Cumulus Takes Over Operation of KESN, Dallas; Gives WBAP-FM Signal to KTCK. A number of things happened at the Cumulus Dallas operations in conjunction with the company’s assuming operation of ESPN O&O sports talk KESN under an LMA. First, as TALKERS reported earlier, Randy Galloway did his last “Galloway and Company” program on Monday afternoon and noted that in addition to his exiting the station in order to collect his salary from ESPN through the end of the year, KESN program director Tom Lee, air talent Landry Locker and sports anchor Kelly Webster were also casualties of the change. Cumulus also owns and operates sports talk KTCK “SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket” in the market and served notice that on October 21, WBAP-FM at 96.7 will carry the KTCK programming. WBAP-FM has been simulcasting news/talk WBAP-AM’s programming since 2010. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports Cumulus Dallas vice president and market manager Dan Bennett indicated the news/talk station has seen no ratings increase since adding the FM signal to its huge AM coverage of the market. He said news/talk WBAP will be carried on the HD-2 signal of KPLX at 99.5 for those in the market with HD Radios. Meanwhile, it’s being reported that Cumulus is taking current KCTK simulcast signal KTDK, Sanger, Texas (about 60 miles north of the Dallas metro) dark and will return it to the FCC after an earlier attempt to sell it to broker Bill Whitley was turned down by the Commission. The ownership cap prevents Cumulus from hanging on to the station.
Larry Wilson to Deliver Keynote Address at Talkers Los Angeles 2013. In what TALKERS magazine VP/executive editor Kevin Casey describes as the cherry on top of a delicious sundae, Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting CEO Larry Wilson has been named keynote speaker at the forthcoming Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference that will take place in Hollywood on Thursday of this week. The executive who TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “a great hope and role model for radio station ownership returning to human proportions, a productive business plan and positive artistic values,” will deliver a speech titled “Radio at the Crossroads” in which he will discuss some of the pressing issues facing the medium in 2013 and his vision for the business to thrive in the early 21st century. Wilson, who graduated from Northern Arizona University in 1967 with a degree in Accounting and the University of Arizona in 1972 with a degree in Law, is the recipient of numerous broadcasting industry awards and honors. He has a stellar history in broadcasting that includes having been EVP and general counsel of Combined Communications Corporation and, later, co-founder of Citadel Communications which, under his leadership as president/CEO and chairman, grew to own 205 radio stations in 42 markets prior to being sold to the Wall Street Investment Firm, Forstmann Little & Co. in 2001 for $2.1 billion. In 2009, Wilson announced his return to radio station ownership and in 2009, along with Portland, Oregon-based Endeavour Capital, formed Alpha Broadcasting. Today, in Portland Oregon, Alpha Broadcasting operates six radio stations, KUPL-FM, KBFF-FM, KXL-FM, KINK-FM, KXTG-AM and KUFO-AM and is in expansion mode with the plan to acquire more stations in carefully selected markets across the nation. Wilson’s L&L Broadcasting owns or is in the processing of acquiring stations in Columbia, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; Jackson and Biloxi, Mississippi; Peoria, Illinois; and Bluefield, West Virginia. Larry Wilson’s address will take place during the afternoon segment of the conference at 2:00 pm immediately following the annual “Woman of the Year” presentation. Talkers Los Angeles 2013 — a presentation of TALKERS magazine in association with the Los Angeles Press Club — takes place between 9:00 am and 6:15 pm on Thursday, October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood, California. The event will be broadcast live in its entirety on TalkersRadio. For remaining sponsorship opportunities at the sold-out, industry-only event and general information call 413-565-5413. To see the up-to-date, power-packed agenda, please click here.
Thom Hartmann Co-Written ‘Last Hours’ Film Now Available. WYD Media Management nationally syndicated talk show host Thom Hartmann’s latest book, The Last Hours of Humanity, is the foundation for the new film, “Last Hours,” created by filmmaker Leila Conners and producers George DiCaprio, Earl Katz, and Mathew Schmid along with Hartmann and writer/researcher Sam Sacks. According to a press release, “Last Hours” is a film that explores the possibility that we could be close – centuries or perhaps just decades -to tipping points that could lead to a sixth mass extinction, and relies on input from some of the world’s leading scientists. Hartmann states, “It’s almost impossible to know when you have passed a tipping point. You only see them in retrospect. So we have to do everything we can now to avoid inadvertently hitting tipping points that might lead to catastrophic methane releases.” The film is currently available on YouTube and at lasthours.org.
Consumer Watchdog Weighs in on Cumulus-WestwoodOne Merger. The Washington-based Consumer Watchdog organization writes to the Department of Justice’s anti-trust division objecting to Cumulus Media’s acquisition of WestwoodOne (formerly Dial Global). The organization states, “A proposed merger between major radio station owner Cumulus Media and radio content provider Dial Global/Westwood One would create a clear radio duopoly (with Clear Channel Communications) in the nation’s largest radio markets.” Consumer Watchdog president Jamie Court states, “This merger would be a tipping point for listeners who already face fewer choices and homogenized content in talk, music and even sports. A takeover of Dial Global by Cumulus will fully corporatize content in the top 100 markets and kill what remains of truly local radio.”
WRPW, Normal, Illinois Turns TV Concept into Radio Gold. Great Plains Media news/talk WRPW, Normal “Cities 92.9” has been taking a page from a popular cable TV show and turning it into a visibility and revenue-enhancing programming element. Operations manager Josh Roberts says the station was searching for a way to get talent on the streets and bring in some more revenue when a promotions brain-storming session planted the seed for its “On the Job with Robert Rees” feature. The idea stemmed from Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe” in which Rowe does strange, hazardous or messy jobs alongside regular employees. Roberts says it started with the funny idea of morning host Robert Rees going to work “shoveling manure or driving a snow plow. Next thing we know we’re talking about selling it and really putting Robert to work!” Roberts says the concept, called “On the Job with Robert Rees,” started out as a feature where every two weeks Robert would go work for a business for two hours. The sales staff quickly sold out through August and began to sell the idea weeks in between. Nearly every week had been sold from March through August of this year. The concept is that station promotes the event a week beforehand, Robert interviews the business owner on his show the day before, during the event Robert calls in to the station with updates on what he was doing while someone else films him working. The next day a “highlight” video is posted on the station’s YouTube page and the business receives a copy of the video for its marketing efforts. You can see some of the videos from the project at http://www.youtube.com/user/Cities929TV/videos
ESPN Ups Robyn Remick to New Post at Orlando’s ESPN Wide World of Sports. For the past nine years, Robyn Remick has been with ESPN on the affiliate marketing and ESPN Audio affiliate relations teams. She begins the transition to a newly created post in Orlando as vice president, business and content development at ESPN Wide World of Sports in the Disney World complex. The company states that Remick “will pursue and lead new business initiatives and events at ESPN Wide World of Sports, which is visited by nearly two million amateur athletes, coaches and spectators each year.” She will report to Traug Keller, ESPN senior vice president, production, business divisions, who oversees ESPN Audio among other units.
ABC News Radio Names Matt Wolfe Production Manager. ABC News Radio executive director Andrew Kalb announces the hiring of Matt Wolfe to serve as production manager for the division. In a memo to staffers, Kalb notes that Wolfe served as a freelance WGA writer with the company between 2004 and 2007 and “for the last few years has been working in a freelance role on our digital audio initiatives. Matt was responsible for one of our first pieces on the Men’s Life station on Slacker Radio.” Wolfe has also worked at Cox Media Group’s rock WBAB, Babylon, New York (Long Island market) for the past 13 years and held a variety of positions at the station including as producer of the morning show and hosting a weekend evening shift. Kalb says, “Matt’s production, broadcast and on-air skills are the perfect mix for the continued growth of the many products we currently produce and many of our future initiatives.”
Red Kingman Exits WHTC, Holland, Michigan. West Michigan talk radio personality Red Kingman exits Midwest Communications’ WHTC, Holland, Michigan (southwest of Grand Rapids) after an incident in September that happened on the company’s sister station classic hits WYVN “92.7 The Van.” Kingman – a conservative talk show host on WHTC – was subbing on “The Morning Grind” with co-host Mike Johnson on September 14 when he played a song parody of a Miller Lite commercial that contained the f-word. Kingman says airing the song was part of a technical issue that morning but tells Mlive.com that he understands the company’s zero-tolerance policy but doesn’t think the mistake on WYVN should have cost him his job on the AM station.
John Resnick’s ‘Legends of Success’ Partners with Talk Media Network. “Legends of Success with John Resnick” announces it is partnering with Talk Media Network to deliver national advertising sales, affiliate marketing, and syndication support. Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng states, “’Legends of Success with John Resnick’ is a well-established brand and program without equal in its category. John Resnick’s ability to secure and engage the biggest names in business and entertainment on his program make it an appointment-listening radio show and a valuable sponsorship opportunity for affiliate stations.” The show has been in production since 2002.
Odds & Sods. CRN Digital Talk Radio personality Fred Dryer is hosting a Thursday Night Football Viewing Party on October 17 at Bob’s Big Boy in Sun Valley, California. The former NFL star and TV personality – who hosts a weekly show on CRN – will be there along with other CRN personalities…..Former Dial Global AC night personality Chad Blake signs on with Salem Communications to serve as executive producer for news/talk KNUS, Denver’s “Kelley and Company” morning drive show hosted by Steve Kelley and Bill Rogan…..The Motley Fool announces the launch of a daily one-minute radio report called “Motley Fool Stock Watch” which provides “timely stock analysis for listeners and a profitable offering for stations: no network ad inventory.” The company says Hubbard‘s WTOP, Washington has signed up for the feature that it says “goes beyond the typical on-the-hour market updates and is for people who follow Main Street as well as Wall Street.”
Andi Marshall Passes. News pro Andi Marshall died on Saturday, October 5 after a battle with cancer. Marshall spent 12 years as a news anchor on KFWB, Los Angeles. She exited the station in 2009 but returned as a fill-in anchor in recent years.
Obama Approval Rating, Government Shutdown/Fiscal Crisis, ObamaCare Implementation, IRS Scandal, Yellen Nominated for Fed Post, Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/8). President Obama’s sinking approval ratings; the ongoing efforts to end the government shutdown and address the debt ceiling limit; scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the evolving IRS scandal; Janet Yellen’s nomination for chair of the Fed; and the fluctuating financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Arbitron Files Complaint Against Renda’s Jacksonville Stations. Renda is a subscriber to Arbitron in some markets but hasn’t been a subscriber for its Jacksonville stations since 2010. In the complaint filed in United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida Jacksonville Division, Arbitron alleges that Renda Jacksonville general manager Bill Reese received printed and emailed data from a senior executive at a local advertising agency of whom Reese is a professional and personal friend on numerous occasions throughout 2011 and 2012. The complaint also cites sales manager Charlie Jennings, program director Chuck Beck and air personality Arthur Crofton as receiving the data. Arbitron is seeking $150,000 per act in an amount not less than $500,000 plus attorneys’ fees.
Possible Sports Talk Shake-Up in Dallas. The Dallas Morning News’ Barry Horn is reporting that sports KTCK, Dallas early afternoon duo Bob Sturm (l) and Dan McDowell (r) – known as BaD Radio – are in negotiations to move to CBS Radio’s crosstown KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan” for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot. Horn reports that “Ticket types” are not confident the duo will remain with Cumulus Media’s KTCK and expects that the deal could be done as soon as today (6/24).
Tavis Smiley and BlogTalkRadio Ink Deal. According to a report in The New York Times, public radio broadcaster Tavis Smiley is entering into a deal with Alan Levy’s BlogTalkRadio in which Smiley will produce and anchor a daily program for the internet talk radio site and will produce shows for other contributors under his Tavis Smiley Network banner. Levy tells the paper Smiley is the first broadcaster to be paid to work for BlogTalkRadio. As with the other talk show hosts on the service, Smiley and BlogTalkRadio will split any revenue that is brought to the programs. Smiley’s program – which will last 20 minutes or as long as he feels like talking – will consist of interviews and interaction with listeners.
You Only Need 1,000 Fans to Make a Living in this Business. That was one of the eye-opening facts presented by radio consultant Holland Cooke at the recent Talkers New York 2013 conference (6/6). In a concise, information-packed presentation titled “Resourceful and Remarkable,” Cooke outlines the tremendous benefits talk radio broadcasters can achieve and exploit by properly and effectively using Twitter. Now, you can see the entire not-to-be-missed Holland Cooke presentation, power point slides and all, at TalkersTV by clicking here.
Sam Huff Retires from Washington Redskins Radio Network. Washington Redskins great Sam Huff announces that after 38 years in the radio booth broadcasting the team’s games, he’s ending his regular work with the team’s network. Huff states, “I’ve enjoyed every game that I played, coached and provided color commentary over the last 50 years with the Washington Redskins. I look forward to joining Larry, Sonny and Doc on the pregame show a few times this season.” Red Zebra Brodcasting CEO Rick Carmean says, “This is truly the end of an era. You cannot think Redskins Radio without Sam and Sonny. We support Sam’s decision and look forward to having him as a special guest during the season.” The team says Huff will be honored during a pregame ceremony at a to-be-determined Redskins game. Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980” serves as flagship for the network.
Seattle Broadcast Legend Pat O’Day to Host Seafair Hydro Race Special on KIRO-FM. The news was shocking to many Emerald City residents when it was announced that local broadcast legend Pat O’Day would not host television coverage of the Hydroplane Race that takes place during the city’s Seafair in early August – something he’s done since 1966. Bonneville’s KIRO-FM is bringing O’Day aboard to host the coverage of the race on the radio. The announcement was made on the station’s “Ron and Don Show.” The show’s Don O’Neill states, “Pat is a Seattle broadcasting legend, and we’re really excited to share his longtime experience as the voice of Seafair on our airwaves. Pat and the Seafair hydros have both been a part of our community for many years and we’re not ready for that to end.” O’Day became known as the “Godfather of Northwest Rock” while making his name as an afternoon DJ in the 1960s. He says of joining KIRO-FM for the race, “It’s been my joy to make contributions to the sport, but above all to make a contribution to our great, treasured festival called Seafair. I feel very honored to be a part of Seafair for the past 46 years and am looking forward to sharing my perspective with KIRO Radio listeners.”
KODI, Cody, Wyoming Host Arrested for Voting as a Convicted Felon. “Speak Your Piece” co-host David Koch was arrested on Friday, June 21 state officials for allegedly voting in elections in the state as a convicted felon – a crime in Wyoming. Koch was convicted of first-degree burglary and second-degree theft in Alaska in 1993 and he admitted to voting in elections over the past couple of years after taking an oath in 2009 that he had never been convicted of a felony. The issue came to light when a caller to his radio program who had obviously researched Koch’s past, pressed him on the voting issue and he admitted to the convictions and to voting. The Casper Star Tribune reports Big Horn Radio Network general manager Roger Gelder states Koch is still employed with the radio station and will let the legal system decide his fate. Each count is punishable by up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Cumulus Wins First Round in Birmingham Non-Compete Case. A federal judge in Birmingham has ruled that sports talk WZNN “ESPN 97.3” program director Ryan Haney cannot work for the Cox Media station until more evidence is heard at a hearing scheduled for March 4. The Birmingham News reports Cumulus sought the prohibition after Haney – who had been with its crosstown competitor WJOX for the past 14 years – left the PD job there on January 21and began working at WZNN a week later. Cumulus claims Haney breached the six-month non-compete in his contract. Cumulus also states Haney could not work for a competitor during that time without giving Cumulus a chance to match the prospective employer’s offer. The animosity between the two sports talk stations did not begin with Haney’s case. In 2012, Cumulus and Birmingham sports talk personality Paul Finebaum engaged in a legal tussle over his employment situation but Finebaum eventually worked out his contract with WJOX and is sitting out a six-month non-compete after which it is widely assumed he’ll join WZNN. On a side note, Cox Media has put its Birmingham properties – including WZNN – up for sale.
Lew Dickey Tells Bloomberg “We’re Seeing a Shift in Spoken-Word Radio.” During an appearance on Bloomberg TV’s “In the Loop” program, Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey discussed his company’s plans involving marketing vertically based on the lifestyle appeal to consumers interested in certain types of entertainment. Although still bullish on Mike Huckabee and Geraldo Rivera, Dickey sounded much more behind sports than news/talk. “We’re seeing sort of a shift in spoken-word radio from political-based talk over to sports.” When asked why he stated, “I think people may be tired of all the partisan bickering so the ratings are a bit down in talk but they’re moving up nicely in sports.” Dickey said the reason sports is so popular among advertisers is because advertisers follow the audience and sports is popular right now.
Question of the Day: Why Do Radio Stations Still Announce School Closings? As the big Blizzard of ’13 begins to rumble across the Northeast (2/8), TALKERS monitors have been hearing morning shows across the region reading the perfunctory long lists of school closings within their listening areas. While there is no doubt that localism is proving to be a valuable asset to radio – especially when the medium rises to the occasion of serving the public interest during natural disasters and weather events - we have to shake our heads and wonder why so much valuable airtime is spent on reading these seemingly endless lists. Is it a matter of serving the public or just trying to sound like you’re doing so? It is a well-known (to parents and students alike) fact that most school districts in America post their snow status on their websites as soon as the information is available. If stations want in on that action they can list all the closings on their websites as well and announce that availability on the air. Considering that most, if not all, schools in a region close for blizzards, it would make a lot more sense to only announce those schools that might be choosing to remain open. Programmers might think that announcing school closings on the air over long chunks of time makes the station sound local and in touch – but in truth, it makes the station boring and seem out of touch.
Cumulus Birmingham Imports Sports Talk Duo from KTCK, Dallas. In a story related to the one above, Cumulus sports talker WJOX, Birmingham is bringing the duo of Matt McClearin and Scot Harrison from its Dallas sports outlet KTCK “The Ticket” in to take over the midday slot. The position opened up after Paul Finebaum exited the PM drive show at the end of his contract and the station moved “The Jox Roundtable” with Lance Taylor, Ryan Brown and Jim Dunaway to the PM drive position. McClearin and Harrison hosted a weekend program at KTCK.
TALKERS Spotlight: The Talk Radio Watchdogs. There was a time in the early days of the modern talk radio era when most markets could lay claim to at least one talk show host considered to be the local “watchdog.” He or she was feared by the power brokers in city hall and had a reputation for having the backs of the regular folks. They are not as prevalent in the format as they once were but they are still out there. Does the industry still value this breed of talk host? Does the public still want to listen to them? Do their station managers support them? TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian speaks with some of today’s “watchdogs” to get answers to these and other questions about their craft. Read his story here.
CBS Radio’s WHFS, Tampa Makes Lineup Changes. The new FM sports talk station CBS Radio put on the air in Tampa in August undergoes some changes. “Sportsradio 98.7 The Fan” cuts the morning show with Kirk McEwen and Chris Dingman to three hours and shifts Gary Shelton and Justin “The Commish” Pawlowski to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. The PM drive show with Rich Herrera and Anthony “Booger” McFarland moves to 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome slides into the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Evening host Todd Wright exits the station and The Fabulous Sports Babe moves from overnights to the evening show. CBS Sports Radio Networks’ Scott Ferrall and Damon Amendolara round out the late night and overnight shifts, respectively.
TuneIn Adds Four Pubcasters to its Offerings. Digital content aggregator TuneIn announces it has agreed to strategic alliances with major public broadcasters KQED, San Francisco; KCRW, Santa Monica; KEXP, Seattle; and American Public Media, which includes Southern California Public Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, Classical South Florida and nationally distributed programs. TuneIn VP of programming Kevin Straley states, “KQED, American Public Media, KCRW and KEXP have a rich history of offering listeners engaging, cutting-edge programming while supporting the radio community. Our goal at TuneIn is to bring the best programming from around the world to everyone, for free, wherever they are, and partnering with these respected public broadcasters brings us one step closer to that goal.” TuneIn also just unveiled a new website design featuring a new content-first display with large album cover photos and trending stations.
Odds & Sods. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago resumes its “Chicago Blackhawks Live” promotional series on February 18 at the city’s Old Town Pour House. The promotion is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the 2012-2013 season featuring current Blackhawks players, legends, and front office executives with “WGN Sports Night” hosts David Kaplan, Brian Noonan, and Andrea Darlas. WGN began hosting these events during the 2011-2012 season and sold them out in record time…..SiriusXM announces legendary recording artist Tony Bennett will sit down for an intimate Q&A session with an audience of SiriusXM listeners, moderated by Alec Baldwin, at the SiriusXM studios in New York City as part of its “Town Hall” series. It’ll take place on Wednesday, February 13, and will air on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, February 14, on the Siriusly Sinatra channel and on the SiriusXM Stars channel…..Clear Channel announces that Houston Astros play-by-play will shift from news/talk KTRH to its sports talk KBME “Sportstalk 790” beginning this season…..In another baseball note, Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati re-ups with the MLB’s Reds through the 2017 season…..The Boston Red Sox and the Jimmy Fund – which benefits Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – are celebrating their 60th year working together to raise funds for cancer research and treatment. Part of that celebrating will include the 12th annual Red Sox Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon on Entercom’s WEEI and New England Sports Network on August 27 and 28. The event, which started in 2002, has raised more than $31 million for research, treatment, and care at Dana-Farber.
KYW, Philadelphia Awards Scholarship. CBS Radio’s KYW Newsradio awards the Richard Monetti Scholarship to local high school student Kimberly Coterwas (second from right) – one of the 86 students to graduate from KYW Newsradio 2012 Fall Newstudies program. She receives a $2,000 scholarship. The award was announced at the Newstudies Graduation ceremony on January 31. The Richard Monetti Scholarship is awarded every year to the Newstudies student who demonstrates the most potential and enthusiasm throughout the six-week student reporter program. The scholarship is named for Richard Monetti, a 1986 Newstudies graduate who was killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. Additionally, 11 other students who participated in the Newstudies program received awards. CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “KYW Newsradio is proud to continue the tradition of introducing high school students to the broadcast industry. It’s also nice to be able to award those that did exceptionally well, and keep the memory of a former Newstudies graduate alive.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Radio America’s Peter Schiff program picks up new affiliates for the program including: KPAM, Portland; WGUF, Ft. Myers, Florida; WEZS, Concord, New Hampshire; KFAR, Fairbanks, Alaska; and WTIM, Taylorville, Illinois….. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the program schedule at WTBF, Troy, Alabama. Also, existing affiliate combo WGVA, Geneva and WAUB, Auburn in the Finger Lakes region of New York adds Free Talk Live’s live Sunday show.
Sequester Cuts and Tax Hikes Issue Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 4-8. The debate in Washington over the coming sequester budget cuts and more tax increases was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, earning it the top spot on the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was immigration reform. At #3 was the costs of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and at #4 was gun legislation proposals. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America based on ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Part One: CBS Launches New Network
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — “Happy Sports Year!”
That could easily be the battle cry sentiment among ardent fans to welcome 2013, even if it means that many of them will require scorecards to track the whereabouts of some of their favorite sports radio personalities.
A perennial sports talk talent MVP tops the headlines by switching teams, while some new names get to crack opening-day lineups, as not one – but two – national sports networks are being introduced this year, each carrying instantly-recognizable name branding.
One of them in fact, is making its maiden voyage today (Wednesday, January 2) and, if all goes according to plan, many radio station managers and programmers will be echoing that “Happy Sports Year!” declaration in about 11 months as their way of assessing 2013.
Cumulus Dallas Goes into Storm Coverage Mode as Twisters Hit Metro Area. The Dallas cluster of Cumulus Media reacted swiftly to the severe storms and tornadoes that hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area yesterday, led by news/talk sister stations WBAP and KLIF. Operations manager Tyler Cox tells TALKERS that the stations had a great opportunity to super-serve the community. “WBAP (820 AM/96.7 FM) and KLIF (570AM) began simulcasting continuous coverage. Shortly after that, the remaining stations in the Cumulus cluster (sports KTCK 1310 AM, KSCS-FM, KPLX-FM and KLIF-FM) joined with us to create a six-station simulcast reaching countless numbers of listeners with life-saving information.” Cox says all six went into non-stop, commercial-free weather coverage with the news/talk stations’ reporters and listeners providing on-the-scene information all across North Texas. Preliminary reports indicate no fewer than 12 tornadoes formed in the region and, although there is widespread destruction, there are no fatalities confirmed at this time.
KFI, Los Angeles Adds New Weekend Shows; Adds Diversity to Lineup. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles is adding a two-hour early evening program on Saturdays hosted by Morris O’Kelly, the producer and co-host of sister progressive talk station KTLK’s “Diverse L.A.” Also, KTLK PM drive host David Cruz will host a Sunday early evening program on KFI. In a statement, Clear Channel says the purpose of the new shows is to “discuss, dissect and investigate the important, often controversial issues of the day through the eyes of an eclectic collection of Southern California residents, urbanites and suburbanites, young and old, across race, gender and the political spectrum.” Morris O’Kelly states, “I’ve wanted to do a show like this for a long time – to dig into what Southern Californians think and why. Opinions are as diverse as the population and I think we’re going to shed light on issues that really matter.”
Erica Farber Replaces Jeff Haley as President and CEO of the RAB. The board of directors of the Radio Advertising Bureau announces Erica Farber, who joined the RAB in late 2011, will replace Jeff Haley as president and CEO of the organization as Haley exits to pursue a new opportunity. RAB board chairman and EVP Scott Herman says of the move, “Erica is an excellent selection with the relevant skills and expertise to lead the RAB. She brings an impressive track record in radio sales and management. In addition, Erica has a clear understanding of the organization and what the broadcast industry requires from the RAB. She has demonstrated a strong capacity of working with multiple constituencies which is critical to the RAB role. We thank Jeff for his guidance and leadership the past five years in helping to shape an organization that fits the radio and media landscape today. He’s left an indelible imprint on the industry and we thank him for his service and commitment.”
Budget Mandate Forces WBSM, New Bedford to Release Talk Host Ken Pittman. Local officials are decrying Cumulus Media’s decision to eliminate Ken Pittman’s local afternoon drive talk show on WBSM, New Bedford, Massachusetts. The New Bedford Standard-Times reports New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell even wrote to Cumulus COO John Dickey to express how area residents are upset with the loss of local programming. “The local programming available on WBSM, including local news, talk and sports coverage, is truly valued by the thousands of listeners the station draws from the New Bedford region,” he wrote. Meanwhile, station programming manager Pete Braley tells the paper local management made the cut reluctantly after being mandated by corporate to trim expenses and realizing that someone had to go. With Pittman out, mid-morning host Phil Paleologos will move to PM drive and do more news event coverage. The station brings Salem Radio Networks’ Mike Gallagher in for late mornings to cover Paleologos’ slot. That leaves the station with four hours of local programming: morning drive and a 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm program.
Management Change at Cumulus Washington, DC; Jeff Boden Exits. President and general manager Jeff Boden has left the building at Cumulus Media’s Washington, DC station group that includes news/talk WMAL-AM/FM. DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes reports Sam Rogers – former CBS Radio Washington cluster chief and Cumulus VP of political and platform sales – has taken over Boden’s role at the stations. Hughes reports that rumors have more cuts coming to the DC cluster in the near future, although it’s hard to predict which stations and what positions will be affected.
Damon “The Bulldog” Yaffe Joins WNST, Baltimore. Nestor Aparicio-owned sports talk outlet WNST, Baltimore announces Damon “The Bulldog” Yaffe becomes part of the late-morning show on the station alongside Paul Mittermeier and Greg Marsh. A release from the station states, “Yaffe’s crew will focus on all Baltimore sports with fun conversation, guests and lots of banter about the state of the local sporting universe including the Orioles, Ravens, Terps, and local lacrosse.” Yaffe had previously worked at CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talker WJZ-FM.
Bankruptcy Filing Leaves Broadcasters in Financial Lurch. The bankruptcy filing of tax resolution company TaxMasters is forcing a number of broadcasting companies – including CNN, Dial Global, Fox News Channel and others – to face the fact they will likely receive little if anything of what the company owes them. Forbes reports that Time Warner’s CNN is owed the largest amount for ads aired on the cable news channel: $2.6 million. Other broadcasters are also listed as unsecured creditors. News Corp’s Fox News Channel is out $938,414; Dial Global is owed $676,000; MSNBC stands to lose $259,441; and ESPN is out $94,265. TaxMasters and CEO Patrick Cox were hit with a $195 million verdict in Texas for violating the state’s Deceptive Trade Violations Act. It lists assets of just $1.7 million.
Bob Visotcky Takes VP Sales Position at Cumulus Los Angeles. Bob Visotcky moves over from his market manager post at Cumulus Media’s Oxnard-Ventura stations to the Los Angeles cluster where he’ll become vice president of sales representing news/talk KABC and classic rock KLOS-FM.
GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Race, Supreme Court-ObamaCare Issue, Ryan Budget, Twisters Hit Dallas, and Trayvon Martin Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/3). The ongoing GOP primary race and the greater 2012 presidential campaign, the charges President Obama is pressuring the Supreme Court in its judgment of the legality of the Patient Care and Affordability Act of 2010, Congressman Paul Ryan’s Republican House budget proposal, tornadoes sweep through the Dallas-Fort Worth area and the Trayvon Martin case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.