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Eight More Arbitron PPM Markets Gain Accreditation by MRC. The Media Rating Council gives accreditation to eight more Arbitron PPM markets – making the total number of accredited markets 26. In making the announcement, Arbitron notes that the MRC is not granting accreditation in the remaining 22 markets at this time. The eight newly accredited markets include: Cleveland, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Denver-Boulder, Detroit, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood, Pittsburgh, Portland OR, and Nassau/Suffolk (Long Island). They join the 18 markets the MRC is voting to continue accreditation: Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Milwaukee-Racine, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Riverside-San Bernardino, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater. Arbitron executive vice president, service innovation and chief research officer Gregg Linder states, “MRC accreditation for our PPM markets is a company-wide priority at Arbitron, and we are pleased the MRC continues to recognize our ongoing efforts to improve Sample Performance Indicators and other quality metrics in our Portable People Meter ratings services. Continuous improvement remains our watchword, for PPM and for all our ratings and software offerings and we are focused on earning accreditation for the balance of our PPM markets.”
Former CNN Producer/Reporter Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze. Steve Krakauer – former CNN digital producer and media reporter – is named vice president of digital content for TheBlaze. In his work at CNN, Krakauer oversaw the social and digital output of the CNN domestic U.S. television programs. He also managed the team that ran @CNN — the network’s flagship Twitter account. Krakauer joined CNN in November 2010 as the digital producer of “Piers Morgan Tonight.” At TheBlaze, Krakauer will be responsible for growing the network’s presence across all digital media. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “Steve was one of the first people to truly recognize the growing relationship between digital media and traditional television and has built a remarkable track record integrating the two media. We are excited to have Steve join TheBlaze as we continue to be at the forefront of creating a television network designed for the 21st century.”
Ed Schultz Returns to Weeknights on MSNBC. It hasn’t been quite five months since MSNBC moved “The Ed Show” from weeknights at 8:00 pm to a Saturday and Sunday 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot with Ed Schultz saying the move was for personal and professional reasons. Now, the Hollywood Reporter writes that MSNBC president Phil Griffin asked Schultz to return to weekdays in the 5:00 pm slot replacing the first run of “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” Matthews’ show will only air at 7:00 pm beginning August 26 when Schultz returns to weekdays. Griffin told the publication, “Ed has proven himself no matter where we’ve put him.”
CEO Gary Nell to Exit NPR to Head Up National Geographic. NPR CEO Gary Nell announces he’s leaving the public radio company after 21 months on the job. In a letter to staff, he says, in part, “As president and CEO, supporting NPR’s success – your success – has been my highest ambition. Working together, we have put NPR on more solid footing to continue to deliver the highest-quality journalism and programming. We have launched innovative new platforms and made meaningful strides in attracting new audiences and new funding. We have promoted a series of collaborations in news gathering, development, and a digital future. And we have an exceptionally strong leadership team in place that is charting an ambitious path for our future. We also face challenges, including the mandate to bring NPR to break-even cash operations. We are completing a plan to focus our limited resources which support our essential services to stations and audiences. We will present that plan to the Board soon, go over it carefully, and make it a reality.” Nell took over the reins of NPR in December of 2011 after the high-profile departure of former CEO Vivian Schiller. During her tenure, Juan Williams was fired after making comments on Fox News Channel admitting to feeling nervous when seeing people dressed in Muslim garb on airplanes. Also, NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller (no relation) was recorded denigrating conservatives at a lunch meeting.
Boston Herald Reports Kevin Graham Will Succeed Jason Wolfe at WEEI-FM, Boston. There is no confirmation from Entercom Boston market manager Jeff Brown about the Boston Herald’s recent report that KFNZ, Salt Lake City “1320 KFAN” program director and afternoon drive co-host Kevin Graham will take over the program director post at the station. According to his bio on the KFNZ website, Graham was one of the key architects of KFNZ back in 1996 and has 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. Longtime program director Jason Wolfe exited the station last week and the Boston media is rife with speculation about the status of the station’s air talent – especially morning duo John Dennis and Gerry Callahan. CBS Radio’s crosstown WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub” has been topping WEEI-FM in recent ratings reports. Still, the Herald also reports that Dennis and Callahan have been assured that they are not on the chopping block at this point.
Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald (“Brent & Meg”) Sign Up as Charter Members of TalkersRadio Lineup. The married couple team of “Brent & Meg” (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald, pictured below) join the initial lineup of the soon-to-be-launched experimental internet talk station, TalkersRadio. They will be hosting a Monday through Friday, two-hour Los Angeles-based program titled, “The Brent & Meg Show,” that will stream live between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm ET with possible re-streams at other times during the following 24 hours. According to TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein, “There never has been a ‘Brent & Meg Show’ prior to TalkersRadio. They are coming together to do this specifically because the station is designed for these kinds of experiments. Although they’ve been married for 28 years and have been in the media business doing everything from amazing short-form features to ground-breaking public relations campaigns for years, the idea of them being on the air live as a team hosting a long-form talk show is the brainchild of Michael Harrison who has been after them to do this for over two years now since hearing them bounce off each other in the ongoing short-form feature ‘Brent Seltzer, Still at Large.’ ”I am excited about the potential of this show. We envision it to be in the tradition of the classic husband/wife chat shows of the golden era – except with its focus fully planted on a 21st century foundation.” The short-form feature “Brent Seltzer, Still at Large” — written, produced and performed by the couple — has accrued a dedicated multi-platform cult-following on Podjockey.com and XM Satellite Radio after having broken out in 2008 as a hot commodity at KSRO, Santa Rosa. According to the couple, “Outraged by the cable TV political bloviates, we invented ‘Brent Seltzer, Still at Large’ as a panacea to the anger and complacency that radio was becoming. We figured that since all the extreme right wingers and extreme left wingers were only preaching to their targeted choirs, we could have an extremely good time talking about anything to everyone. It is our intention to continue that tradition on the ‘Brent & Meg Show.’ Absolutely no politician, celebrity, corporate business practice, social custom, anything or anybody will be safe from our scathing, biting and hopefully humorous and entertaining observations. Hey, we just wanna have fun!”
Brent Seltzer is legendary in the annals of West Coast radio having worked as a personality “rock ‘n’ roll newsman” on two of the most storied signals in rock radio history – KMET, Los Angeles and KGB, San Diego — as well as LA’s KZLA-FM/AM, KNX-FM, and KMPC. He has also been a popular radio writer working for years at companies such as Watermark (“American Top 40”) and its founder Tom Rounds’ celebrated international company, Radio Express.
Born into a Hollywood show business family, Meg McDonald’s mother was the popular character actress Elisabeth Fraser and her father was the dancer Ray McDonald. Although a native of Santa Monica, her parents divorced when she was very young and her Mom moved to New York to co-star with Phil Silvers in his popular comedy, “You’ll Never Get Rich,” later known as “The Phil Silvers Show.” As her mother went to work in many classic films, TV shows and Broadway shows, Meg found herself surrounded by gifted writers including Neil Simon, Norman Lear and Gore Vidal. Returning to LA after a few years, Meg never thought of herself as a performer, so she majored in Journalism at LACC, but chose a career in public relations where she has forged an award-winning history as founder of her own shop, McDonald Media Services. Strikingly beautiful with a big gorgeous voice, she always wanted to be on-air but was too shy to take the shot, until she met Brent Seltzer. “The Brent & Meg” show debuts on TalkersRadio Tuesday, September 10. For more information about TalkersRadio call 413-565-5413 or email GM David Bernstein at email@example.com. TalkersRadio streaming is powered by Backbone Networks.
WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne Morning Show to Begin TV Simulcast. Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne will begin a simulcast of one hour of “Fort Wayne’s Morning News with Charly Butcher“ on local NBC affiliate WISE-TV “NBC33″ on September 23. The television outlet will air the 6:00 am hour of Butcher’s program using several high definition cameras placed in the studio and newsroom at WOWO. Program director Ryan Wrecker says, “What we’re doing is taking a historic show in the market and advancing it to a new medium. Finding new platforms for our product is an important part of our station strategy, and we think this is going to make a big impact not only in the market but it’s what should be expected for news/talk stations looking for ways to gain a younger audience share.” Butcher states, “We’re excited to bring a show we work very hard on every morning to NBC33. It’s another way for listeners to get a behind-the-scenes look at what we do and get all the information they need every morning. I’m not excited that I might need to start wearing make-up.” Pictured above is the WOWO-AM/FM morning show in action (Butcher at right.)
SiriusXM and MLB Reach Six-Year Extension. Satcaster SiriusXM and Major League Baseball have reached an agreement to extend their relationship for another six years. As a result, every regular season and post-season game will be available on both Sirius and XM platforms through 2016. The deal also includes select exhibition games and Spanish-language broadcasts. SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein states, “Baseball has been an essential part of our programming lineup and we’re very happy to extend our relationship with MLB to deliver the games to our subscribers for many years to come. We’re especially pleased to now offer the games to SiriusXM subscribers whether they listen through Sirius radios, XM radios, the SiriusXM App or online.”
NPR Producer Teshima Walker Dies at 44. After a two-year battle with colon cancer, NPR executive producer Teshima Walker passed away on Friday morning. Walker had been executive producer of the Michel Martin-hosted “Tell Me More” program since 2011. She’d been with the show in various capacities for four years prior to that. During her career she had worked at WBEZ, Chicago and served as a producer on the Tavis Smiley program.
Emmis Delivers “Really Fun” Q1 Earnings Report. With net revenue up 6% in Emmis’ fiscal Q1, CEO Jeff Smulyan was positively giddy during Friday’s investor’s conference call. The company reported net revenue of $36.9 million and operating income up 536% from $1.1 million to $7 million. Smulyan said, “More than that, our markets were up 5% and I haven’t seen markets up 5% in the American radio industry in quite some time. So we think it bodes well. We are thrilled. We think it bodes well not only for the company, but for the industry.” Smulyan was eager to talk about the FM receivers in cell phones project he’s championed and is very excited about where the project stands right now, especially with the support from the broadcasting industry, stating, “From the very largest broadcasters to the very smallest, support has been nearly unanimous. I think I had one broadcaster in the top 75 group that said I don’t want to support this and I personally talked to probably 60 to 65 of those groups. The support has been remarkable. It’s been very gratifying. I think we are on the verge of a game-changing event in this industry. I can’t announce specific times, but stay tuned, we will be able to announce industry support and then as we are done with our contractual arrangements, we will be able to announce when all this comes together. But the first step in that process is coming together, which we now have clearly demonstrated that we’ve done.”
Steve Cochran Exits Salem’s WIND, Chicago. Chicago Media writer Robert Feder tips us that longtime Windy City talk radio personality Steve Cochran has exited Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago with both sides agreeing not to renew his contract. Cochran currently also hosts the daily 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show at KTRS, St. Louis from Chicago. Feder speculates that it wouldn’t be surprising to see Cochran appear on WGN, Chicago as the Tribune news/talk station is in re-tooling mode. The station recently ousted late night host Turi Ryder and expanded the evening sports talk show hosted by David Kaplan to 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. It also cut “The Noon Show” hosted by Carol Roth. Cochran was on the air at WGN for 10 years prior to being let go in 2010.
Digital Media Expert Chris Miller: “Come up with a plan!” Noted radio industry digital media consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller says one of the questions he is asked most often by businesses of all types trying to make sense of their place in social media is, “What’s the return on investment?” The more honest statement he hears is, “I know I need to be doing more with social media, but I don’t know what I should do.” Miller states, “I see social media and content marketing make the needle move for businesses, but there’s one thing you have to do before you’ll see results with it: do it correctly.” In a new column posted today (7/1) Miller writes, “The first step in doing it correctly is to come up with a plan.” He offers four steps to help you create your new, effective social media strategy, especially designed for radio stations. They include 1) stating with your “measurables,” 2) determining who you are, 3) putting your plan into action, and 4) communicating and evaluating. To read all the details, please click here.
Mancow Muller to Co-Star in History Channel Reality Show. TRN-FM’s Erich “Mancow” Muller will co-star with his brother Mark Muller in the History Channel’s new series, “God, Guns and Automobiles” premiering Monday July 8. The show is described as “an American reality show revolving around the Muller families and an auto dealership named Max Motors. Located in the tiny rural town of Butler, Missouri, Mark Muller makes car deals the old fashioned way. No trade or sales stunt, no matter how outrageous or controversial, is off the table if it can help him compete against the big city dealers. Nationally syndicated radio host Mancow Muller is his business partner, and he joins the show with an oddball staff that works the deals. The Muller’s take pride in Max Motors as the embodiment of the values and spirit of the heartland of America.”
JC Corcoran to Host Late Morning Show on KFNS, St. Louis. In a story obviously related to last Friday’s TALKERS report about KFNS, St. Louis morphing from sports to guy talk, longtime St. Louis radio personality JC Corcoran – who left the market in March to host the morning drive show at Clear Channel’s classic rock KKRW, Houston “93.7 The Arrow” – will begin hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show on KFNS on July 8. Corcoran will follow Tampa-based Bubba the Love Sponge when that show starts clearing on the station. Corcoran tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he’ll do the show from Houston but eventually plans to have a St. Louis-based co-host. He jokes to TALKERS, “And this time they can’t run me out of town ‘cuz I’m already gone!”
Boston Talk Host Todd Feinburg Subs on WBZ-AM. Longtime Boston morning host Todd Feinburg tries his hand at hosting evenings this week as he fills in on CBS Radio’s WBZ-AM, Boston “Newsradio 1030.” Feinburg sits in Monday through Wednesday from 8:00 pm to 12:00 midnight for Dan Rea. Feinburg recently parted company with Entercom news/talk WRKO after nearly 10 years at the Boston talker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bonneville’s KTAR-AM, Phoenix Adds Dan Bickley to Middays; Debuts Live and Local Morning Show. Bonneville-owned sports talk outlet “Arizona Sports 620” (KTAR-AM) in Phoenix announced additions to its program schedule with the hiring of AZCentral sports columnist and longtime sports radio host Dan Bickley to the midday show beginning July 29. Bickley will be partnered with Vince Marotta for the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm program. Additionally, the station announces the return of Doug Franz and Ron Wolfley to morning drive, moving Dave Burns and John Gambadoro to the afternoons. Bonneville Arizona vice president and market manager Scott Sutherland states, “It doesn’t get much bigger than adding the highest profile local sports media personality in Arizona to our already powerhouse team of dynamic hosts and insiders. It’s also a momentous day for the ‘Arizona Sports’ brand as we’re ecstatic to once again offer Phoenix the only live-and-local sports morning show in the market.”
Dan Sileo Subs on WMEN, West Palm Beach. Sports talk host Dan Sileo sits in for Orlando Alzugary in the afternoon drive slot this week on JCE Licenses LLC’s WMEN, Royal Palm Beach (West Palm Beach market). Sileo – who worked for years at Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa – most recently did an 11-month stint at Beasley Broadcasting’s WQAM. He notes that he was fired from his last two gigs for controversial statements he made on the air and tells TALKERS, “I’m very excited about the chance to see if I can make it a week without getting fired.”
Clear Channel Spent $1.17 Million on Lobbying in 2013 Q1. The blog RadioSurvivor tips TALKERS to the fact that Clear Channel’s lobbying tally for the first quarter of 2013 hit $1.17 million as reported in a U.S. House of Representatives disclosure form. According to the report, CC’s lobbying focused on: “Congressional oversight and legislative proposals regarding the Federal Communications Commission proceedings on broadcast localism MM docket #04-233; Congressional oversight and legislative proposals regarding the Federal Communications Commission proceeding on local radio ownership rules – MM docket #09-182; Congressional oversight and legislative proposals regarding broadcast decency enforcement; Congressional oversight and legislative proposals regarding tax incentives and loan guarantees to encourage diversity of ownership of telecommunications businesses. H. Con. Res. 16 / S. Con. Res. 6; ‘Supporting Local Radio Freedom Act,’ all provisions; Congressional oversight and legislative proposals regarding low power FM stations; Congressional oversight and legislative proposals regarding privacy; and Congressional oversight and proposals regarding emergency communications systems as pertaining to EAS and FCC oversight.
Odds & Sods. The Fourth of July holiday week provides a number of fill-in opportunities. Former congressman and talk radio personality Ernest Istook will sit in for Cumulus Media Networks’ Eric Harley and Gary McNamara who host the “Red Eye Radio” overnight program on Friday, July 5…..Program director Gregg Henson begins hosting a nightly 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show called “Pittsburgh Sports Night” on Clear Channel‘s news/talk WPGB-FM, Pittsburgh. The station’s website bills it as a show featuring “the best sports personalities in Pittsburgh, like Mark Madden, Tim Benz, Stan Savran, David Todd and Mike Prisuta…..NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha secures a three-year deal to air the radio play-by-play for Creighton Men’s basketball as the school transitions to the Big East Conference. NRG Omaha market manager and KOZN GM Andy Ruback states, “It’s just tremendous to earn the rights as the exclusive partner for Creighton Men’s Basketball. It’s an honor for ‘The Zone’ to serve our listeners, advertisers and Creighton with this winning program.”…..Clear Channel‘s WDAY-AM, Fargo inks a new three-year deal with the University of North Dakota to air the school’s football and men’s hockey games along with other sports play-by-play and associated programming beginning in August…..WZUS, Decatur, Illinois “Talk 101 FM” talk show host Tara Nickerson is honored with the Silver Dome for Medium Market Personality of the Year by the Illinois Broadcasters Association. She hosts the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm “Daily Wrap” program.
Longtime Denver Talk Show host Rick Barber Dies at 67. The family of Rick Barber – who hosted the overnight show on Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver for 30 years – announces Barber passed away due to complications from ALS. The family writes to Westword that, after a radio career that began while in the Army in the 1960s, “Barber came back to Denver in 1982 and took a seat in the overnight chair on KOA. Rick also did television in the Denver market, as well. ‘The Rick Barber Show’ aired for an unprecedented thirty years. Rick’s final show on 850 KOA was in early 2012. ‘He was a facilitator of topics and education — that’s what his show was all about. He always considered his show a radio magazine, and not just a talk show. Dad loved his listeners,’ said son Ian Barber. In his final interview, Rick Barber talked about his time on the air. ‘My footprint should be somebody who made you laugh, made you feel comfortable, made you feel good. That’s how I want to be remembered. I want them [the audience] to think of me as the guy who did it my way. Including going out: my way.’”