Westwood One to Cease Production of NBC News Radio. Affiliates received the word yesterday (Wednesday, 10/15) by way of a note from senior vice president of affiliate sales Dennis Green that NBC News Radio newscasts and other programming will no longer be produced/distributed by Westwood One. As a substitute, Westwood One will soon provide its own CNN-powered branded news network. Green writes that Westwood One News will offer stations “enhanced programming, correspondent reports and news features. Westwood One News is designed to help stations integrate their local branding into newscasts with greater flexibility, including selecting one- to five-minute newscasts based on need and preference.” Westwood One will halt production/distribution of the NBC News Radio network as of 12:00 midnight (ET) Monday, December 15.
Chris Merrill Moves to iHeartMedia’s KFYI, Phoenix. It turns out that Chris Merrill – most recently morning drive host at iHeartMedia’s KOGO, San Diego – will not be banished to the evening slot there but will move to the company’s KFYI, Phoenix to take over the afternoon drive show being vacated by Mike Broomhead, who moves to mornings. KOGO shifted to a newsier show format for its morning and afternoon drive dayparts and had slated Merrill to host the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm show. But with Barry Young retiring from KFYI and Broomhead taking over his mid-morning slot, an opening on the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm show was created that Merrill will fill beginning November 10. KFYI program director Neil Larrimore states, “We are beyond thrilled to bring Chris into town! He is an up-and-coming superstar who understands the evolution of talk radio. With Chris joining the team, KFYI is perfectly positioned for much success in 2015 and beyond.”
Sean Salisbury Gets More Air Time in Houston. According to a report by the Houston Chronicle’s David Barron, Sean Salisbury will replace Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon on the KFNC, Houston “ESPN Houston 97.5” 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm program alongside station sports director Dave Tepper. Salisbury also co-hosts the Yahoo! Sports Radio afternoon show with John Granato heard on KGOW in the market. Solomon is leaving the radio show to focus on his news duties.
Bob Frantz Lands at Toledo Sports Talker. After being ousted in July from iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTAM, Cleveland where he hosted the evening show, Bob Frantz finds a radio home at Cumulus Media’s sports talk WLQR, Toledo “106.5 The Ticket” on the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm show. WLQR recently parted company with Norm Wamer who held down that daypart. According to a story in the Toledo Blade, Frantz will broadcast from his home in Northeast Ohio as well as from the station’s Toledo studios. The paper quotes Cumulus RVP and market manager Andy Stuart saying the program will be “a Northwest Ohio sports talk show” that will also cover Detroit, Cleveland and South Bend sports.
WTOP, Washington to Present Live Ebola Program from Newseum. Washington all-news outlet WTOP is presenting a special town hall program on Monday, October 20 at 10:00 am live from the Knight TV Studio at the Newseum in DC. The Hubbard station says it will examine the threat of Ebola in the U.S. and beyond. The program will be hosted by WTOP anchors Bruce Alan and Debra Feinstein and will feature expert guests Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Jesse Goodman, professor of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center and active infectious diseases clinician at the Washington DC VA Medical Center and Walter Reed Medical Center. The station also extended an invitation to the Centers for Disease Control to join the panel. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “WTOP is pleased to facilitate an in-depth discussion on this important subject. The town hall format gives everyone a chance to ask questions directly of two preeminent physicians on the forefront of the battle against this deadly disease.” The Knight TV Studio will seat 150 people for this broadcast.
Perez Appointed VP/GM of Salem Miami. At the Salem Communications Miami cluster, Felix Perez is tapped to be vice president and general manager. Perez – who has nearly 23 years of experience in Spanish media – was most recently vice president and general manager of Univision New York. Salem radio division senior vice president Allen Power comments, “We are excited about having Felix at the helm in Miami. His years of leadership in media; his focus in Spanish radio; and his track record for exploiting new opportunities and solving problems make him uniquely qualified for this role.” Perez remarks, “Salem’s values and mission are a great match for my own personal business philosophy. The company’s record of delivering for all of its constituencies while holding true to its mission makes it unique.” Salem’s Miami cluster consists of Christian talk WHIM “The Answer”; Spanish Christian talk WKAT “Radio Luz”; Spanish variety WOCN “La Nueva”; and business talk WZAB “The Biz.”
Cool Job Opportunity. Incredible talk show talent needed. WORD 106.3, the news/talk leader in Greenville, SC, has a rare and immediate opening for an exceptional talk show personality. The ideal candidate will be an excellent communicator able to connect with the conservative values of our on-air and social media audiences and will have the skills and desire to become a trusted talent that WORD 106.3 listeners can depend on for local, state and national topics. You will have a team of like-minded professionals, with on-air skills. You will work in a fast-paced, challenging environment and you will have unbridled desire to dominate your time slot and make your brand iconic in the 59th largest market. You’ll work at the largest cluster in the State of South Carolina for Entercom, the best broadcaster in the radio space. You’ll live in beautiful Greenville, South Carolina and have the support and tools you need to be successful and create a powerful local brand. Is this you? You have experience preparing and executing an interactive, engaging, successful talk show. You are a master of creativity, imagination and professional judgment in writing, producing, interviewing and creating content. You are wired to what’s important to your audience and know how to deliver it to your audience on air and with social media. Required Experience: A demonstrated track record of on-air success that will translate to success at WORD 106.3. Please submit your resume to email@example.com. Entercom Greenville is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Ebola Pandemic Threat/CDC Criticism, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, Financial Markets Activity/Falling Oil Prices, Battle Against ISIS, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/15). The threat of an Ebola pandemic, criticism of the Obama Administration’s and CDC’s handling of the matter and concerns over the lack of travel bans from countries with Ebola outbreaks; the looming mid-term elections and talk about the prospects for the 2016 presidential race; the tumultuous global financial markets and falling oil prices; the battle against ISIS, and the two MLB championship series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Broad Cuts at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Claim Talk and Sports Staffers. The end-of-the-year cuts taking place within Clear Channel is claiming numerous people in the programming end of the company’s radio stations. Some of the talk and sports personnel who’ve been let go include: Eric Chase, afternoons at sports WDFN, Detroit; Rich (Michaels) Minaya, afternoons, talk WIOD, Miami; Josh Sabrowsky, producer, sports KJR-AM, Seattle; Mike Morris, morning co-host, sports KFXN, Minneapolis; Don Ayers, morning producer, talk KOGO, San Diego and Jeff More, afternoon producer, KOGO; Steve Versnick, program director, talk WFLA, Tampa, and sports WDAE, Tampa; Catherine Brown, program director, talk WTKS, Orlando; “Bull,” midday producer, WTKS; and “Cabin Boy,” nights, WTKS. This list is not necessarily complete as more reports of affected industry people are still coming in. We’ll continue to update this list as more information becomes available.
Day 2 from the Arbitron Client Conference. Radio consultant Holland Cooke covered the two-day Arbitron Client Conference for TALKERS that concluded yesterday (12/6). Three points that dominated yesterday’s discussions and presentations are – as Cooke describes them – scary talk about in-car, straight talk about sports, and plain talk about politics. Read Holland Cooke’s report from Annapolis here.
Entercom’s WEEI, Boston Names Kevin Winter AM Drive Sports Anchor. When Jon Meterperel left the Dennis & Callahan morning drive show on Entercom’s WEEI, Boston earlier this fall to pursue his play-by-play career, that opened up a prime sports anchor/on-air role at the sports talk giant. Now, Entercom announces Massachusetts native Kevin Winter will serve in that role. Winter worked at the crosstown Boston ESPN affiliate and has served in a variety of studio host capacities including national SportsCenter anchor for all ESPN Radio shows including “Mike and Mike in the Morning.” Additionally, he has been the pre- and post-game host for ESPN’s coverage of college football and basketball. He says, “I’m very grateful and excited for the opportunity to join WEEI, particularly ‘Dennis and Callahan.’ This opportunity presents new and exciting challenges for me and I’m anxious and ready to get started. I’m coming home!”
Rush Limbaugh’s Two If By Tea Initiative Raises More than $1 Million for Charity. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Rush Limbaugh announces the charitable efforts of his Two If By Tea product initiative have surpassed his goal of $100,000 by 10 times, with $1 million going to charities including the Marine Corps – Law Enforcement Foundation. Limbaugh, who started the tea company with his wife Kathryn in June of 2011, says, “We ran the numbers, and we are thrilled to announce that because of you, Two If By Tea has donated over $1 million in product and monetary donations to incredible causes.” Limbaugh says in starting the tea company he wanted to create an American business. “I personally wanted to experience firsthand all of the requirements, the licenses, the fees needed to take a product to market from nothing. Our goal was to create jobs and manufacture with all American-made products in a fun, unique way.”
Steve Deace Show Hits 50-Affiliate Mark. The Iowa-based Steve Deace program announces it has hit the 50-affiliate goal in its first year in national syndication. With the addition of KXBR, Duluth; KVOI, Tucson; and WYAB, Jackson, Mississippi, Deace’s independently syndicated evening talk show (9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET) climbs to the 50-station plateau. Deace left his position at Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines (the station that remains his flagship affiliate) to pursue his goal of national syndication success. He states, “I am honored and humbled to have achieved such success in such a short time. When I left the award-winning and legendary WHO last year to find out what other opportunities were out there, I had no idea this was possible.”
Jeff Schechtman Steps Down at Wine Country’s KVON and KVYN, Napa, California. With the possible sale of the news/talk and hot AC duo on the horizon, Wine Country Broadcasting owner Roger Walther and general manager Jeff Schechtman jointly announce Schechtman will step down from his role as GM in January to pursue other opportunities. Schechtman states, “Ten years is a long time in any one job, and with the possible potential sale of the station, it seems an ideal time to move on to pursue some projects I’ve been thinking about for quite some time. There is always a tendency to get stale after too long in one job and in one place.”
Gow Communications Closes on KFNC, Houston. Sports talk station 97.5 The Ticket has been operated by David Gow’s Gow Communications under an LMA since September. Now, the company closes on the station it purchases from AR Broadcast Holdings for $5 million.
CBS Sports Radio Names Chris Moore and Brian Jones Evening Hosts. The national sports radio network CBS Radio will debut on January 2 has been fitted with the final piece of the programming puzzle. Hosting the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET slot will be veteran play-by-play announcer and talk host Chris Moore and former NFL player and current CBS Sports Network analyst Brian Jones, who have been named as co-hosts of CBS Sports Radio’s evening show. Their program will emanate from CBS Sports Radio’s New York City studio in Tribeca and will be heard on several stations, including WIP-AM, Philadelphia, WFOM, Atlanta, WXYT-AM, Detroit, WJZ-AM, Baltimore, KJQS, Salt Lake City and WSJZ, Orlando.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 3-7. The political fight in Washington over how to avoid the “fiscal cliff” was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the third straight week. Coming in at #2 was Syria’s chemical weapons threat. At #3 was the Egypt Morsi protests and following at #4 was the looming ObamaCare costs. 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 complete chart here.
Michael Savage Wins Suit Against Talk Radio Network; Leaves the Air Immediately. Talk radio icon Michael Savage, who has been distributed by Talk Radio Network since he went into national syndication from his home base in San Francisco in the late 1990s, has won his legal battle with the company to be freed from his contract and has the right to seek other means of distributing his program. Sources indicate there is no non-compete in effect and Savage is now free to work wherever he chooses. Ranked by TALKERS magazine as the third most-listened-to talk show host in the nation, Savage states on his website, “After a grueling legal battle that cost him and his family dearly, Michael Savage can announce he won! He is free at last. Free to work with whomever he wishes in the radio industry from today forward. Michael will not be heard on the radio for some time, but you can keep up with him by logging onto Michaelsavage.com every day for updates and by subscribing to his free newsletter.” TRN CEO Mark Masters issued a statement in response, “We are all looking forward to announcing a bright future; radio’s October Surprise will begin on Monday, October 1st.” Savage’s attorney, Daniel Horowitz, tells the AP that Savage has been fighting the network for two years to get out of a contract that was 10 years old and prevented him from switching employers. Savage won the favorable ruling in arbitration. Horowitz says the pact lacked protections afforded to artists and entertainers under California law and tied Savage to Talk Radio Network indefinitely. As for the cost to Savage to which he refers to in his missive on the website, Horowitz says Savage spent more than $900,000 fighting his case but was awarded more than $1 million in arbitration. Savage will also have access to his audio archives. Still unclear is the exact amount of time Savage must remain off the air.
Jim Rome’s Jump to CBS Sports Radio Official. As expected, syndicated sports talk icon Jim Rome is leaving Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Premiere Networks at the end of his contract (which expires at the end of the year) and will become part of the national slate at CBS Sports Radio. The newly created national sports talk network will hit the airwaves on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 and Rome’s program will air in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot. Included in the new deal are Rome’s contributing to the “CBS Sports Minute,” 60-second hourly feature on the network as well as his providing commentary for CBS Sports and CBSSports.com. Rome is also set to host a talk series on Showtime, due to debut later this fall. CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason states, “Jim would be at the top of any list highlighting sports radio’s most authoritative and opinionated hosts which is exactly why we’re thrilled to welcome him to CBS Sports Radio. We are building a network that showcases the incredible assets of CBS Radio and CBS Sports, and creating a strategic opportunity for growth in this untapped marketplace. Jim’s presence in this marquee time period adds strength to our lineup and exceptional value to our advertisers.”
Changes at Sports Talk KFNC, Houston; Carl Dukes Exits PM Drive to Join CBS Radio’s New Atlanta Sports Talk FM. The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports PM drive sports talk host Carl Dukes is leaving his role at Gow Communications-owned KFNC to become part of the staff at CBS Radio’s WZGC “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” in Atlanta. At KFNC, midday hosts Fred Faour and A.J. Hoffman are shifting to afternoon drive in Dukes’ place and Houston Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon will become host of the midday show. Program director and PM drive co-host David Tepper will also move to the midday slot to work with Solomon. Owner David Gow tells the paper, “Fred and A.J. have been ready for afternoon drive, and we think listeners will enjoy them in that time slot. We are delighted to add Jerome. He’s one of the top voices in sports in this market.”
Armstrong & Getty Return to Air. The KSTE, Sacramento-based morning show duo of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty were back on the air at the Clear Channel station (and on their San Francisco simulcast outlet KKSF) re-iterating their two days off the radio had nothing to do with the bit they did on Monday’s program calling for people to post videos, cartoons and more critical of Islam and Mohammad. There had been speculation in the industry that management took the two off the air in the wake of statements by people, including President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, condemning editorial comments bashing Islam and its tenets. The two assured listeners they are allowed complete editorial control over their show and that they were off the air for other reasons they agreed not to talk about on the radio.
Odds & Sods. WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” talk host Chris Duncan picks up the “Best Sports Broadcast Personality” award from the alt-weekly Riverfront Times and its annual “Best of St. Louis 2012.”…..Cumulus Media’s sports talk KFNZ, Salt Lake City will broadcast all of the Utah Grizzlies ECHL minor league hockey games beginning with this season…..Tom Sipos’ “Hudson Valley Focus” program is the new morning show at Clear Channel’s WKIP, Poughkeepsie/WJIP, Ellenville, New York.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Phil’s Gang” with host Phil Grande is added to the program schedule at KFNN, Phoenix and KPSF, Palm Springs, California…..“The Money Pit home Improvement Show” with Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete is added to WMXI, Hattiesburg, Mississippi and KGAL, Albany, Oregon.
Mitch on The Fool. WJR, Detroit PM drive host and author of the best-selling novel The Time Keeper (Hyperion 2012) Mitch Albom (l) sits with Chris Hill (r), host of the nationally syndicated “Motley Fool Radio Show.” Albom, who has a couple of best-sellers to his name, is a sports columnist and sports TV personality in addition to his work on WJR, recently went on Hill’s program to talk about his new novel and more.
Benghazi Attack Investigation Top News/Story for Week of September 24-28. The investigation of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the allegation that al Qaeda was responsible was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming at #2 was the United Nations addresses by world leaders this week. At #3 was Iran’s nuclear program and following at #4 was the presidential race polls. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See the entire chart here.
Gow Communications to Pay $5.17 Million for KFNC, Houston. The sale of sports talk outlet KFNC, Houston to Gow and Educational Media Foundation that was announced in the spring is coming close to the finish line as David Gow and company should begin LMAing the station Cumulus put into bankruptcy protection as early as September 1. The station – positioned as ESPN 97.7 – is expected to continue to broadcast ESPN programming at least for a while. Gow also operates crosstown sports talk KGOW and Yahoo! Sports Radio and there have been some changes there with Travis Rodgers moving to the early afternoon slot on both KGOW and the national network. KGOW is preparing to debut Adam Clanton and John Wessling in the afternoon drive slot, according to David Barron of the Houston Chronicle. Clanton currently works for KPRC-TV but will wrap up his role with the station this weekend. As for the Yahoo! Sports Radio network, a new PM drive show is being developed and will be announced soon. The network’s Craig Shemon returns to weekends from the midday slot.
Heidi and Frank Return to the Terrestrial Airwaves in Los Angeles. Cumulus Media names Heidi Hamilton and Frank Kramer the new morning show on KLOS, Los Angeles, taking over for Mark & Brian beginning September 4. Brian Phelps surprised the industry last week announcing he would also be leaving the Cumulus classic rocker at the same time Mark Thompson would, although Thompson made his decision to retire public earlier this summer. Cumulus COO John Dickey told TALKERS over the weekend that Brian Phelps was “part of a large consideration pool” of candidates for the new morning program. In announcing “The Heidi and Frank Show,” Dickey states, “After a long and thoughtful search which overwhelmed us with great, established talent and new talent waiting to be discovered both in and out of radio, I couldn’t be more pleased with the selection of ‘The Heidi and Frank Show’ to continue on the tradition that Mark and Brian set in place with 25 years of Hall of Fame radio.” Hamilton and Kramer have been producing an internet radio show since CBS Radio shut down hot talk KLSX, Los Angeles in a format flip. The Frosty, Heidi and Frank program (with Frosty Stillwell) aired there successfully for years. They also worked at KABC after the demise of KLSX. Prior to the KLSX era Hamilton and Kramer hosted the morning show at crosstown Hot AC KYSR. On the new gig, Heidi Hamilton states, “KLOS is rock. KLOS is the definitive iconic rock radio station in the world. It’s one of those stations that evokes a feel good emotion while you’re driving in your car. I’m beyond honored that Frank Kramer and I have been invited to become a part of something so legendary! The ‘Heidi and Frank Show’ fans are second to NONE and I know they will be with us on this long fun ride together.” Frank Kramer comments, “If it would have been any other station than KLOS, I would have said no. We have a huge following across the world and only a station as large and iconic as KLOS could lure us back to radio. To be given this opportunity is an honor and a privilege. With the continued support from my partner, Heidi Hamilton, and the fans that never left us, and the fans waiting for us to return, the next 25 years are going to be one hell of a ride.”
The Battle for Control over Sirius XM Continues and the Momentum Seems to be Shifting in Favor of John Malone’s Liberty Media. Yes, what seemed like an odd story just a matter of months ago has developed into a high stakes big business drama. John Malone and Liberty Media, the company that rescued the merged satellite radio company from burning up in the atmosphere back in 2009 by gobbling up 40% ownership at what has turned out to be a super good deal for them has asked the FCC for approval to take outright control of Sirius XM Radio, noting it plans to raise its stake in the satellite radio company above 50%. The request follows disclosure earlier this week that Liberty, SiriusXM’s largest shareholder, was inching up its collection of shares in Sirius from approximately 46.2% to an aggressively postured 48%. In last week’s filing, Liberty said it will “have purchased sufficient shares of Sirius’s common stock and will convert its preferred shares such that the transfer of control will be completed within 60 days of commission consent.” Raising its stake above 50% and being granted FCC approval to take absolute control opens the way for Liberty to replace Sirius management and spin its Sirius stake off to Liberty shareholders. But would replacing Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin be a wise move? Probably not. Although coldly brash and hard-nosed as they come, Karmazin is an extremely effective radio broadcast executive and business strategist who has done a world class job of getting Sirius XM to its present state of health. Reports from inside Liberty indicate that John Malone recognizes that and is giving “Mel” wiggle room to back pedal off his earlier blurts that he wouldn’t work for anyone else. There is a huge lesson here for wannabe broadcast industry moguls (and there sure are a lot of them out there): When you turn to venture capitalists and outside big money investors to save your ass, they will likely wind up owning it.
In Search of the Effective Commercial. There’s a trend away from humorous commercials in radio, according to H-and-H Communications president Al Herskovitz. Research indicates Madison Avenue is questioning the effectiveness of funny ads and, as it applies to talk radio advertising, Herskovitz writes that the “recognizable spokesperson” – read, the talk show host – is much more effective. But there are still problems there that need to be solved. Read Al Herskovitz’s piece here.
Courtside Entertainment’s “Loveline” Clears Tampa Market. Cox Media’s FM hot talker WHPT, Tampa – The Bone – adds Courtside Entertainment Group’s “Loveline” featuring Dr. Drew Pinsky, Mike Catherwood and Simone Bienne for the 1:00 am to 3:00 am slot. “Loveline” becomes part of Cox’s young male-targeted talk outlet that features Bubba the Love Sponge in morning drive and Cowhead in PM drive.
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington hosts a special “school” edition of its “Ask the…” program today at 10:00 am. Mark Seagraves serves as moderator for the commercial-free hour featuring a Q&A session with superintendents and school board officials from Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Fairfax County and the District of Columbia…..Entercom’s New England sports talk juggernaut WEEI produces the 11th Annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon beginning today and running through tomorrow. The fundraising extravaganza takes place live from Fenway Park from 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight both days. Last year the event raised more than $3.3 million for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute…..Nationally syndicated radio host Phil Grande of the “Phil’s Gang” program will broadcast his show live from the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week with broadcasts starting at 3:00 pm ET. Grande will have special guests Donald Trump, Florida Governor Rick Scott and Sarasota Republican Chairman Joe Gruters plus many other guests. In addition, he will have up to the minute news, updates and of course his own commentary. The 2012 Republican National Convention is being held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum August 27-30, 2012.
CBS Radio News Announces Convention Coverage. Dial Global and CBS Radio News will deliver coverage from the two national conventions – the Republican National Convention in Tampa August 27 through 30 and the Democratic National Convention September 4 through 6. Coverage plans include anchored coverage, updates, special reports, special features, and one-on-one interviews with correspondents, pundits and political experts. CBS Radio News states it will “provide expert reporting and analysis, featuring an experienced lineup of respected and award-winning correspondents and commentators, including Howard Arenstein, Pam Coulter, Peter King, Dan Raviv, Peter Maer, Andrew Mollenbeck, Brian Montopoli and Professors Dotty Lynch and Leonard Steinhorn.
Los Angeles Radio Personality Paul Crosswhite Passes Away. Southern California newsman and DJ Paul Crosswhite died on August 17 after a long illness. Crosswhite served as a news person at both KFI and KNX-FM during his career. He also was an evening and morning drive host at KTWV, Los Angeles – The Wave – for 10 years. According to LARadio.com’s Don Barrett, “Crosswhite did news during most of his tenure in Southern California radio and has received Golden Mike Awards for documentary, feature and best newscast. He did news during the glory years of KNX-FM. During the Gulf War, he won the Associated Press Award for best newscast. When he moved to “the Wave,” he gave up news to become a DJ, originally in the evenings and, later, mornings after the female morning drive team collapsed.”
Romney-Ryan Team, Obama Medicare Cuts, Facebook Stock Plummets and Syria Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20). The Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket hitting the campaign trail full-swing; President Obama’s cuts to Medicare; the sagging stock price of Facebook; and the ongoing violence in Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Sean Hannity Re-Ups with Fox News Channel. There had been rumors that Fox News Channel prime time superstar (and Premiere Networks radio talk show star) Sean Hannity was negotiating with the News Corp. cable news/talk giant and now it’s announced the two sides have agreed on a long-term extension. The duration and money details are few but it’s being reported the new contract keeps Hannity at FNC for “the foreseeable future.” Hannity is the second-most-watched FNC show after Bill O’Reilly and a major part of its prime time success. Hannity is quoted saying, “It’s been an honor and privilege to work alongside the incredible team at Fox News, whose talent is unparalleled. In true Roger Ailes form, he saw something in me that no one else did and afforded me the opportunity to achieve incredible success. I look forward to many more years to come.” The news of Hannity’s extended relationship with Fox comes at a perfect time – two weeks before the New Media Seminar in New York City at which he will be personally hosting a special breakfast for all attendees followed by delivering the power-packed event’s keynote speech. For information about the industry-only conference set for Thursday, June 7 call 413-565-5413. Today is the final day to register. To see the complete agenda click here.
TALKERS Top Talk Audiences Winter Report Shows News/Talk Holding Steady. In today’s highly polarized political climate, there is a tendency toward news/talk radio ratings to be selectively cherry-picked and trumpeted for the purpose of propagandizing partisan interests. A recent example of this is on display as the normal rises or dips in Rush Limbaugh’s PPM numbers during the two months following the Sandra Fluke controversy are touted by political action groups as a referendum on the public’s reaction to the story and reflective of the nation’s political and social mindset in general. The truth, as broadcasting professionals realize, is that radio ratings are a complex and inexact process that can only be indicative of measurable trends when looked at over time and distance, taking a multitude of factors into account – especially during the current bumpy transition to the PPM system and the merging of significantly different research paradigms. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “The mainstream media approaches radio ratings as though they were motion picture box office numbers or last night’s horse racing results. The political groups, of course, play into that. As a result, the public is getting a very inaccurate picture of the reality of this business from skewed partisan perspectives. Both sides are shamelessly doing this. Our business has become a political football which is not a good thing.” The latest installment of TALKERS magazine’s quarterly audience estimates of the most-listened-to news/talk radio hosts (Winter 2012) has been posted today. See it here.
Gow Communications to Buy KFNC-FM, Houston. That station, along with KHJK-FM, Houston, was put into a pre-packaged bankruptcy proceeding by former owner Cumulus Media last year. The stations are majority owned by media broker Lawrence Patrick with the rest owned by creditors. Now, the Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports David Gow’s Gow Communications (which operates sports KGOW, Houston and Yahoo! Sports Radio) is the winning bidder for the FM signal and has signed a letter of intent to buy it. Barron reports KFNC-FM billed $2.4 million in 2011.
Sports Talk Radio Scene in Salt Lake City Becoming Clearer. With the recently announced purchase of KZNS-AM/FM by the Larry H. Miller Group – owner of the NBA’s Utah Jazz – and Cumulus Media’s dedication to keeping former Jazz flagship and crosstown competitor KFNZ a sports outlet by simulcasting the Yahoo! Sports Radio content currently heard on its KJQS, there’s been a lot of turmoil in the Salt Lake City radio sports scene but the picture is clearing. LHM Group will split the AM and FM signals of KZNS. The FM side will feature “Fox Sports Daybreak” in AM drive, local hosts Jake Scott and Tony Parks from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, FSRN’s “Loose Cannons” from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and FSRN’s Petros & Money from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The AM side will consist of local hosts David James and Patrick Kinahan in AM drive, Jim Rome from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, local hosts Scott Garrard and Jake Scott from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm, local hosts Spencer Checketts and Gordon Monson from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and local host Steve Brown from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Both stations will air “Fox Sports Tonight” and FSRN’s JT the Brick. Meanwhile, across town at Utah Radio Acquisition’s KALL – ESPN 700 – former KZNS-AM/FM host Hans Olsen joins the Bill Riley PM drive show effective June 4.
Talk Radio Legend Barry Farber Releases New Book; Will Be Honored at New Media Seminar in New York on June 7. Pioneering talk radio host Barry Farber is publishing his new book, Cocktails with Molotov (WND Books 2012) on June 5. The book is described as “a collection of real life short stories that Farber has somehow found himself involved in, where you’ll read of his encounters with Alfred Hitchcock, the King of Albania, and Buzz Aldrin; of his knowledge of 26 foreign languages and how foreign language came through for him in the nick of time. He shares tales from his childhood in North Carolina and his time spent venturing abroad, from his life as a young reporter and as a seasoned journalist, along with astounding narratives of everything in between.” Rush Limbaugh is quoted speaking of Farber. “Barry Farber was a standout when it was difficult to get a talk show. Unlike today, very few people hosted such shows in Barry’s era. You had to be among the best to be hired to host long-form talk. Barry Farber was…the best. He was defining. He’s always been in rarified air.” Barry Farber will be honored with the “TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award” at the New Media Seminar on New York City on Thursday, June 7.
KRLD-FM, Dallas Names Jane Slater and Chris Arnold to Talent Roster. The CBS Radio sports talk station brings Jane Slater over from its news sister KRLD where she was morning drive reporter to co-host the midday show with Mark Elfenbein for the “Elf and Slater” midday show. The daypart opened up when Josh Lewin accepted the New York Mets play-by-play gig. In evenings, the station adds market sports pro Chris Arnold to Gavin Dawson’s “The G-Bag Nation” program which is expanding to the 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot to cover for the departed Arnie Spanier. In a statement, VP of news/talk/sports programming Bruce Gilbert says, “The addition of Jane and Chris to the full-time staff at 105.3 The Fan illustrates our commitment to be the live and local sports talk station. Their characteristics, personalities and unique perspectives emphasize our goal to be the voice of the many diverse sports fans across North Texas.”
Federated Media Flips Two Music FMs to Sports Talk. A new four-station sports talk brand dubbed “The Fan” is being created by Federated Media. The latest station to announce a flip is South Bend-market classic rock WAOR-FM (licensed to Nappanee, Indiana). The stations (including WFGA-FM, Ft. Wayne; WLEG-FM, Elkhart, Indiana; and WNIL, Niles, Michigan) will carry local sports talk shows in morning and afternoon drive and carry Fox Sports Radio Network programming the rest of the day. Federated Media chief operating officer Brad Williams says in a statement, “We are thrilled to bring sports talk to Northern Indiana. We are a sports-hungry region and now our customers and clients can consume and partner with our stations and Fox Sports Radio 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” The changes take place June 4.
United Stations Radio Networks Develops Weekly NASCAR Show. The weekly one-hour program titled, “The Final Lap Weekly” is being hosted by Kerry Murphey and Toby Christie. Murphey is the producer and host of USRN’s daily feature, “The Final Lap,” which is heard on more than 200 affiliate stations. USRN EVP of programming Andy Denemark states, “2012 has been another solid year for NASCAR racing with TV viewership and track attendance both up. At the same time, sports radio is growing exponentially, so we felt it was a great time to bring a new long-form racing talk show to the airwaves. Kerry Murphey is a proven winner, his team covers the sport like no one else, and this is a great brand extension for Kerry and ‘The Final Lap.’” The show debuts the weekend of June 2-3.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. WLAC, Nashville-based syndicated talk host Steve Gill begins a promotion with the Nashville Daily’s chain of gas stations to offer 150 listeners up to 15 gallons of gas at just $1.84 per gallon – January 2009 prices – beginning Tuesday, May 29. Listeners must tune in to Gill to know which location is offering the bargain…..Journal Broadcasting names Mike McQuilliam promotions and marketing director for the company’s Wichita operations…..CBS Radio’s WCCO, Minneapolis extends its contract with University of St. Thomas to air its football games through the 2013 season.
2012 Presidential Race Top Talk Radio Topic for 8th Consecutive Week. The battle between challenger Mitt Romney and President Obama in this year’s presidential campaign was again the #1 story on the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories and people on news/talk radio for the week of May 21-25. At #2 was the Euro Zone crisis. Following at #3 was the financial markets activity and at #4 was Facebook IPO troubles. The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Fox Sports Radio Network adds four new affiliates owned by Federated Media. WFGA-FM, Ft. Wayne; WAOR-FM, South Bend; WLEG-FM, Elkhart, Indiana; and WNIL, Niles, Michigan all begin carrying FSRN programming, including Dan Patrick, Jim Rome, “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and more beginning June 4…..WRDU-FM, Raleigh – Rush Radio 106.1 – adds the Allan Handelman show to its weekend lineup. Handelman’s program was the afternoon drive show at WZKT-FM, Burlington, North Carolina until a recent format flip…..KUFO, Portland picks up Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street with Chris Markowski”…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds six new stations to his affiliate roster including: WGWD-FM, Tallahassee; WWNS, Statesboro, Georgia; and WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois.
Heidi Harris Named Morning Drive Host at Salem’s Re-Branded KRLA, Los Angeles and KTIE, San Bernardino. Salem Communications announces its Southern California news/talk outlets KRLA, Los Angeles and KTIE, San Bernardino are being re-branded “The Answer,” following the same plan recently instituted at the company’s WNYM, New York. At the same time, rising talk media star Heidi Harris joins the stations to serve as AM drive host. Harris, a Las Vegas native, most recently hosted the morning drive program at Beasley Broadcasting’s KDWN, Las Vegas. Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says the new morning show and the new name and positioning will make both stations more competitive, with more attitude in the imaging and more opportunities to position the stations in their markets. “We have been using the name ‘The Answer’ in New York since March 12, and could not be happier with the response. The on-air attitude and positioning is much more positive and we decided we could do something similar for KRLA and KTIE. The addition of Heidi Harris to the morning show is a major investment in the future of these stations, so the timing was perfect to combine the new show with the re-branding effort.” Heidi Harris says of her new gig, “I am thrilled and excited to join Salem Communications, a company that has quickly become one of the most respected places to work in radio and a company with a huge commitment to what I do: the news/talk format. I can’t wait to get back on the radio and to do my thing in Los Angeles and the Inland Empire – two great markets for talk – and two great stations. With a teeny bit of talent, 13 years of busting my butt, and most importantly the Grace of God, I have landed my dream job.”
Florida’s Magic Broadcasting Buys Tallahassee Market WGWD-FM; Flips to News/Talk. Panama City, Florida-based Magic Broadcasting II announces it has completed the purchase of classic country WGWD-FM, Gretna, Florida (Tallahassee market) and will flip the station to news/talk today as “Talk Radio 93.3 FM” WGWD. CEO Don McCoy tells TALKERS magazine the station will feature state-syndicated talk hosts Burnie Thompson (12:00 noon to 3:00 pm) and Derrell Day (7:00 am to 10:00 am). Thompson’s guests on today’s program will include Governor Rick Scott, upcoming Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, Florida’s next Speaker of the House Will Weatherford, and U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Tallahassee). McCoy says the company is bringing “Florida’s year-round Town Hall right to the Capital City.” He calls the new format “live, local, fun and exciting! We’re focused on state programming as well as national issues …and always for Floridians.” The station will also air Talk Radio Network/Washington Times-produced “America’s Morning News,” TRN’s Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage and Rusty Humphries, Cox Media’s Neal Boortz and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America with Jon Grayson.”
WNYM, New York’s Curtis Sliwa Featured in New York Post Story About Fiancé and Children. Consummate New Yorker, Guardian Angels founder and talk media personality Curtis Sliwa is a local celebrity in New York but few knew of his home life until a piece in the New York Post this weekend shed light on that aspect of Sliwa’s life. The short version is that Sliwa and fiancé Melinda Katz plan to marry soon and continue raising their two sons – Carter and Hunter – in their Forest Hills, Queens home. Sixteen years ago Katz asked former boyfriend Sliwa for a sperm donation intending to raise any children she bore alone. While pregnant with Hunter, Katz developed complications and called Sliwa – out of her life for years at this point – and he came to her aid and the relationship grew from there. There’s far more to this human interest story featuring one of talk radio’s colorful characters. Read it here.
KBME, Houston Brings N.D. Kalu and Greg Koch Aboard for Mid-Morning Show. When former NFL players N.D. Kalu and Greg Koch left CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talk KILT last month, it was rumored the two might reappear at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s crosstown sports talk KBME. That has been confirmed. The two will host the 10:00 am to 11:00 am “In the Trenches with Koch and Kalu” beginning today (4/16). Koch and Kalu had been hosting a weekend program on KILT and served as commentators on other station programs. Kalu works in real estate in the Houston area and Koch is an attorney.
KOMO, Seattle Morning News Anchor Bill Yeend Retires. Pacific Northwest broadcaster Bill Yeend finished his last airshift at Fisher’s KOMO, Seattle on Friday and begins enjoying his retirement – and probably sleeping in for the first time in a long time – today. For the past 10 years, Yeend has co-anchored the morning news at KOMO with Manda Factor. Yeend began his career at rock KBBX-FM, Seattle in 1968 and moved to crosstown KIRO in 1970. There, he won five Edward R. Murrow Awards for journalistic excellence. Taking over at KOMO alongside Factor is KOMO sports reporter and Seattle Mariners public address announcer Tom Hutyler.
WLS, Chicago Changes Imaging Voices; Drops Jeff Davis and Brings Aboard Scott Fisher. Chicago radio fans are well aware of Jeff Davis’ history with Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS. He started with the station in 1974 when it was the big hit music outlet in the city. He remained with the station through the late 1980s. Davis has been the voice of the station for most of the last 20 years but Cumulus has decided to change the station’s imaging and chooses not to renew Davis’ contract and signs on with Scott Fisher Productions.
Sports KFNC-FM, Houston to Be Hawked at NAB. Station trustee and broker Larry Patrick of Maryland-based Patrick Communications tells the Houston Chronicle he will be actively looking for potential buyers for sports talk KFNC-FM, Houston and its sister Triple A KHJK-FM at this week’s NAB in Las Vegas. KFNC-FM is one of four Cumulus Media stations in the market that went through a pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy deal to eliminate its debt and make it more attractive to potential buyers. The station is still operated by Cumulus Media but Patrick owns more than 75% of the station. According to Patrick, KFNC-FM boasted $2.4 million in ad sales in 2011. Patrick tells the paper, “The staff is aware of what is happening, and the former owner has every right to bid and buy the stations back. I’ve had inquiries from five or six people and I think there will be real interest.”
Dave Graveline in Croatia. That’s “Into Tomorrow” talk host Dave Graveline (l) and producer Rob Almanza (r) standing on the (usually) sunny Adriatic coastline of Croatia. Graveline and Almanza are there producing the weekend consumer electronics show while Graveline serves as moderator of the Global Press Conference for IFA – that’s the big Consumer Electronics & Appliance show that he broadcasts from in Berlin every September.