Seven AEs Sue Clear Channel Claiming Civil Rights Violations. In a suit filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana by seven current and former AEs working at Clear Channel’s New Orleans stations, the group charges that after the economic downturn of 2008, accounts were redistributed at a meeting in Gonzales, Louisiana in February of 2009 in such a way that helped ease the financial hit Caucasian AEs were taking through the redistribution. The complaint alleges many of the redistributed accounts had been built up by African American AEs. The complaint – filed jointly by Wil Watson, Gary Watson, Prixie Montgomery, Ave Gaines, Darnetta Mahaffy-Nelson, Dinah Campbell, and Brandin Campbell – details salaries before and after the redistribution and concludes, “As a result of the redistribution of accounts, whether intentional or negligent, African-American account executives were disparately, and negatively, impacted, to their severe economic detriment as compared to their Caucasian counterparts…Overall, African-American account executives lost on average more than 40% of their 2008 income in 2008-9. On information and belief Caucasian account executives lost no more that about 15% of their 2008 income, on average, during the same period of time.” Three of the seven were fired, they allege, after complaining about the practices. The seven seek relief, punitive damages, general damages, attorneys’ fees and statutory remedies.
It’s Official: Kevin Graham Named Brand Manager at WEEI, Boston. As rumored late last week, sports talk programmer and personality Kevin Graham is leaving his PD and co-host role at Cumulus Media’s KFNZ, Salt Lake City “1320 KFAN” to become brand manager at Entercom’s WEEI. According to his bio on the KFNZ website, Graham was one of the architects of KFNZ as the station was built in 1996. He’s worked as programmer at KTAR-AM, Phoenix; WXYT, Detroit and other sports talk outlets. In addition to programming KFNZ, Graham co-hosts the “Gunther & Graham” PM drive show with Kyle Gunther. Graham has extensive experience in the digital sports arena assisting in building ArizonaSports.com in Phoenix and as the founder/editor of SportsMashup.com. He’ll begin work at WEEI in September, taking over for longtime programmer Jason Wolfe. Entercom Boston GM Jeff Brown states, “WEEI is more than a radio station; it is an entire sports ecosystem. From our on-air talent to Red Sox play-by-play to WEEI.com, where we had 1.4 million unique visitors just last month, WEEI is a more complete sports brand than ever before. We are thrilled to announce today that Kevin Graham will lead WEEI as our new brand manager. His background both in front of and behind the mic, along with his years of digital sports experience made him the best choice to lead WEEI. Kevin will bring a fresh perspective to the entire WEEI team and our complete package of digital sports assets.” Speaking about his new gig, Graham comments, “I am honored and excited to join the WEEI team. WEEI is one of the most recognizable and powerful sports radio brands in the country. With great resources, amazing talent, and one of the best digital brands in sports, the sky is the limit. I can’t wait to get started, especially with the Red Sox in the midst of such a great season.”
“The State of News/Talk/Sports Programming” Panel Set for Talkers Los Angeles 2013. A diverse and powerful panel of front-line programmers has been set for Talkers Los Angeles 2013 that will explore the major issues of programming within the present-day news/talk/sports realm. Participating panelists include (in alphabetical order): Robin Bertolucci, PD, KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles; Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Andy Ludlum, director of news programming, KNX/KFWB, Los Angeles; Don Martin, senior VP sports programming, Fox Sports Radio/Clear Channel Media & Entertainment; Chuck Tyler, PD, KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles; and Bill White, PD, KQTH-FM/KFFN-AM/FM, Tucson. The panel will be moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey who states, “This will be a fast-moving discussion that will really capture the flavor of today’s talk radio programming scene and do so with a solid Western states perspective – which makes this California edition of our two-part national conference so valuable. It will present a diverse array of formats including news/talk, all-news, and sports talk, as well as company types ranging in size and varied styles of corporate culture.” This third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention is set for Thursday, October 10 and is already shaping up to be a blockbuster. The gathering is closing in on being an advance sellout some six weeks before the event so it is advisable for media professionals interested in attending to register now. It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone. For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413. More agenda details coming in the immediate days ahead.
New Jersey’s WCTC, New Brunswick Makes Big Local Moves. Saying “there is a thirst for local content in this market,” WCTC, New Brunswick “The Voice of Central New Jersey” PD Bert Baron announces that the longtime news/talk station will debut a new and completely revamped on-air lineup starting Monday, August 26. The Greater Media-owned station is making mass changes to its weekday programming, moving Baron from his two-hour afternoon slot to morning drive, where he will host “Jersey Central with Bert Baron” from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. Baron says his show will include “everything you need to know in New Jersey – news, sports, events, entertainment, politics, lifestyle, traffic and weather.” Following Baron will be the Courtside Entertainment-syndicated Laura Ingraham, who moves up one hour from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. From 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm, WCTC will carry “The Tommy G Show,” the first time a terrestrial radio station will simulcast a daily internet radio show in New Jersey. “Tommy G is very unique and brings a Jersey angle to what is happening here. He’s a radio name with a great presence in the market. He gets Jersey,” says Baron. Tommy G, who was also named to this year’s TALKERS magazine Frontier 50 – A Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters – tells TALKERS his show is “all about New Jersey and what Jerseyans are talking about,” and says his show could change the face of local talk radio. “I’m introducing ‘syndi-local’ to talk radio and consulting others on the process, showing that companies can save money while talent can build their own business and brands. It’s a win-win,” says Tommy G, who will be joined on Mondays by the New York Times best-selling author of “The Soprano State,” Bob Ingle. Following Tommy G and replacing the syndicated Mancow is another new show hosted by longtime New York metro area talent Steve Malzberg. Malzberg’s show is syndicated by Newsmax, and will be carried live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Says Baron, “Steve is a name in the area,” and despite being a national show, it’s expected Malzberg will discuss “a fair amount of local and regional news and topics.” From 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, WCTC, which is the flagship station for Rutgers University sports, debuts “BTN Live,” a sports talk show about the Big Ten, the NCAA conference Rutgers begins competing in this fall. Baron, who along with Tommy G, is well known for his community involvement, says he believes the changes are not only necessary but that stations must embrace how local content will make them stronger. “We will be much more local in our approach to serving our listeners – from our shows to remote (broadcasts) and our community involvement. For us it will be cost effective. We will make noise in the radio landscape.”
Todd Feinburg Subs in Boston and Louisville. Boston-based talk show host Todd Feinburg is filling in for WBZ-AM, Boston’s Dan Rea on the evening program tonight and tomorrow (8-22/23). Next week he’ll be heard 829 miles away on Clear Channel’s WHAS, Louisville sitting in hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot on both Thursday and Friday, August 29 and 30. The multi-faceted Feinburg spent many years working full time at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston.
WIP-FM, Philadelphia Announces Howie Roseman Show. CBS Radio sports talk outlet “SportsRadio 94 WIP” is announcing Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman will make weekly appearances on the afternoon drive show with Anthony Gargano – accompanied by Eagles play-by-play voice Merrill Reese – every Monday from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm live at Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia. The station states, “In addition to discussing each week’s game with Gargano and Reese, Roseman will take calls and talk with fans on site at Chickie’s and Pete’s. The show is the first of its kind. It is the only live weekly interactive radio show with an NFL general manager. The show, sponsored by Miller Lite, can be heard live on 94WIP, online at www.cbsphilly.com and via the Radio.com application for a variety of mobile devices. The show will debut on Tuesday, September 3 due to the Labor Day holiday and be heard on Tuesday, September 10 due to the Eagles-Redskins Monday Night Football debut on September 9. From 5:30 pm to 6:00 pm a leading Eagles player will join the show each week.
Hangin’ with Mike Tyson. Fox Sports Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jay Mohr (l) poses for a shot with former boxer Mike Tyson (r) in the Fox Sports Radio studios in Los Angeles. Tyson visited Mohr’s program to talk about his life after boxing, being a dad and much more. They also chatted about a recent run-in at a frozen yogurt shop, as well as Tyson’s upcoming FOX Sports 1 cable TV show, “Being Mike Tyson.”
Country Act The Lost Trailers Cuts Custom Theme Music for Dial Global’s “Sunday Night Football.” The theme music to Dial Global’s “Sunday Night Footbal” this season is a tweaked version of The Lost Trailers’ single “It’s Goin’ Down Tonight” that features football highlights, sound bites and customized lyrics. The company announces, “The new theme music, performed by The Lost Trailers and powered by Early Shares Music, will debut during the first regular season NFL broadcast on Thursday, September 5 which kicks off at 8:00 p.m. ET. The highly anticipated season opener between the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos will feature Kevin Harlan and Boomer Esiason behind the microphones.” The band’s founding member Stokes Nielson states, “We are truly excited to be a part of the NFL broadcasts on Dial Global. We are huge sports fans and we can’t wait to help the announcers kick off every Sunday night game, because it’s goin’ down tonight, every Sunday night, all over America!” The band previously collaborated with Dial Global Sports, customizing their top 10 single “Holler Back” for the network’s opening montage in Super Bowl XLIII.
Bradley Manning Verdict/Gender Issues, OK Thrill Kill Case, Averted Georgia School Shooting, NSA Surveillance Program, U.S.-Egypt Tensions, Syria Chemical Weapons Allegations and ObamaCare Implementation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/21). The 35-year sentence handed to Bradley Manning and his desire to begin gender change procedures; the case of three Oklahoma teens suspected of slaying Australian college baseball player Christopher Lane; a Georgia School staffer talks an armed man out of firing and averts a tragedy; the scope of the NSA surveillance program; the U.S. policy regarding Egypt; allegations Syria is using chemical weapons against citizens; and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Radio Execs Name Internet in Car as Biggest Threat; Arbitron Identifies Markets with Longest AM Drive Commute. A Mark Kassof & Co. survey of radio station owners, general managers and group executives finds that 41% of them identify internet access in cars as the biggest “threat” to AM/FM radio. Following in descending order were: Pandora 18%; Sirius/XM Satellite Radio 13%; iPods/mp3 players 13%; podcasts 8%; iHeartRadio 7%; and YouTube 6%. Coincidentally, Arbitron releases data highlighting the top five commuter markets – that is the five markets in which people spend the most time in their cars on the way to work in the traditional morning drive period. (You can view this data from Arbitron for all 275 rated markets here.) Arbitron goes further, indicating 84% of commuters say they use AM/FM radio and shows the radio format of the top-rated station (P 18+ AQH Share; M-F 6AM-10AM) in those five markets. Regardless, this data goes to show what may seem common sense to experienced broadcasters: The automobile is the most important listening location for AM/FM radio, so obviously any other platform providing audio content is a “threat” to its interests. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison comments, “The interests of radio broadcasters would be better served if we stop obsessing on which outside ‘threats’ to our AM/FM platform were the most dangerous and begin to realize that we ourselves pose the biggest threat to our medium by not using the best and only weapon available to counter that threat: better and unique programming. Plain and simple, ‘filler’ no longer cuts it. Nor does giving our product away in order to grow our so-called ‘brands.’ Our insecurity and lack of focus is going to insure that the world ‘likes’ us all the way to the poorhouse!”
WXOS, St. Louis Ups Chris Neupert to PD. With programmer Kent Sterling exiting “101 ESPN’ to return to Indianapolis, the Hubbard Broadcasting sports talk station promotes assistant PD, executive producer and director of St. Louis Rams Radio operations Chris “Hoss” Neupert to program director. Hubbard St. Louis market manager John Kijowski says, “Chris Neupert is a versatile player who has added to the entire ‘101ESPN’ team over the course of the past four years, first as the head of Rams Radio operations and then as the assistant program director for the station. His proven leadership and ability to communicate effectively with the entire ‘101 ESPN’ staff — along with St. Louis’ professional sports teams and executives, and the station’s clients and partners — make him an invaluable asset to our station.” Neupert previously served as PD at crosstown sports talker KFNS “590 The Fan.”
Ryan McCredden Moves from Tucson to CBS Radio’s Houston Sports Talk Duo. Programmer Ryan McCredden fills the slot vacated by Gavin Spittle when CBS Radio moved him back to its Dallas operations. McCredden will program sports talk stations KILT “Sportsradio 610” and KIKK “CBS Sports Radio 650.” McCredden comes to Texas from Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk KQTH-FM “104.1 The Truth” and sports talk KFFN, in Tucson. He worked for CBS Radio previously as APD at news/talk KRLD-AM and sports KRLD-FM, Dallas. CBS Radio SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier states, “Ryan McCredden has that special ability to successfully coach on-air talent, create custom events, and raise the ratings everywhere he has worked. He is a true professional with a passion for the product and will be a steady leader for the ‘Sportsradio 610’ team.” McCredden states he’s excited to return to CBS Radio. “’Sportsradio 610’ has a fantastic lineup of shows and I couldn’t be more excited to work with hosts who are as passionate about radio as I am. Add in the fact that I get the amazing opportunity to team with the AFC South champion Houston Texans, and we have all the elements needed for producing great radio.”
CBS Radio to Use Triton Digital’s Real-Time Buying Protocol. Triton Digital calls it a2x and says it is the “industry’s only audience-based programmatic buying solution for online and mobile audio ads.” Of its service, Triton states, “a2x is the first and only audio advertising exchange that enables advertisers to programmatically buy targeted online and mobile audio inventory in real-time. The solution provides a system for managing, buying and selling third party advertising campaigns. The automated, exchange-driven method of buying and selling ad impressions facilitates increased efficiency, eliminating waste and resulting in the highest price for publishers and the greatest efficiency for advertisers. CBS Radio local digital media president Ezra Kucharz states, “Joining Triton’s a2x exchange will create additional demand for our inventory, providing a great complement to our strong traditional sales channels. Being able to offer agency trading desk access to our inventory in this manner allows us to participate in a new revenue stream targeting mobile and digital budgets.”
Michael Smerconish Leaving AM/FM Radio for Satellite. Saying the AM/FM talk radio format is “not conducive to the type of program I’m offering,” WYD Media-produced and nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish tells the Associated Press he’s exiting his AM/FM program for a gig at SiriusXM beginning April 15. Smerconish’s Philadelphia-based program is heard on about 80 affiliates. In statements highly critical of the current state of news/talk radio,Smerconish tells the AP, “I don’t do ideologically driven talk, I do content-driven talk. I’m not on the air to carry anybody’s water on a day-to-day basis.” He says he believes programmers are ignoring the fact that their audiences are becoming “too white, too male, too angry and too old” to grow the format into the future. In a subsequent formal press statement, Smerconish says, “I am ecstatic to join SiriusXM, which I see as the dynamic future of radio broadcasting. I look forward to talking with SiriusXM’s diverse, national audience, delivering a program that transcends the polarization that exists not only in Washington but in the media and country at large. It’s time to take the national conversation to a higher plane, and I invite listeners nationwide with views that don’t stack up neatly in any ideological box the way we’re told they should to join.” The Republican-turned-independent will host a three-hour show beginning at 9:00 am ET on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel.
Michael Smerconish to Deliver Annual “State of the First Amendment Address” at Talkers New York 2013. Following in the footsteps of colorful and articulate individuals going back almost a quarter century, maverick talk show host Michael Smerconish has been invited by the TALKERS magazine editorial board to deliver this year’s installment of the “State of the First Amendment Address” at Talkers New York 2013 – a position that he has accepted. It is one of the most important industry speeches of the year, taking place at the opening of the ceremony at which the prestigious Freedom of Speech Award is presented. This year’s recipient of that award has not yet been determined or named. The annual State of the First Amendment Award began as an industry tradition in the early 1990s when iconic talk show host Gene Burns (then of WRKO, Boston) gave a dazzling impromptu speech introducing the Freedom of Speech Award recipient that year. Burns made such a compelling case for the importance of the First Amendment and its connection to talk radio that he was asked to perform the role at the annual conference for several years thereafter. Since then the speech has been delivered by a diverse roster of luminaries including Al Franken, Michael Medved, Neal Boortz, Alan Colmes, Lou Dobbs, Jim Bohannon and others. In making the announcement, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “When we invited Michael Smerconish to play this important role, we had no idea that he was about to make the switch from AM/FM radio to satellite. Considering the circumstances surrounding his bold move, it makes his selection as this year’s presenter more appropriate than ever.” Smerconish tells TALKERS, “I will be at the conference with bells on. I deeply believe radio must be open to a wide variety of independent thinking that puts personality and individuality over ideology.” Talkers New York 2013 takes place on Thursday, June 6 and due to space limitations will be an early sellout open to working media only. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.
Townsquare Media Names Michael Josephs SVP Corporate Strategy and Development. In his most recent role with MESA Securities, Michael Josephs was managing director at the media and entertainment-focused investment bank. At Townsquare Media, he’ll be in charge of the company’s new products and sectors initiatives.
Odds & Sods. T.J. McCormack is the new host of “Good Morning Westchester” on Whitney Radio’s WVOX, New Rochelle, New York…..WPWR-TV, Chicago is airing a “best-of” version of the morning “Mancow!” show that is a TV simulcast of the 6:00 am to 8:00 am hours of his daily radio program. The weekend show – “The Mancow Mashup” – is airing Saturdays at 11:30 am on WFLD-TV and Sundays at 11:00 on WPWR-TV.
Former WIOD and WINZ, Miami Newsman Al Warnell Dies After Battle with Cancer. Xavier Alonso “Al” Warnell died at age 62 while in hospice care in his home town of South Bend, Indiana. Warnell began his 30-year career in South Florida as a reporter at WINZ, Miami in 1976. He continued his work at WIOD when the crosstown station was acquired by Jacor in 1996.
Ongoing Sequester Battle, Anti-Drones Filibuster, North Korea Nuke Threats, Chavez ‘Post-Mortem,’ Record-Setting Dow, and Redskins Name Court Battle Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/6). The political battle in Washington over the sequester; Senator Rand Paul’s anti-drones filibuster; North Korean nuclear threats against the U.S.; analysis of Venezuela’s future and the legacy of Hugo Chavez; the record-high Dow; and the court battle over the Washington Redskins’ name were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
ESPN Radio Extends Michael Kay’s Contract with WEPN-FM, New York. “ESPN New York 98.7” announces Michael Kay signs a three-year contract to remain the PM drive host on the ESPN O&O. Station VP/GM Dave Roberts says, “We’re very happy to have extended Michael’s contract for multiple years. He’s been a mainstay at the station and in the New York sports scene for more than a decade. Having him continue to anchor our afternoon drive programming alongside Don La Greca is a huge plus for ESPN New York.” Kay has worked at the ESPN sports talk station for the past 11 years and also serves as the play-by-play announcer for Yankees baseball on the YES Network.
The James T. Harris Show Moves to PM Drive on KQTH, Tucson; Jon Justice Gets TV Simulcast. Talk show host James T. Harris moved from Journal Broadcasting’s Milwaukee news/talk flagship WTMJ – where he did weekend and fill-in shows – to the company’s KQTH “104.1 The Truth” last October to begin hosting the two-hour midday show. Now, program director Ryan McCredden reports Harris is taking over the PM drive slot and he says that change in the lineup “will give ‘The Truth’ listeners an unprecedented seven hours of local talk, and the only live and local FM talk show in the afternoons. By moving James T. to our afternoon drive time, we’re continuing our commitment to providing the best local talk programming in Tucson. His energy, passion and dedication is the right fit for the top-rated talk station in Southern Arizona.” In other KQTH news, the Jon Justice morning drive show is now being seen in addition to being heard in Tucson. KWBA-TV “CW 58” simulcasts the 7:00 am to 9:00 am hours of Justice’s program. Justice says, “I’m very excited to be able to expand on the success of the show and be able to offer the listener another dimension to what we do on ‘104.1 The Truth’ every day.”
Careful What You Say. Radio consultant Holland Cooke says radio personalities – especially those in PPM markets – should remember there are some words and phrases that will cause parents with kids in the car to dump your show. “If you’re in a PPM market, awareness drives use. So, either way, being thought of as R-rated will cost you what Arbitron calls Occasions of Listening and Time Spent Listening.” Find out what Cooke says is one of the most “offensive” phrases to parents in today’s piece. But wait, there’s more. Perception is reality and if you or your talent are using some of the incorrect words or pronunciations Holland lists here, you could be jeopardizing your reputation and, yes, listenership. Don’t be punished by Arbitron and choose your words carefully. Read Holland Cooke’s entire story here.
Bidding War for Indians Baseball in Cleveland Pits CC Against CBS. A story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer illustrates the bidding going on between CBS Radio and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment for the radio broadcast rights to Cleveland Indians baseball. The story quotes the Indians senior director of communications Curtis Danburg saying, “We are in the bidding process for our radio rights. We are making strides, but it’s hard to put a date on when we’ll get a deal done. Nothing is imminent.” Clear Channel’s WTAM currently has the broadcast rights but it’s believed that the team wants the winning bidder to commit to a longer deal than the current two-year contract Clear Channel is finishing up. CC has had the Indians since 1998 but CBS Radio would like to put the Tribe on its new FM sports talk WKRK “Sports Radio 92.3 The Fan.” How important the FM signal is to the team is now known since it is playing the negotiations very tight-lipped but one has to assume CBS will play the FM card very seriously. The Plain Dealer reports that not only do the Indians sell the broadcast rights, the deal allows the team to keep revenue garnered from game broadcasts.
Michael Smerconish Announces “Book Club” Live Events. Philadelphia-based WYD Media nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Smerconish has been bringing high-profile authors to the Philadelphia area for live events that draw his book-consuming P1s to venues for several years. He is announcing his fall lineup that begins with the September 27 appearance of two-time Pulitzer Prize winners Donald Barlett and James Steele to the historic Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope in support of their provocative new bestseller, The Betrayal of the American Dream (PublicAffairs 2012). Smerconish says, “There could not be a more timely read in the midst of the 2012 election from the men who two decades ago wrote America: What Went Wrong. In a methodical assessment, Barlett and Steele drill down on the confluence of economic policy and politics that has jeopardized the American middle class. One wishes that Messrs. Obama and Romney would be in attendance to hear what Barlett and Steele have to say!”
TuneIn Announces New Partnerships Bringing News, Talk and Music Content to the Web. Digital content aggregator TuneIn announces a number of partnerships with terrestrial and digital radio companies that expand the company’s slate of content. Some of the companies that are providing their audio to TuneIn for listeners to hear include: Public Radio International; C-SPAN Radio; ABC Australia; the Hearst Corporation; myvradio; WFMU, East Orange, New Jersey; WSM, Nashville; KDHX, St. Louis; KXT, Dallas-Fort Worth; Wu-Tang Radio; Israel Sports Radio; My Cool Inventions Radio; and others. TuneIn CEO John Donham says, “After reaching the 40 million monthly active listener milestone earlier this month, we are more committed than ever to serving our growing listener base by offering as many quality content options as possible. Aligning with renowned and respected news organizations like C-SPAN and PRI will be a fantastic and effective way for both TuneIn and these broadcasters to continue to build and expand our audiences.”
Presidential Campaign, Obama China Complaint, Anti-Muslim Film Violence, Occupy Wall Street Anniversary, Chicago Teachers Strike and iPhone 5 Mania Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/17). The 2012 presidential campaign; the Obama Administration’s complaint about illegal Chinese subsidies; the repercussion in the Islamic world from the now-infamous anti-Muslim internet film; the anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street protests; week two of the Chicago teachers strike begins; and records sales of Apple’s new iPhone 5 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Current TV Fires Back at Keith Olbermann. Fledgling network Current TV is countersuing former “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann in the wake of his messy departure from the operation. Entertainment Weekly reports the Al Gore-founded network is calling Olbermann’s $70 million suit against the network “frivolous” and “riddled with falsehoods and distortions.” “Current seeks a determination that it is no longer obligated to pay Mr. Olbermann who, having already been paid handsomely for showing up sporadically and utterly failing to keep his end of the bargain, now seeks to be paid tens of millions more for not working at all.” The complaint also refers to Olbermann’s April 3 appearance on “Late Night with David Letterman” during which he stated the situation was “my fault” and admitted “I screwed up.” Current TV filed its complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Rumor Confirmed: Limbaugh to Leave WPHT, Philadelphia; Michael Smerconish to Air Live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Yesterday (4/9) TALKERS reported the rumor that Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh would leave longtime affiliate WPHT and be replaced by WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. CBS Radio is confirming that switch will take place with Premiere Networks saying Limbaugh will appear elsewhere in the market, though neither source is giving specifics on when the changes will take place. Absent another major signal talk outlet in Philly, speculation is that Merlin Media will take new acquisition WKDN-FM, Philadelphia (licensed to Camden, New Jersey) news/talk in the near future and put Limbaugh on the station. Meanwhile, Michael Smerconish returns to a live broadcast (he’s currently being delayed to PM drive) on WPHT, the station where he hosted a very successful AM drive program for many years.
WSCR, Chicago’s Dan McNeil Clears Air with Listeners About Absence. Chicago sports talk host Dan McNeil told his listeners his absence from CBS Radio’s WSCR for the past six weeks was due to what he could best describe as a nervous breakdown that resulted from his ceasing to take the mood stabilizer Lamictal. McNeil says after he stopped taking the drug he became depressed and sought treatment for depression and substance abuse. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports McNeil was open and honest with his listeners saying, “I know with you listeners I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust, as I’m doing with the most important people in my family. And I hope you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt and give me a chance to re-earn that trust.” McNeil co-hosts the midday show at WSCR alongside Matt Spiegel.
Sid Rosenberg to Be Off WQAM, Miami This Week. After an arrest on Thursday of last week on DUI and driving with a suspended license charges, WQAM, Miami talk host Sid Rosenberg was on the air last Friday. But he was not hosting his show yesterday and the Miami Sun-Sentinel reports WQAM program director Lee Feldman stating he’ll be off the air all week. It’s unclear what Rosenberg’s status with the station is – whether he’s been suspended or is out for medical reasons – but he is not expected to return to the station this week.
CRN Digital Talk Radio Expands into the Hawkeye State. Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces it has struck a deal with Iowa Network Services to bring its six audio HD channels to cable subscribers in the state. CRN chief executive officer and founder Michael Horn states, “We are pleased to join with Iowa Network Services and provide their customers with our top-rated and highly entertaining talk radio programming.” Iowa Network Services is based in Des Moines and serves 57 independent telecommunications firms providing internet, data, telephone and cable television service throughout Iowa. INS video content manager Sarah Roeder says, “INS is excited to bring CRN Digital Talk Radio to Iowa. The diverse programming will add value to our existing content.” CRN Digital Talk Radio states it offers more than 100 original shows along with a stellar roster of top syndicated programs hosted by radio veterans such as Lou Dobbs, Barry Farber, Dennis Prager, Cindy Laverty, Laura Ingraham, Mancow, Michael Savage and Doug Stephan among others. “Iowa Network Services subscribers will also enjoy the popular Robert Conrad show, featuring the TV legend, as well as the Larry Manetti show, starring the former ‘Magnum P.I.’ star.”
KNST, Tucson Hosts Arizona Congressional Race Debate. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KNST, Tucson is hosting a debate among the four Republican candidates vying for the Congressional seat vacated by former Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords earlier this year. KNST morning host Garret Lewis will moderate the debate along with National Republican Committee member Bruce Ash. Candidates Frank Antenori, Jesse Kelly, Martha McSally and Dave Sitton will face off in the April 17 primary to determine who will battle Democrat Ron Barber and Green Party candidate Charlie Manolakis in the June 12 special election. The debate will take place Thursday evening at the Quail Creek Country Club and will be broadcast live on KNST and 97.1 FM.
Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED, Washington Wins “Headliner Award” for Website. Hubbard Broadcasting’s Federal News Radio announces it has been honored with a 2012 National Headliner award for a second place win in the category of Radio-Affiliated Website. Federal News Radio web manager Julia Ziegler states, “What makes FederalNewsRadio.com so successful is the fact that everyone on our staff contributes to the web product – from our reporters and web staff, to our producers and anchors. Our most innovative web projects always come from staff members bringing their individual skills, knowledge and ideas together.” WFED, Washington program director Lisa Wolfe says, “We offer a lot of interactivity with our surveys, multi-media features, radio interviews on demand, photo slide-shows and videos. We have improved the graphic experience with some excellent data visualization. The goal is to push our capabilities to be in the vanguard of digital journalism.”
KQTH-FM, Tucson Morning Host Jon Justice Hospitalized for Heart Surgery. Jon Justice hosts the morning drive show at Journal Broadcasting’s news/talk KQTH-FM, Tucson. He suffered a heart attack in 2009 and explains via the station’s video blog (pictured here) from the ICU that doctors will operate on him to fix a prior valve replacement that needs repair. Justice says doctors expect him to recover quickly and he hopes to be home from the hospital by the weekend.
Jerry Doyle Live on the Strip. That’s Talk Radio Network star Jerry Doyle broadcasting live from the Suncoast Hotel and Casino on April 6. Doyle and flagship station KDWN, Las Vegas co-produced the appearance which will become a monthly live broadcast at which Doyle’s fans can take part in what he calls “radio magic.” After Doyle’s three-hour broadcast, he took questions from fans and talked about “the things they won’t let me talk about on the radio.”
GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Tepid Jobs Report/Stock Market Activity, Status of Obama Care, Syrian Violence and Mike Wallace Passes Away Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/9). The Republican primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign; the falling Dow on the heels of a weak jobs report; the Supreme Court’s Obama Care hearing and analysis of the law’s impact on the nation’s deficit; an increase in Syrian violence; and the death of journalist Mike Wallace were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Take Me Out to the Ballgame. That’s Bob Kevoian of the nationally syndicated Premiere Networks Bob & Tom show at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati on Opening Day leading the fans in the traditional 7th inning stretch singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Bob & Tom produced a live remote broadcast from the Whiskey Bar in downtown Cincinnati on Opening Day. Members of the Bob & Tom crew, including Tom Griswold and Kristi Lee, participated in the Opening Day parade in Cincinnati. Griswold and Lee rode in affiliate Fox 92.5’s car in the parade.
Power-Packed Agenda Set for New Media Seminar June 7. According to TALKERS magazine VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “In all the years we have been presenting radio industry conferences, I do not remember one quite like this in which so many outstanding speakers were packed into a single day’s event. Our innovative model designed for an economically challenging era seems to be striking a very positive chord. The New York City installment of 2012’s bi-coastal conference is only a few days away from being sold out.” More than 60 industry leaders will address the key issues facing talk media between 9:00 am to 6:30 pm on Thursday, June 7 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side. For registration and sponsorship information for this industry-only event call 413-565-5413. To see the agenda click here.
Rush Limbaugh Named “Famous Missourian”; Choice Irks State Democrats. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians yesterday in a closed ceremony at the state capitol in Jefferson City. A bronze bust of the talk host was unveiled during the event. State Democrats were disturbed by the ceremony that was not announced until 20 minutes prior to it beginning. It took place in the chambers of the House of Representatives and Democrats were not allowed in. Missouri House Speaker Steven Tilley told the Kansas City Star the ceremony was closed because of the controversy and so that Limbaugh and his family could attend and be “treated respectfully.” Democrats were not invited because earlier they signed a letter protesting the induction. In a speech at the induction Limbaugh stated, “This is something I never, ever thought would happen to me…I want to express my deep gratitude. I’m exceptionally proud to accept this honor, and really very humbled.” Limbaugh joins the ranks of such famous Missourians as Mark Twain, Harry Truman and Dred Scott.
Dial Global’s Dennis Miller to Perform with Adam Carolla in November. Nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller had comedian, TV star and podcaster Adam Carolla on his program yesterday (5/14) and the two announced they will perform live on stage together at the City National Grove in Anaheim on November 16. Miller tells Carolla, “You know what I think about the way your mind works – it’s genius.” In addition to his radio program, Dennis Miller has been doing live performances with Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly on their “Bolder and Fresher Tour 2012.” The duo recently performed at New York City’s Town Hall.
Anniversary Bash. Journal Broadcasting’s KQTH-FM, Tucson – 104.1 The Truth – celebrated its fifth anniversary on Saturday, May 19 at the Casino Del Sol Resort. Program director Ryan McCredden tells TALKERS, “The listeners, speakers, staff and sponsor response to the event was tremendous and we’re looking forward to another five great years of ‘The Truth’ in Tucson!” Pictured here are (from l-r): Author and townhall.com writer Katie Pavlich, Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock, author and commentator S.E. Cupp, Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle, KQTH-FM morning host Jon Justice and midday host James T. Harris.
New York Festivals Announces 2012 Radio Program and Promotion Awards World’s Best Radio Programs Finalists. The New York Festivals breaks down the entries by country. For the United States among commercial talk broadcasters, ESPN Radio is named a finalist in the Best Human Interest Story and Best Investigative Reporting categories. “The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap” is a finalist for Best Regularly Scheduled Sports Program. SiriusXM’s Howard Stern is a finalist for Best Special Event. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFBK, Sacramento is a finalist in the Health/Medical category. Winners will be honored at a gala awards ceremony on June 18 at New York City’s Manhattan Penthouse. See the entire slate of finalists here.
Compass Media Networks Names Booth Talent for Baseball Broadcasts. For its 25 broadcasts of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim games Compass Media Networks recently announced it would distribute, the company has named its game coverage talent. Former New York Mets general manager and current SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio morning host Steve Phillips will be analyst for the broadcasts. Others, whose appearance on the broadcasts will be determined by travel schedule and other commitments, include play-by-play announcers Chris Carrino and Steve Quis and analyst and former MLB player and executive Darryl Hamilton.
CBS Radio’s Stacie Schmidt Moves from Las Vegas to Cleveland. Stacie Schmidt currently serves as director of marketing for CBS Radio’s Las Vegas cluster that includes news/talk KXNT-AM/FM. She’s moving back to her home town of Cleveland to take the integrated sales and marketing position at CBS Radio’s cluster there that includes sports WKRK-FM – 92.3 the Fan.
Obama Newsweek Cover, 2012 Presidential Race, Euro Zone Hangs in Balance, JP Morgan Chase Loss and California Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/14). The “first gay president” Newsweek cover; the 2012 presidential race; the future of the euro zone as countries threaten to leave; the $2 billion loss at JP Morgan Chase; and California’s enormous debt problem were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Brooklyn in the House. Sure, it’s easy to get supermodel and actress Brooklyn Decker to visit your radio show when hubby Andy Roddick is co-host of the program. Decker is pictured here in the Fox Sports Radio studios with husband and tennis great Andy Roddick (c) and radio personality Bobby Bones (l). The “Roddick and Bones” show airs on weekends on the FSRN. During the interview Decker promoted her two new films, “Battleship” and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” both being released on May 18.
MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Moves to the 8:00 pm Hour. MSNBC brass are stirring up the pot in an attempt to boost its ratings by flipping “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” and Ed Schultz’s “The Ed Show.” Schultz will air at 8:00 pm ET and O’Donnell at 10:00 pm. MSNBC president Phil Griffin believes Schultz’s style is a better fit for the 8:00 pm hour and a better lead-in to its highest-rated show, “The Rachel Maddow Show.” Although O’Donnell’s program has more than doubled the ratings over CNN competitor Anderson Cooper, O’Donnell’s ratings in the 25-54 demo have dropped over the last month while Schultz’s have increased. Griffin states, “As the name implies, ‘The Last Word’ belongs at the conclusion of our programming day, thoughtfully wrapping up the day’s political dialogue. Ed’s passionate voice is a perfect kick-off to primetime at 8:00 pm.” The changes take place Monday, October 24.
KQTH-FM, Tucson Morning Host Jon Justice Gets ‘Best of Tucson’ Honors. This is the second year in a row that morning drive host Jon Justice has been honored with the ‘Best Radio Personality’ award and the third that he’s nabbed the ‘Best Talk Show Host’ award in the readers poll from Tucson Weekly. KQTH-FM program director Ryan McCreddan says of the honors, “Congratulations to Jon Justice on his wins in the Tucson Weekly’s 2011 Best of Tucson! Jon and ‘104.1 The Truth’ have some of the most loyal listeners in town and it shows over and over again with accolades like this.”
Fox Business Network Receives Orders to Differentiate from Fox News Channel. It appears that Fox Business Network programming has been drifting toward the same appearance as its sister cable news/talker Fox News Channel. So much so that EVP of programming Kevin Magee issued a memo to FBN staff to stop imitating FNC, according to Reuters. Magee confirmed the memo to Reuters and told the news service that Fox Business has to continue to focus its programming on business-related issues and find its own voice. In the memo Magee wrote, “The more we make FBN look like FNC the more of a disservice we do to ourselves. If we give the audience a choice between FNC and the almost-FNC, they will choose FNC every time. Earnings, taxes, jobs etc give us PLENTY to chew on.” Fox Business has not fared well in the ratings compared to its closest competitor CNBC.
KOA, Denver Adds Broncos QB Tim Tebow to its Football Coverage. The newest Denver Broncos starting quarterback will make four weekly appearances on KOA during this football season. Tim Tebow will be heard on the station’s Broncos coverage Monday mornings, Friday afternoons (with former Bronco Dave Logan) on the game day pre-game show (taped, obviously) and live from the locker room after each game.
WGN, Chicago’s Dean Richards Hosts Annual Breast Cancer Special. For the past 14 years, WGN-TV entertainment reporter and WGN-AM weekend talk host Dean Richards has been hosting a special breast cancer program during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and he’ll do it again on Saturday, October 23 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. The live, three-hour special will examine where we are in the fight against breast cancer and feature a panel of the nation’s leading medical experts, moving survivor stories, resources for cancer patients, the latest research and more.
What Happens in Vegas… The GOP primary race has been a boon for news/talk radio with all of the colorful characters and talk radio’s unique relationship with the candidates. For Dial Global syndicated talk host Neal Boortz, his relationship with candidate Newt Gingrich is personal – Gingrich has subbed as a host of his program (as has candidate Hermain Cain). Pictured here is Boortz (r) and Gingrich (l) at the most recent GOP debate in Las Vegas.
2012 Presidential Race/GOP Debate Aftermath, ‘Occupy’ Movement, Obama Jobs Bill and Exotic Animal Owner Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/19). The aftermath of the Tuesday evening GOP candidates debate and the 2012 presidential election , the ‘Occupy’ movement, the battle over the Obama Administration’s jobs bill and the bizarre case of the Ohio exotic animal owner’s suicide and unleashing of dozens of wild animals were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.