The Infinite Dial 2014. Media consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke sat in on yesterday’s annual webinar presented by Edison Research and Triton Digital that detailed the results of the 2014 version of the Infinite Dial study. Many results are not surprising: smartphone use is growing rapidly with 61% of Americans owning cell phones – a 500% increase in five years. Although the “digital dashboard” – newer model cars with in-dash infotainment systems – gets a lot of press coverage as new deals are struck between app-makers, service providers and car manufacturers, as of today the smartphone is more important. The study reports 43% of persons 12-24 listen with a smartphone while in the car and 27% of persons 25-54 do the same. Still, AM/FM owns the auto for now and is still the primary source for discovering new music. Read more results from the study and Holland Cooke’s analysis here.
Dana Barrett to Host New Local Show on ‘biz 1190’ in Atlanta. On Salem Communications’ business talk WAFS, Atlanta “biz 1190,” local media personality Dana Barrett debuts a new program dedicated to “a unique look into ‘the business of everyday life’” debuting on Monday, March 10. Barrett states, “Atlanta is such a dynamic business market with an incredible diversity of industries. Healthcare, real estate, entertainment, retail…you name it, we do it here. I want to celebrate and embrace that diversity by talking to the business leaders and entrepreneurs that make our region go.” The daily show will air from 9:00 am to 10:00 am with a repeat from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Program director Aaron Williams adds, “It’s the perfect match for us. As the market’s only station dedicated to business, we couldn’t be happier to bring Dana’s unique knowledge of the metro Atlanta area to our audience.”
Mike Bower Exits ’97.9 ESPN Hartford.’ The afternoon drive program hosted by Mike Bower at Clear Channel’s Hartford sports talk outlet WUCS “97.9 ESPN Hartford” is cancelled and the station is actively seeking a new personality for the daypart. In a message posted on his Facebook page, Bower announces, “Unfortunately The Bower Show’s time on ‘97.9 ESPN’ in Hartford and ‘ESPN Radio 1300’ in New Haven has come to an end. Clear Channel opted to not renew the show but we would like to thank them for giving us the opportunity to talk sports with you every day for the past two years. More importantly, we would like to thank all of YOU…our listeners, for your continued support of The Bower Show.” The Bower Show was the only local daily show on the program schedule.
Rosenthal Promoted at Katz Media Group. With this promotion, Mark Rosenthal – currently CEO of Katz Radio Group – adds the title CEO of Katz Media Group in which he will also oversee Katz Television Group, KMG’s television representation company. The company says that as CEO of Katz Radio Group, Rosenthal will remain focused on building the radio sector, working closely with Katz Radio Group president Mark Gray to drive additional media dollars into radio. Effective immediately though, he will now also work closely with KTG presidents Leo MacCourtney and Craig Broitman to grow and further develop KTG’s assets, advocacy and revenue-generating efforts.
Salem Study: Christian Teaching Listeners Younger Than Perceived. The results of a study by Nielsen Audio commissioned by Salem Communications looking at the make-up of the audience for Christian teaching and talk-formatted radio shows indicates the audience is younger than may be commonly perceived. Half of the listeners to the format are under 55 and are spending 6.1 hours per week listening to stations airing the format. The study also indicates younger listenership is growing. Salem VP, director of spoken word format Phil Boyce states, “There is this perception that these are your father or even grandfathers radio stations, but we found there is a significant pool of younger listeners spending a great deal of time with our CTT format.”
Geoff Edwards Passes. No sooner had we reflected on the life and career of Los Angeles and Bay Area radio personality/television game show host Jim Lange (who succumbed to a heart attack last week) than we must now sadly note the passing of Geoff Edwards. Much like the 81-year-old Lange, Edwards, 83, amassed considerable fame from his Los Angeles radio days and nationally through several game show-hosting stints. Edwards died yesterday (3/5) of complications of pneumonia at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California. Wink Martindale, Lange, and Edwards toiled together in Los Angeles at the once iconic KMPC. “Geoff was one of the cleverest, funniest radio and television personalities I have worked with,” Martindale states of Westfield, New Jersey native Edwards, who was heard on KMPC from 1968 – 1979. He was also on-air in Los Angeles at KHJ (1964 -1965) and two go-rounds at KFI (1966 – 1968 and 1987 – 1989). According to Edwards’ agent of many years, Fred Westbrook, Edwards succeeded in television by making several bold fashion statements. He favored jeans over suits and his hair was longer than that of most other talents at the time. “He was part of the new breed,” Westbrook comments. Tributes on Facebook regarding Edwards’ death included this observation from renowned voiceover talent/studio audience warm-up announcer/”Price is Right” announcer Randy West. “Geoff was a wonderfully kind and joyous guy, very bright, with a great natural talent for creating joy, both over the air and in person. For me, it was more laughs per hour with Geoff than anyone else since high school. What a pro, what a sweet man, what a character, what a ball. He was loved and respected by everybody. We laughed and giggled every time we were together.” Sonoma Music Group president Michael O’Shea checked in by remarking, “What a shock. Geoff was our 9:00 am – 12:00 noon personality at KMPC. Personable, authentic, real and natural. We played tennis a time or two. This is very sad.” Longtime KOST, Los Angeles on-air personality Ted Ziegenbusch notes that Edwards was, “One of my favorite lunchroom pals. Thanks for the laughter, the stories and the fun. I know you have always enjoyed travel. This journey is the best one ever.” Veteran Los Angeles traffic reporter Mike Nolan comments that he was, “a fan for years, then honored to work with him at KFI, so happy to have called him a friend.” Fellow television game show host Jim MacKrell remarks, “I am deeply saddened by the news of Geoff’s passing. I know of no one in our business with a better reputation and a multitude of friends. I am glad I was one of them.” Edwards’ national television resume includes hosting “Jackpot!”, “Chain Reaction,” “Play the Percentages,” “Treasure Hunt” and “The New Treasure Hunt.” In Los Angeles, he and Meredith MacRae won Emmy Awards for co-hosting the daily “Mid-Morning L.A.” For nine years (1986 – 1995), he co-hosted the California Lottery‘s “Big Spin.” An eyewitness to one of America’s most memorable moments, then-news reporter Edwards was in the basement of the Dallas Police Department on November 24, 1963 when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected assassin of President John F. Kennedy. Funeral plans are pending for Edwards, who is survived by his wife, two stepsons, his ex-wife and their three children, as well as nine grandchildren.
Obama vs. Putin/Ukraine-Crimea Intrigue, ObamaCare Criticism, IRS Scandal, Obama Approval Ratings Sink, and 2016 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/5). The political storm in Ukraine and Crimea and how President Obama is handling Vladimir Putin’s moving Russian troops into the region; scrutiny of the Affordable Care Act as the administration announces current health plans can be kept through 2016; Lois Lerner’s refusal to testify in new hearings looking into the IRS scandal; dipping approval ratings for President Obama; and speculation about candidates for president in the 2016 election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CC Goal: ‘#1 Multi-Platform Media Company in Revenue and Earnings.’ Radio giant Clear Channel reiterates its corporate goal at yesterday’s Q4 conference call through president and CFO Rich Bressler who says the deals and partnerships it has entered into over the past 12 months are all geared toward that goal of being the “#1 multi-platform media company.” Much of the focus on the Media + Enterainment sector was about iHeartRadio and Bressler spoke glowingly about it, saying, “iHeartRadio reached 43 million registered users by the end of 2013, climbing 84% year-over-year. To put that growth in perspective, iHeartRadio surpassed its 20 million registered user milestone faster than any other digital service and reached 40 million faster than Facebook, Twitter or Pandora, second only to Instagram. Importantly, iHeartRadio’s total listening hours went up 29% over the year, with mobile representing 54% of iHeartRadio’s total listening hours during the fourth quarter of 2013. Our brand awareness climbed nearly 70%, slightly behind Pandora but above Spotify. We also continue to lead with Facebook engagement, having over 6.7 million likes for our iHeartRadio page, surpassing Pandora, Spotify and even Netflix.” The large number of promotional events the company has produced has affected the expense side of the ledger. Bressler reported, “Operating expenses increased $80 million year-over-year, driven mainly by continued investment on national sales and programming capabilities, special events, promotional costs, compensation and higher streaming and performance royalty expenses during 2013 due to increased listenership on iHeartRadio platform…Expenses were up $36 million due mainly to increased costs associated with our special events and higher streaming and performance royalty expenses.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole call here.
More Moves in Chicago Sports Talk World. As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Chicago White Sox television broadcaster Steve Stone is signed by CBS RADIO to be WSCR’s go-to baseball expert this season. Feder writes that Stone – who worked for “The Score” before joining Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM for baseball correspondent duties last year – was also being wooed by Tribune’s sports start-up WGWG “The Game 87.7″ but since WSCR is the flagship for White Sox games, CBS was able to prevent Stone from working for a direct competitor. Speaking of Tribune’s WGWG, the station is preparing to announce that former Cub Todd Hollandsworth – who’s worked for the MLB Network and Comcast Sports Net Chicago – will join “The Game 87.7” as its baseball expert. Read Feder’s column here.
Kerri Kasem Helps Introduce Bill to Provide Access to Sick Parents. Yesterday, RadioInfo reported that radio personality Kerri Kasem – daughter of legend Casey Kasem – would appear with California Assemblyman Mike Gatto at a press conference on Thursday to introduce legislation that would give judges the ability to allow adult children to see sick to dying parents in cases where they’ve been kept away in the past. Industry watchers are aware of the public battle Kasem’s children have been waging with his second wife, Jean Kasem, over visitation with Kasem who is suffering from advanced Parkinson’s disease. Kasem appeared at Los Angeles Superior Court yesterday to bring attention to the introduction of the bill. She commented, “It’s not just me – the daughter of a famous person. There are so many families, so many sons and daughters going through what I’m going through right now.” Kasem said she used the power of her radio show to talk about it and received a lot of feedback from people in similar situations and that’s part of her motivation for working with Gatto on this legislation. “No child deserves to go through what I’m going through and no loving parent deserves to be left alone to die with nobody by his side.” You can view video from the press conference here. Working as district chief of staff for Assemblyman Gatto is radio business veteran Jason Insalaco who’s been involved in the programming and agent ends of the industry during his career.
“The Hard Question with Blanquita Cullum” Launches on TalkersRadio This Weekend. TalkersRadio – the experimental talk radio platform operated by TALKERS magazine at www.talkers.com/talkersradio — announces the launch this weekend (2/22) of “The Hard Question with Blanquita Cullum.” Hosted by veteran talk show host, Washington-insider, and former member of the United States Broadcasting Board of Governors, Blanquita Cullum, the one-hour-per-week show will cover the hottest and most-pressing economic, environmental and political issues facing the country from a non-partisan, non-ideological perspective. Cullum tells TALKERS, “I’ve been in this business too long to mess around playing the old right-versus-left game that is quickly getting us nowhere. It is time to get serious – especially having this marvelous platform upon which to perform – and dust off the old journalism skills. Just as the name implies, I will be asking big shots and policy makers from the worlds of energy, finance and government the hard questions. None of that easy, puff-piece stuff. This show is going to get down, dirty and real!” The new program will air each Saturday morning at 10:00 am ET with repeats scheduled throughout the week.
KRG Appoints Chenault-Qawwee to VP of Health Care Strategies. Radio rep firm Katz Radio Group (a Clear Channel subsidiary) announces the creation of a new department to “take full advantage of radio’s massive reach and scale in order to deliver compelling health care media solutions for advertisers.” The new Health Care Strategies group, headed by vice president LaTonya Chenault-Qawwee, will “provide a higher level of focus and expertise in the health care category.” The company says that in her new role, Chenault-Qawwee will “oversee all sales operations, developing strategic plans for advertisers by leveraging KRG’s unmatched reach, research and expertise in developing innovative media solutions. She will work closely with the nation’s leading health care companies, as well as federal and state exchanges, to incorporate the latest health care reform needs into high-impact advertising packages. This new position underlines KRG’s continued commitment to be the leading advocate for radio, and to further expand its business by providing advertisers hyper-focused expertise in specific categories.”
Odds & Sods. The Washington Times announces it has partnered with California-based BT Software’s Kaliki Audio Newsstand to provide content for the app that allows users to stream news and talk content. The newspaper’s editor John Solomon says the radio lineup will launch in early March with five daily shows and several weekly shows, anchored by the midday program “Live from The Washington Times” starring Andy Parks…..CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles announces the next stop on its “KNX in Your Neighborhood” remote series will be South Orange County on Friday, March 14. The station says its “award-winning news team will explore O.C.’s southernmost communities, including Mission Viejo, San Clemente, Aliso Viejo, Lake Forest, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Juan Capistrano, Laguna Hills and Dana Point. Civic and business leaders from these areas will be featured throughout the day live from the Mission Grill in San Juan Capistrano…..CRN Digital Talk Radio debuts a new show called “Wall to Wald Sports,” a hybrid of sports and politics. The show is hosted by Ronnie Wald and Fred Wallin and airs Fridays at 1:00 pm ET. The company says, “Wald and Wallin discuss sports in what they term their own ‘novel’ way before shifting to politics – an area in which they differ significantly. The duo says that ‘to Wald, Ronald Reagan is a hero – but to Wallin, he was a bad actor.’”
Final Round of January PPM Data Released. PPM data from the fourth and final group of 12 markets for the January 2014 period (January 2-29) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
ObamaCare Criticism Remains at Top of Talkers TenTM. The scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act remained the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of February 17-21. Coming in at #2 on this week’s chart was the executive power controversy surrounding President Obama. At #3 was a tie between a possible Hillary Clinton run for president in 2016 and the infighting taking place in the Republican Party followed by the winter weather and the global warming issue at #4. 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 is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.