Mike Salk Returns to KIRO-AM as Program Director. The year-long return to his hometown and the afternoon drive co-host slot on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston didn’t pan out and now sports talker Mike Salk is returning to Bonneville’s KIRO-AM, Seattle “ESPN 710” to serve as the program director. He’s also expected to pick up an air shift that will be announced in the future. Salk worked with Brock Huard on the station before exiting last spring to partner up with Michael Holley at WEEI. In a statement, Salk says, “I could not be more excited about this unique opportunity and the new challenge of running the programming at ‘710 ESPN Seattle.’ Even though I left Seattle last year, it never ceased being home. ‘710 ESPN Seattle’ is a nationally renowned sports station and this opportunity to lead it is an honor. The people in that building are special and I can’t wait to reconnect with all of them.” Station VP/GM David Pridemore adds, “It is gratifying to have Mike return to ‘710 ESPN Seattle’ and 710Sports.com as the program director and eventually as an on-air host. Mike knows the market, our people, the sports talk format, the art and business of radio, and the power and influence of digital media. We are privileged to have Mike at the helm of ‘710 ESPN Seattle.’”
KFYI’s Barry Young Announces Retirement. Talk radio pro Barry Young has been a host at Clear Channel’s KFYI, Phoenix for much of the past 27 years but he’s announcing that he’ll retire from the station in November. Young has held down the mid-morning slot at the station for more than a decade. Young served as the station’s program director from 1988 to 1998. It was during that time he met his future wife, computer expert and talk host Kim Komando. In addition to his work with KFYI, Young is also president and CEO of WestStar TalkRadio Network which syndicates the weekend program hosted by Komando, as well as other radio programs. Young started his career at WGAC, Augusta, Georgia at the age of 14. He went on to work at WRNG, Atlanta; WFAA, Dallas; WNWS, Miami; and WJNO, West Palm Beach before arriving at KFYI in 1987.
RAB: Radio Revenue Flat in 2013. The Radio Advertising Bureau is releasing its report on revenue for the fourth quarter of 2013 and the year as a whole and on revenue of $17.6 billion for 2013, the radio business was essentially flat compared to 2012. Spot revenue dipped 3% in the fourth quarter of 2013 but the industry was lifted by digital (up 18%), off-air (up 11%) and network comp (up 7%). For the total of 2013, spot revenue was down 1% but buoyed by digital (up 16%) and off-air (up 5%). The source of the figures is accounting firm Miller Kaplan Arase based on a pool of more than 100 markets extrapolated for the entire nation. RAB CEO Erica Farber states, “Digital continues to gain momentum among advertisers looking to maximize their use of all radio platforms. Based on the recent Borrell Associates forecast of a 22% rise in digital spending on radio in 2014, this category is poised to surpass the $1 billion mark.” Automotive remained the number one ad category. Ad sectors that gained during 2013 were professional services (up 23%), communications (up 18%), and concerts/theatre/movies (up 12%).
Talking Point: Edison’s Larry Rosin Explores ‘Nationalization’ of Radio. The question of just how far Clear Channel and Cumulus Media will go in eliminating the costly local programming elements from their O&O stations to be replaced by nationally syndicated programs (which they own) is one that’s been discussed much by people in the industry as well as written about in such publications as this. Edison Research president Larry Rosin spoke about it openly at the recent CRS in Nashville and follows that up with a blog piece on the Edison site. Rosin suggests that Clear Channel’s full-steam-ahead move to brand its stations iHeartRadio and Cumulus’ stratagem in the country realm with “NASH FM” are manifestations of the “nationalization” of radio programming by those companies and, while that may save some money and give corporate a monolithic control over programming, ultimately, he believes it’s not going to work. Rosin says the results of his research lead him to that conclusion particularly with regard to younger people and the use of AM/FM radio. “We pretty much hear the same things over and over – they do and will continue to go to radio for unique compelling content – and to be in-the-know on what is happening locally. Young listeners talk to us about the chance to actually meet the personality they hear on the radio and the announcements of local events or concerts. They understand their local radio stations are providing them with something that Pandora and Spotify don’t. So the question is: Will the nationalized radio content be so great, so amazing, so compelling, that the consumers of tomorrow will stay loyal to FM?” So the argument about local versus national programming continues. Perhaps Clear Channel and Cumulus are banking on their reach and relationships with labels and artists to deliver what they consider the best content. Other operators are going the “live and local” route. Time will tell who wins this one. But the cost could be heavy. Read Rosin’s entire piece here.
Cubs Broadcasts Could Leave WGN After 2014 Season. The Chicago Tribune’s Ed Sherman writes that sources indicate Tribune’s WGN, Chicago – broadcaster of Chicago Cubs play-by-play since 1925 – put the rights to carry the games after this season on the market and that CBS RADIO appears to be the most interested. According to the Tribune, CBS is putting together a package that would include airing games on news WBBM and include coverage on its other radio properties. The Cubs reportedly have a current deal that pays the team $10 million per season – per perennially losing season, that is – and the story reports WGN is losing money on the broadcasts. Interestingly, local industry sources in Chicago tell Sherman someone will eventually fork over a lot of cash for Cubs rights. Just which company that is remains to be seen.
Odds & Sods. When the NCAA Division I Men’s tournament begins on Tuesday, March 18, WeswoodOne will offer play-by-play action from 67 games, including the First Four, games from all eight second-round and third-round sites, four regional semifinals and finals venues, and all three games from the NCAA Men’s Final Four at AT&T Stadium in North Texas…..SiriusXM is also presenting coverage of the March Madness tourney and says it’s providing “uninterrupted access to live play-by-play” of all the games. Additionally, On Selection Sunday, the satcaster will provide up-to-the-moment coverage as tournament teams and first round match-ups are announced. Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and Steve Torre will host live from 5:00 to 9:00 pm ET on March 16…..Midwest Communications-owned news/talk WKZO, Kalamazoo is honored with five Excellence in Broadcasting awards from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. The station won Best in Category awards for Community Involvement and Promotional Materials. In addition, Merit Awards were achieved for Play-by-Play from a hockey game that featured Western Michigan University as well as for Best Morning Personality for an interview conducted on “Kalamazoo’s Morning News.” Another highlight for the station was a win of the Best in New Media Award for the coverage of the 2013 Kalamazoo Marathon.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Salem Radio Network-syndicated Mike Gallagher show is added to the program schedule at KLO, Salt Lake City…..Two new affiliates in Arkansas join the Yahoo! Sports Radio network: KVRC, Arkadelphia and KBOK, Malvern are carrying the full schedule of programming…..KNOX, Grand Forks is the newest affiliate station for GCN-syndicated Dr. Daliah Wachs.
ObamaCare Criticism Returns to Top of Talkers TenTM. Scrutiny of the rollout and the effects of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio during the week of March 10-14. Coming in at #2 this week was the 2016 presidential race tied with the Republican special election victory in Florida. At #3 was Obama vs. Putin and the political tensions brought about by the Ukraine and Crimea instabilities. Following at #4 was the lower job approval ratings for President Obama. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Clear Channel Goes with DC-Based Elliot Segal for WOR, New York Morning Show. In announcing its new program schedule for news/talk WOR, New York (which includes the Arrival of Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity), Clear Channel Media + Entertainment throws a curveball to industry watchers and names “DC101” morning drive host Elliot Segal the new morning drive show, replacing the retiring John Gambling. The “Elliot in the Morning” show will continue to air on Clear Channel’s rock WWDC as well as rock WRXL, Richmond “XL 102.” Segal says, “I’m excited to be coming back to New York, to a station with such a legendary history. We have built something very special in Washington, DC and Richmond and I’m beyond thrilled that the show will continue airing on DC/101 and XL-102. Now, WOR will be home to ‘Elliot In The Morning’ and I couldn’t be more anxious to get going.” This move is particularly significant because it is the first time in recent memory that a major market heritage AM news/talk station will be carrying the same show that is running on a major market heritage FM music station. Although there is nothing new about major FM music stations running talk (or talk-oriented) programs in their lineups (usually in morning drive), this move marks a significant breakthrough in mixing the cultures within a single outlet’s stationality. The implications of this, should it be successful, will be huge. Clear Channel notes Mark Simone follows Segal from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. After that it’s Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Andy Dean and Dave Ramsey. Joan Hamburg – a longtime WOR personality – moves to weekends with programs airing on both Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. President and market manager Joe Puglise states, “This is an incredibly exciting time for WOR. Bringing America’s top two talk show hosts to our lineup, the entertaining Elliot Segal and his team to the mornings and becoming the flagship station for the Mets will allow us to create unprecedented marketing opportunities for our partners and unbeatable programming for our listeners.”
John DePetro Apologizes for ‘Whores’ Comment. WPRO, Providence late morning talk show host John DePetro has issued an apology for calling union protestors “whores.” This latest development comes less than a week after TALKERS reported that DePetro had filed a police complaint stating two men had threatened him outside the WPRO studios because of the comment. Back in September, DePetro railed against the union-supported protest taking place outside a fundraiser for State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo. During that broadcast he reportedly directed his words toward a female union leader, saying, “What a disgrace. You are an embarrassment…You are parasites. You are cockroaches. You lie. You are union hags. There’s another word I’d like to use…it begins with a W. and an H. and an O. and an R. and an E. and an S. See if they can spell that.” DePetro was off his program last week and the Associate Press reports it’s unclear if his absence had anything to do with the remarks. Still, he called into his own program and told listeners, “The language I used was not in keeping with the family friendly atmosphere that I try to maintain for the thousands of people who listen to me. Going forward I intend to approach debates on the current topics that we talk about in a more sensitive style.”
Saunders Begins Daily Talk Show. WBNQ, Bloomington, Illinois morning drive host Susan Saunders is adding a daily talk show on sister station news/talk WJBC-AM/FM. Saunders leads the CHR morning show alongside Ray Wagner. Now, she’s adding a two-hour 9:00 am to 11:00 am talk program to her duties at the Cumulus Media cluster. She says, “It’s official, and I couldn’t be more excited about joining the legendary, Marconi- and Crystal Award-winning staff of WJBC-AM/FM. After 15 years (on the morning show), it was time to expand my horizons into pure form talk radio. Over the last four months I have been auditioning my non-musical style with WJBC’s audience, and it works!”
Beasley Declares Cash Dividend for Share Holders. The dividend will be paid on January 10 to shareholders of record on December 27 and will pay $0.045 per share. Chairman and CEO Geroge Beasley states, “The re-initiation of a regular cash dividend reflects the free cash flow generated by our operations as well as our commitment to deliver value to our shareholders, and follows the one-time special dividend of $0.085 paid to shareholders in December 2012. Importantly, taking into consideration the proposed annual capital allocated to dividend payments, based on current conditions we believe Beasley Broadcast Group‘s total free cash flow should provide us with the liquidity needed to further reduce leverage, consider potential station acquisitions and to enhance long-term shareholder value.”
Flora and DeLucca Join Clear Channel, Phoenix as GSMs. Coming onboard effective immediately as general sales managers are George Flora and Libia DeLucca. Flora will oversee sales operations for Clear Channel, Phoenix outlets KFYI “Newstalk 550,” KOY “Business 1230,” and KGME “Fox Sports Radio 910.” In addition to her GSM duties, DeLucca will assist with brand manager responsibilities for the cluster’s rhythmic hot AC KYOT “Eva 95.5.” Clear Channel Phoenix vice president of sales Linda Little states, “George Flora is the perfect addition to our sales management team. He will add a wealth of knowledge and experience in driving revenue and creating solutions for clients utilizing our spoken-word brands. Libia brings with her years of experience selling integrated marketing solutions with digital, newspaper, and TV assets in Phoenix. I know she will take her team to new levels as they become even stronger digital marketers for their clients.” Prior to the six years he just spent at ESPN Los Angeles, Flora was with CBS Radio Los Angeles for 12 years. DeLucca had a 14-year run with Gannett Media Phoenix – most recently as digital sales manager.
Yankees Add Syracuse’s Rock “TK 99″ to its Radio Network. Galaxy Communications, Syracuse classic rocker WTKW “TK 99″ signs a multi-year agreement with CBS Radio to air all 162 regular season games of the NY Yankees beginning with the 2014 season. Galaxy Communications president/chief executive officer Ed Levine remarks, “We intend to go far beyond just broadcasting the games on the radio in Syracuse. We’re going to enhance the experience for Yankee fans in Central New York in a myriad of innovative ways.” CBS Radio vice president of sports programming Mark Chernoff comments, “CBS Radio and the New York Yankees are very excited to be partnering with ‘TK 99′ and Galaxy. They have shown a great ability through their work with Syracuse University athletics to enhance what is already a strong presence in Syracuse. We look forward to that continuing with the Yankees.” In April 2007, WTKW became the flagship play-by-play outlet of Syracuse University men’s football, men’s basketball, and men’s lacrosse games.
KIRO-FM’s Twelve-Hour Fundraiser Collects More Than $489,000. Local foster children will be aided by money amassed through listener donations and sponsor matching funds via the Bonneville Seattle talk outlet’s 7:00 am – 7:00 pm radio-thon last Thursday (12/5). KIRO-FM conducted the annual “Holiday Magic” on-air event in conjunction with Treehouse, a nonprofit organization addressing essential education and enrichment needs of kids in foster care. Bonneville Seattle Media Group vice president/market manager Carl Gardner comments, “Again this year, our community has dug deep to support foster children. Treehouse does a tremendous job of strengthening foster families and helping children realize their full potential. It is a joy and privilege to connect our generous audience with good neighbors who just need a little help.” Treehouse chief executive officer Janis Avery remarks, “We are absolutely thrilled with the success of the 25th ‘Holiday Magic’ radio-thon. We are so grateful to the KIRO radio team and listeners for once again helping Treehouse give 6,000 kids in foster care across Washington State happy holidays.” Founded in 1988, Treehouse recently set a goal that, by 2017, King County foster kids will graduate high school at the rate of their peers. Major community contributors to the KIRO-FM radio-thon included Carter Subaru, Safeway Foundation, and GEICO.
WMAL-AM/FM, Washington Helps Raise $330k-plus for Fisher House Foundation. WMAL-AM/FM, Washington program director Bill Hess tells TALKERS magazine that it was a big weekend for the Cumulus Media station and its listeners as the 10th Annual Fisher House Radiothon raised $330,630 for the charity that helps provide housing for the loved ones of U.S. servicemen and women begin treated for injuries suffered in the line of duty. Hess calls it an “incredible response by our wonderful WMAL listeners” and reports that this year’s total beat last year’s total by $40,000 and the 2011 total by $75,000. The two-day radiothon was anchored by morning hosts Brian Wilson and Larry O’Connor, along with midday host Chris Plante and weekender Rick Fowler.
Beasley Las Vegas Holiday Bash. The Beasley Broadcast Group Las Vegas cluster took time over the weekend to get together for a holiday party at the Blue Martini. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Beasley Las Vegas VP of programming Justin Chase, corporate VP of operations Brian Beasley, Beasley Las Vegas general manager Tom Humm, KDWN talk show host Alan Stock, KDWN and syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs, and KDWN program and news director John Shaffer.
Greater Media New Jersey Follows Through on Storm Pledge. The New Jersey cluster of stations owned by Greater Media promised listeners they would be ready when Hurricane Sandy hit the Garden State. The company issues a morning-after public statement confirming to the public it was there when the residents of the region needed it and that the stations are still working for the region. “Greater Media New Jersey stations (1450AM WCTC, MAGIC 98.3, WDHA-FM, WMTR-AM, MAGIC 100.1 and WRAT-FM) were prepared in advance with multiple redundancies to assure the public that there would be uninterrupted content delivery. As a result, there was no down time- if power went down- we were ready. In addition, we did not have any equipment issues- we were prepared. Our programming remains live and local. We will continue to provide constant updates to listeners and are partnering with local authorities to provide the latest information. In addition, we are also encouraging listeners to call-in updates from the ground. Our stations have become the gathering point in our communities for immediate information. We plan on initiating a huge campaign to help the community recover. However, right now people are still being rescued. We are in immediate mode.”
East Coast Radio Stations Rise to Cover Hurricane Sandy. With more than 6.5 million people in the Northeast without power at one time or another and Federal Emergency Management Agency director Craig Fugate saying in an interview that people should listen to the radio for local information, stations across the Northeast – especially in the hard-hit coastal cities – stayed on the air with generator power and kept residents up to speed with the progress of the storm. Stations with a hard-earned reputation for being the source of local news and information had people on board early as the slow-moving storm approached the coast. At Hubbard’s WTOP, Washington, vice president of programming Jim Farley says even before Hurricane Sandy came ashore, the station’s website WTOP.com logged more than 2 million pageviews on Sunday with 280,000 unique users. As the storm hit the coast WTOP simulcast its audio on two additional signals – WFED’s 1500 and WWFD 820 in Frederick, Maryland. Further up the coast at Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7, Providence program director Craig Schwalb says the station aired wall-to-wall coverage on air and online. The website included live audio and video streaming, Twitter feeds with updates from local townships, and an Instagram feed with photos from the impacted Southern New England area. WPRO’s coverage also included a team of full-time reporters canvassing impacted areas and staffing an auxiliary studio at Providence Emergency Management Agency. Inland at CBS Radio’s WTIC, Hartford on Monday evening, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy was on the air talking to residents, answering questions about power outages and generally assuring the public that he was there to listen. In New York City where Lower Manhattan was under several feet of water, Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR remained on the air and, as you can see in the photo here, morning show co-host Joe Bartlett was on the air into the evening putting callers on the air via a cellphone held up to the mic because the station’s phone system was out. This is but a small sample of the numerous stations that remained on the air and, even as you read this, are continuing to serve their listeners with much-needed news, information and a friendly voice or two. (The photo in the headline at the top of this page was sent by New Jersey Broadcasters Association president and CEO Paul Rotella and shows the storm hitting at Jenks Inlet, New Jersey.)
WFAN, New York to Hit the FM Airwaves on Friday. New York sports radio fans will hear the nation’s first full-time sports talk outlet in crystal-clear FM for the first time on Friday, November 2 as CBS Radio will begin a simulcast on 101.9 WRXP. CBS Radio is buying the station from Merlin Media for $75 million in order to give WFAN an FM signal and takes over under an LMA on Friday. The move puts the market’s two major sports talk operators – WFAN and ESPN O&O WEPN – on the FM band together. WEPN went on FM in April simulcasting on both bands but separated its AM signal in early September which airs the ESPN Deportes Spanish language sports programming.
KFYI, Phoenix Talk Host Mike Broomhead Wins Local Accolades. Phoenix Magazine’s “Best of the Valley” issue names KFYI afternoon drive talk host Mike Broomhead “Best Right-Wing Talk Radio Ringmaster” in its most recent poll. KFYI program director Neil Larrimore states, “Phoenix Magazine is telling the Valley what we already know, Mike Broomhead is a voice of the ‘every man’ – listeners like him and they can actually have a conversation with him, no matter their political beliefs.”
Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” Produces Annual “Ghost to Ghost” Show. On Halloween night tomorrow, “Coast to Coast AM” host George Noory will broadcast his annual special “Ghost to Ghost” edition of the program. Listeners will be treated to scary guests, ghost stories and a compelling night of open-line callers. Noory states, “’Ghost to Ghost’ is one of my favorite ‘Coast to Coast AM’ traditions. I’m excited to talk with our scary guests and share tales of ghostly encounters with our millions of listeners – it’s sure to be a frightening and entertaining Halloween night.”
Anderson Cooper’s Daytime Talk Show Cancelled. The Warner Brothers-distributed daytime talk show “Anderson Live” will not continue into a third season. Facing increased competition in the daytime talk show battles, CNN star Anderson Cooper’s program will cease production at the end of this season. TheWrap.com reports the program will continue to produce episodes through next summer but will not be back in the fall. Cooper says in a statement, “I am very proud of the work that our terrific staff has put into launching and sustaining our show for two seasons. I am also grateful to Telepictures for giving me the opportunity, and indebted to viewers, who have responded so positively. I look forward to doing more great shows this season, and though I¹m sorry we won’t be continuing, I have truly enjoyed it.” Katie Couric, Ricki Lake and Jeff Probst are among hosts doing daytime TV talk shows this season.
Bloomquist Media Inks Non-Profit Client Treehouse. Treehouse is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of foster children across the state of Washington. Bloomquist Media is signing on to produce a one-hour holiday program for radio and the internet to highlight the powerful personal stories of young people who – despite having entered foster care through no fault of their own – have overcome incredible obstacles to build rewarding lives with the help of Treehouse and its various programs. The program will be made available to radio stations across Washington State to air over Thanksgiving and Christmas. Randall Bloomquist says, “We are honored to partner with such an incredibly important and effective organization. Treehouse has made a difference in the lives of thousands of kids in foster care by helping them reach their full potential and advance towards important life goals while providing childhood experiences that all kids deserve. We look forward to helping Treehouse do even more good work in Seattle and across the state by tapping the power to radio to spotlight its vital mission and great success.”
ESPN Deportes Debuts Boxing Show. ESPN Deportes premiered “A Los Golpes” on Monday, October 29. The program features David Faitelson and Bernardo Osuna with special guest analyst Julio César Chávez Sr. It’s a 30-minute series produced in Los Angeles – a place ESPN says is home to some of the nation’s largest boxing communities. The program is designed to capture all the weekend’s action and serve as a post-fight arena filled with expert opinion, debate, analysis and boxing tips. Viewers will be able to interact with the program by phone and online.
The Truckers Love Daliah! Pictured below is nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs with the emcee of the recent “Truck Drivers Social Media Convention” in Las Vegas. Daliah tells TALKERS that her program has a very large trucker fan base via SiriusXM and she was asked to speak about social media at the recent confab.
September PPM Numbers Continued: Highlights of Talk and Sports Stations. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian reports on the September PPM numbers rolling in and writes about the movement of some talk and sports stations.
- In market # 11 Detroit…this is the second straight month that CBS Radio controls the top four spots; however, country WYCD (+.5 from August) trades places with sports sibling WXYT-FM, which is down one full share.
- In market # 13 Seattle, Bonneville’s talk KIRO-FM remains in the top three with a slight jump (+.1 from August) to a 4.8 share while sister sports talk KIRO-AM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.8.
- In Phoenix – market #14 – Clear Channel’s news/talk KFYI rises nicely one full share to a 5.3 while Bonneville’s KTAR-FM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.2.
- In market #16 Minneapolis, news/talk WCCO tumbles seven-tenths to 6.4 (#3 to #5). The last time the CBS Radio talk powerhouse had a 6+ stat that low was in July 2011 (6.4, as well). Also, tied in August at 3.1, sports rivals Clear Channel-owned KFXN (+.3, #13) and Hubbard‘s KSTP-AM (-.4, #16) are now separated by seven-tenths.
For more PPM data and ratings analysis, visit our sister publication RadioInfo’s ratings section here.
KDWN, Las Vegas Talk Host Alan Stock to Host Special Election Season TV Program. Morning drive host Alan Stock also hosts a nightly interview and news show produced for Vegas TV (cable 14/HD1014) airing at 9:30 pm called “Eye on Vegas with Alan Stock.” This month, Stock will add a special weekly show to his work on Vegas TV called “News & Views 2012” set to air Wednesdays at 5:30 pm. Stock tells TALKERS, “It is a special series for the election season only on during the month of October. The great news is it is already sold out from an advertising standpoint. The show includes a panel of four people – two liberals and two conservatives. The first show aired on Wednesday the 3rd on the topic of the economy. Other topics will include civil rights (gay marriage, etc.), illegal immigration, foreign policy and Obamacare/medical care in general although the topics might be modified depending on what news is breaking.”
WTKK, Boston Sells Out ‘Ultimate Town Hall Meeting.’ Greater Media news/talk outlet WTKK, Boston “News Talk 96.9” announces its “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” set for Saturday, October 13 at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall has sold out all 800 seats but the station will give away five Presidential Packages (including front row seats, exclusive meet-and-greets, and more) to listeners starting next week. The “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” is moderated by WTKK morning hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan and includes a prominent panel of WTKK’s on-air hosts and contributors including local personality Michael Graham, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish, Cumulus Media Network’s John Batchelor, Compass Media Networks’ Ron Insana and the Boston Globe’s Brian McGrory. Program director Grace Blazer states, “News Talk 96.9’s all-star panel will debate the ‘state of the state’ of the 2012 presidential election and the hotly contested Scott Brown-Elizabeth Warren Massachusetts Senate race. Our entire team is looking forward to engaging in smart and entertaining debate for our audience and our advertisers.”
WGN, Chicago Honored at 2012 Radio Mercury Awards. Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago won a 2012 Radio Mercury Award in the “Radio Station Produced” category for the “Shifty Eyes” spot created for local business Oak Park Natural Pet & Fish. The commercial was written and produced by WGN Radio commercial services manager Jason Skaggs. WGN vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “We’re honored as a station and proud to have such a talented person in Jason on our team. Jason creates unique and memorable messages that deliver real results for our advertisers. He gets it.” The 2012 Radio Mercury Awards are part of the 2012 Advertising Week Conference in New York. The Radio Mercury Awards, the only competition exclusively devoted to radio, was established in 1992 to encourage and reward the development of effective and creative radio commercials. For more on other winners, see the coverage at our sister publication RadioInfo’s site here.
Changes at the Top at Blue Star Media Group. Effective immediately, Blue Star Media Group president and CEO Michael Metter exits to pursue interests outside the radio business and former executive vice president Jeff Weber returns to the company to lead it as consulting operations executive. Blue Star owns and operates Business TalkRadio Network; Lifestyle TalkRadio Network; WLFP, Pittsburgh; WGCH, Greenwich, Connecticut and recently sold KNUU, Las Vegas. Weber, who resigned from Blue Star in December of 2011 after 10 years of running the operations, says, “What a great opportunity to return to work with our exceptional staff and the fine content product we provide our more than 1,000 affiliates and the outstanding programs our owned stations air for their listeners.”
Breaking with Your Church on a Secular Talk Station. KDKA, Pittsburgh weekend talk show host Johnna Pro writes about a recent discussion about contraception on her program that led to, as she calls it, a crisis of faith. Pro’s experience is one many religious talk show hosts who work on secular stations face – agreeing with or breaking with Church teachings in the course of discussing the issues and having an opinion – something talk show hosts must have to survive in this business. Read Pro’s story of how one Catholic talk show host handled a real on-the-air conflict here.
Kuhner in Boston. Washington Times columnist and host of “The Kuhner Report” on Entercom’s WRKO, Boston (airing from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon daily) Jeff Kuhner is pictured here in the Boston studios of WRKO. Kuhner visited the station earlier this week. WRKO assistant program director Bill Cooksey says, “The response to Jeff has been overwhelming. He’s going to be a star in no time at all, and I’m glad he’s with us.”
Presidential Debate, Libya Consulate Attack Investigation, Obama ‘Race Speech,’ and Iran Nukes Program Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/3). Anticipation of last night’s presidential debate; the ongoing analysis of the fatal attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya; controversy over the video of a 2007 Barack Obama campaign speech in which he questions why largely African-American Katrina victims were treated differently than other disaster victims; and Iran’s nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Phoenix Programmer Neil Larrimore Joins Speaker Roster at LA New Media Seminar. Sellout Expected by Wednesday. The lineup of outstanding industry speakers scheduled for the forthcoming West Coast installment of the TALKERS New Media Seminar continues to grow as Phoenix broadcaster Neil Larrimore, PD of NewsTalk 550 KFYI and XTRA Sports 910 KGME joins the roster. The total number of speakers for the power-packed, one-day event has now surpassed 50. Seminar organizers state that it will be completely sold out by the end of business on Wednesday – perhaps sooner. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “The venue is intimate and even kind of funky, making for a very relaxed and informal environment – conducive to the kind of communicative and networking environment we hope to achieve. The problem, however, is that unlike industry events that are held in convention centers and big hotels, we are working with a finite amount of seating and space which we are obligated by city regulations not to exceed.” TALKERS New Media Seminar LA is scheduled for Thursday, October 11 between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. Because it is open only to working media, there is no online registration — only by telephone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. A detailed up-to-the-minute agenda will be posted here tomorrow.
Greater Media to Sell WPEN-AM, Philadelphia to Harold Camping’s Family Stations. The simulcast of Greater Media’s sports talk WPEN-AM/FM will continue until the deal is complete but Greater Media clearly sees no need to have its “97.5 The Fanatic” heard on both the AM and FM bands. The sale price for the Philadelphia-licensed outlet has not been made public yet. In a statement, Greater Media’s Philadelphia vice president and market manager John Fullam says “Greater Media looks forward to focusing on the growth of ‘97.5 The Fanatic,’ the best sports talk station serving the market and the new home to Sixers and Flyers play by play.”
John Gehron to Leave Merlin Media. As reported by Time Out Chicago’s Robet Feder, radio management and programming pro John Gehron — who serves as the chairman of the advisory board of Merlin Media – will step down from that role at the end of this month. Gehron, who also serves as COO of AccuRadio, tells Feder, “It was a fascinating experience. I worked with some wonderful people.”
WGN, Chicago Moves Dean Richards to Sunday AM Slot. With Tribune columnist and WGN talk host Rick Kogan leaving his radio show to take the PM drive slot at Chicago Public Radio’s WBEZ, WGN program director Bill White announces the station is moving Dean Richards’ Sunday program into the early morning slot held by Kogan’s “The Sunday Papers” program. “Dean Richards’ Sunday Morning” will air from 6:30 to 11:00 on Sundays beginning October 7. White states, “Dean’s show has been a staple on Sunday mornings since 1994, and this new timeslot will give him an earlier start — avoiding sports broadcast pre-emptions — while still airing during part of his longtime timeslot. As a Chicago native, Dean truly embodies the WGN hometown quality and we’re excited to expand the show.” Addressing Kogan’s new role on WBEZ, White says, “Rick is a true Chicago legend and has been a mainstay on WGN for the past 13 years. We expect him to have a great experience in his new endeavor, but the door is open for future projects down the road at WGN.”
Three Steps to Digital Power. Digital media consultant Chris Miller says that part of radio’s beauty is that it is the original targeted medium and radio brands can use their digital components to even further capitalize on the value of radio’s targeted nature. Miller states, “Having digital inventory to sell on our streams and websites only makes us a stronger business partner for clients who want to hyper-focus their message.” But Miller believes there are three steps stations should follow to effectively work the digital medium: build for it, commit to it, and train for it. Read Miller’s entire piece here.
Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership 1 Day Event Simulcast to 200-Plus Locations. Nationally syndicated financial talk radio star Dave Ramsey presented his EntreLeadership 1 Day Event live from the People’s Church in Franklin, Tennessee last week. The program included author Jon Acuff and speaker Chris LoCurto, speaking about how to run a business using the same common-sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 300 employees. This particular presentation was also simulcast to more than 200 additional locations across the country. The Dave Ramsey show reports that flagship station WWTN, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7 WTN” reaped big benefits. Station GSM Timothy Meagher states, “It’s a win for our clients by providing an excellent business-to-business marketing opportunity at the event; it’s a win for our listeners by providing a great way to learn and be educated on sound financial principals from Dave and his team; and it’s a win for ‘Super Talk 99.7’ by providing a solid branding opportunity in the market for our community of listeners and station brand.”
Alex Cohen Replaces Madeleine Brand on SCPR Talk Show. Southern California Public Radio announces personality Madeleine Brand exits the 9:00 am to 11:00 am talk shot she co-hosted with A Martinez to pursue other professional endeavors. Her spot on the show will be filled by Alex Cohen who has been serving as KPCC, Pasadena’s anchor for the afternoon block that includes “All Things Considered” and “Marketplace.” Vice president of content Russ Stanton says, “We are very fortunate to have in Alex a co-host with the combination of news judgment, experience and a lively, energetic on-air presence. She has a range of experience in public broadcasting and journalism that few can match; she is smart, tenacious and insightful.”
Pasta Promotion. The 29th Newsradio 1020 KDKA Spaghetti Breakfast was held on Friday, September 21 in downtown Pittsburgh. Thousands of Pittsburghers stopped by the annual hosted by the CBS Radio station event to feast on spaghetti before continuing on to work. Pictured here at the serving line are (from l-r): KDKA personality Vinnie Richichi, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Ernie Ricci and KDKA talk show host Mike Pintek.
Radio Coverage of Campaign 2012 Shifts to Charlotte. The Democratic National Convention gets underway in Charlotte, North Carolina today and runs through Thursday. Talk show hosts and news staffers from stations of all formats are ensconced in their radio row remote studios preparing to report to their markets over the next three days. The non-partisan Talk Radio News Service will operate a booth on radio row and more than 100 talk show hosts will broadcast from the city – either in the convention center itself or from “alternative” sites – as they work to bring the Democratic message to their listeners or attempt to counter the message of the Obama campaign. Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett – host of “Morning in America” – will broadcast from the city. Bennett is seen here (r) enjoying a pre-convention meal at a Charlotte eatery with “Morning in America” regular guest and Fox News Channel contributor Byron York (l). Joining them for the shot at center is former Tennessee Democratic congressman and MSNBC contributor Harold Ford, Jr. who stopped by to say “hello.” While eating there Bennett was surrounded by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Soledad O’Brien of CNN and former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack among other Democrats He tells TALKERS, “I enjoyed unnerving my Democratic friends.”
Jorge Sedano Joins WQAM as PD and PM Drive Host. The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson reports that South Florida sports media personality Jorge Sedano is taking the program director role at Beasley Broadcasting’s sports talk WQAM that was left vacant when Lee Feldman exited for interests outside of the media field. Sedano, who left Lincoln Financial Media’s WAXY, Miami in April to pursue TV work, will also become the afternoon drive host while current PM drive guy Dan Sileo will move to the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm slot left vacant by Michael Irvin’s recent departure. South Florida media chatter indicates Sileo was originally being considered for the midday slot but was hired for PM drive when he became available after exiting WDAE, Tampa and Sid Rosenberg was suddenly let go from the PM drive slot. Sedano recently was hired to host the pre- and post-game shows for Miami Heat games on the Sun Sports telecasts. He also is a part-time sportscaster for WFOR-TV, Miami – CBS4. Sedano tells the Herald, “From a lifestyle perspective, this makes the most sense. When I left 790, I needed to harness my skills and work on the craft and it’s led me to this position on the TV side, so it obviously paid off. I felt if I wanted to get back in radio, and it was a perfect situation, I would get back. This is perfect situation. I can put my imprint on the radio station.”
A Huge Day for the Expansion of Sports Talk Radio. It has been 25 years since WFAN, New York signed on as the first all sports talk radio station – an experiment that was considered bold and certainly risky on the part of then-owner Jeff Smulyan’s Emmis Broadcasting. But it certainly did prove to be a risk worth taking as sports talk radio has gone on to be one of the hottest and dynamic genres of radio in the industry – second only to political news/talk in the spoken word realm. Today the sports juggernaut picks up even more steam with the launch of two more major networks joining the ranks of four other biggies in what is becoming a crowded super-competitive marketplace. NBC Sports Radio, in partnership with Dial Global, takes to the airwaves today and CBS Sports Radio is also going nationwide with the first phase of its rollout.
Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston Re-Images as “NewsTalk 96.9.” The FM talk outlet has re-branded itself as “NewsTalk 96.9” The station’s website is still 969bostontalks.com but the station seems to be promoting its news coverage more – with emphasis on the “24-hour news center.” There are no programming changes to the station and, as you can see in the image here, the station is promoting its coverage of all things election 2012.
Judge Denies Preliminary Injunction in Emmis Case; Shareholder Meeting Scheduled for Today. Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan was pleased with Friday’s ruling in which U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker denied the injunction request of five preferred shareholders who wanted to stop the company’s shareholder meeting today at which they will vote on a plan to take some of the rights away from preferred shareholders and not pay some $10 million in past-due dividends. Judge Barker ruled that the shareholders group “failed to meet any of the threshold requirements for injunctive relief.” She also noted that had she granted the injunction, “both Emmis’ stock price as well as its efforts to refinance before the November 2012 deadline could be seriously and adversely affected.” The minority shareholders group claims today’s vote is a “blatant attempt to grab wealth” from them but Emmis denies that and counters the move is designed to cut expenses and to improve the company’s fiscal health. Jeff Smulyan controls the common stock’s voting power and therefore today’s vote is expected to go his way. It should be noted that the judge’s decision last week does not stop the minority shareholder group from suing for damages after today’s vote takes place. The group has not indicated one way or the other if it intends to take such action.
WPRO, Providence Provides Live Political Debates. Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM in Providence hosts congressional debates this week. Today at 6:00 pm, Democrats Anthony Gemma and David Cicilline ( who’ll face off in the primary next week) will appear on the air. The debate will be moderated by WPRO news director Bill Haberman. Tomorrow at 6:00 pm, Republican candidates for Congress in the Second Congressional District — Michael Gardiner, Michael Riley, Don Robbio and Kara Russo will debate before moderator Bill Haberman and guest panelists Tara Granahan and Andrew Gobeil from the “WPRO Morning News.” The station is also making the debates available via video on WPRO.com with an accompanying, live Tweet Chat.
J.D. Hayworth Sits in on New KVI, Seattle in PM Drive. Talk show host and former Arizona U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth will warm the PM drive chair for Cumulus Media Networks talk host Mark Levin until he can become part of the Fisher Communications news/talk station’s newly revamped lineup on September 24. Hayworth, who hosted his own successful talk show on KFYI, Phoenix for years, will also sub as co-host on the morning drive show at Cumulus’ KSFO, San Francisco this week – Wednesday through Friday as well as next Monday.
Radio Pro Jay Andrews Returns to Alma Mater to Manage Student Station and Host AM Drive Show. North Georgia media pro, former station owner and radio personality Jay Andrews is doing his first morning drive program on Brenau University’s WBCX, Gainesville, Georgia today as he returns to the college to do the radio show and manage the student radio station. Andrews tells AccessNorthGa.com, “The choice to go back to 89.1 WBCX was an easy one. Brenau University is my alma mater, and having the opportunity to manage this remarkable student station, return to the air, and most importantly help students learn the radio, TV and internet media businesses is quite an honor.” During his career, Andrews has worked as a radio personality on numerous North Georgia stations. He owned WDGR, Dahlonega, Georgia, and he managed Jacobs Media Corporation’s WDUN, WMJE and WGGA in Gainesville. On the new morning show Andrews says, “It’s a whole different animal from a format and production standpoint. Since it is technically a morning show it will move faster. We will also attempt to open the format up to more listeners by taking phone calls, interviewing Brenau newsmakers, and also become more involved in the community. We will work toward having regular contributors covering news, and current and historical events. As always we will try do this with style, great hit music, and humor.”
“Poorman” Finds On-Air Home at Small California Station. Jim Trenton, the original “Poorman” of California radio and creator of the mega-successful syndicated program “Loveline” will turn 60 next year. The fame he enjoyed while co-hosting the show has become a distant memory. The successful radio and TV series is primarily (and rightfully) associated with Dr. Drew Pinsky. Trenton’s stardom quickly faded after he was fired from “Loveline” for encouraging thousands of listeners to join him for a midnight surprise birthday party on the front lawn of a co-worker…and listeners showed up, by the thousands…but that was almost 20 years ago. The Poorman continues to feel bitter about losing the show he feels he created. Since then, he has either been fired or stormed away from a dozen stations. His career has never recovered. Ah, but now his career has been given a spark of new hope. Courageous station owner Fred Lundgren, CEO and president of news/talker KCAA, San Bernadino/Riverside, California has taken a chance and hired Trenton to host a daily one-hour show at 12:00 noon on the “station that leaves no listener behind.” Read Lundgren’s humorous account of why he put one of radio’s notorious bad boys back on the air and how it’s going by clicking here.
WABB-AM, Mobile Sold by Dittman Broadcasting to Omni Broadcasting. Fort Walton Beach, Florida-based Omni Broadcasting filed on Friday (8/31) with the FCC to transfer the license of news/talk outlet WABB (1480 AM), Mobile for a reported purchase price of $106,000. Omni also closed the same day to purchase time for the Ticket Sports Network until the close of the sale. Earlier this year the companion WABB-FM (97.6) was sold to the Educational Media Foundation for $3.1 million, which in turn sold the assets of that station to Cumulus Media in return for WRQQ-FM, Belle Meade, Tennessee and WDLT-FM, Chickasaw, Alabama, giving Cumulus upgraded coverage of the Mobile market with the 97.6 FM signal.
TAB President and Radio Advocate Ann Arnold Dies. The widely popular Ann Arnold, longtime president of the Texas Association of Broadcasters, died Saturday (9/1) at her office at the age of 67 after battling leukemia for many years. Arnold headed the organization since 1987. She had been a strong defender of Texas’ open government laws and during her tenure doubled the membership of the TAB. “Ann Arnold was an extraordinary and inspiring woman,” says TAB chairman Mary Mike Hatcher of Bryan Broadcasting. “She was fearless in her advocacy for local radio and television broadcasters, for the public’s right to know how elected officials run our government, and in her long fight with cancer.” TAB VP Oscar Rodriguez adds, “Ann was passionate about Texas and optimistic about the future. She cherished the opportunity to help local broadcasters strengthen their communities and had yet to find the challenge that would daunt her.” (Photo: Mike Wenglar)
Presidential Campaign/Democratic National Convention, Isaac Aftermath, Rising Gas Prices and Iran-Israel Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/3). The presidential campaign and the approaching Democratic National Convention; the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaac; the rising price at the pump for gasoline; and Iran’s threats to strike American bases if Israel takes military action against it were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.