Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Added to Blue Ridge Communications Cable System. The push to get more cable TV carriage for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze continues and now the company announces it will be carried on Blue Ridge Communications’ system that serves the Poconos and the Central Pennsylvania region. It is the nation’s 21st largest cable operator. TheBlaze also entered into agreements with BEK Communications, Sweetwater Cable Television and Atwood Cable. TheBlaze president, business development, Lynne Costantini, states, “We’re thrilled to welcome these independent operators into TheBlaze family of television affiliates. These businesses understand the value of bringing TheBlaze’s original programming and unique perspective to their customers and their business.” TheBlaze says that customers of these cable operators will now be able to watch its full programming lineup including The Glenn Beck Program, news program “Real News from TheBlaze,” opinion show hosted by Andrew Wilkow, current events show “Pat & Stu” featuring radio personalities Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere, kid’s show “Liberty TreeHouse,” comedy news show “The B.S. of A.,” news magazine “For The Record,” and comical news and current events show “The Wonderful World of Stu featuring Stu Burguiere.” TheBlaze states that it is currently in carriage conversations with all major satellite, cable, telco and independent companies.
WTOP, Washington Stays #1 on List of Top Billing Stations. The annual list of top billing stations according to BIA/ Kelsey has been released and Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is at the front of the pack once again with $64.6 million in revenue in 2012 – that’s up a fraction from the $64 million it grossed in 2011. The rest of the top 10 – split by CBS and Clear Channel – are as follows (in millions): Clear Channel’s KIIS, Los Angeles ($56.8); Clear Channel’s WHTZ, New York ($48.2); CBS Radio’s WCBS, New York ($47.2); Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles ($46); CBS Radio’s WBBM, Chicago ($45.7); Clear Channel’s WLTW, New York ($43); CBS Radio’s WINS, New York ($41.5); CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM ($41); and CBS Radio’s KROQ, Los Angeles ($39.3).
SiriusXM Sports Talker Dino Costa Subject of New Film. Sports talk radio personality Dino Costa will be the subject of a feature-length film to begin production in April in Wyoming. Chesapeake Films announces that it has started pre-production for a documentary to be completed in 2013 about the life of “controversial SiriusXM Radio personality, Dino Costa.” The documentary film will be directed by Joel Franco, cinematography by Darko Nikolich, edited by Anthony Bernard, sound design by Karol Urban, and original music by Marianthe Bezzerides. The film will begin shooting in Wyoming, where Dino Costa resides and produces his daily radio sports talk show. The crew will then follow Costa to New York, to continue filming Costa’s hometown, friends, fans, and family. Franco says he wanted to do the film because, “Dino is a breath of fresh air in the world of cookie-cutter sports talk radio. He is fiercely independent, and connects with his audience like few can. I just knew that under that big personality was a story waiting to be told. I am so excited to begin.” Costa comments, “When I embarked on my career as a talk show host, I wanted to achieve many objectives; I never thought about the possibility of someone wanting to do a film about my career and my life. In speaking with Joel about his vision for this film, I’m confident that collaborating with the crew at Chesapeake Films will culminate in a documentary about my life that people will find interesting and compelling.”
Villanucci Producer Billy “Fatback” Cornelius Debuts Evening Show on KKOB. The departure of longtime afternoon drive host Jim Villanucci from Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque, resulted in evening host Scott Stiegler moving into the PM drive slot. That created an opening in the evenings and Jim Villanucci’s former on-air producer, Billy “Fatback” Cornelius, is now host of his own show airing in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot. He’ll still produce Stiegler’s program but “Fatback” tells TALKERS magazine, “When asked about the new opportunity, I simply replied, ‘The Fatback Nation will rise.’” His program debuts this evening.
New Jersey 101.5’s Jim Gearhart to Be Inducted into the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Jim Gearhart has been the morning host on Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” for the past 23 years and now he’s being honored by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association with induction into its Hall of Fame. Gearhart will be inducted at the Annual Awards Luncheon, which will be held during the NJBA’s 66th Annual Conference in Atlantic City this June 18-19. NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson says, “Jim will be acknowledged for providing quality content, news, public affairs and diverse entertainment to New Jersey. Jim’s contributions to the longevity and success of our industry in New Jersey will be recognized.”
WXOS, St. Louis Host Bernie Miklasz to Leave Radio Gig. Popular St. Louis sports media personality Bernie Miklasz will exit Hubbard Radio’s WXOS “101 Sports” when his contract wraps up next month. In a piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Miklasz says he’s leaving the radio show (weekdays 11:00 am to 2:00 pm) to focus on his work with the Post-Dispatch and its STLtoday.com where he’s been a sports columnist since 1989. He states, “I’ve always loved writing more (than radio), it’s my calling. Whatever good things I have in my life professionally have been because of the Post-Dispatch. It has led to other opportunities.” Miklasz says the stress of two jobs is wearing on him. WXOS program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “He’s such a dynamic personality, but at the end of the day how can you be mad at a guy who’s going back to his roots and giving it his all? He wants to do his part to help take an industry that has been down on an upswing. It’s bittersweet (for the station) because what he is doing is very honorable and really cool, so it’s hard to be upset with him. The guy is such an awesome personality.” STLtoday.com hints it will be branching out into audio and video on the website and will use Miklasz for that purpose, as well.
The Conclave Announces Agenda for July Learning Conference. The Conclave announces its preliminary agenda for the July 17-19 “Conclave 38: The Learning Conference” taking place at the Minneapolis/Park Place Doubletree Hotel. Executive director Bob Shannon states, “The very words ‘The Learning Conference’ implies that Conclave 38 will focus on teaching ideas our attendees can actually use. Focusing on what works today and the tools we’ll need for tomorrow, our faculty includes thinkers, visionaries and practitioners in a wide variety of disciplines including digital, marketing, mobile, programming, social media, and talent creation and training.” Some of the speakers appearing this year include: Ivan Braiker/HipCricket, Tim Bronsil/Point to Point Marketing, Jon Chelesnik/Sportcasters Talent Agency of America, Drake Donovan/Splice Video, Joel Folger/Folger Media, Les Garland/Afterplay Entertainment, John Gehron/AccuRadio, Bruce Gilbert/Clear Channel, Phil Hall/Audience Bakery, Michael Harrison/Talkers-Radioinfo.com, Dan Hill/Sensory Logic, Fred Jacobs/Jacobs Media, Randy Lane/The Randy Lane Company, Lori Lewis/Jacobs Media, Kipper McGee/Kipper McGee LLC, Kevin Metheny/Cumulus Media, Chris Miller/Chris Miller Digital, Tim Moore/Audience Development Group, Mark Shannon O’Neill/ROI Media Solutions, Bill Richards/Clear Channel, Larry Rosin/Edison Research, and Walter Sabo/Sabo Media. Shannon reports that this year’s Conclave begins on Wednesday, July 17 with the fourth annual “Jacobs Media Summer School,” and ends July 19 with “Conclave GAMEDAY,” a day devoted entirely to sports that ends with a reception at KTWN-FM’s studio just before the Minnesota Twins/Cleveland Indians game at Target Field, home of the 2014 All Star Game. For more information on the Learning Conference and Conclave educational programs, visit http://www.theconclave.com.
SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, North Korea Threats, Dr. Ben Carson Assault, Cyprus Banks Bailout, and Sequester Effects Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/28). The two days of arguments before the Supreme Court on gay marriage; threats of military action from North Korea; the backlash against Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson; the bailout of Cyprus banks by the EU; and the effects of the sequester were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Picking the right topics when working in multiple markets
By Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo
Radio Talk Show Host
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo – a member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred – is the host of mornings on KPRC, Houston; late afternoons on WOAI, San Antonio; weekends locally on KOA, Denver and weekends nationally on The Weekend show. He is also a major “go to” fill-in host for such hosts as Glenn Beck, Todd Schnitt and many others.)
HOUSTON/SAN ANTONIO/DENVER/EVERYWHERE – “Good morning, Houston.” “Good afternoon, San Antonio.” “Happy Saturday, Denver.” “Good Weekend, America.” These are all things I’m lucky enough to say either every day or every week. It’s a supreme compliment to have the support of the stations in these markets and from Clear Channel and Premiere and quite a challenge. Each show has its own feel, flow and audience make up and reaction. So, over the last 11 years, I’ve learned what works everywhere and what is market specific.
Schnitt vs Bubba Trial Delayed for One Day After Schnitt’s Attorney Arrested for DUI. It’s a rather bizarre twist in what is a high-profile case in Tampa. The judge in the case granted a one-day delay in the trial after Charles Philip Campbell, Jr. was taken into custody Wednesday evening on suspicion of DUI. He refused to take a blood alcohol test and was released on $500 bond. The trial will resume today as nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is suing Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) for defamation. Schnitt spent most of two days on the witness stand Tuesday and Wednesday. Clem’s attorney tried to score a few public sympathy points telling Fox 13 Tampa, “I’m shocked that the case was continued. I feel horrible for this jury that has been sequestered and pulled from their jobs, their lives and their families.” He told the TV station he didn’t understand why Schnitt’s other attorneys couldn’t handle the case.
KFI, Los Angeles Adds J.R. Martinez for Sunday Evening Program. The “Dancing with the Stars” champ, best-selling author and retired U.S. Army soldier begins his permanent role as host of the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Sunday program on Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles this Sunday. J.R. Martinez was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and, shortly after arriving, his Humvee hit a roadside bomb that trapped him inside the burning vehicle. He suffered severe burns over 34% of his body and spent 34 months at Brooke Army Medical Center recovering. In October of 2012 he published Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength and Spirit (Hyperion 2012) that became a New York Times best-seller. KFI program director Robin Bertolucci says, “He’s so inspirational and dynamic. He filled in for Bill Carroll during the holidays and I just had to have him join our line up! I’m thrilled he jumped at the opportunity and I’m excited to see what he will do with his own show.” Martinez replaces the David Cruz program. Cruz is concentrating on his four-hour daily program on sister progressive talk station KTLK.
WCNN, Atlanta Goes Local in Late Mornings. Dickey Broadcasting’s sports talker WCNN, Atlanta “Sports Radio 680 The Fan” is adding the new local show “The Front Row” for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart. The show stars Ray Mariner, Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran (pictured here from left to right). Golden and Finneran are also part of the “Rude Awakening” AM drive show (which will be trimmed by an hour to a 9:00 am stop beginning Monday). Mariner was co-host of the morning show on Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown CHR WSTR “Star 94” until he exited that post back in May of 2012. The show replaces Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick program.
Are You Ready for Some Baseball? Okay, so much of the country is in Super Bowl mode right now, but radio consultant Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS that with so many news/talk stations (as well as sports talk signals) carrying MLB play-by-play in their markets, now’s a good time to begin preparing to take advantage of those expensive rights. Cooke writes about ways to take ownership of the play-by-play beginning during spring training. Once the season starts, use brief promotional slots – like top-of-the-hour IDs – to promote the next game. Check out more on this in Holland Cooke’s Friday piece here.
Boomer Esiason Tackles TV and Radio on Super Bowl Sunday; Dial Global Handles Exclusive Radio Coverage. The NFL’s Super Bowl is usually the biggest TV event of the year but for the millions of Americans who can’t be near a TV, Dial Global’s exclusive radio play-by-play delivers the game. This year, Boomer Esiason and Kevin Harlan will be in the booth calling the game for Dial Global. But Boomer is also a CBS Sports employee (in addition to his AM drive work on WFAN, New York) and he’ll be on CBS TV as part of the pre-game show and the halftime broadcast. After he finishes the pre-game show from the field, he’ll move upstairs to the radio booth to call the game with Harlan. Talk about a busy day for Boomer! Dial Global’s coverage of the event also includes such experienced talent as James Lofton, Mark Malone, Jim Gray and Scott Graham. Joining Jim Gray for pre-game and halftime programming are NFL stars Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald. Hall of Fame defensive back Rod Woodson will also be part of the extended pre-game program.
WFVA, Fredericksburg, Virginia Returns to News/Talk on Monday. After two years as an adult standards-formatted station, Centennial Broadcasting’s WFVA, Fredericksburg returns to airing a news/talk format using largely syndicated talent. The program schedule will include: Cumulus Media Networks’ Don Imus, Mike Huckabee, Mark Levin and Michael Savage as well as Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck. Ten year WFVA veteran Ted Schubel will continue as the station’s news director and will also host a one-hour local program titled, “Town Talk With Ted,” airing weekdays at 8:00 am. The show will introduce listeners to local businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence the Fredericksburg region. Centennial Fredericksburg market manager Tom Hamilton says, “It has been nearly two full years since WFVA changed from a news/talk station to adult standards format. During that time, we have paid attention to what our listeners have said. Overwhelmingly, they told us they wanted news/talk back on WFVA. By providing many of the most-listened-to talk show hosts in the nation, along with community involvement, local news and public affairs programming, we will better serve our listeners, our local businesses and our community.”
KFNX, Phoenix Adds New Syndicated Programming. Genesis Communications Network’s Alex Jones is part of the new lineup at Francis Battaglia-owned KFNX, Phoenix where he airs in the overnight time slot. Also added to the station’s program schedule is Dial Global and Cox Media’s Herman Cain from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; and Cumulus Media Networks’ Michael Savage who returns to the station to air in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot.
Obama Second Term Agenda Top News/Talk Story During Week of January 21-25. The second term agenda of President Obama as outlined in his Inauguration Day speech was the top story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 this week was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi testimony. At #3 was the battle in Washington over reducing the deficit and at #4 was the North Korea nuclear threat. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America and is based on ongoing research from TALKERS. View this week’s entire chart here.
KFI, Los Angeles’ John and Ken Appear on WOR, New York. New WOR, New York owner Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has begun airing talk radio duo John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou in the evenings on the station. On Wednesday night, a simulcast hour from the final hour of the pair’s highly rated KFI, Los Angeles program aired at 9:00 pm followed by a 10:00 pm hour of custom programming for the New York station. John and Ken are no strangers to the region having grown up in the New York area and having gotten their start on radio stations in the Tri-State Area. They rose to prominence during their stint at Trenton-based “New Jersey 101.5” (WKXW). John and Ken have been syndicated in the past. During a brief period in the late 1990s, the duo began a national syndication effort under Fisher Entertainment but that ended when they moved to KABC, Los Angeles to take the morning drive slot.
Peacock Sports Network Playing the Hits. In TALKERS magazine’s second part of its three-part series on the new sports talk radio players (and the growing field in general), managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian gets inside the heads of those involved in the new NBC Sports Radio Network that is launching its weekend programming this weekend and its full daily slate in April. NBC Sports Radio programmer Jack Silver tells TALKERS his network is focusing on finding talent it believes is the next generation. “The weekday and weekend lineups mirror the network’s mission statement, which is to be a new wave of sports talk. We did not hire the more traditional names. The developmental mindset we have is to find new sports talk talent. CBS Sports Radio has veterans like Jim Rome and Scott Ferrall. We are looking for the next versions of people like that, as well as Dan Patrick and [ESPN Radio morning personalities] ‘Mike [Greenberg] & Mike [Golic].’ We are producing this sports network like a rock station, with in-your-face production. To my ear, it feels like an FM talk station – which is my specialty. It is based on opinions and talk show topics.” Read Mike Kinosian’s entire piece here.
Cumulus Media Returns 44 Markets to Arbitron Diary Service. After three years with no Arbitron diary ratings service, Cumulus Media-owned stations in 44 markets will resume subscription to the service effective immediately. Cumulus Media and Arbitron announce they have agreed to a multi-year contract that brings Cumulus stations in the 44 markets back into the fold and renews the company’s PPM ratings service deal in the 17 PPM markets in which it operates. Arbitron states that the deal covers all 450 Cumulus stations in the 100 Cumulus radio markets currently surveyed by Arbitron. It also renews ratings agreements in 39 diary markets. In addition to diary and PPM local market ratings, the agreement also provides Cumulus with access to Arbitron software applications, Scarborough consumer profile services, and national and network radio ratings for Cumulus Media Networks. Cumulus has also agreed to collaborate with Arbitron on cross-platform services that would quantify the total impact of the Cumulus radio brand. Cumulus chairman and CEO Lew Dickey says, “With this agreement, Arbitron and Cumulus are demonstrating a long-term commitment to collaborate for the benefit of the radio industry. We will work closely with Arbitron on its ongoing quality and service enhancement initiatives. Specifically, we look forward to participating in the development of an integrated, total radio audience service that gives broadcasters full credit for our audiences regardless of how listeners access our content.”
Herman Cain is Coming and Consultant Holland Cooke Predicts Success. Businessman, talk show host and one-time presidential candidate Herman Cain is prepping to take over the WSB, Atlanta and Cox Media syndication of the Neal Boortz program when Boortz retires this month. Radio consultant Holland Cooke predicts Cain will succeed and offers eight reasons why, beginning with: “He’s a radio natural, as we heard when he filled-in for Sean Hannity last summer. Even if Cain’s primary run hadn’t made it so familiar, his voice jumps-out-of the speaker. And he speaks in sound bites that are made for AM radio.” There’s more. Read Cooke’s piece here.
Larry Mendte Exits Merlin’s WWIQ, Philadelphia. Announcing his departure from the Philadelphia talk outlet via his Facebook page, talk personality and former market TV news anchor Larry Mendte states the reason was not due to ratings as his show was “by far the highest-rated local show.” But Mendte, who joined the station in May of last year, says in his post that he believes his exit will spur rumors the station is for sale. He says he hopes that’s not true as he believes the station “fills an important void.” Mendte was hired to work the morning show alongside programmer and co-host Al Gardner. Earlier in the fall, New York-based multi-media star Lionel was brought in to work with Gardner for a portion of the morning program. WWIQ’s website lists both Gardner and Lionel as co-hosts of the 5:00 am to 9:00 am program.
Clear Channel to Flip WOKY, Milwaukee to Sports Talk. Beginning Monday, January 7, Clear Channel-owned classic country WOKY, Milwaukee will become a sports talk outlet as “The Big 920.” The station will feature regional sports talk personalities as well as Fox Sports Radio Network syndicated programming including Dan Patrick and Jay Mohr. According to a report in The Business Journal, the station will run the same programming that airs on CC’s Madison sports talk station WTSO “The Big 1070.” The station will air a talk show featuring morning drive hosts Mike Lucas and Matt Lepay from 6:00 am to 8:00 am. It will be in competition in the market with Good Karma’s WAUK and Entercom’s WSSP.
WQRT, Cincinnati to Drop Talk; Station Will Go Dark, Launch New Format in February. The Cincinnati market sports and talk station WQRT “Real Talk 1160” will go dark after the broadcast of the BCS National Championship game on January 7 and take the rest of the month to prepare for a new format. Christian Broadcast System owner Jon Yinger tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter the station did not perform as the company had hoped despite hiring numerous local personalities over the course of the past few years to challenge competitors in the market. Local staffers including morning host Dean Miuccio, news staffer T.C. Summers, afternoon sports talk hosts Dennis “Wildman” Walker and Jeff Piecoro have been let go and the station will air syndicated programming until it signs off. The station recently lost operations manager Rob Williams and sports talk host and producer Rick Ucchino who left to join Cumulus Media’s crosstown WCFN which debuted the CBS Sports Radio Network format on Wednesday, January 2.
Al Gore’s Current TV Bought by Al Jazeera. The Al Gore- and Joel Hyatt-owned Current TV cable news/talk channel has been purchased by the Qatar-based Arab world cable news operation Al Jazeera for a reported $500 million. Bloomberg reports Gore and Hyatt paid $60 million for the media outlet in 2004. Bloomberg notes in its report that Time Warner Cable Inc., the second-biggest U.S. cable company, said it would stop carrying Current TV with the ownership change. “Our agreement with Current has been terminated and we will no longer be carrying the service…We are removing the service as quickly as possible.” Time Warner Cable currently carries the Al Jazeera English-language programming in New York City however it does not offer Al Jazeera in the Los Angeles market. The Associated Press reports the acquisition will give Al Jazeera access to about 40 million more homes. It also states that Al Jazeera – owned by the government of Qatar – plans to gradually transform Current TV into a network called Al Jazeera America by adding five to 10 new U.S. bureaus beyond the five it has now and hiring more journalists. More than half of the content will be U.S. news and the network will have its headquarters in New York City.
Fox Sports Radio Network’s Jay Mohr Debuts on 70-Plus Stations. The new late-morning program on the Fox Sports Radio Network hosted by long-time FSRN fill-in host, comedian and actor Jay Mohr hit the ground running with about 70 affiliates yesterday. Fox Sports reports the show aired in markets including: Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Portland and Pittsburgh. Mohr’s program fills the slot held for so many years by Jim Rome who left Premiere Networks for the new CBS Sports Radio Network.
Bill Keeler to Host Mornings on WIBX, Utica. Local media personality Bill Keeler will begin hosting the morning drive program on Townsquare Media’s news/talk WIBX, Utica, New York on Monday, January 14, according to WKTV-TV, Utica. Keeler, who has been hosting a restaurant program on WKTV-TV, has also worked in the market in radio at CHR WSKS and rock WXUR. He says, “I am so excited about doing mornings on WIBX. This is a heritage radio station that’s been around for 87 years and it remains one of the top stations in the market. I can’t wait to get on the air and get started.” Keeler will be joined by news anchor Kristine Bellino.
WMVP, Chicago Personality Steve McMichael Pulled from Broadcasting After Equal Time Request. Former Chicago Bears great and WMVP, Chicago sports talk personality Steve “Mongo” McMichael was yanked from Sunday’s program prior to the final Bears game of the season after the mayor of Romeoville, Illinois filed an equal time request with the station. McMichael filed papers on December 26 to get on the ballot to run for mayor of Romeoville in April and one of his opponents, current Mayor John Noak, filed the request citing equal time regulations. McMichael tells the Chicago Tribune, “I was ready to go on and talk football. I by no means used that pre-game show as a political platform this year. But if that’s the law, it’s the law and I have to accept it.”
Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Announces Record Results for Holiday Toy Drive. WTMJ, Milwaukee program director Joe Scialfa announces the Journal Broadcast Group station collected more than 19,000 toys during its 2012 “Kids to Kids Christmas” Scialfa says more than 50 schools in the region participated in the charity drive that encouraged children to shop with their parents for toys to donate to those less fortunate. Scialfa states, “The listeners of Newsradio 620 WTMJ are amazing. Again this year, they have shared the message of giving with their kids in a record setting way! We couldn’t be prouder to come to work each day to inform and entertain this great audience.”
‘Fiscal Crisis’ Bill Signed, Hurricane Sandy Aid Controversy, Financial Markets Activity, Hillary Clinton Health Status and Gun Control Debate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/2). The aftermath of the bill signed to avert the “fiscal crisis”; the anger over Congress’ bypassing Hurricane Sandy aid; financial markets respond to “fiscal crisis” legislation; the health status of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and ongoing debate of gun laws in the United States were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Phil Boyce Takes on Operations Role at Salem Communications’ New York Cluster. Talk radio programming pro Phil Boyce already serves as VP/director of spoken word format for Salem Communications but he’s adding the operational vice president for the New York cluster title to his business card. That means he’s directly in charge of operations for WNYM “970 The Answer” and Christian talk outlet WMCA. Salem Communications president David Santrella says, “Phil’s innate understanding of the New York market, particularly as it relates to news/talk, as well as his day-to-day proximity to the operation, has led us to the decision to ask Phil to take on the additional role of operational VP for the New York cluster. Phil will continue to work with all of our stations as VP director, spoken word format.” Program director Peter Thiele remains in his position as Boyce’s charge is to oversee the station’s revenue and assist all departments in that effort. Other changes from Salem Communications include Salem regional VP Linnae Young, who has overseen the New York cluster, taking on the oversight of the Tampa cluster that includes news/talk WGUL, Christian talk WTBN, and news/talk WLSS, Sarasota. In Louisville, Salem regional VP Mike Moran will assume oversight of news/talk WGTK, and Christian talk WFIA-AM/FM.
Mike Gastineau to Exit KJR, Seattle. Longtime sports talker Mike “Gasman” Gastineau announces he’ll leave Clear Channel’s sports KJR, Seattle where he currently hosts the PM drive show with co-host Elise. Gastineau has been with KJR since 1991 and was originally partnered with Rick DuPree in middays. He’s been in the midday slot for the past 19 years. In a statement explaining his departure, Gastineau says, “Since 1991 I have hosted more than 5,000 shows on KJR and I’ve reached a point where I’d like to explore other creative options. KJR’s management has been incredibly understanding and supportive of my decision. I’m proud to have been able to give Seattle fans a voice in these incredibly important debates. I always strived to do three things on the show – be funny, entertaining and give people a place for reasonable debate on sports issues of the day.” His last show is tomorrow (12/6) and KJR has not announced plans for the PM drive slot as of yet.
Robin Bertolucci Honored at PIRATES Event. KFI and KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci was honored at the holiday fundraiser of the Print Interactive Radio and Television Educational Society (PIRATES) at the Castaway Restaurant in Burbank, California. The PIRATES’ “Golden Buccaneer” award is given annually and was awarded to Bertolucci in recognition “of her remarkable ongoing commitment to public affairs, the community and education as one of the media’s most outstanding role models for students.” This annual holiday fundraiser benefits the Ruth Collander Endowment Fund which enables PIRATES to provide scholarships to college students majoring in communications, journalism, radio or television. Pictured above (from l-r) are: Brent Seltzer (Still at Large) who emceed the event, KOST 103.5 program director Stella Prado, Bertolucci and KFI director of marketing/brand manager Neil Saavedra.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Partners with Production Companies for Competition Reality Show. The name of the series is “Pursuit of the Truth” and the goal of the show is to bring together 20 selected filmmakers from across the country to prove to a panel of expert judges that their project is worthy of the grand prize – financing and worldwide distribution for their feature documentary film idea. Go Go Luckey Entertainment and Wild West Productions are working with TheBlaze on the project. The 20 contestants will be asked to perform a series of tasks during the 10-week production period for the panel of expert judges. Contestants will be asked to not only prove the validity of their idea for a documentary but also their filmmaking abilities. They will either survive or be eliminated based on that criteria. For example, contestants might be asked to produce a sizzle reel, procure and execute a key interview, or pitch scenes to the panel of judges. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood says, “We are excited to continue to expand our programming with producers like Vince Vaughn, Peter Billingsley and Gary Auerbach. The documentary film, particularly those that seek the truth with no agenda, is an important art form that is struggling to survive in this media environment. We will be looking for stories that simply need to be told.” The nine-episode series debuts on TheBlaze in late spring 2013.
WMMS, Cleveland Dismisses PM Drive Co-Host Chad Zumock. The rock station’s Alan Cox afternoon drive talk program is without air talent Chad Zumock after the 38-year-old comedian and radio co-host was arrested following a recent incident in which he crashed his car into a tree while returning home from a gig at a local comedy club. Zumock refused a breath test but authorities are charging him with DUI. According to Cleveland.com, the incident violates a clause in Zumock’s contract with Clear Channel and host Alan Cox addressed Zumock’s dismissal on the program on Tuesday, December 4.
WTAG, Worcester Morning Host Jim Polito Exits for Boston TV Gig. Jim Polito returns to his television roots beginning December 10 as he’ll handle commentary for Fox TV O&O WFXT, Boston’s evening newscasts. Polito left WGGB-TV, Springfield, Massachusetts in 2008 to join Clear Channel’s WTAG, Worcester for the morning drive program. No word from Clear Channel what its plans for the morning show are.
Branson, Missouri Gets FM Talk Station as Earls Family Broadcasting Makes Changes. In making programming changes to its cluster of stations in Branson, Missouri, Earls Family Broadcasting consolidates its two country outlets on one signal, freeing up KRZK at 106.3 to become a news/talk station. The new format is branded as “Your News. Straight Talk. 106.3.” In a statement, the company says news/talk is “a perfect fit for our traditional, informed and community-minded citizens of the Branson area. Since KRZK has always been popular for local news, talk, and community service, an all-news/talk format is the perfect evolution of this beloved station.” The station is carrying Fox News Radio for top-of-the-hour news. The program schedule includes: Steve & Janet in the Morning for 6:00 am to 9:00 am; “At Your Service” with Scott McCaulley from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm; Dave Ramsey from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm; and “The Ozark’s News Hour with Greg Pyron” from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
The Expert Radio Network Launches. A new San Diego-based terrestrial radio network is getting off the ground. The Expert Radio Network, “a multi-media radio platform for experts to deliver their content, expand their audience and explode their product sales” is opening for business. Vice president of business development Susan Ram explains the network’s approach. “Experts will have the opportunity to host a weekly radio show in major markets across the country, complete with marketing guidance from co-founder Scotty Saks. Experts will also work directly with award-winning talent coaching specialist and ERN co-founder Cliff Dumas and his business partner Randy Lane of The Randy Lane Company. Cliff and Randy will teach the same communication secrets Randy has personally taught Ryan Seacrest, Jimmy Kimmel, Carson Daly and hundreds of other entertainment, sports and business clients. Finally, Experts will be able to leverage the power of a fully produced, online marketing sales funnel custom designed to monetize their product and brand.” Identifying “experts” as those who’ve committed three years or 10,000 hours to knowledge of their subject of expertise, ERN says it has identified several “key verticals,” including: finance and business, health and wellness, and personal development. “The timing could not be better, as ‘real,’ terrestrial talk radio is experiencing explosive growth, and attracting millions of listeners who seek critical investment, business, and personal development advice from experts across the country. The power of ERN will massively expand an individual or corporate brand’s audience and deliver valuable advice and information to consumers.” ERN will utilize SpotMedia’s new Synchronicity platform for its program distribution, eliminating satellite distribution expenses while automatically customizing shows and commercial insertions on an affiliate by affiliate basis for both over the air and digital audiences.
Good Karma’s WEFL, West Palm Beach Renews Local TV Partnership. West Palm Beach sports talk ESPN 760 extends its content-producing partnership with local television stations WPTV-TV and WFLX-TV. The stations had been working together for the past three years and have agreed to terms on a new multi-year contract. WPTV-TV vice president and general manager Steve Wasserman says, “Since teaming up with ESPN 760 in 2010, the profile of local sports has risen to an unprecedented level. With the powerful combination of the region’s top-rated television station and the area’s unrivaled leader in sports radio, we will continue to set the standard for sports coverage in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.” The stations say that over the years they have produced quality content with unique local coverage and programming that includes: “Football Night in South Florida,” “5 Sports Live” on WPTV and “Wayne Akers Sports Zone” on WFLX. ESPN 760’s anchor team of Joe Girvan and Emerson Lotzia will continue to be seen nightly on WPTV NewsChannel 5’s 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm newscasts as well as WFLX Fox 29’s 10:00 pm newscast. WEFL vice president and general manager Steve Politziner states, “We are thrilled to continue to share stories about sports in our local community with the passionate fans of WPTV and WFLX. ‘Football Night in South Florida’ has become a franchise unto itself and the way in which schools, players, coaches, administrators, parents and fans have embraced our coverage, it’s more than exceeded our expectations.”
Odds & Sods. Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington raised more than $290,000 during its radiothon on Friday and Saturday to benefit the Fisher House Foundation. It was the 9th annual such radiothon and program director Bill Hess tells TALKERS the total was up $50,000 from last year’s total and that, to date, WMAL listeners have raised more than $4 million for Fisher House over the past nine years…..Herman Cain subs for Neal Boortz on the Cox Media-syndicated national talk program December 10 – 19. Cain, who hosted a program at flagship WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta prior to his run for president, will take over hosting the Neal Boortz show on January 21, 2013…..WQAM, Miami sports talk host Dan Sileo subs on the morning show at Entercom’s WEEI, Boston December 26 – 28.
Talk Producer Colin Brady Dies at 43. Florida-based radio producer Colin Brady passed away at age 43 after a struggle with cardiovascular disease. Brady worked as a talk producer and host in both Tampa and Orlando. He worked with Shannon Burke at WTKS, Orlando and on his internet show at RadioIO.com. Burke tells the Orlando Sentinel that although Brady was the butt of jokes (as producers often are) his listeners were shocked. “They all loved him very much. Last week, they were calling the show crying. He was beloved, no doubt about it.”
Washington ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, Syria Chemical Weapons Threat, Egypt Unrest, Obama Cabinet Nominees, and Jovan Belcher Case-Costas Comments Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/4). The fight between GOP leaders and the Obama administration over how to avoid the “fiscal cliff”; charges Syria is planning to use its chemical weapons on rebels; the unrest in Egypt as citizens protest Mohamed Morsi’s policies; speculation over the shape of the new Obama Cabinet; and the murder-suicide case of Jovan Belcher and Bob Costas’ anti-gun commentary were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
November PPMs Generally Good to Talk Radio. You can call it the “election bounce” if you like but some of the news/talk stations that did well in Arbitron’s November 2012 PPMs were ramping up in October and before. Plus, the fall has traditionally been a good ratings period for news/talk whether there’s an election or not. Of course, Hurricane Sandy played a major factor for stations in the New York and Middlesex-Somerset-Union markets. Some of the stations worth noting include CBS Radio’s New York all newsers WCBS and WINS which jumped from a 3.8 to a 5.3 and a 4.0 to a 4.8, respectively. Clear Channel’s Los Angeles talk juggernaut KFI continues to thrive inching up to a 5.3 from a 5.1 the month prior. Cumulus Media’s Chicago news/talker WLS bounced back up to a 4.1 after posting a 3.7 in October. Likewise in Dallas-Fort Worth for Cumulus as WBAP-AM/FM pops up a half share to a 3.9. Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston rose from a 3.4 in October to a 4.1 in November. In Washington, DC Cumulus’ WMAL-AM/FM jumped from a 3.4 to a 4.2. In Philadelphia, Merlin Media’s WWIQ hopped from 2.7 in October to a 3.6 in November. Cox Media’s WSB, Atlanta – which has been maintaining healthy numbers in the PPM for some time – vaults from a 6.8 to an 8.3 this month. Cumulus’ Detroit talker WJR rose more than a full share from a 4.8 to a 5.9. Public radio outlet KUOW, Seattle claimed the top spot in the November PPMs with a 5.5 share. Clear Channel’s KFYI, Phoenix went up a full share from a 4.9 to a 5.9. Mixed results in Baltimore as Hearst’s WBAL fell from a 5.7 to a 5.0 while WCBM rose from a 3.0 to a 3.8 share. Good news for pubcaster KOPB, Portland which went from a 5.3 to a 6.2 while Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL jumped from a 4.8 to a 5.5 share. Clear Channel’s WPGB, Pittsburgh leaped a full share from a 6.9 to a 7.9 share while its Sacramento sister KFBK also enjoyed a significant rise from a 5.6 to a 6.8 share. In the New Jersey market of Middlesex-Somerset-Union, Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 (WKXW, Trenton) posted an outstanding 8.6 – up from a 6.2 in October – with help, no doubt, from Hurricane Sandy. TALKERS’ sister publication RadioInfo has all the PPM data including Mike Kinosian’s analysis of the numbers. You can find that here.
Laura Ingraham Back on Radio “Soon.” That’s what the author, pundit and talk show host told Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly. During one of Laura Ingraham’s regular appearances on Fox News Channel with O’Reilly, he questioned her status in the talk radio world and she told him she will be back on the radio with another syndicator (she left Talk Radio Network at the end of her contract on Tuesday) very soon. “I’m close to signing a new deal. I’m very, very close. But I’ll be back on the air probably in the next several days.” Ingraham told O’Reilly she informed TRN she would be “terminating the deal” months ago and that it was time to move on.
Talk Host Tom Becka to Exit KRWK, Fargo “101.9 Talk FM.” Talk radio pro Tom Becka has been serving as program director and talk show host at KRWK, Fargo since it flipped from rock to talk in March of this year. Becka tells the Fargo Forum he’s returning to Omaha where he’s worked for years and has family. Becka says any notion his departure has anything to do with the performance of the new format is not correct. “The station has grown every month. My experience with Radio Fargo-Moorhead was great and I’m proud of what we accomplished here in a short time. To say I’m leaving because of ratings would be erroneous.” Radio Fargo-Moorhead is selling its cluster of stations to Midwest Family Communications. The FCC has approved the license transfers but according to one source, the actual takeover may not happen until the spring.
Todd Schnitt Show to Leave Flagship WFLA, Tampa. Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt Tweets that his program – airing live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm – will be off longtime flagship WFLA, Tampa after the December 18 program. Schnitt further Tweets that the national syndication continues and is expanding under syndicator Compass. No word what CC has in mind for afternoons at WFLA. Currently, it delay-broadcasts Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm but may have plans to move Hannity to the live PM drive slot.
Jim Isabella Named Evening Host at WNIR, Akron. Journalist Jim Isabella has been doing fill-in work for WNIR for the past two years. He now takes over the evening show formerly hosted by the late Tom Erickson who died on November 3 after a long illness. Isabella most recently worked for the Akron Beacon Journal. Station owners Bob and Bill Klaus note in a press release that Isabella, who was a frequent caller to the show hosted by the late Howie Chizek who passed away suddenly in June, made them more aware of his talents during his fill-in time in addition to receiving positive response from the station’s listeners.
Odds & Sods. Watch for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean from the network’s “America Now with Andy Dean” on Fox News Channel’s “America’s News HQ” this Sunday at 4:45 pm ET as he sits in a panel discussing the latest headlines in news and politics…..SiriusXM brings the Major League Baseball winter meetings to listeners via its MLB Network Radio and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio channels. The meetings take place in Nashville December 2 through 6 and the satcaster will have front office experts Jim Bowden, Jim Duquette and Steve Phillips there hosting various programs with other special expert guests including former pitcher Jeff Nelson.
Bubba the Love Sponge Offers Reward for Arrest of Animal Abuser. After hearing about the case of a dog found in the Bradenton, Florida area that had been attacked by someone with an axe, radio star Bubba the Love Sponge put up $1,000 of his own cash on top of the $500 being offered by the Animal Network for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible. After hearing about the case, Tampa-area philanthropist Gary Kompothecras of the legal and medical referral service 1-800-ASK-GARY added another $1,000 to the reward to make the total $2,500. Bubba reports to TALKERS that the dog, named Axel, is recovering from his injuries and will be available for adoption once he is healthy again.
Los Angeles Broadcaster David Courtney Dies at 56. The Southern California radio community is mourning the loss of omnipresent “big voice” David Courtney, who passed away on Thursday, November 29. Many considered Courtney the voice of Los Angeles sports, since for the past 23 years, he was the public address announcer of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. He performed similar duties for MLB’s Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for 18 years and NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers since October 2008. Greater Los Angeles area radio listeners knew him for his frequent traffic and sports updates as part of the Total Traffic Network. Over the last 20 years, Courtney was heard on a number of major Los Angeles radio outlets including KABC and KSPN, as well as KOLA in the Inland Empire. His other radio background included stints at Houston’s KULF as executive producer of sports programming and that market’s KTRH, where he was weekend news anchor before landing a nightly, three-hour news/talk program. New York City-born Courtney moved to Los Angeles in 1963 when his father, Alan, became president of MGM Television. According to Courtney’s Twitter feed, he needed to miss Wednesday night’s Clippers game against Minnesota owing to the fact he was in the hospital awaiting an angiogram. The 56-year-old Courtney is survived by his wife, Janet Fisher-Courtney.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle Remains Top Talk Radio Topic for Second Straight Week. The struggle between the Obama administration and GOP congressmen to deal with impending tax hikes and spending cuts was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Benghazi investigation tied with the Susan Rice-GOP leaders meetings. Following at #3 was the Israel-Gaza tensions with the clean-up of Hurricane Sandy at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Michael Savage Signs with Cumulus Media Networks; Push for Affiliates and Programming Changes at O&O Stations to Begin. Not too long after vowing he’d be back on terrestrial radio, talk radio host Michael Savage joins Cumulus Media Networks for a syndication deal that will have his program distributed nationally live from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. The terms of the contract are not available but in a press release announcing the pact, Cumulus COO John Dickey states, “As we aggressively create radio’s most compelling mix of show hosts the addition of Michael Savage is a milestone in our determined efforts to provide our listeners nationwide with the best programing in the business.” Savage won freedom from his contract with Talk Radio Network in court several weeks ago, freeing him to sign anywhere for national distribution. Savage states in the release, “Cumulus and Savage will make radio history. The turbulent times we live in give talk radio a new power. This is the biggest move of my radio career and I look forward to reaching many millions of new listeners on their flamethrower signals.” Savage has broadcast from his home studio in the San Francisco Bay Area for years and most likely will continue to do so. Cumulus will want to put him on as many O&Os as possible so here’s a rundown of what programming airs during the live broadcast time of Savage’s soon-to-be program. In San Francisco, O&Os KGO and KSFO air a local evening news show and its own syndicated John Batchelor program respectively; WABC, New York airs Batchelor; KABC, Los Angeles airs its own syndicated Mark Levin; WLS-AM, Chicago airs the last hour of Premiere’s Sean Hannity followed by Levin; WMAL, Washington airs Batchelor; WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas airs local host Chris Krok; and WJR, Detroit airs Mark Levin. With Savage’s program to debut next Tuesday, October 23, look for some programming changes on Cumulus Media O&O talk outlets.
Dan Patrick’s Radio and TV Simulcast Exits Fox Sports Net; Speculation About New Cable Partner Begins. To be clear, we’re talking about the regional cable TV networks when we talk about Fox Sports Net, not Fox Sports Radio Network which distributes the radio version of the DirecTV-produced program. Dan Patrick’s sports talk show is still available on DirecTV’s Audience Network but Patrick said on his program they expect to have a new cable partner soon and here’s where the speculation begins. AwfulAnnouncing.com’s Matt Yoder writes that a deal with NBC’s fledgling cable sports network could use a show like Patrick’s in morning drive as a show around which to build the rest of its programming. As Yoder points out, Dan Patrick already works for NBC hosting “Football Night in America,” so there’s a relationship in place. If NBC and Patrick agree to work together for the cable TV distribution of his program, whether that would affect the distribution of his radio program or not is unknown. NBC is also building a sports talk radio network for which it needs quality programming. However, the Fox Sports Radio Network distribution of the radio program has it on more than 250 stations. Ad sales for the radio side are handled by Premiere Networks and presumably there is a contract for this relationship.
Mancow TV Show Producer Resigns. With less than a week to go before the debut of Erich Mancow Muller’s Chicago TV show on Fox Television’s WPWR-TV, director and producer Don DuPree leaves the project. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports DuPree had issues with Fox Television that centered on compensation and job duties unrelated to the Mancow program. Mancow’s morning radio show — syndicated nationally by TRN-FM — is set to begin a two-hour radio/TV simulcast (during the 6:00 am to 8:00 am CT hours) on Monday, October 22. DuPree has been involved with the soon-to-debut show for several weeks. He tells Feder, “I really want to see the show succeed, and I want Mancow to succeed. Working with Mancow was why I was attracted to the project to begin with, and I’m still a big fan. I hope I get to work with him again one day.” DuPree was director of the “Siskel & Ebert” program for 16 years and also served as executive producer for “Ebert & Roeper.”
Talent Shuffle at Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle. A day after Bonneville announced that morning news anchor Linda Thomas would exit the AM on-air post to take an enterprising new role with the station and its affiliated digital presence, it promotes evening talk host John Curley to host of “Seattle’s Morning News” beginning Monday, October 22. Curley, a popular media personality in the market who joined KIRO-FM in February of 2011 to host the night show, is partnered up with current AM drive co-host Tom Tangney and news anchor Ursula Reutin. Program director Larry Gifford states, “John is unbelievably talented. He brings a lifetime of lessons to add a personal perspective and a storyteller’s sensibility to ‘Seattle’s Morning News.’ He also has an irresistible charm and enough energy to fuel the entire Pacific Northwest.” Curley spent 14 years hosting “Evening Magazine” on KING-TV and currently serves as a member of the Sammamish City Council. Exiting the morning program is host Bill Radke.
WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus Suspends Host for Tweet. RadiOhio’s sports talk WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus “97.1 The Fan” suspends talk host Scott Torgerson – co-host of “The Common Man & The Torg” – after he Tweeted regarding ESPN’s Desmond Howard, “I wish that Desmond Howard would get fired or die so I can watch ‘Gameday’ again.” It’s uncertain how long Torgerson will be suspended but yesterday he remained off the program with co-host Mike Ricordati.
Genesis Communications Network Purchases New Headquarters. The company that syndicated such talk radio stars as Alex Jones, Jason Lewis and Bradlee Dean is moving into new headquarters in Burnsville, Minnesota. The company, headed by CEO Ted Anderson, is moving from its current base in Eagan, Minnesota to a former Coldwell Banker office near I-35W in the Twin Cities region. The building was purchased for $1.4 million.
Newsweek Announces End of Paper Edition. This isn’t a radio story but it is an interesting media development. Editor-in-chief of The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, Tina Brown, announces the iconic weekly news magazine will cease publication of its printed product at the end of this year and will move into a strictly digital business model in 2013. Brown writes, “Newsweek Global, as the all-digital publication will be named, will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context. Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast.” Brown makes it clear why the transition is taking place. “It is important that we underscore what this digital transition means and, as importantly, what it does not. We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it. We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents. This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism — that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.”
Second Presidential Debate Aftermath, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Attack Investigation, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/17). Analysis of the performance of the candidates in the second presidential debate; the polls in the presidential race; the ongoing investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi; and the Major League Baseball playoffs are some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Sold Out Talkers New Media Seminar Takes Place in Los Angeles Today. Talk media practitioners from all over the country are gathering in Los Angeles today for the West Coast installment of TALKERS magazine’s two-part New Media Seminar 2012 (the first part took place in New York on June 7). The NMS Los Angeles agenda includes solo addresses, panel discussions and the presentation of the “Woman of the Year” award to KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci by last year’s recipient Stephanie Miller. More than 55 speakers will be participating including radio talent, PDs, GMs, producers, syndicators and consultants. Courtside Entertainment founder and CEO Norm Pattiz will keynote. KFI, Los Angeles morning drive host Bill Handel will also deliver a solo presentation. Some of the panel discussions to take place include: “The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison; “The Challenges of Hosting a Talk Show in 2012” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian; “Making Money in Talk Radio: Challenges and Opportunities” moderated by PodJockey host Brent Seltzer; “The State of Talk Programming” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey; “The Modern Day Pioneers” moderated by KPCC, Pasadena personality Patt Morrison; “The Art of the Show” moderated by Bill Moran & Associates president Bill Moran; and much more. There will be more than 50 speakers and approximately 250 attendees at this event. The TALKERS New Media Seminar LA takes placed today from 9:00 am and 5:00 pm in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. Check out the full agenda here. Look for coverage of the event in both RadioInfo and TALKERS in the days ahead.
CBS Radio’s Atlanta FM Sports Talk Announces Lineup and Start Date. WZGC, Atlanta “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” will debut on October 24 and feature the following personalities in addition to Carl Dukes, whom we already reported is moving to Atlanta from Houston where he worked at Gow Communications’ KFNC. Morning drive will be hosted by well-known TV NFL analyst and 49ers great Randy Cross, NBA-TV personality Rick Kamla, and former crosstown WBTS “95.5 The Beat” host C.J. Simpson. The 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot will feature former CNN Headline Sports, Fox Sports Radio and Atlanta Braves and Hawks analyst Jerome Jurenovich paired with former Atlanta Falcon and NFL Network personality Jaime Dukes. Joining Carl Dukes on the afternoon drive show will be Rachel Baribeau, most recently with Cox Media’s WZNN, Birmingham “97.3 The Zone” and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart. The evening show is yet to be announced but TALKERS hears other personalities to be part of the station in either analysis or fill-roles include NBA analyst Bob Neal, former NBA star Dennis Scott, former Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, two-sport player with the Braves and Falcons Brian Jordan, and former Atlanta Falcon Ovie Mughelli.
Doug Stephan Syndicated Morning Show Reaches Quarter Century Milestone. This month, Doug Stephan‘s “Good Day,” arguably the second longest running syndicated talk radio show in the country, begins its 25th year on the air. Stephan and his crew will be celebrating this major milestone with an ongoing schedule of fun, games and trivia. Every day for the next year, the show will feature clips offering a retrospective of the top news stories, songs, movies and TV shows from the past 25 years. The celebration culminates in October of 2013 with contests that will be coordinated with “Good Day” affiliates enabling listeners from around the country to win trips and other assorted prizes. The show will also be highlighting other companies and organizations celebrating their 25th anniversary along with “Good Day.” ”‘Good Day’ is as relevant today as it was 25 years ago,” Stephan tells TALKERS, adding “The show’s success and longevity is a testament to our ability to keep it fresh and fun while keeping our audience informed.”
WLS-AM, Chicago’s Don Wade Preparing to Undergo Chemo and Radiation. From the Windy City, Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that WLS-AM, Chicago morning drive host Don Wade – after a successful operation to remove a growth from his brain will undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment soon. His agent, Eliot Ephriam, says the course is not indicative of any bad news but simply the next step in the procedure for the 71-year-old talk personality. In a statement, Wade says, “I’m going to do everything the doctors tell me to do to beat this thing. Nothing has altered my most positive and optimistic attitude. When they say jump, I say: ‘How high?’” Meanwhile, Wade’s wife and radio partner Roma, thanks the many who’ve sent well-wishes. “The outpouring of caring from thousands of you, our radio family, has filled our hearts and our home, our coffee table piled high and overflowing with love. Your letters, cards, emails, messages, flowers and, most important, prayers lift our spirits every single day. Thank you.”
Clear Channel Sacramento Knocked Off Air by Software Glitch. The cluster-wide loss of transmitting signal that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Sacramento stations experienced yesterday were caused by a software malfunction, according to coverage in the Sacramento Bee. President and market manager Dave Milner tells the paper the cluster recently moved into new studios that have a state-of-the-art software system that went down on Wednesday morning around 7:00 and lasted until engineers could repair the problem around 9:00 am. Milner says the office received a lot of calls from people wondering what happened to their radio stations. “It’s never fun to go through something like this but it makes you aware of how much people rely on you.” The company operates news/talk outlets KFBK and KSTE, classic hits KHLX, urban contemporary KHYL, and adults hits KQKJ.
Odds & Sods. Journal Broadcast Group announces its “2012 Red, White and Blue Election Initiative” – a campaign that commits each of its television news operations and radio news/talk formatted stations to significant election coverage in the 30 days leading up to the November 6, 2012 general election. News/talk stations taking part include: WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee; KTTS-AM and KSGF-AM/FM, Springfield, Missouri; KQTH-FM, Tucson; KFAQ-AM, Tulsa; KFDI-AM and KLIO-FM, Wichita…..Mark Mueller exits Clear Channel’s WRDU, Raleigh where he’s served as the midday news/anchor and reporter since 2009.
Correction! Yesterday TALKERS published the news that the FCC has approved Buckley Broadcasting’s sale of WOR, New York to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. In the piece we wrote that WOR was New York’s oldest station, having gone on the air in February of 1922. WGY, Albany program director Josh Everett writes to correct the record, stating that WGY-AM went on the air on February 20, 1922 – two days prior to WOR-AM signing on February 22, 1922. Even though we were referencing WOR as New York City’s first station – we want to give credit where credit is due. But wait! Former Citadel Wilkes-Barre chief engineer Phil Galasso writes to tell us we’re both wrong and that WABC – which first went on the air as WJZ – was first out of the gate on October 7, 1921 from the Westinghouse plant near Lackawanna Station in Newark, New Jersey. He says WJZ changed its call letters to WABC on March 1, 1953.
Famous Dodgers Join “What’s Cookin’?” Broadcast. CRN Digital Talk Radio’s “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” program recently broadcast from The Ranch restaurant in Anaheim and had some very special guests on the show. Pictured here in the back row are: Former Dodger pitcher Charlie Hough, “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” host and master sommelier Michael Jordan, third base coach and former Dodger All-Star Tim Wallach. Seated at the table are Hall of Fame Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda and “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” co-host Mike Horn.
Obama Confesses ‘Bad Night’ at Debate, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Consulate Attack Investigation, and Sandusky Sentencing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/10). The Analysis of the first presidential debate and President Obama’s admission he had a ‘bad night’; the latest presidential race polls; the ongoing investigation into the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya; and the sentencing of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CBS Radio Flips WNEW-AM, Washington to Government and Business News. The AM side of the CBS Radio Washington, DC all-news duo (licensed to Morningside, Maryland) will become “Gov.Biz Radio 1580 AM” on October 1 – putting it in a head-to-head battle with Hubbard’s WFED, Washington. The station will feature content from The Wall Street Journal Radio Network, Bloomberg Radio and The Hill. Local programming will include host Nancy Lyons on a morning show called “The Daily Briefing” and a midday program dubbed, “The Capitol Report.”
Pilgrim Communications Adds AM Signal to Indy News/Talk WFDM-FM. The new and improved 950 AM signal of WXLW will help fill in the coverage of Pilgrim’s news/talk station in the Indianapolis market. WFDM-FM (“Freedom 95.9”) is licensed to Franklin, Indiana about 25 miles south of downtown Indy. Vice president and general manager Randy Tipmore says, “Hamilton and Hendricks Counties are not only the fastest-growing counties in Indiana, but also the two most Republican counties in the entire state. We wanted to better serve those listeners who love our conservative news/talk format which features five of the top six radio talk show hosts in national syndication. The new 950 AM signal covers two-thirds of Indiana and allows us to expand our audience reach by a factor of 10.” Tipmore says they chose to debut the new signal on the anniversary of 9/11 “the day that reminds us of the preciousness of America’s freedom. It is also the anniversary of Sean Hannity‘s launch into national syndication. On September 12, we’re honored to have Dave Ramsey coming to the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre for his EntreLeadership, 1-day business training event. It’s the perfect way to celebrate our new simulcast.”
Cumulus Media to Restore Matching 401k for Employees. The radio operator announces to its 7,000-plus employees that, beginning in October, it will reinstate the matching 401k contribution that it ceased in early 2009 after the real estate crash of 2008 triggered the Great Recession. Entercom and Journal have also reinstated matching 401k programs for employees since suspending them in order to conserve on cash flow.
Two More Panels Set for the TALKERS Los Angeles New Media Seminar. As the forthcoming Los Angeles installment of TALKERS magazine’s New Media Seminar nears an early sellout, two more dynamic panel discussions have been added to the growing power-packed agenda. “The Modern Pioneers” will feature (in alphabetical order): Sam Hasson, president and founder of LATalkRadio.com; Mike Horn, CEO and founder of CRN Digital Talk; Tom Leykis, president and founder of The New Normal; and LA-based national broadcasting legend Shadoe Stevens of “MentalRadio” on SiriusXM and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.” A talk personality panel titled “The Challenges of Hosting in 2012” will feature (in alphabetical order): Lars Larson of Compass Media Networks and KXL, Portland; Bill Handel of KFI, Los Angeles; Heidi Harris of KRLA, Los Angeles; Doug Stephan of the “Good Day” morning show; and Alan Stock of KDWN, Las Vegas; with more to be announced. The panel will be moderated by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian. Highlights of the event will include the presentation of the TALKERS magazine’s annual “Woman of the Year” award to KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci by last year’s recipient, Stephanie Miller of WYD Media and Current TV. Courtside Entertainment CEO and Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz will deliver the morning keynote address. Noted talk radio consultant Holland Cooke will deliver a special presentation “Database your Tribe NOW!” Other highlights include “The State of Local News/Talk Radio,” with (in alphabetical order); Robin Bertolucci, PD of KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles; Skip Essick, PD of KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Andy Ludlum, PD of KNX, Los Angeles; Garret Lewis, PD/morning host of KNST, Tucson; Dave Sniff, PD of KFMB, San Diego; and Chuck Tyler, PD of KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles. It will be moderated by Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS. The panel “Spoken Word Radio; The Big Picture” features (in alphabetical order): Phil Boyce, VP/director ,spoken word format, Salem Communications; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media; Kraig Kitchin, CEO Sound Mind, LLC; and Mike McVay, senior VP/programming, Cumulus Media. The moderator will be Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS. Additional speakers include (in alphabetical order: Kevin LaRue, program director KSL, Salt Lake City; Don Martin, OM/GM, KLAC, Los Angeles and VP programming, Fox Sports Radio; Patt Morrison, host/commentator KPCC, Los Angeles/Southern California Public Radio; Ken Rutkowski, host of “Business Rock Stars,” KFWB, Los Angeles; and Eric Stanger, vice president of operations, the Sean Hannity Show, Premiere Networks. As those of you who have been following the development of this amazing conference know, the above is just the tip of the iceberg with a whole lot more scheduled. The complete up-to-the-minute agenda will be posted tomorrow at Talkers.com. In total, the seminar will feature more than 60 leading industry speakers who will examine the key issues facing the talk radio/media industries. It will take place in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 11 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club. To assure registration, attendees are advised to sign up now. Registration is a recession-era low $99 which includes everything. Because it is open only to working media there will be no online registration – only by telephone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.
Clear Channel Flips KVNS, Brownsville, Texas to Sports Talk. The station – at 1700 AM – switches from classic hits to sports talk on September 17 airing Fox Sports Radio Network’s lineup of “Fox Sports Daybreak,” Dan Patrick, Jim Rome, “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, and “Fox Sports Tonight” plus will serve the market as a Dallas Cowboys play-by-play affiliate. Clear Channel market manager John Richards says, “There are too many sports fans in the valley to not yet have a sports/talk station in the market. Like advertisers, we know sports fans are passionate about their favorite sports, teams and hosts, so we are very passionate about partnering with Fox Sports Radio for this launch.”
Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel Star Sean Hannity Hits Silver Screen in “Atlas Shrugged: Part II.” When the second part of the Ayn Rand saga hits theaters in October, moviegoers will get a glimpse of Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity as he plays a cable news TV anchor in one scene. A still from the flick is seen here as Hannity (far right) sits on the fictitious cable news network set with actual Fox News Channel correspondents (from l-r) Bob Beckel, Juan Williams, and Tamara Holder. In addition to Hannity’s cameo appearance in the movie, his radio show will be offering exclusive content, movie gear and tickets leading up to the movie’s premiere in Washington, D.C. in October.
Michael Harrison to Speak at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will deliver an address provocatively titled, “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?” at the forthcoming NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas. According to Harrison, “The main challenge concerning FM and AM broadcasting at this perilous time is making the transition to the digital age without prematurely sacrificing the value of the stick which is still the economic foundation of this industry and main source of livelihood for its practitioners.” Harrison describes the danger facing terrestrial radio as a “five-headed dragon” of 1) smothering debt, 2) exotic media rivals, 3) blurry ratings methodology, 4) an unprecedented generational divide, and 5) 60 and 30 second commercial spots (which when put together in clusters become “PPM pits of purgatory”). Harrison says “radio must be smart and use its traditional on-air assets in balanced harmony with its unlimited online potential.” He states, “The cultural heritage of what we grew up thinking as ‘radio’ is deeply rooted in the traditions of over -the-air transmission and it is vitally important that in its rush to put everything it has into one internet basket, radio avoids losing its core identity, its soul, that separates it from being just another online music or informational utility.” Harrison advises that just as talk radio has claimed “ownership” of politics in America and sports radio has claimed “ownership” of the country’s sports juggernaut, “music radio must reclaim its lost ownership of the music culture.” He says the first step in accomplishing this is to bring back the colorful DJ as the backbone of the radio station’s presentation and the street savvy music director as its ear to what’s really going on out there. Radio must not only ‘relate’ to this element, it must aggressively lead it as well.” Harrison will be speaking at a special info-session sponsored by TALKERS magazine on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:15 am and 11:15 am. All Radio Show registrants are encouraged to attend.
WFNC, Fayetteville, North Carolina Debuts “Goldy and Jim” AM Show. North Carolina talk host Curtis Wright had been heard on the Cumulus Media station though he broadcast from the coastal market of Wilmington, North Carolina (his show was also heard there on Cumulus’ news/talk WAAV). Cumulus recently dropped Wright’s show for the more general interest “Good Morning Fayetteville with Goldy and Jim” (that’s Jim Gold and Jim Cooke). According to the Fayetteville Observer’s Andrew Barksdale and Paul Woolverton, Wright’s program was very political and, since it emanated from Wilmington, contained a lot of Wilmington political talk. WAAV, Wilmington has filled the slot Wright occupied with Tyler Cralle. As for Wright, he’s embarked on an online-only internet TV venture called “Curtis Wright on the Beat Virtual.”
NRG Media’s Omaha Sports Brand “The Zone” to Air UNO Contests. In a deal brokered by Nelligan Sports Marketing – the exclusive agent for University of Nebraska Omaha sports – NRG Media’s sports talk duo KOZN and KZOT, Omaha – “The Zone” and “The Zone 2” respectively – will air UNO basketball and hockey play-by-play for the next five seasons. Between the two sports, the stations will air more than 60 games during the 2012-2013 season. Zone general manager Andy Ruback states, “This is a tremendous partnership for our stations. Listeners are deeply rooted in the UNO sports tradition and both teams have a following on a regional level. The dual coverage on both Zone and Zone 2 will mean listeners can always stay in touch with the two premiere sports programs.”
WTOP, Washington Promotes David Dildine to Full-Time Traffic Team. David Dildine joined WTOP in 2010 during the launch of its in-house traffic center, taking on the weekend afternoon shifts. Now he becomes a member of the full-time staff where he’ll also work on traffic and weather related features. Interestingly, Dildine has another passion – storm chasing. Dildine is a seasoned storm chaser and weather research analyst having worked in Oklahoma and Texas where he chased severe storms and tornados for a living. WTOP states, “Dildine serves as a valuable resource for WTOP’s traffic, weather and news departments – recently analyzing Hurricane Isaac, flying with Hurricane Hunters into Hurricane Irene and producing popular traffic/news stories such as “DC’s Worst Traffic Merges.”
TuneIn to Be Included in 2013 Chevy Spark MyLink Dash. Digital audio content aggregator TuneIn strikes a deal with GM to use Livio Connect technology so its app can be integrated into the MyLink Radio dashboard of 2013 Chevrolet Spark models made globally. According to a release, Livio Connect is a middleware framework protocol that enables hardware devices and mobile apps, now including TuneIn, to connect to and interact with one another. GM uses Livio Connect technology, which allows owners of Chevy Sparks equipped with the MyLink Radio to enjoy 70,000 stations. Livio Connect technology bridges the app, featured on iPhone and Android mobile devices, with MyLink. While connected through Livio Connect, all of the TuneIn buttons and controls from the mobile device will be available on MyLink’s seven-inch touch screen, while the app on the phone itself will be disabled to help promote safer driving.
Schnitt Wows ‘Em in Memphis. Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is pictured here in the studio at affiliate WREC, Memphis hosting his program on 9/11. The previous evening, Schnitt hosted a sold-out “Right Night with Schnitt” where more than 200 WREC listeners paid to attend the event held at the popular Memphis eatery Owen Brennans.
9/11 Anniversary, Chicago Teachers Strike, Obama Convention Bounce, and ‘Fast and Furious’ Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/11). The anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; the political implications of the Chicago teachers strike; President Obama’s “convention bounce” in the campaign polls; and the inspector general’s report on the Justice Department’s ‘Fast and Furious’ gun-running sting were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Tom Owens Out at Clear Channel. With the constant comings and goings of radio people these days – even executives – it’s tough to call anything a “shocker,” but Tom Owens has been part of the Clear Channel organization since its merger with the old Jacor back in 1998. Owens began with Jacor as programmer at rocker WEBN, Cincinnati and moved up to the top of the corporate programming ladder there before the merger. He was the head of Clear Channel programming until last fall when Tom Poleman was named president of national programming platforms and Owens was given the EVP of programming research and strategy title. During his time there, Owens was no stranger to the pink slip process – of course, participating in it from the position of handing them out. Now, as CC consolidates its programming research and ratings research groups into the national programming platforms division under Poleman, Owens leaves the company. The official word from Clear Channel is that Owens will still contribute to its strategic programming on a “consultant basis.” Sometimes in modern-day corporate jargon, that’s a nice way of saying, sayonara.
Emmis Picks Up Two Stations in Terre Haute. The purchase of sports talk combo WSDM-FM at 92.7 and WSDX-AM at 1130 (both licensed to Brazil, Indiana) from Crossroads Investments must be approved by the FCC but Emmis will be operating the duo under an LMA beginning September 1. Emmis Terre Haute general manager James Connor says in a statement, “We are excited to add the ESPN brand to the Emmis Terre Haute cluster of stations which includes WWVR-FM classic rock 105.5 The River and HI-99 WTHI-FM the Wabash Valley’s Country Station. We will continue to serve the listeners of Terre Haute, Brazil and the surrounding communities with quality programming and our continued commitment to community service.” In addition to ESPN programming, the combo airs local sports talk host Vaso Michels’ 5:00 am to 7:00 am program.
Talk Host Martha Zoller Loses Bid for Congress in Runoff Election. Gainesville, Georgia-based talk host Martha Zoller – who left her talk radio career to run for the new 9th Congressional District seat in Georgia – lost the Republican primary runoff to Georgia State Representative Doug Collins. In a message to supporters, Zoller stated, “I do not know what the future holds for me but I do know that there’s still work to be done. Don’t stop fighting for what you believe … don’t give up hope in the future of this great nation … and don’t for a second believe that your efforts over the last year were in vain.” Whether or not Zoller makes a talk host comeback is uncertain but she has hinted to the Georgia media that she is not done with her political aspirations.
Super Agent Eric Weiss Played Significant Role in Heidi & Frank/KLOS Marriage. One of the most prominent behind-the-scenes movers and shakers in the radio talent rep business, Eric Weiss of the LA-based Weiss Agency, first had the idea that Heidi and Frank would make a good fit in mornings at KLOS as far back as one year ago. According to Southern California radio historian Don Barrett of LARadio.com, Weiss had the idea that the duo would be perfect for mornings at the heritage LA album rocker when rumors began to surface that Mark & Brian might be heading into their final contract year before he even represented them stating, “I pursued the idea – spoke with both sides about it, and was able to help bring it to fruition.” There’s a huge lesson and insight in this for those who wonder how big time media talent agents operate. It is not just a matter of “get me a job.” Top agents smell potential connections and often put themselves in the mix as catalysts to a marriage before the main parties involved even think of it themselves. At RadioInfo and TALKERS, we are often asked by zealous-but-unproven talent yet to earn a track record if we can “recommend a good agent.” Our answer: “Any agent who would sign you as a client at this point in your career wouldn’t be a ‘good’ one.”
Karel Program to Air on CRN Digital Talk Radio. San Francisco-based talk host Charles Karel Bouley’s “The Karel Show” begins daily distribution via CRN Digital Talk Radio. The famously liberal and openly gay talk host began his talk career in 1998 on KFI, Los Angeles with his late partner Andrew Howard. Since then he’s also worked at KGO, San Francisco. CRN president and CEO Mike Horn states, “Karel raises questions, brings humor and creates compelling conversation with listeners and guests alike and we’re especially pleased to bring his outstanding show to CRN.” Karel has a national profile through his radio career, his books, blogs, syndicated columns (Huffington Post) and television appearances as both commentator and actor. He says, “CRN continues to blaze a trail in delivering content to listeners across America. I’m so glad they are taking the show. From the beginning, Mike Horn has been an advocate and I knew we’d get to this day.” The program airs live on CRN 2 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.
SiriusXM Board of Directors Sued by Shareholders; Suit Has No Merit Says TALKERS Legal Editor. The City of Miami Police Relief and Pension Fund, a SiriusXM shareholder, is contending that the SiriusXM board of directors has failed to prevent John Malone-led Liberty Media from assuming control over the satcaster. The suit, filed in Delaware Chancery Court, contends Malone and other Liberty-appointed members of the board are preventing other board members from “adopting anti-takeover provisions even if doing so would be in the best interests” of shareholders. Late yesterday, Delaware Chancery Court Judge Leo Strine ruled he would not stop Liberty from acquiring more shares as the plaintiffs had requested. He further stated he would hear expedited motions within the next month to decide if the investors’ case should go forward. But TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says what Liberty is doing is within its legal rights. In fact, Weisman says SiriusXM could be in breach of contract if it attempted to stop Liberty’s actions. Read Weisman’s exclusive analysis here.
Fox NFL Analyst Mike Pereira to Appear on KNBR, San Francisco This Season. NFL fans know former NFL VP of officiating Mike Pereira as the guy the Fox play-by-play team cuts away to when there’s a questionable call on the field that needs illumination. Now, Pereira will be part of the KNBR morning show with Gary Radnich and Larry Krueger for “The Rule Book” show Monday mornings at 9:30 during the NFL season. Program director Lee Hammer states, “We’re excited to have Mike join the KNBR family. In every NFL game, we see calls that leave fans in total disbelief. As the former head of officiating for the NFL, Mike will not only explain the rule, but try to explain why the official made the call. Mike no longer works for the league, so he’ll be critical when necessary and have the freedom to say when the officials clearly missed the call.” With the possibility of the league’s officials sitting out due to a contract dispute with the league and replacement officials working games, this could be a huge programming coup on Monday mornings for KNBR!
Mancow Chicago Video Simulcast a Done Deal. The “Mancow Experience” will be seen by Chicagoans on WPWR-TV – channel 50 in Chicago – from 6:00 am to 8:00 am beginning this fall . The Chicago Tribune reports what was teased earlier this summer is being confirmed by station management. The other aspect of this news for Erich “Mancow” Muller is that his show will have a new physical home base as production of the TRN nationally syndicated radio program will move to WPWR’s North Michigan Avenue studios. WPWR VP and general manager Mike Renda says, “This fall, Chicagoans will get a backstage pass into one of the most provocative radio programs in this market. Viewers will have unlimited access into Mancow’s madness, with a live, unedited simulcast that will bring this dynamic voice to life.” Mancow’s show is heard in the market on suburban WJJG.
New York’s WFAN Scores Eli Manning Appearances. New York Football Giants flagship WFAN, New York signs Giants QB Eli Manning to a multi-year deal to have Manning join PM drive host Mike Francesa at 5:05 the day after every Giants game during the season and the post-season. Vice president of programming for CBS Radio New York and WFAN operations manager Mark Chernoff says, “As the team’s flagship radio station, we’re proud to be the leading source of Giants news for football fans across the tri-state area. Having Eli every week is guaranteed to give listeners the best commentary, insight and discussion with a perspective only he can offer on the New York Giants. This will be appointment radio at its best.”
Salem Radio Network Gears Up for Convention Coverage. Dallas-based Salem Radio Network is prepping to cover the Republican National Convention in Tampa beginning on Monday. SRN vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup reports a full battery of SRN news staffers — including White House correspondent Greg Clugston and SRN U.S. Senate correspondent Linda Kenyon — will join SRN talk hosts Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and others at the network’s broadcast headquarters in the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Tradup tells TALKERS magazine, “We’ll either present superb Republican Convention coverage or the most over-staffed hurricane coverage in the history of 21st century radio…or both!” Tradup states the organization will also cover the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte the following week, and will include what it calls a “truth squad” led by former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett who hosts SRN’s “Morning in America” program.
NRG Media’s “The Zone” Omaha Sports Outlet Launches “Fully Interactive” Post-Game Show. Sports talk KOZN, Omaha announces the debut of the “Big Red Over-Reaction” post-game show that will immediately follow Nebraska Cornhuskers football games this season. The station is touting the program as “fully interactive” saying it “will immediately feature fan reaction via on-air and digital and social media, providing instant vent-and-release by Cornhusker fans nationwide via over-the-air call-in, Twitter tweets, Facebook posts, Huskermax.com and e-mails.” The show will feature The Zone’s legendary former Husker National Champion Blackshirt Jason Peter. Peter will be joined by “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” co-hosts John Bishop and Mike’l Severe and Jason’s morning show co-host Gary Sharp of “Sharp & Peter in the Morning.” NRG Media Omaha general manger Andy Ruback says, “We have the talent and the capability to deliver a program that the market has never seen before. Our personalities have a combined total of nearly 100 years of experience with Nebraska football and we believe that fans will appreciate our unique approach to post-game programming that they have never had before.”
Yahoo! Sports Radio Names Doug Russell and Mark Carman PM Drive Hosts. The slot opened up when Yahoo! host Travis Rodgers was moved to the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET slot on the network. Doug Russell moves up from the network’s evening program and Mark Carman has worked at Houston Texans flagship KILT, Houston as well as WGN, Chicago.
Organization Files Petitions with FCC to Deny Renewal of Fox-Owned TV Stations. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is asking the FCC to deny renewal of the broadcast licenses of three Fox TV stations – two in Washington, DC and one in Baltimore – because of News Corp.’s involvement in hacking scandals in England, according to The Hill. TV licenses, like radio broadcast licenses, come up for renewal every eight years and the three stations in question applied for renewal in June. Their licenses are set to expire in October. According to the story, CREW asked the commission to pull the licenses to all 27 Fox-owned TV stations back in May – citing the clause in FCC regulations that it only grants licenses to those of “good character” – but the FCC has taken no action. The commission rarely takes action in cases of ethics complaints and it is not expected to act on CREW’s complaint.
Presidential Campaign, Todd Akins Campaign Status, Prince Harry Naked Partying Incident, Merkel-Euro Zone Tensions, and Hurricane Threatens Tampa GOP Convention Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/22). The U.S. presidential campaign; Missouri Rep. Todd Akins campaign status in wake of “legitimate rape” comment; the fallout over Prince Harry’s naked partying in Las Vegas; German chancellor Angela Merkel’s difficult decision regarding Greece and the future of the euro zone; and the hurricane threat to next week’s GOP convention in Tampa were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Chick-fil-A Controversy Fires Up Conservative Talk Hosts; Sparks Movement to Support Fast Food Chain. The issues of gay marriage and First Amendment rights have been front and center on news/talk radio this week in the wake of Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy’s comments in a Baptist publication about his support for the Biblical definition of marriage that’s grown into a major news story. Some view his statement as bigoted and divisive while others see this as a free speech issue. The case has spurred planned demonstrations by same-sex couples and their supporters as well as conservative media personalities who have encouraged their listeners and viewers to support the fast food chain. Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher is pictured here (at left) in his studio preparing to enjoy his Chick-fil-A lunch and has been encouraging listeners to post pictures of themselves eating at the restaurant on Facebook. Salem Communications O&O WNYM, New York – AM 970 The Answer – organized a call for support at the Paramus, New Jersey Mall where the station reports some 200 listeners had lined up by lunchtime to support the store. At right is talk show host Kevin McCullough (l) – whose weekend talk show is heard on WNYM – with Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce (r) as they prepare to enjoy a sandwich. In the panoramic photo below. The Answer morning drive host Curtis Sliwa can be seen at the far right speaking with a listener while the line of customers spreads across the photo to the left.
Bill Handel’s “Cash Mob” Supports SoCal Toy Store. A “cash mob” organized by KFI, Los Angeles morning drive host Bill Handel put some $9,000 in the register of struggling Corona del Mar toy store Toy Boat, Toy Boat, Toy Boat. Handel appeared at the store from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm but Handel’s listeners patronized the store all day long after hearing Handel speak on the air about the state of the struggling local business. Handel show executive producer Michelle Kube reports many of the people who bought toys donated them to Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Kube states, “This was just the first. We plan to do more of these across all day parts on KFI over the next few months all over the Southland as our amazing listeners have responded with so many requests to help local small business owners!”
Clear Channel Reports Radio Revenue Up 3%. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – of course, now a private company but one that still publicly reports financials – gives its 2012 Q2 financial report and states revenue was up from $771.8 million in the second quarter of 2011 to $793 million in the second quarter of this year. CFO Tom Casey reports much of that increase was due to national and in categories including automotive, telecommunications, financial services, political and entertainment. Casey noted that national business rose at roughly double the rate of local business.
Comedian and Stephanie Miller Show Cast Member John Fugelsang Gets Current TV Show. Regular Stephanie Miller radio show cast member – and one third of Miller’s “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” – John Fugelsang will have his own Current TV program beginning in the fall. Talk radio host Stephanie Miller’s show is simulcast on the Al Gore-founded cable TV network in which Fugelsang gets some face time, but now he’ll have a solo gig there. In a statement, Al Gore says, “We at Current are eager to bring John’s unique perspective on politics and the world around him to primetime. He’s been a part of the Current family for a while now and we see just how much his voice resonates with our audience. His new show will nicely complement our growing lineup.” Fugelsang has guest-hosted prime time shows on the network including Eliot Spitzer’s and Jennifer Granholm’s programs. The network has not announced what time the show will air.
WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina Flips to Talk. The Kirkman Broadcasting station drops oldies for news/talk and airs largely syndicated programming with the exception of local PM drive host Rocky D. Programming consists of: Cumulus Media Networks’ Imus in the Morning; Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher; Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and Jim Bohannon; and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson.
California Couple Sentenced in Real Estate Ponzi Scheme; Infomercials Aired on KVTA, Port Hueneme. It’s almost a mystery how stations keep selling infomercials to “investment gurus” who go on to swindle people out of their life savings…but they do. The latest case in this oft-repeating story is that of Kenneth Powell and Kathryn Rose who pleaded guilty to numerous counts of felony fraud related to a real estate investment Ponzi scheme that scammed some $3 million out of 15 people in Southern California. The two broadcast shows called “Academy of Real Estate,” “Money Intelligence” and “The Ken & Katie Show” on KVTA. Investors were asked to put money into real estate development or loans secured by real estate but all investment cash went to pay off previous investors until the scheme went bust. 59-year-old Powell received 18 years in prison and 63-year-old Rose will serve 12 years, 8 months.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Journal Broadcasting’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee gave away a fully restored 1969 Chevy Camaro (pictured here) to winner Aaron Guenterberg in its annual “Free Ride” promotion that saw more than 10,000 people enter the contest…..A Saturday morning talk show hosted by Tony Stiles debuts on news/talk KOIL, Omaha this Saturday…..Jacksonville-based sports talk show “Courts and Sports,” hosted by attorney John Phillips, moves from WOKV to crosstown WFXJ, Jacksonville on August 9. Phillips’ regular co-host for the program is Jacksonville Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings…..SiriusXM presents “College Sports Nation Camp Tour” on its College Sports Nation channel beginning today. Hosts Eddie George, Gino Torretta, Rick Neuheisel, Houston Nutt, Randy Cross, Gil Brandt, Jack Arute and Mark Packer will visit 13 camps in 16 days and report to listeners.
20 Gallons of Hat. WLAC, Nashville-based talk host Steve Gill (r) is pictured here with music legend Charlie Daniels (l). Daniels appeared on Gill’s syndicated talk program on Tuesday, July 31 and the two talked politics and the state of the country.
Presidential Race, Chick-fil-A Case, Ted Cruz Texas Primary Victory, Fed Economic Report/Financial Markets Activities, and London Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/1). The campaign for president, the outpouring of support for Chick-fil-A and the issue of same-sex marriage; Tea Party candidate Ted Cruz’s Republican primary victory for U.S. Senate in Texas; the Fed’s economic report and financial markets activities; and the London Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Aurora Tragedy Sparks and Challenges Talk Radio. There are few events that news/talk radio programmers in the age of cutbacks fear more than a major story that captures the entire nation’s consciousness breaking on a weekend when their stations’ key stars are off and brokered or syndicated “how-to” shows are on. The Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre came very close to being such a story, except that it technically broke on a Friday morning, giving weekday hosts the opportunity to at least address it in the early stages of information being available and programmers a full day to organize a weekend strategy. This type of blood-chilling, high-drama story takes days to develop as information slowly disseminates amidst knee-jerk speculation, leaving a number of news/talk outlets incapable of fully diving into it on a Saturday and Sunday when personnel is at a minimum and “regular” programming takes a break from core stationality. Regardless, the industry has had all too many unfortunate chances to learn from this problem in recent years and according to TALKERS monitors across the country and conversations with programmers, there was a far better state of readiness to appropriately handle the Aurora tragedy than for similar instances in the past. Initial reports indicate that the main topics and debates being fueled by this mega-story are gun control, violence in entertainment, and the relationship between mental illness and crime. There has also been strong interest in talking about appropriate parenting prompted by the fact that a child and an infant were in attendance at the midnight movie. As an example of news/talk radio taking control of this situation, Salem Radio Networks VP of programming, Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “On SRN News, we gave the shooting priority coverage — including three hours of Special Reports — and we are featuring perspective from Murphy Wells, a KNUS, Denver reporter who is part of the local morning show at KNUS with studios in Aurora. Also Larry O’Connor, editor-in-chief of Breitbart.TV guest-hosted a special edition of the Hugh Hewitt show on Friday from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET focusing exclusively on the deaths and injuries in the shootings.” At WGN, Chicago, program director Bill White tells TALKERS, “On Friday Jonathon Brandmeierlead with the story throughout his morning show after it broke during our live overnight show. Jonathon spoke with witnesses who were in the multiplex when the shooting occurred and authorities from Aurora, and he actually confirmed the death count to 12 before most media outlets. He also took calls from Chicago and throughout the Midwest as listeners coped with the tragic news.” In Boston at Greater Media‘s WTKK, program director Grace Blazer says the station was live and local from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm both Friday and Saturday. ”We ran the important new conferences from Denver with President Obama and Mitt Romney. We spoke with reporters live from Denver plus local experts such as Jack Levin, Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Northeastern University and author of several mass murder books, and Ty Burr, film critic from the Boston Globe, who discussed violence in the Batman movies. On Saturday, Paul Ferrazzani, a registered instructor from the Firearm Safety Academy in Medford, Massachusetts gave listeners the inside scoop on our gun statutes.”
Fox Sports Radio and Mile High Sports Remember Colorado Shooting Victim. By now, most of us who work in the media are aware that one of the victims of Thursday’s movie-theater shootings was a young woman named Jessica Ghawi who had just missed being a potential victim of a similar shooting in Toronto in June. The San Antonio native had interned at Lincoln Financial Media’s KKFN, Denver earlier this year and was due to speak with Mile High Sports Magazine editor-in-chief Doug Ottewill about her sports media career the next day. On Friday, Mile High Sports and Fox Sports Radio talk host Peter Burns spoke with Fox Sports Radio’s “Loose Cannons” about Jessica. Burns told the program’s listeners, “Her mom told me early this morning, ‘I want you to talk as much as you can. Celebrate everything that Jessica did, and celebrate everything that these victims did.’ And I’m glad that you guys are giving me the time to celebrate that and talk about how amazing of a person she is, rather than giving a minute or 30 seconds to this coward that did this.” Burns recounted how Ghawi wanted to set up a charity to help the victims of the Colorado wildfires and was working toward that goal when her life ended tragically on Thursday night.
Cox Media Group Realigns Corporate Management to Fit New TV Signals and Announces Radio and TV Properties to Be Sold. Twenty-seven radio signals in six markets are going on the block as Cox Media Group announces a realignment of its business strategy that will include the sale of several TV operations and some corporate officer changes to dovetail with the recent acquisition of several TV stations. The only spoken-word format up for sale is the new sports talk FM WZNN, Birmingham that had been part of the Paul Finebuam-Cumulus contract dispute that’s since been settled. The rest of the signals are music FMs and AMs or ethnic outlets in Birmingham, Alabama; Greenville, South Carolina; Hawaii; Louisville, Kentucky; Richmond, Virginia; and Southern Connecticut. There are five TV signals in four cities going on the market. As to the corporate structure changes, former group VP Kim Guthrie is named Cox’s new senior vice president responsible for radio markets, and former Austin American-Statesman publisher Jane Williams is the company’s new senior vice president responsible for TV markets, both reporting to Bill Hoffman, EVP over broadcast. Other additional leadership changes effective immediately include: former group VP Rich Reis who becomes VP and GM of digital operations reporting to EVP Neil Johnston; former group VP Ben Reed is now VP and market manager of Atlanta radio reporting to Kim Guthrie; former group VP Jay O’Connor, as previously announced, is the new VP and GM at KIRO-TV, Seattle. EVP Mike Joseph continues to oversee CMG’s newspaper operations and CMG Ohio. Cox Media Group president Doug Franklin states, “This simplified structure will enable CMG to capitalize on continued growth and synergies, while retaining its size financially. All of our media outlets, regardless of size, are valuable, profitable brands with strong futures thanks to the hard work and dedication of our talented professionals who serve their audiences, advertisers and communities. We thank the leaders and employees in the locations we’re selling for their outstanding contributions to this company over the years and the valuable service they will continue to provide their respective communities.”
Cuts Hit St. Paul-Based American Public Media. MinnPost.com’s David Brauer reports 10 employees of the St. Paul, Minnesota public radio company American Public Media are being let go as the organization deals with the changes in the contemporary media business. Brauer reports engineer Rick “Scooter” Hebzynski, public relations staffer Christina Schmitt and digital archivist Jenel Farrell are three of the casualties and that Current.org is saying “Marketplace” D.C. chief John Dimsdale also is being let go. Minnesota Public Radio CEO John McTaggart writes to staffers in a memo: “There’s no question today’s constantly changing media landscape presents challenges, but we at APM also see opportunities. The changes we are making today are really about APM’s future and help to position us for future audience service and growth. We are reorganizing around two key areas: content and development. We are aligning our priorities to focus on two main divisions that create value for our audiences and cultivate vital relationships with our members, donors and funders. The result is a more streamlined organization design that gives us a strong footing as we look ahead.” To that end McTaggart announces MPR COO Dave Kansas leads the content division SVP and chief development officer Randi Yoder heads up the development division.
Longtime KFI, Los Angeles Traffic Reporter Recovering After Crash. Los Angeles traffic reporter Mike Nolan suffered fractured ribs and a broken collar bone in the Friday evening crash of a Cessna single engine plane he was piloting near the Corona Municipal Airport. KFI’s Neil Saavedra tells the Los Angeles Times Nolan was flying with a student and family friend – who was not seriously injured – when the crash occurred in Riverside County. Saavedra tells the paper Nolan – a KFI employee since the mid-1980s – had more than 40 years of experience as a pilot. He was headed home to land in time to take off again for his two last traffic newscasts when the accident took place. The plane lost power and hit electricity lines.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. WTKK, Boston talk host Doug Meehan is broadcasting live from Camp Harbor View this Thursday morning to help raise awareness and funds for the special camp that offers hundreds of children who live in Boston’s at-risk neighborhoods the opportunity to have fun and learn at summer camp. Thursday’s broadcast will feature coverage of the camp’s 5k road race event…..WFAS, Westchester, New York talk host Lisa Wexler, whose program airs live on the station from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm daily, will have her show re-broadcast from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm daily beginning tonight. WFAS GM Marty Sheehan says, “We are very proud of all that Lisa has accomplished in the short time she has been with us. We want to meet the demand to hear more of Lisa and introduce more of our audience to her show.”…..Sports USA is making the Little League World Series U.S. Championship and International Championship games available to radio stations across the country. The games are being played the weekend of August 25 and 26. Ad sales are being handled by Skyview Networks.
Sirius About Fantasy Football. Sports talk hosts and celebrities invaded the Hard Rock Café in New York City’s Times Square over the weekend for SiriusXM’s Celebrity Fantasy Football Draft broadcast. In addition to SiriusXM talk hosts Steve Phillips, Jay Thomas, Scott Ferrall, Steve Covino and Rich Davis, celebrities including actor George Wendt, guitarist Zakk Wylde and Jaguars running back Maurice Drew-Jones took part in the promotion. Pictured here are DirecTV/Premiere Networks talk hosts Nick Di Paolo and Artie Lange who also took part.
Programmer Jack Silver Exits Cumulus Los Angeles Post. The KLOS and KABC program director tells Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor that he’s leaving the position with “solid numbers” at the classic rock FMer KLOS. And it sounds as though he’s ready for his next opportunity as he says, “I’ve got many miles left on my odometer.” KLOS is facing a big change in the fall as one half of the quarter-century old AM drive team of Mark and Brian – Mark Thompson – will retire in August leaving a challenge for the station’s next programming team. As for news/talk KABC, Arbitron’s May PPM has the station in 22nd place (persons 6+) with a 0.9 share and a cume of 349,500. Bringing KABC back to ratings (and presumably) revenue relevance is considered one of the most formidable challenges in talk radio since the station faces competition in the form of Clear Channel’s perennial crosstown juggernaut KFI, whose May PPM numbers put the station in third place with a 4.5 share (persons 6+) and a cume of 1,105,300. There’s been no announcement by Cumulus Media about Silver’s replacement although industry observers speculate that the program director position will continue to be one person overseeing both outlets just as Silver had been doing and as the company recently instituted at its NYC combo, CHR FMer WPLJ and AM news/talker WABC.
Howard Stern to Be Inducted into Radio Hall of Fame. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports the Radio Hall of Fame steering committee voted to induct the legendary but controversial broadcaster into the Chicago institution at its November 10 ceremonies in the Windy City. As Feder writes, “The most conspicuous and embarrassing omission to the Radio Hall of Fame finally will be corrected this fall when Howard Stern takes his place in the Chicago-based shrine to radio’s all-time greats.” Chairman Bruce DuMont tells Feder, “There wasn’t any great controversy involving Howard’s induction because I think everyone has believed for a long time that he deserved to be inducted.” Feder says, don’t bet on Stern showing up to accept his award as he’s been outspoken in condemning the Hall as a “sham” and griped about being passed over four times in the past. Other 2012 inductees include: Gary Burbank, Ron Chapman, Art Laboe, Luther Massingill, Jack Cooper (posthumously), and NPR’s “Fresh Air,” hosted by Terry Gross.
WFAN, New York Hosts, Execs to Ring Closing Bell on the NYSE Today. As CBS Radio’s sports talk WFAN, New York prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary (and the founding of the sports talk radio format) on Sunday, July 1, representatives of the station are being honored by being asked to ring the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange this afternoon at 4:00 pm ET. Morning drive hosts Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton, and evening host and 25-year WFAN veteran Steve Somers will ring the closing bell. They’ll be joined at the podium by CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason, CBS Radio COO Anton Guitano, CBS Radio SVP of programming Chris Oliviero, and CBS Radio New York SVP and market manager Don Bouloukos.
Pollster Scott Rasmussen to Debut TV Show in September. Rasmussen Reports founder Scott Rasmussen – whose daily features are syndicated to radio stations across America via the WOR Radio Network – will begin production of a weekly TV show titled “What America Thinks with Scott Rasmussen” in September. So far, stations committed to airing the program include: WCBS-TV, New York; KCBS-TV, Los Angeles; KYW-TV, Philadelphia; WADL, Detroit and others.
Financial Talk Host Chris Markowski to Host Daily Program on Salem’s WGUL/WLSS, Tampa. Talk host and financial expert Chris Markowski – whose weekend talk show “The Watchdog on Wall Street” is syndicated on weekends by Talk Radio Network to more than 100 markets – returns to a daily talk program on Salem Communications’ Tampa-area simulcast of WGUL and WLSS. The show will air daily from 5:00 am to 6:00 am beginning Monday, July 2.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. The 8th annual “Don’t Give Up ESPYS V Foundation Auction” is being held Sunday, July 1 to Wednesday, July 11. The 11-day online and on-air public auction will feature hundreds of items and experiences for bid to raise money and awareness for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. Last year’s ESPN Radio “Don’t Give Up ESPYS V Foundation Auction” raised $810,000 in net proceeds for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. The event has raised more than $4.9 million in its seven years…..Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston announces Jim Braude and Margery Eagan will host the only radio debate between Republican U.S. Senator Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren. The date and time for the debate are being worked out…..SiriusXM is offering comprehensive coverage of MLB’s All-Star Week featuring Cal Ripken Jr. and Bill Ripken’s “Ripken Baseball” live from the MLB All-Star FanFest live on July 9.
Best of the Best. Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 (WKXW, Trenton) was honored with the “Best of the Best” award by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association for its “Ask the Governor” program that features New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The Governor was presented the award by the NJBA president and CEO Paul Rotella after the production of the June 28 edition of the program. Pictured here are (from l-r): Governor Christie, NJ 101.5 executive director news Eric Scott, Paul Rotella, and NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson.
Supreme Court Upholds ObamaCare Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 25-29. The Supreme Court’s ruling upholding President Obama’s Affordable Care Act – and the anticipation leading up to Thursday’s ruling – was the most-talked-about story of the week landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart. Coming in at #2 was the 2012 presidential race. At #3 was the Arizona illegal immigration law ruling and following at #4 was the Eric Holder contempt vote. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the week’s top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published each Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup. Premiere Networks’ “At Home with Gary Sullivan” weekend home improvement show hits the 200-station mark with recent affiliate additions that include WWIQ-FM, Philadelphia; WTAM, Cleveland; and KPHX, Phoenix…..The Kevin McCullough show adds new affiliates WMCA, New York; KCBQ, San Diego; and KKVV, Las Vegas. XtreMedia reports the addition of these affiliates pushes the Kevin McCullough show to the 245-affiliate mark…..Dial Global’s “Jill on Money” adds WCCO, Minneapolis to its affiliate roster. It also reports the CBS Radio-produced “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson is now heard on WAVH, Mobile, Alabama…..KFMB, San Diego adds CBS News Radio to its programming…..The Steve Deace show is added to the programming schedule at WNTP, Philadelphia.
EXCLUSIVE: Sean Hannity’s New Media Seminar Keynote Address on TALKERS TV. The rousing speech delivered by Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel talk media superstar Sean Hannity at the start of the New Media Seminar in New York on Thursday, June 7 is now playing on TALKERS TV. Introduced by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, who described the upbeat talk show host as a “fine man who could be a governor or a president,” Hannity discusses a wide range of issues facing talk radio today from selling PPM numbers to the challenges of accurately rating a multi-platform medium to overcoming organized advertiser boycotts. See and hear this event in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page. Look for more video from the New Media Seminar to be playing on TALKERS TV at www.talkers.com in the coming days and weeks.
CBS Radio Sell-Off Talk Getting Heated Again. This time a piece by Richard Morgan in The Deal Magazine cites CBS president and CEO Les Moonves’ desire to make CBS a true player in Hollywood – with big studio muscles – as the reason the corporation may be considering selling its outdoor, print and radio assets. Morgan writes, “Investment bankers are confident that, after orchestrating a take-private, CBS brass could still muster resources to pursue what has long been the apple of Moonves’ eye (aside from Julie Chen, that is): acquire a movie studio, one along the lines of mini-major Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., the addition of which would transform half-decade-old CBS Films into a bona fide major.” Advertising-reliant media such as outdoor and radio, although they deliver cash flow, are not favorites because of their reliance on advertising. Morgan quotes a banker discussing CBS Radio, “Moonves doesn’t really like it that much but it delivers huge cash flows.” The banker states he believes the company’s 127 radio stations will eventually be sold. The theory is the outdoor, print (Simon & Schuster) and radio could fund a take-private move and give CBS the funds it needs to become a Hollywood pure player.
Robin Bertolucci Named 2012 Woman of the Year. The TALKERS magazine editorial board has announced the selection of KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci as the 2012 recipient of the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Talk Radio Industry by a Woman. The presentation will be made at the forthcoming Los Angeles installment of the TALKERS New Media Seminar at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood on Thursday, October 11, 2012. The event, presented by TALKERS magazine in conjunction with the Los Angeles Press Club, is the second half of this year’s innovative bi-coastal format for the talk industry’s most important and longest running national convention. The prestigious award is named in honor of the late Judy Jarvis – a pioneer in the independent talk syndication movement of the 1990s – who was stricken with lung cancer and died in the prime of her life and career in 2000. Since then, this award has been presented each year at the NMS to a series of outstanding industry women including Laurie Cantillo, Grace Blazer, Adriane Gaines, Randi Rhodes, Laura Ingraham, Lisa Evers, Gloria Allred, Lynn Distler, Kim Komando and Ellen Ratner. The award was first presented posthumously to Judy Jarvis. Last year’s recipient was Stephanie Miller who will participate in the presentation. Bertolucci began her luminous career in talk radio in 1987 as a desk assistant at KGO, San Francisco and was eventually promoted to that station’s executive producer position. She served as program director of KOA, Denver before joining Clear Channel in Los Angeles in 2002. According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “As a talk programmer, Ms. Bertolucci represents the best this industry has to offer – regardless of gender. All of us at TALKERS look forward to the day when there will not be a need to shine the spotlight specifically on women who set an inspirational example for others in this business. But unfortunately that day has yet to arrive and until it does, we will continue to present this award as an annual tradition.” TALKERS will begin posting detailed information about New Media Seminar/Los Angeles on Monday morning here at www.talkers.com. For information call 413-565-5413.
WNIR, Akron Talk Host Howie Chizek Dies at Age 65. The longtime WNIR-FM, Akron talk show host was travelling to Florida to take part in charity work when he suffered a heart attack. Howie Chizek had worked at WNIR-FM for the past 38 years, most recently hosting the station’s midday program and a Saturday show. WNIR-FM president Bob Klaus tells the Associated Press Chizek was travelling with underprivileged youths and chaperones to Walt Disney World as part of an annual charity program. Klaus states, “He was an absolutely amazing talent who had gigantic charisma. And behind the scenes he was a very warm, gentle man…He just loved to make the world a better place by giving kids an opportunity to develop and grow into productive members of society.”
WFAN Kicks Off Third Annual “Fantasy Phenom Challenge.” On Thursday, July 12 CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York begins auditioning sports talk radio fans who think they can do sports talk radio and, once again, the winner will have the opportunity to earn an air shift on WFAN. This year, the station is opening the contest to duos. For three consecutive weeks in July, a panel of judges will listen to up to 100 from each week’s auditions hopefuls do their sports talk shtick. Those who move to the next round are eventually whittled down to five finalists who will compete at Mike Francesa’s “End of Summer” bash on August 24. Last year’s winner – John Jastremski – was no stranger to media having gone to Syracuse University to study journalism and worked at campus stations. He still works at WFAN. Station OM Mark Chernoff says, “Our Fantasy Phenom enters its third year and it is bigger and better than ever. We look forward to our new twist of allowing teams of two to compete in Fantasy Phenom 3.”
Legal Scholars Debate ObamaCare. Salem Radio Network talk host – and Chapman University constitutional law professor – Hugh Hewitt (c) moderated a debate between two legal scholars over the outcome of the United States Supreme Court’s looming decision on the legality of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The event took place on Wednesday, June 13 at the Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California and was a standing-room-only success. At Hewitt’s left is constitutional law professor John Eastman, to his right is Erwin Chemerinsky. This photo is courtesy of the Whittier Daily News.
Greater Media’s Bob & Sheri Celebrate U.S. Army’s Birthday and Flag Day with Remote Events. WLNK-FM, Charlotte-based morning drive talk hosts Bob & Sheri wrapped up a patriotic week of live events that began the weekend of June 8-10 at affiliate WCTW-FM, Catskill, New York where Bob & Sheri participated in the Hudson, New York Flag Day Parade and the Hudson River Cruise (where they are pictured here with listeners aboard the boat). Listeners lined the streets to see Bob & Sheri pass by and select listeners were chosen to attend a private boat cruise. On Wednesday, June 13, the duo traveled to Fort Bragg near Fayetteville, North Carolina to help celebrate the 237th birthday of the U.S. Army. They participated in a meet-and-greet for affiliate station WQSM-FM. They broadcast live during the Army’s annual four-mile birthday run on the morning of June 14.
AM570 Fox Sports L.A. Celebrates Kings Stanley Cup Victory. KLAC – AM570 Fox Sports L.A. – the radio home of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings covered the team’s Stanley Cup celebration and parade with a day of live broadcasts. “Loose Cannons” Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman broadcast from the AM570 stage outside the Staples Center arena, while co-host Vic “The Brick” Jacobs walked the parade route taking photos with fans and sharing the excitement with listeners. Petros & Money took the parade route bus ride with the Kings players, providing fans with play-by-play of the action. The Loose Cannons then brought the broadcast into the arena’s visitor box, with live coverage of the rally celebration and post-reactions from key player Dustin Penner, head coach Darryl Sutter and AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke. Following the incredible events, Petros & Money hosted a three-hour local program that included reliving their memorable experiences and inviting listeners on-air to share their reactions. Pictured here is Loose Cannon Pat O’Brien interviewing Dustin Penner.
WCHB, Detroit Morning Host Mildred Gaddis Investigated by Federal Authorities. According to a piece in the Detroit News, urban talk WCHB, Detroit morning drive talk host Mildred Gaddis is being scrutinized by federal agents for receiving $75,000 in payments to her ExCel Media company from two former public officials who have been indicted on charges of pocketing public money. Former Highland Park school board member Robert Davis and former Wayne County assistant executive Michael Grundy were regular guests on Gaddis’ program and authorities are investigating whether the two were buying influence through advertising on the station. Invoices to Gaddis’ company indicate the money was for “ads and interviews.” Spokesman Greg Bowens acknowledges firms operated by Davis and Grundy made payments to Gaddis’ company but says they did not receive favorable treatment as a result. The Detroit News quotes media lawyer and Michigan State journalism professor Jane Briggs-Bunting saying, “Ethically, there are big issues but as far as an FCC violation, I don’t see one.”
Pioneering AOR/Talk Program Director Pat Evans Dies. The woman who programmed the first FM station to feature Howard Stern in the morning and album rock the rest of the day, Pat Evans, has died in San Francisco after a two-year battle with lung cancer. Evans came to New York City from her home town of Detroit in 1985 upon being hired by then-Infinity CEO Mel Karmazin to program WXRK (“K-Rock”) where, in addition to working with an outstanding line up of AOR personalities such as Jimmy Fink, Tony Pigg, Meg Griffin, Marc Coppola, Jo Maeder and Maria Malito, she served as one of the first modern era music radio PDs to develop pop culture (“shock jock”) talk in the morning, handling the monumentally historic challenge of working with local AM drive host Howard Stern during his rise to prominence on FM. She later served as PD of the legendary K-FOG in San Francisco and VP of communications at public broadcasting’s KQED in that city. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who worked with Pat Evans in 1989 as co-producers of the ABC Radio Networks mega special “The Official History of Rock and Roll” states, “Pat was an extraordinary human being who has tragically been taken away from us while still in the prime of her life. Her love of radio, its music and personalities, was a powerful inspiration to me and so many others. Her work behind the scenes in facilitating Howard Stern’s early days as an emerging force on the FM dial was a vital component in shaping the course of things to come for decades in this field. She was one of the true greats of our industry.”
Sports Talk Listeners Very Tech-Savvy According to Jacobs Media Study. The results of its Techsurvey 8 indicate sports talk radio listeners are extremely tech-savvy and use digital technology to feed their appetite for sports. Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs states, “Sports radio fans are highly engaged, into gadgets, and especially likely to be connected via Twitter. They know how to access the sports news and happenings they crave and they deftly use the available tools. Radio needs to work hard to be their go-to medium.” Jacobs says the study reveals Twitter is a favorite of sports talk fans and says, “Sports talk fans lead the league for tweeting. Of those who use this platform, more than half follow a sports talk radio station and/or personality on Twitter.” Learn more about the study at JacobsMedia.com.
WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey Personality Jack Ellery Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award for NJBA. New Jersey talk radio personality Jack Ellery has spent close to 50 years of his career at Greater Media’s WCTC, New Brunswick – he started there in 1962 – and he was honored at the recent New Jersey Broadcasters Association conference on June 12 and 13 with the organization’s “Lifetime Achievement” award. Ellery was also one of eight broadcasters to be inducted into the inaugural class of the NJBA’s Hall of Fame.
Pandora Engages Local Newspapers to Sell Ads for its Service. The digital music service is entering into relationships with some local newspapers for a reseller program in which newspaper sales staffs sell ads on the Pandora platform. Papers including the Miami Herald, Salt Lake City Tribune, Tacoma News Tribune and U-T San Diego are working with Pandora on the project. Pandora has always stated one of its goals is to sell locally – something that sticks in the craw of local radio. And although Pandora – with its claims of large listening stats – certainly has the users to back up its presence, unlike radio, the more people who listen, the more Pandora must pay for its content. The service needs to find as much revenue as possible and this deal with local papers is a cost-effective way to get feet on the ground in local markets.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 is honored with two “Best of the Best” awards at the New Jersey Broadcasters Association annual convention. The station was recognized for “Best News” for its 100+ hours of coverage of Hurricane Irene and “Best Public Affairs” for its monthly “Ask the Governor” program…..Heritage St. Louis news/talk KMOX will soon move to new offices as CBS Radio consolidates its three stations – KEZK-FM, WYKY-FM and KMOX into one office in the Park Pacific building in downtown St. Louis. Currently, the two music outlets and KMOX are in separate buildings. KMOX will be the first station to move and should be there by the end of 2012…..SiriusXM announces it will cover every game of the 2012 NCAA College Men’s World Series beginning today through June 24 from TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. America’s Radio News Network adds news blocks to new affiliate WMNI-AM/FM, Columbus…..“Baldwin/McCullough Live” featuring Stephen Baldwin and Kevin McCullough joins stations KCBQ, San Diego; WORL, Orlando; WPNW, Zeeland, Michigan; and KAPE-AM/FM, Cape Girardeau, Missouri…..Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon joins the lineup at WMNI-AM/FM, Columbus…..The Leslie Marshall show joins the lineup at WRJN, Racine, Wisconsin…..Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” is added to the program schedule at WMCD-FM, Statesboro, Georgia; WKBZ, Muskegon, Michigan; WSNJ, Millville, New Jersey.
2012 Presidential Race Returns to Top of Talkers TenTM. The 2012 campaign for president was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio in America for the week of June 11-15 after dropping to #2 last week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Following at #2 was the Russia-Syria arms connection. At #3 was the GOP’s pressure on Attorney General Eric Holder in the ‘Fast and Furious’ case followed by the financial instability in the European Union at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Mark Davis Back to Talk Host Duties in Big D on Salem’s KSKY. Longtime Dallas media personality Mark Davis returns to the radio in the market on Salem Communications’ KSKY in the 7:00 am to 10:00 am time slot. Davis, a Dallas Morning News columnist and television political commentator, exited Cumulus Media’s crosstown WBAP after 18 years in April when the two sides could not agree to a contract extension. Now, Davis will follow Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett who airs on KSKY from 5:00 am to 7:00 am. Salem Communications vice president and director of spoken word format Phil Boyce is also re-branding KSKY “The Answer” as he’s done with KRLA, Los Angeles; KTIE, Riverside/San Bernardino; and WNYM, New York. Boyce states, “Adding an industry icon like Mark Davis, and re-branding the station as ‘The Answer’ will help take KSKY to the next level. This station will truly be an answer for so many things going on in the metroplex and the world, with smart hosts who know how to help you understand all of those things, not to mention great news, traffic, weather and information.” Davis begins his new position on Monday, June 4 and he says, “There’s been a lot of attention paid to talk radio lately, about whether companies and stations are losing the commitment to local shows where a bond can build over the years with listeners. I love seeing the evidence that there is a company and a station looking to grow, rather than shrink that concept, and I am proud to be a part of it.”
Sid Rosenberg to Return to the Air in South Florida. Mercurial sports talk host Sid Rosenberg appears headed for a new gig at James Crystal Radio’s WMEN, West Palm Beach (licensed to Royal Palm Beach) according to a recent report in the Miami Herald. Rosenberg most recently hosted the afternoon drive show at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami but exited that position after a well-publicized DUI arrest. WMEN general manager Steve Lapa tells the Herald he expects WQAM to let Rosenberg out of his contract that runs through August – in exchange for financial concessions – and allow him to start with the station sooner rather than later but that WMEN would be willing to wait if necessary. Lapa says Rosenberg is “a talented guy and he wants to work” and after meeting with him has no reservations about Rosenberg’s past issues with drink, drugs and gambling. Where Rosenberg would fit into the schedule has not been announced. The station is currently live and local from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm with Chris Perkins in AM drive, Troy Stradford in late mornings, Andy Slater in middays and Orlando Alzugaray in PM drive.
KFI, Los Angeles Engineer Tony Dinkel Exits as Position Eliminated. He was just a day shy of his 29th anniversary at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles when he was notified his position as transmitter site broadcast engineer was being eliminated, but Tony Dinkel has nothing but fond memories of his time with the station. The 57-year-old engineer tells the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan he’ll always remember all the great people he worked with at the station. Dinkel also served as the remote engineer and station staffers praised Dinkel’s ability to get remote broadcasts off without a hitch. Read more about Dinkel’s time with KFI in Lycan’s column here.
Cumulus Media’s Atlanta All-Newser Debuts Today. All News 106.7 – the new news outlet Cumulus Media is putting on the air in Altanta – debuts today with a special radio documentary about the news business in Atlanta. The program will repeat for most of the day and the actual all-news format should be live and running after that. Cumulus made the decision to remove classic hits from WYAY-FM, Gainesville, Georgia more than a month ago and the station will be the first all-news outlet to serve Atlanta since WCNN back in the late 1990s.
Cox Media Drops Sports/Talk Hybrid “Bulldog 103.7”; Debuts Variety Hits Format. The FM sports and news/talk station that was home to talk-host-turned-Congressional-candidate Martha Zoller – WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia (licensed to Maysville) – becomes a variety hits music station dubbed “Chuck FM.” The station morphed into “Bulldog 103.7” last fall featuring a combination of sports talk and news/talk. Gainesville-based talk host Martha Zoller held down the late morning show until her recent exit from the business to run for the open seat in the newly created Georgia congressional district.
WTOP, Washington Names “Commuter Idle” Contest Winner. Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington held a contest to find – and reward – the person in the DC area with the worst commute. And the winner – with a 100 mile, five-hour daily commute to and from work – is Brenda Wells from Sparrow’s Point, Maryland. WTOP states Wells’ commute “begins at 3:00 am and her commute includes a 45-minute drive (complete with two tolls), a 50-minute train ride, two metro rides, a short walk and a metro bus ride. Wells is a federal worker with the Department of State in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, where she assigns special agents to the consulates and embassies around the world. She is a single mother of three and lives with her parents in Baltimore for financial and child care reasons.” Wells wins $1,000 in gas money and a future limo ride to and from work courtesy of Reston Limousine. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “As the DC area’s #1 traffic authority, we feel our commuters’ pain. We received hundreds of incredible stories from listeners who cope with crazy commutes just to make ends meet, and crowning a ‘winner’ was a challenge. Brenda’s multi-faceted commute, the long distance, and the impact on her family are what put her over the top.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Legendary Southern California media personality Charlie Tuna – currently spinning classic hits at K-Earth 101 in Los Angeles – is named the new station voice of KDOC-TV, Los Angeles…..Sports USA announces the first part of the slate of National Football League games it will be offering to stations for the 2012 season beginning with the New England Patriots at the Tennessee Titans on September 9. Sports USA says it will announce more NFL play-by-play approximately three weeks ahead of each week’s games…..The Nick Carioti real estate, money and business weekly radio talk show prepares to celebrate its one-year anniversary on Star Over Orlando’s WEUS, Orlando in July…..Performance Racing Network’s Wendy Venturini made history this weekend as the first woman to lead a NASCAR radio broadcast at the Charlotte Speedway’s History 300 on 5/26. PRN paired her with Doug Rice in the radio booth for Saturday’s race.
All-Hannity Stunt Points to New FM Talker in Philly. Merlin Media dropped the Christian talk on its new WKDN-FM, Philadelphia and began airing Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity round the clock. The move seems to back the speculation that Merlin will not follow the footsteps of its New York and Chicago FMs with an all-news format but will go news/talk. It’s expected the station will soon clear Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh and possibly Glenn Beck as well as it builds an FM talk station with Philadelphia native son Al Gardner as PD and morning drive host. Merlin also changed the call letters of the station to WWIQ-FM.
News/Talk KFI, Los Angeles Wins March PPM Battle. It’s not often a commercial news/talk station is ranked the top station in a PPM market, but Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles topped sister Top 40 KIIS-FM by a tenth of a point to win the March PPM contest with a 4.9 share. A few news/talk stations have landed in the top spot in the monthly PPMs – Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee has a track record of dominance in that market as does Cox Media‘s WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville – but for the most part, the number one slot is usually nabbed by a music or all-news station. It goes to show the astounding cume KFI has in the market.
Clear Channel Reorganizes Marketing Structure; Tim Castelli Replaces Charlie Rahilly. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment makes a major move to “unify and align its marketing offerings under one umbrella” with the creation of a new, unified sales and marketing group led by former AOL executive Tim Castelli. CC states, “This move, the latest in the company’s transformation to a fully integrated, multi-platform media and entertainment company, creates an unprecedented opportunity for partners to tap into the company’s unparalleled reach of 237 million people a month (the largest of any radio or television outlet in America) and unmatched collection of media assets.” CCME chairman and CEO John Hogan says, “This is an entirely new way to leverage the unmatched national reach with local engagement capabilities of Clear Channel Radio Sales, Strategic Partnerships, Clear Channel Connections, Digital, event sponsorships and Premiere Radio Networks Sales supported by innovative programs and world class custom marketing insights.” In addition to Castelli’s hiring, Clear Channel announces Condé Nast’s Holly Lang joins the company as senior vice president, marketing solutions. Lang is responsible for conceiving and implementing innovative marketing programs for national advertisers, with a special focus on consumer brands. Also, Chris Monteleone, formerly vice president of partner strategy at Madison Square Garden, has been named senior vice president, event sponsorship sales and development.
New Jersey 101.5 Gives Steve Trevelise the Evening Show. Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton – New Jersey 101.5 – announces part-time staffer Steve Trevelise is named permanent host of the evening show on the station. Trevelise has been sitting in hosting the evening program since the station parted ways with Michelle Jerson. Now, brand manager Eric Johnson states, “There are few in radio that I know who sound more Jersey than Steve! We are thrilled he is bringing his passion and knowledge of the state to weekday evenings on New Jersey 101.5. Having been here part-time for a few years now, he has worked hard to earn this position and knows how to relate to our more than 1 million listeners.” In addition to his radio career, Trevelise is a stand-up comic and has performed at comedy clubs throughout New Jersey. He currently owns and operates Sarcasm Comedy Club in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Midway Broadcasting’s WVON, Chicago Joins iHeartRadio. The Windy City’s urban talk outlet, WVON, is the latest station to join Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s mobile/digital radio service iHeartRadio. Midway Broadcasting chairman Melody Spann Cooper states, “I think this is a win-win for both WVON and iHeartRadio. We’ll reach a national audience, our listeners will have the benefit of taking the station wherever they go by using their smart phones, and iHeartRadio gets the benefit of our best-in-class urban talk format.” The station says it is embarking on an aggressive promotional campaign to introduce iHeartRadio and to educate its listeners on its usage.
Gabe Hobbs Named Strategic Advisor at Listener Driven Radio. Former Clear Channel news/talk and sports corporate programmer Gabe Hobbs joins Listener Driven Radio to spearhead the company’s LDR.TopicPulse – what the company describes as “a new system that offers real time social media topic tracking, so news/talk stations can see what local audiences are talking about up-to-the-second.” LDR further describes LDR.TopicPulse as “valuable real-time information to show producers and hosts on which topics and news stories are ‘getting buzz’ in their market on social media. The system scans all available news sources, local blogs, Facebook posts, Tweets and other social media. Then, producers can see a report – which is updated to the second – on the hottest trending topics and their shelf life.” On his new position, Hobbs states, “LDR’s team is the finest group of interactive innovators in the country. I’m proud to join the team to translate the success LDR is having at music radio to the news/talk/sports formats.”
Salem Radio Network Host Dr. Richard Land Responds to Plagiarism Accusations. Southern Baptist Dr. Richard Land – host of the “Richard Land Live” Saturday program syndicated by Salem Radio Network – responds to accusations he pulled direct commentary for a monologue about the Trayvon Martin case from an editorial by Jeffrey Kuhner of the Washington Times. Land admits he failed to provide verbal attribution on the program for using some content and apologizes. Land states he did not intend to deceive and always posts his source material on his program’s website. SRN VP of news and talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “SRN stands firmly behind Dr. Richard Land, whose ethical standards and intellect are recognized around the world. An oversight in giving an on-air mention to a source he clearly posted on his website hardly rises to the level of ‘plagiarism.’ That standard is reserved for individuals like Vice President Joe Biden, who was forced to abandon his 2008 presidential campaign when it was revealed he was recycling entire speeches from British Labour Policy figure Neal Kinnock. Or President Obama himself, who was found to be lifting entire sections of speeches formerly delivered by his friend DeVal Patrick, the Governor of Massachusetts. It says a lot about Richard Land that he has acknowledged that he can do better…and that he has pledged to do just that.”
Dial Global Names Michael Schreck SVP/Director of Corporate Sports. In his new position as senior vice president and director of corporate sports, Michael Schreck will be responsible for sports sales and marketing as well as league and team negotiations for Dial Global. Co-president and CEO David Landau states, “Michael has a proven track record of success in cultivating both advertiser and league partnerships. With his leadership, we are looking forward to continuing to define great moments for our advertisers and the millions of sports fans our broadcasts touch.”
Dave Ramsey Invades San Antonio. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey (pictured here on stage in San Antonio) addressed more than 6,000 fans during the presentation of his “Total Money Makeover Live.” Ramsey also spoke before some 1,000 local business people as he presented his EntreLeadership 1-Day event. Affiliate KTSA, San Antonio benefitted from Ramsey’s appearance in town. General sales manager Coreena Hazelett says, “One of the invaluable things about Dave’s Live Event visit is the time he puts aside for our sponsors. The clients really get the opportunity to connect one on one with Dave, and they are moved by his desire to see their businesses succeed. He’s not just a host on the radio, he’s a true partner who’s committed to the success of our station and our advertisers.”
Secret Service Prostitute Scandal, 2012 Presidential Race, ‘Buffet Rule’ Blocked by Senate GOP, GSA Wasteful Spending and ObamaCare Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/16). The backlash against the Secret Service after agents found in prostitution scandal in South America; the 2012 presidential race including the flap over Ann Romney homemaker comments; the Senate GOP’s blocking of the ‘Buffet Rule’ to tax the super rich; the investigation into wasteful spending by the General Services Administration and the legal status of ObamaCare were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Hubbard’s WTOP Retains Top Biller Status; Clear Channel’s News/Talk KFI, Los Angeles Jumps to #3. For the second year in a row, Hubbard Broadcasting’s Washington, DC news juggernaut WTOP grabs the top biller title with $64 million billed in 2011. According to BIA/Kelsey’s 2011 estimates, all news was a big money maker and CBS Radio had a number of winning horses in the race. Its WBBM, Chicago came in at #4 billing $48 million and WCBS, New York followed at #5 taking in $47.5 million. CBS’ WINS, New York was #8 with $42 million. While Chicago market WBBM topped each of the New York-market all-newsers, it’s pretty impressive that CBS Radio billed $89.5 million between all-newsers WCBS and WINS. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s ratings and revenue news/talk giant KFI, Los Angeles was the only talk station to make the top 10, showing off the power of its high-cuming talk personalities – especially AM drive host Bill Handel and PM drive duo John & Ken – coming in at #3 billing $48.1 million (up from the #4 spot in 2010). And sports talk cracked the top 10 as CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York rounded out the list at #10 billing $40.5 million.
A View Behind the Scenes at #1 Biller WTOP, Washington. TALKERS TV recently visited the studios at Hubbard Broadcasting’s Washington, DC news operation WTOP. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison visits with WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo and news director Mitchell Miller as they show off the very high-tech, multi-platform and extremely well-staffed news operation (a whopping 120 employees) in the Nation’s Capital. View the video in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.
Court Strikes Down Ban on Political Ads on Public Broadcasting Outlets. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has iced the ban on political and issues ads that could lead to a ton of such fare hitting the airwaves of pubcasters as the November presidential election approaches. A 2-1 vote of the three-judge panel upholds the ban on advertisements for goods and services from for-profit companies. But the decision is rocking the world of pubcasters – many of whom are not commenting publicly at this juncture – because they fear they will be, to a degree, pulled into the world of commercial broadcasters as a result of this decision. But the Court’s ruling was based on free speech grounds. Judge Carlos Bea wrote for the main opinion stating that the FCC ban was overly broad and there’s no evidence the educational nature of public broadcasting would be affected, “Public issue and political speech in particular is at the very core of the First Amendment’s protection. Public issue and political advertisements pose no threat of ‘commercialization.’ By definition, such advertisements do not encourage viewers to buy commercial goods and services. A ban on such advertising therefore cannot be narrowly tailored to serve the interest of preventing the ‘commercialization’ of broadcasting.” Dissenting Judge Richard Paez wrote, “For almost 60 years, commercial public broadcasters have been effectively insulated from the lure of paid advertising. The court’s judgment will disrupt this policy and could jeopardize the future of public broadcasting. I am not persuaded that the First Amendment mandates such an outcome.”
WOR Radio Network to Syndicate “Rasmussen Report” Feature. The vignette will be available three times daily and feature reports by the nationally known “political pulse-taker” Scott Rasmussen. WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley states, “Scott has fast become the go-to guest for many of our programs when we want to let our listeners know where the country stands on the important headlines. We are thrilled to now take our relationship with him to this next level and share his fantastic radio content with radio stations across the country.” The WOR Radio Network makes the reports available to affiliates beginning Monday, April 16.
Tribune’s WGN Inks Deal for Studio Naming Rights with Allstate. Beginning May 1, WGN, Chicago’s showcase studio on Michigan Avenue will be unveiled as the Allstate Showcase Studio. WGN VP/general manager Tom Langmyer says, “We are proud of the partnership we have developed with Allstate over the years through programs like the community-driven WGN Radio Hometown Voices Tour and are pleased to extend that partnership to the Showcase Studio. The Showcase Studio has been a mainstay on Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue for over 25 years and home to many legendary broadcasters. We are excited to announce this next chapter in WGN’s history with such a valued partner.” The sponsorship includes an interior studio wrap featuring WGN Radio and Allstate graphics and on-air naming recognition.
CBS Radio’s KYW, Philadelphia Awards Scholarship Money to “Newstudies” Student. CBS Radio’s KYW, Philadelphia has been offering the six-week student reporter program called “Newstudies” to high school juniors and seniors for more than 45 years. This year, 171 local students graduated from the program and KYW selected Upper Moreland High School student Gavin Lichtenstein to receive the Richard Monetti Scholarship award of $2,000 for being the student in the program demonstrating the most potential and enthusiasm. The scholarship was named after 1986 Newstudies graduate Richard Monetti who perished on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. CBS Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “KYW Newsradio is proud to continue the tradition of introducing high school students to the broadcast industry. It’s also nice to be able to award those that did exceptionally well and keep the memory of a former Newstudies graduate alive.”
WSBT, South Bend Adds FM Translator at 96.1. Schurz Communications’ news/talk WSBT, South Bend, Indiana acquired the FM translator from Christian station WFRN-FM last year for $135,000. Now, according to the South Bend Tribune, WSBT will add to what program director Bob Montgomery calls “the strongest signal in the market” – AM 960. Montgomery also tells the paper the station is continuing to focus on news and information for the Michiana market. “We’re still doing increased news in our morning show – trying an all-news approach. We thought since that’s why people listen to news/talk during their morning drive, we would concentrate on that.”
Weekend Home Show “The Money Pit” Hits 300-Affiliate Mark. The nationally syndicated home improvement show “The Money Pit” – co-hosted by Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete – announces it has added more than 20 new affiliate stations during the first quarter of 2012 to bring its affiliate roster to 300. The program will celebrate its success in conjunction with a special Earth Day broadcast from New York City on Friday, April 20 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm from the “Crossroads of the World” in New York’s Times Square. Tom Kraeutler states, “I am so grateful to our team for the hard work that got us to this point, to our loyal affiliate stations for making our content available to millions of people across the country and to our always growing list of top sponsors that have made this possible.”
Rick Santorum’s Suspension of His Presidential Campaign Is Top News/Talk Story for the Week of April 9-13. The news of Rick Santorum’s exit from the GOP primary race – effectively giving the nomination to Mitt Romney – was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week and landed at #1 on the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was the 2012 presidential campaign in general. At #3 was George Zimmerman’s being charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin followed by recent reports of weak U.S. job growth and the stock market’s reaction at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America during the week, and is based upon ongoing research from TALKERS and is published each Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal” adds KOA, Denver…..Genesis Communications Network’s Dr. Daliah Wachs program picks up WRJM-AM/FM, Charleston, Illinois and WHOW-AM/FM, Bloomington/Decatur, Illinois.
Cumulus Dallas Goes into Storm Coverage Mode as Twisters Hit Metro Area. The Dallas cluster of Cumulus Media reacted swiftly to the severe storms and tornadoes that hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area yesterday, led by news/talk sister stations WBAP and KLIF. Operations manager Tyler Cox tells TALKERS that the stations had a great opportunity to super-serve the community. “WBAP (820 AM/96.7 FM) and KLIF (570AM) began simulcasting continuous coverage. Shortly after that, the remaining stations in the Cumulus cluster (sports KTCK 1310 AM, KSCS-FM, KPLX-FM and KLIF-FM) joined with us to create a six-station simulcast reaching countless numbers of listeners with life-saving information.” Cox says all six went into non-stop, commercial-free weather coverage with the news/talk stations’ reporters and listeners providing on-the-scene information all across North Texas. Preliminary reports indicate no fewer than 12 tornadoes formed in the region and, although there is widespread destruction, there are no fatalities confirmed at this time.
KFI, Los Angeles Adds New Weekend Shows; Adds Diversity to Lineup. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles is adding a two-hour early evening program on Saturdays hosted by Morris O’Kelly, the producer and co-host of sister progressive talk station KTLK’s “Diverse L.A.” Also, KTLK PM drive host David Cruz will host a Sunday early evening program on KFI. In a statement, Clear Channel says the purpose of the new shows is to “discuss, dissect and investigate the important, often controversial issues of the day through the eyes of an eclectic collection of Southern California residents, urbanites and suburbanites, young and old, across race, gender and the political spectrum.” Morris O’Kelly states, “I’ve wanted to do a show like this for a long time – to dig into what Southern Californians think and why. Opinions are as diverse as the population and I think we’re going to shed light on issues that really matter.”
Erica Farber Replaces Jeff Haley as President and CEO of the RAB. The board of directors of the Radio Advertising Bureau announces Erica Farber, who joined the RAB in late 2011, will replace Jeff Haley as president and CEO of the organization as Haley exits to pursue a new opportunity. RAB board chairman and EVP Scott Herman says of the move, “Erica is an excellent selection with the relevant skills and expertise to lead the RAB. She brings an impressive track record in radio sales and management. In addition, Erica has a clear understanding of the organization and what the broadcast industry requires from the RAB. She has demonstrated a strong capacity of working with multiple constituencies which is critical to the RAB role. We thank Jeff for his guidance and leadership the past five years in helping to shape an organization that fits the radio and media landscape today. He’s left an indelible imprint on the industry and we thank him for his service and commitment.”
Budget Mandate Forces WBSM, New Bedford to Release Talk Host Ken Pittman. Local officials are decrying Cumulus Media’s decision to eliminate Ken Pittman’s local afternoon drive talk show on WBSM, New Bedford, Massachusetts. The New Bedford Standard-Times reports New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell even wrote to Cumulus COO John Dickey to express how area residents are upset with the loss of local programming. “The local programming available on WBSM, including local news, talk and sports coverage, is truly valued by the thousands of listeners the station draws from the New Bedford region,” he wrote. Meanwhile, station programming manager Pete Braley tells the paper local management made the cut reluctantly after being mandated by corporate to trim expenses and realizing that someone had to go. With Pittman out, mid-morning host Phil Paleologos will move to PM drive and do more news event coverage. The station brings Salem Radio Networks’ Mike Gallagher in for late mornings to cover Paleologos’ slot. That leaves the station with four hours of local programming: morning drive and a 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm program.
Management Change at Cumulus Washington, DC; Jeff Boden Exits. President and general manager Jeff Boden has left the building at Cumulus Media’s Washington, DC station group that includes news/talk WMAL-AM/FM. DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes reports Sam Rogers – former CBS Radio Washington cluster chief and Cumulus VP of political and platform sales – has taken over Boden’s role at the stations. Hughes reports that rumors have more cuts coming to the DC cluster in the near future, although it’s hard to predict which stations and what positions will be affected.
Damon “The Bulldog” Yaffe Joins WNST, Baltimore. Nestor Aparicio-owned sports talk outlet WNST, Baltimore announces Damon “The Bulldog” Yaffe becomes part of the late-morning show on the station alongside Paul Mittermeier and Greg Marsh. A release from the station states, “Yaffe’s crew will focus on all Baltimore sports with fun conversation, guests and lots of banter about the state of the local sporting universe including the Orioles, Ravens, Terps, and local lacrosse.” Yaffe had previously worked at CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talker WJZ-FM.
Bankruptcy Filing Leaves Broadcasters in Financial Lurch. The bankruptcy filing of tax resolution company TaxMasters is forcing a number of broadcasting companies – including CNN, Dial Global, Fox News Channel and others – to face the fact they will likely receive little if anything of what the company owes them. Forbes reports that Time Warner’s CNN is owed the largest amount for ads aired on the cable news channel: $2.6 million. Other broadcasters are also listed as unsecured creditors. News Corp’s Fox News Channel is out $938,414; Dial Global is owed $676,000; MSNBC stands to lose $259,441; and ESPN is out $94,265. TaxMasters and CEO Patrick Cox were hit with a $195 million verdict in Texas for violating the state’s Deceptive Trade Violations Act. It lists assets of just $1.7 million.
Bob Visotcky Takes VP Sales Position at Cumulus Los Angeles. Bob Visotcky moves over from his market manager post at Cumulus Media’s Oxnard-Ventura stations to the Los Angeles cluster where he’ll become vice president of sales representing news/talk KABC and classic rock KLOS-FM.
GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Race, Supreme Court-ObamaCare Issue, Ryan Budget, Twisters Hit Dallas, and Trayvon Martin Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/3). The ongoing GOP primary race and the greater 2012 presidential campaign, the charges President Obama is pressuring the Supreme Court in its judgment of the legality of the Patient Care and Affordability Act of 2010, Congressman Paul Ryan’s Republican House budget proposal, tornadoes sweep through the Dallas-Fort Worth area and the Trayvon Martin case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rush Limbaugh Camp Fires Back at Media Matters with Scathing Statement. Embattled Premiere Networks talk radio star Rush Limbaugh, via his spokesperson Brian Glicklich in a commentary in Politico, yesterday afternoon issued an official response to the campaign being waged against the show by Media Matters. This is the first lengthy, official statement made about the advertising issue by Limbaugh’s organization since the controversy began and it has the industry buzzing. In Glicklich’s scathing attack on Media Matters’ tactics he writes the end result of the campaign hurts more people than Rush Limbaugh. “By putting small business in the crosshairs of their war on expression, Media Matters is causing real harm. They are hurting these businesses, their employees and their families. As a business owner, imagine waking up one morning and being assaulted by hundreds of coordinated attacks from operatives who never were or will be your customers.” Read Glicklich’s entire commentary here.
Los Angeles City Council Passes Resolution to “End Racist and Sexist Language” on Radio. On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council – by a vote of 13 to 2 – passed a resolution that read: “NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that by adoption of this Resolution, the City Council urges all management of radio and television stations in Los Angeles to do everything in their power to ensure that their on-air hosts do not use and promote racist and sexist slurs over public airwaves in the City of Los Angeles.” The wording of the resolution was broadened with an amendment. The original intent and much of the discussion was targeted at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk KFI. Though language on the radio was discussed by the council, other discussion involved accusations by critics that lack of diversity in staffing – too few minorities and women in on-air roles, specifically – is to blame for occurrences of what they call racist and sexist slurs.
WTOP, Washington VP News and Programming Jim Farley Named 2012 Recipient of Freedom of Speech Award. The TALKERS editorial board has selected legendary radio news director Jim Farley as the 2012 recipient of the prestigious Freedom of Speech Award. The award will be presented to Farley at the New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7. Farley, recently interviewed by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison (see Talkers TV at right and story below), will address “the renaissance of journalism in the new digital broadcasting era” following the presentation of the award. In a statement released Wednesday, March 21 Michael Harrison states, “We are witnessing the rebirth of committed journalism in America on the radio airwaves and its associated digital platforms. WTOP proudly shines as the inspirational example of this positive movement, and Jim Farley’s visionary leadership in bringing it to life on a day-to-day basis would make even Thomas Jefferson proud. The First Amendment is alive and well at WTOP. Jim Farley is a remarkable broadcaster.” The Freedom of Speech Award is a non-partisan honor that has been presented to a wide variety of talk media figures since 1990 whose work has demonstrated the First Amendment in action and raised awareness of its principles. Past recipients have included Brian Lamb, Matt Drudge, Rush Limbaugh, Al Franken, Jack Anderson, Norm Pattiz, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Bob Grant, Alan Dershowitz, Bill O’ Reilly, Gene Burns, G. Gordon Liddy, Howard Stern and more. Last year’s recipient was Juan Williams.
Scarborough Research Releases Study of Entertainment Spending by Baby Boomers. It’s probably not too surprising that the favorite radio formats of the Baby Boom generation are, in order, AC (30%), news/talk (28%), and classic hits (25%). The study includes statistics about how Boomers like to spend their free time – a nod to the types of ad clients likely to benefit from being heard on their favorite stations. It notes, “In the past 12 months Baby Boomers have attended a professional sporting event (36%), attended live theater (22%), visited an art museum (14%), attended a rock concert (12%) and gone to the symphony or opera (9%). And Baby Boomers don’t just have a hunger for entertainment – they are 11% more likely than all American adults to have eaten at a seafood restaurant or steakhouse in the past 30 days.” EVP of commercial development Brian Condon says, “Baby Boomers remain an essential demographic since they reap the rewards of having had long careers and no longer have young children to care for. Baby Boomers represent a segment of the American population that has a thirst for adventure, and the financial freedom to explore that passion.”
KGMZ-FM, San Francisco Adds Billy Beane and Bob Melvin to A’s Coverage. Entercom’s sports talk “95.7 The Game” – KGMZ-FM, San Francisco – announces the addition of A’s general manager Bill Beane and manager Bob Melvin to the station’s coverage of the team. Beane will become part of the Thursday PM drive show with Brandon Tierney and Eric Davis and Melvin will join “Rise Guys” Whitey Gleason, Mark Kreidler and Dan Dibley every Monday morning. PD Jason Barrett states, “Bill Beane is one of the smartest baseball minds in America and has a unique perspective about the game that Bay Area baseball fans won’t want to miss. Bob Melvin has his pulse on the finger of the Athletics and he’ll give Bay Area baseball fans a weekly glimpse inside the clubhouse like no one else.”
“Free Talk Live” Gets Major Market Clear on WWRL, New York. The independently syndicated evening and weekend program hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge enters the New York City market with a Sunday morning clearance on Access.1 Communications’ progressive talk WWRL. Freeman says of the addition, “There aren’t many issues-oriented talk shows that can cross talk platforms. However, we’ve been doing it for years with conservative, progressive, business talk and hot talk stations all airing ‘Free Talk Live.’ I’m excited to announce that ‘Free Talk Live’ welcomes our newest affiliate in America’s largest market: WWRL 1600 in New York City. Thanks to program director Rennie Bishop for allowing us the opportunity to entertain the people of NYC on the country’s most prominent progressive station.”
Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ, Fresno Celebrates 90th Anniversary Tomorrow. 1922 was a big year for the U.S. government granting radio station licenses and another heritage station is celebrating its 90th year on the air this week. KMJ, Fresno is the 38th oldest licensed continuously operating radio station in the country. It was originally licensed to San Joaquin Power and Light Corporation but was sold to McClatchey Newspapers in 1925. CBS Radio bought KMJ in 1987 and then sold it to Peak Broadcasting in 2006.
WTKS-FM, Orlando’s “Monsters in the Morning” Sponsor Habitat for Humanity House. The morning drive crew at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WTKS-FM, Orlando led by Russ Rollins is kicking off its First Annual Monster House project in conjunction with the Habitat for Humanity Seminole-Apopka and the City of Sanford. Rollins and Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett, who on behalf of the City of Sanford, donated the property for the project made the recent announcement. Rollins says, “This is a huge project with our national radio program teaming up with local government and Habitat for Humanity to benefit the community. For every $1 spent on construction, $7 will go back into the local economy. ‘The Monsters’ are looking forward to helping a local family fulfill their dream of home ownership with the First Annual Monster House. We hope to make The Monster House an annual project in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.”
Romney Wins Illinois Primary/2012 Presidential Race, Iran Nukes Program, Saints Staff Penalized for Bounty Program/Tebow Traded to Jets and Afghanistan Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/21). Mitt Romney’s decisive win in Illinois on Tuesday and the larger issues surrounding the 2012 presidential race; uncertainty over Iran’s nuclear weapons program; the NFL’s Saints, coaches and former coach penalized severely for ‘bounty program’; Tim Tebow is traded to the Jets; and continuing tensions in Afghanistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Controversy and Misinformation of Radio Advertising Keeps Rush Limbaugh in the News; Host Reportedly Refuses to Take Back Advertiser. The consumer media continues to hang onto the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke issue with numerous stories and segments being published and produced over the weekend about the extent to which the controversy may be hurting advertising on Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh show as well as a wider swath of conservative talk radio. In addition to the fluctuating count of advertisers that may or may not have left the Limbaugh program (depending on whether or not they actually advertised on the show in the first place as many reports cite firms that did not), outlets such as New York Magazine and The Daily Beast are writing about a memo from Premiere to affiliate stations detailing 98 companies that don’t want their goods or services advertised on controversial programming. The memo gives examples of hosts including Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis (shows how old that memo is), Michael Savage, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. TALKERS has pointed out to countless consumer media that have contacted our offices regarding this issue that “no controversial programming” dictates are common and practically as old as talk radio itself and not a unique reaction to the Limbaugh case – although certainly reiterated as a result of it. TALKERS has also pointed out that monitoring a station’s internet feed does not reflect the same commercial content as the air feed since union regulations affect the degree to which union talent-voiced spots can air on the web. Meanwhile, the Sacramento Bee is reporting Rush Limbaugh is refusing to take retailer Sleep Train back as an advertiser. The story cites Limbaugh spokesman Brian Glicklich stating the company sought to return to the Limbaugh show and the program replied to the Sacramento-based mattress retailer, “Rush received your requests personally. Unfortunately, your public comments were not well received by our audience, and did not accurately portray either Rush Limbaugh’s character or the intent of his remarks. Thus, we regret to inform you that Rush will be unable to endorse Sleep Train in the future. Rush appreciates your long friendship and your past support, and we wish you good luck in the future.”
Celebrity-Founded Women’s Media Center Piles on Rush Limbaugh. The organization co-founded by Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda and Robin Morgan is using the Rush Limbaugh controversy to call to arms like-minded activists to petition the FCC to take Limbaugh off the air. In an op-ed piece on CNN.com, the group reasons that Limbaugh – through his language and political opinions – is a purveyor of “hate speech” and therefore is not acting in the public interest. The group is suggesting the stations whose licenses are up for renewal that carry Limbaugh’s program are not serving the “public interest” and need either pull the show or not have their licenses renewed. The group states in the piece, “This isn’t political. While we disagree with Limbaugh’s politics, what’s at stake is the fallout of a society tolerating toxic, hate-inciting speech. For 20 years, Limbaugh has hidden behind the First Amendment, or else claimed he’s really “doing humor” or “entertainment.” He is indeed constitutionally entitled to his opinions, but he is not constitutionally entitled to the people’s airways.” It’s hard to tell what the motive here is – beyond polemicizing – since the FCC does not deal with issues of content in this way during the license renewal process.
Special Interest Group Intent on Hounding KFI, Los Angeles; Picks on Bill Handel’s Comment. Time will tell if the latest salvo from the Los Angeles-based Black Media Alliance sticks to Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles or ricochets back to harm the goals of the very organization that fired it. What’s for certain is the Black Media Alliance is taking a page from other special interest media “watchdog” groups and is recording every minute of KFI’s broadcasts and, when it hears something it doesn’t like, is firing off press releases and hoping for some traction. It used a March 9 broadcast from the Bill Handel show for this purpose. During a segment in which Handel comments on the news of the day with Gary Hoffman and Neil Saavedra, the topic of a California bill that would allow nurse practitioners to perform aspiration abortions came up. Handel commented on a law in Kansas where doctors are required to have the women see sonograms prior to having an abortion and offered his opinion that those who don’t already understand the procedure are “dumb-ass women.” BMA is using this comment to imply Handel has attacked all women. Listen to the segment here. There are numerous issues at play here but TALKERS will address the primary ones. The tenor of Bill Handel’s program hasn’t changed and presumably his advertisers know what they’re buying. If an advertiser boycott of Handel’s program is what the BMA seeks, it may find the going tougher for Handel’s Southern California show than national groups are for the Rush Limbaugh controversy. That’s generally the way these cases work. Handel broke no FCC rules and we believe it’s unlikely he or KFI will apologize – so far neither has. During the discussion, you can hear both sides of the issue being debated by the air talent. This is exactly the kind of public debate of important issues Supreme Court rulings, such as New York Times v. Sullivan, protects and which the Court admits could be controversial. Justice Brennan even wrote of the “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.” The most important issue for the BMA is whether this tactic will cause it to be perceived by the public as nitpicking and a pest instead of being seen as an organization with goals of diversity and fairness.
Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York Rebrands as “The Answer.” The New York news/talk outlet formerly known as “The Apple” hits the air today with an altered programming schedule and the new handle, “The Answer.” Salem Communications VP and director of the spoken word format Phil Boyce states, “The new name will more accurately reflect who we are and what the benefit is to listening to us. ‘The Answer’ just popped into my head my first week here, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. We are the answer to so many questions, from ‘what happened while you slept?’ to ‘is it gonna rain?’ to ‘why am I stuck in traffic?’” The company notes the new station lineup is as follows: Salem Radio Network syndicated Bill Bennett‘s “Morning in America” from 5:00 am to 7:00 am, local host Curtis Sliwa from 7:00 am to 10:00 am, Dial Global’s Dennis Miller from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, SRN’s Dennis Prager from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, SRN’s Michael Medved from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm; Curtis and attorney Jeffrey Lichtman from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm; and SRN’s Hugh Hewitt from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Boyce says new imaging will create a hip, younger sound for the station, heavy on a New York-style attitude. ”New Yorkers are slightly jaded and a little sarcastic, so we wanted the sound of our station to reflect the city we serve.” In describing his collaboration with voiceover talent Lonnie Perkins, Boyce gushed, “I told him to sound like that ‘Mayhem Man’ commercial for Allstate Insurance.” The new imaging includes new top of hour ID’s, promos, and show opens. Boyce wanted to re-arrange the lineup to “put the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle” together in the right order.
Heidi Harris Exits KDWN. Word from Las Vegas is that KDWN, Las Vegas morning talk show host Heidi Harris has exited her position at the Beasley Broadcasting-owned news/talker. Sources inside the station tell TALKERS that the relationship between Harris and KDWN management had been strained for some time now and finally reached the breaking point. Heidi Harris, a multi-repeat member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred is considered by industry observers to be a rising star. The conservative host has been a regular contributor and guest on the progressive Ed Schultz Show on MSNBC and speaker at the New Media Seminar. Harris has not responded to e-mail requests by TALKERS for comment and confirmation but her presence on the KDWN website has been removed. More details as they are available.
WMAL, Washington Re-Positions AM Drive Show; Mary Katherine Ham Exits. The former “Morning Majority” AM drive show at Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington is now “Mornings on the Mall” with Brian Wilson and Bryan Nehman as Mary Katherine Ham – who joined WMAL last summer – leaves the program. Ham wrote on her blog earlier this week, “It has been a pleasure to work with Bryan Nehman and Brian Wilson – two consummate broadcast professionals who generously taught this n00b as much as they could. And, though I’m new to radio, it’d be hard to imagine a producer more capable than our executive producer Heather Smith, who I remain convinced does not require sleep (in an industrious way, not a vampire way). The folks at the company had a vision for a different, independent role for me at the station, but we just weren’t able to come to an agreement that would make it work, so I’m off to do my other jobs. I’m constantly thankful I have the freedom to make decisions like that, and realize it’s a tremendous blessing to have such options.” Ham is an analyst at Fox News Channel and is a contributing writer for The Daily Caller.
Firesign Theater Founder Peter Bergman Dies. One of the founders of the radio comedy show Firesign Theater has died at age 72 after a battle with Leukemia. Peter Bergman and three fellow comedians — Phillip Proctor, David Ossman and Phil Austin – created the radio program that spawned four must-have comedy albums (released between 1968 and 1972) for college-age hippies of the time. Bergman was hosting a late-night talk show on Pacifica’s KPFK, Los Angeles when he started the Firesign Theater program. Bergman revived the Firesign Theater show on the internet in 2010.
Salem Radio Network Correspondent Dan Hackel Passes Away. Longtime news pro Dan Hackel died in Israel over the weekend after a battle with cancer. He had been Salem Radio Network’s primary correspondent in Israel for the past four years. Hackel was a founding anchor for CNN International and a frequent anchor on Headline News. He served as Washington correspondent covering the White House for ABC News, and he reported on the U. S. Congress for the Mutual Broadcasting System.
TRN’s and WGST, Atlanta’s Rusty Humphries Named Kentucky Colonel. Kentucky colonel is the highest title of honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Commissions for Kentucky colonels are given by the governor and the secretary of state to individuals in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, state or the nation. Other notable Colonels include Bob Hope, Pope John Paul II, Winston Churchill and of course Col. Sanders. Pictured with Colonel Rusty Humphries is Melissa Forrest, president and market manager of Clear Channel Atlanta where Humphries works at news/talk WGST.
Clear Channel Los Angeles to Air “Diverse L.A.” on Progressive Talk KTLK; Black Media Alliance Not Satisfied. As part of Clear Channel Los Angeles’ program to increase diversity at the cluster, a three-week block of programs titled, “Diverse L.A.” will air on progressive talk outlet KTLK during the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart beginning March 12. The program will be hosted by cluster producer and political commentator Morris O’Kelly. Clear Channel is currently seeking community members interested in appearing on the program and is taking suggestions and applications via e-mail at DiverseLA@clearchannel.com. In a statement, Clear Channel Los Angeles market manager Greg Ashlock says, “These 45 hours of prime programming will feature local hosts and guests discussing a wide variety of issues associated with the spectrum of experience of all Angelenos.” The programming is part of the response to the negative feedback sister station KFI received after PM drive hosts John & Ken were suspended for comments about Whitney Houston. Morris O’Kelly states, “This is about Los Angeles hearing voices and viewpoints less often heard while also addressing communities historically underserved. ‘Diverse L.A.’ will highlight new personalities and newsmakers for the KTLK audience but, more importantly, provide a platform for inclusive, substantive dialogue in the public square.” The Los Angeles organization Black Media Alliance responds to the initiative disappointed that Clear Channel has “relegated our concerns to a struggling station that has neither the cachet nor reach of their more profitable outlet.” In a statement, the BMA quotes longtime member and media personality Kevin Ross saying, “The efforts of Clear Channel are important, but it’s not enough…There needs to be diversity on all of their stations, on- and off-air and we are prepared to provide Clear Channel with an extensive list of African-American radio professionals who fit into their current program formatting needs.”
Sacramento Bee Editor Apologizes for Obscene Call to KHTK, Sacramento’s Don Geronimo Show. Sacramento Bee sports editor Tom Couzens has apologized in the paper for making obscene calls to the Don Geronimo morning show at CBS Radio’s sports KHTK, Sacramento that he, at first, denied making. The brouhaha appears to have been the culmination of an ongoing feud between Couzens and Geronimo. The Sacramento News & Review reports Couzens had been critical of the format of Geronimo’s morning drive show and Geronimo – who is a pro at turning that kind of controversy into PR for his show – vowed to “get” Couzens for his criticism of the show. Couzens admits he let Geronimo get to him and his bosses at the Bee are saying it is a personnel issue that is being handled internally.
WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Names Bo Thompson Co-Host of AM Drive Show. Greater Media news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte announces Bo Thompson joins morning drive host Stacey Simms as co-host of the “Charlotte’s Morning News.” Thompson is currently producer of WCCB-TV, Charlotte’s “Fox News Edge” program hosted by Greater Media personalities Matt Harris and Ramona Holloway. Thompson begins his duties alongside Simms, news anchor John Stokes, sports anchor Jim Szoke and traffic reporter Chuck Roads at WBT on March 19. Thompson says, “I began my radio career at WBT 22 years ago and this is my home. I always knew I’d be back one day. It’s an honor to carry on the torch from Al Gardner. Many of my radio idols have held this job. I can’t wait to be a part of CMN’s next chapter.” Gardner left the station to work with Merlin Media as it prepares to launch a new format on WKDN-FM, Philadelphia.
Clear Channel Adds Local Show to Hartford FM Sports Talker. This week Clear Channel split the simulcast that had been sports talk WPOP and WUCS-FM in Hartford. As reported earlier, WPOP has become a Fox Sports Radio Network affiliate and WUCS-FM carries programming from ESPN. Now, WUCS-FM – positioned as 97.9 ESPN – adds a local PM drive show to the program schedule hosted by Mike Bower. Comedian and talk personality Bower temporarily filled the slot WTKK-FM, Boston had open when it let talk host Jay Severin go in April of last year.
Michael Juliano Takes Over Director of Sales Role at Entercom Boston. Shuffling in the management at Entercom’s Boston cluster opens up the director of sales position and VP/market manager Jeff Brown announces Michael Juliano is brought in to manage the cluster’s sales efforts. Juliano most recently served as regional vice president of sales for Metro Traffic in the New York and Pennsylvania markets. In his new duties, he’ll oversee all revenue for sports WEEI-AM/FM, news/talk WRKO and rock WAAF as well as the Red Sox Radio Network, the Celtics Radio Network and New England Patriots special programming.
Emmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Raises Funds for Tornado Victims. Emmis Communications news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis partnered with WRTV-TV, Indianapolis to raise funds for the victims of the recent tornados that swept through southern Indiana. The Tornado Relief Drive was done in a “drive-through” method on Tuesday, March 6 with local Jiffy Lube locations taking part. During that 12-hour drive some $46,000 was collected. The money is being distributed via the Salvation Army Indiana Division. The familiar red kettles are continuing to being used at the Jiffy Lube locations. During the Tuesday drive, WIBC-FM personnel were stationed at various locations throughout the city with the red kettles.
GOP Primary Race, Rush Limbaugh Controversy, Intensified Syria Violence, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, Solar Storm Heads to Earth, and Sarah Palin Movie Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/7). The Mitt Romney-Rick Santorum race for the Republican nomination; the aftermath of Rush Limbaugh’s controversial language; the intensified violence against Syria’s citizens; continuing international debate over Iran’s nuclear weapons program; the massive solar storm that could disrupt Earth’s communications systems; and the HBO Sarah Palin movie set to air this weekend were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Bill Bradley Meets George Lucas. SiriusXM is presenting a special program in which former Senator Bill Bradley (l) interviews filmmaker George Lucas (r). The satcaster states during the program “Lucas discusses a variety of topics throughout the interview, including: his evolution as a filmmaker and storyteller and the role technology played on this journey; his philosophy on education in America; what inspired him to make “Red Tails” and the importance of sharing the history of the heroic Tuskegee Airmen with the youngest generation of African-Americans in our country today; and the spiritual life lessons woven into the “Star Wars” saga.
Limbaugh Clarifies Controversial Remarks and Apologizes to Sandra Fluke. Facing mounting critical and advertiser pressure in the aftermath of his harsh commentary about law student Sandra Fluke and her testimony before Congress about birth control (see Friday’s story below), Premiere Networks host Rush Limbaugh has issued the following statement and apology on Saturday evening: “For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke. I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit? In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a presidential level. My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.” There has been no official word from Premiere Networks on advertisers leaving Limbaugh’s program but numerous media reports are indicating that advertisers Sleep Train, Select Comfort, ProFlowers, Quicken Loans, Citrix Systems, Carbonite and Legal Zoom have pulled their ads from the program. NBC News is reporting an e-mail from Select Comfort spokeswoman Gabby Nelson states, “Due to recent commentary by Rush Limbaugh that does not align with our values, we’ve made the decision to immediately suspend all advertising on that program.” According to ABC News, ProFlowers said Sunday on its Facebook page that it has suspended advertising on Limbaugh’s program because his comments about Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke “went beyond political discourse to a personal attack and do not reflect our values as a company.”
Threat of Lawsuit Against Limbaugh Raises Legal Questions for Broadcasters. With Rush Limbaugh’s apology to Sandra Fluke in the rear view mirror, Fluke has told the consumer press she is entertaining the idea of suing Limbaugh for his words against her. Those citizens sympathetic to Fluke (and Democratic politicians willing to use the assault on Fluke as a sort of symbol for all that is wrong with talk media) would like to see a Fluke suit succeed. But TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says a case against Limbaugh is a bit murky due to Fluke’s status in the public eye. Weisman reminds us that the Supreme Court has protected journalists commenting on matters of public concern. “Since the landmark case of New York Times v. Sullivan, it has been recognized that public officials could not successfully sue for defamation unless it could be proven that the journalist acted with actual malice – that is that he or she was aware that what he or she was saying was a lie, or a reckless disregard for the truth.” In that decision Justice Brennan even wrote there is a “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open and that it may well include vehement, caustic and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.” But Sandra Fluke is not a public official, is she? No, but Weisman says, “The Supreme Court has refined the standard to make distinctions between involuntary public figures – those who are always public figures – and people such as Sandra Fluke who are public figures on specific issues. As a limited-purpose public figure, Sandra Fluke has, by testifying, put herself into a position where she can be criticized and commented upon in regard to her stated positions with journalists feeling secure that they can make mistakes in commenting about her testimony without legal liability.” But Weisman says that doesn’t necessarily mean clear sailing for Limbaugh should Fluke proceed with legal action. “The extent of Limbaugh’s comments could be considered, however, to be beyond the permissible when dealing with a limited-purpose public figure. Alternatively, it also could be considered that Limbaugh’s comments could be considered to be indefensible even using the lower standard presented by the malice test because his comments could be interpreted as having been made with malice – that is he knew they were false – or made with a reckless disregard for the truth. Thus there may be some significant liability on Limbaugh’s part in regard to libelous comments that he made about Fluke. Limbaugh may argue that his actions were not to be considered as literal and that they were merely hyperbole. He may also argue in his defense that no one would believe what he said to be accurate which might be a fascinating defense that could ultimately hurt him overall more than losing a defamation claim.”
Accurate Analysis of Talk Media Necessary Before Piling on Conservative Commentators. Consumers – and to some extent industry insiders – have been more than willing to condemn conservative commentators such as Rush Limbaugh (and KFI, Los Angeles’ John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou on the regional level) for language that some may say is, at the very least, not civil. But columnist, Fox News Channel analyst and former Clinton Administration official Kirsten Powers writes that liberals may need to clean up their own house before judging Rush Limbaugh. In her piece, “Rush Limbaugh Isn’t the Only Media Misogynist” published by the Daily Beast, Powers calls it a “war on women” and states, “Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, Matt Taibbi, and Ed Schultz have been waging it for years with their misogynist outbursts.” In the piece, Powers illustrates that liberal political and social commentators have made very similar comments as Rush Limbaugh without liberal groups batting an eye at their transgressions. Powers writes about Bill Maher, “But the grand pooh-bah of media misogyny is without a doubt Bill Maher – who also happens to be a favorite of liberals – who has given $1 million to President Obama’s super PAC. Maher has called Palin a ‘dumb twat’ and dropped the C-word in describing the former Alaska governor.” This raises several interesting points. First, yes, Sarah Palin is a politician and not an innocent 30-year-old law student. See TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman’s analysis of that in the piece above. Second, many see what Bill Maher and Rush Limbaugh do for a living as very different. But that’s really not so. Both are entertainers who comment on social and political issues. It’s true that Maher operates on pay cable and Limbaugh on free, over-the-air radio, but there have been no FCC regulations violated in this case so that comparison is moot. Ultimately what’s very possible the entertainment industry – of which talk media is a part – is seeing is a groundswell of public support for a more civil tone in the nation’s public discourse, even when that discourse comes to them through the vehicle of entertainment.
KFI’s John and Ken to Undergo Cultural Sensitivity Training. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles issued a “Memorandum to the Los Angeles Community” in the wake of the John and Ken-Whitney Houston episode that cost the duo a seven-day suspension. The seven-point memo signed by market manager Greg Ashlock, program director Robin Bertolucci and marketing director Neil Saavedra includes assurance that John Koblyt, Ken Chiampou and “key staff and management” will “participate in cultural sensitivity training furthering their awareness of the cultural melting pot that is Southern California.”
Emmis to Make Case to Avoid Delisting. Six months ago Emmis Communications received notice from the Nasdaq Stock Market LLC its stock had to regain compliance with the $1 minimum bid rule in order to continue to be traded on the market. In a Friday SEC filing, Emmis stated, “The Company has requested a hearing before the Panel, which will stay any delisting action in connection with the Staff Determination and allow the continued listing of the Company’s Class A Common Stock on The Nasdaq Global Select Market until the Panel renders a decision subsequent to the hearing. At the hearing, the Company intends to present a plan to regain compliance with the Rule and request that the Panel allow the Company additional time within which to regain compliance. While the Company believes that it will be able to present a viable plan to regain compliance, there can be no assurance that the Panel will grant the Company’s request for continued listing on The Nasdaq Global Select Market, or that the Company’s plans to exercise diligent efforts to maintain the listing of its securities on Nasdaq will be successful.” That chance to plead its case could come by tomorrow.
Radio Pro Paul Barsky Joins WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale for PM Drive. Paul Barsky has worked extensively in the Philadelphia market at music outlets WMMR-FM, WYSP-FM and WPLY-FM and in other markets as well. Now he’s holding down the PM drive shift at James Crystal’s WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale following lead-in talk star Joyce Kaufman.
WGN, Chicago Whittles “Cubs Song” Entries Down to Three. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago is holding a contest for the “next great Cubs song” to be played before each broadcast of Chicago Cubs play-by-play on the station. It solicited more than 300 entries since the contest was announced and has winnowed that down to the final three: “Cubs Win” by 17 Candle, “Let’s Go Cubbies” by The Fold, and “Rockin’ Right at Wrigley” by Derrick Procell. Now it’s up to voters to hit the WGN website to vote on their favorite. The winner will be announced by AM drive host Jonathon Brandmeier on March 16 and the song will be played live during Brandmeier’s Opening Day broadcast on April 5 from the Captain Morgan Club at Wrigley Field.
White House Responds to Rush Limbaugh’s Take on Georgetown College Student. Premiere Networks talk show host Rush Limbaugh is getting an extraordinary amount of attention from comments made on his program earlier this week. During the program Limbaugh questioned the testimony of Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke who – speaking to the issue of subsidies for birth control – stated that her Catholic university won’t pay for expensive contraception. Weighing in on the issue, Limbaugh said, in part, that the university is, in effect being asked to pay for students to have sex. “What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex, she can’t afford the contraception.” White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama called Ms. Fluke to express his support for her stating her opinion and his regret for the response she received. Republicans and Democrats are now battling over allegations some Democrats and Democratic fundraising organizations are using the issue to raise campaign donations.
Los Angeles African-American Coalition Unhappy with KFI’s Response. Several days after meeting with Clear Channel Los Angeles management about issues of diversity and ethnic insensitivity after the suspension of PM drive team John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou for remarks made about Whitney Houston, a self-described coalition of Black business and media professionals announces it is not satisfied with KFI management’s response in a memorandum titled “We Are Listening” and plans further action. In a press statement, media contact Jasmyne Cannick states the coalition plans to take the issue to Washington. “Consequently, we plan on filing a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission that will include audio and video evidence substantiating our claims that these licensing violations are pervasive and systemic. We are confident President Barack Obama, several local officials as well as members of Congress, and the FCC will agree with our stance that the way Clear Channel is addressing the issue of diversity is disingenuous at best and fraudulent at its worst.” The coalition had asked four areas to be addressed by Clear Channel management: The hiring of more Blacks as on-air talent – full time, weekends, fill-in hosts; Similar to cable outlets, the station should feature paid KFI contributing commentators who can discuss issues with the on-air [talent] from different perspectives; Clear Channel must employ more blacks behind the scenes such as producers, engineers, sales representatives, professionals in marketing and promotions, as well as college interns of color. This is not limited to KFI; and KFI specifically needs to collaborate with online news and entertainment sites owned by African Americans and broaden the listening audience through community outreach events and public affairs. Whether or not this issue becomes a serious PR problem for KFI remains to be seen, but the coalition seems very intent on executing its goals. It states, “What must be reiterated is that Clear Channel’s corporate policies are being completely ignored and lip service can no longer suffice. In the next seven days, we will launch an all-out campaign employing the same tools Clear Channel radio personalities utilize to drive home the point that issues of importance will no longer be placated. Whether it’s employing John and Ken’s ‘Heads on a Stick’ campaign, to launching ‘Political Human Sacrifice 2012,’ all remedies, legal and otherwise, will be exhausted.” At a time when a significant degree of murkiness exists in the understanding of FCC rules pertaining to ethnic equality and programming sensitivity on the part of radio stations and their community critics alike, this brewing situation has the potential to force the clarification of a number of sticky issues including First Amendment guarantees as they apply to broadcasters, the public relations of race, and specific licensing requirements of the FCC.
Talk Media Industry Mourns Passing of Andrew Breitbart. The Conservative digital media mogul and talk media personality died unexpectedly at age 43 early Thursday morning of what appears to have been a heart attack. The conservative side of the talk media industry certainly had a friend in Andrew Breitbart. He was a big fan of conservative talk radio, often appearing on both nationally syndicated and local talk radio programs to discuss political issues. He even guest-hosted programs – most recently subbing for Dial Global’s Dennis Miller just last week. Breitbart’s work creating digital media targeting the conservative political audience made him a news/talk media celebrity as well as a target for those who disagreed with his politics. He’s pictured here reading one of the final print editions of TALKERS magazine at the radio row in New Hampshire prior to that state’s primary election in February.
TALKERS TV EXCLUSIVE: During the recent TALKERS/Talk Radio News Service radio row held in New Hampshire on the eve of the nation’s first presidential primary, TALKERS TV video recorded Emmanuel College (Boston) student broadcaster Joe Horgan interviewing Andrew Breitbart on the college’s internet station. The interview conducted on January 10 presents a superb portrait of Breitbart and his media philosophy. See the video in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.
More Momentum Behind Radio News as Dial Global Teams with NBC for 24-Hour News Product. The term 24-hour news service is slightly misleading. What NBC and Dial Global are offering is not a full 60 minutes of news each hour all day long but top- and bottom-of-the-hour news plus bulletins, live coverage of news events, news feeds, etc. But with the demise Dial Global’s distribution of CNN Radio and that service largely disappearing, this new initiative underscores the resurgence in the demand for news from consumers that’s being exemplified on America’s radio airwaves. In recent years the industry has seen Talk Radio Network collaborate with The Washington Times to produce and syndicate a national morning drive news product out of the Nation’s Capital; TRN subsidiary America’s Radio News Network is currently clearing its successful three-hour, all-news blocks on more than 200 radio stations; CBS Radio bought an FM signal in the Washington-Baltimore area to put its news expertise to the test against Hubbard Broadcasting’s news juggernaut WTOP; Randy Michaels-led Merlin Media is building all-news formats on two major FM signals in New York and Chicago with another in Philadelphia reportedly on the way; and Fox News Radio has been providing a major league level of news and information service to nearly a thousand affiliates (including talkers) for years. Dial Global’s announcement of its collaboration with NBC News to offer a radio news product using its vast resources and high-profile personalities shows it takes radio’s desire for news seriously. NBC News Radio will be distributed to radio stations nationwide by Dial Global beginning April 1 and will give those stations access to the global resources of NBC News including: live simulcasts of breaking news from NBC and MSNBC, and reports from top NBC News correspondents including NBC News political director and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd, chief Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, chief Justice Department correspondent Pete Williams and senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers. NBC News Radio will also feature Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News” and David Gregory, host of “Meet the Press.” The development shows that at a time when many Americans are getting more and more of their news from internet sources, a case can be made that news radio – especially news radio consumed in the auto – is more important than ever to many people. This current state and its future potential sparks the need for new and creative ways beyond merely “reading the story” in which to present news and information content. Along with that come opportunities for creative talent – experienced in what captivates radio listeners – to put their skills to the test in taking radio news into the future.
KIRO-FM, Seattle Develops New Weekend Talk Show About Local Music. In cooperation with Seattle Weekly, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle announces the debut of “Seattle Sounds,” airing Sunday afternoons from 3:00 to 4:00. The show is co-hosted by Josh Kerns and Seattle Weekly music editor Chris Kornelis and is described as telling the “story behind the music – they dive deep into the artists who perform the music, explain why the music is gaining such traction, and discover bands who warrant attention. The program features live performances, interviews with artists, and weekly contests to attend some of the region’s hottest shows. ‘Seattle Sounds’ provides a new, uniquely-Northwest experience for audiophiles who want something more than just the Top 40 on shuffle.” KIRO-FM program director Larry Gifford says, “We are very excited to team up with Seattle Weekly to give music fans in the Northwest a weekly conversation about what’s new, what’s trending and what’s worth checking out when it comes to the local music scene. It is a terrific addition to 97.3 KIRO-FM’s All New ‘Learn, Laugh, Relax Weekend lineup.’”
Colleagues Mourn Passing of Former KOMO Radio and TV News Personality Eric Slocum. Former co-workers at Fisher Broadcasting’s KOMO, Seattle and KOMO-TV are mourning the unexpected death of former news anchor Eric Slocum who passed away last Saturday at age 54. Reports indicate he had suffered from depression in recent years and the death was ruled a suicide. Slocum started his career in radio but moved to KOMO-TV. He left the TV side in 2001 and returned to news/talk KOMO. He left the station in 2008.
Compass Media Networks Offers Big 10 Hoops Tourney for Third Consecutive Year. As the college basketball tournament season approaches, Compass Media Networks announces it is distributing play-by-play of the Big 10 Men’s Basketball Tournament beginning Thursday, March 8 and running through Sunday, March 11. The games are being distributed to satellite radio and terrestrial radio including major affiliates such as WFAN, New York. CMN’s broadcast team includes: Matt “Money” Smith from KLAC, Los Angeles who is partnered with former NBA star Rick Mahorn; and Drew Bontadelli who calls play-by-play with former college hoops star Mike Wozniak.
CBS Radio’s Altitude Group Names Marilou McFarlane VP of Strategic Partnerships. The Altitude Group is CBS Radio’s marketing wing that focuses on creating unique advertising programs to help grow client brands and customer engagement. The company says Altitude uses the power of CBS Radio’s 130 major market stations combined with all available digital distribution channels to execute big ideas for advertisers so they can reach their customers in any and every way. Marilou McFarlane, based in San Francisco, will use the group’s best practices to develop new business in markets up and down the west coast. McFarlane has worked for Clear Channel, CBS Radio in the past as well as developed her own media and marketing consultancy firm, McFarlane Marketing LLC. Additionally, she launched Vivo Girls Sports, Inc., an online community for girls 13-24 years old who are passionate about sports and live a healthy active lifestyle.
WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Fill-in Host Wayne Powers Runs for County Commissioner. Wayne Powers has been a regular fill-in host at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte for the past four years. He announces he’s removing himself from the station’s roster in order to run as a Republican for a seat on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners.
GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 27 – March 2. According to ongoing research from TALKERS, the GOP primaries and the 2012 presidential race was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart. Coming in at #2 was Iran tensions tied with the North Korea nuclear program deal. At #3 was the state of the economy and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress and at #4 was rising gas prices. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Independently syndicated “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman” joins the weekend lineup at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles…..KGO, San Francisco-based weekend talk host Karel gets his Sunday 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm program added to the lineup at KJFK, Reno…..Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” featuring Eric Harley and Gary McNamara picks up affiliates WLS, Chicago; WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; and WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with host Chris Markowski is picked up by KIVA, Albuquerque…..“Beyond the Beltway” with host Bruce DuMont is added to the program schedule at WATX, Cookeville, Tennessee…..The DirecTV-produced and Premiere Networks-distributed Nick and Artie show featuring Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange adds CBS Radio’s WIP-AM, Philadelphia.
Opinion: Phil Valentine Says Fear of Offending is Lethal to Talk Show Hosts. Dial Global talk show host Phil Valentine responds to TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer stating just the fear of offending someone puts all talk hosts on a slippery slope and the latest “guidelines” from the Asian American Journalists Association take it to an absurd extreme. Read Phil’s piece here.
Harris Poll of “America’s Favorite News Personalities” Sure to Cause a Stir; Diane Sawyer America’s Fave, Rush Limbaugh Not. This recent poll of 2,016 American adults conducted by Harris Interactive lumps a list of 26 news anchors, interviewers and radio and television talk show hosts into one broad category – “news and current affairs personalities” – and asks the subjects which three are their favorites and which three are their least favorites. The results? Diane Sawyer, Anderson Cooper, Brian Williams and Bill O’Reilly (tied with Barbara Walters) land in the top four spots for favorite. In the least favorite category, Rush Limbaugh, Nancy Grace, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity fill the top four spots. The fact that news anchors and talk show hosts are lumped together for the purposes of this poll is interesting. At TALKERS, we consider them very different animals. One has to wonder how many typical media consumers consider the duties Diane Sawyer handles on a daily basis and what Rush Limbaugh does on his program to be the same or similar (even though Limbaugh often refers to himself as “America’s Anchorman!”) Breaking down the results by political affiliation shows the following results: Among Republicans the four favorites are Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Limbaugh and Diane Sawyer. Among Democrats the four favorites are: Sawyer, Anderson Cooper, Brian Williams (tied for second), and Barbara Walters. What may be the most interesting facet of this poll from a statistical standpoint is independents ranked their top four favorites the same as the “general population”: Sawyer, Cooper, Williams and O’Reilly. If you landed high on the least favorite side of this poll, it apparently doesn’t necessarily hurt your listenership/viewership. While CNN’s AC 360 (Anderson Cooper’s prime time show) garnered 648,000 total viewers (average) during November of last year according to Nielsen, Rush Limbaugh’s estimated weekly cume during the same period was more than 15 million, according to TALKERS. These are not the same measurement systems but the difference is stark, nonetheless. Back to cable/news talk for a moment; MSNBC’s Ed Schultz beat CNN’s AC 360 (head-to-head competition) in the November ’11 Nielsens with 944,000 total viewers. However, Ed Schultz wasn’t even offered as one of the 26 “news and current affairs personalities” to those taking the poll. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was included in the poll. She came in tied for seventh favorite with 7% of all respondents naming her their fave.
Entercom Kansas City Drops Classical for Business Talk Radio on KUDL. Entercom plans to drop the classical music on KUDL 1660 – Radio Bach – and will turn the station to a business talk-formatted outlet as early as this week with an official start on March 5, according to local reports. Former KMBZ talk host Mike Shanin is expected to host an 11:00 am to 1:00 pm program and, according to Bottom Line Communications, the station will be closely aligned with and cross-promoted by sister news/talk KMBZ-AM/FM. While there is no official word from Entercom Kansas City, it’s being reported the station will carry programming from the Wall Street Journal Radio Network, Bloomberg Radio and is developing more local programming. Entercom donated its classical music library to Kansas Public Radio and University of Kansas.
Black Leaders in Southern California Still Upset with John and Ken. KFI, Los Angeles PM drive hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou returned to the air yesterday after a seven-day suspension for using the words “crack ho” while discussing the death of Whitney Houston. There are black leaders in Los Angeles still upset the duo have not been fired and the Los Angeles Times reports California State Senator Curren D. Price, Jr. was one of a number of black leaders scheduled to meet with Clear Channel management yesterday before John and Ken took to the air. Citing the duo’s penchant for controversy, the leaders are asking for KFI to replace them. Senator Price is quoted in the Times saying, “There are many thoughtful and talented journalists in Southern California. KFI-AM needs to replace John and Ken with some of them. I’m sure their radio sponsors will be grateful.”
Photographer Takes Radio Station to the Court of Public Opinion. Harrison Strategies senior partner and broadcasting attorney Matthew B. Harrison writes that it is important to know more about intellectual property law than just enough to avoid litigation. Disputes involving intellectual property aren’t always played out civilly within the established legal system. Brawls are erupting in the Wild West of social networking, where threats of litigation don’t have much standing and unconventional is the nature of attacks. Read Harrison’s column here.
CBS Sports Network Debuts; Jim Rome Debuts April 3. The CBS Sports Network is up and running in time for the college basketball post-season. CBS’ new cable and satellite channel will attempt to capitalize on CBS’ long history of sports programming and will use personality-based shows to try to compete with ESPN. Premiere Networks talk radio star Jim Rome is leaving ESPN to take his cable TV show to CBS Sports Network beginning April 3. Veteran television and radio sports personality Tim Brando’s 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET daily radio talk show on Yahoo! Sports Radio is being simulcast on the new channel.
“America’s Healthcare Advocate” Hits 60 Affiliate Mark. The Kansas City-based “America’s Healthcare Advocate” show hosted by Cary Hall announces it is now heard on 60 affiliate stations across the country. Hall states, “If you would have asked me seven years ago whether this show would be nationally syndicated on 60 stations coast to coast, I would have said, ‘impossible!’ It’s amazing to me how we continue to grow. Obviously the ongoing debate over PPACA (aka ObamaCare) has generated a tremendous amount of interest in our broadcast. Additionally, the informative shows we are able to do with nationally recognized experts in the health insurance and healthcare industries make us the go-to source across the country for information on these topics.”
GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, New WikiLeaks Release, Oscars and Ohio School Shooting Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/27). The GOP primaries on the eve of the Michigan and Arizona primaries, the continuing concern over Iran’s nuclear weapons program, WikiLeaks’ release of e-mails from a U.S. security firm, the Academy Awards and the shooting at an Ohio high school that left one student dead were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Irish Eyes Are Smilin’. Irish Radio Network USA chairman and CEO Adrian Flannelly (r) and his wife and Irish News Network VP and executive producer Aine Sheridan (c) will be honored with the 2012 Ambassador of Ireland Award to be presented by the Saint Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke and the Republic of Ireland on Sunday, March 18, 2012 at the Yankee Pedlar Inn in Holyoke, Massachusetts by Consul General Michael Lonergan. Seated at left is Springfield City Councilor, former WHYN, Springfield talk show host and member of the Ambassador’s Award committee Kateri Walsh appearing on Flannelly’s program to announce this year’s recipients. The Ambassador’s Award recognizes individuals whose activities have brought the people of the United States and Ireland closer together. Flannelly and Sheridan are being honored together as a husband and wife whose professional careers personify that bridge-between-people that this prestigious award represents.
GOP Candidates Flocking to Talk Radio in Close Primary Race. In a piece on Mitt Romney’s talk radio appearances in Michigan and Arizona prior to tomorrow’s primaries in those states at Politico yesterday (2/26), writer Keach Hagey speaks with local and national talk show hosts on candidates’ use of talk radio during a campaign like this. The piece notes that Romney has historically been a bit aloof towards talk radio – unlike Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich – but with the race with Santorum particularly close, he’s been all over the medium. Hagey quotes TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison offering the reason for this turn of events. “When they’re ahead, they don’t like going on talk radio because they are afraid of making a mistake, and talk radio is a wonderful place for making a mistake. If he were clearly the front-runner, then he would do less talk radio.” During a GOP primary race when candidates are speaking to core voters on conservative talk radio-formatted stations, they use the medium to differentiate themselves from the others. Hagey’s piece quotes Santorum national communications director Hogan Gidley saying, “Mitt Romney’s well-funded attack machine is on their seek-and-destroy mission, and talk radio is often the avenue Rick Santorum uses to dispel those false accusations. We have been on talk radio probably more than any of the other candidates combined.” With the Michigan and Arizona primaries tomorrow, Talk Radio Network-syndicated “America’s Morning News” with John McCaslin and Dana Mills is the beneficiary with interviews with Mitt Romney at 8:15 am today and Rick Santorum at 8:30 am.
INNOVATIVE MODEL SET FOR NEW MEDIA SEMINAR 2012. Plans have been set for the 15th annual installment of the New Media Seminar, the longest-running, largest and most important annual talk media industry convention. This year’s version marks the innovative launch of an updated model sensitive to the tough economic and stressful conditions of the times. Significant restructuring has been applied to lower the costs of registration, accommodations and travel as well as moving the event from the weekend to a weekday. According to TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, “Both conferences will be national in scope and regional in flavor, a recipe that worked amazingly well at last year’s successful experiment, the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum.”
NMS 2012 will consist of two one-day conferences. The first will be held in New York City on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side. The second – presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club – will take place on Thursday, October 11 in Los Angeles at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.
According to Harrison, “We learned a tremendous amount at last year’s ‘happening’ in L.A. There is something very exciting, fulfilling and productive about one single, power-packed day with no time-wasting fat or money-wasting frills. It was executed purposefully under the radar to test the waters for this new model on a national scale and it succeeded beyond our wildest expectations, reaching maximum registration capacity in a matter of days. Although the New Media Seminar has actually grown consistently larger and has been a sell-out every year of its existence, we recognize that conditions are such that a change would eventually be necessary as well as beneficial to the working person in our business – at least during this stressful period of tight budgets and high industry economic uncertainty. At TALKERS we insist on being ahead of the curve. Industry conferences need to include and be accessible to professionals in the trenches as well as the corporate elite. This new model is a gift to the business.”
Because quick sell-outs for each event are expected, registration will be limited to working media. For registration and sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Further details, agenda updates and hotel information will be announced in the coming days here at Talkers.com and in the TALKERS morning headlines e-mailer. Stay tuned!
NPR Announces Promotions and New Executive Structure. NPR promotes Kinsey Wilson to the position executive vice president and chief content officer and makes Margaret Low Smith the senior vice president of NPR news, a position she’s been serving in the “acting” vein since last January. NPR president and CEO Gary Knell states, “This is a time of great opportunity for NPR and our member stations. In Kinsey and Margaret we have two journalists, strategists and leaders with a keen understanding of the craft that distinguishes NPR – and how we must continue to innovate and evolve. Our collective aim is to work with stations to become an unrivaled leader in news and cultural coverage that reaches all Americans, no matter how they tune in.” Wilson has been with NPR since 2008 as SVP and general manager of digital media. NPR also announces Eric Nuzum steps permanently into the vice president for programming role. Plus, vice president of diversity in news & operations Keith Woods is charged with broadening with member stations to support public radio’s drive for greater diversity in its audience, staffing and content. Woods will work closely with vice president for membership and audience partnership Joyce MacDonald.
Ric Edelman’s Weekly Financial Talk Show Clears KFI, Los Angeles. “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman” – the nationally syndicated financial talk show hosted by one of the nation’s top-ranked financial advisors – is added to the weekend lineup at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles airing Sundays from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Edelman’s program is now heard in 54 markets, including 25 of the top 30 markets. Edelman says. “I’m excited to join KFI’s outstanding lineup and look forward to bringing financial education to so many people in Southern California.”
KGO, San Francisco Makes Changes to Weekend Schedule; More News Content Added. Responding to listener feedback, the Cumulus Media Group station announces changes to its weekend schedule that includes the addition of traffic reports every 10 minutes plus live weather reports with ABC 7 meteorologists to serve listeners out in their cars on the weekend. News and program director Brian Hosley announces two new programs: “Cooking with Ryan Scott,” airing Saturdays from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and “The Monty Show,” hosted by Tim Montemayor and airing from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Hosley says Montemayor’s show will address local and timely issues. Montemayor is an East Bay resident who has worked in Los Angeles, Chicago and St. Louis as well as being syndicated nationally with Sporting News Radio. “He is a self-proclaimed ‘news junkie’ and is excited to talk with listeners about the stories that matter to them most.”
Cox Media Group’s WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia Prepares for Martha Zoller’s Congressional Run. The station positioned as “Bulldog 103.7” – Cox Media Group’s talk and sports hybrid WXKT-FM – is running a contest for a fill-in for “one of our most popular hosts” who “will be occupied for a few months.” The station doesn’t mention Martha Zoller by name but the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon host has said she’ll run as a Republican for the new congressional seat created by population changes and redistricting. The station is asking, “Do you have strong ties to the Gainesville area? Do you keep abreast of local, state and national issues? Can you have civil discussions with those who hold differing viewpoints? Can you keep talking and keep it interesting for hours on end? Then Bulldog 103.7 has a microphone with your name on it.” Applicants must write the station and in 100 words or less tell why they should get the gig.
Clear Channel’s Hartford Sports Talkers Split Affiliation. The new FM sports talk station Clear Channel Media and Entertainment put on the air recently – WUCS 97.9 FM ESPN – has been simulcasting with AM sister WPOP. Beginning March 5, WPOP will break off from the simulcast and affiliate with Fox Sports Radio. It will also carry the DirecTV-produced and Premiere Networks-distributed Dan Patrick show.
Opinion: Richard Neer Responds to Phil Valentine. Regarding the debate over the use of terms or phrases on broadcasts or in print historically regarded as ethnic slurs, TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer responds to Dial Global Nashville-based talk host Phil Valentine who wrote this opinion piece called “Controlling the Language” published by TALKERS on Friday (2/24). Valentine was responding to Neer’s original column published last week here. In his response, Neer contests the notion that “words can’t hurt” and points out humanity’s tendency toward ethnic pride as one of the underlying reasons why ethnic slurs exist in the first place. Read Neer’s piece here.
Big Promotion for John Hogan; Exec Moves Up to Chairman and CEO for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. Clear Channel Media Holdings continues to express its confidence in the man who was promoted from COO to president and CEO of Clear Channel Radio in 2002 after the departure of Randy Michaels. In announcing John Hogan’s promotion and contract extension through 2015, the company touts Hogan’s record of developing the creative and successful integration of sales, promotional and programming initiatives across multiple platforms. Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman states, “Under John’s strong leadership and vision, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has integrated the company’s assets so that it is today the leading media and entertainment company in the U.S. with a greater reach than any other radio or television outlet. It provides a one-of-a-kind national platform for partners in addition to the powerful local activation market by market and demo by demo.” Hogan says, “I am pleased and honored to be named to this position, which is a clear endorsement of the soundness of our strategy, the value of our assets, and the depth of the incredible team we are building here. I appreciate the energy and vision that Bob Pittman has brought to the organization and look forward to pursuing with Bob the vision we share as we continue to push the boundaries of the definition of entertainment, giving our audience what they want now and in the future.”
Bill Thomas Out as Market Manager at Cumulus Birmingham. Cumulus Media Group regional manager John Walker is set to oversee the Birmingham cluster in addition to his responsibility for the Huntsville stations after the departure of Bill Thomas. There’s no reason to believe that the ongoing legal battle between WJOX-FM, Birmingham personality Paul Finebaum and the company is the sole reason for Thomas’ exit but the possibility exists that Thomas’ role in how the situation was handled could have been a factor. Remember that Finebaum claims he was strong-armed by Thomas into signing a contract amendment that was less beneficial to him. That set the legal wheels in motion that includes Cumulus’ recent decision to countersue Finebaum claiming he violated his contract by engaging in negotiations with a competitor and sharing confidential company information.
Journal Broadcast Group Reports Positive Q4; Slight Uptick for 2011. On the strength of increasing automotive in the fourth quarter of 2011, Journal Broadcast Group reports a revenue increase of 2.3%. For the entire year, Journal’s revenue rose 1.6% on $70.4 million compared to 2010. While those numbers aren’t staggering, they beat the negative reports that had become so common over the past few years. Interestingly, unlike many other radio groups, Journal notes the fourth quarter of 2011 was its best quarter.
Phil Hendrie Ends Local KFI, Los Angles Saturday Show; Busy TV Schedule Cited. Los Angeles-based radio and television talent Phil Hendrie tweets to fans he is ending his KFI, Los Angeles-only Saturday evening show after this weekend’s performance due to the increasing amount of TV work he’s getting combined with his nightly radio show syndicated by Talk Radio Network. Radio trade AllAccess.com reports it has confirmed the news. Hendrie is doing voice work on Fox Television’s “Napoleon Dynamite” and has upcoming work on Fox’s “New Girl.” Hendrie thanks KFI program director Robin Bertolucci and the KFI staff for their help with the weekend show.
CBS Radio’s WQYK, Tampa Changes Midday Show. “The King David Show” featuring Toby David and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Shaun King is off the air at CBS Radio’s 1010 Sports (WQYK), according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Tom Jones. Jones reports that WQYK assistant program director Mike Pepper says the station is airing Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brando in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot for now but would like to fill that hole with a local show. The station needs time to find the right show. He didn’t rule out either David or King being part of the station in the future. Toby David tells the paper, “I appreciated the time I worked with Shaun and have a great amount of respect for him. I also enjoyed working at CBS Radio and have nothing but the utmost respect for those people and I hope to land on my feet locally.”
CCME Announces National Imaging Team. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment organizes the imaging of its radio formats under the Kelly Doherty-led National Programming Platforms group. The function of this reorganization is to create 15 format-specific imaging coordinator positions and those experts will “produce and distribute compelling and diverse on-air promotional audio spots for Clear Channel’s National Programming initiatives, including format-specific creative efforts across iHeartRadio, Artist Integration Programs and large-scale contests and events including the iHeartRadio Music Festival.” Doherty states, “This team includes the top producers in each format. The talent, expertise and ingenuity that this new Imaging Team brings together is unmatched and I am excited to lead such a top-notch group.” Scott Stanley is named news/talk imaging coordinator and Bob Schmidt is the sports imaging coordinator.
Thaddeus Matthews Off the Air at WPLX, Memphis After Court Ruling. The case involving Memphis talk host Thaddeus Matthews and WPLX, Memphis owner William Pollack took another turn recently after Chancellor Arnold Goldin of the Shelby County Court denied an injunction Matthews had sought to continue broadcasting his program on WPLX. Matthews made national news with a YouTube broadcast video of his on-air encounter with Republican congressional candidate Charlotte Bergmann which ended with Matthews refusing to shake Bergmann’s hand because he didn’t want her “whiteness” to rub off on him. According to The Commercial Appeal, last week’s court ruling revolved around a dispute over money owed by Matthews to Pollack. Matthews leases the time from Pollack and the latter claims he’s owed in excess of $85,000 in fees. Matthews disputes that figure and vows to continue his legal battle while broadcasting his program on the internet.
Rob Otto Joins WCAR, Livonia, Michigan in Sports Director Role. Detroit sports media pro Rob Otto joins Birach Broadcasting’s WCAR, Livonia (west of Detroit) as sports director for the reformatted station positioned as ESPN 1090, according to Michiguide.com. The site reports Otto “will also be tasked with providing local, on-air sports updates for WCAR and helping the station establish local programming and marketing. He’ll also be moving his sports-related blog from MLive.com to ESPN 1090’s website at espn1090.com.” Otto has worked in the Detroit market at WXYT-FM, WWJ, WDFN and WHMI-FM.
Opinion: Talk Host Phil Valentine Says Prohibition of Ethnic References Reeks of Controlling the Language. Nashville-based Dial Global syndicated talk host Phil Valentine responds to TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer’s column (When it Comes to Ethnic Slurs, Just Don’t Go There, 2/23/12) that in this age of political correctness, what is said or written in the media – the ESPN/Jeremy Lin case is a great example – doesn’t have to actually be offensive, it just has to sound that way. Read Phil’s column here.
GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 20 – 24. The GOP primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign tied atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week. The primary and the issues surrounding the campaign that leads up to the November 5 general election were #1 for the fourth consecutive week. Landing at #2 was Iran’s nuclear ambitions. At #3 was rising gas prices at U.S. pumps and at #4 was the protest in Afghanistan over the desecration of Korans at a U.S. base. The Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio is published each week at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. See the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup. Dial Global’s “Overnight America with Jon Grayson” picks up KFWB, Los Angeles for the 10:00 pm to 3:00 am slot…..Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” is added for the overnight slot at WPRO, Providence…..“Motley Fool Money” with host Chris Hill adds KPQ, Wenatchee, Washington and KPSF, Palm Springs – Money Radio 1200.
Hot Rumor! Dial Global’s Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz are cooperating to deliver a one-two punch of top progressive talk radio. TALKERS columnist Mona Lipschitz reports her sources indicate two of the industry’s biggest progressive talk radio hosts – both syndicated by Dial Global and currently distributed live at the same time – are agreeing to be heard live back-to-back in order to give affiliates six straight hours of quality lib talk! Read more here.
Non-Com WAMU-FM, Washington News Director Resigns on Principle. Depending on whom you ask, former WAMU-FM, Washington news director Jim Asendio is either a very principled journalist or a relic of the past. Asendio resigned from the popular public radio station as news director after learning that some of his reporters were to attend a get-together with high-profile donors and he was expected to attend as well. Asendio tells the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple that, after learning about the “major station event” and indicating to management that he would not attend because it broke down the “firewall” between the journalistic and the business aspects of operating the station, he was told his refusal would signal he was not part of the team and that would be a problem. Instead, Asendio chose to resign his position. Licensee American University has no comment on the matter and Asendio says he wishes his newsroom “all the success.”
Opinion: When it Comes to Ethnic Slurs, Just Don’t Go There. In his latest column, TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer writes that American broadcasting standards are changing. Anyone who is on the air or writes for broadcast has to be especially aware of and sensitive to words and phrases that can be interpreted as ethnic slurs. As the recent cases involving sports media giant ESPN and New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin and KFI, Los Angeles’ John and Ken and the death of Whitney Houston illustrate, there are no more excuses for not “getting it.” Read more here.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Premiere Networks’ Delilah, Fox Sports Radio’s Deb Carson and Greater Media’s Sheri Lynch Among 2012 Gracie Award Winners. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces the 2012 national winners of the 37th Annual Gracie Awards to be presented on May 22 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. The Gracies recognize “exemplary programming created for women, by women and about women in all facets of media and entertainment, as well as individuals who have made contributions to the industry. The awards program also encourages the realistic and multifaceted portrayal of women in entertainment, news, features and other programs.” MSNBC star Rachel Maddow is being recognized in the “Outstanding Host – News/Non-Fiction” category. Premiere Networks late-night radio host Delilah is named the winner in the “Outstanding Host – Entertainment/Information” category. Fox Sports Radio national sports anchor Deb Carson wins for “Outstanding Reporter/Correspondent.” Greater Media Charlotte-based talk host Sheri Lynch (of the Bob & Sheri show) wins for the Sheri Lynch Commencement Address in the “Outstanding Talk Show – Entertainment/Information” category.
Legendary Actress Hosting South Florida Talk Show. Show biz star Jo Ann Pflug – you probably remember her from her role as Lt. Maria “Dish” Schneider in the movie M*A*S*H – hosts a weekend talk show on Seaview Radio based at WSVU, North Palm Beach, Florida. Her unique show on this standards station targets the demo beautifully. TALKERS columnist Mona Lipschitz writes about Ms. Pflug’s show, and the station, in her latest column here.
CKWX, Vancouver Traffic Reporter Bruce Williams Dies Unexpectedly. Bruce Williams was a longtime traffic reporter and air personality at Rogers Media’s CKWX, Vancouver BC. He had been treated for colon cancer in 2010 but recovered quickly and returned to work at News 1130. Station program director Treena Wood states, “We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to Bruce’s family at this difficult time, and our hearts and thoughts are with them.” Vice president and general manager Geoff Poulton said, “Bruce will be remembered for his humility and as the first to lend a hand. He was the calm voice of reason for the afternoon commute, and will be deeply missed by all the entire Rogers Radio family and his loyal listeners.”
SRN’s Dennis Prager Does Live Event in Torrance, California on Sunday. The Salem Radio Network talk show host will appear at the James Armstrong Theater in Torrance, California on Sunday, February 26 to deliver a presentation titled, “Happiness is not a feeling: It’s a moral obligation.” The event is produced by the Torrance Cultural Arts Foundation and sponsored locally by Toyota Motor Sales USA. TCAF promotes Dennis Prager’s presentation stating, “One of America’s most popular speakers, Dennis Prager is truly a 21st century Renaissance Man. He’s a syndicated columnist and radio show host, bestselling author, a classical-music conductor, even a respected authority on morality, religion and happiness. Dennis comes to the Armstrong for another of his entertaining and enlightening speeches… reminding us that Happiness is not a feeling: It’s a moral obligation.”
GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Syria Violence Claims Journalists, Afghanistan Protests, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, and Rising Gas Prices Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/22). The looming Michigan and Arizona GOP primaries and last night’s Republican debate in Phoenix; the ongoing violence in Syria and the deaths of two journalists there; continuing protests in Afghanistan over the desecration of a Koran at a U.S. military base; Iran’s nuclear ambitions; and rising gas prices in the United States were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Unapologetic Progressive Talk Media Star Ed Schultz Wins Hubert Humphrey Award from Teachers Union; Forging Ahead Undaunted in Election Year. Progressive talk media icon Ed Schultz – seen nightly on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” and heard daily on his nationally syndicated Dial Global radio program – recently accepted the 2012 Hubert Humphrey Humanitarian Award from the United Federation of Teachers at the organization’s Social Studies Conference on February 4. Schultz was recognized for his work backing the stance of teachers unions in 2011. Schultz says, “I’m just excited to receive this award and I’m very appreciative of the recognition. We’ve worked hard in supporting teachers and public education and to have my name on the same plaque with Hubert Humphrey is certainly an honor.” Schultz tells TALKERS magazine he makes no apologies for the fact that he operates a political talk show and he sees his role as disseminating the truth about President Obama’s record. “I think people listening to liberal talk want to see the president defended. There’s been so much negativity…I think we end up becoming a filtering house on what is the truth and what is the record.” From an industrial standpoint, Schultz says he believes his program has all the elements it needs to keep an audience interested and he points to his nine years of success as proof. He takes the opportunity to question the political motives of major broadcasting operators. “There are companies out there that will not program any type of progressive talk. You have a ceiling of maybe 100 stations, you have some independent owners out there…it’s still a right-wing industry. Whether it’s Obama’s re-election campaign, no candidate is going to change the landscape of who owns signals.” Schultz’s anger about the misconceptions he believes the radio industry holds about the potential of progressive talk is hard to miss. He tells TALKERS, “Don’t give me this garbage that we don’t sell because we do, and I’m tired of that conversation. I was supposed to last 90 days; I’m in year number nine.”
KFI, Los Angeles Suspends John and Ken for Whitney Houston Comments. The Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan tips TALKERS that Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles is suspending PM drive duo John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou for comments about Whitney Houston. The station says, “Effective immediately, KFI AM 640 hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou have been suspended for making insensitive and inappropriate comments about the late Whitney Houston. KFI AM 640 management does not condone, support or tolerate statements of this kind.” John Kobylt says in the statement, “We made a mistake and we accept the station’s decision. We used language that was inappropriate and we sincerely apologize to our listeners and to the family of Ms. Houston.” During a discussion of Houston’s passing and reported drug abuse John Kobylt said, “At some point you’re just sick of it all, and so is everybody else in the industry. All her friends and hangers on, everybody who knew had to deal with her. It’s like ‘Ah Jesus…here comes the crack ho again, what’s she gonna do? Ah look at that she’s doin’ handstands next to the pool. Very good crack ho…’ After while everybody’s exhausted. And then you find out she’s dead. It’s like, ‘Really? Took this long?’” The station reports John and Ken will return to the air on February 27.
Clear Channel Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Embroiled in Bizarre Legal Tangle Stemming from Alleged Hit-and-Run. KTRH, Houston talk show host and former Houston city councilman Michael Berry is being accused of hitting another car outside a bar in Houston and taking off. The accuser is the owner of the car that got hit but the complicating circumstances are the pub in question is a well-known gay bar in the city and the establishment’s security cameras appear to confirm the conservative Berry was inside the bar. What’s complicating the issue further is the allegation the city’s hit-and-run division did not investigate the incident fully, perhaps because it involved Berry. KPRC-TV reports the Harris County District Attorney’s office met with Houston Police Department officials for three hours on February 16 asking officers involved why a full investigation wasn’t done. Police are being asked to reinvestigate the matter. Berry said on his radio show that he can’t talk about it but that listeners should “just trust that there are two sides to every story.” At issue according to KPRC-TV is that several witnesses say they told police they saw Berry behind the wheel but authorities maintain they were not told that during the initial investigation after which they decided not to file charges.
The Fox News-Media Matters Battle Heats Up; The Daily Caller Reports MM’s Tax Exempt Status Under Scrutiny. The non-profit Media Matters for America organization makes no bones about its campaign against Fox News and its programming. In May of last year the organization created the DropFox.com website designed to convince advertisers to end marketing campaigns on the cable news/talk channel. Now, The Hollywood Reporter writes that Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel-founded The Daily Caller is supplying Fox News with “ammunition” from its own reporting alleging Media Matters “coordinates its messages with the White House, a no-no for a tax-exempt organization that claims to be nonpartisan.” The Daily Caller also claims Republican lawmakers are looking into the tax status of Media Matters. Tucker Carlson is a regular contributor to Fox News Channel and this relationship led the news and opinion blog Mediaite to ask if Fox and The Daily Caller are working to together to which Fox told Mediaite, “There is absolutely no coordination with The Daily Caller” and Fox doesn’t know what is motivating Carlson’s timing on the reporting. The Daily Caller promises the next in the series about Media Matters alleges the organization has written scripts for NBC News.
Stacy Taylor Weekend Program to Leave KGO, San Francisco. Rich Lieberman 415 Media reports San Diego-based talk host Stacy Taylor is off the weekend schedule at Cumulus Media Group’s KGO, San Francisco. Lieberman says Taylor told him, “I’m disappointed, but that’s the way the business is today.” Taylor’s Saturday and Sunday afternoon program – which will air the final editions this weekend – is reportedly being replaced by a newsier program hosted by the station’s Pat Thurston. Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story stated that Christine Craft was a co-host of the Stacy Taylor program and was also let go from KGO. Craft is a fill-in host at KGO — not affiliated with Taylor — and remains at the station in that capacity. TALKERS regrets the error.
“Coast To Coast AM” Host George Noory Helps Raise Funds for Contributor’s Medical Bills. The host of the Premiere Networks late night program learned that frequent expert guest Mitch Barros – a weather/earth science reporter and creator of the “Earth Changes Media” podcast – was dealing with dreadful medical bills due to his newborn daughter Sophia’s heart complications. George Noory enlisted the help of his loyal listeners and helped raise more than $18,000 to help Barros pay the outstanding bill. Noory states, “I want to thank the “Coast to Coast AM” listeners for their generosity. Thanks to them, Mitch and his family can focus on what matters most – Sophia’s continued health and wellness.”
WOR, New York Celebrates 90 Years on the Air. Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, New York is celebrating its 90th year on the air in the New York City area. The station first signed on February 22, 1922 from Bamberger’s Department Store in Newark, New Jersey. Vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley says, “From the moment we first signed on the air with a broadcast of Al Jolson’s ‘April Showers,’ generations of listeners have counted on WOR for the best in information and entertainment. We are not only proud of our rich history, but also of our present stature as one of the top talk stations in the country and home of New York morning radio’s top-rated show. The years ahead look brighter than ever for WOR.” The station says it will commemorate its 90 years of continuous broadcasting by airing a series of archival audio pieces over the next week and a half, as well as remembrances and reflections from its current air staff. A larger celebration is being planned for later this year.
Ronnie “Night Train” Lane Exits Genesis’ WHBO, Tampa. Afternoon “Prime Time” co-host Ronnie “Night Train” Lane has been let go by Genesis Communications’ sports talk WHBO, Tampa. Lane tells the Tampa Bay Times he was very surprised by the move. “I asked if the decision was performance based. And all I was told was ‘We’re taking the show in another direction.’ That’s all I got. That’s all I was told.” Host Tom Krasniqi continues hosting the PM drive show solo. The two had been together co-hosting the show for the past 18 months. Last summer the station let third personality, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Mark Carrier, go from the program.
Conservative Talk Radio Documentary Getting Attention (and Ratings!) on Public TV in Milwaukee. Former talk radio producer and talk show host Brien Farley’s new documentary film “Liberty or Lies?” examines the popularity of conservative talk radio in the Milwaukee market. The film was initially a graduate level independent study that took off and eventually found a home on Milwaukee Public Television where a two-hour version of the film premiered on January 30 from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm and aired again on February 4. Interestingly, Farley’s work on the film began just before Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Republican state officials faced recall elections in 2011 that put the state in the center of the national discourse about public policy relative to public workers’ labor rights. Farley’s film covers talk radio in the market from the perspectives of its biggest local stars, its biggest media critics and many perspectives in between. He tells TALKERS that local response to the film has been excellent noting that public television audience research firm TRAC Media Services reported the film garnered a 2.7 share for the January 30 airing. Farley is an admitted fan of the format and says he believes the Milwaukee news/talk stations serve the market well. “I think the Milwaukee market is a fantastic example of the vibrancy and power of news/talk radio when done right. The programmers at WISN and WTMJ are very tuned into their audiences and responsive to what the people want…which is the real power of the news/talk format. They’ve also corralled some excellent homegrown talent which means a lot to local listeners.” The question, “Why is conservative talk radio successful?” is an ongoing curiosity among many mainstream journalists. In fact it’s a question TALKERS editors are asked almost daily by journalists working in the consumer media. Farley says he believes his film, in many ways, shows Milwaukee to be a microcosm of news/talk’s success on the national level. “AM radio is perhaps the lowest rung of the broadcast venues and yet the impact of the genre is huge! In Wisconsin, this was manifest in the November 2010 election results in which we saw the most comprehensive turnover in power – from Democrat to Republican – of any state in the country. This would not have happened without Milwaukee’s conservative talk radio. And now with the attempted recall of Republican Governor Scott Walker, conservatives, right-leaning independents and converted Democrats are flocking to talk hosts like Jay Weber and Vicki McKenna of WISN and Charlie Sykes and Jeff Wagner of WTMJ to hear the latest and find out what they can do to join the fight. Like it or not, Wisconsin is becoming a very different place because of conservative talk radio. I believe the same can be said of our nation thanks to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin et al.” Read more about Farley’s film and watch it here.
Phil Valentine’s “An Inconsistent Truth” Premiers in Memphis Tonight. The independently produced film by Nashville-based talk show host Phil Valentine and director Shayne Edwards that challenges contemporary theories of global warming, premiers in Memphis after several weeks in Nashville where Valentine calls it the “top-grossing event in theatres” there. Valentine is getting sponsorship and promotional help from MPS Broadcasting which operates news/talk WMPS, Memphis. MPS Broadcasting president Mark Skoda – who also hosts his own show on the station – says, “Phil’s new film is both entertaining and informative. It not only offers insights into the scientific skepticism of the global warming debate, but entertains as well. I have to say that after watching a copy of the film, this is a completely enjoyable 90 minutes of fun. And Phil brings his wit and sarcasm to the movie as few can. I hope our listeners will come out and join us for some fun in this premier event.”
Jacqueline Cohen Named National Account Manager at Dial Global. Jacqueline Cohen comes to Dial Global after 11 years with Cumulus Media Networks. She’ll be based in Los Angeles. Dial Global EVP of national sales Chris Long states, “It’s exciting whenever you can add someone as talented as Jacqueline to your team. She is a perfect fit for Dial Global and will do a great job representing us to the major agencies and advertisers on the West Coast.”
GOP Primary/2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 13-17. The GOP primary race and the larger 2012 presidential campaign was #1 on the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio. At #2 was the violence in Syria and America’s response. Coming in at #3 was the Iran-Israel tensions and at #4 was President Obama’s 2013 budget. The Talkers TenTM chart is the result of ongoing research by TALKERS and is published at Talkers.com every Friday. See the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Dial Global’s “Overnight America” with John Grayson is added to the lineup at WMPS, Memphis…..WSJM, Benton Harbor, Michigan adds “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge to the weeknight lineup and WKZO, Kalamazoo, Michigan adds FTL’s live Sunday edition…..The independently syndicated Armstrong Williams show recently debuted on WTNT-AM/FM, Washington and WGNU, St. Louis.
Deborah Norville to Host Broadcasters Foundation of America “Golden Mike Awards”; Fox’s Roger Ailes to Present. The annual “Golden Mike Awards” to benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America takes place in New York City on Monday, February 27 at the Plaza Hotel. Emmy-winning host of “Inside Edition” Deborah Norville returns as host of the gala event at which Fox Television Stations president of station operations Dennis Swanson will be honored with the Golden Mike Award. Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes will also be part of the program as a presenter. The Broadcasters Foundation of America provides assistance to broadcasters in need. The charity describes its mission as “improving the quality of life and maintaining the personal dignity of men and women in the radio and television broadcast profession who find themselves in acute need. The Foundation reaches out across the country to identify and provide an anonymous safety net in cases of critical illness, advanced age, death of a spouse, accident, and other serious misfortune.” There has been a notable outreach to talk radio by the Broadcasters Foundation in recent months and an accompanying surge of interest in its work by hosts and programmers around the country. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “I have witnessed firsthand just how wonderful this organization is as it clearly makes a difference in the lives of broadcasters who have fallen on hard times and even tragic circumstances. These are tough times and each and every one of us is vulnerable to crisis and disaster due to health issues or any other threats facing the simple condition of being human. I strongly encourage everyone in talk radio and beyond to join this organization or at least send a donation. It truly is a matter of broadcasters helping broadcasters – in other words, giving back to the people of an industry that has given us such marvelous opportunities.” For more information on the Broadcasters Foundation of America, to make a donation, or learn how to apply for a grant, please contact them at 212-373-8250, email@example.com or visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org.
CBS Corporation Revenue Down 3%; Radio Division Down 5%. The lack of political advertising during 2011 compared to the year prior and the NBA lockout are being blamed for the drop in revenue CBS experienced last year. In a conference call with analysts, CBS CEO Les Moonves reports improvement in auto advertising along with higher retransmission revenues helped ameliorate some of the negative effects of the loss of political and the NBA lockout. Moonves did take some time to praise radio during the conference. He cited both the growth at CBS Radio’s sports talk-formatted stations and the success of its all-news stations in major markets. He also predicted this year’s political season would be a boon for broadcasters with radio getting a bigger share of that business than in previous years.
KIRO-FM, Seattle’s Ron & Don Help Raise Funds to Prevent Josh Powell from Being Buried Next to Children. KIRO-FM, Seattle afternoon drive talk hosts Ron & Don helped raise the money necessary – more than $20,000 – to buy the cemetery plots adjacent to the two boys killed by their father in Graham, Washington. The story of Josh Powell killing his sons Charlie and Brandon in a horrific explosion of the house during a supervised visit gained national attention. When Crime Stoppers Tacoma-Pierce County learned the family of Powell was looking for a cemetery plot near the ones in which the boys would be buried, they intervened to buy the adjacent plots. KIRO-FM’s Ron & Don hit the airwaves to help pay for the purchase. Don O’Neill says, “When we heard this story at 3:00 pm today, we felt compelled to stop this tragedy from happening. So, we asked our KIRO listeners to help us raise the funds to reimburse ‘Crime Stoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County.’” KIRO-FM program director Larry Gifford states, “When the news and conversation on 97.3 KIRO FM impacts the hearts and minds of listeners like the tragic and shocking crimes involving the Powell family, the ‘Ron & Don Nation’ is always quick to answer the call and today was no different. I’m continually amazed at the kind-heartedness and generosity of the people who make up our community. They inspire, empower, and engage each other to help make a positive impact and I’m proud we were able to play a role in that today.”
Dave Ramsey and Daughter Rachel Cruze to Headline Live Los Angeles Benefit Appearance for Affiliate KFWB. Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey makes a return to Los Angeles for a live appearance with his daughter Rachel Cruze for “An Evening on Family and Money” ” at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, April 3 at 8:00 pm in conjunction with Los Angeles affiliate KFWB. A portion of all ticket sales will be donated to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles. KFWB reports the evening’s program will include Ramsey sharing his key principles on handling money, navigating family relationships, communicating with family members more effectively and preparing children to be financially responsible adults. Cruze will discuss how to teach your kids life lessons like the dangers of debt and the value of saving and giving. The program will also include audience Q&A. This will be Ramsey’s fourth live appearance in the L.A. area for KFWB. He previously sold out the Long Beach Arena in September 2011 as well as prior appearances at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts and the Alex Theatre in Glendale.
Talk Host Steve Cochran Returns to Air at WIND, Chicago and KTRS, St. Louis After Health Scare. Chicago-based talk show host Steve Cochran returned to the air at Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago and CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis after being forced off by what turned out to be a blood clot in an artery leading to his heart –the artery doctors call “the widow maker.” Cochran shared his story with listeners after returning to the air. On January 31, in the middle of his KTRS show (which he does from his home in Chicago), he told his producer he thought he was having a heart attack. He drove himself to the hospital (something he doesn’t recommend) and eventually found out he had not had a heart attack but suffered from the clot doctors said they could treat with medication. But it took him off the air for almost two weeks. Cochran is relishing his second chance after the serious health scare. On the WIND website Cochran writes, “You may recognize a bit of you in my story. If you do I want you to know you don’t always have tomorrow. You need to change today. I had spent almost all of my adult life working too much, sleeping too little. Oh and I was also eating too much of all the wrong things, and working out…but not nearly enough.”
Ron Jaworski Re-Signs with ESPN but Exits “MNF” TV Role. Former Philadelphia Eagles star Ron Jaworski will continue to work for ESPN – he’ll be seen on “Monday NFL Countdown,” “NFL Matchup” and be heard on the radio regularly on “Mike and Mike in the Morning” – but ESPN removes him from the cable TV broadcast of “Monday Night Football.” The network is electing to go with a two-man booth with John Gruden and Mike Tirico for the 2012 season. Jaworski says in a statement, “I am grateful for having the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of working on ‘Monday Night Football’ the past five seasons with Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and so many other talented people behind the scenes who make the show so great, and I look forward to bringing my passion and knowledge of the game to more fans in more places than ever before on any and all football topics.”
Tribune Succeeds in Removing Bogus Jonathon Brandmeier Tweeter. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that, although it took a little time, Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago was able to have Twitter shut down the account of a “rabid Johnny B. fan” who had many fans believing they were reading tweets from Jonathon Brandmeier via the @JBonWGN Twitter account. Peter Hayman is described as an “occasional contributor to the show.” Feder reports that WGN director of marketing and digital innovation Jackie Paulus responded to criticism the station took too long to act on the matter, “As opposed to us finally getting around to it, there were two complaints filed immediately – one by Johnny’s producer and one by the station. Unfortunately, due to the volume of these incidences, it took Twitter that long to validate and process the request.”
GOP Primary Race, Syria Violence Issues, Iran-Israel Tensions, Obama Budget, Payroll Tax Cut Legislation, and Rising Gas Prices Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/15). The GOP Primary race, steps to curb the continuing violence in Syria, tensions between Iran and Israel, President Obama’s 2013 budget proposal, Congressional legislation to cut the payroll tax and concern of rising gas prices were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Welcome Samantha Sabo! Noted talk media consultant Walter Sabo – president of Sabo Media and Hitviews – and wife Katie welcomed Samantha Gloria Sabo (all 8 lbs. 7 ozs. and 21 inches of her!) into the world on February 14. Walter reports that mother and daughter are doing very well and Samantha’s sisters Dorothy and Meredith are thrilled at the new addition to their family.
A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio. One of the many highlights of the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (October 20) was the presentation of the first-ever Talkers Lifetime Achievement Award to LARadio.com publisher and noted radio historian Don Barrett followed by his brilliant presentation of “A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio.” In the speech, Barrett describes growing up in the beach communities of Southern California and being raised on the great rock ‘n’ roll and top 40 stations of the 1950s. He traces the roots of LA talk radio back to Ben Hoberman’s early experiments with all-talk at KABC in the 1960s and follows the richly colorful route of the format all the way through the decades to present-day juggernaut that is KFI, including fascinating details about the personalities who brought it to life.
A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio. One of the many highlights of the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (October 20) was the presentation of the first-ever Talkers Lifetime Achievement Award to LARadio.com publisher and noted radio historian Don Barrett followed by his brilliant presentation of “A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio.” In the speech, Barrett describes growing up in the beach communities of Southern California and being raised on the great rock ‘n’ roll and top 40 stations of the 1950s. He traces the roots of LA talk radio back to Ben Hoberman’s early experiments with all-talk at KABC in the 1960s and follows the richly colorful route of the format all the way through the decades to present-day juggernaut that is KFI, including fascinating details about the personalities who brought it to life. To see this not-to-be-missed exclusive video presentation, click here.
Former KGO, San Francisco Hosts Gene Burns and Len Tillem to Join Clear Channel Bay Area Station; New Lineups for KNEW and KKSF Announced. The program schedules for Clear Channel’s Bay Area talk stations are official a month after the company announced it would swap calls, and change the image of progressive talk station KKGN. As previously reported, the 960 AM frequency becomes KNEW and 910 AM will take the new call letters KKSF. What’s new is that former crosstown KGO talk hosts Gene Burns and Len Tillem will become part of the lineup at the new Newstalk 910 (KKSF). The program schedules for the revamped stations are as follows: KNEW – Premiere Networks‘ Glenn Beck, 6:00 am to 9:00 am; Dave Ramsey, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Premiere‘s Randi Rhodes, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Compass Media Networks‘ Norman Goldman, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Market Wrap, 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Dial Global‘s Stephanie Miller, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm; Dial Global‘s Thom Hartmann, 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. KKSF – Armstrong & Getty, 6:00 am to 9:00 am; to be announced, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Fox News Radio‘s Tom Sullivan, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Len Tillem, 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm; and Gene Burns, 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Regarding the changes, Clear Channel San Francisco director of operations Don Parker states, “Recent changes in the talk radio market gave us the opportunity to adjust our plans for 960 KNEW. We are excited to broaden 960 KNEW’s position to appeal to a wider variety of Bay Area listeners…We are moving Newstalk 910 into the forefront of the talk genre in the Bay Area. With the addition of Bay Area legend Gene Burns and ‘Radio Lawyer’ Len Tillem to the line-up, we are very excited about the future.”
Rumor: Cumulus Planning FM Talk Flip in Twin Cities. There’s no official word from the company but the talk is hot and heavy in the Minneapolis –St. Paul market that Cumulus Media will flip one of its music FMs to talk in 2012. Cumulus owns classic rock KQRS-FM, active rock KXXR-FM and the classic hits trimulcast of WGVX-FM, WGVY-FM and WGVZ-FM which surround the market. Both the rock stations have done pretty well in the latest Arbitron PPMs so a lot of the chatter has the lower-rated classic hits “Love 105FM” making the switch. Stay tuned.
Wisconsin Public Radio Talk Host Jean Feraca to Retire. The 28-year veteran of Wisconsin Public Radio announces she’ll retire in March from the organization she’s worked at since 1983. Jean Feraca tells the Wisconsin State Journal, “It’s just time.” Speaking to the paper, she hinted at job cuts that clearly have affected her work environment. “I lost everybody in my team earlier this year, and it’s been difficult. This is sensitive stuff and I have to think it through.”
Unresolved Payroll Tax Issue/Congress Recesses, Post-Kim Jong Il North Korea, 2012 Presidential Race and Uncertain Financial Markets Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/20). Congress’ failure to extend the payroll tax cut and its leaving for holiday break, concern over a post-Kim Jong Il North Korea, the GOP race for president in 2012 and the down year for stocks and the ongoing euro zone debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing TALKERS magazine research.
WTOP, Washington Expands Multi-Platform News Operation; News and Programming Pro Laurie Cantillo Named to Newly Created Program Director Position. Former WABC, New York program director Laurie Cantillo joins Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington where she’ll work closely with vice president of news and programming Jim Farley for the organization that is also announcing the expansion and restructuring of its news and broadcasting staff. In a statement, WTOP explains, “One of the primary reasons for the new structure is to redefine the news workflow. Instead of the traditional model which takes broadcast content and tries to fit it into a digital hole, WTOP’s strategy will focus on the creation of news stories at the beginning of a process. A story’s execution will be determined at its origin. It will then be optimized for all the distribution platforms WTOP offers: radio, web, Facebook, Twitter and mobile. In addition to Cantillo joining the organization, other staff changes include: Current director of digital operations John Meyer moving into the newsroom as the architect of the social and digital strategy as it comes together with the current broadcast operation; current news director Mike McMearty becomes senior news director; assistant news director Mitchell Miller is upped to news director; Mike Gartell is now managing editor; Gary Emerling is named senior digital editor; and Darci Marchese becomes executive producer. Jim Farley states, “We will now have both a digital editor and a radio editor working together 24/7. No other radio station in America does this. And we are not just talking the talk; we are hiring more people, re-evaluating everything we do and making the necessary changes no matter how sacred or ingrained. The future is digital and WTOP will be the leader heading into that future.” Regarding Laurie Cantillo’s joining the WTOP operation, Farley says, “Laurie is one of the best, most-admired and well-liked program directors in America. She has solid news credentials, a great track record of ratings success in major markets and a great understanding of the power and potential of digital and social media.”
NPR Uses Grant for Digital Media Training and Multi-Platform News. Through a $1.5 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, NPR is expanding its training initiatives to increase the use of digital tools both at NPR member stations and in the NPR newsroom. According to NPR, “Building on successful training piloted by NPR a few years ago, the grant provides for the development of extensive training for more than 70 local public radio stations. Topics include strategies to build multi-media news operations, writing for the web, photography and the role of social media in newsgathering. These resources will dramatically improve the ability of participating stations to broaden and deepen their news production and better serve both new and existing audiences. The grant will also fund digital coaches for NPR journalists.” NPR chief executive officer Gary Knell says, “NPR is a major force in media today, helping more than 34 million people make sense of what is going on in the world. These digital training resources will ensure that NPR and hundreds of member stations nationwide continue to pioneer the use of new technologies to connect with new and existing audiences.”
Standard & Poor’s Downgrades CC Media Holdings on Long-term Debt Concerns. Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Michael Altberg states that softening ad demand and the uncertain global economy may slow the growth of revenue for Clear Channel’s parent company and while the ability to pay the debt that comes due in 2012 and 2013 isn’t seen as a problem, the notes that mature in 2014 and 2016 are bigger issues. The company faces secured and unsecured debt maturities of $2.9 billion in 2014 and $12.3 billion in 2016. S&P notes CC Media Holdings is considered highly leveraged and that could negatively affect its ability to re-finance before those debts come due. When that time comes, anyone looking to buy a radio station might find opportunity in what could potentially be the biggest fire sale selloff of sticks in recent history.
CBS Local Digital Media Partners with Examiner.com for Content Creation. The network of websites and mobile apps that make up CBS Local Digital Media is entering into a content creation relationship with Examiner.com to produce unique content for CBS’ locally targeted properties in more than two dozen major markets across the country. Examiner.com is a leading online publisher featuring local expertise from over 85,000 contributors, known as Examiners. The lifestyle content created through this partnership is described as “‘Best Of’ guides and ‘Top Spots’ lists covering a range of topics including arts and culture, shopping, food and drink, nightlife and music, as well as travel and outdoors.” CBS Local Digital Media president Ezra Kucharz states, “Over the course of the past 18 months we’ve built a platform that quickly garnered interest from millions of users searching for the best local news, information and entertainment. Taking our vision one step further by working with a stable of contributors with expertise in their field will greatly enhance the audience’s experience. This is not just about telling you where to go and what to see – it’s providing ‘insider access’ to a city you may be visiting or have lived your whole life that you can’t get anywhere else.”
Dr. Joy Browne Appears on TALKERS TV. She is by far the most successful psychology and relationships talker on radio in America. WOR Radio Network star Dr. Joy Browne is interviewed by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey at the seventh annual “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row designed to raise consciousness about domestic violence and teenage dating abuse presented recently by TALKERS and Talk Radio News Service in conjunction with corporate sponsor Liz Claiborne, Inc. The event was held in the showroom at the Midtown Manhattan headquarters of the fashion company. Browne candidly discusses the state of relationship talk radio’s place within the news/talk playing field and explains the connections between psychology and all the hot issues discussed within the genre. To view this not-to-be-missed video, see TALKERS TV at the right on this page.
Glenn Beck’s GBTV Takes Over “Apocalypse” Reality Show. The program was once called, “Apocalypse, PA” when it ran on the History Channel last year but on Beck’s online venture GBTV it will be called, “Independence USA.” It follows Frank Belcastro and his family as they prepare to survive in a post-apocalyptic world by such means as devising a car that runs on wood instead of gasoline, becoming expert hunters and creating his own alcohol for barter when the money system collapses. According to TVNewser, the program debuts on January 18 with new episodes every Wednesday. It is the first reality show to become part of Beck’s GBTV where his own daily TV program is seen.
KFI, Los Angeles Debuts New Food Show with Neil Saavedra in January. The program is called, “The Fork Report,” and will have its premier airing on Saturday, January 7 hosted by KFI’s Neil Saavedra. The station says, “‘The Fork Report’ will be a food show like no other food show, delving into all things edible. The show will run the food gamut from local restaurants to kitchen gadgets, interviews with chefs to food news (like recalls, new products). If you can eat it or it’s a gizmo to help you prepare it…Saavedra talks about it.” Saavedra also hosts the KFI-based and Premiere Networks syndicated “Jesus Christ Show” and serves as the director of marketing for the Clear Channel station.
Katy Pavelonis Named VP of Sales at Grand Slam Sports. The St.Louis-based sports media company operates KFNS, St. Louis, KFNS.com, St. Louis Sports Magazine, Grand Slam Sports Promotions, SportsRadio 1380 and SportsRadio1380.com. Katy Pavelonis previously served as VP/director of sales at CBS Radio’s St. Louis cluster that includes news/talk KMOX. On her new position, Pavelonis states, “I am excited about starting with Grand Slam Sports. Having sold Cardinal baseball, Blues hockey and University of Missouri products in the past, I know how passionate the sports fans are here and how supportive the local advertising community can be for local sports. Marketing the incredible media mix that Grand Slam Sports provides to those advertisers is something I am very much looking forward to.”
NTSB Cell Phone Ban, 2012 Presidential Race, Payroll Tax Cut Issue and Iraq Troop Withdrawl Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14). The National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation that no personal electronic devices be allowed to be operated by motorists in the U.S., the GOP race to challenge President Obama in the 2012 election, Congressional leaders’ work to deal with the budget deficit and the payroll tax cut issue plus the withdrawl of U.S. troops from Iraq were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Brings Geraldo Rivera to Radio at WABC, New York. Geraldo Rivera has done a lot of media in his career (including WABC-TV) but he’s never hosted a regular radio talk show. Beginning in January he’ll get his chance with the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon daily program following Don Imus and leading into Rush Limbaugh on Cumulus’ WABC, New York. Cumulus COO John Dickey tells The New York Times’ Brian Stelter the company’s research indicates “people are interested in hearing a different perspective, a different voice, a more balanced opinion” and although Rivera is actually a registered Republican, he’s more liberal than WABC’s Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. Dickey also states he expects Rivera to draw in younger listeners and females to the station. Rivera’s program will be a New York-only show but Dickey doesn’t discount the idea of going into syndication with Rivera if the show is a success. Rivera tells the Times, his show will have two positioning statements that help define him as a different kind of radio talk show host: “I’m Geraldo and I’m not always right” and “Not red, not blue, but red, white and blue.” Rivera still works at Fox News Channel where he’s been a correspondent since 2001 but his “Geraldo at Large” show airs just once per week though he also does daytime reporting and makes regular appearances on the channel’s midday “Happening Now” program. The late morning slot at WABC opened up when the station let Joe Crummey and Patty Steele go last week.
KABC, Los Angeles Confirms New Doug McIntyre Morning Drive Show. The host of the nationally syndicated Cumulus Media Networks late-night show “Red Eye Radio” begins his duties as host of “McIntyre in the Morning” on KABC, Los Angeles in January. Last week Cumulus announced it would merge the Eric Harley and Gary McNamara-hosted “Midnight Radio Network” program with “Red Eye Radio” and Doug McIntyre would leave those duties. Now, speculation that McIntyre moves back to morning drive at KABC – the program he hosted from 2004 to 2009 – is confirmed. News pro Terri-Rae Elmer – who announced her exit from Clear Channel’s crosstown KFI last week – is co-host of the new program. In a release, Cumulus says, “The show will feature McIntyre’s unique sense of humor and ability to get to the heart of the biggest stories affecting Los Angeles and Orange County.” McIntyre says, “I’m excited to return to the morning drive with leading radio station, KABC. I look forward to keeping my audience informed and entertained as they wake up with me each morning.” Current KABC morning host Peter Tilden appears to be staying with the company in a capacity to be announced later.
WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Morning Host Al Gardner to Program Merlin Media’s Philly Station. Philadelphia native Al Gardner has been co-hosting the morning drive show at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM since 1997. In January he’ll return to his hometown to take on the vice president of programming position at Merlin Media’s WKDN-FM Philadelphia – a station Merlin is expected to flip to an all-news format. The Charlotte Observer reports the 64-year-old Gardner has been doing some consulting for the recently formed Merlin Media and Gardner tells the paper of his new gig, “This is a pinch-me job. It couldn’t be better.” Greater Media is letting Gardner out of his contract a year early to pursue the Merlin position. As for WBT, program director Carl East tells the paper sports anchor Jim Szoke will take on a bigger role on the morning program alongside current morning co-host Stacey Simms.
Dial Global Star Clark Howard Cuts Live Portion of Program to Two Hours. Saying he’s been burning the candle at both ends, money guru Clark Howard tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho he’s cutting back on his radio work and will only do two hours of live programming daily. Affiliates that want to continue with three hours will get a third hour composed of best-of segments from the live show content. Clark Howard tells Ho that he’s just finished touring to promote his latest book, “Living Large in Lean Times,” and he recently had to take two weeks off after a bout with laryngitis. Howard, with some 600 radio affiliates, is a busy guy. In addition to his radio work, he does TV segments for 15 Cox-owned TV stations, hosts a weekend show on cable TV’s HLN and operates the digital media station clarkhoward.com.
Robert Wuhl and Doug Urbanski Shows to Be Dropped by Dial Global. That’s not the official word from Dial Global, it’s what TALKERS is hearing through the grapevine. Both Robert Wuhl’s and Doug Urbanski’s shows were Westwood One properties that came to Dial Global with the merger of the two companies announced back in August. Lean times make broadcast companies assess where they are spending money and we can only assume that the shows are not bringing in the kind of cash required to justify their continuation. It’s expected the shows’ affiliates have been quietly notified so they can make programming plans for 2012.
WWRL Morning Host Mark Riley on TALKERS TV. In an exclusive interview conducted by TALKERS magazine managing editor Kevin Casey on the scene at last Thursday’s “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row, the veteran New York City broadcaster discusses the evolution of Big Apple urban talk radio as well as his own. Mark Riley points out that his AM drive program is heard by a variety of listeners including both African Americans and whites. He talks about the positive aspects of being local in the nation’s largest market and the spectrum of issues covered in a major metropolis including the impact of guns and violence in daily city life. Riley was one of more than 20 talk media personalities participating in the seventh annual radio row designed to raise consciousness about domestic violence presented by TALKERS and Talk Radio News Service in conjunction with corporate sponsor, Liz Claiborne, Inc. at the company’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters. See the interview with Mark Riley now at TALKERS TV in the column on the right side of this page.
WGN, Chicago Partners with Ad Agency for Holiday Fundraiser. Tribune Company talk station WGN, Chicago is partnering with ad agency Schafer/Condon/Carter to present “Carols for KidsSM” on Thursday, December 15 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. During that time listeners are encouraged to join WGN and Schafer/Condon/Carter staffers for the mass caroling event, the second hour of which will be broadcast live on WGN. The event included carols and entertainment from Chicago Blackhawks national anthem singer Jim Cornelison and Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo, the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, WGN Radio’s Orion Samuelson and more. Donations to the “Neediest Kids Fund” will be accepted on site during the event and online at www.SCCCarolsForKids.org. Lou Malnati’s will also be providing slices of pizza for all attendees for a suggested donation of $3 per slice. WGN VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “We are so pleased that Schafer|Condon|Carter used its creativity to come up with this wonderful concept and chose the WGN Radio ‘Neediest Kids Fund’ as its beneficiary. We look forward to working with them to continue to raise money for the WGN Radio ‘Neediest Kids Fund’ and help children all over Chicagoland.”
Seventh Annual Domestic Violence Radio Row a Big Apple Smash. For the seventh consecutive year, TALKERS magazine presented “It’s Time to Talk Day” — a massive radio row produced in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc. Held yesterday (12/8) in the fashion showroom of the Midtown Manhattan corporate offices of Liz Claiborne, Inc., the ambitious event was one of the largest and most successful, bringing together more than 20 talk media hosts from around the country who broadcast their shows live or recorded interviews for delayed broadcast. They spoke with a non-stop parade of more than 60 experts, victims, celebrities and public officials from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on the insidious societal problems of domestic violence and teenage dating abuse. This year’s participants included: Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio; Dr. Joy Browne of WOR Radio Network; Mark Riley of WWRL, New York; Roberta Facinelli of “Doug Stephan’s Good Day;” John Fugelsang of “The Stephanie Miller Show;” Kevin McCullough of “The Kevin McCullough Show” and “Baldwin/McCullough;” Maria Bailey of “Mom Talk Radio;” Gary Baumgarten of Paltalk; Lionel of WPIX-TV, New York Channel 11 and LionelMedia.com; Barry Farber of Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk Radio; Lisa Wexler of WFAS, Westchester, NY; Andy Spano of WVOX, New Rochelle, NY; John Harper of WNTK, Keene, New Hampshire; Deb Colitti of the Deb Colitti Show; Dr. Renee Kohanski of PodJockey; and Dan Patterson of KoPoint. Ellen Ratner and Geoff Holtzman of Talk Radio News Service broadcasted throughout the day on several hundred of the news service’s affiliates. Joining the line-up this year for the first time were representatives of college talk radio with Farhan Husain and Gary Duff of WRHU, Hempstead (Hofstra University); Nichole Murphy of WLIU, Brooklyn (Long Island University) and Alyssa DiNubila of WNEK, Springfield, MA (Western New England University). Included among those who took live and recorded feeds from the event were Thom Hartmann of “The Thom Hartmann Show;” Dom Giordano of WPHT, Philadelphia; Ken Pittman of WBSM, New Bedford, MA/Providence, RI; and Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” plus many more. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “‘It’s Time to Talk Day’ is certainly one of our most important annual events and this year’s installment topped all others. It raises consciousness about a societal problem that impacts a frighteningly large segment of the population and it cuts across all gender, ethnic and demographic boundaries. There isn’t a spoken-word format that doesn’t find the topic of domestic violence applicable to its audience and extremely compelling. Most importantly, we get feedback each year that this radio row, upon reaching millions of talk radio listeners, really does make a huge difference in the lives of real people. It doesn’t get better than that. We are grateful to Liz Claiborne, Inc. for their public-mindedness in supporting such a valuable project.”
Joe Crummey and Patty Steele Out at WABC, New York. There’s no official word from Cumulus but late-morning talk show host Joe Crummey and recently added co-host Patty Steele are gone from the lineup at WABC and it appears the station is filling in with various local talent for the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program until a permanent decision is made. Crummey was brought in from the West Coast by former program director Laurie Cantillo who left the station earlier this fall.
Terri-Rae Elmer Leaves Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles – Possibly for KABC? Hot rumors in Southern California have longtime KFI news anchor Terri-Rae Elmer being paired up with Doug McIntyre for a new morning show at Cumulus’ crosstown KABC in the New Year. There’s nothing confirmed there but McIntyre’s scheduled departure from the company’s “Red Eye Radio” and its statement that it has plans for McIntyre are fueling the rumor. Back to KFI, Elmer has been the news anchor and sidekick for KFI’s John and Ken for years. Her position is being filled by Shannon Farren, according to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan.
Tim Conway, Jr. Signs Deal with KFI, Los Angeles. The OC Register’s Gary Lycan reports KFI evening host Tim Conway, Jr. has signed a contract to do his 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program on the Clear Channel station for three years. KFI program director Robin Bertolucci is quoted saying, “Tim has created a unique space on KFI that is getting record high ratings and delighting fans all over Southern California. Not only is he number one in ratings, he’s number one at covering local news – whether it’s power outages, the eviction of the Occupy L.A. campers or the implosion of Kim Kardashian‘s marriage. Listening to Tim’s show is like getting a free sample of what tomorrow will bring. He is always way out front of the big stories and it’s always uniquely entertaining and done in classic Tim Conway Jr. style!”
Dennis Winslow Leaves Traverse City Stations to Focus on Consultancy. Winslow has served as program and operations manager at Northern Radio’s WSRJ-FM/WSRT-FM, Traverse City, Michigan and its sister music FMs classic hits WFCX/WFDX for the past five years. Now, assistant program director and host Rich Nadeau takes over his duties as Winslow concentrates on his Winslow Programming Strategies business. Cluster general manager Charlie Ferguson says, “Dennis has done an excellent job of guiding both The Fox FM and You – FM for the past five years. The stations have improved every aspect of our operations on his watch and we’re truly grateful for his help.”
Former Los Angeles-Area Financial Talk Host Indicted on Fraud Charges. This is pretty much the same story you’ve heard a dozen times before – only the names, and the language are different. John Farahi hosted “Economy Today” on Persian-language KIRN, Simi Valley, California from 2005 to 2010. The Los Angeles Times reports Farahi – through his New Point Financial Services – promised clients their money would be invested in corporate bonds insured through the Troubled Assets Relief Program. But prosecutors allege Farahi spent the money on personal expenses and some highly speculative investments in which he lost millions. The scheme is reported to have lost some $20 million of investors’ money.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Compass Media Networks’ Norman Goldman show becomes the PM drive show at Clear Channel’s KKZN, Denver…..The independently syndicated Kevin McCullough show is picked up by KBDE-FM, Waco, Texas; and WCSO-FM, Columbus, Mississippi…..Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” adds KNST, Tucson…..The independently syndicated Burnie Thompson show is added to WBOB, Jacksonville.
2012 Presidential Race Lands Atop Talkers TenTM Chart of Week’s Top News/Talk Stories. The 2012 race for president was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of December 5-9 according to TALKERS magazine research. Following at #2 was President Obama’s Kansas speech. At #3 was the payroll tax cut issue and the U.S. deficit and at #4 was the Euro Zone debt crisis. The Talkers TenTM is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. To see the entire chart, click on the banner below.
Arbitron Client Conference: “Radio Retains 93% of Audience Through Spot Breaks.” That good news comes from the study, “What Happens When the Spots Come On?” from Arbitron, Coleman Insights and RCS/Media Monitors. But what it means is not that 93% of listeners stay through a whole stop set. Some go away and some new ones come in with the aggregate being that only 7% of the listenership disappears during a given spot break. The study analyzed 17.9 million spot breaks and 61.9 commercial minutes in the 48 markets using the Portable People Meter. But programmers and sales managers are being cautioned not to interpret the data as meaning that people aren’t bothered by too many spots and that 93% will sit through anything. One thing the study appears to confirm is that spoken-word radio such as sports, news/talk and all-news do a better job of keeping their audiences through stop sets.
KDKA, Pittsburgh Program Director Marshall Adams Exits. After six years with CBS Radio’s legendary KDKA, Pittsburgh, program director Marshall Adams announces his contract with the station is up and he is leaving for other opportunities. Adams states, “It has been a privilege working for this heritage station which, as a child, gave me my first impressions of radio. It was a dream come true every time I was able to crack the mic for a KDKA newscast. I am very grateful to CBS Pittsburgh market manager Michael Young for giving me this terrific opportunity. I am going to miss the staff very much. They’re an incredibly talented group of people and each one of them has enriched my life.” There’s no word from CBS Pittsburgh who will take over the PD position at KDKA.
Cox Media Group Adds Sports Content to WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia. Cox Media Group removes much of the syndicated news/talk programming from WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia and re-positions the station as “Bulldog 103.7 North Georgia’s News, Sports & Information Station.” Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome is added for middays and Yahoo! Sports programming fills in the evening and overnights. Martha Zoller’s news/talk program moves from the 7:00 am to 11:00 am slot to 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. The morning news program with Tim Bryant expands to 6:00 am to 9:00 am. America’s Radio News Network’s all-news block airs in the PM drive slot.
Clear Channel Names Two to Management Roles in Spokane. Clear Channel announces Dan Manella is the new market manager for the Spokane, Washington cluster and Michael LaCrosse takes on the operations manager for the cluster that includes news/talk KQNT. Manella most recently served with CBS Radio in Chicago as general sales manager at WXRT-FM and as senior AE at sports WSCR. LaCrosse most recently served as operations director at Cumulus’ WLS-FM, Chicago.
On the Set of Modern Family. Talk Radio Network and KFI, Los Angeles radio personality Phil Hendrie recently taped an episode of the hit TV show “Modern Family” in which he plays the character “Boots.” Hendrie is pictured here on the set of the program (from l-r) with actor Ed O’Neill, director Michael Spiller, Hendrie, and actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson. On appearing on the program, Hendrie says, “It’s not hard to figure out why ‘Modern Family’ is a hit show. Everyone, Ed O’Neill, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, all of the crew, they were kind, complimentary and helpful. Very, very positive people to be around. I’m so grateful for the experience. Thanks ‘Modern Family!’”
2012 Presidential Race, Payroll Tax Cut Issue, Jerry Sandusky Arrested on New Charges, Iran’s Nuclear Program and Blagojevich Sentenced Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/7). The GOP field of candidates for president, the debate over the payroll tax cut extension, former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky arrested on more sexual abuse charges, Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions and the lost CIA drone and former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s 14-year sentence on corruption charges were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Severe Nor’easter Cuts Power to Millions in Northeast; Radio’s Response to Disaster a Mixed Bag. Many TALKERS readers are aware that the bulk of our editorial staff is based in Springfield, Massachusetts and we are smack dab in the middle of the massive power outages and road closures so many in the Northeast are dealing with in the wake of the Nor’easter that dumped more than a foot of wet snow on the region on Saturday. As the region digs out, deals with the tremendous amount of downed trees, and utilities crews work to get power back TALKERS editors have been able to do a preliminary analysis of how radio handled the storm and its aftermath. There were stations that did an exemplary job providing round-the-clock information about road closures, dangerous areas due to fallen trees and power outages. We must recognize CBS Radio’s WTIC, Hartford whose morning drive host Ray Dunaway manned the overnight Saturday on the air with meteorologist Joe Furey keeping listeners up to date. However, there were many stations and station clusters that – due to manpower issues, in many cases caused by previous decisions to cut staff – were able to provide little local content and defaulted to syndicated programming. It is times like these that it becomes tragically clear that – apart from some shining examples of excellent public service – most radio groups have surrendered radio’s position as the first destination for news and information in exchange for bottom-line efficiency.
WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina Talk Host Matt Mittan Exits. The popular local Asheville, North Carolina talk host may not have been part of the mandated staff cuts Clear Channel handed down last week. The Asheville Citizen-Times indicates it appears Matt Mittan left of his own accord, citing a statement from CC Asheville to that effect. Mittan is tight-lipped about his exit but Citizen-Times writer Jason Sandford hints it might have been done in protest of the cuts that affected his show and other co-workers in the cluster. Sandford goes on to compliment Mittan for the excellent work he’s done in the past handling public emergency situations that affected the station’s listenership.
Rush Limbaugh to Play Town Hall in NYC. Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh makes no bones about his disdain for New York City’s politician and public policies but he’s returning to the Big Apple for a live event on November 29 at the historic Town Hall on West 43rd Street. Dubbed “Rush Live,” tickets go on sale today at 12:00 noon for the 90-minute show. A press release from Cumulus’ WABC, New York states, “The last time El Rushbo visited his New York audience was in 2005 to a sold out crowd. While Rush isn’t bashful about criticizing New York politicians and tax policies, he jokes that he’s going ‘behind enemy lines’ because he loves his New York listeners and his flagship station.”
Radio One to Put All-News FM on in Houston. This is the first time Radio One has programmed an all-news format and they’re doing it with the help of consultant Ed Shane. Radio One will drop the gospel music on KROI-FM at 92.1 and debut “News 92 FM” around November 14. The station has reportedly hired a stable of news pros including the former crosstown KTRH morning news team of J.P. Pritchard and Lana Hughes. Denise Bishop has been tapped to serve as the news director.
WCBS, New York Inks the Yankees to One-Year Extension. MLB’s New York Yankees will remain on all-news WCBS, New York for the 2012 season. The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick speculates that the one-year deal gives the two sides time to explore a long-term deal but he also states that the Yankees’ $14 million-per-season pact has not been profitable. Whether CBS Radio views Yankees baseball as a cume-building loss leader or a drain on its finances may be answered if and when the two sides agree to a longer extension or the Yankees broadcasts come onto the open market.
WWRL, New York Adds LGBT-Targeted Programming. Access.1 Communications’ WWRL, New York adds programming called “Equality Pride Radio” to serve the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered community. The programming airs from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight and debuts this evening (10/31) following the Al Sharpton program. WWRL general manager Adriane Gaines states, “WWRL 1600 has created ‘Equality Pride Radio,’ a media platform where the LGBT community will convey information and be celebrated for their ideas, energy and accomplishments. We take great pride in the culturally diverse audience we serve with our current liberal talk line-up. With the addition of ‘Equality Pride Radio,’ we further reinforce ‘RL’s format of informative and entertaining radio.”
Jim Ladd to Host “Farewell Show” on KFI, Los Angeles. Southern California radio legend Jim Ladd will get a chance to say goodbye to his many listeners this Saturday afternoon from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm – although not on Cumulus classic rock KLOS-FM from which he was let go last week. Ladd tells the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan that KFI program director Robin Bertolucci asked him to do the show to give him the chance to say goodbye. Regarding Ladd’s one-time show, Bertolucci says, “Jim is synonymous with great music and Southern California and I know a lot of his friends and fans want to connect with him. Jim is a legend and it will be an honor to hear him rock KFI.”
Clear Channel Promotes Keriann Worley to Market Manager for Melbourne, Florida and the Keys. Keriann Worley moves from her general sales manager post at Clear Channel’s West Palm Beach cluster to become market manager for the company’s Melbourne, Florida and Florida Keys markets. Worley says, “I’m really honored that Hartley Atkins and Sherri Sanchez chose me to lead our Melbourne and Florida Keys markets. It’s an exciting time to work at Clear Channel, and we have a tremendous opportunity to expand our market share with integrated solutions and iHeartRadio. I am fortunate to lead a team that will embrace and utilize all our resources for continued growth and development.”
Downsizing at Dial Global/Westwood One; Rumors of Cuts at Clear Channel. The merger of Dial Global and Westwood One was bound to come with the elimination of some positions as both companies do pretty much the same thing: produce, affiliate and rep radio programs. There are no confirmed firings but the word on the street is that about 40 of the now-combined companies’ 600 employees were let go from its New York, Los Angeles and Dallas offices. Meanwhile at Clear Channel, the grapevine is producing chatter that layoffs in medium and small markets are coming based on the company’s hour-by-hour breakout of cost-versus-revenue in the programming departments of its stations. This could mean some local talent getting pink-slipped in favor of the company’s “Premium Content” – a euphemism for in-house syndication.
NPR’s Michele Norris Takes Leave from “All Things Considered” So Husband Can Work for Obama Campaign. After a couple of high-profile PR gaffes, NPR is out front on this one. Michele Norris’ husband Broderick Johnson accepted a senior advisory role with President Obama’s re-election campaign and in a quick response, Norris and NPR are agreeing that Norris will take leave from her co-host role on “All Things Considered” after Friday’s broadcast. Norris will continue to work for NPR producing segments and features but will not be involved in any type of election coverage. In a statement, Norris says, “This has all happened very quickly, but working closely with NPR management, we’ve been able to make a plan that serves the show, honors the integrity of our news organization and is best for me professionally and personally. I will certainly miss hosting, but I will remain part of the ATC team and I look forward to contributing to our show and NPR in new and exciting ways.”
Clear Channel Names John Ivey Senior VP of Programming; Robin Bertolucci Extends PD Responsibilities. Vice president of programming for the Los Angeles cluster John Ivey is promoted to SVP of programming for Clear Channel radio. Ivey has been PD at CHR KIIS-FM, Los Angeles since 2001 and in his new position he’ll assist with CHR programming and talent development across the entire CC Radio operation. At the same time, KFI program director Robin Bertolucci re-signs with the company to continue leading the mega-successful news/talk station and its sister progressive talk outlet KTLK into the future. Prior to joining Clear Channel Los Angeles, Bertolucci programmed the AM stations at Clear Channel’s Denver cluster. CC Radio CEO John Hogan says, “For the past two decades, John has made innumerable contributions to our company’s success, especially over the last 10 years in Los Angeles at KIIS-FM, and Robin has led the iconic KFI brand to unprecedented audience growth and engagement. As a company, we put a priority on recognizing our high performers with advancement opportunities to grow and develop their careers and we are pleased to have great programming management talent like John and Robin renew their commitment to the Clear Channel team.”
Syndicated Lex & Terry Morning Hosts Sue Seven Bridges WJXL, Jacksonville. This one’s a contract dispute. United Stations Radio Networks-syndicated morning hosts Lex Staley and Terry Jaymes were brought aboard Seven Bridges’ sports talk WJXL, Jacksonville in April of this year with what Lex & Terry say was a three-year deal. Their show was pulled from the air on October 10. The details of the contract aren’t clear but the duo have hired Jacksonville attorney John M. Phillips to handle the dispute. Ironically, Phillips hosted a legal call-in show on WJXL called “Sports & Courts.” Phillips states, “For months I have preached accountability on my radio show. Whether someone is injured at the hands of another…or someone wants to simply get out of a contract because of personal preference, the law enforces accountability. WJXL is accountable to Lex & Terry and hopefully this matter will be resolved soon.” Syndication contracts are usually pretty clear in stating the terms for ending the deal so it’ll be interesting to see what transpires in this case.
Clear Channel Promotes American Express’ Second Annual “Small Business Saturday” Initiative. The “Small Business Saturday” initiative is a campaign spearheaded by American Express to promote shopping at local, independent stores and businesses on Saturday, November 26. A six-point promotional campaign begins tomorrow and runs through November 26 that includes: a public interest campaign across Clear Channel’s 850 radio stations, on-air advocacy by popular station personalities, the telling of local small business success stories, promotion via social media and digital integration, local advisory board activities and community events in local markets along with initiative partner Women Impacting Public Policy. Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan states, “Our goal is to stimulate small business sales on the biggest shopping weekend of the year by reminding listeners of the impact on their communities. The campaign is also intended to give a bigger voice to small business owners.”
Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 and WJLK-FM, Asbury Park Host “Home Cooking” NTR Event. The two Townsquare Media stations are presenting the “Taste of Home Cooking Show” in conjunction with the popular food and entertaining magazine Taste of Home at Branches Catering in West Long Branch, New Jersey on November 1. Listeners can buy tickets – including a VIP ticket for $50 per person – to sample dishes and get cooking tips from the magazine’s culinary specialist Eric Villegas who will demonstrate 10 new recipes. VIP ticket holders will get a meet and greet with Villegas and an autographed copy of his new book, Taste of Home Christmas Cookies & Candy.
WWJ, Detroit Hosts “Resurrecting Detroit” Business Breakfast. This one’s not an NTR event but a community goodwill promotion. CBS Radio’s WWJ, Detroit produces the Great Lakes Innovation and Technology Report written by the station’s technology editor Matt Roush. The station has developed a program called the WWJ/GLITR UnWIRED coffee series and this particular breakfast is part of that. The event will be held at Lawrence Technological University’s ULTC Gallery on Thursday, October 27. Roush will moderate a panel discussion by local business leaders on ways to improve the city of Detroit and strengthen its business core. WWJ station manager Pete Kowalski says, “WWJ remains committed to Detroit and we’re proud to present another great business breakfast. This panel, with such stellar business leaders, will be discussing some truly innovative and transforming ideas for the city. It promises to be a very exciting and inspiring event.”
WTVN, Columbus “Morning Monarch” Bob Conners to Retire. Bob Conners has hosted the morning drive show on Clear Channel’s news/talk WTVN, Columbus since 1978 – he began working at the station in 1964. Now, Conners announces he’ll retire on November 30. He tells his listeners he’s honored and humbled to have been able to do what he loves for so long. WTVN program director Mike Elliott tells WBNS-TV, “Bob Conners has been a staple in Columbus radio for a very long time; consider the mold broken. Bob always said, ‘Radio has been good to me,’ but Bob Conners was good for radio.” Connors has been at it in AM drive so long his colleagues nicknamed him the “morning monarch.” WTVN Saturday morning host Joel Riley will take over the AM drive show on an interim basis in December.
Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels Arrested on Drunken Driving Charge. In Ohio it’s called OVI – operating a vehicle impaired – and that’s the charge Middletown, Ohio police are filing against Randy Michaels after he was found by police in his car stuck in mud and water in a construction zone around 2:00 am on Friday (10/14). Authorities noticed the smell of alcohol on Michael’s breath and administered field tests which authorities say he failed. Michaels refused a Breathalyzer test. He is expected to be in Middletown Court today. Middletown is about 35 miles north of the Cincinnati area where Michaels reportedly maintains a residence. The unconventional – some have called it “frat house” – workplace culture Michaels encourages is not surprising to many Clear Channel employees whom Michaels led for many years as president of that company’s radio division, but it ruffled the feathers of many Tribune Company employees when Michaels served as its CEO. It remains to be seen if this incident will affect Michaels’ relationship with Merlin Media’s investors, especially in light of the mounting criticism facing the recent launch of the FM news operations in New York and Chicago and their disappointing early ratings.
Hispanic Group Pickets KFI, Los Angeles in Protest of John & Ken. The National Hispanic Media Coalition held a press conference and peaceful protest outside the studios of Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles yesterday. About 35 people picketed the station’s Olive Street facilities in Burbank. The group tells L.A. Weekly that “at least three major advertisers are pulling out of the John & Ken show” and though the advertisers were not named there, the Los Angeles Times reports the activists say Verizon and AT&T have pulled advertising from the show and grocery chains Vons and Ralphs have agreed not to advertise on the show in the future. The protest and boycott were triggered after immigrant advocate Jorge-Mario Cabrera claimed to have received some 400 phone calls from John & Ken listeners after the duo gave out Cabrera’s cell number and asked listeners to tell him what they think of his support for the Dream Act which provides tuition subsidies for illegal immigrants. Initially, Clear Channel Los Angeles management agreed to meet with Hispanic leaders to discuss the issue but the meeting was canceled after one leader demanded that John & Ken be taken off the air and CC market manager Greg Ashlock refused to acquiesce to an ultimatum. Clear Channel did not address the issue of advertisers leaving the show but issued the following written statement, “Expressing your opinion is not a firing offense. KFI stands behind John and Ken and their right to speak their minds — opinions shared, incidentally, by over a million California listeners each week and protected by the First Amendment.” According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “This situation being faced by KFI in Los Angeles is a quintessential example of a whole slew of core news/talk radio concerns – special interest pressure, advertising boycotts, free speech rights, political correctness, and management resolve – all crashing together in one escalating story. It warrants the industry’s undivided attention.” The heated debate over illegal immigration as well as the managing of controversy in news/talk radio will be among the topics discussed at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum set for October 20.
CBS Radio Reportedly Interested in Annapolis FM for All-Newser. Rumors continue to swirl about CBS Radio’s interest in acquiring a DC-area FM – specifically Christian WFSI-FM, Annapolis – in order to put on its own FM all-news outlet in the Nation’s Capital. WFSI-FM is owned by evangelist Harold Camping’s Family Stations, Inc. The presence of CBS Radio Washington market manager Steve Swenson, who has a ton of experience in news having worked for years in various capacities at the company’s New York news stations WCBS and WINS, is lending credence to the rumor.
Clear Channel Promotes Brian Lekamp to President of CC Digital. Brian Lekamp moves up from his post as EVP of digital media to the newly created position. Lekamp’s duties include his responsibility for Clear Channel’s digital strategy – with its iHeartRadio service at the top of that — as well as the infrastructure, tools and social media integration for its local stations’ branded Internet properties. He will also continue to work with key partners to develop cutting-edge tools and products for all of Clear Channel’s radio, media and entertainment properties. Lekamp states, “At Clear Channel, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the best people in the business – they are smart, dedicated and focused on innovation. The development of the new iHeartRadio was supercharged with our acquisition of Thumbplay in March and our strong integrated digital team will continue to develop new digital music products and experiences that support the iHeartRadio platform and Clear Channel’s network of radio station websites. This is a team effort that I am honored to lead.”
CBS Radio Ups Mike Thomas to VP of Programming in Boston. Mike Thomas has been PD at classic rock WZLX, Boston since 2006 and has programmed WBZ-FM – 98.5 The Sports Hub – since its debut in 2009. Now, CBS Radio ups Thomas to vice president of programming for the cluster that also includes hot AC WBMX-FM, oldies WODS-FM and news WBZ. SVP and market manager Mark Hannon says, “Since Mike’s arrival at WZLX in 2006, he has built the station into a consistent ratings powerhouse. His launch of 98.5 The Sports Hub in 2009 has been one of the most successful in recent radio history, and the station being named ‘Sports Station of the Year’ at the 2011 NAB Marconi Radio Awards was a tremendous accomplishment. I look forward to using his strategic approach and programming insights to impact the overall CBS Radio stable of stations in Boston.”
CC Denver Produces Successful “Battle of the Talk Show Hosts” Live Event. The 2nd annual “Battle of the Talk Show Hosts” was produced on Thursday, October 6 by Clear Channel Denver and entertained a sold-out house at the Comedy Works Landmark in Denver. Personalities from the three Denver talk stations – KOA, KHOW and KKZN – batted around the hot issues of the day before the live audience. Taking part were: Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh, Mike Rosen, Dave Logan, Michael Brown, John Caldara and Rick Barber from KOA; Peter Boyles, Tom Martino and Dan Caplis & Craig Silverman from KHOW; and David Sirota and Thom Hartmann from KKZN. The event was heavily sponsored by local businesses and admission was charged. Pictured here are progressive talk KKZN morning host David Sirota (l) and KOA midday host Mike Rosen (r).
Buckley Broadcasting’s Jennifer Buckley Named to RAB Board. The daughter of the late Rick Buckley (once chair of the RAB board) is elected to the Radio Advertising Bureau board. Jennifer Buckley is vice president and director of sales for WOR, New York and the WOR Radio Network.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” adds WTRC-AM/FM, South Bend, Indiana for its brand new live Sunday evening show hosted by Mark Edge and Stephanie…..“The Career Clinic” with Maureen Anderson picks up affiliates WLRT, Lexington, Kentucky; KBJT, Fordyce, Arkansas; WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois; and KTUI, Sullivan Missouri.
2012 Presidential Race/999 Plan Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 10-14. The GOP race for the nomination for the 2012 presidential election and Herman Cain’s ‘999 plan’ topped the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories of the week. At #2 was the Iran assassination plot allegation. Close behind at #3 was the ‘Occupy’ protest movement and at #4 was President Obama’s Jobs Bill. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published each Friday at Talkers.com. To view the entire chart, click the banner below.
KFI, Los Angeles Cancels Meeting with Immigrant Rights Group. Clear Channel Los Angeles market manager Greg Ashlock tells the Los Angeles Times he canceled a meeting with heads of regional immigrants’ rights advocacy groups because their request to meet became an ultimatum that John & Ken be fired. The groups became upset after KFI PM drive hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou gave the cell phone number of activist Jorge-Mario Cabrera over the air telling listeners to let him know how they feel about his support for California legislation called ‘The Dream Act’ that would provide educational financial assistance to illegal aliens. Cabrera says he received more than 400 phone calls – some very angry and filled with foul language. KFI management had initially agreed to meet with activist leader to discuss the issue but Ashlock tells the Times, “I’m more than happy to sit down with anybody who has a concern and talk it out but we’re not going to be held hostage to demands that are outlandish.” Leaders of the groups say they will boycott the John & Ken show.
Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix to Debut New Local Show. Yesterday we told you Premiere’s Glenn Beck was joining the lineup at Clear Channel’s crosstown KFYI. That’s because he’s leaving KTAR-FM and Bonneville responds by getting back to “its old roots” with an “all-local-news daytime focus.” The Karie & Chuck show hits the air later this month in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot featuring 20-year KTAR staffer Karie Dozer and market sports talk personality Chuck Powell. Powell and on-air partner Vince Marotta have been hosting the AM drive show at Sandusky’s sports KDUS since January. Powell, Marotta and sales pro Lee Rosenthal formed GOAT Media Group to create, produce and sell the program to the station. Powell is wrapping up that deal before joining KTAR-FM. Bonneville Phoenix VP for news and sports content Ryan Hatch says of the new show, “The chemistry between Karie and Chuck is off the charts. They are two distinct, smart and fun personalities who bring unique perspectives from their life experiences. This show will connect emotionally and intellectually with our audience in a meaningful, relatable way.” The new program is described as being “built around conversations on current events and the biggest news stories of the day. It features local and national news stories, political issues, pop culture and entertainment along with regular interviews with newsmakers.”
Willy Daunic Exits Cumulus’ WGFX-FM, Nashville. Willy Daunic worked alongside longtime WGFX-FM PM drive host George Plaster since 2003 on “The Sports Zone” program. Now, just a month after Plaster left the station, Daunic fails to come to contract terms on a renewal of his deal that expired August 31 and he exits. The Tennessean reports Daunic says of his exit, “My time at 104.5 The Zone was the best eight years of my radio career. The success that we’ve had and the fun that we’ve had is something I’ll always cherish. Starting the show from scratch and seeing it build into what it is today was tremendously rewarding.”
Premiere Networks to Distribute DIRECTV’s “Nick and Artie Show.” The sports/comedy program featuring comic personalities Artie Lange and Nick DiPaolo, being produced by DIRECTV and currently being streamed on the web is being offered to radio stations via Premiere Networks. DIRECTV says a video simulcast of the program will be added to its Audience Network “next year.” The program was developed over the summer with Lange and DiPaolo doing some sub work for the Tony Bruno show on Fox Sports Radio. However, the program is not airing on Fox Sports Radio Network. FSRN filled Tony Bruno’s old 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot with “Fox Sports Tonight” hosted by Mike North and Lincoln Kennedy. The “Nick and Artie Show” also airs live in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am time slot.
NRG Omaha Adds Two Veteran AEs to its Sales Team. NRG Media general sales manager Heather Gossett announces Omaha market sales pros Vickie Majorek and Kim Earl join the sales staff at its seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KKAR and sports KOZN. Gossett states, “Vickie’s and Kim’s passion and love for radio makes them the problem solvers for clients in the Omaha Metro Area. They never fail to make a difference in the life of a client and their business. They strive to provide results in all that they do…it’s truly what makes the difference at NRG Media in Omaha.”
TALKERS Affiliation Roundup. Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck joins KFYI, Phoenix for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot…..Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis picks up WVNJ, Oakland, New Jersey as an affiliate…..KCJJ, Iowa City signs United Stations Radio Networks’ Lex & Terry for middays at the station…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with Chris Markowski adds KNIF-FM, Boise…..The Dr. Dahlia show joins the Genesis Communications Network and picks up affiliates KBOZ, Bozeman, Montana; WSRJ, Traverse City, Michigan; WSRT, Petoskey, Michigan; and WGGH, Marion, Illinois…..“Gun Talk” with Tom Gresham is added to the program schedule at KZYM, Joplin, Missouri; WHUB, Cookeville, Tennessee; KVFC, Cortez, Colorado; KNPT, Newport, Oregon; and KBSZ, Apache Junction, Arizona…..Delta Media’s “Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds the program to affiliates WEBY, Milton/Pensacola, Florida; KJJR, Kalispell, Montana; and KWKC, Abilene, Texas…..“The Rose Hollywood Report” with Shannon Rose picks up CKTB, St. Catharines, Ontario.
Obama Jobs Bill/Economic Policy Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 3-7. President Obama’s jobs bill and his administration’s economic policy was the topic that landed at the top of the Talkers TenTM this week. According to ongoing research from TALKERS, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests were the #2 story of the week. The 2012 presidential race was #3 and coming in at #4 was the European economic jitters and the strike and violence in Greece. The Talkers TenTM is published weekly at Talkers.com. To view the week’s entire chart, click on the banner below.
Video Thrilled the Radio Star. Something radio people seldom, if ever, worried about has rapidly become an extremely potent arrow in their stations’ proverbial quivers. In varying degrees, programmers and on-air talent are becoming increasingly more knowledgeable about –– and adept at integrating –– video components on station and individual websites. TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian explores the video strategies of some of the industry’s leading talk personalities as they discuss target demos, video quality, product placement, the concept of “radio on video,” relevance and more. Read the entire piece here.
KFI, Los Angeles Hosts John & Ken Targets of Hispanic Organizations. Several Southern California-based Hispanic organizations want KFI’s John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou off the air after one activist’s cell phone number was given out over the air. The Los Angeles Times reports immigrant rights activist Jorge-Mario Cabrera is leading the charge after the duo gave his cell and office numbers out over the air and suggested listeners call him to express how they feel about his support for the California bill that would create state tuition assistance for illegal immigrants. Cabrera reports receiving as many as 400 phone calls, many filled with coarse, hateful language. KFI program director Robin Bertolucci wouldn’t comment to the Times but says she’ll meet with representatives of the activist groups. The groups have sent letters to Clear Channel corporate and local management requesting the John & Ken show be taken off the air. That’s not likely to happen but this incident illustrates the heated nature of immigration topics on Southern California talk radio. This is a topic that will be addressed at the coming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum in L.A. on October 20 presented by TALKERS in cooperation with the L.A. Press Club.
Dial Global’s Michael Smerconish Scores Interview with President Obama. Nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Smerconish will broadcast an interview with President Obama on his Dial Global program today at approximately 1:40 pm ET. Smerconish, an independent conservative, has interviewed the president five times before. He has obviously established a good rapport with the White House as a fair interviewer. Needless to say, as sitting presidents don’t often do interviews with talk radio hosts, this is a coup for Smerconish.
Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership Hits #1 on NYTimes Bestseller List. Nationally syndicated talk star Dave Ramsey lands his latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011), at the top of the New York Times Bestseller List in the hardcover how-to, advice and miscellaneous category for the week ending September 24. Ramsey is currently on a cross-country bus tour to promote the book in cities where his radio program airs.
USRN Names Matthew Warneke Senior Account Executive. United Stations Radio Networks announces the addition of Matthew Warneke to its ad sales department in New York City. Warneke, most recently with Omnicom Media Group as group director/national audio, becomes a senior account executive with the syndicator. USRN EVP Rich Baum states, “We’re thrilled that Matthew has joined us at United Stations. Given his background and experience, Matthew brings an unparalleled understanding of the needs of our advertising clients to our team and we look forward to having him help us deliver great results for our marketing partners.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with Chris Markowski is added to the program schedule at KSEO, Durant, Oklahoma…..The Cigar Dave show picks up new affiliates WWTN-FM, Nashville; WRZN, Hernando, Florida; and WKEI, Kewanne, Illinois….. Sports USA’s Joe Morgan show adds KLAA, Los Angeles to its roster of affiliates…..RadioLinx’ “For Your Ears Only” with David Alpern is added to KFPW, Fort Smith, Arkansas; WLSC, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and WVOX, New Rochelle, New York.
Obama Economic Policies Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 26-30. President Obama’s economic policies including his jobs bill was #1 on the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was the 2012 presidential race. At #3 was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s speech at the Reagan Library followed by European economic jitters at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the week’s top talk radio topics based on ongoing research from Talkers and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. To view the entire chart, click the banner below.