Tornado Damage Reported Via Multi-Media on McGraw Milhaven Show. The series of tornadoes that swept across the Midwest on Sunday left serious damage in New Minden, Illinois – about an hour East of St. Louis. The photo you see here is from the video component of KTRS, St. Louis morning host McGraw Milhaven’s online platform. Since the spring, Milhaven has been partnering with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s StlToday.com site to present his program in a video format. Today, he used that medium to his advantage as reporter Michael Golde was able to report back to the studio via Skype and show viewers scenes from the storm-damaged town and converse with Milhaven and news anchor Kelly Jackson. In posting the video on YouTube, Milhaven comments, “KTRS Radio in St Louis is the only radio station in the country to show live video of storm-damaged areas of Ill. to listeners on laptops, desktops and smartphones as well as the radio.”
JVC Media to Flip Rock WRCN, Long Island to News/Talk After Christmas. Longtime rocker WRCN, Riverhead, New York has stopped playing “everything that rocks” and has gone Christmas music through the holidays. But after Christmas, the station will emerge as a news/talk outlet dubbed “LI News Radio 103.9.” JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo explains the company’s thinking in a statement: “WRCN has a long history and heritage on Long Island – many of us have grown up with the station and it has become an intricate part of our lives. But as our lives change so does our soundtrack. What we listened to growing up is not necessarily what we listen to now and what was important to us as teenagers maybe doesn’t seem so important anymore. That’s why we made the decision to change WRCN and develop and program a radio station that fits the needs of Long Island…Long Islanders are starving for local news and information. Why should we have to wait 22 minutes to hear about the world when all we really want is Islip to Southampton? What’s the traffic like on the 347 merge or Sunrise Highway in Oakdale? This station will not only serve as your information source but it will be your sounding board for issues that influence your life, your community and your business.” Talent that has been announced to be part of the new format includes Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Sean Hannity and Cumulus Media Networks personality Mark Levin as well as local hosts Ernie Fasio, Vic Fusco, John Gomez, Kevin Law, Steve Levy, Frank McKay, and Jay Oliver.
Linda Thomas to Exit KIRO-FM, Seattle. Morning news anchor and reporter Linda Thomas announces she will be leaving Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle at the end of the year for a new opportunity that, as she says, “doesn’t involve being at work by 2:00 am.” In a blog post at the company’s Mynorthwest.com, she writes, “My Bonneville Seattle bosses understand and support my decision too, even though they don’t want me to leave. That’s what family members do. I’ll always be grateful for them, and for you.” Thomas first worked at KIRO in 1988 as an overnight editor and became morning drive anchor in 1993. She left the station to work as a freelancer but returned to KIRO-FM as morning anchor in 2010. She adds, “KIRO’s news, talk and online teams are the best in the business. It’s been an honor to work alongside amazing talent. I’ve learned a lot from all my co-workers. They encourage me, challenge me, and make me laugh on a daily basis. I really do love them.”
Michelle Wright Let Go from All-News WYAY, Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho tips us that morning drive co-anchor Michelle Wright has been let go from Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY, Atlanta “All-News 106.7.” Andy Rose remains in AM drive solo. The speculation is that the recent hiring of Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson to host a talk show in middays and the acquisition of Atlanta Braves baseball required some cuts in other areas of the station and Wright was the unfortunate victim. She was one of the original staffers when Cumulus decided to turn WYAY into an all-news station in May of 2012. She had previously worked at Atlanta-based CNN Radio before joining Cumulus.
CEOs Make the Grade. Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman and Emmis’ Jeff Smulyan were both the subjects of feature stories in newspapers over the weekend – Pittman in The New York Times and Smulyan in the Indianapolis Star. In a Q&A titled, the Value of Dissent, Pittman says he encouraged dissenters in his organization because they serve a valuable purpose. “I want us to listen to these dissenters because they may intend to tell you why we can’t do something, but if you listen hard, what they’re really telling you is what you must do to get something done. It gets you out of your framework of the conventions of what you can and can’t do.” Read that piece here. Jeff Smulyan tells the Star in his Q&A that the best piece of advice he’s received has to do with employer-employee relationships, “Attract the best people, treat them well, and let them do their job. If you want people to go through walls for you, you have to go through more walls for them.” Read that story here.
The View of Radio from the Digital World’s Perspective. Noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller writes, “Those of us in digital media know that our world will continue to change drastically, over and over again. We also know that we will be bigger and better three years…five years…10 years from now. Plus, we hear how radio compares itself to online listening choices, and we see how you use your digital platforms. And here’s what we think.” In a new column posted today (11/18) Miller goes on to state that digital-only people still have “transmitter envy” and that even though more and more people and media are moving online, the stick is still a formidable asset. Regardless, he points out that many digital-only professionals think that over-the-air radio companies are “crazy” for cutting talent, still selling 60-second commercials, and not being cognizant of just how much entertainment is changing. He clearly explains what digital pros see as radio’s “dangerous assumption.” He observes, ”I look at a lot of different radio social media, websites, database emails and texting programs, and it’s clear you’re making some dangerous assumptions. Digital content doesn’t work like you think it should. It doesn’t work like you wish it did. It works like it works. We see you on Facebook and Twitter talking about almost anything…except what people really love about you. Your websites are a mish-mosh of broad-based content, but if you look at your web stats, there are fewer than half-a-dozen features at your site that, combined, get the lion’s share of your page views. There is nothing special or exclusive about the emails you send your listeners, and your open rates prove it. Radio people know a lot about how people use radio. Meanwhile, you are using all these other media as if knowing how they work doesn’t matter. One key thing we’re doing to drive our online success is to track everything we can to see what really makes a difference. We don’t have the luxury of having opinions about what should work. Either the clicks are there, or they aren’t. What we do either works, or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, you dig in, diagnose the problem, and adjust.” To read Chris Miller’s entire column, please click here.
Premiere Reverses Course; Keeps Randi Rhodes on Syndication Menu. There are no reports indicating just what happened between Randi Rhodes and syndicator Premiere Networks but the latter is confirming the widely reported news that Rhodes will continue to be syndicated by Premiere, at least through 2014. Premiere SVP of affiliate relations Peter Tripi emailed affiliates, “In a happy turn of events, we are pleased to announce that Premiere Networks will continue to produce and distribute the Randi Rhodes show. In an industry of constant change, it’s a pleasure to provide good news about a talk talent we think so highly of. We apologize for any inconvenience the previous announcement caused, but look forward to a very successful 2014 with the Randi Rhodes show.” Several weeks ago, Rhodes began telling her audience she was foreseeing the end of her program and later Premiere notified affiliates the relationship would be ending.
It’s Pop-Up Time. No, not the kind of pop-up we associate with websites – pop-up ads – but those retail stores that “pop up” in vacant storefronts during the holiday shopping season. Sales maven and H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz writes about getting these seasonal businesses advertising on your station this year. He notes that many of these retailers are big name brands that choose to expand their physical space during this time of year and they include Vera Bradley, Louis Vuitton and the National Football League. Read Al Herskovitz’s entire column here.
ABC News Radio Offers Kennedy Assassination Programming. As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, ABC News Radio is offering a two-hour special broadcast, “Three Shots Rang Out: An ABC News Special – The JFK Assassination 50 Years Later,” anchored by ABC News’ Diane Sawyer. It’s an audio-only program that will be heard by ABC News Radio affiliates. In addition, a special expanded show will be available via download at Audible.com as part of a new digital audio relationship between ABC News Radio and Audible. The Audible.com version of this program will include an additional 40 minutes of historical audio available exclusively to Audible listeners.
Ron Ruth Passes. Former 19-year Radio Advertising Bureau executive vice president of stations Ron Ruth died early Saturday (11/16) in Florida of a heart attack. The 75-year-old Ruth had been struggling with health issues the past two months. CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason was among those quickly noting their sympathies regarding Ruth’s passing. “I just spoke with him at the Radio Show this past September in Orlando,” Mason writes on Facebook. “He was so up and happy – I am sad tonight.” Also on that social media platform, Tom Birch notes, “Ron lived life to its fullest and was a joy and inspiration to everyone who had the opportunity to know him. Ron was the midwife to Birch Research. He opened doors for me, encouraged me and guided me. I am deeply honored to have worked for Ron at WQAM, Miami in the 1970s, and to have remained friends with him for the next three decades.” According to former RKO General eastern vice president Perry Ury, “Ron Ruth was a friend and our house skeptic at RKO.” Former Tele Media Broadcasting vice president and chief operating officer Ira Rosenblatt adds, “We’ve lost a friend and true broadcaster.” Doing afternoon drive in Boston early in his radio career, Ruth roomed with two other on-air talents who went on to stardom – George Carlin and Jack Burns of Burns & (Avery) Schreiber. He held sales manager positions for Unistar Radio Networks, as well as at the local level in markets such as New York (WOR-FM), Chicago (WNUS), Washington, DC (WGMS), and Buffalo (WYSL). Ruth left Unistar to join the RAB in 1992. Most recently, he was consulting the Radio Advertising Bureau.
A Man of His Word. The man having his head shaved live on the air on Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington, DC is former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino. Not too long ago, Bongino said on the WMAL airwaves that he would shave his head if President Obama apologized for the gaffes in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. And since the president did offer an apology of sorts, Bongino agreed to honor his statement live on the air and did so on Friday, November 15.
Drama Continues to Unfold Around Talk Radio Network. On the heels of Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters’ announcement on Monday afternoon (9/9) that his ongoing battle with WestwoodOne (formerly Dial Global) over ad sales revenue has caused him to have to shut down the America’s Radio News Network and greatly pare his TRN staff as well as ask those still with the company to work without pay temporarily, come a number of developments over the past 24 hours. First, late morning talk host (and Fox News Channel personality) Andrea Tantaros continues to host her program live as of Tuesday morning. However, sources report to TALKERS that midday talk personality Jerry Doyle is not doing live, new programs and is exploring options to continue his talk show outside of the TRN operational framework. The morning drive “America’s Morning News” went live on Monday and this morning, co-anchors John McCaslin and Lori Lundin reported to work and prepared to do the full program again. Sources indicate McCaslin was unhappy with the state of the support staff and exited after one segment was broadcast. Lundin remained for the rest of one hour before leaving the studios, whereupon affiliates airing the program received repeat feeds of the first hour. In afternoon drive, talk host Rusty Humphries began Monday’s program with the intent of explaining some of what has been going on within the context of the assault by special interest groups on talk radio advertisers but was shut down by engineering staff and a repeat of his program ran on Monday afternoon. Whether Humphries returns to the air live on Tuesday afternoon remains to be seen as the situation at TRN is fluid, to say the least.
Greg Strassell Leaves CBS Radio for Same Post at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. When news broke yesterday afternoon that Greg Strassell was exiting his SVP of programming post at CBS Radio, it was unknown where he would land. Now, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces Strassell is joining the company in the same capacity. CC says, he “will help lead programming initiatives and will report to Matt Martin, president of operations — regional markets. Further, the company says, “Strassell is a multi-format programming veteran whose strategic brand management has impacted many major radio stations across the country…At CBS Strassell oversaw the programming strategies and teams for many brands with a special focus on the company’s pop music station expansion. Prior to CBS he served as vice president of product development and programming for American Radio Systems.
TalkersTV Presents Video Documentary Tour of Boston Herald and Boston Herald Radio. Last week (9/5) TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison visited the Boston Herald newspaper in Boston with a video camera and was given a “point of view” guided tour of the newspaper and its one-month-old, multimedia initiative - Boston Herald Radio. The tour was guided by Boston Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca, Boston Herald Radio executive producer Tom Shattuck and George Capalbo of Backbone Networks. The result is an informative one-hour documentary tour of one of talk media’s leading-edge hot spots. To view this not-to-be-missed content please click on the TalkersTV box on the upper right column on this page.
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Cliff Gardiner – Clifton Gardiner & Company, LLC. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Cliff Gardiner of Clifton Gardiner & Company, LLC located in Denver, Colorado. Like many top-notch professional brokers, Gardiner has a radio background going back to 1956 that includes on-air work, management, and station and network ownership. Regarding his view of the state of station sales today, he says, “We are beginning to see station sale activity awaken a bit from a long sleep. The industry has changed and seems to be embracing a new reality, one that will likely remain in the future. While no one is happy with a much lower EBITDA multiple, the reality is that this has always existed for most other business categories. This adjustment is happening as well as the seeing the necessity for sellers to carefully consider, and embrace, realistic carrybacks for buyers, especially in smaller markets.” To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
KTRS, St. Louis Fills Gap Left by Steve Cochran. Talk show host Steve Cochran had been doing a midday show for CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis from Chicago where he’s now fully ensconced in the morning drive gig at Tribune’s WGN. To fill the gap, the station moves Martin Kilcoyne to the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm shift and former night personality John Carney to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot with the two co-hosting the 12:00 noon hour.
CBS Radio’s ’98.7 The Fan’ Launches Campaign to Save Rays Baseball. Losing a Major League Baseball franchise would be a blow to CBS Radio’s drive to build a successful sports talk station in the market. But MLB commissioner Bud Selig has stated the league is not happy with the support the market is giving the Tampa Bay Rays in terms of attendance despite the club fielding successful teams. The league states, “Last year, the 30 Major League clubs averaged nearly 2.5 million in total attendance; the Rays, who finished with a 90-72 record, drew 1,559,681, which ranked last in the game.” So WHFS-FM “98.7 The Fan” is launching “Save Tampa Bay Baseball,” a multi-tiered campaign to help keep the Rays in the region. But because St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster has said Major League Baseball does not “seem interested in a cooperative effort to keep the Rays in the Tampa Bay region for the long term,” the station is taking action. The campaign involves launching the website www.SaveTampaBayBaseball.com to raise awareness that the Rays may be in danger of leaving Tampa Bay, as well as a petition drive to let Major League Baseball know that the Rays belong in Tampa Bay. The “98.7 The Fan” Street Team will canvass the downtown area offering Save Tampa Bay Baseball window stickers to all local merchants who support the Rays. In addition, “98.7 The Fan” will host an official Save Tampa Bay Baseball Rally on September 12 at Ferg’s Sports Bar & Grill – home of the 98.7 The Fan “Fan Cave” – before the Rays vs. Boston Red Sox game. WHFS-FM program director John O’Connell states, “At ‘98.7 The Fan,’ we strongly believe it’s in the best interest of the Tampa Bay community to keep Major League Baseball here. We will support our hometown Rays every way we can, and encourage Rays fans and the Tampa/St. Petersburg community to join us.”
Marlene Trevino Returns to Clear Channel as Market Manager for San Antonio. Marlene Trevino moves to San Antonio from her most recent position with CBS Radio as general sales manager at Spanish KMVK, Dallas “La Grande 107.5.” Now, she’ll head up Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s San Antonio cluster as president and market manager. She says, “Since I am a product of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s training and leadership development, I am most excited about the opportunity to come back to the Clear Channel family. I am proud to have the opportunity to lead a successful market like San Antonio. With the help of the current San Antonio team and the diverse opportunities this market offers, I am thrilled to get started on the efforts that will bring us even greater growth.” She served as senior account executive for the company’s hot AC KDMX in Dallas in 2002.
Robin Quivers Reports She’s Cancer Free. Longtime Howard Stern sidekick Robin Quivers has been away from the SiriusXM Howard Stern studios for most of the past year. She opened up on the program about her status saying she had a mass on her pelvis that doctors were certain was cancer and she underwent surgery to remove what turned out to be a tumor the size of a grapefruit. Quivers said the tumor began in her endometrial tissue and since the surgery has been undergoing chemotherapy. She says the doctors believe her to be cancer free. She has been working from a studio in her home during her treatment.
NuVoodoo Appoints Leigh Jacobs EVP of Perceptual Research. NuVoodoo Media Services CEO Carolyn Gilbert announces Leigh Jacobs – a co-founder of the company – is being charged with heading its perceptual studies services, analyzing consumer research for radio stations, television and newspaper as EVP of perceptual research. Jacobs served as EVP, research, for Critical Mass Media for nearly a decade and was named VP, research, for the Tribune Company in 2008. He specializes in perceptual analysis and consumer insights across radio, television and newspaper, and has consulted with media outlets in every major U.S. media market. Jacobs moved into media research after a 15-year career as program director for AC, hot AC and classic rock stations in Louisville, Detroit, Baltimore and Philadelphia, and for iconic talk station New Jersey 101.5. Gilbert states, “As primary perceptual analyst for Critical Mass Media for many years and later as VP of research for the Tribune Company, Leigh Jacobs distinguished himself as one of the most talented perceptual analysts in media research. He has looked under the hoods of hundreds of America’s top radio stations and given them reliable data and nuanced insights that have helped drive the growth of their audiences and brands. His extensive perceptual work with television news and newspapers while at the Tribune Company makes Leigh the whole package. He’s a research powerhouse and secret weapon for leading media outlets across the radio-television-newspaper spectrum. We are proud to share Leigh’s expertise and insights with NuVoodoo clients.”
Clear Channel Drops News/Talk KEX Simulcast, Debuts Alternative ‘Radio 102.3’ in Portland. The FM simulcast of Clear Channel’s news/talk KEX, Portland is gone as the company creates an alternative rock station to air on translator K272EL. It’s unclear just how much juice KEX was getting from the FM signal – though it has a good location pretty much smack-dab in the middle of the Portland metro. Recent PPM data from Arbitron show KEX riding several shares behind competitor KXL in the 6+ demo.
Emerging Category May Be Looking at an Ad Ban. Billion-dollar industries – with attractive ad budgets – are not exactly popping up every few months, and a relative newcomer that fits that criterion may already be preparing to encounter marketing restrictions. According to a report last week from financial services group CLSA Americas, the Food and Drug Administration will likely propose a television ban for advertising e-cigarettes. It would figure that if television were to be affected, a similar impact would be felt in radio. A Citibank report earlier this year indicated that spending on e-cigarette TV commercials climbed roughly 18% (2011 – 2012), while print ad spending among e-cigarette marketers increased 72%. Whereas tobacco companies have been off radio and television for more than 40 years, the e-cigarette category is unregulated. E-cigarette makers say they will continue marketing their product across a range of media unless – and until – a ban is introduced. Reynolds American spokesperson David Howard told Ad Age last week, “In lieu of regulations, we will look at all mediums – including TV, print, radio, point of sale and direct mail – to communicate with adult smokers.” The FDA is expected to weigh in on the matter next month.
Syria Tensions/Assad Interview, India Gang Rape Conviction, Massachusetts ‘Under God’ Challenge, and NFL Season Kicks Off Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/9). The debate over taking military action against Syria and Bashar al Assad’s interview with Charlie Rose; the conviction of four Indian men in the fatal gang rape of a student; the Massachusetts Superior Court case challenging the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools; and the start of the 2013 NFL season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cox Media Trims Two Positions at Hot Talk “102.5 The Bone” in Tampa. The Tampa Bay Times’ Eric Deggans reports the firing of two air personalities at Cox Media Group’s hot talk WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” – evening host Matt “Spice” Lloyd and early morning personality Chris Fisher. Fisher tells Deggans he wasn’t surprised by his dismissal saying he didn’t believe Cox was going to continue to pay him a full-time salary to host the 3:00 am to 5:00 am “The Fisher Experiment” program. “I knew overnights were just a placeholder until they could figure out what to do with me. It wasn’t about performance…I just realized this is part of the business.” As for Lloyd – a former member of WHPT-based Bubba the Love Sponge’s morning show – he Tweeted that his ratings were good (#1 in his demo and time slot) but that his contentious relationship with Bubba may have led to his departure. “Revenge is the best revenge…right Bubba? Just checking…” How much influence Bubba has over the station’s lineup is unknown. Regardless, there’s a hole in the station’s lineup from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on the WHPT website for now.
Rumors of the Biggest Radio Deal of the Year Wake Industry from End-of-Summer Doldrums. Numerous industry sources and trade journals are speculating that Cumulus Media is very close to announcing a deal to acquire Dial Global. The enticing story is further enhanced by rumors that the Dial Global programming could soon be heard under one of its previously-owned and utilized banners, Westwood One – the name to which Dial Global still has the rights after the high profile “merger” of the companies back in 2011 in which parent company Triton Media Group absorbed Westwood One into its Dial Global property – and that Cumulus Media plans to offset some of the cost of the acquisition by selling some of its small- and medium-market stations to Townsquare Media which has been in an acquisition mode. If consummated, Cumulus would have the sports play-by-play that’s been the bread and butter of the former Westwood One and would also obtain the Dial Global 24/7 music formats, some of which would be duplicative of its own music formats that came with the acquisition of the old ABC Radio Networks. This is not to mention, of course, the sales and programming staff that come with each. The big question on everyone’s mind is what does this all mean in terms of a master business strategy and how implementation of that strategy will influence jobs and the various players’ control over the marketplace? First of all, everything already published in the industry about this has been based on rumor and speculation with little clarified information being directly provided by the principals involved. That being acknowledged, should such a deal or set of deals come to fruition, it is highly likely that the answers to these questions will come as an afterthought…or certainly after the deals are consummated. As for now, the main impetus at work is the intense need on the part of both Cumulus and Dial Global to avoid or at least forestall the debt crisis facing each of them in a mutually advantageous way and, hopefully, make some sense out of the pieces after the new configuration resulting from such a deal fall into place. As far as Townsquare is concerned, if all of this is true, they are being intelligently opportunistic in their move to build a larger and more potent ownership of viable radio broadcasting outlets and are probably staying up late at night sharpening their pencils. Stay tuned!
HOLLAND COOKE: The Best of the West. Radio consultant Holland Cooke’s end-of-summer vacation to California provided him the chance to pocket some consultant “gold nuggets” in the form of in-market observations of some the best radio in the West. There’s a lot of good radio being done in the Golden State but Cooke offers up three examples that really stuck with him and that apply to practitioners of both talk and music formats. Take a few minutes to dig into HC’s thoughts about KGO’s Ronn Owens; CBS Radio’s “K-Earth” and baseball on the radio here.
Helen Glover Out at WHJJ, Providence; Ron St. Pierre to Take Over AM Drive. The Providence Journal’s Andy Smith reports that Clear Channel news/talker WHJJ, Providence has let morning host Helen Glover go and will replace her with Ron St. Pierre. Though the hiring of St. Pierre for the morning show has not been confirmed, Glover – a 2002 “Survivor” finalist – confirms to Smith she’s out, “I always knew this would happen one day, I just didn’t know it would be today.” Glover had been with WHJJ for almost eight years. Ron St. Pierre exited WPRO earlier this year. He had served as program director at WPRO for many years, hosted morning drive and was executive producer of the Buddy Cianci program at the time he left the Cumulus Media news/talk station.
Stan Piatt Announces Retirement from WNIR, Akron After 36 Years. Morning drive personality Stan Piatt will retire from Media Com’s WNIR, Akron at the end of July next year – or earlier depending on the success of the station’s search for a replacement. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that Piatt has a girlfriend working in Pittsburgh to whom he’d like to be closer and that he’s finally decided to leave for the Steel City. As for WNIR, program director Bill Klaus is beginning the hiring process for the next morning show host at one of the country’s first FM talk stations. He says, “We are seeking a morning drive personality or team with the skills to be fun, funny and engaging in a live ad-lib environment. Applicants should email a resume and aircheck to email@example.com. Media-Com is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon Fires at Texas Governor Rick Perry Via Ad on KTRS, St. Louis. Regarding the story TALKERS reported on Monday (8/26) about CH Holdings-owned news/talk outlet KTRS, St. Louis pulling the ads purchased by the state of Texas after it was discovered they were not promoting tourism but were touting reasons Missouri businesses should consider moving to Texas, there’s been a development. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon voiced his own spot that’s been airing on KTRS that counters many of the arguments Governor Rick Perry tries to make in support of Texas’ business-friendly atmosphere. According to a transcript published by KDSK-TV, St. Louis, Nixon states: “One: Missouri has lower property taxes than Texas. And lower sales taxes. Two: Our students score higher on standardized tests. Graduation rates are higher. Three: Missouri’s unemployment rate; below the national average for 4 years. And unlike Texas, Missouri has a perfect Triple-A credit rating…And as for the Governor of Texas, he’ll learn you don’t mess with folks here in the Show Me State.” Nixon says the money KTRS received for his spot makes up for what it lost by cancelling the Texas ad. KTRS morning drive host McGraw Milhaven tells TALKERS he will have Rick Perry on his program Thursday morning to discuss the issue.
SiriusXM and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo Extend Contract. Sports talk host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo extends his deal with SiriusXM for another three years. The extension means the Mad Dog Radio channel will continue through the end of 2016. In addition to the extension, Russo – who gained his fame as a sports talk host working alongside Mike Francesa on CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York – will also host a program on the MLB Network that will be simulcast on the MLB Network Radio channel on SiriusXM. In addition to programming the Mad Dog Radio channel, Russo hosts “Mad Dog Unleashed,” – a three-hour afternoon program. Russo states, “I’ve always loved the on-air freedom that comes with being on SiriusXM. I can do the kind of show here that I wouldn’t be able to do anywhere else and I’m fortunate to be able to continue to give my listeners my kind of sports talk radio each and every day on ‘Mad Dog Unleashed.’ I’ll also get to emphasize my passion for baseball with my new role on MLB Network Radio and MLB Network, where I’ll be talking to dyed-in-the-wool baseball fans like me throughout the year. This is a terrific opportunity that allows me to do what I do best, while also reaching new audiences.”
WestStar MultiMedia Entertainment Turns to Aguilera. In this case, we are referring to the parent company of “The Kim Komando Show” appointing Christine Aguilera chief operating officer of WME and president of WestStar Merchandising. As part of Aguilera’s duties in this brand new role, she will oversee network advertising and digital sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy, and communications.” Christine’s unparalleled marketing, advertising, direct response, and consumer experience make her a natural fit for our company’s future,” comments Kim Komando, who in addition to her high-profile, on-air capacity, is WestStar’s chairman/chief financial officer. Aguilera previously was president of SkyMall, where she spent 16 years. On the board of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Christine – not Christina Aguilera – mentioned in a Huffington Post interview that she frequently has to “explain” her name so she is not confused with the famous pop star, whose string of hits includes “I Turn to You,” “Beautiful,” “Genie in a Bottle,” What a Girl Wants, and “Feel This Moment.” Christine jokes, “That happens a lot.”
Erica Farber to Moderate “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” at Talkers Los Angeles 2013. In what promises to be a ”don’t-miss” sequel to one of the highlights of the recent Talkers New York 2013 June convention, RAB president/CEO Erica Farber will follow-up her excellent performance as moderator of the panel discussion, “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” at the forthcoming Talkers Los Angeles 2013 on Thursday, October 10 in Hollywood, California. Only this time around, it will be with a new set of panelists and the focus will be on the local level of radio station and program operations. Scheduled to joining Farber on the panel are Terry Fahy, VP/GM, Salem Los Angeles; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO/president, WYD/WYM Media; Christopher Pendl, creative director, Bonneville Seattle; Paul Vandenburgh, president/GM/host, WGDJ, Albany, NY; and one more to be announced. The panel will take a sweeping overview of the issues facing radio sales today including concerns about commercial quality and clutter, selling in a PPM world, maximizing ratings-credit, the image of talk radio on the agency level and marketing across multi-media platforms, among others. The gathering is already closing in on being an advance sellout so it is advisable for media professionals interested in attending to register now. A sellout is expected by the end of this week. It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone. So don’t wait – avoid being shut out. For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413.
NAB’s Valerie Schulte to Retire. National Association of Broadcasters announces the retirement of NAB general counsel Valerie Schulte, effective Friday. Schulte has served with the NAB since 1980 and, according to EVP of communications Dennis Wharton, “has worked on many of the most important issues before the FCC for free and local broadcasters – including children’s television regulations, the digital TV transition, digital radio issues, and legal issues related to satellite radio. The NAB family wishes Valerie nothing but the best in her retirement.”
Curtis Media Buys Greensboro Translator CP. Through Eastern Airwaves LLC, Curtis Media purchases the construction permit for FM translator W228CM in Greensboro, North Carolina. Curtis is buying the property for $125,000 from Wake Forest University. Bob Heyman of Media Services Group was the exclusive broker representing Curtis.
U.S. Weighs Syria Attack, March on Washington Anniversary, Fort Hood Verdict, Miley Cyrus MTV VMAs Performance, and Spokane Vet Beating Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/27). President Obama’s looming decision whether attack Syria; the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington; the verdict in the Fort Hood slayings; ongoing commentary about Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV VMAs on Sunday; and the aftermath of the beating death of a Spokane WWII veteran were some of the most talked about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
LOS ANGELES — Summon up the term “theater-of-the-mind” and hardcore historians of the medium will instantly link it to what many consider one of radio’s authentic seminal points. In fact, roughly three months from now, that benchmark event will celebrate its 75th anniversary.
Rewind the clock to Halloween 1938, when a then-23-year-old Orson Welles and The Mercury Theater terrified America with “The War of the Worlds.”
Albeit that some classified the adaptation of an alien invasion as a tremendous hoax or fraud, it was inarguably compelling radio.
In its own way, such theater – or mystery – of the mind surfaces nightly on Premiere Radio’s four-hour (1:00am – 5:00am, Eastern Time) “Coast To Coast AM,” overseen with graceful aplomb by the tremendously eloquent George Noory.
KTRS, St. Louis Morning Host McGraw Milhaven Teams with St. Louis Post-Dispatch for Web Streaming Video Version of His Program. St. Louis talk radio personality McGraw Milhaven tells TALKERS magazine he, along with video technology partner Talisen Technologies, are teaming with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s online platform StlToday.com to present the streaming video version of his KTRS morning drive show. Milhaven says, among other benefits, this deal will give his program access to the reporters and video production of the Post-Dispatch’s StlToday.com to add to his ability to cover local news stories and present them with added video production elements for the people using his program on computer, tablet or smartphone. Milhaven says, “We’re pretty excited. We knew convergence was coming, that live internet programming like this was coming. The ability to use the resources of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gives us access to the largest and best newsroom in the region. Consumers can get it on smartphone, tablet or computer in extraordinary HD quality. It really allows us to turn our radio show and the newspaper into a high-quality TV channel.” The deal between Milhaven, KTRS and the paper allows both the radio station’s and newspaper’s sales staffs to sell spots on the video version of the show. Milhaven says initially during spot breaks on the radio show, the viewers will see pre-recorded video spots introducing them to the program, but ultimately it gives sales the added bonus of selling a visual component along with the audio. “Fox example, during a live read spot that I might do, we can add a slide or video to the internet version to give the client another way to enhance his message.” It also allows a talk radio show another way of getting back into the home where people often use their tablets while going about their morning routines. Initial response to the “beta version” of Milhaven’s video initiative – seen on the station’s website – has been excellent. He says, “The TSL – or rather time spent viewing – in our infancy has been very promising, averaging 35 minutes. We’re very pleased with that considering we’re just beginning to tap the potential. Also, the compliments on the high quality of the video and the added graphics have been encouraging.” Milhaven’s association with StlToday.com begins on Thursday, May 16. For a number of years, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has been singing the praises of local newspaper (daily and weekly) websites and resources as perfect partners for the next digital phase of talk radio stating, “McGraw Milhaven is making a very smart move in this newspaper alliance. The industry should take note and watch his progress with interest. We are talking about the evolution of the concept of the local ‘media station’ as it grows on one of its most potentially fertile platforms. The combination of talk radio and a local newspaper in a teamed-up, combined medium is programming and sales dynamite.”
WIBC-FM, Indianapolis to Add Abdul Hakim-Shabazz to Weekend Schedule. The Indianapolis Business Journal reports that Emmis news/talk outlet WIBC-FM, Indianapolis is adding former WXNT morning host and practicing attorney Abdul Hakim-Shabazz to the weekend schedule for the Saturday 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm show. Shabazz’s conservative morning program at crosstown WXNT was cancelled in 2011. WIBC-FM program director David Wood tells the paper, “He has a nice following and he does a fun show.” The paper notes Shabazz “has frequently made light of his incongruous profile — being black, conservative and a Muslim.” Shabazz publishes IndyPolitics.org and is a local political commentator. He practices law with Indianapolis law firm Lewis and Wilkins.
WDBO-FM, Orlando Names Tony Marino Afternoon News Anchor. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WDBO-FM, Orlando “News 96.5” announces news and traffic pro Tony Marino is the new afternoon drive news anchor at the station. Marino comes to the station from Total Traffic Network in Miami. In the past he has also served at CBS Radio’s KRLD-AM, Dallas in the news department.
Bloomquist Media Wins Two 2013 Communicator Awards. Yesterday TALKERS reported that the Bloomquist Media-produced special “A Grateful Nation” – which raises funds to benefit the Fisher House Foundation – was a U.S. finalist for the New York Festivals 2013 Radio Programs and Promo Awards. Bloomquist Media has also been honored for the same program with two 2013 Communicator Awards. “A Grateful Nation,” was honored with a Gold Award of Excellence for Writing/Creative Concept and a Silver Award of Distinction in the Programs category. Bloomquist Media president Randall Bloomquist states, “We are very pleased to see ‘A Grateful Nation’ honored for its creative concept and writing. Powerful storytelling is key to the success of our innovative Branded Audio Content strategy.” “A Grateful Nation” told four stories of service and sacrifice by members of the U.S. military and their families. Because Fisher House Foundation played a role in all of these stories, the organization’s message was organically woven into the compelling content. The program aired during Memorial Day weekend 2012 on 65 news/talk radio stations, as well as Sirius XM satellite radio. The Communicator Awards is the leading international awards program recognizing big ideas in marketing and communications. Founded nearly two decades ago, The Communicator Awards receives over 6,000 entries from companies and agencies of all sizes, making it one of the largest awards programs of its kind in the world.
Jacobs Media to Host Techsurvey9 News/Talk Webinar. Next Tuesday, May 21 Jacobs Media will host a webinar for news/talk radio broadcasters presenting data from its Techsurvey9. The company says, “With over 78,000 respondents from 264 North American radio stations from 12 formats, the study provides a rich, deep exploration into the shifting digital, social, and media habits of radio listeners. As always, we’ve got some great data here that can help stations better understand what their audiences are doing when they’re not listening to radio. Overall, 27 news/talk stations contributed close to 12,000 respondents, showing why this is valuable information for news/talk stations. Jacobs Media will present the webinar at 2:00 pm ET on that day and it is charging $99 for participation in the webinar for stations that did not pay for their data, but it says the small fee allows broadcasters to bring as many people into their conference rooms as they like. More information can be found here.
RAB Study: Auto Radio Ads Have Greatest Influence as Consumers Get Close to Purchase. According to the Radio Advertising Bureau’s newest service – Finding Consumer Trends Reports – “radio plays a dominant role, whether people are considering a vehicle purchase, or spending time in a vehicle. The closer listeners get to purchasing or leasing a vehicle, the more important a part radio advertising plays. And radio is a top ‘must-have’ for automotive buyers of every age.” The RAB states that “these are just some of the key findings stemming from its new service to help radio stations sell locally and highlight the buying power of radio listeners coast to coast.” It was developed in partnership with Presslaff Interactive Revenue, and offered as a benefit of membership, Finding Consumer Trends (F.C.T) Reports are turn-key online surveys of a station’s audience that provide salable insights and qualified leads on purchase interests in top advertising categories. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “We were excited to launch this initiative for our members. The number of responses demonstrates the engagement radio has with its listeners. The information gleaned from this survey on automotive proves radio’s role within brand consideration and purchase.” The RAB says the first F.C.T Report survey was conducted from March 12 to April 2, 2013 and attracted over 28,000 respondents aged 18-plus. Respondents were asked about vehicle and brand preferences along with advertising and dealership influencers. Of those respondents surveyed, 44% currently own a vehicle that is over 8 years old and nearly one in three (32%) of the total respondents will be in the market to purchase/lease a vehicle within the next year. Presslaff Interactive Revenue’s president Ruth Presslaff says of the study, “RAB member stations now have a wealth of information they can use to engage dealerships and services shops. With responses from over 28,000 radio listeners from coast to coast, we have uncovered everything from automotive brand preferences to buying intentions to their listening habits while driving. This is compelling information that will be beneficial for all radio sales, within and well beyond the automotive category.”
Benghazi Investigation, IRS Targeting Conservative Groups, Obama Calls Out Rush Limbaugh, Justice Department AP Phone Records Search, and Angelina Jolie Mastectomy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/14). The ongoing investigation into the Benghazi attack; the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups; President Obama’s calling out Rush Limbaugh; the Justice Department’s search of Associated Press phone records; and actress Angelina Jolie’s choice to have a double mastectomy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Highlights Artist Promotion Deals at Investor Conference Call; Radio Down 2% in Q1. At the top of the conference call for investors for Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings (the publicly traded arm Clear Channel Media Holdings) chief financial officer and EVP Thomas Casey made it a point to shine a light on Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s work with high-profile artists. He said, “I want to highlight with you one recent example of the opportunity Clear Channel is leveraging to monetize our multi-platform reach, and it’s the launch of the new Justin Timberlake album, ‘The 20/20 Experience.’ I’m using this as an example because it shows how we are constantly working with major advertisers to adjust their specific marketing challenges by developing innovative new products, services, content and events that bring new advertising dollars into the company. Two months ago, Clear Channel utilized most of our key assets: radio, online, mobile, outdoor, entertainment, events, contests and talent relationships, in an innovative and coordinated partnership with national retailer Target to launch Justin Timberlake’s new album. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment ran a first-of-its-kind, two-minute live road block across 800 stations, in essence, a virtual press conference, simulcast across all the stations at the same time that enabled Justin to both introduce his new album and kick off the exclusive ‘iHeart Album Release Party with Justin Timberlake.’” Casey stated there are many other examples of CC using its many platforms to create coordinated campaigns for advertisers. As for the numbers, Casey reported that CC Media Holdings was down 0.5% compared to the same quarter in 2012 and the Media and Entertainment division revenue was down 2%. But he said solid growth in radio and digital was offset by the traffic business that company is continuing to integrate. Addressing the radio division, Casey reported, “For the quarter, national sales for our stations were up 2%, outpacing global. Excluding the impact of political advertising, national sales were up 4%, and local was about up approximately 1%. Our fastest growing larger advertising categories were financial services, retail and telecom. We also saw a strong lift in digital revenue, with our iHeartRadio listening hours growing 31% over the first quarter of 2012. Although today digital listening for the industry represents only 7.6% of all audio listening, we are excited about the growth of iHeart and its new features, content and other innovations.” Speaking to a question about network radio, Casey alluded to Premiere Networks having had a soft start to 2013 and said “that has modulated back” and the company feels good about that aspect of the business. Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the call transcript. See the whole call here.
Journal Communications Q1: Radio Up 6.7%. The radio division of Journal Communications’ Journal Broadcast Group reported an increase of 6.7% on revenue of $15.9 million. The company reports that is 2.8% on a same-station basis. The numbers break down this way: Local advertising revenue, excluding political, increased 7.2%, or 3.3% on a same-station basis, primarily due to an increase in retail advertising; National advertising revenue, excluding political, increased 2.1%, but decreased 1.3% on a same-station basis, primarily due to a decrease in communications advertising; Operating earnings from radio stations were $2.4 million compared to $2.9 million, a decrease of 15.3%; Radio operating expenses increased 11.9%, or 8.1% on a same-station basis, primarily due to employee-related expense increases and a non-cash building impairment charge of $0.2 million.
Talk Radio Day at the United Nations Set for Friday, June 7. After a one-year hiatus, TALKERS magazine announces the revival of its annual international initiative, “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations.” Presented in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and in association with the United Nations Foundation, the event consists of a massive radio row held in the heart of the United Nations’ iconic headquarters on the East Side of Manhattan. Approximately 20 talk show hosts and programs from around the country are given the opportunity to do live shows or simply record interviews on the scene for later playback with a wide variety of special guests, including UN officials, foreign ambassadors, international policy experts and representatives of the arts and sciences from around the world. “This is one of our most prideful annual events,” states TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, ”and I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to bring it back after a year off in 2012.” Harrison says, “It accomplishes a number of important things – most notably, it gives a variety of talk show hosts and millions of their listeners in every corner of the country the opportunity to shift gears and discuss international news stories of significant consequence that rarely, if ever, are covered or discussed in the mainstream American media. Some of these stories have enormous implications on war, peace, life and death.” Harrison also points out, “Hosts of just about every political and ideological persuasion have raved about this event over the many years we have been doing it saying that it has proven to be a personally rewarding experience for them as much as it has provided a spectacular bit of special programming to their stations and networks.” Talk Radio Day at the United Nations conveniently takes place the day after Talkers New York 2013 when many talk show hosts are already in New York City. Hosts already on board include Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio, Michael Berry of Clear Channel, Doug Stephan of the “Good Day” show, Martha Zoller of WGAU, Athens, GA, Ethan Bearman of GCN and KSCO, Santa Cruz, Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” and more. All equipment and broadcast setups are provided at no cost for the convenience of the participants – but placement is limited and this will fill up rapidly, so interested hosts should call 413-565-5413 quickly to inquire about signing up.
“The Hartmann and Humphries Show” Brings Two Different Hosts, Ideologies and Programs Together for Rare Simulcast. It was one of those spontaneous one-time events that really clicked as TRN syndicated host Rusty Humphries (left) stopped by WYD Media syndicated host Thom Hartmann‘s Washington, DC studio (Hartmann at right) during a recent visit to the nation’s capital and the two personalities did a simulcast of their individual shows which ran on both of their collective affiliates. The Heavy Hundred performers engaged in refreshingly civil but spirited banter bringing their opposite points of view on a number of hot issues to the table. Both hosts tell TALKERS that they enjoyed the experience and received very positive feedback from their respective audiences which encourages them to do it again sometime down the road. In the photo at top left shows the two shots of each host the producer sees in the booth with background images in place. The lower picture shows Humphries and Hartmann chatting in the studio in front of the green screen.
KTRS, St. Louis Morning Drive Show Gets Video Accolades. The McGraw Milhaven morning show on CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis has been producing an online video component of its program for two months and the show has already surpassed the one million viewer minutes mark, according to the station. The station has a full-time video director in Andrew Dowd and he utilizes four HD cameras as well as pictures, graphics, video and sports highlights to help tell the story each morning. Also, guests can “skype” into the show and bring the listener moving pictures to go along with their spoken words. The video segments of Milhaven’s radio show are then re-tweeted and shared through social media. Milhaven tells TALKERS that even St. Louis Post-Dispatch TV critic Gail Pennington gives the video a thumbs up. “It’s the best internet TV I’ve ever seen. It’s so clear, and the video and graphics are amazing.” Milhaven himself tells TALKERS, “We had a feeling people were going to enjoy the enhanced TV side of the broadcast, but we had no idea so many people would embrace it. The time spent listening, or watching I should say, is off the charts. One million viewer minutes in just over two months? Wow, we wanted to let it grow naturally as we worked out all the kinks, but these numbers are better than we had ever expected. All these people watching and we have just scratched the surface of what we can do with the TV side.” In the image you see here is sports reporter Jason Lamar (left) interacting with Milhaven (right).
WEEI-FM, Boston Brings J.T. the Brick Back to Overnights. The Fox Sports Radio Network star has aired on Entercom’s WEEI in the past and, as vice president of programming Jason Wolfe states, with much success. “Even though he’s a diehard Yankees fan, J.T.’s show has always been extremely popular here in Boston. The show was a winner for us when we aired it years ago, and I’m very pleased to be able to bring him back now. Adding J.T.’s show provides a great balance to our overnight portfolio as we already air a very solid program in ESPN Radio’s SportsCenter Tonight on 850 AM.”
Odds & Sods. Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory takes over the 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am slot at Emmis’ KFTK, St. Louis beginning Monday, May 6…..Entercom is making sports talk WMC-AM, Memphis a CBS Sports Radio Network affiliate beginning next week. The station will carry the network lineup plus local and regional play-by-play. Entercom also operates ESPN Radio affiliate WMFS-AM/FM in the market…..WEPN-FM, New York “ESPN New York 98.7” adds Mike Westhoff and Ray Lucas to the pre-game show for New York Jets broadcasts this fall. The duo will make regular appearances on WEPN-FM during the season and former Jet Lucas will also continue his role on the post-game show…..Morris Communications’ KHAR, Anchorage flips from adult standards to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network programming.
WRKO’s Howie Carr Promotes New Gangster Book. WRKO, Boston afternoon drive host (and longtime Boston Herald columnist) Howie Carr is pictured here with listener Lori Vozzella and her daughter at Thursday’s remote broadcast from La Verdad Mexican Restaurant in the city’s Fenway neighborhood. Carr did his show live from the restaurant to promote his latest book on an infamous Boston crime figure – Steven “Rifleman” Flemmi. Carr’s book, Rifleman (Frandel LLC 2013) details the grisly career of the notorious mobster. Carr has also written books about brothers Billy and Whitey Bulger and Johnny Martorano.
FEMA and Premiere Networks Cooperate on EAS Service. Radio syndicator Premiere Networks and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are announcing a cooperative effort to provide an alternative method for radio stations to receive emergency information during a national emergency. FEMA has added Premiere Networks as a Primary Entry Point station, which delivers information and instructions to the public in an emergency when there is no commercial power. As part of the cooperative effort, Premiere, would use its satellite program receivers in thousands of affiliate radio stations across the country as another tool for delivering national Emergency Alert System (EAS) messages. The radio affiliates would in turn broadcast the emergency messages to the public within its network. FEMA’s Damon Penn states, “This cooperative effort between FEMA and Premiere Networks is one of the latest initiatives to engage the private sector’s cooperation in raising community preparedness across the nation. We count on the broadcasting industry to alert and warn the public through the standard broadcast Emergency Alert System (EAS) including AM, FM, and satellite radio, as well as broadcast, cable and satellite TV, if a national emergency occurs.”
Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath Remains Top Talk Radio Story for Week of April 29 – May 3. The aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, spurred by the arrests of several of suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s friends and the ongoing investigation into the planning and execution of the attack, was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was immigration legislation. Coming in at #3 was the Benghazi attack investigation followed by Syria tensions at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. View this week’s entire chart here.
SiriusXM Reports Positive Q1 with Revenue Up 12%; Company Involved in Digital Dashboard Technology Rollout. That 12% percent increase over the same period a year ago is on revenue of $897 million. New permanent CEO Jim Meyer had every reason to be bubbly during his first investor conference call as official chief executive officer of the satcaster. He reports the company grew its subscriber base to a new record high on new subscriptions of 453,000 during the quarter. From a financial perspective he stated, “We are proud to have achieved the highest suggested EBITDA margin in the history of the company in the first quarter. We expect to achieve a 30% adjusted EBITDA margin this year, up from 27% last year and we continue to target 40% plus margins over time. You will see us move over the next few years to become one of the highest margin businesses among major media companies in the United States. Our ability to convert the bulk of that EBITDA in the free cash flow is also unmatched in the subscription media world.” He said the company is riding the “tailwind in the new car market as it recovers.” Meyer told investors the company is committed to having the best content, spoke about new channel additions as well as new talent joining the company and mentioned talk host Michael Smerconish. Addressing the specific question about GM’s plans for its future “digital dashboard,” Meyer said he couldn’t talk about any one manufacturer’s plans but was able to state, “I believe GM is on a leadership strategy in terms of where I believe the auto industry will go in general. And that is, I believe, over a mid and long period of time — you can define how many years that is — you will see automakers move to what I will call embedded connectivity that will be LTE-based that will give them lots of options for what they want to do for their customers and their vehicles. I think it’s very important that Sirius XM participates in that rollout of technology as it occurs over the next three to seven years and that’s exactly what we’re all about when we referred to our connected-car strategy. This is something that…I want to reiterate again today, that we’re moving and reprioritizing a lot of our technical resources and frankly now our commercial programming resources towards making that goal happen as we go out over time.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. You can read the whole shebang here.
Tom Wheeler Gets Nod from Obama for FCC Chief. On the political side of things, many Democrats wanted to see President Obama select a woman for the post being vacated by Julius Genachowski, but the president nominated a man with a telecommunications background who was very helpful in getting him elected. Politico reports that managing director of Core Capital Partners, Tom Wheeler, (along with his wife) worked Iowa for six weeks straight during the president’s first campaign. Although Wheeler will get some grief from those who are suspicious of his past tenure as a lobbyist with both the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the CTIA (Cellular Telephone Industry Association), he has experience in the industry having founded numerous cable and communications services businesses. National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith states, “NAB welcomes the nomination of Tom Wheeler as chairman of the FCC. He has the experience and temperament to serve the agency with distinction, and we look forward to working with him.”
Talkers New York 2013 Approaching Sellout Today. At the present rate of registration bookings, all available seats to the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 will be sold out by the end of business today (5:00 pm ET). The 16th annual installment of the talk industry’s longest-running and most important annual convention has broken the record for reaching advance registration earlier than ever before. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are amazed and gratified that this conference has reached a sellout almost five weeks in advance of its actual date, which is a testimony to the vibrancy of the talk format and the enthusiasm of the industry that produces it.” The one-day, power-packed event takes place on Thursday, June 6 in New York City between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. It features a speaker roster of more than 50 industry leaders from programming, sales, talent, management, technology and ownership. Registration ($199 for all events and food services) is open exclusively to members of the working media and can only be booked by phone with credit card. Call 413-565-5413. For complete registration and sponsorship information including an up-to-the-minute agenda, click here.
Walton & Johnson Take Over Mornings on KPRC, Houston. Just four months after the Walton & Johnson [John Walton (left) and Steve Johnson (right)] morning show was dropped from Clear Channel’s classic rock KKRW, Houston “97.3 The Arrow,” the program is brought back to the Houston airwaves as the new morning program on the company’s news/talk KPRC. The duo was replaced on “The Arrow” by longtime St. Louis radio personality J.C. Corcoran. Clear Channel Houston director of AM programming Bryan Erickson says, “We are thrilled to have Walton & Johnson back on KPRC. They have a proven track record of great ratings and we look forward to them continuing that success on KPRC.” Walton & Johnson made KPRC their flagship beginning in 2007 but moved to “The Arrow” in 2009. Off KPRC as a result of the move is Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo who is based at Clear Channel’s WOAI, San Antonio and is heard there and on other Clear Channel news/talk stations.
Armstrong & Getty to Join KFMB, San Diego in June. Morning show duo Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty will be heard in the San Diego market beginning June 3 as their program bumps current morning host Mike Slater to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Armstrong & Getty are based at Clear Channel’s KSTE, Sacramento and heard in other markets in Northern California including San Francisco on KKSF. This is a big move for the duo as they are added to a non-Clear Channel station – Midwest TV’s KFMB. Program director Dave Sniff states, “Like any great radio morning show, Armstrong and Getty have that unique ability to not only connect with the listener but to become their companions. They fit in amazingly well among the great storytellers that are part of 760 KFMB’s character and lineage. They’re not so much a ‘talk show’ as a ‘mock show.’”
Cox Media’s WOKV, Jacksonville Adds 104.5 FM Signal. Market news/talk powerhouse WOKV got a little more powerful as Cox Media Group gives the 104.5 FM signal long-occupied by now-defunct rock station WFYV to the station to boost its coverage of the region. WOKV program director Mike Dorwart says, “Our listeners told us loud and clear that we needed more power. Moving to 104.5 FM means that, for the first time, our listeners can hear us crystal clear, everywhere in northeast Florida, both day and night. The most noticeable improvement will be heard by listeners in Baker, Clay, St. Johns, and Nassau counties. They now have full coverage from WOKV, 24/7, on 104.5 FM. Duval residents will also hear a big difference, especially those who listen at work. Our new signal also gives reliable coverage to listeners in Flagler, Putnam, Bradford, Union and Columbia counties in Florida, as well as Camden and Charlton counties in Georgia.” The station has been simulcast on the 106.5 FM frequency but that class A FM is much smaller. WOKV will continue to be heard on 106.5 as the company directs listeners to the new 104.5 frequency.
Five Critical Steps for Radio to Achieve Success with Online Video. Noted media consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo outlines five crucial pointers that radio broadcasters should keep in mind when utilizing video in their digital initiatives. In a column posted today (5/1) he suggests: 1) bad equipment is usually the best; 2) online video is NOT television (TV); 3) 80% of all videos are watched within 72 hours of posting; 4) most of the biggest stars of the internet (“webstars”) are self-cast; and 5) late evening is the best time to post. To read the entirety of this timely and informative article, click here.
The End of an Era for Knoxville News/Talk; Country to Take Over 100.3 Frequency. With Journal Broadcast Group’s acquisition of Oak Ridge FM’s news/talk WNOX, Knoxville about to close, the company is preparing to move the country format currently heard on its WCYQ to the much stronger 100.3 signal currently occupied by news/talk on WNOX. A country simulcast will begin tomorrow on the two FMs (5/2) and the news/talk programming now on WNOX will move to Blount Broadcasting’s WKVL, a daytime AM at 850.
KTRS, St. Louis Newest Affiliate for Envision’s ‘America Weekend.’ The weekend news/talk radio program being nationally syndicated by Envision Radio Networks announces CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis is the latest station to add the programming to its weekend offerings. Envision calls “America Weekend” “the winning antidote to bad brokered programming and tiresome ‘Best-of’ shows. Hosted by Paul Harris, Rick Roberts, and Turi Ryder, ‘America Weekend’ is designed to increase ratings while providing an innovative system for maintaining or even increasing revenue from brokered programs. The flexible ‘America Weekend’ system provides the perfect platform to break away for sports and other special programming as needed. Since ‘America Weekend’ is broadcast live via satellite, it is able to stay current by addressing breaking and developing stories of national interest as they happen. The program airs live each Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.”
Fargo Stations Sales Close: Fargo-Moorhead Radio Cluster to Midwest Communications; Triad Broadcasting Group to Larry Wilson’s L&L. The sales of both of these Fargo market station groups were announced last year and were approved by the FCC months ago. Now the transactions close with Wausau, Wisconsin-based Midwest Communications taking ownership of the former Fargo-Moorhead Radio cluster that includes: news/talk KFGO, sports KVOX, CHR WDAY “Y-94,” country KBVB “Bob FM,” talk KRWK “101.9 Talk FM,” and adult hits KMJO “Popster FM.” Midwest Communications vice president of programming Jeff McCarthy tells the Forum of Fargo Moorhead he doesn’t anticipate any immediate programming changes. Larry Wilson, whose Alpha Broadcasting operates stations in Portland, Oregon, also is a principal in L&L Broadcasting and his company is closing on Triad Broadcasting’s stations that include: oldies KQWB “True Oldies,” classic rock KPFX “The Fox,” hot AC KLTA, country KVOX “Froggy 99.9,” full service KBMW, and rock KQWB “Q98.” Triad vice president and market manager Michael Brooks also tells the paper he does not anticipate any immediate changes.
WEEI Names John Ryder to Red Sox Broadcast Team; Grande and Merloni to Handle Fill-In Role. In announcing John Ryder’s ascension to a permanent role on Red Sox broadcasts as host of pre- and post-game coverage, the company says, “Ryder has been with WEEI since 1998 and is a regular contributor to the ‘Planet Mikey’ show, in addition to hosting ‘Red Sox Review’ and ‘Celtics Rewind’ after Sox and Celtics games.” The company is also announcing that Sean Grande and Lou Merloni will join the broadcasts filling in for Dave O’Brien, who will miss Monday night games during the season due to his responsibilities for ESPN. Grande has been the voice of the Boston Celtics since 2001, after having served as the TV voice of the Minnesota Timberwolves for three years. Merloni is currently co-host of the “Mut and Merloni” show on WEEI 93.7 FM. Merloni also enjoyed a nine-year professional career in Major League Baseball, the first five with the Red Sox. Entercom Boston vice president of programming Jason Wolfe says, “John has done a stellar job in every role we’ve had for him and has absolutely earned this promotion. He’s hosted the pre- and post-game shows for the Sox many times before and was a natural choice for us to fill this important job. Sean’s play-by-play experience speaks for itself. He’s one of the greats in the industry right now, and Lou’s expertise is second to none. There’s no baseball man in Boston who knows the Sox better than Lou.”
Odds & Sods. Result Radio’s Christian contemporary KJJK, Fargo will flip to sports talk on Monday, May 6 using programming from Fox Sports Radio Network including Dan Patrick, Jay Mohr and the “Loose Cannons” with Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman. The station will continue to serve as a Minnesota Twins affiliate…..Personality J.D. Hayworth – co-host of the “Hacksaw & Hayworth” show on sports talk XEPRS, San Diego – does some news/talk fill-in work this week when he sits in for Cumulus Media Networks host Michael Savage tonight through Friday from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. He’ll also sit in for the company’s Mike Huckabee tomorrow from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET…..Bouyed by coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and the Texas fertilizer warehouse explosion, cable news/talk channel CNN has improved in the ratings compared to the same period a year ago. Based on April Nielsen numbers as reported in Deadline.com, CNN saw its total day viewers number rise 79% compared to April 2012. CNN was also up in prime time, achieving an 81% increase in total viewers over the same period a year ago. The network was able to climb over MSNBC into second place behind Fox News Channel in both ratings categories.
Benghazi Cover-up Investigation, ObamaCare Effects, Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath, Slow Job Growth Reports, and Immigration Legislation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30). New inquiries into the Benghazi attack; the effects of the Affordable Care Act; the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing and the search for possible co-conspirators; newly released reports indicating slow job growth in the United States; and debate over immigration legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Is CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle the Next Progressive Talker to Flip? Seattle-based blog Blatherwatch (cool name!) is reporting the WYD Media-produced Stephanie Miller talk show indicated on Monday’s broadcast that CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle would flip from progressive talk after the holidays. No report on what the station may become and the report has not been confirmed by CBS Radio. If this comes to pass, it would be the second West Coast progressive talk outlet to recently shuck the format as Clear Channel’s KPOJ, Portland did Monday (11/12). It’d also be the second progressive talk station that’s been in the format for a relatively long period of time – eight years for each station – and located in “progressive” cities, to change formats.
Stacey Simms to Exit WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. “Charlotte’s Morning News” co-host Stacey Simms announces she will exit the Greater Media news/talk outlet after the December 14 edition of the program due to personal reasons. Simms has co-hosted the show at WBT for 10 years, first with Al Gardner (now in Philly on WWIQ) and currently with Bo Thompson. Simms is a well-known media personality in the market having worked in television news at WBTV-TV before beginning her talk radio career. Senior vice president and market manager Rick Feinblatt says of Simms, “Since 2002, Stacey has been instrumental in the development and success of ‘Charlotte’s Morning News’ and has always displayed the highest level of professionalism and dedication to WBT and all our listeners. We wish Stacey the best as she pursues new opportunities and adventures.”
KFNS, St. Louis Parts Ways with Host Kevin Slaten After Racial Rant. Sports talk host Kevin Slaten wasn’t an employee of Grand Slam Sports – owner of KFNS, St. Louis – rather he brokered the time and sold his own advertising. As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, his contract was cancelled after he went on a rant last Thursday charging African Americans who voted for Barack Obama with being bigoted if they voted for Obama because he’s black. Station manager Katy Pavelonis tells the paper she asked Slaten to take his conversation in a different direction. “The topics of Thursday weren’t homing in on where I want to go.” Slaten was with KFNS previously but was fired from the station in 2008 after putting St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan on the air without informing him the conversation was being broadcast. Speaking of the mixing of sports talk and political talk; WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer has some thoughts on the matter. See the next story…
The Risk of Talking Politics on a Sports Station. The 2012 campaign is behind us but WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer has some thoughts on mixing politics and sports talk that some may want to consider for the next election cycle. Neer says that the very close popular vote in the presidential election – almost a 50/50 split – means it’s possible almost half your audience could disagree with you no matter whom you support, so is it worth “campaigning” for your guy? Neer writes, “A few undecideds may be persuaded by your arguments, but more likely you’ll either be preaching to the choir or turning off the other side. Another unintended consequence is if you show yourself to be poorly informed or blindly biased, it could undermine steady listeners’ trust in your authority when it comes to an area that you know more about — sports.” Read the rest of Richard Neer’s argument for avoiding politics here.
Opinion Piece: Five Trends About to Make a Buck. Noted industry idea man and Sabo Media chairman Walter Sabo offers five companies and concepts that he believes are closing in on what he describes as “the event horizon for making profits.” They include internet radio, Jumpwire Media, kid-targeted tablets (Toys“R”Us), Kickstarter.com, and companies that learn from TMZ. For the juicy details, click here.
Major Development at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago…New Call-in Number. Okay, so it’s not the biggest news to come out of Tribune Tower recently, but mid-morning talk host Mike McConnell played up the announcement of the changing of the station’s 46-year-old call-in phone number dramatically in a bit that surely had a fair number of WGN P1s on the edges of their collective seats. WGN promoted a “change of historic proportions” announcement during morning drive and when it came time for McConnell to break the news, he did so in a dramatic – some might call it melodramatic – fashion, building up to it by reading a list of the names of famous WGN broadcasters who’ve graced the station’s studios over the years. After delivering the punch line – the new call-in number – he explained that the new studios and the change to all-digital equipment required a new phone number as of today (11/13).
St. Louis Talk Hosts in War Over A-List Guests. The kinds of battles that happen between mega-broadcasters like David Letterman and Jay Leno can also happen between local talk radio hosts. The race to get the guest “first” is something most listeners are not aware happens among the hosts at their local media outlets, but St. Louis talk radio fans are learning about an kerfuffle between former station-mates Charlie Brennan at KMOX and McGraw Milhaven at crosstown KTRS (Milhaven previously worked at KMOX). The St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes about how the competition has escalated after Milhaven went public with what he considers Brennan’s unfair play. He points to a memo from publisher Random House’s public relations office regarding a St. Louis appearance by Pulitzer-prize winning author Jon Meacham on December 6 that details the cancellation of Meacham’s appearance on Milhaven’s show due to a conflict with a KMOX live broadcast event at the St. Louis Library and that state’s KMOX’s requirement it be the first radio appearance. Brennan’s Fontbonne University book club has been booking author appearances in the market for some time. Brennan tells the paper, “And it’s only a radio exclusive if the author wants to be a KMOX/Fontbonne University selection, which means the book will get a month’s worth of publicity and anywhere from 400 to 800 book buyers at the club’s monthly meetings…I’m not sure why (Milhaven) is making an issue of it. If he could offer the author a better agreement, I’m sure the author would take it. Then it would be ‘goodbye Charlie.’”
Bonneville Seattle and NFL’s Seahawks Agree to Multi-Year Extension. Bonneville’s KIRO-AM was the original radio partner for the Seattle Seahawks when the franchise joined the NFL back in 1976 and has been its sole partner ever since. Now, Bonneville extends its relationship with the team in a multi-year deal that will have Seahawks games and programming continue on sports KIRO-AM and news/talk KIRO-FM. The deal also includes the two stations’ coverage of Seattle Sounders soccer, which will have the football club’s matches heard on KIRO-FM. Bonneville Seattle Media Group vice president and market manager Carl Gardner says, “After 37 years, fans in the Northwest have come to think of Seahawks Radio and KIRO as one and the same, and we’re proud of that tradition. We also love helping build a new culture and tradition around Sounders FC and Major League Soccer, extending our strong partnership is a win for the fans, for the clubs, and for Bonneville.”
CBS Radio’s Sports WJFK, Washington Improving its Signal. According to Dave Hughes’ DCRTV.com, CBS Radio sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington is getting some engineering attention to help improve its signal. By altering the coverage patterns of two of its adjacent channel outlets WJFK should see improved penetration to the northeast, into DC itself and into Prince George’s County. In order to accommodate WJFK improvement, CBS will move the transmitter for WWMX, Baltimore “Mix 106.5” which will, to a degree, adversely affect its coverage. Over the years, more than one person associated with WJFK has told TALKERS that the sports talk station suffers from signal problems that are limiting its ratings potential.
Timely Guest. WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (l) is pictured here on the stage at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach interviewing U.S. Senator Bill Nelson in the 85th edition of the Town Hall speaker series at the school. Nelson, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, answered questions about the scandal involving former CIA chief David Petraeus before a full house of students and the public.
Petraeus Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Businesses Prepare for ObamaCare, and Post-Sandy Frustrations in New York Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/12). The widening David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell scandal; the Benghazi attack investigation and Petraeus’ role in it; Washington addresses the “fiscal cliff”; American businesses prepare to pay for ObamaCare; and the post-Sandy frustrations still affecting some New Yorkers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Pulls the Plug on Progressive Talk KPOJ, Portland. The conspiracy theories from listeners and progressive talk fans are already pouring in – especially on the Portland-area blogs and mainstream media sites – but the notion that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is flipping KPOJ to sports talk for political reasons and not because of business factors has no basis in reality. According to a piece in the local Willamette Week blog site, KPOJ’s recent 12-plus ratings were around a 1.0 share compared to some of its spoken-word competitors (news/talk KEX and KXL posted a 3.5 share and 5.0 share, respectively). TALKERS is not privy at this time to how well Clear Channel was able to sell KPOJ but it should surprise few in the business that sports content has never been hotter from a consumption standpoint and political talk – whether conservative or progressive – is, from a sales perspective, controversial and therefore a much tougher sell, probably even in a progressive market such as Portland. Local morning talk host Carl Wolfson was gracious in his public statement about the decision saying, in part, “I appreciate the opportunity they gave me for six years to be a voice for progressive causes in our state and nation. I will miss all of my fun friends at work (my excellent producer Paul, remains employed!). I love all of you, my loyal listeners. It has been my honor to give a platform to all of the outstanding groups, volunteers, elected officials and good people who make Oregon so special.” The station, considered one of the nation’s more successful progressive talk outlets for many years, also carried WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann, Premiere Networks’ Randi Rhodes and Mike Malloy.
Fox Sports Radio Takes Over in Portland. Beginning Today, KPOJ, Portland becomes “Fox Sports Radio 620” and carries the full lineup of Fox Sports Radio Network programming that includes “Fox Sports Daybreak,” “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and JT The Brick plus other weekend programming. Clear Channel Portland has the rights to Portland Trailblazers basketball (which airs on sister KEX) and Oregon State Beavers sports and the “Beaver Nation Live” show will continue to air on KPOJ from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily. Operations manager Chris Sargent states, “Combining our rich relationship with the Oregon State Beavers and Portland Trail Blazers, and now Fox Sports Radio, this is a win-win situation for us. We expect the new Fox Sports Radio 620 to serve the community with great access to sports information and entertainment, while setting the standard of sports excellence in Portland.”
Brian Wilson Exits WSPD, Toledo. News/talk pro Brian Wilson leaves Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WSPD, Toledo where he’s been program director, news director and afternoon drive talk host for more than seven years. Wilson has long operated his Vacation Relief Services company and has been a host a such outlets as WABC, New York; KSFO, San Francisco; WRC, Washington; and WGST, Atlanta. Wilson says via his Facebook page: “I am glad to have had the opportunity to preach the gospel of freedom and liberty to Northwest Ohio. Wish I had the chance on the air to say thank you and goodbye to my listeners. I will continue to make every effort to spread the message of free markets and liberty.”
Cox Media Splits WDBO, Orlando Simulcast; AM 580 to Sports Talk. The AM/FM simulcast of news/talk on Cox Media’s WDBO, Orlando ends today as the station takes up the ESPN affiliation and begins airing ESPN Radio’s lineup of nationally syndicated programming including “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” and SVP & Russillo. The move adds another sports talk outlet to the market that already includes Clear Channel-owned WYGM “The Game” the Fox Sports Radio affiliate; Star Over Orlando’s WRSO the Yahoo! Sports affiliate; and Genesis Communications’ WHOO “Sports Talk Florida” the NBC Sports Radio affiliate. WDBO’s full program schedule should be known soon and it’s not clear at this point if the station will air any local sports talk.
Unlocking the Secrets of Twitter. One of the radio industry’s most respected digital consultants offers tips on maximizing the use of Twitter to drive listeners to the station and increase ratings. TALKERS columnist Chris Miller of Chris Miller Digital warns that Twitter is not Facebook‘s “little sister” and should not be treated that way. He says broadcasters can use Twitter to effectively enhance their radio brand by creating a “bulletin service” that promotes one element of upcoming programming and one element only; a “customer channel” that opens a link to a real, live customer serviceperson – a recording; and by creating “mico-targeting” initiatives which separates various factions of the total target audience for very specific aspects of the programming of primary interest to them. Read Chris Miller’s entire piece here.
WABC, New York’s Geraldo Rivera to Broadcast Sandy Relief Program. During his midday show today, Cumulus Media Networks’ talk show host Geraldo Rivera will broadcast live from a Salvation Army post on storm-ravaged Island Park on Long Island in order to raise funds for Hurricane Sandy relief. WABC states, “During the broadcast, singer and actress Katharine McPhee will interrupt filming the next season of her TV show ‘Smash’ to announce that she will match every donation dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000 through her charitable foundation, McPhee Outreach (for a total of $100,000).” McPhee says, “I was looking for the organization on the ground that was doing the most to help Hurricane Sandy victims and I found that to be the Salvation Army.” Rivera will be on the air from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm ET. He says, “There is no one who does more with less than the Salvation Army. I’m hoping that my listeners and sponsors will step up and match the McPhee Outreach’s grant to raise more than $100,000 to help people rebuild their lives in the wake of this weather disaster.”
LFM’s KKFN, Denver Re-Signs Clough. Late-morning talk host Sandy Clough re-ups with Lincoln Financial Media’s Denver sports talker KKFN. The terms of the deal were not announced and Clough’s extending his contract with the station comes shortly after the sports talk outlet re-upped fellow air talent Scott Hastings and Joel Klatt.
Aaron Matthews Named PD at WWSR, Lima, Ohio. Maverick Media fills the program director position at sports WWSR, Lima “93.1 The Fan” with market veteran Aaron Matthews. He takes over for Ryan Reker who exited Maverick’s Lima cluster to become program director at Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne.
Opinion: Talk Radio’s Renaissance Requires Open-Minded Ownership. Talk host and programmer Tom Becka – currently heard on KRWK, Fargo and KOIL, Omaha – says that the post-election reflection on talk radio’s future reminds him of his days as a stand-up comic traveling the country and talking with people whose concerns went far beyond the political process in Washington, DC. “The truth is what is important to most talk show hosts is not important to most people on the street.” Becka says hosts must be broader in their approach and management has to be willing to change. Read his opinion piece here.
Canada’s CRTC Approves New English-Language Talk Station for Montreal. The new English-language talk formatted station won’t hit the airwaves in Montreal until late spring of 2013 but Canada’s broadcasting regulation agency – the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has approved the application for the new station. The company applying for the license is owned by three Montreal businessmen and the outlet will be the sister station to the French-language talk outlet that’s also been approved. The French station will operate at 940 AM – a signal that’s been dark in Montreal for two years. Currently, Montreal is served by Astral Media’s English-language talk outlet CJAD.
ESPN Responds to CBS Sports Radio Announcement. Well, not specifically to last week’s announcement by CBS of its planned CBS Sports Radio network division, but it may have been a factor (wink, wink). ESPN sends a reminder to the industry underscoring it how pervasive the sports media organization’s audio content is, signed by SVP production, business divisions Traug Keller, who states, “We’re used to competition. ESPN Audio has built an unparalleled mix of high-quality events and national sports talk programming over the last 20 years. We are well positioned in the marketplace through our diverse audio platforms.” The release goes on to note it counts 700 affiliate stations in the U.S. – 300 of which it terms full-time affiliates. It also says it reaches 24 million listeners each week.
Programming Changes at Merlin Media’s WIQI-FM, Chicago; Greg Jarrett to AM Drive. According to Chicagoland Radio and Media, Merlin Media is making changes to the lineup at “FM News 101.1” beginning today with the arrival of Greg Jarrett in AM drive. Jarrett, the news pro who most recently served as morning host at Tribune’s crosstown WGN, joins the morning drive program co-anchoring with Monica DeSantis. The move bumps Rob Hart and Mary Ellen Geist to the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon shift. The site also reports Merlin is adding some “expanded news” programming – apparently a euphemism for “talk show” – to the schedule with John Czahor beginning a 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show. And there is still a lot of chatter in Chicago about Erich “Mancow” Muller getting an afternoon talk show on the station. He, and others including Jeff Pinkus, Kevin Matthews and Jim Laski, have been taking turns hosting talk shows in the afternoons on the station. But so far there is no official word about the permanent addition of any talk show to the lineup.
New York Public Radio Names NY Times Editor Jim Schachter News VP. WNYC-FM, New York announces The New York Times associate managing editor Jim Schachter will exit the paper and become the pubcaster’s vice president of news on July 9. He’ll be responsible for WNYC, the New Jersey Public Radio stations it recently acquired, the data news unit and the political site, It’s A Free Country. President and CEO Laura Walker says of Schachter, “He has a vibrant vision, an appetite for innovation, and a keen understanding of engaging audiences. This will bolster our ambitious plans to grow our news content and increase our reporting capacity across all platforms. We’re delighted that he is joining us at a moment when the need for serious journalism has never been more urgent.”
Digital Audio Service TuneIn Adds Fox News Radio and Bloomberg to Its Stable. The global digital audio service is quickly reaching deals with major radio and internet audio content providers and now announces it has added Fox News Radio and Bloomberg Radio to its affiliate list. TuneIn tallies more than 20 major broadcast groups as partners and the addition of Fox News Radio means TuneIn users can hear the network’s top- and bottom-of-the-hour newscasts as well as longform talk shows “Kilmeade and Friends,” John Gibson, Tom Sullivan, Alan Colmes, “Fox Across America with Spencer Hughes” and more. TuneIn CEO John Donham states, “We are committed to achieving the varied goals of our broadcast partners, whether they’re growing their audiences, monetizing their streams or growing their digital footprint. Broadcasters have already responded enthusiastically to our current offerings. We will continue to innovate – as we always have – to ensure the best experience for broadcasters, and listeners, everywhere.”
Six Leading Radio Networks Organize Network Radio Compliance Council. Six of the top American radio networks are announcing the formation of the NRCC – Network Radio Compliance Council – whose mission is to “establish best practices, providing advertisers, agencies and radio stations with better tools for the placement and reporting of commercial audio.” The NRCC consists of the six RADAR-rated network organizations: American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Cumulus Media Networks, Dial Global, Premiere Networks and United Stations Radio Networks. The council elects Meg Montury of Premiere Networks as chair and Chris Buehler of Dial Global as vice chair. In a statement, the council will host quarterly meetings with invited guests, including radio vendors, ad agencies and additional network radio companies. Montury says, “Given the vast industry experience of members of this council, we are excited to be working together as an industry to enhance the accountability of network radio. Technology over the past five years has enabled us all to deliver even more precision and accuracy for our clients. The NRCC can only further solidify these efforts.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles is honored with two Southern California Journalism Awards for editorial excellence from the Los Angeles Press Club at yesterday’s 54th Southern California Journalism Awards dinner. KNX won in the “News” category for its “Shutdown Occupy L.A.” piece and in the “Investigative” category for “The Strange Case of Dr. Ehab Mohamed.”…..La Crosse Radio Group flips WLFN, La Crosse, Wisconsin from standards to talk with local host Bob Schmidt in AM drive, WIBA, Madison-based Vicki McKenna in PM drive plus Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish…..CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis is sponsoring a lunch and live broadcast to honor first responders and benefit the St. Louis County Police Welfare Association. Along with local sponsors Lane House Construction and CiCi’s Pizza, the former will buy lunch for all first responders who join the event on Thursday, June 28 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm during which the station’s Martin Kilcoyne and Trish Gazall will broadcast live and donations to the association will be accepted…..Boston jazz buffs are lamenting the imminent disappearance of WGBH-FM, Boston’s evening jazz programming as the non-com announces it will add more spoken-word content to the program schedule this summer. There’s no official evening programming schedule announcement yet but the station has recently added expanded programming from NPR…..“Car Clinic” radio host Bobby Likis says he’s extended his collaboration with the Renewable Fuels Association on its ethanol educational outreach. The outreach includes the “Calling All Technicians…20 Facts About Ethanol” feature on the Car Clinic Network, which is designed to enlighten, educate and energize automotive technicians with verifiable facts, studies and statistics on ethanol…..Galaxy Communications’ classic rock simulcast of WTKW-FM, Bridgeport, New York and WTKV-FM, Oswego, New York are the new central New York affiliate stations for Buffalo Bills football games this season…..Al Warren retires from his weekend morning program at Cumulus Media’s WICC, Bridgeport, Connecticut on July 1. Warren began working with WICC in 1965.
KDOW, San Francisco Producer Wins Award for “Phil’s Gang” Promotion. Salem Communications’ KDOW, San Francisco producer Mark Morris is recognized in the 2011 International Radio and Production Awards for his production work on the “Waltzing with Phil Grande” promotion. The business talk-formatted station carries the nationally syndicated “Phil’s Gang” talk program hosted by Phil Grande. Grande states, “We are proud of Mark and thankful for all his hard work for the ‘Phil’s Gang’ radio show. This high-level award is the crème of the industry and everyone at ‘Phil’s Gang’ congratulates Mark on this leading international award honoring his excellence in broadcasting.”
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.
CNN Ratings Cause for Concern at Headquarters. The executives at Time Warner and subsidiary CNN/U.S. are displeased with cable news/talk channel CNN’s performance in the April Nielsen ratings after much time and money has been spent tweaking the programming there. The New York Times’ Brian Stelter reports that sources say Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes has made his dissatisfaction with the channel’s performance known to his subordinates. Over the past 18 months CNN has made numerous programming changes including replacing Larry King with Piers Morgan in the 9:00 pm ET slot; the addition of Soledad O’Brien as host of the morning show; and a new 7:00 pm ET show with Erin Burnett. CNN has long stated publicly that it delivers a unique news product around the clock with which advertisers like being associated. In fact, the entire CNN unit (including other domestic and international channels) is poised to make a record $600 million in operating profit this year. The company issued the following statement in response to reports about the April ratings. “Despite the perennial ratings stories and quotes from anonymous sources, CNN continues to deliver quality journalism which is uniquely valuable to audiences, advertisers and distributors. In fact, CNN is on track to deliver its highest profits in its history and continues to reach more people on more platforms than any other TV network.” Still, as Brian Stelter writes, “Performance of CNN/U.S. drives public perception — and employee pride — and declines there may gradually damage CNN’s networks as a whole.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “CNN would probably do better in both ratings and revenue if they stopped obviously competing with Fox News Channel and MSNBC in trying to be entertaining and opinionated concentrating, rather, on really being journalistic on a level not seen for years on American television. There is an opening in the marketplace for such a product a mile wide and a deep need and hunger for it by a significant segment of the public.”
CC Media Holdings Reports Q1 Revenue Hike of 3%. That 2012 first quarter revenue increase comes as CC Media Holdings posts $1.36 billion in revenue compared to the $1.32 for the same period a year ago. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – which excludes the parent company’s outdoor divisions – was up 6% or $39 million compared to the first quarter of 2011. CC Media Holdings CEO Bob Pittman states, “Since the start of 2012, we have continued to invest in our rapidly growing digital products and services, while strengthening our operations to better serve our marketing partners and our consumers. We have enhanced our ability to help our partners take advantage of the unique size and scale of our media, entertainment and outdoor assets, with a particular focus on multi-platform solutions that no other company is able to deliver.”
KTRS, St. Louis Officially Announces Martin Kilcoyne Midday Host. Monday’s story announced CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis was parting company with midday talk host JC Corcoran and would replace him with KTVI-TV, St. Louis sports director Martin Kilcoyne. The station makes that official with general manager and partner Mark Dorsey stating, “Martin is a proven broadcaster, both in television and radio, and KTRS looks forward to bringing his personality, wit and opinions to the airwaves.” Kilcoyne will assume the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show beginning Monday, May 14. He says of his new gig, “I am thrilled to have an opportunity like this. I’m a sports guy, but I love to talk about all things. The plan is to have a show that St. Louis will find lively, topical and fresh. I’m not Ted Koppel, but I’m also not Ted Baxter.”
First Quarter Positive for Salem Communications. The first quarter of 2012 has been pretty good for Salem Communications and subsidiary Salem Broadcasting. The parent company is reporting an increase of 6.1% on revenue of $54.3 million compared to the same period one year ago. On the broadcasting side, Salem is up 2.9% on revenue of $44 million. Broadcasting still makes up the bulk of Salem’s revenue but digital continues to perform well rising 33% over the same period in 2011 on revenue of $7.4 million. The company is bullish about Q2 projecting a revenue increase of a couple percentage points with a total revenue goal of more than $55 million for the quarter.
Legal Battle May Ensue Over Merlin Media’s Blago Billboard. This billboard pictured here is one of several purchased by Merlin Media in the Chicago area promoting all-news WIQI-FM – FM News 101.1. Crain’s Chicago Business reports Merlin consultant John Gehron commenting on the marketing campaign saying, “We wanted to have something that we thought would be fun and get people’s attention.” And apparently it has. Attorney Sheldon Sorosky, who represents former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich – currently serving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption – says the use of Blagojevich’s image may violate an Illinois law prohibiting one’s image from being used for commercial gain without one’s consent. Sorosky tells Crain’s it’s called the Right to Publicity Act and it states, “A person may not use an individual’s identity for commercial purposes during the individual’s lifetime without having obtained previous written consent from the appropriate person or persons.” Sorosky says they have not decided whether to take legal action or not at this point.
Ric Edelman Celebrates 20 Years on the Radio This Weekend. Nationally syndicated talk show host Ric Edelman, host of “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman,” marks 20 years on the radio with his broadcast this weekend. Edelman, an award-winning financial advisor, heard along with financial advisors Brandon Corso and Anderson Wozny, is heard in 56 markets including on WABC, New York; WLS, Chicago; and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC. He says, “It is a genuine privilege to do this show. As I always say, ‘Money doesn’t come with instructions,’ so I’m honored for the opportunity to share my knowledge with so many listeners from across the country.” Edelman, a member of TALKERS 2012 “Heavy Hundred,” is also seen on public television across the country as his TV program of the same name is in its second season.
Pamela Furr to Join New Atlanta All-Newser. Talk show host and news anchor Pamela Furr confirms via Facebook that she’s headed to Atlanta to become part of the Cumulus Media FM all-news outlet slated for WYAY-FM in a few weeks. The company has confirmed it will turn the outlet into an all-news station soon and obviously has begun hiring. Furr most recently worked full time at Clear Channel’s WPTI-FM, Greensboro-Winston-Salem as co-host of the morning drive show. She’s been freelancing doing news at CC’s WRDU-FM, Raleigh the past few weeks.
Atlanta Business Chronicle to Provide Content for Cumulus’ “All News 106.7.” When Cumulus Media flips the switch on WYAY-FM, Gainesville, Georgia turning it into “All News 106.7,” the Atlanta Business Chronicle will provide exclusive business updates at :20 and :50. In a statement, Cumulus co-COO John Dickey says, “Our partnership with the Atlanta Business Chronicle is consistent with our mission of bringing the most credible news and information to Atlantans 24 hours a day, seven days a week. ABC is the definitive business news brand in Atlanta and 106.7 will be the definitive radio news and information brand in Atlanta.” ABC publisher Ed Baker states, “It’s exciting that intelligent Atlantans are finally getting a much-needed all-news format. We’re very excited to be a part of something new and different. Quality business reporting is more important than ever and this partnership will allow us to deliver something special to our community.”
Cumulus Brings Celebrity News Blogger Perez Hilton Aboard for Nightly Radio Show. At the same time the company announces that the new “Perez Nights Live” will replace Dial Global’s “Billy Bush Show” on stations where it airs and expects the show to debut on about 50 affiliate stations. “Perez Nights Live” will feature Perez Hilton and co-host Adam Bomb and will consist of celebrity news chatter and music. Cumulus co-COO John Dickey states, “Successful contemporary stations all have one thing in common: They keep their listeners on the cutting edge of music and pop culture. Leading stations in our business set trends. Perez doesn’t report on pop culture, he is pop culture. ‘Perez Nights Live’ will take the important evening daypart and turn it into a brand enhancing experience.”
2012 Presidential Race Lands Atop Talkers TenTM for Fifth Straight Week. The 2012 presidential campaign was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of April 30 – May 4, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. The race barely beat the case of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng which landed at #2 followed very closely by President Obama’s Afghanistan visit and the government’s release of Osama bin Laden documents tied at #3. The shocking death of retired NFL star Junior Seau came in at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published each Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart for this week here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup. The “At Home with Bob Vila” feature from Compass Media Networks debuted this week on such signals as KOGO-AM/FM, San Diego; WTKK-FM, Boston; KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; KFNN, Phoenix; and KVON, Napa, California…..Courtside Media Group’s “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew” is being aired on Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP-FM, Washington…..“The Small Business Advocate with Jim Blasingame” is picked up by WZFG, Fargo; WHTX, Youngstown; and WGGH, Marion, Illinois….. “The Doctor’s Orders Radio Show” with Dr. Kipp Van Kamp is added to WTKI-AM/FM, Huntsville, Alabama and WEKI-AM/FM, Decatur, Alabama.
Profiling Courage. That’s KIRO-FM, Seattle talk show host Dave Ross (r) pictured with Sgt. Leroy Petry (l). Ross recently interviewed the Medal of Honor recipient for inclusion in the Memorial Day radio special “A Grateful Nation” – a one-hour program produced by the Fisher House Foundation and distributed by Premiere Networks. Sgt. Petry is an Army Ranger who lost his hand while saving two comrades after he grabbed and tossed an enemy grenade during a battle in Afghanistan.
Cumulus Makes it Official: WYAY-FM, Atlanta to Go All-News in May. The Atlanta Business Chronicle confirms what’s been rumored as Cumulus Media COO John Dickey announces the company’s classic hits WYAY-FM – licensed to Gainesville, Georgia – will flip to all-news in mid-May. Dickey tells the Chronicle, “As big a city as we’ve got and as diverse and cosmopolitan a community, not to have an all-news product creates a huge opportunity. It was an easy decision for us to take advantage of it…Pop culture, celebrity news and entertainment news have really become news today. That has intermixed with hard news to create a different product.” Atlanta had WCNN – now SportsRadio 680 the Fan – operating as an all-news outlet in the late 1990s but that was on AM and Cumulus believes now is the right time to put an all-news product on the FM band.
KTRS, St. Louis Cancels JC Corcoran PM Drive Show. Veteran St. Louis radio personality JC Corcoran exits CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis after hosting the PM drive show for the past 18 months. St. Louis Today’s Deb Peterson reports management at the station was not returning calls seeking comment but that other sources indicate that KTVI-TV, St. Louis sports director and former KFNS, St. Louis talk host Martin Kilcoyne will take over the program. Corcoran’s sidekick Trish Gazall is reportedly remaining with the station. Other changes including a slight shift in programming as John Hadley moves his late-night show to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot allowing Chicago-based Steve Cochran to host just his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program at the station (he had been doing a split shift with an early evening show as well).
Feature Series – Part 4: Innovation Sets You Free…to Make Money. Sabo Media president Walter Sabo concludes his four-part TALKERS series on FM talk. In this piece, Sabo discusses the importance of creating time and a place to innovate. Sabo notes that radio has no laboratory for experimentation. “If you come up with a new format or promotional idea, where and how do you test it? Success in a live medium depends on a specific dynamic with a live audience. As a rule you can’t ask people how they want to be entertained. You can present them with entertainment and see if they applaud.” Sabo offers several ways to test new programming, including your HD channel. “Finally, a good use for HD channels: Experimentation. If you want listeners to try a new medium, give them something new to listen to. It doesn’t cost more money to play different songs. The promise of HD radio is breathtaking. New programming attracts early adopters and that’s what new hardware demands.” Sabo says this article is a preview of 15 action-packed minutes that he will deliver at the New Media Seminar in New York on Thursday, June 7. This exciting industry-only event will be a certain sellout. For registration information call 413-565-5413. Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.
FCC Decision to Require Political Ad Info Posted Online for TV Stations Has Radio Execs Watching DC. For now, only television stations in the top 50 markets in the country are being required to post their public files – including their political ad rates – online. But some radio operators are nervous about this cascading to their medium. This decision is only popular with some political groups that believe too much money is spent on politics and is tarnishing the process. The NAB is not pleased and states, “NAB respectfully disagrees with today’s FCC decision and we’re disappointed that the Commission rejected compromise proposals proffered by broadcasters that would have brought greater transparency to political ad buying. By forcing broadcasters to be the only medium to disclose on the internet our political advertising rates, the FCC jeopardizes the competitive standing of stations that provide local news, entertainment, sports and life-saving weather information free of charge to tens of millions of Americans daily. We appreciate Commissioner McDowell‘s thoughtful and compelling dissent, and we will be seeking guidance from our Board of Directors regarding our options.” Some communications law observers believe there are problems with this new policy and we’re likely to see this end up in court.
Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels to Host New TV and Radio Show Beginning in Early May. Michael Patrick Shiels previously hosted the morning show based at WJIM, Lansing and was heard on other markets via the Michigan Talk Network. His relationship with WJIM owner Cumulus ended and now he announces he’s struck a deal with WSYM-TV, Lansing to produce and distribute a new morning show that will be simulcast on WSYM-TV and on the radio in markets yet to be announced. WSYM-TV VP/GM Gary Baxter states. “FOX 47 is proud to continue its partnership with Michael Patrick Shiels and launch his new program. There is simply no one like him on radio or TV in the state of Michigan. Michael Patrick’s show allows us to have the biggest names in politics, business and Michigan sports on our air every morning. Our viewers might see Governor Snyder and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford on the same show — what great television!”
Tom Joyner Vows to Stay Connected with Tri-State Fans Via Digital Media. The Emmis-ESPN deal and consequent merger of the Kiss FM format with WBLS-FM, New York leaves his nationally syndicated urban morning show in the lurch. But Tom Joyner believes very strongly in the power of Black radio and the need for shows like his in the Black community. In a memo to Kiss FM listeners, he writes, “I am saddened that an important Black voice is going silent in New York City, especially during this important election year. Along with the Tom Joyner “Morning Show,” the Michael Baisden show and Rev. Al Sharpton’s Sunday program will also be off the air in NYC in this transition. Black radio has been and always will be an extremely important motivational force in the community. Although social media currently gets a lot of credit and rightfully so, nothing can replace the role Black radio plays in empowering, informing and entertaining Black people. You can’t believe everything you read on social media but studies do show that most people believe what they hear on black radio. That makes me feel proud and reminds me of my responsibility to be there for them each morning.” Joyner encourages his audience in the Tri-State area to listen via his smartphone app or via BlackAmericaWeb.com.
Compass Media Networks’ “At Home with Bob Vila” Debuts Today. The new daily feature hosted by home improvement icon Bob Vila and produced and distributed by Compass Media Networks hits the air today at affiliates including KOGO, San Diego; WTKK-FM, Boston; KMJ, Fresno; KFNN, Phoenix; KVON, Napa, California and more. Compass Media Networks VP affiliate sales Adam Wilbur states, “Stations in all formats – sports, news/talk, all-news, country, AC and classic hits have signed up for Vila. In another week, we will announce additional stations in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Washington, DC. With over 90% name recognition with Americans, program directors appreciate the power of Bob’s brand – and sales managers love the ability to sell the feature locally.”
Actor Stephen Baldwin, TV-Radio Host Dani Johnson and Talk Host Kevin McCullough Announce Effort to Aid Starving Orphans. The 2012 in 2012 charity effort is named that because, as XtreMedia CEO and principal Kevin McCullough states, the goal is to rescue 2,012 orphans from starvation during the year 2012. McCullough’s weekend radio show partner Stephen Baldwin and television and radio host Dani Johnson are partnering to spearhead this program. Baldwin says a child can be fed for a mere 25 cents per day. “When I toured the places these children sleep and live in, I couldn’t help but be moved to do something about it. My whole family saw with our own eyes children who were dying or would die soon, simply because they had no food. It is imperative to me, my media company, my family, my business partners, and every one I come into contact with to let them know how vital 25 cents can be. It can literally feed a meal to a child who literally will die without it.” Kevin McCullough says, “Our partners are delivering life-healing food for the rate of feeding an orphan for an entire year, for just $92 – this is how simple it is to save a life? How can we get more people involved? How can we rescue more children? These questions haunt me each night…” McCullough and company are teaming up with two charities experienced in feeding children – Food for Orphans and King’s Ransom Foundation and they are seeking other media partners for this quest. “If you are a television, radio or new media personality who has a passion to help hungry kids, we would love for you to join us in this amazing quest. We will link arm in arm with anyone and everyone who is moved to do this, to be part of it, and to see orphans fed.”
Nationally Syndicated Radio Feature Host Akos Jankura Develops New Weekend Show; Seeks Products or Inventions from Public to Feature. Inventor and international presenter Akos Jankura – who writes and produces the nationally syndicated radio feature “Akos the Solutionist” – teams up with John Cremeans to create a weekend radio show based at WFLA, Tampa on which they will make it possible for one inventor to pitch their product or invention. The show will premiere Saturday, May 5 at 4:00 pm on WFLA and people with products or inventions are asked to visit MyCoolInventions.com to submit their entry. Jankura says, “Many people don’t know that one of our most successful TV shopping channels actually began on radio. I’ve teamed up with John Cremeans also known as ‘The Doctor of Shopolgy,’ John has logged over 25,000 hours of live television shopping and is a pioneer in our industry. He is skilled at getting arm-chair inventors to make their best pitch for their product which is so important in the early development process.” Jankura says together the two have more than $2 billion in sales. The team is poised to identify products and inventions that can become the next great hit. Their hands-on process invites everyday inventors or people with great ideas to join the inventive group at MyCoolInventions.com and sign up to receive information and tips that will guide them through the process of taking a product to market.
In Memory of a Radio Pioneer: Pete Fornatale. TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer worked closely with rock radio legend Pete Fornatale who passed away last week at age 66. Although, as Neer writes, Fornatale was not a talk host as we traditionally define it in radio, “When he did crack the mic, you couldn’t find a more intelligent voice observing pop culture than the late Pete Fornatale.” Neer notes that Fornatale became synonymous with the genre of radio hosts who did more than quickly intro or backsell a record – something that many argue is missing in music radio these days. “He was probably the first real musicologist on commercial radio who presented rock and folk music as an intellectual as well as emotional experience.” Read Richard Neer’s memorial to Pete Fornatale here.
Deborah Norville to Host Broadcasters Foundation of America “Golden Mike Awards”; Fox’s Roger Ailes to Present. The annual “Golden Mike Awards” to benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America takes place in New York City on Monday, February 27 at the Plaza Hotel. Emmy-winning host of “Inside Edition” Deborah Norville returns as host of the gala event at which Fox Television Stations president of station operations Dennis Swanson will be honored with the Golden Mike Award. Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes will also be part of the program as a presenter. The Broadcasters Foundation of America provides assistance to broadcasters in need. The charity describes its mission as “improving the quality of life and maintaining the personal dignity of men and women in the radio and television broadcast profession who find themselves in acute need. The Foundation reaches out across the country to identify and provide an anonymous safety net in cases of critical illness, advanced age, death of a spouse, accident, and other serious misfortune.” There has been a notable outreach to talk radio by the Broadcasters Foundation in recent months and an accompanying surge of interest in its work by hosts and programmers around the country. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “I have witnessed firsthand just how wonderful this organization is as it clearly makes a difference in the lives of broadcasters who have fallen on hard times and even tragic circumstances. These are tough times and each and every one of us is vulnerable to crisis and disaster due to health issues or any other threats facing the simple condition of being human. I strongly encourage everyone in talk radio and beyond to join this organization or at least send a donation. It truly is a matter of broadcasters helping broadcasters – in other words, giving back to the people of an industry that has given us such marvelous opportunities.” For more information on the Broadcasters Foundation of America, to make a donation, or learn how to apply for a grant, please contact them at 212-373-8250, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org.
CBS Corporation Revenue Down 3%; Radio Division Down 5%. The lack of political advertising during 2011 compared to the year prior and the NBA lockout are being blamed for the drop in revenue CBS experienced last year. In a conference call with analysts, CBS CEO Les Moonves reports improvement in auto advertising along with higher retransmission revenues helped ameliorate some of the negative effects of the loss of political and the NBA lockout. Moonves did take some time to praise radio during the conference. He cited both the growth at CBS Radio’s sports talk-formatted stations and the success of its all-news stations in major markets. He also predicted this year’s political season would be a boon for broadcasters with radio getting a bigger share of that business than in previous years.
KIRO-FM, Seattle’s Ron & Don Help Raise Funds to Prevent Josh Powell from Being Buried Next to Children. KIRO-FM, Seattle afternoon drive talk hosts Ron & Don helped raise the money necessary – more than $20,000 – to buy the cemetery plots adjacent to the two boys killed by their father in Graham, Washington. The story of Josh Powell killing his sons Charlie and Brandon in a horrific explosion of the house during a supervised visit gained national attention. When Crime Stoppers Tacoma-Pierce County learned the family of Powell was looking for a cemetery plot near the ones in which the boys would be buried, they intervened to buy the adjacent plots. KIRO-FM’s Ron & Don hit the airwaves to help pay for the purchase. Don O’Neill says, “When we heard this story at 3:00 pm today, we felt compelled to stop this tragedy from happening. So, we asked our KIRO listeners to help us raise the funds to reimburse ‘Crime Stoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County.’” KIRO-FM program director Larry Gifford states, “When the news and conversation on 97.3 KIRO FM impacts the hearts and minds of listeners like the tragic and shocking crimes involving the Powell family, the ‘Ron & Don Nation’ is always quick to answer the call and today was no different. I’m continually amazed at the kind-heartedness and generosity of the people who make up our community. They inspire, empower, and engage each other to help make a positive impact and I’m proud we were able to play a role in that today.”
Dave Ramsey and Daughter Rachel Cruze to Headline Live Los Angeles Benefit Appearance for Affiliate KFWB. Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey makes a return to Los Angeles for a live appearance with his daughter Rachel Cruze for “An Evening on Family and Money” ” at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, April 3 at 8:00 pm in conjunction with Los Angeles affiliate KFWB. A portion of all ticket sales will be donated to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles. KFWB reports the evening’s program will include Ramsey sharing his key principles on handling money, navigating family relationships, communicating with family members more effectively and preparing children to be financially responsible adults. Cruze will discuss how to teach your kids life lessons like the dangers of debt and the value of saving and giving. The program will also include audience Q&A. This will be Ramsey’s fourth live appearance in the L.A. area for KFWB. He previously sold out the Long Beach Arena in September 2011 as well as prior appearances at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts and the Alex Theatre in Glendale.
Talk Host Steve Cochran Returns to Air at WIND, Chicago and KTRS, St. Louis After Health Scare. Chicago-based talk show host Steve Cochran returned to the air at Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago and CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis after being forced off by what turned out to be a blood clot in an artery leading to his heart –the artery doctors call “the widow maker.” Cochran shared his story with listeners after returning to the air. On January 31, in the middle of his KTRS show (which he does from his home in Chicago), he told his producer he thought he was having a heart attack. He drove himself to the hospital (something he doesn’t recommend) and eventually found out he had not had a heart attack but suffered from the clot doctors said they could treat with medication. But it took him off the air for almost two weeks. Cochran is relishing his second chance after the serious health scare. On the WIND website Cochran writes, “You may recognize a bit of you in my story. If you do I want you to know you don’t always have tomorrow. You need to change today. I had spent almost all of my adult life working too much, sleeping too little. Oh and I was also eating too much of all the wrong things, and working out…but not nearly enough.”
Ron Jaworski Re-Signs with ESPN but Exits “MNF” TV Role. Former Philadelphia Eagles star Ron Jaworski will continue to work for ESPN – he’ll be seen on “Monday NFL Countdown,” “NFL Matchup” and be heard on the radio regularly on “Mike and Mike in the Morning” – but ESPN removes him from the cable TV broadcast of “Monday Night Football.” The network is electing to go with a two-man booth with John Gruden and Mike Tirico for the 2012 season. Jaworski says in a statement, “I am grateful for having the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of working on ‘Monday Night Football’ the past five seasons with Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and so many other talented people behind the scenes who make the show so great, and I look forward to bringing my passion and knowledge of the game to more fans in more places than ever before on any and all football topics.”
Tribune Succeeds in Removing Bogus Jonathon Brandmeier Tweeter. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that, although it took a little time, Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago was able to have Twitter shut down the account of a “rabid Johnny B. fan” who had many fans believing they were reading tweets from Jonathon Brandmeier via the @JBonWGN Twitter account. Peter Hayman is described as an “occasional contributor to the show.” Feder reports that WGN director of marketing and digital innovation Jackie Paulus responded to criticism the station took too long to act on the matter, “As opposed to us finally getting around to it, there were two complaints filed immediately – one by Johnny’s producer and one by the station. Unfortunately, due to the volume of these incidences, it took Twitter that long to validate and process the request.”
GOP Primary Race, Syria Violence Issues, Iran-Israel Tensions, Obama Budget, Payroll Tax Cut Legislation, and Rising Gas Prices Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/15). The GOP Primary race, steps to curb the continuing violence in Syria, tensions between Iran and Israel, President Obama’s 2013 budget proposal, Congressional legislation to cut the payroll tax and concern of rising gas prices were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Welcome Samantha Sabo! Noted talk media consultant Walter Sabo – president of Sabo Media and Hitviews – and wife Katie welcomed Samantha Gloria Sabo (all 8 lbs. 7 ozs. and 21 inches of her!) into the world on February 14. Walter reports that mother and daughter are doing very well and Samantha’s sisters Dorothy and Meredith are thrilled at the new addition to their family.
Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey Addresses “Inherently Inefficient” Nature of Old-Line Media Business Model in Bain Capital News Story. The chief executive officer of the second largest radio station operator in America is one of several Atlanta-based business executives to speak to the Atlanta Journal Constitution about his business and the role private equity firm Bain Capital played in its progress. The piece ran Sunday (2/5) online and in print and was written from the perspective of giving insight into Bain Capital – the company formerly run by presidential candidate Mitt Romney. However it also probes the nature of corporate radio as it rides the rough surf of an economic downturn and a dramatically changing media business – complete with layoffs and job consolidation. The story notes Cumulus CFO Joseph Hannan explained to investors at a recent conference that they had to “wholesale re-engineer the way these operations work” in order to cut costs and that the company learned this process while working with the private equity firms. Hannan said the company was able to cut $70 million in costs. Lew Dickey tells the AJC the business has to work that way to survive. He says old-line media companies have become “inherently inefficient. We run the business as efficiently as technology permits us to do.” Interestingly, Bain Capital took a loss on its involvement with Cumulus. Cumulus ended up buying out Bain and the other private equity partners. It worked with other private equity firms to engineer the Citadel Broadcasting deal and it remains to be seen whether that will turn out to be a wise investment for them or whether they will suffer the same fate as Bain. Through it all, Dickey remains confident and tells the AJC he believes his company will add jobs – albeit in different sectors – during this year. “By the end of the year, we’ll have a net increase in jobs. They’ll be different jobs. That’s how business evolves.”
Exit of CBS Radio CHR Programmer and 92.3 Now PD Dom Theodore Fires Up Speculation About Sports or News Moving to the New York Signal. There was big news in the CHR world yesterday as CBS Radio’s format captain and PD of 92.3 Now (WXRK-FM, New York) Dom Theodore left the building. For those awaiting the (some say) way overdue addition of an FM signal for sports talk WFAN, this move gives them plenty to talk about. Still others believe one of CBS Radio’s all-newsers – WINS or WCBS – could end up with an FM simulcast. Right now it’s all guesswork but rumors that the rest of the on-air staff at 92.3 Now may have received news of its imminent demise along with Theodore’s departure have the message boards in the Tri-State area red hot with chatter.
Courtside Entertainment Group Names Rich Rapiti Senior Director of Affiliate Relations. Longtime affiliate relations pro Rich Rapiti is reunited with Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz in his new role as senior director of affiliate relations for Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group. Rapiti will be based in New York City. Courtside president Bob Moore says, “Rich Rapiti is a unique guy. He has worked in the radio business his entire adult life and has mastered the art of working with radio stations in providing quality programming. We are extremely excited about having Rich on our team.” Speaking about his new position, Rapiti states, “I am thrilled to be the newest member of the Courtside team. Rarely does the opportunity occur where you can work with the likes of a Norm Pattiz and his executive team.”
XEPRS, San Diego Makes AM Drive Changes; Scott Kaplan Exits, Dave Palet and Jeff Dotseth In. After 11 years at the station, morning drive host Scott Kaplan and co-host Billy Ray Smith are out as hosts of the program. Station VP/GM Tex Meyer says in a press release the change was made “after very careful consideration and evaluation of several important factors.” However, many San Diego media observers are saying Kaplan’s recent unflattering on-air comments about Mountain West broadcaster Andrea Lloyd put management over the top and forced its hand. Broadcast Company of the Americas brings San Diego market veterans Dave Palet and Jeff Dotseth in to take over the morning drive show.
WGN, Chicago Holds “Cubs Song” Contest. Musically inclined Chicago Cubs fans are being encouraged to write a tribute song to their favorite baseball team and have the chance for it to become part of Cubs radio broadcasts all season long. Tribune Company’s WGN – flagship for Chicago Cubs baseball – will be the judge of the winning submission for this unique promotion. Here are the rules: Write an original song about the Chicago Cubs and e-mail it as an .mp3 file attachment to email@example.com by February 29, 2012. The lyrics must mention the Cubs and WGN Radio, but may not mention names of individual players, coaches or Cubs management. Songs longer than four minutes will be disqualified. You must also include your name, address, daytime phone number, e-mail address, and age in the e-mail. Entries on behalf of a group must provide the required information for each member of the group. WGN will post up to 10 finalists on its website and give fans the chance to vote on the winner. The writer/performer of the winning entry will have the chance to get the song recorded in a professional studio and perform it live during Jonathon Brandmeier’s Opening Day broadcast on WGN.
WBNS-FM, Columbus Debuts “Off-Season with Bobby Carpenter.” The NFL season is over – more or less – until the draft in April and RadiOhio sports talker 97.1 The Fan (WBNS-FM) is taking advantage of the year-round interest in the National Football League by creating a weekly, Friday afternoon show co-hosted by former Ohio State standout and current Detroit Lions linebacker Bobby Carpenter and WBNS-TV’s Beau Bishop. Director of programming and operations Jay Taylor announces the one-hour show airs from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm featuring talk about the NFL, the upcoming draft and Buckeye football and debuts this Friday, February 10.
CNN Names Jim Acosta to National Political Correspondent Role. The cable news channel announces Jim Acosta is promoted to national political correspondent where he’ll appear regularly on several CNN programs including “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” and “John King, USA,” according to TVWeek. CNN SVP and Washington bureau chief Sam Feist states, “Jim has been an outstanding addition to the political team. He has emerged as one of the key reporters on the campaign trail and his astute reporting skills will only help to position the network to dominate this important election cycle.”
CBS Radio Renews with MLB’s Phillies; Games to Air on WIP-FM. CBS Radio’s news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia has been the longtime flagship for Philadelphia Phillies baseball and the company and team just struck a new multi-year deal to keep the team with CBS Philadelphia. This season the games will also air on sister sports WIP’s new FM signal as well. CBS Radio Philadelphia VP/market manager Marc Rayfield states, “It’s a very exciting time for WPHT and WIP, and this partnership with the Philadelphia Phillies only adds to the interest audiences have in these two leading radio stations. We look forward to the future with the most thrilling team in baseball.”
Talk Host Steve Cochran Ready to Return to Action After Health Scare. Chicago-based talk host Steve Cochran – who handles the afternoon program at Salem Communication’s WIND, Chicago and hosts the late morning program for KTRS, St. Louis (which is rerun in the evening) from his home in the Chicago area – took himself off the air last week and went to the hospital after feeling chest pains, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder. Cochran underwent some tests and was prescribed medication and reports he hopes to be back on the radio soon. Cochran tells Feder, “The doctor said I’ll be 125 percent, which is great news unless you really hate my show.”
More TV Work for TRN’s Phil Hendrie. Los Angeles-based, nationally syndicated talk radio personality Phil Hendrie scored a recurring role on the hit Fox TV show “New Girl.” Hendrie says, “The entire cast and crew is so hard working, gracious and welcoming. It’s an honor to get to work with them.” Last year, Hendrie taped an episode of the ABC-TV hit show “Modern Family” in which he plays the recurring character “Boots.” That episode is to air soon. Pictured here is the cast of “New Girl” – from left to right: Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris, Hannah Simone, Hendrie, Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson.
Romney Surges in GOP Primary, Super Bowl Aftermath, Syria Violence and Closure of U.S. Embassy and New Iran Sanctions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6). Mitt Romney’s victory in Nevada over the weekend and his continuing lead over competitors, the aftermath of the Giants’ victory in Super Bowl XLVI, continuing violence in Syria and the U.S.’s closure of its embassy there and new sanctions levied against Iran were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Lou Dobbs Syndicated Radio Show to End in February. Word has emerged from inside sources at United Stations Radio Networks that the syndicator has sent letters to the affiliates of the Lou Dobbs Show informing them that the four-year-old program is coming to an end in February. Citing a decision reached with Dobbs by “mutual agreement,” the sources close to the program state that the veteran newsman/commentator wants to devote more of his busy schedule to his nightly program on the Fox Business Network, one of that cable operation’s top-rated shows. United Stations will also cease production and distribution of Dobbs’ syndicated short-form features but sources close to Dobbs indicate that the former CNN icon might continue that enterprise independently.
Two More Pubcasters Join iHeartRadio Platform. Popular Southern California public radio outlets KCRW-FM, Santa Monica and KUSC-FM, Los Angeles begin streaming their audio via Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio app. KCRW-FM is a hybrid news, talk and music outlet while KUSC-FM is a classical station. KCRW-FM, general manager Jennifer Ferro states, “KCRW is always looking for exciting partnership opportunities knowing that even among hundreds of radio stations, what we offer is entirely unique. By combining our compelling content and iHeartRadio’s vast reach, we’re inviting a new audience to discover and engage with KCRW.” CC Digital president Brian Lekamp says, “We want to be everywhere our listeners are with a variety of programming options to appeal to the widest possible audience, and adding these public radio stations to iHeartRadio offers listeners an even more interesting and diverse listening experience.”
Missouri Authorities Consider Charges Against Man for Threatening Language on the Radio. Police in Arnold, Missouri spoke with a local man who made what could be considered threats against St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke while calling into the McGraw Milhaven show on CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis. The discussion surrounded Kroenke’s announcement of Jeff Fisher as new head coach of the Rams and Kroenke’s apparent refusal to state he would not consider moving the Rams out of St. Louis. The caller reportedly stated, “I, I ain’t gonna say nothin’, but the only thing I could put into it other than jack is lead like the dude in Kirkwood. I don’t blame him a bit for what he did.” The caller was referencing the killing of six people at the Kirkwood, Missouri town hall in 2008. KTRS alerted police who’ve interviewed the man. No charges have been filed yet but prosecutors are considering charges.
Cumulus Media Erie Sports Talk Host Exits; Cites Compensation Issues. Until Friday, Mike “Chico” Boorman hosted a popular sports talk show on Cumulus Media’s WRIE, Erie – ESPN 1260. But Boorman tells the Erie Times – News that recent pay cuts and management’s unwillingness to negotiate his salary left him no option. Boorman is quoted in the paper saying, “They weren’t going to pay me what I felt I needed to continue doing what I was doing. I was making $40 a day. As I told a buddy of mine, that’s a nice name for a show on The Food Network, but it’s tough to make a living that way.” Cumulus Media Erie management declined to comment specifically on Boorman’s contract but GM Jim Riley told the paper, “We regret his decision to depart. We think we had a very popular show with him and we had a good response from listeners.”
CBS Radio Launches WNEW-FM, Washington on Sunday Afternoon. CBS Radio took the opportunity of a Sunday afternoon with bad weather approaching to launch its new all-news FM outlet in the Nation’s Capital. The company moved the hard launch from Thursday, January 19 to this morning (1/23) due to some engineering issues but opted to test the new equipment with staffers yesterday afternoon.
KOGO, San Diego Adds Lynda Martin as News Anchor. The former XETV-TV and KSWB-TV, San Diego reporter and anchor Lynda Martin becomes part of the news staff at Clear Channel’s KOGO, San Diego morning drive show hosted by Chip Franklin.
Smerconish Book Club Plays Hardball. Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish (l) interviews author and MSNBC personality Chris Matthews (r) during one of the Smerconish Book Club live events before some 1,000 attendees at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, New Jersey on January 19. The event, in which Smerconish interviewed Matthews about his recent book Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero (Simon & Schuster 2011) was co-presented by affiliate WPHT, Philadelphia.
Radio Rows Have Talk Hosts Focused on Hot-Button Issues. Talk show hosts from around the nation converged on South Carolina prior to the state’s primary election on Saturday for a two-day radio row organized by Talk Radio News Service and SupportPopularVote.com. In South Carolina, talk hosts including Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries, Radio America’s Rodger Hedgecock, Nashville-based talk host Steve Gill, Clear Channel Texas host Michael Berry, North Dakota-based talker Scott Hennen and others brought the primary race and 2012 presidential election issues home to their listeners through interviews with people such as former senator and presidential candidate Fred Thompson, tax policy expert Grover Norquist, former candidate Herman Cain and GOP candidate Rick Santorum. Earlier in the week, more than 20 talk show hosts from around the country took part in the Families USA Radio Row in Washington, DC from the organization’s Health Action Conference. Hosts including Dial Global’s Thom Hartmann; WWRL, New York’s Mark Riley; “America Tonight” host Kate Delaney; independently syndicated Leslie Marshall; nationally syndicated “Good Day” host Doug Stephan; and nationally syndicated host Carole Marks from “A Touch of Grey” talked health care issues. The event offered radio hosts a unique opportunity to interview key administration officials, numerous members of Congress, health care advocates from across the country, and leaders within the progressive community while broadcasting live from Families USA’s Health Action Conference.
2012: Talk Media Industry Forecast. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison presents eight leading trends and factors facing talk media as we head into 2012. As is usually the case, we have a mixture of the good, the bad and the in-between. The challenges are indeed daunting – but the opportunities are great. Read the story here.
WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans’ Bob DelGiorno to Retire. Morning drive host Bob DelGiorno is retiring from radio after 34 years on the air in the Big Easy – most of it spent at Entercom‘s WWL-AM/FM. DelGiorno says, “This place, this station has been very good to me…But, now it’s time to get off the road, to give up the daily responsibility and just enjoy waking up later and enjoying life.” The station’s Tommy Tucker is being eased into the morning slot to succeed DelGiorno.
New Jersey 101.5 Ends Evening Relationship Show Hosted by Michelle Jerson. The Townsquare Media station has been airing Michelle Jerson’s “After Hours” relationship program for a number of years but New Jersey 101.5 (WKXW, Trenton) program director Eric Johnson says, “Through audience research, our listeners made it very clear to us that they would like to hear the entertaining and informative Jersey-based topics that we discuss all day, in the evenings as well. New Jersey 101.5 would like to thank Michelle Jerson for her service to the station and we wish her well going forward.” Johnson says the station will be looking for a permanent host for the 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm show. In the meantime, part-time host and Monmouth County native Steve Trevelise, who is also a candidate for the full-time position, will be hosting the evening show. As for Jerson, she tells TALKERS, “I was at New Jersey 101.5 for three and a half years as the number one evening show in New Jersey (had been at the station twice before over the years). My background includes hosting lifestyle talk shows on 106.7 WJFK, Washington and Sirius Satellite Radio, co-hosting morning shows on talk and top 40 stations, reporting for Howard Stern‘s news team – Howard 100 News – and working as a television travel correspondent for Travelzoo.com. I am ready for my next big adventure and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Main Street Radio Network’s “Battle Line with Alan Nathan” Adds Third Hour; Nathan Takes Commentator Role with TalkSport Network. Main Street Radio Network announces “Battle Line with Alan Nathan” adds a third hour to its program airing live from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET. The first two hours of the show are distributed on Lifestyle TalkRadio Network, the new third hour is distributed on sister Business TalkRadio Network. Main Street president Jane Silk states, “Main Street is very excited with the addition of Battle Line on BTRN. The team at BTRN is truly a professional group and we look forward to the continued relationship and the expansion of Main Street programs.” Meanwhile, London-based TalkSport Network adds Alan Nathan as international commentator after regular requests to offer color commentary with TalkSport hosts Matt Forde and Mike Graham during which he offers listeners across the United Kingdom a view of American politics from the perspective American radio’s “aggressive centrist.” Jane Silk says of Nathan’s new role, “Alan is truly someone who can succinctly and efficiently dispel someone’s misconceptions with an amazing grasp of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and, most importantly, logic and fact! How wonderful to have “the Colonies” experience a true and gifted host and show!”
Dial Global Drops Westwood One Name from NFL Play-By-Play. With the merger Westwood One and Dial Global now four months old, Dial Global is re-branding its NFL play-by-play product as the Dial Global Radio Network. Dial Global has exclusive national radio rights to the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl. Dial Global sports executive producer Howard Deneroff states, “Listeners will hear the same standard of play-by-play commentary and overall production that they’ve come to expect from Westwood One on the Dial Global Radio Network. We are extremely excited about the merger, our broader platform and the future opportunities it might provide.”
KPAM, Portland Parent Pamplin Media Group Partners with Local CBS TV Affiliate for News Content Sharing. The deal between Pamplin Media Group and KOIN-TV (“LOCAL 6”) allows for sharing of content on its combined television, radio and print properties, as well as websites and mobile apps. The agreement includes shared editorial access, opportunities for exclusive interviews, news support, cross-collaboration for specific marketing activities and the ability to promote exclusive media on a variety of platforms. KPAM program director Dennis Glasgow states, “This is a watershed moment for the Pamplin Media Group that simply and clearly defines our group as the local news leaders in Portland. There’s not one other media partnership in our city that can lay claim to the winning trifecta that is AM 860, The Portland Tribune and KOIN Local 6.” KOIN-TV president and GM Tim Perry says, “We are very enthusiastic about entering this strategic partnership with such a talented group of media executives and committed journalists. We look forward to deepening our tenured relationship with this community.” Pamplin had been in a partnership deal with Fox affiliate KPTV-TV, Portland. That deal ends today (1/6).
Goldline International and Leslie Marshall Enter into Advertising Partnership. Renowned gold dealer Goldline International, Inc. and independently syndicated progressive talk host Leslie Marshall announce Goldline is becoming the exclusive precious metals sponsor of Marshall’s national radio talk program. Marshall says, “I am looking forward to helping my listeners learn about diversifying their portfolios with gold. I’ve met personally with Goldline’s senior management and visited their offices in Santa Monica, so I can confidently recommend Goldline to my listeners who are considering physical gold and precious metals.” The consumer press has often wrongly associated precious metals dealers only with conservative news/talk programming but as Marshall’s new deal illustrates, that’s a misconception. Goldline CEO Scott Carter states, “Leslie’s longevity on the airwaves speaks to her ability to engage listeners across the political spectrum. Goldline is proud to be a sponsor of the Leslie Marshall show.”
ESPN Radio Adds “Hill & Schlereth” Show to Evening Lineup. The new evening program from ESPN Radio begins on January 10 airing Monday through Thursday through the Super Bowl and then five nights per week after the game. Former NFL Pro-Bowler Mark Schlereth has been with ESPN since 2001 and Mike Hill is a current SportsCenter anchor. The duo will host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program. SVP of ESPN Audio Mo Davenport says, “Mike Hill and Mark Schlereth are already fan favorites. Their ability to expand on their friendship, their experiences, and their knowledge of sports, combined with our listeners’ passion, equals great content that can be enjoyed on multiple platforms.”
Sports Talker Cliff Saunders Out at WXOS-FM, St. Louis. As a result of the recent talent shuffle at Hubbard Radio’s 101 ESPN (WXOS-FM) in St. Louis, evening host Cliff Saunders is out and seeking his next opportunity. Saunders co-hosted the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm show at the station. He previously worked for Entercom’s WSSP, Milwaukee. He can be e-mailed at email@example.com.
KTRS, St Louis to Host U.S. Senate Primary Debate with Live Audio and Video Feeds on Facebook. Morning drive host McGraw Milhaven tells TALKERS magazine he and St. Louis Beacon political writer Joe Mannies will co-moderate the January 10 GOP primary debate for candidates vying for the Republican ticket to face off against Democrat incumbent Claire McCaskill in November for her U.S. Senate seat. The debate will take place in front of a live audience at the Missouri Athletic Club, be broadcast live on KTRS, KTRS.com and KTRS’ Facebook page at 9:00 am. Milhaven says, “It is the first time ever that a radio station is airing anything on Facebook with both audio and video.” Congressman Todd Akin and former Missouri State Treasurer Sarah Steelman are taking part in the debate.
Compass Media Networks’ Lars Larson to Broadcast from Israel. Portland, Oregon-based regional and nationally syndicated talk host Lars Larson heads to Israel to broadcast his program from Jerusalem during the week of January 16. Stating that America’s relationship with Israel will be a topic of debate in the 2012 presidential election, Larson comments, “This trip is sure to be an eye opener to my listeners who never imagined all the ways that their lives are impacted by conflicts in the Middle East.” Larson plans to speak on his program with an array of diplomats, Palestinians, Israeli citizens, journalists and ambassadors.
Thom Hartmann Show Goes on the Road to Iceland and Sweden. Dial Global’s Thom Hartmann takes his talk radio program across the Atlantic next week where he’ll broadcast live from Rekyavik, Iceland on January 9 and Stockholm, Sweden on January 12. Hartmann says, “We’ve booked a number of pundits, politicians and reporters, and are looking forward to hearing directly from the people involved how the Icelanders told the banksters to take a hike, and how the Swedes dealt with their bank failures 15 years ago and why their economy is doing so well now.” Hartmann is keynoting a conference in Sweden on Psychiatry and ADHD – he’s published several books on the subject including The Edison Gene (Park Street Press 2003).
Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco to Host Show on WWBA, Tampa. Genesis Communications’ WWBA, Tampa announces former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco joins the station’s programming department to host a weekly “business, public affairs and non-partisan political talk program beginning with a live debut from Malio’s Restaurant on January 9. In a statement, VP of programming Len Weiner says, “We are thrilled to have Tampa’s former mayor Dick Greco join our news team. His amazing background in politics and business will be an asset to our listeners. This station has a powerful 50,000-watt signal that will carry Dick’s program throughout the state of Florida.” Greco’s first guest will be current Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
Iowa Caucuses/2012 Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM Chart of Biggest Talk Radio Stories During Week of January 2-6. According to ongoing research from TALKERS, the Iowa Caucuses and the 2012 presidential race was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was Iran’s military ambitions. At #3 was the world financial markets activity followed by euro zone instability at #4. The Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio each week is published at Talkers.com every Friday. See the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Doug Stephan’s daily “Good Day” program picks up KBYR, Anchorage; KWMO, Washington, Missouri; KBJT-KQEW, Fordyce, Arkansas; and KMMS, Bozeman, Montana…..Doug Stephan’s weekend “Talk Radio Countdown Show” is added to WGDJ, Albany; KBYR, Anchorage…..Genesis Communications Network-distributed “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney picks up WLOB-AM/FM, Portland…..The Dr. Dahlia Wachs show is added to the lineup at KSIS, Sedalia, Missouri…..“Free Talk Live” with hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds KBRA-FM, Freer, Texas.
KTRS, St. Louis Personality JC Corcoran Suspended for Twitter Activities. There’s no official word from CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS, St. Louis but the reports from St. Louis-area media seem to confirm that afternoon host JC Corcoran has been suspended from the station for two weeks after engaging in a back-and-forth Twitter argument with listener-followers in which he used foul language. The incident started when Corcoran declared Cardinals star Albert Pujols would re-sign with the team by November 18. When that didn’t happen, Corcoran was taken to task for his prediction on Twitter and his responses including questionable language went out on the internet. This case illustrates that even though the “letter” of FCC rules applies specifically to over-the-air language on terrestrial radio, the “spirit” of the law can now extend to social media activities as well giving the morals clause found in most talent employment contracts expanded relevance. Talk show hosts beware – you are what you tweet!
News/Talk KFBK, Sacramento Gets FM Signal. As the historic AM station prepares to celebrate its 90th anniversary early next year, Clear Channel announces it is ending the Hot AC on KGBY-FM and begins simulcasting news/talk KFBK on the signal as FM NewsTalk 92.5 today (12/1). Vice president and market manager Jeff Holden states, “Today is a milestone for Sacramento broadcasting as KFBK expands to the 92.5 FM frequency to better serve the local community. The void for quality, local and full service news and talk on FM has now been filled. This will give a younger audience access to one of the most influential stations in, not only, Sacramento but all of Northern California. KFBK has demonstrated leadership over the past 90 years and it continues with the same dedication and progressive nature that makes it unique. KFBK will now reach the nearly 70 percent of the market that doesn’t tune into the AM band.”
WFLA, Tampa Adds Jock Corey Dylan to AM Drive Program. Former WPOI-FM, Tampa DJ Corey Dylan is now part of the morning show at Clear Channel’s WFLA, Tampa. The St. Petersburg Times reports Dylan joins Jack Harris and Tedd Webb as co-host on the “AM Tampa Bay” program and will serve as a lifestyle reporter for the station as well. Program director Steve Versnick tells the paper, “We wanted to change the co-host role and Corey seemed a perfect fit. She’s got a sterling reputation in the market and a broadcast journalism degree. So while it might seem like stretch to go from an ’80s station to news/talk, her background and interest seem perfect.”
Georgia Talk Host Martha Zoller Zeroes in on Congressional Seat. WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia talk host Martha Zoller is preparing to take leave of her talk radio career to run for Congress in Georgia’s newly created 9th Congressional District. Zoller is still heard on Cox Media Group’s WXKT-FM but has exited the Georgia News Network from which she was syndicated across the state. Zoller says Cox attorneys say she can stay on the air until she’s officially qualified as a candidate in May but realistically expects to have to leave her program prior to that time. Zoller reports she has excellent name recognition in the district – 62% of likely primary voters in the conservative district have heard of her – as she will face a battle against State Representative Doug Collins and possibly others in the Republican primary election.
Dial Global’s Bill Press to Remain on San Francisco Affiliate. Yesterday we reported Clear Channel’s plans for its AM talk stations in San Francisco that include the end of progressive talk outlet Green 960 (KKGN). Dial Global notes that although much of the progressive talk that’s currently heard on that station will be relegated to the KKSF-FM HD-2 signal and online, the Bill Press show will be heard in the early morning daypart prior to Premiere’s Glenn Beck on KNEW 960 in the new year.
WGN, Chicago’s John Williams Organizes Holiday Food Drive. Upon learning that food banks and pantries across the country are reporting a shortage of peanut butter, WGN talk host John Williams is organizing the “Peanut Butter & Jolly” drive to rally his listeners to donate peanut butter to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Peanut butter is sought after because of its protein content, appeal to children and long shelf life. All day today (12/1), Williams will encourage listeners to donate to one of the many participating locations around Chicagoland that will be delivered to the depository tomorrow. Williams says, “Everyone wants gifts at Christmas, but these people just need food. If you give to this campaign, we can all say Merry ‘Chrithmath!’”
2012 Presidential Race, European Debt Crisis, Occupy L.A. Ousted and Penn State Abuse Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/30). The GOP candidates for president in 2012, the ongoing efforts to deal with Europe’s debt crisis, the clearing of the Occupy Los Angeles protesters and additional allegations in the Penn State sexual abuse case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday. Pictured here is ABC Radio News correspondent Alex Stone covering the Los Angeles Police Department’s breakup of the Occupy L.A. camp.