Salem Communications Pays $4 million for WJKR, Columbus. Salem Communications’ new FM talk outlet in Columbus, Ohio is costing the company $4 million according to the FCC filing. The Radio One station is being LMA’d by Salem until the deal closes. Salem installed its conservative talk format on November 1 and dubbed it “98.9 FM The Answer.” In addition to its numerous news/talk AMs, Salem owns FM outlets that program primarily Christian formats. The new Columbus acquisition is the first FM signal for the secular news/talk format for Salem.
Mike O’Meara Returns to DC Airwaves in January. Dave Hughes’ DCRTV.com reports that Washington, DC radio personality Mike O’Meara will be back on the terrestrial airwaves in the market in January with a two-hour evening program airing on Metro Radio’s WTNT. O’Meara and former partner Don Geronimo dominated Washington, DC talk radio during their time together on CBS Radio’s then-hot talk WJFK-FM before Geronimo took time off following the untimely death of his wife Freda. O’Meara has been producing a popular podcast via his mikeomearashow.com site along with Rob Spewak, Buzz Burbank and Oscar Santana – all of whom are reported to be part of the WTNT program as well. O’Meara briefly returned to terrestrial radio last year when he hosted mornings at Cumulus Media’s classic rock 105.9 The Edge. However, the station dropped music to become the FM signal for WMAL.
Consumer Electronics Show Preview – The Radio Connection. Each year, radio consultant Holland Cooke covers the huge Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas in January for TALKERS magazine. But November always brings the preview of the show and Holland was there as well. He says radio should pay attention for several reasons. The most obvious reason is to get a line on what’s going to be hot for Christmas so AEs can target the appropriate retailers. Holland says the Consumer Electronics Association forecasters predict tablets will dominate this holiday season. The CEA is saying sales of tablets will be up 112% over last year. TVs are going to be big with 20% of American adults saying they plan to buy a television this holiday season. Read more from Holland Cooke here.
Progressive Shows May Find Another Home in Seattle. The news that CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle will flip formats in January – not confirmed by CBS but the station will likely become a CBS Sports Radio Network affiliate – has left a sour taste in the mouths of numerous progressive talk hosts and their syndicators. But the local blog SeaTacRadio.com reports that KLAY, Tacoma is planning to add some of the progressive talk shows – reportedly WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller and the Ed Schultz show – currently heard on KPTK to its program schedule. As numerous CBS Radio and Cumulus stations prepare to flip to sports talk in January, KPTK is just another victim of the companywide desire for affiliate stations. While consumers and the consumer press bemoan the proliferation of sports talk (“How many sports stations do we need in this market?”), the answer is that CBS Radio and Cumulus need to have affiliates in as many markets as possible to be able to sell a national sports talk product to national clients.
Main Street Radio Networks Partners with Broadcast Affiliate Sales. Main Street Radio Networks enters into a deal with Broadcast Affiliate Sales for the latter to handle its marketing and affiliate sales for current and future programs. The network syndicates “Battle Line with Alan Nathan” and the “Doctor Evelyn Higgins Show.” Recently the company announced it was working with Salem Radio Networks for distribution of its programming. Main Street president Jane Silk says, “We know BAS will be a great addition to our rapidly growing radio network. Everyone at BAS has an extensive history in the radio industry and an unmatched sales record. Partner Mike Tyler was elected to the NAB Board of Directors and his father John Tyler is the creator of the first ever satellite delivered radio network. These people are the best in the business.”
John McConnell Joins InterNetwork Broadcasting for App Development. Former ABC Radio Networks SVP of programming John McConnell is working with InterNetworks Broadcasting on the development of its Blurt app. The app that lets you record and share 10-second audio updates with the world and McConnell has joined its leadership team in further development of the app. He’ll focus his efforts on new content and distribution partnerships and overall business development. Blurt co-founder Clark Burgard states, “John boasts an impressive track record in radio broadcast and digital media, and his experience will surely enhance our efforts to bring an audio experience to text-based social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. We’re thrilled to welcome him to the Blurt team.”
Entertainment Radio Network Partners with Men’s Health Magazine to Create Weekly Show. Men’s Health, the well-known men’s magazine, announces a partnership with Entertainment Radio Network (ERN) to create “Men’s Health Live,” a weekly, one-hour branded show that will be distributed across terrestrial radio and a variety of on-demand audio channels. Slated to premiere in January 2013, the program will cover the latest news in health, fitness, nutrition and all things men. Men’s Health editor Peter Moore and Men’s Health contributing editor Gregg Stebben will co-host the show. Moore tells TALKERS, “ERN is the perfect partner and platform to bring the Men’s Health brand’s must-have advice and information for guys to the airwaves on a weekly basis. Guys live in their cars, and with today’s connected dashboard, we’ll be there with them, making sure they reach their ultimate destinations safely, and with abs.” Alan Taylor, CEO of ERN adds, “We are thrilled to be working with Men’s Health. This strategic partnership will add yet another pillar of strength to the largest men’s magazine brand with the addition of a radio and digital audio platform. It will further enable Men’s Health to expand its core audience through our many audio distribution partners such as Aha Radio, Stitcher Radio, iTunes and others.”
Petraeus Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, Obama Administration Cabinet Changes, and ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/13). The growing David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell scandal; the investigation into the Benghazi attack; imminent changes in the Obama Administration Cabinet; and the ‘fiscal cliff’ challenges facing the administration and Congress were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Is CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle the Next Progressive Talker to Flip? Seattle-based blog Blatherwatch (cool name!) is reporting the WYD Media-produced Stephanie Miller talk show indicated on Monday’s broadcast that CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle would flip from progressive talk after the holidays. No report on what the station may become and the report has not been confirmed by CBS Radio. If this comes to pass, it would be the second West Coast progressive talk outlet to recently shuck the format as Clear Channel’s KPOJ, Portland did Monday (11/12). It’d also be the second progressive talk station that’s been in the format for a relatively long period of time – eight years for each station – and located in “progressive” cities, to change formats.
Stacey Simms to Exit WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. “Charlotte’s Morning News” co-host Stacey Simms announces she will exit the Greater Media news/talk outlet after the December 14 edition of the program due to personal reasons. Simms has co-hosted the show at WBT for 10 years, first with Al Gardner (now in Philly on WWIQ) and currently with Bo Thompson. Simms is a well-known media personality in the market having worked in television news at WBTV-TV before beginning her talk radio career. Senior vice president and market manager Rick Feinblatt says of Simms, “Since 2002, Stacey has been instrumental in the development and success of ‘Charlotte’s Morning News’ and has always displayed the highest level of professionalism and dedication to WBT and all our listeners. We wish Stacey the best as she pursues new opportunities and adventures.”
KFNS, St. Louis Parts Ways with Host Kevin Slaten After Racial Rant. Sports talk host Kevin Slaten wasn’t an employee of Grand Slam Sports – owner of KFNS, St. Louis – rather he brokered the time and sold his own advertising. As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, his contract was cancelled after he went on a rant last Thursday charging African Americans who voted for Barack Obama with being bigoted if they voted for Obama because he’s black. Station manager Katy Pavelonis tells the paper she asked Slaten to take his conversation in a different direction. “The topics of Thursday weren’t homing in on where I want to go.” Slaten was with KFNS previously but was fired from the station in 2008 after putting St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan on the air without informing him the conversation was being broadcast. Speaking of the mixing of sports talk and political talk; WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer has some thoughts on the matter. See the next story…
The Risk of Talking Politics on a Sports Station. The 2012 campaign is behind us but WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer has some thoughts on mixing politics and sports talk that some may want to consider for the next election cycle. Neer says that the very close popular vote in the presidential election – almost a 50/50 split – means it’s possible almost half your audience could disagree with you no matter whom you support, so is it worth “campaigning” for your guy? Neer writes, “A few undecideds may be persuaded by your arguments, but more likely you’ll either be preaching to the choir or turning off the other side. Another unintended consequence is if you show yourself to be poorly informed or blindly biased, it could undermine steady listeners’ trust in your authority when it comes to an area that you know more about — sports.” Read the rest of Richard Neer’s argument for avoiding politics here.
Opinion Piece: Five Trends About to Make a Buck. Noted industry idea man and Sabo Media chairman Walter Sabo offers five companies and concepts that he believes are closing in on what he describes as “the event horizon for making profits.” They include internet radio, Jumpwire Media, kid-targeted tablets (Toys“R”Us), Kickstarter.com, and companies that learn from TMZ. For the juicy details, click here.
Major Development at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago…New Call-in Number. Okay, so it’s not the biggest news to come out of Tribune Tower recently, but mid-morning talk host Mike McConnell played up the announcement of the changing of the station’s 46-year-old call-in phone number dramatically in a bit that surely had a fair number of WGN P1s on the edges of their collective seats. WGN promoted a “change of historic proportions” announcement during morning drive and when it came time for McConnell to break the news, he did so in a dramatic – some might call it melodramatic – fashion, building up to it by reading a list of the names of famous WGN broadcasters who’ve graced the station’s studios over the years. After delivering the punch line – the new call-in number – he explained that the new studios and the change to all-digital equipment required a new phone number as of today (11/13).
St. Louis Talk Hosts in War Over A-List Guests. The kinds of battles that happen between mega-broadcasters like David Letterman and Jay Leno can also happen between local talk radio hosts. The race to get the guest “first” is something most listeners are not aware happens among the hosts at their local media outlets, but St. Louis talk radio fans are learning about an kerfuffle between former station-mates Charlie Brennan at KMOX and McGraw Milhaven at crosstown KTRS (Milhaven previously worked at KMOX). The St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes about how the competition has escalated after Milhaven went public with what he considers Brennan’s unfair play. He points to a memo from publisher Random House’s public relations office regarding a St. Louis appearance by Pulitzer-prize winning author Jon Meacham on December 6 that details the cancellation of Meacham’s appearance on Milhaven’s show due to a conflict with a KMOX live broadcast event at the St. Louis Library and that state’s KMOX’s requirement it be the first radio appearance. Brennan’s Fontbonne University book club has been booking author appearances in the market for some time. Brennan tells the paper, “And it’s only a radio exclusive if the author wants to be a KMOX/Fontbonne University selection, which means the book will get a month’s worth of publicity and anywhere from 400 to 800 book buyers at the club’s monthly meetings…I’m not sure why (Milhaven) is making an issue of it. If he could offer the author a better agreement, I’m sure the author would take it. Then it would be ‘goodbye Charlie.’”
Bonneville Seattle and NFL’s Seahawks Agree to Multi-Year Extension. Bonneville’s KIRO-AM was the original radio partner for the Seattle Seahawks when the franchise joined the NFL back in 1976 and has been its sole partner ever since. Now, Bonneville extends its relationship with the team in a multi-year deal that will have Seahawks games and programming continue on sports KIRO-AM and news/talk KIRO-FM. The deal also includes the two stations’ coverage of Seattle Sounders soccer, which will have the football club’s matches heard on KIRO-FM. Bonneville Seattle Media Group vice president and market manager Carl Gardner says, “After 37 years, fans in the Northwest have come to think of Seahawks Radio and KIRO as one and the same, and we’re proud of that tradition. We also love helping build a new culture and tradition around Sounders FC and Major League Soccer, extending our strong partnership is a win for the fans, for the clubs, and for Bonneville.”
CBS Radio’s Sports WJFK, Washington Improving its Signal. According to Dave Hughes’ DCRTV.com, CBS Radio sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington is getting some engineering attention to help improve its signal. By altering the coverage patterns of two of its adjacent channel outlets WJFK should see improved penetration to the northeast, into DC itself and into Prince George’s County. In order to accommodate WJFK improvement, CBS will move the transmitter for WWMX, Baltimore “Mix 106.5” which will, to a degree, adversely affect its coverage. Over the years, more than one person associated with WJFK has told TALKERS that the sports talk station suffers from signal problems that are limiting its ratings potential.
Timely Guest. WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (l) is pictured here on the stage at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach interviewing U.S. Senator Bill Nelson in the 85th edition of the Town Hall speaker series at the school. Nelson, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, answered questions about the scandal involving former CIA chief David Petraeus before a full house of students and the public.
Petraeus Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Businesses Prepare for ObamaCare, and Post-Sandy Frustrations in New York Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/12). The widening David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell scandal; the Benghazi attack investigation and Petraeus’ role in it; Washington addresses the “fiscal cliff”; American businesses prepare to pay for ObamaCare; and the post-Sandy frustrations still affecting some New Yorkers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Arbitrator Rules in Favor of Former XEPRS, San Diego Hosts Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith. Sports talk hosts Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith were fired by XEPRS, San Diego – XX Sports Radio 1090 – in February after Kaplan made derogatory comments about the appearance of Mountain West TV Network sports personality Andrea Lloyd. Kaplan and Smith contended they were let go in violation of their contract which outlined a process by which the station was to address content issues in case of a disagreement. An arbitrator – retired Superior Court Judge Linda Quinn ruled in the hosts’ favor and has awarded the two more than $490,000 in damages based on their respective salaries, commissions, endorsements and incentives as provided by their contracts. U-T San Diego (for which Kaplan now works co-hosting an online TV show called “Scott, B.R. + Amber”) reports Kaplan and Smith feel vindicated with Kaplan stating, “I feel vindicated. They breached the contract. I knew that from the beginning. There was a lot of embarrassment that came with the termination. I spent 11 great years on the radio…I loved what I did and I loved who I worked for.” XEPRS has not paid the duo yet and has filed a motion asking Quinn to reconsider her decision.
NPR Hires Lobbying Firm to Fight GOP Effort to Defund CFPB. Congressional Republicans are again organizing efforts to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and NPR is hiring the lobbying firm Navigators Global to help shut that down. The Hill reports NPR spokesperson Dana Rehm says that the organization is a content provider but is also a trade organization representing member stations. “It is part of our mission to represent the interests of NPR member stations to Congress, executive, regulatory and judicial bodies. At a time when the federal government is running a large deficit, every program and function of the government deserves to be scrutinized, and a review of federal funding to public broadcasting is fair and to be expected.” Rehm says the firm’s job is to explain “how the federal investment in public radio stations and larger public broadcasting system provides one of the most effective returns of any program authorized by Congress.”
Talk Radio Rises to the Occasion in Covering Aurora Massacre Aftermath. The natural progression of the analysis and coverage of the killing of 12 and wounding of dozens of others at the Aurora, Colorado premiere of “Dark Knight Rises” continues and talk radio is rising to the occasion to serve its listeners with compelling and responsible discussion. Examples of talk outlets rising to a high level of performance through the use of experts in the fields of psychology, law enforcement, media violence, gun control and more are being reported to TALKERS from all over the country. Here two examples of similar coverage: Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt featured an interview with shooting victim Pierce O’Farrill, who was hit three times by bullets from the shooter’s gun. O’Farrill described live on the air the chilling events at the theater, his perspective on the gunman, the death penalty, and his visit with President Obama. XtreMedia president Kevin McCullough tells TALKERS several of his company’s programs – his own Kevin McCullough show, the Saturday evening “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE” broadcast and the Sunday night Dani Johnson show spent the bulk of their collective platforms allowing hurting, confused and stunned listeners to respond to the attacks. Actor Stephen Baldwin took time out from a publicity tour in neighboring Cheyenne, Wyoming (90 minutes from Aurora) to meet with those in Aurora whose lives have been touched by the shootings. While there, CNN‘s Don Lemon asked Baldwin (see photo) to weigh in on his perspective of the events. Baldwin told CNN, “It may be time for those of us in the Hollywood community to re-examine how we advance violence through films, television, and video games. It also blows my mind that someone could purchase 6,000 rounds of ammo in 45 days. I’m a gun enthusiast but a red flag should’ve gone off somewhere.”
Progressive Town Hall Forum in Seattle. Premiere Networks syndicated talk host Randi Rhodes (center) was one of eight panelists who took part in “Showdown 2012: Recapturing Democracy,” a progressive town hall forum presented by Seattle’s Progressive Talk AM1090 (CBS Radio’s KPTK) at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington on Saturday, July 21. Rhodes appeared on a panel focused on the evolving role citizens play in the political and public policy process, including strategies to protect our role in democracy and to build a better future for everyone. Panelists in this picture are (from l-r): Congressman Jim McDermott, WYD Media talk host Thom Hartmann, talk host Mike Papantonio, Compass Media Networks talk host Norman Goldman, Rhodes, talk host Sam Seder, talk host Ron Reagan, and panel moderator David Postman, former chief political reporter for the Seattle Times.
KESN, Dallas Renews Contract with Cowboys Great Drew Pearson. ESPN O&O KESN, Dallas – ESPN Dallas 103.3 – announces it is renewing its deal with Dallas Cowboys great Drew Pearson for another season. Under the terms of the contract, Pearson will join “Ben & Skin” co-hosts Ben Rogers & Jeff “Skin” Wade on Mondays from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon, do Friday call-ins to the “Galloway and Company” show, and co-host the “5th Quarter Cowboys” post-game show. Pearson will act as the “go-to guy” for any breaking Cowboys or NFL news, and do a weekly video segment with “Galloway and Company.” Pearson states, “I am very happy and excited to be joining the ESPN Radio team for my third season as Cowboys/NFL analyst. My role with ESPN provides a platform for me to express my sports opinions and it also allows me the opportunity to continue my association with the ‘Worldwide Leader in Sports’ – ESPN – which to me is priceless.”
Old Friends. Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller (r) poses for a shot with former “Saturday Night Live” cast member and co-star David Spade (c) and show promoter Bill Blumenreich (l) at Miller’s recent live concert at Boston’s Wilbur Theater. Spade snuck into the theater and found his way to Miller’s dressing room where they chatted and caught up.
Fox Sports Radio and Yardbarker Enhance Content Relationship. The latter is described by Fox Sports Radio as a sports opinion site and blog network. It’s a property of Fox Sports Interactive Media and now it and Fox Sports Radio Network will begin working together more closely beginning with incorporating FSRN’s “Loose Cannons” into Yardbarker’s content. FSRN states “‘Loose Cannons’ will feature a daily segment with co-hosts Pat O’Brien, Steve Hartman and Vic ‘The Brick’ Jacobs as they take listeners into O’Brien’s ‘backyard’ for all the dirt from Yardbarker. Fox Sports Radio will soon add similar segments across other network programs. In addition, Yardbarker will feature select content from Fox Sports Radio on its website and social media platforms.” Yardbarker VP of operations Jack Kloster states, “Yardbarker is incredibly excited to partner with Fox Sports Radio and to introduce our content to the loyal listeners of ‘Loose Cannons.’ The partnership is a natural fit. Our content is inherently conversational and Fox Sports Radio is home base for sports conversation.”
Geoff Neuhoff Passes Away at Age 59. Neuhoff Communications president and CEO Geoff Neuhoff died Sunday after falling ill suddenly on Saturday. Neuhoff owned and operated stations in rural Illinois including clusters in Springfield and Decatur. The company operated news/talk WSOY, Decatur and sports talk WFMB, Springfield. Neuhoff COO Mike Hulvey tells the State Journal-Register, “Geoff Neuhoff was a giant among small- and medium-market broadcasters. Geoff demanded from all of us a dedication of greatness and excellence no matter the market size or the power of the station. Geoff believed strongly that innovation was the way forward and he embraced new technologies with enthusiasm. He will be missed by his team, but the legacy he leaves behind will last for years to come.” Neuhoff is survived by his wife and three children.
Aurora Movie Theater Massacre, Penn State Penalties, Syria Instability, and European Debt Worries/Financial Markets Activities Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/23). The aftermath of the massacre at the “Dark Knight Rises” showing in Aurora, Colorado; the severe penalties levied against Penn State in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal; Syria’s political instability and threat to use weapons of mass destruction; and ongoing concerns over the debt of some European nations and the effect on world financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.