Clear Channel Goes with DC-Based Elliot Segal for WOR, New York Morning Show. In announcing its new program schedule for news/talk WOR, New York (which includes the Arrival of Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity), Clear Channel Media + Entertainment throws a curveball to industry watchers and names “DC101” morning drive host Elliot Segal the new morning drive show, replacing the retiring John Gambling. The “Elliot in the Morning” show will continue to air on Clear Channel’s rock WWDC as well as rock WRXL, Richmond “XL 102.” Segal says, “I’m excited to be coming back to New York, to a station with such a legendary history. We have built something very special in Washington, DC and Richmond and I’m beyond thrilled that the show will continue airing on DC/101 and XL-102. Now, WOR will be home to ‘Elliot In The Morning’ and I couldn’t be more anxious to get going.” This move is particularly significant because it is the first time in recent memory that a major market heritage AM news/talk station will be carrying the same show that is running on a major market heritage FM music station. Although there is nothing new about major FM music stations running talk (or talk-oriented) programs in their lineups (usually in morning drive), this move marks a significant breakthrough in mixing the cultures within a single outlet’s stationality. The implications of this, should it be successful, will be huge. Clear Channel notes Mark Simone follows Segal from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. After that it’s Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Andy Dean and Dave Ramsey. Joan Hamburg – a longtime WOR personality – moves to weekends with programs airing on both Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. President and market manager Joe Puglise states, “This is an incredibly exciting time for WOR. Bringing America’s top two talk show hosts to our lineup, the entertaining Elliot Segal and his team to the mornings and becoming the flagship station for the Mets will allow us to create unprecedented marketing opportunities for our partners and unbeatable programming for our listeners.”
John DePetro Apologizes for ‘Whores’ Comment. WPRO, Providence late morning talk show host John DePetro has issued an apology for calling union protestors “whores.” This latest development comes less than a week after TALKERS reported that DePetro had filed a police complaint stating two men had threatened him outside the WPRO studios because of the comment. Back in September, DePetro railed against the union-supported protest taking place outside a fundraiser for State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo. During that broadcast he reportedly directed his words toward a female union leader, saying, “What a disgrace. You are an embarrassment…You are parasites. You are cockroaches. You lie. You are union hags. There’s another word I’d like to use…it begins with a W. and an H. and an O. and an R. and an E. and an S. See if they can spell that.” DePetro was off his program last week and the Associate Press reports it’s unclear if his absence had anything to do with the remarks. Still, he called into his own program and told listeners, “The language I used was not in keeping with the family friendly atmosphere that I try to maintain for the thousands of people who listen to me. Going forward I intend to approach debates on the current topics that we talk about in a more sensitive style.”
Saunders Begins Daily Talk Show. WBNQ, Bloomington, Illinois morning drive host Susan Saunders is adding a daily talk show on sister station news/talk WJBC-AM/FM. Saunders leads the CHR morning show alongside Ray Wagner. Now, she’s adding a two-hour 9:00 am to 11:00 am talk program to her duties at the Cumulus Media cluster. She says, “It’s official, and I couldn’t be more excited about joining the legendary, Marconi- and Crystal Award-winning staff of WJBC-AM/FM. After 15 years (on the morning show), it was time to expand my horizons into pure form talk radio. Over the last four months I have been auditioning my non-musical style with WJBC’s audience, and it works!”
Beasley Declares Cash Dividend for Share Holders. The dividend will be paid on January 10 to shareholders of record on December 27 and will pay $0.045 per share. Chairman and CEO Geroge Beasley states, “The re-initiation of a regular cash dividend reflects the free cash flow generated by our operations as well as our commitment to deliver value to our shareholders, and follows the one-time special dividend of $0.085 paid to shareholders in December 2012. Importantly, taking into consideration the proposed annual capital allocated to dividend payments, based on current conditions we believe Beasley Broadcast Group‘s total free cash flow should provide us with the liquidity needed to further reduce leverage, consider potential station acquisitions and to enhance long-term shareholder value.”
Flora and DeLucca Join Clear Channel, Phoenix as GSMs. Coming onboard effective immediately as general sales managers are George Flora and Libia DeLucca. Flora will oversee sales operations for Clear Channel, Phoenix outlets KFYI “Newstalk 550,” KOY “Business 1230,” and KGME “Fox Sports Radio 910.” In addition to her GSM duties, DeLucca will assist with brand manager responsibilities for the cluster’s rhythmic hot AC KYOT “Eva 95.5.” Clear Channel Phoenix vice president of sales Linda Little states, “George Flora is the perfect addition to our sales management team. He will add a wealth of knowledge and experience in driving revenue and creating solutions for clients utilizing our spoken-word brands. Libia brings with her years of experience selling integrated marketing solutions with digital, newspaper, and TV assets in Phoenix. I know she will take her team to new levels as they become even stronger digital marketers for their clients.” Prior to the six years he just spent at ESPN Los Angeles, Flora was with CBS Radio Los Angeles for 12 years. DeLucca had a 14-year run with Gannett Media Phoenix – most recently as digital sales manager.
Yankees Add Syracuse’s Rock “TK 99″ to its Radio Network. Galaxy Communications, Syracuse classic rocker WTKW “TK 99″ signs a multi-year agreement with CBS Radio to air all 162 regular season games of the NY Yankees beginning with the 2014 season. Galaxy Communications president/chief executive officer Ed Levine remarks, “We intend to go far beyond just broadcasting the games on the radio in Syracuse. We’re going to enhance the experience for Yankee fans in Central New York in a myriad of innovative ways.” CBS Radio vice president of sports programming Mark Chernoff comments, “CBS Radio and the New York Yankees are very excited to be partnering with ‘TK 99′ and Galaxy. They have shown a great ability through their work with Syracuse University athletics to enhance what is already a strong presence in Syracuse. We look forward to that continuing with the Yankees.” In April 2007, WTKW became the flagship play-by-play outlet of Syracuse University men’s football, men’s basketball, and men’s lacrosse games.
KIRO-FM’s Twelve-Hour Fundraiser Collects More Than $489,000. Local foster children will be aided by money amassed through listener donations and sponsor matching funds via the Bonneville Seattle talk outlet’s 7:00 am – 7:00 pm radio-thon last Thursday (12/5). KIRO-FM conducted the annual “Holiday Magic” on-air event in conjunction with Treehouse, a nonprofit organization addressing essential education and enrichment needs of kids in foster care. Bonneville Seattle Media Group vice president/market manager Carl Gardner comments, “Again this year, our community has dug deep to support foster children. Treehouse does a tremendous job of strengthening foster families and helping children realize their full potential. It is a joy and privilege to connect our generous audience with good neighbors who just need a little help.” Treehouse chief executive officer Janis Avery remarks, “We are absolutely thrilled with the success of the 25th ‘Holiday Magic’ radio-thon. We are so grateful to the KIRO radio team and listeners for once again helping Treehouse give 6,000 kids in foster care across Washington State happy holidays.” Founded in 1988, Treehouse recently set a goal that, by 2017, King County foster kids will graduate high school at the rate of their peers. Major community contributors to the KIRO-FM radio-thon included Carter Subaru, Safeway Foundation, and GEICO.
WMAL-AM/FM, Washington Helps Raise $330k-plus for Fisher House Foundation. WMAL-AM/FM, Washington program director Bill Hess tells TALKERS magazine that it was a big weekend for the Cumulus Media station and its listeners as the 10th Annual Fisher House Radiothon raised $330,630 for the charity that helps provide housing for the loved ones of U.S. servicemen and women begin treated for injuries suffered in the line of duty. Hess calls it an “incredible response by our wonderful WMAL listeners” and reports that this year’s total beat last year’s total by $40,000 and the 2011 total by $75,000. The two-day radiothon was anchored by morning hosts Brian Wilson and Larry O’Connor, along with midday host Chris Plante and weekender Rick Fowler.
Beasley Las Vegas Holiday Bash. The Beasley Broadcast Group Las Vegas cluster took time over the weekend to get together for a holiday party at the Blue Martini. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Beasley Las Vegas VP of programming Justin Chase, corporate VP of operations Brian Beasley, Beasley Las Vegas general manager Tom Humm, KDWN talk show host Alan Stock, KDWN and syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs, and KDWN program and news director John Shaffer.
Tornado Damage Reported Via Multi-Media on McGraw Milhaven Show. The series of tornadoes that swept across the Midwest on Sunday left serious damage in New Minden, Illinois – about an hour East of St. Louis. The photo you see here is from the video component of KTRS, St. Louis morning host McGraw Milhaven’s online platform. Since the spring, Milhaven has been partnering with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s StlToday.com site to present his program in a video format. Today, he used that medium to his advantage as reporter Michael Golde was able to report back to the studio via Skype and show viewers scenes from the storm-damaged town and converse with Milhaven and news anchor Kelly Jackson. In posting the video on YouTube, Milhaven comments, “KTRS Radio in St Louis is the only radio station in the country to show live video of storm-damaged areas of Ill. to listeners on laptops, desktops and smartphones as well as the radio.”
JVC Media to Flip Rock WRCN, Long Island to News/Talk After Christmas. Longtime rocker WRCN, Riverhead, New York has stopped playing “everything that rocks” and has gone Christmas music through the holidays. But after Christmas, the station will emerge as a news/talk outlet dubbed “LI News Radio 103.9.” JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo explains the company’s thinking in a statement: “WRCN has a long history and heritage on Long Island – many of us have grown up with the station and it has become an intricate part of our lives. But as our lives change so does our soundtrack. What we listened to growing up is not necessarily what we listen to now and what was important to us as teenagers maybe doesn’t seem so important anymore. That’s why we made the decision to change WRCN and develop and program a radio station that fits the needs of Long Island…Long Islanders are starving for local news and information. Why should we have to wait 22 minutes to hear about the world when all we really want is Islip to Southampton? What’s the traffic like on the 347 merge or Sunrise Highway in Oakdale? This station will not only serve as your information source but it will be your sounding board for issues that influence your life, your community and your business.” Talent that has been announced to be part of the new format includes Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Sean Hannity and Cumulus Media Networks personality Mark Levin as well as local hosts Ernie Fasio, Vic Fusco, John Gomez, Kevin Law, Steve Levy, Frank McKay, and Jay Oliver.
Linda Thomas to Exit KIRO-FM, Seattle. Morning news anchor and reporter Linda Thomas announces she will be leaving Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle at the end of the year for a new opportunity that, as she says, “doesn’t involve being at work by 2:00 am.” In a blog post at the company’s Mynorthwest.com, she writes, “My Bonneville Seattle bosses understand and support my decision too, even though they don’t want me to leave. That’s what family members do. I’ll always be grateful for them, and for you.” Thomas first worked at KIRO in 1988 as an overnight editor and became morning drive anchor in 1993. She left the station to work as a freelancer but returned to KIRO-FM as morning anchor in 2010. She adds, “KIRO’s news, talk and online teams are the best in the business. It’s been an honor to work alongside amazing talent. I’ve learned a lot from all my co-workers. They encourage me, challenge me, and make me laugh on a daily basis. I really do love them.”
Michelle Wright Let Go from All-News WYAY, Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho tips us that morning drive co-anchor Michelle Wright has been let go from Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY, Atlanta “All-News 106.7.” Andy Rose remains in AM drive solo. The speculation is that the recent hiring of Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson to host a talk show in middays and the acquisition of Atlanta Braves baseball required some cuts in other areas of the station and Wright was the unfortunate victim. She was one of the original staffers when Cumulus decided to turn WYAY into an all-news station in May of 2012. She had previously worked at Atlanta-based CNN Radio before joining Cumulus.
CEOs Make the Grade. Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman and Emmis’ Jeff Smulyan were both the subjects of feature stories in newspapers over the weekend – Pittman in The New York Times and Smulyan in the Indianapolis Star. In a Q&A titled, the Value of Dissent, Pittman says he encouraged dissenters in his organization because they serve a valuable purpose. “I want us to listen to these dissenters because they may intend to tell you why we can’t do something, but if you listen hard, what they’re really telling you is what you must do to get something done. It gets you out of your framework of the conventions of what you can and can’t do.” Read that piece here. Jeff Smulyan tells the Star in his Q&A that the best piece of advice he’s received has to do with employer-employee relationships, “Attract the best people, treat them well, and let them do their job. If you want people to go through walls for you, you have to go through more walls for them.” Read that story here.
The View of Radio from the Digital World’s Perspective. Noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller writes, “Those of us in digital media know that our world will continue to change drastically, over and over again. We also know that we will be bigger and better three years…five years…10 years from now. Plus, we hear how radio compares itself to online listening choices, and we see how you use your digital platforms. And here’s what we think.” In a new column posted today (11/18) Miller goes on to state that digital-only people still have “transmitter envy” and that even though more and more people and media are moving online, the stick is still a formidable asset. Regardless, he points out that many digital-only professionals think that over-the-air radio companies are “crazy” for cutting talent, still selling 60-second commercials, and not being cognizant of just how much entertainment is changing. He clearly explains what digital pros see as radio’s “dangerous assumption.” He observes, ”I look at a lot of different radio social media, websites, database emails and texting programs, and it’s clear you’re making some dangerous assumptions. Digital content doesn’t work like you think it should. It doesn’t work like you wish it did. It works like it works. We see you on Facebook and Twitter talking about almost anything…except what people really love about you. Your websites are a mish-mosh of broad-based content, but if you look at your web stats, there are fewer than half-a-dozen features at your site that, combined, get the lion’s share of your page views. There is nothing special or exclusive about the emails you send your listeners, and your open rates prove it. Radio people know a lot about how people use radio. Meanwhile, you are using all these other media as if knowing how they work doesn’t matter. One key thing we’re doing to drive our online success is to track everything we can to see what really makes a difference. We don’t have the luxury of having opinions about what should work. Either the clicks are there, or they aren’t. What we do either works, or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, you dig in, diagnose the problem, and adjust.” To read Chris Miller’s entire column, please click here.
Premiere Reverses Course; Keeps Randi Rhodes on Syndication Menu. There are no reports indicating just what happened between Randi Rhodes and syndicator Premiere Networks but the latter is confirming the widely reported news that Rhodes will continue to be syndicated by Premiere, at least through 2014. Premiere SVP of affiliate relations Peter Tripi emailed affiliates, “In a happy turn of events, we are pleased to announce that Premiere Networks will continue to produce and distribute the Randi Rhodes show. In an industry of constant change, it’s a pleasure to provide good news about a talk talent we think so highly of. We apologize for any inconvenience the previous announcement caused, but look forward to a very successful 2014 with the Randi Rhodes show.” Several weeks ago, Rhodes began telling her audience she was foreseeing the end of her program and later Premiere notified affiliates the relationship would be ending.
It’s Pop-Up Time. No, not the kind of pop-up we associate with websites – pop-up ads – but those retail stores that “pop up” in vacant storefronts during the holiday shopping season. Sales maven and H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz writes about getting these seasonal businesses advertising on your station this year. He notes that many of these retailers are big name brands that choose to expand their physical space during this time of year and they include Vera Bradley, Louis Vuitton and the National Football League. Read Al Herskovitz’s entire column here.
ABC News Radio Offers Kennedy Assassination Programming. As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, ABC News Radio is offering a two-hour special broadcast, “Three Shots Rang Out: An ABC News Special – The JFK Assassination 50 Years Later,” anchored by ABC News’ Diane Sawyer. It’s an audio-only program that will be heard by ABC News Radio affiliates. In addition, a special expanded show will be available via download at Audible.com as part of a new digital audio relationship between ABC News Radio and Audible. The Audible.com version of this program will include an additional 40 minutes of historical audio available exclusively to Audible listeners.
Ron Ruth Passes. Former 19-year Radio Advertising Bureau executive vice president of stations Ron Ruth died early Saturday (11/16) in Florida of a heart attack. The 75-year-old Ruth had been struggling with health issues the past two months. CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason was among those quickly noting their sympathies regarding Ruth’s passing. “I just spoke with him at the Radio Show this past September in Orlando,” Mason writes on Facebook. “He was so up and happy – I am sad tonight.” Also on that social media platform, Tom Birch notes, “Ron lived life to its fullest and was a joy and inspiration to everyone who had the opportunity to know him. Ron was the midwife to Birch Research. He opened doors for me, encouraged me and guided me. I am deeply honored to have worked for Ron at WQAM, Miami in the 1970s, and to have remained friends with him for the next three decades.” According to former RKO General eastern vice president Perry Ury, “Ron Ruth was a friend and our house skeptic at RKO.” Former Tele Media Broadcasting vice president and chief operating officer Ira Rosenblatt adds, “We’ve lost a friend and true broadcaster.” Doing afternoon drive in Boston early in his radio career, Ruth roomed with two other on-air talents who went on to stardom – George Carlin and Jack Burns of Burns & (Avery) Schreiber. He held sales manager positions for Unistar Radio Networks, as well as at the local level in markets such as New York (WOR-FM), Chicago (WNUS), Washington, DC (WGMS), and Buffalo (WYSL). Ruth left Unistar to join the RAB in 1992. Most recently, he was consulting the Radio Advertising Bureau.
A Man of His Word. The man having his head shaved live on the air on Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington, DC is former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino. Not too long ago, Bongino said on the WMAL airwaves that he would shave his head if President Obama apologized for the gaffes in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. And since the president did offer an apology of sorts, Bongino agreed to honor his statement live on the air and did so on Friday, November 15.
KIRO-FM, Seattle’s Tony Miner Gives Up Full-Time Position. Longtime KIRO-FM, Seattle news anchor Tony Miner has ended his full-time afternoon news anchor position with the Bonneville news/talk outlet but will continue to do fill-in and other part-time work at the station. In a piece on Bonneville-owned MyNorthwest.com, Miner says he’s not calling it semi-retirement, “I look upon it as a transition to more of a part-time thing here, filling in across the board, doing some commercial work, and just not doing the five day a week grind and coming down all the way from the Miner Ranch in the Skagit Valley every day.” Miner had been commuting more than an hour each way from his home to the studios. He was heard daily during the afternoon drive Ron & Don program.
Randy Galloway to Exits ESPN 103.3 in Dallas as Cumulus Begins Operations. Dallas sports media personality Randy Galloway’s “Galloway and Company” program will air for the final time on KESN, Dallas today (10/7) as Cumulus Media takes over the operations of the Disney/ESPN-owned station. Galloway’s contract with ESPN runs out at the end of this year and the Dallas Star-Telegram reports that Galloway’s lawyer advised him that his ESPN contract is non-transferable so he gets paid for the rest of the year by leaving the program. If he were to say on with Cumulus, ESPN would be off the hook. Galloway – a Star-Telegram columnist – says he’s had discussions with ESPN about contributing on national issues but doesn’t say if anything has been agreed to.
Islanders Renew with Hofstra; Add Signal on Eastern Long Island. The NHL’s New York Islanders renew their deal for Hofstra University’s non-com WRHU, Hempstead to serve as the flagship station for the team’s games this season. In addition, Long Island-based JVC Broadcasting enters into an agreement with the club to air games on its rock WRCN, Riverhead, New York. The addition of WRCN gives the Isles a radio presence in the central and eastern Long Island areas. Hofstra dean of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, Evan Cornog, tells Newsday, “WRHU is a college radio station that holds itself to the highest professional standards, so we are delighted to enter into a fourth year as the flagship radio station for a great professional sports franchise, the New York Islanders.” JVC’s Matthew Goldapper adds, “JVC Broadcasting is incredibly proud to partner with Hofstra University and the New York Islanders to carry the games in Suffolk County. Residents from Islip to Montauk will now have the ability to listen to all of the action on 103.9 FM.”
Bruce DuMont to Seek New Executive Director for Museum of Broadcast Communications. After founding the Chicago-located Museum of Broadcast Communications, Bruce DuMont says he will recommend to the board of directors that it consider hiring an executive director or general manager to oversee the day-to-day operations of the organization. According to a story by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the 69-year-old DuMont will continue to serve as president and CEO of the non-profit that he founded in 1983. DuMont, who still hosts his weekly “Beyond the Beltway” political talk show from studios in the Chicago facility, says he intends to spend more time raising visibility and funds for the organization. The museum on North State Street re-opened last year after being closed for almost 10 years due to state funding and other fiscal problems that impeded construction of the $27 million building.
Odds & Sods. United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia tells New York Magazine that his favorite talk show host is (former Secretary of Education) Bill Bennett. In the piece, Scalia is asked about his media consumption and he says he gets most of his news while driving and cites Salem Radio Network’s Bennett as his favorite, “My good friend Bill Bennett. He’s off the air by the time I’m driving in, but I listen to him sometimes when I’m shaving. He has a wonderful talk show. It’s very thoughtful. He has good callers. I think they keep off stupid people.” Bennett says of Scalia’s comments, “I couldn’t be happier to know that ‘Morning in America’ is a part of Justice Scalia’s morning routine. Now, if we can just get four more of his colleagues to tune in before they put their robes on, maybe the country will be in better shape.”…..Sports talk personality Steve Hayward returns to Good Karma’s WAUK, Milwaukee hosting his daily 6:00 pm program after a year away from the mic due to health reasons. WITI-TV, Milwaukee reports Hayward has been suffering from cardiomyopathy, diabetes and kidney failure…..WTAG, Worcester morning drive host Paul Westcott sits in for Andy Dean on Premiere Networks‘ “America Tonight” show this evening (10/7).
WEEI Red Sox Radio Network “Believes” in Castiglione for Two More Seasons. With their team just one win away from advancing to the American League Championship Series in a miraculous turnaround campaign, Boston Red Sox fans are being made aware that play-by-play caller Joe Castiglione will be infusing his trademark “Can you believe it?” exclamation for at least two more years. The popular Castiglione has been a Red Sox fixture for 31 years. He will continue in his current role alongside Dave O’Brien through the 2015 season, in what Castiglione describes as, “the best job in New England.” Previous Red Sox play-by-play announcers have included such outstanding stalwarts as Curt Gowdy, Ned Martin, and Ken Coleman; however, Castiglione is the longest-tenured announcer in the team’s illustrious history. “From spring training, to opening day, to that famous final out in St. Louis in 2004, I have had the best seats in the house,” he remarks. WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham adds, “Joe is more than a just broadcaster; he’s become as iconic as Fenway Park or the Green Monster. One of the reasons the Boston Red Sox are such a part of the fabric of New England is because of the work and the voice of Joe Castiglione.” Nominated earlier this week by The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for the Ford C. Frick Award, Castiglione has broadcast some of the most memorable moments in Red Sox history. He called Carl Yastrzemski’s last game in 1983; Roger Clemens’ 20-strikeout game; Dave Roberts’ steal in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees; and the Red Sox 2004 and 2007 World Series Championships.
Former CBS Radio Broadcaster W. Ron Sailor, Sr. Passes. Bishop W. Ron Sailor, Sr., Pastor of Christ the King Baptist Church and former radio personality at CBS Radio’s talk WAOK and urban contemporary WVEE “V-103” passed away on October 6 at age 63. Sailor originally worked for WAOK in 1971 and returned to the station in 2002 when it flipped to a news/talk format. Sailor won accolades for his television works as well winning local EMMYs Outstanding Commentator in the Southeastern United States three-times. He was the first African-American to serve as commentator for the evening news for a major southern television station on WSB-TV and also the first African-American to host an afternoon television program in Atlanta, when he hosted the “Backtalk” program on WXIA-TV.
Eyes (and Ears!) on News/Talk Radio as Recent Ratings Trends Spur Criticism. As the September PPM data continues to roll out, industry watchers and mainstream media writers and analysts are scrutinizing talk radio’s numbers – as well as its programming. Citing a perceived slow-but-steady decline in ratings for the news/talk format in general, critics are wondering if the political “right-versus-left” programming philosophy has become tiresome to all but the staunchest news/talk radio fans and is resulting in the generally lower numbers in Nielsen Audio’s PPM and diary ratings. Some high-profile cases have been cited, including KFI, Los Angeles’ decline in 6+ PPM ratings over the past year from being one of the country’s best-performing news/talk stations in one of America’s most vibrant markets. Just today (10/2), Chicago media writer Robert Feder writes about the state of Cumulus Media’s WLS, Chicago and its declining place in the ratings race. The reasons for the states of these stations are open to analysis – including, but not limited to, the possibility that Nielsen Audio’s PPM methodology is less than perfect – and could easily vary from market to market. When talking ratings, what are usually not included in the recent criticism of news/talk as a format are: the #1 showing for Cox Media’s WSB-AM, Atlanta (which carries the oft-maligned Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity); Cumulus’ WMAL, Washington’s rise in the September PPM; CBS Radio’s high-flying KMOX, St. Louis; Bonneville’s steady-performing KIRO-FM, Seattle; Cox’s WOKV, Jacksonville; and the two Milwaukee news/talk outlets that have consistently performed as two of the top six stations over the last year – Clear Channel’s WISN and Journal’s WTMJ. Constant awareness and analysis of the sound and perception of one’s stations are the hallmarks of good operators and effective programmers should care about how the format is perceived. But discovering what’s “wrong” with a format or a station is not easy and not always possible given the limited information available. In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “The first people out there ready to proclaim news/talk radio as being dead are usually people who see the world primarily through a political lens who disagree with the ideology of the hosts they dislike. Political news/talk radio is cyclical and will always come back from the brink when there’s inevitably a new chapter in contemporary issues. Regardless, the good thing that hopefully will come out of this ratings down-tick will be some of the major operators giving consideration to different forms of talk and even news/talk that are just being ignored. There are so many potential ways of doing ‘talk radio’ it is crazy for so many stations to bunch up around one predominant style. Everyone should spread out and claim and develop new territory on the spectrum of possibilities.” This topic will be one of those addressed at the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference taking place next Thursday, October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.
Nielsen Begins Synergies; Sean Creamer and Debra Delman to Exit Ratings Giant. Nielsen responded quickly to TALKERS last week after we reported that the “$20 million in synergies” the company hopes to realize with the acquisition of the former Arbitron would cost jobs. The company stated it had “no plans to reduce headcount at this time.” Perhaps that applies to the rank and file and not the executive strata because it’s now being reported that former Arbitron CEO Sean Creamer and CFO Debra Delman will leave Nielsen at the end of the year. Though Nielsen has not released a statement about the changes, it’s expected that other executives may also be headed for the door. Both Creamer, Delman and most of the other high-level execs who might follow the two have clauses in their contracts that will give them very nice golden parachutes. Creamer could realize almost $7 million in total compensation and Delman’s take is just shy of $2 million.
ESPN Deportes Radio Extends NFL Deal. Sports giant ESPN reports that its ESPN Deportes Radio unit has reached a new multi-year agreement for media rights to the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 National Football League seasons. Under the agreement, the network will have exclusive Spanish-language rights to Monday Night Football, the 2013-2014 National Football Conference Playoffs, the 2014 Super Bowl, 2015 Pro Bowl and the 2014-2015 American Football Conference Playoffs. ESPN Deportes Radio general manager Oscar Ramos says, “We’re incredibly excited to add NFL to our diverse roster of programming. U.S. Hispanics are becoming avid NFL fans and this new deal allows us to deliver the content they want in the language they prefer.”
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Diane Warren and Jean Robinson - MMTC Media Brokers (run by Bounceology). In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media brokers Diane Warren and Jean Robinson of MMTC Media Brokers (run by Bounceology) located in San Antonio, Texas. MMTC Media Brokers specializes in locating properties and selling them to potential minority, multicultural and women buyers. In addition to telling their fascinating story, they share several outstanding opportunities that they have among their listings that would be of interest to first-time buyers. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
CNBC’s Jim Cramer Featured on SiriusXM ‘Town Hall.’ CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer (left) recently took part in SiriusXM’s “Town Hall” series for a Q&A with SiriusXM personality Pete Dominick (right). The program will be aired on Friday, October 4 on its Indie channel. The conversation – which took place before an audience of SiriusXM listeners – covered financial markets, fiscal trends, the economic state of the nation, and the story of Cramer’s personal road from hedge fund manager to popular CNBC host. Dominick is a stand-up comedian who has opened up for Cramer on his “Mad Money Back to School Tour.”
Two Weeks in a Kennel Reaps Rewards for KIDO’s Kevin Miller. KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (right) is pictured here with ASPCA senior director Tami McReynolds (left) and Canyon County Animal Shelter director Barb Hutchinson (center) showing off the check for $35,000 the CCAS received after Miller helped get more than 300 animals adopted. To achieve that and win the $35,000 prize, Miller spent two weeks living in a makeshift kennel from which he broadcast his morning program. The contest is national in scope and – with Miller’s help – the CCAS is the only shelter to win the prize twice.
Government Shutdown, ObamaCare Enrollment Begins, Scrapped Hillary Clinton Programs, U.S.-Iran Relations, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/1). The battle between the GOP and the Obama Administration and the government shutdown; the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act begins; two television projects on the life of Hillary Clinton are scrapped; possible diplomatic relations between Iran and the U.S. and the former’s nuclear program; and the effects of the government shutdown on the U.S. financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Bonneville Seattle Re-Tools KIRO-FM Mid-Mornings with ‘The Tom and Curley Show.’ This is John Curley’s third daypart on KIRO-FM, Seattle and this time the station pairs him up with “veteran pop-culture enthusiast” and film critic Tom Tangney (left) for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show. Curley (right) – a well-known Seattle media personality – began with KIRO-FM hosting the evening program, then moved to morning drive alongside Linda Thomas for a brief period. The station moved Dave Ross to AM drive leaving Curley out for a period. Now, management says this new show “will bring an energetic insight into the news. The show will keep listeners informed, entertained and connected to the latest news in the region and around the world. The combination of Curley’s enthusiasm and Tangney’s intellect is the perfect mixture for KIRO Radio’s weekday lineup.” Program director Pete Gammell says, “The partnership between John and Tom is electric and we’re excited to offer our audience such a great program to keep them informed and connected to Seattle.” Curley comments, “Tom is the brother-in-law I always wanted to have, a guy I can argue with sometimes and laugh with almost all the time.” And Tangney adds, “I have a blast talking with John Curley three hours a day. I hope and trust listeners will find our show as fun and invigorating as I do.”
Marilu Henner to Speak at Talkers Los Angeles 2013. Accomplished actress and author — and recently syndicated radio talk show host (Sun Broadcast Group) – Marilu Henner, will be joining the stellar roster of more than 50 speakers who will be on the power-packed program at Talkers Los Angeles 2013. Marilu Henner will present an opening greeting titled “Hello Talk Radio” at the start of the event in which she will welcome attendees to the conference and talk about the appeal of the medium and its potential to serve a variety of topics and interests outside the realm of partisan politics. Henner’s new show that deals with health topics and day-to-day lifestyle issues of interest to a broad segment of the public has been drawing critical raves. Conference director Michael Harrison states, “One listen to Marilu Henner makes it clear that she is a bright, confident, media ‘natural’ who will make a difference in this field. Her smart, original and fearless approach to health and well-being issues is enhanced by her extraordinary charisma and all around strong media presence. What a welcome addition to the talk radio community! We are honored to have her play a key role in the morning kick-off of what promises to be a fantastic day!” For sponsorship and other information about the sold-out conference which takes place at the historic Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood on Thursday, October 10, please call 413-565-5413.
CBS Radio Moves Morton To STL as Director of Sales. Sam Morton transfers from Dallas to become director of sales for CBS Radio, St. Louis properties news/talk KMOX, AC KEZK “Fresh 102.5,” and hot AC KYKY “Y98.” He will arrive in St. Louis on October 14, after being general sales manager for CBS Radio, Dallas’ sports talk KRLD-FM, adult hits KJKK “100.3 Jack FM,” and classic hits KLUV. Senior vice president/St. Louis market manager John Sheehan remarks, “I have seen the success Sam has had in a very competitive radio market. His strategic leadership and management experience in Dallas, along with his understanding of CBS Radio business philosophies, will make him a great partner for us in St. Louis.” In addition to his DOS duties, Morton will serve as KMOX’s general sales manager.
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Brett Miller – MCH Enterprises, Inc. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Brett Miller of MCH Enterprises, Inc. located in Bakersfield, California. Like many of the professional media brokers spotlighted in this feature, Miller is extremely friendly to displaced radio personnel looking to go into ownership for themselves, as well as first-time buyers. He specializes in small market radio and believes that small market radio is the heart and soul of broadcasting and community service. He tells it like it is: ”In our little corner of the industry, we are experiencing roughly the same number of buy/sell transactions as when we started; only now the deals are smaller and buyers’ struggles to obtain financing grows bigger. Seller financing is almost a requirement as all-cash deals are becoming harder to find and fewer between. In addition to brokering transactions, our consulting side has grown to include transaction management and FCC support as first-time buyers enter the market, and we are doing more appraisals as banks are experiencing greater scrutiny from their examiners or coping with bankruptcies and liquidations. We see a good number of first-time buyers with solid experience, but with no financing and no ability to collateralize licenses in order to obtain financing (hello, FCC? there’s a hint there), we sense a lot of frustration in the marketplace…not only with prospective buyers, but with sellers. There remains a fairly large gap between buyer and seller expectations. The margins are slim and the multiples are shrinking as the new economic reality sets in. To some degree, what buyers want, they can’t afford and what buyers can afford doesn’t interest sellers. While it frustrates everyone, there are still good opportunities for the right person: someone who knows how the business works, someone who is not afraid to get out on the street and make sales, and someone who wants to become an integral part of the community. In our opinion, it is the power of radio that will ultimately lead the way for the economic recovery of Main Street. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
CRC Broadcasting Adds FM Signal for Phoenix Money Talker. CRC Broadcasting’s KFNN, Phoenix “Money Radio 1510” now has an FM signal on which its programming is being simulcast. Translator K257CD at 99.3 FM covers the center of the metro. Company founder and president Ron Cohen states, “The addition of an FM channel not only provides listeners with greater access to hear ‘Money Radio,’ but also comes at a strategically pivotal time in Phoenix radio. We’ve built our reputation on providing more useful information than just business news. ‘Money Radio 1510’ talks about money: how to make it, invest it, and how to be smart spenders of it. We will continue to serve the local community with our relevant and informative programming.”
Larry Wilson’s L&L Broadcasting Buys YMF’s Columbia Cluster. YMF Media LLC inks an agreement to sell its Columbia, South Carolina cluster consisting of urban contemporary WWDM “The Big DM 101,” classic rock WMFX “Fox 102,” rock WARQ “Rock 93.5,” hip hop WHXT “Hot 103.9,” adult hits WZMJ “The Lake,” and talk WOIC to L&L Broadcasting. YMF Media was represented by Media Venture Partners in the transaction. The price for the five-station cluster is $13 million.
Michael Harrison to Present Blockbuster Speech at NAB Addressing Key Issues of Both Talk and Music Radio. As a matter of fact, the publisher of talk radio trade TALKERS and music radio trade RadioInfo states that in order for both talk radio and music radio to continue to play an important role in the new digital era – at least within the context of being “AM and FM” radio, and within the broader context of “radio” having certain cultural identifiers that keep it special – is for BOTH to continue to exist in a healthy way side by side. Harrison also believes that music radio and talk radio still have much to share with and learn from each other. Harrison’s speech will be a hard-hitting, non-stop 45-minute “pitching machine” of challenges and solutions facing today’s radio as it braces for the “whitewater ride” of finding its natural home in the digital era, which he says “will inevitably prevail in changing our entire media/cultural landscape within the next decade – at most.” Harrison strongly advises that radio is first and foremost a connection to popular culture and that’s what it should stay in order to remain vital. Among the suggestions Harrison will deliver include his top 10 concepts to keeping radio vital as a pop cultural entity: 10) Celebrate radio’s “radioness” – don’t let it fade; 9) Spread out formatically and stop bunching around a mere handful of viable format options; 8) Be a hero – everyday, and in every way; 7) Strive for localness and here’s why; 6) Take “ownership” of your subject matter and slice of the humanities pie; 5) Eliminate commercial tune outs – commerciality MUST be reinvented ASAP; 4) Maintain an active “skunk works” component to your operation - garages, not corporate boardrooms, are where great new ideas are born and incubated; 3) Learn about intellectual property – it is the foundation upon which we will build most business/talent/management deals in this new era; 2) Integrate radio into the new digital age without being assimilated – the internet is a “ground” not a platform – keeping in mind that in spite of what everyone is saying, content is NOT king, platform is king; and 1) Eliminate debt – radio cannot survive within its current financial paradigm…it is time to put the brakes on consolidation and begin to think about deconsolidation. Harrison states, “As long as every other news story we seem to be writing about in the trades is about a ‘deal’ that will create the ‘largest this or that’ in the industry, we are still headed in the wrong direction and will never make it across Bill Clinton’s metaphorical ‘bridge to the 21st century.’ Radio has always been and will always be a mom-and-pop business. We need fewer CEOs, COOs, presidents and vice presidents – and more mom-and-pops.” Harrison, who will be introduced by consultant Holland Cooke, will be speaking on Thursday, September 19 between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm in the room Gatlin E2. It is open to all attendees of the NAB Radio Show. For information call 413-565-5413.
Arbitron Brings NextMedia Aboard for Diary Ratings in Three Markets. NextMedia signs a multi-year deal with Arbitron to subscribe to the company’s diary ratings service for its stations in Canton, Ohio; Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville, North Carolina; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. NextMedia also re-ups its PPM contract for Chicago and San Jose. NextMedia president and CEO Jim Donahoe states, “Radio continues to be a vibrant medium that reaches consumers at a very local level. Subscribing to Arbitron’s radio ratings services gives NextMedia the opportunity to demonstrate radio’s continued strength to our current and potential advertisers.”
Saga Communications Revises Projected Revenue. The third quarter of 2013 doesn’t end until September 30 but Saga Communications is issuing a statement in which it “anticipates gross revenues for the third quarter ending September 30, 2013 to be flat to up 2.0% in comparison to the corresponding period last year.”
Midwest Communications Inks Regional Reps for Six Markets. Independent sales rep firm Regional Reps Corp. is contracted by Midwest Communications to be the exclusive national sales rep firm for its stations in the following markets: Duluth; Hibbing, Minnesota; Holland, Michigan; Lansing; Sioux Falls; and Terre Haute. The Midwest stations in Sheboygan, Wisconsin have been represented by Regional Reps since 2007. Midwest CEO Duke Wright states, “We’re very excited about working with Regional Reps in a number of our markets. Regional Reps has demonstrated to us that they are innovative, produce results for the stations they represent and take the initiative in developing new revenue streams for their clients.”
Odds & Sods. Fox News Radio brings Tonya Powers aboard to serve as a national correspondent based in the New York headquarters. In her new role, Powers will report on breaking news and provide daily live reports covering stories in the Northeast and across the country. Prior to joining FNR, Powers was a news director and morning show anchor at Clear Channel’s news/talk WREC, Memphis “Newsradio 600.”…..Blackstrap Broadcasting’s WUFC, Boston changes sports network affiliations and leaves NBC Sports Radio and is re-branding as “Yahoo! Sports Radio 1510.” This move comes after station general manager and midday host Anthony Pepe becomes part of the Yahoo! lineup.
Navy Yard Slayings, U.S. Syria Policy, Iran’s Threats to the U.S., Quest for New Fed Chief, and Colorado Floods Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/16). The killings at the Navy Yard in Washington; the ongoing debate over the United States’ policy regarding Syria’s civil unrest; threats by Iran against the United States and its allies; the process of determining who will be the next Fed chief; and the deaths and destruction from the floods in Colorado were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Arbitron Files Complaint Against Renda’s Jacksonville Stations. Renda is a subscriber to Arbitron in some markets but hasn’t been a subscriber for its Jacksonville stations since 2010. In the complaint filed in United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida Jacksonville Division, Arbitron alleges that Renda Jacksonville general manager Bill Reese received printed and emailed data from a senior executive at a local advertising agency of whom Reese is a professional and personal friend on numerous occasions throughout 2011 and 2012. The complaint also cites sales manager Charlie Jennings, program director Chuck Beck and air personality Arthur Crofton as receiving the data. Arbitron is seeking $150,000 per act in an amount not less than $500,000 plus attorneys’ fees.
Possible Sports Talk Shake-Up in Dallas. The Dallas Morning News’ Barry Horn is reporting that sports KTCK, Dallas early afternoon duo Bob Sturm (l) and Dan McDowell (r) – known as BaD Radio – are in negotiations to move to CBS Radio’s crosstown KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan” for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot. Horn reports that “Ticket types” are not confident the duo will remain with Cumulus Media’s KTCK and expects that the deal could be done as soon as today (6/24).
Tavis Smiley and BlogTalkRadio Ink Deal. According to a report in The New York Times, public radio broadcaster Tavis Smiley is entering into a deal with Alan Levy’s BlogTalkRadio in which Smiley will produce and anchor a daily program for the internet talk radio site and will produce shows for other contributors under his Tavis Smiley Network banner. Levy tells the paper Smiley is the first broadcaster to be paid to work for BlogTalkRadio. As with the other talk show hosts on the service, Smiley and BlogTalkRadio will split any revenue that is brought to the programs. Smiley’s program – which will last 20 minutes or as long as he feels like talking – will consist of interviews and interaction with listeners.
You Only Need 1,000 Fans to Make a Living in this Business. That was one of the eye-opening facts presented by radio consultant Holland Cooke at the recent Talkers New York 2013 conference (6/6). In a concise, information-packed presentation titled “Resourceful and Remarkable,” Cooke outlines the tremendous benefits talk radio broadcasters can achieve and exploit by properly and effectively using Twitter. Now, you can see the entire not-to-be-missed Holland Cooke presentation, power point slides and all, at TalkersTV by clicking here.
Sam Huff Retires from Washington Redskins Radio Network. Washington Redskins great Sam Huff announces that after 38 years in the radio booth broadcasting the team’s games, he’s ending his regular work with the team’s network. Huff states, “I’ve enjoyed every game that I played, coached and provided color commentary over the last 50 years with the Washington Redskins. I look forward to joining Larry, Sonny and Doc on the pregame show a few times this season.” Red Zebra Brodcasting CEO Rick Carmean says, “This is truly the end of an era. You cannot think Redskins Radio without Sam and Sonny. We support Sam’s decision and look forward to having him as a special guest during the season.” The team says Huff will be honored during a pregame ceremony at a to-be-determined Redskins game. Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980” serves as flagship for the network.
Seattle Broadcast Legend Pat O’Day to Host Seafair Hydro Race Special on KIRO-FM. The news was shocking to many Emerald City residents when it was announced that local broadcast legend Pat O’Day would not host television coverage of the Hydroplane Race that takes place during the city’s Seafair in early August – something he’s done since 1966. Bonneville’s KIRO-FM is bringing O’Day aboard to host the coverage of the race on the radio. The announcement was made on the station’s “Ron and Don Show.” The show’s Don O’Neill states, “Pat is a Seattle broadcasting legend, and we’re really excited to share his longtime experience as the voice of Seafair on our airwaves. Pat and the Seafair hydros have both been a part of our community for many years and we’re not ready for that to end.” O’Day became known as the “Godfather of Northwest Rock” while making his name as an afternoon DJ in the 1960s. He says of joining KIRO-FM for the race, “It’s been my joy to make contributions to the sport, but above all to make a contribution to our great, treasured festival called Seafair. I feel very honored to be a part of Seafair for the past 46 years and am looking forward to sharing my perspective with KIRO Radio listeners.”
KODI, Cody, Wyoming Host Arrested for Voting as a Convicted Felon. “Speak Your Piece” co-host David Koch was arrested on Friday, June 21 state officials for allegedly voting in elections in the state as a convicted felon – a crime in Wyoming. Koch was convicted of first-degree burglary and second-degree theft in Alaska in 1993 and he admitted to voting in elections over the past couple of years after taking an oath in 2009 that he had never been convicted of a felony. The issue came to light when a caller to his radio program who had obviously researched Koch’s past, pressed him on the voting issue and he admitted to the convictions and to voting. The Casper Star Tribune reports Big Horn Radio Network general manager Roger Gelder states Koch is still employed with the radio station and will let the legal system decide his fate. Each count is punishable by up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Jimmy Hayes to Retire from Cox Enterprises President and CEO Post; Executive Structure Transitions Announced. Jimmy Hayes has served as president and CEO of Cox Enterprises since 2008 but now he will retire from the company in April of 2014 and John Dyer, who becomes chief operating officer of Cox Enterprises, will succeed him when he steps down. Hayes will maintain a seat on the company’s board of directors. In related moves, Doug Franklin, currently president of Cox Media Group, moves up to become EVP and chief financial officer of Cox Enterprises. Cox Media Group executive vice president Bill Hoffman moves up to become president of Cox Media Group. Cox Enterprises chairman Jim Kennedy says of Hayes, “Jimmy has led an impressive career at Cox, and I consider it a privilege having worked alongside him for so many years. I thank Jimmy for his loyalty and service to Cox, and am delighted to work with him over the next 12 months to carefully and thoughtfully transition Cox’s next senior leadership team.” Kennedy also addressed Hoffman’s rise to president of Cox Media Group. “Bill is a talented senior executive who will provide strong leadership, continuity and direction at Cox Media Group. His innate understanding of the integration of broadcast, print and digital media will help ensure Cox outlets maintain their enviable rankings in a highly competitive media landscape.”
WTMA, Charleston Names John Quincy PD. Cumulus Media’s WTMA, Charleston, South Carolina — “Charleston’s Big Talker” announces John Quincy is promoted from assistant program director to program director of the station. Quincy also serves as producer of the station’s morning program “Tara on TMA” hosted by Tara Servatius. Quincy has worked in the Charleston market since 1981 and he’s been with WTMA since 2002. He says, “I’m honored to have the opportunity to helm this legendary radio station. As WTMA celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2014, I’m more passionate than ever about its news/talk format.”
Imaging Master Suggests Slowing Down Voice Presentations to Be Noticed in “Hyper-Communicated World.” Highly respected radio/TV voice-over and imaging professional Nick Michaels, author of the concept, ”over-communicated world,” tells TALKERS that we are now quickly moving past it to what he describes as the “hyper-communicated world” which he says can be “a very uncomfortable place.” He says, ”One of the downsides of too many messages is the inability to focus on any one thing long enough to enjoy it. The by-product of the over-communicated world is the feeling that life is moving faster, even though we are sitting still. An occasional ride on a roller coaster is fun, but living on one is a nightmare.” Michaels suggests that radio personalities and commercial producers can make their work stand out in this dizzying environment by stepping back and slowing things down by adding drama and variety to their pacing. He advises, “Media, and especially advertising and promotion, can take advantage of this by making their messages slower and lower. In audio messages, speak softly and use the power of the pause. In the over-communicated world, messages that subliminally make you feel more comfortable have an advantage over those that do not. That advantage can be the difference between your message being received or rejected.” To read a recent interview with Nick Michaels that appeared in TALKERS magazine’s sister publication for music radio, RadioInfo, click here.
Clear Channel to Return WGST-AM, Atlanta to News/Talk. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho tips us that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment plans to drop the Spanish sports on WGST-AM, Atlanta and return to news/talk with a syndicated lineup of stars including Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, independently syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey, Talk Radio Network rising star Andrea Tantaros and “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” featuring Gordon Deal for AM drive. The rest of the schedule is not known at this time. It’s been eight months since CC dropped the news/talk – including local hosts Rob Johnson in mornings and Rusty Humphries (who did a separate program from his successful TRN syndicated show) in PM drive and opted for Spanish sports talk via ESPN Deportes.
Keith Cunningham Named Vice President of Programming at Clear Channel Seattle. Moving in from his most recent position as broadcast consultant for Jacobs Media, Keith Cunningham takes the VP of programming position and will be in charge of the programming at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s cluster in Seattle. Cunningham says, “The past seven years with Jacobs Media has been a wonderful experience and I feel fortunate to now have the opportunity to return to Clear Channel to work with Seattle’s great brands like ‘Kiss,’ KUBE, KJR-AM and FM and ‘The Brew.’ The Clear Channel Seattle cluster is well positioned for growth – the resources available to the team are second to none and each brand is loaded with great talent, both on and off the air.” The company’s Seattle properties include: hip hop KUBE, classic hits KJR-FM, rock KKBW “The Brew,” CHR KBKS “106.1 Kiss FM,” and sports talk simulcast KJR-AM and KNBQ-FM.
Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver Extends Deal with NFL’s Broncos. The relationship between Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver and the Denver Broncos is extended for another four years through the 2017 season. As part of the new deal, Broncos play-by-play will also air on Clear Channel’s classic rock KRFX “103.5 The Fox” beginning with the 2013 season. As in the past, the relating programming includes exclusive interviews with starting quarterback Peyton Manning, executive vice president of football operations John Elway and head coach John Fox as well as Broncos-themed talk shows. KOA’s Dave Logan is entering his 24th season in the Broncos broadcast booth and 17th season as the radio play-by-play voice of the team. Former Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey will be back for his second year as color commentator. KOA serves as the flagship for more than 60 affiliate stations in nine states.
KIRO-FM, Seattle Adds Weekend Boat Show. Bonneville Seattle’s news/talk KIRO-FM announces the addition of “KIRO Radio On the Water” – a one-hour Sunday morning program hosted by Captain Bob McLaughlin. The program promises to discuss “nautical subjects from the latest boat maintenance techniques and models; to water sports and safety tips; to the cruise ship industry and marine life in the Puget Sound.” McLaughlin is not just any boat aficionado, he’s a founder and board member of Seawolf Rescue and Research, a non-profit organization that provides the expertise and equipment to rescue and relocate wild marine and terrestrial animals, while documenting the process for future educational and research opportunities. The group has conducted research and observational work for both the U.S. and Canadian governments. McLaughlin took part in the only successful reintroduction of an orphaned marine mammal being reunited with its family, and has co-produced an Emmy and Columbia Peabody award-winning documentary on the plight of killer whales.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio News has been honored with five 2013 Headliner Awards and, for the third consecutive year, finished in first place in both the Network Newscast and Breaking News or Continuing Coverage categories. The National Headliner Awards recognize journalistic merit in the communications industry. In the Network Newscast category, correspondent Sam Litzinger and editor Dianne James won for the hourly newscast for coverage of the Newtown massacre; CBS Radio News also won in the Breaking News or Continuing Coverage of a Single News Event category for its Newtown coverage; and correspondent Heather Bosch won in the News Series category for her programs on “Women Warriors.” In the five-part series that aired for 2012 Memorial Day, Bosch talked to women who have been on the front lines in Afghanistan and are struggling to overcome the effects of PTSD…..CBS Radio’s KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia was honored by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) with three regional Edward R. Murrow awards, standing out among other very competitive major market stations in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania…..Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee and country KTTS-FM, Springfield, Missouri were also honored with regional Edward R. Murrow awards. WTMJ picked up six including Best Breaking News, Continuing Coverage and Overall Excellence and KTTS-FM was honored with five awards including Best Newscast, Breaking News Coverage and Overall Excellence.
David Webb Explores Immigration with Governor Jan Brewer. With the subject of immigration reform front-and-center, SiriusXM Patriot channel evening talk host David Webb conducted a special one-hour interview program with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer called “David Webb’s American Forum with Jan Brewer” that aired on April 23 (encore airings will take place on April 27 at 10:00 am and 7:00 pm ET). Topics covered included immigration, border security, states’ rights and responsibilities. Webb and Governor Brewer posed for a photo at the satcaster’s New York studios.
Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath, Immigration Reform Legislation, New Gun Law Proposals, Domestic Drones Issue, and Keystone Pipeline Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/23). Debate over terrorism policy in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing; new proposals for immigration reform legislation; gun law proposals; the lethal domestic drone debate and Washington, DC discussion over the Keystone Pipeline project 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.
CBS Radio’s WPHT, Philadelphia to Add Dick Morris for PM Drive. The station is making programming moves in anticipation of Michael Smerconish’s departure to SiriusXM Satellite Radio in April and announces political consultant, author and media personality Dick Morris will begin hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm shift. Currently, Smerconish is on from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm followed by Rich Zeoli and Steve Martorano from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. WPHT does not say if Zeoli and Martorano will remain with the station and be moved to the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot or if it has other plans yet to be announced. CBS Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “Dick is a great addition to our lineup of live and local personalities, and provides a voice that will raise the audiences’ interest in what’s happening in politics today. As someone who isn’t afraid to express his opinions or make bold predictions, his show won’t just be a win for Philadelphia and WPHT, it’s a win for radio.”
MSNBC’s Ed Schultz to Move to Weekend Slot. News/talk personality Ed Schultz announced at the end of his Wednesday evening program that he will be vacating the 8:00 pm ET time slot on MSNBC to begin hosting a two-hour weekend program on both Saturday and Sunday – from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm beginning in April. Saying it is “a big opportunity for ‘The Ed Show’ and my brand.” Schultz said on the air that the five-nights-per-week gig isn’t for him and he’s looking forward to more time to prepare stories. He told viewers, “I raised my hand for this assignment for a number of personal and professional reasons…My fight on ‘The Ed Show’ has been for the workers and the middle class. This new time slot will give me the opportunity to produce and focus on stories that I care about and are important to American families and American workers.” MSNBC offered a congratulatory statement from Phil Griffin but is not announcing just yet who will take over the slot leading into the channel’s prime time star, Rachel Maddow. Schultz’s program has performed well for the network. On Tuesday, March 12, for example, Schultz came in second to Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly but beat CNN’s Anderson Cooper in most demographics (in Persons 25-54 Schultz grabbed 195,000 to Cooper’s 170,000, according to TVByTheNumbers.com). Schultz also fared better than his lead-in, Chris Matthews. Schultz continues to host his nationally syndicated talk radio program.
Bonneville Seattle Announces Programming Appointments. Vice president and market manager Carl Gardner promotes KIRO-FM news director Pete Gammell to program director for news/talk KIRO-FM; KIRO-FM assistant program director Jason Antebi to PD of sister news/talk KTTH and sports talk KIRO-AM “710 ESPN” program director Brian Long to senior director of programming for the Bonneville Seattle stations. Gardner says of Long, “Brian is a talented programmer and proven ratings winner. He brings experience, focus, and a leadership style that will be invaluable to our content teams on all three stations.” The programming positions opened up when programmer Larry Gifford announced he would be leaving the KIRO-FM and KTTH stations back in early February. On Gammell’s rise to PD, Gardner states, “Pete instinctively understands KIRO Radio. He was born and raised in Tacoma, educated in Seattle, came up through the KIRO Radio newsroom and has been a leader in shaping KIRO’s distinctive blend of news and conversation. More than anyone, Pete just gets the unique role this station plays in our community.” Gammell began his radio career at KIRO Radio in 2000 and moved to San Francisco to work as associate news director at KCBS, San Francisco from 2006 to 2008. Jason Antebi, who will run the day-to-day programming of KTTH and continue in his role as the architect of KIRO Radio Weekends, worked as a producer in Los Angeles at KLSX, KRLA and KFI (2006-08). He served as executive producer at Greenstone Media and as an executive producer of the TRN-syndicated Phil Hendrie show.
TALKERS magazine Unveils the 2013 Heavy Hundred. The editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, present the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America –– a popular annual feature that has come to be known as the “Heavy Hundred.” This is one of the most challenging tasks that TALKERS undertakes each year considering that there are thousands of talk show hosts across the country, ranging from national icons to those laboring in relative obscurity. Aside from the hosts whose sheer numbers and fame demand their inclusion on this list, the selection process is subjective with the goal being to create a list reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor as well as giving credit where credit is due. The TALKERS magazine editors who painstakingly compile this super-list draw upon a combination of hard and soft factors when evaluating candidates. These include (in alphabetical order): courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, ratings, recognition, revenue, service, talent and uniqueness. We acknowledge that it is as much art as science and that the results are arguable. There is one concrete qualification for inclusion. Hosts must be working at the time TALKERS magazine initially posts the list in order to be considered. They must have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station at “press time.” The list remains intact from that point forward until the next year’s edition. In past years, TALKERS magazine has included sports talk hosts in the Heavy Hundred. Last year, due to the massive growth in the sports talk genre, sports talk radio has earned a Heavy Hundred of its own, the 2013 installment of which will be published by TALKERS in the coming months. TALKERS magazine salutes the fine broadcasters who made this year’s list. To view it, click here.
Martha Zoller’s Gettin’ Busy. Georgia talk show host Martha Zoller recently returned to the radio after an unsuccessful run for Congress last year. She’s heard on Cox Media Group’s WGAU, Athens in AM drive with co-host Tim Bryant and – she tells TALKERS – now on about 10 affiliate stations across the state.
KMOX, St. Louis Brings Chris Hrabe in from Memphis for Evening Sports Show. The 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight “Dave Sinclair Sports Hub” has a new host as KMOX brings Chris Hrabe in from Flinn Broadcasting’s WHBQ, Memphis, beginning April 4. Hrabe (pronounced RAY-bee) will host Cardinals and Blues post-game shows in addition to the aforementioned shift. He’ll also be responsible for contributing content to KMOX.com. Director of programming and operations Steve Moore states, “Chris is a terrific addition to our sports team. He’s a talented and accomplished broadcaster, with roots in the Midwest. He’s well versed in Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and his recent career experience has provided him tremendous insight into the Southeastern Conference. Sports fans in St. Louis will be pleased to hear his fresh insights and we are confident he’ll make an immediate impact on our programming.”
Savvy Texas Broadcaster Brings Pontiff Selection to Local Audience. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS about KTBB, Tyler, Texas owner Paul Gleiser’s taking ownership of the new Pope selection story. He writes: Station managers across the US were already coping with ownership demands for digital and social media revenue as two news items this week complicated such planning: Arbitron issued a “Social Media Do’s & Don’ts” memo and the Federal Trade Commission issued guidelines for sponsored social media content. Meanwhile, KTBB, Tyler owner/GM/pundit Paul Gleiser (pictured at left in Vatican City) spent a week in Rome…making money with internet content…in market #142. Full disclosure: Paul is my longtime, long-suffering client; and, admittedly, his coverage of this week’s papal transition hit the ground running because he covered the same story eight years ago. In both cases, he sold the sponsorship to – you guessed it – the local Catholic hospital. And he’s a Methodist! Other local advertisers fund his on-site coverage of the national political conventions every four years, and the full week he and his sports guy spend at the Super Bowl run-up, and other special stuff. Those sponsors get extra bang for their buck when the local TV station Paul also filed for let him plug them on the tube. Win-win-win. All accomplished with equipment in checked luggage, and an assist from ABC News Radio, of which KTBB is an affiliate. See/hear/read what Paul filed from Rome here, and ask yourself “Why not?” What can you craft for advertisers that delivers them, and your listeners, something special?
KINB, Oklahoma City Flips to Sports Talk. The Kingfisher, Oklahoma-licensed FM station had been airing a standards format for the past two years (it was an alternative outlet before that). The station is part of the Last Bastion Trust including other stations Citadel had to jettison in order to complete the 2007 ABC Radio deal. A proposed sale to Ferris O’Brien in 2010 never was consummated and the station’s remained in the trust ever since. The flip from “105.3 The Martini” to “105.3 The Pro” using CBS Sports Radio Network’s programming happened on March 12.
Odds & Sods. Keith Olbermann settles with Current TV over his firing. According to numerous media reports – including The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.com – though the details are confidential, Olbermann and Current TV have settled his $50 million suit against the Al Gore-owned cable network that’s in the process of being sold to Al Jazeera…..Clear Channel’s sports KTKR, San Antonio agrees to renew its deal with the Houston Astros to carry the team’s games during the 2013 season…..Mark Evans moves from adult contemporary WIKY, Evansville, Indiana to sunny San Diego to become the news man on the “Mornings with Chip and LaDona” AM drive show at Clear Channel’s KOGO.
Washington Sequester/Deficit Battle, New Pope Named, North Korea Threats, Upstate New York Shootings, and Gun Legislation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/13). The debate in Washington over the sequester and moves to reduce the budget deficit; Catholic Church names new Pope; ongoing threats by North Korea; fatal shooting rampage in Upstate New York; and gun legislation proposals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Spencer Brown to Sole Dial Global CEO Post; David Landau Resigns. In a major top-level management move, Dial Global ditches its three-person CEO structure and Spencer Brown becomes the sole CEO of the corporation. Former co-CEO David Landau resigns and former co-CEO Ken Williams takes on the president title and reports to Brown. In a statement, Dial Global says the reason for the changes are to “sharpen the company’s strategic focus and provide greater clarity to its advertising clients, station affiliates, producer partners and stockholders.” Spencer Brown states, “Along with me and Ken, David has led Dial Global since its formation in 2002, and he has been a cornerstone of the company’s growth and success. I am personally grateful for his significant contributions over the years, and I know that the entire organization feels the same. While David will certainly be missed, I am excited to lead the company forward and am convinced that Dial Global’s best days lie ahead.” David Landau adds, “Working with Spencer, Ken and many of the other talented executives at Dial Global over the last 10 years has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life, both personally and professionally. I have tremendous respect for Spencer and believe that he has the necessary qualifications and passion to lead the company through its next stage of growth. I remain a meaningful shareholder of Dial Global and its most ardent supporter.”
Entercom’s WEEI, Boston Gets Attention in Hometown Media Over Focus Group. The Boston Globe is reporting that Entercom’s sports brand WEEI, Boston conducted a focus group of 15 young men – believed to be on the younger side of the 25-54 demo – in late January. The key aspect of this is the subjects are reported to have been converts from WEEI to CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.” The questions by the moderator of the focus group zeroed in on the perceptions about the morning and afternoon drive personalities, how they discovered WBZ-FM and what they think of various WEEI contributors and co-hosts. WEEI PD Jason Wolfe responded to a question from the Globe in an email simply stating, “These things are common. All companies do market research from time to time to gain insight into how they can improve.” Globe writer Chad Finn goes on to give his opinions about the WEEI personalities in the piece. That WEEI-AM/FM and WBZ-FM are locked in a battle in a lucrative sports town is not news, nor is the fact that WBZ-FM tends to beat WEEI in the younger demos while the strength of Boston Red Sox baseball pumps up WEEI during baseball season. Clearly each station has its own sound and one doesn’t have to listen very long to hear why they appeal to different demographics. The question for WEEI is, do they want to re-tool their lineup and alter their programming philosophy to go head-to-head with WBZ-FM for the younger demos or stick with the programming that has made them iconic in the region and sell the fact that they appeal to an older demo that has more disposable income. Decisions, decisions…
Attention Radio Managers: Time Cannot be Managed – but Tasks Can! TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison once described the job of managing an active radio station as feeding human time and energy into a black hole in space. No matter how much you shovel in, it keeps demanding more and wants to be fed quicker and quicker. In today’s frenetic world of inter-connective multi-tasking, this observation rings truer than ever and it impacts all levels of communications industry management. Radio consultant Holland Cooke offers several valuable ways to navigate the time demands placed upon today’s radio managers. First of all, he says, “Time cannot be managed – don’t even try! But tasks can!” Read Cooke’s strategy for staying on top of the mountain of tasks facing today’s radio manager while avoiding the pitfalls and wipeouts of the non-stop stream of distractions, interruptions and nightmarish disorganization by clicking here.
Midway Broadcasting’s urban talk WVON, Chicago to Address City’s Deadly Violence. The market’s urban talk outlet is hosting and broadcasting a special live forum this evening addressing the ongoing violence that is plaguing the young African American population. Station personality Kendall Moore will host the event in front of a live, selected audience. Appearing on the program will be: Nathaniel Pendleton, father of Hadiya Pendleton; Tio Hardiman, director for Cure Violence Illinois; the Rev. Dr. Michael Pfleger, senior pastor of The Faith Community of Saint Sabina; Richard Wooten, member of the Chicago Police Department; Che’ Rhymefest Smith, recording artist, writer and community activist; Harold “Noonie G” Ward, former high-ranking Gangster Disciple gang leader and members of the Guardian Angels; Chicago’s Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has also been invited. The broadcast will air tonight from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Larry Gifford to Exit Bonneville Seattle. Programmer Larry Gifford has been at the helm of news/talk KIRO-FM and conservative talker KTTH in Seattle for the past two years. But Gifford says that after some soul searching, he’s decided to resign from the post. In a memo to the staff he writes: “I am a big fan of Bonneville Seattle, the brands, philosophies, purpose, and the people who breathe life and personality into our products. I believe KIRO-FM and KTTH are positioned for success. I also recognize the stations have both evolved greatly in the two years I’ve been here. As stations evolve, their leaders need to evolve as well. As I’ve considered where we are and the road ahead, it has become clear to me that the type of leadership needed to keep moving these stations forward requires someone with different strengths and passions than mine. So, with mixed emotions, I have resigned my position at Bonneville Seattle. At Carl’s [GM Carl Gardner] request, I will be here through March 1 to help both stations through this transition. As to what comes next? I don’t know. Though, Becci, Henry and I are planning to go on a month-long RV adventure this Spring to visit friends, favorite places and make some memories.”
Tom Ray Resigns from Engineering Post at WOR, New York; Will Launch Consulting Business. After a 15-plus year career based at the former Buckley Broadcasting facility in Manhattan, engineer Tom Ray announces his resignation from the station via Facebook. He writes in a press release: After 15-1/2 years, Tom Ray is leaving WOR Radio in New York City. During Tom’s tenure at WOR, he had taken the station from an older analog facility into the digital world, culminating in the move of the WOR studio facility to downtown Manhattan. This was the world’s first large scale Axia deployment. Subsequently, he built WOR a new state-of-the-art transmitter facility in the New Jersey Meadowlands, retiring the former Lyndhurst, NJ facility that had served WOR for 40 years…Tom has been on the Board of Directors of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, was Chairman of SBE Chapter 15 in New York City for 9 years, has been on the NAB’s Broadcast Engineering Conference Committee several times, serving as Chairman of the Committee twice. Until the acquisition of WOR by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, he was corporate director of engineering of Buckley Broadcasting and chief engineer of WOR Radio. Tom’s immediate plans are to consult as Tom Ray Broadcast Consulting. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 845-418-5065.
KGMZ, San Francisco Adds Sean O’Connell to Midday Show. Entercom sports talk KGMZ, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” names college footballer and current MMA fighter Sean O’Connell to the midday program alongside Matt Steinmetz. O’Connell hosted AM drive and middays at Cumulus’ KFAN, Salt Lake City. In college, O’Connell played for the University of Utah, where he was a teammate of San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith and was coached by Urban Meyer (now with Ohio State). He was part of the undefeated 2004 team, which won the Fiesta Bowl and finished the season ranked #4 overall. After finishing his playing days, O’Connell began competing in MMA and was part of the cast of the UFC’s “Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 on Spike TV. KGMZ PD Jason Barrett says, “To say that Sean O’Connell is a unique talent would be a tremendous understatement. Bay Area sports fans are going to love his passion, plus, now we also have a guaranteed bodyguard at future events, which will come in handy since our hosts have a tendency to fire up the fan base.” O’Connell begins his duties February 21.
SCPR’s Craig Curtis to Leave Pubcaster. Program director Craig Curtis will exit his role with Southern California Public Radio at the end of this week. LA Observed reports it’s not known if Curtis has a new position lined up or if recent turbulence at SCPR (the demise of Patt Morrison’s show and the matching of A Martinez with Madeleine Brand on the KPCC morning show and the popular Brand’s departure soon thereafter) had anything to do with Curtis’ exit. In other recent news about SCPR, the newsroom staff voted to unionize with SAG/AFTRA. Curtis received accolades from VP of content Russ Stanton in an email to staffers. He wrote, in part, “Craig has played an integral role in the growth and success of SCPR. From his then-perch as program director at Minnesota Public Radio, Craig oversaw the transformation of KPCC’s programming from its music and news format into the 24/7 news and information programming we deliver today. He also has been involved in the hiring of virtually all of our on-air talent, as well as the broadcast production staff. He is responsible for KPCC’s distinctive on-air sound which, among other things, boasts a core audience loyalty of 74%, a remarkable achievement.”
Jeff Katz Reports from the Heart of Nemo! Talk radio pro Jeff Katz didn’t waste the opportunity to take a few minutes from shoveling the two-plus feet of snow from his Boston-area driveway to appear on radio stations across the country on Friday. Katz shared his observations with the Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated Todd Schnitt show; Simon Conway’s WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive program and on the Kitty O’Neal and Pat Walsh morning show on Clear Channel’s KFBK, in snowless Sacramento. We couldn’t help noticing that, in the heart of Boston Bruins country, Jeff is sporting a Montreal Canadiens jacket. He is truly fearless!
Cumulus Wins First Round in Birmingham Non-Compete Case. A federal judge in Birmingham has ruled that sports talk WZNN “ESPN 97.3” program director Ryan Haney cannot work for the Cox Media station until more evidence is heard at a hearing scheduled for March 4. The Birmingham News reports Cumulus sought the prohibition after Haney – who had been with its crosstown competitor WJOX for the past 14 years – left the PD job there on January 21and began working at WZNN a week later. Cumulus claims Haney breached the six-month non-compete in his contract. Cumulus also states Haney could not work for a competitor during that time without giving Cumulus a chance to match the prospective employer’s offer. The animosity between the two sports talk stations did not begin with Haney’s case. In 2012, Cumulus and Birmingham sports talk personality Paul Finebaum engaged in a legal tussle over his employment situation but Finebaum eventually worked out his contract with WJOX and is sitting out a six-month non-compete after which it is widely assumed he’ll join WZNN. On a side note, Cox Media has put its Birmingham properties – including WZNN – up for sale.
Lew Dickey Tells Bloomberg “We’re Seeing a Shift in Spoken-Word Radio.” During an appearance on Bloomberg TV’s “In the Loop” program, Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey discussed his company’s plans involving marketing vertically based on the lifestyle appeal to consumers interested in certain types of entertainment. Although still bullish on Mike Huckabee and Geraldo Rivera, Dickey sounded much more behind sports than news/talk. “We’re seeing sort of a shift in spoken-word radio from political-based talk over to sports.” When asked why he stated, “I think people may be tired of all the partisan bickering so the ratings are a bit down in talk but they’re moving up nicely in sports.” Dickey said the reason sports is so popular among advertisers is because advertisers follow the audience and sports is popular right now.
Question of the Day: Why Do Radio Stations Still Announce School Closings? As the big Blizzard of ’13 begins to rumble across the Northeast (2/8), TALKERS monitors have been hearing morning shows across the region reading the perfunctory long lists of school closings within their listening areas. While there is no doubt that localism is proving to be a valuable asset to radio – especially when the medium rises to the occasion of serving the public interest during natural disasters and weather events - we have to shake our heads and wonder why so much valuable airtime is spent on reading these seemingly endless lists. Is it a matter of serving the public or just trying to sound like you’re doing so? It is a well-known (to parents and students alike) fact that most school districts in America post their snow status on their websites as soon as the information is available. If stations want in on that action they can list all the closings on their websites as well and announce that availability on the air. Considering that most, if not all, schools in a region close for blizzards, it would make a lot more sense to only announce those schools that might be choosing to remain open. Programmers might think that announcing school closings on the air over long chunks of time makes the station sound local and in touch – but in truth, it makes the station boring and seem out of touch.
Cumulus Birmingham Imports Sports Talk Duo from KTCK, Dallas. In a story related to the one above, Cumulus sports talker WJOX, Birmingham is bringing the duo of Matt McClearin and Scot Harrison from its Dallas sports outlet KTCK “The Ticket” in to take over the midday slot. The position opened up after Paul Finebaum exited the PM drive show at the end of his contract and the station moved “The Jox Roundtable” with Lance Taylor, Ryan Brown and Jim Dunaway to the PM drive position. McClearin and Harrison hosted a weekend program at KTCK.
TALKERS Spotlight: The Talk Radio Watchdogs. There was a time in the early days of the modern talk radio era when most markets could lay claim to at least one talk show host considered to be the local “watchdog.” He or she was feared by the power brokers in city hall and had a reputation for having the backs of the regular folks. They are not as prevalent in the format as they once were but they are still out there. Does the industry still value this breed of talk host? Does the public still want to listen to them? Do their station managers support them? TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian speaks with some of today’s “watchdogs” to get answers to these and other questions about their craft. Read his story here.
CBS Radio’s WHFS, Tampa Makes Lineup Changes. The new FM sports talk station CBS Radio put on the air in Tampa in August undergoes some changes. “Sportsradio 98.7 The Fan” cuts the morning show with Kirk McEwen and Chris Dingman to three hours and shifts Gary Shelton and Justin “The Commish” Pawlowski to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. The PM drive show with Rich Herrera and Anthony “Booger” McFarland moves to 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome slides into the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Evening host Todd Wright exits the station and The Fabulous Sports Babe moves from overnights to the evening show. CBS Sports Radio Networks’ Scott Ferrall and Damon Amendolara round out the late night and overnight shifts, respectively.
TuneIn Adds Four Pubcasters to its Offerings. Digital content aggregator TuneIn announces it has agreed to strategic alliances with major public broadcasters KQED, San Francisco; KCRW, Santa Monica; KEXP, Seattle; and American Public Media, which includes Southern California Public Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, Classical South Florida and nationally distributed programs. TuneIn VP of programming Kevin Straley states, “KQED, American Public Media, KCRW and KEXP have a rich history of offering listeners engaging, cutting-edge programming while supporting the radio community. Our goal at TuneIn is to bring the best programming from around the world to everyone, for free, wherever they are, and partnering with these respected public broadcasters brings us one step closer to that goal.” TuneIn also just unveiled a new website design featuring a new content-first display with large album cover photos and trending stations.
Odds & Sods. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago resumes its “Chicago Blackhawks Live” promotional series on February 18 at the city’s Old Town Pour House. The promotion is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the 2012-2013 season featuring current Blackhawks players, legends, and front office executives with “WGN Sports Night” hosts David Kaplan, Brian Noonan, and Andrea Darlas. WGN began hosting these events during the 2011-2012 season and sold them out in record time…..SiriusXM announces legendary recording artist Tony Bennett will sit down for an intimate Q&A session with an audience of SiriusXM listeners, moderated by Alec Baldwin, at the SiriusXM studios in New York City as part of its “Town Hall” series. It’ll take place on Wednesday, February 13, and will air on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, February 14, on the Siriusly Sinatra channel and on the SiriusXM Stars channel…..Clear Channel announces that Houston Astros play-by-play will shift from news/talk KTRH to its sports talk KBME “Sportstalk 790” beginning this season…..In another baseball note, Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati re-ups with the MLB’s Reds through the 2017 season…..The Boston Red Sox and the Jimmy Fund – which benefits Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – are celebrating their 60th year working together to raise funds for cancer research and treatment. Part of that celebrating will include the 12th annual Red Sox Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon on Entercom’s WEEI and New England Sports Network on August 27 and 28. The event, which started in 2002, has raised more than $31 million for research, treatment, and care at Dana-Farber.
KYW, Philadelphia Awards Scholarship. CBS Radio’s KYW Newsradio awards the Richard Monetti Scholarship to local high school student Kimberly Coterwas (second from right) – one of the 86 students to graduate from KYW Newsradio 2012 Fall Newstudies program. She receives a $2,000 scholarship. The award was announced at the Newstudies Graduation ceremony on January 31. The Richard Monetti Scholarship is awarded every year to the Newstudies student who demonstrates the most potential and enthusiasm throughout the six-week student reporter program. The scholarship is named for Richard Monetti, a 1986 Newstudies graduate who was killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. Additionally, 11 other students who participated in the Newstudies program received awards. CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “KYW Newsradio is proud to continue the tradition of introducing high school students to the broadcast industry. It’s also nice to be able to award those that did exceptionally well, and keep the memory of a former Newstudies graduate alive.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Radio America’s Peter Schiff program picks up new affiliates for the program including: KPAM, Portland; WGUF, Ft. Myers, Florida; WEZS, Concord, New Hampshire; KFAR, Fairbanks, Alaska; and WTIM, Taylorville, Illinois….. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the program schedule at WTBF, Troy, Alabama. Also, existing affiliate combo WGVA, Geneva and WAUB, Auburn in the Finger Lakes region of New York adds Free Talk Live’s live Sunday show.
Sequester Cuts and Tax Hikes Issue Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 4-8. The debate in Washington over the coming sequester budget cuts and more tax increases was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, earning it the top spot on the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was immigration reform. At #3 was the costs of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and at #4 was gun legislation proposals. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America based on ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Bubba-Schnitt Trial: Day Two. On day two of testimony in the Hillsborough County, Florida courtroom where nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is suing Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) for defamation, the questioning surrounded Bubba’s on-air language calling for the “death” of Schnitt – who was hosting mornings at WFLZ, Tampa as MJ Kelli. Schnitt’s attorney focused on Bubba’s statements that included: “We seek and destroy,” “I will not be happy until I have an MJ funeral in the streets in Tampa, Florida,” and “MJ, that’s the only person I really want to die, seriously.” On the witness stand for part of the day was former Clear Channel Tampa market manager Daniel DiLoreto who said on the stand that he was “stunned” by Bubba’s comments about wanting Schnitt “to die.” Schnitt’s attorney is trying to convince the jury that Bubba’s language went beyond typical radio disc jockey feuding to putting Schnitt and his family in fear for their safety at the hands of members of the “Bubba Army,” as Clem’s fans are known. Clem’s attorney is trying to paint all the on-air talk as simply the words of feuding disc jockeys with no real threat to anyone’s safety. When questioned by Clem’s attorney if he ever heard Clem actually ask anyone to hurt Schnitt, DiLoreto replied he had not.
John O’Connell Named PD at CBS Radio’s Tampa Sports Stations. Programmer John O’Connell moves to the Tampa cluster of CBS Radio stations from the company’s West Palm Beach operations where he most recently served as OM and PD. O’Connell will program WHFS-FM, Tampa “Sports Radio 98.7” and WHFS-AM “CBS Sports Radio 1010.” O’Connell came to South Florida after spending 15 years working in the Boston market at such outlets as Kiss 108, WBMX and WEEI. He became program director for alternative rocker WPBZ-FM in 1996 and later increased his responsibilities to oversee several stations in the region. CBS Tampa SVP and market manager Ben Hill says, “I have complete confidence in John’s experience and leadership, having worked closely with him over the years. He is confident and ‘walks the walk’ when it comes to achieving results. And the fact that no one can match what we offer when it comes to sports programming will enable John to create a listener experience that is completely driven by the fans.”
Seth Payne Joins Midday Show at KILT-AM, Houston. Former Houston Texan Seth Payne becomes part of the “Mad Radio” midday show at CBS Radio’s sports talk KILT-AM, Houston “SportsRadio 610” beginning Monday, January 21. Payne replaces Brad Davies who remains with the station on a part-time, fill-in basis. He’ll co-host the program with Mike Meltser. KILT-AM program director Gavin Spittle says, “I can’t thank Brad enough for being a part of ‘Mad Radio.’ In one year, we have seen a 100% increase in this time slot and while we will miss him on a daily basis, I’m glad that he wants to remain on the team in a part-time capacity. Seth is a natural fit and from day one, he’s impressed us. We’re really excited about the all-new ‘Mad Radio.’” Payne states, “I’m grateful to Gavin Spittle for this opportunity and I appreciate all the guidance I’ve received from him and the talented people at ‘SportsRadio 610.’ I especially look forward to working with Mike Meltser. He is an extremely talented and intelligent individual, and I know we’ll have a lot of fun.”
Celebrating in the Holy Land. XtreMedia nationally syndicated talk host Dani Johnson (pictured here at left with Israeli comic Yisreal Campbell) celebrates her one-year anniversary in talk radio with a trip to Israel. Johnson, along with fellow XtreMedia talk hosts Kevin McCullough and Stephen Baldwin, were invited by representatives of the Israeli government to come and witness Israel’s progress in agriculture, culture, and technology. Johnson is producing her weekly radio program from Israel and Campbell will appear on the edition of her program that airs live on Sunday, January 20 from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Johnson’s program is heard on more than 85 affiliate stations.
Fox News Channel Brings Dennis Kucinich Aboard as Contributor. Liberal ex-Congressman Dennis Kucinich – who served eight terms in the House of Representatives – becomes part of the cable news/talk channel’s contributor corps. In a statement about his new endeavor, Kucinich says, “Through 16 years in Congress and two presidential campaigns, Fox News has always provided me with an opportunity to share my perspective with its enormous viewership.”
George Noory Debuts On-Demand Video Show. The Premiere Networks nationally syndicated late-night talk star begins his new weekly internet television program titled, “Beyond Belief with George Noory.” The program is a project with GaiamTV.com and delivers new episodes every Friday evening at 7:00 and on demand daily. As you might expect, the program is billed as “dynamic discussions on paranormal phenomena, conspiracies and all things unexplained.” Noory is pictured here on the set interviewing Dr. Katherine Albrecht for a show about privacy and RFID chips.
KIRO-FM, Seattle Debuts Weekend Pet Show. Dubbed, “It’s Raining Cats and Dogs with Shawn Stewart,” the program has its premiere airing Sunday, January 20 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle. The show features pet experts from the Ahimsa Dog Training Center who will take listener questions regarding everything they need to know about raising their beloved best friends. “In this case, the tail does wag the dog,” says KIRO Radio’s assistant program director Jason Antebi. “I’ve never seen a city more in love and obsessed with their companions than Seattle! This show is the perfect addition to the KIRO Radio weekends.”
Comrex Moves Full-Force into Digital Video Delivery Market. Devens, Massachusetts-based Comrex Corporation announces it is shipping its new LiveShot Video IP Codec – the first video product for professional broadcasters in the company’s 51-year history. Comrex says the new technology provides high-quality, low-latency, full-duplex video and audio over both wired and wireless IP data services, including challenging internet links such as 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi with end-to-end delay as low as 200ms. Comrex managing director Kris Specht states, “Our core customer for the past several decades has been the radio broadcaster. It was in response to requests from some of our longtime customers that had worked in radio — and who had subsequently moved over to television — to create a product that would do for TV what our ACCESS IP Audio Codecs have done for radio. LiveShot provides the small form factor, unmatched reliability, high-quality performance and easy operator experience that Comrex customers have come to expect.” The LiveShot Video IP Codec system consists of the LiveShot Portable, a small, lightweight, camera-mounted unit that attaches to the camera’s 3-stud or V-mount battery mount with the battery attaching to the outside of the LiveShot Portable. On the studio side, the LiveShot Studio rack-mount unit interfaces with the facility’s audio/video router or switcher. The units connect via an IP data connection and utilize Comrex’s CrossLock™ VPN which provides a one-button connection from either the studio or the field once the units have an internet connection. CrossLock also provides data encryption and intrusion protection for added reliability. Complete details on the LiveShot Video Codec’s features and specifications can be found by visiting www.comrex.com.
Face Time with Dr. Drew. WFAS-AM, Westchester personality Lisa Wexler appeared on HLN’s “Dr. Drew on Call” to discuss the case of Jodi Arias – accused of stabbing her boyfriend 29 times – and the Steubenville, Ohio rape case. In addition to her work as a talk show host on WFAS, Wexler is an attorney and an author.
Filling In. WFED, Washington afternoon drive host Francis Rose subs for Cumulus Media Networks’ John Batchelor on his WABC, New York-based program this Sunday evening from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am ET.
The Alliance for Women in Media Announces 2013 Board of Directors. With Kay Olin, president of Local Focus Radio serving as the National Chair, the 2013 board of directors of the Alliance for Women in Media will convene on January 25 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, for its first board meeting and then will participate in judging the 2013 Gracie Awards on January 26 and 27. The following individuals will serve as Directors at Large: Christina Anderson from Silver Spring, MD; Lori Conkling, executive vice president, distribution, A+E Networks, New York; Cyndee Everman, vice president, DW/BI, care and marketing tools, Time Warner Cable, Charlotte; Nancy Giles, contributor, CBS Broadcasting, Inc., New York; Sandy Girard, vice president, brand management and development, SiriusXM Radio, New York; Carol Hanley, chief sales officer, Arbitron Inc., Chicago; Annie Howell, executive vice president, corporate communications and media relations, Crown Media Family Networks, New York; Kimberly Maki, vice president, corporate communications and web strategies, Bright House Networks, Orlando; Janet Noll, national sales director, Rural Media Group – RFD-TV & Rural TV, Omaha; Deborah Parenti, executive vice president of radio, Radio Ink, New York; Roni Selig, senior executive producer/director, health, wellness and medical unit, CNN, New York; Keisha Sutton-James, vice president, Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, New York; Christine Travaglini, president, Christal Radio, New York; and Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee, president and chief executive officer, NAMIC, Inc., New York.
Obama Executive Gun Actions Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 14-18. President Obama’s executive gun actions landed atop the Talkers TenTM this week as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio. Coming in at #2 was the legislative arms debate. At #3 was the debt ceiling tied with the tax cut battles and following at #4 was the American hostages in Algeria tied with the Mali Violence. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people of the week as discussed on news/talk radio. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Carl Wolfson Back in the Talk Media Business. The former KPOJ, Portland morning drive host returns to the talk media game on Inauguration Day via the internet after raising $52,000 and counting via Kickstarter. Carl Wolfson was the morning host on Clear Channel’s former progressive talk outlet KPOJ, Portland before it flipped to sports talk in the New Year. Wolfson decided to use Kickstarter to fund a new avenue to get his brand of talk to the public and the “Elect ‘Carl in the Morning’ to a Second Term” campaign raised more than $52,000. So, beginning on January 21, Wolfson will stream live from 7:00 am to 8:30 am and make his show available via podcast. Wolfson says the money will go to buy office space, utilities, equipment, server costs and more. KPOJ was one of the country’s longest-running and more successful progressive talk stations and the news of its flip to sports talk that broke in November was disappointing to progressive talk fans in the market. As morning drive anchor and the local host, Wolfson attracted a loyal following on KPOJ. Now, he’ll get the chance to make a go of it in the digital realm.
WLS-AM, Chicago’s Jake Hartford Dead at 63. Chicago talk radio personality Jake Hartford (Jim Edwards) passed away after suffering a heart attack. Hartford was a longtime weekender and fill-in host on WLS, beginning his career there in 1989. Most recently he had been co-hosting the late morning show with John Kass from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. His family, via the WLS-AM website, gives the following statement: “We’re currently mourning the loss of Jake Hartford, a husband, father, and friend. This is devastating news for everyone in our family, and we greatly appreciate all of the kind words that have been offered to us during our struggle. It’s truly incredible how many people he has affected positively through pursuing the work that he loved so dearly. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts as we do our best to ‘spring forward.’”
The Todd Schnitt-Bubba the Love Sponge Case Goes to Trial Today. Actually the jury selection process begins today in Hillsborough County, Florida. The real interesting part will follow and is expected to last about three weeks. Todd Schnitt – who then battled Bubba the Love Sponge in morning drive in Tampa – filed suit against Todd Clem (BTLS) in 2008 claiming “false, highly offensive and defamatory statements” made by Clem about Schnitt and his wife Michelle. Specifically, Schnitt’s suit claims that Clem’s attacks on him and his wife – an assistant state attorney – went beyond name calling between public figures. He alleges Clem accused him of illegal activities including rigging the Arbitron ratings and taking “plugola.” Schnitt also claims Clem encouraged his listeners to physically attack him and his wife and that led to four encounters with Bubba listeners including being forced off the road by another car, being harassed at dinner and having their house egged. Schnitt’s claims are going to be hard to prove. First, he’ll have to show actual malice on the part of Clem plus he’ll have to prove some real harm came to himself and his wife. But the cast of witnesses should prove interesting in and of itself. The Tampa Bay Times reports Randy Michaels, Hulk Hogan, Cowhead, and other local media personalities are listed as possible witnesses.
Platform Plays Huge Influence on Public’s Perception of Content. According to noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke, the stage upon which a production is delivered plays a significant role in shaping the potential audience’s expectation of its content and value. Keeping this important piece of media theory in mind, FM and AM radio still have a tremendous advantage over podcasting and internet radio in giving its content instant gravitas simply because it is “on the radio.” Of course, as time goes by, this psychological advantage will dissipate unless radio continues to deliver product worthy of high expectations. Cooke illustrates this point by citing the fascinating story of the world-class concert violinist, Joshua Bell who performed as a non-descript street musician playing a $3.5 million Stradivarius in the Washington, DC subway system. If you don’t know the story, you should — especially if you are a podcaster. To read Holland Cooke’s piece, click here.
Truth is More Effective than Hype in the Online Space. According to noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, broadcasters should be mindful that the kind of hyperbole that marks the tone of on-air promotion doesn’t translate well on the internet. Radio broadcasters should tone down the sizzle and hype when translating on- air messages to their websites. In an exclusive article for TALKERS, Miller writes, “For anyone old enough to tell truth from fiction when the internet first really got hot, there is still a stigma about online information. It’s automatically suspect. What you say online (especially on your site) needs not only be true; you also need to present it in a way that convinces your fans that you are telling the truth. On the air, we like to add sizzle and excitement to what we promote, so we write promos and liners in call-to-action language and we gloss over important detail points. That’s fine on the air. When I was a PD, I would not have accepted a promo that was just a laundry list of rules for a particular promotion. When you go online with that info, your tone needs to change.” To read Chris Miller’s entire piece click here.
The Wall Street Journal Radio Network to End “The Daily Wrap” Program. Launched in the spring of 2011, the early evening program hosted by Michael Castner will end in 90 days as The Wall Street Journal Radio Network has decided to pull the plug on “The Daily Wrap.” WSJRN brought Castner to the show from Clear Channel’s WRNO, New Orleans where he’d been hosting the morning drive program. “The Daily Wrap” is a newsy look at the top stories of the day airing from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET. Whether the end of the program is the result of intense competition in the syndicated talk radio marketplace or the inability to have it make financial sense at a time when ad sales in the news and talk radio realm are extremely challenging, either way the show’s departure from the landscape will leave one less well-produced, newsy product on the air.
The DirecTV-Produced “Nick & Artie Show” Becomes “The Artie Lange Show.” Affiliates of the “Nick & Artie Show” – featuring comedians Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange – will hear just Artie Lange when the DirecTV-produced late night talk show returns this evening. On the show’s Facebook page, it simply states that Nick DiPaolo is pursuing “some great opportunities” and the show becomes the Artie Lange show immediately. The program airs on DirecTV’s Audience Network channel and is distributed to radio affiliates via Premiere Networks. The program has a handful of radio affiliates including Cox Media’s WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone,” Beasley’s hot talk WRXK, Ft. Myers and Americom’s sports talk KBZZ, Reno “The Buzz.”
Americom Flips KBZZ, Reno to Sports. The former hot talk outlet adopts the sports talk format using CBS Sports Radio Network. It will continue to air the Don Geronimo morning program (imported from CBS Radio’s KHTK, Sacramento) and the local Panama show in middays.
Hubbard Broadcasting Brings Jeff Dubay Back on KSTP, Minneapolis. Twin Cities sports talk personality Jeff Dubay returns to the radio after an absence of more than four years due to a high profile drug bust and his rehabilitation. Dubay worked at Clear Channel’s crosstown “KFAN” for 14 years before his dismissal in 2008. Now, Dubay joins Judd Zulgad for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program beginning today. Dubay had been very open about his arrest and subsequent rehab for substance abuse. He appeared on numerous Twin Cities media outlets over the past year or so to talk about his rise and fall. KSTP makes other lineup changes set to take effect in February: Patrick Reusse and Phil Mackey move to 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Joe Soucheray’s “Garage Logic” slides to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot. Soucheray and Reusse continue to host the 3:00 pm hour together.
WPHT, Philadelphia’s Dom Giordano Featured in Philly Magazine Piece. Late morning WPHT, Philadelphia talk host Dom Giordano is the subject of a full-length feature piece by Sandy Hingston in Philly Magazine this month. The piece is written with the November election as its backdrop and with a hint of admiration for Giordano by the writer who is clearly far to the left of Giordano on the political spectrum, but who finds his success and his story fascinating. Read the piece here.
WGN, Chicago and Northwestern Agree to Three-Year Sports Extension. Wildcats football and Men’s basketball will continue to air on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago through the 2015-16 season the two sides announce. The Big Ten school’s football and Men’s basketball play-by-play have been heard on WGN since 1996. The school’s vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips states, “The Northwestern athletics brand has experienced substantial growth over the past several years due in part to the massive reach and presence of WGN radio. We’ve been extremely proud to call the station home for 17 years, and to have a wonderful partner in telling the stories of our world-class student-athletes.”
Dave Ross to Host One Hour with Luke Burbank on KIRO-FM, Seattle. In TALKERS magazine’s report about Seattle radio personality Dave Ross moving to the news-intensive morning drive daypart (1/11/13), we stated that Ross is giving up his talk show with midday host Luke Burbank on Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle. That’s not exactly true. Ross and Burbank will work on the air together for the 9:00 am to 10:00 am hour before Burbank goes solo from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.
On a Blustery Seaside California Day. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison paid a visit last week to the Monterey Bay area of California and the good folks at Zwerling Broadcasting’s AM talk siblings KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz as part of a fact finding tour on the effectiveness, importance and future of local radio in America. According to Harrison, “KSCO and KOMY are exceptional examples of the magic and special place that the good old-fashioned local radio station maintains in our culture. I came away from my visit there invigorated and optimistic about the future of this industry.” Pictured seated on what is affectionately referred to as the “corporate bench” overlooking Monterey Bay and the blue Pacific are (l-r) Michael Zwerling, owner and CEO, Zwerling Broadcasting; Harrison; and Rosemary Chalmers, PD of KSCO/KOMY and morning host of KSCO.
Gun Control Issue Surges as Talk Radio Topic. The Newtown, Connecticut tragedy has stimulated a tremendous amount of talk about guns in America. Usually it is one of those topics — like abortion — that hosts and programmers try to avoid because there are seldom new angles and little give and take between sides. Sandy Hook has changed that. It is this week’s number one talk radio topic. So, how have talk hosts and stations been handling this issue? TALKERS recently spoke with a number of leading talk hosts and programmers across the country about their views both on and off the air on this issue. Find out what personalities including Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Lionel, Lars Larson, Thom Hartmann, Doug Stephan, Kevin McCullough and others are saying about this here.
Dave Ross Moves to AM Drive on KIRO-FM, Seattle. The two-month experiment of having talk host John Curley do the morning drive show with Linda Thomas on Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM is over and KIRO and market veteran Dave Ross has moved to the seat alongside Thomas for the news-intensive morning program. KIRO-FM general manager Carl Gardner told Curley they were moving him off the show because, simply put, “It isn’t working. I thought that it would, but it’s not.” That quote comes from the Seattle Times’ story about the change, as told by Curley. John Curley was hired for the evening talk show and did well there. Management thought he would work well in AM drive but ratings started to plummet after the move. Curley stays on the payroll and the Times story indicates the station would like to find a place for him. As for Ross, he’s not thrilled with a 3:30 am wake-up call but understands the business. “(Changes) always happen. That’s part of the job,” he says. He had been co-hosting the late morning program with Luke Burbank, who will continue solo.
Ken Coleman Begins Daily PM Drive Show on WDUN-AM/FM, Gainesville. The Jacobs Media Corp. station ups talk host Ken Coleman from his weekly Saturday afternoon program to a new, two-hour PM drive show airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm starting Monday. Director of radio operations for Access WDUN and Jacobs Media Bill Maine states, “We are all very excited about this move. Ken Coleman has proven himself to be a dynamic interviewer and his fan base just continues to grow. Ken Coleman just has this energy about him, and instead of just talking at you, he talks to you. It really is a one-on-one conversation. Ken leaves you with information you can actually use in your everyday life. I think Ken Coleman will add a much-needed voice to the weekday line up, and we are all very excited to see what new guests he will bring.” Coleman is eager to begin a new stage in his media career. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to create a new and refreshing conversation that is needed now more than ever. Radio was the first medium to create community over the airwaves. The entire focus of my show is to be a place that offers insightful, invigorating and inspiring conversations about personal growth, marriage, parenting, careers, money and legacy. It’s going to be real-life conversation that matters.”
2013 Consumer Electronics Show: Big Implications for Radio. Radio consultant Holland Cooke has been at the huge Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and he reports the relevant news for radio operators. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the new technology and to be impressed by such items as the “connected TV” and the voice activated TV remote from LG. But Cooke says the gadgets won’t impress in the long run, “But even with transmitters making radio ‘real,’ people will filter it out unless it’s real special, no matter how many dashboard buttons we get.” Read Holland Cooke’s report from the 2013 CES here.
Odds & Sods. Providence-based, nationally syndicated weekend talk host Dr. Ellen Kenner celebrates the beginning of her 17th year hosting her eponymous radio program. Dr. Kenner is a romance author and clinical psychologist…..Dr. Daliah Wachs – a Las Vegas-based physician and talk show host whose program is distributed via Genesis Communications Network – celebrates her 4th anniversary on the radio…..WEPN-AM, New York “ESPN Deportes Nueva York” and Madison Square Garden Company reach an agreement for the station to carry select New York Knicks games in Spanish throughout the remainder of the season. Play-by-play coverage will be led by Clemson Smith Muñiz, who is also the voice of the New York Jets on 1050AM, and Tiny Cains. Jerry Olaya and Felipe López will also contribute.
CBS Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb Visits Albuquerque. Nationally syndicated sports talk radio personality Doug Gottlieb was in Albuquerque on Wednesday to handle TV color commentary for CBS of the New Mexico vs. UNLV basketball game. He did his national program from Cumulus’ KNML, Albuquerque studios and made some appearances on the station’s local programs. He’s pictured here on the station’s “Sports Bar” program speaking with personality David Jubb.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Kevin McCullough show – produced and distributed by XtreMedia – adds nine affiliates to push it over the 300-station mark. Some of the new adds include: WWRC, Washington, DC; WGKA, Atlanta; KRCN, Denver; and WCRU, Charlotte…..Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck program is added to the lineup at Emmis’ KLBJ, Austin. The program airs in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot…..“America’s Financial Headquarters” talk show is added to the program schedule at WTKF, Atlantic, North Carolina and KRMS, Osage Beach, Missouri.
Gun Legislation Debate Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 7-11, 2013. The debate over new gun legislation and the administration’s threat of executive order was the most-talked-about story of the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was President Obama’s cabinet nominees. At #3 was the proposed Afghanistan troop withdrawal and at #4 was the looming debt ceiling and the trillion dollar coin flap. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Cool Job Openings.
Farm Broadcaster/News. WNAX Radio in Yankton, South Dakota, your Big Friend in the Midwest, is looking for a farm/markets/news broadcaster. WNAX has one of the largest radio signals in the United States and signed on in 1922. This is an EXCELLENT broadcast opportunity for the right person. If you want to work for an incredible company, RUSH your audio, resume and cover letter to: Steve Crawford, OM WNAXJOBS@sagacom.com Saga Communications is an equal opportunity employer.
Townsquare Media has an incredible opportunity for a News/Talk Brand Manager. You must have a proven track record in programming news/talk. In addition, candidates should be digitally savvy and demonstrate a deep, rich understanding of interactive branding including social media, loyalty programs, content creation, streaming platforms, mobile and texting. Additionally, you should feel comfortable being on-air. Candidates need to possess outstanding verbal and written skills as well as being highly organized, driven and comfortable delegating responsibility. You will be working in unison with digital, sales, promotion and engineering staff. It is essential that you have a strong working knowledge of digital audio systems and online media platforms, develop production and schedule all on-air content. In addition to the above, you will work to build the identity of the station within the community. If you can’t tell, this isn’t your typical 9-5 job. But don’t worry, we work hard and we have fun doing it! If you’re a fun, dynamic, creative, proven winner, send all of your materials, including references, to Chuck Armstrong at email@example.com. Townsquare Media is an equal opportunity employer.
WGN, Chicago Revamps Program Schedule; Milt Rosenberg Out After 39 Years. The 87-year-old host of “Extension 720” will do his last program for Tribune’s WGN, Chicago on Thursday evening. In announcing its new programming schedule set to take effect on January 2, the station is eliminating Milt Rosenberg’s “Extension 720” program that began in 1973. New to the schedule will be a late evening show featuring former WLS-AM night host Turi Ryder who’ll broadcast from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. Other changes include a later start for Jonathon Brandmeier’s morning show – 6:00 am to 10:00 am – and a split shift for midday personality Mike McConnell who’ll host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot and the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot. In between, the station adds “The Noon Show” hosted by author Carol Roth. Roth is a business strategist and former investment banker who frequently contributes to the topics of business and entrepreneurship on Fox News, MSNBC, Fox Business, and WGN TV. As for Rosenberg, he tells Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder he has no hard feelings toward the people at WGN, “It’s certainly amicable as far as my relations with the people I deal with. There’s been no particular bad feeling, no insults, no shouting.” And Rosenberg indicates he’ll seek other opportunities to continue his radio career, perhaps with other spoken-word stations in the market.
Consolidation Hits the Ratings Industry; Nielsen to Acquire Arbitron. Consolidation is not for radio stations only. Today, Nielsen Holdings N.V. announces it will begin the process of buying Arbitron Inc. through the acquisition of the outstanding common stock of Arbitron for $48 per share in cash, representing a premium of approximately 26% to Arbitron’s closing price on December 17, 2012. Nielsen has a financing commitment for the total transaction amount. The transaction has been approved by the boards of both companies and is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory review. Nielsen had tried to compete with Arbitron in the radio ratings business in the United States in the past but shut down that effort after minimal success gaining enough subscribers to make the project profitable. Clearly, Nielsen sees value in the radio ratings business as Nielsen chief executive officer David Calhoun states, “U.S. consumers spend almost two hours a day with radio. It is and will continue to be a vibrant and important advertising medium. Arbitron will help Nielsen better solve for unmeasured areas of media consumption, including streaming audio and out-of-home. The high level of engagement with radio and TV among rapidly growing multicultural audiences makes this central to Nielsen’s priorities.” With cross-platform marketing becoming so important Nielsen sees this acquisition as completing a part of that puzzle for marketers in the U.S. In a statement, Nielsen says – with Arbitron assets – it intends to further expand its “Watch” segment’s audience measurement across screens and forms of listening. “These integrated, innovative capabilities will enable broader measurement of consumer media behavior in more markets around the world,” says Steve Hasker, Nielsen president of Global Media Products and Advertiser Solutions. ”We will also bring local clients greater visibility to empower more precise advertising placement and campaign effectiveness.”
KKLA, Los Angeles Host Frank Pastore Dies After Motorcycle Accident. The 55-year-old former MLB pitcher and talk host on Salem Communications’ Christian talk outlet KKLA, Los Angeles died after going into cardiac arrest on Monday, December 17. He had been in a coma for several weeks after being involved in a motorcycle accident on the 210 freeway near Los Angeles. Salem Communications president David Santrella issued the following statement: “Frank has been an integral part of KKLA for nine years as our afternoon talk host and, in many ways, as a Salem ambassador to the Christian community in Southern California. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gina Pastore, their family and the KKLA family at this time.”
Beasley’s WQAM, Miami Inks Joe Rose to Contract Extension. Morning drive sports talk host Joe Rose – The Big Dog – signs a contract extension with Beasley Broadcasting to remain in the AM drive seat on WQAM for the next three years. The former Miami Dolphins tight end joined WQAM’s morning show in 1992. He also serves as color commentator for the Dolphins radio broadcasts as well as sports anchor for WTVJ-TV, Miami “NBC 6.” Beasley Miami VP/GM Joe Bell states, “Joe Rose is the gold standard for athletes who become broadcasters. He had a seven-year NFL career, but as good as he was, his broadcast career has eclipsed what he accomplished in the NFL. Joe is an easy listen…he’s the guy next door that you can talk sports with over the backyard fence. He has become the face of WQAM and we’re proud and excited to have him on board through 2015.”
TALKERS Presents Massive Four Month News/Talk Radio PPM Overview. As a follow up to yesterday’s (12/17) analysis by Mike Kinosian about how the non-stop, dramatic events of the past six weeks have presented radio, in general, and news/talk radio, specifically, with the challenge and opportunity to process an enormous amount of compelling material, TALKERS presents a PPM overview of some 140 stations leading up to and including this period. Reflecting on the format’s extremely dramatic November (2012) survey, where more than seven of 10 stations in our large sample were either up or steady (6+), compared to their October stats. Stations qualified to appear in this multi-faceted recap by ranking within the top 20 (6+) in any of Arbitron’s 48 PPM-measured markets (November 2012). Talk has the distinction of being the lone format to have at least one station in the top 20 of all 48 PPM markets. To see the survey please click here.
Rick Ucchino Named Sports Anchor at Blue Chip’s Soon-to-Be Sports WCFN, Cincinnati. When Blue Chip Broadcasting’s WCFN, Cincinnati flips to sports on January 2, local sports talk personality Rick Ucchino will serve as the station’s full-time sports anchor. WCFN will air the CBS Sports Radio Network programming when the new radio network debuts. Whether the station will carry all of the network programming is unknown at this time. Ucchino currently serves at Christian Broadcasting System’s crosstown WQRT “Real Talk 1160” hosting the afternoon drive program. In a Facebook announcement, Ucchino says, “As some of you might know, MOJO 100.3 is flipping to an all new CBS Sports station starting January 2nd. And I am happy to announce that I have officially accepted an offer to become their full-time morning sports anchor! I am grateful for the opportunities ‘Real Talk 1160’ has given me over the years but I am excited for the next chapter of my career!”
Doug Meehan Exits WTKK, Boston for TV Gig. It’s tempting to read into WTKK, Boston afternoon drive host Doug Meehan’s departure from the station as being related to rumors Greater Media plans to flip the station from talk to a music format in the near future, but there’s no indication that’s the case. Meehan, who took over the PM drive slot in 2011 and served as a TV traffic reporter and general assignment reporter at Fox 25 in Boston prior to that, is leaving the station to pursue a “major-market television opportunity” that he’ll announce soon. While Greater Media has been registering domain names that could indicate a flip to any number of music – or even sports – formats, the company has simply stated it is always considering programming options for its stations.
NBC/Dial Global Lays Out Weekend Schedule. The new NBC Sports Radio network announces its weekend programming schedule that affiliate stations will air beginning Saturday, January 5. The Dial Global-NBC Sports Group initiative is already offering “The Safety Blitz with Rodney Harrison” and now announces the rest of the weekend lineup. It includes the following talent: Brian Webber of NFL Network’s “NFL AM” morning show, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports, and Clay Travis, NBC Sports contributor and owner/contributor of OutKicktheCoverage.com. Also suiting up for the NBC Sports Radio weekends team is Newy Scruggs, sports director and on-air personality at NBC-5 Dallas/Ft. Worth and formerly of 105.3 The Fan, Dallas; Jason Page, recently withESPN Radio New York, among other stops, and Anita Marks, part ofthe New York Giants TV/Radio broadcast team and formerly of SportsRadio 105.7 The Fan, Baltimore. Plus, NBC Sports Radio update anchor Jon Stashower, formerly of ESPN Radio, adds a Sunday morning show and NBC Sports’ Rob Simmelkjaer will also host a weekend show. Other contributors to the programming will include: Hines Ward, Stan Van Gundy, Michelle Beadle, Amani Toomer, and Doug Flutie. The network has already launched late night and overnight shows and says it will launch the rest of its weekday 6:00 am to 7:00 pm lineup on Monday, April 1, 2013.
Gow-Yahoo! to Offer Bob Costas Programs. The Gow Broadcasting-operated Yahoo! Sports Radio network is offering affiliate stations two programs featuring Bob Costas. The first is a weekly “Costas Coast to Coast” program culled from the archives of the syndicated radio show that aired from 1986 to 1996. Yahoo! Sports Radio CEO David Gow states, “Bob is universally regarded as one of the top sports journalists. The ‘Costas Coast-to-Coast’ shows offer timeless content delivered in Bob’s inimitable style. We are thrilled to offer these very special programs to our growing number of affiliate radio stations.” The second program is a vignette titled “Stars and Stories” and is best-of content from his interviews over the years. Gow has secured the licensing of this programming via Olympia Networks.
Odds & Sods. Content aggregator TuneIn offers the 24 college bowl games being played this season and being broadcast by ESPN Radio…..WFED, Washington, DC morning drive host Francis Rose sits in for WYD Media nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish on his program on December 24 and 31.
KIRO-FM, Seattle Raises $500,000-Plus for Local Foster Kids. During its 24th Annual Holiday Magic Radiothon, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM helped raise more than $500,000 to assist foster children in the Treehouse program. The money raised will help provide each child in the program with one significant holiday gift along with support for programs and services throughout the year. Treehouse serves 6,000 foster kids each year through programs that help them succeed in school, fulfill key material needs, and provide important childhood experiences every child deserves. Bonneville Seattle VP/market manager Carl Gardner says, “The KIRO Radio community has stepped up once again We’re so grateful to have listeners and partners who care and stand ready to help wherever there’s a need.” Pictured here are PM drive hosts Ron and Don manning the radiothon mics on Wednesday, December 12.
Newtown Massacre, U.S. Gun Laws, ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, Syria/Egypt Instability, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/17). The aftermath of the Newtown school massacre; debate over gun laws in the United States; the political fight in Washington over solving the “fiscal cliff” problem; continued violence and instability in Syria and Egypt; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio across the country, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Howard Stern Returns for Another Season on “America’s Got Talent.” The rest of the judges panel is not set but SiriusXM superstar talk host Howard Stern announced to his listeners on Monday that he’s back for another season of “America’s Got Talent.” Access Hollywood reports Stern said, “I really feel my work is unfinished there. I really do think I can find a superstar act. I really just feel like I can do something great.” Stern says he’ll miss Sharon Osbourne, who has elected not to return to the program this season. But in true Howard Stern fashion, he mentioned he’s concerned about who the other judges will be, saying if they’re not good, it makes the job a drag. “That’s gonna make the job tedious, and boring and aggravating.”
KIRO-FM, Seattle Promotes Andrew Walsh to Evening Host. Producer and radio personality Andrew Walsh is named the host of the evening program on Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle, filling the slot left open when John Curley was promoted to anchor of the station’s morning drive show. Walsh has been a fill-in host at the station in addition to his work as producer of the “Ross and Burbank Show” and co-host of the “Too Beautiful to Live” podcast with Luke Burbank. Program director Larry Gifford states, “Andrew continues to impress me with his news sense, story-telling ability, self-effacing humor and unique point of view. Andrew will be a terrific addition to our daily KIRO Radio programming lineup.” Walsh started his radio career in New Hampshire where he served as a public radio producer for eight years. He spent one year at KUOW Public Radio in Seattle as producer. About his new position, Walsh says, “I’m going to use this show to try to pull listeners a little closer to their radios, and sometimes pull them right into the radio with us. I see this as a chance to develop a new type of relationship with the KIRO audience — and not the unhealthy kind that my therapist keeps warning me about.”
Sabo Media Launches Internet Radio Initiatives; Enters into Relationship with Party 934. Media consultant Walter Sabo announces his company, Sabo Media, through its Internet Radio Initiatives, is identifying “several online entertainment companies that are at the cutting edge of presenting fresh, new shows.” One of the products of that is his new relationship with The Freeform Radio Initiative’s PARTY 934. Sabo states, “PARTY 934 curates its programs in a stunning, easy-to-use manner. The shows are passionate, fun and involve the community. It is in the best spirit of progressive rock, free-form radio and compelling talk radio. In working with PARTY 934 we will help the organization achieve its goals in content creation while preserving the spirit of citizen broadcasters…For a decade we have advised media clients to deliver on the promise of the first name of the internet: World Wide. PARTY 934 brings that promise to life, giving listeners a fresh, global radio experience.” Party 934 is an official project of The Freeform Radio Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It is the mission of The Freeform Radio Initiative and Party 934 to provide diverse and innovative online broadcasting that reflects the interests and concerns of the community, thus, creating broad cultural and educational experiences for communities impacted negatively by the lack of digital and technological advancement in innovative new media. Freeform Radio Initiative founder Scott McWilliams says, “Walter is helping to make our on-air personalities more professional. As a station that encourages ‘regular people’ to do radio shows, people like Walter mentor and guide our personalities to be the best they can be. Walter is a great addition to our team because of his extensive background and attention to detail. We are glad to have him on board.”
Dave Ramsey to Be Inducted into NAB Hall of Fame. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dave Ramsey will be inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the NAB Show in April. The NAB’s executive vice president of radio John David says in announcing the honor, “Dave Ramsey has influenced countless Americans through his sound financial advice and inspirational messages. We are pleased to induct him into NAB’s Broadcasting Hall of Fame.” The induction will take place during the NAB Show Radio Luncheon, on Tuesday, April 9 in Las Vegas and sponsored by ASCAP. Ramsey will join such radio greats as Bob Uecker, Gerry House, Ron Chapman, Vin Scully, Jack Buck, Harry Carey, Larry Lujack, Rick Dees, Dick Purtan and Dick Orkin in the Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
KIDO, Boise and Host Kevin Miller Help Score Cash for Local Animal Shelter. Peak Broadcasting’s KIDO, Boise and morning drive talk host Kevin Miller (pictured here as you-know-who at a recent fundraiser) worked to help the local Canyon County Animal Shelter take second place in the national ASPCA/Rachael Ray $100,000 Adoption Challenge. The Canyon County Animal Shelter, with the help of Peak Broadcasting donating PSA time to the cause and Kevin Miller’s PR stunt of living in a cage for a week, won the second-place prize of $50,000. The shelter was able to get 2,082 animals adopted coming in second only to San Antonio, which won the first-place prize.
Talk Pro Jeff Katz Heard in Miami This Week. Talk radio personality Jeff Katz, most recently working for Clear Channel at its former news/talk outlet WXKS-AM, Boston, is heard this week in Miami as he fills in on Clear Channel’s news/talk WIOD in the afternoon drive slot today, Thursday and Friday.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Status, Syria Chemical Weapons Charge, Jovan Belcher Case, and UN Internet Regulation Plans Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/3). The ongoing posturing in Washington over the coming “fiscal cliff”; intelligence claims that Syria is preparing chemical weapons to use on rebel fighters; the murder-suicide of NFL player Jovan Belcher and Bob Costas’ anti-gun comment; and the UN-proposed internet regulations were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
SHAKER HEIGHTS — I can tell that we radio folks are more stressed out than ever, because I’ve been in on a few conversations recently where the subject was how people out there don’t understand the value of radio anymore. That’s a change from the previous sentiment, which was that we just needed to get more compelling content on our websites and in our social media. The feeling seems to be now that we have to make potential fans and clients understand what we’re all about, and what we offer.
Then, I see here in TALKERS (10/17) last Wednesday that Bonneville in Seattle is putting one of their key on-air people “in the driver’s seat for bringing unique, local content to both KIRO-FM and the company’s digital space, MyNorthwest.com.” So wrap your head around this. Linda Thomas, who’s been part of KIRO-FM’s morning drive news block … that’s morning drive in the 13th largest market … is moving online. That’s a real commitment on Bonneville’s part.
Michael Savage Signs with Cumulus Media Networks; Push for Affiliates and Programming Changes at O&O Stations to Begin. Not too long after vowing he’d be back on terrestrial radio, talk radio host Michael Savage joins Cumulus Media Networks for a syndication deal that will have his program distributed nationally live from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. The terms of the contract are not available but in a press release announcing the pact, Cumulus COO John Dickey states, “As we aggressively create radio’s most compelling mix of show hosts the addition of Michael Savage is a milestone in our determined efforts to provide our listeners nationwide with the best programing in the business.” Savage won freedom from his contract with Talk Radio Network in court several weeks ago, freeing him to sign anywhere for national distribution. Savage states in the release, “Cumulus and Savage will make radio history. The turbulent times we live in give talk radio a new power. This is the biggest move of my radio career and I look forward to reaching many millions of new listeners on their flamethrower signals.” Savage has broadcast from his home studio in the San Francisco Bay Area for years and most likely will continue to do so. Cumulus will want to put him on as many O&Os as possible so here’s a rundown of what programming airs during the live broadcast time of Savage’s soon-to-be program. In San Francisco, O&Os KGO and KSFO air a local evening news show and its own syndicated John Batchelor program respectively; WABC, New York airs Batchelor; KABC, Los Angeles airs its own syndicated Mark Levin; WLS-AM, Chicago airs the last hour of Premiere’s Sean Hannity followed by Levin; WMAL, Washington airs Batchelor; WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas airs local host Chris Krok; and WJR, Detroit airs Mark Levin. With Savage’s program to debut next Tuesday, October 23, look for some programming changes on Cumulus Media O&O talk outlets.
Dan Patrick’s Radio and TV Simulcast Exits Fox Sports Net; Speculation About New Cable Partner Begins. To be clear, we’re talking about the regional cable TV networks when we talk about Fox Sports Net, not Fox Sports Radio Network which distributes the radio version of the DirecTV-produced program. Dan Patrick’s sports talk show is still available on DirecTV’s Audience Network but Patrick said on his program they expect to have a new cable partner soon and here’s where the speculation begins. AwfulAnnouncing.com’s Matt Yoder writes that a deal with NBC’s fledgling cable sports network could use a show like Patrick’s in morning drive as a show around which to build the rest of its programming. As Yoder points out, Dan Patrick already works for NBC hosting “Football Night in America,” so there’s a relationship in place. If NBC and Patrick agree to work together for the cable TV distribution of his program, whether that would affect the distribution of his radio program or not is unknown. NBC is also building a sports talk radio network for which it needs quality programming. However, the Fox Sports Radio Network distribution of the radio program has it on more than 250 stations. Ad sales for the radio side are handled by Premiere Networks and presumably there is a contract for this relationship.
Mancow TV Show Producer Resigns. With less than a week to go before the debut of Erich Mancow Muller’s Chicago TV show on Fox Television’s WPWR-TV, director and producer Don DuPree leaves the project. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports DuPree had issues with Fox Television that centered on compensation and job duties unrelated to the Mancow program. Mancow’s morning radio show — syndicated nationally by TRN-FM — is set to begin a two-hour radio/TV simulcast (during the 6:00 am to 8:00 am CT hours) on Monday, October 22. DuPree has been involved with the soon-to-debut show for several weeks. He tells Feder, “I really want to see the show succeed, and I want Mancow to succeed. Working with Mancow was why I was attracted to the project to begin with, and I’m still a big fan. I hope I get to work with him again one day.” DuPree was director of the “Siskel & Ebert” program for 16 years and also served as executive producer for “Ebert & Roeper.”
Talent Shuffle at Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle. A day after Bonneville announced that morning news anchor Linda Thomas would exit the AM on-air post to take an enterprising new role with the station and its affiliated digital presence, it promotes evening talk host John Curley to host of “Seattle’s Morning News” beginning Monday, October 22. Curley, a popular media personality in the market who joined KIRO-FM in February of 2011 to host the night show, is partnered up with current AM drive co-host Tom Tangney and news anchor Ursula Reutin. Program director Larry Gifford states, “John is unbelievably talented. He brings a lifetime of lessons to add a personal perspective and a storyteller’s sensibility to ‘Seattle’s Morning News.’ He also has an irresistible charm and enough energy to fuel the entire Pacific Northwest.” Curley spent 14 years hosting “Evening Magazine” on KING-TV and currently serves as a member of the Sammamish City Council. Exiting the morning program is host Bill Radke.
WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus Suspends Host for Tweet. RadiOhio’s sports talk WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus “97.1 The Fan” suspends talk host Scott Torgerson – co-host of “The Common Man & The Torg” – after he Tweeted regarding ESPN’s Desmond Howard, “I wish that Desmond Howard would get fired or die so I can watch ‘Gameday’ again.” It’s uncertain how long Torgerson will be suspended but yesterday he remained off the program with co-host Mike Ricordati.
Genesis Communications Network Purchases New Headquarters. The company that syndicated such talk radio stars as Alex Jones, Jason Lewis and Bradlee Dean is moving into new headquarters in Burnsville, Minnesota. The company, headed by CEO Ted Anderson, is moving from its current base in Eagan, Minnesota to a former Coldwell Banker office near I-35W in the Twin Cities region. The building was purchased for $1.4 million.
Newsweek Announces End of Paper Edition. This isn’t a radio story but it is an interesting media development. Editor-in-chief of The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, Tina Brown, announces the iconic weekly news magazine will cease publication of its printed product at the end of this year and will move into a strictly digital business model in 2013. Brown writes, “Newsweek Global, as the all-digital publication will be named, will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context. Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast.” Brown makes it clear why the transition is taking place. “It is important that we underscore what this digital transition means and, as importantly, what it does not. We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it. We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents. This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism — that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.”
Second Presidential Debate Aftermath, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Attack Investigation, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/17). Analysis of the performance of the candidates in the second presidential debate; the polls in the presidential race; the ongoing investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi; and the Major League Baseball playoffs are some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Creating Content Available Nowhere Else at Bonneville Seattle. News/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle and parent company Bonneville announce a changing role for “Seattle’s Morning News” anchor Linda Thomas that puts the radio personality and journalist in the driver’s seat for bringing unique, local content to both KIRO-FM and the company’s digital space MyNorthwest.com. Bonneville says Thomas will “devote 100% of her time and energy to original enterprise reporting for radio and digital channels in a groundbreaking new role announced today by KIRO Radio and MyNorthwest.com. As senior features reporter at KIRO Radio and MyNorthwest.com, her role is to meet intriguing people and tell their stories. In her role as digital journalist, Linda will continue her award-winning blog and file original reports to MyNorthwest.com covering topics from parenting and politics to technology and trends.”
During numerous presentations at industry gatherings, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has stated that what radio must do to survive this convergence of media and the changes in consumer behavior it is fostering, is to create content that is only available in one place – your radio station. KIRO’s move combines this notion with the concept of a “media station” – a digital destination for unique multi-media content. Bonneville’s radio and digital news director Peter Gammell says, “Original local reporting is what fuels KIRO Radio’s conversations and drives our users to visit MyNorthwest.com. Linda has a proven ear for the compelling story, and she’s one of our most prolific reporters. This role frees her to focus on what only she can do.”
Thomas relishes her opportunity to pursue her journalistic endeavors. “I believe everybody has a story, and I want to know what’s yours. I meet so many people whose stories have value, and someone hearing or reading them is going to have their life changed by their bravery and originality.” Program director Larry Gifford states, “I’ve always been impressed with the compassion in Linda’s reporting. She finds real, interesting people in the community, has a personal conversation with them and shares what she’s learned. I can’t wait to hear who she introduces me to next.”
Thomas will continue her popular “News Chick” efforts. Tweeting and posting on social media as “The News Chick,” Thomas is among the most-followed local journalists in the U.S., according to Bonneville. The company says she promises her social media followers on Twitter @thenewschick and Facebook will continue to be fed her customary stream of sharable gems. “The value of social media for me is connecting – in real life when possible – with people in the community, and being there when they want to interact with me.” In addition to her longer-form radio and online feature reporting, social media are where she will continue sharing viral videos, photos, links to eye-catching stories from Seattle to Hollywood and around the world — along with Thomas’ famed fascination with her boots.
Cumulus Media Inks Agreement to Buy New York Market FM. Pending approval from the FCC, Cumulus Media will have a third New York City station after closing on Family Stations, Inc.’s WFME, Newark, New Jersey. Cumulus states in a press release that it will announce format plans for the Class B FM at 94.7 upon closing and expects that to happen sometime in the fourth quarter of this year. Crain’s New York Business cites an industry insider saying Cumulus got WFME for a bargain: $40 million. Family Stations has undergone changes during the past year and is said to be cash-strapped after Family Stations chief Harold Camping’s apocalyptic predictions on the date of Christ’s reappearance last year failed on two occasions. CEO Lew Dickey says, “This strategic acquisition of our second FM in the nation’s largest market will enable us to provide compelling new programming for our listeners and a powerful marketing vehicle for our advertising partners.” Of course, although Cumulus is remaining vague about the specifics of its programming intentions with the new acquisition, industry observers are actively speculating as to what might be in store for the Big Apple’s soon-to-be competitive commercial FM. For years, through several ownerships, WABC program directors have privately confessed that they wished talk-formatted WABC had a NYC FM outlet for its programming. But the fact that its only sister FM, hot AC WPLJ (95.5) has been such a consistent ratings and revenue success put up a roadblock to that happening easily. Now with the New York talk market in flux per Clear Channel‘s soon-to-be-completed takeover of WOR and Cumulus launching new high-profile syndicated talk shows such as Mike Huckabee and Geraldo Rivera, and with the end of their contracts with Premiere Networks‘ Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity shows looming – it makes sense that they would be looking for a new Gotham outlet for their considerably valuable talk properties. Of course, this is just speculation.
Tavis Smiley Takes on WBEZ, Chicago in Open Letter After Public Station Cancels Weekend “Smiley & West” Program. Talk media personality Tavis Smiley wrote an open letter to Chicago Public Media president and CEO Torey Malatia after the station cancelled his weekend program “Smiley & West,” co-hosted by Princeton professor Cornel West. In the letter, Smiley reacts to his work being called “less than inclusive” and being compared to Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly but Malatia in response to WBEZ cancelling his program. Read the entire letter here.
KTTH, Seattle Announces New Schedule; Names David Boze AM Drive Host. Beginning in January, Seattle talk radio personality David Boze will have a new role with the Bonneville talk station. Boze currently does a one-hour program at 3:00 pm on KTTH that serves as a local hour between Salem Radio Network’s Michael Medved and Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity on the station. In January, Boze will host the three-hour morning drive show and bumps Premiere’s Glenn Beck from the AM drive slot on the station. Bonneville Seattle program director Larry Gifford states, “David is a stand-up guy with a traditional Northwest sensibility. He’s someone you’d want as a neighbor – who happens to host a great radio show. He always leaves me better informed and mentally energized.” Boze, who began his talk radio career as a producer for Peter Weissbach at KVI in 1999, has been with KTTH for 10 years. He says, “I try to live my life with the same traditional values as my listeners do; decency, liberty, hard work, and doing what’s right. I want to create a friendly gathering place where people can digest the news and we can talk about important stories that other media misinterpret or miss altogether.”
Talk Radio’s Unique Sales Advantage. H & H Communications president Al Herskovitz says the unique place talk radio occupies in the stew of formats is that it is a foreground format that brings a better value to its advertisers. This is not a new concept but Herskovitz writes that talk sales staffers can be very creative in taking advantage of this in bringing new categories of advertisers to the format. “It would be hard to believe that the Rolls Royce manufacturer or even the local Rolls dealer would want to buy a spot in that Sunday 5:30 am auto show,” Herskovitz states. “But an Atlanta station saleswoman I know did sell that very program to a salvage yard in her market coupled with a weekday spot package and a handful of promos. Now that’s creative salesmanship!” Read Al Herskovitz’s entire piece here.
WHNZ, Tampa to Add Sports Talk from Fox Sports Radio. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WHNZ, Tampa – currently airing a combination of brokered local shows and syndicated news/talk fare, begins adding Fox Sports Radio content to the station beginning with the overnight “J.T. the Brick” program airing from 1:00 am to 5:00 am. In 2013, the station plans to add FSRN’s “Petros & Money” and “Fox Sports Tonight” programs to the lineup. Program director Steve Versnick states, “We are excited to launch the powerful brand of Fox Sports Radio on WHNZ in Tampa Bay. This adds star power to the station for us.”
Fox Sports Radio Changes “Loose Cannons” Lineup; Vic “The Brick” Jacobs to KLAC Duties. The trio of Pat O’Brien, Steve Hartman and Vic “The Brick” Jacobs – known as the “Loose Cannons” on Fox Sports Radio Network – will continue with just O’Brien and Hartman as Jacobs has been re-assigned to the sports news updates role at flagship KLAC, Los Angeles. He’ll also serve as a reporter covering Lakers basketball.
Second Presidential Debate, Libya Attack Investigation, Malala Yousufzai Case, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/16). The second presidential debate from Hofstra University on Long Island; the ongoing investigation and controversy over the attack on the Banghazi consulate; the case of Pakistani wounded teen Malala Yousufzai; Iran’s nuclear weapons program; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
September PPM Numbers Continued: Highlights of Talk and Sports Stations. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian reports on the September PPM numbers rolling in and writes about the movement of some talk and sports stations.
- In market # 11 Detroit…this is the second straight month that CBS Radio controls the top four spots; however, country WYCD (+.5 from August) trades places with sports sibling WXYT-FM, which is down one full share.
- In market # 13 Seattle, Bonneville’s talk KIRO-FM remains in the top three with a slight jump (+.1 from August) to a 4.8 share while sister sports talk KIRO-AM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.8.
- In Phoenix – market #14 – Clear Channel’s news/talk KFYI rises nicely one full share to a 5.3 while Bonneville’s KTAR-FM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.2.
- In market #16 Minneapolis, news/talk WCCO tumbles seven-tenths to 6.4 (#3 to #5). The last time the CBS Radio talk powerhouse had a 6+ stat that low was in July 2011 (6.4, as well). Also, tied in August at 3.1, sports rivals Clear Channel-owned KFXN (+.3, #13) and Hubbard‘s KSTP-AM (-.4, #16) are now separated by seven-tenths.
For more PPM data and ratings analysis, visit our sister publication RadioInfo’s ratings section here.
KDWN, Las Vegas Talk Host Alan Stock to Host Special Election Season TV Program. Morning drive host Alan Stock also hosts a nightly interview and news show produced for Vegas TV (cable 14/HD1014) airing at 9:30 pm called “Eye on Vegas with Alan Stock.” This month, Stock will add a special weekly show to his work on Vegas TV called “News & Views 2012” set to air Wednesdays at 5:30 pm. Stock tells TALKERS, “It is a special series for the election season only on during the month of October. The great news is it is already sold out from an advertising standpoint. The show includes a panel of four people – two liberals and two conservatives. The first show aired on Wednesday the 3rd on the topic of the economy. Other topics will include civil rights (gay marriage, etc.), illegal immigration, foreign policy and Obamacare/medical care in general although the topics might be modified depending on what news is breaking.”
WTKK, Boston Sells Out ‘Ultimate Town Hall Meeting.’ Greater Media news/talk outlet WTKK, Boston “News Talk 96.9” announces its “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” set for Saturday, October 13 at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall has sold out all 800 seats but the station will give away five Presidential Packages (including front row seats, exclusive meet-and-greets, and more) to listeners starting next week. The “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” is moderated by WTKK morning hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan and includes a prominent panel of WTKK’s on-air hosts and contributors including local personality Michael Graham, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish, Cumulus Media Network’s John Batchelor, Compass Media Networks’ Ron Insana and the Boston Globe’s Brian McGrory. Program director Grace Blazer states, “News Talk 96.9’s all-star panel will debate the ‘state of the state’ of the 2012 presidential election and the hotly contested Scott Brown-Elizabeth Warren Massachusetts Senate race. Our entire team is looking forward to engaging in smart and entertaining debate for our audience and our advertisers.”
WGN, Chicago Honored at 2012 Radio Mercury Awards. Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago won a 2012 Radio Mercury Award in the “Radio Station Produced” category for the “Shifty Eyes” spot created for local business Oak Park Natural Pet & Fish. The commercial was written and produced by WGN Radio commercial services manager Jason Skaggs. WGN vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “We’re honored as a station and proud to have such a talented person in Jason on our team. Jason creates unique and memorable messages that deliver real results for our advertisers. He gets it.” The 2012 Radio Mercury Awards are part of the 2012 Advertising Week Conference in New York. The Radio Mercury Awards, the only competition exclusively devoted to radio, was established in 1992 to encourage and reward the development of effective and creative radio commercials. For more on other winners, see the coverage at our sister publication RadioInfo’s site here.
Changes at the Top at Blue Star Media Group. Effective immediately, Blue Star Media Group president and CEO Michael Metter exits to pursue interests outside the radio business and former executive vice president Jeff Weber returns to the company to lead it as consulting operations executive. Blue Star owns and operates Business TalkRadio Network; Lifestyle TalkRadio Network; WLFP, Pittsburgh; WGCH, Greenwich, Connecticut and recently sold KNUU, Las Vegas. Weber, who resigned from Blue Star in December of 2011 after 10 years of running the operations, says, “What a great opportunity to return to work with our exceptional staff and the fine content product we provide our more than 1,000 affiliates and the outstanding programs our owned stations air for their listeners.”
Breaking with Your Church on a Secular Talk Station. KDKA, Pittsburgh weekend talk show host Johnna Pro writes about a recent discussion about contraception on her program that led to, as she calls it, a crisis of faith. Pro’s experience is one many religious talk show hosts who work on secular stations face – agreeing with or breaking with Church teachings in the course of discussing the issues and having an opinion – something talk show hosts must have to survive in this business. Read Pro’s story of how one Catholic talk show host handled a real on-the-air conflict here.
Kuhner in Boston. Washington Times columnist and host of “The Kuhner Report” on Entercom’s WRKO, Boston (airing from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon daily) Jeff Kuhner is pictured here in the Boston studios of WRKO. Kuhner visited the station earlier this week. WRKO assistant program director Bill Cooksey says, “The response to Jeff has been overwhelming. He’s going to be a star in no time at all, and I’m glad he’s with us.”
Presidential Debate, Libya Consulate Attack Investigation, Obama ‘Race Speech,’ and Iran Nukes Program Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/3). Anticipation of last night’s presidential debate; the ongoing analysis of the fatal attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya; controversy over the video of a 2007 Barack Obama campaign speech in which he questions why largely African-American Katrina victims were treated differently than other disaster victims; and Iran’s nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
White House Responds to Rush Limbaugh’s Take on Georgetown College Student. Premiere Networks talk show host Rush Limbaugh is getting an extraordinary amount of attention from comments made on his program earlier this week. During the program Limbaugh questioned the testimony of Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke who – speaking to the issue of subsidies for birth control – stated that her Catholic university won’t pay for expensive contraception. Weighing in on the issue, Limbaugh said, in part, that the university is, in effect being asked to pay for students to have sex. “What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex, she can’t afford the contraception.” White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama called Ms. Fluke to express his support for her stating her opinion and his regret for the response she received. Republicans and Democrats are now battling over allegations some Democrats and Democratic fundraising organizations are using the issue to raise campaign donations.
Los Angeles African-American Coalition Unhappy with KFI’s Response. Several days after meeting with Clear Channel Los Angeles management about issues of diversity and ethnic insensitivity after the suspension of PM drive team John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou for remarks made about Whitney Houston, a self-described coalition of Black business and media professionals announces it is not satisfied with KFI management’s response in a memorandum titled “We Are Listening” and plans further action. In a press statement, media contact Jasmyne Cannick states the coalition plans to take the issue to Washington. “Consequently, we plan on filing a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission that will include audio and video evidence substantiating our claims that these licensing violations are pervasive and systemic. We are confident President Barack Obama, several local officials as well as members of Congress, and the FCC will agree with our stance that the way Clear Channel is addressing the issue of diversity is disingenuous at best and fraudulent at its worst.” The coalition had asked four areas to be addressed by Clear Channel management: The hiring of more Blacks as on-air talent – full time, weekends, fill-in hosts; Similar to cable outlets, the station should feature paid KFI contributing commentators who can discuss issues with the on-air [talent] from different perspectives; Clear Channel must employ more blacks behind the scenes such as producers, engineers, sales representatives, professionals in marketing and promotions, as well as college interns of color. This is not limited to KFI; and KFI specifically needs to collaborate with online news and entertainment sites owned by African Americans and broaden the listening audience through community outreach events and public affairs. Whether or not this issue becomes a serious PR problem for KFI remains to be seen, but the coalition seems very intent on executing its goals. It states, “What must be reiterated is that Clear Channel’s corporate policies are being completely ignored and lip service can no longer suffice. In the next seven days, we will launch an all-out campaign employing the same tools Clear Channel radio personalities utilize to drive home the point that issues of importance will no longer be placated. Whether it’s employing John and Ken’s ‘Heads on a Stick’ campaign, to launching ‘Political Human Sacrifice 2012,’ all remedies, legal and otherwise, will be exhausted.” At a time when a significant degree of murkiness exists in the understanding of FCC rules pertaining to ethnic equality and programming sensitivity on the part of radio stations and their community critics alike, this brewing situation has the potential to force the clarification of a number of sticky issues including First Amendment guarantees as they apply to broadcasters, the public relations of race, and specific licensing requirements of the FCC.
Talk Media Industry Mourns Passing of Andrew Breitbart. The Conservative digital media mogul and talk media personality died unexpectedly at age 43 early Thursday morning of what appears to have been a heart attack. The conservative side of the talk media industry certainly had a friend in Andrew Breitbart. He was a big fan of conservative talk radio, often appearing on both nationally syndicated and local talk radio programs to discuss political issues. He even guest-hosted programs – most recently subbing for Dial Global’s Dennis Miller just last week. Breitbart’s work creating digital media targeting the conservative political audience made him a news/talk media celebrity as well as a target for those who disagreed with his politics. He’s pictured here reading one of the final print editions of TALKERS magazine at the radio row in New Hampshire prior to that state’s primary election in February.
TALKERS TV EXCLUSIVE: During the recent TALKERS/Talk Radio News Service radio row held in New Hampshire on the eve of the nation’s first presidential primary, TALKERS TV video recorded Emmanuel College (Boston) student broadcaster Joe Horgan interviewing Andrew Breitbart on the college’s internet station. The interview conducted on January 10 presents a superb portrait of Breitbart and his media philosophy. See the video in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.
More Momentum Behind Radio News as Dial Global Teams with NBC for 24-Hour News Product. The term 24-hour news service is slightly misleading. What NBC and Dial Global are offering is not a full 60 minutes of news each hour all day long but top- and bottom-of-the-hour news plus bulletins, live coverage of news events, news feeds, etc. But with the demise Dial Global’s distribution of CNN Radio and that service largely disappearing, this new initiative underscores the resurgence in the demand for news from consumers that’s being exemplified on America’s radio airwaves. In recent years the industry has seen Talk Radio Network collaborate with The Washington Times to produce and syndicate a national morning drive news product out of the Nation’s Capital; TRN subsidiary America’s Radio News Network is currently clearing its successful three-hour, all-news blocks on more than 200 radio stations; CBS Radio bought an FM signal in the Washington-Baltimore area to put its news expertise to the test against Hubbard Broadcasting’s news juggernaut WTOP; Randy Michaels-led Merlin Media is building all-news formats on two major FM signals in New York and Chicago with another in Philadelphia reportedly on the way; and Fox News Radio has been providing a major league level of news and information service to nearly a thousand affiliates (including talkers) for years. Dial Global’s announcement of its collaboration with NBC News to offer a radio news product using its vast resources and high-profile personalities shows it takes radio’s desire for news seriously. NBC News Radio will be distributed to radio stations nationwide by Dial Global beginning April 1 and will give those stations access to the global resources of NBC News including: live simulcasts of breaking news from NBC and MSNBC, and reports from top NBC News correspondents including NBC News political director and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd, chief Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, chief Justice Department correspondent Pete Williams and senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers. NBC News Radio will also feature Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News” and David Gregory, host of “Meet the Press.” The development shows that at a time when many Americans are getting more and more of their news from internet sources, a case can be made that news radio – especially news radio consumed in the auto – is more important than ever to many people. This current state and its future potential sparks the need for new and creative ways beyond merely “reading the story” in which to present news and information content. Along with that come opportunities for creative talent – experienced in what captivates radio listeners – to put their skills to the test in taking radio news into the future.
KIRO-FM, Seattle Develops New Weekend Talk Show About Local Music. In cooperation with Seattle Weekly, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle announces the debut of “Seattle Sounds,” airing Sunday afternoons from 3:00 to 4:00. The show is co-hosted by Josh Kerns and Seattle Weekly music editor Chris Kornelis and is described as telling the “story behind the music – they dive deep into the artists who perform the music, explain why the music is gaining such traction, and discover bands who warrant attention. The program features live performances, interviews with artists, and weekly contests to attend some of the region’s hottest shows. ‘Seattle Sounds’ provides a new, uniquely-Northwest experience for audiophiles who want something more than just the Top 40 on shuffle.” KIRO-FM program director Larry Gifford says, “We are very excited to team up with Seattle Weekly to give music fans in the Northwest a weekly conversation about what’s new, what’s trending and what’s worth checking out when it comes to the local music scene. It is a terrific addition to 97.3 KIRO-FM’s All New ‘Learn, Laugh, Relax Weekend lineup.’”
Colleagues Mourn Passing of Former KOMO Radio and TV News Personality Eric Slocum. Former co-workers at Fisher Broadcasting’s KOMO, Seattle and KOMO-TV are mourning the unexpected death of former news anchor Eric Slocum who passed away last Saturday at age 54. Reports indicate he had suffered from depression in recent years and the death was ruled a suicide. Slocum started his career in radio but moved to KOMO-TV. He left the TV side in 2001 and returned to news/talk KOMO. He left the station in 2008.
Compass Media Networks Offers Big 10 Hoops Tourney for Third Consecutive Year. As the college basketball tournament season approaches, Compass Media Networks announces it is distributing play-by-play of the Big 10 Men’s Basketball Tournament beginning Thursday, March 8 and running through Sunday, March 11. The games are being distributed to satellite radio and terrestrial radio including major affiliates such as WFAN, New York. CMN’s broadcast team includes: Matt “Money” Smith from KLAC, Los Angeles who is partnered with former NBA star Rick Mahorn; and Drew Bontadelli who calls play-by-play with former college hoops star Mike Wozniak.
CBS Radio’s Altitude Group Names Marilou McFarlane VP of Strategic Partnerships. The Altitude Group is CBS Radio’s marketing wing that focuses on creating unique advertising programs to help grow client brands and customer engagement. The company says Altitude uses the power of CBS Radio’s 130 major market stations combined with all available digital distribution channels to execute big ideas for advertisers so they can reach their customers in any and every way. Marilou McFarlane, based in San Francisco, will use the group’s best practices to develop new business in markets up and down the west coast. McFarlane has worked for Clear Channel, CBS Radio in the past as well as developed her own media and marketing consultancy firm, McFarlane Marketing LLC. Additionally, she launched Vivo Girls Sports, Inc., an online community for girls 13-24 years old who are passionate about sports and live a healthy active lifestyle.
WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Fill-in Host Wayne Powers Runs for County Commissioner. Wayne Powers has been a regular fill-in host at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte for the past four years. He announces he’s removing himself from the station’s roster in order to run as a Republican for a seat on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners.
GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 27 – March 2. According to ongoing research from TALKERS, the GOP primaries and the 2012 presidential race was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart. Coming in at #2 was Iran tensions tied with the North Korea nuclear program deal. At #3 was the state of the economy and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress and at #4 was rising gas prices. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Independently syndicated “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman” joins the weekend lineup at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles…..KGO, San Francisco-based weekend talk host Karel gets his Sunday 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm program added to the lineup at KJFK, Reno…..Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” featuring Eric Harley and Gary McNamara picks up affiliates WLS, Chicago; WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; and WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with host Chris Markowski is picked up by KIVA, Albuquerque…..“Beyond the Beltway” with host Bruce DuMont is added to the program schedule at WATX, Cookeville, Tennessee…..The DirecTV-produced and Premiere Networks-distributed Nick and Artie show featuring Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange adds CBS Radio’s WIP-AM, Philadelphia.
Deborah Norville to Host Broadcasters Foundation of America “Golden Mike Awards”; Fox’s Roger Ailes to Present. The annual “Golden Mike Awards” to benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America takes place in New York City on Monday, February 27 at the Plaza Hotel. Emmy-winning host of “Inside Edition” Deborah Norville returns as host of the gala event at which Fox Television Stations president of station operations Dennis Swanson will be honored with the Golden Mike Award. Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes will also be part of the program as a presenter. The Broadcasters Foundation of America provides assistance to broadcasters in need. The charity describes its mission as “improving the quality of life and maintaining the personal dignity of men and women in the radio and television broadcast profession who find themselves in acute need. The Foundation reaches out across the country to identify and provide an anonymous safety net in cases of critical illness, advanced age, death of a spouse, accident, and other serious misfortune.” There has been a notable outreach to talk radio by the Broadcasters Foundation in recent months and an accompanying surge of interest in its work by hosts and programmers around the country. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “I have witnessed firsthand just how wonderful this organization is as it clearly makes a difference in the lives of broadcasters who have fallen on hard times and even tragic circumstances. These are tough times and each and every one of us is vulnerable to crisis and disaster due to health issues or any other threats facing the simple condition of being human. I strongly encourage everyone in talk radio and beyond to join this organization or at least send a donation. It truly is a matter of broadcasters helping broadcasters – in other words, giving back to the people of an industry that has given us such marvelous opportunities.” For more information on the Broadcasters Foundation of America, to make a donation, or learn how to apply for a grant, please contact them at 212-373-8250, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org.
CBS Corporation Revenue Down 3%; Radio Division Down 5%. The lack of political advertising during 2011 compared to the year prior and the NBA lockout are being blamed for the drop in revenue CBS experienced last year. In a conference call with analysts, CBS CEO Les Moonves reports improvement in auto advertising along with higher retransmission revenues helped ameliorate some of the negative effects of the loss of political and the NBA lockout. Moonves did take some time to praise radio during the conference. He cited both the growth at CBS Radio’s sports talk-formatted stations and the success of its all-news stations in major markets. He also predicted this year’s political season would be a boon for broadcasters with radio getting a bigger share of that business than in previous years.
KIRO-FM, Seattle’s Ron & Don Help Raise Funds to Prevent Josh Powell from Being Buried Next to Children. KIRO-FM, Seattle afternoon drive talk hosts Ron & Don helped raise the money necessary – more than $20,000 – to buy the cemetery plots adjacent to the two boys killed by their father in Graham, Washington. The story of Josh Powell killing his sons Charlie and Brandon in a horrific explosion of the house during a supervised visit gained national attention. When Crime Stoppers Tacoma-Pierce County learned the family of Powell was looking for a cemetery plot near the ones in which the boys would be buried, they intervened to buy the adjacent plots. KIRO-FM’s Ron & Don hit the airwaves to help pay for the purchase. Don O’Neill says, “When we heard this story at 3:00 pm today, we felt compelled to stop this tragedy from happening. So, we asked our KIRO listeners to help us raise the funds to reimburse ‘Crime Stoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County.’” KIRO-FM program director Larry Gifford states, “When the news and conversation on 97.3 KIRO FM impacts the hearts and minds of listeners like the tragic and shocking crimes involving the Powell family, the ‘Ron & Don Nation’ is always quick to answer the call and today was no different. I’m continually amazed at the kind-heartedness and generosity of the people who make up our community. They inspire, empower, and engage each other to help make a positive impact and I’m proud we were able to play a role in that today.”
Dave Ramsey and Daughter Rachel Cruze to Headline Live Los Angeles Benefit Appearance for Affiliate KFWB. Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey makes a return to Los Angeles for a live appearance with his daughter Rachel Cruze for “An Evening on Family and Money” ” at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, April 3 at 8:00 pm in conjunction with Los Angeles affiliate KFWB. A portion of all ticket sales will be donated to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles. KFWB reports the evening’s program will include Ramsey sharing his key principles on handling money, navigating family relationships, communicating with family members more effectively and preparing children to be financially responsible adults. Cruze will discuss how to teach your kids life lessons like the dangers of debt and the value of saving and giving. The program will also include audience Q&A. This will be Ramsey’s fourth live appearance in the L.A. area for KFWB. He previously sold out the Long Beach Arena in September 2011 as well as prior appearances at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts and the Alex Theatre in Glendale.
Talk Host Steve Cochran Returns to Air at WIND, Chicago and KTRS, St. Louis After Health Scare. Chicago-based talk show host Steve Cochran returned to the air at Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago and CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis after being forced off by what turned out to be a blood clot in an artery leading to his heart –the artery doctors call “the widow maker.” Cochran shared his story with listeners after returning to the air. On January 31, in the middle of his KTRS show (which he does from his home in Chicago), he told his producer he thought he was having a heart attack. He drove himself to the hospital (something he doesn’t recommend) and eventually found out he had not had a heart attack but suffered from the clot doctors said they could treat with medication. But it took him off the air for almost two weeks. Cochran is relishing his second chance after the serious health scare. On the WIND website Cochran writes, “You may recognize a bit of you in my story. If you do I want you to know you don’t always have tomorrow. You need to change today. I had spent almost all of my adult life working too much, sleeping too little. Oh and I was also eating too much of all the wrong things, and working out…but not nearly enough.”
Ron Jaworski Re-Signs with ESPN but Exits “MNF” TV Role. Former Philadelphia Eagles star Ron Jaworski will continue to work for ESPN – he’ll be seen on “Monday NFL Countdown,” “NFL Matchup” and be heard on the radio regularly on “Mike and Mike in the Morning” – but ESPN removes him from the cable TV broadcast of “Monday Night Football.” The network is electing to go with a two-man booth with John Gruden and Mike Tirico for the 2012 season. Jaworski says in a statement, “I am grateful for having the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of working on ‘Monday Night Football’ the past five seasons with Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and so many other talented people behind the scenes who make the show so great, and I look forward to bringing my passion and knowledge of the game to more fans in more places than ever before on any and all football topics.”
Tribune Succeeds in Removing Bogus Jonathon Brandmeier Tweeter. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that, although it took a little time, Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago was able to have Twitter shut down the account of a “rabid Johnny B. fan” who had many fans believing they were reading tweets from Jonathon Brandmeier via the @JBonWGN Twitter account. Peter Hayman is described as an “occasional contributor to the show.” Feder reports that WGN director of marketing and digital innovation Jackie Paulus responded to criticism the station took too long to act on the matter, “As opposed to us finally getting around to it, there were two complaints filed immediately – one by Johnny’s producer and one by the station. Unfortunately, due to the volume of these incidences, it took Twitter that long to validate and process the request.”
GOP Primary Race, Syria Violence Issues, Iran-Israel Tensions, Obama Budget, Payroll Tax Cut Legislation, and Rising Gas Prices Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/15). The GOP Primary race, steps to curb the continuing violence in Syria, tensions between Iran and Israel, President Obama’s 2013 budget proposal, Congressional legislation to cut the payroll tax and concern of rising gas prices were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Welcome Samantha Sabo! Noted talk media consultant Walter Sabo – president of Sabo Media and Hitviews – and wife Katie welcomed Samantha Gloria Sabo (all 8 lbs. 7 ozs. and 21 inches of her!) into the world on February 14. Walter reports that mother and daughter are doing very well and Samantha’s sisters Dorothy and Meredith are thrilled at the new addition to their family.