Tag: "Jeff Haley"

Can the Radio Station Overcome Smothering Debt and Become
a Viable Business Again?

| May 2, 2013

Mike Kinosian, Managing Editor
RadioInfo and Talkers

LOS ANGELES — Chalk it up to misreading the economic tealeaves or perhaps to good old-fashioned avarice, but several radio groups have fallen victim to the, “(S)he who has the most toys, wins” hypothesis.

Debt #1Monopoly Board“Winners” managing to run the board in today’s all too real game of Radio Monopoly are rewarded by becoming further ensconced in deeper, darker, debt.

Administer sodium pentothal to a cross-section of radio managers and the overwhelming majority will vociferously state that, owing to its cookie-cutter nature and mounting pressure to deliver grossly unrealistic percentages to the bottom line, the business is no longer fun. Countless executives at high-billing, strong ratings performing outlets have been unduly placed in the gut-wrenching position of laying off personnel and making other vital cutbacks – forced to share the load of paying for what could be considered out-of-control acquisition sins at the corporate level.

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A Conversation with Marketron President and CEO Jeff Haley

| February 4, 2013

HAILEY, IDAHO — Jeff Haley is president and chief executive officer of Marketron, the, Hailey, Idaho-headquartered company that is the media industry’s leading provider of business software solutions and services.  Prior to joining Marketron almost a year ago, Haley served as the president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB). Prior to that he served as senior vice president for Time haleyjeffWarner Global Marketing where he was responsible for creating marketing programs for some of the largest advertisers in the U.S.  Haley worked extensively in advertising sales and marketing at Time Inc. and Children’s Television Workshop (CTW).  He is on the board of directors for the Ad Council and a member of the Arbitron Radio advisory council.  He also serves as co-chair of the Radio Creative Fund (RCF), the governing body of the Radio-Mercury Awards. Haley holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of the Holy Cross and attended Boston University’s School of Management. The TALKERS interview with Jeff Haley was conducted by Michael Harrison.

TALKERS:  What led you to leave the RAB and join Marketron?  Erica Farber - then a recently signed-up VP of the RAB – has publically stated that she was surprised by your announcement to leave (which led to her ascending to your position).  What happened to spark the decision?

JH: At the RAB, my goal was to reenergize the radio advertising business, taking advantage of all that radio does best. The time I spent there was the perfect preparation for this role – which focuses on providing stations the support they need to be as successful as possible in a new, much more competitive environment.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

| February 4, 2013

kochedEd Koch the Broadcaster Remembered.  The passing of former New York City Mayor Ed Koch early Friday morning elicited some remembrances from two people who worked closely with him – John Mainelli, the program director of WABC who hired him, and Curtis Sliwa, one of his fellow talk hosts at WABC, New York.  Mainelli tells TALKERS magazine, “I hired him right after he left office.  It wasn’t long before he was #1 in his time slot (11:00 am to 12:00 noon).  There was asliwacurtis time when both he, Limbaugh and Bob Grant were #1 in their slots.  Ed wanted to know who was the leader of the three, asking me, “How #1 am I?”  He was A-No.1.  A great guy.  A nice guy.  A champ.  I really, really liked him.”  Curtis Sliwa says of Koch’s death, “The passing of Mayor Koch was not only a tremendous loss for our city, but a tremendous loss for the radio dial. Ed Koch was no fan of mine, nor were the Guardian Angels while he was Mayor.  While we were colleagues at 77WABC, and I was his lead-in with Lisa, our relationship improved but you wouldn’t call us friends.  When I got shot in June of 1992, the first image that I saw hovering over my hospital bed in ICU was that of Ed Koch.  Immediately, my first thought was that I’d died and gone straight to Hell without an asbestos suit.  I didn’t die though (I think Ed was almost as disappointed as the Gottis about that) and our relationship continued to improve over the years and for a long time, I’ve been proud to call him a friend.  He was a regular guest on my radio show on WABC and at ‘AM 970 The Answer.’  He was my colleague at NY1 and he was the only person I’d ever met who loved this city more than I did.”  SiriusXM broadcast the special program “Ed Koch: The Voice of Reason,” a two-hour tribute devoted to the life and career of Mayor Koch on its Bloomberg Radio channel on Friday, February 1 at 7:00 pm ET.

kinosianmikeComing to TALKERS This Week: The Talk Radio Watchdog.  There was a time in the early days of the modern talk radio era when most markets could lay claim to at least one talk show host considered to be the local “watchdog.”  He or she was feared by the power brokers in city hall and had a reputation for having the backs of the regular folks.  They are not as prevalent in the format as they once were but they are still out there.  Does the industry still value this breed of talk host?  Does the public still want to listen to them?  Do their station managers support them?  TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian speaks with some of today’s “watchdogs” to get answers to these and other questions about their craft.  His story comes to Talkers.com this week.

zach and rammerWXOS, St. Louis Adds Bob “Rammer” Ramsey to Mid-Morning Show.  Hubbard Broadcasting’s sports talk WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” moves Bob “Rammer” Ramsey to the mid-morning slot alongside Zach McCrite for the “Zach and Rammer” show.  McCrite has been on the air in the slot with “The Coach” Rick Venturi who exits the station to be closer to family in Indiana.  Ramsey moves to the slot from the evening show he co-hosted with Brian Stull.  Ramsey is also the “Voice of the Billikens” – a position he has held for the past 26 years – handling the play-by-play duties for Saint Louis University’s Men’s Basketball games, along with co-host and analyst Earl Austin, Jr.

grahammichaelMichael Graham Debuts Massachusetts-Wide Talk Show Today.  Former WTKK, Boston talk radio star Michael Graham begins a new, daily midday talk show today that will air on four stations across Massachusetts.  Graham’s program – airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm – will be heard on Money Matters Radio’s WBNW, Concord; WPLM-AM, Plymouth; and WESO, Southbridge as well as Carter Broadcasting’s WCRN, Worcester.  Graham hosted the mid-morning program on Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston until the station flipped to a music format after the New Year.

cookehollandHow to Pump Up Your Weekend “How-To” Show.  Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke says, “Few marketing opportunities can generate more new business than local talk radio…if you use it properly.”  Cooke says that weekend how-to shows that are done well provide listeners with two things: information and the chance for interaction.  And, he says the programs have a two-fold purpose. “The well-executed show sets the table for what marketers call ‘conversion,’ moving prospects through the sales funnel.  And the how-to hosts I coach aren’t just producing new leads.  Making what comes out the speaker as engaging and informative and relatable as possible also racks up more Average Quarter Hours for the station.”  Read Holland Cooke’s suggestions for producing quality weekend “how-to” programs here.

walusekmeredithOdds & Sods.  At CBS Radio’s sports talk WHFS, Tampa “98.7 The Fan,” Meredith Walusek exits her role on the Kirk & Dinger morning drive show to join the cluster’s rhythmic CHR WLLD for its Orlando & the Freakshow morning program…..Ryan Giles joins Hubbard Broadcasting’s sports talk KSTP, Minneapolis as director of marketing and promotions.  Giles previously served as promotions director and webmaster at Shamrock Communications’ alternative KMYZ “Z-104.5 The Edge” and classic hits KTSO “94.1 The Sound” in Tulsa…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington, DC is honoring the local Easter Seals chapter in its Charity of the Month program.  The Easter Seals serving DC, Maryland and Virginia will receive more than $30,000 in free air-time and in-kind contributions, including on-air promotions and content on WTOP.com.  The WTOP Charity of the Month program highlights one local charity every month in order to raise community awareness, support events and help with fundraising efforts…..WEEI, Boston’s play-by-play of Boston Celtics basketball games is being made available via free streaming on WEEI.com, the WEEI Live mobile app and the new Boston Celtics Mobile App.  WEEI’s Celtics broadcast will also be available via the TuneIn app.

haleyjeffA Conversation with Marketron President and CEO, Jeff  Haley.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison speaks with Jeff Haley, the president and CEO of media industry software solutions and service giant Marketron.  The conversation, which serves as the basis of today’s (2/4) posted TALKERS interview, covers a variety of subjects of importance to radio sales and administrative executives including re-energizing the advertising end of radio and guiding the medium’s evolution into creating integrated cross-platform buys in this new digital era. He talks about the cloud, as well as the new relationship between radio’s front and back offices, the need to reassess FCC regulations moving forward and the balance between local and national programming on the individual station level.   On the subject of dealing with the advertising industry’s reaction to controversy on news/talk radio, Haley tells TALKERS, ” Depends what you mean by controversy – and what your appetite is for it.  Benign controversy can pull listeners in. That said, controversy that reflects poorly on the station can be a turn off and cause advertisers to abandon.  Best to talk to your partners along the way, prepare them, and include them in your decision-making process.”  To read the entire TALKERS interview with Jeff Haley, click here.

bearmanethan“Nerd” Talk Show Host Shares Tips on Pulling Off an Expedient International Remote Broadcast.  One of the brightest young news/talk hosts on the rise today, Ethan Bearman of KSCO, Santa Cruz and Genesis Communications Network shares the story of his recent adventure in simple-yet-effective remote broadcasting in which he conveniently packed a bag of all the gear necessary to capture an interview with a Times of London reporter under the tightest of security restrictions at the Houses of Parliament in London to get an international perspective on the American presidential election.   Check it out by clicking here.

sexyliberalStephanie Miller Returns to Chicago with Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour.  Along with comedy (and radio) partners John Fugelsang and Hal Sparks, WYD Media nationally syndicated talk radio star Stephanie Miller brings her successful “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” back to the Windy City for a date at the historic Chicago Theatre on April 13.  The ongoing comedy tour has benefitted from cross-promotion on Miller’s radio program as well as her digital platforms.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

| April 5, 2012

Dave Ramsey and Daughter Rachel Cruze Present Program to Sold Out L.A. Audience.  Nationally syndicated money talk radio star Dave Ramsey appeared at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, April 3 before a sold-out crowd of 1,200 for affiliate KFWB, Los Angeles.  The subject of the evening was family and money and Ramsey’s daughter Rachel Cruze appeared with him as Ramsey shared his key principles on handling money and navigating family relationships.  Cruze answered the oft-asked question, “What was it like growing up in Dave Ramsey’s house?”  She also discussed how to teach kids life lessons, like the dangers of debt and the value of saving and giving.  The event benefitted Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles.  KFWB general manager Valerie Blackburn says, “We are thrilled with the event last night.  It’s always a pleasure working with Dave, and adding his daughter Rachel into the mix just made it that much better.  The audience looked terrific – it was a packed house of multi-generational listeners.  KFWB couldn’t have asked for a more successful evening!”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Howard Freshman, KFWB marketing director; Rosemary Hernandez, general sales manager; Dave Ramsey; Rachel Cruze; Valerie Blackburn, general manager; and Andy Ludlum, program director.

CBS Radio Signs on with TuneIn to Make Spoken-Word Content Available Online.  CBS Radio announces it has inked a non-exclusive agreement with TuneIn to have content from its more than 40 news/talk, sports and all-news stations available via smartphones and the web.  CBS local digital media president Ezra Kucharz states, “We have always believed in the value of great local content, and this agreement validates the demand we know exists for our original programming while at the same time creates a new revenue source for the company.  By forging relationships with premiere distribution services such as TuneIn, CBS Radio will significantly grow its audiences by exposing our content to new listeners.”

Talk Legend Gene Burns Recovering from Stroke.  It’s been no secret that San Francisco talk icon Gene Burns has been off the air at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KKSF.  On Tuesday (4/3), he posted the following on the NewsTalk 910 KKSF website:  “To my listeners and friends in the NewsTalk 910 family.  The past few weeks has brought a great number of changes, and a vast silence.  For the silence, please accept my apologies.  I have been recovering from a stroke, which has affected the speech center of my brain in the form of aphasia.  In this third month of recovery, I am enthusiastic and thankful for the progress I have made, due in no small part to the great amount of help I have received from UCSF, St. Francis, and the Sutter Health care groups. Most days, I have speech therapy and visits from great friends and colleagues.  I would like to wish everybody well, and to say thank you to the NewsTalk910 family for sticking by me.  Many of the NewsTalk 910 line-up of hosts have reached out, including of course Len Tillem, my long time friend and advisor.  A special thank you to my colleagues; to John, Gil, Rosie, Ed, Dr. Bill, James and the rest for stepping up to the plate for me.  Most importantly; thank you to all of you who listen, Tweet, Facebook and tell friends about me, and my program.  Although I do not have a specific date for my return to the air, I listen each day to NewsTalk 910, giving me motivation to re-join the conversation about the issues of the day.”

Dial Global Touts NCAA Final Four Radio Listenership: More Than 20 Million Unique Listeners.  As it did with its coverage of the NFL Conference Championships and the Super Bowl, Dial Global hired Edison Research to study how many Americans heard its coverage of the NCAA Final Four on the 512 radio stations across the country that carried it.  Edison estimates 20.6 million tuned in to hear some portion of the broadcasts on Saturday, March 31 and Monday, April 2.  Dial Global co-president and CEO David Landau says, “We are pleased that our previous research findings still hold true, people desire play-by-play sports on radio in a big way.  Dial Global is proud to connect with fans nationwide through the greatest moments from America’s most popular sporting events.”

Jeff Haley Named CEO at Marketron.  Industry watchers suspected that Jeff Haley had another gig lined up before leaving his position with the Radio Advertising Bureau, making way for Erica Farber to assume leadership of that organization.  Haley will begin his term as president and chief executive officer of Marketron on April 16.  A statement from Marketron says Haley “brings this tremendous experience to Marketron, where he plans to continue the company’s impressive growth since the launch of Mediascape, the media industry’s first open technology platform.  Haley is excited to maintain and grow Marketron’s position as the leader in the space, and continue to provide its customers the standard in business efficiencies to increase revenues.”

Genesis Communications Media Names Bill Bokunic WIXC, Melbourne-Cocoa Beach Market Manager.  Bill Bokunic will have two roles with Florida-based Genesis Communications Media: First, he’ll serve as market manager for 1060 News WIXC, Melbourne-Cocoa Beach; he’ll also serve as director of sales-news business for Genesis’ Orlando radio cluster.  He’ll be handling the planning and marketing for Genesis’ ESPNFLORIDA.com and NEWSTALKFLORIDA.com and its event division which includes a partnership with Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.  Bokunic states, “I have been looking to relocate back to Central Florida in the media business.  I am grateful for this opportunity to oversee the marketing of the digital publications, events, as well as the radio stations for Genesis in Central Florida.  Genesis is moving rapidly into the multi-platform marketing business and I am thrilled to be a part of this business plan.”

Premiere Networks Promotes Bill Hickey to SVP of Engineering.  Bill Hickey moves up from VP to SVP and Premiere notes he takes on some new duties.  In this new position, Hickey will now be responsible for directing all studio operations and administration, while continuing to oversee engineering and technical operations for Premiere Networks’ studio facilities nationwide, including Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Chicago and Florida.  Hickey will also continue to manage the company’s XDS satellite and internet-based delivery systems, Network Operations Center, and other studio and construction projects, as well as supervise a team of nearly 50 employees.

Canadian Pubcaster to Cut 650 Positions to Deal with $200 Million Shortfall.  The CBC is announcing it plans to eliminate some 650 jobs in order to handle a federal government funding decrease of $115 million over three years combined with improvements in service the public broadcasting corporation has vowed to enact that makes for an approximate $200 million shortfall over three years.  Reports indicate about 450 jobs will be lost this year with the rest to come over the next three years.  Marc-Philippe Laurin is president of the CBC/Radio Canada branch of the Canadian Media Guild which represents most CBC employees outside Quebec.  He tells the Globe and Mail, “Mostly, our members work in news.  It’s what the CBC does most of with the staff it has.  So it’s going to have an impact, but we’re expecting more details on that stuff in the days to come.”

Melody Burns Celebrates Three Years On Air in Albany.  Local business consultant Melody Burns began hosting a brokered program on Paul Vandenburgh’s WGDJ, Albany three years ago.  She quickly transitioned to a full-time paid talent and is, as she describes herself, “the only female conservative” on the air in Albany.  Burns’ initial effort – called “Women IN” – focused on showcasing women in business and current events of interest.  Her first program featured a local female cardiologist.  She enters her fourth year on the radio doing the daily 11:00 am to 12:00 noon conservative talk show as well as a three-hour Saturday program.  Burns tells TALKERS, “The best part of everyday is receiving not just the ‘good job – thanks for the ‘information’ e-mails but the ‘you are a right wing radical’ or ‘you are ignorant trash,’ or ‘you’re a right-wing extremist’ or one of my favorites, ‘you are Savage, Limbaugh and Levin in a skirt!’ e-mails.  I would call Paul Vandenburgh the Yoda of talk radio – at least that’s what he has been to me.”

GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Iran’s Role in Afghan Violence, Muslim Brotherhood’s Station in Egyptian Politics, Paul Ryan Budget, and European Economic Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/4).  The Republican primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign; concerns over Iran’s suspected role in Afghanistan violence; the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt’s evolving political scene; debate over the Republicans’ Paul Ryan-authored budget; and new worries about Europe’s economic stability were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

KKOB, Albuquerque Celebrates 90 Years On Air Today.  It was April 5, 1922 when the original KOB went on the air from Las Cruces, New Mexico (original studio pictured here).  The station would move to Albuquerque in 1932.  It moved up the dial to its current 770 frequency and boosted its power to 50,000 watts in 1941.  Cumulus Albuquerque operations manager Pat Frisch tells TALKERS the station’s calls changed to KKOB in 1986 when Hubbard sold the station to Citadel.  Hubbard wanted the KOB calls for the TV station that it still owns today.  New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has declared today “770 KKOB Day.”

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

| April 4, 2012

Cumulus Dallas Goes into Storm Coverage Mode as Twisters Hit Metro Area.  The Dallas cluster of Cumulus Media reacted swiftly to the severe storms and tornadoes that hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area yesterday, led by news/talk sister stations WBAP and KLIF.  Operations manager Tyler Cox tells TALKERS that the stations had a great opportunity to super-serve the community.  “WBAP (820 AM/96.7 FM) and KLIF (570AM) began simulcasting continuous coverage.  Shortly after that, the remaining stations in the Cumulus cluster (sports KTCK 1310 AM, KSCS-FM, KPLX-FM and KLIF-FM) joined with us to create a six-station simulcast reaching countless numbers of listeners with life-saving information.”  Cox says all six went into non-stop, commercial-free weather coverage with the news/talk stations’ reporters and listeners providing on-the-scene information all across North Texas.  Preliminary reports indicate no fewer than 12 tornadoes formed in the region and, although there is widespread destruction, there are no fatalities confirmed at this time.

KFI, Los Angeles Adds New Weekend Shows; Adds Diversity to Lineup.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles is adding a two-hour early evening program on Saturdays hosted by Morris O’Kelly, the producer and co-host of sister progressive talk station KTLK’s “Diverse L.A.” Also, KTLK PM drive host David Cruz will host a Sunday early evening program on KFI.  In a statement, Clear Channel says the purpose of the new shows is to “discuss, dissect and investigate the important, often controversial issues of the day through the eyes of an eclectic collection of Southern California residents, urbanites and suburbanites, young and old, across race, gender and the political spectrum.”  Morris O’Kelly states, “I’ve wanted to do a show like this for a long time – to dig into what Southern Californians think and why.  Opinions are as diverse as the population and I think we’re going to shed light on issues that really matter.”

Erica Farber Replaces Jeff Haley as President and CEO of the RAB.  The board of directors of the Radio Advertising Bureau announces Erica Farber, who joined the RAB in late 2011, will replace Jeff Haley as president and CEO of the organization as Haley exits to pursue a new opportunity.  RAB board chairman and EVP Scott Herman says of the move, “Erica is an excellent selection with the relevant skills and expertise to lead the RAB.  She brings an impressive track record in radio sales and management.  In addition, Erica has a clear understanding of the organization and what the broadcast industry requires from the RAB.  She has demonstrated a strong capacity of working with multiple constituencies which is critical to the RAB role.  We thank Jeff for his guidance and leadership the past five years in helping to shape an organization that fits the radio and media landscape today.  He’s left an indelible imprint on the industry and we thank him for his service and commitment.”

Budget Mandate Forces WBSM, New Bedford to Release Talk Host Ken Pittman.  Local officials are decrying Cumulus Media’s decision to eliminate Ken Pittman’s local afternoon drive talk show on WBSM, New Bedford, Massachusetts.  The New Bedford Standard-Times reports New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell even wrote to Cumulus COO John Dickey to express how area residents are upset with the loss of local programming.  “The local programming available on WBSM, including local news, talk and sports coverage, is truly valued by the thousands of listeners the station draws from the New Bedford region,” he wrote.  Meanwhile, station programming manager Pete Braley tells the paper local management made the cut reluctantly after being mandated by corporate to trim expenses and realizing that someone had to go.  With Pittman out, mid-morning host Phil Paleologos will move to PM drive and do more news event coverage.  The station brings Salem Radio NetworksMike Gallagher in for late mornings to cover Paleologos’ slot.  That leaves the station with four hours of local programming: morning drive and a 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm program.

Management Change at Cumulus Washington, DC; Jeff Boden Exits.  President and general manager Jeff Boden has left the building at Cumulus Media’s Washington, DC station group that includes news/talk WMAL-AM/FM.  DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes reports Sam Rogers – former CBS Radio Washington cluster chief and Cumulus VP of political and platform sales – has taken over Boden’s role at the stations.  Hughes reports that rumors have more cuts coming to the DC cluster in the near future, although it’s hard to predict which stations and what positions will be affected.

Damon “The Bulldog” Yaffe Joins WNST, Baltimore.  Nestor Aparicio-owned sports talk outlet WNST, Baltimore announces Damon “The Bulldog” Yaffe becomes part of the late-morning show on the station alongside Paul Mittermeier and Greg Marsh.  A release from the station states, “Yaffe’s crew will focus on all Baltimore sports with fun conversation, guests and lots of banter about the state of the local sporting universe including the Orioles, Ravens, Terps, and local lacrosse.”  Yaffe had previously worked at CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talker WJZ-FM.

Bankruptcy Filing Leaves Broadcasters in Financial Lurch.  The bankruptcy filing of tax resolution company TaxMasters is forcing a number of broadcasting companies – including CNN, Dial Global, Fox News Channel and others – to face the fact they will likely receive little if anything of what the company owes them.  Forbes reports that Time Warner’s CNN is owed the largest amount for ads aired on the cable news channel: $2.6 million.  Other broadcasters are also listed as unsecured creditors.  News Corp’s Fox News Channel is out $938,414; Dial Global is owed $676,000; MSNBC stands to lose $259,441; and ESPN is out $94,265.  TaxMasters and CEO Patrick Cox were hit with a $195 million verdict in Texas for violating the state’s Deceptive Trade Violations Act.  It lists assets of just $1.7 million.

Bob Visotcky Takes VP Sales Position at Cumulus Los Angeles.  Bob Visotcky moves over from his market manager post at Cumulus Media’s Oxnard-Ventura stations to the Los Angeles cluster where he’ll become vice president of sales representing news/talk KABC and classic rock KLOS-FM.

GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Race, Supreme Court-ObamaCare Issue, Ryan Budget, Twisters Hit Dallas, and Trayvon Martin Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/3).  The ongoing GOP primary race and the greater 2012 presidential campaign, the charges President Obama is pressuring the Supreme Court in its judgment of the legality of the Patient Care and Affordability Act of 2010, Congressman Paul Ryan’s Republican House budget proposal, tornadoes sweep through the Dallas-Fort Worth area and the Trayvon Martin case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

| November 15, 2011

Radio Not Alone in Cuts; CNN Eliminates 50 Positions.  Changes in technology and an analysis of its own efficiency have caused CNN to cut some 50 positions in the trenches according to a report in TVNewser.  After a three-year study of the news organization’s operations, senior vice president Jack Womack writes in a memo to staffers, “Technology investments in our newsrooms now allow more desk-top editing and publishing for broadcast and online.  As a result of these technology and workflow changes, CNN is reducing the number of media editors in our work force in Atlanta.”  The report notes 12 positions in the Washington, DC bureau have been eliminated as well as jobs in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.

All-New Cumulus Down 1.9% in Q3.  In a conference call with analysts, Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey reported that third quarter revenue for the newly acquired Citadel group of stations was down 2.3%, the Cumulus Media Partners stations – the old Susquehanna group stations that made up CMP which Cumulus finished purchasing in August, down 3.4% while Cumulus proper was down 0.6% in the third quarter compared to the same quarter one year ago.  Dickey reports the company is ahead of schedule with its plan to achieve almost $52 million in “synergies” before January.  He states, “We now have a true national platform with a large and liquid market capitalization and a flexible, covenant-light debt complex that is designed to optimize free cash flow and de-risk the equity.  Our team is making excellent progress on the Citadel integration and is energized by the upside potential of our newly transformed platform.”

RAB Names Erica Farber Executive Vice President.  The Radio Advertising Bureau announces it is consolidating its Membership, Professional Development and Services units into one big group and that former Radio & Records publisher and CEO Erica Farber joins the organization as EVP as of January 1, 2012.  RAB president and CEO Jeff Haley says of Farber’s joining the organization, “I am thrilled about Erica joining the management team of the RAB.  We are at a pivotal time as we look to serve the industry and ensure our product offerings meet the demands of an evolving medium.  There’s no better executive for the role than Erica.”  In related moves at the RAB, Sheila Kirby exits the RAB’s Professional Development Group to take the senior vice president of sales training and development post at CBS RadioMichael Weiss, who serves as president of sales at CBS Radio says, “Sheila and I have worked together for close to 20 years, and there is no one I respect more when it comes to motivating a team to perform at their absolute best.  Working closely with Sheila, our sales force will have a clear advantage in the marketplace and advertisers will benefit greatly working with such a sophisticated group of salespeople dedicated to constructing integrated programs that guarantee results.”  Also from the RAB, Ron Ruth shifts from a full-time position with the RAB to a consulting role.

“The Broadside” Hosts Andrew Langer and Mark Newgent Fill in at WBAL, Baltimore.  Andrew Langer and Mark Newgent began their internet program, “The Broadside” several months ago.  Now, as Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore is airing various programs in its 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot, Langer and Newgent host their program on WBAL on November 14, 15 and 25.  Langer, who serves as president of the Institute for Liberty and the Small Business Political Alliance and was named by Campaigns and Elections as a Top Influencer in Maryland in 2011 and Newgent, who writes for TheExaminer.com and RedMaryland.blogspot.com and does research and analysis of politics and policy, say their plan “is to expand the horizons of traditional conservative talk, bringing in discussions (and guests) whose focuses are not only politics, but also movies, music and sports.”

CBS Radio Transitions ESPN High Desert to AM Signal; Goes All-Christmas on FM.  The ESPN High Desert sports talk outlet KVFG-FM, Victorville, California shifts to KRAK-AM as ESPN 910 so the FM signal can flip to an all-Christmas format.  There’s no indication what the group’s plans are for the FM signal after the holidays but it seems likely this is a prelude to a change to a music format.

Fox Sports Radio Los Angeles Raises Funds for Paralyzed Veterans.  AM 570 Fox Sports L.A. (KLAC) announces it raised almost $100,000 for the Paralyzed Veterans of America during its radiothon on November 9.  All the money raised during the “Loose Cannons” and “Petros & Money” shows that day will benefit the charity that provides rehab, access to services as well as research to cure spinal cord injuries.  Pictured here (from l-r) are “Loose Cannons” Steve Hartman, Pat O’Brien, Los Angeles Kings president of business operations Luc Robitaille and Vic “The Brick” Jacobs.  Robitaille was one of a number of local sports celebs who appeared on the program to help the cause.

SCOTUS to Hear Health Care Reform Arguments, 2012 Presidential Race and ‘Occupy Oakland’ Shut Down Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/14).  The United States Supreme Court’s agreement to hear arguments on President Obama’s Health Care Reform law, the 2012 presidential race and the shutdown of the ‘Occupy Oakland’ protests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.