Tom Leykis’ Return to Talk Draws Loyal Audience to Web-Based Content. Off the radio for more than three years after CBS Radio blew up KLSX-FM, Los Angeles and his contract kept him from working for anyone other than CBS, Tom Leykis returned to the microphone on April 2 for an internet-delivered talk show. The show is broadcast live at www.blowmeuptom.com at 3:00 pm PT and on a 24/7 streamed replay via major media players – Tune In, Windows Media Player, iTunes, iPhone, Shoutcast and Winamp. Leykis says the numbers for the first week of the show were impressive: The total number of listeners from April 2 to Monday, April 9 was 401,180. The average number of show listeners for that week in any 15 minute period totaled 1,575 and the average time spent listening by each listener was a half hour each day in the seven-day week. “These numbers are way higher than what we’d anticipated. We’re way farther along in our progress than I ever could have imagined. Kind of makes you wonder what competing alternative content like this will ultimately mean for radio.” Leykis, who will be speaking at the New Media Seminar in New York City on June 7, tells TALKERS that the combination of doing a daily show and running his own business has made him “more focused than ever” stating, “Now is the time for talk talent to think of themselves as more than employees…they must think entrepreneurially for their own survival. The way to start is by developing a healthy relationship with your advertisers.”
Act Quickly! Word just in from Bob Dane, event manager for this year’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row is that due to larger than expected demand, they expanded the number of broadcast booths. As of 10:00 am ET this morning (Monday, April 23), Dane reports there is now one remaining, fully equipped booth in morning, midday and afternoon drive left. And it’s first come, first serve. This event is a must-attend-and-no-reason-not-to given that everything is turnkey and at no cost for the convenience of the participating broadcasters…and if you act fast, possibly a hotel room can be part of the package — but availability is extremely limited. Hold Their Feet to the Fire 2012 is staged annually by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, this year, May 8-9 in Washington, DC focusing on immigration issues facing the candidates in this heated election year. Contact Bob Dane at 202-328-7004.
Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly Close to Re-signing with Fox News Channel. The New York Times reports it has confirmed through anonymous sources that Fox News Channel superstars Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly are ready – as early as next week – to sign contract extensions with News Corp.’s cable news/talk network that would keep them in the fold through the 2016 elections. FNC is declining to comment on the story but the sources seem to indicate that the deals to keep the two most-watched personalities on the network in place for four more years are being cemented quickly and should be announced within the next week or so. Sean Hannity’s national talk radio show is syndicated by Premiere Networks and Bill O’Reilly’s daily commentary is syndicated to talk radio stations across the country via Courtside Entertainment Group.
NOW Attempts to Inject Life into Anti-Rush Limbaugh Campaign. The National Organization for Women is firing up a campaign called “Enough Rush” aimed at getting the Premiere Networks talk superstar’s show cancelled. As these things usually do, the blowback suffered by Rush Limbaugh from his Sandra Fluke comments has all but disappeared. But NOW – working in conjunction with the anti-conservative organization Media Matters for America – is reigniting its efforts to end Limbaugh’s program. NOW president Terry O’Neill states, “For more than two decades, Rush Limbaugh has degraded women, people of color and anyone who doesn’t look or think like him. Like bullies everywhere, Limbaugh uses the age-old tactic of savaging one woman for the purpose of intimidating all women away from the public square. Rush’s hostile, hateful speech is destructive to our public discourse, our communities and our democracy.” NOW is organizing rallies in a number of cities designed to build momentum for the campaign. Meanwhile, PPM ratings for the month of March indicate publicity generated by the campaign against Limbaugh has actually increased his ratings in many markets.
Arbitron Drops Diary-Based Ratings in Seven Markets. Lack of enough subscribers to make it profitable can be credited for Arbitron Inc.’s decision to eliminate the diary-based ratings in Saginaw-Bay City-Midlands, Michigan (market #139); Ann Arbor, Michigan (#155); Wilmington, North Carolina (#162); Dubuque, Iowa (#237); Columbus-Starkville-West Point, Mississippi (#261); Sebring, Florida (#276); and Mason City, Iowa (#283).
WPRO, Providence Talk Host and Former Mayor Buddy Cianci’s Daughter Dies. The colorful two-time former mayor of Providence – and PM drive talk host at Cumulus Media’s WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence – Buddy Cianci has lost his daughter to an apparent drug overdose. Nicole Cianci’s death at her home in the city was reported Friday and Cianci issued the following statement, “This is a tragic and emotional time for Nicole’s mother and I. Our entire family appreciates your thoughts, prayers and sentiments. We ask that our family’s privacy be respected during this difficult time.” Nicole Cianci was Buddy Cianci’s only child and the mother of his three grandchildren.
TALKERS to Publish Four-Part Series by Walter Sabo on FM Talk this Week. Sabo Media president Walter Sabo, one of the earliest and most accomplished proponents of FM talk, has written a powerful and informative four-part series on the hot topic that will run exclusively in TALKERS this week. In the series, one of radio programming’s most prolific visionaries delves into such areas as mistakes to avoid, finding and inspiring great hosts, methods to develop cume, topic management, the differences between AM and FM “share” and much more. The series begins tomorrow (Tuesday, April 24) and will run every day this week through Friday. Sabo will be a featured speaker at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in NYC on June 7.
WFLA-FM, Tallahassee AM Drive Show’s Eggers Exits to Join Think Tank. Eric Eggers is producer and on-air co-host of the WFLA-FM, Tallahassee’s morning drive show hosted by Preston Scott. He announces he’s leaving the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment station and the program he’s been producing for the past seven-plus years to join the Government Accountability Institute – a non-profit think tank based in Tallahassee and founded by conservative author Peter Schweizer. Eggers tells Tallahassee.com, “Peter wrote his last book about insider trading in Congress. And so it’s going to be more projects along the same vein in terms of focusing on corruption, cronyism, looking at some of the ways the current federal government system is broken and failing us — not looking out for the little guy.”
Ed Tyll Begins Regular Web-Based Talk Show Tonight. Longtime talk radio host Ed Tyll begins a new regular talk program broadcast via the internet at TalkRadioX (http://talkradiox.com/) at 8:00 pm ET. TalkRadioX was co-founded by Dan Delgado and Antubert Johnson – two personalities who’ve made the TALKERS “Frontier Fifty” list of internet talk show hosts blazing a trail in the world of web-based programming since the list began being published three years ago. (The 2012 “Frontier Fifty” list will be published at Talkers.com in September.) Tyll says TalkRadioX is “a 24-hour streaming talk station that boasts an original line up of enthusiastic talkers, reminiscent of when talk radio was both fun and informative.” Dan Delgado tells TALKERS, “Getting someone of Ed Tyll’s caliber and stature in the industry is something we at TalkRadioX had been looking to do for some time. We’re thrilled to be getting someone with his experience on the station. What he brings in terms of talent and energy is something that will bring all of us to the next level.” Tyll states, “TalkRadioX represents a key moment in the history of a format that I love hosting. It’s the perfect place for what I do on the air. I’m convinced that my success with the Casey Anthony trial in Orlando will be eclipsed by the enormous potential of this network’s unique combination of terrestrial radio and world wide web radio listenership.” During his career, Ed Tyll has worked at numerous major market talk stations as well has having been nationally syndicated.
The Fight for Freedom in Afghanistan. WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (l) is pictured here interviewing author and former Army Ranger Captain Sean Parnell (r) as the two discuss his new book Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan (William Morrow 2012). The interview was conducted before a live audience at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is the 78th such event – broadcast live on WNDB – in Bernier’s live interview series.
Rush Limbaugh Controversy Brings Political Attack Tactics to Talk Radio. Perhaps it’s because the nation is in the grips of a still-stagnant economy during a contentious election year or maybe it’s just a sign of the times. But, the talk radio industry is being invaded by political special interest groups and their hard-nosed tactics and it appears some broadcasters are playing along. Broadcasters – and radio stations more specifically – have traditionally competed with each other intensely on many levels. But going after each other’s advertisers with threats of guilt-by-association in order to hurt the other’s business is something in which they have rarely engaged. The reason is simple: It pollutes the same body of water from which all broadcasters drink. If one day your programming is poison to sponsors, who’s to say my programming won’t be tainted next week. And the special interest groups are noticing this and employing it as well. Media Research Center founder and president L. Brent Bozell III has written an open letter to MSNBC president Phil Griffin taking the cable news/talk network to task for what he terms its hypocrisy. Bozell notes MSNBC talent Ed Schultz, Al Sharpton and Lawrence O’Donnell spent part of their March 13 programs “attacking Rush.” He then lists statements made by Ed Schultz over the years as “vile, repugnant venom coming out of Schultz’s mouth.” Bozell promises he’s not going to let up on MSNBC, either. So, what are some broadcasters guilty of with regard to this case? Potentially bringing harm to the entire talk media industry – especially the already hard-hit radio side – by willingly allowing special interest groups that do not represent the actual listeners of these programs to provide ammunition against one of their own (a broadcaster) for the sake of what is really a political goal and not a business goal. Broadcasters willing to join the political battle at the expense of maintaining the integrity of their broadcasting business model may find out down the road that attempting to serve two masters – politics and the business of broadcasting – is a very difficult task to handle successfully. If you wish to read Mr. Bozell’s piece, it’s here.
Problematic Data: Bloomberg Poll Concludes America Wants Limbaugh Fired. That’s the result of a Bloomberg poll of 1,002 Americans conducted from March 8 to 11 asking questions about the GOP candidates, how they feel about the birth control coverage issue and, whether Premiere Networks star Rush Limbaugh should be fired for his remarks about Sandra Fluke and her testimony. According to the Bloomberg data, 53% of Americans believe Limbaugh should be fired for his remarks and 30% of those who expressed that point of view were Republicans to boot! TALKERS is not questioning Bloomberg’s polling techniques but as alluded to in the story above, it should be underscored that the poll in question doesn’t survey Rush Limbaugh’s regular listeners. It doesn’t even survey regular talk radio listeners. Therein lays the problem. Consumer media will grab hold of the result of this poll and conclude that the end is near for Limbaugh since a majority of the country wants him fired. But as TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has been telling the dozens upon dozens of media outlets he’s spoken with on this issue since it began, Rush Limbaugh doesn’t broadcast to a majority of the country. He broadcasts to a niche audience – a sizeable one to be sure – but a niche nonetheless. Asking a sample of all Americans how a talk radio station should be programmed is analogous to asking the same sample about how to program the Golf Channel. Read the Bloomberg poll story here.
First Spot on Tom Leykis’ New Talk Show Sells on eBay for $1,225. FishbowlLA reports the first spot on Tom Leykis’ soon-to-debut talk show that will hit the internet on April 2 has been purchased by Stitcher chairman Noah Shanok for $1,225. Leykis tells FishbowlLA’s Richard Horgan, “The winning bid, in my view, proves what I have always believed, which is that the reason that some people say that internet content cannot be monetized is because they try to sell advertising for new platforms the same way it’s sold in so-called ‘old media.’ What these new platforms really require is out-of-the-box thinking and a completely different approach.” Leykis has been paid by CBS Radio since his program based at the former hot talk KLSX-FM, Los Angeles was dropped along with the rest of the format. Leykis’ The New Normal will broadcast his new talk program as the CBS contract comes to an end.
Buckley Broadcasting Chief Rick Buckley to Be Honored Posthumously by Broadcasters Foundation of America. At the Broadcasters Foundation of America breakfast held in conjunction with the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas on April 18, the late president and CEO of Buckley Broadcasting will be honored with the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award. The award honors an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship. It salutes its namesake Lowry Mays and is underwritten by The Clear Channel Foundation and Wiley Rein, LLP. The BFoA states, “Rick Buckley was a beloved and highly respected broadcaster who passed away suddenly this past July from a brain embolism. For more than four decades Buckley led the family-owned Buckley Broadcasting, which includes renowned WOR Radio in New York. He was a longtime member of the Broadcasters Foundation Board of Directors and served as its treasurer for many years. In recognition of his commitment to the charitable mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, The Rick Buckley Memorial Fund was established shortly after his passing.”
ESPN Montana to Provide Local Focus. The Montana Radio Company is bringing the Worldwide Leader in Sports to Montana – a state without any professional sports franchises. Tucker Sargent is project manager for ESPN Montana and he tells the University of Montana’s Montana Kaimin they are developing a website that will serve as the web hub for the three FM stations that will be simulcast in the Helena, Missoula and Great Falls markets. Ben Cately, who does play-by-play for the Missoula Osprey minor league baseball team is hosting the morning drive show that will be featured across the network. Sargent says the network will cover local schools as well, “High school sports have been pretty much completely ignored everywhere in the country. Most other places with an ESPN station are in major markets that have professional and college teams that dominate the scene. And while we still think that the professional teams need to be talked about, the high school sports matter quite a bit and need to get reported on as well.”
GOP Primaries/ 2012 Presidential Race, Afghanistan Civilian Massacre Aftermath, Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program, Syria Violence and Soaring Gas Prices Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/14). The tightening GOP primary race after Rick Santorum’s Tuesday victories and the 2012 presidential race in general; the fragile state of the Afghanistan operations after the killing of 16 civilians by a U.S. soldier; ongoing concern over Iran’s nuclear weapons projects; the Syrian violence against its citizens; and the American public’s concern with rising gasoline prices were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Compass Media Networks to Open New Marketing Division; Continues Relationship with Dial Global. In a major, two-pronged announcement Compass Media Networks announces it is launching a national ad sales firm called Compass Media Marketing – an advertising representation firm for the audio industry. CEO and founder Peter Kosann built Compass Media Networks three years ago as a programming and distribution company. He says they now see a similar opportunity for a sales rep firm “leveraging on our brand, relationships, and expertise.” Kosann continues, “We are extremely excited to build a focused advertising sales organization that can work hand-and-glove with program suppliers to help them maximize their advertising sales by, in turn, super-serving the advertiser.” Kosann says they will announce a full roster of programs and networks shortly and they have signed an agreement with Dial Global under which Dial Global will provide Compass Media Marketing with support systems and marketing services. At the same time, Compass enters into a long-term relationship with Dial Global to continue representing the company’s programming – including entertainment-talk shows “Free Beer & Hot Wings,” the Lars Larson show, Norman Goldman and Schnitt Show plus services and short-form reports as well as Compass’ sports play-by-play that includes college basketball, college football, NFL Doubleheaders and Compass’ presentation of the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders Radio Networks. Kosann says, “Dial Global has done a tremendous job for us and we are extremely appreciative of their hard work and support.”
Tom Leykis to Begin Internet Talk Show in April. Radio personality Tom Leykis is being paid by CBS Radio not to do a talk show since the company blew up hot talk KLSX-FM, Los Angeles in February of 2009. Now, with that agreement to end in April, Leykis tells the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan he’s set to debut his new talk program on April 2. But, as Leykis tells Lycan, it seems unlikely he will appear on any terrestrial stations – the show will be available only through digital means. He says, “I’ve had my tires kicked over the last few months and I am having a hard time getting excited about joining in on the non-stop ‘Obamacare’ or all-politics talk formats that currently exist.” TALKERS readers know Leykis has not been idle during his talk show exile. He’s told TALKERS TV and New Media Seminar attendees about his New Normal venture that’s currently distributing music and other talk via the internet. New Normal will be the company that owns and operates his new talk program as well. Leykis says, “There will be a 24/7 stream devoted to the show. We will do it live for anywhere from 2 to 5 hours every weekday, followed by continuous replays until the next show. Apps such as TuneIn, Windows Media Player, Winamp, WunderRadio, even iTunes will receive the show. PCs, Macs, iPads and all Android tablets, all smartphones and WiFi enabled vehicles. All you need to listen will be found at www.blowmeuptom.com.”
Analysis: Holland Cooke on Social Media Research, Radio and the Auto, and Multi-Platform Use. McVay/Cook & Associates news/talk specialist Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS from the recent Arbitron Client Conference on several topics: He cites recent research into effective ways radio stations can use social media – and pitfalls to avoid; plus how one of the most important demographics – women running households with children – use Facebook and other social media. He reports significant data on media use in the automobile and explains how multi-platform media usage is a boon for those who do it right. Cooke distills the info-packed Abritron event in this easy-to-read piece here.
Rob “T-Man” Tepper Named Fox Sports Radio Evening Co-Host. Longtime Seattle radio personality Rob “T-Man” Tepper begins co-hosting Fox Sports Radio Network’s 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET “Fox Sports Tonight” program alongside former baseball great Rob Dibble on January 9. Tepper says, “Being on the air in more than 200 cities across the country on ‘Fox Sports Tonight’ is very exciting. I’m hoping my crazy personality can add to what Rob Dibble is starting to build. I can’t wait to get started.” Tepper hosted the AM drive show on CHR KUBE-FM, Seattle for 14 years. Recently he’s been doing fill-in work at Fox Sports Radio.
Clear Channel Houston Tweaks AM Talk Lineups; Matt Patrick Adds More Air Time. Beginning Monday, January 9, talk host Michael Berry will be heard exclusively on KTRH, Houston while KTRH morning co-host Matt Patrick will also do a show on sister crosstown talker KPRC. Berry keeps his 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show on KTRH but drops his 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm KPRC show and instead will host the 8:00 am to 11:00 am show on KTRH. He replaces Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck who moves over to KPRC in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Meanwhile, “KTRH Morning News” co-host Matt Patrick adds the KPRC 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm show to his duties. To make room for Beck on KPRC, Dave Garfield moves his show to the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot which knocks Outlaw Dave to the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm time slot. Whew!
Entercom’s WGR, Buffalo Grabs Bills Play-by-Play. The NFL’s Buffalo Bills have been heard on Cumulus Media’s classic rock WGRF-FM and active rock WDGE-FM for the past several years. After Cumulus exited the negotiating table Entercom swooped in and is nabbing Bills play-by-play for sports WGR as well as the Rochester market’s sports WROC and classic rock WCMF-FM. Entercom Buffalo VP/GM Greg Ried says, “With our 24/7 WGR 550 AM Sports station, partnering with the Bills and adding them to our lineup complements our other programming, enhances the experience for loyal fans and attracts new listeners. Big-time sports on a big-time sports station is what listeners expect and the Bills certainly help provide all of that.”
Former KTAR, Phoenix Host and Wife Found Dead in Apparent Double Suicide. Bill Heywood and his wife Susan were found dead in a motel room in Scottsdale, Arizona yesterday (1/4) in what authorities say is a double suicide. A note was found in the room and although police are not stating the specific content of the note, it points to suicide. KTAR is reporting that longtime market personality Pat McMahon saw Heywood at a recent holiday party and learned of Susan’s illness which he said was more serious than he had previously realized. Reports in local media indicate the couple had been dealing with financial problems as well. Heywood hosted the morning show on KTAR and crosstown KFYI for many years.
Bubba the Love Sponge Re-Signs with Cox to Remain on Terrestrial Radio. After pursuing other options – including talking to Clear Channel, the company that fired him in 2005 – Bubba the Love Sponge inks a three-year deal to stick with Cox Media Group’s WHPT-FM, Tampa Bay – “The Bone” – as his home base. The show is regionally syndicated to stations in Fort Myers, Florida and Charleston, South Carolina. In a statement, Bubba says, “After weighing my options and much consideration, I am happy to return to The Bone. Cox believed in me when no one else did and I am excited to return the love. I have a great relationship with local management and The Bone will remain my home in Tampa Bay.”
Cumulus Media Names Two to Affiliate Sales Positions. Cumulus Media announces Marcella Turk is the new VP of affiliate sales in the Dallas offices where she’ll manage affiliate sales for the entertainment products and the company’s 24/7 formats. In New York, Nick DeGregorio is appointed affiliate sales director where he’ll be in charge of affiliations for production libraries as well as special projects. Both Turk and DeGregorio most recently worked at Westwood One/Dial Global.
Santorum Surge and Bachman Suspends, Obama Administration Defense Strategy, L.A. Arson Case and Iran Military Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/4). The surge of GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum and the suspension of Michele Bachmann’s campaign, the Obama Administration’s soon-to-be announced new U.S. defense strategy, the bizarre Los Angeles arson case and Iran’s continued military saber-rattling were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.