Tag: "Joe Thomas"

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

| June 4, 2013

stillwellfrostyFrosty Stillwell Returns to Talk at CC’s KKSF, San Francisco for Middays.  Hot AC KIOI, San Francisco “Star 101.3” morning show co-host Frosty Stillwell will continue his work alongside Sandy Stec on the Sandy & Frosty program until a replacement is named but today (6/4) he begins immediately hosting the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show on the company’s talk KKSF “Talk 910.”  Stillwell was part of the Frosty, Heidi & Frank trio that spent years at hot talk KLSX, Los Angeles.  He also had worked at Clear Channel’s KYSR, Los Angeles and filled in at talk KFI.  Frosty says, “I am thrilled to get back to what I’ve done for the past two decades, talk radio.  ‘Talk 910’ dominates the format in San Francisco.  While I loved being part of the music and personality show on ‘Star 101.3,’ there was just no way I could pass up this enticing opportunity right down the hall to get back to my true passion.”

boylespeterPeter Boyles Officially Out at KHOW, Denver.  Less than two weeks after being removed from the air on Clear Channel Denver’s talk KHOW, station management officially cuts the ties between the longtime Denver personality and the station.  Peter Boyles was taken off the air on May 24 after an altercation between Boyles and his producer Greg Hollenback that reportedly escalated into a physical attack on Boyles’ part.  The incident made the news immediately as local media was in the building to cover a press conference with politician Tom Tancredo.  KHOW program director Dan Mandis wrote an email to the Denver Post notifying the paper Boyles is no longer with the company.  Guest hosts have been sitting in on the morning show since that time and no permanent replacement has been announced.

foxnewsradioProgramming VP Mike Elder Exits Fox News Radio.  One of the most respected programming executives in talk radio, Mike Elder, has left Fox News Radio after serving the past eight years as the company’s VP of programming.  Elder, a veteran PD of such great stations as WRKO, Boston; WLS, Chicago; WCCO, Minneapolis; eldermikeKTOK, Oklahoma City and KMBZ/KCMO, Kansas City tells TALKERS, “It was an amicable parting of the ways.  My contract was up, cuts were being made to the staff, and we both agreed to move on.  And this was the longest tenure of a more-than-40-year career, so I was living on borrowed time anyway.”  Elder continues, “This has been one of the best jobs I’ve had, or that radio still had. [Fox VPs] Kevin Magee and Bob Finnerty were very supportive of our efforts and our channel on SiriusXM as well as the internet and affiliates.  They allowed me to put together a great staff and I appreciate their support over the past eight years.”  What next for the 40-year veteran of talk and music radio?  He tells TALKERS he will probably move back to his home in Boston and believes he has at least one more job in him.  He will take the time to explore his options as a programmer and talent coach. “I still feel I have another gig left in me, so I am not shutting the door on radio.  I would welcome the chance to work with great talent and production staffs again.  But I’m open to something new as well.  There is a whole new world on the internet that will require content, and not the same ol’, same ol’.  I’d love to work on something new, exciting, challenging and dynamic that would allow me to put my over 40 years of experience and skills to use in a new and different way.”  Mike Elder can be reached at Mikeelder@me.com or 646-256-5653.

thomasjoeJoe Thomas Puts ‘The Afternoon Constitutional’ on Hiatus.  WCHV, Charlottesville, Virginia program director and morning drive host Joe Thomas announces that “after two-and-a-half years of independent conservative analysis of the news and events for Virginia’s great cities of Richmond, Roanoke and Charlottesville,” he’s taking the regionally syndicated afternoon show off the air.  Although Thomas says of “The Afternoon Constitutional,” “It’s more like a ‘dry docking’ of a great ship that has taken you to amazing places but now needs to be refitted with some new things for her future voyages.  Stay tuned!”  Thomas continues his roles as morning host and program director at WCHV.  He can be reached at joe@theafternoonconstitutional.com

ktnf logoProgressive Talker KTNF, Minneapolis Sold to Chad Larson.  Sales manager Chad Larson believes in progressive talk and he’s agreeing to pay current owner JR Broadcasting (Janet Roberts) $1.5 million for the AM signal.  JR Broadcasting paid $3 million for the station in 2004 from CBS Radio.  Currently, the station airs local morning host Matt McNeil’s “The Morning Grind” plus WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann, Ed Schultz and Compass Media Network’s Norman Goldman.

moranjessicaOdds & Sods.  The Boston Globe reports that rumors are flying in town that Entercom’s sports talk WEEI is contemplating a change to its midday show by moving Mike Mutnansky out and replacing him with Comcast SportsNet New England’s Jessica Moran.  Mutnansky co-hosts the “Mut & Merloni” show with former Red Sox player Lou Merloni…..At ESPN Radio, the NBA Finals are the hot topic as Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Love and former NBA head coach Doug Collins join “Mike & Mike” as co-hosts.  Love will join Mike Golic and Ryan Ruocco, who will sub for Mike Greenberg, on Thursday, June 6 – the morning of Game 1 of the Finals.  Doug Collins, who most recently coached the Philadelphia 76ers, will join Golic and Greenberg the morning after Game 3, Wednesday, June 12.  Both guests will be part of an NBA-centric programming block from 6:00 am to 10:00 am.

beasleyhonoraryGeorge Beasley Receives Honorary Doctorate.  Beasley Broadcast Group chairman and chief executive officer George G. Beasley is pictured here at Appalachian State University’s recent May commencement receiving Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa from the school’s chancellor Dr. Kenneth E. Peacock.  A native of Patrick County, Virginia, Beasley has deep ties to Appalachian State University (ASU) in Boone, NC receiving both his undergraduate (’58) and graduate degrees (’60) from ASU.  Most recently, he contributed the lead gift making a new broadcasting and media facility on campus possible – the George G. Beasley Media Complex, which is scheduled to open later this year.  Beasley vice president of corporate communications Denyse Mesnik tells us that education was a first love of George Beasley’s.  “Prior to broadcasting, George was a teacher and ultimately a high school principal.  In fact, while building his first radio station he was a principal until the school bell rang, then a radio station owner late afternoons, evenings and weekends.”

Michael Douglas Oral Sex Flap, Senator Lautenburg Dies, IRS Scandal, DOJ Journalists Investigation, Obama Administration Secret Email Accounts and Syria Chemical Weapons Charges Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/3).  Michael Douglas’ public statement that oral sex caused his throat cancer; the death of Democratic New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg; the ongoing scandal involving the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups; the Department of Justice’s investigation of journalists; the controversy over some Obama Administration appointees using secret email accounts; and the chemical weapons use charges against the Syrian military were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

| July 10, 2012

Istook Enters Syndication Arena.  Former 14-year Oklahoma City congressman Ernest Istook will host a daily 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET news/talk show – “Istook Live!” beginning July 16 that, according to its producers, will “drill deep into the hottest issues facing Americans.”  A production of the media division of The Heritage Foundation’s sister organization Heritage Action for America, the show will emanate from Heritage’s Robert H. Bruce radio studios at the think tank’s Capitol Hill headquarters.  Istook, well-regarded in talk radio circles as a sought-after guest and fill-in host, has been a Distinguished Fellow at the conservative think tank since 2007 and has represented and explained many of its positions on the issues on stations all across the country.  Sources at Heritage tell TALKERS that in addition to “getting the real deal about the issues from the most relevant Washington players, Istook will also field calls from listeners across the country.”  Istook tells TALKERS, “Amid the punditry and spin of the 24-hour news cycle, we intend to clarify the real threats to freedom and the American Dream, and talk about how American taxpayers can counter those threats.”  Heritage Action for America CEO Michael A. Needham states, “Heritage Action worked tirelessly to promote individual liberty and the free enterprise system.  Talk radio long has been a part of that effort.  Now, ‘Istook Live!’ will further discussion of the biggest issues facing our country and provide Americans with a better understanding of the battle of ideas that shapes the news.  We’ll give them virtual access to the halls of Congress and inner-workings of Washington.”  The launch, production, syndication and sales of “Istook Live!” will involve the coming together of a variety of formidable forces that TALKERS founder Michael Harrison described as “what appears to be talk radio’s version of the dream team.”  Ron Hartenbaum of WYD Media Management and Liz Laud of WYM Media Management will lead syndication and affiliate sales, Gary Shonfeld’s AdLarge Media will handle advertising sales and Gabe Hobbs of Gabe Hobbs Media will consult the project. The show initially will be broadcast via www.istook.com as affiliate stations are built out.

SiriusXM Enjoys Good Q2.  The second quarter of 2012 has been good to SiriusXM.  The satcaster reports adding 622,042 net subscribers during the period and more than 1 million in the first two quarters of this year.  CEO Mel Karmazin says he expects revenue to approach $3.4 billion in 2012.  “SiriusXM continues to demonstrate robust growth and strong operating execution despite a challenging economy.  Our second quarter subscriber gains mark a record quarter of net additions since the merger of SIRIUS and XM in July 2008.  While we continue to be conservative in the face of a weak U.S. economic outlook, customers continue to embrace our unparalleled programming lineup, allowing us to raise subscriber guidance for the second time this year.”

“Loveline” Gains Major Market Clear in Boston.  The late night sex and relationships show “Loveline,” featuring Dr. Drew Pinsky, Mike Catherwood and Simone Bienne, is added to the evening schedule at Entercom’s rock WAAF-FM, Boston.  The Courtside Entertainment-produced program show tackles listeners’ questions about love, relationships and sexuality with the help of its expert hosts and advice from a regular line up of popular guests. “Loveline” airs on WAAF-FM weeknights from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

CNN Enters Digital Audio News Realm with CNN Radio Soundwaves Destination.  The digital arm of news giant CNN unveils CNN Radio Soundwaves – “the network’s online destination for news content formatted in an original listening experience.”  CNN says this new audio beat will enhance the way users consume news by offering content in four forms: audio, text, photo and video.  CNN Radio president Tyler Moody says, “Soundwaves is a new frontier for CNN Radio.  Some stories are enhanced by an audio format, and we want to deliver a product that gives people that option.  Also, being able to socialize Soundwaves gives us the opportunity to engage in two-way communication with our audience – not just broadcast to fans.”  Powered by SoundCloud, users are able to embed sound clips across social networks.

Rusty Humphries Launches New Cigar Line.  Talk Radio Network and WGST, Atlanta PM drive talk host Rusty Humphries adds a new product to his line of official Rusty items – the Rusty Humphries El Presidente cigar line and its first product, The George Washington.  Humphries says the cigar line, only available in select cigar shops across the country and online via his website, has been met with immediate demand from cigar connoisseurs across the country.  U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (r), pictured here with Humphries (l) in Atlanta, is a big fan.  Humphries has marketed numerous products bearing his name in the past, including beef jerky, Bar-B-Q sauce, salsa and more.  He says the cigar venture just makes sense.  “One of the reasons I decided to make a cigar line was because after visiting several cigar lounges around the country, I realized that patrons of cigar shops were very loyal not only to their favorite cigar but to talk radio as well.  Why not combine the two together?”

Fox Sports Radio Network Talent Broadcast from London 2012 Olympic Games.  Fox Sports Radio talent will be front and center when the 2012 Olympic Games begin on July 27.  First, Dan Patrick, host of the DirecTV/FSRN sports talk show, and Pat O’Brien, co-host of the “Loose Cannons” show on FSRN, will serve as NBC anchors for the games.  “Fox Sports Tonight” co-host (and six-time Olympic gold medalist) Amy Van Dyken will join co-host Rob Dibble with daily updates and interviews from the London games.  Also, tennis star Andy Roddick – who co-hosts the “Roddick & Bones” weekend show on FSRN – will be competing in the games on the U.S. tennis team.

WCHV, Charlottesville-Based Joe Thomas to Broadcast from Freedom Fest 2012.  Virginia talk show host Joe Thomas – based at WCHV, Charlottesville and regionally syndicated – will take his show on the road to Las Vegas where he will broadcast both his WCHV morning drive show and his regionally syndicated PM drive show from “Freedom Fest 2012” at Bally’s Hotel.  Thomas states, “I’m looking forward to reinforcing my show’s theme of free markets, opportunity and liberty from this great annual event.”

CRN Digital Talk Host Larry Manetti Airs Ernest Borgnine Tribute Today.  Actor and nationally syndicated talk show host Larry Manetti will pay tribute to his good friend Ernest Borgnine – who passed away over the weekend at age 95 – on his CRN Digital Talk program today.  Manetti says, “We were close friends who shared a lot over the years so I’m happy to join with our other good friends and listeners in a tribute to Ernie’s life and work.”   Manetti and Borgnine worked together on the upcoming film, “The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vincente Fernandez,” which turned out to be Borgnine’s final film.  The film was directed by Elia Petredis, who will appear on today’s program along with actors Robert Wagner and Dennis Farina.  Manetti’s program airs live at 4:00 pm PT.

Talk Star Mark Levin to Emcee WABC and WPLJ-FM Promotion.  The promotion in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey is the 2nd Annual Bark in the Park being held Saturday, July 14 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm and is designed to allow dog owners and their pets to enjoy a day in the park.  Dog lover, author and talk host Mark Levin will emcee the event that will include contests and activities for dogs, with various pet exhibitors, demonstrations and plenty of food and drink.  There will be many puppies available onsite for adoption through the North Shore Animal League America and the Bergen County Animal Shelter.  Mark Levin will be joined by Mark Simone of 77 WABC and Bill Evans, senior meteorologist for Channel 7 Eyewitness News and will also be broadcast on WPLJ-FM.

Obama Proposes Middle-Class Tax Cut Extension, Weak Jobs Creation Numbers, Affordable Care Law, and 2012 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/9).  President Obama’s proposal to eliminate the Bush tax cuts for Americans making more than $250,000 per year; the weak job creation numbers and their effect on the financial markets; the Affordable Care law and how it will impact employers and families; and the 2012 presidential race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, April 6, 2012

| April 6, 2012

“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 NetworksMike 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 NetworksJim 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.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

| January 3, 2012

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 NetworksJim 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.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

| October 13, 2011

WOR Looking to Launch New Evening Show in 2012.  Pardon the mixed fruit metaphor, but plum talk show jobs like this don’t come up that often in the Big Apple as WOR tips TALKERS to its plans to fill 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm with a new show at the beginning of the year.  According to program director Scott Lakefield, the legendary station is completely open to all ideas as it looks to bring in someone or something new to fill that cool two-hour slice of its evening schedule.  Lakefield tells TALKERS that the timing of the move is being designed to coincide with forthcoming changes at the end of the year in the business relationship between Dial Global and Philadelphia-based talker Michael Smerconish whose syndicated program is currently in that slot. Lakefield points out that in keeping with the station’s present direction of focusing on locally-originated talent with a broad-based political/social agenda, the station would most-likely hire a non-syndicated talent such as it offers in morning drive with John Gambling and the recent addition of former New York Governor David Paterson in afternoons.  “We are very encouraged by the response we are getting with these shows and feel that the station is filling a real programming void in New York news/talk radio programming.” Meantime, in light of this development, TALKERS checked with Dial Global to ascertain the status of the syndicated Michael Smerconish program learning that the changes ahead will simply pertain to the production and ownership of the successful show and not to its continuation as a syndicated offering in the new year.  According to Dial Global vice president Amy Bolton, “It’s moving from a Dial Global-owned product to being a repped product owned by an outside producer. We hope to announce the details shortly.  But it is all good.  In essence, nothing changes as we would still handle ad sales, affiliate sales and distribution.”  Michael Smerconish is a perennial member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred and generally recognized as not only being the leading news/talk talent in Philadelphia but one of the hottest rising stars on the national talk media scene.

Clear Channel to Restructure Management in Medium and Small Markets.  Scuttlebutt in the industry that Clear Channel’s regional managers meetings in Atlanta would reveal some sort of management reorganization plan appears to be true and, though concrete details are still few, it appears the company will be employing more regional market managers to oversee its medium and small markets.  Sources close to the story indicate that each regional market manager will oversee anywhere between 10 and 15 markets in order to give each manager less to focus on than the current system which has fewer regional vice presidents responsible for many stations.  The new setup reportedly also includes a programmer to assist each regional market manager.  What this means for local talent and local programmers remains to be seen however, it would not be unusual to see some sort of programming consolidation where management feels it can contain costs without harming the on-air product.

WTKK-FM, Boston Expands Morning Simulcast with Regional Cable News Channel.  Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston shaves an hour off the Jim Braude and Margery Eagan-hosted morning drive show and adds another hour of its audio simulcast of New England Cable Network’s “NECN Morning News” program to the schedule.  The Braude and Eagan show now begins at 7:00 am.  WTKK-FM has been airing NECN’s “First Thing in the Morning” starting at 4:30 am followed by the “NECN Morning News” show from 5:00 am to 6:00 am.  Program director Grace Blazer says they added the additional hour due to positive listener response.  “Commuting New Englanders now have found a whole new way to start the day. 96.9 FM’s expanding commitment to local and breaking news, traffic, and weather followed by Jim and Margery’s perspective, live audience interaction, and real time attention to topical issues creates a listening experience not available anywhere else.  This seamless integration of content created by NECN and 96.9 FM represents the next generation of news and information delivered over multiple platforms for the benefit of listeners in a ‘right now’ world.  Greater Media Boston is proud to be a part of this innovation that will benefit its advertisers, listeners and the communities we serve.”

Monticello Media Helps Bring Concert to Region for Earthquake Benefit.  WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia PD and morning drive host Joe Thomas tells TALKERS his station and sister country outlet WCYK-FM spearheaded a drive that culminated with the town of Louisa, Virginia winning a nationwide competition for a free Alan Jackson concert to benefit families whose homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in the August 28 earthquake.  Thomas says, “It was an overwhelming response.  Since FEMA turned Governor McDonnell down, I’m glad Louisa and all of Central Virginia was able to do something to help our own.”

GOP Debate/Cain’s 999 Plan, Iran Assassination Plot Allegations, ‘Occupy’ Protests, and Obama’s Jobs Bill Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/12).  The GOP candidates debate and Herman Cain’s ‘999 plan,’ the allegations of an Iran-sponsored assassination plot, the ‘Occupy’ protests and the status of President Obama’s jobs creation legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Dave Ramsey’s Book Tour/Live Events Continue to Draw.  Nationally syndicated talk host Dave Ramsey’s continuing bus tour of the country to promote his latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011), drew 750 fans to this book signing in Katy, Texas on October 7 with metro affiliate KSEV, Houston a partner in the event.  The next day, Ramsey attracted about 8,000 listeners to his “Total Money Makeover Live” program at Houston’s Reliant Arena in Houston.