Tag: "JT the Brick"

Sports Talk Network Update: Heavyweights Covering All Bases

| January 2, 2013

Part One: CBS Launches New Network

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELES — “Happy Sports Year!”

That could easily be the battle cry sentiment among ardent fans to welcome 2013, even if it means that many of them will require scorecards to track the whereabouts of some of their favorite sports radio personalities.

A perennial sports talk talent MVP tops the headlines by switching teams, while some new names get to crack opening-day lineups, as not one – but two – national sports networks are being introduced this year, each carrying instantly-recognizable name branding.

One of them in fact, is making its maiden voyage today (Wednesday, January 2) and, if all goes according to plan, many radio station managers and programmers will be echoing that “Happy Sports Year!” declaration in about 11 months as their way of assessing 2013.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

| November 12, 2012

Clear Channel Pulls the Plug on Progressive Talk KPOJ, Portland.  The conspiracy theories from listeners and progressive talk fans are already pouring in – especially on the Portland-area blogs and mainstream media sites – but the notion that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is flipping KPOJ to sports talk for political reasons and not because of business factors has no basis in reality.  According to a piece in the local Willamette Week blog site, KPOJ’s recent 12-plus ratings were around a 1.0 share compared to some of its spoken-word competitors (news/talk KEX and KXL posted a 3.5 share and 5.0 share, respectively).  TALKERS is not privy at this time to how well Clear Channel was able to sell KPOJ but it should surprise few in the business that sports content has never been hotter from a consumption standpoint and political talk – whether conservative or progressive – is, from a sales perspective, controversial and therefore a much tougher sell, probably even in a progressive market such as Portland.  Local morning talk host Carl Wolfson was gracious in his public statement about the decision saying, in part, “I appreciate the opportunity they gave me for six years to be a voice for progressive causes in our state and nation.  I will miss all of my fun friends at work (my excellent producer Paul, remains employed!).  I love all of you, my loyal listeners.  It has been my honor to give a platform to all of the outstanding groups, volunteers, elected officials and good people who make Oregon so special.”  The station, considered one of the nation’s more successful progressive talk outlets for many years, also carried WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann, Premiere NetworksRandi Rhodes and Mike Malloy.

Fox Sports Radio Takes Over in Portland.  Beginning Today, KPOJ, Portland becomes “Fox Sports Radio 620” and carries the full lineup of Fox Sports Radio Network programming that includes “Fox Sports Daybreak,” “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and JT The Brick plus other weekend programming.  Clear Channel Portland has the rights to Portland Trailblazers basketball (which airs on sister KEX) and Oregon State Beavers sports and the “Beaver Nation Live” show will continue to air on KPOJ from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily.  Operations manager Chris Sargent states, “Combining our rich relationship with the Oregon State Beavers and Portland Trail Blazers, and now Fox Sports Radio, this is a win-win situation for us.  We expect the new Fox Sports Radio 620 to serve the community with great access to sports information and entertainment, while setting the standard of sports excellence in Portland.”

Brian Wilson Exits WSPD, Toledo.  News/talk pro Brian Wilson leaves Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WSPD, Toledo where he’s been program director, news director and afternoon drive talk host for more than seven years.  Wilson has long operated his Vacation Relief Services company and has been a host a such outlets as WABC, New York; KSFO, San Francisco; WRC, Washington; and WGST, Atlanta.  Wilson says via his Facebook page: “I am glad to have had the opportunity to preach the gospel of freedom and liberty to Northwest Ohio. Wish I had the chance on the air to say thank you and goodbye to my listeners.  I will continue to make every effort to spread the message of free markets and liberty.”

Cox Media Splits WDBO, Orlando Simulcast; AM 580 to Sports Talk.  The AM/FM simulcast of news/talk on Cox Media’s WDBO, Orlando ends today as the station takes up the ESPN affiliation and begins airing ESPN Radio’s lineup of nationally syndicated programming including “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” and SVP & Russillo.  The move adds another sports talk outlet to the market that already includes Clear Channel-owned WYGM “The Game” the Fox Sports Radio affiliate; Star Over Orlando’s WRSO the Yahoo! Sports affiliate; and Genesis Communications’ WHOO “Sports Talk Florida” the NBC Sports Radio affiliate.  WDBO’s full program schedule should be known soon and it’s not clear at this point if the station will air any local sports talk.

Unlocking the Secrets of Twitter.  One of the radio industry’s most respected digital consultants offers tips on maximizing the use of Twitter to drive listeners to the station and increase ratings. TALKERS columnist Chris Miller of Chris Miller Digital warns that Twitter is not Facebook‘s “little sister” and should not be treated that way.  He says broadcasters can use Twitter to effectively enhance their radio brand by creating a “bulletin service” that promotes one element of upcoming programming and one element only; a “customer channel” that opens a link to a real, live customer serviceperson – a recording; and by creating “mico-targeting” initiatives which separates various factions of the total target audience for very specific aspects of the programming of primary interest to them.  Read Chris Miller’s entire piece here.

WABC, New York’s Geraldo Rivera to Broadcast Sandy Relief Program.  During his midday show today, Cumulus Media Networks’ talk show host Geraldo Rivera will broadcast live from a Salvation Army post on storm-ravaged Island Park on Long Island in order to raise funds for Hurricane Sandy relief.  WABC states, “During the broadcast, singer and actress Katharine McPhee will interrupt filming the next season of her TV show ‘Smash’ to announce that she will match every donation dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000 through her charitable foundation, McPhee Outreach (for a total of $100,000).”  McPhee says,  “I was looking for the organization on the ground that was doing the most to help Hurricane Sandy victims and I found that to be the Salvation Army.”  Rivera will be on the air from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm ET.  He says, “There is no one who does more with less than the Salvation Army.  I’m hoping that my listeners and sponsors will step up and match the McPhee Outreach’s grant to raise more than $100,000 to help people rebuild their lives in the wake of this weather disaster.”

LFM’s KKFN, Denver Re-Signs Clough.  Late-morning talk host Sandy Clough re-ups with Lincoln Financial Media’s Denver sports talker KKFN.  The terms of the deal were not announced and Clough’s extending his contract with the station comes shortly after the sports talk outlet re-upped fellow air talent Scott Hastings and Joel Klatt.

 

Aaron Matthews Named PD at WWSR, Lima, Ohio.  Maverick Media fills the program director position at sports WWSR, Lima “93.1 The Fan” with market veteran Aaron Matthews.  He takes over for Ryan Reker who exited Maverick’s Lima cluster to become program director at Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne.

Opinion: Talk Radio’s Renaissance Requires Open-Minded Ownership.  Talk host and programmer Tom Becka – currently heard on KRWK, Fargo and KOIL, Omaha – says that the post-election reflection on talk radio’s future reminds him of his days as a stand-up comic traveling the country and talking with people whose concerns went far beyond the political process in Washington, DC.  “The truth is what is important to most talk show hosts is not important to most people on the street.”  Becka says hosts must be broader in their approach and management has to be willing to change.  Read his opinion piece here.

Canada’s CRTC Approves New English-Language Talk Station for Montreal.  The new English-language talk formatted station won’t hit the airwaves in Montreal until late spring of 2013 but Canada’s broadcasting regulation agency – the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has approved the application for the new station.  The company applying for the license is owned by three Montreal businessmen and the outlet will be the sister station to the French-language talk outlet that’s also been approved.  The French station will operate at 940 AM – a signal that’s been dark in Montreal for two years.  Currently, Montreal is served by Astral Media’s English-language talk outlet CJAD.

 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

| June 19, 2012

Ralph Barbieri Sues KNBR, San Francisco.  Longtime San Francisco sports talk host Ralph Barbieri is suing Cumulus Media’s sports talk outlet KNBR claiming the station fired him in April based on his age and disabilities.  Barbieri’s attorney tells the San Francisco Chronicle station officials told Barbieri he was being let go for coming to work late and not preparing.  Barbieri had co-hosted the PM drive show with Tom Tolbert since 1996 as “The Razor and Mr. T” and attorney Angela Alioto says, “If you look at the ratings, Mr. Barbieri and Mr. Tolbert were number one or two until the day he was terminated.  The fact is, before they knew he was sick, those excuses didn’t exist – and they renewed his contract.”  In late 2011, Barbieri announced he’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and the station renewed his contract a month later.  Barbieri, who is seeking $10 million in damages, went on crosstown sports talk outlet KGMZ-FM to explain the suit and said Cumulus market manager Bill Bungeroth and OM Lee Hammer expressed to him he sounded tired on the air and chastised him for having to use the restroom often because of his medications.  He says he was also criticized for being late because of medical appointments.  The Chronicle reports Cumulus Media has not responded to requests for comment.

Glenn Beck Merges GBTV Under “The Blaze” Banner.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio star Glenn Beck has been operating two of his pioneering digital initiatives – The Blaze website and internet video station GBTV – under separate names.  Now, Beck is moving GBTV and the new Marketplace by Markdown, under The Blaze umbrella.  He states in an interview with CNN, “I didn’t like the name GBTV from the very beginning for a couple of reasons; one, it’s a little egocentric, and two, it’s television, which doesn’t describe necessarily what we do.”  So Beck is merging the three properties in to what he calls “a world-class multimedia network” – The Blaze.  Asked about Beck’s move by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “There are cases in which a personal name becomes a platform brand –such as Trump, Forbes and Ford – and they worked out well.  But NBC wasn’t named Sarnoff, CBS wasn’t named Paley and Playboy wasn’t named Hefner.  I think Beck is refining his approach to continuing his successful journey as a 21st century media pioneer.”

Dave Ramsey Jumps to News/Talk KRLD, Dallas.  Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey is now heard on CBS Radio’s news/talk KRLD, Dallas from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm nightly.  Ramsey’s program had previously been carried by Cumulus Media’s crosstown KLIF.  CBS Radio Dallas VP of news/talk/sports Bruce Gilbert, states, “We are thrilled to have Dave Ramsey join our team at Newsradio 1080 KRLD.  His wisdom, knowledge and passion have garnered him many fans in North Texas and we’re proud to be the new home for his growing and successful program.”

iPad Era Creates Opportunities for News Writers.  Consultant Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS from Blogworld/New York and says opportunities for writers adept at concise delivery of information are everywhere.  “As iPod and iPhone have, stable mate iPad is, once again, demonstrating how facile new devices change the way we consume information/entertainment content, and how we interact.”  Read more from Holland Cooke at Blogworld here.

 

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Promotes Darren Davis to EVP of National Programming Platforms.  Darren Davis has worked his way up from programming Clear Channel’s WASH-FM, Washington to his new post as executive vice president of national programming platforms for the company.  CC states Davis “will work closely with Tom Poleman (president of national programming platforms) to oversee all aspects of the division and the ongoing development and execution of Clear Channel’s national advertising and programming integrations.  He will continue to manage the Programming Operations Center; the Brand Management in-house format team; and the company’s highly effective Premium Choice network.”  Poleman says of Davis, “Over the past few years, Darren has been instrumental in transforming everything from our systems of communication to the way we maximize our best programming assets.  His efforts continue to give Clear Channel the competitive advantage and resources to be even more relevant and effective in the evolving market place, offering our listeners, partners and advertisers, products and content that nobody else can.  He has clearly earned the opportunity to grow within our company and he will continue to be an integral part of our team and our future.”

JT the Brick Featured on Las Vegas Newscast.  Fox Sports Radio Network late night talk host JT the Brick was recently featured on local television station KLAS-TV, Las Vegas in a piece on the effect of social media on sports talk radio.  JT broadcasts his nightly FSRN program from studios in Las Vegas.  In the piece, JT explains the pros and cons of using social media – Twitter, Facebook and others – to bring content to his show and to interact with fans.

 

Local Combo Serves Florida Panhandle Market During Flood Emergency.  Program director Paul Stadden tells TALKERS magazine ADX Communications’ news/talk WNRP, Pensacola and sister country FM were on the scene keeping local residents informed when 13 inches of rain fell on Escambia County last weekend causing widespread flooding and some $150 million in damage.  Stadden says, “Using the staffs of both stations, employees covered the flooded streets and reported full time from the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center until the state of emergency was lifted Monday morning.”  Pictured here is WNRP news anchor Cooper Davis on the air during the marathon coverage of the disaster.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  CBS Radio’s all-news WCBS, New York takes home three New York State Broadcasters Awards at ceremonies held last night in Bolton Landing, New York.  The station won for “Outstanding Local Newscast” (Hurricane Irene), “Outstanding Feature Story” (The Sock Lady-10 Years Later) and “Outstanding Local Sporting Event” (The New York City Marathon)…..WBZ, Boston’s Joe Mathieu will host Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo on today’s monthly “WBZ NewsWatch” hour-long interview program as the Massachusetts legislature finalizes its new fiscal year budget…..Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee show will gain a major market affiliate as it joins the lineup at Francis Battaglia-owned KFNX, Phoenix.  The program will air live in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daypart…..Las Vegas-based syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs is being honored by the UNLV Honors College with her selection as the “2012 Honors College Alumna of the Year.”  The school states it is the “highest and most prestigious award given by the college and recognizes Wachs’ impact on UNLV through the significant contributions she’s made to society in your professional field and through her personal achievements.”

2012 Presidential Race, Russia Sends Warships to Syria, Rodney King Dies, George Zimmerman Legal Issues and Roger Clemens Acquitted Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/18).  The 2012 presidential campaign; Russia’s announcement it will send warships to Syria; the death of historical figure Rodney King at age 47; the growing legal troubles for George Zimmerman and his wife; and baseball great Roger Clemens’ acquittal on perjury charges were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Woodhead in The Zone.  That’s New England Patriots running back (and Nebraska native) Danny Woodhead (c) in the booth with KOZN, Omaha’s Damon Benning (l) and Mike’l Severe (r).  The NRG Media sports talk station is broadcasting live from the 2012 NCAA College World Series – six hours daily for 14 days – and had the chance to catch up with Woodhead as he stopped by The Zone’s broadcast booth.

Friday, May 25, 2012

| May 25, 2012

Sean Hannity Re-Ups with Fox News Channel.  There had been rumors that Fox News Channel prime time superstar (and Premiere Networks radio talk show star) Sean Hannity was negotiating with the News Corp. cable news/talk giant and now it’s announced the two sides have agreed on a long-term extension.  The duration and money details are few but it’s being reported the new contract keeps Hannity at FNC for “the foreseeable future.”  Hannity is the second-most-watched FNC show after Bill O’Reilly and a major part of its prime time success.  Hannity is quoted saying, “It’s been an honor and privilege to work alongside the incredible team at Fox News, whose talent is unparalleled.  In true Roger Ailes form, he saw something in me that no one else did and afforded me the opportunity to achieve incredible success.  I look forward to many more years to come.”  The news of Hannity’s extended relationship with Fox comes at a perfect time – two weeks before the New Media Seminar in New York City at which he will be personally hosting a special breakfast for all attendees followed by delivering the power-packed event’s keynote speech.  For information about the industry-only conference set for Thursday, June 7 call 413-565-5413.  Today is the final day to register.  To see the complete agenda click here.

TALKERS Top Talk Audiences Winter Report Shows News/Talk Holding Steady.  In today’s highly polarized political climate, there is a tendency toward news/talk radio ratings to be selectively cherry-picked and trumpeted for the purpose of propagandizing partisan interests.  A recent example of this is on display as the normal rises or dips in Rush Limbaugh’s PPM numbers during the two months following the Sandra Fluke controversy are touted by political action groups as a referendum on the public’s reaction to the story and reflective of the nation’s political and social mindset in general.  The truth, as broadcasting professionals realize, is that radio ratings are a complex and inexact process that can only be indicative of measurable trends when looked at over time and distance, taking a multitude of factors into account – especially during the current bumpy transition to the PPM system and the merging of significantly different research paradigms.  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “The mainstream media approaches radio ratings as though they were motion picture box office numbers or last night’s horse racing results.  The political groups, of course, play into that.  As a result, the public is getting a very inaccurate picture of the reality of this business from skewed partisan perspectives.  Both sides are shamelessly doing this.  Our business has become a political football which is not a good thing.”  The latest installment of TALKERS magazine’s quarterly audience estimates of the most-listened-to news/talk radio hosts (Winter 2012) has been posted today.  See it here.

Gow Communications to Buy KFNC-FM, Houston. That station, along with KHJK-FM, Houston, was put into a pre-packaged bankruptcy proceeding by former owner Cumulus Media last year.  The stations are majority owned by media broker Lawrence Patrick with the rest owned by creditors.  Now, the Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports David Gow’s Gow Communications (which operates sports KGOW, Houston and Yahoo! Sports Radio) is the winning bidder for the FM signal and has signed a letter of intent to buy it.  Barron reports KFNC-FM billed $2.4 million in 2011.

Sports Talk Radio Scene in Salt Lake City Becoming Clearer.  With the recently announced purchase of KZNS-AM/FM by the Larry H. Miller Group – owner of the NBA’s Utah Jazz – and Cumulus Media’s dedication to keeping former Jazz flagship and crosstown competitor KFNZ a sports outlet by simulcasting the Yahoo! Sports Radio content currently heard on its KJQS, there’s been a lot of turmoil in the Salt Lake City radio sports scene but the picture is clearing.  LHM Group will split the AM and FM signals of KZNS. The FM side will feature “Fox Sports Daybreak” in AM drive, local hosts Jake Scott and Tony Parks from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, Premiere NetworksJim Rome from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, FSRN’s “Loose Cannons” from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and FSRN’s Petros & Money from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  The AM side will consist of local hosts David James and Patrick Kinahan in AM drive, Jim Rome from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, local hosts Scott Garrard and Jake Scott from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm, local hosts Spencer Checketts and Gordon Monson from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and local host Steve Brown from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Both stations will air “Fox Sports Tonight” and FSRN’s JT the Brick.  Meanwhile, across town at Utah Radio Acquisition’s KALL – ESPN 700 – former KZNS-AM/FM host Hans Olsen joins the Bill Riley PM drive show effective June 4.

Talk Radio Legend Barry Farber Releases New Book; Will Be Honored at New Media Seminar in New York on June 7.  Pioneering talk radio host Barry Farber is publishing his new book, Cocktails with Molotov (WND Books 2012) on June 5.  The book is described as “a collection of real life short stories that Farber has somehow found himself involved in, where you’ll read of his encounters with Alfred Hitchcock, the King of Albania, and Buzz Aldrin; of his knowledge of 26 foreign languages and how foreign language came through for him in the nick of time.  He shares tales from his childhood in North Carolina and his time spent venturing abroad, from his life as a young reporter and as a seasoned journalist, along with astounding narratives of everything in between.”  Rush Limbaugh is quoted speaking of Farber.  “Barry Farber was a standout when it was difficult to get a talk show.  Unlike today, very few people hosted such shows in Barry’s era.  You had to be among the best to be hired to host long-form talk.  Barry Farber was…the best.  He was defining.  He’s always been in rarified air.”  Barry Farber will be honored with the “TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award” at the New Media Seminar on New York City on Thursday, June 7.

KRLD-FM, Dallas Names Jane Slater and Chris Arnold to Talent Roster.  The CBS Radio sports talk station brings Jane Slater over from its news sister KRLD where she was morning drive reporter to co-host the midday show with Mark Elfenbein for the “Elf and Slater” midday show.  The daypart opened up when Josh Lewin accepted the New York Mets play-by-play gig.  In evenings, the station adds market sports pro Chris Arnold to Gavin Dawson’s “The G-Bag Nation” program which is expanding to the 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot to cover for the departed Arnie Spanier.  In a statement, VP of news/talk/sports programming Bruce Gilbert says, “The addition of Jane and Chris to the full-time staff at 105.3 The Fan illustrates our commitment to be the live and local sports talk station.  Their characteristics, personalities and unique perspectives emphasize our goal to be the voice of the many diverse sports fans across North Texas.”

Federated Media Flips Two Music FMs to Sports Talk.  A new four-station sports talk brand dubbed “The Fan” is being created by Federated Media.  The latest station to announce a flip is South Bend-market classic rock WAOR-FM (licensed to Nappanee, Indiana).  The stations (including WFGA-FM, Ft. Wayne; WLEG-FM, Elkhart, Indiana; and WNIL, Niles, Michigan) will carry local sports talk shows in morning and afternoon drive and carry Fox Sports Radio Network programming the rest of the day.  Federated Media chief operating officer Brad Williams says in a statement, “We are thrilled to bring sports talk to Northern Indiana.  We are a sports-hungry region and now our customers and clients can consume and partner with our stations and Fox Sports Radio 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”  The changes take place June 4.

United Stations Radio Networks Develops Weekly NASCAR Show.  The weekly one-hour program titled, “The Final Lap Weekly” is being hosted by Kerry Murphey and Toby Christie.  Murphey is the producer and host of USRN’s daily feature, “The Final Lap,” which is heard on more than 200 affiliate stations.  USRN EVP of programming Andy Denemark states, “2012 has been another solid year for NASCAR racing with TV viewership and track attendance both up.  At the same time, sports radio is growing exponentially, so we felt it was a great time to bring a new long-form racing talk show to the airwaves.  Kerry Murphey is a proven winner, his team covers the sport like no one else, and this is a great brand extension for Kerry and ‘The Final Lap.’”  The show debuts the weekend of June 2-3.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  WLAC, Nashville-based syndicated talk host Steve Gill begins a promotion with the Nashville Daily’s chain of gas stations to offer 150 listeners up to 15 gallons of gas at just $1.84 per gallon – January 2009 prices – beginning Tuesday, May 29.  Listeners must tune in to Gill to know which location is offering the bargain…..Journal Broadcasting names Mike McQuilliam promotions and marketing director for the company’s Wichita operations…..CBS Radio’s WCCO, Minneapolis extends its contract with University of St. Thomas to air its football games through the 2013 season.

2012 Presidential Race Top Talk Radio Topic for 8th Consecutive Week.  The battle between challenger Mitt Romney and President Obama in this year’s presidential campaign was again the #1 story on the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories and people on news/talk radio for the week of May 21-25.  At #2 was the Euro Zone crisis.  Following at #3 was the financial markets activity and at #4 was Facebook IPO troubles.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Fox Sports Radio Network adds four new affiliates owned by Federated Media.  WFGA-FM, Ft. Wayne; WAOR-FM, South Bend; WLEG-FM, Elkhart, Indiana; and WNIL, Niles, Michigan all begin carrying FSRN programming, including Dan Patrick, Jim Rome, “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and more beginning June 4…..WRDU-FM, Raleigh – Rush Radio 106.1 – adds the Allan Handelman show to its weekend lineup.  Handelman’s program was the afternoon drive show at WZKT-FM, Burlington, North Carolina until a recent format flip…..KUFO, Portland picks up Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street with Chris Markowski”…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds six new stations to his affiliate roster including: WGWD-FM, Tallahassee; WWNS, Statesboro, Georgia; and WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois.

 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

| May 23, 2012

Clark Howard Takes on Expanded Role at HLN.  Consumer affairs expert and nationally syndicated talk radio host Clark Howard is going to get more face time at Time Warner’s HLN cable channel.  Howard, who does a weekend program at HLN and contributes to the channel’s “Morning Express” program, will be part of an ensemble weekday afternoon news program titled, “Evening Express” airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET.  Howard will be partnered with TruTV’s Ryan Smith, who will handle lead anchor duties, and British journalist Isha Sesay who has worked for CNN International and serves as a correspondent for CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”  In a statement, HLN says the new program is designed to take a “solutions-oriented look at the day’s news, accompanied by deeper discussions and reporting on stories and issues that resonate in the American household – including parenting, education, health, personal finance and relationships.”

Utah Jazz Owner Confirmed to Buy Salt Lake City Sports Talk Combo.  The reported sale of the former Simmons Media sports talk duo KZNS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City to the Larry H. Miller Group is being confirmed by broker Patrick Communications.  The price for the two signals is $3.25 million.  The deal means Utah Jazz play-by-play will move to the new stations after being heard on Cumulus Media’s KFNZ which the Larry H. Miller Group had been operating under an LMA.  At the same time, Fox Sports Radio Network announces it will continue to provide programming for the stations under the new ownership with both the AM and FM sides airing “Fox Sports Tonight,” JT the Brick and the slate of weekend Fox Sports shows.  Premiere NetworksJim Rome will also be heard on the stations.  The FM side of the broadcast will also carry “Fox Sports Daybreak” and the “Petros & Money” show.  Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment SVP of broadcasting Chris Baum states, “We are very pleased to continue our affiliation with Fox Sports Radio as we move to 1280 The Zone and Fox Sports Radio 97.5.  The FSR shows complement our local lineup very well on our new 50,000-watt AM signal, and the additional coverage on our FM signal will allow us to better reach and serve sports fans, and Jazz fans in particular, all along the Wasatch Front.”

Kevin Sheehan Extends Deal with Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington.  Red Zebra Broadcasting announces midday co-host Kevin Sheehan – who co-hosts “The Sports Fix” with Thom Loverro – has signed a two-year deal to remain with the company.  Sheehan also continues with the Washington Redskins Radio Network where he hosts the “Official Redskins Pre-Game Show.”  Sheehan will also contribute to the Tony Kornheiser program and co-host the “Monday Morning Quarterback” after each Redskins game.  Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “Kevin is as versatile as anyone in the field.  He does so much for us.  I look forward to working with him through 2014 and many years to come.”

Former New York Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro Co-Hosting with WOR’s Governor David Paterson.  As per New York Post gossip columnist Cindy Adams, former New York Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro is sitting alongside former Governor David Paterson as he hosts the PM drive show on WOR, New York as a sort of tryout to see if a duo concept works for the program.

ESPN Hosts Affiliates at “Audio Avenue II” Day in Bristol, Connecticut.  The outdoor quad at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut will be busy today as the company hosts talent from its four O&O stations and from 12 affiliate stations for a daylong live broadcast event.  ESPN Audio SVP Mo Davenport states, “Audio Avenue brings the concept of ‘ESPN Everywhere’ to life.  Each of these shows and markets represent what our listeners love, the opportunity to hear from experts locally, nationally and globally.”  Along with the hosts and producers broadcasting from “Audio Avenue,” participants will include network and affiliate management, account executives, program directors, clients, ESPN employees and those involved with ESPN Audio’s promotions, marketing and sales.  The day will also include two “Block Party Breakout” luncheons focusing on the production of “Mike & Mike in the Morning” and listener demographic research.

Courtney Smith Promoted to Director of New Business at Beasley Las Vegas.  The Beasley Broadcasting Las Vegas cluster names Courtney Smith director of new business development and marketing & events manager.  Smith has served at the company since 2006 when she joined as a promotions assistant.  She was promoted to marketing director and added events coordinator to her duties in 2009.  Vice president and general manager Tom Humm states, “I’m constantly amazed with the promotions and events that Courtney conceptualizes from scratch and pleased by the successful results they achieve.  She always makes Beasley shine. Courtney has earned this promotion and I’m very proud of her for that accomplishment.”

Facebook IPO Case, 2012 Presidential Election, Euro Zone Instability and Georgia Teacher Criticizes Student for Questioning Obama Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/22).  Securities regulators investigate Facebook IPO; the 2012 presidential election and questions over whether Hillary Clinton will replace Joe Biden as vice presidential candidate; Greece’s status as a member of the European Union; and the case of the Georgia teacher who bullied a student for criticizing President Obama were some of the most talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, December 19, 2011

| December 19, 2011

Filling in for the Holidays.  Today marks the beginning of “holiday fill-in season” on talk radio which pretty much runs through the rest of the year.  It is the time when a significant percentage of full-time hosts working at individual radio stations (and even syndicated hosts for that matter) take all or part of their annual vacations.  This process provides fill-in hosts and part-time weekend and bench hosts with the opportunity to get out there and hopefully shine.  It also has the potential to provide listeners with fresh voices and perspectives.  And it always presents already overworked programmers with the challenge of keeping their schedules flowing and appealing.  They want someone who is professional and interesting – but they also want someone who won’t upset the applecart of stationality or listener expectations.  WGN, Chicago PD Bill White explains, “I equate a fill-in host to someone hosting a dinner party in someone else’s home.  Fill-in hosts should be respectful of the regular host’s audience but not rearrange all the furniture.  We also look for fill-in hosts who will be comfortable and compliment the regular host’s audience.”  Thus, qualified substitutes are a valuable commodity at this time of year when the demand for their services is drastically increased, especially when most stations’ air staffs have been cut back or depleted due to the economy and PDs must look for help from outside.  For example, one of the industry’s most popular substitutes, former congressman and KFYI, Phoenix talk host J.D. Hayworth is subbing for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated host Todd Schnitt on 12/20 and 12/28.  He’ll be heard on hosting local shows on KXNT-FM, Las Vegas on 12/23 and 12/29-30; WLS, Chicago on 12/24, 28-30; WGST, Atlanta on 12/26; KOGO-AM/FM, San Diego on 12/27; and WPHT, Philadelphia on 12/28-30.  Demand for quality substitutes is so high that some hosts already doing full-time work use it as an opportunity to pick up extra income and exposure.  As if he is not already doing enough on his “regular” gigs, hard working and extremely talented Clear Channel talk host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (KPRC, Houston; WOAI, San Antonio; KOA, Denver; and “The Weekend”) fills in for Premiere Networks syndicated star Glenn Beck on 12/20, 23, 28 and 30. This year’s holiday season coming in the thick of the big election cycle creates even more pressure to keep stations on track.  Greater Media-owned WTKK-FM, Boston PD Grace Blazer tells TALKERS, “It’s important at 96.9 FM-WTKK to provide our audience with relevant shows throughout the holiday season that are timely and topical.  Our host vacation schedules are scattered and their fill-ins are often regular participants to their shows and share similar philosophies.  Since January 2012 is a huge month for presidential politics and New Hampshire is our neighbor, I think it’s imperative to keep 96.9 Boston Talks ‘primarily’ intact and compelling.”  At Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ, Fresno, PD Skip Essick likes to avoid throwing curves to listeners, “I try and keep programming as normal as possible.  This year it will not be as much of a challenge with Christmas Eve and Day on the weekend – same thing over New Years.  But, for instance, the day after Thanksgiving – which was designated as a company holiday – I ran full staff with regular programming.  I’ll do the same for Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, and the numerous Monday holidays throughout the year.  In a nutshell – if our listeners are at work, so are we.”  Some hosts prefer to work over the holidays and at Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, New York, program director Scott Lakefield tells TALKERS that’s the case.  “For instance, John Gambling began a ‘tradition’ of sorts of taking his ‘holiday’ vacation in January.  He will be live 12/27-30.  Generally speaking, though, my theory is to try to do ‘best-of’ compendium shows during vacation times, with the exception of drive-time when information is a bigger component and it is thus necessary to be live.  Guest hosts in my experience drive far more listeners away than hearing some ‘classic’ moments from their favorite hosts does.”  In the sports talk radio world this situation can be particularly compelling since so many outlets have a high percentage of local full-time hosts and thus more slots to fill.  Plus, opinions and personality categories in sports talk are often more idiosyncratic than general news/talk, making it more challenging to find the proper fit.  CBS-owned Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh PD Terry Foxx tells TALKERS, “Holiday fill-in for us is very important.  I match up our part-time hosts based on how I feel they will entertain and incite opinions from our fans in certain day parts.”  Some stations have fill-in hosts with a history at the station such as veteran TV/radio personality Wayne Powers who subs for Keith Larson on WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte 12/26-30…  and the list goes on.  J.D. Hayworth, who is looking to get back into the business on a regular basis as either a local or syndicated host, tells TALKERS, “As a genuine ‘broadcasting baby boomer,’ I remember the ubiquitous Robert Q. Lewis on TV game shows: most frequently, a panelist…but quite frequently, a guest host…and eventually a regular host!  So, I’m being ‘Lewis-like’ over the holidays!  During my years at N.C. State, the joke was Lou Holtz recruited me at right tackle, but I ended up ‘left out!’  So…I’m used to waiting on the the bench, but very happy to get loads of holiday airtime. I’m certain these appearances will help me leave the bench and get back in the game full time!”

John Thompson Ends Regular Talk Show at WTEM, Washington.  The iconic former Georgetown University basketball coach and talk host in the DC market since 1999 will step away from his regular show on Red Zebra’s WTEM in February to pursue other interests.  Red Zebra director of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “While a sad day for the station, we fully support Coach Thompson’s decision to move on to other projects.  As Coach and I discussed at the time of his decision, this is not a retirement.  His fans will still hear Coach Thompson on ESPN980 from time to time.  Thompson’s program airs from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm daily with co-host Doc Walker.  Sapienza doesn’t state what the station’s plans are after Thompson steps down.

Chattanooga’s Brewer Media to Drop News/Talk on WPLZ-FM Citing Expense of the Format.  It’s been three years since the locally owned Brewer Media put a news/talk format on WPLZ-FM, Chattanooga.  Owner Jim Brewer II tells the Chattanooga Times Free Press he would have needed more staff to be competitive in the market.  “I think we offered a good product and I will miss having news/talk in our building…being a small, single market cluster, it’s exceedingly difficult to compete against national broadcasting companies who have so much syndicated programming and infrastructure.”  The station will flip to an unspecified music format in the new year and will lay off talk hosts Robert T. Nash and David Karnes as well as PD Gary Poole, news director Louis Lee and a couple other employees.  Brewer Media owns three other FMs in the market including sports talk WALV – ESPN 105.1.

Birach Broadcasting Flips WWCS, Pittsburgh to Sports; Affiliates with Fox Sports Radio.  Birach Broadcasting has been airing a Spanish music format on the signal but flips to sports on January 1 as Fox Sports 540.  It’ll take most of the Fox Sports Radio Network-distributed lineup – Zakk & Jack, the Dan Patrick show, “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and JT the Brick plus Premiere NetworksJim Rome.  FSRN vice president and general manager Don Martin states, “After a short hiatus, Fox Sports Radio is thrilled to be heard again in the great city of Pittsburgh!”  The network was previously affiliated with Clear Channel’s WBGG.  In addition to CC’s WBGG, CBS Radio operates sports KDKA-FM in the market.

Dr. Jenn Berman to Host New VH1 Program “Couples Therapy.”  Los Angeles-based psychotherapist and host of the Sirius XM talk show, “The Love and Sex Show with Dr. Jenn,” is the host of a new cable TV show produced by Irwin Entertainment, the producers of “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.”  The program will follow the travails of five celebrity couples and they go through therapy with Dr. Jenn Berman.  Shows hit the air in the spring.  Dr. Berman tells TALKERS magazine, “It’s such a pleasure to be a part of this exciting venture on VH1.  I’m looking forward to being that connecting link between viewers and the process of examining the challenges of a celebrity relationship.  I think people will be very surprised by how much they identify with these celebs and their personal struggles.”  Couples taking part in the program are: DMX (Rapper) & Tashera Simmons, Linda Hogan (“Hogan Knows Best”) & Charlie Hill, Chris Nirschel (“The Next Food Network Star”) & Angelina Pivarnick (“Jersey Shore”), Kasey Kahl (“Bachelorette”) & Vienna Girardi (“The Bachelor”) and Reichen Lehmkuhl & Rodiney Santiago (“The A-List: New York”).

Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels Named to State Travel Commission.  Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announces WJIM, Lansing-based talk host Michael Patrick Shiels – heard throughout the state via the Michigan Talk Network – will serve on the Michigan Travel Commission.  “One of the key components to building a better and stronger Michigan is to continuously promote all the attractions our state has to offer, including our beautiful lakes and great landmarks.  Michael Patrick Shiels is a great addition and uniquely positioned to be a great asset to the commission.”  In addition to his radio work, Shiels is a travel writer and founder of TravelTattler.com.  Subject to approval by the Michigan Senate, Shiels will serve the remainder of Jim Berryman’s term through September 2014. Berryman recently resigned.

Ira Weintraub Takes PD Role at WTKA, Ann Arbor.  Cumulus Media Ann Arbor names APD and morning show producer Ira Weintraub program director for sports talk outlet WTKA – The Ticket 1050.  Market manager Matt Spaulding says, “Ann Arbor is a market with a tradition of providing compelling, passionate and relevant broadcast products to the listeners of southeast Michigan.  Ira Weintraub has absolutely earned this promotion and we are confident that he will help lead WTKA to many more years of broadcasting success.”

WGN, Chicago’s Milt Rosenberg Hosts 2011 Retrospective Tonight.  “Extension 720” host Milt Rosenberg hosts a special edition of his program this evening (12/19) titled, “WGN Year in Review” with fellow WGN personalities Garry Meier, John Williams and David Kaplan.  The hosts will look back on the stories that made the year 2011 from the Rod Blagojevich case to the death of Osama bin Laden to the hiring of Theo Epstein as the Cubs’ general manager.  The program airs at 10:00 pm.