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By Kevin Casey
SPRINGFIELD, MA – TalkersRadio, the “experimental” talk radio station launched last fall by TALKERS magazine to provide the industry with a “work out space” and “showcase for new talk programming concepts” has, according to its general manager David Bernstein, “hit the ground running” in 2014 with the announcement of several new hosts and shows scheduled to join its programming roster this month.
Mike Huckabee and Cumulus Media Networks Call it Quits on Daily Talk Show. Governor Mike Huckabee’s daily commentaries will continue after the New Year but the daily, three-hour talk show will not. Writing on Facebook, Huckabee says, “I have loved doing the Mike Huckabee show, and its success of going from launch to over 200 stations in less than two years is significant, but the contract was at a decision point for both Cumulus Media and me, and we mutually agreed to conclude.” Huckabee’s program debuted in April of 2012 with the conservative politician and media personality (who is still seen on weekends on Fox News Channel) promising to host a “different” kind of talk show that offers “more conversation, less confrontation.” There’s no way to know how successful CMN was in selling the show or how much money Huckabee made but it stands to reason the show was not making enough to justify continuing the effort on the part of either party.
Media Exec Paul Bell Named Business Director for Rush Limbaugh Print and Digital. Premiere Networks announces the appointment of Paul Bell to the position of business director of Rush Limbaugh print and digital subscriptions. Bell most recently worked with Dow Jones/The Wall Street Journal and will remain based in New York where he’ll report to CCM+E president of content and affiliate services for national media groups Julie Talbott. Bell’s focus will be on all aspects of Limbaugh’s subscription businesses including oversight of strategic planning, direct marketing, circulation management, and subscriber acquisition and retention for Rush 24/7; The Limbaugh Letter; as well as The Limbaugh eLetter, the recently-launched digital version of the publication now available via desktop and on mobile devices. While with Dow Jones/The Wall Street Journal, Bell was charged with overseeing strategy and business operations of The Wall Street Journal Sunday, the WSJ Wine Club and the WSJ and MarketWatch Radio Networks, as well as audio podcasting content licensing. Prior to that, Bell served as vice president, radio and executive director of The Wall Street Journal Radio Network for seven years. Julie Talbott states, “We couldn’t be happier to welcome someone of Paul’s caliber to our team. His extensive background in direct marketing and business operations are a winning combination as we continue to grow Rush Limbaugh’s loyal print subscriber base and digital platforms.”
Jeff Katz to Host PM Drive on WRVA, Richmond. Program director Jimmy Barrett tells TALKERS magazine that talk radio pro Jeff Katz is assuming the afternoon drive show from Clear Channel talk host Leland Conway who’s been doing that program and the midday show on the company’s WHAS, Louisville since the early fall. With Conway now focused on Louisville, Katz can dedicate his attention to Richmond. Barrett states, “We’re excited to have someone with Jeff’s experience anchoring our afternoon drive. Jeff is funny, informative and a great match for the Richmond audience. Best of all, he’s coming here because this is where he wants to raise his family.” Katz has been part of the start-up at the Boston Herald’s online venture Boston Herald Radio hosting the morning show. Katz has been a columnist for the Herald and produces commentary features that air on a number of affiliate stations. He worked for Clear Channel in Boston on WXKS-AM prior to that station’s flip to sports talk. He starts at WRVA on Monday, December 2.
“Green Connections with Joan Michelson” to Debut on TalkersRadio this Saturday. An exciting new weekly program geared to the environmental movement in modern industry and culture is set for launch this weekend on TalkersRadio – the online experimental talk radio station at Talkers.com. The program will originate with brand new, one-hour installments on Saturdays at 3:00 pm ET that will be repeated at various times throughout the week. The program’s tag lines are “live green, work green, earn green” and “making cleantech cool.” Its host and producer, Joan Michelson, is a highly respected and accomplished Washington, DC-based journalist who specializes in energy and sustainability. She serves as the green expert on WTOP, Washington and has a blog on the Huffington Post, in addition to a number of major media platforms. Describing the new show, Michelson tells TALKERS, “We inform, engage, and connect people with the cool things and opportunities in energy and sustainability. Our stories range from politics and business, to jobs, gadgets, tips and the arts. I am very excited about bringing this groundbreaking show to such an innovative radio platform as TalkersRadio.” In announcing the launch, TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein says, “This entertaining and informative program is a radio show whose time has come. There is a huge information-hungry audience for this and potential advertisers are sprouting up all over the nation creating an exciting new arena of economic growth making it incredibly fertile for talk radio. Joan Michelson brings a personal likability as well as tremendous knowledge to the discussion. We are proud to be giving birth to and nurturing what promises to be a major broadcasting entity. This SO fits the mission of TalkersRadio.”
WestwoodOne Bumps Dennis Miller to Noon ET Start. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dennis Miller’s WestwoodOne program will move to a new time beginning in January. The company announces the show’s live air time will shift from the current 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET slot to 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET effective January 6. WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine says, “WestwoodOne is happy to have the Dennis Miller show as part of our best-in-class lineup and programming. Miller attracts a very large and opinionated audience who are actively engaged across audio platforms, including digital. His show is a prime example of the critical role audio plays in cross-platform integration – a key element in the future of audio.” Miller, who resides in California, currently hits the air live at 7:00 am PT. He adds, “Thanks for letting me sleep in and continue to do the job that I love!”
Salem Communications Adds AM Signal to Miami Properties. With the purchase of WOCN-AM, Miami from Deportes Media of Florida, Salem Communications will have another AM signal in the market to complement business talk WZAB, Christian talk WHIM and Spanish Christian formatted WKAT. The price is $1.2 million for the station and its assets and another $1 million for the property on which the station and its transmitter sit. WOCN-AM is a class C AM at 1450 currently operating at 1,000 watts in a non-directional pattern.
Total Traffic + Weather Network Partners with TomTom. The two companies believe the multi-year partnership will augment both their businesses. Clear Channel’s Total Traffic + Weather Network says the arrangement will combine “TomTom’s industry leading real-time and predictive traffic flow data with Total Traffic + Weather Network’s traffic incident, construction and congestion data to create the most comprehensive traffic solution available in North America. The combined data offering will be available across multiple platforms including radio, television, automotive, online and mobile.” CCM+E EVP engineering & systems integration Jeff Littlejohn states, “We are thrilled about this partnership. Every day, more than 200 million drivers and thousands of our affiliates depend on TTWN for their traffic information. We value that trust and are dedicated to delivering the most precise traffic data available. Therefore, we strive for best-in-class, strategic partners to advance our offerings. TomTom is a committed and innovative leader in traffic products. We are excited about creating new solutions together to provide the fastest, most accurate traffic information to drivers every day.”
Odds & Sods. Jack Callaghan leaves the sales end of the business to return to the mic at Clear Channel’s WTAM, Cleveland where he’s the new news director. Callaghan was most recently eastern regional sales manager at Santa Clara, California-based Beat the Traffic…..Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM and 99.7 FM in Providence produces its second annual “Top Turkeys” countdown that celebrates the notable and notorious from Southern New England. This year’s winners included Rhode Island native and “Jersey Shore” star Pauly D confirming he’s a baby daddy; former Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey announcing a run for governor only to pull out three days later; and calamari – often a punch line for jokes in Rhode Island – failed to be voted the Official State Appetizer after the State Senate declined to vote on it altogether. WPRO-AM PD Craig Schwalb says, “Thanksgiving offers WPRO the perfect opportunity to poke fun at some of the most interesting and most absurd news stories that occurred in the great state of Rhode Island this year.” Check out the web feature here.…..ESPN Deportes Radio reaches what it terms a “sub-license agreement” with Fox to broadcast the UEFA Champions League. The coverage kicked off with two live double headers: Zenit vs. Atlético and Ajax vs. Barcelona yesterday and CSKA Moskva vs. Bayern and Real Madrid vs. Galatasaray today (11/27).
It’s Like Déjà Vu All Over Again. It is an extremely unlikely narrative – but it actually is happening. When Clear Channel took over ownership of heritage radio station WOR, New York from Buckley Radio about a year ago, they moved it from its location in an iconic building on Trinity Place next to the historic Trinity Cemetery about a block from Wall Street to their already-established headquarters in a different part of lower-Manhattan. And as we all know, they also made staff changes in both programming and management. These changes included the departure of longtime WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley and his executive assistant Noelia Santelli. Being, as TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes “one of the most savvy, connected and well-liked broadcasting executives in the Big Apple,” it didn’t take long for another radio company to recruit Crowley (as well as Santelli) for their own New York operation. That company was Salem Communications for whom Crowley brought his talents as VP/GM of talkers WMCA (570) and WNYM (The Answer). At that time, these stations were located close-by at Salem’s operation across the river in New Jersey. Now for the good part — on December 9, Salem is taking advantage of the marvelous radio broadcasting space vacated by Clear Channel on Trinity Place and moving the operations of both stations into the same suite of offices and studios previously occupied by WOR. That means that Crowley and Santelli (who is now Salem New York’s national sales manager and executive assistant to the general manager) will be moving back to their original offices and even the same desks and furniture! Amazing!
Thanksgiving Holiday, ObamaCare Criticism, Iran Nukes Deal, Immigration Legislation, CBS Gives Lara Logan LOA, and Alec Baldwin Loses MSNBC Gig Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/26). The holiday weekend and the weather-affected travel situation; scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the negotiations for an Iranian nuclear program deal; President Obama’s proposed immigration legislation; the leave of absence given to CBS reporter Lara Logan in connection with the “60 Minutes” Benghazi report; and Alec Baldwin’s MSNBC show gets cancelled after reports of his “homophobic” language and on-set behavioral issues were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.