Skype Sessions Rub Some WH Journos the Wrong Way; Others Not Worried. Regular readers of TALKERS magazine are aware that the Trump White House has opened some of the press briefings to offsite news organizations and talk show hosts via Skype. Some in the White House press corps are reportedly irked by the intrusion of more media outlets vying for time with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer – some even more so allegedly because of the inclusion of radio talk show hosts. The first Skype Session (2/1) featured talk show hosts Lars Larson of KXL, Portland; Dale Jackson of WVNN, Huntsville, Alabama; Jeff Jobe of Kentucky-based Jobe Publishing; plus TV news staffers Kimberly Kalunian of WPRI-TV, Providence; and Natalie Herbick of WJW-TV, Cleveland. Tom Blumer writes in the conservative media outlet Newsbusters that some in major news organizations – especially at CNN – are upset with what feels like an intrusion. See his piece here. But CBS News reporter Major Garrett says in a story by CBS about the matter, “I cannot complain about more reporters asking questions. If the Skype questions are softballs everyone will see it. And if a White House gains a reputation for taking softball questions and avoiding tough questions, that will become obvious to the country.” Needless to say, talk hosts and local media outlets such as WPRI-TV and WJW-TV are thrilled to be able to connect with the White House press corps. As for the questions posed by the talk hosts, Lars Larson asked if the Trump Administration has considered its stance on what some in the U.S. West believe is the too-large amount of land that is federally owned. Dale Jackson asked if the administration has taken steps to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) immigration programs in light of the president’s tack on immigration policy.
Chris Rongey Joins WXOS, St. Louis. A third voice is added to the afternoon drive program “The Fast Lane” on Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN.” Joining Randy Karraker and Brad Thompson is Chris Rongey. He’d been with WSCR, Chicago for the past 14 years handling pre-game and post-game duties for White Sox games. He also served as an update anchor at the station and wrote for the suburban Daily Herald. WXOS program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert states, “We are excited to welcome Chris Rongey home. He is a tremendous talent and will be a great addition to the ‘101 ESPN’ team.”
Entercom Surrenders KDND, Sacramento License. The Federal Communications Commission had been taking the rare action of designating the 2013 renewal application of Entercom’s KDND, Sacramento for hearing, due to the death of station contest participant Jennifer Strange in the now infamous “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” promotion. Now, Entercom announces it is voluntarily giving up the station’s license. The company states, “After careful consideration, Entercom determined it is in the company’s best interests to voluntarily turn in the KDND license to facilitate the timely FCC approvals for the planned combination with CBS Radio.” At least partly responsible for the FCC’s actions was the Sue Wilson-led Media Action Center which had filed the petition to deny for the station’s license renewal. MAC had also attempted to get the Commission broaden its hearing to include the entire Entercom Sacramento cluster. As of today, Entercom is moving the CHR format heard on KDND to its current hot AC KUDL at 106.5 FM.
iHeartMedia Names Mike Saffer Tucson Market President. Moving from his most recent position as VP of sales for Clear Channel Outdoor in Tucson is Mike Saffer, who takes on the market president position at iHeartMedia Tucson. Its stations in that market include news/talk outlets KNST and KTZR, as well as CHr KRQQ, hot AC KMIY “My 92.9,” hip hop KOHT “HOT 98.3,” country KYWD “97.1 The Bull,” and Tejano KXEW-AM “Tejano 1600.” About his new gig, Saffer comments, “I am elated to make the transition into the iHeartMedia family here in Tucson. Being raised in Tucson, the talent at these stations has always played a major role in my life. I am excited to work with those same stations to build upon their legacy and strengthen our relationship with both advertisers and the community.”
Pollnow to Lead Cumulus Green Bay. The Green Bay cluster of Cumulus Media has a new vice president and market manager as Don Pollnow returns to Wisconsin to lead the company’s six-station group. Though Pollnow has most recently been serving with LM Communications in Lexington, Kentucky as national sales manager, he served as general manager for NRG Media’s Wausau-Steven Point station group in the past. Cumulus’ Green Bay stations include: sports talk simulcast WDUZ “The Fan,” country WPCK “NASH FM 104.9,” hot AC WQLH “ Star 98,” triple A WKRU, and classic hits WOGB.
TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicates “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the program schedule at WRRD, Milwaukee in the evening slot nightly, and at WCCM, Salem, New Hampshire for weekends…..ICYMI, yesterday during Westwood One’s Super Bowl LI pre-game and halftime programming, host Jim Gray did a recorded, one-on-one interview with President Donald Trump. He told Gray he was rooting for the Patriots, spoke about his friendship with Tom Brady, and discussed topics including sports gambling, concussions in the NFL, use of medical marijuana by NFL players, and how his immigration policy might affect Los Angeles’ 2024 Olympics bid…..Boston University-owned pubcaster WBUR, Boston appoints Brian Hardzinski associate producer for the local talk show “On Point with Tom Ashbrook.” Hardzinski served to the past 11 years at the University of Oklahoma’s KGOU, Norman.
Travel Order Court Battle, U.S.-Russia Relations, Yiannopoulos Berkeley Speech Protests, Iran Missile Test, Marine Le Pen’s Campaign for President, Gorsuch SCOTUS Nomination and Patriots-Falcons Super Bowl Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The ongoing controversy over President Donald Trump’s travel order targeting seven predominantly Muslim nations and federal judge James Robart’s temporary restraining order staying the order; the relations between the U.S. and Russia and Trump’s comments to Bill O’Reilly about Vladimir Putin; last Thursday’s canceled speech by Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos at UC-Berkeley after violent protests; U.S. response to Iran over its test of a missile last week; the nationalist campaign of French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen; the nomination of Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court justice; and Sunday night’s Super Bowl LI between the Patriots and Falcons were some of the most-talked-about news/talk stories this past weekend.
Chase Murphy to Program ‘Mix 96.5’ in Houston. Programming pro Chase Murphy joins CBS Radio as program director for hot AC KHMX, Houston “Mix 96.5.” SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier comments, “Chase is a leader, a team builder, a talent coach and a builder of brands. He is the perfect fit for KHMX, a big brand with great heritage in the Houston market.” Murphy previously served with iHeartMedia as an operations manager and regional program director. He also worked with Entercom in the Greenville market.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Boston, “The Morning Wake UP” with co-hosts KJ Carson and Kesha Monk debuts today on the new urban AC WKAF “97.7 FM, Boston’s #1 For R&B.” Entercom split the simulcast of rock WAAF and WKAF back in early January and today is launching the new morning show. Chris Malone is programming the station…..Mapleton Communications promotes Tommy Del Rio from his regional program director post to vice president of top 40 programming. Del Rio is in charge of the programming for all seven of Mapleton’s CHR-formatted stations…..In the Yakima market, Brian Henderson and Todd E. Lyons Esq. are being paired up for mornings on Townsquare Media’s active rock KATS. Henderson previously served as PD for Radio Yakima’s crosstown classic rocker KRSE “105.7 The Hawk.” In addition to morning show duties, Henderson is handling the brand manager position at KATS…..Brazos Valley Communications appoints Shalayna Valencia regional director of events & digital for its stations in both the Odessa-Midland and Bryan-College Station markets. Valencia was previously market president for Townsquare Media’s Odessa-Midland operations…..Radio pro Sari Zalesin joins the marketing division at mobile app developer jacapps. At the same time, the company promotes Alex Burnstein to the new position, director of marketing.
PPM Analysis: AC and the 2016 Holiday Survey. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a detailed breakdown of the (6+) performances of adult contemporary outlets based on data from the 2016 Holiday PPM survey from Nielsen Audio. See which stations benefitted the most from the infusion of Christmas music, as well as how AC-formatted stations performed compared to the 2015 Holiday survey, plus more. See it all here.
FCC Chairman Pai Vows to Remove ‘Unnecessary or Counterproductive Regulations.’ At his first press briefing as Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Ajit Pai told reporters that the Commission’s main goal is to “remove unnecessary or counterproductive regulations from the books.” These comments came after the Commission voted 3-0 to eliminate two requirements: (1) that commercial broadcast stations retain copies of letters and emails from the public; and (2) that cable operators maintain for public inspection the designation and location of a cable system’s principal headend. Pai says, “These measures follow directly from Commissioner O’Rielly’s diligent work to identify unnecessary paperwork burdens. In all, this action reduces regulatory burdens on commercial broadcasters and cable operators without adversely affecting the public interest.” It remains to be seen if a Pai-led Commission will move to end the broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership ban in the near future. Remember that Pai issued strong comments against keeping the ban after it was retained in the latest Quadrennial Review under former Chairman Tom Wheeler. Pai also did not comment to reporters about his plans to move to overturn the net neutrality regulations passed during the Obama Administration.
Buck Sexton Takes Over Host Role at Premiere’s ‘America Now.’ The new name of the show is “Buck Sexton with America Now,” and Premiere Networks announces that Sexton will begin hosting the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET show on Monday, February 6. The company says Meghan McCain leaves the show to focus on her expanded role at FOX News Channel. Sexon has been serving as a regular fill-in for Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. Previously, he’s been a CNN contributor, and radio/TV host for Beck’s TheBlaze. He formerly served as a CIA officer in the Counterterrorism Center and the Office of Iraq Analysis. He completed tours of duty as an intelligence officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other hotspots around the globe. Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott comments, “We couldn’t be happier to welcome Buck as host of ‘America Now.’ He’s smart and engaging, and his previous work with the U.S. Intelligence Community makes him uniquely qualified to lead conversations about the news, events and issues that affect all Americans. We’re confident Buck’s distinct perspective will resonate with America Now’s national audience and create powerful multi-platform opportunities for our partners.”
KXL, Portland’s Lars Larson Joins White House Presser Via Skype. At today’s White House press conference – in which four media outlets will be allowed to ask questions of Press Secretary Sean Spicer via Skype – KXL, Portland and Compass Media Networks-syndicated talk show host Lars Larson will be taking part in the event. The White House announced the launch of the “Skype Seats,” designed to allow media outside of Washington to participate in the daily White House press briefings. Larson says in a statement, “For a long time I wished I had the opportunity to ask questions at a White House briefing. In fact, I’d love to ask questions every day. Years ago I actually inquired about what it would take to get a one- or two-day pass to go to the White House briefing. I would be willing to fly to DC and do that, but you’d only get that one opportunity and not the daily opportunity the major media get.” Larson will be able to ask his question around 2:00 pm ET.
Trump Travel Order/Protests, Gorsuch Nominated for SCOTUS, Sanctuary Cities Order, Dems Block Votes on Cabinet Picks, and Super Bowl LI Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/31). The controversy over President Donald Trump’s order banning travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries and the ensuing protests; Trump names U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch his nominee for the Supreme Court; Trump’s threat to sanctuary cities and the lawsuits planned by several of those cities; Democrats block votes on three of President Trump’s cabinet picks; and the build-up to Super Bowl LI were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Capitol Broadcasting Re-Brands WCLY; Adds FM Translator. Triangle sports talker WCLY-AM adds an FM translator at 95.7 and re-brands the station “95.7 The Ticket.” The station airs largely syndicated sports talk programming plus local and regional play-by-play. Capitol Broadcasting operations manager/program director Dennis Glasgow states, “We couldn’t be more thrilled that with our great weekday lineup and partners, our listeners will have an additional FM signal in Raleigh to enjoy great sports programming.” Capitol Broadcasting also operates sports talk outlets WCMC-FM “99.9FM The Fan” and trimulcast WDNC-AM/W257CS/W243DK “Buzz Sports Radio.”
TALKERS News Notes. New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett appears as the first guest on the “Forbes Under 30” podcast that launched today (2/1) on PodcastOne. The program is hosted by Forbes contributor and former PBS personality Steve Goldbloom. On the show, Bennett talked about his brother’s success in the league and why he continues to play football as he creates children’s books, apps and more. The focus of the new program is on “young innovators, disruptors and entrepreneurs who are changing the world. It features past and present members recognized on the Forbes 30 Under 30 lists, along with up-and-comers who match the profile of future list-makers.”…..Former Minnesota Governor, pro-wrestler and radio talk show host Jesse Ventura is launching a new variety news show titled, “The World According to Jesse,” on RT America beginning this spring. RT America says the program will “tackle both the current news agenda and deeper issues, such as government hypocrisy and corporate deception with Jesse’s distinctive take on stories sidelined by the mainstream media. Ventura will apply his uncensored, bold, and bare-knuckled approach to thought-provoking interviews and on-the-ground reporting alike.”…..As part of its strategy to deliver an enhanced visual hybrid radio station experience beyond the smartphone, TagStation is increasing focused efforts on the connected car. The company is hiring Derek Rohloff as VP automotive business development to spearhead inclusion in the next generation auto dashboard. TagStation’s activity in the dashboard space began in 2012, when it worked with a leading OEM to build a prototype for SmartDeviceLink. NextRadio and TagStation president Paul Brenner states, “Derek brings his proven expertise and deep industry contacts to the team which will help us ramp up quickly. The timing is right for the company, as we are poised and ready to showcase what we can offer to the automotive industry.”
Sean Strife to Program ‘Y957 FM’ Cedar Rapids. Named to the program director role at iHeartMedia’s KOSY, Cedar Rapids, Iowa “Y957 FM” is Sean Strife. He most recently was producer for KIIS, Los Angeles’ “On Air With Ryan Seacrest.” He also produced the “Jesse Lozano in the Morning” show and was an air personality at sports talk KLAC. He’s originally from Boca Raton, Florida and began his career in the radio industry in Gainesville and West Palm Beach before moving to LA in 2013. iHeartMedia Cedar Rapids SVP of programming JJ Cook says, “Sean was the obvious choice for this role – he brings his major market experience, format knowledge and industry connections with him to help ‘Y957 FM’ continue its strong growth in the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City markets.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Air personality Mike Allen announces he’s leaving his home of the past 10 years – Entravision’s country KNTY, Sacramento “101.9 The Wolf” – for a soon-to-be-announced gig elsewhere. He’s been afternoon host, assistant program director and music director at the station. He’ll continue to host the USRN-syndicated “25 Years of Hits” country program…..There are changes to announce at Entercom’s Austin cluster: The company names Matt Wheeler creative services director for the whole station group and APD for adult contemporary KKMJ “Majic 95.5” and hot AC KAMX “MIX 94.7.” Sean Mack is appointed music director for KAMX. And Orphan Andrew is assigned the duty of voice tracking the KAMX evening show from his home at the company’s CHR KDND, Sacramento “107.9 The End,” where he handles middays…..The lineup is set for the Grand Ole Opry at this month’s Country Radio Seminar on February 22 – the kick-off night of the three-day event at Omni Nashville. Playing the show will be: Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum, Trace Adkins, Crystal Gayle, LOCASH, Cam, Michael Ray, Chris Lane, Carly Pearce, and Dailey & Vincent. The concert starts at 7:00 pm following the CMA Welcome Reception in the Performance Hall…..iHeartMedia debuts a new country station on Millman, Iowa-licensed translator K243CA (Des Moines market) branded “96.9 The Bull.” The Premiere Networks-syndicated Bobby Bones show will be featured in morning drive. Market president Joel McCrea states, “‘96.9 The Bull’ provides an amazing opportunity for Des Moines by offering a wider variety of music and entertainment. We couldn’t be more excited to connect Des Moines country music fans with the hottest country artists.”
‘99.9 The Fan’ in Raleigh to Broadcast Town Hall on Race Relations in Sports. As part of its ongoing “Fan Town Hall” series, Capitol Broadcasting’s Raleigh-Durham sports talker WCMC “99.9 The Fan” is presenting a live multi-cast of a town hall focusing on the question, “Do today’s African-American athletes bear any responsibility to commenting on today’s social issues?” The event takes place on Tuesday (8/30) at 7:00 pm. It is being moderated by WRAL-TV anchor/reporter Gerald Owens and features the following seven panelists: sport business professor at UNC-Charlotte Dr. Deborah Stroman, former ECU head football coach Steve Logan, former UNC and NBA player George Lynch, former NC State and NFL player Brandan Bishop, “99.9 The Fan” afternoon drive host Adam Gold, and “Buzz Sports Radio” morning drive hosts Erroll Reese and Kevin McClendon. The social media desk and interaction with Twitter will be managed by 99.9 The Fan’s afternoon drive host Joe Ovies. The program will air with live video and audio on WRAL-TV 2, “99.9 The Fan,” WRALsportsfan.com and the WRALsportsfan app. Capitol Broadcasting sports radio operations manager, program director and executive producer for the Fan Town Hall series, Dennis Glasgow, says, “This discussion is long overdue and we have a diverse and opinionated panel to tackle this polarizing topic. I’m also excited that our viewers and listeners can participate with their feedback and commentary in real time via Twitter.”
Colin Cowherd’s Digital Platform Launches. The launch of FOX Sports Radio and FS1 personality Colin Cowherd’s new digital platform is a cooperative effort between Cowherd, Premiere Networks, and Chris Balfe’s Red Seat Ventures. It’s called TheHerdNow.com and serves as “the digital home for content created and curated by Colin Cowherd including bold opinion pieces, viral news stories, exclusive podcasts, and original video series. The new site also serves as a portal for fans to find stories covering the best moments and interviews from Cowherd’s radio show, as well as the daily podcast and streaming audio of ‘The Herd.’” Cowherd says, “I’ve chosen to work with the best people in the industry and the support I’ve received has been like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I feel incredibly lucky to launch this venture for fans to connect with my best content whenever and wherever they happen to be.”
Hogenson Tapped by RNC for Help with Radio During Campaign. Consultant and radio expert Scott Hogenson is working for the Republican National Committee to consult on and assist with radio for the campaign election cycle. Hogenson started working with the RNC today (8/29). He also served as radio director for the GOP convention in Cleveland this summer. He is president of the Washington, DC public affairs firm Hogenson Communications, LLC. He served in the George W. Bush Administration as deputy assistant secretary for public affairs for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. During his career he has worked on three presidential campaigns as a senior member of the press office at the Republican National Committee.
New Sales Managers Named at Entercom Boston. Moving over from her sales manager position at Entercom’s news/talk WRKO to the same post at rock WAAF is Alison Harris. Assuming the open sales manager post at WRKO is Denise DiLuca, who returns to Entercom from her most recent gig with iHeartMedia as VP of sales in Providence. DiLuca worked in the business development department at Entercom Boston before joining iHeartMedia in 2012. Entercom New England VP/market manager Phil Zachary says both Harris and DiLuca embody the cluster’s inexorable work ethic. “Alison and Denise are natural sales leaders. Both are highly regarded in the marketplace for their uncompromising integrity, outstanding training skills, intensity of focus and ability to recruit the very best local sellers. I have no doubt our Boston cluster will continue to outperform the market with these proven professionals in key roles.”
Scott Robbins Easing Back into Radio on WMBD, Peoria a Year After Heart Attack. Before suffering a major heart attack a year ago, Scott Robbins and on-air partner Jamie Markley were co-hosting a three-hour talk show simulcast on Alpha Media’s WMBD, Peoria and KXL, Portland. But that major health issue put Robbins in the hospital for four months. The Peoria Journal Star, in a piece by Steve Tarter, reports that Robbins is back on the radio with a weekly show airing on WMBD Saturdays from 6:00 am to 8:00 am with co-host Joe Greenwood. After Robbins’ heart attack, David van Camp began filling in alongside Markley and was later named permanent co-host of the show.
Cumulus Ups Hach to VP, Digital for San Francisco. After serving as digital and integrated sales manager for Cumulus Media’s San Francisco and Minneapolis clusters, Justin Hach is promoted to vice president, digital for the company’s San Francisco station group that includes sports talk KNBR, triple A KFOG, classic rock KSAN, news/talk KGO, news/talk KSFO and Asian KSJO. Hach’s charge will be to lead a team that is responsible for all digital and social strategies, development, content and revenue. Vice president and market manager Justin Wittmayer says, “I’m really proud of the team that Justin has built and the way that they’re connecting our brands and fans. His content strategy is driving database growth, engagement, revenue and, most important, a better user/client experience.”
Nigel Burton Partners with Dan Sheldon on KPOJ, Portland for Mornings. Sports talk KPOJ-AM “Rip City Radio 620” adds Pacific Northwest sports analyst Nigel Burton to its morning show with current host Dan Sheldon. The new show is called “Rip City Mornings with Dan and Nigel,” airing weekdays from 6:00 am to -9:00 am. Burton is an analyst for Pac-12 Networks and a college football analyst for CSNNW. Newly appointed “Rip City Radio” program director Rich Moore says, “Adding Nigel Burton with his background and associations is very exciting and we are looking forward to partnering him up with Dan Sheldon in the morning.”
Jess Hanson to Head Up Horizon Broadcasting’s Central Oregon Station Group. Most recently with Townsquare Media’s Abilene, Texas operations, Jess Hanson heads north to join Horizon Broadcasting Group’s Central Oregon media properties as market manager/general sales manager. He’ll oversee the company’s five radio stations – classic hits KQAK-FM, hot AC KWPK “The PEAK 104.1,” AC KLTW “95.7 MY FM,” news/talk simulcast KBNW-AM/FM, and classic country KRCO – as well as the company’s digital assets and event productions. Horizon president and CEO Keith Shipman states, “I am pleased to hand over the day-to-day operations of our Central Oregon assets to an experienced and successful leader. Jess has demonstrated his passion for the radio industry over the past three decades and has built successful sales and programming teams throughout his career. He has a proven track record in broadcast, digital and event sales – all of which are key to our clients’ marketing plans.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes Announces 2016 Right Wisconsin Award Winners. WTMJ, Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes operates the digital news platform RightWisconsin.com and each year, he presents awards to conservatives in the state. This year – at a banquet to be held this Friday (9/2) – Sykes announces that former Governor Tommy Thompson and Mary Kohler will be presented lifetime achievement awards. Kohler will be presented the Margaret Thatcher Award and Thompson will receive the Ronald Reagan Award. The Thatcher and Reagan Awards are the top honors being given at this fourth annual event. The evening will be hosted by Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Sykes.
The Presidential Race, Dwayne Wade’s Cousin Killed in Chicago Violence, Italy Earthquake Aftermath, Kaepernick Sits Out National Anthem, Weiner Sexting Again, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the Chicago shooting death of Nykea Aldridge, cousin of NBA star Dwayne Wade; the aftermath of the deadly earthquake in central Italy; controversy over NFL star Colin Kaepernick’s sitting out the National Anthem in protest; former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner caught in another sexting case; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
Odds & Sods. There’s a new PM drive show on Entercom’s sports talk WROC, Rochester “ESPN Rochester.” Replacing “The Radio Press Box with Scott Pitoniak and Dan Borrello” is “The Sports Bar with Mike Danger and Gene Battaglia.” Danger is also programming WROC in addition to his programming role at sister CHR WPXY…..SiriusXM is enhancing its college sports play-by-play offerings with a new five-year broadcasting agreement with Learfield and IMG. The deal now includes both streaming and satellite radio broadcast rights and greatly expands the number of college games that will be available to subscribers on the SiriusXM app…..Alpha Media is announcing that adult contemporary KUIC, Vacaville, California has become an affiliate of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. KUIC will air full broadcast of all Warriors games including playoff games for the 2016-2017 season…..WUUB, Jupiter, Florida “ESPN West Palm” is dedicating its Friday night programming to the biggest high school football matchups in the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast. “Football Night in South Florida” on the Good Karma-operated station is sponsored by Papa John’s Pizza. Also the station adds ESPN’s Paul Finebaum show to its daily lineup, airing from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..The final chapter of the Todd Schnitt vs Bubba the Love Sponge defamation suit has been written, but it doesn’t involved either broadcaster – it’s about three of Bubba’s former attorneys. Regular TALKERS readers will remember that attorneys Stephen Diaco, Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut – with the assistance of legal assistant Melissa Personius and then-cop Ray Fernandez – orchestrated the DUI of Schnitt attorney Philip Campbell in hopes of helping their case. (How would that help? We’re not really sure.) Regardless, Diaco tried to man up and voluntarily gave up his law license in hopes the Florida Supreme Court would go easy on his colleagues. No such luck. The Court has permanently stripped Adams and Filthaut of the right to practice law. For more on the case, see Fox13 News’ summary here.
Howie Carr Sits in on WOR, New York. Syndicated, Boston-based talk host Howie Carr made his New York City debut on Friday (8/26) filling in on the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot on iHeartMedia’s 710 WOR for the vacationing “Mr. New York” Mark Simone. Carr’s program is syndicated on numerous signals throughout New England. Pictured above are Carr (left) and Simone (right) who met for the first time at TALKERS magazine’s annual conference in New York several years ago.
Red Sox-WEEI Streak Continues. While financial terms of the highly expected deal were not disclosed, Entercom Boston sports outlet WEEI will carry on its role as the radio flagship of the Boston Red Sox through (at minimum) the 2023 MLB season. WEEI and the Red Sox have been partners since 1995. Entercom chief operating officer David Field states, “WEEI and Entercom are delighted to be extending our outstanding relationship with the Boston Red Sox well into the future. It is a true privilege to be partnered with this extraordinary, iconic organization and their world-class team of professionals, both on and off the field. Red Sox fans across the country will continue to hear outstanding Sox play-by-play broadcasts and 24/7 team coverage on WEEI and WEEI.com, the home of Red Sox baseball.” Red Sox president Sam Kennedy comments, “We are pleased to extend our partnership with WEEI for another seven seasons. We look forward to this new phase of our partnership and sharing more winning baseball through the airwaves with our fans across New England.” The WEEI play-by-play crew consists of Red Sox Hall of Fame announcer Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett, who this year succeeded Dave O’Brien (now doing Red Sox telecasts on NESN); Hamden, Connecticut native Castiglione is in his 34th year in the Red Sox radio booth. In addition to WEEI, the Red Sox Radio Network consists of 55 affiliates throughout the six New England states. To see how WEEI-FM and 28 other MLB radio flagships performed in Nielsen Audio‘s March 2016 PPM sweep, please read today’s exclusive TALKERS special features piece which appears below.
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian introduces Major League Baseball‘s 2016 radio flagships with a ratings overview based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2016 PPM survey period. Highlighted are each key station’s 6+ share; 6+ market rank; month-to-month and year-to-year fluctuations; and a special breakout chart featuring the flagships by league/division. See the first of Mike’s exclusive special feature pieces about MLB flagships here.
TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Is Nearing a Sellout! If you haven’t made your reservations to attend the forthcoming 19th annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention, now is the time to do so. It is nearing an early sellout and there will be no registrations sold at the door. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations will take place three weeks from now on Friday, May 20 on the fabulous campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY (on Long Island, just outside of NYC). Featuring a powerful lineup of more than 60 luminous speakers, panel discussions, presentations, breakfast, lunch, closing reception, techno exhibits, live broadcasts and more – this is shaping up to be the most exciting and productive industry networking events of its kind in years. Registration cost is $299 per person and can only be arranged with credit card over the phone. The event is only open to media professionals and communications students. Please call 413-565-5413 for registration, sponsorship, and hotel information. Complete up to date agenda info can be found by clicking here.
Knapp, KCMO-AM Cut Ties. After more than five years as KCMO-AM, Kansas City’s afternoon drive host, Greg Knapp departs the Cumulus Media talk outlet. Regarding his dismissal, Knapp writes on his Facebook page, “I was told repeatedly it was not about my performance. My general manager was very kind in telling me how much she appreciated my show and my work [but] corporate decided it was cheaper to run syndicated programming than it was to pay me a salary. I have consistently had the highest ratings on the station; everyone at Cumulus Kansas City has been very good to me. The good news is I learned a long time ago to always have more than one source of income. I am now ramping up my personal development business [but] I am also looking for new opportunities in radio.” Knapp previously did afternoon drive on KLIF, Dallas; was a syndicated Radio America talk talent; and owned a guest-hosting service. Down or flat for the fourth successive sweep (1.9 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5, 6+), KCMO-AM ranks #21 in Nielsen Audio‘s March 2016 PPM report for Kansas City; Entercom hot AC KZPT “The Point” is the market leader (6.5, 6+).
Presidential Race Tops “Talkers Ten” for Week of April 25 – 29. Activities of the presidential candidates and the battle for delegates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 were the European terrorism investigations and the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, tied with the United States’ Syria military policy. Coming in at #3 was the controversy over state laws affecting public restroom use and gender identification, followed by North Korea’s recent missile tests at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
“Robbins & Markley” Becomes “Markley & van Camp.” Owing to health concerns that have sidelined Scott Robbins since late-August (2015), there is a title change for the weekday program on Alpha Media Portland’s KXL “FM News 101” and co-owned WMBD, Peoria (Illinois). David van Camp will permanently join Jamie Markley for the “Markley and van Camp Show,” which airs 9:00 am – 12:00 noon on KXL and from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm on WMBD. Alpha Media executive vice president of programming Scott Mahalick comments that, “David van Camp brings a unique perspective to the show and a great balance to Jamie Markley; together, they are magical.” The first official day of the newly-named “Markley and van Camp Show” will be next Monday (5/2).
SiriusXM Q1 Revenue Rises 11%. The increase is to a record $1.2 billion, with SiriusXM net income up 62% to $171 million; adjusted EBITDA improves 11% to $441 million. The satcaster adds nearly one-half million new subscribers, ending with almost 30.1 million. First quarter results exceeded expectations of chief executive officer Jim Meyer who comments, “I am especially pleased we were able to add 465,000 net new subscribers, leading to an 8% increase in subscribers over the prior year. With excellent subscriber growth so early in the year, we are raising our guidance for full year net subscriber additions to 1.6 million. We set first quarter records for revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and free cash flow, and we are on track to achieve all of our financial goals this year. With a new full-time music channel from Kenny Chesney, live broadcasts from major music festivals, special popup channels for David Bowie, and Billy Joel, as well as new talk shows, and unmatched coverage of the presidential primaries, SiriusXM continues to be the leader in audio entertainment. We are always looking to deliver new, compelling content to our subscribers.” Chief financial officer David Frear notes that during the first quarter, “We reduced our outstanding share count by about 3%, spending $588 million to repurchase 159 million shares of our common stock. Our debt to adjusted EBITDA remained low at just 3.4 times, leaving plenty of flexibility to continue capital returns to our stockholders or make acquisitions while also making investments in our technology, content, and new satellite infrastructure.”
State of the New York Market Report Released. Among the findings from a New York Market Radio Association (NYMRAD) overview is that several industries expanded their footprint in the New York area contributing to a strong first-quarter start. NYMRAD executive director Debbie Beagan remarks, “With luxury retailers and department stores opening locations across the Tri-State area, radio offers high-end businesses an engaging environment for reaching consumers with household incomes of $250,000 and higher. New York market radio reaches 91% of high-income households, $250,000+, [as well as] over 90% of those who own a second home; those planning on buying a luxury car; dined in upscale restaurants; purchased fine jewelry in excess of $500; and vacations in excess of $10,000.” The report addresses latest information about New York’s economy, commuting information, radio and politics, and national radio advertising/usage. Analysis of the New York marketplace is designed to help advertisers understand radio’s impact on consumers and its role in the local advertising landscape. NYMRAD’s “State of the Market Report” provides business trends as well as local information from a variety of sources including Nielsen Audio, Media Monitors, and The New York Times.”
Execs Named to Build Digital Content Network for TheBlaze. Three digital media industry veterans have been added to TheBlaze‘s leadership team. Former Core Media Group chief marketing officer Chris Gannett joins as senior vice president of marketing; previously with CNN and the weekend edition of ABC-TV‘s “Good Morning America,” Matt Frucci is appointed senior vice president of content & programming; and Lisa Fowler – from BET Networks – joins as vice president of talent and culture. TheBlaze president Stewart Padveen notes, “TheBlaze is investing heavily in our mission to redefine the way digital media is delivered and consumed. Chris, Matt, and Lisa are a significant part of a new high-performing culture and a diverse lineup of superstar talent.” Ironically, the additions at Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze come after cuts across offices in New York, Los Angeles, Washington (D.C.), and Columbus, where a documentary group had been based. Sources tell TVNewser, between 35-45 staffers have been pinkslipped. These layoffs follow what a source calls a “brain drain” of talent over the last year. Chief executive officer Betsy Morgan left the company last summer and her interim replacement, former Premiere Networks chief operating officer, Kraig Kitchen, exited earlier this year. According to The Daily Beast, the latest cuts are meant to “satisfy the requirements of a multi-million dollar bank loan taken out recently to keep Beck’s revenue-challenged enterprise running.” TheBlaze is consolidating the company’s operations to its Irving, Texas headquarters.
The Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 21-25. The activities of the candidates for president and the primary races were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Brussels terror attacks. Coming in at #3 was the battle against Islamic State followed by President Obama’s trips to Cuba and Argentina at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
WPGG, Atlantic City’s Harry Hurley Gets National Attention for Governor Christie Interview. The fiscal crisis being faced by Atlantic City, New Jersey – the city will run out of money on April 8 – is a regional issue but Governor Chris Christie has national visibility, so the media pays attention when he speaks. Christie did a 40-minute interview with WPGG morning host Harry Hurley on March 24 that was reported on by the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, The Washington Times, the Philadelphia Enquirer, and a New Zealand-based organization called Foreign Affairs, in addition to the New Jersey media. Christie has proposed a state takeover of the city that has support in the New Jersey legislature but New Jersey Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto opposes the plan. Hurley tells TALKERS magazine Christie appeared on his show without interruption from 7:35 to 8:15 and was followed by a 40-minute interview with Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, who responded to the governor. Hurley says he’s amazed at how the interview went viral. Harry Hurley was recently named the 2016 recipient of the prestigious Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host (“Humanitarian of the Year”). It will be presented to him during the Awards Ceremony at the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations conference set for Friday, May 20 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. Hurley is one of more than 60 speakers set for what promises to be a memorable and productive day. The conference will be an early sellout. For information, please click here.
KXL, Portland Hosting Democratic Presidential Primary Debate. This primary election debate will be between representatives from the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders camps who will discuss the issues along with local student campaign supporters. A media panel comprised of KXL talk host Lars Larson, KXL morning news anchor Rebecca Marshall, and KOIN-TV news reporter Jeff Gianola will moderate. It will take place at Alpha Media’s Skype Live Studio on March 29 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm with a social hour from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Alpha EVP of programming Scott Mahalick says, “‘FM News 101 KXL’ owns the leadership position with the presidential debate coverage so this Skype Live Studio debate is a natural extension of our election coverage strategy.” The debate is open to the public.
WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes Hosts Ted Cruz at Annual ‘Insight’ Event. This year’s version of the annual “Charlie Sykes Insight” live event featured GOP candidate Senator Ted Cruz as he launched his campaign to win the Wisconsin GOP Primary. He took part in a one-on-one interview with WTMJ, Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes on Wednesday (3/23). Cruz and Sykes spoke for an hour. As the station has done in past years, audio from the event was broadcast on Sykes’ midday show. Pictured here are (from l-r): Cruz, Sykes and Heidi Cruz.
Nielsen Investigates Millennials. The Holy Grail of advertising in 2016 is to reach the Millennial generation – defined roughly as those ages 18-35 (as of 2015). But as the Nielsen Insights report highlights, not all Millennials (nor Boomers nor Gen-Xers for that matter) are at the same points in their lives – and that matters when trying to understand their media behavior. In looking at technology penetration and media usage, Nielsen breaks the Millennial generation into three types: Dependent Adults (living in someone else’s home), On Their Own (living in their own home without children) and Starting a Family (living in their own home with children). Obviously the three types have different lifestyles and, consequently, different media habits. Much of the report explains differences in digital device penetration and usage, but about radio it has this to say: “The report found that radio reaches 90% of Millennials who are Dependent Adults and 89% of Millennials who are On Their Own. But that number rises to 92% among Millennials who are Starting a Family. This group contains a higher percentage of Hispanics, who tend to be heavy users of radio.” See the whole report and more here.
Narcissism and Talk Radio. Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Renee Kohanski writes in a piece for TALKERS magazine about the topic of narcissism. The presidential campaign has brought this subject front-and-center as commentators analyze political candidates and media figures. But it’s important to understand what the terms mean as they apply to personality types. Read this enlightening article to learn about the difference between narcissism and self-esteem and the gray areas in between. Click her for here.
Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2016. The Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame was created in 2008 to “to celebrate the storied history of the industry in Rhode Island, and to honor the men and women who have played a part in its growth.” This year’s class of inductees includes regular TALKERS magazine/RadioInfo contributor Holland Cooke who began his radio career at WPRO-AM, Providence as a disc jockey and served as program director for WSNE, Providence. Other inductees include: Bob DeCarlo, Bill George, Mike Gorman, Bruce Palmer, and Debbie Rich. Additionally, the Shepard Award – created to recognize the founders of radio in the Ocean State (John and Robert Shepard, owners of the Shepard Department Stores) and to honor present-day contributors to the industry through leadership, dedication, achievement, innovation and spirit – goes to Karen Kutniewski. The Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Denise Laprise to celebrate her more than 25 years as support staffer for Providence media. This year’s induction ceremony will also include recognition for the Legacy Station of the Year. Created to recognize outstanding Rhode Island radio stations of the past, their formats, and their personnel on and off the air, this year they remember “JB 105.” Proceeds from the May 12 ceremony will benefit Special Olympics of Rhode Island.
Odds & Sods. The GCN-syndicated “Doctor Daliah” show – hosted by Dr. Daliah Wachs – is added to the program lineup at Florida Talk Radio-owned WSRQ, Sarasota, Florida…..Author, voice-over artist, audio producer, and cancer survivor Robin Marshall is collaborating with Flatlands Avenue Productions for marketing and promotion of her exclusive, “Sugar Mom Podcast.” Debra Grobman and Rita Rich, principals at Flatlands, describe in the podcast, how Marshall encourages women to step out of their comfort zone and be all they can be!
Schnitts Involved in Legal Action with Former Lawyers. The suit that talk show host Todd Schnitt and his wife Michelle filed against fellow radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge for defamation was colorful, to say the least, even including bizarre misconduct on the part of Bubba’s legal team. Now, the Schnitts’ former lawyers are suing the Schnitts for not paying all of their legal bills and the Schnitts are countersuing. FOX News 13 Tampa has the story here, but the thumbnail version is that the Schnitts are countersuing because they allege their case was unwinnable and that they were egged into pursuing legal action that their team should have known was futile. Further, the Schnitts say another legal defense that they hired to replace the lawyers with whom they are now in dispute was able to ultimately mediate a détente between them and Bubba. The case is currently going on in Tampa.
Brussels Terror Attack-Battle Against Islamic State, The Presidential Race, Obama’s Cuba Visit, and Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/22). The terrorist attacks on the airport and subway in Brussels and the related battle against Islamic State; the activities of the candidates for president and yesterday’s primaries in Idaho, Arizona and Utah; President Obama’s diplomatic visit to Cuba; and the death of the controversial former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
FBI Raids ‘Free Talk Live’ Studios in Keene, NH. Early on Sunday morning (3/20), a warrant was executed on the studios of the nationally syndicated talk program “Free Talk Live.” FBI and Keene police personnel removed approximately 10 computers from the residence that serves as the program’s offices and studios as part of a child pornography investigation, according to a report by WMUR-TV, Manchester. The FBI is only telling news outlets that an investigation is ongoing and that no one has been arrested. “Free Talk Live” co-host Ian Freeman is an organizer in the libertarian group Free Keene. Fellow liberty activists tell the Concord Monitor that a public break between Freeman and another group, Free State Project (a movement to encourage liberty-minded individuals to re-locate to New Hampshire), could have sparked the investigation. Over a period of time, a philosophical debate within the libertarian community in New Hampshire over such issues and age-of-consent laws has drawn divisions and created factions. But Free State Project’s disassociation from Freeman broadened that awareness. Without knowledge of the details of the warrant, it’s impossible to know what, specifically, authorities are investigating. Read the Concord Monitor story here.
Gracie Awards – The Complete List. TALKERS magazine has been publishing the names of many of the winners in the radio categories for local and national Gracie Awards from the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation in an attempt to keep up with the numerous press releases being received from stations, companies and talent citing individual accomplishments. However, in order to make it convenient for readers to see all the winners, you can find a link to the complete list of 2016 Gracie Winners from the television, radio and interactive categories here.
Joe Franklin’s Celebrity Memorabilia Up for Auction. Legendary New York talk personality Joe Franklin amassed a pretty big collection of celebrity memorabilia during his long career hosting radio and television programs. Franklin passed away at age 88 back in January of 2015. The New York Daily News is reporting that Franklin claims to have interviewed more than 300,000 guests during his lengthy career but he was also an avid collector and his trove includes some rare items, such as a baseball glove used by Babe Ruth, a leather jacket once owned by Steve McQueen, and a fedora worn by Frank Sinatra. The Maine-based Saco River Auction will begin selling the collection on April 2. See the Daily News story here.
Cool Job Opportunity. News/Talk KXL, Portland seeking an experienced program director. Alpha Media seeks someone with experience programming winning news/talk stations that thrive with content and entertainment in the digital world. The ideal candidate must possess an extremely good work ethic and be a self-starter who is highly organized with the ability to work in a fast-paced environment. Send airchecks, cover letter and resume to email@example.com.
NAB Issues Statement on Virginia TV Slayings. In response to the shooting deaths of WDBJ-TV Roanoke’s Alison Parker and Adam Ward this morning, the following statement was issued by NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith: “Today’s news of the tragic murders of broadcast journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward is heartbreaking and horrifying. These were two young journalists who were simply trying to serve and inform their communities. Our broken hearts go out to the families of Alison and Adam, to the staff at WDBJ, and to the employees of Schurz Communications.” Obviously, today’s attack and the subsequent search for the alleged killer and his relationship with the victims and the television station has been the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio today, according to TALKERS magazine.
PodcastOne Adds Five to Sales and Marketing Staff. In the aftermath of the recently announced deal with Hubbard Radio in which the broadcasting company acquired a 30% share in the Norm Pattiz-founded podcast platform PodcastOne, the latter announced five additions to its sales and marketing team. In a press statement, PodcastOne says “now that the recent investment from Hubbard Broadcasting is in the bank,” it is wasting no time as it welcomes Lori Spencer and Linda McHugh in the Los Angeles offices, Keith Goldstein in New York, Dave Boretti in Chicago and Joe Laffey in Dallas. At the same time, Dana Senit – who joined the company in February – is promoted to West Coast general sales manager. McHugh comes to PodcastOne from programmatic audience targeting platform Netmining, previously with GoldSpot Media and Maxim. Spencer joins the team after working with TargetSpot and Sirius XM. Goldstein held posts at ESPN Audio and Jelli and brings an entertainment and technology sales background. Boretti was most recently in an executive position at Spanish Broadcasting Solutions. He’s also previously held executive posts at Westwood One and Univision Radio. Laffey joins from EFG Companies, where he served as SVP, strategic partnerships. Previously, Laffey was a sales executive at Westwood One/CBS Radio Networks, and a partner in digital advertising agency, Slingshot, LLC. PodcastOne president Kit Gray comments, “I am excited to welcome our newest team members to PodcastOne. We’ve put together a talented and experienced group of people and I look forward to working with Greg Batusic, our COO, in leading the team to the many successes ahead.”
Beasley Names Dave Carney and Chad Forster KDWN, Las Vegas Morning Hosts. The official name of the show is “Live in Las Vegas with Dave and Chad” and it’s heard daily from 6:00 am to 9:00 am on KDWN “News Talk 720.” Dave Carney and Chad Forster have been on the air since the station parted ways with longtime Vegas talk radio pro Alan Stock several weeks ago, but now the station makes their appointment official. KDWN program director John Shaffer states, “Dave and Chad are two high-energy, creative talents, who are merging their terrific track records with a lively, diverse talk radio format that ‘asks the questions most dare not to ponder’ and our listeners respect and enjoy that kind of talk. These two are combining their experience, insight, wisdom and witty remarks, with large doses of comic relief, mixed with controversial commentary on issues ranging from sports to politics to breaking news!” Carney is a Las Vegas radio pro who’s also worked as the voice of the Las Vegas Wranglers pro hockey team and with ESPN Radio on the Jim Fassel show. Forster has worked in Las Vegas radio as a producer, air talent, and ops manager.
KXL, Portland and WMBD, Peoria Talk Host Scott Robbins Suffers Heart Attack, Awaits Open Heart Surgery. According to his radio show partner Jamie Markley (right), Scott Robbins (left) had a heart attack early Monday morning, was resuscitated by CPR and is currently in the hospital while doctors are stabilizing him for open heart surgery. Markley writes on the show’s Facebook page, “He’s pretty much sedated and out of it. While we could talk with him on Monday, yesterday he could only acknowledge different people’s presence but was not able to talk. The docs will keep him in this state until his condition improves to where he’s ready for open heart surgery.” Robbins and Markley co-host the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show on KXL-FM, Portland that is also heard on Alpha Media’s news/talk WMBD, Peoria from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The duo recently inked a multi-year renewal with the company.
Kitroser to Gen Media Partners As VP/Integrated Sales. Regional director of corporate partnerships for The American Red Cross – Sharon Kitroser – joins Gen Media Partners as vice president of integrated sales. Gen Media Partners chief executive officer Kevin Garrity states, “I know the developmental work that Sharon does will deliver higher ROI for advertisers and new business for our media partner clients. She is known across radio and advertising circles for her innovative marketing programs. Programmatic buying is imminent; traditional avails are dwindling; and radio is too often being packaged as a commodity. Gen Media Partners is the only national representation company that monetizes localism across radio, high school sports, community events, shopping malls, and more. I am delighted that [Sharon] is bringing her talent to Gen Media Partners and Gen Media Connect.” According to Kitroser, “Today’s advertisers need to reach and connect with consumers at multiple touch-points throughout their day. With the wide swath of options in the Gen Media Partners’ suite of platforms, we have an opportunity to produce integrated campaigns that meet those needs and deliver results for advertisers and client partners.” Prior to working at American Red Cross, Kitroser was director of sales for ABC Radio/Disney (Interep), CBS, and Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia), as well as director of strategic alliances for Daniels & Roberts; Kitroser and Garrity worked together at ABC Radio/Disney.
Entravision’s CMNH Radio-thon Sets Record. Raising just shy of $2.9 million, Entravision Communications boasts the most successful Spanish-language radio-thon to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in 2015; the actual total ($2,856,182) surpasses last year’s $2.1 million tally. Entravision chief operating officer Jeffery Liberman remarks, “Now in our eighth year of collaborating with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, we are thrilled to have broadcast this phenomenal 72-hour radio-thon. We are very happy to know that its success will benefit more hospitals and children than ever before. The overwhelming accomplishments achieved in this year’s radio-thon reflect the vast reach of Entravision’s national radio platform, our growing digital presence, and our on-air talent and staff who rallied the great force of our Spanish-language listeners.” Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals vice president of Hispanic programs Joe Trevino declares, “We are once again extremely proud of the great partnership we enjoy with the entire Entravision team. This year’s radio-thon success is a testament to the personal dedication, creativity, and commitment by everyone involved to engage Entravision listeners to participate with the radio-thon. It was a comprehensive team effort by Entravision.” Entravision’s “Jose,” “Super Estrella,” and “La Tricolor” network formats kicked off the event, broadcasting from Children’s Hospital Orange County and the following day from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The event concluded from Children’s Hospital Phoenix. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals raises funds for 170 children’s hospitals.
Pinky Kravitz Retires from WOND, Atlantic City After 57 Years. His last live program on Longwood Media’s WOND, Atlantic City was back on May 14, just before his open heart surgery. Now, 88-year-old Pinky Kravitz is officially retiring from the station at which he’s worked since 1958. Kravitz, host of “Pinky’s Corner,” decided to retire after careful consultation with his family following a prolonged recuperation from the surgery. Longport Media president Dave Coskey comments, “We’re obviously sorry to see Pinky leaving our air, but we support him in this decision. Pinky has always been instantly identified with Atlantic City, South Jersey and WOND. Pinky may be leaving our air physically, but he will always possess a special place here at WOND and in the hearts of his many listeners throughout South Jersey.” Kravitz became a fixture on South Jersey radio and television beginning in 1956, when he began hosting a live call-in program on WLDB-AM, now WBSS. Two years later, he found a new home at WOND. Kravitz also hosted a weekly television program, “WMGM presents Pinky!” for many years on WMGM-TV, and for years he wrote columns for a variety of publications, most recently for The Press of Atlantic City. WOND has not announced a permanent replacement for Kravitz on the station.
Trump Debates Hispanic Journo in Iowa, Immigration Policy Debate, Obama Blesses Biden Presidential Run, Hillary Clinton Email Server Investigation, Volatile Global Financial Markets, and Caitlyn Jenner Halloween Costume Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/25). GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s Iowa press conference at which he first ejected, then debated a Univision reporter; the ongoing debate over America’s immigration policy; Vice President Joe Biden gets approval from President Obama to run for the office; the investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; investor nervousness over the global markets sell-off and concerns about another recession; and the flap over a Halloween costume based on the Caitlyn Jenner Vogue magazine cover were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Levin (Again) Lands At #1. Syndicated talk host Mark Levin’s “Plunder and Deceit” will reportedly debut at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list across all three categories of hardcover nonfiction, e-book nonfiction, and the combined list. This will be his fourth consecutive #1 New York Times bestseller. One of Levin’s previous books, “Liberty and Tyranny,” spent 38 weeks on that bestseller list and sold over one million copies. In a statement to Breitbart News, however, Levin emphasizes that he doesn’t “write books for The New York Times – I write them for people who love their country, want to learn about their country, and want to save their country. ‘Plunder and Deceit’ is a particularly important book. It is intended to stir the citizenry, particularly younger people, to understand what big government is doing to them and how its policies are destroying their liberty and prosperity.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison asked Levin, “What is the key to your success as a best-selling author so we can share it with other talk hosts who write books.” Levin immediately acknowledged that he is not the only accomplished author among the ranks of radio talk show hosts – then added, “It takes me a year or more to write a book. It involves extensive research and scholarship. You have to be willing to commit a lot of time to it — most weekends, early mornings, and late nights. I don’t have ghostwriters or co-authors, etc. There’s a difference between being an author and having your name on a book.” Landmark Legal Foundation president Levin is syndicated through Cumulus Media‘s Westwood One; “Plunder and Deceit” was released last Tuesday (8/4).
Hoping His Herd Heads with Him to Fox, Premiere. Speculation has become reality now that one of the worst-kept secrets in recent history is official: After a 12-year association with ESPN (the last two days there being controversial owing to his on-air comments questioning the intelligence of Dominican ballplayers), Colin Cowherd will indeed join Fox Sports and Premiere Networks in just over three weeks (Tuesday, 9/8). That is when he will begin hosting “The Herd,” a three-hour program, which will air simultaneously on Fox Sports Radio Network and Fox Sports1 (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm, Eastern). Fox Sports Radio is produced/distributed by Fox Sports and iHeartMedia subsidiary Premiere Networks. “Colin is one of the most powerful and talented personalities in sports media today,” asserts Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. “His addition to Premiere’s lineup demonstrates our continued commitment to reaching diverse audiences with the best talent the industry has to offer. We are excited to join with Fox Sports in bringing Colin’s passionate and engaging brand of sports entertainment to millions of people across multiple platforms. By leveraging our combined reach, we’ll have the opportunity to connect with more sports fans than ever before, while delivering unmatched results for our partners.” Cowherd states that, “It is hard to put into words how much fun it is for me, as a broadcaster, to build something with really smart, talented people. I cannot wait for this next chapter in my career to start. Fox Sports is the perfect spot for me at this time in my life.” On Sunday mornings during the NFL season, Cowherd will be part of the Fox-TV “NFL Kickoff” crew. According to Fox Sports national networks president Jamie Horowitz, “Colin is the first person I hired for my first daily studio show at ESPN, so it’s fitting that he’s the first one I’m hiring at FS1. Colin is a unique voice in sports media with a loyal following of fans. We are looking forward to building our daytime programming around him.” Before joining ESPN, Cowherd did a morning drive sports show on KFXX, Portland; was sports anchor at WTVT-TV, Tampa; and sports director of Las Vegas TV station KVBC. He began his career as the play-by-play voice for the Pacific Coast League’s Las Vegas Stars.
Alpha Media and Robbins & Markley Ink Multi-Year Renewal. Heard weekdays on talk siblings KXL, Portland (9:00 am – 12:00 noon) and WMBD, Peoria, Illinois (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm), Scott Robbins and Jamie Markley extend their deal with parent company Alpha Media. Executive vice president of programming, Scott Mahalick states, “Robbins and Markley bring a contemporary style and entertaining flare that connects with the audience in a big way – we are proud they are on our winning team.” Alpha Media Portland senior vice president/market manager Milt McConnell notes, “Robbins and Markley have made a tremendous showing in Portland. Scott and Jamie are two of the best communicators in our business, and we are thrilled to have them for years to come.” Meanwhile, Alpha Media Peoria market manager Mike Wild remarks, “Scott and Jamie reflect real-life, day-to-day; they are [two] of the most genuine personalities anywhere. Their chemistry is unique and they both have an amazing sense for content. The show is a completely fresh approach to talk radio.”
Circle Next Thursday as National Radio Day. Especially when considering that some offbeat things – including specific foods – somehow garner their own special day, it is rather odd that there has not heretofore been a border-to-border celebration dedicated to the medium of radio. That will change one week from today (Thursday, 8/20) when non-commercial radio stations in more than 30 U.S. cities will participate in Seattle-based “not-just-for-profit social enterprise” Brown Paper Tickets’-formulated “National Radio Day.” This year, the FCC has awarded construction permits to nearly 2,000 low-power FMs and as National Radio Day “lead organizer” Sabrina Roach explains, “This is a great opportunity to get to know the new low-power stations by working on a common project together. A low-power FM is like community glue. These new media outlets can become powerful resources that help neighbors to organize, share, and find solutions together. I wanted to introduce an opportunity for all kinds of non-commercial stations to work together and to engage their communities by celebrating radio with listeners and independent producers.” Stations can promote National Radio Day (August 20 is also “National Lemonade Day”) on social media using the hash tag “#NationalRadioDay.” Brown Paper Tickets will provide promotional assistance and support for National Radio Day events organized by all participating U.S. stations. By the way, the significance of choosing August 20 as National Radio Day (which has actually been observed since the early-1990s) is to honor the day in 1920 that Detroit news station 8MK (now CBS Radio-owned WWJ – and still all-news) was licensed by the FCC. On August 31, 1920, 8MK aired the first news radio broadcast featuring local election results. WWJ’s Pittsburgh sibling KDKA-AM debuted on November 20, 1920 and, of course, has long claimed to be the “world’s first commercial radio station.”
NBC Selects Seacrest to Host Late-Night Rio Coverage. With less than a year to go until the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, NBC-TV announces that its host of live late-night coverage will be KIIS “Kiss-FM,” Los Angeles morning personality/”American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest. During the 2012 London Games, Seacrest was a correspondent and he co-hosted the closing ceremony. NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell promises that, “The late-night atmosphere will be electric. We are thrilled to have Ryan Seacrest in the middle of it all capturing Rio’s unique flavor, talking to Olympic athletes, and telling the stories of the day.” Seacrest reflects, “Joining the NBC Olympics team at the 2012 London Games was an exhilarating experience. I appreciate Jim Bell’s confidence, along with everyone at NBC Sports. I can’t wait to reunite with the team of broadcasters and producers for the 2016 Rio Olympics, and I look forward to hosting the live late night show.” Bob Costas hosted NBC’s primetime and late-night Olympic coverage at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and he has been primetime host for every NBC-covered Olympic Games since 1992. Mary Carillo previously hosted Olympics late-night coverage. The Summer Games from Rio begin August 5, 2016.
Answers From a Presidential Hopeful. During his visit to Arkansas’ GOP headquarters, Republican presidential candidate/junior Texas senator Ted Cruz did on on-air interview with KHTE “The Answer,” Little Rock afternoon drive host Dave Elswick. The two commemorate the occasion with a selfie.
Ready for his Close-up. Part of the enjoyment industry people derive when watching television shows or movies is trying to identify an announcer’s voice when the radio plays in the background, or spotting radio talents used as “extras.” In the country’s #7 film this week, “Rikki and The Flash,” Meryl Streep’s rock singer character struggles and fumbles operating a cash register as a part-time checkout clerk. The camera catches fellow employee “Chris” grimacing at the next register. Portraying “Chris” is Salem Radio Network east coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh, who shot his scenes in Westchester County, New York. Advanced film buffs might recognize Bligh from his appearances in “A Beautiful Mind,” Cloverfield,” and “Man on a Ledge.”
Odds & Sods. Two sports programming notes from SiriusXM that take effect next Tuesday (8/18). Former University of Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke will host – alongside Mark Packer – SiriusXM “College Sports Today” twice a week (9:00 am – 12:00 pm ET) throughout the college football season. In addition, former PGA tour professional/television analyst Mark Lye will join radio personality Bruce Murray on the satcaster’s weekly “Let It Fly with Murray & Lye.” The one-hour (8:00 pm – 9:00 pm) program will air every Tuesday night, starting next week. Lye has previously been an analyst on SiriusXM’s pre- and post-round coverage.
Donald Trump Surpasses POTUS as Most Talked About Person on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (8/12). Top topics include the Presidential Race, the Iran Nukes Deal, Immigration Reform and the Chinese Devaluation of the Yuan. According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continues to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America this week and people (and the media) remain fixated on Donald Trump. Very rarely does anyone top the President of the United States as the most-talked-about person for a day, let alone a week. We will know how Trump fares versus Barack Obama by tomorrow morning (8/14) in terms of this week’s survey. Other hot topics include the presidential election in general, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy and the global economic impact of China’s devaluation of its currency.
Michael Harrison Gets ‘Up Close and Far Out’ with Legendary KGO, San Francisco Talkmeister Ronn Owens. This week’s new installment of Podcast One’s international hit podcast for media freaks, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” is posted today (7/14). It features a compelling conversation between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and legendary radio talk show host Ronn Owens. Owens is about to mark his 40th anniversary with the heritage San Francisco outlet KGO – having survived numerous regimes and ownership changes during that four-decade period, including the controversial 2011 reorganization of the station from a news/talk format to an all-news direction that left Owens the station’s only full-time talk show host. In addition, Owens recently disclosed publicly that he has been privately dealing with the challenges of Parkinson’s Disease for the past 13 years that has progressed to the point that he will be undergoing a leading-edge form of surgery called Deep Brain Stimulation. This aggressive procedure, when successful, has been shown to alleviate the incurable neurological disorder’s movement-prohibiting symptoms. Owens – ranked by TALKERS as one of the 25 most important radio talk show hosts of all time — discusses his career and views on talk radio, including the power of local programming, options beyond the left/right paradigm, the disastrous simulcast of his show on KGO and KABC, Los Angeles in 1997-98 and the impact of cell phones on the format, plus more. He also candidly talks about his quiet battle with advancing Parkinson’s Disease, his decision to open up about it and details of the exotic form of brain surgery that he will be facing in August. Harrison says of Owens, “This man is truly one of the giants of the industry. Just like all the truly great performers of the talk radio arts, he rises above technique and has made it big simply based upon his unique brand of ‘personhood’ – an elusive quality that the Dickey Brothers obviously recognize – and speaks volumes about their nuanced awareness factor. Add to that, his backbone is of figurative steel as he faces an experimental form of invasive surgery. Ronn Owens is an inspiration to us all, professionally and personally. I am so darned pleased to be able to present this podcast to the industry and the world.” This is a must-listen for members of the professional radio community. To hear the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com.
LeGrett Lands iHeartMedia LA Market President Slot. Currently senior vice president of operations for approximately 225 iHeartMedia stations in roughly 50 northeast and midwest markets, Kevin LeGrett is shifting to market president for the company’s eight-station Los Angeles cluster. Executive vice president of operations for iHeartMedia – and the company’s Southern California president – Greg Ashlock (to whom LeGrett will report) comments, “Kevin has a successful track record leading operations and accelerating growth across multiple regions. He has earned the right to lead our largest market. His vast experience managing talent and revenue across so many diverse markets and stations will allow him to bring a unique perspective to our Los Angeles portfolio – a portfolio that I have been blessed to directly manage for the last decade that hosts the most compelling on-air talent and most innovative leaders in the business.” LeGrett states that he is “thrilled” at the “opportunity to lead” the “extremely talented” Los Angeles team. He further states, “iHeartMedia Los Angeles has some of the most iconic brands and beloved personalities in the country. With the instantaneous success of [urban contemporary KRRL] ‘Real 92.3’ and the continued stellar ratings and thriving pop culture events such as ‘Wango Tango’ and ‘Jingle Ball,’ it is an exciting time for the market. I look forward to the opportunity to further build on the team’s already enormous success.” LeGrett, who begins his new duties in three weeks (8/3), joined iHeartMedia five years ago as vice president and market manager for the company’s Rochester stations. He will be leading a Los Angeles group of properties that includes hot AC KBIG “My-FM” and adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103.5,” tied for second in Nielsen Audio‘s June 2015 PPM, each with 5.1 (6+). Also in the top ten this June are iHM CHR KIIS “Kiss-FM” (#4, 4.9) and talk KFI (#8, 3.5). The rest of the company’s Los Angeles cluster consists of aforementioned urban contemporary KRRL “Real 9.2.3” (formerly urban-rhythmic oldies KHHT “Hot 92.3,” #11, 3.1); alternative KYSR “Alt 98.7” (#20, 2.3); and sports/Los Angeles Dodgers’ flagship KLAC and talk KEIB (both with .9, tied at #30).
Cumulus Media Expands Brand Partnerships Team. This move includes promotions for two current Cumulus Media staffers. The company says that in expanding the Brand Partnerships team, it has named Leslie Slender vice president, Brand Partnerships and Events, and Leslie Caraccilo, vice president, Brand Partnerships. The Brand Partnerships division is responsible for developing “unique experiential opportunities for Cumulus and Westwood One, connecting advertisers to its listening audiences and leveraging its integrated radio, digital, social and live events platform.” Slender has been serving as Cumulus New York’s corporate director, events and marketing. She’ll continue to oversee marketing and events for Cumulus New York stations. Caraccilo has been with the company for five years as was most recently senior director of digital monetization. She’ll continue to oversee digital sales strategy for Cumulus. Cumulus SVP of Brand Partnership Tommy Page states, “We are excited to welcome these two talented professionals to the Brand Partnerships team. Leslie Slender is a rare example of a marketer that is not only outstanding at producing and executing live events, but also knows how to package these opportunities for advertisers. Leslie Caraccilo has done an incredible job of creating custom digital and content solutions for our advertisers across the Cumulus platform. Her understanding of artist programming and deep knowledge of the digital space make her a natural fit for our Brand Partnerships team. With these strong additions to our already stellar Westwood One events group, all Cumulus and Westwood One partners and advertisers will benefit from this powerhouse team’s expertise.”
USA Radio Network Helps Sponsor Broadcast of Family Leadership Summit. A live, five-hour broadcast from the Family Leadership Summit on Saturday, July 18 is being made available for free to broadcasters from USA Radio Networks in cooperation with Truth Radio Network. The Ames, Iowa event will originate from Iowa State University and be anchored by nationally syndicated host and political commentator Steve Deace and American values expert Steve Noble. The live broadcast will give voters the opportunity to hear from top conservative leaders and Republican presidential candidates, including: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Bob Vander Plaats. USA Radio Networks SVP of news operations Russ Jones says, “Iowa is a key battleground state for any presidential candidate. The Family Leadership Summit is the first major platform the electorate will get to hear how candidates would lead the nation.”
Art Bell Returns to Airwaves in Portland on Monday. We’ve known for some time now that Art Bell has been preparing to return to hosting a nightly program via his Dark Matter Digital Network, but now Alpha Media announces the originator of “Coast to Coast AM” will bring his new show – “Midnight in the Desert” – to KXL-FM, Portland beginning Monday, July 20. The show will air from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am local time and will follow Clyde Lewis’ “Ground Zero.” Alpha Portland SVP/market manager Milt McConnell comments, “Art is an American original in terms of putting the paranormal on the radio landscape. We are so proud to extend his coverage to the Northwest where there is a rabid appetite for his unique brand of communication.”
2015 Marconi Finalists Announced. The 2015 Marconi Award finalists have been announced by the NAB. The annual awards, to be given out during the NAB Radio Show in Atlanta on October 1, are divvied up into 20 categories. Legendary Station of the Year finalists include: news/talk outlets KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa; WHIO-AM, Dayton; and all-news KYW, Philadelphia. Major Market Personality of the Year finalists include: Felger & Massarotti from sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston and Hal Jay from news/talk WBAP, Dallas. View all the finalists here.
WYM Media to Distribute Malcolm Out Loud Features. Through WYM Media Management, radio news commentator Malcolm Out Loud is expanding his daily radio presence with three new features. “Out Loud News and Comment” is the news of the day with Malcolm’s unique twist; “Out Loud America” is a “relevant and timely commentary from Malcolm”; and “Brink Thinking Out Loud” is “motivational content and inspiring stories and positive events shaping our world.” Malcolm Out Loud is a motivational speaker, innovator and creator of the popular websites OutLoudAmerica.com and BrinkThinking.com.
KCMO, Kansas City Holds Drive to Assist Mother of Six Caught Shoplifting. The case of homeless widow and mother-of-six Sarah Robinson was the focus of attention for Cumulus Media’s Kansas City radio stations, led by news/talk KCMO on Saturday as it held a donation drive Saturday for the family. Robinson was cited for shoplifting at a local Walmart but the officer who responded, Mark Engravalle, decided to pay for the diapers and wipes for her twin two-year-olds and bought shoes for her other girls. After hearing the woman’s story of desperation, the stations planned a two-hour donation drive that netted cash, diapers, baby wipes, clothing, blankets, food, toiletries and other items. KCMO morning host Rob Carson hosted both Robinson and Officer Engravalle on his show on Monday. Officer Engravalle remains touched that he’s changed someone’s life for the better and he is in constant touch with Sarah, who is off the street with her girls in temporary lodging, while something more permanent is being arranged. The generosity continues with a local law firm offering her a job.
Odds & Sods. Texas-based talk show host Lynn Woolley is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his talk show. Woolley says his days as a talk show host go back to 1995 when he and two partners operated KTEM, Kileen-Temple…..The NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and Capitol Broadcasting Company have reached a multi-year agreement for WCMC, Raleigh “99.9 The Fan” to continue serving as the team’s flagship station through the 2019-20 season.
Cool Job Opportunity. NBC Sports Radio in Culver City, California is looking for the next great sports talk producer! Are you totally immersed in all things sports? Can you oversee and manage a top-notch, daily sports talk show and book compelling guests and newsmakers? Can you handle show/talent/guest prep, organize formats and rundowns, develop content, fact-check and research, and distribute social media and digital content across platforms? Do you have excellent live and studio production skills using multiple software programs, including Adobe Audition and Pro Tools? If you can do all this and have 3-4 year’s major market or network experience, we want to talk to you! Send a link to work materials, including resume and audio samples, to Jack Silver, Program Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. No calls, please.
WBAP, Dallas’ Bushman Recognized with Regional Murrow Award. WBAP, Dallas-Fort Worth news staffer Eric Bushman was recently honored with Regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association for his reporting on the U.S. Ebola outbreak last year. Dallas was “Ground Zero” for Bushman’s story, and he was lead reporter from start to finish. This is the second consecutive year Bushman has been honored with a Murrow Award. Last year, he received one for his comprehensive coverage of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. WBAP, Dallas operations and program manager Tyler Cox comments, “Eric’s work represents the type of reporting that is the signature of the WBAP news staff: comprehensive, in-depth, and sticking with the story from start-to-finish.”
Nicole Sandler Auctioning Cool Radio Memorabilia for Radio Or Not. Progressive talk personality Nicole Sandler is opening up her archives of radio memorabilia for an auction to help support her Radio Or Not digital platform. Sandler says she’s always vowed to not put her content behind a paywall and this auction – which starts tomorrow (7/15) – will help her costs of operation. Sandler is not the only radio pro who’s been collecting cool radio and music artifacts over the years. In fact, TALKERS editors believe one of the interesting, untold stories in the radio biz is just what these personal treasure troves contain. Sandler’s has some pretty fun items that come from her days producing for Jim Kerr at WPLJ, New York and for Mark & Brian at KLOS, Los Angeles. Note the autographed guitar pictured above that’s been signed by Johnny Cash, BB King, Les Paul, James Taylor, Roger Daltrey, Todd Rundgren and others. Then, for political wonks, the Bill and Hillary corkscrew-nutcracker pair pictured here at right make the perfect election year gift! Sandler’s auction site is: radioornot.com/auction.
2016 Presidential Candidates/Scott Walker Joins Race, Mexican Drug Lord Prison Escape, Iran Nuclear Talks, NYC Eric Garner Settlement, Immigration Policy-Sanctuary Cities, Greek Debt Deal, and MLB All-Star Break Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/13). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s entering the primary race; the escape from prison of Mexico’s most notorious drug lord; the conclusion of negotiations between Iran and the West over its nuclear program; New York City’s settlement with the family of Eric Garner over his death at the hands of an NYC cop; the ongoing controversy over the nation’s illegal immigration policy and the country’s sanctuary cities; the Greek debt solution and the effects on the EU; and the Major League Baseball All-Star festivities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Lars Larson and ‘FM News 101 KXL’ Stay Together. Not that there were any expectations they wouldn’t, but Alpha Media and talk host Lars Larson announce the signing of a new long-term contract between the two. Larson – one of the hardest-working people in talk radio – hosts the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm local and regional show on KXL and 15 affiliates in the Oregon and Washington region. Additionally, he hosts a 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT program that is distributed nationally by Compass Media Networks. Alpha Media Portland CEO/president Bob Proffitt comments, “Lars is a Northwest and national talent in talk radio. I’m delighted to have him on board to help deliver content through our many channels at Alpha that is unique, compelling and thought-provoking. One of the many reasons Lars is so good, is an incredible work ethic I’ve witnessed over the past five years that is truly inspiring.” Larson received help in negotiating his new deal from Fred Schreyer, formerly with Nike‘s sports management division. Larson says Schreyer has represented such clients as: ESPN‘s Colin Cowherd, KXTG-AM, Portland’s John Canzano, and NBA stars Lebron James and Kevin Durant.
Paranormal Talker Clyde Lewis Re-Ups with Alpha’s KXL, Portland. The creator and host of “Ground Zero,” heard on Alpha Media-owned news/talker KXL, Portland “FM News 101” will remain with the station as he and the company sign an extension to that effect. Clyde Lewis’ program is also syndicated nationally by Premiere Networks. The program airs six nights per week from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight PT. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick comments, “Clyde offers a 7th dimension perspective and is the most compelling story teller I’ve ever met in this business. We’re happy to be at the epicenter of ‘Ground Zero’ in Portland and thrilled to continue our partnership with Clyde. He is a talk radio badass!”
Legal Analysis: Glenn Beck Libel Case. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman, in a story published today (12/4), writes about the recent court ruling on Glenn Beck’s request to dismiss Saudi student Abdulrahman Alharbi’s libel suit against him. As TALKERS reported yesterday, Alharbi was initially questioned by police investigating the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 but was quickly ruled out by police as being involved in the crime. However, for several weeks after that, Beck used his program to accuse Alharbi of involvement in the bombing. Beck’s attorneys argue that Alharbi was a limited-purpose public figure or an involuntary public figure by virtue of his being at the event and, however briefly, becoming part of the story surrounding the event by being investigated by authorities. In today’s story, Weisman explains the legal definitions of the three types of public figures and what threshold must be crossed to commit actionable libel. Read this important piece here.
CBS Sports Radio Network Announces 2015 Lineup. TALKERS reported earlier this week that current KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh personality Gregg Giannotti was going to be joining the CBS Sports Radio Network and that is confirmed as director of programming Eric Spitz announces the network’s new lineup. The new AM drive show will be hosted by Brian Jones (who moves down from the current evening “MoJo” program) and Giannotti. Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney move from AM drive to late morning (9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET). Jim Rome and Doug Gottlieb remain in their respective afternoon slots but Damon “D.A.” Amendolara moves from overnights to host the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET show. Amy Lawrence is promoted from her weekend show to the daily overnight show (2:00 am to 6:00 am). Off the daily schedule at the network with the changes are morning show co-host Dana Jacobson and evening show co-host Chris Moore.
Odds & Sods. As TALKERS reported earlier this week, at CBS RADIO’s KDKA-FM “Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan,” evening host Colin Dunlap is being elevated to the station’s morning show beginning Friday, January 2. He’ll partner with current morning hosts Josh Miller and Jim Colony…..San Antonio sports talker KZDC, San Antonio “ESPN San Antonio” is now simulcasting on translator K234CI at 94.5 FM. The Alpha Media station’s PD, Greg Martin, says, “I am thrilled that Alpha Media recognizes the importance of its AM properties having a presence on the FM, exposing our brand to a large audience who rarely uses AM.”…..Comic and radio personality Jimmie “JJ” Walker will be sitting in for KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno midday personality Ray Appleton on December 17 and 18. Walker hosted radio programs on news/talk stations during the 1990s – including on KKAR, Omaha; WHIO, Dayton; and WOAI, San Antonio…..At Premiere Networks, Tanya Juhasz is promoted to vice president, international business development. The company reports that in her previous role as executive director, international business development, she worked to “ensure Premiere’s industry-leading properties are represented throughout the world, and thanks to her efforts, they can be heard in 47 countries from Canada to New Zealand to China.”…..Recently retired ABC News Radio White House correspondent Ann Compton is being inducted into the Illinois Broadcasters Association’s Hall of Fame. The Winnetka, Illinois native worked more than 40 years with ABC News Radio before her September retirement.
Grand Jury Choke Hold Death Decision, Ferguson Aftermath, Amnesty Issue, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Bill Cosby Rape Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/3). The grand jury decision not to indict a New York police officer in the choke-hold death of Eric Garner and the Justice Department’s decision to open a civil rights investigation; the ongoing aftermath of the Ferguson grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown; the issue of amnesty for illegal aliens and President Obama’s executive order; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the fallout from renewed allegations of rape against Bill Cosby were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
KTRS, St. Louis Morning Host McGraw Milhaven Faults Google for Temporarily Terminating Show’s YouTube Account. St. Louis morning personality McGraw Milhaven tells TALKERS magazine that, as far as he can tell since it’s hard to talk to an actual person at Google, complaints about his show’s video segments dealing with the Michael Brown slaying in Ferguson must have forced the hand of YouTube and it responded by closing the show’s account – at least temporarily since the videos in question have returned to the KTRS550TV account. Milhaven says his show had some 1,700 videos on the site that he thought were gone forever. He says, “We had a police officer on yesterday talking about this Ferguson story and they terminated our account. Censored. All of it. Gone. Taken down, and nothing from YouTube except an email saying we are not allowed to ever post again.” Milhaven posted to his Facebook page a plea for help from fans since CH Holdings – owner of KTRS – is a family business without the resources to fight Google. He wrote, in part, “We, at the McGraw Show on KTRS, admittedly have been sympathetic to the police officers’ story, but we have had all types of guests defending all sides to this very important story. Our videos, which serve as a St. Louis archive over the last two years and have been used by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, CNN, MSNBC, FOX News as well as hundreds of other media outlets, are now lost forever. YouTube has arbitrarily decided they don’t like our current and past content and has cut off our voice.” Google did not respond directly to requests for further clarification of the termination but, as stated at the beginning of this story, the videos are back online.
WIND, Chicago Morning Co-Host Amy Jacobson Loses Suit Against CBS. Former television reporter Amy Jacobson was let go by NBC-owned WMAQ-TV, Chicago in 2007 after she was videoed poolside at the home of Craig Stebic – a man who was deemed a person of interest in the disappearance of his wife Lisa. Competing WBBM-TV “CBS 2” caught her on video and broadcast it. Jacobson then sued CBS for libel for $1 million claiming that she was not a public person at the time the video was taken since she was off duty and not in public. Last year, a judge ruled that Jacobson’s team failed to show CBS fabricated unfavorable content about her, but Jacobson and her lawyer appealed. Now, an Illinois Appeals Court has ruled against Jacobson. Jacobson has been co-hosting the morning show on Salem-owned WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” since 2010. Lisa Stebic has never been found and although Craig Stebic is still considered a person of interest, no charges have ever been filed against him.
PodcastOne to Distribute and Rep theCHIVE Show. In a deal between Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne and “the world’s largest photo entertainment website and app theCHIVE,” the former will exclusively distribute, market and sell advertising for the new weekly podcast produced by theCHIVE. The show – which will focus on theCHIVE’s “fresh, hot, funny and viral male-interest news, lifestyle and social content” – will be produced and hosted by theCHIVE editors John Resig and Bob Phillipp. It will debut on January 22. Pattiz comments, “This is the first of several upcoming announcements about PodcastOne merging editorial and audio media through partnerships with major digital brands. We can’t think of a better partner than theCHIVE to kick off this effort.”
Cumulus Names Dave Milner SVP of West Coast Markets. Moving from iHeartMedia’s Sacramento cluster where he was market president to Cumulus Media is Dave Milner who will serve as senior vice president for West Coast markets. In this role, Milner will report directly to president and CEO Lew Dickey. Milner comments, “I am extremely honored to have been given the opportunity to join Cumulus at the senior vice president level. The company has been assembling top assets in order to provide the best multi-platform solutions and results for its clients, making this a tremendous time to join Cumulus.”
CBS RADIO-Beasley Swap Closes. As expected, the assets swap between CBS RADIO and Beasley Broadcast Group, announced earlier this fall, closed yesterday (12/1). Beasley takes ownership of: sports talk WIP-AM, Philadelphia; in the Tampa market it gets sports talk duo WHFS-AM and WHFS-FM, hip hop WLLD, country WQYK, classic hits WRBQ, and Spanish WYUU-FM; in the Charlotte market it acquires urban contemporary WBAV, sports talk duo WBCN-AM and WFNZ-AM, AC WKQC, CHR WNKS, hip hop WPEG, and country WSOC-FM. In exchange, CBS RADIO takes ownership of five major market outlets including: hip hop WPOW, country WKIS and sports talk WQAM in Miami and Philadelphia outlets country WXTU, and hip hop WRDW. As CBS RADIO notes, this is the first time it will operate radio stations in Miami where it already owns two television stations.
Rob Morris Named VP of Programming for CBS Miami. With yesterday’s closing on the CBS RADIO–Beasley Broadcast Group station swap, CBS announces Rob Morris is named vice president, programming for the Miami stations – hip hop WPOW, country WKIS and sports talker WQAM. Company SVP and market manager Joe Bell comments, “Today marks a new beginning for our cluster of stations in Miami and I’m thrilled to be working with Rob and the great management team at CBS RADIO. We have built a solid foundation in the market with a history of community service and programming excellence. We look forward to the extensive array of assets and expertise that CBS RADIO brings to our operations which will ultimately benefit the listener and our advertisers.” Morris moves southeast from his most recent post as VP of programming for CBS in Tampa where he’s been since July after moving south from CBS’ Minneapolis station group.
KXL, Portland to Use Drones for News Coverage. When news breaks in the Pacific Northwest, consumers of Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland “FM NEWS 101” may get their coverage thanks to drone technology. Alpha Media has entered into an exclusive partnership with Aerial Technology International to use drones for breaking news coverage. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick says, “KXL continues to innovate by launching the world’s first radio news drone. I’m proud to be working with such a visionary team of people leading the news/talk industry in America.”
Round Four of November PPM Data Released. The fourth of four rounds of November 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The survey period was October 9 through November 5. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
AdLarge Media Recruits Sherman to Head Up Affiliate Marketing. Network radio pro Jessica Sherman is joining AdLarge Media to serve as senior director, affiliate marketing, signaling the company’s expansion into affiliate sales. Sherman has worked at such network radio organizations as Westwood One, Dial Global, Bloomberg, Jones MediaAmerica, SW Networks, and MediaAmerica. AdLarge Media co-founder and president Cathy Csukas says, “Doing a great job for our national advertisers, their agencies, and for our partners was our first priority when we launched AdLarge Media in 2010. We have solidified that core competency, allowing us to extend our services to include affiliate marketing. It’s a natural progression in our growth and our goal of providing our partners a full-service experience.”
Shuffle at KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh Predicted for January. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that former Post-Gazette sports writer Colin Dunlap – currently hosting the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm show on CBS RADIO’s sports talker “93.7 The Fan” – will move to morning drive host in January when Gregg Giannotti moves from the station to the CBS Sports Radio Network where he’ll host the morning show.
Odds & Sods. A partnership between Yahoo News and SiriusXM will include the launch of “Yahoo News on POTUS,” – a live, weekly show on the POTUS channel dedicated to the Politics of the United States. Yahoo News chief White House correspondent Olivier Knox will host the show that features “live interviews with national leaders in politics and public life as well as special guests tackling current events and more.” The program will debut tomorrow (12/3) at 2:00 pm ET…..Radio sales pro David Bailin joins Sun Broadcast Group as vice president of sales. Bailin most recently was VP of sales in the New York offices of Westwood One. He’s also served with CBS RADIO, Emmis Communications, and Citadel Broadcasting/Impact Marketing Group…..Salem Radio Network president Greg Anderson and his wife Linda were honored by SRN/Dallas staff and management Monday night (12/1) at a surprise dinner at the LaCima Club in Las Colinas. The evening was to recognize Anderson’s work over the years at SRN as his retirement from the company on December 31 approaches.
C. Crane Publishes New Catalogue for 2015. One of the nation’s leading companies in the manufacturing and distribution of radios and radio-related devices, C. Crane Company, Inc., has published the latest in its annual series of catalogues detailing the firm’s brand-new offerings as well as the tried-and-true products for which it has achieved a stellar reputation. The Fortuna, California-based company that has maintained a close working relationship with the radio industry for almost three decades, is also planning a physical move in 2015 to a larger location that will combine its warehouse and office storefront as a single facility. C. Crane president Bob Crane tells TALKERS, “Our company has always been about the best reception and accurate, legible audio tailored for the human voice. By focusing on what we do best we have established a brand and product line that continues to allow us to service the radio listening community.” Set to arrive before Christmas is the new CC Skywave ($89.95) travel radio with AM, FM, shortwave, weather and aviation bands. According to Crane, “Seldom, if ever, has a small, high-performance travel radio been combined with an intuitive layout. You can listen to pilots while they land and perhaps find out why your plane is late.” Another groundbreaking new device offered this year is the CC WiFi-2 internet radio that uses the TuneIn service which has extensive searchable listings and thousands of stored podcasts in a convenient desktop WiFi receiver that also comes with an FM radio built in and can be used as a Bluetooth® receiver. Crane also states, “We feel our top of the line CC Radio-2E ($169.95) has the best reception and audio of any radio made today. It comes with the standard AM and FM bands along with weather and 2-meter ham band for emergency situations. The audio circuit is accurately tuned for the human voice and can now be adjusted for warm musical performance with enhanced bass.” Pictured above is KFI, Los Angeles personality Tim Conway, Jr. trying out the CC Solar Observer ($54.95) specifically designed for emergency use. It can be powered in four different ways including a crank and can charge many different USB type devices including cell phones. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison remarks, “I am a longtime admirer of the C. Crane folks for both their ongoing support of the radio industry and their championing the cause of the radio medium as well. I love their products but believe it or not, my favorite is the simple CC Pocket. It is an elegant little device that picks up where the old Walkman product left off. In an age of complicated gizmos that stand between the listener and instant audio gratification, it features ease of use, great reception, and sharp, well-defined audio.” The CC Pocket (pictured at right) is a little jewel of an AM/FM/weather radio that can be listened-to on a built in speaker or the CC Buds that are tuned to the spoken word. The $64.95 device has five easy-to-use, one-touch memory buttons for each band and stands upright for best audio. Rubber coated sides help with the grip and it has a belt clip, display light, sleep timer, clock and alarm as well as battery and signal strength meters, FM stereo or mono switch. It runs on two AA batteries. Harrison says, “It would be a blessing for the radio industry if somehow 50 million or so of these things suddenly fell out of the sky and into the hands of consumers – after all, one of the primary problems facing AM and FM radio today is the increasing lack of plain ol’ radios out there in the world.” Harrison jokingly adds, “Perhaps they would sell more if they contained an internet/cell phone chip.” C. Crane can be reached via www.ccrane.com.
Ferguson Grand Jury Aftermath, Obama Amnesty Executive Order, Battle Against ISIS, ObamaCare Controversies, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Ray Rice Suspension Overturned, Bill Cosby Rape Allegations, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/1). The issues of racism, crime and police action in minority communities in the wake of the Ferguson grand jury decision; President Obama’s executive order providing a plan for amnesty for illegal aliens; the ongoing battle against ISIS and the reported capture of the ISIS chief’s wife in Lebanon; simmering controversies over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the overturning of Ray Rice’s suspension from the NFL; the fallout from the renewed allegations of rape against Bill Cosby; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rush Limbaugh Seeks Retraction and Apology from DCCC for ‘False and Defamatory’ Statement. Attorneys for Premiere Networks-syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh are seeking a retraction and apology from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for what is being termed a “false and defamatory” statement regarding Limbaugh’s on-air discussion about consent for sexual relations. Limbaugh attorney Patricia Glaser writes in a letter to the DCCC that the organization purposely took Limbaugh’s words in which he “condemns the notion that ‘no’ means ‘yes’” regarding sexual relations, and edited them to give the impression that the opposite was said. The DCCC then sent the message out via the internet. The question is, does Limbaugh’s attorney have a case? She cites legal precedent in her letter. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says it would appear that the comments of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee are way off base. “The email went so far as to ask people to contact Limbaugh’s advertisers to voice their disapproval. However, the same First Amendment that protected Rush Limbaugh when he called Sandra Fluke a ‘slut’ and a ‘prostitute’ may well protect the DCCC in their gross mischaracterization of Limbaugh’s remarks. Specifically, as a public figure, in order to be successful in a defamation action, Limbaugh would have to prove that the DCCC acted with malice – that is that they knew what they were saying was a lie or that they acted with a reckless disregard for its truth. Even more problematic for Limbaugh would be that he would have to prove that he was harmed by the comments. In order to be successful in his lawsuit he would have to show that he lost sponsors and/or listeners.” Limbaugh’s lawyer cites two cases that deal with the narrow issue of whether it is libelous if you use the exact words of someone out of context or edited. Weisman says that while the cases support Limbaugh’s position on the matter, he doesn’t think they are wholly determinative of the case. But he adds, “Ironically, merely by exercising his own First Amendment rights and making his threat of a lawsuit, Limbaugh may have already won the battle by presenting his case to the people without even entering a courtroom.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison comments, “Regardless of whether the DCCC apologizes or whatever the results of Rush’s subsequent lawsuit, Limbaugh is doing a service to our culture by bringing this general, nasty trend to the forefront of conversation by saying enough is enough – and that is the tendency by political types of all persuasions, left and right, these days to seek victory at the expense of truth.” Read the entire letter from Limbaugh’s attorney to the DCCC here.
Cumulus Media Reports Flat Q3. The third quarter of 2014 turned out to be flat on a pro forma basis for Cumulus Media. On an actual basis, net revenue was up $51.4 million – or 19.4% — but that was due primarily to the addition of the operations of Westwood One. Digging a little deeper, the company reports that “broadcast advertising revenue decreased by $12.5 million. Net broadcast advertising revenue was down due to ongoing weakness in several large local markets that began in the second quarter of 2014; however, we believe that weakness has now largely dissipated into the early portion of the current quarter. National spot advertising was generally flat as we continued to take share from small competitors. Network advertising continued to see disruption following the acquisition of Westwood One in December 2013. We believe that process of reorganizing our network sales verticals is also now completed. Digital advertising revenue increased by $6.7 million, primarily due to increased Rdio user generation activity and digital commerce generated by our Sweetjack platform. Political advertising revenue increased by $2.9 million due to additional activity associated with mid-term and gubernatorial elections and license fees and other revenue increased by $2.8 million.” For the first three quarters of 2014, Cumulus’ net revenue was up 1.8% on a pro forma basis.
KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Brings Jim Villanucci Aboard for Afternoon Drive. After suddenly exiting Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland where he was hosting middays, Jim Villanucci resurfaces at CBS RADIO’s KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas in the afternoon drive slot vacated by the departure of talk host Kevin Wall. Villanucci’s first day on the air was yesterday (11/10). Prior to his stint in Portland, he spent almost 14 years at Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque enjoying high ratings in the afternoon drive slot, but exited that post in March of 2013. Villanucci says that although he misses the KXL staffers in Portland, he’s thrilled to be in Las Vegas working with CBS RADIO SVP/market manager Jerry McKenna and programmer Cat Thomas.
WRKO, Boston Helps Raise $115,000-plus for Fisher House. The personalities on Entercom’s WRKO, Boston spent Monday (11/10) broadcasting live from the Seaport Hotel as part of an effort to raise funds for the Fisher House in Boston. Pictured here are Barry Armstrong and Kim Carrigan hosting “The Financial Exchange.” Morning drive personality Jeff Kuhner also was on hand as the station brought in more than $115,000 for Fisher House. Kuhner says, “The WRKO listeners are the best in the country. Hands down. When we ask them to come through, they do. And they do it in a very big way.” The tally was at $98,000.00 just before 6:00pm, when Entercom CEO David Field donated the $2,000 it took to get over the six-figure mark. The Fisher House Boston is a home away from home where military families can stay while a loved one is receiving in-house treatment at one of the medical centers. The homes enable family members to be close to loved ones at the most stressful times.
Odds & Sods. The broadcast rights for Arkansas State play-by-play are re-upped for another five years by East Arkansas Broadcasters. The agreement allows EAB to continue to originate the broadcast of every Arkansas State game in football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball from the company’s flagship sports talker KFIN, Jonesboro…..SiriusXM signs PGA pro John Daly to host a six-part series on its PGA Tour channel. The show is called “Hit It Hard with John Daly” and will debut in December.
Eric Dickerson Joins Westwood One’s Jim Gray Aboard USS America. Pictured here is Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson speaking with troops aboard the USS America on Monday (11/10). As part of last night’s Westwood One Monday Night Football broadcast, pre-game and half-time host Jim Gray broadcast live from aboard the brand new naval ship USS America and he was joined by Dickerson during the programs. In honor of Veterans Day, both mingled with the sailors and fielded football questions for Monday Night Football weekly contributors Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald.
Lame Duck Congress, 2016 Presidential Prospects, President Obama in China/Russia-China Relationship, Fall of Berlin Wall Anniversary, U.S.-Iran Nukes Talks, Battle Against ISIS, Net Neutrality Issue, Early Cold and Snow, Veteran’s Day, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/10). What the lame duck congress may try to accomplish before the GOP majority takes over in January; a look ahead at the prospects for president in 2016; President Obama’s visit to China and the cozier relationship between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Xi Jinping’s China; the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall; the talks between the U.S. and Iran about the latter’s nuclear program; the fight against ISIS and reports the organization is considering a merger with al Qaeda; the net neutrality issue and President Obama’s weighing in on the matter; an early blast of cold and snow hit the Upper Midwest; the Veteran’s Day holiday and observances across the country; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dodgers-KLAC Broadcast Deal Gives Team Equity in Station. Indeed, the newsworthy part of this story is the Los Angeles Dodgers acquiring an equity position in KLAC, Los Angeles as part of the renewal for play-by-play flagship rights. Neither side is going into details, so what “an equity position” means is not clear. The team and station owner iHeartMedia made the announcement Tuesday about the multi-year agreement renewing KLAC’s broadcast rights of the Dodgers regular season games, select spring training games and potential post-season games. The deal must be approved by Major League Baseball. Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten comments, “We are looking forward to expanding KLAC’s content in this new partnership for our passionate and loyal fan base. We will be teaming up with the fantastic creative team at iHeartMedia on a number of projects and initiatives to enhance our fans’ engagement. And what better team to tell the story than from broadcast talent of Vin Scully, Rick Monday and Charley Steiner.”
Another Cable Network for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze. The Glenn Beck-founded video platform TheBlaze gets carriage on Suddenlink – one of the top 10 cable companies in the U.S. A Wikipedia entry shows Suddenlink with approximately 1.2 million subscribers. TheBlaze says this addition means its “24/7 news, opinion and entertainment network” is now available on 77 television providers nationwide including 10 of the top 25. TheBlaze president of business development Lynne Costantini says, “We are pleased that Suddenlink decided to launch TheBlaze in response to customer demand, validating the appeal of our original programming to a broad audience. We look forward to providing additional value and choice to Suddenlink’s customers, growing our respective businesses together in partnership.”
Rich Eisen Program Available on PodcastOne. When the DirecTV-produced Rich Eisen show airs on October 6, an audio version of the program will become available via PodcastOne as the sports media star begins a relationship with Norm Pattiz’s programming-on-demand platform. Eisen, the former ESPN personality who’s been with the NFL Network since its inception, has produced a podcast via NFL Media for the past four years. Eisen quips, “The podcast form is in this show’s DNA, so I am overjoyed to have the Rich Eisen show in the PodcastOne family. Plus, this leaves me one step closer to my dream of getting Norm Pattiz’s Lakers tickets.” Pattiz replies, “My courtside seats are now a lock. Rich is a pro’s pro. Sports talk on demand is a digital segment that’s breaking big in the podcast universe and we are excited to engage this passionate fan base with the exceptional content Rich consistently creates. His expertise and talent are a great addition to our roster which includes Dan Patrick, Ross Tucker, Steve Czaban and all of Yahoo! Sports.”
Opie Hughes and Jim Norton Re-Up with SiriusXM. Any hopes the Opie & Anthony fans had that when the contract came up, Opie Hughes (right) and partner Jim Norton (left) would walk away in protest of former co-host Anthony Cumia’s firing this summer are dashed as Hughes and Norton announce via Twitter that they have “not resigned, but re-signed” with the satcaster. The show is billed as “Opie with Jim Norton.” Cumia was fired by SiriusXM after a series of Tweets from him that used vulgar and racial terms to describe an encounter he had with an African America woman in Times Square earlier this year.
Round Two of September PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of September 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was August 14 through September 10. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated talk show host Jerry Doyle adds two new stations to his affiliate list. The Talk Radio Network-syndicated show is now heard on Midwest Communications’ news/talk WKZO, Kalamazoo and Frank Iorio-owned WJAS, Pittsburgh…..At the Fresno operations of Cumulus Media, Michael Knight is named news director for KMJ-AM and KMJ-FM. Knight comes to KMJ after spending last several years with KFWB, Los Angeles…..Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland “FM News 101 KXL” picks up three Oregon Association of Broadcasters Awards. Delivered at this past weekend’s 2014 OAB Fall Conference, KXL won accolades for: Best Single Story Newscast by reporter, Rosemary Reynolds on a piece covering Robert Yuille; Best Investigative Reporting for the K-9 Shooting earlier this year; and Best Newscast for the coverage on the shooting of Officer Robert Libke……Sports USA announces a new twice-weekly podcast from baseball Hall-of-Famer and Emmy Award-winning analyst Joe Morgan is being produced. Dubbed, “Conversations with Joe Morgan,” it debuts on Thursday (10/2). The company says each week Morgan will create one new podcast featuring the topics of today along with one “Classic Conversation” featuring a mixture of over 100 of the greatest sports and celebrity interviews he has conducted…..Entercom‘s Milwaukee sports talker WSSP is now simulcasting on translator W289CB at 105.7 FM. The station has re-branded as “Sportsradio 105.7 The Fan.”
Westwood One Appoints Foley to its Business Development Division. Former Radio Disney Group business development manager Jack Foley joins Westwood One as a business development vice president. Westwood One president Steve Shaw states, “Jack’s outstanding record of success in radio, event sponsorship, digital, in-store audio, and experiential marketing is an ideal match for this position. He has the ability to leverage all of our platforms and to create powerful marketing solutions for our clients.” New York City-based Foley comments that he is “thrilled” to join the “great team at Westwood One” as “we put the power of sound to work for our valued clients. Westwood One offers unsurpassed assets from which to build integrated marketing programs that deliver exceptional value and ROI. I look forward to activating these deep connections in a way that serves all stakeholders, content providers, marketers, and consumers.” Foley’s past credits include Entercom Boston’s vice president and director of sales; Clear Channel’s (now iHeartMedia) regional vice president for sales (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine); president and owner of mergers/acquisitions brokerage Transworld Advisors; and senior vice president of business development for Opus 3 Mobile.
Agreeing to Disagree. Nationally syndicated talk show hosts Michael Medved (left) and Tavis Smiley (right) pose for a photo after their on-air discussion about the day’s hot issues. Salem Radio Network’s Medved hosted Smiley – whose weekly radio show is distributed by PRI – on his program to talk about issues and Smiley’s new book, Death Of A King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year (Little, Brown & Company, 2014). Medved’s camp reports the two sparred over: black unemployment, economic inequity in minority communities and failing schools after six years of the Barack Obama presidency, to name a few.
U.S. ISIS Policy, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Hopefuls, Obama Amnesty Policy, White House Trespasser/Secret Service Controversy, U.S. Ebola Case/Pandemic Threat, and NFL Controversies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/30). The military strikes against ISIS and speculation about U.S. intelligence breakdowns; the looming mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential race; controversy over a possible Obama Administration amnesty program; the recent White House trespasser case and questions about the Secret Service’s effectiveness; the first U.S. Ebola virus case and concerns over a possible pandemic; and the domestic violence cases that have rocked the young NFL season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Joan Hamburg to Host Weekend Show on WABC, New York. After a long career at crosstown heritage AM news/talker WOR, Cumulus Media announces that New York radio personality Joan Hamburg is joining its news/talker 77 WABC to host a weekly Saturday program to air from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Cumulus says on the show Hamburg “will continue discussing the most important social, economic and political issues that impact listeners’ lives each week. Hamburg will also interview major celebrities and powerful political figures on the program.” In addition, the deal calls for Hamburg to produce weekly features and exclusive programs available in digital formats. Hamburg comments, “How excited I am to join legendary WABC radio and work with Kim Bryant, Craig Schwalb and the rest of the Cumulus family. And what a treat to join their roster of the best talk talent in the country. New York get ready — the conversation is about to begin.”
Talk Host Jim Villanucci Resigns from KXL, Portland. There is little known at this time about what has transpired to cause midday talk show host Jim Villanucci to resign from his position with Alpha Media’s KXL, Portland but a Tweet from KXL’s Lars Larson states simply that Villanucci has resigned for “personal reasons” and that Larson wishes him well. Filling in during the daypart is Victoria Taft.
Tension Between WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Management Over Fox Sports Simulcast. According to a story by Neil Best in Newsday, WFAN, New York afternoon drive superstar Mike Francesa has been ordered by CBS RADIO management – under threat of lawsuit – not to gripe publicly about the simulcast of his show being bumped from cable’s Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 for live sporting events. Best reports that while Francesa didn’t talk specifically about the Fox Sports simulcast issues, he said on his radio show that in contrast to a corporate statement to the contrary, he has been threatened with legal action if he speaks publicly about anything that costs the company money, with the implication being the Fox Sports arrangement. In other words, he could be held liable for any income CBS loses if the Fox Sports relationship dissolves. Read Best’s piece here.
Cisco Cotto Joins CBS RADIO’s WBBM-AM, Chicago. Newsman and talk show host Cisco Cotto is becoming part of the staff at CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM-AM and WCFS-FM, Chicago, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder. Cotto has worked in the Chicago market his entire career. He started at CBS’ former all-news WMAQ and has served as news anchor at Cumulus Media’s crosstown WLS-AM (where he also went on to host a talk show) as well as at Salem’s news/talk WIND, and the Moody Bible Institute’s Christian talker WMBI. His position at WBBM and WCFS is anchor/reporter. Read Feder’s entire column here.
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Adds Comic Jim Krenn to Friday Program. Joining the “KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway” each Friday is Jim Krenn, a popular Pittsburgh radio personality and comedian. KDKA-AM program director Jim Graci says, “KDKA is delighted to have Jim Krenn on the station each Friday morning. It’s like adding another big bat to an all-star lineup, and will give KDKA listeners another reason to smile heading into the weekend.” Krenn is a Pittsburgh native who worked successfully in Steel City radio for 24 years. He is currently producing a weekly podcast titled, “Jim Krenn: No Restrictions.”
Dreyer Named Director of Integrated Media for NRG. Appointed to the newly created position of director of integrated media for NRG Media is Erica Dreyer. In making the announcement, NRG president and CEO Mary Quass noted that Dreyer recently served in the same post for both Maverick Media of Rockford, Illinois and Mid-West Family Broadcasting of Rockford for the past seven-plus years. Quass states, “Digital media offers the greatest potential revenue growth for radio today. Erica Dreyer has earned seven awards for excellence in the digital arena. Dreyer’s the maverick we need to lead this new department.” In this position, Dreyer will be responsible for infusing new inventory and pricing techniques into NRG’s interactive portfolio. Dreyer will also train and educate sales departments in the station group to produce more sophisticated, high-value integrated solutions for clients and help educate advertisers about integrated solutions for their business needs. Dreyer starts with NRG on September 30.
WPHT, Philadelphia Speaker Series Hosts Senator Ted Cruz. Tonight’s event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia is the latest in the WPHT Speaker Series and will feature Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) discussing the First and Fourth Amendments. The program takes place in observance of Constitution Day and WPHT morning drive personality Chris Stigall is moderating the discussion.
The Big Issue of the Day. Pictured here are ESPN personalities (from left to right) Jemele Hill, Jane McManus and Cari Champion in the studio during the production of the podcast “espnW Presents: The State of the NFL on ESPN Radio.” The show was a joint effort by espnW and ESPN Radio. Also appearing on the program were espnW personalities Kate Fagan and Sarah Spain. ESPN host Keith Olbermann and National Organization for Women president Terry O’Neill joined the conversation as guests.
The NFL and Domestic Violence, U.S.-Led Coalition Against ISIS, Mid-Term Elections, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential Run, New Benghazi Investigation, Ebola Virus Pandemic Threat, Scotland Succession Referendum, and Obama Amnesty Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/16). The ongoing furor over the domestic violence issues plaguing the NFL; debate over the potential effectiveness of the U.S.-led coalition to combat ISIS; the looming mid-term elections and how they may affect majorities in Congress; Hillary Clinton’s weekend appearance in Iowa and her possible run for president in 2016; the new Benghazi investigation; the status of the Ebola outbreak in Africa and the potential for a pandemic; Thursday’s referendum on whether Scotland breaks away from the U.K.; and Senator Ted Cruz’s effort to prevent amnesty action by President Obama were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Andy Dean Leaves Premiere Networks’ ‘America Now’ Program. After three years hosting the nationally syndicated “America Now” show for Premiere Networks, Andy Dean is leaving the radio business to concentrate on his digital endeavor, ConnectPal.com. His last show will be August 8. After that, WOAI, San Antonio-based talk personality Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo will guest host the program until a replacement is found for the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET show. Dean states, “Julie Talbott and Premiere Networks have been wonderful to me, and I am extremely grateful. I have to step down to run my technology company full time. I started ConnectPal.com to help radio stations and hosts make more money, and the company has grown so fast, it is now expanding to all content creators. The idea is simple – anyone can create a profile on ConnectPal, then you post any type of content (podcasts, video, etc.) on your profile – and then you set a monthly price for people to see your profile. This allows any person or station to have a Glenn Beck-style subscription business in less than 60 seconds at no cost.” Talbott comments, “Andy is a tremendous talent and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished together over the past three years with ‘America Now.’ We wish him all the best as he starts this new chapter of his career.” The “America Now” show is heard on some 130 affiliate stations.
Boston Herald Radio Approaches First Anniversary. The online talk-formatted radio station launched by the Boston Herald on August 1, 2013 is approaching its first anniversary next Friday. In anticipation of the milestone, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison, a long-time champion of the concept of daily newspapers launching radio stations on their websites, was invited to be interviewed (7/22) in studio about the state of radio on the station’s “Trending Now” program followed by a luncheon at which he addressed a roundtable of Herald editorial and radio staffers. During the radio program, Harrison (pictured here third from the left) was interviewed by “Trending Now” co-hosts Adriana Cohen (far right) and Joe Battenfeld (left) who were joined by the station’s “Morning Meeting” co-host Hillary Chabot (second from left). In addition to friendly chat in which Harrison whimsically recalled his early days as a music radio DJ and program director, the discussion tackled a number of crucial issues about the state of talk radio in Boston as well as the future of terrestrial radio in general. Harrison expressed being “troubled” by the present state of talk radio in the Hub [Boston] pointing out that at one time, Boston was “one of the model cities for talk” with such hosts as the late Jerry Williams, Gene Burns,and David Brudnoy setting the pace emulated by much of the rest of the industry across the nation. Harrison said, “It was just an amazing town for talk radio” but as radio has become “more corporatized” over the years, the quality of Boston talk radio has gone “downhill.” But Harrison said the future of talk radio could be bright if the people who run the “big-time radio stations are able to really create diverse and important programming that people need” because “it’s become a very noisy world” in the digital era. Harrison says, “I am extremely impressed by the work Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca, and his energetic young staff have done in making Herald Radio a vibrant audio arm of the larger news gathering organization that a major daily newspaper is built upon. This entity has a bright and positive stationality all its own and is just chock-full of relevant information and conversation including a non-stop schedule of newsmaker and news-making events. When I say it has a stationality all its own, I mean it doesn’t have that numbing, cookie-cutter sound and attitudinal environment that permeates so much of today’s commercial terrestrial radio of all formats. It hits you right between the ears – hey, this is different… it is indeed talk radio, but it is different…it is FRESH!” Harrison continues, “The programming at Herald Radio is so authentic that I’ve gotten word that a number of terrestrial stations and networks have already enquired about carrying some of their shows.” He concludes, “The marriage of newspapers and online radio is one made in heaven for countless obvious reasons, starting with the facts that newspaper websites already have major traffic of people predisposed to listening to talk radio and they have news, arts, and entertainment resources that go beyond the wildest capabilities of most of today’s debt-choked radio broadcasting companies. As a deep believer in the importance of radio and a lover of the medium, I must say that if the present consolidated owners of the stick [meaning AM/FM platforms] do not ‘get on the stick’ and use their privilege correctly, they might just see newspapers across America turn their websites and online vehicles into the NEW STICK!” To read media reporter Jessica Heslam ’s Boston Herald piece about Harrison’s interview along with an audio link to his entire 25-minute interview please click here.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment Group/Podcast One Receives TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award. Today (7/24) marks the eighth consecutive business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with part 3 of the event’s traditional “Talkers Awards Ceremony” emceed by legendary Westwood One talk show host Jim Bohannon and featuring the presentation of the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award to Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment Group/Podcast One. The presentation is made by Bohannon, the recipient of the honor last year, who in listing this year’s recipient’s long list of achievements, states, “If there’s one word that describes Norm Pattiz it’s “reinvention.” Upon accepting the honor, Pattiz states, “Now we [Podcast One] are pushing hard in the direction of ‘on-demand’ radio. I think of that as radio. I’m sorry – it’s the natural evolution of radio and you as talk show hosts should embrace it because what it does is give you the opportunity to build an audience without having to bundle it through a radio station.” Pattiz cites some of Podcast One’s roster of performers as examples of the power of ‘on demand’ radio: “When people like Adam Carolla, National Public Radio, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Chris Hardwick (the Nerdist) are reaching a million people every time they put up a podcast – that’s a big deal! And that is something that should be embraced by the entire radio business.” To view this entire presentation, please click here. Coming tomorrow: Part 4 of the Talkers Awards Ceremony in which WYD Media talk show host Thom Hartmann receives the prestigious TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
KFI, Los Angeles to Air Three-Hour Immigration Special. This special collaboration between Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles and Univision-owned KMEX-TV, Los Angeles “Univision 34” will air from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Friday July 25 and will focus on the immigration crisis at the U.S. border. The program will be co-hosted by correspondents Steven Gregory (right) and Oswaldo Borraez (left). KFI says, “The recent influx of unaccompanied child immigrants has triggered an onslaught of questions from affected border residents and local governments alike. This news special will do a deep dive, not just interviewing those involved but also attempting to answer the tough questions surrounding this escalating situation.” Gregory is based at KFI, Los Angeles and has covered – on the scene – such varied news events as Hurricane Katrina and the Academy Awards. Among his numerous industry accolades are five Edward R. Murrow awards. Borraez serves as a field reporter for Univision 34’s “Noticias Univision 34.” Borraez has received various awards such as the Peabody award for excellence in reporting, Emmy and Golden Mike awards, as well as a Gabriel.
KXL, Portland Personality Lars Larson Featured on Investigation Discovery Show. The Discovery Communications-owned channel Investigation Discovery produced a program called “Dark Temptations” that aired last night (7/23) that looked at the case of serial killer Jerry Brudos who died in prison in 2006 while serving a life term for the murders of three young women in Salem, Oregon in the late 1960s. KXL talk host Lars Larson offered the reporter’s perspective on the case. He says, “Jerome Brudos, a serial killer before the term was even invented, was the creepiest interview I’ve done in 39 years in the news business. I wanted to take a shower after spending two hours locked in a room at the Oregon State Pen with Brudos.” Brudos had an obsession with women’s shoes that allegedly sparked his crimes.
Dukes to Go Solo as Lavar Arrington Leaves WJFK-FM, Washington for NFL Network Gig. To be clear, former Washington Redskins great Lavar Arrington will still make appearances on CBS RADIO’s WJFK-FM, Washington “106.7 The Fan” – an hour-long appearance with Chad Dukes on both Mondays and Fridays – he just won’t be Dukes’ full-time partner. The station is electing to let Dukes handle the afternoon daypart by himself and the show is being re-named “Chad Dukes vs The World,” the same name he’s been using for the 6:00 pm hour he’d been hosting solo.
MLB Baseball Gives Boost to Most Flagship Stations. That’s the conclusion that can be drawn from even a cursory look at the performances of flagship stations for MLB baseball play-by-play in the Nielsen Audio PPM-rated markets. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the stations carrying baseball and, not surprisingly, teams that are winning appear to be translating that into PPM share for flagship stations. In this report Kinosian tracks how flagship stations have performed over the past four PPM surveys, compared to June 2013, how they rank in their respective markets, and how the stations stack up based on MLB divisions. Check out Mike Kinosian’s analysis here.
WLS-AM, Chicago Holds Talk Star Contest. For the third year, Cumulus Media-owned news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago is holding “The Next 89 WLS Talk Star” contest. The winner of the contest will get: a chance to host a two-hour show live on 89 WLS; limo ride to and from the studio; one pair of professional headphones; and a Funjet Vacation for two to Riviera Maya, Mexico. The station is seeking entries prior to the August 3 deadline that must consist of personal information and a 90-second monologue. The finale of the competition will take place live at the Hard Rock Café Chicago on Wednesday, August 20.
The Wall Street Journal & Marketwatch Radio Networks Roll Out Apps. Two new apps are now available from The Wall Street Journal & Marketwatch Radio Networks. The updated apps allow users to listen to “WSJ This Morning,” and such features as “Watching Your Wallet” and “Your Money Matters.” “What’s News” provides updates throughout the day. The Marketwatch app provides market updates throughout the day from the New York Stock Exchange with MarketWatch Stock Talk.
Associated Press Announces Promotions. Broadcast journalist Derl McCrudden is upped to head of international video news for The Associated Press. McCrudden was previously the head of video news gathering. AP VP director of global video Sandy MacIntyre says, “Derl is one of the smartest journalists in the business, a proven leader whose calm demeanor and steely determination mark him out as a natural for this role. Derl brings a vast amount of experience, both in managerial roles and in running big stories in the field. That experience directly translates into not only understanding, but anticipating the needs of AP’s customers.” At the same time, Denise Vance, deputy director of U.S. video, becomes head of U.S. video and radio, continuing to oversee video and audio newsgathering and production in North America.
Odds & Sods. A new offering on Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio is Judith Mancini’s “Dishing With Judith.” The program is being re-launched on Women 4 Women Radio (w4wn.com) and iHeartRadio.com this Friday at 3:00 pm ET live from Burbank, California featuring “celebrities, musicians, artists, authors and anyone with powerful knowledge or a spicy story.” Serving as Mancini’s co-host is Noelle, a fashion designer/blogger, social media expert and founder/CEO of Digital Media Strategy…..ESPN Audio is announcing the return of its “Fall Football Tour” in which Mike & Mike, Colin Cowherd and SVP & Russillo will hit the road to broadcast live in advance of highly anticipated NFL and college football games. The tour begins on Friday, August 29, with a live broadcast from Atlanta in advance of the West Virginia-Alabama game. The nine-stop tour will make its way through Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, Baton Rouge, Philadelphia, and Chicago…..NBA great Charles Barkley returns to join Mike Missanelli on Greater Media’s WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” this Friday as co-host for the entire program – 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. In another note from WPEN-FM, the station will be the flagship for Temple University football beginning with this season. The station reports it struck a three-year deal with rights-holder Learfield Sports.
Geraldo Attends Central Valley Career Fair. Returning Americans to work has been part of Geraldo Rivera’s mantra since he began hosting his own talk radio show at WABC, New York. In addition to hosting career fairs in NYC, Rivera traveled to the West Coast this week for a job fair organized by the Cumulus Media cluster in Fresno. Pictured here is Rivera (right) with KMJ-AM/FM program director and morning drive personality Blake Taylor (left) in the KMJ studios. Taylor tells TALKERS magazine that “thousands turned out at the first Central Valley Career Fair to meet the mustachioed legend.” Rivera hosted his WABC program from the KMJ studios.
Israel-Hamas Conflict, Flight 17 Downing, Tony Dungy-Michael Sam Comments, Recent ObamaCare Court Rulings, and Clinton Books Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/23). The escalating violence in the Gaza Strip between Hamas and Israel; the political implications surrounding the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the U.S.’s role in curbing Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine; controversy over Tony Dungy’s comments that he would not have drafted openly gay football player Michael Sam because of the distraction; the two recent appeals court rulings affecting the Affordable Care Act; and the current books about the Clintons were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rush Limbaugh’s ‘Cure-A-Thon’ Raises $3 Million-plus for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Last Friday (4/11), Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh held his annual “Cure-A-Thon” to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the show-long effort helped raise more than $3 million for the cause. The annual event is executed in a relatively low-profile manner, that is, without a lot of promotion outside of Limbaugh’s program. The large amount of money raised is indicative of the loyal and generous nature of his audience. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who listened to the entire program, comments, “Limbaugh did a masterful job of not simply asking for contributions, but educating his listeners about the diseases of blood cancer and the progress that is being made in finding the cure. It was compelling radio. Add to that his skill in weaving into the flow of the show other topics of the day from ObamaCare to his contrarian take on the selection of Colbert to replace Letterman and it was quite apparent that after all these years he is still an extraordinarily skilled talk broadcaster.”
Don Bouloukos to Retire from CBS RADIO New York. After 16 years with CBS RADIO and a career that spans 41 years, CBS RADIO New York senior vice president and market manager Don Bouloukos announces he’s retiring from the company effective June of this year. Bouloukos first joined CBS RADIO in 1998 following the acquisition of American Radio Systems Inc. where he was co-chief operating officer. Bouloukos comments, “It is never an easy decision to leave an industry you love, and a company and cluster of stations that have been such an important part of your life. But after 41 years, it is time.” Current CBS RADIO executive vice president, operations, Scott Herman will take over for Bouloukos and add supervision of the New York cluster to his duties. The CBS RADIO New York group consists of all-news WCBS-AM, classic hits WCBS-FM, sports talker WFAN-AM/FM, all-news WINS-AM, CHR WNOW-FM and hot AC WWFS-FM. Bouloukos continues, “I’ve been very fortunate to work for a company that allows you to operate stations as if they were your own and I take great pride in what we have been able to accomplish over the years. Working with Dan Mason and Scott Herman has been an absolute pleasure. My only regret is that I am not 21 years old and starting all over again.”
KXL, Portland Names Val Stouffer News Anchor. Radio news pro Val Stouffer joins Alpha Broadcasting’s Portland news/talker KXL “FM NEWS 101.” The station reports that Stouffer will be part of the “Portland’s Afternoon News” program as co-anchor alongside news anchor Dan Mitchinson. Stouffer’s news radio experience includes stops at the old WMAQ and WLS in her hometown of Chicago. She’s also worked in Seattle at both KIRO and KOMO. Alpha Broadcasting director of programming Scott Mahalick says, “Val is a win for KXL. She brings significant news/talk knowledge and incomparable experience that will benefit not only our afternoon daypart but our entire station.”
First Round of March PPM Data Released. PPM data from the first of four groups of 12 markets for the March 2014 period (February 27 – March 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
Bringing Creativity and Heightened Localism to the Radio Sales Department — with a Biographer. Ft. Worth, Texas-based multimedia storyteller, biographer and marketing strategist Rix Quinn delivers a unique mix of creative writing and a down-home vocal presentation to any station’s local marketing arsenal, regardless of market size. Learn more about this fascinating wordsmith and his ideas for adding new dimensions to local radio sales that straddle both the medium’s on-air and online space. In a new article by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, Quinn says, “The service I provide is to help small businesses tell their story in features that run 250-300 words, which is fairly short, focusing on the unique experiences of the owner-manager of the business or the unique product or service that the business provides.” He adds, “That can also include short-form generic features that ‘celebrate’ the tradition and community service of general local business categories such as stand-alone ice cream parlors, mom & pop hardware stores, garden supply centers, independent book stores, jewelry stores…the list is endless. At the conclusion of each feature, the station tags it with individual examples of the category that are non-competitively located in different parts of the coverage area and makes them available to the advertisers at a very reasonable cost.” To read McKay’s piece about Rix Quinn in its entirety, please click here.
Laura Ingraham Adds ABC Contributor to Her CV. The announcement came on Sunday’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos that conservative media personality Laura Ingraham will join ABC News as a contributor. She’s not giving anything up for the new role, either. She’ll remain a Fox News Channel contributor and regular fill-in host for Bill O’Reilly as well. She’ll also continue hosting her daily three-hour Courtside Entertainment Group-syndicated radio talk show.
The Conclave’s Bob Shannon Steps Down After Health Scare. The executive director of The Conclave resigned from the Minneapolis non-profit on Monday, April 14, citing health issues. Bob Shannon says in a statement, “Upon my return from the NAB late Thursday evening, I experienced a medical episode that brought paramedics to my home in the middle of the night. Fortunately, the problem wasn’t as life threatening as was originally thought, but it has prompted some soul searching on my part. Therefore, after consulting with my physician and my family, I have decided to curtail all business activities for the foreseeable future and will be resigning all of my obligations over the next few weeks. Sadly, that includes the Conclave.” Conclave chairman Mark Bolke comments, “Obviously, Bob’s health and well-being is my primary concern, and I respect his decision. As executive director of the Conclave, Bob brought with him the passion of a real radio broadcaster. Not only in regards to what made it so compelling in the past, but a vision of what it still can be. He is a champion of the medium, and never afraid to tell it like it is. It’s been a pleasure serving with Bob, a true gentleman, and we wish him the very best.”
Pussycat Dolls Founder Robin Antin Joins PodcastOne. The founder of the modern burlesque troupe The Pussycat Dolls – dancer, choreographer and actress Robin Antin – is producing a weekly podcast available on PodcastOne. Fresh programs will be available on Tuesdays. Her debut show today (4/15) will feature Kim Kardashian and Antin’s brother, famed hair stylist Jonathan Antin. PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “I’m really looking forward to this podcast. Not only will it attract a huge audience, but working with Robin will be big time fun. Her millions of fans will have unprecedented access as they listen to her every week on PodcastOne.com.”
Odds & Sods. At Clear Channel’s Seattle sports talker KJR, the station is debuting a show for local soccer fans dubbed, “Seattle Soccer Talk Live” and hosted by longtime market sports personality Mike Gastineau, who returns to the station he left two years ago. The weekly show will air live from local pubs on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 and will focus on the MLS Seattle Sounders FC. Gastineau recently self-published a book about the Sounders franchise…..The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks picked up a few Excellence in Financial Journalism Awards from the NYSSCPA and New York Financial Writers Association. Marketwatch.com Radio won honors for “Housing on Fire: Tips for Buyers and Sellers” by Alisa Parenti with producer Tracy Johnke; and the Wall Street Journal Radio Network was honored for The Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal for his 16-day segment series addressing “the government shutdown’s impact on real people, the economy and business.”
CBS RADIO Philadelphia Prepares for 5th Annual Earthfest Celebration. The Philadelphia cluster of CBS RADIO stations is partnering with the Clean Air Council to help sponsor its 5K Run for Clean Air at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Saturday (4/19). CBS Philly SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield comments, “The CBS RADIO stations are proud to partner with the Clean Air Council in their mission to improve our region’s environmental and public health. As a huge voice in the region, we have a responsibility to use our power and reach to support such important issues.” CBS RADIO Philadelphia participation will include the KYW Newsradio Kidcast Mobile Studio, that gives kids a chance to be a KYW news anchor. WPHT “Big Money” host Steve Cordasco will present his weekly radio program live from 7:00 am to 10:00 am and will discuss the growing popularity of green or socially conscious investing.
Becka Takes Plunge for Boy with Cancer. KOIL, Omaha talk show host Tom Becka is pictured here standing in the 50-degree waters of Lake Manawa in Council Bluffs, Iowa after jumping in on Monday, April 14 to raise money for a local boy with cancer. Becka was part of a group of radio personalities and local politicians who took the “plunge,” including adult hits KOOO, Omaha’s Crash Davis and hot AC KQKQ, Omaha’s Jenny Olive. The stunt was to benefit Landon Shaw, a Missouri boy with cancer who has inspired Facebook fundraising challenges. On Friday before the plunge, the water was 60 degrees but a chill – along with some snow – moved through the area and the water was down to 50 degrees on Monday!
Celebrating ‘Station of the Year’ Honors. Bloomington, Illinois news/talk WJBC was recently honored with the Illinois Associated Press Station of the Year Award. Since 1999, the Cumulus Media-owned station has won the award three times. It is given to one radio or television station in the state for its work with the Associated Press for continuing cooperation and contribution. WJBC news director Stephanie Pawlowski says, “We are proud to continue in WJBC’s long tradition of community service. The Associated Press has been a great resource for WJBC over the years and we are pleased to assist such an amazing organization in any way we can.” WJBC has a seven-member news team, including an agribusiness reporter, and says that it produces more local coverage than any other station in Central Illinois. Pictured here with the award are (from left to right): Bryan Bloodworth, sports writer; Adam Studzinski, news reporter/anchor; Pawlowski; Eric Stock, news reporter/anchor/sports director; Zac Dietmeier, news reporter/anchor; and Dan Westhoff, operations manager.
Boise and Denver Radio Personality Jon Duane Hellhake Dies. On the radio he went by the name Jon Duane, both during his 10-year stint on the “Morning Zoo” at KPPL, Denver and as morning personality on KIDO, Boise. Jon Hellhake passed away on Friday, April 11 after a two-year battle with cancer. The Idaho Statesman reports the Boise native discovered radio in college and, after working in Denver, co-hosted the morning show at KIDO from 1998 through 2008 with Chris Kelly.
Kansas City Slayings, 2016 Presidential Race, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Limbaugh-Colbert Flap, ObamaCare Criticism, Tax Day, and Blood Moon Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/14). The killing of three in Kansas City by neo-Nazi, former political “candidate”; speculation about possible 2016 presidential candidates; Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and the taunting of a U.S. destroyer by a Russian fighter jet; the criticism by Rush Limbaugh of CBS-TV’s choice of Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; income tax returns become due on Tuesday; the first of four “blood moon” eclipses to take place over the next 18 months and some prophecies related to them were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Posts Positive Q4 2013 Revenue News; Dickey Pleased with ‘Core Performance.’ The fourth quarter of 2013 and the year as a whole were seen in a positive light by Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey during yesterday’s investor conference call. Dickey noted at the outset that he was happy that the company was able to meet and, in some aspects, exceed its guidance through “core performance without any impact of” mergers and acquisitions. He also says the company achieved its goals despite 2012 political comps of over $20 million. The company reports Q4 net revenue up 4.5% over the same period in 2013. For the year of 2013, Cumulus net revenue rose 2.4%. Following up on previous conference calls in which he highlighted his expectations for sports and traffic, Dickey said CBS Sports Radio, NBC Sports Radio, NFL and NCAA play-by-play are “hitting their stride as national content brands. Both sports and traffic are currently exceeding expectations for 2014 and are taking share in their respective markets. And will again be substantial growth drivers as we expected them to be. We are very encouraged by the level of interest by both the advertisers and affiliates in these products, which is a testament to the high-quality nature of the content and again the efficacy of broadcast radio advertising on sports and traffic sponsorships respectively.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole call here.
Imus: Scott Shannon Will Get the Job. The Scott Shannon watch continues as the next radio home of the former, longtime WPLJ, New York morning co-host remains the subject of speculation in New York and across the country. This morning, WABC-based Don Imus was heard saying, “I’m told Scott Shannon will get the [WOR] job and I’m very happy about that.” Imus seemed sincere about his statement. TALKERS reported yesterday that the chatter has Shannon landing at either Clear Channel’s news/talk WOR for morning drive (where the company just ended the Elliot Segal simulcast from “DC101”) or at one of CBS RADIO’s music FMs – either classic hits WCBS-FM or CHR WNOW.
Clear Channel Promotes Rob Anthony in New England. Programmer Rob Anthony is named to the operations manager and program director position at Clear Channel’s Providence cluster that includes rock WHJY, news/talk WHJJ, classic hits WWBB “B101,” and hot AC WSNE “93.3 The Coast.” Anthony has been serving as regional programming manager for New England based out of the company’s Springfield, Massachusetts cluster. He will retain that title which has him overseeing programming at the Springfield, Worcester, and Manchester and Portsmouth, New Hampshire station groups. Anthony says, “I can’t even begin to express my excitement for the opportunity to work with such heritage brands as ‘Coast 93.3,’ ‘B 101,’ ‘NewsRadio 920’ and the mighty ‘94 HJY.’ This is truly an honor, and I can’t wait to get to work. Thank you to Clear Channel’s programming team and [market president] Rhonda Lapham for all their continued support and guidance.”
FCC to Rework Internet Regulation Rules; Republican Commissioners Question Move. FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler has announced the Commission will revisit the “net neutrality” issue by “proposing rules that will meet the court’s test for preventing improper blocking of and discrimination among internet traffic, ensuring genuine transparency in how internet service providers manage traffic, and enhancing competition. Preserving the internet as an open platform for innovation and expression while providing certainty and predictability in the marketplace is an important responsibility of this agency.” Wheeler states that the recent D.C. Circuit Court ruling affirms Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 giving “the FCC authority to encourage broadband deployment by, among other things, removing barriers to infrastructure deployment, encouraging innovation, and promoting competition. The court recognized the importance of ensuring that so-called ‘edge providers,’ those that use the network to deliver goods and services, can reach people who use the internet.” Republican Commissioner Mike O’Reilly disagrees, saying, “I am deeply concerned by the announcement that the FCC will begin considering new ways to regulate the internet. As I have said before, my view is that section 706 does not provide any affirmative regulatory authority. We should all fear that this provision ultimately may be used not just to regulate broadband providers, but eventually edge providers.” At the same time, Commissioner Ajit Pai adds, “When Congress told us to encourage broadband deployment by removing barriers to infrastructure investment, it also established the policy of the United States to ‘preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet . . . unfettered by Federal or State regulation.’ Whatever the Commission does as it moves forward, it must take that statutory command to heart. The internet was free and open before the FCC adopted net neutrality rules. It remains free and open today. Net neutrality has always been a solution in search of a problem.”
LDR Interactive Launches TopicPulse; Partners with TTWN for Sales. Interactive broadcast technology firm LDR Interactive announces the launch of an upgraded version of its TopicPulse, what it calls “a real-time social media monitoring system for newsrooms and content producers.” LDR Interactive explains: “TopicPulse scans social media including Twitter and Facebook, local message boards, comment boards, and news sources to track trending topics in a local market. In addition to tracking local and national topics, producers can also access trending video and images. The system then produces a user-friendly, real-time report that newsrooms can use to drive local, regional, and national content.” LDR CEO Daniel Anstandig states, “TopicPulse was inspired by feedback from the world’s leading broadcasters, who said they were in critical need of a better way to track and monitor social media to produce news content. With those needs in mind, we built and optimized TopicPulse for broadcast and digital newsrooms and released the system on beta to LDR’s media partners in 2012. Since then, we’ve seen tremendous momentum and positive results from media companies in all market sizes.” In addition to tracking trends, TopicPulse identifies which primary demo (gender and age group) is most inclined to engage with the topic on social media. Newsrooms also have access to a “glance” screen with trending topics for the brand’s target audience, which can be utilized as a “heads up display” of the market. A Tweet Map feature showcases the market’s most popular tweets and hashtags on a local map, enabling producers to create hyper-local content based on up-to-the-minute social trends. LDR Interactive is partnering with Total Traffic & Weather Network (TTWN) as the TopicPulse national sales partner. The TTWN sales team will serve as the major force behind local market integration of the platform in newsrooms across the U.S.
Lars Larson Show Added to CRN Digital Talk Lineup. The Portland, Oregon-based Lars Larson program is added to the program schedule at CRN Digital Talk Radio airing at 7:00 pm ET. Larson hosts a local show on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland in addition to a separate nationally syndicated program through Compass Media Networks. CRN will carry the national program. CRN president and CEO Michael Horn says, “Lars adds another unique, passionate voice to the CRN schedule. He’s a newsman, a reporter, and a host – so he brings extra doses of preparation and personality to his show.”
Former FCC Chair Richard Wiley to Receive BFoA’s Lowry Mays Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that Richard E. Wiley, chairman of Wiley Rein LLP and a former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, will receive the 2014 Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award to be presented during The Broadcasters Foundation of America Breakfast on Wednesday, April 9, at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas during the NAB Show. Wiley heads the 80-attorney communications practice. He served as chairman of the FCC from 1974 to 1977. Wiley played a pivotal role in the development of HDTV in this country, serving for nine years as chairman of the FCC’s Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service from 1987 to 1995. He represents a number of major communications-oriented organizations, including Verizon, AT&T, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Motorola, CBS, Belo, Gannett, Sirius/XM, Emmis, Gray Television, and LG. Wiley has been recognized by Washingtonian magazine as one of Washington’s 30 “Superstar” lawyers for his role as “the unofficial sixth commissioner” of the FCC (2011) and consistently listed as one of Washington’s “Best Lawyers” and “Top Lawyers” in the magazine. He was named the “most prominent telecommunications lawyer and lobbyist in Washington” by Broadcasting & Cable in 2005, and he was honored with the National Association of Broadcasters’ Distinguished Service Award in 2002.
Teen Radio Host Wins Student Category Gracie. The Alliance for Women in Media announces the winners of the 2014 Gracie Awards in the local, online, student and public categories and 16-year-old Florida radio talk host Pavlina Osta wins in the student category Outstanding Anchor – News or News Magazine for her “Pavlina’s Kidz Place Radio Show.” The Port Orange, Florida resident has been hosting a kids-targeted radio program since she was 11 and boasts an impressive list of celebrity interviews including: Katie Couric, Ed Sheeran, Carly Rae Jepsen, Sick Puppies, A Great Big World, and Steve Forbes, to name just a few. Now she can add Gracie Award winner to her resume!
Obama Executive Power Controversy, Winter Weather/Global Warming Debate, ObamaCare Criticism, Sochi Olympics, Ukrainian Unrest, and N. Korea Human Rights Abuses Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/18). GOP response to President Obama’s use of executive power; the onslaught of winter weather in much of the country and the debate over the global warming issue; the continuing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the Winter Olympic games in Sochi; the protests and political unrest in the Ukraine; and the global community’s concern over growing evidence of human rights abuses were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
What Are Clear Channel’s Plans for AM Drive at WOR? With the departure of “DC101” morning host Elliot Segal from the air at Clear Channel news/talk WOR, New York has industry watchers speculating about the company’s next move for the daypart. Mark Simone was in for Elliot today (2/18). Segal told his DC audience that he was not moving to New York after all and the company issued a statement saying, “After much thought and discussion it’s clear that we’d have to make significant changes to ensure the show resonates as successfully with the NY audience as it does with Elliot’s DC audience. And given Elliot’s loyalty to his DC fans, we support his decision to continue to broadcast from Washington.” This change is not that surprising. To many, the Elliot move seemed an odd pairing and some industry watchers tell TALKERS they thought – even with the chatter about Elliot moving to NYC – it was a temporary move. It seems Clear Channel wants to shake up the AM drive show and not go with another “typical conservative” morning host on WOR but the company also appears to want to go with a younger and local program. There are rumors that recently “retired from WPLJ” personality Scott Shannon is talking with WOR but at first blush, that would also seem to be an unusual hire.
Saga Launches Sports Talker in Ithaca. The new station – branded “98.7 The Buzzer” – is airing on translator W254 BF licensed to Ithaca and features programming from CBS Sports Radio Network. It will also serve as an affiliate for Buffalo Bills football and for Cornell University Men’s basketball. Chet Osadchey is the vice president and market manager for Saga’s Cayuga Radio Group and he tells the Central New York Business Journal that this is an “excellent” expansion of sports in the Ithaca market. “We are particularly excited about the Jim Rome show. For several years, we have received numerous requests to carry this show and now we are able to fulfill that goal. Jim’s show is the most interactive, contemporary, and authentic in the sports radio arena.”
America’s Talk Radio Network to Debut. The start date for the programming being offered by new syndicator America’s Talk Radio Network is March 1 and vice president of affiliations and programming Jon Patch (formerly of Business TalkRadio Network) says, “America’s Talk Radio Network programming features full-service solutions for our hosts and transactional, educational, entertaining and exclusive content for our partnering stations.” The operation is based in Tampa Bay and programming is delivered via Cumulus XDS. Patch adds, “I’ve been working in radio for approximately 30 years and I look forward to working with our variety of unique programs and affiliate stations servicing the needs of our partners on a daily basis.” At start-up, the network is offering four programs: “My Cool Inventions” featuring Akos Jankura “The Solutionist” and John Cremeans “The Doctor of Shopology”; “Talkin’ Pets” with Jon Patch; a morning program called “Sunrise America”; and “Akos The Solutionist.” For more information visit www.americastalkradionetwork.com.
Odds & Sods. News/talk personality Simon Conway – heard daily at Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines in afternoon drive – is doing double duty this week as he fills in on the morning drive program all this week and next Monday at the company’s WFLF, Orlando “News Talk WFLA.”…..Tennis great John McEnroe is getting expanded duties with ESPN on both radio and TV that will see him work outside the world of tennis as well. As part of his radio duties, he’ll work on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning, O&O WEPN-FM, New York “ESPN New York 98.7” and make appearances on ESPN2’s Keith Olbermann program.
Cool Job Opportunity. America’s most successful FM news/talk station needs America’s best news anchor/reporter. This is a rare opening at Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL in Portland, Oregon. We need someone who can talk to an FM listener with AM credibility. We need someone who can write and use sound to tell the story. Is this you? Minimum 5 years in the broadcast industry required. Please send your resume and sample of your on air work to: Rebecca.email@example.com. No phone calls please. Must pass a background investigation. Alpha Broadcasting is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
GOP Infighting, Hillary in 2016, ObamaCare Criticism, Sochi Olympics, Tenn. VW Workers Vote Down Union Move, and Winter Weather/Global Warming Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/17). Solidarity problems within the Republican Party; speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016; the continuing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and its effects; the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia; the failure of the UAW to convince VW plant workers in Tennessee to go union; and harsh winter weather and the debate over global warming were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa Show to Air on Cable’s Fox Sports 1. According to a report by Neil Best in Newsday, sources indicate the cable TV simulcast of New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa’s afternoon drive sports talk program will be Fox’s fledgling Fox Sports 1 cable channel. The deal that had Francesa’s program simulcast on the Fox-owned and Yankees-operated YES Network for the past 12 years ended last week and though the MSG Network was anticipated being the eventual destination for Francesa’s show, the official news of the Fox Sports 1 deal could come sometime this week. Best writes that Fox presumably wants Francesa’s show to help raise its visibility even though it’s a New York-centric show. Interestingly, WEPN-FM’s afternoon host Michael Kay is now seen in Francesa’s old slot on YES and if Francesa does land on Fox Sports 1, the two shows will appear on side-by-side channels 69 and 70 on New York’s Cablevision system.
Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks Outsource Affiliate Relations and Marketing to Compass Media Networks. Executive editor for the Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks John Wordock says in a memo to affiliate stations, “We are deeply committed to our audio business and appreciate our partnership with your station…The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks will continue to provide the best money news coverage in the business, from Wall Street to Main Street to your street. Together, Dow Jones and Compass look forward to working with you and your station and we’re both dedicated to providing top-notch customer service.” This move to take the affiliate relations and marketing department out of house is not entirely unexpected after the cuts the company made in the fall eliminating executive positions within that department.
Mark Levin to Keynote Tea Party Anniversary Celebration. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin will serve as the keynote speaker at the five-year anniversary celebration of the Tea Party Patriots taking place in Washington, DC on February 27. Levin, whose program is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks, says, “The Tea Party, which consists of millions of hard-working taxpayers, is to be celebrated not condemned. The ruling class must be trounced and its media cheerleaders must be exposed if the republic is to survive. The Tea Party is our only hope. It’s a great honor to be asked to speak to such outstanding and courageous patriots.” Other high-profile participants include: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.
Todd Schnitt: Not the Same-Old, Same-Old. Nationally syndicated talk show host Todd Schnitt credits his background in CHR radio and his passion for finding the topics that intrigue him that he believes will also intrigue his listeners for making his show a different-sounding sort of conservative talk radio show. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s profile of the man who worked for years as the successful “MJ Kelli” at Clear Channel’s WFLZ, Tampa before branching into drive time talk radio at sister station WFLA delves into the mind of a personality working to grow his national program in the post-Sandra Fluke era. Schnitt says, “My feelings have been bolstered by many experts and consultants in the field regarding the burn on conservative talk radio…You hear the same pounding on Democrats and liberals every single day. It is to the point with a bunch of hosts in my space where you can pull one of their shows from last month and it would sound the same as what they are saying today. I have always approached a talk radio show so that it fits on any conservative radio station, but with more of an intrinsic entertainment value.” Read Mike Kinosian’s story here.
TALKERS Launches Three-Part Special Today, Tomorrow and Wednesday (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks. Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production. Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations. Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year. It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide. When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiere Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations. However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel. Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio. His vision was “Envision Radio Networks,” (now simply “Envision Networks”) — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that creates over four dozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates. It was a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line. What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry. He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows. His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets. Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication. In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward. I’ve seen this movie many times before. Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.” To read part one of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here.
CBS Reports Record Digital Traffic Month. It’s a new record for a single month as CBS Local Digital Media reports its websites and mobile applications attracted 56.8 million unique users during January topping the previous all-time high of 50.6 million in April 2013. The January 2014 number was up 37% compared to a year ago. CBS Local is happy with its performance in this arena last year reporting year-to-year growth of 21% in average unique users per month. CBS Local Media COO Anton Guitano says, “Our continued integration of digital into all parts of our local business is yielding dividends. The great mobile presence our stations have via mobile websites, Radio.com and CBS Local apps creates a presence that gives the consumer a great user experience.”
Lars Larson’s Busy Week: Subbing for KVI’s John Carlson; Keynoting Nevada Republican Dinner. There are few in the talk radio business who work harder than talk show host Lars Larson. Lars tells TALKERS that in addition to his regular radio programs – middays on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland and nationally syndicated from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET via Compass Media Networks – he’s filling in on morning drive today and tomorrow (2/10-11) on KVI, Seattle for John Carlson. This evening he’ll be hosting a station event for KXL and then heads to Reno on Thursday to do both regular shows from affiliate KKFT-FM before keynoting the Washoe County Republicans’ annual Lincoln Dinner on Friday. Lars reports he’ll be able to fly home in time on Friday to spend Valentine’s weekend with his “very patient wife,” Tina.
Michael Smerconish Jumps to CNN. The SiriusXM talk show host is leaving MSNBC and will join up with CNN for a role that includes regular appearances during the week providing analysis and commentary plus a weekly Saturday morning program, reports the Washington Posts’s Eric Wemple. In a release, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker says, “We are thrilled to have Michael join CNN. At a time when the cable news landscape has become increasingly polarized, his independence and passion for reasoned dialogue makes him the perfect fit for CNN.” Smerconish joins CNN at a time of flux. Zucker has been making programming changes to reverse the cable news/talk channel’s floundering ratings. CNN announced recently it is cancelling Anderson Cooper’s “AC 360 Later.”
Honoring Ann. ABC News Radio White House correspondent Ann Compton (left) is pictured here at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s 70th Annual Congressional Dinner on February 5 at which she was honored with the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes an individual whose outstanding accomplishments promote the journalistic profession and enhance the role of women journalists.
Odds & Sods. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that weekend and fill-in host Bob Early resigned from his position with WNIR-FM, Akron after a disagreement over a guest for his weekend talk show. Early hosted the Saturday and Sunday evening show on the station and he tells the paper he and management were not in agreement about Early booking the owner of an erotic goods chain on his program. Read the whole story here…..Patrick Ryan joins Magnum Broadcasting to serve as general manager for talk WEEO-FM, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania/ Hagerstown, Maryland and corporate brands strategist. Ryan was most recently local sales manager at Albany Broadcasting. He says, “I’m thrilled to put my talk radio expertise back to work and look forward to buying-building new brands with Michael Stapleford and his incredible team.”…..KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh morning host Larry Richert announced that Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly will serve as the keynote speaker at his “Larry Richert Honors Our Hometown Heroes” event at the Lexus Club at PNC Park on Thursday, March 6. The annual even created by Richert honors five ordinary individuals in the community who have done extraordinary things and it benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.
Cumulus Releases Q3 Financials: Net Revenue Up 2.1%. Cumulus Media is scheduled to hold an investors conference call soon on the third quarter 2013 financial report it released this morning. CEO Lew Dickey states, “This was another solid quarter for the company. Our growth initiatives complimented our core business, which continued to take share, and we are seeing a continuation of these trends in the fourth quarter.” In today’s report, Cumulus notes net revenues for the three months ended September 30, 2013 increased $5.7 million, or 2.1%, to $281.1 million, compared to $275.4 million for the three months ended September 30, 2012. “This increase was primarily attributable to a $4.6 million increase in local spot advertising revenue, an increase of $2.1 million in national advertising revenue, an increase of $1.3 million in live event revenue, and an increase of $0.9 million in revenue due to the addition of stations in the Bloomington and Peoria markets which were acquired in July 2012, all of which was partially offset by a decrease of $2.9 million in cyclical political revenues.” For the first three quarters of 2013 the company reports net revenue increased $11.2 million, or 1.4%, to $803.6 million compared to the same period a year ago.
KXL, Portland Agrees to Billboard Change After Complaints. Station officials for Alpha Broadcasting’s news/talk KXL, Portland say there was no disrespect intended when it put up a billboard in the Old Town/Chinatown section of the city that read: “We Love You Long Time. FM News 101 KXL.” The line is a take-off on line from the movie “Full Metal Jacket” which is spoken by a Vietnamese prostitute. It’s become a cultural meme and was used in the 2 Live Crew rap hit “Me So Horny.” According to KION-TV, Alpha director of marketing Randi P’Pool said, “It’s a famous quote from an old rap song. We thought it would get attention but in no way meant disrespect to anyone. The new message will read ‘Stay Connected, my friends. FM News101.'”
Former Washington Redskin Dexter Manley Banned from WTOP. After appearing on Hubbard’s WTOP, Washington and making accusations about former Dallas Cowboys quarter back Troy Aikman and using a homosexual slur, former Redskin’s great Dexter Manley will no longer contribute to WTOP sports content. During an analysis of the Washington Redskins-Denver Broncos game with hosts Mike Moss and Bruce Alan, who jokingly suggested that Aikman jinxed the Redskins by calling the game for Fox Sports, Manley stated, “I think Troy Aikman is a queer.” Moss and Alan challenged Manley and he finally apologized. WTOP vice president of programming Jim Farley later issued this statement: “This morning in a live interview former Redskins player Dexter Manley made an offensive and derogatory comment. He was immediately challenged by WTOP news anchors Mike Moss and Bruce Alan. We were shocked and stunned and we apologize to our listeners that this happened on WTOP. WTOP has contacted a representative for Manley and informed her that he will not be returning.”
SCBA Celebrates Ad Category Increases. The Southern California Broadcasters Association reports that according to the September Miller Kaplan Arase X-Ray report just published, there has been outstanding growth in key ad categories as well as impressive new business development for LA radio. SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “We have a lot to cheer about based on this report. Key category growth for September includes: Education, up 114.7%, Insurance up 66.0%, Healthcare up 16.9%, TV/Networks/Cable up 44.0%, Communications/Cellular/Public Utilities up 43.7%, Charitable/Religious up 29.9% and Concerts/Theater up 69.9%. While September Auto growth was up by 5.9%, this was due mainly to a brief pause as dealer inventory for 2014 was being delivered slowly from a number of factories. On a year-to-date basis, we have seen new categories increase as new brands discover the power of Southern California radio. Education continues to grow by 56.9%, Appliances/Electronics up 53.4%, Transportation up 33.3%, and the emerging Retirement Community category is up 24.3% with Financial up 23.1%.” Callahan says that in addition to all of the increases in existing ad categories, the good news is the emerging new categories as they underscore “a vibrant and re-discovering mode for many of our Southern California Radio advertisers. However, the most important headline of all for Southern California radio is this: On a YTD basis, radio has earned the trust of 521 new advertisers, who combined, have spent $34,378,238 in new business with our members!”
Cherry Creek’s KEYZ, Williston, North Dakota Adds Talk Programming. The station had been branded an agricultural news and classic country outlet but recently the station added a number of syndicated news/talk programs to its weekday lineup while keeping the classic country on weekend. New shows include the regionally syndicated Joel Heitkamp program, Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity, WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller and Jim Bohannon programs, and Premiere’s “Coast to Coast AM.” The station has also re-branded itself “660 News Radio.”
WJOB, Hammond, Indiana Partners with Purdue Calumet. Vasquez Development-owned news/talk WJOB, Hammond, Indiana and Purdue University Calumet have entered into a partnership that will see the station move into the school’s Commercialization Center. According to the Post-Tribune, the station will lease and renovate a 1,700 square foot space for its broadcasting and digital media center. WJOB expects to begin working in the space in March with a mid-April broadcast operations start time. The Post-Tribune reports that WJOB is co-owned by Alexis Vazquez Dedelow and her husband, Jim Dedelow. Jim Dedelow, who manages WJOB day-to-day operations while also hosting the weekday morning drive program, “JED in the Region,” said the partnership with Purdue Calumet will help WJOB build on its reputation as one of the most high-tech radio stations in America.
Nielsen Audio October PPM Data Released. PPM data from 12 of the 48 markets in which Nielsen Audio’s PPM reports are used has been released. Complete charts from Nielsen are available at TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo as well as the “Ten Takeaways” from West Coast bureau chief and managing editor Mike Kinosian. To see the PPM data, click here.
NextMedia to Digity LLC Price: $90.5 Million. That’s how much Dean Goodman-led Digity LLC is paying NextMedia for the 35 stations in eight markets it is acquiring. However, two of the suburban Chicago stations – hot AC WZSR, Woodstock and classic rock WFXF, Dundee – are being spun off to Matrix Broadcasting for $5.52 million.
‘Kristening’ the New PodcastOne Studios. Kathie Lee Gifford’s “Kathie Lee and Company” is the first podcast to be recorded at the new PodcastOne Los Angeles studios and Gifford was honored to have “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” matriarch Kris Jenner in to talk about family, faith and careers. The episode will be available tomorrow at www.PodcastOne.com. The weekly “Kathie Lee and Company” podcast launched last week with Regis Philbin as the first guest. The company says that in addition to interviewing celebrity guests on her one-hour show, Gifford shares her thoughts on topics of the week and offers encouraging and inspirational anecdotes. Above: Jenner (l) and Gifford (r).
NSA Spying Controversy, Court Rules Texas Abortion Regs Unconstitutional, ObamaCare Website Status, Superstorm Sandy Anniversary, and Lou Reed Passes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/28). The expansion of the NSA spying controversy to include European heads of state; a court ruling declaring parts of the new Texas abortion regulations unconstitutional; the status of the ObamaCare website and the repercussions of the Affordable Care Act; the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy; and the passing of rock icon Lou Reed were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
More News/Talk Radio Success Stories. Yes, you read that right, contrary to the pronouncement – largely in the mainstream media (but some trades are generalizing as well) – that news/talk radio is suffering an overall ratings decline because there’s something wrong with the programming, the signals or its P1s, there are news/talk stations that are doing well. In a piece published yesterday (see Wednesday’s news below) we mentioned a few news/talk stations that are performing well such as WMAL, KMOX, WSB-AM, KIRO-FM and others but more have come to light and we believe it’s worth delving into again. The editors at TALKERS magazine understand we are running the risk of sounding like cheerleaders but it’s not because we are blind to reality, it’s that we are irked by sweeping conclusions based on less-than-complete information that brands an entire format as dead or dying. Yes, some news/talk stations are dealing with low ratings and, yes, there are some entire markets that have seen – at least according to Nielsen Audio’s data – listening to news/talk decline. But for those who work at Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL-FM, Portland; Clear Channel’s KFBK, Sacramento, KNRS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City or WLW, Cincinnati; Bonneville’s KSL, Salt Lake City; Cox Media Group’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando; or Entercom’s KMBZ, Kansas City, are enjoying the fruits of their hard work in the form of news/talk stations that are performing well in their markets in spite of this gloomy environment. Digging a bit deeper at KXL-FM, the midday shows – Jim Villanucci from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and Lars Larson from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm – are both in the top six spots in Persons 25-54. Villanucci (brand new to Portland listeners) is ranked #6 in the market with Persons 25-54 and Larson, a conservative political talker, ranks #2 in the market with Persons 25-54. Larson is also tied for #1 with Men 18-34 with a 9.2 share. And he does it in liberal Portland! In conclusion, it is not only in the best interests of the country for news/talk radio to remain a vital medium — it is in the interests of the entire radio industry because – let’s face it – most of the buzz, news, high-profile personalities, controversy, and hoopla concerning radio as an iconic component of contemporary culture has emanated from news/talk radio. After that, a close runner up has been the more general (lifestyle and entertainment) approach to “talk” radio as practiced by talents such as Howard Stern (incorrectly described by mainstream media as “shock jocks.”) Can you imagine what the state of radio would be today had it not been for news/talk and general talk radio during the past 25 years? The industry should not be so quick to discount the viability of this genre of radio and the key it holds to the continued pertinence of radio itself. Lars Larson says his philosophy about the focus of his show is simple: “I figure the future of talk is in young listeners who get into the habit and like the format and what we put on the air. I hope to keep them in my audience for the next 20 years.”
Brief Tenure at WBZ-AM, Boston for Jen Brien. Just three months after beginning her position as permanent overnight host at CBS Radio’s WBZ-AM, Boston, talk show host Jen Brien exits with no reason given by management. An announcement was made at the beginning of the overnight program on Thursday morning (10/3) that Brien was no longer the host of the show. Brien won the job after Steve LeVeille retired in June of 2012. The station featured a number of fill-in hosts in the overnight slot for a year before giving Brien the gig. She had previously worked at crosstown WRKO hosting midday show.
Jay Mohr Visits ‘The Tonight Show.’ Fox Sports Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jay Mohr is pictured here on the set of “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno. Mohr appeared on the program to talk about his sports talk radio show as well as his upcoming stand-up comedy shows in his Houston and San Antonio markets. Mohr plugged the fact that his show can be heard on iHeartRadio – prompting a shout from an audience member who, Mohr quipped, “has the app!”
CBS Radio Brings Soccer to NYC. CBS Radio sports talk WFAN-AM/FM, New York agrees to a multi-year deal with the New York City Football Club to begin broadcasting the team’s matches on the stations beginning in 2015. WFAN says it is “the first radio provider to broadcast Major League Soccer (MLS) in English in New York City.” Manchester City Football Club owns the NYC Football Club and CEO Ferran Soriano says, “We’re thrilled to partner with a station as prestigious as WFAN. This is a huge opportunity for the team to bring football to all New Yorkers, right from the onset of our playing debut.” Clearly, growing interest in soccer in the U.S. is something CBS Radio hopes will continue to blossom. CBS Radio SVP and market manager Don Bouloukos adds, “As the nation’s leading sports radio station, we always look for ways to bring every type of sport to the New York area’s fans. Soccer is beloved across the world, and with the New York City Football Club coming to New York, it’s the perfect time to further ignite the passion soccer fans have and bring coverage and play-by-play of this new team to the Tri-State area listeners.”
Odds & Sods. Entercom’s WEEI, Boston kicks off the Red Sox post-season play with a live remote broadcast following a shortened edition of the Salk and Holley show. A “Red Sox Roundtable” will be broadcast live from Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar and Grill in Fenway Park from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Mike Salk, Michael Holley and fellow WEEI personalities John Dennis, Mike Mutnansky, Lou Merloni, Mikey Adams, Kirk Minihane, Alex Speier and Rob Bradford, as well as the Sox broadcast team of Dave O’Brien and Joe Castiglione will be on hand to discuss the Sox’ impending American League Division Series matchup…..Speaking of Joe Castiglione, he’s been nominated as one of 10 finalists for the Ford C. Frick award, given to baseball broadcasters of long and meritorious service. Castiglione has been calling Boston Red Sox games on the radio for 31 years, having joined their broadcast team in 1983…..Northwestern alumnus, Mike Greenberg, and “Mike & Mike” co-host Mike Golic, will broadcast their show live from Northwestern’s Evanston, Illinois campus tomorrow morning (10/4) in advance of Saturday’s Homecoming game between the Wildcats and the Ohio State Buckeyes, as part of the third annual ESPN Audio Fall Football Tour. Greenberg will also serve as grand marshal of University’s 2013 Homecoming Parade tomorrow evening.
Media Day with the Heat. Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talker WAXY-AM/FM, Miami “The Ticket” morning drive hosts Marc Hochman (left) and Jonathon Zaslow (right) attended Miami Heat media day recently and took the time to pose for a shot with Heat center Joel Anthony (the tall guy in the middle).
Government Shutdown, ObamaCare Implementation, IPCC Climate Report, U.S.-Iran Relations, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/2). The political maneuvering to fix the government shutdown; the beginning of the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act; the release of the latest climate report from the IPCC; speculation about future relations between the U.S. and Iran; and financial markets activity were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Michael Smerconish Delivers Annual “State of the First Amendment Address” at Talkers New York 2013. It is considered an honor to be invited to deliver the annual “State of the First Amendment Address” at the annual TALKERS conference – a traditional component of the Freedom of Speech Ceremony that dates back to the early 1990s when the late and legendary talk show host Gene Burns delivered an impromptu speech extolling the importance of free speech in American society and the vital role it plays in the pertinence of talk radio. Bringing the concept full circle, Burns further articulated how talk radio plays a crucial role in exercising and preserving the First Amendment. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “That was a magic moment when Gene Burns explained how free speech and talk radio are intrinsically unified in preserving the very foundation of liberty upon which everything we consider to be ‘American’ is supported.” Harrison recalls, “Gene reprised this role for the next couple of years leading up to it becoming an industry tradition carried on by free speech-aware orators. We began inviting individuals from the broadcasting industry who understood and displayed from their own actions the importance of the First Amendment and comment on the state of its health – based upon the premise ‘use it or lose it.'” Since then, a diverse roster of industry players, who have in their own way challenged the establishment, have delivered their versions of this important address including Al Franken, Michael Medved, Alan Colmes, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Jerry Springer, Neal Boortz, Jim Bohannon and many more. This year, the editorial board invited Michael Smerconish, who recently walked away from his daily on-air job with CBS O&O WPHT, Philadelphia and his own syndicated network of approximately 80 affiliates to take a position as host of a show on the SiriusXM political channel, to deliver the address. According to Harrison, “Smerconish, a moderate conservative, was quite outspoken in his protest against the extreme left-versus-right polarity presently manifested in the stationality of most AM/FM news/talk stations and opted for the ideological freedom provided by his new satellite platform. Standing up to the conventional wisdom and practices of one’s own industry can be even more challenging and bold a stance for a talk show host to take than protesting the government. He was an apt choice to deliver the address this year and he did a great job.” Smerconish began the speech by recounting a media experience he had while still a teenager. Pink Floyd’s legendary “The Wall” LP was released when he was a senior in high school. The band was reluctant to tour in support of the double-album, but as part of its record deal, Pink Floyd was obligated to do a certain number of dates. “I was able to see them and was the envy of my friends,” commented Smerconish, who at the time, was the editor of The Chatterbox, his high school newspaper. “When I came home from the concert, I decided to write a review of ‘The Wall.’” Speculating what the “wall” was and what it symbolized, Smerconish recounted it could have been a prison wall or a wall around a person seeking isolation. When his review came out, he was summoned to the principal’s office. “The principal said he was disappointed that I had written the review and requested a retraction, not because of anything in particular that I had written, but because I had addressed the subject at all,” Smerconish explained. “He wanted me to do a follow up and be critical of the group’s music.” The then 17-year-old Smerconish (who went on to become an attorney) was “only superficially familiar” with the First Amendment. “I doubt that I could have defined ‘censorship’ or ‘prior restraint,’ but I knew enough that something he was asking of me just was not right,” he recollected. “I weighed his request and I did not do it. More than 30 years later, I spend all of my time talking about such dilemmas, speaking my mind, and rendering judgments about matters of public controversy – only now – I do so with profound appreciation for the source of our freedom. Establishing a government framework for the weighty subjects of religion, speech, assembly, and petition is exactly what was accomplished in 1791 when the First Amendment and the entire Bill of Rights were adopted.” Of added significance is the fact that, as Smerconish mentioned, it was done in just 45 words and in a manner that would be relevant for 222 years and counting. “It is so simple and yet so prescient,” he commented. “This guidepost was written two centuries before the advent of the internet.” The succinct way in which Smerconish assessed the state of the First Amendment was “resilient.” To view a video of Michael Smerconish’s entire speech, please click here.
Erica Farber: “There’s Nothing We Can’t Do Anymore!” Brimming with optimism, Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) CEO/president Erica Farber tells TalkersTV, “For the first time in the history of radio, we are integrated marketers.” In an interview conducted at the recent Talkers New York 2013 convention (6/6) by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, Farber explains how radio can not only offer commercials on our broadcast signals but also video, special events and a variety of methods of exposure on our digital platforms as well. Farber praises what she describes as “great energy” in the radio business and says that those of us who are in radio are here because “we love it” and although we are facing obvious challenges, there are also great opportunities. When asked to define her role at the RAB as well as the organization’s role she states, “We are advocates of the industry to anyone who will listen – advertisers, agencies, broadcasters, and consumer media.” She strongly believes that far more people are listening to radio than detractors of the medium would have you believe. To see a video of the entire interview with Erica Farber, please click here.
TALKERS Magazine Building Bridge Between American and Chinese Radio. At the same time President Barack Obama was meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week, another diplomatic meeting between the two nations was taking place at United Nations headquarters on Manhattan’s East Side (6/7). Broadcasters from China Radio International (CRI), the state-owned-and-operated radio station/network of the People’s Republic of China participated in the seventh annual “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” a cultural initiative presented by TALKERS magazine and Talk Radio News Service in association with the United Nations Foundation. This was the first time a delegation of Chinese broadcasters participated in this event. Pictured (above, left) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison being interviewed by the delegation for broadcast on CRI answering questions about how talk radio in America operates and what differences exist between the culture of broadcasting in both countries. When asked what he hopes can be achieved by the meeting that was taking place that day between the presidents of the two nations Harrison stated, “I hope good things come from it, but I have learned through years of experience not to put too much stock in the words and actions of ANY politicians, regardless of what country they represent. I believe, however, in the PEOPLE of different countries as evidenced by the ‘love fest’ taking place right here, right now, between your broadcasters and ours. Radio is first and foremost a medium to unite people. May today be just the beginning in our quest to unite the people of our great countries on the basis of mutual respect and common human interests. If we do that, perhaps the politicians will have no choice other than to be reasonable.” According to Harrison, “This was one of the most exciting conversations I have ever had in my 45 year career in broadcasting. The radio folks from China seemed absolutely fascinated by how different the business is here – especially the American concept of free speech. However they were clearly quite worldly and educated to many aspects of American business and culture. I will always remember this wonderful meeting.” Li Ping, director general of CRI North America, told Harrison that she hopes “this will be the beginning of a long and productive relationship between Chinese and American radio broadcasters.” Pictured above, right (l-r) Xu Leiying, reporter, CRI; Josephine Cheng, president, Chinese Radio Network (CRI’s partner in New York); Harrison; Li Ping, director general, CRI North America; Dong Xiaole, reporter, CRI; and You Yu, reporter/assistant to director general, CRI, North America.
Longtime Albuquerque Personality Jim Villanucci Lands in Portland. After a not-so-amicable split from his 14-year home at Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque, talk show host Jim Villanucci will take over the late morning slot at Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland “FM News 101” beginning June 24. Villanucci will fill the slot currently held by Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck show. Villanucci was a huge ratings-getter for KKOB over the course of his stay there in afternoon drive and now brings his broad talk host skills to the Pacific Northwest leading into market icon Lars Larson who hosts the early afternoon show. The move reunites Villanucci with market manager Milt McConnell with whom he worked in Albuquerque.
Yahoo! Sports Radio Podcasts to Be Featured on PodcastOne. The Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne and Gow Broadcasting, operator of Yahoo! Sports Radio in partnership with Yahoo! Sports, announce a multi-year deal to make Yahoo! Sports Radio podcasts available to listeners for free on PodcastOne.com and via the PodcastOne mobile app. Additionally, Yahoo! Sports Radio Network podcasts will be represented for advertising sales by Pattiz’s Launchpad Digital Media. PodcastOne/Launchpad Digital Media chief financial officer, Dan Yukelson states, “As ‘radio’ continues to be redefined as ‘audio,’ the sports-talk format has never been more popular. Yahoo! Sports Radio is a leader in on-demand sports content and we are looking forward to ushering sports talk into the digital age together. Along with our current PodcastOne lineup of sports/talk programming such as category leaders Steve Austin and Ross Tucker, the addition of Yahoo! Sports Radio will further strengthen our platform and reach.” Yahoo! Sports Radio podcasts now available on PodcastOne and represented exclusively by Launchpad Digital Media include Bryan Benway, Terry Ford, Dylan Gwinn, Rick Horrow, Travis Rogers, Pat Forde, Dan Wetzel, Geoff Ketchum, Doug Farrar, Steve Czaban, “Calling All Sports with Marty Tirrell and Bob Ryan,” “The War Room with John Harris” and the “Mouthpiece Boxing Podcast.”
Clear Channel’s KGME, Phoenix Re-Brands as Fox Sports 910 Phoenix; Adds Local Midday Show. Clear Channel’s Phoenix sports talk outlet KGME announces it has re-branded as “Fox Sports 910 Phoenix,” leaving behind the old “Xtra Sports” brand. The station also adds a new live and local midday show called “The Freaks with Kenny & Crash,” featuring hosts Kenny Sargent and Crash Gladys that airs from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm beginning today (6/12). Program director Neil Larrimore states, “This programming change will create a better experience for sports talk radio listeners in Phoenix. ‘Fox Sports Radio 910 Phoenix’ and the addition of ‘Kenny & Crash’ will provide listeners with phenomenal sports talk programming with a rock ‘n’ roll attitude and the best conversations in the Valley.”
Kelly Kibler Is Promoted to SVP of Operations for CC’s Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio Markets. Moving up from her most recent post as the company’s market president in Dallas, Kelly Kibler is named senior vice president of operations, effective immediately. In her new role with the company, she’ll oversee the Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio markets and will report to Tom Schurr, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment‘s president of operations — major markets. Kibler has been with CC for more than 16 years, holding a variety of leadership and sales positions in the Dallas, San Diego and Las Vegas markets. Schurr states, “Kelly’s strong performance and high level of achievement make her the perfect choice to oversee and lead our Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio markets. Her track record is one of continuous success with the company.”
AdLarge Promotes Don Wachsmith to Chief Revenue Officer, Radio Sales. AdLarge Media reports that EVP, radio sales Don Wachsmith is promoted to chief revenue officer, radio sales for the company. AdLarge Media CEO and co-founder Gary Schonfeld states, “Don has done an incredible job of exceeding revenue goals, two years in a row. His client relationships and ability to develop targeted national radio advertising packages have dramatically increased sales results for AdLarge.” AdLarge president and co-founder Cathy Csukas adds, “With Don’s leadership, Adlarge has already surpassed 2012 results and achieved exceptional growth in 2013. This is a well-deserved promotion for Don and recognition for his contribution to our success.” Wachsmith states, “The past two years at AdLarge have been a wonderfully rewarding experience. As AdLarge continues to expand partnerships with content providers, I look forward to delivering targeted branding experiences for our national advertising clients.” Wachsmith joined AdLarge in 2011. Prior to that, Wachsmith was executive vice president, sales, at Dial Global Media.
Arbitron Announces ‘Model-Ready’ PPM Data Available in GfK MRI’s Granularity Portal. Arbitron Inc. reports that Model-Ready Radio data is now available in media and consumer research firm GfK MRI‘s Granularity Portal. The company states that “the model-ready radio ratings data is linked with Media Monitors commercial airplay data to enable advertisers to get a better read on radio’s contribution to marketing and sales results. Its presence in the Granularity portal is designed to boost radio’s presence in marketing mix models and make it easier, faster and less error prone to use for advertisers, agencies and modelers.” The model-ready data is now available in Granularity to all subscribers of the new data set. It had previously been available in a beta version for a limited number of trial users, which was announced in October 2011. Arbitron also states, “A series of case studies demonstrated that the model-ready Arbitron PPM Radio Ratings Data can help improve the statistical reliability of marketing mix models and provide advertisers with a better understanding of radio’s ability to drive marketing ROI. The data is based on PPM radio ratings which is linked to commercial occurrence data from Media Monitors for the specific date, quarter-hour, and station on which each commercial ran.”
KKLA, Los Angeles Names Frank Sontag PM Drive Host. The untimely death of talk show host Frank Pastore after a motorcycle accident in November of 2012 left Salem Communications’ Christian talk station KKLA, Los Angeles seeking a new afternoon drive host. Now, the company announces Frank Sontag takes over the program that airs from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm. Program director Chuck Tyler says, “We are excited about having Frank Sontag join our lineup in the critical afternoon drive position. Frank is a true veteran of Los Angeles radio having worked at KLOS-FM for 27 years.” Sontag served as news director, disc jockey and was part of the popular Mark and Brian program. During that time he also hosted his own talk radio show – “The Impact Program” – for 21 years.
ABC News Radio Recognized with Three Edward R. Murrow Awards. The national Edward R. Murrow Awards have been announced by the Radio Television Digital News Association and ABC News Radio is recognized with awards in three categories. ABC won Best Breaking News Coverage for its handling of the Newtown, Connecticut school massacre; Best Continuing Coverage for its work reporting on Hurricane Sandy; and Best News Series for its The 2012 Campaign and Election: Your Choice Your Vote.” You can hear the winning entries here.
Glenn Beck Promotes New Novel on SiriusXM’s‘Author Confidential.’ Talk media superstar Glenn Beck (l) is the featured guest on this weekend’s edition of SiriusXM’s “Author Confidential” as he talks with SiriusXM Patriot Channel host Mike Slater (r) about his new novel The Eye of Moloch (Threshold Editions 2013). The book is the follow-up to his previous New York Times bestseller The Overton Window and incorporates themes of tyranny, freedom, high-tech surveillance and more. The program premieres on Saturday, June 15 at 10:00 am on the Patriot Channel.
Gerard Media Purchases Talk WHFB, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph, Michigan. Gerard Media owns news/talk WIMS, Michigan City, Indiana and will add 5,000-watt class D AM WHFB, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph, Michigan to its portfolio for $175,000. The seller is WHFB Broadcast Associates.
WRKO, Boston Holds Live Town Hall Broadcast with Former U.S. Senator Scott Brown. WRKO, Boston morning drive host Jeff Kuhner will take part in a live broadcast town hall meeting at Bentley University on Thursday, June 20 at 7:00 pm with former U.S. Senator Scott Brown. The station says Kuhner and Brown will discuss topical political issues, including National Security privacy issue, the IRS scandal, the Benghazi attack and the Senate special election. The program will end with an open session for audience questions and will be moderated by June Knight.
Alleged State Department Cover-Up, Immigration Legislation, NSA Data Collection Program, Severe Weather ‘Derecho’ Threat, and Plan B Pill Policy Among top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/11). Allegations of a State Department cover-up of illegal activities including prostitution and drug abuse among staffers abroad; immigration legislation making its way through Congress; the NSA data collection program and the revealing of secrets by Edward Snowden; the threat of a dangerous weather system possibly forming a “derecho” that could affect the eastern half of the country; and the controversy over the Obama Administration’s policy on the Plan B pill were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
November PPMs Generally Good to Talk Radio. You can call it the “election bounce” if you like but some of the news/talk stations that did well in Arbitron’s November 2012 PPMs were ramping up in October and before. Plus, the fall has traditionally been a good ratings period for news/talk whether there’s an election or not. Of course, Hurricane Sandy played a major factor for stations in the New York and Middlesex-Somerset-Union markets. Some of the stations worth noting include CBS Radio’s New York all newsers WCBS and WINS which jumped from a 3.8 to a 5.3 and a 4.0 to a 4.8, respectively. Clear Channel’s Los Angeles talk juggernaut KFI continues to thrive inching up to a 5.3 from a 5.1 the month prior. Cumulus Media’s Chicago news/talker WLS bounced back up to a 4.1 after posting a 3.7 in October. Likewise in Dallas-Fort Worth for Cumulus as WBAP-AM/FM pops up a half share to a 3.9. Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston rose from a 3.4 in October to a 4.1 in November. In Washington, DC Cumulus’ WMAL-AM/FM jumped from a 3.4 to a 4.2. In Philadelphia, Merlin Media’s WWIQ hopped from 2.7 in October to a 3.6 in November. Cox Media’s WSB, Atlanta – which has been maintaining healthy numbers in the PPM for some time – vaults from a 6.8 to an 8.3 this month. Cumulus’ Detroit talker WJR rose more than a full share from a 4.8 to a 5.9. Public radio outlet KUOW, Seattle claimed the top spot in the November PPMs with a 5.5 share. Clear Channel’s KFYI, Phoenix went up a full share from a 4.9 to a 5.9. Mixed results in Baltimore as Hearst’s WBAL fell from a 5.7 to a 5.0 while WCBM rose from a 3.0 to a 3.8 share. Good news for pubcaster KOPB, Portland which went from a 5.3 to a 6.2 while Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL jumped from a 4.8 to a 5.5 share. Clear Channel’s WPGB, Pittsburgh leaped a full share from a 6.9 to a 7.9 share while its Sacramento sister KFBK also enjoyed a significant rise from a 5.6 to a 6.8 share. In the New Jersey market of Middlesex-Somerset-Union, Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 (WKXW, Trenton) posted an outstanding 8.6 – up from a 6.2 in October – with help, no doubt, from Hurricane Sandy. TALKERS’ sister publication RadioInfo has all the PPM data including Mike Kinosian’s analysis of the numbers. You can find that here.
Laura Ingraham Back on Radio “Soon.” That’s what the author, pundit and talk show host told Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly. During one of Laura Ingraham’s regular appearances on Fox News Channel with O’Reilly, he questioned her status in the talk radio world and she told him she will be back on the radio with another syndicator (she left Talk Radio Network at the end of her contract on Tuesday) very soon. “I’m close to signing a new deal. I’m very, very close. But I’ll be back on the air probably in the next several days.” Ingraham told O’Reilly she informed TRN she would be “terminating the deal” months ago and that it was time to move on.
Talk Host Tom Becka to Exit KRWK, Fargo “101.9 Talk FM.” Talk radio pro Tom Becka has been serving as program director and talk show host at KRWK, Fargo since it flipped from rock to talk in March of this year. Becka tells the Fargo Forum he’s returning to Omaha where he’s worked for years and has family. Becka says any notion his departure has anything to do with the performance of the new format is not correct. “The station has grown every month. My experience with Radio Fargo-Moorhead was great and I’m proud of what we accomplished here in a short time. To say I’m leaving because of ratings would be erroneous.” Radio Fargo-Moorhead is selling its cluster of stations to Midwest Family Communications. The FCC has approved the license transfers but according to one source, the actual takeover may not happen until the spring.
Todd Schnitt Show to Leave Flagship WFLA, Tampa. Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt Tweets that his program – airing live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm – will be off longtime flagship WFLA, Tampa after the December 18 program. Schnitt further Tweets that the national syndication continues and is expanding under syndicator Compass. No word what CC has in mind for afternoons at WFLA. Currently, it delay-broadcasts Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm but may have plans to move Hannity to the live PM drive slot.
Jim Isabella Named Evening Host at WNIR, Akron. Journalist Jim Isabella has been doing fill-in work for WNIR for the past two years. He now takes over the evening show formerly hosted by the late Tom Erickson who died on November 3 after a long illness. Isabella most recently worked for the Akron Beacon Journal. Station owners Bob and Bill Klaus note in a press release that Isabella, who was a frequent caller to the show hosted by the late Howie Chizek who passed away suddenly in June, made them more aware of his talents during his fill-in time in addition to receiving positive response from the station’s listeners.
Odds & Sods. Watch for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean from the network’s “America Now with Andy Dean” on Fox News Channel’s “America’s News HQ” this Sunday at 4:45 pm ET as he sits in a panel discussing the latest headlines in news and politics…..SiriusXM brings the Major League Baseball winter meetings to listeners via its MLB Network Radio and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio channels. The meetings take place in Nashville December 2 through 6 and the satcaster will have front office experts Jim Bowden, Jim Duquette and Steve Phillips there hosting various programs with other special expert guests including former pitcher Jeff Nelson.
Bubba the Love Sponge Offers Reward for Arrest of Animal Abuser. After hearing about the case of a dog found in the Bradenton, Florida area that had been attacked by someone with an axe, radio star Bubba the Love Sponge put up $1,000 of his own cash on top of the $500 being offered by the Animal Network for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible. After hearing about the case, Tampa-area philanthropist Gary Kompothecras of the legal and medical referral service 1-800-ASK-GARY added another $1,000 to the reward to make the total $2,500. Bubba reports to TALKERS that the dog, named Axel, is recovering from his injuries and will be available for adoption once he is healthy again.
Los Angeles Broadcaster David Courtney Dies at 56. The Southern California radio community is mourning the loss of omnipresent “big voice” David Courtney, who passed away on Thursday, November 29. Many considered Courtney the voice of Los Angeles sports, since for the past 23 years, he was the public address announcer of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. He performed similar duties for MLB’s Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for 18 years and NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers since October 2008. Greater Los Angeles area radio listeners knew him for his frequent traffic and sports updates as part of the Total Traffic Network. Over the last 20 years, Courtney was heard on a number of major Los Angeles radio outlets including KABC and KSPN, as well as KOLA in the Inland Empire. His other radio background included stints at Houston’s KULF as executive producer of sports programming and that market’s KTRH, where he was weekend news anchor before landing a nightly, three-hour news/talk program. New York City-born Courtney moved to Los Angeles in 1963 when his father, Alan, became president of MGM Television. According to Courtney’s Twitter feed, he needed to miss Wednesday night’s Clippers game against Minnesota owing to the fact he was in the hospital awaiting an angiogram. The 56-year-old Courtney is survived by his wife, Janet Fisher-Courtney.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle Remains Top Talk Radio Topic for Second Straight Week. The struggle between the Obama administration and GOP congressmen to deal with impending tax hikes and spending cuts was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Benghazi investigation tied with the Susan Rice-GOP leaders meetings. Following at #3 was the Israel-Gaza tensions with the clean-up of Hurricane Sandy at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
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.
Dave Ramsey Joins the iHeartRadio Platform. Nationally syndicated personal finance talk radio host Dave Ramsey becomes part of the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio digital platform beginning today becoming the first independently syndicated personality channel available on the platform. Ramsey’s show won’t air live though. The service will provide fans 24/7 access to the previous day’s content of the Dave Ramsey show and it will be updated daily on weekdays at 5:00 pm ET. Ramsey VP of broadcast Brian Mayfield states, “We are very proud of what the Dave Ramsey show has achieved with the help of our 500-plus existing radio affiliates. This new partnership with iHeartRadio provides the perfect platform to expose Dave’s straight talk on life and money to a new audience that now consumes media through mobile and online applications.”
Entercom Reports Q2 Revenue Flat. The second quarter of 2012 saw revenue flat at $104.6 million compared to the same quarter a year ago for Entercom. But the reduction in expenses of 5% produced a 10% rise in station operating income.
Entercom’s WEEI to Split AM and FM Signals; AM to Become ESPN Outlet. In a story from the Boston Globe, Entercom’s Boston sports talk brand WEEI will soon split the current simulcast of the radio station and make the 850 AM signal a full-time ESPN Radio outlet. WEEI has had a relationship with ESPN Radio for almost three years now with the station airing some ESPN programming and ESPN personalities such as Buster Olney making appearances on WEEI programs. It’s expected the regular national lineup of ESPN Radio shows will air on the signal when the split takes place in the early fall.
Mike Costa to Co-Host PM Drive at Xtra Sports 1360 in San Diego. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s San Diego cluster moves Mike Costa from his position as host of “The Show “ on rock KIOZ to co-host of the PM drive show on sports talk KLSD – Xtra Sports 1360 effective today. Costa is partnered up with Judson Richards for the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. Costa, who’s been a sideline reporter for San Diego Chargers football for radio broadcasts, will continue in that role.
Award-Winning Journalist. WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta assistant program director Condace Pressley (c) accepts the 2012 Pioneer Journalist Award from actor Malcolm Jamal Warner (l) and Atlanta Association of Black Journalists president Tenisha Bell of CNN (r). Pressley received the honor during the 30th Pioneer Black Journalists Awards on July 29. The awards ceremony is a presentation of the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists. Tenisha Bell says of Pressley, “Condace has spent her career mentoring and supporting young journalists who aspire to walk in her footsteps. She has always been an avid supporter of AABJ and its mission and I am thrilled that our membership has chosen her for this well-deserved award.”
Half-Hour Weekend Talk Show’s Success Inspires Music Show Syndicator to Eyeball More Spoken Word Offerings. Los Angeles-based MannGroup Radio, headed by radio vet and co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, Ed Mann, has avoided talk radio for almost the entire 14 years of its existence as an independent syndicator of such fare as GrooveWorx Imaging and music libraries, CPR consulting with Paige Nienaber, She Prep with Beth Bacall and other products geared to music stations. In early 2011, MG took on the marketing of a short 30 minute-per-weekend program for talk stations called “Issues Today with Bob Gourley,” the success of which has obviously meant a great deal to Mann. The fast-paced half hour, hosted by veteran broadcaster and Southern California-based journalist Bob Gourley, chronicles topical subjects from health to the economy. It began at KPPC where Gourley served as public affairs director. In a recent extremely candid conversation with the TALKERS editors, Mann reveals, “Extreme polarized talk has always left a sour taste in my mouth, particularly the very far right and left issues that never resolve on a broadcast forum, yet, as an avid listener of talk radio, I’ve always been starved for an intelligent, entertaining approach to issues for the day. As we’ve taken on this relatively small but meaningful program, Bob Gourley’s ‘Issues Today,’ and watched how it’s grown and how the affiliates and listeners embrace it, I’m more encouraged than ever to hear from producers, stations and hosts in the hope of developing and marketing other like-minded programs for national distribution that can cut a swath in talk radio without sitting on either side of the seesaw and sticking their tongues out at each other. Some have already come my way, and I sense a shift in the marketplace. Our company is jazzed at the notion of collaborating with producers, hosts and radio stations who can see the need on the listener level for level-headed broadcasting.” Independent hosts and producers can contact Mann at 310-346-4991 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fourth Station Joins the “Sports Animal Network.” KITO, Vinita, Oklahoma drops country and becomes the fourth station to join Oklahoma’s “Sports Animal Network.” The station is airing content from the Tulsa version of the network from KYAL, Muskogee/Tulsa. The programming includes shows from Cumulus Media’s WWLS, Oklahoma City as well as Yahoo! Sports Radio. The station will also broadcast Oklahoma University, Oklahoma State University and Tulsa football.
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel’s WHAM and WHTK, Rochester will be the local radio home of the 95th PGA Championship to be played next summer – August 5 – 11, 2013 – at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester…..The NFL’s San Francisco 49ers will air on heritage news/talk KGO, San Francisco this season after airing on Cumulus Media’s sports KNBR and rock KSAN…..Stephen Giuttari becomes the operations manager for Townsquare Media’s Albany cluster that includes sports talk WTMM…..WXKS, Boston – Talk 1200 – morning drive host Jeff Katz is subbing for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated personality Todd Schnitt today and Friday…..Account manager Cody Hicks announces his exit from Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk 790 The Zone — WQXI, Atlanta — where he worked his way up from promotions assistant to marketing director to account manager in eight years…..WFED, Washington morning drive host Francis Rose will be a regular substitute for Cumulus Media Networks’ John Batchelor live from New York once per month. Rose will also be a stand by fill-in host as needed for the program working from Cumulus’ studios at WMAL, Washington…..The NBA’s Portland Trailblazers jump across town as the team’s new radio flagship is Clear Channel’s KEX, Portland. Games had been heard on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL for the past 12 seasons.
Katz and West Catch Up. Old friends Jeff Katz, host of the morning drive show at Clear Channel’s Talk 1200 – WXKS, Boston – and Congressman Alan West, representing Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, pose for a photo on a recent Sunday during which the two participated in a series of speaking events around the Greater Boston area. Katz got to know West while the congressman was running for office and Katz was working at South Florida talk station WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale.
Glenn Beck Draws Crowd to Cowboys Stadium for Live Event. Estimates of the crowd of fans that attended the final part of Glenn Beck’s three-day “Restoring Love” week went as high as 65,000 for Saturday’s Cowboys Stadium gathering. The weeklong program consisted of the conservative conference FreePAC, an evening of religious speakers at Under God: Indivisible, and the Day of Service where attendees “went out into the Dallas- Ft. Worth area to serve their fellow man.” The Saturday event consisted of “music, history and inspiration that celebrated the service done over the week as well as what you can do to take these lessons back to your community in order to restore America,” according to Beck’s website. Beck is pictured here on the stage set up at mid-field. The event was not without its critics as the infamous Westboro Baptist Church protested outside the stadium brandishing signs that read, “God Hates America,” “God Hates Your Idols,” and “America Is Doomed.” (Image from KTVT-TV, Dallas)
NFL Club Prevents CBS Radio Station from Airing Redskins’ Robert Griffin III Press Conference. The Washington Post reports Daniel Snyder-owned Red Zebra Broadcasting – owner of sports WTEM, Washington, the radio flagship of Washington Redskins football (Snyder also owns the team) – nixed competitor WJFK, Washington’s plans to air the first live press conference of Redskins first round draft pick quarterback Robert Griffin III. The move does not violate NFL rules. As long as WJFK is allowed to cover the event, flagship stations can protect the live airing of such press conferences. The Post’s Dan Steinberg writes that numerous other NFL clubs he contacted for the story said the blackout on WJFK’s live coverage was not in keeping with what they’ve done over the years and noted that pre-season press is greatly desired by NFL clubs. Redskins senior VP of communications Tony Wyllie tells the Post he was protecting their broadcast partners and the fact that WTEM and the Redskins are owned by the same organization doesn’t come into play. WJFK program director Chris Kinard tells the paper, “I’ve never heard of it being done before, here or anywhere else. I don’t understand why they would want to do it. Well, actually, I understand exactly why — it’s because they own our competition. They own 980. I think listeners can make up their own minds about the relationship between the radio station and the team, if they’re going to make these kinds of decisions about news coverage. I think that calls into question the entire relationship.”
Premiere Networks Teams with Alpha Broadcasting to Bring Clyde Lewis into National Syndication. The Portland, Oregon-based evening talk host discusses “all matters of the paranormal, UFOs and conspiracies, and shares his passionate and knowledgeable approach to news, current events and politics” from Alpha Broadcasting’s FM News 101 KXL. “Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis” airs live from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET and goes into national syndication August 27. Lewis states, “I feel that coming on with Premiere Networks is like winning the lottery. I’m joining a company where some of my inspirations are employed, like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Nikki Sixx, and several others. This opportunity allows the show to expand worldwide. I feel a responsibility to push ‘Ground Zero’ to a whole new level. If you think you’ve heard fireworks on the show before, just wait – with the help of Premiere, ‘Ground Zero’ is now ready to drop the atom bomb.”
Five Easy Fixes to Improve Your PPM Numbers. Sabo Media chairman Walter Sabo takes the position that Arbitron’s Portable People Meter is not a bad measurement system for talk-formatted stations. “You’ve heard the horror stories about talk stations losing a third of their audience when measured by PPM. There are talk stations that have gone up in PPM and other formats have benefitted from the new measurement technique.” Sabo provides some advice for easy-to-implement tweaks to talk radio programming to score better in the PPM markets. Read Walter’s piece here.
“Free Talk Live” Hosts Produce Online Film. Titled, “Derrick J’s Victimless Crime Spree,” the 88-minute film available on YouTube and Torrent features “Free Talk Live” co-host Derrick J in what FTL host and executive producer Ian Freeman calls “Derrick J Freeman’s exciting first year of activism in Keene, New Hampshire.” Ian Freeman states, “He was arrested multiple times for ‘crimes’ with no victim – including throwing a quiet dance party, attempting to smoke cannabis, going to court, and riding a bike. It was all caught on video and made for a very entertaining documentary!” Learn more about the film here.