Tag: "Joe Pags Pagliarulo"

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

| May 1, 2013

siriusxmSiriusXM Reports Positive Q1 with Revenue Up 12%; Company Involved in Digital Dashboard Technology Rollout.  That 12% percent increase over the same period a year ago is on revenue of $897 million.  New permanent CEO Jim Meyer had every reason to be bubbly during his first investor conference call as official chief executive officer of the satcaster.  He reports the company grew its subscriber base to a new record high on new subscriptions of 453,000 during the quarter.  From a financial perspective he stated, “We are proud to have achieved the highest suggested EBITDA margin in the history of the company in the first quarter.  We expect to achieve a 30% adjusted EBITDA margin this year, up from 27% last year and we continue to target 40% plus margins over time.  You will see us move over the next few years to become one of the highest margin businesses among major media companies in the United States. meyerjim Our ability to convert the bulk of that EBITDA in the free cash flow is also unmatched in the subscription media world.”  He said the company is riding the “tailwind in the new car market as it recovers.”  Meyer told investors the company is committed to having the best content, spoke about new channel additions as well as new talent joining the company and mentioned talk host Michael Smerconish.  Addressing the specific question about GM’s plans for its future “digital dashboard,” Meyer said he couldn’t talk about any one manufacturer’s plans but was able to state, “I believe GM is on a leadership strategy in terms of where I believe the auto industry will go in general.  And that is, I believe, over a mid and long period of time — you can define how many years that is — you will see automakers move to what I will call embedded connectivity that will be LTE-based that will give them lots of options for what they want to do for their customers and their vehicles.  I think it’s very important that Sirius XM participates in that rollout of technology as it occurs over the next three to seven years and that’s exactly what we’re all about when we referred to our connected-car strategy.  This is something that…I want to reiterate again today, that we’re moving and reprioritizing a lot of our technical resources and frankly now our commercial programming resources towards making that goal happen as we go out over time.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript.  You can read the whole shebang here.

wheelertomTom Wheeler Gets Nod from Obama for FCC Chief.  On the political side of things, many Democrats wanted to see President Obama select a woman for the post being vacated by Julius Genachowski, but the president nominated a man with a telecommunications background who was very helpful in getting him elected.  Politico reports that managing director of Core Capital Partners, Tom Wheeler, (along with his wife) worked Iowa for six weeks straight during the president’s first campaign.  Although Wheeler will get some grief from those who are suspicious of his past tenure as a lobbyist with both the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the CTIA (Cellular Telephone Industry Association), he has experience in the industry having founded numerous cable and communications services businesses.  National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith states, “NAB welcomes the nomination of Tom Wheeler as chairman of the FCC. He has the experience and temperament to serve the agency with distinction, and we look forward to working with him.”

nms2013logoTalkers New York 2013 Approaching Sellout Today.  At the present rate of registration bookings, all available seats to the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 will be sold out by the end of business today (5:00 pm ET).  The 16th annual installment of the talk industry’s longest-running and most important annual convention has broken the record for reaching advance registration earlier than ever before.  TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are amazed and gratified that this conference has reached a sellout almost five weeks in advance of its actual date, which is a testimony to the vibrancy of the talk format and the enthusiasm of the industry that produces it.”  The one-day, power-packed event takes place on Thursday, June 6 in New York City between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm.  It features a speaker roster of more than 50 industry leaders from programming, sales, talent, management, technology and ownership. Registration ($199 for all events and food services) is open exclusively to members of the working media and can only be booked by phone with credit card.  Call 413-565-5413.  For complete registration and sponsorship information including an up-to-the-minute agenda, click here.

walton&johnsonWalton & Johnson Take Over Mornings on KPRC, Houston.  Just four months after the Walton & Johnson [John Walton (left) and Steve Johnson (right)] morning show was dropped from Clear Channel’s classic rock KKRW, Houston “97.3 The Arrow,” the program is brought back to the Houston airwaves as the new morning program on the company’s news/talk KPRC.  The duo was replaced on “The Arrow” by longtime St. Louis radio personality J.C. Corcoran.  Clear Channel Houston director of AM programming Bryan Erickson says, “We are thrilled to have Walton & Johnson back on KPRC.  They have a proven track record of great ratings and we look forward to them continuing that success on KPRC.”  Walton & Johnson made KPRC their flagship beginning in 2007 but moved to “The Arrow” in 2009.  Off KPRC as a result of the move is Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo who is based at Clear Channel’s WOAI, San Antonio and is heard there and on other Clear Channel news/talk stations.

armstronggettyArmstrong & Getty to Join KFMB, San Diego in June.  Morning show duo Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty will be heard in the San Diego market beginning June 3 as their program bumps current morning host Mike Slater to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot.  Armstrong & Getty are based at Clear Channel’s KSTE, Sacramento and heard in other markets in Northern California including San Francisco on KKSF.  This is a big move for the duo as they are added to a non-Clear Channel station – Midwest TV’s KFMB.  Program director Dave Sniff states, “Like any great radio morning show, Armstrong and Getty have that unique ability to not only connect with the listener but to become their companions.  They fit in amazingly well among the great storytellers that are part of 760 KFMB’s character and lineage.  They’re not so much a ‘talk show’ as a ‘mock show.’”

wokv logoCox Media’s WOKV, Jacksonville Adds 104.5 FM Signal.  Market news/talk powerhouse WOKV got a little more powerful as Cox Media Group gives the 104.5 FM signal long-occupied by now-defunct rock station WFYV to the station to boost its coverage of the region.  WOKV program director Mike Dorwart says, “Our listeners told us loud and clear that we needed more power.  Moving to 104.5 FM means that, for the first time, our listeners can hear us crystal clear, everywhere in northeast Florida, both day and night.  The most noticeable improvement will be heard by listeners in Baker, Clay, St. Johns, and Nassau counties.  They now have full coverage from WOKV, 24/7, on 104.5 FM.  Duval residents will also hear a big difference, especially those who listen at work.  Our new signal also gives reliable coverage to listeners in Flagler, Putnam, Bradford, Union and Columbia counties in Florida, as well as Camden and Charlton counties in Georgia.”  The station has been simulcast on the 106.5 FM frequency but that class A FM is much smaller.  WOKV will continue to be heard on 106.5 as the company directs listeners to the new 104.5 frequency.

sabowalterFive Critical Steps for Radio to Achieve Success with Online Video.  Noted media consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo outlines five crucial pointers that radio broadcasters should keep in mind when utilizing video in their digital initiatives.  In a column posted today (5/1) he suggests: 1) bad equipment is usually the best; 2) online video is NOT television (TV);  3) 80% of all videos are watched within 72 hours of posting; 4) most of the biggest stars of the internet (“webstars”) are self-cast; and 5) late evening is the best time to post.  To read the entirety of this timely and informative article, click here.

wnox logoThe End of an Era for Knoxville News/Talk; Country to Take Over 100.3 Frequency.  With Journal Broadcast Group’s acquisition of Oak Ridge FM’s news/talk WNOX, Knoxville about to close, the company is preparing to move the country format currently heard on its WCYQ to the much stronger 100.3 signal currently occupied by news/talk on WNOX.  A country simulcast will begin tomorrow on the two FMs (5/2) and the news/talk programming now on WNOX will move to Blount Broadcasting’s WKVL, a daytime AM at 850.

americaweekendlogoKTRS, St. Louis Newest Affiliate for Envision’s ‘America Weekend.’  The weekend news/talk radio program being nationally syndicated by Envision Radio Networks announces CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis is the latest station to add the programming to its weekend offerings.  Envision calls “America Weekend” “the winning antidote to bad brokered programming and tiresome ‘Best-of’ shows.  Hosted by Paul Harris, Rick Roberts, and Turi Ryder, ‘America Weekend’ is designed to increase ratings while providing an innovative system for maintaining or even increasing revenue from brokered programs.  The flexible ‘America Weekend’ system provides the perfect platform to break away for sports and other special programming as needed. Since ‘America Weekend’ is broadcast live via satellite, it is able to stay current by addressing breaking and developing stories of national interest as they happen.  The program airs live each Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.”

midwestcomm logoFargo Stations Sales Close: Fargo-Moorhead Radio Cluster to Midwest Communications; Triad Broadcasting Group to Larry Wilson’s L&L.  The sales of both of these Fargo market station groups were announced last year and were approved by the FCC months ago.  Now the transactions close with Wausau, Wisconsin-based Midwest Communications taking ownership of the former Fargo-Moorhead Radio cluster that includes: news/talk KFGO, sports KVOX, CHR WDAY “Y-94,” country KBVB “Bob FM,” talk KRWK “101.9 Talk FM,” and adult hits KMJO “Popster FM.”  Midwest Communications vice president of programming Jeff McCarthy tells the Forum of Fargo Moorhead he doesn’t anticipate any immediate programming changes.  Larry Wilson, whose Alpha Broadcasting operates stations in Portland, Oregon, also is a principal in L&L Broadcasting and his company is closing on Triad Broadcasting’s stations that include: oldies KQWB “True Oldies,” classic rock KPFX “The Fox,” hot AC KLTA, country KVOX “Froggy 99.9,” full service KBMW, and rock KQWB “Q98.”  Triad vice president and market manager Michael Brooks also tells the paper he does not anticipate any immediate changes.

weei logoWEEI Names John Ryder to Red Sox Broadcast Team; Grande and Merloni to Handle Fill-In Role.  In announcing John Ryder’s ascension to a permanent role on Red Sox broadcasts as host of pre- and post-game coverage, the company says, “Ryder has been with WEEI since 1998 and is a regular contributor to the ‘Planet Mikey’ show, in addition to hosting ‘Red Sox Review’ and ‘Celtics Rewind’ after Sox and Celtics games.”  The company is also announcing that Sean Grande and Lou Merloni will join the broadcasts filling in for Dave O’Brien, who will miss Monday night games during the season due to his responsibilities for ESPN.  Grande has been the voice of the Boston Celtics since 2001, after having served as the TV voice of the Minnesota Timberwolves for three years.  Merloni is currently co-host of the “Mut and Merloni” show on WEEI 93.7 FM.  Merloni also enjoyed a nine-year professional career in Major League Baseball, the first five with the Red Sox.  Entercom Boston vice president of programming Jason Wolfe says, “John has done a stellar job in every role we’ve had for him and has absolutely earned this promotion.  He’s hosted the pre- and post-game shows for the Sox many times before and was a natural choice for us to fill this important job.  Sean’s play-by-play experience speaks for itself. He’s one of the greats in the industry right now, and Lou’s expertise is second to none.  There’s no baseball man in Boston who knows the Sox better than Lou.”

hayworthjdOdds & Sods.  Result Radio’s Christian contemporary KJJK, Fargo will flip to sports talk on Monday, May 6 using programming from Fox Sports Radio Network including Dan Patrick, Jay Mohr and the “Loose Cannons” with Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman.  The station will continue to serve as a Minnesota Twins affiliate…..Personality J.D. Hayworth – co-host of the “Hacksaw & Hayworth” show on sports talk XEPRS, San Diego – does some news/talk fill-in work this week when he sits in for Cumulus Media Networks host Michael Savage tonight through Friday from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.  He’ll also sit in for the company’s Mike Huckabee tomorrow from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET…..Bouyed by coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and the Texas fertilizer warehouse explosion, cable news/talk channel CNN has improved in the ratings compared to the same period a year ago.  Based on April Nielsen numbers as reported in Deadline.com, CNN saw its total day viewers number rise 79% compared to April 2012.  CNN was also up in prime time, achieving an 81% increase in total viewers over the same period a year ago.  The network was able to climb over MSNBC into second place behind Fox News Channel in both ratings categories.

Benghazi Cover-up Investigation, ObamaCare Effects, Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath, Slow Job Growth Reports, and Immigration Legislation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30).  New inquiries into the Benghazi attack; the effects of the Affordable Care Act; the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing and the search for possible co-conspirators; newly released reports indicating slow job growth in the United States; and debate over immigration legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Hey Joe, Where Are You Going with That Mic In Your Hand?

| February 22, 2013

Picking the right topics when working in multiple markets

By Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo
Radio Talk Show Host

 (EDITOR’S NOTE:  Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo – a member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred – is the host of mornings on KPRC, Houston; late afternoons on WOAI, San Antonio; weekends locally on KOA, Denver and weekends nationally on The Weekend show.  He is also a major “go to” fill-in host for such hosts as Glenn Beck, Todd Schnitt and many others.)

pagsjoeHOUSTON/SAN ANTONIO/DENVER/EVERYWHERE –Good morning, Houston.”  “Good afternoon, San Antonio.”  “Happy Saturday, Denver.”  “Good Weekend, America.”  These are all things I’m lucky enough to say either every day or every week.  It’s a supreme compliment to have the support of the stations in these markets and from Clear Channel and Premiere and quite a challenge.  Each show has its own feel, flow and audience make up and reaction.  So, over the last 11 years, I’ve learned what works everywhere and what is market specific.

Read More

Friday, February 22, 2013

| February 22, 2013

pagliarulojoeHow Do You Know It’s a Good Topic and That It Will Work Where You’re Broadcasting?  That’s a great question with an increasing number of radio talk show hosts working “locally” by remote on more than one station or simply being syndicated across a region or the entire nation. So, TALKERS magazine went to a broadcaster who is eminently qualified to answer the question – Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, a member of the TALKERS Heavy hundred — who hosts mornings on KPRC, Houston; late afternoons on WOAI, San Antonio; weekends locally on KOA, Denver and weekends nationally on “The Weekend” show.  He is also a major “go to” fill-in host for such hosts as Glenn Beck, Todd Schnitt and many others. Pags writes, “Many years ago, I thought it was easy to gauge.  Whatever gets the phone ringing, right?  Not so much.  I take a lot of phone calls.  I’d say more than you might hear on other shows.  But, I insist they be of substance and advance the conversation or be really funny and entertaining.  Making the phones ring, it turns out, is easy.  ‘Abortion, for or against?  Here’s the number.’  That’s sure to melt the lines down and guaranteed to be a horrible show.  Those blinking lights are addictive and the interaction intoxicating, but I once heard a stat that showed 2% of all listeners will ever call into a radio show.  How do you make sure you’re engaging the other 98% as well?”  Read Pags’ entire article here.

grumdahldaraWCCO, Minneapolis Adds Weekend Food Show.  The CBS Radio news/talk station announces Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl brings her food writing talents to the WCCO lineup, hosting a one-hour show called “Off The Menu” beginning March 2.  Grumdahl, is a senior editor at Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine, she’s been the top voice in Twin Cities food since her work as City Pages restaurant critic (1997 to 2008,) launched her to national prominence with a string of James Beard Awards, the highest award of the food world.  WCCO program director Bob Shomper says, “WCCO has a long and rich history of food and nutrition, from the recipe shows and farm reports of the past to the latest dining trends and nutritional information of today.  Dara is the Twin Cities’ premier expert on food.  She will bring WCCO’s tradition of nutritional information to new heights, on all platforms, on-air, online and on mobile devices.  We are thrilled to have her on the WCCO team.”

baileyralphTalk Host Ralph Bailey Exits KNZR, Bakersfield.  Afternoon drive talk host Ralph Bailey resigns suddenly from his position with the Buckley Broadcasting station and although he gives no hint of where he may surface, The Bakersfield Californian speculates he may be headed for American General Media’s crosstown KERN.  Bailey wrote on his Facebook page, in part, “It was with a heavy heart that I tendered my resignation to Buckley Radio today.  However, future opportunities and challenges make it virtually impossible not to seek out new adventures.  I would like to thank Steve Darnell, Kathy Baker and, posthumously, Rick Buckley.  To my colleagues, I hope I was a team player who made the station and the client top priority and someone who grasped the concept of pulling on one side of the rope.  To my sponsors, I hope I played a small role in your success and thank you for your support!”

picarddannyBoston Sports Talk Host Gets Terrestrial Outlet.  Boston native Danny Picard – whose “I’m Just Sayin’” sports talk show appeared on recent editions of TALKERS magazine’s Frontier Fifty feature spotlighting internet-only talk radio hosts – gets his daily program added to the schedule at Blackstrap Broadcasting’s WUFC, Boston “NBC Sports Radio.”  The show is a simulcast of his 9:00 am to 10:00 am internet program but Picard tells TALKERS it is “essentially the same show I do now, only I’ll no longer be broadcasting from my South Boston living room apartment. I’ll be broadcasting from the 1510 NBC Sports Radio Boston studios on Marina Bay.”  Picard says he’s excited about the development.  “I’ve been hosting this show for a while now, and it’s a thrill to finally be heard on an AM signal in Boston every weekday.  I’m extremely passionate about what I do, and I look forward to expressing my passion to an expanding audience.”  Picard began doing his program from his University of Massachusetts-Amherst apartment in 2006.  He’s been covering all the major pro sports teams at Comcast SportsNet New England for the CSNNE.com site since it launched in 2009.  Picard continues his role with Comcast SportsNet.  Photo by Jennifer Bodnar.

whitmanshapiroThe Tom Joyner Syndrome – without the Expensive Planes!  Pictured here are two coast-to-coast broadcasting adventures.  First, at left are KRLA, Los Angeles “Morning Answer” co-hosts Brian Whitman (left) and Ben Shapiro (right) from their studios at Salem Los Angeles (Heidi Harris also co-hosts the morning show on KRLA).  On Thursday, February 21 the two pulled double duty by filling in on Salem’s New York news/talker WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” for Curtis Sliwa’s mcculloughhomestudioand Jeffrey Lichtman’s PM drive show as both were on vacation.  At the same time, New York City-based Kevin McCullough (at right), whose nationally syndicated broadcast airs mornings on his longtime flagship AM 570 WMCA in New York, has been pulling double duty in Los Angeles on Salem’s Christian talk station 99.5 KKLA-FM in afternoon drive (4:00 pm to 7:00 pm PT).  Kevin McCullough began doing the afternoon show in Los Angeles after the tragic Thanksgiving week motorcycle accident that eventually claimed the life of Salem personality Frank Pastore.  McCullough is pictured here Thursday evening doing the KKLA-FM show from the studios of New York-based XtreMEDIA.

larsonlarsTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Compass Media NetworksLars Larson is added to the lineup at KQV, Pittsburgh…..Michael Patrick Shiels adds country outlet WQTX, Lansing, Michigan to his affiliate list for his statewide AM drive show.  The add marks Shiels’ return to Lansing after exiting Cumulus Media’s WJIM a year ago and sitting out a non-compete…..Fox Sports Radio Network announces KGGS, Garden City, Kansas adds the network’s entire daily lineup as the station re-brands as “Big Dog Sports 1340”…..Dial Global and NBC’s NBC Sports Radio sign an agreement for Alpha Broadcasting’s KXTG-AM, Portland to carry their content…..Gow Broadcasting-operated Yahoo! Sports Radio adds affiliate KMZQ, Las Vegas for its sports talk programming…..“Right Turn Radio” – a program about addiction and mental health hosted by Woody Geissman and Abby Dean – now airs on WRKO, Boston Sundays at 7:00 pm.  The show is a production of Right Turn, a local non-profit that provides innovative outpatient treatment and supporting housing for addicts…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds new affiliate KRDO-AM/FM, Colorado Springs.

Sequestration and Deficit Reduction Top Talk Radio Topics for Week of February 18-22.  The battle in Washington over the looming sequestration and the related calls for deficit reduction were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Coming in at #2 was immigration reform.  At #3 was soaring gasoline prices followed by the costs of ObamaCare at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio each week based on ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

| August 7, 2012

New Sports Radio Network Entrant NBC Announces First Round of Talent Hires.  The venture between NBC Sports and Dial Global that debuts September 4 – NBC Sports Radio Network – is beginning with an evening sports talk show hosted by Erik Kuselias (airing 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET).  The morning drive sports updates from the network will be delivered by Jon Stashower.  Kuselias has been working with NBC on its cable sports network.  He’s worked for the Golf Channel as well as ESPN.  Stashower has also worked at ESPN.  Expect some more talent announcements prior to the network’s post-Labor Day debut.

Dead Air: A Dynamic Reminder for Talk Show Hosts.  Vocal dynamics is not a discipline that is really taught to broadcasters anymore.  With more and more talk talent coming to the medium from outside the traditional communications schools, talent who use the dynamics of their voices effectively are becoming rare.  WFAN, New York talk host Richard Neer offers some suggestions about employing these techniques and the reasons why they are still valid for today’s broadcasters.  Read Richard’s piece here.

Salem Communications Posts Q2 Revenue Increase of 3.9%; Broadcast Up 2.1%.  That’s the good news for Salem.  On the downside, operating income for the entire company dropped 61.1% and the company realized a net loss of $1.8 million or $0.07 net loss per share.  Though the broadcast division revenue was up 2.1%, station operating income decreased 3.1%.  Internet is still the big winner for Salem with Q2 revenue up 16.6% and operating income up 42.8%.

Federated Media Joins iHeartRadio.  Indiana-based Federated Media adds its 17 radio stations to the iHeartRadio digital platform owned and operated by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  Federated Media’s markets include Fort Wayne, South Bend and Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana.  Stations now heard on the platform include heritage news/talk WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne.  Federated Media chief strategy officer James Derby says, “We’re very excited to partner with iHeartRadio.  We want to offer our customers and clients both terrestrial and digital listening experiences.  It’s important that we partner with those that are open to shared content and opportunities.  iHeartRadio is very popular in our local markets and we’re happy to now be a part of it.”

TuneIn Announces New Funding; Increase in Monthly Active Listener Stats.  Digital audio service TuneIn reports it has just acquired new sources of funding led by General Catalyst Partners with participation from Jafco Ventures, Google Ventures and existing business partner Sequoia Capital totaling $16 million.  TuneIn will use the new funding to scale the company’s technical and business operations worldwide.  At the same time, the company reports its monthly active listeners figure has increased to 40 million.  TuneIn CEO John Donham says, “Our mission is to deliver the best listening experience possible, and it is so meaningful to us that 40 million people have chosen to listen to the world – every month – through TuneIn.  This investment will help us fulfill our mission while increasing our headcount and growing our product development and marketing initiatives.”  TuneIn says its service is available anywhere there is an internet signal and offers 70,000 stations and two million on-demand programs.

AdLarge Media Becomes Sales Rep for Gow-Operated Yahoo! Sports Radio.  Houston-based Gow Broadcasting operates Yahoo! Sports Radio and the company announces it enters into an agreement with AdLarge Media for the latter to sell national advertising for Yahoo!’s radio, streamed audio and mobile platforms.  AdLarge Media CEO Gary Schonfeld states, “Yahoo! Sports Radio has a highly respected lineup of sports journalists and commentators, including Tim Brando, Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Steve Czaban, and more.  Yahoosports.com is the number one sports website on the internet.  With that as our base, Yahoo! Sports Radio delivers insights and reports from sports experts that fans relish, creating an engaging environment for advertisers to reach an extremely passionate audience.”

Odds & Sods.  Texas-based Clear Channel talk host (KTRH and WOAI) Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo fills in for Premiere Networks star Glenn Beck on his radio show today and Friday…..ESPN Radio now offers an app for smartphones using the Windows Phone platform and is available in the Windows Marketplace.  ESPN reports its app is now available on all three major smartphone operating systems…..SiriusXM is broadcasting coverage of the 2012 PGA Championship beginning this Thursday from the Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina.

Presidential Race, Wisconsin Sikh Shooting, London Olympics, and Mars Landing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/6).  The campaign for president in the 2012 elections; the fatal shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin; the 2012 London Olympics; and the landing of the rover on Mars were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, December 19, 2011

| December 19, 2011

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 NetworksJim 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.