Tag: "KFWB"

Friday, December 16, 2016

| December 16, 2016

susan-karisHubbard Radio Phoenix Names Karis VP/Sales. It marks a return to the day-to-day radio business for Susan Karis, who is appointed vice president of sales for Hubbard Radio Phoenix. She has spent the last nearly four years as group publisher of Cities West Publications and will begin her new duties in several weeks. Hubbard Radio Phoenix market manager Trip Reeb comments, “Having someone of Susan’s stature and background join our cluster and company is an incredible opportunity.” Karis remarks, “Every once in a while, an opportunity comes along that you just know is right – joining Hubbard Radio Phoenix is one of them. I am excited to come back to radio with Trip and his team, and to become part of Hubbard Radio.” For seven years, Karis was Phoenix-based executive vice president of operations for iHeartMedia (Clear Channel); one year as senior vice president of operations; and six years as market manager/director of sales. Prior to that, the Arizona State University grad logged 13 years (1985 – 1998) as general sales manager for Nationwide Communications. Karis replaces Jeff England, who became market manager of Hubbard’s stations in Chicago. The Hubbard Radio Phoenix cluster consists of classic rock KLSX (6.0, #2, 6+, Nielsen Audio PPM, November 2016); KUPD “Arizona’s Real Rock” (5.1, #3, 6+); KDKB “93.3 Arizona’s Alternative” (2.4, #19, 6+); KAZG “Oldies 1440 & 92.7” (1.2, #26, 6+); and KDUS “AM 1060 NBC Sports Radio” (.1, #32, 6+). The market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary KESZ (6.3, 6+).

karolyn-johnstonJohnston Joins Beasley Las Vegas As GSM. After five months as senior account executive at crosstown Cox Business, Karolyn Johnston is appointed general sales manager of Beasley Media Group’s five-station Las Vegas cluster.  Beasley Las Vegas director of sales Mark Sturcken states that years ago, he “had the pleasure working alongside Karolyn. Her energy, enthusiasm, relationships in the Las Vegas market, knowledge and passion for our business are second to none. With more than two decades of media experience, Karolyn brings tremendous value to our leadership team.” According to Johnston, she is “so happy to be on board. There are great things on deck for us [owing to] Beasley Media Group’s reputation in Las Vegas, along with the smart, seasoned roster of media professionals that make up this group. I simply could not be more delighted to be a part of this team as we move into the new year.” Johnston previously was integrated marketing specialist at iHeartMedia Las Vegas; account executive for Cumulus Media Atlanta; senior account manager for Atlanta’s WQXI-AM “The Zone”; and an account executive for Seattle’s KIRO-TV. From November 2002 to March 2009, she was an account executive at Cox Media Group Las Vegas. With their November 2016 Nielsen Audio PPM (6+) average quarter hour share and market rank in parentheses, Beasley Las Vegas consists of classic hits-oldies KKLZ (7.2, #1); urban-rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” (4.8, #4); country KCYE “The Coyote” (2.5, #15); hot AC KVGS “Star 107.9” (2.3, #19); and talk KDWN (1.1, #24).

nick-figueredoFigueredo Named WOKV Director/B&P. Most recently assistant director of branding and programming for Cox Media Group Orlando talker WDBO-FM, Nick Figueredo transfers to similarly-programmed Jacksonville sibling WOKV as director of branding and programming. Cox Media Group Jacksonville director of radio operations Todd Shannon remarks, “After working closely with Nick over the past three months as we interviewed for the position, it became very apparent that he has the passion, vision, and leadership to take WOKV to even greater ratings success.” Figueredo – who has worked for the company’s Orlando cluster the past seven years – notes, “I am very excited and thankful for this amazing opportunity. From the day I was hired at WDBO-FM, I knew my future was with Cox Media Group. I am now taking the next step in my career.” Powered by a hefty October 2016 – November 2016 gain of +1.7 (7.2 – 8.9, 6+), WOKV finishes first in Nielsen Audio’s November 2016 Jacksonville PPM report.

mason-markMason to Mark KEX Homecoming. After leaving KEX, Portland three years ago, Mark Mason will return to the iHeartMedia talk facility for a daily three-hour air-shift beginning next month (1/23). Along with the late Dave Anderson, Mason co-hosted “The Mark & Dave Show” on KEX. He notes that Anderson’s passing and his own health issues involving a blood clot in his leg changed his perspective on life. “It has been such a tumultuous ride that when I found myself able to breathe again, I felt an overwhelming need to take control of my life again,” he writes. “My decision to come back home to KEX was part of it.” Most recently, the public-address announcer for the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers was an on-air talent at crosstown Pamplin’s KPAM-AM. Just over three weeks ago (11/23), Michael Castner departed KEX to begin a podcast. Among persons 6+ in the November 2016 Nielsen Audio PPM, KEX finishes in a four-way tie at #17 (2.1), while Alpha Media talker KXL-FM is at #6 (4.9, 6+). KEX adult contemporary sibling KKCW “K-103” and public KOPB are tied for the lead (7.7, 6+).

crowleymonica-2Crowley Chosen As NSC Senior Director/Strategic Communications. Immediately rumored to be in line for a position in the Trump administration, former syndicated radio host Monica Crowley will be senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council. “I am deeply honored, humbled, and grateful to be asked by the president-elect to join the extraordinary national security team he is assembling,” the Fox News Channel commentator and Washington Times columnist comments. “With vision, courage, and moral clarity, he is committed fully to re-establishing America’s singular place in the world. He is also committed to selecting the best people for the jobs of keeping the American people safe and the country secure. It will be a great privilege to serve with them.” Prior to her combined 10 years of doing syndicated talk radio for Westwood One and Talk Radio Network, Crowley spent four years as an on-air host in New York City on Cumulus Media talker WABC.

nick-pintoPinto Promoted to BMG VP/Information Technology. Two-year Charlotte-based information technology director for Beasley Media Group – Nick Pinto – is bumped up to vice president of information technology. The company’s chief technology officer Mike Cooney comments, “Nick has proven himself over the past several years and he was invaluable during our recent Greater Media acquisition. Nick will be overseeing the capital budget for IT and supervising the IT managers in the local markets. His strong customer service skills made him the obvious choice for this new corporate position.” Pinto remarks, “I am honored to join our dedicated Beasley corporate team. I have always believed that working hard will you give you many rewards – this promotion is one of them. My thanks to Mike Cooney for his faith in my abilities and to market manager Bill Schoening for his constant support for more than a decade.” Pinto has been overseeing the IT infrastructure in Beasley Media Group’s Charlotte cluster since 2004.

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Public WUSF Adds Colombini as Producer. Former WCBS-AM, New York City reporter Stephanie Colombini is named producer of “Florida Matters,” the public affairs show of University of South Florida-owned WUSF, Tampa. In addition, Colombini will contribute to state and local news coverage as part of the “Health News Florida” team. WUSF Public Media general manager JoAnn Urofsky states, “Stephanie will be a wonderful addition to our news team. She has a wide variety of skills, and I know she will play a major role in enhancing ‘Florida Matters’ and many other WUSF programs; we are fortunate to have her here.” New York native/Fordham University graduate Colombini comments, “It is a real honor to join such an esteemed group of journalists. I am excited to start covering news in the Sunshine State.” WUSF ranks tenth (4.1) among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s November 2016 PPM report, while Cox Media Group adult contemporary WDUV “Lite Favorites” is the pacesetter with a 9.4 (6+).

knx logoOdds & Sods. Budget cutbacks at KNX result in the departure of three familiar voices. Exiting the CBS Radio Los Angeles all-news operation are mid-day anchor Linda Nunez, who had been with the station the past 26 years; sports director Steve Grad (23 years with KNX); and reporter Ed Mertz who transitioned to KNX in 2009 from former news cluster-mate KFWB where he had been since 2000 ….. Word out of the Windy City via reliable source RobertFeder.com is that after three years on Chicago’s WLS-AM, Westwood One’s Michael Savage will disappear from the Cumulus Media talker at the end of the year. WLS-AM had been delay-broadcasting Savage from 9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight ….. Ordinarily, an item about a forthcoming movie wouldn’t warrant much of our attention. In this case,kfi logo however, it is he identity of the executive producer of “Let There Be Light,” a film about an atheist finding religion, that is noteworthy as it is none other than … Premiere Networks’ host and Fox News Channel talent Sean Hannity ….. In its sixth annual, 17-hour, December 1 “Pasta-thon,” iHeartMedia Los Angeles talker KFI raised over $320,000 and collected 90,000 pounds of food for “Caterina’s Club.” Throughout the KFI “Pasta-thon,” station personalities Bill Handel, Aron Bender, stevens-richJennifer Jones Lee, Gary Hoffman, Shannon Farren, John Kobylt, Ken Chiampou and Tim Conway Jr. were on-site, encouraging listeners to donate packaged pasta, jars of pasta sauce, and money to help feed underprivileged children. Everything gathered helps provide a balanced meal every night to more than 1,800 low-income children in over 15 cities in Los Angeles and Orange County ….. Earlier this month (12/3), Alpha Media talker WFTL, West Palm Beach helped to raise more than $40,000 as part of the city’s “Walk to Cure Arthritis.” Station on-air talent Rich Stevens comments, “My mom has been affected by this awful disease and I see the pain it causeshurley, harry her. Now that I have been involved, I know it has nothing to do with age. It can affect anyone at any age, which is why I wanted to be part of this great cause to help find a cure.” Arthritis Foundation development manager Lisa Roeberg remarks, “It was truly inspiring to see so many of our arthritis champions taking another step toward victory.” ….. When Townsquare Media-owned WPGG “Talk Radio 104.1,” Atlantic City (New Jersey) morning man Harry Hurley learned that 100 children who attend Pleasantville’s Christian Ministry Impact of God Church were not going to have Christmas this year, he thought “that was unacceptable” so, the “Hurley in the Morning Charity” is writing a cash grant for the church today (Friday, 12/16). Hurley tells TALKERS, “I have partnered with Atlantic County Toys for Kids program and, we have obtained 100 new children’s toys for the church. I am also going to help raise $500 more in cash donations on-air this morning.”

beasley-christmas-2‘Tis The Season. Celebrating last night (Thursday, 12/15) at the Beasley Media Group Las Vegas Christmas party are Las Vegas-based GNC Network syndicated personality Dr. Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP; market general manager Tom Humm; and KDWN program director-news director-morning anchor John Shaffer.

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Trump Transition/Cabinet Nominees Top News Talk Stories for Week of December 12-16.  The transitioning of the Trump Administration and President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM for this week.  At #2 was the allegation the Russian government was responsible for hacking the DNC computers, tied with the CIA’s refusal to testify before congress on the matter.  Coming in at #3 was Donald Trump’s meeting with Silicon Valley executives, followed by the Federal Reserve’s raising of interest rates and the record high Dow Jones industrial average 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 magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com View this week’s entire chart here.

Friday, March 18, 2016

| March 18, 2016

Nielsen LogoNielsen Digital Audio Ratings (NDAR) Set to Debut. The service will formalize a two-month pre-currency preview period covering data from this year’s February and March surveys, available in mid-March and mid-April, respectively. Clients must license Nielsen Digital Audio Ratings to access data related to their own media properties and the data of other subscribers. NDAR is a component of Nielsen’s ‘Total Audience,’ an initiative that provides comparable metrics across all linear and digital platforms. Nielsen Audio managing director Brad Kelly states, “With the way people consume content in a continual state of change, it is critical to capture all of the platforms where people are listening to audio, whether on the radio, computers or Smartphones. To achieve ‘Total Audience’ for audio, we must provide a comprehensive view of listening behavior across all platforms. Nielsen Digital Audio Ratings allows broadcasters, advertisers, and marketers to better understand the dynamics of a station’s over-the-air and online audiences. Radio is a crucial format to reach audiences and must be an integral part of Nielsen’s ‘Total Audience’ initiative. With NDAR, we will be able to capture broadcast radio’s total reach and begin laying the groundwork to measure other audio platforms where people listen to music, syndicated programs, or news-talk and sports content.” Audience estimates will include Average Quarter Hour (AQH) and an Average Minute Audience (AMA) metric for digital streams. Nielsen Digital Audio Ratings is expected to expand reporting to include diary markets, as well as regional and national views. NDAR is currently collecting data on more than 2,500 station streams across all 48-PPM markets. Initially, Nielsen Digital Audio Ratings will report listening of digital streams of AM and FM stations and e-radio stations in the 48-PPM markets. Measurement for custom-curated and on-demand audio, including podcasts, is currently in development.

browne, joyDr. Joy Browne Recruited to Serve as Official Emcee of TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations.  The reigning queen of the psychology talk radio genre, Dr. Joy Browne, has been named Official Emcee of the 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention, TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations.  The power-packed, one-day event will take place on the campus of Hofstra University in Talkers2016 logoHempstead, NY on Friday, May 20.  In making the announcement, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Dr. Joy Browne is perfect for this role that she performed for us so successfully a number of years ago – opening up the show and tying all its components together as the dynamic day moves along.  Between her rapier intelligence and wit, unpredictable ad libs, numerous wardrobe and hairdo changes and vivacious personality, she is perfectly suited to take on this awesome responsibility.  We are delighted that she has consented to do this.”  The Genesis Communications Network (GCN) syndicated star says, “I have never missed an installment of this amazing conference and I am absolutely delighted and honored to have the opportunity to again play this role in it and have so much fun!”  The event kicks off at 8:00 am with the traditional “Breakfast with Hannity” opening social. It will conclude 12 hours later with a gala, early-evening reception on the university’s magnificent television soundstage. Located just outside of New York City, Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication is nationally recognized as one of the nation’s most respected and influential breeding grounds of great broadcasters. The NAB honored WRHU-FM in 2015 with a Marconi Award as the first ever “student operated” non-commercial station of the year! Radio Hofstra University WRHU-FM is also currently ranked number one – best college radio station – by the Princeton Review. WRHU-FM also earned a Pinnacle Award – station of the year – from the CMA. The cost of a full registration is $299 per person with a special student rate of $249. Registration is only open to professionals currently or recently (within one year) employed in media-related industries as well as students enrolled in accredited colleges or universities. Registration includes all sessions, presentations, exhibits, receptions, and tours as well as breakfast/lunch/refreshment and social networking activities. Registrations can only be taken over the phone (to verify qualifications) and paid for with a credit card. As in years past, for the sake of intimacy and productivity, total attendance will be limited to 500 and TALKERS 2016 will be an early sellout. No registrations can be sold after that point. All registrations are non-transferable and non-refundable. To register please call 413-565-5413.  For more up-to-the-minute agenda, registration, hotel and sponsorship information, please click here.

KLACClippers Dribble Over to KLAC. Professional sports franchises do not usually change flagships during the season, but starting tomorrow (Saturday, 3/19) and continuing for the rest of the NBA regular and post-season, Los Angeles Clippers’ games will be heard on iHeartMedia Los Angeles sports outlet KLAC as part of an exclusive multi-year broadcast rights agreement. The key stationLA Clippers Logo of the Clippers since 2009 had been cross-town KFWB, which was recently sold to Principle Broadcasting, but earlier this month, the new owners transitioned “980 The Beast” to an Asian music format (“Desi 980”). Being an NBA flagship is nothing new for KLAC: Up until the 2009-2010 season, it was the longtime home of the Los Angeles Lakers (now on ABC Radio Los Angeles’ KSPN). This will be the fifth year KLAC will be the flagship of MLB‘s Los Angeles Dodgers. When there are Dodgers-Clippers schedule conflicts, Clippers games will shift to KLAC talk cluster-mate KEIB “The Patriot.” Senior vice president of sports for iHeartMedia Los Angeles Don Martin comments, “iHeartMedia Los Angeles and the Clippers just reinforced the fact that KLAC ‘AM 570 LA Sports’ is the number one destination for sports in Los Angeles.” Clippers president of business operations Gillian Zucker remarks, “We are proud to establish an exceptional, long-term destination for Clippers basketball on a radio station that sounds like it was named for us.” Brian Sieman continues to do radio play-by-play, as does Isaac Lowenkron for pre-game, halftime, and post-game shows. Joining Sieman on nationally televised games not shown on Fox‘s Prime Ticket will be Ralph Lawler and analyst Michael Smith. Among persons 6+ in the most recent (February 2016) Nielsen Audio PPM report for Los Angeles, KLAC ranks #37 (.5), KFWB is #36 (.2), and KSPN places #31 (.8); adult contemporary cluster-mate KOST “Coast 103.5” is first with a 5.7 (6+).

ppmunitRound Four of February PPM Data.  The fourth – and final – round of February 2016 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  The survey period was January 28 – February 24.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Top Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.

KCBS-AMKCBS-AM Staffers Vote to Join SAG-AFTRA. Results from ballots cast yesterday (Thursday, 3/17) by a group of employees at CBS Radio San Francisco’s all-news KCBS-AM reportedly were “nearly unanimous” in favor of aligning with SAG-AFTRA. Editor and shop steward Joe Rogers comments that the station’s writers, production assistants, and newsroom assistants “have shown a lot of courage and determination” and “the entire KCBS-AM news team stands united at a time when the company is contemplating drastic changes in how this station gathers and reports the news.” Production assistant and producer Nick St. Charles states, “Volatility in the news business and skyrocketing living costs in the Bay Area make union representation essential.” Production assistants, writers, and newsroom assistants will join the union with an existing bargaining unit of editors at the all-news operation. SAG-AFTRA also represents Bay Area units at CBS’ KPIX-TV and KCBS-AM hot AC sibling KLLC “Alice,” as well as on-air counterparts at KCBS-AM. Dislodged from San Francisco’s top spot in the “Holiday” 2015 report, KCBS-AM posted its second straight +.4 in February’s Nielsen Audio PPM (5.4 – 5.8 – 6.2, 6+) and repeats at #1; it had been in the top spot six successive sweeps before “Holiday” 2015.

baum, rayBaum Becomes NAB’s VP/Government Relations. The former senior policy advisor to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce – Ray Baum – joins the National Association of Broadcasters as vice president of government relations. NAB president and chief executive officer Gordon Smith states, “I am pleased to have Ray Baum join our talented government relations department. He brings extensive policymaking experience on the federal, state, and local levels as both a legislator and a staffer. Broadcasters will benefit greatly from having Ray advocating on our behalf in Washington.” Baum previously was chair of the Oregon Public Utility Commission and Oregon House majority leader. Beginning his new assignment in two weeks (3/31), Baum will report to NAB executive vice president of government relations Curtis Legeyt.

Khatija MohiuddinMohiuddin Appointed LSM at iHeartMedia Chicago. Formerly an account executive at Hubbard Broadcasting Chicago hot AC WTMX “The Mix,” Khatija Mohiuddin is named local sales manager of cross-town iHeartMedia. Vice president of sales of iHeartMedia Chicago Adam Kurtz comments, “Khatija is the perfect leader to augment our sales efforts on our heritage brands. Khatija’s experience in Chicago media is unsurpassed and we are so excited she is on our team.” Mohiuddin, who begins her new duties one week from Monday (3/28), remarks, “I am really looking forward to working with such amazing radio properties as well as an incredibly talented sales team.” This is actually a homecoming for Mohiuddin, as she began her sales career in 2005 with iHeartMedia Chicago hot AC WLIT “93.9 My-FM,” which was then adult contemporary “Lite-FM.”

talkersten logoThe Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM Again.  Likely to be an ongoing trend, activities of the candidates for president and the surrounding issues were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court.  Coming in at #3 was the Syrian civil conflict and Russia’s involvement followed by the battle against Islamic State 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 magazine.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Beasley Media GroupBeasley’s Quarterly Cash Dividend is $0.045 Per Share. The board of directors of Beasley Broadcast Group announces a quarterly cash dividend of $0.045 per share of its Class A and Class B common stock. The dividend is payable on April 8 to shareholders of record on March 31. All subsequent dividends will be reviewed quarterly and declared by the board at its discretion.

Odds & Sods. WBEZ producer/reporter Kathy Chaney departs the Chicago Public Media-owned outlet to join Ebony Magazine as managing editor ….. Also in the “Windy City,” the Chicago Police Department and Illinois State Police have dropped all charges against CBS News campaign reporter Sopan Deb, who was cuffed and placed into a police van last Friday during his coverage of the protests outside a Donald Trump event ….. WDDV, Venice-Sarasota (Florida) transitions from adult standards to talk WFLG and is simulcasting iHeartMedia Tampa sibling WFLA.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

| January 6, 2016

kfwb sportsKFWB, Los Angeles Reportedly Sold.  According to Los Angeles radio maven Don Barrett, there is finally a buyer for KFWB and it involves Charlie Banta-led Mercury Capital Partners.  The Los Angeles Times also reports the story but does not name a buyer.  The Times writes that staffers were told about the sale on Tuesday (1/5).  As many TALKERS readers are aware, KFWB has been in the KFWB Asset Trust (while still benefitting CBS RADIO’s bottom line) for a long time.  Some in the market have griped that CBS hasn’t been trying very hard to sell it and was basically getting away with violating the ownership limit.  Regardless, in September of 2014 the station flipped from news/talk to sports talk as “The Beast 980” and is serving as the flagship for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, as well.  Barrett Tweets that the new owners will assume control in February and since Mercury’s M.O. is ethnic programming and brokered radio, we’re likely to see a format change next month.  That would put local sports talk personalities Fred Roggin, Bill Plaschke, Jeanne Zelasko, Chris Myers, Wes Clements and more out on the street.  The Times reports that a format change is a certainty.

aceekevin‘The Mighty 1090’ in San Diego Names Kevin Acee Evening Host.  San Diego sports talk outlet XEPRS “The Mighty 1090” is naming San Diego sportswriter Kevin Acee the host of its evening program, “Trending Now.”  Acee is a columnist for the San Diego Union Tribune, a position he will continue to hold.  Acee also spent seven years as the San Diego Chargers beat writer and two years covering San Diego State football.  Station VP of programming and operations Mike Shepard comments, “Kevin is a multi-media sports voice in San Diego who has the unique ability to connect and provide insight to sports fans on a variety of platforms.  ‘Trending Now’ is the perfect showcase of his many talents, and we enthusiastically welcome Kevin to the full-time, all-star lineup on San Diego’s Sports Leader.”

ap logoAssociated Press Offers 2016 Radio Campaign Kit.  A new service for this year’s presidential election is being offered by the Associated Press.  It’s called the 2016 Radio Campaign Kit, and AP calls it “a turnkey advantage that gives radio members election returns and AP journalists’ digital and on-air reporting on the presidential campaign in the months leading to Election Day and the inauguration of the 45th president in January.”  AP has already inked Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington, among other stations.  AP says that subscribers will receive verified vote counts in their home state and surrounding areas in primaries and the November 8 general election up to 12 times an hour via online maps and other modules.  The modules will show delegate counts for both political parties, the popular vote, Electoral College totals for U.S. president and the balance of power in the U.S. Congress.  In addition to dynamic election-night maps, the 2016 Radio Campaign Kit provides a suite of embeddable white-label interactives for use on AP members’ digital and on-air properties, optimized for display on mobile devices, desktops and tablets.  AP director of election services Brian Scanlon comments, “The AP’s 2016 Radio Campaign Kit represents an important step for us as we continue to push to make our services responsive to our members’ needs around big-event stories such as the presidential campaign.”  Interested stations can contact Paul Memoli at AP via email at pmemoli@ap.org or phone 212-621-6923.

Odds & Sods.  Springfield, Illinois talk personality Ray Lytle exits Saga Communications-owned news/talk WTAX in a budget-related move.  Lytle had been with the station for the past two years after previously serving with Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s crosstown news/talk WMAY…..CFRA, Ottawa legendary personality Lowell Green is retiring from his daily radio show at the Bell Media talk station.  The 79-year-old Green began his career in the news department at CFRA in 1960.  He became a talk host six years later and has been hosting the Lowell Green show on the station since 1993.  He won’t be in full retirement mode as he’ll continue to make appearances on the station…..Weekend technology talk show “Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline” announces the addition of some new affiliate stations as WGKA, Atlanta “AM 920 The Answer”; WRKO, Boston; and CKLW, Windsor, Ontario/Detroit are now carrying the program.

newyorkfestivalsNew York Festivals 2016 International Radio Program Awards Opens Entry Process.  In addition to the announcement that the New York Festivals 2016 International Radio Program Awards are open for entries, comes news that there are three new categories this year.  Those include: Biography/Profiles, Climate Change & Sustainability, and Music.  The worldwide competition honoring the World’s Best Radio Programs℠ has been taking place since 1982 and receives entries from radio stations, networks, and independent producers from 32 countries around the globe.  Radio program awards executive director Rose Anderson states, “New Yorkandersonrose Festivals recognizes the ever-evolving nature of the radio industry.  Time does not stand still in the radio industry – new ways of reaching listeners and new ways of telling the important stories of our day drive change.  So, every year, we work with our advisory board and we update some categories as well as create new ones.  It is an organic ecosystem. We embrace the new while keeping the best practices of what has come before.”  Anderson says the three new categories will provide a platform for those with a distinctive voice and point of view regarding issues and topics of interest.  Anderson continues, “In our ever-changing world, radio is the original social media.  There is a universal language of radio which connects us all – giving us the ability to meet directly in each other’s imagination and guided by the textures of sound to understand each other.”  New York Festivals Radio Awards enlists jurists from all over the world to become members of the Grand Jury.  The Grand Jury includes some of the most recognizable voices and captivating programming producers in the industry.  Entries are judged on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium.  The ceremony for the World’s Best Radio Programs takes place at the Manhattan Penthouse in New York on June 20.  The deadline for entries is March 18.  To enter, log in here and find all the information you need.  Inquiries can go to Gayle Mandel at: gmandel@newyorkfestivals.com.

Obama Gun Control Plan, Presidential Race, ‘White Anger’ Report, Saudi-Iran Diplomatic Break/Shiite-Sunni Tensions, Oregon Armed Protestors Standoff, Battle Against Islamic State, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/5).  The executive order gun control plans announced by President Obama; the activities of the candidates for president; the Esquire/NBC News “American Rage” poll determining white Americans are the “angriest”; the diplomatic break between Saudi Arabia and Iran and the reported growing rift between Shiite and Sunni countries in the Middle East; the case of the armed protestors occupying an Oregon wildlife preserve; the recent military actions against Islamic State-held parts of Iraq; and this weekend’s NFL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

cookeCES16hashtagCES 2016: Home and Health.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting from the enormous Consumer Electronics Show and today he files a story tipping us to some of the new technology and gadgets that some believe will be ubiquitous in both our homes and our cars in the not-too-distant future.  Cooke writes that many of the technological helpers for around the home can be operated from the “remote” device most of us already carry – the smartphone – and that device is where “smart broadcasters are also publishing.”  Read today’s full report here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

| December 1, 2015

kgo logo newMike Anthony to Program KGO and KSFO, San Francisco.  On the heels of yesterday’s announcement that Cumulus Media San Francisco programmer Lee Hammer is now operations manager for talk stations KGO and KSFO comes the announcement that Mikeanthonymike Anthony is named program director for the stations.  Anthony comes from his most recent gig as general manager of Empire Broadcasting’s KLIV, San Jose.  Prior to that, he was corporate SVP of programming for Mapleton Communications.  He is also owner of ResearchWorks, a 24-year-old Palo ksfoAlto-based media research company.  Anthony says, “The legacy of these two remarkable stations is well documented and when the opportunity to join the Cumulus team at KGO/KSFO was presented to me, I embraced it wholeheartedly.  Every day these stations make a difference in the lives of Bay Area residents.  This is what a great radio station does, and I’m proud to be a part of continuing that legacy.”

ppmunitRound Four of November PPM Data Released.  The fourth of four rounds of November 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  The survey period was October 8 – November 4.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.

stevensrichRich Stevens Named Permanent Late Morning Host at WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale.  South Florida news/talk WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale announces talk host Rich Stevens – who had been splitting his time between serving as news anchor and his own interactive show – is leaving his news duties to focus on his daily 9:00 am to 11:00 am program.  Stevens tells TALKERS that the Mayor of the City of Ft. Lauderdale called in as the first guest on the Rich Stevens program and he officially proclaimed it “Rich Stevens Show Day” in the city of Ft. Lauderdale.

myers&wes‘The Beast 980’ in Los Angeles Debuts New Live Midday Show.  Los Angeles sports talker KFWB “The Beast 980” launches a new, live and local midday show today (12/1) starring sports media pros Chris Myers and Wes Clements.  The “Myers & Wes” show airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  In a press release, KFWB notes that Myers is a 30-year sports broadcasting vet who has covered numerous major sports events and worked at such sports media outlets as Fox Sports Net, FoxSportsOne, and ESPN.  He also serves as an NFL play-by-play announcer for Fox.  Clements is a Southern California native who has worked as a baseball analyst for ESPN.  Program director Tom Lee comments, “Adding Chris and Wes to our daily lineup further underscores our goal to be the only radio station super serving LA sports fans.  Throughout the day sports fans now get an unprecedented dose of local coverage from the top sports talent here in LA.”

huthlianaLiana Huth Named to New Corporate Post at Entercom.  The new title for Liana Huth is vice president of programming innovation for Entercom and Huth will be based in New York City, reporting to Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton.  The company says Huth comes with “vast experience in content development, creative partnerships, event marketing and more.”  She’s heldentercom senior roles in entertainment and media for Columbia Records, The Madison Square Garden Company, and AEG Live, among others.  Huth will be responsible for creating and developing content opportunities and strategic partnerships that will drive ratings and revenue across all of Entercom’s platforms.  Paxton states, “Liana is a creative trailblazer with a distinguished track record of content creation, innovative thinking and partnership building.  I could not be more excited to add this pivotal new role to the company and to bring in Liana to kick it off.  No one is more ready for this challenge.”

wtmj logoJane Matenaer Named WTMJ, Milwaukee AM Drive Co-Anchor.  A new co-anchor for WTMJ, Milwaukee’s “Wisconsin’s Morning News with Gene Mueller” is named.  Milwaukee radio pro Jane Matenaer – who’d joined the E.W. Scripps station in May and had been heard filling in on the show – joins the morning show officially.  Matenaer replacesmatenaerjane Bonnie Petrie, who’d been hired for the post in July but developed a vocal problem called spasmodic dysphonia that forced her to leave the position.  Petrie replaced Jodi Becker.  Matenaer worked in the market on the morning show at Entercom’s hot AC WMYX add Milwaukee Radio Alliance’s hot AC WLDB.  WTMJ VP/GM Tom Langmyer comments, “WTMJ is Milwaukee and we’re excited to have two of the best-known hometown voices together on Wisconsin’s Radio Station.  Gene and Jane are both distinguished broadcasters who will share their knowledge of Milwaukee and Wisconsin, along with the great chemistry they’ve already developed together.”

knoepkeshannonKnoepke to Replace Anselmo at CBS RADIO Minneapolis.  The Minneapolis cluster of CBS RADIO has a new SVP and market manager as Shannon Knoepke is hired to take over for the retiring Mick Anselmo.  Knoepke will be responsible for country KMNB, adult hits KZJK, and news/talkcbsradio WCCO-AM and is also serving as director of sales.  CBS RADIO COO Scott Herman says, “We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Shannon back to the CBS RADIO family.  With years of sales and leadership experience under her belt, she has a terrific reputation in the Twin Cities area.  Her commitment to the region and wealth of knowledge in the events and digital marketplace makes her uniquely qualified for the role.  We are excited she will be bringing this expertise to our award-winning cluster.”  Knoepke previously worked for CBS RADIO Minneapolis as an account executive with WCCO-AM from 2000-2001.

wssp logo15WSSP, Milwaukee to Air Expanded Bucks Content.  Milwaukee sports talk outlet WSSP made a strong bid for Milwaukee Bucks play-by-play rights but the team chose to stick with E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ.  But the Entercom sports simulcast of WSSP-AM and translator W289CB, branded as “105.7 FM The Fan,” partners with the NBA team for expanded game day and weekly coverage, as well as promotion and marketing opportunities for the club.  From a programming standpoint, the long-standing “Pick ‘n Save Milwaukee Bucks Post Game Show,” hosted by Steve “Sparky” Fifer, will be enhanced with regular on-air appearances by Bucks players, coaches and TV announcers Jim Paschke, Jon McGlocklin, Marques Johnson and Gus Johnson.

bubbaNielsen Amends Complaint Against Bubba the Love Sponge.  With new information added, Nielsen Audio amends its suit against morning radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge in U.S. District Court in Florida.  The amendment to the original suit that seeks $1 million dollars in damagesnielsen logo from Todd Clem, a.k.a. Bubba the Love Sponge, related to the ratings tampering case in the Tampa market, provides more information about influencing PPM panelists and alleges there was more than just one panelist Bubba was attempting to influence.  Bubba’s lawyers filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that Nielsen’s $1 million figure is part of an attempt to get the suit into the federal jurisdiction and that the company is unable to prove the damages it alleges.  Read the full story from the Tampa Bay Business Journal here.

rosenbergsidSports Talker Sid Rosenberg Getting Traction with Added Political Content at WMEN, Ft. Lauderdale.  South Florida sports talk personality – and former longtime “Imus in the Morning” cast member – Sid Rosenberg is putting a dose of political content into his morning drive show at sports talk WMEN, Ft. Lauderdale, and TALKERS sources report the addition is working for him.  Rosenberg tells TALKERS, “There is no bigger ‘water cooler’ issue than election 2016.  I bring on guests from both sides of the aisle – Lanny Davis, Chris Matthews and Robert Gibbs from the left and people like Rich Lowry, Molly Ball, and Jen Rubin from the right.  I’m the only show who has Chuck Todd on every Friday and we’ve already had six presidential candidates on as well.”  Rosenberg says he’s made this move against advice to avoid polarizing issues but says, “These are serious times.  This election is huge.  Where [Mets slugger] Daniel Murphy ends up is not keeping America awake at night!”  Rosenberg has been able to fill in at WABC, New York over the summer and will do another fill-in shot later this month.  He says the word from New York circles is that his show is getting positive feedback.

smulyanSalv15‘Tis the Season.  In advance of this Friday and Saturday’s 21st Annual WIBC Radiothon, Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan (left) and president and COO Patrick Walsh (right) ring the Salvation Army bell outside Emmis headquarters in Indianapolis.  This weekend’s radiothon benefits the Salvation Army Bed and Bread Club of Central Indiana.  Last year, WIBC helped raise more than $255,000 for the Salvation Army of Central Indiana.

Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooting, Gun Control, Paris Climate Conference, Turkey-Russia Tensions, Fight Against IS, 2016 Presidential Race, U. of Chicago Terror Threat, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/30).  The aftermath of the deadly shootings at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs and the related topic of gun control policy; the Paris Climate Conference and discussion about the validity of man-made global warming theory; the tensions between Turkey, its NATO allies and Russia in the wake of the downing of a Russian fighter over Turkish airspace; the civil conflict in Syria and the battle against Islamic State; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; Monday’s terror threat at the University of Chicago; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, October 16, 2015

| October 16, 2015

mccoysteve‘Newsradio 106.7’ Atlanta Dismisses Steve McCoy Over ‘Trump Interview.’  WYAY, Atlanta “Newsradio 106.7” morning co-host Steve McCoy has exited the Cumulus Media news/talkers after he pieced together an old interview with Donald Trump and presented it on the station’s morning drive show as an interview with the GOP presidential candidate done while he was in Atlanta last weekend.  The storywyay logo new first broke on Buzzfeed after the Trump campaign publicly stated that McCoy did not interview Trump and actually aired what was a years-old interview, edited and presented as recent.  McCoy admitted the facts to Buzzfeed.  Cumulus Atlanta general manager Sean Shannon issued a statement saying McCoy no longer works for the station and the morning show will continue with the rest of the current staff – co-host Cheryl White with Drew Nelson and Randy Wyles.  At the same time, it’s being reported that McCoy was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and had planned to share the news with his listeners earlier this week.  That comes from the Atlanta Journal Constitution which spoke with McCoy’s former WSTR, Atlanta co-host Vikki Lock.

nielsen logoNielsen Sues Bubba the Love Sponge in Ratings Fraud Case.  The ratings company has filed suit against Bubba the Love Sponge in United States District Court in Floridabubba after the morning drive radio personality admitted to tampering with the PPM ratings in the Tampa market.  Alleging fraud and violation of the state’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, Nielsen is asking for damages of not less than $1 million in a suit against both Bubba and his company Bubba Radio Network, Inc.  Nielsen says in the suit that Bubba paid people to distort the ratings.  Nielsen delayed the September Tampa PPM survey by a week.  If the case goes to trial the company would have to prove it suffered damages.

rogginfredLA’s ‘Beast’ Shifts Roggin to PM Drive. As of next Monday (10/19), current KFWB “The Beast,” Los Angeles mid-day talent Fred Roggin will take over afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm) on the sports outlet. According to program director Tom Lee, “The new timeslot allows Fred to reach a wider local sports audience with more people in their cars for the afternoonKFWB commute.” Roggin quips, “After eating lunch and spending the day at work with our listeners, we thought it would be fun to drive home with them. For the record, we fit into all cars.” In addition to his radio duties at “The Beast,” Roggin continues as sports anchor for KNBC-TV, Los Angeles (channel 4), where he has worked the past 30 years. In that time, he has won 30 local Emmy awards; two years ago, he received a Lifetime Achievement award from the Los Angeles Press Club. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio‘s PPM report for Los Angeles, “The Beast” ranks #40 (.2). The market’s other all-sports stations are KLAC (1.1, #27); KSPN (1.0, #30); and KLAA (.4, #37); iHeartMedia CHR KIIS “Kiss-FM” and CBS Radio classic hits-oldies KRTH “K-Earth 101” are tied for first (both with 5.1, 6+).

Odds & Sods.  WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway is pictured here with two puppies whoconwaypupsOct15 are being trained as service dogs for American military personnel wounded in action.  Two weeks ago, Conway hosted a BBQ and raised $6,000 in two hours for the Puppy Jake Foundation, which acquires and trains the dogs.  Conway says, “This incredible organization now has 34 dogs in training and it was so nice of them to bring two of the latest around for a visit – although I had to be careful because there were lots of people in the building that wanted to steal these cute and cuddly abcnewsMurrow15bundles of fur.”…..The national Edward R. Murrow Awards were presented by the Radio Television Digital News Association at a ceremony at Gotham Hall in New York City on Mondayhumphriesrusty (10/12).  Pictured here at left are staffers (led by VP/GM Steve Jones seen here holding the award) of ABC News Radio accepting the Edward R. Murrow Award for ‘Overall Excellence.’…..Talk radio personality Rusty Humphries joins Liftable – the company that recently acquired the USA Radio Networks from Cross Platform Media.  Liftable CEO Patrick Brown says Humphries will serve as SVP of programming.

browneharrisonBway15Harrison Finds Joy on Broadway. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (right) wraps up his tour of Big Apple media happenings this week by joining GCN nationally syndicated host Dr. Joy Browne (left) last night (10/15) at a showing of “The Gin Game” starring James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson.  In addition to her regular fare of relationships and psychology, Browne includes discussion and reviews of Broadway theatre and the latest movie releases on her program, podcast and website.  Harrison comments, “It is amazing how well known Dr. Browne is on Broadway.  Half the people in the theater knew her and came over to say hello, as well as on the street in front of the theater where she held court prior to show time.  She is truly Big Apple media royalty.”  Both Harrison and Browne gave thumbs up to the play starring the 84-year-old Jones and 91-year-old Tyson.

talkersten logoDemocratic Primary Debate Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of October 12-16.  The Democratic primary debate on Tuesday evening was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week.  At #2 was talk about the issues and the GOP candidates for president in 2016.  Coming in at #3 was the military campaigns by Russia and the U.S. in Syria and against ISIS targets followed by the Iran nuclear deal and that country’s reported military build-up 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.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

| October 6, 2015

plaschkeZelasko15L.A. Times’ Plaschke Joins Sports Talk KFWB, Los Angeles for Mornings.  The KFWB Asset Trust-owned sports talker operated by CBS RADIO announces Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke (left) is being partnered up with sports journalist Jeanne Zelasko (right) to co-host the station’s new morning drive show titled, “Plaschke and Zelasko.”  The morning show has been anchored by Zelasko since the station flipped to sports talk last year as “The Beast 980.”  KFWB program director Tom Lee states, “‘Plaschke and Zelasko’ will be one of the most dynamic and freshest morning shows not only on sports radio but on L.A. radio in general.  Bill is the ultimate fit for the one sports station truly devoted to Los Angeles fans and it will be exciting to get three hours of him every day.”  Plaschke has written for the L.A. Times since 1987 and has been the Associated Press National Sports Columnist of the Year five times.  He is a regular panelist on ESPN‘s “Around the Horn” talk show and has written five books.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison Gets “Up Close and Far Out” with 1970s Media Icon Jo Ann Pflug.  She was one of the most beautiful and versatile media stars of the 1970s – a motion picture and TV actress, prolific game show panelist, and former LA television talk show pioneer at KHJ-TV (in the late 1960s).  During the height of her popularity, she had roles in some of the most iconic films of the day (she burned up the screen as Lt. “Dish” in the originalPhlugJoannMASH motion picture version of “MASH” as seen at right) and worked with a seemingly endless  parade of cinema legends such as Yul Brynner, Peter Sellers and many more.  Today Jo Ann Pflug is still going strong.  Based in Palm Beach County, Florida, the 70-something, still-gorgeous, dynamo occasionally appears on local radio interviewing the many stars (past and present) that live in or pass through the Palm Beaches, teaches commercial acting, provides politicians and public speakers with media training, lectures pflugjoannabout her immensely colorful career, and is putting the final touches on a soon-to-be published book of personality profiles and anecdotes.  Michael Harrison states, “The fabulous Ms. Pflug was one of the most fun interviews I’ve conducted thus far for this podcast series [Podcast One’s international hit “Up Close and Far Out”]. I tied it into my take on the wonders of YouTube where, of course, endless archives of historic videos of classic film, TV, commercials, and news events continue to grow and where the work of such iconic media figures as this amazingly cool woman will live forever.”  To listen to this podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

wrhu logoHofstra University’s WRHU, Hempstead Part of Islanders Radio Network.  For the sixth season, Hofstra University radio station WRHU will serve as a play-by-play outlet for New York Islanders hockey.  Concurrent with the team’s move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn as its new home, the Barclays Center announces the formation of the New York Islanders Radio Network that also includes NYC Media-owned WNYE and JVC Media’s news/talk WRCN, Riverhead.  Chris King continues his role as play-by-play announcer and Greg Picker becomes color analyst.

Odds & Sods.  Satcaster SiriusXM is presenting MLB post-season play-by-play.  Additionally, ChristophersliwaMcVay15 “Mad Dog” Russo is hosting his daily show, “Mad Dog Unleashed,” live from the ballpark before each World Series game – 4:00 pm ET.  Russo’s MLB Network show, “High Heat with Christopher Russo,” which simulcasts daily on MLB Network Radio, is also being broadcast live on location at 3:00 pm ET before every World Series game…..Cumulus interim EVP/programming Mike McVay (right) is pictured here during a visit to news/talk WABC, New York where he was greeted by midday program co-host Curtis Sliwa (left) of the Curtis and [Ron] Kuby show…..KXL, Portland and Compass Media syndicated talk host Lars Larson is hosting the USO Northwest 5 Star Gala on Saturday, larsonlarsOctober 10 in Seattle.  The event supports the men and women of our armed forces through an evening dinner and auction.  Larson states, “My mother and father both served in the Navy.  In fact, I was born on a military base in Taiwan.  That’s the kind of sacrifice a lot of military families make to serve their country.  I’m delighted to be able to help out in any way, an organization that services 600-thousand service members and their families in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.”

kkobballon15KKOB’s Presence at the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival.  The KKOB hot air balloon is seen here landing in a local neighborhood during the ongoing Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  The event began on October 2 and runs through October 11.  This world-famous festival was created by KKOB in 1972 as the station celebrated its 50th anniversary.  KKOB is the official radio station of Balloon Fiesta.

Oregon College Massacre Aftermath/Gun Control, 2016 Presidential Race, Russia’s Military Campaign in Syria, GOP House Leadership Battle, South Carolina Floods, U.S. Bombs Afghan Hospital, Obama Trade Deal, Violent Air France Employee Protest, and NFL and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/5).  The aftermath of last week’s deadly shooting at an Oregon community college and the greater topic of gun control; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; Russia’s military actions in Syria; the contentious battle for Speaker of the House among GOP Representatives; the bombing of an Afghanistan hospital by U.S. forces; criticism of the Obama Pacific trade deal; the violent assault on Air France executives by workers; and the weekend’s NFL and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

alphamedia logoAlpha Media Airs Public Service Campaign for South Carolina.  Radio’s Alpha Media has engaged a public service campaign to assist the American Red Cross in its work helping those affected by the flooding in South Carolina.  The company is airing PSAs, promos and social media posts in all 35 Alpha markets.  Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick comments, “All of us here at Alpha Media are in shock and devastated by the loss our fellow Alpha family members are experiencing.  Words cannot begin to describe what they are going through, it’s unbelievable.  We are appreciative of the Red Cross and what they are doing and want to continue to ask everyone to help out any way they can; by texting REDCROSS to 90999 or by helping run PSAs to support the efforts of the Red Cross.”

wheatstoneWheatstone Brings VoxPro into Family with Audion Labs Acquisition.  Digital audio editor VoxPro is now part of the Wheatstone family of radio products as the company acquires VoxPro producer Audion Labs.  Audion will remain a separate brand under the Wheatstone banner.  Wheatstone CEO Gary Snow states, “This is a terrific little company that, with one product, has made a big difference in the day-to-day operations of most radio stations.”

bmi scholarshipBMI Foundation Announces Scholarship Competition.  A new scholarship competition is now open to radio broadcasting students nationwide as the BMI Foundation announces the establishment of the BMI Founders Award.  Broadcast Music, Inc. is funding the scholarship “for the purpose of cultivating future innovators of broadcast radio.”  A $5,000 scholarship will be awarded for the best original essay response entry.  Aspiring radio newscasters, announcers, sales executives, program directors, etc. are encouraged to apply.   BMI Foundation president Deirdre Chadwick says, “Broadcast Music, Inc. was founded by a group of radio industry leaders in 1939 as the only American performing rights organization to welcome and represent creators of all genres of music.  The BMI Founders Award honors the architects of this groundbreaking mission, while identifying and supporting future trailblazers of radio broadcasting.”  Competition entrants must be current students at accredited U.S. colleges or universities, between the ages of 17 and 24, and degree candidates in Broadcast Communications or related majors.  Applicants will be evaluated based on their essay response, letter of recommendation, and academic record. Online applications open October 1, 2015 and must be completed no later than February 15, 2016. For more information, please visit www.bmifoundation.org/broadcast.

Friday, April 3, 2015

| April 3, 2015

kinosianmikePPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian provides another thorough ratings assessment, as he updates the status of all-news outlets. You might recall that in January, the format – albeit with a qualifying database of approximately 20 stations in PPM markets – managed to do something rather astounding: It kept all of them out of negative “Holiday” 2014 – January 2015 territory. The natural question now is: Did the format keep this incredible momentum going? Using data from Nielsen Audio‘s February 2015 PPM survey, Mike examines the performances of all-news facilities in sweep-to-sweep and year-to-year comparisons, as well as charting them in terms of 6+ rank andPPM Monitor 6+ market share. Additionally, we have a side-by-side look of the format’s ultra-impressive January numbers and – in some cases – ironically similar February stats. See the exclusive all-news analysis and overview here.

demaiocarlKOGO Adds DeMaio For Midday Duty. San Diego talker KOGO is pairing Carl DeMaio and  Bob “Sully” Sullivan as co-hosts of the 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm “DeMaio – Sullivan Report.” KOGO program director Brian Long comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Carl DeMaio to our lineup. I have no doubt that, with his experience as a government watchdog and his inside knowledge of politics, this will be the most talked about show in San Diego.” According to DeMaio, “Our show will give San Diegans a vehicle to learn not only about important issues, but to get involved in making a difference and advancing solutions.” In addition to focusing on local news, the three-hour weekday program on theKOGO  iHeartMedia-owned station will combine investigative journalism to examine stories behind the stories. The 40-year-old, Dubuque, Iowa-born DeMaio (Republican and openly gay) previously served four years (2008 – 2012) on San Diego’s city council representing district five. DeMaio lost to former congressman Bob Filner in San Diego’s 2012 mayoral contest and he was defeated by incumbent Scott Peters two years later in a race for California’s 52nd congressional district seat. He is a Georgetown University alum.

mohrjayMohr Wins Big By Horsing Around. As part of its March Madness “Celeb Pick ‘Em” series, USA Today‘s “For the Win” featured an interview with Fox Sports Radio host Jay Mohr. Within the piece, the star of the 2008 – 2010 CBS-TV sitcom “Gary Unmarried” (which co-starred Paula Marshall) revealed how a bet he made on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament netted him an unusual payoff. It was 16 years ago (1999) and St. John’s was making a run to the “Elite Eight” under head coach Mike Jarvis. Mohr was wagering with a friend who kept saying, “Double or nothing.” His friend – a jockey at Santa Anita racetrack – eventually ran out of money. If St. John’s went another round in the tournament, the friend told Mohr he’d give Mohr the horse on which he (the jockey) was sitting. St. John’s – and Mohr – won but since the actor/comedian had a small yard, the horse was not with him very long. For the record, the St. John Red Storm beat Maryland 76 – 62 in the infamous game-winning bet for Mohr, but lost to Ohio State in a squeaker (77 – 74) the next round. According to Mohr, the primary excuse someone should offer for missing work to watch the Final Four should simply be that you are going to watch the tournament. “If you are not in a sports-friendly work environment,” he says, “I would fake a birth.” It is Mohr’s contention that talk radio show callers should push the envelope and “make the hostFox Sports Radio uncomfortable. The crazier they are, the more fun we have when we play it later when we run out of ideas of our own.” So – how did Mohr do with his NCAA brackets this year? Not bad. He correctly has Kentucky and Michigan State in the Final Four, but also included Iowa State and Ohio State, rather than Wisconsin and Duke. He had Duke losing to San Diego State in the third round and Wisconsin falling to Ohio State in the Elite Eight. His prediction for the final game is that Kentucky’s Wildcats will beat Michigan State’s Spartans.

wfan logo (2)francesamikeNewsday Reports Tense Relations Exist Between WFAN Sports Talk Legend Mike Francesa and CBS Brass.  According to a report yesterday in Newsday (4/2), sports talk WFAN, New York afternoon star Mike Francesa says his relationship with executives at the station’s parent CBS Radio have “never been worse.”  In a story written by Neil Best, the iconic media figure who will be delivering the welcoming keynote at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12, has described his relationship with company brass as “very poor,” “awful” and “terrible.”   According to the story, speaking during a break in his show at the Hard Rock Cafe in Manhattan, Francesa said that for legal reasons he cannot go into detail about the nature of the dispute. But he acknowledged one source of tension is his ongoing frustration over his often pre-empted simulcast on Fox Sports 1 and 2, and CBS’ inability or unwillingness to find a contractual solution.   The story goes on to report, Francesa did not name the executives with whom he is at odds, but he specifically excluded CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves, who was a target of harsh criticism from him after Moonves fired Don Imus in 2007.  What does Moonves make of Francesa’s status with CBS in 2015? “We love Mike,” he said. “He’s done a great job . . . Let him keep doing what he’s doing and getting the ratings he’s doing and I’m very happy with him.”  TALKERS magazine’s annual feature “The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America” (also known as the “Talkers Sports Talk Heavy Hundred”) lists Francesa consistently as being THE most important radio sports talk host in the business  — local or national – and has been described by Michael Harrison as “one of the treasures of the talk media industry, sports talk or otherwise.”  Ironically, Harrison has also described the executives that run CBS Radio, with whom Francesa is likely at odds, as “among the smartest and classiest in the business.”  So it would be to the benefit of all parties concerned, including Francesa’s legion of devoted fans and detractors alike, that this dispute is soon settled.  To read the entire Newsday piece, please click here.

proffittProffitt to Pacifica Foundation Radio as Executive Director. In just over five weeks (6/11), former KUHF, Houston chief executive officer and general manager John Proffitt will take over as executive director of Pacifica Foundation Radio. Pacifica national board chair and interim executive director Margy Wilkinson states, “We have spent much of the past year stabilizing Pacifica after a turbulent time. Bringing on permanent, experienced leadership is the next step. While Pacifica still faces significant challenges, I am confident that John can see us through them and put our network back on a path of growth.” National board vice chair Lydia Brazon remarks, “John’s significant experience in radio broadcasting speaks for itself, but it is his recognition of Pacifica’s unique place in today’s media landscape that impresses most. I fully trust John Proffitt can and will rise to the challenge.” Proffitt comments, “I deeply admire the Pacifica commitment to independent news and feature reporting that tell the stories other media outlets frequently ignore or soft-pedal. Its leadership in broadcasting and promoting local art andPacifica Foundation Radio performance is second-to-none, as is its grassroots support from the community. I consider Pacifica to be a national treasure and feel honored to work for its success.” Recording engineer and producer Proffitt spent 25 years at KUHF; more recently, he was a volunteer fundraiser/host (“Thresholds” and “Open Journal”) at Pacifica Houston’s noncommercial KPFT. He will be based in Pacifica’s Berkeley, California headquarters. The five noncommercial stations Pacifica operates are WBAI, New York; KPFK, Los Angeles; KPFA, San Francisco; KPFT, Houston; and WPFW, Washington, DC.

WABC LogoWABC to Report from the Final Four. In harmony with Cumulus Media sibling Westwood One, New York City talker WABC will have a presence during this weekend’s “Final Four.” Sports reporter Mike Gunzelman will broadcast from radio row in Indianapolis with extended sports reports within “[Don] Imus in The Morning,” “The Geraldo Rivera Show,” and “Right Now with Doug McIntyre.” According to program director Craig Schwalb,”With the continuing dialoguePrint surrounding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and all the excitement that is college basketball, it is an important intersection; WABC will be in Indianapolis for all of it.” Reports will be featured in newscasts as well as in social media. WABC will produce two live streaming programs, which will debut tomorrow (Saturday, 4/4) and Sunday (4/5) at 12:00 Noon. Live sports streams are separate from the station’s main WABC Radio stream.

KFWBKFWB, Clippers to Host Fan Appreciation Night. Flagship outlet of the NBA‘s Los Angeles Clippers – all-sports KFWB “The Beast” – will present a fan appreciation night one week from Monday (4/13) when the Clippers play the Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Various prizes and merchandise will be distributed throughout the game, and a halftime presentation willLos Angeles Clippers acknowledge “Beast” on-air personalities and station executives. Performances from the Clippers Spirit will tap things off as part of a 5:30 pm fan festival. Among the prizes is an MVP package that includes Clippers playoff tickets in the private suite of “The Beast” and a meet/greet with a Clippers’ broadcaster.

NAB LogoNAB Reveals Radio Board Election Results. Those voted to the National Association of Broadcasters’ radio board include: Bill Coleman, owner, Team Radio Marketing Group of Ponca City, Oklahoma. Bruce Goldsen, president and general manager, Jackson Radio Works of Jackson, Michigan. Randy Gravley, president and chief executive officer, Tri-State Communications of Jasper, Georgia. Bill Hendrich, vice president and market manager, Cox Media Group Jacksonville. Ed Henson, president, Henson Media of Louisville. Beth Neuhoff, president and chief executive officer, Neuhoff Communications of Springfield, Illinois. Bob Proffitt, president and chief executive officer, Alpha Media of Portland (Oregon). Their two-year terms will begin in two months (June).

KXKSAlbuquerque Picks Up A Sports Outlet. Newcomer to the format in Albuquerque is KXKS, which transitions to sports from a religious teaching format. According to general manager Eddy Aragon, “We are excited to bring the premier Fox Sports network to the most powerful sports radio signal in the Albuquerque market. Listeners will be able to tune to the 10,000-watt signal of KXKS [at 1190 AM], plus the simulcast signal on 107.5 FM.” Rock of Talk LLC operates KXKS under an LMA with licensee Wilkins Communications. The religious format that previously aired on KXKS moves to Wilkins’ KKIM. KXKS was not among the 21 stations listed in Nielsen Audio‘s fall 2014 ratings book.

KRFTcorcoranSt. Louis Sports Outlet Augments On-Air Lineup. Leased by web-based programming provider TalkSTL.com, sports talk KRFT, St. Louis brings in J.C. Corcoran for 7:00 am – 9:00 am duty and Kevin Slaten for 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm chores on the AM day-timer. In just over two weeks (4/20), former East St. Louis, Illinois-licensed WQQX talents Howard Balzer and Charlie “Tuna” Edwards will begin doing a daily 11:00 am – 1:00 pm program. TalkSTL.com co-owner and operator Scott Gertken comments, “We could not be more excited about the lineup we were able to finalize. We have done a whole lot in 10 days.” According to Corcoran, his morning drive show “will be exactly the same thing I have been doing. Anybody who listens to the show is going to hear J.C. Corcoran – they know what they are going to get. It will be a general interest talk show, entertainment, and a heavy dose of my twisted mind.” Gertken says he hopes to have KRFT as a 24-hour operation by next month.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The SBG-syndicated Marilu Henner program is added to the program schedule at: KINX-FM, Great Falls, Montana; WLAD, Danbury, Connecticut; WTHU, Thurmont, Maryland; and WOMI, Owensboro, Kentucky.

talkersten logoReligious Freedom Act Controversy Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of March 30-April 3.  The chatter about Indiana’s religious freedom legislation and Governor Mike Pence’s promise to “fix” the law – along with Arkansas’ vow to pass a similar law – was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week.  Coming in at #2 was the Iran nuclear program negotiations.  Following at #3 was the investigation into the downing of Germanwings Flight 9525, followed by the 2016 presidential prospects 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 magazine.  It’s published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Friday, March 27, 2015

| March 27, 2015

leetomTom Lee Tapped to Lead LA’s ‘The Beast 980.’  Radio and sports talk pro Tom Lee is being given the programming reigns to KFWB, Los Angeles “The Beast 980” – the recently flipped sports talker owned by the KFWB Asset Trust.  Lee says in a press statement that “Los Angeles sports fans are the greatest and perhaps the most underrated in America.”  Lee will have the opportunity to help bring substantivekfwb sports ratings to a radio format that has historically never really achieved – from a pure ratings standpoint – much in the Los Angeles market.  Lee continues, “Their passion, the distinct LA attitude and our great sports teams will all be represented by ‘The Beast 980.’”  Lee certainly understands successful sports talk as his resume includes some of the industry’s most visible sports talk ventures.  He launched FOX Sports Radio in 2000, leading the programming team that created and developed the 24/7 national sports network.  Lee has also programmed KESN-FM, Dallas ESPN Radio, as well as sports radio stations WIP, Philadelphia and KJR, Seattle.  KFWB Asset Trust Trustee Diane Sutter comments, “Tom has achieved some of the highest ratings of all-sports stations across the country.  Our listeners will benefit from Tom’s invaluable skills in producing relevant content, top-notch talent and his experience in working with sports teams.”  Lee begins his new gig on March 30.

goldsteinsteveSteve Goldstein Exits Exec Role at Saga Communications; Launches Podcast Venture.  After a career with Saga Communications that spanned almost 30 years, Steven Goldstein leaves his executive vice president position and announces that he is forming a company called Amplifi Media, LLC which will specialize in “the development of digital audio-on-demand (podcast) content.”  Goldstein adds, “As connected cars, Bluetooth and smartphones converge, time-shifted audio will grow exponentially.amplifi logo  People will listen to content at a time and place of their choosing, just as is occurring rapidly in the television industry with Netflix, DVRs and on-demand video.”  A press statement from Amplifi says the company will “concentrate on great storytelling, compelling content and fresh voices on a variety of popular subjects, and will adapt, craft and focus the product for the unique needs of the digital audio business.”  Goldstein concludes, “The top of the iTunes podcast chart is dominated by NPR and affiliates.  They have done a tremendous job but there is a world of mainstream topics yet to be explored for on-demand-audio.  That’s where Amplifi will live.”  Goldstein can be reached at 203-221-1400 or via email at sjgoldstein@amplifimedia.com.

colmesalan“Healed Planet” Hosted by Alan Colmes Exploring New Worlds of Radio and Listenership.  One of the new program/projects launched on TALKERS magazine’s experimental radio platform TalkersRadio has been gaining notable traction in terms of expanded programming topicality and new listenership.  “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” is an experimental talk show conceived and hosted by syndicated Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes and it serves as a prime example of TalkersRadio carrying out one of its primary missions as a “laboratory/workout gym” for proven talk show hosts to test new concepts and as a showcase for promising newcomers to present their work to the industry.  A new “Healed Planet” program is produced at least once per month and is available to TalkersRadio listeners (primarily members of the radio industry) on demand.  The program features the multi-platform, news/talk figure that gained international notoriety as the liberal co-host on the iconic left-right political discussion show “Hannity & Colmes” during itstalkersradio logo successful 12-year run on Fox News Channel in a role quite different than his regular followers might expect.  (In addition to being heard nightly on his syndicated radio show, Colmes is also still seen on Fox News Channel as a contributing commentator.)  “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” is an eclectic mix of science, metaphysics, unexplained mysteries, cosmic consciousness and everything else rolling around the fertile mind of Alan Colmes.  He describes it as “presenting stimulating conversations with thought-leaders in the human consciousness movement.”  At present, three episodes of “Healed Planet” are up and running featuring Colmes in conversation with authors Gabe Berman and George A. Hart, plus a discussion with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison.  On having this new vehicle of expression, Colmes tells TALKERS,” I love having a nightly forum where I can give my political views and takes on the issues of the day, and I love having a forum where politics doesn’t matter and we can all talk as human beings without any ideological prism.”  According to Colmes, he is basically doing this for fun, stating, “Sometimes it is simply cool to do a media presentation just for the heck of it and explore subjects and styles that don’t necessarily fit into the understandably more-rigid confines of our day jobs, even though my daily radio show is on at night.”  TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein states, “It is fun, fascinating, stimulating and informative for talk listeners and people in the industry to hear all the dimensions that make up the personality, creativity and interests one of the nicest and smartest guys in the business – beyond the paradigm of general news/talk radio and TV where – let’s face it – Alan is quite famous.  And THAT is what TalkersRadio is all about!”  To listen to “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes,” please click here.

spiegelmattWSCR, Chicago Host Apologizes for ‘Childish’ and ‘Crass’ Tweet.  From the “haven’t they been paying attention” department comes this story, chronicled by Chicago media writer Robert Feder here.  In a nutshell, WSCR veteran talk hosts Matt Spiegel and Dan Bernstein were Tweeting critically about the television presence of Comcast SportsNet Chicago anchor Aiyana Cristal when the two veered into the now-all-too-familiar territory visited by many media personalities these days: they commented on her breasts.  To Spiegel’s (and to some degree Bernstein’s) credit, he seems to have realized his error and has apologized profusely via Twitter, admitting that he made a stupid, childish mistake.  Feder reports that sources say Spiegel and Bernstein will not be disciplined for the incident.

wgnhofplaqueWGN, Chicago to Induct 10 into Station WoF.  When Tribune Media’s WGN, Chicago inducts its 2015 Walk of Fame class during the Steve Cochran show on Friday, May 29, 10 broadcasters will be honored.  The ceremony and live broadcast will air from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm at the Tribune Tower.  Those to be inducted include: Steve Bertrand, Lyle Dean, Dave Eanet, Steve King, Franklyn MacCormack, Lou Manfredini, Johnnie Putman, Ward Quaal, Ron Santo and Eddie Schwartz.  They will be commemorated in bronze plaques placed outside the Allstate Showcase Studio.

Odds & Sods.  Bringing a passion of hers to WABC, New York on Sunday nights at 7:00 is Laura Smith who tells TALKERS magazine she’s “psyched” to debut “Above and Beyond with Laura Smith” this weekend.  Smith says the program is a revival of the program she hosted on SiriusXM and on WFAS-FM, Westchester several years ago.  “It’ssmithlaura a passion of mine as it incorporates conversations with some of the world’s most popular thought leaders and then the biggest celebrity psychics, mediums and astrologers giving free readings live on the air.  This Sunday, I have global phenomenon, spiritual teacher and four-time NYT best-selling author, Marianne Williamson plus celebrity medium Thomas John.”…..There’s now an FM signal to complement Delmarva’s news/talk WDEL-AM, Wilmington.  The company announces it is using the newly acquired WJKS, Canton, New Jersey to create at trimulcast of the legendary news/talker.  In the market the station can be heard on WDEL at 1150 AM, on WJKS at 101.7 FM and via HD-3 on WSTW’s 93.7 FM.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  More stations are airing the Compass Media Networks-syndicated Lars Larson show.  New affiliate stations for the KXL, Portland-based talk personality include: WHBY, Green Bay; WLFJ, Greenville, South Carolina; WLEA, Elmira New York; WBRP, Baton Rouge; WNRP, Pensacola; KCRS,larsonlars Odessa; WDRC-AM, Hartford; and KTIP, Porterville, California.  Larson comments on his busy schedule, “I prep from 6:00 am to 12:00 noon on the Left Coast and talk from 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm.  I’ll leave the mic when they drag me away.  I’ll sleep when I get old.”…..Stephan MultiMedia’s “Good Day” with Doug stephandougStephan is also adding affiliate stations and announces it’s surpassed the 300-station mark with the following new outlets: KTFL, Gilbert, Arizona; KVNU, Logan, Utah; WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island; WDNY, Dansville, New York; WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina; KBIZ, Ottumwa, Iowa; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; WEBY, Milton, Florida; KSCB, Liberal, Kansas; WFEA, Nashua, New Hampshire; and KQEW-FM, Fordyce, Arkansas…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge joins the daily lineup at KWOR, Worland, Wyoming.

dickeycurtisKubyinfShow Prep with Lew Dickey.  When Cumulus Media president and CEO Lew Dickey is in New York, he’s more than ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work with the talent at legendary news/talk outlet WABC.  Dickey (seated right) is captured here in the office of WABC midday talk duo Curtis Sliwa (seated left) and Ron Kuby (seated floor) as the executive gives Kuby a therapeutic massage to make him more relaxed on the air.  Dickey did, however, draw the line when Sliwa demanded that his be a foot massage.

Germanwings Flight 9525 Tragedy Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 23-27.  The downing of Germanwings Flight 9525 was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of March 23-27, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.  Following at #3 was the tense relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and, at #4, was the potential candidates for president in 2016.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

| March 14, 2015

Joe McDonnell #2Joe McDonnell: LA Saddened at Giant-Size Talent’s Passing. How “big” was Joe McDonnell in Los Angeles? Consider this: Friday’s (3/13) lead item for several newscasts on the city’s only all-news station, CBS Radio‘s KNX, was that the 58-year-old McDonnell – widely-known as “Big Joe” or “The Big Nasty” – had passed away. “Big” references regarded his weight, approximately 700 pounds at one time; however, the sports talk host underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost roughly more than half of that. “Nasty” became a handle owing to his highly opinionated nature. The overwhelming majority of those familiar with McDonnell’s exemplary on-air work in Los Angeles would quickly associate him with being a “legendary” or “iconic” sports talk radio “fixture” and that would certainly be accurate. He was, however, among the rarest of on-air talents in the country’s second-largest market, in that, in addition to doing a nightly (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm) sports program (“The Joe McDonnell Experience”) on Clear Channel‘s (now iHeartMedia) KLAC, he also did a Sunday (12:00 noon – 2:00 pm) political talk program (“The Joe McDonnell Show”) on co-owned KTLK-AM (now KEIB). Most recently, McDonnell did fill-in work at KNX. Reaction to his death has continued virtually nonstop, with a who’s who in local and national media, as well as executives of major sports franchises, offering condolences. Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia knew McDonnell ever since Scioscia first came up as a catcher in the Dodgers’ organization. “He was a good friend who will be missed. It’s sad,” Scioscia states. On Twitter, Keith Olbermann writes, “Heartbroken to learn of death of LA radio legend, my friend, Joe McDonnell. He leaves us having never held a grudge.” Ken Rosenthal comments, “So sad to hear about the passing of Joe McDonnell, a one-of-a-kind sports personality in Los Angeles and a reporter at heart.” Several years ago, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian, then the special features editor for Inside Radio, did an extensive profile of McDonnell, who freely used the word “idiot” to describe someone with whom he disagreed. It was a trademark of the bombastic on-air persona of “The Big Nasty” and customarily delivered in vitriol by the dean of Los Angeles radio sports talk hosts. McDonnell garnered legions of dedicated fans. Once – to benefit charity – he accepted the challenge of co-workers and successfully completed a four-hour shift without uttering one negative. In his profile, Kinosian shattered the myth about McDonnell and let the truth be told that in real-life, McDonnell was a far cry from the manic personality listeners were accustomed to hearing. Pensive and completely conscientious McDonnell qualified as a native Angelino, havingJoe McDonnell - Josh Hamilton relocated from Philadelphia in 1959 at age three with his parents. “I loved radio and wouldn’t go anywhere without it,” he fondly recalled to Kinosian. “I’d go to bed listening to it and wake up with it. I went through radios [as others] went through socks. Even when doing homework, I had the radio on.” Although thoroughly enthralled by the medium, McDonnell at that time never thought about pursuing a career in it. Family members urged him to be a lawyer, but McDonnell formulated sportswriter aspirations while attending L.A. Valley College and Cal State – Northridge. His radio career was, in his words, “a total accident.” A high school buddy McDonnell hadn’t seen in a while told him he received academic credit for working at a radio station. That was all it took for McDonnell: He scored an interview for a newsroom opening at KGIL in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley and his first day was September 18, 1975 – the day they arrested Patty Hearst. “I was so excited to be there and hung around to watch what everybody did. Then the story broke and I wound up staying until 10:00 pm. I fell in love with radio my first day and knew this was for me.” Freelance sports opportunities later surfaced for him at Mutual, AP Radio, and UPI Radio and he adroitly transitioned into a daily field correspondent. Play-by-play was briefly tinkered with, but long enough for McDonnell to know it didn’t captivate him. Something else did and as he flatly asserted to Kinosian, “My interest in politics is equal to my interest in sports. They are jobs but they are [also] passions. I love being able to show another side of my life. I am very liberal but do not [rubber-stamp] everything simply because that is what [other liberals] say you should do. I take things on a position-by-position basis. It is impossible and disingenuous to be one way on every subject. No one can ever accuse me of being a phony.” The first Gulf War was underway when he hosted a general talk show on KFI, Los Angeles. America’s first casualty came as a result of friendly fire. Soon after that, the victim’s widow drove to KFI one Sunday afternoon and McDonnell did two hours with her. “It was the most gut-wrenching, yet most fulfilling, thing I’ve done on radio,” he told Kinosian. “Quite honestly, I didn’t know I was capable of pulling it off. People heard me do sports and wondered what I knew about [politics]. I had to win them over.” Multiple Golden Microphone award winner McDonnell toiled in the Southland at KMAX and KWNK between 1994 – 1997; won raves doing sports updates for (then-all news) KFWB; and was part of the original 1992 staff transitioning KMPC to all-sports – although the outbreak of the L.A. riots was the considerably more monumental story the night of the format flip. For numerous personal and professional reasons, a five-year run beginning in 2000 as KSPN “ESPN 710,” Los Angeles’ assistant program director and afternoon driver profoundly affected him. “My first three years there were great,” McDonnell declared to Kinosian. “I had a say in what went on and helped build KSPN from the ground up with [KABC & KSPN OM] Erik Braverman who was my KFI producer. Unfortunately when Erik decided he wanted to concentrate on KABC, they brought in people who didn’t share our ideas.” It was one different concept after another and became the beginning of the end for McDonnell there. “They killed morale and dissolved everything we did. I wanted to leave every day the last two years I was there but made so much money I would’ve been put in a mental institution if I quit.” From the minute McDonnell walked into the Burbank offices of KLAC to interview with KLAC general manager/program director & KTLK program director Don Martin, he sensed something different. “This might sound crazy – but I really liked that they made me earn my position. Don put me on KTLK and let me do some KLAC fill-in. It meant a lot when he said I assimilated with the audience and staff. People have this idea you expect everything be given to you.” Being a sports talk host was a 24 hour-a-day job for McDonnell because, “Information doesn’t stop.” His shows were frequently punctuated with “24” and “Da Ali G” clips and laced with abundant/energetic hip-hop tracks as bumpers. At first, longtime “McDonnell – Douglas” partner Doug Krikorian wasn’t part of the equation for the “Joe McDonnell Experience,” although the Long Beach Press-Telegram sportswriter joined the ensemble to deliver weekly “K-Files” reports. After all, it was Krikorian who hung the “Big Nasty” moniker on McDonnell when Big Joe collared/disposed of a rowdy patron one night at their favorite hangout. Naturally, the subject of McDonnell’s weight came up in the Kinosian profile of him and McDonnell said that even before the gastric bypass procedure, the heavy burden he was carrying didn’t really bother him. He did however eventually begin slowing down, getting sick, and spending more time at home. “I stopped going to games because it was uncomfortable. My doctor told me I had to do something. Any addict – and I’m definitely a food addict – thinks you can do it on your own.” That’s the fallacy and something an addict desperately wants to believe but McDonnell stressed it can not be done alone. “It got to the point where I realized I was going to die. I had the surgery and lost 300 pounds. On Christmas Day, I put slabs of turkey and prime rib on a plate [surrounded with] potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce. I took it to the table and had a bite of each. Hey look – I’m a food addict and always will be.” The old Joe most likely would’ve avoided on-air surgery mentions. If it did pop up, he probably would’ve been brutal in challenging the person referencing it. A much mellower McDonnell made a conscious decision when he left KSPN that the “Big Nasty” had died. “It was a great vehicle for what I needed – but – that really isn’t me,” he emphasized to Kinosian. “I’m opinionated and will raise my voice but I’m a nice guy and like to have fun. One reason I love my job is it allows me to hang with people.” Conceding it was a “shortcoming” on his part as a talk show host to refrain from mentioning much about his personal life, McDonnell declared, “You can’t be isolated and expect to reach your audience; you have to let them in on your life. For the most part, I refused to do that. Don Martin and I had a long talk about that and he said the best on-air people let you know about them.” A happy, healthy, and exuberant McDonnell chatted up his March 30, 2007 wedding to KLOS’ lovely Elizabeth Cohn (now working at cross-town Bonneville-owned KSWD “The Sound”). “I finally met someone who will put up with me and I [married] the most Joe McDonnell #3wonderful person in the world,” McDonnell emphasized in that profile. Joe and Elizabeth worked together for four years inside ABC Radio Los Angeles (now Cumulus Media) and basically didn’t say a word to each other. “She understands I’ll occasionally make fun of her on-air and exaggerate things but my life is now an open book.” Numerous health ailments – some nearly life-threatening – plagued McDonnell and he frequently credited Elizabeth as being the rock who held him together. An avowed movie junkie, McDonnell would go to as many as three or four in one day. It was his way to relax and escape. “One of the biggest benefits of losing weight is I can fit into theater seats. That was honestly a problem before.” Such McDonnell segments as “Who Do You Want To Kick Out Of LA?” gave him a Northeast-sounding vibe, but his entire nearly 40-year career was spent in Los Angeles. The ardent WWE fan told Kinosian, “It would take a million dollar offer for me to leave Los Angeles. In the early-1990s, I had a chance to work for a friend in Nashville and had a big offer to go to Seattle in 1994 but my mother had cancer so I wasn’t about to leave town. There was a preliminary discussion years ago with WFAN, New York about being a reporter/weekend host but Los Angeles is my home. I’m part of the radio landscape.” Eerie now, but McDonnell confided to Kinosian in that lengthy printed conversation, “All the stuff I’ve done is leading up to something. I’ve always felt there was a bigger plan for me and a different path. God has kept me around for a reason – but I don’t know what it is. With what I’ve put myself through, any other person would have been dead by now.” Even at his heaviest, the voracious reader managed to stay in “fairly good shape.” The only weakness until recently was with his knees. According to McDonnell, “The ultimate moment for me would be to somehow find out who really killed John F. Kennedy.” As for the once “Big Nasty,” no cause of death was reported; several reports – including the one on KNX – said he died at Los Angeles’ Good Samaritan Hospital after a “brief illness.” A two-hour Friday night (3/13) Jeff Biggs-hosted show on KSPN paid tribute to McDonnell, who typically aired hisJoe & Elizabeth McDonnell “Kick Out” segment Fridays. Poignant, touching, and chillingly appropriate, the final word was given to Elizabeth McDonnell who somehow managed to summon up the strength in her voice to utter she wanted to kick Joe out of LA. Dramatic, goose-bump radio. “When I die,” McDonnell once told Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News, “I want to be cremated and then have a plane spread half of my ashes over Dodger Stadium and the other half over the [ex-home of the Lakers] Forum.”

Remembering the Legendary Gary Owens

Remembering the Legendary Gary Owens

| February 16, 2015

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

 

kinosianlgLOS ANGELES — Blessed with an enduring ability to captivate a broad base demographic with droll, clever, sometimes-corny witticisms/puns that much sooner rather than later made you laugh, Gary Owens is being fondly remembered by those whose lives he touched by his character and one-of-a-kind classiness.

Not character voices that helped to shape, mold, and define this often-honored broadcaster who passedowensgary away in Los Angeles Friday (2/13) at the age of 80, but much more important personal qualities.

Even at the zenith of his popularity, Owens had an unrivaled flair to make anyone and everyone with whom he came in contact feel as though he or she were a genuinely important friend of his.

Dignity with which Owens carried himself make those having the privilege to work behind a microphone exude intense pride in saying they are in the same profession.

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