Tag: "Jim Ladd"

Monday, October 31, 2011

| October 31, 2011

Severe Nor’easter Cuts Power to Millions in Northeast; Radio’s Response to Disaster a Mixed Bag.  Many TALKERS readers are aware that the bulk of our editorial staff is based in Springfield, Massachusetts and we are smack dab in the middle of the massive power outages and road closures so many in the Northeast are dealing with in the wake of the Nor’easter that dumped more than a foot of wet snow on the region on Saturday.  As the region digs out, deals with the tremendous amount of downed trees, and utilities crews work to get power back TALKERS editors have been able to do a preliminary analysis of how radio handled the storm and its aftermath.  There were stations that did an exemplary job providing round-the-clock information about road closures, dangerous areas due to fallen trees and power outages.  We must recognize CBS Radio’s WTIC, Hartford whose morning drive host Ray Dunaway manned the overnight Saturday on the air with meteorologist Joe Furey keeping listeners up to date.  However, there were many stations and station clusters that – due to manpower issues, in many cases caused by previous decisions to cut staff – were able to provide little local content and defaulted to syndicated programming.  It is times like these that it becomes tragically clear that – apart from some shining examples of excellent public service – most radio groups have surrendered radio’s position as the first destination for news and information in exchange for bottom-line efficiency.

WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina Talk Host Matt Mittan Exits.  The popular local Asheville, North Carolina talk host may not have been part of the mandated staff cuts Clear Channel handed down last week.  The Asheville Citizen-Times indicates it appears Matt Mittan left of his own accord, citing a statement from CC Asheville to that effect.  Mittan is tight-lipped about his exit but Citizen-Times writer Jason Sandford hints it might have been done in protest of the cuts that affected his show and other co-workers in the cluster.  Sandford goes on to compliment Mittan for the excellent work he’s done in the past handling public emergency situations that affected the station’s listenership.

Rush Limbaugh to Play Town Hall in NYC.  Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh makes no bones about his disdain for New York City’s politician and public policies but he’s returning to the Big Apple for a live event on November 29 at the historic Town Hall on West 43rd Street.  Dubbed “Rush Live,” tickets go on sale today at 12:00 noon for the 90-minute show.  A press release from Cumulus’ WABC, New York states, “The last time El Rushbo visited his New York audience was in 2005 to a sold out crowd.  While Rush isn’t bashful about criticizing New York politicians and tax policies, he jokes that he’s going ‘behind enemy lines’ because he loves his New York listeners and his flagship station.”

Radio One to Put All-News FM on in Houston.  This is the first time Radio One has programmed an all-news format and they’re doing it with the help of consultant Ed Shane.  Radio One will drop the gospel music on KROI-FM at 92.1 and debut “News 92 FM” around November 14.  The station has reportedly hired a stable of news pros including the former crosstown KTRH morning news team of J.P. Pritchard and Lana HughesDenise Bishop has been tapped to serve as the news director.

WCBS, New York Inks the Yankees to One-Year Extension.  MLB’s New York Yankees will remain on all-news WCBS, New York for the 2012 season.  The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick speculates that the one-year deal gives the two sides time to explore a long-term deal but he also states that the Yankees’ $14 million-per-season pact has not been profitable.  Whether CBS Radio views Yankees baseball as a cume-building loss leader or a drain on its finances may be answered if and when the two sides agree to a longer extension or the Yankees broadcasts come onto the open market.

WWRL, New York Adds LGBT-Targeted Programming.  Access.1 Communications’ WWRL, New York adds programming called “Equality Pride Radio” to serve the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered community.  The programming airs from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight and debuts this evening (10/31) following the Al Sharpton program.  WWRL general manager Adriane Gaines states, “WWRL 1600 has created ‘Equality Pride Radio,’ a media platform where the LGBT community will convey information and be celebrated for their ideas, energy and accomplishments.  We take great pride in the culturally diverse audience we serve with our current liberal talk line-up.  With the addition of ‘Equality Pride Radio,’ we further reinforce ‘RL’s format of informative and entertaining radio.”

Jim Ladd to Host “Farewell Show” on KFI, Los Angeles.  Southern California radio legend Jim Ladd will get a chance to say goodbye to his many listeners this Saturday afternoon from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm – although not on Cumulus classic rock KLOS-FM from which he was let go last week.  Ladd tells the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan that KFI program director Robin Bertolucci asked him to do the show to give him the chance to say goodbye.  Regarding Ladd’s one-time show, Bertolucci says, “Jim is synonymous with great music and Southern California and I know a lot of his friends and fans want to connect with him.  Jim is a legend and it will be an honor to hear him rock KFI.”

Clear Channel Promotes Keriann Worley to Market Manager for Melbourne, Florida and the Keys.  Keriann Worley moves from her general sales manager post at Clear Channel’s West Palm Beach cluster to become market manager for the company’s Melbourne, Florida and Florida Keys markets.  Worley says, “I’m really honored that Hartley Atkins and Sherri Sanchez chose me to lead our Melbourne and Florida Keys markets.  It’s an exciting time to work at Clear Channel, and we have a tremendous opportunity to expand our market share with integrated solutions and iHeartRadio.  I am fortunate to lead a team that will embrace and utilize all our resources for continued growth and development.”

Thursday, October 27, 2011

| October 27, 2011

Harsh Reality of Today’s Radio Business Forces Clear Channel’s Major “Reduction in Force.”  This latest round of firings is focused on Clear Channel’s small and medium markets and is affecting primarily on-air and programming staff.  Internally, Clear Channel stations are broken down into three categories: the majors, the mids and the small markets – the latter sometimes referred to by insiders humorously as the stations that are for sale.  But in this economy those small stations – many of which were purchased in the late 1990s as the then-Randy Michaels-led radio group was buying stations at an astounding pace – are for all intents and purposes under water.  The company analyzed each station in an hour-by-hour fashion to determine how much it costs to program and execute the product versus how much it is making.  Programs and hosts whose shows are in the black are likely to be retained; those in the red are those about whom you are reading today.  The company is not describing this strategy as cost cutting but leveraging the quality programming it owns and distributing it to the small – or regional – markets.  The reality is that Clear Channel has a lot of debt it must pay off and – not unlike the homeowner who bought before the housing bubble burst and owes more than his house is worth – must make drastic cuts and hope that it can continue to engage listeners and serve advertisers with “Premium Choice” programming from afar and managers doing more jobs within the same work day.  This situation is unique to neither Clear Channel nor the radio business.  The following list of people working in news or at talk stations for CC are reported to have been let go.  This list is not complete and doesn’t include those from music-formatted stations.  Reports indicate several hundred employees will be out when all is said and done.  The list: KFAB, Omaha PM drive host Tom Becka; Clear Channel Hudson Valley news director Cameron Hendrix; WERC, Birmingham, Alabama news director Mark Evans; WHAM, Rochester news anchor Beth Adams; WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse talk host Jim Reith; KWTX, Waco, Texas PD and morning host Shane Warner; WJBO, Baton Rouge, Louisiana mid-morning talk host Clarence Buggs; and WGY and WOFX, Albany assistant PD Steve Bleznyk.

Cumulus Los Angeles Cuts Include Legendary Jock Jim Ladd.  So far the cuts at Cumulus’ Los Angeles stations have not affected any air talent at news/talk KABC.  Production directors at both KABC and KLOS-FM – Howard Hoffman and Mike Sherry, respectively – are out as is KLOS-FM program director Bob Buchmann.  But Southern California radio fans are shocked to find legendary jock Jim Ladd – ironically, the subject of Tom Petty’s “The Last DJ” – has been sacked.  The 63-year-old Ladd received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005.

Lionel Expands Role at New York’s WPIX-TV. What began as his doing a short form commentary running once per day on the evening news has expanded to multiple roles and appearances for the iconoclastic talk radio veteran and podcasting pioneer on the Tribune Company-owned Channel 11 in the Big Apple. Lionel has just debuted his weekday “5@5” segment on the daily newscast in addition to being featured on PIX 11 seven nights a week with fresh video commentary on its 10:00 pm newscast. Lionel, an ex-prosecutor and criminal defense trial lawyer, has also inaugurated his “Lionel’s Law School” segment. Plus, he appears weekly as PIX 11’s resident “News Decoder” on its Monday morning news broadcast and at pix11.com. Lionel’s commentaries are also broadcast nationally through Tribune Company’s affiliates including KPLR 11 in St. Louis. Lionel, a regular TALKERS columnist, has gained national attention as a talk “media station” groundbreaker with his lionelmedia.com.

Rusty Humphries Named National Radio Spokesman for Vietnam Memorial Effort.  The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is spearheading a campaign to build a multi-media education center adjacent to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.  In addition to his duties as national radio spokesman, Talk Radio Network host Rusty Humphries is leading the “Veterans Day Challenge” to raise funds for the center.  He will also serve as emcee at a gala benefit at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC on November 11 that will feature actor Tom Selleck.  Humphries’ father died in Vietnam in 1969 when Rusty was just three years old.  Humphries says, “Every time I’m in Washington, I visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, gaze up at my father’s name on Panel 34W, Line 84, and wish that I’d have gotten to know the man whose name appears there, my father.  The Education Center at the Wall will provide a living memorial to these heroes – not just the men and women like my dad whose names appear on the Wall, but all veterans, from Bunker Hill to the present day.”

Tom Marr’s Contract at WCBM Extended Again.  Veteran talk show host Tom Marr of WCBM, Baltimore has been given another extension of his unique contract until 2015.  Marr first signed a no-cut deal with the independently owned heritage station in September of 1977.  It was then extended until 2009.  Marr reached an agreement on July 3, 2008 with the late owner of WCBM, Nick Mangione, Sr., to extend through 2012.  Now Marr has signed an extension with WCMB president Mary C. Mangione that will run until 2015.  Upon signing the deal, WCBM VP Nick Mangione, Jr. tells TALKERS, “Ownership is very pleased to have Tom’s commitment to remain on WCBM’s team.  Tom performs a public service that is informative, beneficial, and entertaining for our listeners.”  Marr comments, “I am delighted that my career will end with WCBM and the Mangione Family Enterprises.”  Pictured here at the signing ceremony are: WCBM VP Nick Mangione, Jr. (standing); seated (l-r) are Mangione Family Enterprise attorney Joe LaVerghettaMangione Family Enterprise president Mary Mangione, and host Tom Marr.

Clear Channel Adds FM Simulcast to WVOC, Columbia, South Carolina.  The victim this time is urban WXBT-FM at 100.1 and, of course, the entire staff of the music station as CC gives news/talk WVOC an FM presence.

Ric Edelman’s “Truth About Money” Public TV Show Heads into Season Two.  Author, broadcaster and financial advisor Ric Edelman will produce a second season of his public TV show that shares the same name as his nationally syndicated talk radio show – “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman.”  Season one hit public TV stations across the country earlier this spring and season two will be ready for air in April of next year.  Executive producer Russ Hodge says, “Public Television executives and viewers around the country were so taken with the solid financial guidance they received from Ric, they wholeheartedly endorsed the notion of our coming back for another season.  It’s no secret Ric is recognized as one of America’s top financial advisors, and in these uncertain economic times, viewers gravitate to his expertise and know-how.”

USRN Offers Kim Iversen Show in New Format.  “Your Time with Kim Iversen” has been available in syndication via United Stations Radio Networks talk-intensive music show for Hot AC stations since 2007.  Now, after partnering with Entercom – the company that created the show – to bring it into wider syndication earlier this year, USRN announces that show is available as a live feed or a “build your own show” format.  Beginning November 13, the live feed will be a two-hour, personality-driven talk show airing live from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.  Stations wishing to continue airing music in the show can use the show segments around music to build a five-hour program.  USRN EVP of programming Andy Denemark says, “Kim is an amazing talent, but we found that programmers had varied opinions on how they wanted her show to air.  Some wanted strictly a talk block, others were happy with the Hot AC show and still others wanted her content mixed with CHR or alternative music.  Now, every affiliate gets their wish!”

ABC Digital Clients Now Get News from ABC Sports.  Stations subscribing to ABC Digital for news feeds for their websites now can get sports content from ABC Sports, according to ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones.  “By adding sports headlines to our lineup of ABC Digital choices, we’re enhancing our radio customers’ websites at no additional cost to them.  Several of our partners have expressed an interest in adding a recognized sports brand and we’re pleased to make ABC Sports – a name steeped in tradition – a new category they can add to their station’s website with the simple click of a button.”  ABC Digital service was recently launched by ABC News Radio and Cumulus Media Networks.  The ready-to-post online content is produced and updated 24 hours a day and includes breaking news, exclusive stories, photos and graphics. Stations also have the option to brand the service locally, monetizing the content through local sponsorships.

Barb Yoder Moves into GM Seat at Salem Communications’ Tampa Cluster.  A series of management promotions at Salem Communications means a promotion for Tampa and Sarasota cluster general sales manager Barb Yoder and an open GSM post at the stations.  Yoder moves into the GM post as former GM Chris Gould moves to the corporate level in the vice president of program development position based in Camarillo, California.  Gould replaces Ron Walters who is promoted to senior vice president, ministry relations.

Affiliate Relations Pro Rich Rapiti Victim of Dial Global-Westwood One Merger.  New York-based affiliate relations pro Rich Rapiti lost his position as part of the consolidation of Dial Global and Westwood One.  He’s available for his next challenge and can be reached at rapiti@comcast.net or 973-809-3049.

Former Cap Cities/ABC COO Dan Burke Passes Away at 82.  Dan Burke and partner Tom Murphy are credited with building Cap Cities into a major broadcasting force and buying ABC to create Cap Cities/ABC.  The two ran the company for a decade before selling it to Disney in 1996.  Salem Radio Network VP of news/talk programming Tom Tradup remembers working for Burke when he was GM of WLS, Chicago.  “I will always remember Burke’s steely eyes and his tough questioning (especially at this time of the year during budgeting!) as we s-l-o-w-l-y turned WLS from the 23rd station in Chicago and put it on track to become a top-five news/talk giant.  He was firm but fair, and if people in Chicago enjoy WLS in 2011…they probably can thank Dan Burke more than anyone else for showing patience and for keeping others within the company from panicking as WLS grew and ultimately prospered in the #3 radio market in America.”