WTOP PD Cantillo Departs. Late Friday afternoon (3/13), WTOP, Washington, DC program director (and co-author of “Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World,” 1998) Laurie Cantillo teased her social media followers with this post: “Spring is a time of new beginnings … excited for the future.” That message is actually a follow-up to what was shared earlier in the day with the staff at the Hubbard all-news operation. “The decision has been made to not renew Laurie Cantillo’s contract,” general manager Joel Oxley writes. “The decision was reached mutually by Laurie and me.” In another internal memo, Cantillo states, “Our anchors and reporters have never sounded better and page views for WTOP.com are off the charts. Morale is as high as the International Space Station, where we conducted a historic live interview this morning. We are on ‘TOP’ in every respect, which makes this the right time for me to pursue my next adventure. There is no finer multimedia newsroom in America and I will miss seeing you every day. My immediate plan is to co-create a screenplay and finally get around to writing my next best seller.” Although she notes, “Radio and digital media innovation will continue to be a big part of my life,” she did not indicate if there is a particular station in her future. WTOP news director Mitchell Miller, senior news and sports director Mike McMearty, and managing editor Darci Marchese will share in assuming Cantillo’s duties. WTOP chalked up a mammoth +3.1 to 9.2 (Nielsen Audio PPM, January 2015, 6+) as it progresses from third to first. It is the station’s best mark in exactly one year, equaling the 9.2 it logged in January 2014. WTOP was #1 (6+) for 11 straight monthlies before iHeartMedia adult contemporary WASH took the top spot in December and “Holiday” 2014. Simultaneous with graduating from the University of Colorado, Cantillo landed a full-time reporting job in Boulder and she had a 13-year tenure at Denver’s KOA. She was selected to program KTAR, Phoenix in 1997 and was later recruited by cross-town KFYI in a similar capacity. The former WABC, New York programmer joined WTOP in 2011 and officially became program director there upon the retirement of vice president of news and programming Jim Farley.
Positive 2014 Q4 for Journal Broadcast Group’s Radio Sector. With the merger with E.W. Scripps expected to close in the second quarter of 2015, Journal Communications reports a positive fourth quarter of 2014 – up 13.6% on revenue of $122 million. For the radio sector, the fourth quarter saw revenue rise to $22.1 million – an increase of 7.7% (excluding the change in the fiscal year, revenue increased 5.5%). The company reports that radio political and issue revenue was $0.7 million compared to $0.1 million. Excluding political and issue, total revenue increased 4.9%, local revenue increased 6.5%, though national revenue decreased 0.9%. Automotive revenue, up 13%, was a driver of local growth. For the full year, radio revenue increased 3.0% to $79.1 million. Excluding the change in the fiscal year, revenue increased 2.4%. Radio political and issue revenue was $1.3 million compared to $0.4 million. Excluding political and issue revenue, total revenue increased 1.8%, local revenue increased 2.6%, though national revenue, a small component of our revenue, decreased 6.6%. When the merger deal closes next quarter, Journal and E.W. Scripps will merge their broadcast and digital media assets under a company retaining the E.W. Scripps name and be based in Cincinnati. Their newspapers and community publications and related digital products will comprise a firm to be called Journal Media Group, based in Milwaukee.
KJR, Seattle Re-Ups Levy; Adds Powell for Middays. Morning drive personality Mitch Levy — with iHeartMedia’s sports talker KJR-AM, Seattle for the past 20 years – will continue in his morning drive role after inking a new contract. At the same time, the station announces the arrival of Chuck Powell to host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show. He most recently was with Bonneville in Phoenix at both sports talk KTAR-AM and the former adult hits KPKX. Former Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren is also returning to the station this NFL season to serve as NFL expert and contributor.
NSPCA Honors KDWN’s Alan Stock. For the past 10 years, Las Vegas talk show host Alan Stock has been featuring the Pet Pick of the Week in an effort to get local pets adopted. Earlier this week, the Nevada SPCA surprised Stock with special recognition for his work. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Master Magician Lance Burton (former headliner at the Monte Carlo), Stock, and NSPCA president Kathy Jung. She’s holding Keno, who was in this year’s Puppy Bowl before the Big Game.
Kevin McCullough’s XtreMEDIA to Present Holy Week-Themed Radio Drama Across U.S. and International Radio Networks. The audio drama is based on the one-man play being performed in Chicago by actor and radio personality Stephen Baldwin titled, “Heaven, How I Got Here: A Night with the Thief on the Cross.” McCullough says, “Easter weekend on five American radio networks and the biggest networks in the United Kingdom (our first jaunt into international broadcasting) a compelling ‘audio drama’ of the same role Stephen is portraying on stage, will be aired on both religious and mainstream spoken word stations across Europe and America. Thus far 1500-plus stations have signed on and in some clusters/markets like Salem NYC the drama will air nine times from Good Friday evening through end of Easter Sunday. There is no cost to take the broadcast. We commissioned the Grammy and Dove award winning composer Dick Tunney for an original soundtrack, we created a completely digital sound design, and Stephen re-created the character he will portray on stage to give voice to the ‘thief’ to whom Jesus historically said, ‘This day you will be with me in paradise.'” McCullough says stations wishing to take the radio special can email him at email@example.com and he’ll be glad to add them to the growing surge of stations gobbling it up.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is now heard on Iredell Broadcasting’s WSIC-AM/FM/TV, Statesville, North Carolina, which includes transmission on over-the-air digital TV channel 21.2…..The GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney adds affiliate stations in: WSMN, Nashua; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; KIXW, Victorville, California; KTFL, Higley, Arizona and KLOE, Goodland, Kansas…..Syndication Networks-syndicated “Those Weekend Golf Guys” joins the weekend lineup at KQV, Pittsburgh…..“Business Rockstars” is added to the program schedule at KTMS, Santa Barbara and KTVA, Oxnard/Ventura.
Iran Nuclear Controversy Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of March 9-13. The controversy over President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and the group of GOP senators who sent a letter to Iran contesting the president’s right to unilaterally make such deals was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. Coming in at #2 was the probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email for State Department business. At #3 was the 2016 presidential prospects followed by the amnesty/immigration issue at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Long Set To Program Clear Channel, San Diego Combo. Former senior director of programming for Bonneville Seattle’s KIRO-AM “710 ESPN,” Brian Long, has been tapped to program Clear Channel, San Diego’s news/talk KOGO-AM and KLSD “Xtra Sports 1360.” Vice president of programming John Peake comments, “Brian will bring a diverse perspective from multiple markets and stations to our spoken-word brands. We are excited to add Brian’s management and broadcasting experience to the San Diego programming team. We are confident that KOGO-AM and ‘Xtra Sports’ will prosper under his tutelage.” Long previously was assistant program director and “In the Zone” host on Los Angeles’ KSPN “710 ESPN.” Prior to that, the Kansas City native programmed in Palm Springs, California for KXPS “The Team 1010,” KFUT “Fox Sports 1270,” and KNWZ “K-News.” Long begins his San Diego assignment in two weeks (1/21).
Caplis to Host Late Morning Show on KNUS, Denver. Salem Communications-owned news/talk KNUS, Denver adds local TV and radio personality Dan Caplis to the program lineup in the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot. Caplis – an attorney – most recently worked in radio at Clear Channel’s crosstown news/talk KHOW with co-host Craig Silverman. KNUS general manager Brian Taylor says, “With the upcoming election cycle, plus the compelling local issues that have put Colorado in the forefront recently, it is significant for us to offer another powerful local voice like market veteran Dan Caplis. Combined with Peter Boyles and Steve Kelley, 710 KNUS will now offer more daily, live local conservative talk programming than any other station in the Denver market.”
New Year Changes at Facebook That Affect You. Digital media consultant Chris Miller informs us that Facebook recently made some important changes that affect how users get to show the content they do. Miller writes, “The news and entertainment site Buzzfeed first picked up on it before Facebook made it official. The folks at Buzzfeed noticed that, all of a sudden, online content publishers were getting a huge increase in hits. That group of publishers includes a wide variety of content providers, but the way to think about it is ‘sites that find and write about stuff that others should find interesting.’” Miller says that all social platforms are getting more sophisticated about how they determine what their users will see. Facebook has adjusted their formula that determines what content we all get shown, emphasizing the interesting over the merely silly and self-serving. Here’s how to help insure that more of your posts get shown to your fan base. Read Miller’s column here.
Analysis: 2014 NMX Podcasters Conference. Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas this week covering the New Media Expo and the enormous 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show. First up, Cooke reports from the weekend’s happenings at 2014 NMX. Cooke says the standing-room-only crowd was replete with people focused on talking targeted, passionate interests with its audience. “And they’re not just talking to your geographical area. And they are not merely, as clichéd station imaging assures, ‘talking-about what-you’re-talking-about,’” says Cooke. “Instead of belaboring Benghazi, they’re bonding with ‘ovewhelmed adoptive moms, by telling the truth about the post-adoption journey, so they feel validated and encouraged for the road ahead.’ If more station websites offered narrowcast content that’s specifically appealing, and used transmitters to invite those moms to engage, new digital revenue would follow.” Read Cooke’s entire report from 2014 NMX in Las Vegas here.
Jason Rantz Promoted to Daily Evening Show at KIRO-FM, Seattle. Bonneville Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM ups Jason Rantz from his year-old weekend show on the station to the daily 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program effective this evening. KIRO-FM program director Pete Gammell says, “Jason is an extremely knowledgeable and thoughtful host who always seeks opposing views to further listeners’ understanding. We always strive to connect entertainment to value and discussion to understanding. This is Jason’s strength and I’m sure listeners will agree.” Speaking about his new gig, Rantz states, “I’m excited by the opportunity to talk with Western Washington as a part of KIRO’s weekday team. I’ve enjoyed interacting and engaging the KIRO Radio listeners during my previous weekend show and now I’m thrilled to bring this same dynamic to weeknights. There are so many important issues affecting our community and the nation, and it is vital that we come together to have a civil but challenging and vigorous discussion. I hope my evening show will become that forum.”
Bonneville Gives Sports Talk KTAR-AM, Phoenix FM Simulcast. Shuttering adult hits KPKX “98.7 The Peak,” Bonneville Phoenix gives sports talker KTAR-AM an FM signal on which to simulcast. The company has been building multi-platform sports content destination “Arizona Sports” using the AM radio station and a local sports content-heavy website and now adds an FM signal to the mix. Vice president and market manager Scott Sutherland states, “Putting ‘Arizona Sports’ on FM is an opportunity too big to ignore. Our live, local and exclusive sports content has never been better. We have world-class local talk personalities who deliver powerful opinions and insights that engage, entertain and positively impact the communities we serve. We also have amazing team partners. And all of this attracts a passionate and loyal audience, which in turn, attracts a lot of marketing interest from small and medium business owners, major brands and C-Suite decision makers.” The stations serve as flagship broadcaster for the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Coyotes, Arizona State University and broadcasts Arizona Interscholastic Association prep sporting events from around the state.
Red Zebra Re-Ups with Steve Czaban at ‘ESPN 980’ in Washington. Red Zebra Broadcasting and sports talk host Steve Czaban have agreed to terms on a new three-year deal that will keep the afternoon drive co-host with WTEM, Washington, DC “ESPN 980” through 2016. Czaban has been co-hosting the afternoon drive time slot for WTEM for the last 13 years. Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza comments, “Czabe is integral to the success of our station. We look forward to three additional years of Czabe, Cooley and Galdi.” Steve Czaban co-hosts “The Drive with Cooley & Czabe” from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm and also hosts the golf program “Sunday Tee Time,” at 8:00 am on Sunday mornings during golf season.
Glenn Beck’s ‘TheBlaze Radio News’ Launces Today. “TheBlaze Radio News” – the latest AM/FM program offering from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – hits stations on the AM/FM dial today after debuting on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel several months ago. The service offers hourly newscasts from anchors and reporters around the nation providing news and information specifically targeted to talk radio listeners. The casts draw on the reporting from TheBlaze television network and its website TheBlaze.com which it says “generates over 20 million unique visitors per month and is one of the 100 most trafficked websites in America.” The service is airing today in markets including Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas and Birmingham, Alabama.
Compass Names Ingold Sales Exec. Compass Media Networks brings Doug Ingold aboard as senior director of affiliate sales for entertainment & music programming beginning January 20. The company says Ingold “will be based in Los Angeles and assume a vital role in the expansion of Compass’ long-form entertainment and music shows including Big D & Bubba, “Free Beer & Hot Wings,” “Off The Record,” “Out of Order,” Rick Dees and “Skratch N Sniff.” Compass VP of affiliate sales Adam Wilbur comments, “Our entertainment portfolio is growing rapidly and the time is right for us to add someone of Doug’s caliber to spearhead day-to-day affiliate marketing.”
McMurray Show Expands at WGN. According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, late night talk show host Pete McMurray’s show will expand with a new earlier start time at 10:00 pm (and end at 2:00 am), shaving an hour off David Kaplan’s evening sports talk program. Feder quotes WGN vice president of creative content Todd Manley saying, “Pete has become our all-purpose star in a variety of fill-in roles. I think he gets what we’re trying to do very well, especially in providing lots of video content. Between Pete and [producer] Scott Miller, they do an amazing job of booking great guests and being about the city.” Read the story here.
Hotchkiss Transfers to Charlotte as Director of Sales. As of today (1/6), Keith Hotchkiss is Clear Channel Charlotte’s director of sales. He joins that operation from Cleveland where he was general sales manager of Clear Channel-owned CHR WAKS “Kiss-FM,” news/talk WTAM, rock WMMS, and WMMS-HD2 “99X.” Regional Market Manager Charlie Wilkinson remarks that, “Keith’s proven sales leadership will have an immediate impact in Charlotte. I’m confident he will be an integral part of our success now and well into the future.” Clear Channel’s five-station Charlotte cluster consists of alternative WEND “The End,” CHR WHQC “Channel 96-1,” country WKKT “The Kat,” adult hits WLKO “The Lake,” and classic rock WRFX “The Fox.”
Odds & Sods. WABC, New York radio personality Laura Smith is sitting in for the first few shows with new 5:00 pm program host Pat Kiernan starting today. Smith currently hosts two weekend programs on WABC – “Living Better with Laura Smith” and “The Saturday Café.” Kiernan is an anchor on cable’s NY1 and his show is part of the newly revised program lineup at the station…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago resumes its “Blackhawks Live” live broadcast promotion on Thursday, January 13 featuring defenseman Duncan Keith at the Old Town Pour House in Chicago. “Blackhawks Live” is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the year featuring current Blackhawks players, legends and management. Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray host the event that includes a question-and-answer format between the hosts and the featured Blackhawks guests.
Four New Integrations for iHeartRadio. Clear Channel announces its iHeartRadio digital entertainment platform is headed to dashboards in three auto makes, including Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo and Kia. In addition to these OEMs, iHeartRadio will also be available via platform solution provider Bosch. The company states that in 2014, Jaguar Land Rover vehicles equipped with Bosch SoftTec’s innovative InControl Apps platform, Volvo vehicles equipped with the Sensus Connect infotainment solution and Kia vehicles with UVO will have access to iHeartRadio.
“Oh Doctor!” – Jerry Coleman Passes Away. That was one of the favorite on-air expressions uttered by the 89-year-old Jerry Coleman, whose death was confirmed Sunday night (1/5) by the San Diego Padres, the MLB team for whom he called games since 1972. A portion of the team’s prepared statement read, “On behalf of Padres’ fans everywhere, we mourn the loss of a Marine who was truly an American hero as well as a great man, a great friend and a great Padre.” He played parts of nine seasons with the New York Yankees (1949 – 1957). After retiring, he began a broadcasting career with CBS-TV (1960 – 1962), where he conducted pregame interviews on the network’s “Game of the Week” broadcasts. He did play-by-play for the Yankees on WCBS-AM and WPIX-TV (1963 – 1969), Angels (1970 – 1971), and Padres (1972 to this past season). He also called regular-season and postseason broadcasts for CBS Radio from the mid-1970s to the 1990s. For three years of Coleman’s tenure with the Padres, his on-air partner was sitcom writer par excellence-music radio on-air talent Ken Levine, who writes on KenLevine.blogspot.com, “I loved Jerry. He was your favorite uncle – always cheerful, always there for you. His passion for the game of baseball was infectious and his zest for life was inspiring. Other than having to broadcast meaningless spring training games, I cannot think of anything Jerry Coleman didn’t view in a positive light. He was also incredibly humble. When we were on the road, I picked his brain for hours, and he graciously and patiently answered all of my questions. Jerry Coleman worked Padres games up until his death. He led a rich full life and he would often point out how lucky he was. So many of his friends had died young in a war – he lived to be 89 in relatively good health.” In 2005, Coleman received the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence; two years later, he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. As of the 2010 season, he reduced his broadcast schedule to approximately 25 home day games.