KTAR-FM, Phoenix Names Sharpe, West New ‘Arizona’s Morning News’ Hosts. The Bonneville-owed news/talk station is bidding Ned Foster a happy retirement after a 27-year stint with the station. News anchor Connie Weber recently left the morning program after a 10-year term. So, effective November 30, longtime Valley news personality Jim Sharpe and award-winning news anchor Jayme West will be the new hosts of KTAR’s “Arizona’s Morning News.” Bonneville Phoenix vice president of content and operations Ryan Hatch states, “With more than 40 years of combined local news experience, Jim and Jayme are the perfect pair to move the ‘Arizona’s Morning News’ product forward on air, online and on social media. We think their natural chemistry, insatiable curiosity and passion for our community will be warmly received by our audience, which counts on ‘Arizona’s Morning News’ to keep them informed and connected.” Bonneville notes that Sharpe is a 2006 Associated Press Arizona Reporter of the Year and a war correspondent who most recently hosted a nationally syndicated news talk program on USA Radio Networks. He’s also hosted the “Sharpe in the Morning” program on crosstown news/talk KFYI. West is a five-time Arizona Associated Press Reporter of the Year winner and 19-year KTAR veteran who will move to mornings after previously anchoring the news in afternoon drive and hosting “Arizona’s Evening News.”
KOGO, San Diego Announces New Programming Lineup: Hannity Joins for Middays, DeMaio to PM Drive. San Diego news/talk outlet KOGO “News Radio 600” adjusts its program schedule, “with extended news programming, a new timeslot for Carl DeMaio and the addition of top-rated, nationally syndicated talk radio host Sean Hannity,” effective Monday, October 26. iHeartMedia San Diego market president Melissa Forrest states, “We are extremely excited about our new lineup and the addition of Sean Hannity to our team. ‘News Radio 600’ has experienced tremendous ratings growth in the past year and we anticipate these new changes will help evolve our programming to the next level.” A year ago, the station launched new programming with an emphasis on news in morning and afternoon drive and reports the ratings indicate the audience is responding. The daily lineup is: “San Diego Morning News with Ted Garcia & LaDona Harvey,” Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, “DeMaio Report,” and “KOGO Evening News with Ernie Brown.”
ESPN Layoffs Claim KSPN, Los Angeles PD Mike Thompson. The layoffs at sports entertainment giant ESPN – confirmed yesterday by the company – have hit the radio ranks with ‘ESPN LA’ program director Mike Thompson learning that his position is being eliminated. He stated in an email to the Los Angeles Metro Bugle, “It’s been a wonderful 12 years with the Walt Disney Company. I am honored to have worked alongside talented broadcasters to build a record ratings winner among contemporary males never seen before in the format and AM radio in the No. 2 market.” The company is laying off some 300 staffers across all company departments. Although on-air talent is not expected to be affected, it’s unclear how many more behind-the-scenes radio people will be affected.
SiriusXM Reports Q3 Earnings; Net Revenue Up 11%. Satcaster SiriusXM reports its third quarter 2015 financial numbers announcing that revenue was up 11% year-over-year and net revenue was $167 million, compared to $136 million during the same period a year ago. In a statement, Jim Meyer says, “With subscribers at an all-time high of nearly 29 million and record adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin, our third quarter was one of the strongest performances in our company’s history. We are confident of our continued success in the fourth quarter, and we are increasing our guidance for self-pay and total net subscriber additions, revenue, and adjusted EBITDA.” The burning question before SiriusXM is will Howard Stern renew or leave the platform he’s been on for the past 10 years? Meyer would only say in an investors’ conference, “I hope so.” He went on to say, “You should assume we speak quite often and stay tuned for updates. And of course, the best way to hear any news regarding its renewal is to tune into Howard’s show every morning, heck, that’s what I do.”
FAQ: Is There a PD? Radio consultant Holland Cooke writes today about the changing/disappearing role of program director. As he notes in his column published today (10/22) that radio stations are not programmed anymore, they are managed. There are two primary reasons: “Debt service compromises Quality Control. VERY few managers are responsible for a single station. At many talk stations, this manager also does an air shift, before or after Rush. Stations think they can get-away-with-it because… most programming is now non-local. Who’s left to direct? Most talk programming comes off the bird. Music stations are voicetracked or downlinked from the mother ship. Directing is a lost art.” For those managers seeking a real, live PD, read Holland Cooke’s take on what qualities he/she must possess here.
Odds & Sods. The decision is not set in stone yet, but Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that CBS RADIO will likely move Chicago Cubs play-by-play from all-news WBBM-AM to sports talk WSCR “The Score.” WSCR is losing Chicago White Sox play-by-play as Cumulus-owned crosstown news/talk WLS-AM will begin serving as that team’s flagship beginning next season…..John W. Pirkle-owned WNFZ-FM, Knoxville drops news/talk and goes alternative rock as “94Z.” However, the “Rude Awakening” morning show with Mike Howard and Terry West remains on the program schedule. The station also aired a local afternoon show called “The Drive” with Russell Smith. It’s not clear what his and producer Richard Daughtry’s fates are…..CBS RADIO gives Nick Wilson an evening sports talk show on WKRK, Cleveland “92.3 The Fan.” Wilson has been a producer, part-time host and sports anchor at the station. His rise to host of “The Nick Wilson Experiment” comes after Ken Carman moved from that slot to co-host morning drive with Kevin Kiley…..Cumulus Media gives Toledo news/talker WSPD an FM presence in the market as the station is now simulcasting on new translator W221BG at 92.1 FM. The translator is licensed to Rudolph, Ohio, about 25 miles south of downtown Toledo.
KMOX, St. Louis’ Bill Reker Retires. According to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KMOX, St. Louis news anchor Bill Reker is retiring from the station after a 20-year career there. KMOX program director Steve Moore tells the paper, “He is a pro’s pro. Whether it was severe weather or something going on in Ferguson, you knew you had a professional in the newsroom. I’ll miss the level of calm he brought.”
Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Testimony, Joe Biden’s ‘Won’t Run’ Announcement, 2016 Presidential Race, Russia-Syria Relationship, Paul Ryan House Speaker Bid, Chris Rock to Host Oscars, European Migrant Troubles, and MLB League Championships Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/21). Today’s Benghazi testimony by former Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton; Vice President Joe Biden’s announcement that he will not run for president; the activities of the rest of the candidates for president in 2016, notably Dr. Ben Carson’s poll-leading numbers in Iowa; the military relationship between Putin’s Russia and al-Assad’s Syria; Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan’s bid for the Speaker of the House post; comic Chris Rock set to host the next Academy Awards show; ongoing migrant problems in the European Union; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Nielsen vs Bubba: Round One. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman analyzes the civil suit being brought against morning radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge by Nielsen Audio after the former was accused of and admitted to attempting to manipulate Nielsen’s PPM survey in the Tampa market. In a piece published today, Weisman synopsizes the case and presents his view of Nielsen’s claim that its ratings business has been “damaged irreparably” and it is owned at least $1 million. Read the whole piece here.
Detroit Personality Drew Lane Exits ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’ Longtime rock WRIF, Detroit morning drive personality Drew Lane has held the afternoon drive position on Greater Media’s sports talk WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1” since the format launched in August of 2013. But today the company releases a statement expressing regret that it and Lane could not come to terms on a renewal to keep him with the station. “Drew is a phenomenal talent and has been a valued member of the Greater Media family for over 21 years. Both sides regret an agreement could not be reached on the direction of the show moving forward. We are truly sorry to see him go and wish him all the best.” In the interim, midday personality Matt Dery serves as afternoon host.
Dave Ramsey Packs Phoenix’s Comerica Theatre. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar and New York Times best-selling author Dave Ramsey is seen here on stage in Phoenix on Saturday (10/17) speaking to a packed house at the 5,000-seat Comerica Theatre where he presented his Ramsey Solution’s Smart Conference. The day-long conference included Ramsey, along with Chris Hogan, Rachel Cruze, Christy Wright, Chris Brown, Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. Les Parrott, Dr. Meg Meeker and Michael Jr. providing attendees with “essential information on how to win with money, strengthen their marriages, build parenting skills and excel in their careers.” Ramsey worked with local affiliate KTAR-FM to promote the event. Bonneville owns KTAR-FM and the company’s Phoenix market manager, Scott Sutherland, says, “When Dave Ramsey comes to Phoenix, it’s always a huge deal for our listeners, clients and staff. Dave’s message resonates incredibly well with residents of the valley of the sun, and, not surprisingly, his popularity continues to grow and grow. We only wish that we could get him out to Phoenix more often.” The lead-in show to Ramsey’s program on KTAR-FM is co-hosted by Bruce St. James (right) and Pamela Hughes (left) who are pictured at right posing for a photo with Ramsey (center). Prior to Saturday’s Phoenix event, Ramsey brought his EntreLeadership 1 Day Event to Los Angeles on Thursday (10/15), partnering with iHeartMedia’s KEIB “The Patriot AM 1150.”
Medved Moderates Panel on State of the Middle East. With the recent violence in Israel set as the backdrop, Salem Radio Network personality Michael Medved spent Thursday evening (10/15) in Cleveland at that city’s Jewish Policy Center moderating a panel titled, “What Now? The New Realities of the Middle East.” Pictured here on stage is Medved at the podium and the seated panelists (from l-r) John Podhoretz, Commander Jennifer Dyer (Ret.) and Cliff May. Medved’s SRN program is heard in the market on Salem Media Group-owned news/talk WHK “AM 1420 The Answer.”
Odds & Sods. Reno rock station KRZQ held a Bubba’s Bike for Badges ride on October 10 in conjunction with syndicated morning host Bubba the Love Sponge. The event raised money for the family of fallen police deputy Carl Howell. More than 175 motorcycles and 200-plus people participated, raising $8,000 for the cause…..Today, CBS RADIO Houston partners with the Points of Light Foundation and the Barbara Bush Literacy Initiative to help break the Guinness World Record for the most children reading with an adult in 24 hours. The cluster has been enlisting listeners to donate their time and each of the five CBS RADIO Houston stations will visit a local elementary school to read to students…..SiriusXM announces E! News co-anchor, producer, actress, and two time New York Times best-selling author Maria Menounos will host a new show titled, “Conversations with Maria Menounos,” on its Stars channel. It will be a daily, one-hour show in which Menounos will go “one-on-one with celebrities, leaders in entertainment and the news, and influencer guests who will share their inspirations, personal stories, life journeys and expertise.”…..Former NPR “All Things considered Weekend” host Arun Rath becomes a shared correspondent for NPR and Boston pubcaster WGBH. He’ll be based in the WGBH newsroom and will produce national stories for NPR and local stories for WGBH News.
AWM Hosts ‘Women in Sports’ Breakfast. Members of the all-female sports talk show “We Need to Talk” were part of a panel discussion about women in sports media at this morning’s “Women in Sports” breakfast program presented by the Alliance for Women in Media at 10 on the Park at Time Warner Center in New York City. CBS Sports Radio’s Amy Lawrence (right) is pictured here with multi-sport athlete Swin Cash (left), who is also a cast member on “We Need to Talk,” CBS’ first-ever, nationally televised all-female sports show. Lawrence moderated the panel consisting of talent and executives from CBS Sports Network at the breakfast.
Boston Herald Wins Honor for Boston Herald Radio. The “Innovator of the Year” award comes from a joint conference of the Associated Press Media Editors and American Society of News Editors at Stanford University and was presented to the Boston Herald for “its innovative platform called Boston Herald Radio that is fully integrated with its print, online and video divisions.” The Boston Herald competed against the Los Angeles News Group and The Oklahoman for the honor. Herald publisher and president Patrick J. Purcell states, “This distinguished national award is a tribute to the finest multimedia newsroom in the city led by our cutting-edge Boston Herald Radio platform. I couldn’t be prouder of the incredible work our staff does every day. It is absolutely innovative — and it is incredibly rewarding to see that recognized by our peers in journalism.”
Pop Culture Figures Meet on the Radio. Nationally syndicated talk show host Marilu Henner (left) poses for a photo with musician Fee Waybill (right) after the latter’s appearance on Henner’s program. Henner – herself a pop culture icon as part of the star-studded cast of the classic television sitcom “Taxi” – chatted with Waybill about his work with the 1970s avant-garde rock outfit The Tubes. Waybill’s band, which infused sharp social commentary into its music and combined that with outlandish stage shows during its heyday, is prepping for a 40th anniversary tour.
Jimmy Fallon Guests on Shaq’s PodcastOne Show. “Tonight Show” star Jimmy Fallon appears on this week’s PodcastOne show, “The BIG Podcast with Shaq.” Shaquille O’Neal was recently on “The Tonight Show” and took part in a few games, including “Shaqsticles,” a Fallon podcast creation. This week, Fallon is on Shaq’s podcast and, among other things, gets Fallon to play one of his games. Shaq, known for his terrible impressions, does a series of impersonations that Fallon must guess, including Miss Piggy, Bill Cosby, Mike Tyson and more. Check it out here.
Pioneering Talk Radio Host Gene Burns Dead at 72. Longtime talk radio host and broadcasting pioneer Gene Burns has died, succumbing to a long illness marked by a series of strokes. In the words of TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison, “Gene was one of the greatest of the great and classiest of the classy – a true ‘wordsmith’ and gentleman who symbolized everything good about talk radio and served as one of the major engines that drove the ascent of its modern era.” Until recently forced by illness into retirement from on-air performing, Burns had spent a decade and a half as a key host on KGO, San Francisco where he did a general news/talk program as well as a very popular restaurant and entertainment show. The veteran of a number of great stations, he made his mark in the late-1980s and early-1990s as a member of the legendary lineup at WRKO, Boston that also included the late Jerry Williams. That was followed by a brief but high-profile stint at WOR, New York and national syndication on the WOR Radio Network. Harrison adds, “Gene Burns practiced a brand of libertarian-based, intellectual populism in his approach to political news/talk that set the standard for the format’s emergence as a voice for the average person to stand up to big government, big business, big media and big anything. Although ‘conservative’ in his orientation, he eschewed blatant partisanship, avoided banal cookie-cutter left-versus-right talking points and dealt with each issue in an academically probing and credible manner.” Burns’ ground breaking work in the early-1990s stood as the inspiration for TALKERS magazine’s annual Freedom of Speech Award and the tradition of the annual State of the First Amendment Address delivered at the publication’s conventions. He is ranked the 23rd most important radio talk show host of all time by TALKERS in its “Heaviest Hundred” feature which is updated twice a decade. Harrison concludes, “His rich, baritone voice coupled with the artistry of his word selection and ability to construct a logical argument was about as close to music as one could hear within a spoken word context.” A special honoring the life and work of Gene Burns aired on Sunday, May 26 on KGO hosted by David Weintraub and a special tribute will be presented honoring his legacy at Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6.
Adult Contemporary is a Relatively Low-Involvement Format on Facebook. According to digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, “There are several major-market adult contemporary stations on Facebook who have a ton of followers, but very little interaction going on. As a former AC programmer, I absolutely feel their pain; AC is a low-involvement format. At the same time, most of these stations have fallen into a rut about what they post. The quality of the post is in the level of engagement you get from it. When thousands or tens of thousands follow you, and you get two or three ‘Likes’ on your posts, you gotta shake up your thinking.” In a new column posted today (5/28) Miller suggests that although consistency is basically a good and necessary thing, there is a dark side to it and to avoid falling into a rut, radio broadcasters of all formats should make changes to approximately 10% of their posts on a regular basis. To read the details and Miller’s entire piece, click here.
Kent Sterling Returns to Indy on Sports Talk WFNI. News/talk and sports radio pro Kent Sterling re-surfaces on the air at Emmis’ sports talk WFNI, Indianapolis for a weekend program with Chris Hagan called, “Ahead of the Curve with Hagan and Sterling.” He most recently served with Bonneville at its St. Louis sports talker WXOS but exited that post to return to Indianapolis. Prior to his work at WXOS, Sterling served as program director at Emmis’ news/talk flagship WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. Sterling’s and Hagan’s weekend program airs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays.
NBA on Radio Is a Different Breed of Sports Play-by-Play. Major League Baseball is the sport that could be called radio’s best friend and the NFL’s astounding popularity makes its games and surrounding programming popular with listeners. While the NBA’s regular season games are not generally thought of as “programming gold” across the country, it appears that having even a moderately successful team combined with a flagship station with a strong nighttime signal, can be a recipe for success with basketball play-by-play. According to information from Arbitron based on PPM data from 27 NBA teams in 25 PPM markets, certain places are simply basketball towns – the Los Angeles Lakers rule Los Angeles on KSPN with average game estimates larger than the Dodgers, Angels, Kings and Ducks grabbing a 4.0 share with Men 25-54 (average of all 82 games). And perennial contenders the San Antonio Spurs dominated on WOAI with a 9.8 share with Men 25-54. However, less successful teams on strong flagships performed well during the regular season: the Milwaukee Bucks just squeaked into the playoffs but on heritage WTMJ garnered a 10 share with Men 25-54; the Cleveland Cavaliers missed the playoffs yet grabbed a 9.7 share (M 25-54) on WTAM; and the Detroit Pistons also missed the playoffs but notched an 8.0 (M 25-54) share on the highly rated WXYT-FM. Considering games in the East and Midwest air in the evenings, numbers for the stations cited above – and others not cited here – are impressive nighttime ratings.
Flagship Stations Should Capitalize on Cross-Promotional Opportunities within Baseball PBP. According to Bonneville Seattle creative director Chris Pendl, “If you’ve made the investment on play-by-play sports on your station, it’s important to maximize the return on your investment by trying to recycle that audience to another daypart on your station.” Arbitron reports that MLB drives cume increases as much as 50% to 65% during baseball season. Pendl tells TALKERS, “This influx of audience is one of the reasons we pay rights fees, share revenue, or give up inventory to carry this programming. In a climate with little or no external marketing dollars, I’ve often joked that our promotional time within baseball play-by-play is the closest thing we’ll get to an interstate billboard or TV campaign.” In an exclusive article posted today (5/28) Pendl describes and shares a production/promo technique conducted by Bonneville to cross-promote the station via the baseball audience that he calls “situation baseball return liners.” To read the entire piece and hear examples of its execution, click here.
Buckley to Sell KYZZ, Salinas, California to Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters. Buckley Communications announces it is selling sports talk KYZZ, Salinas, California to Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters. The price is yet to be announced. KYZZ is the FM side of the sports talk simulcast that also airs on Buckley’s KIDD, Monterey and Buckley says it will continue with its ESPN Radio affiliation on KIDD. Mt. Wilson has not announced its format plans for KYZZ. Saul Levine’s Mt. Wilson also owns country KKGO, Los Angeles and classical simulcast KMZT-AM, Beverly Hills and KMZT-FM, Big Sur, California.
WTOP Hacking: Why You Should Worry. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes about the recent hacking of the websites of Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington and its sister WFED “Federal News Radio.” Weisman is one of the nation’s foremost experts on scams, he operates the website Scamicide that presents up-to-date information about scams, fraud and identity theft, and is the author of The Truth About Avoiding Scams (FT Press 2008). In this column, Weisman explains the methods used by the WTOP hackers and explains the steps users can take to avoid becoming the victim of similar attacks. Read Weisman’s entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. Martz Communications’ WPDM, Potsdam, New York flips from a simulcast of FM sister WSNN to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network…..Wilks License Company’s sports talk WZOH, Columbus becomes part of the Cleveland Browns radio network based at CBS Radio’s WKRK, Cleveland…..WTOP, Washington crowns Nathan Stanford from Harrington, Delaware the 2013 winner of “Commuter Idle” – an “extreme commuter” competition for listeners experiencing the daily horrors of commuting in and around Washington. Stanford’s commute begins with a 3:00 am alarm and a one-hour drive. He then boards a commuter bus for a 90-minute ride from Kent Island to Foggy Bottom, rides the Metro, and hustles on foot to his office in Rosslyn. Stanford’s travels from Delaware to Virginia average more than five hours a day, though the commute can be much longer in the summer months with Friday beach traffic. He receives $1,000 in gas money and will enjoy a limo ride to and from work from Reston Limousine. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “The question that we hear most often is, ‘Why do these people do it?’ It’s fascinating to hear their personal stories and accompany them on their crazy commutes. We feel their pain, and as DC’s traffic authority we’re here to help.”
KOIL, Omaha’s Mulberry Lane Meets the Beach Boys and John Stamos. Musical act Mulberry Lane opened for the Beach Boys (which includes actor and musician John Stamos) in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Saturday, May 25. Pictured here are (from l-r): Bo Mulberry, Bruce Johnston, Rachel Mulberry, Mike Love, Allie Mulberry, and John Stamos. The Mulberry sisters – based in Nebraska – also host a weekend talk show on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha called the “Mulberry Lane Radio Show.” The station describes the ladies’ program saying the sisters “decided to bring their busy lives to live radio with a show based on sisterhood, womanhood, motherhood, and the humor and mishaps of trying to juggle it all – woven together with music, harmony and a dash of wit.” It airs Saturdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.
Longtime KNX, Los Angeles Anchor Harry Birrell Dies. Longtime Los Angeles news personality Harry Birrell died on May 26 after a battle with lung disease at age 85 in Thousand Oaks, California. Birrell was an anchor at all-news KNX, Los Angeles for more than three decades – beginning in 1968 when the station flipped to the all-news format and ending with his retirement in 1999. Birrell switched from his anchor role at the station to Ventura County correspondent in 1993.
Kevin Miller Stops By TheBlaze. KIDO, Boise morning drive talk show host Kevin Miller was visiting Dallas – home of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – and took some time to stop by the studios to check out the production of the Glenn Beck program. Here’s a shot of Beck (l) and Miller (r) inside the spacious former movie/TV studios that are home to Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts production facility.
September PPM Numbers Continued: Highlights of Talk and Sports Stations. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian reports on the September PPM numbers rolling in and writes about the movement of some talk and sports stations.
- In market # 11 Detroit…this is the second straight month that CBS Radio controls the top four spots; however, country WYCD (+.5 from August) trades places with sports sibling WXYT-FM, which is down one full share.
- In market # 13 Seattle, Bonneville’s talk KIRO-FM remains in the top three with a slight jump (+.1 from August) to a 4.8 share while sister sports talk KIRO-AM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.8.
- In Phoenix – market #14 – Clear Channel’s news/talk KFYI rises nicely one full share to a 5.3 while Bonneville’s KTAR-FM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.2.
- In market #16 Minneapolis, news/talk WCCO tumbles seven-tenths to 6.4 (#3 to #5). The last time the CBS Radio talk powerhouse had a 6+ stat that low was in July 2011 (6.4, as well). Also, tied in August at 3.1, sports rivals Clear Channel-owned KFXN (+.3, #13) and Hubbard‘s KSTP-AM (-.4, #16) are now separated by seven-tenths.
For more PPM data and ratings analysis, visit our sister publication RadioInfo’s ratings section here.
KDWN, Las Vegas Talk Host Alan Stock to Host Special Election Season TV Program. Morning drive host Alan Stock also hosts a nightly interview and news show produced for Vegas TV (cable 14/HD1014) airing at 9:30 pm called “Eye on Vegas with Alan Stock.” This month, Stock will add a special weekly show to his work on Vegas TV called “News & Views 2012” set to air Wednesdays at 5:30 pm. Stock tells TALKERS, “It is a special series for the election season only on during the month of October. The great news is it is already sold out from an advertising standpoint. The show includes a panel of four people – two liberals and two conservatives. The first show aired on Wednesday the 3rd on the topic of the economy. Other topics will include civil rights (gay marriage, etc.), illegal immigration, foreign policy and Obamacare/medical care in general although the topics might be modified depending on what news is breaking.”
WTKK, Boston Sells Out ‘Ultimate Town Hall Meeting.’ Greater Media news/talk outlet WTKK, Boston “News Talk 96.9” announces its “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” set for Saturday, October 13 at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall has sold out all 800 seats but the station will give away five Presidential Packages (including front row seats, exclusive meet-and-greets, and more) to listeners starting next week. The “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” is moderated by WTKK morning hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan and includes a prominent panel of WTKK’s on-air hosts and contributors including local personality Michael Graham, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish, Cumulus Media Network’s John Batchelor, Compass Media Networks’ Ron Insana and the Boston Globe’s Brian McGrory. Program director Grace Blazer states, “News Talk 96.9’s all-star panel will debate the ‘state of the state’ of the 2012 presidential election and the hotly contested Scott Brown–Elizabeth Warren Massachusetts Senate race. Our entire team is looking forward to engaging in smart and entertaining debate for our audience and our advertisers.”
WGN, Chicago Honored at 2012 Radio Mercury Awards. Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago won a 2012 Radio Mercury Award in the “Radio Station Produced” category for the “Shifty Eyes” spot created for local business Oak Park Natural Pet & Fish. The commercial was written and produced by WGN Radio commercial services manager Jason Skaggs. WGN vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “We’re honored as a station and proud to have such a talented person in Jason on our team. Jason creates unique and memorable messages that deliver real results for our advertisers. He gets it.” The 2012 Radio Mercury Awards are part of the 2012 Advertising Week Conference in New York. The Radio Mercury Awards, the only competition exclusively devoted to radio, was established in 1992 to encourage and reward the development of effective and creative radio commercials. For more on other winners, see the coverage at our sister publication RadioInfo’s site here.
Changes at the Top at Blue Star Media Group. Effective immediately, Blue Star Media Group president and CEO Michael Metter exits to pursue interests outside the radio business and former executive vice president Jeff Weber returns to the company to lead it as consulting operations executive. Blue Star owns and operates Business TalkRadio Network; Lifestyle TalkRadio Network; WLFP, Pittsburgh; WGCH, Greenwich, Connecticut and recently sold KNUU, Las Vegas. Weber, who resigned from Blue Star in December of 2011 after 10 years of running the operations, says, “What a great opportunity to return to work with our exceptional staff and the fine content product we provide our more than 1,000 affiliates and the outstanding programs our owned stations air for their listeners.”
Breaking with Your Church on a Secular Talk Station. KDKA, Pittsburgh weekend talk show host Johnna Pro writes about a recent discussion about contraception on her program that led to, as she calls it, a crisis of faith. Pro’s experience is one many religious talk show hosts who work on secular stations face – agreeing with or breaking with Church teachings in the course of discussing the issues and having an opinion – something talk show hosts must have to survive in this business. Read Pro’s story of how one Catholic talk show host handled a real on-the-air conflict here.
Kuhner in Boston. Washington Times columnist and host of “The Kuhner Report” on Entercom’s WRKO, Boston (airing from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon daily) Jeff Kuhner is pictured here in the Boston studios of WRKO. Kuhner visited the station earlier this week. WRKO assistant program director Bill Cooksey says, “The response to Jeff has been overwhelming. He’s going to be a star in no time at all, and I’m glad he’s with us.”
Presidential Debate, Libya Consulate Attack Investigation, Obama ‘Race Speech,’ and Iran Nukes Program Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/3). Anticipation of last night’s presidential debate; the ongoing analysis of the fatal attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya; controversy over the video of a 2007 Barack Obama campaign speech in which he questions why largely African-American Katrina victims were treated differently than other disaster victims; and Iran’s nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Merlin Media’s Philly FM Talker Debuts Today. News/talk outlet WWIQ-FM, Philadelphia (licensed to Camden, New Jersey) debuts its morning show today co-hosted by market TV news personality Larry Mendte (pictured here). Former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte morning host (and Philly native) Al Gardner is co-hosting the program with Mendte. Over the weekend Mendte posted a YouTube video promoting the new station being operated by the innovative Randy Michaels and his Merlin Media. In it, Mendte asks Philadelphians to submit suggestions for the new station (ideas used could win the people who submit them Phillies tickets!). He also suggests the current news outlets – other stations, the newspapers and TV are outdated and/or in trouble financially and he believes WWIQ-FM will give listeners what they need. In the video, Mendte is clearly ribbing CBS Radio’s all-news KYW even though he doesn’t mention the company or station by name. See Mendte’s video here. WWIQ-FM has been stunting with wall-to-wall Sean Hannity for several weeks and today it’s believed the station will debut with the morning show, Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. Rush Limbaugh is expected to move over from WPHT soon. Other programming has yet to be announced.
FCC Says “No Go” to Liberty Media’s SiriusXM Takeover Bid. Liberty Media had petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to take “de facto” control of SiriusXM after supplying $530 million to the satcaster in 2009 to help it avoid bankruptcy. But, as SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin said recently, “Forty percent is not the new 50 percent.” Liberty Media owns 40% of SiriusXM as a result of the 2009 deal but the FCC denied its request saying that Liberty’s filing lacked details and rejected its claim for control. During the recent SiriusXM Q1 conference call with analysts, Mel Karmazin stated the company’s relationship with Liberty was not “combative.” Liberty Media has five of the 13 seats on the SiriusXM board of directors.
WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas Names Ben Ferguson Late Morning Host. Cumulus Media’s WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas cut ties with market legend Mark Davis after the two sides were unable to agree on a new contract. Now, Memphis-based talk host Ben Ferguson is named permanent host of the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program. Ferguson had been filling in during the time slot since Davis left the air. He hosts the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm program at Cumulus Media’s WKIM-FM, Memphis and will continue to host that show as well. Additionally, Ferguson is the host of his own nationally syndicated weekend program that is heard on both WKIM-FM and WBAP-AM/FM. Ben Ferguson was the first recipient of the Young American Broadcasters‘ scholarship award given at the TALKERS New Media Seminar several years ago. Ferguson won the award while still in college and, due in part to winning the award, fulfilled his dream of becoming a working radio talk show host.
St. Louis Personality John Carney Joins News/Talk KTRS for Nights. Gateway City radio personality John Carney – son of the late KMOX, St. Louis legend Jack Carney – joins CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS to host the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight program beginning June 4. Carney most recently was a jock at CBS Radio’s crosstown classic hits KEZK-FM – Fresh 102.5 – until he exited that station in April. He also worked at KMOX for 11 years prior to KEZK-FM. Carney’s addition to KTRS comes as the station shuffles its programming. Chicago-based talk host Steve Cochran had been hosting two programs on KTRS – 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm – in addition to his afternoon drive show at WIND, Chicago. Cochran will continue to host the late morning show. John Hadley’s sports talk show slides down to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot and Martin Kilcoyne takes over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show formerly hosted by JC Corcoran.
KTAR-FM, Phoenix and News Director Part Company. Bonneville International and news director Adam Thomas part ways after less than a year together. Thomas joined KTAR-FM in June of 2011 – Thomas moving west from Minneapolis where he’s worked at CBS Radio’s WCCO. Thomas had also worked for Bonneville at KSL, Salt Lake City prior to joining WCCO. Details on Thomas’ exit from KTAR-FM are few but it appears there’s a news director position to be filled in Phoenix.
WTDY, Madison Promotes Amy Barrilleaux. Mid-West Family Stations announces WTDY-AM/FM, Madison afternoon anchor and “Everything@Five” host Amy Barrilleaux is promoted to news director for the station. WTDY-AM/FM program director Rex Charger says, “I am pleased to announce Amy Barrilleaux as WTDY news director. Amy has been instrumental in helping grow our news product and brand and I look forward to her continued leadership in the newsroom. Amy will continue to anchor afternoon newscasts and host ‘Everything@Five.’”
Media Personality Jack Rice Hosts Weekend Talk Program in Twin Cities. Talk media personality Jack Rice – who left the daily talk radio business more than two years ago – returns to a regular talk program with his Sunday morning show on KTNF, Minneapolis airing from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. Jack Rice is a former CIA agent, a practicing attorney in Minneapolis and is regularly seen on such news/talk media outlets as MSNBC, CNN and Al Jazeera offering expert analysis on issues, especially those surrounding foreign intelligence and terrorism. He previously hosted daily talk shows on WCCO, Minneapolis and KOGO, San Diego. His investigative style of talk radio, his travels to the world’s hot spots and willingness to put himself in harm’s way to get the story earned him the Freedom of Speech Award from TALKERS magazine in 2009. Of his new program, Rice states, “I’m very excited to be back on the air on a regular basis. This business gets in your blood and once you’re in, you’re in. And while I recognize the realities of the business, nothing allows for a deep connection with an audience like radio.” Rice tells TALKERS he is exploring the possibility of developing a national program dedicated to international events including terrorism, the economic collapse in Europe, the Chinese economic juggernaut, the drug wars in Mexico and more. He says his experience as a former CIA officer and international journalist give him a unique experience and take on such events.
Dave Ramsey Live in Grand Rapids. Nationally syndicated personal finance talk sensation Dave Ramsey filled the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids on Saturday, May 5 for his “Total Money Makeover Live” event there – more than 8,000 fans attended. Ramsey is heard on news/talk WOOD-AM/FM and Clear Channel Grand Rapids market manager Tim Feagan says, “Having another sellout with Dave is the only way I know of for a news/talk station to touch thousands of our core listeners. Music stations can sometimes do it by owning a concert, but when it comes to the talk format Dave is it!” Pictured here during Ramsey’s visit to Grand Rapids are (from l-r): Feagan, Ramsey, WOOD general sales manager Henry Capogna, and WOOD program director Phil Tower.
KFI, Los Angeles Cancels Meeting with Immigrant Rights Group. Clear Channel Los Angeles market manager Greg Ashlock tells the Los Angeles Times he canceled a meeting with heads of regional immigrants’ rights advocacy groups because their request to meet became an ultimatum that John & Ken be fired. The groups became upset after KFI PM drive hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou gave the cell phone number of activist Jorge-Mario Cabrera over the air telling listeners to let him know how they feel about his support for California legislation called ‘The Dream Act’ that would provide educational financial assistance to illegal aliens. Cabrera says he received more than 400 phone calls – some very angry and filled with foul language. KFI management had initially agreed to meet with activist leader to discuss the issue but Ashlock tells the Times, “I’m more than happy to sit down with anybody who has a concern and talk it out but we’re not going to be held hostage to demands that are outlandish.” Leaders of the groups say they will boycott the John & Ken show.
Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix to Debut New Local Show. Yesterday we told you Premiere’s Glenn Beck was joining the lineup at Clear Channel’s crosstown KFYI. That’s because he’s leaving KTAR-FM and Bonneville responds by getting back to “its old roots” with an “all-local-news daytime focus.” The Karie & Chuck show hits the air later this month in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot featuring 20-year KTAR staffer Karie Dozer and market sports talk personality Chuck Powell. Powell and on-air partner Vince Marotta have been hosting the AM drive show at Sandusky’s sports KDUS since January. Powell, Marotta and sales pro Lee Rosenthal formed GOAT Media Group to create, produce and sell the program to the station. Powell is wrapping up that deal before joining KTAR-FM. Bonneville Phoenix VP for news and sports content Ryan Hatch says of the new show, “The chemistry between Karie and Chuck is off the charts. They are two distinct, smart and fun personalities who bring unique perspectives from their life experiences. This show will connect emotionally and intellectually with our audience in a meaningful, relatable way.” The new program is described as being “built around conversations on current events and the biggest news stories of the day. It features local and national news stories, political issues, pop culture and entertainment along with regular interviews with newsmakers.”
Willy Daunic Exits Cumulus’ WGFX-FM, Nashville. Willy Daunic worked alongside longtime WGFX-FM PM drive host George Plaster since 2003 on “The Sports Zone” program. Now, just a month after Plaster left the station, Daunic fails to come to contract terms on a renewal of his deal that expired August 31 and he exits. The Tennessean reports Daunic says of his exit, “My time at 104.5 The Zone was the best eight years of my radio career. The success that we’ve had and the fun that we’ve had is something I’ll always cherish. Starting the show from scratch and seeing it build into what it is today was tremendously rewarding.”
Premiere Networks to Distribute DIRECTV’s “Nick and Artie Show.” The sports/comedy program featuring comic personalities Artie Lange and Nick DiPaolo, being produced by DIRECTV and currently being streamed on the web is being offered to radio stations via Premiere Networks. DIRECTV says a video simulcast of the program will be added to its Audience Network “next year.” The program was developed over the summer with Lange and DiPaolo doing some sub work for the Tony Bruno show on Fox Sports Radio. However, the program is not airing on Fox Sports Radio Network. FSRN filled Tony Bruno’s old 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot with “Fox Sports Tonight” hosted by Mike North and Lincoln Kennedy. The “Nick and Artie Show” also airs live in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am time slot.
NRG Omaha Adds Two Veteran AEs to its Sales Team. NRG Media general sales manager Heather Gossett announces Omaha market sales pros Vickie Majorek and Kim Earl join the sales staff at its seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KKAR and sports KOZN. Gossett states, “Vickie’s and Kim’s passion and love for radio makes them the problem solvers for clients in the Omaha Metro Area. They never fail to make a difference in the life of a client and their business. They strive to provide results in all that they do…it’s truly what makes the difference at NRG Media in Omaha.”
TALKERS Affiliation Roundup. Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck joins KFYI, Phoenix for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot…..Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis picks up WVNJ, Oakland, New Jersey as an affiliate…..KCJJ, Iowa City signs United Stations Radio Networks’ Lex & Terry for middays at the station…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with Chris Markowski adds KNIF-FM, Boise…..The Dr. Dahlia show joins the Genesis Communications Network and picks up affiliates KBOZ, Bozeman, Montana; WSRJ, Traverse City, Michigan; WSRT, Petoskey, Michigan; and WGGH, Marion, Illinois…..“Gun Talk” with Tom Gresham is added to the program schedule at KZYM, Joplin, Missouri; WHUB, Cookeville, Tennessee; KVFC, Cortez, Colorado; KNPT, Newport, Oregon; and KBSZ, Apache Junction, Arizona…..Delta Media’s “Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds the program to affiliates WEBY, Milton/Pensacola, Florida; KJJR, Kalispell, Montana; and KWKC, Abilene, Texas…..“The Rose Hollywood Report” with Shannon Rose picks up CKTB, St. Catharines, Ontario.
Obama Jobs Bill/Economic Policy Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 3-7. President Obama’s jobs bill and his administration’s economic policy was the topic that landed at the top of the Talkers TenTM this week. According to ongoing research from TALKERS, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests were the #2 story of the week. The 2012 presidential race was #3 and coming in at #4 was the European economic jitters and the strike and violence in Greece. The Talkers TenTM is published weekly at Talkers.com. To view the week’s entire chart, click on the banner below.