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.
Ralph Barbieri Sues KNBR, San Francisco. Longtime San Francisco sports talk host Ralph Barbieri is suing Cumulus Media’s sports talk outlet KNBR claiming the station fired him in April based on his age and disabilities. Barbieri’s attorney tells the San Francisco Chronicle station officials told Barbieri he was being let go for coming to work late and not preparing. Barbieri had co-hosted the PM drive show with Tom Tolbert since 1996 as “The Razor and Mr. T” and attorney Angela Alioto says, “If you look at the ratings, Mr. Barbieri and Mr. Tolbert were number one or two until the day he was terminated. The fact is, before they knew he was sick, those excuses didn’t exist – and they renewed his contract.” In late 2011, Barbieri announced he’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and the station renewed his contract a month later. Barbieri, who is seeking $10 million in damages, went on crosstown sports talk outlet KGMZ-FM to explain the suit and said Cumulus market manager Bill Bungeroth and OM Lee Hammer expressed to him he sounded tired on the air and chastised him for having to use the restroom often because of his medications. He says he was also criticized for being late because of medical appointments. The Chronicle reports Cumulus Media has not responded to requests for comment.
Glenn Beck Merges GBTV Under “The Blaze” Banner. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio star Glenn Beck has been operating two of his pioneering digital initiatives – The Blaze website and internet video station GBTV – under separate names. Now, Beck is moving GBTV and the new Marketplace by Markdown, under The Blaze umbrella. He states in an interview with CNN, “I didn’t like the name GBTV from the very beginning for a couple of reasons; one, it’s a little egocentric, and two, it’s television, which doesn’t describe necessarily what we do.” So Beck is merging the three properties in to what he calls “a world-class multimedia network” – The Blaze. Asked about Beck’s move by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “There are cases in which a personal name becomes a platform brand –such as Trump, Forbes and Ford – and they worked out well. But NBC wasn’t named Sarnoff, CBS wasn’t named Paley and Playboy wasn’t named Hefner. I think Beck is refining his approach to continuing his successful journey as a 21st century media pioneer.”
Dave Ramsey Jumps to News/Talk KRLD, Dallas. Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey is now heard on CBS Radio’s news/talk KRLD, Dallas from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm nightly. Ramsey’s program had previously been carried by Cumulus Media’s crosstown KLIF. CBS Radio Dallas VP of news/talk/sports Bruce Gilbert, states, “We are thrilled to have Dave Ramsey join our team at Newsradio 1080 KRLD. His wisdom, knowledge and passion have garnered him many fans in North Texas and we’re proud to be the new home for his growing and successful program.”
iPad Era Creates Opportunities for News Writers. Consultant Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS from Blogworld/New York and says opportunities for writers adept at concise delivery of information are everywhere. “As iPod and iPhone have, stable mate iPad is, once again, demonstrating how facile new devices change the way we consume information/entertainment content, and how we interact.” Read more from Holland Cooke at Blogworld here.
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Promotes Darren Davis to EVP of National Programming Platforms. Darren Davis has worked his way up from programming Clear Channel’s WASH-FM, Washington to his new post as executive vice president of national programming platforms for the company. CC states Davis “will work closely with Tom Poleman (president of national programming platforms) to oversee all aspects of the division and the ongoing development and execution of Clear Channel’s national advertising and programming integrations. He will continue to manage the Programming Operations Center; the Brand Management in-house format team; and the company’s highly effective Premium Choice network.” Poleman says of Davis, “Over the past few years, Darren has been instrumental in transforming everything from our systems of communication to the way we maximize our best programming assets. His efforts continue to give Clear Channel the competitive advantage and resources to be even more relevant and effective in the evolving market place, offering our listeners, partners and advertisers, products and content that nobody else can. He has clearly earned the opportunity to grow within our company and he will continue to be an integral part of our team and our future.”
JT the Brick Featured on Las Vegas Newscast. Fox Sports Radio Network late night talk host JT the Brick was recently featured on local television station KLAS-TV, Las Vegas in a piece on the effect of social media on sports talk radio. JT broadcasts his nightly FSRN program from studios in Las Vegas. In the piece, JT explains the pros and cons of using social media – Twitter, Facebook and others – to bring content to his show and to interact with fans.
Local Combo Serves Florida Panhandle Market During Flood Emergency. Program director Paul Stadden tells TALKERS magazine ADX Communications’ news/talk WNRP, Pensacola and sister country FM were on the scene keeping local residents informed when 13 inches of rain fell on Escambia County last weekend causing widespread flooding and some $150 million in damage. Stadden says, “Using the staffs of both stations, employees covered the flooded streets and reported full time from the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center until the state of emergency was lifted Monday morning.” Pictured here is WNRP news anchor Cooper Davis on the air during the marathon coverage of the disaster.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. CBS Radio’s all-news WCBS, New York takes home three New York State Broadcasters Awards at ceremonies held last night in Bolton Landing, New York. The station won for “Outstanding Local Newscast” (Hurricane Irene), “Outstanding Feature Story” (The Sock Lady-10 Years Later) and “Outstanding Local Sporting Event” (The New York City Marathon)…..WBZ, Boston’s Joe Mathieu will host Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo on today’s monthly “WBZ NewsWatch” hour-long interview program as the Massachusetts legislature finalizes its new fiscal year budget…..Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee show will gain a major market affiliate as it joins the lineup at Francis Battaglia-owned KFNX, Phoenix. The program will air live in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daypart…..Las Vegas-based syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs is being honored by the UNLV Honors College with her selection as the “2012 Honors College Alumna of the Year.” The school states it is the “highest and most prestigious award given by the college and recognizes Wachs’ impact on UNLV through the significant contributions she’s made to society in your professional field and through her personal achievements.”
2012 Presidential Race, Russia Sends Warships to Syria, Rodney King Dies, George Zimmerman Legal Issues and Roger Clemens Acquitted Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/18). The 2012 presidential campaign; Russia’s announcement it will send warships to Syria; the death of historical figure Rodney King at age 47; the growing legal troubles for George Zimmerman and his wife; and baseball great Roger Clemens’ acquittal on perjury charges were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Woodhead in The Zone. That’s New England Patriots running back (and Nebraska native) Danny Woodhead (c) in the booth with KOZN, Omaha’s Damon Benning (l) and Mike’l Severe (r). The NRG Media sports talk station is broadcasting live from the 2012 NCAA College World Series – six hours daily for 14 days – and had the chance to catch up with Woodhead as he stopped by The Zone’s broadcast booth.
WWWN-FM, Chicago Midday Anchor Dave Williams Exits Merlin Station. The first high-profile firing at Merlin Media’s Chicago all-newser claims veteran news and talk radio pro Dave Williams. Numerous reports indicate Williams was let go after a station visit from Merlin Media management that included CEO Randy Michaels but not COO Walter Sabo. Industry watchers note that there’s been near constant tweaking of the on-air sound at Merlin’s WWWN-FM, Chicago and WEMP-FM, New York but the departure of Williams has triggered a change that appears to be taking the stations away from the “lifestylish” approach to news and toward a much more traditional all-news direction. This, according to widespread street buzz, could put Walter Sabo’s future with Merlin in doubt as he is generally recognized as the architect of the innovative direction that has marked the company’s questionable starts in both Chicago and New York. As pointed out here last week, although industry conventional wisdom indicates that it takes time – as much as a year or more – for spoken-word upstarts to gain ratings traction (especially groundbreaking ones), today’s economically stressed environment and “ADD/PPM world” pressure for instantaneous results would likely contribute to nervous investors and the knee jerk response to make changes…especially at an extremely high-profile operation as Randy Michaels’ Merlin Media. Thus, the “big tweak” might be morphing into a significant format change. Meanwhile, Williams, who spent most of his career working in news and talk radio in California at such stations as KNX, KABC and KFWB in Los Angeles and KFBK in Sacramento, is looking for his next opportunity after moving from California three months ago to become part of the new Merlin station.
Westwood One’s Dennis Miller and Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly Partner for Live Shows. The last time Bill O’Reilly did a series of live events, then-FNC employed Glenn Beck was his partner. This time Dennis Miller – a man who is no stranger to the live stage – joins O’Reilly for the “Bolder and Fresher” tour with stops at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut; the Landmark Theatre in Richmond, Virginia; Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City; and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California. It’s billed as “Bill O’Reilly, godfather of ‘no spin’ and in-your-face television, and Dennis Miller, the king of references and rants, are teaming up to take the country by storm!” Tickets are not cheap for this event. The cheap seats are $95 and the VIP tix are $500 but include a meet-and-greet, photos with O’Reilly and Miller and autographs.
Premiere Networks’ George Noory Publishes New Book Talking to the Dead. The host of Premiere’s “Coast to Coast AM” joins forces with paranormal experts and co-author Rosemary Ellen Guiley to author Talking to the Dead (Forge Books 2011) – the third book for George Noory. According to Noory, the book “explores the colorful history and personalities behind spirit communications, weaving together spirituality, metaphysics, science and technology.” Billed as a high-tech guide to spiritual communications, “Noory and Guiley use historical research to explore the science behind radio wave production and how radios carry supernatural voices; examples of successful spiritual communication around the globe; the possible existence of parallel universes from which we hear voices; the history of electromagnetic communication methods, including work by scientific giants like Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla; and much more.”
Peak Broadcasting Goes Sports Full Time on KFXD, Boise. KFXD has been positioned as KIDO 630 in the past as a sister sports and talk outlet to news/talk KIDO 580. Dan Patrick’s DirecTV-produced show has been part of the lineup for years. Now, Peak Broadcasting gives the station a separate identity and takes it sports full time as SportsRadio 630 The Fan. The station keeps Dan Patrick in AM drive and uses content from Fox Sports Radio throughout the day except for the local Riley Corcoran show from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm and the Tester and Riley show (in which Dave Tester joins Corcoran) from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
TRN’s Michael Savage Gains Clearance in Phoenix. Talk Radio Network star Michael Savage is back in the Phoenix market on Francis Battaglia-owned KFNX in the afternoon drive slot airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Savage’s program was last cleared in the market on Clear Channel’s KFYI.
Obama Jobs Bill, ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ 2012 GOP Candidates and Euro Zone Instability Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/10). The fate of President Obama’s jobs bill, the ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, the battle for the Republican nomination for president and the policies to stabilize the Euro Zone’s economy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.