Tag: "KMBZ"

Monday, July 22, 2019

| July 22, 2019

Cumulus Makes $50 Million Debt Prepayment. This latest debt payment by Cumulus Media is in the amount of $50 million and was funded by the net proceeds from the previously announced sale of KLOS-FM, Los Angeles to Meruelo Media that closed last week (7/17), plus cash on hand.  Cumulus says, “With this prepayment, the Company has reduced its debt by approximately $250 million since emerging from Chapter 11 on June 4, 2018, bringing the Company’s total debt to approximately $1.05 billion.”

Monday Memo: Say What? Part Deux. Consultant Holland Cooke writes in this week’s Monday Memo about things you and your on-air talent should never say on the radio.  From expressions that are dated to common English-language snafus, HC lists some of the most-often-heard mistakes that broadcasters should never make.  See his column here.

WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Adds Another Hour to ‘Hammer and Nigel’ Show.  The Indianapolis Business Journal published a big piece on WIBC-FM, Indianapolis’s afternoon drive program, “Hammer and Nigel,” hosted by Jason Hammer and Nigel Laskowski revealing the Emmis Communications news/talk station is adding the 3:00 pm hour to the show’s current 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm air time.  The reason for adding the hour is the show’s outstanding success has created such a demand for local advertising that the station wants more inventory.  Quoted in the piece is Kristine Warski, a media director for the local ad agency MKR, who says, “‘The Hammer and Nigel Show’ is a bit different from your traditional news/talk show.  They’ve fused news and entertainment and, by doing so, are attracting a younger audience than news-talk has traditionally.”  See the IBJ piece here.

The New Yorker Piece Looks at Allegations by KABC’s Leeann Tweeden The Brought Down Al Franken. A lengthy story by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker takes an in-depth look at the case of former U.S. Senator — and one-time Air America talk radio host — Al Franken, who resigned his senate seat after a photo showing him pretending to grab the breasts of KABC-AM, Los Angeles talk host Leeann Tweeden appeared in the media.  Now, more than 18 months after Franken left the senate, he’s interviewed for the story that addresses due process, the #MeToo movement, and whether Franken should have resigned at all.  (Spoiler alert: Franken regrets resigning his position.)  See the story here.

Is Talk Radio Responsible for the Tone of Today’s National Conversation?  Former longtime talk radio host Tom Becka (KMBZ and KCMO, Kansas City; KFAB and KOIL, Omaha) expresses his feelings about his responsibility as part of the talk radio industry for the polarized state of public discourse in America.  Becka, in an op-ed on KPTM-TV, Omaha “FOX 42,” says, “ I don’t think I personally contributed to what is going on, but I worked for stations with syndicated shows that did – shows that stoked fears about Muslims, stoked fears about minorities, shows that stoked fears about liberals and others that were different than them.”  See his entire commentary here.

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continue Posting Today with the Presentation of the Freedom of Speech Award to Brian Kilmeade.  TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story.  Today’s (7/22) post features the presentation of the TALKERS Freedom of Speech award to Brian Kilmeade of Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel.  Posted Friday (7/19): discussion “Attracting Younger Demos to Talk Radio” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY (Rock 102), Springfield, MA; Greg Foster, VP/programming and national news/talk brand coordinator, iHeart Media/PD, KOA, Denver; John T. Mullen, operations manager, WRHU, Hofstra UniversitySid Rosenberg, morning co-host, WABC, New York; and Rich Zeoli, host, WPHT, Philadelphia. The session is moderated by Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS.   Already posted: discussion “Talk Radio in the Era of Watch What You Say” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Michael Berry, host, Michael Berry Show; Grace Blazer, national brand coordinator of news/talk/sports programming and director of AM programming Miami/Fort Lauderdale, iHeart Media;  Karen Hunter, host SiriusXM Satellite RadioBrett Winterble, host KFMB, San Diego; Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; and Dan Yorke, host WPRO, Providence.  Also already posted: WPG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley saluting the Broadcasters Foundation of America and Vince Benedetto, CEO of Bold Gold Media Group receiving the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Talk Radio Broadcaster (“Humanitarian of the Year”); a special luncheon address by former Trump Administration advisor Sebastian Gorka, now a personality syndicated by Salem Radio Network; panel discussion “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” featuring Howie Carr, host of the Howie Carr Show (Howie Carr Radio Network and Newsmax TV), Jared Hart, former PD, WPHT, Philadelphia, and  Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video.  The session was introduced and facilitated by Scott Lakefield, APD, WOR, New York.  Also already posted: special keynote address delivered by CBS Sports Radio syndicated host Jim Rome with an introduction from Yappy Days author/college professor Bernadette Duncan; the panel discussion, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2019” featuring (in alphabetical order) Asa Andrew, host, AsaRx;  Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group;  Suzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One; and Dave Robinett, chief marketing officer, #250-America’s Mobile Speed Dial – moderated by Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and introduced by renown independent station owner Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, CA; the special keynote address by Key Networks syndicated personality Bill O’Reilly; the one-on-one discussion, “Sports Talk Radio’s Role in Popular Culture” featuring a conversation between Mark Chernoff, senior VP/programming WFAN/Entercom, NY and captain/sports format, CBS Sports Radio and Mike Thomas, PD, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Boston and brand manager/spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting with  Kate Delaney, host, GCN and correspondent NBC Sports Radio, serving as facilitator; the panel discussion, “Broadcasting and Podcasting,” featuring (in alphabetical order) Greg Batusic, chief operating officer, PodcastOneSteven Goldstein, founder/CEO Amplifi MediaMichael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC and iHeartRadio Podcast Channel; and Craig Schwalb, former program director WABC, New York and WPRO, Providence with moderation by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS; the keynote “fireside chat” in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones; the opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories;” RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history.  TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com where they will remain on view for the rest of the year.  To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.

Siegel: Talk Radio Can Impact Regime Change in Iran.  Nationally syndicated talk radio host Mike Siegel writes in a piece today about the efforts to foment regime change in Iran and what role talk radio hosts in America can play in helping achieve that goal.  Siegel says, “Now there is a real and tangible option being offered as a new government in Iran by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).  Led by Madame Maryam Rajavi, this organization has grown in stature and respect over the years and has offered an option of peaceful government living as a civilized neighbor to other countries in the Middle East.”  Read Siegel’s piece here.

WABC’s John Batchelor Broadcasts from Tokyo This Week.  WABC, New York’s late-night John Batchelor show is broadcasting live from the center of Tokyo all this week (7/22-26).  The broadcast is being sponsored by global digital technology company Scala Inc. in conjunction with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  All week long, Batchelor will travel widely to meet with and interview leaders from across Japanese culture, including: the Nippon Professional Baseball Association; the Japanese Space Agency’s Hayabusa2 asteroid probe program; the celebrated Cherry Association maintaining the pantheon of Japanese cherry trees; Toyota’s Autonomous Vehicle development; and the Central Japan Railway’s MAGLEV project.  Also scheduled to appear on the show is Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kano.

TALKERS News Notes. The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports Saga Communications’ news/talk WHMP, Northampton, Massachusetts has named its studio the Barbara J. Kuschka WHMP studio in honor of station traffic manager Barbara Kuschka, who recently celebrated 50 years of service to the radio station.  The article says, “Since she began work in 1969, Kuschka has been a behind-the-scenes figure, who one person described as the glue that holds the station together in her work as traffic manager.”…..Entercom Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Athletics announce they’ve signed a new, multi-year extension of their broadcasting partnership.  As part of the deal, sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” will serve as flagship station for Panthers football and men’s basketball. Sister stations news/talk KDKA-AM “News Radio 1020,” hot AC WBZZ “100.7 Star,” and country WDSY “Y108” will provide coverage and promotional support.

Mueller Testimony, New Trump Impeachment Talk, 2020 Presidential Race, Iran Alleges CIA Arrests, Immigration Reform/Border Wall, and Summer Heatwave Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  This week’s testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller; House Judiciary chairman Jerrold Nadler’s “high crimes and misdemeanors” charge against Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; Iran’s claims it has arrested 17 CIA spies; the Trump Administration’s immigration reform efforts and the border wall status; and the weekend’s hot weather in much of the country were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Josh Wolff is named program director for iHeartMedia’s CHR WAEB “B104” and rock WZZO in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  This is an internal move for Wolff, who was most recently marketing director and APD at the company’s Phoenix station group for adult contemporary KKEZ and adult hits KYOT “95.5 The Mountain.”  Wolff takes over for Derrick Cole, who accepted a role with the company’s National Programming Group as contemporary hit radio program director…..At non-commercial triple A WYMS, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee,” morning personality Dori Zori is named assistant program director. WYMS PD Jordan Lee comments, “Dori’s 20-plus years in non-commercial radio make her the perfect fit for the role.  Dori will also lead some new and exciting programming plans that are in the works at ‘Radio Milwaukee.’”

Thursday, January 28, 2016

| January 28, 2016

ciancibuddyWPRO-AM, Providence Talk Host Buddy Cianci Dead at 74.  The colorful former Providence mayor who turned his political experience into a talk radio career in the city has died, according to WPRI-TV, Providence.  Buddy Cianci – diagnosed with colon cancer in 2014 – died at Providence’s Miriam Hospital early today (1/28).  Cianci hosted the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program on Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM.  He was with the station for most of the past 10 years, taking a required break from his radio gig to again run for mayor in 2014 and returning after his defeat in the election.  His first foray into talk radio took place between his two stints as mayor at iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talker WHJJ.  WRKO, Boston-based, independently syndicated talk radio star Howie Carr issued the following statement regarding Cianci’s death: “Buddy Cianci was the antithesis of political correctness, which is why his passing is such a great loss for Providence, the state of Rhode Island, and talk radio.  They’re not making them like Buddy anymore.  He was one of a kind, sui generis.”

landrethjackTalk Programmer Jack Landreth Exits KMBZ, Kansas City PD Post.  Talk radio pro Jack Landreth leaves the program director position at Entercom’s Kansas City talk duo KMBZ-FM and KMBZ-AM “Talk980.”  Landreth arrived in KC in January of 2012 after programming such news/talk outlets as KXNT, Las Vegas and KTSA, San Antonio.  He writes in a memo to his staff, “I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished over the last four years as a team.  Record ratings in our target demos have shattered all we thought we could do.”  He can be emailed at: Jack.Landreth@me.com.

Odds & Sods.  Cumulus Media’s news/talk WABC, New York adds “The Frommer Travel Show” to its Saturday programming schedule.  The show, featuring Frommer Media co-president and editorial director Pauline Frommer and Frommers.com editor-in-chief Jason Cochran, will be locally produced and air from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..The weekly “Motley Fool Money” radio program with host Chris Hill adds new affiliate KVBR, Brainerd, Minnesota “Brainerd Business Radio” beginning this weekend…..CBS RADIO’s Pittsburgh station group is presenting its eat.drink.WESTMORELAND event this Saturday (1/30).  Attendees get to enjoy samples from more than a dozen of Westmoreland County’s finest restaurants plus new products, wines, beers and more.  News/talk KDKA-AM afternoon drive co-host Robert Mangino is serving as emcee.

Presidential Race/Trump to Skip GOP Debate, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Volatility, European Immigrant Issues, Joseph Fiennes-Michael Jackson Flap, Oregon Militia Standoff, and Run-Up to Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27).  The activities of the candidates for president, highlighted by Donald Trump’s refusal to participate in tonight’s Fox News Channel debate; low oil prices and the tumultuous world financial markets; the immigrant problems facing some European nations; the controversy over white actor Joseph Fiennes being cast in a film about Michael Jackson; the deadly turn of events in the Oregon Wildlife Preserve militia standoff; and the run-up to Super Bowl 50 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

wgnBhawksCochran16WGN, Chicago Extends Blackhawks Broadcast Deal for Five More Years.  Chicago news/talker WGN and the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks announce the signing of a five-year contract extension to keep Blackhawks play-by-play on the Tribune station through the 2023-24 season. The Blackhawks have been heard on WGN since the 2008-09 campaign.  WGN president and general manager Jimmy de Castro states, “Many, myself included, believe that WGN Radio and the Chicago Blackhawks have the best partnership in sports.  This renewal is testament to that.  It’s an honor to formally extend this relationship and we look forward to celebrating many more Blackhawks wins with our WGN Radio listeners.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): sports director Dave Eanet, producer Ross Cochran, news anchor Andrea Darlas, director of sales Jeff Hill, director of marketing Jackie Paulus, programming director Todd Manley, morning show host Steve Cochran, and de Castro.

Friday, January 15, 2016

| January 15, 2016

raineyjodiCMG Raises Rainey to Radio Division Director/National Sales. Regional national sales manager for Cox Media Group stations in Tampa and Jacksonville Jodi Rainey adds corporate duties as the director of national sales of the radio division’s 60 stations. Cox Media Group regional vice president Susan Larkin comments that, “Jodi is a proven leader in our company. In this role, she will be able to collaborate with our national sales team and partners at Katz Radio Group to execute our strategic goals with laser focus.” Rainey remarks, “I am looking forward to working closely with our talented group of national sales managers and our Katz partners. CMG continues to put forth great traditional radio products as well as new offerings in client research, events, and the digital space. We have a great opportunity to further develop our relationships and bring value to national advertisers.” Rainey previously was general sales manager for the company’s Tampa alternative outlet WSUN and account executive for CMG’s Atlanta and Tampa clusters. Before joining Cox Media Group in 1999, Rainey worked for Katz Television Atlanta.

jayedarlaDarla Jaye Leaves KMBZ-AM, Kansas City.  After more than 10 years in the market, talk personality Darla Jaye exits the morning show at Entercom’s news/talk KMBZ-AM “Talk 980.”  Jaye’s show was the only live-and-local program heard during the weekdays on KMBZ-AM.  The station is simulcasting the “Kansas City’s Morning News” program with E.J. Becker and Ellen Schenk from sister news/talk KMBZ-FM.

talkersten logoPresidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 11-15.  The activities of the candidates for president were the most-talked-about story of the week on news/talk radio, landing at the #1 spot on the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the expanding FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for state department business.  Coming in at #3 was President Obama’s final State of the Union address followed by the Iran-U.S. Navy incident at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

beadlemichelleRadio Part of New Deal for Michelle Beadle’s ESPN.  Sports giant ESPN announces company personality Michelle Beadle has inked a new, multi-year contract to continue her co-hosting duties on the cable TV channel’s “SportsNation” with Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley.  The company says, “In addition to her ‘SportsNation’ duties, Beadle will join ESPN senior writer — and ‘SportsNation’ and espnW contributor — Ramona Shelburne for their new national radio show called ‘Beadle & Shelburne.’  The new radio show will premiere February 14, airing 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET from ESPNLA 710’s Los Angeles studios.”  ESPN original content SVP Connor Schell comments, “Michelle is truly one of the most authentic voices in sports and the connection fans have with her is something she has earned through the enthusiasm and insight she brings to her job every day.  Michelle is a tremendous talent within the ESPN family and will play an important role in the evolution of ‘SportsNation’ going forward.”

Industry Mourns Death of Retired KCBS Anchor Al Hart.  The voice of Al Hart was well known to news radio listeners in the Bay Area.  He worked at KCBS, San Francisco for 34 years, starting in 1966 – two years before the station flipped to all-news – and retired in 2000.  Hart died on Thursday (1/14) at the age of 88 after a long illness.  KCBS morning anchor Stan Bunger says, “Al was the broadcaster I wanted to grow up to be.  His positive energy and his passion for serving the audience were an inspiration every day.  I’m very, very lucky to have had him as a mentor and friend.”

Friday, November 6, 2015

| November 6, 2015

womentalkart15The State of Women on Talk Radio: Part 5.  Today (11/6), TALKERS magazine concludes its multi-part story looking at the status of women on talk radio in 2015.  Written by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, it addresses one of the most-asked questions TALKERS editors hear: Why aren’t there more women on talk radio?  Today we sum up the opinions and philosophies and ask what does it all really mean?  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says management often makes the mistake of trying to duplicate a successful artistic product – whether it is movies, television shows, books, or, in this case, radio programming – by approaching it formulaically… a mindset that totally misses the point.  “When Rush Limbaugh became a phenomenon by talking conservative politics, corporate focused on the conservative aspect of his stunning success as the magic formula and a whole slew of talent-challenged Rush wannabes spewing conservative talking points just for the sake of ‘being conservative’ were unleashed upon the airwaves.  Only a relative handful of them who were truly ‘talented’ have withstood the test of time.”  And so it is with women on talk radio.  The problem is not so much an equal opportunity “employment” issue as it is the larger question of where “news/talk radio” is willing to go to increase its audience, broaden its demos and insure its viability to survive in the years ahead in what is clearly becoming a brave new world… while remaining an “issues-oriented” medium.  One answer may be to find “magnetic” women and see what they can do in news/talk radio versus laying out the formula for a news/talk show and filling the job with a woman.  Read the entire piece here.

wtop logo NEW 1-15Rumors of Cuts at Hubbard’s WTOP and WFED in Washington.  TALKERS sources in the Washington market tell us that budget-related cuts are taking place today at Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP and its sister station WFED.  Some of the staffers reported to be exiting are traffic reporter Ari Ashe, digital manager John Myer, and WFED afternoon personality Francis RoseTALKERS is also hearing that the company will not fill the role vacated recently by reporter Andrew Mollenbeck and that there may be an unnamed sales staffer who is also out.

entercomEntercom Q3 Report: Up 3% on Same-Station Basis.  This quarter’s financial report from Entercom reflects the new income from its deals with Lincoln Financial Media and Bonneville International that saw Entercom add stations in major and large markets — Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles and San Diego.  As a result, the company posts a net revenue increase of 15% on $114.7 million compared to the same period a year ago.  Entercom CEO David Field states, “I am pleased to report anfielddavid outstanding quarter for Entercom driven by strong organic revenue growth across our station group and the seamless integration of our new acquisitions in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, San Diego and Denver.  While we are delighted with our progress and opportunities at the new stations, we are particularly pleased by our strong market share gains in the rest of our markets which enabled us to post approximately 3% same-station revenue growth for the quarter, and just over 4% growth when excluding the impact of political advertising.  We also achieved strong double-digit growth in free cash flow and adjusted net income per share and believe we are very well positioned for continued strong performance in 2016 and beyond.”

cumulus logoNew Cumulus CEO Mary Berner Reports Q3 Financial Data: Net Revenue Dips 7.8%.  Chief executive officer Mary Berner has been on the job for less than a month after replacing Lew Dickey and her first quarterly report was full of financial challenges for the company; but as a board member since the spring, she knew all the figures.  Cumulus Media stock has been beaten up over the past year, and not without cause.  The 2015 Q3 net revenue was $289.4 million, that’s a 7.8% drop versus the same period a year ago.  For the first three quarters of the year, net revenue was $859.9 million, down 8% year-bernermaryover-year.  Cumulus also recorded an impairment against intangible assets and goodwill of $565.6 million.  For the quarter, broadcast advertising was down 4.3% while digital advertising sunk 35.4%.  Berner says, “Despite Cumulus’ recent challenges, my early experiences have reinforced my appreciation for the strength of the company’s aggregate assets, including its people.  I was hired by the company’s board of directors to maximize the value of those assets and I believe that, through focused execution, we will be able to capitalize on the operational leverage that appears to exist in the company.  While such efforts will not be easy nor, in many cases, immediate, I intend to institute a relentless commitment to improvement over the coming months to drive results for all stakeholders.”

ewscrippsE.W. Scripps Radio Segment Flat in Q3.  The Cincinnati-based company got into the radio business as a result of the merger with Journal Communications, acquiring its TV and radio properties (with Journal getting E.W. Scripps’ publication segment).  In this third quarter report, Scripps president and CEO Rich Boehne says the radio segment was flat.  “Radio revenue and expenses of $20.4 million and $16.3 million were essentially flat with the prior period.  Segment profit in the radio division was $4.1 million in the third quarter of 2015, compared to $4.5 million in the 2014 quarter.  The company is committed to its digital segment and recently acquired podcast platform Midroll earlier this year.  “Digital revenues were $10.9 million, up $3.7 million from the prior period.  Excluding Midroll, revenue increased 25%…Segment loss in the digital division was $3.6 million in the third quarter of 2015, compared to $5.6 million in the 2014 quarter.”

iheartmedia logo smalliHeartMedia Partners with FOX Business Network and FNC for GOP Debate Coverage.  The means that audio of the November 10 GOP primary debates in Milwaukee will air on 130foxbusiness iHeartMedia-owned news/talk stations.  FOX Business Network and FOX News Channel are producing the debate in conjunction with The Wall Street Journal.  The FBN primetime debate will be moderated by managing editor of business news Neil Cavuto and global markets editor Maria Bartiromo, along with WSJ’s editor-in-chief Gerard Baker.  iHeartMedia says that radio stations broadcasting the event will also host debate parties highlighted by pre and post-event coverage from local personalities.

beckerKMBZObama15Radio Personalities Visit White House for ObamaCare Event.  The White House calls it the “latest installment of ‘Live from the White House’” with President Obama conducting a round of interviews with radio personalities on the topic of the Affordable Care Act and the importance of reducing the number of people without health insurance.  The radio news anchors spent Thursday, November 5 with Obama Administration advisors and the president himself.  Taking part were: Mary Shedden of non-commercial WUSF, Tampa; Alice Rios of news/talk KRLD, Dallas; E.J. Becker of news/talk KMBZ, Kansas City; Dave Ross of news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle; and Ryan Cameron of urban contemporary WVEE, Atlanta “V103.”  Pictured here is KMBZ’s E.J. Becker (left) interviewing President Obama (right) in the Oval Office.  Becker says, “It’s not every day that you get a call from the White House, asking if you can be in Washington the next day.  With the current political landscape, the importance of so many issues affecting Kansas Citians, along with the honor of interviewing a sitting President, who could say no!”

bobandtomBob Kevoian Announces Retirement at National Radio Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.  One half of the Bob & Tom Show morning team took the opportunity of last night’s induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame to announce his retirement from the business.  Bob Kevoian told the gathering in Chicago that he will retire from the nationally syndicated radio program by year’s end.  Kevoin said, “I always thought you had to die or be retired for five years to be considered for any hall of fame.  Thank God I’m not dead, but I am going to retire at the end of this year and walk away from the mic.”  Partner Tom Griswold commented, “It was a huge thrill to be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame with my partner Bob.  He will always be a part of the Bob & Tom Show, and his presence will continue to be felt as we broadcast the show for many years to come.”

ramseyCruzeHoF15Dave Ramsey Inducted into National Radio Hall of Fame.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame last night (11/5).  Although Dave himself was unable to make it to Chicago for the ceremony, his daughter, New York Times best-selling author Rachel Cruze (pictured), was there to accept the award on his behalf.

2016 Presidential Race and Trump’s ‘SNL’ Appearance Tied for Top News/Talk Story of the Week.  The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the controversy over Republican hopeful Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance on “Saturday Night Live” tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was the crash/possible bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt.  Coming in at #3 was the military relationship between Russia and Syria followed by the UC-Merced stabbings at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, December 29, 2014

| December 29, 2014

kmbz logoKMBZ-AM/FM, Kansas City to End Simulcast.  Rather than airing the same programming on 980 and 98.1 as it has been since spring 2011, Entercom Kansas City will break off into separate entities, while maintaining the talk format on both dial positions. KMBZ-FM programming will mostly be locally originated; syndicated personalities will comprise the majority of what will be heard on KMBZ-AM. KMBZ-FM’s modified lineup will feature “Kansas City’s Morning News” with E.J. Becker & Ellen Schenk,” (5:00 am – 10:00 am); “Trend KC” with Burns & Monacelli (10: 00 am – 2:00 pm); Dana Wright & Scott Parks (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm); Jonathan Weir (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm – Weir previously did mid-days); and Premiere Networks’ “Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis” (9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight). KMBZ-AM “Talk 980” will include Darla Jaye (5:00 am – 9:00 am – Jaye previously did evenings); Glenn Beck (9:00 am – 11:00 am); Rush Limbaugh (11:00 am – 2:00 pm); Sean Hannity (2:00 pm – 5:00 pm); “America Now” (5:00 pm – 8:00 pm); Westwood One’Herman Cain (8:00 pm – 10:00 pm); and Laura Ingraham (10:00 pm – 12:00 midnight). Both stations will carry Premiere’s “Coast-To-Coast AM with George Noory” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am). The transition will take place on Monday, January 5.  Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio‘s December 2014 PPM report, KMBZ’s AM & FM simulcast ranks eighth, after notching back-to-back gains of three-tenths (4.2 – 4.5 – 4.8). Public KCUR is #16 (2.6) and Cumulus-owned KCMO-AM finishes #19 (1.4).

nielsen logoRound Three of December PPMs Released.  The third of four rounds of December 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus.  The survey period was November 6 through December 3.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.

Monday, October 20, 2014

| October 20, 2014

redskins logoWWXX License Renewal Objection Draws Response. The FCC is considering whether it should rule if the team name of the NFL‘s Washington franchise (“Redskins”) is indecent.  One of that team’s three radio flagships – Red Zebra Broadcasting-owned WWXX – has filed its answer to objections regarding the renewal of its broadcast license.  WWXT (92.7) and WWXX (94.3) repeat the signal of primary flagship WTEM “ESPN 980.”  Red Zebra states that its response “makes clear that under the Communications Act and the First Amendment, the FCC should not be in the business of censoring the content of radio stations.  Any debate about the team’s name and its meaning should be held in the free marketplace of ideas, not in the halls of the FCC or any other governmental agency.”  Red Zebra counsel Andrew McBride of Wiley Rein LLP comments, redzebra“We hope the FCC will swiftly reject this transparent attempt to use the license renewal process to intimidate broadcasters across the country with the baseless threat that accurately reporting on the Washington football franchise by using the team’s full name violates any law or FCC regulation.”  Many consider the name of the DC franchise a slur to Native Americans and they have called on team owner – and Red Zebra primary investor – Dan Snyder to change it.  President Barack Obama is among those fccasking the NFL to endorse a name alteration, as are at least one-half the members of the U.S. Senate.  In a preliminary 18-page formal petition to deny renewal of a station’s FCC broadcast license, petitioner John F. Banzhaf III, “a listener to station WWXX, respectfully requests on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, and who are like himself adversely affected or aggrieved, that the agency deny the renewal of this station’s license and any other requests.  It deliberately, repeatedly, and unnecessarily broadcasts the word ‘R*dskins’ during most of its broadcasting day, and especially in prime time where its well documented adverse impact on impressionable young Indian as well as non-Indian children is greatest.  Through its licensee and controlling owner Dan Snyder, also actively encourages or indeed forces many other broadcasters to likewise broadcast a derogatory racial and ethnic slur contrary to the public interest.”  Banzhaf is an American legal activist and a law professor at George Washington University Law School.  The Washington Post editorial board has stopped using the team’s name, and a panel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the team’s trademark registration four months ago.  Even so, Snyder vows to keep the name.  TALKERS legal editor Steve J.J. Weisman recently wrote a column about this matter addressing the FCC’s jurisdiction to rule on the issue.  Read that piece here.

cookehollandCooke: Two Weekend Problems, Two Solutions.  In a piece written exclusively for TALKERS, radio consultant Holland Cooke addresses two weekend problems that face talk radio stations and offers a couple of solutions.  He says ask-the-expert shows – i.e. brokered programming from local attorneys, real estate agents, veterinarians, etc. – don’t have to sound bad!  Coach them so their broadcasts are well-executed and informative.  Plus, let these clients use your listen-on-demand capabilities to reach more potential customers and they will be more satisfied with the money they are spending on your station.  Read Cooke’s entire piece here.

barnesgabeHow Mobile Can Save Your Talk Radio Brand.  Digital media pro Gabe Barnes says, in a column exclusive to TALKERS, that he’s surprised by the number of radio execs who are put off by the reported amount of radio app usage that takes place outside of the station’s broadcast range.  They see primarily the streaming fees for a listener who’s outside the “market.”  The Mersoft Media director, business development says that’s not necessarily bad.  “Many of those listening out of the broadcast range are actually local residents or have some ties to that local community.  A local advertisement would be just as effective, provided the advertisement is compelling and targeted.”  But there are more advantages for getting fans of your programming to go “mobile” with it.  Read Barnes’ entire column here.

wtic logoWTIC, Hartford License Renewal on Enforcement Hold.  With the conviction of former Connecticut Governor John Rowland – until April of 2014 the afternoon drive personality on WTIC, Hartford – on campaign fraud charges in the rear view, CBS RADIO’srowlandjohn news/talk WTIC, Hartford is now waiting out an enforcement hold on his license renewal with the FCC.  In a story in the Hartford Courant, Edmund Mahony writes that the hold on the process is due to a “payola” complaint to the FCC related to Rowland’s actions promoting a Republican candidate in a primary race without disclosing – either to the radio audience or the FEC – that he was on that candidate’s payroll.  The FCC doesn’t comment on the specifics of these matters and CBS RADIO is simply confirming that the process is on hold but the company does not know why.  Rowland is set to be sentenced in January.  The station certainly took its share of criticism for hiring Rowland after his first conviction in 2004 on corruption charges related to activities while in the governor’s office.  Now, the station may be liable for a fine or reprimand, according to experts Mahony cites in his story.  Most experts agree a denial of the license renewal for WTIC is unlikely, to say the least.

espnradioESPN Radio to Air World Series. This marks the seventeenth straight year that ESPN Radio has exclusive radio rights to MLB‘s World Series.  ESPN “Sunday Night Baseball” lead play-by-play announcer Dan Shulman and analyst Aaron Boone will function in those capacities on the radio broadcasts for the best-of-seven series that commences tomorrow night (10/21) between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants.  Pre-game and post-game coverage will be handled by Jon Sciambi, analyst Chris Singleton, ESPN MLB insider Peter Pascarelli, and Marc Kestecher.  Meanwhile, for the tenth successive year, ESPN Deportes Radio will broadcast every game for a Spanish-speaking audience.  San Diego Padres Spanish-language announcer Eduardo Ortega will be joined by Renato Bermudez, Armando Talavera, and Jose Francisco Rivera.

kmbz logoCool Job Opportunity.  One of the top newsrooms in the country, KMBZ in Kansas City, has an immediate opening for a Morning Show Executive News Producer.  This is a unique opportunity for someone with great writing skills, an appetite for everything news, and a desire to create exclusive content each and every day.  Candidates need to have a news background, and a good understanding of news-wheel operations.  Reporting experience would be very good as well.  “Kansas City’s Morning News” and KMBZ are committed to finding the right person to fill this position.  If you have what it takes, send a resume, along with anything else that will make you shine to KMBZJobs@gmail.com.  KMBZ and Entercom Kansas City are an Equal Opportunity Employer.

salemIsraelSalem Personalities in Israel.  Four Salem Communications Christian teaching talk personalities are accompanying more than 350 listeners on a trip through the Holy Land.  Pictured here from left to right are: Mark Daniels, WFIL, Philadelphia; Frank Sontag, KKLA, Los Angeles; Georgene Rice, KPDQ, Portland; and Kevin McCullough, nationally syndicated and WMCA, New York after a lunch on Mt. Carmel in Haifa, Israel.  Also joining the listeners and personalities on this trip is Salem Communications radio division president David Santrella.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

| March 12, 2014

2014header - final for KCTALKERS Posts 2014 Heavy Hundred.  The 2014 installment of one of TALKERS magazine’s most popular and, perhaps, controversial annual features – “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – debuted on March 11.  Also known as “The Heavy Hundred,” the ranked listing of 100 hosts and talent teams from around the country is based on a number of both quantitative and qualitative criteria and is determined by collective analysis of the TALKERS editorial board with input from a wide variety of industry leaders.  It includes local and national hosts from an array of genres falling under the umbrella of “general” talk or “news/talk” radio covering politics, health, finance, relationships, consumer electronics, popular culture and a variety of specialties. (TALKERS launched a special and completely separate annual “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk” two years ago.)  Hosts on the list are selected from those working at the time of its publication on platforms that include commercial and public AM/FM radio as well as satellite radio (internet-only talk hosts are ranked by TALKERS in an annual feature titled “The Frontier Fifty”).   According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It is no secret that economic restraints facing the industry these past few years have contributed to shrinking the number of individuals working on the air across the nation.  Although the 2014 edition of the Heavy Hundred will, of course, include many familiar names, the need for new blood, fresh voices and potential up-and-comers has never been greater.  Readers will find this year’s roster will feature a number of new names and first-timers, which is quite exciting!”  To view the entire 2014 Heavy Hundred, please click here.

kgmzlogo‘Game’ Changes in San Francisco.  KGMZ “95.7 The Game” is modifying its weekday on-air lineup.  Among the adjustments at the Entercom-owned San Francisco Bay Area sports outlet are the importing of former cross-town KNBR talent Damon Bruce to afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and shifting current PM drivers Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend (below left, respectively) to mornings, replacing “The Rise Guys” — Whitey Gleason, Mark Kriedler and Dan Dibley.  Entercom San Francisco vice president and market manager Steve DiNardo states, “This is a brucedamongreat day for our station and for Bay Area sports fans.  For years, Damon Bruce has been one of the strongest, most opinionated, and passionate personalities in Bay Area sports.  He understands what it takes to compete and win in this market.  Just as exciting is moving Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend to morning drive.  In just 14 months, they have developed strong chemistry and a loyal following.  We feel like we have the perfect team in the perfect time slot to grow ‘The Game.'” According to Bruce, “The Bay Area has a one-of-a-kind sports scene, one of the hottest and most exciting buchertownsendin the country today.  Bay Area fans are some of the most passionate fans in the country. I can’t wait to start and kick off a new drive-time experience for Bay Area sports fans.”  Bruce was with KNBR from 1998 – 2000, and returned in 2005.  He gained national exposure hosting “Sports Overnight America,” before leaving to become a SportsCenter anchor on ESPN Radio. Bruce has filled in for Jim Rome and has hosted SportsCenter for ESPN International. His other credits include fill-in host on Fox Sports Radio; Sporting News Radio; CBS Sports Network; and hosting pre and post-game shows for the San Francisco Giants and San Francisco 49ers.  The revised KGMZ lineup – which begins in just over two weeks (3/31) – will include “Bucher and Towny” with Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Haberman & Middlekauff (10:00 am -12:00 noon); “The Wheelhouse” with John Lund & Greg Papa (noon – 3:00 pm); and “The Damon Bruce Show” (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm).

salemcommunicationsSaga’s Ed Christian “Hoping for a Little Better” in Q4.  The 2013 fourth quarter and full year fiscal reports for Saga Communications saw the company’s net operating revenue dip 5% in Q4 of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012.  But gross revenue increased 3.8% during the quarter excluding political.  For the full year, the company’s gross revenue was up 3.3% (ex-political).  In a conference call with investment analysts, Saga CEO Ed Christian christianedstated, “I was hoping for a little better in Q4, we can always do a little more, we can always do a little better but I’m not disappointed.  We’re just pleased with the results.”  Christian said it’s hard not to put some blame on the winter weather for the economic sluggishness.  “Saga operates in a lot of mid-America markets and a lot in New England and I really don’t have to tell you what the last four months have been like.  In those markets it’s just outright miserable…I was talking with one of our managers the other day and he said people are irritable and it’s gloomy and people are lethargic.”

beasley logoBeasley Declares Cash Dividend.  The company’s board of directors is announcing the company is declaring a quarterly cash dividend of $0.045 per share of its Class A and Class B common stock.  The dividend is payable on April 10, 2014, to shareholders of record on March 31, 2014.

linnmanpaulKEX, Portland Personality Accused of Assault.  Morning show personality Paul Linnman – host at Clear Channel’s news/talk KEX, Portland – is being accused by a co-worker of assault after he allegedly groped her buttocks and licked his lips as he stared at her breasts.  Kailee Kinney is bringing the suit against Clear Channel and Linnman in Multnomah County Court.  Kinney is a producer and account executive at CC Portland.  She’s seeking $325,000 in damages.  The complaint alleges Linnman “came up behind plaintiff and groped her buttocks, a sexually intimate part of her body.  Linnman used an open palm to slap Plaintiff’s buttocks and then grabbed and squeezed plaintiff’s buttocks.”  It further alleges that “Linnman approached plaintiff for a second time, stating, ‘I should apologize but that black dress…you look great in that black dress,” during which he “licked his lips and stared at Plaintiff’s breasts as he made this comment to plaintiff.”

postbillSalem, Oregon Talk Host Suspends Show After Equal Time Complaint.  In the Salem, Oregon market, Willamette Broadcasting employee Bill Post has suspended his daily talk show on KYKN due to his campaign for state representative and a complaint from a primary opponent about violation of equal time rules.  Post announced his campaign for the seat in December.  Last month, Barbara Jensen announced her bid for the seat but Post continued to work on the air.  Jensen complains that Post and the station have been violating FCC rules and election laws but also asserts Post has violated other campaign laws but did not specify what they are.  In a story in the Statesman Journal, Post says the station was prepared for Jensen’s complaint and that he believes the station and his campaign manager have operated within the law.   Jensen’s complaint implies that once Post worked on air after opponents joined the race, the station must then provide equal time.

journalcommunicationsJournal Communications Shows Off New Brand.  The parent company of radio and TV station firm Journal Broadcast Group unveils a new company brand with three cohesive new logos representing Journal Communications and its two major business segments, the Broadcast Group and Journal Publishing.  As part of the new brand, the company also launched a fully redesigned corporate website atjournalbroadcastgroup www.journalcommunications.com.  Journal Communications chairman and CEO Steven J. Smith comments, “When we look at our company, we see quality, focus and effective teams in our local markets – all part of a business that is moving forward.  However, many people outside of Journal often have no idea that, in addition to their favorite local station or publication, we have a total of 13 television stations, 35 radio stations and a major daily newspaper with a variety of supporting local publications, all with complementary digital products.  As such, we believe our new brand better represents our company to investors, employees and the public and positions us as a national media company with diverse brands united under a common identity.”  The redesigned company website includes links to all of Journal’s digital products and Journal Broadcast Group live streaming sites, as well as a “What’s Trending Now” feature that highlights Journal’s most recent content across its Broadcast and Publishing websites.

entercomEntercom Kansas City Takes Action Against Delinquent Client.  It’s not unusual for radio stations to put a past-due account into collection but Entercom Kansas City is seeking a court’s assistance in getting more than $52,000 it claims it is owned by Vinson Mortgage Services Inc.  In a story in the St. Louis Business Journal, Vinson apparently advertised on news/talk KMBZ, alternative KRBZ and rock KQRC.  This is not the only action involving Vinson.  St. Louis television station KMOV-TV is filing a suit claiming it is owned more than $68,000.

wdrc-amOdds & Sods.  The recent FCC filing for Buckley Broadcasting’s sale of its Connecticut stations to Connoisseur Media announced last week shows the price is $7.9 million.  The stations include classic hits WDRC-FM, Hartford; talk WDRC-AM, Hartford; WWCO, Waterbury; WSNG, Torrington; and WMMW, Meriden…..Talk radio pro Mark Wainwright is sitting in on Clear Channel’s WSYR, Syracuse for Joe Galuski on the morning program next week, March 17 – 21…..Alpha Broadcasting announces Jeremy Scott and Brian Perkins will be the radio announcers for the Arena Football League’s Portland Thunder when games air on the company’s KXTG, Portland “Sports Radio 750 The Game.”  Scott serves as a reporter for sister news/talk KXL.  Perkins is a reporter and air personality on KXTG…..XtreMEDIA nationally syndicated talk host Steve Deace is talking to New Englanders today as he sits in for Boston talk icon Howie Carr on Entercom‘s WRKO.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mystery, Winter Weather/Global Warming, Republican Wins Fla. Special Election, ObamaCare Criticism, CIA Monitoring of Senate Staffers/Snowden Video Appearance, and Obama vs. Putin/Ukraine-Crimea Tensions  Among Top Stories Yesterday (3/11).  The ongoing mystery concerning the whereabouts of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet; a new round of winter weather hits the East and renewed debate over the case for man-made global warming; Republican David Jolly defeats Democrat Alex Sink in Florida Congressional special election; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; Senator Diane Feinstein’s allegation the CIA monitored Senate staffers and Edward Snowden’s commentary on surveillance cases; and President Obama’s faceoff with Vladimir Putin and the case of Russia’s incursion into Crimea and Ukraine were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

| December 5, 2013

weineranthonyRumor: Anthony Weiner to Try Talk Radio.  Here we go again! Another disgraced politician – this time it’s former congressman and former NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner – is rumored to be in the running for a talk show on one of two New York City radio signals.  The New York Daily News is reporting that sources say Weiner is in talks to begin hosting a show on either Cumulus Media’s WABC (where the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot is opening in the New Year) or on Clear Channel’s WOR.  WABC operations manager Tony Mascaro tells the paper they are looking at a lot of candidates for the slot but denies Weiner is one of them.  The track record of former politicians – especially disgraced ones – succeeding in talk radio is not good.  Most managers and programmers are either aware – or find out very quickly – that the tradeoff for hiring such a person is not usually worth it.  Yes, one gets instant recognition of the person from the public, but the long hours, challenging work, glamorless working conditions and time needed to get traction in the ratings usually turns off former pols who are used to a different sort of workday.  Oh, and then there’s the fact that they almost always have no broadcasting skills whatsoever.  Stay tuned, the Weiner-watch is on!

cumulus logoCumulus Media Holdings to Refinance $2.23 Billion in Debt.  According to a Reuters report, Cumulus Media Holdings has set terms on a new $2.23 billion loan that would serve to reduce its interest payments over the course of the loan.  The company is marketing a $200 million, five-year revolver and a $2.025 billion, seven-year, first-lien term loan.  The proceeds would refinance Cumulus’ current first- and second-lien loans.  Moody’s Investor Services VP and senior credit officer Carl Salas is quoted saying, “It’s a meaningful improvement in their annual debt service.  They will save upwards of $30 million to $35 million in interest costs which adds nicely to their free cash flow generation.”

rouhierdannyCBS Radio’s WJFK, Washington Hears It from Redskins About Game Broadcast Parodies.  NFL fans are aware that the Washington Redskins – owned by the litigious and sensitive Dan Snyder – are having a tough season (3-9 right now) after making the playoffs last year.  That’s been the source of much frustration on the part of fans and the source of material for WJFK host Danny Rouhier and producer Ajay Atayee who’ve been producing bits that are mock-ups of game broadcasts.  Rouhier does the voices of Redskins radio play-by-play announcers Larry Michael and Sonny wjfkfmJurgensen and splices in actual drops of color man and former ‘Skin Chris Cooley.  The hysterically funny bits have been critical of the team’s play, the fan experience at FedEx Field and Snyder’s public image, so much so that, according to the Washington Post, WJFK Redskins beat reporter Grant Paulsen was told by team spokesman Tony Wyllie that the bits are so malicious that they could prompt legal action.  This may be water under the bridge since the Post reports Wyllie says after talking with the station and being assured it’s all in good fun, the team has no problem with the station’s content.  Since the station has no intention of stopping Rouhier from producing more similarly themed bits, we’ll see how the rest of the season plays out.

kennedyKYSR, Los Angeles Morning Personality Kennedy to Host Fox Business Net Show.  Former MTV VJ and current morning drive host at Clear Channel’s alternative KYSR, Los Angeles, Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, will begin a new nightly current events talk show on Fox Business Network titled “The Independents” that will premiere on Monday, December 9.  The Hollywood Reporter states that Kennedy will co-host with Reason magazine’s Matt Welch, America’s Future Foundation’s Kmele Foster and a rotating panel of money experts.  Kennedy herself writes on her KYSR blog that the show will be “aimed at all the mealy-mouthed, partisan faithful out there.  Has the 2 party system totally failed you?  Yeah, me too!  Tune in 4 nights a week on FBN, and just remember, music and politics go hand in hand. I will always hold hands with you.”  Kennedy has been a contributor to FBN making regular appearances on “Stossel.”

ohana logoVali Named Interim GM of Ohana Broadcast, Hawaii.  The name Austin Vali is widely-known in Hawaii radio and, as Ohana Broadcast Company‘s interim general manager, he will oversee four Oahu stations and five Kauai facilities.  Owner/president Jason Wolff comments, “Austin brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and relationships in the Honolulu market.  He will be a tremendous asset as we strive to produce the best possible radio for our listeners and clients.”   Recently, Vali was vice president/general manager of Cox Media Group‘s three-station Long Island cluster.  During his 40-year radio career, he has worked in Pittsburgh, Norfolk, and Louisville; however, Vali is perhaps best known for his experience in Hawaii.  Since arriving there in 1978, he worked at Honolulu’s KIKI and KQMQ and he co-owned KRTR-FM and KXME in that market.

runningwithnaturePodcastOne Adds Mariel Hemingway Program to Stable.  Titled after her best-selling book  Running with Nature, actress and author Mariel Hemingway, along with her partner, stuntman, actor, health and wellness expert, Bobby Williams, are launching their new podcast via PodcastOne.  The podcast invites listeners to “join them on their adventures; from Hollywood to Holistic healing…transforming relationships to finding the most meaningful ways of living every day, Mariel and Bobby are here bringing laughter, wonder and awe with some great advice.”  The first podcast episode “features nutrition tips, a review of her just released documentary called ‘Running from Crazy,’ and exercise tips from Bobby and Mariel’s ‘Meditation Moment.’”  PodcastOne COO Greg Batusic says, “Mariel and Bobby offer a refreshing and unique take on life that their fans and new listeners will surely benefit from.  We’re happy to have them join our stellar lineup.”

madiganbobWTOP, Washington’s Bob Madigan to Retire.  Drive time news anchor Bob Madigan will retire from his position at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington, DC at the end of the year.  Outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley (also retiring, see next story) says in a memo to his DC staff, “Bob has been in this crazy business of ours for 50 years, 20 of them here at WTOP and WASH when both stations were co-owned.  He and I worked for 11 years at NBC News….I have been inflicted on Bob for 27 of his 50 years in the business.  By the way, if you are wondering how he got in 50 years ago, he started working in radio during high school.”  Farley goes on to say that as WTOP’s “Man About Town,” he “was a one-person ‘good news’ department covering everything from charity galas to scholarship awards and chili cook-offs for a good cause.  Bob covered so many events, that in less than a year on the beat, he was emcee, announcer or celebrity judge at many of them.  He became a one-man marketing machine for WTOP, getting our name out there in a positive way that was priceless!  He was chosen to announce the Inaugural Parade along Pennsylvania Avenue for both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.  At the Bush Inaugural Parade he was paired with…Meat Loaf.  For years he announced the start of the Race for the Cure live on WTOP.  He has a long, long list of awards and honors including a (rare for a journalist) RAMMY Award, “The Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award.”  RAMMY’s are awarded by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.

cookefarleyA Farewell to Jim Farley.  Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke (right) poses for a selfie with outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley at a retirement bash for the longtime WTOP, Washington programmer at the Newseum in Washington, DC.  After 17 years with the station, Farley is “slowing down but not retiring” as he’ll step down from his current post but consult WTOP for the next two years. He’s also open to consult others with their news and/or digital strategies.  Current WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo is stepping into the post at year’s end.  Cooke reports that modern-day WTOP-ers, Hubbard execs and many alumni toasted Farley at the bash.  Among other things said at the farewell party, Farley told staffers, “What a crowd!  YOU did it.  YOU GUYS do all the heavy lifting, and I got all the credit.  I’m gettin’ out before they catch me.”

kmbzGood Fences Make Good Neighbors.  Usually that’s the case but at the Entercom AM transmitter site in Westwood, Kansas, just how a good fence is defined appears to be the issue.  The towers for KMBZ and KUDL are surrounded by residential neighborhoods – that wasn’t the case in the 1930s when the towers went up.  According to the Prairie Village Post, now neighbors are challenging the renewal of Entercom’s special use permit for the site claiming they want improvements there.  After meeting with residents, a plan commission sub-committee is suggesting the current chain-link fence with barbed wire makes the property look “blighted” and recommends removal of the perimeter fence and replacement with fencing that complies with current code.  Entercom fears liability issues without a perimeter fence.  In 2008, a trespassing teenager was killed after falling from a tower on the site.  Expect some sort of compromise on this issue since moving the station towers would be very difficult yet protection of the transmitters and towers needs to continue for obvious reasons.

junkiesCredit to WJFK-FM, Washington’s “Junkies” for Nabbing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Segment.  He’s been one of the hot talk radio topics for the past several weeks (as documented in TALKERS magazine’s weekly top topics chart The Talkers TenTM), so why not book him as a guest?  CBS Radio’s “The Junkies” did just that and got a cool 25-minute segment with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on WJFK-FM, Washington today.  Ford, who’s obviously been in the news a bit lately and doesn’t seem to be very mic-shy, talked with the Junkies about football (he offered his NFL picks for the week), the drug use allegations against him, President Obama, and his run for re-election next fall (which he says he’ll win because he has the support of the people).

kgmzlogoOdds & Sods.  Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco is preparing to begin a listener giveaway of tickets and cool memorabilia for its six area pro sports teams.  “95.7 The Game” is calling the promotion “The Six Teams of Christmas” and will give listeners a chance to win game ticket packages to see the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, Oakland As, Golden State Warriors and San Jose Sharks…..CBS Radio’s New York stations (including sports WFAN-AM/FM and all-news WINS and WCBS) are announcing a new promotion: The Firehouse Chili Cook-Off.  After entries were submitted from all across the tri-state area, semi-finalists will compete to see whose chili recipe cbsfirehousereigns supreme.  At establishments in New Jersey and New York, the staple food of firefighters will be cooked, tasted and judged by local sports figures, and one fire company at each event will move into the final round of the competition.  The grand prize winner will receive VIP tickets to a 2014 New York Yankees game…..Entercom’s Boston Red Sox flagship WEEI, Boston is broadcasting from the MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando next week.  Live coverage of the meetings will begin with Salk & Holley from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday through Wednesday.  The Mut & Merloni show will also originate from the Swan and Dolphin Resort from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Tuesday through Thursday.

kirofmhollidaymagicHoliday Magic at KIRO-FM, Seattle.  Pictured here is KIRO-FM, Seattle afternoon drive duo Ron & Don manning the tote board at last year’s “Holiday Magic Radiothon.”  The Bonneville news/talk station, in partnership with Treehouse (a non-profit agency that ensures that kids in foster care have access to the essential services required to help them make it to high school graduation and beyond), are hosting the 25th Annual Foster Child Holiday Magic Radiothon today.  The station set a record last year raising more than $500,000.  The 12-hour “Holiday Magic Radiothon” helps local foster kids by raising money to provide each child in the program with one significant holiday gift along with support programs and services throughout the year.

humphriesdamian2Rusty Humphries on the Set in Bucharest.  That’s talk show host and actor Rusty Humphries (left) with actor Michael Damian (right) on location in Bucharest, Romania on the set of the romantic comedy Love By Design.  Humphries says he plays a reporter covering a big fashion show in New York City.  He notes that Bucharest is a popular location to shoot NYC scenes since it can be made to look like the streets of New York and the production costs are much less.  The movie also stars Jane Seymour.  Humphries was in Bucharest for seven days filming.  He tells TALKERS, “I had a blast.  I love the fact that I’m having the opportunity to really live out my dreams: radio, TV and film.  This is my third major motion picture, and it’s always an honor to be involved with a project as special as this.”

ObamaCare Criticism, NSA Cell Location Database, Obama Millennial Support Diminishing, Detroit Bankruptcy, Bashir Resignation, and Fast Food Minimum Wage Effort Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5).  Analysis of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NSA policy that reportedly gathers the location of cell phone users; the loss of support from Millennials for President Obama; the Detroit bankruptcy case ruling; Martin Bashir’s resignation from MSNBC after his Sarah Palin comments; and the move by organized labor to push for a national minimum wage for fast food workers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

| October 3, 2013

kxl logoMore News/Talk Radio Success Stories.  Yes, you read that right, contrary to the pronouncement – largely in the mainstream media (but some trades are generalizing as well) – that news/talk radio is suffering an overall ratings decline because there’s something wrong with the programming, the signals or its P1s, there are news/talk stations that are doing well.  In a piece published yesterday (see Wednesday’s news below) we knrs logomentioned a few news/talk stations that are performing well such as WMAL, KMOX, WSB-AM, KIRO-FM and others but more have come to light and we believe it’s worth delving into again.  The editors at TALKERS magazine understand we are running the risk of sounding like cheerleaders but it’s not because we are blind to reality, it’s that we are irked by sweeping conclusions based on less-than-complete information that brands an kmbzentire format as dead or dying.  Yes, some news/talk stations are dealing with low ratings and, yes, there are some entire markets that have seen – at least according to Nielsen Audio’s data – listening to news/talk decline.  But for those who work at Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL-FM, Portland; Clear Channel’s KFBK, Sacramento, KNRS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City or WLW, Cincinnati; Bonneville’s KSL, Salt Lake City; Cox Media Group’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando; or Entercom’s KMBZ, Kansas City, are enjoying the fruits of their hard work in the form of larsonlarsnews/talk stations that are performing well in their markets in spite of this gloomy environment.  Digging a bit deeper at villanuccijimKXL-FM, the midday shows – Jim Villanucci from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and Lars Larson from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm – are both in the top six spots in Persons 25-54.  Villanucci (brand new to Portland listeners) is ranked #6 in the market with Persons 25-54 and Larson, a conservative political talker, ranks #2 in the market with Persons 25-54.  Larson is also tied for #1 with Men 18-34 with a 9.2 share.  And he does it in liberal Portland!  In conclusion, it is not only in the best interests of the country for news/talk radio to remain a vital medium — it is in the interests of the entire radio industry because – let’s face it – most of the buzz, news, high-profile personalities, controversy, and hoopla concerning radio as an iconic component of contemporary culture has emanated from news/talk radio.  After that, a close runner up has been the more general (lifestyle and entertainment) approach to “talk” radio as practiced by talents such as Howard Stern (incorrectly described by mainstream media as “shock jocks.”)  Can you imagine what the state of radio would be today had it not been for news/talk and general talk radio during the past 25 years?   The industry should not be so quick to discount the viability of this genre of radio and the key it holds to the continued pertinence of radio itself.  Lars Larson says his philosophy about the focus of his show is simple: “I figure the future of talk is in young listeners who get into the habit and like the format and what we put on the air.  I hope to keep them in my audience for the next 20 years.”

brienjenBrief Tenure at WBZ-AM, Boston for Jen Brien.  Just three months after beginning her position as permanent overnight host at CBS Radio’s WBZ-AM, Boston, talk show host Jen Brien exits with no reason given by management.  An announcement was made at the beginning of the overnight program on Thursday morning (10/3) that Brien was no longer the host of the show.  Brien won the job after Steve LeVeille retired in June of 2012.  The station featured a number of fill-in hosts in the overnight slot for a year before giving Brien the gig.  She had previously worked at crosstown WRKO hosting midday show.

mohrlenoJay Mohr Visits ‘The Tonight Show.’  Fox Sports Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jay Mohr is pictured here on the set of “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno.  Mohr appeared on the program to talk about his sports talk radio show as well as his upcoming stand-up comedy shows in his Houston and San Antonio markets.  Mohr plugged the fact that his show can be heard on iHeartRadio – prompting a shout from an audience member who, Mohr quipped, “has the app!”

wfan logoCBS Radio Brings Soccer to NYC.  CBS Radio sports talk WFAN-AM/FM, New York agrees to a multi-year deal with the New York City Football Club to begin broadcasting the team’s matches on the stations beginning in 2015.  WFAN says it is “the first radio provider to broadcast Major League Soccer (MLS) in English in New York City.”  Manchester City Football Club owns the NYC Football Club and CEO Ferran Soriano says, “We’re thrilled to partner with a station as prestigious as WFAN.  This is a huge opportunity for the team to bring football to all New Yorkers, right from the onset of our playing debut.”  Clearly, growing interest in soccer in the U.S. is something CBS Radio hopes will continue to blossom.  CBS Radio SVP and market manager Don Bouloukos adds, “As the nation’s leading sports radio station, we always look for ways to bring every type of sport to the New York area’s fans.  Soccer is beloved across the world, and with the New York City Football Club coming to New York, it’s the perfect time to further ignite the passion soccer fans have and bring coverage and play-by-play of this new team to the Tri-State area listeners.”

weei logoOdds & Sods.  Entercom’s WEEI, Boston kicks off the Red Sox post-season play with a live remote broadcast following a shortened edition of the Salk and Holley show.  A “Red Sox Roundtable” will be broadcast live from Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar and Grill in Fenway Park from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  Mike Salk, Michael Holley and fellow WEEI personalities John Dennis, Mike Mutnansky, Lou Merloni, Mikey Adams, Kirk Minihane, Alex Speier and Rob Bradford, as well as the Sox broadcast team of Dave O’Brien and Joe Castiglione will be on hand to discuss the Sox’ impending American League Division Series matchup…..Speaking of Joe Castiglione, he’s been nominated as one of 10 finalists for the Ford C. Frick award, given to baseball broadcasters of long and meritorious service.  Castiglione has been calling Boston Red Sox games on the radio for 31 years, having joined their broadcast team in 1983…..Northwestern alumnus, Mike Greenberg, and “Mike & Mike” co-host Mike Golic, will broadcast their show live from Northwestern’s Evanston, Illinois campus tomorrow morning (10/4) in advance of Saturday’s Homecoming game between the Wildcats and the Ohio State Buckeyes, as part of the third annual ESPN Audio Fall Football Tour.  Greenberg will also serve as grand marshal of University’s 2013 Homecoming Parade tomorrow evening.

hochmanheatMedia Day with the Heat.  Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talker WAXY-AM/FM, Miami “The Ticket” morning drive hosts Marc Hochman (left) and Jonathon Zaslow (right) attended Miami Heat media day recently and took the time to pose for a shot with Heat center Joel Anthony (the tall guy in the middle).

Government Shutdown, ObamaCare Implementation, IPCC Climate Report, U.S.-Iran Relations, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/2).  The political maneuvering to fix the government shutdown; the beginning of the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act; the release of the latest climate report from the IPCC; speculation about future relations between the U.S. and Iran; and financial markets activity were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

| April 25, 2012

Feature Series – Part 2:  Walter Sabo on Finding and Nurturing FM Talk Talent.  In the second of a four-part series for TALKERS on building a successful FM talk station, Sabo Media president Walter Sabo writes that the best FM talk hosts come from the ranks of successful music jocks.  “I look for talent who have invested their time doing excellent radio taking advantage of a strong format.  A great CHR jock has remarkable broadcasting skills.  He/she is taught the importance and necessity of getting to the next event.”  Sabo says talent must be willing to prep two hours for every hour they are on the air and that matching this type of host with a skilled radio programmer presents the best opportunity for great success with targeted talk on the FM band.  Read part 2 of this series here.

KMBZ, Kansas City Names Jonathan Weir Late Morning Host.  The search for a new late morning talk host at Entercom’s KMBZ, Kansas City began when Chris Merrill took a talk host position at Clear Channel’s KOGO, San Diego earlier this year.  Merrill’s been doing double duty while the search was on.  Now, KMBZ program director Jack Landreth announces Jonathan Weir comes aboard to host the 9:00 am to 11:00 am show.  “Jon’s enthusiasm and unique approach to his audience instantly drew me in as a listener first.  His ability to weave his life experiences into the fabric of the show is a real quality that endears him to his listeners.”  Weir comes from Entercom’s WSKY, Gainesville, Florida where he was producer and co-host of “The Drive Time Happy Hour” program.  Weir, a St. Louis native, states, “I couldn’t be happier to be joining such a landmark station in the Midwest.  I’m inspired and so thankful to everyone at KMBZ for giving me this incredible opportunity.  I look forward to the challenge of living up to the incredible standards set by KMBZ, and the chance to be close to my family again is a great bonus.”  Weir begins his new gig on April 30.

Talk Legend Barry Farber to Receive TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award.  Talk show host Barry Farber, still heard regularly on both Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk, has been named the 2012 recipient of TALKERS magazine’s annual “Lifetime Achievement Award.”  The venerable host, named in 2002 and 2010 by TALKERS as one of the most important radio talk show hosts of all time, has been performing regularly scheduled talk shows on radio since 1960 when he started a groundbreaking program on WINS, New York.  He is credited by historians as being one of the seminal pioneers and architects of today’s talk radio.  Farber, also a prolific and accomplished author, has a new book coming out this summer titled Cocktails with Molotov: An Odyssey of Unlikely Detours (WND Books).  The award will be presented to Barry Farber by Michael Harrison at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7.  This event, nearing a sellout, is open to members of the working media only.  For registration information call 413-565-5413.

Merlin Media LMAs Third Chicago FM Signal.  Merlin Media is agreeing to lease the signal of Venture Technologies Group-owned WLFM-LP, Chicago at 87.7 on the dial to program and sell advertising on it.  Of course there’s a ton of speculation about what Merlin will do with the low-power smooth jazz outlet.  According to the Chicago Tribune, the station has been faring well with the smooth jazz format – garnering a 1.6 share in the March PPM.  Since the deal was announced, news from Merlin’s FM News 101.1 has begun airing on the station.  Though the Tribune notes Randy MichaelsRadioactive LLC has applied for the WKQX-FM call letters of the former alternative rock station (now FM News 101.1) and that’s leading to rumors the station will flip to alternative rock.  Program director and midday host Rick O’Dell confirms via the station website that a format change will take place Monday (4/30) but doesn’t say to what.

Rodney King Visits Rev. Al Sharpton.  The 20th anniversary of the verdict in the case of the Los Angeles police officers accused of beating motorist Rodney King is Sunday, April 29.  The acquittal of the four officers sparked the riots that consumed part of the city for days.  King (pictured here at left) visited Syndication One talk show host Rev. Al Sharpton to discuss the historic event and his new book, The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption (HarperOne 2012).

Steve Dahl Reduces Staff at Podcast Venture.  New-tech broadcasting models are subject to the same economic forces that affect terrestrial radio and Chicago’s Steve Dahl is making changes to keep his podcast initiative going.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports the Chicago radio legend let three staffers go recently — technical producer Pete Zimmerman, assistant technical producer Jim Ruffatto and assistant Stephanie Fallara – in order to continue operating in a way that works for him.  Dahl wrote on his blog, “It was not a decision I came to easily, but I think that it was the right move for the show.  I know when I am not growing as an entertainer and I know what I need to do to keep that process moving forward.  It’s ‘The Steve Dahl Show, and that at some point is the brand that I need to protect, not only for my own creative integrity, but in order to support my family.”  Dahl recently added two staffers – Dag Juhlin, director of creative services and Eric Drogoszewski, marketing/operations director – to his subscription-supported venture.

Backstage in Phoenix.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Glenn Beck (third from right) poses for a photo with KFYI, Phoenix hosts and staffers backstage at the Phoenix stop on his “Unelectable Tour II” on Friday, April 20.  Beck is hitting the road this spring bringing his standup comedy routine to audiences in Southern and Southwestern cities.  Pictured here with Beck are (from l-r): KFYI GSM Jim Wilson, KFYI early morning host Jim Sharpe, KFYI PM drive host Mike Broomhead, Beck, KFYI program director Neil Larrimore, and Mike Broomhead show executive producer Andrew Fountaine.

2012 Presidential Race, North Korea Nukes Test, Euro Zone Jitters, Secret Service Scandal and SCOTUS Hears AZ Illegal Immigration Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/24).  The presidential campaign and Mitt Romney’s Northeastern states primary sweep; North Korea’s threat to test nuclear weapons very soon; economic sluggishness in the euro zone; more dismissals in the Secret Service hooker scandal; and the Supreme Court’s hearing of the Arizona illegal immigration legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

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