Mary Walter Joins WMAL-AM/FM, Washington’s ‘Mornings On The Mall.’ Radio pro Mary Walter is named the co-host of the “Mornings On The Mall” program on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington. Walter is working with co-host Brian Wilson. She takes over for Larry O’Connor, who recently moved to the afternoon drive daypart. Walter was most recently with iHeartMedia’s WHAS, Louisville, hosting the evening program. She’s been a frequent guest host on WMAL in addition to guest host stints on FOX News Radio and SiriusXM’s The Patriot channel. WMAL program director Bill Hess comments, “Mary’s experience, energy, and familiarity to our audience made her the perfect addition to our team.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Announces New Midday Show. The new midday show at E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee is being unveiled. The station moved Jeff Wagner to the late morning slot that opened up with the retirement of Charlie Sykes at the end of last year. Now, taking over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot is the “Scaffidi & Bilstad” show with Steve Scaffidi (center) and executive producer Erik Bilstad (left). Scaffidi was most recently mayor of suburban Oak Creek and an account executive at the Leonard & Finco Public Relations firm. He’s resigned from both posts to join WTMJ. Station VP/GM Tom Langmyer states, “We’re pleased to welcome Steve to our team. He brings a great depth of knowledge and local connection to add to his take on the news of the day. Steve is a Wisconsin native, has a deep background and so much life experience, beyond broadcasting.” News anchor and reporter Colleen Boland (right) will man the newsroom during the program. The show debuts on February 28.
ABC News Radio Makes Staffing Changes; Gearing Towards Covering Breaking News. An ABC News Radio spokesperson tells TALKERS magazine that the news organization is making staffing changes that signal a shift from putting its primary resources into newscasts and focusing more intently on the coverage of breaking news, “reflecting immediacy and producing additional program content” for their approximately 1,575 affiliates. ABC News Radio says it has parted ways with a handful of employees but is in the process of hiring for a number of positions that will exceed those eliminated. Those include: Affiliate Solutions Manager, Associate Producer, Country Reporter/Producer, Urban Reporter/Producer, and WGA Newswriter/Producer. An ABC News Radio spokesperson tells TALKERS, “These changes allow ABC News Radio to provide more two-ways, breaking news and anchored coverage which have become more important to stations. It is never easy when fellow employees leave and we wish the very best to these colleagues. The media landscape is always evolving and it’s critical we’re meeting stations’ needs every step of the way.”
Erik Kuselias to Host Daily Talk Show on Genesis Communications Florida Talk Stations. Known primarily for his work in the sports media business, Erik Kuselias is expanding his reach in Florida by hosting a daily, two-hour talk show on Genesis Communications-owned news/talk outlets WWBA, Tampa and WIXC, Titusville (on the Space Coast). Kuselias – a former ESPN and NBC Sports personality – currently hosts a morning drive sports talk show on the company’s sports talk duo WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando. He’s continuing in that role in addition to the new program that airs from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. WWBA program manager Tom Paleveda states, “This is a natural progression for EK. We launched EK on the sports stations in both Tampa and Orlando last year. He is incredibly talented and will produce one of talk radio’s best programs. He will also continue to provide his brand of content on the company digital platforms, ‘News Talk Florida’ and ‘Sports Talk Florida.’”
Bubba the Love Sponge Files New Counterclaim Against Nielsen. The first time Bubba the Love Sponge filed a counterclaim against Nielsen, the court denied the motion ruling that it was difficult to discern the relevant facts due to the heavily redacted documents supplied by plaintiff Nielsen. That counterclaim included third parties Cox Media Group and CMG employee (and WHPT, Tampa personality) Mike Calta. But the denial was without prejudice, allowing Bubba’s lawyers to try again. And he has, this time leaving Cox and Calta out of the counterclaim. The counterclaim still alleges Nielsen entered into a conspiracy with Cox Media Group to get Bubba off the air in Tampa and interfere with his ability to do business with Beasley Media Group (owner of Tampa affiliate WBRN). The specific counterclaims are: Tortious Interference with Contractual and Business Relationships, Violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and Civil Conspiracy.
KFYO, Lubbock, Texas Names Dave King & Matt Martin Morning Hosts. Friday (2/17) was the last day for the “First News with Tom Collins and Laura Mac” on Townsquare Media’s news/talk KFYO, Lubbock, Texas. Assuming the morning show role are Dave King (right) and Matt Martin (left). The station says, “Both Dave and Matt are easy going, view the world from a conservative viewpoint, and want to interact with KFYO listeners. King is owner of Dave King Advertising in Lubbock. Matt Martin is a realtor with The Wyatt Team at Keller Williams.
Neuhoff Ups Byerly to DOS and Associate GM for Decatur Station Group. Moving up from her general sales manager position at Neuhoff Communications’ Decatur, Illinois cluster is Kathy Byerly. She’s now director of sales and associate general manager for the group that includes news/talk WSOY, sports talk WDZ, hip hop WCZQ “HOT 105.5,” CHR WSOY-FM “Y103,” and country WDZQ “95Q.” Neuhoff COO Mike Hulvey states, “Kathy is a wonderful success story. She has grown a career from the front desk to market leadership. You can’t get much better than that. The group of Decatur stations and digital products are not only the market leaders, they also have been recognized among the best in the industry. Kathy will help support those traditions while driving more business to our advertising partners.”
Hanging Out at the Club. Nationally syndicated Westwood One talk host Michael Savage and his son, Rockstar energy drink founder Russ Weiner, crossed paths with President Donald Trump at the chief executive’s famous Palm Beach, Florida private club, Mar-a-Lago, this weekend. They were attending a dinner hosted by Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy when the president stopped by to say hello. Pictured (l-r): Ruddy, Trump, Savage, and Weiner.
Limbaugh-Touted Book Debuts at #6 on NYT Bestseller List. The latest book by conservative writer David Horowitz – Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America – debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list at #6 in the hardcover nonfiction books and e-book/hardcover nonfiction categories. Newsmax reports that the book was released the week of President Trump’s inauguration and is being praised by Rush Limbaugh, among other conservative media figures, for its predictions about Trump’s agenda. Horowitz is founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
New Trump Travel Order, McMaster Named National Security Advisor, Trump’s Sweden Comment, McCain vs Trump, UK’s Anti-Trump Debate, Uber Sexual Harassment Scandal, Yiannopoulos Controversies, and NBA-NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/20). The Trump Administration issues new travel order exempting green card holders; President Donald Trump names Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster national security advisor; the controversy over Trump’s allusion to crime in Sweden and filmmaker Ami Horowitz’s allegations that violent crime there has spiked due to immigrants; Republican Senator John McCain’s role as a major critic of Trump’s policies; the British House of Commons debates denying President Trump’s state visit; the allegations of sexual harassment at Uber’s corporate headquarters and the company’s hiring former AG Eric Holder to investigate; the controversies surrounding media figure Milo Yiannopoulos, including his being uninvited to CPAC and Simon and Schuster refusing to release his book; and NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. Phoenix market broadcast legend Pat McMahon is being roasted on March 15 at local comedy club Stand Up Live in an event being organized by Bonneville news/talk outlet KTAR-FM. The “Tip of the Hat to Pat” roast is being hosted by KNIX personality Tim Hattrick and will feature rock legend Alice Cooper, as well as local celebrities Jude LaCava from Fox 10, John Holmberg from KUPD, authors Jana Bommersbach and Rita Davenport and former ADL director Bill Straus. McMahon says, “I’m feeling both honored and terrified at the prospect of this event. But you can be sure that I’ll be able to dish it out, just as well as I can take it.”…..New York Mets flagship station WOR, New York announces it will air play-by-play for 15 spring training games, beginning on February 24 when the Mets take on the Boston Red Sox…..The New York Times recently published a feature story about Premiere Networks host George Noory. In the piece, the “Coast to Coast AM” host discusses how “Coast to Coast AM” has evolved over the years, his open approach to stories and topics, and his relationship with his audience. Read the story here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At the Atlanta cluster of Cox Media Group, Jaleigh Long is promoted to director of sales. She moves up from her general sales manager role. She’ll oversee the sales efforts for news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, CHR WSB-FM “B98.5,” classic hits WSRV “97.1 The River,” urban contemporary WALR “Kiss 104.1 FM,” and country simulcast WNGC/WTSH “Your Georgia Country.”…..At Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s rock WXRX, Rockford, Illinois “104.9 The X,” Zander – who’s been morning host and PD since joining the station in August of last year – moves to the afternoon drive slot. At the same time, Lori joins the station from crosstown competitor WKGL “96.7 The Eagle.”…..In the Lexington, Kentucky market, iHeartMedia drops sports talk on the simulcast of WWTF-AM and translator W239DJ at 97.7 FM and flips it to rock as “WTF 97.7 Lexington’s Rock Alternative.” Air personalities include Aly, Big Rig, Audrey, and Shroom…..Binnie Media says good bye to classic music on its WBQX, Thomaston, Maine and translator W245AA, Portland at 96.9 FM. WBQX takes on the classic hits format “FRANK FM” while the translator is simulcasting country station WTHT, Auburn “99.9 The Wolf.”
iHeartRadio Music Awards Announces Best New Artist Nominees. When the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards take place on Sunday, March 5 at the Forum in Los Angeles, one of the awards to be given will be the Best New Artist. The ultimate winner will be chosen by fans from all categories of popular music. The first step was naming the nominees in each category. Now, the finalists have been named. They are: Best New Rock/Alternative Rock Artist: The Strumbellas; Best New Country Artist: Kelsea Ballerini; Best New Hip-Hop Artist: Chance the Rapper; Best New Latin Artist: CNCO; Best New Regional Mexican Artist: Joss Favela; Best New Pop Artist: The Chainsmokers; and Best New R&B Artist: Bryson Tiller. The awards show will be televised live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET and simulcast on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide, as well as on iHeartRadio.
‘99.9 The Fan’ in Raleigh to Broadcast Town Hall on Race Relations in Sports. As part of its ongoing “Fan Town Hall” series, Capitol Broadcasting’s Raleigh-Durham sports talker WCMC “99.9 The Fan” is presenting a live multi-cast of a town hall focusing on the question, “Do today’s African-American athletes bear any responsibility to commenting on today’s social issues?” The event takes place on Tuesday (8/30) at 7:00 pm. It is being moderated by WRAL-TV anchor/reporter Gerald Owens and features the following seven panelists: sport business professor at UNC-Charlotte Dr. Deborah Stroman, former ECU head football coach Steve Logan, former UNC and NBA player George Lynch, former NC State and NFL player Brandan Bishop, “99.9 The Fan” afternoon drive host Adam Gold, and “Buzz Sports Radio” morning drive hosts Erroll Reese and Kevin McClendon. The social media desk and interaction with Twitter will be managed by 99.9 The Fan’s afternoon drive host Joe Ovies. The program will air with live video and audio on WRAL-TV 2, “99.9 The Fan,” WRALsportsfan.com and the WRALsportsfan app. Capitol Broadcasting sports radio operations manager, program director and executive producer for the Fan Town Hall series, Dennis Glasgow, says, “This discussion is long overdue and we have a diverse and opinionated panel to tackle this polarizing topic. I’m also excited that our viewers and listeners can participate with their feedback and commentary in real time via Twitter.”
Colin Cowherd’s Digital Platform Launches. The launch of FOX Sports Radio and FS1 personality Colin Cowherd’s new digital platform is a cooperative effort between Cowherd, Premiere Networks, and Chris Balfe’s Red Seat Ventures. It’s called TheHerdNow.com and serves as “the digital home for content created and curated by Colin Cowherd including bold opinion pieces, viral news stories, exclusive podcasts, and original video series. The new site also serves as a portal for fans to find stories covering the best moments and interviews from Cowherd’s radio show, as well as the daily podcast and streaming audio of ‘The Herd.’” Cowherd says, “I’ve chosen to work with the best people in the industry and the support I’ve received has been like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I feel incredibly lucky to launch this venture for fans to connect with my best content whenever and wherever they happen to be.”
Hogenson Tapped by RNC for Help with Radio During Campaign. Consultant and radio expert Scott Hogenson is working for the Republican National Committee to consult on and assist with radio for the campaign election cycle. Hogenson started working with the RNC today (8/29). He also served as radio director for the GOP convention in Cleveland this summer. He is president of the Washington, DC public affairs firm Hogenson Communications, LLC. He served in the George W. Bush Administration as deputy assistant secretary for public affairs for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. During his career he has worked on three presidential campaigns as a senior member of the press office at the Republican National Committee.
New Sales Managers Named at Entercom Boston. Moving over from her sales manager position at Entercom’s news/talk WRKO to the same post at rock WAAF is Alison Harris. Assuming the open sales manager post at WRKO is Denise DiLuca, who returns to Entercom from her most recent gig with iHeartMedia as VP of sales in Providence. DiLuca worked in the business development department at Entercom Boston before joining iHeartMedia in 2012. Entercom New England VP/market manager Phil Zachary says both Harris and DiLuca embody the cluster’s inexorable work ethic. “Alison and Denise are natural sales leaders. Both are highly regarded in the marketplace for their uncompromising integrity, outstanding training skills, intensity of focus and ability to recruit the very best local sellers. I have no doubt our Boston cluster will continue to outperform the market with these proven professionals in key roles.”
Scott Robbins Easing Back into Radio on WMBD, Peoria a Year After Heart Attack. Before suffering a major heart attack a year ago, Scott Robbins and on-air partner Jamie Markley were co-hosting a three-hour talk show simulcast on Alpha Media’s WMBD, Peoria and KXL, Portland. But that major health issue put Robbins in the hospital for four months. The Peoria Journal Star, in a piece by Steve Tarter, reports that Robbins is back on the radio with a weekly show airing on WMBD Saturdays from 6:00 am to 8:00 am with co-host Joe Greenwood. After Robbins’ heart attack, David van Camp began filling in alongside Markley and was later named permanent co-host of the show.
Cumulus Ups Hach to VP, Digital for San Francisco. After serving as digital and integrated sales manager for Cumulus Media’s San Francisco and Minneapolis clusters, Justin Hach is promoted to vice president, digital for the company’s San Francisco station group that includes sports talk KNBR, triple A KFOG, classic rock KSAN, news/talk KGO, news/talk KSFO and Asian KSJO. Hach’s charge will be to lead a team that is responsible for all digital and social strategies, development, content and revenue. Vice president and market manager Justin Wittmayer says, “I’m really proud of the team that Justin has built and the way that they’re connecting our brands and fans. His content strategy is driving database growth, engagement, revenue and, most important, a better user/client experience.”
Nigel Burton Partners with Dan Sheldon on KPOJ, Portland for Mornings. Sports talk KPOJ-AM “Rip City Radio 620” adds Pacific Northwest sports analyst Nigel Burton to its morning show with current host Dan Sheldon. The new show is called “Rip City Mornings with Dan and Nigel,” airing weekdays from 6:00 am to -9:00 am. Burton is an analyst for Pac-12 Networks and a college football analyst for CSNNW. Newly appointed “Rip City Radio” program director Rich Moore says, “Adding Nigel Burton with his background and associations is very exciting and we are looking forward to partnering him up with Dan Sheldon in the morning.”
Jess Hanson to Head Up Horizon Broadcasting’s Central Oregon Station Group. Most recently with Townsquare Media’s Abilene, Texas operations, Jess Hanson heads north to join Horizon Broadcasting Group’s Central Oregon media properties as market manager/general sales manager. He’ll oversee the company’s five radio stations – classic hits KQAK-FM, hot AC KWPK “The PEAK 104.1,” AC KLTW “95.7 MY FM,” news/talk simulcast KBNW-AM/FM, and classic country KRCO – as well as the company’s digital assets and event productions. Horizon president and CEO Keith Shipman states, “I am pleased to hand over the day-to-day operations of our Central Oregon assets to an experienced and successful leader. Jess has demonstrated his passion for the radio industry over the past three decades and has built successful sales and programming teams throughout his career. He has a proven track record in broadcast, digital and event sales – all of which are key to our clients’ marketing plans.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes Announces 2016 Right Wisconsin Award Winners. WTMJ, Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes operates the digital news platform RightWisconsin.com and each year, he presents awards to conservatives in the state. This year – at a banquet to be held this Friday (9/2) – Sykes announces that former Governor Tommy Thompson and Mary Kohler will be presented lifetime achievement awards. Kohler will be presented the Margaret Thatcher Award and Thompson will receive the Ronald Reagan Award. The Thatcher and Reagan Awards are the top honors being given at this fourth annual event. The evening will be hosted by Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Sykes.
The Presidential Race, Dwayne Wade’s Cousin Killed in Chicago Violence, Italy Earthquake Aftermath, Kaepernick Sits Out National Anthem, Weiner Sexting Again, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the Chicago shooting death of Nykea Aldridge, cousin of NBA star Dwayne Wade; the aftermath of the deadly earthquake in central Italy; controversy over NFL star Colin Kaepernick’s sitting out the National Anthem in protest; former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner caught in another sexting case; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
Odds & Sods. There’s a new PM drive show on Entercom’s sports talk WROC, Rochester “ESPN Rochester.” Replacing “The Radio Press Box with Scott Pitoniak and Dan Borrello” is “The Sports Bar with Mike Danger and Gene Battaglia.” Danger is also programming WROC in addition to his programming role at sister CHR WPXY…..SiriusXM is enhancing its college sports play-by-play offerings with a new five-year broadcasting agreement with Learfield and IMG. The deal now includes both streaming and satellite radio broadcast rights and greatly expands the number of college games that will be available to subscribers on the SiriusXM app…..Alpha Media is announcing that adult contemporary KUIC, Vacaville, California has become an affiliate of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. KUIC will air full broadcast of all Warriors games including playoff games for the 2016-2017 season…..WUUB, Jupiter, Florida “ESPN West Palm” is dedicating its Friday night programming to the biggest high school football matchups in the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast. “Football Night in South Florida” on the Good Karma-operated station is sponsored by Papa John’s Pizza. Also the station adds ESPN’s Paul Finebaum show to its daily lineup, airing from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..The final chapter of the Todd Schnitt vs Bubba the Love Sponge defamation suit has been written, but it doesn’t involved either broadcaster – it’s about three of Bubba’s former attorneys. Regular TALKERS readers will remember that attorneys Stephen Diaco, Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut – with the assistance of legal assistant Melissa Personius and then-cop Ray Fernandez – orchestrated the DUI of Schnitt attorney Philip Campbell in hopes of helping their case. (How would that help? We’re not really sure.) Regardless, Diaco tried to man up and voluntarily gave up his law license in hopes the Florida Supreme Court would go easy on his colleagues. No such luck. The Court has permanently stripped Adams and Filthaut of the right to practice law. For more on the case, see Fox13 News’ summary here.
Howie Carr Sits in on WOR, New York. Syndicated, Boston-based talk host Howie Carr made his New York City debut on Friday (8/26) filling in on the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot on iHeartMedia’s 710 WOR for the vacationing “Mr. New York” Mark Simone. Carr’s program is syndicated on numerous signals throughout New England. Pictured above are Carr (left) and Simone (right) who met for the first time at TALKERS magazine’s annual conference in New York several years ago.
KNBR Staffers Picket at AT&T Park Over Wage Negotiations. It’s been almost two years since the staffers at Cumulus Media’s sports talker KNBR, San Francisco voted to unionize under SAG-AFTRA, but negotiations between the union and the company are moving slowly. A number of Cumulus employees picketed outside AT&T Park — home of the MLB’s Giants (whose games are broadcast on KNBR) — on Wednesday to draw attention to their case. According to a story in the San Francisco Chronicle, the union is seeking a minimum wage of $17 an hour for off-air staff and $30 an hour for on-air talent. Cumulus has reportedly countered with the new San Francisco minimum wage of $13 an hour, plus 1%. Despite Cumulus Media’s enormous corporate debt, KNBR staffers say the station is making plenty of money. The union commissioned a study that indicates the station brings in the fifth-most revenue of Cumulus’ 453 stations. SAG-AFTRA San Francisco executive director Len Egert tells the paper that a work stoppage is not out of the question. The story notes that when sister news/talk station KGO voted to unionize, contract negotiations took four years before a pact was finally signed. Read the SFGate story here.
NPR and iHeartMedia Strike Deal for Streaming. This new relationship between iHeartMedia and NPR will allow NPR’s more than 260 member stations to make their live news/talk programming available via iHeartRadio. iHM says that “in support of the public radio mission, all stations that join iHeartRadio will also have access to 50% of their individual iHeartRadio landing page’s digital banner inventory to encourage listeners to donate and directly support the station’s public programming.” iHeartRadio & iHeartMedia Networks president Darren Davis comments, “The addition of NPR’s member stations helps to create even more signature audio content for iHeartRadio listeners. By joining forces, it is the perfect way for public radio stations to reach listeners on new platforms and to provide iHeartRadio users with additional high-quality news/talk programming wherever they are.”
Radio Business Reacts to Music Biz Study on Millennial Listening Habits. The release of the study from Music Biz and LOOP titled “Music & Millennials” is raising the hackles of AM/FM radio operators, some of whom are vigorously challenging the study’s findings. The study, made available to members of the Music Biz Consumer Insights portal, was conducted by LOOP (which stands for Lots Of Online People) in May and used information from 3,014 U.S. respondents. It should be noted that the summary made public focuses on 15-19 year olds, so any comparison to the larger group of Millennials – often described as those between 18 and 35 – cited in other studies, is a mismatch from the start. Regardless, here are some of the study’s findings: AM/FM radio reaches 65% of 15-19 year olds. That’s much lower than the 93% reach of 18-34 year olds Nielsen says are reached by AM/FM. The Music Biz study reports that 15-19 year olds only spend 12% of their time with AM/FM radio. It also concludes that, for the first time, YouTube is the primary source of new music discovery, surpassing AM/FM radio. That conflicts with other research that traditionally serves the radio industry. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison had the following to say about the topic at this morning’s editorial meeting, “As Bob Dylan wrote and sang, ‘You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.’ This is as much a matter of using your powers of observation, day-to-day experience and gut-based intuition to read the tea leaves on the generational divide impacting both radio and music. All of these so-called official surveys and research studies are as wrong as they are right. They are like out-of-date GPS systems. Now is not the time for the radio industry to seek temporary victory through the use of limited statistical surveys and numbers-bending persuasion, but rather to find sustainable truth through accurate, first-hand observation and intelligence. With all due respect to Nielsen, the worst thing radio can do in 2016 is put its head in the sand of comforting statistics that fly in the face of observation and reality. We have work to do to remedy a growing and inevitable problem facing this industry.”
The Presidential Race, Police Violence Against Blacks/Dallas Cop Slayings Aftermath, Hillary Clinton Email Investigation, and Pokemon Go Craze Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/13). The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; deadly violence against blacks at the hands of police and the aftermath of the slaying of five Dallas police officers last week; ongoing talk about the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; and the Pokemon Go game that’s sweeping the nation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Radio One Announces Plans to Cover RNC and DNC Conventions ‘From the Black Perspective.’ The largest Black-owned and targeted media company is announcing it will cover the Republican and Democratic National Conventions “from the Black perspective.” Host Roland Martin will broadcast TV One’s “News One Now” live from the convention sites each morning at 7:00 ET. The company also says WKYS, Washington midday personality EZ Street will provide daily live coverage from the convention floor, along with recaps on all of Reach Media’s nationally syndicated morning shows. Radio One VP of corporate communications Yashima White AziLove states, “There couldn’t be a more critical time in our country for Black media to engage in the political process. More now than ever the outcry of Black people continues to reverberate throughout this country for equality, justice and reform. Our entire platform will be represented at each convention to ensure our community is informed of each presidential nominee’s plan to address the issues plaguing America, especially those that impact daily Black life. ”
Redskins Great John Riggins to Co-Host Pre-Game Show on ‘ESPN 980’ in Washington. NFL Hall of Famer and Washington Redskins great John Riggins is joining Red Zebra Broadcasting’s WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980” for the co-host role on the official “Washington Redskins Pregame Show.” The Super Bowl XVII MVP will work with WTEM’s Kevin Sheehan. Riggins says, “I solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God, well, most of the time… maybe… I think. Oh, yeah, El Riggo is back. And, that means the circus is back in town!” Riggins will also serve as a contributor to regularly scheduled “ESPN 980” shows.
SiriusXM to Launch Star-Hosted Series Called ‘The Source.’ The four-week show is a co-operative effort between SiriusXM and IMG and it’s described as “a unique new radio program curated and hosted by stars from every genre” that “will give listeners an opportunity to connect with celebrities in a new way as they share their insights on everything from fashion, art and entertainment to businesses, politics, and pop culture.” The program is presented by the AARP-created Life Reimagined, “a platform that helps people navigate transitions and pursue their goals in life.” Celebs involved in the project include: Arianna Huffington, Ricky Williams and Donovan McNabb, Ashley Graham, Jerry Springer, Niecy Nash, Carolyn Murphy, Jenna Elfman, Ashley Judd, and Chanel Iman. SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “Bringing new voices to radio has been a hallmark of SiriusXM, and we are excited to work with IMG to bring this eclectic slate of personalities for our listeners. This new show will draw talent from the fields of music, sports and entertainment and beyond, and give them the opportunity to speak at length and in uncensored fashion about their work, passions, views, and life experiences.”
KGO, San Francisco Announces New Programming; Ronn Owens to Remain on KGO After All. Citing listener outcry (who saw that coming?), Cumulus Media is changing its plans to move Bay Area talk legend Ronn Owens to drive time on sister talker KSFO and will keep him on KGO (with an hour trimmed off) from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. Beginning tomorrow (4/5), the new KGO lineup begins with KSTE, Sacramento-based Armstrong & Getty – Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – in morning drive. After Owens is Ethan Bearman from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. Bearman has been hosting weekend shows for KGO and sister KSFO for the past few years. Brian Copeland, a longtime weekend host at KGO, follows Bearman from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Chip Franklin is now afternoon drive host from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm and DreX remains the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm personality. Last week, the company moved away from its newsy heritage, dismissing most of its news personnel in this move to re-make KGO a live-and-local talk station. Program director Mike Anthony states, “We couldn’t be more excited about the new direction KGO 810 is taking, and we believe our listeners will love what they hear. Ronn’s audience made it very clear to us yesterday that he belongs at KGO — so we listened.”
The Presidential Race, Syrian Conflict/Battle Against Islamic State, European Jihadists Investigation, European Migrant Issues, and the Final Four Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president in advance of Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary; the Syrian civil conflict, weekend attacks on al-Nusra leaders and the battle against Islamic State fighters; the investigation into the jihadists responsible for the Paris and Brussels terror attacks; the issues European nations are dealing with as they absorb refugees from Syria and other Middle East nations; and the Final Four games were some of the stories discussed on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Amber Wilson Joins WAXY-AM, Miami’s ‘Zaslow & Romberg’ AM Show. Florida broadcaster Amber Wilson is joining Entercom’s WAXY-AM, Miami “Sports Talk 790 AM The Ticket” as a member of the on-air team on the “Zaslow & Romberg” show with Jonathan Zaslow and Brett Romberg. Entercom notes that Wilson is “a veteran sports broadcaster, who began her career hosting a weekly sports television show, ‘Sports Bang’ on WFOR-TV alongside ESPN’s Jon ‘Stugotz’ Weiner. She has previously appeared on a variety of sports radio programs, including CBS Network’s ‘The Players Club’ and as an anchor, reporter and writer for Open Sports Inc. and CBS Sports Interactive.” Entercom South Florida VP and market manager Doug Abernethy states, “Amber has it all: in-depth sports knowledge and expertise, a fan’s enthusiasm and a lively on-air presence. Her chemistry with Jonathan and Brett will be a winning combination that will resonate with our audience and our ad partners. Listeners will benefit from her proven track record providing real time commentary and sports analysis.”
Todd Schnitt and Wife Lose Case Over Unpaid Legal Bills. Talk show host Todd Schnitt and his wife Michelle were handed a legal defeat in a Tampa courtroom when the jury decided that the couple must pay their former legal team the fees it charged to sue former Tampa radio rival Bubba the Love Sponge. The Schnitts had argued that they were deceived by former attorney Philip Campbell and would not have sued Bubba if not for “bad advice” from Campbell. The Schnitts lost their bid to win a defamation case against Bubba. In the end, the jury found the Schnitts had not been deceived by Campbell and they are being ordered to pay $669,000 in legal fees.
PPM Analysis: Public Radio Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the third of three format analyses of spoken-word radio based on the February 2016 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio. Previously we published reports on all-news and news/talk. Today’s report focuses on non-commercial news/talk. No public radio talk station ranked first in its market in February, however six stations finished in the top five: WAMU, Washington (#2); KOPB, Portland (#2); KQED-FM, San Francisco (#3); WUNC, Raleigh (#3); KCFR, Denver (#4); and KPBS, San Diego (#5). In this report you’ll also find a chart comparing the performances of all-news, news/talk, and non-commercial talk. See it here.
Odds & Sods. According to a report from Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago is flipping the air times of Westwood One syndicated talk programs “The Savage Nation” with host Michael Savage and the Mark Levin program. When the shows aren’t being pre-empted or partially pre-empted by White Sox baseball, Savage will be heard at 9:00 pm and Levin will go on at 6:00 pm. Both shows will be streamed when baseball is airing…..Media sales pro David J. Halberstam has just published his new book titled, The Fundamentals of Sports Media and Sponsorship Sales: Developing New Accounts. Halberstam – who began his career with Katz Media and spent a decade as EVP of sports for Westwood One – currently heads up the Halby Group. He tells TALKERS the book is being released in both hardcopy and electronic forms via Sagamore Publishing. Halberstam says, “The title is a first of its kind; a step-by-step handbook on developing new sports media and sponsorship accounts. Corporate sports account executives, veterans and rookies alike, should find the text of interest. From identifying prospects to closing a piece of business and the emotional roller coaster throughout the process, they are all covered.”…..Hard-working Iowa personality Simon Conway – heard on WHO, Des Moines in afternoons and on WMT, Cedar Rapids in mornings – is tripling up this week as he is also being heard on iHeartMedia’s WFLF, Orlando in morning drive today through Wednesday…..Bill Bennett officially passed the baton to new Salem Radio Network morning drive host Hugh Hewitt, who replaces Bennett in the daypart. Hewitt had U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) on his program and he wished Hewitt well, “Congratulations, welcome to mornings…you have some big shoes to fill!”
WOWO, Fort Wayne’s Pat Miller to Undergo Kidney Transplant. Afternoon drive talk host Pat Miller recently shared with his listeners his battle with Chronic Kidney Disease and the news that a matching kidney donor has been found. He said, “God miraculously has made a kidney available for me. There’s a donor that has selflessly put themselves on the line…” Miller is scheduled to undergo the transplant on May 24.
WBBM-AM, Chicago Reporter Dies in Car Crash. A Sunday morning automobile accident in Merrillville, Indiana took the life of 60-year-old WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago reporter Dave Mitchell. Mitchell had been with the CBS RADIO all-news outlet since 1992. Chicago media is reporting Mitchell leaves behind a wife and four children.
Ronn Owens Move from KGO to KSFO the Tip of Iceberg of Changes at Cumulus San Francisco. The company has not issued an official statement about the changes other than to announce KGO legend Ronn Owens’ move from late mornings there to the afternoon drive slot at sister KSFO, effective Monday (4/4). But there is much more going on, including what is reported be the dismissal of the majority of the news staff at KGO. One can assume the expense of KGO’s news department was one of the big reasons for the new programming direction. Nielsen Audio’s February PPM ratings saw CBS RADIO’s all-news KCBS-AM finish #1 with a 6.2 share (6+) compared to KGO’s 1.8 share. There are more changes soon to be announced as Cumulus re-builds KGO and the addition of KSTE, Sacramento-based Armstrong & Getty to the KGO morning slot is one. The duo is moving from iHeartMedia’s crosstown KKSF, San Francisco where it’s been heard for the past few years. On the music side, Cumulus also let the air staff at triple A KFOG go, and is running without jocks as that station announces it is entering a “transformational time.” The station is expected to remain some sort of rock outlet.
Stephanie Miller to Assume Mornings at KKSF; Station Positioned as Progressive Talker. With the departure of Armstrong & Getty from the morning daypart at iHeartMedia’s KKSF, San Francisco “Talk 910” for mornings at KGO, the company announces WYD Media-syndicated Stephanie Miller is the new morning drive personality. Speaking about the changes, iHM San Francisco SVP of programming Don Parker says, “The Bay Area is arguably the most progressive market in the nation. This move aligns ‘Talk 910’ with the predominant sentiment of the region in all prime dayparts, delivering compelling progressive or lifestyle content throughout the day.” The new lineup is: Stephanie Miller from 6:00 am to 10:00 am, Gil Gross from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, Cory (Callewaert) and Joel (Riddell) from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, “The Doghouse with JV & Elvis” (a.k.a. Jeff Vandergrift and Dan Lay) from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Los Angeles-based Mo’ Kelly from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Mo’ Kelly, a.k.a. Morris W. O’Kelly, hosts on weekends at iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles where he’s heard from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Presidential Race Tops the Talkers TenTM for Week of March 28-April 1. The activities of the candidates for president were once again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the aftermath of the Brussels and Pakistan terror attacks. Coming in at #3 was the battle against Islamic State followed by European migrant troubles 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.
PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an analysis of the performances of news/talk-formatted stations in PPM markets based on Nielsen Audio’s February 2016 survey. Yesterday, we published a report on the all-news format. IN this report, see how news/talk stations have progressed since the beginning of the presidential primary season last February. Last month, there were 15 news/talk outlets that ranked in the top 5 (6+) in their respective markets – four ranked #1: WSB-AM, Atlanta; WLW, Cincinnati; KSL, Salt Lake City; and WKXW, Trenton (Middlesex-Somerset-Union market). See charts showing fluctuations from February 2015, market share over the past six surveys, and comparing all-news and news/talk stations. Read it here.
’97.1 The Fan’ in Columbus Adds Local Show with Tim Hall & Beanie Wells. Columbus sports talker WBNS “97.1 The Fan” is moving former Ohio State and NFL running back Beanie Wells (right) into daylight to co-host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show with Tim Hall (left). The duo had been hosting “The Buckeye Show,” airing evenings from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Program director Jay Taylor tells WBNS-TV, “This is a great opportunity for our loyal and craving audience for get more local sports talk. It also brings another exciting layer to our team on the highest-rated ESPN affiliate in the country.”
New Early Morning Show Makes ESPN Radio Live 24 Hours on Weekdays. Monday’s launch of “First and Last with Lundberg & Golic Jr.” means the ESPN Radio schedule will be live round the clock on weekdays. The 4:00 am to 6:00 am show co-hosted by Robin Lundberg and Mike Golic Jr. will “recap the previous night’s highlights and delve into the coming day’s stories and will be preceded by a two-hour edition of ‘SportsCenter AllNight’ (2:00 am to 4:00 am).” ESPN audio network content VP David Roberts says, “We are constantly looking for new, aggressive ways of serving sports fans. Providing sports talk and information live, around the clock during the week underscores our commitment to offering our listeners another opportunity to engage with our network through a strong opinion-based program. Robin Lundberg and Mike Golic Jr. will set the table perfectly for our flagship franchise, ‘Mike and Mike.’”
FOX News Radio to Launch Willie Robertson Podcast. Reality television star Willie Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” fame is the host of a new podcast series debuting on Monday (4/4). FOX News Radio says the weekly program will focus on faith and family along with occasional celebrity guest interviews. Robertson will also serve as a FOX News contributor. In conjunction with his role as CEO of Duck Commander, Robertson acts as both a television personality and executive producer for A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” and The Outdoor Channel’s “Buck Commander.” He has also co-written a New York Times bestseller titled, The Duck Commander Family with his wife, Korie Robertson.
Ronn Owens to Move to KSFO in Afternoons; Rumors of KGO Shakeup Rampant. Longtime KGO, San Francisco talk show host Ronn Owens is leaving his late morning show at the heritage news/talk outlet and is moving across the hall to sister KSFO to host the afternoon drive program. KSFO program director Mike Anthony states, “With Ronn Owens taking over afternoons from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, KSFO is now live and local in both drive times. This is also a great opportunity for a whole new audience to hear the brilliance that has made Ronn a legend in San Francisco radio. We couldn’t be more excited to have Ronn driving afternoons on 560 KSFO.” Meanwhile, rumors are running wild through the Bay Area radio community that bigger changes are afoot for KGO. Stay tuned.
Jason Wolfe Named Network Manager for Howie Carr Show. Former WEEI and WRKO, Boston VP of programming and operations Jason Wolfe joins The Howie Carr Radio Network in the newly created position of network manager. President and CEO Howie Carr says, “Jason has been working with us for several months and has been doing a great job in getting the show noticed by numerous new markets. I know that he will build on that success in his new role as our network manager.” Wolfe will be in charge of building and expanding the reach and brand of the program, in addition to managing the day-to-day operation of the network, which will include helping to develop new marketing and business partnerships. Wolfe adds, “I’m very excited to be able to work with Howie in a more formal capacity again. He is a truly great talk show host, which is why he’s in the Radio Hall of Fame. I’m looking forward to helping him continue to build, what is, already, an incredibly strong regional network.” In addition to this new role, Wolfe serves as chief media and marketing strategist for The Financial Exchange Radio Network.
PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of all-news stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2016 PPM survey. Just how much of an effect has the 2016 presidential race had on the ratings of all-news stations in PPM markets? It’s impossible to know just why certain panelists tuned in to all-news outlets when they did but some industry observers suggest news stations are seeing the same trend they experience every four years when the executive office is up for grabs. Of the 18 markets served by at least one all-news station, 13 markets saw all-news outlets increase their (6+) AQH shares from January 2016 to February 2016. However, when comparing February 2015 data and February 2016 numbers, only six markets saw all-news stations increase their (6+) ratings and 12 saw some degree of decline between the two periods. See Kinosian’s entire report here.
New Salem Radio Network Lineup Takes Effect Monday. The new lineup for the Salem Radio Network begins on Monday (4/4). The changes that take effect include Hugh Hewitt’s move from the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET slot to morning drive, taking over for Bill Bennett who leaves his role as daily morning show host to become senior correspondent. In that role, Bennett will appear on SRN shows as an expert guest, he’ll have a morning feature called “The Bill Bennett Interview…Making America Work” and that will be produced as a one-hour special each weekend. Southern California talk personality Larry Elder takes over Hewitt’s 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET slot. Salem SVP Phil Boyce states, “If we are going to shake things up, this is the perfect time. Hugh is on fire and is the new ‘go-to guy’ for the presidential campaign. His new morning show will be fast-paced, and news-packed. I want to thank Bill Bennett for his 11 years of service waking up America for Salem. He has been a class act all the way, and we will miss him. But he will always be a part of the Salem family. Larry Elder is a true gem who will be the perfect complement to the other hosts on Salem’s all-star lineup.”
Profile: Entertainment Is Cardillo’s Driving Force. In a personality profile published today (3/31), TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian digs into the personal history and life experiences that have motivated CRN Digital Talk Radio-syndicated personality John Cardillo in developing his radio talk show style. The born-and-raised New Yorker who now calls South Florida home served as a cop in the Bronx before he left that job to launch his own firm specializing in tracking and removing sexual predators from online communities. The unapologetic conservative says that the public image of conservative talk radio scares Millennials away and he’s trying to fix that. “Rather than ‘lecturing’ listeners who are stuck in their cars, Cardillo opts for an alternative of booking ‘entertaining’ guests. ‘The audience loves to hear me bring on conservatives living behind enemy lines in Hollywood. My on-air competitors are not doing that. They stick to wonky, content-and-policy-driven topics. My show has to be about politics, entertainment, and pop culture – but not necessarily in any order. There is no substitute for working on the street and I have that going for me.’” Read Kinosian’s profile of John Cardillo here.
CBS RADIO President Andre Fernandez Issues Memo Regarding Future of Radio Division. Employees never like to hear that their company or division is up for sale. And sale is certainly one of the possibilities for the CBS RADIO division or possibly some of it radio stations or clusters. In a memo to the radio staff, CBS RADIO president Andre Fernandez seeks to put some perspective on CBS Corp. chairman Les Moonves’ previous announcement that the company is seeking “strategic options” for its radio stations. In part, Fernandez tells staffers that splitting the radio division off via an IPO is the preferred move (for tax purposes, although Fernandez doesn’t use those words). Fernandez states that operating the radio division independently would heighten the importance of staffers’ value to the company. “Our contributions to the organization would become even more important as we build the framework for our new company, and chart our pathway to the future. That is a pretty incredible opportunity for those of you who have dedicated your careers to the business, and for the new generation of employees who are helping diversify our portfolio to compete in a digital world.” Fernandez does admit that a sale is possible and asks employees to continue to work hard in light of these distractions.
FOX Sports Radio Announces New Weekend Programming. Beginning his weekend, several new personalities join the program schedule at FOX Sports Radio. FS1 host Joy Taylor teams up with FOX Sports Radio’s Mark Willard for the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET program. NBA great Cedric Ceballos is being partnered with Brian Noe for the Saturday 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm show, and FS1 NBA analyst and former NBA star Jim Jackson is co-hosting with Ryan Field for the Sunday 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm program. Premiere Networks VP of sports programming Scott Shapiro comments, “FOX Sports Radio cements its standing as the best place for sports talk radio with the addition of these three talented personalities. I couldn’t be more proud of the opinions, credibility and creativity that have been assembled in this weekend lineup. There is no better destination for timely and entertaining takes on the biggest stories in sports than FOX Sports Radio.”
The Presidential Race, Obama’s Nuclear Summit, Battle Against Islamic State, Brussels and Pakistan Terror Attacks Aftermath, North Korea Famine Warning, NFL vs The New York Times Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/30). The activities of the candidates for president; President Obama’s nuclear summit taking place in Washington today and tomorrow; the ongoing battle against Islamic State; the aftermath of the terror attacks in Brussels and in Pakistan; North Korea’s warning to its citizens to prepare for a famine; and NFL’s war of words with The New York Times over the paper’s criticism of the league’s handling of head injury research were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Hubbard Radio CEO Ginny Morris Named 2016 TALKERS Woman of the Year. The TALKERS editorial board announced today (3/29) the selection of Hubbard Radio, LLC chair and CEO Ginny Morris as the 2016 recipient of “The Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Radio Industry by a Woman.” The award is also referred to as the “Woman of the Year.” While still in college in 1982, Morris began working in the promotion department of their flagship TV station, KSTP-TV, Minneapolis. She started with special projects and promotional events and eventually became the manager of that department in 1985. In July 1990, she was asked to take on the challenge of managing KSTP- AM, Minneapolis/St. Paul, the original holding of the Hubbard Family’s broadcasting business (originally licensed as WAMD in 1923). It was in that role that Morris developed her true passion for and interest in the radio business. In May 1995, she added KSTP-FM (KS95) to her duties, becoming president and general manager of both KSTP radio properties. Having had success with developing local talent for KSTP-AM, the company began syndicating its talent on a regional basis and formed a new company, the Hubbard Radio Network in August 1999. The Hubbard Radio Network works with 26 affiliates throughout the Upper Midwest and continues to add stations. Hubbard Radio purchased WIXK-AM/FM in New Richmond, Wisconsin, in December 2000. In June 2002, WIXK-FM was moved to the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The format was changed to a new type of talk radio, and is now referred to as myTalk107.1. MyTalk107.1 is one of the first, if not the only, FM talk station in the country building talk programming specifically targeted for women. A former chair of the NAB Radio Board, Morris currently serves on the Executive Committee of the RAB (Radio Advertisers Bureau) and serves on the board of BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) and the Library of American Broadcasting. In 2000, Ginny Morris was named president of Hubbard Radio, delegating much of the day-to-day operations to others in the growing organization. In speaking on behalf of the TALKERS editorial board, publisher Michael Harrison states, “We are delighted to name Ms. Morris as the recipient of this year’s ‘Woman of the Year’ award. In an industry where the breakdown of personnel percentages by gender remains at an awkward imbalance, she shines as a beacon of inspiration for women in the business – as well as all broadcasters – on a number of fronts. She is the CEO of one of radio’s most highly-respected companies that performs as role model to be emulated by organizations seeking to be responsibly effective in the reality of today’s broadcasting business environment. Add to that the impressive, steadfast accomplishments of Hubbard’s myTalk107.1 in the Twin Cities market and that alone deserves industry applause. Finally, she has earned a stellar reputation over the years as an outstanding human being respected by her co-workers and colleagues all across the radio industry.” Ginny Morris will be presented the “Woman of the Year” award during the Awards Ceremony at the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations conference on Friday, May 20 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. For more information about the conference, please click here.
REFLECTIONS FROM PARIS: Michael Harrison Discusses the Three Parts of the Body That Must Be Stimulated for Something/Anything to Become a ‘Hit.’ In a tour de force inspired by his recent speech delivered to the international radio community in Paris titled, “Lessons Learned by American Radio at the Dawn of the Digital Era,” (as well as a feverish flu), TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison (pictured here at the recent Radiodays Europe conference) explores a variety of esoteric media concepts in the latest installment of the international PodcastOne hit series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” posted today (3/29). In the intimate, one-on-one monologue, Harrison takes the listener on a journey through the human body’s “seats of consciousness” that he explains should be “targeted and touched” by artists and their creations if they are to stand a chance of becoming successful. Whether it is a song, a show or a talent – or any number of entities in between – Harrison opines an artist or an artistic creation must effectively stimulate one, two or all three of the following zones within the human body in order to be successful: the cerebral zone, the cardiac zone, and the testicular zone. Set against the backdrop of chilly, terrorism-sensitive Paris, leading up to and immediately following the Brussels airport bombing, this uncompromisingly concept-dense podcast covers a wide spectrum of ideas following radio’s evolution from the one-to-many medium of Walter Winchell to today’s personal, screen-less mainline via the auditory nerve into the human psyche. This podcast is sure to captivate the imaginations of “media freaks” both inside and outside the radio industry. To hear it in its entirety, please click here or click the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Geraldo Exit from WABC, New York Appears Official. There’s been no announcement from Cumulus Media and we don’t really expect one. All of the information on this story comes from Geraldo Rivera himself. As TALKERS reported last Thursday, Rivera first said on his Facebook page that he was informed by new Cumulus CEO Mary Berner and Cumulus NYC market manager Chad Lopez that the company will not be honoring “the handshake deal I made with ousted company chief John Dickey, an agreement to extend my current contract for a year. The decision to renege on our deal on the eve of Thanksgiving is especially upsetting coming in the wake of my emotionally charged and highly rated coverage of the Paris massacre and frantic efforts by authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice. Last year, The Village Voice named me the ‘2014 Best AM Radio Host in NYC’, writing in part, ‘Geraldo Rivera actually has something to say. The guy understands the issues of the day and has enough confidence in his opinions to call bullshit on blowhards,’ which I’m doing here.” Since then, Geraldo added to his post, writing that he intends to make this difficult for the company. “That slight will not go unanswered. Trust me on this; it is not about the money. I have enough and give away to various charities more than most. But because of their unforgivable disrespect I will fight them and they will end up costing their battered company far more in damages than they expect to save in my salary.” Geraldo goes on to write about the value of his show to the New York audience. “The pity is this misguided management has deprived my loyal New York audience a program that they have followed and engaged with during a turbulent time of crucial interest…” Whether Geraldo can prevail in court remains to be seen, but of course it’s within Cumulus’ right to fire or hire talent as the company sees fit.
David Boze Exits Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle. Saying that he’s leaving the station to pursue “ventures that can only be done in presidential years,” morning drive personality David Boze leaves Bonneville International’s KTTH, Seattle after 13 years with the station. He says, “I leave the station I helped found in the hands of a great company and good people. I am incredibly grateful for the loyalty and kindness of my listeners. It is a wonderful thing to meet them and realize we are already friends thanks to the power of radio. I’m also exceptionally grateful for my show sponsors, who have invested in my show year after year. Bonneville has been a great company to work for, and I will miss the people who have become such a meaningful, daily part of my life.” The company has not named a permanent replacement for Boze.
Lee Hammer Adds KGO and KSFO OM Duties. Already serving as operations manager and PD for sports talk outlets KNBR and KTCT, Lee Hammer is promoted from interim ops manager for sister talk stations KGO and KSFO to permanent OM for the pair. Cumulus San Francisco VP and market manager Justin Wittmayer says, “Lee has been instrumental in leading KGO and KSFO over the past year while continuing to deliver record breaking ratings for KNBR. We are confident that with his considerable expertise in the talk format, he will take our news/talk stations to new heights.”
Odds & Sods. Former longtime KVI, Seattle talk personality Kirby Wilbur is soon to be back with the iconic conservative talker. It’s not known at this point what daypart Wilbur will be hosting. He was part of the original lineup of KVI as a conservative news/talk station. It’s for this period in history that it’s considered by many to be the first talk station to be purposely programmed as an all-conservative talk outlet…..Nationally syndicated talk host Kevin Jackson announces he is leaving USA Radio Networks and will self-syndicate his daily 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk show.
Round Three of November PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of November 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. 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.
Some Talk Radio Pros Take Issue with Colorado Governor’s Placing Blame for Shooting on Media and Campaign Rhetoric. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, in addressing the deadly shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs over the weekend, hinted that talk show hosts and bloggers are in some way to blame for the deaths of the three victims and the nine people wounded. The governor said, in part, “Certainly it’s a form of terrorism, and maybe in some way it’s a function of the inflammatory rhetoric we see on so many issues now, there are bloggers and talk shows where they really focus on trying to get people to that point of boiling over. Just intense anger. Maybe it’s time to look at how do we tone down that rhetoric. No one is going to try to reduce free speech in this country but that rhetoric — if people are in some way emotionally unstable or psychologically unbalanced – that intensity of rhetoric sometimes seems to pull a trigger in their brain that they lose contact with what reality is.” Salem Radio Network VP of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS magazine, “Public officials who fail in their primary responsibility to protect the lives and property of the men and women who elect them should not use the free and open exchange of ideas and opinions on talk radio to scapegoat their own inadequacies.”
Legendary News and Talk Personality Brent Seltzer Recovering from Brain Tumor Surgery. Veteran radio personality Brent Seltzer, known most recently for his work on the nationally syndicated (GCN) “Brent & Meg Show” that he co-hosted with his wife Meg McDonald, is recovering from major surgery that took place in September at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Burbank to remove a cancerous, golf ball-sized Glioblastoma Tumor Grade 4 from the front-left section of his brain. This is the part of the brain that controls memory and language. Seltzer’s colorful career dates back to the golden days of FM rock radio when he was a pioneer in the development of “rock ‘n’ roll radio style news” at such outlets as KGB, San Diego and KMET, Los Angeles among others. He has also achieved considerable critical praise for his modern-era, short-form and podcast series, “Still at Large.” Attendees at TALKERS conferences over the past four years will remember Brent & Meg as the events’ charismatic official greeters. This past June, they served as emcees of Talkers 2015. Seltzer (pictured here mugging for the camera after his surgery) tells TALKERS, “I have apparently been experiencing symptoms since September 2014 but it wasn’t until 11:15 am PT on Thursday, September 24, 2015 that my symptoms resulted in a seizure while sitting at my computer. I crashed like a small bird out of a big tree. If our ‘Brent & Meg’ radio show had not been on hiatus by that point, I would have had my seizure on the air. In the months prior to the seizure, I was apparently doing some things without a clear memory. My typing began to deteriorate and my quick recall for names, places and events often failed me. I ignored symptoms that were bothersome but seemed innocuous and unrelated at the time. But in truth, they were actually symptoms of a much bigger problem.” Seltzer, who is now recovering at home while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy, adds, “I share these things to let everyone know that I have begun what we hope will be a stunning return. My recovery is an uphill battle which I’m very eager to face as I prepare for alerting everyone as to what has happened and what will come next and as much pain and discomfort I am in… I’m Popeye and nothing is gonna get me down!” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “I have known Brent all the way back to my radio days in San Diego in the early 1970s. He is one of the nicest, smartest and most talented guys I’ve ever met in this business. He and Meg are beloved members of our TALKERS family and we pray for his speedy and full recovery.” Brent Seltzer can be contacted via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Colorado Springs Shooting Dominates Weekend Talk Stories. The deadly shooting in Colorado Springs and the related debate over gun control were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend on stations that air live and local shows and/or live national talk shows. Other topics included the Thanksgiving holiday, Black Friday, and college and pro football, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WFAN’s Mike Francesa Show to End Fox Sports Cable Simulcast. New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa told his WFAN listeners on Wednesday that his show would cease being simulcast on Fox Sports’ cable channel after this Friday. As the New York Post reports, Francesa had problems with the relationship almost from the beginning and griped to listeners about being pre-empted by soccer or moved to the FS2 channel. Francesa said, “First, let me say that the blame is mine. I tried to do something a little different. The Fox guys were eager and I’m not going to say money wasn’t an issue, because it was the biggest. I had some trepidation, but I saw some promise and it just didn’t work.” The Post reports that Francesa is beginning to look for a new cable simulcast partner and MSG Network is a possible destination.
Corral Named News Director at KGO, San Francisco. This is a promotion from assignment editor to news director for Angela Corral. She’s been with Cumulus Media’s KGO since October of 2013. She’s worked in news in the Bay Area for the past 17 years, having joined CBS RADIO’s crosstown all-news KCBS in 1998 as a production assistant. On her new gig, Corral comments, “It’s a true honor to be selected as news director of this legendary station. I’m looking forward to working with an amazing staff of dedicated journalists as we move KGO forward.”
Radio Pro Bob Dane Rises to Executive Director at FAIR. The Federation for American Immigration Reform announces Bob Dane is promoted to executive director of the organization after approval from the board of directors. Dane, whose years of experience in network radio, marketing and communications led him to join FAIR in 2006 as director of communications, will be just the fourth executive director of FAIR since its founding in 1979. In this new role, Dane will oversee the organization’s Washington, D.C.-based and national operations. FAIR president Dan Stein comments, “With nearly a decade of experience in FAIR’s media department, Bob has spearheaded valuable and unique initiatives, bringing to light the public’s often-overlooked concerns about immigration.” Chairman of the Board Donald Collins Jr. adds, “For many years, Bob has continually demonstrated media expertise, innovative ideas and able management.” During his career, Dane also served in a policy and budgeting position within the Reagan administration. He received a degree in public administration and management from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
Odds & Sods. After retiring from full-time work at Chicago all-news outlet WBBM-AM in 2004 after a 35-year career, Sheman Kaplan returned to the station on a freelance basis, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder. In a column today, Feder reports that Kaplan is again retiring from the station where he was co-anchoring midday newscasts and “The WBBM Noon Business Hour” alongside Kris Kridel…..Los Angeles-based talk personality Larry Elder will host presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson on his show today (9/10). Elder’s program airs on CRN Digital Talk Radio at 3:00 pm ET and on Salem-owned KRLA, Los Angeles at 9:00 pm PT…..United Stations Radio Networks is now offering a sports radio prep service called Total Sports Prep. USRN says it is intended for use by air personalities in sports talk or any programming that delves into sports content…..Bob Kempf joins TV and online public media producer WGBH Boston as vice president for digital services. Kempf was previously VP/general manager of digital services for NPR…..Saga Communications drops adult standards on KRNT, Des Moines and goes sports talk as “ESPN Des Moines.” In addition to carrying ESPN Radio programming, it will carry Chicago Cubs baseball, Drake University play-by-play, and be an affiliate of the Green Bay Packers Radio Network…..Entercom flips from business talk on KWOD, Kansas City to sports talk using both CBS Sports Radio and Fox Sports Radio.
WIP, Philadelphia’s Eagles Radiothon Raises $200,000. Another Eagles Radiothon is in the books and the event organized by the NFL club and CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM, “SportsRadio 94WIP raised $200,000 for the Eagles Youth Partnership. As part of the annual radiothon, Eagles fans and 94WIP callers were provided the opportunity to bid on exclusive experiences involving their favorite Eagles players and 94WIP radio personalities. Eagles Youth Partnership, Eagles Social Responsibility president Christina Weiss Lurie says, “We continue to be amazed each year by the generous contributions and devoted support from our fans during the Eagles Radiothon. As an organization, we are always looking to deliver one-of-a-kind experiences for our fans. The annual Radiothon provides us with the opportunity to do that, while also supporting the vital health and education programs of Eagles Youth Partnership. On behalf of EYP, I would like to express a heartfelt thank you to 94WIP for their steadfast commitment and support of this event.”
Salem Radio Network at 90 Minutes in Heaven Premiere. The new film 90 Minutes in Heaven – based on the New York Times bestselling book by Don Piper – opens this weekend and Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left) was in Atlanta this week for the media premiere of the film. Tradup says that on the heels of the Christian-themed film War Room being tops at the Labor Day weekend box office last week, fans of faith-based movies are also expected to turn out this weekend for the nationwide opening of 90 Minutes in Heaven. Tradup is seen here speaking with actress Kate Bosworth (right) who plays Piper’s wife Eva Piper. In a story based on Don Piper’s own experiences, she helps him recover from a car crash after being pronounced legally dead for 90 minutes. The film also stars Hayden Christensen and Fred Thompson.
Conspiracy Theory Gets Two Suspended from Scripps Springfield, MO Stations. The host and the on-air producer of the Sunday morning “Cracker Barrel” show have been suspended by E.W. Scripps after suggesting the on-air slayings of Roanoke TV crew Alison Parker and Adam Ward were a hoax designed to spur stricter gun control laws. Host Joe Rios and producer Rick Masters are heard on the both company’s country KTTS and news/talk KSGF-AM/FM. Station manager Rex Hansen apologized to the station’s listeners for the commentary. It’s not known how long the two will be suspended from the weekly community forum program.
Hillary Clinton Emails Apology, Trump Candidacy, 2016 Presidential Candidates, European Migrant Crisis, Brandon Marshall’s Brady vs NFL Racism Charge/ESPN Spygate Story, Iran Nuclear Deal, and Russia-Syria Military Connection Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/9). Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton apologizes for use of private email server for State Department business; the criticism and analysis of the top-polling Trump for President campaign; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the migrant crisis affecting European nations; the aftermath of the Tom Brady vs the NFL case and Brandon Marshall’s charge that Tom Brady is treated different because he’s white, plus the related ESPN Spygate story; the controversy over the Iran nuclear deal; and reports of Russia sending military aid to Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Ronn Owens to Return to KGO, San Francisco on Monday. Weeks after undergoing surgery for phase one of Deep Brain Stimulation treatment for his Parkinson’s Disease, legendary Bay Area talk personality Ronn Owens posts on his Facebook page that he’s feeling better – minor complications notwithstanding – and will return to KGO, San Francisco’s airwaves on Monday. Here’s what he had to say: “Just checking in (with a three-day growth of beard!) to let you know that I’m feeling much better and plan to be back on the show on Monday. Falling down the stairs after the Deep Brain Stimulation surgery slowed my recovery due to the resulting blood clot on the surface of the brain, along with another blood clot in the lung and a nasty cough. Those factors have also forced my doctors to postpone the second phase of the DBS process (implanting a battery pack in my chest) until late October. Nonetheless, the DBS procedure is still on track for success and I look forward to it being able to reverse my Parkinson’s symptoms by 5 to 7 years when it’s complete in early November.” Prior to his recent surgery, Owens spoke with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison on the latter’s international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” on the PodcastOne platform. You can check out that discussion here.
New Hampshire Gets New FM N/T Station – Howie Carr Headlines Lineup. Beginning Monday (8/31) Binnie Media-owned WNNH-FM, Concord, New Hampshire will re-launch as “99.1 NH1 News, New Hampshire’s Newsradio.” The station will provide the Concord area with what is being described as “continuous local news updates on the top stories from around the Granite State, along with opinion and analysis from nationally recognized personalities, including Howie Carr weekday afternoons.” The “NH1” brand has been serving New Hampshire as a major statewide TV and radio news organization. “99.1 NH1 News” will feature hourly updates from the NH1 News staff. The NH1 Radio News Network will continue to broadcast on 12 radio stations in New Hampshire, including stations in Concord, Nashua, Portsmouth, the Lakes Region, and Lebanon. In 2014, NH1 News received a Granite Mike Award for the Best Radio Newscast from the New Hampshire Association of Broadcasters. The local news coverage on “99.1 NH1 News” will be augmented by the world and national resources of CBS News. Binnie Media EVP Lee Kinberg tells TALKERS, “This is the next logical step in the growth of NH1 News. Last month NH1 News on WBIN-TV was the #1 10:00 pm news in New Hampshire and in less than a year, NH1.com is achieving over 800,000 page views a month. “99.1 NH1 News” brings our comprehensive local news coverage to Concord’s radio listeners.” In addition to Carr, nationally known personalities including Don Imus, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, and Michael Savage round out the weekday lineup. Carr tells TALKERS, “It’s an honor to be working with all the great professionals at NH1 News, and to be able to reach a whole new audience in the Granite State — especially with the presidential primaries coming up in less than six months.” This marks the 24th affiliate for Howie Carr’s rapidly-growing independent regional talk network. Binnie Media owns 16 stations in Maine and New Hampshire.
Bob Sullivan Exits Daily Role on KOGO, San Diego. His comments to the San Diego Union-Tribune about leaving his co-host role on the afternoon drive show with former San Diego city councilman Carl DeMaio are pretty sanguine, still there’s a tenor of disappointment in Bob “Sully” Sullivan’s comments that he and the station have different philosophies about what the show’s topics should be. Sullivan tells the paper, “I like to talk red-meat topics — illegal immigration, gun control and minimum wage — and I think the station wants that segment to go more toward local politics, pension reform and the water crisis. Carl is very passionate about that stuff and I just am not.” Sullivan’s 16-year tenure with the station will continue as he’ll still be business editor and serve as a fill-in host. DeMaio has been on the program for the past five months – shortly after losing a race for a seat in Congress.
Rita Cosby to Host Weeklong Web Series on Education. The hour-long program – titled “Back to the Books Radio” – will appear exclusively on WABC, New York’s website beginning Monday, August 31. On the program, Rita Cosby will “discuss timely and critical issues in American education with some of the nation’s most prominent voices in education, including highlighting: teacher and student standards, busing, charter schools, Common Core, and illegal immigrants and who should pay for their education. The series is a provocative and no-holds-barred look at the issues that are important to those who are concerned that the educational system is failing the country’s children — what is working, and what is not. The series looks in-depth at New York City’s massive public education system with more than one million students and 1,700 schools.” Each show features interviews with top experts and thought leaders in New York and U.S. education.
Salem Media Group Re-Brands TOH News with Townhall.com Collaboration. Raising the radio profile of its conservative website Townhall.com will likely be one of the effects of Salem Media Group’s decision to rename its top-of-the-hour news product with the brand Townhall.com. SMG says the site “reaches 3 million unique visitors every month. This will be a brand extension to the powerful SRN News product that provides both news/talk and Christian talk stations a strong 24/7 radio news service.” Salem says it will continue to produce the SRN News feed at :55 past the hour, primarily for Christian stations and that the Townhall.com branded product will be designed for news/talk stations. Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce comments, “We will continue to offer the outstanding reporting that is a hallmark of SRN News with great anchors and respected correspondents like Greg Clugston at the White House, Linda Kenyon at the Senate and Wally Hindes at the House. The new brand extension will allow us to better market the product for news and talk stations and we can’t think of a better partner than Townhall.com which is so respected and well-known.”
‘640AM Sports’ in Fort Lauderdale Shuffles Hosts. Midday sports talk host Joe Raineri moves to afternoon drive on WMEN, Fort Lauderdale “640AM Sports,” replacing Hank Goldberg. Currently, the midday daypart consists of DirecTV/FOX Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and Rich Eisen from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm but there is speculation that the station will opt for adding Colin Cowherd’s new FOX Sports Radio program – set to debut in September – to the slot currently held by Eisen.
Odds & Sods. Abundant, thunderous changes taking place with Major League Baseball‘s Boston Red Sox have even spread to the broadcasting booth. While it doesn’t take effect until next year, Dave O’Brien will shift from radio play-to-play to the television side, calling Red Sox games on NESN. O’Brien, who has a renowned national presence from his ESPN television exposure, will succeed Don Orsillo, whose contract isn’t being renewed. No word yet on a successor to O’Brien on the Red Sox Radio Network, whose flagship is Entercom Boston sports outlet WEEI-FM. Quincy, Massachusetts native O’Brien joined the Red Sox radio booth for the 2007 season – when the Red Sox wound up winning the World Series…..St. Louis sports media pro Bernie Miklasz returns to Hubbard Radio‘s WXOS “101ESPN” on Monday, August 31 to revive his sports talk show. The longtime St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports writer is exiting his position with the paper to begin hosting the 7:00 am to 10:00 am program. He will also write for the station’s 101sports.com website…..ESPN Radio announces that Ian Fitzsimmons will host the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot with Will Cain, Trevor Matich, and Freddie Coleman next week. The network is reportedly preparing to officially announce Dan LeBatard will assume that daypart permanently later in September…..Former Philadelphia Eagles great Brian Westbrook is reprising his football expert role at Greater Media‘s WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” on the AM drive Anthony Gargano show. Westbrook will be part of the Monday program from 9:00 am to 10:00 am following Eagles games during the NFL season…..ABC News announces Lana Zak is the newest member of the Multi-Platform Reporter team. Zak began her career with ABC News as an anchor producer for Diane Sawyer at “Good Morning America.” Most recently, she has served as a coordinating producer for ABC’s Specialized Units.
New Economic News Program to Debut in January. This new offering comes from Walter O’Connell Tax Services, LLC on a weekly basis beginning January 2, 2016. According to O’Connell, “Economics-Weekly.com” is a one-hour radio program featuring selected readings in economics from top economic bloggers from around the world and “was founded on the belief that liberty and free trade are created, and sustained, through economic understanding.” O’Connell says, “Our current weekly syndicated radio program is a perfect pre-air or post-air program for news, business, economic, political or current event programing.”
Country Duo Montgomery Gentry to Appear on ‘Hannity’ Tonight. Country music will be a topic on FOX News Channel’s “Hannity” this evening (8/28) as country superstars Montgomery Gentry will be on the program. Eddie Montgomery (left) and Troy Gentry (right) recently spoke with Sean Hannity (center) about their new Blaster Records album, Folks Like Us. Photo: Monarch Publicity.
TV Reporters Slayings/Gun Control Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of August 24-28. The tragic slayings of WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward and the related issue of gun control were the most-talked-about stories during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM this week. At #2 was the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. Coming in at #3 was the debate over immigration policy followed by the possible presidential candidacy of Vice President Joe Biden 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.
Michael Harrison Gets ‘Up Close and Far Out’ with Legendary KGO, San Francisco Talkmeister Ronn Owens. This week’s new installment of Podcast One’s international hit podcast for media freaks, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” is posted today (7/14). It features a compelling conversation between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and legendary radio talk show host Ronn Owens. Owens is about to mark his 40th anniversary with the heritage San Francisco outlet KGO – having survived numerous regimes and ownership changes during that four-decade period, including the controversial 2011 reorganization of the station from a news/talk format to an all-news direction that left Owens the station’s only full-time talk show host. In addition, Owens recently disclosed publicly that he has been privately dealing with the challenges of Parkinson’s Disease for the past 13 years that has progressed to the point that he will be undergoing a leading-edge form of surgery called Deep Brain Stimulation. This aggressive procedure, when successful, has been shown to alleviate the incurable neurological disorder’s movement-prohibiting symptoms. Owens – ranked by TALKERS as one of the 25 most important radio talk show hosts of all time — discusses his career and views on talk radio, including the power of local programming, options beyond the left/right paradigm, the disastrous simulcast of his show on KGO and KABC, Los Angeles in 1997-98 and the impact of cell phones on the format, plus more. He also candidly talks about his quiet battle with advancing Parkinson’s Disease, his decision to open up about it and details of the exotic form of brain surgery that he will be facing in August. Harrison says of Owens, “This man is truly one of the giants of the industry. Just like all the truly great performers of the talk radio arts, he rises above technique and has made it big simply based upon his unique brand of ‘personhood’ – an elusive quality that the Dickey Brothers obviously recognize – and speaks volumes about their nuanced awareness factor. Add to that, his backbone is of figurative steel as he faces an experimental form of invasive surgery. Ronn Owens is an inspiration to us all, professionally and personally. I am so darned pleased to be able to present this podcast to the industry and the world.” This is a must-listen for members of the professional radio community. To hear the entire podcast, 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.
LeGrett Lands iHeartMedia LA Market President Slot. Currently senior vice president of operations for approximately 225 iHeartMedia stations in roughly 50 northeast and midwest markets, Kevin LeGrett is shifting to market president for the company’s eight-station Los Angeles cluster. Executive vice president of operations for iHeartMedia – and the company’s Southern California president – Greg Ashlock (to whom LeGrett will report) comments, “Kevin has a successful track record leading operations and accelerating growth across multiple regions. He has earned the right to lead our largest market. His vast experience managing talent and revenue across so many diverse markets and stations will allow him to bring a unique perspective to our Los Angeles portfolio – a portfolio that I have been blessed to directly manage for the last decade that hosts the most compelling on-air talent and most innovative leaders in the business.” LeGrett states that he is “thrilled” at the “opportunity to lead” the “extremely talented” Los Angeles team. He further states, “iHeartMedia Los Angeles has some of the most iconic brands and beloved personalities in the country. With the instantaneous success of [urban contemporary KRRL] ‘Real 92.3’ and the continued stellar ratings and thriving pop culture events such as ‘Wango Tango’ and ‘Jingle Ball,’ it is an exciting time for the market. I look forward to the opportunity to further build on the team’s already enormous success.” LeGrett, who begins his new duties in three weeks (8/3), joined iHeartMedia five years ago as vice president and market manager for the company’s Rochester stations. He will be leading a Los Angeles group of properties that includes hot AC KBIG “My-FM” and adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103.5,” tied for second in Nielsen Audio‘s June 2015 PPM, each with 5.1 (6+). Also in the top ten this June are iHM CHR KIIS “Kiss-FM” (#4, 4.9) and talk KFI (#8, 3.5). The rest of the company’s Los Angeles cluster consists of aforementioned urban contemporary KRRL “Real 9.2.3” (formerly urban-rhythmic oldies KHHT “Hot 92.3,” #11, 3.1); alternative KYSR “Alt 98.7” (#20, 2.3); and sports/Los Angeles Dodgers’ flagship KLAC and talk KEIB (both with .9, tied at #30).
Cumulus Media Expands Brand Partnerships Team. This move includes promotions for two current Cumulus Media staffers. The company says that in expanding the Brand Partnerships team, it has named Leslie Slender vice president, Brand Partnerships and Events, and Leslie Caraccilo, vice president, Brand Partnerships. The Brand Partnerships division is responsible for developing “unique experiential opportunities for Cumulus and Westwood One, connecting advertisers to its listening audiences and leveraging its integrated radio, digital, social and live events platform.” Slender has been serving as Cumulus New York’s corporate director, events and marketing. She’ll continue to oversee marketing and events for Cumulus New York stations. Caraccilo has been with the company for five years as was most recently senior director of digital monetization. She’ll continue to oversee digital sales strategy for Cumulus. Cumulus SVP of Brand Partnership Tommy Page states, “We are excited to welcome these two talented professionals to the Brand Partnerships team. Leslie Slender is a rare example of a marketer that is not only outstanding at producing and executing live events, but also knows how to package these opportunities for advertisers. Leslie Caraccilo has done an incredible job of creating custom digital and content solutions for our advertisers across the Cumulus platform. Her understanding of artist programming and deep knowledge of the digital space make her a natural fit for our Brand Partnerships team. With these strong additions to our already stellar Westwood One events group, all Cumulus and Westwood One partners and advertisers will benefit from this powerhouse team’s expertise.”
USA Radio Network Helps Sponsor Broadcast of Family Leadership Summit. A live, five-hour broadcast from the Family Leadership Summit on Saturday, July 18 is being made available for free to broadcasters from USA Radio Networks in cooperation with Truth Radio Network. The Ames, Iowa event will originate from Iowa State University and be anchored by nationally syndicated host and political commentator Steve Deace and American values expert Steve Noble. The live broadcast will give voters the opportunity to hear from top conservative leaders and Republican presidential candidates, including: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Bob Vander Plaats. USA Radio Networks SVP of news operations Russ Jones says, “Iowa is a key battleground state for any presidential candidate. The Family Leadership Summit is the first major platform the electorate will get to hear how candidates would lead the nation.”
Art Bell Returns to Airwaves in Portland on Monday. We’ve known for some time now that Art Bell has been preparing to return to hosting a nightly program via his Dark Matter Digital Network, but now Alpha Media announces the originator of “Coast to Coast AM” will bring his new show – “Midnight in the Desert” – to KXL-FM, Portland beginning Monday, July 20. The show will air from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am local time and will follow Clyde Lewis’ “Ground Zero.” Alpha Portland SVP/market manager Milt McConnell comments, “Art is an American original in terms of putting the paranormal on the radio landscape. We are so proud to extend his coverage to the Northwest where there is a rabid appetite for his unique brand of communication.”
2015 Marconi Finalists Announced. The 2015 Marconi Award finalists have been announced by the NAB. The annual awards, to be given out during the NAB Radio Show in Atlanta on October 1, are divvied up into 20 categories. Legendary Station of the Year finalists include: news/talk outlets KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa; WHIO-AM, Dayton; and all-news KYW, Philadelphia. Major Market Personality of the Year finalists include: Felger & Massarotti from sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston and Hal Jay from news/talk WBAP, Dallas. View all the finalists here.
WYM Media to Distribute Malcolm Out Loud Features. Through WYM Media Management, radio news commentator Malcolm Out Loud is expanding his daily radio presence with three new features. “Out Loud News and Comment” is the news of the day with Malcolm’s unique twist; “Out Loud America” is a “relevant and timely commentary from Malcolm”; and “Brink Thinking Out Loud” is “motivational content and inspiring stories and positive events shaping our world.” Malcolm Out Loud is a motivational speaker, innovator and creator of the popular websites OutLoudAmerica.com and BrinkThinking.com.
KCMO, Kansas City Holds Drive to Assist Mother of Six Caught Shoplifting. The case of homeless widow and mother-of-six Sarah Robinson was the focus of attention for Cumulus Media’s Kansas City radio stations, led by news/talk KCMO on Saturday as it held a donation drive Saturday for the family. Robinson was cited for shoplifting at a local Walmart but the officer who responded, Mark Engravalle, decided to pay for the diapers and wipes for her twin two-year-olds and bought shoes for her other girls. After hearing the woman’s story of desperation, the stations planned a two-hour donation drive that netted cash, diapers, baby wipes, clothing, blankets, food, toiletries and other items. KCMO morning host Rob Carson hosted both Robinson and Officer Engravalle on his show on Monday. Officer Engravalle remains touched that he’s changed someone’s life for the better and he is in constant touch with Sarah, who is off the street with her girls in temporary lodging, while something more permanent is being arranged. The generosity continues with a local law firm offering her a job.
Odds & Sods. Texas-based talk show host Lynn Woolley is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his talk show. Woolley says his days as a talk show host go back to 1995 when he and two partners operated KTEM, Kileen-Temple…..The NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and Capitol Broadcasting Company have reached a multi-year agreement for WCMC, Raleigh “99.9 The Fan” to continue serving as the team’s flagship station through the 2019-20 season.
Cool Job Opportunity. NBC Sports Radio in Culver City, California is looking for the next great sports talk producer! Are you totally immersed in all things sports? Can you oversee and manage a top-notch, daily sports talk show and book compelling guests and newsmakers? Can you handle show/talent/guest prep, organize formats and rundowns, develop content, fact-check and research, and distribute social media and digital content across platforms? Do you have excellent live and studio production skills using multiple software programs, including Adobe Audition and Pro Tools? If you can do all this and have 3-4 year’s major market or network experience, we want to talk to you! Send a link to work materials, including resume and audio samples, to Jack Silver, Program Director, at email@example.com. No calls, please.
WBAP, Dallas’ Bushman Recognized with Regional Murrow Award. WBAP, Dallas-Fort Worth news staffer Eric Bushman was recently honored with Regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association for his reporting on the U.S. Ebola outbreak last year. Dallas was “Ground Zero” for Bushman’s story, and he was lead reporter from start to finish. This is the second consecutive year Bushman has been honored with a Murrow Award. Last year, he received one for his comprehensive coverage of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. WBAP, Dallas operations and program manager Tyler Cox comments, “Eric’s work represents the type of reporting that is the signature of the WBAP news staff: comprehensive, in-depth, and sticking with the story from start-to-finish.”
Nicole Sandler Auctioning Cool Radio Memorabilia for Radio Or Not. Progressive talk personality Nicole Sandler is opening up her archives of radio memorabilia for an auction to help support her Radio Or Not digital platform. Sandler says she’s always vowed to not put her content behind a paywall and this auction – which starts tomorrow (7/15) – will help her costs of operation. Sandler is not the only radio pro who’s been collecting cool radio and music artifacts over the years. In fact, TALKERS editors believe one of the interesting, untold stories in the radio biz is just what these personal treasure troves contain. Sandler’s has some pretty fun items that come from her days producing for Jim Kerr at WPLJ, New York and for Mark & Brian at KLOS, Los Angeles. Note the autographed guitar pictured above that’s been signed by Johnny Cash, BB King, Les Paul, James Taylor, Roger Daltrey, Todd Rundgren and others. Then, for political wonks, the Bill and Hillary corkscrew-nutcracker pair pictured here at right make the perfect election year gift! Sandler’s auction site is: radioornot.com/auction.
2016 Presidential Candidates/Scott Walker Joins Race, Mexican Drug Lord Prison Escape, Iran Nuclear Talks, NYC Eric Garner Settlement, Immigration Policy-Sanctuary Cities, Greek Debt Deal, and MLB All-Star Break Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/13). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s entering the primary race; the escape from prison of Mexico’s most notorious drug lord; the conclusion of negotiations between Iran and the West over its nuclear program; New York City’s settlement with the family of Eric Garner over his death at the hands of an NYC cop; the ongoing controversy over the nation’s illegal immigration policy and the country’s sanctuary cities; the Greek debt solution and the effects on the EU; and the Major League Baseball All-Star festivities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Programming Changes Take Effect in Indy; Limbaugh Moves to WNDE. Today, Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh moves from his longtime place on Emmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis to iHeartMedia-owned crosstown sports talk WNDE – a move announced earlier this year. At WIBC-FM, the new lineup sans Limbaugh includes the new show “The 10@10 with Mike Wilson and Ray Steele,” a program and will run down the top 10 stories of the day at 10:00 am. Greg Garrison moves to the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm slot and Radio America-syndicated “The Dana Show” with Dana Loesch airs from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The “Chicks on the Right” with Daisy and Mockarena airs from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and “Abdul at Large” with local political writer, educator and media personality Abdul-Hakim Shabazz from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Cooke: Turning Digital Disappointment into Direct Success. Radio consultant Holland Cooke presented at two state broadcasters’ conferences recently and he says the common thread from all three sessions was the following: “Recent years’ radio revenue data has many shrugging that ‘flat is the new up.’ Less so in small and medium markets, where local direct retail comprises more of radio’s income than in big markets where transactional business is the ball game. And in every market, digital is the shiny object sucking dollars away from legacy media. Especially ours. Ask car stores: Detroit is telling them to move radio money online.” And while digital is expected to eclipse all other ad platforms by 2017 (in terms of dollars spent), there are those who dare to question digital’s efficacy relative to ‘legacy’ media. In today’s column, Cooke offers some advice for reigniting the power of radio as a sales vehicle. Read the entire piece here.
Cumulus Draws Local Criticism from Press, Unions for Closing KGO’s South Bay Bureau. Noting that the South Bay bureau of news/talk KGO, San Francisco has been open for more than four decades, the San Jose Mercury News’ Scott Herhold laments the decision of Cumulus Media to shutter the two-staffer office in San Jose without notice. Reporting that Jennifer Hodges and Jeanne Lynch were let go June 26, the paper says even San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo wrote Cumulus’ Lee Hammer writing, in part, that the closure “wouldn’t serve the station well to abandon the region’s biggest city and hope that folks could simply phone it in.” SAG AFTRA (which represents also registered its displeasure by asking listeners to do the same via a petition at its savelocalradio.org site.
Michael Savage Announces Winners of $100,000 Scholarship Contest. Nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Savage announced the five winners of his “What Does It Mean to Be an American?” essay contest on July 2. The winners – Alex Peterson, James Lutack, Heather Fisher, Curtis Butterfield and Mark Bragg – will each receive a $20,000 scholarship over a two-year period. The Westwood One-syndicated host says he launched the unprecedented $100,000 scholarship fund in early 2015 with the intention of promoting traditional American values among conservative college students. Savage says he received approximately 1,700 entries, and the five carefully selected winning essays “honor the principles that America was built upon and discuss the country’s past, present and future.” You can read the winning essays here.
Heavy Hundred Host Ethan Bearman’s New Book, Liars & Whores: How Big Government and Big Business are Working to Save their Own Assets, Not Yours (Talkers Books, 2015), Released Today. Praised by the TALKERS editorial board as being “one of the rising stars of talk radio – a new voice of Generation X” – KSFO, San Francisco (local) and GCN (national) radio talk show host Ethan Bearman adds “published author” to his growing list of credentials with the official release today of his new book, Liars & Whores; How Big Government and Big Business Are Working to Save Their Own Assets, Not Yours (Talkers Books, 2015). The book – a populist, non-partisan approach to the economic and social challenges faced today by the average person trying to make a living and feed his or her family against the backdrop of an increasingly corrupt corporate and government culture – addresses the key issues of these times and marks the return of TALKERS magazine to the book publishing business after a 10 year hiatus. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “What makes this book so fresh and exciting is the fact that it is a manifesto that ‘works’ in any of today’s competing political ideologies… that is what makes Ethan Bearman such an effective up-and-coming host with razor-sharp teeth, and now a superb guest for any talk show that deals with current events.” For more information about Ethan Bearman and the book, please click here. To schedule Ethan Bearman for a talk radio interview call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Odds & Sods. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting that, based on a recent memo from American Public Media CEO Jon McTaggart there are cuts coming to the public radio corporation this month. Saying the company “cannot succeed with ‘business as usual,’” he tells staffers, “We will stop some programming and create capacity for new content and innovative audience services. We will eliminate and change positions in some departments, and create capacity for new positions in others.”…..Saga Communications is relocating the newly acquired Illinois Radio Network from Chicago to the state’s capital of Springfield. According to a report from WAND-TV, Springfield, WTAX, Springfield news director Alex Degman adds ND duties for the network to his responsibilities, replacing Jim Anderson. Dave Dahl stays aboard at the capitol and will add WTAX morning anchor duties. WTAX’s Will Stevenson assists the network with Springfield and Capitol coverage. Current IRN staffers John Gregory and Jason Goch will continue to be based in Chicago.
Hyper-Local Radio. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (the hipster on the left wearing the Broadcasters Foundation baseball hat) stopped by the reviewing stand at the East Longmeadow (MA) Independence Day Parade on Saturday (7/4) to say hi to his buddy Brad Shepard (right) who was serving as emcee of the annual event. Shepard is the general manager and star host of the recently launched, hyper-local online station, Pioneer Valley Radio (www.PioneerValleyRadio.com), designed to super-serve the Western Massachusetts communities of the Greater Springfield Metropolitan Area. The station’s format is best described as “personality-oriented public affairs” geared to the community, its leaders and most-active citizens. Harrison, a primary backer of the internet media station, says, “Everyone knows that I am a strong advocate and supporter of local radio as well as non-traditional online programming. How could I resist getting involved with and supporting a project of this nature in my own backyard? Of all my many projects, Pioneer Valley Radio is one of the most exciting and fulfilling. The positive response from the good folks who keep the wheels turning in this region has been incredibly gratifying.”
Michigan and Rhode Island Talk Personality Dave Barber Dead at 60. Family, friends, the talk radio business and the Rhode Island political scene are remembering Dave Barber today after he succumbed to what his brother Larry called a “catastrophic health event” in Michigan 10 days ago. Barber – who had been serving as host of the Rhode Island General Assembly’s TV program “Straight from the Gavel” – was put into a medically induced coma after choking during a rehearsal dinner for a friend’s wedding. Complications ensued and Barber was not able to emerge from the coma. He died on Saturday (7/4). Barber was a longtime Flint, Michigan talk host – serving at such signals as WTRX, WTAC, and WFDF – before joining WPRO, Providence in 2006. Two years later he took up the “Straight from the Gavel” gig and had been doing it ever since. You can see a tribute video of Dave Barber from Art Vuolo here.
WBT, Charlotte’s John Hancock Kicks Off Fourth Peanut Butter ‘N’ July Food Drive. WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte afternoon drive personality John Hancock is working with local merchant Harris Teeter and peanut butter manufacturer Jif for the “Peanut Butter ‘N’ July” benefit for Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. Saying that the high protein food is one of the most requested items for those who benefit from their services, WBT has launched a campaign to bring attention to the importance of this product. Hancock and other WBT personalities will be appearing at Harris Teeter locations during the month of July to collect unopened jar of peanut butter.
8th Annual Troopathon Raises $280,000. Co-hosts Melanie Morgan of KSRO, Santa Rose, California (left) and WABC, New York personality Rita Cosby (right) share a laugh with Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh via Skype during the recent “Troopathon” fundraiser organized by the group Move America Forward. The organization has been raising cash to send care packages to troops on the front lines in Afghanistan and raised $280,000 during this year’s program that ended June 25. Cosby says, “The participation of radio personalities played a huge role in the success of this year’s Troopathon. This year, we were joined by my co-host Melanie Morgan, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Geraldo Rivera, Brian Kilmeade, Dennis Miller, Adam Corolla, and Herman Cain.” Celebrities who assisted with the effort included rock legend Ted Nugent, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Super Bowl Champion quarterback Joe Theisman, singer Tony Orlando, TV host Nancy Grace, and many more.
Jack Swanson to Lead KCBS, San Francisco Programming. Legendary spoken-word programmer Jack Swanson is named director of news and programming for KCBS “All News Radio 740AM and 106.9FM.” CBS RADIO SVP and market manager Doug Harvill says, “Jack has a distinguished track record of leading iconic radio stations. He’s a terrific leader with a deep understanding of how a market leading station such as KCBS can be a trusted and active member of its community.” Swanson served for years as vice president of programming at Cumulus Media’s KGO and KSFO, San Francisco. He began his radio career as a news anchor/reporter for WLS, Chicago before becoming the news and program director for KGO, San Francisco. From there he became president and general manager for KING-FM, Seattle. He says, “Being asked to lead one of the best news teams in the country is one of those rare situations that don’t present themselves often. I’m looking forward to contributing to the amazing growth of this legendary station in the years ahead.”
Fruge, Thomas Involved in CBS Radio Programming Changes. Concurrent with CBS Radio Las Vegas vice president of programming Charese Fruge transferring to Houston for similar duties (and to be operations manager there), the company promotes Cat Thomas to succeed Fruge in Las Vegas. Thomas will continue as day-to-day programmer of Las Vegas’ KXTE “X107.5 – Alternative First”; talk KXNT AM & FM; and KXST “CBS Sports Radio 1140.” Senior vice president and CBS Radio Houston market manager Sarah Frazier comments, “Charese is a talented programmer and leader. Her longstanding relationships in the music industry, passion for radio, and ability to create special experiences for the listener are an integral part of why she is such a great fit for Houston. We are thrilled to have her join the Houston team, as we continue to grow and build upon our brands under her guidance.” Fruge remarks, “This role is the opportunity of a lifetime and a chance to finally be back in the south. I am honored and am looking forward to working with the Houston team to help take these amazing brands to the next level. I have made lifelong friends in Las Vegas and appreciate them always making me look good.” Meanwhile, senior vice president and CBS Radio Las Vegas market manager Jerry McKenna states, “Cat Thomas is a veteran programming executive whose experience in this market is unmatched. He has successfully programmed [CHR] KLUC for the better part of two decades and most recently, has been the driving force behind the success of our spoken-word brands. Our stations are in very capable hands.” According to Thomas, “This is a dream come true. We have the biggest brands in the market. I have loved this group since we put these stations together in 1996. None of this would be possible without the passion of our staff. As [the late Ohio State University football coach] Woody Hayes said, ‘You win with people,’ and we have great people from top to bottom.” A member of the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, Fruge will oversee programming for hot AC KHMX “Mix 96.5”; sports outlets KIKK-AM and KILT-AM; country KILT-FM “The Bull”; CHR KKHH “Hot 95-7”; and Spanish contemporary KLOL “Mega 101.” She starts her new assignment – which will include day-to-day PD responsibilities for “Mix” and “Hot” – one week from Monday (5/4). Her resume includes on-air and programming stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, San Diego, Denver, and New Orleans. In addition to KXTE, KXNT AM & FM, and KXST, Ohio State University alum Thomas will oversee CHR KLUC “Las Vegas’ #1 Hit Music Station” and hot AC KMXB “Mix 94.1.” Eight years after being night personality at KLUC, Thomas was elevated to program director (1996); he became PD of KXNT AM & FM, KXST, and KXTE last year. Similar to Fruge, Thomas’ first day on his new job is one week from Monday (5/4). Elsewhere at CBS Radio Las Vegas, KLUC assistant program director John “J.B. King” Bernard is promoted to program director and “Mix” assistant program director/music director Jonathan “J. Love” Campbell is boosted to PD of that station. Bernard joined KLUC 17 years ago and has been APD since 2001. He previously worked in San Francisco, Phoenix, and Sacramento. With CBS Radio Las Vegas the past three years, Campbell formerly programmed in Providence, Oxnard-Ventura (California), and Reno (Nevada).
The Howie Carr New England Juggernaut Rolls On. In a remarkable display of just how potent an independent regional talk radio network can be, radio/newspaper/author phenomenon Howie Carr continues to expand the reach of his Howie Carr Radio Network north into New Hampshire and southeast into Connecticut. Bringing the growing lineup to 22 radio stations (including flagship WRKO, Boston) are WASR, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire as well as Connecticut’s WMRD, Middletown and WLIS, Old Saybrook. On penetrating the Nutmeg State, Carr tells TALKERS, “I’ve always had a sizable audience in Connecticut, and I’m happy that my listeners there can now find me even more easily. As a kid, I wanted to go to Wesleyan, and now I’m in Middletown — and Old Saybrook.” Don DeCesare, president/GM of WLIS/WMRD adds, “We’re thrilled to have Howie Carr as part of our onair lineup. Howie has been New England’s voice for years. We’re proud to add that voice now and be his stations in Connecticut.” Regarding this latest expansion of Carr’s network, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is only going to be a matter of months before the flood dam bursts and Howie Carr becomes a major national host eventually heard in all 50 states. He is at the top of his game.” Meet Howie Carr at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12. The annual conference is on the verge of a sellout. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413 or click here.
Salem Radio Network Welcomes Michael Medved Back. It’s a gradual return to his daily, syndicated talk radio show, but Michael Medved is slowly working his way back after treatment for throat cancer. Medved announced his hiatus from the program back on January 30. Now, SRN VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “We are SO grateful to have Michael Medved transitioning back into his SRN talk show. Monday he appeared by phone, and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday he has been in his Seattle studio, hosting guests like U.S. Senator John McCain for discussion of today’s Obama apology for U.S. raids killing two hostages, plus the Senate confirmation of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General of the United States.” Medved has been a nationally syndicated host for the past 18 years.
Jim Gearhart and New Jersey 101.5 Morning Show to Broadcast from Battelship New Jersey. In recognition of Memorial Day, WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” morning host Jim Gearhart and the rest of the morning show will broadcast from the deck of the Battleship New Jersey on May 22. In a letter inviting listeners to attend the broadcast, Gearhart writes, in part, “While the nation celebrates the start of summer this year, I invite you, your family and friends to honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans and active military during a special live broadcast of the ‘New Jersey 101.5 Morning Show’ aboard America’s most decorated battleship. The morning show team will be on the deck of Battleship New Jersey, located on the waterfront in Camden on Friday, May 22 joined by veterans, honor guards, military agencies and state dignitaries for patriotic music, discussions and storytelling…As a Naval veteran and the father of two enlisted men, it is my privilege to commemorate our military this Memorial Day Weekend, and I encourage all active and retired servicemen and women, as well as civilians, to come enjoy the show and share their appreciation for those who make America the land of the free and home of the brave.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Dr. Joy Browne show is added to the program schedule on WOMI, Owensboro, Kentucky…..Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” adds new affiliate stations WCGO, Evanston, Illinois; WMXI-FM, Laurel, Mississippi; KFEQ, Saint Joseph, Missouri; and KELY, Ely, Nevada to its roster…..AdLarge Media reports “The National Marijuana News” program is added to the lineup at: WHIG, Colorado Springs; WPEK-AM, Asheville, North Carolina; and WNOS, New Bern, North Carolina…..Christian radio offering “The HopeLine with Dawson McAllister” is two months into syndication and already heard on nearly 100 stations including recent new affiliates: WGEN-FM, Chicago and the MyGen Radio Network; WTRJ-FM, Jacksonville; and WCLN-FM, Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Iran Nuclear Negotiations Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of April 20-24. The negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the ISIS violence tied with the military action taking place in Yemen. Coming in at #3 was the 2016 presidential prospects tied with the scrutiny of the operation of the Clinton Foundation, followed by the death of two hostages at the hands of American drones 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.
iHeartMedia Previews New Podcast Initiative at First-Ever ‘Soundfront’ in NYC. Yesterday, iHeartMedia presented the “Soundfront” event in New York to preview its new original audio programs. The company says this new content “will allow marketers to collaborate with a host of celebrities and talent through customized and creative storytelling.” Speaking about the company’s need to explore the audio-on-demand marketplace is iHeartMedia CMO/EVP Gayle Troberman, who says, “In the age of visual distraction and shorter attention spans, audio has the ability to break through and get heard better than any other advertising. We are seeing increased engagement in audio programming both on air and via podcast, and original audio forces us to get back to the basics of telling stories simply and honestly, which consumers love. We believe most marketers are massively under-invested in the power of sound and the iHeartMedia Soundfront is our opportunity to challenge the industry to explore the creative potential of sound to tell and sell better.” Saying that it is teaming with “a broad spectrum of A-list producers, musicians, actors, music industry veterans and curators,” the company announces some of the people it is working with, including: “Skybound Rundown” (podcast): From the producers of “The Walking Dead” TV show and gaming franchise focusing on the world of indie gaming; “Heart of the Beat” (podcast): Artist and musician Jared Leto will bring sound and storytelling together in this original audio show that allows artists to reveal the method behind their madness; “Who is Marty Hirsch?” (podcast) is the first-ever audio mockumentary, building off successes like “This Is Spinal Tap” and “Almost Famous” to tell a story of a mythical music icon. iHeartMedia has partnered with Trium Entertainment (the creator and executive producer of “The Biggest Loser”) to produce a number of podcasts including: “The Vent” hosted by Jaime Pressly; “Get Mic’d” – a talent search show for the next great iHeartMedia DJ; and “Science of Success” with Jonah Berger. The iHeartMedia-Trium relationship will also produce videocasts and the hiring away of Big Boy from Emmis in Los Angeles is relevant here as he’ll host “Urban Legends with Big Boy,” a hip hop show. “Z100” New York-based personality Elvis Duran will also host a videocast titled, “The Elvis Sessions” in which he “digs throughout the day-to-day gossip and connects with the true passion that drives artists and celebrities.” Other videocasts will include “On the Fly with Paul Costabile” and “My Journey.” iHeartMedia also used the event to announce an expanded relationship with Snapchat, details of which are expected to come in the future. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel was in attendance discussing iHeartMedia’s unique positioning to “use the power of sound to drive social results.” Pictured here are (from l-r): iHeartMedia Entertainment Enterprises president John Sykes, iHeartMedia president and CFO Richard Bressler, Snapchat co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel, and iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman.
Facing “Weak Markets,” Emmis Seeks Covenant Relief from Lenders. In a filing with the SEC, Emmis Communications presents historical performance data and forward-looking statements as it seeks covenant relief for the quarters ended May 31 2015 through February 28 2017. Emmis says it is outperforming its markets but the problem is that the markets are weak – for example, citing New York figures showing Emmis down 6% while the market as a whole was down 7.3% over the nine-month period ended November 30, 2014. It says the battle between its urban KPWR, Los Angeles and iHeartMedia’s new KRRL (which is benefitting from its luring morning talent Big Boy away from KPWR) is causing it to face “new headwinds.” In New York, the company says the market was weak throughout calendar 2014 – down mid- to high-single digits after being up 5% in calendar 2013. It reports national was off by 30% during the 2014 summer months and down 18% for the nine months ended November 30, 2014. Emmis states that it finished fiscal 2015 under its 6.00x covenant at 5.40x but “wants to constructively manage compliance with sufficient cushion.” It goes on to show its efforts to control costs by noting it has “reduced cash operating costs by $7 million as part of its fiscal 2016 budget.” You can see the entire lender presentation here.
Panel of Radio Hunter-Gatherers to Discuss Generating Revenue in Changing Marketplace. One of the power-packed, panel discussions scheduled for Talkers New York 2015, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in a Changing Paradigm,” will tackle the many challenges and identify opportunities in the sales end of the business today. The lineup features a diverse array of what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “major league ‘hunter-gatherers’ covering the spectrum of broadcasting situations today.” Moderated by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, the lineup presents (in alphabetical order): Vince Benedetto, president/CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Kathy Carr, VP, sales & marketing, Howie Carr Radio Network; Jerry Crowley, VP/GM, WNYM/WMCA, New York; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media; Tom Leykis, CEO, The New Normal; and Cary Pahigian, president/GM, WBAL/WIYY, Baltimore. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey adds, “This panel will provide a wide variety of valuable takeaways. You have a dynamic, young owner of a medium-sized, up-and-coming group (Vince Benedetto); a seasoned sales and management pro who has masterminded one of the model examples of a powerful and lucrative regional talk network (Kathy Carr); a veteran major market general manager with an impressive sales track record (Jerry Crowley); one of talk radio’s most aggressive impresarios who has built a major sales rep firm and is instrumental in monetizing the careers of numerous syndicated and satellite radio stars (Ron Hartenbaum); an independent, high-profile radio talent who is doing it on his own in cyberspace and showing a profit (Tom Leykis); and a highly accomplished, medium/large market GM who is at the helm of one of the nation’s most historic heritage properties (Cary Pahigian). This is not to be missed.” Talkers New York 2015 is nearing a sellout. For registration and sponsorship information, please click here.
WGN, Chicago Legend Spike O’Dell to Appear on Steve Cochran Show. Former WGN, Chicago personality Spike O’Dell – an inductee in this year’s class of the WGN Radio Walk of Fame – will be a part of the station’s Steve Cochran show tomorrow morning (4/24). Cochran is broadcasting his show from the CMT Studios in Nashville the day after the Chicago Blackhawks play the Predators in game 5 of the first round of the NHL playoffs. O’Dell hosted afternoons on WGN from 1987 to 2000. He took over the morning show after the death of Bob Collins and hosted it until December of 2008.
Hofstra’s WRHU-FM, Signs Deal with New York Cosmos Soccer Franchise. One of the most decorated college radio stations in America, Hofstra University’s WRHU-FM, Hempstead, NY has added another major league sports franchise to its programming roster. The Marconi Award-winning outlet has signed a deal with the New York Cosmos soccer franchise. WRHU-FM will be the team’s official radio partner and flagship for the 2015 NASL soccer season. Students will perform all on and off air roles as they do with the station’s other major league partner, the NHL’s New York Islanders.
Odds & Sods. News/talk KRDO-FM, Colorado Springs is being sold by Optima Communications to Pike’s Peak Television for $2.5 million. Pike’s Peak is a subsidiary of News-Press & Gazette Company which owns KRDO-AM. Optima has been airing the KRDO-AM news/talk format on KRDO-FM for the past nine years…..ABC News is available on the Apple Watch. ABC says the app will “give you the world on your wrist. From real-time news updates with personalized notifications to live video and audio, the app keeps wearers in the know without disrupting the moments that matter.” Some of the features include “Stories In A Second” – “glanceable news that keeps you up to date with what’s breaking and showcases the latest hand-selected stories in all coverage areas.” The app will allow users to dig deeper into stories and video with the ability to seamlessly hand off to the user’s iPhone…..ESPN Radio is broadcasting the 2015 NFL Draft next Thursday (4/30) beginning at 7:00 pm ET with host Dari Nowkhah, NFL analyst Louis Riddick and NFL Insider John Clayton. Freddie Coleman will host post-draft coverage alongside NFL Insider Adam Kaplan on Thursday and Friday at 11:30 p.m…..Yahoo Sports Radio will present a five-hour program next Thursday for the first day of the NFL Draft. Featured on the show will be Steve Bunin and Yahoo Sports Radio host Jonathan Peterlin. Insider analysis will come from former Carolina Panthers general manager and Yahoo Sports Radio host Marty Hurney, and former NFL Quarterback and Yahoo Sports contributor Shaun King. The program airs from 8:00 pm to 1:00 am ET…..ABC News announces Karen Travers, Mary Bruce and Stephanie Ramos join the news organization as multi-platform reporters covering national and international news for all ABC News platforms with an emphasis on NewsOne, Radio and Digital.
FOX Sports Radio to Broadcast from Mayweather vs. Pacquiao Fight. Prior to the May 2 Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao welterweight fight in Las Vegas, FOX Sports Radio will broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The roundtable program will feature JT “The Brick,” Steve Gorman, Tomm Looney and Jeffrey Gorman. Stations wishing to bring some unique expertise to their coverage of this upcoming fight may consider booking Jackie Kallen (pictured here) or Ivan Goldman from Boxing Insider. Kallen has been involved in the sport of boxing for almost 35 years. She started as a boxing journalist, hosted her own talk radio show, then became the publicist for the legendary Kronk Gym in Detroit and eventually segued into management. Her success in the male-dominated business inspired the Meg Ryan film Against the Ropes. Goldman is a New York Times best-selling author. He has written for Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. He’s a Fulbright Scholar and an elector for the International Boxing Hall of Fame. To book either, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earth Day/Climate Change, Baltimore ‘Freddie Gray’ Protests, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Violence, Saudi Strikes on Yemen, Iran Nuclear Program Negotiations, North Korea Nukes Warning, and Gang Member Amnesty Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/22). The observation of Earth Day and the issue of climate change; continuing protests in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the violence being perpetrated by ISIS; the military strikes on Yemen by Saudi Arabia and the U.S.’ naval presence in the region; the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; China’s warning about the underestimated nuclear weapons arsenal held by North Korea; and the case of a gang member accused of murder receiving amnesty under President Obama’s executive order were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
iHeartMedia to Unveil Programmatic Ad Buying Platform. Enlisting Jelli to help devise the new platform, iHeartMedia announces it’s set to debut the programmatic radio ad-buying platform for its 850-plus radio stations in addition to making the technology available to other industry operators via its sales subsidiary Katz Media Group. Using cloud-based technology from Jelli, the platform will offer automated broadcast radio ad buying which it says is “the foundation for iHeartMedia to be able to offer its ad inventory to advertisers and agencies looking to leverage programmatic and automated technology including private market place and exchange environments to improve the buying process and reduce administrative hurdles and delays.” Further, the company asserts, “the new, programmatic solution will also allow iHeartMedia to apply its rich data and insights to the planning process and will utilize data sets to enable unique forms of targeting, such as music-based psychographic groups, weather and traffic patterns, purchase behavior and other environmental, population and consumer trends.” Additionally, Katz Media Group, the top national sales firm representing more than 275 radio broadcasters including iHeartMedia, Cumulus, Entercom, Cox Media Group and others, will launch ‘Expressway from Katz,’ the first industrywide programmatic buying ad exchange at scale for the radio industry’s most important players, which also uses the same technology. Katz Media Group president Mark Rosenthal says, “As the top national sales firm representing many great radio companies, we felt it was critical that radio take the lead. Expressway from Katz will deliver the capabilities and speed of automation and programmatic to all of our radio companies as we bring the power of radio to advertisers, providing unprecedented scale and customer knowledge.” Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “This partnership is an innovative milestone for the radio industry. Radio has always provided unmatched value, and now we can bring today’s data sources, targeting at scale and the speed, ease and precision of programmatic buying to our advertising partners, matching or exceeding the capabilities of any other media sector.”
Galliani Elevated to KGO, KSFO GSM. Three-year KGO and KSFO, San Francisco senior account manager and “team leader” Melissa Galliani is boosted to general sales manager of the Cumulus Media talk siblings. Cumulus vice president of sales for news/talk Jaysson Reno comments, “Melissa’s long-term association with KGO and KSFO makes her an invaluable asset within our company. Her high level of integrity, dedication, and track record made her the perfect fit for this well-deserved promotion.” Galliani – who possesses a San Francisco State University Bachelor’s degree and a Dominican University MBA in Team Leadership – states that she is “excited” and “pleased to be a part of the management team of KGO and KSFO, two brands that I hold close to my heart. I appreciate the opportunity to work with the radio stations in this new capacity. I will continue to value the team spirit for reaching our goals individually and collectively, and for meeting the needs of our marketing partners and advertisers.” After beginning her media career at KGO in 2000 as an account executive, Galliani was in business development at San Francisco’s KNTV-TV; local sales manager for KFRC, San Francisco; and KSFO’s local sales manager.
Stan Freberg Dead at 88. TALKERS magazine mourns the passing of radio and advertising legend Stan Freberg, who died Tuesday in Santa Monica, California at the age of 88. Freberg’s career covered just about all of the media bases – radio, television, publishing, records and advertising – and his humor was deemed as effective no matter into which medium he delved. TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey observes, “For those who may be under the impression that the video age has diminished the effectiveness of the audio arts, one need only look to the supremely creative work of Stan Freberg to see how wrong that impression is. He was, and still is, an inspiration to any who are working to create attention-grabbing audio.” See The New York Times’ obituary of Freberg here.
Can and Should You Censor a Political Ad? TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes today about the case involving Chicago’s ABC TV outlet and its refusal to run a political ad from a PAC. The case raises the issues of just what are the legal responsibilities of a broadcast outlet when I comes to political advertising? Does a station even have to accept political advertising at all? These and more questions are addressed by Weisman in the murky arena of political advertising on broadcast stations. Read it here.
Michael Harrison Chats with Dr. Joy Browne on Podcast “Up Close and Far Out” – Also Discusses the Relationship Between Information and the Fabric of Reality. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison engages in a fascinating, candid dialogue with syndicated radio psychologist Dr. Joy Browne on the fifth and latest installment of his weekly podcast series “Up Close and Far Out” on the platform, PodcastOne.com. Harrison and Browne tackle a variety of issues including the impact of the digital age on human thinking and social relationships, as well as the past, present and future of advice-giving in talk media. They talk about the importance of credentials, transparency and credibility in “doctor” shows, generational differences in the modern era and the state of the cinema and live theater in America. The podcast also includes Harrison’s ongoing observations about the relationship between media, technology and the wiring of the human nervous system. He boldly suggests that the “digital era,” in which we are rapidly becoming immersed, will not last as long as the “analogue era” from which we are exiting and that an even larger, more important era of human technological development is waiting in the wings, perhaps only 20 years down the road. Harrison states that this next era (that he cites on the podcast) will create changes in humanity that will make the current digital period seem quaint and primitive by comparison. To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” player located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS and RadioInfo websites.
Update: HD Radio Passes Benchmark. Several more car models – including the Mazda Miata MX-5, Nissan Maxima, and the Scion iA and iM – will have iBiquity Digital‘s HD Radio as standard equipment. That brings HD Radio’s total to over 200 vehicle models and iBiquity Digital chief operating officer Jeff Jury comments, “This is a tremendous milestone. More listeners are tuning in than ever before. Millions of new vehicle owners will get to enjoy HD Radio broadcasting. A record number of HD Radio-equipped vehicles have been sold this year. This is another step toward complete standardization of digital radio across North America.” The announcement was made at last week’s New York International Auto Show. Other vehicles that will offer HD Radio are the Honda Civic, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Optima, Lexus RX, Mitsubishi Outlander, and Toyota RAV4. More than 100 vehicle models are integrating digital radio technology as standard equipment.
Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation Names Board of Directors. In an effort to “help prepare tomorrow’s frontline communicators,” Bold Gold Media – operator of nine commercial radio stations in Northeast Pennsylvania and Upstate New York – is establishing the Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation. The foundation will focus its efforts on providing funding and resources to educational organizations that train tomorrow’s broadcast and media leaders. Now, Bold Gold president Vince Benedetto announces the board of directors for the foundation. It includes: Benedetto; Ashok Divecha, business manager, Bold Gold Media Group; Bob Soper, president, Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority; Justin Moon, president, Kahr Arms; Mike Bean, president, Mohegan Sun Pocono; Doug Fink, president, Pennsylvania Paper & Supply Company; Kevin Tinkelman, owner, Kevin’s Worldwide; Doug Thomas, president, Gateway Ford; Josh Sheard, president, Sage Investments; Bud Williamson, president, Digital Radio Engineering/ Neversink Media Group; Michael Harrison, publisher & editor, TALKERS and RadioInfo; and Jimmy Wayne, musician/writer/performer/author, president, Barbershop Tours, Project Meet Me Half Way.
Former WEEI, Boston Personality Jon Meterperel Debuts Podcast. Former longtime WEEI, Boston personality Jon Meterparel is debuting his new sports talk podcast with ONE World Sports on April 10. Dubbed, “The Meter Is Running,” the program promises to “deliver to fans insightful, lively – and occasionally controversial — conversations with some of the top influencers and stars in global sports. The show will be distributed on iTunes, social media platforms and ONEWorldSports.com.” Guests appearing for the first show are Sports Illustrated senior writer and MLB Network analyst Tom Verducci, offering his take on the 2015 MLB season’s hottest teams and players; and, reflecting on his NHL days, Stanley Cup-winning former New York Rangers coach “Iron” Mike Keenan, now coaching the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) 2014 championship team Metallurg MG. Future guests are to include: ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney, actor and producer Mike O’Malley and former “Saturday Night Live” writer and “30 Rock” executive producer Robert Carlock.
Odds & Sods. Alabama talk hosts Matt Murphy and Dale Jackson are now heard in multiple markets after Cumulus Media made the move to expand their presence. Murphy is based at the company’s news/talk WAPI, Birmingham, in middays and is now also heard on WLWI, Montgomery, Alabama and WVNN, Huntsville. Jackson is based at WVNN, Huntsville and is now also heard in mornings on WAPI…..Derek Fogel is promoted from executive producer to program director for Max Media-owned sports talker WXLT, Marion, Illinois “103.5 ESPN Southern Illinois.” Fogel will also serve as morning drive sports anchor for Max Media’s sister news/talk WJPF.
Rand Paul Announces Bid for President, California Drought, Iran Nuclear Negotiations, Religious Freedom Act/Indiana Pizza Joint Case, Russia Hacks White House Allegations, Yemen Military Action, SC Cop Charged with Murder, Rahm Emanuel Wins Re-Election Runoff, and MLB Season Opens Among Top News Stories Yesterday (4/7). Kentucky Senator Rand Paul officially announces his bid for president in 2016; the debate over the reasons for the California drought; the negotiations with Iran over the progress of its nuclear program; controversy over the various religious freedom acts and the case of the Indiana pizza joint threatened for supporting that state’s law; allegations the Russians are responsible for hacking the White House’s computer system; the Saudi-led military action taking place in Yemen; the case of the South Carolina police officer charged with murder for shooting a black motorist in the back as he fled a traffic stop; Rahm Emanuel survives a runoff election to remain mayor of Chicago; and the start of the 2015 baseball season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Mike Kinosian
While most will not admit it, they sense such genuine terms of endearment are really euphemisms that bring their mortality into question and are code for “old.”
In an oftentimes, if not all too customary, flavor-of-the-month industry where the next great star is eaten up and spit out after a 26-week run, it would be disingenuous though not to ascribe “icon/iconic” and “legend/legendary” to a talk host who has been top-of-mind for over three-dozen years.
This particular peerless personality has maintained an impeccable status of excellence while breaking basic (unwritten) talk radio rules.
Exemplary on-air work that is approaching four decades has been done without political bent and her legend of loyal listeners actually have meaningful life-altering changes owing to the unparalleled expertise of the program’s sage host. In a male-dominated spoken-word personality arena, this show’s headliner is one of only 12 women on TALKERS’ renowned “Heavy Hundred” of 2014, checking in at #44. (The new list for 2015 will be published within the next few weeks and this writer would not be surprised if she moves up significantly due to recent developments in her dynamic career.)
Added twist to the progressing journey of this generously genial, uncommonly cordial licensed clinical psychologist is that Dr. Joy Browne has taken proprietorship of her daily three-hour program.
DreX to Host New KGO, San Francisco Talk Show. Music radio personality DreX crosses into the news/talk realm with his new gig as evening host at Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco. The station notes that DreX worked in the market in the past at KSJO, San Jose – now “NASH FM 92.3.” DreX crafted successful CHR night shows in markets including San Antonio, Dallas and Philadelphia. He then shifted to mornings at signals such as WHYT, Detroit and WKSC, Chicago “Kiss FM.” Cumulus SVP of programming Mike McVay comments, “Drex brings a unique perspective to the news/talk format and an uncanny ability to entertain and inform in his own engaging style.” San Francisco VP/market manager Justin Wittmayer adds, “DreX brings his unique voice to KGO nights for a highly compelling program that is fresh, live and local. The Bay Area is in for quite an experience with DreX.”
Malzberg and Newsmax TV Extend Relationship. The new three-year deal keeps talk media pro Steve Malzberg hosting his Newsmax TV daily news and talk program that currently airs from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. Newsmax says in a statement that Malzberg is “a veteran TV and radio personality, [who] attracts a star-studded roster of news-breaking guests and delivers insightful commentary around topical, often-contentious issues that connect with audiences.” Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Steve Malzberg is a key member of our on-air team who brings a fearless and informed approach to news/talk programming. Our growing audience is truly responding to him and he will no doubt continue to deliver provocative talk and engagement with his guests as we enter into the pivotal, upcoming presidential election period.”
Mark Levin Show to Air on KRLA, Los Angeles. The Westwood One-syndicated Mark Levin show is moving to a prime spot in Los Angeles, airing live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT on Salem Communications-owned news/talk KRLA, effective February 3. With the change, Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt will move to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm timeslot. Salem SVP of spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “Rarely do you have the chance to add somebody of Mark’s quality in market #2, and we decided it was an opportunity we could not pass up. Hugh Hewitt is also a class act, so running these two back-to-back makes this lineup even stronger.” Levin states, “It’s an honor to join the wonderful lineup at KRLA. I know my great listeners, who include two of my biggest fans in the LA area (my kids, who live and work there!) will appreciate hearing the show LIVE, too!”
WNDB, Daytona Beach Producer Arrested on Child Porn Charges. According to a story by WKMG-TV, Orlando, WNDB, Daytona Beach executive producer Chand Worob has been taken into custody by Daytona Beach police on charges of receiving and distributing child pornography. The story reports police had been investigating the 25-year-old radio station staffer since October. They arrested him at the radio station where he works on the Marc Bernier morning show and served a warrant at his home where they reported finding a laptop with some 500 images on it.
CBS RADIO Ups Zeise at ‘Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan’ in Pittsburgh. The new evening personality at CBS RADIO sports talker KDKA-FM “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan” is Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sportswriter Paul Zeise. He’s been hosting programs at the station on a part-time basis since 2011. Program director Ryan Maguire says, “Paul has truly developed as a personality and we’re happy we could make him a larger member of our on-air team. Paul has strong ties within the local sports community and will provide unique insight and hard-hitting opinions that will resonate with our listeners.”
Fifth Annual ‘Imus on Broadway’ Happens on February 9. On Monday, February 9, New York radio legend and WABC morning drive personality Don Imus will present the fifth annual “Imus on Broadway” at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square. Ticket sales from the one-night only performance will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. New York Post theatre columnist Michael Riedel will join Imus as emcee. The evening will showcase live performances from some of Broadway’s top musicals including: Kinky Boots, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, It Shoulda Been You, Honeymoon In Vegas, The Lion King, Cabaret, Into The Woods, Les Miserables, Chicago and more!
WFAN, New York to Begin 5th ‘Fantasy Phenom Challenge.’ Next Sunday (2/8), CBS RADIO sports talker WFAN, New York kicks off the 5th “Fantasy Phenom Challenge” at the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station, New York in which contestants will have the chance to earn on-air shifts on “The Fan.” The station will register the first 100 contestants online and those will audition before a panel of judges at area shopping malls around the region. A change in this year’s competition will allow for finalists to receive personal coaching from one of WFAN’s on-air hosts! Up to 12 participants will move on to round two, where online voting will determine the top six contestants for the final. The finalists will be part of a special St. Patrick’s Day remote broadcast featuring WFAN’s Boomer and Carton show and simulcast on CBS Network. The Finals will be held in late March or early April on Mike Francesa’s afternoon drive show. “Fantasy Phenom” year 4 winner, Dimitri Adrahtas, is completing his one-year stint with the station broadcasting his show to Tri-State area listeners.
Odds & Sods. Longtime Los Angeles talk radio personality Marc Germain, formerly “Mr. KABC,” will host the evening show on CBS RADIO’s KXNT, Las Vegas all next week, February 2-6. Germain has been making his home in Sin City for the past five years and has been hosting a nightly live show and podcast from his TalkRadioOne.com base…..A new, four-year renewal between USC and ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA” means the station will continue to serve as the flagship radio outlet for Trojan football through the 2018-19 season. The deal also means approximately one-half of USC’s men’s basketball games will also air on “ESPNLA.”…..CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York begins its inaugural year of broadcasting the New York City Football Club with Tom Kolker, Glenn Crooks and Roberto Abramowitz handling the announcing duties. For English-language broadcasts, Tom Kolker is the new play-by-play voice and Glenn Crooks will provide in-game analysis. For Spanish-language broadcasts airing on WADO, they will be led by Roberto Abramowitz. A Spanish-language analyst will be named at a later date.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Dr. Joy Browne program – distributed nationally by Genesis Communications Network – is added to the program schedule at: WPTF, Raleigh; WDXR, Paducah, Kentucky; and WVFT, Tallahassee…..As noted earlier in the week, Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity joins the program schedule at Beasley Media Group’s KDWN, Las Vegas while Dave Ramsey moves to a live airing at CBS RADIO’s KXNT, Las Vegas…..The Kim Komando weekend “digital lifestyle” program is now airing on: Entercom’s WRKO, Boston; Townsquare Media’s simulcast KCHH and KBUL-AM, Billings, Montana; and WNBF, Binghamton, New York.
Northeast Blizzard Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 26-30. Winter storm Juno and the criticism of forecasters and government officials anticipating the event was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was the 2016 presidential race followed by ISIS threats tied with Taliban 5 developments at #3. 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.
Michael Harrison: Political News/Talk Radio Needs Fewer Lapdogs and More Watchdogs. In a new opinion piece posted today (11/21), TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (pictured here) suggests that the main element missing from today’s political news/talk radio mix is the old-fashioned “muckraker” who kept politicians of all political stripes – left and right – nervous and on their toes. Harrison says that the crop of tried-and-true political ideologues who’ve been on the air all these decades since the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine and are still going strong should be preserved – but not imitated. He writes, “There is nothing wrong with the current crop of long-standing, iconic figures of opinionated left vs right political discussion who have made talk radio and its stars household names. They should be protected and supported for what they do… because they are valuable and, more importantly, cannot easily be replaced. In fact, they shouldn’t be replaced. The last thing we need are more ‘B’ and ‘C’ level imitators and talking point ideologues in this format. We do not need lapdogs and mindless partisans clogging up the airwaves and bringing this format down! What we do need are more WATCHDOGS to round out what this format truly has to offer. I guess you can call them populists or independents – but it goes much deeper than just superficial labels. This industry needs talk show hosts – especially local ones – who don’t give a damn about political science ideology or carrying partisan water for their favorite ‘team,’ but rather keep a watchful eye and wag a fearless tongue on the biggest problem facing the American political system today.” If you want to find out what Harrison thinks is the biggest problem facing the American political system today, read the entire column by clicking here.
Cumulus Names Reno to Lead KGO and KSFO, San Francisco Sales. At the Bay Area cluster, Cumulus Media appoints sales pro Jaysson Reno to vice president, sales for heritage market news/talkers KGO and KSFO. Reno has worked in the San Francisco market for 10 years in the radio, digital and event space, and has led sales for the company’s rock KSAN and triple A KFOG since 2012. Cumulus San Francisco VP/market manager Justin Wittmayer says, “Jaysson brings strong leadership, a keen business sense and the market equity needed to drive advertiser performance and grow revenues. KGO and KSFO are legacy brands in which we will continue to invest to benefit our community, to enhance the user experience and to deliver superior advertiser results.”
Ben Finfer and Alex Quigley Also Casualties at Tribune Media. With the reported looming end of Tribune Media’s nine-month-old sports talk experiment on WGWG-LP comes news two staffers – Ben Finfer and Alex Quigley – learned about their imminent dismissal via Twitter while on the air. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the “Quigs and Finfer” personalities spoke on air about their disappointment, with Finfer saying, “We’re doing a live show here and to be told this way, it’s really a letdown. We’re getting screwed on this one…We just found out on Twitter a half hour ago that the station is being taken off the air. We were not told about this ahead of time.” The story broke via a Tweet and blog post by Chicago media writer Robert Feder (and TALKERS passed along the story to you) who learned about the changes from inside sources. It appears WGN and WGWG-LP management didn’t anticipate the news leaking out and although the station has not been performing in the ratings against competitors WSCR and WMVP, this is a bit of a PR black eye for Tribune Media.
Dave Ramsey Rocks Austin’s Bass Concert Hall. No, nationally syndicated financial talk superstar and best-selling author Dave Ramsey didn’t sing (as far as we know), but he did pack the house at the Bass Concert Hall in Austin, Texas last night (11/20) nonetheless. Ramsey presented his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” event in which he discusses how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage. Ramsey worked with local affiliate KJCE “Talk Radio 1370 AM” to promote this event. Entercom VP/market manager Alan Kirshbom comments, “Austin loves Dave! We are proud to welcome him back for what promises to be another exciting and uplifting event.” Pictured here are (from left to right): KJCE promotions director Aaron Hurd, KJCE director of sales Heather Baumli, Ramsey, KJCE program director Stephen Kerr, Kirshbom, and KJCE general sales manager Bob Woche.
RAB: Radio’s Q3 Revenue Dips 2%; Off-Air and Digital Jump. The 2014 third quarter radio revenue report from the Radio Advertising Bureau concludes radio’s total revenue dipped 2% — a bit better than Q2’s 3% drop (all comparisons are versus the same period in 2013). Breaking it down, spot revenue and network revenue fell back 3% and 4% respectively in Q3 this year compared to last, but digital and off-air revenue were up by 11% and 14% respectively. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments, “The increasing strength of radio’s digital platforms becomes more evident every quarter as advertisers recognize the unparalleled benefits of reaching radio’s dedicated audiences on every device and platform they are using. In addition, the growth in off-air opportunities for advertisers is a clear indication that radio is focused on continuing to deliver more innovative solutions to help them reach their consumers.” See the RAB’s report here.
Odds & Sods. Longtime Arkansas talk show host and programmer Dave Elswick begins duties as program director and afternoon drive host at Crain Media Group-owned KHTE, Little Rock. His program will also air on the company’s KSMD, Searcy, Arkansas (about 50 miles northeast of Little Rock) as Elswick begins building out the Dave Elswick Network. He worked for years at Cumulus Media’s KARN-FM, Little rock as PD and personality…..SiriusXM adds former NBA head coach George Karl to its roster of hoops experts on its NBA Radio channel. He debuts today (11/21) from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET and will host regularly throughout the season…..CBS RADIO‘s all-news KNX, Los Angeles will present a special program titled, “Immigration: The President Acts,” on Monday (11/24) from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. The show will include expert guests and listener call-ins. KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman will host the show.
Bell Media to Lay Off 80 Employees. Canadian broadcast giant Bell Media is announcing personnel cuts across its radio division that will affect some 80 people. As reported by the Windsor Star, the Windsor market (which operates four stations that also serve Detroit listeners) will lose seven staffers, but those people haven’t been identified yet. The stations in Windsor include: triple A CKLW-FM “The River 93.9,” alternative CIMX “89X,” oldies CKWW and news/talk CKLW-AM. The paper notes that Bell Media cut about 120 positions in the radio division back in June.
MIW Announces 2015 Mentoring Program. The details of the 2015 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program from the Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group are available. The 14-year-old program matches up-and-coming women in the radio industry with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of radio. 2015 Mentoring Committee chair Lindsay Cerajewski (who also serves as sales manager at CBS RADIO’s WUSN, Chicago) says, “This is a wonderful opportunity for mentees to gain valuable insight, knowledge and access to some of the most influential women in radio. We look forward to another outstanding program in 2015.” A total of four candidates from the radio broadcasting industry – within the sales, marketing, programming and digital disciplines – will be selected for the 2015 program. Of those, at least one spot will be designated for a programming candidate, and one spot designated for a digital candidate. For mentee criteria and instructions on how to apply, please visit http://tinyurl.com/miwmentee. The deadline to apply is Friday, December 12, 2014.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Dr. Joy Browne program is added to the program schedule at WGNC, Gastonia, North Carolina.
Obama Amnesty Executive Action Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 17-21. The plan by President Obama to use executive action to give amnesty to some 5 million undocumented aliens was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was the videotaped speeches of Affordable Care Act architect Jonathan Gruber. At #3 was the tension over the grand jury’s anticipated decision whether to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and at #4 was the record snowfall in Buffalo and the early cold snap. 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.
Chip Franklin Named Midday Host at KGO, San Francisco. The next step in returning KGO to its talk roots from the newsy experiment that began a few years ago comes as Chip Franklin takes over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot beginning December 8. Franklin has had long talk radio stints – most recently with KOGO, San Diego from 2007 to 2013 and with WBAL, Baltimore from 1999 to 2007 – and is also working writing position pieces and prep for guests on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” “Good Morning America” and “Face the Nation.” He also regularly appears at comedy clubs across the U.S. On his new gig, Franklin comments, “The current narrative is that San Francisco is all liberals, progressives and Democrats mixed in with the occasional 4.9. Maybe, but I see it more as a city that simply embraces freedom and more to the point, the free expression of ideas regardless of ideology. Whether it’s politics, art, music or comedy, it all starts with a passion for discovery – discovery of life here in the Bay area, the wider world, and our inner lives.” Cumulus Media EVP of content and programming John Dickey says, “KGO strives to inform and entertain the Bay Area with relevant news and compelling talk hosted by big personalities. Chip Franklin’s point of view, intelligence and wit are going to drive some amazing conversations on KGO.”
Odds & Sods. WABC, New York and CBS “Inside Edition” special correspondent Rita Cosby celebrated her 50th birthday hosting a special benefit for the Wounded Warriors Project at the Hotel Edison in New York City recently. Among the 1,000-plus guests and celebs attending the fundraiser were fellow WABC personalities Curtis Sliwa and Geraldo Rivera. Cosby is pictured here in this photo, (courtesy of Nicole Vranjican), with Broadway’s Tomaczek Bednarek at the event. Read more about the party here…..WPGG, Atlantic City talk show host Harry Hurley is named to the PolitickerNJ’s “2014 Power List.” This is the eighth time Hurley – morning personality on the Townsquare Media news/talk station – has been named to the list…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Tribune’s WGN, Chicago adds former Sun-Times columnist and critic Dave Hoekstra who will host his weekly “Evening Journal” radio program on the station beginning in December. The program will air Saturday evenings.
‘Sports Fix’ Celebrates Five Years on WTEM, Washington. Washington, DC midday sports talk show “The Sports Fix” with Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro is celebrating its fifth anniversary on Red Zebra Broadcasting’s WTEM “ESPN 980.” The station says the program “has been a ratings leader, achieving #1-ratings in its time slot throughout the five-year run.” Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza adds, “‘The Sports Fix’ has been a constant performer. Kevin, Thom and producer Marc Sterne perform at a high level every day and it shows in their consistency and ratings success.”
Clear Channel Satellite Services to Serve iHeartMedia Only. In a story by Leslie Stimson at Radio World, iHeartMedia, the parent company of Clear Channel Satellite Services, is informing clients that it will no longer provide satellite services to non-iHeartMedia operators. Contracts currently existing will be honored until they expire and the company will not accept new ones. A memo from CCSS reads, in part: “In the coming weeks, our team will be working with the existing customers to discuss the best way for a smooth transition to a new provider. Customers with soon-expiring contracts will have the option to continue their service on a month-to-month basis until we’ve found a suitable assignee for the business.”
October Revenue Gains Reported in Los Angeles, San Diego. According to Miller Kaplan Arase‘s October summary report, Los Angeles posted increases of 3% for local spot and nearly double that (5.7%) for national spot. Meanwhile, San Diego was +1.3% local spot and a substantially higher +18% for national spot. Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan comments, “Our entire region produced a very robust October as the critical fourth quarter began. The sluggish third quarter performance we had is a distant memory, as advertisers once again looked to Southern California radio for increased market share and real revenue results. Our combined market growth in October should set the stage for a dramatic and positive finish for [fourth quarter] and 2014. Our members’ efforts to provide proactive solutions to client challenges really came together in October. We see enormous positive energy in our markets and our continued regional focus on radio’s ROI is making a difference for all of our member sales teams.” Revenue in the “NTR/Network/Other” category improved last month by a whopping (approximately) 63% in Los Angeles and 26.3% in San Diego. October’s total market revenue for Los Angeles was 7.1%, while San Diego’s was 8.8%. Year-to-date total market revenue though is -2.2% (Los Angeles) and 2.9% (San Diego).
Ferguson Grand Jury Tensions, Jerusalem Terror Attacks, Keystone Bill Vote, Early Cold and Snow, ObamaCare/Gruber Controversy, and Bill Cosby Rape Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/18). The simmering tensions in Ferguson as the public awaits the grand jury’s decision whether to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown; Tuesday’s slayings in a Jerusalem temple; the failed vote in the U.S. Senate to move ahead with the Keystone Pipeline project; the six feet of snow that blanketed Buffalo and the cold affecting the rest of the country; the ObamaCare controversy surrounding plan architect Jonathan Gruber; and the new allegations of rape against Bill Cosby were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Ed Baxter Named Midday Host at KKSF, San Francisco. Longtime market pro Ed Baxter is named the permanent 10:00 am to 1:00 pm host at iHeartMedia’s KKSF, San Francisco “Talk 910.” The Bay Area Radio Hall of Famer was a fixture on crosstown KGO for more than 30 years where he served as news anchor in both morning and afternoon drive slots. iHeartMedia San Francisco VP of programming Don Parker writes on the station’s website, “We are thrilled to add Ed Baxter to the ‘Talk 910’ lineup. Ed has a tremendous audience base from his many years on the air in the Bay Area, as well as a fantastic track record of success for advertisers. Our commitment to live and local talk throughout prime-time programming is unparalleled in the Bay, making ‘Talk 910’ San Francisco’s Talk Station.”
Jennifer Lipp to Leave KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno. Twenty-year Fresno market radio personality Jennifer Lipp is leaving her morning drive co-host role at Cumulus Media’s news/talk duo KMJ-AM and FM. The Fresno Bee reports that Lipp – who is partnered with John Broeske on the John and Jen show – and her family are moving from the area because her husband has accepted a position in Arkansas. The Philadelphia native also worked in the Fresno market at rhythmic oldies KFBT “The Beat 103.7” and rock KKBZ “The Blaze 105.1” before joining KMJ two years ago.
TALKERS Magazine to Present 2014 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk. On Friday (10/31), the editors of TALKERS magazine will present the third annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. This list will rank sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from 1 to 100, based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors. The genre of sports talk radio has evolved greatly and grown exponentially over the past 10 years to go from being a fringe format to an important sub-genre of spoken-word radio programming. With this in mind, the editors of TALKERS debuted the Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk in 2012 to acknowledge the hard-working air personalities on sports talk radio. The results of this list are, admittedly, subjective. Being true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due. Those qualities include: courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness. The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station – at the time of publication. Look for this annual feature to be published at Talkers.com tomorrow!
Round Three of October PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of October 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was September 11 through October 8. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Ramping Up to Election Day. Tuesday’s mid-term elections are right around the corner and “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” went to the iconic Independence Mall in Philadelphia to gauge how Americans are feeling about the economy, their wages, their job security, and their small businesses. Host Gordon Deal and news anchor Gina Cervetti will present comments from the people they talk to during special segments of the show on Monday and Tuesday in a feature called “Voices of the Voters.”
Odds & Sods. KBET, Las Vegas talk show host Heidi Harris is honored by being profiled in the 2014 edition of the Distinguished Women in Nevada publication. Harris, a longtime Las Vegas media personality, hosts the 6:00 pm hour on KBET…..WPHT, Philadelphia talk show host Dom Giordano (who recently re-upped with the CBS RADIO news/talk outlet) is being honored in chocolate! Gertrude Hawk Chocolates will issue “The Dom Bar.” The candy will have a picture of Giordano on the label that will say, “It’s Dom Time.”…..Westwood One announces that Mary Giesen has been hired to serve as vice president, sales planning. It’s a homecoming for Giesen, who previously worked at Westwood One in several sales planning capacities. Her responsibilities this time will include strategic development of the company’s sales initiatives, including management of commercial inventory; sales data; pricing; and performance.
New Online Hindi Radio Station Offering Music and Talk Shows Targeted to America’s Growing Indian Population. A new online radio station called Mera Sangeet (www.merasangeet.com), based in the Northridge area of Los Angeles and owned by its CEO, the dynamic Indian-born actress, model, entrepreneur and philanthropist Pooja Batra, is now streaming on the web with a wide variety of Hindi music and general interest (Indian issues and pop culture) talk shows. The station’s management, which also includes noted Bollywood film-maker Anshuvijay Rode, describes its target audience (the Indian diaspora) as “the most affluent ethnic minority in the US.” Many of the station’s impressive lineup of on-air personalities, described as “RJs” (radio jockeys) include household names and stars from India’s show business and Bollywood (cinema) scene. The business model of the fledgling operation consists of two basic entities – the national Mera Sangeet LA stream that emanates from Los Angeles with the bulk of its programming and local franchises across the US (Mera Sangeet USA). The station is offering interested and qualified parties across the country the opportunity to invest in these local franchises which would involve generating a local programming and sales component to compliment the national content provided from Los Angeles. The station is also interested in meeting with potential general investors. Interested parties can call Anshuvijay Rode in LA at 323-203-7445.
KQTH, Tucson Raises $121,000-plus for Fisher House Foundation. On Wednesday (10/29), Journal Broadcast Group news/talk KQTH-FM, Tucson held a 12-hour radiothon to raise funds to help build a Fisher House at the Southern Arizona Veterans Administration Health Care Center. During the broadcast, the station helped bring in $121,178 for the cause. Pictured here celebrating the success of the event are (from left to right): KQTH producer Shane Dunn, program director and morning host Bill White, afternoon host James T. Harris and Arizona Fisher House vice chair Rick Grinnell. Other KQTH personalities who participated in the radiothon were Jon Justice, Ben Buehler Garcia and news anchor John Harper. Stations interested in learning how to support the Fisher House Foundation which provides housing for veterans and the families of military personnel being treated at military hospitals can contact Marshall Adams at email@example.com.
Special Election Night Guest. Posing for a photo with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (right) is Salem Radio Network vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left). Both share a laugh over an Obama t-shirt. The two got together in advance of Tuesday night’s marathon mid-term election coverage on the network in which Cruz will play a role as one of a number of high-profile guests who will join anchor (and SRN-syndicated talk show host) Hugh Hewitt that evening.
Domestic Ebola Cases, Mid-Term Elections, Battle Against ISIS, 2016 Presidential Hopefuls, and World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/29). The domestic Ebola cases and controversy surrounding quarantine policies; next Tuesday’s mid-term elections and the possibility of a majority change in the U.S. Senate; the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS in Iraq and the cases of Western youths joining the militant Islamic organization; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the Royals-Giants World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Veteran Radio Programmer Kevin Metheny Succumbs to Heart Attack at 60. Longtime broadcasting executive and major talk radio programmer Kevin Metheny has unexpectedly died yesterday (10/3) afternoon due to what is being reported as a sudden heart attack at the age of 60. Metheny had been serving as operations manager of Cumulus Media outlets KGO and KSFO in San Francisco since June. Before that he was program director of WJR, Detroit, also a Cumulus station. He was a second generation radio professional, the son of broadcaster Terrell Metheny. John Dickey, EVP programming and content for Cumulus issued the following statement: “Kevin Metheny’s sudden passing this afternoon is a devastating personal and professional loss for his broadcasting family at Cumulus, and for the entire radio industry. Kevin was a legendary broadcasting talent who touched many lives in his remarkable 44-year career, and whose successes made an indelible mark on radio. His reputation and accomplishments are simply unparalleled and we are grateful for having had the opportunity to work with him as PD of WJR in Detroit and most recently, as operations manager of KGO and KSFO in San Francisco. His Cumulus family extends our deepest sympathies to Kevin’s loved ones. We will miss him profoundly.” Metheny began working in radio at KWHP, Edmund, Oklahoma and WKY, Oklahoma City. His long and storied career includes having worked at a number of key radio stations around the country, most notably as programmer of WNBC, New York with Howard Stern (who critically dubbed a character in his autobiographical book Private Parts based on Metheny, “Pig Vomit”) in the 1980s and in more recent times with Jacor, Clear Channel and the Randy Michaels regime at WGN, Chicago. TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison states, “Metheny was one of the major radio programmers of the modern era. He had a keen understanding of the basics of talk radio and the important role talent plays within it. He wasn’t afraid of controversy nor subjecting himself to criticism. After more than four decades of making a difference in this industry he was still involved in one of the hot spots of action where he was well on his way to engineering a turn-around at the Cumulus operations in San Francisco. This is a tragic loss for all of us who care about radio. Our deepest condolences to his family and colleagues.”
Ronn Owens Goes Public with Parkinson’s Diagnosis. Longtime KGO, San Francisco talk personality Ronn Owens recently went public with the diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease that he received in 2001. He tells the San Francisco Chronicle he held off on announcing his condition because he didn’t want people feeling sorry for him and didn’t want to be identified by his illness. Owens tells the Chronicle’s David Wiegand he’s been managing the disease with medications since his diagnosis but felt the time was right for letting his listeners know about it. “I felt it was important to tell people that you can have it like I have for 12 ½ years and not be severely impacted by it. It’s possible, and it’s not a death sentence.” The 68-year-old Owens sounds as though he has no plans to retire from radio if the station still wants him. Read the entire piece here.
CBS RADIO and Townsquare Media Partner on new Michigan News Network. The new venture will roll out September 2 on 20 affiliate stations. Both companies announce that the new Michigan News Network will provide affiliated stations across the state with news, sports and other local content produced by CBS RADIO stations WWJ, Detroit “Newsradio 950” and WXYT-FM, “97.1 The Ticket.” The service offered will include top-of-the-hour broadcasts weekdays from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm and 60-second sports updates three times per day during the same time period. Townsquare Media will serve as the exclusive syndication partner and manage affiliate relationships. CBS RADIO president and CEO Dan Mason states, “CBS RADIO’s Detroit stations have served as the authoritative voice of the community for many years, establishing themselves among the market’s most credible brands and news sources. We are excited to be working with Townsquare to distribute our award-winning programming to listeners across the entire state of Michigan, while also realizing the highest value for our content.”
Martha Zoller to Leave Talk Radio Biz for Political Campaign Gig. After stepping away from the talk radio business a couple of years ago to run for office herself (an unsuccessful campaign for U.S. Congress), Georgia talk radio personality Martha Zoller is again leaving the radio industry to join David Perdue’s U.S. Senate campaign. She tells TALKERS that she’s been offered a post in which she’ll be doing surrogate work, training surrogates and messaging as well as focusing on engagement of women and minorities for Perdue’s campaign. Zoller has been co-hosting the “Zoller & Bryant” morning drive show (with news director Tim Bryant) on WGAU, Athens, Georgia as well as in other parts of the state via the Georgia News Network. She says she will continue to write for her zpolitics.com site while working for Perdue’s campaign.
Jason Wolfe Named to Executive Post with Financial Exchange Radio Network. Longtime WEEI and WRKO, Boston programmer Jason Wolfe joins The Financial Exchange Radio Network as chief media and marketing strategist. The network syndicates the WRKO, Boston-based program “The Financial Exchange with Barry Armstrong (pictured below at right) and Kim Carrigan (left)” heard on eight other affiliate stations around New England. Armstrong is president and CEO of the network. In this new role, Wolfe will be in charge of building the brand and expanding the reach of the program in addition to developing new marketing and business partnerships that expose the show to a much larger audience. Wolfe has also been working with former WEEI personality Glenn Ordway as chief content officer for Ordway’s Sportstalkboston.com and will continue in that position. Wolfe comments, “I’m thrilled to be able to work more directly with Barry, to build on what is already a very successful show. I’m privileged to have developed strong relationships with all of the major radio operators across the country and I’m extremely confident that as our discussions continue we’ll be able to expand the reach of this program.” Armstrong adds, “Jason has been working with us as a consultant for several months and has been doing a great job in getting ‘The Financial Exchange’ on additional radio stations. I know that he will build on that success in his new role as our new chief media and marketing strategist.”
Lesson from Napa: Be Prepared for that 3:00 am Telephone Call and Avoid Nasty Pranks While at It. No doubt you remember “it’s three am – and the phone rings…” from a 2008 Clinton for President political ad – arguably the most enduring line from that campaign. And it’s a question broadcasters need to answer BEFORE bad things happen…because bad things tend to happen at the worst possible time. Like 3:20 am PT this past Sunday…when the earth in and around Napa County, California shook like it hadn’t shaken in almost 25 years. At 3:20 am at most stations outside the largest markets – and even at some of the bigs, too – the programming likely is automated, or live via satellite. If anyone actually IS home, they are likely to be the lowest-paid, least-experienced people on the payroll. And that’s OK…we’ve all been there. But it’s only OK if plans are in place to help those folks deal with breaking news when senior managers, more experienced hands – and a full crew – aren’t around to help. If you’re a California station manager, you’ve got a quake plan that takes your staff step-by-step through operations and internal notification, programming and commercial adjustments, and continuous coverage ground rules. You’ve built comprehensive lists of key contacts in local, regional and state government; public and private disaster response groups; academic experts. And you’ve got a network news affiliation to back you up. Because at the end of the day, you’ve got to be fast. You have to be comprehensive. And most of all, you have to be right. In a must-read, informative new piece posted today (8/25) in TALKERS, ABC Television Network director of business continuity and industry expert on emergency preparedness Howard B. Price outlines everything a radio station should do to be ready for an earthquake such as the one that rocked Napa. He also lists things to help you avoid those horrific and embarrassing “pranks” that often accompany fast-breaking news events whereby imposters claiming to be officials get on the air and disrupt the decorum with nasty “gotcha” outbursts. To read the entire article, please click here.
The Best Talk Station Ever: What the Radio Industry Can Learn from a Truly Special News/Talk Operation. Seasoned radio business pro, Bill Brady, president/CEO of South Florida-based media investment firm, Futures & Options, Inc., serves up a fascinating look at one specific radio station that he says should be studied as the “best news/talk radio station, ever.” Wonder what it is? Hint: It existed in the past and proved there can be a lot more to news/talk radio than just one political point of view. Another hint: It had conservative, liberal, lifestyle, consumer advice, sports and art & entertainment elements delivered by legendary hosts who were at the top of their game and it sounded like no other station in the nation. Oh yes, by today’s standards, it also had extraordinarily high ratings Want to find out more? Read Brady’s entire piece by clicking here.
Host Rick Tryon Ends Political Show on KINX, Great Falls. According to a story in the Great Falls Tribune, Rick Tryon is ending his daily one-hour political talk show, citing the difficulty of making it financially feasible. Tryon brokers the “Politics Montana with Rick Tryon” program which consists of him interviewing opinion leaders about political issues. Tryon tells the paper the listeners have been good to the show but it’s time consuming and he’s ready to dedicate energy to other interests. Tryon’s last program will be Wednesday (8/27).
More TALKERS Career Moves. After being unceremoniously let go by longtime employer NPR back in 2004, former “Morning Edition” host Bob Edwards landed at Sirius. Now, 10 years later Edwards is leaving SiriusXM as the satcaster is cancelling his program. SiriusXM has not commented publicly on the move but Politico’s Dylan Byers reports the last show will air September 26…..Louisiana talk show host Jim Engster is taking his eponymous talk show from public outlet WRKF, Baton Rouge to Guaranty Broadcasting’s commercial outlet WBRP, Baton Rouge beginning in November. Engster will move from a one-hour morning program to a two-hour afternoon drive show.
Your Podcast Format. Are you serious about making your podcast stand out from the literally millions of podcasts available on the Internet? As a professional talk show host you probably are already doing some type of on-demand programming, but are you conscious of the program’s format? Media consultant Holland Cooke writes that basic radio formatics apply but there is a difference between an AM/FM talk show and a podcast and your execution should reflect the difference. Cooke says you need to understand how users are consuming your podcast and design the show accordingly. Read his entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. Entertainment pro Gary Alan is currently available to handle fill-in work. Alan, a South Florida native who’s worked at such signals as WAXY, Miami, says his unique style easily allows him to navigate through politics, sports, entertainment, and today’s social issues with wit and a sense of humor. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org or phoned at 407-960-3663…..The regularly scheduled “Ask the Mayor” show on CBS RADIO’s KNX, Los Angeles returns Thursday (8/28) as LA Mayor Eric Garcetti spends an hour with KNX listeners from 10:00 am to 11:00 am fielding calls and answering emailed and Tweeted questions. KNX anchor Tom Haule hosts the program that airs about every six weeks…..Yahoo! Sports Radio adds “Sports Kings’ NFL Weekly Countdown” to its weekend lineup. The show debuts Saturday at 7:00 am ET featuring MeanGene “The Sports Machine” and sports host Ronnie Brooks.
Wachs and Smiley on Vegas TV. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right), poses for a selfie with fellow syndicated radio personality and comic Rickey Smiley (left) at the studios of KVVU-TV, Las Vegas “FOX 5.” Dr. Wachs appeared on the “MORE” program to discuss nurse practitioners taking over doctors’ duties and Smiley was there to promote his show at the Orleans Theater in Las Vegas last Friday night.
Ferguson Fallout/Michael Brown Funeral, Obama’s Relationship with Fellow Democrats/Mid Term Elections, Napa Earthquake, U.S. Iraq and Syria Military Policy, Ice Bucket Challenge, Russia-Ukraine Tensions, and VMA Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/25). The funeral of Michael Brown and the fallout from his death at the hands of Ferguson, Missouri police; the looming mid-term elections and chatter about the strained relationships between President Obama and fellow Democrats; the Napa, California earthquake and talk of the future “big one” for California; the military policy of the Obama Administration with regard to military involvement in Iraq and Syria; the ice bucket challenge phenomenon; the military tensions between Russia and Ukraine; and Sunday’s VMA Awards show were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday (8/25).
Cumulus Media Moves Kevin Metheny to KGO and KSFO, San Francisco. From his current position with Cumulus Media as program director of WJR, Detroit, Kevin Metheny will go West to take the helm of Bay Area news and talk stations KGO and KSFO as operations manager, effective July 14. The company says that Metheny is “a career content creator whose other recent work includes the successful launch of CBS RADIO’s country KMNB, “BUZ*N @ 102.9” in the Twin Cities; program director of WGN, Chicago; and 13 years with Clear Channel in various roles, including regional vice president of programming.” Cumulus EVP and co-COO John Dickey states, “Kevin Metheny’s reputation and accomplishments are unparalleled. His deep understanding of spoken-word radio and ability to work with bigger-than-life talents make him the ideal candidate to lead the legendary KGO and KSFO.” Metheny takes over for Ron Escarsega, who exits the stations.
WIND, Chicago Pulls Joe Walsh Off the Air After ‘Conversation About Words.’ Chicago talk show host (and former U.S. Congressman) Joe Walsh was pulled off his radio program on the Salem Communications-owned talk station yesterday (6/19) after he used a number of racial slurs while engaging in what he termed (via Twitter) “an honest, adult conversation about words without resorting to alphabet soup phrases (C-word, N-word etc.).” Walsh was riffing on the controversy over the NFL’s Washington Redskins losing its trademark due a recent Trademark Office decision. He Tweets that he “Found out that if I said Redskins or Cracker or Redneck Bible Thumper I could stay on. But if I said N***er or Sp**k, they cut me off.” As reported in the Daily Mail, Walsh is expected to be off the radio today and will meet with management later this afternoon. Walsh is fairly new to talk radio and apparently didn’t think an academic discussion was the same as outright use of the words he was discussing. Still, management is understandably skittish about the matter. Time will tell if this afternoon’s meeting is about setting it right or a pink slip for Walsh.
Tribune’s WGN, Chicago Takes Top Honors at IBA Awards Ceremony. Chicago news/talker WGN was honored with the Chicago Market Station of the Year award at the 2014 Illinois Broadcasters Association Silver Dome Awards ceremony held in Peoria on Wednesday, June 18. This is the seventh year running for WGN taking home that honor. The Tribune-owned station also was honored with first place wins in six categories, including: Best play-by-play team for Chicago Blackhawks broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray; Best radio series or documentary for “Beyond Bartman: The Story of the 2003 Cubs,” produced by David Kaplan, Trey Elling and Dan Levy; Best radio feature for “Halloween Rescheduled,” with Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder; Best station website for wgnradio.com; Best use of new media for the “Graveyard Shift Tours,” video with Nick Digilio and Dan Sugrue; and Best non-humorous commercial for “Des Plaines Golf Center,” produced by Jason Skaggs. WGN president and GM Jimmy de Castro states, “We are thrilled to have taken home seven awards and to be recognized by our peers at the Illinois Broadcasters Association. You can’t be named Chicago Market Station of the Year without terrific contributions from people like John and Troy of the Chicago Blackhawks and the incredibly talented family at WGN Radio. These awards are a testament to the strong sense of collaboration at our station and the amazing buzz in our hallways.”
Odds & Sods. The chairman of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will take over as general manager of sports talk KLAA, Orange, California after the exit of David Baronfeld. The radio management pro had been GM of the station for the past three years…..Compass Media Networks announces its NFL play-by-play schedule for the 2014 season. Some of the key games the network is offering include: the 49ers at the Cowboys on 9/7, the Raiders at the Seahawks on 11/2, and the Cowboys at the Bears on 12/4…..Sports USA also announces its NFL play-by-play schedule for the coming season. Games available through it include the Saints at the Falcons on 9/7, the Broncos at the Seahawks on 9/21, and the Packers at the Bears on 9/28…..Staradio Corp.-owned rock station WYKT, Kankakee, Illinois will flip to sports talk as “105.5 the Ticket” beginning July 10. The station will use CBS Sports Radio Network programming and will air NFL play-by-play from WestwoodOne as well as local high school football and basketball.
Joy at the United Nations. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Joy Browne (right) is pictured here interviewing an unidentified expert from the United Nations at yesterday’s “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” – the massive radio row at the iconic headquarters of the World Organization — produced by TALKERS magazine in association with the Talk Radio News Service and the United Nations Foundation. Dr. Joy Browne will be at the Talkers New York 2104 conference taking place at the historic India House in Hanover Square today. Meet her there!
Iraq Turmoil Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of June 16-20. The political turmoil and violence taking place in Iraq and the Obama Administration’s policy toward the nation was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the crisis of child illegals pouring over the borders in the Southwest and the larger topic of immigration reform. At #3 was the recent primary results and races and the state of the GOP followed by Hillary Clinton’s memoir tied with speculation about the 2016 presidential race 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.
By Charles Karel Bouley II
Talk Show Host
LONG BEACH, CA – Fourteen years ago I did my first international remote broadcast for KFI, Los Angeles. My late husband Andrew (also my co-host) and I had been invited to Ireland to broadcast for St. Patrick’s Day 2000.
Once it got cleared, it was a big to-do. Engineer and producer extraordinaire Emeliano Limon was to come with us, and he had an arsenal of equipment. Metal crates and boxes, too much for one person to manage, all got on board Aer Lingus that year as the “Karel & Andrew” show went live in Dublin.
ISDN lines had to be dropped at each hotel. There had to be access to POTS lines as well. The internet and computers were in their infancy so international speeds were spotty at best. To do the broadcast to an ISDN Codec like the Telos Zephyr, an ISDN line, two microphones, mixing board, vocal processor; it took large audio files taking hours to send and audio recorders like a DAT or MiniDisc for field audio that then had to be converted and edited.
In other words, it took manpower, equipment and time to do a remote abroad, or, anywhere for that matter.
By Mike Kinosian
In much the same way the late Dick Clark never seemed to age, some were shocked that the always youthful-looking Lange was actually 81 when he passed away at his Mill Valley, California home.
Several years ago – during my tenure as special features editor for the trade publication Inside Radio – the two of us had an extended conversation; the result was one of my in-depth personality profiles.
That chat laid the foundation for what became a continuing friendship. It was a privilege to remain in contact with the gracious and hospitable Lange, who was most deserving of the “Gentleman Jim” handle.
As a tribute, here are edited/condensed/updated highlights from that profile, which began by theorizing, if those at Guinness ever concocted a world record category for “Person Throwing The Most Kisses on Television,” Lange would be the hands-down winner.
Mike Lindsley Returns to WSKO, Syracuse. Sports talk host Mike Lindsley is back in Syracuse on Cumulus Media’s WSKO where he’ll host the Mike Lindsley Show: In the Cell with M.L.” from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm beginning December 9. Lindsley talked sports in the market for more than 10 years before moving to Townsquare Media’s WTMM, Albany in March of this year. Both Lindsley and WTMM co-host Brian Cady were let go from the station in early September after a caller pretending to be former Yankees outfielder Shane Spencer went on the air and said he experimented with PEDs. Townsquare made no connection about the snafu and their release. Back in Syracuse, operations manager Tom Mitchell replaces CBS Sports Radio Network’s Doug Gottlieb with Lindsley and he says, “We are happy to welcome Mike Lindsley back to the ‘voice of the Central New York sports fan.’ Once again, listeners have a choice of local afternoon sports shows. Mike is known for his strong opinions and his love of the Syracuse Orange, Syracuse Chiefs, and New York Yankees, in no particular order.”
Nielsen’s ‘Cross-Platform Report’ Concludes More Than 90% of Americans Use Radio Each Week. The just released “A Look Across Media: The Cross-Platform Report” from Nielsen uses RADAR data for its conclusions about radio use and habits. Stating that radio is used by more than 90% of Americans each week, the report notes that African Americans (92%) and Hispanics (94%) are the biggest users of radio on a weekly basis. According to Nielsen, the average American “consumes almost 60 hours of content each week across TV, online, radio and mobile,” and it breaks down this way: TV – 35.1 hours; radio –14 hours; video online – 1.5 hours; video on mobile – 1.3 hours. Though the report states that monthly listening to AM/FM radio is 60 hours and 42 minutes on average, missing from the options is listening to audio via mobile – obviously an important competitor for AM/FM radio. The report measures traditional TV, using Blu-Ray/DVD, using game console, using internet from computer, watching video on the internet, and watching video on mobile in addition to listening to radio via AM/FM. See more about the report here.
Morelli Moves to CBS Radio as VP/Integrated Marketing. Two-year CBS Radio Chicago director of integrated marketing & events Jennifer Morelli is named vice president of integrated marketing for CBS Radio. Morelli led non-traditional sales efforts for the company’s six-station Windy City cluster. According to CBS Radio president of sales Michael Weiss, “Jennifer has taken on roles of increasing responsibility during her tenure at CBS Radio and is well prepared to take on this leadership position for the division. She has demonstrated the ability to create opportunities for clients that go beyond conventional advertising and branding methods.” Morelli joined CBS Radio Houston four years ago as integrated marketing manager. She previously held several positions – including general sales manager – with Emmis in Austin and she has worked in the sales department of WQRF-TV, Chicago. Morelli’s radio career began in 1997 at Sconnix Broadcasting‘s Quad Cities stations where she was an account executive.
Nieslen Audio November PPM Data Released. The November 2013 PPM ratings data is being released by Nielsen Audio – currently numbers for all 48 markets have been made public – and that information can be found at the site of TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo. Check out the main page for managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian’s “Ten Takeaways” here or go straight to the full ratings data here.
Karel to Cut Back Radio Show Time; Promotes New Podcast. Talk show host Charles “Karel” Bouley, whose daily program currently airs from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET via the Genesis Communications Network, will cut the daily show back to an hour each day and focus more energy on his new podcast “The Karel-Cast” via TheKDW.com network beginning January 2. He says he will continue hosting his weekend evening programs on KGO, San Francisco and his program on WWRL, New York. He says, “As an entertainer who is a content provider of audio, video, live stage shows, print, and live web cams, Karel and ‘The Karel Show’ have been a driving force for a website that has functioned as an actual network. So now, it truly will.”
Hometown Media Moves Wilmington News/Talk Outlet to New Frequencies. The news/talk format branded “Port City Radio” is no longer being heard on Wilmington, North Carolina outlets WNTB and WLTT. Those signals are now airing country format “The Dude” and news/talk has been moved to Hometown Media’s WSFM and translator W240AS, formerly the home of a classical music format.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Begins ‘Holiday Giving Campaign.’ The 2013 Holiday Giving Campaign is underway at the Broadcasters Foundation of America. The campaign asks broadcasters to spread the word about the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to those who may need its assistance, and encourages donations and memberships at www.broadcastersfoundation.org, or by calling 212-373-8250. Often a last refuge, the Broadcasters Foundation has helped broadcasters and their families remain in their homes and made it possible for retirees to afford life-sustaining medications. The Broadcasters Foundation also has provided one-time emergency grants, including in the aftermath of natural catastrophes such as Hurricane Sandy. Chairman Phil Lombardo states, “The goal of the Foundation’s board of directors is that no broadcaster’s cry for help should ever go unanswered. Requests for aid have more than doubled over the past few years and more come in every day. Next year, we will disburse over $900,000 in financial assistance, a 100% increase from five years ago.” BFoA president Jim Thompson adds, “The pace of incoming donations is lagging behind the requests for aid. Our grant recipients are our colleagues — individuals who we have worked with and whose lives have been devastated by unthinkable circumstances. Aid from the Broadcasters Foundation can be life-saving, in many cases. I ask every broadcaster to consider making a donation or becoming a member.”
Dr. Daliah Wachs on ‘Pawn Stars’ This Thursday. Genesis Communications Networks-syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs (left) poses for a photo with “Pawn Stars” historical artifacts expert Mark Hall-Patton (right) during her most recent appearance on the History Channel program. Dr. Wachs tells TALKERS magazine that the show will air this Thursday at 10:30 ET in which she brings a Civil War-era metacarpal bone saw in to sell. How much, if anything, does she get for it? You’ll have to watch the show to find out! Her contract with the network prevents her from spilling the beans.
ObamaCare Criticism, Rush Limbaugh Pope-Marxism Flap, Iran Nukes Deal, New York Rail Crash, and Paul Walker Crash Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/2). Criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act as well as anticipation of how it will affect the health care industry; the flap over Rush Limbaugh’s calling Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation “pure Marxism”; the deal between the U.S. and Iran on the latter’s nuclear program; the deadly commuter rail crash outside of New York City; and the death of actor Paul Walker in a high-speed sports car crash were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Names New Market Manager, Sales Chief for San Francisco. Cumulus Media announces Steve Sklenar has been appointed market manager for the company’s San Francisco stations and Kevin Crespo has simultaneously been installed as national and regional sales manager for the cluster. Sklenar comes to Cumulus Media from his most recent post as assistant vice president and director of sales at Lincoln Financial Media’s San Diego stations. Sklenar says in a statement, “To be tapped as the leader of Cumulus San Francisco is both exciting and humbling. This is without question one of the most coveted positions in all of broadcasting, not just radio. The history and prestige of these stations in the San Francisco community comes with great responsibility. We will not take that lightly.” Sklenar is in charge of talk KSFO, news/talk KGO, sports talk KNBR and KTCT, triple A KFOG and KFFG and classic rock KSAN “The Bone.” Cumulus EVP and co-COO Jon Pinch says, “Steve and Kevin are well-suited to take leadership and sales development roles at this legendary cluster of stations. They will round out a solid team that’s contributing significantly to our growth in San Francisco. After meeting with numerous qualified candidates, John Dickey and I are confident that these two gentlemen will have immediate positive impact on our business moving forward.”
Moody’s Cumulus’ Speculative Grade Liquidity Rating to SGL — 2 from SGL – 3. Moody’s Investors Service announces it has upped Cumulus Media’s Speculative Grade Liquidity Rating from SGL – 2 to SGL – 3 “reflecting improved access to the senior secured revolver due to the recent amendment of the 1st lien credit agreement. The amendment reduces the revolver commitment to $150 million from $300 million, but replaces the total net leverage test with a 1st lien net leverage requirement enabling full access to the revolver.” Moody’s says the B2 Corporate Family Rating remains unchanged and explains why: “Leverage remains elevated due to revenue and EBITDA falling below expected levels for the six months ended March 31, 2013 which prompted the downgrade in the corporate family rating earlier this year. Management indicated that pro forma revenues decreased $5.6 million or 2.5% in 1Q2013 compared to 1Q2012 reflecting lower political revenue, the winding down of unfavorable legacy Citadel barter transactions, and challenges related to its syndicated talk segment.” However, Moody’s cites the turnarounds of a number of Cumulus’ “10 underperforming stations” for the upgrade and goes on to state, “Looking forward, revenue growth is expected to be flat in 2013 due in part to the absence of significant political advertising. Moody’s expects Cumulus to generate roughly $175 million of annual free cash flow versus our prior estimate of $200 million to reflect management’s comments that it expects to invest roughly $25 million annually in CBS Sports Radio, Nash FM and related country format branding, its Traffic network, as well as SweetJack.”
Charles Steinhauer Ascends to Chief Operations Officer at Dial Global. Moving up from his most recent position as president of operations with Dial Global, Charles Steinhauer is promoted to chief operations officer. The company states that in this new position, Steinhauer will be responsible for overseeing the management of the company’s day-to-day operations — including technology, distribution, research, compliance, and strategy. He will continue to be located in New York City and will report directly to CEO Paul Caine. In his previous post, he managed all sales support divisions for Dial Global. The company also notes that Steinhauer “is one of the leads on an industry-wide research initiative working to improve how radio is incorporated into Marketing Mix Models, which are widely used by advertisers to evaluate how product sales are influenced by advertising.” About his promotion, Steinhauer says, “I’m very excited to be working with Paul Caine and to continue to move the company forward with all of the Dial Global family. I look forward to working even more closely with our staff and our outstanding content and distribution partners to create optimum value for our audiences and advertisers. I couldn’t be more fortunate.”
Tora Fisher to Perform at Talkers New York 2013. At the tender age of 23, she is both a rising pop star and a humanitarian. Tora Fisher of the Fisher family that spearheads Fisher House Foundation – the charitable organization that provides housing around the country for the visiting families of hospitalized American servicemen and women wounded in battle – will be appearing at Talkers New York 2013 tomorrow (6/6). The young singer/songwriter, whose heartfelt song “Finally Free” currently sits at number 29 and number 21 on the RadioInfo pop songs and rock songs charts respectively, will open the event’s Freedom of Speech Award Ceremony with an a cappela performance of the Lee Greenwood anthem “Proud to Be an American.” Ms. Fisher, who is a spokesperson for Fisher House, will be backed up in the performance by two female cadets from West Point, Mary Kay Messenger and Alexis Cole. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Even though this annual event is geared to talk radio, we have a tradition of presenting some of the world’s greatest up-and-coming singers performing inspirational music at key moments in the proceedings. Having Tora Fisher perform this powerful song at Talkers New York 2013 is extremely meaningful and certainly in keeping with this tradition. Not only is this beautiful young woman one of the most talented female singer/songwriters I have heard since the golden days of the great ones like Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro – she has a powerful personal story of courage and will that is both touching and compelling. As a child of 13, she survived a terrible plane crash that took the life of her father and set her on the road to becoming mature beyond her years and a powerful artist of both words and music. Add to that her dedication to the families of America’s brave young service people and…well, you have a very, very special young lady indeed. Everyone who sees her perform at this event will be touched and certainly remember where they first heard and saw Tora!”
TRN Sues Former Attorney in Anti-Trust Case. Talk Radio Network has filed suit in Oregon against California attorney Joseph Alioto alleging that he did not move with the speed promised and in a time frame that would prevent TRN from suffering further damages in its anti-trust suit against numerous sales rep firms and radio programming syndicators. TRN is seeking more than $10 million in damages and relief. In the claim, TRN alleges that after making a $125,000 retainer payment, Alioto repeatedly failed to file the complaint in a timely fashion and when Alioto decided to withdraw from the matter, he caused TRN further losses due to the time that had passed. TRN claims Alioto did not have good cause to withdraw from the matter. Allegations include fraud and legal malpractice.
Programmer Bill White Exits WGN, Chicago. One of the first moves on the part of WGN, Chicago’s new president and general manager Jimmy de Castro is to make a change in program directors for the heritage news/talk station. Talk programming pro Bill White leaves the station after two years in the director of programming and news position. White states, “Having the opportunity to work with such a tremendous team at one of America’s legendary radio stations has been a privilege and an honor. I wish the staff and WGN Radio much success in the future.” Bill White can be reached at email@example.com. In a memo to staffers, de Castro wrote, “Sometimes managers have to make difficult decisions on behalf of a few to build a brighter future for many. Today, we are losing the services of a friend and delightful professional, Bill White. Please join me in wishing him the best in his future endeavors.” There’s no word who will replace White but industry watchers believe de Castro will go with someone who either currently works in the Chicago market or is very familiar with it.
Newsmax Reports #1 Online Reading Status. Conservative media firm Newsmax announces that according to digital measurement firm comScore, during April, of the 65 million Americans using all digital platforms, Newsmax sites led all other sites in web traffic with over 14 million monthly unique visitors. comScore notes that Newsmax exceeded such competitors as HuffPost Politics and Fox News Politics with these recent April numbers. Newsmax also was #1 in the same category for personal computer users who read News/Politics online. According to comScore, Newsmax received 14.4 million monthly unique visitors in April — up from 13.3 million the previous month. HuffPost received 14 million monthly unique visitors from the News/Politics category and Fox News received 10.9 million monthly unique visitors in April, respectively. comScore’s top 10 breaks down this way: Newsmax Sites – 14.4 million monthly unique visitors; Huffington Post Politics – 14 million; Fox News – 10. 9 million; CNN Politics — 9 million; NBC News.com Politics — 7.5 million; Politico.com — 6.5 million; Current TV — 6.3 million; The Economist Group — 3.7 million; The Hill.com — 3.2 million; and Mother Jones.com — 2.9 million monthly unique visitors. Speaking about Newsmax’s achievement, CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “We are once again honored to be the number one digital political news site for the second month in a row. It is a testament to quality of our digital content that consumers online, on smartphones and on tablets continue to look to Newsmax for the latest political news.”
FCC Has New Acting Chief of Enforcement Bureau. The Federal Communications Commission announces that FCC acting chairwoman Mignon L. Clyburn has appointed Robert H. Ratcliffe to the position of acting chief of the commission’s enforcement bureau. Currently, Ratcliffe is the deputy chief of the media bureau. The position opens as P. Michele Ellison moves to the chief of staff post. Ratcliffe is a longtime staffer at the FCC having spent more than 35 years at the agency including as acting chief of the media bureau and as deputy chief of the enforcement bureau. In a statement, Clyburn says, “I am pleased that Mr. Ratcliffe has agreed to serve in this critical role. Bob is a top-flight lawyer who will bring his vast experience, sound legal judgment, and overall sense of fairness to this effort.”
Sexual Assaults in U.S. Military, Looming MLB PEDs Suspensions, Lung Transplant Controversy, Susan Rice National Security Adviser Nomination, and IRS Targeting of Conservative Groups Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/4). Testimony of military chiefs addressing the high rate of sexual assaults in the U.S. military and Senator Saxby Chambliss’ associated comments; the reports of numerous suspensions coming from Major League Baseball for PED violations; the controversy over a 10-year-old girl’s need for a lung transplant and the government’s transplant program; Susan Rice’s nomination for national security adviser; and the IRS’ targeting of conservative non-profit groups were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Frosty Stillwell Returns to Talk at CC’s KKSF, San Francisco for Middays. Hot AC KIOI, San Francisco “Star 101.3” morning show co-host Frosty Stillwell will continue his work alongside Sandy Stec on the Sandy & Frosty program until a replacement is named but today (6/4) he begins immediately hosting the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show on the company’s talk KKSF “Talk 910.” Stillwell was part of the Frosty, Heidi & Frank trio that spent years at hot talk KLSX, Los Angeles. He also had worked at Clear Channel’s KYSR, Los Angeles and filled in at talk KFI. Frosty says, “I am thrilled to get back to what I’ve done for the past two decades, talk radio. ‘Talk 910’ dominates the format in San Francisco. While I loved being part of the music and personality show on ‘Star 101.3,’ there was just no way I could pass up this enticing opportunity right down the hall to get back to my true passion.”
Peter Boyles Officially Out at KHOW, Denver. Less than two weeks after being removed from the air on Clear Channel Denver’s talk KHOW, station management officially cuts the ties between the longtime Denver personality and the station. Peter Boyles was taken off the air on May 24 after an altercation between Boyles and his producer Greg Hollenback that reportedly escalated into a physical attack on Boyles’ part. The incident made the news immediately as local media was in the building to cover a press conference with politician Tom Tancredo. KHOW program director Dan Mandis wrote an email to the Denver Post notifying the paper Boyles is no longer with the company. Guest hosts have been sitting in on the morning show since that time and no permanent replacement has been announced.
Programming VP Mike Elder Exits Fox News Radio. One of the most respected programming executives in talk radio, Mike Elder, has left Fox News Radio after serving the past eight years as the company’s VP of programming. Elder, a veteran PD of such great stations as WRKO, Boston; WLS, Chicago; WCCO, Minneapolis; KTOK, Oklahoma City and KMBZ/KCMO, Kansas City tells TALKERS, “It was an amicable parting of the ways. My contract was up, cuts were being made to the staff, and we both agreed to move on. And this was the longest tenure of a more-than-40-year career, so I was living on borrowed time anyway.” Elder continues, “This has been one of the best jobs I’ve had, or that radio still had. [Fox VPs] Kevin Magee and Bob Finnerty were very supportive of our efforts and our channel on SiriusXM as well as the internet and affiliates. They allowed me to put together a great staff and I appreciate their support over the past eight years.” What next for the 40-year veteran of talk and music radio? He tells TALKERS he will probably move back to his home in Boston and believes he has at least one more job in him. He will take the time to explore his options as a programmer and talent coach. “I still feel I have another gig left in me, so I am not shutting the door on radio. I would welcome the chance to work with great talent and production staffs again. But I’m open to something new as well. There is a whole new world on the internet that will require content, and not the same ol’, same ol’. I’d love to work on something new, exciting, challenging and dynamic that would allow me to put my over 40 years of experience and skills to use in a new and different way.” Mike Elder can be reached at Mikeelder@me.com or 646-256-5653.
Joe Thomas Puts ‘The Afternoon Constitutional’ on Hiatus. WCHV, Charlottesville, Virginia program director and morning drive host Joe Thomas announces that “after two-and-a-half years of independent conservative analysis of the news and events for Virginia’s great cities of Richmond, Roanoke and Charlottesville,” he’s taking the regionally syndicated afternoon show off the air. Although Thomas says of “The Afternoon Constitutional,” “It’s more like a ‘dry docking’ of a great ship that has taken you to amazing places but now needs to be refitted with some new things for her future voyages. Stay tuned!” Thomas continues his roles as morning host and program director at WCHV. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Progressive Talker KTNF, Minneapolis Sold to Chad Larson. Sales manager Chad Larson believes in progressive talk and he’s agreeing to pay current owner JR Broadcasting (Janet Roberts) $1.5 million for the AM signal. JR Broadcasting paid $3 million for the station in 2004 from CBS Radio. Currently, the station airs local morning host Matt McNeil’s “The Morning Grind” plus WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann, Ed Schultz and Compass Media Network’s Norman Goldman.
Odds & Sods. The Boston Globe reports that rumors are flying in town that Entercom’s sports talk WEEI is contemplating a change to its midday show by moving Mike Mutnansky out and replacing him with Comcast SportsNet New England’s Jessica Moran. Mutnansky co-hosts the “Mut & Merloni” show with former Red Sox player Lou Merloni…..At ESPN Radio, the NBA Finals are the hot topic as Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Love and former NBA head coach Doug Collins join “Mike & Mike” as co-hosts. Love will join Mike Golic and Ryan Ruocco, who will sub for Mike Greenberg, on Thursday, June 6 – the morning of Game 1 of the Finals. Doug Collins, who most recently coached the Philadelphia 76ers, will join Golic and Greenberg the morning after Game 3, Wednesday, June 12. Both guests will be part of an NBA-centric programming block from 6:00 am to 10:00 am.
George Beasley Receives Honorary Doctorate. Beasley Broadcast Group chairman and chief executive officer George G. Beasley is pictured here at Appalachian State University’s recent May commencement receiving Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa from the school’s chancellor Dr. Kenneth E. Peacock. A native of Patrick County, Virginia, Beasley has deep ties to Appalachian State University (ASU) in Boone, NC receiving both his undergraduate (’58) and graduate degrees (’60) from ASU. Most recently, he contributed the lead gift making a new broadcasting and media facility on campus possible – the George G. Beasley Media Complex, which is scheduled to open later this year. Beasley vice president of corporate communications Denyse Mesnik tells us that education was a first love of George Beasley’s. “Prior to broadcasting, George was a teacher and ultimately a high school principal. In fact, while building his first radio station he was a principal until the school bell rang, then a radio station owner late afternoons, evenings and weekends.”
Michael Douglas Oral Sex Flap, Senator Lautenburg Dies, IRS Scandal, DOJ Journalists Investigation, Obama Administration Secret Email Accounts and Syria Chemical Weapons Charges Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/3). Michael Douglas’ public statement that oral sex caused his throat cancer; the death of Democratic New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg; the ongoing scandal involving the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups; the Department of Justice’s investigation of journalists; the controversy over some Obama Administration appointees using secret email accounts; and the chemical weapons use charges against the Syrian military were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Pioneering Talk Radio Host Gene Burns Dead at 72. Longtime talk radio host and broadcasting pioneer Gene Burns has died, succumbing to a long illness marked by a series of strokes. In the words of TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison, “Gene was one of the greatest of the great and classiest of the classy – a true ‘wordsmith’ and gentleman who symbolized everything good about talk radio and served as one of the major engines that drove the ascent of its modern era.” Until recently forced by illness into retirement from on-air performing, Burns had spent a decade and a half as a key host on KGO, San Francisco where he did a general news/talk program as well as a very popular restaurant and entertainment show. The veteran of a number of great stations, he made his mark in the late-1980s and early-1990s as a member of the legendary lineup at WRKO, Boston that also included the late Jerry Williams. That was followed by a brief but high-profile stint at WOR, New York and national syndication on the WOR Radio Network. Harrison adds, “Gene Burns practiced a brand of libertarian-based, intellectual populism in his approach to political news/talk that set the standard for the format’s emergence as a voice for the average person to stand up to big government, big business, big media and big anything. Although ‘conservative’ in his orientation, he eschewed blatant partisanship, avoided banal cookie-cutter left-versus-right talking points and dealt with each issue in an academically probing and credible manner.” Burns’ ground breaking work in the early-1990s stood as the inspiration for TALKERS magazine’s annual Freedom of Speech Award and the tradition of the annual State of the First Amendment Address delivered at the publication’s conventions. He is ranked the 23rd most important radio talk show host of all time by TALKERS in its “Heaviest Hundred” feature which is updated twice a decade. Harrison concludes, “His rich, baritone voice coupled with the artistry of his word selection and ability to construct a logical argument was about as close to music as one could hear within a spoken word context.” A special honoring the life and work of Gene Burns aired on Sunday, May 26 on KGO hosted by David Weintraub and a special tribute will be presented honoring his legacy at Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6.
Adult Contemporary is a Relatively Low-Involvement Format on Facebook. According to digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, “There are several major-market adult contemporary stations on Facebook who have a ton of followers, but very little interaction going on. As a former AC programmer, I absolutely feel their pain; AC is a low-involvement format. At the same time, most of these stations have fallen into a rut about what they post. The quality of the post is in the level of engagement you get from it. When thousands or tens of thousands follow you, and you get two or three ‘Likes’ on your posts, you gotta shake up your thinking.” In a new column posted today (5/28) Miller suggests that although consistency is basically a good and necessary thing, there is a dark side to it and to avoid falling into a rut, radio broadcasters of all formats should make changes to approximately 10% of their posts on a regular basis. To read the details and Miller’s entire piece, click here.
Kent Sterling Returns to Indy on Sports Talk WFNI. News/talk and sports radio pro Kent Sterling re-surfaces on the air at Emmis’ sports talk WFNI, Indianapolis for a weekend program with Chris Hagan called, “Ahead of the Curve with Hagan and Sterling.” He most recently served with Bonneville at its St. Louis sports talker WXOS but exited that post to return to Indianapolis. Prior to his work at WXOS, Sterling served as program director at Emmis’ news/talk flagship WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. Sterling’s and Hagan’s weekend program airs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays.
NBA on Radio Is a Different Breed of Sports Play-by-Play. Major League Baseball is the sport that could be called radio’s best friend and the NFL’s astounding popularity makes its games and surrounding programming popular with listeners. While the NBA’s regular season games are not generally thought of as “programming gold” across the country, it appears that having even a moderately successful team combined with a flagship station with a strong nighttime signal, can be a recipe for success with basketball play-by-play. According to information from Arbitron based on PPM data from 27 NBA teams in 25 PPM markets, certain places are simply basketball towns – the Los Angeles Lakers rule Los Angeles on KSPN with average game estimates larger than the Dodgers, Angels, Kings and Ducks grabbing a 4.0 share with Men 25-54 (average of all 82 games). And perennial contenders the San Antonio Spurs dominated on WOAI with a 9.8 share with Men 25-54. However, less successful teams on strong flagships performed well during the regular season: the Milwaukee Bucks just squeaked into the playoffs but on heritage WTMJ garnered a 10 share with Men 25-54; the Cleveland Cavaliers missed the playoffs yet grabbed a 9.7 share (M 25-54) on WTAM; and the Detroit Pistons also missed the playoffs but notched an 8.0 (M 25-54) share on the highly rated WXYT-FM. Considering games in the East and Midwest air in the evenings, numbers for the stations cited above – and others not cited here – are impressive nighttime ratings.
Flagship Stations Should Capitalize on Cross-Promotional Opportunities within Baseball PBP. According to Bonneville Seattle creative director Chris Pendl, “If you’ve made the investment on play-by-play sports on your station, it’s important to maximize the return on your investment by trying to recycle that audience to another daypart on your station.” Arbitron reports that MLB drives cume increases as much as 50% to 65% during baseball season. Pendl tells TALKERS, “This influx of audience is one of the reasons we pay rights fees, share revenue, or give up inventory to carry this programming. In a climate with little or no external marketing dollars, I’ve often joked that our promotional time within baseball play-by-play is the closest thing we’ll get to an interstate billboard or TV campaign.” In an exclusive article posted today (5/28) Pendl describes and shares a production/promo technique conducted by Bonneville to cross-promote the station via the baseball audience that he calls “situation baseball return liners.” To read the entire piece and hear examples of its execution, click here.
Buckley to Sell KYZZ, Salinas, California to Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters. Buckley Communications announces it is selling sports talk KYZZ, Salinas, California to Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters. The price is yet to be announced. KYZZ is the FM side of the sports talk simulcast that also airs on Buckley’s KIDD, Monterey and Buckley says it will continue with its ESPN Radio affiliation on KIDD. Mt. Wilson has not announced its format plans for KYZZ. Saul Levine’s Mt. Wilson also owns country KKGO, Los Angeles and classical simulcast KMZT-AM, Beverly Hills and KMZT-FM, Big Sur, California.
WTOP Hacking: Why You Should Worry. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes about the recent hacking of the websites of Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington and its sister WFED “Federal News Radio.” Weisman is one of the nation’s foremost experts on scams, he operates the website Scamicide that presents up-to-date information about scams, fraud and identity theft, and is the author of The Truth About Avoiding Scams (FT Press 2008). In this column, Weisman explains the methods used by the WTOP hackers and explains the steps users can take to avoid becoming the victim of similar attacks. Read Weisman’s entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. Martz Communications’ WPDM, Potsdam, New York flips from a simulcast of FM sister WSNN to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network…..Wilks License Company’s sports talk WZOH, Columbus becomes part of the Cleveland Browns radio network based at CBS Radio’s WKRK, Cleveland…..WTOP, Washington crowns Nathan Stanford from Harrington, Delaware the 2013 winner of “Commuter Idle” – an “extreme commuter” competition for listeners experiencing the daily horrors of commuting in and around Washington. Stanford’s commute begins with a 3:00 am alarm and a one-hour drive. He then boards a commuter bus for a 90-minute ride from Kent Island to Foggy Bottom, rides the Metro, and hustles on foot to his office in Rosslyn. Stanford’s travels from Delaware to Virginia average more than five hours a day, though the commute can be much longer in the summer months with Friday beach traffic. He receives $1,000 in gas money and will enjoy a limo ride to and from work from Reston Limousine. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “The question that we hear most often is, ‘Why do these people do it?’ It’s fascinating to hear their personal stories and accompany them on their crazy commutes. We feel their pain, and as DC’s traffic authority we’re here to help.”
KOIL, Omaha’s Mulberry Lane Meets the Beach Boys and John Stamos. Musical act Mulberry Lane opened for the Beach Boys (which includes actor and musician John Stamos) in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Saturday, May 25. Pictured here are (from l-r): Bo Mulberry, Bruce Johnston, Rachel Mulberry, Mike Love, Allie Mulberry, and John Stamos. The Mulberry sisters – based in Nebraska – also host a weekend talk show on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha called the “Mulberry Lane Radio Show.” The station describes the ladies’ program saying the sisters “decided to bring their busy lives to live radio with a show based on sisterhood, womanhood, motherhood, and the humor and mishaps of trying to juggle it all – woven together with music, harmony and a dash of wit.” It airs Saturdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.
Longtime KNX, Los Angeles Anchor Harry Birrell Dies. Longtime Los Angeles news personality Harry Birrell died on May 26 after a battle with lung disease at age 85 in Thousand Oaks, California. Birrell was an anchor at all-news KNX, Los Angeles for more than three decades – beginning in 1968 when the station flipped to the all-news format and ending with his retirement in 1999. Birrell switched from his anchor role at the station to Ventura County correspondent in 1993.
Kevin Miller Stops By TheBlaze. KIDO, Boise morning drive talk show host Kevin Miller was visiting Dallas – home of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – and took some time to stop by the studios to check out the production of the Glenn Beck program. Here’s a shot of Beck (l) and Miller (r) inside the spacious former movie/TV studios that are home to Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts production facility.
Mike Huckabee Considers Radio Future in Arkansas Business Story. In a piece that ran in Arkansas Business yesterday, Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host – and former Arkansas governor and U.S. presidential candidate – Mike Huckabee speaks openly about his current media projects and how his political experience has helped his media career. Huckabee gives no clear indication he’ll stop doing the daily three-hour show, but neither does he sound all-in when he states, “Within the next month, I’ll decide if I want to continue it or not. I know we will, but it’s just such an incredibly intensive process that I really have to decide that I want to spend that kind of time…” Huckabee describes the long days preparing for the program and how he works that in with his Fox News Channel weekend program. “I’ve got to always weigh how much time I’m putting in it and what the return is. How long it will take to make it what I call hopefully disgustingly profitable. That’s what one always hopes for in a deal like this.” Read the entire story here.
Can Radio Overcome its Smothering Debt and Be a Viable Business in this New Era? That, according to Michael Harrison is THE existential question facing the industry today — and one that TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo tackle head-on in a blockbuster article posted May 2 in BOTH trade publications. Researched and written by TALKERS/RadioInfo west coast bureau chief/managing editor Mike Kinosian, this extensive piece taps deeply into the experience, wisdom and vision of a stellar panel of industry power-players who share their real world perspectives of this pressing issue that directly ties into the future of radio as both a medium and a business. They include (in alphabetical order): Sandi Bergman of MyMediaBroker, Ed Christian of Saga Communications, Erica Farber of the RAB, Charlie Gross of Newsweb Radio Corp., Michael Harrison of TALKERS/RadioInfo, Jerry Lee of WBEB (“B101”) in Philadelphia, Chuck Lontine of Headwaters MB, David Pearlman of American Radio Systems, Ed Perry of WATD in Marshfield, MA, Tom Quinn of Americom Broadcasting, Jeff Smulyan of Emmis Broadcasting, Peter Smyth of Greater Media and Dave Van Dyke of Radiate Media. Upon the publication of this information-packed article, TALKERS/RadioInfo VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This is one of the most important pieces published in the radio trades in years and I advise anyone in this business who cares about its future to take the time to read it thoroughly. It dives right into the most pressing issue facing all of us today and provides insight from all angles – big-time groups, large and small market stations, investment banks, services providers, and advertising advocates. A piece like this gets to the very heart of what will determine radio’s future – its ability to function and options to consider as a viable business in a daunting, obstacle-ridden environment.” Read Mike Kinosian’s story here.
Mark Carbonaro Out at KION, Salinas, California; Armstrong & Getty In. According to a report in The Californian, local morning drive host Mark Carbonaro’s program has been replaced on KION, Salinas with the Sacramento-based Armstrong & Getty show. Californian writer Jeff Mitchell reports that calls to local management were not returned prior to his deadline. Both KION and Armstrong & Getty’s home station KSTE are owned by Clear Channel.
WNSR, Nashville to Get FM Simulcast in June. Nashville Sports Radio’s WNSR, Nashville will simulcast on 95.9 in addition to its 560 signal early this summer. The station says it will position itself as “Nashville’s SportsRadio 560 on 95.9 FM.” The new FM signal will be located near the Davidson/Williamson County line, providing excellent 24-hour coverage of WNSR’s programming. General sales manager and afternoon host Thom Abraham states, “Before the Predators and Titans, WNSR brought sports programming to the airwaves in Nashville. This station has stayed true to the format for over 15 years and we are now excited to make it available on the FM band. The new logo puts the emphasis on WNSR, which has stood for Nashville’s Sports Radio since 1997, something we are very proud of, and something I have come to appreciate since coming here four years ago.”
Fox News Radio Offers Memorial Day Weekend Specials. The network is offering two hour-long special programs for air during the Memorial Day Weekend. “Remembering Iraq” is hosted by Fox News Channel’s Griff Jenkins and reflects on the 10 years since the United States entered the Iraq War. Jenkins will take a look at the front lines and those who were affected by the war, including the men and women who served as well as their spouses and children. “The Next Disaster” is hosted by Fox News Channel’s Janice Dean. It’s a multi-part series that examines disasters, including tornados, earthquakes and terrorist attacks and how to best prepare for them. Additionally, Dean will take a look at how weather forecasting and other technology have helped people prepare for natural disasters in the past and will also report on the impact of early warnings. More information about the specials can be found on the Fox News Radio affiliate website in the specials section.
Sports Talk WDAE, Tampa Gets FM Simulcast on 95.3. The signal is 250-watt translator W237CW that was most recently simulcasting the audio of Clear Channel’s hip hop WBTP “95.7 The Beat.” CC flips it over to sports talker WDAE. The AM 620 signal of WDAE covers the market just fine but now the station will have an FM presence that’s strongest in St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park and Clearwater.
Benghazi Cover-up Allegations, Syria-Israel Tensions, Obama OSU Commencement, and North Korea Missile Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6). New information regarding the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the political ramifications; military tensions between Israel and Syria; President Obama’s commencement speech at Ohio State University over the weekend; and the North Korean missile threat were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
NAB Crystal Award Winners Named; Dave Ramsey Inducted into NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame. At the NAB Show Radio Luncheon on Monday, nationally syndicated talk show host Dave Ramsey was inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Ramsey’s induction was part of the program that included the announcement of the winners of the 2013 NAB Crystal Awards. Spoken-word stations that claimed the honor included Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington and Bonneville International’s KIRO-FM, Salt Lake City. Here is the list of winners: KIRO-FM, Seattle; WKDZ-FM, Cadiz, Kentucky; KSFI-FM, Salt Lake City; WPEG-FM, Charlotte; KUZZ-FM, Bakersfield; WQHT-FM, New York; WCVQ-FM, Clarksville, Tennessee; WTOP-FM Washington; WHUR-FM, Washington; and WYCT-FM, Pensacola. Since 1987, the NAB Crystal Radio Awards have recognized radio stations for their outstanding year-round commitment to community service. The 2013 NAB Crystal Radio Award recipients listed above were chosen from among 50 finalists honored at yesterday’s NAB Show Radio Luncheon. The NAB Show Radio Luncheon also featured a presentation of the NAB Crystal Heritage Award to KNOM-AM/FM, Nome, Alaska. The Crystal Heritage Award honors those stations that have won a total of five Crystal Radio Awards. Entertainer, musician, author and broadcast personality John Tesh provided a keynote address. The luncheon was sponsored by ASCAP.
2013 NAB Show: “It doesn’t feel like 2009.” Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from the NAB Show in Las Vegas: Cue tympani roll for the official attendance count: 92,414, up from 91,565 in 2012. Notable: Exhibit space is up 10% over last year, and exhibitors I’m speaking with say that stations are here shopping, not just window shopping. That tracks my conversations with station people here, who came with shopping lists. The vibe is upbeat generally, despite some cold water thrown on radio:
“Right now, whether FM is on the phone is a very small issue for our customers and it’s not going to be a priority until I hear that’s what consumers want.” That’s from Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam being interviewed by NAB President Gordon Smith indicating that his company isn’t ready to make the kind of deal Sprint has agreed to: FM receiver chips in wireless phones, in exchange for radio spot inventory. McAdam is unconvinced that his target prospects think radio when they think music: “It looks to me as if the trend is among younger folks customizing the station or getting the playlist they want [from streaming sources]. They will be the ones consuming this stuff and we have to be responsive to what they want.” They’re also consuming billable data time, which is, after all, what wireless carriers sell; whereas listening to over-the-air radio via a receiver chip would stop the clock. Recent blizzards and other incidents have demonstrated wireless networks’ limitations, and AM/FM radio’s value as first informer. Nowhere was that more obvious than in Hurricane Sandy’s path, and New Jersey Broadcasters Association president Paul Rotella is gung-ho for the Sprint deal. I asked him about some broadcasters’ concern that spot inventory Sprint would turn over to a rep firm could end up competing with member stations’ own sales efforts, and Rotella agreed that’s a key deal point.
Programming Changes at Entercom’s Sports KCSP, Kansas City. Entercom’s “610 Sports Radio” moves Danny Parkins and Carrington Harrison from middays to the PM drive slot for a new show called “The Drive with Danny Parkins” that features Harrison and former Kansas City Chief Jayice Pearson. At the same time, the station brings Henry Lake aboard to host the midday program alongside Jay Binkley for “The Dayshift with Lake and Bink.” Lake comes to the station from Clear Channel’s “KFAN” in Minneapolis where he’s been working since 1998. There he hosted “Sludge and Lake,” and more recently “The Lake Show.” He also hosted postgame call-in shows following Minnesota Vikings, and University of Minnesota football games. KCSP program director John Hanson states, “Minneapolis was sad to lose him and we’re glad to get him. He’s earned the respect of his listeners and colleagues alike. ‘610 Sports Radio’ is the most-listened-to sports station in Kansas City, and we know Henry’s experience, sports knowledge and energetic personality will help solidify that position.” Regarding the move of Parkins and company to afternoons Hanson states, “Listeners have been asking for this move. Danny and Carrington have built a great chemistry over the past year, so this move is a great one for us. And to add the player perspective and unique life experience Jayice provides, it will offer a great dynamic to the show.”
Odds & Sods. It’s been a busy week for WHO, Des Moines PM drive talk host Simon Conway. The London, England native was an in-demand guest this week commenting on the passing of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He appeared on radio shows in Texas, Florida, Arkansas and others as well as with Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” – a program on which he regularly fills in. On Friday of this week, Conway will fill in on the AM drive show on Clear Channel’s WFLF, Orlando “News Talk WFLA.”…..As CNN continues to re-tool under the guidance of CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker, Deadline.com reports that in addition to bringing back the old “Crossfire” political debate program, the cable news/talk channel is planning to air a 10-week interview program this summer hosted by CBC personality George Stroumboulopoulis. The show would be taped in Los Angeles before a live audience…..Boston Sports Media Watch’s Bruce Allen is reporting that the Boston Red Sox Radio Network – based at Entercom’s WEEI – is losing studio host and fill-in announcer John Rish who resigned his position and will leave by April 24. Rish is a fill-in play-by-play voice when Dave O’Brien is away on his ESPN duties. Rish has been with the network since 2006 and in 2008, he was appointed as the third announcer in the booth to fill in for either O’Brien or Joe Castiglione…..This Saturday, April 13, WYD Media nationally syndicated talk host Stephanie Miller brings her Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour to Chicago for a stop at the historic Chicago Theatre! As usual, Miller is joined on the tour by comics and radio show cast members John Fugelsang and Hal Sparks.
WGOW-FM, Chattanooga’s Wally Witkowski Passes Away. The man known on the radio as “Wally Witkowski,” whose real name was Tom Bolden, died in Nashville at the age of 59 after a battle with cancer. Bolden, who co-hosted “The Village Idiots” with partner Jim Reynolds on WGOW-FM, Chattanooga for years, had suffered with a variety of illnesses over the years but was working as recently as several weeks ago. According to WRCB-TV, Chattanooga, Bolden was long active in local advertising sales and promotional businesses and became “Wally” in the early 1990s doing traffic reports for the radio station each morning. WRCB-TV reports that Bolden partnered with Reynolds some 20 years ago and the chemistry between the two was apparent from the beginning.
Talk Show Host is Huge Fan of the Comrex Access. Technology has changed every part of our lives and that is especially true for those in the arts, particularly broadcasting. What it used to take a truck to do, now takes less than a briefcase and cost 1/100th the original price. Radio today is changing; no longer is it just terrestrial, it’s the stream, it’s the podcast, Twitter, YouTube, it’s moving at the speed of sound. But, as one talk personality points out in a post today, many hosts are not. They are stuck in their studios doing the same type of radio that worked 20 or more years ago. According to Charles “Karel” Bouley, host of “The Karel Show” (KGO, San Francisco; GCN and CRN), hosts need to be out interacting with the community. They need to be at events, not just covering them. They need to be creating events, not just advertising them. They need to show up at unexpected places and do unexpected things. They need to be entertaining and relevant, and that means they need to get out of the studio. Karel states, “The Comrex Access unit makes that possible in ways never before imagined.” To read his entire article, click here.
New Affiliates for the Leslie Marshall Show. WYM Media Management’s Leslie Marshall show adds some new affiliates to the nationally syndicated talk show. Beginning April 22, KMA Broadcasting’s KMA-AM/FM, Shenandoah, Iowa starts carrying the program live 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Also, Saga Communications’ WHMP, Northampton and WHMQ, Greenfield – both in Massachusetts add the show to their schedules beginning April 15.
North Korea Missile Threat, Gun Legislation Proposals, Washington Budget Battle, Brad Paisley ‘Racist’ Song Flap, Obama White House Concert, and Hillary Clinton in 2016 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/9). The ongoing threats by North Korea to launch a long-range missile at the United States; the battle over new gun legislation; the Washington tug-of-war over the nation’s budget and the deficit; controversy over country singer Brad Paisley’s song “Accidental Racist”; the recent White House soul concert; and chatter about Hillary Clinton’s possible run for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cuttin’ the Cake with Corporate. Staffers from the Beasley Broadcast Group Las Vegas and the company’s corporate execs show off a tasty looking sheet cake bestowed upon them as the big bosses saw fit to throw a little soiree for the Las Vegas staff to recognize them for the good job they’ve been doing lately. Vice president of corporate communications Denyse Mesnik tells TALKERS, “We all agree that this is what makes Beasley so special!” Pictured here (from l-r) are: Bruce Beasley, news/talk KDWN program director John Shaffer, Mesnik, VP digital Kathleen Bricketto, Brian Beasley, rhythmic oldies KOAS and classic hits KVGS program director John Candelaria, VP digital production Kimberly Sonneborn, vice president and market manager Tom Humm, and country KCYE program director Justin Chase.
Ronn Owens Signs New Deal with KGO, San Francisco. The iconic Bay Area talk radio fixture begins his 38th year in the radio business after signing a two-year guaranteed deal with an option for a third year. Ronn Owens was reported by Bay Area media blogger Rich Lieberman to be on his way out at the Cumulus Media heritage talker back in the fall – a story TALKERS picked up on – but that did not happen and it appears Owens is likely to mark his 40th anniversary in the business at KGO in a couple of years. At a time when legendary personalities across the country are being ousted from their programs due to budget cuts and programming changes, it’s nice to see a figure of Owens’ magnitude sign up for a new tour of duty!
Boston Media Personalities Margery Eagan and Jim Braude Land at Pubcaster WGBH. Boston Herald columnist Margery Eagan and Boston TV and radio personality Jim Braude will begin hosting a daily 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm talk program on public radio outlet WGBH, Boston beginning February 25, almost two months after they exited Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston due to a format change. Eagan and Braude hosted mornings at WTKK for much of the 13 years they were at WTKK. The Boston Herald reports the current midday hosts at WGBH – Callie Crossley and Emily Rooney – will be featured on the new program as well.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai to Address AM Band at NAB Show in April. The National Association of Broadcasters announces FCC Commissioner Ajit V. Pai will lead a session on AM radio revitalization at the NAB Show in Las Vegas on Monday, April 8. The NAB states, “Broadcasters are exploring the challenges and opportunities related to revitalizing AM radio while continuing to provide the popular, local programming that millions of listeners rely on daily. This session, held within the Broadcast Management Conference, will address possible options for sustaining and enhancing AM radio as a unique entertainment medium. Commissioner Pai, who has expressed special interest in the future of AM radio, will moderate a panel of AM radio leaders, engineers and policy experts.”
Trevor Oliver Exits Premiere Networks. After 15 years with Premiere Networks, Trevor Oliver exits his SVP of operations position. Oliver tells TALKERS magazine he leaves the company on very good terms and that he’s looking forward to his next opportunity. Oliver, who joined Premiere in 1998, has an excellent reputation in the industry and TALKERS has no doubt he’ll put his numerous talents to use in the business somewhere very soon.
Talk Host Sam Malone to Return to Houston Airwaves (and Cablewaves!). Houston radio personality Sam Malone – most recently heard in the market on Dan Patrick-owned news/talk KSEV – will begin a new program on Phonoscope Cable and the show will be simulcast on a local talk radio station to be named later. The Houston Chronicle reports that Malone, who is serving as president of Phonoscope New Media, says the idea for a video and audio show grew out of his experience with Phonoscope. “This is where radio will be going in the future. We need to get the message to smartphones and iPads, not just car radios.” In addition to KSEV, Malone has also worked at music outlets KRBE and KHMX in Houston. He tells the Chronicle he’ll announce the radio station he’ll be on next week but says it’s a station he has not worked for in the past.
Former Congressman John Sweeney to Host Albany Talk Show. Four-term Republican Congressman John Sweeney begins a daily one-hour talk show on Capital Broadcasting’s WGDJ, Albany “Talk 1300.” Sweeney joined president and general manager Paul Vandenburgh on his morning program to announce he’ll begin the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon program on Monday, February 11. Sweeney says, “One of the things I miss about being in the public eye is my day-to-day interaction with the people.” Vandenburgh states, “John has consistently been a leader in the Capital District. Our goal from day one has been to provide a local product on a daily basis and John will be a marvelous addition.”
Dave Ramsey Knocks ‘em Dead in Knoxville. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey presented his “Building Your Legacy” event to a sold-out crowd in Knoxville recently. Ramsey talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence and worked with his daughter Rachel Cruze, who joined him on stage for the presentation. Ramsey teamed up with local affiliate WNOX-FM to promote this event. WNOX general manager Ed Brantley states, “Dave Ramsey’s ‘Building Your Legacy’ was a huge success not only for WNOX-FM and our sponsors but for the community. Dave’s up-close-and-personal approach captured the sold-out crowd.”
LA Talk Radio Celebrates 5th Anniversary. The Los Angeles-based internet talk radio station is celebrating its fifth year “on the air.” Founder Sam Hasson says, “LA Talk Radio has found its success in emerging radio talent in Los Angeles and the rest of the world. We now provide over 80 shows of quality programming, giving ambitious hosts a vocal platform where they can build their listening audience.” LA Talk Radio was born on February 4, 2008, as BBS Talk Radio launched in a “small but comfortable office” in a luxurious high-rise building in downtown Los Angeles. It wasn’t long before Hasson had three daily shows and six weekly shows and soon thereafter began broadcasting 24 hours a day.
KTRH and KPRC, Houston’s Matt Patrick Faces Off with Piers Morgan on Gun Issue. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment personality Matt Patrick (r) – whose programs air on KTRH, Houston in AM drive and on sister KPRC in afternoons – is pictured here at a live remote broadcast from Tactical Firearms in Houston. Patrick tells TALKERS magazine the remote was a “spirited and interactive show to a live audience of listeners.” Patrick’s program aired live before CNN personality and gun legislation advocate Piers Morgan (c) brought his television show to the same location later that evening to argue for the proposed ban on high volume semi-automatic weapons. “Piers Morgan Tonight” aired from Tactical Firearms after Morgan agreed to come and use the gun range and try to experience why Texans love their guns. Morgan agreed to appear on the final segment of Patrick’s program in front of a live audience.
KYKN, Salem, Oregon’s Bill Post Draws Crowd to Gun Rally. Willamette Broadcasting’s KYKN, Salem helped draw a crowd of some 3,000 to the Oregon State Capitol on January 19 for a rally dubbed, “Guns Across America.” A key speaker at the event was 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk host Bill Post (at the mic) who addressed the crowd about the gun legislation issue. The station reports that requests for autographs and photos with Post were overwhelming.
Deficit Reduction Debate; Obama Drone Killing Controversy; Gun Legislation Proposals; Chris Christie Weight Flap and Obama Care Costs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6). The debate in Washington over reducing the deficit via tax and spending cuts; President Obama’s insistence on the right to use drones to kill U.S. citizens; the move to enact new gun control legislation; the media flap over Governor Chris Christie’s weight; and the looming costs of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Longtime KSFO and KGO, San Francisco Personality Lee Rodgers Dies. San Francisco talk radio host Lee Rodgers – who spent the last part of his career on the radio in the market co-hosting morning drive with Melanie Morgan on KSFO – died on Thursday while being operated on for a heart condition. Rodgers had been dealing with heart ailments for some time and Thursday’s surgery was, according to a blog post by his widow Susan, risky but something Rodgers was willing to undergo. Rodgers and Morgan were ousted from their KSFO morning show position in February of 2010.
Former Talk Host Ed Koch Dies at 88. Ed Koch was known to most as a former U.S. Representative and the former mayor of New York City but he was also a progressive talk radio host after his days in New York City Hall. He worked at WABC, New York in the middays in the mid-1990s. He was respected by conservatives and liberals alike and often referred to as the “sane liberal” by conservatives. In recent years, Koch also hosted a Friday evening program on Bloomberg Radio’s WBBR, New York.
Cumulus Names Ron Escarsega OM for KGO and KSFO, San Francisco. Moving up from Cumulus Media’s Los Angeles cluster where he served as assistant program director for news/talk KABC, Ron Escarsega takes the position of operations manager for news KGO and news/talk KSFO. Cumulus news/talk/sports corporate programmer Jim Mahanay states, “Ron has done a great job for us in Los Angeles. We’re excited at the skills he brings north to the Bay Area.” Escarsega says, “I’m excited for the new challenge to work with two iconic stations KGO and KSFO. I appreciate the confidence Cumulus has shown in me and look forward to the new challenge.” KGO and KSFO program director Paul Hosley exits the company.
Date Set for TALKERS New York City Conference. Save the date! The 16th annual TALKERS Conference is set for New York City on Thursday, June 6, 2013. Formerly called “The New Media Seminar” the event – now simply titled TALKERS New York 2013 – will again take place at the comfortable and modern Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side. It will be a power-packed full day of special addresses, panels, presentations, and social networking opportunities tackling the key issues facing talk radio and its relationship with the new talk media (internet, satellite, cable TV) as well as the general radio industry including music radio and the changing role of the disc jockey. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This will be a TALKERS conference for the new era. Our presentation this year will be so fresh and vital to the survival and ‘thrival’ of the business that we actually are moving beyond the title ‘New Media Seminar.’ It is not to be missed.” Stand by for full registration, sponsorship and unfolding agenda details posted here before the end of the week. Registrations will not go on sale until next Monday, February 4 after which, due to limited space and seating, it is expected to be a rapid sellout. Registration will be limited to members of the working media only.
Geraldo Rivera Contemplating U.S. Senate Run in 2014. Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York-based midday talk personality Geraldo Rivera said on his radio program on Thursday that he’s considering a run for the U.S. Senate in 2014. He told listeners, “I mention this only briefly – fasten – I am and have been in touch with some people in the Republican Party in New Jersey. I am truly contemplating running for Senate against Frank Lautenberg or Cory Booker in New Jersey.” The Christian Science Monitor examines Rivera’s chances here. Though New Jersey is a fairly blue state, whether this is Rivera musing out loud or he’s serious about this will become clearer over time. He wouldn’t be the first to turn a talk radio gig into a U.S. Senate seat. Al Franken did it in Minnesota.
Salem Radio Network Teams with USCCA for Second Amendment Protection Petition. The petition – which obtained its 60,000th signature during Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher show on Thursday (1/31) – is a combined effort of the United States Concealed Carry Association and Salem Radio Networks. The petition is intended to be delivered to Congress to request that the Second Amendment be honored as Washington works on gun legislation in the wake of the Newtown massacre.
Cox Media’s WDBO, Orlando Produces Student-Led Gun Legislation Debate. The event took place yesterday evening on the University of Central Florida campus where pre-law students in the Moot Court program debated the issue before a live audience and live on WDBO. The debate was moderated by midday personality Mel Robbins. Station program director Drew Anderssen stated, “Student safety is at the core of the gun control debate in Washington. The politicians have spoken. Our talk hosts have spoken. But, we haven’t heard a long-form discussion on the issue from students. Thanks to the UCF Moot Court Team, we’re able to present our auditorium and radio audiences with a truly bi-partisan discussion on an issue that will shape our nation’s future from people who represent our nation’s future.”
Talk Host Tom Donahue Returns to Terrestrial Radio on KCAA, San Bernardino. Talk radio pro Tom Donahue – who’s been producing his own talk show in various digital formats recently – is taking to the airwaves of Southern California on Broadcasting Management Services’ KCAA, Loma Linda (San Bernardino market) for a weekly Friday program airing at 6:00 pm. Donahue’s program remains part of the internet Talk Superstation lineup. He says he plans to grow his station affiliate base and eventually expand beyond his new weekly endeavor.
Odds & Sods. KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive host Alan Stock sits in for Rusty Humphries on his Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated show this afternoon (2/1)…..WTOP, Washington, DC reporter Neil Augenstein came to the rescue of a Virginia man whose car had been pulled down the road and into a ditch by flood waters early Thursday morning. Augenstein came upon the van while driving in the early morning hours. He was able to confirm that man was okay and phoned authorities to send a rescue crew…..Premiere Networks “Coast to Coast AM” star George Noory is profiled in St. Louis Magazine. Noory splits his time between St. Louis and Los Angeles and in the piece speaks about his journey from news broadcasting to radio and how it influences the show today plus more…..SirusXM launches a new Martha Stewart program called, “Martha Live.” This program debuts February 19 and will be a daily, two-hour live program airing from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET and will feature segments including “Ask Martha,” with live call-ins; “Mostly Martha,” with high-profile guest interviews and discussions; segments hosted by Martha’s favorite experts; as well as curated segments from Martha’s vast archives of radio and television.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds WGSO, New Orleans; WLNI, Lynchburg, Virginia; and WGAW, Gardner, Massachusetts to its roster of affiliates…..WREC, Memphis adds the Dave Ramsey program to its lineup…..“Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford” picks up its 75th affiliate station with the addition of WTYS, Marianna, Florida. Lipford also produces a companion syndicated television program of the same name…..Chris Markowski’s “Money Minutes” feature is added to the Salem Tampa stations.
Immigration Reform Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 28. The Obama Administration’s proposal for immigration reform was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 28 – February 1. Coming in at #2 was the report of the shrinking GDP in the U.S. tied with the Obama Administration’s shutting down of the bi-partisan jobs council. At #3 was the Chuck Hagel confirmation hearing followed by Gabrielle Giffords’ gun legislation testimony at #4. 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 form TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s chart here.
Mark Simone Begins Late Morning Show on WOR, New York. Longtime WABC, New York personality Mark Simone is heading downtown to begin a new chapter in his career with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WOR. Simone tells TALKERS he’s excited to begin hosting the daily 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program. He says, “It’ll be a fast and fun daily look at what’s going on in the world, the city, entertainment, politics, tech, gossip, food, nightlife, my life, lives and whatever else they want to talk about. Lots of great guests and listener calls, too.” Simone says his 13 years at WABC were great. Management was always good to him and he’s finding it hard to leave his fellow co-workers but he’s encouraged to be re-joining general manager Steve Borneman who recently left WABC and is now with WOR. “He’s a great leader and the best GM we ever had on the 17th floor at WABC and everyone on the air there would tell you that they would follow him anywhere. He’s also hiring the best and smartest programming mastermind around. This is just the beginning. So, while I hate leaving the best co-workers in radio, it may not be long before many of them decide to join me here.” Simone’s program fills the slot on WOR previously held by Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher.
WPRO, Providence Makes AM Drive Change; Gene Valicenti to Anchor. Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM, Providence announces WJAR-TV co-anchor Gene Valicenti (pictured at left) is the new host of its “WPRO Morning News” program. The station says “Gene brings more than 20 years of Rhode Island news broadcasting experience to the ‘WPRO Morning News’ each and every weekday. With an intimate knowledge of Rhode Island and neighboring Massachusetts, the ‘WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti’ will help listeners get their weekday started with news, traffic, weather and the unique touch of Gene Valicenti.” For more than two years Valicenti has been hosting his eponymous Saturday morning show on WPRO. He says, “Rhode Island has been waking up to WPRO since the days of Salty Brine. It goes without saying that hosting the ‘WPRO Morning News’ is a real honor for me.” TALKERS columnist and respected industry consultant Holland Cooke, who happens to be a longtime resident of Rhode Island, comments that he believes this to be a very good move. “I’ve been a big Gene Valicenti fan for years, but who here in Rhode Island isn’t? His NBC10 newscasts have consistently led the ratings. Beyond those impressive news chops, Gene’s approach to talk radio demonstrates what I hear as a welcome new trend, an antidote to the format’s caricature. His Saturday radio show SMILES more than most other talkers I hear; and, though topical, he’s not obsessed with politics. Gene strikes me as ‘a next-gen Salty Brine.’” In related news, current morning news host Tara Granahan is promoted to assistant program director for the station.
TALKERS magazine’s Sports Radio Feature, Part 3. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian wraps up a special three-part sports talk radio feature with a look at the December 2012 PPM ratings for sports talk stations in those markets. Numbers freaks will enjoy checking out how some of the nation’s most prominent sports talk outlets performed during that period. Peruse that data here. Mike Kinosian’s three-part feature kicked off with a thorough look at the new CBS Sports Radio Network that debuted on Wednesday. If you missed that, read it here. The second part of this piece covered the new sports talk venture from NBC and Dial Global that premieres its weekend programming tomorrow prior to a full launch in April. You can read that piece here.
George Noory Celebrates 10 Years as Host of ‘Coast to Coast AM.’ It was 10 years ago this weekend that George Noory took over the permanent host gig at Premiere Networks’ super-successful overnight program “Coast to Coast AM” and he plans a special show Sunday evening to celebrate. The show will feature appearances by many fan-favorite guests, including paranormal investigator Joshua P. Warren and internationally known psychic Joseph Jacobs. Noory will also share memorable interviews and highlights from the past decade. Of the anniversary, Noory says, “It’s amazing how fast 10 years goes by and I’m looking forward to 10 more. We have grown the affiliate base from 445 stations when I came on to 564, and have increased our digital, multi-platform audiences tremendously. I want to thank my staff of dedicated producers and engineers, our affiliates, as well as the entire Premiere Networks team – they are the best in the business.” Premiere Networks EVP of news, talk and sports programming Carl Anderson states, “After 10 successful years, George continues to take ‘Coast to Coast AM’ to new heights. His ability to not only entertain and engage his loyal following of sleep-deprived listeners across multiple platforms, but also deliver positive results for stations and sponsors, is what makes him a stand-out star in the world of talk radio. We look forward to celebrating many more milestones together.”
Big NFL Weekend for Dial Global Sports. The first round of the NFL playoffs is here and Dial Global is providing radio broadcasts of the four Wild Card round games this weekend. Play-by-play of the NFL playoffs has been a successful venture for Dial Global (and Westwood One before that). Last year, the company commissioned a study by Edison Research to calculate listenership to the playoff games and the Super Bowl which, according to Edison, pulled in 23.1 million unique listeners to last year’s championship game, underscoring how many Americans aren’t able to be near a TV and turn to the radio to hear the big game.
SNL Kagan Reports Current TV-Al Jazeera Deal a Challenge for Middle East Operator. The pending $500 million sale of Al Gore-founded cable news/talk channel Current TV to Qatar-operated Al Jazeera is a bounty for Al Gore and Joel Hyatt but will likely be a big hurdle for Al Jazeera. SNL Kagan states, “We think Al Jazeera may have to drop the license fee to zero in order to gain widespread support for carrying the channel in the U.S., a move that would certainly imperil its economic model, which relies upon license fees for 80% of the network’s revenue. But maybe this is the only way for Al Jazeera America to gain a solid foothold in the U.S…In the U.S., the channel is available only in New York; Washington; Burlington, Vt.; Toledo, Ohio; and Bristol, R.I., versus 250 million households across the world in 120 countries.”
Entercom’s WEEI Expands Its Brand in the Granite State. New England’s Boston-based WEEI sports talk radio brand expands in New Hampshire adding its eighth affiliate – Great Eastern Radio’s WZEI, Meredith. WZEI is a class A FM covering the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. The station will carry the entire WEEI daily sports talk lineup, its weekend programming and Boston Celtics basketball. Great Eastern CEO Jeff Shapiro says, “We are very excited to bring coverage of everything New England sports to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire with 101.5 WZEI. Great Eastern Radio and WEEI have a great partnership that has been key to great sports programming in northern New England for the past few years, and we look forward to extending that for years to come!”
KGO, San Francisco Wins Regional News Awards. Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco picks up two 2012 awards for broadcasting excellence from the NorCal Radio Television News Directors Association. The station won “Best News Broadcast” for the in-depth coverage of the Occupy protest and closure of the Port of Oakland anchored by Bret Burkhart and Chris Brecher; produced by Linnea Edmeier and Laura Podolak. The judges said it “grabs you right out of the box (with) passionate and engaged reporting (and) paints a good word picture of what was going on.” KGO reporter Scott Lettieri won “Best Light Feature Reporting” for his “Spotlight 810” piece on inmates performing Shakespeare in San Quentin. The judges said it was “interesting and meaningful,” with a “great mix of dramatic Shakespeare readings, music, (and) inmate reflections on what they’re gaining personally by taking part.” KGO program director Paul Hosley says, “We’re humbled by these awards. The 5:00 pm hour is highly popular with listeners and features contributions from the entire news team. We’re thrilled to have Scott Lettieri recognized for his remarkable work as well. Scott is a master story teller and it showed in this report about inmates performing Shakespeare behind bars.”
Bloomberg’s WBBR, New York Celebrates 20th Anniversary. Bloomberg’s WBBR, New York is celebrating its 20th anniversary as Bloomberg Radio – the 24-hour business and financial news outlet in the Big Apple. To mark the occasion, anchor Tom Keene and reporter Charlie Pellett will join staffers at the New York Stock Exchange to ring the closing bell.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Legislation Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 31 – January 4. Debate over and passage of the laws designed to avoid the “fiscal cliff” was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, putting it at #1 on the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was the Boehner House Speaker vote. At #3 was financial markets activity followed by Hurricane Sandy aid legislation at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Holland Cooke: Start Your Own Media Station. Noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke says getting laid off during this year’s pre-Christmas industry bloodbath, though painful and scary, might not be the worst thing that can happen to enterprising broadcasters. In a boldly worded opinion piece, the forward-thinking programming advisor connects numerous dots and cites fascinating examples painting a positive picture of just how much opportunity now exists in the digital world for radio people daring enough to go “stickless.” He points to a number of telling signs in the changes in our culture – such as Larry King’s new online show being listed in a larger font on the USA Today television listings page than his former home, CNN. Cooke writes, “Anyone who uses Twitter online can click-to-listen. Those who Tweet on smartphones or iPad simply touch-to-listen. Voila! You’re in-the-pocket, where AM/FM radio used to be.” Read his piece here.
Rumors of Format Change at WTKK, Boston Rampant. The Boston media is all over the rumors that Greater Media will flip the news/talk station to a different, music-based format in the near future. The local media picked up on domain name registrations such as 969BostonsBeat.com, 969TheBeat.com, and Power969.com. The Boston Herald speculates the change is coming because “’toxic’ all-talk formats aren’t attracting enough younger listeners.” Greater Media spokesperson Heidi Raphael states, “We deal in a business of attitudes and being responsive to the preferences of our audiences and the needs of our advertisers and communities. We are continually exploring our options, looking for ways to improve our product and brands. No decisions have been made on any changes to the format.” Radio operators register domain names that go unused frequently so the actions by Greater Media don’t necessarily mean a change is coming but it certainly means the company is considering it.
Dave Ramsey Changes Affiliates in Home Town of Nashville; Jumps from WWTN to Sports WPRT. The nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey show will move to Cromwell Radio Group’s sports talk WPRT “102.5 FM The Game” beginning January 1. Ramsey’s program has aired on Cumulus Media’s WWTN, Nashville since the program debuted in the early 1990s. Ramsey states, “After 20 years on WWTN it is very difficult to leave. Unfortunately, we couldn’t come to terms with Cumulus on a simple renewal agreement. There are a lot of great people at WWTN and we’ll miss them. But we’re excited to have the opportunity to work with an independent radio station owner the caliber of Bud Walters.” It appears as though the move is being precipitated by Cumulus’ desire to give its own talk programs more