Tag: "Jeff Weber"
Cumulus 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, 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.
News/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.
Brian 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. 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.”
J.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.”
Erickson 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.”
Rhode 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.
Michael 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 prepare 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.
MacGregor 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.”
WFAN, 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.
Odds & 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.”
WPHT 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.
‘AM 970 The Answer’ New York Host Curtis Sliwa Breaks up Fight During Remote Broadcast. Leave it to Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa to step away from the microphone just as he’s about to do a live commercial read to stop two New York City tour operators from getting arrested for fighting on the sidewalks of Manhattan. Sliwa broadcasts his morning program on Salem-owned WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” from the display window at the Hotel Pennsylvania on 7th Avenue (between 33rd and 34th) and this morning (10/16) just as he was heading into a commercial break, he noticed two tour bus operators – likely fighting over territory from which to recruit tourists – getting into a vicious fist fight. Sliwa left the remote studio to break up the fight and then returned to talk about the incident on the air with both former Governor David Paterson and guest New Jersey political analyst Steve Adubato. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes Sliwa as a real life superhero of sorts stating, “I once had the pleasure of meeting Curtis for lunch in New York. He shows up at the restaurant in his red satin jacket and beret and people from all over the place were coming up and saying ‘Hi, Curtis’ and giving him the high five. Between the ‘costume’ and the populist love coming his way, it felt like I was having lunch with Spiderman!”
Hear some of the audio here.
Status of KRLD-FM, Dallas’ Chris Arnold Uncertain After Plagiarism Charge. Sports talk personality Chris Arnold has been missing from the midday “G-Bag Nation” program at “105.3 The Fan” after being charged with plagiarizing copy from Cold Hard Football Facts writer Scott Kacsmar. Dallas Morning News writer Barry Horn reports that CBS Radio local management is investigating the case. After Arnold wrote a piece defending Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and posted it on the station’s website, Kacsmar contacted Arnold via a public Twitter exchange and Arnold admitted to using Kacsmar’s material and apologized. Arnold asked Kacsmar to appear on the radio but he refused and asked Arnold to apologize on the radio. To see Kacsmar’s documentation of the allegations of copying, click here.
Elander to Head Galaxy Communications’ Sports Marketing Unit. Galaxy Communications is expanding through the creation of a sports marketing unit and it brings in Ken Elander as the venture’s general manager. In addition to Galaxy Events, the company owns 14 New York State radio stations in Syracuse and Utica-Rome. Galaxy president/chief executive officer Ed Levine explains that the newly created sports marketing division will focus on “many and varied sports franchises” with which the company has a flagship/affiliate relationship in both of its radio markets. Levine says, “These include Syracuse University football, basketball, and lacrosse as well as the Utica Comets, Syracuse Crunch, Utica College, Buffalo Bills, and the New York Giants.” Commenting that he is “proud and excited” to be part of “this ambitious new division,” Elander adds, “Galaxy’s successful sports legacy provides a strong foundation for an even more successful future.” His background includes stints with Time Warner Cable and Syracuse’s WTVH-TV.
NextRadio and Tagstation Report: More Than 40,000 Downloads of FM Radio App. According to the mid-October report by Emmis’ TagStation team and NextRadio, the number of downloads of the app to operate the FM receiver on select mobile phones passed the 40,000 mark and is currently enjoying an 84% app retention rate. The report also notes that “more than 4,000 FM radio stations were tuned to from the app and more than 12,000 hours of listening through NextRadio” have taken place. The recent release of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is begin given credit for the interest. It’s also expected that more FM radio-enabled devices will be launched next month.
Ex-MLB Slugger and Radio Personality Jack Clark Strikes Back in Pujols ‘Juicer’ Allegation Case. When former MLB star Jack Clark was co-hosting a sports talk show on WGNU, St. Louis with Kevin Slaten, he stated he knew “for a fact” that former Cardinals player Albert Pujols used steroids. He also told the audience a former trainer told him that Pujols used steroids. Pujols filed suit against Clark in St. Louis County earlier this month charging Clark’s lies have caused him harm. Now, Clark is firing back requesting that both parties take polygraph tests and that whoever fails will have to apologize to the other. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Todd Frankel reports Clark’s attorney admits Clark used a poor choice of words since he didn’t have first-hand knowledge of steroid use by Pujols but relied on second-hand reports. Clark and Slaten had brokered the time for their show on WGNU from insideSTL Enterprises.
SoCal Radio Revenue Up 7.2% in September. According to the Southern California Broadcasters Association and Miller Kaplan Arase, LLC, there was a total market revenue surge in the region in September of 7.2%. SCBA president Thom Callahan says, “September produced impressive growth for the LA radio market. This critical swing month showcased some great revenue performances from our member stations, which maximized both local and national spot and blew the doors off digital revenue.” He adds, “On a year-to-date basis, Miller Kaplan Arase is reporting total revenue growth at 3.4% through September. However, our trend line during 3rd quarter 2013 reveals a 5.2% growth rate YTD for the same period. Simply put, Q3 was powerful and we see the same trend developing for Q4.” Callahan says that his organization is encouraged by activity in the insurance category even though the effects of the Affordable Care Act have not met their initial expectations.
Similar-Named Business Networks Merge. A transaction involving a Center Post Holdings division and Business TalkRadio Network has some resemblance to Abbott & Costello‘s “Who’s on first?” routine. Among other entities, Center Post Holdings owns/operates several media companies, including BizTV and Biz Talk Radionetworks. Here is where things get a bit interesting. CPH is acquiring Greenwich, Connecticut-based Business TalkRadio Network. Consulting operations officer of Business TalkRadio Network parent Blue Star Media Group, Jeff Weber, is named president of the network. “This acquisition fits nicely in our portfolio of media-centric assets,” notes Center Post Holdings executive vice president Scott Miller. “A number of programs are carried on both networks and we expect that number to expand as we integrate the operations. It’s a natural fit for us and we are ready to expand our suite of benefits to small business owners.” Siblings of Business TalkRadio Network include the Lifestyle TalkRadio Network and Greenwich, Connecticut talk outlet WGCH. Weber was executive vice president of Blue Star Media Group (June 2002 – December 2011) and rejoined the company one year ago (October 2012). The sale price is not immediately known.
Rich Zeoli Still Hosting Evening Show at WPHT. In our coverage of yesterday’s news of Rush Limbaugh’s and Sean Hannity’s return to CBS Radio’s WPHT, Philadelphia, TALKERS magazine delivered a run-down of the station’s new program schedule (beginning October 28) but failed to recognize evening host Rich Zeoli whose program airs from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm currently but will end at 9:00 pm when Sean Hannity’s show starts airing. TALKERS regrets the omission.
Odds & Sods. BlogTalkRadio partners with sports fan site SB Nation to create SB Nation Network – a destination for the latter’s official podcasts and a place where other sports audio content can be made available. In a piece in Tech Crunch, it notes that more than 50 sports talk shows are currently available on the SB Nation Network…..Mike Greenberg, co-host of ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” and author of the New York Times bestselling novel All You Could Ask For announces he and his wife Stacy Steponate Greenberg are donating $100,000 to The V Foundation for Cancer Research to combat breast cancer. The novel was written to honor the memory of the late Heidi Armitage, a close friend of Mike and Stacy’s, who died from the disease in 2009. In conjunction with the release of the book, Mike and Stacy created a foundation called Heidi’s Angels, through which all of the author’s profits from the sale of the book are being donated to The V Foundation to support breast cancer research…..CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS, St. Louis will soon simulcast the audio from KTVI-TV, St. Louis’ 6:00 pm newscast. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports KTRS GM Mark Dorsey says, “KTRS sees an opportunity to provide our listeners a chance to get caught up on their news, weather and sports while on their way home.”
Government Shutdown, Debt Ceiling, ObamaCare Implementation, Immigration Legislation, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/15). The struggle in Washington to re-open the federal government; the looming deadline for the nation’s debt limit; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the criticism of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; potential immigration legislation that would grant amnesty to illegals already in the U.S.; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
September PPM Numbers Continued: Highlights of Talk and Sports Stations. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian reports on the September PPM numbers rolling in and writes about the movement of some talk and sports stations.
- In market # 11 Detroit…this is the second straight month that CBS Radio controls the top four spots; however, country WYCD (+.5 from August) trades places with sports sibling WXYT-FM, which is down one full share.
- In market # 13 Seattle, Bonneville’s talk KIRO-FM remains in the top three with a slight jump (+.1 from August) to a 4.8 share while sister sports talk KIRO-AM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.8.
- In Phoenix – market #14 – Clear Channel’s news/talk KFYI rises nicely one full share to a 5.3 while Bonneville’s KTAR-FM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.2.
- In market #16 Minneapolis, news/talk WCCO tumbles seven-tenths to 6.4 (#3 to #5). The last time the CBS Radio talk powerhouse had a 6+ stat that low was in July 2011 (6.4, as well). Also, tied in August at 3.1, sports rivals Clear Channel-owned KFXN (+.3, #13) and Hubbard‘s KSTP-AM (-.4, #16) are now separated by seven-tenths.
For more PPM data and ratings analysis, visit our sister publication RadioInfo’s ratings section here.
KDWN, Las Vegas Talk Host Alan Stock to Host Special Election Season TV Program. Morning drive host Alan Stock also hosts a nightly interview and news show produced for Vegas TV (cable 14/HD1014) airing at 9:30 pm called “Eye on Vegas with Alan Stock.” This month, Stock will add a special weekly show to his work on Vegas TV called “News & Views 2012” set to air Wednesdays at 5:30 pm. Stock tells TALKERS, “It is a special series for the election season only on during the month of October. The great news is it is already sold out from an advertising standpoint. The show includes a panel of four people – two liberals and two conservatives. The first show aired on Wednesday the 3rd on the topic of the economy. Other topics will include civil rights (gay marriage, etc.), illegal immigration, foreign policy and Obamacare/medical care in general although the topics might be modified depending on what news is breaking.”
WTKK, Boston Sells Out ‘Ultimate Town Hall Meeting.’ Greater Media news/talk outlet WTKK, Boston “News Talk 96.9” announces its “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” set for Saturday, October 13 at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall has sold out all 800 seats but the station will give away five Presidential Packages (including front row seats, exclusive meet-and-greets, and more) to listeners starting next week. The “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” is moderated by WTKK morning hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan and includes a prominent panel of WTKK’s on-air hosts and contributors including local personality Michael Graham, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish, Cumulus Media Network’s John Batchelor, Compass Media Networks’ Ron Insana and the Boston Globe’s Brian McGrory. Program director Grace Blazer states, “News Talk 96.9’s all-star panel will debate the ‘state of the state’ of the 2012 presidential election and the hotly contested Scott Brown-Elizabeth Warren Massachusetts Senate race. Our entire team is looking forward to engaging in smart and entertaining debate for our audience and our advertisers.”
WGN, Chicago Honored at 2012 Radio Mercury Awards. Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago won a 2012 Radio Mercury Award in the “Radio Station Produced” category for the “Shifty Eyes” spot created for local business Oak Park Natural Pet & Fish. The commercial was written and produced by WGN Radio commercial services manager Jason Skaggs. WGN vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “We’re honored as a station and proud to have such a talented person in Jason on our team. Jason creates unique and memorable messages that deliver real results for our advertisers. He gets it.” The 2012 Radio Mercury Awards are part of the 2012 Advertising Week Conference in New York. The Radio Mercury Awards, the only competition exclusively devoted to radio, was established in 1992 to encourage and reward the development of effective and creative radio commercials. For more on other winners, see the coverage at our sister publication RadioInfo’s site here.
Changes at the Top at Blue Star Media Group. Effective immediately, Blue Star Media Group president and CEO Michael Metter exits to pursue interests outside the radio business and former executive vice president Jeff Weber returns to the company to lead it as consulting operations executive. Blue Star owns and operates Business TalkRadio Network; Lifestyle TalkRadio Network; WLFP, Pittsburgh; WGCH, Greenwich, Connecticut and recently sold KNUU, Las Vegas. Weber, who resigned from Blue Star in December of 2011 after 10 years of running the operations, says, “What a great opportunity to return to work with our exceptional staff and the fine content product we provide our more than 1,000 affiliates and the outstanding programs our owned stations air for their listeners.”
Breaking with Your Church on a Secular Talk Station. KDKA, Pittsburgh weekend talk show host Johnna Pro writes about a recent discussion about contraception on her program that led to, as she calls it, a crisis of faith. Pro’s experience is one many religious talk show hosts who work on secular stations face – agreeing with or breaking with Church teachings in the course of discussing the issues and having an opinion – something talk show hosts must have to survive in this business. Read Pro’s story of how one Catholic talk show host handled a real on-the-air conflict here.
Kuhner in Boston. Washington Times columnist and host of “The Kuhner Report” on Entercom’s WRKO, Boston (airing from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon daily) Jeff Kuhner is pictured here in the Boston studios of WRKO. Kuhner visited the station earlier this week. WRKO assistant program director Bill Cooksey says, “The response to Jeff has been overwhelming. He’s going to be a star in no time at all, and I’m glad he’s with us.”
Presidential Debate, Libya Consulate Attack Investigation, Obama ‘Race Speech,’ and Iran Nukes Program Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/3). Anticipation of last night’s presidential debate; the ongoing analysis of the fatal attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya; controversy over the video of a 2007 Barack Obama campaign speech in which he questions why largely African-American Katrina victims were treated differently than other disaster victims; and Iran’s nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Media Networks to Syndicate Daily Mike Huckabee Talk Show in Same Time Slot as Rush Limbaugh. Former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has been producing a daily feature for Cumulus Media Networks and hosting his weekend show on Fox News Channel since shortly after the 2008 presidential race. Now CMN decides to develop a three-hour talk show for Huckabee – based out of Florida – airing live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET and beginning April 2. Already, industry watchers are viewing the move as Cumulus “taking on” Premiere Networks’ syndication dominance in the time slot with Limbaugh while Cumulus COO John Dickey tells The New York Times that it is positioning the show as an alternative to Limbaugh. Huckabee himself defers to Limbaugh’s success telling Times writer Brian Stelter he doesn’t feel like a competitor, “He’s going to have an audience that will be very loyal and has been for over 20 years. I doubt that will change.” Within the industry, the big question is will Cumulus push Huckabee onto its news/talk stations that currently carry Limbaugh, especially at such major market stations as WABC, New York; WLS, Chicago; WJR Detroit; WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington? All are markets where Premiere parent Clear Channel Media and Entertainment doesn’t have a news/talk outlet (or a strong-performing talk outlet) on which to move Limbaugh. Huckabee is a good broadcaster with a personality all his own, great name recognition and is adept at taking on subjects outside the realm of politics. He’s likeable and smart. But Limbaugh has performed well for the aforementioned stations and it would be a gamble to make a change of such significance. Perhaps far more concerned than Premiere are local talk hosts at the Cumulus stations not mentioned above who understand Cumulus is not making this move without a plan to roll Huckabee out onto as many of its O&Os as possible.
Sports Talk Host Scott Kaplan Admits Fault in Comments About Female Broadcaster. Former XEPRS, San Diego morning drive talk host Scott Kaplan tells the San Diego Union Tribune that he needs to apologize to Mountain West sports broadcaster Andrea Lloyd for comments he made about her appearance that may have led to his and co-host Billy Ray Smith’s departure from the station. Kaplan called Lloyd a “beast” and a “sasquatch of a woman” on the program and was let go from the station more than a week later. Broadcast Company of the America’s VP/GM Tex Meyer had told the Union Tribune he’d spoken with Kaplan in the past about similar issues. But Kaplan’s comments to NBC San Diego prior to being fired strike at the heart of the issue for edgy, sports talk hosts trying to reach a younger, male demo when he stated, “I don’t apologize for the fact that we’re a guy show, a locker-room kind of show. There’s no apology for that. This is what we do.” The reality is that radio hosts targeting young men often comment on the appearances of women – often positively, but sometimes not. It’s certainly the right of any operator to tolerate it or not but points to the fine line such hosts must walk in creating an edgy show and being savvy enough to realize who is “fair game” and who the public will perceive as an innocent undeserving of such criticism. As for Kaplan, he says he can’t talk about his actual firing but tells the paper he doesn’t believe he was validly terminated from the station.
CNN Suspends Roland Martin for Super Bowl Tweets. Numerous media reports indicate CNN is suspending commentator Roland Martin for tweets he sent during the Super Bowl – one of which in response to the David Beckham H&M underwear ad is being perceived by gay rights activists to have been homophobic. In the tweet, Martin wrote, “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl” Martin responded that he was only making fun of soccer. The Washington Post reports CNN issued the following statement about Martin’s status: “Roland Martin’s tweets were regrettable and offensive. Language that demeans is inconsistent with the values and culture of our organization, and is not tolerated. We have been giving careful consideration to this matter, and Roland will not be appearing on our air for the time being.” TALKERS recently addressed the issue of talent using social media in a feature piece titled, “Social Media: Handle with Care.” If you haven’t read it yet, check it out here.
WTKK-FM, Boston Talk Host Michael Graham Sponsors Candidate’s School. Local talk show host Michael Graham broadcasts on Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston but he’s also an experienced GOP consultant. Last night, Graham sponsored a non-partisan workshop at the Café Escadrille in suburban Boston in which Republican, Democratic and independent political professionals donated their time to help educate and train private citizens on becoming candidates in the 2012 election and beyond. Graham says of the event, “We’re answering the question I’ve been asked thousands of times: ‘What can I do to make a difference?’ Here’s what you can do: Run.” This is not Graham’s first workshop. Since 2010 more than 500 New Englanders have attended Graham’s Candidate’s School.
Former Blue Star Media Group Exec “Doesn’t Own Feature Concepts.” That’s the position of Blue Star Media Group president and CEO Michael Metter after former EVP Jeff Weber sent out an industry-wide press release on 2/7 accusing – though not by name – Blue Star’s Business TalkRadio Network and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network of not having the rights to a news feature and a music history vignette. In the release, Weber references the music vignette “Pop Quiz” and the news feature “Heard Around Town” which he says are still available through his company, Jeff Weber Marketing. Metter tells TALKERS when Weber left the company in December he asked that his name and voice be removed from all Blue Star content and the company complied. Metter says his new features – “Heard Across America with Wendy Lowy Sloane” and “Rhythm & Pop with Tony Legg” – are “totally different names with the new content written by the talent. These concepts are as old as radio itself. What ownership does he have?”
Maryland Brewer Makes Beer to Honor the Late Ron Smith; Proceeds Benefit Cancer Research. Brewer Jay Lampart at Johansson’s Dining House in Westminster, Maryland has created a beer call Reason Saison to honor the late WBAL, Baltimore talk host Ron Smith. Lampart tells WBAL, “Ron has been part of my ride home since 9/11, which was also the time I moved to Maryland. I learned a lot about Maryland politics and critical thinking from Ron.” Lampart says proceeds from the brew will go to the Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center where Smith was treated for pancreatic cancer. It’ll remain on sale at the restaurant through the end of the month or until supplies run out. The name of the beer stems from Smith’s calling himself the “voice of reason” combined with the Belgian style of beer known as saison.
Deer Creek’s KCKS-FM, Chico, California Simulcasts Sports AM. KEWE, Chico is Deer Creek’s “Fox Sports Radio 1340” and after a year of trying a CHR music format, the station returns being a simulcast for the company’s sports talk outlet. Although San Francisco and Sacramento AMs get into the market, Chico doesn’t have another local sports talk outlet.
Syrian Violence Escalates, GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Election, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, and L.A. School Sex Abuse Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/8). The international community’s growing conflict over the escalating violence in Syria; Rick Santorum’s victories complicating the GOP primary race and the beginning of President Obama’s campaign; Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the Los Angeles school sex abuse case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
More Than 23 Million Tuned in to Radio Broadcast of Super Bowl According to Edison Research. On the heels of the Dial Global-commissioned survey to determine the radio listenership to the NFC and AFC Championship games two weeks ago, DG follows up to ask Edison Research to study how many people listened to at least a portion of its Westwood One-produced broadcast of the Big Game. Edison reports that via a live telephone interview survey conducted Monday after the game, “listeners accessed the live broadcast in multiple listening environments, including the home, while driving, at work and other locations, on over 680 stations nationwide.” Given the money Dial Global spends for the rights to sports broadcasts throughout the year – and especially the NFL playoffs product – Co-president and CEO David Landau is delighted with the results. “We are again excited, but not surprised, to see that our research findings highlight the strength of the Dial Global brand and the ongoing demand for radio broadcast coverage of live sporting events. Dial Global is committed to showcasing the value of our content and exemplifying our commitment to being the most innovative, service focused company in the industry while supporting our affiliates and advertisers.”
Journal Communications Ups CFO Andre Fernandez to President. The former NBC Universal SVP – with Journal Communications as chief financial officer since October of 2008 – keeps his CFO role but adds the president title. Former president Steven Smith stays in his chairman and CEO position. Smith says the new title recognizes the role Fernandez plays in the corporation. “He has been instrumental in the continuing evolution of our business, the steady focus on building our local media brands and the sustained investment in our digital business. Andre has also helped us maintain our strong financial disciplines which have led to Journal’s consistently improving balance sheet. We look forward to Andre’s increased operational responsibilities across the company.”
WRKO, Boston Expands Midday Financial Show with Barry Armstrong. The talk program hosted by the founder of the Armstrong Advisory Group is being renamed “The Financial Exchange with Barry Armstrong” and airs from 9:00 am to 11:00 am daily. Vice president of AM programming for Entercom New England Jason Wolfe says, “Barry has done an excellent job with this program since its inception, and given the state of the economy in our country, I’m really looking forward to him being able to continue sharing his expertise in the business and financial arena, an arena that is still very top of mind for our audience.” The station notes that Armstrong’s program regularly features heavyweight guests such as CNBC’s Larry Kudlow and Rick Santelli, Pimm Foxx from Bloomberg News, Fox Business’s Stuart Varney, and Eric Rosengren, CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The move means TRN’s Laura Ingraham airs in the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm slot and Jen Brien follows from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.
Disney’s ABC News and Univision in Talks to Create New Cable News Channel. The Wall Street Journal reports the two companies are in serious talks about creating a new cable news channel that would “broadcast in English, in an effort to keep pace with changing demographics among U.S. Hispanics and reach a new audience of English speakers.” Neither company is commenting and the piece notes that the deal is far from done. If it does happen, the operations center for the new channel would be based in Univision’s corporate home of Miami. The initiative would be a departure for Univision by entering in to an English-language broadcast entity but an interesting aspect of the story as the WSJ notes the recognition that “U.S.-born Hispanics, who often speak English more than Spanish, are now fueling Hispanic population growth more than Spanish-speaking immigrants.”
American Jewish University in Los Angeles Presenting Talk Radio Discussion. The fifth annual talk radio discussion presented by AJU is set to take place this Sunday, February 12. Moderated by veteran broadcaster Bill Moran, the panel’s scheduled speakers include KFI, Los Angeles, personalities Bill Handel and Bill Carroll; Patt Morrison of KPCC-FM, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Radio; and Michael Harrison, founder of TALKERS. Open to the public, the discussion will cover a variety of topics including Middle East tensions, health care, the economy, immigration reform, social media, the environment and a behind-the-scenes discussion about the talk media industry. The event takes place between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm at the AJU’s Familian Campus, 15600 Mulholland Drive in Bel-Air. Admission: $25. For more information or reservations call 310-440-1246.
WEEI, Boston Super Bowl Party Benefits Boomer Esiason Foundation. Entercom’s sports talk WEEI, Boston held a Super Bowl party on Saturday, February 4 at Buca di Beppo in downtown Indianapolis. The event raised $10,000 for the Boomer Esiason Foundation to fight cystic fibrosis. Esiason – morning drive co-host at CBS Radio’s WFAN and Dial Global play-by-play analyst for Monday Night Football broadcasts – is a regular contributor to WEEI appearing weekly with John Dennis and Gerry Callahan during the NFL season. Pictured here are (from l-r): Rich Saultz, VP of operations for Buca di Beppo, Boomer Esiason, Entercom VP/market manager Jeff Brown and WEEI VP of programming Jason Wolfe.
Colorado/Missouri/Minnesota Races, Obama Health Care Law Birth Control Controversy, Syria Violence, and California’s Prop 8 Overturned Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/7). The GOP primary and caucus races in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota, President Obama’s health care legislation and the mandatory birth control provisions that are creating controversy, ongoing violence in Syria and its role in the global stage, plus the overturning of California’s Prop 8 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Mark Levin Attacks Michael Savage Over Gingrich Offer; Raises Question of Legality of Savage’s Actions. In response to Talk Radio Network star Michael Savage’s offer of $1 million to Newt Gingrich to drop out of the GOP race for the presidential nomination, Cumulus Media Networks talk host Mark Levin broadcast an offer to Savage to quit his radio program for good for the sum of $100,000. Now, clearly Levin is toying with Savage in the spirit of a good old fashioned radio war – according to the Daily Caller, he stated on his program, “Let me tell you, that’s extremely generous on my part because he’s already going nowhere…That’s right — he’s losing affiliates left and right. That’s what happens when you take your audience for granted and take your affiliates for granted.” But Levin also asked if Savage’s offer to Gingrich was a “legal bribe.” TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says the federal government generally leaves the policing of elections to the states but that some states have statutes prohibiting this behavior. South Carolina, for example, specifically prohibits offering or accepting or attempting to offer or accept money or other forms of compensation to induce a person to file or withdraw from an election. Violation could mean a fine of $10,000 or up to a year in jail but Weisman says the likelihood of a South Carolina prosecutor seeking charges in this instance would be slim. They would probably interpret it as a radio stunt and not what the statute was intended to prohibit. Nonetheless, at least in South Carolina, Savage’s offer is technically illegal.
Cumulus Media Networks Partners with Benztown Branding. This partnership brings together two of the industry’s largest production and imaging operations. Under the terms of the deal, Cumulus will manage the affiliation and ad sales for all of the Benztown Branding imaging and production libraries and in return, Benztown will manage the production of Cumulus’ stable of production services. Additionally, Cumulus will handle ad sales for Benztown programs including: “Roundtrip with Dave O,” “Dr. Bruce Hensel,” “The Storm Report,” “Old Farmer’s Almanac,” “The Todd N Tyler Radio Empire,” “The Bring It Minute with Tony Horton” and “Race Report Update.” Cumulus inked a deal to manage ad sales for Benztown’s “Melissa Etheridge Radio Show” earlier this year.” Cumulus Media Networks production libraries and imaging services affected by this deal include: Adrenaline, Ambush, Horsepower, Goldmine, Avalanche and Turbulence. Cumulus SVP of affiliate sales and broadcast services Dennis Green says, “This partnership is an outstanding opportunity to enhance the portfolios of both companies by combining some of the most talented and creative producers and designers in radio with our dedicated sales and affiliation teams. Benztown brings tremendous category knowledge to the table and has an extremely successful track record of delivering innovative services for stations. Working together allows us to broaden the scope of our collective efforts.”
Cincinnati Talk Host Andy Furman Resigns from WQRT. Andy Furman has hosted the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm talk show on Christian Broadcasting System’s WQRT, Florence, Kentucky for the past two years. He tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter that his last broadcast is Friday, December 16 but that he can’t say more because he’s “in a precarious situation.” Kiesewetter surmises Furman has a new deal that he can’t talk about just yet. Furman was a longtime sports talk host at Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati but exited that station three years ago. He’s been hosting some weekend programming for Fox Sports Radio Network in addition to his work in Cincinnati.
Jeff Weber to Resign from Blue Star Media Post. Blue Star Media owns and operates the Business TalkRadio Network and the Lifestyle TalkRadio Network as well as stations in the Stamford/Norwalk, Connecticut market and in Las Vegas, Pittsburgh and Boston. Jeff Weber has served as executive vice president of the company for the past 10 years but says he’ll step down at the end of the year. “I am extremely proud of our company’s growth since I joined it. It’s been very gratifying to see us increase the affiliate base of 112 stations airing BTRN’s programming to more than 1,000 now carrying the shows of LTRN and BTRN. In addition, the acquisition of our four radio properties helped round out a solid company.”
Clear Channel Brings Progressive Talk to Milwaukee on an HD-3 Channel. One of the country’s more successful progressive talk outlets is Clear Channel’s WXXM-FM, Madison, Wisconsin – 92.1 The Mic. Now, the company announces it’s simulcasting the station to the larger Milwaukee market on the HD-3 channel of Hip Hop WKKV-FM. Operations manager Tim Scott says, “92.1 The Mic is arguably one of the most successful progressive talk stations in the country. The upcoming presidential election and the political atmosphere in this state makes now the perfect time for progressive talk to expand its message to Wisconsin’s largest market.” It’s interesting to note that WXXM-FM almost flipped from progressive talk several years ago but a strong outcry from fans of the station convinced CC management that Madison was a market worthy of keeping the format. 92.1 The Mic features a stable of syndicated talk including Dial Global’s Bill Press, Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz plus Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes, Premiere Networks’ Randi Rhodes plus local talk host Doug Cunningham.
WTDY, Madison Gets FM Simulcast. Mid-West Family Stations takes the 106.7 frequency licensed to Mount Horeb, Wisconsin west of Madison and airs news/talk WTDY on the signal to complement its 1670 AM signal. WTDY-FM at 106.7 is a class A FM situated pretty far to the west of Madison. Fortunately, that part of Wisconsin is pretty flat.
TALKERS Offers Free Ads for Open Jobs. As a service to the talk media industry, TALKERS is making its online Jobs section available to any and all legitimate employers with positions to fill beginning immediately. Broadcasters and talk media-affiliated businesses with job openings should send position descriptions, requirements and contact information to TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey at: email@example.com. Also, be sure to let us know when the position is filled so we can pull the ad off our site. TALKERS keeps all job posting information strictly confidential and reserves the right to reject any ad for any reason.
2012 Presidential Race, Iran/U.S. Drone Case, End of U.S. Iraq Involvement and Euro Zone Debt Crisis/Markets Reaction Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/13). The ongoing battle between GOP candidates for president in 2012, the case of the U.S. drone Iran claims to possess, the coming end of U.S. military involvement in Iraq, the euro zone debt crisis and the reaction by the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research by TALKERS.