New York Losing Progressive Talk Outlet WWRL. Progressive talk host Karel – whose Long Beach, California-based talk show is heard on Access.1’s WWRL, New York – reports the station says it will flip to Spanish-language programming on December 27. The station airs progressive talk programming including Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Premiere’s Randi Rhodes, and Leslie Marshall as well as non-political shows including Radio America’s Dr. Joy Browne, WYD Media’s Phil Hendrie plus various health and wellness shows. New York’s Amsterdam News reports the station is telling employees “low advertising revenue” is the reason for the format flip.
Brown Boosted to Bonneville International President. KSL Broadcast Group president Darrell Brown is promoted to president of parent company Bonneville International. Brown will oversee Bonneville’s 12 radio properties in Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City, as well as Salt Lake City television outlet KSL-TV. ”Bonneville International is known across the industry for its integrity and quality,” he comments. “As a group, these stations are committed to serving and building-up their local communities. I am honored to be part of Bonneville’s legacy.” Brown joined KSL last August, after having previously spent 28 years at McGraw-Hill Broadcasting.
Sports Talker WFAN, New York Sponsors Red Hot Chili Peppers-Headlines Show at Barclay Center. With the Super Bowl just across the river the next day, CBS Radio sports talk giant WFAN, New York is sponsoring a big event across the other river at the Barclays Center titled, “WFAN’s Big Hello to Brooklyn.” The announcement was made this morning as WFAN morning team Boomer Esiason (left) and Craig Carton (right) welcomed Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith (center) into the studio and announced his band will be headlining the show on Saturday, February 1, 2014. The concert will also include: New Politics, MS MR, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, and Basic Vacation. CBS calls it “the biggest weekend in sports and entertainment, and is the exciting conclusion to Barclays Center’s “Kickoff In Brooklyn” series which also includes championship boxing (1/30/2014) and a match-up between the Brooklyn Nets and the Oklahoma City Thunder (1/31/2014). CBS Radio SVP, strategic events and partnerships Amy Stevens says, “The intersection of sports and music is never bigger than during the weekend of the Super Bowl. Red Hot Chili Peppers are an American institution and rock ‘n’roll icons, and what better way to celebrate football’s championship than with this incredible lineup of artists for local fans and the thousands in New York from around the world.”
WFAN’s Mike Francesa to Exit YES Network. The New York TV simulcast of WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa will end on January 31 after the current contract expires and WEPN-FM afternoon drive host Michael Kay’s program will take over the time slot on the Yankees-owned cable channel. The New York Daily News reports that the change was a financial matter and that CBS Radio was asking more for the rights to the program than YES wanted to pay. The Daily News piece speculates that cable’s Madison Square Garden Network may have the “inside track” with Francesa as he’s considered close to Garden management. The story also notes that fledgling cable channel CBS Sports Network, which is airing WFAN’s Boomer & Carton morning show, is not enticing to Francesa because he fears he’d have to change his content to appeal to the national audience.
Steak Added to WCNN Menu. In addition to existing members Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran, “The Front Row” on Dickey Broadcasting, Atlanta’s WCNN “Sports Radio 680 The Fan” will be comprised of Stephen “Steak” Shapiro as well. Formerly the 17-year host of “Mayhem in the AM” on Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone,” Shapiro has won numerous Georgia broadcasting awards and starts his daily 9:00 am – 12:00 noon assignment on January 2. WCNN president/general manager David Dickey comments, “I am excited to have ‘Steak’ back on ‘The Fan.’ He is one of the best-known and most-talented sports personalities in the country. ’Steak’ will become an important part of what is already the region’s biggest and most-experienced sports-talk line-up. His homecoming is yet another example of Dickey Broadcasting’s ongoing commitment to invest in the best talent, the best content and the biggest partnerships.” Shapiro, who replaces Ray Mariner, adds, “‘The Fan’ gave me my start and is the reason I moved to Atlanta [from Boston] almost 20 years ago. I am ecstatic to be back doing what I love. ’The Fan’ has been the number one sports talk station in the south for so many years. To be able to be a part of such a winning team with so many folks I have worked alongside in the past and consider friends is really thrilling.” Shapiro founded Big League Broadcasting in 1997 and was its president for roughly 14 years.
Dare to be Crap-Free. When it comes to online content, it’s easy to think you have a staffing problem or a time management problem or a resources problem, when what you really have is a crap problem. In a new column posted today (12/16) by noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, he writes, “There’s stuff on your site that is irrelevant to your station and is keeping people from finding what they DO want to find there. Your social media is probably influenced more by what everyone else is doing in social media, rather than what will cause your biggest fans to love you all the more.” To read how Chris Miller can help you get crap-free and focused on results for 2014, please click here.
Odds & Sods. Connecticut talk show host Mary Jones announces she’ll retire from Buckley Broadcasting-owned news/talk station WDRC-AM, Hartford as of December 23 in order to spend more time with her husband and enjoy winters in Florida. Jones tells TALKERS it was a big decision but she is excited about the change….. WMAL-AM/FM, Washington “Mornings on the Mall” co-host Larry O’Connor is doing some double duty during the holiday season. O’Connor will sub for WABC, New York-based Geraldo Rivera beginning December 20 through the end of the year (and the end of his national syndication run) and will also sit in for WestwoodOne-syndicated personality Dennis Miller on January 2 and 3 – the last two days of his 10:00 am to 1:00 pm airing (the show begins airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on 1/6)…..“Libertarian-conservative” media personality Wayne Allyn Root will be guest host on Cumulus Media Networks’ “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage from December 23 – 30. Root is author of The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide (Regnery 2013) and serves as a commentator on Fox News Channel and TheBlaze.
KSCO, Santa Cruz Personality Ethan Bearman’s Profile Rising. Talk radio personality and writer Ethan Bearman is getting more recognition in the Santa Cruz market as his locally focused talk show on Zwerling-owned KSCO, Santa Cruz grows in popularity. Recently, Bearman was a go-to media voice for a KION-TV news piece (captured here) on the anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. View that video here. Also, Bearman, who has intensely covered the hot issue of dirty needles, trash and other refuse in the town’s parks that’s making it unsafe for people to use, was part of a clean-up crew that made the news for its work. Read about that issue in a piece in the Santa Cruz Patch here. Bearman is a visible example of a growing trend in news/talk radio in which talk hosts are eschewing monolithic political party doctrine and instead are approaching their programs on an issue-by-issue basis.
Hawkins Scores With CRN Special. Over the weekend (Saturday, 12/14), former NBA player Tommy Hawkins premiered his CRN Digital Talk Radio holiday special “We Wish You a Jazzy Christmas.” According to CRN chief executive officer Michael Horn, “‘We Wish You a Jazzy Christmas’ is filled with holiday-themed jazz music, along with Tommy’s infectious, warm personality. His love of jazz and the holidays combine for such a treat. It is the perfect accompaniment for an evening by a Christmas tree.” Following a standout collegiate career at Notre Dame (where he was a two-year All-American), Hawkins went on to play in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers and Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings). He later became vice president of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. For approximately 15 years beginning in 1970, “Hawk” was a staple on Los Angeles siblings KABC and KLOS. As part of his basketball-to-broadcasting transition Hawkins not only became KABC’s sports director, he also did “Sports Snorts” weekday mornings with remarkably talented Frazer Smith on KLOS. In addition to doing weekends on KKJZ “K-Jazz,” Los Angeles, Hawkins has written “Life’s Reflections: Poetry for the People.” His CRN special will play throughout the holiday season.
Over $120,000 Raised in KFXX Special Olympics Radio-thon. Entercom-owned sports outlet KFXX “1080 The Fan” afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) hosts Isaac Ropp (pictured here at left with some female fans) and Jason Scukanec (second from right) anchored the third annual 28-hour Special Olympics Oregon radio-thon, which brought in more than $120,000. Program director Jeff Austin comments, “We are proud to partner with Special Olympics Oregon. The overwhelming support of our station’s staff, our listeners, and advertisers was a testament to the bond Isaac and Suke have with their audience.” Scukanec (“Suke”) states, “We cannot thank our listeners enough – Portland is a special community and this is a very special cause. We talk about sports and high-powered athletes every day, but these Olympians are the real athletes. They are the real champions and we are privileged to honor their spirit and dedication.” Special Olympics Oregon chief development officer Kim Bergstrom adds, “We are honored to partner with [KFXX]. Isaac and Suke’s radio-thon helps raise funds to support year-round sports training and competition opportunities for thousands of individuals with intellectual disability. In addition, they generate immeasurable awareness of the importance of Special Olympics Oregon programs for athletes and their families.” This year’s $120,000 radio-thon total surpassed last year’s mark by more than $45,000.
Broadcast Electronics Bumps Up Bealor To President. Effective immediately, Broadcast Electronics executive vice president of product development Tim Bealor is upped to president of the Quincy, Illinois-based company. ”I am honored to be asked to lead BE into its 55th year and the next phase of the company’s growth,” he comments. ”Next year is going to be an exciting time for Broadcast Electronics and its customers.” Bealor began his Broadcast Electronics career as a technician in 1975. Over the past 38 years, he has held a variety of technical, support, product management, sales leadership, and marketing positions with the company.
Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman Addresses Limbaugh Case in AP Interview. In a far-reaching interview with the Associated Press given at the American Association of Advertising Agencies conference in Los Angeles, Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman answered questions about the controversy over the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke incident and the war being waged against Limbaugh and Premiere Networks by Media Matters for America. Pittman – who hadn’t commented on the case since it exploded a month ago – told the AP Limbaugh is the “king” of radio and he’s sticking by him and he called the controversy “part of the normal day-to-day of talk radio.” Pittman also said the resulting campaign by Media Matters and boycotts on sponsors has not had a major impact on the company nor has there been a move by stations to drop the show. When asked about Cumulus Media Networks’ strategy of using the Limbaugh case to promote soon-to-be-syndicated talk host Mike Huckabee, Pittman stated, “It basically says Rush is the king. Rush is certainly the leader, and we’re delighted to have him.”
Courtside Entertainment Lands Dr. Drew in Major Markets. Courtside Entertainment Group announces the “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew” is picked up in Los Angeles by KFWB; KPTK, Seattle; KEXX, Phoenix; and KDWN, Las Vegas. The feature is already heard in Chicago and New York on Merlin Media’s two all-news FMs. Courtside president Bob Moore states, “‘Minute Clinic’ provides listeners with important information on medicine, relationships, and coping with the problems of everyday life. It’s interesting, informative and entertaining from one of media’s most trusted and reliable experts – Dr. Drew Pinsky. It’s exactly the kind of specialized programming that we are focusing on at Courtside.” The feature is repped by Compass Media for ad sales and support.
Election Year Making FAIR’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” Radio Row a Hot Event. The annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row sponsored by Federation for American Immigration Reform and taking place in Washington, DC on May 8 and 9 is packed with talk radio hosts and stations taking part but election year interest is prompting FAIR to expand the event and allow even more broadcasters to take part. Event manager Bob Dane says, “The fact that this annual radio row has a history of providing access to A-list guests and includes all equipment, ISDN lines, engineering support and long distance at no charge is really increasing demand to participate.” For those who think the event is for conservatives only, Dial Global talk host Thom Hartmann explains why he’s attended in the past. “I’ve attended because a core part of my show is bringing on people with whom I disagree so we can let listeners and viewers see/hear the issues in sharp relief and make up their own minds. That said, I also – having lived and worked on several continents, and having had to go through arduous processes to get work permits in Germany and Australia – know how important it is to have a work force that matches the demand for labor, and the best ways to insure that are through rational/sane immigration and trade policies. We have neither right now.” WCBM, Baltimore talk host Tom Marr says, “After taking my show to the border twice, ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ is a chance for invaluable access to the folks on the front line of the problem that I did not see, while at the same time being with those in Washington, DC who make the policy to secure the border and if one desires to get another side. Capitol Hill is a short walk across the street. It also gives one the ability in free time to visit the Hill and talk with Members about other problems faced by our nation every day. Would not miss it for the world. Hands down the best organized event for people in the talk business if its kind.” For stations whose P1s care very much about immigration issues, it’s a can’t miss, according to KARN-AM/FM, Little Rock talk host Dave Elswick, “I go every year to ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ because illegal immigration is a hot topic to my listeners but most importantly the issue impacts other important issues. Welfare reform, importance of protecting each man’s vote, and health care reform to name a few. Two strong days of experts dealing with all those issues can’t be missed.” WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale talk host Joyce Kaufman says she’s used the event to connect with her audience and the Congress members serving her listener area. “I get invited to a lot of ‘radio row’ events each year. The only event that I participate in year after year is FAIR’s ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ rally. From the first year when I dumped 5,000 ‘soles’ (shoes with listeners’ messages written on the sole) to subsequent years, my audience supports my effort and some even come along and lobby Congress.” For information about the event, contact Bob Dane at 202-328-7004.
KKOB, Albuquerque Charges Local Pol with Slandering Station. There are no legal charges being filed but Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque feels it’s the victim of a slur by City Councilman Ray Garduno. Program director Pat Frisch reports that during a council meeting debate over a controversial road project of which KKOB morning host Bob Clark has encouraged listeners to call Garduno’s office about, Garduno referred to the station as K-K-KOB – a reference to the Ku Klux Klan. In the audio, Garduno quickly corrects himself but Frisch says this isn’t the first time the station has been referred to as K-K-KOB by a local Democratic politician. Frisch says State Senator Eric Griego did the same last year. As for Garduno, Frisch states, “His racist remark is an attack on our listeners and to find a true racist, Garduno only needs to look in the mirror.”
JetBlue Pilot Incident Sparks Buzz on Talk Radio. As talk radio hosts will tell you, one never knows when the next big story will come out of the “blue” and that is exactly the case this morning as talk show hosts of just about every format – political, lifestyle, pop culture, and medical – are feasting on the multi-dimensional aspects of yesterday’s frightening JetBlue pilot incident. According to PodJockey.com resident psychiatrist Renee Kohanski, MD, “It is not like the experience of going to the airport and flying in today’s environment alone doesn’t foster an atmosphere of stress, yesterday afternoon’s unfortunate outburst by a pilot on the heels of a similar situation two weeks ago involving a flight attendant only serves to increase the level of passenger anxiety building across the nation. From a medical and psychiatric perspective, this case is rife with questions and all sorts of speculation. People want to know why things like this happen but the answers are not always immediately apparent!” Dr. Kohanski is available today for phone interviews to discuss the story from a medical perspective citing the many questions and possible causes of yesterday’s shocking and disturbing story. She can be reached at 860-334-4576.
Cumulus Media Providence Launches “Putting Rhode Island Back to Work” Campaign. The cluster of Cumulus Media stations in Providence – including news/talk 630 WPRO & 99.7 – is beginning an on-air campaign titled “Putting Rhode Island Back to Work.” With the support of sponsor Twin River Casino, the cluster is reaching out to and airing stories about Rhode Island businesses that have recently hired. General manager Barbara Haynes says, “News Talk 630 WPRO & 99.7 FM, 92 PRO-FM, HOT106, Lite Rock 105 and 790 Business reach hundreds of thousands of listeners every day – we are excited to be able to highlight some of the companies helping refuel our local economy in front of our massive audience.” The vignettes will also appear on the cluster’s digital properties.
Dial Global Partners with Yamanair Creative Worldwide. Dial Global subsidiary TM Creative enters into a partnership with Yamanair Creative’s Cash by Creative production and creative service. In a statement, DG notes TM Creative will serve as a creative arm to Cash by Creative, providing copywriting, commercial production and retail jingles. This will further enhance Cash by Creative’s ability to offer world-class creative and production to its growing list of clients. TM Creatvie VP/GM Chris Long says, “We are excited about this kind of creative partnership, as TM continues to expand its reach with both radio stations and advertisers.”
Entercom Portland Names Tim McNamara VP/Market Manager. Tim McNamara is no stranger to the Portland, Oregon radio market. He previously managed at Paul Allen’s Rose City Radio there and now he returns with Entercom to serve as VP/Market Manager for the company’s seven-station group that includes sports talk KFXX.
Supreme Court ObamaCare Hearing, Trayvon Martin Case, GOP Primary/2012 Presidential Race, Jet Blue Pilot Incident and Gas Prices Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/27). The Supreme Court arguments over the validity of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act; ongoing scrutiny of the Trayvon Martin shooting; the Republican primary race and the larger 2012 presidential campaign; the case of the Jet Blue pilot; and soaring gas prices were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.