Remembering Don Pardo. “It’s Saturday Night Live.” One extremely simple sentence, yet only one exceptional voice will forever be associated with it or capable of making it sing. Don Pardo. The elegant gentleman with the huge booming pipes passed away Monday night (8/18) at the age of 96. His nearly-40 year association with NBC-TV’s “Saturday Night Live” was only one part of a voluminous resume on the network for which he had a lifetime pact. Only Bob Hope had a similar arrangement deal with the network. Revered by virtually anyone who has been behind a microphone, the beloved — and yes legendary — Pardo began his career in radio. The off-camera announcer for a multitude of game shows from “Jeopardy” to “Jackpot,” Don Pardo truly achieved pop culture status. “SNL” hosts and cast members felt they arrived once they heard their names uttered by him. Click here for managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian‘s brief retrospective salute to the Massachusetts native and 2010 inductee in the Television Academy Hall of Fame whose voice and persona were a staple for so many.
SAG-AFTRA Condemns Arrest/Detention of Reporters Covering Ferguson, Missouri Events. SAG-AFTRA represents more than 165,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists, and other media professionals. It released the following statement: “As a union that represents broadcast journalists, including many local St. Louis broadcasters, we strongly support the rights of journalists not to be impeded in their efforts to report the news. Journalists have an obligation to report what is happening in their community, and the world. We ask that law enforcement in Ferguson permit journalists the freedom to do their jobs.”
Ferguson Unrest Tops Conversation on News/Talk Radio – KMOX, St. Louis is on the Scene. As the week develops, TALKERS research indicates the turmoil in Ferguson, MO tops the list of topics of conversation on news/talk radio. Taking advantage of their relative proximity, CBS’s heritage talker KMOX, St. Louis established a significant presence on the scene with mid-morning host Charlie Brennan and afternoon drive host Mark Reardon broadcasting their shows from the very heart of the troubled area amid the intense protests that have followed the police shooting of Michael Brown.
Marina del Rey Spotlighted As Next “KNX On Your Corner” Site. In addition to focusing on important issues and happenings in Marina del Rey (“The Marina”), the 14-hour (5:00 am – 7:00 pm) “On Your Corner” profile by CBS Radio all-news KNX, Los Angeles will feature nearby Playa del Rey, Del Rey, Playa Vista, and Westchester. Civic leaders will be interviewed throughout the special day of programming next month (Friday, 9/12) designed to give listeners insight into the unique attributes of the area. KNX will originate programming from Whiskey Red‘s in Fisherman’s Village. Dick Helton and Vicky Moore will anchor the news from 5:00 am – 9:00 am; Frank Mottek will host the “KNX Business Hour” (1:00 pm – 2:00 pm); and Jim Thornton and Diane Thompson will anchor the 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm news broadcast. “KNX On Your Corner” received a 2013 Golden Mike Award for “Best Feature News” from the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California.
SCBA Schedules Awards Luncheon for Outstanding Achievement in Radio Advertising. The special event of the Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA) and SCBA’s Sales Management Council will be held in approximately two months (10/16) at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City (Los Angeles). Selected regional advertisers will be honored with “Outstanding Achievement in Radio Advertising” awards. Former SCBA Lifetime Achievement Award winner – and current chairman and chief operating officer of U.S. International Media – Dennis Holt will be this year’s keynote speaker. SCBA president Thom Callahan explains that, “Based on last year’s sold-out event, we have expanded the nominating categories and our winning advertisers. We are absolutely thrilled by both client and agency response to this prestigious luncheon. This year’s winners represent the robust diversity and energy of Southern California radio advertisers; we are so proud to honor them. [This year's festivities] is on-pace to be another record sell-out. The enthusiasm and commitment to Southern California radio will be showcased by senior client management, their agencies, our member stations, and special guests – all coming together on this one special day to honor this year’s Southern California Radio Award winners.” Being recognized this year are: Children’s Miracle Network; First 5 California; Galpin Ford; Morongo Casino; WaBa Grill; and Westside Rentals. Awards in six categories of creative radio commercials, using both Southern California broadcast radio and its digital platforms, are voted on by the Sales Management Council.
Kelly Transfers to Clear Channel WPB as Director of Sales. Clear Channel Sarasota director of sales Bryan Kelly remains in the Sunshine State, but as of next Monday (8/25), he will traverse from the state’s west coast to West Palm Beach on the east coast in a similar capacity. West Palm Beach market manager John Hunt observes, “Bryan produced outstanding sales results in Sarasota and I know he will do the same in West Palm Beach.” Kelly comments, “I look forward to joining the exceptional West Palm Beach team assembled by John Hunt and [Clear Channel regional program manager] Dave Denver. It has been a goal of mine to represent Clear Channel in a fast-paced and competitive market.” Kelly will oversee the sales efforts for Clear Channel’s 10-station West Palm Beach cluster consisting of country WAVW; talk WAXE; talk WBZT; talk WJNO; classic rock WKGR; CHR WLDI; adult contemporary WOLL; oldies WQOL; Spanish contemporary WRLX; and talk WZZR. His previous Clear Channel assignments were in Tampa and Allentown.
WGN.FM To Air “The Big Payoff.” The Suzanne Muchin and Rachel Bellow-hosted show is for entrepreneurs and entrepreneur wannabes; it begins today (Tuesday, 8/19) at 11:00 am on Tribune Chicago’s WGN.FM. “The Big Payoff” will feature guest entrepreneur interviews and conversations about Chicago’s trending innovations and businesses. Video, full show podcasts and segments will be available on demand at WGN.FM. Beginning in roughly four weeks (9/15), segments will air on WGN-AM with Sirott & Murciano. President and general manager Jimmy de Castro advises listeners to, “Get ready for ‘The Big Payoff.’ Two seasoned business and media vets, Rachel Bellow and Suzanne Muchin, tell you like it really is out there in the new business world. It is absolutely worth a listen, whether you are a young entrepreneur; existing business looking for funding; or if you just want entertainment and to learn something.” According to Tribune Media president and chief executive officer Peter Liguori, “‘The Big Payoff’ could not be more timely, as entrepreneurship is a hot topic in Chicago right now.” Muchin remarks, “My roots are here, as are so many people and businesses that I want to bet on with my time, expertise, and network.” Bellow comments that, “Chicago is a special place where money and meaning are both valued which offers the perfect environment for entrepreneurs to launch and grow their businesses. This is the right place and time for us to land at WGN and WGN.FM.” Business partners since 1998, Muchin and Bellow have clarified the brand identity of an $8 billion philanthropy. Over the last seven years, they have founded three consulting agencies with client revenue topping $50 million. Three years ago through a partnership with New York-based 2MarketMedia, they launched “The Dirty Truth.” The two women will maintain a group of brand strategy clients through their consulting firm Mind + Matter Studio. Launched last September, WGN.FM focuses on content development, production, and digital distribution; “.FM” stands for “Freeform Media.”
“Billy Madison Show” and Nineball Radio Enter Syndication Deal. Owing to the just-signed pact with Nineball Radio, the weekday morning “Billy Madison Show” is now available for national distribution. Madison currently airs on Cox Media Group Tampa talker WHPT “The Bone, Real-Raw-Radio” and on CMG San Antonio rocker KISS. Nineball Radio president and chief executive officer Stefan Jones opines, “A show with such chemistry is rare, especially with the support of such a great company like Cox Media Group. Billy is a true professional who preps relentlessly and continually creates a show that is like nothing else being offered in rock syndication. He took KISS from 16th to number one, and he is number one at WHPT. I think the numbers speak for themselves. We are excited to be a part of it.” Madison’s show arrived in San Antonio in late-2011. Jones formed independent creator/clearance house for radio programming and services Nineball Radio as an underground prep service in 2005.
SiriusXM Now Airing “Back-To-School” Programming. The satcaster has a variety of such fare on multiple channels, including “SiriusXM Stars,” “Kids Place Live,” and “Doctor Radio.” Hosts and experts are offering parents practical advice for a stress-free back-to-school season. On “Stars” (SiriusXM channel 109), public health advocate Perri Peltz delves into cyber-bullying and the importance of talking to kids about it, while Denise Albert and Melissa Gerstein provide money-saving back-to-school shopping tips and efficient prepping shortcuts. Alexa Von Tobel shares recommendations to effectively tackle the process of planning/financing higher education and Jenny Hutt offers advice on how to prepare kids transitioning to high school. On “Kids Place Live” (SiriusXM channel 78), “Absolutely Mindy” has a special guest each morning as she encourages a love for school in young listeners, and she shares recipes for healthy lunches. On “Doctor Radio” (SiriusXM channel 81), gastroenterologist Dr. Ira Breite offers advice to prevent stomach problems caused by stress and anxiety related to the start of the school year. Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Aronoff explains how to differentiate the natural rollercoaster of teenage hormones and emotions from the warning signs of depression. For the older child, a cardiac surgeon will discuss sudden cardiac arrest in youth sports and screening kids for heart conditions.
WTMJ, WISports.com Set to Kickoff ”Preps Live.” Live streams of 26 Milwaukee-area high school football games will be available this fall on Journal Broadcast Group’s WISports.com. A Smartphone channel has been created under JBG Milwaukee heritage talker WTMJ’s “Radio League” application, so that listeners can hear the “Preps Live” channel anywhere. Journal Broadcast Group Milwaukee vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer remarks that, “As ‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station,’ WTMJ has a great tradition of sports broadcasting, starting with the Green Bay Packers in 1929. In 2014, we continue to grow in our commitment to play-by-play with the addition of key high school match-ups.” WTMJ sports executive producer Doug Russell declares, “The ability to bring these games to friends and families [who] can’t be in the stands is what WTMJ sports is all about.” Meanwhile, J. Pat Miller, director of marketing & innovation for WTMJ and co-owned adult hits WLWK “The Lake,” points out the “Radio League” app features 10 music formats. “We are excited to add this Wisconsin-based preps sports station to our growing line-up of stations,” Miller notes. Matt Menzl and Alex Uhan headline the team of “Preps Live” football announcers; Journal Broadcast Group Milwaukee plans to offer a full schedule of prep basketball games in the winter.
Odds & Sods. All this week, WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway is broadcasting his program from Jerusalem. “The situation in Israel is something my audience comes back to again and again,” remarks Conway, who lived there for a year as a teenager. “I will be bringing some very powerful radio to Iowa.” Conway is part of the “Solidarity Israel” trip organized by former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.
Affiliate Roundup. Talk Shows USA-syndicated/Tom Gresham-hosted “Gun Talk” adds the following affiliates: KARN-FM, Little Rock; WBRN, Big Rapids, Michigan; WNDA, New Albany, Indiana & WLRS, Eminence, Kentucky; and WINT, Willoughby, Ohio…. Most recent affiliates of “Free Talk Live” hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge include: WPTK, Raleigh; WEZO, Augusta, Georgia, KZLS, Enid, Oklahoma; KSMD, Searcy, Arkansas; KAWW, Heber Springs, Arkansas; and WZTK, Alpena, Michigan.
Milhaven Named PD at KTRS, St. Louis. Morning drive host McGraw Milhaven has been promoted to program director at CH Holdings-owned KTRS, St. Louis. Milhaven takes over for Lauren Ryan who remains with the station in a promotional capacity. In a statement published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, general manager Mark Dorsey says, “He [Milhaven] sees where radio is going in the next 10 years.” Part of Milhaven’s duties will include handling the social media strategy for the station. Milhaven – who previously worked at CBS RADIO’s crosstown KMOX, has been with KTRS for the past 10 years. Meet McGraw Milhaven at Talkers New York 2014 on Friday, June 20.
More Murrow Award News. Adding to the list of winners of the Radio Television Digital News Association’s National Edward R. Murrow Awards published by TALKERS yesterday is ABC News Radio which won for Overall Excellence in the radio category. ABC News Radio was also recognized in the Breaking News category for its coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombing. Public radio station WBEZ, Chicago was honored for Overall Excellence in the radio, large market category and WDEL, Wilmington, Delaware was recognized for Overall Excellence in the radio, small market category. CBS RADIO’s WBZ-AM, Boston won in the radio, large market Continuing Coverage category for work on the Boston Marathon bombing. See the entire list of radio winners here.
First Round of May PPM Data Released. PPM data from the first of four groups of 11 markets for the May 2014 period (April 24 – May 21) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). TALKERS magazine’s sister publication, RadioInfo, has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
FAIR Names Giaritelli Press Secretary. The Federation for American Immigration Reform announces that in response to increasing demands from talk radio looking for comment on the escalating immigration crisis, it has made a strategic new hire as Anna Giaritelli assumes the role of press secretary for the organization. Giaritelli has worked at CQ Roll Call, Cox Media Group and the Washington Examiner, to name a few. She joins the FAIR media team consisting of communications director Bob Dane and media director Ira Mehlman. Hosts and producers seeking to book Dane or Mehlman for interviews can reach her at 202-328-7004 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Odds & Sods. San Antonio-based talk radio host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo will be heard nightly on Clear Channel’s KHOW, Denver beginning Monday, June 16 from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. Joe Pags’ daily program is based at CC’s WOAI, San Antonio and simulcast on the company’s KPRC, Houston…..At the San Francisco cluster of Cumulus Media, market manager Steve Sklenar exits after a year in the position. Sklenar was in charge of the company’s eight market signals including news KGO, news/talk KSFO and sports talk KNBR…..In addition to ESPN Radio’s recent announcement that its programming and live sports events are now available on Apple’s iTunes Radio, the sports giant’s radio content will also be made available to TuneIn users. TuneIn VP of programming Kevin Straley says, “ESPN channels are very popular on TuneIn, and have already been followed approximately 1.5 million times. We are excited to continue to add more personalized content for ESPN fans, from dedicated 24/7 channels for the most popular podcasts, to live international events like the World Cup.”
Cantor Primary Defeat, Immigration Amnesty-Child Refugees Case, Hillary Clinton Book, Gun Violence, Iraq Instability, Bergdahl Prisoner Swap, and NBA-NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/11). The aftermath of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary election defeat; speculation about a renewed push for an illegal immigration amnesty bill and the case of child illegals being shipped to locations in Arizona; Hillary Clinton’s prospects for president in 2016 and her tour supporting her latest memoir; talk about the recent cases of gun violence in the U.S.; the political instability in Iraq as al Qaeda threatens to assume control of the country; the continuing analysis of the Bowe Bergdahl-terror suspects prisoner swap; and the NBA and NHL finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WOR, New York’s John R. Gambling Announces Retirement. New York City radio legend John Gambling – who followed in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather in entertaining Big Apple radio listeners – told his audience this morning (11/11) that he will retire at the end of the year. Gambling has worked in radio for the past 40 years, 35 of that in New York City. He told listeners his last show will be December 20. John R. Gambling is the grandson of John B. Gambling who was the morning host on WOR, New York from 1925 to 1959 when his son, John A. Gambling assumed the morning host role at the station. John R. co-hosted the “Rambling with Gambling” show with his father John A. on WOR from 1985 to 1991. Gambling states, “I have done and accomplished so much. My radio career has given me the privilege to entertain and inform millions of New Yorkers. Each day, to watch the greatest city on earth from behind the microphone has been a thrill and I’ve been blessed with an audience that has been loyal and engaging. To say it has been exciting doesn’t come close to the joy I have had.” Clear Channel is beginning a search for a replacement morning show.
WPHT, Philadelphia Airs Veterans Day Broadcasts. CBS Radio news/talker WPHT, Philadelphia is airing a day of remote broadcasts in honor of Veterans Day. Today, Rich Zeoli broadcast from the Delaware County Veterans Memorial from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. Midday host Dom Giordano is doing his show live from the 54th Media, Pennsylvania “Annual Veterans Day Parade.” During afternoon drive, “Talk Radio 1210” personalities Dick Morris, Gary R’nel and Rich Zeoli are broadcasting live from The Green Parrot Restaurant in Newtown.
Veterans Day Offers Radio Broadcasters the Opportunity to be Heroes. RadioInfo (TALKERS magazine’s sister publication on the music side) music editor/director Duane Doobie says that although most of the radio industry is open for business as usual today (including the trades), “In the communications business – particularly radio — you can probably do more to honor the true meaning of a holiday as significant as Veterans Day by going to work and raising consciousness about the meaning of the holiday. It sure beats taking a day off and paying tribute to the purpose of the observation by having a backyard barbeque or going to the beach or a sporting event and drinking a lot of beer, watching endless hours of a Twilight Zone marathon… or buying a car, or worse, planning to camp out on the sidewalk in front of a box store fully prepared to stampede your neighbors in order to save money on a new flat screen television or smart phone with the latest bells and whistles.” In a special commentary posted today (11/11) Doobie continues, “Our publisher Michael Harrison has been speaking at major industry events calling upon radio broadcasters to ‘never miss any opportunity to be a hero.’ He says it is a principle of radio broadcasting that strikes a chord into the very heart of what we are all about – a practice that is good for BOTH business and the soul. Thus, I ask you to look around and ask yourself, is your radio station – are you on your show – doing something special today to be a hero? Are you doing anything special today to be a hero by honoring the true heroes in every single market in America… our veterans?” To read Duane Doobie’s entire column, please click here.
ESPN Audio Reorganization Puts Jim Pastor in Charge of ESPN Local. ESPN confirms the changes in the structure of its O&O radio stations and their websites. Former WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” general manager Jim Pastor is named SVP of ESPN Local. This puts him in charge of the company’s three O&O stations (WMVP, Chicago; WEPN-FM, New York and KSPN, Los Angeles) as well as their websites and ESPNDallas.com. Current WMVP VP/GM John Cravens will take the new title vice president of local revenue and KSPN VP/GM Scott McCarthy will become vice president of local content and will report to Pastor. The move separates the national and local sectors with SVP Mo Davenport overseeing ESPN Network Audio. ESPN senior vice president, production business divisions Traug Keller says, “We have identified two key areas – network and local business – to align leaders with division priorities to provide better services and products for our fans. The successful partnership of our ESPN local websites and owned radio stations has helped our local business thrive. Organizing by function will allow us to leverage individual and team strengths across the entire business.”
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh’s ‘High School Tour’ Brings Teen Issues to the Fore. CBS Radio news/talk station KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh continues its “High School Tour” on Thursday, November 14 as midday talk host Mike Pintek broadcasts live from Woodland Hills High School in Churchill, Pennsylvania. The station states that the “’The High School Tour’ is a chance for KDKA to talk with students in different areas of our region about current events and the issues that affect them. Some of the topics Pintek has focused on are social media concerns, bullying, texting while driving as well as events in the current news cycle. The schools select students that participate in the broadcast.” During the broadcasts, Pintek elicits the perspective of the school’s superintendent, principal or other faculty.
Two More Stops Added to Stephanie Miller’s ‘Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour.’ WYD Media Management nationally syndicated talk show host Stephanie Miller (center) is taking her “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” out on the road again in 2014 and has added two more cities to the itinerary. Miller – along with fellow comedians and radio show contributors Hal Sparks (right) and John Fugelsang (left) – will be visiting the Barrymore Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin on March 29 as well as the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix on February 14. The tour begins in Seattle on December 14 of this year at the Paramount Theatre.
WXOS, St. Louis Adds Thompson and Wheeler to Air Staff. Hubbard Radio’s sports talk WXOS “101ESPN” brings former MLB player Brad Thompson and sports talk pro Kevin Wheeler aboard the air staff. Wheeler begins hosting an eponymous show on November 25 to air in a yet-to-be-announced daypart. Thompson will join the afternoon drive “Fastlane” show alongside D’Marco Farr and Randy Karraker beginning in January. Thompson has been serving as a fill-in host for the station on its daily programs and most notably subbed for former St. Louis Cardinals star Chris Duncan during his recent recovery from brain surgery. Wheeler is coming to WXOS from his most recent position at crosstown news/talk KMOX where he hosted the “Sports Open Line” show as well as a pre- and post-game shows for both the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues. Program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “Both Brad Thompson and Kevin Wheeler bring unique perspectives and experience to the ‘101ESPN’ team, and I am looking forward to getting them both on the air to enlighten and entertain our listeners.”
Broadcast Engineer Legend George J. Capalbo Passes at 86. Pioneering broadcast engineer George J. Capalbo passed away on Friday, November 8. He is remembered for his contributions to the radio broadcasting industry. Capalbo’s many accomplishments include serving as chief engineer for WRKO, Boston when the station launched as top 40 outlet “Big 68” in 1967. He also built the FM station WAAF, Worcester, now owned by Entercom, that serves both the Boston and Worcester metros. Capalbo is credited by WRKO’s then-general manager Mel Phillips with putting together a state-of-the-art broadcast facility for television and radio “from scratch” at 7 Bulfinch Place in Boston, and with developing WRKO’s radio automation system. Capalbo served as president of engineering for the RKO Radio division and supervised seven AM stations and seven FM stations in markets including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. He is also credited with building the RKO Satellite Network, the first radio satellite delivery network. For the RKO Satellite Network, Capalbo designed the distribution network in New York City as well as the news bureau in Washington, DC. Capalbo enlisted in the Armed forces in 1944 at the age of 17 right out of high school and served for two years until the end of World War II. He left the service with a rank of Radioman Second Class.
WSRQ, Sarasota Partners with Gannett’s WTSP-TV for Content. Florida Talk Radio-owned news/talk WSRQ, Sarasota (also heard on translator W295BH, Sarasota) enters into a deal with Gannett’s WTSP-TV “10 News” to locate two staffers from the television station in the former’s Sarasota studios. Sarasota reporter Isabel Mascareñas, along with “10 News” photojournalist Tim Burquest will be based in the newsroom, allowing “10 News” to quickly cover breaking news and events in the Sarasota area. Additionally, WTSP will provide video, weather radar and custom Sarasota weather forecasts for WSRQ. WSRQ general manager Susan Nilon states, “Our goal is to focus specifically on Sarasota issues. This partnership with ‘10 News’ allows for even better coverage of the wonderful place we call home.”
Embattled Toronto Mayor’s Radio Show Ends. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s weekly radio program that aired on Bell Media’s CFRB, Toronto “Newstalk 1010” has been eliminated from the station’s program schedule by a mutual decision, according to station management. Rob Ford and his brother, Toronto city councilor Doug Ford, hosted “The City with Mayor Rob Ford” that aired Sunday afternoons from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Rob Ford has been at the center of a drug use scandal that has been a major news story not only in Toronto and Canada but across the United States as well.
FCC Tightens Divestiture Trust Policy with Townsquare’s Cedar Rapids Application. The long period of time during which radio stations have sat in divestiture trusts while still putting money into the pockets of the “previous” owners has been a sore spot for some broadcasters, but that is changing as the FCC signals it’s not going to approve long-termed trusts. The commission is approving the transfer of two of Townsquare Media’s Cedar Rapids stations – KKHQ-FM, Oelwein and KOEL-FM, Cedar Falls – to the Cedar Rapids Divestiture Trust on the condition that the term of the trust is two years and the trustee file reports every six months describing the efforts to sell them. In discussing the matter, the commission notes that the economy, and therefore the climate for buying and selling radio stations, is in much better shape than it was in 2008 when Clear Channel created the Aloha Trust. It notes that five years later, 37 of the 57 stations put in the trust have been sold with the sale of two more pending. The commission concludes that “a reasonable limitation on the duration of a divestiture trust will best serve the public interest by requiring the parties to a trust agreement to meet a deadline to place the stations with a new operator to ensure long-term compliance with the requirements of the Local Radio Ownership Rule.”
Glenn Beck Visits Asheville. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Glenn Beck is pictured here with WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina afternoon drive talk show host Pete Kaliner at the WWNC studios. Beck did his radio program from the station on November 8 while in town for the celebration of Reverend Billy Graham’s 95th birthday. The event was attended by some 900 well-wishers including Donald Trump and Sarah Palin.
Eyes (and Ears!) on News/Talk Radio as Recent Ratings Trends Spur Criticism. As the September PPM data continues to roll out, industry watchers and mainstream media writers and analysts are scrutinizing talk radio’s numbers – as well as its programming. Citing a perceived slow-but-steady decline in ratings for the news/talk format in general, critics are wondering if the political “right-versus-left” programming philosophy has become tiresome to all but the staunchest news/talk radio fans and is resulting in the generally lower numbers in Nielsen Audio’s PPM and diary ratings. Some high-profile cases have been cited, including KFI, Los Angeles’ decline in 6+ PPM ratings over the past year from being one of the country’s best-performing news/talk stations in one of America’s most vibrant markets. Just today (10/2), Chicago media writer Robert Feder writes about the state of Cumulus Media’s WLS, Chicago and its declining place in the ratings race. The reasons for the states of these stations are open to analysis – including, but not limited to, the possibility that Nielsen Audio’s PPM methodology is less than perfect – and could easily vary from market to market. When talking ratings, what are usually not included in the recent criticism of news/talk as a format are: the #1 showing for Cox Media’s WSB-AM, Atlanta (which carries the oft-maligned Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity); Cumulus’ WMAL, Washington’s rise in the September PPM; CBS Radio’s high-flying KMOX, St. Louis; Bonneville’s steady-performing KIRO-FM, Seattle; Cox’s WOKV, Jacksonville; and the two Milwaukee news/talk outlets that have consistently performed as two of the top six stations over the last year – Clear Channel’s WISN and Journal’s WTMJ. Constant awareness and analysis of the sound and perception of one’s stations are the hallmarks of good operators and effective programmers should care about how the format is perceived. But discovering what’s “wrong” with a format or a station is not easy and not always possible given the limited information available. In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “The first people out there ready to proclaim news/talk radio as being dead are usually people who see the world primarily through a political lens who disagree with the ideology of the hosts they dislike. Political news/talk radio is cyclical and will always come back from the brink when there’s inevitably a new chapter in contemporary issues. Regardless, the good thing that hopefully will come out of this ratings down-tick will be some of the major operators giving consideration to different forms of talk and even news/talk that are just being ignored. There are so many potential ways of doing ‘talk radio’ it is crazy for so many stations to bunch up around one predominant style. Everyone should spread out and claim and develop new territory on the spectrum of possibilities.” This topic will be one of those addressed at the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference taking place next Thursday, October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.
Nielsen Begins Synergies; Sean Creamer and Debra Delman to Exit Ratings Giant. Nielsen responded quickly to TALKERS last week after we reported that the “$20 million in synergies” the company hopes to realize with the acquisition of the former Arbitron would cost jobs. The company stated it had “no plans to reduce headcount at this time.” Perhaps that applies to the rank and file and not the executive strata because it’s now being reported that former Arbitron CEO Sean Creamer and CFO Debra Delman will leave Nielsen at the end of the year. Though Nielsen has not released a statement about the changes, it’s expected that other executives may also be headed for the door. Both Creamer, Delman and most of the other high-level execs who might follow the two have clauses in their contracts that will give them very nice golden parachutes. Creamer could realize almost $7 million in total compensation and Delman’s take is just shy of $2 million.
ESPN Deportes Radio Extends NFL Deal. Sports giant ESPN reports that its ESPN Deportes Radio unit has reached a new multi-year agreement for media rights to the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 National Football League seasons. Under the agreement, the network will have exclusive Spanish-language rights to Monday Night Football, the 2013-2014 National Football Conference Playoffs, the 2014 Super Bowl, 2015 Pro Bowl and the 2014-2015 American Football Conference Playoffs. ESPN Deportes Radio general manager Oscar Ramos says, “We’re incredibly excited to add NFL to our diverse roster of programming. U.S. Hispanics are becoming avid NFL fans and this new deal allows us to deliver the content they want in the language they prefer.”
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Diane Warren and Jean Robinson - MMTC Media Brokers (run by Bounceology). In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media brokers Diane Warren and Jean Robinson of MMTC Media Brokers (run by Bounceology) located in San Antonio, Texas. MMTC Media Brokers specializes in locating properties and selling them to potential minority, multicultural and women buyers. In addition to telling their fascinating story, they share several outstanding opportunities that they have among their listings that would be of interest to first-time buyers. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
CNBC’s Jim Cramer Featured on SiriusXM ‘Town Hall.’ CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer (left) recently took part in SiriusXM’s “Town Hall” series for a Q&A with SiriusXM personality Pete Dominick (right). The program will be aired on Friday, October 4 on its Indie channel. The conversation – which took place before an audience of SiriusXM listeners – covered financial markets, fiscal trends, the economic state of the nation, and the story of Cramer’s personal road from hedge fund manager to popular CNBC host. Dominick is a stand-up comedian who has opened up for Cramer on his “Mad Money Back to School Tour.”
Two Weeks in a Kennel Reaps Rewards for KIDO’s Kevin Miller. KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (right) is pictured here with ASPCA senior director Tami McReynolds (left) and Canyon County Animal Shelter director Barb Hutchinson (center) showing off the check for $35,000 the CCAS received after Miller helped get more than 300 animals adopted. To achieve that and win the $35,000 prize, Miller spent two weeks living in a makeshift kennel from which he broadcast his morning program. The contest is national in scope and – with Miller’s help – the CCAS is the only shelter to win the prize twice.
Government Shutdown, ObamaCare Enrollment Begins, Scrapped Hillary Clinton Programs, U.S.-Iran Relations, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/1). The battle between the GOP and the Obama Administration and the government shutdown; the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act begins; two television projects on the life of Hillary Clinton are scrapped; possible diplomatic relations between Iran and the U.S. and the former’s nuclear program; and the effects of the government shutdown on the U.S. financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Big Day for All-News at Marconi Awards: WBBM-AM, Chicago Wins Legendary Station Award. The NAB/RAB Radio Show is the site of the annual Marconi Awards and this year, CBS Radio’s WBBM-AM, Chicago took home the Legendary Station Award. Other news and talk-related winners included: Cox Media Group’s KRMG-FM, Tulsa taking home Medium Market Station of the Year; CBS Radio’s WBZ-AM, Boston winning News/Talk Station of the Year; Brian Byers of WSOY, Decatur, Illinois winning Medium Market Personality of the Year; and KTCK, Dallas taking home Sports Station of the Year. This year’s “NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show” was hosted by “Shotgun Tom” Kelly of CBS Radio’s KRTH-FM in Los Angeles. The show also featured a performance by Grammy Award-Winning band The Mavericks from Big Machine Label Group.
Rush Limbaugh Tells Affiliates Taking Show to Satellite Radio Would Be a “Betrayal.” Speaking at a party in his honor to celebrate 25 years in national syndication hosted by syndicator Premiere Networks, talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh told industry insiders – many of whom were station owners and programmers who carry his program – that “I can’t thank you all enough because without you and all of the people who run the radio stations I’m on, I wouldn’t be possible.” Speaking about the importance of the relationship between the personality and the radio station, Limbaugh said from his earliest days in radio, he’s always believed that “it takes the radio station to make the personality, the personality can’t make the radio station.” He said that at industry gatherings such as the Radio Show he is invariably asked if he would ever go to SiriusXM and he said, “The first moment the question was asked, I’ve always looked at that as a betrayal, if I were to do that because of the opportunity to be on your radio stations has provided me and I honestly believe it’s a lifetime commitment. I don’t think it’s a debt I can ever fully repay.” Limbaugh went on to allude to the controversial nature of talk radio – and his image in particular – when he added, “And Lord knows, I’ve put you through hell.” (The room responded with rousing laughter.) “Probably more times than even I know! I’m aware of the times I know. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that whatever the obstacle or controversy – whenever it pops up – that you all hang in there. One thing that’s such a blessing of freedom: I don’t have to worry when those things happen that you’re going to be affected by whatever the media is attempting or whatever detractors are attempting. The one thing that fuels me and gives me confidence and strength is I know I’m not going to lose you all…and I’m going to be forever grateful.”
KMOX, St. Louis Personality Charlie Brennan Celebrates 25 Years at CBS News/Talker. St. Louis talk show host Charlie Brennan (pictured here at left) celebrated his 25th anniversary on news/talk KMOX today (9/20) with a live broadcast in front of a packed audience at the Anheuser-Busch Biergarten. Brennan first began broadcasting on KMOX on September 20, 1988. He was joined on the air this morning by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews – his very first guest on KMOX. Also calling in with kudos today were: Joe Buck, Bob Costas, Larry King, Morley Safer, Juan Williams, Jennifer Griffin, Senator John McCain, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, singers Ricky Skaggs and Michael McDonald, Tony La Russa, Joe Garagiola, Bob Pettit, Ted Koppel and George Vecsey. Through a proclamation, Mayor Francis Slay declared today “Charlie Brennan Day” in St. Louis.
Hill Joins WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans. Former WWL-TV, New Orleans news anchor Angela Hill will come out of her short-lived retirement September 30 to begin 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm duties on Entercom news/talk station WWL-AM/FM. “It doesn’t get any bigger than this,” Entercom New Orleans vice president and general manager Chris Claus states.” Angela is one of the most respected, popular, and beloved personalities in New Orleans. Hill retired from WWL-TV earlier this year and comments that she was “always looking for the next chapter” of her life. “Radio allows you to connect with and engage people on a more personal level. When you add the power and reach of WWL radio, we can do great things. My show will be engaging, fun, and attract big-time guests – the sky’s the limit.” According to WWL operations/program director, Diane Newman, “Angela Hill is a trusted journalist, an amazing interviewer and a great listener.” Hill will succeed “Talk Gumbo with John ‘Spud’ McConnell,” but Claus points out McConnell, “isn’t going anywhere. We have big and exciting plans for him” that apparently will be announced on-air on Monday, September 23.
Premiere’s George Noory Appears on ‘The View’ with Whoopi Goldberg. On Thursday, September 19, “Coast to Coast AM” host George Noory made an appearance on ABC TV’s “The View” for the debut of a new segment called “Out of this World with Whoopi,” which showcases Whoopi Goldberg’s fascination with the paranormal. During the segment, Noory shared a few stories of ghost sightings and cursed objects, and told the audience how his fascination with the paranormal began as a child. Goldberg asked him about peoples’ fascination with the unexplained and Noory said, “People want to know why we are here, who we are, and is there life after death….and that’s what we do, we try to find answers.”
Odds & Sods. ESPN Radio personality Mike Greenberg – co-host of the “Mike & Mike” morning drive program – is named grand marshall of Northwestern University’s Homecoming Parade. Greenberg is an alumnus of the school and will revisit the campus the weekend of October 4-5 and be an honored guest during the festivities…..WTAG, Worcester morning drive host Paul Westcott sits in for nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean tonight (9/20, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET) on his Premiere Networks program “America Now with Andy Dean.”…..Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett signs a deal to become an on-air personality on CBS Radio’s WSCR, Chicago where he’ll make weekly appearances on the “Boers and Bernstein” show at 5:00 pm every Monday during football season, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.
U.S.-Russia Tensions Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 16-20. Scrutiny over the Obama Administration’s relationship with Russia and president Vladimir Putin relative to the Syria issue was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was the deal for Syria to turn its chemical weapons over to Russia to avoid a U.S. strike. At #3 was the Washington Navy Yard slayings, and at #4 was the ongoing debate over the funding and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is posted every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Bonneville Seattle Re-Tools KIRO-FM Mid-Mornings with ‘The Tom and Curley Show.’ This is John Curley’s third daypart on KIRO-FM, Seattle and this time the station pairs him up with “veteran pop-culture enthusiast” and film critic Tom Tangney (left) for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show. Curley (right) – a well-known Seattle media personality – began with KIRO-FM hosting the evening program, then moved to morning drive alongside Linda Thomas for a brief period. The station moved Dave Ross to AM drive leaving Curley out for a period. Now, management says this new show “will bring an energetic insight into the news. The show will keep listeners informed, entertained and connected to the latest news in the region and around the world. The combination of Curley’s enthusiasm and Tangney’s intellect is the perfect mixture for KIRO Radio’s weekday lineup.” Program director Pete Gammell says, “The partnership between John and Tom is electric and we’re excited to offer our audience such a great program to keep them informed and connected to Seattle.” Curley comments, “Tom is the brother-in-law I always wanted to have, a guy I can argue with sometimes and laugh with almost all the time.” And Tangney adds, “I have a blast talking with John Curley three hours a day. I hope and trust listeners will find our show as fun and invigorating as I do.”
Marilu Henner to Speak at Talkers Los Angeles 2013. Accomplished actress and author — and recently syndicated radio talk show host (Sun Broadcast Group) – Marilu Henner, will be joining the stellar roster of more than 50 speakers who will be on the power-packed program at Talkers Los Angeles 2013. Marilu Henner will present an opening greeting titled “Hello Talk Radio” at the start of the event in which she will welcome attendees to the conference and talk about the appeal of the medium and its potential to serve a variety of topics and interests outside the realm of partisan politics. Henner’s new show that deals with health topics and day-to-day lifestyle issues of interest to a broad segment of the public has been drawing critical raves. Conference director Michael Harrison states, “One listen to Marilu Henner makes it clear that she is a bright, confident, media ‘natural’ who will make a difference in this field. Her smart, original and fearless approach to health and well-being issues is enhanced by her extraordinary charisma and all around strong media presence. What a welcome addition to the talk radio community! We are honored to have her play a key role in the morning kick-off of what promises to be a fantastic day!” For sponsorship and other information about the sold-out conference which takes place at the historic Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood on Thursday, October 10, please call 413-565-5413.
CBS Radio Moves Morton To STL as Director of Sales. Sam Morton transfers from Dallas to become director of sales for CBS Radio, St. Louis properties news/talk KMOX, AC KEZK “Fresh 102.5,” and hot AC KYKY “Y98.” He will arrive in St. Louis on October 14, after being general sales manager for CBS Radio, Dallas’ sports talk KRLD-FM, adult hits KJKK “100.3 Jack FM,” and classic hits KLUV. Senior vice president/St. Louis market manager John Sheehan remarks, “I have seen the success Sam has had in a very competitive radio market. His strategic leadership and management experience in Dallas, along with his understanding of CBS Radio business philosophies, will make him a great partner for us in St. Louis.” In addition to his DOS duties, Morton will serve as KMOX’s general sales manager.
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Brett Miller – MCH Enterprises, Inc. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Brett Miller of MCH Enterprises, Inc. located in Bakersfield, California. Like many of the professional media brokers spotlighted in this feature, Miller is extremely friendly to displaced radio personnel looking to go into ownership for themselves, as well as first-time buyers. He specializes in small market radio and believes that small market radio is the heart and soul of broadcasting and community service. He tells it like it is: “In our little corner of the industry, we are experiencing roughly the same number of buy/sell transactions as when we started; only now the deals are smaller and buyers’ struggles to obtain financing grows bigger. Seller financing is almost a requirement as all-cash deals are becoming harder to find and fewer between. In addition to brokering transactions, our consulting side has grown to include transaction management and FCC support as first-time buyers enter the market, and we are doing more appraisals as banks are experiencing greater scrutiny from their examiners or coping with bankruptcies and liquidations. We see a good number of first-time buyers with solid experience, but with no financing and no ability to collateralize licenses in order to obtain financing (hello, FCC? there’s a hint there), we sense a lot of frustration in the marketplace…not only with prospective buyers, but with sellers. There remains a fairly large gap between buyer and seller expectations. The margins are slim and the multiples are shrinking as the new economic reality sets in. To some degree, what buyers want, they can’t afford and what buyers can afford doesn’t interest sellers. While it frustrates everyone, there are still good opportunities for the right person: someone who knows how the business works, someone who is not afraid to get out on the street and make sales, and someone who wants to become an integral part of the community. In our opinion, it is the power of radio that will ultimately lead the way for the economic recovery of Main Street. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
CRC Broadcasting Adds FM Signal for Phoenix Money Talker. CRC Broadcasting’s KFNN, Phoenix “Money Radio 1510” now has an FM signal on which its programming is being simulcast. Translator K257CD at 99.3 FM covers the center of the metro. Company founder and president Ron Cohen states, “The addition of an FM channel not only provides listeners with greater access to hear ‘Money Radio,’ but also comes at a strategically pivotal time in Phoenix radio. We’ve built our reputation on providing more useful information than just business news. ‘Money Radio 1510’ talks about money: how to make it, invest it, and how to be smart spenders of it. We will continue to serve the local community with our relevant and informative programming.”
Larry Wilson’s L&L Broadcasting Buys YMF’s Columbia Cluster. YMF Media LLC inks an agreement to sell its Columbia, South Carolina cluster consisting of urban contemporary WWDM “The Big DM 101,” classic rock WMFX “Fox 102,” rock WARQ “Rock 93.5,” hip hop WHXT “Hot 103.9,” adult hits WZMJ “The Lake,” and talk WOIC to L&L Broadcasting. YMF Media was represented by Media Venture Partners in the transaction. The price for the five-station cluster is $13 million.
Michael Harrison to Present Blockbuster Speech at NAB Addressing Key Issues of Both Talk and Music Radio. As a matter of fact, the publisher of talk radio trade TALKERS and music radio trade RadioInfo states that in order for both talk radio and music radio to continue to play an important role in the new digital era – at least within the context of being “AM and FM” radio, and within the broader context of “radio” having certain cultural identifiers that keep it special – is for BOTH to continue to exist in a healthy way side by side. Harrison also believes that music radio and talk radio still have much to share with and learn from each other. Harrison’s speech will be a hard-hitting, non-stop 45-minute “pitching machine” of challenges and solutions facing today’s radio as it braces for the “whitewater ride” of finding its natural home in the digital era, which he says “will inevitably prevail in changing our entire media/cultural landscape within the next decade – at most.” Harrison strongly advises that radio is first and foremost a connection to popular culture and that’s what it should stay in order to remain vital. Among the suggestions Harrison will deliver include his top 10 concepts to keeping radio vital as a pop cultural entity: 10) Celebrate radio’s “radioness” – don’t let it fade; 9) Spread out formatically and stop bunching around a mere handful of viable format options; 8) Be a hero – everyday, and in every way; 7) Strive for localness and here’s why; 6) Take “ownership” of your subject matter and slice of the humanities pie; 5) Eliminate commercial tune outs – commerciality MUST be reinvented ASAP; 4) Maintain an active “skunk works” component to your operation - garages, not corporate boardrooms, are where great new ideas are born and incubated; 3) Learn about intellectual property – it is the foundation upon which we will build most business/talent/management deals in this new era; 2) Integrate radio into the new digital age without being assimilated – the internet is a “ground” not a platform – keeping in mind that in spite of what everyone is saying, content is NOT king, platform is king; and 1) Eliminate debt – radio cannot survive within its current financial paradigm…it is time to put the brakes on consolidation and begin to think about deconsolidation. Harrison states, “As long as every other news story we seem to be writing about in the trades is about a ‘deal’ that will create the ‘largest this or that’ in the industry, we are still headed in the wrong direction and will never make it across Bill Clinton’s metaphorical ‘bridge to the 21st century.’ Radio has always been and will always be a mom-and-pop business. We need fewer CEOs, COOs, presidents and vice presidents – and more mom-and-pops.” Harrison, who will be introduced by consultant Holland Cooke, will be speaking on Thursday, September 19 between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm in the room Gatlin E2. It is open to all attendees of the NAB Radio Show. For information call 413-565-5413.
Arbitron Brings NextMedia Aboard for Diary Ratings in Three Markets. NextMedia signs a multi-year deal with Arbitron to subscribe to the company’s diary ratings service for its stations in Canton, Ohio; Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville, North Carolina; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. NextMedia also re-ups its PPM contract for Chicago and San Jose. NextMedia president and CEO Jim Donahoe states, “Radio continues to be a vibrant medium that reaches consumers at a very local level. Subscribing to Arbitron’s radio ratings services gives NextMedia the opportunity to demonstrate radio’s continued strength to our current and potential advertisers.”
Saga Communications Revises Projected Revenue. The third quarter of 2013 doesn’t end until September 30 but Saga Communications is issuing a statement in which it “anticipates gross revenues for the third quarter ending September 30, 2013 to be flat to up 2.0% in comparison to the corresponding period last year.”
Midwest Communications Inks Regional Reps for Six Markets. Independent sales rep firm Regional Reps Corp. is contracted by Midwest Communications to be the exclusive national sales rep firm for its stations in the following markets: Duluth; Hibbing, Minnesota; Holland, Michigan; Lansing; Sioux Falls; and Terre Haute. The Midwest stations in Sheboygan, Wisconsin have been represented by Regional Reps since 2007. Midwest CEO Duke Wright states, “We’re very excited about working with Regional Reps in a number of our markets. Regional Reps has demonstrated to us that they are innovative, produce results for the stations they represent and take the initiative in developing new revenue streams for their clients.”
Odds & Sods. Fox News Radio brings Tonya Powers aboard to serve as a national correspondent based in the New York headquarters. In her new role, Powers will report on breaking news and provide daily live reports covering stories in the Northeast and across the country. Prior to joining FNR, Powers was a news director and morning show anchor at Clear Channel’s news/talk WREC, Memphis “Newsradio 600.”…..Blackstrap Broadcasting’s WUFC, Boston changes sports network affiliations and leaves NBC Sports Radio and is re-branding as “Yahoo! Sports Radio 1510.” This move comes after station general manager and midday host Anthony Pepe becomes part of the Yahoo! lineup.
Navy Yard Slayings, U.S. Syria Policy, Iran’s Threats to the U.S., Quest for New Fed Chief, and Colorado Floods Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/16). The killings at the Navy Yard in Washington; the ongoing debate over the United States’ policy regarding Syria’s civil unrest; threats by Iran against the United States and its allies; the process of determining who will be the next Fed chief; and the deaths and destruction from the floods in Colorado were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
LOS ANGELES — Summon up the term “theater-of-the-mind” and hardcore historians of the medium will instantly link it to what many consider one of radio’s authentic seminal points. In fact, roughly three months from now, that benchmark event will celebrate its 75th anniversary.
Rewind the clock to Halloween 1938, when a then-23-year-old Orson Welles and The Mercury Theater terrified America with “The War of the Worlds.”
Albeit that some classified the adaptation of an alien invasion as a tremendous hoax or fraud, it was inarguably compelling radio.
In its own way, such theater – or mystery – of the mind surfaces nightly on Premiere Radio’s four-hour (1:00am – 5:00am, Eastern Time) “Coast To Coast AM,” overseen with graceful aplomb by the tremendously eloquent George Noory.
Talkers New York 2013 a Success. Approximately 500 media pros from talk radio (AM/FM, satellite, internet), talk television, the music industry and press gathered in New York City yesterday for the 16th annual installment of the national Talkers Convention. The highlights of this event were too numerous to immediately enumerate (more than 55 speakers, presentations, award ceremonies, and exhibits packed into nine dynamic hours) but the somewhat exhausted editorial staff of TALKERS magazine is busily working on sorting out the stories, photos, video, and comments from the day for a series of articles and coverage beginning this coming Monday. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “It was a historic day for the talk radio industry. We can proudly say this conference was pitch-perfect and we are going to have tremendous content for coverage next week. All of us at TALKERS are extremely humbled and grateful for the widespread industry support and valuable individual participation marking this milestone in our long series of conferences dating back to the early 1990s.” Next on the agenda: Talkers Los Angeles 2013 set for Thursday, October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Los Angeles, presented in association with the LA Press Club. Also a working-media-only event, registration opens at 10:00 am ET on Monday, June 10. Registrations – $149 per person – are only taken by phone for this conference at 413-565-5413 and it is expected to be a very early sellout.
Talk Radio Day at the United Nations Taking Place Today. The seventh annual installment of “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” is presently underway (6/7) and proceeding smoothly. This ambitious mega-radio row features approximately 25 radio talk show hosts from across the US and around the world (including China International Radio) broadcasting live and/or recording interviews with UN officials, ambassadors, international issues experts and leaders from the iconic headquarters of the world organization on Manhattan’s East Side. A presentation of TALKERS magazine produced in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and the United Nations Foundation, participants in the event include such broadcasters as Alan Colmes, Doug Stephan, Dr. Joy Browne, Thom Hartmann, David Webb, Lisa Wexler, Ethan Bearman, Mark Riley, Dr. Evelyn Higgins, Martha Zoller, Ed Woodson, Timothy Spangler, Vinnie Penn and many more. TalkersRadio is broadcasting from the event as well. To listen, click here. Full coverage in TALKERS coming Monday (6/10).
Sports Talk WKRD, Louisville Names Jody Demling Morning Host. Clear Channel Louisville announces Jody Demling is the new host of the daily “Early Birds” show that airs from 7:00 am to 10:00 am on WKRD “SportsRadio 790.” Demling comes from the publishing world as an award-winning sportswriter for the Courier-Journal. The University of Louisville alumnus also writes for CardinalAuthority.com. In the past he was honored with the Kentucky Sports Writer of the Year award.
WTOP, Washington Correspondent Dave McConnell Honored by RTCA. WTOP Radio Capitol Hill correspondent Dave McConnell is honored by the Radio & Television Correspondents’ Association with its first-ever “Career Achievement Award for Distinguished Reporting on Congress.” McConnell is a veteran journalist with more than 50 years of reporting in Washington who has covered decades of presidential elections, White House administrations, Watergate and more. He joined WTOP in 1965 and became the station’s full-time Capitol Hill correspondent in 1981, a position which he still holds today. WTOP vice president of news programming Jim Farley says of McConnell, “As a kid, Dave and his classmates used to cut class to go see the Senators. His buddies went to Griffith Stadium to see the Washington Senators play but Dave actually went to The Hill to watch U.S. Senators debate. Dave is admired by members of Congress from both parties because of his fairness. Now his colleagues on ‘The Hill’ have chosen him as the first-ever recipient of their new lifetime achievement award. Dave is the ‘EverReady Bunny’ of Congressional correspondents and the hardest working Septuagenarian covering Congress and trying to keep them honest.”
KSCJ, Sioux City Talk Host Sam Clovis to Announce Intentions on Monday. Talk show host Sam Clovis has scheduled a press conference in conjunction with his radio program for Monday, June 10 to his intentions regarding the United States Senate seat for Iowa. Senator Tom Harkin announced he will not seek re-election for the seat in 2014. Clovis is a talk show host at KSCJ and is chair and professor of Business and Economics at Morningside College. Clovis tells KTIV-TV, Sioux City, “I have done my due diligence in both prayer and counseling with friends and family and I believe it’s time to step up and announce my decision on my intentions for the United States Senate seat. I felt it was only fitting to make this decision amongst the folks who have followed my platform both on the radio and at other ‘coffee’ get-togethers over the years.”
CC Launches ‘iHeartRadio’s Show Your Stripes’ Program. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces the debut of a new public service campaign designed to help America’s veterans returning from service find employment in the private sector. Describing it as “a company-wide community service initiative to address the issue of unemployment among U.S. military veterans and encourage businesses to hire skilled veterans,” the company announces it will spend more than $75 million in radio, digital and out-of-home resources to highlight the skills brought back by returning servicemen and women and their value to employers in the workplace. “iHeartRadio’s Show Your Stripes” – with the tagline “Hire Smart – Hire Vets” – is a long-term effort to help guide veterans back into civilian life by highlighting their valuable training and experience. It will include radio, digital and out-of-home public service announcements (PSAs) from the biggest names in entertainment and pop culture that will reach Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s audience. Artists across all music and entertainment genres, including Elton John, John Legend, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Ryan Seacrest, Mario Lopez, Trace Adkins and LL Cool J have recorded a series of PSAs that showcase stories from veterans who have successfully found jobs.
Talkers Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “The Freedom Feens” featuring Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi and syndicated by Genesis Communications Network is added to the program schedule at KYDT-FM, Sundance, Wyoming and KBFS, Rapid City, South Dakota…..Talk Media Network’s “The Financial Fitness Show” hosted by Chip Cummings and Tony Rubleski and its “Frontlines of Freedom” show with Denny Gillem are both added to the program schedule at WCUZ, Bear Lake, Michigan and WMTE, Manistee, Michigan.
DOJ Journalist Investigations Tops Talkers TenTM for Second Straight Week. The Department of Justice’s investigation of journalists – including the Associated Press and Fox News reporter James Rosen – was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the second week in a row, landing it atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 this week was the IRS scandal. At #3 was the child lung transplant case followed by the immigration amnesty program at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
The Next Round is on Charlie! KMOX, St. Louis talk show host Charlie Brennan (third from the left) is pictured here at a VIP bash celebrating his very own brew – Charlie Brennan’s 1120 Lager – made by the Krikwood Station Brewery in St. Louis. CBS Radio St. Louis writes of the project, “For as long as KMOX has been broadcasting in St Louis, there has been a rich beer culture in the city. Breweries of all shapes and sizes, mega to micro, have come to America’s undisputed home of beer to craft their version of the perfect brew. To celebrate that heritage, The Voice of St Louis joined forces (and taste buds!) with the people of St. Louis to create The Beer That St. Louis Brewed – a limited release craft beer in honor of our great city. Over a five week period, St. Louisans had the opportunity to share in this collaborative journey that ended with a St. Louis-styled VIP Launch Party.”
KIDO, Boise Morning Host Kevin Miller Back in the Kennel. Morning show personality Kevin Miller is broadcasting his daily show on Peak Broadcasting’s news/talk KIDO, Boise from this kennel at the Canyon County Animal Shelter to raise awareness of the importance of pet adoption as part of a nationwide program from the ASPCA and television personality Rachel Ray. Last year, the Canyon County Animal Shelter came in second place the national contest (based on the number of successful pet adoptions) and Miller is doing his part to help the shelter finish in first place this year. With his help, the shelter raised $57,000 and saved the lives of more than 2,200 animals.
Former WGN and KMOX Exec Tom Langmyer to Consult Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee. The Business Journal of Milwaukee reports that former WGN, Chicago vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer has been hired to consult Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee as it transitions from programmer Joe Scialfa, who has left the post. WTMJ EVP Steve Wexler tells the publication, “I can confirm that we have made a change and are recruiting for a new program director. Tom Langmyer is working with us during the transition to help recruit a new program director and work with our staff.” Langmyer worked his way up from program director to general manager of KMOX, St.Louis. After years in that post he moved to Tribune’s WGN, Chicago where he served as VP/GM until last October.
Todd Schnitt and Bubba the Love Sponge Settle in Mediation. After a jury found Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) not guilty of defamation in the case brought against him by former crosstown rival Todd Schnitt, Schnitt got a new lawyer and prepared to take Bubba back to court claiming misconduct on the part of Bubba’s attorneys as a result of the DUI and misappropriated briefcase of his former lawyer, Phillip Campbell. But, after a 12-hour mediation session before mediator Jim Murman, the sides have agreed to end their spat – sort of. According to TampaBayOnline, Bubba has agreed to leave Schnitt’s wife and children out of any future radio attacks, incurring a $5,000 fine per mention if he fails to keep his word. Schnitt himself is fair game. Bubba had intended to go after Schnitt to recoup his nearly $1 million in legal fees from the first trial but will withdraw that bid. Bubba is heard in morning drive on WHTP, Tampa and was a rival of Schnitt’s when Schnitt – as MJ Kelli – held down mornings on WFLA-FM. Now, Schnitt does only the PM drive show on news/talk WFLA-AM in the market. But there is still some acrimony and possible legal action – between Phillip Campbell and Schnitt. After Schnitt fired Campbell, the latter went to court seeking about $1 million in legal fees from Schnitt. But Schnitt’s new lawyer, Wil Florin, tells TampaBayOnline that Schnitt should not have to pay the money and that Campbell should have to refund almost $1 million previously paid because Campbell assured the Schnitt’s, after a 2008 DUI, that it would not happen again.
NBC Sport Radio Network Names Newy Scruggs Midday Host. As the NBC Sports Radio and Dial Global 24/7 sports talk radio format is prepared for its round-the-clock debut on April 1, the network announces that KXAS-TV, Dallas sports director and former KRLD-FM, Dallas personality Newy Scruggs will host the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart with his program, “Voices of the Game with Newy Scruggs.” The theme of the show is Scruggs will be joined each day by a major renowned and recognizable sports “voice” during the entire second hour of the show. Personalities will include Chipper Jones, Adrian Wojnarowski, Stan Van Gundy, Bobby Valentine and Chris Mannix. Jones will begin baseball season in this hourly role on Tuesdays and then move into a weekly major contributor role as NBC Sports Radio’s MLB senior analyst once baseball season is fully underway. Mannix, Valentine and Van Gundy are already part of the NBC Sports Radio roster and are expanding their roles. Dial Global EVP and general manager Chris Corcoran states, “Hands down, ‘Voices of the Game’ is going to be special. Not only is Newy one of the smartest and most reputable personalities around, but our unmatched and incredible daily guest hosts are going to deliver such a unique and informative show for affiliates, listeners and advertisers.”
News/Talk Format Back to Place as Leading Format in February PPMs. With Arbitron’s February PPM data set to be released after 5:00 pm today (3/18), some of the conclusions we can draw are that the news/talk format is coming back from its usual holiday lull and – across all 48 PPM markets, not any market in particular – the format is back to its spot as the leading format. Industry pros who’ve been watching the performance of stations by format over the years are aware that formats in general can be said to be affected by seasonal factors. The biggest and most obvious is how AC stations are buoyed by the public’s affection for Christmas music during the holiday period. News/talk has historically – going back to the days prior to the PPM as well – performed well in the fall and spring periods and dipped a bit in the winter and summer periods. Obviously, baseball tends to help news/talk stations avoid the summer drop. With the recent uptick of concern about news/talk’s future – being aired in both the consumer and trade press – no doubt market managers and corporations will be eager to see how their individual news/talk stations performed in the PPM markets during the February period.
KXTG-AM, Portland’s John Canzano Re-Ups with Alpha Broadcasting. Midday sports talk personality John Canzano, host of “The Bald-Faced Truth” signs a multi-year extension with Alpha Broadcasting’s “750 The Game.” He currently airs in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Canzano is a popular sports media figure in the market serving as lead columnist for The Oregonian and as a regular commentator on KGW-TV. He is also the co-founder of the Bald Faced Truth Foundation, a 501(c) 3 non-profit that helps children participate in music, art, sports and other co-curricular activities. Alpha Broadcasting director of programming Scott Mahalick states, “John’s deep connection to the community through his Bald Faced Truth Foundation is just one of many reasons we are proud to have him on board with Portland’s premiere sports radio ‘750 The Game.’”
Sabo Says Radio Stations Are Becoming More and More Like TV Stations. In a provocative article posted today in TALKERS (3/18), noted radio consultant Walter Sabo points out that the radio station of the not-too-distant future will appear similar in many ways to the television station of today. As a matter of fact, this is a trend that is already becoming quite apparent. To read Sabo’s column – which also includes insights into the danger of radio’s economic dependency on retail, the importance of bringing back research, and (for music programmers) the pitfalls of letting labels tell you when the songs they promote are at the peak of their hit potency – click here.
Chad Adams to Exit Wilmington, North Carolina Talk Duo. Hometown Wilmington Media general manager Beau Gunn announces morning drive personality Chad Adams will leave his position as morning host on March 29. Adams is heard on WLTT, Bolivia, North Carolina and WNTB, Topsail Beach – stations branded “The Big Talker.” Gunn states, “Chad has served the community and our company with hard work and dedication for the past three years. We are sad to see him go and wish him the best in all of his new endeavors.” In addition to hosting the morning show, he has appeared as a regular featured commentator on local cable news channel News 14 Carolina‘s ‘Capitol Tonight’ and as a guest political analyst on WWAY-TV.
Americom Las Vegas Shutters Progressive Talk KJFK, Reno. After eight years as a progressive talk outlet, Americom Las Vegas announces it has been losing money on the station for some time – “thousands of dollars a month” – and its hand is being forced. The station says on its website, “Since we launched the station with an appearance by Al Franken in 2005, when nearly 500 people joined us at the Atlantis for now-Senator Franken’s appearance just days after we hit the air, we’ve known a passionate audience has been with us all along. Unfortunately, this station was never able to generate the revenue necessary to sustain, and we simply cannot absorb the financial loss any longer.” The station will continue to make some shows available online for now.
“Brent Seltzer, Still at Large” Syndicated Short-Form Series Picked Up by XM. The quick-witted, two-minute commentary series hosted by legendary Southern California-based news personality Brent Seltzer is now heard daily on XM Satellite Radio talk channels 165, 166 and 168 in all dayparts. Premiere Networks brokered the deal and describes the series as ‘funny, informative, creative and well-produced’. The series, designed to air on both talk and music formats, is heard on KSRO, Santa Rosa, CA and is one of the most popular features on PodJockey.com.
Odds & Sods. Talk about being in the right place at the right time, pictured here is WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (right) interviewing Florida State Senate President Don Gaetz during his annual “Legislative Listening Tour” from the Capitol in Tallahassee on the very day Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll resigned amidst a federal probe of internet cafes statewide…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington this week begins a special series called “Spy In The Sky” – an exclusive multimedia series that takes an in-depth look at the use of drones worldwide. A federal appeals court has ruled that the CIA must provide a more detailed response to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, seeking records about drone attacks. This decision from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is part of an ongoing national debate about the use of drones. “Spy In The Sky” is a 10-part series that’s airing on WTOP this week. Each report is also available on WTOP.com accompanied by exclusive photos and video. In the piece, WTOP focuses on the use of drones both abroad and at home and how policy makers, police, and civil rights advocates are shaping their future…..In sunny Arizona, “Rosie on the House,” the home improvement talk show that has reached out to Arizona homeowners for almost 25 years, has added another radio station affiliate KGVY, Green Valley, south of Tucson. The show was founded by Rosie Romero and his son Romey in 1988 and is heard on KTAR-FM, Phoenix; KNST, Tucson and several others across the state. It’s syndicated by the Skyview Network.
KNX, Los Angeles Director of News Programming Andy Ludlum Honored. CBS Radio’s Andy Ludlum was honored at the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2013 awards banquet on March 14. The KNX director of news programming is pictured here (right) alongside KNX news anchor and longtime friend Bill Polish (left) who presented the award to Ludlum. SPJ/LA presents the Distinguished Journalist awards to members of the profession who demonstrate good news judgment, a strong sense of ethics and a passion for getting the story right. Honorees are journalists who have achieved a record of accomplishments over the course of several years.
CBS Radio’s WPHT, Philadelphia to Add Dick Morris for PM Drive. The station is making programming moves in anticipation of Michael Smerconish’s departure to SiriusXM Satellite Radio in April and announces political consultant, author and media personality Dick Morris will begin hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm shift. Currently, Smerconish is on from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm followed by Rich Zeoli and Steve Martorano from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. WPHT does not say if Zeoli and Martorano will remain with the station and be moved to the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot or if it has other plans yet to be announced. CBS Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “Dick is a great addition to our lineup of live and local personalities, and provides a voice that will raise the audiences’ interest in what’s happening in politics today. As someone who isn’t afraid to express his opinions or make bold predictions, his show won’t just be a win for Philadelphia and WPHT, it’s a win for radio.”
MSNBC’s Ed Schultz to Move to Weekend Slot. News/talk personality Ed Schultz announced at the end of his Wednesday evening program that he will be vacating the 8:00 pm ET time slot on MSNBC to begin hosting a two-hour weekend program on both Saturday and Sunday – from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm beginning in April. Saying it is “a big opportunity for ‘The Ed Show’ and my brand.” Schultz said on the air that the five-nights-per-week gig isn’t for him and he’s looking forward to more time to prepare stories. He told viewers, “I raised my hand for this assignment for a number of personal and professional reasons…My fight on ‘The Ed Show’ has been for the workers and the middle class. This new time slot will give me the opportunity to produce and focus on stories that I care about and are important to American families and American workers.” MSNBC offered a congratulatory statement from Phil Griffin but is not announcing just yet who will take over the slot leading into the channel’s prime time star, Rachel Maddow. Schultz’s program has performed well for the network. On Tuesday, March 12, for example, Schultz came in second to Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly but beat CNN’s Anderson Cooper in most demographics (in Persons 25-54 Schultz grabbed 195,000 to Cooper’s 170,000, according to TVByTheNumbers.com). Schultz also fared better than his lead-in, Chris Matthews. Schultz continues to host his nationally syndicated talk radio program.
Bonneville Seattle Announces Programming Appointments. Vice president and market manager Carl Gardner promotes KIRO-FM news director Pete Gammell to program director for news/talk KIRO-FM; KIRO-FM assistant program director Jason Antebi to PD of sister news/talk KTTH and sports talk KIRO-AM “710 ESPN” program director Brian Long to senior director of programming for the Bonneville Seattle stations. Gardner says of Long, “Brian is a talented programmer and proven ratings winner. He brings experience, focus, and a leadership style that will be invaluable to our content teams on all three stations.” The programming positions opened up when programmer Larry Gifford announced he would be leaving the KIRO-FM and KTTH stations back in early February. On Gammell’s rise to PD, Gardner states, “Pete instinctively understands KIRO Radio. He was born and raised in Tacoma, educated in Seattle, came up through the KIRO Radio newsroom and has been a leader in shaping KIRO’s distinctive blend of news and conversation. More than anyone, Pete just gets the unique role this station plays in our community.” Gammell began his radio career at KIRO Radio in 2000 and moved to San Francisco to work as associate news director at KCBS, San Francisco from 2006 to 2008. Jason Antebi, who will run the day-to-day programming of KTTH and continue in his role as the architect of KIRO Radio Weekends, worked as a producer in Los Angeles at KLSX, KRLA and KFI (2006-08). He served as executive producer at Greenstone Media and as an executive producer of the TRN-syndicated Phil Hendrie show.
TALKERS magazine Unveils the 2013 Heavy Hundred. The editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, present the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America –– a popular annual feature that has come to be known as the “Heavy Hundred.” This is one of the most challenging tasks that TALKERS undertakes each year considering that there are thousands of talk show hosts across the country, ranging from national icons to those laboring in relative obscurity. Aside from the hosts whose sheer numbers and fame demand their inclusion on this list, the selection process is subjective with the goal being to create a list reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor as well as giving credit where credit is due. The TALKERS magazine editors who painstakingly compile this super-list draw upon a combination of hard and soft factors when evaluating candidates. These include (in alphabetical order): courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, ratings, recognition, revenue, service, talent and uniqueness. We acknowledge that it is as much art as science and that the results are arguable. There is one concrete qualification for inclusion. Hosts must be working at the time TALKERS magazine initially posts the list in order to be considered. They must have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station at “press time.” The list remains intact from that point forward until the next year’s edition. In past years, TALKERS magazine has included sports talk hosts in the Heavy Hundred. Last year, due to the massive growth in the sports talk genre, sports talk radio has earned a Heavy Hundred of its own, the 2013 installment of which will be published by TALKERS in the coming months. TALKERS magazine salutes the fine broadcasters who made this year’s list. To view it, click here.
Martha Zoller’s Gettin’ Busy. Georgia talk show host Martha Zoller recently returned to the radio after an unsuccessful run for Congress last year. She’s heard on Cox Media Group’s WGAU, Athens in AM drive with co-host Tim Bryant and – she tells TALKERS – now on about 10 affiliate stations across the state.
KMOX, St. Louis Brings Chris Hrabe in from Memphis for Evening Sports Show. The 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight “Dave Sinclair Sports Hub” has a new host as KMOX brings Chris Hrabe in from Flinn Broadcasting’s WHBQ, Memphis, beginning April 4. Hrabe (pronounced RAY-bee) will host Cardinals and Blues post-game shows in addition to the aforementioned shift. He’ll also be responsible for contributing content to KMOX.com. Director of programming and operations Steve Moore states, “Chris is a terrific addition to our sports team. He’s a talented and accomplished broadcaster, with roots in the Midwest. He’s well versed in Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and his recent career experience has provided him tremendous insight into the Southeastern Conference. Sports fans in St. Louis will be pleased to hear his fresh insights and we are confident he’ll make an immediate impact on our programming.”
Savvy Texas Broadcaster Brings Pontiff Selection to Local Audience. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS about KTBB, Tyler, Texas owner Paul Gleiser’s taking ownership of the new Pope selection story. He writes: Station managers across the US were already coping with ownership demands for digital and social media revenue as two news items this week complicated such planning: Arbitron issued a “Social Media Do’s & Don’ts” memo and the Federal Trade Commission issued guidelines for sponsored social media content. Meanwhile, KTBB, Tyler owner/GM/pundit Paul Gleiser (pictured at left in Vatican City) spent a week in Rome…making money with internet content…in market #142. Full disclosure: Paul is my longtime, long-suffering client; and, admittedly, his coverage of this week’s papal transition hit the ground running because he covered the same story eight years ago. In both cases, he sold the sponsorship to – you guessed it – the local Catholic hospital. And he’s a Methodist! Other local advertisers fund his on-site coverage of the national political conventions every four years, and the full week he and his sports guy spend at the Super Bowl run-up, and other special stuff. Those sponsors get extra bang for their buck when the local TV station Paul also filed for let him plug them on the tube. Win-win-win. All accomplished with equipment in checked luggage, and an assist from ABC News Radio, of which KTBB is an affiliate. See/hear/read what Paul filed from Rome here, and ask yourself “Why not?” What can you craft for advertisers that delivers them, and your listeners, something special?
KINB, Oklahoma City Flips to Sports Talk. The Kingfisher, Oklahoma-licensed FM station had been airing a standards format for the past two years (it was an alternative outlet before that). The station is part of the Last Bastion Trust including other stations Citadel had to jettison in order to complete the 2007 ABC Radio deal. A proposed sale to Ferris O’Brien in 2010 never was consummated and the station’s remained in the trust ever since. The flip from “105.3 The Martini” to “105.3 The Pro” using CBS Sports Radio Network’s programming happened on March 12.
Odds & Sods. Keith Olbermann settles with Current TV over his firing. According to numerous media reports – including The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.com – though the details are confidential, Olbermann and Current TV have settled his $50 million suit against the Al Gore-owned cable network that’s in the process of being sold to Al Jazeera…..Clear Channel’s sports KTKR, San Antonio agrees to renew its deal with the Houston Astros to carry the team’s games during the 2013 season…..Mark Evans moves from adult contemporary WIKY, Evansville, Indiana to sunny San Diego to become the news man on the “Mornings with Chip and LaDona” AM drive show at Clear Channel’s KOGO.
Washington Sequester/Deficit Battle, New Pope Named, North Korea Threats, Upstate New York Shootings, and Gun Legislation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/13). The debate in Washington over the sequester and moves to reduce the budget deficit; Catholic Church names new Pope; ongoing threats by North Korea; fatal shooting rampage in Upstate New York; and gun legislation proposals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Immigration Radio Row Timed to Coincide with Amnesty Bill. The coming talk radio row sponsored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) – set for April 17 and18 in Washington, DC and reported to be the largest ever – will take place at the same time a major amnesty bill is expected to be debated. FAIR tells TALKERS, “Already, 50 talk hosts from across the country are confirmed to broadcast live from Capitol Hill debating immigration reform while interviewing members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border.” FAIR communications director Bob Dane states, “President Obama, the Democrats, business lobbies, and now many misguided Republicans are setting the stage to introduce a major amnesty bill sugarcoated with enforcement just like we saw and defeated in 2007. As before, talk radio will gather to represent the interests of the American public, the constituency perpetually left out of the debate. Americans want existing laws enforced and their jobs protected with mandatory E-Verify. They do not want a protracted battle over a bill that grants amnesty in exchange for promises of border security that this administration cannot be trusted to honor.” For talk hosts who are considering taking part in the radio row, act fast. Dane says that only four slots remain available – one in morning drive, two in midday and one in afternoon drive. Reservations are required and hosts/producers should call now. There is no cost to attend and all technical engineering, ISDN lines and long distance is included. Silver Lake Audio of New York is the official engineering firm for “Hold Their Feet to the Fire.” Congressional guests, activists, high profile media personalities, and immigration experts will be in attendance and available throughout the event for wall-to-wall interviews. Contact event managers Bob Dane or Kristen Williamson at 202-328-7004 for further information and to reserve a broadcast slot.
Courtside Entertainment and Launchpad Digital Founder Norm Pattiz’s New PodcastOne Profiled in the Los Angeles Times. Just a couple of days after announcing his newest venture to the industry – a destination for “the best of the best” called PodcastOne.com – Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz speaks to the consumer world via Steve Carney’s piece in the Los Angeles Times. Pattiz explains his thinking and what differentiates PodcastOne.com from other content aggregators. First, Pattiz says the menu is more limited to about 200 of what they consider prime programming including well-known names like Adam Carolla, Dr. Drew Pinsky and Laura Ingraham. He goes on to say, “What nobody’s done is organize [podcasts] and give them the kind of attention they need to make them a real significant opportunity for advertisers.” The benefit of PodcastOne is his company’s ad sales, promotion, audience research and technical expertise. Pattiz relates research done by Edison that found, “29% of Americans 12 and older had listened to an audio podcast, up from 23% in 2010 and 13% in 2007. Half those listeners were ages 12 to 34, and 38% said they used an iPod, smartphone or other device to listen to digital audio in their cars at least once a week.” This is what is convincing him there is a business model to be developed here. Read the entire story here.
TuneIn Debuts Customized User Experience Function. Audio content aggregator TuneIn announces it is launching “TuneIn Live,” a customized experience allowing listeners to more easily discover the content that aligns most with their individual preferences. The company says this comes “on the heels of a website redesign; a new Trending feature, launched to help TuneIn listeners navigate through the largest breadth of audio content available through one service; and a new integration with Google+, enabling a calendar reminder feature for live events.” TuneIn CEO John Donham states, “Our biggest opportunity has been discovery. We have more than 70,000 radio stations and more than 2 million on-demand programs from around the world, and that’s a lot for anyone to digest. We needed a sophisticated system to do the work for our listeners, not ask them to do extra work in order to personalize their experience. TuneIn Live is a big part of that system.” The service creates a customized experience through rotating tiles that surface relevant music, sports and news happening live, based on individuals’ listening habits and interests. Combined with a new Trending feature, which shares a current feed of the most-listened-to radio from around the world, TuneIn listeners can more easily discover meaningful programming among the millions of listening options on the TuneIn service. Donham continues, “Every day, there are thousands of live events on the radio, from concerts to interviews to sports to a DJ playing a set of songs and, until now, there has never been a way to relay all of this live content to people worldwide. That’s where we’re innovating with TuneIn Live. We’re combing through our millions of listening options from around the world and, for each individual listener, we’re bringing into focus just the stations that mean something to them.”
Sioux Falls News/Talk Outlet Gets FM Signal. Midwest Communications-owned news/talker KELO, Sioux Falls, South Dakota is now heard on KQXL’s 107.9 frequency in addition to its original 1320 AM frequency. The move displaces the oldies format that had been airing on the FM station. Midwest has owned the stations for a little more than six months having acquired the cluster from Backyard Broadcasting in July of last year.
KMOX, St. Louis Personality Mark Reardon Gets Some Love from the Missouri Times. Mid-afternoon talk host Mark Reardon was recently featured in a piece in the Missouri Times that focused specifically on his weekly roundtable discussions that he says he’s patterned to a degree after the old “Politically Incorrect” program hosted by Bill Maher. Reardon tells the publication he enjoys bringing people into the studio at CBS Radio’s KMOX who represent different viewpoints and who can mix it up without being hostile. In fact, Reardon says guests who can’t maintain civility are not asked back on the program. While the program deals with political issues, he underscores that the show is not all about politics, telling the Times it’s not limited to politics and that he wants interesting people, “Look, this is entertainment, but there’s no reason you can’t still learn something and laugh a little bit.” Read the entire piece here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Kevin McCullough show surpassed the 300-affiliate mark (309 to be exact!) and announces the return of the program to SiriusXM as well as the addition of Salem Communications Detroit cluster of WDTK-AM, WLQV, and WTDK-FM as affiliates of the XtreMEDIA syndicated program…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with Chris Markowski adds affiliates KYNS, San Louis Obispo; WHSY, Hattiesburg, Mississippi; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; and KBSZ, Apache Junction, Arizona…..Fox News Radio’s feature commentary from Todd Starnes is now heard on affiliates WOAI, San Antonio and WLOB-AM, Portland, Maine.
Talking Survival on WNDB, Daytona Beach. During the 89th installment of the President’s Speakers Series and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, WNDB talk host Marc Bernier interviewed former Navy Seal sniper, Discovery Channel personality and author Cade Courtley in front of a packed house at the college. Courtley is promoting his new book, SEAL Survival Guide: A Navy SEAL’s Secrets to Surviving Any Disaster. Bernier tells TALKERS that with security issues very much on the minds of Americans, Courtley outlined ideas for how the average person can best survive the unthinkable. The event was also broadcast on WNDB. Photo: Arthur J Byrnes.
KDKA, Pittsburgh Event Benefits Wounded Warriors Project. CBS Radio’s KDKA and station morning host Larry Richert announce that Bruno Sammartino, who will be inducted into the Wrestling Hall of Fame in April, will serve as the keynote speaker at “Larry Richert Honors Hometown Heroes” at the Lexus Club at PNC Park next Thursday, March 7 in a benefit for the Wounded Warrior Project. “Larry’s Heroes” will honor five ordinary individuals in the community who have done extraordinary things. Those being honored are Jamie Holmes for awarding “dream” opportunities to those living with medical conditions; Sergeant Patrick Manning for restoring a youth baseball field in Penn Hills; William R. Neal, Jr. for building programs that aid disadvantaged youth and others in finding employment opportunities; Summer Tissue for her work in sending packages to deployed Soldiers and Marines and Paul Shields for helping his neighbors escape a fire in their home in Ross Township the day after Thanksgiving. Each hero will receive a $1000 donation to a charity of their choice.
Sequestration Battle Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 25-March 1. The Washington fight over sequestration landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories discussed on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was the costs associated with the Affordable Care Act. At #3 was Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to Europe followed by Iran and North Korea nuclear weapons threats at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s chart here.
Is CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle the Next Progressive Talker to Flip? Seattle-based blog Blatherwatch (cool name!) is reporting the WYD Media-produced Stephanie Miller talk show indicated on Monday’s broadcast that CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle would flip from progressive talk after the holidays. No report on what the station may become and the report has not been confirmed by CBS Radio. If this comes to pass, it would be the second West Coast progressive talk outlet to recently shuck the format as Clear Channel’s KPOJ, Portland did Monday (11/12). It’d also be the second progressive talk station that’s been in the format for a relatively long period of time – eight years for each station – and located in “progressive” cities, to change formats.
Stacey Simms to Exit WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. “Charlotte’s Morning News” co-host Stacey Simms announces she will exit the Greater Media news/talk outlet after the December 14 edition of the program due to personal reasons. Simms has co-hosted the show at WBT for 10 years, first with Al Gardner (now in Philly on WWIQ) and currently with Bo Thompson. Simms is a well-known media personality in the market having worked in television news at WBTV-TV before beginning her talk radio career. Senior vice president and market manager Rick Feinblatt says of Simms, “Since 2002, Stacey has been instrumental in the development and success of ‘Charlotte’s Morning News’ and has always displayed the highest level of professionalism and dedication to WBT and all our listeners. We wish Stacey the best as she pursues new opportunities and adventures.”
KFNS, St. Louis Parts Ways with Host Kevin Slaten After Racial Rant. Sports talk host Kevin Slaten wasn’t an employee of Grand Slam Sports – owner of KFNS, St. Louis – rather he brokered the time and sold his own advertising. As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, his contract was cancelled after he went on a rant last Thursday charging African Americans who voted for Barack Obama with being bigoted if they voted for Obama because he’s black. Station manager Katy Pavelonis tells the paper she asked Slaten to take his conversation in a different direction. “The topics of Thursday weren’t homing in on where I want to go.” Slaten was with KFNS previously but was fired from the station in 2008 after putting St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan on the air without informing him the conversation was being broadcast. Speaking of the mixing of sports talk and political talk; WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer has some thoughts on the matter. See the next story…
The Risk of Talking Politics on a Sports Station. The 2012 campaign is behind us but WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer has some thoughts on mixing politics and sports talk that some may want to consider for the next election cycle. Neer says that the very close popular vote in the presidential election – almost a 50/50 split – means it’s possible almost half your audience could disagree with you no matter whom you support, so is it worth “campaigning” for your guy? Neer writes, “A few undecideds may be persuaded by your arguments, but more likely you’ll either be preaching to the choir or turning off the other side. Another unintended consequence is if you show yourself to be poorly informed or blindly biased, it could undermine steady listeners’ trust in your authority when it comes to an area that you know more about — sports.” Read the rest of Richard Neer’s argument for avoiding politics here.
Opinion Piece: Five Trends About to Make a Buck. Noted industry idea man and Sabo Media chairman Walter Sabo offers five companies and concepts that he believes are closing in on what he describes as “the event horizon for making profits.” They include internet radio, Jumpwire Media, kid-targeted tablets (Toys“R”Us), Kickstarter.com, and companies that learn from TMZ. For the juicy details, click here.
Major Development at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago…New Call-in Number. Okay, so it’s not the biggest news to come out of Tribune Tower recently, but mid-morning talk host Mike McConnell played up the announcement of the changing of the station’s 46-year-old call-in phone number dramatically in a bit that surely had a fair number of WGN P1s on the edges of their collective seats. WGN promoted a “change of historic proportions” announcement during morning drive and when it came time for McConnell to break the news, he did so in a dramatic – some might call it melodramatic – fashion, building up to it by reading a list of the names of famous WGN broadcasters who’ve graced the station’s studios over the years. After delivering the punch line – the new call-in number – he explained that the new studios and the change to all-digital equipment required a new phone number as of today (11/13).
St. Louis Talk Hosts in War Over A-List Guests. The kinds of battles that happen between mega-broadcasters like David Letterman and Jay Leno can also happen between local talk radio hosts. The race to get the guest “first” is something most listeners are not aware happens among the hosts at their local media outlets, but St. Louis talk radio fans are learning about an kerfuffle between former station-mates Charlie Brennan at KMOX and McGraw Milhaven at crosstown KTRS (Milhaven previously worked at KMOX). The St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes about how the competition has escalated after Milhaven went public with what he considers Brennan’s unfair play. He points to a memo from publisher Random House’s public relations office regarding a St. Louis appearance by Pulitzer-prize winning author Jon Meacham on December 6 that details the cancellation of Meacham’s appearance on Milhaven’s show due to a conflict with a KMOX live broadcast event at the St. Louis Library and that state’s KMOX’s requirement it be the first radio appearance. Brennan’s Fontbonne University book club has been booking author appearances in the market for some time. Brennan tells the paper, “And it’s only a radio exclusive if the author wants to be a KMOX/Fontbonne University selection, which means the book will get a month’s worth of publicity and anywhere from 400 to 800 book buyers at the club’s monthly meetings…I’m not sure why (Milhaven) is making an issue of it. If he could offer the author a better agreement, I’m sure the author would take it. Then it would be ‘goodbye Charlie.’”
Bonneville Seattle and NFL’s Seahawks Agree to Multi-Year Extension. Bonneville’s KIRO-AM was the original radio partner for the Seattle Seahawks when the franchise joined the NFL back in 1976 and has been its sole partner ever since. Now, Bonneville extends its relationship with the team in a multi-year deal that will have Seahawks games and programming continue on sports KIRO-AM and news/talk KIRO-FM. The deal also includes the two stations’ coverage of Seattle Sounders soccer, which will have the football club’s matches heard on KIRO-FM. Bonneville Seattle Media Group vice president and market manager Carl Gardner says, “After 37 years, fans in the Northwest have come to think of Seahawks Radio and KIRO as one and the same, and we’re proud of that tradition. We also love helping build a new culture and tradition around Sounders FC and Major League Soccer, extending our strong partnership is a win for the fans, for the clubs, and for Bonneville.”
CBS Radio’s Sports WJFK, Washington Improving its Signal. According to Dave Hughes’ DCRTV.com, CBS Radio sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington is getting some engineering attention to help improve its signal. By altering the coverage patterns of two of its adjacent channel outlets WJFK should see improved penetration to the northeast, into DC itself and into Prince George’s County. In order to accommodate WJFK improvement, CBS will move the transmitter for WWMX, Baltimore “Mix 106.5” which will, to a degree, adversely affect its coverage. Over the years, more than one person associated with WJFK has told TALKERS that the sports talk station suffers from signal problems that are limiting its ratings potential.
Timely Guest. WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (l) is pictured here on the stage at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach interviewing U.S. Senator Bill Nelson in the 85th edition of the Town Hall speaker series at the school. Nelson, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, answered questions about the scandal involving former CIA chief David Petraeus before a full house of students and the public.
Petraeus Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Businesses Prepare for ObamaCare, and Post-Sandy Frustrations in New York Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/12). The widening David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell scandal; the Benghazi attack investigation and Petraeus’ role in it; Washington addresses the “fiscal cliff”; American businesses prepare to pay for ObamaCare; and the post-Sandy frustrations still affecting some New Yorkers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Pulls the Plug on Progressive Talk KPOJ, Portland. The conspiracy theories from listeners and progressive talk fans are already pouring in – especially on the Portland-area blogs and mainstream media sites – but the notion that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is flipping KPOJ to sports talk for political reasons and not because of business factors has no basis in reality. According to a piece in the local Willamette Week blog site, KPOJ’s recent 12-plus ratings were around a 1.0 share compared to some of its spoken-word competitors (news/talk KEX and KXL posted a 3.5 share and 5.0 share, respectively). TALKERS is not privy at this time to how well Clear Channel was able to sell KPOJ but it should surprise few in the business that sports content has never been hotter from a consumption standpoint and political talk – whether conservative or progressive – is, from a sales perspective, controversial and therefore a much tougher sell, probably even in a progressive market such as Portland. Local morning talk host Carl Wolfson was gracious in his public statement about the decision saying, in part, “I appreciate the opportunity they gave me for six years to be a voice for progressive causes in our state and nation. I will miss all of my fun friends at work (my excellent producer Paul, remains employed!). I love all of you, my loyal listeners. It has been my honor to give a platform to all of the outstanding groups, volunteers, elected officials and good people who make Oregon so special.” The station, considered one of the nation’s more successful progressive talk outlets for many years, also carried WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann, Premiere Networks’ Randi Rhodes and Mike Malloy.
Fox Sports Radio Takes Over in Portland. Beginning Today, KPOJ, Portland becomes “Fox Sports Radio 620” and carries the full lineup of Fox Sports Radio Network programming that includes “Fox Sports Daybreak,” “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and JT The Brick plus other weekend programming. Clear Channel Portland has the rights to Portland Trailblazers basketball (which airs on sister KEX) and Oregon State Beavers sports and the “Beaver Nation Live” show will continue to air on KPOJ from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily. Operations manager Chris Sargent states, “Combining our rich relationship with the Oregon State Beavers and Portland Trail Blazers, and now Fox Sports Radio, this is a win-win situation for us. We expect the new Fox Sports Radio 620 to serve the community with great access to sports information and entertainment, while setting the standard of sports excellence in Portland.”
Brian Wilson Exits WSPD, Toledo. News/talk pro Brian Wilson leaves Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WSPD, Toledo where he’s been program director, news director and afternoon drive talk host for more than seven years. Wilson has long operated his Vacation Relief Services company and has been a host a such outlets as WABC, New York; KSFO, San Francisco; WRC, Washington; and WGST, Atlanta. Wilson says via his Facebook page: “I am glad to have had the opportunity to preach the gospel of freedom and liberty to Northwest Ohio. Wish I had the chance on the air to say thank you and goodbye to my listeners. I will continue to make every effort to spread the message of free markets and liberty.”
Cox Media Splits WDBO, Orlando Simulcast; AM 580 to Sports Talk. The AM/FM simulcast of news/talk on Cox Media’s WDBO, Orlando ends today as the station takes up the ESPN affiliation and begins airing ESPN Radio’s lineup of nationally syndicated programming including “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” and SVP & Russillo. The move adds another sports talk outlet to the market that already includes Clear Channel-owned WYGM “The Game” the Fox Sports Radio affiliate; Star Over Orlando’s WRSO the Yahoo! Sports affiliate; and Genesis Communications’ WHOO “Sports Talk Florida” the NBC Sports Radio affiliate. WDBO’s full program schedule should be known soon and it’s not clear at this point if the station will air any local sports talk.
Unlocking the Secrets of Twitter. One of the radio industry’s most respected digital consultants offers tips on maximizing the use of Twitter to drive listeners to the station and increase ratings. TALKERS columnist Chris Miller of Chris Miller Digital warns that Twitter is not Facebook‘s “little sister” and should not be treated that way. He says broadcasters can use Twitter to effectively enhance their radio brand by creating a “bulletin service” that promotes one element of upcoming programming and one element only; a “customer channel” that opens a link to a real, live customer serviceperson – a recording; and by creating “mico-targeting” initiatives which separates various factions of the total target audience for very specific aspects of the programming of primary interest to them. Read Chris Miller’s entire piece here.
WABC, New York’s Geraldo Rivera to Broadcast Sandy Relief Program. During his midday show today, Cumulus Media Networks’ talk show host Geraldo Rivera will broadcast live from a Salvation Army post on storm-ravaged Island Park on Long Island in order to raise funds for Hurricane Sandy relief. WABC states, “During the broadcast, singer and actress Katharine McPhee will interrupt filming the next season of her TV show ‘Smash’ to announce that she will match every donation dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000 through her charitable foundation, McPhee Outreach (for a total of $100,000).” McPhee says, “I was looking for the organization on the ground that was doing the most to help Hurricane Sandy victims and I found that to be the Salvation Army.” Rivera will be on the air from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm ET. He says, “There is no one who does more with less than the Salvation Army. I’m hoping that my listeners and sponsors will step up and match the McPhee Outreach’s grant to raise more than $100,000 to help people rebuild their lives in the wake of this weather disaster.”
LFM’s KKFN, Denver Re-Signs Clough. Late-morning talk host Sandy Clough re-ups with Lincoln Financial Media’s Denver sports talker KKFN. The terms of the deal were not announced and Clough’s extending his contract with the station comes shortly after the sports talk outlet re-upped fellow air talent Scott Hastings and Joel Klatt.
Aaron Matthews Named PD at WWSR, Lima, Ohio. Maverick Media fills the program director position at sports WWSR, Lima “93.1 The Fan” with market veteran Aaron Matthews. He takes over for Ryan Reker who exited Maverick’s Lima cluster to become program director at Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne.
Opinion: Talk Radio’s Renaissance Requires Open-Minded Ownership. Talk host and programmer Tom Becka – currently heard on KRWK, Fargo and KOIL, Omaha – says that the post-election reflection on talk radio’s future reminds him of his days as a stand-up comic traveling the country and talking with people whose concerns went far beyond the political process in Washington, DC. “The truth is what is important to most talk show hosts is not important to most people on the street.” Becka says hosts must be broader in their approach and management has to be willing to change. Read his opinion piece here.
Canada’s CRTC Approves New English-Language Talk Station for Montreal. The new English-language talk formatted station won’t hit the airwaves in Montreal until late spring of 2013 but Canada’s broadcasting regulation agency – the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has approved the application for the new station. The company applying for the license is owned by three Montreal businessmen and the outlet will be the sister station to the French-language talk outlet that’s also been approved. The French station will operate at 940 AM – a signal that’s been dark in Montreal for two years. Currently, Montreal is served by Astral Media’s English-language talk outlet CJAD.
Tom Langmyer Exits Tribune’s WGN, Chicago After Eight Years. The vice president and general manager of Tribune’s only radio property – WGN, Chicago – left his position yesterday. Tom Langmyer didn’t comment specifically to TALKERS about the reason for the move but the change appears to have been WGN’s and not Langmyer’s choice. Langmyer joined WGN as general manager in March of 2005 after rising from program director to vice president and general manager of CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis. Now, Langmyer exits after a meeting Monday with Tribune Broadcasting president and CEO Nils Larsen. Langmyer issued the following statement to his staff upon his exit: “I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated the privilege of working with you. WGN is a very special place, and I’m very lucky to have spent nearly eight years as part of it! . . . Looking forward to new challenges ahead!” Like many major market radio stations, WGN has been a turbulent place over the past eight years with four program directors during that time and four different morning drive hosts – not to mention the Sam Zell-engineered takeover of Tribune that brought former Clear Channel radio president Randy Michaels to the helm of the company and the financial trouble that put Tribune into bankruptcy. Langmyer’s departure comes as Tribune nears a long-awaited exit from bankruptcy. There is speculation Tribune will attempt to sell some of its properties and the lone radio station in its portfolio may go “on the block.” As far as management is concerned, director of sales Jeff Hill will serve as general manager in the interim. You can reach out to Tom Langmyer at email@example.com.
New Talk Outlet Debuts in Reno. After eight years of work and a fair amount of resources invested, Shamrock Communications goes live with one of the four FM stations it is building for the Reno, Nevada market. KNEZ-FM “107.3 K-News” features a mostly syndicated lineup consisting of Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish, local talk show host Sean Patrick, and Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries.
Michael Savage Re-Enters National Syndication Tonight. Following a protracted battle to get out of his contract with Talk Radio Network, talk host Michael Savage signed with Cumulus Media Networks to distribute his program. The new syndication effort begins tonight as Savage’s live broadcast time moves to 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.
America’s Radio News Network Names Lori Lundin Mid-Morning Co-Anchor. Talk Radio Network-operated America’s Radio News Network adds news pro Lori Lundin to the 9:00 am to 12:00 pm ET news block as co-anchor alongside Ernie Brown. Prior to joining ARN, Lundin was anchoring mornings nationally on Fox News Radio for over four years. Before that, she was an award-winning reporter on news/talk KFBK, Sacramento. She received the Northern California Radio and Television News Directors Association award for her breaking news coverage while reporting for the station. ARN EVP of news and programming John McCaslin states, “I first heard ARN’s new co-anchor, Lori Lundin when she was anchoring top-of-the-hour and breaking news stories on Fox News Radio. ARN is extremely fortunate to have somebody of her caliber join the team – a news anchor who possesses a rare, unwavering reputation for accurate, complete, and unbiased reporting. Lori Lundin is the exception, not the norm, for members of the Washington Press Corps.”
Business Talk WZAB, Miami Host Sentenced in Pot Growing Case. Edward Woodson, who hosts the 7:00 am to 8:00 am hour on Salem Communications’ business talk WZAB, Miami “880 The Biz,” pleaded guilty to running a marijuana growing operation out of his Miami Shores, Florida home. The 50-year-old lawyer and real estate investor will serve three years’ probation, one of those under house arrest and pay some $25,000 in fines. Woodson brokers the morning drive hour for his program and is not an employee of Salem Communications, but a client.
7 Talk Radio Takeaways from Presidential Debate. Consultant Holland Cooke explains how what is shaping up to be a very close presidential contest – not to mention some hotly contested congressional races – should be played for the “tight game” it is. Holland says, “Smart talk stations promoted debate coverage by reminding that, “IF YOU’LL BE IN THE CAR TONIGHT…” Certainly anyone with the choice would have watched rather than listened. And going forward, it continues to make sense to approach campaign coverage as car radio. Assume that you’re sharing attention.” See more of Holland Cooke’s 7 takeaways here.
Calling in the Experts. Talk host Michael Castner (r) is pictured here with intelligence expert Lieutenant Colonel Tony Shaffer (l) during Shaffer’s visit to The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s studios. Shaffer appeared on “The Daily Wrap from the Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” to discuss the controversial Benghazi attack that took the lives of four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Compass Media Networks Announces College Hoops Schedule. Beginning with the December 6 Vanderbilt vs. Xavier matchup and running through the March 9 Duke vs. UNC game, Compass Media Networks is offering 15 regular season men’s college basketball games this season. The network also has exclusive radio coverage of the Big Ten Conference tournament. Compass says it has an exclusive, multi-year agreement with Learfield Sports – one of the country’s largest broadcast rights holders with colleges and that the deal enables it to pick from among the best games to broadcast (using Compass’ own unique production and broadcast crew); “virtually all basketball games Compass is broadcasting feature top-ranked teams and compelling matchups.” Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann states, “Kudos to our team for selecting such incredible games. From the opening tip to the culmination of our coverage in March as the Big Ten Tournament returns to Chicago, this will be a great season.” See the entire Compass college basketball schedule here.
ESPN’s Dan Shulman Re-Ups. The voice of ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” will continue with the sports media giant after agreeing to a multi-year deal. In addition to Dan Shulman’s role on “Sunday Night Baseball,” Shulman will continue with his play-by-play work for men’s college basketball as well as his ESPN Radio duties calling the post-season games and the World Series. Regarding the 2012 NSSA Sportscaster of the Year, ESPN SVP and executive producer Jed Drake states, “Dan’s one of the most talented and versatile play-by-play commentators in our industry. Dan’s voice has become unmistakable, his storytelling ability is top notch and his penchant for making his colleagues better is an incredible asset to ESPN and to sports fans.” Shulman (r) is pictured here with ESPN’s Doris Burke (l) and Dick Vitale (c).
The Final Presidential Debate, the Latest Poll Numbers, the Continuing Investigation into the Benghazi Attack, Anita Dunn ‘Conflict Issue’ and Lance Armstrong Stripped of Tour de France Medals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/22). The buildup to the final presidential debate before the November 2 election; the latest poll numbers concerning the presidential race; the ongoing investigation of the Benghazi attack that took the lives of four Americans; former Obama Administration communications director Anita Dunn’s controversial status handling PR for firms lobbying the White House; and Lance Armstrong’s being stripped of his seven Tour de France medals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WCHB, Detroit Morning Host Mildred Gaddis Investigated by Federal Authorities. According to a piece in the Detroit News, urban talk WCHB, Detroit morning drive talk host Mildred Gaddis is being scrutinized by federal agents for receiving $75,000 in payments to her ExCel Media company from two former public officials who have been indicted on charges of pocketing public money. Former Highland Park school board member Robert Davis and former Wayne County assistant executive Michael Grundy were regular guests on Gaddis’ program and authorities are investigating whether the two were buying influence through advertising on the station. Invoices to Gaddis’ company indicate the money was for “ads and interviews.” Spokesman Greg Bowens acknowledges firms operated by Davis and Grundy made payments to Gaddis’ company but says they did not receive favorable treatment as a result. The Detroit News quotes media lawyer and Michigan State journalism professor Jane Briggs-Bunting saying, “Ethically, there are big issues but as far as an FCC violation, I don’t see one.”
Pioneering AOR/Talk Program Director Pat Evans Dies. The woman who programmed the first FM station to feature Howard Stern in the morning and album rock the rest of the day, Pat Evans, has died in San Francisco after a two-year battle with lung cancer. Evans came to New York City from her home town of Detroit in 1985 upon being hired by then-Infinity CEO Mel Karmazin to program WXRK (“K-Rock”) where, in addition to working with an outstanding line up of AOR personalities such as Jimmy Fink, Tony Pigg, Meg Griffin, Marc Coppola, Jo Maeder and Maria Malito, she served as one of the first modern era music radio PDs to develop pop culture (“shock jock”) talk in the morning, handling the monumentally historic challenge of working with local AM drive host Howard Stern during his rise to prominence on FM. She later served as PD of the legendary K-FOG in San Francisco and VP of communications at public broadcasting’s KQED in that city. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who worked with Pat Evans in 1989 as co-producers of the ABC Radio Networks mega special “The Official History of Rock and Roll” states, “Pat was an extraordinary human being who has tragically been taken away from us while still in the prime of her life. Her love of radio, its music and personalities, was a powerful inspiration to me and so many others. Her work behind the scenes in facilitating Howard Stern’s early days as an emerging force on the FM dial was a vital component in shaping the course of things to come for decades in this field. She was one of the true greats of our industry.”
Sports Talk Listeners Very Tech-Savvy According to Jacobs Media Study. The results of its Techsurvey 8 indicate sports talk radio listeners are extremely tech-savvy and use digital technology to feed their appetite for sports. Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs states, “Sports radio fans are highly engaged, into gadgets, and especially likely to be connected via Twitter. They know how to access the sports news and happenings they crave and they deftly use the available tools. Radio needs to work hard to be their go-to medium.” Jacobs says the study reveals Twitter is a favorite of sports talk fans and says, “Sports talk fans lead the league for tweeting. Of those who use this platform, more than half follow a sports talk radio station and/or personality on Twitter.” Learn more about the study at JacobsMedia.com.
WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey Personality Jack Ellery Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award for NJBA. New Jersey talk radio personality Jack Ellery has spent close to 50 years of his career at Greater Media’s WCTC, New Brunswick – he started there in 1962 – and he was honored at the recent New Jersey Broadcasters Association conference on June 12 and 13 with the organization’s “Lifetime Achievement” award. Ellery was also one of eight broadcasters to be inducted into the inaugural class of the NJBA’s Hall of Fame.
Pandora Engages Local Newspapers to Sell Ads for its Service. The digital music service is entering into relationships with some local newspapers for a reseller program in which newspaper sales staffs sell ads on the Pandora platform. Papers including the Miami Herald, Salt Lake City Tribune, Tacoma News Tribune and U-T San Diego are working with Pandora on the project. Pandora has always stated one of its goals is to sell locally – something that sticks in the craw of local radio. And although Pandora – with its claims of large listening stats – certainly has the users to back up its presence, unlike radio, the more people who listen, the more Pandora must pay for its content. The service needs to find as much revenue as possible and this deal with local papers is a cost-effective way to get feet on the ground in local markets.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 is honored with two “Best of the Best” awards at the New Jersey Broadcasters Association annual convention. The station was recognized for “Best News” for its 100+ hours of coverage of Hurricane Irene and “Best Public Affairs” for its monthly “Ask the Governor” program…..Heritage St. Louis news/talk KMOX will soon move to new offices as CBS Radio consolidates its three stations – KEZK-FM, WYKY-FM and KMOX into one office in the Park Pacific building in downtown St. Louis. Currently, the two music outlets and KMOX are in separate buildings. KMOX will be the first station to move and should be there by the end of 2012…..SiriusXM announces it will cover every game of the 2012 NCAA College Men’s World Series beginning today through June 24 from TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. America’s Radio News Network adds news blocks to new affiliate WMNI-AM/FM, Columbus…..“Baldwin/McCullough Live” featuring Stephen Baldwin and Kevin McCullough joins stations KCBQ, San Diego; WORL, Orlando; WPNW, Zeeland, Michigan; and KAPE-AM/FM, Cape Girardeau, Missouri…..Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon joins the lineup at WMNI-AM/FM, Columbus…..The Leslie Marshall show joins the lineup at WRJN, Racine, Wisconsin…..Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” is added to the program schedule at WMCD-FM, Statesboro, Georgia; WKBZ, Muskegon, Michigan; WSNJ, Millville, New Jersey.
2012 Presidential Race Returns to Top of Talkers TenTM. The 2012 campaign for president was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio in America for the week of June 11-15 after dropping to #2 last week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Following at #2 was the Russia-Syria arms connection. At #3 was the GOP’s pressure on Attorney General Eric Holder in the ‘Fast and Furious’ case followed by the financial instability in the European Union at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
By Kevin Casey
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — It’s understood by anyone in the radio business that the big news stories of the day – whether they are local or national stories – generate the topics that drive the conversation on news/talk radio. But what are the roles of the newsroom, the reporter and the regular newscasts on today’s news/talk stations? The move of all-news to FM signals, the development of more national and regional radio news products and the addition of newswheel programs to some of the country’s most respected talk stations seem to indicate radio news has received a shot in the arm. But the decimation of many radio news departments that occurred in conjunction with consolidation still affects many radio operations and raises questions about the relevance of news elements to the successful operation of the modern news/talk station.
Merlin Media’s Philly FM Talker Debuts Today. News/talk outlet WWIQ-FM, Philadelphia (licensed to Camden, New Jersey) debuts its morning show today co-hosted by market TV news personality Larry Mendte (pictured here). Former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte morning host (and Philly native) Al Gardner is co-hosting the program with Mendte. Over the weekend Mendte posted a YouTube video promoting the new station being operated by the innovative Randy Michaels and his Merlin Media. In it, Mendte asks Philadelphians to submit suggestions for the new station (ideas used could win the people who submit them Phillies tickets!). He also suggests the current news outlets – other stations, the newspapers and TV are outdated and/or in trouble financially and he believes WWIQ-FM will give listeners what they need. In the video, Mendte is clearly ribbing CBS Radio’s all-news KYW even though he doesn’t mention the company or station by name. See Mendte’s video here. WWIQ-FM has been stunting with wall-to-wall Sean Hannity for several weeks and today it’s believed the station will debut with the morning show, Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. Rush Limbaugh is expected to move over from WPHT soon. Other programming has yet to be announced.
FCC Says “No Go” to Liberty Media’s SiriusXM Takeover Bid. Liberty Media had petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to take “de facto” control of SiriusXM after supplying $530 million to the satcaster in 2009 to help it avoid bankruptcy. But, as SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin said recently, “Forty percent is not the new 50 percent.” Liberty Media owns 40% of SiriusXM as a result of the 2009 deal but the FCC denied its request saying that Liberty’s filing lacked details and rejected its claim for control. During the recent SiriusXM Q1 conference call with analysts, Mel Karmazin stated the company’s relationship with Liberty was not “combative.” Liberty Media has five of the 13 seats on the SiriusXM board of directors.
WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas Names Ben Ferguson Late Morning Host. Cumulus Media’s WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas cut ties with market legend Mark Davis after the two sides were unable to agree on a new contract. Now, Memphis-based talk host Ben Ferguson is named permanent host of the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program. Ferguson had been filling in during the time slot since Davis left the air. He hosts the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm program at Cumulus Media’s WKIM-FM, Memphis and will continue to host that show as well. Additionally, Ferguson is the host of his own nationally syndicated weekend program that is heard on both WKIM-FM and WBAP-AM/FM. Ben Ferguson was the first recipient of the Young American Broadcasters‘ scholarship award given at the TALKERS New Media Seminar several years ago. Ferguson won the award while still in college and, due in part to winning the award, fulfilled his dream of becoming a working radio talk show host.
St. Louis Personality John Carney Joins News/Talk KTRS for Nights. Gateway City radio personality John Carney – son of the late KMOX, St. Louis legend Jack Carney – joins CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS to host the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight program beginning June 4. Carney most recently was a jock at CBS Radio’s crosstown classic hits KEZK-FM – Fresh 102.5 – until he exited that station in April. He also worked at KMOX for 11 years prior to KEZK-FM. Carney’s addition to KTRS comes as the station shuffles its programming. Chicago-based talk host Steve Cochran had been hosting two programs on KTRS – 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm – in addition to his afternoon drive show at WIND, Chicago. Cochran will continue to host the late morning show. John Hadley’s sports talk show slides down to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot and Martin Kilcoyne takes over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show formerly hosted by JC Corcoran.
KTAR-FM, Phoenix and News Director Part Company. Bonneville International and news director Adam Thomas part ways after less than a year together. Thomas joined KTAR-FM in June of 2011 – Thomas moving west from Minneapolis where he’s worked at CBS Radio’s WCCO. Thomas had also worked for Bonneville at KSL, Salt Lake City prior to joining WCCO. Details on Thomas’ exit from KTAR-FM are few but it appears there’s a news director position to be filled in Phoenix.
WTDY, Madison Promotes Amy Barrilleaux. Mid-West Family Stations announces WTDY-AM/FM, Madison afternoon anchor and “Everything@Five” host Amy Barrilleaux is promoted to news director for the station. WTDY-AM/FM program director Rex Charger says, “I am pleased to announce Amy Barrilleaux as WTDY news director. Amy has been instrumental in helping grow our news product and brand and I look forward to her continued leadership in the newsroom. Amy will continue to anchor afternoon newscasts and host ‘Everything@Five.’”
Media Personality Jack Rice Hosts Weekend Talk Program in Twin Cities. Talk media personality Jack Rice – who left the daily talk radio business more than two years ago – returns to a regular talk program with his Sunday morning show on KTNF, Minneapolis airing from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. Jack Rice is a former CIA agent, a practicing attorney in Minneapolis and is regularly seen on such news/talk media outlets as MSNBC, CNN and Al Jazeera offering expert analysis on issues, especially those surrounding foreign intelligence and terrorism. He previously hosted daily talk shows on WCCO, Minneapolis and KOGO, San Diego. His investigative style of talk radio, his travels to the world’s hot spots and willingness to put himself in harm’s way to get the story earned him the Freedom of Speech Award from TALKERS magazine in 2009. Of his new program, Rice states, “I’m very excited to be back on the air on a regular basis. This business gets in your blood and once you’re in, you’re in. And while I recognize the realities of the business, nothing allows for a deep connection with an audience like radio.” Rice tells TALKERS he is exploring the possibility of developing a national program dedicated to international events including terrorism, the economic collapse in Europe, the Chinese economic juggernaut, the drug wars in Mexico and more. He says his experience as a former CIA officer and international journalist give him a unique experience and take on such events.
Dave Ramsey Live in Grand Rapids. Nationally syndicated personal finance talk sensation Dave Ramsey filled the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids on Saturday, May 5 for his “Total Money Makeover Live” event there – more than 8,000 fans attended. Ramsey is heard on news/talk WOOD-AM/FM and Clear Channel Grand Rapids market manager Tim Feagan says, “Having another sellout with Dave is the only way I know of for a news/talk station to touch thousands of our core listeners. Music stations can sometimes do it by owning a concert, but when it comes to the talk format Dave is it!” Pictured here during Ramsey’s visit to Grand Rapids are (from l-r): Feagan, Ramsey, WOOD general sales manager Henry Capogna, and WOOD program director Phil Tower.
Stephanie Miller Riding High on Radio, Live Show and Comedy Record Success. WYD Media Management and Dial Global syndicated progressive talk radio host Stephanie Miller rolls into 2012 surfing the wave of success she began in 2011 using her popular radio show – and social media – to help promote her “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” and the recently released comedy album of the same name that’s topping the charts. With the help of comedian pals John Fugelsang and Hal Sparks – both of whom make weekly appearances on Miller’s Los Angeles-based radio show – the “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” has been selling out shows across the country and grossed more than $1.4 million over the last 12 months. Miller is astounded by the success of the tour and the album. “Last spring when we performed in Madison, Wisconsin to support the recall efforts of Governor Scott Walker we had no expectations that the show would be as well received as it was, let alone set upon a nationwide tour raising money for locally focused progressive causes,” Miller says. The resulting comedy album, released digitally, has been hugely successful. Miller tells TALKERS, “The ‘Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour’ has become the first political comedy album to reach # 1 on the comedy charts for iTunes, Amazon and Billboard, and has remained on the Billboard Comedy Album charts for six weeks since its release in late-December, 2011. The idea of progressive comedy making such a connection to people across America must be causing some serious Republican angina…at least I hope so!” Miller, Fugelsang and Sparks continue to hit the road with the live show stopping at the Orpheum Theatre on Phoenix on February 25 and the Chicago Theatre in Chicago on March 3.
WQAM, Miami’s Sid Rosenberg Back in the News with Alleged Gambling Debt. The Miami Herald is reporting that WQAM, Miami PM drive sports talk host Sid Rosenberg has a gambling debt of more than $44,000 he owes to an offshore gambling operation called www.1betvegas.com. Gossip Extra columnist Jose Lambiet quotes a man named Frank Soviero who says he works for the gambling site – based in Costa Rica – and says he’s been in Miami for two months now trying to collect the debt. Soviero tells Lambiet, “We can’t sue Sid since what we do is illegal in the United States. I’ve tried everything. He comes up with 100 bucks here and there, and he gives me a big hug. It ticks me off because I talked my boss into giving Sid a few chances. And I’ve seen [my boss] do things when he gets mad.” Neither Rosenberg nor WQAM have commented to the paper. Rosenberg was off the air for six weeks prior to the holidays and there was speculation then that he was being punished by the station for trying to repay a gambling debt via plugola – something Rosenberg vehemently denied to TALKERS. Station management also did not confirm the story to local media but only said that Rosenberg was off and would return on January 2, which he did. When asked by TALKERS to specifically clarify why he was off the air during that time, Rosenberg did not reply. Read the Miami Herald story here.
WLW, Cincinnati’s Bill Cunningham Gets Big Network Pickup for TV Show. Tribune Company launched “The Bill Cunningham Show” last September on a number of its O&O TV stations. Now, Tribune announces the show is being picked up by the CW Network and will air in the 3:00 pm ET slot beginning in September. Tribune Broadcasting president of programming and entertainment Sean Compton – one of the few remaining former Clear Channel execs brought to Tribune by Randy Michaels – tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, “Since the launch of ‘The Bill Cunningham Show’ six months ago, the show has exceeded expectations and found a strong voice in the daytime talk landscape…The renewal and expansion of the show to a national platform are a testament to Bill’s staying power.” Kiesewetter reports that Cunnigham’s TV show is more popular in New York, Chicago, Miami and Dallas than it is in his hometown of Cincinnati. While taping the show, Cunningham does his WLW program from studios in Manhattan.
Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside Exit WOW-FM, Des Moines After Five Weeks. The duo moved over to the news/talk sister station from Cumulus Media Group’s classic rock KGGO-FM in January after 13 years as a duo in morning drive there. But after just five weeks hosting the AM drive show on 98.3 WOW (KWQW-FM), Sipolt and Burnside surprised their listeners with an 8:40 am announcement on Friday, February 10 that they were leaving local radio to pursue other interests. Sipolt does a motorsports talk show on Fox Sports Channel. Burnside isn’t saying what she’ll do next.
Fox Business Network Drops Three Prime Time Shows; Will Replay Early Evening Programs. The four- and a half-year-old Fox Business Network cancels the three prime time shows airing between 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm ET – “Freedom Watch,” hosted by Andrew Napolitano; “Power & Money” with host David Asman; and “Follow the Money” with Eric Bolling – and will re-air its 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm programming. The move puts what Fox execs consider their top personalities on in prime time: “The Willis Report” with Gerri Willis; “Cavuto” with Neil Cavuto; and “Lou Dobbs Tonight” hosted by Lou Dobbs. David Asman co-hosts the 4:00 pm “After the Bell” program and will continue in that role while Eric Bolling remains in his role on Fox News Channel co-hosting “The Five.” Fox executive vice president Kevin Magee states, “Neil Cavuto, Lou Dobbs and Gerri Willis are the most trusted names in business news, and this new lineup affords Fox Business viewers additional access to their no-nonsense take on the day’s financial events.”
Talk Show Hosts Wow 275 at American Jewish University Panel. Approximately 275 avid talk radio fans showed up for a two-hour panel discussion held Sunday (2/12) afternoon at American Jewish University in Bel-Air, California. Moderated by veteran Los Angeles broadcaster Bill Moran, the panel featured Bill Handel and Bill Carroll of KFI, Los Angeles; Patt Morrison of KPCC, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Broadcasting; and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. The fast-paced discussion blended a spectrum of hot topics in the news – everything from health care to Israel/Iran tensions to social media to Whitney Houston – plus behind-the-scenes radio shop talk and ended with a spirited question and answer session with the audience. This was the fifth annual installment of this panel, one of AJU’s most popular events in its outstanding speakers series.
Salem Radio Network and Radio America Reach News Service Deal. A pact between Dallas-based Salem Radio Network and Washington-based Radio America is being struck that will make SRN News the exclusive top- and bottom-of-the-hour news service distributed by Radio America. This move adds some 400 Radio America affiliates as potential carriers of SRN’s news product. SRN president Greg Anderson states, “The potential of adding up to 400 Radio America affiliates to our roster of almost 1,300 current SRN News affiliates is very exciting for us. We look forward to a great partnership with Radio America and their affiliates in the days ahead.” Radio America COO Mike Paradiso comments, “SRN News is a great fit in our lineup of talk programs and will serve our 400-plus stations well in this election year. We’re excited to be partnering with SRN on this venture.”
Blue Star Media Promotes Jon Patch to VP of Affiliate Sales. Jon Patch has been with Blue Star Media Group’s Business TalkRadio Network and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network for the past 15 years serving in numerous capacities, most recently working in affiliate sales and hosting the 21 year-old talk radio show “Talkin’ Pets.” Now, Blue Star ups Patch to vice president of affiliate sales for the organization. Patch says, “I believe in working with our stations as partners and offering the best service possible since, by keeping them happy, it in turn keeps the hosts, listeners and all others involved satisfied and happy as well.”
Bonneville’s Arizona Sports Enters into Marketing Agreement with University of Phoenix. Bonneville International’s Phoenix-based sports media initiative – Arizona Sports – agrees to a broadening of its relationship with University of Phoenix that includes the naming rights to the Arizona Sports studios. Bonneville describes Arizona Sports as “a first-of-its-kind sports marketing and media super brand encompassing all of Bonneville Phoenix sports media properties including: Arizona Sports 620 KTAR-AM, Arizona Sports.com, Arizona Diamondbacks baseball, Arizona Cardinals football, Phoenix Suns basketball, Arizona State football and men’s basketball, ESPN radio, AIA and the Fiesta Bowl.” Bonneville Phoenix VP of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says, “Bill Pepicello (University of Phoenix president) and his entire team have been a great partner of ours for many years. We’re excited that – from “Mike and Mike in the Morning” to “Doug and Wolf” on the drive home – all of our shows will now be broadcast from the University of Phoenix Studios.”
CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles Continues “On Your Corner” Series in Culver City. The CBS Radio Los Angeles all-news outlet will broadcast live from the Culver Hotel in Culver City on Friday, March 9 as part of its series that provides an “in-depth look at Southern California’s diverse communities.” The day’s broadcasts will include civic and business leaders, along with colorful personalities connected to Culver City’s rich history and revitalization who will be featured guests as the city marks its 95th anniversary. Additionally, a business mixer open to the public beginning at 5:00 pm will culminate the day’s events. A special luncheon for invited business leaders will be hosted by Frank Mottek prior to his KNX Business Hour broadcast.
KMOX, St. Louis Holds Spring Training Correspondent Contest. In conjunction with sponsor Lindenwood University, CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis is conducting a contest to give one lucky winner a spring training correspondent position alongside sports director Tom Ackerman in Jupiter, Florida. The winner gets an all-expenses-paid trip and will perform on-air and online Spring Training reports. The station has been holding open auditions for the past month. Nearly 200 people auditioned and 10 finalists have been announced. Listeners to KMOX can vote on their favorite through February 21.
WTOP, Washington Expands Multi-Platform News Operation; News and Programming Pro Laurie Cantillo Named to Newly Created Program Director Position. Former WABC, New York program director Laurie Cantillo joins Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington where she’ll work closely with vice president of news and programming Jim Farley for the organization that is also announcing the expansion and restructuring of its news and broadcasting staff. In a statement, WTOP explains, “One of the primary reasons for the new structure is to redefine the news workflow. Instead of the traditional model which takes broadcast content and tries to fit it into a digital hole, WTOP’s strategy will focus on the creation of news stories at the beginning of a process. A story’s execution will be determined at its origin. It will then be optimized for all the distribution platforms WTOP offers: radio, web, Facebook, Twitter and mobile. In addition to Cantillo joining the organization, other staff changes include: Current director of digital operations John Meyer moving into the newsroom as the architect of the social and digital strategy as it comes together with the current broadcast operation; current news director Mike McMearty becomes senior news director; assistant news director Mitchell Miller is upped to news director; Mike Gartell is now managing editor; Gary Emerling is named senior digital editor; and Darci Marchese becomes executive producer. Jim Farley states, “We will now have both a digital editor and a radio editor working together 24/7. No other radio station in America does this. And we are not just talking the talk; we are hiring more people, re-evaluating everything we do and making the necessary changes no matter how sacred or ingrained. The future is digital and WTOP will be the leader heading into that future.” Regarding Laurie Cantillo’s joining the WTOP operation, Farley says, “Laurie is one of the best, most-admired and well-liked program directors in America. She has solid news credentials, a great track record of ratings success in major markets and a great understanding of the power and potential of digital and social media.”
NPR Uses Grant for Digital Media Training and Multi-Platform News. Through a $1.5 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, NPR is expanding its training initiatives to increase the use of digital tools both at NPR member stations and in the NPR newsroom. According to NPR, “Building on successful training piloted by NPR a few years ago, the grant provides for the development of extensive training for more than 70 local public radio stations. Topics include strategies to build multi-media news operations, writing for the web, photography and the role of social media in newsgathering. These resources will dramatically improve the ability of participating stations to broaden and deepen their news production and better serve both new and existing audiences. The grant will also fund digital coaches for NPR journalists.” NPR chief executive officer Gary Knell says, “NPR is a major force in media today, helping more than 34 million people make sense of what is going on in the world. These digital training resources will ensure that NPR and hundreds of member stations nationwide continue to pioneer the use of new technologies to connect with new and existing audiences.”
Standard & Poor’s Downgrades CC Media Holdings on Long-term Debt Concerns. Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Michael Altberg states that softening ad demand and the uncertain global economy may slow the growth of revenue for Clear Channel’s parent company and while the ability to pay the debt that comes due in 2012 and 2013 isn’t seen as a problem, the notes that mature in 2014 and 2016 are bigger issues. The company faces secured and unsecured debt maturities of $2.9 billion in 2014 and $12.3 billion in 2016. S&P notes CC Media Holdings is considered highly leveraged and that could negatively affect its ability to re-finance before those debts come due. When that time comes, anyone looking to buy a radio station might find opportunity in what could potentially be the biggest fire sale selloff of sticks in recent history.
CBS Local Digital Media Partners with Examiner.com for Content Creation. The network of websites and mobile apps that make up CBS Local Digital Media is entering into a content creation relationship with Examiner.com to produce unique content for CBS’ locally targeted properties in more than two dozen major markets across the country. Examiner.com is a leading online publisher featuring local expertise from over 85,000 contributors, known as Examiners. The lifestyle content created through this partnership is described as “‘Best Of’ guides and ‘Top Spots’ lists covering a range of topics including arts and culture, shopping, food and drink, nightlife and music, as well as travel and outdoors.” CBS Local Digital Media president Ezra Kucharz states, “Over the course of the past 18 months we’ve built a platform that quickly garnered interest from millions of users searching for the best local news, information and entertainment. Taking our vision one step further by working with a stable of contributors with expertise in their field will greatly enhance the audience’s experience. This is not just about telling you where to go and what to see – it’s providing ‘insider access’ to a city you may be visiting or have lived your whole life that you can’t get anywhere else.”
Dr. Joy Browne Appears on TALKERS TV. She is by far the most successful psychology and relationships talker on radio in America. WOR Radio Network star Dr. Joy Browne is interviewed by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey at the seventh annual “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row designed to raise consciousness about domestic violence and teenage dating abuse presented recently by TALKERS and Talk Radio News Service in conjunction with corporate sponsor Liz Claiborne, Inc. The event was held in the showroom at the Midtown Manhattan headquarters of the fashion company. Browne candidly discusses the state of relationship talk radio’s place within the news/talk playing field and explains the connections between psychology and all the hot issues discussed within the genre. To view this not-to-be-missed video, see TALKERS TV at the right on this page.
Glenn Beck’s GBTV Takes Over “Apocalypse” Reality Show. The program was once called, “Apocalypse, PA” when it ran on the History Channel last year but on Beck’s online venture GBTV it will be called, “Independence USA.” It follows Frank Belcastro and his family as they prepare to survive in a post-apocalyptic world by such means as devising a car that runs on wood instead of gasoline, becoming expert hunters and creating his own alcohol for barter when the money system collapses. According to TVNewser, the program debuts on January 18 with new episodes every Wednesday. It is the first reality show to become part of Beck’s GBTV where his own daily TV program is seen.
KFI, Los Angeles Debuts New Food Show with Neil Saavedra in January. The program is called, “The Fork Report,” and will have its premier airing on Saturday, January 7 hosted by KFI’s Neil Saavedra. The station says, “‘The Fork Report’ will be a food show like no other food show, delving into all things edible. The show will run the food gamut from local restaurants to kitchen gadgets, interviews with chefs to food news (like recalls, new products). If you can eat it or it’s a gizmo to help you prepare it…Saavedra talks about it.” Saavedra also hosts the KFI-based and Premiere Networks syndicated “Jesus Christ Show” and serves as the director of marketing for the Clear Channel station.
Katy Pavelonis Named VP of Sales at Grand Slam Sports. The St.Louis-based sports media company operates KFNS, St. Louis, KFNS.com, St. Louis Sports Magazine, Grand Slam Sports Promotions, SportsRadio 1380 and SportsRadio1380.com. Katy Pavelonis previously served as VP/director of sales at CBS Radio’s St. Louis cluster that includes news/talk KMOX. On her new position, Pavelonis states, “I am excited about starting with Grand Slam Sports. Having sold Cardinal baseball, Blues hockey and University of Missouri products in the past, I know how passionate the sports fans are here and how supportive the local advertising community can be for local sports. Marketing the incredible media mix that Grand Slam Sports provides to those advertisers is something I am very much looking forward to.”
NTSB Cell Phone Ban, 2012 Presidential Race, Payroll Tax Cut Issue and Iraq Troop Withdrawl Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14). The National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation that no personal electronic devices be allowed to be operated by motorists in the U.S., the GOP race to challenge President Obama in the 2012 election, Congressional leaders’ work to deal with the budget deficit and the payroll tax cut issue plus the withdrawl of U.S. troops from Iraq were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.