TALKERS Posts 2014 Heavy Hundred. The 2014 installment of one of TALKERS magazine’s most popular and, perhaps, controversial annual features – “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – debuted on March 11. Also known as “The Heavy Hundred,” the ranked listing of 100 hosts and talent teams from around the country is based on a number of both quantitative and qualitative criteria and is determined by collective analysis of the TALKERS editorial board with input from a wide variety of industry leaders. It includes local and national hosts from an array of genres falling under the umbrella of “general” talk or “news/talk” radio covering politics, health, finance, relationships, consumer electronics, popular culture and a variety of specialties. (TALKERS launched a special and completely separate annual “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk” two years ago.) Hosts on the list are selected from those working at the time of its publication on platforms that include commercial and public AM/FM radio as well as satellite radio (internet-only talk hosts are ranked by TALKERS in an annual feature titled “The Frontier Fifty”). According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It is no secret that economic restraints facing the industry these past few years have contributed to shrinking the number of individuals working on the air across the nation. Although the 2014 edition of the Heavy Hundred will, of course, include many familiar names, the need for new blood, fresh voices and potential up-and-comers has never been greater. Readers will find this year’s roster will feature a number of new names and first-timers, which is quite exciting!” To view the entire 2014 Heavy Hundred, please click here.
‘Game’ Changes in San Francisco. KGMZ “95.7 The Game” is modifying its weekday on-air lineup. Among the adjustments at the Entercom-owned San Francisco Bay Area sports outlet are the importing of former cross-town KNBR talent Damon Bruce to afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and shifting current PM drivers Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend (below left, respectively) to mornings, replacing “The Rise Guys” — Whitey Gleason, Mark Kriedler and Dan Dibley. Entercom San Francisco vice president and market manager Steve DiNardo states, “This is a great day for our station and for Bay Area sports fans. For years, Damon Bruce has been one of the strongest, most opinionated, and passionate personalities in Bay Area sports. He understands what it takes to compete and win in this market. Just as exciting is moving Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend to morning drive. In just 14 months, they have developed strong chemistry and a loyal following. We feel like we have the perfect team in the perfect time slot to grow ‘The Game.'” According to Bruce, “The Bay Area has a one-of-a-kind sports scene, one of the hottest and most exciting in the country today. Bay Area fans are some of the most passionate fans in the country. I can’t wait to start and kick off a new drive-time experience for Bay Area sports fans.” Bruce was with KNBR from 1998 – 2000, and returned in 2005. He gained national exposure hosting “Sports Overnight America,” before leaving to become a SportsCenter anchor on ESPN Radio. Bruce has filled in for Jim Rome and has hosted SportsCenter for ESPN International. His other credits include fill-in host on Fox Sports Radio; Sporting News Radio; CBS Sports Network; and hosting pre and post-game shows for the San Francisco Giants and San Francisco 49ers. The revised KGMZ lineup – which begins in just over two weeks (3/31) – will include “Bucher and Towny” with Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Haberman & Middlekauff (10:00 am -12:00 noon); “The Wheelhouse” with John Lund & Greg Papa (noon – 3:00 pm); and “The Damon Bruce Show” (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm).
Saga’s Ed Christian “Hoping for a Little Better” in Q4. The 2013 fourth quarter and full year fiscal reports for Saga Communications saw the company’s net operating revenue dip 5% in Q4 of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012. But gross revenue increased 3.8% during the quarter excluding political. For the full year, the company’s gross revenue was up 3.3% (ex-political). In a conference call with investment analysts, Saga CEO Ed Christian stated, “I was hoping for a little better in Q4, we can always do a little more, we can always do a little better but I’m not disappointed. We’re just pleased with the results.” Christian said it’s hard not to put some blame on the winter weather for the economic sluggishness. “Saga operates in a lot of mid-America markets and a lot in New England and I really don’t have to tell you what the last four months have been like. In those markets it’s just outright miserable…I was talking with one of our managers the other day and he said people are irritable and it’s gloomy and people are lethargic.”
Beasley Declares Cash Dividend. The company’s board of directors is announcing the company is declaring a quarterly cash dividend of $0.045 per share of its Class A and Class B common stock. The dividend is payable on April 10, 2014, to shareholders of record on March 31, 2014.
KEX, Portland Personality Accused of Assault. Morning show personality Paul Linnman – host at Clear Channel’s news/talk KEX, Portland – is being accused by a co-worker of assault after he allegedly groped her buttocks and licked his lips as he stared at her breasts. Kailee Kinney is bringing the suit against Clear Channel and Linnman in Multnomah County Court. Kinney is a producer and account executive at CC Portland. She’s seeking $325,000 in damages. The complaint alleges Linnman “came up behind plaintiff and groped her buttocks, a sexually intimate part of her body. Linnman used an open palm to slap Plaintiff’s buttocks and then grabbed and squeezed plaintiff’s buttocks.” It further alleges that “Linnman approached plaintiff for a second time, stating, ‘I should apologize but that black dress…you look great in that black dress,” during which he “licked his lips and stared at Plaintiff’s breasts as he made this comment to plaintiff.”
Salem, Oregon Talk Host Suspends Show After Equal Time Complaint. In the Salem, Oregon market, Willamette Broadcasting employee Bill Post has suspended his daily talk show on KYKN due to his campaign for state representative and a complaint from a primary opponent about violation of equal time rules. Post announced his campaign for the seat in December. Last month, Barbara Jensen announced her bid for the seat but Post continued to work on the air. Jensen complains that Post and the station have been violating FCC rules and election laws but also asserts Post has violated other campaign laws but did not specify what they are. In a story in the Statesman Journal, Post says the station was prepared for Jensen’s complaint and that he believes the station and his campaign manager have operated within the law. Jensen’s complaint implies that once Post worked on air after opponents joined the race, the station must then provide equal time.
Journal Communications Shows Off New Brand. The parent company of radio and TV station firm Journal Broadcast Group unveils a new company brand with three cohesive new logos representing Journal Communications and its two major business segments, the Broadcast Group and Journal Publishing. As part of the new brand, the company also launched a fully redesigned corporate website at www.journalcommunications.com. Journal Communications chairman and CEO Steven J. Smith comments, “When we look at our company, we see quality, focus and effective teams in our local markets – all part of a business that is moving forward. However, many people outside of Journal often have no idea that, in addition to their favorite local station or publication, we have a total of 13 television stations, 35 radio stations and a major daily newspaper with a variety of supporting local publications, all with complementary digital products. As such, we believe our new brand better represents our company to investors, employees and the public and positions us as a national media company with diverse brands united under a common identity.” The redesigned company website includes links to all of Journal’s digital products and Journal Broadcast Group live streaming sites, as well as a “What’s Trending Now” feature that highlights Journal’s most recent content across its Broadcast and Publishing websites.
Entercom Kansas City Takes Action Against Delinquent Client. It’s not unusual for radio stations to put a past-due account into collection but Entercom Kansas City is seeking a court’s assistance in getting more than $52,000 it claims it is owned by Vinson Mortgage Services Inc. In a story in the St. Louis Business Journal, Vinson apparently advertised on news/talk KMBZ, alternative KRBZ and rock KQRC. This is not the only action involving Vinson. St. Louis television station KMOV-TV is filing a suit claiming it is owned more than $68,000.
Odds & Sods. The recent FCC filing for Buckley Broadcasting’s sale of its Connecticut stations to Connoisseur Media announced last week shows the price is $7.9 million. The stations include classic hits WDRC-FM, Hartford; talk WDRC-AM, Hartford; WWCO, Waterbury; WSNG, Torrington; and WMMW, Meriden…..Talk radio pro Mark Wainwright is sitting in on Clear Channel’s WSYR, Syracuse for Joe Galuski on the morning program next week, March 17 – 21…..Alpha Broadcasting announces Jeremy Scott and Brian Perkins will be the radio announcers for the Arena Football League’s Portland Thunder when games air on the company’s KXTG, Portland “Sports Radio 750 The Game.” Scott serves as a reporter for sister news/talk KXL. Perkins is a reporter and air personality on KXTG…..XtreMEDIA nationally syndicated talk host Steve Deace is talking to New Englanders today as he sits in for Boston talk icon Howie Carr on Entercom‘s WRKO.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mystery, Winter Weather/Global Warming, Republican Wins Fla. Special Election, ObamaCare Criticism, CIA Monitoring of Senate Staffers/Snowden Video Appearance, and Obama vs. Putin/Ukraine-Crimea Tensions Among Top Stories Yesterday (3/11). The ongoing mystery concerning the whereabouts of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet; a new round of winter weather hits the East and renewed debate over the case for man-made global warming; Republican David Jolly defeats Democrat Alex Sink in Florida Congressional special election; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; Senator Diane Feinstein’s allegation the CIA monitored Senate staffers and Edward Snowden’s commentary on surveillance cases; and President Obama’s faceoff with Vladimir Putin and the case of Russia’s incursion into Crimea and Ukraine were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Ronn Owens Signs New Deal with KGO, San Francisco. The iconic Bay Area talk radio fixture begins his 38th year in the radio business after signing a two-year guaranteed deal with an option for a third year. Ronn Owens was reported by Bay Area media blogger Rich Lieberman to be on his way out at the Cumulus Media heritage talker back in the fall – a story TALKERS picked up on – but that did not happen and it appears Owens is likely to mark his 40th anniversary in the business at KGO in a couple of years. At a time when legendary personalities across the country are being ousted from their programs due to budget cuts and programming changes, it’s nice to see a figure of Owens’ magnitude sign up for a new tour of duty!
Boston Media Personalities Margery Eagan and Jim Braude Land at Pubcaster WGBH. Boston Herald columnist Margery Eagan and Boston TV and radio personality Jim Braude will begin hosting a daily 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm talk program on public radio outlet WGBH, Boston beginning February 25, almost two months after they exited Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston due to a format change. Eagan and Braude hosted mornings at WTKK for much of the 13 years they were at WTKK. The Boston Herald reports the current midday hosts at WGBH – Callie Crossley and Emily Rooney – will be featured on the new program as well.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai to Address AM Band at NAB Show in April. The National Association of Broadcasters announces FCC Commissioner Ajit V. Pai will lead a session on AM radio revitalization at the NAB Show in Las Vegas on Monday, April 8. The NAB states, “Broadcasters are exploring the challenges and opportunities related to revitalizing AM radio while continuing to provide the popular, local programming that millions of listeners rely on daily. This session, held within the Broadcast Management Conference, will address possible options for sustaining and enhancing AM radio as a unique entertainment medium. Commissioner Pai, who has expressed special interest in the future of AM radio, will moderate a panel of AM radio leaders, engineers and policy experts.”
Trevor Oliver Exits Premiere Networks. After 15 years with Premiere Networks, Trevor Oliver exits his SVP of operations position. Oliver tells TALKERS magazine he leaves the company on very good terms and that he’s looking forward to his next opportunity. Oliver, who joined Premiere in 1998, has an excellent reputation in the industry and TALKERS has no doubt he’ll put his numerous talents to use in the business somewhere very soon.
Talk Host Sam Malone to Return to Houston Airwaves (and Cablewaves!). Houston radio personality Sam Malone – most recently heard in the market on Dan Patrick-owned news/talk KSEV – will begin a new program on Phonoscope Cable and the show will be simulcast on a local talk radio station to be named later. The Houston Chronicle reports that Malone, who is serving as president of Phonoscope New Media, says the idea for a video and audio show grew out of his experience with Phonoscope. “This is where radio will be going in the future. We need to get the message to smartphones and iPads, not just car radios.” In addition to KSEV, Malone has also worked at music outlets KRBE and KHMX in Houston. He tells the Chronicle he’ll announce the radio station he’ll be on next week but says it’s a station he has not worked for in the past.
Former Congressman John Sweeney to Host Albany Talk Show. Four-term Republican Congressman John Sweeney begins a daily one-hour talk show on Capital Broadcasting’s WGDJ, Albany “Talk 1300.” Sweeney joined president and general manager Paul Vandenburgh on his morning program to announce he’ll begin the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon program on Monday, February 11. Sweeney says, “One of the things I miss about being in the public eye is my day-to-day interaction with the people.” Vandenburgh states, “John has consistently been a leader in the Capital District. Our goal from day one has been to provide a local product on a daily basis and John will be a marvelous addition.”
Dave Ramsey Knocks ‘em Dead in Knoxville. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey presented his “Building Your Legacy” event to a sold-out crowd in Knoxville recently. Ramsey talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence and worked with his daughter Rachel Cruze, who joined him on stage for the presentation. Ramsey teamed up with local affiliate WNOX-FM to promote this event. WNOX general manager Ed Brantley states, “Dave Ramsey’s ‘Building Your Legacy’ was a huge success not only for WNOX-FM and our sponsors but for the community. Dave’s up-close-and-personal approach captured the sold-out crowd.”
LA Talk Radio Celebrates 5th Anniversary. The Los Angeles-based internet talk radio station is celebrating its fifth year “on the air.” Founder Sam Hasson says, “LA Talk Radio has found its success in emerging radio talent in Los Angeles and the rest of the world. We now provide over 80 shows of quality programming, giving ambitious hosts a vocal platform where they can build their listening audience.” LA Talk Radio was born on February 4, 2008, as BBS Talk Radio launched in a “small but comfortable office” in a luxurious high-rise building in downtown Los Angeles. It wasn’t long before Hasson had three daily shows and six weekly shows and soon thereafter began broadcasting 24 hours a day.
KTRH and KPRC, Houston’s Matt Patrick Faces Off with Piers Morgan on Gun Issue. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment personality Matt Patrick (r) – whose programs air on KTRH, Houston in AM drive and on sister KPRC in afternoons – is pictured here at a live remote broadcast from Tactical Firearms in Houston. Patrick tells TALKERS magazine the remote was a “spirited and interactive show to a live audience of listeners.” Patrick’s program aired live before CNN personality and gun legislation advocate Piers Morgan (c) brought his television show to the same location later that evening to argue for the proposed ban on high volume semi-automatic weapons. “Piers Morgan Tonight” aired from Tactical Firearms after Morgan agreed to come and use the gun range and try to experience why Texans love their guns. Morgan agreed to appear on the final segment of Patrick’s program in front of a live audience.
KYKN, Salem, Oregon’s Bill Post Draws Crowd to Gun Rally. Willamette Broadcasting’s KYKN, Salem helped draw a crowd of some 3,000 to the Oregon State Capitol on January 19 for a rally dubbed, “Guns Across America.” A key speaker at the event was 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk host Bill Post (at the mic) who addressed the crowd about the gun legislation issue. The station reports that requests for autographs and photos with Post were overwhelming.
Deficit Reduction Debate; Obama Drone Killing Controversy; Gun Legislation Proposals; Chris Christie Weight Flap and Obama Care Costs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6). The debate in Washington over reducing the deficit via tax and spending cuts; President Obama’s insistence on the right to use drones to kill U.S. citizens; the move to enact new gun control legislation; the media flap over Governor Chris Christie’s weight; and the looming costs of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.