By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — Just over two weeks after Christmas and nine days into the new year, admittedly, doesn’t provide much of a sample to gauge an industry “trend.”
At the very least though, it is worth noting three interesting top 20 market developments that contain a common thread.
The last time a major market station transitioned to adult contemporary was in April 2016, when iHeartMedia San Francisco’s urban-rhythmic oldies KISQ became “The Breeze.
Now that the all-Christmas music has come to an end, however, there are three new players under the AC banner.
iHeartMedia Brings News Pro Dan Mitchinson to Mornings at KFBK, Sacramento. Saying that Dan Mitchinson “brings a unique combination of experience and success in the news/talk format, along with a passion to evolve our appeal to the next generation of listeners,” iHeartMedia Sacramento SVP of programming Don Parker announces the radio and TV news pro will join Amy Lewis as co-host of the KFBK Morning News, effective Monday April 6. In a press statement, the station notes that “Mitchinson’s radio work has been heard on the FOX and CBS networks. His TV credentials include stories appearing on ‘ABC‘s World News Tonight’, ‘Nancy Grace’ and ‘Geraldo.’ He’s covered presidential visits, natural disasters as well as some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Mitchinson has received the Edward R. Murrow Award for ‘Best Newscast,’ a Golden Mic award for Best News Special, and the Best Newscast and Single News story award from the Oregon Association of Broadcasters. KFBK program director Bill White adds, “We’re very fortunate to have someone of Dan’s talent and his credentials speak to his passion for covering and delivering news. He’ll be a great partner with Amy Lewis as the ‘KFBK Morning News’ continues to inform Sacramento and Northern California.”
Looking to the Future at KCMO, Kansas City. TALKERS magazine observes that heritage news/talk outlet KCMO, Kansas City has been gradually adjusting the “attitude” of its programming to reflect the style of issues-oriented talk that a younger audience are reported to be demanding these days. Just two months ago, the station brought in Rob Carson to host the daily morning show. Carson’s hiring appears to dovetail well with Greg Knapp’s afternoon drive show, the nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey show in early afternoons and the late morning Chris Plante program. Carson (who’s been in and around the business for the past 26 years, ironically writing for Rush Limbaugh during a portion of those years) tells TALKERS, “I really believe there is a quantum shift happening in talk radio, and it involves a move away from purely political monologue and phone call talk shows and more towards a conservative-style ‘The Daily Show.’” Note that Carson uses the word conservative. He adds, “Some are moving completely away from politics and I believe they do so at their own peril as politics is such a massive part of the popular culture.” Still, Nielsen Audio’s PPM survey tells the tale of the tape and KCMO-AM ranked 18th (1.7 share, persons 6+) in the February PPM survey, well behind talk leader KMBZ-FM (10th place with a 4.2 share, persons 6+) and non-com runner-up KCUR-FM (12th place with a 3.9 share, persons 6+). Only time will tell if KCMO’s programming strategy will pay off, but it’s apparent that Rob Carson is going to keep swinging from his position in morning drive and that something new and interesting is afoot.
Opinion: Radio in 2015 – Getting Back to the Basics. Radio sales and management pro Bill Brady writes in an opinion piece published in TALKERS magazine today (3/31) that owners and operators must deal with the fact that it’s not 1988 anymore and adjust their programming accordingly. Brady writes, “For the most part, the talk format has devolved into a niche within a niche within a niche. Today’s talk product is not mass appeal ‘topic A’ stuff. It’s not even mass appeal politics – just conservative politics which severely limit the format’s appeal. The answer to the problem is very simple: play the hits.” Read more from Bill Brady here.
Ackerman Retires from Coleman Insights. Vice president Chris Ackerman exits Coleman Insights following a 22-year run at the Raleigh-area research company. President and chief operating officer Warren Kurtzman comments, “Chris is going to be missed on so many levels. Our clients will miss his advice and counsel. We will miss his presence as a fabulous mentor to employees at every level of our organization. Most of all, however, I am going to miss having my good friend for the last 20 years down the hall. Everyone at Coleman Insights wishes nothing but the best for Chris and we thank him for his incalculable contributions to the success of our company.” Ackerman remarks, “[My wife] Kathy and I are deeply grateful for the opportunity [founder and chief executive officer] Jon Coleman and Warren Kurtzman have provided us, and for the support and friendship of all our Coleman colleagues. I am also grateful for the many clients I’ve had the honor and privilege to serve through the years.” Prior to joining Coleman in August 1992, Ackerman was vice president and general manager of Capitol Broadcasting Orlando’s WSTF “Star 101.” The Miami University (of Ohio) graduate previously held the same vice president and general manager title at Renda Broadcasting Pittsburgh; WJYE, Buffalo; and WKQQ, Lexington, Kentucky.
CBS Radio Transfers Blumhagen to Los Angeles. Nine-year general sales manager of CBS Radio San Francisco hot AC KLLC “Alice@97.3” and CHR KMVQ “Now 99.7” Larry Blumhagen will relocate in three weeks (4/20) to become vice president and director of sales for the company’s six-station Los Angeles cluster. CBS Radio Los Angeles senior vice president and market manager Dan Kearney states, “Larry has been successful since the day he joined the company in 1992. He has developed great relationships internally as well as throughout the advertising community. We are very fortunate that Larry is bringing his strategic and creative expertise to Los Angeles.” Blumhagen remarks that he is “very excited” to have the opportunity “to work with some of the most legendary brands in broadcasting,” and that he is “fortunate to continue to work with CBS Radio.” Past credits for University of Oregon alum Blumhagen include being general sales manager of Portland adult alternative KINK (2001 – 2006). CBS Radio Los Angeles properties include mainstream CHR KAMP “Amp Radio”; adult hits KCBS-FM “Jack-FM”; all-news KNX; alternative KROQ; classic hits-oldies KRTH “K-Earth 101”; and smooth AC KTWV “The Wave.”
Odds & Sods. Last weekend, Virginia Associated Press Broadcasters presented its annual awards at a luncheon in Charlottesville and Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington picked up five honors – four superior and one meritorious. WTOP reporter Andrew Mollenbeck was awarded superior in the Best Documentary or In-Depth Report category for “New Arrivals,” reporter Megan Cloherty meritorious in the Best Feature or Human Interest category for “A Typical Day Turned Deadly,” and Chris Core superior for “Core Values” in the Best Editorial or Editorial Series category. The WTOP Newsroom also received superior awards for the following: Best Coverage of a Spot News Story – “The Bob McDonnell Verdict”; and Best Coverage of a Continuing News Story – “The Search for Hannah Graham.”…..The Philadelphia Eagles and CBS RADIO-owned sports talker WIP, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94WIP” renew their deal for the station to serve as flagship for Eagles play-by-play for years to come. The agreement also includes new elements such as an HD Radio station devoted exclusively to the Eagles 24/7 with year-round programming. CBS RADIO Philadelphia stations have carried play-by-play coverage of the Eagles since 1992. Eagles radio announcers Merrill Reese, the NFL’s longest tenured play-by-play announcer, and former Eagles All-Pro wide receiver Mike Quick will continue to provide commentary of the games…..All-Pro receiver Steve Smith, currently with the Baltimore Ravens – is joining the roster of expert hosts on SiriusXM NFL Radio. Smith will host “The Opening Drive” alongside co-host Bob Papa every other Wednesday live from 7:00 to 11:00 am ET.
Cool Job Opportunity. KKOH, Reno needs a full-time talk show producer and on-air operator with mad skills who can do it all: run the studio, screen calls, schedule guests, research topics, locate/edit audio, post content to social media, update the website, maintain podcasts, create promos and work with a well-established team. The ideal candidate has on-air experience and passion for the news and important issues of the day, plus the ability to multi-task, handle stress and deadlines. We’re a conservative talker, but it isn’t just about politics. It helps if you don’t mind crazy hours, too. Reply with resume and air check to email@example.com. EOE.
WCKG, Elmhust, Illinois Teams with High School Station to Create ‘Study Hall Radio.’ An award-winning Chicago-area high school radio station – WLTL, La Grange (serving Lyons Township) – is working with commercial talk radio station WCKG, Elmhurst to produce: Study Hall Radio” that will air on WCKG on Saturdays at 2:00 pm. Student broadcasters, under the guidance of faculty advisor Chris Thomas, will feature student reporters, interviewers and more. Thomas says, “WLTL’s student broadcasters are generating the topics, researching and reporting the stories and conducting the interviews. I am just the person helping to put all of the pieces together and making connections for the listening audience as to why adults should care about what is on the minds of students today.” The April 4 premiere episode will focus on driving and teenagers. Additional programs are planned to cover topics such as prom and dating, graduation and summer plans, jobs and activities for teenagers. The purpose of each program will be to inform Suburban Chicago listeners of what is happening at the high school level, and how and why it affects our community.
Religious Freedom Act Controversy, Obama-Netanyahu Relationship, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Iran Nuclear Program Negotiations, Hillary Clinton Email Case, ISIS Violence, Germanwings Flight 9525 Investigation, and NCAA Hoops Tourney Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/30). The political controversy in Indiana over the implementation of that state’s religious freedom act; the strained relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her private email for State Department business; the battle against ISIS; the state of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz and the downing of Germanwings Flight 9525; and March Madness were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Heather Cohen Named TALKERS “Woman of the Year” — Will Be Presented Award at Talkers Los Angeles 2013 by KFI/KTLK PD Robin Bertolucci. Hard-working industry super-agent, Heather Cohen, executive vice president of leading radio talent representatives, the Weiss Agency, has been voted by the TALKERS editorial board to be the 2013 recipient of the prestigious “Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Talk Radio by a Woman.” This award is often referred to by the title, “Woman of the Year.” Cohen has accrued a stellar list of accomplishments in a career that spans more than a decade and a half in the radio industry and includes her current work as an agent at Eric Weiss ‘s Weiss Agency since 2007, based in the firm’s New York office. Prior to that, Cohen briefly led the programming arm of GreenStone Media, LLC — where she was VP of programming and significantly contributed to that initiative’s being awarded three Gracie Awards. During the decade prior to GreenStone, Cohen served as executive producer of the legendary, award-winning, Joan Hamburg show on WOR, New York and as the then-Buckley Broadcasting-owned heritage station’s assistant program director. Cohen is a graduate of Hofstra University and serves on its School of Communication Advisory Board. On making the announcement of Cohen’s selection for this honor, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “If anyone deserves this award recognizing an individual woman for not just her personal accomplishments in talk radio – but her contributions to the industry as well – then the selection of Heather Cohen is the quintessential choice. She is a marvelous broadcaster and her personal career achievements as a producer, APD and corporate programming executive speak for themselves — but as an observer of this scene who has been tracking the career of this extraordinary young woman for years, I must say, she is the Mother Teresa of agents. She personally shepherds the careers of approximately 10% of TALKERS’ entire ‘Heavy Hundred’ and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I have never seen an agent or manager care so deeply with heartfelt dedication to each and every one of the Weiss Agency’s impressive list of clients. In other words, she GIVES to the business on a level that changes the lives of everyone with whom she is connected and continues to make a real difference on a daily basis. It is extremely gratifying to see a truly outstanding industry woman of this quality receive the award.” Harrison goes on to say, “I have often stated that all of us at TALKERS look forward to the day when it is no longer necessary or appropriate for there to be a special ‘woman’ award in talk radio — but unfortunately, as the numbers so starkly indicate, that day is not today. Thank you, Heather, for your tireless, selfless dedication to both the hard working women AND men of talent out there in the tough trenches of today’s radio trying to keep the spirit of our unique culture alive in the 21st century.” Heather Cohen will be presented the “Woman of the Year” award in a special ceremony at Talkers Los Angeles 2013 on Thursday, October 10 by last year’s distinguished recipient, KFI and KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci. Talkers Los Angeles 2013 is nearing a sellout within about a week. It is open only to members of the working media. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.
CBS Radio Makes Management Moves in Los Angeles and Tampa. Former Cox Media Group Miami market manager Dan Kearney is named senior vice president and market manager for the company’s Los Angeles cluster that includes all news KNX, CHR KAMP-FM “97.1 AMP Radio,” adult hits KCBS-FM “93.1 Jack FM,” alternative KROQ, classic hits KRTH “K-Earth,” and AC KTWV “94.7 The Wave.” As explained by CBS Radio EVP of operations Scott Herman, the change allows current LA market manager Steve Carver to move back East as desired where he’ll head up the Tampa cluster. Kearney managed the Miami cluster for CMG from 2012-2013 after moving down from news/talk WSB, Atlanta. He first joined Cox at news/talk KFI, Los Angeles in 1998 as local sales manager when that company owned the station. CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason says of Kearney, “Dan is an accomplished broadcaster and exactly the right executive to shape a new future for our iconic radio stations in Los Angeles. He has an impressive record of experience managing the operations of a multitude of different radio formats, producing noteworthy growth across all key measures. Dan’s a fabulous addition to our organization.” Steve Carver will replace Ben Hill whom the company says agreed more than a year ago to work across the state from his home in the West Palm Beach area. He will work through the transition until October 11 and be available to the company through the end of the year. CBS Radio operates six stations in Tampa including: sports talk WHFS-AM “CBS Sports Radio 1010” and WHFS-FM “98.7 The Fan,” rhythmic CHR WLLD “Wild 94.1,” country WQYK, classic hits WRBQ “My Q105,” and Spanish WYUU “92.5 Maxima.”
Rob Babin to Lead CMG’s Miami Cluster. Cox Media Group promotes Rob Babin to vice president and market manager for its Miami station group that includes hot AC WFLC “97.3 The Coast,” urban contemporary WHQT “Hot 105 FM,” hip hop WEDR “99 Jamz,” and soft AC WFEZ “Easy 93.1.” Cox EVP of Radio Kim Guthrie states, “We are delighted to tap into our amazing, internal leadership talent pool and have Rob step into this new executive role, overseeing our Miami operation. He has been an outstanding leader in his 12 years with CMG, both in our Orlando and Atlanta radio markets. His strategic vision, incredible performance track record and desire to be the best make him a great fit for this opportunity.” Babin most recently was vice president of sales for the Atlanta stations, including news/talk WSB, one of the top 10 billing stations in the country. Babin comments, “I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with so many great people at CMG Atlanta, and I know their tradition of success will continue. Now I am thrilled to work with the phenomenal group of radio stations and talented team that make up CMG Miami!”
Clear Channel Flips KOY, Phoenix to Business as ‘Business 1230 KFYI.’ Gone are adult standards on KOY-AM and in is business talk format using predominantly Bloomberg Radio content. The station is airing the “Big Business with Sully” program from 9:00 am to 11:00 am with more local programming on the way according to program director Neil Larrimore. He states, “The business format fits well into the KFYI brand. Businesses and individuals are always looking for ways to manage their money better, to do more with less, and to make sure their futures are secure. This touches everybody – it’s a natural relationship for the established and trusted KFYI information brand to be part of this format.”
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Doyle Hadden of Hadden & Associates Media Brokers. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Doyle Hadden of Hadden & Associates Media Brokers located in the Orlando area of Florida. Hadden went into being a broker after years of being in radio and television sales, management and ownership. He says he wasn’t “good enough” to be an on-air talent so he found a way to make money “behind the scenes.” He says, “Based on the past five or six years, things are on the rise in buyers’ interest in getting back into the game, now that the economy has shown signs of improving. Look at Larry Wilson, who sold Citadel for more than $2 billion and now he is back in the hunt, along with many other great players in the business.” He adds, “There are some very attractive deals out there but the prices seem to be going up across the board, especially in the larger and top 20 markets.” Per the custom of this feature, Hadden offers several opportunities for displaced station managers and first-time entrants looking to roll up their sleeves and take on an ownership project. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
Odds & Sods. WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” talk show host Tom Waddle is joining the mothership’s “Football Sunday on ESPN Radio” beginning this season and starting with the first show September 8 at 1:00 pm ET. Waddle co-hosts the “Waddle & Silvy” show on WMVP. Waddle will work from the company’s Bristol, Connecticut studios and will also appear on Sunday editions of ESPN’s “SportsCenter” and on ESPN2’s “Cowherd on Football” – the new hour-long program focusing on both college and pro football discussion and commentary with host Colin Cowherd that airs from 9:00 am to 10:00 am ET…..St. Louis Rams great Torry Holt signs on with Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” to serve as the station’s football insider providing exclusive weekly call-ins to the station. He’ll make three weekly appearances on the station: Each Monday morning during “Zach and Rammer,” Wednesdays on “The Turn” with Chris Duncan and Anthony Stalter, and Friday afternoons on “The Fast Lane” with Randy Karraker and D’Marco Farr.
Salem Communications Sponsoring Kevin Jackson’s “Reparations Comedy Tour.” Talk show host, speaker and author Kevin Jackson’s “The Reparations Comedy Tour” gains more support as Salem Communications agrees to join Americans for Prosperity and The Daily Caller as sponsors for his new conservative comedy tour featuring Brad Stine, Tim Wilkins, Even Sayet, and Tim Young. WLSS, Sarasota “News Talk 930 AM” and WGUL, Tampa “Talk Radio 860 AM” are leading the promotional efforts on behalf of the company. A press release for the tour states that “Jackson and his friends will be taking aim at the politically correct world America has become, especially when it comes to dealing with race relations. The tour kicks off on Thursday, September 12, with two shows at The Crest Theatre in Delray Beach, Florida, and moves to the Palladium Theatre in St. Petersburg, Florida the next evening with future dates to be announced soon.”
Two Katz and a (former) Congressman. Former Congressman Allen West (l) is pictured here with Boston Herald Radio morning drive host Jeff Katz (r) and Katz’s eldest son Harry (c). As part of the Hausman Memorial Speakers Series in Stoughton, Massachusetts on August 15, Jeff Katz was featured along with former Congressman West. According to Jeff Katz, his son Harry’s review of the event was as follows: “Allen was great! And my Dad was pretty good, too.” Photo by Eric Kahn.
U.S.-Egypt Relations, Ted Cruz Citizenship Issue, Clinton Foundation Expenses Scrutiny, ObamaCare Implementation, 2016 Presidential Jockeying, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top Stories Yesterday (8/19). Violence in Egypt and the state of the United States’ relationship with the country; the case of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz’s Canadian citizenship status; controversy over the expenses at the Clinton Foundation; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the early jockeying for position in the 2016 presidential race; and financial markets activity were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.