Talk Radio Network Signs Sun Broadcast Group as Rep Firm. Boca Raton, Florida-based Sun Broadcast Group and Talk Radio Network agree to have the former provide national advertising sales representation and assist in station affiliation for all products of Talk Radio Network effective immediately. Sun CEO Jason Bailey says, “In this day of safe, personality-driven radio, the stable of talent that TRN continues to expand is something we are very proud to present to our agency partners. From new entertaining talk products to amazingly produced long-form news, I believe the iconic brands that have put their faith and trust in Sun over these last several years will be excited to become part of this new direction in network programming.” Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters states, “We look forward to a long and prosperous alliance with Sun Broadcast Group. Jason and his team understand what it takes to succeed in radio today. We are pleased that our products will be well represented with Sun as we continue to grow each and every one of the TRN companies.”
Clear Channel Simulcasts New Hampshire News/Talk Outlets. With the arrival of New Hampshire news and talk pro Jack Heath for mornings at WGIR, Manchester and WQSO, Rochester-Portsmouth, New Hampshire two weeks ago, the stations are now a complete simulcast and WQSO re-brands as “News Radio 96.7” It had been branded “96.7 The Wave.” Heath joined the stations from WTPL, Concord, New Hampshire where he’d been for the past five years.
KOGO, San Diego Moves LaDona Harvey to AM Drive with Chip Franklin. Early afternoon talk host LaDona Harvey moves to the AM drive show alongside Chip Franklin at Clear Channel’s news/talk KOGO, San Diego. Taking Harvey’s place in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot is evening host Bob “Sully” Sullivan.
Odds & Sods. Omaha talk show host Tom Becka, who recently returned to the market at NRG Media’s KOIL after a year heading up an FM talk station in Fargo, is profiled in the March/April edition of Omaha Magazine…..WGN, Chicago “Noon Show” host Carol Roth is hired by cable business news/talk network CNBC as a regular on-air contributor. Roth says she will contribute written pieces for CNBC.com. She will continue her role at WGN…..Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee brings Jon Meerdink aboard as a news reporter. He comes to Brew Town Bliss Communications’ Janesville, Wisconsin stations.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises $375,000 at “Golden Mike Award” Ceremony. The Broadcasters Foundation of America raised $375,000 to help broadcasters in need at the BFoA 2013 Golden Mike Award ceremony honoring David J. Barrett, chairman and CEO of Hearst Television, Inc at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on Monday evening. The event was hosted by legendary sports broadcaster and voice of the San Francisco Giants Jon Miller. Joining him as presenters were popular media personalities Steve Harvey and Dr. Mehmet Oz along with Barrett’s son Casey, former president and CEO of Post-Newsweek Stations. Also taking part were 2011 Golden Mike winner Alan Frank and Hearst Television president Jordan Wertlieb. Ellen DeGeneres provided some laughs via a video presentation, as did Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan. Singer Darlene Love provided entertainment. Pictured here are (from l-r): Phil Lombardo, chairman, Broadcasters Foundation of America; Steve Harvey; Jim Thompson, president Broadcasters Foundation; Dr. Mehmet Oz; Darlene Love; 2013 Golden Mike Award Recipient David J. Barrett and Jon Miller. The Broadcasters Foundation has provided millions of dollars in aid to colleagues who lost their livelihood through a catastrophic event, debilitating disease, or unforeseen family tragedy. Individual membership is only $150 a year. Donations also can be made to the Guardian Fund, and corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative. For more information, to apply for a grant, or to make a contribution, please visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org or call 212-373-8250.
Dan Patrick Show at Buffalo Wild Wings. KLAC, Los Angeles “AM570 Fox Sports LA” listeners and DIRECTV viewers turned up nearly 2,000-strong to meet sports media personality Dan Patrick and the cast of his DIRECTV/Fox Sports Radio program at Buffalo Wild Wings in Huntington Beach, California on Saturday, February 23. Fans lined up to meet Patrick and the Danettes, who spent three hours shaking hands, taking photos, and signing memorabilia during the event. Attendees were treated to the restaurant’s infamous wings and Patrick even stepped behind the bar to serve a few drinks. Patrick is pictured here posing with the staff of the restaurant.
Sequestration Battle, Manti Te’o Gay Controversy, ICE Undocumenteds Release, BP Civil Trial, and Cannibal Cop Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/27). The Washington PR battle over the looming sequester; the issue of football star Manti Te’o and homosexuality in pro sports; the release of undocumented aliens in response to the sequester; the BP civil trial; and the cannibal cop case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Old Pals. KIDO, Boise morning show host Kevin Miller (right) poses for a shot with HLN star Nancy Grace (left). Miller has contributed to Grace’s program over the years and had the opportunity recently to catch up with her.
Broad Cuts at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Claim Talk and Sports Staffers. The end-of-the-year cuts taking place within Clear Channel is claiming numerous people in the programming end of the company’s radio stations. Some of the talk and sports personnel who’ve been let go include: Eric Chase, afternoons at sports WDFN, Detroit; Rich (Michaels) Minaya, afternoons, talk WIOD, Miami; Josh Sabrowsky, producer, sports KJR-AM, Seattle; Mike Morris, morning co-host, sports KFXN, Minneapolis; Don Ayers, morning producer, talk KOGO, San Diego and Jeff More, afternoon producer, KOGO; Steve Versnick, program director, talk WFLA, Tampa, and sports WDAE, Tampa; Catherine Brown, program director, talk WTKS, Orlando; “Bull,” midday producer, WTKS; and “Cabin Boy,” nights, WTKS. This list is not necessarily complete as more reports of affected industry people are still coming in. We’ll continue to update this list as more information becomes available.
Day 2 from the Arbitron Client Conference. Radio consultant Holland Cooke covered the two-day Arbitron Client Conference for TALKERS that concluded yesterday (12/6). Three points that dominated yesterday’s discussions and presentations are – as Cooke describes them – scary talk about in-car, straight talk about sports, and plain talk about politics. Read Holland Cooke’s report from Annapolis here.
Entercom’s WEEI, Boston Names Kevin Winter AM Drive Sports Anchor. When Jon Meterperel left the Dennis & Callahan morning drive show on Entercom’s WEEI, Boston earlier this fall to pursue his play-by-play career, that opened up a prime sports anchor/on-air role at the sports talk giant. Now, Entercom announces Massachusetts native Kevin Winter will serve in that role. Winter worked at the crosstown Boston ESPN affiliate and has served in a variety of studio host capacities including national SportsCenter anchor for all ESPN Radio shows including “Mike and Mike in the Morning.” Additionally, he has been the pre- and post-game host for ESPN’s coverage of college football and basketball. He says, “I’m very grateful and excited for the opportunity to join WEEI, particularly ‘Dennis and Callahan.’ This opportunity presents new and exciting challenges for me and I’m anxious and ready to get started. I’m coming home!”
Rush Limbaugh’s Two If By Tea Initiative Raises More than $1 Million for Charity. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Rush Limbaugh announces the charitable efforts of his Two If By Tea product initiative have surpassed his goal of $100,000 by 10 times, with $1 million going to charities including the Marine Corps – Law Enforcement Foundation. Limbaugh, who started the tea company with his wife Kathryn in June of 2011, says, “We ran the numbers, and we are thrilled to announce that because of you, Two If By Tea has donated over $1 million in product and monetary donations to incredible causes.” Limbaugh says in starting the tea company he wanted to create an American business. “I personally wanted to experience firsthand all of the requirements, the licenses, the fees needed to take a product to market from nothing. Our goal was to create jobs and manufacture with all American-made products in a fun, unique way.”
Steve Deace Show Hits 50-Affiliate Mark. The Iowa-based Steve Deace program announces it has hit the 50-affiliate goal in its first year in national syndication. With the addition of KXBR, Duluth; KVOI, Tucson; and WYAB, Jackson, Mississippi, Deace’s independently syndicated evening talk show (9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET) climbs to the 50-station plateau. Deace left his position at Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines (the station that remains his flagship affiliate) to pursue his goal of national syndication success. He states, “I am honored and humbled to have achieved such success in such a short time. When I left the award-winning and legendary WHO last year to find out what other opportunities were out there, I had no idea this was possible.”
Jeff Schechtman Steps Down at Wine Country’s KVON and KVYN, Napa, California. With the possible sale of the news/talk and hot AC duo on the horizon, Wine Country Broadcasting owner Roger Walther and general manager Jeff Schechtman jointly announce Schechtman will step down from his role as GM in January to pursue other opportunities. Schechtman states, “Ten years is a long time in any one job, and with the possible potential sale of the station, it seems an ideal time to move on to pursue some projects I’ve been thinking about for quite some time. There is always a tendency to get stale after too long in one job and in one place.”
Gow Communications Closes on KFNC, Houston. Sports talk station 97.5 The Ticket has been operated by David Gow’s Gow Communications under an LMA since September. Now, the company closes on the station it purchases from AR Broadcast Holdings for $5 million.
CBS Sports Radio Names Chris Moore and Brian Jones Evening Hosts. The national sports radio network CBS Radio will debut on January 2 has been fitted with the final piece of the programming puzzle. Hosting the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET slot will be veteran play-by-play announcer and talk host Chris Moore and former NFL player and current CBS Sports Network analyst Brian Jones, who have been named as co-hosts of CBS Sports Radio’s evening show. Their program will emanate from CBS Sports Radio’s New York City studio in Tribeca and will be heard on several stations, including WIP-AM, Philadelphia, WFOM, Atlanta, WXYT-AM, Detroit, WJZ-AM, Baltimore, KJQS, Salt Lake City and WSJZ, Orlando.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 3-7. The political fight in Washington over how to avoid the “fiscal cliff” was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the third straight week. Coming in at #2 was Syria’s chemical weapons threat. At #3 was the Egypt Morsi protests and following at #4 was the looming ObamaCare costs. 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. See this week’s complete chart here.
Tribune Gets FCC Cross-Ownership Waivers; Chicago Market Granted Permanent Waiver. The Federal Communications Commission granted the cross-ownership waivers in five markets that the media company needs to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In a statement, Tribune CEO Eddy Hartenstein says, “We are extremely pleased with today’s action by the FCC. This decision will enable the company to continue moving forward toward emergence from Chapter 11, a process we expect to complete over the course of the next several weeks.” The commission granted a permanent waiver in Chicago while allowing one-year waivers in Los Angeles, New York, South Florida and Hartford. Technically, the one-year waivers in the four markets cited mean Tribune will have to sell either its newspaper or broadcast outlets there within the year but the FCC is working on loosening the restrictions against cross-ownership in the top 20 media markets and industry observers seem to believe the change will take effect soon. The permanent waiver in Chicago means Tribune is not necessarily forced to sell a media outlet – many suspected its lone radio property news/talk WGN would be the first to go on the block. However, what Tribune’s plans are after it exits bankruptcy are unknown and a sale of WGN, Chicago and/or any of its newspaper and TV holdings are a distinct possibility.
Arbitron Releases Report Clearly Showing Increase in Radio Listenership During Super Storm Sandy. Radio listening data released by Arbitron for the New York Metro during hurricane Sandy shows how strong radio listening is during a natural disaster and the ability for radio to keep communities informed even when the power goes out. The report provides data for the entire New York Metro as well as a breakout of counties hardest hit by the storm as it made landfall during the evening of Monday, October 29. It shows a 70% general increase in listening as the storm hit the coast and an even greater percentage of increase along the coastal communities hardest hit. When the lights went out, when TV and desktop PCs were no longer available, many New York area residents turned on their battery powered radios. Many radio stations along the path of the storm, regardless of their regular format, revamped their programming to provide their listeners with weather updates, news and emergency information. In the wake of the storm, radio remained an information lifeline to the residents of New York, particularly in the coastal areas of the market. Average radio listening on Tuesday, October 30 in New York was 1,525,500 persons in any given quarter hour between 6:00 am and 12:00 midnight, up 8% from 1,406,700 persons 6-plus the week before. The average audience in the NY coastal communities (Monmouth, Fairfield SN, Nassau-Suffolk, Staten Island and Middlesex) totaled 670,200 on the Tuesday (6a-Mid) following landfall (10/30) which is 38% higher than the average of all Tuesdays year to date. The Average in the NY coastal communities (Monmouth, Fairfield SN, Nassau-Suffolk, Staten Island and Middlesex) totaled 651,200 on the Wednesday (6a-Mid) following landfall (10/31) which is 35% higher than the average of all Wednesdays year to date. For full details on this important story click here.
Clear Channel Ends FM Simulcast on KOGO, San Diego. The former country outlet “U.S. 95.7” flipped to a simulcast of Clear Channel’s news/talk KOGO, San Diego a year ago. Now, that ends with the FM side going all Christmas music and the word on the street is that after the holidays the station will return to a music format of some sort. Adding an FM signal to a news/talk station – especially a venerable one such as KOGO – generally gives the station a ratings boost. It appears that hasn’t been the case with KOGO and Clear Channel San Diego management must see an opening in the music landscape it’s willing to target. We’ll see where it goes after the holidays.
KSCJ, Sioux City Talk Host Randy Renshaw Retires. Talk show host and newsman Randy Renshaw retires from his long-time gig at Powell Broadcasting’s KSCJ, Sioux City, Iowa. Renshaw has been with the station twice – the first time back in 1983. He tells the Sioux City Journal that turning 62 on November 18 was a good reason to end his radio career and that he’d been contemplating retirement since age 55. In addition to news duties, Renshaw hosted the 8:00 am to 11:00 am “Open Line” program. With his departure, Mark Hahn takes over hosting the local talk show.
How to Get a Radio Brand-Building Website. TALKERS columnist and noted digital radio consultant Chris Miller serves up a new article offering powerful tips on how radio web designers can create sites that contribute toward building their station’s or program’s brand without distracting from it or diluting it. He covers the process on four basic but vital fronts: layout, content, graphics and interaction. Miller asks, “What’s the difference between your site and Google, YouTube and Facebook?” He states, “Those sites have a clear reason for being, and clean, well-organized content.” He strongly suggests, “Get your page looking more Facebookish, or YouTubeEsque, and you’ll go a long way toward building your website numbers.” Miller offers some nuts-and-bolts actions to get more people back more often and clicking on more content. Read the entire article here.
Opinion: Talk Radio Must Expand Beyond Politics to Survive. Nationally syndicated talk show host Doug Stephan responds to the effects of the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke incident and the recent news involving Dial Global and its citing Limbaugh’s comments in a SEC filing. Stephan says the March incident has cost him “hundreds of thousands of dollars” and that the industry must do a better job of convincing agencies and advertisers that all talk radio should not be lumped together. Read Stephan’s piece here.
Filling in This Week. At Tribune’s WGN, Chicago, longtime St. Louis radio veteran and Chicago native JC Corcoran fills in on Garry Meier‘s PM drive slot on the station on Wednesday and Thursday. He’ll also sub for WGN’s Mike McConnell on Monday, November 26. Corcoran can be reached at email@example.com.
Lotus Communications Donates $50,000 to Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club. The cash donated to the Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club was not a fundraiser of contributions from listeners but a gift from Spanish sports talk KWKW, Los Angeles owner Lotus Communications. The station recently launched a major partnership with the Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club. After KWKW’s community service personnel learned that the Club was in desperate need of funds in order to provide after school programs, station management decided to step in with a $50,000 check. The money wasn’t raised by listeners. Station president James Kalmenson decided to make a difference in the community KWKW serves by adding a line item to its operating budget. “One of the founding principles of our company has been to be of service to our community. As a result of the donation, the Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club was able to greatly expand its services for the local community. Word quickly spread and the attendance immediately tripled and continues to thrive today.” KWKW has also launched a PSA campaign this month that will continue throughout 2013. Additionally, the station will sponsor the Club’s annual Thanksgiving Dinner, which typically feeds more than 300 people. In December, KWKW will donate 500 toys to the Club’s Christmas Toy Drive. They’ll also broadcast live at the Club on December 7 to encourage people to drop off toys, all of which go to children ages 2-16 at the Club’s annual Christmas event. KWKW personalities Armando Aguayo, Mario Amaya, Halim Zadat and Erika Garza will attend both the Thanksgiving and Christmas events. Pictured here with kids from the club are KWKW PD/OM Juan Rodriguez (l) and KWKW president James Kalmenson (r).
How news/talk radio stations can take ownership of breaking news events
By Kevin Casey
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — News/talk stations covering breaking news have a challenge in this era of shrinking news departments and pared-back staffs. In order to be the place to which people turn for coverage of breaking news and then the talk about the news, stations must have a pre-planned approach and use their people creatively in order to compete for the consumer’s attention. With the recent case of the Aurora shootings last month, stations beyond Denver woke up to a major breaking story from out of market that was the only thing people were talking about that morning.
The Rolodex of the well-run news room can help the station respond to such complex cases where gun law experts, psychology practitioners, crime experts and others are used by stations to bring local analysis to the story. How stations prepare for and execute coverage of breaking news and the talk about that news determines how “on top of the story” a station and its talk hosts sound.
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.
No-Holds-Barred Opinion: WDAE, Tampa Morning Sports Talk Phenomenon Dan Sileo Says Your Show Is About You! According to Dan, too many sports talk hosts are putting bad callers on the radio, conducting long, boring interviews and emulating bad radio. He boldly proclaims the best thing a host can do is listen for bad radio, recognize it for what it is and make sure you’re NOT doing it on your show. Read more here.
KOGO-AM/FM, San Diego Adjusts Program Schedule; Bryan Suits Exits Station and Chris Merrill Comes Aboard. Talk show host Bryan Suits had been hosting the midday show from Seattle and he tells his fans via his Facebook page that he and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment could not agree on the terms to bring him back to Southern California in order to move into the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program slot so they’ve parted ways. The new lineup is LaDona Harvey from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Chris Merrill from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Bob “Sully” Sullivan from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Merrill’s “The Voice of Merrill” show airs on Entercom’s KMBZ, Kansas City daily from 9:00 am to 11:00 am.
Plans Being Set for 15th Annual New Media Seminar. Full details will be announced later this week, as TALKERS prepares to announce plans for the 2012 installment of the talk industry’s longest running and most important national conference. According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “This next conference will be extremely innovative – not just in content, but structure as well — and will be specifically geared to the nature of these economically challenging times. All I can say at this moment is it will again take place in New York City in early June – but this version of the event will be a significant departure from and improvement over traditional radio business conferences in terms of accessibility to the hard-working folks of our industry. Stand by!”
Stitcher Integrates News and Talk Programming with Facebook’s Timeline Feature. Stitcher is an app that allows iPhone and iPad users to listen to news and talk audio content in much the same way Pandora does for music. Stitcher says users have access to more than 6,000 programs and podcasts ranging from talk titans like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to news from CNN and NPR. Now, according to CNET, Stitcher has integrated with Facebook’s Timeline feature which essentially allows Timeline users to see what their friends are listening to. Stitcher CEO Noah Shanok tells CNET this means the ability to discover new programs and share favorites with friends has become even easier. “We have a huge selection of NPR content but there’s other content like NPR that you might like that could be exposed through a social integration and viewing the listening habits of a friend who you know has similar habits as you do.”
Clear Channel Media Holdings Reports 2011 Financials Today; Positive News for Media and Entertainment Division Expected. The parent company of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment holds a conference call with analysts this morning and although the company’s financial structure is very different from the days when it sold common stock like other publicly traded broadcasting companies, the industry is always interested in hearing from Clear Channel about its performance as a bellwether for the media industry as a whole. The industry can expect an announcement coming from this conference call that CC’s radio revenue was up 4% in 2011. According to the Clear Channel-owned, in-house radio trade publication Inside Radio: ”Propelled by the addition of Westwood One’s traffic division in April and higher digital radio billings, Clear Channel Media & Entertainment revenue swung to $6.16 billion in 2011, a 4% increase from 2010. Like most of the industry, fourth quarter revenue was softer, growing 2% to $15 million.” Today, Clear Channel Media Holdings and subsidiary Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings will give 2011 fourth quarter earnings and revenue numbers for the whole of 2011 as well as guidance for the current year.
Houston Police Looking into Investigation of Hit-and-Run Incident Allegedly Involving KTRH, Houston Host Michael Berry. Last week TALKERS reported on the story out of Houston in which KTRH talk host – and former Houston City Councilman – Michael Berry is alleged to have hit a car outside a well-known gay bar in the city and left the scene. At that time, local news reports indicated Berry was also seen inside the bar prior to the incident. At this time Berry has not been charged with anything but the Houston Chronicle is reporting that Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland is ordering an investigation into his department’s handling of the case. At issue here appears to be whether police, who initially offered little evidence to the district attorney’s office to charge Berry, may have ignored other testimony from the scene clearly linking Berry’s SUV to the incident. Berry has said on his radio show that he can’t talk about it but asks people to hold their judgment until all the facts are out. Berry’s attorney, Dick DeGuerin, tells the paper, “It’s much ado about nothing, it seems to me.”
Independently Syndicated George Jarkesy Show picked up by CRN Digital Talk Radio. An hour of the recently launched independently syndicated Houston-based program, the George Jarkesy Show recently featured at Talkers.com has added CRN Digital Talk Radio as one of its distribution platforms carried on the Mike Horn-owned venue’s “CRN 5” airing Mondays at 1:00 pm. A money manager and successful professional investor, respected financial and corporate advisor, George Jarkesy has founded, invested in and helped to build companies engaged in a broad range of industry sectors, including financial consulting, media, real estate investing, natural resources, and healthcare. He also appears as a regular guest commentator on most of the major cable news/talk channels where he gained talk media industry attention as a solid information resource for the common sense blending of money matters and politics geared to the middle class investor and entrepreneur. Jarkesy’s daily show runs Monday through Friday 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm with plans in the works to expand to three hours per day. For more information, visit www.GeorgeJarkesy.com.
GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Race, Iran Oil Blockade Threat, Rising Gas Prices, Greece Bailout and Lin/ESPN Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/20). The battle among GOP primary contenders and the larger 2012 presidential race; Iran’s threat to block oil out of the Persian Gulf and rising gas prices in the U.S.; the Euro Zone’s approval of another bailout for Greece; and the controversy over a racial slur used by ESPN staffers referencing Knicks player Jeremy Lin were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Charlotte Talk Media Personality to Moderate Debate. Charlotte, North Carolina talk media personality and regular WBT, Charlotte fill-in host Wayne Powers is set to moderate today’s 8th Congressional District Republican Debate. The debate, sponsored by the Cabarrus Republican Women, takes place tonight at 7:00 pm at the Vintage Motor Club in Concord, North Carolina. All six candidates vying for the opportunity to challenge incumbent Democrat Larry Kissell will take part in the debate.
Live from L.A. Plaza. ESPN Deportes stepped outside its studios to celebrate the first anniversary of Spanish-language sports talk show “Nacion ESPN.” Pictured here are co-hosts Adriana Monsalve and David Faiteslon. The two were joined on the program by ESPN’s Rafa Ramos and Bernardo Osuna, Mexican-Brazilian soccer star Luis Alberto Zaque, renowned Mexican soccer stars Ramon Ramirez and Claudio Suarez, and boxing legend Julio Cesar Chavez. On a state-of-the-art set, Adriana and David welcomed the crowd and its special guests presenting several surprises, heated debates and friendly competitions.
Lou Dobbs Syndicated Radio Show to End in February. Word has emerged from inside sources at United Stations Radio Networks that the syndicator has sent letters to the affiliates of the Lou Dobbs Show informing them that the four-year-old program is coming to an end in February. Citing a decision reached with Dobbs by “mutual agreement,” the sources close to the program state that the veteran newsman/commentator wants to devote more of his busy schedule to his nightly program on the Fox Business Network, one of that cable operation’s top-rated shows. United Stations will also cease production and distribution of Dobbs’ syndicated short-form features but sources close to Dobbs indicate that the former CNN icon might continue that enterprise independently.
Two More Pubcasters Join iHeartRadio Platform. Popular Southern California public radio outlets KCRW-FM, Santa Monica and KUSC-FM, Los Angeles begin streaming their audio via Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio app. KCRW-FM is a hybrid news, talk and music outlet while KUSC-FM is a classical station. KCRW-FM, general manager Jennifer Ferro states, “KCRW is always looking for exciting partnership opportunities knowing that even among hundreds of radio stations, what we offer is entirely unique. By combining our compelling content and iHeartRadio’s vast reach, we’re inviting a new audience to discover and engage with KCRW.” CC Digital president Brian Lekamp says, “We want to be everywhere our listeners are with a variety of programming options to appeal to the widest possible audience, and adding these public radio stations to iHeartRadio offers listeners an even more interesting and diverse listening experience.”
Missouri Authorities Consider Charges Against Man for Threatening Language on the Radio. Police in Arnold, Missouri spoke with a local man who made what could be considered threats against St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke while calling into the McGraw Milhaven show on CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis. The discussion surrounded Kroenke’s announcement of Jeff Fisher as new head coach of the Rams and Kroenke’s apparent refusal to state he would not consider moving the Rams out of St. Louis. The caller reportedly stated, “I, I ain’t gonna say nothin’, but the only thing I could put into it other than jack is lead like the dude in Kirkwood. I don’t blame him a bit for what he did.” The caller was referencing the killing of six people at the Kirkwood, Missouri town hall in 2008. KTRS alerted police who’ve interviewed the man. No charges have been filed yet but prosecutors are considering charges.
Cumulus Media Erie Sports Talk Host Exits; Cites Compensation Issues. Until Friday, Mike “Chico” Boorman hosted a popular sports talk show on Cumulus Media’s WRIE, Erie – ESPN 1260. But Boorman tells the Erie Times – News that recent pay cuts and management’s unwillingness to negotiate his salary left him no option. Boorman is quoted in the paper saying, “They weren’t going to pay me what I felt I needed to continue doing what I was doing. I was making $40 a day. As I told a buddy of mine, that’s a nice name for a show on The Food Network, but it’s tough to make a living that way.” Cumulus Media Erie management declined to comment specifically on Boorman’s contract but GM Jim Riley told the paper, “We regret his decision to depart. We think we had a very popular show with him and we had a good response from listeners.”
CBS Radio Launches WNEW-FM, Washington on Sunday Afternoon. CBS Radio took the opportunity of a Sunday afternoon with bad weather approaching to launch its new all-news FM outlet in the Nation’s Capital. The company moved the hard launch from Thursday, January 19 to this morning (1/23) due to some engineering issues but opted to test the new equipment with staffers yesterday afternoon.
KOGO, San Diego Adds Lynda Martin as News Anchor. The former XETV-TV and KSWB-TV, San Diego reporter and anchor Lynda Martin becomes part of the news staff at Clear Channel’s KOGO, San Diego morning drive show hosted by Chip Franklin.
Smerconish Book Club Plays Hardball. Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish (l) interviews author and MSNBC personality Chris Matthews (r) during one of the Smerconish Book Club live events before some 1,000 attendees at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, New Jersey on January 19. The event, in which Smerconish interviewed Matthews about his recent book Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero (Simon & Schuster 2011) was co-presented by affiliate WPHT, Philadelphia.
Radio Rows Have Talk Hosts Focused on Hot-Button Issues. Talk show hosts from around the nation converged on South Carolina prior to the state’s primary election on Saturday for a two-day radio row organized by Talk Radio News Service and SupportPopularVote.com. In South Carolina, talk hosts including Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries, Radio America’s Rodger Hedgecock, Nashville-based talk host Steve Gill, Clear Channel Texas host Michael Berry, North Dakota-based talker Scott Hennen and others brought the primary race and 2012 presidential election issues home to their listeners through interviews with people such as former senator and presidential candidate Fred Thompson, tax policy expert Grover Norquist, former candidate Herman Cain and GOP candidate Rick Santorum. Earlier in the week, more than 20 talk show hosts from around the country took part in the Families USA Radio Row in Washington, DC from the organization’s Health Action Conference. Hosts including Dial Global’s Thom Hartmann; WWRL, New York’s Mark Riley; “America Tonight” host Kate Delaney; independently syndicated Leslie Marshall; nationally syndicated “Good Day” host Doug Stephan; and nationally syndicated host Carole Marks from “A Touch of Grey” talked health care issues. The event offered radio hosts a unique opportunity to interview key administration officials, numerous members of Congress, health care advocates from across the country, and leaders within the progressive community while broadcasting live from Families USA’s Health Action Conference.
Critiquing Talk Hosts a Challenging Two-Way Street. Many talk radio programming pros agree that critiquing – or air checking – talk show hosts is something that is almost a lost art in the current talk radio environment. Both at the network and the station levels, programmers working with talent to improve their on-air product is challenging enough given the egos of the managers and talent and the myriad programming philosophies out there. But add in the hectic schedule of today’s talk PD and “challenging” becomes a mild term for the state of the talent critique. TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian speaks with programming pros including Salem Radio Networks VP of news and talk programming Tom Tradup, Sound Mind chief Kraig Kitchin and others about the state of critiquing talk talent. Read the story here.
Roger Hedgecock Moves to KFMB, San Diego in New Year. We have a clearer picture of what’s happening in San Diego now. Yes, as reported earlier, longtime KOGO PM drive host Roger Hedgecock will move his Radio America-syndicated program to Midwest Television’s crosstown KFMB beginning January 2. KFMB program director Dave Sniff says of the move, “KFMB has always been about mirroring our community, and Roger is synonymous with San Diego. No host reflects the views and concerns of San Diegans better than Roger.” Sniff does not mention current PM drive host Rick Roberts in the release. Meanwhile, Hedgecock stays on the AM side at Clear Channel’s KOGO – which began simulcasting on FM this week – while LaDona Harvey handles the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show on the FM side. So far, it’s the only split of programming for KOGO’s AM and FM broadcasts. Also, KOGO debuts talk host Bryan Suits in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot and Bob “Sully” Sullivan in the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm time slot.
Willy Daunic Joined by Joe Dubin for PM Drive at Sports WPRT-FM, Nashville. The Cromwell Group’s new FM sports talk station in Nashville adds market television sports personality Joe Dubin to “The Sports Revolution” program hosted by Willy Daunic. Dubin will serve as co-host and executive producer. Daunic worked at crosstown WGFX-FM with George Plaster’s “The Sports Zone” program before Plaster left the station suddenly just prior to the Cumulus-Citadel merger. Daunic stayed with Cumulus briefly but the two sides could not agree on a contract. Daunic says, “I am glad to have Joe aboard to launch “The Sports Revolution.” His energy and enthusiasm are going to be an asset. He also loves Nashville having grown up here, and has built a great following over the years.” Dubin worked in Nashville TV for 15 years and has won two Murrow Awards and a local Emmy.
WBAL, Baltimore to Try Out Marc Unger in Evening Slot. DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes reports comic, actor and Baltimore sports talk personality Marc Unger is getting an on-air tryout at Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot. Beginning tonight (11/8), Unger will host a program dealing with politics, social issues and sports in the time slot where the station had been airing reruns of its midday Ron Smith program.
Sign of the Times? As the media landscape changes and delivery of content moves inexorably from analog over-the-air to a digital combination of wired and wireless, perhaps this photo of America’s first licensed commercial radio towers coming down is truly worth 1,000 words. WBZ, Boston director of news and programming Peter Casey photographed the felling of WBZ’s first towers atop the old Westinghouse plant in Springfield, Massachusetts – some 85 miles west of Boston – as a piece of radio history is dismantled. What you see here is one of the two 100-foot towers that served as the original transmitters for WBZ when it began operation 90 years ago. We posted photos of the two towers atop the buildings in September as CBS Radio’s WBZ celebrated its 90th anniversary on September 19.
New Cain Accusation, Iran Nukes, Penn State Scandal, Italy Economic Trouble and ‘OWS’ Movemement Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/7). The latest accusation of sexual misconduct by GOP candidate Herman Cain, the reports of Iran’s advancing nuclear weapons program, the Penn State sexual assault scandal, Italy’s contribution to the Euro zone economic problems and the ‘OWS’ movement were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Seventh Annual Domestic Violence Radio Row Set for December 8. For the seventh consecutive year, TALKERS magazine will present “It’s Time to Talk Day” — a massive radio row produced in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc. Held in the fashion showroom of the Midtown Manhattan corporate offices of Liz Claiborne, Inc., the ambitious event brings together some 20 talk radio and TV hosts from around the country who broadcast their shows live or record interviews for delayed broadcast interviewing a non-stop parade of experts, victims, celebrities and public officials from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on the insidious societal problems of domestic violence and teenage sexual abuse. Major broadcast participants at this event over the years include Dr. Joy Browne of WOR Radio, Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio and Fox News Channel, Doug Stephan of “Good Day,” Mark Riley of WWRL in New York, Thom Hartmann of Dial Global, Lionel of LionelMedia.com and WPIX-TV Channel 11 in New York, Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” and many more. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “‘It’s Time to Talk Day’ is certainly one of our most important annual events. It raises consciousness about a societal problem that impacts a frighteningly large segment of the population and it cuts across all gender, ethnic and demographic boundaries. There isn’t a spoken-word format that doesn’t find the topic of domestic violence applicable to its audience and extremely compelling. Most importantly, we get feedback each year that this radio row, upon reaching millions of talk radio listeners, really does make a huge difference in the lives of real people. It doesn’t get better than that. We are grateful to Liz Claiborne, Inc. for their public-mindedness in supporting such a valuable project.” Broadcasters interested in participating in this year’s installment of “It’s Time to Talk Day” should e-mail Barbara – firstname.lastname@example.org – while space is still available.
Cumulus Cuts Hit Providence, Detroit and Colorado Springs Markets. The staffing cuts at Cumulus-owned stations continue and while most of the following staff reductions have not been officially confirmed, here are some of the folks on the news and talk side who are reportedly out: At KVON, Colorado Springs, news and on-air staffers David John McCoy and Jackie Craddock are out (although at the time of this posting their names still appear on the station website); in Detroit, WJR news anchors Donna Barbera and Dayna Clark plus reporter John McCulloch have been let go; and in Providence WPRO/WEAN-FM evening producer and fill-in host Tony Cornetta is out as is digital reporter Bob Plain. More cuts are expected to come in these markets so stay tuned.
KOGO, San Diego Adds FM Simulcast. Clear Channel’s KOGO, San Diego is heard on the FM band beginning today (11/7). The company drops country on KUSS-FM at 95.7 and KOGO is now branded “FM News and Talk 95.7 and AM 600 KOGO.” Clear Channel San Diego president and market manager Debbie Wagner says, “AM 600 KOGO has an incredibly strong brand in San Diego with its award-winning news and talk format. The simulcast of KOGO on 95.7 FM allows us to provide complete expanded signal coverage of KOGO’s market leading news and talk programming to better serve our local community as well as our advertisers.” The station is also announcing the addition of KFI, Los Angeles weekend talk host Bryan Suits and Bob “Sully” Sullivan as co-hosts of a new local daily program. Longtime KOGO talk host Roger Hedgecock – whose program is syndicated by Radio America – is not mentioned in the press statement from Clear Channel, which leads to the next item…
Roger Hedgcock Announces Move to KFMB, San Diego. Roger Hedgecock has been a part of Clear Channel’s KOGO San Diego since its flip to news/talk in 1994. For the past several years he’s been syndicated nationally by Radio America but still operating from his base at KOGO. Now, Hedgecock tells TALKERS that, as rumored, his nationally syndicated program will move its San Diego base to the PM drive slot at crosstown KFMB beginning in the new year. Rick Roberts currently hosts the PM drive show at KFMB and there’s no announcement from the Midwest Television-owned station on his status. Hedgecock is excited about the move and states, “KFMB offers me the TV connection and, with their new 8.2 cable station, the simulcast that will be available (probably March) for all digital devices.”
Clear Channel’s Sports KJR, Seattle Expands to FM. Clear Channel drops country on KNBQ-FM, Seattle and begins a simulcast of sports KJR. CC expects the move to improve the station’s geographic reach in the metro – not to mention the younger demos listening to FM. KJR PD Rich Moore says, “This is an extremely exciting day for our brand, clients and listeners. It has always been our goal to deliver the most compelling and entertaining sports talk to the Puget Sound region. We will increase our coverage and will now broadcast KJR in crystal-clear FM, providing more fans our unique local content with a Louder Sports Voice.”
Longtime KDKA, Pittsburgh Talk Host Perry Marshall Passes Away. KDKA, Pittsburgh program director Marshall Adams tells TALKERS legendary KDKA talk personality Perry Marshall passed away at age 86 after suffering a heart attack while on a cruise several weeks ago from which he never recovered. “Perry was an institution in local radio, hosting the ‘Marshall’s Office’ overnight talk show for 25 years on KDKA, in addition to work on stations WWSW, WTAE, WJAS, WEEP, KQV and WIND Chicago…I think we all agree a big piece of Pittsburgh radio history died today with him.”