Tag: "John Dickey"

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

| September 16, 2014

iheartmedia logoClear Channel Becomes iHeartMedia.  This is a major name change for a heritage radio company, but, as the press release indicates, it reflects the company’s belief that it’s become a “one-of-a-kind multi-platform media company” that has moved beyond just radio.  Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “iHeartMedia reflects our commitment to being the media company that provides the most entertainment to the most engaged audiences wherever they go, with more content and more events in more places on more devices.  We have massive consumer reach and influence across our platforms because we know how to program the live content people want to hear, see and share right now, we are the largest mobile media company in existence — more than 60 percent of our broadcast usage is out of home, compared to just 30 percent for other mobilepittmanbob devices — and we deliver more live programming than any other media company today, built on the national and local on-air personalities who are the heart of our powerful broadcast radio franchises.  Combined with Clear Channel Outdoor’s reach of over half a billion people worldwide across 30 countries and five continents, it’s clear that no other company can match our reach or broad spectrum of media platforms.”  Clear Channel Outdoor will retain its name.  Pittman adds, “In a world where 2x ROI is judged as successful, Nielsen has shown that radio delivers 6x ROI on average.  It’s because we combine the power and predictably of mass reach with the immediacy and relevance of live programming and the unique and powerful engagement that consumers have with their favorite radio stations and personalities.  The opportunity for the new iHeartMedia is to use all of these industry-leading assets together in new ways — extending our massive reach and cultural influence across radio, outdoor, digital, social and live events to make it easier for advertisers to deliver the most relevant, real-time messages across all our platforms at scale, amplified by social media and mobile, to get a superior ROI to other media.”

harrisonherald2Michael Harrison:  “The Systematic Abandonment of ‘Radio’ by ‘Radio’ is a Disturbing Trend.”   TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison warns of what he terms “a disturbing half-baked trend, that although understandable in the big picture of communications, poses an unnecessarily sped-up threat to the livelihoods of everyone in the radio business – not to mention the fundamental role of audio-media in both the spoken-word and musical arts.”  Harrison acknowledges, “The move away from the word ‘radio’ in the lexicon of our industry is certainly understandable from a sales and marketing standpoint and  it makes total sense to create unified multi-media platforms for today’s mega-consolidated, corporate behemoths to compete effectively in the ‘noisy’ world of the emerging digital era.  However, those who work in the media arts that are fundamentally built upon aural foundations – spoken-word shows and music creation – will face increasingly limited opportunities to present their wares to an interested consumer base as venues and business opportunities evaporate at an exponential rate.”  Harrison observes, “As we move more and more into a world of screens and not speakers, the only talent that will have a chance to survive in a bottom-line driven, corporate environment will be those whose assets are visually gifted.  That does not bode well for the brilliant wordsmiths and musical geniuses who most likely do not have faces for television.  It also does not hold much of a future for the deeper aspect of communication that is aurally based – a means of expression that runs deep within our very humanity, holding a unique and special place within our brains.”  Harrison concludes, “Those of us who are still proud of and value the role of ‘radio,’ audio-oriented music, and the theater of the mind, must give considerable consideration as to what the role, if any, audio-only media will have in this new age.  It can and must be respected and preserved within this inevitable, emerging grid or we face the likely prospect of devolving overnight from making great radio and music to extremely cheesy television.”

wjbc logoTim Lewis Named PD, Afternoon Host at WJBC, Bloomington, Illinois.   Thirty-year radio pro Tim Lewis is the new program director and afternoon personality at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJBC, Bloomington “The Voice of Central Illinois.”  Lewis was most recently with KBLY, Idaho Falls hosting AM drive and serving as program director.  He’s also worked at such heritage signals as KSL, Salt Lake City; KOA, Denver; and WLW, Cincinnati and has received numerous industry awards.  During the 1990s, he hosted a nationally syndicated sports talk show on the One on One Sports Radio Network, eventually clearing more than 250 stations.  Cumulus EVP, programming and content John Dickey states, “Tim Lewis’ long and diverse experience in spoken-word radio make him the perfect choice to lead the remarkable WJBC programming team and guide the station to even greater success.”

ingrahamlauraLaura Ingraham Show Podcast Debuts.  The nationally syndicated Laura Ingraham show is now heard on demand via PodcastOne as the Norm Pattiz-founded and let podcast producer and distributor launches the new program format.  A press statement from PodcastOne notes, “Laura’s phenomenally successful radio program, which airs on over 200 stations, has been a radio staple for a long time but market conditions have now made it very difficult for an independently produced program to get distribution in many of the major markets.”  Pattiz adds, “As undeniably great as Laura’s program is, it doesn’t air on a single Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia) station.  Her ability to make and influence news is a well-known fact.  So as of this week, the Laura Ingraham show can be heard in every market in the country as well as around the globe, on-demand from PodcastOne.  Obviously, Laura’s fans are finding her and significantly expanding her radio audience.”

wodt logoOdds & Sods.  Former Spanish sports talk WODT, New Orleans has flipped to English-language sports as “Fox Sports 1280.”  The iHeartMedia-owned station had been airing ESPN Deportes  content…..The Philadelphia Phillies and CBS RADIO’s WIP and WPHT have signed a one-year deal to keep Phillies play-by-play on the company’s stations through the 2015 season.  Phillies management tells the Philadelphia Business Journal that the one-year pact will allow the sides to hopefully work on a long-term deal before the end of next summer…..espnW and ESPN Radio are collaborating on special program dealing with domestic violence in the NFL and the Ray Rice case.  It’s called “espnW Presents: The State of the NFL” airing on ESPN Radio and ESPNRadio.com at 9:00 pm ET.  The program is being hosted by Jemele Hill and Cari Champion.  espnW voices Jane McManus, Kate Fagan and Sarah Spain, who have been sharing their perspectives on issue, will be featured.

wqamschellenbergerMarc Hochman Show Voice Schnellenberger Honored.  Florida football legend and “voice” of “The Marc Hochman Show w/ Zach Krantz” on WQAM, Miami, Howard Schnellenberger, was honored on Saturday as Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton renamed its football field “Howard Schnellenberger Field.”  Schnellenberger has coached for the Miami Dolphins, Miami Hurricanes, and Florida Atlantic University among many other teams.  Fans of the Hochman show know Schnellenberger voices all its opens, rejoins, and imaging.  Pictured here are (from left to right): Hochman, Schnellenberger, and Krantz.

conclaveThe Conclave Announces Student Scholarships.  Continuing the scholarship program that’s been part of The Conclave’s mission since 1979, the 2014 Conclave Scholarships are announced.  The five scholarships available from educational institutions include: The Bill Gavin Memorial Scholarship which includes application fees, books & supplies and tuition valued at $16,200, awarded by the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Media Arts, Southfield, MI. Competition for this scholarship will begin shortly with details forthcoming; The Dennis Becker Memorial scholarship which is a half tuition scholarship valued at $17,000, awarded by the Sanford Brown College, Mendota Heights, Minneapolis; The Conclave Music Industry Scholarship which is a 25-50% tuition discount valued up to $20,000 awarded by the McNally Smith College of Music, St. Paul, Minnesota; and details regarding The Marc Birger Memorial Scholarship to Kean University and The Doug Lee Memorial Scholarship will be announced soon.  For information about the 39th Conclave visit www.http://theconclave.com.

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cbi logoJournalist Training Session Available at Seattle College Broadcasters Conference.  At next month’s CBI National Student Electronic Media Conference in Seattle (October 20-25) KUOW, KPLU, NPR and College Broadcasters Inc. are offering a unique training opportunity.  The student media project is seeking student applicants to their first event.  The week-long session is an opportunity for college and graduate students to learn from professional journalists.  A committee of journalists will select up to six students to pair one-to-one with public media journalists and college multimedia instructors from around the country. Three students will be selected from the Seattle/Tacoma area.  The Student Multimedia Project will emphasize multimedia storytelling focused on character development.  Students who are selected for the project will each find a person to focus on for their story — someone doing something interesting who is willing and available to be interviewed.  Students will produce a radio story about the person and then tell their story differently for the web.  NPR consultant and project manager Doug Mitchell says, “NPR and its member stations support the Project because it allows us to discover and groom a diverse pool of young talent.  The Project gives public media professionals a chance to see if students have what it takes to do the work and lets our industry build a pipeline of new professionals who understand our way of storytelling.”

The NFL and Domestic Violence, Hillary Clinton in Iowa/2016 Presidential Prospects, Obama Forms ISIS Coalition, Mid-Term Elections, Scotland Separation Referendum, and Ebola Pandemic Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/15).  The furor over domestic violence cases in the NFL and the league’s plans to address the situation; Hillary Clinton’s weekend visit to Iowa and the probability she’ll run for president in 2016; President Obama’s formation of a coalition to fight ISIS; the looming mid-term elections; the build-up to Scotland’s Thursday referendum to leave the United Kingdom; and the threat of an Ebola pandemic were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, September 5, 2014

| September 5, 2014

ksfoRush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck Return to KSFO, San Francisco.  This move announced by Cumulus Media comes just a few days after local personality Spencer Hughes exited the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot at KSFO.  Now, the company saysknew Rush Limbaugh will occupy that show time while Sean Hannity will air from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm followed by Glenn Beck from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  Michael Savage and Mark Levin will continue to air in the afternoons.  Now the big question is what are Clear Channel’s plans for KNEW “960 The Patriot” after the three Premiere Networks shows jump across the street?  A likely option would be to plug in Fox Sports Radio Network programming.  We can expect Clear Channel to make its intentions known relatively soon.  The start date for the changes is September 29.

cumulus logoCumulus Media Realigns Executive Structure; Jon Pinch to Retire.  Calling this move a part of the goal to “enhance the company’s strategic and operational focus and leverage its business platform,” Cumulus Media president and CEO Lew Dickey announces the company is eliminating the co-COO posts that John Dickey and Jon Pinch have shared for years, the assignment ofpinchjon John Dickey to the new EVP of content and programming position, and the retirement of Jon Pinch after a 45-year career in the business.  Lew Dickey says, “Our vision has been to build the radio company of the future and dickeyjohnthat is exactly what we are achieving.  Towards that end, we have strategically broadened the company’s scope and now have in place differentiated distribution channels and multiple content development platforms.  To accelerate our plans, we are putting in place a new organizational structure to reflect the company’s strategic evolution, bringing clarity, focus and accountability to key leadership roles in both our station and network groups.”  A number of changes will take place in addition to Pinch’s retirement.  Cumulus has retained the services of the search firm Spencer Stuart to seek an executive vice president of radio.  That person will be “focused on providing day-to-day operational and strategic leadership of Cumulus’ radio station group consisting of its 460 stations in 90 U.S.shawsteve markets.”  Steve Shaw has been promoted from his SVP Cumulus national sales post to president of Westwood One.  As for John Dickey, his new position will entail focusing on developing and maximizing content and programming.  The company says, “Establishing this focused position recognizes the critical importance of Cumulus’ development and promotion of content and programming across the company’s station group, Westwood One network and other media platforms including Nash and Rdio.”

buttweilerSandy Buttweiler Leaves KFGO, Fargo and Radio for Job Outside the Industry.  As reported in Prairie Business Magazine, longtime Fargo radio personality Sandy Buttweiler has resigned from her talk show position to take a job outside the radio biz.  Buttweiler co-hosted the Jack & Sandy show with longtime partner Jack Sunday at Midwest Communications-owned KFGO, Fargo.  As the paper notes, Buttweiler joined KFGO in 1982 and has worked there during three different stints as well as at other stations in the market, including crosstown WDAY.  She told listeners there were no problems at the station and that she “was presented with an opportunity about six weeks ago.  After careful and thoughtful consideration, it just seemed like the right time to take on this new opportunity.”

newsthatmakesyouthink‘The News That Makes You Think’ Hits 100 Affiliate Mark.  The newest feature from XtreMedia and hosted by Kevin McCullough passes the 100 affiliate mark after just 90 days in production.  McCullough’s program – “The News That Makes You Think” – is airing in markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Phoenix, Tampa, Portland, Nashville, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Las Vegas.  McCullough tells TALKERS magazine that, when launched in June, his company believed there would be a market for this type of feature and he describes it, saying, “The content is designed to offer a substantive look at national, political, and human interest stories.  But every newscast provides information important to families and people of faith.  And at the end of the day it’s about telling great stories!”  McCullough says that across the Monday-Friday XtreMedia platform, 413 unique stations are airing the company’s programming.

cochransteveWGN, Chicago Re-Ups Steve Cochran.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN, Chicago morning drive personality Steve Cochran signs a four-year contract extension to continue with the Tribune Broadcasting outlet.  As Feder points out, over the past year Cochran has performed well for WGN.  In the most recent Nielsen Audio PPM survey, Cochran was #2 in the market (Persons 6+) with a 5.4 share.  Cochran tells Feder, “Thanks to my amazing staff of Andrea Darlas, Dave Eanet, Orion Samuelson, Mary Vandevelde, Kevin Powell and my son, Ross, 5:00 am is actually fun.  Working for Jimmy de Castro, Todd Manley and Larry Wert is as good as it gets — and I feel like we are just getting started.”  Read Feder’s column here.

nielsen logoRound Three of August PPM Data Released.  The third of four rounds of August 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus.  The survey period was July 17 through August 13.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.

rafffranklinEthnic WCGO, Chicago Begins Shift Toward Issues Talk Format.  The Evanston, Illinois signal has been an ethnic time-brokered station since 1978 but consultant Tim Disa says that with a newly approved power increase to 10,000 watts (daytime), the station is revamping the programming, starting with thepinkusgeoff 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm daypart.   Franklin Raff – a 39-year-old former producer for the G. Gordon Liddy show – is now hosting the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm show, followed by Radio America’s Dana Loesch from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, and former crosstown WIND personality Geoff Pinkus hosting the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program.  Additionally, the station is carrying Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory in the overnight daypart.  Disa says the goal of the station is to create “new, more inclusive content – a bit more libertarian and we will be reaching out to a younger generation using humor and common sense.”

Odds & Sods.  At the Salem Radio Network operations in Washington, DC, Jeff Matzka is named chief engineer.  The operation includes the Washington, DC bureau of the SRN News and the studios of the Bill Bennett “Morning in America” show…..The new flagship station for the NBA’s Washington Wizards is CBS RADIO’s all-news WNEW-FM, Washington (licensed to Bowie, Maryland).  The station reports that D.C. area play-by-play broadcaster Dave Johnson will return for his 17th season calling Wizards games, and is joined for the 7th year by analyst Glenn Consor…..Clear Channel’s news/talk WHJJ, Providence and classic hits WWBB “B101” will be the new flagship stations for University of Rhode Island football and men’s basketball this season.  WHJJ will also air the 16 Dan Hurley shows featuring the Rams’ head basketball coach.

savageyachtNYCCelebrating Success.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Savage is pictured here aboard his family yacht in the New York harbor addressing representatives from syndicator Westwood One, Cumulus-owned WABC Radio, and several high-profile clients and partners.  Using the occasion of the success of his latest book, Stop the Coming Civil War (Center Street 2014), Savage used the tale of his grandfather’s immigration from Russia almost 100 years ago to express why America needs to reward hard work and not take from those who are productive.  This event on NYC’s Chelsea Pier also caught the eye of the New York Post’s Page Six.

gallaghercowardlylionMike Gallagher Plays the Cowardly Lion.  Regular TALKERS readers know one of Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher’s interests is the theatre – Gallagher won a 2013 Tony Award as an investor in the Broadway revival of “Pippin.”  In addition to the numerous roles he’s played on the stage over the years, Gallagher (pictured here in full make-up for dress rehearsal) is currently playing the Cowardly Lion in the South Carolina Children’s Theatre production of The Wizard of Oz.

US ISIS Strategy and Journalist Beheadings Top Stories on News/Talk Radio for Week of September 1-5.  The controversy over the United States’ military policy regarding the ISIS campaign in Iraq and the recent beheadings of two American journalists tied atop the Talkers TenTM for the week of September 1-5.  At #2 this week was the Al Qaeda jihad threat tied with the missing Libyan airliners.  Coming in at #3 was the mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential race followed by the Justice Department’s probe of the Ferguson, Missouri police department at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, July 21, 2014

| July 21, 2014

2014 NYC logo 150Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted.  Up Today:  David Bernstein Moderates “The State of Local Talk Radio” Panel.  Today (7/21) marks the fifth business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014.  The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms.  The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with the event’s powerful “The State of Local Talk Radio” panel moderated by TALKERS general manager/broadcast operations David Bernstein.  The panel – introduced by rising talk star Ethan Bearman of KSFO, San Francisco — features an array of leading local radio figures including Michael “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY (Rock 102), Springfield, MA; Jerry Crowley, VP/GM Salem Communications-New York; Lee Harris, morning anchor, 1010WINS, New York; McGraw Milhaven, morning host, KTRS, St. Louis; and Larry Young, morning host, WOLB, Baltimore. The panel, described by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey as “excellent and inspiring,” covers an array of topics including the most effective use of social media by local radio, the power of community news and human interest stories, how to cover large, diverse metropolitan areas and their suburbs, the emerging powerful relationship between local radio and newspapers, the revenue benefits of local broadcasting and the true meaning of “local” as opposed to superficial lip-service, among others.  The theme of the session is summed up by Larry Young, the 18-year morning host of African American community talk station WOLB, Baltimore, who states, “The most important aspect in local radio is making sure that the constituency you serve feels that you are doing your job to keep them informed.  Information is power and the more information you give them, the more apt they are to listen to you.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Anyone who is championing the cause of local radio should not only view this amazing video, but show it to anyone willing to watch who has influence over the course radio is taking during these delicate, transitional times.”   To view “The State of Local Talk Radio” please click here.  Coming tomorrow: “The Talkers Awards Ceremony – Part 1 – Presentation of the Humanitarian of the Year Award” emceed by Westwood One legend Jim Bohannon and featuring the presentation of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Broadcaster by Talk Media, Inc. CEO Carole Marks to WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale personality Joyce Kaufman.  The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.

taylorblakeKMJ-AM/FM Promotes Blake Taylor to PD.  After the recent departure of Skip Essick from the program director post at Cumulus Media’s news/talk combo KMJ-FM and KMJ-AM in Fresno, APD/news director/morning news anchor Blake Taylor is promoted to the position.  Taylor joined the stations in 2007 after spending five years serving as program director at KERN, Bakersfield.  Cumulus EVP and COO John Dickey comments, “Blake Taylor’s news experience, digital savvy and competitive energy make him the perfect PD to bring a new generation of listeners to the legendary KMJ-AM and FM.  We’re pleased that Blake continues to grow with Cumulus Media.”  Taylor adds, “I’ve served as news director at KMJ for almost seven years now, and we’ve experienced some amazing growth during that time.  But there are many more opportunities ahead as we continue to grow our audience while maintaining our position as the go-to breaking news station in California’s Central Valley.  I look forward to taking on the challenge!”

wzgc logoTalent Moves at CBS RADIO’s ’92.9 The Game’ in Atlanta.  After a year in morning drive at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WZGC, Atlanta “92.9 The Game,” Jason Bailey (a.k.a. Buckethead) exits the station and Marc James moves from afternoon drive to the wake-up show alongside Randy Cross.  Moving in to co-host afternoons with Carl Dukes is former crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone” personality Mike Bell.  Meanwhile, Bailey tells TALKERS he’s available for his next challenge.  He’s repped by Paul Anderson, who can be reached at paul@workhousemedia.com.  You can check out his website at: www.jasonbailey.com

klsd logoClear Channel Re-Brands Sports Talker KLSD, San Diego. Sports talk outlet KLSD, San Diego gets a makeover as the station is now “XTRA 1360 Fox Sports San Diego.”  This marks a change from the station’s previous affiliation with NBC Sports Radio.  As part of the changes, the station will become the local radio partner of the NFL’s San Diego Chargers airing play-by-play and broadcasting the “Chargers Power Hour Show” weekdays from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Steve Hartman returns to San Diego to host the “Loose Cannons” PM drive show with Mike Costa.  For morning drive, Fox Sports Network’s Dave Palet and Jeff Dotseth team up.  In between, the station is airing FSRN’s Jay Mohr followed by Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick.  Evenings will include “XTRA at Night” from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm and “Fox Sports Tonight with Jason Smith” from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm.  The changes take place today (7/21).

kabclogoKABC, Los Angeles to Carry NHL’s Kings.  The Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings will have a new radio home next season as Cumulus Media agrees to have news/talk KABC, Los Angeles serve as the team’s radio flagship for the next five years.  The Los Angeles Times reports that the news will be made official today.  The move from Clear Channel’s KEIB to KABC may fuel speculation that KABC could flip to sports in order to allow Cumulus to air the CBS Sports Radio Network on the signal.  CBS Radio and Cumulus are partners in the syndication of the CBS Sports Radio Network.  But it may be just that – speculation.  For years rumors about a flip to sports by underperforming AM outlets have bounced around LA.  Crosstown KFWB has long been part of that chatter although there’s probably little reason to believe the market needs another AM sports talker with three (KSPN, KLAC, KLAA) all hovering near a 1.0 share (Persons 6+, June 2014 PPM) or less.

conwaysimonOdds & Sods. Hard-working WHO, Des Moines-based talk personality Simon Conway (PM driver there) is doing double duty this week and next as he’s filling in on the morning show at Clear Channel’s WFLF, Orlando “NewsRadio 102.5” today through Wednesday and then again next Monday – all in addition to his WHO duties…..Recently retired Chicago Bears long snapper Patrick Mannelly joins CBS RADIO’s sports talker WSCR, Chicago for football-related broadcasts, including co-host of the Sunday Bears pre-game show and making appearances during the week on WSCR programs…..Broadway Media is exercising an option to buy sports talk KOVO, Provo, Utah from Simmons Media.  The station is chock-full of regional programming with David James and Patrick Kinahan in mornings, Jake Scott and Tony Parks from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, Hans Olsen and Scott Garrard from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, and Spence Checketts and Gordon Monson in afternoon drive.  These shows are simulcast from Simmon’s KZNS-AM, Salt Lake City and KZNS-FM, Coalville.  KOVO is an NBC Sports Radio affiliate.

abckaterskyMoscowCovering the Downing of Flight 17.  Pictured here in Maidan Square in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev is ABC News Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky who continues to report from Ukraine following the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17.

Monday, May 12, 2014

| May 12, 2014

wyay logo newIt’s Official: Cumulus Shifts WYAY, Atlanta to News/Talk.  As you can see, the official brand still employs the word “news,” but the all-news format is gone as Cumulus Media’s WYAY, Atlanta becomes “Newsradio 106.7.”  The change comes with the debut of the Michael Graham show in the 8:30 to 12:00 noon slot today (5/12).  The other shows that are part of the station’s talk lineup include Cumulus Media’s John Batchelor show which airs from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am and “Red Eye Radio” in thegrahammichael overnight slot.  Both morning drive and afternoon drive will remain news programs.  The station is the home of Atlanta Braves baseball and partners with WAGA-TV “Fox Five” and The Atlanta Business Chronicle.  Cumulus EVP and co-COO John Dickey says, “‘Newsradio 106.7’ is Atlanta’s best resource for in-depth news and compelling, entertaining talk about the things that matter most in our lives.  Our five-star news team, in partnership with ‘Fox Five,’ tells listeners what’s happening locally, nationally and around the world.  Our fresh talk personalities, including Michael Graham and Kim Peterson, help the audience understand, respond and sometimes even laugh about those events.”

kkzn logoProgressive Talk to Disappear from KKZN, Denver.  The story from Clear Channel’s Denver station group is that the progressive talk format on KKZN is ready to be dumped, although an official announcement has yet to be made and what will take its place is not yet known.  KCNC-TV personality Gloria Neal had hosted the evening show on KKZN until last week when she was let go.  She posted on her Facebook page that the format would change and all current hosts would be gone from the station.

rutkowskikenSecond of Two-Part Special on “Business Rockstars” – Meet Quintessential “Connected” Host, Ken Rutkowski.  The second of our two-part series on “Business Rockstars” centers on the host of this daily, two-hour program who has a somewhat similar style to Charlie Rose and adroitly produces the same meaty results, although the centerpiece guests he gets to “hang out with” each day are “very cool people” who — in the business world — turn nothing into something.  “That is the angle I like,” comments “Business businessrockstars logoRockstars” host/co-founder (with Steve Lehman)/co-owner/president Ken Rutkowski.  “How many people can say that almost every one of the 1,500 people they have talked with in the last two years is ‘amazing’?  We have three or four ‘amazing’ guests on every day.”  Some have entire chapters of their life they have never shared, yet Rutkowski — named in 2009 as an intelligence analyst at the Oprah Winfrey Network — elicits nuggets from them.  “They have tips to help people,” he remarks. “By listening to the show, it is almost like getting a nice degree in business — but in a fun way.”  To read part-two of the TALKERS special feature on “Business Rockstars with Ken Rutkowski” by managing editor Mike Kinosian posted today (5/12), please click here.

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh Salutes U.S. Military with Tractor Giveaway.  With Memorial Day 2014 as the backdrop, Premiere Networks talk star Rush Limbaugh is teaming up with Mahindra USA to give away one Mahindra Max 22 tractor to an active duty or veteran of the U.S. military.  The winner will be selected in a random drawing on May 26.  Mahindra USA is an active supporter of the military and offers the “Mahindra Pride Military Appreciation Program,” recognizing the commitment of members of the armed forces.  The Military Appreciation Program offers an extra $200 rebate for active and retired U.S. military personnel with the purchase of a new Mahindra tractor and qualifying implement.  It also supports Operation Finally Home with its “Build To Rise” program, which provides custom-built, mortgage-free homes to our heroes and their families.  Limbaugh states, “I’d like to thank Mahindra, the world’s number-one-selling tractor, for their generosity.  And God bless all of you who protect our freedom.  We are pleased to join with Mahindra USA in giving away one of their spectacular tractors to a deserving active duty or veteran of our military.”

gallaghermikeCrowd-sourced Film Hits Goal on Mike Gallagher Show.  The drive to raise funds by a group of independent filmmakers to produce a film about controversial Philadelphia abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell hits its goal of $2.1 million – three days before their deadlineduring the Mike Gallagher show on Friday, May 9.  Gallagher says,I am so grateful and proud of our listeners who contributed literally tens of thousands of dollars today to help make this important movie a reality.”  Listeners to Gallagher’s program—as well as audiences of fellow Salem Radio Network hosts Bill Bennett, Hugh Hewitt and others—were asked to contribute start-up funds for the projectIf the $2.1 million had not been raised by midnight on May 12, all donations would have been returned to listeners and the film would not have been produced.

merlonilouWEEI-FM, Boston Tweaks Midday Talent.  A change in the midday lineup at Entercom’s sports talk WEEI-FM, Boston as Mike Mutnansky exits the “Mut & Lou” show and will stay with the company in another capacity to be announced later.  Joining Lou Merloni for the new midday show, dubbed “Middays with MFB,” is former NFL tight end Christian Fauria and New England native, 970 ESPN Pittsburgh sportsbenztim personality and Clear Channel Pittsburgh sports director Tim Benz.  The new lineup takes place later this month.  WEEI program director and brand manager Kevin Graham says, “We are thrilled with the new team we have assembled.  This show will be the only sports radio program in New England that offers listeners insight from a former major leaguer and a former NFL player.  When you add in fauriachristianthe sports radio experience of New England native Tim Benz, listeners will hear a brand new sound in the market.”  Fauria played four seasons with the Patriots earning Super Bowl rings at Super Bowl XXXVIII and XXXIX.  More recently Fauria has worked as a college football analyst for CBS, does color commentary for Patriots preseason games locally on WBZ-TV and hosts a pre-and-post-game show during the NFL regular season.  Benz was born in Boston and is a graduate of Syracuse University.  He served as a radio beat reporter for the Pittsburgh Steelers and also worked at stations in Columbus, Salt Lake City and Syracuse.

mohnjarlMohn Moving to NPR as President/CEO.  Current Southern California Public Radio (SCPR) chairman Jarl Mohn is appointed president and chief executive officer of NPR.  When Mohn begins his NPR term in July, he will be succeeding Paul Haaga Jr., who has been acting president/chief executive officer since last year.  NPR board chair/ideastream Cleveland chief operating officer Kit Jensen remarks, “We are delighted to welcome Jarl.  His background as a successful media executive and innovator makes him ideally suited to lead NPR as it continues to expand its reach and play a unique role in public service journalism and cultural programming. Jarl has a deep commitment to the public radio system, love of radio and passion for quality journalism.  He has demonstrated throughout his career a keen ability to identify media and consumer trends.  He has exhibited a strong track record on diversity and fairness.”  According to Mohn, “This is not a job for me – it is a mission.  I love public radio and NPR.  It is a national treasure and it is more important now than ever.  I want to make sure that the NPR staff, the member stations, and the others who make it happen have everything they need to do their best work.”  Mohn was the founding president and chief executive officer of Liberty Digital; president and chief executive officer of E! Entertainment Television (January 1990 – December 1998); executive vice president and general manager of MTV and VH1 (1986 – 1990); and was a WNBC-AM, New York on-air talent in the 1970s.

harrisheidiOdds & Sods.  Las Vegas talk show host Heidi Harris returns to the airwaves in the market hosting a daily, one-hour show on Silver State Broadcasting’s KBET, Las Vegas.  Harris tells TALKERS magazine the show begins this evening (5/12) at 6:00 pm…..At Kirkman Broadcasting’s news/talk WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina, the Bryan Crabtree show expands, adding the 7:00 am hour.  As of June 2, Crabtree’s program will air from 7:00 am to 10:00 am.  He says, “I have spent the past 15 years informing listeners how to solve our communities’ problems and find solutions to society’s challenges.  The response has been incredible andcrabtreebryan humbling.  We will continue to grow our audience in Charleston by focusing on the stories that matter to citizens of the Lowcountry of South Carolina.”…..Beginning July 1, Compass Media Networks becomes the exclusive advertising sales agent for the on-demand audio programming of CBS Radio News.  The programming includes audio podcasts of “60 MINUTES,” “FACE THE NATION,” “Weekend Roundup,” “CBS EVENING NEWS,” “What’s In The News,” “Tech Talk,” “Not Just Another Story” and “Reporters Notebook.”…..CBS RADIO news/talk outlet WCCO-AM, Minneapolis announces an extension in its partnership with the broomheadmikeUniversity of St. Thomas to broadcast Tommie football through the 2016 season.  WCCO-AM’s Dave Lee will continue to provide play-by-play for the Tommies, along with WCCO-AM’s Eric Nelson doing color commentary…..KFYI, Phoenix afternoon host Mike Broomhead partnered with U.S. Senator John McCain to hold a Town Hall meeting on May 9 at which they welcomed Arizona veterans and their families to discuss the Phoenix VA Health Care System and how it has recently affected them.  Case workers from McCain’s staff were on hand to answer questions and to help get veterans the services they need.

katzparadeBonAirKatz Serves as Grand Marshall.  WRVA, Richmond PM drive talk show host Jeff Katz is pictured here with his ride for the Bon Air Victorian Day Parade.  On Saturday, May 10, Katz served as the Grand Marshall for one of the oldest civic parades in Richmond.  Katz tells TALKERS magazine that although the official Grand Marshall’s hat was rather Victorian…the Grand Marshall’s ride, this cool 2014 Mustang convertible, was anything but.

Cool Job Opportunity.  Midwest Communications seeks news directorBelieve it or not there are still rewarding jobs in radio news. WHBL, Sheboygan, Wisconsin is looking for a news director who will be given the freedom to create and the tools to win.  You’ll spend as much time in the field as you do in the newsroom.  Wewhbl logo need someone who is a triple-threat: strong on-air skills, a good reporter, and a good writer.  We set the news standard in our market.  It’s on-air and on our website before it’s in the newspaper.  We do some enterprise reporting.  We do some investigative work.  If you have a passion for news, whether on the radio or online, we want to talk with you.  We offer a competitive salary and a full benefits package.  Send your resume and mp3 to WHBL brand manager Kelly Meyer at: kelly.meyer@mwcradio.com or snail mail to Kelly’s attention at: 2100 Washington Avenue, Sheboygan, WI 53081. No phone calls, please.  Midwest Communications is an Equal Opportunity Employer by choice.  Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

scanlandanRadio News Pro Dan Scanlan Dies.  Radio news pro Dan Scanlan died over the weekend after suffering a heart attack on Saturday morning at his northern Virginia home.  He was 74.  Scanlan’s career included stops at such storied radio news franchises as WINS, New York, AP Radio, Mutual/Westwood One (as both anchor and Senate correspondent), as well as freelance work for CBS Radio and WCBS, New York.  Most recently he was weekend anchor on NBC News Radio.  Earlier in his career he worked at WHYN-AM, Springfield, Massachusetts.

conwaysimonWHO, Des Moines’ Simon Conway Grabs Charity Drive Honors.  In a contest among a number of radio talk show hosts to see who could help raise the most cash for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society sponsored by talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs, WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway came in first after raising almost $4,500.  Wachs dubbed her talk host challenge FROST (fundraising radio host).  She says hosts wishing to considered for the next round of FROST, write to her at: doctordaliah@hotmail.com.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

| February 12, 2014

barberiejillianKABC, Los Angeles Adds Jillian Barberie to Midday Show.  The sound of the midday show at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KABC, Los Angeles changes beginning Monday February 17 as the station adds local media star Jillian Barberie to the lineup co-hosting the new “Mid-Day LA with Jillian Barberie & John Phillips.”  The show airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and is part of the station’s move to add more local content to its programming.  Barberie is well known to Southern California for her 18 years as co-host of Fox 11’s top-rated morning show, “Good Day LA.”  In a kabclogostatement, the station says that Barberie’s work at Fox 11 “engaged audiences with her real-life stories and electric energy.  The sassy, Canadian-born Barberie has made a career out of hanging with the guys.  While hosting ‘Good Day LA,’ she also spent a decade on the Fox NFL Pre-Game Show working opposite Curt Menefee, Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw.”  Cumulus EVP and COO John Dickey adds, “Jillian’s energy, experience and love for Southern California are unmatched.  We’re absolutely thrilled that she’s joining the ‘TalkRadio 790’ team in this important role.”  Barberie comments, “I am so excited to be partnered with John Phillips!  I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the KABC team, which is such a great place with incredibly talented people.  I’ve always felt that there is something unique and liberating about doing radio.”

coakleyvinceWYRD-FM, Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina Names Vince Coakley Weekend Host.  Television and radio pro Vince Coakley joins Entercom’s WYRD-FM, Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina “WORD 106.3FM” for a regular Sunday program and as a fill-in personality when station hosts Bob McLain and Russ Cassell are on vacation.  The station notes that Coakley’s program is “the Upstate’s only weekend live and local current events talk show” during that daypart, and adds, “Just because it’s the weekend doesn’t mean the news and the discussion about them stops.”  Coakley hosted afternoon drive on Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte from June 2011 to July of 2012.  He spent 20 years in television news prior to that.  He’s also hosted a daily internet radio show called “Revolution Radio.”  He says, “I am thrilled to officially join the team at WORD.  The station is fearless in giving voice to hosts and listeners who place a premium on liberty.  I have come to view the Greenville area as a second home and look forward to spending more time with the people of the Upstate on and off the air.”

envisionnetworks newTALKERS Posts Part-Three Today of Three-Part Special (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks.  What broadcasting executive and entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years in founding and establishing Cleveland-based national syndication firm Envision Radio Networks is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry.  He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows.  His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets.  Now known simply asmckayjeff Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that in today’s installment) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication.  In today’s installment, Wolkoff discusses how, as a result of new technology and social practices, radio has grown to point that it is “more than” simply radio and that operators must work diligently to preserve its history and uniqueness without sacrificing its potential and rightful place within the digital-era.  In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward.  I’ve seen this movie many times before.  Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.”  To read part three of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here.  And if you missed parts one and two published Monday and yesterday, please read them here and here, respectively.

entercomMore Details from Entercom’s Q4 Conference Call: The Drop on Boston and WEEI.  While Entercom president and CEO David Field acknowledged that 2013 revenue was not where the company would like to have seen it (down 3%), he stated numerous times during Tuesday’s conference call that he believes the company has turned the corner and is “positioned for a strong 2014.”  Saying that the company’s strongest-performing markets were San Francisco, Kansas City and Memphis, Field glowed about the ratings of some of the stations in those markets, pointing out the success stories of “The Wolf” and “The Point” in Kansas City, KOIT, KBLX and KGME in San Francisco.  He also addressed the state of the Boston market and of sports talker WEEI.  “We have some work to do there, but it’s interesting. weei logo We have a new leadership there now, which we are very excited about, and I believe we are starting to turn the corner there.  And if you look at the fundamentals of Boston, WEEI, our flagship in the market, remains one of the top-rated sports station in the United States.  It’s a top-three player in Boston among men.  We are about to enter baseball season with the world champion Boston Red Sox and what’s little noted too is our digital play there.  We have a major platform there with a team of writers who work for that, and it has become sort of a much visited site for fans.  And to put it into context, we do about 1.5 million unique visitors each month, just on the digital side there.  So we have a ton of opportunities in Boston and I would expect better things to come in the not-too-distant future there, and again, I think the future’s bright.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript.  Members can read the whole chat here.

fernandezandreFernandez Boosted to Journal COO; Graham Upped to SVP/CFO.  It’s a promotion for Journal Communications president Andre Fernandez as he is appointed chief operating officer in which he’s assuming operational oversight of the company’s broadcast and publishing segments.  His other expanded responsibilities will include corporate human resources; executive vice president of radio Steve Wexler continues reporting to Fernandez.  Elsewhere, the company names vice president/controller Jason Graham senior vice president of finance/controller/chief financial officer.  Graham will report to chairman/chief executive officer Steven Smith, who states, “Jason has done an excellent job leading our accounting, billing, accounts payable, payroll, and tax teams.  He has also contributed to our strategic planning and growth initiatives, which will continue to be an integral part of his expanded role as CFO.”  Prior to joining Journal in June 2012, Graham was Brookdale Senior Living‘s vice president/corporate controller.

kennerellenOdds & Sods.  At Sports USA, the company announces that Lyle Gordon is promoted to EVP affiliate relations.  Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Lyle is a centerpiece of our company and his incredible relationships with over 400 radio stations makes Sports USA programming available to a nationwide audience.  His experience with all forms of sports programming makes him the perfect person for this job.”…..Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Ellen Kenner celebrates her 17th anniversary on the radio as she begins broadcasting year number 18 of her Providence-based weekly talk show program…..According to ESPNNewYork.com, when the New York Mets take to the field this season, radio broadcasters Howie Rose and Josh Lewin will be back in the booth as games air on new flagship WOR.  Previously, games were heard on crosstown WFAN-FM…..In Nashville, Cromwell Group’s sports talk WPRT-FM, will continue as flagship for the AAA Nashville Sounds this season.  The Sounds are the AAA affiliate of the MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers.

floresdanielWichita Police Continue to Investigate Death of Steckline Communications Staffer.  Authorities in Wichita are investigating the death of 25-year old Daniel Flores, a staffer at Steckline Communications, who was killed sometime between Sunday evening and Monday morning at the company’s studios in West Wichita.  Right now, police have little to go on and are asking the public’s assistance in solving the crime.  At a press conference on Tuesday, police said they believe the perpetrator(s) were at the station for a reason – that it was not a random attack – but they are not sure at this point why the station or Flores was targeted.  Flores had been an employee at Steckline for about a year.

siriusxmCool Job Opportunity.  Sirius XM’s new Business Radio channel, originating from the Wharton School in Philadelphia, is looking for a business news host/producer.  The host/producer will be responsible for anchoring two hours of daily programming on business news including topics ranging from product development to marketing and management strategies.  Duties include working with an editorial team, faculty, industry experts and Sirius staff to identify daily content, create segments, and book guests as well as research business topics related to content themes.  A Bachelor’s degree and three to five years of experience in news/business reporting and anchoring or equivalent combination of education and experience required.  Applicants must be skilled in gathering, researching and reporting business stories as well as interviewing business newsmakers.  The focus is on drawing useful business insight and analyses for a lay audience on a tight deadline.  This position is based in Philadelphia. For more information please log on to: http://jobs.hr.upenn.edu:80/postings/1269Special.

kaufmanskydiveWFTL’s Joyce Kaufman Jumps with the Golden Knights.  Yes, that’s WFTL, Fort Lauderdale talk show host Joyce Kaufman riding tandem with a member of the United States Army Parachute Team “The Golden Knights” over Homestead Air Reserve Base in Homestead, Florida.  On another note, Kaufman tells TALKERS the recent Chapter 11 filing of WFTL’s parent company James Crystal Radio is not weighing on her.  She says she had faith in the company.  “We had a very anxious January, but I knew they would be honorable so I hung in.  We received all our money last week and are on schedule to be paid in a timely fashion as the company reorganizes.  I love this market.  I love this company and as long as they give me the opportunity, I am staying.”

ObamaCare Criticism, Winter Weather Headed for South and East, Obama “I Can Do Anything I Want” Quip, Sochi Winter Games, Congress Raises Debt Ceiling, Hillary in 2016, NSA Spying Scandal, and Gay Football Player Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/11).  Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the next winter storm headed for the East and South; President Obama’s “I can do anything I want” quip; the Winter Olympics taking place in Sochi, Russia; Congress’ move to allow the raising of the debt ceiling; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s possible run for president in 2016; the backlash from the NSA spying scandal; and the announcement by NFL prospect Michael Sam that he’s gay were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, November 25, 2013

| November 25, 2013

wabcCumulus Media to Remake Geraldo into an NYC-Only Show.  A little more clarity on the status of journalist and talk media personality Geraldo Rivera after last week’s quickly dispelled rumors that he would be exiting Cumulus altogether.  It turns out Geraldo will be leaving the national syndication game and his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ETriverageraldo program will be heard exclusively on WABC, New York beginning January 1, 2014.  A statement from the company says the show “will focus on the most-talked-about topics involving the nation’s largest city — everything from social issues to politics.”  Rivera will also continue his fight against unemployment by broadcasting live from upcoming “Put Americans Back to Work” job expos and events hosted by Cumulus.  Rivera comments, “For the last four decades, in war and peace I’ve been chasing the news around the world.  But there’s a universe of stories right here in my hometown.  Energized and excited by this opportunity, I’m taking our show to the four corners of the five boroughs.  I’ll be on the streets and in the face of lawbreakers and newsmakers, ready with a hot mike and a helping hand.”  Cumulus COO John Dickey adds, “We are excited that one of the most recognized and respected names in media will be sharing his perspectives on New York issues and supporting local causes that matter most to listeners in one of our top markets.”

harrisinteractiveNielsen to Acquire Harris Interactive.  The company best known for The Harris Poll – Harris Interactive Inc. – is announcing plans to be acquired by Nielsen Holdings N.V.  In a statement, it reports: “Nielsen will commence a tender offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Harris Interactive’s common stock through a wholly owned subsidiary formed for the purpose of making the offer.  Holders of outstanding shares of Harris Interactive’s common stock will receive $2.00 per share in cash, subject to adjustment as provided in the merger agreement.  The $2.00 per share cash purchase price (which excludes any adjustment which may be required under the merger agreement) represents a 2.0% premium to the volume weighted average closing price of Harris Interactive’s common stock in the 60 consecutive trading days prior to announcement of the transaction, and 8.7% below and 81.8% above the 52-week high and low, respectively.”  The final purchase price will be based on Harris Interactive’s average cash (subject to certain adjustments and calculated as specified in the merger agreement) calculated during a 10-day period before and after a reference date expected to occur approximately 20 business days after commencement of the offer.  Nielsen president, Americas, John J. Lewis says, “For our existing CPG and media clients, our combined capabilities will provide better and more integrated insights to help them drive business outcomes.  Harris Interactive’s strength with other industry verticals allows us to serve these clients with Nielsen’s differentiated solutions in areas such as marketing effectiveness, social and digital to achieve our growth objectives.”

waxylogoCastleberry Exits Sports WAXY, Miami; Marc Hochman Status Uncertain.  Program director Tod Castleberry has exited Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk WAXY, Miami “790 The Ticket” and the Miami Herald is reporting that WAXY morning drive co-host Marc Hochman is bound for afternoonhochmanmarc drive at crosstown WQAM after sitting out a three-month non-compete (he would start in April).  Since LFM won’t comment on personnel matters, we may never know if the reports that Castleberry was dismissed from WAXY, in part, for missing an exclusive negotiation period in Hochman’s contract (which lapses on December 31) are accurate.  The Herald is also reporting that Hochman has been telling friends he’s done at WAXY after his contract expires or sooner if the station chooses to keep him off the air.  However, there are also reports from Miami that LFM and Hochman are negotiating a new deal for him to remain at WAXY.  Hochman was the executive producer and a cast member on Dan Le Batard’s PM drive show on WAXY for many years until moving into morning drive a year and a half ago where he works with Jonathan Zaslow and Joy Taylor.

beckatom2012Opinion: Why I Went to Dallas.  KOIL, Omaha talk pro Tom Becka writes about his approach to Friday’s 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy.  He explains that he doesn’t buy into the notion that it was merely commemoration of a news event to which only older audiences can relate.  “It was theatre of the mind…I went to Dallas and [talked to] people who were actually there that day.  I interviewed a man who was in the high school marching band that played “Hail to the Chief” the last time JFK heard it.  I interviewed a former congressman who was on the house select committee of assassinations.  I interviewed a few conspiracy theorists.  I gave a different perspective direct from the grassy knoll.  I was just a few feet from where many say a second gunman stood.”  Read Tom Becka’s entire piece here.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago and McCormick Foundation to Raise Funds for Tornado Victims.  On Tuesday, Tribune’s WGN, Chicago and the McCormick Foundation are declaring it Illinois Tornado Relief Day.  Starting with the Steve Cochran show at 5:00 am, the station will host a 24-hour campaign for listeners to donate to the newly established Illinois Tornado Relief Fund. WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune are also partnering with the effort to promote additional fundraising for the day.  WGN VP of content Todd Manley says, “We’ve all been touched by the stories of communities coming together following last Sunday’s storms.  Our WGN and Tribune families kept searching for ways to help.  Now, like so many times before, we’ll trust in the generosity of our wonderful listeners, viewers, and readers.”  The McCormick Foundation will match the first $500,000 raised at 50 cents on the dollar.  All administrative costs are paid by the foundation and its partners, allowing 100% of all money raised, including the match, to be granted directly to the nonprofit agencies.  The first round of grants will be distributed by the end of 2013.

grabien logoHosts Can Now Conveniently Cut Their Own Clips. A new service recently launched that aims to take the technical know-how out of creating sound clips for radio.  Called Grabien, the site allows users to browse news videos, creating custom audio/video clips that come with transcripts.  Launched by the executive producer of The Peter Schiff Show and former long-time producer of The Laura Ingraham Show, Tom Elliott, the site was designed to be so simple that hosts could create their own clips. “Recognizing radio margins can be thin, I wanted to help shows that can’t afford a big production staff achieve the same professional sound as the biggest shows out there,” Elliott tells TALKERS. “Grabien posts the best news clips every day, making it an easy one-stop shop for quickly assembling a sound packet.” By helping keep production costs down, Elliott says he hopes the site will help stations preserve original programming.  For more information about this innovative service please click here.

slocumjoyceSlocum Named President/CEO of Texas Public Radio.  NPR chief administrative officer Joyce Slocum will begin her responsibilities as president/chief executive officer of Texas Public Radio starting January 6.  “I am delighted to join the wonderful team in building on the momentum to make TPR a vital resource to the community and a preeminent voice regarding the news, events and culture of the region,” the Dallas native and Southern Illinois University (B.A.) and St. Louis University School of Law (J.D.) graduate comments.  NPR acting president/chief executive officer Paul Haaga remarks, “Joyce has made many contributions to NPR over the years, including her pioneering work within our legal division during her time as general counsel, and leading the teams that moved NPR into our new building under budget and ahead of schedule.  We will certainly miss her but are thrilled she is staying in the public radio family.”  In 2011, Slocum was NPR’s interim president/CEO. Before joining NPR five years ago, she was general counsel at HIT Entertainment and supervising attorney for 7-Eleven.  San Antonio-based Texas Public Radio operates noncommercial talk KSTX and classical KPAC (both in San Antonio); talk-classical KTXI, Ingram; and talk KTPR, Snyder.

deanKVOCtowerThe Joy of Hearing One’s Syndicated Show in One’s Home Market.  In this era of remote broadcasting and crowded competition, it is not uncommon in talk radio for a syndicated talk show host to be without an affiliate in the market in which he or she actually lives.  Such was the case with Michael W. Dean, the talented co-host of the nationally syndicated Genesis Communications Network (GCN) program “The Freedom Feens.”  That was, until now — as the rapidly growing program has been cleared on KVOC in Dean’s hometown of Casper, Wyoming.  KVOC is owned by Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting which O&Os 14 stations in Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nevada.  Dean is pictured, in this artsy photo, listening to a DB of “The Freedom Feens” on his car radio parked in the shadow of KVOC’s tower.  Ah… the magic of it all!

kirofm logoSuper Cool Morning Gig Opening.  Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle is seeking to fill the shoes of Linda Thomas who is exiting the morning news anchor/host position in morning drive program.  The company says the successful candidate will have the backing of a 24/7 award-winning newsroom, the heritage brand of KIRO Radio, a market leading website MyNorthwest.com, all in a world-class international city with unparalleled quality of life.  Candidates must have integrity and be a credible news personality; must be exceptionally curious about both local and national news; must be intellectually honest and conduct entertaining, yet civil conversation while maintaining high energy and a sense of humor.  The morning news show will reflect the purpose at KIRO Radio: To connect entertainment to value; to connect discussion to understanding; to connect communities and enrich lives.  To apply, visit: here.

Friday, November 22, 2013

| November 22, 2013

kennedyjohnfNews/Talk Radio Remembers JFK.  As the nation commemorates the fateful, painful events of November 22 1963, the media at large - newspapers, television and, of course, radio — are focused across the board on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  Obviously, the subject is dominating conversation on news/talk radio today in the form of historical documentaries, as well as live talk shows in which every aspect of the almost mythical story is rehashed, retold, analyzed and memorialized.  Many shows are spending time giving listeners the opportunity to recall “where they were and what they were doing” when the horrible news was announced.  As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison points out, “This milestone serves as a powerful generational marker in our industry’s obsession with demographics that basically breaks audiences down to two significantly different categories — those who remember JFK and the events of November 22, 1963… and those who don’t.”

leykistomCompass Media Marketing Will Represent Tom Leykis.  As of the first of next year (January 2014), Compass Media Marketing will be the advertising sales agent for “The Tom Leykis Show.”  CMM will do similar duties for the talk show host’s NewNormalNetwork.com and BlowMeUpTom.com.  “We are appreciative to the tens of thousands of listeners who are tuning in daily to our show,” Leykis remarks.  “The time is right to start aggressively marketing the show to sponsorscompasslogo and we are thrilled to work with the Compass team.”  Compass Media Marketing president of advertising sales Paul Gregrey comments that Leykis is a “creative genius” with a “highly engaged and loyal audience.  There is limitless upside for growth, both in terms of listenership and sponsors.”  Introduced last year, the latest version of Leykis’ talk show is a streaming internet-centric call-in program, which is broadcast daily at 3:00 pm (PT) from Burbank.  This past Tuesday (11/19), we mentioned that Leykis put himself up for auction on eBay.  The stunt raked in $7,800 for his company and Leykis tells TALKERS, “This promotion worked perfectly for us because it engaged our audience, it brought press attention to our growing brand, and it brought us substantial revenue.  For The New Normal, it was nothing short of a homerun. [Furthermore, it] makes it hard to accept the whining of radio stations who say that they ‘can’t monetize’ digital.”

trn logoReports of Renewed TRN Activity Circulating.  There’s buzz in the industry that Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters is working to bring some of his talent back on the radio hosting live programs.  TALKERS sources indicate Masters and talk personality Jerry Doyle have come to terms that have allowed Doyle to return to his program immediately.  Doyle and other Talk Radio Network personalities have not been hosting regular livedoylejerry shows for most of the past month or so in the wake of a financial disruption at the company that involved staff layoffs at the Grants Pass, Oregon home offices and numerous legal actions between Masters and current and former employees.  Other rumors circulating purported that talk host Rusty Humphries is also soon to be returning to the program schedule at TRN but TALKERS sources report Humphries and Masters have not come to terms that would bring Humphries back to TRN.  TALKERS has reached out to Masters for comment but as of this posting there has been no response.  Stay tuned.

riverageraldoGeraldo to Remain with Cumulus Media.  Any rumors circulating the internet that Geraldo Rivera’s days with Cumulus Media are numbered are untrue says company COO John Dickey.  Geraldo – who is based at the company’s WABC, New York and is also heard on its Los Angeles news/talker KABC as well as 45 other news/talk outlets – airs live from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.  Dickey tells TALKERS, “Geraldo is going to be working even more closely with us next year – still anchoring 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on WABC – as well as spearheading our Putting America Back to Work (PABTW) initiative.”  Geraldo began his program on WABC, New York in January 2012.

pattiznormNorm Pattiz Discusses Podcasting and the State of the Radio Industry on TalkersTV. An exclusive video of Courtside Entertainment, LLC/Podcast One CEO Norm Pattiz‘s presentation at the recent Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference has been posted today (11/22) on TalkersTV (top panel of boxes on right hand side of this page).  In what was billed as a “keynote conversation,” with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, the noted industry pioneer, who founded the original Westwood One and created a veritable media empire from scratch, discusses the impact and meaning of podcasting as an extension of the radio industry as well as other important issues of the broadcasting business.  During the presentation he asks the provocative question, “When was the last time you can think of a national star that was created on network radio?  Been a while, hasn’t it!”  He goes on to state, “There’s a demographic national star created in podcasting every week.  That’s because in the podcasting world, the only people you have to satisfy are your audiences and consumers.”  To view the entire video presentation, see TalkersTV on the upper right side of every page on Talkers.com.

rabRAB: Third Quarter Radio Spot Revenue Up 1%.  The Radio Advertising Bureau reports its 2013 Q3 figures and states after two flat quarters, radio spot advertising rose 1% on sales of $3.684 million.  The report also notes thatfarbererica network revenue was down 11% while digital rose 19% and off-air was up 3%.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “The momentum we saw building at the end of Q2 has definitely translated into a positive Q3 for radio in many of our top 10 advertiser categories, led by communications/cellular with a healthy 24% increase.  Among key categories, automotive, professional services, health care, home furnishings, all showed substantial increases, as well.  Increases from these diverse ad categories illustrate radio’s cross-platform strength to drive traffic and sales – for large corporations to Main Street businesses.”

toddchuckChuck Todd Readies to Add Radio Duties.  “Unscripted with Chuck Todd” is the name of the one-hour (9:00 am to 10:00 am) Saturday show the veteran journalist will launch in two weeks (12/7) on SiriusXM‘s “P.O.T.U.S.” channel.  “In this day and age, people tend to think they have more access to newsmakers and politicians, when in many ways, they actually have less,” Todd comments.  “We will aim to help listeners get to know powerful people in a different way – as human beings, not as sound-bite machines.  I look forward to talking to many famous amateur political junkies out there who just happen to have day jobs in the worlds of sports, Hollywood, Wall Street and everywhere in between.”  According to SiriusXM vice president/general manager of talk programming Dave Gorab, “Chuck will go outside his normal field of reporting and delve into the personal passions and interests of not just politicians but leaders from virtually every field of interest. This show is new territory for Chuck, but will be built on his journalistic savvy and experience.”  Todd hosts MSNBC‘s “Daily Rundown” and is NBC News’ chief White House correspondent.

kravitzpinkyAtlantic City Talk Host Pinky Kravitz Celebrates 55 Years on WOND.  Atlantic City talk radio legend Seymour “Pinky” Kravitz is celebrating his 55th anniversary on WOND this afternoon with a special broadcast from the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.  The station notes that Kravitz has broadcast more than 169,000 hours of air time (that’s over 701 consecutive days!) from more than 20 remote broadcasting locations and more than a handful of time changes.  It boasts that 1400 AM is where South Jersey still turns for “informative and provocative conversation.  Pinky Kravitz has become one of thewond logo region’s most recognized, trusted and beloved media personalities through what has become the longest running radio program (on one station by one personality) in the country.”  Longport Media president Dave Coskey states, “It’s amazing that in an industry where longevity is often measured in months or years that we measure Pinky’s career on WOND in decades.  Pinky’s career spans not only decades but generations – generations of listeners all who have spent time in Pinky’s Corner.  And his brand is even stronger today than it was in 1958.”  Kravitz adds, “I’ve been blessed to not only have the support of my family, a radio station and city for all of these years but also the love and support of an entire region.”  In addition to his daily radio show on WOND, Kravitz also hosts a weekly television program on WMGM-TV and writes a weekly column for the Press of Atlantic City.

sagaSaga Communications to Pay Special Cash Dividend.  Saga Communications, Inc. announces its Board of Directors is declaring a special cash dividend of $1.80 per share on its Classes A and B Common Stock to be paid on December 12, 2013 to shareholders of record on December 2, 2013.  The aggregate amount of the payment to be made in connection with the special dividend will be approximately $10.3 million.  This special cash dividend will be funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet.

finebaumpaulPaul Finebaum Show to Air on SiriusXM’s ESPN Channel.  The formerly Birmingham-based sports talker – now calling Charlotte home and produced and syndicated nationally via ESPN Radio – joins the ESPN Xtra channel on SiriusXM effective Monday, November 25.  Paul Finebaum joined ESPN in August after years of success on Cumulus Media’s WJOX-FM, Birmingham.  Finebaum’s show airs live from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.

hdradio logoHonda Displays HD Radio Civic Pride.  The Los Angeles Auto Show is not typically where you would expect to find something noteworthy about the radio business.  That, however, is where HD Radio developer iBiquity Digital this week announced that the 2014 Civic is the first Honda vehicle to launch integrated audio and real-time traffic information using the HERE mapping service, BTC, and HD Radio technology.  iBiquity Digital chief operating officer Jeff Jury comments, “Honda is showing real leadership in bringing the benefits of digital HD Radio data to their vehicles.  This is another great example of a leading automaker integrating digital terrestrial technology as part of a connected vehicle strategy.”  Honda Civic navigation systems incorporate HD Radio audio and data features, including a way for listeners to view album art and other images on their radio screens.  There is subscription-free, real-time traffic information, showing flow patterns, construction alerts, and traffic incidents to drivers.  In addition to Honda, other automakers integrating digital traffic and data services include Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Toyota.  More than 30 automakers have announced plans to incorporate HD Radio in over 170 models by the end of this year.  Nearly seven-dozen models will feature HD Radio receivers as standard equipment.  The 2014 Honda Civic arrives at dealerships next month.

bfoa logoRon Ruth Memorial Fund Announced.  The Radio Advertising Bureau and the Broadcasters Foundation of America are announcing the creation of the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund in celebration of the life and work of Ruth and to benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America.  The BfoA’s mission is toruthron help improve the quality of life of men and women in the radio and television broadcast profession who find themselves in acute need.  Donations may be sent directly to the Broadcasters Foundation at 125 West 55th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10019 and please make note that the donation is for the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund.  Tentative plans by the RAB are underway to hold a celebration of life with Ron’s many friends sometime in the first quarter of next year and will be made public as soon as they are finalized.  RAB CEO and president Erica Farber states, “Ron was an ardent supporter of the Broadcasters Foundation.  We at the RAB couldn’t think of a more fitting way to honor and commemorate his life and work.”

ramseyNYCDave Ramsey Takes New York.  The actual event took place right across the Hudson River at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark but Dave Ramsey’s New York affiliate – Clear Channel’s WOR – was a partner in promoting the event.  Ramsey presented his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” last night (11/21) before a packed house speaking about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.  His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage.  WOR general sales manager Ron Russo says to the Ramsey team, “Thank you for creating an engaging event in an intimate setting where we have the opportunity to connect our listeners with our clients in a truly interactive environment.”  WOR sales manager Chris Borelli adds, “The event is not only impeccably prepared and executed, but entertaining and enjoyable.  We look forward to many more events like this as long term partners.”

ObamaCare Criticism Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 18-22.  The scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was President Obama’s sinking approval ratings.  Following at #3 was the talks with Iran about its nuclear policy and debate over economic sanctions on the nation followed by the GOP’s 2014 and 2016 strategy at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

| November 12, 2013

bloomquistrandallRandall Bloomquist Returns to Programming as Corporate News/Talk PD for Cumulus.  Cumulus Media announces the appointment of four executives to corporate programming posts and Randall Bloomquist – out of the radio station programming business since exiting WGST, Atlanta in January of 2009 – is named corporate PD for news/talk.  Current corporate programmer Jim Mahanay is named corporate PD for sports, allowing him to focus fully on thiscumulus logo growing aspect of Cumulus’ business.  In other appointments, Derek Madden of KLOS, Los Angeles and Scott Jameson (OM/PD at the Minneapolis cluster) continue their local station responsibilities but also add corporate rock programming duties.  In a statement, Cumulus COO John Dickey says, “Our success depends on executing effectively across programming at the local and national levels, which is why I’m very pleased about these new appointments that will help Cumulus continue building on our commitment to the very best content.”  Randall Bloomquist, who most recently operated Bloomquist Media executing content and promotional work for clients including Fisher House Foundation, says of returning to radio programming, “I’m thrilled to join Cumulus at this exciting time in the history of radio and audio content.  Cumulus is a true audio platform company well positioned to help shape the future of our industry.  I look forward to working with John Dickey, Mike McVay and the rest of the Cumulus news/talk team to create great radio that resonates with listeners and delivers for clients.”  In his career, Bloomquist has also programmed WMAL, Washington; WBT, Charlotte; and WRVA, Richmond.  He previously was the Washington, DC bureau chief for Radio & Records.

toucher&rich’98.5 The Sports Hub’ Renews ‘Toucher & Rich’ Morning Show.  Reporting that the morning team of Fred Toucher (left) and Rich Shertenlieb (right) has placed number one in the Men 25-54 demo for the past 14 Nielsen PPM rating periods, CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” inks the duo to a new, multi-year contract.  CBS Radio Boston SVP and market manager Mark Hannon says, “’Toucher & Rich’ have connected with Boston sports radio listeners over the last four-plus years with their innovative, clever and funny content.  They are two great guys who have done an amazing job of anchoring ‘98.5 The Sports Hub,’ and we are thrilled that they will continue to wake up Boston for years to come.”

brucedamonKNBR, San Francisco Host Damon Bruce Status Unknown.  Sports talk host Damon Bruce has been under fire from many quarters after a rant related to the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin case in which he stated the influence of women is causing sports to “lose its way.”  He said, in part, “There are very few – a small handful – of women who are any good at this at all.  That’s the truth.  This is guy’s stuff.  This is men’s stuff.  And I don’t expect women to understand men’s stuff anymore than they should expect me to be able to relate to labor pains.”  It’s being reported that Bruce has been suspended for two days but that his job is also still in jeopardy.  If the suspension report is accurate, he should be back on his 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show on Wednesday (11/13).  For his part, Bruce is not apologizing and has indicated in recent Tweets that he’s not surprised by the “piling on” that’s taking place in the media over his comments.  Part of a recent Tweet states, “If me pointing out men set policy/tone/rules/ in sports makes me a sexist, bad guy, than ‘say goodnight to the bad guy!”

hollanderjoelJoel Hollander Joins Entercom’s Board of Directors.  Former CBS Radio president and Westwood One chairman and CEO Joel Hollander is named to the board of directors for Entercom Communications Corp.  Currently, Hollander is president and CEO of 264 Echo Place Partners, his own media consulting firm.  Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “We are delighted to have Joel Hollander join Entercom’s board of directors.  Joel’s unique background, intellect and expertise make him an ideal addition to our board.”  Hollander adds, “I look forward to serving Entercom’s shareholders and helping grow their unique and powerful set of assets.  This is an exciting time for radio, and Entercom is strongly positioned to succeed going forward.”

flynnbillWEGO, Winston-Salem Talk Host Bill Flynn to Run for U.S. Senate.  Over the weekend, WEGO, Winston-Salem morning drive host Bill Flynn announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate as a Republican.  Flynn hopes to win the Republican primary and challenge Democrat Kay Hagan who defeated Elizabeth Dole in 2008.  The Winston-Salem Journal reports that Flynn spoke to about 50 people at a “Sunday Funday” event in Kennersville, North Carolina.  Truth Broadcasting Company, owner of WEGO “AM 980 The Eagle,” has not announced the point at which Flynn will give up his daily radio program.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago Adds Blackhawks Programming to David Kaplan Show.  Former Blackhawks player Eddie Olczyk is already a regular guest on David Kaplan’s evening sports talk show on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago.  Now, the station is adding more of Olczyk and making a live event out of the show.  The broadcast series dubbed “The Eddie O Show” — a series of six one-hour radio broadcasts hosted throughout the 2013-2014 season – will feature Olczyk during Kaplan’s show.  Each broadcast will feature in-depth hockey talk and listeners will have an opportunity to submit questions throughout the show.  The season premiere takes place on Monday, November 18 at Scout Waterhouse & Kitchen in Chicago and is open to the public.  The audience will have the opportunity to enter to win Blackhawks prizes, including merchandise and tickets.  Olczyk also serves as the color analyst for Blackhawks hockey on Comcast SportsNet Chicago and WGN-TV Channel 9.

biakelseychartBIA/Kelsey: Radio to Capture 11.5% of Local Ad Spend in 2013.  In a report detailing local ad spending, advisory firm BIA/Kelsey projects that radio will have garnered 11.5% of local ad spending for 2013 – totaling $15.2 billion – when all is said and done.  The full report is available to clients and radio stations and states that radio will grab the fourth largest share of local ad revenue behind direct mail, newspapers and TV.  The reports states, “The local radio market is growing, albeit at a more moderate pace than it once did, by expanding its offerings to off-air platforms, providing a wider range of listener experiences and advertiser opportunities.”  Chief economist and report author Mark Fratrik adds, “As we move toward 2014, it’s clear the radio industry has adapted to incredible competition from all sides, with streaming and other audio competitors taking audiences.  Yet local radio is surviving, and in some instances, thriving, and poised to compete well in the new marketplace.  Radio is also beginning to deliver other compelling digital services that help its local advertisers navigate promotional opportunities. With the right attitude towards the new reality of increased competition and strategic planning, local radio stations can prosper.”  The report offers tempered good news for radio when it states, “Another indication of the success of the radio industry’s performance is the recent increase in values of publicly traded radio companies.  Like other local media companies, values of public radio companies have increased by 68.2% through the first three quarters of 2013, easily beating the performance of the overall stock market.  But as competition for audience share continues to cut into audience share for radio stations, the industry needs to be on its toes to remain competitively viable.”

rhodesrandiRandi Rhodes Hints at Departure from Premiere in New Year.  The message board on her website is full of her fans commiserating the potential end of her Premiere Networks-syndicated talk show based on comments the progressive talk star made on her program about being unemployed in January.  There’s been no official statement from Randi Rhodes outside of the show chatter and Premiere has issued no notice to affiliate stations as of today (11/12).

Odds & Sods.  Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett will be away from his “Morning in America” nationally syndicated program tomorrow (11/13) and Peter Kirsanow, a former member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, will sit in the guest host chair.  Kirsanow is a regular contributor to the National Review and is a partner with the Benesch’s Labor & Employment Practice Group and a member of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee…..Front Range Sports Network adds University of Kansas and Duke University men’s hoops to the programming at KDSP, Denver and KJAC, Fort Collins-Greeley…..Jim Blasingame’s “The Small Business Advocate” prepares to celebrate the program’s 16th anniversary on November 17.

ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, Veterans Day, Incognito-Martin Case, Philippines Typhoon Devastation, and ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/11).  Ongoing debate and criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; the Veterans Day holiday; the case of Miami Dolphins player Jonathan Martin’s leaving the team and Richie Incognito’s television interview; the death and destruction after Typhoon Haiyan hits the Philippines; and the controversy over the new film “Blue Is the Warmest Color” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 14, 2013

| October 14, 2013

trn logoTalk Radio Network Sues Epic Times in U.S. District Court for Tortious Interference and Misuse of Trade Secrets.  EpicTimes.com is the website developed around talk show host Jerry Doyle – who is currently embroiled in legal issues surrounding the recent dramatic changes and financial issues at Talk Radio Networkepictimes logo At the core of this most recent action is a two-pronged complaint by TRN.  It alleges Epic – the company of which Jerry Doyle is president and CEO – is interfering with contracts TRN has with both Doyle himself and talk host Rusty Humphries by using their services for content for the EpicTimes.com site.  The interference claim is based on TRN’s assertion that it has exclusive content creation deals still in effect with Doyle and Humphries.  The complaint also alleges that Epic is misusing trade secrets through Epic’s conversion to its own use of the “confidential and proprietary business information of plaintiffs provided to Doyle in confidence and subject to nondisclosure agreements.”  TRN is seeking an injunction to prevent further use of the proprietary information and $150,000 in damages plus legal fees.

L&L logoL&L Broadcasting Acquires Border Media Trust San Antonio Stations.  What’s been rumored to have been in the works turns out to be true as Larry Wilson’s Portland, Oregon-based L&L Broadcastingktsa announces its buying the San Antonio radio stations from the Border Media Business Trust.  The stations include adult hits KJXK “102.7 Jack FM,” regional Mexican tri-mulcast KLEY “La Ley 95.7,” KSAH-AM/FM, CHR KTFM, news/talk KTSA, sports talk KZDC and Spanish KHHL.  The additions put the L&L station count at 43.  Wilson says, “This is a great cluster of radio stations located in a beautiful market operated by a very talented group of people.  We are excited to add them to our growing company.”  Trustee Larry Patrick adds, “We could not be happier to have found a wonderful home for our San Antonio stations.  Larry Wilson and his L&L Broadcasting represent the best in broadcasting. We wish him continued great success with this cluster.”  Piper Jaffray & Co. assisted L&L Broadcasting in the transaction and Patrick Communications was the broker for the Border Media Business Trust.

TalkersLA2013Talkers Los Angeles 2013 a Success.  More than 250 radio and associated industry professionals gathered and 55 speakers participated in a non-stop day of speeches, special presentations, and panel discussions tackling the major issues facing the talk media industry at Talkers Los Angeles 2013 this past Thursday (10/10).  Among the major issues covered are the growing need for the radio industry to have an accurate cross-platform ratings system; develop new ways to program commercials that generate results for the advertisers without chasing away listeners; explore new spoken-word formats that tap into unfulfilled opportunities; attract younger demos to talk radio; and bring back more live and local programming to the broadcast day.  To read an overview of the event and see photos of its key sessions, speeches and attractions, please click here.

wwwl logoEntercom Debuts Hybrid Talker in New Orleans.  Today is launch day for Entercom’s new hybrid talk station WWWL, New Orleans “3WL.”  Calling it an extension of its “Gulf South POWERhouse” WWL-AM/FM, the company says it “builds on the success of this legendary New Orleans station by offering a branch focused on the passions of New Orleans.”  Vice president and general manager Chris Claus says, “‘3WL 1350’ celebrates the three greatest passions of New Orleanians: sports, food and fun!  Think of ‘3WL’ as a radio station as tasty as gumbo, as fun as Mardi Gras and as passionate as Saints fans on Sundays.  In the three weeks since we announced ‘3WL,’ the response has been overwhelming.  ‘3WL’ is perfectly set up to succeed and deliver real results for our advertisers.”  WWL operations and program director Diane Newman is overseeing the station’s programming.  The lineup is as follows:  “Morning Drive with T-Bob Hebert and Kristian Garic”; NBC Sports Radio’s Erick Kuselias in late mornings; “The Food Show” with Tom Fitzmorris from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; and “The Lighter Side of The Spud Show” with John Spud McConnell from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  NBC Sports Radio rounds out the rest of the day.  Newman says, “Today is the culmination of a lot of hard work and planning.  Our lineup from top to bottom is as good as any in the country.  With sports in the morning, food at lunch, and a larger-than-life personality, Spud McConnell, in the afternoon, ‘3WL’ launches with tremendous strength, proven talent, and unquestioned passion.”

kkoblogoAnother #1 Finish for KKOB.  The Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talker finished #1 12+ for the 53rd straight Nielsen Audio book in a row.  Program director Pat Frisch tells TALKERS magazine, the station finished #5 in Adults 25-54 and #2 in Men 25-54.  “Our TSL is a high 9:15 minutes a week in Adults 25-54, that’s #1 in the market.”  Frisch also reports that he’s especially proud of afternoon talk show host Scott Stiegler who took over the afternoon program seven months ago and has taken it to #1 Adults 25-54.  Frisch says, “Morning drive personality Bob Clark finished #1 again in mornings.  He’s been #1 for seven straight years in that daypart.”

wgmd logoTalent Shuffle at WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  Resort Broadcasting’s FM news/talk WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware “The Talk of Delmarva” makes some personality changes as late morning host Mike Bradley becomes part of the morning drive show alongside Judy ManginiBill Colley leaves the morning program and now heads up the PM drive show.  Jim Rash moves from afternoons to the late morning slot.

switzerbryanBryan Switzer to Exit Cumulus Media Networks.  After eight years in the radio business, Bryan Switzer announces he’s leaving his VP of affiliate sales position with Cumulus Media Networks.  Switzer started his career in network radio with ABC Radio Networks in April of 2006.  During his time in the music industry, he served as VP/GM of Atlantic Records and senior VP of national promotion at Universal South.  He says, “Since moving from records to broadcast eight years ago, this is without a doubt the most exciting company I’ve been associated with.  I have a great deal of respect for what Lew and John Dickey have built and are building.  I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time for me to move on and turn a page.  I can’t thank Dennis Green enough for the opportunity to continue my role through the Cumulus acquisition of Citadel two years ago.  It’s been a privilege to work under his leadership.  As for me, it’s time I get back to serving my creative genes, and though I’ve made no commitments as of yet, I’m extremely excited by the prospects!”  Switzer can be reached at bryanbenjamin1@gmail.com or 615-838-0809.

kiroBonneville’s KIRO, Seattle Turns 78 Tomorrow.  Radio history buffs can learn more about the history of one of the Emerald City’s most famous radio signals at Bonneville’s MyNorthwest.com right here.  The station – now a sports talker – began its life spinning records on October 15, 1935 and would play second fiddle to the Fisher family’s KOMO until getting a power upgrade to 50,000 just prior to Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor.  The war kept the FCC from handling any power upgrade requests and KIRO was, for some time, the most powerful signal in the Pacific Northwest.

hennerbaileyMarilu Henner Rocks Sun Broadcast Group Upfront Party.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Marilu Henner (pictured here with SBG CEO Jason Bailey) appeared at the Sun Broadcast Group’s 2014 Upfront Party at the Penthouse Lounge in New York City on October 11.  The day after making an appearance at the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference where the TV and film star introduced herself to the talk radio industry, Henner was one of the stars representing her show before the hundreds of media people in NYC including agency reps, programmers, station managers, and network suppliers who attended the party.  Speaking about the now-five-year-old event, Bailey told the attendees, “I am so humbled as I look around at all the people here supporting us.  We’ve been working so hard to be a very different kind of network for all of you over the last five years and tonight you’ve welcomed us into your busy lives with open arms.  I can’t thank you enough for standing by us and believing in our mission as we aim to transform radio.”

bryantdelBroadcasters Foundation of America Names BMI’s Del Bryant ‘Golden Mike’ Recipient.  The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces Broadcast Music Inc. president Del Bryant is its recipient of the 2014 Golden Mike Award.  The award will be presented on Monday, February 24, 2014, at a black-tie fundraising gala at the Plaza Hotel in New York City to benefit the Foundation’s mission of helping broadcasters in need.  BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo says, “Del has been an admirable and inspiring supporter of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation for many years.  Well-known and respected across the broadcasting and music industries, his contribution as a longtime member of the Foundation’s board of directors is immeasurable.  We are proud to award him the 2014 Golden Mike.”  Bryant comments, “I am honored to be recognized by the Broadcasters Foundation of America with the Golden Mike Award.  I have always felt strongly about giving back to the community, both from a professional and personal standpoint.  It has been a privilege to support the Foundation and to collaborate with them throughout the years.  I commend them for the exceptional work they do for broadcasters and the sweet and understanding attitude with which they do it.”  The son of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant – the legendary songwriters who penned classics such as “Bye, Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” All I Have To Do Is Dream,” the Tennessee state song, “Rocky Top,” and more – Bryant’s rich musical heritage inspired his accomplishments and passion for the business.  He joined BMI in 1972, and worked in numerous areas of the company for 32 years, rising to president and chief executive officer in 2004.

Friday, December 14, 2012

| December 14, 2012

Don Wade and Roma Won’t Return to WLS, Chicago; Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft to AM Drive.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder broke the news late yesterday that longtime morning drive duo Don Wade and his wife Roma won’t return to the air at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago as they continue to focus on Don’s health.  Wade had surgery in September to remove a cancerous brain tumor and treatment for the condition continues.  In a statement via agent Eliot Ephriam, the couple said, “The daily stress of rising each day at midnight to prep for our 5:00 am show does not help the healing process.  So we are choosing a different path and focusing on what’s really important for us right now.” Late morning hosts Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft have been filling in since Wade’s surgery and were permanently named to the AM drive post yesterday.  Weekenders Jake Hartford and John Kass have been subbing in Wolf and Proft’s 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot and they assume the permanent roles there.  Feder reports Cumulus COO John Dickey visited Chicago recently to meet with Ephriam about the Wades and was keen to get them back on the air.  It’s widely believed that Don and Roma were a profitable program for WLS due to the high number of endorsement spots the show carried.  In a statement, Dickey said, “Don and Roma are Chicago, and 27 years waking Chicago up is an amazing feat.  The focus and strength it takes to do live radio every day on one of the world’s biggest stages will serve Don well as he continues to heal.  We wish Don and Roma the best and will always keep a mic open for them.”

Todd Schnitt Exiting WFLA, Tampa?  Not So Fast…Nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt – whose program is distributed by Compass Media Networks and since its inception in 2002 has been based at Clear Channel’s WFLA in Tampa – will remain based at WFLA after all.  Schnitt had recently announced a deal with Clear Channel to remain in the PM drive slot there had not been achieved.  But now, Schnitt and the company have come to terms.  Clear Channel announces it has signed Schnitt to a new multi-year contract for his “top-rated” program.  CC vice president of programming for Tampa Doug Hamand states, “We are thrilled to extend our relationship with Todd Schnitt and ‘The Schnitt Show.’”  He is a staple of the community in Tampa Bay, broadcasting for more than 19 years with 11 of those on WFLA.”  Schnitt gave up his AM drive CHR show on sister WFLZ (on which he was M.J. Kelli) earlier this year to focus on the PM drive talk show.  On his new contract, Schnitt says, “I’m thrilled to announce my new, multi-year deal with Clear Channel Tampa.  970 WFLA has been The Schnitt Show’s home for 11 years.  I really appreciate the outpouring of support from my loyal listeners.”

Programmer Alan Furst Heads to Radio One’s All-News KROI, Houston.  Current WIBC-FM, Indianapolis PD Alan Furst is leaving the Emmis news/talker and heading back to Texas to program Radio One’s all-news KROI, Houston “News 92 FM.”  Radio One flipped the station to all-news in the late summer of 2011 and it has been programmed by consultant Ed Shane and Radio One executive programmers.  Furst, who has worked in Houston and previously worked with Ed Shane’s consulting firm, says he’s excited to get back.  “I’m thrilled to return to Houston and join ‘News 92 FM.’  Radio One has put together a great team and the energy in the building is electric.  We’re going to build something very big and very special that will become a force in the nation’s fourth largest city.”

Baseball Stations: Plan Now for Spring Training.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke says that too few stations that carry their local MLB team establish a presence at their team’s Spring Training facility.  “Smart baseball stations are cheerleaders, and really smart baseball stations start cheering a month before Opening Day, when every team is in 1st place.”  Cooke writes that there are (at least) five very good reasons for jumping on this before the regular season starts, including some documented ratings upticks for stations that do get on board during Spring Training.  Read his entire piece here.

Odds & Sods.  Spanish-speaking New York Mets fans will be served by ESPN O&O station “ESPN Deportes Nueva York 1050 AM” (WEPN) as the station will broadcast 150 regular season games, select exhibition season games and (should the unlikely happen) postseason games, in Spanish.  ESPN New York’s David Roberts states, “Our commitment to serving the Hispanic sports fan is a top priority for our company.  We are delighted to join forces with the Mets organization for this comprehensive and wide reaching opportunity.”…..CBS Radio O&O all-news WNEW-FM, Washington will begin airing the audio of CBS Television’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday, December 16.  SVP/market manager Steve Swenson states, “Each week, CBS News and ’60 Minutes’ bring to life incredible investigative pieces, interviews, and features that are renowned all across the world.  Many local residents find themselves in a car traveling home on Sunday evenings not able to watch the program on WUSA-9.  With this simulcast we can provide listeners with access to their favorite news program.”….. Actor, author, former “Dancing with the Stars” champ and retired U.S. Army soldier, J.R. Martinez, ventures into the world of talk radio as he fills in from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm today on KFI, Los Angeles for the vacationing Bill Carroll.

Are You Prepared for the End of the World?  No, the editors of TALKERS do not actually believe that next Friday, December 21 will be the end of the world, regardless of what the Mayan calendar says or doesn’t say – or where the sun will be in relationship to the center of the Milky Way galaxy.  But we DO believe that this topic will be one of great interest next week in terms of pop cultural fodder and will be in the news in a variety of ways that will run from the serious to the silly, encompassing science (astronomy), parapsychology (astrology), history, politics and conspiracy theory – all of which make for juicy entertainment.  According to well-known radio-friendly psychic healer Kathleen Milner, the coming long-anticipated date will NOT mark the end of the world, but rather the end of a dark age in human events and the beginning of a golden one.  Talk show hosts and music format morning gabbers should be prepared for the end of the world by booking people like Ms. Milner and others to spice up on-air conversation.  After all it is a once every 26,000 years opportunity!  Kathleen Milner can be phoned at 571-926-8158.  For more information click here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Kate Delaney’s independently syndicated “America Tonight” program is added to the program schedule at KSCB, Liberal, Kansas.

‘Fiscal Cliff’ the Top Story on News/Talk Radio for Fourth Straight Week.  The battle in Washington over solving the “fiscal cliff” issue was the most-talked-about-story on news/talk radio during the week of December 10-14, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Coming in at #2 was the Michigan “right to work” law controversy.  At #3 was the Portland mall shootings followed by North Korea’s rocket test at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

| December 12, 2012

Don Imus Signs Extension with Cumulus to Remain on WABC and in Syndication.  Radio legend Don Imus inks a deal that will keep him in the morning slot on WABC, New York for another three years.  The 72-year-old broadcasting icon has been hosting mornings on WABC for the past five years.  Cumulus chief operating officer John Dickey says in a statement, “I am delighted that our listeners and advertisers have the certainty of knowing Don and his amazing team at ‘Imus In The Morning’ will remain on 77 WABC for at least three more years.  Don is a radio legend and is an important part of our team.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was quoted in The New York Times addressing the quality of the Imus audience when asked by reporter Ben Sisario about Imus’ ratings relative to other big-name talk hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.  Harrison told the Times, “Although ratings count, they don’t count as much with Imus.  He’s always had a very loyal and upper-echelon clientele.  They’re active, affluent, and tuned in to politics, business and popular culture on the kind of level that radio companies and ad agencies like.”

The Laura Ingraham Watch Continues; Cumulus Denies Rumors of Ingraham Deal.  Rumors of where talk media personality Laura Ingraham will surface with a new, nationally syndicated talk show after parting from Talk Radio Network several weeks ago continue to pop up.  But Cumulus Media COO John Dickey tells TALKERS there is no truth to the rumor she is joining his company for a national syndication deal.  TALKERS sources are hearing rumblings that instead of hooking up with a broadcasting corporation that also owns stations (Clear Channel, Cumulus), Ingraham is busy working on a project for a new radio talk show with legendary syndicator Norm Pattiz in that effort.  Ingraham mentioned on Fox News Channel on December 7 that she would announce something this week but, as most broadcasters know, issues can pop up that delay these types of announcements.

“The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio” Panel from LA Seminar Now on TALKERS TV.  One of the main panels at the recent TALKERS magazine New Media Seminar 2012 held in Los Angeles is now playing on TALKERS TV.  “The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio” features an outstanding lineup of industry leaders from various points on the spectrum of talk radio programming including Don Martin, VP programming, Fox Sports Radio/OM, KLAC, Los Angeles; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media/WYM Media; Phil Boyce, VP/director, Spoken Word Format, Salem Communications; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; and Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News.  The panel is moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who describes the session as “a sweeping overview of the key issues facing talk radio in 2012.”  To view it please see the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.

Red Zebra Suspends Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin for “Intolerant” and “Insensitive” Language.  Afternoon drive hosts Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin – hosts of the “Sports Reporters” program on Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980” – were suspended for two days this week after they were deemed to have engaged in “intolerant” and “insensitive” behavior while talking about a transgender athlete.  The segment centered around an article about 50-year-old Gabrielle Ludwig, a junior college basketball player who wants to get back into organized sports to set an example for others.  During the conversation, Czaban and Pollin referred to Ludwig as “it.”  Director of programming Chuck Sapienza wrote in a statement, “We strongly believe two of our employees crossed the line when discussing a transsexual person on their program last Thursday. Such intolerance and insensitivity will never be tolerated by this company.  Due to the nature of their conversation, the pair have been temporarily removed from ESPN980’s ‘Sports Reporters’ program.”  On Monday’s program the two read an apology on air.

KCSP, Kansas City Names John Hanson Program Director.  Entercom’s sports talk KCSP, Kansas City “610 Sports Radio” announces John Hanson is the new program director, taking over for Ryan Maguire who exited to take the PD post at CBS Radio’s sports outlet KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh.  Hanson comes to KCSP from the Minneapolis market where he has worked with KSTP-TV and KSTP-AM “1500 ESPN.”  Previously he programmed both KBAD “ESPN Radio 920” and KENO “Fox Sports Radio 1460” in Las Vegas.  Entercom vice president and market manager Dave Alpert states, “Kansas City is a highly competitive sports radio market.  I know that John’s drive and passion for sports radio, along with his extensive radio and broadcast experience, will build on the station’s success and take it to the next level.”  On taking the gig at KCSP, Hanson says, “I’m leaving an excellent situation in my own hometown to take this opportunity at ‘610 Sports Radio.’  That sums up how much I think of what has been built there, and what can still be accomplished.  Kansas City and ‘610 Sports Radio’ are simply too great for me to pass up.”  Hanson begins his new post on January 14.

Odds & Sods.  SiriusXM gives comedian and Opie & Anthony co-host Jim Norton his own weekly advice program on the O&A channel.  Norton, who also hosts a music show called “Norton’s Obsessed” on Ozzie’s Boneyard channel, begins his one-hour, call-in show at 10:00 am today (12/12)…..WOLB, Baltimore morning drive host Larry Young will do a live broadcast at The AFRO headquarters from 6:00 am to 10:00 am for the 12th Annual Toy Teddy Bear and Clothing Drive.  Young says, “I’m always excited about Christmas and being able to help others, especially the children.  Last year we took care of more than 500 kids and we expect to at least match that this year.”…..Vox Radio Group eliminates the news anchor position of 16-year market veteran Tom Conklin who handled morning news duties at WBEC-FM, Pittsfield, Massachusetts and WSBS, Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Fighting Golic.  ESPN Radio and ESPN2 morning show co-star Mike Golic gives the camera his best “Fighting Irish” pose after being presented with a 50th birthday cake in the same image.  Golic’s alma mater Notre Dame — for which his two sons currently play — is facing Alabama in the National Championship game January 7.

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, NC ‘Choose Life’ License Plate Flap, Syria Violence, Egypt Protests, and North Korea Rocket Launch Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11).  The fight in Washington over solving the “fiscal cliff” problem; the political controversy in North Carolina over the court’s ruling on its “choose life” license plate; continuing violence in Syria and the threat of chemical weapons use; protests in Egypt and the region’s instability; and North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

| October 18, 2012

Michael Savage Signs with Cumulus Media Networks; Push for Affiliates and Programming Changes at O&O Stations to Begin.  Not too long after vowing he’d be back on terrestrial radio, talk radio host Michael Savage joins Cumulus Media Networks for a syndication deal that will have his program distributed nationally live from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.  The terms of the contract are not available but in a press release announcing the pact, Cumulus COO John Dickey states, “As we aggressively create radio’s most compelling mix of show hosts the addition of Michael Savage is a milestone in our determined efforts to provide our listeners nationwide with the best programing in the business.”  Savage won freedom from his contract with Talk Radio Network in court several weeks ago, freeing him to sign anywhere for national distribution.  Savage states in the release, “Cumulus and Savage will make radio history.  The turbulent times we live in give talk radio a new power.  This is the biggest move of my radio career and I look forward to reaching many millions of new listeners on their flamethrower signals.”  Savage has broadcast from his home studio in the San Francisco Bay Area for years and most likely will continue to do so.  Cumulus will want to put him on as many O&Os as possible so here’s a rundown of what programming airs during the live broadcast time of Savage’s soon-to-be program.  In San Francisco, O&Os KGO and KSFO air a local evening news show and its own syndicated John Batchelor program respectively; WABC, New York airs Batchelor; KABC, Los Angeles airs its own syndicated Mark Levin; WLS-AM, Chicago airs the last hour of Premiere’s Sean Hannity followed by Levin;  WMAL, Washington airs Batchelor; WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas airs local host Chris Krok; and WJR, Detroit airs Mark Levin.  With Savage’s program to debut next Tuesday, October 23, look for some programming changes on Cumulus Media O&O talk outlets.

Dan Patrick’s Radio and TV Simulcast Exits Fox Sports Net; Speculation About New Cable Partner Begins.  To be clear, we’re talking about the regional cable TV networks when we talk about Fox Sports Net, not Fox Sports Radio Network which distributes the radio version of the DirecTV-produced program.  Dan Patrick’s sports talk show is still available on DirecTV’s Audience Network but Patrick said on his program they expect to have a new cable partner soon and here’s where the speculation begins.  AwfulAnnouncing.com’s Matt Yoder writes that a deal with NBC’s fledgling cable sports network could use a show like Patrick’s in morning drive as a show around which to build the rest of its programming.  As Yoder points out, Dan Patrick already works for NBC hosting “Football Night in America,” so there’s a relationship in place.  If NBC and Patrick agree to work together for the cable TV distribution of his program, whether that would affect the distribution of his radio program or not is unknown.  NBC is also building a sports talk radio network for which it needs quality programming.  However, the Fox Sports Radio Network distribution of the radio program has it on more than 250 stations.  Ad sales for the radio side are handled by Premiere Networks and presumably there is a contract for this relationship.

Mancow TV Show Producer Resigns.  With less than a week to go before the debut of Erich Mancow Muller’s Chicago TV show on Fox Television’s WPWR-TV, director and producer Don DuPree leaves the project.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports DuPree had issues with Fox Television that centered on compensation and job duties unrelated to the Mancow program.  Mancow’s morning radio show — syndicated nationally by TRN-FM — is set to begin a two-hour radio/TV simulcast (during the 6:00 am to 8:00 am CT hours) on Monday, October 22.  DuPree has been involved with the soon-to-debut show for several weeks.  He tells Feder, “I really want to see the show succeed, and I want Mancow to succeed.  Working with Mancow was why I was attracted to the project to begin with, and I’m still a big fan.  I hope I get to work with him again one day.”  DuPree was director of the “Siskel & Ebert” program for 16 years and also served as executive producer for “Ebert & Roeper.”

Talent Shuffle at Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle.  A day after Bonneville announced that morning news anchor Linda Thomas would exit the AM on-air post to take an enterprising new role with the station and its affiliated digital presence, it promotes evening talk host John Curley to host of “Seattle’s Morning News” beginning Monday, October 22.  Curley, a popular media personality in the market who joined KIRO-FM in February of 2011 to host the night show, is partnered up with current AM drive co-host Tom Tangney and news anchor Ursula Reutin.  Program director Larry Gifford states, “John is unbelievably talented.  He brings a lifetime of lessons to add a personal perspective and a storyteller’s sensibility to ‘Seattle’s Morning News.’  He also has an irresistible charm and enough energy to fuel the entire Pacific Northwest.”  Curley spent 14 years hosting “Evening Magazine” on KING-TV and currently serves as a member of the Sammamish City Council.  Exiting the morning program is host Bill Radke.

WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus Suspends Host for Tweet.  RadiOhio’s sports talk WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus “97.1 The Fan” suspends talk host Scott Torgerson – co-host of “The Common Man & The Torg” – after he Tweeted regarding ESPN’s Desmond Howard, “I wish that Desmond Howard would get fired or die so I can watch ‘Gameday’ again.”  It’s uncertain how long Torgerson will be suspended but yesterday he remained off the program with co-host Mike Ricordati.

Genesis Communications Network Purchases New Headquarters.  The company that syndicated such talk radio stars as Alex Jones, Jason Lewis and Bradlee Dean is moving into new headquarters in Burnsville, Minnesota.  The company, headed by CEO Ted Anderson, is moving from its current base in Eagan, Minnesota to a former Coldwell Banker office near I-35W in the Twin Cities region.  The building was purchased for $1.4 million.

Newsweek Announces End of Paper Edition.  This isn’t a radio story but it is an interesting media development.  Editor-in-chief of The Newsweek Daily Beast CompanyTina Brown, announces the iconic weekly news magazine will cease publication of its printed product at the end of this year and will move into a strictly digital business model in 2013.  Brown writes, “Newsweek Global, as the all-digital publication will be named, will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context.  Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast.”  Brown makes it clear why the transition is taking place.  “It is important that we underscore what this digital transition means and, as importantly, what it does not.  We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it.  We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents.  This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism — that is as powerful as ever.  It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.”

Second Presidential Debate Aftermath, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Attack Investigation, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/17).  Analysis of the performance of the candidates in the second presidential debate; the polls in the presidential race; the ongoing investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi; and the Major League Baseball playoffs are some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

| August 21, 2012

Gow Communications to Pay $5.17 Million for KFNC, Houston.  The sale of sports talk outlet KFNC, Houston to Gow and Educational Media Foundation that was announced in the spring is coming close to the finish line as David Gow and company should begin LMAing the station Cumulus put into bankruptcy protection as early as September 1.  The station – positioned as ESPN 97.7 – is expected to continue to broadcast ESPN programming at least for a while.  Gow also operates crosstown sports talk KGOW and Yahoo! Sports Radio and there have been some changes there with Travis Rodgers moving to the early afternoon slot on both KGOW and the national network.  KGOW is preparing to debut Adam Clanton and John Wessling in the afternoon drive slot, according to David Barron of the Houston Chronicle.  Clanton currently works for KPRC-TV but will wrap up his role with the station this weekend.  As for the Yahoo! Sports Radio network, a new PM drive show is being developed and will be announced soon.  The network’s Craig Shemon returns to weekends from the midday slot.

Heidi and Frank Return to the Terrestrial Airwaves in Los Angeles.  Cumulus Media names Heidi Hamilton and Frank Kramer the new morning show on KLOS, Los Angeles, taking over for Mark & Brian beginning September 4.  Brian Phelps surprised the industry last week announcing he would also be leaving the Cumulus classic rocker at the same time Mark Thompson would, although Thompson made his decision to retire public earlier this summer.  Cumulus COO John Dickey told TALKERS over the weekend that Brian Phelps was “part of a large consideration pool” of candidates for the new morning program.  In announcing “The Heidi and Frank Show,” Dickey states, “After a long and thoughtful search which overwhelmed us with great, established talent and new talent waiting to be discovered both in and out of radio, I couldn’t be more pleased with the selection of ‘The Heidi and Frank Show’ to continue on the tradition that Mark and Brian set in place with 25 years of Hall of Fame radio.”  Hamilton and Kramer have been producing an internet radio show since CBS Radio shut down hot talk KLSX, Los Angeles in a format flip.  The Frosty, Heidi and Frank program (with Frosty Stillwell) aired there successfully for years.  They also worked at KABC after the demise of KLSX.  Prior to the KLSX era Hamilton and Kramer hosted the morning show at crosstown Hot AC KYSR.   On the new gig, Heidi Hamilton states, “KLOS is rock.  KLOS is the definitive iconic rock radio station in the world.  It’s one of those stations that evokes a feel good emotion while you’re driving in your car.  I’m beyond honored that Frank Kramer and I have been invited to become a part of something so legendary!  The ‘Heidi and Frank Show’ fans are second to NONE and I know they will be with us on this long fun ride together.”  Frank Kramer comments, “If it would have been any other station than KLOS, I would have said no.  We have a huge following across the world and only a station as large and iconic as KLOS could lure us back to radio.  To be given this opportunity is an honor and a privilege.  With the continued support from my partner, Heidi Hamilton, and the fans that never left us, and the fans waiting for us to return, the next 25 years are going to be one hell of a ride.”

The Battle for Control over Sirius XM Continues and the Momentum Seems to be Shifting in Favor of John Malone’s Liberty Media.  Yes, what seemed like an odd story just a matter of months ago has developed into a high stakes big business drama.  John Malone and Liberty Media, the company that rescued the merged satellite radio company from burning up in the atmosphere back in 2009 by gobbling up 40% ownership at what has turned out to be a super good deal for them has asked the FCC for approval to take outright control of Sirius XM Radio, noting it plans to raise its stake in the satellite radio company above 50%. The request follows disclosure earlier this week that Liberty, SiriusXM’s largest shareholder, was inching up its collection of shares in Sirius from approximately 46.2% to an aggressively postured 48%.  In last week’s filing, Liberty said it will “have purchased sufficient shares of Sirius’s common stock and will convert its preferred shares such that the transfer of control will be completed within 60 days of commission consent.”  Raising its stake above 50% and being granted FCC approval to take absolute control opens the way for Liberty to replace Sirius management and spin its Sirius stake off to Liberty shareholders. But would replacing Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin be a wise move?  Probably not.  Although coldly brash and hard-nosed as they come, Karmazin is an extremely effective radio broadcast executive and business strategist who has done a world class job of getting Sirius XM to its present state of health.  Reports from inside Liberty indicate that John Malone recognizes that and is giving “Mel” wiggle room to back pedal off his earlier blurts that he wouldn’t work for anyone else.  There is a huge lesson here for wannabe broadcast industry moguls (and there sure are a lot of them out there):  When you turn to venture capitalists and outside big money investors to save your ass, they will likely wind up owning it.

In Search of the Effective Commercial.  There’s a trend away from humorous commercials in radio, according to H-and-H Communications president Al Herskovitz.  Research indicates Madison Avenue is questioning the effectiveness of funny ads and, as it applies to talk radio advertising, Herskovitz writes that the “recognizable spokesperson” – read, the talk show host – is much more effective.  But there are still problems there that need to be solved.  Read Al Herskovitz’s piece here.

Courtside Entertainment’s “Loveline” Clears Tampa Market.  Cox Media’s FM hot talker WHPT, Tampa – The Bone – adds Courtside Entertainment Group’s “Loveline” featuring Dr. Drew Pinsky, Mike Catherwood and Simone Bienne for the 1:00 am to 3:00 am slot.  “Loveline” becomes part of Cox’s young male-targeted talk outlet that features Bubba the Love Sponge in morning drive and Cowhead in PM drive.

Odds & Sods.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington hosts a special “school” edition of its “Ask the…” program today at 10:00 am.  Mark Seagraves serves as moderator for the commercial-free hour featuring a Q&A session with superintendents and school board officials from Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Fairfax County and the District of Columbia…..Entercom’s New England sports talk juggernaut WEEI produces the 11th Annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon beginning today and running through tomorrow.  The fundraising extravaganza takes place live from Fenway Park from 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight both days.  Last year the event raised more than $3.3 million for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute…..Nationally syndicated radio host Phil Grande of the “Phil’s Gang” program will broadcast his show live from the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week with broadcasts starting at 3:00 pm ET.  Grande will have special guests Donald Trump, Florida Governor Rick Scott and Sarasota Republican Chairman Joe Gruters plus many other guests.  In addition, he will have up to the minute news, updates and of course his own commentary.  The 2012 Republican National Convention is being held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum August 27-30, 2012.

CBS Radio News Announces Convention Coverage.  Dial Global and CBS Radio News will deliver coverage from the two national conventions – the Republican National Convention in Tampa August 27 through 30 and the Democratic National Convention September 4 through 6.  Coverage plans include anchored coverage, updates, special reports, special features, and one-on-one interviews with correspondents, pundits and political experts.  CBS Radio News states it will “provide expert reporting and analysis, featuring an experienced lineup of respected and award-winning correspondents and commentators, including Howard Arenstein, Pam Coulter, Peter King, Dan Raviv, Peter Maer, Andrew Mollenbeck, Brian Montopoli and Professors Dotty Lynch and Leonard Steinhorn.


Los Angeles Radio Personality Paul Crosswhite Passes Away.
  Southern California newsman and DJ Paul Crosswhite died on August 17 after a long illness.  Crosswhite served as a news person at both KFI and KNX-FM during his career.  He also was an evening and morning drive host at KTWV, Los Angeles – The Wave – for 10 years.  According to LARadio.com’s Don Barrett, “Crosswhite did news during most of his tenure in Southern California radio and has received Golden Mike Awards for documentary, feature and best newscast.  He did news during the glory years of KNX-FM.  During the Gulf War, he won the Associated Press Award for best newscast.  When he moved to “the Wave,” he gave up news to become a DJ, originally in the evenings and, later, mornings after the female morning drive team collapsed.”

Romney-Ryan Team, Obama Medicare Cuts, Facebook Stock Plummets and Syria Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20).  The Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket hitting the campaign trail full-swing; President Obama’s cuts to Medicare; the sagging stock price of Facebook; and the ongoing violence in Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, August 20, 2012

| August 20, 2012

Clear Channel Will Pay Buckley $30 Million for WOR.  The paperwork to transfer WOR, New York from Buckley Broadcasting to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has been filed with the FCC and we now know the price CC will pay for the station, pending approval by the Commission, is $30 million.  The station is already being operated by Clear Channel under an LMA.

The Other Morning Shoe Drops at KLOS as Brian Phelps Says Adios.  The surprise (to many) and sudden exit Friday by Brian Phelps of the KLOS, Los Angeles “Mark & Brian” morning show has some industry observers speculating that there might be more than meets the eye to Mark Thompson’s  earlier telegraphed and more-heralded departure.  Was the whole thing very possibly all about money?  Perhaps Cumulus Media’s new contract offer to Mark Thompson in today’s belt-tightening climate played a bigger role in his decision than the good-natured veteran let on when he told the Los Angeles Times, “It’s just time…guys my age are dropping dead.  There are other things I want to do.”  The Friday (8/16) program that was billed as the farewell show for Mark Thompson turned out to be the last shift for his on-air partner Brian Phelps as well.  Thompson is now off to his new life in North Carolina while Phelps is reportedly teaming up with actress/entertainer Jill Whelan to do a series of podcasts at brianandjillshow.com.  Whelan was recently a talk show host at WPHT, Philadelphia.  Thompson will also be heading to the internet and podcasting with his wife and three adult children at markandlynda.us.  Finishing a quarter-century run, the “Mark & Brian” show exits as the current longest-running morning show in Los Angeles.  TALKERS caught up with Cumulus COO John Dickey over the weekend who stood behind Thompson’s account of his reason for leaving the show adding, “I thank Mark for giving us the certainty to begin this search and process in earnest months and months ago — speaks volumes to Mark’s decision to paint on another canvas.”  Regarding Phelps, Dickey did not deny the host’s position was changed with Thompson out of the equation stating, “With respect to Brian, he was part of a large consideration pool for the next chapter in rock’s most iconic brand.  The decision, which will be announced very soon, was made after a long and thoughtful process.”  Oh, something else Dickey says has the TALKERS editors wondering if the multi-talented Thompson (who has dabbled in a bit of movie acting in his time) is only going to be focusing on his podcasts in the near future:  “My only comment on Mark is that he is as committed to his movie career as I’m sure he once was to his radio show.”

WOWO, Fort Wayne Names Woody Zimmerman OM.  Federated Media announces Woody Zimmerman takes over the operations manager post at the company’s heritage news/talk outlet WOWO, Fort Wayne.  Zimmerman has held various programming roles over the span of his career with Federated Media and, previous to working for Federated, Zimmerman was a TV news assignment editor.  Federated Media Fort Wayne market manager Jim Allgeier says, “Woody’s sense of urgency, organizational skills, attention to detail and work ethic make him uniquely qualified to take on the complex job of programming a news talk station.  The talents and skills Woody has demonstrated as a programmer will transfer quickly as he takes on the assignment of programming a news/talk station for the first time.”  Allgeier thanks outgoing OM Gregg Henson for his work with the station and especially his contribution to the launch of their Fan Sports Brand in Northern Indiana.

Fox News Radio Adds Two to News Staff.  Fox News Radio vice president Mitch Davis announces the company brings two veteran broadcasters aboard as Steve Knight and Simon Owen begin with the company today.  Steve Knight served as both an anchor and reporter for WCBS-AM, New York; CBS News Radio, and Associated Press Radio.  He also served as news director and anchor for New York Times Radio and was bestowed the Edward R. Murrow award for best documentary, feature reporting, and use of sound.  He’ll be a New York-based anchor.  Simon Owen was most recently a reporter with Sky News Radio where he provided live coverage of the 2012 Olympics as well as of the 2011 Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.  He also covered the death of singer Amy Winehouse, the resignation of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and secured high-profile interviews with international celebrities such as David Beckham and Jude Law.  He’ll be a London-based correspondent.

Talk Host Found Guilty of Felony Wiretapping.  “Free Talk Live” co-host Adam “Ademo” Mueller was found guilty of felony wiretapping by a New Hampshire jury and will serve 90 days in jail with an additional one to three years suspended and five years probation – meaning he could end up serving that additional time for probation violation.  “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman tells TALKERS, “He was accused of recording conversations with government workers while they were on duty, over the phone.  He was investigating the brutal attack on a student at Manchester’s West High School by the school police officer.  Rather than punish the officer for unnecessarily slamming the student’s head into a table, they went after Ademo for trying to hold them accountable, on-the-record.  Monday’s conviction was a sad day for the idea of the right to be the free press.  The trial held many outrageous moments, including a government school principal who claimed she is not a public official!”  Background on the case can be found at the site CopBlock.org: http://copblock.org/freeademo.

Talk Host and Journalist Aaron Klein’s Latest Book Lands on Best-Seller List.  Jerusalem-based journalist and talk show host Aaron Klein’s latest book, Fool Me Twice: Obama’s Shocking Plans for the Next Four Years Exposed (WND Books 2012), hit #18 on the New York Times bestseller list for this week.  Klein co-wrote the book with Brenda J. Elliott.  He has been on a media tour to promote the book that has included stops on Cumulus Media Network’s Mike Huckabee program and Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends” morning program.  Klein hosts the weekly Sunday evening program “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York from 7:00 to 9:00.

“Spoken Word Radio: The Big Picture” Session Set for TALKERS Los Angeles Seminar. A dynamic panel discussion involving a group of knowledgeable talk industry leaders has been set for the forthcoming New Media Seminar 2012 in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 11 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club. Titled “Spoken Word Radio: The Big Picture,” the panel will consist of an eclectic array of individuals including Phil Boyce, VP/director, spoken word format, Salem Communications; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media Management, LLC; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; and Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media. The session will be moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. The conference will also feature, within its packed schedule, the honoring of KFI/KTLK program director Robin Bertolucci with the “Woman of the Year” award.  The presentation will be made by nationally syndicated radio and television talk star, Stephanie Miller.  The seminar will present more than 60 leading industry speakers.  Its agenda will be posted on Talkers.com next week.  It is expected to be an early sellout.  To assure registration, attendees are advised to sign up now.  Because it is open only to working media there will be no online registration – only by telephone.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.

Yahoo! Sports Radio Moves Travis Rodgers to Afternoon Slot.  The man who produced Premiere NetworksJim Rome show for many years and is now a host of his own sports talk program with Yahoo! Sports Radio, is moved to a new time that puts him in virtual competition with Rome’s show.  Travis Rodgers left Rome’s program in 2009 saying at the time he disagreed with Rome about the direction the program had taken.  He became a sports talk host himself.  Now his show moves to the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET slot effective today.  In a statement, Rodgers says, “I can’t wait to go against the show that I helped build in to the industry standard.  It’s not that anymore and I look forward to creating the new standard in sports talk radio.”

More Radio Talent are Becoming Entrepreneurs…and some are doing it kicking and screaming, while others embrace the feeling of independence and potential opportunity that comes with it.  An informal in-house TALKERS magazine survey of radio stations and syndication companies conducted over the past two years indicates that the combination of new technology and difficult economic conditions are fueling this trend.  The traditional employer/employee relationship between talent and platform provider is increasingly being replaced by independent contractor deals with many air personalities – even at major market heritage stations – operating as the principals of their own production companies.  Within this new paradigm, on-air performers are responsible for their own health care, make lower salaries, and have shorter-term commitments from their “employers.”  In return, they are granted the flexibility of working from home, broadcasting different shifts to other out of town stations and receiving revenue sharing deals on their shows and related intellectual property.

(Speaking of Entrepreneurism) Premiere Networks Founder Steve Lehman is Developing a Radio Talk Show for Syndication Aimed at Entrepreneurs…and it is already getting traction in Los Angeles on KFWB weekdays from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  The show is called “Business Rock Stars” and it is hosted by well-known entrepreneur Ken Rutkowski. The voice-over announcer for the show is Joe Cipriano (voice of Fox and CBS).  Program partner Steve Lehman tells TALKERS that the show, which launched two months ago, is doing very well on KFWB where they are polishing every aspect of it to make it truly special and ready for a national roll-out in the near future.  The program focuses on starting and building a business and presents some of the world’s most successful CEOs as well as accomplished small business owners as guests.  The program is being designed for multi-platform content distribution.  A glass enclosed studio is being designed and built in a highly trafficked Southern California location to house the show and its related seminars.  It is being outfitted with three video cameras for streaming content.  In addition, Lehman tells TALKERS, “We have a great strategic tie-in with Entrepreneur Magazine and will be broadcasting the Entrepreneur of the year awards live from Dallas.  Additionally, we are working with Entrepreneur on their Franchise 500 issue.  We are going to give away a franchise on the air!”  Ken Ritkowski will be a speaker at the forthcoming TALKERS New Media Seminar on Thursday, October 11 discussing the new business environment of talk show hosting and radio station managing.  Talkers tip: Keep your eye on this show and developing company.  Steve Lehman is a top notch pro who has had an enormous influence on the modern radio industry.  His turning his attention toward talk radio is a big deal for the business.

Leno Takes a Pay Cut.  Since we are on the topic of broadcast talents facing pay cuts, the story broken yesterday (8/19) by CNN that NBC television star talker Jay Leno of the Tonight Show has agreed to accept a significant pay decrease to help the company deal with growing expenses and shrinking revenue has eyebrows raising throughout the broadcasting industry.  In addition, NBC is still axing about 20 “Tonight Show” support staffers.  Leno reportedly took the cut to protect even more of the show’s “little people” from receiving pink slips.  You can be sure this provocative and unfortunate bit of news will reverberate around the conference rooms of radio stations as new talent contracts come up for renewal.

Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Sets October 20 Induction in Macon.  For the first time in its six-year history, the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame is moving its induction ceremony (set for October 20) out of Atlanta and to the city of Macon.  The organization’s president, John Long, who many of you will remember from KRUX, Phoenix and WAPE, Jacksonville, tells TALKERS, “We have struggled from the beginning to make this the GEORGIA Radio Hall of Fame.  While 48% of our membership is from the seven-county metro-Atlanta area, that leaves a lot of radio stations and even more radio people in the state who deserve recognition.  The members in Macon and Macon board member Ben Sandifer lobbied for the event to come there and veteran Georgia radio people have responded.  It is going to be a great evening and ticket sales indicate it will come close to being another sellout.”  TALKERS asked Long to describe the philosophy and mission behind the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.  His compelling response:  “‘Radio people’ used to be considered big deals by their friends, families, and listeners.  The changes in radio programming and technology have taken the focus away from people leaving many veterans with nothing more than scrapbooks and reel-to-reel tapes of radio from days gone by.  When Sam Hale and I started the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame, we were two guys who were fortunate enough to have worked in, what many call, the glory days of radio.  The late Larry Shannon founded the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2002 for many of the same reasons; to honor the men and women who made radio magic.  Larry and Kent Burkhart were invaluable in helping us form our organization.  All the work done by our group is volunteer.  When someone asks me what I get out of it, the answer is: watching the families of our Legacy inductees brimming with pride when we recognize their dad, mom, brother, or sister; seeing our Career Achievement inductees smiling ear-to-ear when we put the medallion around their neck.  We want to make sure that their contributions are not forgotten.”  Long continues, “Another important part of our mission is preserving the rich heritage of Georgia radio since March 15, 1922, when the state’s first station, WSB, signed on the air. One of our founding board members, Mike Kavanagh, began wsbhistory.com.  When Mike passed away he left the site to the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame with one request: preserve it.  This year we partnered with Georgia State University to achieve that goal.  In 2013, we will work on a project with them to guarantee preservation, access, and continuity of the history of radio in Georgia, including inductees into The Georgia Radio Hall of  Fame.”  To learn more visit www.grhof.com.

Odds & Sods.  If you work in news/talk radio, your input is requested by TroyResearch which is conducting an important national study of talk radio, talk syndicators and the decision making process in radio today.  If you haven’t already taken this survey from TroyResearch, please click on this link: http://www.srvy.net/x/1.p?23554461110025479936.  100 respondents, randomly selected from completed surveys, will receive a $5 Amazon.com coupon.   A summary of results will be shared with TALKERS magazine and posted at TroyResearch…..Talk show host Pat Campbell, who hosts the morning drive show on Journal Broadcasting’s KFAQ, Tulsa, will sit in for Charlie Sykes on Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon today…..Talk show producer Frank Morano, who produces Curtis Sliwa’s program on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York – AM 970 The Answer – began his own Saturday morning program on the station.  During his first show he interviewed Vadim Vassilenko – a Ukrainian man who’s been in jail in the city for five years without bail or a trial in a case revolving around a $4 million stolen credit card scheme….. Sports talk radio outlet WIST, New Orleans and its FM translator at 104.9 (K285FF) are being sold by GHB Broadcasting to Catholic Community Radio.  GHB principal George Buck continues to be majority owner and operator of oldies WTIX-FM, New Orleans.  Catholic Community Radio also owns WPYR, Baton Rouge.

Denver Radio Legend Charley Martin Dies.  Denver radio fans are remembering longtime KHOW morning drive co-host Charley Martin, who passed away on August 17 at age 67 after a long illness.  Martin had been in hospice care in Phoenix for some time.  Martin co-hosted the “Hal and Charley” show on KHOW beginning in 1976 – a program that would air on the station until 1995 when the station took a more serious news/talk turn.  Denver Post television critic Joanne Ostrow quotes Denver media watchers in her obit who note that the duo of Martin and Hal Moore ruled Denver radio during an era when “humorous DJs” were the order of the day.  The duo garnered enormous ratings and had the honor of their program’s audio being heard on the radio during a scene in the 1980 movie “The Shining.”

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

| July 18, 2012

Merlin Media Ends FM News Operations in New York and Chicago.  Industry watchers are beginning the post-mortem on Merlin Media’s all-news formats at WIQI, Chicago and WEMP, New York after yesterday’s announcement by the company that it is flipping the two signals to classic hits and alternative rock, respectively.  In making the announcement, Merlin president Randy Michaels stated, “It was a difficult decision to make, but after a year of minimal audience engagement, coupled with the format’s inherent expense, I felt it was time to make a change.”  Perhaps the most obvious challenge to the endeavor was the fact that in both Chicago and New York, Michaels’ stations were going up against entrenched news stations in markets that didn’t seem to be crying out for more radio news, primarily because they are already being served by well-respected and well-listened-to all-news outlets.  WBBM-AM/FM, Chicago and WCBS and WINS in New York were tough opponents to challenge in the radio news game – not to mention the public radio stations in both markets that have loyal audiences and dedicate resources to covering local news.  The ratings for the two stations seemed to bear that out.  The initial concept of trying to reach women with a news product fell flat.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison told the Chicago Tribune, “When you say, ‘This is for women and here’s what we’re talking about,’ it can come across as insulting.  It’s presumptuous.”  Harrison also told the paper, “To reinvent the wheel, when in fact the wheel is not broken, is difficult.”  He said the station’s focus on stereotypically female topics like cooking, fashion and child rearing also turned off listeners.  There are reports 27 staffers are out in Chicago with a similar number in New York, leaving a host of veteran radio news people looking for their next opportunity this morning.  Meanwhile, another wrinkle to this story pertains to industry rumors and speculation that Merlin had plans to eventually morph its New York and possibly Chicago all-newsers into traditional news/talkers.  The recent addition of Rush Limbaugh to Philadelphia property WWIQ after his departure from CBS Radio‘s WPHT had tongues wagging about the possibility of such a move happening in New York when Cumulus Media‘s contract with Premiere Networks for Limbaugh on WABC ends – especially with Cumulus developing Mike Huckabee (currently airing on crosstown competitor WOR) as a more “civil” alternative to Limbaugh.  This brings up another question: Are the Merlin moves to music just a temporary measure?

Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Draws Intense Traffic to Talkers.com; Testament to Sports Talk Format’s Popularity.  The recently published Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America, has generated so much traffic to Talkers.com that – at times – navigation on the site slowed to a crawl, forcing the IT staff at Talkers.com to increase the site’s bandwidth to accommodate the visitors.  This massive interest in America’s sports talk radio personalities is indicative of the format’s popularity with both consumers and from within the media industry.  TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey states, “Sports talk radio is off-the-charts popular in so many markets across the country – reflecting the importance of sports in American popular culture.  The interest in the Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk from people working within the business is one thing, but the attention from consumers of sports talk and the rabid sports blogosphere is astounding.  The passion that exists for the format, the personalities, as well as the games and athletes themselves, shows why this talk radio genre is such an effective marketing tool for businesses at the local and national level.”  The 2012 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk can be found here.

Cumulus Media’s WPRO, Providence Names Craig Schwalb Program Director.  Craig Schwalb comes to Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO and 99.7 (and sister WPRV) in Providence from SiriusXM where he served as senior director of talk programming.  He’s also worked at WKRK, Detroit; WNEW, New York; WRBZ, Raleigh; and EZ Communications, St. Louis.  He replaces Paul Giammarco who recently resigned from the station.  Cumulus SVP Mike McVay states, “We are excited to have Craig join Cumulus.  We want the freshest and best minds in the industry…and he is clearly among the best.”  Speaking about his new opportunity, Schwalb says, “The chance to program one of the country’s legendary radio stations, complete with great talent, a great news presence and great influence in a terrific city was a no brainer for me and my family.  I am looking forward to working with Providence market manager Barbara Haynes and of course John Dickey, Mike McVay, Jim Mahaney, and everyone at Cumulus.”

Recent Affiliate Adds Push America’s Radio News Network Past 300 Mark.  In fact, when combined with the TRN/Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” program, the affiliate total jumps past 320 for the news programming offered by Talk Radio Network’s ARNN.  The content syndicator notes that recent affiliate additions in Columbus, Ohio; Phoenix; Memphis; Ft. Myers/Naples; Charleston, South Carolina; and others for the five three-hour news block programs are indicative of the strong demand for quality news-oriented radio content.

Talk Host Andrew Wilkow to Host Prime Time Show on TheBlaze.  The online TV network TheBlaze – a digital product of Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts company – announces SiriusXM talk personality Andrew Wilkow will host a new, one-hour news and talk show to debut later this summer.  TheBlaze says the exact start date and the name of the program will be announced later.  TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “TheBlaze is building a primetime lineup filled with both established talent and the voices of the future. Andrew Wilkow’s strong independence and ‘no sacred cows’ approach to the news, issues and events of the day are perfect fits for TheBlaze as we continue to expand our programming.”  TheBlaze notes it already produces three hours of prime time shows including “the comedy news show ‘The B.S. of A,’ the reality show ‘Independence USA’ and other programming throughout the day led by Glenn’s show, the news show ‘Real News’ and the kid’s show ‘Liberty TreeHouse.’ The network airs over 35 hours of original programming per week and will soon provide video content on a 24/7 basis.”

Talk Icon Larry King’s Internet TV Show Debuts.  Larry King’s new internet TV show – a 30–minute news and interview show – debuted last night with Seth McFarlane as his first guest.  The program is a joint venture between Hulu and Ora TV.  Ora TV is a digital venture being funded by Mexican media magnate Carlos Slim Helu.  In a statement about the new program, Larry King says, “I have always been driven to innovate, from my time on radio, to the first call-in show on national television to being an early adopter of online columns and Twitter…I love being able to interact directly with audiences and digital TV allows me to do this in new and powerful ways.”  This evening, King’s guest will be Meghan McCain with actor Matthew McConaughey on tap for Thursday’s show.

2012 Presidential Campaign, Summer Heatwave/Crops Threatened, Negative Economic Forecasts, Global Debt Crisis and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/17).  The 2012 presidential campaign; the nationwide summer heat wave and the threat to the corn and grains crops; negative economic forecasts; the global debt crisis and the financial markets activities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, June 11, 2012

| June 10, 2012

Right and Left Come Together at the TALKERS New Media Seminar to Denounce the Practice of Organized Advertiser Boycotts.  They might not agree on many things but a love for the business of talk broadcasting and its role as a vehicle for the practice of the First Amendment can indeed make for strange political bedfellows.  In a rare display of unity, two of the highest-
profile and distinctly politically opposite talk show hosts in the business condemned the increased practice of organized advertiser boycotts by political organizations as a means of shutting down voices on radio and television with which they disagree. 
Conservative host Sean Hannity (Fox News Channel and Premiere Networks) and progressive host Ed Schultz (MSNBC and the independently syndicated Ed Schultz show) delivered their powerful remarks at the TALKERS New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7.  Hannity included the statement as part of his keynote address which opened the conference.  Schultz presented his opinion while delivering the event’s “Annual State of the First Amendment Address.”  During his presentation at the non-partisan, industry-wide gathering, Hannity played excerpts from a variety of well-known talk show hosts making controversial statements on the air that subsequently resulted in calls for advertiser boycotts and/or the firing of the hosts.  The clips included hosts from all over the spectrum – left, right and popular culture (still referred to by many as “shock jocks”) – with ear-perking clips from Don Imus, Howard Stern, Opie & Anthony, Mike Malloy and more.  Both Rush Limbaugh’s reference to Sandra Fluke and Ed Schultz’s description of Laura Ingraham as “sluts” were included to underscore the point that no single faction of the talk radio universe was exempt from participating in the practice of political or artistic controversy.  Hannity’s remedy: Change the dial.  Schultz concurred.  Both made their cases for the sake and survival of the talk radio industry as well as protecting the spirit of the First Amendment. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for complete coverage of the New Media Seminar in the coming days and weeks.

Cumulus Media Officially Announces Geraldo Rivera Rollout.  This has been expected since shortly after Geraldo Rivera made his talk radio debut on Cumulus Media‘s WABC, New York and KABC, Los Angeles in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Now, Cumulus says it will expand the show to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET time slot and begin a national rollout on August 13. In a statement, Cumulus Media COO John Dickey says, “When Geraldo agreed to host shows for Cumulus stations in New York and L.A. we had a hunch there’d be substantial national listener interest in his incisive and insightful style. And now we’re thrilled that with Geraldo such a success in those two markets, the show will be available across the country.”

Glenn Beck Renews with Premiere Networks for 5 Years and a Reported $20 Million per Year.  That figure is according to The New York TimesBrian Stelter who cites a “person with direct knowledge” saying the deal will pay Glenn Beck $100 million over the course of the new, five-year deal. In addition to handling affiliate and ad sales for Beck’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET nationally syndicated radio show, Premiere Networks also assists in ad sales for some of Beck’s non-radio efforts including his internet video channel GBTV on which his daily afternoon talk show is broadcast.

NBC Partners with Dial Global for Syndication of Sports Radio Content as NBC Sports Radio Network.  According to what Rob Simmelkjaer, senior vice president of NBC Sports Ventures and International tells USA Today, the new project will start with hourly sports updates and a couple of short-form features. But Simmelkjaer says NBC hopes to have two three-hour evening sports talk shows (one each for 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm ET starts) ready for syndication by fall. He says, “The goal is to start with a beachhead of programming and gradually expand to 24 hours per day, seven days per week maybe in 3 to 5 years.” Dial Global will handle affiliate and ad sales for the service and Simmelkjaer says it will be sold in tandem with Dial Global’s NFL radio broadcasts.

Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire Surface at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  Talk show hosts Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire had most recently hosted the morning drive show on Curtis Media Group‘s WZTK-FM, Burlington, North Carolina before the station flipped formats to Spanish music earlier this year. Now, the duo will replace Vince Coakley in the PM drive slot beginning July 2. In June of last year, Coakley took over the afternoon show for Tara Servatius who currently hosts mornings on WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. WBT program director Carl East says, “These guys bring a great sense of energy and fun to the air. Those who have been in Charlotte for a while already know what Brad is capable of. They are very clever observers of the issues of the day, whether they are local or national. The audience is going to love engaging them.” Brad Krantz previously hosted afternoons at WBT alongside Richard Spires for four years from 1999 to 2003.

KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Names Chuck Meyer News Director.  CBS Radio‘s news/talk KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas brings news pro Chuck Meyer aboard as news/director and anchor for the station’s PM drive news block. Meyer previously served as news director at WIOD, Miami and KING, Seattle and as program director at KVET, Austin and KCUB, Tucson. KXNT-AM/FM program director Andrew Paul says, “Chuck brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our staff. We are thrilled to have him lead our news team on multiple platforms.” The move allows former news director Joe Gillespie to focus on his duties as host of the station’s morning drive news program.

Jay Cutler to Join WMVP, Chicago for Weekly Appearance.  ESPN Chicago announces Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will be live in the studio with ESPN 1000′s Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman each Monday from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. In announcing the multi-year deal, ESPN 1000 president and general manager John Craven states, “ESPN Chicago could not be more excited to welcome Jay Cutler to our already solid on-air lineup. Waddle & Silvy’s extended access to Jay will give Bears fans his insights into the game and a glimpse of his personality they have never heard before both on air and online.” ESPN has sold the show to Miller Lite, the official beer of the Chicago Bears.

Talk Host Michael Smerconish to Welcome NAB Crystal Radio Award Winners Tonight.  Nationally syndicated WYD Media talk host Michael Smerconish will use the “magic” of technology to gather together all 10 NAB Crystal Radio Award winners at the NAB Education Foundation’s “Service to America” black-tie fundraiser taking place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC this evening. Smerconish will welcome the winners to the stage and acknowledge their accomplishments.

The End of an Era as NPR’s “Car Talk” Hosts Retire in September.  Hosts of the ubiquitous weekend public radio show “Car Talk” on NPR – brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi – will retire in September and record no more calls from Americans with questions usually having to do with their cars. But the show will go on for at least a few more years. NPR will continue to produce the show with previously aired audio from the show’s dense library of content. TALKERS magazine spoke with “Car Talk” producer Doug Berman several years ago for a feature story about the production of weekend talk programs. Unlike many shows, car talk is not a “live” call-in show. Calls are recorded during the week or callers are asked to call in at specific production times. As a result, the show has probably gathered more content than necessary at times and, in addition to “repurposed” content, there may be some calls to “Car Talk” that have not seen the light of day. Also, Berman tells the Boston Herald that they’ve reviewed the ratings for new shows and repeats and have found no difference. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was asked about the future success of “Car Talk” by the Los Angeles Times and he stated, “Not many shows that are maintenance, how-to shows can carry it off where people listen to be entertained. That makes the show extremely potent.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Cox Media Group‘s WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta nabs 11 from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. Among the accolades WSB picked up include “Station of the Year” large market and “Best Radio Program” and “Best Talk Host” honors for WSB-based nationally syndicated star Neal Boortz…..Beasley Broadcasting‘s news/talk WGAC, Augusta, Georgia wins the Georgia Association of Broadcasters “Radio Station of the Year” award in the mid-sized market category. The station’s personalities also were individually recognized with coveted “Gabby” Awards: News director and morning show host  Mary Liz Nolan won “Best Newscast; sports director Ashley Brown won “Best Sportscast” and “Best Sports Story or Series” and Dallas Reece was honored for the year’s “Best Commercial.”…..WBZ, Boston news anchor Joe Mathieu interviews “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley at the WBZ NewsRadio Business Breakfast about his first year as anchor of CBS’ evening news program Tuesday, June 12 at 8:00 am…..Fox Sports Radio continues its coverage of mixed martial arts with simulcasts of FX‘s “UFC on FX: Fight Night.” FSRN simulcast last Friday’s program and will do it again on June 22 at 9:00 pm ET with a two-hour post-fight call-in show beginning at 11:00 pm ET.

You’re Never Too Old…to Play Pro Football.  That’s 50-year-old Stan Nawalaniec of the Stan & Haney PM drive show on Beasley Broadcasting‘s hot talk WRXK-FM, Bonita Springs, Florida – 96 K-Rock Talk That Rocks – suited up with two unidentified players on the United Indoor Football League‘s Florida Tarpons. Stan signed on for a one-game deal with the undefeated team and was a member for its last regular season game Saturday, June 9 played at Southwest Florida’s Germain Arena in Estero.

Friday, May 4, 2012

| May 4, 2012

CNN Ratings Cause for Concern at Headquarters.  The executives at Time Warner and subsidiary CNN/U.S. are displeased with cable news/talk channel CNN’s performance in the April Nielsen ratings after much time and money has been spent tweaking the programming there.  The New York TimesBrian Stelter reports that sources say Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes has made his dissatisfaction with the channel’s performance known to his subordinates.  Over the past 18 months CNN has made numerous programming changes including replacing Larry King with Piers Morgan in the 9:00 pm ET slot; the addition of Soledad O’Brien as host of the morning show; and a new 7:00 pm ET show with Erin Burnett.  CNN has long stated publicly that it delivers a unique news product around the clock with which advertisers like being associated.  In fact, the entire CNN unit (including other domestic and international channels) is poised to make a record $600 million in operating profit this year.  The company issued the following statement in response to reports about the April ratings.  “Despite the perennial ratings stories and quotes from anonymous sources, CNN continues to deliver quality journalism which is uniquely valuable to audiences, advertisers and distributors.  In fact, CNN is on track to deliver its highest profits in its history and continues to reach more people on more platforms than any other TV network.”  Still, as Brian Stelter writes, “Performance of CNN/U.S. drives public perception — and employee pride — and declines there may gradually damage CNN’s networks as a whole.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “CNN would probably do better in both ratings and revenue if they stopped obviously competing with Fox News Channel and MSNBC in trying to be entertaining and opinionated concentrating, rather, on really being journalistic on a level not seen for years on American television.  There is an opening in the marketplace for such a product a mile wide and a deep need and hunger for it by a significant segment of the public.”

CC Media Holdings Reports Q1 Revenue Hike of 3%.  That 2012 first quarter revenue increase comes as CC Media Holdings posts $1.36 billion in revenue compared to the $1.32 for the same period a year ago.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – which excludes the parent company’s outdoor divisions – was up 6% or $39 million compared to the first quarter of 2011.  CC Media Holdings CEO Bob Pittman states, “Since the start of 2012, we have continued to invest in our rapidly growing digital products and services, while strengthening our operations to better serve our marketing partners and our consumers.  We have enhanced our ability to help our partners take advantage of the unique size and scale of our media, entertainment and outdoor assets, with a particular focus on multi-platform solutions that no other company is able to deliver.”

KTRS, St. Louis Officially Announces Martin Kilcoyne Midday Host.  Monday’s story announced CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis was parting company with midday talk host JC Corcoran and would replace him with KTVI-TV, St. Louis sports director Martin Kilcoyne.  The station makes that official with general manager and partner Mark Dorsey stating, “Martin is a proven broadcaster, both in television and radio, and KTRS looks forward to bringing his personality, wit and opinions to the airwaves.”  Kilcoyne will assume the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show beginning Monday, May 14.  He says of his new gig, “I am thrilled to have an opportunity like this.  I’m a sports guy, but I love to talk about all things.  The plan is to have a show that St. Louis will find lively, topical and fresh.  I’m not Ted Koppel, but I’m also not Ted Baxter.”

First Quarter Positive for Salem Communications.  The first quarter of 2012 has been pretty good for Salem Communications and subsidiary Salem Broadcasting.  The parent company is reporting an increase of 6.1% on revenue of $54.3 million compared to the same period one year ago.  On the broadcasting side, Salem is up 2.9% on revenue of $44 million.  Broadcasting still makes up the bulk of Salem’s revenue but digital continues to perform well rising 33% over the same period in 2011 on revenue of $7.4 million.  The company is bullish about Q2 projecting a revenue increase of a couple percentage points with a total revenue goal of more than $55 million for the quarter.

Legal Battle May Ensue Over Merlin Media’s Blago Billboard.  This billboard pictured here is one of several purchased by Merlin Media in the Chicago area promoting all-news WIQI-FM – FM News 101.1.  Crain’s Chicago Business reports Merlin consultant John Gehron commenting on the marketing campaign saying, “We wanted to have something that we thought would be fun and get people’s attention.”  And apparently it has.  Attorney Sheldon Sorosky, who represents former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich – currently serving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption – says the use of Blagojevich’s image may violate an Illinois law prohibiting one’s image from being used for commercial gain without one’s consent.  Sorosky tells Crain’s it’s called the Right to Publicity Act and it states, “A person may not use an individual’s identity for commercial purposes during the individual’s lifetime without having obtained previous written consent from the appropriate person or persons.”  Sorosky says they have not decided whether to take legal action or not at this point.

Ric Edelman Celebrates 20 Years on the Radio This Weekend.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Ric Edelman, host of “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman,” marks 20 years on the radio with his broadcast this weekend.  Edelman, an award-winning financial advisor, heard along with financial advisors Brandon Corso and Anderson Wozny, is heard in 56 markets including on WABC, New York; WLS, Chicago; and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC.  He says, “It is a genuine privilege to do this show.  As I always say, ‘Money doesn’t come with instructions,’ so I’m honored for the opportunity to share my knowledge with so many listeners from across the country.”  Edelman, a member of TALKERS 2012 “Heavy Hundred,” is also seen on public television across the country as his TV program of the same name is in its second season.

Pamela Furr to Join New Atlanta All-Newser.  Talk show host and news anchor Pamela Furr confirms via Facebook that she’s headed to Atlanta to become part of the Cumulus Media FM all-news outlet slated for WYAY-FM in a few weeks.  The company has confirmed it will turn the outlet into an all-news station soon and obviously has begun hiring.  Furr most recently worked full time at Clear Channel’s WPTI-FM, Greensboro-Winston-Salem as co-host of the morning drive show.  She’s been freelancing doing news at CC’s WRDU-FM, Raleigh the past few weeks.

Atlanta Business Chronicle to Provide Content for Cumulus’ “All News 106.7.”  When Cumulus Media flips the switch on WYAY-FM, Gainesville, Georgia turning it into “All News 106.7,” the Atlanta Business Chronicle will provide exclusive business updates at :20 and :50.  In a statement, Cumulus co-COO John Dickey says, “Our partnership with the Atlanta Business Chronicle is consistent with our mission of bringing the most credible news and information to Atlantans 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  ABC is the definitive business news brand in Atlanta and 106.7 will be the definitive radio news and information brand in Atlanta.”  ABC publisher Ed Baker states, “It’s exciting that intelligent Atlantans are finally getting a much-needed all-news format.  We’re very excited to be a part of something new and different.  Quality business reporting is more important than ever and this partnership will allow us to deliver something special to our community.”

Cumulus Brings Celebrity News Blogger Perez Hilton Aboard for Nightly Radio Show.  At the same time the company announces that the new “Perez Nights Live” will replace Dial Global’s “Billy Bush Show” on stations where it airs and expects the show to debut on about 50 affiliate stations.  “Perez Nights Live” will feature Perez Hilton and co-host Adam Bomb and will consist of celebrity news chatter and music.  Cumulus co-COO John Dickey states, “Successful contemporary stations all have one thing in common: They keep their listeners on the cutting edge of music and pop culture.  Leading stations in our business set trends.  Perez doesn’t report on pop culture, he is pop culture.  ‘Perez Nights Live’ will take the important evening daypart and turn it into a brand enhancing experience.”

2012 Presidential Race Lands Atop Talkers TenTM for Fifth Straight Week.  The 2012 presidential campaign was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of April 30 – May 4, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  The race barely beat the case of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng which landed at #2 followed very closely by President Obama’s Afghanistan visit and the government’s release of Osama bin Laden documents tied at #3.  The shocking death of retired NFL star Junior Seau came in at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published each Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart for this week here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup.  The “At Home with Bob Vila” feature from Compass Media Networks debuted this week on such signals as KOGO-AM/FM, San Diego; WTKK-FM, Boston; KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; KFNN, Phoenix; and KVON, Napa, California…..Courtside Media Group’s “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew” is being aired on Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP-FM, Washington…..“The Small Business Advocate with Jim Blasingame” is picked up by WZFG, Fargo; WHTX, Youngstown; and WGGH, Marion, Illinois….. “The Doctor’s Orders Radio Show” with Dr. Kipp Van Kamp is added to WTKI-AM/FM, Huntsville, Alabama and WEKI-AM/FM, Decatur, Alabama.

Profiling Courage.  That’s KIRO-FM, Seattle talk show host Dave Ross (r) pictured with Sgt. Leroy Petry (l).  Ross recently interviewed the Medal of Honor recipient for inclusion in the Memorial Day radio special “A Grateful Nation” – a one-hour program produced by the Fisher House Foundation and distributed by Premiere Networks.  Sgt. Petry is an Army Ranger who lost his hand while saving two comrades after he grabbed and tossed an enemy grenade during a battle in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

| May 1, 2012

Clear Channel’s WMMS-FM, Cleveland Disciplines Morning Talent for Off-Color Comment.  “Rover’s Morning Glory” cast member Dominic Dieter has been disciplined in response to comments made on the morning show – though the extent of the discipline is not known.  A father e-mailed the show stating he saw his daughter kissing another girl and asked what he should do.  Dieter responded he should have a friend “screw [her] straight.”  For obvious reasons, a bad joke about raping a young woman in response to her possible homosexuality raised the ire of some listeners and caught the attention of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.  To the credit of CC’s local management, it acted quickly.  The station met immediately with GLAAD representatives, took Dieter off the air (for how long has yet to be determined) and had him record an apology which included the following.  “I want to genuinely apologize to anyone who may have been offended by what I said.  I regret what I did say.  My comments were inappropriate.  They were inexcusable, and just downright stupid.  And I want to make it clear; there was absolutely no intention to promote physical or sexual violence.”  CC Cleveland operations manager Keith Abrams stated to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “We take matters of this nature very seriously; his comment was thoughtless and unacceptable, and we apologize to those who were offended.  We can assure you the appropriate disciplinary action has been taken, and Dieter has since apologized on air and is fully aware that what he said was unacceptable.  We also want you to be aware that during Friday’s broadcast, he was in fact immediately criticized on-air by the other hosts of the show, and the rest of the segment was dedicated to a productive discussion about the acceptance of all lifestyles.  It included call-ins and commentary from members and friends of the gay community.  WMMS supports the gay community and again, we deeply apologize.”  GLAAD’s Aaron McQuade tells the paper the station has also invited the gay rights group Equality Ohio to join its community advisory board.

Cumulus Media and Townsquare Media Pull Off Big Deal.  This deal gives each side what it wanted but it reportedly took about a year to finalize.  Here’s who gets what:  Townsquare Media gives its stations in Peoria, Illinois and Bloomington, Illinois to Cumulus plus $116 million while getting from Cumulus the stations in 11 small markets – Kileen-Temple, Texas; New Bedford, Massachusetts; Odessa-Midland, Texas; Binghamton, New York; Bangor, Maine; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Grand Junction, Colorado; Augusta-Waterville, Maine; Bismarck, North Dakota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Presque Isle, Maine.  Industry watchers are noting that Cumulus is very happy to get the cash infusion it needs after spending $2.4 billion on the Citadel deal and Townsquare Media is happy to focus on the local aspect of small and mid-size market radio.

Cumulus Media’s News/Talk KCMO, Kansas City Adds FM Signal.  Kansas City news/talker KCMO begins an FM simulcast on 103.7 – a translator that had been simulcasting the company’s classic rock KCFX-FM.  The signal is 250 watts but covers the heart of the Kansas City metro.  Cumulus Kansas City SVP and market manager Mark Sullivan states, “This is an exciting day for KCMO Talk Radio as it provides us a platform to continue to be successful into the future.”  In a statement, the company notes that John Dickey, co-chief operating officer for Cumulus commented in a recent article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle that “having this format on FM is really the future!”

Courtside Entertainment Group Adds Dr. Drew Feature to WTOP, Washington.  The “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew” finds a home on Hubbard Broadcasting’s major market WTOP, Washington.  DC joins New York, Los Angeles and Chicago in receiving Dr. Drew Pinsky’s latest media project – 60-second commentaries covering relationship advice and hot topics plus the latest news from the medical world.  WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo states, “In addition to breaking news, Campaign 2012, traffic, and weather coverage, WTOP brings listeners useful and relevant information on health, relationships, and consumer issues.  Dr. Drew offers practical, actionable content that’s appointment listening on WTOP.”

Greater Media’s Philly Sports Combo Grabs NHL’s Flyers for Multi-Year Deal.  There’s an aggressive acquisition of play-by-play rights going on in Philadelphia as Greater Media’s sports talk combo – WPEN-FM 97.5 The Fanatic and WPEN-AM 950 ESPN Radio – adds Flyers hockey to their programming beginning with the 2012-2013 season.  This comes just days after the stations grabbed 76ers basketball from CBS Radio’s crosstown WIP.  Flyers games will be broadcast on both sports outlets and a few will air on rock WMMR-FM.  Comcast-Spectacor (Flyers owner) president Peter Luukko says, “We’re thrilled to be working with a partner that is 100% committed and excited about the Philadelphia Flyers.  We’re also happy that the Sixers have moved over to Greater Media Philadelphia along with us.  Greater Media is an incredible partner that offers extensive promotional support for the Flyers on all their stations.”

CBS Radio Violated Sixers Contract Reports Philly Daily News.  The reason Greater Media was able to snag the 76ers for the playoffs this year though CBS Radio had the rights to the team’s play-by-play throughout this season is because CBS violated the contract, according to the Philadelphia Daily NewsDan Gross.  The paper reports CBS Radio failed to give the Sixers proper notice before bumping an April 3 game to classic hits WOGL-FM.  Gross writes that after the deal with Greater Media was consummated, Sixers CEO Adam Aron stated, “The Sixers’ rapidly growing fan base will no longer have to set their radios to ‘scan’ to find where their Sixers will be aired.”  CBS Radio market manager Marc Rayfield told the paper the two sides parted ways amicably.

Michael Harrison Set to Address 2012 Radio Show on State of Talk Radio.  In what has become an industry tradition running more than a decade, TALKERS magazine founder and publisher Michael Harrison will again deliver the annual “State of Talk Radio” address at the NAB/RAB Radio Show.  Harrison will speak on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:30 am and 11:45 am at a special Info-Session sponsored by TALKERS.  The national conference will take place this year September, 19-21 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas.  Harrison’s address is open to all 2012 Radio Show registrants.

Rush Limbaugh Helps Raise $3.3 Million for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh dedicated three hours of his nationally syndicated talk show on April 13 to raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Including a personal donation of $400,000, as of April 20 the cure-a-thon has brought in pledges of $3.3 million.  This is the 22nd year Limbaugh’s program has held the cure-a-thon and has helped raise more than $34 million for the organization during that time.

Federated Media to Add FM Simulcast to Sports WKJG, Fort Wayne.  Beginning June 4, Federated Media will flip Froggy 106.7 — WFGA-FM, Ft. Wayne (licensed to Hicksville, Ohio) to sports simulcasting WKJG – ESPN 1380.  At that time the station will also add a local PM drive show featuring sister rock WBYR-FM operations manager Stiller and WKJG PD and WOWO APD Brian LaMartina.  Federated Media COO Mark DePrez states, “The Stiller and Brian show is the first step toward combining the world renowned ESPN brand with an increased local connection.  Peter Drucker said concentration is the key to all economic success.  In Fort Wayne, we have gone from seven to five brands to serve this community more effectively, efficiently and most importantly more profitably.  It sounds cliché but it is true that when one door closes another opens.  We salute the staff of Froggy 106.7 for their years of dedication and commitment to community radio.”

2012 Presidential Race, Escaped Chinese Activist, EPA vs Oil and Gas Industries, White House Correspondents Dinner, and Bin Laden Death Anniversary Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30).  The 2012 presidential campaign; the case of escaped Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng on the eve of visit to China by Hillary Clinton; EPA administrator resigns after comments about making an example of oil and gas companies; the aftermath of the White House Correspondents Dinner; and the anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Dr. Daliah Wachs Helps Organization Raise $17, 000 for Autism Charity.  Las Vegas-based nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs helped the Finding Autistic Solutions for Tomorrow organization raise some $17, 000 during its FAST for Kids Gala on April 28 at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.  The event was hosted by local Fox TV news personalities Heidi Hayes and Ted Pretty.  Pictured here is Dr. Daliah Wachs (l) promoting the fundraiser on Fox 5 News.

Monday, April 30, 2012

| April 30, 2012

Cumulus Makes it Official:  WYAY-FM, Atlanta to Go All-News in May.  The Atlanta Business Chronicle confirms what’s been rumored as Cumulus Media COO John Dickey announces the company’s classic hits WYAY-FM – licensed to Gainesville, Georgia – will flip to all-news in mid-May.  Dickey tells the Chronicle, “As big a city as we’ve got and as diverse and cosmopolitan a community, not to have an all-news product creates a huge opportunity.  It was an easy decision for us to take advantage of it…Pop culture, celebrity news and entertainment news have really become news today.  That has intermixed with hard news to create a different product.”  Atlanta had WCNN – now SportsRadio 680 the Fan – operating as an all-news outlet in the late 1990s but that was on AM and Cumulus believes now is the right time to put an all-news product on the FM band.

KTRS, St. Louis Cancels JC Corcoran PM Drive Show.  Veteran St. Louis radio personality JC Corcoran exits CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis after hosting the PM drive show for the past 18 months.  St. Louis Today’s Deb Peterson reports management at the station was not returning calls seeking comment but that other sources indicate that KTVI-TV, St. Louis sports director and former KFNS, St. Louis talk host Martin Kilcoyne will take over the program.  Corcoran’s sidekick Trish Gazall is reportedly remaining with the station.  Other changes including a slight shift in programming as John Hadley moves his late-night show to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot allowing Chicago-based Steve Cochran to host just his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program at the station (he had been doing a split shift with an early evening show as well).

Feature Series – Part 4: Innovation Sets You Free…to Make Money.  Sabo Media president Walter Sabo concludes his four-part TALKERS series on FM talk.  In this piece, Sabo discusses the importance of creating time and a place to innovate.  Sabo notes that radio has no laboratory for experimentation.  “If you come up with a new format or promotional idea, where and how do you test it?  Success in a live medium depends on a specific dynamic with a live audience.  As a rule you can’t ask people how they want to be entertained.  You can present them with entertainment and see if they applaud.”  Sabo offers several ways to test new programming, including your HD channel.  “Finally, a good use for HD channels: Experimentation.  If you want listeners to try a new medium, give them something new to listen to.  It doesn’t cost more money to play different songs.  The promise of HD radio is breathtaking.  New programming attracts early adopters and that’s what new hardware demands.”  Sabo says this article is a preview of 15 action-packed minutes that he will deliver at the New Media Seminar in New York on Thursday, June 7.  This exciting industry-only event will be a certain sellout.  For registration information call 413-565-5413.  Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.

FCC Decision to Require Political Ad Info Posted Online for TV Stations Has Radio Execs Watching DC.  For now, only television stations in the top 50 markets in the country are being required to post their public files – including their political ad rates – online.  But some radio operators are nervous about this cascading to their medium.  This decision is only popular with some political groups that believe too much money is spent on politics and is tarnishing the process.  The NAB is not pleased and states, “NAB respectfully disagrees with today’s FCC decision and we’re disappointed that the Commission rejected compromise proposals proffered by broadcasters that would have brought greater transparency to political ad buying.  By forcing broadcasters to be the only medium to disclose on the internet our political advertising rates, the FCC jeopardizes the competitive standing of stations that provide local news, entertainment, sports and life-saving weather information free of charge to tens of millions of Americans daily. We appreciate Commissioner McDowell‘s thoughtful and compelling dissent, and we will be seeking guidance from our Board of Directors regarding our options.”  Some communications law observers believe there are problems with this new policy and we’re likely to see this end up in court.

Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels to Host New TV and Radio Show Beginning in Early May.  Michael Patrick Shiels previously hosted the morning show based at WJIM, Lansing and was heard on other markets via the Michigan Talk Network.  His relationship with WJIM owner Cumulus ended and now he announces he’s struck a deal with WSYM-TV, Lansing to produce and distribute a new morning show that will be simulcast on WSYM-TV and on the radio in markets yet to be announced.  WSYM-TV VP/GM Gary Baxter states. “FOX 47 is proud to continue its partnership with Michael Patrick Shiels and launch his new program.  There is simply no one like him on radio or TV in the state of Michigan.  Michael Patrick’s show allows us to have the biggest names in politics, business and Michigan sports on our air every morning.  Our viewers might see Governor Snyder and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford on the same show — what great television!”

Tom Joyner Vows to Stay Connected with Tri-State Fans Via Digital Media.  The Emmis-ESPN deal and consequent merger of the Kiss FM format with WBLS-FM, New York leaves his nationally syndicated urban morning show in the lurch.  But Tom Joyner believes very strongly in the power of Black radio and the need for shows like his in the Black community.  In a memo to Kiss FM listeners, he writes, “I am saddened that an important Black voice is going silent in New York City, especially during this important election year.  Along with the Tom Joyner “Morning Show,” the Michael Baisden show and Rev. Al Sharpton’s Sunday program will also be off the air in NYC in this transition.  Black radio has been and always will be an extremely important motivational force in the community.  Although social media currently gets a lot of credit and rightfully so, nothing can replace the role Black radio plays in empowering, informing and entertaining Black people.  You can’t believe everything you read on social media but studies do show that most people believe what they hear on black radio.  That makes me feel proud and reminds me of my responsibility to be there for them each morning.”  Joyner encourages his audience in the Tri-State area to listen via his smartphone app or via BlackAmericaWeb.com.

Compass Media Networks’ “At Home with Bob Vila” Debuts Today.  The new daily feature hosted by home improvement icon Bob Vila and produced and distributed by Compass Media Networks hits the air today at affiliates including KOGO, San Diego; WTKK-FM, Boston; KMJ, Fresno; KFNN, Phoenix; KVON, Napa, California and more.  Compass Media Networks VP affiliate sales Adam Wilbur states, “Stations in all formats – sports, news/talk, all-news, country, AC and classic hits have signed up for Vila.  In another week, we will announce additional stations in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Washington, DC.  With over 90% name recognition with Americans, program directors appreciate the power of Bob’s brand – and sales managers love the ability to sell the feature locally.”

Actor Stephen Baldwin, TV-Radio Host Dani Johnson and Talk Host Kevin McCullough Announce Effort to Aid Starving Orphans.  The 2012 in 2012 charity effort is named that because, as XtreMedia CEO and principal Kevin McCullough states, the goal is to rescue 2,012 orphans from starvation during the year 2012.  McCullough’s weekend radio show partner Stephen Baldwin and television and radio host Dani Johnson are partnering to spearhead this program.  Baldwin says a child can be fed for a mere 25 cents per day.  “When I toured the places these children sleep and live in, I couldn’t help but be moved to do something about it.  My whole family saw with our own eyes children who were dying or would die soon, simply because they had no food.  It is imperative to me, my media company, my family, my business partners, and every one I come into contact with to let them know how vital 25 cents can be.  It can literally feed a meal to a child who literally will die without it.”  Kevin McCullough says, “Our partners are delivering life-healing food for the rate of feeding an orphan for an entire year, for just $92 – this is how simple it is to save a life?  How can we get more people involved?  How can we rescue more children?  These questions haunt me each night…”  McCullough and company are teaming up with two charities experienced in feeding children – Food for Orphans and King’s Ransom Foundation and they are seeking other media partners for this quest.  “If you are a television, radio or new media personality who has a passion to help hungry kids, we would love for you to join us in this amazing quest.  We will link arm in arm with anyone and everyone who is moved to do this, to be part of it, and to see orphans fed.”

Nationally Syndicated Radio Feature Host Akos Jankura Develops New Weekend Show; Seeks Products or Inventions from Public to Feature.  Inventor and international presenter Akos Jankura – who writes and produces the nationally syndicated radio feature “Akos the Solutionist” – teams up with John Cremeans to create a weekend radio show based at WFLA, Tampa on which they will make it possible for one inventor to pitch their product or invention.  The show will premiere Saturday, May 5 at 4:00 pm on WFLA and people with products or inventions are asked to visit MyCoolInventions.com to submit their entry.  Jankura says, “Many people don’t know that one of our most successful TV shopping channels actually began on radio.  I’ve teamed up with John Cremeans also known as ‘The Doctor of Shopolgy,’ John has logged over 25,000 hours of live television shopping and is a pioneer in our industry.  He is skilled at getting arm-chair inventors to make their best pitch for their product which is so important in the early development process.”  Jankura says together the two have more than $2 billion in sales.  The team is poised to identify products and inventions that can become the next great hit.  Their hands-on process invites everyday inventors or people with great ideas to join the inventive group at MyCoolInventions.com and sign up to receive information and tips that will guide them through the process of taking a product to market.

In Memory of a Radio Pioneer: Pete Fornatale.  TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer worked closely with rock radio legend Pete Fornatale who passed away last week at age 66.  Although, as Neer writes, Fornatale was not a talk host as we traditionally define it in radio, “When he did crack the mic, you couldn’t find a more intelligent voice observing pop culture than the late Pete Fornatale.”  Neer notes that Fornatale became synonymous with the genre of radio hosts who did more than quickly intro or backsell a record – something that many argue is missing in music radio these days.  “He was probably the first real musicologist on commercial radio who presented rock and folk music as an intellectual as well as emotional experience.”  Read Richard Neer’s memorial to Pete Fornatale here.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

| April 4, 2012

Cumulus Dallas Goes into Storm Coverage Mode as Twisters Hit Metro Area.  The Dallas cluster of Cumulus Media reacted swiftly to the severe storms and tornadoes that hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area yesterday, led by news/talk sister stations WBAP and KLIF.  Operations manager Tyler Cox tells TALKERS that the stations had a great opportunity to super-serve the community.  “WBAP (820 AM/96.7 FM) and KLIF (570AM) began simulcasting continuous coverage.  Shortly after that, the remaining stations in the Cumulus cluster (sports KTCK 1310 AM, KSCS-FM, KPLX-FM and KLIF-FM) joined with us to create a six-station simulcast reaching countless numbers of listeners with life-saving information.”  Cox says all six went into non-stop, commercial-free weather coverage with the news/talk stations’ reporters and listeners providing on-the-scene information all across North Texas.  Preliminary reports indicate no fewer than 12 tornadoes formed in the region and, although there is widespread destruction, there are no fatalities confirmed at this time.

KFI, Los Angeles Adds New Weekend Shows; Adds Diversity to Lineup.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles is adding a two-hour early evening program on Saturdays hosted by Morris O’Kelly, the producer and co-host of sister progressive talk station KTLK’s “Diverse L.A.” Also, KTLK PM drive host David Cruz will host a Sunday early evening program on KFI.  In a statement, Clear Channel says the purpose of the new shows is to “discuss, dissect and investigate the important, often controversial issues of the day through the eyes of an eclectic collection of Southern California residents, urbanites and suburbanites, young and old, across race, gender and the political spectrum.”  Morris O’Kelly states, “I’ve wanted to do a show like this for a long time – to dig into what Southern Californians think and why.  Opinions are as diverse as the population and I think we’re going to shed light on issues that really matter.”

Erica Farber Replaces Jeff Haley as President and CEO of the RAB.  The board of directors of the Radio Advertising Bureau announces Erica Farber, who joined the RAB in late 2011, will replace Jeff Haley as president and CEO of the organization as Haley exits to pursue a new opportunity.  RAB board chairman and EVP Scott Herman says of the move, “Erica is an excellent selection with the relevant skills and expertise to lead the RAB.  She brings an impressive track record in radio sales and management.  In addition, Erica has a clear understanding of the organization and what the broadcast industry requires from the RAB.  She has demonstrated a strong capacity of working with multiple constituencies which is critical to the RAB role.  We thank Jeff for his guidance and leadership the past five years in helping to shape an organization that fits the radio and media landscape today.  He’s left an indelible imprint on the industry and we thank him for his service and commitment.”

Budget Mandate Forces WBSM, New Bedford to Release Talk Host Ken Pittman.  Local officials are decrying Cumulus Media’s decision to eliminate Ken Pittman’s local afternoon drive talk show on WBSM, New Bedford, Massachusetts.  The New Bedford Standard-Times reports New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell even wrote to Cumulus COO John Dickey to express how area residents are upset with the loss of local programming.  “The local programming available on WBSM, including local news, talk and sports coverage, is truly valued by the thousands of listeners the station draws from the New Bedford region,” he wrote.  Meanwhile, station programming manager Pete Braley tells the paper local management made the cut reluctantly after being mandated by corporate to trim expenses and realizing that someone had to go.  With Pittman out, mid-morning host Phil Paleologos will move to PM drive and do more news event coverage.  The station brings Salem Radio NetworksMike Gallagher in for late mornings to cover Paleologos’ slot.  That leaves the station with four hours of local programming: morning drive and a 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm program.

Management Change at Cumulus Washington, DC; Jeff Boden Exits.  President and general manager Jeff Boden has left the building at Cumulus Media’s Washington, DC station group that includes news/talk WMAL-AM/FM.  DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes reports Sam Rogers – former CBS Radio Washington cluster chief and Cumulus VP of political and platform sales – has taken over Boden’s role at the stations.  Hughes reports that rumors have more cuts coming to the DC cluster in the near future, although it’s hard to predict which stations and what positions will be affected.

Damon “The Bulldog” Yaffe Joins WNST, Baltimore.  Nestor Aparicio-owned sports talk outlet WNST, Baltimore announces Damon “The Bulldog” Yaffe becomes part of the late-morning show on the station alongside Paul Mittermeier and Greg Marsh.  A release from the station states, “Yaffe’s crew will focus on all Baltimore sports with fun conversation, guests and lots of banter about the state of the local sporting universe including the Orioles, Ravens, Terps, and local lacrosse.”  Yaffe had previously worked at CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talker WJZ-FM.

Bankruptcy Filing Leaves Broadcasters in Financial Lurch.  The bankruptcy filing of tax resolution company TaxMasters is forcing a number of broadcasting companies – including CNN, Dial Global, Fox News Channel and others – to face the fact they will likely receive little if anything of what the company owes them.  Forbes reports that Time Warner’s CNN is owed the largest amount for ads aired on the cable news channel: $2.6 million.  Other broadcasters are also listed as unsecured creditors.  News Corp’s Fox News Channel is out $938,414; Dial Global is owed $676,000; MSNBC stands to lose $259,441; and ESPN is out $94,265.  TaxMasters and CEO Patrick Cox were hit with a $195 million verdict in Texas for violating the state’s Deceptive Trade Violations Act.  It lists assets of just $1.7 million.

Bob Visotcky Takes VP Sales Position at Cumulus Los Angeles.  Bob Visotcky moves over from his market manager post at Cumulus Media’s Oxnard-Ventura stations to the Los Angeles cluster where he’ll become vice president of sales representing news/talk KABC and classic rock KLOS-FM.

GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Race, Supreme Court-ObamaCare Issue, Ryan Budget, Twisters Hit Dallas, and Trayvon Martin Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/3).  The ongoing GOP primary race and the greater 2012 presidential campaign, the charges President Obama is pressuring the Supreme Court in its judgment of the legality of the Patient Care and Affordability Act of 2010, Congressman Paul Ryan’s Republican House budget proposal, tornadoes sweep through the Dallas-Fort Worth area and the Trayvon Martin case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, March 30, 2012

| March 30, 2012

Surprise Cuts Across the Board at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  In the past when Clear Channel or other big broadcasters have made sweeping reductions in their workforces there have been hints they were coming.  This one seems to have surprised industry watchers.  Clear Channel vice president Angel Aristone released the following statement about the cuts.  “We are constantly evaluating our organization and structure to make sure we are as well positioned as possible to continue to lead in the evolving marketplace.  We’ve been looking closely at our business to ensure that we are properly staffed and operating as efficiently as possible with the right balance of services and personnel to meet the needs of our listeners/consumers.  Like every successful business, our strategy continues to evolve as we move forward as a company and that creates some new jobs, and unfortunately eliminates others. In the process, some employees were affected.  These are never easy decisions to make; we thank them for their service and wish them all the best for the future.”  This round of cuts affected mostly mid-sized markets including Columbus, Jacksonville, Nashville, Cincinnati, Portland, Louisville, West Palm Beach and Minneapolis.  There was also a restructuring of the company’s Total Traffic operation.  Some of the folks from the news and talk formats ousted include:  WTAM, Cleveland weekend host Bob Becker; WTOK, Oklahoma City news director Jerry Bohnen; WISN, Milwaukee producer Jason Booth; WPOP, Hartford producer Richard Cooke; WTVN, Columbus news staffer Matt Demczyk; KEX, Portland news staffer Jeff Kirsch; KEX, Portland news anchor Mary Loos; WTOK, Oklahoma City talk host Greg Moore; WLAC, Nashville program director Tom Peace; and WTVN, Columbus sports anchor Dan Watson.

Cumulus Media Ousts Michael Damsky from WLS, Chicago President/GM Post.  Cumulus Media COO John Dickey flew into Chicago to deliver the news to Michael Damsky in person that the company is “going in a different direction.”  Damsky was brought on board by Citadel in the fall of 2008 as director of sales and promoted to GM in 2010 and charged with turning around news/talk WLS and sister classic hits WLS-FM.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports he was apparently largely successful but also notes that both sales and ratings have declined over the past six months since Cumulus took over the former Citadel stations.  Damsky is quoted saying, “I’m extremely proud of what we were able to accomplish in three-and-a-half years.  When I took over as general manager, WLS-AM was without direction.  We brought in great talent and worked hard to showcase them.  And WLS-FM withstood the attack of a serious competitor a year ago and is stronger now than ever before.”  Cumulus has not named a successor for Damsky.

Former Clear Channel Exec Dave Crowl Hired by Cumulus.  Dave Crowl will be based out of Cumulus’ Chicago offices as he comes aboard to take the regional vice president post in which he’ll oversee operations and sales in the Midwest region.  Crowl served as senior VP of operations with Clear Channel until being let go in a surprise restructuring of executives in May of last year.

Tom Leykis Preps Fans for Monday Return.  Monday, April 2 will mark the return of Tom Leykis to a regularly scheduled talk program for the first time since CBS Radio blew up his home base of hot talk KLSX-FM, Los Angeles in February of 2009.  Since that time, Leykis has been busy creating music programming and other content for the web via his company The New Normal.  He’ll be broadcasting the new Tom Leykis program at 3:00 pm PT on the web on Monday.  Leykis is streaming his show via a number of urls including his blowmeuptom.com.  He’s signed with TuneIn for delivery to smartphones and tablets and will also offer archived and special content to premium subscribers, although he says the live show and repeats of the previous day’s show will remain available for free.

Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Extends Deal with MLB’s Brewers.  The story from the Journal-owned Milwaukee Journal Sentinel doesn’t give a lot of contract details but reports both the baseball club and WTMJ were very interested in continuing their relationship and the team wasn’t even interested in going out to bid when the contract expired.  Brewers COO Rick Schlesinger tells the paper they had meetings with WTMJ management about the direction of the relationship, “The conversations were, I would say, spirited.  We had a lot of thoughts, as they did, about what they wanted to see out of the relationship.  It’s not just economics these days.  There is a whole range of marketing, branding, programming, production and financial arrangements.  From those discussions we found enough common ground that we were able to forge a new extension.  It was somewhat of a different environment than the last time.”

KGMZ-FM, San Francisco Adds Giants Posey and Cain for Weekly Appearances.  Entercom’s FM sports talker KGMZ-FM, San Francisco announces the regular weekly appearances of San Francisco Giants players Buster Posey and Matt Cain on the afternoon show “The Drive” with Brandon Tierney and Eric Davis.  The Giant Connection will take place every Tuesday at 4:30 pm.  Program director Jason Barrett states, “Buster Posey and Matt Cain will give San Francisco Giants fans the superstar perspective they crave, from the pitcher’s mound to behind home plate and definitely inside the clubhouse.  They’ve made the switch to FM and we’re so proud to be the only radio station in the Bay Area where Giants fans can hear Buster and Matt talking Giants baseball.”

KILT, Houston Adds Texan Arian Foster for Weekly Show This Fall.  Houston Texan Arian Foster will be heard on CBS Radio’s sports talk KILT this fall for his weekly radio show.  He’s jumping from crosstown Yahoo! Sports-affiliated KGOW where he co-hosted the show last year with Bob Berger.  Beginning in September, he’ll appear with Texans director of radio broadcasting Marc Vandermeer.  KILT is the team’s flagship station.  Foster’s Tuesday evening show is one of the media offerings the NFL team is programming and selling since its new deal with KILT in which the team takes its media programming and sales in house.

ObamaCare Supreme Court Arguments Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 26-30.  This week’s Supreme Court hearings of arguments about the constitutionality of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  The issue landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-discussed stories and people on news/talk radio.  At #2 this week was the Trayvon Martin case.  At #3 was the GOP primary and the 2012 presidential campaign and at #4 was rising gas prices tied with President Obama’s attack on big oil.  The Talkers TenTM chart is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart here.

Support for Captured Soldier.  KIDO, Boise morning drive talk show host Kevin Miller recently broadcast live from a local Krispy Kreme store where more than 300 listeners stopped by to sign the giant birthday card (pictured here) for Hailey, Idaho native Bowe Bergdahl.  Military authorities believe Bergdahl is still being held by the Taliban in Pakistan and he is believed to be the only POW from the Afghanistan conflict.  Bergdahl made news late last year after reports of his attempted escape from captivity in late August or September of 2011.  He was free for three days but was recaptured.  Bergdahl was taken by the Taliban in June of 2009.

Monday, March 19, 2012

| March 19, 2012

KIDO, Boise Morning Host Kevin Miller Dedicates Programming to “Getting Idaho Back to Work.”  AM drive talk host Kevin Miller announces he’ll use some of the time during his talk program to help get Idahoans back to work.  He states on KIDO, Boise’s website, “I invite you to help us bring jobs to the great Gem State.  (I know it’s easier said than done.)  However, after years of record unemployment and a loss of jobs it’s time to do something.  Throughout the year we will be highlighting Treasure Valley Businesses that are succeeding and profiling listeners who are looking for work.  Our goal is to get our family, friends and neighbors back to work and inviting businesses around the world to move to our great state.”

Cumulus Media Networks Aggressively Promoting Huckabee Debut.  With three weeks until former Arkansas Governor and one-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee begins his nationally syndicated daily talk show, Cumulus continues the drive to acquire affiliate stations with subtle jabs at Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh.  And with Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke-flap still fresh in everyone’s memory, the consumer media is paying attention.  Both Reuters and the Wall Street Journal Online published stories this weekend pointing to a Cumulus e-mail blast touting Mike Huckabee as the conservative talk show host of the future.  Cumulus COO John Dickey didn’t actually say his company is targeting Limbaugh’s affiliate stations but does tell Reuters, “Only one station in a city can offer Rush, so there are lots of other stations that are looking to put up an alternative to him regardless of whether he put his foot in his mouth…We have been growing the affiliate base on that fact alone, but recent developments with Rush have put some wind in our sails and accelerated our efforts.”  Cumulus claims to have about 140 stations ready to air Huckabee when he begins his 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET show on April 9 – about 45 of those are Cumulus-owned stations.  Former CBS Radio chief Joel Hollander is quoted by Reuters stating, “I can guarantee you that the minute Cumulus’ contract with Rush expires in New York, they will replace him with Huckabee.”  The Limbaugh contract with WABC reportedly doesn’t end until 2013 but such a prediction is not so far out.  Every syndicator in the business wants a New York affiliate so why wouldn’t Cumulus put its own product – assuming it is performing – on its own station?  Meanwhile, Premiere Networks issues this statement: “Rush Limbaugh continues to be the No. 1 talk radio host in America.  Mike Huckabee is the latest in a long line of those who have attempted to compete with Rush.  We wish him the best with his new show.”

American Public Media’s “This American Life” Retracts Popular Story.  On the January 6 episode of American Public Media’s “This American Life,” the program ran an excerpt of Mike Daisey’s one-man show titled, “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” in which Daisey describes workers at a Chinese Apple plant putting in long hours doing repetitive and crippling work.  The segment became a sensation – almost 890,000 downloads of that episode’s podcast – and shone the light on Apple’s Chinese operations.  The effect of the piece has caused PR problems for Apple.  But on Friday, March 16, host Ira Glass retracted the story telling listeners they can’t vouch for its truth.  The Chinese correspondent for the public radio program “Marketplace” contacted the Chinese interpreter Daisey used when he made his journey to China and the interpreter disputed much of what Daisey expresses in his show.  Daisey’s performance – doing very well at New York’s Public Theater – is getting excellent reviews.  For his part, Daisey says on his website that he stands by his work which is theater, not journalism.  In a statement, “This American Life” said when it asked Daisey for the interpreter’s contact information he, was unable to provide it.  Ira Glass states, “At that point, we should’ve killed the story.  But other things Daisey told us about Apple’s operations in China checked out, and we saw no reason to doubt him.”

Oprah’s OWN Cancels Rosie O’Donnell TV Talk Show.  The Rosie O’Donnell program will tape its final episode tomorrow (3/20) and air on March 30.  TVWeek reports the show’s ratings on the struggling network founded by Oprah Winfrey are to blame.  Deadline.com reports O’Donnell’s program started out with about 500,000 average viewers but that settled to about 200,000 for most of the show’s run.  Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva also attributes the 7:00 pm ET airtime for its failure.  Most talk shows air in the daytime or in late night and 7:00 pm is not a time people associate with a talk show.

WGN, Chicago Names Winner in Cubs Song Contest.  Tribune’s WGN, Chicago announced the winner of the contest to write an original song about the Chicago Cubs that will be played on the radio prior to Cubs play-by-play broadcasts this season.  Morning drive host Jonathon Brandmeier proclaimed “Let’s Go Cubbies” by the Chicago-area band The Fold the winner by fan choice with more than 8,000 votes on WGN’s website.  More than 300 entries were received for the contest.  The band will play the song live at the Captain Morgan Club at Wrigley Field during Brandmeier’s Opening Day broadcast.

Longtime KABC, Los Angeles Personality Bob Anderson Dies at 86.  Bob Anderson, who served as staff announcer at KABC, Los Angeles from 1961 until 2007 – passed away on March 11 after a battle with Alzheimer’s.  Anderson hosted programs including “Religion on the Line,” “Spotlight on the Community” and a talk program with future L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley.  He often subbed for Bob Arthur on the “Ken and Bob” show.”

Fisher House Foundation Creates Memorial Day Program for News/Talk Stations.  The show – “A Grateful Nation” – is hosted by Army veteran and broadcaster Bryan Suits and is billed as “a one-hour, spoken-word program honoring those who have fought and died to defend America, and the loved ones who share the burden.”  The program features compelling stories from the front lines and the home front, including the heartbreaking-yet-uplifting story of the Stanton family of Southern California, who traveled to Dover Air Force Base to receive the body of their remarkable son, who was killed in Afghanistan.  The Stantons were among the first guests at the Fisher House for Families of the Fallen, which provides grieving loved ones with shelter and comfort during a time of unimaginable pain.  Premiere Networks is distributing the show.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

| February 9, 2012

Cumulus Media Networks to Syndicate Daily Mike Huckabee Talk Show in Same Time Slot as Rush Limbaugh.  Former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has been producing a daily feature for Cumulus Media Networks and hosting his weekend show on Fox News Channel since shortly after the 2008 presidential race.  Now CMN decides to develop a three-hour talk show for Huckabee – based out of Florida – airing live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET and beginning April 2.  Already, industry watchers are viewing the move as Cumulus “taking on” Premiere Networks’ syndication dominance in the time slot with Limbaugh while Cumulus COO John Dickey tells The New York Times that it is positioning the show as an alternative to Limbaugh.  Huckabee himself defers to Limbaugh’s success telling Times writer Brian Stelter he doesn’t feel like a competitor, “He’s going to have an audience that will be very loyal and has been for over 20 years.  I doubt that will change.”  Within the industry, the big question is will Cumulus push Huckabee onto its news/talk stations that currently carry Limbaugh, especially at such major market stations as WABC, New York; WLS, Chicago; WJR Detroit; WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington?  All are markets where Premiere parent Clear Channel Media and Entertainment doesn’t have a news/talk outlet (or a strong-performing talk outlet) on which to move Limbaugh.  Huckabee is a good broadcaster with a personality all his own, great name recognition and is adept at taking on subjects outside the realm of politics.  He’s likeable and smart.  But Limbaugh has performed well for the aforementioned stations and it would be a gamble to make a change of such significance.  Perhaps far more concerned than Premiere are local talk hosts at the Cumulus stations not mentioned above who understand Cumulus is not making this move without a plan to roll Huckabee out onto as many of its O&Os as possible.

Sports Talk Host Scott Kaplan Admits Fault in Comments About Female Broadcaster.  Former XEPRS, San Diego morning drive talk host Scott Kaplan tells the San Diego Union Tribune that he needs to apologize to Mountain West sports broadcaster Andrea Lloyd for comments he made about her appearance that may have led to his and co-host Billy Ray Smith’s departure from the station.  Kaplan called Lloyd a “beast” and a “sasquatch of a woman” on the program and was let go from the station more than a week later.  Broadcast Company of the America’s VP/GM Tex Meyer had told the Union Tribune he’d spoken with Kaplan in the past about similar issues.  But Kaplan’s comments to NBC San Diego prior to being fired strike at the heart of the issue for edgy, sports talk hosts trying to reach a younger, male demo when he stated, “I don’t apologize for the fact that we’re a guy show, a locker-room kind of show.  There’s no apology for that.  This is what we do.”  The reality is that radio hosts targeting young men often comment on the appearances of women – often positively, but sometimes not.  It’s certainly the right of any operator to tolerate it or not but points to the fine line such hosts must walk in creating an edgy show and being savvy enough to realize who is “fair game” and who the public will perceive as an innocent undeserving of such criticism.  As for Kaplan, he says he can’t talk about his actual firing but tells the paper he doesn’t believe he was validly terminated from the station.

CNN Suspends Roland Martin for Super Bowl Tweets.  Numerous media reports indicate CNN is suspending commentator Roland Martin for tweets he sent during the Super Bowl – one of which in response to the David Beckham H&M underwear ad is being perceived by gay rights activists to have been homophobic.  In the tweet, Martin wrote, “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl” Martin responded that he was only making fun of soccer.  The Washington Post reports CNN issued the following statement about Martin’s status: “Roland Martin’s tweets were regrettable and offensive.  Language that demeans is inconsistent with the values and culture of our organization, and is not tolerated.  We have been giving careful consideration to this matter, and Roland will not be appearing on our air for the time being.”  TALKERS recently addressed the issue of talent using social media in a feature piece titled, “Social Media: Handle with Care.”  If you haven’t read it yet, check it out here.

WTKK-FM, Boston Talk Host Michael Graham Sponsors Candidate’s School.  Local talk show host Michael Graham broadcasts on Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston but he’s also an experienced GOP consultant.  Last night, Graham sponsored a non-partisan workshop at the Café Escadrille in suburban Boston in which Republican, Democratic and independent political professionals donated their time to help educate and train private citizens on becoming candidates in the 2012 election and beyond.  Graham says of the event, “We’re answering the question I’ve been asked thousands of times: ‘What can I do to make a difference?’  Here’s what you can do: Run.”  This is not Graham’s first workshop.  Since 2010 more than 500 New Englanders have attended Graham’s Candidate’s School.

Former Blue Star Media Group Exec “Doesn’t Own Feature Concepts.”  That’s the position of Blue Star Media Group president and CEO Michael Metter after former EVP Jeff Weber sent out an industry-wide press release on 2/7 accusing – though not by name – Blue Star’s Business TalkRadio Network and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network of not having the rights to a news feature and a music history vignette.  In the release, Weber references the music vignette “Pop Quiz” and the news feature “Heard Around Town” which he says are still available through his company, Jeff Weber Marketing.  Metter tells TALKERS when Weber left the company in December he asked that his name and voice be removed from all Blue Star content and the company complied.  Metter says his new features – “Heard Across America with Wendy Lowy Sloane” and “Rhythm & Pop with Tony Legg” – are “totally different names with the new content written by the talent.  These concepts are as old as radio itself.  What ownership does he have?”

Maryland Brewer Makes Beer to Honor the Late Ron Smith; Proceeds Benefit Cancer Research.  Brewer Jay Lampart at Johansson’s Dining House in Westminster, Maryland has created a beer call Reason Saison to honor the late WBAL, Baltimore talk host Ron Smith.  Lampart tells WBAL, “Ron has been part of my ride home since 9/11, which was also the time I moved to Maryland.  I learned a lot about Maryland politics and critical thinking from Ron.”  Lampart says proceeds from the brew will go to the Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center where Smith was treated for pancreatic cancer.  It’ll remain on sale at the restaurant through the end of the month or until supplies run out.  The name of the beer stems from Smith’s calling himself the “voice of reason” combined with the Belgian style of beer known as saison.

Deer Creek’s KCKS-FM, Chico, California Simulcasts Sports AM.  KEWE, Chico is Deer Creek’s “Fox Sports Radio 1340” and after a year of trying a CHR music format, the station returns being a simulcast for the company’s sports talk outlet.  Although San Francisco and Sacramento AMs get into the market, Chico doesn’t have another local sports talk outlet.

Syrian Violence Escalates, GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Election, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, and L.A. School Sex Abuse Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/8).  The international community’s growing conflict over the escalating violence in Syria; Rick Santorum’s victories complicating the GOP primary race and the beginning of President Obama’s campaign; Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the Los Angeles school sex abuse case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, December 12, 2011

| December 12, 2011

Cumulus Brings Geraldo Rivera to Radio at WABC, New York.  Geraldo Rivera has done a lot of media in his career (including WABC-TV) but he’s never hosted a regular radio talk show.  Beginning in January he’ll get his chance with the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon daily program following Don Imus and leading into Rush Limbaugh on Cumulus’ WABC, New York.  Cumulus COO John Dickey tells The New York TimesBrian Stelter the company’s research indicates “people are interested in hearing a different perspective, a different voice, a more balanced opinion” and although Rivera is actually a registered Republican, he’s more liberal than WABC’s Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin.  Dickey also states he expects Rivera to draw in younger listeners and females to the station.  Rivera’s program will be a New York-only show but Dickey doesn’t discount the idea of going into syndication with Rivera if the show is a success.  Rivera tells the Times, his show will have two positioning statements that help define him as a different kind of radio talk show host: “I’m Geraldo and I’m not always right” and “Not red, not blue, but red, white and blue.”  Rivera still works at Fox News Channel where he’s been a correspondent since 2001 but his “Geraldo at Large” show airs just once per week though he also does daytime reporting and makes regular appearances on the channel’s midday “Happening Now” program.  The late morning slot at WABC opened up when the station let Joe Crummey and Patty Steele go last week.

KABC, Los Angeles Confirms New Doug McIntyre Morning Drive Show.  The host of the nationally syndicated Cumulus Media Networks late-night show “Red Eye Radio” begins his duties as host of “McIntyre in the Morning” on KABC, Los Angeles in January.  Last week Cumulus announced it would merge the Eric Harley and Gary McNamara-hosted “Midnight Radio Network” program with “Red Eye Radio” and Doug McIntyre would leave those duties.  Now, speculation that McIntyre moves back to morning drive at KABC – the program he hosted from 2004 to 2009 – is confirmed.  News pro Terri-Rae Elmer – who announced her exit from Clear Channel’s crosstown KFI last week – is co-host of the new program.  In a release, Cumulus says, “The show will feature McIntyre’s unique sense of humor and ability to get to the heart of the biggest stories affecting Los Angeles and Orange County.”  McIntyre says, “I’m excited to return to the morning drive with leading radio station, KABC.  I look forward to keeping my audience informed and entertained as they wake up with me each morning.”  Current KABC morning host Peter Tilden appears to be staying with the company in a capacity to be announced later.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Morning Host Al Gardner to Program Merlin Media’s Philly Station.  Philadelphia native Al Gardner has been co-hosting the morning drive show at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM since 1997.  In January he’ll return to his hometown to take on the vice president of programming position at Merlin Media’s WKDN-FM Philadelphia – a station Merlin is expected to flip to an all-news format.  The Charlotte Observer reports the 64-year-old Gardner has been doing some consulting for the recently formed Merlin Media and Gardner tells the paper of his new gig, “This is a pinch-me job.  It couldn’t be better.”  Greater Media is letting Gardner out of his contract a year early to pursue the Merlin position.  As for WBT, program director Carl East tells the paper sports anchor Jim Szoke will take on a bigger role on the morning program alongside current morning co-host Stacey Simms.

Dial Global Star Clark Howard Cuts Live Portion of Program to Two Hours.  Saying he’s been burning the candle at both ends, money guru Clark Howard tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho he’s cutting back on his radio work and will only do two hours of live programming daily.  Affiliates that want to continue with three hours will get a third hour composed of best-of segments from the live show content.  Clark Howard tells Ho that he’s just finished touring to promote his latest book, “Living Large in Lean Times,” and he recently had to take two weeks off after a bout with laryngitis.  Howard, with some 600 radio affiliates, is a busy guy.  In addition to his radio work, he does TV segments for 15 Cox-owned TV stations, hosts a weekend show on cable TV’s HLN and operates the digital media station clarkhoward.com.

Robert Wuhl and Doug Urbanski Shows to Be Dropped by Dial Global.  That’s not the official word from Dial Global, it’s what TALKERS is hearing through the grapevine.  Both Robert Wuhl’s and Doug Urbanski’s shows were Westwood One properties that came to Dial Global with the merger of the two companies announced back in August.  Lean times make broadcast companies assess where they are spending money and we can only assume that the shows are not bringing in the kind of cash required to justify their continuation.  It’s expected the shows’ affiliates have been quietly notified so they can make programming plans for 2012.

WWRL Morning Host Mark Riley on TALKERS TV.  In an exclusive interview conducted by TALKERS magazine managing editor Kevin Casey on the scene at last Thursday’s “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row, the veteran New York City broadcaster discusses the evolution of Big Apple urban talk radio as well as his own.  Mark Riley points out that his AM drive program is heard by a variety of listeners including both African Americans and whites. He talks about the positive aspects of being local in the nation’s largest market and the spectrum of issues covered in a major metropolis including the impact of guns and violence in daily city life.  Riley was one of more than 20 talk media personalities participating in the seventh annual radio row designed to raise consciousness about domestic violence presented by TALKERS and Talk Radio News Service in conjunction with corporate sponsor, Liz Claiborne, Inc. at the company’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters.  See the interview with Mark Riley now at TALKERS TV in the column on the right side of this page.

WGN, Chicago Partners with Ad Agency for Holiday Fundraiser.  Tribune Company talk station WGN, Chicago is partnering with ad agency Schafer/Condon/Carter to present “Carols for KidsSM” on Thursday, December 15 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.  During that time listeners are encouraged to join WGN and Schafer/Condon/Carter staffers for the mass caroling event, the second hour of which will be broadcast live on WGN.  The event included carols and entertainment from Chicago Blackhawks national anthem singer Jim Cornelison and Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo, the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, WGN Radio’s Orion Samuelson and more.  Donations to the “Neediest Kids Fund” will be accepted on site during the event and online at www.SCCCarolsForKids.org.  Lou Malnati’s will also be providing slices of pizza for all attendees for a suggested donation of $3 per slice.  WGN VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “We are so pleased that Schafer|Condon|Carter used its creativity to come up with this wonderful concept and chose the WGN Radio ‘Neediest Kids Fund’ as its beneficiary.  We look forward to working with them to continue to raise money for the WGN Radio ‘Neediest Kids Fund’ and help children all over Chicagoland.”