Maureen Martin, who is also the political activities director of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals.  Governor Chafee’s spokeswoman, Christine Hunsinger, confirms to the paper that the governor has signed the petition urging the jewelry store to withdraw its advertising from WPRO as long as DePetro is employed there and also says he won’t go on any other show until DePetro is gone.  Lincoln Chafee, a Republican-turned-Democrat who had long been criticized by conservatives in the media as a RINO (Republican in name only), has a history of engaging with instead of ignoring his media critics and DePetro has been a critic of Chafee for some time.  DePetro came under fire from the unions after using what they termed demeaning and sexist language in criticizing female union members’ activities.  DePetro has since apologized for his choice of words.

harrisonmichaelMichael Harrison to speak at 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will make a rare speaking appearance at another trade publication’s industry conference and serve as a special guest faculty member at Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano‘s forthcoming 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia on March 26, 2014.  The one-day seminar, located at the Rittenhouse Hotel, will help preparedelcollianojerry modern-day broadcasters to solve the major problems and meet the pressing challenges facing the radio business during its rapid transition into the digital era.  Among the topics to be covered include ways to positively “disrupt” radio before your competition does and understand the sensibilities of the “millennial” generation – as well as learn new ways to present commercials, attract new audiences and develop new sources of revenue.  Harrison will be joining “MoreFM” (formerly B-101), Philadelphia owner Jerry Lee as a specially invited faculty speaker at the event.  Upon accepting the assignment, Harrison states, “I am honored to play a role in Jerry Del Colliano’s event and work alongside such a dynamic and independent entrepreneur as Jerry Lee.  Del Colliano is a brilliant thinker, teacher and observer whose bold voice in this industry continues to contribute to radio’s intelligence, health and survival.”  For information about the conference please click here.

btrnlogoMacGregor Joins BTRN as VP/Affiliate Sales.  Twenty-five-year media management veteran Mark MacGregor is named vice president of affiliate sales for Business TalkRadio Network. “Mark brings a wealth of experience to this position and our company,” comments BTRN president Jeff Weber.  “He has a proven track record of success in affiliation and I am confident he will be a tremendous asset to us as we continue to grow the networks.”  MacGregor’s past credits include similar titles to his present BTRN assignment for MyFamilyTV, FamilyNet and ETC Television.  Business TalkRadio Network provides long and short form programming to over 1,000 affiliates.  It currently features such programs as “Investor’s Edge,” “Real Estate Investor Radio,” and the “CEO Show.”

boomercartoncomedyWFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton to Host Comedy Show.  WFAN, New York morning drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton will host the “Super Comedy Jam” at the Manhattan Center Hammerstein Ballroom on Wednesday, January 29.  Appearing at the show will be an all-star lineup of comedians, including a couple with radio ties.  The stars performing will include: Jay Mohr (who also hosts his eponymous sports talk show for Fox Sports Radio Network); Nick Di Paolo (previously partnered with Artie Lange for a late night comedy/sports radio show); Dave Attell; Michael Che; Jeff Norris; and John Pizzi.

castnermichaelOdds & Sods.  Clear Channel news/talk outlet KEX, Portland adds another hour to the back end of Michael Castner’s afternoon drive program.  Beginning Monday, he’ll broadcast from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Castner joined KEX this summer after spending the last two-plus years hosting a nationally syndicated program for The Wall Street Journal Radio Network…..The next color voice of the Chicago Cubs is former Cubs infielder Ron Coomer.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports Coomer will sit alongside play-by-play Pat Hughes when the 2014 season begins.  Coomer takes over for Keith Moreland providing analysis on WGN and affiliates across the Midwest…..Premiere Networks announces the continuation of a long-standing “Coast to Coast AM” tradition as listeners “will be treated to live, holiday-themed programming with a ‘Coast-to-Coast’ twist, including music, special guest appearances and surprises on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day.  Host George Noory will be live in studio to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year with his loyal audience, who will get the chance to share their favorite Christmas memories and stories of miracles during open lines.”

wphtphantasycampWPHT Sends Local Hero to Phillies Phantasy Camp.  WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (center) poses for a shot with Sergeant First Class Brian Keaton, his wife and two of his children in the WPHT studios.  The station, the Philadelphia Phillies and the local chapter of the USO surprised the wounded warrior during Thursday’s program with a trip to the Phillies Phantasy Camp this morning live on the air.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated Mark Levin program is added to the schedule at KOYT, Helena, Montana; the company’s “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage adds the following stations to is affiliate roster: KINN, Alamogordo, New Mexico; WZUS, Decatur, Illinois; WBAP, Dallas; KKOB-AM, Albuquerque; and WLS-AM, Chicago…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Jason Lewis is added to the program schedule at KLZ, Denver; WPTK, Raleigh; and KNOX, Grand Forks, North Dakota…..The “Motley Fool Stock Watch” feature joins the programming at KTKZ “AM 1380 The Answer” and KSAC “Money 105.5” in Sacramento.

ObamaCare Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM for 8th Straight Week.  The criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the eighth consecutive week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Following at #2 this week was the federal budget deal.  At #3 was the selfie President Obama took with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thornig-Schmidt and his appearance at the Nelson Mandela memorial service followed at #4 by the nuclear talks with Iran.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Friday, September 13, 2013

| September 13, 2013

hannityseanPremiere Networks and Sean Hannity Agree to Multi-Year Extension.  This contract renewal, which keeps nationally syndicated talk superstar Sean Hannity with Premiere Networks for years to come, also extends his reach.  The company states that Hannity’s program will expand to additional major market Clear Channel talk stations as well as non-Clear Channel stations in 2014.  Those details regarding station clearances will be announced at a later date.  Additionally, the program will also move from delayed status to live on some of its existing Clear Channel affiliates,premierenetworks logo “providing listeners with up-to-the-minute programming and real-time news and information.”  As part of this new deal, Sean Hannity will participate in key live events, touring and iHeartRadio Talk, the latter of which the company calls, “the first mass-market focused audio platform to offer on-demand listener-created talk content side by side with established personalities, celebrities and shows.”  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan states, “We’re really excited to be able to expand our relationship with Sean, one of the greatest talk radio talents in the country.  Sean continues to be one of the most successful radio personalities in both ratings and delivering results for advertisers, and his provocative show has seen significant growth.  His blend of intelligence, passion and integrity is what makes him such a successful broadcaster and important asset to radio.  We expect this new distribution plan to offer even more exposure and growth for The Sean Hannity Show.”  Hannity adds, “From the very first day I went on the air in 1986, and that red light went on, I have been in love with radio.  That love has grown every day since.  I am extremely appreciative and grateful for the opportunity to do what I love every day.  Premiere has been an incredibly supportive partner and a huge part of the show’s success.  I look forward to some amazing announcements to come, and the opportunity to continue a dialogue on the issues of the day with the single greatest audience in radio.”

TalkersLA2013Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Will Sell Out by End of Business Today!  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) TODAY (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.

wtoplogoWTOP, Washington Hosts Special Town Hall on Syria.  Hubbard Radio all-news WTOP, Washington hosted a special one-hour edition of its “Town Hall” program this morning from 10:00 am to 11:00 am during which WTOP Capitol Hill correspondent Dave McConnell and midday anchor Mark Lewis conducted a Q&A session with U.S. Reps Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Rob Wittman (R-VA) on the issues surrounding Syria.

baileyjasonsunOPINION: The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is…Ourselves.  Sun Broadcast Group Inc. CEO Jason Bailey states in an op-ed piece that the future of talk radio is dependent upon today’s players being bold enough to dare to be different at the same time that we defend the nature of the format in the sales arena.  Bailey, referencing the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke controversy, writes, “The hypocrisy of what a brand will run next to on television but not radio should enrage us all.  But we’re afraid to stand up.  Have you watched television lately?  Calling somebody a slut is like the new way of saying hello.  It’s not just modern day television either.  I recall in the 80s, and now in reruns, Ms. Blanche Devereaux being called much worse.  Did I miss the outrage, the boycott?  Is it happening somewhere today because the Hallmark Channel chooses to run such “outrageous content?”  No.  There isn’t one because the television industry defended itself and stood up to being bold and different.  They aren’t afraid to create (or in this case rerun) content for the people that are most important in their world, the viewers.  If they push the envelope or they get a few complaint emails, they accept, and move on.  We have not been able to move on from our darkest day because we’re afraid to be bold, break the mold, and more importantly, defend ourselves.”  Read Jason Bailey’s entire piece here.

colmesalan“Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” Debuts Sunday on Talkers Radio.  A new experimental talk show conceived and hosted by Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes will debut on Sunday night (9/15) as an exclusive monthly feature on TalkersRadio, the new internet radio station launched on the website of this trade publication earlier this week to serve as a professional “laboratory/workout gym” for talk show hosts to test new concepts.  The program will air live every third Sunday of the month between 8:00 pm ET and 9:00 pm ET with numerous repeat airings during the period between new installments.  “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” will be an eclectic mix of science, metaphysics, unexplained mysteries, talkersradio logorelationships, a small dose of politics and everything else rolling around the mind of Alan Colmes.  According to TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein, “It is going to be fun, fascinating, stimulating and informative for talk listeners to hear all the dimensions that make up the personality, creativity and interests one of the nicest and smartest guys in the business – beyond the paradigm of general news/talk radio and TV where – let’s face it - Alan is quite famous.  And THAT is what TalkersRadio is all about!”  TalkersRadio debuted this past Tuesday with two new live and exclusive programs, “The Robbie Student Show” hosted by noted record producer (and emerging talk talent) Rob “Robbie Student” Stevens (Monday-Friday 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET) and “The Brent and Meg Show” hosted by the husband/wife team of legendary newsman Brent Seltzer and PR veteran Meg McDonald (3:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET).  The station is being developed in layers and is expected to be featuring a full line up of creative, experimental programs within several weeks.  For more information please contact David Bernstein at david@talkers.com.

pepeanthonyYahoo! Sports Radio Picks Pepe For Mid-Mornings. WUFC, Boston general manager amd midday personality Anthony Pepe has been tapped to host 10:00 am – 12:00 noon ET duties on Yahoo! Sports Radio.  Longtime Boston Globe sports columnist Bob Ryan and Boston Herald sportswriter Ron Borges will also be featured on the daily two-hour program, which launches next Monday (9/16).  “Anthony is an exceptional host; contributions from Ryan and Borges will provide compelling insights,” comments Yahoo! Sports Radio chief executive officer David Gow.  Pepe remarks, “I am honored to host a show on Yahoo! Sports Radio and to work with guys like Ron Borges and Bob Ryan.”  Pepe and Borges have been doing a weekly boxing show on the network.

yorketvshotNew Dan Yorke TV Show Wraps First Full Week of Production.  WPRO, Providence midday talk show host Dan Yorke debuted his nightly television program – “Dan Yorke State of Mind” – on Fox Providence’s myRITV on Monday, September 9.  The nightly half-hour show airs at 7:30 and touches on the issues of the day with a special focus on Rhode Island stories.  Yorke, who’s been a fixture in local talk media since first moving to WPRO in 2000, is no stranger to local TV.  During his long stint on talk radio in the Springfield, Massachusetts market, he did a local program on WGGB-TV, Springfield that aired in late nights.  Check out the Providence Phoenix piece on Yorke and his new show here.

kirofm logoKIRO-FM, Seattle Adds Weekend Programming.  Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle announces some fall programming changes that surround its coverage of Seattle Seahawks football.  The station notes the Jason Rantz show expands to a live three-hour show on Saturdays from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm and Sundays from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  Rantz provides an in-depth analysis of the local and national stories that matter most to the Pacific Northwest, and offers one-on-one interviews with some of the biggest newsmakers in the region, including Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and Washington’s marriage equality author Ed Murray.  Three new shows are added to the Saturday night lineup: “Geekwire” is the preeminent technology news hub in the region, covering the people, companies and innovations emerging from the Pacific Northwest and impacting the world.  Founders and co-hosts John Cook and Todd Bishop host the show beginning at 7:00 pm; renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts the first and only radio program devoted to all things space during “StarTalk.”  Tyson’s faithful media following lends himself to bridge the gap between pop culture and science with clarity, humor and passion each week with popular celebrities and special guests.  It airs from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm; and the station adds Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” to air from 10:00 pm to 4:00 am Sunday.  Program director Pete Gammell says, “We’re excited to expand live and local news as part of the new KIRO Radio weekend lineup.  Alongside live coverage of the Seahawks each weekend, our programming offers something that every Washingtonian can enjoy.”

hayworthjdOdds & Sods.  Talk show host – and former U.S. Rep. from Arizona – J.D. Hayworth sits in for Michael Savage on tonight’s Cumulus Media Networks-syndicated program from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET…..Talk media personality Jeff Katz‘s daily 60-second feature “The Katz Commentary” — which currently airs on WCAP in the Boston area and KEWI in Little Rock is now heard every day at 1:00 pm on WDBF, Delray Beach, Florida during the Dick Farrel show…..Actress Julia Louis Dreyfus sits down with Entertainment Weekly editor Jess Cagle in front of a studio audience on SiriusXM’s “Town Hall” program.  The show will be recorded on September 16 and air on September 19 at 8:00 pm ET on Entertainment Weekly Radio…..Comcast Sports Net New England is reporting that CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” will be the new home for the NBA’s Boston Celtics and the deal should be announced soon.  Entercom’s WEEI chose not to renew with the team after the two sides could not agree to a contract renewal.

markowskichrisChris Markowski ‘Money Minutes’ Feature Expanding.  Financial expert Chris Markowski’s industry profile continues to grow as the host of the weekend syndicated program “Watchdog on Wall Street” continues to garner more affiliates for his free daily feature “Money Minute.”  The program just added WJHC, Jasper, Florida “Talk 107.5.”  Markowski is a regular face on cable news/talk and business talk television in addition to his weekly radio program daily vignettes.  Stations interested in adding the daily “Money Minute” can contact Shannon Rose at info@mediaproductions.tv.

siriusxmSiriusXM and Bleacher Report Team for Sports Talk Show.  Adding the program to its SiriusXM Sports Zone channel, the satcaster is teaming with Turner Broadcasting-owned digital sports destination Bleacher Report to create “Bleacher Report Radio.”  The daily show will air from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm and be hosted by SiriusXM’s Steve Covino and Rich Davis and feature some of Bleacher Report‘s most prominent contributors, including Mike Freeman, Matt bleacherreport logoBowen, Matt Miller, Michael Schottey, Adam Kramer and Michael Felder.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein states, “Bleacher Report has distinguished itself as a go-to source for passionate sports fans and we’re excited to team up to deliver a new and unique brand of sports talk to our subscribers.  We are focused every day on giving our listeners access to the best sports content available, and the most in-depth access to their teams, no matter where they are across the U.S.  ‘Bleacher Report Radio’ was created with that goal in mind and will showcase many of Bleacher Report‘s best writers while giving sports fans a forum in which they can react to and discuss the day’s headline stories involving their favorite teams and players.”

thompsonburnieTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Panama City, Florida-based Burnie Thompson show is added to the program schedule at WDVH-AM, Gainesville, Florida and WRZN, Hernando, Florida…..“Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline” is added to the 10-station “SuperTalk Mississippi Radio Network” that covers the state…..“The Freedom Feens” hosted by Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi joins the weekend program schedule at WKRO, Cairo, Illinois…..Talk Media Network-syndicated “Frontlines of Freedom” with host Lt. Col. Denny Gillem adds KYYA, Billings and WHFB, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph, Michigan to its roster of affiliates.  The network also announces “Fat Guys at the Movies” with hosts Kevin Carr and Kristin Dreyer Kramer is added to the program schedule at WBCF-AM/FM, Florence, Alabama and WHFB, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph, Michigan.

U.S. Debate Over Syria Action Top News/Talk Story of the Week.  According to the Talkers TenTM, the debate over United States action in Syria was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of September 9-13.  Landing at #2 on the chart was Vladimir Putin’s chastising the U.S. tied with threats from Iran.  At #3 was the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and at #4 was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  To view this week’s chart, click here.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

| September 3, 2013

armstrongcarriganBoston TV Anchor Kim Carrigan Joins Barry Armstrong on WRKO Program.  “The Financial Exchange with Barry Armstrong” announces the addition of longtime Boston television anchor Kim Carrigan to the program.  Carrigan – who has worked at Boston TV outlets WHDH, WBZ/WSBK and WXFT – becomes co-host of the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon daily program on Entercom‘s news/talk WRKO effective today (9/3).  Armstrong says of Carrigan, “Kim is a tremendous addition to our program.  She brings intellect, a historical perspective, and a woman’s point of view to topics that require constant attention and interpretation.”  Carrigan, an Emmy award-winning television news anchor, has been recognized with numerous other awards, including: an Edward R. Murrow Award for “Best Newscast in a Major Market,” a Quest Award as one of five outstanding women who have achieved success in their quest for excellence from the New England Women Business Owners Association, and a Gabrielle Award.  She was also honored with the President’s Award from the Northeast Arc, the organization’s highest honor, for her work on behalf of individuals with disabilities.

wqxilogoLincoln Financial Media’s WQXI, Atlanta Names Alge Crumpler and JP Peterson AM Hosts.  Lincoln Financial Media announces the permanent replacement for the “Mayhem in the AM” morning show (Steak Shapiro, Chris Dimino, Nick Cellini) fired in late June after joking about ALS-stricken ex-NFLer crumpleralgeSteve Gleason.  Former Atlanta Falcons tight end Alge Crumpler and media pro JP Peterson will host “The Locker Room” beginning September 5.  “790 The Zone” program director Bob Richards says, “We are excited to launch ‘Locker petersonjpRoom.’   The years of insight and experience Alge and JP bring to the table, coupled with a revamped program format, will help set the tone each morning for how listeners digest the world of sports and set the pace for how topics resonate throughout the day.”  Crumpler has served as an analyst for “790 The Zone” and a co-host for Falcons game-day programs on WGCL-TV and WAGA-TV.  Peterson comes to “790 the Zone” from Tampa, where he spent the past 16 years in sports radio and TV.  Peterson anchored and did sideline work for WFLA-TV’s pre-season Bucs coverage and pre-game shows.  He has also done field reporting for NBC’s “Football Night in America” and hosted the Rays’ “Inside Pitch” and “Extra Innings” radio shows.

cumulus logoDickey: The Network Industry Is an Attractive Vehicle.  Cumulus Media chairman and CEO Lew Dickey tells investors during a conference call this morning that his company sees network radio as an “attractive vehicle” and that “scale is essential for Cumulus to continue to facilitate growth to make the proper investments,” in explaining the deal’s announced last Friday – the company’s acquisition of Dial Global and its shedding of a pack of small- and medium-market stations to Townsquare Media.  The deal alsodickeylew gives Cumulus five stations in Fresno – market #68 – fitting in with the company’s desire to focus on the top 100 markets.  Dickey reiterated last week’s statement about money saved in synergies, “We’re acquiring a leading provider of premium and exclusive content, and it creates an attractive platform for us now for both content creation and distribution and monetization of these various assets.  It’s about $40 million of estimated cost synergies and substantial incremental revenue growth opportunities, which are not being factored in here on the pro forma. It’s deleveraging on the identified cost synergies alone.”  As Dickey explained how the new properties will become part of the larger company, he noted that sports programming – especially the NFL and NCAA play-by-play contracts which have at least several more years on them – were key to the deal and it’s obvious he expects to pull in a lot of revenue from those two properties.  As for how many positions will be eliminated in the above-mentioned “synergies,” Dickey noted it’s not like the Citadel acquisition which was basically 54 “separate” operations.  “This is really one business unit that does essentially the same thing as the business unit that we currently own and operate.  So there are awful a lot of opportunities to — for efficiencies and to combine these efforts and do so in such a way that it’s accretive to growth the same time.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript.  Members can read the entire conference call here.

ktth10yrsKTTH, Seattle Celebrates 10 Years as Conservative Talk Outlet.  Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle is spending the day thanking its passionate, engaged conservative listeners by airing “Ten Years Strong,” a celebration of it 10-year anniversary, beginning September 3, 2013.  The station states that David Boze, Michael Medved, Sean Hannity and other KTTH personalities will spotlight their favorite political leaders, movies and conservative moments of the past 10 years. They’ll also reflect on the role of conservative talk radio in a blue state.  Program director Jason Antebi says, “AM 770 KTTH is going 10 years strong because the best talk show hosts in America present values-driven conservative thought in a distinctly civil and intelligent way.  We are so proud to be the exclusive Seattle home to David Boze, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Medved, Sean Hannity, Dave Ramsey and Clyde Lewis.  Here’s to another 10 years!”  Bonneville Seattle VP/GM Carl Gardner adds, “KTTH serves a listening audience which is remarkably committed.  They care deeply about preserving the best of our traditional American values and ways of life. The passion of the listeners is what enables KTTH to be so successful.”

hayworthjdJ.D. Hayworth Exits AM Show at ‘Mighty 1090 AM’ in San Diego.  Former U.S. congressman and talk show host J.D. Hayworth exits the morning drive show at Broadcast Company of the Americas’ sports talk XEPRS, San Diego “Mighty 1090 AM” where he was co-hosting with Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton.  Hamilton remains in mornings with a rotating cast of guests.  Hayworth joined the station earlier this year.  Prior to his foray into full-time sports talk radio, he’d been a news/talk host in Phoenix and had been doing fill-in work at local news/talk stations and on nationally syndicated programs.

weismanstevenDo You Have a Non-Compete Clause?  Depending on what company your work for, in what capacity you serve and in which state you work, a non-competition clause in your contract can greatly affect your ability to move from one employer to the next within a given period of time.  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman spells out the basics of what you should know before you sign a contract.  In some situations there may not be anything you can do about it, but at the very least, you should understand exactly what a non-competition clause means to you in that position with that employer.  Read Weisman’s illuminating column here.

lindsleymikeMike Lindsley and Brian Cady Leave Townsquare Media’s Sports Talk WTMM, Albany.  Management at Townsquare Media’s sports talker WTMM, Albany “ESPN 104.5 The Team” is not saying there was a connection between the dismissal of afternoon hosts Mike Lindsley and Brian Cady and their being snookered by a caller pretending to be former New York Yankees outfielder Shane Spencer who said he had experimented with performance enhancing drugs, but the two are out and a new afternoon show is expected to be announced within the next two weeks, according to a report in the Albany Times Union.  Lindsley had an interview lined up with Spencer and was promoting it but it didn’t happen at the exact time it was supposed to.  Pretty soon the imposter called and Lindsley assumed it was the real Shane Spencer.  After it was determined what happened, all parties apologized.  Regardless, new brand manager Armen Williams debuted on the air on Friday, August 30 – a bit prior to his scheduled September 9 start.

costadinoDino Costa Moves to New SiriusXM Channel.  As reported in the New York Daily News, sports talk host Dino Costa leaves the Mad Dog Radio channel on SiriusXM and will be part of a new sports talk channel on the satellite radio service, reportedly called “SiriusXM Radio Sports Zone 92.”  Costa had been the evening host on the Chris Russo-curated Mad Dog Radio channel.  The Daily News reports the relationship between Russo and Costa may not be as friendly as it once was, possibly leading to the split, although Costa Tweeted his thanks to Russo and his crew for the opportunity to work together.

bergmansandiMEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Dick Kozacko of Kozacko Media Services.  In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Dick Kozacko of Kozacko Media Services located in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Unlike most of the brokers spotlighted in this popular feature, Kozacko’s background is not directly in broadcasting but rather acquisition management and market research for companies.  He is a graduate of Boston College with an MBA and his experience and education in these areas of business serve him well in today’s station-trading environment.  Kozacko takes a realistic view of the current conditions in the radio deal marketplace stating, “It’s challenging, especially since there are now so many alternatives to radio broadcasting.  If you were driving on a trip, your car radio was your companion.  Then, came eight-tracks, cassettes, and the list goes on with satellite radio, internet, etc.  Buyers have to be creative and think about the future, which is fine.  It would help if more banks returned to the financing area, although we have found more station owners are receptive to ‘terms’ financing.  It would help if the economy could demonstrate stronger and continued growth.” Per the custom of this feature, our spotlighted broker offers several opportunities for displaced station managers and first-time entrants looking to roll up their sleeves and take on an ownership project.  To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.

fisherhouselogoDave Ross to Host New Production of Fisher House Foundation’s “The Gift.”  Fisher House Foundation announces it has begun production on the 2013 edition of its award-winning holiday radio program, “The Gift,” which tells the inspiring stories of wounded warriors and veterans who, with the help of their loved ones, have overcome tremendous obstacles to reclaim their lives.  The program, which is available to radio stations to air at both Thanksgiving and Christmas, consists of three self-contained hours of content.  Among those profiled inrossdave “The Gift” are Sergeant Cory Remsburg, an Army Ranger whose successful battle to recover from a serious head wound has made him an inspiration to President Obama; Father Tim Vakoc, a chaplain who was fatally wounded while tending his flock on the front lines of Iraq; and Para-Olympian Brad Snyder, a Navy Lieutenant who was blinded by an IED and used swimming to rebuild his physical and mental strength.  KIRO, Seattle personality Dave Ross hosts this year’s edition of the program.  Stations that air the program will help raise awareness and funds for the non-profit Fisher House, which provides no-cost housing and other support to the families of wounded warriors and veterans while their loved ones recover at military and VA hospitals. The 2012 edition of “The Gift” was carried on 135 news/talk stations and Sirius/XM and helped drive an increase in donations to Fisher House during the final week of 2012.  “Despite the wind down in Afghanistan, our fighting men and women, and their families, continue to make tremendous sacrifices to protect our freedom and security,” says Fisher House President Dave Coker. “While we should keep them in our hearts every day, it’s especially appropriate to honor their gift of service during the holidays.”  Cumulus Media Networks is handling affiliation and distribution on a pro bono basis.  For more information or to sign up for The Gift, contact Ron Rivlin.

stuchellcharlieCondolences.  TALKERS sends condolences to the family and friends of a number of broadcasters who’ve recently passed away: Capital Cities executive Joe Somerset who died in Boston due to complications suffered after a fall at his home several days prior.  Somerset was a mentor to many in the radio business, especially during the “Golden Age” of top 40 radio.  One of his “students” was longtime Cap Cities executive and station owner Curt Hahn who writes about his mentor in a piece you can read here…..Longtime newsman Charlie Stuchell who passed away at age 64 after a battle with cancer.  He was a news and traffic reporter on Bristol Broadcasting’s WXBQ, Bristol, Virginia…..KSCO, Santa Cruz reporter and anchor Don Husing who died on August 29 at age 71.  Station owner Michael Zwerling tells the Santa Cruz Sentinel that Husing had worked for KSCO for 47 years, surviving three ownership changes.  KSCO personality Rosemary Chalmers tells the paper Husing, who had no surviving family, was diabetic and had complained of flu-like symptoms prior to his death.

millerkennelbobKevin in the Kennel.  If you look closely, you can see that KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (l) is broadcasting from a makeshift kennel to raise awareness and funds to support the Canyon County Animal Shelter.  With him is animal lover Bob Holman (r).  Miller invited his listeners to spend some time with him inside the kennel and, as a result, raised more than $11,000 in one day as the shelter takes part in the “Rachael Ray $100,000 Challenge.”

Friday, May 17, 2013

| May 17, 2013

unlogo blueTalk 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.  Approximately 25 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 around 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 on board include Alan Colmes of Fox News RadioDoug Stephan of the “Good Day” show;  Joe Madison of SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Mark Riley of WWRL, New York; Larry Young of WOLB, Baltimore; Dr. Joy Browne of Radio America;  Martha Zoller of WGAU, Athens, GA; Ethan Bearman of GCN and KSCO, Santa Cruz; Timothy Spangler of KRLA, Los Angeles; Lisa Wexler of WFAS, Westchester; Dr. Evelyn Higgins of CRN Digital Talk Radio and GCN; Gary Duff of WRHU, Hempstead, NY;  Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” and more.  Talk Radio News Service will broadcast the entire day to its hundreds of affiliates across the nation with more to be announced.  All equipment and broadcast set ups 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.

rabRAB: Radio Flat at $3.5 Billion in Q1.  The Radio Advertising Bureau releases data indicating that the first quarter of 2013 remained flat “aided by an uptick in Spot in March after a sluggish start to the year.  Both Digital and Off-Air performed well throughout the quarter and were up 9% and 5% respectively.”  The report breaks out data on advertising categories.  A synopsis shows “spot spending by communication/cellular advertisersrabq12013 soared by over 1/3 (36%) for this quarter, propelling the category to #1 for the period.  Also up – in rank order based on spending – were financial services (+13%), department/discount stores & shopping centers (+58%), and home furnishings/floor coverings (+6%).  While dollar volume was virtually flat for television/networks/cable providers (-3%) and restaurants (-2%), these were solid contributors to radio’s bottom line in the #2 and #4 spots; automotive declined 20% and slipped to the #3 rank.”  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Major increases in radio advertising by communications/cellular and financial services went a long way to offset a drop in automotive spending.  Additionally, spending is up in the department/discount stores category – reflecting increased confidence among retailers who have experienced radio’s ability to drive traffic and sales.  Radio’s digital sector revenue continues to grow as radio stations invest in and promote their digital offerings to listeners, driving increased attention by the ad buying community.”  The report features data from Miller Kaplan Arase LLP and the Q1 revenue figure does not include network radio data.  Read the entire report here.

wolfmandavidBeasley Broadcasting Names David Wolfman WQAM, Miami LSM.  Beasley Broadcasting’s sports talk WQAM, Miami announces David Wolfman is the new local sales manager at the station.  Wolfman reports to director of sales Keriann Worley.  He comes to Beasley from his most recent position as general sales manager for Clear Channel Miami.  Prior to that, he spent several years with Interep National Radio Sales.  Worley states, “David Wolfman is a proven sales leader and he will be directly responsible for revenue growth on 560 WQAM.  His passion for sports, innovative thinking, and his knowledge of the Miami market make him a perfect fit for this dynamic position.  We are thrilled to have him join our team.”

ramseycintiDave Ramsey Visits The Queen City.  Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey is in Cincinnati this week.  Earlier he presented to a packed house his new, intimate “Building Your Legacy Live Event” in which he talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.  Speaker and author Jon Acuff joined Ramsey on stage. Ramsey joined with local affiliate WKRC to promote the event.  WKRC general sales manager Bill Mountel says, “Cincy has been starved for a taste of Dave and now they can get a ‘double dose’ of Dave Ramsey.  Cincinnati fans and 55KRC listeners are excited to have Dave in town and are already looking forward to his next visit to the Queen City!”  Today, Ramsey is hosting his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” at Vineyard Church.  Ramsey, along with speakers Jon Acuff and Chris Hogan, will speak about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 300 employees.  Pictured here with Ramsey are: (front row) WKRC GSM Bill Mountel, Ramsey, WKRC personality Brian Thomas, (back row) WKRC PD Scott Reinhart and CC Cincinnati market president Chuck Fredrick.

wxos logoHubbard’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” Stands Alone.  With the recent moves of KFNS and KSLG to guy talk and female-targeted programming, respectively, Hubbard Radio’s sports talk WXOS, St. Louis stands as the only full-time sports talk station in the market.  In a piece by Dan Caesar in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch chronicling the station’s four-year history as a sports outlet, general manager John Kijowski discusses where the station is now and what the state of the market is for sports talk radio.  Among the tidbits from Kijowski in the article is his belief in FM for sports talk: “In the sports genre, having a big FM signal in today’s world is vital for success.  Then the format can’t be done on the cheap, you have to invest in it.  From that respect, I feel good about what we do and I still think we have a ways to go.”  It should be noted that though WXOS is the last sports station standing, its place among the stations seeking men 25-54 is not what it was a year ago, having dropped to sixth place in the most recent Arbitron PPM data.  However, one of the most interesting points in the piece is Kijowski’s admission that it took four years in the format for the station to make a profit.  So much for the notion that sports talk radio is an automatic money press!  Read the entire piece here.

doughertyelizabethFood Nation Radio Network Signs On with Business TalkRadio Network.  In a move that will take effect June 1, the weekly food talk radio show “The Food Nation Radio Network with Elizabeth Dougherty” joins the roster of Business TalkRadio Network.  BTRN consulting operations officer Jeff Weber says, “We are all really excited that hosts Elizabethbtrnlogo Dougherty and Michael Serio are bringing this compelling program to a national audience.  We’re proud to be a part of this show which is informative and fun.  It’s truly a one of a kind program.”  The program is based out of Genesis Communications’ WWBA, Tampa and is described by the producers as “an adventure of good food, food-related stories and compelling interviews.”  Host Elizabeth Dougherty has an extensive background in food writing and culinary arts training.  She has written hundreds of articles on food that have appeared in many major publications.  She says of the new relationship, “We are pleased to partner with the Business TalkRadio Network as ‘Food Nation Radio’ continues to grow so that we can continue to concentrate on the cutting-edge and entertaining content we provide to our listeners each week.”

rightfrequency coverOdds & Sods.  Fred Lucas’ book about talk radio, The Right Frequency (History Publishing 2012) is soaring high on two of Amazon’s Kindle best-seller lists.  The book is #1 in the Public Affairs category as well as #1 on the digital texts chart…..XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” morning drive co-host J.D. Hayworth is sitting in for Cumulushayworthjd Media Networks personality Mike Huckabee all next week and on Memorial Day as well…..Fox Sports Radio continues its UFC coverage as the network simulcasts “UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Rockhold” on Saturday, May 18.  The event will take place at the Arena Jaragua in Jaragua, Santa Catarina, at 9:00 pm ET.  After the fights, mixed martial arts expert Larry Pepe will host a Fox Sports Radio wrap-up show with interviews and call-ins from 11:00 pm to 1:00 am ET…..CBS Radio News presents a Memorial Day Weekend special program titled “Combat Stress: Finding the Way Home” that focuses on the impact post-traumatic stress has on the lives of our military veterans.  “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft anchors and speaks with veterans and top experts.  The program features personal stories from veterans and their families, an in-depth exploration of treatment options, and stories of encouragement for those suffering with combat stress.

SRNpetitionSecond Amendment Petition Delivered to Congress.  Salem Radio Network vice president, news & talk programming Tom Tradup (right) delivers more than 125,000 signatures in support of the Second Amendment.  Accepting the signatures is Republican U.S. Representative from Texas Louie Gohmert (center) and flanked by United States Concealed Carry Association CEO Tim Schmidt (left).  The network began the petition drive in response to calls for new gun legislation in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.

freedomfeensTalkers Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “The Freedom Feens” – syndicated by Genesis Communications Network – picks up new affiliates KTGO, Tioga, North Dakota and WZFG, Fargo-Moorhead…..Talk Media Network’s “Frontlines of Freedom,” a syndicated military news and talk radio show hosted by two-time purple heart recipient Colonel Denny Gillem, is added to the program schedule at Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle.  Additionally, Colonel Gillem will also analyze military news and issues for sister station, KIRO-FM.…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters is added to the program schedule on WIBQ, Terre Haute, Indiana.

IRS Targeting of Conservative Groups Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of May 13-17.  The IRS’ scrutinizing of conservative organizations for taxes was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of May 13-17, putting it atop the Talkers TenTM.  Coming in at #2 this week was the Benghazi attack investigation.  At #3 was the AP phone records search by the Justice Department and Attorney General Eric Holder’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee.  Following at #4 was Syria-Israel tensions.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

| May 1, 2013

siriusxmSiriusXM Reports Positive Q1 with Revenue Up 12%; Company Involved in Digital Dashboard Technology Rollout.  That 12% percent increase over the same period a year ago is on revenue of $897 million.  New permanent CEO Jim Meyer had every reason to be bubbly during his first investor conference call as official chief executive officer of the satcaster.  He reports the company grew its subscriber base to a new record high on new subscriptions of 453,000 during the quarter.  From a financial perspective he stated, “We are proud to have achieved the highest suggested EBITDA margin in the history of the company in the first quarter.  We expect to achieve a 30% adjusted EBITDA margin this year, up from 27% last year and we continue to target 40% plus margins over time.  You will see us move over the next few years to become one of the highest margin businesses among major media companies in the United States. meyerjim Our ability to convert the bulk of that EBITDA in the free cash flow is also unmatched in the subscription media world.”  He said the company is riding the “tailwind in the new car market as it recovers.”  Meyer told investors the company is committed to having the best content, spoke about new channel additions as well as new talent joining the company and mentioned talk host Michael Smerconish.  Addressing the specific question about GM’s plans for its future “digital dashboard,” Meyer said he couldn’t talk about any one manufacturer’s plans but was able to state, “I believe GM is on a leadership strategy in terms of where I believe the auto industry will go in general.  And that is, I believe, over a mid and long period of time — you can define how many years that is — you will see automakers move to what I will call embedded connectivity that will be LTE-based that will give them lots of options for what they want to do for their customers and their vehicles.  I think it’s very important that Sirius XM participates in that rollout of technology as it occurs over the next three to seven years and that’s exactly what we’re all about when we referred to our connected-car strategy.  This is something that…I want to reiterate again today, that we’re moving and reprioritizing a lot of our technical resources and frankly now our commercial programming resources towards making that goal happen as we go out over time.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript.  You can read the whole shebang here.

wheelertomTom Wheeler Gets Nod from Obama for FCC Chief.  On the political side of things, many Democrats wanted to see President Obama select a woman for the post being vacated by Julius Genachowski, but the president nominated a man with a telecommunications background who was very helpful in getting him elected.  Politico reports that managing director of Core Capital Partners, Tom Wheeler, (along with his wife) worked Iowa for six weeks straight during the president’s first campaign.  Although Wheeler will get some grief from those who are suspicious of his past tenure as a lobbyist with both the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the CTIA (Cellular Telephone Industry Association), he has experience in the industry having founded numerous cable and communications services businesses.  National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith states, “NAB welcomes the nomination of Tom Wheeler as chairman of the FCC. He has the experience and temperament to serve the agency with distinction, and we look forward to working with him.”

nms2013logoTalkers New York 2013 Approaching Sellout Today.  At the present rate of registration bookings, all available seats to the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 will be sold out by the end of business today (5:00 pm ET).  The 16th annual installment of the talk industry’s longest-running and most important annual convention has broken the record for reaching advance registration earlier than ever before.  TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are amazed and gratified that this conference has reached a sellout almost five weeks in advance of its actual date, which is a testimony to the vibrancy of the talk format and the enthusiasm of the industry that produces it.”  The one-day, power-packed event takes place on Thursday, June 6 in New York City between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm.  It features a speaker roster of more than 50 industry leaders from programming, sales, talent, management, technology and ownership. Registration ($199 for all events and food services) is open exclusively to members of the working media and can only be booked by phone with credit card.  Call 413-565-5413.  For complete registration and sponsorship information including an up-to-the-minute agenda, click here.

walton&johnsonWalton & Johnson Take Over Mornings on KPRC, Houston.  Just four months after the Walton & Johnson [John Walton (left) and Steve Johnson (right)] morning show was dropped from Clear Channel’s classic rock KKRW, Houston “97.3 The Arrow,” the program is brought back to the Houston airwaves as the new morning program on the company’s news/talk KPRC.  The duo was replaced on “The Arrow” by longtime St. Louis radio personality J.C. Corcoran.  Clear Channel Houston director of AM programming Bryan Erickson says, “We are thrilled to have Walton & Johnson back on KPRC.  They have a proven track record of great ratings and we look forward to them continuing that success on KPRC.”  Walton & Johnson made KPRC their flagship beginning in 2007 but moved to “The Arrow” in 2009.  Off KPRC as a result of the move is Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo who is based at Clear Channel’s WOAI, San Antonio and is heard there and on other Clear Channel news/talk stations.

armstronggettyArmstrong & Getty to Join KFMB, San Diego in June.  Morning show duo Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty will be heard in the San Diego market beginning June 3 as their program bumps current morning host Mike Slater to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot.  Armstrong & Getty are based at Clear Channel’s KSTE, Sacramento and heard in other markets in Northern California including San Francisco on KKSF.  This is a big move for the duo as they are added to a non-Clear Channel station – Midwest TV’s KFMB.  Program director Dave Sniff states, “Like any great radio morning show, Armstrong and Getty have that unique ability to not only connect with the listener but to become their companions.  They fit in amazingly well among the great storytellers that are part of 760 KFMB’s character and lineage.  They’re not so much a ‘talk show’ as a ‘mock show.’”

wokv logoCox Media’s WOKV, Jacksonville Adds 104.5 FM Signal.  Market news/talk powerhouse WOKV got a little more powerful as Cox Media Group gives the 104.5 FM signal long-occupied by now-defunct rock station WFYV to the station to boost its coverage of the region.  WOKV program director Mike Dorwart says, “Our listeners told us loud and clear that we needed more power.  Moving to 104.5 FM means that, for the first time, our listeners can hear us crystal clear, everywhere in northeast Florida, both day and night.  The most noticeable improvement will be heard by listeners in Baker, Clay, St. Johns, and Nassau counties.  They now have full coverage from WOKV, 24/7, on 104.5 FM.  Duval residents will also hear a big difference, especially those who listen at work.  Our new signal also gives reliable coverage to listeners in Flagler, Putnam, Bradford, Union and Columbia counties in Florida, as well as Camden and Charlton counties in Georgia.”  The station has been simulcast on the 106.5 FM frequency but that class A FM is much smaller.  WOKV will continue to be heard on 106.5 as the company directs listeners to the new 104.5 frequency.

sabowalterFive Critical Steps for Radio to Achieve Success with Online Video.  Noted media consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo outlines five crucial pointers that radio broadcasters should keep in mind when utilizing video in their digital initiatives.  In a column posted today (5/1) he suggests: 1) bad equipment is usually the best; 2) online video is NOT television (TV);  3) 80% of all videos are watched within 72 hours of posting; 4) most of the biggest stars of the internet (“webstars”) are self-cast; and 5) late evening is the best time to post.  To read the entirety of this timely and informative article, click here.

wnox logoThe End of an Era for Knoxville News/Talk; Country to Take Over 100.3 Frequency.  With Journal Broadcast Group’s acquisition of Oak Ridge FM’s news/talk WNOX, Knoxville about to close, the company is preparing to move the country format currently heard on its WCYQ to the much stronger 100.3 signal currently occupied by news/talk on WNOX.  A country simulcast will begin tomorrow on the two FMs (5/2) and the news/talk programming now on WNOX will move to Blount Broadcasting’s WKVL, a daytime AM at 850.

americaweekendlogoKTRS, St. Louis Newest Affiliate for Envision’s ‘America Weekend.’  The weekend news/talk radio program being nationally syndicated by Envision Radio Networks announces CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis is the latest station to add the programming to its weekend offerings.  Envision calls “America Weekend” “the winning antidote to bad brokered programming and tiresome ‘Best-of’ shows.  Hosted by Paul Harris, Rick Roberts, and Turi Ryder, ‘America Weekend’ is designed to increase ratings while providing an innovative system for maintaining or even increasing revenue from brokered programs.  The flexible ‘America Weekend’ system provides the perfect platform to break away for sports and other special programming as needed. Since ‘America Weekend’ is broadcast live via satellite, it is able to stay current by addressing breaking and developing stories of national interest as they happen.  The program airs live each Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.”

midwestcomm logoFargo Stations Sales Close: Fargo-Moorhead Radio Cluster to Midwest Communications; Triad Broadcasting Group to Larry Wilson’s L&L.  The sales of both of these Fargo market station groups were announced last year and were approved by the FCC months ago.  Now the transactions close with Wausau, Wisconsin-based Midwest Communications taking ownership of the former Fargo-Moorhead Radio cluster that includes: news/talk KFGO, sports KVOX, CHR WDAY “Y-94,” country KBVB “Bob FM,” talk KRWK “101.9 Talk FM,” and adult hits KMJO “Popster FM.”  Midwest Communications vice president of programming Jeff McCarthy tells the Forum of Fargo Moorhead he doesn’t anticipate any immediate programming changes.  Larry Wilson, whose Alpha Broadcasting operates stations in Portland, Oregon, also is a principal in L&L Broadcasting and his company is closing on Triad Broadcasting’s stations that include: oldies KQWB “True Oldies,” classic rock KPFX “The Fox,” hot AC KLTA, country KVOX “Froggy 99.9,” full service KBMW, and rock KQWB “Q98.”  Triad vice president and market manager Michael Brooks also tells the paper he does not anticipate any immediate changes.

weei logoWEEI Names John Ryder to Red Sox Broadcast Team; Grande and Merloni to Handle Fill-In Role.  In announcing John Ryder’s ascension to a permanent role on Red Sox broadcasts as host of pre- and post-game coverage, the company says, “Ryder has been with WEEI since 1998 and is a regular contributor to the ‘Planet Mikey’ show, in addition to hosting ‘Red Sox Review’ and ‘Celtics Rewind’ after Sox and Celtics games.”  The company is also announcing that Sean Grande and Lou Merloni will join the broadcasts filling in for Dave O’Brien, who will miss Monday night games during the season due to his responsibilities for ESPN.  Grande has been the voice of the Boston Celtics since 2001, after having served as the TV voice of the Minnesota Timberwolves for three years.  Merloni is currently co-host of the “Mut and Merloni” show on WEEI 93.7 FM.  Merloni also enjoyed a nine-year professional career in Major League Baseball, the first five with the Red Sox.  Entercom Boston vice president of programming Jason Wolfe says, “John has done a stellar job in every role we’ve had for him and has absolutely earned this promotion.  He’s hosted the pre- and post-game shows for the Sox many times before and was a natural choice for us to fill this important job.  Sean’s play-by-play experience speaks for itself. He’s one of the greats in the industry right now, and Lou’s expertise is second to none.  There’s no baseball man in Boston who knows the Sox better than Lou.”

hayworthjdOdds & Sods.  Result Radio’s Christian contemporary KJJK, Fargo will flip to sports talk on Monday, May 6 using programming from Fox Sports Radio Network including Dan Patrick, Jay Mohr and the “Loose Cannons” with Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman.  The station will continue to serve as a Minnesota Twins affiliate…..Personality J.D. Hayworth – co-host of the “Hacksaw & Hayworth” show on sports talk XEPRS, San Diego – does some news/talk fill-in work this week when he sits in for Cumulus Media Networks host Michael Savage tonight through Friday from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.  He’ll also sit in for the company’s Mike Huckabee tomorrow from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET…..Bouyed by coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and the Texas fertilizer warehouse explosion, cable news/talk channel CNN has improved in the ratings compared to the same period a year ago.  Based on April Nielsen numbers as reported in Deadline.com, CNN saw its total day viewers number rise 79% compared to April 2012.  CNN was also up in prime time, achieving an 81% increase in total viewers over the same period a year ago.  The network was able to climb over MSNBC into second place behind Fox News Channel in both ratings categories.

Benghazi Cover-up Investigation, ObamaCare Effects, Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath, Slow Job Growth Reports, and Immigration Legislation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30).  New inquiries into the Benghazi attack; the effects of the Affordable Care Act; the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing and the search for possible co-conspirators; newly released reports indicating slow job growth in the United States; and debate over immigration legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, March 11, 2013

| March 11, 2013

nms2013logoPower-Packed Sales Panel Set for Talkers New York 2013.  The agenda for the forthcoming 16th annual installment of the talk radio industry’s largest and longest-running convention – Talkers New York 2013 – continues to grow as the speakers for afarberericanew major sales panel have been named.  Titled “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales,” the session will be moderated by RAB president and CEO Erica Farber and feature (in alphabetical order):  Spencer Brown, CEO, Dial Global; Jeff Smulyan, CEO, Emmis BroadcastingJerry Crowley, VP/general manager, WNYM (The Answer), New York; and Dan Metter, SVP/network advertising and sales, Premiere Networks.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We always try to bring the element of sales and revenue generation into these conferences, but this year with advertising and the element of ‘monetization’ being such a crucial issue not only in talk radio – but the entire spectrum of radio – we organized a panel that we are proud to say covers all bases.  It should be enlightening and certainly productive.”  Talkers New York 2013 takes place Thursday, June 6 and is on track to being an early sellout.  Because of space limitations, registration is only open to working members of the media and can only be taken via telephone at 413-565-5413.  Among those already announced as speakers include morning keynoter, Sean Hannity; sports keynoter, Mike Francesa; special guest speaker, Norm Pattiz; “State of the First Amendment” address presenter, Michael Smerconish and Arbitron‘s Jon Miller who will deliver a special report on “The PPM and Spoken Word Radio.”  Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more agenda details about speakers, panels, presentations and award recipients coming in the immediate days ahead.

traffic jam imageTraffic Reports on Radio Attract Listeners Says Research Director.  A study of five PPM markets in Canada done by Research Director, Inc. and commissioned by the Canadian Traffic Network indicates “traffic reports on the radio attract listeners and boost ratings during the time that the reports air,” the company says.  Research Director says this is the fourth study of PPM data in the five Canadian markets and the most recent study continues to show positive results for traffic reports.  The company says some the highlights of the study include: 1) The three minutes around the traffic report have higher listening levels compared to non-traffic periods; 2) This was the case in each of the five markets examined; 3) On average for Persons 18+, Canadian Traffic Network’s reports deliver 20% greater audience than when traffic is not being broadcast; and 4) Among Adults 25-54, traffic reports deliver an even greater audience (+20%) than non-traffic times.  This data comes as the industry debates the future value of general traffic reports in an era when smartphones and other in-car services are able to deliver real-time traffic information for specific routes to commuters.

arbitronIs Radio Losing Audience or Gaining It? And What About the Kids?  If you add in the HD multicasts and AM/FM/HD streaming stations, as Arbitron did for its just-released March 2013 RADAR 116 National Radio Listening Report, “radio’s audience increased year over year, adding more than 1.6 million weekly listeners.  Radio now reaches 242.8 million listeners on an average weekly basis.”  Furthermore, Arbitron states, “Teens aged 12 to 17 shows the largest gains among the major age demographics.  Radio now reaches nearly 23 million teens in an average week.  Radio listening also remains steady among Adults aged 18 to 34, reaching 66.5 million people, or 92%, in this demographic.”  The ratings company reports that “the data shows that radio is using new platforms effectively to reach more listeners.  According to the RADAR March 2012 report, HD multicasts reach nearly 3.6 million persons aged 12 and older.  Streams of AM/FM/HD radio also reach a broad audience.  More than 5.4 million persons aged 12 and older tune into AM/FM/HD streams during an average week.  Adults aged 18 to 49 make up the majority of this audience, with more than 3.5 million people in this demographic accessing streaming AM/FM/HD stations in an average week.”

worldnewsroundup logoThe CBS Radio Product “World News Roundup” Celebrates 75 Years on the Air.  The longest-running radio newscast – CBS Radio News’ “World News Roundup” – celebrates 75 years on the air this month.  The company will honor the occasion tomorrow and Wednesday with special programs.  The network will look at that first broadcast in 1938, its significance at the time and how the “Roundup” has evolved to remain an important source of information three-quarters of a century later.  Vice president of CBS News, Radio, Harvey Nagler, states, “In an era with so many choices for the latest news, 75 years is truly a naglerharveyremarkable milestone.  We are so proud that this broadcast that started it all is still something millions of Americans depend on every day.  By combining the great traditions of CBS News with technology, our affiliates and their listeners receive relevant, accurate, immediate information they can trust, every day.  From shortwave to satellites and from the Murrow Boys to multimedia platforms, ‘The World News Roundup’ is still setting the standard for quality journalism.”  CBS says the program made broadcasting history on March 13, 1938 when it aired a riveting 38-minute program, anchored by Robert Trout, that reported the Nazi invasion of Austria.  Revolutionizing news coverage, “The World News Roundup” gave listeners access to live reports from multiple reporters on the field, including a young CBS executive making his on-air debut in Vienna that night, Edward R. Murrow.  In the following decades, the program was anchored by legendary CBS journalists, including Douglas Edwards, Dallas Townsend and Christopher Glenn.  The current program is anchored by Steve Kathan and is produced by Paul Farry.  Bill Whitney anchors the Late Edition of the “World News Roundup” which is produced by Greg Armstrong.

xeprs logoJ.D. Hayworth to Co-Host AM Drive on Sports “The Mighty 1090” in San Diego.  Former Arizona congressman and longtime issues talk host J.D. Hayworth takes an interesting turn in his radio career as hehayworthjd joins Broadcast Company of the Americas’ sports talk XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” to co-host the morning drive show with Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton beginning March 18.  The station says the pairing of Hayworth with Hamilton completes a three-month search that spanned “six time zones.”  Program director Mike Shepard states, “We really appreciated all the ‘players’ who gave their time to this search and in the end, hamiltonhacksawJ.D.’s extensive background in radio, and true chemistry with Hacksaw made the difference.  When the two of them were on together it was what we call ‘lean forward and listen’ radio.  San Diego’s sports fans will truly be entertained every morning.”  Hayworth, who’s been doing a lot of fill-in work in issues talk radio over the past year or so, says, “Hacksaw and I go way back.  As a TV sportscaster in Phoenix, I got to know Lee during his days at KTAR, which was his radio home before he came to San Diego years ago.  The preparation and dedication that Lee brings to his broadcasts impressed me then, and inspires me now.  What an honor to become his partner.  We will not rest until we are the best sports morning show in the country!”

robinettegarlandLoan Investigation Ends for WWL-AM-FM, New Orleans Talk Host Garland Robinette.  Federal prosecutors are ending a probe into allegations the River Birch company paid bribes to close two New Orleans landfills so that its own facilities could receive the bulk of debris from Hurricane Katrina.  WWL-AM/FM talk host Garland Robinette became involved in the probe after he received a personal loan from River Birch owner Fred Heebe.  Robinette had also used his program to criticize the re-opening of the landfills that would have taken business from Heebe’s company.  According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Friday’s announcement puts to an end the investigation that included scrutiny of Robinette’s $250,000 interest-free loan from Heebe.  Robinette’s attorney issued this statement: “I’m happy to announce that we’ve received notice that the Department of Justice in Washington has concluded their investigation regarding Garland as it relates to the River Birch case…and the matter is now closed.  We want to thank the Public Integrity section for reaching the right result and for considering all the information.  As Garland said from the beginning he never had done anything wrong.  Garland and his family are glad they can now put this behind him.”

grand slam sports logoSt. Louis Sports Stations KFNS and KXFN to Flip to Guy Talk and Ladies Talk in May.  The Grand Slam Sports-owned AM stations will take a different programming tack in May under the leadership of new company president Dan Marshall.  According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KFNS will alter its programming to reduce the sports talk content to about 30% with “guy talk” comprising the other 70%.  Marshall tells the paper’s Dan Caesar the bubbaannouncement of who will be the new morning host on KFNS will be made on SiriusXM’s Howard Stern show today, leading to the conclusion that Stern pal Bubba the Love Sponge’s Tampa-based program will take over mornings.  Other show hosts will be announced between now and May 1.  Marshall is owner of a wireless communications company in the St. Louis area that’s been buying time on sports talk.  Marshall’s company made an investment in Grand Slam Sports under the condition he would take over as general manager with control over programming.  Current GM Katy Pavelonis stays on as sales manager.  As for KXFN, how the move to female-targeted talk will be realized is less clear, although Marshall says, “I’ve already interviewed a few people who seem excited.  And I believe our future advertisers will be excited to reach a women’s audience.”  The current morning show at KFNS is hosted by Tim McKernan, Jim Hayes and Doug Vaughn and is owned by insideSTL Enterprises LLC and apparently brokers the time on KFNS.  McKernan tells the paper insideSTL Enterprises is investigating the possibility of working with outside investors to put a new station on the air.  The company operates insideSTL.com.

facebooklogoStrategizing Facebook’s Plans to Decrease Clutter.  On Thursday, the social media giant announced a new format for their news feed, which Mark Zuckerberg referred to as “the best personalized newspaper in the world.”  The big millerchrischange?  Pictures are going to get even bigger.  That’s a bigger change than it sounds like.  The headline Facebook puts on it is, “Goodbye, clutter.”  According to radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, “This is good news for radio stations and other brands that are doing a good job using social media as loyalty content marketing.  It will be easier for your fans and their friends to see what you post and enjoy it!”  Today in TALKERS Miller offers five quick guidelines to help you make the most of your Facebook posts, especially once the new news feed kicks in for everyone.  To read Chris Miller’s piece, click here.

cookehollandIs Michael Smerconish’s Departure from AM/FM to Satellite the Canary in Talk Radio’s Coal Mine?  Radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke thinks it might very well be the case. In an extremely candid look at the meaning behind the highly profiled defection, Cooke advises industry professionals how to read the message this move conveys in addition to dissecting the impact it will likely have on Smerconish’s career.  To read this article by Holland Cooke, click here.

raytomA Not So High-Tech Solution to a High-Tech Headache. Sometimes the remedy to what seems like a complex technical disaster can be found in cleverly utilizing the services of a commonly found, everyday low-tech product.  Noted radio engineering wizard and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray had one such situation pop up recently and he shares how he solved it using…would you believe it…cat litter!  Check out the story by clicking here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

| December 20, 2012

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

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

1)      2012 Presidential Election

2)      ‘Fiscal Cliff’/Euro Zone Troubles

3)      SCOTUS ObamaCare Decision

4)      Benghazi Attack/Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal

5)      Newtown Massacre/Aurora Theater Slayings

6)      Syria Revolt/Egypt Instability

7)      Rush Limbaugh “Slut” Controversy

8)      Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Ambitions

9)      Trayvon Martin Case

10)    Hurricane Sandy

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

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

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

1)      Barack Obama

2)      Mitt Romney

3)      John Boehner

4)      Hillary Clinton

5)      John Roberts

6)      David Petraeus/Paula Broadwell

7)      Christopher Stevens/Susan Rice

8)      Adam Lanza/James Holmes

9)      Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman

10)    Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

| November 20, 2012

Holiday Season Provides Opportunities for Seasoned Talk Pros.  The holidays hold ample opportunities for pro talkers looking to get that on-air “audition,” to hone their skills and keep their name out there.  A great example of this is talk show host and former Republican Congressman from Arizona J.D. Hayworth who has a busy holiday week schedule on the fill-in circuit.  On Wednesday he’s in for Sirius XM’s Mike Church from 6:00 am to 9:00 am and for Pete Kaliner at WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  On Thanksgiving Day he’ll sub for WPHT, Philadelphia’s Buzz Bissinger from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Friday J.D. is in  for WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall in AM drive, for Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and in for Sirius XM’s David Webb from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  On Saturday, he’ll do the evening shift from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm at WPHT.  Hayworth – who hosted a popular program at KFYI, Phoenix in his home town – can be contacted at 602-615-6956.

ESPN Audio and Lincoln Financial Media’s WQXI, Atlanta Bring Colin Cowherd Back to the Market.  LFM’s sports talk outlet WQXI “790 The Zone” creates some relief for its local talent in the middle of the day by adding ESPN Audio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon beginning December 3.  The station’s “Mayhem in the AM” morning show has been airing until 11:00 am with the “Red Zone” midday program airing from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.  The station also will be carrying select weekend programming from ESPN beginning on Saturday, December 1.  WQXI program director and Atlanta Falcons Radio Network executive producer Bob Richards says, “‘790 The Zone’ is proud to become the new home for ESPN Audio and Colin Cowherd in Atlanta.  Combining ESPN and Colin with being the flagship station of the Atlanta Falcons Radio Network, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, the Chik-Fil-A Bowl and our top-rated local drive-time shows creates an unbeatable combination of local and national talent and content.”

Social Media Rant Earns WNWS, Jackson, Tennessee Host Suspension.  Mid-morning talk host Bill Way – host of the “It’s Your Turn” program on The Wireless Group’s WNWS, Jackson, Tennessee – is suspended for “a few days” after writing a derogatory Facebook post about President Obama.  The Jackson Sun reports that Way wrote, “A short message to Obama voters. To vote for him with a 9.2 unemployment rate, a (expletive) of Benghazi lies, $16,000,000,000 in debt and an israeli war, (a derogatory reference to the sex scandal involving David Petraeus), a pimp walking prez married to cheetahs daughter…expect what you will most certainly get. bye bye medicare. hello homeless.. I love America except for the idiots.”  Way did not finish his program on Monday morning.  He apologized on the air before another host finished the program.  Station general manager Larry Wood stated, “WNWS-FM learned about the comments Bill Way made on his personal Facebook page.  In no way do they reflect the positions or thoughts of any of us at WNWS-FM.  We certainly don’t condone the comments from Bill and appreciate his public apology.  We’re discussing his comments and apology. Considering the gravity of the situation, for now, by mutual agreement, Bill is taking a few days off.”

Marijuana Radio Show Celebrates 5th Anniversary.  The Lanny Swerdlow-hosted “Marijuana, Compassion and Common Sense” program aired its 5th anniversary program on Broadcast Management Services’ KCAA, Loma Linda, California (Riverside/San Bernardino market) on Monday evening.  Discussion on the unusual program centers on medical marijuana issues and the reform of marijuana laws.  When station CEO Fred Lundgren was approached by Swerdlow with the show concept, he consulted his attorney who advised him the show could not promote the sale of anything illegal in California or be heard in a state where medical marijuana is illegal.  Lundgren says that even though the issue is a thorny one in the market, the First Amendment was his guide and he allowed the show to air on his station.  He reports it to be one of KCAA’s most popular programs.  Monday’s anniversary show featured Dennis Peron, “father” of the medical marijuana movement in California, and Anna Boyce, a retired nurse who was the public face of Proposition 215 back in 1996 when the issue was placed before the voters.

Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Sponsors “Kids 2 Kids Christmas.”  The holiday charity promotion “Kids 2 Kids for Christmas” encourages families in Southeastern Wisconsin to take their children shopping for toys for kids in the region who are less fortunate.  Journal Broadcasting’s news/talk flagship WTMJ, Milwaukee is operating the campaign now through December 15 with locations throughout the city where toys can be dropped off.  During last year’s campaign, more than 10,000 toys were collected and the station has set the same goal for this year.

Odds & Sods.  “Grease” stars John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John will take part in Sirius Satellite Radio’s “Town Hall” program on December 12 where the two will answer fan questions about their careers, including their roles as Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsen in the movie “Grease” as well as their new holiday album “This Christmas.”  Travolta and Newton-John will donate the artist proceeds from the album equally to their respective charities – the Jett Travolta Foundation and the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, Australia…..Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM, Providence goes live with its web feature documenting Rhode Island’s top “turkeys” of 2012 – the most infamous newsmakers of the year.  The station says WPRO reporter Dee DeQuattro created “this interactive click-through that features the most infamous newsmakers of 2012 and some of their failed schemes that have earned them a place on the turkey list…From people who gobbled up your tax dollars to those who got the stuffing knocked out of them this year, 630WPRO.com will have all the juicy details.”

‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal, Israel-Hamas Violence, Obama Cabinet Status, and San Francisco Public Nudity Ban Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/19).  The challenge Washington faces avoiding broad tax hikes and automatic spending cuts before the New Year; the state of the David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell scandal; escalating violence between Israel and Hamas; changes in the Obama Administration Cabinet; and proposed legislation to limit public nudity in San Francisco were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

| September 4, 2012

Radio Coverage of Campaign 2012 Shifts to Charlotte.  The Democratic National Convention gets underway in Charlotte, North Carolina today and runs through Thursday.  Talk show hosts and news staffers from stations of all formats are ensconced in their radio row remote studios preparing to report to their markets over the next three days.  The non-partisan Talk Radio News Service will operate a booth on radio row and more than 100 talk show hosts will broadcast from the city – either in the convention center itself or from “alternative” sites – as they work to bring the Democratic message to their listeners or attempt to counter the message of the Obama campaign.  Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett – host of “Morning in America” – will broadcast from the city.  Bennett is seen here (r) enjoying a pre-convention meal at a Charlotte eatery with “Morning in America” regular guest and Fox News Channel contributor Byron York (l).  Joining them for the shot at center is former Tennessee Democratic congressman and MSNBC contributor Harold Ford, Jr. who stopped by to say “hello.”  While eating there Bennett was surrounded by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Soledad O’Brien of CNN and former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack among other Democrats  He tells TALKERS, “I enjoyed unnerving my Democratic friends.”

Jorge Sedano Joins WQAM as PD and PM Drive Host.  The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson reports that South Florida sports media personality Jorge Sedano is taking the program director role at Beasley Broadcasting’s sports talk WQAM that was left vacant when Lee Feldman exited for interests outside of the media field.  Sedano, who left Lincoln Financial Media’s WAXY, Miami in April to pursue TV work, will also become the afternoon drive host while current PM drive guy Dan Sileo will move to the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm slot left vacant by Michael Irvin’s recent departure.  South Florida media chatter indicates Sileo was originally being considered for the midday slot but was hired for PM drive when he became available after exiting WDAE, Tampa and Sid Rosenberg was suddenly let go from the PM drive slot.  Sedano recently was hired to host the pre- and post-game shows for Miami Heat games on the Sun Sports telecasts.  He also is a part-time sportscaster for WFOR-TV, Miami – CBS4.  Sedano tells the Herald, “From a lifestyle perspective, this makes the most sense.  When I left 790, I needed to harness my skills and work on the craft and it’s led me to this position on the TV side, so it obviously paid off.   I felt if I wanted to get back in radio, and it was a perfect situation, I would get back.  This is perfect situation.  I can put my imprint on the radio station.”

A Huge Day for the Expansion of Sports Talk Radio.  It has been 25 years since WFAN, New York signed on as the first all sports talk radio station – an experiment that was considered bold and certainly risky on the part of then-owner Jeff Smulyan’s Emmis Broadcasting.  But it certainly did prove to be a risk worth taking as sports talk radio has gone on to be one of the hottest and dynamic genres of radio in the industry – second only to political news/talk in the spoken word realm.  Today the sports juggernaut picks up even more steam with the launch of two more major networks joining the ranks of four other biggies in what is becoming a crowded super-competitive marketplace.  NBC Sports Radio, in partnership with Dial Global, takes to the airwaves today and CBS Sports Radio is also going nationwide with the first phase of its rollout.

Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston Re-Images as “NewsTalk 96.9.”  The FM talk outlet has re-branded itself as “NewsTalk 96.9” The station’s website is still 969bostontalks.com but the station seems to be promoting its news coverage more – with emphasis on the “24-hour news center.”  There are no programming changes to the station and, as you can see in the image here, the station is promoting its coverage of all things election 2012.

Judge Denies Preliminary Injunction in Emmis Case; Shareholder Meeting Scheduled for Today.  Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan was pleased with Friday’s ruling in which U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker denied the injunction request of five preferred shareholders who wanted to stop the company’s shareholder meeting today at which they will vote on a plan to take some of the rights away from preferred shareholders and not pay some $10 million in past-due dividends.  Judge Barker ruled that the shareholders group “failed to meet any of the threshold requirements for injunctive relief.”  She also noted that had she granted the injunction, “both Emmis’ stock price as well as its efforts to refinance before the November 2012 deadline could be seriously and adversely affected.”  The minority shareholders group claims today’s vote is a “blatant attempt to grab wealth” from them but Emmis denies that and counters the move is designed to cut expenses and to improve the company’s fiscal health.  Jeff Smulyan controls the common stock’s voting power and therefore today’s vote is expected to go his way.  It should be noted that the judge’s decision last week does not stop the minority shareholder group from suing for damages after today’s vote takes place.  The group has not indicated one way or the other if it intends to take such action.

WPRO, Providence Provides Live Political Debates.  Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM in Providence hosts congressional debates this week.  Today at 6:00 pm, Democrats Anthony Gemma and David Cicilline ( who’ll face off in the primary next week) will appear on the air.  The debate will be moderated by WPRO news director Bill Haberman.  Tomorrow at 6:00 pm, Republican candidates for Congress in the Second Congressional District — Michael Gardiner, Michael Riley, Don Robbio and Kara Russo will debate before moderator Bill Haberman and guest panelists Tara Granahan and Andrew Gobeil from the “WPRO Morning News.”  The station is also making the debates available via video on WPRO.com with an accompanying, live Tweet Chat.

J.D. Hayworth Sits in on New KVI, Seattle in PM Drive.  Talk show host and former Arizona U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth will warm the PM drive chair for Cumulus Media Networks talk host Mark Levin until he can become part of the Fisher Communications news/talk station’s newly revamped lineup on September 24.  Hayworth, who hosted his own successful talk show on KFYI, Phoenix for years, will also sub as co-host on the morning drive show at Cumulus’ KSFO, San Francisco this week – Wednesday through Friday as well as next Monday.

Radio Pro Jay Andrews Returns to Alma Mater to Manage Student Station and Host AM Drive Show.  North Georgia media pro, former station owner and radio personality Jay Andrews is doing his first morning drive program on Brenau University’s WBCX, Gainesville, Georgia today as he returns to the college to do the radio show and manage the student radio station.  Andrews tells AccessNorthGa.com, “The choice to go back to 89.1 WBCX was an easy one.  Brenau University is my alma mater, and having the opportunity to manage this remarkable student station, return to the air, and most importantly help students learn the radio, TV and internet media businesses is quite an honor.”  During his career, Andrews has worked as a radio personality on numerous North Georgia stations.  He owned WDGR, Dahlonega, Georgia, and he managed Jacobs Media Corporation’s WDUN, WMJE and WGGA in Gainesville.  On the new morning show Andrews says, “It’s a whole different animal from a format and production standpoint.  Since it is technically a morning show it will move faster.  We will also attempt to open the format up to more listeners by taking phone calls, interviewing Brenau newsmakers, and also become more involved in the community.  We will work toward having regular contributors covering news, and current and historical events.  As always we will try do this with style, great hit music, and humor.”

“Poorman” Finds On-Air Home at Small California Station.  Jim Trenton, the original “Poorman” of California radio and creator of the mega-successful syndicated program “Loveline” will turn 60 next year.  The fame he enjoyed while co-hosting the show has become a distant memory.  The successful radio and TV series is primarily (and rightfully) associated with Dr. Drew Pinsky. Trenton’s stardom quickly faded after he was fired from “Loveline” for encouraging thousands of listeners to join him for a midnight surprise birthday party on the front lawn of a co-worker…and listeners showed up, by the thousands…but that was almost 20 years ago.  The Poorman continues to feel bitter about losing the show he feels he created.  Since then, he has either been fired or stormed away from a dozen stations.  His career has never recovered.  Ah, but now his career has been given a spark of new hope.  Courageous station owner Fred Lundgren, CEO and president of news/talker KCAA, San Bernadino/Riverside, California has taken a chance and hired Trenton to host a daily one-hour show at 12:00 noon on the “station that leaves no listener behind.”  Read Lundgren’s humorous account of why he put one of radio’s notorious bad boys back on the air and how it’s going by clicking here.

WABB-AM, Mobile Sold by Dittman Broadcasting to Omni Broadcasting.  Fort Walton Beach, Florida-based Omni Broadcasting filed on Friday (8/31) with the FCC to transfer the license of news/talk outlet WABB (1480 AM), Mobile for a reported purchase price of $106,000.  Omni also closed the same day to purchase time for the Ticket Sports Network until the close of the sale.  Earlier this year the companion WABB-FM (97.6) was sold to the Educational Media Foundation for $3.1 million, which in turn sold the assets of that station to Cumulus Media in return for WRQQ-FM, Belle Meade, Tennessee and WDLT-FM, Chickasaw, Alabama, giving Cumulus upgraded coverage of the Mobile market with the 97.6 FM signal.

TAB President and Radio Advocate Ann Arnold Dies.  The widely popular Ann Arnold, longtime president of the Texas Association of Broadcasters, died Saturday (9/1) at her office at the age of 67 after battling leukemia for many years.  Arnold headed the organization since 1987.  She had been a strong defender of Texas’ open government laws and during her tenure doubled the membership of the TAB.   “Ann Arnold was an extraordinary and inspiring woman,” says TAB chairman Mary Mike Hatcher of Bryan Broadcasting.  “She was fearless in her advocacy for local radio and television broadcasters, for the public’s right to know how elected officials run our government, and in her long fight with cancer.”  TAB VP Oscar Rodriguez adds, “Ann was passionate about Texas and optimistic about the future.  She cherished the opportunity to help local broadcasters strengthen their communities and had yet to find the challenge that would daunt her.” (Photo: Mike Wenglar)

Presidential Campaign/Democratic National Convention, Isaac Aftermath, Rising Gas Prices and Iran-Israel Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/3).  The presidential campaign and the approaching Democratic National Convention; the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaac; the rising price at the pump for gasoline; and Iran’s threats to strike American bases if Israel takes military action against it were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, July 30, 2012

| July 30, 2012

KABC, Los Angeles Adds John Phillips to AM Drive.  Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor is reporting Cumulus Media’s KABC moves talk host John Phillips to the “McIntyre in the Morning with Terri Rae Elmer” program with host Doug McIntyre and news anchor Elmer.  Phillips had been the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon host at KABC until the company began developing Geraldo Rivera in the late-morning slot on WABC, New York and then adding him to KABC.  For a while, Phillips was doing just the 9:00 am hour and a lot of fill-ins around the schedule.  Now, it looks as though Phillips becomes a morning drive cast member at KABC.  Earlier in his radio career, Phillips was sports anchor and executive producer for KABC’s “McIntyre in the Morning Show” and he also produced the station’s Al Rantel program.  He also served as a newswriter at crosstown KNX, Los Angeles.

Beasley Broadcast Group Q2 Revenue Down 2.8%.  Total revenue was down to $24.8 million for the second quarter of 2012 – a drop of 2.8% compared to the same period in 2011.  Beasley Broadcast Group attributes the lower revenue to declines at its Fayetteville, North Carolina cluster.  However, station operating income was up 11.6% for the period reflecting declining station operating expense and more than offsetting the lower revenue.  Chairman and CEO George Beasley says, “Our second quarter revenue performance principally reflects overall industry weakness in the first month of the quarter, a revenue decline at our Fayetteville cluster partially related to lower levels of auto advertising and lower revenue in the Ft. Myers market due to the fact that in the year-ago period we hosted a concert.  While net revenue was down mid-single digits in April, low single-digit revenue growth resumed in May and June and extended through July.  The company’s streamlined operating structure and ongoing expense management initiatives combined with a music license fee settlement drove the $1.1 million rise in 2012 second quarter station operating income.”

Estate of the Late Neil Rogers Settled; Feds Take the Balance.  According to Jose Lambiet’s “Gossip Extra,” the late Miami talk host had about $4 million to his name four years ago but he loved to play the ponies and was not a very savvy personal finances guy, so after the lawyers get paid and the IRS takes about $500,000, there’s basically nothing left in his estate.  Longtime friend, agent and estate executor Norman Kent tells Lambiet Rogers basically spent his money.  He cashed in taxable annuities prior to his 2010 death from multiple medical issues at age 68.  The piece also notes Rogers spent about $700,000 on a home in Toronto where he lived with a 21-year-old man when he wasn’t in South Florida or Amsterdam.  Several of Rogers’ friends had been contesting his wills – apparently there were more than one that conflicted – but ultimately, there appears to have been little left over which to fight.

Compass Media Networks Expands and Extends Relationship with Learfield Sports.  This is for college basketball and football play-by-play – the arena in which Compass Media Networks has been expanding so rapidly.  Learfield Sports is the exclusive broadcast and sports marketing partner to more than 50 of the nation’s leading colleges and universities including Alabama, Boise State, Indiana University, Iowa, NC State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Purdue, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, University of North Carolina, Wisconsin and the Big Ten Conference.  Under the terms of the extension Compass retains first right of refusal to broadcast any Learfield Sports home football and men’s basketball  games, retains the exclusive national radio rights to broadcast The Big Ten Football Championship Game and the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, and will broadcast expanded coverage of regular season men’s basketball and football games.  The exact number of games Compass will broadcast has yet to be determined but the new agreement calls for a minimum of 20 football and 20 men’s basketball games to be broadcast.  Compass Media Networks will then produce a unique, national, play-by-play broadcast of these games available to radio outlets across the country.  Compass CEO Peter Kosann states, “Learfield Sports has been a wonderful partner.  We are honored to continue this partnership and will continue to expand the breadth and depth of our coverage.”

Journalist and Radio Host Indicted on Felony Wiretapping Charges.  “Free Talk Live” co-host Adam “Ademo” Mueller faces three counts of felony wiretapping after recording on-duty public officials while preparing a vlog about a case of alleged police misconduct, according to “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman.  The comments were part of a video report posted on the site CopBlock.org.  He tells TALKERS, “A public official who is on duty and in a public space has no expectation of privacy, the First Circuit Court of Appeals has already ruled on this in Glik v. Cunniffe.  The person who should face consequences is the officer who threw that poor kid into a table during lunch at the school cafeteria, not the journalist who reported about it.”  Freeman says each charge of felony wiretapping could carry seven years, meaning Mueller faces up to 21 years in prison if convicted.

NPR and WWNO, New Orleans Partner for Non-Profit News Source.  University of New Orleans-owned classical and news/talk WWNO is entering into a partnership with NPR to staff and operate the “non-profit multimedia newsroom” neworleansreporter.org.  The site plans to create reports for WWNO and will be available on a mobile app and for other local and national outlets free of charge.  NPR president and CEO Gary Knell states, “NPR is honored to join with the University of New Orleans and WWNO as they launch this ground-breaking news service. We are excited about the opportunity to provide national support for this critically important local effort to serve the public in creative and new ways.”

CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton to Resign at Year End.  Saying he believes “CNN needs new thinking,” Jim Walton will end his 30-year career at the cable news broadcaster when his contract expires in December, according to TVWeek.  Walton says the new thinking “starts with a new leader who brings a different perspective, different experiences and a new plan, one who will build on our great foundation and will commit to seeing it through.  And I’m ready for a change.  I have interests to explore and I want to give myself time to do it.”  Walton has been in the leadership role at CNN Worldwide for almost 10 years.  Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent leads the search for Walton’s successor.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive host Pat Campbell fills in for late-morning talk host Charlie Sykes on Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee August 1-3…..Talk show host and former Congressman J.D. Hayworth sits in for WPGB, Pittsburgh-based Quinn & Rose every day this week except Wednesday.  On that day, he’s filling in on the KCMO, Kansas City AM drive program…..Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO, Ft. Wayne, Indiana adds Notre Dame football to its fall sports schedule…..Britain’s UTV Media announces its talkSport network acquires exclusive rights to broadcast Football Association’s FA Cup in the UK and the worldwide rights to talkSport International scheduled to launch on August 18…..KTRB, San Francisco – 860 AM ESPN Deportes – will carry Spanish-language play-by-play of San Francisco 49ers football through the 2018 season.

Chicken: Banned in Boston?  That’s WRKO, Boston PM drive host Howie Carr (l) with, well…a chicken (r).  Carr is wearing a t-shirt with a caricature of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and holding a Chick-fil-A sandwich – both of which Carr and staff gave out to people on the streets in front of Boston City Hall after Mayor Menino jumped on the anti-Chick-fil-A bandwagon and threatened to prevent the company from opening a restaurant in the neighborhood after the company’s president publicly supported those campaigning against gay marriage.  Menino has since backed off the threat to stop the restaurant from opening the Boston store.

 

Monday, July 2, 2012

| July 2, 2012

Clear Channel Denver Announces Three New Talk Programs.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s three Denver-market spoken-word outlets are adding new live and local programming this month.  At KOA, a new evening sports talk show will debut at 7:00 pm on July 9 called, “PrimeTime Sports with Andy Lindahl.”  Lindahl has been an anchor and sports reporter with KOA since 1999 and is co-host of the station’s “Bronco’s GameDay” and “Broncos PrimeTime” as well as serving as a sideline reporter for Broncos and University of Colorado football.  At KHOW, the station is announcing a permanent show for the afternoon drive daypart featuring progressive David Sirota and conservative Michael Brown called, “The Rundown with Sirota & Brown.”  Sirota is an author and syndicated columnist who had served as host of the cluster’s progressive talk outlet KKZN.  Brown – former Undersecretary of Homeland Security under George W. Bush – had hosted an evening program on KOA.  Sirota and Brown take over the slot held by Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman who hosted the show for the past eight years.   Finally, at progressive talker AM 760 Colorado’s Progressive Talk (KKZN), KCNC-TV, Denver reporter Gloria Neal takes over the morning drive show from 7:00 am to 10:00 am on July 16.  Neal served as a news anchor at KOA in the past.

Lionel Hosts Early Morning Show at WPIX-TV, New York.  Commentator, talk host and podcast innovator Lionel of LionelMedia.com adds to his duties at Tribune’s WPIX-TV where he does commentary for the 5:00 pm and 10:00 pm news as he begins hosting the station’s early morning news program from 4:00 am to 6:00 am beginning today (7/2).  The expanded role for the uniquely talented Lionel allows him to bring his one-of-a-kind perspective on the issues to New York viewers in a broadened format that programmers at WPIX believe will be an effective lead-in to its morning news programming.  As reported by FishbowlNY, a memo from WPIX-TV news director Bill Carey indicates the program will be conversational in style and allow Lionel’s natural delivery to lead the program’s direction.  Lionel also presents several short form commentaries daily on Merlin Media‘s FM properties in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.

Fourth of July Holiday Week a Bonanza for Fill-In Hosts.  This year the Fourth of July holiday falls on Wednesday and that mid-week holiday means more hosts take some or even all of the week off, leading to a whole bunch of programming time to fill and plenty of work for fill-in hosts.  Talk host and former Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth counts himself among the busy talk hosts working this week.  He begins the week sitting in on the morning drive show at Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco today and tomorrow.  On Wednesday, he’ll be the guest host on Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee show and, later that night, he’ll be heard on CBS Radio’s WPHT, Philadelphia from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  On Thursday and Friday, Hayworth will host the “Morning Rush” program simulcast on WRDU-FM, Raleigh and WPTI-FM, Greensboro, North Carolina.  And on Saturday, he’ll sit in hosting the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program at WLS, Chicago.

Former St. Louis Talk Host Gets Life for 2005 Murder.  Leonardo Drisdel once hosted “The Human Factor” talk show at WGNU, St. Louis.  In 2005, he confessed to his wife that after a drug binge with a local woman named Cassandra Kovack, he beat her to death claiming that a voice ordered him to kill her.  Drisdel was sentenced to life in prison on Friday, June 29.

 

Going for the Gold!  Six-time Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken (c) joins KOZN, Omaha’s “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” co-hosts Mike’l Severe (l) and Kevin Kugler (r) on their program as it broadcast live from the U.S. Olympic swim trials in Omaha.  Van Dyken is co-host with Rob Dibble on Fox Sports Radio Network’s “Fox Sports Tonight.”

Friday, March 16, 2012

| March 16, 2012

Ingstad Group Blows Up Classic Rock for FM Talk in Fargo-Moorhead; Tom Becka to Program and Host AM Drive.  James Ingstad’s Radio Fargo Moorhead group in the Fargo-Moorhead market turns classic rock KRWK-FM into “101.9 Talk FM” The Talk of Fargo Moorhead on March 19.  Talk radio pro Tom Becka – most recently with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFAB, Omaha as PM drive host – is named program director for the station and will host the morning drive show.  Syndicated programs will include Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade, Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.  Former Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth will host a 5:00 pm program for at least the first three weeks of the station’s new format.  Hayworth currently is hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show at Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco.  Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage and Genesis Communications Network‘s Jason Lewis will air in the evenings.  Tom Becka states, “This is such a great opportunity to help put a new FM talk station on the air and be the first doing it.  Radio Fargo Moorhead is a great independent company that still believes in the traditional radio approach that combines great programming and promotion with local outreach.  At the same time they have been leaders in embracing the new technological advances.  And about those winters?  They are taking up a collection to buy me a warm coat.”  The station, as well as sister news/talk KFGO, is being consulted by The Q Consulting GuysJon Quick, who says, “In these days of cutbacks, it is so gratifying that there are operators like the Ingstad group who still believe that hiring great people and promoting them properly results in both ratings and revenue.”  Quick also notes that Ingstad is retaining all of the Rock 101 staff.

Federated Media Drops Classic Rock on WFWI-FM, Fort Wayne; Simulcasts News/Talk WOWO.  The legendary WOWO, Fort Wayne, Indiana gets an FM simulcast for its news/talk format at the expense of sister classic rock “The Fort 92.3.”  Federated Media COO Mark Deprez states, “The move to FM is a natural enhancement for the WOWO brand that is synonymous with Fort Wayne.  WOWO is, and has always been, the one radio outlet that northeast Indiana can count on for breaking news, weather, traffic, information.  WOWO’s strong service commitment to our community, along with the entertaining and engaging personalities, has solidified WOWO in the hearts of many of our local residents.  The move to 92.3 FM will re-introduce WOWO to listeners that have migrated over the years to FM and also open WOWO’s brand to a new and younger audience.”

Rush Limbaugh Fires Up His Long-Dormant Twitter Account to Fight His Attackers.  It probably won’t be very long before Rush Limbaugh’s fans have his Twitter follower numbers through the roof and Limbaugh says he’ll use the account to counter the work being done by organizations such as Media Matters via the social media tool.  Politico reports that Limbaugh told his listeners on his Thursday program that he’ll be Tweeting info from time to time that his faithful can share.  “Everybody has been asking me what they can do to help in all of this, and I’ve been saying, nah, just do what you’ve been doing just, if you listen, keep listening, that’s fine, but…there’s an army out there that wants to be mobilized, and so, I figured, use Twitter for it.  I’m just going to put some things on Twitter that you can help us circulate.  It’s that simple you just retweet them.”  Limbaugh’s first Tweet after the show was a link to a piece by Cornell Law professor William Jacobson on Media Matters’ astroturfing the boycott against Limbaugh’s advertisers.  “Astroturfing” is using digital media to create the illusion of a “grassroots” movement.

Syndicated Talk Host Michael Smerconish: Advertiser Boycotts Won’t Kill Rush Limbaugh.  Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish writes in his column in the Philadelphia Inquirer that the advertiser boycott being waged against Rush Limbaugh ultimately will not topple him from his talk radio perch.  In the piece, Smerconish cites TALKERS and fellow radio trade Radio-Info on the status of the Limbaugh situation.  But Smerconish goes on to write that the hard-core, right wing talk hosts that occupy most news/talk radio station lineups serve exactly that audience – the very conservative, politically active segment of the radio-listening audience.  Smerconish states that studies indicate the nation as a whole is not as polarized as the media might make it appear and both Congress and the talk media are more extreme now than at any point in the recent past (based on voting records and host ideology, respectively).  Change in the flavor of talk radio, Smerconish argues, can only come from programmers.  Read his piece here.

RTDNF Presents Freedom of Speech Awards; Talker Jim Bohannon Honored.  At a gala black-tie dinner held last night at Washington, DC’s Ritz-Carlton hotel, the Radio Television Digital News Foundation (RTDNF) presented its 22nd annual First Amendment Awards including the Special Recognition First Amendment Award to Dial Global Radio Networks talk star Jim Bohannon (pictured here at left).  The award was presented to Bohannon by TALKERS founder and publisher Michael Harrison (r) who stated, “Jim stands tall and strong as a seeker of truth.”  Other awards were presented to NBC News president Steve Capus, ABC News senior foreign affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz, and Shurz Communications senior vice president Marci Burdick.  A special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented posthumously to Andy Rooney.  In a rousing speech, Jim Bohannon encouraged the hundreds of newspeople in attendance to promo free speech at every opportunity saying, “We should go out and kick some ass for the First Amendment!”

KCSP, Kansas City Goes All Local Sports Talk.  Entercom’s KCSP, Kansas City drops Premiere NetworksJim Rome from its midday slot and expands its existing sports talk shows.  AM drive hosts Bob Fescoe and Josh Klingler are now heard from 6:00 am to 10:00 am; midday host Danny Parkins gets the big bump, moving from 9:00 am to 11:00 am to 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and Carrington Harrison joins the program along with other contributors.  Nick Wright’s afternoon show remains in the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot.  Program director Ryan Maguire says, “Our listeners have wanted more local hosts talking about local sports.  With the start of an exciting Royals season only a few weeks away, ‘610 Sports’ has the best local lineup for our game broadcasts.  The passionate sports fans in Kansas City now have more than just one option in the middle of their day when it comes to local sports talk.  We’re excited that we can be all live, all local all day.”

GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Race Maintains Top Story Spot on Talkers TenTM.  The battle for the Republican nomination for president and the larger issues surrounding the 2012 campaign tied for the top spot as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of March 12-16, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Correspondingly, Rick Santorum tied with Mitt Romney as the #1 most-talked-about person followed by President Obama at #2.  The Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people of the week as discussed on news/talk radio is published here every Friday.  View this week’s chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity pick up new FM talker KRWK, Fargo-Moorhead…..Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade is added to KRWK-FM, Fargo-Moorhead…..Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis joins KRWK-FM, Fargo-Moorhead…..Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham returns to KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds WLBE, Leesburg-Eustis, Florida; and KTGO, Tioga, North Dakota…..Dial Global adds its sports Westwood One play-by-play sports – including NFL, NCAA men’s basketball and football, the Olympics, major golf events and more to Lincoln Financial Media’s WQXI, Atlanta.

Loose Cannons Live in Downtown L.A.  Fox Sports Radio Network’s KLAC, Los Angeles-based “Loose Cannons” recently kicked off March Madness with a live broadcast from the Hooters Downtown Los Angeles where the brand-new Fox Sports Radio remote broadcast studio is located.  Pictured here – along with a bevy of Hooters girls – are Vic “The Brick” Jacobs (l) and Steve Hartman (r).  Not pictured is the third “Loose Cannon” Pat O’Brien.

 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

| January 4, 2012

Don Martin Interviewed on TALKERS TV.  He is one of the most influential management figures in sports talk radio.  Don Martin wears both national and local feathers in his sports cap serving as vice president/general manager of Fox Sports Radio and general manager/program director of sports talk KLAC, Los AngelesTALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian caught up with Martin at the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (10/20/11) and interviewed him about the state of sports talk radio including the local and national perspectives, where to find new talent and the importance of stations having play-by-play associations with a popular sports franchise.  Martin also discusses the impact that the PPM is having on the sports talk genre saying that it is showing the format in a positive light.  According to Martin, sports talk radio is one area of the talk media world that is less impacted by these difficult times than most.  He credits the fact that so many talented hosts are out of work as providing a vibrant talent pool from which to pick when openings come and points to the continual crop of retiring athletes as being another source of potential sports talk broadcasters.   Check out this must see video in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.

KSFO, San Francisco Makes Program Changes; Melanie Morgan Returns to AM Drive and J.D. Hayworth Takes Over Late Mornings.  Almost four years after exiting the AM drive show she co-hosted with Lee Rodgers, Melanie Morgan is back on the Cumulus Media station alongside morning host Brian Sussman.  KSFO program director Paul Hosley states, “We’re thrilled to have Melanie back on KSFO.  She’s very popular with listeners and we’re looking forward to her many contributions on the revamped morning show.”  Cumulus fills the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot vacated by Rush Limbaugh when the Premiere Networks star moved across town to Clear Channel’s new KKSF with former Arizona congressman KFYI, Phoenix talk host J.D. Hayworth.  Hayworth says of his new gig, “As a ‘recovering’ Congressman, I’ll ‘pull back the curtains’ and explain why politicians do the things they do.  With the help of KSFO listeners, we’ll endeavor to provide common sense and clarity in these challenging and confusing times.”

Bob Lonsberry to Host Local Show for Clear Channel’s WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse.  Bob Lonsberry tells the Syracuse Post-Standard he’ll make his new show local for Syracuse listeners even though he’ll be a commuter from his home market of Rochester where he hosts the midday show on WHAM.  Lonsberry takes over the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program beginning January 9.  The shift was formerly held by Jim Reith who exited the station at the end of October.  Lonsberry tells the paper, “I want something that literally speaks to a Syracuse listener, is representative of them and is a service to them.”  Lonsberry will lead into WSYR-AM/FM’s 5:00 pm news-oriented  “Daily Wrap with Joe Galuski and Kevin Schenk.”

Gene Burns to Begin KKSF, San Francisco Show Next Week After Apparent Health Issues.  The new lineup at Clear Channel’s KKSF, San Francisco began this week but former KGO talk host Gene Burns was missing in action.  Numerous reports in the media trades cite a mini-stroke suffered by Burns as the reason he’s not on the air.  However, Bay Area blogger Rich Lieberman reports that Burns did not suffer a stroke of any kind, that he has another unspecified medical condition and is expected to be on the radio next week.

WXOS-FM, St. Louis Tweaks Lineup; Former Cardinal Chris Duncan Moves to PM Drive.  Hubbard Radio’s 101 ESPN (WXOS-FM) moves former St. Louis Cardinals star Chris Duncan from his role on the evening show to “The Fast Lane” PM drive program where he’ll work alongside Randy Karraker and D’Marco FarrBob Ramsey, who had been part of the “Fast Lane” show, moves to the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show with co-host Brian Stull for the newly named “Stully & Rammer” show.  Ramsey also maintains his role as voice of the St. Louis Billikens calling St. Louis University men’s basketball games on the station.  Program director Kent Sterling states, “We are excited to put Chris Duncan on ‘The Fast Lane.’  He is a unique communicator with an incredible work ethic, and a great guy.  He has lived a life in the eye of the sports hurricane and he speaks with an authority that is captivating.  Media is all about finding great communicators and Chris is one of the most gifted in America.”

CBS Radio Announces Debut of DC All-News Outlet.  CBS Radio’s all-news WNEW-FM, Washington will hit the airwaves on January 19 and will feature the following talent lineup: Bill Rehkopf and Amy Morris in AM drive, Jenny Glick and Chas Henry in middays, Evan Haning and Nancy Lyons in PM drive, and Sarah Jacobs and Cheryl Simone in evenings.  Program director Robert Sanchez says of the new station, “We are very excited to have put together such a great group of professionals who have spent many years covering local and national news.  Each brings a specialty to WNEW creating a great team which will deliver important and compelling news that matters to local residents.  When Washington needs to know, this team will have them covered.”

Rob Williams New OM/PD at WQRT, Cincinnati; New PM Drive Show Debuts.  The Florence, Kentucky-licensed talk station owned by Christian Broadcasting System Ltd. names former Clear Channel programmer Rob Williams operations manager and program director for “Real Talk 1160” – WQRT.  Williams replaces Cary Pall.  At the same time, as talk host Andy Furman begins his new position hosting morning drive on the Fox Sports Radio Network, he leaves WQRT and makes way for “The Other Guys” afternoon sports talk show featuring Fox Sports Ohio’s Jeff Piecoro, former producer and co-host of the Furman show Rick “the Brick” Wall, and Metro NetworksJeremy “J-Lance” Lance.

Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions, Fracking-Related Earthquakes and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/3).  The GOP Iowa Caucuses held yesterday, Iran’s nuclear ambitions and warnings to the U.S. about carriers in the region, reports of earthquakes in Northeastern Ohio thought to be related to oil and gas fracking and the first financial markets activity of the new year were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Mona Lipschitz Debuts New Column.  Full of gossip, rumors, personal asides and unbridled opinion about the industry and the people in it, Mona Lipschitz debuts her new column “Straight from The Lip” today at Talkers.com.  In it she offers some keen insights about recent changes at Merlin Media and Cumulus Media as well as some pointed advice for Anderson Cooper.  Mona has been the news editor of TALKERS magazine for the past 21 years and she knows where all the bodies are buried in this business.  Let the dishing begin!  To read the first installment of “Straight from The Lip,” click here.

Straight from The Lip

| January 4, 2012

By Mona Lipschitz
TALKERS MAGAZINE
Columnist

Happy New Year everyone…..Finally after 21 years of gathering and writing “NewsNotes” for the print version of TALKERS magazine, the powers here finally recognized that I am intimately aware of what’s happening in this industry and know how it works.  So, they gave me my own column here at Talkers.com (in lieu of a raise) and said, “Knock yourself out, Mona.”  I plan to take them up on it and promise to make the most of this opportunity.  Look out Talkers Nation!  The Lip is loose!  Okay, enough with the posturing crap. Let’s go…..There are huge lessons to be learned from the “Walter Sabo Exits Merlin” saga.  An idea guy like Walter should not be “operating” anything.  His job title at Merlin was COO — chief OPERATING officer.  Wrong role!  Walter should be giving ideas, advice, encouragement and inspiration to people who do the operating and the executing.  As a consultant, he’s done that quite well for more than two decades.  I am glad he’s back where he belongs and where the industry needs him.  I’ve never met Randy Michaels but my impression from tons of first-hand sources is he isn’t that much better suited to be an operator than Walter.  Look at his track record.  Seems to me Randy is kind of an idea guy himself.  Maybe the best idea he had was to hire Walter and tap into some of his ideas.  But I question if Randy and Walter were the right guys to pull it off with the people in the programming trenches — the PDs, anchors, producers, writers — and actually produce an on-air product worthy of the concept.  Before Randy capitulated to the instantaneous naysayers and nervous investors (blowing Walter out of the loop in the process) and turned Merlin’s New York and Chicago properties into half-baked versions of their CBS all-news competition, he and Walter were on the right path regardless of the ridicule and poor numbers faced in the early going.  Some of the greatest human success stories begin by facing these obstacles.  The ridicule was deserved because they rushed the format onto the air before it was ready.  The poor numbers followed because the product wasn’t quite right and it takes time to get good numbers even when the product is good in spoken word.  Heck – this ain’t disco in the late eighties!  The idea of targeting an all-news station to women 25-54 on FM is brilliant and extremely do-able if done properly. The FM dial is a great place to pick up women!  They are already there listening to many of the music stations (as well as public radio) and of course today’s working woman is interested in the “news.”  You just can’t cater to the stereotypes of what women want – obvious superficial stuff like shopping, fashion, parenting and gossip.  True, these are things of interest to women.  But you must go much deeper to actually get them to change their habits and flock to a new address on the radio dial — especially within the space of one or two rating periods.  Women want to feel emotionally connected to like-minded souls.  They want to feel that they are not alone.  They want to feel that they are part of a community and enjoy the comfort and camaraderie of other women who are sharing the same experiences, joys and fears.  THAT’S how you get women to listen to talk on the radio.  With all due respect to Randy and Walter, they don’t strike me as the kind of guys whose minds work in that direction.  Forgive the cliché, but we seem to throw the baby out with the bathwater way too much in this business when great ideas fail to be executed properly…..Speaking of poor execution; someone should jump in – let’s call it intervention — and help CNN “personality” Anderson Cooper avoid destroying his career by trying to wear too many hats in an effort to boost ratings and be a media star.  He should stick to one thing and do it well instead of becoming CNN’s in-house clown.  I found his situation co-hosting New Year’s Eve from Times Square with goofball Kathy Griffin to be a painfully poor pairing and I had to turn it off and switch over to Ryan Seacrest who seemed like Walter Cronkite compared to Anderson if you can imagine that…..Congratulations to JD Hayworth and Melanie Morgan for being put on the air full time at KSFO, San Francisco.  It is a relief to finally see Cumulus putting good people on the air instead of just throwing them off…..Our condolences goe out to the family of one of the smartest and nicest people in talk radio programming, David Bernstein of Bernstein Talent, who lost his dad Charlie Bernstein to cancer over the holidays.  David described his dad as his “hero.”…..Hey, if you hear of anything interesting, let me know.  Send your tips to mona@talkers.com  To go to the main news page, click here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

| January 3, 2012

Walter Sabo Leaves COO Position at Merlin Media.  Noted radio consultant Walter Sabo has parted ways with Randy Michaels Merlin Media, the heavily venture capital-backed firm that acquired a majority share of three radio stations this past summer from Jeff Smulyan’sEmmis Broadcasting including WEMP-FM, New York and WWWN-FM, Chicago and is in the process of picking up a fourth from Harold Camping’s Family Broadcasting – WKDN-FM, in the Philadelphia market.  Merlin launched a relatively experimental all-news format at these stations targeted to what Sabo described as “working families” with an emphasis on the 25-54 female demographic.  The stations (FM News 101.9 in New York and FM News 101.1 in Chicago) received a tremendous amount of attention (and intense scrutiny) in the media before, during and after their launch prompted by former Tribune Company CEO Michaels’ negatively colorful and controversial profile, in addition to the fact that they were taking a startlingly innovative and youthful approach to delivering the all-news format.  Sabo was recruited to serve as architect of this approach due to his impeccable reputation as a longtime champion of the concept of targeting female listeners on FM and proven track record for success with spoken word on FM as a longtime consultant for WKXW-FM, Trenton (New Jersey 101.5).  When a notable rise in ratings failed to materialize in immediately subsequent survey periods coupled with widespread criticism by radio industry observers of the stations’ formats and execution – further exacerbated by Michaels receiving negative publicity in the midst of all this for being arrested on DUI charges – the heat was on and Michaels began facing enormous internal and external pressure to modify the programming approach.  He succumbed and the Merlin stations began moving in a more traditional all-news direction putting them in head-to-head competition with CBS’s long-established, traditional and wildly successful all-news outlets in New York and Chicago (WINS, WCBS and WBBM).  With this repositioning, the challenge of competing against successful, established news outlets has not produced increased ratings and the Merlin all-news initiative has become prematurely tagged throughout the industry as a monumental failure.  Sabo’s withdrawal from day-to-day operational and programming decisions, including his subsequent departure from Merlin, has been quietly happening below the radar for some time now.  Up until this article’s publication (1/2), there has been no official press release, acknowledgement or statement from either Merlin or Sabo confirming or commenting on his exit.  However,TALKERS sources inside Merlin and close to Sabo confirm that it is indeed true with Sabo telling TALKERS,“At this time my work with Merlin is complete.  The primary job was to build the most competitive team on and off the air – Merlin has the best.  Our initiatives gave investors the confidence to buy a station in a third market and grow the company.  GTCR deserves enormous credit for investing in the radio medium.  FM spoken-word is so hot that the demand for Sabo Media services has never been greater.  Our clients find that our decades of experience in the FM talk format protects their investment and shortens the profit horizon.  More importantly my beautiful wife Katie is seven months pregnant during the holidays.  That’s the news.”  Sabo will continue to serve as CEO of his consulting firm Sabo Media and internet branding and marketing company, HitViews.

Fox Sports Radio Network Debuts New Morning Program Featuring Andy Furman and Artrell Hawkins.  Today is the debut of Fox Sports Radio Network’s new morning show – “Fox Sports Daybreak” – heard from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET and featuring former Cincinnati sports talk host Andy Furman and retired NFL defensive back Artrell Hawkins.  Furman’s resume includes an 18-year run hosting “Sports Talk” at WLW, Cincinnati and, recently, the PM drive show at WQRT, Cincinnati.  Hawkins is a contributor to the Cincinnati Bengals Radio Network.  Furman has been hosting a weekend show with former NFL star Lincoln Kennedy for more than a year and that Sunday evening program with Furman and Kennedy will continue.  Fox Sports Radio VP/GM Don Martin states, “We couldn’t be happier to have Andy and Artrell hosting our new morning drive program.  The combination of a sports talk pro like Andy and a former professional football player like Artrell will be a great addition to our weekday lineup.”  Fox Sports Daybreak replaces the Zakk and Jack program on the FSRN schedule.

Cumulus Media Flips WMTI-FM, New Orleans from Oldies to Sports Talk.  The Big Easy gets a new sports talk outlet as Cumulus Media drops the oldies on WMTI-FM and goes sports talk with programming from Fox Sports Radio Network, Premiere NetworksJim Rome and a PM drive show hosted by New Orleans Hornets broadcaster Gerry Vaillancourt.

New FM Talk Outlet for Little Rock.  Crain Media Group drops the active rock on KKSP-FM, Bryant, Arkansas (located to the Northwest of Little Rock) and debuts a talk format it’s calling “Fresh Talk 93.3.”  The lineup includes market news personality Neal Gladner in morning drive, Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham, Dial Global’s Clark Howard, Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” and more.

Progressive Talk Appears on WVKO, Columbus.  The station at 1580 AM is owned by Bernard Ohio LLC and its website indicates it’s doing business as Clear Conscience Communications.  The progressive talk lineup that debuted on January 2 includes Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann and Bill Press plus Mike Malloy and Leslie Marshall.

Chris Schoenewald Exits Virginia-Based “Daily Constitutional” Program.  The regionally syndicated “Daily Constitutional” – based out of WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia and co-hosted by Joe Thomas and Chris Schoenewald – is undergoing changes as Schoenewald is leaving the program to run for office.  He plans to announce which office he’ll seek soon.  Thomas tells TALKERS the program will continue.  “Adam Forster of Virginia Living Television and private investigator/TV anchor Nikki Lewis will be purchasing Schoenewald’s share and we’re hopeful to continue to grow and help stations in this area program locally oriented talk while freeing up their resources for news and marketing efforts.”  The “Daily Constitutional” airs live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  In addition, Thomas hosts the morning drive program on WCHV-AM/FM.

Sam Malone in Israel.  KSEV, Houston morning host Sam Malone is pictured here inspecting the cockpit of an Israeli F-16 during a tour of the Hatzor Air Force Base while on a trip to Israel.  Malone broadcast his program live back to his Houston audience (via the very capable technology of the Comrex ACCESS) during which he interviewed numerous Houstonians serving in the IDF, important Israeli media figures and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.  Malone tells TALKERS magazine his audience loved the content and his marketing department was able to get the broadcast event sponsored.

Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions, Holiday Sports Action and New Year Retrospectives Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/2).  Today’s Iowa Caucuses for GOP candidates, the nuclear ambitions of the Iranian leadership, college and pro holiday sports action and 2011 retrospectives were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, December 19, 2011

| December 19, 2011

Filling in for the Holidays.  Today marks the beginning of “holiday fill-in season” on talk radio which pretty much runs through the rest of the year.  It is the time when a significant percentage of full-time hosts working at individual radio stations (and even syndicated hosts for that matter) take all or part of their annual vacations.  This process provides fill-in hosts and part-time weekend and bench hosts with the opportunity to get out there and hopefully shine.  It also has the potential to provide listeners with fresh voices and perspectives.  And it always presents already overworked programmers with the challenge of keeping their schedules flowing and appealing.  They want someone who is professional and interesting – but they also want someone who won’t upset the applecart of stationality or listener expectations.  WGN, Chicago PD Bill White explains, “I equate a fill-in host to someone hosting a dinner party in someone else’s home.  Fill-in hosts should be respectful of the regular host’s audience but not rearrange all the furniture.  We also look for fill-in hosts who will be comfortable and compliment the regular host’s audience.”  Thus, qualified substitutes are a valuable commodity at this time of year when the demand for their services is drastically increased, especially when most stations’ air staffs have been cut back or depleted due to the economy and PDs must look for help from outside.  For example, one of the industry’s most popular substitutes, former congressman and KFYI, Phoenix talk host J.D. Hayworth is subbing for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated host Todd Schnitt on 12/20 and 12/28.  He’ll be heard on hosting local shows on KXNT-FM, Las Vegas on 12/23 and 12/29-30; WLS, Chicago on 12/24, 28-30; WGST, Atlanta on 12/26; KOGO-AM/FM, San Diego on 12/27; and WPHT, Philadelphia on 12/28-30.  Demand for quality substitutes is so high that some hosts already doing full-time work use it as an opportunity to pick up extra income and exposure.  As if he is not already doing enough on his “regular” gigs, hard working and extremely talented Clear Channel talk host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (KPRC, Houston; WOAI, San Antonio; KOA, Denver; and “The Weekend”) fills in for Premiere Networks syndicated star Glenn Beck on 12/20, 23, 28 and 30. This year’s holiday season coming in the thick of the big election cycle creates even more pressure to keep stations on track.  Greater Media-owned WTKK-FM, Boston PD Grace Blazer tells TALKERS, “It’s important at 96.9 FM-WTKK to provide our audience with relevant shows throughout the holiday season that are timely and topical.  Our host vacation schedules are scattered and their fill-ins are often regular participants to their shows and share similar philosophies.  Since January 2012 is a huge month for presidential politics and New Hampshire is our neighbor, I think it’s imperative to keep 96.9 Boston Talks ‘primarily’ intact and compelling.”  At Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ, Fresno, PD Skip Essick likes to avoid throwing curves to listeners, “I try and keep programming as normal as possible.  This year it will not be as much of a challenge with Christmas Eve and Day on the weekend – same thing over New Years.  But, for instance, the day after Thanksgiving – which was designated as a company holiday – I ran full staff with regular programming.  I’ll do the same for Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, and the numerous Monday holidays throughout the year.  In a nutshell – if our listeners are at work, so are we.”  Some hosts prefer to work over the holidays and at Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, New York, program director Scott Lakefield tells TALKERS that’s the case.  “For instance, John Gambling began a ‘tradition’ of sorts of taking his ‘holiday’ vacation in January.  He will be live 12/27-30.  Generally speaking, though, my theory is to try to do ‘best-of’ compendium shows during vacation times, with the exception of drive-time when information is a bigger component and it is thus necessary to be live.  Guest hosts in my experience drive far more listeners away than hearing some ‘classic’ moments from their favorite hosts does.”  In the sports talk radio world this situation can be particularly compelling since so many outlets have a high percentage of local full-time hosts and thus more slots to fill.  Plus, opinions and personality categories in sports talk are often more idiosyncratic than general news/talk, making it more challenging to find the proper fit.  CBS-owned Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh PD Terry Foxx tells TALKERS, “Holiday fill-in for us is very important.  I match up our part-time hosts based on how I feel they will entertain and incite opinions from our fans in certain day parts.”  Some stations have fill-in hosts with a history at the station such as veteran TV/radio personality Wayne Powers who subs for Keith Larson on WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte 12/26-30…  and the list goes on.  J.D. Hayworth, who is looking to get back into the business on a regular basis as either a local or syndicated host, tells TALKERS, “As a genuine ‘broadcasting baby boomer,’ I remember the ubiquitous Robert Q. Lewis on TV game shows: most frequently, a panelist…but quite frequently, a guest host…and eventually a regular host!  So, I’m being ‘Lewis-like’ over the holidays!  During my years at N.C. State, the joke was Lou Holtz recruited me at right tackle, but I ended up ‘left out!’  So…I’m used to waiting on the the bench, but very happy to get loads of holiday airtime. I’m certain these appearances will help me leave the bench and get back in the game full time!”

John Thompson Ends Regular Talk Show at WTEM, Washington.  The iconic former Georgetown University basketball coach and talk host in the DC market since 1999 will step away from his regular show on Red Zebra’s WTEM in February to pursue other interests.  Red Zebra director of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “While a sad day for the station, we fully support Coach Thompson’s decision to move on to other projects.  As Coach and I discussed at the time of his decision, this is not a retirement.  His fans will still hear Coach Thompson on ESPN980 from time to time.  Thompson’s program airs from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm daily with co-host Doc Walker.  Sapienza doesn’t state what the station’s plans are after Thompson steps down.

Chattanooga’s Brewer Media to Drop News/Talk on WPLZ-FM Citing Expense of the Format.  It’s been three years since the locally owned Brewer Media put a news/talk format on WPLZ-FM, Chattanooga.  Owner Jim Brewer II tells the Chattanooga Times Free Press he would have needed more staff to be competitive in the market.  “I think we offered a good product and I will miss having news/talk in our building…being a small, single market cluster, it’s exceedingly difficult to compete against national broadcasting companies who have so much syndicated programming and infrastructure.”  The station will flip to an unspecified music format in the new year and will lay off talk hosts Robert T. Nash and David Karnes as well as PD Gary Poole, news director Louis Lee and a couple other employees.  Brewer Media owns three other FMs in the market including sports talk WALV – ESPN 105.1.

Birach Broadcasting Flips WWCS, Pittsburgh to Sports; Affiliates with Fox Sports Radio.  Birach Broadcasting has been airing a Spanish music format on the signal but flips to sports on January 1 as Fox Sports 540.  It’ll take most of the Fox Sports Radio Network-distributed lineup – Zakk & Jack, the Dan Patrick show, “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and JT the Brick plus Premiere NetworksJim Rome.  FSRN vice president and general manager Don Martin states, “After a short hiatus, Fox Sports Radio is thrilled to be heard again in the great city of Pittsburgh!”  The network was previously affiliated with Clear Channel’s WBGG.  In addition to CC’s WBGG, CBS Radio operates sports KDKA-FM in the market.

Dr. Jenn Berman to Host New VH1 Program “Couples Therapy.”  Los Angeles-based psychotherapist and host of the Sirius XM talk show, “The Love and Sex Show with Dr. Jenn,” is the host of a new cable TV show produced by Irwin Entertainment, the producers of “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.”  The program will follow the travails of five celebrity couples and they go through therapy with Dr. Jenn Berman.  Shows hit the air in the spring.  Dr. Berman tells TALKERS magazine, “It’s such a pleasure to be a part of this exciting venture on VH1.  I’m looking forward to being that connecting link between viewers and the process of examining the challenges of a celebrity relationship.  I think people will be very surprised by how much they identify with these celebs and their personal struggles.”  Couples taking part in the program are: DMX (Rapper) & Tashera Simmons, Linda Hogan (“Hogan Knows Best”) & Charlie Hill, Chris Nirschel (“The Next Food Network Star”) & Angelina Pivarnick (“Jersey Shore”), Kasey Kahl (“Bachelorette”) & Vienna Girardi (“The Bachelor”) and Reichen Lehmkuhl & Rodiney Santiago (“The A-List: New York”).

Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels Named to State Travel Commission.  Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announces WJIM, Lansing-based talk host Michael Patrick Shiels – heard throughout the state via the Michigan Talk Network – will serve on the Michigan Travel Commission.  “One of the key components to building a better and stronger Michigan is to continuously promote all the attractions our state has to offer, including our beautiful lakes and great landmarks.  Michael Patrick Shiels is a great addition and uniquely positioned to be a great asset to the commission.”  In addition to his radio work, Shiels is a travel writer and founder of TravelTattler.com.  Subject to approval by the Michigan Senate, Shiels will serve the remainder of Jim Berryman’s term through September 2014. Berryman recently resigned.

Ira Weintraub Takes PD Role at WTKA, Ann Arbor.  Cumulus Media Ann Arbor names APD and morning show producer Ira Weintraub program director for sports talk outlet WTKA – The Ticket 1050.  Market manager Matt Spaulding says, “Ann Arbor is a market with a tradition of providing compelling, passionate and relevant broadcast products to the listeners of southeast Michigan.  Ira Weintraub has absolutely earned this promotion and we are confident that he will help lead WTKA to many more years of broadcasting success.”

WGN, Chicago’s Milt Rosenberg Hosts 2011 Retrospective Tonight.  “Extension 720” host Milt Rosenberg hosts a special edition of his program this evening (12/19) titled, “WGN Year in Review” with fellow WGN personalities Garry Meier, John Williams and David Kaplan.  The hosts will look back on the stories that made the year 2011 from the Rod Blagojevich case to the death of Osama bin Laden to the hiring of Theo Epstein as the Cubs’ general manager.  The program airs at 10:00 pm.