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.
Jacobs Media’s TechSurvey9: News/Talk Breakout. Consulting firm Jacobs Media held a webinar yesterday in which it broke out data relative to the news/talk format from its all-radio TechSurvey9. A key point for talk radio programmers comes from the answers to the question, “Why are you listening to less AM/FM radio than in the past?” The study indicates 49% said it was because they are not enjoying the programming. The next most common response was because of a lifestyle change. After that, the responses were: 17%, too many commercials; 10% listening to SiriusXM; and 9% listening to internet radio. Some of the key points from the study indicating unique attributes of regular users of news/talk radio:
- They are big users of email – especially for building a relationship with their favorite news/talk station. They are less likely to connect with the station via Facebook or Twitter.
- 74% report their primary reason for listening to AM/FM radio is for news, traffic and weather information and 42% cited the need to find out what’s going on locally – much higher than users of other radio formats.
- News/talk users are #2 in owning a car with a digital dashboard (compared to other format fans) with 13% reporting they own one.
- Social media use for news/talk fans indicates they are far more likely to be on LinkedIn – likely due to the “professional” status of many listeners. They are least likely of all format fans to “like” a Facebook page and are not especially frequent users of Twitter compared to other format P1s (although use of Twitter increased 17% over the 2012 survey).
- 65% of news/talk listeners downloaded digital radio apps and, compared to users of other radio formats, were more likely to download your station’s app and the TuneIn app.
- Compared to the same study period one year ago, news/talk fans’ use of internet radio rose 15%; saw a 36% increase in the use of tablet devices; and a 19% increase in the use of the digital dashboard.
Paul Finebaum to Join ESPN August 1. The formerly Birmingham, Alabama-based sports journalist and talk show host will change his home base to Charlotte for his new gig with ESPN. Paul Finebaum, who had a tumultuous last two years with Cumulus Media at WJOX in Birmingham, will not be moving to SummitMedia’s crosstown WZNN “97.3 The Zone” as many industry watchers had suspected. Instead, Finebaum will take his radio program to ESPN where it will air on ESPN Audio and the ESPN-owned SEC Network, destined to debut in August of 2014. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Finebaum will also make 100 appearances on ESPN’s cable TV channels. After entering into a couple of legal battles with former long-time employer Cumulus Media over the course of several years, Finebaum agreed to work out his contract and exit radio in order to sit out his non-compete and start fresh somewhere else. He left WJOX in January of this year.
Clear Channel Announces Bid to Push Back Debt with Bond Exchange. Clear Channel Communications announces it is seeking to push off some debt until 2021 via a $2.1 billion bond exchange. The company is offering to swap $796.3 million of 10.75% notes due in 2016 and $1.28 billion of 11% payment-in-kind notes due in 2016 for the new debt that would come up in 2021. The notes will pay 12% in cash and 2% through the issuance of payment-in-kind notes. Bloomberg’s Mary Childs reports, “Free cash flow at the San Antonio-based broadcaster hasn’t exceeded $340.9 million in any year since its 2008 buyout by Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP. Credit-default swaps tied to the bonds of the company, which owes about $20.8 billion total, are at about the lowest in two years, a sign investors are open to refinancing, Bloomberg data show.”
Cox Enterprises Announces $1 Million Donation to Oklahoma Tornado Relief. The parent company of Cox Media Group – Cox Enterprises – announces that in partnership with the James L. Cox Foundation it is donating $1 million in support of relief and recovery efforts. “Cox Enterprises is committed to supporting the victims of this terrible storm,” says Jim Kennedy, chairman of Cox Enterprises. “As a company that operates multiple businesses in Oklahoma, we are committed to helping our employees and the communities we serve recover from this disaster. In providing this assistance, we also encourage others to support the local relief and recovery efforts.” Cox Enterprises operates multiple companies in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, including: Cox Communications, Total Resource Auctions – Oklahoma City, Total Resource Auctions – Tulsa, news/talk KRMG, Fox23, My41, country KWEN, Tulsa “K95,” hot AC KRAV, Tulsa “Mix 96” and rock KJSR, Tulsa “Rock 103.” “In this difficult time of recovery and rebuilding, our hearts go out to the families affected by the tornadoes,” states Percy Kirk, senior vice president and general manager, Cox Communications Oklahoma. “This gift is a symbol of our commitment to our community and it is our hope that it will provide comfort and relief to many.” In addition to the cash donation and in-kind public service announcements, Cox’s local media properties in Tulsa are hosting a series of community fundraisers.
CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh Hosts Remote Auditions for Sports Talk Host. CBS Radio Pittsburgh sports talk outlet “Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan” is hosting open auditions for a weekend sports talk show on the station. The open auditions rounds begin this weekend and will take place at five different locations over the next four weeks. The company states, “Participants will be judged by station personnel on their ability to rant on a random sports topic. Ten entrants from the open auditions will be selected to move on to the semifinal round to be held at the Tilted Kilt in the North Shore on Monday, June 24. From there, the top four entrants will move on to the Finals at Sidelines Bar and Grill in Sewickley to be judged during a live broadcast with Andrew Fillipponi on KDKA-FM on Thursday, June 27 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Program director Ryan Maguire says, “We’re looking for the next great Pittsburgh sports talk show host – someone who can grow into a superstar. We’re eager to see which member of this passionate fan base can take advantage of this very rare opportunity.”
‘Frontlines of Freedom’ Returns to WOOD, Grand Rapids for Flagship Station. The Talk Media Network-syndicated program dedicated to all things military and hosted by retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Denny Gillem returns to its original flagship station WOOD, Grand Rapids. Talk Media Network’s Josh Leng reports that the weekend “Frontlines of Freedom” program will air live from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on WOOD beginning June 1. Gillem says of the move, “Six years ago my co-founder and I created ‘Frontlines of Freedom’ on WOOD radio. June 1 is the show’s six-year anniversary. It’s a great honor to be returning to our roots at the finest station in West Michigan.” The program began in 2006 as a special Memorial Day show called, “A Colonel’s Salute to Veterans” that won a Michigan Broadcasters Association award. One year later the weekly program was founded at WOOD. Phil Tower, director of news & content programming at Clear Channel’s WOOD, states, “Few persons are held in such high regard as the men and women of our military, so it’s a natural fit to welcome ‘Frontlines of Freedom’ back to our WOOD radio lineup.”
Tony Stiles to Join The Next News Network. Talk radio personality Tony Stiles, host of his eponymous program heard Saturdays on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha “The Mighty 1290,” announces he’s accepted the news anchor position at Chicago-based internet news network The Next News Network. Stiles states, “I am honored that after only seven months on the air in Omaha, that my show, ideas and personality has resonated nationally through a loyal audience by word-of-mouth, radio and internet access. This coming Friday night I will continue my role of frequent anchor until I assume the daily desk in early summer.” The Next News Network founder Gary Franchi says, “As the founder of Next News Network, I became aware of Tony’s ability to attract an audience as I followed his rapid growth and heard his show. Tony is a perfect fit for our 24/7 internet newscast which, like Tony, is the first of its kind.”
CBS News Reporter Tells WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall Her Work and Personal Computers Compromised. In a story that has since gone viral after being picked up by numerous consumer news outlets, with the allegations the DOJ has been investigating AP and Fox News reporters as the backdrop, CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson told WPHT, Philadelphia AM drive host Chris Stigall her work and personal computers are being analyzed as part of an investigation. Attkisson said she could not point the finger at the DOJ but the speculation is that it’s a possibility. Attkisson has been reporting on the Benghazi attacks story.
Sports USA Announces College Football Schedule. Sports USA unveils its 2013 schedule of college football contests saying it “consists of 18 games featuring the best teams in college football. Defending national champion Alabama, unbeaten Ohio State, Texas A&M, (with Heisman Trophy winning QB Johnny Manziel) Michigan, Florida, and LSU will be among the teams featured this year.” Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “We are pleased to provide these incredible matchups to our nearly 400 affiliates nationwide. Additionally, we are providing a sideline reporter for each game.” The season kicks off with USC at Hawaii on August 29 and wraps up with the Independence Bowl on December 31. Other key match-ups include Florida at LSU on October 12, Michigan versus Michigan State on November 2 and Alabama at Auburn on November 30.
Odds & Sods. “America Tonight” nationally syndicated talk show host Kate Delaney is doing some fill-in work this weekend for NBC Sports Radio Network. Delaney, who earlier in her career worked at WFAN, New York, will sit in from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET on May 26 and from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on May 27…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles continues its “KNX on Your Corner” remote broadcast series on June 7 as it takes a comprehensive look at the Orange County city of Fullerton. During the live broadcast from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm, community leaders including Mayor Bruce Whitaker, council members, Chief of Police Dan Hughes and other special guests will be interviewed. Additionally, a special series by KNX investigative reporter Charles Feldman will look at the double-barreled impact on the city of the “Great Recession” and the high-profile fatal beating of a homeless man, Kelly Thomas, by members of the Fullerton Police Department nearly two years ago.
ESPN to Begin Mega-Layoffs. At this point the company’s only public statement has been, “We are implementing changes across the company to enhance our continued growth while smartly managing costs. While difficult, we are confident that it will make us more competitive, innovative and productive.” It’s unclear how many ESPN Audio staffers will be affected but the company, which employs about 4,000 in the United States and another 3,000 in other parts of the world, could be in the hundreds according to some reports. ESPN is a huge source of revenue for principle parent Disney (20% is owned by Hearst) but some industry watchers speculate that ESPN’s increasing costs in acquiring precious play-by-play contracts – especially considering new entrants into the field including CBS Sports Network and Fox Sports 1 – is forcing it to be more cost-conscious.
IRS Protest Led by WIND, Chicago’s Joe Walsh. Former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh is pictured here (with megaphone) on the street outside the Dearborn Street offices of the Internal Revenue Service in Chicago protesting the agency’s targeting of conservative and religious groups. The rally was organized and led by Walsh, who hosts his own evening talk show on Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago, “AM 560 The Answer.” Walsh states, “It’s time to send a message that our First Amendment rights will not be denied by an out-of-control administration.” Dozens of protesters joined Walsh during the lunchtime gathering.
IRS Targets Conservatives, DOJ Fox News Investigation, Oklahoma Tornado Aftermath, Benghazi Attacks Case, and Anthony Weiner to Run for NYC Mayor Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/21). The IRS’ targeting of conservative groups; the investigation by the Department of Justice into Fox News Channel reporters; the aftermath of the deadly Oklahoma tornado; the ongoing scrutiny of the Benghazi attack and disgraced former NY Congressman Anthony Weiner’s bid for mayor of New York were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Greater Media’s Sports Talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia Tweaks Daily Lineup. The Philadelphia sports talker promotes two from their Saturday program to a daily midday show. Jon Marks and Sean Brace began holding down the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot on Monday. Marks most recently co-hosted with Tony Bruno and Brian Baldinger, weekdays 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm respectively. Sean Brace (as Jon did before him) also produced the Mike Missanelli show for the past year. As a result of the move, Brian Baldinger moves to the evening show where he co-hosts with Joe DeCamera for the 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. Program director Matt Nahigian says, “Jon Marks’ and Sean Brace’s on-air chemistry has been on display every Saturday morning for the past two years. The two young and up-and-coming sports talk hosts have created a fun and irreverent show that the Fanatic Philadelphia fans enjoy.”
More Legal Tussles Between Cumulus and Cox Media in Birmingham. Sports talk outlets WJOX and WZNN in Birmingham are at it again it court, this time over programmer Ryan Haney’s move from WJOX to WZNN. At issue is the non-compete clause in Haney’s contract. The Birmingham News reports that Citadel (Cumulus) is arguing Haney is in breach of his contract with the company by leaving to work for direct competitor WZNN “ESPN 97.3 The Zone.” Further, Citadel wants a temporary restraining order against Haney to prevent him from working while the case works its way through the system. Citadel also wants the court proceedings blacked out to the media because in arguing its case it will have to disclose confidential and proprietary business information. A judge is set to hear arguments this morning (2/5). Haney’s non-compete was for the period of one year after exiting WJOX which he did in early January. Haney had been with WJOX since 2004.
Your Radio Station is Vulnerable to Identity Theft. We all are aware of the dangers of identity theft and many of us do our best to protect ourselves individually from the dire consequences of having our identities stolen. But what about your radio station? Does it even know that there is a problem? Recently we have learned that both The New York Times and the Washington Post had their computers breached by Chinese hackers and this was not the first time. The hacking into The New York Times and the Washington Post do not appear to be financially motivated, but that is of little solace. Why would an identity thief hack into the computers of your radio station rather than attack the computers of big corporations such as Bank of America? Well, the answer is that they are attacking the computers of the big corporations, but they also are looking toward the computers of small corporations as the low hanging fruit of computer hacking. Radio stations make enticing targets. Hacking into the computers of radio stations and other small corporations that may not be in the Fortune 500 not only can provide information that can be stolen to access your radio station’s bank accounts, but it can also provide personal information about employees (some of whom are famous and even controversial), such as Social Security numbers as well as billing and payment information about your advertisers and other companies with which you do business that can be used to make all of these people and entities victims of identity theft. This is happening to small businesses every day. One of the reasons that it is happening is that not enough businesses, small and large, but particularly small, are doing enough to safeguard the security of the data in their computers. According to TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman the problem is not as bad as you think. It is far worse. Read his important article addressing the problem and offering solutions here.
Programming Pro Alan Eisenson Joins Media Management Group as EVP of Business Development. Talk radio programmer Alan Eisenson most recently was in charge of programming Clear Channel’s Northern California news/talk stations: heritage KFBK-AM/FM and KSTE, Sacramento as well as KKSF and KNEW, San Francisco. Now he joins New York-based Media Management Group as executive vice president of business development. The firm states, “In his new capacity Eisenson will enable MMG to expand its range of services, including performance and tactical support, and maximizing client audience growth across all media and technology platforms.” MMG president and CEO Jeff Schwartz states, “I have known Alan for over 12 years, since he was program director at WEVD here in NYC. He is one of the most talented programmers and talent managers in the business and will enable us to offer additional value to our current and prospective clients.”
CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan” Promotes Two. Late night sports talk host Chris Mueller is upped to the afternoon drive slot as part of the program hosted by Joe Starkey and Josh Miller weekdays from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Mueller is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. He has been with “The Fan” since its February 2010 debut. About Chris Mueller, program director Ryan Maguire says, “In Chris, we feel we have a dynamic personality who really had great chemistry with Joe Starkey and Josh Miller. That speaks volumes because we had some very talented candidates that we were looking at for this position. He earned this, and we’re excited at what lies ahead.” Moving into the late night slot is weekender Colin Dunlap, who was most recently hosting the 8:00 am to 11:00 am weekend program. Dunlap is a former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports writer. In addition to his on-air duties at “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan,” Dunlap will also serve as the featured sports columnist for 937thefan.com.
How to Pump Up Your Weekend “How-To” Show – Part 2. Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke says, “Few marketing opportunities can generate more new business than local ‘how-to’ weekend talk radio…if you use it properly.” In this follow-up to yesterday’s piece, Cooke offers four basic tips to maximizing the productivity and quality of these shows: 1) Stay relentlessly on topic; 2) Keep your information in layman’s language; 3) Don’t say “goodbye” at the end of the show; 4) Listen to the show yourself, after some time has gone by so you hear it more objectively. Read Holland Cooke’s suggestions for producing quality weekend “how-to” programs here.
Austin Hill and Brian Wiley Join KINF-AM/FM, Boise. Impact Radio Group news/talk KINF-AM/FM, Boise brings talk pro Austin Hill aboard for the morning drive program beginning Monday, February 11. Also being added to the program schedule is Brian Wiley who will bring his “Money Show with Brian Wiley” to the station for the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot. Both Hill and Wiley previously worked at Peak Broadcasting’s crosstown KIDO. Austin Hill’s weekend syndicated show “Austin Hill’s Big World of Small Business” airs on Saturdays on KINF.
Obama Gun Legislation Tour, Obama Cabinet Nominees, Super Bowl XLVII, Immigration Reform, and Death of Ed Koch Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4). President Obama’s tour of the country to promote his gun legislation; cabinet nominations for President Obama’s second term; the aftermath of Super Bowl XLVII; the debate over immigration reform legislation; and the death of former NYC Mayor Ed Koch were among the top news/talk stories discussed on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
The Week of Sandy for Broadcasters in the Northeast; Broadcasters Associations Tout Virtues of Local Radio and TV. Natural disasters bring the importance of radio to the fore and Hurricane Sandy was no different. Even as we write this, broadcasters in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut are – days after the storm – struggling with ongoing issues of lack of electricity, fuel shortages, staff with homes damages and destroyed, and more. In fact, contacting broadcasters in the affected areas to report how they are getting by is a challenge since all of their resources – such as they are – are being used to perform the function of emergency broadcasting. However the degree to which the storm affected the hub of media in this country – New York City — threw another wrench into the works. Even though radio stations were able to get information out one way or another – for example, all-news WINS using sister station WXRK’s signal when its transmitter went down – broadcasting companies were hampered by the lack of electricity and the business end of operating a station or network remained, and in some cases remains, challenging. New Jersey Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Paul Rotella is using the disaster to raise the FM chips in cell phones issue. “This deadly disaster points out the absolute necessity of having FM chips in cell phones activated, which would turn every cell phone into an emergency ‘transistor’ radio. (Many cell phones already have FM chips either installed or easily implanted and activated.) I understand that cell phone carriers want to make money off of consumers with streaming rate plans, etc., but maybe they could light the FM chip up in times of emergency so that more people can receive emergency information that only our local broadcasters are capable of transmitting to everyone. It’s worth exploring.” New York State Broadcasters Association president David L. Donovan notes in a press release touting the value of over-the-air broadcasting that 25% of cell towers in 10 states were affected by the storm, relegating the public to using battery-powered radios and TVs to get news and information. (The flood image is courtesy of Cox Media Group Connecticut from a video of the group’s coverage of the storm and its aftermath. See the entire video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ix9PvdYKvkc)
CBS Radio Names Ryan Maguire KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh PD. Rising sports programming star Ryan Maguire has been tabbed by CBS Radio to handle the PD position at Pittsburgh sports talk outlet KDKA-FM “SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan.” Maguire fills the shoes left by Terry Foxx who moved to Atlanta to program CBS Radio’s new FM sports talk outlet WZGC “92.9 The Game.” Maguire currently serves as PD for Entercom’s KCSP, Kansas City “610 Sports Radio.” Prior to that he programmed Entercom’s WSSP, Milwaukee “Sports Radio 1250” and Cumulus Media’s WTKA, Ann Arbor “The Ticket 1050.” CBS Radio SVP and market manager Michael Young states, “Ryan has a very impressive track record in programming sports radio stations. He has produced strong ratings and successfully developed a number of dynamic on-air sports personalities. Furthermore, Ryan has an uncompromising passion for sports and his leadership will well serve Pittsburgh sports fans.” On his new gig, Maguire says, “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity and privilege to be a part of ‘Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan’ in Pittsburgh. Western Pennsylvania is home to some of the most loyal and passionate fans in the country and I’m looking forward to seeing KDKA-FM continue to be a big part of their sports experience.”
Media Broker Says Opportunity is Knocking Right Now for First-Time Station Buyers. Sandi Bergman, whom TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “a dynamic rising star among today’s crop of media brokers,” has positive news for the many recently laid-off radio management figures looking to apply their seasoned skills in a new and productive direction in the industry. They should consider radio station ownership! Although it is a tough sales-driven business and there are daunting obstacles to obtaining financing, ownership is not just for the mega-corporations who are burdened with seemingly insurmountable debt. It is indeed possible that many of them will be spinning off unwieldy properties in the months and years ahead creating new opportunities for fresh blood in the business. According to Bergman, who owns the innovative website www.RadioTVDeals.com and a New Mexico-based brokerage firm (MyMediaBroker.com) and is one of the relatively few major female brokers in the game, there are many incredible opportunities for first-time buyers. Read the entire TALKERS interview with Sandi Bergman here.
It’s Official: WFAN, New York Broadcasts on 101.9 FM. CBS Radio took over WRXP 101.9 FM under an LMA at midnight last night and the nation’s first full-time sports talk station WFAN, New York is now heard in the region on FM. CBS Radio is buying the class B FM signal from Merlin Media for $75 million.
Keven Cohen Out at WVOC, Columbia, South Carolina. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment ousts PM drive host Keven Cohen from news/talk WVOC, Columbia, South Carolina. Cohen announced his departure from the station via his Facebook page stating, “An hour ago, Clear Channel relieved me of my duties and fired me. Obviously, I am devastated. I am not getting the chance to do so on the radio, so I want to thank all of you for the love and support you have offered my way over almost 19 years at WVOC. Please keep the Cohen family in your prayers. This will be a significant challenge.” WVOC has not announced its plans for PM drive at the station.
Now That You’re in Sales… Because all radio staffers are in sales now – or should be, according to radio consultant Holland Cooke – if they want to keep their jobs. But as Cooke writes, just because you’re a talent doing personalized spots doesn’t mean you have job security these days. So, what’s a talent to do? Still more, says Cooke. “Offer to write copy. You got your on-air job because you’re good with words, right? That could make you handy to have around if yours is one of many stations where the creative department fell victim to a recent bloodbath. Too often, account reps are writing spot copy, and too much of it sounds like…well, spot copy.” Also, have you accompanied a sales rep on a call? No? Uh-oh…better read more of Holland Cooke’s wise advise for air talent here.
Steve Kelley to Prove Colorado is a Swing State. Steve Kelley, along with Bill Rogan and Murphy Wells, hosts the morning drive show on Salem Communications’ KNUS, Denver. Kelley is a well-known Denver radio personality who has performed various stunts for charity in the past. Now, Kelly has begun an effort to break the world record for time spent swinging – a tongue-in-cheek nod to Colorado’s political status as a “swing state” and with the desire to highlight the need for all registered voters to cast their ballots. Kelley will report on his progress live on the air and plans to finish his attempt sometime Saturday evening. In past stunts, Kelley has rode a pogo stick from Boulder to Denver and sat in every seat in both the old and new Mile High Stadiums.
Welcoming Herman to Tulsa. Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa held a live local event with some of its showcase talent to welcome talk show host and former presidential candidate Herman Cain to the market where he’ll take over as host of the Cox-syndicated Neal Boortz show in January. Pictured here are (from l-r): Cox Media star Clark Howard, Boortz, Cain, and Cox Media radio news director of the Washington Bureau Jamie Dupree.
Hurricane Sandy Destruction Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of October 29-November 2. The destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week landing at #1 on the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was the NY/NJ/CT Gas Shortages. At #3 was climate change controversy followed by the presidential race polls and predictions at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across the country and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. View this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. WYD Media-produced and Dial Global-distributed Michael Smerconish is added to the program schedule at WCMY, Ottawa, Illinois and WEZS, Laconia, New Hampshire…..Independently syndicated “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the lineup at KBZZ-AM/FM, Reno.
CBS Announces Plans for Atlanta FM Sports Talk Outlet. The rumors of a CBS Radio sports talk station in Atlanta have been buzzing for some time and now CBS Atlanta market manager Rick Caffey announces Triple A Dave FM – WZGC will turn into Sports Radio 92.9 this fall, probably in late September or early October. The company is moving KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh program director Terry Foxx to Atlanta to become PD of the new station. Foxx was instrumental in building Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan into the successful station it is. In a memo to the Atlanta staff, Caffey says of Foxx, “His extensive experience includes stints with ESPN Radio in Bristol, Connecticut and ABC Radio Networks. We’ve had many conversations about the potential of Sports Radio 92.9 and his vision is exactly what we need to win in this market. Working with him will be inspiring and I’m confident you’ll also be motivated by his work ethic and energetic personality.” Atlanta currently has two sports talk outlets: Cumulus Media’s WCNN – Sports Radio 680 The Fan – which also operates on an FM translator in the market; and Lincoln Financial Media’s WQXI – Sports Talk 790 The Zone. WQXI’s Dave Archer & Mike Bell; Steak Shapiro, Nick Cellini and Chris Dimino; and “Red Zone” hosts Doug and Ryan Stewart plus Tony Barnhart and Wes Durham made it onto the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk as did WCNN’s “Rude Awakening” morning show featuring Christopher Rude. There are not many markets with three sports talk stations but CBS Radio believes in its ability to be successful with the format and its position on the FM dial will give it an advantage purely based on cume using the FM band. As for Dave FM, the station’s ratings had declined over the past year and the market is served by four other commercial outlets airing a rock-based format.
CBS Signs First Talent to Appear on New Radio Sports Network: Doug Gottlieb. The former ESPN personality joins CBS Sports where he’ll hold down the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET time slot on the CBS Sports Radio Network when it launches on January 2. He’ll also be a studio and game analyst for CBS Sports’ television coverage of men’s college hoops and the NCAA Division I championship. Doug Gottlieb will have a role on CBS Sports’ new cable network hosting a show and will serve as an analyst for college basketball there. Additionally, he will contribute podcasts and columns to CBSsports.com. CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus says, “With his ability to host both radio and television shows plus his studio and courtside analysis on college basketball, Doug is a triple threat, and the perfect fit across CBS Sports’ many platforms. Doug brings a wide fan base and a fresh take on sports, and we are excited to develop a unique show with him on CBS Sports Network.”
Cumulus Media Networks Host Mike Huckabee Weighs in on Chick-fil-A Issue on Tom Joyner Program. Nationally syndicated talk show host, former Arkansas governor and former U.S. presidential candidate Mike Huckabee appeared on the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner program yesterday with Joyner and cast member Roland Martin to discuss the Chick-fil-A gay marriage controversy. Huckabee is promoting a “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” today to support the restaurant chain’s president – Dan Cathy – for announcing his “Godly values.” Huckabee told Martin and Joyner the issue is one of “supporting the right to free speech.” Huckabee says he wants today’s event to be one of quiet support – not a protest with signs or disturbances. “It’s about supporting the idea that a person who runs a company has a right to free speech, and has not been disenfranchised from his First Amendment rights because he runs a company, anymore than Ben and Jerry should be disenfranchised from their views, or Jeff Bezos of Amazon, or Howard Schultz of Starbucks. This is about whether or not people ought to take action, as was being taken against Chick-fil-A, trying to get them thrown off college campuses, mayors trying to say that they shouldn’t have come to their city because they disagreed with the personal views of a person of the company. Nobody has alleged that Chick-fil-A discriminated against its customers or employees. That would be something to truly protest.”
Political Season Kicking into High Gear. Some key primary elections took place yesterday and with the beginning of August, the political season is heating up after a late spring and early summer cooling off. The primary race in Texas between Republicans running for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison has been one of national interest with Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst facing former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz – the latter the recipient of the support of Texas Tea Party groups. Cruz defeated Dewhurst handily in yesterday’s primary race. Pictured here is KTRH, Houston talk host Michael Berry (holding the mic) announcing Cruz (approaching from the left) at his victory party in Houston last night. Cruz had been endorsed by Sarah Palin, Michelle Malkin, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity plus others and had been a favorite of Michael Berry’s since his announcement. “It is a huge honor to be able to share in this evening of celebration for Ted Cruz and the excitement in the room is only half of what is going to exist in November when we can call Ted ‘Senator Cruz.’”
Talk Host Martha Zoller in Runoff for Georgia Congressional Seat. The vote tally in yesterday’s primary election for the newly configured 9th Georgia Congressional District has Georgia talk show host Martha Zoller down by just 729 votes with about half the votes counted. She and Georgia State Representative Doug Collins each have roughly 41% of the votes with third candidate Roger Fitzpatrick, garnering 17% of the vote. That means Zoller and Collins will head to an August 21 runoff election since neither candidate won 50%-plus-one.
Cumulus Media Simulcasts KNBR’s Damon Bruce in Modesto. San Francisco sports talk host Damon Bruce’s 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show on KNBR is now being heard 80 miles east in Modesto on the company’s sports talk KESP. The station carries largely ESPN Radio programming along with DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick. The addition of Damon Bruce gives the station a regional show that addresses Northern California sports topics.
Artie Lange Reportedly Suspended for Urinating in Studio. The DirecTV/Premiere Networks duo of Artie Lange and Nick Di Paolo was just Di Paolo for the first two nights of this week after Lange was suspended, according to TMZ. The gossip site reports that, for some unknown reason, Lange urinated on the floor of the studio and then insisted the show’s two female production assistants clean it up. When they refused, another male staffer took care of it.
KOA, Denver Shores Up Broncos Coverage with Team Execs and Players. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KOA, Denver unveils some additions to its coverage of Denver Broncos football this season. First, former Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey will take over the color role in the radio booth alongside play-by-play man Dave Logan on the Denver Broncos Radio Network based at KOA. Former color man Brian Griese exits to concentrate on his role covering football with ESPN. Broncos EVP of football operations John Elway, head coach John Fox and quarterback Peyton Manning will have regular roles on the station including Elway’s weekly appearance on the Dave Logan PM drive show; Fox’s weekly shot on the station’s morning drive show and Manning’s weekly hit on Logan’s show. All three will contribute to game day programming as well.
Morning Personality Elvis Duran Extends Contract with Clear Channel. WHTZ, New York-based Elvis Duran signs a five-year extension with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment to continue his role as morning drive host on the CHR station and his national syndication effort that currently has him on more than 40 affiliates via Premiere Networks. The company announces, “Duran will work with Clear Channel on a variety of future endeavors including talent and programming development as well as events. He will also serve as a spokesperson for the company.” Clear Channel chairman and CEO John Hogan states, “We are thrilled to extend and expand our partnership with Elvis. He is a true creative genius with an unparalleled ability to connect with and entertain listeners across the country. His intelligence, warmth, enthusiasm and wit really resonate with listeners and work incredibly well with our marketing partners. He is a remarkable talent and an incredible partner for Clear Channel.”
WSB Care-a-Thon Helps Raise $1.5 Million for Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Nationally syndicated WSB, Atlanta-based talk host Neal Boortz recently announced the 12th Annual 95.5 & AM 750 News/Talk WSB Care-a-Thon helped raise $1.5 million for the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center in Atlanta. Boortz, pictured here with 9-year-old patient Haylee, states, “I’ve been doing this fundraiser for the past 11 years and have been honored to rejoice with kids who beat their cancer and have mourned for those who did not. No words can express the love we all feel for the staff of the AFLAC Cancer Center and the children and their families who come here for treatment. Although I’m retiring, I’ll arrange my travels to make sure I’m right back here in Atlanta every year so I can be there for the Care-a-Thon, as long as they’ll have me.”
Presidential Race, Primary Elections, Indian Power Grid Collapse, and Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/31). The U.S. presidential campaign; primary elections across the country, including the highly watched Republican Texas Senate contest; the collapse of Northern India’s power grid; and the London Olympic games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Reports Net Revenue Down 5.6% in Fourth Quarter of 2011; Company High on Geraldo and Huckabee. Cumulus Media Group CEO Lew Dickey and chief financial officer J.P. Hannan appeared together on yesterday’s conference call to tell analysts the company’s plans for consolidating the former Cumulus Media Partners (former Susquehanna stations) it brought into the fold in August and the former Citadel stations it closed on in September are coming together allowing them to realize the “synergies” — $10.5 million worth — within the time frame originally predicted. As far as revenue is concerned, the company saw revenue down only 1% if you exclude political advertising from Q4 one year prior. Dickey told analysts there was growth in the automotive, financial services and retail sectors in Q4 and he – like many – expects this to be a big year for political dollars. Dickey addressed the coming launch of the Mike Huckabee program and stopped short of saying Cumulus could capitalize on Rush Limbaugh’s current PR challenge but told analysts his company sees a real upside for the April launch of Huckabee’s program for which it says it has about 110 affiliates lined up already. Dickey also said that Geraldo Rivera – currently heard on WABC, New York and KABC, Los Angeles only – is ripe for national syndication and calls the New York and Los Angeles placement a “precursor” to a national rollout.
Rush Limbaugh Takes Monday Off; Premiere Networks Suspends Airing of Barter Spots for Two Weeks. Things are quieting down with regard to the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke controversy but El Rushbo took yesterday (3/12) off to play golf with regular fill-in Mark Steyn sitting in the host’s chair. Public relations and crisis management expert Brian Glicklich is working with Limbaugh’s team and it sounds as though the day off was probably his idea. At the same time, Premiere Networks issued a memo to traffic departments at news/talk affiliates and is suspending the requirement that stations run barter spots – the ones that air in addition to the network spots actually contained within Limbaugh’s and other Premiere shows – for this week and next. Premiere gives no reason for this but one could surmise it doesn’t want to have any clients’ spots air within “controversial programming” and a cool down period like this will allow it to get a handle on where these spots are to air and where they should not.
Curtis Media Blows Up “FM Talk 101.1” WZTK-FM; Programming Changes Affect WPTF, Raleigh and WSJS, Winston-Salem. Curtis Media shocks the news/talk world with the sudden announcement that eight-year-old FM talker WZTK-FM, Burlington – serving both the Triad and Triangle markets of North Carolina is signing off its talk format and will re-emerge within a few weeks. But some of the talent heard on WZTK-FM is being spread out among Curtis Media’s other news talkers in the Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem/High Point/Greensboro markets. Here’s what’s happening: First, in the Triangle market of Raleigh-Durham, Curtis drops country on WKIX at 850 AM and will operate two outlets – NewsRadio 680 WPTF and TalkRadio 850 WPTF. WPTF VP/GM David Stuckey states, “NewsRadio 680 WPTF is where people will hear about the big events of the day, while TalkRadio 850 WPTF is where they’ll talk about those stories.” Stuckey says that while WPTF has proudly conservative roots dating back to 1924, the two stations will strive for balanced news coverage and an open exchange of all opinions across the ideological spectrum. “Unlike some media outlets, we’re not going to force-feed the same political agenda ad nauseum. We’ve seen ratings slippage on stations and channels with a hard-leaning approach, and more advertisers are telling us they want media platforms that are less toxic and more civil.” As far as talent is concerned, Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire survive the cut at WZTK-FM and will host PM drive on WPTF and WSJS. Dial Global’s Neal Boortz and Clark Howard are also landing on WPTF and WSJS. Shows that “didn’t make the cut” include local host Allan Handelman, TRN’s Michael Savage and Phil Hendrie and Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes.
Larry King to Host Show on Internet TV Network. American television and radio icon Larry King is returning to the interview desk with a start-up online TV network called Ora.TV being financed by Mexican media mogul Carlos Slim. A debut date for the site has not been announced yet but the Ora.TV website says it’s coming this year. The site states, “From its inception, Ora is an internet-based on-demand network producing a wide range of programs that transcend traditional formats. Our programs will resemble broadcast TV in terms of quality, but viewers will watch when and where they like with interactive capability.” Former News Corp. president of digital journalism Jon Housman will lead the network.
Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Holds “Insight 2012” with Major Political Guests. The annual “Insight 2012” program hosted by WTMJ, Milwaukee talk host Charlie Sykes has become a must-listen for Wisconsin political aficionados the morning after it takes place. The actual event is a ticket-holder-only live event the night prior – in this year’s case, last night. Sykes hosted fellow WTMJ host Jeff Wagner and other journalists plus Wisconsin State Senate candidates Jeff Fitzgerald, Tommy Thompson, Mark Neumann and Eric Hovde. Also appearing were U.S. Representatives Paul Ryan, Reid Ribble and Sean Duffy along with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Last evening’s event is being re-broadcast this morning from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon on WTMJ.
Tribune’s WGN, Chicago Signs on with TuneIn. The “Voice of Chicago” can now be heard around the world via the free, internet service TuneIn, which boasts 30 million monthly active listeners. TuneIn vice president of programming Kevin Straley says, “WGN is known all over the country and has a rich history in Chicago. Our goal is to share all of the best programming from around the world with over 30 million monthly listeners, and partnering with WGN brings us one step closer to that goal.”
KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh Announces Pirates Broadcast Talent. CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh announces former Chicago Cubs third baseman Kevin Orie will be paired with radio host Dan Zangrilli to handle the game-day shows before and after each Pirates baseball game throughout the season. The two will host a one-hour preview program and a one-hour post-game show. Pirates broadcasters (Greg Brown, Tim Neverett, Steve Blass, Bob Walk, and John Wehner) will continue to be featured during the pre- and post-game shows, as well as calling all the action during the games.
Report: 3MTR Abandons Talk Format in Melbourne. TALKERS Australia bureau chief Trevor Smith reports on the demise of talkback radio 3MTR in Melbourne. Smith notes the station had been having financial difficulties for months and was unable to compete with Melbourne’s talk 3AW. Read more here.
Afghan Civilian Massacre, 2012 Presidential Race, HBO Palin Movie, Rush Limbaugh Controversy and Iran Nukes Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/12). The case of a U.S. Army sergeant who killed 16 civilians in Afghanistan; the GOP candidates’ battle to win the nomination to face President Obama in November; HBO’s “Game Change” film about Sarah Palin and the 2008 presidential race; the ongoing controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh; and the Iran nuclear weapons issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Phil Hendrie Walks the Red Carpet. Sure, he’s not wearing a glitzy, designer gown but he is walking on a red carpet! That’s Talk Radio Network personality Phil Hendrie at the Los Angeles Animation Festival on Saturday, March, 10. Hendrie – whose voice appears in numerous animated films and TV programs – was a cast member in Trey Parker’s and Matt Stone’s “Team America” film. Hendrie states, “I was happy to be involved in any way that I could, because that was a great work experience for me…Every time that it’s mentioned that I was in ‘Team America,’ people instantaneously recognize it. They know the voice of I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E., they know the voice of the terrorist, they know the film, so it’s like my instant credibility button.”
Filling in for the Holidays. Today marks the beginning of “holiday fill-in season” on talk radio which pretty much runs through the rest of the year. It is the time when a significant percentage of full-time hosts working at individual radio stations (and even syndicated hosts for that matter) take all or part of their annual vacations. This process provides fill-in hosts and part-time weekend and bench hosts with the opportunity to get out there and hopefully shine. It also has the potential to provide listeners with fresh voices and perspectives. And it always presents already overworked programmers with the challenge of keeping their schedules flowing and appealing. They want someone who is professional and interesting – but they also want someone who won’t upset the applecart of stationality or listener expectations. WGN, Chicago PD Bill White explains, “I equate a fill-in host to someone hosting a dinner party in someone else’s home. Fill-in hosts should be respectful of the regular host’s audience but not rearrange all the furniture. We also look for fill-in hosts who will be comfortable and compliment the regular host’s audience.” Thus, qualified substitutes are a valuable commodity at this time of year when the demand for their services is drastically increased, especially when most stations’ air staffs have been cut back or depleted due to the economy and PDs must look for help from outside. For example, one of the industry’s most popular substitutes, former congressman and KFYI, Phoenix talk host J.D. Hayworth is subbing for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated host Todd Schnitt on 12/20 and 12/28. He’ll be heard on hosting local shows on KXNT-FM, Las Vegas on 12/23 and 12/29-30; WLS, Chicago on 12/24, 28-30; WGST, Atlanta on 12/26; KOGO-AM/FM, San Diego on 12/27; and WPHT, Philadelphia on 12/28-30. Demand for quality substitutes is so high that some hosts already doing full-time work use it as an opportunity to pick up extra income and exposure. As if he is not already doing enough on his “regular” gigs, hard working and extremely talented Clear Channel talk host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (KPRC, Houston; WOAI, San Antonio; KOA, Denver; and “The Weekend”) fills in for Premiere Networks syndicated star Glenn Beck on 12/20, 23, 28 and 30. This year’s holiday season coming in the thick of the big election cycle creates even more pressure to keep stations on track. Greater Media-owned WTKK-FM, Boston PD Grace Blazer tells TALKERS, “It’s important at 96.9 FM-WTKK to provide our audience with relevant shows throughout the holiday season that are timely and topical. Our host vacation schedules are scattered and their fill-ins are often regular participants to their shows and share similar philosophies. Since January 2012 is a huge month for presidential politics and New Hampshire is our neighbor, I think it’s imperative to keep 96.9 Boston Talks ‘primarily’ intact and compelling.” At Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ, Fresno, PD Skip Essick likes to avoid throwing curves to listeners, “I try and keep programming as normal as possible. This year it will not be as much of a challenge with Christmas Eve and Day on the weekend – same thing over New Years. But, for instance, the day after Thanksgiving – which was designated as a company holiday – I ran full staff with regular programming. I’ll do the same for Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, and the numerous Monday holidays throughout the year. In a nutshell – if our listeners are at work, so are we.” Some hosts prefer to work over the holidays and at Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, New York, program director Scott Lakefield tells TALKERS that’s the case. “For instance, John Gambling began a ‘tradition’ of sorts of taking his ‘holiday’ vacation in January. He will be live 12/27-30. Generally speaking, though, my theory is to try to do ‘best-of’ compendium shows during vacation times, with the exception of drive-time when information is a bigger component and it is thus necessary to be live. Guest hosts in my experience drive far more listeners away than hearing some ‘classic’ moments from their favorite hosts does.” In the sports talk radio world this situation can be particularly compelling since so many outlets have a high percentage of local full-time hosts and thus more slots to fill. Plus, opinions and personality categories in sports talk are often more idiosyncratic than general news/talk, making it more challenging to find the proper fit. CBS-owned Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh PD Terry Foxx tells TALKERS, “Holiday fill-in for us is very important. I match up our part-time hosts based on how I feel they will entertain and incite opinions from our fans in certain day parts.” Some stations have fill-in hosts with a history at the station such as veteran TV/radio personality Wayne Powers who subs for Keith Larson on WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte 12/26-30… and the list goes on. J.D. Hayworth, who is looking to get back into the business on a regular basis as either a local or syndicated host, tells TALKERS, “As a genuine ‘broadcasting baby boomer,’ I remember the ubiquitous Robert Q. Lewis on TV game shows: most frequently, a panelist…but quite frequently, a guest host…and eventually a regular host! So, I’m being ‘Lewis-like’ over the holidays! During my years at N.C. State, the joke was Lou Holtz recruited me at right tackle, but I ended up ‘left out!’ So…I’m used to waiting on the the bench, but very happy to get loads of holiday airtime. I’m certain these appearances will help me leave the bench and get back in the game full time!”
John Thompson Ends Regular Talk Show at WTEM, Washington. The iconic former Georgetown University basketball coach and talk host in the DC market since 1999 will step away from his regular show on Red Zebra’s WTEM in February to pursue other interests. Red Zebra director of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “While a sad day for the station, we fully support Coach Thompson’s decision to move on to other projects. As Coach and I discussed at the time of his decision, this is not a retirement. His fans will still hear Coach Thompson on ESPN980 from time to time. Thompson’s program airs from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm daily with co-host Doc Walker. Sapienza doesn’t state what the station’s plans are after Thompson steps down.
Chattanooga’s Brewer Media to Drop News/Talk on WPLZ-FM Citing Expense of the Format. It’s been three years since the locally owned Brewer Media put a news/talk format on WPLZ-FM, Chattanooga. Owner Jim Brewer II tells the Chattanooga Times Free Press he would have needed more staff to be competitive in the market. “I think we offered a good product and I will miss having news/talk in our building…being a small, single market cluster, it’s exceedingly difficult to compete against national broadcasting companies who have so much syndicated programming and infrastructure.” The station will flip to an unspecified music format in the new year and will lay off talk hosts Robert T. Nash and David Karnes as well as PD Gary Poole, news director Louis Lee and a couple other employees. Brewer Media owns three other FMs in the market including sports talk WALV – ESPN 105.1.
Birach Broadcasting Flips WWCS, Pittsburgh to Sports; Affiliates with Fox Sports Radio. Birach Broadcasting has been airing a Spanish music format on the signal but flips to sports on January 1 as Fox Sports 540. It’ll take most of the Fox Sports Radio Network-distributed lineup – Zakk & Jack, the Dan Patrick show, “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and JT the Brick plus Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome. FSRN vice president and general manager Don Martin states, “After a short hiatus, Fox Sports Radio is thrilled to be heard again in the great city of Pittsburgh!” The network was previously affiliated with Clear Channel’s WBGG. In addition to CC’s WBGG, CBS Radio operates sports KDKA-FM in the market.
Dr. Jenn Berman to Host New VH1 Program “Couples Therapy.” Los Angeles-based psychotherapist and host of the Sirius XM talk show, “The Love and Sex Show with Dr. Jenn,” is the host of a new cable TV show produced by Irwin Entertainment, the producers of “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.” The program will follow the travails of five celebrity couples and they go through therapy with Dr. Jenn Berman. Shows hit the air in the spring. Dr. Berman tells TALKERS magazine, “It’s such a pleasure to be a part of this exciting venture on VH1. I’m looking forward to being that connecting link between viewers and the process of examining the challenges of a celebrity relationship. I think people will be very surprised by how much they identify with these celebs and their personal struggles.” Couples taking part in the program are: DMX (Rapper) & Tashera Simmons, Linda Hogan (“Hogan Knows Best”) & Charlie Hill, Chris Nirschel (“The Next Food Network Star”) & Angelina Pivarnick (“Jersey Shore”), Kasey Kahl (“Bachelorette”) & Vienna Girardi (“The Bachelor”) and Reichen Lehmkuhl & Rodiney Santiago (“The A-List: New York”).
Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels Named to State Travel Commission. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announces WJIM, Lansing-based talk host Michael Patrick Shiels – heard throughout the state via the Michigan Talk Network – will serve on the Michigan Travel Commission. “One of the key components to building a better and stronger Michigan is to continuously promote all the attractions our state has to offer, including our beautiful lakes and great landmarks. Michael Patrick Shiels is a great addition and uniquely positioned to be a great asset to the commission.” In addition to his radio work, Shiels is a travel writer and founder of TravelTattler.com. Subject to approval by the Michigan Senate, Shiels will serve the remainder of Jim Berryman’s term through September 2014. Berryman recently resigned.
Ira Weintraub Takes PD Role at WTKA, Ann Arbor. Cumulus Media Ann Arbor names APD and morning show producer Ira Weintraub program director for sports talk outlet WTKA – The Ticket 1050. Market manager Matt Spaulding says, “Ann Arbor is a market with a tradition of providing compelling, passionate and relevant broadcast products to the listeners of southeast Michigan. Ira Weintraub has absolutely earned this promotion and we are confident that he will help lead WTKA to many more years of broadcasting success.”
WGN, Chicago’s Milt Rosenberg Hosts 2011 Retrospective Tonight. “Extension 720” host Milt Rosenberg hosts a special edition of his program this evening (12/19) titled, “WGN Year in Review” with fellow WGN personalities Garry Meier, John Williams and David Kaplan. The hosts will look back on the stories that made the year 2011 from the Rod Blagojevich case to the death of Osama bin Laden to the hiring of Theo Epstein as the Cubs’ general manager. The program airs at 10:00 pm.
Cumulus-Citadel Merger Gets DOJ and FCC Approval; Shareholder Vote Takes Place Today. The merger of radio companies Citadel and Cumulus has passed federal muster as both the FCC and the Department of Justice give their approval and the creation of the new radio company rests on shareholder votes today (9/15). To make the deal happen, Cumulus is forced to put three stations in a trust. Those are: Citadel’s country WCAT-FM, Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Cumulus’ CHR WWKL-FM, Palmyra, Pennsylvania and classic rock WRSR-FM, Owosso, Michigan in the Flint market. WRSR-FM goes into the Potential Broadcasting trust and must be programmed by the trust’s operators. WCAT-FM and WWKL-FM were being moved to the Volt Radio trust and will be reassigned to the Potential trust and also must be programmed by that trust’s operators.
Bloomberg and ESPN Join in Partnership for New York Morning Sports Reports. At first blush it seems like an unlikely pairing but many of the men Bloomberg’s flagship station business news WBBR, New York reaches are sports fans as well. ESPN’s WEPN, New York will provide WBBR with live reports specifically targeted to the New York market by WEPN’s Jared Max beginning at 5:00 am on “The First Word” hosted by Ken Prewitt and “Bloomberg Surveillance” with hosts Prewitt and Tom Keene. Bloomberg Radio’s Al Mayers states, “”We’re pleased to offer our listeners in the New York City metro area with morning sports coverage by ESPN’s flagship station. In partnering with ESPN, we’re combining the best brand in business with the best brand in sports.”
“Troubleshooter” Tom Martino Files for Personal Bankruptcy Protection. Martino’s consumer advocate show is heard daily on KHOW, Denver. The filing lists assets of $1.37 million against liabilities of $78.6 million. Martino tells the Denver Post that his financial issues center on his real estate investments that have been affected by the economy. “There are so many people in this same boat. You’ve got millions of dollars in lost value and all of a sudden you can’t refinance your loans and you are just upside down. I just don’t know what I could have done.” Martino says his debt comes from taking on additional loans over the past few years to save his real estate investments and that his Troubleshooter Network, consulting business and the radio show are not affected by the bankruptcy filing.
Leslie Marshall Show Contracts with AdLarge for Sales Representation. The independently syndicated Leslie Marshall show signs a deal with AdLarge for the company to be the exclusive national marketing rep firm. AdLarge co-founder and CEO Gary Shonfeld states, “Leslie is a highly renowned pundit who knows how to engage both the left and the right. We are thrilled to have her show on our growing content platform and to represent her with the biggest national advertisers in the country.” Marshall, whose program is fed live nightly from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET, says of the new deal, “Gary has done this before and very successfully. At AdLarge, I’m not just another show in a large roster of programs. My show is given personalized attention and the AdLarge team seems to have my best interest at heart. They work hard for me.”
Bill Press Show Adds Video Component. Bill Press’ Dial Global-syndicated radio show begins a video stream today (9/15) from his Capitol Hill studios. Press tells TALKERS the video will stream live via Ustream and then key excerpts will be posted on YouTube but he’s quick to note they are still doing a radio show, not a TV show. As a credentialed Washington correspondent and a nationally syndicated columnist (Tribune), Bill Press brings a unique level of journalistic credibility to his radio show that makes it stand out from most talk shows on either the left or the right.
KIRO, Seattle Debuts New Football Show. 710 ESPN (KIRO), Bonneville’s Seattle sports talk station debuts a new live football show tonight (9/15). The new weekly show airs live tonight from Joey Restaurant in Bellevue, Washington from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm hosted by ESPN football expert John Clayton and co-hosted by former Seattle Seahawk players Dave Wyman and Mack Strong. Joining the trio on tonight’s show is current Seahawks player John Moffitt.
CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM Gets Pirates Baseball Back. That’s what the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting. After five years at Clear Channel’s FM talk WPGB, the paper says sources close to the deal indicate Pirates baseball, which aired for so many years on heritage news/talk KDKA, will come back to CBS but this time on its KDKA-FM sports outlet, “Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan.”
WBZ, Boston Prepares to Celebrate 90th Anniversary. CBS Radio’s venerable WBZ, Boston will celebrate its 90th anniversary on Monday, September 19 and will commemorate its place in broadcasting history as the first commercially licensed radio station in America. The station will air a number of 15-minute vignettes that chronicle and honor the station’s history. The station will also host a WBZ Hall of Fame induction ceremony. CBS Radio Boston SVP and market manager Mark Hannon states, “For nine decades WBZ NewsRadio has led the way in reporting historic news events on both a national and local stage, and the station has offered a forum for the community to discuss the news of the day and evaluate what it means to them. We are extremely proud of the staff’s reporting and programming over the years, as well as the station’s community outreach, and we look forward to being a positive influence in the market for many years to come.”
Early Ratings for Anderson Cooper’s Daytime Show Soft. The new, daytime TV talk show “Anderson” is not yet a week old but analysis of the early ratings is inevitable and so far the critics are not impressed. The Los Angeles Times reports the Monday premiere garnered a 1.1 household rating that put it behind the pack of such shows as “Regis & Kelly,” “Ellen,” “Dr, Oz,” and “The Talk.” But the syndicated show is expected to take time to build and Telepictures – the Warner Bros. arm syndicating the show – says the program was pre-empted in some markets and had to compete with coverage of the U.S. Open tennis tournament.
Insurgent Attack in Kabul, Obama’s Green Jobs Controversy, 2012 GOP Presidential Field and European Financial Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/14). The violent attack on American interests in Afghanistan, the investigation into the Obama Administration’s support of a solar power company, the GOP field of candidates for president in 2012 and the tenuous state of the European economy were some of the most-talked-about topics on news/talk radio yesterday.
KDKA Feeds Pittsburgh. Well, at least several thousand Pittsburghers. That’s how many residents station officials say enjoyed the 28th KDKA Spaghetti Breakfast held recently in the Steel City. Pictured here are KDKA talk host Johnna Pro (l) and traffic reporter Kathy Berggren (r) as they prepare to feed the masses. This year, the station honored the late KDKA talk personality John Cigna who is credited with starting the popular local tradition as a station promotion 28 years ago.