WPRO-AM, Providence Talk Host Buddy Cianci Dead at 74. The colorful former Providence mayor who turned his political experience into a talk radio career in the city has died, according to WPRI-TV, Providence. Buddy Cianci – diagnosed with colon cancer in 2014 – died at Providence’s Miriam Hospital early today (1/28). Cianci hosted the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program on Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM. He was with the station for most of the past 10 years, taking a required break from his radio gig to again run for mayor in 2014 and returning after his defeat in the election. His first foray into talk radio took place between his two stints as mayor at iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talker WHJJ. WRKO, Boston-based, independently syndicated talk radio star Howie Carr issued the following statement regarding Cianci’s death: “Buddy Cianci was the antithesis of political correctness, which is why his passing is such a great loss for Providence, the state of Rhode Island, and talk radio. They’re not making them like Buddy anymore. He was one of a kind, sui generis.”
Talk Programmer Jack Landreth Exits KMBZ, Kansas City PD Post. Talk radio pro Jack Landreth leaves the program director position at Entercom’s Kansas City talk duo KMBZ-FM and KMBZ-AM “Talk980.” Landreth arrived in KC in January of 2012 after programming such news/talk outlets as KXNT, Las Vegas and KTSA, San Antonio. He writes in a memo to his staff, “I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished over the last four years as a team. Record ratings in our target demos have shattered all we thought we could do.” He can be emailed at: Jack.Landreth@me.com.
Odds & Sods. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WABC, New York adds “The Frommer Travel Show” to its Saturday programming schedule. The show, featuring Frommer Media co-president and editorial director Pauline Frommer and Frommers.com editor-in-chief Jason Cochran, will be locally produced and air from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..The weekly “Motley Fool Money” radio program with host Chris Hill adds new affiliate KVBR, Brainerd, Minnesota “Brainerd Business Radio” beginning this weekend…..CBS RADIO’s Pittsburgh station group is presenting its eat.drink.WESTMORELAND event this Saturday (1/30). Attendees get to enjoy samples from more than a dozen of Westmoreland County’s finest restaurants plus new products, wines, beers and more. News/talk KDKA-AM afternoon drive co-host Robert Mangino is serving as emcee.
Presidential Race/Trump to Skip GOP Debate, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Volatility, European Immigrant Issues, Joseph Fiennes-Michael Jackson Flap, Oregon Militia Standoff, and Run-Up to Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27). The activities of the candidates for president, highlighted by Donald Trump’s refusal to participate in tonight’s Fox News Channel debate; low oil prices and the tumultuous world financial markets; the immigrant problems facing some European nations; the controversy over white actor Joseph Fiennes being cast in a film about Michael Jackson; the deadly turn of events in the Oregon Wildlife Preserve militia standoff; and the run-up to Super Bowl 50 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WGN, Chicago Extends Blackhawks Broadcast Deal for Five More Years. Chicago news/talker WGN and the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks announce the signing of a five-year contract extension to keep Blackhawks play-by-play on the Tribune station through the 2023-24 season. The Blackhawks have been heard on WGN since the 2008-09 campaign. WGN president and general manager Jimmy de Castro states, “Many, myself included, believe that WGN Radio and the Chicago Blackhawks have the best partnership in sports. This renewal is testament to that. It’s an honor to formally extend this relationship and we look forward to celebrating many more Blackhawks wins with our WGN Radio listeners.” Pictured here are (from l-r): sports director Dave Eanet, producer Ross Cochran, news anchor Andrea Darlas, director of sales Jeff Hill, director of marketing Jackie Paulus, programming director Todd Manley, morning show host Steve Cochran, and de Castro.
Beasley Seeing Red Over Second Straight Month of Delisting for WBRN, Tampa. The Tampa talk/rock hybrid that features Bubba the Love Sponge in morning drive was delisted from the September PPM survey by Nielsen Audio after independent contractor Bubba (a.k.a. Todd Clem) admitted to tampering with the PPM panel. WBRN “Bubba 98.7” owner Beasley Media Group absorbed that blow even though Nielsen Audio admitted that the panelist in question did not affect the ratings because he was found out in time for the September report. Now, however, Beasley is upset with Nielsen’s decision to delist WBRN from the October PPM survey as well. BMG president Bruce Beasley states, “Since the initial incident was reported to Beasley Media, we have had a constructive dialog with Nielsen as we were also victimized by Mr. Clem’s actions. We instituted remedial actions against Mr. Clem which had been reviewed in advance by Nielsen. As Nielsen itself acknowledged, we cooperated fully with Nielsen to ensure the accuracy of their past and forthcoming ratings. Therefore, we were blind-sided and disappointed to learn today (11/2) that Nielsen Audio will exclude WBRN-FM from the October 2015 ratings. Nielsen has not shared with us, its longstanding client, any specific evidence of ratings distortion which could have had any impact on the October 2015 Ratings Report, thus suggesting that this action is related solely to the ongoing litigation between Nielsen and Mr. Clem. The fallout from this dispute may inflict collateral damage on Beasley, which, indisputably, has done nothing wrong.” The litigation Beasley refers to is Nielsen’s $1 million dollar suit against Bubba for “damages” suffered by Nielsen as a result of Bubba’s ratings tampering actions. With the release of the Tampa October 2015 PPM data, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian’s “Takeaways” from the Tampa market are available here.
The State of Women on Talk Radio: Part 2. Today (11/3), TALKERS magazine continues its multi-part story looking at the status of women on talk radio in 2015. Written by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, it addresses one of the most-asked questions TALKERS editors hear: Why aren’t there more women on talk radio? Today we explore the question: Is it blatant bias? Karen Hunter, an author/journalist, Hunter College professor and SiriusXM Urban View talk personality, says culture is a large part of it. “The men who are in charge of hiring primarily see women as only tackling topics that are women-oriented — domestic issues, relationships, child-rearing, shopping, cooking, etc. When the reality is that many women are heads of households and are making the tough decisions daily that men make. They are bosses and managers and leaders whose view of the world is as important as a man’s.” WCRS, Greenwood, South Carolina owner and air personality Anne Eller adds more to the culture response. Historically, “from station owners, to station managers to talk show hosts to disc jockeys, men were out front and women were in support roles…I do believe all this is changing, but I believe our culture has been the reason.” Eller says where she is in the South, the woman as the boss is a challenging role. “In the South particularly, women that are leaders are not given the support they need by other women and in my role as a talk show host, quite often, I hear other women say, ‘Who does she think she is?’ It is a fine line between being ‘boss bitch’ and a female person.” In this installment, we also hear from Greater Media Boston market manager Phil Zachary and Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen. Read the entire piece here.
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Celebrates 95 Years Today. Today marks the 95th anniversary of the KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh broadcast of the 1920 presidential election results between Democrat James Cox and Republican Warren Harding. The CBS RADIO-owned news/talk station is celebrating with a live broadcast from the Senator John Heinz History Center through 8:00 pm this evening. Westinghouse Electric Company, KDKA’s original founder and owner, will sponsor the event. The “KDKA Afternoon News,” hosted by Robert Mangino and Shelley Duffy will broadcast live from the Heinz History Center from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Current KDKA staff, talent and past personalities will attend the celebration. KDKA host Mike Pintek, who came to KDKA in 1982, will serve as master of ceremonies during which Westinghouse SVP of communications Cassie Hagen will showcase the Westinghouse contribution to the radio industry. Most radio people are aware that Westinghouse launched the world’s “first broadcast” delivering the 1920 election results. Plans were finalized with the Pittsburgh Post to acquire election returns by telephone. The election night broadcast began at 6:00 pm from a shack on the roof of the K Building of the Westinghouse Electric Company “East Pittsburgh Works” in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania.
Champagne Toasts, Dinner and Big Names Turned Out Last Night (11/2) for the Dedication of the Hillsdale College Boyle Radio Studio in DC. Talk radio is alive and well and ready for future generations — thanks, in large part, to Hillsdale College. The Michigan-based liberal arts school is rooted in educating young people about the United States Constitution and the principles that give it meaning. And it’s betting on talk radio to be a driving force for free speech for generations to come. The independent college charted a course last night with the dedication of its new state-of-the-art Boyle Radio Studio, just a stone’s throw from the US Capitol on Massachusetts Avenue. The full-service facility is now officially part of the school’s extension in Washington, DC – The Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship. The Monday night celebration included some big names turning out to show their support. Among them, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and US Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), who were also guests on Salem Radio Networks host Hugh Hewitt’s show. Hewitt inaugurated the Boyle Radio Studio with a live broadcast of his three-hour nationally syndicated program. With a lit up Capitol viewed from the school’s balcony, guests enjoyed a front row seat to Hewitt’s live broadcast, as well as dinner and tours of the facility. The evening activities capped off a full day of events that included two key presentations – “America’s Crisis of Constitutionalism” by Matthew Spalding, associate VP and dean of educational programs, the Kirby Center; and “The Future of Political Journalism” by John J. Miller, director, Dow Journalism Program. These were followed by a tour of the nearby Newseum in the nation’s capital. Speaker Ryan was very upbeat as he breezed through the crowd and shook hands before and after his radio interview with Hewitt. Ryan told the crowd he’s a huge fan of Hillsdale College and the Kirby Center stating, “They’re doing a fantastic job of teaching young Americans about our constitution and our founding principles.” Also in attendance was Bold Gold Media Group’s dynamic president/chief executive officer Vince Benedetto, a man described by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as “one of the most promising up-and-coming young radio group owners in the nation – the kind of individual who gives this industry hope for the future.” An active supporter of Hillsdale College and its passion for promoting talk radio and the Constitution, Benedetto, whose foundation funded Hillsdale’s brand new on-campus low-power radio station, WRFH 101.7 FM, and is contributing toward the DC extension, sees talk radio as the modern day town hall. He tells TALKERS, “I think the way to get more young people tuned into radio is to have more young people in radio. And so that’s what this is all about. It’s to create a ‘bench’ that we don’t have right now.” The full-service studio in Washington, DC won’t only be a place for students to learn their skills, it will also serve as a venue for out-of-town radio hosts to broadcast their shows free of charge when they’re in Washington. Details to come on how broadcasters can utilize this service to the industry. TALKERS has also entered into an agreement with Hillsdale’s Kirby Center as a DC location to produce and present occasional forums for on-air personalities and political figures to discuss the hottest issues of public policy. Harrison says, “We are thrilled to be able to look forward to re-instituting our series of Washington, DC-based forums that were so successful back in the 1990s with so distinguished a partner as Hillsdale College in 2016.” Hewitt, a huge fan of the school’s mission and a longtime friend with the school’s passionate president Larry Arnn plans to spend a lot of time there as well, telling TALKERS, “Whenever I’m in town, this is where I’m going to be broadcasting from. I’m very grateful to be a partner with Hillsdale College.”
DGital Media Partners with Stand Up NY Labs to form Comedy Voices Audio Network. The goal of this joint venture between Spencer Brown and David Landau-led DGital Media and Upper West Side comedy club Stand Up NY is to “produce, market and distribute original comedy programming.” Stand Up NY Labs is already producing comedy podcasts with A-list comics and this deal means DGital “will now have full production facilities in New York and will be involved in the production, distribution, marketing, events and sales of the existing audio platform as well as developing new content and events with the Stand Up NY comedy club.” Coming aboard DGital as vice president of the Comedy Voices division is John McDermott, who’s served as VP Comedy & Entertainment for SiriusXM. DGital chief content officer Chris Corcoran states, “We intend to build the leading digital audio platform in comedy with Stand Up NY Labs, which was conceived literally on top of legendary comedy club Stand Up NY.”
Mid-West Family Broadcasting Buys Four in South Bend Market. Through its affiliate WSJM, Inc., Mid-West Family Broadcasting is purchasing four radio stations and a translator in the South Bend, Indiana market from Gray Television Group for $5.5 million. The four stations – adult contemporary WNSN-FM, news/talk WSBT-AM, classic hits WZOC-FM, country WHFB-FM and translator W241AD (96.1 FM) – are currently pending acquisition by Gray from Schurz Communications.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated radio star and founder of TheBlaze media platform Glenn Beck is asking the Republican National Committee to consider TheBlaze TV as host of the ninth scheduled GOP presidential debate on February 26, 2016 in Houston. Beck says his network is “prepared to produce a new kind of debate, in both substance and distribution.” Beck would host the debate and – instead of journalists asking questions of the candidates – he “would invite the greatest new conservative thinkers and media voices in the country to question the candidates.”…..There’s a change in corporate structure at Nielsen Holdings. The company is eliminating the chief operating officer effective January 1, 2016 and current COO Brian West is resigning his post, effective December 31…..Salem Media Group acquires the financial website DividendYieldHunter.com. The company is adding that to its current portfolio of publications targeting investors under the Eagle Financial Publications banner. Eagle currently publishes products and services written by investment experts Mark Skousen, Doug Fabian, Nicholas Vardy, Bryan Perry and Chris Versace. Eagle also has three other financial websites: EagleDailyInvestor.com, DividendInvestor.com and ETFU.com…..Internet audio service Pandora strikes a deal with American Public Media to serve as the exclusive streaming partner for the podcast “Serial.” The relationship means not only will Pandora stream season two of “Serial,” but it will also stream APM’s “This American Life” and offer season one of “Serial” on demand. The launch date for season two remains a secret.
Lundgren: A Laptop and a Mic Don’t Make You a Broadcaster. KCAA, Loma Linda founder and owner Fred Lundgren says he’s not against digital technology — or even podcasting — but he bristles at the notion that uploading or streaming to the internet is equivalent to (or better than!) broadcasting via AM/FM radio. Read Fred Lundgren’s opinion piece here.
WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall and Co-Workers Enjoy Royals Series Win. Even though he wakes up mostly Phillies fans each weekday morning on CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Chris Stigall is true to his hometown Kansas City Royals. He tells TALKERS magazine that he and his WPHT co-workers enjoyed watching the clinching game five at Citi Field on Sunday night. He says the Mets fans were gracious and they had a blast. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Stigall, WPHT PD Jared Hart, program executive producer Michael Cerio and WPHT news anchor and Stigall sidekick Paige Powers (also a KC native).
Obama Deficit/New Budget Deal, Russian Airliner Crash, 2016 Presidential Race, European Migrant Troubles/U.S. Immigration Policy, U.S.-Russia Military Tensions, Syria-ISIS Violence, Fred Thompson Dies, NFL Action, and Royals Win World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/2). The new, two-year budget deal and the Obama Administration’s raising the debt ceiling; the controversial crash of a Russian airliner in the Sinai Desert; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the aftermath of last week’s GOP primary debate on CNBC; ongoing migrant issues in Europe and debate over immigration policy in the U.S.; military tensions between the U.S. and Russia; the Syrian civil conflict and ISIS activity; actor, politician and radio host Fred Thompson dies; the weekend’s NFL action and the Kansas City Royals’ victory over the New York Mets to win the 2015 World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Levin (Again) Lands At #1. Syndicated talk host Mark Levin’s “Plunder and Deceit” will reportedly debut at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list across all three categories of hardcover nonfiction, e-book nonfiction, and the combined list. This will be his fourth consecutive #1 New York Times bestseller. One of Levin’s previous books, “Liberty and Tyranny,” spent 38 weeks on that bestseller list and sold over one million copies. In a statement to Breitbart News, however, Levin emphasizes that he doesn’t “write books for The New York Times – I write them for people who love their country, want to learn about their country, and want to save their country. ‘Plunder and Deceit’ is a particularly important book. It is intended to stir the citizenry, particularly younger people, to understand what big government is doing to them and how its policies are destroying their liberty and prosperity.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison asked Levin, “What is the key to your success as a best-selling author so we can share it with other talk hosts who write books.” Levin immediately acknowledged that he is not the only accomplished author among the ranks of radio talk show hosts – then added, “It takes me a year or more to write a book. It involves extensive research and scholarship. You have to be willing to commit a lot of time to it — most weekends, early mornings, and late nights. I don’t have ghostwriters or co-authors, etc. There’s a difference between being an author and having your name on a book.” Landmark Legal Foundation president Levin is syndicated through Cumulus Media‘s Westwood One; “Plunder and Deceit” was released last Tuesday (8/4).
Hoping His Herd Heads with Him to Fox, Premiere. Speculation has become reality now that one of the worst-kept secrets in recent history is official: After a 12-year association with ESPN (the last two days there being controversial owing to his on-air comments questioning the intelligence of Dominican ballplayers), Colin Cowherd will indeed join Fox Sports and Premiere Networks in just over three weeks (Tuesday, 9/8). That is when he will begin hosting “The Herd,” a three-hour program, which will air simultaneously on Fox Sports Radio Network and Fox Sports1 (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm, Eastern). Fox Sports Radio is produced/distributed by Fox Sports and iHeartMedia subsidiary Premiere Networks. “Colin is one of the most powerful and talented personalities in sports media today,” asserts Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. “His addition to Premiere’s lineup demonstrates our continued commitment to reaching diverse audiences with the best talent the industry has to offer. We are excited to join with Fox Sports in bringing Colin’s passionate and engaging brand of sports entertainment to millions of people across multiple platforms. By leveraging our combined reach, we’ll have the opportunity to connect with more sports fans than ever before, while delivering unmatched results for our partners.” Cowherd states that, “It is hard to put into words how much fun it is for me, as a broadcaster, to build something with really smart, talented people. I cannot wait for this next chapter in my career to start. Fox Sports is the perfect spot for me at this time in my life.” On Sunday mornings during the NFL season, Cowherd will be part of the Fox-TV “NFL Kickoff” crew. According to Fox Sports national networks president Jamie Horowitz, “Colin is the first person I hired for my first daily studio show at ESPN, so it’s fitting that he’s the first one I’m hiring at FS1. Colin is a unique voice in sports media with a loyal following of fans. We are looking forward to building our daytime programming around him.” Before joining ESPN, Cowherd did a morning drive sports show on KFXX, Portland; was sports anchor at WTVT-TV, Tampa; and sports director of Las Vegas TV station KVBC. He began his career as the play-by-play voice for the Pacific Coast League’s Las Vegas Stars.
Alpha Media and Robbins & Markley Ink Multi-Year Renewal. Heard weekdays on talk siblings KXL, Portland (9:00 am – 12:00 noon) and WMBD, Peoria, Illinois (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm), Scott Robbins and Jamie Markley extend their deal with parent company Alpha Media. Executive vice president of programming, Scott Mahalick states, “Robbins and Markley bring a contemporary style and entertaining flare that connects with the audience in a big way – we are proud they are on our winning team.” Alpha Media Portland senior vice president/market manager Milt McConnell notes, “Robbins and Markley have made a tremendous showing in Portland. Scott and Jamie are two of the best communicators in our business, and we are thrilled to have them for years to come.” Meanwhile, Alpha Media Peoria market manager Mike Wild remarks, “Scott and Jamie reflect real-life, day-to-day; they are [two] of the most genuine personalities anywhere. Their chemistry is unique and they both have an amazing sense for content. The show is a completely fresh approach to talk radio.”
Circle Next Thursday as National Radio Day. Especially when considering that some offbeat things – including specific foods – somehow garner their own special day, it is rather odd that there has not heretofore been a border-to-border celebration dedicated to the medium of radio. That will change one week from today (Thursday, 8/20) when non-commercial radio stations in more than 30 U.S. cities will participate in Seattle-based “not-just-for-profit social enterprise” Brown Paper Tickets’-formulated “National Radio Day.” This year, the FCC has awarded construction permits to nearly 2,000 low-power FMs and as National Radio Day “lead organizer” Sabrina Roach explains, “This is a great opportunity to get to know the new low-power stations by working on a common project together. A low-power FM is like community glue. These new media outlets can become powerful resources that help neighbors to organize, share, and find solutions together. I wanted to introduce an opportunity for all kinds of non-commercial stations to work together and to engage their communities by celebrating radio with listeners and independent producers.” Stations can promote National Radio Day (August 20 is also “National Lemonade Day”) on social media using the hash tag “#NationalRadioDay.” Brown Paper Tickets will provide promotional assistance and support for National Radio Day events organized by all participating U.S. stations. By the way, the significance of choosing August 20 as National Radio Day (which has actually been observed since the early-1990s) is to honor the day in 1920 that Detroit news station 8MK (now CBS Radio-owned WWJ – and still all-news) was licensed by the FCC. On August 31, 1920, 8MK aired the first news radio broadcast featuring local election results. WWJ’s Pittsburgh sibling KDKA-AM debuted on November 20, 1920 and, of course, has long claimed to be the “world’s first commercial radio station.”
NBC Selects Seacrest to Host Late-Night Rio Coverage. With less than a year to go until the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, NBC-TV announces that its host of live late-night coverage will be KIIS “Kiss-FM,” Los Angeles morning personality/”American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest. During the 2012 London Games, Seacrest was a correspondent and he co-hosted the closing ceremony. NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell promises that, “The late-night atmosphere will be electric. We are thrilled to have Ryan Seacrest in the middle of it all capturing Rio’s unique flavor, talking to Olympic athletes, and telling the stories of the day.” Seacrest reflects, “Joining the NBC Olympics team at the 2012 London Games was an exhilarating experience. I appreciate Jim Bell’s confidence, along with everyone at NBC Sports. I can’t wait to reunite with the team of broadcasters and producers for the 2016 Rio Olympics, and I look forward to hosting the live late night show.” Bob Costas hosted NBC’s primetime and late-night Olympic coverage at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and he has been primetime host for every NBC-covered Olympic Games since 1992. Mary Carillo previously hosted Olympics late-night coverage. The Summer Games from Rio begin August 5, 2016.
Answers From a Presidential Hopeful. During his visit to Arkansas’ GOP headquarters, Republican presidential candidate/junior Texas senator Ted Cruz did on on-air interview with KHTE “The Answer,” Little Rock afternoon drive host Dave Elswick. The two commemorate the occasion with a selfie.
Ready for his Close-up. Part of the enjoyment industry people derive when watching television shows or movies is trying to identify an announcer’s voice when the radio plays in the background, or spotting radio talents used as “extras.” In the country’s #7 film this week, “Rikki and The Flash,” Meryl Streep’s rock singer character struggles and fumbles operating a cash register as a part-time checkout clerk. The camera catches fellow employee “Chris” grimacing at the next register. Portraying “Chris” is Salem Radio Network east coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh, who shot his scenes in Westchester County, New York. Advanced film buffs might recognize Bligh from his appearances in “A Beautiful Mind,” Cloverfield,” and “Man on a Ledge.”
Odds & Sods. Two sports programming notes from SiriusXM that take effect next Tuesday (8/18). Former University of Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke will host – alongside Mark Packer – SiriusXM “College Sports Today” twice a week (9:00 am – 12:00 pm ET) throughout the college football season. In addition, former PGA tour professional/television analyst Mark Lye will join radio personality Bruce Murray on the satcaster’s weekly “Let It Fly with Murray & Lye.” The one-hour (8:00 pm – 9:00 pm) program will air every Tuesday night, starting next week. Lye has previously been an analyst on SiriusXM’s pre- and post-round coverage.
Donald Trump Surpasses POTUS as Most Talked About Person on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (8/12). Top topics include the Presidential Race, the Iran Nukes Deal, Immigration Reform and the Chinese Devaluation of the Yuan. According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continues to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America this week and people (and the media) remain fixated on Donald Trump. Very rarely does anyone top the President of the United States as the most-talked-about person for a day, let alone a week. We will know how Trump fares versus Barack Obama by tomorrow morning (8/14) in terms of this week’s survey. Other hot topics include the presidential election in general, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy and the global economic impact of China’s devaluation of its currency.
For WQAM – Three’s A Crowd in PM Drive. Today’s arrival (Tuesday, 8/11) of Channing Crowder will transform the afternoon drive program (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) of CBS Radio-owned WQAM “Miami Sports Radio 560” into a three-person affair, as the former Miami Dolphins linebacker joins Marc Hochman and Zach Krantz. Regarding Crowder, program director Ryan Maguire comments, “His insight as a former college and professional football player – as well as his one-of-a-kind brand of humor – will be a great addition to what Marc and Zach bring to the table every day. This is going to be a very unique, locally focused program that will be entertaining and insightful.” Crowder remarks, “I am excited for the opportunity to work with ‘Hoch’ and Zach. We are going to bring listeners a different kind of show they won’t be able to find anywhere else.” A former all-South East Conference player at the University of Florida, Crowder began at WQAM in 2009 as a contributor. Prior to becoming part of “Hochman, Crowder, & Krantz,” he co-hosted the station’s mid-day (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm) program.
Pittsburgh Broadcaster in Online “Crowd-funding” Campaign. The “Don’t Spy on Me” project, which began last Monday (8/3) and ends in three weeks (9/1), creates an internet show for Pittsburgh talk host Dimitri Vassilaros. Online programs, of course, are not subject to Federal Communications Commission regulations, so callers are able to speak freely. Vassilaros tells TALKERS, “Forgoing short-term revenue to create long-term value has helped many internet startups become desirable to investors. This new radio show will provide people with a platform where they can express their thoughts, amplify their voices, and talk back to all authoritarians. Internet freedom means unlimited choices, not government restrictions. Your right of privacy is worth fighting for.” Vassilaros’ background includes being a talk show host on Pittsburgh stations KDKA-AM and WTAE, as well as a columnist/reporter for The Pittsburgh Tribune Review.
“Something To Think About” Notes Affiliate Benchmark. Seven months after its debut, the weekday vignettes that its syndicator – Westwood One – labels a “slice of Americana” eclipse the 150-station mark. In fact, the station count for the segments voiced by former Michigan congressman/ex-FBI agent Mike Rogers that stations air thrice daily is up to 156. Westwood One senior vice president of affiliate sales Dennis Green states, “We have been searching for a strong voice that provides a common sense and thought-provoking take on relatable topics that concern all Americans. Mike Rogers brings that home in his commentary, which gives listeners a chance to pause and reflect on the ideals that are important to us all and are without any political bias.” Outgoing House Intelligence Committee chair Rogers remarks that surpassing the 150-station mark so fast is “really exciting” and that listener feedback is inspiring. “It truly is an honor to be welcomed into cars, homes, and businesses of so many people across the country. Sometimes, it is the simplest message that has the greatest impact.” Among those airing the commentaries are Cumulus Media New York talker WABC; co-owned Chicago talker WLS-AM; San Francisco talk sibling KSFO; iHeartMedia-owned Miami talk outlet WIOD; and CBS Radio Pittsburgh talker KDKA-AM.
Odds & Sods. The lucky guy who is all smiles is McGraw Milhaven. The KTRS, St Louis morning man recently took 40 listeners on a 12-day, six-country, 11-city tour of Europe including stops in Berlin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and London. Milhaven is seen here capturing a memory at the Tower Bridge over the Thames.
Beck in the War Room. Sporting an orange ball cap, Premiere Radio Networks host Glenn Beck was among hundreds who turned out last night (Monday, 8/10) in Dallas for the world premiere of the Kendrick Brothers’ film “War Room.” Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup (on Beck’s left) interviewed Beck, as well as area dignitaries and “War Room” cast members. The red carpet event was held at Dallas’ Majestic Theatre.
Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly were the Most Talked About People on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (8/9). Top topics included GOP Debate(s) on Fox, the Iran Nukes Deal and Immigration Reform. According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continues to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America. Other hot topics include the presidential election in general – especially Bernie Sanders’ encounters with the Black Lives Matter movement, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy and Jeb Bush’s problems gaining (or holding onto) traction.
Pursuing Truth Amid Civil Unrest. Media outlets have experienced a number of situations recently that qualify as true “danger zones” in which to send their reporters and tech crews if they choose to cover the event first hand. ABC TV director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes today about the hazards radio news staffers are facing in situations similar to what’s been happening in Baltimore and – not too long ago – Ferguson, Missouri. He presents a plan for broadcasters to follow in preparing for coverage of such news events in the future. Read his entire piece here.
Lew Dickey, Cumulus, Agree to Continuation. The co-founder of Cumulus Media will be remaining in-place for at least another three years: Lew Dickey extends his employment agreement as the company’s president and chief executive officer. In addition, he will carry on as a board member through 2018. According to board member Jeff Marcus, “We are grateful that Lew Dickey, who has built Cumulus into a leading national media business, has renewed his commitment to lead the company into the future. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with Lew to build value for our shareholders.” In other news at the Atlanta-based company, Ridgemont Equity Partners‘ Robert “Trey” Sheridan, III, will retire from Cumulus’ board when his term ends at this year’s annual stockholders meeting; Association of Magazine Media (MPA) president and chief executive officer Mary Berner will be nominated to fill Sheridan’s vacated seat. Dickey comments, “We are fortunate to be adding Mary Berner to our board. Her insights and experience will be valuable as we continue to position the company for long-term success in the changing media landscape.” Elsewhere, Cumulus lead director, Jeffrey Marcus, is appointed non-executive board chair. Marcus has been a Cumulus board member since 2011. He is a partner with Crestview Partners, Cumulus’ largest stockholder.
Red Zebra Officially Names Dan Zampillo to PD WTEM, Washington. The company owned by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder announces former WXYT-FM, Detroit and SiriusXM program director Dan Zampillo is taking over the programming reigns at its sports talk WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980.” The PD position opened up after Chuck Sapienza exited in the middle of the on-off-on again addition of the new “Man Cave” morning show hosted by Chris Paul and Jason Reid. Red Zebra Broadcasting CEO Rick Carmean says, “When it comes to sports, we have the best on-air talent in the area. We look forward to having Dan join our team. He brings great leadership, experience and fresh insight.”
What News/Talk Fans Are Doing When They’re Not Listening To Your Station. In a piece prepared for TALKERS magazine by Jacobs Media based on data from the company’s recently released Techsurvey 11, company president Fred Jacobs presents a media and tech profile of news/talk P1s. He notes that while news/talk P1s tend to lag behind younger demos in the tech and social media areas, that’s changing. “Fans of the format are more likely to own a tablet, listen to podcasts, and subscribe to satellite radio. They are less apt to be social networkers. Compared to just a few short years ago, news/talk devotees are catching up tech-wise with their kids. The data show that six in 10 stream video at least weekly while nearly eight in 10 own a smartphone.” See how news/talk P1s choose to use social media and why they turn to broadcast talk radio. Read the entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. From the podcast genre comes news that PodcastOne is unveiling a new series featuring TV personality and entertainment reporter Katie Wagner, and international celebrity psychic Voxx Voltair. Dubbed, “InnerView with Katie and Voxx,” it promises to combine “the hottest news in Hollywood with astrology, clairvoyance, numerology, and Tarot readings and features the latest gossip, fashion trends, and secrets from celebrity guests.”…..At the same time CBS RADIO and CBS Local Digital Media announce some new on-demand programming on its Play.it platform. New shows include podcasts from SHOWTIME Boxing Commentator Paulie Malignaggi, ELLE Style correspondent Alia Ahmed-Yahia, TED.com speaker Julian Treasure, former CNN senior executive producer Michael Schulder’s “Wavemaker Conversations,” “The Marilu Henner Show”; and “Boomer & Carton” producer Al Dukes’ interview series with media moguls called, “Al’s Boring Podcast.”…..SiriusXM is launching “Let’s Talk with Abby and Ari,” a live, one-hour weekly, call-in show hosted by MSNBC The Cycle’s Abby Huntsman and Ari Melber. The show will entail Huntsman and Melber examining the news of the day first, and welcoming tastemakers and newsmakers for interviews in a relaxed, casual style. “The show will be a conversation at the cross-section of current events, politics and entertainment.”…..ESPN 2 “First Take” moderator Cari Champion is now hosting a new weekly ESPN Audio podcast called, “espnW Presents: Be Honest with Cari Champion.” It will feature the “straight-shooting, always-honest Champion talking sports and more with A-list athletes and celebrity guests.”
Salem Radio Network to Organize Aid Drive for Nepal Earthquake Victims. Via its Washington-based SRN News, Salem Radio Network launched a campaign on its 1,600-plus affiliates nationwide to encourage donations on behalf of victims of last Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal. The network is working with Oklahoma City-based nonprofit relief organization Project HOPE. SRN will generate funds to rush food and emergency supplies to the stricken area. The effort includes Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk hosts Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Eric Metaxas and Hugh Hewitt.
Fisher House Foundation Offers Memorial Day Special to News/Talk Outlets. As it has done in the past, Fisher House Foundation is offering news/talk radio stations a three-our Memorial Day Weekend program titled, “A Hero’s Best Medicine.” Fisher House says this year’s program contains “all-new, compelling and diverse storytelling. The show shares the role that Fisher House plays in military heroes’ recovery, giving family a safe place to stay just steps from their hospital rooms.” Some of the stories told include that of Marine Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, a Medal of Honor recipient, and his family in South Carolina. Carpenter threw himself on a grenade in Afghanistan to save a fellow Marine’s life. His parents spent nearly three years in a Fisher House; and Marine Cpl. Jake Schick, a wounded warrior who attracted the attention of Clint Eastwood and landed a role in the blockbuster film “American Sniper.” Schick met his wife in a military hospital. Throughout his recovery she stayed in a Fisher House. The program is hosted by KARN, Little Rock afternoon host Doc Thompson. For affiliation details on “A Hero’s Best Medicine,” news/talk stations should send an email to email@example.com with the word “radio” in the subject line.
Baltimore Protests, SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, Clinton Foundation Scrutiny, Nepal Quake Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Iranian Navy Intercepts U.S. Ship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28). The tactics to curb the violent protests in Baltimore and the political aspects of the event; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case challenging the anti-gay marriage laws in four states; the ongoing scrutiny of the financial operations of the Clinton Foundation; the aftermath of the earthquake that’s taken more than 5,000 lives in Nepal; the potential candidates for president in 2016 including new possibilities Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley; and the interception of a U.S-flagged ship in the Strait of Hormuz by an Iranian Naval vessel were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Names Mangino and Duffy Afternoon Hosts. Pittsburgh news/talker KDKA-AM announces two new personalities will lead its “KDKA Afternoon News” program beginning April 27. Current KDKA-AM evening talk show host Robert Mangino will team with Shelley Duffy, who moves across the hall from her current gig as co-host of sister hot AC’s Bubba Show. Duffy has been a part of morning shows with CBS RADIO Pittsburgh for the past 25 years. The station says, “The paring of Mangino and Duffy will augment the award-winning news and information programming on Pittsburgh’s news/talk leader. Mangino and Duffy join veteran newscaster Rose Ryan-Douglas, field reporter Joe DeStio and sports director Jeff Hathhorn on a fast-paced afternoon news magazine format that features traffic and weather together on the fives and business reports at :20 and :50 past the hour every week day.” KDKA-AM program director Jim Graci comments, “Robert is a great quarterback to tie it all together while Shelley has a unique perspective about life in Pittsburgh.”
Ryan Maguire Named WQAM, Miami Program Director; Jim Graci Adds Pittsburgh Sports Talker Programming Duties. Moving from CBS RADIO’s Pittsburgh sports talker KDKA-FM “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan,” programmer Ryan Maguire takes over the PD role at WQAM, Miami, effective May 4. CBS RADIO acquired WQAM as part of a swap of stations between it and Beasley Media Group. CBS RADIO VP of programming Rob Morris comments, “Ryan is passionate about radio, competitive, a terrific strategic thinker and possesses great leadership skills. We very much look forward to Ryan joining WQAM and our CBS RADIO Miami team.” Maguire states, “I’m thrilled at the opportunity given to me by CBS RADIO to take this leadership role at one of the greatest heritage sports stations in America. I can’t wait to get working with our diverse and dynamic team in South Florida as we shape and build on a leading sports brand.” The company says that during Maguire’s tenure in Pittsburgh, KDKA-FM “set ratings and revenue records in 2012 and 2013, reaching #1 P6+, and was also nominated for a National Association of Broadcasters‘ Marconi Radio Award in 2014.” Simultaneously, the company announces that sister news/talk KDKA-AM program director Jim Graci will serve as program director for “The Fan” and KDKA-AM news director and executive producer PJ Kumanchik will also serve as executive producer for “The Fan.” CBS RADIO Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Young says, “Jim and PJ are a strong and very competent managerial team. They have performed very well in developing and executing the programming vision of KDKA-AM. With much synergy already existing between KDKA-AM and KDKA-FM, I believe their expanding programming roles at ‘Sports Radio 93-7 The Fan’ are a natural progression, and will benefit our various audiences.”
Mandy Connell Adds New Show to Duties in Return to Louisville. Talk show host Mandy Connell will continue to host the morning program on iHeartMedia’s KHOW, Denver but she’s also taking on another program responsibility when she begins hosting the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show on her alma mater WHAS, Louisville. Starting May 18, Connell’s new show will replace Lachlan McLean’s evening sports talk show. Connell joined iHeartMedia in 2010 from her morning gig at WINK, Naples/Fort Myers when she took over the midday show on WHAS previously occupied by the late Francene Cucinello.
Mike Huckabee to End Daily Talk Radio Features; SRN’s Mike Gallagher to Assume Host Duties. The decision to stop producing his daily talk radio feature, “The Mike Huckabee Report,” is being confirmed by Huckabee’s production partner WYM Media Management. Though WYM offers no specific reason for the end of the programming, speculation is that Huckabee intends to focus on his possible run for president in 2016. In a memo to affiliate stations, WYM states that the last report hosted by Huckabee will air on May 1 and, effective May 4, Salem Radio Network personality Mike Gallagher will begin as host of the daily feature with the new title, “Gallagher Online.” The show will be syndicated by WYM, the affiliate sales division of by Ron Hartenbaum’s WYD Media, which also had the rights to “The Huckabee Report.” Gallagher comments, “I’m honored to be walking on the commentary path blazed by Governor Mike Huckabee. I just hope this doesn’t mean folks will expect me to run for president myself!”
Cooke: Report from Las Vegas – Day 4. Radio consultant Holland Cooke files his final report from Sin City where he’s been covering the NAB Show and the co-located NMX for TALKERS magazine/RadioInfo. In today’s report, there’s plenty of advice for podcasters from Grant Baldwin; some notes from the standing-room-only keynote from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and some chilling realities about your smartphone’s ability to spy on you from security software baron John McAfee. Read Holland Cooke’s report here.
DC Radio Row Addresses Complex Immigration Issues. The ninth annual Hold Their Feet to the Fire radio row produced by the Federation for American Immigration Reform moves into the second and final day today. Taking place at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill, the event has drawn some 45 radio talk show hosts to the Nation’s Capital for live broadcasts addressing the topic of U.S. immigration policy. Appearing on the radio programs are members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border. Attending the event and appearing as a guest on numerous shows discussing talk radio’s role in the immigration issue and the relative First Amendment component is TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison. From the scene in Washington Harrison says this year’s radio row was an interesting blend of well-known hosts and newcomers to the scene. “Everyone with whom I spoke on air was extremely thoughtful and solutions-oriented in dealing with this complex and sensitive issue.” Harrison (right) is pictured here with WFTL, Fort Lauderdale personality Joyce Kaufman (center) and KXL, Portland and Compass Media Networks-syndicated host Lars Larson (left).
Nielsen Audio Releases Third Round of March 2015 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of March 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The March 2015 survey period covered February 26 through March 25. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
‘New Jersey 101.5’ Finds Pirate Radio Operator; Authorities Shut Station Down. After receiving complaints from listeners about interference with its signal, Townsquare Media talk station WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” investigated on its own and discovered the illegal signal was operating at 101.3 FM out of a home in Linden, New Jersey. According to a story at NJ.com, after being told by the FCC that an investigation could take a couple of weeks, the station appealed to local authorities. The homeowner subsequently was told of complaints and the zoning codes being violated and the 20-plus foot antenna was removed and the station ceased to operate.
Odds & Sods. This year’s National Headliner Awards have been announced and CBS Radio News picked up four first-place finishes. CBS Radio News was honored in four categories: Broadcast Radio Networks and Syndicators Breaking News or Continuing Coverage — First place, “Police Killings,” CBS Radio News staff; Broadcast Radio Networks and Syndicators Newscast — First place, “CBS World News Roundup,” Steve Kathan and Paul Farry; Broadcast Radio Networks and Syndicators Feature and Human Interest Story — First place, “Beatles 50th Anniversary,” Dave Barrett; Broadcast Radio Networks and Syndicators News Series — First place, “Midterm Election,” Barry Bagnato…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington and sister station WFED, Washington were honored with National Headliner Awards in the radio station categories. WTOP was recognized in four categories: Radio stations Newscast, all markets – First Place for “September 4th, 6 p.m.”; Radio stations Breaking News or Continuing Coverage of a Single News Event – Second Place for “Gaithersburg Plane Crash”; Radio stations Feature and Human Interest Story, all markets – Second Place for “If This Violin Could Talk” by Jamie Forzato; and Radio affiliated Website: – First Place for WTOP.com. WFED was honored in two categories: Online-Only Writing – First Place, Mike Causey; and Best Radio-Affiliated Website – FederalNewsRadio.com…..The new producer for the Salem Radio Network-syndicated Eric Metaxas show is Chris Himes. SRN calls him “a seasoned digital media producer with a passion for curating world-class content.” Prior to joining SRN, Himes served as supervising digital producer at NBC, working 7 seasons on “Saturday Night Live,” managing the show’s digital footprint on NBC.com and on their social media platforms. In 2010, he began overseeing “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” as well and eventually would supervise web production operations for “30 Rock,” “Grimm,” “Law and Order: SVU” and several other prime time shows…..Illinois talk radio personality Ian Bayne makes his Chicago debut tomorrow (4/17) when he fills in for Joe Walsh on his afternoon show on Salem‘s WIND “AM 560 The Answer.” Bayne hosts the morning program on WRPW, Bloomington, Illinois “Cities 92.9.”
2016 Presidential Prospects, the Obama Administration Amnesty Order, Tax Day, ISIS Activity in Iraq, Aaron Hernandez Guilty Verdict, Spring Break Gang Rape Case, Obama’s Cuba Policy, Iran Nuclear Negotiations Controversy, and Gyrocopter Capitol Lawn Landing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/15). The potential candidates for president in 2016; the effects of the amnesty order signed by President Obama; chatter about the taxes Americans pay each year; the report that ISIS is close to taking control of Ramadi, Iraq; former NFL star Aaron Hernandez is convicted of murder and sentenced to life without parole; the case of a gang rape on a Panama City, Florida beach during spring break, President Obama’s changing policy toward Cuba; the controversial negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; and the case of a retiree landing a gyrocopter on the lawn of the Capitol building in Washington were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Joan Hamburg to Host Weekend Show on WABC, New York. After a long career at crosstown heritage AM news/talker WOR, Cumulus Media announces that New York radio personality Joan Hamburg is joining its news/talker 77 WABC to host a weekly Saturday program to air from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Cumulus says on the show Hamburg “will continue discussing the most important social, economic and political issues that impact listeners’ lives each week. Hamburg will also interview major celebrities and powerful political figures on the program.” In addition, the deal calls for Hamburg to produce weekly features and exclusive programs available in digital formats. Hamburg comments, “How excited I am to join legendary WABC radio and work with Kim Bryant, Craig Schwalb and the rest of the Cumulus family. And what a treat to join their roster of the best talk talent in the country. New York get ready — the conversation is about to begin.”
Talk Host Jim Villanucci Resigns from KXL, Portland. There is little known at this time about what has transpired to cause midday talk show host Jim Villanucci to resign from his position with Alpha Media’s KXL, Portland but a Tweet from KXL’s Lars Larson states simply that Villanucci has resigned for “personal reasons” and that Larson wishes him well. Filling in during the daypart is Victoria Taft.
Tension Between WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Management Over Fox Sports Simulcast. According to a story by Neil Best in Newsday, WFAN, New York afternoon drive superstar Mike Francesa has been ordered by CBS RADIO management – under threat of lawsuit – not to gripe publicly about the simulcast of his show being bumped from cable’s Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 for live sporting events. Best reports that while Francesa didn’t talk specifically about the Fox Sports simulcast issues, he said on his radio show that in contrast to a corporate statement to the contrary, he has been threatened with legal action if he speaks publicly about anything that costs the company money, with the implication being the Fox Sports arrangement. In other words, he could be held liable for any income CBS loses if the Fox Sports relationship dissolves. Read Best’s piece here.
Cisco Cotto Joins CBS RADIO’s WBBM-AM, Chicago. Newsman and talk show host Cisco Cotto is becoming part of the staff at CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM-AM and WCFS-FM, Chicago, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder. Cotto has worked in the Chicago market his entire career. He started at CBS’ former all-news WMAQ and has served as news anchor at Cumulus Media’s crosstown WLS-AM (where he also went on to host a talk show) as well as at Salem’s news/talk WIND, and the Moody Bible Institute’s Christian talker WMBI. His position at WBBM and WCFS is anchor/reporter. Read Feder’s entire column here.
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Adds Comic Jim Krenn to Friday Program. Joining the “KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway” each Friday is Jim Krenn, a popular Pittsburgh radio personality and comedian. KDKA-AM program director Jim Graci says, “KDKA is delighted to have Jim Krenn on the station each Friday morning. It’s like adding another big bat to an all-star lineup, and will give KDKA listeners another reason to smile heading into the weekend.” Krenn is a Pittsburgh native who worked successfully in Steel City radio for 24 years. He is currently producing a weekly podcast titled, “Jim Krenn: No Restrictions.”
Dreyer Named Director of Integrated Media for NRG. Appointed to the newly created position of director of integrated media for NRG Media is Erica Dreyer. In making the announcement, NRG president and CEO Mary Quass noted that Dreyer recently served in the same post for both Maverick Media of Rockford, Illinois and Mid-West Family Broadcasting of Rockford for the past seven-plus years. Quass states, “Digital media offers the greatest potential revenue growth for radio today. Erica Dreyer has earned seven awards for excellence in the digital arena. Dreyer’s the maverick we need to lead this new department.” In this position, Dreyer will be responsible for infusing new inventory and pricing techniques into NRG’s interactive portfolio. Dreyer will also train and educate sales departments in the station group to produce more sophisticated, high-value integrated solutions for clients and help educate advertisers about integrated solutions for their business needs. Dreyer starts with NRG on September 30.
WPHT, Philadelphia Speaker Series Hosts Senator Ted Cruz. Tonight’s event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia is the latest in the WPHT Speaker Series and will feature Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) discussing the First and Fourth Amendments. The program takes place in observance of Constitution Day and WPHT morning drive personality Chris Stigall is moderating the discussion.
The Big Issue of the Day. Pictured here are ESPN personalities (from left to right) Jemele Hill, Jane McManus and Cari Champion in the studio during the production of the podcast “espnW Presents: The State of the NFL on ESPN Radio.” The show was a joint effort by espnW and ESPN Radio. Also appearing on the program were espnW personalities Kate Fagan and Sarah Spain. ESPN host Keith Olbermann and National Organization for Women president Terry O’Neill joined the conversation as guests.
The NFL and Domestic Violence, U.S.-Led Coalition Against ISIS, Mid-Term Elections, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential Run, New Benghazi Investigation, Ebola Virus Pandemic Threat, Scotland Succession Referendum, and Obama Amnesty Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/16). The ongoing furor over the domestic violence issues plaguing the NFL; debate over the potential effectiveness of the U.S.-led coalition to combat ISIS; the looming mid-term elections and how they may affect majorities in Congress; Hillary Clinton’s weekend appearance in Iowa and her possible run for president in 2016; the new Benghazi investigation; the status of the Ebola outbreak in Africa and the potential for a pandemic; Thursday’s referendum on whether Scotland breaks away from the U.K.; and Senator Ted Cruz’s effort to prevent amnesty action by President Obama were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Makes Statement About News/Talk with Flip of WPGB-FM, Pittsburgh to Country. Radio stations are in business to make money and Clear Channel – with its $20 billion of debt – needs as much as it can get, and if it believed the almost 11-year-old news/talk format on WPGB-FM was getting it done, it wouldn’t have dropped the format for country in the Steel City. But it did, and industry watchers have to wonder if this move signals a change in the company’s belief in the strength of the news/talk format or if this is a market-specific situation where it saw an opportunity to battle two other operators with the very hot country format. Certainly, country is a much less controversial sell than news/talk and perhaps that played into the decision. Regardless, news/talk fans in Pittsburgh will have to go to Pittsburgh Radio Partners-owned WJAS-AM – a class B station at 1320 kHz – to hear Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck as those shows move across town immediately. One also has to wonder what kind of deal Pittsburgh Radio Partners got on three shows that are usually barter and cash. Last year’s non-renewal of the Quinn & Rose morning show at WPGB-FM may have been a harbinger of this change as it’s likely CC has been considering the change for some time. One thing’s for sure, it’s a safe bet the folks at crosstown KDKA-AM are not crying over this move.
Dan Le Batard Suspended by ESPN for Billboard Stunt. Since the Cleveland Plain Dealer wouldn’t take his ad with a sarcastic “you’re welcome” to former Miami Heat star Lebron James after his announced return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, WAXY, Miami “The Ticket” and ESPN personality Dan Le Batard decided to buy billboards in Akron with the same message (pictured at right). While Lincoln Financial Media got the joke, ESPN wasn’t laughing and suspended Le Batard for two days (August 7-8) for the stunt. Le Batard’s show is now a collaborative effort between LFM and ESPN and WAXY VP/GM Maureen Lesourd says, “We’re ‘The Ticket 104.3’ and we have a passion for South Florida sports and in particular, the Miami Heat fans. The fans were offended, so for ‘The Ticket’ it was a brilliant local promotion and meant for fun, but I have to respect stunts like this don’t work for a national outlet like ESPN.” ESPN said in a statement, “Dan Le Batard will be off the air for two days, returning Monday. His recent stunt does not reflect ESPN’s standards and brand. Additionally, we were not made aware of his plans in advance.”
Morning Personality Mark Kaye Honing Talk Radio Chops. CHR morning jock Mark Kaye – host of the “The Big Ape Morning Mess” on Cox Media Group’s CHR WAPE, Jacksonville has been “quietly” doing a weekend talk show on sister station WOKV “News 104.5.” The show was added to the company’s Orlando outlet WDBO and now is being picked up in Tulsa by CMG’s KRMG “News 102.3.” KRMG director of branding and programming Levi May comments, “For those who are looking for the next generation of talk radio host, look no further than Mark Kaye – KRMG is on board!” Kaye comments on the surprising speed at which his talk show has blossomed, “OM Todd Shannon, WOKV PD Mike Dorwart and I pitched this idea to Cox VP of programming Steve Smith in January. Six months later it’s now on three stations…in two time zones! It’s been so awesome to mix what I’ve been doing on CHR radio into a cool and trendy new news/talk show that the audience, and the industry is excited about. And I’m excited to see where we go from here.”
CBS RADIO Q2 Revenue Down 3%. There’s rarely much information from CBS Corp. about its radio division during quarterly conference calls or the press releases about earnings, as the company is so heavily focused on television, films and publishing. It appears CBS RADIO had a quarter similar to other radio companies in that its net revenue decline of 3% was probably due to the soft advertising climate affecting the industry.
Salem Communication Reports Q2 Total Revenue Up 14%; Broadcast Net Revenue Up 1.8%. The good news for Salem Communications comes as its internet and e-commerce and publishing divisions showed big revenue increases during the second quarter of 2014. As for the broadcast division, net broadcast revenue was up 1.8% to $47.9 million from $47 million during the same period a year ago. Station operating income decreased 13.8% to $13.9 million from $16.2 million and same station net broadcast revenue increased 1.1% to $47.6 million from $47 million.
Journal Broadcast Group Radio Revenue Up 1.6%. As a whole, Journal Communications revenue was up 4.9% during the second quarter of 2014, compared to the same period in 2013. On the radio side, Journal Broadcast Group realized a net increase of 1.6% on $20.2 million of revenue. The company reports radio political advertising revenue was $0.1 million in each of 2014 and 2013. Local advertising revenue, excluding political, increased 2.3%, primarily due to an increase in home products and automotive advertising. Digital revenue, which is reported in local revenue, was $0.8 million, up 14.1%. National advertising revenue, excluding political, decreased 6.3%, primarily due to lower automotive and restaurant advertising. Excluding political revenue, total revenue was $20.1 million, up 1.5%. Operating earnings from radio were $4.1 million compared to $3.8 million in 2013, an increase of 6.2%. Radio operating expenses increased 0.5%.
Odds & Sods. Talk show host Leslie Marshall – syndicated via WYM Media – is sitting in on Clear Channel’s KKSF, San Francisco “Talk 910” next Monday and Thursday (8/11 and 14) for the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show…..Hubbard Radio’s sports talk KSTP, Minneapolis inks a deal with Learfield Sports to continue serving as the University of Minnesota’s flagship station for men’s hockey and men’s and women’s basketball for the next three seasons.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. More new affiliate stations to report for Radio America-syndicated Dana Loesch as the program is now heard on KTSA, San Antonio; KLZ, Denver; KOY, Phoenix; KZRG-AM, Joplin, Missouri; KBLL, Helena, Montana; and KXRO, Aberdeen, Washington…..“Armed American Radio with Mark Walters” is added to the program schedule at WEBJ, Mobile/Pensacola; WDDQ, Albany, Georgia; KJMT, Pine Bluff/Little Rock; WNNG, Macon, Georgia; KNNS, Wichita; KERV, San Antonio; WWWI, Baxter, Minnesota; and KVNT-AM/FM, Anchorage.
Israel-Hamas Conflict/Rise in Anti-Semitism Tops Talkers TenTM. The conflict in the Gaza Strip between Hamas and Israel and the related issue of new incidences of anti-Semitism across the globe was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of August 4-8. Following at #2 was the Ebola virus outbreak and the threat of a pandemic. At #3 was Russian aggression in the Ukraine and Edward Snowden’s renewed visa to remain in Russia, followed by President Obama’s low approval ratings at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Emphatic Fox To Entercom: Apology Denied. After returning from a planned vacation last week, WEEI-FM, Boston morning personality Kirk Minihane reignited the controversy he started with criticism of Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews’ All-Star Game work by reiterating his disdain for her work. But even his bosses at Entercom, who had been supportive, had to backtrack and he’s now been suspended for this week – without pay. To recap, the unbilled member of the Dennis & Callahan morning show on WEEI had some disparaging things to say the day after the broadcast about an in-game interview conducted by the network’s Erin Andrews. Perhaps only St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright will be the only person to know for certain if he made it a bit easier for Derek Jeter – appearing in his final All-Star contest – to smack a first-inning double, which was the catalyst for three quick AL runs in that frame. Social media was buzzing that Wainwright had indicated he might have grooved the pitch Jeter hit. Andrews questioned Wainwright about it and the pitcher backtracked from that notion, and he said Jeter’s hit was on the up-and-up. Apparently though, the televised exchange between this year’s co-host of (ABC-TV‘s) “Dancing with the Stars” and Wainwright did not sit well with Minihane, who declared of Andrews, “What a bitch – I hate her. What a gutless bitch. Seriously, go away. Drop dead. I mean, seriously, what the hell is wrong with her? First of all, follow-up. Second of all, the guy admitted he did it – he admitted it. He told reporters he threw a couple of ‘pipe-bombs.’ How is that social media’s fault? I hate her – I seriously hate her so much.” A Minihane-issued statement was posted Wednesday night (7/16) on the WEEI website that read: “I used a series of words to describe Erin Andrews’ work at the All-Star Game. My choice of words was wrong. I was wrong to have used them. To all whom I offended – particularly Ms. Andrews – I apologize. There is no place for what was said. It was immature and completely uncalled for. I am often critical of media members and their work and recognize here that I’ve made the kind of mistake I would call out if it was done by another sportscaster or writer. Again, to all involved, I’m very sorry.” But upon returning last week, he commented on the issue and lashed out at Andrews again, saying, “I think she stinks at her job. I don’t think she’s very smart. I don’t think she comes across as very smart. I think Fox only hired her because she is good-looking. I think if she weighed 15 pounds more, she would be a waitress at Perkins. That is what I believe, I do believe that.” It was probably that last comment that prompted Fox Sports president Eric Shanks to inform Entercom the company was pulling its entertainment and sports-related adds off of all Entercom stations and it was that move that brought Entercom CEO David Field into the mix. In the letter to Field, Shanks wrote that Minihane’s comments were “boorish and sexist.” Shanks further maintains that Minihane’s apology was “juvenile and insincere.” Furthermore, the Fox executive writes, “I had hoped by this time we might hear a sincere apology from WEEI, or perhaps someone from your office might have reached out to Fox. None of that has been forthcoming, and needless to say, we are disappointed.” According to Shanks, through film and television businesses, Fox is “a significant advertiser on Entercom stations. I have discussed this issue with our senior management and our various senior marketing executives. At their recommendation, going forward, Fox’s entertainment and sports businesses will not be advertising on your stations for the foreseeable future.” Field reacted by commenting, “Kirk Minihane’s statements regarding Erin Andrews were offensive and deplorable. It is clear by the response from our listeners, advertisers, and employees that Kirk’s efforts to apologize and make this right have been insufficient and ambiguous. We want to make it unequivocally clear that his comments were unacceptable and do not reflect Entercom’s values and standards.” As far as Shanks is concerned, the situation was made “worse,” owing to the fact that the “apology was posted under a banner hailing ‘The Triumphant Return of Kirk Minihane.'” Seemingly lost in the wake of pulled advertising dollars corporate-wide and having to suspend an on-air personality is the fact that in the latest (6+) trends (June 2014), WEEI-FM (3.3) beat cross-town CBS Radio format rival WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub” (2.9) for the first time (total week, 6+) in nearly two years. The last time it happened was August 2012, when WEEI-FM had the advantage over WBZ-FM by a 4.3 – 3.7 count (6+). WBZ-FM won each battle the rest of the year by 4.5 – 4.1 (September); 4.6 – 2.8 (October); 4.1 – 2.5 (November) 4.4 – 3.0 (December); and 4.6 – 2.7 (“Holiday”). The closest WEEI-FM came to WBZ-FM in 2013 was one-tenth in August (3.9 – 3.8); WBZ-FM’s largest (6+) lead in 2013 was in May (5.7 – 2.9). Thus far in 2014, “The Sports Hub” has emerged victorious over WEEI-FM (6+) in January (5.6 – 3.4); February (4.5 – 2.8); March (4.7 – 2.7); April (4.3 – 3.3); and May (5.1 – 3.4). As noted, WEEI-FM beat WBZ-FM in June (3.3 – 2.9, 6+). It will be interesting to see how Entercom handles this situation because the ratings for the Dennis & Callahan show have improved since Minihane joined the show and numerous Boston media watchers agree that his addition has breathed new life into the program.
Stephen A. Smith to Exit WEPN-FM for SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio Channel. That’s according to a report by The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman who writes that Stephen A. Smith will soon exit ESPN O&O WEPN-FM where he co-hosts the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daily show with Ryan Ruocco to host his own program on the satellite service – reportedly in the same time slot that would lead into Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s afternoon drive show. Raissman also suggests that a move to SiriusXM could be interesting for the controversial Stephen A. Smith, who caused a stir by his comments in reaction to the two-game suspension the NFL star Ray Rice received for punching out his wife in an elevator. Read Raissman’s column here.
KFWB, Los Angeles to Flip from News/Talk to Sports. Officials at the KFWB Trust are being tightlipped about the reports but LARadio.com’s Don Barrett is reporting that KFWB staffers were called to a meeting on Friday, July 25 and informed their jobs would go away in five weeks when the format changes. Barrett reports that staffers told him the station would go to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network which would bring Jim Rome back to the Los Angeles market. He’s been gone from his home market since jumping from Premiere Networks to CBS Sports 18 months ago. Some are questioning whether LA needs another sports talk outlet but it’s probably less about what the market “needs” and more about getting CBS Sports Radio and Jim Rome back into the Los Angeles market. It’d also be a heck of a lot less expensive to program network sports than a mix of network and local news/talk.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Jerry Del Colliano Delivers Special Presentation, “Radio in the Digital Age.” Today (7/28) marks the 10th consecutive business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with a special presentation titled “Radio in the Digital Age” delivered by Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano. The longtime industry observer, analyst, and maverick draws upon his experience as both a professional radio broadcaster and former professor of music industry at USC to explain how the traits of the large, coming-of-age millennial generation do not quite mesh with the approach taken by most of the boomers running radio stations today. He implored the full house of broadcasters in attendance to heed the warning, “We must change! We must disrupt! Because the audience is changing.” To view this entire presentation, please click here. Coming tomorrow: A panel discussion moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey titled “The State of Talk Programming.” Featured speakers include: Andy Bloom, OM, WPHT/WIP, Philadelphia; Phil Boyce, VP/spoken word programming, Salem Communications; Bill Hess, PD, WMAL, Washington, DC; Gabe Hobbs, CEO, Gabe Hobbs Media; and Craig Schwalb, PD, WABC, New York. The Talkers New York 2014 conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Odds & Sods. Although Stoney Richards is leaving his role at CBS RADIO Pittsburgh’s country WDSY where he’s been APD, music director and afternoon drive personality in order to pursue his acting career, he will maintain his weekend talk show on the company’s news/talk KDKA-AM where he hosts the “Live From The Centre” program…..Speaking of KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh, the station is partnering with local The Education Partnership to help provide new school and classroom supplies to local schools in financial need. This Wednesday (7/30), it will host a call-center in the 84 Lumber Theatre at CBS RADIO Pittsburgh from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm to answer listener questions, collect monetary donations and serve as an outlet for those looking for volunteer opportunities. Also, an onsite collection will take place at KDKA’s studios for the project dubbed “Crayons for Kids.” KDKA-AM morning news host Larry Richert comments, “When I first learned of the great need in our hometown I was shocked! The Education Partnership is such a lean and vital organization. With our help we can deliver on the basic needs of 30,000-plus school students who count on having the basics to learn and grow, starting with crayons!”…..In response to the comments by TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison published by the Boston Herald about the current state of news/talk radio in Boston relative to its colorful past, general manager Phil Redo – now with public broadcaster WGBH, Boston – checks in with his take. He tells TALKERS that (former WTKK-FM, Boston personalities) “Jim Braude and Margery Eagan (pictured here) are doing a fabulous show for us here on WGBH Radio. They have been on the air for nearly 18 months and made a smooth transition from commercial to public. Each day they explore a wide range of topics, from the top local news stories to connecting the dots on major national and international events. They provide an important access point for this community – and to the decision makers who will impact each of us by those decisions. In addition, the governor and AG show up every month to host an hour – as does Boston’s new mayor. Their show Boston Public Radio has grown from below a 1.0 share to above a 4.0 share and in June, ranks in the top 10 both 6+ and 25-54 during their 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot…They have done so well that we’re expanding the program to three hours this fall.”
Unusual General Manager/Sales Manager Opportunity at Talk Station Owned by an “Eccentric.” The self-described “eccentric” (we agree) owner of one of the nation’s leading independent local talk radio stations, KSCO AM 1080, Santa Cruz/Monterey/Salinas/Silicon Valley, Michael Zwerling, is looking for a general manager/sales manager to bring his station’s monthly ad billing up from “a laughable $30,000 per month” (his words not ours) to a “more respectable and completely do-able $300,000 per month.” Asked how a station billing only $30,000 in monthly ad revenue could be considered anything even REMOTELY deserving of being described as “one of the nation’s leading independent local talk radio stations,” Zwerling retorts, “Easy — ad sales have never been our focus in the past; we have done and continue to do very well, thank you, with our ‘royalties from radio’ revenue model we have employed for nearly 18 years. Yet we continue to serve our communities FAR better than most corporate-owned stations, and far better than most other independent stations that can’t AFFORD to serve their communities.” Zwerling continues, “But I started to feel like a fool recently when I realized that just because we don’t NEED to sell advertising — doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t TRY to sell as much advertising as possible — just like any other station being run by anyone with even HALF a brain!” According to Zwerling, the sky is the limit in terms of unique opportunity for the right person with “fire in his/her belly” to bring an additional $270,000 PER MONTH ad revenue into KSCO. But there is a catch. To read the entire story penned by TALKERS staff writer Mona Lipschitz, please click here.
WABC, New York’s Mark Levin to Host Cumulus Media’s “Bark in the Park” Event. The 4th Annual “Bark in the Park” event presented by Cumulus Media’s New York stations WABC, WPLJ, WNSH “NASH FM 94.7,” and WNBM “Radio 103.9” is being hosted by WABC personality Mark Levin Saturday, August 2 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm at Overpeck Park in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. The stations are teaming up with the North Shore Animal League America and Bergen County Animal Shelter/Adoption Center which will be on site with many dogs up for adoption. The mission is to find a home for as many puppies as possible. Additionally, the day will feature a wide array of vendors, services, food, demonstrations, and activities for families and dog lovers alike.
Apple to Acquire Spoken-Word Aggregator Swell. According to a report in re/code, Apple is paying approximately $30 million to acquire the company Swell, whose current app creates a stream of spoken-word content delivered to iPhones and iPads based on the user’s likes. Liz Gannes writes in her piece that with the acquisition, the Swell app will go away and some analysts believe Apple will integrate the service into existing services such as iTunes Radio. Read Gannes’ re/code story here.
Yahoo! Sports Radio Invades Las Vegas! The crew pictured here is Yahoo! Sports Radio network talent in Las Vegas as the network “took over” Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo Hotel and Casino during the week of July 21-25 broadcasting live for what it dubbed, “Yahoo! Sports Radio Super Week.” From left to right are: Air personalities Steve Czaban, Scott Linn, Geoff Ketchum, Sean Salisbury, Yahoo! Sports Radio CEO David Gow, personalities John Granato and Peter Brown.
Farewell: Legendary Larry Lujack. Notwithstanding words such as “legendary” and “iconic” are grossly overused, Larry Lujack was nonetheless an unquestionable legendary, iconic Chicago personality. The radio world lost a quintessential on-air talent Wednesday night when the 73-year-old “Super Jock” passed away at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Especially in the Midwest, countless air personalities hoping to advance to the biggest of the big time when AM radio was king would talk up vocals on audition tapes, liberally using signature slogans like “The Big 89,” “The Rock of Chicago,” and “Music Radio, W-L-S.” Radio pro Mike Kinosian, who serves as managing editor and West Coast bureau chief for TALKERS and its sister publication RadioInfo, wrote a beautiful tribute to the life and career of Lujack. Kinosian interviewed Lujack in 2003 and Kinosian shares some of Lujack’s thoughts about top 40 radio, the state of the industry at the time and, of course, his own career. Read Kinosian’s story on RadioInfo here.
Ben Shapiro Named Afternoon Host at KTTH, Seattle. Rising young talk radio personality Ben Shapiro joins Bonneville Seattle’s conservative news/talk station KTTH to host the afternoon drive program. The New York Times best-selling author, Harvard Law School grad and talk media personality will continue his current position with Salem Communications co-hosting the morning drive show at KRLA, Los Angeles alongside Brian Whitman and Elisha Krauss in addition to his new position in Seattle. Shapiro comments, “I couldn’t be more excited about joining the stellar lineup at AM 770 KTTH. What I love most is the opportunity to enrich the public discourse. It’s not often that hosts get that freedom. Thanks to KTTH’s forward thinking approach, I’m overjoyed to have that opportunity.” KTTH is now airing live programming in both morning and afternoon drive. David Boze hosts the morning show.
Glen Macnow Remains with WIP-FM, Philadelphia but Rob Ellis Is New PM Drive Co-Host. As had been predicted by Philadelphia media watchers, including Kyle Scott of CrossingBroad.com, sports talk personality Glen Macnow will move off the afternoon drive show on WIP-FM “SportsRadio 94 WIP” where he’s been co-hosting with Anthony Gargano and remain with CBS Radio Philadelphia in a different capacity. At the same time, the station announces evening host Rob Ellis will join Gargano as co-host of the PM drive show. Taking over Ellis’ evening show role is Josh Innes who comes to WIP-FM from the company’s KILT, Houston where he’s been hosting PM drive. CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield announces that Macnow’s new responsibilities will include appearances on all-news KYW and news/talk WPHT while he continues to host his long-running Saturday program from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm WIP-FM with Pro Football Hall of Fame writer Ray Didinger. Rayfield adds, “I’m pleased we have reached an agreement with Glen that supports his relationship with WIP, and also allows us to increase his presence within the CBS Radio Philly family of stations. Being able to use his expertise across more of our platforms is a real win for our stations, the listeners and Philadelphia’s passionate sports fan base.” Beginning in January 2014, Macnow will be heard on KYW’s afternoon broadcast of the “Reporter’s Roundup,” and, during football season, with Harry Donahue on the station’s top-rated morning show. Additionally, he will be featured during Phillies pre- and post-game shows on WPHT, flagship broadcaster for the local team.
Cumulus Syndicated Star Mark Levin to be Featured on C-SPAN’s BookTV. Perennial Heavy Hundred personality Mark Levin will be the featured guest author on C-SPAN‘s extremely popular and prestigious literary program “BookTV’s In Depth” on Sunday, January 5. Not only is Levin a top-rated radio talker but he is an attorney and nationally recognized expert on Constitutional Law as well as a best-selling author. The syndicated radio talk show host and former Reagan administration official will spend three hours taking viewers’ calls, Facebook comments, emails and tweets on topics such as the role of the federal government, recent Supreme Court decisions and the upcoming 2014 elections, among others. The president of the Landmark Legal Foundation, Levin is the author of five non-fiction books, including “Rescuing Sprite” “Liberty & Tyranny” and his 2013 release, “The Liberty Amendments.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “Mark Levin is the quintessential example of a radio talk show host who is also a very successful author who actually sells a ton of books time after time. Talk talent from all sides of the ideological spectrum can learn from his precise way of explaining complex issues from both historical and contemporary perspectives and putting forth his opinions in a compelling and credible manner.” The live airing of Mark Levin will be Sunday, January 5, from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET on Book TV on C-SPAN2. Archived on demand editions will be available after the airing at http://booktv.org/.
Gene Romano Takes on Talent Development Duties with Clear Channel. There’s a sort of re-alignment going on within the executive ranks of Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s programming department. As National Programming Platforms EVP Darren Davis explains in a memo to company staff, some execs are getting more duties and Gene Romano is the latest to take on more. Davis writes: “You’ve seen over the past several days we’ve been announcing some expanded duties for several of CCM+E’s senior programmers. It’s all part of an overall strategy to closely link the E/SVPP Team with NPP — so that our local efforts and national efforts are totally in sync. And today, I have another bit of great news to share. EVPP Gene Romano will have expanded duties effective today. In addition to the East Major Markets he oversees, Gene will also oversee Programming Talent Recruitment and Development for CCM+E. CCM+E has attracted best-in-class programming talent over the past couple of years from a variety of companies and industries. Gene will lead our efforts to accelerate our recruitment of the very best into our company. Gene will also work with our E/SVPPs, Brand Managers and VPPs to identify the future stars already inside the company to mentor, grow and provide the tools and resources for their continued advancement with CCM+E.”
Clear Channel’s Denver News/Talkers Tweak Program Schedules; Hannity and Limbaugh to Air Live. Program schedule adjustments at Clear Channel’s KOA and KHOW in Denver will take effect in January. Some of the noteworthy moves are bringing Premiere Networks syndicated star Sean Hannity from an evening delayed broadcast to the live 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm shift on KHOW. Tom Martino will air from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and an hour is trimmed off Michael Brown’s afternoon show which will air from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Across the hall at KOA, the morning program with Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh expands by an hour to 5:00 am to 10:00 am followed by live carriage of Rush Limbaugh from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Local personality Mike Rosen moves from late mornings to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm shift.
On-Air Lineup Modifications in Store for Pittsburgh’s “Fan.” CBS Radio Pittsburgh sports outlet KDKA-FM “The Fan” afternoon drive talent Josh Miller will shift to 6:00 am – 10:00 am; Andrew Fillipponi will co-host 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; and Colin Dunlap will succeed Fillipponi at 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm. Program director Ryan Maguire comments, “This is an exciting step forward in the evolution of ‘The Fan.’ We are eager to showcase this new lineup that highlights the incredible talents of Pittsburgh’s foremost sports experts. Josh’s unique sense of humor and insight will set the tone for the remainder of the day. Andrew is a solid, thought-provoking sports talk show host who has shown he can deliver an informative and opinion-driven program. Colin has grown both as a talk show host and writer in the past year; his work has scored big with our audiences.” Former Pittsburgh Steelers punter Josh Miller spent 12 seasons in the NFL. He joined “The Fan” in 2010 as a talk show host and football analyst. Fillipponi has been with “The Fan” since the station debuted nearly four years ago. Onetime Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports writer Dunlap began as a part-time “Fan” host in 2010. Lineup changes on “The Fan” go into effect Monday, January 6.
Palm Springs’ KFUT Becomes “Fox Sports 1270.” Yesterday at noon (12/18), MCC Radio transitioned Spanish oldies KFUT, Palm Springs, California to “Fox Sports 1270.” The station’s lineup includes “Fox Sports Daybreak” with Andy Furman and Mike North (6:00 am – 9:00 am); “Jay Mohr Sports” (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Fox Sports Primetime” (12:00 noon – 4:00pm); “TMZ Sports” (4:00 pm – 5:00 pm); and “Petros and Money” (5:00 pm – 7:00 pm). “Fox Sports Radio programming originates in Southern California,” program director Mike Oakes points out. “We are thrilled to bring it to the desert, serving Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. I am especially excited to launch two rising shows in the sports talk universe, ‘Jay Mohr Sports’ and ‘TMZ Sports.’ These are the cutting-edge of the sports talk genre.” Associated with the format flip, the station has changed calls from KFUT to KFSQ.
News Staff at KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Affected by Cuts. Details aren’t complete but TALKERS hears that lead reporter and morning drive news anchor Adam Kirk has exited CBS Radio’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh as part of the budget-related cuts taking place at the company’s stations across the country. There are reports that Kirk is not the only news staffer to be let go and that the station is adjusting its news presentation and will eliminate local news in the late night and overnight hours.
WBEZ, Chicago Staffers Vote to Join SAG-AFTRA. The 49 staffers who produce content for Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ, Chicago and its digital properties will be represented by SAG-AFTRA following the staff’s 40-7 vote in favor of the change. WBEZ criminal and legal affairs reporter Rob Wildeboer says in a statement, “Chicago Public Media is a valuable resource to all Chicagoans. The staff of CPM cares deeply about this organization and its mission. Public radio is more than a job. Staff at CPM are deeply committed to the station and we love our work. We have great leaders and a committed board and we believe organizing as staff members is an important step to achieving the goals we all share here: producing excellent journalism that serves the public and making this important local institution even stronger than it is today.”
Odds & Sods. Cumulus Media Networks announces the number of stations carrying the Michael Savage show when it moves to PM drive in Eastern Time and debuts on Cumulus news/talk outlets in the New Year will be more than 200. Savage says of the move, “This is the culmination of two decades in talk radio. I was born for drive time where my pace matches that of America. Everyone dreams of being on the Cumulus powerhouse signals. This is my dream come true.”…..PodcastOne earns props from the iTunes editorial team as two podcasts it makes available are named tops. The “Adam & Dr. Drew Show” is named best new audio podcast of 2013 while the Steve Austin show was selected as the top pick in the sports/recent debuts category. PodcastOne chairman Norm Pattiz says, “We thank the editorial team at iTunes for selecting these programs. We will proudly display the ‘iTunes Best of 2013’ badge prominently when presenting and promoting these programs. Our lineup of the best-of-the-best in podcasting is validated with recognition like this.”…..Motley Fool’s Chris Hill also wins accolades from the iTunes editorial team as his “Investor Beat” podcast has been included among the iTunes Best of 2013.
Radio Companies Get Extension in HD Radio Patent Infringement Case. As tipped by Radio World, the major radio companies who are being targeted by Delaware Radio Technologies and affiliated company Wyncomm LLC have won an extension for filing replies to the allegations leveled at them in connection with their HD radio transmissions. They now have until February 24, 2014. Industry watchers call Wyncomm a patent troll, nonetheless it is seeking damages via a jury trial for what it says are infringements of the patents it holds with regard to voice and data transmission over in-band, on-channel digital broadcasts. The radio companies being sued include: Beasley Broadcast Group, CBS Radio, CC Media Holdings, Cox Media Group, Cumulus Media, Entercom, Entravision, Greater Media, Hubbard Radio, Radio Disney, Radio One, Saga Communications, Townsquare Media and Univision.
A Farewell Party for John Gambling. As John Gambling prepares to wrap his legendary New York City radio career with his final show on Clear Channel’s WOR tomorrow (12/20), Gambling and former co-workers gathered at a New York eatery to congratulate him on his colorful career. Gambling is pictured here (second from right) between former news anchor Babita Hariani (right) and former producer Jill Vitale (third from right). Also in attendance were former WABC colleagues Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby, former engineer Frank D’Elia, former call screener Andre Lelong, former intern and current WABC staffer Mike Gunzelman, and WNYM producer and talk host Frank Morano.
‘Win Howie’s Jag’ Contest Wraps with Live Broadcast. The holiday contest taking place at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston entered the finalist stage on Wednesday as afternoon drive talk host Howie Carr (right) broadcast live from The Fairways at Woburn Country Club as part of Happy Howie Days. During the show, Carr and WRKO gave 20 pre-determined qualifiers the chance to “Win Howie’s Jaguar!” Each of the 20 qualifiers received a $50 gift card to The Green’s Grill and Pub at Woburn Country Club and a gift package, courtesy of Perfect Smiles of Nashua, New Hampshire. Finalist, John Treggiari of Salem (left), unfortunately was not able to drive off in the 2013 Jaguar XF, courtesy of Jaguar Exeter. However, he did win a two-night stay at The Old Harbor Inn in Chatham, located on Cape Cod.
Indian Diplomat Incident, ObamaCare Criticism, NSA Spying Program, Rodman Visits N. Korea, Budget Deal, ‘Duck Dynasty’ Patriarch on Hiatus over Gay Comments, and Limbaugh-Pope Francis Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/18). Tensions between the U.S. and India over the arrest and treatment of an Indian diplomat in New York; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; scrutiny of the NSA’s spying policies; former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s return visit to N. Korea; the recently passed congressional budget deal; A&E puts “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson on hiatus after gay criticisms in GQ article; and the continuing flap over Rush Limbaugh’s calling Pope Francis a Marxist were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
BREAKING NEWS: Clear Channel to Buy Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Buckley Radio announced today that Clear Channel is purchasing AM radio station WOR 710 from Buckley Broadcasting Corporation, pending FCC approval. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. “WOR is an iconic New York City brand with a rich history and an exciting future,” states John Hogan, chairman and CEO of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. “Clear Channel is excited to add WOR as a powerful, high potential complement to our New York brands. We believe WOR makes our already incredible platform even more interesting for listeners, advertisers, and strategic partners and we look forward to the tremendous potential WOR adds to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment New York.” Joseph Bilotta, president and CEO of Buckley Radio tells TALKERS, “For more than 23 years, Buckley Radio has been the steward of one of the most legendary radio stations in broadcasting history and I would like to sincerely thank all of the wonderful people who devoted their time, energy and efforts over the years to WOR Radio.” He continues, “By passing the baton to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, WOR listeners, advertisers and employees will gain access to the unparalleled resources of a worldwide, multi-dimensional media and entertainment company. We have had a great run with WOR and could not be more confident that it is poised for another great run as part of the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment team.” Clear Channel Media and Entertainment currently owns five stations in the New York market including 103.5 KTU, Q104.3, Z100, 106.7 Lite fm and Power 105.1.
Speculation Abounds About the Implications of WOR/CC Deal. Information about this deal was kept even more closely guarded than Romney’s plans to select Ryan as his VP choice. Insiders at the station report that the airstaff had no idea what was going to be announced at an emergency staff meeting called on Friday afternoon for this morning at 9:00 am. Big news like this, however, travels fast once released in a small industry – the buzz being that Clear Channel has now gauranteed a number one market home for two of its major syndicated franchises, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity – currently cleared on Cumulus Media’s WABC. All signs from Cumulus indicating its plan to take news/talk in a different direction lend credence to that speculation. Stay tuned.
Romney’s VP Selection of Paul Ryan on a Saturday Reminds Programmers: Are You Prepared to Cover Breaking News? How your news/talk station handles a breaking news event on any day of the week – either in your market or outside of it – often determines how the people in your market perceive your value as a source of news and even opinion. TALKERS magazine managing editor Kevin Casey reports programmers and hosts across the nation who are dedicated to being the source of news, information and hosting that community “backyard fence” have very similar approaches to covering events such as the recent tragedy in Aurora. It’s all about planning ahead, using the staff you have creatively and being that place where listeners can turn to talk when they need to vent. Read Kevin Casey’s piece here.
Cumulus Rolling Out Geraldo Nationally Today. After recent launches on its O&Os in New York (WABC) and Los Angeles (KABC), Cumulus Media’s syndication division goes national today with the Geraldo Rivera Show. Emanating from New York, the program, titled “Geraldo,” airs between 9:00 am and 12:00 noon ET. Cumulus is banking on Rivera’s middle ground political stance to further underscore its apparent course to modify what some consider news/talk radio’s predominantly conservative and confrontational style. This follows the company’s recent high-profile rollout of former Arkansas Governor/Republican Presidential candidate (and Fox News Channel host) Mike Huckabee’s “more conversational” brand of syndicated news/talk radio. Rivera will reportedly debut on 45 stations including KLIF, Dallas and WCFO, Atlanta with another half dozen expected in coming weeks. Rivera tells TALKERS, “I’m thrilled that just as the nation hurtles toward the highly charged and hard-fought 2012 presidential election, I’ll be coming on the air nationwide. Fasten your seat belts. With America divided along red/blue, right/left lines, I hope to occupy the militant middle and be a referee between ideologies. Everyone is welcome on the radio show, and the conversation is no holds barred.”
Rush Limbaugh Remains #1 on Top Talk Audiences Chart; Listening Dips Slightly in Spring 2012. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Rush Limbaugh keeps his long-held spot atop the TALKERS survey of the top talk radio hosts – based on audience data – for the spring 2012 period of March, April and May. Listenership to many news/talk stations and hosts dipped to a small degree during the period in question, although that conclusion cannot be construed to be one that applies to all news/talk stations across the board nor all hosts. The imperfect science of rating radio in and of itself provides caution to those wishing to come to concrete conclusions about the numbers. Reasons for the “spring dip” are being attributed by some media observers to be the result of “political burnout” as the frenzy of the presidential primary season passes, as well as the easing into the traditionally different mindset listeners get into as summer approaches and schedules begin to change. Regardless, news/talk stations typically enjoy a big bounce from presidential election years in the fall ratings periods illustrating the natural ebb and flow of talk radio listenership. To view the entire Top Talk Radio Audiences chart for the spring 2012 period, click here.
Michael Harrison Receives 2012 Ethical Media Award. TALKERS founder and publisher Michael Harrison was honored Friday (8/10) by the California Coast Venture Forum with its 2012 “Ethical Media Award” at the organization’s Fourth Annual Clean Business Investment Summit on the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara. The award was presented to Harrison by Christie Communications CEO Gillian Christie who praised Harrison as displaying outstanding leadership in his 45 year career as a broadcaster and trade publisher in protecting and defending the principles of free speech in America. In accepting the award, Harrison told the audience of approximately 250 socially responsible entrepreneurs and investors from around California that the precious opportunity in America to start a business or invent a product that bucks the establishment is akin to the rights guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the First Amendment and should never be taken for granted.
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Debuts Weekend Car Show. Using in-house talent Vinnie Richichi and Rob Pratte, the CBS Radio news/talk station brings “Drivetime” to the air on KDKA-AM Saturday mornings at 7:00 am. Richichi (pictured here at right) is a midday personality on the company’s sports talk KDKA-FM – 93.7 The Fan – and Pratte ( at left) is a 30-year veteran of KDKA-AM where he’s a sports reporter and host of “Weekend Magazine.” The station states, “‘Drivetime’ will be a weekly mix of ‘guy next door’ car reviews, interviews with interesting and informative guests from the automotive world and interactive calls from listeners. Topics will range from selling a car, how to get the most out of your automotive experience and even include discussions on the best drive-in movies in Pennsylvania. Richichi and Pratte approach the show with humor and the passion both feel about their wheels.” Richichi has been reviewing cars for more than 25 years and produces a “Drivetime” radio feature that airs across America and Canada. He says, “It’s a show that gives people who are into cars a place to talk about what they love with two guys who get grease under their fingernails before every show.”
Sid Rosenberg Returns to Miami Airwaves Today. Trouble-prone (but extremely talented) sports talk show host Sid Rosenberg returns to the airwaves today as morning drive host on WMEN 640, Royal Palm Beach, Florida after losing his job at WQAM 560, Miami shortly after being hit with a DUI charge in April. According to a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, that was only his most recent bout with drugs, alcohol and gambling, addictions that had sent him to rehab twice and cost him at least five jobs, by his count. “I don’t blame them. I fired myself. I’m accountable,” said Rosenberg, whose April case is pending. He said he hasn’t had a drink in four months and has attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings daily. He also attends Gamblers Anonymous meetings, going eight months since his last bet. (He lost $750 when Florida State didn’t cover the point spread in its 23-19 win over Miami on Nov. 12.) The report goes on to say that Rosenberg is “really trying” to be humble. That’s the first of AA’s 12 steps to a successful recovery.
Philadelphia Talk Host Dom Giordano Moderates Voter ID Law Panel. WPHT, Philadelphia midday talk host Dom Giordano served as the moderator during yesterday’s “Winning in 2012: Maximizing the Vote and Minimizing the Fraud” panel discussion of Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law sponsored by the Independence Hall Tea Party Association and held on Independence Mall. The program was headlined by American Spectator senior editor John Fund and included: political analyst and election law expert, Rich Zeoli; Linda Kerns, Esquire; a GOTV workshop conducted by Martin Gillespie, NE Regional Director of American Majority, and attorney Matt Rooney of SaveJersey.com.
Odds & Sods. Salem Radio Network morning drive host Bill Bennett has a special connection to newly-named Republican veep choice Rep. Paul Ryan. Chairman Ryan once worked for Bennett years ago when he and Jack Kemp created the Washington think tank Empower America…..According to a report by The Press of Atlantic City the recent shooting death of New Jersey talk show host April Kauffman has sparked a marked increase in applications for gun permits in the city of Linwood. Police there say the number of requests is on its way to doubling last year’s number – a trend they indicate has been prompted by the shooting. No arrests have been made in the case of 47-year-old Kauffman, a businesswoman and radio show host who was known widely as an advocate for military veterans.
Feliz Cumpleanos. ESPN Deportes Dallas (KZMP-AM) celebrates its fifth anniversary as the first ESPN O&O to take the ESPN Deportes Spanish-language sports format. To celebrate, the station broadcast live on August 9 from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm at Ojos Locos in Dallas. Pictured here are: Back Row — fifth from the left (blue shirt) Pete Dits, VP/general manager, ESPN Dallas; sixth from left Rafa Ramos, host of Deportes’ Raza Deportiva; seventh from left Tato Noriega, former Mexican National team player and ESPN Deportes TV personality. Front Row – fourth from left (black shirt) Jim Roberts, senior director/Deportes Local Radio Group and ESPN Deportes Dallas station manager.
There’s No Business Like Show Business. Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher spent this past weekend appearing onstage in Los Angeles. Gallagher, who—in addition to his daily SRN program and his duties as a regular contributor to the FOX News Channel—is a member of Actor’s Equity, was guest starring in the West Coast production of the Tony Award-winning “MEMPHIS: The Musical.” As he was leaving his dressing room backstage at the historic Pantages Theatre, who walked up to greet Gallagher but legendary director and funnyman Mel Brooks. Brooks essayed the role of backstage theatre critic and gave Gallagher’s performance a big thumbs-up.
Coming Tomorrow. Noted talk radio consultant Holland Cooke presents an informative and provocative piece exploring how you can tell a lot about a news/talk station from its weekend programming — or lack thereof.