Talkers Dave Ramsey, Ronn Owens, and Clark Howard Lead National Radio Hall of Fame Class of 2015. The votes have all been tallied and the 2015 class of inductees for the National Radio Hall of Fame include: legendary KGO, San Francisco talk host Ronn Owens; national syndicated talk star Dave Ramsey; Atlanta-based talk personality Clark Howard; Los Angeles urban radio star Big Boy, a.k.a. Kurt Alexander; Indianapolis-based, syndicated morning drive team Bob & Tom; and ‘Z100’ New York-based CHR morning show personality Elvis Duran. Also this year, the National Radio Hall of Fame steering committee voted to induct former CBS RADIO president Dan Mason and late WNEW-FM and WABC-AM New York legend Scott Muni. National Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin comments, “This highly esteemed 2015 class of inductees represents the hard work, drive and unique talent that makes radio great. On behalf of the National Radio Hall of Fame, I want to thank all those who took the time to thoughtfully cast their votes.” The induction ceremony takes place on November 5 at the Museum of Broadcast and Communications in downtown Chicago.
Legendary Talk Radio Executive George Green Discusses Life after KABC and New Book in Inspirational Chat with Michael Harrison. He was one of the kings of Los Angeles media, having served as president and general manager of KABC for 17 consecutive years during the station’s heyday as one of the brightest pioneering lights of talk radio. He had been there for 21 years prior to that, working his way up from sales rep to GSM to the top spot – a total of 38 years with the heritage outlet! Then, it suddenly came crashing down in 1996, when he was informed by the then-new owners of the station, The Walt Disney Company, that he was being replaced in three days by another station head. On the new installment of the international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” posted today (9/1), George Green discusses with Michael Harrison how it felt to suddenly and unexpectedly be shown his way out the door and to the parking lot; how it impacted his life and then inspired him to move forward by starting a new independent media management/advertising agency and by writing a series of uplifting books covering love and aging as well five inspirational storybooks for young children. He even dabbled in acting landing roles in a Hollywood movie, a weekly TV series and five Honda TV commercials. Now, he has written and published a brand new book – years in the writing – titled, Out of the Spotlight: Over Forty Interviews with Famous, Successful People Who Enjoy Their Lives as They Move from One Spotlight into Another (George Green, 2015). It is inspired by George Green’s own experience moving on with life after suffering the pain of being fired from a job that defined his identity. He widens that umbrella of despair to include people who enjoyed great fame only to have to come to grips with time moving on and their spotlight dimming. It happens to people in all walks of life from superstars to everyday folks. According to Michael Harrison, “George Green is one of the most important managers to ever serve in this industry during the modern era. At 84, he remains robust, clear-thinking, articulate and tremendously active in business, sports, the arts and just plain living. I am delighted to be presenting this podcast to the radio industry as well as the world. It is a story worth telling and being heard… especially in this age of cutbacks in the radio business.” To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com. For stations interested in interviewing George Green, he can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
McDonnell to Be Inducted into SoCal Hall of Fame. When Joe McDonnell passed away in Los Angeles this past March, it was the lead item for several newscasts on the city’s only all-news station, CBS Radio‘s KNX. The 58-year-old McDonnell – widely-known as “Big Joe” or “The Big Nasty” weighed approximately 700 pounds at one time; however, the sports talk host underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost roughly more than half of that. “Nasty” became a handle owing to his highly opinionated nature. On her Facebook page, McDonnell’s widow – Elizabeth McDonnell – posts, “Joe McDonnell’s dream is going to come true. The Southern California Broadcasters Hall of Fame will be inducting Joe for the year 2016. This was what Joe wished and prayed for; it was the last marker on his radio accomplishment wish list.” Those familiar with McDonnell’s on-air work would instantly associate him with being a “legendary” or “iconic” sports talk radio “fixture.” In addition to doing a nightly (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm) sports program (“The Joe McDonnell Experience”) on Clear Channel‘s (now iHeartMedia) KLAC, he also did a Sunday (12:00 noon – 2:00 pm) political talk program (“The Joe McDonnell Show”) on co-owned KTLK-AM (now KEIB). Just prior to his death, McDonnell did fill-in work at KNX. Also to be inducted in the January 2016 ceremony are Los Angeles Kings analyst on Jim Fox (Fox Sports West) and KABC-TV, Los Angeles (channel 7) sports anchor Rob Fukuzaki.
Futuri Earns Spot on Inc. 5000’s ‘Fastest Growing Private Companies.’ Interactive technology firm Futuri Media is celebrating its recognition for the second year in a row on the Inc. 500|5000 lists as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America and the only media technology company on the prestigious Inc. list. Futuri says there are now more than 525 stations, networks and broadcast groups using its technology across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Cleveland-based Futuri states it is enjoying revenue growth of 185% which puts it among the upper tier on the list, ranking #59 nationally and #23 in percentage-growth in Ohio in revenue among firms its size. Fututi Media CEO Daniel Anstandig comments, “The three key drivers in Futuri’s growth this year have been our TopicPulse social media intel system, mobile apps for TV and radio broadcasters, and our LDR (Listener Driven Radio) interactive programming systems. Our mission is to leverage social and mobile technology for broadcasters in a way that engages audiences, cultivates loyalty, and drives ad revenue. Futuri’s continued growth is a testament to our team’s commitment and success in driving results for our partners.”
Nielsen Audio Releases First Round of August 2015 PPM Data. The first of four rounds of August 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The August 2015 survey period covered July 16 through August 12. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods. Sports talker KXTG-AM/K275CH, Portland announces former University of Oregon three-sport athlete – and former NFL player – Jordan Kent is signed up to serve as host of the “Quack Attack” pre-game show that airs prior to University of Oregon football games this fall. The station says Kent currently works a multitude of shows for basketball, football, and track media coverage, with his primary role as host for Comcast SportsNet Northwest’s Talkin’ Ducks studio show…..A talent shuffle takes place at Houston sports talk stations KFNC-FM, KGOW-AM, and the affiliated Yahoo Sports Radio Network: Sean Salisbury and Steve Bunin are now hosting PM drive on KGOW; Barry Warner partners up with former crosstown KBME personality Dylan Gwinn for the 9:00 am to 10:00 am show on KFNC; Raheel Ramzanali returns to the company to host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show on KFNC. John Granato is now working on KFNC with both Ramzanali – from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon — and Sean Salisbury (who is working on both stations) from 12:00 am to 2:00 pm.
Donald Trump Candidacy, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Global Immigration Problems, ISIS Destroys Ancient Ruins, Houston Deputy Slaying, and Deflategate Matter Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/31). The popularity of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump among Republican voters; the activities of the other candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; illegal immigration problems facing the U.S. and European nations; the continuing destruction of historical sites in Palmyra, Syria by ISIS; questions about the motive for the weekend slaying of a Houston police deputy by a black man; and the stalemate between the NFL and Tom Brady over the “deflategate” matter were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Joe McDonnell: LA Saddened at Giant-Size Talent’s Passing. How “big” was Joe McDonnell in Los Angeles? Consider this: Friday’s (3/13) lead item for several newscasts on the city’s only all-news station, CBS Radio‘s KNX, was that the 58-year-old McDonnell – widely-known as “Big Joe” or “The Big Nasty” – had passed away. “Big” references regarded his weight, approximately 700 pounds at one time; however, the sports talk host underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost roughly more than half of that. “Nasty” became a handle owing to his highly opinionated nature. The overwhelming majority of those familiar with McDonnell’s exemplary on-air work in Los Angeles would quickly associate him with being a “legendary” or “iconic” sports talk radio “fixture” and that would certainly be accurate. He was, however, among the rarest of on-air talents in the country’s second-largest market, in that, in addition to doing a nightly (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm) sports program (“The Joe McDonnell Experience”) on Clear Channel‘s (now iHeartMedia) KLAC, he also did a Sunday (12:00 noon – 2:00 pm) political talk program (“The Joe McDonnell Show”) on co-owned KTLK-AM (now KEIB). Most recently, McDonnell did fill-in work at KNX. Reaction to his death has continued virtually nonstop, with a who’s who in local and national media, as well as executives of major sports franchises, offering condolences. Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia knew McDonnell ever since Scioscia first came up as a catcher in the Dodgers’ organization. “He was a good friend who will be missed. It’s sad,” Scioscia states. On Twitter, Keith Olbermann writes, “Heartbroken to learn of death of LA radio legend, my friend, Joe McDonnell. He leaves us having never held a grudge.” Ken Rosenthal comments, “So sad to hear about the passing of Joe McDonnell, a one-of-a-kind sports personality in Los Angeles and a reporter at heart.” Several years ago, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian, then the special features editor for Inside Radio, did an extensive profile of McDonnell, who freely used the word “idiot” to describe someone with whom he disagreed. It was a trademark of the bombastic on-air persona of “The Big Nasty” and customarily delivered in vitriol by the dean of Los Angeles radio sports talk hosts. McDonnell garnered legions of dedicated fans. Once – to benefit charity – he accepted the challenge of co-workers and successfully completed a four-hour shift without uttering one negative. In his profile, Kinosian shattered the myth about McDonnell and let the truth be told that in real-life, McDonnell was a far cry from the manic personality listeners were accustomed to hearing. Pensive and completely conscientious McDonnell qualified as a native Angelino, having relocated from Philadelphia in 1959 at age three with his parents. “I loved radio and wouldn’t go anywhere without it,” he fondly recalled to Kinosian. “I’d go to bed listening to it and wake up with it. I went through radios [as others] went through socks. Even when doing homework, I had the radio on.” Although thoroughly enthralled by the medium, McDonnell at that time never thought about pursuing a career in it. Family members urged him to be a lawyer, but McDonnell formulated sportswriter aspirations while attending L.A. Valley College and Cal State – Northridge. His radio career was, in his words, “a total accident.” A high school buddy McDonnell hadn’t seen in a while told him he received academic credit for working at a radio station. That was all it took for McDonnell: He scored an interview for a newsroom opening at KGIL in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley and his first day was September 18, 1975 – the day they arrested Patty Hearst. “I was so excited to be there and hung around to watch what everybody did. Then the story broke and I wound up staying until 10:00 pm. I fell in love with radio my first day and knew this was for me.” Freelance sports opportunities later surfaced for him at Mutual, AP Radio, and UPI Radio and he adroitly transitioned into a daily field correspondent. Play-by-play was briefly tinkered with, but long enough for McDonnell to know it didn’t captivate him. Something else did and as he flatly asserted to Kinosian, “My interest in politics is equal to my interest in sports. They are jobs but they are [also] passions. I love being able to show another side of my life. I am very liberal but do not [rubber-stamp] everything simply because that is what [other liberals] say you should do. I take things on a position-by-position basis. It is impossible and disingenuous to be one way on every subject. No one can ever accuse me of being a phony.” The first Gulf War was underway when he hosted a general talk show on KFI, Los Angeles. America’s first casualty came as a result of friendly fire. Soon after that, the victim’s widow drove to KFI one Sunday afternoon and McDonnell did two hours with her. “It was the most gut-wrenching, yet most fulfilling, thing I’ve done on radio,” he told Kinosian. “Quite honestly, I didn’t know I was capable of pulling it off. People heard me do sports and wondered what I knew about [politics]. I had to win them over.” Multiple Golden Microphone award winner McDonnell toiled in the Southland at KMAX and KWNK between 1994 – 1997; won raves doing sports updates for (then-all news) KFWB; and was part of the original 1992 staff transitioning KMPC to all-sports – although the outbreak of the L.A. riots was the considerably more monumental story the night of the format flip. For numerous personal and professional reasons, a five-year run beginning in 2000 as KSPN “ESPN 710,” Los Angeles’ assistant program director and afternoon driver profoundly affected him. “My first three years there were great,” McDonnell declared to Kinosian. “I had a say in what went on and helped build KSPN from the ground up with [KABC & KSPN OM] Erik Braverman who was my KFI producer. Unfortunately when Erik decided he wanted to concentrate on KABC, they brought in people who didn’t share our ideas.” It was one different concept after another and became the beginning of the end for McDonnell there. “They killed morale and dissolved everything we did. I wanted to leave every day the last two years I was there but made so much money I would’ve been put in a mental institution if I quit.” From the minute McDonnell walked into the Burbank offices of KLAC to interview with KLAC general manager/program director & KTLK program director Don Martin, he sensed something different. “This might sound crazy – but I really liked that they made me earn my position. Don put me on KTLK and let me do some KLAC fill-in. It meant a lot when he said I assimilated with the audience and staff. People have this idea you expect everything be given to you.” Being a sports talk host was a 24 hour-a-day job for McDonnell because, “Information doesn’t stop.” His shows were frequently punctuated with “24” and “Da Ali G” clips and laced with abundant/energetic hip-hop tracks as bumpers. At first, longtime “McDonnell – Douglas” partner Doug Krikorian wasn’t part of the equation for the “Joe McDonnell Experience,” although the Long Beach Press-Telegram sportswriter joined the ensemble to deliver weekly “K-Files” reports. After all, it was Krikorian who hung the “Big Nasty” moniker on McDonnell when Big Joe collared/disposed of a rowdy patron one night at their favorite hangout. Naturally, the subject of McDonnell’s weight came up in the Kinosian profile of him and McDonnell said that even before the gastric bypass procedure, the heavy burden he was carrying didn’t really bother him. He did however eventually begin slowing down, getting sick, and spending more time at home. “I stopped going to games because it was uncomfortable. My doctor told me I had to do something. Any addict – and I’m definitely a food addict – thinks you can do it on your own.” That’s the fallacy and something an addict desperately wants to believe but McDonnell stressed it can not be done alone. “It got to the point where I realized I was going to die. I had the surgery and lost 300 pounds. On Christmas Day, I put slabs of turkey and prime rib on a plate [surrounded with] potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce. I took it to the table and had a bite of each. Hey look – I’m a food addict and always will be.” The old Joe most likely would’ve avoided on-air surgery mentions. If it did pop up, he probably would’ve been brutal in challenging the person referencing it. A much mellower McDonnell made a conscious decision when he left KSPN that the “Big Nasty” had died. “It was a great vehicle for what I needed – but – that really isn’t me,” he emphasized to Kinosian. “I’m opinionated and will raise my voice but I’m a nice guy and like to have fun. One reason I love my job is it allows me to hang with people.” Conceding it was a “shortcoming” on his part as a talk show host to refrain from mentioning much about his personal life, McDonnell declared, “You can’t be isolated and expect to reach your audience; you have to let them in on your life. For the most part, I refused to do that. Don Martin and I had a long talk about that and he said the best on-air people let you know about them.” A happy, healthy, and exuberant McDonnell chatted up his March 30, 2007 wedding to KLOS’ lovely Elizabeth Cohn (now working at cross-town Bonneville-owned KSWD “The Sound”). “I finally met someone who will put up with me and I [married] the most wonderful person in the world,” McDonnell emphasized in that profile. Joe and Elizabeth worked together for four years inside ABC Radio Los Angeles (now Cumulus Media) and basically didn’t say a word to each other. “She understands I’ll occasionally make fun of her on-air and exaggerate things but my life is now an open book.” Numerous health ailments – some nearly life-threatening – plagued McDonnell and he frequently credited Elizabeth as being the rock who held him together. An avowed movie junkie, McDonnell would go to as many as three or four in one day. It was his way to relax and escape. “One of the biggest benefits of losing weight is I can fit into theater seats. That was honestly a problem before.” Such McDonnell segments as “Who Do You Want To Kick Out Of LA?” gave him a Northeast-sounding vibe, but his entire nearly 40-year career was spent in Los Angeles. The ardent WWE fan told Kinosian, “It would take a million dollar offer for me to leave Los Angeles. In the early-1990s, I had a chance to work for a friend in Nashville and had a big offer to go to Seattle in 1994 but my mother had cancer so I wasn’t about to leave town. There was a preliminary discussion years ago with WFAN, New York about being a reporter/weekend host but Los Angeles is my home. I’m part of the radio landscape.” Eerie now, but McDonnell confided to Kinosian in that lengthy printed conversation, “All the stuff I’ve done is leading up to something. I’ve always felt there was a bigger plan for me and a different path. God has kept me around for a reason – but I don’t know what it is. With what I’ve put myself through, any other person would have been dead by now.” Even at his heaviest, the voracious reader managed to stay in “fairly good shape.” The only weakness until recently was with his knees. According to McDonnell, “The ultimate moment for me would be to somehow find out who really killed John F. Kennedy.” As for the once “Big Nasty,” no cause of death was reported; several reports – including the one on KNX – said he died at Los Angeles’ Good Samaritan Hospital after a “brief illness.” A two-hour Friday night (3/13) Jeff Biggs-hosted show on KSPN paid tribute to McDonnell, who typically aired his “Kick Out” segment Fridays. Poignant, touching, and chillingly appropriate, the final word was given to Elizabeth McDonnell who somehow managed to summon up the strength in her voice to utter she wanted to kick Joe out of LA. Dramatic, goose-bump radio. “When I die,” McDonnell once told Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News, “I want to be cremated and then have a plane spread half of my ashes over Dodger Stadium and the other half over the [ex-home of the Lakers] Forum.”
Westwood One Announces: Here’s Johnny! Bona fide Chicago radio cult legend Jonathon Brandmeier takes to the national stage next month when Westwood One commences syndicating his daily three-hour eponymous show-gram. Executive vice president of content and programming for Westwood One’s parent company – Cumulus Media – John Dickey comments, “Jonathon is one of the most versatile performers in radio today. We know audiences will enjoy his lively humor and take on each day’s topics. We are thrilled to add ‘Johnny B’ to the Westwood One roster of relevant and relatable talk programming.” Remarking this is an “extremely exciting” time for all those associated with his show-gram, Brandmeier – who has achieved industry success in Los Angeles (on talk KLSX) and Phoenix (on KZZP) as well as in Chicago – notes, “We look forward to continuing to entertain audiences in Chicago and expanding our reach nationwide. Fasten your seatbelts – it is going to be a wild ride.” Simultaneous with Brandmeier’s addition to the Westwood One roster is the departure from it by the program hosted by Dennis Miller. The former “SNL” cast member states that he is “stepping aside from radio at the moment” and that, “it has been a great run. I have had a phenomenal time interacting with my guests and audience, but with so many other commitments, it is hard to maintain a daily talk show. It is time to pass the torch as I move on to explore other opportunities – I wish ‘Johnny B’ lots of luck.” Three top-five market Cumulus-owned AM stations (KABC, Los Angeles, WLS-AM, Chicago, and KLIF-AM, Dallas) have already cleared Brandmeier’s 10:00 am – 1:00 pm (ET) program. In addition, there are affiliates in Salt Lake City (KKAT), Providence (WPRV), and Albuquerque (KTBL) – all are Cumulus Media AM properties.
Steve McCoy to Host Mornings on ‘News Radio 106.7’ in Atlanta. The Cumulus Media news station is changing morning shows, bringing aboard Atlanta market pro Steve McCoy, effective Monday, March 1. McCoy worked at the old WZGC “Z93” in AM drive where he was the longest-running morning personality in the station’s history. He also worked at “Power 99,” WSTR “Star 94” and WSB-FM “B98.5.” WYAY “News Radio 106.7” program director Greg Tantum says, “Steve has had a personal relationship with millions of Atlanta radio listeners for years. Steve’s deep roots in the community bring a one-of-a-kind perspective and understanding to the daily lives of Atlanta residents. Most important, Steve has proven he is the best at entertaining listeners and making them feel good – even in Atlanta traffic.”
Weisman: The Battle Over Net Neutrality. With yesterday’s passage of the FCC’s proposal to reclassify the Internet as a public utility and regulate it, the battle may have just begun. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman, in a timely column examining the matter, writes that this is sure to bring about court challenges by the ISPs. Weisman notes that even though there was support in both the Democrat and Republican parties for preventing ISPs from creating multi-tiered delivery services, there are other issues that Republicans say are problematic. “Opponents of the FCC’s classifying the Internet as a utility are concerned that, by doing so, the FCC would have increased authority to regulate rates and take other actions that they believe would stifle investment by Internet Service Providers and slow innovation. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said that he is cognizant of the power that classifying the Internet as a utility would provide the FCC, but that he expects to use a ‘light touch’ in regulating the Internet and would ignore powers that the FCC had that did not relate to broadband. The devil is often in the details and it will be important to see whether a ‘light touch’ is reflected in the specific regulations to implement the vote which will not be published for a few days and will not become effective for a few months.” Read Weisman’s entire column here.
Today Is the Last Day to Receive the Early Bird Discount for Talkers New York 2015. Registrations are already being booked at a rapid pace as Talkers New York 2015 is heading toward being an early sell-out. The session will be held as part of the day-long conference set for Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in the Big Apple’s historic Financial District. Registrations are priced at $299 per person with an early-bird, discounted cost of $249 available until 5:00 pm ET this afternoon. Registrations, which are only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees are again expected. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. More speakers, panelists and agenda updates will be announced next week.
Jim Bohannon to Emcee Awards Ceremony at Talkers New York 2015. Talk radio great Jim Bohannon will reprise his stellar performance as Emcee of the Awards Ceremony at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday, June 12. The veteran Westwood One syndicated personality (a past recipient of the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award) will preside over the presentation of the honors which include awards for: Freedom of Speech, Lifetime Achievement, Woman of the Year and Humanitarian of the Year. Stay tuned for the names of the award recipients as well as those who will be making the presentations.
Rogers Upped to News Director for Entercom Upstate. Morning news personality Lee Rogers is promoted to news director for Entercom’s Upstate South Carolina station group. Rogers anchors the morning news on news/talk WYRD, Greenville “106.3 WORD” during “The Tara Show.” Entercom Upstate OM Mark Hendrix comments, “Lee brings a wealth of news experience and Upstate knowledge. I look forward to Lee expanding 106.3 WORD’s position as the Upstate’s breaking news leader. Listeners will hear more proprietary content on the news that matters most to them.”
Odds & Sods. With the signing of Jonathon Brandmeier to the Westwood One network and the show being picked up by Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago, the station cuts ties with John Kass and Lauren Cohn, who were co-hosting the late morning daypart, although Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports the station is auditioning Lauren Cohn for work on the morning show hosted by Big John Howell. Filling in on the late morning program until Brandmeier starts is talk radio pro Tom Becka, who’s on the air there today through March 6…..American political satirist – and five-time Emmy nominee – Will Durst joins the regular panel of humorous pundits on the weekly podcast “The Koz Effect,” which streams live at 7:00 am ET Saturdays via the Radio Titans podcast network…..San Antonio news/talk KTSA is now heard on the FM dial in the market as Alpha Media begins simulcasting the station on translator K296GK at 107.1 FM…..Powell Broadcasting’s news/talk KSCJ, Sioux City, Iowa begins simulcasting its programming on translator K235CA, Sioux City at 94.9 FM…..ABC and PodcastOne are debuting a new, original podcast series which takes an in-depth look at the new television drama “American Crime.” The weekly podcast will be hosted by film critic and radio personality Elvis Mitchell.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Joining Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte is financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey, who will air in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot. His show is also being added to the evening program schedule at CBS RADIO’s news WNEW-FM, Baltimore/Washington…..The “Good Day” show with host Doug Stephan adds 11 new affiliate stations, including: WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; and KFTL, Gilbert Arizona…..The “Business Rockstars” show with Ken Rutkowski is added to the program schedule at 18 Rocking M Media outlets in Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and Oklahoma…..“The Financial Exchange” with Barry Armstrong and Kim Carrigan joins the program lineup at WXTK-FM, Cape Cod…..WCGO, Chicago adds Bruce DuMont’s “Beyond the Beltway” to its weekend lineup…..BizTalkRadio clears several shows, including the Ray Lucia program, on new business talk outlet WHFS-AM, Tampa and the 11-station “SuperTalk” chain in Mississippi…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” featuring Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete joins the program lineup at WRKO, Boston.
Hannity Visits Chris Stigall Show at CPAC Radio Row. In this photo, Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity (right, standing at mic) makes an impromptu stop at the WPHT, Philadelphia booth on the radio row at the CPAC conference. He appeared on the morning show hosted by Chris Stigall (far left, seated). During the broadcast Stigall spoke with former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, her daughter Bristol, and potential 2016 candidate Senator Ted Cruz.
Dave Ramsey’s ‘Smart Money’ Takes Sacramento. Nationally syndicated radio talk star Dave Ramsey’s “Smart Money” live event tour continued last night (2/26) in Sacramento as he presented his program about how to win with money, get out of debt and invest for the future at Adventure Church. Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan joined Ramsey on stage. Local affiliate KSTE helped promote the event. KSTE program director Bill White comments, “Dave Ramsey touches, inspires, and helps people every day. He not only provides a healthy perspective in regards to personal and professional finances but has an overall ‘LIFE’ philosophy that resonates with his audience far and wide. His show isn’t just about money; it’s about life. We’re proud to have Dave on “Talk 650” KSTE, a radio show that’s important and matters to listeners and our clients.” Pictured here are (from l-r): KSTE’s Joel Mordhorst, account executive; Darren Mounts, general sales manager; Ramsey; Michelle Alfano, account executive; Jeff Bussani, account executive; and White.
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Department of Homeland Security Funding Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 23-27. The battle in Congress over the funding of the Department of Homeland Security was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was President Obama’s amnesty order tied with the controversial comments made by former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Coming in at #3 was the brutality of ISIS tied with the Iran nuclear weapons program, and following at #4 was the allegation of Bill O’Reilly’s violating the journalistic ethics code. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and it published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Blessed with an enduring ability to captivate a broad base demographic with droll, clever, sometimes-corny witticisms/puns that much sooner rather than later made you laugh, Gary Owens is being fondly remembered by those whose lives he touched by his character and one-of-a-kind classiness.
Even at the zenith of his popularity, Owens had an unrivaled flair to make anyone and everyone with whom he came in contact feel as though he or she were a genuinely important friend of his.
Dignity with which Owens carried himself make those having the privilege to work behind a microphone exude intense pride in saying they are in the same profession.
WMAL, Washington Tower Site Up for Sale. Perhaps more valuable than the signals and the radio formats themselves, is the real estate upon which sit so many of the towers of America’s heritage AM stations. A report in The Sentinel, says Cumulus Media is now accepting offers on the Bethesda, Maryland site of its WMAL, Washington transmitter through March 12. Local real estate experts tell the paper the 75-acre piece of land in one of the toniest suburbs of DC should fetch “hundreds of millions” of dollars. The brokerage firm CBRE Group, Inc.’s SVP John Sheridan says, “Seventy-five acres in Bethesda. You don’t need to say anything more than that. It is a huge parcel of land with some of the highest income demographics. There’s the potential to build 300 or more homes.” In 2014, Cumulus put the 10-acre parcel of land occupied by KABC and KLOS transmitters in Los Angeles up for sale and that is going to command $125 million.
Beers Becomes Equity Partner, Board Member at Business Rockstars. Saying that his arrival will “bring the attention of the television and media community to the company’s broadcast, mobile and social platforms,” Business Rockstars announces multimedia CEO Thom Beers joins the board of directors for the company as well as making an equity investment in it. Beers is CEO of FremantleMedia North America. He’s a two-time Emmy Award-winning producer who brings 25 years of experience and success to Business Rockstars, producing some of the most recognizable TV shows such as: “American Idol,” “America’s Got Talent,” “The Price is Right” and “Family Feud,” plus multiple shows on the Discovery Channel and the A&E family of networks. Beers joins Steve Lehman, chairman of Business Rockstars and former CEO of Premiere Networks, along with co-founder and president Ken Rutkowski, as well as their recent addition, Andy Schuon, co-founder of REVOLT Media & TV. Beers comments, “People like to follow ‘smart money,’ and my investment is a strong endorsement and recognition of the platform, and partners of Business Rockstars. By leveraging television content and major media relationships, Business Rockstars will surely continue to grow and reach their goals. I’m glad to be part of their bright future.” The company says that Beers’ investment presents much opportunity to Business Rockstars as it plans to align with a major TV company for possible future content. Steve Lehman adds, “Thom Beers is a Rockstar. He is one of the brightest guys in TV today. He’s intuitive, smart and will be a huge asset in helping to expand our TV and Over-the-Top content platform.”
WTKS-FM, Orlando’s Russ Rollins Served Divorce Papers on the Air. The “Monsters in the Morning” program heard on iHeartMedia’s WTKS “Real Radio 104.1” has been headed by ringmaster Russ Rollins since its inception and the show’s cast members have always “lived their lives on the air.” A classic example of that was when Rollins was recently served divorce papers while on the air. Whether Rollins knew about the coming papers or not is in question – the process server indicates Rollins chose the time and place to receive the papers – but the show has posted video of the papers being served on its website and Rollins appears surprised. Although Rollins’ estranged wife claims in the papers that Rollins physically abused her, his attorney tells WFTV-TV, Orlando that the police were called to Rollins’ home at one point but they investigated and have filed no charges.
Triplett Named DOS at Beasley Tampa Bay Cluster. The newly acquired Beasley Media Group Tampa Bay cluster names Steve Triplett director of sales. The cluster consists of: WYUU “92.5 MAX!MA”; WBRN, “BUBBA 98.7”; WQYK, “Tampa Bay’s Country Station 99.5”; WRBQ “Q105”; WLLD “WiLD 94.1”; and WHFS-AM, “Money Talk 1010.” Triplett comes to Beasley from his most recent gig as president and founder of the marketing firm Contact Media Inc.
Odds & Sods. At iHeartMedia’s Des Moines sports talker KXNO, a realignment of personalities takes place with Chris Williams and Ross Peterson being named the afternoon drive team. The new “Morning Rush” show will consist of Heather Burnside and Travis Justice…..Meanwhile, across town at Cumulus Media’s sports talker KBGG “The Champ,” Marty Tirrell and Ken Miller – as has been reported in recent weeks – will reunite to host the afternoon drive program beginning today (2/9). Tirrell and Miller first began working as a team at KXNO in the mid-1990s…..Mark Grote is named host of the pre- and post-game shows for Chicago Cubs broadcasts on all-news WBBM-AM. Grote, who has been with the CBS RADIO Chicago station group since 2002 and is sports anchor on WSCR’s “Mully & Hanley” program, is also expected to appear on sports talk WSCR regularly as a Cubs reporter, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune.
Two Talk Radio Pros Take Their Craft to the Internet. Longtime KABC, Los Angeles talk radio personality Larry Elder debuts his new Internet-only talk show emanating from his website, LarryElder.com. The program streams live Monday through Friday from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT. In addition to the live stream, Elder offers fans an “Elderado” premium subscription tier that includes access to commercial-free podcasts and more. Elder exited KABC late last year as the station was tweaking its news/talk format. Albuquerque media personality Larry Ahrens – a longtime news/talk KKOB host – is leaving his current gig at uPublic TV’s “The Morning Brew” program to begin an Internet radio endeavor focusing on healthy living. According to Albuquerque Business Journals, Ahrens is joining the Phoenix-based Doublewide Networkout operated by Arizona radio personality Dave Pratt. The show is being titled, “Smart Living with Larry Ahrens” and is expected to launch later this month.
Townsquare Media Teases Positive Q4 2014 Growth. In an 8-K filing with the SEC, Townsquare Media – which went public back in July of last year – announces pretty good 2014 fourth quarter financial numbers. In issuing the preliminary financial results, the company says its fourth quarter pro forma net revenue jumped 9% to 10% compared to the fourth quarter of 2013. Further, pro forma adjusted EBITDA rose 5% to 9% compared to the fourth quarter of 2013. For the year of 2014 as a whole, Townsquare expects to report revenue of about $385 million – an increase of about 8% compared to 2013.
Round One of Holiday PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of Holiday 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was December 4 to December 31. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
New York Broadcasters Honor Barry Farber. Talk radio pioneer Barry Farber (right) was honored with induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame last fall, but his New York colleagues wanted to throw a special NYC bash for him as the cherry on the cake, and did so recently at The Statler Grill in Midtown Manhattan. Among the more than 100 media pros and friends to attend was WABC, New York personality Curtis Sliwa (left) who, during his remarks, cited Farber as one of the talk show hosts who gave the Guardian Angels, and its predecessor organization The Magnificent 13, early publicity and support. He also stated that it was because of Barry Farber, Barry Gray and Bob Grant that he was able to have a career in talk radio at all. Farber is still heard on the radio via CRN Digital Talk Radio weeknights at 8:00 ET.
Timely Live Event. Just before President Obama delivered the State of the Union address on Tuesday (1/20), WNDB, Daytona Beach afternoon talk show host Marc Bernier moderated a discussion with Fox News political analyst and author Charles Krauthammer at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University as the latest in the school’s President’s Speakers Series. Krauthammer recently published his latest book, Things That Matter (2013 Crown Forum). Bernier tells TALKERS magazine that this event was the 117th in the series that dates back to 1993.
State of the Union Speech, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Paris Mayor Vows to Sue Fox News/‘No-Go Zones’ Controversy, Collapsing Oil Prices/World Financial Markets Activity, ISIS Holds Japanese Men for Ransom, Huckabee’s Beyonce Criticism, and NFL Deflated Balls Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/20). Tuesday’s State of the Union address and President Obama’s pledge to tackle income inequality; the controversy over assertions of Muslim “no-go zones” in Europe and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s threat to sue Fox News; the continuing collapse of oil prices and the effects on the world’s financial markets; ISIS violence in the Middle East and the holding of two Japanese men for ransom; potential presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s criticism of Beyonce; and the controversy over deflated footballs used in the Patriots-Colts AFC Championship game were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Snyder Scores FCC Victory. Ruling that the name of the NFL‘s Washington, DC franchise does not fall under its definition of profanity and it is not equivalent to obscenity, the FCC on Thursday (12/18) refused to order radio and television stations to cease using the team’s Redskins moniker. George Washington University Law School professor of public interest law John Banzhaf is behind the challenge and he comments, “Virtually everyone seems to assume that no radio or television station which repeatedly and unnecessarily used racial slurs on the air would be allowed to continue broadcasting, much less have its valuable broadcasting license renewed. All we seek is that Native Americans be given the same protection as African Americans, Asians, and other racial and ethnic groups.” An appeal of Thursday’s decision within the agency and subsequently to the U.S. Court of Appeals is likely. Dan Snyder – who owns the Washington team as well as Red Zebra flagship WTEM – insists he will not change the franchise’s nickname.
Cumulus Media Expands Relationship with Dr. Drew. As part of a new, expanded relationship with Dr. Drew Pinsky and radio co-host Mike Catherwood, the “Dr. Drew Midday Live with Mike Catherwood” show will air on Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles beginning in early January. At the same time, the company’s Westwood One syndication division also will begin syndicating “Loveline” starting January 1. “Loveline” will now be airing on a total of 35 Cumulus-owned stations. According to Cumulus, the new KABC midday show will “offer LA listeners unique access to Dr. Drew’s comprehensive advice on a broad range of topics. Listeners will be encouraged to call in Monday through Friday and enter the discussion with one of the country’s most trusted physicians and media personalities.” Westwood One currently handles ad sales for “Loveline” and beginning January 1 will also be responsible for syndicating the nightly show to local radio stations nationwide. “Loveline” will continue to be available digitally via PodcastOne. Drew Pinsky comments, “I’m really looking forward to becoming part of the Cumulus family and proud to be on the air at the legendary KABC in Los Angeles. It will be a great platform to connect with listeners during the daytime. And while ‘Loveline’ continues to be anchored at KROQ, I am thrilled that the show is expanding into new markets at night. This is a tremendous opportunity and I am grateful.”
Business Rockstars Welcomes Andy Schuon as Investor, New Board Member. The multi-platform network Business Rockstars LLC announces media heavyweight Andy Schuon has made an equity investment in the company and has joined the board of directors. Schuon rejoins longtime collaborator Steve Lehman, chairman of the Business Rockstars, along with co-founder and president Ken Rutkowski, who hosts “Business Rockstars,” the company’s flagship daily radio and television program. The company says Schuon brings decades of experience to Business Rockstars. He is co-founder of REVOLT Media & TV with Sean “Diddy” Combs. Schuon previously programmed KROQ, Los Angeles and served as EVP, programming and production at MTV, MTV2 and VH1. He also was CEO of pioneering Sony/Universal online music subscription service Pressplay (now Napster). He worked with the world’s top artists as executive vice president/general manager of Warner Bros. Records, was the head of digital and president, Artist Services at Live Nation/Ticketmaster, president of Infinity Broadcasting and has served on the boards of Premiere Networks, Hot Topic Stores, iLike.com, and Coinstar/Redbox’s new ventures. Lehman says, “Andy and I have a long history of success together, so his joining our board is a homecoming of sorts. With Andy on our board of directors, our already rapidly growing entrepreneurial media, mobile and social platform will be kicked into overdrive. Andy is a world class visionary when it comes to building networks, so we look forward to his contributions as we amplify the culture around entrepreneurial content and programming.”
Odds & Sods. Sports talker KXTG-AM, Portland “750 The Game” is now being heard on the FM dial on translator K274AR at 102.9. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick says, “Adding the FM frequency to our sports station will not only help increase revenue and ratings but will play a key role in opening up new live and local opportunities.”…..Play-by-play for Houston Astros games will continue to air on iHeartMedia’s KBME, Houston for the next four years as the two sides agree on a contract renewal. KBME is also the flagship for the NBA’s Houston Rockets…..ESPN Radio continues its coverage of college football with a 30-game postseason bowl schedule that will include all matchups from the inaugural College Football Playoff and the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented to take place on January 12. Veteran play-by-play voice Mike Tirico will call the final alongside analyst Todd Blackledge, with reporters Holly Rowe and Joe Schad…..SiriusXM is also on board for college football as the satcaster will offer broadcasts of 35 bowl games including all three games of the College Football Playoff.
Pavlina Returns ‘Most Interviews’ Crown to U.S. Teen talk host Pavlina Osta (pictured here with Sean Hannity at Talkers New York 2014) has returned the “most interviews” world record to the United States interviewing 347 people in 24 hours to claim the Guinness World Records title. The record was set at the Walmart in Port Orange, Florida. Each interview consisted of a minimum of five questions and every question was unique. The entire 24-hour period (on 11/22-23) was broadcast live on Ustream.tv and via Live365. For each interview conducted, Pavlina donated one can of pet food to Sophie’s Circle. The previous record holder, Claudio Siepi of Italy had 256 interviews and had held the record since 2012.
Walking the Walk. Media consultant Walter Sabo posted a timely sentiment on his Facebook page for holiday season shoppers. Sabo’s message shows a picture of a portable Sony radio and the caption reads: “To those of you who love radio and talk about radio all the time I hope you are in fact giving something like this to every single person you know.”
Alan Stock Emcees Menorah Lighting. KDWN, Las Vegas morning personality Alan Stock is pictured here in downtown Summerlin, Nevada at the community’s Menorah lighting ceremony on December 16. Stock says almost 300 people turned out for the ceremony braving chilly temperatures.
North Korea-Sony Pictures Hack Case Tops Talkers TenTM This Week. The hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s computer system – possibly by North Korean operatives – and the threats against the release of the new film The Interview, was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of December 15-19. Coming in at #2 was the renewed Cuba relations issue. At #3 was the Taliban school massacre in Pakistan tied with ISIS violence followed by the Sydney café siege at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Doug McIntyre Sticks with KABC, Los Angeles. “McIntyre in the Morning” host Doug McIntyre signs a new deal to remain with Cumulus Media’s news/talk KABC, Los Angeles “TalkRadio 790” for at least the next year. In addition to his radio work, McIntyre tells TALKERS magazine he’ll also be writing a new weekly column for The Daily Beast in addition to the two columns per week he currently is writing for the LA Daily News.
Cataldi Morning Show Re-Ups at WIP, Philly. Longtime Philadelphia sports talk personality Angelo Cataldi inks a long-term renewal of his contract to remain morning host at CBS RADIO’s “SportsRadio 94WIP.” Prior to joining WIP in 1990 as the wake-up personality, Cataldi was the Eagles beat writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was named to the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk this year, occupying the #9 spot. In a related announcement, the station also signed two members of Cataldi’s morning show ensemble — Al Morganti and Keith Jones — to new contracts. About his new deal, Cataldi says, “It’s a true thrill and honor to know that all my years on the radio will be working for WIP. It’s a rarity for an on-air personality to have their entire broadcasting career, spanning nearly three decades, all at one station. I am grateful to have a great supporting cast and privileged to work for CBS RADIO which trusts me with the morning show on the best sports radio station, in the greatest sports town anywhere.”
‘Huckabee Report’ to Be Distributed by WYD Media. With the start of the New Year, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee – also host of his own weekend show on Fox News Channel – is continuing his daily feature, “The Huckabee Report,” to be distributed by WYD Media Management. The program will be repped by WYD Media Ad Sales. The show is currently syndicated to more than 500 radio stations via Westwood One but that relationship will end after December 31. Huckabee comments, “We’ve had tremendous success over the last six years with ‘The Huckabee Report’ thanks to the great partnerships with hundreds of radio stations. I’m excited about my new partnership and this is a great way to kick off 2015!” WYD says that the feature will retain its current format with morning, midday and afternoon delivery of three unique, modular reports that allow stations to carry one or three minutes of content per report. WYD Media Ad Sales president John Murphy says, “Mike Huckabee is truly a beloved national icon with a powerful following. His ability to connect with his audience and influence public opinion is incredibly valuable to our advertising partners.” In addition to airing on news/talk affiliates, “The Huckabee Report” is also cleared on country- and classic rock-formatted stations.
WPGG, Atlantic City Morning Host Harry Hurley Serves Up Radio Chat with Governor Christie After ‘Cowboys’ Controversy. While much of New Jersey’s Philadelphia Eagles fan base was up in arms over Governor Chris Christie sitting in Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ luxury box on Sunday evening cheering on the Cowboys over the Eagles, WPGG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley cut the governor some slack during an exclusive radio interview the following morning. Hurley is a big Eagles fan but, unlike many New Jersey fans – and the news media – Hurley excused the governor for cheering for his favorite team and noted that many politicians wear whatever “sports cap” they think will help them get votes. Speaking of votes, Hurley asked Christie if he’s going to run for president and Christie said he and his wife are talking about his options and he’ll decide in 2015 whether to run in 2016.
Fourth Hour and New Affiliates for ‘America’s Morning News.’ The Talk Radio Network Entertainment-syndicated “America’s Morning News” program – hosted by radio news pro Matt Ray – adds a fourth hour to its daily broadcasts and now airs live from 5:00 am to 9:00 am ET. TRNE also announces a number of recent affiliate additions now carrying the programming that’s heard in more than 160 markets across the country. New stations include: WJAS, Pittsburgh; KFNY, Riverside; KDWN, Las Vegas; KGED, Fresno; WPNN Pensacola; KMJM, Cedar Rapids; WNZF, Daytona Beach; WGNS, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; KGGF, Coffeyville, Oklahoma; WRTA, Altoona, Pennsylvania; KMED, Medford, Oregon; and four Wisconsin stations in the Heartlands group – WERL, Eagle River; WATW, Ashland; WFER, Iron River; and WPFP, Park Falls. TRNE CEO Mark Masters comments, “‘America’s Morning News’ continues to deliver a great product every morning to over 160 markets across the U.S., including markets like San Francisco (Cumulus Media’s KSFO AM 560), Seattle (Bonnevilles’ KTTH AM 770) and San Diego (Midwest Television’s KFMB AM 760). We are very proud of our morning news offering, and its growth is a testament to its quality.”
CBS Sports Radio to Broadcast New College Hoops ‘Classic.’ The inaugural “CBS Sports Classic” college basketball showcase will air on the CBS Sports Radio Network on Saturday, December 20. The event produced by CBS Sports will be live from Chicago’s United Center and pits North Carolina against Ohio State in the 1:00 pm ET game followed by UCLA versus Kentucky. It’s the first of three events in the series, as announced earlier this year by CBS Sports. Gary Cohen, current play-by-play announcer for Mets baseball, Seton Hall men’s basketball and Westwood One’s NCAA men’s basketball coverage, will provide play-by-play for the games. He will be joined by analyst Alaa Abdelnaby, current college basketball studio and game analyst for CBS Sports Network. Lance Meadow will contribute to pre-game programming beginning at 12:45 PM, ET, as well as halftime and post-game updates. CBS Sports Radio director of programming Eric Spitz says, “This showcase is noteworthy for CBS Sports Radio as it marks the first time we will broadcast live game coverage across our stations. CBS Sports has assembled a group of legendary college basketball teams, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that our play-by-play debut is happening with this distinguished event.”
Compass Media Announces Business Programming for New Year. In a communication with affiliate stations currently carrying Wall Street Journal Radio Network programming (set to cease via WSJRN on 12/31), Compass Media Networks announces it will continue to produce and distribute business and money reports and details the programming. Anchors for business and money news reports will be Jennifer Kushinka in morning drive, Ray Hoffman in middays and Frank Miller in afternoons. Kushinka has served as morning drive news anchor for “The Wall Street Journal Reports” for the past nine years. Hoffman has anchored CEO Radio short-form reports, aired exclusively on WCBS-AM, New York for the past nine years and was the lead talent for BusinessWeek Radio. Miller has worked for the past six years with Compass providing custom reports to all-news and news/talk stations. Compass also says that Ron Insana, currently with Compass and senior contributor for CNBC, is available for money news reports and commentaries.
Odds & Sods. A new face sits on the board of directors at Business Rockstars, LLC. The corporation announces Andy Schuon has made an equity investment and his joining the board reunites him with Business Roackstars chairman Steve Lehman. Schuon is co-founder of REVOLT Media & TV with Sean “Diddy” Combs. He served on the Premiere Networks board in the past…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway now has a national platform via iHeartRadio. Conway tells TALKERS that with the 2016 presidential race about to get underway, he’s excited to have his own podcast page on the iHeartRadio platform. Simon calls his program on WHO “an essential and repeated stop on the campaign trail in the ‘First in the Nation’ state for all presidential wannabes.”…..Comic and television star Jimmie Walker is sitting in for Ray Appleton on KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno today and tomorrow (12/17-18) on the midday program. Walker is available for fill-in work. PDs can reach him via his Facebook page.
Obama Amnesty Action, Taliban School Slaughter, Sydney Café Siege, Plummeting Oil Prices/Unstable Russian Economy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Congressional Budget Deal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/16). Controversy over President Obama’s executive amnesty action and the court ruling declaring some of it unconstitutional; the slaughter of children and teachers in Pakistan by the Taliban; the aftermath of the siege of a café in Sydney by a self-styled cleric; sinking oil prices and their effect on the Russian economy; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the congressional budget deal being criticized by conservative Republicans were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Larry Elder Missing from KABC, Los Angeles Website. Rumors in Los Angeles are that Larry Elder has exited Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles where he’d been hosting the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program. No confirmation from KABC or Cumulus officials yet but Elder’s information has been removed from the KABC website and his name is missing from the program lineup. Elder returned to KABC in 2010 to host afternoon drive after a two-year absence. He’d been a personality on the station previously from 1994 through 2008.
Judge Rules Against Glenn Beck in Libel Case. Tuesday’s ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris on Glenn Beck’s request to dismiss Saudi student Abdulrahman Alharbi’s libel suit against him has been denied and the case could move forward if not settled. If you remember, Alharbi was initially questioned by police investigating the Boston Marathon bombing but was quickly ruled out by police as being involved in the crime. However, for several weeks after that, Beck used his program to accuse Alharbi of potential involvement in the bombing. Alharbi is suing for libel. Beck’s attorneys argue that Alharbi was an involuntary public figure by virtue of his being at the event and, however briefly, becoming part of the story surrounding the event by being questioned. But Judge Saris stated that simply going to a public event doesn’t make one a public figure and further that, even if Alharbi became an involuntary public figure during the time he was being investigated, that definition ended when he was cleared. Whether Beck’s camp decides to settle or not may take time but Judge Saris believes Alharbi has a legitimate complaint. She writes in her decision, “The facts alleged in Alharbi’s complaint easily permit an inference that the defendants were negligent as to the truthfulness of their reports after the authorities cleared his name.”
Sid Rosenberg and Lawrence Taylor to Host Show on WFAN, New York. Former WFAN personality (and current WMEN, Fort Lauderdale “640 Sports” morning host) Sid Rosenberg and New York Giants great Lawrence “LT” Taylor will host a special sports talk show on CBS RADIO’s WFAN this Saturday afternoon (12/6). News of the program was reported by the New York Daily news which says that Rosenberg and Taylor are working on a Florida radio project and that the idea was pitched to WFAN programmer Mark Chernoff who agreed to give the show an airing. Taylor’s agent – Mark Lepselter – tells the paper that his client became interested in doing a radio show and that his failed attempt as an analyst with TNT 20 years ago was exactly that: 20 years ago. Read the Daily News piece here.
Mike Florio to Take Over Midday Show on NBC Sports Radio. Beginning Monday, January 5, NBC Sports Radio debuts a new three-hour football-focused program featuring host Mike Florio. Florio is creator of ProFootballTalk on NBCSports.com and co-host of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN. NBC Sports Group and Westwood One say the show “will feature Florio’s critically acclaimed NFL insight, all-encompassing coverage of the league with the most current news and analysis, and thought-provoking debate. In addition, Florio will conduct interviews with a wide variety of NFL insiders, experts, players and coaches.” NBC Sports Ventures SVP Rob Simmelkjaer adds, “We are excited to bring Mike’s unparalleled NFL insight to our NBC Sports Radio team. The fan appetite for smart NFL talk is insatiable, and we are proud to bring them one of the most respected voices in the industry.”
Beasley Names Matt Smith to VP/Market Manager Post. Promoted from his interim market manager position at Beasley Broadcast Group’s Philadelphia stations WXTU and WRDW, Matt Smith is upped to vice president and market manager for the company’s Wilmington, Delaware FM adult contemporary WJBR and three Philly AM properties – sports talk WTEL (formerly WIP-AM), religion WTMR, and ethnic WWDB. Smith will report to Beasley Broadcast Group president Bruce Beasley.
Lessons Learned from Protests, Power Failures and Prolonged Snowfall. Three recent emergency events in different parts of the country are timely examples of the need for station operators to have comprehensive plans to broadcast in these situations, says ABC Television Network director, business continuity Howard B. Price. In a column published in TALKERS today (12/3), citing the unrest in Ferguson, the snow fall in Western New York and the major power outage in Detroit, Price writes, “If you wait for civil unrest to break out, wait until a blizzard is upon you, or wait until the lights go out before planning for and resourcing a response to these events, you have waited too long to make sure you can respond when your listeners and advertisers need you the most. Delaying the implementation of a robust emergency action plan – and properly resourcing it – exposes you to the risk of being ill prepared to respond quickly, competently and meaningfully. And a bad response – or worse, no response — may do irreparable damage to your reputation for reliability and service.” Read Price’s comprehensive and important story here.
KMOX, St. Louis Talk Host Charlie Brennan Challenges Missouri Traffic Camera Laws. The case of KMOX, St. Louis talk host Charlie Brennan is just one of three cases the Missouri Supreme Court heard earlier this week that are challenging the traffic camera citation policies in the state. Here’s the background: Brennan was cited with unsafe supervision of a vehicle – not the moving violation of speeding – after his car was clocked going 11 mph over the speed limit. He contested the ticket, insisting the city did not give him due process, violated state law, and could not demonstrate he was the driver. Brennan won his case in two lower courts. Now, the Missouri Supreme Court will issue a decision sometime in 2015 after hearing the three cases. Brennan says, “I challenged the speed camera ticket on several grounds. One of the big issues: the City of Moline Acres does not assess points, even though Missouri law requires such action for all moving violations. Some of us suspect the city does not assess points because it can’t identify the driver of the car!” Brennan is on vacation but says he’ll be back on Friday and his lawyers will appear on his show that day to talk about the matter that is irking many drivers across the country.
Odds & Sods. Bakersfield news/talker KERN is now heard on the FM band as American General Media begins simulcasting the station on translator K241CI, Bakersfield at 96.1 FM. AGM president Rogers Brandon comments, “The simulcast will allow KERN-AM and the excellent talent that we have on the station to be discovered by the vastly larger FM audience.”…..Ric Russo is named executive producer of the Bubba Radio Network – the syndication arm of the Bubba the Love Sponge program…..CRN Digital Talk Radio announces it is the new national radio home for Nancy Solari‘s radio program, “Living Full Out with Nancy Solari.” The program makes its CRN debut on Sunday, December 7 at 5:00 PM Eastern.
Kicking Off the Holiday Giving Season at Emmis. On Monday of this week, Emmis Communications chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan (left) kicked off the holiday season at the Emmis headquarters in Indianapolis. Smulyan is pictured here ringing the Salvation Army bell to initiate the Salvation Army Radiothon. He was joined by Emmis COO/CFO Patrick Walsh (right). This is the 20th year Emmis and news/talk WIBC, Indianapolis have hosted the Radiothon to support the work of the Salvation Army.
Ferguson Grand Jury Aftermath/Barkley Comments, Obama Amnesty Executive Order, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Extension of Tax Breaks, Sinking Oil Prices, and Bill Cosby Rape Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/2). The issues of police-African American relations and Charles Barkley’s comments in the aftermath of the Ferguson grand jury decision; the executive order by President Obama outlining a path to amnesty for illegal aliens; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the passing of legislation to extend tax breaks to millions of Americans; dropping oil prices and the effect on how much Americans are paying at the pump; and the fallout from the renewed rape allegations against Bill Cosby were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: David Bernstein Moderates “The State of Local Talk Radio” Panel. Today (7/21) marks the fifth business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with the event’s powerful “The State of Local Talk Radio” panel moderated by TALKERS general manager/broadcast operations David Bernstein. The panel – introduced by rising talk star Ethan Bearman of KSFO, San Francisco — features an array of leading local radio figures including Michael “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY (Rock 102), Springfield, MA; Jerry Crowley, VP/GM Salem Communications-New York; Lee Harris, morning anchor, 1010WINS, New York; McGraw Milhaven, morning host, KTRS, St. Louis; and Larry Young, morning host, WOLB, Baltimore. The panel, described by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey as “excellent and inspiring,” covers an array of topics including the most effective use of social media by local radio, the power of community news and human interest stories, how to cover large, diverse metropolitan areas and their suburbs, the emerging powerful relationship between local radio and newspapers, the revenue benefits of local broadcasting and the true meaning of “local” as opposed to superficial lip-service, among others. The theme of the session is summed up by Larry Young, the 18-year morning host of African American community talk station WOLB, Baltimore, who states, “The most important aspect in local radio is making sure that the constituency you serve feels that you are doing your job to keep them informed. Information is power and the more information you give them, the more apt they are to listen to you.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Anyone who is championing the cause of local radio should not only view this amazing video, but show it to anyone willing to watch who has influence over the course radio is taking during these delicate, transitional times.” To view “The State of Local Talk Radio” please click here. Coming tomorrow: “The Talkers Awards Ceremony – Part 1 – Presentation of the Humanitarian of the Year Award” emceed by Westwood One legend Jim Bohannon and featuring the presentation of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Broadcaster by Talk Media, Inc. CEO Carole Marks to WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale personality Joyce Kaufman. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
KMJ-AM/FM Promotes Blake Taylor to PD. After the recent departure of Skip Essick from the program director post at Cumulus Media’s news/talk combo KMJ-FM and KMJ-AM in Fresno, APD/news director/morning news anchor Blake Taylor is promoted to the position. Taylor joined the stations in 2007 after spending five years serving as program director at KERN, Bakersfield. Cumulus EVP and COO John Dickey comments, “Blake Taylor’s news experience, digital savvy and competitive energy make him the perfect PD to bring a new generation of listeners to the legendary KMJ-AM and FM. We’re pleased that Blake continues to grow with Cumulus Media.” Taylor adds, “I’ve served as news director at KMJ for almost seven years now, and we’ve experienced some amazing growth during that time. But there are many more opportunities ahead as we continue to grow our audience while maintaining our position as the go-to breaking news station in California’s Central Valley. I look forward to taking on the challenge!”
Talent Moves at CBS RADIO’s ’92.9 The Game’ in Atlanta. After a year in morning drive at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WZGC, Atlanta “92.9 The Game,” Jason Bailey (a.k.a. Buckethead) exits the station and Marc James moves from afternoon drive to the wake-up show alongside Randy Cross. Moving in to co-host afternoons with Carl Dukes is former crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone” personality Mike Bell. Meanwhile, Bailey tells TALKERS he’s available for his next challenge. He’s repped by Paul Anderson, who can be reached at email@example.com. You can check out his website at: www.jasonbailey.com
Clear Channel Re-Brands Sports Talker KLSD, San Diego. Sports talk outlet KLSD, San Diego gets a makeover as the station is now “XTRA 1360 Fox Sports San Diego.” This marks a change from the station’s previous affiliation with NBC Sports Radio. As part of the changes, the station will become the local radio partner of the NFL’s San Diego Chargers airing play-by-play and broadcasting the “Chargers Power Hour Show” weekdays from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Steve Hartman returns to San Diego to host the “Loose Cannons” PM drive show with Mike Costa. For morning drive, Fox Sports Network’s Dave Palet and Jeff Dotseth team up. In between, the station is airing FSRN’s Jay Mohr followed by Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick. Evenings will include “XTRA at Night” from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm and “Fox Sports Tonight with Jason Smith” from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm. The changes take place today (7/21).
KABC, Los Angeles to Carry NHL’s Kings. The Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings will have a new radio home next season as Cumulus Media agrees to have news/talk KABC, Los Angeles serve as the team’s radio flagship for the next five years. The Los Angeles Times reports that the news will be made official today. The move from Clear Channel’s KEIB to KABC may fuel speculation that KABC could flip to sports in order to allow Cumulus to air the CBS Sports Radio Network on the signal. CBS Radio and Cumulus are partners in the syndication of the CBS Sports Radio Network. But it may be just that – speculation. For years rumors about a flip to sports by underperforming AM outlets have bounced around LA. Crosstown KFWB has long been part of that chatter although there’s probably little reason to believe the market needs another AM sports talker with three (KSPN, KLAC, KLAA) all hovering near a 1.0 share (Persons 6+, June 2014 PPM) or less.
Odds & Sods. Hard-working WHO, Des Moines-based talk personality Simon Conway (PM driver there) is doing double duty this week and next as he’s filling in on the morning show at Clear Channel’s WFLF, Orlando “NewsRadio 102.5” today through Wednesday and then again next Monday – all in addition to his WHO duties…..Recently retired Chicago Bears long snapper Patrick Mannelly joins CBS RADIO’s sports talker WSCR, Chicago for football-related broadcasts, including co-host of the Sunday Bears pre-game show and making appearances during the week on WSCR programs…..Broadway Media is exercising an option to buy sports talk KOVO, Provo, Utah from Simmons Media. The station is chock-full of regional programming with David James and Patrick Kinahan in mornings, Jake Scott and Tony Parks from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, Hans Olsen and Scott Garrard from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, and Spence Checketts and Gordon Monson in afternoon drive. These shows are simulcast from Simmon’s KZNS-AM, Salt Lake City and KZNS-FM, Coalville. KOVO is an NBC Sports Radio affiliate.
Covering the Downing of Flight 17. Pictured here in Maidan Square in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev is ABC News Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky who continues to report from Ukraine following the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17.
Three Eagles Communications to Sell Stations to Dean Goodman’s Digity. The growing media portfolio of Dean Goodman continues to grow as his Palm Beach, Florida-based Digity Companies agrees to purchase Three Eagles Communications’ 48 stations in markets in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota. Pending FCC approval, the transaction is expected to close during the third quarter. Three Eagles founder and CEO Rolland Johnson says of the deal, “I think it is an excellent time to be buying stations. Radio seems to have survived the perfect storm and should come out stronger than ever. While on the NAB Board with Dean Goodman 10 to 12 years ago, Dean talked about his vision of buying stations and rolling them up into a diversified company. It is great to have a vision like Dean’s and to be able to follow through with it. Dean is getting a group of hard-working people with award-winning stations who deserve a chance to participate in something as exciting as what Digity offers. I congratulate him on an excellent purchase.” Goodman comments, “Digity is on-air, online, on-demand, on-location, and on-the-go. It connects today’s busy consumers with content they want, people they trust, products they enjoy and things that matter. We are very pleased to have signed the Three Eagles purchase and Digity intends to continue to grow in all areas of its operations.” Digity, through Palm Beach Broadcasting, operates four FM stations in the Palm Beach market. GoodRadio.TV operates 26 radio stations in Midwestern markets. Digity earlier this year purchased 33 radio stations from NextRadio and operates those stations in San Jose, Chicago, suburban Dallas, Saginaw, Canton, Greenville and Myrtle Beach.
Rush Limbaugh Awards Grants in Essay Contest; Tennessee School Reacts. The essay contest Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh conducted earlier in the 2013-14 school year has been completed with three schools receiving a package of books and a cash gift from Limbaugh and his wife Kathryn. At Hawkins Elementary School in Rogersville, Tennessee, principal Barry Bellamy and first grade teacher Danee Collette are still reeling after receiving a shipment of books from Limbaugh that included American classics The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Where the Red Fern Grows as well as copies of his own bestseller Rush Revere and the New Patriots. According to the Rogersville Review, Bellamy and Collette were even more shocked to receive a check for $15,000 to use as the school sees fit. Collette tells the paper her father is a big Limbaugh fan and told her about the essay contest. She dutifully wrote it and didn’t think much more about it until a Limbaugh staffer called to ask for a shipping address for the books. Collette says the money will probably be used for white boards, desks and tables for the library. She tells the paper, “This is so awesome! I graduated last May, got a job here for the school year, and now this!”
Remembering Ben Hoberman. Very briefly worded mentions of talk radio pioneer Ben Hoberman‘s passing dotted the internet Saturday and Sunday, but precise details regarding his death are not readily available. What we do know though is that the longtime ABC Radio executive was 92 when he died on Saturday (5/3). General consensus within the industry indicates that – with Hoberman at the helm in 1960 – Los Angeles’ KABC-AM was one of the first fulltime talk stations in the country – if not the first. On John Rook‘s Facebook page, the well-known programmer posted that, “When all of the ABC-owned radio stations were introducing Top 40 programming, [Hoberman] envisioned a new kind of format featuring talk. KABC would become top-rated in Los Angeles for decades, a format that gave birth to KGO’s talk format in San Francisco. His success elevated him to the presidency of ABC Radio. Ben Hoberman was a role model for managing radio stations, a total gentleman, and one of the real class guys I have known. My sincerest condolences to all who mourn his passing.” In the early-1970s, John Mainelli was a 20-year-old NABET vacation-relief news writer for KABC and the talk radio consultant recounts, “I had just learned what ‘fortnight’ meant and decided to use it in a script the next chance I got. Mr. Hoberman walked into the newsroom after [KABC morning drive talent] Bob Arthur read the story, saw my name on the filed script, dropped it on my desk and said, ‘If you mean two weeks ago, say it.’ That was ‘Mr. H’ – attention to detail and follow-through.” Hoberman had been with ABC for close to 40 years, much of that time in Los Angeles, where he had been KABC-AM’s general manager. He later was based in New York, running the network’s radio division, then consisting of six AM stations and six FM outlets, as well as syndicated programming as “American Top 40” – then hosted by Casey Kasem. Hoberman, ex-ABC-TV president Elton Rule, and several other investors attempted to raise enough money to take over the entire ABC Radio division. Hoberman is pictured here at right in an undated photo with President Ronald Reagan.
SiriusXM’s Chris Russo Stirs Controversy Over Race on Sports Talk Radio. The flashpoint for a controversy over race and radio was SiriusXM sports talk personality Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s recent comment to a caller when asked about why there are no black sports talk hosts on his channel. Russo replied that he has not found one “worthy of doing a national talk show.” That started a social media flap. In the New York Daily News’ coverage of the story, Bob Raissman reports that Russo was not apologizing for his comment and told his paper, “The idea that I wouldn’t hire a black talk show host, a Korean talk show host, or a talk show host from Mars is absurd. If there is any person of any ethnicity who wants to get a job at ‘Mad Dog Radio’ and we feel he or she is capable of doing a national talk show at the highest level, I’d put them on in a second. Let’s just say we are not being overwhelmed by resumes.”
Five Simple Engagement Actions. Media consultant Walter Sabo, in a column published today (5/5), writes that it’s very important for listeners to feel that your radio station is “special.” Sabo notes, “It is so important to examine every single second of our programming in every format and ask, ‘How can this be better?’ Too much time is wasted on learning new rules from ‘corporate’ and new organizational structures. If your company is ‘afraid’ of Pandora and other web companies, the solution is better programming. It’s always better programming. Fresh programming ideas come from external sources, solid research and by paying close attention to what audiences do.” And with that in mind, Sabo offers five ways to better engage your audience. Read his piece here.
Journal Broadcast Group’s News/Talk WTMJ and Adult Hits WLWK in Milwaukee Honored with WBA Awards. In the large market category, Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ and adult hits WLWK were recently honored with Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Awards. WTMJ won the following honors: News & Talk Station of the Year; News Operation of the Year; Best News & Talk Radio Show (AM drive) for “Wisconsin’s Morning News with Gene Mueller”; Best News & Talk Radio Show (9:00 am to 5:00 pm) for “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News with John Mercure”; Best Live On-Scene Reporting, Jodi Becker and the WTMJ News Team (Carroll University Lockdown); Best Spot News, Shooting at Children’s Hospital, WTMJ Radio News Team; Best Feature, “Preserving WWII History,” Erik Bilstad; Best Sportscast, Greg Matzek; Best Continuing Coverage, “Say it Ain’t So, Ryan Braun,” WTMJ Radio News & Sports Team; and Best Use of Audio, “Rain, Rain, Go Away,” Erik Bilstad. WLWK was honored for: Best Newscast – Music Format, Lake Mornings with Danny Clayton, Vince Vitrano & Andi Miller; Best Promotional Announcement, “Free Fun Night Out,” “The Lake” staff; Best Commercial – Music Station, Flanners/Just Press Play – Jim Gilles; and Best Humorous Commercial Music Station Love Finds A Way – Jim Gilles.
KTSA, San Antonio Morning Host Trey Ware Mourns Death of 28-Year-Old Son. At Alpha Media-owned talk outlet KTSA, San Antonio, Trey Ware has handled morning drive for the past 21 years – almost half of his broadcasting career. But last week Ware and his wife Nancy suffered the devastating loss of their 28-year-old son Justin who died under circumstances that are being kept private at this time. This is not the first such tragedy for the couple. Ware and his wife lost their daughter Rebekah in 2009 at age 20. In the San Antonio Express-News, writer Jeanne Jakle spoke with Ware who said, “We’re taking it day by day, minute by minute, that’s all we can do…They were the only two we had. April is not a good month for us. We want to expunge April from the calendar.” Other KTSA staffers are sitting in for Ware during this time. Local radio personality Adam McManus has subbed the past few days.
SCBA Goes on the Offensive in TV vs Radio Ad Spend. If there’s a radio trade organization doing more to make the case for radio as an advertising vehicle, we’re not aware of it. The Southern California Broadcasters Association has been very focused on consistently reaching out to the media to present radio’s case versus its competition and in this case, the competitor is TV. The SCBA is releasing a white paper titled, “Traditional Appointment Television’s Technology and Viewership Crisis,” and it zeroes in on the decline in appointment viewing replaced by on-demand viewing that largely allows consumers to skip through commercial sets. SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “The imbalanced ratio of radio to TV ad spending in Southern California is completely unjustified when one looks closely at this SCBA report. Traditional appointment television is under direct attack from a variety of technology giants such as Google TV, Netflix, Amazon TV, YouTube, Hulu, as well as the ominous DVR.” Callahan says the report goes on to show that “radio remains the only real time medium with no tape delay or commercial skipping.” He adds, “Southern California Radio has grown its listenership of Adults 18+ over the past six years by an impressive 7.4% while local general market TV viewership has spiraled downward by -6.5% for early fringe programming and -8.5% for any local news. We are urging every general market TV advertiser to look at their ad spending and decide if they want to invest in the power of radio and our solid growth trends and commanding reach in Southern California vs. the eroding viewership of traditional appointment TV.”
Jeff Katz Honored with Journalism Award. Multi-media personality Jeff Katz was honored recently with an Editor’s Choice Award for his column that appears in the New England-based publication The Valley Patriot. Katz currently is host of the afternoon drive show at Clear Channel-owned news/talk WRVA, Richmond. He also writes for the Boston Herald and self-syndicates the nationally distributed “Katz Commentary.” He is also a public speaker having delivered keynote addresses all over the country. Katz tells TALKERS all of his media ventures embrace his unique philosophy of life, “Not Left. Not Right. Just Real.” Katz (left) is pictured here accepting his Editor’s Choice Award from The Valley Patriot publisher Tom Duggan (right).
Sharp-Dressed Men. The annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner took place in Washington, DC on Saturday evening (5/2) and there was no shortage of media players at the who’s who of news and politics gathering. Pictured here are (from left to right): Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey; ABC News president James Goldston; and ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones. Photo by Jay Snap, LaDexon Photographie.
KABC, Los Angeles Adds Jillian Barberie to Midday Show. The sound of the midday show at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KABC, Los Angeles changes beginning Monday February 17 as the station adds local media star Jillian Barberie to the lineup co-hosting the new “Mid-Day LA with Jillian Barberie & John Phillips.” The show airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and is part of the station’s move to add more local content to its programming. Barberie is well known to Southern California for her 18 years as co-host of Fox 11’s top-rated morning show, “Good Day LA.” In a statement, the station says that Barberie’s work at Fox 11 “engaged audiences with her real-life stories and electric energy. The sassy, Canadian-born Barberie has made a career out of hanging with the guys. While hosting ‘Good Day LA,’ she also spent a decade on the Fox NFL Pre-Game Show working opposite Curt Menefee, Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw.” Cumulus EVP and COO John Dickey adds, “Jillian’s energy, experience and love for Southern California are unmatched. We’re absolutely thrilled that she’s joining the ‘TalkRadio 790’ team in this important role.” Barberie comments, “I am so excited to be partnered with John Phillips! I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the KABC team, which is such a great place with incredibly talented people. I’ve always felt that there is something unique and liberating about doing radio.”
WYRD-FM, Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina Names Vince Coakley Weekend Host. Television and radio pro Vince Coakley joins Entercom’s WYRD-FM, Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina “WORD 106.3FM” for a regular Sunday program and as a fill-in personality when station hosts Bob McLain and Russ Cassell are on vacation. The station notes that Coakley’s program is “the Upstate’s only weekend live and local current events talk show” during that daypart, and adds, “Just because it’s the weekend doesn’t mean the news and the discussion about them stops.” Coakley hosted afternoon drive on Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte from June 2011 to July of 2012. He spent 20 years in television news prior to that. He’s also hosted a daily internet radio show called “Revolution Radio.” He says, “I am thrilled to officially join the team at WORD. The station is fearless in giving voice to hosts and listeners who place a premium on liberty. I have come to view the Greenville area as a second home and look forward to spending more time with the people of the Upstate on and off the air.”
TALKERS Posts Part-Three Today of Three-Part Special (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks. What broadcasting executive and entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years in founding and establishing Cleveland-based national syndication firm Envision Radio Networks is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry. He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows. His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets. Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that in today’s installment) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication. In today’s installment, Wolkoff discusses how, as a result of new technology and social practices, radio has grown to point that it is “more than” simply radio and that operators must work diligently to preserve its history and uniqueness without sacrificing its potential and rightful place within the digital-era. In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward. I’ve seen this movie many times before. Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.” To read part three of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here. And if you missed parts one and two published Monday and yesterday, please read them here and here, respectively.
More Details from Entercom’s Q4 Conference Call: The Drop on Boston and WEEI. While Entercom president and CEO David Field acknowledged that 2013 revenue was not where the company would like to have seen it (down 3%), he stated numerous times during Tuesday’s conference call that he believes the company has turned the corner and is “positioned for a strong 2014.” Saying that the company’s strongest-performing markets were San Francisco, Kansas City and Memphis, Field glowed about the ratings of some of the stations in those markets, pointing out the success stories of “The Wolf” and “The Point” in Kansas City, KOIT, KBLX and KGME in San Francisco. He also addressed the state of the Boston market and of sports talker WEEI. “We have some work to do there, but it’s interesting. We have a new leadership there now, which we are very excited about, and I believe we are starting to turn the corner there. And if you look at the fundamentals of Boston, WEEI, our flagship in the market, remains one of the top-rated sports station in the United States. It’s a top-three player in Boston among men. We are about to enter baseball season with the world champion Boston Red Sox and what’s little noted too is our digital play there. We have a major platform there with a team of writers who work for that, and it has become sort of a much visited site for fans. And to put it into context, we do about 1.5 million unique visitors each month, just on the digital side there. So we have a ton of opportunities in Boston and I would expect better things to come in the not-too-distant future there, and again, I think the future’s bright.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole chat here.
Fernandez Boosted to Journal COO; Graham Upped to SVP/CFO. It’s a promotion for Journal Communications president Andre Fernandez as he is appointed chief operating officer in which he’s assuming operational oversight of the company’s broadcast and publishing segments. His other expanded responsibilities will include corporate human resources; executive vice president of radio Steve Wexler continues reporting to Fernandez. Elsewhere, the company names vice president/controller Jason Graham senior vice president of finance/controller/chief financial officer. Graham will report to chairman/chief executive officer Steven Smith, who states, “Jason has done an excellent job leading our accounting, billing, accounts payable, payroll, and tax teams. He has also contributed to our strategic planning and growth initiatives, which will continue to be an integral part of his expanded role as CFO.” Prior to joining Journal in June 2012, Graham was Brookdale Senior Living‘s vice president/corporate controller.
Odds & Sods. At Sports USA, the company announces that Lyle Gordon is promoted to EVP affiliate relations. Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Lyle is a centerpiece of our company and his incredible relationships with over 400 radio stations makes Sports USA programming available to a nationwide audience. His experience with all forms of sports programming makes him the perfect person for this job.”…..Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Ellen Kenner celebrates her 17th anniversary on the radio as she begins broadcasting year number 18 of her Providence-based weekly talk show program…..According to ESPNNewYork.com, when the New York Mets take to the field this season, radio broadcasters Howie Rose and Josh Lewin will be back in the booth as games air on new flagship WOR. Previously, games were heard on crosstown WFAN-FM…..In Nashville, Cromwell Group’s sports talk WPRT-FM, will continue as flagship for the AAA Nashville Sounds this season. The Sounds are the AAA affiliate of the MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers.
Wichita Police Continue to Investigate Death of Steckline Communications Staffer. Authorities in Wichita are investigating the death of 25-year old Daniel Flores, a staffer at Steckline Communications, who was killed sometime between Sunday evening and Monday morning at the company’s studios in West Wichita. Right now, police have little to go on and are asking the public’s assistance in solving the crime. At a press conference on Tuesday, police said they believe the perpetrator(s) were at the station for a reason – that it was not a random attack – but they are not sure at this point why the station or Flores was targeted. Flores had been an employee at Steckline for about a year.
Cool Job Opportunity. Sirius XM’s new Business Radio channel, originating from the Wharton School in Philadelphia, is looking for a business news host/producer. The host/producer will be responsible for anchoring two hours of daily programming on business news including topics ranging from product development to marketing and management strategies. Duties include working with an editorial team, faculty, industry experts and Sirius staff to identify daily content, create segments, and book guests as well as research business topics related to content themes. A Bachelor’s degree and three to five years of experience in news/business reporting and anchoring or equivalent combination of education and experience required. Applicants must be skilled in gathering, researching and reporting business stories as well as interviewing business newsmakers. The focus is on drawing useful business insight and analyses for a lay audience on a tight deadline. This position is based in Philadelphia. For more information please log on to: http://jobs.hr.upenn.edu:80/postings/1269Special.
WFTL’s Joyce Kaufman Jumps with the Golden Knights. Yes, that’s WFTL, Fort Lauderdale talk show host Joyce Kaufman riding tandem with a member of the United States Army Parachute Team “The Golden Knights” over Homestead Air Reserve Base in Homestead, Florida. On another note, Kaufman tells TALKERS the recent Chapter 11 filing of WFTL’s parent company James Crystal Radio is not weighing on her. She says she had faith in the company. “We had a very anxious January, but I knew they would be honorable so I hung in. We received all our money last week and are on schedule to be paid in a timely fashion as the company reorganizes. I love this market. I love this company and as long as they give me the opportunity, I am staying.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Winter Weather Headed for South and East, Obama “I Can Do Anything I Want” Quip, Sochi Winter Games, Congress Raises Debt Ceiling, Hillary in 2016, NSA Spying Scandal, and Gay Football Player Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/11). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the next winter storm headed for the East and South; President Obama’s “I can do anything I want” quip; the Winter Olympics taking place in Sochi, Russia; Congress’ move to allow the raising of the debt ceiling; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s possible run for president in 2016; the backlash from the NSA spying scandal; and the announcement by NFL prospect Michael Sam that he’s gay were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Bryan Suits to KABC, Los Angeles. With Cumulus Media’s move making Geraldo Rivera a New York-only program beginning in the New Year, the late morning slot at KABC, Los Angeles opened up and it appears Bryan Suits will take over the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show at the station. KABC program director Drew Hayes has not responded to a request for confirmation but Suits himself has posted the news on his Facebook page and his Wikipedia entry indicates he’ll start doing the show in December. Suits had been working from Seattle at Clear Channel’s crosstown KFI, Los Angeles on weekends. He’s also hosted shows at KVI, Seattle and KOGO, San Diego.
Cumulus Announces Savage Sponsorship Deal. When Cumulus Media Networks’ “Savage Nation” with host Michael Savage moves to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET live slot in January, the program will enjoy Swiss America Trading Corporation as the presenting sponsor of the show. The company reports that the year-long deal will build upon a 12-year relationship between Savage’s show and Swiss America. The sponsorship agreement will expand Swiss America’s current presence on the show, with the program to be referred to as “The Savage Nation, Presented by Swiss America.” Savage comments, “I am thrilled to have Swiss America as the presenting sponsor of ‘The Savage Nation.’ This is the most significant partnership ever announced for our show and Swiss America’s interest in deepening their relationship is a testament to our increasingly growing audience.”
Al Malmberg Returns to WCCO, Minneapolis for Late Nights. CBS Radio’s news/talk WCCO announces the return of Al Malmberg to the station’s lineup for the 11:00 pm to 2:00 am show effective December 16. Malmberg hosted the overnight program on WCCO for more than 10 years during his previous stint with the station from 1996 to 2008. He was honored as “Best AM Radio Personality” by the local alt weekly City Pages in 2008. Program director Bob Shomper states, “We are thrilled for Al’s return to late nights on WCCO. He is one of our most popular hosts with a huge and loyal following.” Malmberg comments, “I am so glad to be back on WCCO. I’ve really missed talking to all of my friends across the upper Midwest on the big 50,000 watt blowtorch.”
Nicole Childers Named Senior Producer for ‘Marketplace Morning Report.’ American Public Media announces Nicole A. Childers is the new senior producer of “Marketplace Morning Report with David Brancaccio.” She comes to Marketplace from Fusion, a joint venture between ABC and Univision, where she was a senior launch producer for the new network. In her new role, she’ll oversee all production aspects of “Marketplace Morning Report,” which APM says is heard by 6.5 million listeners weekly on 475 public radio stations. She will work closely with host David Brancaccio and the production team in the New York bureau. Childers will report directly to vice president and executive producer Deborah Clark.
WRKO, Boston’s Howie Carr Gives Away Chance to Win a 2013 Jaguar XF. Boston talk show host Howie Carr and Entercom’s WRKO are giving listeners to Carr’s show a chance to “Win Howie’s Jaguar” this holiday season. From December 2 to December 13, Carr will contest twice during his show – 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm – to qualify up to 20 listeners to participate in a grand prize drawing and earn the chance to drive off in a 2013 Jaguar XF, courtesy of Jaguar Exeter. The grand prize event will take place during a live Howie Carr broadcast taking place on December 18 at The Fairways at Woburn Country Club. Each qualifier will receive a $50 gift card to The Green’s Grill and Pub at Woburn Country Club. One lucky finalist will win a two-night stay at The Old Harbor Inn in Chatham, Massachusetts and a shot at the car.
Communication Through Creativity. Highly respected radio imaging master, consultant, VO legend and program host Nick Michaels of American Voice Corp. recently brought his two-day seminar, “Communication Through Creativity,” to the Upper Midwest’s powerhouse talk station KFGO, Fargo. Michaels tells TALKERS that he was tremendously impressed by the passion for creativity and local involvement displayed on an ongoing level at the Midwest Communications property. Midwest VP programming Jeff McCarthy tells TALKERS, “Nick Michaels’ seminar had a powerful and positive impact on the staff and the results are already being heard on the air on all of our stations in Fargo.” Pictured (l-r): Jeff McCarthy, VP programming, Midwest Communications, Inc., Nick Michaels, American Voice Corp., and Peter Tanz, VP operations, Midwest Communications, Inc.
Iran-Nukes Deal, ObamaCare Criticism, Immigration Legislation, Threatened U.S.-Afghanistan Security Pact, Thanksgiving Holiday, and Gitmo Double Agents Program Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/25). The global reaction to the potential U.S.-brokered nukes deal with Iran; the criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; President Obama’s proposed immigration legislation; the tenuous security deal between the United States and Afghanistan; the coming Thanksgiving holiday; and the reported double agent program at Guantanamo Bay were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
News/Talk Radio Remembers JFK. As the nation commemorates the fateful, painful events of November 22 1963, the media at large – newspapers, television and, of course, radio — are focused across the board on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Obviously, the subject is dominating conversation on news/talk radio today in the form of historical documentaries, as well as live talk shows in which every aspect of the almost mythical story is rehashed, retold, analyzed and memorialized. Many shows are spending time giving listeners the opportunity to recall “where they were and what they were doing” when the horrible news was announced. As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison points out, “This milestone serves as a powerful generational marker in our industry’s obsession with demographics that basically breaks audiences down to two significantly different categories — those who remember JFK and the events of November 22, 1963… and those who don’t.”
Compass Media Marketing Will Represent Tom Leykis. As of the first of next year (January 2014), Compass Media Marketing will be the advertising sales agent for “The Tom Leykis Show.” CMM will do similar duties for the talk show host’s NewNormalNetwork.com and BlowMeUpTom.com. “We are appreciative to the tens of thousands of listeners who are tuning in daily to our show,” Leykis remarks. “The time is right to start aggressively marketing the show to sponsors and we are thrilled to work with the Compass team.” Compass Media Marketing president of advertising sales Paul Gregrey comments that Leykis is a “creative genius” with a “highly engaged and loyal audience. There is limitless upside for growth, both in terms of listenership and sponsors.” Introduced last year, the latest version of Leykis’ talk show is a streaming internet-centric call-in program, which is broadcast daily at 3:00 pm (PT) from Burbank. This past Tuesday (11/19), we mentioned that Leykis put himself up for auction on eBay. The stunt raked in $7,800 for his company and Leykis tells TALKERS, “This promotion worked perfectly for us because it engaged our audience, it brought press attention to our growing brand, and it brought us substantial revenue. For The New Normal, it was nothing short of a homerun. [Furthermore, it] makes it hard to accept the whining of radio stations who say that they ‘can’t monetize’ digital.”
Reports of Renewed TRN Activity Circulating. There’s buzz in the industry that Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters is working to bring some of his talent back on the radio hosting live programs. TALKERS sources indicate Masters and talk personality Jerry Doyle have come to terms that have allowed Doyle to return to his program immediately. Doyle and other Talk Radio Network personalities have not been hosting regular live shows for most of the past month or so in the wake of a financial disruption at the company that involved staff layoffs at the Grants Pass, Oregon home offices and numerous legal actions between Masters and current and former employees. Other rumors circulating purported that talk host Rusty Humphries is also soon to be returning to the program schedule at TRN but TALKERS sources report Humphries and Masters have not come to terms that would bring Humphries back to TRN. TALKERS has reached out to Masters for comment but as of this posting there has been no response. Stay tuned.
Geraldo to Remain with Cumulus Media. Any rumors circulating the internet that Geraldo Rivera’s days with Cumulus Media are numbered are untrue says company COO John Dickey. Geraldo – who is based at the company’s WABC, New York and is also heard on its Los Angeles news/talker KABC as well as 45 other news/talk outlets – airs live from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. Dickey tells TALKERS, “Geraldo is going to be working even more closely with us next year – still anchoring 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on WABC – as well as spearheading our Putting America Back to Work (PABTW) initiative.” Geraldo began his program on WABC, New York in January 2012.
Norm Pattiz Discusses Podcasting and the State of the Radio Industry on TalkersTV. An exclusive video of Courtside Entertainment, LLC/Podcast One CEO Norm Pattiz‘s presentation at the recent Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference has been posted today (11/22) on TalkersTV (top panel of boxes on right hand side of this page). In what was billed as a “keynote conversation,” with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, the noted industry pioneer, who founded the original Westwood One and created a veritable media empire from scratch, discusses the impact and meaning of podcasting as an extension of the radio industry as well as other important issues of the broadcasting business. During the presentation he asks the provocative question, “When was the last time you can think of a national star that was created on network radio? Been a while, hasn’t it!” He goes on to state, “There’s a demographic national star created in podcasting every week. That’s because in the podcasting world, the only people you have to satisfy are your audiences and consumers.” To view the entire video presentation, see TalkersTV on the upper right side of every page on Talkers.com.
RAB: Third Quarter Radio Spot Revenue Up 1%. The Radio Advertising Bureau reports its 2013 Q3 figures and states after two flat quarters, radio spot advertising rose 1% on sales of $3.684 million. The report also notes that network revenue was down 11% while digital rose 19% and off-air was up 3%. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “The momentum we saw building at the end of Q2 has definitely translated into a positive Q3 for radio in many of our top 10 advertiser categories, led by communications/cellular with a healthy 24% increase. Among key categories, automotive, professional services, health care, home furnishings, all showed substantial increases, as well. Increases from these diverse ad categories illustrate radio’s cross-platform strength to drive traffic and sales – for large corporations to Main Street businesses.”
Chuck Todd Readies to Add Radio Duties. “Unscripted with Chuck Todd” is the name of the one-hour (9:00 am to 10:00 am) Saturday show the veteran journalist will launch in two weeks (12/7) on SiriusXM‘s “P.O.T.U.S.” channel. “In this day and age, people tend to think they have more access to newsmakers and politicians, when in many ways, they actually have less,” Todd comments. “We will aim to help listeners get to know powerful people in a different way – as human beings, not as sound-bite machines. I look forward to talking to many famous amateur political junkies out there who just happen to have day jobs in the worlds of sports, Hollywood, Wall Street and everywhere in between.” According to SiriusXM vice president/general manager of talk programming Dave Gorab, “Chuck will go outside his normal field of reporting and delve into the personal passions and interests of not just politicians but leaders from virtually every field of interest. This show is new territory for Chuck, but will be built on his journalistic savvy and experience.” Todd hosts MSNBC‘s “Daily Rundown” and is NBC News’ chief White House correspondent.
Atlantic City Talk Host Pinky Kravitz Celebrates 55 Years on WOND. Atlantic City talk radio legend Seymour “Pinky” Kravitz is celebrating his 55th anniversary on WOND this afternoon with a special broadcast from the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. The station notes that Kravitz has broadcast more than 169,000 hours of air time (that’s over 701 consecutive days!) from more than 20 remote broadcasting locations and more than a handful of time changes. It boasts that 1400 AM is where South Jersey still turns for “informative and provocative conversation. Pinky Kravitz has become one of the region’s most recognized, trusted and beloved media personalities through what has become the longest running radio program (on one station by one personality) in the country.” Longport Media president Dave Coskey states, “It’s amazing that in an industry where longevity is often measured in months or years that we measure Pinky’s career on WOND in decades. Pinky’s career spans not only decades but generations – generations of listeners all who have spent time in Pinky’s Corner. And his brand is even stronger today than it was in 1958.” Kravitz adds, “I’ve been blessed to not only have the support of my family, a radio station and city for all of these years but also the love and support of an entire region.” In addition to his daily radio show on WOND, Kravitz also hosts a weekly television program on WMGM-TV and writes a weekly column for the Press of Atlantic City.
Saga Communications to Pay Special Cash Dividend. Saga Communications, Inc. announces its Board of Directors is declaring a special cash dividend of $1.80 per share on its Classes A and B Common Stock to be paid on December 12, 2013 to shareholders of record on December 2, 2013. The aggregate amount of the payment to be made in connection with the special dividend will be approximately $10.3 million. This special cash dividend will be funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet.
Paul Finebaum Show to Air on SiriusXM’s ESPN Channel. The formerly Birmingham-based sports talker – now calling Charlotte home and produced and syndicated nationally via ESPN Radio – joins the ESPN Xtra channel on SiriusXM effective Monday, November 25. Paul Finebaum joined ESPN in August after years of success on Cumulus Media’s WJOX-FM, Birmingham. Finebaum’s show airs live from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.
Honda Displays HD Radio Civic Pride. The Los Angeles Auto Show is not typically where you would expect to find something noteworthy about the radio business. That, however, is where HD Radio developer iBiquity Digital this week announced that the 2014 Civic is the first Honda vehicle to launch integrated audio and real-time traffic information using the HERE mapping service, BTC, and HD Radio technology. iBiquity Digital chief operating officer Jeff Jury comments, “Honda is showing real leadership in bringing the benefits of digital HD Radio data to their vehicles. This is another great example of a leading automaker integrating digital terrestrial technology as part of a connected vehicle strategy.” Honda Civic navigation systems incorporate HD Radio audio and data features, including a way for listeners to view album art and other images on their radio screens. There is subscription-free, real-time traffic information, showing flow patterns, construction alerts, and traffic incidents to drivers. In addition to Honda, other automakers integrating digital traffic and data services include Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Toyota. More than 30 automakers have announced plans to incorporate HD Radio in over 170 models by the end of this year. Nearly seven-dozen models will feature HD Radio receivers as standard equipment. The 2014 Honda Civic arrives at dealerships next month.
Ron Ruth Memorial Fund Announced. The Radio Advertising Bureau and the Broadcasters Foundation of America are announcing the creation of the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund in celebration of the life and work of Ruth and to benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America. The BfoA’s mission is to help improve the quality of life of men and women in the radio and television broadcast profession who find themselves in acute need. Donations may be sent directly to the Broadcasters Foundation at 125 West 55th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10019 and please make note that the donation is for the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund. Tentative plans by the RAB are underway to hold a celebration of life with Ron’s many friends sometime in the first quarter of next year and will be made public as soon as they are finalized. RAB CEO and president Erica Farber states, “Ron was an ardent supporter of the Broadcasters Foundation. We at the RAB couldn’t think of a more fitting way to honor and commemorate his life and work.”
Dave Ramsey Takes New York. The actual event took place right across the Hudson River at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark but Dave Ramsey’s New York affiliate – Clear Channel’s WOR – was a partner in promoting the event. Ramsey presented his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” last night (11/21) before a packed house speaking about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage. WOR general sales manager Ron Russo says to the Ramsey team, “Thank you for creating an engaging event in an intimate setting where we have the opportunity to connect our listeners with our clients in a truly interactive environment.” WOR sales manager Chris Borelli adds, “The event is not only impeccably prepared and executed, but entertaining and enjoyable. We look forward to many more events like this as long term partners.”
ObamaCare Criticism Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 18-22. The scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was President Obama’s sinking approval ratings. Following at #3 was the talks with Iran about its nuclear policy and debate over economic sanctions on the nation followed by the GOP’s 2014 and 2016 strategy at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Cumulus Q1 Revenue Drops 1.3%. The 2013 first quarter revenue numbers for Cumulus Media were $232 million – a decrease of $3.1 million or 1.3% compared to the same period a year ago. In its filing with the SEC, the company attributes the drop to “lower political revenues and general lower advertising spending in some of our markets.”
Lew Dickey Says Underperforming Stations Improving But Not Fixed; Syndicated Talk ‘Continues to Be Challenged.’ During the Tuesday conference call with investors announcing Cumulus Media’s 2013 first quarter revenue figures, CEO Lew Dickey addressed the syndicated talk division’s performance as well as six of its major market news/talk stations. Quick to address the 10 major market stations he’d blamed for pulling down the entire company’s previous revenue totals, he said, “Several of our big news/talk stations are now growing, including: WABC – which is leading the pack in New York, KABC in Los Angeles, WLS in Chicago, KSFO in San Francisco, WMAL in Washington, D.C. and WJR in Detroit, all are growing. Our team is working very hard, and we’ve adapted to ad market changes. And again, these stations are now posting revenue growth.” He only vaguely touched on the Rush Limbaugh controversy during Q&A saying network sales has been challenged but is starting to pick up. Dickey praised the company’s heritage AM talkers for their potential and stated, “Our charge over the next five years is to continue to expose our audience and all of these major markets to the industry’s most talented performers while developing the next generation of talk radio superstars. By the way, this is true for our sports talk stations as well.” Dickey said that original group of 10 trouble franchises is down to six. “And we confirm our earlier statement that this original group of 10 stations would be negative in the first quarter, flat in Q2 and then rebounding in the back half of the year to post positive full year growth in 2013. And in fact, we can say that we’re actually a little ahead of that schedule right now.” But he also noted that while WBAP, Dallas is starting to come around, KGO, San Francisco – which it turned to largely a news station – is still not where they want it to be. Regarding the company’s deal with CBS Radio and the CBS Sports Radio Network, Dickey reports the rollout has reached almost 300 affiliates and is surpassing expected revenue targets. “We are highly encouraged by our early success and expect CBS Sports Radio to be a material growth driver in 2014 and beyond.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. You can read the entire transcript here.
Talk Radio Network and Phil Hendrie to End Syndication Effort. Talk Radio Network announces that it will cease syndication of the Phil Hendrie radio program as of June 25, 2013. TRN began syndicating the program in 2007 after it had been parted from its original syndicator – Premiere Networks – for about a year. TRN CEO Mark Masters states, “I believed in Phil then, and I still think he is a comic genius on air. He will always be a radio icon to me. We are proud to have rebuilt the Phil Hendrie show by adding over 100 stations, along with creating robust growth to Phil’s online presence, but, due to world events, the economy, and the state of radio in this country, we have decided to go in another direction in that daypart – we wish Phil all the best in his future endeavors.” From his perspective, Hendrie issues the following statement: “Phil Hendrie has elected not to pursue any further association with Talk Radio Network. As he delves deeper into his successful digital platform and ongoing television and film work, Hendrie remains open to terrestrial radio opportunities, but only those with strong sales, marketing and programming support.”
Cox Media Group Promotes Kim Guthrie to EVP Radio; Jane Williams to EVP Television and Marian Pittman to VP of News & Marketing for TV. Cox Media Group announces several promotions. Kim Guthrie, who had been serving as senior vice president of radio, overseeing all of the company’s radio stations, is promoted to executive vice president of radio and she reports to new CMG president Bill Hoffman. Guthrie joined Cox Radio in 1998 as VP and GM for its Long Island, properties and has been Regional VP for Cox Radio, where her stations have won multiple honors – including Marconi awards, Crystal Awards, New York Air Awards, AWRT Gracie Awards – for programming excellence and outstanding community service. Hoffman says of Guthrie (and EVP of television Jane Williams), “Both are proven CMG leaders and are highly respected throughout the media industry. Kim and Jane, along with our local leadership, have ensured our broadcast stations’ ongoing success, and I am honored to have them in these vitally-strategic executive positions.” At the same time, Marian Pittman is promoted from her post as station manager of WSB-TV, Atlanta to vice president of news & marketing for television for the company.
J Chapman Heads Up Woof Boom Radio to Buy Indiana Stations. The Backyard Broadcasting Muncie, Indiana market stations that Woof Boom is buying include: hot AC WLBC, oldies WERK, sports talk WXFN, news/talk WHBU, and classic rock simulcast WMXQ and WMQX “Max.” Jerry “J” Chapman’s Woof Boom Radio is made up of a group of local investors, headed by Chapman, who have formed Woof Boom Radio, a nod to the longtime dominance of WFBM in Indiana broadcasting from the beginnings of radio in the 1920s until the mid-1970s. The other owners include: Ray Kennedy, Conormara Investments; Jason Farmer, managing director of WestBridge Investments; and Aaron Reitz. In a statement, Woof Boom says of Chapman, “A 17-year radio executive with Indianapolis-based Emmis and most recently with Maverick Media of Rockford, Illinois, Chapman is a graduate of Hanover and literally grew up in the broadcasting industry. His father led Indianapolis WFBM Radio & TV for three decades, and J got an early start in the media business when assigned by his father to mow the grass at the TV station’s north side Indianapolis transmitter site.” Chapman says of his new venture, “I’m very excited to come home and put my years of experience in the vibrant radio industry to good use back in Indiana. The stations we’re acquiring are vital links between listeners and the local community. We intend to utilize those radio resources to help grow our customers’ businesses and to improve the quality of entertainment and information in our new communities. Best of all, the management of this group of stations will be local to serve local needs. We want to make a great thing even better, and Woof Boom Radio intends to start off on the right foot.”
The Secret of Managing Controversy. As the talk radio industry grapples with the dilemma of balancing the two realities of controversy (on the plus side, it attracts loyal audience – on the downside, it attracts enemies and scares advertisers) noted media consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo offers a simple solution. In an article posted today (5/8) he cites a simple but powerfully effective method used by some of the greatest talk radio managers of all time: Let the hosts be opinionated, controversial and even outrageous – but keep the station itself absolutely neutral! He goes on to explain why this is key to a successful operation. To read Walter Sabo’s entire piece, click here.
Mark Carbonaro Remains with KION, Salinas in News Capacity. Yesterday, TALKERS reported that Mark Carbonaro was out at Clear Channel’s KION, Salinas, California as the company was importing KSTE, Sacramento-based Armstrong & Getty for morning drive. We learn via The Californian that Carbonaro remains with the station handling the morning drive news operations and other news department duties. General manager Rhonda McCormack tells the paper, “We are continuing to evolve our product with new and compelling offerings that will complement Mark’s contributions and allow him more time and flexibility to cover local news and events. It was a business decision. We think Armstrong & Getty will resonate well with the audience on KION. Mark Carbonaro is on Monday – Friday, 6:00 am to 9:00 am with Armstrong & Getty. Mark reports on the local news, sports, weather and traffic, plus expert segments that will run throughout the day, Monday through Friday and on Saturday mornings in the 10:00 am hour, ‘The Saturday Insider with Mark Carbonaro.’”
Cheryl Winer Named National Account Manager for Sun Broadcast Group. Radio sales pro Cheryl Winer is named national account manager for Sun Broadcast Group where she’ll work from the company’s New York City office assisting in servicing the company’s fast-growing roster of agency and client partners. Founder and CEO Jason Bailey states, “2013 has been such an exciting time in our company’s growth. With the addition of Cheryl to our first-class sales team I truly believe we send a clear message to the industry that Sun Broadcast Group is, and will continue to be, the leader in a very new kind of service for network radio advertisers and program suppliers.” Speaking about her new position with Sun, Winer says, “Over the past several years I have been searching for an entrepreneurial environment, which would replicate my experience at Premiere in the early days. I am so very excited to say that I have found that in Sun Broadcast Group! I look forward to participating in the growth of this fast-paced, cutting edge company.”
Arbitron Reports Q1 Revenue Up 5.1%. Income for the ratings firm was down to $0.60 per share for the first quarter of 2013, compared to $0.64 per share during the same period in 2012. However, income was up 5.1% on revenue of $111.8 million compared to the same period a year ago. The company states that costs and expenses increased 8.3% from Q1 2012 to Q1 2013. “In addition to the $3.2 million of expenses related to the pending Nielsen transaction, costs in the quarter increased as a result of planned incremental investments in Arbitron Mobile panels, costs associated with address-based sampling, in-person recruiting, and cell-phone household recruiting.” President and CEO Sean Creamer states, “In the first quarter, we continued to pursue our long-standing objectives: maintaining our investments in the quality of our radio ratings services, growing our core revenue, and entering new markets such as digital radio, cross-platform, and mobile. Our focus on the quality of our core services helped us achieve Media Rating Council accreditation of four additional Portable People Meter markets in February. Our goal remains achieving or maintaining accreditation in all our syndicated radio markets. We continue working to leverage our investment in the PPM technology and consumer panels utilizing our platform in new initiatives such as advertising and promotion effectiveness studies, while enhancing our measurement capabilities for radio and across platforms.”
Saga Communications Q1 Net Revenue Down 1.3%. To use the words of Saga Communications SVP, treasurer and CFO Sam Bush, the first quarter of 2013 was “challenging” for the company. In a conference call with investors, Bush reports that the company saw a dramatic decline in political advertising from the first quarter of 2012 to the same period in 2013. Gross national revenue was also down by more than $500,000 but a good quarter for local revenue helped combat that drop.
Salem Communications Sees 1.3% Revenue Dip in Q1. That’s across the board for all of Salem’s platforms and comes largely because Salem had such an outstanding 2012 in the political advertising category. Breaking things apart a bit, CEO Ed Atsinger reports that the company’s business news segment is doing well, increasing 4% while the news/talk radio division was down 7%. The Christian teaching formats were down 3% though the Christian contemporary group was up 5% compared to the same period a year ago. The Salem Radio Network was down 10% from Q1 in 2012.
WTOP, Washington Site the Victim of Hacking. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington and its sister WFED had their websites hacked earlier this week. The attacks may have affected visitors using Internet Explorer but not other web browsers. A message on WTOP.com states, “WTOP.com is currently dealing with a malicious cyber attack. We are working diligently to contain and stop the attack, and apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.” The Washington Post reports that an internet security expert says the hackers installed two types of malware – one designed to look like an anti-virus software service that would get the subscriber’s credit card number, the other designed to control clicks from the user’s computer to inflate the number of actual clicks on digital ads.
Benghazi Whistleblower, Cleveland Women Freed from Captivity, Sanford South Carolina Race, Immigration Amnesty Issue and North Korea Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/7). The testimony about the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi; the case of the Cleveland women freed from captivity after 10 years; the South Carolina race for House seat between Mark Sanford and Elizabeth Colbert Busch; the amnesty for illegal immigrants issue; and North Korea’s military threats were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Mike Huckabee Considers Radio Future in Arkansas Business Story. In a piece that ran in Arkansas Business yesterday, Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host – and former Arkansas governor and U.S. presidential candidate – Mike Huckabee speaks openly about his current media projects and how his political experience has helped his media career. Huckabee gives no clear indication he’ll stop doing the daily three-hour show, but neither does he sound all-in when he states, “Within the next month, I’ll decide if I want to continue it or not. I know we will, but it’s just such an incredibly intensive process that I really have to decide that I want to spend that kind of time…” Huckabee describes the long days preparing for the program and how he works that in with his Fox News Channel weekend program. “I’ve got to always weigh how much time I’m putting in it and what the return is. How long it will take to make it what I call hopefully disgustingly profitable. That’s what one always hopes for in a deal like this.” Read the entire story here.
Can Radio Overcome its Smothering Debt and Be a Viable Business in this New Era? That, according to Michael Harrison is THE existential question facing the industry today — and one that TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo tackle head-on in a blockbuster article posted May 2 in BOTH trade publications. Researched and written by TALKERS/RadioInfo west coast bureau chief/managing editor Mike Kinosian, this extensive piece taps deeply into the experience, wisdom and vision of a stellar panel of industry power-players who share their real world perspectives of this pressing issue that directly ties into the future of radio as both a medium and a business. They include (in alphabetical order): Sandi Bergman of MyMediaBroker, Ed Christian of Saga Communications, Erica Farber of the RAB, Charlie Gross of Newsweb Radio Corp., Michael Harrison of TALKERS/RadioInfo, Jerry Lee of WBEB (“B101”) in Philadelphia, Chuck Lontine of Headwaters MB, David Pearlman of American Radio Systems, Ed Perry of WATD in Marshfield, MA, Tom Quinn of Americom Broadcasting, Jeff Smulyan of Emmis Broadcasting, Peter Smyth of Greater Media and Dave Van Dyke of Radiate Media. Upon the publication of this information-packed article, TALKERS/RadioInfo VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This is one of the most important pieces published in the radio trades in years and I advise anyone in this business who cares about its future to take the time to read it thoroughly. It dives right into the most pressing issue facing all of us today and provides insight from all angles – big-time groups, large and small market stations, investment banks, services providers, and advertising advocates. A piece like this gets to the very heart of what will determine radio’s future – its ability to function and options to consider as a viable business in a daunting, obstacle-ridden environment.” Read Mike Kinosian’s story here.
Mark Carbonaro Out at KION, Salinas, California; Armstrong & Getty In. According to a report in The Californian, local morning drive host Mark Carbonaro’s program has been replaced on KION, Salinas with the Sacramento-based Armstrong & Getty show. Californian writer Jeff Mitchell reports that calls to local management were not returned prior to his deadline. Both KION and Armstrong & Getty’s home station KSTE are owned by Clear Channel.
WNSR, Nashville to Get FM Simulcast in June. Nashville Sports Radio’s WNSR, Nashville will simulcast on 95.9 in addition to its 560 signal early this summer. The station says it will position itself as “Nashville’s SportsRadio 560 on 95.9 FM.” The new FM signal will be located near the Davidson/Williamson County line, providing excellent 24-hour coverage of WNSR’s programming. General sales manager and afternoon host Thom Abraham states, “Before the Predators and Titans, WNSR brought sports programming to the airwaves in Nashville. This station has stayed true to the format for over 15 years and we are now excited to make it available on the FM band. The new logo puts the emphasis on WNSR, which has stood for Nashville’s Sports Radio since 1997, something we are very proud of, and something I have come to appreciate since coming here four years ago.”
Fox News Radio Offers Memorial Day Weekend Specials. The network is offering two hour-long special programs for air during the Memorial Day Weekend. “Remembering Iraq” is hosted by Fox News Channel’s Griff Jenkins and reflects on the 10 years since the United States entered the Iraq War. Jenkins will take a look at the front lines and those who were affected by the war, including the men and women who served as well as their spouses and children. “The Next Disaster” is hosted by Fox News Channel’s Janice Dean. It’s a multi-part series that examines disasters, including tornados, earthquakes and terrorist attacks and how to best prepare for them. Additionally, Dean will take a look at how weather forecasting and other technology have helped people prepare for natural disasters in the past and will also report on the impact of early warnings. More information about the specials can be found on the Fox News Radio affiliate website in the specials section.
Sports Talk WDAE, Tampa Gets FM Simulcast on 95.3. The signal is 250-watt translator W237CW that was most recently simulcasting the audio of Clear Channel’s hip hop WBTP “95.7 The Beat.” CC flips it over to sports talker WDAE. The AM 620 signal of WDAE covers the market just fine but now the station will have an FM presence that’s strongest in St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park and Clearwater.
Benghazi Cover-up Allegations, Syria-Israel Tensions, Obama OSU Commencement, and North Korea Missile Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6). New information regarding the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the political ramifications; military tensions between Israel and Syria; President Obama’s commencement speech at Ohio State University over the weekend; and the North Korean missile threat were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Longtime KSFO and KGO, San Francisco Personality Lee Rodgers Dies. San Francisco talk radio host Lee Rodgers – who spent the last part of his career on the radio in the market co-hosting morning drive with Melanie Morgan on KSFO – died on Thursday while being operated on for a heart condition. Rodgers had been dealing with heart ailments for some time and Thursday’s surgery was, according to a blog post by his widow Susan, risky but something Rodgers was willing to undergo. Rodgers and Morgan were ousted from their KSFO morning show position in February of 2010.
Former Talk Host Ed Koch Dies at 88. Ed Koch was known to most as a former U.S. Representative and the former mayor of New York City but he was also a progressive talk radio host after his days in New York City Hall. He worked at WABC, New York in the middays in the mid-1990s. He was respected by conservatives and liberals alike and often referred to as the “sane liberal” by conservatives. In recent years, Koch also hosted a Friday evening program on Bloomberg Radio’s WBBR, New York.
Cumulus Names Ron Escarsega OM for KGO and KSFO, San Francisco. Moving up from Cumulus Media’s Los Angeles cluster where he served as assistant program director for news/talk KABC, Ron Escarsega takes the position of operations manager for news KGO and news/talk KSFO. Cumulus news/talk/sports corporate programmer Jim Mahanay states, “Ron has done a great job for us in Los Angeles. We’re excited at the skills he brings north to the Bay Area.” Escarsega says, “I’m excited for the new challenge to work with two iconic stations KGO and KSFO. I appreciate the confidence Cumulus has shown in me and look forward to the new challenge.” KGO and KSFO program director Paul Hosley exits the company.
Date Set for TALKERS New York City Conference. Save the date! The 16th annual TALKERS Conference is set for New York City on Thursday, June 6, 2013. Formerly called “The New Media Seminar” the event – now simply titled TALKERS New York 2013 – will again take place at the comfortable and modern Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side. It will be a power-packed full day of special addresses, panels, presentations, and social networking opportunities tackling the key issues facing talk radio and its relationship with the new talk media (internet, satellite, cable TV) as well as the general radio industry including music radio and the changing role of the disc jockey. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This will be a TALKERS conference for the new era. Our presentation this year will be so fresh and vital to the survival and ‘thrival’ of the business that we actually are moving beyond the title ‘New Media Seminar.’ It is not to be missed.” Stand by for full registration, sponsorship and unfolding agenda details posted here before the end of the week. Registrations will not go on sale until next Monday, February 4 after which, due to limited space and seating, it is expected to be a rapid sellout. Registration will be limited to members of the working media only.
Geraldo Rivera Contemplating U.S. Senate Run in 2014. Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York-based midday talk personality Geraldo Rivera said on his radio program on Thursday that he’s considering a run for the U.S. Senate in 2014. He told listeners, “I mention this only briefly – fasten – I am and have been in touch with some people in the Republican Party in New Jersey. I am truly contemplating running for Senate against Frank Lautenberg or Cory Booker in New Jersey.” The Christian Science Monitor examines Rivera’s chances here. Though New Jersey is a fairly blue state, whether this is Rivera musing out loud or he’s serious about this will become clearer over time. He wouldn’t be the first to turn a talk radio gig into a U.S. Senate seat. Al Franken did it in Minnesota.
Salem Radio Network Teams with USCCA for Second Amendment Protection Petition. The petition – which obtained its 60,000th signature during Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher show on Thursday (1/31) – is a combined effort of the United States Concealed Carry Association and Salem Radio Networks. The petition is intended to be delivered to Congress to request that the Second Amendment be honored as Washington works on gun legislation in the wake of the Newtown massacre.
Cox Media’s WDBO, Orlando Produces Student-Led Gun Legislation Debate. The event took place yesterday evening on the University of Central Florida campus where pre-law students in the Moot Court program debated the issue before a live audience and live on WDBO. The debate was moderated by midday personality Mel Robbins. Station program director Drew Anderssen stated, “Student safety is at the core of the gun control debate in Washington. The politicians have spoken. Our talk hosts have spoken. But, we haven’t heard a long-form discussion on the issue from students. Thanks to the UCF Moot Court Team, we’re able to present our auditorium and radio audiences with a truly bi-partisan discussion on an issue that will shape our nation’s future from people who represent our nation’s future.”
Talk Host Tom Donahue Returns to Terrestrial Radio on KCAA, San Bernardino. Talk radio pro Tom Donahue – who’s been producing his own talk show in various digital formats recently – is taking to the airwaves of Southern California on Broadcasting Management Services’ KCAA, Loma Linda (San Bernardino market) for a weekly Friday program airing at 6:00 pm. Donahue’s program remains part of the internet Talk Superstation lineup. He says he plans to grow his station affiliate base and eventually expand beyond his new weekly endeavor.
Odds & Sods. KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive host Alan Stock sits in for Rusty Humphries on his Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated show this afternoon (2/1)…..WTOP, Washington, DC reporter Neil Augenstein came to the rescue of a Virginia man whose car had been pulled down the road and into a ditch by flood waters early Thursday morning. Augenstein came upon the van while driving in the early morning hours. He was able to confirm that man was okay and phoned authorities to send a rescue crew…..Premiere Networks “Coast to Coast AM” star George Noory is profiled in St. Louis Magazine. Noory splits his time between St. Louis and Los Angeles and in the piece speaks about his journey from news broadcasting to radio and how it influences the show today plus more…..SirusXM launches a new Martha Stewart program called, “Martha Live.” This program debuts February 19 and will be a daily, two-hour live program airing from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET and will feature segments including “Ask Martha,” with live call-ins; “Mostly Martha,” with high-profile guest interviews and discussions; segments hosted by Martha’s favorite experts; as well as curated segments from Martha’s vast archives of radio and television.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds WGSO, New Orleans; WLNI, Lynchburg, Virginia; and WGAW, Gardner, Massachusetts to its roster of affiliates…..WREC, Memphis adds the Dave Ramsey program to its lineup…..“Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford” picks up its 75th affiliate station with the addition of WTYS, Marianna, Florida. Lipford also produces a companion syndicated television program of the same name…..Chris Markowski’s “Money Minutes” feature is added to the Salem Tampa stations.
Immigration Reform Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 28. The Obama Administration’s proposal for immigration reform was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 28 – February 1. Coming in at #2 was the report of the shrinking GDP in the U.S. tied with the Obama Administration’s shutting down of the bi-partisan jobs council. At #3 was the Chuck Hagel confirmation hearing followed by Gabrielle Giffords’ gun legislation testimony at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research form TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s chart here.
Programmer Drew Hayes Moves to KABC, Los Angeles. News/talk programming pro Drew Hayes is leaving his OM position at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago to take up the PD reins at the company’s KABC, Los Angeles. That station has been without a PD since Jack Silver exited last summer to program the NBC Sports Radio/Dial Global sports talk initiative. The WLS-AM programming duties will be assumed by PD Tracy Slutzkin who served as APD under Hayes before being promoted to program director. It’s been a tumultuous four months for WLS-AM with longtime morning duo Don Wade and Roma being forced to leave their position due to Don Wade’s health and the sudden death of midday talk host Jake Hartford last week. WLS vice president and market manager Donna Baker says, “Drew has led WLS through some unique challenges and his leadership is respected and appreciated. We wish him and his family the very best in LA. I’m confident Tracy will continue to lead WLS forward to great success.” About his latest move to the West Coast Hayes says, “It’s a thrill to return to LA and I am appreciative of the support and confidence Cumulus has shown in me. I am looking forward to helping re-energize one of the greatest sets of call letters in the most exciting city.” Hayes previously programmed KABC in the late 1990s when the station was owned by ABC/Disney.
Super Bowl Media Week Begins Next Monday. It’s the most wonderful time of the year for many sports talk radio people who get to leave their studio confines behind and re-locate to a (usually) warm location to take part in the media buildup surrounding the Super Bowl. Beginning Monday, ESPN reports that, in addition to their slate of live broadcasts from New Orleans, Mike Hill of the Hill & Schlereth program will serve as a special behind-the-scenes reporter filing stories online. ESPN states, “Adding to ESPN Radio’s already comprehensive coverage will be the deployment of Mike Hill, co-host of the nightly Hill & Schlereth, as a behind-the-scenes reporter for ESPNRadio.com. He will provide clandestine chronicles of ESPN Radio-related activities in New Orleans, providing a perspective unique to ESPN Radio.com’s previous Super Bowl coverage.”
Dan O’Donnell Jumps to WISN, Milwaukee. News anchor and talk show host Dan O’Donnell moves from Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s crosstown news/talk WISN where he’ll take on news anchoring duties as well as do fill-in work for the station’s talk hosts, provide commentary and take charge of the station’s “Common Sense Central” online initiative. In a statement, O’Donnell says, “This is an incredible opportunity, but it is at least somewhat bittersweet because of the amazing people I’ve had a chance to meet and work with over my many years at Newsradio 620 WTMJ. I’ve made friendships there that I consider lifelong and will always love and cherish every minute I spent at my first broadcast home. Yet I am looking forward with all of my heart to beginning this exciting new chapter in my professional life and hope that you will join me on what I hope will be one heck of an adventure.”
“Imus on Broadway” Charity Fundraiser Scheduled for February 11. The 3rd Annual “Imus on Broadway” event is taking place on February 11 at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square. For the event, New York Post theater columnist Michael Riedel will emcee the promotion and join 77WABC-based Don Imus for a “best of Broadway” review featuring performances by the cast of some of the biggest shows on Broadway including: “Patsy Cline,” “Chicago,” “Hands on a Hard Body,” “Mamma Mia,” “Mystery of Edwin Drood,” “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” “Once,” “Rock of Ages,” and “Wicked.” All ticket sales for the event benefit the Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer.
CRN Digital Talk Radio Celebrates 30th Anniversary. The Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is marking the occasion with special on-air programming, its all-new online magazine and by hosting the “1st annual Food and Wine Awards.” Founder and CEO Michael Horn began CRN (Cable Radio Network) in 1983 with a little seed money and lots of enthusiasm. It all began when Horn saw a trade publication article about how Los Angeles rock station KMET-FM was garnering a 7-share in the Phoenix market. It turned out that the station was sending its audio into a dedicated channel with cable providers in that market. He says, “I thought that it was a great idea to try to bring radio to television and give cable subscribers the variety and cutting edge programming that only radio can offer.” Soon, Horn’s fledgling service was serving a number of Los Angeles-area cable companies who saw the value of radio programming on their cable lineup. Today, CRN is available on scores of cable and telecommunications providers as well as radio stations across the country, offering more than100 shows along with a stellar roster of top syndicated programs hosted by radio veterans such as Barry Farber, Dennis Prager, Fred Dryer, Robert Conrad, Mancow and Doug Stephan, among others. Horn states, “As part of our anniversary, we’re launching ‘CRN Digital Mag,’ our new online magazine aimed at listeners who want to know more about their favorite shows and personalities.” Capping the year-long celebration will be the “CRN Food and Wine Awards,” scheduled for the fall which will honor the Los Angeles area’s top eateries as well as the California’s great wineries and winemakers.
The End of an Era for New England Patriots Fans. The longtime voice of New England Patriots football radio broadcasts is retiring. Gil Santos called his last game on Sunday as the Pats lost to the Baltimore Ravens. Based out of CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Santos spent 36 years calling 744 games for the club – a record he shares with former Philadelphia Eagles play-by-play voice Merrill Reese. Santos signed off Sunday’s broadcast by telling listeners, “Thank you very much for allowing me to be the voice of the Patriots for 36 wonderful years. I enjoyed every minute of it. I hope the next guy enjoys it as much as I did, and realizes it’s a privilege, not a job. This is Gil Santos, thanking you all for 36 wonderful years.” Santos’ longtime partner – former Patriot Gino Cappelletti – retired as the color analyst prior to this season.
Affiliate Relations Pro Jim Watkins Joins Sun Broadcasting Group. Jim Watkins had been with Talk Radio Network for 13 years, most recently as director of affiliate relations and executive producer. Now he becomes part of the Boca Raton, Florida-based Sun Broadcasting Group as vice president of programming. Sun EVP Steve Gallagher says of Watkins, “Jim is a class act and brings an impressive background to Sun. We are confident our advertisers, content providers and radio affiliates will profit from his vision, creativity and expertise. Jim has a keen sense of what great product sounds like and we’re excited to have him at Sun.”
Best Seat in the (White) House. ABC News Radio White House Correspondent Ann Compton is pictured here reporting from her unique vantage point of a plot of grass on the White House lawn as she covers yesterday’s Inauguration Day Parade. Thanks to digital technology and the work of amazing companies such as Comrex Corporation that have developed reliable remote broadcasting equipment, Compton is able to deliver high-quality reports from the field and allow her radio reports to be up-to-the-minute.
Filling In. Sitting in for Compass Media Networks’ talk show host Todd Schnitt on his nationally syndicated show on Wednesday is KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive host Pat Campbell.
Cool Job Opportunity. KMJ-AM/FM in Fresno has an immediate opening for the position of Director of Agri-Broadcasting. If you are experienced in gathering, writing, and reporting local news and agri-business news, are knowledgeable about the multitude of farm products and issues in the Central Valley of California, have a sense of curiosity, urgency, and know today’s broadcast environment, this could be your new home for a long time. Send your resume and mp3 sample of your work to firstname.lastname@example.org. Peak Broadcasting is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
KNX, Los Angeles Picks Up Six Golden Mike Honors. At the 63rd Annual Golden Mike awards dinner held in Universal City over the weekend, CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles was honored with six Golden Mike Awards. The awards are presented by the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California annually for excellence in radio, TV and internet broadcast journalism excellence. KNX took home honors for: Best News Broadcast Over 15 Minutes; Best Spot News Reporting; Best Hard News Series Reporting; Best Feature News; Best Traffic Report; and Best Business and Consumer Reporting.
Blue Ribbon Winners. WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas talk show hosts Ben Ferguson (left) and evening talk host Chris Krok (right) display the blue ribbons they won for coming in first place in the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo’s annual Celebrity Goat Milking Contest this past weekend. In order to claim the bragging rights, Ferguson and Krok had to beat the staffers NBC 5, the Star-Telegram newspaper and other radio stations from the Metroplex.
Inauguration Day, Debt Ceiling/Deficit Deduction Debate, North African Terror Threats, and Prince Harry Taliban Slaying Comments Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/21). The Inauguration Day festivities and speeches; the debate over reducing the nation’s deficit and dealing with the debt ceiling; terror threats from North Africa; and Prince Harry’s comments to the press about killing Taliban in Afghanistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Doug McIntyre
KABC, Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES — The great talk radio host Ray Briem died yesterday (12/12/12) at age 82. For nearly 30-years Ray owned overnights in Southern California. Ray was heard weeknights from Midnight to 5:00 am and his show was mandatory listening for the night people. Ray was one of the principle architects of the Prop 13 movement in California, providing Howard Jarvis a regular platform to pitch his historic tax reform measure.
Years before anyone was talking about immigration, Ray did a broadcast from a helicopter over the Mexican border to report on the then-rarely discussed but emerging issue.
He was a passionate supporter of big band music and the great American Songbook and regularly featured interviews with music legends including folks like Les Paul and Artie Shaw and going back in time, Louis Armstrong. He was invited to Sinatra recording sessions and was in the studio when Sinatra recorded “Come Fly With Me.”
KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Promotes Dan Potter to AM Drive Show. There’s been a lot of movement among Cox Media Group staffers between properties lately. It started with long-time KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa program director Drew Anderssen moving to the company’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando at the end of the summer. Then it was announced that WDBO morning host Jim Turner would retire and KRMG AM drive personality Joe Kelley would move to Orlando to take over the morning show there. Now, KRMG announces that it is promoting “Tulsa’s Afternoon News” host Dan Potter and he will slide into the morning drive chair beginning November 19. Potter says, “Under Joe Kelley’s leadership, the ‘KRMG Morning News’ has become the single most important morning show in Oklahoma, both in terms of content and listenership. I hope to continue the growth Joe started and to attract new listeners to the show. I am humbled, honored and very excited for this opportunity. I anchored newscasts on a similar morning show in Dallas-Fort Worth for over 15 years and am constantly impressed by KRMG’s commitment to covering breaking news better than anyone. You could take this newsroom and this product and put it in any major market in the country and be competitive.”
ESPN Audio Debuts New PM Drive Show with Jonathan Coachman. A new sports talk show from ESPN Audio debuts this afternoon hosted by ESPN studio anchor Jonathan Coachman. The 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET show will have Coachman initially joined by a rotating array of ESPN on-air personalities to present three hours of personality-driven opinion, analysis, humor and interviews covering the news of the day, as well as interaction with listeners via e-mails, texts and calls. The program is available to terrestrial affiliates as well as being heard via the ESPN app, espnradio.com, TuneIn and SiriusXM. During his time at ESPN, Coachman has hosted “NBA Tonight,” “College Football Live,” “NASCAR Now,” and “ESPN2 Friday Night Fights.” Coachman says of the new venture, “To say I am excited about ‘Coach’ & Company would be an understatement, but it’s going to be about our entire team – our production team and the team of fans at home – who will all have a hand in hopefully making it a successful show. I am very serious about sports, but people can expect above all else a show that is fun. And, with my background in the WWE, I feel I can really bring an entertainment value to the show in a strong way.”
Clear Channel’s Columbia, South Carolina Country Jocks Pull Double Duty; Host PM on News/Talk WVOC. Jonathon Rush and Kelly Nash – known to their country WCOS, Columbia listeners and Rush & Nash, hosts of the “Morning Rush” program – begin a new chapter in their careers hosting the “Afternoon Rush” on sister news/talk WVOC. The station parted ways with PM drive host Keven Cohen last week. Rush and Nash will continue to host their morning program on “My Country 97.5.” In a statement, Kelly Nash says, “This is an opportunity I’ve dreamed of for years. We can play the world’s greatest music for the greatest music fans in the morning and talk with the most passionate radio listeners every afternoon.”
WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne Names Ryan Reker PD. Federated Media’s heritage WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne, Indiana announces the hiring of Ryan Reker as program director. Reker comes to the station after a management shuffle that saw Gregg Henson (now at Clear Channel’s WPGB and WBGG, Pittsburgh) exit the post and Federated’s own Woody Zimmerman oversee the station briefly before being reassigned to oversee the company’s Warsaw, Indiana cluster. Reker most recently served as program director and morning host at Maverick Media’s classic rock WEGE-FM and as program director of sports talk WWSR-FM, both in Lima, Ohio. Reker also worked at Clear Channel’s news/talk WOOD-AM in Grand Rapids and Entercom’s sports WSSP, Milwaukee. He says of his new position, “WOWO is a unique station with very unique listeners. I love the reputation and passion they’ve built with the community. I’m honored and excited for the opportunity to work with such a great group of broadcasters.”
How to Write a Professional Radio Facebook Post (Part 2). Radio digital consultant Chris Miller was so amazed by the high level of interest in his previous TALKERS piece, “Start Doing THIS Right NOW on Facebook,” published here last week, that he decided to share a few more tips to help you get your radio station’s pages and posts right! Miller writes, “A lot of us radio folks see the value in social media. Still, many could use some help working it in a way so you’re building your brand, instead of just spinning your wheels. Many of the mistakes businesses make on Facebook have to do with how your write what you post. We tend to speak in marketing-ese or like we’re scripting a promo. That’s a huge error that may have people consistently hiding your content.” Read Miller’s entire article explaining how to write a post that works for you, here.
President Obama Friendly to African American-Targeted Radio. President Obama is credited with being the first presidential candidate to seriously use social media to assist his election and re-election efforts but he’s also been a user of radio programs that target the urban audience. SiriusXM talk radio star Joe Madison (whose program is also heard on terrestrial outlet WOL, Washington, DC) tells TALKERS magazine the president reached out to him early and often. “His administration nurtured a relationship with black talk radio since he first took office. I have had access to most members of his cabinet. They have addressed issues related to the black community and the general population. Contrast that with Romney’s campaign, we have not received a single news release or response to appear on my show.” In fact, Madison will host the president on his radio show today. Madison says he believes the get-out-the-vote effort targeted to black radio by the Obama campaign appears to be working. “I believe the early voting we’ve seen in our community is due to black talk radio encouraging our audience to vote. Yesterday in Dade County, Florida, voters were in line until 1:00 am.”
Report: Actor John Cusack to Produce and Star in Film About Rush Limbaugh. The Huffington Post reports that actor John Cusack’s company, New Crime Productions, is putting the finishing touches on the script of a movie about Rush Limbaugh tentatively titled “Rush.” The story quotes actress/director Betty Thomas (who also directed Howard Stern’s “Private Parts”) saying she will direct and that production starts sometime next year.
NBC Sports Radio Names Stan Van Gundy NBA Senior Analyst. The former head coach of the Orlando Magic joins the NBC Sports Radio network as senior analyst for the NBA. Stan Van Gundy will call into network shows each week during the NBA season. He’ll talk exclusively to NBC Sports Radio affiliates and co-host for an hour every Friday during the NBA season, on a show soon to be announced. NBC Sports Ventures senior vice president Rob Simmelkjaer states, “We are thrilled to add one of the most respected and outspoken coaches in the NBA to the NBC Sports Radio roster. Our listeners will get to enjoy Stan’s unique insight into events and storylines around the league on a weekly basis.”
KABC, Los Angeles’ Doug McIntyre Emcees Bennett Film Opening. KABC, Los Angeles morning drive host Doug McIntyre had the opportunity to emcee the Los Angeles opening of the new Tony Bennett documentary titled, “The Zen of Bennett” before a sold-out crowd at the Landmark Theater. McIntyre tells TALKERS, “The distributor of ‘The Zen of Bennett’ is a fan of the documentary I made with my wife, ‘Trying to Get Good: The Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon.’ Since I had a background in music — specifically the Great American Songbook and jazz, and have a ton of experience doing these kind of interviews (Robert Redford, Betty White, etc.,) – he recommended me to Tony’s manager, Danny Bennett. I had met Tony a number of times before but this was the first chance I had to really spend some time with him, a thrill for me, probably less so for Tony.” McIntyre says the event was not a KABC promotion but the station did give away tickets to the premiere.
“Free Talk Live” Celebrates 10 Years on the Radio. “Free Talk Live” – the evening and weekend independently syndicated talk program hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge – celebrates its 10th anniversary. Freeman writes, in a memo to affiliates and the industry, that the program began in Florida after a format change at the station at which he was working. “In 2001, rock WYNF, Tampa flipped to hot talk and was using content from Orlando’s successful ‘Real Radio’ WTKS-FM as well as the other ‘Real Radio,’ WZZR-FM in West Palm Beach. After a year of this, I approached management, Big Jim Davis and Ron White, and pitched the idea of a local show for the weekend. I said we’d be willing to do it for free. They gave us the green light and ‘Free Talk Live’ was born, at first on Sunday nights. The response from the audience was so spectacular that it was within the first few weeks that we were asked to take over weeknights. Clear Channel ended up flipping the format of the station back to rock in 2003, but FTL continued online, then on another station in town, then another, until I approached the Genesis Communications Network and asked them if they were looking for new programs. We started in syndication as a weekend show and within a few weeks were offered weeknights. Since then we have continued doing our live Saturday show (our most popular) and added a live Sunday show as well. We’ve grown to over 110 AM/FM affiliates and are also heard all week on XM.”
Odds & Sods. Former New Orleans Saints quarterback and current WWL, New Orleans PM drive co-host Bobby Hebert was ejected from the press box at Saturday’s LSU-Alabama game for ignoring warnings not to create a disturbance by cheering. The Times-Picayune reports the press box was stuffed with 947 credentialed media people and police escorted Hebert out in the fourth quarter of LSU’s 21-17 loss…..Proving that she CAN hang with Democrats, on Friday night (11/2), KRLA, Los Angeles morning drive host Heidi Harris sang in the Barbra Streisand concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. She was in the choir for “Make Our Garden Grow.”…..Kim Komando, host of the eponymous nationally syndicated weekend computer talk show is appointed to the Phoenix-located Musical Instrument Museum’s President’s Cabinet. The President’s Cabinet is comprised of Valley leaders who provide guidance and support to MIM’s president and director, Dr. Bill DeWalt. Komando joins the ranks of other notable Phoenix-area business leaders and philanthropists and will assist MIM with furthering its mission.
WNIR, Akron Host Tom Erickson Mourned. Talk show host Tom Erickson died on Saturday (11/3) after a long battle with peritonitis. He was 58. Erickson was the evening host on Media-Com’s WNIR, Akron. He worked for nearly 30 years in the radio and television news end of the media business and became a talk show host at WNIR in 2001. He was on medical leave to deal with his health issues and last appeared on the radio in early June.
From WMAL’s Swing State Road Show. Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC has been touring the “swing state” of Virginia broadcasting from diners across the commonwealth as the election approaches. The tour wrapped up on Friday with the final road show broadcast featuring former House Speaker (and former presidential candidate) Newt Gingrich. Pictured here are (from l-r): Breitbart columnist and WMAL guest co-host Larry O’Connor, Gingrich, and WMAL’s “Mornings on the Mall” host Brian Wilson.
By Kevin Casey
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – There’s a perception held by many – especially those working in the consumer media – that all talk show hosts doing shows on news/talk stations are men 50 years of age or older. They further postulate that when those hosts retire (or die!) there will be no one left to work in the format.
Given the radio industry’s general lack of a farm system, it’s hard to blame those who think it’s an industry of old white men. But the truth is there are young people breaking into talk radio and working successfully at stations across the country. We asked some of them what influence they believe their youth plays in hosting a radio talk show on a news/talk station.
Programmer Jack Silver Lands at New NBC Sports Radio. Programmer Jack Silver is named the program director for the sports talk radio network set to launch this fall. Silver most recently programmed Cumulus Media’s news/talk KABC and classic rock KLOS in Los Angeles and, prior to that, spent many years at the helm of CBS Radio’s hot talk KLSX, Los Angeles. NBC Sports Radio EVP and general manager Chris Corcoran says, “It’s a pleasure to announce that Jack will be joining our NBC Sports Radio team. Everyone in radio is familiar with his success in programming and his many accomplishments in the industry. We’re looking forward to bringing his talents to Culver City.” On his new position, Silver states, “I have a world of experience in programming to the daily consumer of sports radio. This is an exciting launch for the sports radio consumer and we’ll add PPM winning strategies and best practices to ensure a huge success.” Silver takes the helm of the programming department at the NBC Sports Group and Dial Global initiative as the sports talk radio universe gets a little more crowded. Four months after the NBC Sports Radio network debuts, CBS Radio launches its national sports radio platform, CBS Sports Radio.
Journal Communications Reports Boffo Second Quarter. The parent company of Journal Broadcast Group announces second quarter operating earnings up 17% compared to the same quarter one year ago. Revenue from the broadcast group was up 16.5% when excluding the recently acquired Tulsa stations – 18.4% with their revenue. The company is reporting revenue of $95.5 million for the quarter, an increase of 6% over the same period a year ago. When it comes to Journal’s radio properties, the company posted revenue of $19.4 million, an increase of 11.5%, largely from a boost in automotive and political.
ABC News’ Aurora-Tea Party Goof Addressed at Television Critics Association Press Tour. The speculation by ABC News’ Brian Ross – very early on last Friday morning’s coverage of the Aurora, Colorado shooting – that there’s a Jim Holmes in Aurora on the local Tea Party site who may be the same Jim Holmes taken into custody, reared its head at the Television Critics Association press tour on Thursday, July 26. The Washington Post reports ABC News chief Ben Sherwood was asked about the error that happened on the network’s “Good Morning America.” The Post reports Sherwood said, “We put something on the air that we did not know to be true and the part that we needed to be true was not germane to the story we were covering…It was a mistake; we recognized it immediately and owned it immediately…we corrected it immediately, and we apologized.” Sherwood said Ross contacted the Jim Holmes in question and apologized to him. Sherwood also stated the reporting did not live up to ABC’s standards and he takes responsibility for it.
Boston Public Media Company WGBH Merges with Public Radio International. The Minneapolis-based Public Radio International will continue to operate independently as a tax-exempt non-profit from its Minneapolis base but PRI is now an affiliated company of WGBH. The two companies have been working together for years, in one instance producing PRI-distributed “The World” out of WGBH studios in Boston for the past 16 years. The company is not being specific about how this will affect employees but it admits, now that the deal has closed, it will be looking for some “efficiencies” and some staffers could be affected. PRI CEO Alisa Miller states, “As with all transactions like this, we will be looking for places that WGBH might have capacity we could take advantage of. While we haven’t made any final decisions, we do think that there might be a few positions that could be affected.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Nationally syndicated morning drive host Tom Joyner will be the keynote speaker at the NAB– and RAB-sponsored Radio Show Luncheon in Dallas on Friday, September 21…..A couple of sports-related notes from satcaster SiriusXM today: former Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook becomes part of the NFL Radio channel where he’ll host the Sunday evening “NFL Rewind” show and be part of other shows throughout the NFL season, including the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm “Movin’ the Chains” program. Also, SiriusXM will broadcast from all 32 NFL training camps for its preview of the coming season…..Pamplin’s KPAM, Portland becomes the flagship for the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks. The deal includes the broadcast of a weekly coach’s show, all 72 regular season games plus promotional opportunities and charity partnerships.
Red Thread Named Winner of KYW, Philadelphia’s Small Business Challenge. CBS Radio’s KYW, Philadelphia announces Red Thread – a company that designs and creates the best clothing and solutions to improve the quality of life for all breast cancer survivors – is the winner of the inaugural 2012 Small Business Challenge and wins a $25,000 advertising campaign on KYW Newsradio, and a one year lease of professional private furnished office space located at one of the seven American Executive Centers in the Delaware Valley. Company president, physician and cancer survivor Debra Kimless-Garber says, “I’m a physician, I’m a survivor. I know what survivors are going through. I created these products to make myself feel whole again. I want to share that with all the other 2.6 million survivors that live in the United States.” CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “KYW Newsradio is proud to use the power of its voice and expertise in the Philadelphia market to showcase a small business that is beginning to find its way in the market place. We hope our campaign will help Red Thread become the business that it rightfully deserves and aspires to be.”
Aurora Theater Massacre Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 23-27. Discussion about the tragic shooting at the premiere of “Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado late last week was the most-talked-about story on news/talk stations across America this week. Rounding out the top four on the weekly Talkers TenTM chart were: at #2, the gun laws issue; at #3 the presidential campaign; and at #4, the backlash against President Obama by conservatives for his speech about small business. The Talkers TenTM – a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio – is the result of ongoing research from Talkers and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
Programmer Jack Silver Exits Cumulus Los Angeles Post. The KLOS and KABC program director tells Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor that he’s leaving the position with “solid numbers” at the classic rock FMer KLOS. And it sounds as though he’s ready for his next opportunity as he says, “I’ve got many miles left on my odometer.” KLOS is facing a big change in the fall as one half of the quarter-century old AM drive team of Mark and Brian – Mark Thompson – will retire in August leaving a challenge for the station’s next programming team. As for news/talk KABC, Arbitron’s May PPM has the station in 22nd place (persons 6+) with a 0.9 share and a cume of 349,500. Bringing KABC back to ratings (and presumably) revenue relevance is considered one of the most formidable challenges in talk radio since the station faces competition in the form of Clear Channel’s perennial crosstown juggernaut KFI, whose May PPM numbers put the station in third place with a 4.5 share (persons 6+) and a cume of 1,105,300. There’s been no announcement by Cumulus Media about Silver’s replacement although industry observers speculate that the program director position will continue to be one person overseeing both outlets just as Silver had been doing and as the company recently instituted at its NYC combo, CHR FMer WPLJ and AM news/talker WABC.
Howard Stern to Be Inducted into Radio Hall of Fame. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports the Radio Hall of Fame steering committee voted to induct the legendary but controversial broadcaster into the Chicago institution at its November 10 ceremonies in the Windy City. As Feder writes, “The most conspicuous and embarrassing omission to the Radio Hall of Fame finally will be corrected this fall when Howard Stern takes his place in the Chicago-based shrine to radio’s all-time greats.” Chairman Bruce DuMont tells Feder, “There wasn’t any great controversy involving Howard’s induction because I think everyone has believed for a long time that he deserved to be inducted.” Feder says, don’t bet on Stern showing up to accept his award as he’s been outspoken in condemning the Hall as a “sham” and griped about being passed over four times in the past. Other 2012 inductees include: Gary Burbank, Ron Chapman, Art Laboe, Luther Massingill, Jack Cooper (posthumously), and NPR’s “Fresh Air,” hosted by Terry Gross.
WFAN, New York Hosts, Execs to Ring Closing Bell on the NYSE Today. As CBS Radio’s sports talk WFAN, New York prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary (and the founding of the sports talk radio format) on Sunday, July 1, representatives of the station are being honored by being asked to ring the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange this afternoon at 4:00 pm ET. Morning drive hosts Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton, and evening host and 25-year WFAN veteran Steve Somers will ring the closing bell. They’ll be joined at the podium by CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason, CBS Radio COO Anton Guitano, CBS Radio SVP of programming Chris Oliviero, and CBS Radio New York SVP and market manager Don Bouloukos.
Pollster Scott Rasmussen to Debut TV Show in September. Rasmussen Reports founder Scott Rasmussen – whose daily features are syndicated to radio stations across America via the WOR Radio Network – will begin production of a weekly TV show titled “What America Thinks with Scott Rasmussen” in September. So far, stations committed to airing the program include: WCBS-TV, New York; KCBS-TV, Los Angeles; KYW-TV, Philadelphia; WADL, Detroit and others.
Financial Talk Host Chris Markowski to Host Daily Program on Salem’s WGUL/WLSS, Tampa. Talk host and financial expert Chris Markowski – whose weekend talk show “The Watchdog on Wall Street” is syndicated on weekends by Talk Radio Network to more than 100 markets – returns to a daily talk program on Salem Communications’ Tampa-area simulcast of WGUL and WLSS. The show will air daily from 5:00 am to 6:00 am beginning Monday, July 2.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. The 8th annual “Don’t Give Up ESPYS V Foundation Auction” is being held Sunday, July 1 to Wednesday, July 11. The 11-day online and on-air public auction will feature hundreds of items and experiences for bid to raise money and awareness for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. Last year’s ESPN Radio “Don’t Give Up ESPYS V Foundation Auction” raised $810,000 in net proceeds for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. The event has raised more than $4.9 million in its seven years…..Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston announces Jim Braude and Margery Eagan will host the only radio debate between Republican U.S. Senator Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren. The date and time for the debate are being worked out…..SiriusXM is offering comprehensive coverage of MLB’s All-Star Week featuring Cal Ripken Jr. and Bill Ripken’s “Ripken Baseball” live from the MLB All-Star FanFest live on July 9.
Best of the Best. Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 (WKXW, Trenton) was honored with the “Best of the Best” award by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association for its “Ask the Governor” program that features New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The Governor was presented the award by the NJBA president and CEO Paul Rotella after the production of the June 28 edition of the program. Pictured here are (from l-r): Governor Christie, NJ 101.5 executive director news Eric Scott, Paul Rotella, and NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson.
Supreme Court Upholds ObamaCare Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 25-29. The Supreme Court’s ruling upholding President Obama’s Affordable Care Act – and the anticipation leading up to Thursday’s ruling – was the most-talked-about story of the week landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart. Coming in at #2 was the 2012 presidential race. At #3 was the Arizona illegal immigration law ruling and following at #4 was the Eric Holder contempt vote. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the week’s top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published each Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup. Premiere Networks’ “At Home with Gary Sullivan” weekend home improvement show hits the 200-station mark with recent affiliate additions that include WWIQ-FM, Philadelphia; WTAM, Cleveland; and KPHX, Phoenix…..The Kevin McCullough show adds new affiliates WMCA, New York; KCBQ, San Diego; and KKVV, Las Vegas. XtreMedia reports the addition of these affiliates pushes the Kevin McCullough show to the 245-affiliate mark…..Dial Global’s “Jill on Money” adds WCCO, Minneapolis to its affiliate roster. It also reports the CBS Radio-produced “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson is now heard on WAVH, Mobile, Alabama…..KFMB, San Diego adds CBS News Radio to its programming…..The Steve Deace show is added to the programming schedule at WNTP, Philadelphia.
Right and Left Come Together at the TALKERS New Media Seminar to Denounce the Practice of Organized Advertiser Boycotts. They might not agree on many things but a love for the business of talk broadcasting and its role as a vehicle for the practice of the First Amendment can indeed make for strange political bedfellows. In a rare display of unity, two of the highest-
profile and distinctly politically opposite talk show hosts in the business condemned the increased practice of organized advertiser boycotts by political organizations as a means of shutting down voices on radio and television with which they disagree.
Conservative host Sean Hannity (Fox News Channel and Premiere Networks) and progressive host Ed Schultz (MSNBC and the independently syndicated Ed Schultz show) delivered their powerful remarks at the TALKERS New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7. Hannity included the statement as part of his keynote address which opened the conference. Schultz presented his opinion while delivering the event’s “Annual State of the First Amendment Address.” During his presentation at the non-partisan, industry-wide gathering, Hannity played excerpts from a variety of well-known talk show hosts making controversial statements on the air that subsequently resulted in calls for advertiser boycotts and/or the firing of the hosts. The clips included hosts from all over the spectrum – left, right and popular culture (still referred to by many as “shock jocks”) – with ear-perking clips from Don Imus, Howard Stern, Opie & Anthony, Mike Malloy and more. Both Rush Limbaugh’s reference to Sandra Fluke and Ed Schultz’s description of Laura Ingraham as “sluts” were included to underscore the point that no single faction of the talk radio universe was exempt from participating in the practice of political or artistic controversy. Hannity’s remedy: Change the dial. Schultz concurred. Both made their cases for the sake and survival of the talk radio industry as well as protecting the spirit of the First Amendment. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for complete coverage of the New Media Seminar in the coming days and weeks.
Cumulus Media Officially Announces Geraldo Rivera Rollout. This has been expected since shortly after Geraldo Rivera made his talk radio debut on Cumulus Media‘s WABC, New York and KABC, Los Angeles in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Now, Cumulus says it will expand the show to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET time slot and begin a national rollout on August 13. In a statement, Cumulus Media COO John Dickey says, “When Geraldo agreed to host shows for Cumulus stations in New York and L.A. we had a hunch there’d be substantial national listener interest in his incisive and insightful style. And now we’re thrilled that with Geraldo such a success in those two markets, the show will be available across the country.”
Glenn Beck Renews with Premiere Networks for 5 Years and a Reported $20 Million per Year. That figure is according to The New York Times‘ Brian Stelter who cites a “person with direct knowledge” saying the deal will pay Glenn Beck $100 million over the course of the new, five-year deal. In addition to handling affiliate and ad sales for Beck’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET nationally syndicated radio show, Premiere Networks also assists in ad sales for some of Beck’s non-radio efforts including his internet video channel GBTV on which his daily afternoon talk show is broadcast.
NBC Partners with Dial Global for Syndication of Sports Radio Content as NBC Sports Radio Network. According to what Rob Simmelkjaer, senior vice president of NBC Sports Ventures and International tells USA Today, the new project will start with hourly sports updates and a couple of short-form features. But Simmelkjaer says NBC hopes to have two three-hour evening sports talk shows (one each for 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm ET starts) ready for syndication by fall. He says, “The goal is to start with a beachhead of programming and gradually expand to 24 hours per day, seven days per week maybe in 3 to 5 years.” Dial Global will handle affiliate and ad sales for the service and Simmelkjaer says it will be sold in tandem with Dial Global’s NFL radio broadcasts.
Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire Surface at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. Talk show hosts Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire had most recently hosted the morning drive show on Curtis Media Group‘s WZTK-FM, Burlington, North Carolina before the station flipped formats to Spanish music earlier this year. Now, the duo will replace Vince Coakley in the PM drive slot beginning July 2. In June of last year, Coakley took over the afternoon show for Tara Servatius who currently hosts mornings on WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. WBT program director Carl East says, “These guys bring a great sense of energy and fun to the air. Those who have been in Charlotte for a while already know what Brad is capable of. They are very clever observers of the issues of the day, whether they are local or national. The audience is going to love engaging them.” Brad Krantz previously hosted afternoons at WBT alongside Richard Spires for four years from 1999 to 2003.
KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Names Chuck Meyer News Director. CBS Radio‘s news/talk KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas brings news pro Chuck Meyer aboard as news/director and anchor for the station’s PM drive news block. Meyer previously served as news director at WIOD, Miami and KING, Seattle and as program director at KVET, Austin and KCUB, Tucson. KXNT-AM/FM program director Andrew Paul says, “Chuck brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our staff. We are thrilled to have him lead our news team on multiple platforms.” The move allows former news director Joe Gillespie to focus on his duties as host of the station’s morning drive news program.
Jay Cutler to Join WMVP, Chicago for Weekly Appearance. ESPN Chicago announces Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will be live in the studio with ESPN 1000’s Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman each Monday from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. In announcing the multi-year deal, ESPN 1000 president and general manager John Craven states, “ESPN Chicago could not be more excited to welcome Jay Cutler to our already solid on-air lineup. Waddle & Silvy’s extended access to Jay will give Bears fans his insights into the game and a glimpse of his personality they have never heard before both on air and online.” ESPN has sold the show to Miller Lite, the official beer of the Chicago Bears.
Talk Host Michael Smerconish to Welcome NAB Crystal Radio Award Winners Tonight. Nationally syndicated WYD Media talk host Michael Smerconish will use the “magic” of technology to gather together all 10 NAB Crystal Radio Award winners at the NAB Education Foundation’s “Service to America” black-tie fundraiser taking place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC this evening. Smerconish will welcome the winners to the stage and acknowledge their accomplishments.
The End of an Era as NPR’s “Car Talk” Hosts Retire in September. Hosts of the ubiquitous weekend public radio show “Car Talk” on NPR – brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi – will retire in September and record no more calls from Americans with questions usually having to do with their cars. But the show will go on for at least a few more years. NPR will continue to produce the show with previously aired audio from the show’s dense library of content. TALKERS magazine spoke with “Car Talk” producer Doug Berman several years ago for a feature story about the production of weekend talk programs. Unlike many shows, car talk is not a “live” call-in show. Calls are recorded during the week or callers are asked to call in at specific production times. As a result, the show has probably gathered more content than necessary at times and, in addition to “repurposed” content, there may be some calls to “Car Talk” that have not seen the light of day. Also, Berman tells the Boston Herald that they’ve reviewed the ratings for new shows and repeats and have found no difference. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was asked about the future success of “Car Talk” by the Los Angeles Times and he stated, “Not many shows that are maintenance, how-to shows can carry it off where people listen to be entertained. That makes the show extremely potent.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Cox Media Group‘s WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta nabs 11 from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. Among the accolades WSB picked up include “Station of the Year” large market and “Best Radio Program” and “Best Talk Host” honors for WSB-based nationally syndicated star Neal Boortz…..Beasley Broadcasting‘s news/talk WGAC, Augusta, Georgia wins the Georgia Association of Broadcasters “Radio Station of the Year” award in the mid-sized market category. The station’s personalities also were individually recognized with coveted “Gabby” Awards: News director and morning show host Mary Liz Nolan won “Best Newscast; sports director Ashley Brown won “Best Sportscast” and “Best Sports Story or Series” and Dallas Reece was honored for the year’s “Best Commercial.”…..WBZ, Boston news anchor Joe Mathieu interviews “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley at the WBZ NewsRadio Business Breakfast about his first year as anchor of CBS’ evening news program Tuesday, June 12 at 8:00 am…..Fox Sports Radio continues its coverage of mixed martial arts with simulcasts of FX‘s “UFC on FX: Fight Night.” FSRN simulcast last Friday’s program and will do it again on June 22 at 9:00 pm ET with a two-hour post-fight call-in show beginning at 11:00 pm ET.
You’re Never Too Old…to Play Pro Football. That’s 50-year-old Stan Nawalaniec of the Stan & Haney PM drive show on Beasley Broadcasting‘s hot talk WRXK-FM, Bonita Springs, Florida – 96 K-Rock Talk That Rocks – suited up with two unidentified players on the United Indoor Football League‘s Florida Tarpons. Stan signed on for a one-game deal with the undefeated team and was a member for its last regular season game Saturday, June 9 played at Southwest Florida’s Germain Arena in Estero.
TALKERS TV: WTOP Reporter Does All Field Reports on iPhone or iPad. Things have changed, at least technologically, since WTOP, Washington reporter Neal Augenstein joined the heritage all-news outlet in 1999. The newsroom was still equipped with reel-to-reel tape recorders and the portable bag phones that weighed as much as 15 pounds. Since 2010, Neal has earned the distinction of being the first major market radio reporter who does all of his field production on an iPhone or iPad. This week TALKERS TV presents the final installment of an exclusive three-part feature on the inner workings of all-news giant WTOP with an interview with Neal Augenstein in which he explains the theory behind and the method of using Apple’s smart phone as an extremely innovative and convenient tool for gathering, producing and presenting news in a multimedia venue. See TALKERS TV at the top of the column on the upper right side of this page.
New Media Seminar New York Nears Sellout – Features Power-Packed Agenda. Thursday, June 7 promises to be an important and exciting day for talk radio and related talk media as the East Coast installment of the industry’s largest and longest-running convention nears a sellout. More than 60 industry leaders are scheduled to speak including (in alphabetical order): Nancy Abramson, executive director, Wall Street Journal Radio Network; Chuck Armstrong, APD, WABC, New York; Mike “Bax” Baxendale, co-host, “Bax and O’Brien” morning show, Rock 102, Springfield, MA; Rennie Bishop, PD WWRL, New York; Jim Bohannon, host, Dial Global Radio Networks; Phil Boyce, VP/director, spoken word format, Salem Communications; Dr. Joy Browne, host, WOR Radio; Laurie Cantillo, PD, WTOP, Washington, DC; Kevin Casey, VP/managing editor, TALKERS; Michael Castner, host, Wall Street Journal Radio Network; Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Alan Colmes, Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel; Holland Cooke, consultant, McVay/Cook Media; Andy Dean, host Premiere Networks; Dave Elswick, PD, KARN, Little Rock; Boomer Esiason, host, WFAN, New York; Barry Farber, host, Talk Radio Network/CRN Digital Talk Radio; Jim Farley, VP news and programming, WTOP, Washington, DC; Terry Foxx, PD, KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh; Ian Freeman, co-host, Free Talk Live; Mike Gallagher, host, Salem Radio Network; Dom Giordano, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Heidi Harris, host, KRLA, Los Angeles/KTIE, San Bernadino; Matthew B. Harrison, senior partner, Harrison Strategies; Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media; Thom Hartmann, host, WYD Media; Bill Hess, PD, WMAL, Washington, DC; Gabe Hobbs, president, Gabe Hobbs Media; Jim Horn, PD, WSBA, York; Gov. Mike Huckabee, host, Cumulus Media/Fox News Channel; Rusty Humphries, host Talk Radio Network/WGST, Atlanta; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, WGN, Chicago; Tom Leykis, president, The New Normal; Lionel, president, LionelMedia.com; Mark Masters, CEO, Talk Radio Network; Mike McVay, SVP programming, Cumulus Media; Harvey Nagler, VP Radio, CBS News; Chris Oliviero, SVP programming, CBS Radio; Cary Pahigian, market manager, Saga Communications/Portland; John Parikhal, president, Joint Communications; Ellen Ratner, bureau chief, Talk Radio News Service; Mark Riley, host, WWRL, New York; Walter Sabo, president, Sabo Media; Todd Schnitt, host, Compass Media Networks; Ed Schultz, host, MSNBC/The Ed Schultz Show; Doug Stephan, president, Stephan Multimedia; Chris Stigall, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Alan Stock, host, KDWN, Las Vegas; Peter Thiele, PD, WMCA/WNYM, New York; Joe Thomas, PD, WCHV, Charlottesville; Paul Vandenburg, president/GM, WGDJ, Albany; Steven J.J. Weisman, senior partner, Harrison Strategies; and Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; with more to be announced. A full agenda will be posted here tomorrow. Also, today is the final day that discount rooms for seminar attendees at the nearby Doubletree will be available. For registration and hotel information call 413-565-5413.
Sabo Sez: If Every Station Was a Talk Station… “Imagine if every radio station, except one, in every city was programmed fulltime as a talk station. How would those talk stations differentiate themselves to the listener? They couldn’t all take the same approach, they would have to appeal to different demos and psychographics,” says Sabo Media president Walter Sabo. In his latest column for TALKERS, Sabo says that’s why spoken-word radio must be differentiated and targeted just as music-based radio is and therein lays the key to making a profit from an FM talk station. Read Walter Sabo’s piece here.
Geraldo Rivera to Broadcast from WABC, New York-Sponsored Job Fair. Cumulus Media news/talk WABC, New York and sister Hot AC WPLJ-FM are sponsoring the “Putting America Back to Work” job fair being held tomorrow (5/15) at the Jacob Javits Center and WABC and KABC, Los Angeles talk host Geraldo Rivera will broadcast his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program live from the event. Part of the broadcast will feature a panel of experts and CEOs discussing practical advice and tips for job seekers. Cumulus New York states there will also be some 100 job recruiters from a wide range of industries with positions available on the scene.
KFWB, Los Angeles Re-Ups with NBA’s Clippers. The NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and news/talk KFWB, Los Angeles sign a multi-year extension to keep the franchise’s games on the station. Details of the terms are not being disclosed per team and station policy. Station general manager Valerie K. Blackburn states, “We are so happy to forge forward with our relationship with the Clippers who have captured the hearts of Southern Californians and fans across the country. The Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as a fan favorite in this town and are an extremely important part of our ongoing commitment to provide quality programming to our listeners.” KFWB is operated by the KFWB Asset Trust and the KFWB License Trust, divestiture trusts under the management of Diane Sutter, president and CEO of ShootingStar Broadcasting.
Cumulus Media Signs With Triton Digital for Its Online Platform. The country’s second largest radio station operator (measured by station count) will move the online platform of its more than 530 radio stations to the Triton Digital platform, according to a story in Radio Ink. Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey states the company’s stations will be able to take advantage of the services provided by Triton Digital as well as providing a standard platform which will enable the transition to putting all of the company’s stations on iHeartRadio as announced several months ago. It is expected the Cumulus stations will be available on Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio within the next 45 to 60 days.
Greater Media Charlotte Names Billy Black Imaging Director. News/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte and talk intensive sister Hot AC WLNK-FM have hired imaging pro Billy Black to serve as the imaging director for the stations. For the past 10 years Black has worked at Clear Channel’s rock WRXR-FM, Chattanooga where he served as morning show host, program director and imaging director. Greater Media Charlotte marketing administrator Jessica Reeves RoBards says, “He has imaged a ton of Clear Channel stations and made work parts and shells from scratch for companies like Frost Bytes. This is unique because most imaging guys use pre-made beds and work parts, he makes his own. He also had a stint at Media Base. He will image both stations. His ideas and creativity are something these stations have been craving.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Cumulus Media nabs market manager Kevin Waltman from Clear Channel’s Tallahassee operations that include news/talk WFLA-FM. Waltman heads up Cumulus’ Montgomery, Alabama cluster that includes news/talk WLWI and sports talk WMSP…..Forever Broadcasting is picking up a stronger signal for its “TJ Network” news/talk format based at WTJS, Jackson Tennessee. It will swap with Grace Broadcasting Services giving Grace its WTJW-FM, Humboldt, Tennessee at 105.3 plus $525,000 and get WTGP-FM, Trenton, Tennessee at 97.7…..SiriusXM names National Soccer Hall of Famer John Harkes host of its daily soccer talk show “The Football Show” that airs from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. Harkes will be joined on the show by co-hosts Charlie Stillitano and Neil Barnett.
WTOP, Washington’s Jim Farley: “We’re Engaged Across All Platforms.” Hubbard Broadcasting’s Jim Farley, vice president of news and programming at WTOP, Washington, speaks with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison in this TalkersTV video interview. Farley tells Harrison that although WTOP is a heritage radio station, they think of it differently, “We don’t think of it as a radio station; we think of it as a digital news organization…we compete with everybody who does news.” Farley praises WTOP ownership – both current and past – for having the foresight to invest in staff and equipment to compete in the 21st century news game. Farley says they recently added a digital editor for the overnight shift so the organization has a radio and digital editor on the clock at all times. “Whenever there is a story – middle of the night or on weekends – we’ll be engaged across all platforms.” See the TalkersTV video in the box on this page.
Former WCCO, Minneapolis Talk Host Don Shelby Joins BringMeTheNews. Longtime Twin Cities TV and radio personality Don Shelby (pictured at left) begins a new position as morning drive news anchor at BringMeTheNews – the radio news network and online news site for Minnesota founded by Twin Cities news pro Rick Kupchella (pictured at right) in 2009. Shelby, a longtime WCCO-TV newsman who retired from his midday talk show at WCCO radio in 2010, will be morning anchor for the service heard on some 30 stations around the state. He’ll also handle original news reporting. Shelby states, “I am so pleased that I’ll be back in the game – not just to be back in the game, but to satisfy the needs of people who, for 32 years, trusted me to tell them the truth. I miss them and I miss the opportunity to do that.”
Sports Talk Talent Moves in San Diego; Rosenberg and Williams to XEPRS. Josh Rosenberg and Charod Williams jump from KLSD, San Diego “Xtra Sports 1360” to crosstown (actually, cross-border) XEPRS XX 1090 for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm shift beginning Monday, March 26. The move pushes Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton to the 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm slot, Darren Smith to the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm shift and John “The Coach” Kentera to the 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm show when Padres baseball is not airing. KLSD has not announced who will replace Rosenberg and Williams in the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm shift.
Asheville, North Carolina Talk Host Matt Mittan Returns to Air in the Market. Talk show host Matt Mittan left Clear Channel’s WWNC, Asheville five months ago. Now, after continuing to produce his program along with co-host and producer Agnes Cheek online and self-syndicating it in various formats to a number of stations in the region, the program returns to Asheville on gospel WZGM. More than that, Mittan and Cheek have taken operational control over the HRN Broadcasting-owned station. Mittan tells the Asheville Citizen-Times the station will still air gospel music in the morning plus Dial Global’s Clark Howard, his program from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and Dial Global’s Neal Boortz from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Eventually, he’d like to add more local talk to the station.
Beasley Broadcasting Names Rafe D’Amico NSM for Las Vegas Cluster. Rafe D’Amico already serves as national sales manager for Beasley stations on Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware. Now he’s named NSM for the entire Las Vegas cluster that includes news/talk KDWN. Beasley Las Vegas director of sales Cory Cuddeback says, “I’m thrilled that Rafe is joining our Vegas team. Rafe has an impeccable reputation along with a solid background in the industry and will be a tremendous asset for our cluster moving forward.”
Promotions at Clear Channel Toledo. A number of staffers at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Toledo cluster are being promoted including news/talk WSPD executive producer Katie Hileman who is named assistant program director for the station. Sports WCWA program director Tom Riggs also takes on the cluster’s digital content director responsibilities.
WLW, Cincinnati Celebrates 90th Anniversary This Week. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s venerable WLW, Cincinnati is celebrating its 90th year in operation this week. The station was put on the air on March 23, 1922 by Powel Crosley, Jr. In 1934 WLW would receive permission to broadcast at 500,000 watts – the only station to do so – and for the next five years earned the nickname “The Nation’s Station.” The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter details a very cool, quick history of WLW in his column here.
KABC, Los Angeles To Give Away New Sidewalk in “Sidewalk Insanity” Promotion. In an affectionate nod to Los Angeles’ notoriously decrepit sidewalks, Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles is running a “bracket-like” contest in which one lucky winner gets a new sidewalk courtesy of sponsor Capital Construction. The station says, “L.A. is world famous for having the world’s worst sidewalks – more than 4,000 miles of jagged cliffs of cracked and tree-root-raised barricades – making walking, skateboarding or wheelchair access virtually impossible.” Contestants are encouraged to send a photo of their lousy sidewalk to AM drive host Doug McIntyre (pictured here holding a chunk of broken concrete) for their chance to enter the bracket and have listeners vote on the worst of the worst.
KOIN-TV, Portland News Anchors to Fill In on KPAM Radio. Pamplin Media Group program director Dennis Glasgow reports KOIN-TV, Portland news anchors Jeff Gianola and Kelly Day will fill in for talk host Bob Miller on the 7:00 am to 11:00 am show today. Glasgow states, “Not only is this going to be great radio, but this is a great example of sharing talent and resources. We value this important and exclusive local partnership with KOIN and look forward to having Jeff and Kelly grace our airwaves, I know our listeners will feel the same way.”
Illinois Primary/2012 Presidential Race, Federal Budget Debate, Florida Youth Slaying, Iran Nuke Ambitions and Afghanistan Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/20). The GOP primary election in Illinois and the larger 2012 presidential campaign issues, the ongoing debate over cuts to the federal budget, the controversial killing of an unarmed Florida teen, Iran’s nuclear weapons program and continuing tensions for U.S. troops in Afghanistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
KIDO, Boise Morning Host Kevin Miller Dedicates Programming to “Getting Idaho Back to Work.” AM drive talk host Kevin Miller announces he’ll use some of the time during his talk program to help get Idahoans back to work. He states on KIDO, Boise’s website, “I invite you to help us bring jobs to the great Gem State. (I know it’s easier said than done.) However, after years of record unemployment and a loss of jobs it’s time to do something. Throughout the year we will be highlighting Treasure Valley Businesses that are succeeding and profiling listeners who are looking for work. Our goal is to get our family, friends and neighbors back to work and inviting businesses around the world to move to our great state.”
Cumulus Media Networks Aggressively Promoting Huckabee Debut. With three weeks until former Arkansas Governor and one-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee begins his nationally syndicated daily talk show, Cumulus continues the drive to acquire affiliate stations with subtle jabs at Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh. And with Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke-flap still fresh in everyone’s memory, the consumer media is paying attention. Both Reuters and the Wall Street Journal Online published stories this weekend pointing to a Cumulus e-mail blast touting Mike Huckabee as the conservative talk show host of the future. Cumulus COO John Dickey didn’t actually say his company is targeting Limbaugh’s affiliate stations but does tell Reuters, “Only one station in a city can offer Rush, so there are lots of other stations that are looking to put up an alternative to him regardless of whether he put his foot in his mouth…We have been growing the affiliate base on that fact alone, but recent developments with Rush have put some wind in our sails and accelerated our efforts.” Cumulus claims to have about 140 stations ready to air Huckabee when he begins his 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET show on April 9 – about 45 of those are Cumulus-owned stations. Former CBS Radio chief Joel Hollander is quoted by Reuters stating, “I can guarantee you that the minute Cumulus’ contract with Rush expires in New York, they will replace him with Huckabee.” The Limbaugh contract with WABC reportedly doesn’t end until 2013 but such a prediction is not so far out. Every syndicator in the business wants a New York affiliate so why wouldn’t Cumulus put its own product – assuming it is performing – on its own station? Meanwhile, Premiere Networks issues this statement: “Rush Limbaugh continues to be the No. 1 talk radio host in America. Mike Huckabee is the latest in a long line of those who have attempted to compete with Rush. We wish him the best with his new show.”
American Public Media’s “This American Life” Retracts Popular Story. On the January 6 episode of American Public Media’s “This American Life,” the program ran an excerpt of Mike Daisey’s one-man show titled, “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” in which Daisey describes workers at a Chinese Apple plant putting in long hours doing repetitive and crippling work. The segment became a sensation – almost 890,000 downloads of that episode’s podcast – and shone the light on Apple’s Chinese operations. The effect of the piece has caused PR problems for Apple. But on Friday, March 16, host Ira Glass retracted the story telling listeners they can’t vouch for its truth. The Chinese correspondent for the public radio program “Marketplace” contacted the Chinese interpreter Daisey used when he made his journey to China and the interpreter disputed much of what Daisey expresses in his show. Daisey’s performance – doing very well at New York’s Public Theater – is getting excellent reviews. For his part, Daisey says on his website that he stands by his work which is theater, not journalism. In a statement, “This American Life” said when it asked Daisey for the interpreter’s contact information he, was unable to provide it. Ira Glass states, “At that point, we should’ve killed the story. But other things Daisey told us about Apple’s operations in China checked out, and we saw no reason to doubt him.”
Oprah’s OWN Cancels Rosie O’Donnell TV Talk Show. The Rosie O’Donnell program will tape its final episode tomorrow (3/20) and air on March 30. TVWeek reports the show’s ratings on the struggling network founded by Oprah Winfrey are to blame. Deadline.com reports O’Donnell’s program started out with about 500,000 average viewers but that settled to about 200,000 for most of the show’s run. Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva also attributes the 7:00 pm ET airtime for its failure. Most talk shows air in the daytime or in late night and 7:00 pm is not a time people associate with a talk show.
WGN, Chicago Names Winner in Cubs Song Contest. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago announced the winner of the contest to write an original song about the Chicago Cubs that will be played on the radio prior to Cubs play-by-play broadcasts this season. Morning drive host Jonathon Brandmeier proclaimed “Let’s Go Cubbies” by the Chicago-area band The Fold the winner by fan choice with more than 8,000 votes on WGN’s website. More than 300 entries were received for the contest. The band will play the song live at the Captain Morgan Club at Wrigley Field during Brandmeier’s Opening Day broadcast.
Longtime KABC, Los Angeles Personality Bob Anderson Dies at 86. Bob Anderson, who served as staff announcer at KABC, Los Angeles from 1961 until 2007 – passed away on March 11 after a battle with Alzheimer’s. Anderson hosted programs including “Religion on the Line,” “Spotlight on the Community” and a talk program with future L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley. He often subbed for Bob Arthur on the “Ken and Bob” show.”
Fisher House Foundation Creates Memorial Day Program for News/Talk Stations. The show – “A Grateful Nation” – is hosted by Army veteran and broadcaster Bryan Suits and is billed as “a one-hour, spoken-word program honoring those who have fought and died to defend America, and the loved ones who share the burden.” The program features compelling stories from the front lines and the home front, including the heartbreaking-yet-uplifting story of the Stanton family of Southern California, who traveled to Dover Air Force Base to receive the body of their remarkable son, who was killed in Afghanistan. The Stantons were among the first guests at the Fisher House for Families of the Fallen, which provides grieving loved ones with shelter and comfort during a time of unimaginable pain. Premiere Networks is distributing the show.
Cumulus Reports Net Revenue Down 5.6% in Fourth Quarter of 2011; Company High on Geraldo and Huckabee. Cumulus Media Group CEO Lew Dickey and chief financial officer J.P. Hannan appeared together on yesterday’s conference call to tell analysts the company’s plans for consolidating the former Cumulus Media Partners (former Susquehanna stations) it brought into the fold in August and the former Citadel stations it closed on in September are coming together allowing them to realize the “synergies” — $10.5 million worth — within the time frame originally predicted. As far as revenue is concerned, the company saw revenue down only 1% if you exclude political advertising from Q4 one year prior. Dickey told analysts there was growth in the automotive, financial services and retail sectors in Q4 and he – like many – expects this to be a big year for political dollars. Dickey addressed the coming launch of the Mike Huckabee program and stopped short of saying Cumulus could capitalize on Rush Limbaugh’s current PR challenge but told analysts his company sees a real upside for the April launch of Huckabee’s program for which it says it has about 110 affiliates lined up already. Dickey also said that Geraldo Rivera – currently heard on WABC, New York and KABC, Los Angeles only – is ripe for national syndication and calls the New York and Los Angeles placement a “precursor” to a national rollout.
Rush Limbaugh Takes Monday Off; Premiere Networks Suspends Airing of Barter Spots for Two Weeks. Things are quieting down with regard to the Rush Limbaugh–Sandra Fluke controversy but El Rushbo took yesterday (3/12) off to play golf with regular fill-in Mark Steyn sitting in the host’s chair. Public relations and crisis management expert Brian Glicklich is working with Limbaugh’s team and it sounds as though the day off was probably his idea. At the same time, Premiere Networks issued a memo to traffic departments at news/talk affiliates and is suspending the requirement that stations run barter spots – the ones that air in addition to the network spots actually contained within Limbaugh’s and other Premiere shows – for this week and next. Premiere gives no reason for this but one could surmise it doesn’t want to have any clients’ spots air within “controversial programming” and a cool down period like this will allow it to get a handle on where these spots are to air and where they should not.
Curtis Media Blows Up “FM Talk 101.1” WZTK-FM; Programming Changes Affect WPTF, Raleigh and WSJS, Winston-Salem. Curtis Media shocks the news/talk world with the sudden announcement that eight-year-old FM talker WZTK-FM, Burlington – serving both the Triad and Triangle markets of North Carolina is signing off its talk format and will re-emerge within a few weeks. But some of the talent heard on WZTK-FM is being spread out among Curtis Media’s other news talkers in the Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem/High Point/Greensboro markets. Here’s what’s happening: First, in the Triangle market of Raleigh-Durham, Curtis drops country on WKIX at 850 AM and will operate two outlets – NewsRadio 680 WPTF and TalkRadio 850 WPTF. WPTF VP/GM David Stuckey states, “NewsRadio 680 WPTF is where people will hear about the big events of the day, while TalkRadio 850 WPTF is where they’ll talk about those stories.” Stuckey says that while WPTF has proudly conservative roots dating back to 1924, the two stations will strive for balanced news coverage and an open exchange of all opinions across the ideological spectrum. “Unlike some media outlets, we’re not going to force-feed the same political agenda ad nauseum. We’ve seen ratings slippage on stations and channels with a hard-leaning approach, and more advertisers are telling us they want media platforms that are less toxic and more civil.” As far as talent is concerned, Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire survive the cut at WZTK-FM and will host PM drive on WPTF and WSJS. Dial Global’s Neal Boortz and Clark Howard are also landing on WPTF and WSJS. Shows that “didn’t make the cut” include local host Allan Handelman, TRN’s Michael Savage and Phil Hendrie and Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes.
Larry King to Host Show on Internet TV Network. American television and radio icon Larry King is returning to the interview desk with a start-up online TV network called Ora.TV being financed by Mexican media mogul Carlos Slim. A debut date for the site has not been announced yet but the Ora.TV website says it’s coming this year. The site states, “From its inception, Ora is an internet-based on-demand network producing a wide range of programs that transcend traditional formats. Our programs will resemble broadcast TV in terms of quality, but viewers will watch when and where they like with interactive capability.” Former News Corp. president of digital journalism Jon Housman will lead the network.
Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Holds “Insight 2012” with Major Political Guests. The annual “Insight 2012” program hosted by WTMJ, Milwaukee talk host Charlie Sykes has become a must-listen for Wisconsin political aficionados the morning after it takes place. The actual event is a ticket-holder-only live event the night prior – in this year’s case, last night. Sykes hosted fellow WTMJ host Jeff Wagner and other journalists plus Wisconsin State Senate candidates Jeff Fitzgerald, Tommy Thompson, Mark Neumann and Eric Hovde. Also appearing were U.S. Representatives Paul Ryan, Reid Ribble and Sean Duffy along with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Last evening’s event is being re-broadcast this morning from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon on WTMJ.
Tribune’s WGN, Chicago Signs on with TuneIn. The “Voice of Chicago” can now be heard around the world via the free, internet service TuneIn, which boasts 30 million monthly active listeners. TuneIn vice president of programming Kevin Straley says, “WGN is known all over the country and has a rich history in Chicago. Our goal is to share all of the best programming from around the world with over 30 million monthly listeners, and partnering with WGN brings us one step closer to that goal.”
KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh Announces Pirates Broadcast Talent. CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh announces former Chicago Cubs third baseman Kevin Orie will be paired with radio host Dan Zangrilli to handle the game-day shows before and after each Pirates baseball game throughout the season. The two will host a one-hour preview program and a one-hour post-game show. Pirates broadcasters (Greg Brown, Tim Neverett, Steve Blass, Bob Walk, and John Wehner) will continue to be featured during the pre- and post-game shows, as well as calling all the action during the games.
Report: 3MTR Abandons Talk Format in Melbourne. TALKERS Australia bureau chief Trevor Smith reports on the demise of talkback radio 3MTR in Melbourne. Smith notes the station had been having financial difficulties for months and was unable to compete with Melbourne’s talk 3AW. Read more here.
Afghan Civilian Massacre, 2012 Presidential Race, HBO Palin Movie, Rush Limbaugh Controversy and Iran Nukes Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/12). The case of a U.S. Army sergeant who killed 16 civilians in Afghanistan; the GOP candidates’ battle to win the nomination to face President Obama in November; HBO’s “Game Change” film about Sarah Palin and the 2008 presidential race; the ongoing controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh; and the Iran nuclear weapons issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Phil Hendrie Walks the Red Carpet. Sure, he’s not wearing a glitzy, designer gown but he is walking on a red carpet! That’s Talk Radio Network personality Phil Hendrie at the Los Angeles Animation Festival on Saturday, March, 10. Hendrie – whose voice appears in numerous animated films and TV programs – was a cast member in Trey Parker’s and Matt Stone’s “Team America” film. Hendrie states, “I was happy to be involved in any way that I could, because that was a great work experience for me…Every time that it’s mentioned that I was in ‘Team America,’ people instantaneously recognize it. They know the voice of I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E., they know the voice of the terrorist, they know the film, so it’s like my instant credibility button.”
Herman Cain Returns to WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta – in Commentator Role. Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and recent GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain returns to Cox Media Group’s news/talk giant WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta – the station at which he was hosting the evening program before leaving to run for office. Cain isn’t back on evenings. Program director Pete Spriggs tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution Cain’s busy schedule won’t allow him to return to that slot. Instead, Cain is filing a daily two-minute commentary that airs twice daily – 8:45 am during Neal Boortz’s show and at 6:45 pm during Erick Erickson’s program. He’ll also join Boortz live at 10:35 am every Monday and Friday. Although it is clear that Cain is still heavily involved in the thick of this year’s presidential race as an event speaker and potential campaigner, his significantly heightened status as a political media celebrity in the aftermath of his formidable candidacy increases his stock as a potential radio and television talk show host. Industry speculation grows about his next moves as a media personality after the dust of the election settles.
Geraldo to Do Local Show on KABC, Los Angeles. Since it was announced that Geraldo Rivera was taking over the late-morning show at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York there’s been speculation that he would also be imported west to the company’s KABC, Los Angeles. Now Geraldo tells the Los Angeles Times’ Steve Carney that not only will he be hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show on KABC beginning January 30, but he’ll be doing a separate, live show for Southern California. Geraldo tells Carney that he represents the larger middle portion of America that isn’t necessarily being heard from on talk radio today, “That agenda is extremely partisan. It’s carving up the country, it has a strong racial undertone, and I don’t think that’s good for anybody.” As a result of the move, KABC’s John Phillips’ program will be heard from 9:00 am to 10:00 am.
Merlin Media-CBS Radio Update. The all-news war in New York is making the consumer press as the New York Daily News’ John Hinckley writes about the cease-and-desist Merlin Media received from CBS Radio lawyers for using a version of the famous WINS, New York slogan “Give us 22 minutes; we’ll give you the world” to promote its all-news “FM News 101.9 (WEMP-FM). As we reported yesterday, Merlin has been engaging in a bit of old-fashioned radio battle strategy by twisting the WINS slogan to “Give us 10 minutes, we’ll give you the world” for WEMP-FM. Lawyers for CBS say the tactic has no purpose but to get publicity and say it’s trademark infringement. That’s one way of looking at it. Though the strategy could be derided by some as an old-school radio technique that won’t work in the modern era, others will argue that Merlin’s point is a good one; it underscores the perception that most people don’t have 22 minutes these days and FM News 101.9 is current and hip by doing it in 10 minutes. Merlin certainly has an uphill battle ahead of it in terms of catching the New York all-newsers in the ratings. It’s possible that in order to grab some of the audience share of the news-consuming public, Merlin is going to have to get attention by doing more than just putting out a good product. Another way of looking at it, however, is that if Merlin put out a good product, the Randy Michaels-led company wouldn’t have to resort to the kind of competitive stunting popularized during the heyday of top 40 in the 1960s and 1970s.
Todd Schnitt to End MJ Kelli AM Show; Focus on Talk Show. For years now, Todd Schnitt has been doing double duty – morning drive on Clear Channel’s CHR WFLZ-FM, Tampa and PM drive on CC’s WFLA from which he’s syndicated nationally by Compass Media Networks. Now he will focus on the talk show aspect of his career as he shuts down his MJ Kelli morning show persona with his last broadcast on WFLZ-FM on February 17.
Clear Channel Promotes Two Executives. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment bumps Hartley Adkins from his SVP of operations for the Southeast market to executive vice president of operations for its Mid-Major markets. Taking over for Adkins in the SVP of operations for the Southeast market is John Rohm who moves up from the market manager post for the Philadelphia market. Although not mentioned in the press release, Adkins takes over for Mark Kopelman who exits the company with no comment from corporate. Both Adkins and Rohm will report to John Hogan who states, “With their proven performance, leadership and exerience, Hartley and John will help ensure our local markets operate effectively and efficiently and provide our company with real opportunities for growth.” Additionally, Brad Hardin, senior vice president of programming, now serves as programming partner to Adkins in the Mid-Major markets; and Jon Zellner, senior vice president of programming, now serves as programming partner to Tom McConnell, senior vice president of operations for the Northeast regional markets.
WWNC, Asheville Names Pete Kaliner PM Drive Host. The former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte evening host lands the afternoon drive program at Clear Channel’s Asheville, North Carolina news/talk outlet. Pete Kaliner hosted the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show at WBT for two years until the show was eliminated for budgetary reasons in March of last year. WWNC program director Brian Hall says, “Pete filled in for us last summer and I was blown away by his dedication to show prep and how the listeners engaged with him on the air. After talking with great candidates from all over the country and other professionals in the industry, it was clear that Pete was the perfect fit for this position and for the community of Western North Carolina.”
Former Florida Radio and TV Financial Host Gets Four Years in Prison for Defrauding Investors. U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley sentenced Anthony F. Cutaia to 51 months in prison for running a ponzi scheme in which he misappropriated some $1.5 million that affected between 10 and 50 investors (court documents don’t specify the number of victims). Cutaia operated a commercial real estate business and hosted a program on Beasley Broadcasting’s WSBR, Boca Raton as well as a television show on the PAX TV network. Cutaia was charged with nine counts of mail fraud in June of 2011 and pleaded guilty to one charge in hopes of getting a lighter sentence but the judge gave him a longer sentence than federal prosecutors recommended.
South Carolina Primary/ 2012 Presidential Race Most-Talked-About Story on News/Talk Radio During Week of January 16-20. Landing atop the Talkers TenTM this week is the South Carolina GOP primary election and the 2012 presidential race. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio stations across America based on ongoing research from TALKERS and is published at Talkers.com every Friday. Coming in at #2 this week is the denial of the permit for the Keystone XL Canada to Texas oil pipeline. At #3 is the internet anti-piracy bills and the associated Wikipedia blackout and at #4 is the Euro Zone jitters and rising gas prices. View the entire Talkers TenTM chart here.
“Troublemaker” Visits Florida. Christine O’Donnell, former U.S. Senate candidate from Delaware and author of the best-seller Troublemaker (St. Martin’s Press 2011), kicked off her Florida speaking tour by sitting in on “The President’s Speakers Series” at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach broadcast live on WNDB, Daytona Beach and hosted by talk host Marc Bernier. O’Donnell says she is reaching out to college students to engage them in the political process for the upcoming election. This event was the 72nd in the series started by Marc Bernier in the mid-1990s. Pictured here during the event are Bernier (l) and O’Donnell (r).
TALKERS Top Talk Media Industry Stories for 2011.
TALKERS looks back at the top talk radio/media stories of 2011. It was a year marked by financial stress, corporate shuffling, format flips and the relentless march of technological change.
1. Radio Faces Continued Economic Hardship. Mired in debt and hampered by soft advertising sales, most radio broadcasting companies found 2011 to be challenging. Marked by cutbacks, limited budgets and job insecurity, talk radio – as well as all commercial radio – was a tough business in which to work.
2. Big Deals: Cumulus Closes Deal Buying Citadel. This was an enormous deal by any year’s standards with far ranging impact and implications on station formats and personnel — highlighted by serious material changes in format and personnel at KGO, San Francisco. Another significant deal of the year — Bonneville sells 17 Midwest/east major/large market stations to Hubbard Radio.
3. The Invasion of FM by Talk. 2011 was the year that the long-awaited migration of talk to the FM dial actually could be called a “trend” with numerous AM bastions picking up accompanying FM outlets for their programming. All signs point to this continuing in 2012 and beyond. Read the entire story here.
Geraldo Rivera Still a Possibility at KABC, Los Angeles? KABC, Los Angles talk host John Phillips’ recent e-mail to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan once again fires up the rumor mill leaving open the possibility that Geraldo Rivera – soon to be hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York – will also be heard on the company’s KABC. KABC management released the new program schedule on December 23 with Phillips listed as the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon host but now Phillips states he’ll do that shift through January 27. After that? No one’s saying. So read into that what you will but if Cumulus is spending good money to develop a Geraldo radio show, why not put it on in the nation’s second largest market to give the sales team more to work with? As for Phillips and his show that will follow Doug McIntyre’s morning program beginning next week, he tells Lycan, “The thought is your morning commute doesn’t end at 9:00 am, so neither will we. McIntyre and I are good friends, and by that I mean he’s yet to run me over in the KABC parking lot with his car, so we’ll share the same ethos and won’t stop beating the drum about L.A. and OC issues that directly impact our listeners’ lives.”
WHAM, Rochester Adds More Bob Lonsberry and More Local News to Schedule. Clear Channel’s WHAM, Rochester announces a new program schedule to begin in 2012 that adds another half hour of popular Rochester personality Bob Lonsberry to the schedule. In addition to Lonsberry’s solo 9:00 am to 1:00 pm program, he’ll join the WHAM Morning News crew – Chet Walker, Shari Smith, Randy Gorbman and John DiTullio – for the new “1180 WHAM Free for All” show from 8:30 am to 9:00 am. Additionally, the station expands the “WHAM Afternoon News” to a two-hour format from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Speaking to the changes, CC Rochester VP/GM Kevin LeGrett states, “We are very excited about this new 1180 WHAM lineup, which features 12 hours of local Rochester programming daily. When it comes to Rochester’s adults, 1180 WHAM owns the franchise and consistently achieves excellent results for our listeners, community and advertisers.”
Brian Michel New Operations Manager at Clear Channel Atlanta. The five-station Clear Channel cluster that includes news/talk WGST has a new operations manager. Brian Michel comes to Atlanta from Salt Lake City where he was OM at Simmons’ stations there. While he’ll serve as program director for country WUBL-FM, OM for the entire Atlanta cluster and he’ll also be acting program director for WGST, which as reported earlier this week, may be getting an FM simulcast in the near future according to local rumors.
Iowa Caucuses/2012 Presidential Race, Iran’s Saber Rattling, 2011 Retrospective, Kim Jong Il Funeral Parade and Preliminary Holiday Retail Sales Figures Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday. The fast-approaching Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, the year of 2011 in retrospect, the funeral parade of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and positive preliminary holiday retail sales reports were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio. One of the many highlights of the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (October 20) was the presentation of the first-ever Talkers Lifetime Achievement Award to LARadio.com publisher and noted radio historian Don Barrett followed by his brilliant presentation of “A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio.” In the speech, Barrett describes growing up in the beach communities of Southern California and being raised on the great rock ‘n’ roll and top 40 stations of the 1950s. He traces the roots of LA talk radio back to Ben Hoberman’s early experiments with all-talk at KABC in the 1960s and follows the richly colorful route of the format all the way through the decades to present-day juggernaut that is KFI, including fascinating details about the personalities who brought it to life.
WTMM-FM, Albany Host Bruce Jacobs Apologizes After Making Gay Joke. Talk radio pro Bruce Jacobs finds himself apologizing to the public (and probably fighting for his job) after referring to the WNBA teams the Los Angeles Sparks and the Phoenix Mercury as the “Los Angeles Lesbians” and the “Phoenix Dyke-ury.” Jacbos said in an on-air apology, “My comments yesterday were ridiculous, stupid and amateurish. I apologize for even uttering the comments, whether you heard them or not, whether you were offended or not.” He told the Albany Times-Union he doesn’t believe he should be fired for the remarks. “We live in a society today where no matter what you say, you’re a bigot or you’re a racist. I don’t like it, but it comes with the territory. So obviously I think that’s ridiculous.” Brian Noe, program director of the Townsquare Media sports talk station, e-mailed the paper saying, “Bruce’s insensitive statement is a serious matter that is being dealt with internally.” The station is no doubt feeling pressure from LGBT advocacy groups and others to terminate Jacobs for the misstep.
KABC, Los Angeles Announces New Program Schedule. Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles officially announces its new program lineup and, contrary to earlier reports, it will not include a simulcast of WABC, New York’s Geraldo Rivera. Instead, evening host John Phillips moves from his evening slot to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. He follows Doug McIntyre and Terri Rae Elmer in the morning drive position. The rest of the day is: Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Larry Elder, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; current morning drive host Peter Tilden moves to the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show; and Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” with Eric Harley and Gary McNamara in the overnight slot. Program director Jack Silver states, “The revamped schedule is a great way for KABC to start the new year. The new lineup puts all of KABC’s incredibly talented hosts into time slots that highlight their strengths.”
WOR, New York Clears Dave Ramsey. Beginning January 2, the independently syndicated Dave Ramsey show will air on Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, New York in the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot. WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “In these rocky economic times, New Yorkers need a voice they can trust to guide them in their money decisions. We are proud to welcome the country’s top name in financial talk radio, Dave Ramsey, to our award-winning lineup in 2012.”
Rush Limbaugh May Be Moving to Clear Channel San Francisco Talk Outlet. Liners promoting Clear Channel’s newly realigned KKSF, San Francisco are reportedly hinting “America’s anchorman” is coming to the station along with the other changes in programming and the new call letters. You may have noticed that Clear Channel left a “to be determined” in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot in its announcement of the new schedule that we reported earlier this week. Currently, Cumulus Media’s crosstown KSFO has the rights to the Premiere Networks program but it makes sense Clear Channel would want to bring the show into the company fold as it has done in some other markets.
ESPN Radio’s Dan Davis Retires. He’s been one of the primary voices of ESPN Radio’s SportsCenter since 1999. Now, Dan Davis – who began his radio career in 1962 at WEMJ, Laconia, New Hampshire – announces he’s hanging up the headphones to work on his golf game in Florida. Davis joined ESPN’s radio network when it launched in 1992 and became its primary SportsCenter update reporter in 1999.
Talk Pro Tom Donahue Signs with Oracle Broadcasting. Tom Donahue has been self producing webcasts and podcasts for the past six months but announced he’s joined Oracle Broadcasting as of this week (Dec. 19) hosting the live 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET program. Donahue tells TALKERS Oracle “is a bastion of free speech and offers a full spectrum of talk shows. Additionally, Oracle Broadcasting Network has a consistently solid, confirmable loyal listener base! I intend to cultivate my ties with radio stations and really grow my affiliate base.” Oracle is an internet-based network that Donahue says has the fidelity, transmission capabilities and sub-audible tone technology necessary to accommodate station automation.
More Holiday Fill-Ins. CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York takes advantage of its summer promotion/talent search “Fantasy Phenom II” and gives two-hour shows to the runners-up from the contest next week. Neeraj Joshi, Patrick Creighton, Mike McMaster and Pat Totaro will host a 1:00 am to 3:00 am shift during the week…..Nicole Sandler is filling in for Premiere Networks talk star Randi Rhodes through December 30.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Motley Fool Money” with Chris Hill is added to Radio One’s soon-to-be “News 92 FM” (KROI) in Houston…..“The Costa Report” with Rebecca Costa is added to Fisher’s KVI, Seattle as it returns to talk in January.
Payroll Tax Cut Issue/Congress Adjourns Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 19-23. The failure of Congress to agree on an extension of the payroll tax cut before adjourning for the holidays landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories of the week. Coming in at #2 was the 2012 presidential race. At #3 was post-Kim Jong Il North Korea followed by the euro zone debt crisis and financial markets activity at #4. The Talkers TenTM is published weekly at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. View the entire chart, including the most-talked-about people of the week, here.
A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio. One of the many highlights of the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (October 20) was the presentation of the first-ever Talkers Lifetime Achievement Award to LARadio.com publisher and noted radio historian Don Barrett followed by his brilliant presentation of “A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio.” In the speech, Barrett describes growing up in the beach communities of Southern California and being raised on the great rock ‘n’ roll and top 40 stations of the 1950s. He traces the roots of LA talk radio back to Ben Hoberman’s early experiments with all-talk at KABC in the 1960s and follows the richly colorful route of the format all the way through the decades to present-day juggernaut that is KFI, including fascinating details about the personalities who brought it to life. To see this not-to-be-missed exclusive video presentation, click here.
Former KGO, San Francisco Hosts Gene Burns and Len Tillem to Join Clear Channel Bay Area Station; New Lineups for KNEW and KKSF Announced. The program schedules for Clear Channel’s Bay Area talk stations are official a month after the company announced it would swap calls, and change the image of progressive talk station KKGN. As previously reported, the 960 AM frequency becomes KNEW and 910 AM will take the new call letters KKSF. What’s new is that former crosstown KGO talk hosts Gene Burns and Len Tillem will become part of the lineup at the new Newstalk 910 (KKSF). The program schedules for the revamped stations are as follows: KNEW – Premiere Networks‘ Glenn Beck, 6:00 am to 9:00 am; Dave Ramsey, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Premiere‘s Randi Rhodes, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Compass Media Networks‘ Norman Goldman, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Market Wrap, 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Dial Global‘s Stephanie Miller, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm; Dial Global‘s Thom Hartmann, 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. KKSF – Armstrong & Getty, 6:00 am to 9:00 am; to be announced, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Fox News Radio‘s Tom Sullivan, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Len Tillem, 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm; and Gene Burns, 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Regarding the changes, Clear Channel San Francisco director of operations Don Parker states, “Recent changes in the talk radio market gave us the opportunity to adjust our plans for 960 KNEW. We are excited to broaden 960 KNEW’s position to appeal to a wider variety of Bay Area listeners…We are moving Newstalk 910 into the forefront of the talk genre in the Bay Area. With the addition of Bay Area legend Gene Burns and ‘Radio Lawyer’ Len Tillem to the line-up, we are very excited about the future.”
Rumor: Cumulus Planning FM Talk Flip in Twin Cities. There’s no official word from the company but the talk is hot and heavy in the Minneapolis –St. Paul market that Cumulus Media will flip one of its music FMs to talk in 2012. Cumulus owns classic rock KQRS-FM, active rock KXXR-FM and the classic hits trimulcast of WGVX-FM, WGVY-FM and WGVZ-FM which surround the market. Both the rock stations have done pretty well in the latest Arbitron PPMs so a lot of the chatter has the lower-rated classic hits “Love 105FM” making the switch. Stay tuned.
Wisconsin Public Radio Talk Host Jean Feraca to Retire. The 28-year veteran of Wisconsin Public Radio announces she’ll retire in March from the organization she’s worked at since 1983. Jean Feraca tells the Wisconsin State Journal, “It’s just time.” Speaking to the paper, she hinted at job cuts that clearly have affected her work environment. “I lost everybody in my team earlier this year, and it’s been difficult. This is sensitive stuff and I have to think it through.”
Unresolved Payroll Tax Issue/Congress Recesses, Post-Kim Jong Il North Korea, 2012 Presidential Race and Uncertain Financial Markets Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/20). Congress’ failure to extend the payroll tax cut and its leaving for holiday break, concern over a post-Kim Jong Il North Korea, the GOP race for president in 2012 and the down year for stocks and the ongoing euro zone debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing TALKERS magazine research.
Will Howard Stern’s Role on “America’s Got Talent” Hurt NBC’s Ability to Sell Ads? By now you know that it’s official that Sirius XM’s Howard Stern is replacing Piers Morgan on the very successful summer talent search program, “America’s Got Talent.” It didn’t take long for the Parents Television Council to react (they probably had the press release ready weeks ago!). PTC president Tim Winter stated, “In an act of desperation for a flailing network, NBC has hired Howard Stern – a performer who is synonymous with shock, profanity and obscenity – as a judge on a prime-time talent competition. The once-proud broadcast network has lost its way and has made it clear it holds no concern whatsoever for children and families. It also risks losing millions in advertising dollars.” We are not sure about the “flailing network” part – “America’s Got Talent” was the number one non-sports program among the four networks last summer and NBC has probably seriously considered what Stern’s effect on the program will be. Certainly Stern won’t be interviewing porn stars on the TV show but he does come with a reputation and if the PTC and other groups decide to mount a serious campaign against NBC, will they be able to hurt the network over Stern’s reputation and not what actually transpires on the show? Stay tuned.
Occupy KGO Draws Protesters to San Francisco Studios. Earlier this week TALKERS reported the planned Occupy KGO event scheduled for yesterday (12/15) in reaction to Cumulus Media’s firing of Gene Burns, Ray Taliaferro, Gil Gross and several other talk hosts as the station moves to a newsier format. The protest took place and, according to Matthew Lasar of RadioSurvivor.com, there were about 50 people gathered outside the studios at the height of the activity (accompanying photo from RadioSurvivor.com), including recently dismissed talk host John Rothman. Lasar says Rothman told him, “Our hope is that Mickey Luckoff, our former president and general manager, is in the process of putting together a deal which would take all of us to one station and hopefully we will go with our advertisers, and we’ll begin all over again.” KGO issues the following statement regarding the protest: “KGO listeners are passionate about their station. We appreciate their input and feedback as we evolve from a news/talk format to more news and information.” Occupy KGO protesters say they’ll be back on December 30 for another march.
New KABC, Los Angeles Lineup: Geraldo in, Elder to PM Drive and More. The Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan reports reliable sources tell him the new lineup for Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles is set and will debut in January. Already known is that Doug McIntyre and Terri-Rae Elmer will host “McIntyre in the Morning.” Lycan reports that Geraldo Rivera – emanating from WABC, New York – will host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show on delay. Other changes include evening host John Phillips moving from his current slot to a one-hour 9:00 am to 10:00 am program. Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity remains in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot followed by Larry Elder, who moves to the PM drive daypart from late mornings. Current AM driver Peter Tilden moves to the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show following Citadel Media Networks’ Mark Levin in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm position.
Female Demo Innovator Debbie Nigro Targets 40-Plus Female Audience with “Still a Babe” Concept. One of the holy grails in talk radio programming is figuring out a dependable method of connecting with the underserved, under-reached female market. If anyone out there has experience and a degree of success in this arena, it’s radio pro Debbie Nigro of “Working Mom on the Run” fame. Now Debbie Nigro has turned her attention to reaching women ages 40-65 with her StillaBabe.com initiative. The veteran of WPIX-FM, New York and the aforementioned nationally syndicated “Working Mom on the Run” program which made a big buzz in the 1990s says the “Still a Babe” concept comes from the sum of her life’s experiences. She tells TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian, “It is about figuring out how to enjoy your life through it all and being around people who bring out the best in you. I have great instincts about people and have so much information to share. My revenue will come from media, product sales, offline events and licensing. This is a collective power of the purse. Women want to play with whom they trust. I let my guard down so they know who I am.” Nigro’s track record warrants industry attention. Read more and see her very cool video presentation here.
“Free Talk Live” Jumps into the Fray Between Mark Levin and Michael Savage. You already know that TRN host Michael Savage offered New Gingrich $1 million to quit the GOP race and, in response, Mark Levin offered Savage $100,000 to quit his radio program. “Free Talk Live” host and founder Ian Freeman isn’t asking either host to quit his job for money. Here’s his offer: “‘Free Talk Live’ will give $1,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital if Mark Levin and Michael Savage will have lunch with an Orthodox Muslim and also an undocumented immigrant that is working to feed his or her family. Levin and Savage will have to video record their encounters and do less than 40% of the talking in each conversation. Each host can earn up to $500 for St. Jude by submitting one video for their lunch with the Muslim and another for the immigrant. Upon public upload to YouTube and once verified that the host listened in a video to at least 60% of the conversation, $250 will be given to St. Jude. If by 2012 the hosts have not accomplished this goal, ‘Free Talk Live’ will raise at least $1,000 to be given to St. Jude in the name of peace, freedom, and compassion for other humans.” If you’re interested in hearing more about this offer from Freeman, e-mail him at email@example.com.
Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts Leases Irving, Texas Studio Space for Production and Live Events. Since moving his personal residence to Texas, Premiere Networks star Glenn Beck has been working to relocate his Mercury Radio Arts production company to the Lone Star State and now it appears he’s found the space. The Studios at Las Colinas is an existing facility that’s been home to the production of Hollywood films (“Robocop,” “JFK” and “Talk Radio” to name a few). Mercury Radio Arts will lease space there for his GBTV studios from Muller Entertainment Studio Operations. The site comes complete with a 500-plus seat theater for live performances and Beck will invite live audiences for tapings of his eponymous GBTV show. He will also produce his radio program from the location. In a release, Beck says, “I have come to know and respect the people of Texas and could not be more excited about GBTV studios – the future home of GBTV and a multi-platform destination for the fusion of entertainment and enlightenment. We are proud to become part of the Dallas-Fort Worth area and are eager to become good neighbors and members of the local community.”
Cumulus Media Networks Names Jerry King Director of Operations in Dallas. Mike McVay recently left his consulting firm McVay/Cook & Associates to take the SVP of corporate programming at Cumulus. Now another McVay/Cook executive joins the Cumulus fold as Jerry King leaves his VP of operations and programming post there for the director of operations position with syndication arm Cumulus Media Networks in Dallas. King will oversee the network’s Dallas operations, as well as the program directors and the 24/7 satellite delivered radio programming in fourteen different formats originating from Dallas beginning January 1. Mike McVay states, “Jerry’s multi-format experience and expertise of the radio industry makes him a perfect fit for running our worldwide satellite operations as well as our diverse programming.”
Greater Media Introduces Anthony Michaels as New WLNK-FM, Charlotte PD. The talk-intensive Hot AC station features Bob & Sheri in AM drive and Matt and Ramona in PM drive. Anthony Michaels is the evening host and has served as interim PD for the station. Now, Greater Media Charlotte VP and market manager Rick Feinblatt announces Michaels’ new role as program director. “Anthony has done an amazing job as interim PD, along with his duties as APD and a night air shift. We look forward to him taking the station to the next level under his leadership.” Michaels replaces Kris Abrams who exited the post four months ago.
2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 12-16. The battle between GOP primary candidates and the issues being discussed as part of the 2012 presidential race landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart this week. The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research into the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio across America and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. Also on the chart this week at #2 is the threatened government shutdown/payroll tax cut issue. At #3 is the Iraq troop withdrawl and at #4 is NTSB cell phone ban proposal. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Dial Global’s Dennis Miller is picked up by Pamplin’s KKOV, Vancouver, Washington…..“The Handyman Show with Glenn Haege” adds WGDJ, Albany; WILS, Lansing; WGHN, Grand Haven, Michigan; and KSZL, Barstow, California.
WTOP, Washington Expands Multi-Platform News Operation; News and Programming Pro Laurie Cantillo Named to Newly Created Program Director Position. Former WABC, New York program director Laurie Cantillo joins Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington where she’ll work closely with vice president of news and programming Jim Farley for the organization that is also announcing the expansion and restructuring of its news and broadcasting staff. In a statement, WTOP explains, “One of the primary reasons for the new structure is to redefine the news workflow. Instead of the traditional model which takes broadcast content and tries to fit it into a digital hole, WTOP’s strategy will focus on the creation of news stories at the beginning of a process. A story’s execution will be determined at its origin. It will then be optimized for all the distribution platforms WTOP offers: radio, web, Facebook, Twitter and mobile. In addition to Cantillo joining the organization, other staff changes include: Current director of digital operations John Meyer moving into the newsroom as the architect of the social and digital strategy as it comes together with the current broadcast operation; current news director Mike McMearty becomes senior news director; assistant news director Mitchell Miller is upped to news director; Mike Gartell is now managing editor; Gary Emerling is named senior digital editor; and Darci Marchese becomes executive producer. Jim Farley states, “We will now have both a digital editor and a radio editor working together 24/7. No other radio station in America does this. And we are not just talking the talk; we are hiring more people, re-evaluating everything we do and making the necessary changes no matter how sacred or ingrained. The future is digital and WTOP will be the leader heading into that future.” Regarding Laurie Cantillo’s joining the WTOP operation, Farley says, “Laurie is one of the best, most-admired and well-liked program directors in America. She has solid news credentials, a great track record of ratings success in major markets and a great understanding of the power and potential of digital and social media.”
NPR Uses Grant for Digital Media Training and Multi-Platform News. Through a $1.5 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, NPR is expanding its training initiatives to increase the use of digital tools both at NPR member stations and in the NPR newsroom. According to NPR, “Building on successful training piloted by NPR a few years ago, the grant provides for the development of extensive training for more than 70 local public radio stations. Topics include strategies to build multi-media news operations, writing for the web, photography and the role of social media in newsgathering. These resources will dramatically improve the ability of participating stations to broaden and deepen their news production and better serve both new and existing audiences. The grant will also fund digital coaches for NPR journalists.” NPR chief executive officer Gary Knell says, “NPR is a major force in media today, helping more than 34 million people make sense of what is going on in the world. These digital training resources will ensure that NPR and hundreds of member stations nationwide continue to pioneer the use of new technologies to connect with new and existing audiences.”
Standard & Poor’s Downgrades CC Media Holdings on Long-term Debt Concerns. Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Michael Altberg states that softening ad demand and the uncertain global economy may slow the growth of revenue for Clear Channel’s parent company and while the ability to pay the debt that comes due in 2012 and 2013 isn’t seen as a problem, the notes that mature in 2014 and 2016 are bigger issues. The company faces secured and unsecured debt maturities of $2.9 billion in 2014 and $12.3 billion in 2016. S&P notes CC Media Holdings is considered highly leveraged and that could negatively affect its ability to re-finance before those debts come due. When that time comes, anyone looking to buy a radio station might find opportunity in what could potentially be the biggest fire sale selloff of sticks in recent history.
CBS Local Digital Media Partners with Examiner.com for Content Creation. The network of websites and mobile apps that make up CBS Local Digital Media is entering into a content creation relationship with Examiner.com to produce unique content for CBS’ locally targeted properties in more than two dozen major markets across the country. Examiner.com is a leading online publisher featuring local expertise from over 85,000 contributors, known as Examiners. The lifestyle content created through this partnership is described as “‘Best Of’ guides and ‘Top Spots’ lists covering a range of topics including arts and culture, shopping, food and drink, nightlife and music, as well as travel and outdoors.” CBS Local Digital Media president Ezra Kucharz states, “Over the course of the past 18 months we’ve built a platform that quickly garnered interest from millions of users searching for the best local news, information and entertainment. Taking our vision one step further by working with a stable of contributors with expertise in their field will greatly enhance the audience’s experience. This is not just about telling you where to go and what to see – it’s providing ‘insider access’ to a city you may be visiting or have lived your whole life that you can’t get anywhere else.”
Dr. Joy Browne Appears on TALKERS TV. She is by far the most successful psychology and relationships talker on radio in America. WOR Radio Network star Dr. Joy Browne is interviewed by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey at the seventh annual “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row designed to raise consciousness about domestic violence and teenage dating abuse presented recently by TALKERS and Talk Radio News Service in conjunction with corporate sponsor Liz Claiborne, Inc. The event was held in the showroom at the Midtown Manhattan headquarters of the fashion company. Browne candidly discusses the state of relationship talk radio’s place within the news/talk playing field and explains the connections between psychology and all the hot issues discussed within the genre. To view this not-to-be-missed video, see TALKERS TV at the right on this page.
Glenn Beck’s GBTV Takes Over “Apocalypse” Reality Show. The program was once called, “Apocalypse, PA” when it ran on the History Channel last year but on Beck’s online venture GBTV it will be called, “Independence USA.” It follows Frank Belcastro and his family as they prepare to survive in a post-apocalyptic world by such means as devising a car that runs on wood instead of gasoline, becoming expert hunters and creating his own alcohol for barter when the money system collapses. According to TVNewser, the program debuts on January 18 with new episodes every Wednesday. It is the first reality show to become part of Beck’s GBTV where his own daily TV program is seen.
KFI, Los Angeles Debuts New Food Show with Neil Saavedra in January. The program is called, “The Fork Report,” and will have its premier airing on Saturday, January 7 hosted by KFI’s Neil Saavedra. The station says, “‘The Fork Report’ will be a food show like no other food show, delving into all things edible. The show will run the food gamut from local restaurants to kitchen gadgets, interviews with chefs to food news (like recalls, new products). If you can eat it or it’s a gizmo to help you prepare it…Saavedra talks about it.” Saavedra also hosts the KFI-based and Premiere Networks syndicated “Jesus Christ Show” and serves as the director of marketing for the Clear Channel station.
Katy Pavelonis Named VP of Sales at Grand Slam Sports. The St.Louis-based sports media company operates KFNS, St. Louis, KFNS.com, St. Louis Sports Magazine, Grand Slam Sports Promotions, SportsRadio 1380 and SportsRadio1380.com. Katy Pavelonis previously served as VP/director of sales at CBS Radio’s St. Louis cluster that includes news/talk KMOX. On her new position, Pavelonis states, “I am excited about starting with Grand Slam Sports. Having sold Cardinal baseball, Blues hockey and University of Missouri products in the past, I know how passionate the sports fans are here and how supportive the local advertising community can be for local sports. Marketing the incredible media mix that Grand Slam Sports provides to those advertisers is something I am very much looking forward to.”
NTSB Cell Phone Ban, 2012 Presidential Race, Payroll Tax Cut Issue and Iraq Troop Withdrawl Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14). The National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation that no personal electronic devices be allowed to be operated by motorists in the U.S., the GOP race to challenge President Obama in the 2012 election, Congressional leaders’ work to deal with the budget deficit and the payroll tax cut issue plus the withdrawl of U.S. troops from Iraq were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage Offers Newt Gingrich $1 Million to Drop Out of Race. TRN nationally syndicated talk host Michael Savage says he’s putting his money where his mouth is and is offering former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich $1 million to drop out of the presidential race. Savage says he’s been enumerating the reasons on his radio program why Gingrich cannot win a campaign against President Obama – only Mitt Romney can – and since that, in his opinion, is the most important problem the country faces, he’s making the financial offer. “If Newt Gingrich really loves this country as much as he says he does, if he really wants what is best for America, he will set his ego aside, call me and accept my offer. His continued candidacy spells nothing but ruin for conservatives, Republicans and all true American patriots.” Savage is giving Gingrich 72 hours to accept. There’s no word from the Gingrich camp but one competing syndication executive (who prefers to remain anonymous) says Gingrich better read the fine print, “It would be too bad if Newt deprives GOP primary voters of his ideas and energy, only to find out he’s getting $1 million worth of unsold Savage Nation t-shirts and jerky treats.”
Sacramento Occupy Protesters Target Clear Channel Sacramento. Organized by activist Sue Wilson’s Media Action Center, people upset by the loss of progressive talk programming were encouraged to “occupy” Clear Channel stations across the country yesterday (12/12) by asking to see the stations’ public files to learn about complaints to the stations and about the stations’ sales of political ads to candidates. About 11 protesters made their concerns known to KFBK, Sacramento management and, in an orderly fashion, inspected the station’s public file. Sheriff’s officers were on hand and protesters were not allowed to occupy the station. As is often the case, many people misunderstand a station’s obligation to provide programming that appeals to all citizens – a misunderstanding promulgated by the old Fairness Doctrine (now off the books). Wilson is quoted in the Sacramento Bee saying, “All our voices need to be heard.” But TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison puts it succinctly to a Bee reporter stating, “Fairness is not guaranteed by the First Amendment – freedom from government censorship is.” In what is apparently a separate movement, some Bay Area residents are planning an Occupy KGO event on Thursday (12/15) to protest Cumulus Media’s recent changes at KGO, San Francisco, although their argument doesn’t seem to imply unfairness – just anger at the changes made to the station’s programming.
Geraldo Rivera to KABC, Los Angeles Too? Respected Southern California radio trade writer Don Barrett is reporting that Don Imus said on his program that Geraldo Rivera – officially announced to be taking over the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show at WABC, New York in January – will also be heard on Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles. Barrett writes that it wasn’t clear whether in which daypart Rivera would be heard but that it obviously raises the question of whom it may affect at KABC – specifically Larry Elder who hosts the late morning program there. Stay tuned.
Clark Howard Clarification. A number of industry readers may have glossed over yesterday’s story published by TALKERS about Dial Global financial talk host Clark Howard’s program and come away with an incorrect conclusion. Howard’s show is still three hours long. What’s changing is that Howard is repurposing some content for the third hour so that he can cut back on some of the long hours he’s putting in due to the multitude of media ventures in which he’s involved.
Bob Agnew Joins Carey Brothers as GM of On the House Media. Longtime sports and talk programmer Bob Agnew has been named general manager of James and Morris Carey’s “On the House Media” syndication firm. Agnew, who has served as program director of such diverse outlets as KNBR, San Francisco and KXNT, Las Vegas, will be responsible for developing the sales staff, managing affiliate relations, new business development and programming at the Brentwood, California firm that has syndicated the popular talk radio home improvement show “On the House with the Carey Bothers” for more than a quarter century. He will also work closely with the operation’s PR firm Kleber and Associates with regard to media relationships, client services and the expansion of the website. Upon making the announcement, James Carey tells TALKERS, “Morris and I and our entire team are thrilled to have Bob Agnew ‘take the reins’ and lead our media franchise as it enters its 26th year. We have had the pleasure of knowing Bob for over 20 years and have enjoyed an enduring professional and personal relationship. Bob’s unique combination of management, leadership and people skills make him superbly qualified to guide On the House Media in realizing its full potential. As one of the leading radio programmers in the U.S., Bob ‘gets’ what local radio stations – programming and sales – need to make their businesses successful. We are confident that Bob’s keen insight will be of tremendous benefit to our radio affiliates, marketing partners and audience.” OTH is a multi-media operation with a four-hour live Saturday show, weekday tips, podcasts, accessible on iPhones and iPads with the new OTH app. OTH has 140 radio show affiliates and 125 affiliates taking the daily tips.
Clear Channel Names Bob Stohrer Chief Marketing Officer for Clear Channel Digital. Stohrer will work with Clear Channel Digital president Brian Lekamp. He’ll oversee the national marketing plans, brand execution and social marketing efforts for CC Digital with an emphasis on iHeartRadio. Lekamp states, “Bob’s extensive experience in both brand positioning and creative development brings the innovative vision and tactical expertise that will increase brand awareness, drive growth and unlock our full potential moving forward. We look forward to the leadership and insight he will bring to the Clear Channel Digital team.”
CBS TV Expands “Face the Nation.” Bob Schieffer announced that CBS TV is turning its “Face the Nation” Sunday morning issues program into a 60-minute program beginning in April. The show has been a 30-minute production since its inception. Schieffer said on last Sunday’s program that the show will expand, “because more and more of you have been turning to ‘Face the Nation’ during this campaign season, so we thank you.”
Holiday Program Available to Stations. A three-hour program called “The Gift” is available to radio stations across the country for air between December 24 and 26. The program is produced by the Fisher House Foundation and created especially for the holiday season. It features interviews with wounded warriors Matt Zajac, Tammy Duckworth and Dale Beatty; the mother of an injured service member, Becky Ziegel; and a father who lost his son in combat, Robert Stanton. The stories – equally heartbreaking and inspiring – are vehicles to a greater understanding of the sacrifices our military and their families make every day, so that our nation may be home, safe and with their own families during the holidays. Fisher House Foundation chairman and CEO Ken Fisher says, “Just one percent of Americans serve in the military, protecting and safeguarding a population that does not fully appreciate the depth of sacrifice these people make. These people are true heroes. We want to let the world know just how much they do for us every day, and ensure that if they have a need, that it is met.” The Fisher House Foundation raises money to create housing for the families of wounded service personnel so they have a place to stay near them while they recuperate. Stations interested in carrying the program should contact Ron Rivlin at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Obama on “60 Minutes,” SCOTUS to Hear AZ Illegal Immigration Law Challenge, Weekend GOP Debate and Euro Zone Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/12). President Obama’s interview on Sunday’s “60 Minutes” program, the Supreme Court’s agreement to hear arguments challenging Arizona’s illegal immigration law, the GOP presidential candidates debate that took place over the weekend and the ongoing euro zone debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Cumulus Brings Geraldo Rivera to Radio at WABC, New York. Geraldo Rivera has done a lot of media in his career (including WABC-TV) but he’s never hosted a regular radio talk show. Beginning in January he’ll get his chance with the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon daily program following Don Imus and leading into Rush Limbaugh on Cumulus’ WABC, New York. Cumulus COO John Dickey tells The New York Times’ Brian Stelter the company’s research indicates “people are interested in hearing a different perspective, a different voice, a more balanced opinion” and although Rivera is actually a registered Republican, he’s more liberal than WABC’s Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. Dickey also states he expects Rivera to draw in younger listeners and females to the station. Rivera’s program will be a New York-only show but Dickey doesn’t discount the idea of going into syndication with Rivera if the show is a success. Rivera tells the Times, his show will have two positioning statements that help define him as a different kind of radio talk show host: “I’m Geraldo and I’m not always right” and “Not red, not blue, but red, white and blue.” Rivera still works at Fox News Channel where he’s been a correspondent since 2001 but his “Geraldo at Large” show airs just once per week though he also does daytime reporting and makes regular appearances on the channel’s midday “Happening Now” program. The late morning slot at WABC opened up when the station let Joe Crummey and Patty Steele go last week.
KABC, Los Angeles Confirms New Doug McIntyre Morning Drive Show. The host of the nationally syndicated Cumulus Media Networks late-night show “Red Eye Radio” begins his duties as host of “McIntyre in the Morning” on KABC, Los Angeles in January. Last week Cumulus announced it would merge the Eric Harley and Gary McNamara-hosted “Midnight Radio Network” program with “Red Eye Radio” and Doug McIntyre would leave those duties. Now, speculation that McIntyre moves back to morning drive at KABC – the program he hosted from 2004 to 2009 – is confirmed. News pro Terri-Rae Elmer – who announced her exit from Clear Channel’s crosstown KFI last week – is co-host of the new program. In a release, Cumulus says, “The show will feature McIntyre’s unique sense of humor and ability to get to the heart of the biggest stories affecting Los Angeles and Orange County.” McIntyre says, “I’m excited to return to the morning drive with leading radio station, KABC. I look forward to keeping my audience informed and entertained as they wake up with me each morning.” Current KABC morning host Peter Tilden appears to be staying with the company in a capacity to be announced later.
WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Morning Host Al Gardner to Program Merlin Media’s Philly Station. Philadelphia native Al Gardner has been co-hosting the morning drive show at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM since 1997. In January he’ll return to his hometown to take on the vice president of programming position at Merlin Media’s WKDN-FM Philadelphia – a station Merlin is expected to flip to an all-news format. The Charlotte Observer reports the 64-year-old Gardner has been doing some consulting for the recently formed Merlin Media and Gardner tells the paper of his new gig, “This is a pinch-me job. It couldn’t be better.” Greater Media is letting Gardner out of his contract a year early to pursue the Merlin position. As for WBT, program director Carl East tells the paper sports anchor Jim Szoke will take on a bigger role on the morning program alongside current morning co-host Stacey Simms.
Dial Global Star Clark Howard Cuts Live Portion of Program to Two Hours. Saying he’s been burning the candle at both ends, money guru Clark Howard tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho he’s cutting back on his radio work and will only do two hours of live programming daily. Affiliates that want to continue with three hours will get a third hour composed of best-of segments from the live show content. Clark Howard tells Ho that he’s just finished touring to promote his latest book, “Living Large in Lean Times,” and he recently had to take two weeks off after a bout with laryngitis. Howard, with some 600 radio affiliates, is a busy guy. In addition to his radio work, he does TV segments for 15 Cox-owned TV stations, hosts a weekend show on cable TV’s HLN and operates the digital media station clarkhoward.com.
Robert Wuhl and Doug Urbanski Shows to Be Dropped by Dial Global. That’s not the official word from Dial Global, it’s what TALKERS is hearing through the grapevine. Both Robert Wuhl’s and Doug Urbanski’s shows were Westwood One properties that came to Dial Global with the merger of the two companies announced back in August. Lean times make broadcast companies assess where they are spending money and we can only assume that the shows are not bringing in the kind of cash required to justify their continuation. It’s expected the shows’ affiliates have been quietly notified so they can make programming plans for 2012.
WWRL Morning Host Mark Riley on TALKERS TV. In an exclusive interview conducted by TALKERS magazine managing editor Kevin Casey on the scene at last Thursday’s “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row, the veteran New York City broadcaster discusses the evolution of Big Apple urban talk radio as well as his own. Mark Riley points out that his AM drive program is heard by a variety of listeners including both African Americans and whites. He talks about the positive aspects of being local in the nation’s largest market and the spectrum of issues covered in a major metropolis including the impact of guns and violence in daily city life. Riley was one of more than 20 talk media personalities participating in the seventh annual radio row designed to raise consciousness about domestic violence presented by TALKERS and Talk Radio News Service in conjunction with corporate sponsor, Liz Claiborne, Inc. at the company’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters. See the interview with Mark Riley now at TALKERS TV in the column on the right side of this page.
WGN, Chicago Partners with Ad Agency for Holiday Fundraiser. Tribune Company talk station WGN, Chicago is partnering with ad agency Schafer/Condon/Carter to present “Carols for KidsSM” on Thursday, December 15 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. During that time listeners are encouraged to join WGN and Schafer/Condon/Carter staffers for the mass caroling event, the second hour of which will be broadcast live on WGN. The event included carols and entertainment from Chicago Blackhawks national anthem singer Jim Cornelison and Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo, the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, WGN Radio’s Orion Samuelson and more. Donations to the “Neediest Kids Fund” will be accepted on site during the event and online at www.SCCCarolsForKids.org. Lou Malnati’s will also be providing slices of pizza for all attendees for a suggested donation of $3 per slice. WGN VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “We are so pleased that Schafer|Condon|Carter used its creativity to come up with this wonderful concept and chose the WGN Radio ‘Neediest Kids Fund’ as its beneficiary. We look forward to working with them to continue to raise money for the WGN Radio ‘Neediest Kids Fund’ and help children all over Chicagoland.”
Seventh Annual Domestic Violence Radio Row a Big Apple Smash. For the seventh consecutive year, TALKERS magazine presented “It’s Time to Talk Day” — a massive radio row produced in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc. Held yesterday (12/8) in the fashion showroom of the Midtown Manhattan corporate offices of Liz Claiborne, Inc., the ambitious event was one of the largest and most successful, bringing together more than 20 talk media hosts from around the country who broadcast their shows live or recorded interviews for delayed broadcast. They spoke with a non-stop parade of more than 60 experts, victims, celebrities and public officials from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on the insidious societal problems of domestic violence and teenage dating abuse. This year’s participants included: Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio; Dr. Joy Browne of WOR Radio Network; Mark Riley of WWRL, New York; Roberta Facinelli of “Doug Stephan’s Good Day;” John Fugelsang of “The Stephanie Miller Show;” Kevin McCullough of “The Kevin McCullough Show” and “Baldwin/McCullough;” Maria Bailey of “Mom Talk Radio;” Gary Baumgarten of Paltalk; Lionel of WPIX-TV, New York Channel 11 and LionelMedia.com; Barry Farber of Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk Radio; Lisa Wexler of WFAS, Westchester, NY; Andy Spano of WVOX, New Rochelle, NY; John Harper of WNTK, Keene, New Hampshire; Deb Colitti of the Deb Colitti Show; Dr. Renee Kohanski of PodJockey; and Dan Patterson of KoPoint. Ellen Ratner and Geoff Holtzman of Talk Radio News Service broadcasted throughout the day on several hundred of the news service’s affiliates. Joining the line-up this year for the first time were representatives of college talk radio with Farhan Husain and Gary Duff of WRHU, Hempstead (Hofstra University); Nichole Murphy of WLIU, Brooklyn (Long Island University) and Alyssa DiNubila of WNEK, Springfield, MA (Western New England University). Included among those who took live and recorded feeds from the event were Thom Hartmann of “The Thom Hartmann Show;” Dom Giordano of WPHT, Philadelphia; Ken Pittman of WBSM, New Bedford, MA/Providence, RI; and Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” plus many more. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “‘It’s Time to Talk Day’ is certainly one of our most important annual events and this year’s installment topped all others. It raises consciousness about a societal problem that impacts a frighteningly large segment of the population and it cuts across all gender, ethnic and demographic boundaries. There isn’t a spoken-word format that doesn’t find the topic of domestic violence applicable to its audience and extremely compelling. Most importantly, we get feedback each year that this radio row, upon reaching millions of talk radio listeners, really does make a huge difference in the lives of real people. It doesn’t get better than that. We are grateful to Liz Claiborne, Inc. for their public-mindedness in supporting such a valuable project.”
Joe Crummey and Patty Steele Out at WABC, New York. There’s no official word from Cumulus but late-morning talk show host Joe Crummey and recently added co-host Patty Steele are gone from the lineup at WABC and it appears the station is filling in with various local talent for the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program until a permanent decision is made. Crummey was brought in from the West Coast by former program director Laurie Cantillo who left the station earlier this fall.
Terri-Rae Elmer Leaves Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles – Possibly for KABC? Hot rumors in Southern California have longtime KFI news anchor Terri-Rae Elmer being paired up with Doug McIntyre for a new morning show at Cumulus’ crosstown KABC in the New Year. There’s nothing confirmed there but McIntyre’s scheduled departure from the company’s “Red Eye Radio” and its statement that it has plans for McIntyre are fueling the rumor. Back to KFI, Elmer has been the news anchor and sidekick for KFI’s John and Ken for years. Her position is being filled by Shannon Farren, according to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan.
Tim Conway, Jr. Signs Deal with KFI, Los Angeles. The OC Register’s Gary Lycan reports KFI evening host Tim Conway, Jr. has signed a contract to do his 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program on the Clear Channel station for three years. KFI program director Robin Bertolucci is quoted saying, “Tim has created a unique space on KFI that is getting record high ratings and delighting fans all over Southern California. Not only is he number one in ratings, he’s number one at covering local news – whether it’s power outages, the eviction of the Occupy L.A. campers or the implosion of Kim Kardashian‘s marriage. Listening to Tim’s show is like getting a free sample of what tomorrow will bring. He is always way out front of the big stories and it’s always uniquely entertaining and done in classic Tim Conway Jr. style!”
Dennis Winslow Leaves Traverse City Stations to Focus on Consultancy. Winslow has served as program and operations manager at Northern Radio’s WSRJ-FM/WSRT-FM, Traverse City, Michigan and its sister music FMs classic hits WFCX/WFDX for the past five years. Now, assistant program director and host Rich Nadeau takes over his duties as Winslow concentrates on his Winslow Programming Strategies business. Cluster general manager Charlie Ferguson says, “Dennis has done an excellent job of guiding both The Fox FM and You – FM for the past five years. The stations have improved every aspect of our operations on his watch and we’re truly grateful for his help.”
Former Los Angeles-Area Financial Talk Host Indicted on Fraud Charges. This is pretty much the same story you’ve heard a dozen times before – only the names, and the language are different. John Farahi hosted “Economy Today” on Persian-language KIRN, Simi Valley, California from 2005 to 2010. The Los Angeles Times reports Farahi – through his New Point Financial Services – promised clients their money would be invested in corporate bonds insured through the Troubled Assets Relief Program. But prosecutors allege Farahi spent the money on personal expenses and some highly speculative investments in which he lost millions. The scheme is reported to have lost some $20 million of investors’ money.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Compass Media Networks’ Norman Goldman show becomes the PM drive show at Clear Channel’s KKZN, Denver…..The independently syndicated Kevin McCullough show is picked up by KBDE-FM, Waco, Texas; and WCSO-FM, Columbus, Mississippi…..Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” adds KNST, Tucson…..The independently syndicated Burnie Thompson show is added to WBOB, Jacksonville.
2012 Presidential Race Lands Atop Talkers TenTM Chart of Week’s Top News/Talk Stories. The 2012 race for president was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of December 5-9 according to TALKERS magazine research. Following at #2 was President Obama’s Kansas speech. At #3 was the payroll tax cut issue and the U.S. deficit and at #4 was the Euro Zone debt crisis. The Talkers TenTM is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. To see the entire chart, click on the banner below.
Foreground Nature of Talk Radio and Emotional Intensity of Content Make it Desirable Environment for Advertisers. Continuing with a fall tradition, the latest numbers have been compiled for TALKERS magazine’s annual release of its Talk Radio Research ProjectTM (TRRP). Primarily designed as an in-house vehicle to provide the TALKERS editorial staff with intelligence about the national talk radio audience as a resource for general background and to help answer basic FAQs from the press (such as “What kind of people listen to talk radio?”), the publication began honoring requests from radio stations to share this information. It has proven extremely valuable as a supplemental sales tool that provides a thumbnail qualitative overview of several leading spoken word formats’ audience profiles including demographics, political orientation, income, education and consumer tastes, habits and disposition. These include the mainstay news/talk format as well as the recent additions of the sports talk and pop culture talk genres. The latest figures indicate that news/talk radio maintains its historic position as the most reliable attraction to draw adult audiences and inspire them to action in all audio broadcast media. So do the relatively recent additions of sports talk radio and pop culture talk radio (with several specific differences indigenous to these formats). These spoken-word genres also deliver attentive and highly desirable audiences that consume foreground radio with passion and attention. The people who regularly listen to news/talk, sports talk and pop culture talk radio are more than listeners –– they are radio fans! In a nutshell, the foreground nature of commercial spoken word radio indicates that sponsors receive approximately three times the bang per advertising buck on talk radio than they do on music radio. Other interesting aspects of this illuminating information include: sports talk listeners are culturally (and ethnically) diverse. Caucasians constitute only slightly more than half the sports talk audience (51%) followed by African Americans (26%) and Hispanics (19%) making it one of the most multi-ethnic/racial buys in radio. This is a crucially important aspect/asset of the sports talk audience that for the most part is lost on advertising agencies and radio sales departments which are still glued to selling demos as opposed to mindsets. The ethnic diversity of sports talk radio’s listenership is a rare and valuable quality of the format that sets it apart from the rest of radio! And if advertisers wish to reach “younger demos” via the power of spoken word, they simply need to turn to popular culture talk radio (still erroneously referred to as “shock jock” radio) strewn across the FM dial as talkative morning shows on otherwise music-formatted stations. See the complete data here.
Clear Channel Announces National Programming Platforms Personnel. In concert with its latest round of company-wide layoffs of staff at the station level, Clear Channel introduces the corporate staff that is charged with creating programming for multiple platforms for its stations that is ostensibly designed to “improve local programming in smaller markets by using assets and resources in those markets that their competitors don’t have.” Recently, Tom Poleman and Darren Davis were brought aboard to serve as president of national programming platforms and SVP/GM of national programming platforms, respectively. They will be joined by the following staff: Guy Zapoleon, vice president of digital music programming; Dennis Clark, vice president of talent development; Zena Burns, VP of digital programming platforms; Darren Pfeffer, VP of music & entertainment marketing; Alissa Pollack, EVP of integrated music marketing at Mediabase, expands her role to include national programming platforms; Marissa Morris is manager, artist relations and promotions; and Melissa Webb, senior director at National Programming Platforms. Tom Poleman states, “Clear Channel already has unmatched scale and promotional power. Our competitive advantage is strengthened by our mission to be everywhere our listeners are with the products and services they want and expect. Now, I’m proud to say that we’ve assembled an equally unmatched group of talent to lead our new National Programming Platforms division. This division will enable us to be even more relevant and effective for our audiences, partners and advertisers, and build our national scale and reach by putting together products, events and relationships that nobody else can.”
KABC, Los Angeles PD Jack Silver to Program Sister KLOS-FM. With the recent firing of KLOS-FM, Los Angeles PD Bob Buchmann, KABC PD Jack Silver tells Orange County Register columnist Gary Lycan he’s been named PD of KLOS-FM. There’s no indication the assignment of duties to Silver is temporary but the rumors are starting in Los Angeles that changes may be coming to the classic rock outlet. Those kinds of rumors often start after a round of firings but AM drive team Mark & Brian are very successful and although the production directors for both stations were also let go, it may just be that Cumulus has other plans for saving money in the production department at the stations.
Talk Host Michael Smerconish Signs with WYD Media; Renews Distribution and Sales Deal with Dial Global. The effect on affiliates – as well as listeners – should not be noticed at all as talk host Michael Smerconish’s program is now produced by Ron Hartenbaum’s WYD Media Management while Dial Global continues to handle affiliate sales and ad sales for the show. Smerconish says, “We’re entering the most fascinating election cycle ever. And yet, despite the intense media coverage, there remains a void when it comes to clear thinking and independent viewpoints. I’ve been charting a course to fulfill that role. I know Ron Hartenbaum shares my outlook. For several months we’ve been speaking about the need to grow the talk radio tent by offering a forum not predicated on ideology or anger, and now we’ve decided to pursue that goal together. I intend to rely heavily on his vast experience over the span of many years. Industry-wide he is known for being smart, engaging and personable, and I think big things are about to happen to us both.”
Dave Ramsey Clears 500th Affiliate; KTTH, Seattle. Independently syndicated financial talker Dave Ramsey announces his national program has hit the 500-affilliate mark with a deal to air on Bonneville International’s KTTH, Seattle from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am daily. Vice president of affiliate relations Suzanne Simms says, “The fact that the Dave Ramsey show now has 500 radio affiliates indicates the staying power that we have and have been touting all along. The loyalty of our listeners coupled with the growth of our brand on a national level has contributed to this milestone. The future bodes well for the Dave Ramsey show!” Ramsey is currently touring the country promoting is latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011).
Lars Larson Flips Seattle Affiliates. Compass Media Networks’ Portland, Oregon-based Lars Larson show moves to a new affiliate in Seattle. As Dave Ramsey takes over the late-night slot at Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle, Larson’s program takes up residence in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot at Inspiration Media’s “Freedom 1590” – KLFE, Seattle. Station general manager Andrew Adams says, “All of us at ‘Freedom 1590’ are excited to have Lars as part of the station. Lars Larson has a larger-than-life persona in Seattle and we are already getting positive listener response to the move.”
On the Campaign Trail. Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is pictured here to the left of presidential candidate and former U.S. Congressman Newt Gingrich (at center) as he’s interviewed on the campaign trail. Gallagher is “embedding” with several GOP candidates during the run-up to the primary elections in order to give his listeners a taste of the campaign trail. Gallagher broadcast “from the road” in Cedar Rapids, Iowa yesterday (10/27) and will host Gingrich for a “live-from-the-campaign-trail” interview at High Cotton Restaurant in upstate South Carolina today on his program. Salem Radio Network VP/news and talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Mike Gallagher’s unique, up-close-and-personal approach to the candidates will give SRN listeners a better understanding about the people seeking to become the next President of the United States. This will go beyond sound bites and photo ops and take our audience behind the scenes for a perspective unavailable anywhere else in American broadcasting.”
Alan Stock to Emcee Las Vegas Veteran’s Day Parade. For the past 12 years, Las Vegas talk show host Alan Stock has emceed the nation’s second largest Veteran’s Day parade in Sin City and he’ll do it again this year on Friday, November 11. Stock hosts the late-morning show on Beasley’s news/talk KDWN, a corporate sponsor of the parade.
OWS Movement Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 24-28. The ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement is number one on the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories heard on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from Talkers. The Talkers TenTM chart is published every Friday at Talkers.com. Coming in at #2 this week is the 2012 presidential race. At #3 is the Euro Zone stability/financial markets activity and following up at #4 is the Obama Administration’s economic policy. View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.
Harsh Reality of Today’s Radio Business Forces Clear Channel’s Major “Reduction in Force.” This latest round of firings is focused on Clear Channel’s small and medium markets and is affecting primarily on-air and programming staff. Internally, Clear Channel stations are broken down into three categories: the majors, the mids and the small markets – the latter sometimes referred to by insiders humorously as the stations that are for sale. But in this economy those small stations – many of which were purchased in the late 1990s as the then-Randy Michaels-led radio group was buying stations at an astounding pace – are for all intents and purposes under water. The company analyzed each station in an hour-by-hour fashion to determine how much it costs to program and execute the product versus how much it is making. Programs and hosts whose shows are in the black are likely to be retained; those in the red are those about whom you are reading today. The company is not describing this strategy as cost cutting but leveraging the quality programming it owns and distributing it to the small – or regional – markets. The reality is that Clear Channel has a lot of debt it must pay off and – not unlike the homeowner who bought before the housing bubble burst and owes more than his house is worth – must make drastic cuts and hope that it can continue to engage listeners and serve advertisers with “Premium Choice” programming from afar and managers doing more jobs within the same work day. This situation is unique to neither Clear Channel nor the radio business. The following list of people working in news or at talk stations for CC are reported to have been let go. This list is not complete and doesn’t include those from music-formatted stations. Reports indicate several hundred employees will be out when all is said and done. The list: KFAB, Omaha PM drive host Tom Becka; Clear Channel Hudson Valley news director Cameron Hendrix; WERC, Birmingham, Alabama news director Mark Evans; WHAM, Rochester news anchor Beth Adams; WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse talk host Jim Reith; KWTX, Waco, Texas PD and morning host Shane Warner; WJBO, Baton Rouge, Louisiana mid-morning talk host Clarence Buggs; and WGY and WOFX, Albany assistant PD Steve Bleznyk.
Cumulus Los Angeles Cuts Include Legendary Jock Jim Ladd. So far the cuts at Cumulus’ Los Angeles stations have not affected any air talent at news/talk KABC. Production directors at both KABC and KLOS-FM – Howard Hoffman and Mike Sherry, respectively – are out as is KLOS-FM program director Bob Buchmann. But Southern California radio fans are shocked to find legendary jock Jim Ladd – ironically, the subject of Tom Petty’s “The Last DJ” – has been sacked. The 63-year-old Ladd received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005.
Lionel Expands Role at New York’s WPIX-TV. What began as his doing a short form commentary running once per day on the evening news has expanded to multiple roles and appearances for the iconoclastic talk radio veteran and podcasting pioneer on the Tribune Company-owned Channel 11 in the Big Apple. Lionel has just debuted his weekday “5@5” segment on the daily newscast in addition to being featured on PIX 11 seven nights a week with fresh video commentary on its 10:00 pm newscast. Lionel, an ex-prosecutor and criminal defense trial lawyer, has also inaugurated his “Lionel’s Law School” segment. Plus, he appears weekly as PIX 11’s resident “News Decoder” on its Monday morning news broadcast and at pix11.com. Lionel’s commentaries are also broadcast nationally through Tribune Company’s affiliates including KPLR 11 in St. Louis. Lionel, a regular TALKERS columnist, has gained national attention as a talk “media station” groundbreaker with his lionelmedia.com.
Rusty Humphries Named National Radio Spokesman for Vietnam Memorial Effort. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is spearheading a campaign to build a multi-media education center adjacent to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. In addition to his duties as national radio spokesman, Talk Radio Network host Rusty Humphries is leading the “Veterans Day Challenge” to raise funds for the center. He will also serve as emcee at a gala benefit at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC on November 11 that will feature actor Tom Selleck. Humphries’ father died in Vietnam in 1969 when Rusty was just three years old. Humphries says, “Every time I’m in Washington, I visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, gaze up at my father’s name on Panel 34W, Line 84, and wish that I’d have gotten to know the man whose name appears there, my father. The Education Center at the Wall will provide a living memorial to these heroes – not just the men and women like my dad whose names appear on the Wall, but all veterans, from Bunker Hill to the present day.”
Tom Marr’s Contract at WCBM Extended Again. Veteran talk show host Tom Marr of WCBM, Baltimore has been given another extension of his unique contract until 2015. Marr first signed a no-cut deal with the independently owned heritage station in September of 1977. It was then extended until 2009. Marr reached an agreement on July 3, 2008 with the late owner of WCBM, Nick Mangione, Sr., to extend through 2012. Now Marr has signed an extension with WCMB president Mary C. Mangione that will run until 2015. Upon signing the deal, WCBM VP Nick Mangione, Jr. tells TALKERS, “Ownership is very pleased to have Tom’s commitment to remain on WCBM’s team. Tom performs a public service that is informative, beneficial, and entertaining for our listeners.” Marr comments, “I am delighted that my career will end with WCBM and the Mangione Family Enterprises.” Pictured here at the signing ceremony are: WCBM VP Nick Mangione, Jr. (standing); seated (l-r) are Mangione Family Enterprise attorney Joe LaVerghetta, Mangione Family Enterprise president Mary Mangione, and host Tom Marr.
Clear Channel Adds FM Simulcast to WVOC, Columbia, South Carolina. The victim this time is urban WXBT-FM at 100.1 and, of course, the entire staff of the music station as CC gives news/talk WVOC an FM presence.
Ric Edelman’s “Truth About Money” Public TV Show Heads into Season Two. Author, broadcaster and financial advisor Ric Edelman will produce a second season of his public TV show that shares the same name as his nationally syndicated talk radio show – “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman.” Season one hit public TV stations across the country earlier this spring and season two will be ready for air in April of next year. Executive producer Russ Hodge says, “Public Television executives and viewers around the country were so taken with the solid financial guidance they received from Ric, they wholeheartedly endorsed the notion of our coming back for another season. It’s no secret Ric is recognized as one of America’s top financial advisors, and in these uncertain economic times, viewers gravitate to his expertise and know-how.”
USRN Offers Kim Iversen Show in New Format. “Your Time with Kim Iversen” has been available in syndication via United Stations Radio Networks talk-intensive music show for Hot AC stations since 2007. Now, after partnering with Entercom – the company that created the show – to bring it into wider syndication earlier this year, USRN announces that show is available as a live feed or a “build your own show” format. Beginning November 13, the live feed will be a two-hour, personality-driven talk show airing live from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. Stations wishing to continue airing music in the show can use the show segments around music to build a five-hour program. USRN EVP of programming Andy Denemark says, “Kim is an amazing talent, but we found that programmers had varied opinions on how they wanted her show to air. Some wanted strictly a talk block, others were happy with the Hot AC show and still others wanted her content mixed with CHR or alternative music. Now, every affiliate gets their wish!”
ABC Digital Clients Now Get News from ABC Sports. Stations subscribing to ABC Digital for news feeds for their websites now can get sports content from ABC Sports, according to ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones. “By adding sports headlines to our lineup of ABC Digital choices, we’re enhancing our radio customers’ websites at no additional cost to them. Several of our partners have expressed an interest in adding a recognized sports brand and we’re pleased to make ABC Sports – a name steeped in tradition – a new category they can add to their station’s website with the simple click of a button.” ABC Digital service was recently launched by ABC News Radio and Cumulus Media Networks. The ready-to-post online content is produced and updated 24 hours a day and includes breaking news, exclusive stories, photos and graphics. Stations also have the option to brand the service locally, monetizing the content through local sponsorships.
Barb Yoder Moves into GM Seat at Salem Communications’ Tampa Cluster. A series of management promotions at Salem Communications means a promotion for Tampa and Sarasota cluster general sales manager Barb Yoder and an open GSM post at the stations. Yoder moves into the GM post as former GM Chris Gould moves to the corporate level in the vice president of program development position based in Camarillo, California. Gould replaces Ron Walters who is promoted to senior vice president, ministry relations.
Affiliate Relations Pro Rich Rapiti Victim of Dial Global-Westwood One Merger. New York-based affiliate relations pro Rich Rapiti lost his position as part of the consolidation of Dial Global and Westwood One. He’s available for his next challenge and can be reached at email@example.com or 973-809-3049.
Former Cap Cities/ABC COO Dan Burke Passes Away at 82. Dan Burke and partner Tom Murphy are credited with building Cap Cities into a major broadcasting force and buying ABC to create Cap Cities/ABC. The two ran the company for a decade before selling it to Disney in 1996. Salem Radio Network VP of news/talk programming Tom Tradup remembers working for Burke when he was GM of WLS, Chicago. “I will always remember Burke’s steely eyes and his tough questioning (especially at this time of the year during budgeting!) as we s-l-o-w-l-y turned WLS from the 23rd station in Chicago and put it on track to become a top-five news/talk giant. He was firm but fair, and if people in Chicago enjoy WLS in 2011…they probably can thank Dan Burke more than anyone else for showing patience and for keeping others within the company from panicking as WLS grew and ultimately prospered in the #3 radio market in America.”
Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum Rallies So Cal Talk Media Industry. Some 150 attendees and 30 speakers gathered yesterday (10/20) at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood to participate in the highly anticipated first-time event to discuss the state and future of talk broadcasting in Southern California. Presented by TALKERS magazine in association with the Los Angeles Press Club, the power-packed, free event drew representatives from leading stations in Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Springs, Ventura, Fresno and even markets outside the region including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson and more. Formats represented included news/talk, sports talk, all news, public radio, pop culture talk and a number of music radio personalities stopped by as well, adding to the color of a dynamic event described by many as a “grand slam home run.” Solo speakers included Larry King, Norm Pattiz, Bill Handel, Don Barrett, Holland Cooke, Michael Harrison and a wide variety of leading program directors, operations managers, and air personalities discussing the gamut of issues facing the region specifically and industry in general. There were technical displays presented by Comrex Corporation and C. Crane Company and a lavish breakfast and lunch for the attendees provided by the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company. According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “There has never been a radio conference quite like this — geared to a specific region, short and to the point, and absolutely free – perfectly suited to these challenging times. All of us at TALKERS are extremely gratified by the outstanding turnout and positive response generated by this memorable six hour event.” There will be extensive coverage of this historic talk industry happening in the form of stories, pictures and video coming to Talkers.com in the coming days and weeks. Stay tuned!
Former KABC GM Bob Moore Launches Sales Consultancy. Former KABC/KLOS-FM, Los Angeles president and general manager Bob Moore, who recently left his longtime position at the heritage Citadel outlets as a result of the company’s acquisition by Cumulus Media, attended the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum yesterday where he announced the launch of his new sales consultancy, Moore Money, LLC as well as TheVoicesNetwork.com. Moore, a highly respected talk media management figure in Los Angeles for years, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 213-219-9856.
NPR Blamed for Firing of Documentary Program Host Over Protest Activities. The problem is, according to NPR, it had nothing to do with the firing of “Soundprint” host Lisa Simeone. Simeone was a freelancer for Soundprint Media Company which produces the “Soundprint” documentary program. Simeone also hosts the WDAV-FM, Charlotte, North Carolina-produced “World of Opera” program from which she has not been let go. That station states it has no problem with Simeone’s activities and her work with its opera program. However, Soundprint Media distributes the “Soundprint” show to about 35 public radio stations via NPR and the company says it adopted NPR’s employee code for journalists because people associate it with NPR. Simeone’s work with the Washington, DC-based protest group “October 2011” apparently violated that code. NPR is making it a point to state that it had no contact with Soundprint management over Simeone’s relationship with the company. Clearly, NPR wants to avoid another Juan Williams-like public relations problem.
Carl Anderson Named Clear Channel SVP of Programming for West Region. Carl Anderson was most recently the senior vice president for programming and distribution at Citadel Media. He first joined Citadel as vice president of music programming in 2006. Now he’s in charge of the programming for Clear Channel’s West Region stations and CEO John Hogan says, “We are thrilled to have Carl join the Clear Channel team. He joins a growing number of the best and brightest programmers, on-air talent and researchers on Clear Channel’s incredible team.”
WWJ, Detroit Presents “Michigan Money Summit” Live Event. CBS Radio’s all-news WWJ, Detroit is presenting a free program on Saturday, October 29 moderated by WWJ-TV business editor Murray Feldman titled “Michigan Money Summit.” The program consists of three panel discussions featuring local financial and real estate experts designed to answer tough financial questions to which Detroit-area listeners are seeking answers. WWJ program director Robert Davidek says, “The stock market has had some of its worst and best weeks lately and we feel this is a great opportunity for people to gain valuable insight from experts about what to do. And we’ll also be talking about the economy for the coming year.”
Talkers Affiliate Roundup. Dial Global’s Neal Boortz picks up WCNF, Dothan, Alabama…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street with Chris Markowski” adds KMZQ, Las Vegas…..Dial Global talk host Thom Hartmann’s program is added to KTOX, Needles, California…..Dial Global’s Clark Howard is now heard on WNDA, Louisville and KTOX, Needles, California…..Dial Global’s Michael Smerconish picks up KROF, Lafayette, Louisiana…..“America’s Healthcare Advocate” with Cary Hall is added to the program schedule at KFRM, Salina, Kansas.
The GOP Debate/2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 17-21. The GOP candidates debate in Las Vegas and the 2012 presidential race landed at the top of the Talkers TenTM chart for this week. Coming in at #2 on the chart is the ‘Occupy’ movement followed by the death of Moammar Qaddafi at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the most-talked-about stories and people on news/talk radio during the course of the week according to ongoing research from Talkers and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. To view the entire chart, click on the banner below.
KGO and KSFO, San Francisco VP of Programming Jack Swanson and KSFO PD Ken Berry Exit Posts. In an e-mail to his staff, longtime KGO and KSFO, San Francisco programmer Jack Swanson bids adieu to the stations he’s worked at for as long as most people can remember. In the memo, Swanson – one of the most decorated talk programming veterans in the industry — praises his staff saying, “This has been a tremendous run. Cumulus is inheriting the greatest staff in the radio industry. To a person, they are all rock stars.” Ken Berry served as news director at KGO until taking the KSFO PD post in December of last year. Both are obviously victims of the Cumulus/Citadel consolidation ax. Swanson says he plans to take some time off and come back to the industry refreshed and recharged ready for his next opportunity. Meanwhile, the anxiety continues to grow among former Citadel employees currently on the Cumulus payroll as whispers of the dreaded word “bloodbath” grow louder in the hallways of the company. Last week, longtime KABC/KLOS, Los Angeles president/general manager Bob Moore was let go in similar fashion feeding into the mounting fear. Whenever there is consolidation between two recently merged companies there are going to be duplicative positions that common business sense indicates will require job cuts. However, it’s also obvious to many observers that some people are being ousted primarily because they are making more money than their new employer deems practical to pay. As the folding of Citadel into Cumulus takes place, TALKERS hears reports that some former Citadel station staffers find themselves meeting with Cumulus managers to basically “interview” for the positions they currently hold. Obviously, this is the downside of what can happen in business – especially during tough economic times and is basically unavoidable. However, because of the size of this recent acquisition and the number of stations and personnel it involves, the present state of affairs at Cumulus is significantly contributing to the jitters being felt throughout the radio industry. Stay tuned.
Liberal Activist Group Goes After Baseball for its Affiliation with Glenn Beck. The group Americans United for Change is firing up a campaign to convince Major League Baseball to stop providing Glenn Beck with the video streaming platform to bring his GBTV to the internet. It’s not common knowledge that Major League Baseball Advanced Media provides backend infrastructure, white label services, mobile app services and operational support to not only Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts but to ESPN3, March Madness on Demand, Tiger Woods.com among others and, of course, its own MLB.com. Through its “Strike Out Beck” campaign, AUFC hopes to convince MLB Advanced Media to drop its affiliation with the talk media personality it claims is a purveyor of “unhinged anti-government conspiracies, fear mongering for personal gain, sexist remarks, and race baiting.”
Doug McIntyre Ruffles Political Feathers in Hard Hitting LA Op-Ed Piece. Nationally syndicated Cumulus Media radio talk show host Doug McIntyre – also a regular columnist in L.A.’s second largest daily, the Daily News — wrote a page one editorial in yesterday’s Sunday edition blasting the Los Angeles city government as being “occupied by corruption.” Tying into his premise that the protestors participating in the “Occupy Los Angeles” demonstrations are naively being “duped” by local politicians that he claims are merely acting like supporters of the movement but actually embody all the negative qualities against which the demonstrators are protesting. McIntyre writes, “The Los Angeles City Council embodies everything that’s wrong with government in modern America. Our city is Exhibit A when it comes to special interest money tainting good government.” Read McIntyre’s full column here. McIntyre, whose “Red Eye Radio” late night program emanates from KABC, Los Angeles, will be a member of the panel titled “The Issues Facing Southern California: Challenges and Solutions” at the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum this Thursday, October 20. Moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison the panel also includes Roger Hedgecock of KOGO, San Diego and Radio America; Stephanie Miller of KTLK, Los Angeles and Dial Global; investigative reporter Charles Feldman of KNX, Los Angeles; Patt Morrison of KPCC-FM, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Radio; John Phillips of KABC, Los Angeles; Josefa Salinas of Hot 92.3 FM, Los Angeles; and LaFern Cusack of the Southern California Broadcasters Association and ESPN, Los Angeles. Considering the volatile nature of the issues facing the region which include immigration, economics, transportation, the environment and a slew of others, and the diversity of the panelists participating – the sparks will really fly! For complete details about the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum click here.
Entercom’s WMC, Memphis Flips to Sports. Speculation about the company’s plans for “Country Legends” WMC began last week when Entercom announced Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome show would move from sister sports WMFS-AM/FM to WMC. Now, Entercom will manage two sports talk stations in the market it calls the Memphis Entercom Sports Network – WMFS-AM/FM affiliated with ESPN Radio and producing live and local programming in the afternoons (Eric Hasseltine followed by the Gary Parrish Show with Geoff Calkins) and WMC affiliated with Fox Sports Radio Network and carrying Jim Rome.
Actress Janine Turner Begins Daily Syndicated Talk Show. The Texas-born actress has been hosting a two-hour weekend talk show on Cumulus’ KLIF, Dallas since 2010. Now, Janine Turner announces she’s beginning a daily program – “The Janine Turner Show – Where is Reason?” – that airs live at 2:00 pm ET and is available in national syndication via her eponymous radio network. The show can also be heard online at janineturner.com. Turner says, “I’m thrilled that the Janine Turner show has received such a positive response both from the critics and the listeners. I think what makes my show really unique is that it features thought-provoking analysis about ‘Where is Reason?’ in our country, plus an inquisitive and conversational forum with a great lineup of guests – everyone from presidential candidates and authors to actors and constitutional scholars. And I absolutely love the opportunity to include callers from the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and across the nation into the ‘Where is Reason’ dialogue.”
Merlin Faces Pressure after Disappointing Arbitrons. The upside of having a high-profile roll out for the launch of a new format is gaining the thrust of free publicity generated by lots of consumer press and enjoying the accompanying media/advertising buzz that generates early believers and revenue. The downside is facing the instantaneous criticism that comes with unrealistic expectations when they are not fulfilled – an insidious process that can quickly erode the confidence of investors, advertisers and employees, setting in motion the radio equivalent of an unharmonious locker room in sports and frightened ownership. That is the price Merlin Media and its colorful, controversial CEO Randy Michaels are facing in the wake of two early but extremely disappointing report cards issued by Arbitron reflecting the anemic initial audience numbers of their innovative all-news properties, FM News 101.1 in Chicago (0.2, 6-plus) and FM News 101.9 in New York (0.5, 6-plus). The “ouch factor” is especially biting in Chicago where FM News 101.1 is being measured against CBS Radio O&O WBBM’s 105.9 FM simulcast which launched a pre-emptive competing all news format on FM and garnered a solid 1.0, 6-plus share on top of its big AM numbers for the same period. Whereas much of this “chatter” has remained contained within under-the-radar industry conversations and media blogs, the hard facts surfaced big-time publicly this morning in an all-too-blunt article by reporter Robert Channick in the Chicago Tribune headlined “FM News 101 finds meager audience, early ratings show” describing what happened in the following terms: “The first full month of ratings for Chicago’s two FM news stations didn’t bring good news for Merlin Media. Its FM News 101.1 (WWWN-FM) ranked 48th, with a minuscule 0.2 share for September, according to Arbitron results released Tuesday. The station was trounced by CBS Radio’s simulcast of WBBM-AM 780 on sister station 105.9 FM, which garnered an additional 1.0 share. The combined AM-FM listenership for WBBM Newsradio was 6.4, topping the Chicago market. The survey covered Aug. 18 to Sept. 14.” The article goes on to quote a confident Michaels as stating, “It’s a work in progress; it’s very, very early.” Michaels adds, “You’re looking at the very first couple of weeks after we blew up a rock station, and I can’t think that too many people who were listening to (Q101.1) would be listening to spoken word.” The story reports that Michaels is urging patience in assessing the Chicago station’s success offering the revealing explanation, “I think that we’re still in the process of revamping and finding the right approach.” Seasoned talk media industry professionals know that Michaels is correct in his ongoing assertion that it takes time for a spoken word format to gain ratings traction. However a larger question spawned of the times looms – in today’s PPM world in which listener loyalty and station image take a back seat to instantaneous, real-time listening, set against the backdrop of a very uncertain economy, and exacerbated by an impatient media’s hunger for the instantaneous results of a high-profile business launch, does Michaels have the time to bring his ambitious endeavor to fruition before his nervous investors start pressing the panic button?
Cumulus Watch: Bob Moore Out in Los Angeles. KABC and KLOS-FM, Los Angeles general manager Bob Moore is out at the Cumulus stations and former Spanish Broadcasting System chief revenue officer Marko Radlovic rejoins the company he worked for almost a decade ago. Radlovic resigned from his post at SBS on September 28 where he also served as senior vice president and general manager at the company’s two Los Angeles stations.
Townsquare Media Steals One from Cumulus. Townsquare Media hires Matt Hanlon for the newly created position of vice president of sales in which he’ll oversee all aspects of the company’s sales efforts. Hanlon leaves his Michigan-based position as regional vice president for Cumulus to join Townsquare. He was an RVP for Citadel – now Cumulus – in charge of some 85 markets in the Midwest.
Beck, Ingraham, Levin and Bennett Featured Speakers at DC Summit. The Values Voters Summit takes place this weekend at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC and joining numerous conservative speakers, Republican officeholders and most of the GOP presidential candidates are Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham, Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin and Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett. The event is co-sponsored by a number of conservative action groups including the Family Research Council and the American Family Association as well as conservative think tanks including The Heritage Foundation.
Bell Media Launches TSN Radio in Montreal and Winnipeg. With a continued focus on local sports, The Team 990 in Montreal (CKGM) is being rebranded as TSN Radio 990 and Sports Radio 1290 in Winnipeg (CFRW) becomes TSN Radio 1290. The stations debut just in time for the launch of the NHL season. Both TSN stations promise to feature extensive live NHL hockey coverage with TSN Radio 990 airing Montreal Canadiens games and TSN Radio 1290 the home of the Winnipeg Jets. Both stations are available nationally online at TSN.ca and on TSN Mobile. The newly re-branded TSN Radio stations will work closely with Bell Media‘s market-leading all-sports radio stations in Vancouver and Ottawa.
Canada’s Radio Regulator Rules Broadcasters Must Identify Repeat Programs. Acting after a complaint about a 2010 edition of the CFRB, Toronto program “Friendly Fire,” the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council recently ruled that repeat broadcasts of call-in shows must be identified as such. The CFRB show in question was a repeat of a program that encouraged listeners to call in or text questions to program participants. In its ruling, the CBSC wrote, in part: “At the very least, it would be courteous to the audience’s sensibilities to advise them that a program or an episode of a program is being repeated…Where, however, it is a part of the original broadcast that persons were invited to contact the station, as in any call-in show, the lack of courtesy in failing to advise listeners not to call becomes an inconvenience if not an annoyance. Where, as in the matter at hand, listeners are invited, not just to call, but also to text the station, the inconvenience turns to expense.”
2012 GOP Candidates, ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ U.N. Syria Resolution and Bernanke Testimony Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/4). The GOP candidates for the Republican nomination in 2012 – including Herman Cain’s rise in the polls, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests, Russia and China’s veto of a U.N. resolution against Syria and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Old Friends. Salem Radio Network’s “Morning in America” host Bill Bennett (r) and his producer Chris Beach (c) bump into presidential candidate Herman Cain (l) outside the Fox News Channel studios in New York City. Cain, who hosted a talk radio program on WSB, Atlanta before giving up the show to run for office, had been a regular fill-in host for Bennett’s show. Bennett told Cain he’s welcome back on the show anytime if his presidential campaign doesn’t end up victorious and Cain replied Bennett is welcome to visit him in the White House if he wins.
Program Host Amy Goodman and Staff Settle in 2008 RNC Arrest Case. Amy Goodman hosts the New York-based radio and TV program “Democracy Now” and it was in that capacity that she and her crew were covering the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota when violent protests broke out. While filming the action, her crew was arrested by police insisting they were part of the disturbance. Goodman was also arrested when she came to their defense. Goodman and crew sued the City of St. Paul and the U.S. Secret Service with the assistance of the Center for Constitutional Rights. The settlement includes $100,000 and the promise of police training.
It’s Official: Dodgers Move to KLAC, Los Angeles. After four seasons at Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles, Clear Channel’s KLAC will be the flagship station for Los Angeles Dodgers play-by-play for at least the next three seasons. In a joint statement from the team and Clear Channel Los Angeles, market manager Greg Ashlock says, “The Dodgers are synonymous with Los Angeles. The team has the ability to connect people regardless of age, gender or race. Our Clear Channel stations have multi-demo and multi-cultural appeal that nicely complements the Dodgers brand and will provide unique marketing opportunities. We’re also humbled to have Vin Scully, the greatest play-by-play announcer – period, lead our broadcast team.”
Cumulus Promotes Matt Spaulding to VP/Market Manager for Ann Arbor Cluster. General sales manager at the cluster since 2009, Matt Spaulding is promoted to VP/ market manager by regional vice president Cumulus Midwest Scott Meier who states, “Matt has absolutely earned this ‘battlefield promotion’! He’s embraced the Cumulus Sales Operating System and developed a solid organization operating at double digit growth.” Cumulus Media operates two music FMs and news/talk WTKA and progressive talk WLBY in the Ann Arbor market.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises More than $150,000 at Celebrity Golf Tournament. The BFoA’s Celebrity Golf Tournament 2011 pulled in more than $150,000 from the event held September 26 at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Tarrytown, New York. Broadcasters and celebrities taking part included: actor Michael J. Fox; Fox Business Network and USRN personality Lou Dobbs; WOR, New York host John Gambling; ABC and ESPN sports broadcaster Sean McDonough; MSG and ABC play-by-play announcer Mike Breen; actress and “Bond” girl Rachel Grant; NHL All-Stars Rod Gilbert, Brian Leetch and Bob Nystrom; ESPN Radio’s Stephen A. Smith and CJ Papa; Super Bowl winner Amani Toomer; CBS-TV’s Maurice Dubois, Don Dahler and Dr. Max Gomez; ESPN SportsCenter hosts John Anderson and Jay Harris; WNYW-TV, New York’s Duke Castiglione; WNBC-TV, New York’s Bruce Beck; actor Gianni Russo; and more. The foundation expects to grant $600,000 in aid this year – an increase of more than 20% over last year and BFoA president Jim Thompson says, “The Celebrity Golf Fundraiser makes it possible for the Foundation to continue its mission of helping broadcasters in need. Our thanks to Greater Media president and CEO Peter Smyth and Katz Television Group president Jim Beloyianis who served as this year’s co-chairs and helped us present a successful event that provided attendees with an opportunity to give back to broadcasters who have nowhere else to turn.”
TRNS Bureau Chief Ellen Ratner Saves Young Blind South Sudanese Boy. In a remarkable display of the power of talk radio when focused on humanitarian projects, a young Christian South Sudan boy, Ker Deng will be shedding light on the horror befalling his homeland and people before a Congressional Committee today. This comes as the result of tireless work on the part of Christian Solidarity International (CSI) and the Washington, DC-based news agency Talk Radio News Service (TRNS) whose years of missions to the region bringing talk show hosts and relief have resulted in the feeding of starving people, the freeing of slaves and the reporting of news mostly ignored by the mainstream press. Ker Deng was just a toddler when Arab slave traders took him and his mother from their village in South Sudan. After burning Ker’s village and stealing everything of value, the raiders massacred most of the men. Ker and his mother were tied to a camel and dragged to a life in captivity. He grew up eating the same grains that his slave master fed his horses. One day, as punishment for letting a goat escape, Ker was hung upside-down from a tree as his master rubbed chili peppers into his eyes. When he was finally cut down, his eyes were so badly damaged that he slowly went blind. After being freed by CSI, Ker is now in the United States at the Wills Eye Institute, where he recently underwent cornea surgery (he’s seen being prepared for surgery in the photo here) that will hopefully restore the sight he lost while tortured at the hands of his captors. Ker is learning English and has started piano lessons at Lighthouse Music School. Ker will share his remarkable story today at 2200 Rayburn House Office Building at a press conference and during a hearing at the U.S. House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights. His mother – along with thousands of other slaves from South Sudan – remains in bondage. Ker, through his interpreter, will tell his story. Ker was brought to the U.S. thanks to CSI CEO John Eibner and Ellen Ratner, the White House correspondent and bureau chief for TRNS and a news analyst on the Fox News Channel (as well as Washington editor for TALKERS). Ratner has traveled multiple times to South Sudan since 2008, just returning on Saturday from another mission.
2012 GOP Candidates, ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ Knox Conviction Overturned and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/3). The Republicans vying for the nomination to face President Obama in 2012, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protest movement, the overturning of American Amanda Knox’s murder conviction in Italy and the volatile financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
TRN’s Rusty Humphries Shoots Role in “Flicka” Movie. Talk Radio Network personality Rusty Humphries has been spending time in Canada recently on the set of a remake of the classic horse film, “Flicka.” Humphries plays the role of an announcer at a critical horse show in the film. The film stars actor and country music star Clint Black and his wife Lisa Hartman Black. Speaking about his on-set experience, Humphries says, “I am very excited to be shooting ‘Flicka 3’ on location in Canada this week with director Michael Damian, the star of ‘The Young and The Restless’ and songwriter of the hit ‘Rock On’. The shoot went great and Michael Damian could not be nicer. He’s a really good director too.” Humphries is seen here (l) on the set with Damian (r).
Paul Finebaum v. Citadel: A Lesson in Fine Print. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes that the case of WJOX-FM, Birmingham sports talk host Paul Finebaum suing employer Citadel for breach of contract is an example of why employment contracts should always be reviewed by the talent’s lawyer before being signed – regardless of what the employer prefers. Employment situations can be complicated by addenda, bankruptcies and ownership changes and Weisman says this case certainly has its twists and turns. Read his analysis of the case here.
Talk Host Martha Zoller Mulls Run for Congress. WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia-based talk host Martha Zoller tells Roll Call she’s considering a run for U.S. Congress and will make a decision within a “couple of weeks.” Population shifts are creating a new congressional district in Northern Georgia soon to be approved by the Georgia legislature and the new 9th district would be a very Republican district, according to Roll Call. Zoller tells the publication, “I’ve been a fiscal conservative my whole career. I’ve criticized Clinton budgets, Bush budgets and Obama budgets…I believe the tea party people that have been elected to Congress have represented their districts well and they need reinforcements. That’s why I’m considering this.” Zoller is heard throughout Georgia via the Georgia News Network.
Teresa Strasser Exits the KABC, Los Angeles Morning Show. LARadio’s Don Barrett reports Teresa Strasser has left the Peter Tilden morning show at Citadel’s KABC, Los Angeles. Barrett quotes KABC program director Jack Silver stating Strasser chose not to renew her contract with the station in order to focus on her TV, commercial voiceover and camera work. Strasser – known for her television work on TLC’s “While You Were Out,” her co-host position on the Adam Carolla radio show and her book Exploiting My Baby (NAL Trade 2011), became part of the Peter Tilden program in August of 2010.
Chicago Talk Radio Personality Cisco Cotto Considers Starting New Church. Cotto most recently hosted the midday show at WLS, Chicago and served on crosstown WIND’s morning show prior to that. He was replaced at WLS by Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft earlier this summer and is now thinking about starting a non-denominational church in his Chicago suburb of Oak Park. Cotto studied at the Moody Bible Institute and tells the Chicago Tribune he’s been working with the Evangelical Free Church of America to start the church and has filed the paper work for getting non-profit, tax-exempt status. Will his radio past complicate things? Cotto says, “I think I am going to be labeled ‘that guy who used to be the conservative talk show host,’ and that is going to be a significant barrier.”
2012 Presidential Race, Middle East Turmoil, Obama Economic Policy and Irene Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/31). According to ongoing research from TALKERS, the 2012 presidential race, political unrest in the Middle East, President Obama’s economic policy and the aftermath of Hurricane Irene were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday (8/31).