Alpha Media Closes on Digity Purchase. This is no ordinary acquisition as Alpha Media balloons to approximately 250 stations in 50+ markets by closing on in excess of 110 Digity properties. Over and above that, Alpha Media becomes the country’s third-largest broadcast company in terms of number of markets and fourth-largest regarding station count. Alpha Media chair Larry Wilson comments, “We are very pleased to get this remarkable transaction done. In our fold is now an exceptional stable of diversified stations and markets, serving not only their towns but surrounding areas and communities. It has been a tremendous pleasure to work with respected broadcaster [Digity chief executive officer] Dean Goodman and his management team. We look forward to joining forces with the phenomenal people at Digity doing radio the right way.” Goodman remarks, “I have been honored to work with the great broadcasters of Digity. They know their roots are in live and local and their future is dynamic. They will excel with Alpha as individual and collective entrepreneurs. We hand off a thriving company, up this year at the top of the industry. I wish Larry [Wilson] and his team all the best; they have assembled a great platform.” Only two of the 28 Digity markets are PPM-metros – San Jose and West Palm Beach. The other facilities are in Missouri: (Bethany-Cameron, Clinton, Farmington-Festus, Moberly-Macon, and Waynesville-Lebanon); Iowa (Fairfield, Fort Dodge, Grinnell-Newton, and Mason City); Minnesota (Albert Lea-Austin, Luverne, Mankato, and Redwood Falls); South Dakota (Brookings, Madison, and Watertown); Illinois (Aurora and Joliet); Nebraska (Columbus and Lincoln); Michigan (Saginaw-Bay City-Midland); North Carolina (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville); Ohio (Canton); South Carolina (Myrtle Beach); Texas: (North Dallas-McKinney); and Wisconsin (Kenosha-Waukegan). When this deal was first announced in August 2015, the purchase price was reported to be $264 million.
WFAN and Brooklyn Nets Extend Broadcast Rights Agreement. The multi-year deal between CBS Radio New York sports outlet WFAN “The Fan” and the NBA‘s Brooklyn Nets goes beyond NBA basketball to cover other parts of the business at Barclays Center, including select college basketball games, concerts, and live events. As it has since the 2004 – 2005 season, WFAN will continue as the team’s radio flagship. According to CBS Radio president Andre Fernandez, “CBS Radio is proud to continue our association with the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center. We have defined our position in sports broadcasting by delivering the most extensive coverage of local programming and events. We continue to make aggressive investments in exclusive content our audiences can’t find anywhere else.” Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment chief executive officer Brett Yormark comments, “Our relationship with CBS Radio continues to give us a major voice in the nation’s largest market. This new agreement comes on the heels of our recent extension with YES Network, providing the team with premium exposure on two of the country’s most popular sports outlets.” WFAN news sibling WCBS-AM will be the Nets’ secondary radio outlet. Prior to relocating to Brooklyn, the team was called the New Jersey Nets. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for New York City, WFAN ranks ninth (3.8, 6+); iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLTW “Lite FM” leads the field with a 6.7 (6+).
Hyde Heads to Entercom Sacramento as GSM. Fourteen-month Pandora account executive Corey Hyde joins Entercom Sacramento as general sales manager. Vice president and market manager Lance Richard comments, “It is exciting to add Corey to our team. He has an impressive track record of success and he brings experience in developing dynamic, integrated campaigns and long term partnerships for local clients. His leadership skills and experience in this market make him the perfect fit for Entercom Sacramento.” Hyde remarks, “I am thrilled to be joining Lance Richard and the team at Entercom Sacramento. Radio is stronger than ever, and we have the best local stations in the market. I look forward to using our wide array of marketing assets to drive real results for our clients.” In his 13-year radio career, Hyde spent nearly 10 years with CBS Radio Sacramento as a senior account executive and three years with iHeartMedia Sacramento as an AE. Entercom Sacramento consists of KCTC “ESPN 1320″; CHR KDND “The End”; alternative KKDO “Radio 94-7”; KRXQ “98 Rock”; classic rock KSEG “The Eagle”; and hot AC KUDL “Star 106.5.”
Baldwin Exits Weekend “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” Effective immediately, actor Stephen Baldwin departs “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” The two-hour syndicated weekend program carried by approximately 250 affiliates on Kevin McCullough‘s eight-year-old XtreMEDIA and simulcast on BizTV is rebranded “Radio Night LIVE.” As Baldwin’s work schedule increased the past few months, McCullough explains, “The more difficult it has become for him to make the show. For the past eight years, we have enjoyed the liveliest and – on most nights – the funniest weekend radio broadcast in America. Our listeners will immediately feel the impact of Stephen’s absence from the talk radio airwaves. To be realistic, however, because of his filming schedule in 2015, his workload severely prevented him from being with us even one out of two weeks. This is great for him because his passion is acting. Our staff, our sponsors, and listeners will miss Stephen’s unique humor and spunk. His personality is one-of-a-kind and Stephen will always be welcome to a microphone we have named in his honor; we are thrilled though at this chance to take our broadcast to another level. ‘Radio Night LIVE’ will take the signature humor we have developed over the years, add cutting edge ‘next generation’ guests, experts, and entertainers and explode Saturday night in ways previously unseen.” Baldwin comments, “God has been so good to me and all I want to do is to follow where He is leading me. My time doing the show is something I will always remember. Our listeners brought much laughter and insight into my life.” It is possible that McCullough will utilize a series of rotating guest hosts such as KRLA, Los Angeles’ Elisha Krauss; Karol Markowicz of The New York Post; YouToo America‘s Gina Loudon; as well as Ashley Papa and Kayleigh McEnany. McCullough continues hosting his weekday 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm “After Hours” show on Salem Media Group New York’s WNYM “AM 970 The Answer”; the “Kevin McCullough Show” for Salem Media Group; and “News That Makes You Think.”
Four More Years: WGN, Northwestern Extend Rights Agreement. The union between 50,000-watt WGN, Chicago and Northwestern University will keep Wildcats football and men’s basketball on the Tribune talker through the conclusion of the 2019 – 2020 season. In addition, the voice of Wildcats football since 1990 and men’s basketball since 1996 – Dave Eanet – signs a four-year contract. WGN Radio president and general manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We are proud to present Northwestern basketball and football anchored by Dave ‘Mr. Cat’ Eanet. We look forward to bringing our listeners the excitement of Chicago’s Big Ten team in the years to come.” According to Northwestern vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips, “The Northwestern Wildcats and WGN Radio have forged a special relationship over the last two decades. WGN not only is a broadcasting force, but a true Chicago institution. We have shared many thrilling moments through the years, and we look forward to many more memories with WGN Radio as the home of Chicago’s Big Ten team.” Eanet was inducted into the WGN Radio Walk of Fame last year. Former Chicago Bear Ted Albrecht is WGN’s football analyst on Wildcat broadcasts, while former college and pro head coach Joey Meyer provides analysis on basketball broadcasts. WGN has been the radio home of the Wildcats since 1996. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for Chicago, WGN ranks fifth with a 4.2 – its best showing since last June’s 4.3; CBS Radio‘s all-news WBBM-AM is on top with a 6.8 (6+).
Louisville Lineup Changes at WHAS, WKRD. Starting next Monday (2/29), former WKXW “New Jersey 101.5,” Trenton personality Mary Walter will oversee a weeknight 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm program on iHeartMedia Louisville talker WHAS. Of Walter, director of iHeartMedia Louisville’s AM programming Kelly Carls comments, “She is always prepared; keeps her finger on the pulse of the news; and she does a great job connecting with listeners. We are delighted she will be offering her unique perspectives every day.” A WHAS fill-in beginning in 2009, Walter remarks, “I am so excited to be with the WHAS audience on a regular basis. I have grown to love the local listeners over the years. They are so engaged and informed that it makes the job fun.” She previously worked at radio stations in Washington, DC; Phoenix; Denver; and Omaha. Meanwhile, at co-owned all-sports WKRD “790 KRD,” Howie Lindsey is named 7:00 am – 10:00 am host; contributors Matt Willinger and Katie George will join him. Another change there will find TheCardinalConnect.Com founder Nick Coffey taking on 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm duty. “We are very excited to expand our local sports coverage on WKRD,” notes Kelly Carls. “Mornings, mid-days and afternoons, we now have local sports fans covered with updates, insights, and compelling conversation about the teams and games that really matter.” Lindsey and Coffey will debut one week from Monday (3/7). Among persons 12+ in Nielsen Audio‘s winter 2016 book, WHAS ranks #1 (7.4) and WKRD is #12 (1.2).
Cumulus Media Dallas Sets Fourth Spring Job Fair. Jobseekers and hiring companies will come together in less than two weeks (3/9) as Cumulus Media Dallas presents its fourth annual Putting Texans Back to Work Spring Job Fair at the Plano Centre. In attendance will be representatives from over 100 companies in search of quality candidates from the Dallas, Collin, and Denton County areas of North Texas. No registration is required for job seekers; however, registration deadline for companies looking for qualified individuals is one week from Monday (3/7). The Cumulus Dallas cluster includes sports KESN “ESPN Radio 103.3”; talk KLIF-AM; CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3”; country KPLX “The Wolf”; KSCS “New Country 96.3”; sports KTCK “The Ticket; and talk WBAP.
BTC Begins HD Radio Data Services in Canada. A partnership between the Broadcaster Traffic Consortium (BTC) and exclusive mapping and technology data partner HERE leads to Canada’s first in-vehicle HD Radio Traffic service. Honda is the first brand to offer the service to its customers on certain 2015 and 2016 models. Broadcaster Traffic Consortium president Paul Brenner comments, “The BTC and all of our member stations are excited to be the first to market for HD Radio data services in Canada. Honda and HERE are valued partners that expect constant innovation and quality services regardless of our borders or radio station ownership. Unified broadcasters, collaborating to deliver a common service, bringing innovation solutions to automakers is better for the strategic and long-term viability of the broadcast radio industry. BTC is proud to be a leader in this space.” HD Radio Traffic enables drivers and passengers to view detailed information on local traffic conditions in real time on their vehicle’s audio display screen. The BTC has stations providing coverage in most areas within greater Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary; the service is expected to expand to additional Canadian markets. Originally founded in 2007 with eight broadcast groups – Beasley Broadcast Group; Bonneville International Corporation; Cox Radio; Emmis Communications; Entercom Communications; Greater Media; NPR; and Radio One – BTC has grown to include 23 broadcast groups in the United States and Canada. It builds a nationwide terrestrial broadcasting network to distribute local traffic and other map-related data via FM and HD Radio technology.
Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 22-26. Primary races and activities of presidential candidates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was Apple’s refusal to hack the phone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists. At #3 was the battle over the timeline for replacing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, followed by Islamic State’s reported threats against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week; it is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. View this week’s entire chart here.
BFA to Fete Fritts with “Excellence in Broadcasting” Award. Former 23-year National Association of Broadcasters president and chief executive officer Eddie Fritts is named this year’s Broadcasters Foundation of America‘s recipient of the Lowry Mays “Excellence in Broadcasting” award. Underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation, the award is given each year to a broadcaster, “whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.” Fritts’ past recognition includes “Broadcaster of the Year” awards at both the New York State Broadcasters Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. In addition, he is the past recipient of the Broadcasters Foundation’s “Golden Mike” and “Chairman’s” awards. Inducted into the Giants of Broadcasting’s Hall of Fame in 2010, he received the NAB’s “Distinguished Service” award one year later. Fritts – who launched The Fritts Group in March 2006 – will be honored with this particular acknowledgement in approximately two months (4/20) during the NAB Show in Las Vegas. The Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars to thousands of broadcasters and their families. Individual donations can be made to the Guardian Fund. Corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative; bequests can be arranged through the Legacy Society.
Cumulus Media Florida Outlets Aid in Tornado Recovery. Personal and household items, as well as monetary donations, are being collected by 14 Cumulus Media stations in Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Mobile, and Pensacola (Florida) for those affected by this week’s tornadoes in Century and Pensacola. Radio station staffers will be at various locations for six hours today (Friday, 2/26), nine hours tomorrow (Saturday, 2/27), and four hours on Sunday. Listeners are being asked to help tornado victims with water, personal hygiene items, household cleaning items, tarps, laundry detergent, diapers, wipes, book bags, crayons, pens, pencils, paper, clothing, and non-perishable food items. Cash donations should be directed to the Gulf Coast recovery effort through the American Red Cross and the United Way.
Cool Job Opportunities at CBS, Los Angeles. TALKERS has learned that CBS Radio Los Angeles is now looking to fill the following positions as soon as possible at all-news KNX 1070: news reporter, writer, and news production assistant. For more details and to apply, please click here: WWW.CBSRADIO.COM/CAREERS.
Odds & Sods. Pittsburgh-based “The Union Edge” adds suburban Minneapolis talker KTNF “AM 950 The Progressive Voice of Minnesota” as its 27th affiliate. KTNF president Chad Larson comments, “KTNF has been a longtime union advocate, covering labor issues since 2004 in the Twin Cities. We look forward to carrying another program focused on the many accomplishments labor has made for our nation as well as the modern threats facing working families and our ability to collectively bargain in the workplace.”
Williams to Program Denver’s KKFN & KEPN. Currently the program director of Townsquare Media Albany (New York) sports outlet WTMM-FM “104.5 ESPN The Team,” Armen Williams will join Bonneville Denver’s KKFN “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan” and KEPN “1600 The Zone” in a similar capacity the middle of next month. According to Bonneville Denver vice president and market manager Bob Call, “Armen brings a perfect balance of winning sports radio programming, plus an exceptional knowledge of digital media. Armen has worked with a number of high-profile sports personalities through his career, plus he developed some solid NFL play-by-play network experience.” Williams – who co-hosts WTMM’s afternoon drive show in addition to his PD duties – states, “I am excited to be part of one of the best sports radio brands in the country. ‘The Fan’ is a first-class organization and Bonneville is a great company. I am looking forward to working with the extremely talented staff to continue giving Denver sports fans the highest quality of sports talk radio.” Before his tenure at Albany’s “Team,” Williams was a producer for CBS Radio-owned KRLD “The Fan,” Dallas, where he worked with the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network; he previously worked in the promotions department at KESN “ESPN Radio,” Dallas. According to 6+ stats from Denver’s most recent (November 2015) Nielsen Audio PPM results, KKFN ranks #16 (3.6, up one full-share from September‘s 2.6) and KEPN is #33 (.1); Entercom classic rocker KQMT “The Mountain” is #1 with a 6.3 (6+). The only stations listed in Nielsen Audio’s summer 2015 report for Albany are five iHeartMedia outlets.
Gallagher Meets Cruz on Campaign Trail; Salem Preparing for December 15 GOP Debate Coverage. While in South Carolina on the campaign trail, GOP presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) stopped to speak with Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher in Greenville. Gallagher (right) is pictured here conducting the one-on-one with Cruz (left). (A Monmouth University study has Cruz polling ahead of Donald Trump in Iowa right now with 24%.) Meanwhile, Salem Radio Network has exclusive radio distribution of the CNN/Facebook Presidential Debate at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. SRN says Bill Bennett, Gallagher, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt will all originate their programs from the hotel on December 14 and 15. SRN’s Hewitt will serve on the CNN debate panel as well. SRN SVP Phil Boyce will serve as live announcer for the network’s radio coverage, and SRN VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup will be executive producer of all on-site SRN shows and the CNN/Facebook Debate coverage.
WMAL-AM/FM, Washington Raises $316,000 for Fisher House Foundation. Last Friday and Saturday (12/4-5), Cumulus Media news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington held its second annual “Operation Fisher House 2015 Radiothon” and raised $316,000 for the charity that builds and provides group homes for families of America’s wounded servicemen and women as they undergo treatment. The station reports that over the past 12 years WMAL listeners have donated almost $5 million dollars to the Fisher House Foundation. Station program director Bill Hess comments, “Our listeners step up year after year. Their response to our talent and the stories of these heroes and their families is incredibly rewarding.”
More Than $277,000 Raised at Annual WOAI Elf Louise Broadcast. The Elf Louise Christmas Project charity was founded in 1969 and this year iHeartMedia news/talk WOAI, San Antonio held its 20th annual two-day radiothon on December 4 and 5 to raise funds for the charity that helps buy Christmas presents for more than 19,000 children in the area. In addition to listeners donating money, several benefactors helped, including local attorney Thomas J. Henry whose family pledged to match 25% of every donation up to $200,000 and ended up donating $50,000. Pictured here at the broadcast are (from l-r): WOAI personalities Cari Laque, Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo and charity founder Louise Locker.
Odds & Sods. Programmer Jeff Beck is promoted to operations manager for the Alpha Media Fredericksburg, Virginia cluster that includes news/talk/sports simulcast WNTX-AM/W243BS at 96.5 FM…..Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle is hosting the 27th Annual Foster Child Holiday Magic Radiothon on December 10 to benefit the Treehouse, a non-profit agency that ensures that kids in foster care have access to the essential services required to help them make it to high school graduation and beyond. The past three years, KIRO Radio Foster Child Holiday Magic Program has raised more than $500,000 each year through listener donation and sponsor matching funds. “Ron & Don Show” co-host Don O’Neill says, “Each year at KIRO Radio we strive to give every foster child in Washington State a gift during the holiday season. A holiday gift is a symbol, a reminder to a young person that they are important, they are part of our village, and they have not been forgotten! We can’t wait to spread a little Holiday Magic again this year, with the help of all our great listeners throughout the Pacific Northwest!”
Obama’s San Bernardino Address, Trump Anti-Muslim Rhetoric/2016 Presidential Race, Battle Against Islamic State, Turkey-Russian Tensions, Iran Missile Test, NFL Action, and New Star Wars Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/7). Reaction to President Obama’s Sunday evening national address on the San Bernardino shootings; GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s post-San Bernardino statements about preventing any Muslims from entering the United States and the activities of the other candidates for president in 2016; the military campaign against Islamic State in Iraq, Syria and beyond; the ongoing tensions between Turkey and Russia; allegations Iran has fired a test rocket in violation of the recently signed nuclear deal; the weekend’s NFL action; and anticipation over the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Pioneering DC Sports Talker Ken Beatrice Dies at 72. A trailblazing radio sports talk host in Washington passed away at age 72 after a bout with pneumonia. Ken Beatrice hosted an evening sports talk show on WMAL-AM from 1977 through 1995. He worked another five years at crosstown WTEM, retiring in 2000. Beatrice is credited with providing WMAL with thorough and insightful coverage of the NFL’s Washington Redskins during the team’s successful years in the 1980s through early 1990s. Steve Repsher writes a homage to Beatrice in the Washington Post here.
Tom Lee Tapped to Lead LA’s ‘The Beast 980.’ Radio and sports talk pro Tom Lee is being given the programming reigns to KFWB, Los Angeles “The Beast 980” – the recently flipped sports talker owned by the KFWB Asset Trust. Lee says in a press statement that “Los Angeles sports fans are the greatest and perhaps the most underrated in America.” Lee will have the opportunity to help bring substantive ratings to a radio format that has historically never really achieved – from a pure ratings standpoint – much in the Los Angeles market. Lee continues, “Their passion, the distinct LA attitude and our great sports teams will all be represented by ‘The Beast 980.’” Lee certainly understands successful sports talk as his resume includes some of the industry’s most visible sports talk ventures. He launched FOX Sports Radio in 2000, leading the programming team that created and developed the 24/7 national sports network. Lee has also programmed KESN-FM, Dallas ESPN Radio, as well as sports radio stations WIP, Philadelphia and KJR, Seattle. KFWB Asset Trust Trustee Diane Sutter comments, “Tom has achieved some of the highest ratings of all-sports stations across the country. Our listeners will benefit from Tom’s invaluable skills in producing relevant content, top-notch talent and his experience in working with sports teams.” Lee begins his new gig on March 30.
Steve Goldstein Exits Exec Role at Saga Communications; Launches Podcast Venture. After a career with Saga Communications that spanned almost 30 years, Steven Goldstein leaves his executive vice president position and announces that he is forming a company called Amplifi Media, LLC which will specialize in “the development of digital audio-on-demand (podcast) content.” Goldstein adds, “As connected cars, Bluetooth and smartphones converge, time-shifted audio will grow exponentially. People will listen to content at a time and place of their choosing, just as is occurring rapidly in the television industry with Netflix, DVRs and on-demand video.” A press statement from Amplifi says the company will “concentrate on great storytelling, compelling content and fresh voices on a variety of popular subjects, and will adapt, craft and focus the product for the unique needs of the digital audio business.” Goldstein concludes, “The top of the iTunes podcast chart is dominated by NPR and affiliates. They have done a tremendous job but there is a world of mainstream topics yet to be explored for on-demand-audio. That’s where Amplifi will live.” Goldstein can be reached at 203-221-1400 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Healed Planet” Hosted by Alan Colmes Exploring New Worlds of Radio and Listenership. One of the new program/projects launched on TALKERS magazine’s experimental radio platform TalkersRadio has been gaining notable traction in terms of expanded programming topicality and new listenership. “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” is an experimental talk show conceived and hosted by syndicated Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes and it serves as a prime example of TalkersRadio carrying out one of its primary missions as a “laboratory/workout gym” for proven talk show hosts to test new concepts and as a showcase for promising newcomers to present their work to the industry. A new “Healed Planet” program is produced at least once per month and is available to TalkersRadio listeners (primarily members of the radio industry) on demand. The program features the multi-platform, news/talk figure that gained international notoriety as the liberal co-host on the iconic left-right political discussion show “Hannity & Colmes” during its successful 12-year run on Fox News Channel in a role quite different than his regular followers might expect. (In addition to being heard nightly on his syndicated radio show, Colmes is also still seen on Fox News Channel as a contributing commentator.) “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” is an eclectic mix of science, metaphysics, unexplained mysteries, cosmic consciousness and everything else rolling around the fertile mind of Alan Colmes. He describes it as “presenting stimulating conversations with thought-leaders in the human consciousness movement.” At present, three episodes of “Healed Planet” are up and running featuring Colmes in conversation with authors Gabe Berman and George A. Hart, plus a discussion with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. On having this new vehicle of expression, Colmes tells TALKERS,” I love having a nightly forum where I can give my political views and takes on the issues of the day, and I love having a forum where politics doesn’t matter and we can all talk as human beings without any ideological prism.” According to Colmes, he is basically doing this for fun, stating, “Sometimes it is simply cool to do a media presentation just for the heck of it and explore subjects and styles that don’t necessarily fit into the understandably more-rigid confines of our day jobs, even though my daily radio show is on at night.” TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein states, “It is fun, fascinating, stimulating and informative for talk listeners and people in the industry to hear all the dimensions that make up the personality, creativity and interests one of the nicest and smartest guys in the business – beyond the paradigm of general news/talk radio and TV where – let’s face it – Alan is quite famous. And THAT is what TalkersRadio is all about!” To listen to “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes,” please click here.
WSCR, Chicago Host Apologizes for ‘Childish’ and ‘Crass’ Tweet. From the “haven’t they been paying attention” department comes this story, chronicled by Chicago media writer Robert Feder here. In a nutshell, WSCR veteran talk hosts Matt Spiegel and Dan Bernstein were Tweeting critically about the television presence of Comcast SportsNet Chicago anchor Aiyana Cristal when the two veered into the now-all-too-familiar territory visited by many media personalities these days: they commented on her breasts. To Spiegel’s (and to some degree Bernstein’s) credit, he seems to have realized his error and has apologized profusely via Twitter, admitting that he made a stupid, childish mistake. Feder reports that sources say Spiegel and Bernstein will not be disciplined for the incident.
WGN, Chicago to Induct 10 into Station WoF. When Tribune Media’s WGN, Chicago inducts its 2015 Walk of Fame class during the Steve Cochran show on Friday, May 29, 10 broadcasters will be honored. The ceremony and live broadcast will air from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm at the Tribune Tower. Those to be inducted include: Steve Bertrand, Lyle Dean, Dave Eanet, Steve King, Franklyn MacCormack, Lou Manfredini, Johnnie Putman, Ward Quaal, Ron Santo and Eddie Schwartz. They will be commemorated in bronze plaques placed outside the Allstate Showcase Studio.
Odds & Sods. Bringing a passion of hers to WABC, New York on Sunday nights at 7:00 is Laura Smith who tells TALKERS magazine she’s “psyched” to debut “Above and Beyond with Laura Smith” this weekend. Smith says the program is a revival of the program she hosted on SiriusXM and on WFAS-FM, Westchester several years ago. “It’s a passion of mine as it incorporates conversations with some of the world’s most popular thought leaders and then the biggest celebrity psychics, mediums and astrologers giving free readings live on the air. This Sunday, I have global phenomenon, spiritual teacher and four-time NYT best-selling author, Marianne Williamson plus celebrity medium Thomas John.”…..There’s now an FM signal to complement Delmarva’s news/talk WDEL-AM, Wilmington. The company announces it is using the newly acquired WJKS, Canton, New Jersey to create at trimulcast of the legendary news/talker. In the market the station can be heard on WDEL at 1150 AM, on WJKS at 101.7 FM and via HD-3 on WSTW’s 93.7 FM.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. More stations are airing the Compass Media Networks-syndicated Lars Larson show. New affiliate stations for the KXL, Portland-based talk personality include: WHBY, Green Bay; WLFJ, Greenville, South Carolina; WLEA, Elmira New York; WBRP, Baton Rouge; WNRP, Pensacola; KCRS, Odessa; WDRC-AM, Hartford; and KTIP, Porterville, California. Larson comments on his busy schedule, “I prep from 6:00 am to 12:00 noon on the Left Coast and talk from 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm. I’ll leave the mic when they drag me away. I’ll sleep when I get old.”…..Stephan MultiMedia’s “Good Day” with Doug Stephan is also adding affiliate stations and announces it’s surpassed the 300-station mark with the following new outlets: KTFL, Gilbert, Arizona; KVNU, Logan, Utah; WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island; WDNY, Dansville, New York; WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina; KBIZ, Ottumwa, Iowa; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; WEBY, Milton, Florida; KSCB, Liberal, Kansas; WFEA, Nashua, New Hampshire; and KQEW-FM, Fordyce, Arkansas…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge joins the daily lineup at KWOR, Worland, Wyoming.
Show Prep with Lew Dickey. When Cumulus Media president and CEO Lew Dickey is in New York, he’s more than ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work with the talent at legendary news/talk outlet WABC. Dickey (seated right) is captured here in the office of WABC midday talk duo Curtis Sliwa (seated left) and Ron Kuby (seated floor) as the executive gives Kuby a therapeutic massage to make him more relaxed on the air. Dickey did, however, draw the line when Sliwa demanded that his be a foot massage.
Germanwings Flight 9525 Tragedy Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 23-27. The downing of Germanwings Flight 9525 was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of March 23-27, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Following at #3 was the tense relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and, at #4, was the potential candidates for president in 2016. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Bill McMahon: Curiosity Enhanced by Awareness, Experience, Imagination and Courage. According to talk radio consultant Bill McMahon, the trait of high-level curiosity is the driving force of his well-known “14 Traits Inherent in the Best Radio Personalities.” In an advice piece posted today (2/12) he writes, “The constant urge to ask questions, fueled by an insatiable desire to know, generates the raw material necessary to produce truly life-enriching content. Really good questions prompt answers loaded with learning and discovery that can be shared with listeners.” McMahon, continues, “It’s also important to note that great questions are often the product of the traits of awareness, imagination, experience, and courage. The more a personality hears not only the words in an answer but the thoughts and feelings behind the words (awareness), recognizes how thoughts and feelings, experiences and ideas connect to new and more interesting subjects and ideas (imagination), has ‘been there and done that’ (experience), and has the courage to ask any question at any time, the better the questions.” The valuable article is enhanced with audio clips extracted from an interview of Bill Murray conducted by Howard Stern highlighting these traits in action. To read the entire piece, please click here.
Masteller To Program WBAL. One week from today (Thursday, 2/19) is when ESPN Radio‘s former senior director of affiliate & syndicated content Scott Masteller will join Hearst Corporation talker WBAL, Baltimore as program director. President and general manager Cary Pahigian declares, “Scott is among the most accomplished news, talk, and sports radio executives. His ESPN experience will be key to WBAL’s role as the radio home of the [NFL‘s] Ravens and unmatched breaking news coverage 24/7. He holds a strong appreciation for the role of this iconic radio station as part of Baltimore’s heritage, and our relationship with listeners and the community.” Prior to his most recent ESPN role, he was the sports radio network’s senior director of radio/audio content. His past programming assignments include sports outlets KESN, Dallas and KFXX, Portland.
Kauffman Named Entercom Sacramento GSM. Inbound from Chicago where she was local sales manager for Hubbard Broadcasting classic rocker WDRV “The Drive,” Stacey Kauffman is appointed general sales manager for Entercom Sacramento. Vice president and market manager Sean Shannon states, “We are proud to welcome Stacey to our market-leading portfolio of brands. Entercom’s commitment to compelling live and local content continues to pay dividends as we enjoy a dominant position in delivering ratings and results to our advertisers.” Vice president of sales Lance Richard comments, “Stacey was a trailblazer in Chicago media on the integration of radio and digital media. We look forward to putting her expertise immediately to use in the growing Sacramento market.” Kauffman remarks that she is “excited” about the chance to join Entercom’s Sacramento team. “Entercom is a forward-thinking company with outstanding leadership at both the corporate and local market levels. [The company] has a reputation for providing high-quality content to audiences and results-driven solutions to advertisers.” Kauffman started her radio career with Emmis; she previously was a Merck pharmaceutical sales representative. Entercom’s six-station Sacramento cluster consists of KCTC “ESPN 1320,” CHR KDND “The End,” alternative KKDO “Radio 94.7,” KRXQ “98 Rock,” classic rock KSEG “The Eagle,” and hot AC KUDL “Star 106.5.”
Radio One Reports 2014 Q4 Net Revenue Dips 1.7%. The final quarter of 2014 saw net revenue at $109.7 million for Radio One – a decrease of 1.7% from the same period in 2013. Station operating income was approximately $42.5 million, an increase of 8.6% from the same period a year ago. Net revenue for the entire year of 2014 was $441,387,000 – a decrease of 1.6% over all of 2013. Radio One president and CEO Alfred Liggins III comments, “Our radio business showed sequential improvement from the third quarter, with revenues -2.8%. During the quarter we changed format from news to classic hip hop in our Houston market; excluding Houston our radio revenues for the fourth quarter were +1.1%. Adjusting for a timing difference of our Women’s Empowerment event in Raleigh, Q1 2015 core radio revenues are currently pacing 1.8%, having weakened throughout January. Our Washington, DC cluster continues to underperform the market, and we recently announced a new general manager of the Washington, DC market cluster by expanding the responsibilities of our own Jeff Wilson, senior regional vice president. Excluding our Washington, DC cluster, our core radio revenues are currently pacing up about 1% compared to the same time last year.”
Talk Host Phil Valentine a Finalist in Atlanta Film Festival. Nationally syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine has been delving into other media lately – most notably with production of his documentary challenging the man-made global warming theory titled, An Inconsistent Truth – but now he’s entering the world of screenplays and has submitted one at the Atlanta Film Festival that’s been chosen as a finalist in the competition. The screenplay is for a film titled, Derek Dickens & The Dream, about a man going through a mid-life crisis whose fantasy rock band – much to his surprise – hits it big. He ultimately has to choose between the comfortable life he knows and the fantasy he’s harbored since childhood. Valentine says, “This is my first shot at writing a screenplay. It’s a challenging format but my forte is dialogue. That’s what I do every day on the radio, so it’s really a natural extension of what I do.” The winners will be announced later this month and they will be invited to Atlanta in March for a workshop and awards ceremony.
Odds & Sods. Los Angeles all-news outlet KNX examines the Brian Williams case tomorrow (2/13) as part of its KNX Spotlight series. “The Brian Williams Scandal” will air from 10:00 am to 11:00 am and will “take a comprehensive look at truth in media coverage in the wake of the unfolding controversy facing NBC news anchor Brian Williams.” It will feature special guest experts and will be hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman…..The United Stations Radio Networks-syndicated NASCAR show “Racing Rocks!” hosted by Riki Rachtman, will emanate this season from the radio studio at The NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. The program airs on more than 100 affiliate stations and is preparing for the kick-off of the 2015 season in Daytona on February 22…..KDKA, Pittsburgh morning host Larry Richert announces that CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett will serve as the keynote speaker at Larry Richert Honors our Hometown Heroes on Thursday, March 5, 2015. Larry’s Heroes honors five ordinary individuals in the community who have done extraordinary things. This year, a Lifetime Hero Award has been added to the awards roster and will be given to Dr. Stanley Marks, medical graduate from the University of Pittsburgh who is focused on finding a cure for cancer.
BFoA Announces Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards Recipients. The recipients of the 2015 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards from the Broadcasters Foundation of America have been announced. The awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday, April 15 at the Foundation’s annual breakfast at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. Recipients this year include: David Barrett, director, Hearst Corporation; Don Curtis, chairman & CEO, Curtis Media Group; Herb McCord, president & owner, Granum Communications Corp.; Jane Mago, former EVP & general counsel, National Association of Broadcasters; Al Primo, creator, Eyewitness News, Education Television Fund, Inc.; and Jeff Warshaw, CEO, Connoisseur Media. The Leadership Awards are given annually by the Broadcasters Foundation in recognition of career contributions to the broadcast industry and the community at large, and are named in honor of iconic broadcaster Ward L. Quaal.
The Business of Health. As part of their programming on the 24/7 Business Talk from Wharton channel, SiriusXM and the renowned business college recently presented a half-hour discussion on the Knowledge@Wharton program with DermaMed Solutions’ Mark Pinsley (left) and Ginger Hodulik (center) as they discussed the “Business of Beauty” and their holistic approach to wellness and skincare with host Dan Loney (right). The program was conducted live in the Wharton Business Radio on SiriusXM studios on The Wharton School campus in Philadelphia.
2016 Presidential Prospects, Brian Williams Case, Ukraine Violence/Ceasefire, Jon Stewart to Resign from ‘Daily Show,’ NC Muslim Students Murders, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Film, and Bruce Jenner Transformation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/11). The potential candidates for president in 2016; the aftermath of the Brian Williams suspension; the violence in Ukraine and the scheduled cease-fire; Jon Stewart’s announcement he’ll resign from ‘The Daily Show’ later this year; the murder of three North Carolina Muslim grad students by a neighbor; the release of the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey; and Bruce Jenner’s gender transformation were some of the most-talked-stories on news/talk radio this week according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Takes Over Operation of KESN, Dallas; Gives WBAP-FM Signal to KTCK. A number of things happened at the Cumulus Dallas operations in conjunction with the company’s assuming operation of ESPN O&O sports talk KESN under an LMA. First, as TALKERS reported earlier, Randy Galloway did his last “Galloway and Company” program on Monday afternoon and noted that in addition to his exiting the station in order to collect his salary from ESPN through the end of the year, KESN program director Tom Lee, air talent Landry Locker and sports anchor Kelly Webster were also casualties of the change. Cumulus also owns and operates sports talk KTCK “SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket” in the market and served notice that on October 21, WBAP-FM at 96.7 will carry the KTCK programming. WBAP-FM has been simulcasting news/talk WBAP-AM’s programming since 2010. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports Cumulus Dallas vice president and market manager Dan Bennett indicated the news/talk station has seen no ratings increase since adding the FM signal to its huge AM coverage of the market. He said news/talk WBAP will be carried on the HD-2 signal of KPLX at 99.5 for those in the market with HD Radios. Meanwhile, it’s being reported that Cumulus is taking current KCTK simulcast signal KTDK, Sanger, Texas (about 60 miles north of the Dallas metro) dark and will return it to the FCC after an earlier attempt to sell it to broker Bill Whitley was turned down by the Commission. The ownership cap prevents Cumulus from hanging on to the station.
Larry Wilson to Deliver Keynote Address at Talkers Los Angeles 2013. In what TALKERS magazine VP/executive editor Kevin Casey describes as the cherry on top of a delicious sundae, Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting CEO Larry Wilson has been named keynote speaker at the forthcoming Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference that will take place in Hollywood on Thursday of this week. The executive who TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “a great hope and role model for radio station ownership returning to human proportions, a productive business plan and positive artistic values,” will deliver a speech titled “Radio at the Crossroads” in which he will discuss some of the pressing issues facing the medium in 2013 and his vision for the business to thrive in the early 21st century. Wilson, who graduated from Northern Arizona University in 1967 with a degree in Accounting and the University of Arizona in 1972 with a degree in Law, is the recipient of numerous broadcasting industry awards and honors. He has a stellar history in broadcasting that includes having been EVP and general counsel of Combined Communications Corporation and, later, co-founder of Citadel Communications which, under his leadership as president/CEO and chairman, grew to own 205 radio stations in 42 markets prior to being sold to the Wall Street Investment Firm, Forstmann Little & Co. in 2001 for $2.1 billion. In 2009, Wilson announced his return to radio station ownership and in 2009, along with Portland, Oregon-based Endeavour Capital, formed Alpha Broadcasting. Today, in Portland Oregon, Alpha Broadcasting operates six radio stations, KUPL-FM, KBFF-FM, KXL-FM, KINK-FM, KXTG-AM and KUFO-AM and is in expansion mode with the plan to acquire more stations in carefully selected markets across the nation. Wilson’s L&L Broadcasting owns or is in the processing of acquiring stations in Columbia, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; Jackson and Biloxi, Mississippi; Peoria, Illinois; and Bluefield, West Virginia. Larry Wilson’s address will take place during the afternoon segment of the conference at 2:00 pm immediately following the annual “Woman of the Year” presentation. Talkers Los Angeles 2013 — a presentation of TALKERS magazine in association with the Los Angeles Press Club — takes place between 9:00 am and 6:15 pm on Thursday, October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood, California. The event will be broadcast live in its entirety on TalkersRadio. For remaining sponsorship opportunities at the sold-out, industry-only event and general information call 413-565-5413. To see the up-to-date, power-packed agenda, please click here.
Thom Hartmann Co-Written ‘Last Hours’ Film Now Available. WYD Media Management nationally syndicated talk show host Thom Hartmann’s latest book, The Last Hours of Humanity, is the foundation for the new film, “Last Hours,” created by filmmaker Leila Conners and producers George DiCaprio, Earl Katz, and Mathew Schmid along with Hartmann and writer/researcher Sam Sacks. According to a press release, “Last Hours” is a film that explores the possibility that we could be close – centuries or perhaps just decades -to tipping points that could lead to a sixth mass extinction, and relies on input from some of the world’s leading scientists. Hartmann states, “It’s almost impossible to know when you have passed a tipping point. You only see them in retrospect. So we have to do everything we can now to avoid inadvertently hitting tipping points that might lead to catastrophic methane releases.” The film is currently available on YouTube and at lasthours.org.
Consumer Watchdog Weighs in on Cumulus-WestwoodOne Merger. The Washington-based Consumer Watchdog organization writes to the Department of Justice’s anti-trust division objecting to Cumulus Media’s acquisition of WestwoodOne (formerly Dial Global). The organization states, “A proposed merger between major radio station owner Cumulus Media and radio content provider Dial Global/Westwood One would create a clear radio duopoly (with Clear Channel Communications) in the nation’s largest radio markets.” Consumer Watchdog president Jamie Court states, “This merger would be a tipping point for listeners who already face fewer choices and homogenized content in talk, music and even sports. A takeover of Dial Global by Cumulus will fully corporatize content in the top 100 markets and kill what remains of truly local radio.”
WRPW, Normal, Illinois Turns TV Concept into Radio Gold. Great Plains Media news/talk WRPW, Normal “Cities 92.9” has been taking a page from a popular cable TV show and turning it into a visibility and revenue-enhancing programming element. Operations manager Josh Roberts says the station was searching for a way to get talent on the streets and bring in some more revenue when a promotions brain-storming session planted the seed for its “On the Job with Robert Rees” feature. The idea stemmed from Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe” in which Rowe does strange, hazardous or messy jobs alongside regular employees. Roberts says it started with the funny idea of morning host Robert Rees going to work “shoveling manure or driving a snow plow. Next thing we know we’re talking about selling it and really putting Robert to work!” Roberts says the concept, called “On the Job with Robert Rees,” started out as a feature where every two weeks Robert would go work for a business for two hours. The sales staff quickly sold out through August and began to sell the idea weeks in between. Nearly every week had been sold from March through August of this year. The concept is that station promotes the event a week beforehand, Robert interviews the business owner on his show the day before, during the event Robert calls in to the station with updates on what he was doing while someone else films him working. The next day a “highlight” video is posted on the station’s YouTube page and the business receives a copy of the video for its marketing efforts. You can see some of the videos from the project at http://www.youtube.com/user/Cities929TV/videos
ESPN Ups Robyn Remick to New Post at Orlando’s ESPN Wide World of Sports. For the past nine years, Robyn Remick has been with ESPN on the affiliate marketing and ESPN Audio affiliate relations teams. She begins the transition to a newly created post in Orlando as vice president, business and content development at ESPN Wide World of Sports in the Disney World complex. The company states that Remick “will pursue and lead new business initiatives and events at ESPN Wide World of Sports, which is visited by nearly two million amateur athletes, coaches and spectators each year.” She will report to Traug Keller, ESPN senior vice president, production, business divisions, who oversees ESPN Audio among other units.
ABC News Radio Names Matt Wolfe Production Manager. ABC News Radio executive director Andrew Kalb announces the hiring of Matt Wolfe to serve as production manager for the division. In a memo to staffers, Kalb notes that Wolfe served as a freelance WGA writer with the company between 2004 and 2007 and “for the last few years has been working in a freelance role on our digital audio initiatives. Matt was responsible for one of our first pieces on the Men’s Life station on Slacker Radio.” Wolfe has also worked at Cox Media Group’s rock WBAB, Babylon, New York (Long Island market) for the past 13 years and held a variety of positions at the station including as producer of the morning show and hosting a weekend evening shift. Kalb says, “Matt’s production, broadcast and on-air skills are the perfect mix for the continued growth of the many products we currently produce and many of our future initiatives.”
Red Kingman Exits WHTC, Holland, Michigan. West Michigan talk radio personality Red Kingman exits Midwest Communications’ WHTC, Holland, Michigan (southwest of Grand Rapids) after an incident in September that happened on the company’s sister station classic hits WYVN “92.7 The Van.” Kingman – a conservative talk show host on WHTC – was subbing on “The Morning Grind” with co-host Mike Johnson on September 14 when he played a song parody of a Miller Lite commercial that contained the f-word. Kingman says airing the song was part of a technical issue that morning but tells Mlive.com that he understands the company’s zero-tolerance policy but doesn’t think the mistake on WYVN should have cost him his job on the AM station.
John Resnick’s ‘Legends of Success’ Partners with Talk Media Network. “Legends of Success with John Resnick” announces it is partnering with Talk Media Network to deliver national advertising sales, affiliate marketing, and syndication support. Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng states, “’Legends of Success with John Resnick’ is a well-established brand and program without equal in its category. John Resnick’s ability to secure and engage the biggest names in business and entertainment on his program make it an appointment-listening radio show and a valuable sponsorship opportunity for affiliate stations.” The show has been in production since 2002.
Odds & Sods. CRN Digital Talk Radio personality Fred Dryer is hosting a Thursday Night Football Viewing Party on October 17 at Bob’s Big Boy in Sun Valley, California. The former NFL star and TV personality – who hosts a weekly show on CRN – will be there along with other CRN personalities…..Former Dial Global AC night personality Chad Blake signs on with Salem Communications to serve as executive producer for news/talk KNUS, Denver’s “Kelley and Company” morning drive show hosted by Steve Kelley and Bill Rogan…..The Motley Fool announces the launch of a daily one-minute radio report called “Motley Fool Stock Watch” which provides “timely stock analysis for listeners and a profitable offering for stations: no network ad inventory.” The company says Hubbard‘s WTOP, Washington has signed up for the feature that it says “goes beyond the typical on-the-hour market updates and is for people who follow Main Street as well as Wall Street.”
Andi Marshall Passes. News pro Andi Marshall died on Saturday, October 5 after a battle with cancer. Marshall spent 12 years as a news anchor on KFWB, Los Angeles. She exited the station in 2009 but returned as a fill-in anchor in recent years.
Obama Approval Rating, Government Shutdown/Fiscal Crisis, ObamaCare Implementation, IRS Scandal, Yellen Nominated for Fed Post, Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/8). President Obama’s sinking approval ratings; the ongoing efforts to end the government shutdown and address the debt ceiling limit; scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the evolving IRS scandal; Janet Yellen’s nomination for chair of the Fed; and the fluctuating financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Salem Communications Posts Q4 2012 Total Revenue Increase of 6%. That number is based largely on the strength of its internet revenue – up 25% — and publishing revenue – up 9%. But even broadcast had a good Q4 with revenue up 3%. Salem Communications reports its best political advertising year in the company’s history, taking in $5.5 million during all of 2012. Salem CEO Ed Atsinger says that part of the hike in the company’s internet revenue comes from its conservative news/talk digital efforts. “Our national conservative news talk website saw the biggest growth, posting a 23% increase in revenue. Clearly, political played a role here. The election cycle also produced a significant increase in monthly page views to these sites. While we have seen some falling off of traffic since the election, visits are still up nicely compared to pre-election levels.” Atsinger addressed the company’s secular news/talk initiatives up front in yesterday’s conference call. “We have invested in several new local talk shows, as well as key management personnel for our digital business talk and news/talk formats. These investments are proceeding well. For example, in Q4, KSKY — our Dallas news talk station — had local spot revenue excluding political, up by 36%, as a result of our hiring of Mark Davis earlier in 2012.” Salem CFO Evan Masyr broke down the company’s broadcast performance by format and reported the following: “Thirty-nine of our radio stations are programmed in our foundational Christian teaching and talk format. These stations contributed 35% of total revenue. Total revenue on this format was flat, while block programming increased 1%. Revenue from our 11 contemporary Christian music stations contributed 17% of total revenue and increased 1% for the quarter. Our 27 news/talk stations had an increase of 5% in revenue for the quarter, and these stations contributed 11% of our total revenue. The 7 stations we have programmed in Spanish-language Christian teaching and talk grew revenue by 17%, and this format now comprises 2% of total revenue. Finally, we have 11 stations in a business talk format, and revenue from these stations was down 7%. This format contributed 2% of total revenue.” He also noted that network revenue increased 10% during Q4 and represents 7% of total revenue.
KESN, Dallas Schedule Takes Shape Post-Ben & Skin. The departure of Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade from the lineup at ESPN O&O KESN, Dallas after the two did not agree to terms for a new contract with the station has had the following ripple effects: ESPN Radio syndicated host Colin Cowherd is now heard from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Ian Fitzsimmons leaves the PM drive “Galloway & Company” show to pair up with ESPN Dallas writer Richard Durrett for an 11:00 am to 3:00 pm program. The 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm “Coop & Nate” show featuring Chuck Cooperstein and former Dallas Cowboy Nate Newton disappears. Cooperstein moves to the 6:00 pm talk show on nights when Mavericks hoops or Rangers baseball is not airing. Cooperstein also is the Mavericks play-by-play voice. As for Nate Newton, he stays with the station to handle Cowboys analysis.
KRLD-FM, Dallas’ Greggo Williams Returns to Air After Medical Leave. At CBS Radio’s sports talk KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan,” afternoon drive co-host Greggo Williams returned to the air yesterday after missing eight days of work to discuss his absence. Williams told listeners he’s been struggling with physical health issues since having a lap-band removed last spring. Williams lamented the time he’s missed due to the physical problems the removal has caused and told the audience he hopes to avoid missing further air time. During his time away, Mike Fisher sat in alongside “The Rage” co-host Richie Whitt.
Good Karma to Acquire West Palm Beach FM. The former CBS Radio station – rhythmic AC WUUB “B106.3” – is being purchased by Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting and the Jupiter, Florida-licensed station is flipped to a simulcast of the company’s “ESPN 760” WEFL, Tequesta, Florida as Good Karma takes control under an LMA. No purchase price has been announced yet. In a statement, Karmazin says, “Our goal is to be able to connect with fans regardless of how they are consuming sports and this allows us another opportunity to connect in addition to AM radio, television, digital and mobile. This new signal will improve both day and nighttime coverage and we are excited to grow our presence throughout the Palm Beaches and the Treasure Coast.”
Odds & Sods. Apex Broadcasting’s rock WZLB “103.1 The Blaze” adds Bubba the Love Sponge for morning drive…..Arbitron announces that after a review of the In-Tab and other performance metrics for Week 2 of the February PPM report period in the winter storm-affected markets of Boston and Providence, the weeklies data will be released and the Week 2 data will be included in the February 2013 PPM report…..Talk radio host Jeff Katz, who tells TALKERS magazine that while hosting PM drive at Greater Media’s WBT, Charlotte he had some of the highest ratings in modern station history, will return to the Queen City for the first time in four years when he delivers the keynote address for the Union County Lincoln Reagan Dinner being held on Saturday, March 9 at Wingate University….. ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes Radio will air select games of the World Baseball Classic, with live broadcasts of the 39 games played in seven venues and four nations from March 2 through March 19. ESPN Deportes Radio will broadcast 18 games through the tournament. Ozzie Guillen will join the ESPN Deportes’ diverse team of experts as analyst for select games during the second round games, the Semi-Finals and Finals in San Francisco’s AT&T Park.
Sports USA to Produce NFL Draft Show. Sports USA expands its coverage of the National Football League with programming from the 2013 NFL draft. The company plans to broadcast the first round of the draft on April 25, 2013, at 7:30 pm ET live from Radio City Music Hall in New York. The draft show will feature analysis from NFL and NCAA experts who will break down the rookie class of 2013. Additionally, local reporters from each NFL city will weigh in to discuss their team’s needs for the upcoming season. Sports USA president Bob Moore states, “The NFL Draft has become a marquee event and we are excited to offer the entire first round of the draft to our partner stations.”
Sequester Issue, Obama Travel Schedule Criticism, The Oscars, John Kerry London Trip, Midwestern Blizzard, and C. Everett Koop Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/25). The looming sequester and its possible effects; the criticism of President Obama’s travel schedule; Sunday’s Oscar Awards; Secretary of State John Kerry’s first trip abroad; the blizzard that paralyzed portions of the Midwest; and the death of former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Mike Francesa to Address Industry at Talkers New York 2013. The list of major speakers continues to grow as WFAN, New York afternoon drive sports talk goliath Mike Francesa joins the roster of industry leaders who will be speaking at “TALKERS New York 2013,” the 16th annual installment of talk radio’s longest-running and most important annual convention. Francesa will deliver a solo keynote address titled, “The Sports Talk Radio Phenomenon.” He will discuss how sports talk fits into the general radio industry, where it is going both locally and nationally and how it operates within the business model of the PPM world. Francesa, who has been a major host on WFAN since the late 1980s, is also seen across the nation on the YES Network simulcast of his radio show and hosts a syndicated weekend program “The NFL Now” in addition to participating in numerous other sports broadcasting projects. He is currently ranked number one on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio Hosts holding the position as the Most Important Sports Talk Radio Host in America. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The addition of Mike Francesa as the sports talk radio keynote speaker at this year’s conference puts it over the moon. One of the big buzzes of the business is the relentless growth of this exciting branch of the talk radio universe. Who better than the king of the format to give insights into the genre’s place in the scheme of things? We are delighted!” More headliners will be named in the coming days along with the 50-plus speakers that will be participating in the conference. The event is set for Thursday, June 6, 2013 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side. Registration for the day including all activities and food service is $199 per person. An advance sellout is expected due to space limitations. Registration is limited to members of the working media and can only be taken via telephone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. Complete agenda details are being posted daily. Stay tuned.
Todd Schnitt Not Giving Up on Bubba the Love Sponge Lawsuit. The Tampa Bay Times reports talk show host Todd Schnitt has fired his legal team, hired a new lawyer and is continuing to pursue legal action against former crosstown rival Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem). The first trial ended in a victory for Bubba as the jury decided not to award Schnitt and wife Michelle damages for defamation over a series of criticisms and accusations Bubba leveled at Schnitt when he competed with Bubba in morning drive as MJ Kelli. Now, Schnitt has fired C. Phillip Campbell and Jonathan J. Ellis and has hired Wil Florin to represent him and his wife. Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the bizarre elements of the previous trial: Campbell being pulled over for DUI while driving the car of a young paralegal who, unbeknownst to him, worked for Bubba’s lawyer’s firm; the tip-off to police that Campbell was driving the car was made by someone from that same firm; and Bubba’s lawyers had possession of Campbell’s briefcase for 18 hours (though they say they didn’t open it). That missing briefcase is the basis for the new suit. How this will end is anybody’s guess, but one thing is for sure: Both Schnitt and Clem are spending a lot of money on legal fees. Yes, they are getting a lot of publicity for their radio programs but it is very expensive publicity.
Laura Ingraham Added to American Forces Network. Courtside Entertainment Group announces today that the Laura Ingraham show is being added to the American Forces Network with the opportunity to be heard by more than one million U.S. service members and their families. Ingraham states, “It is fantastic to be back on the air – and it feels even more special knowing that all of our friends listening on Armed Forces Network can hear us around the globe. The energy and enthusiasm from listeners, affiliates and advertisers since I returned to the airwaves has been overwhelming. From Tucson to Jacksonville, from Washington, DC to Seattle, Americans are energized and enthusiastic about our daily conversation about our country’s past, present and future. Politics is important – but so is the culture around us. As a single parent of young children and a cancer survivor, I have a unique perspective that connects me with listeners of all political stripes. Our conversation is a fun-filled ride that moves beyond the Beltway to the real-life ups and downs we all face.”
Veteran Media Executive Lynne Constantini Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze. The former EVP of affiliate sales and marketing at Scripps Networks Interactive and SVP of programming at Time Warner Cable joins TheBlaze as president of business development. In her new position Lynne Constantini will oversee the growing network’s content distribution efforts, as well as affiliate marketing, advocacy, business affairs and business development initiatives. She previously negotiated TheBlaze’s successful carriage deal with DISH as an outside consultant. Constantini says, “As a cable industry executive and consultant, I have been attracted to the rare independent network that has strong, unique content and a passionate engaged audience that drives results for operators and that is what I have found with TheBlaze. TheBlaze is unlike other start-up networks; it has a built-in loyal audience, a full slate of live, original programming, speaks to an underserved and growing conservative audience and has extensive marketing reach through affiliated media assets including on radio and on the web. I am excited to work with Glenn, Chris Balfe and the rest of the team on building TheBlaze and continuing the network’s success in improving the businesses of its distribution partners.”
Listeners Are Busy and Talent Is Spooked. That’s the assessment of radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke who asks broadcasters the provocative question: “RU@Speed-of-Life?’ In today’s article, Cooke says radio programmers must get up to speed (literally) with the intense pace of modern life which, when coupled with the PPM, puts tremendous pressure to manage air time in a way that is in keeping with today’s breakneck tempo. For example he advises hosts not to begin their shows by listing all the things they’ll be doing before the show ends. He says programming clock designers should go the extra step in designing transitions between programming elements (such as newscaster to talk show host segments) in a completely seamless manner. Never stop the action through over-explanation. Don’t miss this timely and informative piece. Read it here.
Talk Host Ralph Bailey Begins KERN, Bakersfield Program Next Monday. After quitting his talk show at Buckley Broadcasting’s crosstown KNZR on Thursday after an eight-year stint, Ralph Bailey will take over the PM drive program on American General Media’s KERN. Bailey wrote on his Facebook page, “It is official!!! I signed a contract today to join American General Media. I’ll be Scott Cox‘s guest today at three and begin my own 3-6 p.m. drive time show on Monday, March 4. I could not be happier! I have security in a business that is not that secure and for the first time in my life I’m making a little scratch! I’d like to thank Rogers Brandon and Toni Snyder. It is great to feel wanted and appreciated.”
KERN, Bakersfield’s Scott Cox to Anchor The Californian-AGM Morning Show Endeavor. Talk radio personality Scott Cox is moving away from the PM drive slot that Ralph Bailey is taking over in order to host a new morning program that is a joint effort of American General Media and The Bakersfield Californian. The show – “First Look with Scott Cox” – will emanate from The Californian newsroom in which a radio studio has been built. While KERN will provide the producers and technical expertise, the newspaper’s reporters will be regular guests during talk segments. Californian CEO Richard Beene says of the initiative, “The Bakersfield Californian has always prided itself about being on the cutting edge of technology (our website bakersfield.com was launched back in 1995) and we are keenly aware that readers and advertisers are finding new ways to obtain content and reach their advertisers. That’s why change is part of our company culture, and serving our readers and advertisers on multiple platforms is something we talk about every day.” The program will also be streamed live in high-definition video on the paper’s website. Beene writes in his editorial in the paper, “’First Look’ will add to The Californian‘s existing video programming, which includes ‘BVarsity Live,’ live local sports and breaking news. The Californian plans to expand its live video programming later this year. So yes, newspapers are alive and well, changing and evolving. Join us in March for ‘First Look.’”
Not All That Glitters is Gold. According to radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, broadcasters should avoid falling under the spell of Facebook “likes” and the impulse to “go viral” — which he describes as “shiny, distracting objects.” He advises, “The number of Facebook ‘likes’ you have is almost completely without meaning. In addition, working to have something go viral is probably taking you away from what you should be doing!” Read Chris Miller’s informative and valuable article here.
ESPN O&O KESN, Dallas Parts Company with Ben & Skin. Sports talk KESN, Dallas and midday personalities Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade were not able to come to terms on a new contract and the duo have left the station. They wrote on their Facebook page. “We have declined a final offer from ESPN on a new deal. We’re parting ways with them for now. Future is unwritten. Thank you for your support throughout the years. We are eager to write the next chapter of our adventure. Stay tuned.”
John Sweeney Exits WGDJ, Albany. The former Republican congressman from New York began a one-hour daily talk show at Capital Broadcasting’s “Talk 1300” two weeks ago but has left the station. The Albany Times-Union reports John Sweeney’s exit comes after it became apparent that the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon time slot was too much for the attorney and political consultant. Owner and GM Paul Vandenburgh told the paper too many unforeseen scheduling conflicts have made the show untenable.
TECHNICAL WATCH: Radio Moves Beyond ISDN to Deliver Studio Quality Remote Audio. Welcome to the Age of the IP Codec. Back in the “good old days,” if you wanted to get audio from point A to point B you had basically two choices: a dedicated land line from good old Ma Bell (a.k.a, the phone company) or you sent a tape. Then, Ma Bell decided to get rid of dedicated equalized services – at least interstate. These days, it’s very difficult if not impossible to get a dedicated broadcast service even in the same city. This prompted devices like the Comrex two-line and three-line frequency extender systems. These allowed someone to utilize two or three dial-up lines to get audio from one place to another with reasonable audio quality. The next step was ISDN – a digital dial-up service. With the development of devices such as the Telos Zephyr, FM quality audio was easily passed, with very little audio delay, between two locations. This has been the norm now for close to 20 years. Enter the IP codec – essentially ISDN on steroids. IP codecs utilize the internet as the transport medium. Now, for just the cost of the internet service you already have installed, you can literally transport audio all around the world – in many instances with slightly more round-trip delay than with ISDN, but that is easy to work around using mix minus. Noted radio technical consultant and TALKERS columnist Tom Ray brings us all up to speed on this new era in remote audio delivery in a must-read clear and concise article, here.
Salem Radio News Series Spotlights “The Poorest of the Poor.” SRN vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (pictured here in Guatemala) spent the last week in that Central American country as Salem Radio News prepared a news series titled, “The Poorest of the Poor.” Speaking about his experience there, Tradup tells TALKERS, “Guatemala is only a few hours by plane from the U.S., but living conditions for youngsters are light years away. And the statistics take on heartbreaking new meaning when you actually spend time with children there. We embedded with the American relief agency Food for The Poor to cover both the tragedy and the hope for impoverished children in Guatemala.” Tradup says Guatemala has the highest malnutrition rate of any country in the Western Hemisphere. The week-long SRN News special series will profile the challenges facing government and private agencies targeting ways to reverse the grim statistics on malnutrition and infant mortality in Guatemala.
Odds & Sods. Lisa Bloom – daughter of former radio and television talk show host (and high-profile attorney) Gloria Allred – is joining NBC’s “Today” show as a legal analyst says TVNewser. Bloom hosted the CourtTV show “Lisa Bloom: Open Court” from 2001 to 2009…..Arbitron’s Carol Hanley is named to the Allliance for Women in Media board of directors. Hanley serves as SVP, chief sales officer for Arbitron.
Harlem Shake Takes Over KDKA. The YouTube phenomenon “Harlem Shake” invades the newsroom at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh. This still shot is from a video posted on the KDKA-TV website and shows late morning talk host Marty Griffin (in the Santa hat) leading the rest of the crew – including morning hosts Larry Richert and John Shumway and Shelley Duffy, PM drive host Bill Rehkopf, midday host Mike Pintek, sports reporter and weekend host Rob Pratte and creative services director Kelly Pidgeon – in boogeying to the tune.
Arbitrator Rules in Favor of Former XEPRS, San Diego Hosts Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith. Sports talk hosts Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith were fired by XEPRS, San Diego – XX Sports Radio 1090 – in February after Kaplan made derogatory comments about the appearance of Mountain West TV Network sports personality Andrea Lloyd. Kaplan and Smith contended they were let go in violation of their contract which outlined a process by which the station was to address content issues in case of a disagreement. An arbitrator – retired Superior Court Judge Linda Quinn ruled in the hosts’ favor and has awarded the two more than $490,000 in damages based on their respective salaries, commissions, endorsements and incentives as provided by their contracts. U-T San Diego (for which Kaplan now works co-hosting an online TV show called “Scott, B.R. + Amber”) reports Kaplan and Smith feel vindicated with Kaplan stating, “I feel vindicated. They breached the contract. I knew that from the beginning. There was a lot of embarrassment that came with the termination. I spent 11 great years on the radio…I loved what I did and I loved who I worked for.” XEPRS has not paid the duo yet and has filed a motion asking Quinn to reconsider her decision.
NPR Hires Lobbying Firm to Fight GOP Effort to Defund CFPB. Congressional Republicans are again organizing efforts to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and NPR is hiring the lobbying firm Navigators Global to help shut that down. The Hill reports NPR spokesperson Dana Rehm says that the organization is a content provider but is also a trade organization representing member stations. “It is part of our mission to represent the interests of NPR member stations to Congress, executive, regulatory and judicial bodies. At a time when the federal government is running a large deficit, every program and function of the government deserves to be scrutinized, and a review of federal funding to public broadcasting is fair and to be expected.” Rehm says the firm’s job is to explain “how the federal investment in public radio stations and larger public broadcasting system provides one of the most effective returns of any program authorized by Congress.”
Talk Radio Rises to the Occasion in Covering Aurora Massacre Aftermath. The natural progression of the analysis and coverage of the killing of 12 and wounding of dozens of others at the Aurora, Colorado premiere of “Dark Knight Rises” continues and talk radio is rising to the occasion to serve its listeners with compelling and responsible discussion. Examples of talk outlets rising to a high level of performance through the use of experts in the fields of psychology, law enforcement, media violence, gun control and more are being reported to TALKERS from all over the country. Here two examples of similar coverage: Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt featured an interview with shooting victim Pierce O’Farrill, who was hit three times by bullets from the shooter’s gun. O’Farrill described live on the air the chilling events at the theater, his perspective on the gunman, the death penalty, and his visit with President Obama. XtreMedia president Kevin McCullough tells TALKERS several of his company’s programs – his own Kevin McCullough show, the Saturday evening “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE” broadcast and the Sunday night Dani Johnson show spent the bulk of their collective platforms allowing hurting, confused and stunned listeners to respond to the attacks. Actor Stephen Baldwin took time out from a publicity tour in neighboring Cheyenne, Wyoming (90 minutes from Aurora) to meet with those in Aurora whose lives have been touched by the shootings. While there, CNN‘s Don Lemon asked Baldwin (see photo) to weigh in on his perspective of the events. Baldwin told CNN, “It may be time for those of us in the Hollywood community to re-examine how we advance violence through films, television, and video games. It also blows my mind that someone could purchase 6,000 rounds of ammo in 45 days. I’m a gun enthusiast but a red flag should’ve gone off somewhere.”
Progressive Town Hall Forum in Seattle. Premiere Networks syndicated talk host Randi Rhodes (center) was one of eight panelists who took part in “Showdown 2012: Recapturing Democracy,” a progressive town hall forum presented by Seattle’s Progressive Talk AM1090 (CBS Radio’s KPTK) at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington on Saturday, July 21. Rhodes appeared on a panel focused on the evolving role citizens play in the political and public policy process, including strategies to protect our role in democracy and to build a better future for everyone. Panelists in this picture are (from l-r): Congressman Jim McDermott, WYD Media talk host Thom Hartmann, talk host Mike Papantonio, Compass Media Networks talk host Norman Goldman, Rhodes, talk host Sam Seder, talk host Ron Reagan, and panel moderator David Postman, former chief political reporter for the Seattle Times.
KESN, Dallas Renews Contract with Cowboys Great Drew Pearson. ESPN O&O KESN, Dallas – ESPN Dallas 103.3 – announces it is renewing its deal with Dallas Cowboys great Drew Pearson for another season. Under the terms of the contract, Pearson will join “Ben & Skin” co-hosts Ben Rogers & Jeff “Skin” Wade on Mondays from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon, do Friday call-ins to the “Galloway and Company” show, and co-host the “5th Quarter Cowboys” post-game show. Pearson will act as the “go-to guy” for any breaking Cowboys or NFL news, and do a weekly video segment with “Galloway and Company.” Pearson states, “I am very happy and excited to be joining the ESPN Radio team for my third season as Cowboys/NFL analyst. My role with ESPN provides a platform for me to express my sports opinions and it also allows me the opportunity to continue my association with the ‘Worldwide Leader in Sports’ – ESPN – which to me is priceless.”
Old Friends. Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller (r) poses for a shot with former “Saturday Night Live” cast member and co-star David Spade (c) and show promoter Bill Blumenreich (l) at Miller’s recent live concert at Boston’s Wilbur Theater. Spade snuck into the theater and found his way to Miller’s dressing room where they chatted and caught up.
Fox Sports Radio and Yardbarker Enhance Content Relationship. The latter is described by Fox Sports Radio as a sports opinion site and blog network. It’s a property of Fox Sports Interactive Media and now it and Fox Sports Radio Network will begin working together more closely beginning with incorporating FSRN’s “Loose Cannons” into Yardbarker’s content. FSRN states “‘Loose Cannons’ will feature a daily segment with co-hosts Pat O’Brien, Steve Hartman and Vic ‘The Brick’ Jacobs as they take listeners into O’Brien’s ‘backyard’ for all the dirt from Yardbarker. Fox Sports Radio will soon add similar segments across other network programs. In addition, Yardbarker will feature select content from Fox Sports Radio on its website and social media platforms.” Yardbarker VP of operations Jack Kloster states, “Yardbarker is incredibly excited to partner with Fox Sports Radio and to introduce our content to the loyal listeners of ‘Loose Cannons.’ The partnership is a natural fit. Our content is inherently conversational and Fox Sports Radio is home base for sports conversation.”
Geoff Neuhoff Passes Away at Age 59. Neuhoff Communications president and CEO Geoff Neuhoff died Sunday after falling ill suddenly on Saturday. Neuhoff owned and operated stations in rural Illinois including clusters in Springfield and Decatur. The company operated news/talk WSOY, Decatur and sports talk WFMB, Springfield. Neuhoff COO Mike Hulvey tells the State Journal-Register, “Geoff Neuhoff was a giant among small- and medium-market broadcasters. Geoff demanded from all of us a dedication of greatness and excellence no matter the market size or the power of the station. Geoff believed strongly that innovation was the way forward and he embraced new technologies with enthusiasm. He will be missed by his team, but the legacy he leaves behind will last for years to come.” Neuhoff is survived by his wife and three children.
Aurora Movie Theater Massacre, Penn State Penalties, Syria Instability, and European Debt Worries/Financial Markets Activities Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/23). The aftermath of the massacre at the “Dark Knight Rises” showing in Aurora, Colorado; the severe penalties levied against Penn State in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal; Syria’s political instability and threat to use weapons of mass destruction; and ongoing concerns over the debt of some European nations and the effect on world financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.