Tag: "Jim Villanucci"

Thursday, October 3, 2013

| October 3, 2013

kxl logoMore News/Talk Radio Success Stories.  Yes, you read that right, contrary to the pronouncement – largely in the mainstream media (but some trades are generalizing as well) – that news/talk radio is suffering an overall ratings decline because there’s something wrong with the programming, the signals or its P1s, there are news/talk stations that are doing well.  In a piece published yesterday (see Wednesday’s news below) we knrs logomentioned a few news/talk stations that are performing well such as WMAL, KMOX, WSB-AM, KIRO-FM and others but more have come to light and we believe it’s worth delving into again.  The editors at TALKERS magazine understand we are running the risk of sounding like cheerleaders but it’s not because we are blind to reality, it’s that we are irked by sweeping conclusions based on less-than-complete information that brands an kmbzentire format as dead or dying.  Yes, some news/talk stations are dealing with low ratings and, yes, there are some entire markets that have seen – at least according to Nielsen Audio’s data – listening to news/talk decline.  But for those who work at Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL-FM, Portland; Clear Channel’s KFBK, Sacramento, KNRS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City or WLW, Cincinnati; Bonneville’s KSL, Salt Lake City; Cox Media Group’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando; or Entercom’s KMBZ, Kansas City, are enjoying the fruits of their hard work in the form of larsonlarsnews/talk stations that are performing well in their markets in spite of this gloomy environment.  Digging a bit deeper at villanuccijimKXL-FM, the midday shows – Jim Villanucci from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and Lars Larson from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm – are both in the top six spots in Persons 25-54.  Villanucci (brand new to Portland listeners) is ranked #6 in the market with Persons 25-54 and Larson, a conservative political talker, ranks #2 in the market with Persons 25-54.  Larson is also tied for #1 with Men 18-34 with a 9.2 share.  And he does it in liberal Portland!  In conclusion, it is not only in the best interests of the country for news/talk radio to remain a vital medium — it is in the interests of the entire radio industry because – let’s face it – most of the buzz, news, high-profile personalities, controversy, and hoopla concerning radio as an iconic component of contemporary culture has emanated from news/talk radio.  After that, a close runner up has been the more general (lifestyle and entertainment) approach to “talk” radio as practiced by talents such as Howard Stern (incorrectly described by mainstream media as “shock jocks.”)  Can you imagine what the state of radio would be today had it not been for news/talk and general talk radio during the past 25 years?   The industry should not be so quick to discount the viability of this genre of radio and the key it holds to the continued pertinence of radio itself.  Lars Larson says his philosophy about the focus of his show is simple: “I figure the future of talk is in young listeners who get into the habit and like the format and what we put on the air.  I hope to keep them in my audience for the next 20 years.”

brienjenBrief Tenure at WBZ-AM, Boston for Jen Brien.  Just three months after beginning her position as permanent overnight host at CBS Radio’s WBZ-AM, Boston, talk show host Jen Brien exits with no reason given by management.  An announcement was made at the beginning of the overnight program on Thursday morning (10/3) that Brien was no longer the host of the show.  Brien won the job after Steve LeVeille retired in June of 2012.  The station featured a number of fill-in hosts in the overnight slot for a year before giving Brien the gig.  She had previously worked at crosstown WRKO hosting midday show.

mohrlenoJay Mohr Visits ‘The Tonight Show.’  Fox Sports Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jay Mohr is pictured here on the set of “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno.  Mohr appeared on the program to talk about his sports talk radio show as well as his upcoming stand-up comedy shows in his Houston and San Antonio markets.  Mohr plugged the fact that his show can be heard on iHeartRadio – prompting a shout from an audience member who, Mohr quipped, “has the app!”

wfan logoCBS Radio Brings Soccer to NYC.  CBS Radio sports talk WFAN-AM/FM, New York agrees to a multi-year deal with the New York City Football Club to begin broadcasting the team’s matches on the stations beginning in 2015.  WFAN says it is “the first radio provider to broadcast Major League Soccer (MLS) in English in New York City.”  Manchester City Football Club owns the NYC Football Club and CEO Ferran Soriano says, “We’re thrilled to partner with a station as prestigious as WFAN.  This is a huge opportunity for the team to bring football to all New Yorkers, right from the onset of our playing debut.”  Clearly, growing interest in soccer in the U.S. is something CBS Radio hopes will continue to blossom.  CBS Radio SVP and market manager Don Bouloukos adds, “As the nation’s leading sports radio station, we always look for ways to bring every type of sport to the New York area’s fans.  Soccer is beloved across the world, and with the New York City Football Club coming to New York, it’s the perfect time to further ignite the passion soccer fans have and bring coverage and play-by-play of this new team to the Tri-State area listeners.”

weei logoOdds & Sods.  Entercom’s WEEI, Boston kicks off the Red Sox post-season play with a live remote broadcast following a shortened edition of the Salk and Holley show.  A “Red Sox Roundtable” will be broadcast live from Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar and Grill in Fenway Park from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  Mike Salk, Michael Holley and fellow WEEI personalities John Dennis, Mike Mutnansky, Lou Merloni, Mikey Adams, Kirk Minihane, Alex Speier and Rob Bradford, as well as the Sox broadcast team of Dave O’Brien and Joe Castiglione will be on hand to discuss the Sox’ impending American League Division Series matchup…..Speaking of Joe Castiglione, he’s been nominated as one of 10 finalists for the Ford C. Frick award, given to baseball broadcasters of long and meritorious service.  Castiglione has been calling Boston Red Sox games on the radio for 31 years, having joined their broadcast team in 1983…..Northwestern alumnus, Mike Greenberg, and “Mike & Mike” co-host Mike Golic, will broadcast their show live from Northwestern’s Evanston, Illinois campus tomorrow morning (10/4) in advance of Saturday’s Homecoming game between the Wildcats and the Ohio State Buckeyes, as part of the third annual ESPN Audio Fall Football Tour.  Greenberg will also serve as grand marshal of University’s 2013 Homecoming Parade tomorrow evening.

hochmanheatMedia Day with the Heat.  Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talker WAXY-AM/FM, Miami “The Ticket” morning drive hosts Marc Hochman (left) and Jonathon Zaslow (right) attended Miami Heat media day recently and took the time to pose for a shot with Heat center Joel Anthony (the tall guy in the middle).

Government Shutdown, ObamaCare Implementation, IPCC Climate Report, U.S.-Iran Relations, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/2).  The political maneuvering to fix the government shutdown; the beginning of the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act; the release of the latest climate report from the IPCC; speculation about future relations between the U.S. and Iran; and financial markets activity were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

| June 12, 2013

smerconishspeechMichael Smerconish Delivers Annual “State of the First Amendment Address” at Talkers New York 2013.  It is considered an honor to be invited to deliver the annual “State of the First Amendment Address” at the annual TALKERS conference – a traditional component of the Freedom of Speech Ceremony that dates back to the early 1990s when the late and legendary talk show host Gene Burns delivered an impromptu speech extolling the importance of free speech in American society and the vital role it plays in the pertinence of talk radio.  Bringing the concept full circle, Burns further articulated how talk radio plays a crucial role in exercising and preserving the First Amendment.  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “That was a magic moment when Gene Burns explained how free speech and talk radio are intrinsically unified in preserving the very foundation of liberty upon which everything we consider to be ‘American’ is supported.”  Harrison recalls, “Gene reprised this role for the nextburnsgene couple of years leading up to it becoming an industry tradition carried on by free speech-aware orators.  We began inviting individuals from the broadcasting industry who understood and displayed from their own actions the importance of the First Amendment and comment on the state of its health – based upon the premise ‘use it or lose it.’”  Since then, a diverse roster of industry players, who have in their own way challenged the establishment, have delivered their versions of this important address including Al Franken, Michael Medved, Alan Colmes, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Jerry Springer, Neal Boortz, Jim Bohannon and many more.  This year, the editorial board invited Michael Smerconish, who recently walked away from his daily on-air job with CBS O&O WPHT, Philadelphia and his own syndicated network of approximately 80 affiliates to take a position as host of a show on the SiriusXM political channel, to deliver the address.  According to Harrison, “Smerconish, a moderate conservative, was quite outspoken in his protest against the extreme left-versus-right polarity presently manifested in the stationality of most AM/FM news/talk stations and opted for the ideological freedom provided by his new satellite platform.  Standing up to the conventional wisdom and practices of one’s own industry can be even more challenging and bold a stance for a talk show host to take than protesting the government.  He was an apt choice to deliver the address this year and he did a great job.”  Smerconish began the speech by recounting a media experience he had while still a teenager.  Pink Floyd’s legendary “The Wall” LP was released when he was a senior in high school.  The band was reluctant to tour in support of the double-album, but as part of its record deal, Pink Floyd was obligated to do a certain number of dates.  “I was able to see them and was the envy of my friends,” commented Smerconish, who at the time, was the editor of The Chatterbox, his high school newspaper. “When I came home from the concert, I decided to write a review of ‘The Wall.’” Speculating what the “wall” was and what it symbolized, Smerconish recounted it could have been a prison wall or a wall around a person seeking isolation.  When his review came out, he was summoned to the principal’s office. “The principal said he was disappointed that I had written the review and requested a retraction, not because of anything in particular that I had written, but because I had addressed the subject at all,” Smerconish explained.  “He wanted me to do a follow up and be critical of the group’s music.”  The then 17-year-old Smerconish (who went on to become an attorney) was “only superficially familiar” with the First Amendment.  “I doubt that I could have defined ‘censorship’ or ‘prior restraint,’ but I knew enough that something he was asking of me just was not right,” he recollected.  “I weighed his request and I did not do it.  More than 30 years later, I spend all of my time talking about such dilemmas, speaking my mind, and rendering judgments about matters of public controversy – only now – I do so with profound appreciation for the source of our freedom.  Establishing a government framework for the weighty subjects of religion, speech, assembly, and petition is exactly what was accomplished in 1791 when the First Amendment and the entire Bill of Rights were adopted.”  Of added significance is the fact that, as Smerconish mentioned, it was done in just 45 words and in a manner that would be relevant for 222 years and counting.  “It is so simple and yet so prescient,” he commented. “This guidepost was written two centuries before the advent of the internet.”  The succinct way in which Smerconish assessed the state of the First Amendment was “resilient.”  To view a video of Michael Smerconish’s entire speech, please click here.

farbernmsinterviewErica Farber: “There’s Nothing We Can’t Do Anymore!”  Brimming with optimism, Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) CEO/president Erica Farber tells TalkersTV, “For the first time in the history of radio, we are integrated marketers.”  In an interview conducted at the recent Talkers New York 2013 convention (6/6) by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, Farber explains how radio can not only offer commercials on our broadcast signals but also video, special events and a variety of methods of exposure on our digital platforms as well.  Farber praises what she describes as ”great energy” in the radio business and says that those of us who are in radio are here because “we love it” and although we are facing obvious challenges, there are also great opportunities.  When asked to define her role at the RAB as well as the organization’s role she states, “We are advocates of the industry to anyone who will listen – advertisers, agencies, broadcasters, and consumer media.”  She strongly believes that far more people are listening to radio than detractors of the medium would have you believe.  To see a video of the entire interview with Erica Farber, please click here.

mhchineseradioTALKERS Magazine Building Bridge Between American and Chinese Radio.  At the same time President Barack Obama was meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week, another diplomatic meeting between the two nations was taking place at United Nations headquarters on Manhattan’s East Side (6/7).  Broadcasters from China Radio International (CRI), the state-owned-and-operated radio station/network of the People’s Republic of China participated in the seventh annual “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” a cultural initiative presented by TALKERS magazine and Talk Radio News Service in association with the United Nations Foundation.  This was the first time a delegation of Chinese broadcasters participated in this event.  Pictured (above, left) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison being interviewed by the delegation for broadcast on CRI answering questions about how talk radio in America operates and what differences exist between the culture of broadcasting in both countries.  When asked what he hopes can be achieved by the meeting that was taking place that day between the presidents of the two nations Harrison stated, “I hope good things come from it, but I have learned through years of experience not to put too much stock in the words and actions of ANY politicians, regardless of what country they represent.  I believe, however, in the PEOPLE of different countries as evidenced by the ‘love fest’ taking place right here, right now, between your broadcasters and ours.  Radio is first andchineseradiogroupsm foremost a medium to unite people.  May today be just the beginning in our quest to unite the people of our great countries on the basis of mutual respect and common human interests.  If we do that, perhaps the politicians will have no choice other than to be reasonable.”  According to Harrison, “This was one of the most exciting conversations I have ever had in my 45 year career in broadcasting.  The radio folks from China seemed absolutely fascinated by how different the business is here – especially the American concept of free speech.  However they were clearly quite worldly and educated to many aspects of American business and culture. I will always remember this wonderful meeting.”  Li Ping, director general of CRI North America, told Harrison that she hopes “this will be the beginning of a long and productive relationship between Chinese and American radio broadcasters.”  Pictured above, right (l-r) Xu Leiying, reporter, CRI; Josephine Cheng, president, Chinese Radio Network (CRI’s partner in New York); Harrison; Li Ping, director general, CRI North America; Dong Xiaole, reporter, CRI; and You Yu, reporter/assistant to director general, CRI, North America.

villanuccijimLongtime Albuquerque Personality Jim Villanucci Lands in Portland.  After a not-so-amicable split from his 14-year home at Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque, talk show host Jim Villanucci will take over the late morning slot at Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland “FM News 101” beginning June 24.  Villanucci will fill the slot currently held by Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck show.  Villanucci was a huge ratings-getter for KKOB over the course of his stay there in afternoon drive and now brings his broad talk host skills to the Pacific Northwest leading into market icon Lars Larson who hosts the early afternoon show.  The move reunites Villanucci with market manager Milt McConnell with whom he worked in Albuquerque.

podcastone logoYahoo! Sports Radio Podcasts to Be Featured on PodcastOne.  The Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne and Gow Broadcasting, operator of Yahoo! Sports Radio in partnership with Yahoo! Sports, announce a multi-year deal to make Yahoo! Sports Radio podcasts available to listeners for free onyahoosportsradiologo PodcastOne.com and via the PodcastOne mobile app.  Additionally, Yahoo! Sports Radio Network podcasts will be represented for advertising sales by Pattiz’s Launchpad Digital Media.  PodcastOne/Launchpad Digital Media chief financial officer, Dan Yukelson states, “As ‘radio’ continues to be redefined as ‘audio,’ the sports-talk format has never been more popular.  Yahoo! Sports Radio is a leader in on-demand sports content and we are looking forward to ushering sports talk into the digital age together.  Along with our current PodcastOne lineup of sports/talk programming such as category leaders Steve Austin and Ross Tucker, the addition of Yahoo! Sports Radio will further strengthen our platform and reach.”  Yahoo! Sports Radio podcasts now available on PodcastOne and represented exclusively by Launchpad Digital Media include Bryan Benway, Terry Ford, Dylan Gwinn, Rick Horrow, Travis Rogers, Pat Forde, Dan Wetzel, Geoff Ketchum, Doug Farrar, Steve Czaban, “Calling All Sports with Marty Tirrell and Bob Ryan,” “The War Room with John Harris” and the “Mouthpiece Boxing Podcast.”

kgme logoClear Channel’s KGME, Phoenix Re-Brands as Fox Sports 910 Phoenix; Adds Local Midday Show.  Clear Channel’s Phoenix sports talk outlet KGME announces it has re-branded as “Fox Sports 910 Phoenix,” leaving behind the old “Xtra Sports” brand.  The station also adds a new live and local midday show called “The Freaks with Kenny & Crash,” featuring hosts Kenny Sargent and Crash Gladys that airs from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm beginning today (6/12).  Program director Neil Larrimore states, “This programming change will create a better experience for sports talk radio listeners in Phoenix.  ‘Fox Sports Radio 910 Phoenix’ and the addition of ‘Kenny & Crash’ will provide listeners with phenomenal sports talk programming with a rock ‘n’ roll attitude and the best conversations in the Valley.”

cclogoKelly Kibler Is Promoted to SVP of Operations for CC’s Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio Markets.  Moving up from her most recent post as the company’s market president in Dallas, Kelly Kibler is named senior vice president of operations, effective immediately.  In her new role with the company, she’ll oversee the Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio markets and will report to Tom Schurr, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment‘s president of operations — major markets.  Kibler has been with CC for more than 16 years, holding a variety of leadership and sales positions in the Dallas, San Diego and Las Vegas markets.  Schurr states, “Kelly’s strong performance and high level of achievement make her the perfect choice to oversee and lead our Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio markets.  Her track record is one of continuous success with the company.”

wachsmithdonAdLarge Promotes Don Wachsmith to Chief Revenue Officer, Radio Sales. AdLarge Media reports that EVP, radio sales Don Wachsmith is promoted to chief revenue officer, radio sales for the company.  AdLarge Media CEO and co-founder Gary Schonfeld states, “Don has done an incredible job of exceeding revenue goals, two years in a row.  His client relationships and ability to develop targeted national radio advertising packages have dramatically increased sales results for AdLarge.”  AdLarge president and co-founder Cathy Csukas adds, “With Don’s leadership, Adlarge has already surpassed 2012 results and achieved exceptional growth in 2013.  This is a well-deserved promotion for Don and recognition for his contribution to our success.”  Wachsmith states, “The past two years at AdLarge have been a wonderfully rewarding experience.  As AdLarge continues to expand partnerships with content providers, I look forward to delivering targeted branding experiences for our national advertising clients.”  Wachsmith joined AdLarge in 2011.  Prior to that, Wachsmith was executive vice president, sales, at Dial Global Media.

GfK MRI logoArbitron Announces ‘Model-Ready’ PPM Data Available in GfK MRI’s Granularity Portal.  Arbitron Inc. reports that Model-Ready Radio data is now available in media and consumer research firm GfK MRI‘s Granularity Portal.  The company states that “the model-ready radio ratings data is linked with Media Monitors commercial airplay data to enable advertisers to get a better read on radio’s contribution to marketing and sales results.  Its presence in the Granularity portal is designed to boost radio’s presence in marketing mix models and make it easier, faster and less error prone to use for advertisers, agencies and modelers.”  The model-ready data is now available in Granularity to all subscribers of the new data set.  It had previously been available in a beta version for a limited number of trial users, which was announced in October 2011.  Arbitron also states, “A series of case studies demonstrated that the model-ready Arbitron PPM Radio Ratings Data can help improve the statistical reliability of marketing mix models and provide advertisers with a better understanding of radio’s ability to drive marketing ROI.  The data is based on PPM radio ratings which is linked to commercial occurrence data from Media Monitors for the specific date, quarter-hour, and station on which each commercial ran.”

sontagfrankKKLA, Los Angeles Names Frank Sontag PM Drive Host.  The untimely death of talk show host Frank Pastore after a motorcycle accident in November of 2012 left Salem Communications’ Christian talk station KKLA, Los Angeles seeking a new afternoon drive host.  Now, the company announces Frank Sontag takes over the program that airs from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm.  Program director Chuck Tyler says, “We are excited about having Frank Sontag join our lineup in the critical afternoon drive position.  Frank is a true veteran of Los Angeles radio having worked at KLOS-FM for 27 years.”  Sontag served as news director, disc jockey and was part of the popular Mark and Brian program.  During that time he also hosted his own talk radio show – “The Impact Program” – for 21 years.

abcnewsradioABC News Radio Recognized with Three Edward R. Murrow Awards.  The national Edward R. Murrow Awards have been announced by the Radio Television Digital News Association and ABC News Radio is recognized with awards in three categories. ABC won Best Breaking News Coverage for its handling of the Newtown, Connecticut school massacre; Best Continuing Coverage for its work reporting on Hurricane Sandy; and Best News Series for its The 2012 Campaign and Election: Your Choice Your Vote.”  You can hear the winning entries here.

beckslaterSiriusXMGlenn Beck Promotes New Novel on SiriusXM’s‘Author Confidential.’  Talk media superstar Glenn Beck (l) is the featured guest on this weekend’s edition of SiriusXM’s “Author Confidential” as he talks with SiriusXM Patriot Channel host Mike Slater (r) about his new novel The Eye of Moloch (Threshold Editions 2013).  The book is the follow-up to his previous New York Times bestseller The Overton Window and incorporates themes of tyranny, freedom, high-tech surveillance and more.  The program premieres on Saturday, June 15 at 10:00 am on the Patriot Channel.

Gerard Media Purchases Talk WHFB, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph, Michigan.  Gerard Media owns news/talk WIMS, Michigan City, Indiana and will add 5,000-watt class D AM WHFB, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph, Michigan to its portfolio for $175,000.  The seller is WHFB Broadcast Associates.

wrkotownhallWRKO, Boston Holds Live Town Hall Broadcast with Former U.S. Senator Scott Brown.  WRKO, Boston morning drive host Jeff Kuhner will take part in a live broadcast town hall meeting at Bentley University on Thursday, June 20 at 7:00 pm with former U.S. Senator Scott Brown.  The station says Kuhner and Brown will discuss topical political issues, including National Security privacy issue, the IRS scandal, the Benghazi attack and the Senate special election.  The program will end with an open session for audience questions and will be moderated by June Knight.

Alleged State Department Cover-Up, Immigration Legislation, NSA Data Collection Program, Severe Weather ‘Derecho’ Threat, and Plan B Pill Policy Among top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/11).  Allegations of a State Department cover-up of illegal activities including prostitution and drug abuse among staffers abroad; immigration legislation making its way through Congress; the NSA data collection program and the revealing of secrets by Edward Snowden; the threat of a dangerous weather system possibly forming a “derecho” that could affect the eastern half of the country; and the controversy over the Obama Administration’s policy on the Plan B pill were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, March 4, 2013

| March 4, 2013

DG-logoHorizontalDial Global Restructures Credit Status; Pays Down $15 Million of Existing Term Loan.  The industry has been watching the state of Dial Global’s debt situation and now the company announces that it, its lenders and certain of its stockholders have agreed to recapitalize the company’s existing credit facilities, other obligations and equity interests.  CEO Spencer Brown states, “The new agreements with our lenders represent a significant step forward for the company.  Once thesebrownspencer transactions close, we will have delivered our balance sheet and decreased cash interest expense.  The agreements will provide us with greater flexibility to actively manage and grow our business.  We look forward to closing these transactions in April and focusing on serving our clients.”  As part of the recapitalization, the company has entered into an Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, by and among the Company, General Electric Capital Corporation, as administrative agent and collateral agent, and the lenders party thereto which provides for a $15 million paydown of the company’s existing term loan and revolving credit commitments.  That agreement matures on October 21, 2016.  The company is also entering into a Priority Second Lien Credit Agreement among the company, the administrative agent, the syndication agent and the lender party for an additional $31.5 million through a term loan facility to the company, with a maturity date of July 21, 2017.  As part of this Dial Global agrees to issue it penny warrants to purchase 7.5% of the company’s common stock exercisable immediately following the consummation of the recapitalization.  Regarding the existing Second Lien Credit Agreement, dated as of October 21, 2011, lenders agreed to restructure their existing approximately $93 million in second lien obligations by amending and restating that agreement to provide for a $30 million term loan that matures five years after the expected closing of the recapitalization and exchanging approximately $63 million in remaining obligations under the existing Second Lien Credit Agreement for a new series of preferred stock of the Company.  Under various subscription and exchange agreements between the company and the holders of the company’s PIK Notes and Series A Preferred Stock, such holders have agreed, subject to the satisfaction of certain specified conditions, to exchange their PIK Notes and Series A Preferred Stock for equity securities of the company and have further agreed to make an additional equity infusion of $16.5 million.

villanuccijimCumulus Media’s News/Talk KKOB, Albuquerque and Talk Host Jim Villanucci Part Ways.  When talk radio personality Jim Villanucci’s contract came up at Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque the company chose not to renew it.  Villanucci tells TALKERS magazine that he’d been reaching out to Cumulus for the past several months about a contract renewal but the company didn’t appear interested in talking so he exited after last Thursday’s program.  Cumulus AM stations program director Pat Frisch is sitting in the PM drive slot for now as he seeks out a replacement.  Villanucci’s program was a big ratings-getter for the station for many years.  It will be hard to replace the kind of steady performance he’s achieved at KKOB-AM.  Villanucci tells TALKERS, “I leave KKOB after 14 years looking forward to my next opportunity.  I have had so many wonderful years working with some of the finest broadcasters in the business in a market that’s been very good to me.  I wish the good people of Albuquerque and the folks at KKOB the very best.  I would especially like to thank my former GM Milt McConnell, and wish my friend and PD Pat Frisch good  luck going forward. ”  Villanucci has been an annual face on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred for years due to his consistent performance and ability to branch out beyond the often-predictable news/talk topics heard on so many stations in the format.

sileodanDan Sileo Exits WQAM, Miami.  The statement from sports talk host Dan Sileo is brief and indicates the two sides were not seeing eye-to-eye on programming philosophy, “Our differences revolve around content issues and we wish each other the best.  As for me and my style of sports talk, I will never change.”  Sileo joined Beasley Broadcasting’s WQAM, Miami for the PM drive show after a successful stint at Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa.  He then moved to middays.

masonirelandL.A. Daily News Ranks Top Sports Talk Personalities Heard in Market.  To TALKERS editors, the thing that stands out about this list is that there are enough sports talk radio hosts – both local and nationally syndicated – to put together a ranking for the Los Angeles market.  But there are and KSPN’s Steve Mason and John Ireland tied for #1 this year with KLAC, Los Angeles’ Petros Papadakis coming in at #3 (there is no #2 since Mason and Ireland tied for #1).  Papadakis’ partner Matt “Money” Smith ranked #5 this year.  The paper also ranked the top nationally syndicated sports talk hosts heard in the L.A. market and the top three were: 1) Dan Patrick of DIRECTV/Fox Sports Radio; 2) Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith of Fox Sports Radio; and 3) Jay Mohr also of Fox Sports Radio Network.  Nice compliment for Jay Mohr since he’s only been in the gig since the beginning of the year.  And speaking of Jay Mohr…

mohrjayComedian, Actor and Sports Nut Jay Mohr Focuses on Fox Sports Radio Gig.  To show how serious he is about his new full-time gig as midday sports talk host on the Fox Sports Radio Network, Jay Mohr tells TALKERS magazine,Fox Sports Radio Logo “Honestly, I have turned off the sitcom and movie noise to concentrate on the radio show; those other doors are closed right now.  I cannot be on the phone trying to figure out how I am going to leave a studio at ‘this time’ to be on a movie set at ‘that time.’”  In this profile piece, TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian talks with Mohr about his radio influences, love of sports, comedy road work and how he got into the sports talk game by subbing for Jim Rome, and finally to his first full-time sports talk job.  He says of the fill-in work, “I thought if I could keep doing this, one day I might be able to do it for a living.  I listened to Jim for many years and he really changed sports talk radio.  He made it fun again.  My job is to reset the dial a little and bring everybody back to the fun part of it.”  Read the entire story here.

berrymichaelRising Talk Radio Star Says Host Endorsements Should Be Interesting (and a Whole Lot More).  He also says the goal of advertising on radio should be results – a simple concept often overlooked by sales and programming departments in their rush to sell the ads, give the client what they want and then get the spots on and off the air as quickly as possible.  Michael Berry is one of news/talk radio’s most dynamic and promising rising stars.  His mid-morning program is heard on KTRH, Houston as well as seven other respected talkers around the country.  Today (3/4) in an exclusive TALKERS piece he makes a number of powerful points about the marketing and delivery of advertising within the news/talk radio medium making the point that although host endorsements are an important technique to get the sponsor’s message across, the real trick is to do it in a way that also gets them results while proving to be a tune-in, and not a tune-out factor.  Berry (who will be speaking at Talkers New York 2013 on June 6) advises when it comes to writing and delivering commercial spots: 1) lose the copy points; 2) less is more; 3) trust the value of the endorsement (and don’t overload with justification); 4) be conversational throughout, building to the call to action; and 5) resist gimmicks and games.  To read this important article or pass it along to someone in your station or company who will benefit by it, click here.

morsechuckTalk Radio Pro Chuck Morse Joins IRN/USA Radio Network.  Boston-based talk personality Chuck Morse begins a daily, two-hour talk show (airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET) via the IRN/USA Radio Network.  Morse says of his new enterprise, “I am honored to work at the network founded by economist Larry Bates and award-winning talk pioneer, the late Marlon Maddoux.  I look forward to working with talk host Chuck Bates who carries on the tradition of excellence at IRN/USA.  With a national audience, I hope to follow in the footsteps of my mentor, the late Jerry Williams, who developed an intense bond with his callers and audience.”

baldwinstephenBaldwin/McCullough Radio Show Co-Host and Actor Tops Fundraiser Effort on Celebrity Apprentice All Stars Show.  Stephen Baldwin, actor and co-host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show “Baldwin/McCullough” (co-hosted by talk radio personality and XtreMedia CEO Kevin McCullough), and his team raised more than $600,000 for the American Red Cross during last night’s season premiere of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice All Stars.”  That sum set a new record for the most ever raised in a season kick-off episode.  Baldwin is competing for the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Foundation named in honor of his mother.

millerchrisWelcome to the Concept of Core-Casting.  It is a simple and elegant idea that puts one of the most effective radio broadcasting uses of social media into perspective and focus.  Noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller writes today (3/4) about how social media provides radio programmers and talent with a pipeline to communicate directly with their most ardent listeners and fans.  Miller writes, “There are companies outside radio who are learning how to use social media to leverage the power of their most valuable customers.  One day, some smart radio group is going to figure out that social media is not just more broadcasting in a different medium.  Neither is it just a matter of getting likes, shares and comments.  While most mass marketing involves some form of trolling for cume, this is different.  This is like the sales department taking its 10 biggest clients on a cruise.   It’s core-casting.”  To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, click here.

bubbaBubba the Love Sponge Talks Suicidal Man ‘Off the Ledge.’  After an agitated and despondent man who had barricaded himself inside a Tampa-area business and was threatening to kill himself called the Bubba the Love Sponge program on Friday, Bubba (Todd Clem) was able to calm the man enough that he put his weapon down and was taken into custody by local police.  The man, identified as Corey, locked himself inside The Car Store, a business owned by Bubba’s friends Todd and Shellie Herndon.  The man is a family friend of the Herndons.  Bubba says, “I’m just glad The Herndons are safe, no deputies were harmed and this gentleman can get the help he needs.”

teinowitzharryHarry Teinowitz Exits ‘ESPN 1000’ Chicago.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports ESPN O&O WMVP “ESPN 1000” is going with a two-man PM drive show featuring Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic as the station has cut ties with Harry Teinowitz after 12 years.  Feder reports a memo to the staff read, in part, “At 6:00 pm this evening Harry Teinowitz signed off air for the last time at ESPN Chicago.  Throughout the many years that Harry has been with us, he has served in many different roles and has helped to establish the ESPN brand in Chicago.  Harry’s contributions will be felt for years to come in every department at ESPN Chicago.  We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”  Afternoon drive on sports talk radio is, by many industry executives, considered to be more important than AM drive.  Feder reports the most recent PPM data show crosstown rival WSCR leads the market in the Men 25-54 demo with a 7.2 share compared to WMVP’s 3.4 share.

raytomRadio Broadcasters Still Learning About IP Codecs.  Last week’s TALKERS article by technical editor Tom Ray about the proper use and application of IP codecs raised several questions from readers indicating there is still a lot to be learned about this emerging technology that promises to be the next step beyond ISDN in remote audio delivery.  Today (3/4), the industry’s leading technical wizard addresses some of those issues — namely 1) the most important thing to have in place to use IP codecs effectively; 2) how to integrate service between brands of the device made by different manufacturers and get them to “talk” to each other; and 3) how to go about purchasing and testing an IP codec.  To read Tom Ray’s informative article or pass it along to the person at your station or company who manages technical issues and equipment, click here.

scheinadamOdds & Sods.  Sports talk personality Adam Schein joins SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio.  Beginning March 11, Schein will host “Schein on Sports” live from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm ET on the Mad Dog Radio Channel.  He had “The SiriusXM Blitz” alongside 2002 NFL MVP Rich Gannon on the NFL channel…..TVNewser reports former “Good Morning America” senior executive producer Jim Murphy will serve as executive producer for CNN’s new morning show that will be co-hosted by Chris Cuomo.  It had been rumored that Erin Burnett would be moved to mornings alongside Cuomo but reports indicate that many not be the case…..In other TV news, the New York Daily News reports Matt Lauer is on the hot seat since “Today” has fallen behind “Good Morning America” and the local “Good Day New York” on Fox5 in New York City.  The story indicated morale on the set is low and conflicting reports about whether a new executive producer will join the show are adding to the problems.  Several sources are indicating Matt Lauer may not be long for the program.