Tag: "John Williams"

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

| May 21, 2014

wgn logo newWGN Announces Garry Meier Moves to Digital Platform, John Williams Returns to WGN Radio.  A big change in Windy City talk radio as Garry Meier leaves the PM drive slot he’s hosted since 2009 on WGN Radio to handle the same shift at meiergarryTribune’s wgn.fm internet station.  Coming back to WGN is John Williams who left 18 months ago to move to the Twin Cities where he hosts the afternoon drive show on CBS RADIO’s WCCO – a position he’ll continue to hold.  The new schedule at WGN looks like this: Steve Cochran in mornings, Williams from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano from 12:00 noon williamsjohnto 3:00 pm, Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder move into the afternoon drive slot from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm, followed by Pete McMurray from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Patti Vasquez from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am and Nick Digilio from 2:00 am to 5:00 am.  Speaking about bringing Williams back to WGN, VP of content Todd Manley states, “John crafts radio shows that are laced with such unique wit and wisdom that you don’t want to miss a minute.  John was born to be on both of these great stations.  We give many thanks to our friends at WCCO for so graciously sharing him.”  Station president and general manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “Garry is perfect for wgn.fm because he understands both the potential of spoken word and that the future of radio is programming to tech-savvy, mobile audiences.  His approach to entertain interactively through digital media propels us into the future.  This is a great start to the revamp of our entire online and mobile products including our apps, websites and on-demand content distribution.”

kaufmanjoycebillboardJoyce Kaufman Named by TALKERS, Humanitarian of the Year.  Talk radio personality Joyce Kaufman – 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm host at James Crystal Radio, Inc.-owned WFTL, Fort Lauderdale – has been named by the TALKERS editorial board as the 2014 recipient of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Talk Radio Broadcaster.  Also referred to as “Humanitarian of the Year,” the award is named in honor of Sharon L. Harrison, the late wife of Michael Harrison and mother of Matthew B. Harrison, who played an instrumental role in the radio trade publication business going all the way back to her days as an associate editor at Radio & Records during its formative years in the early 1970s through the launch of TALKERS magazine in 1990.  In making the announcement of Joyce Kaufman’s selection, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “Ms. Kaufman embodies so many of the values that are vital to the continued importance of radio as an iconic resource serving the best interests of society.  She is quintessentially local and deeply connected to her South Florida community.  She has been fiercely loyal to her station, co-workers and management during WFTL’s recent financial challenges.  And most importantly, she has a string of community-service achievements and awards to her credit that could reflect the productive output of more than 10 broadcasters, let alone one hard-working individual.  She is a veritable force of nature in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami2014 NYC logo 150 region and richly deserves recognition as an inspiration to the entire industry.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “Most hosts and broadcasters who have received this award have been so recognized because of one or a handful of charitable and community initiatives that they have championed.  In the case of Joyce Kaufman, there are actually too many to begin listing.  To sum it up, she has been a hero to women, children, veterans, the poor and the disabled via her constant, tireless work and support of such organizations as Toys for Tots, the Patriot Guard Riders (for deployments, returning troops, funerals and veterans’ memorials), Hispanic Women of Distinction (raising money for free medical care for needy families), the Palm Beach Stand Down House (supporting homeless veterans), the Never Again Pledge Rides (for Holocaust remembrances), and so many others.  She has co-anchored the local Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, raised 6,000 pair of shoes for the Salvation Army and has been the recipient of more than 10 major awards during her 20 year radio career including the American Legion Post 304 ‘Veterans Advocacy Award,’ the Film Recording & Entertainment Council ‘Radio Personality of the Year,’ the Husky Rescue of South Florida ‘Champion Award,’ the Wounded Warriors Foundation ‘Hero’s Hero Designation,’ the ‘Latina Pioneer of the Year,’ the Broward County ‘Law Enforcement Champion of the Year,’ the  Americans Against Hate ‘American Hero Award,’  the ‘Italian American Heritage Award,’ the Chabad of South Florida ‘Defender of Israel Award,’ the Stand Down House ‘Veteran Advocate of the Year Award’ and the FAIR ‘We the People Award,’ among many others.  The list of individuals whom she has helped simply as a talk show host on a radio program – and not necessarily affiliated with an organization – is endless.”  Harrison continues, “Joyce Kaufman has never been one to shy away from controversy and is as bold in her stance on issues close to her heart – popular and unpopular – as she is in defending the weak and disadvantaged within her community.  She is as aggressive in her advocacy of free speech as she is in serving the needy.”  Past recipients of the Humanitarian of the Year Award, one of the most prestigious in radio, include Boomer Esiason, Clay Hunnicutt, Joe Madison, Sean Hannity, Dr. Joy Browne, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, and Scott Hennen.  It will be presented to Joyce Kaufman at Talkers New York 2014 on Friday June 20.  For information on the event please click here.

mclainbobEntercom Ups McLain to OM at Greenville News/Talk and Sports Stations; Hendrix Named PD at ‘ESPN Upstate.’  A couple of programming management moves take place at Entercom’s Greenville, South Carolina cluster as longtime news/talk “WORD 106.3” (WYRD-FM) talk personality Bob McLain is named operations manager for both WYRD-FM and sports talk multi-cast “ESPN Upstate.”  At the same time, Mark Hendrix – programmer of the company’s classic rock WROQ – takes on PD responsibilities for “ESPN Upstate.”  Entercom Greenville VP/market manager Steve Sinicropi states, “The professionalism, hendrixmarkexperience and passion that Bob McLain and Mark Hendrix bring to ‘ESPN Upstate’ will help lead a powerful ESPN Radio brand that is becoming the fastest-growing sports station in South Carolina.”  Bob McLain adds, “The addition of the ESPN brand to our already powerful cluster of stations allows Entercom to better serve the important male audience.  I have worked with Mark Hendrix for more than a decade and his experience and knowledge will be invaluable as we turn ‘ESPN Upstate’ into THE dominant sports station in the market.”  On February 24, “ESPN Upstate” debuted on WORD-AM and WYRD-AM.  They are also heard on 97.1 FM and WFBC-FM HD-3 and will soon be heard on translator W290BW at 105.9 FM.

garciatonyWhat’s Your Point of Difference?  When it comes to syndicating a radio show, explaining to a potential affiliate station how it benefits that station can take more than just examples of ratings success in other markets.  Global Media Services founder Tony Garcia writes about advice for defining the difference between your show and the competition.  He says you already know what your target audience is.  “Since you already know what it is, start there, and from there take a look at what you are bringing to the show and to your potential affiliates that’s different from what’s already out there, or what’s unique about your approach to the material.”  Incorporating that into a marketing message is the next step.  Read Garcia’s entire column here.

milliondollarmediaSaurer Named CEO at Million Dollar Media.  Broadcast industry pro Bill Saurer is named the chief executive officer for Million Dollar Media, effective June 2.  Saurer also serves as president/CEO of Principle Broadcasting Network/Universal Mediasaurerbill Access.  Million Dollar Media describes itself as “the largest provider of insured contests to the media industry, and provides web-based contesting, rebate programs, sports pools, sweepstakes and promotions to a wide array of clients including professional sports teams, ad agencies, auto dealers and Fortune 500 companies around the United States and Canada.”  Million Dollar Media partner Henry Ferry comments, “We are tremendously excited to add someone of Bill Saurer’s talent, ability and experience to our team.  Both [partner] Ken Scott and myself have worked directly for Bill in the past, so we have first-hand experience of his management expertise.  As a founding partner, close friend and now CEO, we expect this dynamic to help continue the explosive growth our company has experienced, and look forward to where he will help lead us.”  Million Dollar Media, Principle Broadcasting Network and Universal Media Access are all portfolio companies of Mercury Capital Partners.

oshaughnessywilliamTaking Care of Our Own.  WVOX and WVIP, New Rochelle president and editorial director William O’Shaughnessy – who also serves as chairman of the Broadcasters Association of America’s Guardian Fund – pens an appeal to those in the industry who’ve benefitted so much from success over the years but who haven’t considered engaging in philanthropy to help those broadcasters who’ve fallen on hard times.  In his own inimitable fashion, O’Shaughnessy writes about the important mission the BFoA serves.  Read it here.

andersonmollgraciesGracies Gala Takes Place in Beverly Hills.  In Beverly Hills last night (5/20), women working in all forms of media were honored by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation at the historic Beverly Hilton Hotel, at the 39th Annual Gracie Awards Gala.   Television personality Aisha Tyler hosted the gala that recognizes exemplary programming created for women, by women, and about women in all facets of media, including radio, television, cable, and new media.  The awards program also encourages the realistic and multifaceted portrayal of women in entertainment, news, features, and other programs.  Pictured here is iHeartRadio host Moll Anderson arriving on the red carpet.   Also honored were Premiere Networks syndicated country morning personality Bobby Bones and show cast member Amy  and SiriusXM’s Julia Cunningham.  AWMF chair Kay Olin comments, “The Gracies is such a special celebration, and it is a privilege for the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation to honor the work of our talented Gracie winners.  It is truly inspiring to be in a room with so many industry professionals who have come together to recognize exceptional programming for women, by women, and about women.”  Photo courtesy of Leroy Hamilton.

knusdebateTalking Issues.  The Colorado gubernatorial candidates lined up (literally and figuratively) for a debate that was broadcast live on Salem Communications-owned news/talk KNUS, Denver .  The 90-minute event took place before a live audience on the campus of Colorado Christian College.  Pictured here are (from left to right): Colorado State Senator Mike Kopp, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, KNUS afternoon personality Steve Kelley, and former U.S. Congressman Bob Beauprez.

VA Scandal, Primary Super Tuesday, Global Warming, Americans on Disability, Russian Military Aggression, U.S.-China Hacking Conflict, and NHL and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/20).  The growing probe into poor treatment of veterans at the nation’s VA hospitals; the run-up to the Super Tuesday Primary elections; debate over humanity’s role in climate change; the increasing number of Americans receiving disability payments; Russia’s continued military aggression; conflict between the U.S. and China over charges brought against Chinese hackers by the U.S. government; and the NHL and NBA playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, November 16, 2012

| November 16, 2012

Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke Comments Cited in Dial Global’s SEC Filing.  Talk radio has long been saddled with the label of “controversial programming” that makes it a difficult sell on the national level.  Agencies have numerous other marketing options through which clients can get out their message.  Especially for family-oriented goods and services, why take a chance on “controversial programming?”  But Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke comments last March brought renewed bad PR to the format and, as was discussed at both of TALKERS magazine’s New Media Seminars this year (June in NYC and October in Los Angeles), the scarlet letter weighs heavy upon the talk radio business.  So much so that Dial Global – in reporting to the SEC – cited Limbaugh (not by name) as part of the reason the company is taking a $67.2 million impairment charge.  Here’s what the company says: “We normally perform the required impairment testing of goodwill on an annual basis in December of each year.  As a result of several factors, which had a significant impact on our fourth quarter bookings and sales, we performed an interim analysis of our goodwill carrying value as required by ASC 350, Intangibles-Goodwill and Other.  We believe our 2012 results were adversely impacted by, among other things, late cancellations in ad buys (which we believe was a by-product of the election and renewed economic uncertainty), competitive factors, such as a greater diversity of digital ad platforms (into which ad budgets have flowed) and increased competition from our major competitors, and advertisers’ response to controversial statements by a certain nationally syndicated talk radio personality in March 2012.”  Talk radio is unlikely to become “family friendly” in the eyes of agencies anytime soon and talk sellers appear resigned to having to carve out new niches of advertisers and work hard to get and keep them.  For big corporations with a lot of debt, that’s not a comforting thought.

Dial Global Voluntarily De-Lists from the NASDAQ.  As a result of the company’s low volume of trading combined with other factors, including the associated costs of maintaining its listing on the NASDAQ, Dial Global announces it will undertake the delisting process beginning on or around November 26 and be completed on or around December 6 of this year.  Dial Global will remain a publicly traded company – it reports no plans to go private – but the stock will be traded on the OTC Pink Sheets.

Envision Radio Networks Develops “America Weekend” Program.  Calling it the “next generation of weekend talk radio,” Envision Radio Networks says the new “America Weekend” program is “a break from the usual brokered programming and rerun political fare of most news/talk stations, ‘America Weekend’ covers the lighter side of news and lifestyle issues facing today’s on-the-go talk listeners while maintaining revenues from paid hosts.”  Envision states the show provides six hours of live programming on both Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm EST and accommodates up to four local expert slots per hour, with frequent break-away points for sports, weather or other local programming. Since the programming is broadcast live via satellite, ‘America Weekend’ is able to stay current by addressing breaking and developing stories of national interest as they happen.  Anchoring the show will be “top-level, nationally recognized” hosts joined by high-profile guests.  Programmer and consultant Kipper McGee is executive producer of the show and he states, “It’s been said that ‘weekdays are for ratings, weekends are for revenue.’  However, now we’re seeing the damage that poorly rated weekend programming is causing weekday shows.  Listeners are forced to find other weekend options, and increasingly are not finding their way back to the radio station.”  Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff says, “‘America Weekend’ is all about maintaining revenue opportunities for radio stations from long-form brokered programs in a new and innovative way.  We have always believed that there is a better way for radio to monetize its Saturday and Sunday programming without sacrificing quality.  Finally, ‘Content is King’ again on weekends.”  Interested stations can visit www.envisionradio.com or contact Melissa Bachtel at 216-831-3761 or melissab@envisionradio.com.

CBS Sports Radio Network Names Damon Amendolara Overnight Host.  When CBS Radio’s new national sports network debuts on January 2, WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” evening host Damon Amendolara — “D.A.” — will be the network’s overnight host manning the 2:00 am to 6:00 am shift.  Amendolara has been with the Boston sports talker since it debuted in 2009.  He is also the sideline reporter for the New England Revolution on Comcast and a frequent guest and fill-in host for CSN’s Sports Tonight/Sports Sunday.  He serves as an anchor on CSNNE’s “Pregame Live” and “Postgame Live,” appears on Fox 25 Boston, while contributing to NFL Films and the NFL Network’s Top 10 series, ESPN News’ Air Check and NFL Films Presents on ESPN.  CBS Sports Radio director of programming Eric Spitz says, “D.A. is an all-star in Boston and his energy and understanding of the sports world will no doubt translate to a national platform.  Damon is certainly the man to keep listeners engrossed overnight, and his work at stations across the country, covering a multitude of different sports, will be beneficial to our listeners.  His success and following on our local radio station and his charitable endeavors in the community prove he will make a great addition to our already outstanding lineup at CBS Sports Radio.”

WTOP Newsman Donates iPhone to Newseum.  It’s unclear whether WTOP, Washington news reporter Neal Augenstein was the first American radio news reporter to use the iPhone as his “sole” reporting tool, but Augenstein sure has attracted a lot of interest after it became known how he was using the device.   Poynter.org reports the donation to the Washington, DC museum of news and related technology.  Newseum Curator of Collections Carrie Christoffersen tells Poynter.org, “We collect all sorts of things that relate to changes in news technology.  It was really interesting to us, since he’s doing all of his audio interviews, editing, video work, all on his iPhone, with some supplement from an iPad.  He’s enabled himself to be very, very on-the-go.”  There are no immediate plans to display the device but Christoffersen says their exhibits are always changing.  Augenstein is pictured here being interviewed recently for Talkers TV about his use of the iPhone for reporting.  Check out the cool five-minute video here.

Odds & Sods.  Radio pro Turi Ryder fills in on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago for midday talk host John Williams today…..Filling in today for Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries is KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive host Alan Stock.

Inside the Locker Room.  In the photo here, KLAC, Los Angeles and Fox Sports Radio Network hosts Petros Papadakis (l) and Matt “Money” Smith (r) interview Los Angeles Lakers greats Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (second from left) and Jerry West (second from right) at a recent live listener event.  Abdul-Jabbar and West offered Lakers faithful their takes on the team’s new coach and the team’s prospects for the 2012-13 season.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” weekend program is added to the lineup at KAVA-AM/FM, Pueblo, Colorado; WEZS, Laconia, New Hampshire; and KOHI, St. Helens, Oregon…..“America Tonight” with Kate Delaney is picked up by WLSC, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina…..Fox Sports Radio Network programming is added to new affiliate KOPJ, Portland…..ESPN Radio programming is picked up by Cox Media’s WDBO-AM, Orlando.

Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of November 12-16.  The ever deepening scandal involving ex-CIA director David Petraeus and biographer Paula Broadwell was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  At #2 this week was the Benghazi attack investigation.  At #3 was the “fiscal cliff” Washington lawmakers are facing followed by Obama Administration Cabinet changes at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly ranking of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio.  It is published at Talkers.com every Friday.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

| October 31, 2012

TRN’s Jerry Doyle Says Consolidation is Stifling Objectivity.  Speaking to legendary Southern California radio newsman and current PodJockey personality Brent Seltzer on Talkers TV at the recent New Media Seminar in Los Angeles, Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jerry Doyle says he believes the vertical consolidation of the talk radio business is stifling objectivity much the same way consolidation stifled creativity in Hollywood in years prior.  “It’s killed objectivity to a degree, where you become a cheerleader for whatever side it is that wants to see their side win.  I would like to think of myself as — what we should be doing more of in the business – as a coach.  A cheerleader will cheer for you when you drop the ball in the end zone but on a critical fourth down, they don’t ask the cheerleaders what they think, they ask the coach…I think we need to coach more and by people just cheering for their own side it allows those sides to be lazy and get away with mistakes…and I think healthier competition has a better outcome for all of us…I think that we have a responsibility in the bully pulpit that we have, to speak the truth.”  See Brent Seltzer’s entire interview with Jerry Doyle in Talkers TV on the right side of this page.

Interim WGN, Chicago GM to Address Staff Today.  A week after Tom Langmyer was ousted, interim GM Jeff Hill will meet with the entire staff of the station in Campbell Hall at Tribune Tower this morning.  Hill spoke with Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder and says his goal is to rally the troops, dispel some rumors and explain the bankruptcy process and what it may mean for station staffers in the future.  Hill tells Feder, “I am dedicated to the success of this radio station and to serving the needs of the listeners, the advertisers and the employees here.  I’m a little exhausted by the kicking around that we’ve dealt with from a lot of outside sources, and think that we need to stay as positive and as focused as we can.”  The news that afternoon host John Williams would give up his WGN gig to focus on his WCCO, Minneapolis show came on the heels of Langmyer’s departure and Hill must deal with the staff’s concern about the future of the station.  Hill is combating chatter on message boards that Tribune Broadcasting president and CEO Nils Larsen will attend the meeting to begin preparing the staff for job cuts.  Hill tells Feder, “I don’t know where the message boards come up with this, but that is by no means the case.  I’m sure there are people out there that want to create havoc and confusion and distress amongst current staffers or want to create headlines that aren’t there.  But the memo came from me to our staff. In my conversations with Nils he has said flatly that it’s my meeting and my agenda.”  But Hill does say he’s not eager to have the “interim” removed from his title since a sale of WGN is possible and new owners would want to make those types of management decisions.

Chalk One Up for the CHR Station.  Consultant and brilliant radio idea man Walter Sabo – a resident of Manhattan – tells TALKERS that from the perspective of a person who lives in New York City and whose life was seriously disrupted by Hurricane Sandy, he found the absolute best and most valuable coverage and information provided by any station of any format on either the AM or FM dial during the blackout and aftermath of the storm was – believe it or not – Clear Channel’s CHR outlet, Z100!  Sabo says, “They did a much better job of conveying the real news and helpful information to the listener than any other station – some of which, of course, weren’t even on the air because they weren’t technically prepared for such an emergency.  Z-100 provided blocks of about 20-25 minutes of really important information – the stuff people need to know – followed by a top five song.  Then when the song was over, they went right back into providing the information I needed for me and my family…transportation updates, health concerns, school and road closings, and safety guidance for another 20 minutes or so.  It wasn’t long-winded, superfluous filler, but rather vital facts and stuff people could use.  And then they would play another top five song. This went on throughout the day.”  Sabo states, “It was brilliant – a credit to good radio – and they are to be congratulated.”

Media Broker Says Opportunity is Knocking Right Now for First-Time Station Buyers.  Sandi Bergman, whom TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “a dynamic rising star among today’s crop of media brokers,” has positive news for the many recently laid-off radio management figures looking to apply their seasoned skills in a new and productive direction in the industry.  They should consider radio station ownership!  Ownership is not just for the mega-corporations who are burdened with seemingly insurmountable debt.  As a matter of speculation, it is indeed possible that many of them will be spinning off unwieldy properties in the months and years ahead creating new opportunities for fresh blood in the business.  According to Bergman, who owns the innovative website www.RadioTVDeals.com and the New Mexico-based brokerage firm MyMediaBroker.com and is one of the relatively few major female brokers in the game, there are many incredible opportunities for first-time buyers.  She states in an exclusive interview that will be carried in its entirety tomorrow (11/1) in both TALKERS and RadioInfo, “In the large markets, AMs can be purchased for a fraction of the price they sold for five years ago.  I have listings for AMs in top 10 markets that are priced very reasonably, and, one of those sellers will carry some paper.  There are some great groups in medium and small markets that can be purchased at a six-to-seven-times cash flow multiple, and many of those sellers may offer some portion of seller financing.  In my opinion, a first-time buyer should consider looking into small markets where the station or group is the only show in town.  Local businesses will support a local owner first and foremost, especially if the station group is enmeshing itself into the community and schools.  It is a good situation where he operator does not have to deal with the competing stations going for the same local dollar.”  Bergman points out, however, that sales is the key to making it: “The very most important factor in operating a station or group is sales.  Without adequate sales, the owner can very easily miss the loan payment.  Miss the loan payment, you lose the station.  This must be kept in perspective at the very onset of ownership!  A new owner/operator needs to keep operating costs in check and make the loan payment.  It is also important to keep all bills current.  It is not an ideal situation in any marketplace to have a reputation for being behind on bills.  Not good for business.  First-time owners/operators should become entirely involved in the communities they serve, and give on-air time to local clubs/organizations.  Many operators sell sponsorships for public service announcements which is good business.  Broadcasting local high school/university sports is most always a “ticket” to advertising and overall business success in radio.  Combine these items with superb local news coverage, and you’ll have the local advertisers in your pocket.”  Read the entire interview with Sandi Bergman here tomorrow.

Arbitron and Magic Broadcasting Settle Dispute.  Magic Broadcasting, LLC and Magic Broadcasting Alabama Licensing, LLC owned stations in the Dothan, Alabama market before selling them in February of this year.  Previously, Arbitron had taken legal action against Magic for copyright infringement and breach of license agreement.  In a suit filed last November, Arbitron alleged that Magic Broadcasting improperly used proprietary or copyrighted Arbitron materials, information, and data after the expiration of its license agreement with Arbitron. The lawsuit was filed as part of ongoing Arbitron initiative to protect its intellectual property rights.  Now, the two sides agree to settle the complaint for an undisclosed sum.  Magic also agrees not to engage in any activities that would infringe, misappropriate, or breach Arbitron’s intellectual property rights in any of its reports, data or software.  Magic acknowledges that its on-air personalities are not authorized to refer to Arbitron ratings data and agree to refrain from making any unauthorized use of Arbitron’s ratings data in the future.  Arbitron agreed not to pursue legal action against Magic as long as Magic complies with the terms of the settlement agreement.

Hulk Hogan Settles Suit with Radio Host Bubba the Love Sponge.  Pro wrestling legend Hulk Hogan and talk radio star Bubba the Love Sponge have reached a settlement over the release of a video of Hogan having sex with Bubba’s then-wife Heather ClemTMZ reports that a settlement has been reached but does not publish the details.  The story states that Hogan is still suing Heather Clem and the gossip sit Gawker for $100 million.  The video is some six years old and shows images of Hogan and Clem having sex in Bubba the Love Sponge’s home.  It was recorded with a security camera unbeknownst to Hogan – making it illegal under Florida law – and how Gawker got a hold of it remains unclear.  However a lawyer for Bubba the Love Sponge says Bubba did not release the video and does not condone the release of it.

Home Improvement Hosts The Carey Brothers Offer Tips to Sandy Victims.  Nationally syndicated home improvement talk hosts James and Morris Carey – hosts of “On the House” – are offering to give advice to radio listeners affected by Hurricane Sandy via stations in the East.  Program general manager Bob Agnew says the Careys can address “the issue of survival without electricity, how deal with issues such as restarting pilot lights for furnaces when power returns, how to salvage areas affected by the flooding, safety tips when going back into their homes and more.”  The Careys are available to stations via ISDN beginning at 8:00 am EST and interested parties should contact producer Kate Wolfson for requests at 877-612-8280 ext. 705 or by email at kate@onthehouse.com.

Industry Mourns the Death of Greg Jessen.  Cumulus Media VP/market manager for Green Bay, WI, Greg Jessen has died after a courageous battle with cancer (10/28).  Funeral services will be held in Green Bay on Friday (11/2) at Malcore West Funeral Home.  A fund has been established by Greg’s radio family in Green Bay, the “Kyle and Andrew Jessen Fund” as a way to honor Greg’s memory and care for his sons.  For information please contact Jeff.Schmidt@cumulus.com

 

Mike & Mike “Gangnam Style.”  ESPN Radio and ESPN 2 morning drive stars Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic dressed up as versions of South Korean pop star Psy for today’s Halloween program.  In addition to merely looking the part, they produced their own version of the internationally popular music video and posted it on ESPN.com.  This screen shot captures Mike & Mike in all their pop video glory!

Sandy Aftermath, Presidential Polls, Campaign Resumes, and Benghazi Attack Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/30).  The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy; the presidential polls and the resumption of the campaign; and the controversy over the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

| October 24, 2012

Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group forms Podcast Giant Launchpad Digital Media.  Courtside Entertainment Group CEO Norm Pattiz (pictured below at left) enters into a partnership with digital, online and podcast sales pioneer Kit Gray (below at right) to form a new division of Courtside Entertainment Group called Launchpad Digital Media.  Courtside states that the podcast platform includes some of the biggest names in digital entertainment including: Adam Carolla, Bill Burr, CBS News, Afterbuzz TV with Maria Menuounos, Jay Mohr, Dr. Drew, Chris Hardwick (The Nerdist), Mark & Lynda, Brian & Jill, and Penn Jillette.  Launchpad will also be home to the Sideshow Network, The Fake Mustache Network, Riotcast Network, Splitsider Network and the Toad Hop Network making Launchpad one of the industry’s largest players.  Kit Gray will serve as president and COO of Launchpad Digital Media.  In a statement announcing the new company, Pattiz says, “Podcasts represent one of the fastest growing segments of digital media.  Kit Gray has a great track record of success in this important space and brings with him not only knowledge and energy, but the revenue and cash flow to prove it.  He brings Courtside instant access not only for our existing programs but for the development of future programming that will live on the Launchpad platform.”  Gray states, “Forming a partnership with Norm Pattiz, the founder of Westwood One, with his incredible vision and history of working with the top talent is an unbelievable opportunity.  This partnership, as a division of Courtside, allows us to offer all of our existing clients more resources to expand their products and deliver more audience to develop the advertiser support that will benefit us all.”  Speaking about this new effort, Patty Newmark of Newmark Advertising says, “The digital space for audio is growing exponentially and has allowed us to extend additional opportunities to our clients.  Having a highly respected leader of the radio industry like Norm Pattiz form a new venture with Kit Gray, an expert in the area of digital media, is very exciting.  These two innovators working together will create important opportunities within the changing media landscape.”  Courtside notes that Kit Gray has represented programming that exceeds a half-billion podcast downloads annually.  He’s worked with media agencies throughout the nation, served as a division manager for Clear Channel (Katz 360 Digital), was the director of advertising for Verizon’s EV-DO networks Amp’d Mobile and was the recipient of the “Seller of the Year” award for Katz Media Group.

Mel Karmazin to Leave SiriusXM in February.  Just how and when Mel Karmazin was going to leave SiriusXM was really the question – that he was leaving was pretty much a foregone conclusion to most industry watchers.  Now we know Karmazin will exit his CEO role with the satcaster and he will resign from the company’s board of directors on February 1, 2013.  In a public statement, Karmazin says, “SiriusXM is an extraordinary company with an incredible team.  It is an honor to come to work here every day where we truly deliver the best radio on radio.  I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished.  Given where we started, it is amazing that SiriusXM has grown to become the largest radio company in the world.  With a deep bench of corporate talent, a roster that includes the most in-demand on-air personalities and a wide range of exclusive programming, SiriusXM has never been better positioned than it is today.  We continue to grow our subscriber base to record levels and our financial position has never been stronger.  Importantly, the commitment to delivering innovative new products and technologies is very strong.  SiriusXM has a strong foundation to build on for the future and there is a great team in place to keep the company moving forward.  I am confident that SiriusXM’s best years are ahead.”  The press release includes a statement from SiriusXM board chairman Eddy Hartenstein.  He says, “On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Mel for his significant contributions to the company.  Under his leadership, the company underwent a transformative merger and a financial restructuring that has enabled SiriusXM to deliver significant value for shareholders.  Our record breaking financial results are a testament to Mel’s leadership and strategic planning and we continue to exceed our expectations with all-time high subscriber numbers.  Thanks to Mel, we are well positioned for long-term growth and value creation.  We will miss Mel – and the board wishes him the very best in his future endeavors.”

More Changes at WGN, Chicago as John Williams to Leave Midday Show.  John Williams will continue with Tribune’s WGN, Chicago through the end of the year but, beginning in January, he and his family will return to the Minneapolis area and Williams will give his full attention to his afternoon drive show at CBS Radio’s WCCO which he’s been doing from Chicago for some time.  WGN program director Bill White states, “John is a great broadcaster and has been a valued member of the WGN Radio family.  While we are sad to see him go, we are happy for John and his family that they are able to return to Minneapolis, where they lived before moving to Chicago.  We wish him all the best and know that he will continue to shine in his role at WCCO.”  Williams indicates this is a decision he’s been considering for a while.  “I decided some time ago to do just one show – as well as I can – and that one will be at WCCO. Both stations and staffs deserve as much.”  WGN is seeking his replacement and expects to name the new host of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program in the coming weeks.

Shamrock Communications Officially Announces Today’s Launch of KNEWS in Reno.  Yesterday, TALKERS reported the debut of one of four new FM signals Shamrock Communications is putting on the air in the Reno market.  The company officially announces the launch of KNEZ-FM “107.3 KNews” today and 13-year radio veteran Sean Patrick is a big part of the station.  Patrick, who is the station’s news director, will also host the PM drive show as well as serve as the voice of Wolf Pack football and the Reno Bighorns.  Director of broadcast operations for the station is Willobee Carlan.  Sean Patrick states that with the ever-changing political climate, people want something new, “There’s too much confrontation on the airwaves and not enough conversation. We will bring a much more level-headed conversational tone to political talk.  Neither side is 100% right nor 100% wrong.  We want you to be a part of the conversation.  KNEWS Reno is ‘The Conversation Station!’”  The station will air Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck in AM drive followed by Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish and Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries in the evenings.

Mark Levin-founded Landmark Legal Foundation to Sue EPA.  Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Mark Levin explained the Landmark Legal Foundation’s intent to sue the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency on his program on Monday.  Levin stated the suit centers around new environmental rules set to kick in for which the public has not been given notice.  According to The Examiner, the Landmark Legal Foundation requested the documents through the Freedom of Information Act months ago but the records have not been turned over.  The organization also petitioned the federal court to block administrator of the EPA Lisa Jackson and her agency from issuing any new regulations until the agency releases the documents.

WEEI, Boston Debuts New Baseball Show.  Playing the “hits” in New England on a sports talk station means talking about Red Sox baseball no matter what time of year it is.  To that end, Entercom Boston vice president of programming and operations Jason Wolfe announces a new weekly program hosted by Kirk Minihane and WEEI.com Red Sox insiders Rob Bradford and Alex Speier called “Red Sox Hot Stove.”  The one-hour program debuts tomorrow night and airs from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm Thursdays through February 14.  Wolfe says the program will be focused exclusively on the Red Sox and will include regular interviews with Sox GM Ben Cherington as well as many other Sox beat writers and columnists who will provide unique information and insight.  “This is has been a very difficult season for Red Sox fans, but it also means that the off season will be incredibly meaningful.  There will be more Red Sox talk this off season than in any other in recent memory given the needs of the team, and this show will provide listeners with the most up to date information as it happens.”

Nationally Syndicated Host Dr. Ken Kronhaus Featured in AARP/Crest Health Campaign.  As host of the nationally syndicated Stephan Multimedia weekend production “Good Day Health” and frequent contributor to Doug Stephan’s daily “Good Day” syndicated morning show, Dr. Ken Kronhaus is a well-known voice in health media.  Now, he is working with AARP and Crest on a campaign featuring Dr. Kronhaus that includes custom content provided by him promoting the idea that the mouth is the gateway to your overall health.  Dr. Kronhaus also serves as AARP health-editor-at-large.

Post-Debate Analysis, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Attack Controversy, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/23).  Analysis of the candidates’ performance in the final presidential debate; the most recent polls of the presidential campaign, new information indicating the White House knew the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was terrorist related; and the turbulent week of activity in the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, September 14, 2012

| September 14, 2012

Bryan Nehman to Take Over Morning Drive on WBAL, Baltimore.  Anne Arundel County, Maryland native Bryan Nehman is named the successor to the morning drive show at Hearst’s news/talk WBAL, Baltimore after Dave Durian – who’s been with the station for 20 years – steps down from his position this fall.  Nehman has been half of the “Brian and Bryan” show on Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington with Brian Wilson but tells the Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik the WBAL job is too good to pass up.  “Number one, it’s a great station, and I love the fact that they’re local, local, local.  It’s very hard to find that in radio these days.  Almost everywhere you go, it’s syndicated in radio.  The company is fantastic from everything I heard.  And then, there’s the city.  I’m a Maryland boy through and through.”  WBAL program director Dave Hill tells the paper, “Bryan is one of the brightest young men that I’ve met, and he is the guy who’s going to lead WBAL into the next 20 years of broadcasting.”  Durian’s last day hosting the AM drive show is not certain – though mid-October has been suggested.  Durian will remain with the station to do special assignments.

Trip Savery Upped to VP/General Manager at Greater Media Charlotte.  Director of sales Trip Savery is promoted to the vice president and general manager position at Greater Media’s Charlotte cluster that includes news/talk WBT-AM/FM and personality AC WLNK.  Savery joined Greater Media in March of 2010.  He’ll continue to perform director of sales duties and will now serve as acting market manager under senior vice president and general manager Rick Feinblatt who says of Savery, “Trip’s outstanding performance as DOS of Greater Media Charlotte has earned him this well-deserved promotion.”

August Sports Scoreboard.  Sports talk radio is one of radio’s hottest formats right now.  It has the kind of listener engagement that advertisers crave, it brings adult men with disposable income to the table and its content focuses on one of the hottest aspects of American pop culture in the early 21st century – professional sports.  Sports as a radio moneymaker is evidenced by the recent launching of not one but two new players in national sports talk content – CBS Sports Radio Network and NBC Sports RadioTALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian has taken a look at the ratings of 40 of America’s sports talk outlets and compiled them in this “scoreboard-style” feature.  Check out the rankings in Kinosian’s piece here.

Killer Endorsement Spots: Advertisers’ (and your) Best Buds.  Consultant Holland Cooke says the best way radio can fight the competition for ad dollars (Google, Pandora, et al) is for personalities – talk hosts and jocks – to use the credibility and relationships they’ve built up to their advantage.  Cooke says, “Radio is an intimate medium, with decades of cred’ to the two generations which control most retail spending.  So the local DJs and talkers who will survive the ongoing bloodbath do so by being more than just voices.  Properly applied, the trust you have earned with listeners can sell-sell-sell, in a way that makes Arbitron numbers irrelevant.”  How to do that?  Holland has some suggestions.  Read his piece here.

Re-Branding Drives Success for Home Improvement Host Danny Lipford.  Mobile, Alabama-based home improvement talk show host Danny Lipford says his weekend program is gaining new affiliates since he re-branded his program.  Now called “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford,” the former “Homefront” show is garnering renewed interest, according to Lipford.  “SuperTalk Mississippi was the first group to come on board with our name change from ‘Homefront’ to ‘Today’s Homeowner.’  The response to the name change has been tremendous.”  Danny Lipford has made over 150 television appearances on shows such as “Rachael Ray,” “Live with Regis & Kelly,” “CNN’s Your Bottom Line,” and “The Early Show on CBS.”  He also produced a television program of the same name.

Talk Hosts Play Role in Family Research Council “Values Voter Summit.”  This weekend’s Family Research Council “Values Voter Summit” in Washington, DC will feature a number of high-profile talk show hosts.  Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett will introduce GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.  The congressman once worked for Bennett at the think tank Empower America before he entered public service in the Congress.  SRN talk personality Dennis Prager will serve as a keynote speaker with his speech addressing “the need for American values to triumph around the world.”  Other talk personalities appearing this weekend will include Premiere Networks star Glenn Beck, Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham and Cumulus Media Network’s Mike Huckabee.

WGN, Chicago’s John Williams to Attempt New Speed Golf World Record.  WGN midday host John Williams and a group of his listeners will attempt to break the world record for the fastest round of golf on Sunday at Carriage Greens Country Club in Darien, Illinois.  Dubbed “King John & His Royal Court’s Speed Golf World Record Challenge,” this will be the second attempt at a world record by Williams and crew after last year’s inaugural event.  Williams has assembled a team of 200 listeners for this Sunday’s event, which will play out in a speed golf relay format.  Golfers will be assigned locations along the course based upon their best club and will hit the ball to each other in progression. The current world record is 7 minutes, 56 seconds.

Leslie Marshall Represents America Progressive Talkers in Dublin.  Nationally syndicated progressive talk host Leslie Marshall will be in Dublin, Ireland next week where she says she’ll “represent the Left/Democrats at an international debate on the U.S. Presidential race at the U.S. Embassy, in Dublin, Ireland.”  She’ll also appear at Dublin’s Boston College as well as speaking at the Women For Election luncheon about women in the U.S. Election.  Additionally, she’ll be a guest on Dublin’s “The Right Hook” talk radio program on Monday, September 17.

Talk Radio Pro Roger Fredinburg Re-enters Biz with “Homeland Security Radio.”  Roger Fredinburg was nationally syndicated by Talk Radio Network back in the 1990s.  His program was the lead-in to “Coast to Coast AM” back when it was hosted by Art Bell.  Fredinburg exited the business in 2004 after saying he became “frustrated with redundant voices and re-packaged news, each agonizing hour of talk radio parroting the last.”  He got into the national advertising agency business.  Now, Fredinburg tells TALKERS he’s getting back into the talk business due to his concerns over recent developments in the Middle East.  He says that, combined with his recognition of a growing communications gap between the public sector and private citizens as relates to Homeland Security, has awakened his passions and he is determined to make a positive difference using talk radio.  He’ll keep the focus and a watchful eye on Homeland Security and bring HS insiders to the airwaves to connect with average Americans via talk radio.  Genesis Communications Network is syndicating the program on Sundays from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET.

Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeaderhip Hits Indy.  Nationally syndicated talk host Dave Ramsey (pictured here third from the left) brought his super-successful EntreLeadership Seminar to Indianapolis on Wednesday in conjunction with the launch of the new AM/FM simulcast of his affiliate station, “Freedom 95.”  Here he poses with the station’s staff.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  XtreMEDIA’s Kevin McCullough adds five new affiliate stations: WLES, Richmond, Virginia; KTIA, Des Moines; KUTR, Salt Lake City;  WCRU, Charlotte; and WBRG, Lynchburg, Virginia…..Also, the XtreMEDIA-produced Dani Johnson show is added to WETR, Knoxville, Tennessee and WHKT, Norfolk, Virginia…..The nationally syndicated talk show “Phil’s Gang,” with host Phil Grande, is added to the program schedule at KFNN, Phoenix and KPSF, Palm Springs, California…..Fox Sports Radio Network adds its daily lineup of sports talk shows to KVNS, Brownsville, Texas…..”The Captain’s America” host Matt Bruce announces a new flagship home — WXJB-FM, Homosassa, Florida (“News-Talk For The Nature Coast of Florida”) — for his program that is syndicated by Phoenix Broadcasting…..The weekly military talk radio program, “Frontlines of Freedom” hosted by Denny Gillem, LTC, US Army (Ret) is added to the weekend schedule at Midwest Communications’ WKZO, Kalamazoo, Michigan and its simulcast WZKO, Portage, Michigan.

Libya Consulate Strike/Obama Foreign Policy Record Top News/Talk Stories for Week of September 10-14.  The violent attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the assessment of President Obama’s foreign policy record tied for the most-talked-about-stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 was the anti-American violence taking place in the Muslim world tied with President Obama’s relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  At #3 was President Obama’s “convention bounce” in the polls and at #4 was the rise in jobless claims.  The Talkers TenTM is a ranking of the top people and stories discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

| January 24, 2012

Merlin Media’s All-Newsers Making Headlines.  Although not for winning the radio news ratings wars – at least not yet.  First, from New York, Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels is not going quietly in his hand-to-hand combat with CBS Radio.  As you recall, CBS Radio lawyers sent Merlin a cease and desist for using permutations of WINS, New York’s “Give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world” slogan.  Merlin’s was, “Give us 10 minutes, we’ll give you the world.”  That difference is important, according to Michaels, who responds that his station is not infringing or misleading consumers but accurately comparing WEMP-FM’s service to WINS’s.  Still, Merlin agrees to stop using the phrase saying it’s not really important to its marketing plans.  The biggie is Merlin is threatening action if CBS does not stop declaring that WINS is “New York’s One and Only News Station,” something Merlin states is “patently false” and comes under the category of a false advertising claim.  In other Merlin Media news, its Chicago operation – WIQI-FM – is quietly testing a news partnership with NBC TV O&O WMAQ-TV, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder.  CBS’ WBBM-TV and WBBM-AM/FM have a working news relationship and now Michaels may have created a partnership with another of CBS’ news competitors in Chicago – namely NBC.  Feder writes that the deal could mean FM News 101.1 would use NBC 5 audio on its newscasts, FM News 101.1 reporters could appear on NBC 5 newscasts or they could share assignments and online content.  Feder reports the NBC brass is downplaying it as “very informal” as this point and “more of a test to see if we both can benefit.”  Stay tuned.

Lionel Adds New York’s FM News to His Expanding Media Footprint.  Iconoclastic talk show host and personality Lionel has been added to the programming menu at Merlin Media’s all-news outlet in New York (FM News 101.9) as the station’s resident “News Decoder” and legal analyst.  The star of LionelMedia.com appears on the air 12 times-per-day with one-minute commentaries at :32 between 5:00 am to 11:00 am and 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  Lionel also performs a similar role at Tribune’s New York TV outlet WPIX Channel 11 with 13 nightly news commentaries per week as well as appearances on the station’s Monday morning news program.  Tribune has begun syndicating these Lionel features to its other television stations around the country.

Michele Tafoya to End PM Drive show on WCCO, Minneapolis.  Working for CBS Radio’s WCCO, Minneapolis and doing her sports work for NBC TV has been too much for Michele Tafoya so she’s giving up the radio talk show.  CBS Minneapolis market manager Mick Anselmo tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “She just runs out of gas.  She’s coming out of 20 consecutive weeks of working seven days a week.  We’ve had ongoing conversations about this.  We’d hoped to find kind of a natural break.  The Super Bowl is it.”  Tafoya will work the Super Bowl for NBC and then take on the Olympics this summer.  As for WCCO, the station moves late-morning host John Williams (who does the show from WGN studios in Chicago) to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot and John Hines takes over the late-morning shift for now.

Dial Global Partners with CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis to Syndicate “Overnight America with Jon Grayson.”  The number of quality nationally syndicated overnight talk radio programs grows by one as Dial Global works out a deal with CBS Radio and KMOX, St. Louis to make “Overnight America with Jon Grayson” available nationally.  Grayson’s program has been heard on CBS’ KDKA, Pittsburgh and WCCO, Minneapolis as well.  Dial Global SVP of news/talk Amy Bolton states, “Programmers across the country know that a solid overnight show is critical to strong morning drive ratings.  Overnight America brings strong audiences to daybreak.”  The overnight daypart is getting crowded with syndicated offerings that already include Premiere Network’s “Coast to Coast AM”; Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon; Cumulus Media Network’s “Red Eye Radio”; and Genesis Communications Network’s “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney, to name a few.

Clear Channel Names Kevin Dorsey President of Traffic, Navigation and Mobility.  Kevin Dorsey has been with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment since September as SVP of national advertising platforms.  Now he’s upped to president of traffic, navigation and mobility where according to CC, he’ll “oversee the continued integration of Metro Networks with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Total Traffic Networks and will manage and further develop innovative programs including broadcast traffic reporting, online traffic mapping, custom routes and personalized mobile navigation.  His responsibilities will also include building integrated connections with ‘consumers on the go’ over the air, online and via mobile.”

Broadcaster’s Foundation of America Mourns Passing of James Delmonico.  It was James J. Delmonico who is credited with taking over the Broadcast Pioneers organization in 1991, changing its name and setting it on the course that would increase its treasury, profile and ability to assist those in need.  Delmonico passed away Saturday at age 91 in Syracuse.  BFoA chairman Philip J. Lombardo says, “Jim was a tireless leader for the organization, inspiring the appointment of many notables to the board of directors with new focus, determination, and purpose.  Jim was known for challenging his fellow board members to be supportive both financially and by encouraging others to do so.  Under his chairmanship, Jim brought new strengths to the organization in those early and important bedrock years.  He will be missed.”  The organization says that Delmonico “inherited an organization with a treasury of less than $30,000 and few grant recipients in 1991.  Through Delmonico’s leadership and inspiration, and that of his successors – Ward L. Quaal, Edward F. McLaughlin and chairman Philip J. Lombardo – the organization today has an outreach that will exceed $700,000 in grants this year.”

Gingrich Wins SC Primary, President Obama’s State of the Union Address, Iran Oil Embargo, Joe Paterno Passes Away and Super Bowl Matchup Set Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/23).  Newt Gingrich’s South Carolina victory keeps GOP primary going; President Obama prepares to deliver the State of the Union address this evening; Iran threatens to close Strait of Hormuz over EU oil embargo; Joe Paterno dies and adds a twist to the Penn State sex abuse case; plus the Super Bowl is set for a rematch between the Patriots and Giants.  These were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Southern California Radio Host LaFern Cusack and Partners Take “Broad Topics” Program to TV.  LaFern Cusack is well known in Southern California for her weekly program on ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles and Radio Disney’s “Playground.”  She and co-hosts Laura Nickerson and Lauren Kelley have also been producing and hosting the internet radio show “Broad Topics” since 2008.  Now, the trio is bringing the program to local television via cable TV in Santa Monica through a partnership that has been made possible by the Commission on the Status of Women in an effort to bring the woman’s voice to current issues.  The program was the brainchild of Nickerson who says she wanted “to create a forum for honest discussion of what’s going on in the world from an actual woman’s perspective.  Aren’t we all sick of the male media voice telling us all what to think?  Besides that, my kids were sick to death of hearing me go on about social policy during ‘Sesame Street.’”  Taping of the show will begin in late March.

Doc Ties the Knot.  WLW, Cincinnati late morning talk host Doc Thompson (r) is pictured here at his wedding with his lovely bride Yuna Lee (c) and WRVA, Richmond morning host and program director Jimmy Barrett (l).  Thompson and Lee met at WRVA where Thompson still hosts the PM drive show from Cincinnati.  Yuna Lee is a news anchor at WHIO-TV, Dayton.

 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

| December 28, 2011

Iowa Political Ad Money a Sign of Things to Come?  Radio and television broadcasters sure hope so as the Republican candidates for president spent some $10 million in Iowa this month in advance of the state’s caucuses next month.  Jennifer Jacobs’ article in the Des Moines Register doesn’t give a complete breakout of TV and radio ad spending so it’s difficult to know exactly how much radio has benefitted from the blitz, but here are some of the totals:  Rick Perry spent $2.86 million on TV; the super PAC pushing Mitt Romney spent $2.85 million on radio and TV; Ron Paulspent $1.37 million; a pro-Perry PAC spent $1.33 million; and Romney’s campaign spent $1.1 million.  That tally is not a complete total of all money spent but keep in mind that more cash will come to radio and TV in the days leading up to January 3.  The photo of Mitt Romney reading TALKERS in New Hampshire depicted above appeared on the February 2008 cover of TALKERS magazine’s print edition reflecting polticians’ strong interest in the election-charged medium of talk radio.  Let us hope that 2012 brings even more such interest as talk radio looks to precious campaign money as a form of relief from the financial struggles still facing most advertising-based media.  Stay tuned to Talkers.com for continuing coverage and analysis of the advertising/financial component of Election 2012 all the way through November.

Walter Sabo Honors Lynn Samuels with Exclusive TALKERS Tribute.  Noted spoken-word programmer, radio executive and broadcast consultant Walter Sabo played a significant role in the discovery and career of the late Lynn Samuels filling in some of the information missing in most of the press coverage of her untimely death and further analyzing her unique talent.  He writes, “Lynn Samuels died and you will never hear anyone like her. That’s why she was a star…You could pull ANY part of her show and make a promo.  You know how long you have to hunt for a quote for a promo from most airchecks?  No trouble with Lynn; pick a random minute and you’d have a promo…”  Read the entire Walter Sabo tribute to Lynn Samuels here.

Tribune’s WGN, Chicago to Adjust Weekend Schedule in the New Year.  Chicagoans will hear more of WGN’s daily stars on the weekends in 2012.  Program director Bill White tells Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder that, when the station is not airing sports, highlights of Jonathon Brandmeier’s and Garry Meier’s programs will air on Saturday afternoons while Sunday afternoons will feature the week’s best of John Williams and Mike McConnell.  “We think it will be a great alternative to the infomercials and paid programs that air on Chicago’s other talk stations.  Of course we continue to provide live and local news, weather and traffic reports 24/7,” White tells TOC.  Other new weekend fare includes a 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm Sunday program hosted by Brian Noonan and “WGN Weekend Late Night” featuring weekly highlights from Bill Leff’s overnight program.  “Legally Speaking,” hosted by attorney Karen Conti, is one casualty and has already aired its last program.  White says Conti will still contribute to the station but her show has ended at WGN.  Conti hosted the program with her late husband Greg Adamski for years.  Adamski passed away suddenly last February.  Conti tells Feder she’s disappointed but is exploring other local media opportunities.

Cumulus Des Moines Swaps Morning Shows; Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside to FM News/Talk.  The current AM drive shows at Cumulus Media’s classic rock KGGO-FM and news/talk KWQW-FM are trading places on January 2.  Premiere NetworksBob & Tom move to KGGO-FM while Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside move across the hall to the company’s news/talk “98.3 Wow FM” (KWQW) to host “The Des Moines Morning News with Lou and Heather.”  Cumulus Media SVP of programming Mike McVay says, “We’re excited to be able to bring 20-plus years of morning success to our news/talk station and can completely eliminate the music on their show in favor of more of why Des Moines-area listeners want to listen to Lou and Heather.  It’s for them and what they have to say.”

CBS Radio’s WNEW-FM, Washington, DC Airs Rock History Prior to All-News Flip.  DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes notes CBS Radio Washington began airing the special “The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll” after the Christmas music ended.  Just when the all-news format debuts is not known, but it’s expected to hit the air in mid- to late-January.   Hughes also reports the rumor that WJLA-TV, Washington senior assignment editor Gregg Micklos is taking the position of assistant news director at the soon-to-be FM news outlet.

2012 Presidential Race/Iowa Caucuses Run-up, al-Qaeda Iraq Attacks, Kim Jong Il Funeral and Bill Maher Tebow Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/27).  The run-up to the Iowa Caucuses for the GOP candidates for president, the Christmas Day bombings in Iraq whose responsibility was claimed by al-Qaeda, the funeral of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il and the flap over Bill Maher’s criticism of Tim Tebow were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

| December 1, 2011

KTRS, St. Louis Personality JC Corcoran Suspended for Twitter Activities.  There’s no official word from CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS, St. Louis but the reports from St. Louis-area media seem to confirm that afternoon host JC Corcoran has been suspended from the station for two weeks after engaging in a back-and-forth Twitter argument with listener-followers in which he used foul language.  The incident started when Corcoran declared Cardinals star Albert Pujols would re-sign with the team by November 18.  When that didn’t happen, Corcoran was taken to task for his prediction on Twitter and his responses including questionable language went out on the internet.  This case illustrates that even though the “letter” of FCC rules applies specifically to over-the-air language on terrestrial radio, the “spirit” of the law can now extend to social media activities as well giving the morals clause found in most talent employment contracts expanded relevance.  Talk show hosts beware – you are what you tweet!

News/Talk KFBK, Sacramento Gets FM Signal.  As the historic AM station prepares to celebrate its 90th anniversary early next year, Clear Channel announces it is ending the Hot AC on KGBY-FM and begins simulcasting news/talk KFBK on the signal as FM NewsTalk 92.5 today (12/1).  Vice president and market manager Jeff Holden states, “Today is a milestone for Sacramento broadcasting as KFBK expands to the 92.5 FM frequency to better serve the local community.  The void for quality, local and full service news and talk on FM has now been filled.  This will give a younger audience access to one of the most influential stations in, not only, Sacramento but all of Northern California.  KFBK has demonstrated leadership over the past 90 years and it continues with the same dedication and progressive nature that makes it unique.   KFBK will now reach the nearly 70 percent of the market that doesn’t tune into the AM band.”

WFLA, Tampa Adds Jock Corey Dylan to AM Drive Program.  Former WPOI-FM, Tampa DJ Corey Dylan is now part of the morning show at Clear Channel’s WFLA, Tampa.  The St. Petersburg Times reports Dylan joins Jack Harris and Tedd Webb as co-host on the “AM Tampa Bay” program and will serve as a lifestyle reporter for the station as well.  Program director Steve Versnick tells the paper, “We wanted to change the co-host role and Corey seemed a perfect fit.  She’s got a sterling reputation in the market and a broadcast journalism degree.  So while it might seem like stretch to go from an ’80s station to news/talk, her background and interest seem perfect.”

Georgia Talk Host Martha Zoller Zeroes in on Congressional Seat.  WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia talk host Martha Zoller is preparing to take leave of her talk radio career to run for Congress in Georgia’s newly created 9th Congressional District.  Zoller is still heard on Cox Media Group’s WXKT-FM but has exited the Georgia News Network from which she was syndicated across the state.  Zoller says Cox attorneys say she can stay on the air until she’s officially qualified as a candidate in May but realistically expects to have to leave her program prior to that time.  Zoller reports she has excellent name recognition in the district – 62% of likely primary voters in the conservative district have heard of her – as she will face a battle against State Representative Doug Collins and possibly others in the Republican primary election.

Dial Global’s Bill Press to Remain on San Francisco Affiliate.  Yesterday we reported Clear Channel’s plans for its AM talk stations in San Francisco that include the end of progressive talk outlet Green 960 (KKGN).  Dial Global notes that although much of the progressive talk that’s currently heard on that station will be relegated to the KKSF-FM HD-2 signal and online, the Bill Press show will be heard in the early morning daypart prior to Premiere’s Glenn Beck on KNEW 960 in the new year.

WGN, Chicago’s John Williams Organizes Holiday Food Drive.  Upon learning that food banks and pantries across the country are reporting a shortage of peanut butter, WGN talk host John Williams is organizing the “Peanut Butter & Jolly” drive to rally his listeners to donate peanut butter to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.  Peanut butter is sought after because of its protein content, appeal to children and long shelf life.  All day today (12/1), Williams will encourage listeners to donate to one of the many participating locations around Chicagoland that will be delivered to the depository tomorrow.  Williams says, “Everyone wants gifts at Christmas, but these people just need food.  If you give to this campaign, we can all say Merry ‘Chrithmath!’”

2012 Presidential Race, European Debt Crisis, Occupy L.A. Ousted and Penn State Abuse Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/30).  The GOP candidates for president in 2012, the ongoing efforts to deal with Europe’s debt crisis, the clearing of the Occupy Los Angeles protesters and additional allegations in the Penn State sexual abuse case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.  Pictured here is ABC Radio News correspondent Alex Stone covering the Los Angeles Police Department’s breakup of the Occupy L.A. camp.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

| September 29, 2011

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to Speak at Talkers Forum.  When the closing panel, “The Issues Facing Southern California – Challenges and Solutions” takes place at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum, not only will it have the eyes and ears of the local broadcasting and media community upon it — but the mayor of the nation’s second most populated city as well.  He will be in attendance preparing to deliver the concluding remarks at the first-time event that is aptly being described as a “who’s who of everybody who’s anybody in Southern California talk radio.”  Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be the closing solo speaker at the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club on Thursday, October 20 between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm rounding out what managing editor Kevin Casey calls “the most amazing roster of speakers we’ve ever seen crammed into a one-day radio industry event…this is a real happening!”  More than 30 speakers including Larry King, Norm Pattiz, Bill Handel, Don Barrett, eight program directors of the leading talk stations in the region and a star-studded array of talk show hosts constitute the roster of what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison terms “a new kind of industry gathering.”  Although already filled to capacity, a stand-by registration list has been set up to fill vacancies in the case of cancellations and the entire forum will be shown shortly thereafter on TALKERS TV.  For complete information click here.

Cumulus Does Some Management Restructuring in San Francisco.  Specifically, KGO and KSFO general manager Deidra Lieberman becomes vice president of sales for the six-station cluster that now also includes sports KNBR.  Cumulus manager Bill Bungeroth – already overseeing KNBR and music-formatted stations KFOG-FM and KSAN-FM – becomes market manager for the entire cluster.  So far this is a restructuring of management and there are no reports of positions being consolidated.

WKNR, Cleveland Makes PM Drive Show Changes.  Ohio Media Watch reports that Good Karma’s sports WKNR, Cleveland – unchallenged in sports talk programming until the recent debut of CBS Radio’s WKRK-FM – moves its current PM drive show “Afternoon R&R” with Michael Reghi and Kenny Roda to evenings and prepares to debut a new PM drive show on October 3 hosted by well-known market reporter Bruce Hooley and current WKNR staffers Greg Brinda and Chris Fedor.  Previously, Hooley covered Ohio State Buckeyes football for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and he also worked at RadiOhio’s WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus.

Artie Lange and Nick DiPaolo Program Set to Debut.  According to TMZ, former Howard Stern cast member Artie Lange and fellow comedian and one-time WFNY-FM, New York personality Nick DiPaolo have struck a deal with DirecTV to produce a pop culture-style talk show also heavy on sports for DirecTV and for radio in national syndication.  The show is reportedly to begin Monday, October 3 although the story doesn’t cite any affiliate radio stations for the program.  The report does state Lange and DiPaolo are to make $500,000 each per year of the three-year deal.

Buckley’s Joe Bilotta Named to BFoA Board of Directors.  Buckley Broadcasting president and CEO Joe Bilotta has been named to the Broadcasters Foundation of America board of directors.  Bilotta, who rose to president and CEO of Buckley Broadcasting after the passing of Rick Buckley this summer, says it’s an honor to serve on the board of an organization that gives back to the industry.  “Whether it’s an emergency grant for a broadcaster whose home was devastated while they stayed on the air during a disaster, or one who experienced a tragic and unforeseen debilitating accident, the Broadcasters Foundation is there to provide aid when there is nowhere else to turn.  I would encourage everyone to support this charitable mission of helping broadcasters in need.”

WGN, Chicago’s John Williams and Listeners Attempt Speed Golf World Record.  In the realm of goofy station promotions, this one is up near the top.  WGN midday talk host John Williams has recruited about 100 listeners to assist him in a speed golf relay format in an attempt to break the world record for the fastest round of golf played.  Dubbing it “King John & His Royal Court’s Speed Golf World Record Challenge,” the golfers are assigned locations along the course in accordance with their best club as they hit the ball to each other in progression.  The current world record is seven minutes and 56 seconds.  But Williams says, “It’s not just a world record we’re going after.  It’s a stupid world record, so that’s a natural for us.  I think of this more as an excuse to have a beer by 9:00 am.”

South Bend Broadcaster Turns to Public for Format Suggestions.  Artistic Media Partners has shut down the talk and sports format on WDND, South Bend after it and ESPN could not come to terms on a contract renewal to continue carrying ESPN content.  For now the station at 1620 on the AM dial is simulcasting the company’s FM sister Top 40 format but company president Arthur Angotti says that’s temporary and they’re willing to hear what listeners have to say.  “We’re trying not to make a decision in haste.  We’ve taken a lot of calls from people wanting to know what happened and they’ve had some interesting ideas.”

2012 GOP Candidates, Iran Military Ambitions, and Obama Economic Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/28).  The Republican candidates for president including the rise of Herman Cain in the polls, Iran’s military posturing and talk of new cruise missiles plus President Obama’s economic policies were all among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from Talkers.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

| September 20, 2011

WGN Informal Tour Now Playing on TALKERS TV.  While TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was in Chicago last week attending the NAB/RAB Radio Show, he ducked out briefly and headed across the street to the headquarters of the Tribune Company to pay a visit to his friends at WGN.  With video camera in hand, and upon extremely short notice, Harrison was graciously given an informal, off-the-cuff, tour of the facility by the station’s program director Bill White.  The video of that tour makes its TALKERS TV debut today.  Although it offers just a quick and limited slice of the rich world that is WGN – a radio station with a historic pedigree stretching back to the early 1920s – it does capture a provocative glimpse of the heritage station’s unique specialness.  Bill White takes us into the locked and almost forgotten — but still intact – record album and 45 rpm singles library, a fascinating reminder of big time radio as it was back in the day.  We visit the green room where today’s news/talk radio air guests are greeted, seated and offered beverages…a room that has hosted an endless list of the powerful and famous including heads of state.  We watch Leslie Keiling of WGN Traffic Central doing traffic reports and share a few words with her.  We talk with Jackie Paulus, WGN director of marketing & digital strategies about the station’s digital sales initiatives.  We meet assistant program director Alex Quigley in the WGN radio newsroom — situated against the dynamic backdrop of the main newsroom of the Chicago Tribune, located in the same building.  We peek in on the huge main studios of the iconic radio station.  A highlight of the visit is chatting with John Williams during a break during his midday show in the WGN street level Showcase Studio and barging in on the staff prep meeting conducted by afternoon drive star Garry Meier. View this must-see video in the TALKERS TV box on this page.

It’s Official: George Plaster Exits WGFX-FM, Nashville.  Speculation over whether sports talk host George Plaster would stay with the company he sued for his freedom eight years ago (Cumulus) when it became owner of WGFX-FM is over.  Plaster tells The Tennessean he made the decision on Friday, “It’s the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make in radio.  It was very emotional for me because of the people that I’ve worked with.  The people at 104.5 The Zone are as professional as any radio station that I have ever dealt with.  These are friends and we’ve had unbelievable success at this station.”  The new crosstown sports talk station owned by Cromwell Group – WPRT-FM – is a possible destination for Plaster but he says he’ll take some time to decide what he’s going to do next.  There is probably a non-compete that Plaster will have to wait out before going back to radio in Nashville.  At WGFX-FM, “The Allstate Sports Zone” continues on with Willy Daunic and Chad Withrow.

Premiere Networks Announces Goldline Exclusive Precious Metals Dealer Sponsor of Sean Hannity Show.  Sean Hannity’s nationally syndicated radio show – heard on more than 500 affiliate stations – reaches an extremely dedicated core group of conservative talk radio listeners.  That target demo must be exactly what Goldline International Inc. is looking for as it announces it is the exclusive precious metals sponsor of the Sean Hannity show.  Goldline CEO Scott Carter states, “Sean Hannity clearly represents the pinnacle of talk radio with millions of loyal listeners following Sean’s unique take on politics, culture and current events.  Goldline is thrilled to be a sponsor of the Sean Hannity show and help Americans across the country learn more about diversifying with precious metals.”  Speaking about the exclusive advertising deal, Sean Hannity says,I am looking forward to working closely with a gold company that has such a stellar reputation in the industry.  For those who are thinking about investing in gold, the place I highly recommend is Goldline.”

KIRO, Seattle Extends Contracts of Kevin Calabro and Jim Moore.  Bonneville’s 710 ESPN Seattle (KIRO) adds an hour to the Kevin Calabro show – now airing from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily – and gives contract extensions to host Kevin Calabro and co-host Jim Moore.  Station GM Dave Pridemore notes the program is currently the #1-rated show in the Men 25-54 demo and says, “We are thrilled to have Kevin and Jim continue to anchor our afternoon drive into the future.  Kevin’s connection to the Seattle sports audience, dedication to the craft and loyalty make him a true professional and advocate for this entire region.”

WTKK-FM, Boston Adds Pollster Scott Rasmussen for Weekly AM Drive Appearance.  Rasmussen is the founder of Rasmussen Reports – the public opinion polling firm – and a frequent guest on cable news/talk TV shows as well as a talk show host in his own right.  Now, Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston announces Rasmussen will make a weekly appearance on its AM drive show with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan every Wednesday at 7:45.  Braude says, “Scott Rasmussen is as good as they come, his insight on topics that Bostonians and New Englanders care about is unmatchable.”  Eagan notes, “He knows what Americans are thinking about, everything from politics to laundry detergent.”

Pop Culture AM Drive Hosts Chaz and AJ Simulcast in New Haven and Norwalk, Connecticut.  Cox Media Group gives talk-intensive rock WPLR, New Haven morning drive hosts Chaz and AJ another market as the duo’s program begins a simulcast on the company’s classic rock WFOX, Norwalk, Connecticut.  The show is described as a mix of humor, politics and water cooler talk.  Keith Dakin, who programs both stations, says, “This move just makes sense.  I am extremely excited to extend the reach of Chaz and AJ to the residents of Fairfield County who have never been able to hear the show.  These guys really deliver for Connecticut and I expect big things from them on WFOX.”

Marty Basch Joins CBS Radio Las Vegas as VP/Director of Sales.  Basch has worked for CBS Radio in the recent past.  He left two years ago to take the EVP/GM position with Kemp Broadcasting.  Now he returns to the company as vice president and director of sales for the six-station cluster that includes news/talk KXNT-AM/FM.

Obama Deficit Reduction Plan, Palestinian-U.N. Issue, European Economic Jitters and 2012 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/19).  President Obama’s plan to cut the nation’s deficit, the Palestinian plea to the U.N. for statehood, continued jitters in Europe over Greek debt and the GOP contenders for president in 2012 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Talkers TV visits WGN

| September 20, 2011

WGN Informal Tour Now Playing on TALKERS TV. While TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was in Chicago last week attending the NAB/RAB Radio Show, he ducked out briefly and headed across the street to the headquarters of the Tribune Company to pay a visit to his friends at WGN. With video camera in hand, and upon extremely short notice, Harrison was graciously given an informal, off-the-cuff, tour of the facility by the station’s program director Bill White. The video of that tour makes its TALKERS TV debut today. Although it offers just a quick and limited slice of the rich world that is WGN – a radio station with a historic pedigree stretching back to the early 1920s – it does capture a provocative glimpse of the heritage station’s unique specialness. Bill White takes us into the locked and almost forgotten — but still intact – record album and 45 rpm singles library, a fascinating reminder of big time radio as it was back in the day. We visit the green room where today’s news/talk radio air guests are greeted, seated and offered beverages…a room that has hosted an endless list of the powerful and famous including heads of state. We watch Leslie Keiling of WGN Traffic Central doing traffic reports and share a few words with her. We talk with Jackie Paulus, WGN director of marketing & digital strategies about the station’s digital sales initiatives. We meet assistant program director Alex Quigley in the WGN radio newsroom — situated against the dynamic backdrop of the main newsroom of the Chicago Tribune, located in the same building. We peek in on the huge main studios of the iconic radio station. A highlight of the visit is chatting with John Williams during a break during his midday show in the WGN street level Showcase Studio and barging in on the staff prep meeting conducted by afternoon drive star Garry Meier.

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