Tag: "Jim Rome"
Johnny Donovan Retires from WABC, New York. Capping a WABC, New York career that goes back to 1972, legend Johnny Donovan is retiring from the Cumulus Media-owned news/talk station. He’s been handling daily announcing and production director duties at WABC. In a press release announcing his retirement, the company notes that Donovan was a music jock during the influential WABC top 40 era. When the station flipped to talk in 1982, he remained on as staff announcer and production director – a position he held for more than 30 years. An amateur radio operator in his youth, Donovan became a DJ on WHVW in Hyde Park, New York after helping build the station in 1963. He went on to work at radio stations in Kingston (WBAZ) and Binghamton (WENE), New York, with a stop at Atlantic City, New Jersey’s WMID. In 1968, Donovan arrived in New York City as an overnight music host on WOR-FM. Four years later, Donovan brought his talent to the AM band and WABC. Cumulus SVP content and programming Mike McVay states, “Johnny Donovan was THE sound of 77 WABC. He joins the ranks of legends like Don Pardo, Ed McMahon and Ernie Anderson. His production and imaging skills are legendary. He will be missed at WABC, but more than that, he will be missed in our industry.” Donovan will continue to be heard as the voice of the Rush Limbaugh show – a position that he’s held since 1988 – and will continue his own voice-over business.
Goodbye, Mr. Letterman. And Thanks! Philadelphia morning drive personality Chris Stigall says farewell to his professional inspiration in a column published at TALKERS today (5/20). Tonight will air the final new episode of “Late Night with David Letterman” and the WPHT, Philadelphia talk host shares his personal admiration — perhaps even obsession – with one of the undisputed legends of late night talk television. In the piece, Stigall explains his attraction to Letterman as a performer. “I was a high school kid with big dreams of hosting his own show one day, but never felt like I was attractive or popular enough to make it. David Letterman taught me there’s something very good, right, and rewarding about being an individual. The more I watched and read about Letterman, the more fixated I became. Not just his comedy – which I loved. It was his ‘damn the torpedoes’ approach to this hallowed thing called television. It was everyday people from his shows’ staff cast in bits. It was random souvenir shop and deli owners turning into unintentional comedy stars.” Read Stigall’s entire piece here.
Creative Promotions Lead to New Sales. Radio marketing pro Al Herskovitz writes in a column published today that a radio sales pro worth his or her salt should never overlook the value of a creative radio promotion to solidify current clients and attract new ones. He says commonplace ticket giveaways and the like are fine but do little to make a client’s goods or services memorable, and such prizes usually go to station P1s anyway. How about having your morning host attempt to give a lion a bath? Sound too dangerous? Read Herskovitz’s entire column here for the details and his thoughts about using the promotion as a sales tool.
Bold Gold Foundation Inaugural Event Draws Hundreds. The inaugural fundraising and awards event for the Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation took place over the weekend at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Northeast Pennsylvania and drew hundreds of supporters who gathered to cheer on and support the organization’s efforts to help prepare tomorrow’s broadcast and media leaders. The Foundation celebrated broadcast radio’s legacy, while positioning to help lead the effort to bring new recruits into the news and talk ranks. Bold Gold president Vince Benedetto laid out the Foundation’s mission, explaining, “Broadcast radio continues to be the modern day town square where the news and issues of our times are related, debated and discussed in communities across America. The power of this medium, now amplified and synergized with the power of mobile and social media, can be positioned to influence the local and national narratives in more powerful ways than ever before. Our work will be focused on helping the best and brightest get the education and resources they need to write the next chapters of communication history.” Honored at the event was Northeast Pennsylvania entrepreneur and philanthropist Bob Tambur. He was presented the 2015 Atlas Award for Citizenship. Benedetto says Tambur is “an example of someone who builds and creates, sees problems and boldly sets out to fix them. He shows what is possible to achieve in a free society and is the standard by which all future recipients will be measured.” Special guest speaker, citizen-journalist James O’Keefe of Project Veritas, provided a riveting audio and video presentation showing his past and ongoing efforts to expose corruption and hypocrisy in government and media. Benedetto says, “James shows what just one person, armed with the courage to report the truth is able to accomplish.” The event was emceed by David Madeira, morning show host of Bold Gold’s Scranton-based talk station, WTRW “94.3 The Talker.”
Odds & Sods. An extension of the affiliation deal just completed between ABC Radio News and Tribune’s WGN-AM, Chicago includes an expansion of shared editorial resources in the Chicago market. Simultaneously, WGN’s Ryan Burrow will be a contributor to ABC News Radio and report from Chicago and around the country. ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones comments, “Ryan Burrow is a talented, award-winning reporter who understands how to tell stories that capture an audience’s interest. Through ABC News Radio’s expanded partnership with WGN, Ryan will cover stories of interest to our national audience from across the Midwest region and around the country.”…..Washington-based political consultant Raynard Jackson sits in for Roland Martin on his nationally syndicated radio show “News One Now” airing from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET…..Joe Ligotti is named morning host at WMEX, Boston, replacing the syndicated “Dr. K Show.”
Dee Snider Podcast to Launch on PodcastOne. Musician and media personality Dee Snider is debuting a new, weekly podcast called, “Snider Comments,” on the PodcastOne Network. The program promises to “pull back the curtain on the world of rock and expose the raw and untold stories of current and past rock ‘n’ roll superstars.” PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz states, “This is the latest music insider podcast on the PodcastOne Network. There are plenty of places for consumers to listen to their favorite music, but very few to get a more personal, behind-the-scenes view from the artists that live in that world every day. Dee is not only a rock star and an icon, he’s a great personality and a terrific communicator. I couldn’t be more pleased to have him on our network.”
Jim Rome Visits Portland’s KXTG-AM. Appearing in the Portland market from affiliate KXTG-AM “750 & 102.9 The Game” was CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome. He hosted his national syndicated sports talk show from Alpha Media’s SKYPE LIVE STUDIO on Friday, May 15. Guests joining Rome in the studio included Oregon Ducks head football coach Mark Helfrich, Portland Trailblazers president Chris McGowan, and Fox Sports analyst Joey Harrington. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Alpha Portland SVP/GM Milt McConnell, KXTG-AM promotions director Derek House, Rome, and KXTG-AM program director Mike Ragz.
Hillary Clinton Email Controversy, Stephanopoulos Clinton Donation Scandal, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Takes Ramadi, California Oil Spill, N. Korea Nuke Threats, Saudi Beheadings Controversy, and ‘Deflategate’ Matter Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/19). The ongoing talk of Hillary Clinton’s private emails that are alleged to have been used for State Department business; the scandal involving George Stephanopoulos’ donations to the Clinton Family Foundation; the potential candidates for president in 2016 including talk of Democrat Martin O’Malley officially entering the race; the taking of Ramadi, Iraq by ISIS; the coastal California oil spill; North Korea’s saber-rattling and talk of its new nuclear technology; the increase in beheadings in Saudi Arabia; and the latest on the NFL’s “Deflategate” case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Colossal Sales Deal Between Katz and Cumulus. Radio rep firm Katz Radio Group announces it has agreed to a new deal with Cumulus Media that is creating a new rep division at Katz dedicated to Cumulus owned-and-operated stations nationwide. The firm – Westwood One National Sales – will provide advertisers and agencies direct access to all of Cumulus’ radio stations. In a press statement, the companies say, “The new long-term agreement supports the companies’ mutual goal to evangelize the power of sound and drive more dollars into the sector. Westwood One National Sales will exclusively represent Cumulus stations nationwide and focus on providing integrated, multi-platform marketing solutions aimed to meet the rapidly evolving needs of advertisers. Westwood One National Sales will also offer advertisers and agencies access to Cumulus’ newly developed traffic system. The cutting-edge technology is designed to improve speed-to-market, giving Cumulus advertisers and agencies real-time pricing and availability of minute-by-minute, market-by-market opportunities across the country.” Katz Radio Group president Mark Gray says, “Our common goal is to get radio a much bigger share of advertiser spending by solving their marketing problems and showcasing the unmatched results radio delivers. Our new partnership with Cumulus to launch Westwood One National Sales strengthens our ability to deliver the most innovative marketing solutions for advertisers and agencies across the expanding advertising platform of one of our important partners.” As a result of this, Bryan Forbes is promoted to senior vice president, general manager of Westwood One National Sales. His current post with KRG is vice president/director of sales. Westwood One National Sales will have dedicated offices in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.
Fighting for AM in New Cars; NAB Pleads with BMW. After learning that BMW’s new electric model – the i3 – will not include an AM radio due to the engine’s causing interference with AM reception, the NAB’s Gordon Smith wrote a letter to BMW asking the company to reconsider the move and re-engineer the system to accommodate AM, as some other manufacturers have. Smith writes, “In the last decade, AM radio has embraced an evolution towards ethnic language programming, with a wide variety of formats serving a melting pot of diverse communities that make up the fabric of America. Indeed, two-thirds of all minority-owned stations are now broadcast on the AM band; and many of these radio stations serve as a community gathering spot for vital information about health services, education and job opportunities.” Smith goes on to note that in many markets, sports broadcasts – from high school to the professional level – are only heard on AM signals. How BMW will respond, if at all, is anyone’s guess but it’s worth noting that radio stations that are also streamed could be heard via the owner’s smartphone which the i3 allows to be connected to its audio system. Still, that the AM band — where most talk radio shows reside — is considered disposable by a major auto manufacturer (combined with the growing popularity of electric autos) is a huge red flag for AM stick owners.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Talks AM Revitalization in Columbus. The campaign for AM revitalization being championed by FCC commissioner Ajit Pai was the topic at Wednesday’s town hall meeting held by the Ohio Broadcasters Association where Pai spoke and heard from broadcasters and the public on the matter. Pai said three things he’s been thinking about lately regarding AM revitalization are: eliminating nighttime skywave protection for clear channel AM signals; allowing the use of synchronous transmission systems on the AM dial; and allowing stations to go all-digital on a voluntary basis. But Pai said that by Halloween it’s his hope that the FCC will adopt AM revitalization that would: 1) move forward with an FM translator window designed for AM broadcasters and, 2) ask the public to comment on a new batch of specific proposals for improving our AM radio rules because “the proposals we made last year, while they will help AM broadcasters, aren’t going be a panacea.”
Rome Added as KFWB Gears Up To Sports Flip. Rumors of a talk-to-sports format change by Los Angeles’ KFWB will become reality sometime in September and the station locks in CBS Sports Radio mega-talent – and LA native – Jim Rome as a cornerstone. Trustee for KFWB Asset Trust, Diane Sutter, comments, “It has been nearly two years since Southern Californians have been able to enjoy Jim’s show and he is just a hint of what listeners can expect from the new KFWB sports lineup. We are thrilled and excited to bring Jim back home to his many Los Angeles sports fans.” Rome, a genuine sports radio host original, will be heard on KFWB 9:00 am – 12:00 noon and will originate the program from Orange County. Remarking that he is “thrilled to be returning home” on KFWB, Rome states, “CBS Sports Radio has provided me with an incredible opportunity to communicate with our nationwide audience via various platforms, but to reunite with our Los Angeles-based fans is particularly meaningful to me, personally and professionally. I look forward to bringing ‘the jungle’ back home to Los Angeles.” Rome has been with CBS Sports Radio since the network launched approximately 18 months ago. It is believed sports KFWB’s moniker will be “The Beast.” For years, KFWB had been an all-news station and competed against CBS Radio‘s KNX (which later became its sibling) in that arena. Five years ago though (September 2009), it switched to talk. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio‘s July 2014 PPM report, KFWB ranks #42 (.2). It will be butting heads against existing all-sports outlets KSPN (1.2 in July, #28); KLAC (.9, #32); and KLAA (.3, #40).
Clear Channel’s Political Advertising Tool Now Incorporates Nielsen Data. Earlier this year, Clear Channel Media + Entertainment announced the development of its proprietary radio targeting tool for political advertisers – dubbed Audience Delivery Optimizer (AuDiO). Now, the company reports that it is now incorporating Nielsen’s radio audience measurement data to further enhance its ability to identify key voter segments. CC says this marks the first time that Nielsen’s Portable People Meter currency data has been combined with specific public voter information – creating a powerful new tool for political advertisers. Clear Channel calls AuDiO a “first-of-its-kind radio optimization tool that enables political campaigns to precisely identify the 10 voter segments that are most crucial in key election districts.” It goes on to say that with the integration of Nielsen’s industry-standard audience measurement data into AuDiO, political advertisers now have access to even more robust identification capabilities for their radio buys. Using the 10 most common political segments, AuDiO can determine how many voters radio reaches in any political district around the country. It can then identify the media preferences of any segment, giving advertisers key information about which media are best to reach which voters. AuDiO works at all levels of national, statewide and local elections, and will be available for the upcoming 2014 election cycle.
GCN Adds ‘Lock-N-Load’ to Morning Offerings. New to the Genesis Communications Network stable of programs is the Bill Frady-hosted daily program “Lock-N-Load.” The company states that the show “covers all spectrums relating to the world of the gun, including the gun industry, trends, self-defense and, of course, those that would strip away your rights. With guests such as the 3D gun guru Cody Wilson, Gunowners of America executive director Larry Pratt, Noble Peace Prize nominee Dr. Jim Garrow, tactical trainer Chris Costa, psychologist Dr. Linda Lagemann and many others, ‘Lock-N-Load’ explores the dynamics of the uniquely American Second Amendment and everything that goes along with it.”
Jim Bohannon Addresses Tennessee Association of Broadcasters Conference. Sitting on a panel about spoken-word radio titled, “Give’em Something to Talk About,” Westwood One-syndicated talk show host Jim Bohannon appeared at the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters conference in Nashville. Pictured here (from left to right) are: Westwood One’s Misti Douglas, Jean Williams, and Chrystal Heidemann, Governor Bill Haslam, Bohannon, and Westwood One’s Donny Walker.
IS Iraq Campaign/U.S. Military Involvement, Hillary Clinton-Obama Relationship, Michael Brown Slaying Aftermath, Limbaugh-Robin Williams Suicide Comments Controversy, and Israel-Hamas Cease Fire Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/13). The Iraq campaign of IS and the Obama Administration’s involvement of U.S. military personnel; the rift between Hillary Clinton and President Obama over U.S. foreign policy; the tensions in Missouri after the shooting death of Michael Brown; controversy over Rush Limbaugh’s comments after Robin Williams’ suicide; and the cease fire between Israel and Hamas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
What Are Clear Channel’s Plans for AM Drive at WOR? With the departure of “DC101” morning host Elliot Segal from the air at Clear Channel news/talk WOR, New York has industry watchers speculating about the company’s next move for the daypart. Mark Simone was in for Elliot today (2/18). Segal told his DC audience that he was not moving to New York after all and the company issued a statement saying, “After much thought and discussion it’s clear that we’d have to make significant changes to ensure the show resonates as successfully with the NY audience as it does with Elliot’s DC audience. And given Elliot’s loyalty to his DC fans, we support his decision to continue to broadcast from Washington.” This change is not that surprising. To many, the Elliot move seemed an odd pairing and some industry watchers tell TALKERS they thought – even with the chatter about Elliot moving to NYC – it was a temporary move. It seems Clear Channel wants to shake up the AM drive show and not go with another “typical conservative” morning host on WOR but the company also appears to want to go with a younger and local program. There are rumors that recently “retired from WPLJ” personality Scott Shannon is talking with WOR but at first blush, that would also seem to be an unusual hire.
Saga Launches Sports Talker in Ithaca. The new station – branded “98.7 The Buzzer” – is airing on translator W254 BF licensed to Ithaca and features programming from CBS Sports Radio Network. It will also serve as an affiliate for Buffalo Bills football and for Cornell University Men’s basketball. Chet Osadchey is the vice president and market manager for Saga’s Cayuga Radio Group and he tells the Central New York Business Journal that this is an “excellent” expansion of sports in the Ithaca market. “We are particularly excited about the Jim Rome show. For several years, we have received numerous requests to carry this show and now we are able to fulfill that goal. Jim’s show is the most interactive, contemporary, and authentic in the sports radio arena.”
America’s Talk Radio Network to Debut. The start date for the programming being offered by new syndicator America’s Talk Radio Network is March 1 and vice president of affiliations and programming Jon Patch (formerly of Business TalkRadio Network) says, “America’s Talk Radio Network programming features full-service solutions for our hosts and transactional, educational, entertaining and exclusive content for our partnering stations.” The operation is based in Tampa Bay and programming is delivered via Cumulus XDS. Patch adds, “I’ve been working in radio for approximately 30 years and I look forward to working with our variety of unique programs and affiliate stations servicing the needs of our partners on a daily basis.” At start-up, the network is offering four programs: “My Cool Inventions” featuring Akos Jankura “The Solutionist” and John Cremeans “The Doctor of Shopology”; “Talkin’ Pets” with Jon Patch; a morning program called “Sunrise America”; and “Akos The Solutionist.” For more information visit www.americastalkradionetwork.com.
Odds & Sods. News/talk personality Simon Conway – heard daily at Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines in afternoon drive – is doing double duty this week as he fills in on the morning drive program all this week and next Monday at the company’s WFLF, Orlando “News Talk WFLA.”…..Tennis great John McEnroe is getting expanded duties with ESPN on both radio and TV that will see him work outside the world of tennis as well. As part of his radio duties, he’ll work on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning, O&O WEPN-FM, New York “ESPN New York 98.7” and make appearances on ESPN2’s Keith Olbermann program.
Cool Job Opportunity. America’s most successful FM news/talk station needs America’s best news anchor/reporter. This is a rare opening at Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL in Portland, Oregon. We need someone who can talk to an FM listener with AM credibility. We need someone who can write and use sound to tell the story. Is this you? Minimum 5 years in the broadcast industry required. Please send your resume and sample of your on air work to: Rebecca.firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls please. Must pass a background investigation. Alpha Broadcasting is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
GOP Infighting, Hillary in 2016, ObamaCare Criticism, Sochi Olympics, Tenn. VW Workers Vote Down Union Move, and Winter Weather/Global Warming Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/17). Solidarity problems within the Republican Party; speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016; the continuing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and its effects; the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia; the failure of the UAW to convince VW plant workers in Tennessee to go union; and harsh winter weather and the debate over global warming were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cuts at Cumulus-Owned WestwoodOne Happening; SVP Amy Bolton Exits. The names of those being let go are coming out as Cumulus Media begins the cuts at WestwoodOne that have been expected since the acquisition of then-Dial Global closed. Numerous high-level executives are being shown the door – in many instances where there are duplicative positions between WestwoodOne and the Cumulus Media Networks. Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey is promising investors he can realize $40 million in synergies and eliminating these positions is one of the ways he hopes to accomplish that. WestwoodOne SVP and general manager of news & talk Amy Bolton – who’s been with the organization going back when it was Jones Radio Networks – is let go. Also reportedly out in this round of cuts are: chief marketing officer Christina Albee; EVP/Eastern director Eileen Decker; and SVP of research Paul Bronstein.
Lionel Joins TalkersRadio in Development of New Show to Launch This Weekend. One of the most original personalities in the business, radio talk show host Lionel, is launching a new program on TALKERS magazine’s online radio station, TalkersRadio, tomorrow morning (2/1). The self-titled show “Lionel” will air live on the “experimental” talk show platform Saturday mornings between 9:00 am and 10:00 am ET and run as a regular weekly series. It will feature the intellectually stimulating talk media star in an hour of free-form conversation and reflection about the wide variety of topics that fall within his realm of interest. Lionel describes his plans for the new program as “spoken thought not spoken word” telling TALKERS, “The show will be the editorial cartoon versus the editorial. Broadcast idea topiaries. Stream of consciousness meets targeted subject selection. No left-right paradigm blather. No bumper sticker, playbook, echo chamber drivel. As I feel, as I want, as I please.” A veteran of such major outlets as WABC and WOR, New York among others, as well as being a podcast pioneer at lionelmedia.com, the quirky, satirical and extremely original observer of the human condition has been enjoying tremendous success conceiving, writing, producing and performing daily commentaries on the heritage WPIX-TV, Channel 11 in New York City. The ex-prosecutor Lionel has also added his insight and experience as its resident legal analyst. However, he has not forgotten his roots in and love for radio and promises that his 9:00 am to 10:00 am Saturday show will provide Lionel enthusiasts around the country with a version of his work that is “like nothing they have ever heard before. This will truly be Lionel unchained!” On making the announcement of Lionel’s joining the station, TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein says, “Lionel joining this ‘audio workout space’ is a perfect example of what TalkersRadio is about and hopes to achieve – and that is to provide select people in this business as well as potentially outstanding newcomers with the opportunity to try and develop things that are not being done in the traditional on-air space for the sake of moving the industry forward.”
Cox Flips KONO-AM, San Antonio to Sports Talk. The AM side of the KONO-AM/FM simulcast flips to sports talk using the CBS Sports Radio Network after more than 20 years airing the classic hits format of sister KONO-FM. Cox Media Group San Antonio vice president and market manager Dan Lawrie states, “We’re excited to bring this level of quality sports programming to San Antonio. Additionally, South Texas sports fans should be glad to welcome the return of the Jim Rome show after a two-year absence in the market.” CBS Sports Radio program director Eric Spitz adds, “We’ve put together a tremendous lineup of experienced hosts with strong opinions and personalities who perfectly capture the passion and excitement of the sports fan. With sports, the action never stops, and CBS Sports Radio provides listeners with cutting-edge analysis, high-profile interviews and late breaking news.”
WCKG-AM, Chicago Names Leslie Harris Director of Community Programming. At the Matt Dubiel-run DuPage Radio LLC, market personality Leslie Harris is named director of community programming and host at the suburban talk station. Harris recently exited NextMedia’s suburban rocker WERV “95.9 The River” and Dubiel comments, “Leslie was the full addition I made at WERV and I am over the moon excited to have a Downers Grove rock mamma as part of our local team.”
Good Karma Sells Janesville, Wisconsin Stations to Local Operator. Two stations in the Janesville, Wisconsin market – rock WWHG “105.9 The Hog” and sports talk WTJK “ESPN Radio 1380” – are being sold by Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting to Scott Thompson who operates stations in nearby Monroe, Wisconsin and Freeport, Illinois. The Janesville Gazette reports that Thompson plans to keep the staff already in place at both stations and possibly add an employee. He tells the paper WTJK may air less ESPN content and more local news. Thompson takes over under an LMA while the transaction works its way through the FCC approval process.
WEEI-FM, Boston Begins Friday Night Promotion. In a partnership with local watering hole The Greatest Bar and local media sources Dirty Water TV and DirtyWaterNews.com, Entercom sports talk WEEI-FM begins broadcasting the “Planet Mikey” show with Mikey Adams live from The Greatest Bar Friday, February 7 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The show will feature celebrity guests from the world of sports and entertainment. WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham, citing the bar’s proximity to the TD Garden, states, “It’s a natural fit to partner with the Dirty Water brand and The Greatest Bar. Combining Mikey’s unique entertaining style, the Dirty Water connections for guests and content, and the proximity to the TD Garden will make for a fun atmosphere and a great listen on ‘93.7FM WEEI’ and the WEEI Sports Radio Network.” Bill Fairweather is co-owner of The Greatest Bar and creator of Dirty Water TV. He says WEEI-FM is the perfect radio partner for Dirty Water’s growing array of media entities. “When we decided to add radio to the growing menu of media options that our brand delivers to Greater Boston and beyond, WEEI – with its strong sports focus – was a natural partner for us. Entertainment and celebrity mix very well with sports and The Greatest Bar is the perfect location to bring those topics together. We’re excited to have the opportunity to add these new dimensions to WEEI’s radio offerings.”
Odds & Sods. In honor of Rosa Parks Day on February 4, the Premiere Networks-syndicated Comedy 24/7 format will air special clips of comics of the civil rights era talking about the issue. African American comedians including Dick Gregory, Godfrey Cambridge and Slappy White were outspoken about necessary changes to be made in our society during that time and the format will air special tracks by these comedians and others as they spoke out in the language of the times at :57 after the hour all day on February 4…..Former NFL coach and executive Mike Holmgren will serve as a football analyst with Clear Channel’s sport talk KJR, Seattle next season after handling the same duties in 2013…..Milwaukee Brewers radio play-by-play voice Bob Uecker will step back a little bit from his duties with the team beginning this season as he’ll call fewer road games for flagship WTMJ, Milwaukee. Uecker, who turns 80 this year, will still call all home games and be present for spring training in Arizona.
Joy and Hope Amidst the Misery. Pictured here with children in Port Au Prince, Haiti is Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup. He tells TALKERS he is there with Salem Radio News documenting conditions in Haiti on the fourth anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake that left 300,000 dead and millions homeless. He’s embedded with the relief organization Food for the Poor and has been visiting slums, orphanages and feeding centers for the news network’s five-part special series on “The Poorest of the Poor.” Tradup reports that Salem VP/director spoken word format Phil Boyce (who also is serving as operations manager of the New York stations) is there working on documenting the trip for a New York market broadcast.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. New York-based XtreMEDIA announces a number of affiliates joining three of the company’s offerings. First, the daily Kevin McCullough show is added to the program schedule at WCIS-AM, Morganton, North Carolina; WCST-AM, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia; WGEA, Geneva, Alabama; and KNLB-FM, Blythe, California. The nightly Steve Deace program joins the lineup at WGTK-AM, Louisville; WTOH-FM, Columbus; and WWTC, Minneapolis. Finally, the weekend “Baldwin/McCullough” show is now heard on WMRC, Milford, Massachusetts and WYPV-FM, Mackinaw City, Michigan…..The GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney joins the program schedule at WKVL, Knoxville.
The State of the Union Address Top Talk Radio Story This Week. According to the Talkers TenTM, the president’s State of the Union Address was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 27-31. At #2 this week was criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Following at #3 was new immigration legislation and the prospect of amnesty and at #4 was the extreme winter weather affecting much of the nation. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Talkers New York 2013 a Success. Approximately 500 media pros from talk radio (AM/FM, satellite, internet), talk television, the music industry and press gathered in New York City this past Thursday for the 16th annual installment of the national Talkers Convention. The highlights of this event were too numerous to immediately cover (more than 55 speakers, presentations, award ceremonies, and exhibits packed into nine dynamic hours) but the editorial staff of TALKERS magazine is busily working on sorting out the stories, photos, video, and comments from the day for a series of articles and coverage beginning today with additional stories, photos and video every day this week. Today, TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian’s overview coverage of the conference, along with detailed reporting on some of the panels and speeches, can be found here. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “It was a historic day for the talk radio industry. We can proudly say this conference was pitch-perfect and we are going to have tremendous content for coverage in the days ahead. All of us at TALKERS are extremely humbled and grateful for the widespread industry support and valuable individual participation marking this milestone in our long series of conferences dating back to the early 1990s.” Next on the agenda: Talkers Los Angeles 2013 set for Thursday, October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Los Angeles, presented in association with the LA Press Club. Also a working-media-only event, registration opens at 10:00 am ET today (6/10). Registrations – $149 per person – are only taken by phone for this conference at 413-565-5413 and it is expected to be a very early sellout. Pictured above is TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison moderating the “Radio: The Big Picture” panel. From left to right are: Harrison; Kraig Kitchin, CEO Sound Mind, LLC; Walter Sabo, chairman, Sabo Media; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD/WYM Media; Jeremy Coleman, SVP, talk & entertainment programming, Sirus XM Satellite Radio; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Tom Ray, president, Tom Ray Consulting; Dennis Wharton, VP communications, National Association of Broadcasters; and Mike McVay, SVP programming, Cumulus Media. The lower photo shows Radio Advertising Bureau CEO/president Erica Farber (left) moderating “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” panel from the audience during the attendee Q&A segment. H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz (mic in hand) is pictured asking a question of the panel.
Talk Radio Day at the United Nations Delivers International Content to Millions of Listeners Across America and Around the World. The seventh annual installment of “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” took place this past Friday (6/7) meeting and surpassing all expectations. The ambitious mega-radio row that took place the day after “Talkers New York 2013″ featured approximately 25 radio talk show hosts from across the US and around the world (including China International Radio) broadcasting live and/or recording interviews with UN officials, ambassadors, international issues experts and leaders from the iconic headquarters of the world organization on Manhattan’s East Side. A presentation of TALKERS magazine produced in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and the United Nations Foundation, participants in the event include such broadcasters as Alan Colmes, Doug Stephan, Dr. Joy Browne, Thom Hartmann, David Webb, Lisa Wexler, Ethan Bearman, Mark Riley, Dr. Evelyn Higgins, Martha Zoller, Ed Woodson, Timothy Spangler, Vinnie Penn, Gary Duff, Brent Seltzer, Meg McDonald and many more. The event was carried live on the brand new TalkersRadio. Pictured at the radio row is Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes interviewing Lyall Grant, the UK Ambassador to the United Nations. Look for stories, photos and additional coverage of the event right here throughout this coming week.
John Gallagher to Cumulus Toledo for Market Manager Post. Most recently serving as vice president of sales for Cumulus Media’s Kansas City operations, John Gallagher heads East to Toledo where he assumes the vice president and market manager position for the company’s Toledo stations that includes: country WKKO, hot AC WMMM, classic hits WRQN, sports talk WLQR, classic rock WXKR, and AC WMIM, Monroe, Michigan. He takes over for Matt Spaulding who moves to Cumulus’ Ann Arbor cluster as market manager. Cumulus regional vice president Dave Crowl states, “John’s operating experience and background in this area of the Midwest as well as his strong skill sets in generating revenue growth make him a perfect choice to manage our Toledo/Monroe radio stations. He has led our Kansas City radio stations to outstanding sales results. We expect his leadership to provide continued growth momentum for Cumulus Toledo/Monroe as well.”
WPTR, Schenectady Flips from Oldies to Sports Talk. Empire Broadcasting’s oldies WPTR, Schenectady/Albany flips to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network programming. Chief operating officer Neerav Patel tells The Business Review’s Barbara Pinckney the goal was to bring Jim Rome back to the market. “Plus CBS is hot when it comes to football and March Madness. We thought this was a better fit for us.” Using CBS Sports Radio also gives the station a morning drive show that stars former New York Giants star Tiki Barber. As noted in Pinckney’s piece, WPTR is the third sports talker in the market that includes Clear Channel’s WOFX, Albany and Townsquare Media’s WTMM.
WTCN, Minneapolis Talk Host Tom Emmer Quits to Run for Congress. Tom Emmer, one half of the Davis & Emmer morning drive show on Clear Channel’s news/talk WTCN, Minneapolis “News Talk 1130,” is leaving the program to begin campaigning full time for the congressional seat currently held by Republican Michelle Bachman who has announced she will not seek re-election in 2014. Clear Channel Minneapolis operations manager Gregg Swedberg tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune the company is still considering what to do with the morning drive show. “This hit us fairly quickly. We were caught by surprise. We’re hammering out different ideas, including leaving Bob Davis alone, teaming him up with someone else, or doing something completely different.” The paper reports that the Davis & Emmer show ranks 11th in the morning drive competition in the Twin Cities among adults 25-54 and is 8th among men 25-54.
BIA Kelsey Predicts Auto Spend on Radio Up 15% Over Five Years. According to BIA Kelsey’s Media Ad View Plus forecast, the auto industry will increase local auto ad spending on radio by 15% between 2012 and 2017 with the total local ad spend reaching $17.5 billion. Not surprisingly, online and mobile will see the biggest increases in ad spending from the auto industry, according to chief economist Mark Fratrik, “By 2017, automotive dealers will focus on video, spending 11.4% of their $2.4 billion online ad budget on video display.” Additionally, the categories of real estate and restaurants are both expected to increase over that period of time as well.
‘AM 560 The Answer’ in Chicago Raises $20k for Honor Flight Chicago. Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” afternoon drive talk show host Steve Cochran (at right) is pictured here doing his program live from Bolingbrook Golf Club after the June 7 charity golf outing that raised $19,224 for the Honor Flight Chicago program that will send 27 WWII veterans to Washington, DC to see the WWII Memorial built in their honor. The sold-out fundraiser was sponsored by Culver’s and saw 142 golfers join Cochran and WIND morning show co-host Amy Jacobson to raise money for the cause. Pictured here with Cochran are WIND program director Marcus Brown (c) and operations manager Eric Thomas (l).
Musings on the United Nations. Radio consultant Holland Cooke visited the United Nations on Friday, June 7 while the “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” radio row was taking place. In addition to his take on the radio row, Cooke offers his thoughts about stepping into and touring the iconic building on the East Side of New York City. Read Holland Cooke’s column here.
It’s a Tony Award for Mike Gallagher! Although Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher is an accomplished stage actor, he didn’t pick up the Tony Award for his stage work – he got it for being an investor in the revival of “Pippin” for helping finance the production and making revival on Broadway possible. Gallagher is a member of Actor’s Equity and says his investment was “well south of $1 million” but he’s thrilled to receive his latest award for his avocation in professional theatre. “Having appeared on Broadway myself in the musical “Memphis,” it really thrills me to own this piece of theatre history.” Gallagher is currently appearing as Mayor Shinn in “The Music Man” at Lyric Stage in Dallas/Ft. Worth and he will play Daddy Warbucks in “Annie” in South Carolina this September.
Big Talk Show Topic This Week. ABC Radio’s Aaron Katersky is pictured here outside the courthouse in Sanford, Florida at the trial of George Zimmerman – charged in the death of Trayvon Martin – as the jury selection process begins. The defense asked for a delay in the trial telling Judge Debra Nelson the prosecution was slow in turning over evidence but she denied that request and the case is proceeding. The shooting death of Martin was a big topic on news/talk radio when it took place and it’s expected to be a major topic throughout the summer as issues of racial profiling, Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law, and gun violence come into play.
Fisher Communications to Be Acquired by Sinclair Broadcasting for $373.3 Million. Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. announces that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire Fisher Communications, Inc. for $373.3 million. The deal will see Fisher shareholders get $41 in cash for each share of Fisher common stock. That’s 44% over the closing price of Fisher stock on January 9 of this year. Fisher only owns three radio signals – hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5,” all-news KOMO-AM and news/talk KVI (it manages South Sound Broadcasting-owned KOMO-FM as a simulcast of KOMO-AM). It owns 20 television stations. Sinclair president and CEO David Smith states, “We are excited to acquire Fisher and expand our coverage westward, especially in the two key markets of Seattle (DMA 12) and Portland (DMA 22). Started in 1910, Fisher’s history of operating television and radio stations in the northwest corner of the U.S. has played an important role in its communities and in producing high-quality local news. We look forward to expanding upon those traditions and improving the cash flow of the stations through the benefits that come with our scale.” Sinclair began selling off its radio stations in the 1990s and sold the final bunch in 2000. It seems very likely that the TV-centric company would turn around and sell the Seattle radio stations, however it has not indicated its intent regarding a return to radio.
KNX, Los Angeles to Celebrate 45 Years as All-News Outlet. On Monday, April 15, CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles will recognize its 45th year as an all-news radio station. As the company notes in a statement, “A stunned nation was still in shock following the assassination of Martin Luther King when just 11 days later on April 15, 1968, CBS-owned KNX-AM significantly increased the time it devoted to news coverage, essentially launching an all-news format that continues today…Less than two months after the King shooting in Memphis, KNX would be covering another national tragedy, this one with indelible ties to Los Angeles, when Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was killed at the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard. Before the 60s drew to a close, KNX would cover a moon landing and a Manson massacre, symbolic of the mix of prominent national and local events that were to become the fabric of KNX’s dedication to reporting major news stories.” KNX director of news and programming Andy Ludlum says, “Since 1968 we’ve seen eight U.S. presidents, six California governors and five L.A. mayors. We’ve had riots, fires, earthquakes, mudslides, hosted the Olympics, lost a couple of football teams, rooted the Lakers to 11 titles, watched OJ run wild on the freeways and recently endured a nightmarish hunt for a fugitive cop-killer. And through it all, KNX has embodied trust, integrity and credibility. We all feel a sense of responsibility to follow in the footsteps of so many great KNX news people like Bill Keene, Alex Sullivan, Jon Goodman, Barry Rohde, Beach Rogers, Dave Zorn and Harry Birrell, to name just a few. You hear the pride in the great heritage of KNX in the work of today’s anchors like Dick Helton, Vicky Moore, Tom Haule, Linda Nunez, Diane Thompson, Jim Thornton and Chris Sedens.”
Roby Wiener Joins Courtside Entertainment Group. Ad executive Roby Wiener becomes part of the Courtside Entertainment Group in a newly created position: executive vice president of client strategy. Courtside says that in this post, Wiener will oversee branding, client strategy and market research for all of Courtside’s divisions, including radio, Launchpad Digital Media and PodcastOne.com. She will be based in New York and will report directly to Courtside chairman Norm Pattiz. Pattiz states, “I can’t think of a better person to communicate the value of the changes that are going on in media today. I’ve known Roby longer than I’ve known my wife and I love her almost as much. I couldn’t be happier to have her as a part of our team on this very exciting ride.” Wiener most recently served with Dial Global, joining the company after its merger with Westwood One which she’d been with since 2006 as chief marketing officer and EVP of marketing. Previously, Wiener served as executive vice president client strategies & services for the Premiere Radio Networks for eight years and spent over 11 years at Warner-Lambert, a leading consumer product company that was among the top five largest national radio advertisers, as senior media manager of the company’s Advertising Services Department. She says, “Technology continues to shape the way people share ideas and my passion has always been to help advertisers be an important part of that dialog. Launchpad’s communication platform provides a remarkable new approach for advertisers to tell their stories with an authenticity that truly resonates with consumers, engaging with them on their terms. I have had the pleasure of working with both Norm Pattiz and Dan Yukelson at various stages of my career and I am eager to collaborate with them and the team in this new venture.”
Longtime Bubba the Love Sponge Producer Brent Hatley Exits. The man who’s been Bubba the Love Sponge’s right-hand man for the past 13 years tells the Tampa Bay Times that there is no acrimony between he and Bubba the Love Sponge – he simply wants to branch out into other things and he’s unable to pursue those interests while continuing to work on the program. Bubba told his audience that Brent Hatley would be leaving, admitting he’s surprised by the move but saying the door is always open to Hatley coming back should he choose to. In the meantime, Shannon Burke – former WTKS, Orlando talk show host and current personality on Bubba’s online radio channel Radio IO – will get a weeklong tryout to take over Hatley’s role with the WHPT, Tampa-based program.
KFWB, Los Angeles Adds Sports Programming. L.A. news/talk outlet KFWB announces it is adding sports talk content to its news and talk programming. Using content from CBS Sports Radio Network and NBC Sports Radio Network, the station will air Jim Rome’s commentaries (CBS) as well as the Amani & Eytan show (NBC) with Amani Toomer and Eytan Shander for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot plus the Eric Kuselias program (NBC) from 3:00 am to 5:00 am. KFWB is also adding the locally produced “KFWB’s Sports Knight with Michael Knight” for the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot. Knight serves as an anchor with the station. KFWB general manager Valerie Blackburn says, “As the flagship station of the Los Angeles Clippers, we want to give our sports fans more of an opportunity to be part of the sports conversation. We continue to look for ways to give our listeners and clients the best possible programming options available.”
Local Group to Buy Five-Station Santa Rosa Cluster. The investors – Sonoma Media Group — is headed by former owner of the stations, Lawrence Amaturo, who sold the cluster in 2000 for almost $30 million. The price to re-acquire the stations from Connecticut-based Maverick Media is $4.5 million according to a piece in the Press-Democrat. The stations include news/talk KSRO, classic rock KVRV “The River,” CHR KHTH “Hot 101.7,” country KFGY “Froggy 92.9,” and hot AC KMHX “Mix 104.9.” Amaturo tells the paper, “The opportunity was irresistible. More than half of this community is listening to these stations each week…They’re more popular than when I sold them in 2000, but their revenue is down and their profit is down. I’m able to reinvest in these radio stations, in programming and promotion, which the current owners were not able to do. There was too much debt.” Amaturo says he has no plans to make changes to the stations and may consider bringing local programs that were recently cancelled back to the air.
IP Codecs, Transmitters, the Future of AM and other Cool Stuff. These are the topics addressed in this week’s column by TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray, inspired by his visit to the 2013 NAB Show in Las Vegas. According to Ray, “Just about everything I saw at the NAB was IP, IP, IP.” The engineering wizard also shares his seasoned insights into the revitalization of AM approaching the subject from angles ignored by most industry observers. On the subject of transmitters (yes, we still use them in radio), Ray says the trend is to deliver more in less space. Read the entire installment of the engineering column that “isn’t just for engineers because in today’s radio environment programmers and management have to worry about engineering a lot more than they used to” by clicking here.
Southern California Radio Writer Gary Lycan Dies at 68. The longtime Orange County Register radio columnist had been battling prostate cancer for the past several years and died in his sleep on Tuesday at age 68. Gary Lycan’s final column ran in the OC Register on Saturday. He began his career with the paper in 1962 as a copy boy and worked his way up to assistant managing editor for features – a post he held until he left his full-time position with the paper in 2002. Since that time and up to his death, he continued to write his radio column as a freelancer. It was widely regarded as a special window into the radio and media world for Southern California readers.
Dave Ramsey Enters the Hall of Fame. At the NAB Show Luncheon on Tuesday, nationally syndicated talk show host Dave Ramsey was inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame. He’s pictured here (r) with NAB chief executive officer Gordon Smith (l) accepting a commemorative plaque.
Gun Legislation Proposals, Immigration Overhaul Bill, North Korea Missile Threats, Mitch McConnell-Ashley Judd Case, and Obama’s Budget Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/10). The continuing efforts to pass gun legislation; the immigration overhaul bill offered by Senate Democrats; tension over North Korea’s missile threats; the controversy over the recording of Republican Senator Mitch McConnell’s Ashley Judd strategy; and President Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Anyone connecting the dots to the impressive vitae and past history of one of America’s brightest comics/rock solid actor will not be the least bit astonished that agent “Bob Sugar” in the mid-1990s smash “Jerry Maguire” is on his way to establishing a potent presence in sports talk radio.
Second-year (2009-2010) plotline for CBS-TV’s “Gary Unmarried” called for its lead character to lessen his role as a housepainter as he transitioned to what he had always wanted to do – host a call-in sports radio program. “It is this crazy scenario that I actually wound up doing in real life what I was doing in a make belief sitcom,” remarks Jay Mohr, whose “Jay Mohr Sports” debuted January 2 on Fox Sports Radio.
KFI, Los Angeles’ John and Ken Appear on WOR, New York. New WOR, New York owner Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has begun airing talk radio duo John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou in the evenings on the station. On Wednesday night, a simulcast hour from the final hour of the pair’s highly rated KFI, Los Angeles program aired at 9:00 pm followed by a 10:00 pm hour of custom programming for the New York station. John and Ken are no strangers to the region having grown up in the New York area and having gotten their start on radio stations in the Tri-State Area. They rose to prominence during their stint at Trenton-based “New Jersey 101.5” (WKXW). John and Ken have been syndicated in the past. During a brief period in the late 1990s, the duo began a national syndication effort under Fisher Entertainment but that ended when they moved to KABC, Los Angeles to take the morning drive slot.
Peacock Sports Network Playing the Hits. In TALKERS magazine’s second part of its three-part series on the new sports talk radio players (and the growing field in general), managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian gets inside the heads of those involved in the new NBC Sports Radio Network that is launching its weekend programming this weekend and its full daily slate in April. NBC Sports Radio programmer Jack Silver tells TALKERS his network is focusing on finding talent it believes is the next generation. “The weekday and weekend lineups mirror the network’s mission statement, which is to be a new wave of sports talk. We did not hire the more traditional names. The developmental mindset we have is to find new sports talk talent. CBS Sports Radio has veterans like Jim Rome and Scott Ferrall. We are looking for the next versions of people like that, as well as Dan Patrick and [ESPN Radio morning personalities] ‘Mike [Greenberg] & Mike [Golic].’ We are producing this sports network like a rock station, with in-your-face production. To my ear, it feels like an FM talk station – which is my specialty. It is based on opinions and talk show topics.” Read Mike Kinosian’s entire piece here.
Cumulus Media Returns 44 Markets to Arbitron Diary Service. After three years with no Arbitron diary ratings service, Cumulus Media-owned stations in 44 markets will resume subscription to the service effective immediately. Cumulus Media and Arbitron announce they have agreed to a multi-year contract that brings Cumulus stations in the 44 markets back into the fold and renews the company’s PPM ratings service deal in the 17 PPM markets in which it operates. Arbitron states that the deal covers all 450 Cumulus stations in the 100 Cumulus radio markets currently surveyed by Arbitron. It also renews ratings agreements in 39 diary markets. In addition to diary and PPM local market ratings, the agreement also provides Cumulus with access to Arbitron software applications, Scarborough consumer profile services, and national and network radio ratings for Cumulus Media Networks. Cumulus has also agreed to collaborate with Arbitron on cross-platform services that would quantify the total impact of the Cumulus radio brand. Cumulus chairman and CEO Lew Dickey says, “With this agreement, Arbitron and Cumulus are demonstrating a long-term commitment to collaborate for the benefit of the radio industry. We will work closely with Arbitron on its ongoing quality and service enhancement initiatives. Specifically, we look forward to participating in the development of an integrated, total radio audience service that gives broadcasters full credit for our audiences regardless of how listeners access our content.”
Herman Cain is Coming and Consultant Holland Cooke Predicts Success. Businessman, talk show host and one-time presidential candidate Herman Cain is prepping to take over the WSB, Atlanta and Cox Media syndication of the Neal Boortz program when Boortz retires this month. Radio consultant Holland Cooke predicts Cain will succeed and offers eight reasons why, beginning with: “He’s a radio natural, as we heard when he filled-in for Sean Hannity last summer. Even if Cain’s primary run hadn’t made it so familiar, his voice jumps-out-of the speaker. And he speaks in sound bites that are made for AM radio.” There’s more. Read Cooke’s piece here.
Larry Mendte Exits Merlin’s WWIQ, Philadelphia. Announcing his departure from the Philadelphia talk outlet via his Facebook page, talk personality and former market TV news anchor Larry Mendte states the reason was not due to ratings as his show was “by far the highest-rated local show.” But Mendte, who joined the station in May of last year, says in his post that he believes his exit will spur rumors the station is for sale. He says he hopes that’s not true as he believes the station “fills an important void.” Mendte was hired to work the morning show alongside programmer and co-host Al Gardner. Earlier in the fall, New York-based multi-media star Lionel was brought in to work with Gardner for a portion of the morning program. WWIQ’s website lists both Gardner and Lionel as co-hosts of the 5:00 am to 9:00 am program.
Clear Channel to Flip WOKY, Milwaukee to Sports Talk. Beginning Monday, January 7, Clear Channel-owned classic country WOKY, Milwaukee will become a sports talk outlet as “The Big 920.” The station will feature regional sports talk personalities as well as Fox Sports Radio Network syndicated programming including Dan Patrick and Jay Mohr. According to a report in The Business Journal, the station will run the same programming that airs on CC’s Madison sports talk station WTSO “The Big 1070.” The station will air a talk show featuring morning drive hosts Mike Lucas and Matt Lepay from 6:00 am to 8:00 am. It will be in competition in the market with Good Karma’s WAUK and Entercom’s WSSP.
WQRT, Cincinnati to Drop Talk; Station Will Go Dark, Launch New Format in February. The Cincinnati market sports and talk station WQRT “Real Talk 1160” will go dark after the broadcast of the BCS National Championship game on January 7 and take the rest of the month to prepare for a new format. Christian Broadcast System owner Jon Yinger tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter the station did not perform as the company had hoped despite hiring numerous local personalities over the course of the past few years to challenge competitors in the market. Local staffers including morning host Dean Miuccio, news staffer T.C. Summers, afternoon sports talk hosts Dennis “Wildman” Walker and Jeff Piecoro have been let go and the station will air syndicated programming until it signs off. The station recently lost operations manager Rob Williams and sports talk host and producer Rick Ucchino who left to join Cumulus Media’s crosstown WCFN which debuted the CBS Sports Radio Network format on Wednesday, January 2.
Al Gore’s Current TV Bought by Al Jazeera. The Al Gore– and Joel Hyatt-owned Current TV cable news/talk channel has been purchased by the Qatar-based Arab world cable news operation Al Jazeera for a reported $500 million. Bloomberg reports Gore and Hyatt paid $60 million for the media outlet in 2004. Bloomberg notes in its report that Time Warner Cable Inc., the second-biggest U.S. cable company, said it would stop carrying Current TV with the ownership change. “Our agreement with Current has been terminated and we will no longer be carrying the service…We are removing the service as quickly as possible.” Time Warner Cable currently carries the Al Jazeera English-language programming in New York City however it does not offer Al Jazeera in the Los Angeles market. The Associated Press reports the acquisition will give Al Jazeera access to about 40 million more homes. It also states that Al Jazeera – owned by the government of Qatar – plans to gradually transform Current TV into a network called Al Jazeera America by adding five to 10 new U.S. bureaus beyond the five it has now and hiring more journalists. More than half of the content will be U.S. news and the network will have its headquarters in New York City.
Fox Sports Radio Network’s Jay Mohr Debuts on 70-Plus Stations. The new late-morning program on the Fox Sports Radio Network hosted by long-time FSRN fill-in host, comedian and actor Jay Mohr hit the ground running with about 70 affiliates yesterday. Fox Sports reports the show aired in markets including: Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Portland and Pittsburgh. Mohr’s program fills the slot held for so many years by Jim Rome who left Premiere Networks for the new CBS Sports Radio Network.
Bill Keeler to Host Mornings on WIBX, Utica. Local media personality Bill Keeler will begin hosting the morning drive program on Townsquare Media’s news/talk WIBX, Utica, New York on Monday, January 14, according to WKTV-TV, Utica. Keeler, who has been hosting a restaurant program on WKTV-TV, has also worked in the market in radio at CHR WSKS and rock WXUR. He says, “I am so excited about doing mornings on WIBX. This is a heritage radio station that’s been around for 87 years and it remains one of the top stations in the market. I can’t wait to get on the air and get started.” Keeler will be joined by news anchor Kristine Bellino.
WMVP, Chicago Personality Steve McMichael Pulled from Broadcasting After Equal Time Request. Former Chicago Bears great and WMVP, Chicago sports talk personality Steve “Mongo” McMichael was yanked from Sunday’s program prior to the final Bears game of the season after the mayor of Romeoville, Illinois filed an equal time request with the station. McMichael filed papers on December 26 to get on the ballot to run for mayor of Romeoville in April and one of his opponents, current Mayor John Noak, filed the request citing equal time regulations. McMichael tells the Chicago Tribune, “I was ready to go on and talk football. I by no means used that pre-game show as a political platform this year. But if that’s the law, it’s the law and I have to accept it.”
Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Announces Record Results for Holiday Toy Drive. WTMJ, Milwaukee program director Joe Scialfa announces the Journal Broadcast Group station collected more than 19,000 toys during its 2012 “Kids to Kids Christmas” Scialfa says more than 50 schools in the region participated in the charity drive that encouraged children to shop with their parents for toys to donate to those less fortunate. Scialfa states, “The listeners of Newsradio 620 WTMJ are amazing. Again this year, they have shared the message of giving with their kids in a record setting way! We couldn’t be prouder to come to work each day to inform and entertain this great audience.”
‘Fiscal Crisis’ Bill Signed, Hurricane Sandy Aid Controversy, Financial Markets Activity, Hillary Clinton Health Status and Gun Control Debate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/2). The aftermath of the bill signed to avert the “fiscal crisis”; the anger over Congress’ bypassing Hurricane Sandy aid; financial markets respond to “fiscal crisis” legislation; the health status of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and ongoing debate of gun laws in the United States were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Part One: CBS Launches New Network
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — “Happy Sports Year!”
That could easily be the battle cry sentiment among ardent fans to welcome 2013, even if it means that many of them will require scorecards to track the whereabouts of some of their favorite sports radio personalities.
A perennial sports talk talent MVP tops the headlines by switching teams, while some new names get to crack opening-day lineups, as not one – but two – national sports networks are being introduced this year, each carrying instantly-recognizable name branding.
One of them in fact, is making its maiden voyage today (Wednesday, January 2) and, if all goes according to plan, many radio station managers and programmers will be echoing that “Happy Sports Year!” declaration in about 11 months as their way of assessing 2013.
Fox Sports Radio Network Taps Jay Mohr for Midday Slot. Longtime Fox Sports Radio Network fill-in host Jay Mohr is picked to fill the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot on the network that’s opening when Jim Rome moves over to CBS Sports Radio Network on January 2. The actor, comedian and radio personality will host “Jay Mohr Sports” beginning on January 2. In a press release, he says, “After spending the last 15 years guest hosting, I couldn’t be happier to get the opportunity to host my own show! I’m looking forward to talking sports, connecting with listeners, and interviewing amazing guests every day, while being a part of the Fox Sports Radio family. It was worth the wait.” Premiere Networks executive vice president of news, talk and sports programming Carl Anderson states, “Jay has done a great job guest hosting for Premiere Sports and Fox Sports Radio’s flagship station AM570 FOX Sports LA, and I know his sense of humor and extensive sports knowledge will provide just what our listeners are looking for. He’s a perfect addition to our leading, multi-platform, sports entertainment lineup.”
WPRO-AM & 99.7 FM, Providence Produces Special “Protecting Our Children” Show. This evening at 7:00, Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM & 99.7 FM, Providence produces a special edition of the Matt Allen program titled, “Protecting Our Children” in response to the Newtown killings. Allen and his panelists will discuss various aspects of the tragedy including school preparedness, police policies and responses, Rhode Island gun regulation, speaking to children about such tragedies and Rhode Island mental health policies. Joining Matt Allen will be Colonel Steven O’ Donnell, superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police; Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education commissioner Deborah Gist; and Dr. Susan Erstling, senior vice president, Family Service of Rhode Island and an expert on children affected by crimes.
Bob Moore Exits Courtside Entertainment; Dan Yukelson Joins as EVP/CFO. After almost a year with Norm Pattiz-founded Courtside Entertainment in a consultant capacity, Bob Moore exits and prepares to announce his next venture in the New Year. Meanwhile, joining Courtside Entertainment is Dan Yukelson who will take on the role of executive vice president and chief financial officer. Yukelson comes to Courtside from Premiere Networks where he held the same title. Yukelson will be responsible for financial operations and overall management of both Courtside and sister initiative Launchpad Digital Media. Yukelson joined Premiere in 1995 and was instrumental in its sale to Jacor Communications in 1997. He left in 1998 and returned in 2002. Norm Pattiz says, “Dan Yukelson’s experience streamlining financial operations and proven revenue generation know-how are a perfect fit for Courtside as we continue to rapidly expand our offerings in radio and aggressively enter the digital space.” Yukelson says the new post is “a tremendous opportunity to join a company that is breaking new ground with a focused strategy emphasizing on-demand media and digital content, in addition to its long tradition of quality radio programming.”
WHO, Des Moines Host Simon Conway Keeps Busy. News Radio 1040 WHO Des Moines afternoon drive host Simon Conway is earning some extra Christmas cash this week and next as he’s doing double duty filling in on the morning drive show today through Friday on Clear Channel’s WFLF, Orlando. Conway is also scheduled to fill in for Andy Dean Wednesday through Friday during Christmas week on the Premiere Networks‘ “America Now” program. Then on Saturday, December 29, he will be hosting the nationally syndicated “The Weekend” show.
WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Taps Wayne Powers for Two-Week Stint. Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte “News Talk 1110” announces veteran broadcaster and TV personality Wayne Powers will be guest hosting the Brad & Britt show on Christmas Eve. He’ll then take the helm of the long-running John Hancock show from December 26 through January 4.
A Token of Their Appreciation. In recognition of the nine years of fundraising Cumulus Media news/talk outlet WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC has organized to benefit the Fisher House Foundation and the more than $4 million collected, Fisher House presents WMAL with its Patriot Award. Pictured here from left to right are: WMAL general sales manager Todd Freundlich, Fisher House Foundation president Dave Coker and WMAL program director Bill Hess. Fisher House builds comfort homes where the families of wounded warriors can stay while their loved one is being treated at a military or VA hospital. There are nine Fisher Houses in the Washington, DC area, and a total of 58 across the country.
Newtown Massacre Aftermath, ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Negotiations, Benghazi Review and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/18). The aftermath of the massacre of 27 in Newtown; the negotiations in Washington over avoiding the “fiscal cliff”; the review of the assault on the Benghazi consulate; and the action in the NFL as the playoffs approach were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Conclusion of Election Raises Inevitable Questions. The dramatic and contentious election of 2012 has finally come to a conclusion. As President Barack Obama prepares to begin his second term as the nation’s chief executive with control of the House and Senate split between the parties, inevitable questions arise about the path and positioning of news/talk radio in the new political environment. How does the re-election of Obama impact the agendas of conservative and liberal talk radio? How long will it take before political presidential jockeying overtly begins as the periods between election cycles grow shorter? What are the economic implications of this election? How will the economy affect the radio industry in general? Will the current advertising agency hostility toward conservative talk radio intensify or dissipate? What will be the new, unexpected issues that dominate on-air conversation as we move beyond the deafening chatter of Election 2012? TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has already begun fielding these questions from the nation’s radio-watchers in the mainstream press. According to Harrison very little will change in terms of the on-air party lines: “As much as I encourage talk radio to expand the menu of its subject matter and spread out into a diversity of formats and subjects – which I actually believe will happen in the coming year or two — don’t expect to see a sudden change or modification of positioning among the ranks of established, opinionated political hosts. These next two years will be no picnic for the president. If you look back at Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon – two polarizing figures in American politics – their second terms were far more turbulent generating more contentious media conversation than their first. Even Ronald Reagan had his Iran-Contra issue in his second term. You can probably expect the same with Obama.” Harrison expects the next congressional election to start immediately and the next presidential election to begin shortly thereafter. “Biden might be flirting with the idea of running in 2016 but you can count on all eyes and ears being focused on the Clintons and perhaps another Bush.” As far as the economic picture is concerned, Harrison is optimistic stating, “I think things are destined to improve regardless of who is president. Let us all do our best to make the radio industry relevant and prosperous in the exciting days and years ahead.” Of course there will be a spectrum of contrasting views on this subject. For example, TRN talk show host Jerry Doyle tells TALKERS that he plans to call out a number of his fellow conservative hosts on his show today for “being cheerleaders for the GOP and not questioning some of their positions that are tarnishing the Republican brand.” He uses the analogy, “I love Corvettes, but I won’t be buying one because of all the as***les driving them today. The same thing with the Republicans – I find it hard to call myself a Republican because of so many of their ridiculous opinions and terrible candidates that fly in the face of today’s reality.”
Will Obama’s Re-Election Cause Programmers to Reflect? Consultant Holland Cooke makes strong statements about what the re-election of Barack Obama should mean to talk radio hosts and programmers. He says, “Heavy early voting and long lines yesterday say ‘Hear me!’ to talk radio’s default I-talk-you-listen model,” and Cooke states that voters didn’t conform to the prevailing talk radio narrative. Do you agree or disagree that there’s a lesson in the election results for talk radio? Before you answer, read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.
Radio One to Flip WMOJ, Cincinnati to Sports in January. Radio One’s rhythmic oldies WMOJ, Cincinnati “Mojo 100.3” has gone all Christmas but after the holidays the station will not return to “jammin’ oldies” but will be an outlet for CBS Sports Radio Network’s new 24/7 sports talk format. Program director Steve Harris tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter that the opportunity to do sports on FM was too great to pass up. The station is expected to carry the bulk of the national lineup – John Feinstein, Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb and Scott Ferrall – but Harris says there has been no decision made about whether to do a local AM drive show or take what CBS Sports Radio Networks has to offer in that daypart. Cincinnati currently has two AM sports talk outlets – WSAI, a Fox Sports Radio Network affiliate, and WCKY, an ESPN Radio affiliate – in addition to news/talk WLW which airs a fair amount of sports programming as well.
New Jersey 101.5 Partners with Governor’s Office in Storm Relief. Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is announcing its own “Restore New Jersey” and restorenewjersey.com are officially working with Governor Chris Christie’s and his wife Mary Pat’s “Sandy NJ Relief Fund.” The station’s group marketing director Ray Handel says the station is immediately beginning to inform listeners about donation efforts. He issues this statement: “New Jersey 101.5 will continue to be involved with restoring New Jersey from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. We informed millions of Jersey listeners on news and survival information before, during and after the storm. The station served as a lifeline to millions who lost power, and gave those millions a voice. Now as our attention turns to long term recovery, we introduce ‘Restore New Jersey,’ an on-going fundraising effort that will be featured on New Jersey 101.5 and nj1015.com for at least the next six months. We will be working with Governor and Mary Pat Christie so we can partner with their ‘Sandy NJ Relief Fund.’ Governor Christie is very much a part of NJ101.5, as he has a monthly show on our station. The governor has received much praise in his leadership during this crisis. This past Saturday the governor introduced this state wide charity, and we feel this will merge perfectly with the state wide help New Jersey 101.5’s ‘Restore New Jersey’ will provide. All funds raised will stay right here in New Jersey, and we think New Jersey 101.5 can really take the lead with this effort.”
NAB ‘Licensed to Serve’ Newsletter Recognizes Broadcasters Covering Sandy. The National Association of Broadcasters released its most recent “Licensed to Serve” newsletter detailing many of the efforts of broadcasters – both radio and television – that provided news and information to the regions affected by Hurricane Sandy. NAB EVP of media relations Dennis Wharton and his staff have put together an excellent summary of the work done by over-the-air broadcasters in serving the needs of their communities. Wharton is passionate about the role of radio and television broadcasters in times of crisis and the NAB’s work showcasing it in this regard serves the broadcasting community well. See the NAB’s “Licensed to Serve” page here.
Radio Personality Robinson to PM Drive on KCJF, Jonesboro, Arkansas. Tall Cotton Media’s new sports talk KCJF, Jonesboro, Arkansas “103.9 The Game” names radio personality Robinson PM drive host. He comes to sports talk radio after a career in rock radio at Entercom’s Rochester, New York music outlets classic rock WCMF and rock WBZA. Tall Cotton took over ownership of the outlet in September from Catherine Joanna Flinn. The station is a Fox Sports Radio Network affiliate.
Red Zebra Extends Play-by-Play Deal with Georgetown. The Hoyas will be heard on Red Zebra’s Washington, DC sports talk duo WTEM and WSPZ “ESPN 980 and SportsTalk570; Powered by ESPN” for seasons to come as the two partners extend their contract. Under the terms of the deal, Red Zebra will broadcast the school’s men’s basketball games. Red Zebra president and CEO Rick Carmean says, “We are excited to team with Georgetown University and Coach Thompson’s squad as they continue the tradition as one of the best teams the area has to offer.” The Hoyas open their season Friday, November 9 aboard the USS Bataan in Jacksonville against the Florida Gators. All Hoya games will be broadcast by Rich Chvotkin who is in his 40th season calling Georgetown games.
Longtime KSL, Salt Lake City Weekend Gardening Show Host Larry Sagers Dead at 63. Horticulture expert and radio talker Larry Sagers, whose weekend gardening program the “Greenhouse Show” co-hosted with Tim Hughes was a mainstay for years on KSL, Salt Lake City has succumbed to his long battle with mesothelioma, a form of cancer often associated with exposure to asbestos. Sagers was a horticulture agent with the Utah State University Extension and an extremely popular local figure.
The 2012 Election and Hurricane Sandy Aftermath Dominate News/Talk Radio Yesterday (11/6). As is usually the case on a presidential election day, the election itself – not only the presidential race but the Senate and House races as well as controversial ballot issues around the nation – dominated the discussion on news/talk radio on Tuesday. Additionally, there was still considerable talk about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, especially in the Northeast where New Jersey and New York are still recovering from the storm.
TRN Promotes Jerry Doyle to Network Slot Where Savage Aired. Calling it the show with which “stations will get more light and less heat, a show that they can sell locally with pride, but also a show that will respect its stations, advertisers and audiences with a brilliance that sets great shows apart from good ones,” Talk Radio Network moves Jerry Doyle into the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT time slot formerly held by Michael Savage. TRN states, “For too long, we’ve had to choose between ratings and salability, but no longer…Jet pilot, Wall Street investment banker for 10 years, Hollywood star for 12 years, former congressional nominee and now radio giant who has earned his right to this spot for close to nine years, Jerry Doyle is the future of talk radio. He will bring massive audiences through word of mouth because he is brilliant and funny, showing both emotional and intellectual range that is beyond rare.” As it announces Doyle’s move into the West Coast afternoon drive slot, TRN promises, “He understands the advertising business like few others; Jerry is a triple-rated William Morris Agency voice-over artist who has voiced national ads for AT&T, Chevrolet, TGI Fridays, Anheuser-Busch, Panasonic, The US Armed Forces and many others. Jerry will work with his stations reading their ads and promos, because he understands radio isn’t about host ego, it’s about high levels of performance, and it’s about business.” Michael Savage exited TRN last week after winning in arbitration to get out of his contract with the syndicator. Filling in for Doyle’s program in his previous network time is Dr. Bill Wattenburg until a permanent replacement is named.
CBS Sports Radio Announces Scott Ferrall to Be Late Night Host. When CBS Radio’s new 24/7 national sports talk network kicks off in January, longtime sports talk pro Scott Ferrall will hold down the 10:00 pm to 2:00 am ET slot with his “Ferrall on the Bench” program. So far, we know the new CBS Sports Radio network will feature Jim Rome for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot followed by Doug Gottlieb from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. Network director of programming Eric Spitz says, “Scott is widely recognized as having set the standard for what a successful national evening sports radio show should be. He’s got an amazing knowledge of sports that rivals even the most noted experts, and with his fast-paced style of high-octane sports talk, listeners and our affiliates are guaranteed to get the very best program each and every night.” Ferrall is currently hosting a sports talk show for SiriusXM. In the past he has worked for SportsNet New York, several NHL properties, Fox Sports Radio, and Sportsfan Radio Network, as well as major market stations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami and Pittsburgh.
Don Wade Update from Chicago. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that WLS-AM, Chicago morning host Don Wade came through his brain surgery successfully and is resting at home, according to wife and on-air partner Roma. In case you missed it, the longtime WLS-AM morning personality was diagnosed with a growth in early September for which he underwent surgery last Thursday. Now, the Wades’ agent, Eliot Ephriam, tells Feder, “The surgery went as expected and Don came out of it really well. We’re awaiting the results of tests and that will determine what’s next.” Don Wade is expected to remain at home for several weeks. Station executives report the duo had good ratings news as the September PPM numbers indicate WLS-AM was #1 with listeners 12+ from 6:00 am to 10:00 am scoring a 7.0 share – the program’s highest ratings in more than four years.
Genesis Communications’ SportsTalkFlorida Aligns with NBC Sports Radio. Several months ago, Genesis Communications stated it was going to drop the ESPN Radio affiliation for its sports talk stations WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando. Now the company reveals its programming plans and its new affiliation with the fledgling NBC Sports Radio network. The stations have been named “NBC Sports Talk 1040 The Team Tampa Bay” and “NBC Sports Talk 1080 The Team Orlando,” respectively. The new lineup at the two stations includes: local host David Baumann in AM drive; DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; local host Whitney Johnson from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; for PM drive, WHBO airs local host Charlie Bernstein and WHOO broadcasts local duo Mike Tuck and Jerry O’Neill; both stations air NBC’s Erik Kuselias. Both outlets are carrying sports news updates from NBC Sports Radio.
Clark Howard Returns to Middays at WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando. The Mel Robbins program, heard from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Cox Media’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando will exit that time slot and Clark Howard will return to that time slot beginning October 12. Howard was bumped to the late night 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot back in March when WDBO brought Robbins aboard for a live midday program.
KOZN, Omaha Names Damon Benning Morning Co-Host. Former Nebraska running back and 1996 Orange Bowl MVP Damon Benning is named co-host of the 7:00 am to 11:00 am show alongside Gary Sharp on NRG Media’s “1620 The Zone.” Benning has served as an analyst on the Big Ten Network, NET Television, Cox Communications, and made numerous guest appearances on “1620 The ZONE” over the years. Today he begins on-air duties on “Sharp & Benning in the Morning” with KOZN sports director Gary Sharp. NRG Media Omaha market manager Andy Ruback says, “For years we have had Benning on the station as he has been a vital part of our broadcast team and our extensive Husker coverage. Now, we will be able to take advantage of his expertise full time, all year long.”
WISN, Milwaukee Talk Host Mark Belling Faces Backlash for “Thug” Comments. Community activists in Milwaukee are promising a rally on Thursday to demand an apology from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment talk host Mark Belling who hosts the PM drive show on news/talk WISN. Activists in the market are upset with comments Belling made about Derek Williams – an African-American man – who died in the back of a Milwaukee Police squad car. An account from the Milwaukee Journal states Williams pleaded with officers for help saying he could not breathe but they ignored his pleas and he died. The case was recently reclassified as a homicide. Critics say Belling’s characterizing Williams as a “dirty, rotten thug” was inappropriate and not relevant to the care he should have received while in police custody.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio’s KRLD-AM, Dallas “Newsradio 1080” announces the hiring of award-winning weatherman Bob Goosmann as chief meteorologist for the station. VP of news/talk/sports Bruce Gilbert states, “Bob lives and breathes North Texas weather and greatly respects KRLD’s commitment to accurate and dependable forecast information every ten minutes. ‘NewsRadio 1080 KRLD’ listeners can rely on him, not only for accurate forecasts, but also for the information they need to stay safe when severe weather strikes.” Goosmann most recently served as chief meteorologist for KDAF-TV, Dallas…..Clear Channel’s Quad Cities cluster enters into a deal with New Young Broadcasting Holding Company’s KWQC-TV, Davenport, Iowa that has the TV station producing news and weather content for news/talk WOC and other cluster stations in exchange for CC creating daily entertainment reports for the television station.
Clear Channel’s WTAM Scores Indians Renewal. According to Northeast Ohio’s Chronicle-Telegram, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WTAM, Cleveland has won the rights to Indians baseball – for how long, though, is not known. The report has not been confirmed by Clear Channel. WTAM – which has been the home of Indians baseball for the past 14 years – was reportedly getting a strong challenge for the play-by-play rights from CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talk WKRK “92.3 The Fan.”
Obama-Romney Debate Preview, Iran Nukes Threat, Potential New ObamaCare Challenge, and Fate of ‘Fast and Furious’ Guns Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/1). The looming presidential candidate debate; concern over Iran’s nuclear weapons program; a new, potential Supreme Court challenge to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; and the charge that guns from the ‘Fast and Furious’ program ended up in Mexican drug cartel’s hands were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Michael Savage Wins Suit Against Talk Radio Network; Leaves the Air Immediately. Talk radio icon Michael Savage, who has been distributed by Talk Radio Network since he went into national syndication from his home base in San Francisco in the late 1990s, has won his legal battle with the company to be freed from his contract and has the right to seek other means of distributing his program. Sources indicate there is no non-compete in effect and Savage is now free to work wherever he chooses. Ranked by TALKERS magazine as the third most-listened-to talk show host in the nation, Savage states on his website, “After a grueling legal battle that cost him and his family dearly, Michael Savage can announce he won! He is free at last. Free to work with whomever he wishes in the radio industry from today forward. Michael will not be heard on the radio for some time, but you can keep up with him by logging onto Michaelsavage.com every day for updates and by subscribing to his free newsletter.” TRN CEO Mark Masters issued a statement in response, “We are all looking forward to announcing a bright future; radio’s October Surprise will begin on Monday, October 1st.” Savage’s attorney, Daniel Horowitz, tells the AP that Savage has been fighting the network for two years to get out of a contract that was 10 years old and prevented him from switching employers. Savage won the favorable ruling in arbitration. Horowitz says the pact lacked protections afforded to artists and entertainers under California law and tied Savage to Talk Radio Network indefinitely. As for the cost to Savage to which he refers to in his missive on the website, Horowitz says Savage spent more than $900,000 fighting his case but was awarded more than $1 million in arbitration. Savage will also have access to his audio archives. Still unclear is the exact amount of time Savage must remain off the air.
Jim Rome’s Jump to CBS Sports Radio Official. As expected, syndicated sports talk icon Jim Rome is leaving Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Premiere Networks at the end of his contract (which expires at the end of the year) and will become part of the national slate at CBS Sports Radio. The newly created national sports talk network will hit the airwaves on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 and Rome’s program will air in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot. Included in the new deal are Rome’s contributing to the “CBS Sports Minute,” 60-second hourly feature on the network as well as his providing commentary for CBS Sports and CBSSports.com. Rome is also set to host a talk series on Showtime, due to debut later this fall. CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason states, “Jim would be at the top of any list highlighting sports radio’s most authoritative and opinionated hosts which is exactly why we’re thrilled to welcome him to CBS Sports Radio. We are building a network that showcases the incredible assets of CBS Radio and CBS Sports, and creating a strategic opportunity for growth in this untapped marketplace. Jim’s presence in this marquee time period adds strength to our lineup and exceptional value to our advertisers.”
Changes at Sports Talk KFNC, Houston; Carl Dukes Exits PM Drive to Join CBS Radio’s New Atlanta Sports Talk FM. The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports PM drive sports talk host Carl Dukes is leaving his role at Gow Communications-owned KFNC to become part of the staff at CBS Radio’s WZGC “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” in Atlanta. At KFNC, midday hosts Fred Faour and A.J. Hoffman are shifting to afternoon drive in Dukes’ place and Houston Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon will become host of the midday show. Program director and PM drive co-host David Tepper will also move to the midday slot to work with Solomon. Owner David Gow tells the paper, “Fred and A.J. have been ready for afternoon drive, and we think listeners will enjoy them in that time slot. We are delighted to add Jerome. He’s one of the top voices in sports in this market.”
Armstrong & Getty Return to Air. The KSTE, Sacramento-based morning show duo of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty were back on the air at the Clear Channel station (and on their San Francisco simulcast outlet KKSF) re-iterating their two days off the radio had nothing to do with the bit they did on Monday’s program calling for people to post videos, cartoons and more critical of Islam and Mohammad. There had been speculation in the industry that management took the two off the air in the wake of statements by people, including President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, condemning editorial comments bashing Islam and its tenets. The two assured listeners they are allowed complete editorial control over their show and that they were off the air for other reasons they agreed not to talk about on the radio.
Odds & Sods. WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” talk host Chris Duncan picks up the “Best Sports Broadcast Personality” award from the alt-weekly Riverfront Times and its annual “Best of St. Louis 2012.”…..Cumulus Media’s sports talk KFNZ, Salt Lake City will broadcast all of the Utah Grizzlies ECHL minor league hockey games beginning with this season…..Tom Sipos’ “Hudson Valley Focus” program is the new morning show at Clear Channel’s WKIP, Poughkeepsie/WJIP, Ellenville, New York.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Phil’s Gang” with host Phil Grande is added to the program schedule at KFNN, Phoenix and KPSF, Palm Springs, California…..“The Money Pit home Improvement Show” with Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete is added to WMXI, Hattiesburg, Mississippi and KGAL, Albany, Oregon.
Mitch on The Fool. WJR, Detroit PM drive host and author of the best-selling novel The Time Keeper (Hyperion 2012) Mitch Albom (l) sits with Chris Hill (r), host of the nationally syndicated “Motley Fool Radio Show.” Albom, who has a couple of best-sellers to his name, is a sports columnist and sports TV personality in addition to his work on WJR, recently went on Hill’s program to talk about his new novel and more.
Benghazi Attack Investigation Top News/Story for Week of September 24-28. The investigation of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the allegation that al Qaeda was responsible was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming at #2 was the United Nations addresses by world leaders this week. At #3 was Iran’s nuclear program and following at #4 was the presidential race polls. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See the entire chart here.
Fisher Communications Re-Aligns News and Talk Programming in Seattle; KOMO to Air More News, KVI to Return to Conservative Talk. After 20 months away from conservative talk programming, Fisher Communications’ KVI, Seattle – reputed to be the first station to intentionally program all-conservative talk in America – returns to that format with local talk host John Carlson moving over from KOMO to host morning drive at KVI. When the lineup is finally in place, Carlson will be followed by TRN’s Laura Ingraham; Compass Media Networks’ Todd Schnitt; Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin; Compass’ Lars Larson; TRN’s Michael Savage; and Cumulus Media’s “Red Eye Radio” and Don Imus will round out the overnight period. PD Paul Duckworth states, “KVI stands for the best in conservative talk in Seattle. This is going to be one of the most hotly contested elections in history and people need a place to hear about it and talk about it. Get set for an exciting ride!” Meanwhile at KOMO-AM/FM, Bill Rice anchors the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart and Brian Calvert anchors the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Ken Schram – who had been hosting a talk show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm—remains with Fisher in his role as commentator on KOMO 4 television. Both Carlson and Schram will continue to provide daily commentaries on KOMO Newsradio.
Is Jim Rome Leaving Premiere Networks for CBS Radio Sports? That’s what Deadline.com is reporting. Jim Rome has been syndicated by Premiere Networks since he debuted nationally back in 1996. Recently he left ESPN – the cable giant that produced his television program – and signed on with the upstart cable venture CBS Sports Network. Now, Deadline is reporting Rome will leave Premiere when his contract is up and join the CBS Radio Sports network when it debuts in January and that the deal will also allow him to cover NFL, NCAA basketball and U.S. Open Tennis Championships, and other events.
Dial Global Responds to Mark Masters’ TRN Lawsuit — Calls it “Frivolous,” “Spurious.” In a statement issued to the radio industry trade press, Spencer Brown, co-chief executive officer of Dial Global, states: “Despite the comments in Mr. Masters’ e-mail to the press distributed yesterday in which he announced his company Talk Radio Networks (TRN) is suing Dial Global, at this time, Dial Global has not been served a complaint. We have provided outstanding service to TRN for over 10 years and continue to represent several of TRN’s programs today. Based on the information contained in the complaint distributed by Mr. Masters to the press, which complaint was filed by a law firm run by Ron Severaid, TRN’s own internal legal counsel, we believe the complaint is entirely frivolous. We are confident we will defeat these spurious claims, assuming they are ever heard in a court of law.”
Lincoln Financial Media’s Sports WAXY Takes Over 104.3 in West Palm Beach. As reported last week, the announced sale of WMSF, West Palm Beach to Lincoln Financial Media for use as an FM signal for sports talker WAXY would give LFM the right to operate under an LMA until the sale is approved by the FCC and that happened yesterday at 5:00 pm ET. The 104.3 signal remains in the West Palm Beach market while the application to move it to the Miami market sits in Washington, DC with the commission. Until the time that move happens, the station cannot broadcast Marlins or Heat games on the FM signal as Good Karma’s WEFL, Tequesta, Florida has the rights in the West Palm Beach market.
Crawford Broadcasting to Purchase Non-Comm WNED, Buffalo. Western New York Public Broadcasting Association announces it is selling WNED-AM, Buffalo at 970 to Denver-based Crawford Broadcasting for $875,000. The pubcaster purchased WBFO-FM, Buffalo from the University of Buffalo in March for $4 million and president and CEO Donald K. Boswell says the corporation no longer needs the AM frequency for its programming. He also states the cash from the sale will go to pay down debt on the WBFO-FM purchase. WNED also owns WNED-FM that airs a classical music format and WBFO-FM carries the corporation’s news and information programming. Crawford programs both Christian and secular programming and has not signaled its intent for WNED-AM after the sale is approved.
Entercom’s 95.7 The Game Names Ric Bucher PM Drive Co-Host. With Eric Davis leaving KGMZ, San Francisco to join The NFL Network, Entercom’s 95.7 The Game brings Ric Bucher aboard to co-host the PM drive show with Brandon Tierney. Program director Jason Barrett states, “Ric Bucher’s credentials in our industry speak for themselves and he’s instantly recognized locally and nationally for his great work with ESPN. Bay Area sports fans are going to learn quickly that he’s a 20-year Bay Area native and his passion and knowledge for our local teams is outstanding. Ric and Brandon Tierney will be an absolute must-listen during afternoon drive for Bay Area sports fans.” Bucher will continue his role with ESPN as a Bay Area NBA reporter and senior writer covering hoops for ESPN The Magazine. He begins at KGMZ on September 6.
WFAN, New York Crowns Fantasy Phenom 3 Winner. CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York announces the winner of its third annual local talent search who receives a weekly sports talk program on the station beginning in September. Joe Giglio of Howell, New Jersey bested his competitors to claim the prize in the summer-long promotion. WFAN operations manager and CBS Radio New York vice president of programming Mark Chernoff says, “We’ve been very pleased with our first two winners and look forward to Joe doing a great job this time around. We thank all of our participants and special kudos to our five finalists, who had to perform both for a huge radio audience on WFAN, but also to our online listeners at WFAN.com, our YES TV viewers and the few thousand people who saw them live at Bar A.”
Hubbard Radio’s ESPN 101 St. Louis Presents Inaugural Speaker Series Event with St. Louis Rams Today. WXOS, St. Louis is launching its speaker series with today’s “Game-Day Luncheon” with the St. Louis Rams from 11:30 to 1:30 at the local Patrick’s Restaurant & Sports Bar. Fans can pay $25 per head to attend and hear St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, general manager Les Sneed, and executive vice president of football operations/chief operating officer Kevin Demoff talk about the new season. Rams Radio personalities and NFL commentators D’Marco Farr, coach Rick Venturi, Tony Softli and Steve Savard – along with other 101 ESPN on-air personnel – will be on-hand at this special game day gathering with the Rams. The event takes place on the same day as the Rams’ last pre-season game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Odds & Sods. Former Miami Dolphin great Jason Taylor begins a stint on WAXY, Miami’s Dan Le Batard PM drive show. He’ll join Le Batard each Monday to talk NFL football during the season…..David Todd is the new 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm host on Clear Channel’s sports talk WBGG, Pittsburgh…..“Watchdog on Wall Street” host Chris Markowski begins a regular guest shot on the “Butler on Buisiness” program on WAFS, Atlanta. He’ll join the program each Wednesday at 11:35 am…..Washington, DC-based talk host Chris Core – for years a star on WMAL and currently doing commentary on WTOP – will fill in for Michael Castner, host of “The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” tomorrow…..Retired NFL star LaDainian Tomlinson signs on with SiriusXM to host weekly shows on the SiriusXM NFL Radio and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio channels.
Republican National Convention, Isaac Stalls Over Gulf Coast, SEAL’s Bin Laden Book and Syria Among Top News Talk Stories Yesterday (8/29). The Republican National Convention and election issues dominated the news/talk radio airwaves yesterday. However, other topics that were discussed included Tropical Storm Isaac stalling over the gulf Coast and bringing devastating rain to the region, the Navy SEAL’s book about the death of Osama bin Laden and the ongoing strife in Syria.
Sean Hannity Re-Ups with Fox News Channel. There had been rumors that Fox News Channel prime time superstar (and Premiere Networks radio talk show star) Sean Hannity was negotiating with the News Corp. cable news/talk giant and now it’s announced the two sides have agreed on a long-term extension. The duration and money details are few but it’s being reported the new contract keeps Hannity at FNC for “the foreseeable future.” Hannity is the second-most-watched FNC show after Bill O’Reilly and a major part of its prime time success. Hannity is quoted saying, “It’s been an honor and privilege to work alongside the incredible team at Fox News, whose talent is unparalleled. In true Roger Ailes form, he saw something in me that no one else did and afforded me the opportunity to achieve incredible success. I look forward to many more years to come.” The news of Hannity’s extended relationship with Fox comes at a perfect time – two weeks before the New Media Seminar in New York City at which he will be personally hosting a special breakfast for all attendees followed by delivering the power-packed event’s keynote speech. For information about the industry-only conference set for Thursday, June 7 call 413-565-5413. Today is the final day to register. To see the complete agenda click here.
TALKERS Top Talk Audiences Winter Report Shows News/Talk Holding Steady. In today’s highly polarized political climate, there is a tendency toward news/talk radio ratings to be selectively cherry-picked and trumpeted for the purpose of propagandizing partisan interests. A recent example of this is on display as the normal rises or dips in Rush Limbaugh’s PPM numbers during the two months following the Sandra Fluke controversy are touted by political action groups as a referendum on the public’s reaction to the story and reflective of the nation’s political and social mindset in general. The truth, as broadcasting professionals realize, is that radio ratings are a complex and inexact process that can only be indicative of measurable trends when looked at over time and distance, taking a multitude of factors into account – especially during the current bumpy transition to the PPM system and the merging of significantly different research paradigms. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “The mainstream media approaches radio ratings as though they were motion picture box office numbers or last night’s horse racing results. The political groups, of course, play into that. As a result, the public is getting a very inaccurate picture of the reality of this business from skewed partisan perspectives. Both sides are shamelessly doing this. Our business has become a political football which is not a good thing.” The latest installment of TALKERS magazine’s quarterly audience estimates of the most-listened-to news/talk radio hosts (Winter 2012) has been posted today. See it here.
Gow Communications to Buy KFNC-FM, Houston. That station, along with KHJK-FM, Houston, was put into a pre-packaged bankruptcy proceeding by former owner Cumulus Media last year. The stations are majority owned by media broker Lawrence Patrick with the rest owned by creditors. Now, the Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports David Gow’s Gow Communications (which operates sports KGOW, Houston and Yahoo! Sports Radio) is the winning bidder for the FM signal and has signed a letter of intent to buy it. Barron reports KFNC-FM billed $2.4 million in 2011.
Sports Talk Radio Scene in Salt Lake City Becoming Clearer. With the recently announced purchase of KZNS-AM/FM by the Larry H. Miller Group – owner of the NBA’s Utah Jazz – and Cumulus Media’s dedication to keeping former Jazz flagship and crosstown competitor KFNZ a sports outlet by simulcasting the Yahoo! Sports Radio content currently heard on its KJQS, there’s been a lot of turmoil in the Salt Lake City radio sports scene but the picture is clearing. LHM Group will split the AM and FM signals of KZNS. The FM side will feature “Fox Sports Daybreak” in AM drive, local hosts Jake Scott and Tony Parks from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, FSRN’s “Loose Cannons” from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and FSRN’s Petros & Money from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The AM side will consist of local hosts David James and Patrick Kinahan in AM drive, Jim Rome from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, local hosts Scott Garrard and Jake Scott from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm, local hosts Spencer Checketts and Gordon Monson from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and local host Steve Brown from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Both stations will air “Fox Sports Tonight” and FSRN’s JT the Brick. Meanwhile, across town at Utah Radio Acquisition’s KALL – ESPN 700 – former KZNS-AM/FM host Hans Olsen joins the Bill Riley PM drive show effective June 4.
Talk Radio Legend Barry Farber Releases New Book; Will Be Honored at New Media Seminar in New York on June 7. Pioneering talk radio host Barry Farber is publishing his new book, Cocktails with Molotov (WND Books 2012) on June 5. The book is described as “a collection of real life short stories that Farber has somehow found himself involved in, where you’ll read of his encounters with Alfred Hitchcock, the King of Albania, and Buzz Aldrin; of his knowledge of 26 foreign languages and how foreign language came through for him in the nick of time. He shares tales from his childhood in North Carolina and his time spent venturing abroad, from his life as a young reporter and as a seasoned journalist, along with astounding narratives of everything in between.” Rush Limbaugh is quoted speaking of Farber. “Barry Farber was a standout when it was difficult to get a talk show. Unlike today, very few people hosted such shows in Barry’s era. You had to be among the best to be hired to host long-form talk. Barry Farber was…the best. He was defining. He’s always been in rarified air.” Barry Farber will be honored with the “TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award” at the New Media Seminar on New York City on Thursday, June 7.
KRLD-FM, Dallas Names Jane Slater and Chris Arnold to Talent Roster. The CBS Radio sports talk station brings Jane Slater over from its news sister KRLD where she was morning drive reporter to co-host the midday show with Mark Elfenbein for the “Elf and Slater” midday show. The daypart opened up when Josh Lewin accepted the New York Mets play-by-play gig. In evenings, the station adds market sports pro Chris Arnold to Gavin Dawson’s “The G-Bag Nation” program which is expanding to the 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot to cover for the departed Arnie Spanier. In a statement, VP of news/talk/sports programming Bruce Gilbert says, “The addition of Jane and Chris to the full-time staff at 105.3 The Fan illustrates our commitment to be the live and local sports talk station. Their characteristics, personalities and unique perspectives emphasize our goal to be the voice of the many diverse sports fans across North Texas.”
Federated Media Flips Two Music FMs to Sports Talk. A new four-station sports talk brand dubbed “The Fan” is being created by Federated Media. The latest station to announce a flip is South Bend-market classic rock WAOR-FM (licensed to Nappanee, Indiana). The stations (including WFGA-FM, Ft. Wayne; WLEG-FM, Elkhart, Indiana; and WNIL, Niles, Michigan) will carry local sports talk shows in morning and afternoon drive and carry Fox Sports Radio Network programming the rest of the day. Federated Media chief operating officer Brad Williams says in a statement, “We are thrilled to bring sports talk to Northern Indiana. We are a sports-hungry region and now our customers and clients can consume and partner with our stations and Fox Sports Radio 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” The changes take place June 4.
United Stations Radio Networks Develops Weekly NASCAR Show. The weekly one-hour program titled, “The Final Lap Weekly” is being hosted by Kerry Murphey and Toby Christie. Murphey is the producer and host of USRN’s daily feature, “The Final Lap,” which is heard on more than 200 affiliate stations. USRN EVP of programming Andy Denemark states, “2012 has been another solid year for NASCAR racing with TV viewership and track attendance both up. At the same time, sports radio is growing exponentially, so we felt it was a great time to bring a new long-form racing talk show to the airwaves. Kerry Murphey is a proven winner, his team covers the sport like no one else, and this is a great brand extension for Kerry and ‘The Final Lap.’” The show debuts the weekend of June 2-3.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. WLAC, Nashville-based syndicated talk host Steve Gill begins a promotion with the Nashville Daily’s chain of gas stations to offer 150 listeners up to 15 gallons of gas at just $1.84 per gallon – January 2009 prices – beginning Tuesday, May 29. Listeners must tune in to Gill to know which location is offering the bargain…..Journal Broadcasting names Mike McQuilliam promotions and marketing director for the company’s Wichita operations…..CBS Radio’s WCCO, Minneapolis extends its contract with University of St. Thomas to air its football games through the 2013 season.
2012 Presidential Race Top Talk Radio Topic for 8th Consecutive Week. The battle between challenger Mitt Romney and President Obama in this year’s presidential campaign was again the #1 story on the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories and people on news/talk radio for the week of May 21-25. At #2 was the Euro Zone crisis. Following at #3 was the financial markets activity and at #4 was Facebook IPO troubles. The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Fox Sports Radio Network adds four new affiliates owned by Federated Media. WFGA-FM, Ft. Wayne; WAOR-FM, South Bend; WLEG-FM, Elkhart, Indiana; and WNIL, Niles, Michigan all begin carrying FSRN programming, including Dan Patrick, Jim Rome, “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and more beginning June 4…..WRDU-FM, Raleigh – Rush Radio 106.1 – adds the Allan Handelman show to its weekend lineup. Handelman’s program was the afternoon drive show at WZKT-FM, Burlington, North Carolina until a recent format flip…..KUFO, Portland picks up Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street with Chris Markowski”…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds six new stations to his affiliate roster including: WGWD-FM, Tallahassee; WWNS, Statesboro, Georgia; and WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois.
Clark Howard Takes on Expanded Role at HLN. Consumer affairs expert and nationally syndicated talk radio host Clark Howard is going to get more face time at Time Warner’s HLN cable channel. Howard, who does a weekend program at HLN and contributes to the channel’s “Morning Express” program, will be part of an ensemble weekday afternoon news program titled, “Evening Express” airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET. Howard will be partnered with TruTV’s Ryan Smith, who will handle lead anchor duties, and British journalist Isha Sesay who has worked for CNN International and serves as a correspondent for CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.” In a statement, HLN says the new program is designed to take a “solutions-oriented look at the day’s news, accompanied by deeper discussions and reporting on stories and issues that resonate in the American household – including parenting, education, health, personal finance and relationships.”
Utah Jazz Owner Confirmed to Buy Salt Lake City Sports Talk Combo. The reported sale of the former Simmons Media sports talk duo KZNS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City to the Larry H. Miller Group is being confirmed by broker Patrick Communications. The price for the two signals is $3.25 million. The deal means Utah Jazz play-by-play will move to the new stations after being heard on Cumulus Media’s KFNZ which the Larry H. Miller Group had been operating under an LMA. At the same time, Fox Sports Radio Network announces it will continue to provide programming for the stations under the new ownership with both the AM and FM sides airing “Fox Sports Tonight,” JT the Brick and the slate of weekend Fox Sports shows. Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome will also be heard on the stations. The FM side of the broadcast will also carry “Fox Sports Daybreak” and the “Petros & Money” show. Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment SVP of broadcasting Chris Baum states, “We are very pleased to continue our affiliation with Fox Sports Radio as we move to 1280 The Zone and Fox Sports Radio 97.5. The FSR shows complement our local lineup very well on our new 50,000-watt AM signal, and the additional coverage on our FM signal will allow us to better reach and serve sports fans, and Jazz fans in particular, all along the Wasatch Front.”
Kevin Sheehan Extends Deal with Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington. Red Zebra Broadcasting announces midday co-host Kevin Sheehan – who co-hosts “The Sports Fix” with Thom Loverro – has signed a two-year deal to remain with the company. Sheehan also continues with the Washington Redskins Radio Network where he hosts the “Official Redskins Pre-Game Show.” Sheehan will also contribute to the Tony Kornheiser program and co-host the “Monday Morning Quarterback” after each Redskins game. Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “Kevin is as versatile as anyone in the field. He does so much for us. I look forward to working with him through 2014 and many years to come.”
Former New York Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro Co-Hosting with WOR’s Governor David Paterson. As per New York Post gossip columnist Cindy Adams, former New York Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro is sitting alongside former Governor David Paterson as he hosts the PM drive show on WOR, New York as a sort of tryout to see if a duo concept works for the program.
ESPN Hosts Affiliates at “Audio Avenue II” Day in Bristol, Connecticut. The outdoor quad at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut will be busy today as the company hosts talent from its four O&O stations and from 12 affiliate stations for a daylong live broadcast event. ESPN Audio SVP Mo Davenport states, “Audio Avenue brings the concept of ‘ESPN Everywhere’ to life. Each of these shows and markets represent what our listeners love, the opportunity to hear from experts locally, nationally and globally.” Along with the hosts and producers broadcasting from “Audio Avenue,” participants will include network and affiliate management, account executives, program directors, clients, ESPN employees and those involved with ESPN Audio’s promotions, marketing and sales. The day will also include two “Block Party Breakout” luncheons focusing on the production of “Mike & Mike in the Morning” and listener demographic research.
Courtney Smith Promoted to Director of New Business at Beasley Las Vegas. The Beasley Broadcasting Las Vegas cluster names Courtney Smith director of new business development and marketing & events manager. Smith has served at the company since 2006 when she joined as a promotions assistant. She was promoted to marketing director and added events coordinator to her duties in 2009. Vice president and general manager Tom Humm states, “I’m constantly amazed with the promotions and events that Courtney conceptualizes from scratch and pleased by the successful results they achieve. She always makes Beasley shine. Courtney has earned this promotion and I’m very proud of her for that accomplishment.”
Facebook IPO Case, 2012 Presidential Election, Euro Zone Instability and Georgia Teacher Criticizes Student for Questioning Obama Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/22). Securities regulators investigate Facebook IPO; the 2012 presidential election and questions over whether Hillary Clinton will replace Joe Biden as vice presidential candidate; Greece’s status as a member of the European Union; and the case of the Georgia teacher who bullied a student for criticizing President Obama were some of the most talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cox Media Group Goes Hot Talk in Tampa on “The Bone.” The rock music stops on Cox Media Group’s WHPT-FM, Tampa – The Bone – on Monday, April 23 as the company builds a hot talk station around morning drive star Bubba the Love Sponge and PM drive personality Cowhead. Cox will add the DirecTV-produced Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange show for late nights and is considering programs for middays and early evenings. Cox Tampa VP/market manager Keith Lawless says, “‘The Bone’ dominates the morning and afternoon drive talk shows and has room to grow in the midday and evening classic rock shows. Evolving this station into an all-talk station is an obvious move. Bubba plays no music and is clearly the market’s leader in mornings. Filling in the other dayparts with compelling talk and removing all music from the already successful Cowhead show will make ‘The Bone’ dominant with men and adults all day long.”
KNBR, San Francisco Parts Company with Ralph Barbieri After 28 Years. Ralph Barbieri – the Razor – has been a part of sports talk on KNBR, San Francisco since 1984 but he’s been let go by Cumulus Media as the result of a “management decision,” according to the San Jose Mercury News. Barbieri’s co-host Tom Tolbert – Mr. T – continues as solo host of the PM drive show. Barbieri wrote for Sport magazine before joining KNBR in 1984 and became one of the pillars upon which KNBR was built. Last fall, Barbieri revealed to the San Francisco Chronicle that he’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2005 and that he disclosed the diagnosis to Cumulus as the two sides began negotiating a contract renewal. Barbieri said he believed it was only fair to Cumulus. He also reported that CEO Lew Dickey told him the company wanted him back. Barbieri wrote to the Mercury News stating: “…All I can say is that I’m weighing my options, which are considerable. I’ll have more to say later on. For now, I just want to say that I’ve seen a couple of articles that have characterized this as an amicable parting. Well, that’s not exactly the case. I came to work (Tuesday) morning with no idea that anything of this nature was afoot, especially since my contract does not expire until November 1. I was immediately told that the general manager wanted to see me. I went to his office and the program director was there as well. I was told that I was being terminated and that April 10, was to be my last day at KNBR.”
All-News WBBM Top Biller in Chicago in 2011. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports data from BIA/Kelsey that indicates all-news has been good for CBS Radio in the Windy City. The most recent quarterly “Investing in Radio Market Report” from BIA/Kelsey ranks the top five radio billers in Chicago and ranks WBBM – with its recent FM simulcast addition – at the top with $48 million in billing in 2011 (an increase from $42.5 million in 2010). Hubbard Broadcasting’s AC WTMX-FM is in second place followed by Tribune’s news/talk WGN in third ($35.5 million). Univision’s Regional Mexican WOJO-FM comes in fourth and CBS Radio’s country WUSN-FM is in fifth place.
Tribune’s WGN, Chicago Jumps on Board iHeartRadio. Stating that the new platform provides listeners with greater access to WGN, station VP/general manager Tom Langmyer announces Tribune Company’s news/talk WGN will be heard on Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio digital platform. “This additional platform provides even greater access to WGN, and exposes new listeners to one of America’s premier personality-based talk, news and sports stations.” Clear Channel Digital president Brian LeKamp says, “Adding a station like WGN to iHeartRadio further delivers on our mission to be wherever our listeners are with the products and services they expect, expanding our ability to offer our users an even more diverse and exciting listening experience. As one of the top stations in Chicago, WGN features news, information, entertainment and sports and is an excellent addition to our platform.”
Jorge Sedano Leaves Post as AM Drive Host at WAXY, Miami. South Florida sports talk host Jorge Sedano tweets to his fans that he’s left Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk WAXY, Miami’s morning drive show: “After four great yrs at 790 THE TICKET I’ve decided 2 move on effective immediately. W/ all the new projects I’m working on its just too hard 2 do it all. I want to thank all wonderful people I worked with in my time there. Also, thank you the audience for some great radio. Without you guys, I wouldn’t be in this great position to make this move. I’m looking forward to the next chapter & hoping u all come along. Thanks again for all your support. You have no idea what it means to me. All the best. Love JORGE.” Chatter in the sports talk world is that Sedano, who has previously worked at Fox Sports Radio Network, is developing a show to air on the new CBS Sports Network – possibly as a lead in to Jim Rome’s new show on the cable channel. For now, Brandon Guzio is hosting the morning show at WAXY.
Salem Communications Partners with TuneIn. Camarillo, California-based Salem Communications is the latest broadcaster to partner with internet audio company TuneIn to broadcast its stations via the web. Salem makes its almost 100 radio properties available to listeners everywhere via the service. Salem Radio president David Santrella says in a statement, “Through our partnership with TuneIn, we have expanded the number of access points to our content. We have made it easier for our current listeners to access our programming from wherever they are and have opened up our broadcasts to new audiences. Overnight we’ve expanded our footprint in digital and have gained a suite of first-of-their-kind analysis tools from TuneIn that help us further tailor programming to our listeners everywhere.”
Arbitron CFO Richard Surratt to Leave the Company. A press release from Arbitron headquarters in Columbia, Maryland says Richard Surratt is leaving his role at the ratings giant for personal reasons and that EVP/COO Sean Creamer will take over the CFO role when Surratt’s exit takes place in May. Meanwhile, the company has hired Crist Kolder Associates to search for a new CFO.
2012 Presidential Race, Charges Filed Against George Zimmerman, Obama Care Status, Tepid U.S. Jobs Creation and European Economic Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/11). Mitt Romney’s apparent capturing of the GOP nomination and the 2012 presidential campaign, second degree murder charges filed against George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin, the legal status of President Obama’s Patient Accessibility and Affordable Care Act, meager job growth in the U.S. and economic tensions in the Euro zone were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Bonneville Seattle Gets Behind Fisher House Campaign. Bonneville Seattle – which includes news/talk KIRO-FM, talk KTTH, and sports talk KIRO – is supporting a campaign to upgrade the Fisher House at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Washington. The current house – which provides lodging for the families of American service personnel recovering from treatment after being wounded in the line of duty — has been in use since 1992 and there is a need for a larger facility. Bonneville VP/market manager Carl Gardner states, “Healing our wounded warriors and caring for their families is a mission all of us in the Pacific Northwest want to join. At Bonneville, we’re excited to pull together our community of friends and bring this new Fisher House to life, to give something back to the soldiers and their families who have given us so much over these past ten years.” Pictured here are Bonneville Seattle staffers and military personnel from the base.
“Olbermann, You Blew it!” Those are the word of TALKERS columnist Mona “The Lip” Lipschitz as she castigates former Current TV talent Keith Olbermann for his messy exit from Current and his mega-million dollar suit against the fledgling network. Lipschitz calls Olbermann out stating, “At least Al Gore is attempting to widen the commercial media platform available to progressive talkers in this country, not to mention sign you to a big fat friggin’ contract with enough dough that could keep countless of the families you claim to be so concerned about under their roofs and fed through this economic and political crisis.” Read more of Lipschitz’s searing analysis of the Olbermann-Current blow-up here.
Dallas Talk Radio Institution Mark Davis at Contract Loggerheads with Cumulus Media. WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas talk radio host Mark Davis writes on his blog that his status with the Cumulus Media-owned news/talk station is “not departure, but impasse.” He confirms his contract with the station has expired and he has been off the air all this week – his contract expired last Friday – as a result of his and the company’s inability to come to terms on a new deal. Cumulus Media is not responding to requests for comment. Davis hosts the late morning program between AM drive and Rush Limbaugh’s midday show. Cumulus operates both WBAP-AM/FM and news/talk KLIF in the market and industry watchers are wondering how the debut of Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee program will affect the programming on the stations. One would assume Cumulus wants to see Huckabee’s show in a major market like Dallas although WBAP carries Limbaugh – aired live at the same time as the new Huckabee show – and it’s not clear how much time is left on the Premiere Networks program’s contract with WBAP. Mark Davis, with WBAP since 1994, also writes a weekly column for the Dallas Morning News and appears on local TV on “Inside Texas Politics” on WFAA-TV and KDFW-TV.
Les Brown Exits KFWB, Los Angeles. Motivational speaker Les Brown has exited his role with KFWB, Los Angeles after a little more than a year on the air. Program director Andy Ludlum confirms his exit to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan. “Les Brown came to us and said he wanted to leave his KFWB show when his contractual term expired at the end of March. While Les has enjoyed his role as host of one the nation’s only positive radio shows, he’s been feeling his calling is beyond that of a local radio show host. He is being asked by number of companies and organizations to re-energize his role as an international motivational speaker and Les has come to the conclusion that is a better route to the national and international stage he has in mind. There may be more media in his future but he’s thinking national syndication rather than local radio.” Brown’s program aired from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm and the station has extended Dave Ramsey’s show by one hour and is beginning its PM drive news programming an hour earlier to make up the difference.
Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Deals with Controversy as Staffers Sign Governor Walker Recall Petition. Journal Broadcasting is acting swiftly to quell the controversy over some of its news staffers having signed the petition to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Journal issued a statement that says: “TODAY’S TMJ4 and Newsradio 620 WTMJ discovered that several members of our staff signed the recall petitions for Governor Walker. Some of those employees play a role in our news gathering and editorial process. Several of them also work on-air: One at TODAY’S TMJ4; four at Newsradio 620 WTMJ. We want you to know that we consider this a serious issue. We are in the process of dealing with it internally. Our reputation of being a fair and unbiased news source is of paramount importance to both TODAY’S TMJ4 and Newsradio 620 WTMJ. We expect anyone involved in the production of news to avoid situations that could compromise our integrity. We don’t allow news employees to sign nomination papers for candidates, display yard signs or take part in a political campaign. However, many employees told us that they felt signing the recall petition was not a political act, but instead felt it was similar to casting a vote. WTMJ does not agree and we want to assure you, our listeners, that we are taking measures to make sure all of our reporting is fair, balanced and to ensure something like this does not happen again.”
Tom Leykis Fans Crash Website as Talk Icon Debuts Internet Program. Tom Leykis got back behind the microphone for the first time in more than three years after CBS Radio blew up his old home base of KLSX-FM, Los Angeles. This time Leykis is broadcasting via the internet on his longtime blowmeuptom.com domain and the response from Leykis fans was enough to crash the servers during its debut broadcast on Monday, April 2. Leykis e-mails the OC Register’s Gary Lycan to report, “It was amazing. Fortunately, each 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show repeats until the next one airs. The easiest, fastest solution to listen right away is to go to TuneIn.com and search for ‘Leykis.’”
SiriusXM Signs Multi-Year Deal with Major League Baseball to Broadcast Games. MLB has had a deal with the original XM Satellite Radio since its inception. This new contract allows MLB games to be heard via the SiriusXM Internet Radio App, via SiriusXM.com and, for satellite radio listeners who have the XM Satellite service. Major League Baseball Advanced Media senior vice president Kenny Gersh states, “SiriusXM has been a valuable partner in connecting its subscribers with the tradition of baseball on the radio and this agreement adds an important distribution platform, alongside our own products including Gameday Audio and At Bat, for fans to enjoy listening to the radio broadcasts of Major League Baseball games via the internet.”
ESPN’s Mike & Mike to Broadcast from World Champion St. Louis Cardinals’ Home Opener. ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic will broadcast the national radio and cable TV simulcast of their morning drive program live from Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Friday, April 13. Local affiliate, Hubbard Broadcasting’s WXOS-FM, St Louis – 101 ESPN – will be holding a listener contest in conjunction with the special “Mike & Mike” broadcast so that local fans can be a part of the television and radio broadcast. This intimate broadcast is not open to the public; however, five lucky 101 ESPN listeners can win a pair of VIP passes to attend this event by entering to win at the station’s website.
WZIM-FM, Bloomington, Illinois Flips to Sports. Zimmer/Great Plains Media drops classic hits on WZIM-FM (licensed to Lexington, Illinois) and uses programming from Fox Sports Radio Network plus Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome. That station also will air Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox baseball and plans to carry Indianapolis Colts football. Robert Rees is serving as program director for the station.
“Afternoon Constitutional” Show Features Local GOP Debate Series. The WCHV, Charlottesville, Virginia-based “Afternoon Constitutional” program – hosted by Joe Thomas and syndicated regionally – is airing weekly shows on Mondays beginning April 9 through that state’s GOP primary in June featuring candidates for U.S. Senate. Thomas tells TALKERS magazine, the show is called “4 Your Approval” and the four candidates for the Senate nomination (former Governor and Senator George Allen, former TEA Party chair Jamie Radtke, General Assembly Delegate Bob Marshall and former radio show host and bishop E.W. Jackson) will answer a four-question gauntlet from himself, co-host Nikki Lewis and listener submissions. Thomas states, “We have a difficult choice but we believe that honest competition will bring forth the best candidate for our listeners.”
GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Campaign Returns to Top of Talkers TenTM Weekly Chart. The Republican primary race and the greater 2012 presidential campaign were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week of April 2-6, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Following at #2 was the Supreme Court’s review of President Obama’s Patient Accessibility and Affordable Care Act. At #3 was the federal budget proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan and at #4 was skyrocketing gas prices. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published at Talkers.com every Friday. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. WBSM, New Bedford, Massachusetts adds Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher show…..Dr. Daliah Wachs gets her daily program added to WFAS-FM, Bronxville, New York…..The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap with Michael Castner” picks up KPUA, Hilo, Hawaii…..WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann joins WGUN, Atlanta…..Ed Schultz is added to Rivers Radio’s WGUN, Atlanta…..Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” is added to the program lineup at WZFG, Fargo; KEUN, Eunice, Louisiana; and KMAM/KMOE-FM, Butler, Missouri.
WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Prepares to Celebrate 90th Anniversary on April 10. If you think you’ve been reading about a lot of 90th anniversaries here at TALKERS lately, it’s not your imagination. The government handed out a lot of radio licenses in 1922 when the popular new commercial medium was really taking off. Greater Media’s WBT signed on April 10, 1922 from its original studio location in a chicken coop behind the Charlotte Country Club. The station has claimed to be the second commercial station in the country and the first in the Southeast. The accompanying photo seen here is one of the station’s first control boards. There is a cool video presentation on the history of WBT at the station’s website here.
The FCC and You – Part 2: An Explanation of Obscenity. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes the second in a series of exclusive articles covering crucial regulatory information of which all license holders must be aware. Here Weisman outlines the three-pronged guidelines to defining obscenity and discusses some of the court cases that have helped codify the FCC regulations as they stand today. Read more here.
Rivers Radio Launches Progressive News/Talk Station in Atlanta. WGUN, Atlanta debuted as a progressive news/talk outlet yesterday featuring a lineup that includes: Syndication One’s Warren Ballentine, The Ed Schultz Show, Premiere Networks’ Randi Rhodes, WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann, and The Mike Malloy Show. Rivers Radio EVP and general manager Kevin Hemmings states, “Atlanta’s 1010 is excited to be able to offer this incredible lineup to our rapidly growing audience. For the first time in a very long while, the listeners of Atlanta now have a diverse choice of viewpoints and opinions.” WGUN had been airing an oldies/standards format.
Syracuse Talk Personality Jim Reith Joins Pubcasters for New Shows. Longtime WSYR, Syracuse talk show host Jim Reith – a 27-year employee of the station who was downsized in October of 2011 – begins a new career in the public media world when he debuts a 30-minute TV talk show on WCNY-TV, Syracuse in May and a radio talk show on WCNY-FM, Syracuse in the fall. Reith tells the Syracuse Post Standard, “I want to be a local guy doing local topics with local people. I want to inform people about local issues in a more developed way than you can do with a sound bite. And I want to entertain people and have some fun.” Reith’s TV talk show will air daily from 6:30 pm to 7:00 pm starting May 14 and in the fall he’ll begin a daily three-hour radio talk show on classical WCNY-FM’s HD 3 channel.
Cumulus-Finebaum Suits May Reach Settlement Out of Court. If Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Robert Vance has his way, the lawsuits between WJOX-FM, Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum and employer Cumulus Media will be settled out of court. According to the Birmingham News, Vance has ordered the two sides to get back to the negotiating table in order to settle the contract dispute. The two sides were in court last week for a hearing before Vance and they appear closer to a settlement. Finebaum is suing over contractual issues that took place when Citadel owned the station and Cumulus is countersuing claiming breach of contract.
Leland Conway Moves to WRVA, Richmond for PM Drive. Lexington, Kentucky talk show host Leland Conway leaves his afternoon drive show at Clear Channel’s WLAP after six years to take over the same time slot at the company’s WRVA, Richmond. Conway fills the slot at WRVA that opened when the station parted ways with Doc Thompson. Back at WLAP, the station will get assistance from WHAS, Louisville talk host Mandy Connell and others filling in Conway’s afternoon show until a permanent replacement can be found.
WTMA, Charleston Morning Host Richard Todd Resigns. Citing the difficulty of being a single parent after the passing of his wife from cancer back in January, WTMA, Charleston, South Carolina morning drive host Richard Todd has resigned from the station. Todd returned to the radio in February after taking some time off subsequent to the death of his wife Mary Todd on January 3. Todd told his audience he would not be leaving his position had it not been for his wife’s passing. He said he isn’t able to focus and prepare the way he needs to in order to execute the show the way he’d like.
Former NFL Players Greg Koch and N.D. Kalu Exit KILT, Houston. The two had been contributors to CBS Radio’s sports talk KILT, Houston where they worked on both its coverage of Houston Texans football and with some of the station’s sports talk shows. Now, the Houston Chronicle reports the two have resigned from the station and the scuttlebutt is that they will resurface at Clear Channel’s crosstown sports talk KBME. KILT program director Gavin Spittle tells the paper, “We appreciated the time they were here. We have been fortunate to build a large staff, and with that will come departures. And with departures comes rebuilding, and we are excited about our future.” Greg Koch is an attorney and N.D. Kalu works in the real estate business in the Houston area.
Former Senator Arlen Specter Hangs Up on GCN’s Jason Lewis. Former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter grew tired of his time on Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis show – especially of having to sit through commercial breaks – and hung up on Lewis, but not after admonishing him for how the interview was being conducted. Specter was on the program to promote his latest book, Life Among the Cannibals (Thomas Dunne Books 2012). GCN reports Specter was upset Lewis didn’t spend enough time with the Republican-turned-Democrat discussing his book. After the second commercial break he told Lewis, “I gave you 10 minutes. You’ve been over every subject except for my book. I’ve listened to two rounds of your commercials. I think it’s insulting. I’ve been in a lot of interviews in the course of the past 30 years and you are absolutely insulting! I told you the last time around I wasn’t looking to sit around and listen to your commercials, and I didn’t want to hang up on you. But I want to tell you this is no way for anybody to run an interview. I’m as experienced as you are, if not more so. And that’s all I have to tell you, so goodbye!”
WFED, Washington PM Drive Host Francis Rose Available to Comment on Latest Government Waste Scandal. A new report from the Inspector General at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the agency that buys goods and services for the Federal government, says leadership spent over $822,000 on a conference attended by about 300 people in October 2010 (over $2700 per attendee). The report says “many of the expenditures on this conference were excessive and wasteful and that in many instances GSA followed neither federal procurement laws nor its own policy on conference spending.” This story has been gaining traction among government waste watchers and is already huge in the nation’s capital. Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED (sister station to WTOP) uniquely targets its programming to Federal employees – particularly the bureaucracy’s movers and shakers – and is all over this breaking scandal. (See http://www.federalnewsradio.com/445/2812012/GSA-head-Johnson-resigns-two-others-fired.) Afternoon drive host Francis Rose tells TALKERS he is available for live and taped interviews via telephone on talk shows around the country to provide insight into its outrageous details. Rose can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by cell at 202-657-9907.
Jim Rome’s New CBS Sports Network Show Airs Tonight. Sports talk icon Jim Rome begins a new chapter in the TV side of his sports talk career as CBS Sports Network – CBS’ new sports cable channel – broadcasts the first edition of his TV show since Rome parted company with ESPN. Rome appeared on the “Late Show with David Letterman” last week to promote the new show and talk sports. Rome’s new TV program airs nightly at 6:00 ET.
GOP Primary/2012 Presidential Campaign, Syrian Violence, ObamaCare Status, Iran Nukes, Gas Prices and NCAA Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/2). The Republican primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign; the drive to end the violence in Syria, the politics surrounding the legal status of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act, Iran’s nuclear ambitions; the rising price of gas and the NCAA basketball finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Ingstad Group Blows Up Classic Rock for FM Talk in Fargo-Moorhead; Tom Becka to Program and Host AM Drive. James Ingstad’s Radio Fargo Moorhead group in the Fargo-Moorhead market turns classic rock KRWK-FM into “101.9 Talk FM” The Talk of Fargo Moorhead on March 19. Talk radio pro Tom Becka – most recently with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFAB, Omaha as PM drive host – is named program director for the station and will host the morning drive show. Syndicated programs will include Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade, Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Former Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth will host a 5:00 pm program for at least the first three weeks of the station’s new format. Hayworth currently is hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show at Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco. Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage and Genesis Communications Network‘s Jason Lewis will air in the evenings. Tom Becka states, “This is such a great opportunity to help put a new FM talk station on the air and be the first doing it. Radio Fargo Moorhead is a great independent company that still believes in the traditional radio approach that combines great programming and promotion with local outreach. At the same time they have been leaders in embracing the new technological advances. And about those winters? They are taking up a collection to buy me a warm coat.” The station, as well as sister news/talk KFGO, is being consulted by The Q Consulting Guys’ Jon Quick, who says, “In these days of cutbacks, it is so gratifying that there are operators like the Ingstad group who still believe that hiring great people and promoting them properly results in both ratings and revenue.” Quick also notes that Ingstad is retaining all of the Rock 101 staff.
Federated Media Drops Classic Rock on WFWI-FM, Fort Wayne; Simulcasts News/Talk WOWO. The legendary WOWO, Fort Wayne, Indiana gets an FM simulcast for its news/talk format at the expense of sister classic rock “The Fort 92.3.” Federated Media COO Mark Deprez states, “The move to FM is a natural enhancement for the WOWO brand that is synonymous with Fort Wayne. WOWO is, and has always been, the one radio outlet that northeast Indiana can count on for breaking news, weather, traffic, information. WOWO’s strong service commitment to our community, along with the entertaining and engaging personalities, has solidified WOWO in the hearts of many of our local residents. The move to 92.3 FM will re-introduce WOWO to listeners that have migrated over the years to FM and also open WOWO’s brand to a new and younger audience.”
Rush Limbaugh Fires Up His Long-Dormant Twitter Account to Fight His Attackers. It probably won’t be very long before Rush Limbaugh’s fans have his Twitter follower numbers through the roof and Limbaugh says he’ll use the account to counter the work being done by organizations such as Media Matters via the social media tool. Politico reports that Limbaugh told his listeners on his Thursday program that he’ll be Tweeting info from time to time that his faithful can share. “Everybody has been asking me what they can do to help in all of this, and I’ve been saying, nah, just do what you’ve been doing just, if you listen, keep listening, that’s fine, but…there’s an army out there that wants to be mobilized, and so, I figured, use Twitter for it. I’m just going to put some things on Twitter that you can help us circulate. It’s that simple you just retweet them.” Limbaugh’s first Tweet after the show was a link to a piece by Cornell Law professor William Jacobson on Media Matters’ astroturfing the boycott against Limbaugh’s advertisers. “Astroturfing” is using digital media to create the illusion of a “grassroots” movement.
Syndicated Talk Host Michael Smerconish: Advertiser Boycotts Won’t Kill Rush Limbaugh. Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish writes in his column in the Philadelphia Inquirer that the advertiser boycott being waged against Rush Limbaugh ultimately will not topple him from his talk radio perch. In the piece, Smerconish cites TALKERS and fellow radio trade Radio-Info on the status of the Limbaugh situation. But Smerconish goes on to write that the hard-core, right wing talk hosts that occupy most news/talk radio station lineups serve exactly that audience – the very conservative, politically active segment of the radio-listening audience. Smerconish states that studies indicate the nation as a whole is not as polarized as the media might make it appear and both Congress and the talk media are more extreme now than at any point in the recent past (based on voting records and host ideology, respectively). Change in the flavor of talk radio, Smerconish argues, can only come from programmers. Read his piece here.
RTDNF Presents Freedom of Speech Awards; Talker Jim Bohannon Honored. At a gala black-tie dinner held last night at Washington, DC’s Ritz-Carlton hotel, the Radio Television Digital News Foundation (RTDNF) presented its 22nd annual First Amendment Awards including the Special Recognition First Amendment Award to Dial Global Radio Networks talk star Jim Bohannon (pictured here at left). The award was presented to Bohannon by TALKERS founder and publisher Michael Harrison (r) who stated, “Jim stands tall and strong as a seeker of truth.” Other awards were presented to NBC News president Steve Capus, ABC News senior foreign affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz, and Shurz Communications senior vice president Marci Burdick. A special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented posthumously to Andy Rooney. In a rousing speech, Jim Bohannon encouraged the hundreds of newspeople in attendance to promo free speech at every opportunity saying, “We should go out and kick some ass for the First Amendment!”
KCSP, Kansas City Goes All Local Sports Talk. Entercom’s KCSP, Kansas City drops Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome from its midday slot and expands its existing sports talk shows. AM drive hosts Bob Fescoe and Josh Klingler are now heard from 6:00 am to 10:00 am; midday host Danny Parkins gets the big bump, moving from 9:00 am to 11:00 am to 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and Carrington Harrison joins the program along with other contributors. Nick Wright’s afternoon show remains in the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot. Program director Ryan Maguire says, “Our listeners have wanted more local hosts talking about local sports. With the start of an exciting Royals season only a few weeks away, ‘610 Sports’ has the best local lineup for our game broadcasts. The passionate sports fans in Kansas City now have more than just one option in the middle of their day when it comes to local sports talk. We’re excited that we can be all live, all local all day.”
GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Race Maintains Top Story Spot on Talkers TenTM. The battle for the Republican nomination for president and the larger issues surrounding the 2012 campaign tied for the top spot as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of March 12-16, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Correspondingly, Rick Santorum tied with Mitt Romney as the #1 most-talked-about person followed by President Obama at #2. The Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people of the week as discussed on news/talk radio is published here every Friday. View this week’s chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity pick up new FM talker KRWK, Fargo-Moorhead…..Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade is added to KRWK-FM, Fargo-Moorhead…..Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis joins KRWK-FM, Fargo-Moorhead…..Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham returns to KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds WLBE, Leesburg-Eustis, Florida; and KTGO, Tioga, North Dakota…..Dial Global adds its sports Westwood One play-by-play sports – including NFL, NCAA men’s basketball and football, the Olympics, major golf events and more to Lincoln Financial Media’s WQXI, Atlanta.
Loose Cannons Live in Downtown L.A. Fox Sports Radio Network’s KLAC, Los Angeles-based “Loose Cannons” recently kicked off March Madness with a live broadcast from the Hooters Downtown Los Angeles where the brand-new Fox Sports Radio remote broadcast studio is located. Pictured here – along with a bevy of Hooters girls – are Vic “The Brick” Jacobs (l) and Steve Hartman (r). Not pictured is the third “Loose Cannon” Pat O’Brien.
Opinion: Phil Valentine Says Fear of Offending is Lethal to Talk Show Hosts. Dial Global talk show host Phil Valentine responds to TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer stating just the fear of offending someone puts all talk hosts on a slippery slope and the latest “guidelines” from the Asian American Journalists Association take it to an absurd extreme. Read Phil’s piece here.
Harris Poll of “America’s Favorite News Personalities” Sure to Cause a Stir; Diane Sawyer America’s Fave, Rush Limbaugh Not. This recent poll of 2,016 American adults conducted by Harris Interactive lumps a list of 26 news anchors, interviewers and radio and television talk show hosts into one broad category – “news and current affairs personalities” – and asks the subjects which three are their favorites and which three are their least favorites. The results? Diane Sawyer, Anderson Cooper, Brian Williams and Bill O’Reilly (tied with Barbara Walters) land in the top four spots for favorite. In the least favorite category, Rush Limbaugh, Nancy Grace, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity fill the top four spots. The fact that news anchors and talk show hosts are lumped together for the purposes of this poll is interesting. At TALKERS, we consider them very different animals. One has to wonder how many typical media consumers consider the duties Diane Sawyer handles on a daily basis and what Rush Limbaugh does on his program to be the same or similar (even though Limbaugh often refers to himself as “America’s Anchorman!”) Breaking down the results by political affiliation shows the following results: Among Republicans the four favorites are Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Limbaugh and Diane Sawyer. Among Democrats the four favorites are: Sawyer, Anderson Cooper, Brian Williams (tied for second), and Barbara Walters. What may be the most interesting facet of this poll from a statistical standpoint is independents ranked their top four favorites the same as the “general population”: Sawyer, Cooper, Williams and O’Reilly. If you landed high on the least favorite side of this poll, it apparently doesn’t necessarily hurt your listenership/viewership. While CNN’s AC 360 (Anderson Cooper’s prime time show) garnered 648,000 total viewers (average) during November of last year according to Nielsen, Rush Limbaugh’s estimated weekly cume during the same period was more than 15 million, according to TALKERS. These are not the same measurement systems but the difference is stark, nonetheless. Back to cable/news talk for a moment; MSNBC’s Ed Schultz beat CNN’s AC 360 (head-to-head competition) in the November ’11 Nielsens with 944,000 total viewers. However, Ed Schultz wasn’t even offered as one of the 26 “news and current affairs personalities” to those taking the poll. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was included in the poll. She came in tied for seventh favorite with 7% of all respondents naming her their fave.
Entercom Kansas City Drops Classical for Business Talk Radio on KUDL. Entercom plans to drop the classical music on KUDL 1660 – Radio Bach – and will turn the station to a business talk-formatted outlet as early as this week with an official start on March 5, according to local reports. Former KMBZ talk host Mike Shanin is expected to host an 11:00 am to 1:00 pm program and, according to Bottom Line Communications, the station will be closely aligned with and cross-promoted by sister news/talk KMBZ-AM/FM. While there is no official word from Entercom Kansas City, it’s being reported the station will carry programming from the Wall Street Journal Radio Network, Bloomberg Radio and is developing more local programming. Entercom donated its classical music library to Kansas Public Radio and University of Kansas.
Black Leaders in Southern California Still Upset with John and Ken. KFI, Los Angeles PM drive hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou returned to the air yesterday after a seven-day suspension for using the words “crack ho” while discussing the death of Whitney Houston. There are black leaders in Los Angeles still upset the duo have not been fired and the Los Angeles Times reports California State Senator Curren D. Price, Jr. was one of a number of black leaders scheduled to meet with Clear Channel management yesterday before John and Ken took to the air. Citing the duo’s penchant for controversy, the leaders are asking for KFI to replace them. Senator Price is quoted in the Times saying, “There are many thoughtful and talented journalists in Southern California. KFI-AM needs to replace John and Ken with some of them. I’m sure their radio sponsors will be grateful.”
Photographer Takes Radio Station to the Court of Public Opinion. Harrison Strategies senior partner and broadcasting attorney Matthew B. Harrison writes that it is important to know more about intellectual property law than just enough to avoid litigation. Disputes involving intellectual property aren’t always played out civilly within the established legal system. Brawls are erupting in the Wild West of social networking, where threats of litigation don’t have much standing and unconventional is the nature of attacks. Read Harrison’s column here.
CBS Sports Network Debuts; Jim Rome Debuts April 3. The CBS Sports Network is up and running in time for the college basketball post-season. CBS’ new cable and satellite channel will attempt to capitalize on CBS’ long history of sports programming and will use personality-based shows to try to compete with ESPN. Premiere Networks talk radio star Jim Rome is leaving ESPN to take his cable TV show to CBS Sports Network beginning April 3. Veteran television and radio sports personality Tim Brando’s 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET daily radio talk show on Yahoo! Sports Radio is being simulcast on the new channel.
“America’s Healthcare Advocate” Hits 60 Affiliate Mark. The Kansas City-based “America’s Healthcare Advocate” show hosted by Cary Hall announces it is now heard on 60 affiliate stations across the country. Hall states, “If you would have asked me seven years ago whether this show would be nationally syndicated on 60 stations coast to coast, I would have said, ‘impossible!’ It’s amazing to me how we continue to grow. Obviously the ongoing debate over PPACA (aka ObamaCare) has generated a tremendous amount of interest in our broadcast. Additionally, the informative shows we are able to do with nationally recognized experts in the health insurance and healthcare industries make us the go-to source across the country for information on these topics.”
GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, New WikiLeaks Release, Oscars and Ohio School Shooting Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/27). The GOP primaries on the eve of the Michigan and Arizona primaries, the continuing concern over Iran’s nuclear weapons program, WikiLeaks’ release of e-mails from a U.S. security firm, the Academy Awards and the shooting at an Ohio high school that left one student dead were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Irish Eyes Are Smilin’. Irish Radio Network USA chairman and CEO Adrian Flannelly (r) and his wife and Irish News Network VP and executive producer Aine Sheridan (c) will be honored with the 2012 Ambassador of Ireland Award to be presented by the Saint Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke and the Republic of Ireland on Sunday, March 18, 2012 at the Yankee Pedlar Inn in Holyoke, Massachusetts by Consul General Michael Lonergan. Seated at left is Springfield City Councilor, former WHYN, Springfield talk show host and member of the Ambassador’s Award committee Kateri Walsh appearing on Flannelly’s program to announce this year’s recipients. The Ambassador’s Award recognizes individuals whose activities have brought the people of the United States and Ireland closer together. Flannelly and Sheridan are being honored together as a husband and wife whose professional careers personify that bridge-between-people that this prestigious award represents.
Walter Sabo Leaves COO Position at Merlin Media. Noted radio consultant Walter Sabo has parted ways with Randy Michaels’ Merlin Media, the heavily venture capital-backed firm that acquired a majority share of three radio stations this past summer from Jeff Smulyan’sEmmis Broadcasting including WEMP-FM, New York and WWWN-FM, Chicago and is in the process of picking up a fourth from Harold Camping’s Family Broadcasting – WKDN-FM, in the Philadelphia market. Merlin launched a relatively experimental all-news format at these stations targeted to what Sabo described as “working families” with an emphasis on the 25-54 female demographic. The stations (FM News 101.9 in New York and FM News 101.1 in Chicago) received a tremendous amount of attention (and intense scrutiny) in the media before, during and after their launch prompted by former Tribune Company CEO Michaels’ negatively colorful and controversial profile, in addition to the fact that they were taking a startlingly innovative and youthful approach to delivering the all-news format. Sabo was recruited to serve as architect of this approach due to his impeccable reputation as a longtime champion of the concept of targeting female listeners on FM and proven track record for success with spoken word on FM as a longtime consultant for WKXW-FM, Trenton (New Jersey 101.5). When a notable rise in ratings failed to materialize in immediately subsequent survey periods coupled with widespread criticism by radio industry observers of the stations’ formats and execution – further exacerbated by Michaels receiving negative publicity in the midst of all this for being arrested on DUI charges – the heat was on and Michaels began facing enormous internal and external pressure to modify the programming approach. He succumbed and the Merlin stations began moving in a more traditional all-news direction putting them in head-to-head competition with CBS’s long-established, traditional and wildly successful all-news outlets in New York and Chicago (WINS, WCBS and WBBM). With this repositioning, the challenge of competing against successful, established news outlets has not produced increased ratings and the Merlin all-news initiative has become prematurely tagged throughout the industry as a monumental failure. Sabo’s withdrawal from day-to-day operational and programming decisions, including his subsequent departure from Merlin, has been quietly happening below the radar for some time now. Up until this article’s publication (1/2), there has been no official press release, acknowledgement or statement from either Merlin or Sabo confirming or commenting on his exit. However,TALKERS sources inside Merlin and close to Sabo confirm that it is indeed true with Sabo telling TALKERS,“At this time my work with Merlin is complete. The primary job was to build the most competitive team on and off the air – Merlin has the best. Our initiatives gave investors the confidence to buy a station in a third market and grow the company. GTCR deserves enormous credit for investing in the radio medium. FM spoken-word is so hot that the demand for Sabo Media services has never been greater. Our clients find that our decades of experience in the FM talk format protects their investment and shortens the profit horizon. More importantly my beautiful wife Katie is seven months pregnant during the holidays. That’s the news.” Sabo will continue to serve as CEO of his consulting firm Sabo Media and internet branding and marketing company, HitViews.
Fox Sports Radio Network Debuts New Morning Program Featuring Andy Furman and Artrell Hawkins. Today is the debut of Fox Sports Radio Network’s new morning show – “Fox Sports Daybreak” – heard from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET and featuring former Cincinnati sports talk host Andy Furman and retired NFL defensive back Artrell Hawkins. Furman’s resume includes an 18-year run hosting “Sports Talk” at WLW, Cincinnati and, recently, the PM drive show at WQRT, Cincinnati. Hawkins is a contributor to the Cincinnati Bengals Radio Network. Furman has been hosting a weekend show with former NFL star Lincoln Kennedy for more than a year and that Sunday evening program with Furman and Kennedy will continue. Fox Sports Radio VP/GM Don Martin states, “We couldn’t be happier to have Andy and Artrell hosting our new morning drive program. The combination of a sports talk pro like Andy and a former professional football player like Artrell will be a great addition to our weekday lineup.” Fox Sports Daybreak replaces the Zakk and Jack program on the FSRN schedule.
Cumulus Media Flips WMTI-FM, New Orleans from Oldies to Sports Talk. The Big Easy gets a new sports talk outlet as Cumulus Media drops the oldies on WMTI-FM and goes sports talk with programming from Fox Sports Radio Network, Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome and a PM drive show hosted by New Orleans Hornets broadcaster Gerry Vaillancourt.
New FM Talk Outlet for Little Rock. Crain Media Group drops the active rock on KKSP-FM, Bryant, Arkansas (located to the Northwest of Little Rock) and debuts a talk format it’s calling “Fresh Talk 93.3.” The lineup includes market news personality Neal Gladner in morning drive, Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham, Dial Global’s Clark Howard, Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” and more.
Progressive Talk Appears on WVKO, Columbus. The station at 1580 AM is owned by Bernard Ohio LLC and its website indicates it’s doing business as Clear Conscience Communications. The progressive talk lineup that debuted on January 2 includes Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann and Bill Press plus Mike Malloy and Leslie Marshall.
Chris Schoenewald Exits Virginia-Based “Daily Constitutional” Program. The regionally syndicated “Daily Constitutional” – based out of WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia and co-hosted by Joe Thomas and Chris Schoenewald – is undergoing changes as Schoenewald is leaving the program to run for office. He plans to announce which office he’ll seek soon. Thomas tells TALKERS the program will continue. “Adam Forster of Virginia Living Television and private investigator/TV anchor Nikki Lewis will be purchasing Schoenewald’s share and we’re hopeful to continue to grow and help stations in this area program locally oriented talk while freeing up their resources for news and marketing efforts.” The “Daily Constitutional” airs live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. In addition, Thomas hosts the morning drive program on WCHV-AM/FM.
Sam Malone in Israel. KSEV, Houston morning host Sam Malone is pictured here inspecting the cockpit of an Israeli F-16 during a tour of the Hatzor Air Force Base while on a trip to Israel. Malone broadcast his program live back to his Houston audience (via the very capable technology of the Comrex ACCESS) during which he interviewed numerous Houstonians serving in the IDF, important Israeli media figures and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. Malone tells TALKERS magazine his audience loved the content and his marketing department was able to get the broadcast event sponsored.
Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions, Holiday Sports Action and New Year Retrospectives Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/2). Today’s Iowa Caucuses for GOP candidates, the nuclear ambitions of the Iranian leadership, college and pro holiday sports action and 2011 retrospectives were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TALKERS Top News/Talk Stories and People of 2011. The editors of TALKERS are publishing the annual lists of the most-talked-about stories and people of 2011 as heard on America’s news/talk radio stations. The year-end lists are compiled from data from TALKERS ongoing research that is used for the weekly charts of news/talk radio’s top stories and people during the year. It’s important to underscore that many consumer media outlets publish annual lists of top news stories and people and those are often the results of data culled from Western news organizations. TALKERS data is unique in that it reports popular stories and people talked about on American news/talk radio stations. See the TALKERS year-end charts here.
Penn State Scandal Tops the TALKERS 10 Most Talked About Stories on Sports Talk Radio in 2011. Like any list, this one comes with qualifications. What constitutes a major story in New York might get precious little attention in Chicago. Although we talk in terms of “national pastimes,” the truth is that for the most part, sports interest is local. With that in mind, the following is the TALKERS list of the most talked about sports stories of 2011.
1. Penn State Scandal. This story dominated sports talk radio throughout the late fall. A legendary coach is fired and shocking testimony is unveiled — documenting unspeakable acts against minors. The Syracuse basketball program is rocked in a similar case, but as of this writing, the alleged perpetrator has escaped legal action. To read Richard Neer’s full list click here.
WAXY, Miami PD Marc Hochman Steps Down from Programming Role to Focus on Dan LeBatard Program. For the past two years, Marc Hochman has been serving in the dual role as program director for Lincoln Financial Media’s WAXY, Miami and executive producer and second co-host for the station’s Dan LeBatard PM drive show. Now Hochman says he’ll leave the PD post to concentrate on his role with the program, “It became obvious to me that I would be serving the radio station and radio show better if I were to focus only on one. There are many opportunities presenting themselves to ‘The Dan LeBatard Show’ so I’ve decided to focus 100% of my attention on the show and its future. Lincoln Financial Media has been super supportive of my decision. They’re thrilled I’m going to remain part of the radio station and they’ve asked me to remain in the PD position until they are able to find a replacement.” WAXY is beginning a search for a new programmer immediately.
Sports KILT, Houston Debuts New Local Midday Show; Premiere’s Jim Rome Exits. CBS Radio Houston debuts a new midday show called “Mad Radio” featuring Mike Meltser and Brad Davies in the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot. Meltser has served as the morning show news anchor on KILT and Brien Straw will take over that position according to the Houston Chronicle. Brad Davies previously worked at crosstown sports talker KBME-FM. Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome was one of the first major market affiliates for the program when it leaped from its Southern California base to national syndication in 1997 and has been a mainstay of KILT for those 14 years. But program director Gavin Spittle says it’s simply a matter of ratings and Rome’s program is the only one that doesn’t beat its three sports talk radio competitors in the market. “This is a performance-based business, and we have exhausted our options. We like Jim and thank him for all he has done for the station. He has been a huge fan of Sports Radio 610, and we have been huge fans of Jim Rome. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the ratings in Houston have slid to the point where a change is necessary.”
Former Marketing Director Sues CBS Radio Philadelphia for Sexual Harassment and Discrimination. As reported in the Philadelphia Daily News, former KYW, Philadelphia marketing director Shelley Kanther is suing the company alleging suffering “severe and pervasive” sexual harassment and discrimination and being fired after speaking up about it. Kanther’s attorney, Samuel First, writes in the suit that work environment at CBS Philadelphia was “toxic” with male co-workers telling Kanther “to wear skirts more often, swat at her butt and considered offering her money to make out with another worker.” The suit singles out SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield as the “worst offender” and alleges he fired Kanther when she complained. The suit also says VP and general sales manager David Yadgaroff failed to take action when asked to do so. CBS Radio is not commenting on the suit.
KQV, Pittsburgh to Air Robert Dickey Retrospective Today. Calvary senior partner and KQV, Pittsburgh president and general manager Robert Dickey passed away last week at age 84. KQV anchor PJ Maloney has produced a 50-minute retrospective of the man who dedicated his professional life to radio. The station says, “This special will include tributes from broadcasters, staff, friends and public officials…people who have known and worked with Bob Dickey during his 60-plus years in broadcasting.” The special airs this morning (12/30) at 10:10 am on KQV and is being repeated at 11:10 to allow staff to attend this morning’s funeral mass.
Bart Ritner, Pioneering North Carolina Radio Talker, Dies at 76. According to reports, the 39-year veteran of WPTF, Raleigh died on Wednesday (12/28) after a long battle with abdominal cancer. He was a regional pioneer of the call-in style of talk radio famous for impartiality and tremendous interviewing skills. According to the Greensboro News and Record, his interviews covered the gamut including President Lyndon Johnson, arsenic killer Velma Barfield and North Carolina Ku Klux Klan leaders. His reputation for even-handedness led to him serving as a mediator who helped resolve a dangerous standoff at Raleigh’s maximum-security Central prison.
Filling in for the Holidays. Today marks the beginning of “holiday fill-in season” on talk radio which pretty much runs through the rest of the year. It is the time when a significant percentage of full-time hosts working at individual radio stations (and even syndicated hosts for that matter) take all or part of their annual vacations. This process provides fill-in hosts and part-time weekend and bench hosts with the opportunity to get out there and hopefully shine. It also has the potential to provide listeners with fresh voices and perspectives. And it always presents already overworked programmers with the challenge of keeping their schedules flowing and appealing. They want someone who is professional and interesting – but they also want someone who won’t upset the applecart of stationality or listener expectations. WGN, Chicago PD Bill White explains, “I equate a fill-in host to someone hosting a dinner party in someone else’s home. Fill-in hosts should be respectful of the regular host’s audience but not rearrange all the furniture. We also look for fill-in hosts who will be comfortable and compliment the regular host’s audience.” Thus, qualified substitutes are a valuable commodity at this time of year when the demand for their services is drastically increased, especially when most stations’ air staffs have been cut back or depleted due to the economy and PDs must look for help from outside. For example, one of the industry’s most popular substitutes, former congressman and KFYI, Phoenix talk host J.D. Hayworth is subbing for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated host Todd Schnitt on 12/20 and 12/28. He’ll be heard on hosting local shows on KXNT-FM, Las Vegas on 12/23 and 12/29-30; WLS, Chicago on 12/24, 28-30; WGST, Atlanta on 12/26; KOGO-AM/FM, San Diego on 12/27; and WPHT, Philadelphia on 12/28-30. Demand for quality substitutes is so high that some hosts already doing full-time work use it as an opportunity to pick up extra income and exposure. As if he is not already doing enough on his “regular” gigs, hard working and extremely talented Clear Channel talk host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (KPRC, Houston; WOAI, San Antonio; KOA, Denver; and “The Weekend”) fills in for Premiere Networks syndicated star Glenn Beck on 12/20, 23, 28 and 30. This year’s holiday season coming in the thick of the big election cycle creates even more pressure to keep stations on track. Greater Media-owned WTKK-FM, Boston PD Grace Blazer tells TALKERS, “It’s important at 96.9 FM-WTKK to provide our audience with relevant shows throughout the holiday season that are timely and topical. Our host vacation schedules are scattered and their fill-ins are often regular participants to their shows and share similar philosophies. Since January 2012 is a huge month for presidential politics and New Hampshire is our neighbor, I think it’s imperative to keep 96.9 Boston Talks ‘primarily’ intact and compelling.” At Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ, Fresno, PD Skip Essick likes to avoid throwing curves to listeners, “I try and keep programming as normal as possible. This year it will not be as much of a challenge with Christmas Eve and Day on the weekend – same thing over New Years. But, for instance, the day after Thanksgiving – which was designated as a company holiday – I ran full staff with regular programming. I’ll do the same for Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, and the numerous Monday holidays throughout the year. In a nutshell – if our listeners are at work, so are we.” Some hosts prefer to work over the holidays and at Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, New York, program director Scott Lakefield tells TALKERS that’s the case. “For instance, John Gambling began a ‘tradition’ of sorts of taking his ‘holiday’ vacation in January. He will be live 12/27-30. Generally speaking, though, my theory is to try to do ‘best-of’ compendium shows during vacation times, with the exception of drive-time when information is a bigger component and it is thus necessary to be live. Guest hosts in my experience drive far more listeners away than hearing some ‘classic’ moments from their favorite hosts does.” In the sports talk radio world this situation can be particularly compelling since so many outlets have a high percentage of local full-time hosts and thus more slots to fill. Plus, opinions and personality categories in sports talk are often more idiosyncratic than general news/talk, making it more challenging to find the proper fit. CBS-owned Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh PD Terry Foxx tells TALKERS, “Holiday fill-in for us is very important. I match up our part-time hosts based on how I feel they will entertain and incite opinions from our fans in certain day parts.” Some stations have fill-in hosts with a history at the station such as veteran TV/radio personality Wayne Powers who subs for Keith Larson on WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte 12/26-30… and the list goes on. J.D. Hayworth, who is looking to get back into the business on a regular basis as either a local or syndicated host, tells TALKERS, “As a genuine ‘broadcasting baby boomer,’ I remember the ubiquitous Robert Q. Lewis on TV game shows: most frequently, a panelist…but quite frequently, a guest host…and eventually a regular host! So, I’m being ‘Lewis-like’ over the holidays! During my years at N.C. State, the joke was Lou Holtz recruited me at right tackle, but I ended up ‘left out!’ So…I’m used to waiting on the the bench, but very happy to get loads of holiday airtime. I’m certain these appearances will help me leave the bench and get back in the game full time!”
John Thompson Ends Regular Talk Show at WTEM, Washington. The iconic former Georgetown University basketball coach and talk host in the DC market since 1999 will step away from his regular show on Red Zebra’s WTEM in February to pursue other interests. Red Zebra director of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “While a sad day for the station, we fully support Coach Thompson’s decision to move on to other projects. As Coach and I discussed at the time of his decision, this is not a retirement. His fans will still hear Coach Thompson on ESPN980 from time to time. Thompson’s program airs from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm daily with co-host Doc Walker. Sapienza doesn’t state what the station’s plans are after Thompson steps down.
Chattanooga’s Brewer Media to Drop News/Talk on WPLZ-FM Citing Expense of the Format. It’s been three years since the locally owned Brewer Media put a news/talk format on WPLZ-FM, Chattanooga. Owner Jim Brewer II tells the Chattanooga Times Free Press he would have needed more staff to be competitive in the market. “I think we offered a good product and I will miss having news/talk in our building…being a small, single market cluster, it’s exceedingly difficult to compete against national broadcasting companies who have so much syndicated programming and infrastructure.” The station will flip to an unspecified music format in the new year and will lay off talk hosts Robert T. Nash and David Karnes as well as PD Gary Poole, news director Louis Lee and a couple other employees. Brewer Media owns three other FMs in the market including sports talk WALV – ESPN 105.1.
Birach Broadcasting Flips WWCS, Pittsburgh to Sports; Affiliates with Fox Sports Radio. Birach Broadcasting has been airing a Spanish music format on the signal but flips to sports on January 1 as Fox Sports 540. It’ll take most of the Fox Sports Radio Network-distributed lineup – Zakk & Jack, the Dan Patrick show, “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and JT the Brick plus Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome. FSRN vice president and general manager Don Martin states, “After a short hiatus, Fox Sports Radio is thrilled to be heard again in the great city of Pittsburgh!” The network was previously affiliated with Clear Channel’s WBGG. In addition to CC’s WBGG, CBS Radio operates sports KDKA-FM in the market.
Dr. Jenn Berman to Host New VH1 Program “Couples Therapy.” Los Angeles-based psychotherapist and host of the Sirius XM talk show, “The Love and Sex Show with Dr. Jenn,” is the host of a new cable TV show produced by Irwin Entertainment, the producers of “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.” The program will follow the travails of five celebrity couples and they go through therapy with Dr. Jenn Berman. Shows hit the air in the spring. Dr. Berman tells TALKERS magazine, “It’s such a pleasure to be a part of this exciting venture on VH1. I’m looking forward to being that connecting link between viewers and the process of examining the challenges of a celebrity relationship. I think people will be very surprised by how much they identify with these celebs and their personal struggles.” Couples taking part in the program are: DMX (Rapper) & Tashera Simmons, Linda Hogan (“Hogan Knows Best”) & Charlie Hill, Chris Nirschel (“The Next Food Network Star”) & Angelina Pivarnick (“Jersey Shore”), Kasey Kahl (“Bachelorette”) & Vienna Girardi (“The Bachelor”) and Reichen Lehmkuhl & Rodiney Santiago (“The A-List: New York”).
Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels Named to State Travel Commission. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announces WJIM, Lansing-based talk host Michael Patrick Shiels – heard throughout the state via the Michigan Talk Network – will serve on the Michigan Travel Commission. “One of the key components to building a better and stronger Michigan is to continuously promote all the attractions our state has to offer, including our beautiful lakes and great landmarks. Michael Patrick Shiels is a great addition and uniquely positioned to be a great asset to the commission.” In addition to his radio work, Shiels is a travel writer and founder of TravelTattler.com. Subject to approval by the Michigan Senate, Shiels will serve the remainder of Jim Berryman’s term through September 2014. Berryman recently resigned.
Ira Weintraub Takes PD Role at WTKA, Ann Arbor. Cumulus Media Ann Arbor names APD and morning show producer Ira Weintraub program director for sports talk outlet WTKA – The Ticket 1050. Market manager Matt Spaulding says, “Ann Arbor is a market with a tradition of providing compelling, passionate and relevant broadcast products to the listeners of southeast Michigan. Ira Weintraub has absolutely earned this promotion and we are confident that he will help lead WTKA to many more years of broadcasting success.”
WGN, Chicago’s Milt Rosenberg Hosts 2011 Retrospective Tonight. “Extension 720” host Milt Rosenberg hosts a special edition of his program this evening (12/19) titled, “WGN Year in Review” with fellow WGN personalities Garry Meier, John Williams and David Kaplan. The hosts will look back on the stories that made the year 2011 from the Rod Blagojevich case to the death of Osama bin Laden to the hiring of Theo Epstein as the Cubs’ general manager. The program airs at 10:00 pm.
Arbitron Client Conference: “Radio Retains 93% of Audience Through Spot Breaks.” That good news comes from the study, “What Happens When the Spots Come On?” from Arbitron, Coleman Insights and RCS/Media Monitors. But what it means is not that 93% of listeners stay through a whole stop set. Some go away and some new ones come in with the aggregate being that only 7% of the listenership disappears during a given spot break. The study analyzed 17.9 million spot breaks and 61.9 commercial minutes in the 48 markets using the Portable People Meter. But programmers and sales managers are being cautioned not to interpret the data as meaning that people aren’t bothered by too many spots and that 93% will sit through anything. One thing the study appears to confirm is that spoken-word radio such as sports, news/talk and all-news do a better job of keeping their audiences through stop sets.
KDKA, Pittsburgh Program Director Marshall Adams Exits. After six years with CBS Radio’s legendary KDKA, Pittsburgh, program director Marshall Adams announces his contract with the station is up and he is leaving for other opportunities. Adams states, “It has been a privilege working for this heritage station which, as a child, gave me my first impressions of radio. It was a dream come true every time I was able to crack the mic for a KDKA newscast. I am very grateful to CBS Pittsburgh market manager Michael Young for giving me this terrific opportunity. I am going to miss the staff very much. They’re an incredibly talented group of people and each one of them has enriched my life.” There’s no word from CBS Pittsburgh who will take over the PD position at KDKA.
Cox Media Group Adds Sports Content to WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia. Cox Media Group removes much of the syndicated news/talk programming from WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia and re-positions the station as “Bulldog 103.7 North Georgia’s News, Sports & Information Station.” Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome is added for middays and Yahoo! Sports programming fills in the evening and overnights. Martha Zoller’s news/talk program moves from the 7:00 am to 11:00 am slot to 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. The morning news program with Tim Bryant expands to 6:00 am to 9:00 am. America’s Radio News Network’s all-news block airs in the PM drive slot.
Clear Channel Names Two to Management Roles in Spokane. Clear Channel announces Dan Manella is the new market manager for the Spokane, Washington cluster and Michael LaCrosse takes on the operations manager for the cluster that includes news/talk KQNT. Manella most recently served with CBS Radio in Chicago as general sales manager at WXRT-FM and as senior AE at sports WSCR. LaCrosse most recently served as operations director at Cumulus’ WLS-FM, Chicago.
On the Set of Modern Family. Talk Radio Network and KFI, Los Angeles radio personality Phil Hendrie recently taped an episode of the hit TV show “Modern Family” in which he plays the character “Boots.” Hendrie is pictured here on the set of the program (from l-r) with actor Ed O’Neill, director Michael Spiller, Hendrie, and actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson. On appearing on the program, Hendrie says, “It’s not hard to figure out why ‘Modern Family’ is a hit show. Everyone, Ed O’Neill, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, all of the crew, they were kind, complimentary and helpful. Very, very positive people to be around. I’m so grateful for the experience. Thanks ‘Modern Family!’”
2012 Presidential Race, Payroll Tax Cut Issue, Jerry Sandusky Arrested on New Charges, Iran’s Nuclear Program and Blagojevich Sentenced Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/7). The GOP field of candidates for president, the debate over the payroll tax cut extension, former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky arrested on more sexual abuse charges, Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions and the lost CIA drone and former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s 14-year sentence on corruption charges were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Al Sharpton Gets MSNBC Talk Show. Dubbed “Politics Nation” and airing in the 6:00 pm time slot, Rev. Al Sharpton’s news/talk cable TV program officially debuts on Monday, August 29. We say officially because Sharpton has been subbing at the network this summer. In a statement, MSNBC president Phil Griffin says, “I’ve known Rev. Sharpton for over a decade and have tremendous respect for him. He has always been one of our most thoughtful and entertaining guests. I’m thrilled that he’s now reached a point in his career where he’s able to devote himself to hosting a nightly show. ‘PoliticsNation’ is going to be an incredibly strong kick-off to our evening schedule.” Sharpton also hosts a daily syndicated radio talk show distributed by Syndication 1 that airs live from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET on about 20 affiliates. That’s cutting awfully close to his 6:00 pm TV airtime but there’s no word from Syndication 1 if Sharpton will continue his radio show or not. (August 25, 2011)
Philadelphia Talk Radio Friend Joey Vento Passes Away Unexpectedly. Vento, who died of a massive heart attack on Tuesday (8/23) at age 71, was not a talk show host but was very friendly with a number of Philadelphia-based and nationally syndicated hosts. He made national news – and many conservative media friends – after posting a sign at his famous Geno’s Steaks restaurant in South Philly that reads, “This is America. When ordering, please speak English.” The move caused cries of racism from critics but Vento stood fast and made many appearances on talk radio since that time and included among his talk radio friends WPHT host Dom Giordano and Salem Radio Networks host Mike Gallagher. (August 25, 2011)
ABC Radio News Offers 9/11 Anniversary Programming. The 10th anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 takes place in less than three weeks. Among the news organizations offering long-form programming to mark the event is ABC Radio News. ABC airs a three-hour program that Sunday morning from 8:06 am to 10:58 am. ABC Radio News correspondents Cheri Preston and Aaron Katersky will anchor from Ground Zero in New York City; Ann Compton reports from the White House; Steve Portnoy reports from Shanksville, Pennsylvania (the site of the downing of Flight 93); and Vic Ratner reports from the Pentagon. (August 25, 2011)
WDSM, Duluth Talk Host Lew Latto Dies at 71. Latto was more than just a talk host at MidWest Communications’ WDSM, Duluth. Latto had worked in radio since his high school days in the 1950s. He went on to own stations, manage stations and remained a “radio guy” his entire career. Latto was hosting his daily morning show, “Talk of the North,” on WDSM and was reportedly getting dressed to prepare for his show there when he passed away suddenly. (August 25, 2011)
Clear Channel Buys FM Translator for WIOD, Miami. Way FM Media Group sells W228BY, Allapattah, Florida to Clear Channel for $200,000. The signal is close to downtown Miami and will serve as a second FM signal for news/talk WIOD. Currently, WIOD can be heard in Broward County on 100.3 FM as well. (August 25, 2011)
United Stations Radio Networks Names Sue Falco Director of Affiliate Relations. USRN announces Sue Falco becomes director of affiliate relations for the company. Falco most recently served as national director of affiliate sales at Westwood One where she was responsible for long- and short-form programming. USRN VP Dan Brassem says, “Sue brings a vast knowledge of both the radio network business and an understanding of what our radio clients need and expect from a program supplier. We’re excited that she’s on board and we anticipate that her experience, her contacts and her overall know-how will be assets that will help us grow our networks.” (August 25, 2011)
KNBR, San Francisco Adds Oakland Raiders Coach Hue Jackson to “Coaches Tuesday.” Cumulus sports talk outlet KNBR, San Francisco announces Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson will join Brian Murphy and Paul McCaffrey each Tuesday morning at 7:00 am. Jackson is followed by San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh who becomes part of the show at 8:00 am. OM and PD Lee Hammer states, “We’re excited to have both 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and Raiders coach Hue Jackson on KNBR 680 every week. The head coach in football is the decision maker, and Bay Area football fans will now be able to hear directly from both of them, on the same station every Tuesday morning.” (August 25, 2011)
Libya Status, 2012 Presidential Race, Iran, Nukes and Hurricane Irene Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/24). The status of the Libyan government and whereabouts of Moammar Gaddhafi, the 2012 presidential race, Iran’s nuclear weapons program and Hurricane Irene’s anticipated path were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS. (August 25, 2011)
15 Years of Jim Rome. Premiere Networks celebrated 15 years of the nationally syndicated Jim Rome program at W Hotel in Westwood, California recently. Rome’s program was the first sports program to be syndicated nationally by Premiere Networks and today it remains one of the most-listened-to national sports programs heard on 230 affiliates each week. Pictured here are Rome (l) and Premiere Networks president, content and affiliate relations Julie Talbott (r). (August 25, 2011)