By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Blessed with an enduring ability to captivate a broad base demographic with droll, clever, sometimes-corny witticisms/puns that much sooner rather than later made you laugh, Gary Owens is being fondly remembered by those whose lives he touched by his character and one-of-a-kind classiness.
Even at the zenith of his popularity, Owens had an unrivaled flair to make anyone and everyone with whom he came in contact feel as though he or she were a genuinely important friend of his.
Dignity with which Owens carried himself make those having the privilege to work behind a microphone exude intense pride in saying they are in the same profession.
iHeartMedia Expands with SoundBoard Initiative. The company is calling iHeartMedia SoundBoard a “one-of-a-kind audio-centric branded entertainment studio” that will allow its talent to work with advertisers to “produce original long- and short-form audio, video and experiential content that moves seamlessly across radio, apps, and events, creating the next generation of brand storytelling.” Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “As the number one creators of live, daily content, brands have been asking us for more ability to craft original stories that leverage the power of sound to reach consumers when they’re ready to be entertained. We’re launching the first branded audio studio for the digital era to prove the power of radio, the power of live content, and the power of cross-platform programming designed for a media world without walls.” In addition to using national talent such as Ryan Seacrest and Elvis Duran, the company says it will use “the many local personalities who resonate in their communities — and its unique access to the most innovative thinkers in music and entertainment — to develop new original productions that combine the power of live radio with richer storytelling across platforms.” The iHeartMedia SoundBoard Studio will be led by John Sykes, president of iHeartMedia’s Entertainment Enterprises Group; Gayle Troberman, EVP and chief marketing officer of iHeartMedia; and Vanessa Adamo, senior vice president of Entertainment Enterprises.
Bob Bruce to Host Afternoons on KOIL, Omaha. The new local afternoon program on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha is announced and Bob Bruce is returning to the Omaha market after a 10-year absence to host “The Bob Bruce Radio Experience” from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, effective February 23. Bruce comes to KOIL from his most recent gig at iHeartMedia’s news/talk WMT, Cedar Rapids. Bruce replaces talk pro Tom Becka who exited the afternoon show at KOIL late last year. About his new gig, Bruce says, “I am thrilled to be a part of a legendary station like KOIL and delighted to be back in Omaha. I love this community and all it has to offer and I will make this show educational and fun for listeners.”
SiriusXM’s Joe Madison Helps Get Dick Gregory Star on Walk of Fame. From a piece by George Curry published in BlackPressUSA comes the story of how talk show host Joe Madison helped get pioneering black comedian Dick Gregory a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Curry writes that after working on the campaign to get The Four Tops a star on the walk, he noticed that Dick Gregory was not on the walk and set out to do something about it. After two failed campaigns, the third time (with help from others) he was able to convince the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to grant him the star. But the hard part was just ahead. Getting a star requires paying $30,000 for construction and maintenance. Madison set out to raise the money and says he appealed to his listeners for $30 contributions and soon the money was in hand. Read Curry’s story here.
Odds & Sods. Longtime San Diego sports talk personality Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton is joining XETV, San Diego “San Diego 6” to serve on the 10:00 pm news on Saturdays and Sundays. News director Don Shafer says, “Lee will bring his unique perspective and knowledge of local, state and national sports to San Diego 6 News.” Lee will bring his signature “Hacksaw’s Headlines” to the sportscast, with his take on the biggest stories of the day…..Cumulus Media sports talker WSKO, Syracuse inks a deal to broadcast Syracuse Chiefs minor league baseball for the next two seasons. Kevin Brown and Eric Gallanty will be in the broadcast booth for play-by-play duties…..According to PennLive, Cumulus Media’s sports talk simulcast WHGB-AM and W243BR, Harrisburg “Sportsradio 96.5” will be carrying Washington Nationals baseball this season instead of Philadelphia Phillies games.
Patriots Win Super Bowl XLIX, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Politicians’ Vaccine Remarks Flap, Battle Against ISIS, Obama Tax Hike Proposal, Suge Knight Charged with Murder, and Bobbi Kristina Brown in Coma Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/2). Patriots win game that is most-watched TV broadcast in U.S. history; the potential candidates for president in 2016; comments by Chris Christie and Rand Paul questioning safety and efficacy of vaccines; the fight against ISIS; the tax hikes proposed by President Obama; rap mogul Suge Knight is charged with murder and more in hit-and-run death; and Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown in a coma were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Getting It Partly Wrong and Absolutely Right. Disaster preparedness expert Howard B. Price – director, business continuity for ABC Television – writes in a piece in TALKERS today (1/27) that even though parts of the Northeast escaped the dire predictions of Winter Storm Juno, it’s better that people were overprepared. For those upset with officials for shutting down roads and, in some cases, entire cities, Price says, “No one should EVER blame the messengers for decisions governments and businesses take based on scientific facts that were trumped – as they sometimes are – by the forces of nature. Better to plan for what turns out to be unnecessary, then to be caught flat-footed when circumstances are worse than you anticipated.” Keep in mind that as we publish this piece on Tuesday, parts of New England are indeed getting a lot of snow, combined with high winds. Read more from Price here.
Carolyn Fox: My Prescription for Radio Success. Radio pro Carolyn Fox writes about the key tenets to help personalities succeed in the radio business – even in this era. In this piece she presents five points radio personalities should understand in order to have success in a business that’s contingent upon connecting with listeners. “Great radio is nothing more than real humans connecting with other real humans aurally,” Fox says, “Don’t overcomplicate the message because my kid is banking on you to resuscitate radio so he too can pay back his college loans.” Read Carolyn Fox’s piece here.
Tom Leykis’ The New Normal Reports 2014 Profit. It’s been three years since Tom Leykis – free from the confines of his old contract with CBS RADIO – debuted his own internet talk program via a digital platform operating within his company The New Normal LLC. Leykis says that his gross revenue for 2014 was $524,952, an increase of 60% over 2013’s gross, and a net profit of $2,187. He goes on to say that this profit “will most likely exceed the combined net profits of the radio industry’s two largest companies (representing 1,310 or 11% of all US commercial radio stations).” Pointing to the balance sheets of large radio operators iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media, Leykis says “iHeartMedia has not earned a net profit since at least 2008 according to its own 10K report. Despite recent claims of ‘accelerated growth,’ iHeart’s best showing since 2008 was the second quarter of 2010 when it showed a net of negative $204.2 million…Cumulus Media, which is number two to iHeartMedia in stations owned, has shown a slight profit in 2014, with earnings per share for 2014 so far reported at $0.04 per share and net revenue of $159.34 million as of the third quarter of 2014.” TALKERS editors note that while profits are certainly a challenge for companies with large debt service, it can be argued that the two companies mentioned (and the others not) employ thousands of people, support workers’ families and in turn contribute to the economy in a bigger way than a small company that actually earns a profit. Still, Leykis says his point is that it doesn’t take big corporate backing to produce a successful media venture. “In the end, this news doesn’t exactly make my day. I made a fantastic living in the radio business and I still have many friends in the industry who are afraid of what the future holds. I could have retired young and lived comfortably forever. This project is to show radio folks that there’s a future for them if they’re willing to work hard.”
Westwood One to Recognize Excellence in Audio Creativity. It has become an annual event for the syndicator to recognize the best radio commercials within perhaps the year’s biggest sporting event – the Super Bowl. Westwood One‘s senior vice president of sports sales & marketing Brandon Berman explains that the Cumulus Media division created the “Sound Awards” to “connect with – and to encourage – marketers, creatives, and brands to join forces and showcase the power of sound. Our Super Bowl broadcast is the perfect environment for advertisers to leverage their commercial creative, thanks to our incredible reach and sheer volume of audience across platforms. Following the crowning of a Super Bowl Champion, we look forward to crowning an advertising champion.” Westwood One’s play-by-play coverage of Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks originates this Sunday (2/1) from suburban Phoenix (Glendale). The “Super Bowl Sound Awards for Excellence in Audio Creativity” will feature national ads airing on Westwood One’s Super Bowl XLIX broadcast, as well as SiriusXM Radio, NFL.com/Audiopass, NFL Mobile from Verizon, and on the American Forces Radio Network. Last year’s winner, Motel 6, earned the top spot with a parody on how to use AutoCorrect. Other top vote getters were Tilted Kilt, Subway, Exergen, and Taco Bell. Voting opened yesterday (Monday, 1/27) at 3:00 pm (ET) and runs through next Tuesday (2/3) at 12:00 noon; winners will be announced next Wednesday (2/4).
XEPRS-AM, Padres Extend “Mighty” Agreement. The pact between Broadcast Company of the Americas’ sports outlet XEPRS-AM “The Mighty 1090″ and the National League West San Diego Padres covers this year’s MLB season and next year. BCA president Mike Glickenhaus comments, “We are very excited to continue our relationship with the Padres. We believe very strongly in the [team’s] vision for the future and we are looking forward to being a part of it.” Padres president Mike Dee remarks, “We are thrilled and excited because this really is a good partnership. ‘The Mighty 1090′ is where San Diego fans go for their sports and the Padres are glad to be part of it.” XEPRS-AM has been the Padres’ flagship since 2004; the station is licensed to Rosarito Beach, Baja California (Mexico).
Odds & Sods. Former Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Mike Rogers joins Hudson Institute as a Distinguished Fellow. In this role, he’ll focus on cyber-warfare and security, counterterrorism, and national security policy. Rogers currently hosts the nationally syndicated feature “Something to Think About with Mike Rogers” for Westwood One and is a CNN national security contributor…..At the Omaha cluster of NRG Media, AM radio operations manager Neil Nelkin announces he’s leaving the position and the station group he’s been at for more than two decades. The company’s Omaha AM properties include: sports talkers KZOT and KOZN, news/talk KOIL, and Spanish-language KMMQ…..There’s a changing of traffic reporters at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago as the station informs traffic service Radiate Media that it’s dropping 10-year personality Leslie Keiling and will replace her with Judy Pielach, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Ashley Lopez is named political reporter for Kentucky Public Radio’s WFPL, Louisville.
Johnjay and Rich Suggest Non-Traditional Super Bowl Accommodations. Capitalizing on the fact that this Sunday’s Super Bowl is being played in their flagship market, Phoenix-based syndicated morning talents Johnjay and Rich maintain they are prepared to rent out their studio. Emphasizing they are offering the “full Super Bowl experience,” the duo cites computers, buffet breakfasts/lunches, convenient parking, and color television as tongue-in-cheek selling points to would-be renters. According to a video they shot, the 3.5-day rate to rent their studio is approximately $160.
Busy Week in Arizona for Westwood One. Pictured here is the crew that covered last weekend’s NFL Pro Bowl game at University of Phoenix Stadium – also the site of this weekend’s Super Bowl XLIX. Westwood One is the exclusive national radio partner of the NFL. From left to right are: producer Aaron Cummins, announcer Scott Graham (the voice of NFL Films), executive producer Howard Deneroff, and NFL Hall of Famer Rod Woodson.
Obama Tax Plan, ‘American Sniper’ Film Controversy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, East Coast Blizzard, and Super Bowl/DeflateGate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/26). The proposal by President Obama to hike taxes on the rich to assist the middle class; the controversial responses to the film “American Sniper”; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the blizzard hitting the East Coast; and Sunday’s Super Bowl and chatter about the DeflateGate issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Names Big John Howell Morning Host at WLS-AM, Chicago. The arrival of longtime Chicago market personality Big John Howell at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago had been rumored for some time and now it becomes official as Howell will assume the morning show duties effective next Monday (1/19). Most recently, Howell was morning host at Salem Communications’ news/talk WIND “AM 560 The Answer.” He also was a jock at CBS RADIO’s country WUSN for many years as well as morning personality on CBS’ WCKG. For seven years he hosted the Westwood One-syndicated “Country Gold” request show. Howell comments, “I’m looking forward to joining WLS-AM. It has been a longtime professional, as well as personal, goal. Growing up in West Michigan and listening to WLS influenced my initial decision to give the radio business a try. Now, all these years later, and on the heels of many WLS broadcast legends, including Larry Lujack and Don Wade, it is truly an honor and a privilege. I’m also looking forward to sharing the WLS airwaves with Steve Dahl, who taught all of us to ignore management and hate disco.” Howell takes over for the team of Dan Proft and Bruce Wolf.
Roe Conn to PM Drive at WGN, Chicago. There’s no official word from Tribune Media on this…yet, but Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former longtime WLS-AM afternoon host Roe Conn will take over the afternoon drive show on WGN, Chicago from Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder – both of whom have been in the post since last May. Conn even appeared on WGN’s Steve Cochran show this morning (1/12), but chatted about issues and there was no mention of his joining the station. The hiring of Leff and Snyder was part of the makeover of the station orchestrated by president Jimmy de Castro. Feder reports that it’s expected that Leff and Snyder will stay on in some capacity.
Dr. Laurie Roth Show Joins USA Radio Networks. As part of a series of program rollouts, the USA Radio Networks announces Dr. Laurie Roth becomes part of the syndicated lineup, airing from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET effective February 2. USA Radio Networks describes the show as an “issues-driven program known to tackle politics, crime and corruption. Dr. Roth often visits with survivors and family members affected by crimes and conspiracies. How do they survive and come back after losing a family member, being smeared or a being a victim of crime in some way? Listeners learn the answers to such questions. Roth says, “I expose the bad guys, stand for the good guys and don’t get caught in-between.” Tim Maranville is chief content officer at USA’a parent company – Cross Platform Media Group – and he comments, “Dr. Roth covers the issues driving the conversation in America like no other radio host. Her life experience brings a realness to the radio that, sadly, is uncommon in the network industry. She is a welcome breath of fresh air.” Recently, USA Radio Networks announced the launch of new shows including “AMERICA CONTINUES with Jim Sharpe,” and the syndication of the Steve Deace show, “DAYBREAK USA with Angie Austin,” and the hourly USA Radio News.
Brooks Promoted at WTMJ, Milwaukee. At the Journal Broadcast Group-owned news/talker WTMJ, Milwaukee, Eric Brooks is upped to assistant program director. WTMJ VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “Eric has grown tremendously as a leader at WTMJ. As producer of ‘Wisconsin’s Afternoon News with John Mercure,’ Eric has helped the program leapfrog into the top news/talk position with both listeners 6+ and 25-54. Eric has also deftly handled many day-to-day responsibilities in the programming department in his role as executive producer of WTMJ programming.” Brooks joined WTMJ in 2011 as a news anchor and producer before being elevated to executive producer, WTMJ programming in 2013.
Odds & Sods. This Friday (1/16), New Jersey Broadcasters Association president and CEO Paul Rotella will sit in for morning drive personality Harry Hurley on Townsquare Media’s Atlantic City, New Jersey news/talker WPGG…..Here’s an interesting show, now available to radio stations across the country that draws on Americans’ interest in the Old West: Dakota Livesay’s “Chronicle of the Old West.” It’s both a three-and-a-half minute show delivered five days per week and a weekly, one-hour show that features friends, authors and experts who chat with host Livesay about this romanticized period of American history. Check out OldWestRadio.com…..The WYD Media-syndicated “Huckabee Report” with Mike Huckabee and the Stephanie Miller program are both joining the lineup at CRN Digital Talk Radio. CRN states that “The Huckabee Report” will air throughout the day on CRN effective today (1/12) and CRN 4 channel will broadcast encore presentations of the Stephanie Miller show Tuesday through Saturday, beginning January 13.
Talk Pro Tom Becka Does ‘Friday Night Live.’ Longtime Omaha (not to mention Kansas City and Fargo) talk radio personality Tom Becka rhetorically asks TALKERS magazine, “What does a talk show host do when he’s on the beach? He keeps talking…” And that’s what you see in this photo. Recently let go from KOIL, Omaha in a cost-cutting move, Becka reports on his latest venture – a live version of the Tom Becka Radio Show. He says, “We set up a stage at a local watering hole, charged admission, and did an interactive audience participation show just like it was on the radio. A sold-out crowd came to talk about the hot issues of the day with ‘Honesty, Integrity, and a Sense of Humor.’ It was spirited, entertaining, and profitable. I used social media and my daily podcasts to promote the event and it turned out great. I’ll be doing these on a regular basis.” Becka can be reached at: 402-321-9590 or via Tom@TomBecka.com.
Remembering Nick (Bazoo) Ferrara. Word and condolences spread throughout social media on Saturday, January 10 about the passing of noted CHR programmer Nick Ferrara. Conspicuously absent though were specific details of when, where, or even if Ferrara had indeed passed. The Harrison County (Mississippi) coroner though has unfortunately confirmed that 59-year-old Gulfport resident Ferrara was killed Friday (1/9) in a two-vehicle accident on Interstate 10. According to officials, Ferrara was not wearing a seatbelt while driving his 2013 Honda Accord sedan; he died at the scene from blunt-force trauma. According to a report in the Biloxi-Gulfport Sun Herald, police responded at 6:05 pm to a report of a crash with injuries. Ferrara’s car apparently rear-ended another vehicle. The Gulfport Fire Department and American Medical Response were at the crash scene. Eerily, a Friday Facebook posting ostensibly made by Ferrara – known to many from his earlier top 40 programming days as Nick Bazoo indicated simply that at approximately 5:30 pm, he was at Biloxi’s Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. The previous day (Thursday, 1/8), Ferrara made 17 original Facebook posts. Tony Gray had the most succinct – yet possibly the most powerful comment on Ferrara’s home page, with the noted consultant simply writing, “B-97 New Orleans.” Specifically, WEZB “B-97″ is the New Orleans station (then owned by EZ Communications) at which operations manager Ferrara (Bazoo) rose to prominence in the early-1980s. He was famously linked to that Louisiana metro. NBC Sports Radio programmer Jack Silver though first met Ferrara in Mill Valley, California in 1984. “He was coming in to flip KMEL from rock to top 40,” Silver recalls. “He and Keith Naftalyhad the vision – I was in the right place to help them as well. Heaven is full of great program directors who touched us all – God rest your soul.” Media Monitors music manager Anita Bonita writes, “Godspeed Mr. Bazoo – you will be missed.” Renowned talk radio consultant Valerie Geller is “so sorry to hear this news – RIP.” According to Giant Records vice president Jean Johnson, Ferrara was, “The consummate Facebook poster. I shared many of your hilarious posts. Rest in peace Mr. Bazoo – taken way too soon.” Legendary voiceover/imaging talent Howard Hoffman sums it up perfectly by stating, “This hurts. Selfless, strong, and just a real honor to work with you, Nick. One of the best field marshals ever and you deserved so much better. I am glad you knew that before leaving us way too soon. Godspeed, friend – thanks for everything.” Longtime industry executive Rob Sisco laments, “Oh my dear sweet Bazoo. I am so profoundly sad to hear this news. You were one of the true good guys. I am proud and honored to have called you friend. You will be missed forever. Rest in peace, Nick.” Former New Orleans programmer Pat Matthews recalls, “Met you when you were just 18 and starting out at WIXO. A funny, talented, caring guy – wow, this is so unbelievable.” Veteran programmer Joel Burke remarks, “You were one of the smartest radio people I knew and had such a contagious laugh – RIP.” Consultant Dan Vallie comments, “Good man – good heart. Rest in peace my friend. Heaven is going to enjoy your sense of humor and big smile.” Yet another twist: A “Life Event” posted on Ferrara’s Facebook page less than two weeks ago – New Year’s Eve (12/31) – states he “started working at retired.” Commencing in 2001 and lasting approximately through 2013, Ferrara was an operations manager in State College, Pennsylvania at Forever Broadcasting and then doing similar duties at cross-town Results Radio (2006 – 2013). In addition to WEZB “B-97,” Ferrara (Bazoo) held the operations manager title at several other New Orleans outlets, including WLMG, WLTS, and WWL. In the mid- and late-1980s, he spent time in California as an OM for KMEL, San Francisco and then Gannett Broadcasting‘s properties in San Diego. Sandwiched between those stops was a two-year stint as operations manager in Pittsburgh for EZ’s WBZZ “B-94.” Information is not yet available regarding Ferrara’s funeral arrangements.
Entercom Names Tara Servatius and Vince Coakley to Morning Radio Posts on ‘WORD 106.3’ in Greenville. At Entercom’s WYRD, Greenville, South Carolina “WORD 106.3,” new morning programming is announced that includes Tara Servatius hosting “The Tara Show” from 6:00 am to 10:00 am followed by Vince Coakley taking over the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show. The new programming begins on Monday, December 8. Entercom Greenville VP and market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “We are energizing morning radio with the launch of these vibrant, live, and local talk shows. Both Tara and Vince will deliver fresh, and thought-provoking commentary on the issues and news our community cares about most. We are excited about fans joining in the on-air conversation on the only Upstate local news/talk station.” Servatius was most recently with Cumulus Media’s WTMA, Charleston, South Carolina. She also worked at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. Coakley – also a WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte alum – had been hosting a Sunday afternoon program on “WORD 106.3.” Longtime WYRD personality Russ Cassell – host of the 8:00 am to 12:00 noon program – passed away in October, prompting changes in the morning lineup.
Tom Becka Exits NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha. Two and a half years after joining NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha, Tom Becka announces his contract with the station has not been renewed. Becka posted a podcast on his TomBecka.com site explaining his exit from the station. He tells TALKERS it wasn’t too shocking as he’d suspected his deal was not going to be renewed. As for KOIL, the station’s GM, Andy Ruback, tells the Omaha World-Herald they’ll announce permanent plans for the afternoon drive daypart in the near future. In the interim, the station is airing TRN’s Sam Sorbo program. Tom Becka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Smerconish Options Novel Talk to Warner Bros. The novel published by SiriusXM personality Michael Smerconish about a talk radio host acting out a stereotypical neo-conservative philosophy on the air despite his own convictions in order to be successful,has been optioned to Warner Brothers to become a TV show. Smerconish, who exited AM/FM radio for satellite after a career that included local radio on WPHT, Philadelphia and national syndication via Compass Media Networks, tells Politico that he’s excited about the opportunity. “Like anyone who’s ever written a novel, as I wrote it I envisioned it on the screen. Of course in most cases that doesn’t come to pass and now this looks like it will, and I couldn’t be more excited. I think the story lends itself to TV beautifully. In the world of ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Alpha House,’ I can definitely see ‘Talk’ on a television screen.” Many talk radio practitioners bristle at the implication that conservative talk hosts don’t really believe what they portray on the radio, but just do it because they think that’s what the industry wants. A number of talk professionals also took umbrage with Smerconish’s parting shots at the industry as he left AM/FM for satellite, specifically with his public statements accusing the business of requiring hosts to adhere to an ideologically driven style of talk radio instead of one that addresses issues from multiple perspectives.
Your New PD Gig: D.I.Y. with O.P.M. In a column published today (12/5) in TALKERS, consultant Holland Cooke explains an opportunity that might be perfect for some sales-minded programmers looking to work independently on other people’s radio signals. He’s talking about programming weekend content on a brokered basis. He says, “Parlay your assets into Do It Yourself radio. I’m not talking about podcasting-instead. I’m talking about renting transmitter time. All that many news/talk stations ask of weekend talent is pay-for-play, so consider pay-and-program.” Read more from Holland Cooke here.
Beasley Drops Sports on FM in Tampa. The FM sports talker that CBS RADIO brought to Tampa is gone – playing Christmas music until a new format debuts on January 5. Among Those out with the change at WHFS-FM “98.7 The Fan” are sports talk personalities Anthony “Booger” McFarland, Marc Ryan, Kirk McEwen, Jesse Kage, and Justin Pawlowski. Beasley is still operating WHFS-AM as a sports talker using CBS Sports Radio Network programming.
Odds & Sods. A new podcast from Sports USA featuring former super agent Tom Reich will launch. According to Sports USA president Bob Moore, “Tom and brother Sam Reich bring integrity, respect, experience and a fresh perspective to the podcast and will talk about past stories and current events in their lives and the world of sports.”…..The PAC 5 final game – the prep championship between St. John Bosco and Corona Centennial – will air on LAA 1 LLC-owned KLAA, Anaheim tomorrow (12/6) at 8:00 pm PT. The Emmy-award winning broadcast team of Kevin Turner and Bill Cunerty will call the live play-by-play. The game is being broadcast on the radio for the sixth year in a row on KLAA – home of the Los Angeles Angels and Anaheim Ducks. Fox Sports’ Fred Salas will join the team for the broadcast handling sideline reports and postgame interviews.
Ferguson Aftermath Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 1-5. The events that have followed the Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown – including Charles Barkley’s comments and whether to charge Brown’s stepfather Louis Head for inciting a riot – were the top stories on news/talk radio during the week. Following at #2 was the NYC choke hold case tied with the police shooting death of 12-year-old Cleveland youth Tamir Rice. At #3 was the amnesty issue followed by the 2016 presidential candidates 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.
Forbes Releases 2014 Celebrity 100 List; Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern Rank. The highest ranking radio personality on this year’s Forbes 2014 Celebrity 100 list – based on fortune and fame – is Premiere Networks-syndicated star Ryan Seacrest (estimated income $65 million), who tied with Sean “Diddy” Combs at #31. Premiere Networks host and TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck comes in close behind at #39 with an estimated income of $90 million. Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh lands at #59 this year with estimated income of $66 million and SiriusXM icon Howard Stern follows at #62 with $95 million in estimated income. Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity rounds out the radio people this year at #86 with $30 million in estimated income.
Clear Channel Ousts Chet Walker from WHAM, Rochester Morning Duties. After a 35-year career with the station, morning drive co-host Chet Walker is gone from heritage news/talk WHAM, Rochester. WHEC-TV, Rochester reports that station program director Aaron Trimmer confirmed Walker’s departure with the obligatory “We appreciate all of his contributions during his time with us and wish him well” statement and that the station will unveil its new morning show soon. Clear Channel – as with most radio companies – does not comment on personnel matters, but some industry watchers believe the recent spate of dismissals from CC stations due not to job performance but is part of a long, slow parsing of the payroll. This contrasts with previous companywide cuts that had happened en masse and brought about negative PR. The company cut ties with Walker’s former co-host Beth Adams in 2011. She joined crosstown public radio outlet WXXI as local host of the “Morning Edition” program in 2012.
Greater Media Promotes Ryan and Rico to Daily Show at ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’ Weekend sports talk personalities Ryan Ermanni (left) and Rico Beard (right) are moving from their weekend slot at Greater Media’s sports talker WMGC, Detroit “Detroit Sports 105.1” to the late-morning slot airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon beginning Monday, July 7. Greater Media Detroit market manager Steve Chessare says, “Ryan and Rico have been with us since day one and have done a phenomenal job with our weekend coverage. They have had a tremendous run so far and are extremely popular with our dedicated Motor City sports fans.” The pair are replacing ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd. Program director Jason Dixon adds, “We are fired up to give Detroit sports fans even more local sports content. Adding Ryan and Rico to the 10:00 to 12:00 noon slot is the next step in the evolution of ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’ With Mike and Mike, Ryan and Rico, Matt Dery, Drew Lane and Marc Fellhauer, along with the addition of Detroit Pistons Basketball, I could not be more excited about the future of the station.”
WGN, Chicago Announces Sales Department Changes. As part of a number of sales department changes at Tribune’s WGN Radio, Steve Tarpley is promoted to national sales manager for all Tribune agency markets, excluding New York and Philadelphia, for news/talk WGN and sports talk WGWG-LP “The Game 87.7.” Tarpley continues his role as local AE for WGN. At the same time, sales manager Liz Cullen will take on more responsibilities with the WGN local staff, but continue her national work in New York and Philadelphia. Sales director Jeff Hill comments, “In Steve’s four-and-a-half years at WGN Radio, he has done a tremendous job in building relationships with both his direct and agency clients. I’m very confident that he will have the same success in the national arena.”
SBG Names Rivera-Searles SVP Digital Initiatives; Teases ‘Brand New Day for Radio.’ With the announcement that Edwin Rivera-Searles is named the company’s new SVP of digital initiatives, Sun Broadcast Group, Inc. also promises news later this summer that CEO Jason Bailey says is “the first stage in what will be a brand new day for radio. It was crucial that we brought in the very best to help implement this amazing plan and Ed Rivera is exactly that. He truly ‘gets it’. You won’t find a more well-respected, passionate person in this business and I couldn’t be more excited to finally welcome him to our family!” Rivera comes to SBG from his most recent post as SVP of ad sales for Westwood One. Rivera comments, “Joining the executive team of Sun Broadcast Group is a tremendous opportunity and I’m thrilled to be part of this new phase of growth and development for the company. I’m impressed by what Jason and his team have accomplished in their short history in the network radio space. I look forward to introducing our customized digital solutions to our agency and client partners later this summer.”
More TALKERS Career Moves. Talk radio personality Austin Hill joins the six-station Faith Radio network (owned by the University of Northwestern – St. Paul) as host of the “Austin Hill in the Mornings on Faith Radio” program effective July 7. The program will air from 6:00 am to 8:00 am CT. Hill is also the creator and host of “Austin Hill’s Big World of Small Business,” a syndicated talk show about entrepreneurship and small business ownership…..Programmer Tim Sebean exits SiriusXM Satellite Radio where he was most recently SVP of entertainment and comedy, working with the Opie & Anthony show and others. He’d been with the company for nine years, starting in 2005 as SVP of the Howard Stern channels…..Talk radio pro Paul Harris leaves the Envision Networks-syndicated “America Weekend” program. Harris was one of three anchors for the program. Turi Ryder and Rob Carson remain with the show. Harris also is fill-in personality at CH Holdings-owned KTRS, St. Louis.
Bruce DuMont Steps Aside; Kraig Kitchin Named Chairman of National Radio Hall of Fame. Following through on plans he announced last fall to ease back from some of his responsibilities to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 70-year-old Bruce DuMont announces he’s resigned from the chairman position of the National Radio Hall of Fame and named new board of directors member Kraig Kitchin to the chairman position. Kitchin, who served as president of Premiere Networks for years, operates his own consulting firm Sound Mind LLC. In his letter to the NRHOF committee, DuMont writes: I appointed new MBC Board member Kraig T. Kitchin to replace me as Chairman — naming MBC Board members Dennis Green and Karole White as vice chairs of the committee. As you know Kraig, Dennis and Karole have all been longtime members of the NRHOFSC. This important move comes in the wake of our recent announcement concerning the November 9th NRHOF induction ceremony taking place in Los Angeles. It underscores the truly national scope of the NRHOF and will extend our reputation more broadly and hopefully our base of support as well.”
Nielsen ‘Audio Demand Landscape’ Study Puts Listeners into Six Categories. The Audio Demand Landscape study was unveiled at Nielsen’s Consumer 360 Conference on June 24. Nielsen concludes from the online survey of a panel of 4,950 Americans between the ages of 18-74 (conducted in English in March) during March 2014 about their audio listening attitudes, motivations, behaviors, habits and preferences, that there are basically six types of audio consumers. (Note that in parentheses is what Nielsen deems each group to be as a percentage of the U.S. population.) They are: “Music Loving Personalizers” (23%) who are passionate music listeners mainly seeking an emotional benefit by listening. They prefer free services and often play music in the background; “Discriminating Audiophiles” (18%) are highly engaged consumers who listen to and prefer a wide variety of audio, and are willing to pay for specific content; “Convenience Seeking Traditionalists” (17%) prefer broadcast radio, listening to their favorite stations and hosts, and they routinely listen in the car; “Information Seeking Loyalists” (15%) are heavy broadcast listeners who usually listen to their favorite talk programs for news, education and to stay informed of current events; “Background Driving Defaulters” (14%) are less engaged and typically have the radio on in the car for background entertainment or occasionally news and information; and “Techie Audio Enthusiasts” (13%) are avid consumers of many types of audio. These listeners are early adopters of new platforms to satisfy their audio needs. Nielsen says that when considering these groups based on the percent of all audio hours of listening they represent, the “Information Seeking Loyalists” and the “Music Loving Personalizers” account for nearly half (47%) of all audio consumption. See more here.
SCBA’s Thom Callahan Addresses Digital ‘Fraud’ in Column. The mandate from marketing departments and ad buyers that more and more money be spent on “digital” platforms is a serious problem for traditional media ad sellers. Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan addresses the issue in a blog post titled, “A Responsibility to the Truth.” In the post, Callahan cites a report by web security firm Incapsula that states in its latest annual reports on web traffic that: 1) 61.5% of all web traffic is NON-HUMAN or Bot traffic as it’s called; 2) 38.5% of all web traffic is Human; and 3) 48.1% of all video ads are not heard or seen by humans. Callahan goes on to say that the big problem is there is no transparency in digital advertising. “The sheer size and scope of this fraudulent behavior is costing advertisers over $6 billion a year in wasted advertising to these non-human sites, according to the ad fraud detection firm, White Ops.” Read more of Callahan’s blog post here.
KOIL, Omaha Raises $80,000 for Tornado Disaster Relief. In an effort to assist the residents of Pilger, Nebraska who were affected by the twin tornadoes that moved through the area several weeks ago, NRG-owned news/talk KOIL worked with area pizza restaurants who donated 100% of the proceeds from pizza sales on June 23 to the Salvation Army. Pictured here is KOIL talk personality Tom Becka (center, holding mic) presenting the check to the Salvation Army. On the day of the “Pizza for Pilger,” Becka interviewed Salvation Army officials, pizza purveyors and Pilger residents impacted by the tornadoes.
SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Case; SCOTUS Health Care Workers Union Case, Illegal Immigrants Influx, ISIS Violence in Iraq, Israel-Hamas Clash, Hillary Clinton Popularity Rating/2016 Presidential Possibilities, and World Cup Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/30). Two of the Supreme Court’s decisions, including the Hobby Lobby case and the Illinois Health Care Workers Union case; the looming political battle over the recent influx of illegal minors flooding into the Southwest; ISIS declares Iraq and Syria Islamic states and President Obama sends more troops to Iraq; Israel’s threat of strikes against Hamas after the bodies of three kidnapped teenagers are found; Hillary Clinton’s sinking popularity ratings and speculation about the possible presidential candidates in 2016; and World Cup action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WHAM, Rochester’s Bob Lonsberry Reprimanded for Transgender Benefits Criticism. Just a week after Entercom fired Kimberly Rae and Barry Beck from rock WBZA “98.9 The Buzz” for their on-air criticism of the City of Rochester’s health care plan that offers health care specific to transgendered employees, WHAM talk show host Bob Lonsberry also criticized the policy in a blog post. We don’t know what happened between the Clear Channel station and Lonsberry – he hasn’t been fired – but the company, through VP and market manager Bob Morgan, did offer the following statement: “Though Bob Lonsberry is entitled to his opinion about the City of Rochester’s health care plan, his blog post and comments about members of the transgender community were insensitive. His remarks do not reflect the position or attitudes of the station or its management. We cannot discuss employee personnel matters, but I can tell you that the station has removed the post and is extending an invitation to local leaders of the LGBT community to meet with Bob Lonsberry and speak on the topic.”
WVON, Chicago Adds ‘Chat Daddy’ to Friday Night Programming. In announcing the addition of Art ‘Chat Daddy’ Sims to the Friday evening schedule at urban talk WVON, Chicago, Midway Broadcasting says the new 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm program “is a lifestyle magazine show that will offer listeners local and national lifestyle stories, relationship advice, celebrity interviews and more.” The station says that Sims has “more than 19 years of media experience in radio, television and print.” Executive producer for the program is Daveda Flute.
Clear Channel Adds ‘This Little Parent Stayed Home’ Show to iHeartRadio Talk Lineup. Bringing a weekly podcast to the iHeartRadio digital platform, Clear Channel and Premiere Networks announce Ally Loprete’s “This Little Parent Stayed Home” program will air on iHeartRadio’s extreme talk radio channel live at 3:00 pm ET on Tuesdays. Clear Channel says it has acquired the program “as part of its newest campaign to reach a more modern listenership.” Loprete is the founder of OurMilkMoney.com, an online search directory that lists the products and services of self-employed parents in more than 120 cities across the nation. Loprete has used her own passion to create a society where parents are given an alternative to expensive daycares and long hours away from home, inspiring a movement that has parents everywhere realizing their power as consumers, and uniting together to rebuild a broken economy with home-based businesses. CCM+E VP of programming Ken Charles states, “Ally Loprete brings a fresh and vibrant perspective that will consistently bring in listeners within the hottest consumer demographic.” Premiere Networks VP of programming Bill May adds, “Ally Loprete has provided us a great opportunity to broaden our reach to a progressive and innovative demographic. Women with children and small business entrepreneurs are making significant progress with the stay-at-home workforce. The listeners of ‘This Little Parent…’ have been extremely loyal and dedicated to the educational and motivational content that Ally had been providing on her digital weekly podcast. She was looking to cast a wider net and we were thrilled to offer her show a new home.”
KIRO-FM, Seattle to Award $10,000 Scholarship to Area High School Student. The culmination of a promotion that began at the beginning of the school year wraps on June 6 as Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle honors one local student with a $10,000 dollar scholarship live on “Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross.” The Standout Student Awards promotion has been a partnership with Comprehensive Wealth Management and the Rotary Club of Lynnwood designed to honor Western Washington students who stand out in the classroom, school and community. Nine students were selected as monthly winners during the course of the school year and each received a $1,000 scholarship. They are eligible for the $10,000 educational scholarship grant.
Odds & Sods. The new “Middays with MFB” debuted on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston today. The show – starring incumbent host and former Red Sox infielder Lou Merloni, former New England Patriots tight end Christian Fauria and talk show host Tim Benz – replaces the Mut & Merloni show in the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot…..Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco helps raise more than $100,000 for the Fisher House Foundation during a pre-holiday radiothon held on Friday, May 23. Talk host Brian Sussman broadcast from the Fisher House at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System.
Beckman Honored for College Football Work. He still does the daily, late morning talk show at Cumulus Media’s WJR, Detroit, but just seven months after retiring from his 33-year stint as play-by-play announcer for Michigan Wolverines football, Frank Beckman is being honored with the 2014 Chris Schenkel Award from the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. In a press release from the University of Michigan, the school notes that this honor is among several he’s received over the years including Top Michigan Sportscaster and Michigan Sportscaster of the Year.
‘Mighty 1290 KOIL’ Flashes Back! In Omaha, NRG Media’s “Mighty 1290 KOIL” returned to the glory days of the 1960s over the holiday weekend with a three-hour Sunday special looking back to when the station was a leading top 40 powerhouse. Legendary morning host Roger W. Morgan returned for the broadcast, featuring the biggest hits of the 60s, live from “Loessfest” in Council Bluffs. Among those joining the special were: singer Jimmy Clanton and former KOIL personalities Hal Widsten and Clay Michaels. Pictured here (from left to right) are: current KOIL talk host host Tom Becka, Morgan, and Michaels.
Memorial Day Holiday/VA Scandal, Deadly Santa Barbara Shootings, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, ObamaCare Effects, and NBA/NHL Playoff Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/26). The Memorial Day holiday and the ongoing scandal involving care at VA hospitals; the deadly shooting of six people in Santa Barbara by a UCSB student; Russia’s continued aggression in Ukraine; the effects of the Affordable Care Act; and the playoff action in the NBA and the NHL were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
SCBA Reports 2014 Starting Off Positive. Calling it “solid, steady revenue growth that sets the stage for a strong first quarter for Southern California radio,” Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan reports the results of the Miller Kaplan Arase Market Summary report for January 2014 indicating total market revenue for Los Angeles radio grew by 1.7% in January. Callahan adds, “The 1.7% growth rate for January is, of course, good news for our industry here in Southern California, however, a closer look at what made up that growth reveals a market and region that is healthy and growing.” The Miller Kaplan Arase X-Ray report for Los Angeles radio further describes both strong category growth and exceptional new business development in the first month of the New Year. That growth includes: insurance companies – up 152.1%, education – up 61.5%, concerts/theatre/movies – up 54.6%, communications/cellular/public utilities – up 22.7%, and both the auto category – up at 6.3% and health care – up at 6.4%. Callahan says, “New business development was a significant revenue driver for Southern California radio in January and showcases how new advertisers are rediscovering radio and its effectiveness in building brands and market share for their business. With 297 new advertisers spending $7,408,878 in new business in January alone, it’s clear our SCBA member stations are fully engaged in new business development.”
Journal Communications Reports Q4 2013 Numbers; Radio Down 7.2%. That radio figure does include the loss of political advertising and a quirk of the bookkeeping calendar that took a week away in 2013. Accounting for those issues, Journal reports that on a same-station basis, radio revenue was up 0.7% in the fourth quarter and for the whole of 2013 same-station revenue was up 3.7%. The news for national revenue continues to be negative as Journal’s radio stations saw national drop 22.8% in Q4 and dive 8.9% for the entire year. In a statement, chairman and CEO Steven Smith says, “Journal Communications delivered a solid fourth quarter in a non-political year, driven by gains in core revenue in our broadcast group and improving advertising revenue trends in publishing…Consolidated revenue of $107.4 million was up 11% compared to 2012, excluding the extra week and political revenue in 2012.”
WGWG-LP, Chicago Adds Jarrett Payton to Air Staff. The new sports talk outlet Tribune’s WGN, Chicago is building on the leased WGWG-LP signal announces the addition of Jarrett Payton – son of Bears great and NFL Hall-of-Famer Walter Payton – to the afternoon drive show with Harry Teinowitz and Spike Manton. “The Game 87.7” vice president of creative content Todd Manley tells Chicago media writer Robert Feder, “I think Jarrett is way more than sports royalty in this town. He’s the sort of creative, inventive mind that will help us define the future of this brand.” As Feder reports, Payton’s radio experience includes serving as host of Chicago Bears post-game shows on ESPN O&O WMPV, Chicago.
Talk Host Tom Becka Launches Web-based Podcast Series. Talk radio pro Tom Becka holds down the afternoon program at NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha. Now, Becka is debuting his latest venture – a podcast series available at his website TomBecka.com titled, “Tom Becka Podcast.” Becka has a specific goal with regard to the podcast’s subject matter: letting interesting, everyday people tell stories about themselves – things you might never know unless you asked. Some of the fascinating subjects Becka has covered with his podcast project include: a woman named Kaylee talking openly about what it’s like to live with bi-polar disorder; a local man who’s taken his passion for film and started a new career making films; a conversation with a tattoo artist about the tattoo phenomenon; a man with terminal cancer relating his inspirational thoughts about living and dying; a local man who lives every day with Asperger’s syndrome; and many more. Becka says, “Tom Becka.com is a place where every day people are going to be telling their stories…inspirational stories, life lessons, stories about overcoming adversity.” All the subjects for this project are from the local Omaha area, as Becka says, people who may be your friends, relatives or neighbors. Becka is posting a new episode every Sunday. Check it out here.
Michael Harrison on the Road – Next Big Stop: Jerry Del Colliano’s “Media Solutions Conference” in Philly March 26. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will be one of three special guest speakers at noted industry observer and analyst Jerry Del Colliano’s fifth annual Media Solutions Conference set for Philadelphia on Wednesday, March 26. Along with WBEB, Philadelphia (“More FM”) owner Jerry Lee and nationally syndicated Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk star Sean Hannity, Harrison will participate in the intensive day-long workshop that will focus on a wide variety of digital-era issues currently facing and challenging radio. These include coming to a better understanding of the Millennial generation, learning to disrupt radio itself before its media rivals do, separating radio’s main product into unique on-air and online categories, effectively using video to generate significant amounts of revenue and much more. Harrison states, “I am really looking forward to participating in this conference and tackling these crucial issues with a bunch of smart people from all ends of the business. Jerry Lee has so much to share about running an independent station in an aggressive, winning way – we could sure use more Jerry Lees in this industry – and Sean Hannity is the very definition of brains and class. One of the things Sean brings to the table is the ability to attract younger listeners to traditional news/talk – he has done quite alright in an area of the field to which most people are actively seeking answers.” The event takes place at Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Hotel. For more information click here.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated progressive talk show host Leslie Marshall does double duty on Thursday (3/6) as she sits in for Thom Hartmann on his nationally syndicated program…..ESPN O&O WMPV, Chicago adds a weekly program covering Major League Soccer and the local Chicago Fire. The show is dubbed “Chicago Fire Weekly” and it’s being hosted by Fred Heubner and will feature contributions from Kevin Egan, analyst for the Chicago Fire’s television broadcasts…..News/talk WNTX, Fredericksburg, Virginia is again being heard on translator W243BS, Fredericksburg after the latter signal carried the “Fred FM” format for the past 11 months. WNTX is owned by Free Lance-Star, currently going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization…..Kevin Calabro re-ups with ESPN where he serves as the lead play-by-play voice on the NBA on ESPN Radio. He’ll continue working with lead NBA analyst Jon Barry, as well as PJ Carlesimo and Stan Van Gundy.
Former Nebraska Radio Owner Mitchell Dies at 89. In Nebraska, John C. Mitchell was a decorated broadcaster who was honored with a Pioneer Award from the Nebraska Broadcasters Association and is a member of the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Trained as an attorney who practiced law until he retired in 2001, Mitchell began acquiring radio stations in 1953 with the purchase of KGFW, Kearney – the station at which he worked in high school. Eventually his Mitchell Broadcasting Corporation would own some 14 stations across the state. Mitchell is pictured here at the mic on KGFW.
Crimea-Ukraine Tensions/Obama vs. Putin, ObamaCare Criticism, Israel-Palestinian Talks, The Oscars, Hillary in 2016, and Marijuana Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/3). The military incursions into Ukraine and Crimea by Russia and criticism of President Obama’s handling of Vladimir Putin; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; U.S. pressure on Netanyahu to convene Palestinian peace talks; Sunday evening’s Academy Awards show; speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016; and marijuana policy in the U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus to Acquire Merlin Media’s Chicago Signals – WKQX and WLUP-FM. Variations of this deal had been rumored in the Windy City for some time. Scuttlebutt heard in the late fall also had Tribune interested in WLUP-FM due to WGN president Jimmy de Castro’s earlier comments that his company is looking to acquire an FM signal in Chicago. But now it comes to pass that Cumulus Media – for a sum yet-to-be-announced – will bring classic rock WLUP-FM and WKQX (currently adult hits WIQI at 101.1) into the company’s portfolio in addition to the alternative format airing on WKQX-LP. Speaking about the sale, COO John Dickey states, “These great brands will be welcome additions to the two legendary brands we already own in Chicago.” Dickey says the alternative format under calls WKQX will return to the 101.1 frequency as early as next week. The company also has no plans to change the classic rock format on WLUP-FM so it’s unlikely it will put the country NASH format on either station in the near future. The acquisition of the two FM signals from Emmis by Randy Michaels-led Merlin took place in 2011 and the alternative format of WKQX was displaced by a news and talk format that was to target females. The format never took off and was flipped to adult hits a little less than a year later in July of 2012.
Exclusive Never-Before Seen Video of Special Tribute to Bob Grant. In 2008, now-defunct trade publication Radio & Records announced that it was going to present the late Bob Grant with its Lifetime Achievement Award at its then-annual convention. Shortly after making the announcement, the publication rescinded the award in the face of threatened picketers that protested Grant’s selection based on their opposition to his stated views and controversial reputation. WABC, then owned by Citadel and Grant’s home base at the time, stepped up to the plate and decided to present Grant with its own Lifetime Achievement Award. The station, represented by its then-VP of programming, Phil Boyce, asked TALKERS magazine if it would be willing to host the ceremony at its annual conference (then known as the New Media Seminar) in New York City that summer. TALKERS agreed and the ceremony was conducted (amidst protests) at the event’s Friday night cocktail party. It featured the presentation of the award by Boyce and a magnificent acceptance speech by Grant in addition to a stunning video tribute to Grant’s career produced by renowned industry videographer and historian Art “Radio’s Best Friend” Vuolo. After the event, the video was filed away in the TALKERS vaults for posterity and never seen again. Until now, that is. Upon the sad occasion of Bob Grant’s passing at the age of 84 this past New Year’s Eve, TALKERS has made the video available for public viewing. To see this historic document which includes Grant’s discussion of talk radio’s role in a free society, its relationship with the First Amendment and the unconstitutionality of the repressive Fairness Doctrine please see the TalkersTV box at the top of the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Fox Sports Radio Goes to Gorman for Afternoons. As far as Fox Sports Radio is concerned, the next wave of sports talk talent may be coming from the world of rock music, as the network fills its weekday 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot with The Black Crowes’ founding member/drummer Steve Gorman. “Steve Gorman Sports” debuts later this month (1/27) with a series of broadcasts leading up to the Super Bowl. According to Clear Channel senior vice president of sports operations Bruce Gilbert, “‘Steve Gorman Sports’ is the perfect combination of sports, passion, pop culture, music and entertainment. Fox Sports Radio is committed to serving sports fans with unique and entertaining insight, stories, and opinions surrounding the natural drama of sports. Steve Gorman is an excellent addition to our leading, multi-platform, sports entertainment lineup.” Gorman comments, “This is an amazing opportunity to be able to work with the one network I always felt was a perfect fit for my show. I know listeners will love hearing athletes and musicians alike talking, laughing, and arguing about our shared passions: sports and music.” Gorman has hosted several local sports shows; he began “Steve Gorman Sports” as a podcast in 2010. With all times listed referring to the Eastern time zone, FSR’s revised lineup consists of: “Fox Sports Daybreak” with Andy Furman & Mike North (6:00 am – 9:00 am); “The Dan Patrick Show” (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Jay Mohr Sports” (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); “Steve Gorman Sports” (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); J.T. “The Brick” with Tomm Looney (6:00 pm – 10:00 pm); “The Jason Smith Show (10:00 pm – 2:00 am); and “The Ben Maller Show” (2:00 am – 6:00 am).
Carlos Amezcua PM Drive Host at ‘The Patriot’ in Los Angeles. The newly transformed conservative talk outlet KEIB, Los Angeles (formerly progressive talker KTLK), now branded “The Patriot AM 1150,” has a new PM drive host as former KTTV-TV, Los Angeles news anchor Carlos Amezcua joins the station. KEIB’s change includes Premiere Networks nationally syndicated hosts Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck now airing at the station – Limbaugh slid over from sister news/talk KFI – and also includes The Blaze personality Doc Thompson in early mornings and Westwood One’s Clark Howard in evenings.
Genesis Communications Network and Mancow Partner for Syndication. Talk radio personality Erich “Mancow” Muller and Genesis Communications Network are partnering to distribute the Chicago-based morning program. GCN states it is “excited to announce the arrival of the popular Mancow show featuring the notorious Erich ‘Mancow’ Muller and his controversial, snarky, hilarious and hard-hitting brand of talk radio.”
Los Angeles Sports Radio Talent Dave Stone Passes. “This is one of the toughest things I’ve ever written.” With that, iconic Los Angeles sports talk radio/mainstream talk radio programmer and on-air talent Joe McDonnell began his Facebook tribute to longtime Los Angeles sports voice Dave Stone, who passed away earlier this week at age 64. He’d been diagnosed with ALS. “I didn’t even know he was sick, which was typical of Dave,” McDonnell states. “He did not want anyone to fuss over him – even when he was batting a terminal disease. Dave was my first hire when I was putting together ESPN 710 [KSPN, Los Angeles] in 1999 – 2000. He put his heart and soul into everything he did there.” Part of that lineup was “McDonnell-Douglas” consisting of McDonnell and veteran Los Angeles sportswriter Doug Krikorian; Stone did sports updates. “Big Joe” first met Stone in the mid-1970s when they were competing for the job to operate the Dodger Stadium message board. “Dave beat me out, but it became a moment when I met one of the best friends I’ve ever had,” FoxSportsWest.com writer-reporter-columnist McDonnell states. A notoriously famous Lakers fan, McDonnell nonetheless concedes that Stone might have been just as strong of a partisan of the NBA team. “We would spend hours talking about [Jerry] West, [Elgin] Baylor, [Wilt] Chamberlain, Darrell Imhoff, and Archie Clark. If he was a Lakers player, we knew about him.” Stone was the public address announcer for more than 1,400 Harlem Globetrotter performances and McDonnell writes, “If the phone rang at 3:00 am, it might be Dave calling from Singapore to get the score of the Lakers game.” In 1991, Stone was working at Huntsville, Alabama’s WVNN-WZYP and he hired a young afternoon drive talent named Sean Hannity. Mike Dunsmore worked with Stone at Fox Sports Radio from 2007 – 2009 and just this past year at NBC Sports Radio, where Stone was an update anchor. “He had a booming voice, loved the Lakers, and despised [former Lakers player] Kwame Brown,” Dunsmore posts on Facebook. “Dave Stone was a class act.” Former KLOS, Los Angeles program director Rita Wilde – currently doing evenings at cross-town KSWD “The Sound” – writes, “I had no idea he was sick – he was a great guy.” McDonnell rhetorically states of Stone, “You have no idea how much I’m going to miss you.” Services for Stone were held yesterday (Thursday, 1/2) at 2:00 pm in suburban Los Angeles (Simi Valley).
KOIL, Omaha’s Tom Becka Launches Podcast Project. Talk radio pro Tom Becka – currently hosting afternoon drive at NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha – announces the debut of a weekly podcast project that will be featured at his website tombecka.com. Becka tells TALKERS, “TomBecka.com is a podcast page where I interview everyday people with a unique story to tell. Think of it as NPR, but with personality and a pulse. Some of the interviews that are helping me launch this are a woman who’s a breast cancer survivor, a soldier with PTSD, a drag queen, a woman who accidentally found out her bartender was the child she gave up for adoption 27 years ago, and a couple that practices polyamory. Every Sunday I will add another podcast and so far I have a rodeo clown, a man with Asperger’s, and a drummer who has spent most of his life working the cruise ships.” This project allows Becka to step outside of the format of a live, on-air talk radio show but still bring his own personality and style to these interview projects. He says his ability to negotiate keeping ownership of his digital rights has allowed him to work on these types of initiatives.
Odds & Sods. There’s been a minor lineup shuffle at Yahoo! Sports Radio where Sean Salisbury moves to the late afternoon “Prime Cut” show alongside current host John Granato. Leaving that show to host the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET program is Geoff Ketchum who replaces John Harris…..Compass Media Networks syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt announces changes in his show in a number of markets. In Schnitt’s home market of Tampa, his program will be delay broadcast on WFLA from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm but will air live on sister station WHNZ from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The show will also shift to early evening clearances on affiliates WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina and WTKS, Savannah, Georgia…..“Labor-Lines,” hosted by Vic Fusco, moves from former progressive talker WWRL, New York to its new home at Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” where it airs Saturdays at 1:00 pm.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Cumulus Media Networks-syndicated “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage is added to the programming lineup at KROP, Yuma, Arizona; KVPI, Lafayette, Louisiana; and WGSO, New Orleans…..Compass Media Networks talk host Todd Schnitt joins the program schedule at KNEW, San Francisco…..Rodger Fredinburg’s “Homeland Security” show joins the weekend program lineup at KMED, Medford, Oregon…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Jason Lewis program is added to the program schedule at KNEW, San Francisco…..Also from GCN, the weekly Steve Sanchez program announces its new flagship station KFNX, Phoenix…..“Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge announces new affiliates: WXBR, Brockton, Massachusetts; WQXL-AM/FM, Columbia, South Carolina; KMMS-AM, Bozeman and KPRK-AM, Livingston, Montana; and KMED, Medford, Oregon…..From Salem Radio Network comes the following affiliate additions: Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” is added to KVTA, Oxnard-Ventura; Mike Gallagher becomes part of the lineup at KGED, Fresno; the Dennis Prager show is added to WEZO, Augusta, Georgia; and Michael Medved joins the programming at WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois and WTIM-FM, Taylorville, Illinois.
Holidays and Year-in-Review Top Talk Topics for Week of Dec. 30 – Jan. 3. The holidays and a look back at 2013 were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was criticism of the Affordable Care Act. At #3 was the poor rating of Congress by the public followed by winter weather and discussions of global warming tied at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a list 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. To view this week’s entire chart, click here.
Rick Sanchez Joins WIOD, Miami in New Lineup. Clear Channel Media + Entertainment news/talk WIOD, Miami announces a new program lineup that includes cable news/talk veteran Rick Sanchez in the late morning slot. Program director Grace Blazer says on the station’s website, “Our new lineup reflects 610 WIOD’S strengthening commitment to high-quality local news, accurate weather, important traffic conditions, and the perfect balance of highly talented local and national personalities. The result will be a topical, informative and entertaining listener experience for the residents and businesses of South Florida.” The lineup includes “South Florida’s First News with Jimmy Cefalo” in morning drive, Sanchez from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon followed by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. The new program schedule takes effect on January 6.
Cuts at CBS Chicago Leave Anchor/Reporter Steve Grzanich Out. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has been writing about budget-related cuts at the CBS Radio cluster in Chicago for several days and now we know more about who’s been affected. At all-news WBBM-AM, anchor/reporter Steve Grzanich exits after 20 years with the station. ChicagoRadioandMedia.com tips us that Grzanich posted the following message on his Facebook page: “Dear Friends: I have breaking news…about me! After 20 years, I am signing off at WBBM Newsradio to explore other opportunities. I am hungry for a new challenge and must embark on the journey to find it starting now. But don’t go away! I’ll still be here in Chicago and on Facebook with news, weather and other stuff…just not on the 8s. Thank you for listening! Stay tuned for news about my next chapter.” The cluster also saw the release of longtime production/imaging staffer Michael Horn who worked for sister CHR WBBM-FM “B96.” Horn has been working with Killer Hertz since May of 2012 and ChicagoRadioandMedia.com reports he will continue to do freelance imaging work while he looks for his next opportunity. Feder reports that a number of sales staffers have been let go from the cluster.
Other CBS Radio Cuts Hit Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Atlanta. According to sources in Southern California, there have been four layoffs at CBS stations there including KTRH news anchor Bob Malik and KNX traffic reporter Tommy Jaxson. The two others are believed to be front office staffers. In Pittsburgh, changes come to sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” as Vinnie Richichi exits the Vinnie & Cook midday program and Paul Alexander leaves the morning drive show. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Bob Smizik reports that Richichi and Ron Cook never got along, it was obvious on the air and that led to Richichi’s departure, plus morning host Gregg Giannotti was not happy working with Alexander. Finally, in Atlanta Kendra G. and Christopher “Crash” Clark exit the Ryan Cameron morning show at urban contemporary WVEE “V103.”
Lineup Changes at Fox Sports Radio Network in the New Year. The national lineup from Fox Sports Radio Network will look a little different come January 5, 2014. Gone from the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET slot will be Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman from “Fox Sports Primetime” with replacement(s) to be announced later. J.T. the Brick moves from the overnight slot to the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET slot accompanied by sidekick Tomm Looney, displacing the current Petros & Money show. Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith will continue to be heard on Clear Channel’s KLAC, Los Angeles. Rob Dibble and Amy Van Dyken leave “Fox Sports Tonight” and the NFL Network’s and Fox Sports Network’s Jason Smith takes over that show airing from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am ET while Fox Sports Radio weekend personality Ben Maller becomes the 2:00 am to 6:00 am host.
Cox Enterprises Promotes Dyer to President/CEO. Current chief operating officer John Dyer will be elevated to Cox Enterprises president/chief executive officer when he officially succeeds retiring CEO Jimmy Hayes on Wednesday, January 1. Cox Enterprises is the parent company of Cox Media Group. According to Cox Enterprises chairman Jim Kennedy, “In the 36 years John has worked at Cox, he has always done a terrific job and always risen to meet every new challenge he was presented. He has been an incredible chief operating officer and he understands all our businesses. He is committed to our employees and our customers. I am excited to work with [him] as he leads our company in an exciting future.” Dyer comments, “Cox is a company that values its employees, delivers superior products and services to its customers, and strives to be a responsible and sustainable corporate partner in the communities in which we operate. I am excited about the ways we will continue to grow our existing businesses and invest in future opportunities.” In addition to Cox Media Group, Dyer will be responsible for Cox Communications, Manheim, and AutoTrader Group, as well as corporate functions including financial operations, human resources and administration.
Bob Murray Takes Leave from WTAX, Springfield to Battle Brain Tumor. “Morning Newswatch” host Bob Murray tells listeners in an open letter that he is taking time from the Saga Communications news/talk outlet to focus on “getting better and being with loved ones.” Murray writes: “As you have probably heard, I have decided to elect for an extended medical leave of absence from my post as the host of the ‘WTAX Morning Newswatch’ due to newly discovered health concerns. Many people have enquired (sic) into what is going on, and I thought it would be best you hear it from me. I have been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer and will be taking this leave from work as an opportunity to focus my time on getting better and being with family and loved ones. While this is far from an ideal situation, we are remaining positive and focusing on staying strong. In the days following the announcement, it has been so incredibly humbling to feel the outpour of prayers and support from all directions, and I am pretty positive I will never be able to properly express how much that means to my family and me. I also want to thank the WTAX family and central Illinois area for their many years of loyal listenership. It has truly been an honor to start each day with you, tackling the issues that matter to us. I hope to be back in the capital soon, focusing on what I love, delivering the news, sports, entertainment and important local happenings to you.”
‘Jay Talking’ Permanent Overnight Show on WBZ-AM, Boston. Bradley Jay’s “Jay Talking” program is now the official overnight program on CBS Radio’s news and talk WBZ-AM, Boston. Jay has been working in the news and talk realm for some time (he also serves as the executive producer for “Nightside with Dan Rea”) but he got his start in music radio and worked at the legendary rock outlet WBCN. In fact, he hosted the last show at “The Rock of Boston” before a frequency swap and format change ended the station’s run.
NRG, Omaha Names Davis KOOO Brand Manager. In addition to being appointed brand manager of NRG Media, Omaha adult hits KOOO “Big O 101.9,” talk host Crash Davis takes on marketing director duties for that Nebraska market’s entire NRG cluster. Operations manager Jeff Lynn comments, “Crash has been an integral part of our team for the past year. He is very versatile and has a keen sense of what the Omaha listener wants and loves about ‘Big O.’ He brings many of the talents and skill sets we need to propel ‘Big O’ to new heights in the ratings and to drive results for our advertisers.” Davis remarks, “I am delighted to have a more prominent role on a station I have watched evolve over the past several years. I have great respect for [morning talent] Dave Wingert and the rest of the on-air team. Our great variety of music and the content we talk about resonates with listeners. I will do my part to enhance our reputation with the listeners and advertisers.” Davis has been in Omaha radio the past 15 years, including as a host on NRG talk outlet KOIL “The Mighty 1290″ and as the afternoon drive talent on cross-town Clear Channel-owned talk station KFAB.
Salem Selects Dr. Frank Wright As President/COO. Eleven-year National Religious Broadcasters president/chief executive officer Dr. Frank Wright will join Salem Communications Corporation on Wednesday, January 1 as president/chief operating officer. Dr. Wright will report directly to Salem chief executive officer and director Edward Atsinger. “Frank has more than 20 years of experience working in – and with – broadcast media organizations,” Atsinger comments. “He has also developed a robust network among DC-based public policy organizations, as well as DC-based political organizations. Frank is an effective leader and team-builder with a strong entrepreneurial background, and he has extensive executive experience in strategic planning and organizational structure. I expect him to hit the ground running and work closely with me in executing our business strategies.” Before joining the NRB, Dr. Wright spent seven years as executive director of the Center for Christian Statesmanship; he has a doctorate in finance.
Will Salem Purchase Eagle Publishing on January 15? The story that Politico reported late last week is a done deal, according to BuzzFeed which states staffers at Eagle Publishing have been told the sale will take place on January 15. According to the BuzzFeed piece, Salem Communications will add to its conservative print and digital assets with the acquisition and that as many as 90% of staffers will remain with the Eagle division; it’s the upper management positions that will be eliminated due to redundancy. Eagle operates RedState.com, Human Events and Regnery Publishing. Salem recently acquired Twitchy.com from conservative pundit, columnist and author Michelle Malkin.
Sean’s New Digs! Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Sean Hannity (right) is pictured here with pundit and author Ann Coulter (center) and fellow Premiere star Glenn Beck (left) at Hannity’s new Premiere Networks studios at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Hannity leaves his longtime home base at WABC, New York at the end of the year and his program will emanate from flagship WOR, New York beginning in January.
Budget Deal, NSA Data Mining Ruling, ObamaCare Criticism, Mega Millions Jackpot, and Limbaugh-Pope Francis Marxism Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/17). The battle in the U.S. Senate over the details of the Congressional budget deal; the aftermath of a judge’s ruling the NSA data mining program “probably unconstitutional”; scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; the $636 million Mega Millions jackpot; and the continuing flap over Rush Limbaugh’s comments about Pope Francis’ “Marxist” economic philosophy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Still More Positive News/Talk Radio Stories. For the past several days, TALKERS magazine has been writing about some of the individual success stories of news/talk stations that are performing well or even enjoying a ratings bounce during a time when the mainstream media (and some of the trades) are presenting the idea that news/talk radio is dead, dying or, at the very least, suffering from some malady. TALKERS editors believe this too-broad approach to describing the state of a whole radio format that’s heard across an entire continent is detrimental to the industry. And apparently many of the industry’s practitioners agree as we are being besieged with accounts of success from PDs, talent and anonymous station staffers (who want to keep a low profile). Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque has long been a ratings-getter in the market and program director Pat Frisch tells TALKERS things are going particularly well for new PM drive host Scott Stiegler. “He is #1 Persons 25-54 in afternoon drive. It took Stig just six months to take the afternoon show from 8th to 1st in Persons 25-54. They are also listening to the Stig show an hour longer a week than they were six months ago in the key demo.” Frisch also commends Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh for his recent success. “The rock of the station, Rush, is #1 Persons 25-54 and they are listening an hour longer per week to Rush in the key demo, as well. Conservative talk still works and works well if you are a true conservative and stick to your principals.” At NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha, talk radio pro Tom Becka says his story – exiting crosstown KFAB, doing a year in Fargo, and returning to the market on KOIL – is indicative of how success can be achieved without headline-grabbing stats. “We hit our sales quota for the year two months ago and I am beating or competitive with KFAB in my time slot in the demo. Advertisers that are looking ahead to 2014 are putting us in their mix when we were a non-issue at this time last year. I don’t have to beat (Clear Channel’s) KFAB to win. But it is good to know that good local programming that responds to the needs of the listeners still wins.” Reports from KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno (a Peak station soon to be owned by Cumulus Media) indicate the station’s efforts to rebuild its programming after losing Premiere shows to Clear Channel’s new crosstown news/talker have worked in “retaining format leadership in the Fresno market.” Finally, TALKERS is getting reports that the Cox Media Group–WestwoodOne effort syndicating Herman Cain is getting good traction and results. The WSB-AM, Atlanta-based Cain is #5 in that market with Men 25-54 (6.1 share); #1 at WHIO, Dayton with Men 25-54 (10 share); and #3 with Men 18-49 at KRMG, Tulsa (8.1 share). Thanks to all the folks who’ve reported positive news/talk stories over the past few days. We look forward to hearing – and reporting – more of them in the future! For those attending the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood next Thursday, this will be one of the focal points of the event.
WQAM, Miami Names Andy King PD; Channing Crowder and Brandon Guzio to PM Drive. Beasley Broadcast Group’s Miami sports talker WQAM fills the afternoon drive slot and program director position that had been open since Jorge Sedano left to join ESPN. The station ups APD Andy King to PD. King started at WQAM in 2005 as producer of the Dan Le Batard show, eventually became executive producer of the Jorge Sedano show and took the position of assistant program director in May 2012. WQAM reports that in King’s first year there, he helped the station grow nearly a full share point in the coveted Men 25-54 target audience. The new permanent PM drive program is the Channing Crowder show featuring the former University of Florida and Miami Dolphins star along with co-host Brandon Guzio. Crowder began his radio career with WQAM while still playing professional football and joined the station full time in October 2012 as co-host of the “Kup & Crowder” show. Guzio joined the station’s Jorge Sedano show in 2013 and is also currently the host of “The Post Game Show” following every Miami Dolphins game. With Crowder moving to afternoons, longtime WQAM personality Captain Curtis Stevenson joins Adam Kuperstein for the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm “Kup & Curtis” show.
Prime Opportunity for Conservative Talker in Seattle. As Bonneville’s conservative talk outlet KTTH, Seattle celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, program director Jason Antebi tells TALKERS he is preparing to add another local talk show to the station’s lineup. Antebi says, “The station has been sharpening its vision – who do we want to talk to, what do we talk about and what unique value can we provide to our listeners? We are passionate about our beliefs, yet we also want to move the community conversation forward in a meaningful way and make a difference where we live and work. I’m lucky to work at a company like Bonneville where we’re able to truly provide a place to passionately advocate for traditional American values (like freedom, community, and personal responsibility) without having to be a bomb-thrower.” Antebi says he’ll be looking for “talk show hosts who feel they have what it takes to stay on top of breaking news with insightful, civil and forward-thinking analysis and constructive conversation.” Those interested in learning more about the position should contact him at email@example.com.
Progressive Talk Radio to Return to Portland on New FM. KXRY, Portland (HERP of 8 watts at 91.1 MHz) is currently dark but owned by not-for-profit Common Frequency, Inc. and is expected to go on the air as a non-commercial station in the near future with a progressive talk and music hybrid format. Writing on BlueOregon.com, Carla Axtman says the goal of “XRAY.FM” is to fill the gap left by the demise of former progressive talker KPOJ. It plans to air former KPOJ AM drive host Carl Wolfson (who is running his own internet station) as well as WYD Media’s Thom Hartman, who made Portland his home base for a number of years. Axtman also writes, “Why the sudden audio activism? October 2013 marks the only opening for new independent radio licenses granted by the FCC – a one-week window after a 15-year battle. Congress has allowed commercial radio stations to snatch up nearly all available frequencies (and the ears of billions of listeners) for a long time. This is XRAY.FM’s chance to bring Thom Hartmann, Carl Wolfson and the music of independent artists back to your local dial. XRAY.FM is partnering with community organizations around Oregon to make sure that the whole state can enjoy the sweet sounds of progressive radio once again.”
Odds & Sods. The Los Angeles Lakers and ESPN agree to extend the club’s relationship with KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA” for another seven years with the station airing Lakers play-by-play through the 2019-2020 season. John Ireland and Mychal Thompson will continue to call the games…..WBBM-AM and WCFS, Chicago part-time anchor and reporter Brandis Friedman leaves CBS Radio to join public television station WTTW-TV, Chicago as a full-time correspondent for the “Chicago Tonight Program,” according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Dave Rutherford begins contributing daily commentaries to Rogers’ CFFR, Calgary. Rutherford exited Corus’ crosstown CHQR where he hosted a talk show prior to the expiration of his contract after he criticized that station’s coverage of the flooding in Alberta in June.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin show becomes part of the programming at WEZO, Augusta, Gerogia; KVML, Sonora, California; and WLVA, Roanoke, Virginia…..Cumulus’ Mike Huckabee is added at WGDJ, Albany; KVRC, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; and WBKK, Wilton, Minnesota…..The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” is added to the lineup at KOKC, Oklahoma City and KJCE, Austin. Additionally, KFAQ, Tulsa expands its carriage of the show to 4:00 am to 6:00 am…..GCN’s “The Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at WSZL, Barstow, Californnia…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters joins the programming at WGTK, Louisville, Kentucky.
Jennifer Hudson on ABC News Radio. Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson (right) sits down with ABC News Radio’s Joi-Marie McKenzie (left) to discuss her latest movie “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete” which hits theaters on October 11.
Government Shutdown Tops Talkers TenTM. The shutdown of the federal government and the political battle to re-open was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of September 30 – October 4. Coming in at #2 this week was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. At #3 was U.S.-Iran relations and at #4 was the IPCC’s climate change report. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Pioneering Talk Radio Host Gene Burns Dead at 72. Longtime talk radio host and broadcasting pioneer Gene Burns has died, succumbing to a long illness marked by a series of strokes. In the words of TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison, “Gene was one of the greatest of the great and classiest of the classy – a true ‘wordsmith’ and gentleman who symbolized everything good about talk radio and served as one of the major engines that drove the ascent of its modern era.” Until recently forced by illness into retirement from on-air performing, Burns had spent a decade and a half as a key host on KGO, San Francisco where he did a general news/talk program as well as a very popular restaurant and entertainment show. The veteran of a number of great stations, he made his mark in the late-1980s and early-1990s as a member of the legendary lineup at WRKO, Boston that also included the late Jerry Williams. That was followed by a brief but high-profile stint at WOR, New York and national syndication on the WOR Radio Network. Harrison adds, “Gene Burns practiced a brand of libertarian-based, intellectual populism in his approach to political news/talk that set the standard for the format’s emergence as a voice for the average person to stand up to big government, big business, big media and big anything. Although ‘conservative’ in his orientation, he eschewed blatant partisanship, avoided banal cookie-cutter left-versus-right talking points and dealt with each issue in an academically probing and credible manner.” Burns’ ground breaking work in the early-1990s stood as the inspiration for TALKERS magazine’s annual Freedom of Speech Award and the tradition of the annual State of the First Amendment Address delivered at the publication’s conventions. He is ranked the 23rd most important radio talk show host of all time by TALKERS in its “Heaviest Hundred” feature which is updated twice a decade. Harrison concludes, “His rich, baritone voice coupled with the artistry of his word selection and ability to construct a logical argument was about as close to music as one could hear within a spoken word context.” A special honoring the life and work of Gene Burns aired on Sunday, May 26 on KGO hosted by David Weintraub and a special tribute will be presented honoring his legacy at Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6.
Adult Contemporary is a Relatively Low-Involvement Format on Facebook. According to digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, “There are several major-market adult contemporary stations on Facebook who have a ton of followers, but very little interaction going on. As a former AC programmer, I absolutely feel their pain; AC is a low-involvement format. At the same time, most of these stations have fallen into a rut about what they post. The quality of the post is in the level of engagement you get from it. When thousands or tens of thousands follow you, and you get two or three ‘Likes’ on your posts, you gotta shake up your thinking.” In a new column posted today (5/28) Miller suggests that although consistency is basically a good and necessary thing, there is a dark side to it and to avoid falling into a rut, radio broadcasters of all formats should make changes to approximately 10% of their posts on a regular basis. To read the details and Miller’s entire piece, click here.
Kent Sterling Returns to Indy on Sports Talk WFNI. News/talk and sports radio pro Kent Sterling re-surfaces on the air at Emmis’ sports talk WFNI, Indianapolis for a weekend program with Chris Hagan called, “Ahead of the Curve with Hagan and Sterling.” He most recently served with Bonneville at its St. Louis sports talker WXOS but exited that post to return to Indianapolis. Prior to his work at WXOS, Sterling served as program director at Emmis’ news/talk flagship WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. Sterling’s and Hagan’s weekend program airs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays.
NBA on Radio Is a Different Breed of Sports Play-by-Play. Major League Baseball is the sport that could be called radio’s best friend and the NFL’s astounding popularity makes its games and surrounding programming popular with listeners. While the NBA’s regular season games are not generally thought of as “programming gold” across the country, it appears that having even a moderately successful team combined with a flagship station with a strong nighttime signal, can be a recipe for success with basketball play-by-play. According to information from Arbitron based on PPM data from 27 NBA teams in 25 PPM markets, certain places are simply basketball towns – the Los Angeles Lakers rule Los Angeles on KSPN with average game estimates larger than the Dodgers, Angels, Kings and Ducks grabbing a 4.0 share with Men 25-54 (average of all 82 games). And perennial contenders the San Antonio Spurs dominated on WOAI with a 9.8 share with Men 25-54. However, less successful teams on strong flagships performed well during the regular season: the Milwaukee Bucks just squeaked into the playoffs but on heritage WTMJ garnered a 10 share with Men 25-54; the Cleveland Cavaliers missed the playoffs yet grabbed a 9.7 share (M 25-54) on WTAM; and the Detroit Pistons also missed the playoffs but notched an 8.0 (M 25-54) share on the highly rated WXYT-FM. Considering games in the East and Midwest air in the evenings, numbers for the stations cited above – and others not cited here – are impressive nighttime ratings.
Flagship Stations Should Capitalize on Cross-Promotional Opportunities within Baseball PBP. According to Bonneville Seattle creative director Chris Pendl, “If you’ve made the investment on play-by-play sports on your station, it’s important to maximize the return on your investment by trying to recycle that audience to another daypart on your station.” Arbitron reports that MLB drives cume increases as much as 50% to 65% during baseball season. Pendl tells TALKERS, “This influx of audience is one of the reasons we pay rights fees, share revenue, or give up inventory to carry this programming. In a climate with little or no external marketing dollars, I’ve often joked that our promotional time within baseball play-by-play is the closest thing we’ll get to an interstate billboard or TV campaign.” In an exclusive article posted today (5/28) Pendl describes and shares a production/promo technique conducted by Bonneville to cross-promote the station via the baseball audience that he calls “situation baseball return liners.” To read the entire piece and hear examples of its execution, click here.
Buckley to Sell KYZZ, Salinas, California to Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters. Buckley Communications announces it is selling sports talk KYZZ, Salinas, California to Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters. The price is yet to be announced. KYZZ is the FM side of the sports talk simulcast that also airs on Buckley’s KIDD, Monterey and Buckley says it will continue with its ESPN Radio affiliation on KIDD. Mt. Wilson has not announced its format plans for KYZZ. Saul Levine’s Mt. Wilson also owns country KKGO, Los Angeles and classical simulcast KMZT-AM, Beverly Hills and KMZT-FM, Big Sur, California.
WTOP Hacking: Why You Should Worry. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes about the recent hacking of the websites of Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington and its sister WFED “Federal News Radio.” Weisman is one of the nation’s foremost experts on scams, he operates the website Scamicide that presents up-to-date information about scams, fraud and identity theft, and is the author of The Truth About Avoiding Scams (FT Press 2008). In this column, Weisman explains the methods used by the WTOP hackers and explains the steps users can take to avoid becoming the victim of similar attacks. Read Weisman’s entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. Martz Communications’ WPDM, Potsdam, New York flips from a simulcast of FM sister WSNN to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network…..Wilks License Company’s sports talk WZOH, Columbus becomes part of the Cleveland Browns radio network based at CBS Radio’s WKRK, Cleveland…..WTOP, Washington crowns Nathan Stanford from Harrington, Delaware the 2013 winner of “Commuter Idle” – an “extreme commuter” competition for listeners experiencing the daily horrors of commuting in and around Washington. Stanford’s commute begins with a 3:00 am alarm and a one-hour drive. He then boards a commuter bus for a 90-minute ride from Kent Island to Foggy Bottom, rides the Metro, and hustles on foot to his office in Rosslyn. Stanford’s travels from Delaware to Virginia average more than five hours a day, though the commute can be much longer in the summer months with Friday beach traffic. He receives $1,000 in gas money and will enjoy a limo ride to and from work from Reston Limousine. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “The question that we hear most often is, ‘Why do these people do it?’ It’s fascinating to hear their personal stories and accompany them on their crazy commutes. We feel their pain, and as DC’s traffic authority we’re here to help.”
KOIL, Omaha’s Mulberry Lane Meets the Beach Boys and John Stamos. Musical act Mulberry Lane opened for the Beach Boys (which includes actor and musician John Stamos) in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Saturday, May 25. Pictured here are (from l-r): Bo Mulberry, Bruce Johnston, Rachel Mulberry, Mike Love, Allie Mulberry, and John Stamos. The Mulberry sisters – based in Nebraska – also host a weekend talk show on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha called the “Mulberry Lane Radio Show.” The station describes the ladies’ program saying the sisters “decided to bring their busy lives to live radio with a show based on sisterhood, womanhood, motherhood, and the humor and mishaps of trying to juggle it all – woven together with music, harmony and a dash of wit.” It airs Saturdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.
Longtime KNX, Los Angeles Anchor Harry Birrell Dies. Longtime Los Angeles news personality Harry Birrell died on May 26 after a battle with lung disease at age 85 in Thousand Oaks, California. Birrell was an anchor at all-news KNX, Los Angeles for more than three decades – beginning in 1968 when the station flipped to the all-news format and ending with his retirement in 1999. Birrell switched from his anchor role at the station to Ventura County correspondent in 1993.
Kevin Miller Stops By TheBlaze. KIDO, Boise morning drive talk show host Kevin Miller was visiting Dallas – home of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – and took some time to stop by the studios to check out the production of the Glenn Beck program. Here’s a shot of Beck (l) and Miller (r) inside the spacious former movie/TV studios that are home to Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts production facility.
Jacobs Media’s TechSurvey9: News/Talk Breakout. Consulting firm Jacobs Media held a webinar yesterday in which it broke out data relative to the news/talk format from its all-radio TechSurvey9. A key point for talk radio programmers comes from the answers to the question, “Why are you listening to less AM/FM radio than in the past?” The study indicates 49% said it was because they are not enjoying the programming. The next most common response was because of a lifestyle change. After that, the responses were: 17%, too many commercials; 10% listening to SiriusXM; and 9% listening to internet radio. Some of the key points from the study indicating unique attributes of regular users of news/talk radio:
- They are big users of email – especially for building a relationship with their favorite news/talk station. They are less likely to connect with the station via Facebook or Twitter.
- 74% report their primary reason for listening to AM/FM radio is for news, traffic and weather information and 42% cited the need to find out what’s going on locally – much higher than users of other radio formats.
- News/talk users are #2 in owning a car with a digital dashboard (compared to other format fans) with 13% reporting they own one.
- Social media use for news/talk fans indicates they are far more likely to be on LinkedIn – likely due to the “professional” status of many listeners. They are least likely of all format fans to “like” a Facebook page and are not especially frequent users of Twitter compared to other format P1s (although use of Twitter increased 17% over the 2012 survey).
- 65% of news/talk listeners downloaded digital radio apps and, compared to users of other radio formats, were more likely to download your station’s app and the TuneIn app.
- Compared to the same study period one year ago, news/talk fans’ use of internet radio rose 15%; saw a 36% increase in the use of tablet devices; and a 19% increase in the use of the digital dashboard.
Paul Finebaum to Join ESPN August 1. The formerly Birmingham, Alabama-based sports journalist and talk show host will change his home base to Charlotte for his new gig with ESPN. Paul Finebaum, who had a tumultuous last two years with Cumulus Media at WJOX in Birmingham, will not be moving to SummitMedia’s crosstown WZNN “97.3 The Zone” as many industry watchers had suspected. Instead, Finebaum will take his radio program to ESPN where it will air on ESPN Audio and the ESPN-owned SEC Network, destined to debut in August of 2014. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Finebaum will also make 100 appearances on ESPN’s cable TV channels. After entering into a couple of legal battles with former long-time employer Cumulus Media over the course of several years, Finebaum agreed to work out his contract and exit radio in order to sit out his non-compete and start fresh somewhere else. He left WJOX in January of this year.
Clear Channel Announces Bid to Push Back Debt with Bond Exchange. Clear Channel Communications announces it is seeking to push off some debt until 2021 via a $2.1 billion bond exchange. The company is offering to swap $796.3 million of 10.75% notes due in 2016 and $1.28 billion of 11% payment-in-kind notes due in 2016 for the new debt that would come up in 2021. The notes will pay 12% in cash and 2% through the issuance of payment-in-kind notes. Bloomberg’s Mary Childs reports, “Free cash flow at the San Antonio-based broadcaster hasn’t exceeded $340.9 million in any year since its 2008 buyout by Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP. Credit-default swaps tied to the bonds of the company, which owes about $20.8 billion total, are at about the lowest in two years, a sign investors are open to refinancing, Bloomberg data show.”
Cox Enterprises Announces $1 Million Donation to Oklahoma Tornado Relief. The parent company of Cox Media Group – Cox Enterprises – announces that in partnership with the James L. Cox Foundation it is donating $1 million in support of relief and recovery efforts. “Cox Enterprises is committed to supporting the victims of this terrible storm,” says Jim Kennedy, chairman of Cox Enterprises. “As a company that operates multiple businesses in Oklahoma, we are committed to helping our employees and the communities we serve recover from this disaster. In providing this assistance, we also encourage others to support the local relief and recovery efforts.” Cox Enterprises operates multiple companies in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, including: Cox Communications, Total Resource Auctions – Oklahoma City, Total Resource Auctions – Tulsa, news/talk KRMG, Fox23, My41, country KWEN, Tulsa “K95,” hot AC KRAV, Tulsa “Mix 96” and rock KJSR, Tulsa “Rock 103.” “In this difficult time of recovery and rebuilding, our hearts go out to the families affected by the tornadoes,” states Percy Kirk, senior vice president and general manager, Cox Communications Oklahoma. “This gift is a symbol of our commitment to our community and it is our hope that it will provide comfort and relief to many.” In addition to the cash donation and in-kind public service announcements, Cox’s local media properties in Tulsa are hosting a series of community fundraisers.
CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh Hosts Remote Auditions for Sports Talk Host. CBS Radio Pittsburgh sports talk outlet “Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan” is hosting open auditions for a weekend sports talk show on the station. The open auditions rounds begin this weekend and will take place at five different locations over the next four weeks. The company states, “Participants will be judged by station personnel on their ability to rant on a random sports topic. Ten entrants from the open auditions will be selected to move on to the semifinal round to be held at the Tilted Kilt in the North Shore on Monday, June 24. From there, the top four entrants will move on to the Finals at Sidelines Bar and Grill in Sewickley to be judged during a live broadcast with Andrew Fillipponi on KDKA-FM on Thursday, June 27 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Program director Ryan Maguire says, “We’re looking for the next great Pittsburgh sports talk show host – someone who can grow into a superstar. We’re eager to see which member of this passionate fan base can take advantage of this very rare opportunity.”
‘Frontlines of Freedom’ Returns to WOOD, Grand Rapids for Flagship Station. The Talk Media Network-syndicated program dedicated to all things military and hosted by retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Denny Gillem returns to its original flagship station WOOD, Grand Rapids. Talk Media Network’s Josh Leng reports that the weekend “Frontlines of Freedom” program will air live from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on WOOD beginning June 1. Gillem says of the move, “Six years ago my co-founder and I created ‘Frontlines of Freedom’ on WOOD radio. June 1 is the show’s six-year anniversary. It’s a great honor to be returning to our roots at the finest station in West Michigan.” The program began in 2006 as a special Memorial Day show called, “A Colonel’s Salute to Veterans” that won a Michigan Broadcasters Association award. One year later the weekly program was founded at WOOD. Phil Tower, director of news & content programming at Clear Channel’s WOOD, states, “Few persons are held in such high regard as the men and women of our military, so it’s a natural fit to welcome ‘Frontlines of Freedom’ back to our WOOD radio lineup.”
Tony Stiles to Join The Next News Network. Talk radio personality Tony Stiles, host of his eponymous program heard Saturdays on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha “The Mighty 1290,” announces he’s accepted the news anchor position at Chicago-based internet news network The Next News Network. Stiles states, “I am honored that after only seven months on the air in Omaha, that my show, ideas and personality has resonated nationally through a loyal audience by word-of-mouth, radio and internet access. This coming Friday night I will continue my role of frequent anchor until I assume the daily desk in early summer.” The Next News Network founder Gary Franchi says, “As the founder of Next News Network, I became aware of Tony’s ability to attract an audience as I followed his rapid growth and heard his show. Tony is a perfect fit for our 24/7 internet newscast which, like Tony, is the first of its kind.”
CBS News Reporter Tells WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall Her Work and Personal Computers Compromised. In a story that has since gone viral after being picked up by numerous consumer news outlets, with the allegations the DOJ has been investigating AP and Fox News reporters as the backdrop, CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson told WPHT, Philadelphia AM drive host Chris Stigall her work and personal computers are being analyzed as part of an investigation. Attkisson said she could not point the finger at the DOJ but the speculation is that it’s a possibility. Attkisson has been reporting on the Benghazi attacks story.
Sports USA Announces College Football Schedule. Sports USA unveils its 2013 schedule of college football contests saying it “consists of 18 games featuring the best teams in college football. Defending national champion Alabama, unbeaten Ohio State, Texas A&M, (with Heisman Trophy winning QB Johnny Manziel) Michigan, Florida, and LSU will be among the teams featured this year.” Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “We are pleased to provide these incredible matchups to our nearly 400 affiliates nationwide. Additionally, we are providing a sideline reporter for each game.” The season kicks off with USC at Hawaii on August 29 and wraps up with the Independence Bowl on December 31. Other key match-ups include Florida at LSU on October 12, Michigan versus Michigan State on November 2 and Alabama at Auburn on November 30.
Odds & Sods. “America Tonight” nationally syndicated talk show host Kate Delaney is doing some fill-in work this weekend for NBC Sports Radio Network. Delaney, who earlier in her career worked at WFAN, New York, will sit in from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET on May 26 and from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on May 27…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles continues its “KNX on Your Corner” remote broadcast series on June 7 as it takes a comprehensive look at the Orange County city of Fullerton. During the live broadcast from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm, community leaders including Mayor Bruce Whitaker, council members, Chief of Police Dan Hughes and other special guests will be interviewed. Additionally, a special series by KNX investigative reporter Charles Feldman will look at the double-barreled impact on the city of the “Great Recession” and the high-profile fatal beating of a homeless man, Kelly Thomas, by members of the Fullerton Police Department nearly two years ago.
ESPN to Begin Mega-Layoffs. At this point the company’s only public statement has been, “We are implementing changes across the company to enhance our continued growth while smartly managing costs. While difficult, we are confident that it will make us more competitive, innovative and productive.” It’s unclear how many ESPN Audio staffers will be affected but the company, which employs about 4,000 in the United States and another 3,000 in other parts of the world, could be in the hundreds according to some reports. ESPN is a huge source of revenue for principle parent Disney (20% is owned by Hearst) but some industry watchers speculate that ESPN’s increasing costs in acquiring precious play-by-play contracts – especially considering new entrants into the field including CBS Sports Network and Fox Sports 1 – is forcing it to be more cost-conscious.
IRS Protest Led by WIND, Chicago’s Joe Walsh. Former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh is pictured here (with megaphone) on the street outside the Dearborn Street offices of the Internal Revenue Service in Chicago protesting the agency’s targeting of conservative and religious groups. The rally was organized and led by Walsh, who hosts his own evening talk show on Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago, “AM 560 The Answer.” Walsh states, “It’s time to send a message that our First Amendment rights will not be denied by an out-of-control administration.” Dozens of protesters joined Walsh during the lunchtime gathering.
IRS Targets Conservatives, DOJ Fox News Investigation, Oklahoma Tornado Aftermath, Benghazi Attacks Case, and Anthony Weiner to Run for NYC Mayor Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/21). The IRS’ targeting of conservative groups; the investigation by the Department of Justice into Fox News Channel reporters; the aftermath of the deadly Oklahoma tornado; the ongoing scrutiny of the Benghazi attack and disgraced former NY Congressman Anthony Weiner’s bid for mayor of New York were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Premiere Networks Partners with Dave Kolin for Comedy Content. Premiere Networks announces a partnership with comedy production pro David “Dr. Dave” Kolin that will involve a variety of content including services for radio talent, stations, digital outlets, video projects and more. Additional details will be announced in the near future. Premiere EVP of music programming Jennifer Leimgruber states, “Dr. Dave is a fantastically creative person with a demonstrated record of success in a variety of media. We were delighted when the opportunity to work with him presented itself.” Dr. Dave states, “It is a dream come true and the opportunity of a lifetime to be able to apply my talents and skills with people who share the same vision for entertaining consumers in this multimedia world. I look forward to revealing Dr. Dave 2.0.” Kolin’s resume states that he was founder, director and president of DB Communications, Inc., a radio syndication company. That company served as the nucleus for USRN, which he co-founded in 1994. During his time with USRN, he wrote and performed much of the comedy product distributed by the network and served as the executive producer of the comedy department. In addition, he served on the company’s board of directors and executive produced Pulse Comedy Prep. He also has two decades of extensive television credits, including FOX, ABC, HBO and MTV.
John Renshaw Takes Midday Slot at WQAM, Miami. Beasley Broadcasting promotes weekend sports talk host John Renshaw to the daily 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show left open by the departure of Dan Sileo back in early March. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Renshaw will be joined on the air by Miami Hurricanes broadcaster Alex Donno. WQAM program director Jorge Sedano tells the paper the move “made a lot of sense. I know how smart, funny, entertaining and self-deprecating he is. He’s everything you want in a sports talk radio show host.”
Odds & Sods. Fox Sports Radio Network will simulcast the television program, “UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Melendez,” on Saturday, April 20. The fight originates from the HP Pavilion in San Jose and features four fights plus the main event, Benson Henderson versus Strikeforce Champion Gilbert Melendez. Following the fights, mixed martial arts expert Larry Pepe will host a Fox Sports Radio wrap-up show with interviews and call ins from 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET…..ESPN Radio will be live from New York next Thursday for the NFL Draft. Coverage begins Thursday, April 25 at 7:00 pm and will feature Mike Hill and Mark Schlereth (pictured here), co-hosts of the network’s Hill & Schlereth evening show. They’ll anchor from Radio City Music Hall and will be joined by ESPN.com senior NFL writer John Clayton and ESPN Draft guru Mel Kiper, Jr. providing analysis of each first-round pick…..The New York Post reports that it is slow going for Al Jazeera’s new American cable news/talk network – the former Current TV it purchased from founder Al Gore. The paper says the Qatari government-owned network’s goal of launching in June is not doable and sources tell the Post it’s looking more like August or September. So far the network has hired former CNN business analyst Ali Veshi and investigative reporter Ed Pound but has not been able to ink a news chief. The piece noted one exec said he felt squeamish about the source of the network’s funding.
KOIL, Omaha’s Tom Becka Channels the Rat Pack. Omaha talk radio personality Tom Becka is pictured here at the Omaha Press Club Show giving attendees at taste of 1960s Las Vegas lounge singing as he does a take-off on Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” with the chorus changed to “there’s better things up ahead.” Becka tells TALKERS magazine, “The show is an annual event that raises thousands of dollars for journalism scholarships. Over the years the show has featured such dignitaries as Chuck Hagel, Warren Buffett, Herman Cain, Bill Gates and others. They asked me to write and sing a song chronicling the year I had, starting with getting fired from Clear Channel, and ending with landing on my feet at NRG Media’s Mighty 1290 KOIL.”
IP in Our Broadcast World: Don’t Fear the Internet. Noted consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray points out that the subjects of IP and IP codecs are increasingly becoming a major concern among broadcasters — a conversation that quickly escalated when Verizon quietly started telling customers in the northeast that ISDN was soon to be history. In the latest in his enlightening series on the subject (must-reading for programmers and management charged with taking a more hands-on approach to the tech end of things in this new economic environment), Ray responds to a question he heard raised at the recent NAB Show in Las Vegas: “Would you trust your high dollar sports remote to an IP connection over the public internet?” Apparently, CBS television has answered that question in the company’s recent coverage of college basketball’s Final Four. Ray explains how and takes us deeper into understanding the growing importance of IP and IP codecs in the radio broadcasting world. Basically it comes down to embracing the internet, not fearing it – and learning everything you can about IP and IP codecs. To read Tom Ray’s column, click here.
Dial Global and NBC Radio Sports Reps Visit KFWB, Los Angeles. Following last week’s announcement of KFWB, Los Angeles’ new sports talk programming, representatives from Dial Global and NBC Radio Sports stopped by KFWB’s studios in Los Angeles yesterday (4/18) to meet the staff. Pictured (l-r): Diane Sutter, president of the KFWB Asset Trust, co-host Eytan Shander of The Amani & Eytan Show weeknights 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on KFWB, Dial Global EVP/GM Chris Corcoran, NBC Sports Radio program director Jack Silver and KFWB general manager Valerie K. Blackburn.
WPGG (“WPG Talk Radio 1450″), Atlantic City Wins Benztown Contest to Receive a Year’s Worth of Free Voiceover and Imaging Service. Burbank, California-based syndication and imaging company, Benztown tells TALKERS that Townsquare Media-owned Atlantic City radio station, WPG Talk Radio 1450, is the winner of its “Love Your Station, Elevate Your Sound” contest. The news/talk station will receive a full year of free voice-over services from voice-over icon, Joe Cipriano. WPGG will also receive a full year of free professional imaging services from the company. WPGG PD/brand manager Chris Coleman, explains “I was a huge fan of Benztown before winning the contest. WPGG went on the air this past October (six days before Hurricane Sandy passed over Atlantic City) and when I was building the station, I wanted and needed a big, news/talk voice. However, with a tiny budget, I was really concerned that how I wanted the station to sound wasn’t going to be possible… then I found Benztown. Through Benztown, I was able to hook up with Greg O’Neill, who is nothing short of excellent to work with. Being able to launch a news/talk station with the voice of Fox News made us sound HUGE on day one.” Coleman continues, “Fast forward a few months and I found Benztown’s “Love Your Station, Elevate Your Sound” contest and entered it. Much to my surprise, Masa Patterson called me and told me I won! Being the PD/brand manager of a six-month-old news/talk station that has access to two of the biggest voice-over guys in the country, on top of the world-class imaging and production that Benztown has to offer, is truly amazing.” In addition to being the PD/brand manager of WPGG, Coleman also handles afternoon drive on Townsquare’s country station and is the production director for their five-station cluster. No doubt, his prize will come in handy!
Blanquita Cullum Continues to ask The Hard Question. Controversy continues to surround the future of the Keystone Pipeline. Is the pipeline a symbol of an environmental movement? Or is the country about to capitalize on the greatest economic opportunity from our neighbor to the North – Canada. The second in the series of “The Hard Question” debates hosted by talk radio veteran and former U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors member Blanquita Cullum recently (4/10) tackled the critical discussion over the Keystone Pipeline at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Participants included U.S. Senator Don Nickles (retired, R-OK); U.S. Senator Bryon Dorgan (retired, D-ND); Anthony Swift, Natural Resource Defense Council; Chris Faulkner, Breitling Oil & Gas; Doug Cain, Lake Truck Lines; Brian Ambrose, Vencedor Energy Partners and Lane Sloan, Greater Houston Partnership. To view highlights of the debate click here. “The Hard Question” is a weekly TV news program and quarterly debate series hosted by Blanquita Cullum to get to the root of critical energy issues that impact the US and the world. The pilot TV programs were aired on June 24th and July 15th in 2012 on KTRK-TV (ABC) in Houston and won the top spots in their time periods. The program will go national in 2013 on MHz Networks national channel and plans are in place to launch a radio/audio version of the program.
CBS Radio Philadelphia Gets a Jump on Earth Day. Tomorrow (4/20) CBS Radio Philadelphia will be involved in its Fourth Annual Earthfest Celebration in partnership with the Clean Air Council. The 5K Run for Clean Air is Philadelphia’s leading green run. For 2013, the Run’s Earth Day Celebration has moved to the base of the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps. CBS Radio participation will include the KYW Newsradio Kidcast Mobile Studio, presented by United Healthcare, on-site. This opportunity gives kids a chance to be a KYW news anchor. Kids can download and listen to their very own news report, and share it with family and friends. Sports talk WIP’s “Tailgate Team” will offer participants the opportunity to play games to win prizes and get involved in a sports conversation about all the Philadelphia sports teams. 98.1 WOGL’s Ross Brittain will be providing “music and fun for everyone.” Talk Radio 1210 WPHT “Big Money” host Steve Cordasco, will present his weekly radio program live from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. Steve will discuss the growing popularity of green or socially conscious investing. Over the past 32 years, the 5K Run for Clean Air has grown into Philadelphia’s largest Earth Day Celebration. Earth Day is Monday April 22.
Boston Marathon Bombing the Top News/Talk Story for the Week of April 15-19. The bombing at Monday’s Boston Marathon and the subsequent deaths and injuries were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the week. Following at #2 was gun legislation activity in Washington. At #3 was the immigration bill debate followed by the DC ricin incidents at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a 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 chart here.
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.
Norm Pattiz to Address Industry at Talkers New York 2013. The list of major speakers continues to grow as Courtside Entertainment CEO Norm Pattiz joins the roster of industry leaders who will be speaking at “TALKERS New York 2013,” the 16th annual installment of talk radio’s longest-running and most important annual convention. Pattiz will deliver a solo address titled, “From Westwood One to Podcast One.” He will discuss the challenges facing broadcast radio companies as they integrate their product lines into a workable balance between on-air and digital venues with the focus being monetizing radio on the internet. In the past year, Westwood One-founder Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment has shown aggressive growth – offering such personalities as Dr. Drew Pinsky, Laura Ingraham, Bill O’Reilly and more to its affiliates. The company’s recent signing of Ron Paul to a talk radio deal has been a big source of buzz and the industry anxiously anticipates the coming internet launch of Podcast One – an online initiative of Pattiz’s Launchpad Digital Media. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The subject of balancing the interests of on-air and online radio broadcasting with the focus on revenue generation has never been more important in the radio industry conversation than it is right now. Norm Pattiz brings extraordinary historical background as well as future-based vision to the discussion. His participation adds to this being the most important TALKERS event ever.” More headliners will be named in the coming days along with the 50-plus speakers that will be participating in the conference. The event is set for Thursday, June 6, 2013 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side. Registration for the day including all activities and food service is $199 per person. An advance sellout is expected due to space limitations. Registration is limited to members of the working media and can only be taken via telephone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. Complete agenda details are being posted daily. Stay tuned.
SiriusXM and WOL, Washington Talk Host Joe Madison to Interview Barack Obama Today. Assuming the president’s schedule doesn’t take a sudden turn in another direction, SiriusXM-based Joe Madison, whose AM drive show is also heard on Radio One’s WOL, Washington, DC, will tape an interview with him for airing, presumably tomorrow. The subjects covered will include Black History Month, a follow-up on the State of the Union and other topics. President Obama — certainly not considered the most radio-friendly president by conservatives – has actually done a lot more radio than many of his recent predecessors. The president has appeared on Madison’s show in the past, been interviewed by WYD Media-syndicated personality Michael Smerconish and has appeared on numerous music-formatted morning programs.
Radio Station Staffers Pre-occupied with Job Security. This gets in the way of paying attention to important trends and information vital to competing and growing successfully during these times of rapid technological and cultural change. Noted consultant Walter Sabo makes this key point in his latest article for TALKERS in which he cites five significant trends of importance to radio broadcasters. They include the importance of video to radio online and sales presentations, the radio host as owner of intellectual property, the still-untapped female market in spoken word radio, and the emergence of the listener as a media star. Sabo suggests not asking listeners to “like” you on Facebook or “follow” you on Twitter. Instead, he says you should be offering to like and follow them! Read the entire article here.
Don Backus Named Eastern Region Sales Manager for Broadcast Electronics. Broadcast Electronics (BE) announces the promotion of Don Backus to Eastern Region sales manager. In this new role he’ll represent BE’s RF and studio lines, which include AudioVAULT, Commotion and The Radio Experience (TRE) studio brands as well as BE’s AM, FM and HD Radio™ transmitter lines to customers in the East. Previously, Backus represented Commotion, a Broadcast Electronics company, as vice president of global market development. Backus will continue his efforts with Commotion, increasing the company’s presence in new global markets. BE VP of studio products Ray Miklius says, “Don’s education, experience, and extensive knowledge of the radio industry will serve radio broadcasters well as they look to improve their operations.”
Father-Son Sports Talk Webcast to Get Terrestrial Outlet in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Review-Journal spotlighted a local father-son team who have been hosting a weekly, two-hour sports talk podcast on the local Las Vegas internet site lvrocks.com. Now the duo of Bryan Feldman and his son Jaycob are planning to have their Sunday evening show air on Lotus Broadcasting’s KLAV, Las Vegas beginning March 3. Bryan Feldman previously worked in radio for CBS/Infinity. His bio says he’s hosted talk shows and worked as a marketing specialist with pro sports teams including the Detroit Lions, Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings.
Holland Cooke to Speak About Social Media at NAB Show in Las Vegas. Consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke confirms: “Take it literally! We’ll FEED YOU” at the Lunchtime Social — as in Social Media — Wednesday, April 10, at the National Association of Broadcasters NAB Show convention in Las Vegas. NAB will provide box lunches to attendees at this interactive 90-minute session, where HC will demonstrate how radio stations and radio and netcast talent are using Social Media “to grow audience reach, deepen the relationship you have with ‘your tribe,’ and MAKE MONEY.” For more information, click here.
The Broadcasters Foundation of America to Honor David J. Barrett at Golden Mike Award Ceremony. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces it will present its 2013 Golden Mike Award to David J. Barrett, chairman and chief executive officer of Hearst Television Inc., at a gala to benefit the Foundation on Monday, February 25 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Legendary sports broadcaster Jon Miller will host the event, which will include presentations by comedian, author and talk show host Steve Harvey and “America’s Doctor,” Dr. Mehmet Oz. Iconic singer and actress Darlene Love will perform. The annual gala is the year’s top fundraiser for the Foundation, which supports broadcasters who can no longer work due to a catastrophic event, illness or family circumstances. The Award honors exemplary service to the industry.
NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha to Host Mayoral Debate. The five candidates in Omaha’s mayoral race will take part in a debate to be held at the University of Nebraska-Omaha on Thursday, March 14 7:00 pm and the event will be broadcast live on NRG Media’s KOIL. NRG Media personality Mike’l Severe will serve as moderator and KOIL personalities Tom Becka and Clint Bellows along with KETV City Hall reporter Todd Andrews will question the candidates. KOIL program director Neil Nelkin says, “This is a hotly contested race for mayor as we have several critical issues in the city of Omaha that will dictate the future direction of the city including employment and education.” The station says a limited number of tickets will be available to the public via the KOIL website and that Tom Becka will provide listeners with free tickets during his program.
Odds & Sods. Former Vice President Al Gore will appear on SiriusXM’s “Town Hall” series to promote his new book, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change (Random House 2013). He’ll be interviewed before a studio audience by Ari Rabin-Havt, who hosts “The Agenda” on the satcaster’s progressive talk channel…..MLB’s Oakland A’s ink a multi-year deal with CBS Radio’s KHTK, Sacramento to air their games on the sports talk station…..The National Association of Broadcasters are announcing that CBS TV journalist Bob Schieffer will receive the NAB Distinguished Service Award during the 2013 NAB Show. Schieffer will accept the award at the opening keynote session on April 8 in Las Vegas.
Sequester Issue, Gun Legislation, Jesse Jackson, Jr. Guilty Plea, Oscar Pistorius Case, and Storm Q/Climate Change Debate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/20). The battle in Washington over the sequester issue; ongoing debate over gun legislation proposals; Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s guilty plea in his illegal campaign funds usage case; the Oscar Pistorius murder case and Winter Storm Q/climate change controversy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Day 1 from the Arbitron Client Conference. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is covering the Arbitron Client Conference for TALKERS. Three major points stuck out at yesterday’s sessions: 1) RAB president Erica Farber noting that agencies don’t have “radio” departments anymore, they have “audio” departments; 2) using social media is imperative but it must have a three-pronged purpose of creating brand awareness, expanding listenership and maintaining listener loyalty; and 3) stations in PPM markets must work hard to create more occasions of listening from P1s in order to build share growth. Read Holland Cooke’s report from Annapolis here.
Clear Channel’s Ken Charles Moves from Miami to Sacramento. The longtime Clear Channel spoken-word programmer – who also serves as the national brand coordinator for news/talk and sports – takes on the vice president of programming role at the company’s six-station cluster in Sacramento that includes news/talk KFBK and KSTE. Charles has programmed Clear Channel Media and Entertainment news/talk stations in Atlanta and Houston in addition to his most recent post in Miami. Sacramento market manager Dave Milner states, “We are extremely excited to have Ken leading the programming and brand strategies for Clear Channel Sacramento. His experience and passion, combined with our excellent team of professionals will certainly make for a winning combination.” Charles replaces Alan Eisenson who exited the Sacramento cluster last week.
Jim Bohannon Signs Contract Extension with Dial Global. Washington, DC-based overnight and early morning talk radio personality Jim Bohannon signs a new contract to extend his national syndication deal with Dial Global. Via his eponymous overnight talk show and the early-morning “America in the Morning” program, Jim Bohannon is heard on more than 500 affiliates across America. Commenting on his new, multi-year extension, Bohannon says, “I’m delighted to re-up with Dial Global at a time of exciting new opportunities for our industry. As the economy and marketplace forge ahead, I’m eager to work with the many fine sponsors and affiliates of the Jim Bohannon show and ‘America in the Morning.’” Dial Global EVP of news and talk programming Bart Tessler states, “We are thrilled that the hardest-working man in radio is continuing his relationship with his loyal audience and sponsors from sunrise to, well, sunrise. Jim’s ‘militant moderate’ attitude is needed on radio now more than ever.”
Talk Pro Tom Becka Expands Program at KOIL, Omaha. Last week Tom Becka announced he would be leaving his position at KRWK, Fargo “101.9 Talk FM” where he serves as program director and morning drive host. Now, Becka and NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha make public his expanded program at the station. Since moving to Fargo to work on KRWK, Becka had maintained an Omaha presence with an afternoon program on KOIL (piped in from Fargo). Now, Becka returns to the city where he has family and friends and begins an expanded 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm afternoon show on January 2. Operations manager Jeff Lynn says Becka’s program on KOIL has grown significantly on the station – the adults 35-64 demo is up 26% during the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot in which his show is currently airing. Lynn states, “We have no doubt Becka will continue to deliver tremendous results due to his massive appeal with our listeners. He attracts a responsive audience that is loyal to the core and I am confident they will appreciate his expanded timeslot.” On his return to Omaha, Becka says, “1290 has been an ideal home for me – I know Omaha, Eastern Nebraska, and the topics people care about in the local market. This station has provided me with an arena to not only engage our listeners in new ways, it has provided an outlet for talk and conversation that is more in-depth and comprehensive so listeners get what they want from the show.”
Opinion: Bob Costas Criticism Goes Overboard. One of the hot topics of the week – on both sports talk and news/talk radio – is Bob Costas’ comments on the Jovan Belcher tragedy that aired on NBC on Sunday evening. WFAN, New York host Richard Neer writes that much of the criticism – especially that which demands Costas be fired – is absurd. “Are we at such a point in our public discourse that anyone who takes a stand with which we disagree should lose his job? Can we not have a sane discussion about guns without evoking black helicopters and UN takeovers?” Read Richard Neer’s entire piece here.
CBS Announces Plans for Super Bowl Park. The image you see here is the entrance to CBS Super Bowl Park at Jackson Square in New Orleans as the company prepares to cover this year’s Super Bowl. The broadcast giant’s eight subsidiaries — CBS Sports, CBS Entertainment, CBS News, CBS Sports Network, SHOWTIME Sports, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports Radio and CBS Television Distribution – will feature programming from the site of the NFL championship during the week leading up to the big game. CBS Corporation president and CEO Les Moonves says this sets a new standard for the company, “The Super Bowl is the granddaddy of big event television, and our approach this year is unlike anything we have ever done. For the first time, CBS Corporation will have week-long, round-the-clock Super Bowl coverage on more than a half-dozen platforms. Creating CBS Super Bowl Park at Jackson Square as the center of all this activity will make it even more compelling, and also illustrate the collaborative efforts across the company.” The broadcast center will consist of four outdoor sets inside Jackson Square shared across the various shows. The sets were designed to reflect the history and architecture of New Orleans. A fifth set will be located across the street in Washington’s Artillery Park for the CBS affiliates.
Clear Channel Tallahassee Names Jeff Wolf PD for WFLA-FM and WNLS. Taking over for Matt Millar, who exited the radio business, Jeff Wolf comes to Clear Channel’s Tallahassee cluster from Border Media Partners’ Austin, Texas stations where he served as OM for the cluster. Wolf will program news/talk WFLA-FM “Tallahassee’s Talk Radio” and sports talk WNLS “1270 The Team.” Operations manager Jeff Horn says, “We are very excited that Jeff chose to come lead our talk brands in Tallahassee.”
Sabo Media’s Internet Radio Initiatives Signs Aircheck.US. Sabo Media president Walter Sabo announces his company’s Internet Radio Initiatives division is working with Aircheck.US to help build the company’s business model and help identify new revenue and content opportunities. Sabo notes that Aircheck.US – using skilled, entertaining radio performers – will be a viable opportunity for advertisers seeking a blended marketing opportunity of proven media talent and new digital platforms. Every radio star has considered what they would do if they had complete on-air freedom. Historically experienced on-air celebrities produced the most cutting edge radio, such as free form in the 1960’s. Underground radio was launched by Top-40 stars such as Murray the K, B. Mitchel Reed, Tom Donahue and Scott Muni. Sabo says he believes Aircheck.US CEO and founder Erica Lee “has given these proven performers a stage, respect and the freedom to use their expertise to build an audience around the world, online. I look forward to helping her refine her business and achieve her goals.”
Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston to Broadcast Radiothon to Benefit Fisher House. With the support of his fellow WTKK talk show hosts, Michael Graham is leading the “5th Annual News Talk 96.9 Fisher House Radiothon” today from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. WTKK personalities Jim Braude, Margery Eagan, Doug Meehan, Michael Smerconish, and The Andelman Brothers from Phantom Gourmet will join Graham in the effort. He says, “The war in Afghanistan may not be in the headlines, but our brave women and men are still there, serving at the front lines. From Afghanistan to Yemen, we send our troops into harm’s way every day. When harm does come, the Fisher House lets us take care of them.” WTKK says Graham will broadcast from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm with wall-to-wall guests, including: Fisher House families, Senator Scott Brown, Bill O’Reilly, Dennis Miller, Glenn Beck, Ray Romano, Rob Schneider, Ted Nugent, former New England Patriots player Matt Light, Gold-winning gymnast Aly Raisman, Fox 25’s VB, Playmate of the Year Jaclyn Swedberg, Comedian Chris Zito and many more.
The Conclave Announces 2013 Scholarship Opportunities. The Conclave’s 2013 Radio and Music Industry Scholarship Program provides more than $50,000 worth of opportunities for students. The organization states that since 1979, in keeping with its mission of educating the broadcast industry, it has awarded over $1 million in scholarships to worthy students desiring an education in the radio and music industries. The detailed scholarships are: to Brown College in Minneapolis, Specs Howard School of Media Arts in Southfield, Michigan, and to McNally-Smith College of Music in St. Paul. The Brown College Dennis Becker Memorial Scholarship covers tuition for the Radio Broadcasting Associate of Applied Science Degree, and is worth $17,000. The Specs Howard Bill Gavin Memorial Scholarship includes tuition, application fees, and books for the Diploma Program in Radio-TV Broadcasting, and is worth $15,000. The McNally-Smith Music Business Scholarship is valued at up to $20,000. Conclave executive director Bob Shannon says, “In our current economy scholarship dollars are truly a gift with impact. I’m thankful to the schools and organizations that have graciously stepped forward to help. In a larger sense, the scholarships embody the very essence of the Conclave’s mission: to create a learning environment that actually makes a difference for those interested in 21st Century media.” All Conclave scholarships will be awarded during the 38th Conclave Summer Learning Conference, July 17-19, 2013 in Minneapolis.
Cool Job Opportunity. The major qualification for this position is the ideal candidate must be fluent in Mandarin. This is a consulting opportunity for someone with experience in talk radio who speaks the Chinese dialect. Send your relevant information to Michael Harrison at TALKERS magazine – firstname.lastname@example.org – and we’ll pass it along. All responses will be kept confidential.
Washington’s ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, Syria’s Chemical Weapons Threat, Egyptian Unrest, and Bob Costas Gun Comment Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5). The ongoing debate in Washington over how to avoid the “fiscal cliff”; Syria’s readying of sarin gas and threats to use it on rebel forces; the violent protests against Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi; and backlash against NBC’s Bob Costas in response to his guns comments were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Neal Boortz Announces Retirement from Daily Talk Radio; Hermain Cain to Take Over WSB and Syndicated Shows. Yesterday’s bombshell was a surprise to the talk media industry as 42-year talk veteran and legend Neal Boortz announced he will retire from the radio business on January 18, 2013. In a joint statement from Cox Media and Dial Global – also aired on Boortz’s flagship WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta – Boortz said, “Believe me, this wasn’t a decision I made lightly. I love this business and everything it has afforded me. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to be doing my talk show for 42 years. I’ll certainly miss the listeners and callers; but most of all I’ll miss my radio family, executive producer Belinda Skelton and researcher Cristina Gonzalez.” WSB says Herman Cain, who previously hosted the evening show on WSB before running for president, will take over the slot on WSB and will launch his own nationally syndicated talk show on January 21, 2013. Cox Media Atlanta VP and market manager Dan Kearney says Boortz will continue to record his daily rants that will air several times a day on WSB. Dial Global SVP/GM of news and talk Amy Bolton says, “Neal’s fearless wit and intellect made him phenomenally successful. It has been terrific working with such a tremendous talent all these years. He will be missed, but his successor couldn’t be more perfect. Herman has the experienced radio chops and is a bona fide media and political personality with a huge loyal following. We look forward to a seamless transition and continued success with our affiliates and advertisers for many years to come.”
Two Former Governors to Speak at New Media Seminar/NYC. In an interesting turn of ironic symmetry, two former governors — one a Republican, the other a Democrat — who have gone on to become major talk show hosts, will appear and speak at the sold-out New Media Seminar in New York City this Thursday, June 7. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, now nationally syndicated on radio by Cumulus Media and presented on cable by Fox News Channel, is scheduled to deliver a special address discussing his evolution from presidential politics to talk media and his take on the nature of public discourse in America. Former New York Governor David Paterson, now heard daily in the Big Apple afternoons on Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, will make an appearance at the NMS Freedom of Speech Luncheon where he will greet attendees to the Empire State and discuss the important role of community service in radio. To see the complete New Media Seminar agenda click here. For information call 413-565-5413.
NRG Media Adds Another Sports Talker to the Omaha Market. The success of its existing “Zone” brand of sports talk on KOZN 1620 and the market’s hunger for more sports is the reason NRG Media is adding more sports with the flip of talk KOIL at 1180 AM to sports as “Zone 2.” Operations manager Neil Nelkin states, “We have enjoyed such enormous success with our Zone brand with our local and national sports programming that we needed to expand the brand even further to fill the market’s need. With the Zone 2 on the air, we will now be able to offer even more local college play-by-play with powerful local franchises such as Creighton University, the Storm Chasers, special broadcast coverage of 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London featuring 1620 The Zone’s Kevin Kugler, and play-by-play of the Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals.” Zone 2 will carry programming from Yahoo! Sports Radio as well as DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio‘s Dan Patrick.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason will be honored with the 2012 National Radio Award at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas on Friday, September 21…..The progressive political convention Netroots Nation will take over SiriusXM‘s Left channel on Saturday, June 9 will air live programming from the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment‘s WGY-AM/FM, Albany takes three New York State Associated Press Awards: for Best Regularly Scheduled News Program, Best Spot News (Hurricane Irene Coverage) and Best Enterprise Reporting (Halloween Sex Offender Enforcement). The station also received special mention for Best News Special (Clear View public affairs program), Best Spot News (August Earthquake Coverage), and General Excellence in Use of Medium (Halloween Sex Offender Enforcement)…..Sports USA announces its full lineup of college football play-by-play broadcasts available for the coming 2012 season that begins with Boise State vs. Michigan State on August 31. Sports USA president Larry Kahn says this is the company’s 12th season presenting the “College Football Game of the Week.”…..Lincoln Financial Media promotes Donna Mairs from regional sales manager to national sales manager for its South Florida operations. Mairs will represent sports WAXY, Miami among other stations in South Florida…..Journal Communications names Jason R. Graham vice president and corporate controller.
2012 Presidential Race, Sinking Global Financial Markets, Wisconsin Recall Election, and Jerry Sandusky Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/4). The 2012 campaign for president; tepid jobs and manufacturing data plus the Euro Zone instability and their impact on the global financial markets; the Wisconsin recall election of Republican Governor Scott Walker; and the start of the Jerry Sandusky trial were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Only You. That’s Las Vegas-based syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (r) with Sonny Turner of the Platters (l). Dr. Wachs tells TALKERS that Sonny and she met up at a convention center in Vegas where she was emceeing at an event for the Corner4Success Foundation that benefits community outreach programs including the Girls Club. Turner is a fan of hers and Daliah says she and he will sing together at a future event – a dream of hers!