KOA, Denver Changes PM Drive Programming to Newsy Bent. Longtime Clear Channel Denver personality Dave Logan remains on KOA, but he loses former Denver Post sports columnist Dave Krieger (who exits the station) and the content will turn away from sports as KUSA-TV, Denver “9News” part-time reporter Susie Wargin joins Logan for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm talk show portion of “Colorado’s Afternoon News.” From 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm Susan Witkin and Mike Rice co-anchor the all-news part of the show.
Entercom Adds Platforms to Rochester ESPN Sports Talker. The new Rochester market sports talk outlet “ESPN Rochester” debuts on multiple platforms from Entercom Communications. The broadcast is heard on translator W239BF as well as on original signal WROC-AM, an HD2 channel, and several online destinations. Entercom Rochester VP and market manager Susan Munn says, “This is an exciting day for our brand, our clients and, most importantly, our listeners. Since we launched ESPN Rochester in 2008, our goal has been to deliver the most compelling and entertaining brand of national and local sports talk to Rochester. From FM to AM to HD and online streaming, we are putting the best sports content where sports fans demand and access it. ESPN media reaches 58% of men and 81% of avid sports fans nationally and ESPN Rochester has the biggest brands and names in sports from the Bills and Sabres to the #1 sports morning show in the country with Mike & Mike. With ESPN Rochester now on FM, it makes our already powerful cluster of stations an even better advertiser choice to serve the important male audience.”
KFNS-AM, St. Louis GM Marshall Resigns; Sports Talk Stations in State of Flux. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar is reporting that Grand Slam Sports general manager Dan Marshall has resigned his post a week after an altercation between him and KXFN morning host Brian McKenna landed Marshall in the hospital and McKenna in police custody. There are still more questions than answers about what happened and who will be held responsible for the incident. Although McKenna was taken into custody and Marshall was injured, no charges have been filed against McKenna, who took umbrage at being ridiculed on the air by fellow station personality Nick Trupiano. The incident that resulted in fisticuffs happened after McKenna went to the station offices to confront Marshall about what was being said about him on the air. Station operations manager Mike Calvin says there have been no decisions made about on-air talent or whether McKenna – who was fired after the incident – will be offered his position back. Read Caesar’s story here.
Glenn Beck Teams with Fathom Events to Produce National Cinema Event. The name of the July 22 and July 29 “night of action against Common Core” is being called “We Will Not Conform,” and involves nationally syndicated Premiere Networks star Glenn Beck teaming with Fathom Events. It’s a live broadcast direct to cinemas across the country and here’s how Beck and Fathom describe it: “This isn’t a typical show –it’s an interactive experience and a rare opportunity to make a real difference in America’s education system. ‘We Will Not Conform’ is your chance to not only hear from experts like Michelle Malkin, David Barton, and others but to join LIVE with fellow theatergoers across the country to develop tangible strategies in the pursuit of enacting real change in our schools. By the end of the night, the brainpower, experience, and passion of cinema audiences nationwide will be captured in a unified plan of action distributed to all participants.” Tickets for adults are $20.
Doug Stephan Breaking New Ground with Experimental Farm Show. His reputation as a major player in syndicated news/talk radio has been forged by longevity, the ability to change with the times and consistent success. Doug Stephan’s national general issues morning program, “Good Day,” is the second-longest-running weekday syndicated show in talk radio, having launched in October of 1988, with only Rush Limbaugh beating him out during this past quarter century-plus by a mere handful of months (Rush debuted in August of 1988). In addition, Stephan’s program, “The Talk Radio Countdown Show,” is one of the longest running and most successful weekend programs in news/talk radio. Now, in addition to his traditional mainstream talk radio accomplishments, Stephan has been cooking up an experimental show on the platform of TalkersRadio that has been gathering significant interest by industry players and observers alike. The show is a one-hour-per-week information and advocacy forum titled, “American Family Farmer,” and it is targeted specifically to the beleaguered sector of the American agriculture industry that is comprised of small, independent operators. What makes Stephan qualified to host such a specifically targeted program? The answer: In addition to being a dedicated lifelong radio broadcaster, he is also a dedicated lifelong family farmer! Stephan is the owner/operator of several dairy farms in the Boston suburb of Framingham, Massachusetts under the umbrella of Eastleigh Farm. Stephan tells TALKERS, “I have been around cows all my life. I spent all my free time around the animals as a young boy, sort of an island of solitude for me growing up. I went to the farm when I was afraid to be home, or anywhere else. I have kept an alliance with cows over the years on several farms that I have owned — raising heifers and milker replacements for various farms and dealers in Massachusetts.” Stephan continues, “I have become more involved on a wider scale, to the point now where I have several hundred Jersey dairy cows, which provide us with the raw milk we sell, along with cheeses, ice cream and various other diary-related products that have meaning to those in the locavore movement [people who choose to eat locally grown and raised food].” On “American Family Farmer” Stephan takes a position quite different from the affable generalist that is heard hosting his traditional news/talk programs. He is a tell-it-like-it-is advocate of the political and economic interests of the farmers his new program is designed to serve. He explains, “The family farmers in America, of which I am one, have a tenuous relationship with Big Government and Big Ag. It is obvious to most that the many problems we are trying to solve have come about as a result of too much government meddling in the affairs of the American family farm. We are aggressively addressing these problems with solution-based discussions each week. We are dedicated to becoming the voice for these hard-working people who play such an important role in the economic and nutritional well-being of our nation and are basically being stepped on by Big Government in cahoots with Big Business.” According to TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein, “During the four months or so that this amazing program has been on our experimental platform, we have received non-stop inquiries from small market and rural stations around the country asking if it is available in syndication. We have had to turn them away, explaining that it is just an experimental program still in development and that we do not have an infrastructure set up to be able to offer it in syndication. It seems that this show would be a wonderful venue for a wide variety of advertisers that are specifically interested in reaching the people who buy equipment, feed, and other products that support the effort of running a small farm. It is also a sure-fire, powerful one-hour per week place to park local advertisers seeking this audience as well.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “Giving birth to an ‘out-of-the-box’ program like American Family Farmer has been exactly what we designed TalkersRadio to do. It is especially exciting to see this vehicle being productively utilized by seasoned professionals such as Doug [Stephan], Alan [Colmes] and Lionel to create properties different than what they are generally known for in the industry.” Harrison adds, “Now we have to identify a good home for American Family Farmer out there among established syndicators to partner in the effort of creating a new rural network for the terrestrial dial – or place it on an existing farm-oriented syndicator.” American Family Farmer airs on TalkersRadio (on Talkers.com) Saturday mornings between 8:00 am and 9:00 am ET. Interested syndicators can find out more by emailing Michael Harrison at email@example.com or calling 413-565-5413. Look for a major announcement involving another TalkersRadio program coming later this week. TalkersRadio, powered by Backbone Networks, is an experimental talk radio laboratory run by TALKERS magazine to support the development of new programs and programming ideas for talk radio.
TRN’s Jerry Doyle Launches Kickstarter Campaign for Relaunch of EpicTimes.com. Talk show host Jerry Doyle, whose daily radio program is syndicated nationally by Talk Radio Network, announces the beginning of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the relaunch and expansion of his flagship website, Epictimes.com. Doyle says money raised through this campaign will support the growth of EpicTimes.com – currently a news curation and aggregation site. He says the updated EpicTimes.com will be a one-stop shop for news-related audio and video content for the politically independent “middle majority” that is currently underserved by the left- and right-leaning news media. The site will also feature podcasts of his radio program as well as other well-known contributors. Doyle comments, “We are trying to create a news outlet that represents the real needs and interests of the American people, which is something that I am very passionate about. EpicTimes.com has always been a place where people can find the news and information they are looking for, not what the media thinks they want or need to hear. Expanding the site allows us to offer more information and give more power to the individual.” Doyle brings aboard Elaine Kunda as CEO of EpicTimes.com. Kunda previously served as CEO of women’s lifestyle digital network B5Media and has worked in various digital media companies since 1998. She adds, “EpicTimes.com presents an exciting opportunity for me. To be involved basically from the ground floor and build a media network of this kind during a time of such frustration by the American people is exactly the kind of challenge I’ve been looking for. Jerry’s passion for this company, his fans and his listeners is infectious. I am looking forward to working with him to make EpicTimes.com a household name.” With the support of contributions from this Kickstarter campaign, the new EpicTimes.com is scheduled to relaunch in September 2014.
Odds & Sods. In recognition of Flag Day this past Saturday (6/14), WPHT, Philadelphia midday personality Dom Giordano and his listeners joined forces with the local VFW to provide flags for the 1,200 veterans whose graves are located in Forest Hills Cemetery in Huntingdon Valley. The VFW and Montgomery County officials were at odds about the oversight that would have left the soldiers’ graves without flags. Giordano’s program was flooded with calls from listeners willing to donate money and flags…..ABC News Radio is offering three one-hour specials ahead of the coming Fourth of July weekend, including: “Second Tour: Military Vets Making a Difference,” “Red White & BBQ” and “Car Crazy: America’s Love Affair With Cars.” ABC’s Aaron Katersky hosts “Second Tour: Military Vets Making a Difference,” which tells the amazing stories of the continued selflessness and strength from men and women who have returned home from war. Scott Goldberg anchors “Red White & BBQ,” featuring all of the best tips to make your summer BBQ the best on the block. And Alex Stone hosts “Car Crazy: America’s Love Affair With Cars,” a show that dishes on the latest technology and safety trends influencing the auto industry today…..NPR appoints Jonathan Hart as its new chief legal officer and general counsel. Hart, who currently serves as a partner in Cooley LLP’s Technology Transactions practice group, joins NPR on July 1.
WEISMAN: The Limits of the First Amendment. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes in an article published today (6/16) about the pending legal case involving Premiere Networks syndicated talk host Glenn Beck, who is being sued by Saudi Arabian student Abdulrahman Alharbi for defamation. Alharbi was, for a time accused of being involved in the Boston Marathon bombing by Beck even after local authorities had cleared him of any suspicion. Beck’s attorneys are pointing to the First Amendment as part of Beck’s defense. But Weisman says the result may rest on whether Alharbi qualifies and as a public figure, limited public figure or not a public figure at all. Read Weisman’s analysis of the case here.
Talkers New York 2014 on Verge of Sell Out – Only 50 Seats Left. As of 12:00 noon ET today (6/9) only 50 registrations remain available for Talkers New York 2014, the 17th annual installment of the talk radio and media industry’s longest running and most important national convention. This year’s event covers the existential issues facing not only talk radio – but radio in general – as both a business and iconic piece of the broader pop cultural picture. According to its director, Michael Harrison, the gathering will “connect the future of talk radio with its past.” Harrison says, “This conference was way ahead of the curve when it was first launched in the late 90s as ‘The New Media Seminar’ in pointing the way toward radio’s inevitable entry into the digital era. While most other conferences are now acting as if the digital age were something new and obsess on the technical aspects of the medium as if we just discovered websites and social media, this year’s conference will accept the internet, apps, and multi-platform options as a given and concentrate on how we can get back to the basics of what makes ‘radio’ special, important, financially viable and culturally indispensable — regardless of the technology via which it is distributed.” Harrison also points out, “Everyone knows how difficult it is to be a professional in this industry these days between layoffs and economic uncertainty. The movers and shakers – both established giants and up-and-coming prospects – that attend this great event create an infinite set of relationships upon which careers and businesses are built. In other words, not only does this convention offer information and inspiration, it also provides its attendees one of the industry’s most potent annual networking environments and opportunities.” There will be more than 65 industry leaders in speaking roles at the conference which takes place on Friday, June 20 at the iconic India House in the heart of New York City’s historic Financial District. Registration is only open to professionals (and broadcasting students) working in radio and related media. They are neither transferable nor refundable. The cost is $249 per person which includes all sessions, receptions, exhibits, food and refreshments. Registrations can only be booked over the phone with credit card. Call 413-565-5413. Again, a sellout is expected today or tomorrow. For up-to-the-minute agenda information and further details please click here.
KQTH, Tucson’s Jon Justice Breaks Immigrant Children Story. By now you’re well aware of the story of hundreds of unaccompanied immigrant children crossing the border and being rounded up and processed in Nogales, Arizona. The story was broken last Wednesday by KQTH, Tucson morning drive personality Jon Justice whose sources inside the Border Patrol sent photos (one of which is seen here) of the conditions at the Nogales center where the youths are being temporarily held. See the other pictures sent to Justice in an AZCentral news piece here. The story notes that the children – some as young as one and others as old as 17 – were apprehended crossing the border in Texas and bused to the Nogales center. Justice was out front covering this story that led to the subsequent international story.
Ugly Scene at KFNS and KXFN in St. Louis Plays Out in Local Media; KXFN Host Brian McKenna Fired. An unfortunate scene that took place at Grand Slam Sports-operated KFNS and KXFN in St. Louis was played out for St. Louis Post-Dispatch readers after KXFN morning host Brian McKenna allegedly assaulted Grand Slam Sports president Dan Marshall. As the paper reports, McKenna was upset about comments KFNS host Nick Trupiano was making on his afternoon drive show about McKenna, KFNS host Charlie “Tuna” Edwards and McKenna’s girlfriend. McKenna entered the station offices extremely angry and encountered Marshall. After words were exchanged, McKenna allegedly attacked Marshall physically, sending him to the hospital. St. Louis police were called and, according to the paper, the incident is being reviewed to determine if charges will be brought. Read the story here. The whole episode began when Trupiano was talking about a Post-Dispatch piece recently published that detailed some of the recent trials and tribulations of Grand Slam Sports and Marshall’s leadership of the sports talk stations. That piece is found here.
Cumulus Sets Managers in Mobile, Melbourne and Pensacola. In market #97 (Mobile), Cumulus Media promotes its vice president of sales in that Alabama cluster – Angel Brown – to vice president and market manager. Cumulus senior vice president Gary Pizzati comments, “When we recruited Angel into the company several years ago, we knew she had the core talent, drive, and ability to go much further in our company. Last year, Angel single-handedly turned [Mobile into] a material contributor to our success.” Brown remarks, “I have the privilege of managing four powerhouse stations, alongside an exceptional team of people within an amazing organization. I could not be happier.” Before becoming vice president of sales for Cumulus Mobile, Brown was sales manager for the company’s Albany, Georgia cluster; an account executive in Albany for WALB-TV; and she was an IKON Southwest Georgia/East Alabama account executive. Cumulus Mobile consists of urban contemporary WBLX “The Big Station,” urban AC WDLT, CHR WABD, and AM gospel simulcast WGOK & WXQW. Meanwhile, the company transfers Pensacola, Florida vice president and market manager Hugh McPherson to similar duties in the Sunshine State at its Melbourne-Titusville-Cocoa cluster (market #102). Regional vice president Pete DeSimone notes, “Hugh is a very talented manger with a proven track record for successfully developing and leading great teams. He understands the value of people, our systems, and delivering consistent results for customers.” Senior vice president Gary Pizzati comments, “Hugh took Pensacola to new heights under his leadership. We look forward to the same performance in Melbourne. We are fortunate to have the solid bench strength to be able to promote from within.” McPherson states that leaving Pensacola is “bittersweet, considering the staff’s hard work, dedication, and success. I am honored and excited to lead the charge in Melbourne and work with another very talented team.” McPherson previously was vice president and chief operating officer of Great Plains Media Cookeville, Tennessee; general sales manager at Atlanta’s WBZY and Greenville, South Carolina’s WTPT; and he held that title at Cumulus clusters in Toledo and Savannah, Georgia. The company’s Melbourne stations are CHR WAOA “The Coast’s #1 Hit Music Station,” WHKR “Today’s Best Country,” and WSJZ “Sports Radio 95.9.” Finally, replacing McPherson in Pensacola is VP of sales JJ Waters who is upped to VP and market manager. Pizzati says, “This was a natural move for JJ within Cumulus. Her 20-year tenure in Pensacola as a sales manager has been very advantageous for us. Now at the helm of our newly assembled cluster, JJ will take us to the next level. We’re proud to have her on our team.”
Pittman’s Clear Channel Investment Highlighted in Financial Times Piece. The financial aspect of Clear Channel’s operations and CEO Bob Pittman’s investment of $5 million of his own money in the company are features of a piece in the Financial Times. In the piece, Pittman says “every investment banker in the world” has suggested that Clear Channel spin off its digital platform, iHeartRadio, in order to pay down some of its $20 billion in debt, but Pittman remains steadfast that the multiple platform reach of Clear Channel makes it more valuable. In the piece, Pittman (who was recently resigned to a new contract through 2019) says owners Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee are “patient” but it also underscores that if Pittman is not successful in turning Clear Channel around, he loses his $5 million. Read the story here.
WSCR’s Holmes to Host Morning Show on ‘120 Sports.’ As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WSCR, Chicago evening sports talk personality Laurence Holmes will begin hosting a daily, two-hour morning sports morning show on the soon-to-launch 120 Sports live streaming-video network project from Time Inc./Sports Illustrated, the NHL, MLB.com, and Jerry Reinsdorf-owned Silver Chalice. Feder’s story describes the show as a “national sports roundup” that will air live from 7:00 am to 9:00 am and will feature Chicago comedy actor Dylan McGorty, who also hosts a weekend show at Tribune’s WGWG-LP “The Game 87.7 FM.” WGWG’s Meghan Kluth will oversee social media for the program. Read the full story here.
National Marijuana News Launches Today. Changes in marijuana laws across the country are spurring changes in the way the media reports on marijuana. Case in point is today’s debut of “The National Marijuana News” which launches on Live365, Blog Talk Radio, YouTube and Vimeo, “with terrestrial, satellite and television, in all its forms, to follow.” The program is hosted by industry pro Bruce Kelly and executive produced by Martin Wagmaister, who’s worked with Rick Dees, Ryan Seacrest, and Tom Rounds‘ Radio Express.” Kelly and Wagmaister are calling it “the nation’s first unbiased news-talk radio/TV show that focuses on the political, economic, medicinal and social implications of the rapidly evolving medical and recreational marijuana industry.” Kelly says, “TNM News takes a deep dive beyond the headlines to explore breaking cannabis news with network-news-quality, in-studio and field segments with industry leaders and celebrity guests. It’s no longer a game ‘for’ or ‘against’ marijuana in this country. We are here to educate, inform and entertain Americans so they can accurately decide for themselves.” Wagmaister adds, “Program content is everywhere. The problem we had to overcome is that the content was all extremely biased — either for or against marijuana legislation. We feel it’s imperative to create a news product that presents both sides of the issues.”
Dr. Mickey Barber Joins ‘Late Night Health Radio.’ Joining “Late Night Health Radio” host Mark Alyn as a regular contributor is Michale “Mickey” Barber, MD. Alyn and producer “Insane” Darrell Wayne tell TALKERS Dr. Barber is an age management board certified doctor based in Charleston, South Carolina. She offers tips on feeling and looking younger, while improving general health. “From weight loss to what to eat, Dr. Barber keeps boomer listeners up to date on maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle.” The two-hour show airs on KABC, Los Angeles; KTHO, Lake Tahoe; WMEL, Cocoa Beach, Florida; KMYN, Albuquerque; KUHL, Santa Maria and on RadioActive Internet Radio.
Odds & Sods. News/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle names local high school student Sophie Knudsen the winner of its “Standout Student of the Year” award that comes with $10,000 in scholarship money. The station, in conjunction with Comprehensive Wealth Management and the Rotary Club of Lynnwood, awarded nine students – including Knudsen — $1,000 each during the school year with the opportunity to win the grand prize…..CBS RADIO’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia is honored with two regional Edward R. Murrow awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association in the categories of Best Newscast for the “KYW Reporters Roundup” and Continuing Coverage for “Changes at The Vatican: A Philadelphia Perspective.” KYW director of news and programming Steve Butler comments, “The work that ‘Reporters Roundup’ host Steve Nikazy puts into the program is unmatched in our industry. The three shows per day contain the highest production values and are extremely informative for the KYW listeners.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS and classic hits WLS-FM will have their sales staffs move to Chicago’s iconic Merchandise Mart building (from which classic rock WLUP-FM and alternative WKQX also operate) by the middle of this month. Feder also reports that although there is no timetable for moving the studios of WLS-AM and WLS-FM to the Mart, that is something the company plans to do eventually.
Talk Radio Pros Cover D-Day Ceremonies in Normandy. A number of talk radio personnel covered President Obama’s participation in ceremonies commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Allied Invasion of Normandy (D-Day) this past Friday (6/9) sending reports back to their respective networks and shows. Pictured at the Normandy Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-su-mer, in Normandy, France, that honors American Troops who died in Europe during WWII are (l-r): David Webb, host, Sirius XM Satellite Radio; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media; Carole Marks, host, “A Touch of Grey;” and Ellen Ratner, bureau chief, Talk Radio News Service. Ratner tells TALKERS, “Being there was an extremely emotional experience.”
Power-Packed Sales Panel Set for Talkers New York 2013. The agenda for the forthcoming 16th annual installment of the talk radio industry’s largest and longest-running convention – Talkers New York 2013 – continues to grow as the speakers for a major sales panel have been named. Titled “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales,” the session will be moderated by RAB president and CEO Erica Farber and feature (in alphabetical order): Spencer Brown, CEO, Dial Global; Jeff Smulyan, CEO, Emmis Broadcasting; Jerry Crowley, VP/general manager, WNYM (The Answer), New York; and Dan Metter, SVP/network advertising and sales, Premiere Networks. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We always try to bring the element of sales and revenue generation into these conferences, but this year with advertising and the element of ‘monetization’ being such a crucial issue not only in talk radio – but the entire spectrum of radio – we organized a panel that we are proud to say covers all bases. It should be enlightening and certainly productive.” Talkers New York 2013 takes place Thursday, June 6 and is on track to being an early sellout. Because of space limitations, registration is only open to working members of the media and can only be taken via telephone at 413-565-5413. Among those already announced as speakers include morning keynoter, Sean Hannity; sports keynoter, Mike Francesa; special guest speaker, Norm Pattiz; “State of the First Amendment” address presenter, Michael Smerconish and Arbitron‘s Jon Miller who will deliver a special report on “The PPM and Spoken Word Radio.” Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more agenda details about speakers, panels, presentations and award recipients coming in the immediate days ahead.
Traffic Reports on Radio Attract Listeners Says Research Director. A study of five PPM markets in Canada done by Research Director, Inc. and commissioned by the Canadian Traffic Network indicates “traffic reports on the radio attract listeners and boost ratings during the time that the reports air,” the company says. Research Director says this is the fourth study of PPM data in the five Canadian markets and the most recent study continues to show positive results for traffic reports. The company says some the highlights of the study include: 1) The three minutes around the traffic report have higher listening levels compared to non-traffic periods; 2) This was the case in each of the five markets examined; 3) On average for Persons 18+, Canadian Traffic Network’s reports deliver 20% greater audience than when traffic is not being broadcast; and 4) Among Adults 25-54, traffic reports deliver an even greater audience (+20%) than non-traffic times. This data comes as the industry debates the future value of general traffic reports in an era when smartphones and other in-car services are able to deliver real-time traffic information for specific routes to commuters.
Is Radio Losing Audience or Gaining It? And What About the Kids? If you add in the HD multicasts and AM/FM/HD streaming stations, as Arbitron did for its just-released March 2013 RADAR 116 National Radio Listening Report, “radio’s audience increased year over year, adding more than 1.6 million weekly listeners. Radio now reaches 242.8 million listeners on an average weekly basis.” Furthermore, Arbitron states, “Teens aged 12 to 17 shows the largest gains among the major age demographics. Radio now reaches nearly 23 million teens in an average week. Radio listening also remains steady among Adults aged 18 to 34, reaching 66.5 million people, or 92%, in this demographic.” The ratings company reports that “the data shows that radio is using new platforms effectively to reach more listeners. According to the RADAR March 2012 report, HD multicasts reach nearly 3.6 million persons aged 12 and older. Streams of AM/FM/HD radio also reach a broad audience. More than 5.4 million persons aged 12 and older tune into AM/FM/HD streams during an average week. Adults aged 18 to 49 make up the majority of this audience, with more than 3.5 million people in this demographic accessing streaming AM/FM/HD stations in an average week.”
The CBS Radio Product “World News Roundup” Celebrates 75 Years on the Air. The longest-running radio newscast – CBS Radio News’ “World News Roundup” – celebrates 75 years on the air this month. The company will honor the occasion tomorrow and Wednesday with special programs. The network will look at that first broadcast in 1938, its significance at the time and how the “Roundup” has evolved to remain an important source of information three-quarters of a century later. Vice president of CBS News, Radio, Harvey Nagler, states, “In an era with so many choices for the latest news, 75 years is truly a remarkable milestone. We are so proud that this broadcast that started it all is still something millions of Americans depend on every day. By combining the great traditions of CBS News with technology, our affiliates and their listeners receive relevant, accurate, immediate information they can trust, every day. From shortwave to satellites and from the Murrow Boys to multimedia platforms, ‘The World News Roundup’ is still setting the standard for quality journalism.” CBS says the program made broadcasting history on March 13, 1938 when it aired a riveting 38-minute program, anchored by Robert Trout, that reported the Nazi invasion of Austria. Revolutionizing news coverage, “The World News Roundup” gave listeners access to live reports from multiple reporters on the field, including a young CBS executive making his on-air debut in Vienna that night, Edward R. Murrow. In the following decades, the program was anchored by legendary CBS journalists, including Douglas Edwards, Dallas Townsend and Christopher Glenn. The current program is anchored by Steve Kathan and is produced by Paul Farry. Bill Whitney anchors the Late Edition of the “World News Roundup” which is produced by Greg Armstrong.
J.D. Hayworth to Co-Host AM Drive on Sports “The Mighty 1090” in San Diego. Former Arizona congressman and longtime issues talk host J.D. Hayworth takes an interesting turn in his radio career as he joins Broadcast Company of the Americas’ sports talk XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” to co-host the morning drive show with Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton beginning March 18. The station says the pairing of Hayworth with Hamilton completes a three-month search that spanned “six time zones.” Program director Mike Shepard states, “We really appreciated all the ‘players’ who gave their time to this search and in the end, J.D.’s extensive background in radio, and true chemistry with Hacksaw made the difference. When the two of them were on together it was what we call ‘lean forward and listen’ radio. San Diego’s sports fans will truly be entertained every morning.” Hayworth, who’s been doing a lot of fill-in work in issues talk radio over the past year or so, says, “Hacksaw and I go way back. As a TV sportscaster in Phoenix, I got to know Lee during his days at KTAR, which was his radio home before he came to San Diego years ago. The preparation and dedication that Lee brings to his broadcasts impressed me then, and inspires me now. What an honor to become his partner. We will not rest until we are the best sports morning show in the country!”
Loan Investigation Ends for WWL-AM-FM, New Orleans Talk Host Garland Robinette. Federal prosecutors are ending a probe into allegations the River Birch company paid bribes to close two New Orleans landfills so that its own facilities could receive the bulk of debris from Hurricane Katrina. WWL-AM/FM talk host Garland Robinette became involved in the probe after he received a personal loan from River Birch owner Fred Heebe. Robinette had also used his program to criticize the re-opening of the landfills that would have taken business from Heebe’s company. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Friday’s announcement puts to an end the investigation that included scrutiny of Robinette’s $250,000 interest-free loan from Heebe. Robinette’s attorney issued this statement: “I’m happy to announce that we’ve received notice that the Department of Justice in Washington has concluded their investigation regarding Garland as it relates to the River Birch case…and the matter is now closed. We want to thank the Public Integrity section for reaching the right result and for considering all the information. As Garland said from the beginning he never had done anything wrong. Garland and his family are glad they can now put this behind him.”
St. Louis Sports Stations KFNS and KXFN to Flip to Guy Talk and Ladies Talk in May. The Grand Slam Sports-owned AM stations will take a different programming tack in May under the leadership of new company president Dan Marshall. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KFNS will alter its programming to reduce the sports talk content to about 30% with “guy talk” comprising the other 70%. Marshall tells the paper’s Dan Caesar the announcement of who will be the new morning host on KFNS will be made on SiriusXM’s Howard Stern show today, leading to the conclusion that Stern pal Bubba the Love Sponge’s Tampa-based program will take over mornings. Other show hosts will be announced between now and May 1. Marshall is owner of a wireless communications company in the St. Louis area that’s been buying time on sports talk. Marshall’s company made an investment in Grand Slam Sports under the condition he would take over as general manager with control over programming. Current GM Katy Pavelonis stays on as sales manager. As for KXFN, how the move to female-targeted talk will be realized is less clear, although Marshall says, “I’ve already interviewed a few people who seem excited. And I believe our future advertisers will be excited to reach a women’s audience.” The current morning show at KFNS is hosted by Tim McKernan, Jim Hayes and Doug Vaughn and is owned by insideSTL Enterprises LLC and apparently brokers the time on KFNS. McKernan tells the paper insideSTL Enterprises is investigating the possibility of working with outside investors to put a new station on the air. The company operates insideSTL.com.
Strategizing Facebook’s Plans to Decrease Clutter. On Thursday, the social media giant announced a new format for their news feed, which Mark Zuckerberg referred to as “the best personalized newspaper in the world.” The big change? Pictures are going to get even bigger. That’s a bigger change than it sounds like. The headline Facebook puts on it is, “Goodbye, clutter.” According to radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, “This is good news for radio stations and other brands that are doing a good job using social media as loyalty content marketing. It will be easier for your fans and their friends to see what you post and enjoy it!” Today in TALKERS Miller offers five quick guidelines to help you make the most of your Facebook posts, especially once the new news feed kicks in for everyone. To read Chris Miller’s piece, click here.
Is Michael Smerconish’s Departure from AM/FM to Satellite the Canary in Talk Radio’s Coal Mine? Radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke thinks it might very well be the case. In an extremely candid look at the meaning behind the highly profiled defection, Cooke advises industry professionals how to read the message this move conveys in addition to dissecting the impact it will likely have on Smerconish’s career. To read this article by Holland Cooke, click here.
A Not So High-Tech Solution to a High-Tech Headache. Sometimes the remedy to what seems like a complex technical disaster can be found in cleverly utilizing the services of a commonly found, everyday low-tech product. Noted radio engineering wizard and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray had one such situation pop up recently and he shares how he solved it using…would you believe it…cat litter! Check out the story by clicking here.