Glenn Beck and Saudi Student Settle Suit Over Boston Marathon Bombing Accusation. TALKERS readers who’ve been following this story are aware that Glenn Beck and his media firm TheBlaze were being sued by a Saudi Arabian student – Abdulrahman Alharbi – whom Beck continued to allege was the “money man” behind the terror attack at the 2013 Boston Marathon even after the feds had investigated and cleared him. Alharbi was also injured in the bombing. Now comes news that the sides have settled and as is usually the case in settlements such as this, neither party is admitting any fault and the terms of the settlement are not being disclosed. In August, U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris had ordered TheBlaze to reveal its sources that Beck, et al, had cited as the basis for its actions. Beck and TheBlaze refused to do so. In a joint statement after the settlement, the sides said, in part, “Defendants have agreed to settlement of the pending action in furtherance of fundamental principles of journalistic integrity by preserving the confidentiality of their sources consistent with their rights and privileges under the First Amendment. The Plaintiff has pursued this action for the reasons set forth in his Complaint and believes those interests have been served by this resolution.” It’s unclear how much Alharbi stood to gain if he prevailed in a trial because Judge Saris had previously ruled that Alharbi would not be allowed to sue for punitive damages or the charge of unjust enrichment against the defendants.
Oregon Judge Recommends TRN Suit Against Cumulus Be Dismissed; TRN Attorney Plans Objection. As reported by Law 360, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark D. Clarke is recommending that the antitrust suit filed by Talk Radio Network Enterprises against Cumulus Media, Compass Media Networks, Lew Dickey, Charles Steinhauer, and WYD Media Management be dismissed because the same claims were settled in a federal court in New York in 2014. Clarke wrote, “Dismissal with prejudice pursuant to a settlement agreement constitutes a final judgment on the merits and precludes parties from reasserting the same claims in a subsequent action. Such dismissal prevents reassertion of the same claim between the same parties. The 2014 judgment is therefore final and subject to claim preclusion.” However, TRNE attorney Joseph Alioto tells Law 360, “We made it very clear in the complaint that the conduct resumed after the settlement, and that’s the important preposition, after. The allegations in the complaint are required, at this stage of the game, to be accepted as true and all inferences are to be drawn in favor of the non-moving party, which is the plaintiff. Our allegations are that after the settlement, [Cumulus Media] recommenced the same conduct, which causes a new claim to arise.” TRNE alleges that Cumulus subsidiary Westwood One and the other plaintiffs conspired to create for themselves an unfair advantage in the nationally syndicated ad bundling market. TRNE says Westwood One was able to use its dominance in the marketplace to avoid the transparency needed for the complainants to be certain of how much they are owed. The other claims in the suit include: breach of implied covenant and fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, conversion, and others and Clarke recommended they also be dismissed because the claims as pleaded are “vague.” However, he leaves the door open to those non-antitrust claims be repleaded.
Joey Reynolds Returns to the Airwaves. For 15 years radio legend Joey Reynolds held court in the wee small hours of the morning on WOR, New York and the WOR Radio Network. Now, Reynolds is back on the air on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York on Sunday evenings at 9:00. Reynolds (right) launches the new show this Sunday with his first guest, none other than WABC icon Cousin Brucie (left), who’s currently hosting shows on SiriusXM – including the “Cousin Brucie’s Saturday Night Party.” Reynolds’ pal Art Vuolo informs us that the new Reynolds program will soon also be heard on Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles and in syndication through the efforts of William G. Nye and Mike Cave.
KFTK-FM, St. Louis Adds Two New Signals to News/Talk Brand. St. Louis news/talk KFTK-FM is adding two signals to its brand. Emmis Communications announces the programming is now also being heard on WQQX-AM (licensed to East St. Louis, Illinois) and translator K254CR, St. Louis at 98.7 FM. Program director Jeff Allen says, “‘FM NewsTalk 97.1’ is often the #1 talk station in St. Louis and for years we have been getting requests to expand the reach of our traditional radio signal. This move does that. You will now be able to hear our programming from the far west edge of the metro, well into Illinois, down past south St. Louis and a strong signal downtown. Just choose the dial position that comes in best on the radio where you are.”
Pettiette Upped to VP/Director of Sales for CBS RADIO Houston. Sales pro Michael Pettiette moves up from his regional director of digital sales for the CBS RADIO Houston station group to vice president and director of sales. He’s been with CBS for the past five years. He started his radio career with iHeartMedia as an account executive. Pettiette will now oversee multi-platform sales and revenue for the cluster that includes hot AC KHMX, sports talk KIKK, country KILT-FM, sports talk KILT-AM, CHR KKHH, and Spanish KLOL-FM.
‘103.7 The Game’ in Lafayette Adds TV Simulcast for AM Show. The morning drive “SportsChat with Dave Schultz” on Delta Media’s KLWB, Lafayette “103.7 The Game” is now airing in a TV simulcast with the company’s KXKW-TV 32.1 “The American Sports Network.” General manager Chuck Wood states, “We are working diligently to put our products where our viewers and listeners are. This additional delivery system will make our ‘Live and Local’ programming available to more local eyes and ears. Additional programming will be coming to American Sports Network 32.1 very soon.” Dave Schultz adds, “I’m looking forward to showing Acadiana how much fun I have in the morning bringing them ‘SportsChat.’ Hoping this opens the door to more listeners and in-studio guests joining in the fun.”
Odds & Sods. A new deal between Westwood One and Emmy and Peabody Award-winning comedian and actor Paul Mecurio has been struck to have WW1 provide exclusive ad sales representation for his “2 Chairs and a Microphone” podcast that’s available via audioBoom…..KMG Networks’ Anchor Dashboard – a customizable real-time dashboard that delivers essential information directly to news anchors in the studio – is now being implemented at more than 35 of Salem Media Group’s locally hosted news/talk and Christian teaching talk stations, including: WNYM and WMCA, New York, KRLA and KKLA, Los Angeles, and WIND and WYLL, Chicago…..AdLarge Media signs a deal for exclusive ad sales representation of New Mommy Media, a network of dynamic audio podcasts “designed to grow with the listener and her child, from the first trimester to the terrible twos and beyond.” New Mommy Media was created by Sunny Gault boasts 60,000 downloads a month across a variety of targeted content choices…..What do you do when you’re interviewing a Trump and you run out of time? You employ the Art of the Deal! WHP, Harrisburg afternoon drive host Ken Matthews tells TALKERS magazine he was interviewing Donald Trump Jr. and, after eight minutes, found himself up against the break. Trump Jr. told Matthews he was too busy to sit on hold for three minutes, could he negotiate a change in the format? “So we negotiated the break times live on the air with him and my producer! A very funny Trump moment.”
The Presidential Race/Candidates’ Health, IRS Commissioner Impeachment Issue, National Anthem Protests, U.S.-Philippines Relations, Bayer-Monsanto Merger, Venezuela Crisis Worsens, U.S. Refugee Policy, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/14). The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, especially the brouhaha over the health of both candidates; the Republicans’ move to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen for his role in the agency’s treatment of conservative organizations; the ongoing national discussion over Colin Kaepernick and other athletes’ decisions not to stand during the playing of the National Anthem; Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s adversarial attitude toward the U.S. and his recent decision to buy weapons from Russia and China instead of the U.S.; the acquisition of St. Louis-based Monsanto by Germany’s Bayer; the worsening economic conditions in Venezuela; the U.S.’ decision to allow up to 110,000 more refugees into the country; and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Rome Visits KNBR, San Francisco. Nationally syndicated sports talk personality Jim Rome (left) is seen here with KNBR, San Francisco afternoon drive sports talker Tom Tolbert (right) on the latter’s program on Monday (9/12). Rome was visiting the city and appeared on Tolbert’s program live from Cumulus Media’s Levi’s Lounge at KNBR.
Radio Execs Name Internet in Car as Biggest Threat; Arbitron Identifies Markets with Longest AM Drive Commute. A Mark Kassof & Co. survey of radio station owners, general managers and group executives finds that 41% of them identify internet access in cars as the biggest “threat” to AM/FM radio. Following in descending order were: Pandora 18%; Sirius/XM Satellite Radio 13%; iPods/mp3 players 13%; podcasts 8%; iHeartRadio 7%; and YouTube 6%. Coincidentally, Arbitron releases data highlighting the top five commuter markets – that is the five markets in which people spend the most time in their cars on the way to work in the traditional morning drive period. (You can view this data from Arbitron for all 275 rated markets here.) Arbitron goes further, indicating 84% of commuters say they use AM/FM radio and shows the radio format of the top-rated station (P 18+ AQH Share; M-F 6AM-10AM) in those five markets. Regardless, this data goes to show what may seem common sense to experienced broadcasters: The automobile is the most important listening location for AM/FM radio, so obviously any other platform providing audio content is a “threat” to its interests. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison comments, “The interests of radio broadcasters would be better served if we stop obsessing on which outside ‘threats’ to our AM/FM platform were the most dangerous and begin to realize that we ourselves pose the biggest threat to our medium by not using the best and only weapon available to counter that threat: better and unique programming. Plain and simple, ‘filler’ no longer cuts it. Nor does giving our product away in order to grow our so-called ‘brands.’ Our insecurity and lack of focus is going to insure that the world ‘likes’ us all the way to the poorhouse!”
WXOS, St. Louis Ups Chris Neupert to PD. With programmer Kent Sterling exiting “101 ESPN’ to return to Indianapolis, the Hubbard Broadcasting sports talk station promotes assistant PD, executive producer and director of St. Louis Rams Radio operations Chris “Hoss” Neupert to program director. Hubbard St. Louis market manager John Kijowski says, “Chris Neupert is a versatile player who has added to the entire ‘101ESPN’ team over the course of the past four years, first as the head of Rams Radio operations and then as the assistant program director for the station. His proven leadership and ability to communicate effectively with the entire ‘101 ESPN’ staff — along with St. Louis’ professional sports teams and executives, and the station’s clients and partners — make him an invaluable asset to our station.” Neupert previously served as PD at crosstown sports talker KFNS “590 The Fan.”
Ryan McCredden Moves from Tucson to CBS Radio’s Houston Sports Talk Duo. Programmer Ryan McCredden fills the slot vacated by Gavin Spittle when CBS Radio moved him back to its Dallas operations. McCredden will program sports talk stations KILT “Sportsradio 610” and KIKK “CBS Sports Radio 650.” McCredden comes to Texas from Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk KQTH-FM “104.1 The Truth” and sports talk KFFN, in Tucson. He worked for CBS Radio previously as APD at news/talk KRLD-AM and sports KRLD-FM, Dallas. CBS Radio SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier states, “Ryan McCredden has that special ability to successfully coach on-air talent, create custom events, and raise the ratings everywhere he has worked. He is a true professional with a passion for the product and will be a steady leader for the ‘Sportsradio 610’ team.” McCredden states he’s excited to return to CBS Radio. “’Sportsradio 610’ has a fantastic lineup of shows and I couldn’t be more excited to work with hosts who are as passionate about radio as I am. Add in the fact that I get the amazing opportunity to team with the AFC South champion Houston Texans, and we have all the elements needed for producing great radio.”
CBS Radio to Use Triton Digital’s Real-Time Buying Protocol. Triton Digital calls it a2x and says it is the “industry’s only audience-based programmatic buying solution for online and mobile audio ads.” Of its service, Triton states, “a2x is the first and only audio advertising exchange that enables advertisers to programmatically buy targeted online and mobile audio inventory in real-time. The solution provides a system for managing, buying and selling third party advertising campaigns. The automated, exchange-driven method of buying and selling ad impressions facilitates increased efficiency, eliminating waste and resulting in the highest price for publishers and the greatest efficiency for advertisers. CBS Radio local digital media president Ezra Kucharz states, “Joining Triton’s a2x exchange will create additional demand for our inventory, providing a great complement to our strong traditional sales channels. Being able to offer agency trading desk access to our inventory in this manner allows us to participate in a new revenue stream targeting mobile and digital budgets.”
Michael Smerconish Leaving AM/FM Radio for Satellite. Saying the AM/FM talk radio format is “not conducive to the type of program I’m offering,” WYD Media-produced and nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish tells the Associated Press he’s exiting his AM/FM program for a gig at SiriusXM beginning April 15. Smerconish’s Philadelphia-based program is heard on about 80 affiliates. In statements highly critical of the current state of news/talk radio,Smerconish tells the AP, “I don’t do ideologically driven talk, I do content-driven talk. I’m not on the air to carry anybody’s water on a day-to-day basis.” He says he believes programmers are ignoring the fact that their audiences are becoming “too white, too male, too angry and too old” to grow the format into the future. In a subsequent formal press statement, Smerconish says, “I am ecstatic to join SiriusXM, which I see as the dynamic future of radio broadcasting. I look forward to talking with SiriusXM’s diverse, national audience, delivering a program that transcends the polarization that exists not only in Washington but in the media and country at large. It’s time to take the national conversation to a higher plane, and I invite listeners nationwide with views that don’t stack up neatly in any ideological box the way we’re told they should to join.” The Republican-turned-independent will host a three-hour show beginning at 9:00 am ET on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel.
Michael Smerconish to Deliver Annual “State of the First Amendment Address” at Talkers New York 2013. Following in the footsteps of colorful and articulate individuals going back almost a quarter century, maverick talk show host Michael Smerconish has been invited by the TALKERS magazine editorial board to deliver this year’s installment of the “State of the First Amendment Address” at Talkers New York 2013 – a position that he has accepted. It is one of the most important industry speeches of the year, taking place at the opening of the ceremony at which the prestigious Freedom of Speech Award is presented. This year’s recipient of that award has not yet been determined or named. The annual State of the First Amendment Award began as an industry tradition in the early 1990s when iconic talk show host Gene Burns (then of WRKO, Boston) gave a dazzling impromptu speech introducing the Freedom of Speech Award recipient that year. Burns made such a compelling case for the importance of the First Amendment and its connection to talk radio that he was asked to perform the role at the annual conference for several years thereafter. Since then the speech has been delivered by a diverse roster of luminaries including Al Franken, Michael Medved, Neal Boortz, Alan Colmes, Lou Dobbs, Jim Bohannon and others. In making the announcement, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “When we invited Michael Smerconish to play this important role, we had no idea that he was about to make the switch from AM/FM radio to satellite. Considering the circumstances surrounding his bold move, it makes his selection as this year’s presenter more appropriate than ever.” Smerconish tells TALKERS, “I will be at the conference with bells on. I deeply believe radio must be open to a wide variety of independent thinking that puts personality and individuality over ideology.” Talkers New York 2013 takes place on Thursday, June 6 and due to space limitations will be an early sellout open to working media only. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.
Townsquare Media Names Michael Josephs SVP Corporate Strategy and Development. In his most recent role with MESA Securities, Michael Josephs was managing director at the media and entertainment-focused investment bank. At Townsquare Media, he’ll be in charge of the company’s new products and sectors initiatives.
Odds & Sods. T.J. McCormack is the new host of “Good Morning Westchester” on Whitney Radio’s WVOX, New Rochelle, New York…..WPWR-TV, Chicago is airing a “best-of” version of the morning “Mancow!” show that is a TV simulcast of the 6:00 am to 8:00 am hours of his daily radio program. The weekend show – “The Mancow Mashup” – is airing Saturdays at 11:30 am on WFLD-TV and Sundays at 11:00 on WPWR-TV.
Former WIOD and WINZ, Miami Newsman Al Warnell Dies After Battle with Cancer. Xavier Alonso “Al” Warnell died at age 62 while in hospice care in his home town of South Bend, Indiana. Warnell began his 30-year career in South Florida as a reporter at WINZ, Miami in 1976. He continued his work at WIOD when the crosstown station was acquired by Jacor in 1996.
Ongoing Sequester Battle, Anti-Drones Filibuster, North Korea Nuke Threats, Chavez ‘Post-Mortem,’ Record-Setting Dow, and Redskins Name Court Battle Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/6). The political battle in Washington over the sequester; Senator Rand Paul’s anti-drones filibuster; North Korean nuclear threats against the U.S.; analysis of Venezuela’s future and the legacy of Hugo Chavez; the record-high Dow; and the court battle over the Washington Redskins’ name were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.