CBS to Explore Options for Radio Division. The company has always enjoyed the cash flow that the CBS RADIO division brought to its bottom line but CEO Les Moonves has often indicated that radio is not a core business for CBS Corp. Yesterday’s announcement by Moonves at a CBS investor day that the company will explore “strategic options” for the radio division in order to “hone its asset portfolio” is being greeted by the radio industry with mixed emotions. Potential buyers are thrilled by the thought of acquiring CBS’ heritage, major market signals, but few operators have piles of cash on hand and it will require taking on debt to buy these stations in a climate where debt can be difficult to pay off. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison offers the following comments on the Moonves announcement, “Broadcast (FM/AM) radio can still be a very viable business if stations can be acquired at realistic prices. There is still a lot of life left in the medium if it can run within a business model that makes sense per the times. Also, broadcast radio has a large audience and provides a vital set of services for millions of Americans. It just needs to be relieved of stifling debt. Radio has to be able to afford to do radio. Fresh capital within a realistic debt structure and the influx of invigorated, passionate ownership will create a much better product for radio which will further add years of vitality to the industry.” However, Harrison points out, “CBS has been and still is one of the better-run major companies in radio, so its decision to get out – although advancing the cause of de-consolidation – is not an act of desperation as much as it is indicative of their long-term asset strategy.” Moonves told investors that it views CBS TV and Showtime as its premium brands. The company is focusing intently on its digital efforts CBS All Access and Showtime via the Internet to cater to consumers’ growing on-demand preferences. CBS owns 117 signals in 26 markets, many of those clusters are in major markets. Given what CBS hopes to get for the stations it is unlikely that one buyer will be able to swallow the whole group. Since radio is not considered a growth industry by investors, finding favorable financing for radio station acquisitions – especially in light of the enormous debt fellow operators iHeartMedia and Cumulus are dealing with – will be a challenge. Moonves said all options are on the table, meaning the company would consider a spinoff or a split as well as an outright sale. CBS RADIO’s net revenue for the fourth quarter of 2015 was down 5% compared to the same period in 2014.
American Broadcasters Participate in Radiodays Europe. Several prominent US radio broadcasters participated as speakers in the just-concluded seventh annual installment of Radiodays Europe – the growingly popular international radio convention that took place March 13-15 in Paris. Among them were TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison who delivered a speech titled “Lessons Learned by American Radio During the Dawn of the Digital Era” and moderated a “Fast and Curious” roundtable discussion titled, “Making Radio Indispensable;” Jacobs Media CEO, Fred Jacobs who participated in a group presentation titled, “”Radio in Car: Dashboard Disaster;” Geller Media International president Valerie Geller who conducted a workshop titled “Create Powerful Radio,” spoke in a group session titled “30 Ideas in 45 Minutes” and debuted the brand new French language edition of her book Creating Powerful Radio; iHeart Media syndicated personality Elvis Duran and VP of talent development Dennis Clark who both appeared on the panel titled “Morning Radio Superstars – In Talent We Trust; NPR producer Bianca Giaeve, who presented a session titled “Storytelling in New Medias” and appeared in the group session titled “30 Ideas in 45 Minutes;” and Futuri Media CEO Daniel Anstandig who presented a session titled “Winning the First Tune-In Occasion of the Day.” It was announced that next year’s Radiodays Europe will take place in Amsterdam. Pictured at right is Valerie Geller with her Puissance Radio French publishing team (l-r) Philippe Chapot, Francois Quairel and Frederic Bruhaltour at the debut of the French version of her classic Creating Powerful Radio.
Cumulus Kansas City Names Lance Tidwell Cluster OM and KCMO PD. Programmer Lance Tidwell joins Cumulus Media’s Kansas City station group to serve as cluster operations manager and program director for news/talk KCMO-AM. He’ll also supervise the Chiefs Radio Network. Tidwell was previously SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s San Antonio cluster. On KCMO-AM, Tidwell replaces Steve Sutton who recently exited the PD and talk host roles at the station.
Odds & Sods. The photo at right shows a billboard in the Tampa market for “102.5 The Bone” morning personality Mike Calta. Cox Media Group-owned talk outlet WHPT is also promoting the afternoon drive Drew Garabo show with a similar ad. “Bone” program director John Brennan comments on the Trump-inspired boards saying, “We’re kicking off 102.5 The Bone’s ‘CamPAINFUL’ coverage and have launched a series of parody billboards ‘Trumped’ in ridiculousness only by the 2016 Election itself.” Calta will appear at the Talkers 2016: Bridging the Generations conference at Hofstra University on May 20 on the “Millennials and the Media” panel…..It’s being reported that the Marilu Henner talk radio show will wrap after its last broadcast on March 31. The program is no longer listed on the Sun Broadcast Group site. It is distributed by Genesis Communications Network. “Free Talk Live” principal Ian Freeman reports the news to affiliate stations. His show is also distributed by GCN…..Speaking of “Free Talk Live,” the show announces it has added new affiliates in WWHP-FM, Bloomington, Illinois; KQQQ, Pullman, Washington; simulcast KEIR, KEII, and the four translators in Idaho Falls, Blackfoot, and Pocatello, Idaho; and WSDT, Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee…..Greg Janoff returns to CBS RADIO New York as director of news sales for all-newsers WINS and WCBS-AM. Janoff was most recently with Townsquare Media as regional VP for New Jersey.
Round Two of February PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of February 2016 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was January 28 – February 24. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Super Tuesday II/Presidential Race, Syrian Conflict-Russian Involvement, Scalia Replacement, U.S Immigration Policy, and ‘Pawn Stars’ Cast Member Bust Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/15). Yesterday’s Super Tuesday II primary elections and the issues surrounding the presidential race; the Syrian conflict and Russia’s announcement it is removing its troops from the region; the controversy over the replacement of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; debate over the immigration policy in the U.S.; and the arrest of “Pawn Stars” cast member Chumlee were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
TALKERS ‘Heavy Hundred’ for 2015 Delayed One Day – Coming Tomorrow Wednesday, March 25. TALKERS magazine has delayed the date for the posting of the 2015 installment of the publication’s annual feature, “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” which was originally set to be posted today. The list will be revealed tomorrow (3/25) at approximately 2:00 pm ET. This will mark the 20th consecutive year that the talk media trade journal (that is about to mark its 25th anniversary) has been compiling and publishing the list – also known as “The Heavy Hundred.” According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This year’s list will include a number of familiar faces (and voices) as well as new up-and-comers and several veterans whose continuing, successful careers our editors believe need acknowledgement on this list in 2015.” Casey continues, “Needless to say, compiling this list is extremely challenging – especially since it draws upon both objective and subjective factors – and is the source of heated debate every year among our editors for months leading up to its release.”
Savage Celebrates Milestone! Talk radio icon Michael Savage – now syndicated by Westwood One – is celebrating 21 years in radio today (3/24) with a special program that will reflect on his more than two decades on the air. Savage is recognizing his time on the radio by encouraging listeners to call in and share their favorite memories from past shows. He’ll also play rare archival show segments from over the years throughout the program.
Robinson to President Post at iHeartMedia Ventures Group. This is a promotion for iHeartMedia’s EVP of strategic development as Joseph Robinson is named president of the iHeartMedia Ventures Group in which Robinson will work “to develop high-value strategic opportunities with media, technology, and content companies.” He’ll report to iHeartMedia president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler, who states, “Joe has played an invaluable role in helping iHeartMedia explore new digital and technology opportunities for both consumer-facing and internal initiatives. I’m delighted that Joe is expanding his role with us; his new leadership position will be instrumental in our continued success as a 21st century media company — one that is both relentlessly forward-looking on the technology front and focused on using iHeartMedia’s cross-platform assets in creative ways that help redefine the future of consumer media and entertainment.”
Sutton to Program KCMO, Kansas City. Talk radio pro Steve Sutton is appointed program director for Cumulus Media’s KCMO-AM, Kansas City. Sutton is an experienced broadcaster who’s worked at CBS RADIO, iHeartMedia, ABC, and Air America (where he was co-creator and VP of programming and operations). Cumulus SVP of programming Mike McVay says, “We’re very excited to have Steve join us in Kansas City. He’s a multi-formatted programmer with amazing life experiences. I can’t wait to hear how he sets news/talk radio on its ear.” Sutton comments, “A life of amazing experiences continues in Kansas City at KCMO. We all do this because it’s fun and fulfilling. And now, thanks to Lew Dickey, John Dickey, Mike McVay, and Mark Sullivan, I get to do it again. Donna Baker and I arrive within a week of each other. We both can’t wait to start drawing on the easel.”
WEEI, Boston Re-Ups with Michael Holley. Boston sports talkers WEEI announces that PM drive personality Michael Holley is “in it for the long haul with his veteran partner, Dale Arnold.” Holley just signed a new, multi-year contract that will keep the duo together in the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm shift (along with recent addition Jerry Thornton). Holley comments, “I’m so grateful to be able to do a job that I love, in a region that I love, speaking and working with people that I love. There have been so many incredible stories in New England sports the past decade-plus, and I’m excited and humbled that I’ve been able to share in the journey on the radio. I look forward to many more great shows with Dale, Jerry and our producers Andy Massaua and Ben Kichen.”
WOLB, Baltimore Morning Host Larry Young Named TALKERS 2015 “Humanitarian of the Year.” Veteran radio talk show host and former Maryland State Senator Larry Young has been selected by the TALKERS magazine editorial board as this year’s recipient of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host. The prestigious honor – also known as “Humanitarian of the Year” — will be presented to Young during the Awards Presentation at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015. The presentation will be made by Carole Marks, CEO of Talk Media, Inc. WOLB, owned by Radio One, is an urban/talk-formatted station serving the Baltimore-area African American community. Young began his show and radio career on the station in 1998 hosting weekday mornings, 6:00 am to 10:00 am, after a turbulent and controversial career in Maryland state politics. Since then, he has accrued a number of honors celebrating his work in the community as a broadcaster including “Best Radio Station” by Baltimore City Paper in 2007, 2008 and again in 2009. He also has been the recipient of such awards as the 2007 Pinnacle Award presented by the American Development Consortium, the 2009 Ed Bradley Award presented by the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the 2011 Unsung Hero Award presented by the Grace Outreach fundraising committee and prestigious 2012 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award presented by the Greater Baltimore Urban League. Young, a longtime member of the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” is held in extremely high regard not only within the community served by WOLB, but by his co-workers as well. WOLB general manager Howard Mazer tells TALKERS, “Larry Young is the kindest and most helpful person I know. The word NO is not in his vocabulary. When anyone in the community calls Larry, he will go out of his way to help them. It does not matter the time or the day.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “I have had the personal pleasure of spending time with the folks at WOLB at the station’s community functions where I have witnessed this man in action first-hand and I must say – the work of Larry Young and the relationship he has with his listeners and co-workers is absolutely inspiring – makes me proud to be in radio. And it is not a single day, promotion or activity that we are talking about. Every moment of his work on and off the air involves the concepts of service and connection. Larry Young and WOLB are the very essence of ‘community’ as it applies to radio.” Talkers New York 2015 – the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention — takes place on Friday, June 12. As of today’s posting, it is 75% sold out. For complete agenda details and registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please click here.
Salem-Owned WIND, Chicago Debuts New Program Schedule; Dave Ramsey to Join the Station in June. The Chicago secular news/talk outlet WIND “AM 560 The Answer” announces its lineup changes that take effect on both Monday, March 30 and Monday, June 1 of this year. WIND has made official the addition of Dan Proft as permanent morning co-host, alongside Amy Jacobson, in which the duo will host the newly created, “Chicago’s Morning Answer,” from 5:00 am to 9:00 am. Station general manager Jeff Reisman comments, “Dan Proft is the perfect addition to our lineup. As the only talk radio station in Chicago dedicated to talking about politics, current events, and breaking news, Dan Proft provides the kind of analysis and insight that our audience has come to expect from us. ‘Chicago’s Morning Answer’ will be the go-to place in Chicago to get up to speed on what’s happening in the world each morning.” Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher will be added to the station’s lineup airing live from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Dennis Prager will follow from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, replacing Dennis Miller. Then, on June 1, nationally syndicated superstar Dave Ramsey will begin airing in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot, immediately following the Joe Walsh program that will air from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Finally, “This Morning with Gordon Deal,” (syndicated by Compass Media Networks) will debut on March 30 in the 4:00 am to 5:00 am slot.
Michael Harrison and Norm Pattiz Discuss a Wide Spectrum of Media Issues on PodcastOne. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and PodcastOne founder/CEO Norm Pattiz engage in an illuminating conversation about media and its impact on society in the third and latest installment of the podcast series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” The two iconoclastic media figures draw upon their radio industry experience and 38-year friendship in tackling such issues as net neutrality; new advertising techniques; the impact of consolidation on radio; differences between radio and TV; the evolving state of journalism; the effect of fractionalization on the national consciousness, problems and changes in music radio and the burgeoning state of podcasting. To hear the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
KKOH, Reno APD Phil Parriott Dies in Auto Accident. Tragic news from the Cumulus Reno station group after news/talk KKOH, Reno assistant program director Phil Parriott died early on the morning of March 21 from injuries sustained in a car accident. Station staffers are saying Parriott was an extremely valuable member of their team who will be deeply missed by current and past co-workers who call him a friend. KKOH program director Dan Mason states, “We report tragedy in the news every day and can easily forget that real people are involved. We’re reminded of that as we mourn our friend and colleague today. Our thoughts and prayers are with Phil’s family during this difficult time.”
Greater Media Named ‘Best in Philly’ Again. For the fourth consecutive year, Greater Media’s radio properties have been named among the “Top Workplaces in Philadelphia” by Philly.com. Hundreds of companies take part in the survey, but only a select few companies are awarded top workplace. The Greater Media Philadelphia station group consists of rock WMMR; classic rock WMGK “102.9 MGK”; adult hits WBEN-FM “95.7 Ben FM”; and sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.” The evaluation for the “Top Workplaces” program was based entirely upon feedback from an employee survey conducted by Workplace Dynamics in the fall of 2014. Greater Media Philly VP and market manager John Fullam comments, “Great companies start with great employees. We are fortunate to have such an extraordinary team dedicated to serving Philadelphia, our listeners and advertising partners every day.”
2016 Presidential Prospects, U.S.-Iran Nuke Negotiations, Obama-Netanyahu Relationship, UVA Rape Investigation, Battle Against Militant Islam, Russian Military Aggression, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/23). The potential candidates for president in 2016; the controversy over the negotiations between the West and Iran over its nuclear program; the strained relationship between Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama and the recent Israeli elections; the police statement that it failed to find corroborating evidence in the Rolling Stone-reported UVA gang rape story; the militant Muslim organizations waging war in the Middle East and Africa; concern over Russia’s recent uptick in military maneuvers; and the weekend’s NCAA tourney action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dave Ramsey Surpasses 550 Affiliate Mark. Nationally syndicated financial talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey announces his program is now heard on more than 550 AM/FM affiliate stations and, according to the Ramsey organization, is heard by more than 8.5 million listeners weekly. “‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ is clearly positioned as the third largest talk radio show in the country behind only Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.” Vice president of Ramsey Media Brian Mayfield comments, “‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ continues to grow and make a difference in the radio world, as well as in the lives of our listeners.” Recently, the Dave Ramsey show experienced upgrades in a few major markets including moving to a live timeslot from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm on KTAR-FM, Phoenix and expanding the timeslot to 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm KEIB, Los Angeles. Beginning in February, the show will move to a live timeslot from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on KXNT, Las Vegas.
New AM Host and Talent Shuffle at KCMO, Kansas City. Talent moves will take effect on February 2 at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KCMO, Kansas City. Current morning drive personality Greg Knapp is moving to afternoon drive and new in the morning slot will be Rob Carson. At the same time, WMAL, Washington personality Chris Plante will also air on Kansas City on KCMO in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. The rest of the schedule will be: Dave Ramsey from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm; Michael Savage from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm; Mark Levin following Knapp from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm and John Batchelor airing from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Cumulus Kansas City SVP and general manager Mark Sullivan says, “I’m thrilled to have two of the industry’s best joining our lineup. I’m anxious to hear Rob Carson and Chris Plante on our airwaves and I’m sure that Kansas City is going to feel as strongly about their talent to entertain and inform as I am. I’m also pleased to have Greg Knapp hosting our afternoons, as his dynamic and in-depth discussions keep me glued to the radio and I know that the local presence that he brings will be outstanding. These are exciting times here at the broadcast center!” Carson comments, “This is a real homecoming for me and my family. We’ve been away from Missouri too long, and it’s a real blessing to get a spot on one of the country’s premiere talkers, KCMO. I’m excited to join John Dickey, Mike McVay and Mark and [PD] Gary Nolan at Cumulus.”
Round Two of Holiday PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of Holiday 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. 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.
WTOP, Washington’s Dave McConnell Celebrates 50 Years with Station. WTOP, Washington reporter Dave McConnell began his career with the station on January 18, 1965. McConnell spent most of his career serving as Capitol Hill correspondent – a title he holds today that makes him the only full-time congressional correspondent for a local radio outlet in the country. WTOP news director Mike McMearty relates, “It is part of WTOP lore that while other kids were skipping school to see the Washington Senators play at Griffith Stadium, Dave was skipping school to hear the real Senators debate on Capitol Hill.” McMearty adds, “Dave McConnell is a class act. He’s a mixture of hustle, honesty and humbleness. Dave lets the members of congress express their point-of-view without inserting opinion or commentary. He is, and has always been known as, an honest broker. I consider it an honor to have worked with him for more than 20 years of his illustrious career.” Even after 50 years, McConnell has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Odds & Sods. Financial talker Ray Lucia inks a deal with BizTV and BizTalkRadio for the companies to exclusively produce and syndicate his programs. As part of the new agreement, the national radio show expands to two hours airing live from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET…..In addition to the almost 400 AM/FM affiliate stations that aired ESPN Audio’s broadcast of the College Football Playoff Championship on January 12, the sports giant reports that the game averaged 69,000 listeners in the average minute across network and affiliate streams. The ESPN Audio Streaming Network audience (including the ESPN Radio website and mobile app, the SportsCenter mobile app, Tune In Radio, Slacker Radio, and Apple iTunes Radio) grew 103% from last year’s BCS National Championship game. The 69,000 listeners is the third-highest network stream in history, trailing only two 2014 FIFA World Cup matches.
Cool Job Opportunity. Legendary KFBK, Sacramento has an immediate opening for a full-time morning news co-anchor and writer. Our ideal candidate has strong news broadcasting experience and is able to multi-task and take direction well. You will work alongside Amy Lewis, our long-term KFBK co-anchor, in a fast-paced, challenging and friendly environment. Must be an aggressive self-starter who can hit the ground running, cut up sound on the fly, report live from the street or in-house, love big breaking news, write conversationally, and stay on top of social media – all while creating and contributing daily content to the web and Facebook. You will need to be able to write short, tight copy, adlib well, anchor short-form newscasts or long-form event coverage when necessary, and understand news coverage in the digital/social media age. Conversational and credible on-air news delivery, creative broadcast news writing skills and the ability to communicate effectively are prerequisites for this position. You must be able to work under pressure in a fast-paced environment, meet deadlines, have a strong knowledge of current events and work positively as part of a team. For more information and to apply, click here.
Covering the State of the State. WKZO, Kalamazoo broadcast its Wayne Powers morning drive show live from the office of State Rep. Aric Nesbitt at the Michigan Capitol in Lansing yesterday (1/21) the morning after Governor Rick Snyder’s State of the State Address. The Midwest Communications news/talk station reports that it was able to talk with Michigan lawmakers and leaders from both parties throughout the morning, including Michigan Lt. Governor Brian Calley and Michigan House Speaker Kevin Cotter as well as local senators and representatives including Senators Margaret O’Brien, Tonya Schuitmaker and John Proos and Representatives Aric Nesbitt, Jon Hoadley, Brandt Iden and Dave Maturen. WKZO brand manager Jeremy Lawrence comments, “It is such a pleasure to be able to serve our listeners by talking with our leaders at the Capitol. Being that we are the eyes and ears of the listener, we value our ability to let them know what is happening in our government.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Nesbitt, Maturen, O’Brien, Schuitmaker, Cotter, Lawrence, Midwest Communications VP/Market manager Mike Klein, and (seated) Powers.
State of the Union Address/Obama Tax Plan, ISIS Holds Japanese Men for Ransom, Abortion Legislation Debate, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ‘American Sniper’ Film Criticism, and the NFL’s Deflategate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/21). Tuesday’s State of the Union Address and President Obama’s tax proposal; the case of the Japanese nationals being held for ransom by ISIS; the GOP’s decision to drop new abortion legislation; the potential candidates for president in 2016; continuing criticism of the film “American Sniper”; and the controversy over deflated footballs used by the New England Patriots were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CBS RADIO Revenue Up 2%. When CBS Corp. announces its financial numbers, the focus is generally on television, its bread and butter. The corporation as a whole was down for the first quarter of 2014 – revenue dipped 2.27% compared to the same quarter a year ago on revenue of $3.86 billion – mostly as a result of CBS TV having had the 2013 Super Bowl and having two less NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship tournament games this year. Underneath it all, radio – part of the Local Broadcasting division that includes CBS TV O&O stations – was up 2% compared to the first quarter of 2013. During yesterday’s conference call with investors, CEO Les Moonves said the radio division “had a good quarter with steady revenue growth in each month along the way and another strong performance by our CBS Sports Radio Network.”
Entercom Q1 2014 Net Revenue Flat. Revenue for the first quarter of 2014 was flat at $78.2 million compared to the same quarter in 2013 for Entercom Communications Corp. In a statement by CEO David Field, he says, “I am pleased to report that free cash flow increased 19% for the quarter. First quarter revenue was up excluding the effect of our non-renewal of Boston Celtics radio broadcasts, despite the unusually challenging winter weather that impacted many of our markets. We are increasingly enthusiastic about the radio industry’s future growth outlook based on a number of recent developments, most notably the release of the Nielsen Catalina study which showed radio generating outstanding ROI results across 10 major national brands, significantly outperforming other competitive media.”
Darryl Parks Named SVP of Simply Money Media. The Cincinnati-based financial advice firm Simply Money airs an hour-long talk radio show on Clear Channel’s WKRC, Cincinnati nightly from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and when Darryl Parks was still the PD there, he was instrumental in improving the quality of the show, writes the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter. Now, months after Parks’ VP of news talk operations position was eliminated by CC, Parks joins the financial firm founded by Nathan Bachrach and Ed Finke. Bachrach tells the paper Parks’ role is to “help us craft our message and work with all of our media partners – CNBC, The Enquirer, Fox 19 and Clear Channel.” Parks says, “While I had success doing radio in Cincinnati and other markets, future success will be defined by having expertise across all media. Simply Money Media allows me to use my skills in audio, but also the skills I had in television, digital and print.” Read Kiesewetter’s piece here.
Edison-Triton ‘Moms & Media 2014’ Spotlights Mobile Usage. The “Moms & Media 2014” data presented at the Thursday, May 8 webinar by Edison Research and Triton Digital was culled from the larger “Infinite Dial 2014” study presented by the firms in March. Much of what was presented was not surprising – but it put some hard numbers on what savvy media industry players already suspect. Primarily, it’s that “moms” – defined as a woman having a child under 18 living in her household – are very attached to their mobile devices and are relying on them more and more. Some stats: the majority of moms (59%) are 35+; 60% are employed either full or part time; and 69% own a smartphone (compared to 36% of moms who owned a smartphone in 2011). Some relevant stats for radio operators include: 30% of moms have ever listened to online radio (including AM/FM streams) using a smartphone through a car audio system; 56% have listened to online audio in the past month; and they averaged 12 hours and 4 minutes listening to online radio during the week previous to the study. Check out the slide presentation here.
Gender Analysis Study Released. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group (MIW) provides the data that is based on information from well over 11,000 AM and FM stations. According to the study, roughly 18% of those 11,000+ facilities had women general managers this past year, basically flat from 2012 (17.8% – 17.7%). By way of further comparison, it was 14.9% in 2004. Breaking it out by market size, 17.7% of managers in top 100 markets (virtually mirroring the entire sample) were female in 2013, versus 16.8% in 2012. Spokesperson Kay Olin notes that, “The MIWs have been analyzing and publishing gender numbers for the past 14 years. It is important to track the upward growth and impact of women’s leadership in radio. It is always encouraging to see the number of management opportunities grow. We all can make a difference through mentoring and nurturing future leadership.” For whatever reason, it is still easier to find female general managers than it is to locate women program directors. Figures from the past few years regarding women PDs remain fairly consistent – in the one in 10 range. The most recent numbers show females program 11% of all stations in the country; eight years ago, it was 10.7%. There is actually a bit of a year-to-year decline though when the numbers are separated in the top 100 markets only. Women in metros of that size could be found occupying programming chairs in 11% of cases in 2013, off from 11.8% in 2012.
McGavren Guild Names Quarm Dallas Region VP/DOS. Former Katz Radio Group senior account executive Julie Galley Quarm is appointed vice president/director of sales for McGavren Guild‘s Dallas office and will oversee all sales for the independent media rep firm’s clients in that part of the Lone Star State. President/chief executive officer Kevin Garrity declares, “This is a major hire for McGavren Guild and Genesis Media Holdings as we continue to build one of the strongest teams in radio sales. Julie is a very talented executive with great relationships and a stellar track record of developing new business. She will play an integral role in helping our client stations grow their revenue and share.” Quarm comments that, “Under the strong leadership of Kevin Garrity, McGavren Guild is a terrific company with a very bright future. It was an easy decision for me to be a part of the team that will grow key client relationships and develop new opportunities in the Dallas/Fort Worth region.” Prior to joining Katz Radio Group, Quarm was an Interep senior account executive; network account coordinator at Premiere Radio Networks; and senior scheduling coordinator at Nielsen Media Research.
McManus Seeing Major Fill-In Duty. San Antonio-based talk show host Adam McManus tells TALKERS he has been doing a ton of guest hosting lately. During spring break, he broadcast for Chris Krok on Cumulus-owned WBAP, Dallas in mid-March. Later that month he sat in for Joe Walsh on Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago. In addition to a recent fill-in gig for KTSA, San Antonio’s Sean Rima, McManus has been hosting the morning drive show on KTSA after the tragic death of morning personality Trey Ware’s son Justin. Reach out to McManus at TalkRadioAdam@gmail.com.
Odds & Sods. WTAG, Worcester morning drive host Paul Westcott fills in this evening (5/9) on Premiere Networks‘ “America Now with Andy Dean.”…..At Rocking M Radio, Will Sterrett comes aboard to serve as corporate news director. He’ll work from home base country/farm KXXX, Colby, Kansas where he’ll also be news director. Sterrett was most recently an anchor at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KCMO, Kansas City…..The New York Daily News is reporting that Spero Dedes will not return as the voice of New York Knicks basketball on ESPN O&O WEPN-FM, New York. His contract was not renewed by MSG Network. He joined the Knicks in 2011 after working for the Los Angeles Lakers…..Joining the affiliate relations team at America’s Talk Radio Network is David Reeder. His previous experience includes managing the radio group Marsh Broadcasting and serving as VP/GM at USA Radio Network…..“America Tonight” personality Kate Delaney sits in for GCN-syndicated Jason Lewis on Monday, May 12.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the weekend program schedule at KMYC, Yuba City, California and KLID, Poplar Bluff, Missouri adds the weeknight edition of the program…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney is added to the program schedule at WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina.
Boomer & Pals Celebrate NFL Draft. A big party was thrown by WestwoodOne at Boomer Esiason’s Stadium Grill at Bowlmor Lanes in Times Square, New York City on Thursday evening prior to the beginning of the 2014 NFL Draft. In addition to serving as analyst on WestwoodOne’s coverage of Monday Night Football, Esiason is also morning drive co-host on CBS RADIO’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York alongside Craig Carton. Pictured here are (from left to right): Esiason, WestwoodOne sports announcers Scott Graham and James Lofton.
Climate Change/New Power Plant Regulations Top News/Talk Stories for Week of May 5-9. Stiffer power plant emissions regulations and the controversy over climate change were the two stories that tied for most-talked-about on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was the Monica Lewinsky Vanity Fair article. At #3 was the potential 2016 presidential candidates tied with mid-term election chatter and following at #4 was the Boko Haram kidnappings. 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 the entire chart here.
By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
KANSAS CITY — When you’re in radio and you lose your job, in almost all cases you begin looking for another job at another radio station, whether it’s in the same city or another market. For some, the intrigue of the internet brings them to the digital frontier. If the choice becomes the digital divide, then the question then becomes, “How can you make money?”
For that answer, you can ask “Radio George.”
Clear Channel’s WMMS-FM, Cleveland Disciplines Morning Talent for Off-Color Comment. “Rover’s Morning Glory” cast member Dominic Dieter has been disciplined in response to comments made on the morning show – though the extent of the discipline is not known. A father e-mailed the show stating he saw his daughter kissing another girl and asked what he should do. Dieter responded he should have a friend “screw [her] straight.” For obvious reasons, a bad joke about raping a young woman in response to her possible homosexuality raised the ire of some listeners and caught the attention of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. To the credit of CC’s local management, it acted quickly. The station met immediately with GLAAD representatives, took Dieter off the air (for how long has yet to be determined) and had him record an apology which included the following. “I want to genuinely apologize to anyone who may have been offended by what I said. I regret what I did say. My comments were inappropriate. They were inexcusable, and just downright stupid. And I want to make it clear; there was absolutely no intention to promote physical or sexual violence.” CC Cleveland operations manager Keith Abrams stated to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “We take matters of this nature very seriously; his comment was thoughtless and unacceptable, and we apologize to those who were offended. We can assure you the appropriate disciplinary action has been taken, and Dieter has since apologized on air and is fully aware that what he said was unacceptable. We also want you to be aware that during Friday’s broadcast, he was in fact immediately criticized on-air by the other hosts of the show, and the rest of the segment was dedicated to a productive discussion about the acceptance of all lifestyles. It included call-ins and commentary from members and friends of the gay community. WMMS supports the gay community and again, we deeply apologize.” GLAAD’s Aaron McQuade tells the paper the station has also invited the gay rights group Equality Ohio to join its community advisory board.
Cumulus Media and Townsquare Media Pull Off Big Deal. This deal gives each side what it wanted but it reportedly took about a year to finalize. Here’s who gets what: Townsquare Media gives its stations in Peoria, Illinois and Bloomington, Illinois to Cumulus plus $116 million while getting from Cumulus the stations in 11 small markets – Kileen-Temple, Texas; New Bedford, Massachusetts; Odessa-Midland, Texas; Binghamton, New York; Bangor, Maine; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Grand Junction, Colorado; Augusta-Waterville, Maine; Bismarck, North Dakota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Presque Isle, Maine. Industry watchers are noting that Cumulus is very happy to get the cash infusion it needs after spending $2.4 billion on the Citadel deal and Townsquare Media is happy to focus on the local aspect of small and mid-size market radio.
Cumulus Media’s News/Talk KCMO, Kansas City Adds FM Signal. Kansas City news/talker KCMO begins an FM simulcast on 103.7 – a translator that had been simulcasting the company’s classic rock KCFX-FM. The signal is 250 watts but covers the heart of the Kansas City metro. Cumulus Kansas City SVP and market manager Mark Sullivan states, “This is an exciting day for KCMO Talk Radio as it provides us a platform to continue to be successful into the future.” In a statement, the company notes that John Dickey, co-chief operating officer for Cumulus commented in a recent article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle that “having this format on FM is really the future!”
Courtside Entertainment Group Adds Dr. Drew Feature to WTOP, Washington. The “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew” finds a home on Hubbard Broadcasting’s major market WTOP, Washington. DC joins New York, Los Angeles and Chicago in receiving Dr. Drew Pinsky’s latest media project – 60-second commentaries covering relationship advice and hot topics plus the latest news from the medical world. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo states, “In addition to breaking news, Campaign 2012, traffic, and weather coverage, WTOP brings listeners useful and relevant information on health, relationships, and consumer issues. Dr. Drew offers practical, actionable content that’s appointment listening on WTOP.”
Greater Media’s Philly Sports Combo Grabs NHL’s Flyers for Multi-Year Deal. There’s an aggressive acquisition of play-by-play rights going on in Philadelphia as Greater Media’s sports talk combo – WPEN-FM 97.5 The Fanatic and WPEN-AM 950 ESPN Radio – adds Flyers hockey to their programming beginning with the 2012-2013 season. This comes just days after the stations grabbed 76ers basketball from CBS Radio’s crosstown WIP. Flyers games will be broadcast on both sports outlets and a few will air on rock WMMR-FM. Comcast-Spectacor (Flyers owner) president Peter Luukko says, “We’re thrilled to be working with a partner that is 100% committed and excited about the Philadelphia Flyers. We’re also happy that the Sixers have moved over to Greater Media Philadelphia along with us. Greater Media is an incredible partner that offers extensive promotional support for the Flyers on all their stations.”
CBS Radio Violated Sixers Contract Reports Philly Daily News. The reason Greater Media was able to snag the 76ers for the playoffs this year though CBS Radio had the rights to the team’s play-by-play throughout this season is because CBS violated the contract, according to the Philadelphia Daily News’ Dan Gross. The paper reports CBS Radio failed to give the Sixers proper notice before bumping an April 3 game to classic hits WOGL-FM. Gross writes that after the deal with Greater Media was consummated, Sixers CEO Adam Aron stated, “The Sixers’ rapidly growing fan base will no longer have to set their radios to ‘scan’ to find where their Sixers will be aired.” CBS Radio market manager Marc Rayfield told the paper the two sides parted ways amicably.
Michael Harrison Set to Address 2012 Radio Show on State of Talk Radio. In what has become an industry tradition running more than a decade, TALKERS magazine founder and publisher Michael Harrison will again deliver the annual “State of Talk Radio” address at the NAB/RAB Radio Show. Harrison will speak on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:30 am and 11:45 am at a special Info-Session sponsored by TALKERS. The national conference will take place this year September, 19-21 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas. Harrison’s address is open to all 2012 Radio Show registrants.
Rush Limbaugh Helps Raise $3.3 Million for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh dedicated three hours of his nationally syndicated talk show on April 13 to raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Including a personal donation of $400,000, as of April 20 the cure-a-thon has brought in pledges of $3.3 million. This is the 22nd year Limbaugh’s program has held the cure-a-thon and has helped raise more than $34 million for the organization during that time.
Federated Media to Add FM Simulcast to Sports WKJG, Fort Wayne. Beginning June 4, Federated Media will flip Froggy 106.7 — WFGA-FM, Ft. Wayne (licensed to Hicksville, Ohio) to sports simulcasting WKJG – ESPN 1380. At that time the station will also add a local PM drive show featuring sister rock WBYR-FM operations manager Stiller and WKJG PD and WOWO APD Brian LaMartina. Federated Media COO Mark DePrez states, “The Stiller and Brian show is the first step toward combining the world renowned ESPN brand with an increased local connection. Peter Drucker said concentration is the key to all economic success. In Fort Wayne, we have gone from seven to five brands to serve this community more effectively, efficiently and most importantly more profitably. It sounds cliché but it is true that when one door closes another opens. We salute the staff of Froggy 106.7 for their years of dedication and commitment to community radio.”
2012 Presidential Race, Escaped Chinese Activist, EPA vs Oil and Gas Industries, White House Correspondents Dinner, and Bin Laden Death Anniversary Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30). The 2012 presidential campaign; the case of escaped Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng on the eve of visit to China by Hillary Clinton; EPA administrator resigns after comments about making an example of oil and gas companies; the aftermath of the White House Correspondents Dinner; and the anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Dr. Daliah Wachs Helps Organization Raise $17, 000 for Autism Charity. Las Vegas-based nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs helped the Finding Autistic Solutions for Tomorrow organization raise some $17, 000 during its FAST for Kids Gala on April 28 at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. The event was hosted by local Fox TV news personalities Heidi Hayes and Ted Pretty. Pictured here is Dr. Daliah Wachs (l) promoting the fundraiser on Fox 5 News.