Tag: "Laura Ingraham"

Friday, July 18, 2014

| July 18, 2014

horowitzdrewHubbard Names Drew Horowitz President and COO.  Just a week after announcing that president and CEO Bruce Reese was stepping down from his role with the company, Hubbard Radio today announces that Drew Horowitz, executive vice president and chief operating officer, is named president and chief operating officer, effective immediately.  Ginny Morris remains chairman and chief executive officer.  She states, “For the past few years I have had the privilege to work with Drew and see first-hand what a giftedhubbardradio logo broadcaster he is.  Drew’s passion for the radio business and for the people with whom he works is evident in how he approaches every opportunity and every challenge.  I look forward to further partnering with him as we continue to move our business forward.”  Horowitz came over to Hubbard from Bonneville International in 2011 where he’d been EVP and COO since 1992.  Horowitz comments, “I am honored to have this wonderful opportunity to work more closely with Ginny and to be part of this extraordinary family-owned company.  I’m looking forward to continuing my work with the rest of the leadership team to further Hubbard Radio’s success across our seven nationwide markets.”

2014 NYC logo 150Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted.  Up Today:  Michael Harrison Moderates “Radio: The Big Picture” Panel.  Today (7/18) marks the fourth 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 the event’s powerful “Radio: The Big Picture” panel moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. The panel features an array of leading radio figures including Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Sam Kimball, CRO, Livestream; Tom Langmyer, VP/news/talk programming, Journal Broadcast GroupTom Leykis, CEO, The New Normal; Mike McVay, SVP, Cumulus Media; and Walter Sabo, CEO, Sabo Media.  As Michael Harrison’s series of “Big Picture” panels are known to do, this fast-paced, sometimes rollicking session cuts a broad swath across many of the universal topics of importance to radio broadcasters in general – including the future of the stick (AM/FM radio), the relationship between talk and music radio, the pros and cons of utilizing video as a component of digital radio, the evolving relationship between radio and newspapers, techniques for lowering the news/talk demos, overcoming the challenges of rating radio accurately in the digital era and much more.  To view “Radio: The Big Picture” please click here.  Coming Monday: “The State of Local Talk Radio” panel moderated by TALKERS GM of broadcast operations, David Bernstein and featuring Michael “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY (Rock 102), Springfield, MA; Jerry Crowley, VP/GM Salem Communications-New York; Lee Harris, morning anchor, 1010WINS, New York; McGraw Milhaven, morning host, KTRS, St. Louis; and Larry Young, morning host, WOLB, Baltimore.  The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.

chapmanjakePistons Radio Network Chooses Chapman to Be Executive Producer.  Five-year Orlando Magic radio network executive producer Jake Chapman departs the Sunshine State to handle similar responsibilities for the Detroit Pistons radio network and its Greater Media sports-formatted flagship WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1.”  WMGC program director Jason Dixon states, “We are thrilled to welcome Jake to the ‘Detroit Sports 105.1′ and Pistons radio network team.  His skill set and his experience working in the NBA made him a perfect fit to join us. Jake shares our vision to provide Pistons fans with unparalleled content and coverage of their team.” Palace Sports & Entertainment and Detroit Pistons executive vice president/chief marketing officer Charlie Metzger remarks, “We appreciate Jake’s ability to provide entertaining and informative year-round content for our fans; we look forward to his coverage of Detroit basketball.”  In addition to being responsible for day-to-day network operations, Chapman will host the team’s pre-game and post-game shows, as well as various other programming. He begins his new assignment in three weeks (8/6).

scott&br poster‘The Mighty 1090’ San Diego’s Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith Team with Fox Sports San Diego for TV Special.  The afternoon drive duo of Scott Kaplan (right) and Billy Ray Smith (left) – “Scott & BR,” on Broadcasting Company of the Americas-operated XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” is working with Fox Sports San Diego on a seven-part TV series that will begin airing on Tuesday, July 22.  The series is being filmed at the Fox Sports San Diego studios and will feature athletes and sports celebrities being interviewed by Kaplan and Smith as well as segments with other San Diego sports reporters. “The Mighty 1090” programming and operations manager Mike Shepard comments, “I am thrilled to partner with Fox Sports San Diego on this special series.  The exclusive ‘Scott & BR’ content created specifically for the network is an exciting venture that will bring San Diego sports fans something they’ve never had before.”

frischpatOdds & Sods.  Congratulations are in order for Pat Frisch, AM operations manager at Cumulus Media’s Albuquerque cluster, who this week is celebrating his 15th anniversary with the station group.  Frisch is ops manager for news/talk giant KKOB and sports talker KNML “610 The Sports Animal.”…..In celebration of its three-year anniversary, the Yahoo! Sports Radio is broadcasting live from Las Vegas beginning Monday, July 21.  Dubbed, “Super Week,” the network says the broadcasts will emanate “from Lagasse’s Stadium at the Palazzo Hotel and Casino with more than 80 hours of live programming packed with superstar guestsyahoosportsradiologo including Mike Tyson, Dana White, Stephen Curry and more.”  Hosts taking part in the Las Vegas broadcasts include: Steve Czaban, Travis Rodgers, Geoff Ketchum, John Granato & Sean Salisbury, Ken Thomson, and Peter Brown.  Yahoo! Sports Radio CEO David Gow states, “This is a great opportunity to spotlight our entire lineup.  We’re thrilled to be partnered with the Venetian and Palazzo and it’s truly an honor to broadcast from the magnificent Lagasse’s Stadium.”…..Entercom’s WWKB, Buffalo is the new flagship for University of Buffalo football and men’s basketball play-by-play.  The school’s games return to WWKB after being heard on Cumulus Media’s crosstown WHLD “Sports Radio 1270 The Fan.”

hayeshunterNAB Hands Hayes Marconi Award Performance Duties. Louisiana-born, Nashville-based, country songwriter/artist, multi-instrumentalist Hunter Hayes has been selected to entertain at the NAB‘s Marconi Radio Awards dinner September 11 in Indianapolis.  According to NAB executive vice president of radio John David, “Hunter Hayes is a talented musician, whose performance will contribute to a memorable 25th NAB Marconi Radio Awards dinner.  Atlantic Records and Warner Music Nashville connected us so Hunter can join radio in saluting the Marconi nominees and winners.”  Hayes’ platinum-selling, self-titled debut album was released on Atlantic Records three years ago.  Among his accomplishments are three number one singles: “Wanted,” “Somebody’s Heartbreak,” and “I Want Crazy.”  Established in 1989, the Marconi Radio Awards – named after inventor/Nobel prizewinner Guglielmo Marconi – recognize stations and individuals for excellence in 21 categories.  This year’s Radio Show (9/10 – 12) is produced by the NAB and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).

ingrahamlauraTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Joining the lineup at KWTO-AM, Springfield, Missouri, is the Courtside Entertainment Group-syndicated Laura Ingraham show which is being heard from 9:00 am to 10:00 am and from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm…..KYDT, Sundance, Wyoming adds the nighttime edition of the GCN-syndicated “Freedom Feens” show featuring Michael W. Dean.

Child Immigration Crisis Tops Talkers TenTM for Second Straight Week.  The influx of child illegal immigrants in the Southwest and the political issues surrounding the problem was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of July 14 – 18, landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the second week in a row.  At #2 this week was the Israel-Hamas violence.  Following at #3 was the ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria and the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines plane over the Ukraine came in 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.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

| July 17, 2014

2014 NYC logo 150Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Erica Farber Moderates “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” Panel. Today (7/17) marks the third 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 the event’s powerful “State of Radio Advertising and Sales” panel moderated by Erica Farber, president/CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB). The panel features an array of heavyweight radio executives including Ron Furman, CRO, Westwood One; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Joe Puglise, president/market manager, Clear Channel, New York; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “The scope of important radio sales issues clearly covered and illuminated during this session is nothing short of extraordinary. We are delighted to be able to make such solid and useful content available to the entire industry.” Among the topics covered: Dealing with spoken word radio’s loss of advertisers due to the much-publicized backlash against controversy; selling against andfarberNYC14 still effectively utilizing digital; what’s being done about the need for accurate ratings in the digital era; the role of the on-air personality in driving sales; and the state of small/medium market station revenue, among others. Erica Farber begins the panel by referring to earlier remarks made by Sean Hannity, Phil Boyce and Greg Moceri critical of the present-day Nielsen Audio system that doesn’t include tallies of digital platform listenership. She states, “I don’t want anyone to walk away thinking that this is not being addressed. It is very complicated and we [the RAB, major radio industry leaders and Nielsen] are trying to figure it out.” Regarding advertiser boycotts, Ron Furman admits, “We have hard work to do. [Once you have lost advertisers due to their discomfort with controversy] it is hard to get them back.” On that same topic, Julie Talbott advises, “The key is to find businesses that want to grow.” Kraig Kitchin notes, “Hosts who have the ability and interest in selling products and services will go the longest way.” Joe Puglise points out, “WOR is pacing up [revenues] double digits.” He credits the significant income increase at the heritage talker acquired by Clear Channel in 2012 to its relatively recent addition of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to its roster – both having been long-time staples of cross-town rival WABC. If any singular statement sums up the basic sentiment expressed by the panel it is Julie Talbott’s observation: “It is a different kind of sale today. It is a more sophisticated sale.” To see “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” panel, please click here. Coming tomorrow: “Radio: The Big Picture” moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison featuring panelists Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Sam Kimball, CRO, Livestream; Tom Langmyer, VP/news/talk programming, Journal Broadcast Group; Tom Leykis, CEO, The New Normal; Mike McVay, SVP, Cumulus Media; and Walter Sabo, CEO, Sabo Media. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.

minihanekirkBoston Sports Host Apologizes for Calling Erin Andrews a “Gutless Bitch” and Telling Her to “Drop Dead.”  This past Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game was, in essence, a Derek Jeter tribute.  Retiring at the end of the year, the Yankees shortstop participated in his final mid-year classic.  Fox was elaborate in its coverage; Jeter had success at the plate; and American League/Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell stretched the substitution process for Jeter, enabling the popular infielder to enjoy an isolated, extended standing ovation.  It had all the components of a great story, particularly since the AL won 5-3.  Perhaps only St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright will be the only person to know for certain if he made it a bit easier for Jeter to smack a first-inning double, which was the catalyst for three quick AL runs in that frame.  Social media was buzzing that Wainwright had indicated he might have grooved the pitch Jeter hit.  Fox reporter Erin Andrewsweei logo questioned Wainwright about it and the pitcher backtracked from that notion, and he said Jeter’s hit was on the up-and-up.  Apparently though, the televised exchange between Andrews and Wainwright did not sit well with Entercom-owned sports WEEI-FM, Boston personality Kirk Minihane. On (yesterday) Wednesday morning’s “(John) Dennis & (Gerry) Callahan” program, Minihane declared of Andrews, “What a bitch – I hate her.  What a gutless bitch.  Seriously, go away.  Drop dead.  I mean, seriously, what the hell is wrong with her?  First of all, follow-up.  Second of all, the guy admitted he did it -he admitted it.  He told reporters he threw a couple of ‘pipe-bombs.’  How is that social media’s fault?  I hate her – I seriously hate her so much.”  A Minihane-issued statement was posted last (Wednesday) night on the WEEI website that read: “I used a series of words to describe Erin Andrews’ work at the All-Star Game.  My choice of words was wrong.  I was wrong to have used them.  To all whom I offended – particularly Ms. Andrews – I apologize.  There is no place for what was said.  It was immature and completely uncalled for.  I am often critical of media members and their work and recognize here that I’ve made the kind of mistake I would call out if it was done by another sportscaster or writer.  Again, to all involved, I’m very sorry.”  The Boston Globe is reporting that Entercom VP/market manager Phil Zachary says Minihane was contrite, chose to issue the apology and will not be suspended or fired.  This is not surprising since many media watchers in Boston have credited Minihane’s role on the Dennis & Callahan show as very positive for the show and the station.

garciatonySyndication: Behind-the-Scenes Preparation.  In this next installment of a multi-part series on syndicating radio programs, Global Media Services founder Tony Garcia writes about handling an important – but not so sexy – aspect of syndicating a radio program: being prepared when it comes to the business end of the project.  Those parts of the business include the finances, production, distribution and marketing of the program.  It may seem obvious, but the financial aspect is crucial and making sure all facets of the business are accounted for from a money standpoint is mandatory.  Garcia writes, “Once you have established a budget, you’ll know the entire cost of syndicating your show.  Be prepared to float the show financially for at least two years in order to give the show enough time to find affiliates and audience.”  Read Garcia’s entire piece here.

talkmediaTV logoTalk Media TV Expands Video Platform; WMYT, Wilmington-based Talker Curtis Wright to Be Featured.  North Carolina-based talk media personality Curtis Wright (pictured below) – co-owner and executive producer of Talk Media TV and a personality on WMYT, Wilmington – is continuing his efforts to expand the company’s video production capabilities and web online presence through the establishment of new production ventures with both InNova TV Networks and Nationalwrightcurtis show logo Productions.  Wright announces that to support this effort to expand the creation and distribution of new broadcast and video content, Talk Media TV and WMYT 106.7 FM will be moving to newly constructed broadcast and office facilities which will be shared by all three companies.  He says this allows WMYT to commence ‘live web video streaming’ of its many original, local, live broadcast shows.  Wright says, “We formed Talk Media TV and WMYT 106.7 FM just over a year ago to create a truly multi-media, multi-broadcast company that can create and distribute original broadcast content using all of the emerging communications technologies and platforms.  This new association with both InNova TV Networks, which will be supplying us our web and internet ‘virtual channel’ for live video streaming, and National Productions, which will be supporting our expanding original video productions, takes us closer and closer to reaching our original ‘vision’ for our company and services to our clients.”  Talk Media TV will be taking two recently created segments that appear on Wright’s WMYT show and produce them for the Talk Media TV “virtual channel.”  Those segments are “Constitutional Path to Liberty” with Dr. Greg Brannon and “Cape Fear Capital Connections” with Thomas E. Vass.

sunbroadcastgrouplogoRivlin Joins Sun Broadcast Group.  Former Westwood One vice president of affiliate sales Ron Rivlin is tapped to become Sun Broadcast Group’s senior vice president of programming and affiliate relations.  Rivlin will oversee the affiliate sales department’s focus on “The Marilu Henner Show,” “Nashville Music Minute,” and “AccuWeather en Espanol.”  SBG chief executive officer Jason Bailey comments, “Lately, I have had the honor of welcoming some of the greatest men and women in radio to our team.  Today, I get that pleasure yet again.  As we begin to finalize our 2015 lineup, we needed the best of the best to lead the charge.  Anyone who knows Ron can tell you he is exactly that.  I am honored that he chose to join our family.”  Rivlin states that he is, “over-the-moon excited to be joining [all] the radio pros at Sun Broadcast Group, which represents a new generation of media companies.  [It is] laser-focused on the needs of affiliates, advertisers and, of course, listeners.  I cannot wait to share what is coming next.” Before his Westwood One tenure, Rivlin was Triton Digital Media’s vice president of interactive solutions, and ABC Radio Networks’ senior director.

herskovitzalHeaving Bricks at Radio.  Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes today (7/17) about his frustration with radio’s current image crisis that, he says, is largely radio’s own fault.  Herskovitz cites examples from his hometown market in which he hears long-outdated spots on the air as well as old, pre-recorded weather forecasts still on the air and almost no community profile for stations that purport to serve the local market.  The fixes for these problems are not hard to imagine, as Herskovitz illustrates.  Read his piece here.

gamblingjohnrJohn Gambling Laments Loss of Mayoral Sit-Downs.  Stating that he’s been talking with New York City’s mayors for the past 15 years, WOR personality John Gambling Tweeted about his frustrations trying to book Mayor Bill de Blasio, a story picked up by the New York Daily News.  Gambling began his regular chats with the City’s mayors, first with Republican Rudy Giuliani and then with Republican Michael Bloomberg.  But de Blasio, a Democrat, has not responded to repeated requests to join the program.  Gambling tells the paper, “My views of his policies are what they are, and they’re obviously 180 degrees from where he is.  I’ve been sitting with mayors for 15 years… I’m always willing to let somebody speak their mind.  I’d like to have a conversation with the mayor.”  Read the Daily News piece here.

ingrahamlauraIngraham Endorses Tennessee Senate Candidate. Next Tuesday (7/22), Laura Ingraham will be in Nashville where she will attend the “Restore America” rally. The Courtside Entertainment Group host is backing Tennessee Senate candidate Joe Carr, who is trying to unseat incumbent Lamar Alexander in next month’s (8/7) primary.  “Anti-amnesty” conservative talk host Ingraham supported Dave Brat, who – last month – defeated Representative Eric Cantor in Virginia’s seventh Congressional District.  Brat and Carr oppose reform that would grant amnesty to immigrants.  In addition to criticizing Alexander for supporting the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate last year, Ingraham called Carr, who opposes the bill, “terrific” on immigration.  Carr, Alexander, Brat, and Cantor are all Republicans.  Ingraham, and in some instances talk radio in general, has been credited with Brat’s victory by such publications as Politico, and these stories received a lot of attention, especially among political wonks and the cable news/talk channels.  TALKERS believes that the reality is not quite so clear and the conclusion that any talk show host’s support of a candidate that leads to victory in an election – regardless of the party affiliation – is a very difficult thing to prove.

Child Immigration Crisis, Israel-Hamas Violence, ISIS Campaign in Iraq and Syria, Eric Holder Racism Controversy, Clinton and Warren Potential Presidential Bids, Obama Lawsuit Move, and Summer Polar Vortex Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/16).  The ongoing influx of child illegal immigrants and the Obama Administration’s policy dealing with the crisis; the heightened violence in the Gaza strip; the continuing campaign by ISIS to bring about a caliphate in Iraq and Syria; chatter about Eric Holder’s comments that criticism of the Obama Administration is based in racism; the potential 2016 presidential bids by Hillary Clinton and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren; the move in the U.S. House to sue President Obama over his unilateral actions regarding the Affordable Care Act; and the summer polar vortex affecting much of the Midwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Bricks and Bouquets

| July 17, 2014

Al Herskovitz
H&H Communications
President

 

herskovitzwriterBRADENTON, Fla. — Topic A in all conversations I have with broadcasters is about radio’s pending doom.  The woe-is-me and the finger pointing invariably aims at our new-tech world where anybody can be a talk show host if they possess one of the many available space-age devices… and anybody can listen to an infinite number of unlicensed shows and networks on a variety of readily available “devices” that are not AM/FM “radios.”  I hesitate to name these devices because by the time I finish this sentence there will be a new one.

This is the easiest way to cast blame without looking into our own house.  I listen to a lot of radio and have a whole bunch of radios around my home and office from big, boxy ones to a couple real tiny ones that’ll fit into my pocket as I do my exercise hike around the neighborhood.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

| October 22, 2013

cohenkevenSouth Carolina Talk Personality Keven Cohen to Lease Columbia Signal for New Talk Outlet.  Longtime WVOC, Columbia, South Carolina talk show host Keven Cohen is getting into the radio station operation business under the aegis of his company Capital City Media LLC.  Cohen – who was let go from Clear Channel’s WVOC last fall after a 19-year career there – is leasing WQXL (AM 1470) and its translator W240AX (at 95.9 FM) from religious broadcasters Glory Communications which will be branded “The Point” and will debut on Monday, October 28.  In a story in The State, Cohen says he mortgaged his home to launch the company and he will be one of those hitting the streets to sell advertising.  “People should know every dollar spent on ‘The Point’ will stay in Columbia.  It won’t be going to some big corporation in another city.”  Cohen will host the morning show with the rest of the day featuring syndicated programming including: Cox Media’s Herman Cain, Courtside Entertainment’s Laura Ingraham, Compass Media’s Todd Schnitt and Lars Larson, independently syndicated progressive host Leslie Marshall, WYD Media’s Phil Hendrie and Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio.’  Cohen’s venture is a great example of broadcasters pushed out of the business due to systems beyond their control getting back in via the entrepreneurial spirit.

rosellidaynaNews/Talk KXNT, Las Vegas Adds Dayna Roselli to AM Drive Program.  CBS Radio’s Las Vegas news/talker KXNT is going with a three-person morning program with the addition of Dayna Roselli alongside Joe Gillespie and Nathan Tannenbaum.  KXNT program director Andrew Paul states, “Dayna is a special talent, who is extremely well connected in the community.  Her fans love her, evidenced by her 15,000-plus Twitter followers.  She has great knowledge, experience, enthusiasm and a love for Las Vegas.  We are excited to have her join the KXNT team!”  Roselli most recently worked at the Las Vegas CBS affiliate, KLAS-TV, as morning news anchor and entertainment reporter.  She adds, “I’m really thrilled to be a part of this team and take on the world of radio.  I love this community and all it has to offer.  It’s nice to have a voice and make a difference by bringing the people of Southern Nevada the news and information they need.”

arnoldchrisChris Arnold Returns to ‘GBag Nation’ on ‘105.3 The Fan’ in Dallas.  According to a report in the Dallas Observer, sports talk host Chris Arnold returned to the air on CBS Radio’s KRLD-FM, Dallas on Monday afternoon, a week after basically admitting to plagiarizing much of a column that appeared on the station’s website.  The company has not made a public statement about the incident but Dallas Observer writer Eric Nicholson writes that it appears Arnold was given “a week’s vacation.”  However, it’s unclear if Arnold was paid for the week he was off the air.  Last week, TALKERS reported that Arnold’s use of football writer Scott Kacsmar’s work had ended in Kacsmar calling him on it and Arnold apologizing and asking Kacsmar to come on the radio show.  Kacsmar declined but asked for an apology on the radio.

traberjim

Jim Traber Gets New Deal at ‘The Sports Animal’ in OK City.  Former Oklahoma State quarterback and Baltimore Orioles first baseman Jim Traber has been an important part of WWLS, Oklahoma City “The Sports Animal” and management is rewarding him with a new, three-year contract, according to a report from NewsOK.com.  The site reports that Cumulus Media market manager Larry Bastida says corporate is putting a “real investment in sports talk radio.  They believe it’s one of the formats of the future.  They give us a lot of support here.”  Traber is also heard on other stations in Oklahoma across the “Sports Animal Radio Network” including KYAL-AM/FM, Tulsa; KBIX, Muskogee; KADS, Elk City; and KSIW, Woodward.

bax&oRITVSpoken Word Marks Significant Component of Rock Radio Morning Fare.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication in the music radio arena, RadioInfo, has posted (10/22) a video feature delving into the nuances of Saga Communications’ sister rock stations in Springfield, Massachusetts - classic rocker WAQY “Rock 102” and active rocker WLZX “Lazer 99.3.”  The reason we are bringing this to the attention of TALKERS readers is the significant role talk programming plays in the morning shows of each of these consistently successful operations…which is reflective of this position at numerous rock stations across the nation.  TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison speaks with Rob Cressman, brand manager for both stations who discusses the state of the classic rock and active rock formats in addition to sharing insights into the nuances of these outstanding outlets.  Harrison also visits with “Rock 102” morning team Bax & O’ Brien (Michael “Bax” Baxendale, right, and John O’ Brien, left) as well as “Lazer 99.3” morning star Leslie who also discuss the importance of talk in their respective AM drive presentations.  To view this video located in a box marked RadioInfoTV in the upper right column on the RadioInfo.com home page, please click here.

hrrn logoSun Broadcasting Group to Rep Horse Racing Radio Network.  A new partnership has been struck that has Sun Broadcast Group, Inc. serving as national sales rep for the Horse Racing Radio Network, LLC, effective immediately.  The on-air content will include the Triple Crown races of the Kentucky Derby, Thesunbroadcastgrouplogo Preakness and The Belmont Stakes along with the Breeders Cup World Championships.  This deal expands the growing sports products being offered by Sun.  The Horse Racing Radio Network is heard in over 50 markets and on SiriusXM.  SBG EVP Steve Gallagher states, “At Sun Broadcast Group, we are committed to unique, quality programming our clients and customers want to be associated with.  Our partnership with the Horse Racing Radio Network represents our dedication to excellence and we are thrilled to be a part of The Triple Crown, thoroughbred horse racing’s ultimate prestige event.  Mike Penna and his team have an unrivaled passion for horse racing and plan to broadcast more than 100 of the nation’s best thoroughbred races.”

envision radio networksAdLarge Media to Rep Envision Radio Networks.  The immediate upshot of that deal is the movement of inventory already measured in Nielsen Audio’s RADAR service to AdLarge’s Return on Investment (ROI) Network.  AdLarge states, “This news comes just a month after AdLarge Media Logo - 10-23-13AdLarge’s ROI Network debuted in RADAR as one of the largest advertising networks within the ratings service.  Envision Radio Networks has been part of RADAR for more than 10 years and has significant major market coverage, including all of the top 25 measured markets.”  AdLarge co-founder and CEO Gary Schonfeld says, “Our arrangement with Envision Radio Networks brings top-performing stations and large market coverage to our portfolio.  Envision CEO Danno Wolkoff and COO Laura Orkin share our vision of innovation and entrepreneurship and our dedication to developing customized solutions for advertisers.”  Wolkoff adds, “Gary and Cathy [Csukas] and their team at AdLarge will increase our presence in the national advertising arena.  They are very familiar with our programming, services, and online audio products, and can help national advertisers understand the scope of our network’s reach and frequency, and the amount of impressions we can deliver on a daily basis.”

deanmichaelwNeed A Mic? Consider the Classic Electro Voice.  Talk radio personality Michael W. Dean – co-host of the nationally syndicated “Freedom Feens” program that also features Neema Vedadi – says radio performers considering a microphone for the home studio would do well to invest in the Electro Voice RE-20.  The price point may be a bit high for some, but the sound and the sturdy build make it a wise investment.  Read Dean’s discussion about EV mics here.

braves logoDickey Broadcasting Renews Braves Deal.  Atlanta sports talk WCNN “680 The Fan” has been the flagship station for Atlanta Braves baseball since 2010 and will remain so as station owner Dickey Broadcasting and the team renew their deal.  Under the terms, games will air on WCNN (and its Cumulus-owned FM translator W229AG at 93.7).  But this year, instead of games also airing on Cumulus Media’s rock WNNX, they will be heard on Cumulus’ all-news WYAY “All News 106.7.”  Dickey will manage the Braves Radio Network throughout the Southeast.  Dickey president David Dickey states, “”We are proud to be the official radio home of the Atlanta Braves.  ‘680 The Fan’ is the dominant sports station in the region, and we believe our association with the Braves has greatly contributed to our incredible growth over the past four years.  We will continue to work with the Braves to deliver the best coverage and more team-focused content throughout 2014 and beyond.”

glassiraTuneIn to Feature “This American Life” Channel.  Digital audio aggregator TuneIn is soon to be the exclusive home of the archive of PRI’s Chicago Public Media-produced “This American Life” with host Ira Glass.  The company reports that the 24/7 station will contain episodes from the show’s 18-year history featuring more than 500 hours of content.  TuneIn CEO John Donham states, “TuneIn is devoted to bringing listeners access to the best programming available in the world.  ‘This American Life’ has always been a fan favorite, and we are happy ‘This American Life’ has chosen TuneIn as its partner to launch the 24/7 station.”

patchjonOdds & Sods.  Jon Patch, who’s been with Business TalkRadio Network for much of the past 20 years, exits the company where he’s been working in affiliate sales and programming as well as hosting “Talkin’ Pets.”  He’s seeking his next opportunity and can be reached at jonpatch@talkinpets.com…..Brett Jensen is a casualty at CBS Radio’s sports talk WFNZ, Charlotte “610 the Fan” where he hosted the midday program from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.  To fill the gap, Frank Garcia’s program now airs from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and “The Drive with Taylor Zarzour and Marc James” begins at 2:00 pm…..It’s nice to have a World Series taking place in your market, just ask the folks at Entercom‘s sports talk WEEI, Boston.  The station announces it is giving away World Series tix on Wednesday (10/23) on the Dennis & Callahan morning show and the Salk & Holley PM drive program.

ObamaCare Website Problems, GOP Infighting, State of the Economy Poll, Chris Christie’s Gay Marriage Stance, Nevada School Shooting, and Washington Redskins Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/21).  The massive problems with the government’s Affordable Care Act website; the discussion over whether the GOP is splintering; the results of a recent poll in which Americans express less confidence in the economy;  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s changed stance on gay marriage; the death of a teacher in a Nevada school shooting; and the ongoing controversy over the Washington Redskins’ name were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

| September 25, 2013

nielsenarbitronNielsen Says No Plans to Reduce Headcount.  In covering the Nielsen conference call with investors that took place on Monday, TALKERS took note of Nielsen CEO David Calhoun’s statement about realizing $20 million in synergies and, due to the fact that broadcasting companies often use that term to define the cost savings from elimination of duplicative positions and consolidation of duties after a merger or acquisition, interpreted his comment to mean the acquisition of Arbitron would mean exactly that for some of the Arbitron staff.  However, Nielsen tells TALKERS, “In fact, there are no plans to reduce headcount at this time, and as a growing business, we have many opportunities to redeploy talent.  Mr. Calhoun’s comment on a ‘logical and steady pace’ was related more to the pace of global expansion.”

wmyt logoTalk Media TV’s WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina Holds ‘Ribbon Cutting’ Tomorrow.  News/talk outlet WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina announces the “official ribbon-cutting ceremony” at its Wilmington broadcast studios — sponsored by the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce – taking placewrightcurtis show logo Thursday, September 26 at 10:30 am.  The station is owned by Talk Media TV principals Curtis Wright and George Bell who put the station on the air on July 22.  The two say they built the station to appeal to conservative talk radio listeners whom they believe had lost a voice in Southeastern North Carolina.  They add, “WMYT 106.7 FM has returned America’s top syndicated conservative talk, subject talk and spoken-word shows to FM and the region.  Since the launch of WMYT 106.7 FM, five new locally produced shows have been added to its lineup, while expanding its audio streaming on the web.”  Wright hosts his “On the Beat” morning drive show from 6:00 am to 9:00 am.  The station also features Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck and Sean Hannity plus Courtside Entertainment’s Laura Ingraham.  George Bell is the former Brunswick County GOP chair and a life-long business professional in the region.  Talk Media TV’s business plan includes acquiring additional radio stations, expanding its internet broadcasting capabilities, and adding cable broadcasting over the next several months.

pittmanbobBob Pittman Stands Up for Radio at Goldman Sachs Ad Week Conference. Clear Channel chairman and CEO Bob Pittman is working the “Advertising Week” events in New York this week and today (9/25) he laid down the case for what he sees as radio’s rightful place in an advertising mix at the “Goldman Sachs Communacopia” investor conference.  The Hollywood Reporter’s Georg Szalai is covering the event and reports Pittman is saying (about radio), “’The sector is way under-represented’ while TV is over-represented in marketers’ media mix…‘TV is wonderful, is very effective, but doesn’t deserve quite as much money as it has.’”  Pittman argues that TV gets three times the rate that radio does but “all the studies show the impact is about the same.”  He then explains how advertisers could benefit by moving 15% of their ad spend into radio.  Clearly, when Pittman says, “There is a huge opportunity in radio…We need to monetize it better, sell it better,” he is trying to get the message through at the agency level, where an industry-wide sea change must take place.

mhNAB2013Michael Harrison’s NAB/RAB Radio Show Address Now Posted on TALKERS TV.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison’s annual address at the NAB/RAB Radio Show drew a standing-room-only crowd and rave reviews from those in attendance.  The speech which runs 56:33 includes an information-packed “countdown” of the 10 most important things AM/FM radio must do to remain culturally relevant and thrive in the digital age of the 21st century.  In this ambitious and far-ranging overview of the state of broadcast radio, the man dubbed by the mainstream press as “The Wise Old Owl of the Radio Industry” connected the dots between Edward R. Murrow broadcasting live on rooftops from World War II bombing raids over London — to Murray the K anointing himself the “Fifth Beatle” — to today’s transitional period between the “old country” of the 20th century to the “new world” of the digital age – to the potential emergence of 21st century “Homo Technicus” listening to internet broadcasts piped directly into the temporal lobes of the brain via nanotechnology.  Harrison fearlessly speaks his mind about today’s debt-soaked radio mega-corporations that have emerged as a result of consolidation – to the dangers of mindless, product-less “branding” that plays to the shortcut mentality crippling today’s creative process in broadcasting. The speech received an ovation and was later described on the air by WSOY, Decatur morning host and Marconi Award winner Brian Byers as “sensational.”  Byers told his listeners it was “smokin’” and a “barn burner” saying, “He fired me up.  I looked around and the rest of the room was electric.  You could feel it in the air.  I can’t tell you how good it was!” To see Michael Harrison’s speech please check out the TALKERS TV box at the top of the right-hand column of this page.

sabowalterWALTER SABO: The Return of the Neat Idea.  Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo celebrates what he says it’s going to take to get radio back in a forward-moving position: the return to creatively operating the business.  In this new column, Sabo writes, “The current economic depression celebrates ‘operators’ — executives with shrewd ‘operating’ skills who are known for their ability to cut costs, cut staffs, sell their story to Wall Street and keep their company within its COMFORT ZONE.  They do not have, nor are they required to have, vision.  Knowing what’s next is the key to growth in any industry.  No vision, no growth.”  Sabo offers five steps to establishing an environment for the birth and implementation of neat ideas with pragmatic results.   Read this important column here.

cookehollandRadio Sales Lead: ObamaCare.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke says forget what people on the radio are saying about ObamaCare, start thinking about how your marketing department can get some of the advertising that’s coming from it.  He recommends a video webinar available from the RAB.  In it, Cooke says veteran broadcaster Dave Burke shares some of his research into the impact of the law on the stakeholders.  Cooke writes, “AP estimates that $684 million will be spent on the initial activation period; and Burke reckons that 2014-2015 and beyond will be even bigger than 2013-2014: ‘I believe that this category, all-in, could be the biggest category on your stations.’”  Read Holland Cooke’s column here.

kassof coContinuing Concern for Radio to Placate Men 18 – 34.  Something new can now be added to the growing list for those who grumble, “They don’t make them like that anymore.” Unfortunately, that item is radio.  A Mark Kassof & Company-conducted research project indicates that more than half (53%) of U.S. radio listeners aged 18 – 64 agree that, “Radio is not as good as it used to be.”  Approximately four in 10 (41%) disagree, while 6% are not sure.  “The perception that radio is not as good as it used to be seems pervasive in the industry,” Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Kassof comments. “This research reveals that a majority of listeners agree.”  The most criticism regarding radio’s overall quality can be found among those 18 – 34, with more than six in 10 (61%) concurring that what they are hearing these days through their radio speakers has slipped; 31% however disagree and the remaining 8% are neutral.  Men tend to be more pessimistic about the current state of the medium than women are.  Consistent with the above-stated trend – and highly noteworthy – Men 18-34 are the most negative, as two of every three in that demo (67%) are of the opinion that radio has seen better days.  Results of this Kassof study are based on slightly less than 1,000 online interviews conducted among U.S. radio listeners earlier this month (9/12 – 9/15).  Reacting to the findings of the Kassof study, TALKERS magazine sister trade, RadioInfo’s  music editor/director Duane Doobie states, “It reminds me of the famous line in Bob Dylan’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ that so powerfully says ‘you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.’”

wbenNo More FM Signal for News/Talk WBEN, Buffalo.  Entercom is dropping the simulcast on news/talk WBEN, Buffalo and will install a different format on WLKK 107.7 licensed to Wethersfield Township (some 30 miles southeast of downtown Buffalo) beginning Thursday, September 26 at 12:00 noon.  WBEN program director Tim Wenger tells Buffalo Business First that research tells the company 95% of the listening to WBEN is done on the huge 930 AM signal.

schnitttoddOdds & Sods.  Compass Media Networks syndicated and WFLA, Tampa-based talk host Todd Schnitt was in court on Monday suing his former attorney Phillip Campbell for legal malpractice.   Campbell was arrested for DUI while representing Schnitt in his defamation suit against Bubba the Love Sponge but the DUI case was dismissed in July after prosecutors agreed Campbell was set up.  Schnitt maintains it damaged his case.  Schnitt paid Campbell $1 million and owes another $1 million but he’s suing to get the first $1 million back, according to myfoxtampabay.com…..The Fourth Period continues its relationship with SiriusXM and the media site that calls itself “hockey’s only lifestyle destination” adds a program dubbed “The Players’ Lounge” to the SiriusXM NHL Network Radio channel airing Friday’s from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET.  This is an addition to “TFP Live” which returns to the channel airing from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET hosted by TFP editor-in-chief David Pagnotta and VP Dennis Bernstein.

Government Shutdown Threat, ObamaCare Defunding/Implementation, U.S.-Iran Talks, and Kenya Mall Massacre Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/24).  The looming threat of a government shutdown; the fight to defund the Affordable Care Act and the consequences of its implementation; relations between the U.S. and Iran; plus the ongoing stalemate after a massacre by militant Muslims at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, September 9, 2013

| September 9, 2013

trn logoTRN Issues Response to Reports of Financial Problems at the Company.  TALKERS magazine has received a press release from Talk Radio Network and CEO Mark Masters in response to reports of financial problems at the company.  Below is the full press statement as received from TRN at 2:30 pm ET on 9/9:

ARE YOU DIAL GLOBAL’S (WESTWOOD ONE’S) NEXT VICTIM?

      The truth about the proposed merger between Dial Global/Westwood One and Cumulus is a dark one for our industry.  Dial Global/Westwood One’s market power in programming and sales representation, combined with Cumulus Network’s programming and distribution power in the top 100 U.S. markets, will have a devastating effect on most every area of the radio industry. Our previous experience with Dial Global/Westwood consists of improper, illegal, and/or unethical conduct that is set forth in the second amended complaint http://www.trn1.com/uploads/files/SecondAmendedComplaint.pdf in our pending antitrust action against Dial Global/Westwood One and others.   If this merger is allowed to occur, the results of our previous experiences with Dial Global/Westwood One will be magnified tenfold to radio stations and content producers, which will be at the mercy of the newly empowered Dial (Westwood One)/Cumulus and the leverage that can be brought to bear by this new behemoth.

If this merger is allowed to occur, the culture of corruption at Dial/Westwood, as described in our second amended complaint, and other filings, will surely infect and spread within the new behemoth entity and victimize the rest of the industry, resulting in a super monopoly.

Sadly, the actions described in the second amended complaint are forcing the TRN companies to cut back to the basic operating essentials pending resolution of the multiple issues raised in their legal actions against Dial Global/Westwood One.  We had hoped that the change in management at Dial Global/Westwood One would bring about a new paradigm focused on correcting the prior harms in a manner which would be helpful to our companies and the industry as a whole.  Sadly, recent events have shown that the opposite is true and that the behaviors that gave rise to the lawsuits against Dial/Westwood One are endemic throughout the Dial/Westwood One monopoly.   The ruthless and unethical behaviors that have continued through multiple executive teams at Dial/Westwood are breathtaking in their scope and arrogance.

We encourage the rest of our industry to stand together, and with us, now.  We have been in business for 20 years, and have had excellent relationships with the other companies in our industry during that time.  But this is a horse of a different color.  Please contact the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition (antitrust@ftc.gov) and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (antitrust.complaints@usdoj.gov or (202) 307-2040), your state’s Attorney General, and your local member of Congress about the dangers of this proposed merger and its threat to your First Amendment rights, business and products.  As for us, we will continue to pursue Dial Global/Westwood One in federal court and other appropriate forums, for monopoly and other improper behaviors, expose the behaviors described in the second amended complaint,  and achieve ultimate victory from the tragedy that Dial Global/Westwood One have imposed upon our companies and others within the industry.

DIAL/WESTWOOD ONE SCORES INITIAL VICTORY WITH ARNN

The actions described in the second amended complaint with respect to America’s Radio News Network (“ARNN”), and additional actions which will be the subject of future filings, have now succeeded on an interim basis with respect to ARNN.  Specifically, ARNN has been forced to suspend its broadcast operations, effective at the close of its broadcast day on Friday, September 6, 2013, pending the successful outcome of its actions against Dial Global/Westwood.  ARNN has arranged for appropriate feeds to be provided to its affiliates for a reasonable period of time to enable them to secure alternate programming.

AS TO RUMORS OF OTHER ONGOING OPERATIONS

All of the TRN companies have been severely damaged by the Dial Global/Westwood One conduct addressed above and also addressed in the various legal actions which the TRN companies have brought, or will bring, against Dial Global/Westwood.    That conduct has forced all of these companies to make wrenching internal decisions and to take painful internal actions.  As Dial Global/Westwood One has been collecting our advertising revenues, but refusing to pay them over to us or to account for them, these companies have now been forced to reduce as many operating costs as possible.   However, the current rumors of an alleged shutdown of broadcasting operations for non-ARNN programming are unfounded.  Broadcasts of the other programs are continuing without interruption.

CALL TO ACTION!

If Dial/Westwood can do this to us, they certainly can do this to you – so you need to join together, and with us, in opposing this dangerous merger, with as much force as you can muster, so that you can have a future that is not controlled by a monopoly http://www.trn1.com/uploads/files/SecondAmendedComplaint.pdf

wadedonromaDon Wade Passes at 72.  Longtime WLS, Chicago morning personality Don Wade – who hosted the program with his beloved wife Roma – died on Friday at the couple’s Florida home.  It was almost a year ago that Wade suffered a seizure and was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.  He underwent an operation but never returned to the air at WLS.  Roma Wade posted the following statement on the WLS website (in part): “Last Friday morning, my hero, my best friend, my soulmate left this mortal coil behind and entered the realm of spirit while wrapped in my loving arms.  God blessed us with almost an entire year since Don’s surgery to embrace life, love, family, and adventure, all while knowing that his time on this beautiful earth was drawing to a close.  What a gift!  What a joy to be entrusted with my magnificent man’s care for that precious time.”  Wade began his work at WLS in 1985 with Roma by his side, remaining with the station as it transitioned to talk in 1989 and moving to AM drive.  Current Salem Radio Network VP, news & talk programming Tom Tradup was VP and GM of the station and charged with flipping it to talk including firing some of the most beloved DJs in Chicago history. He says Wade stayed with the newly formatted station, “Don’s infectious good humor, intelligent grasp of the issues, and his uncanny ability to connect one-on-one with men and women throughout Chicagoland convinced me he had to stay.  He and Roma (in those days they kept their marriage a secret) were the very first ‘hires’ I made at the new WLS Talkradio 890.  Over the years, Don’s popularity—and our ratings and revenue—soared as he and Roma woke up countless hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans.”  Chicago media writer Robert Feder has more on Wade’s passing here.

millerchrisMad Social Networking Skills.  Noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller tackles the question, “So what is it that differentiates ‘mad’ social networking skills from ‘casual’ skills, or just plain competency?”  Does it involve video shooting and editing, coding, HTML, or actual IT knowledge?  In a new column posted today (9/9) Miller writes, “There’s more to being a good jock than listening to yourself talk.  There’s more to being a good sales manager than just knowing a lot of clients.  And, there’s more to having ‘mad’ social networking skills than being passionate about posting a ton of stuff!”  He goes through five levels to which truly effective social networking skills must rise to be truly effective.  They are: 1) Know your target; 2) Know how to talk and listen to your target; 3)  Learn how to write well and with style; 4) Understand what fits and doesn’t fit in terms of actual content; and 5)  Actively remain engaged to know if your message is reaching the target.  To read Chris Miller’s entire column, please click here.

iheartradiotalkClear Channel Launched Update App for iHeartRadio Talk.  The beta version of iHeartRadio Talk was released in July was done with what president of digital Brian Lakamp admits is “very limited mobile functionality.”  But now the company is offering new updates for iOS and Android apps to allow users to access more talk content.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment states, “The updated apps will feature a directory for talk that now allows users the ability to browse and select from hundreds of programs.  For the first time ever, segments from ‘The View’ and ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ will be available to coincide with ABC‘s new season.”  CC believes that iHeartRadio Talk is “the first audio platform offering on-demand, listener-created talk content alongside popular news, celebrity and entertainment audiosodes…The service is trending to be a more popular feature for men than women, though iHeartRadio’s demographic has traditionally skewed more female, allowing the digital service to attract a burgeoning audience.”

esiasonboomerBoomer Esiason Debuts on Boston’s ‘Sports Hub.’  The ever-busy Boomer Esiason – co-host of the ‘Boomer & Carton’ morning drive show on CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York, sports TV personality and color man for WestwoodOne’s Monday Night Football broadcasts – is debuting on CBS O&O WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” today.  For the past couple of years, Esiason made a Monday morning appearance on crosstown WEEI, Boston with John Dennis and Gerry Callahan.  The segment was recorded before Esiason went on the air on WFAN.  Now, Esiason continues reaching Boston sports fans with his expertise with WBZ-FM’s Toucher & Rich.

salisburyseanSean Salisbury Teams with John Harris for Midday Show on Yahoo! Sports Radio.  Former NFL quarterback and sports talk media pro Sean Salisbury becomes part of the Yahoo! Sports Radio network lineup as co-host of “The War Room” with John Harris airing from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET daily.  Yahoo! Sports Radio CEO David Gow states, “Sean is a big-time addition to our lineup.  He does his homework, he is insightful and he is not afraid to voice his opinions.   And the combination of Harris and Salisbury provides some of the strongest football coverage in sports – we are delighted to announce his addition at the start of the NFL season.”  Salisbury adds, “I am excited to join Yahoo! Sports Radio and to work with John Harris.  I really look forward to working with the entire team there and creating great shows.  During his media career, Salisbury has worked for ESPN and CBS Radio.  He is currently on the Dallas Cowboys pre-game show for Fox Sports TV in Dallas.

siriusxmExecutive Changes and Promotions at SiriusXM.  An internal memo from SiriusXM president and content officer Scott Greenstein informs staff of some new management changes and congratulates those who’ve been promoted.  First, Jeremy Coleman, head of talk and entertainment for much of the past 10 years is named senior vice president, Howard Stern channels.  Greenstein notes that Coleman “worked closely on the initial development of the channels before Howard’s official launch on SiriusXM in 2006, and is now excited to move over to work with Howard and his team on further growth.”  Also, Tim Sabean is named senior vice president, entertainment and comedy.  He’ll oversee the comedy channels, as well as a variety of other key entertainment assets including: Opie & Anthony, Piolín Radio, Jason Ellis, Ron & Fez, Covino & Rich, and Dino Costa, as well as the Radio Sex channel.  Dave Gorab is promoted to vice president and general manager, talk programming.  Greenstein says Gorab has been instrumental in building the news and political talk channels and will expand his oversight to include politics, news, women’s, family, health, educational, religious and specialty talk programming.

mikemorrisbobsansevereCumulus Sports Talk “105 FM The Ticket” in Minneapolis Adds Local Talk with Help from Tom Barnard.  The Twin Cities sports talk tri-mulcast of WGVX (105.1), WGVZ (105.7), and 105.3 FM – up ‘til now relying on content from CBS Sports Radio Network – is adding a local PM drive program beginning todaybarnardtom featuring Mike Morris (left) and Bob Sansevere (right) from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Tom Barnard – morning institution who’s heard on the company’s rock KQRS – will also be heard on the station as the third hour of Barnard’s podcast will be aired from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm on the sports station.  The Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Neal Justin reports Barnard is bringing former WCCO personality Don Shelby aboard his three-hour podcast as his sidekick and he’ll also be part of the third hour sports talk segment.  KQRS operations manager Scott Jameson tells the paper, “We’ve got two well-performing rock stations and it’s smart to leverage those brands to help our baby brother grow up.”

wtoplogoVeteran Journalist Mike Murillo Joins WTOP, Washington.  Mike Murillo becomes part of the WTOP, Washington staff as an anchor and reporter beginning today (9/9).  Most recently, Murillo worked at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia as anchor/reporter, studio technician and web andmurillomichael social media manager.  Prior to his stint in Philly, Murillo was a reporter at “FM News 101.9” in New York.  Murillo says, “Like many in this business, for years I have admired WTOP from afar.  I am truly excited to now become a member of this amazing news team.”  WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo adds, “Mike does it all.  Not only is he a seasoned anchor and street reporter, he’s a skilled web designer and broadcast technician.  We’re excited to have him join WTOP’s team of broadcast and digital journalists.”

Odds & Sods.  CBS Radio freelance reporter Donna Francavilla tells TALKERS magazine she is returning to TV for the first time in 15 years.  Though she will continue her freelance for CBS Radio, Francavilla has accepted a temporary, part-time on-air position at WBMA-TV, Birmingham, Alabama.  She recently won first, second and third place national communication awards from the National Federation of Press Women, serves as an Edward R. Murrow judge, freelances occasionally for Oprah’s OWN Network, and established a consulting company called Frankly Speaking Communications, LLC…..Cox Media Group’s news/talk WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton is the local affiliate for Cleveland Browns football.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

| August 22, 2013

cclogoSeven AEs Sue Clear Channel Claiming Civil Rights Violations.  In a suit filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana by seven current and former AEs working at Clear Channel’s New Orleans stations, the group charges that after the economic downturn of 2008, accounts were redistributed at a meeting in Gonzales, Louisiana in February of 2009 in such a way that helped ease the financial hit Caucasian AEs were taking through the redistribution.  The complaint alleges many of the redistributed accounts had been built up by African American AEs.  The complaint – filed jointly by Wil Watson, Gary Watson, Prixie Montgomery, Ave Gaines, Darnetta Mahaffy-Nelson, Dinah Campbell, and Brandin Campbell – details salaries before and after the redistribution and concludes, “As a result of the redistribution of accounts, whether intentional or negligent, African-American account executives were disparately, and negatively, impacted, to their severe economic detriment as compared to their Caucasian counterparts…Overall, African-American account executives lost on average more than 40% of their 2008 income in 2008-9.  On information and belief Caucasian account executives lost no more that about 15% of their 2008 income, on average, during the same period of time.”  Three of the seven were fired, they allege, after complaining about the practices.  The seven seek relief, punitive damages, general damages, attorneys’ fees and statutory remedies.

weei logoIt’s Official: Kevin Graham Named Brand Manager at WEEI, Boston.  As rumored late last week, sports talk programmer and personality Kevin Graham is leaving his PD and co-host role at Cumulus Media’s KFNZ, Salt Lake City “1320 KFAN” to become brand manager at Entercom’s WEEI.  According to his bio on the KFNZ website, Graham was one of the architects of KFNZ as the station was built in 1996.  He’s worked as programmer at KTAR-AM, Phoenix; WXYT, Detroit and other sports talk outlets.  In addition to programming KFNZ, Graham co-hosts the “Gunther & Graham” PM drive show with Kyle Gunther.  Graham has extensive experience in the digital sports arena assisting in building grahamkevinArizonaSports.com in Phoenix and as the founder/editor of SportsMashup.com.  He’ll begin work at WEEI in September, taking over for longtime programmer Jason Wolfe.  Entercom Boston GM Jeff Brown states, “WEEI is more than a radio station; it is an entire sports ecosystem.  From our on-air talent to Red Sox play-by-play to WEEI.com, where we had 1.4 million unique visitors just last month, WEEI is a more complete sports brand than ever before.  We are thrilled to announce today that Kevin Graham will lead WEEI as our new brand manager.  His background both in front of and behind the mic, along with his years of digital sports experience made him the best choice to lead WEEI.  Kevin will bring a fresh perspective to the entire WEEI team and our complete package of digital sports assets.”  Speaking about his new gig, Graham comments, “I am honored and excited to join the WEEI team.  WEEI is one of the most recognizable and powerful sports radio brands in the country.  With great resources, amazing talent, and one of the best digital brands in sports, the sky is the limit.  I can’t wait to get started, especially with the Red Sox in the midst of such a great season.”

TalkersLA2013“The State of News/Talk/Sports Programming” Panel Set for Talkers Los Angeles 2013.  A diverse and powerful panel of front-line programmers has been set for Talkers Los Angeles 2013 that will explore the major issues of programming within the present-day news/talk/sports realm.  Participating panelists include (in alphabetical order): Robin Bertolucci, PD, KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles; Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Andy Ludlum, director of news programming, KNX/KFWB, Los Angeles; Don Martin, senior VP sports programming, Fox Sports Radio/Clear Channel Media & Entertainment; Chuck Tyler, PD, KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles; and Bill White, PD, KQTH-FM/KFFN-AM/FM, Tucson.  The panel will be moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey who states, “This will be a fast-moving discussion that will really capture the flavor of today’s talk radio programming scene and do so with a solid Western states perspective – which makes this California edition of our two-part national conference so valuable.  It will present a diverse array of formats including news/talk, all-news, and sports talk, as well as company types ranging in size and varied styles of corporate culture.”  This third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention is set for Thursday, October 10 and is already shaping up to be a blockbuster.  The gathering is closing in on being an advance sellout some six weeks before the event so it is advisable for media professionals interested in attending to register now.  It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone.  For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413.  More agenda details coming in the immediate days ahead.

wctc logoNew Jersey’s WCTC, New Brunswick Makes Big Local Moves.  Saying “there is a thirst for local content in this market,” WCTC, New Brunswick “The Voice of Central New Jersey” PD Bert Baron announces that the longtime news/talk station will debut a new and completely revamped on-air lineup starting Monday, August 26.  The Greater Media-owned station is making mass changes to its weekday programming, moving Baron from his two-hourbaronbert afternoon slot to morning drive, where he will host “Jersey Central with Bert Baron” from 6:00 am to 9:00 am.  Baron says his show will include “everything you need to know in New Jersey – news, sports, events, entertainment, politics, lifestyle, traffic and weather.”  Following Baron will be the Courtside Entertainment-syndicated Laura Ingraham, who moves up one hour from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.  From 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm, WCTC will carry “The Tommy G Show,” the first time a terrestrial radio station will simulcast a daily internet radio show in New Jersey.  “Tommy G is very unique and brings a Jersey angle to what is happening here.  He’s a radio name with a great presence in the market.  He gets Jersey,” says Baron.  Tommy G, who was also named to this year’s TALKERS magazine Frontier 50 – A Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters – tommygtells TALKERS his show is “all about New Jersey and what Jerseyans are talking about,” and says his show could change the face of local talk radio.  “I’m introducing ‘syndi-local’ to talk radio and consulting others on the process, showing thatingrahamlaura companies can save money while talent can build their own business and brands.  It’s a win-win,” says Tommy G, who will be joined on Mondays by the New York Times best-selling author of “The Soprano State,” Bob Ingle.  Following Tommy G and replacing the syndicated Mancow is another new show hosted by longtime New York metro area talent Steve Malzberg.  Malzberg’s show is syndicated by Newsmax, and will be carried live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Says Baron, “Steve is a name in the area,” and despite being a national show, it’s expected Malzberg will discuss “a fair amount of local and regional news and topics.”  From 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, WCTC, which is the flagship malzbergstevestation for Rutgers University sports, debuts “BTN Live,” a sports talk show about the Big Ten, the NCAA conference Rutgers begins competing in this fall.  Baron, who along with Tommy G, is well known for his community involvement, says he believes the changes are not only necessary but that stations must embrace how local content will make them stronger.  “We will be much more local in our approach to serving our listeners – from our shows to remote (broadcasts) and our community involvement.  For us it will be cost effective.  We will make noise in the radio landscape.”

feinburgtoddTodd Feinburg Subs in Boston and Louisville.  Boston-based talk show host Todd Feinburg is filling in for WBZ-AM, Boston’s Dan Rea on the evening program tonight and tomorrow (8-22/23).  Next week he’ll be heard 829 miles away on Clear Channel’s WHAS, Louisville sitting in hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot on both Thursday and Friday, August 29 and 30.  The multi-faceted Feinburg spent many years working full time at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston.

wiplogoWIP-FM, Philadelphia Announces Howie Roseman Show.  CBS Radio sports talk outlet “SportsRadio 94 WIP” is announcing Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman will make weekly appearances on the afternoon drive show with Anthony Gargano – accompanied by Eagles play-by-play voice Merrill Reese – every Monday from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm live at Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia.  The station states, “In addition to discussing each week’s game with Gargano and Reese, Roseman will take calls and talk with fans on site at Chickie’s and Pete’s.  The show is the first of its kind.  It is the only live weekly interactive radio show with an NFL general manager.  The show, sponsored by Miller Lite, can be heard live on 94WIP, online at www.cbsphilly.com and via the Radio.com application for a variety of mobile devices.  The show will debut on Tuesday, September 3 due to the Labor Day holiday and be heard on Tuesday, September 10 due to the Eagles-Redskins Monday Night Football debut on September 9.  From 5:30 pm to 6:00 pm a leading Eagles player will join the show each week.

mohrtysonHangin’ with Mike Tyson.  Fox Sports Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jay Mohr (l) poses for a shot with former boxer Mike Tyson (r) in the Fox Sports Radio studios in Los Angeles.  Tyson visited Mohr’s program to talk about his life after boxing, being a dad and much more.  They also chatted about a recent run-in at a frozen yogurt shop, as well as Tyson’s upcoming FOX Sports 1 cable TV show, “Being Mike Tyson.”

losttrailersCountry Act The Lost Trailers Cuts Custom Theme Music for Dial Global’s “Sunday Night Football.”  The theme music to Dial Global’s “Sunday Night Footbal” this season is a tweaked version of The Lost Trailers’ single “It’s Goin’ Down Tonight” that features football highlights, sound bites and customized lyrics.  The company announces, “The new theme music, performed by The Lost Trailers and powered by Early Shares Music, will debut during the first regular season NFL broadcast on Thursday, September 5 which kicks off at 8:00 p.m. ET.  The highly anticipated season opener between the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos will feature Kevin Harlan and Boomer Esiason behind the microphones.”  The band’s founding member Stokes Nielson states, “We are truly excited to be a part of the NFL broadcasts on Dial Global.  We are huge sports fans and we can’t wait to help the announcers kick off every Sunday night game, because it’s goin’ down tonight, every Sunday night, all over America!”   The band previously collaborated with Dial Global Sports, customizing their top 10 single “Holler Back” for the network’s opening montage in Super Bowl XLIII.

Bradley Manning Verdict/Gender Issues, OK Thrill Kill Case, Averted Georgia School Shooting, NSA Surveillance Program, U.S.-Egypt Tensions, Syria Chemical Weapons Allegations and ObamaCare Implementation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/21).  The 35-year sentence handed to Bradley Manning and his desire to begin gender change procedures; the case of three Oklahoma teens suspected of slaying Australian college baseball player Christopher Lane; a Georgia School staffer talks an armed man out of firing and averts a tragedy; the scope of the NSA surveillance program; the U.S. policy regarding Egypt; allegations Syria is using chemical weapons against citizens; and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

| August 15, 2013

wolfejasonBoston Shocker: Jason Wolfe To Exit Entercom, Boston. Twenty-two years ago, a then 24-year-old Jason Wolfe joined WEEI-AM, Boston’s first fulltime sports operation. As the greater-Boston native (Sharon, Massachusetts) writes today on his Facebook page, he “could not have been more excited” to work “on the blank canvas” he had in front of him. It was announced today that the vice president of programming and operations of Entercom, Boston sports WEEI AM & FM and talk WRKO is leaving the company. Entercom, Boston vice president/market manager Jeff Brown states that Wolfe not only “defined sports talk radio in Boston, but nationally as well,” adding, “There are very few people who have influenced an industry like Jason has. From his work with the Jimmy Fund [a charity that supports adult and pediatric cancer care/research at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute] and the Red Sox‘s historic championship run to WRKO’s engagement with politics, Jason’s behind-the-scenes work has made an impact few people will ever understand.” Syracuse University alum Wolfe reflects that his involvement in WEEI’s growth “has been a tremendous honor. WEEI went from a single radio station to a regional sports network and added a world-class digital platform. Today, it is one of the biggest radio brands in any format, anywhere in the country.” Wolfe notes that four-time Marconi Award-winner WEEI was, “#1 for six straight years through the fall of 2008.” Boston’s competitive radio landscape changed four years ago though when CBS Radio introduced WBZ-FM as “The Sports Hub,” giving WEEI a strong head-to-head challenger. Changes have followed at WEEI, including the recent departure of longtime afternoon drive co-host Glenn Ordway. In the 22 years Wolfe spent at WEEI, he chronicles that, “The Red Sox won two World Series; the Patriots won three Super Bowls and went to two others; the Celtics won one championship and went to a second NBA Final; and the Bruins won a Stanley Cup and returned to the Final this season.” Regarding his farewell from Entercom, a graciously philosophical Wolfe acknowledges on Facebook that, “This is a business and companies are always looking ahead to decide what’s best for their future. Entercom has an obligation to do what is in [its] best interest. I respect and accept that. I am thankful to everyone at Entercom for all they have done to support me. I wish them all the best in the future. It’s now time for me to move on and begin the next chapter of my career.” Word regarding a successor to Wolfe is expected to be announced soon.

TalkersRadio logo_200TALKERS Magazine Set to Launch TalkersRadio on Tuesday September 10.  After several months of technical testing and initial talent scouting, TALKERS magazine announces that it will be officially launching its experimental online talk radio station initiative  – TalkersRadio – on Tuesday September 10TalkersRadio is a 24/7/365 streaming spoken-word internet radio station that will be available to listeners on the trade publication’s website, www.talkers.com as well as TuneIn and will feature a unique brand of stationality that, as publisher Michael Harrison describes, “views the world through the lens of the talk media industry and expresses a love of the art of the medium, its participants and its listeners for their own sake.”  TalkersRadio’s mission will be to serve as 1) a laboratory for interesting new concepts and talent in talk; 2) a farm system to help develop deserving up-and-comers; 3) a real-time stage for talent to audition for specific jobs and opportunities; 4) a platform for “bridge shows” - a new device by which suddenly terminated AM/FM talk show hosts can do a series of final shows to say goodbye to their listeners and/or announce their upcoming plans within a radio show context; 5) a vehicle for “orphan shows” – programs that do not conveniently fit into prevailing AM/FM station format categories; 6) a showcase for new and adventurous programming concepts and ideas; and 7) a medium to exclusively broadcast TALKERS magazine live events. During the test period, TalkersRadio successfully broadcasted the entire Talkers New York 2013 live in June as well as “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations.”   TalkersRadio will also carry several regularly scheduled programs to give it, as Harrison describes, “the feel and consistency” of a real radio station…. But Harrison adds, “It won’t get hung up on its lineup.  These regularly scheduled shows will be more like ‘limited engagement’ runs of a show at a theater than forever-entities to which the station will be married and by which it will be defined.”  Some of these will be talk shows about the industry but most will just be talk shows about life and its endless spectrum of topics in general.  “The key,” according to Harrison, “is most of the programming will be of the types that are unavailable elsewhere…or at least YET unavailable. We most certainly want to get things rolling that will then go on to much bigger platforms in the business.”  TalkersRadio has been in development for the past year and a half and is a joint project between TALKERS parent company Talk Media, Inc. and Westborough, Massachusetts-based communications firm Backbone Networks Corporation.  It is featuring the leading-edge concept in broadcasting technology developed by Backbone (the system currently in place at the recently-launched Boston Herald Radio) that makes it extremely convenient and affordable for talk show hosts and organizations looking to “set up their own online sticks” to do a fully produced program – with live callers and guests – from an amazingly simple technical remote and portable set up.  According to Harrison, “Our partners at Backbone are technical wizards.  Having them power this operation gives us the flexibility and means to really make a significant contribution to talk radio as both a cultural art form and a 21st century-rooted business — the ongoing mission of TALKERS magazine.”  Look for information about the initial programming set for TalkersRadio being posted on Talkers.com this week and next beginning with the following story.

studentrobbieNoted Pop Music Producer and Talk Show Maverick Robbie Student Signs on to Host Midday Show on TalkersRadio.  As TalkersRadio prepares its official launch on Tuesday September 10, the experimental internet talk station’s general manager David Bernstein announces the signing of emerging talk radio personality Robbie Student to serve as host of his own charter talk show on the station which will air live weekday afternoons between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm ET.  “Robbie Student” is the talk radio air name (although “Student” is his legitimate family name from an earlier generation) of noted record industry music producer and impresario Rob Stevens who, among his numerous credits, has executive produced (with Ms. Ono) all 10 of Yoko Ono’s recent number one hit singles in the burgeoning field of EDM (electronic dance music).  Bernstein says, “In his ‘daytime’ gig as Rob Stevens, this amazingly interesting guy has worked with some of the biggest name artists in rock and pop including Red Hot Chili Peppers and other greats and brings a pop culture sensibility to news/talk radio with a level of comfort for which others have reached but few have grasped.”  Frontier Fifty member Robbie Student came to the attention of Bernstein and TALKERS management last year while hosting a daily program on the fledgling internet stream of WOR, New York when it was still owned by Buckley Broadcasting.  Bernstein says, “It was amazing – whenever this guy was on the WOR stream, the internet metrics took a huge jump.  He consistently had more listeners online than some of the biggest players in AM/FM radio who were on at the same time.  Things like that stand out.  Most importantly, Robbie Student is just plain different.  He brings a no-nonsense, everyman approach to the mic and talks with great intelligence and insight about everything from music, television and movies to independent politics, economics, parenting, education and psychology – all with an enlightening level of evolved consciousness.  We are so pleased to let him run wild a couple of hours a day on this baby radio station and see where it goes.”  Student has a degree in Philosophy from Columbia University and has done significant community work in his home-town New York City with youth basketball programs helping kids from diverse backgrounds reach their goals.  More new signings for TalkersRadio will be announced tomorrow and next week.  For more information about TalkersRadio call 413-565-5413.  GM David Bernstein can be emailed at david@talkers.com.

PodcastOneAbacast LogoCourtside Entertainment Group’s PodcastOne Links Up With Abacast. The objective is to have Abacast‘s Clarity Digital Radio System place customized commercials for PodcastOne clients in specific markets. Among other things, the system provides campaign management, audience metrics and delivery for live and on-demand digital audio programming. Courtside Entertainment Group chairman/chief executive officer Norm Pattiz remarks, “This is another example of taking advantage of the latest technology to pattizprovide services that advertisers expect. This is consistent with our promise to have the best-targeted ad solution in an industry poised for rapid growth.” Abacast’s integrated service will be released in the fourth quarter and chief executive officer Rob Green notes that his company is, “making a commitment to podcasting by extending the Clarity Digital Radio System to the podcasting market.  We couldn’t be happier to be chosen by PodcastOne.” Introduced this past February, audio-on-demand PodcastOne hosts roughly 200 podcasts by, among others, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Jay Mohr, Adam Carolla, Steve Austin, Penn Jillette, Dennis Miller, Laura Ingraham, and Tom Green.  Norm Pattiz will be a featured speaker at the forthcoming Talkers Los Angeles 2013 set for Thursday October 10.  The event, open only to members of the working media, is nearing a sellout.  For more information or to register, call 413-565-5413.

smulyansmartphoneSprintSprint To Begin Installing NextRadio Application. It will transpire over the next few years and enables consumers to listen to local radio stations on their smartphones. Sprint‘s HTC One and HTC EVO 4G LTE models will be the first models with the app. NextRadio is Sprint’s smartphone app that delivers an interactive artist and ad experience to FM-enabled smartphones. Data for the application is supplied by TagStation, the cloud-based engine that offers stations the ability to upload branding images that display as default artwork in the NextRadio app, as well as call letters, format, station name, and slogan. Major and vocal proponent all along is Emmis chairman/chief executive officer Jeff Smulyan who declares the announcement is, “a credit to the entire radio industry, which has unified to make this happen. We set a new course as an industry, one that will bring exciting audience and advertiser engagement opportunities.” Emmis chief technology officer Paul Brenner is president of NextRadio, LLC and he explains that, “Whether the station is large market, medium market, small market, commercial or non-commercial, this free service will provide listeners with a visual radio listening experience. Radio stations no longer have to add the cost of internet streaming to get local FM radio on a mobile device.” Smulyan notes more than 1,500 stations signed up for TagStation’s free services; thousands more are expected following today’s news. Beasley, CBS Radio, Entercom, Greater Media, and Hubbard registered for additional services through TagStation. “Passionate, insightful vision of industry leaders like Jeff Smulyan helped to make this prospect a reality,” comments New Jersey Broadcasters Association president/chief executive officer Paul Rotella. “We will continue to support initiatives that promote the precious value of radio.” Also endorsing the concept of FM receivers in smartphones are The Radio Advertising Bureau and National Association of Broadcasters.

 ArbitronNielsenIs The Arbitron-Nielsen Transaction Hitting A Snag? The Federal Trade Commission reportedly wants more information before it decides whether to approve the $1.26 billion deal, whereby Nielsen would acquire Arbitron. It was believed the okay was further along in the process, however, The New York Post reports that the FTC is calling for additional particulars from television station owners affected by a potential Nielsen-Arbitron merger. Roughly two weeks ago, Nielsen officials felt that by the end of this month, they would have a good grasp of where the situation stood, but former New York assistant attorney general-antitrust lawyer Sally Hubbard tells The Post that, if the FTC is, “still currently talking to sources, it does make you wonder.” It was last December when Nielsen revealed it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Arbitron for $48-per-share, however, the FTC several months later stymied the proposed union of the two ratings behemoths. On a call with investors, Nielsen chief executive officer David Calhoun said the company had complied with the FTC’s latest concern and he flatly states, “It is on them to come back to us.” Calhoun is optimistic this deal will be approved, in that, he says the companies operate in different media sectors. Once companies comply with such FTC requests, the commission has 30 days to complete its review and take action.

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hrt large 200Arbitron Releases “Hispanic Radio Today 2013.” Approximately 95% of Hispanic consumers in the United States tune to the radio in an average week and Arbitron summarizes those listening habits throughout a comprehensive 84-page overview. Numerous colorful charts, graphs, and tables are featured, with a ranking of formats by Hispanic audience share especially interesting. Stats are based on Hispanic audience share, Monday-Sunday, 6:00 am – midnight, AQH Hispanic Persons 12+, from spring 2012. As one might expect regional Mexican is a dominant #1 (19.2%) followed by Spanish Contemporary (10.7%). Three English-language music formats are next: CHR (9.8%), rhythmic CHR (7.7%); and adult contemporary (6.1%). Spanish adult hits is #6 (5.9%), but then come hot AC (4.0%); country (3.5%); classic hits (3.5%); and news-talk (3.3%) rounds out the top ten. The remaining seven formats in this particular breakout are: Spanish tropical (3.1%); classic rock (2.2%); Spanish news-talk (1.9%); Spanish variety (1.0%); Spanish religious (.9%); Tejano (.9%); and Spanish sports (.3%). In addition to Arbitron audience data for each format, “Hispanic Radio Today 2013″ features Scarborough consumer profiles. The full study is available exclusively to Arbitron clients.

raylizBuckley Brings in Ray as California Marketing Manager. It is a new position for Buckley Radio‘s California-based properties. Working from Fresno at the company’s rhythmic CHR KSEQ “Q 97,” Liz Ray will help oversee sales and marketing for sibling stations in Monterey, Bakersfield, and Merced. Buckley Radio president Joe Bilotta comments, “We are looking to partner with the advertising community in a joint effort to insure a respectable return-on-investment when they work with us. Liz will greatly assist and direct these efforts.” Executive vice president – west coast Kathy Baker remarks, “Liz Ray has an extensive 27-year sales, sales management background in the broadcasting industry and she has an outstanding reputation. We are thrilled to have her on-board.” Most recently, Ray was general sales manager of Fresno adult contemporary KJWL and that market’s KYNO-AM, when it was talk. She previously was local sales manager for the Fresno Bee. 

malikbreeannaClear Channel Moves Malik From San Antonio To Houston as VP/Sales. Transitioning from her role as president of the company’s cluster of stations in its San Antonio home base, Breeanna Malik becomes vice president of sales for the six stations that comprise Clear Channel, Houston. Clear Channel senior vice president of operations Kelly Kibler Owens observes, “Houston is a thriving market. Breeanna brings unique strategic insight, while also keeping many of her client relationships intact within Texas.” Clear Channel, Houston president/market manager Eddie Martiny notes, “Breeanna’s performance in San Antonio has been absolutely outstanding and we are excited to have her lead our sales efforts in Houston.” Malik comments that her “true passion is leading sales organizations” and “building new client partnerships through Clear Channel’s integrated multi-platform programs.” Prior to becoming Clear Channel, San Antonio market president last October, Malik was director of sales and general sales manager there.

Rotoworld 200NBC Sports Radio 125Rotoworld Becomes NBC Sports Radio’s Fantasy Sports Information Brand. Fantasy sports participation has grown more than 60% in the past four years. Estimates are that more than 35 million people in the United States and Canada actively engage in some form of this activity. The Rotoword-NBC Sports Radio union brings player updates and information, live interviews, and on-demand programming to rabid fantasy sports fans. On-demand specialty shows will be hosted by NBC Sports Radio (a joint venture between NBC Sports Group and Dial Dial Global 125Global) anchor/Rotoworld contributor Kay Adams, who appears weekly on NBC Sports Network’s “Fantasy Football Live – Thursday Night.” In addition to being Dial Global’s executive vice president/general manager sports programming, Chris Corcoran is a fantasy fan/player and he comments, “Rotoworld has always been my go-to fantasy source for news and information – I couldn’t be more excited to welcome this partnership. Our exclusive programming will help feed this extremely loyal fantasy fan base.” NBC Sports Digital/Rotoworld director of fantasy content Brett Vandermark remarks, “This is a natural extension for Rotoworld, as sports radio has long been a popular platform for fantasy sports players. This agreement allows fantasy players to access Rotoworld on virtually every platform.” Dial Global chief executive officer Paul Caine adds, “This [Rotoworld] partnership elevates our digital presence to a whole new level.” Programming begins the week after next (8/26). It will include interviews on NBC Sports Radio throughout the NFL season with Rotoworld writers and talent. Two 60-minute NFL-related fantasy shows per week (Tuesdays and Fridays) will be available on the NBC Sports Radio on-demand network.

SunStardome 100Sun To Serve As CNN en Espanol Radio and Fox Deportes Radio’s Ad Sales Rep. The national sales representation agreement between Sun Broadcast Group and Stardome Radio Networks commences immediately; partnership between Stardome and new generation national broadcast network Sun expands Spanish products offered by Sun’s Spanish Language Division, Sun Latino. According to Sun’s chief executive officer Jason Bailey, SBG’s goal has “always been to be the leader in offering top quality programming” to its affiliate and agency partners. “This partnership with Stardome and the addition of CNN en Espanol Radio and Fox Deportes Radio to our sales lineup are clear examples of our continued commitment to the powerful U.S. CNN 100Fox Deportes 100Hispanic market.” Stardome Radio Networks managing director/chief executive officer Anthony Hernandez comments, “The Sun Broadcast Group team has demonstrated that they represent a growing trend of highly specialized network advertising sellers. The selection of Sun Broadcast Group to focus on selling U.S. ad sales inventory was a strategic move to focus and pair our network radio sales products with specific partners with specialized areas of proficiency.”

elleranneewcrs 2South Carolina Broadcasters Association Bestows Show of the Year STAR Award to “Meet Me at the Diner.” Hosted by WCRS-AM, Greenwood, South Carolina owner Anne Eller, the daily 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm program features interviews with personalities having local, statewide, or national interest. Victors were announced at a combination dinner/presentation ceremony this past Saturday (8/10) at Columbia’s Metropolitan Convention Center. This was WCRS’ first-ever entry; no first timer had won the category before. In addition to owning WCRS-AM and doing the daily “Meet Me at the Diner” program, Eller is a regular South Carolina Radio News contributor.

Talkers LA 2013_125_62413Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Nearing Sellout – More Speakers Named to Agenda. The third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention set for Thursday, October 10 is shaping up to be a blockbuster.  The gathering is already closing in on being an advance sellout some seven weeks before the event so it is advisable for media professionals interested in attending to register now.  It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm.  TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are very enthusiastic about the growth and positive impact of this Southern California gathering.  It started out three years ago as an experimental LA regional get-together and blossomed into an exciting companion to our big New York convention.”  The event - open only to members of the working media – will feature a power-packed day of panel discussions, keynote addresses, special presentations, technology and services exhibits, tremendous networking opportunities and abundant food and refreshments lavishly catered by the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company (lunch is sponsored by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity who will address the attendees from New York).  Speakers already set now include (in alphabetical order):  David Bernstein, GM, TalkersRadio;  Robin Bertolucci, PD, KFI, Los Angeles; Phil Boyce, VP spoken word format, Salem Communications; Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS; Bill Carroll, host, KFI, Los Angeles; Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Holland Cooke, radio consultant; Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Erica Farber,CEO/president, RAB;  Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD/WYM Media; Phil Hendrie, WYD Media; Rusty Humphries, host, Talk Radio Network;  Frank Kramer, morning co-host (Heidi & Frank), KLOS, Los Angeles/founder of Toad Hop Network;  Mike Kinosian, managing editor, TALKERS; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Leykis, president, The New Normal; Andy Ludlum, director of news programming, KNX/KFWB, Los Angeles; Leslie Marshall, WYM Management; Don Martin, senior VP sports programming, Fox Sports Radio/Clear Channel Media and Entertainment; Kevin McCullough, CEO, XtreMedia; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News; Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment/Podcast One; Chris Pendl, creative director, Bonneville Seattle; Walter Sabo, CEO, Sabo Media; Eric Stanger, VP of operations and affiliate marketing, The Sean Hannity Show/Premiere Networks; Alan Stock, host, KDWN, Las Vegas; Chuck Tyler, PD, KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles; Paul Vandenburgh, president/GM/host, WGDJ, Albany; Bill White, PD, KQTH-FM/KFFN-AM/FM, Tucson  and Michael Zwerling, owner, KSCO, Santa Cruz with many more and complete agenda details to be announced in the coming days.  The latest broadcasting equipment and remote gear will be on display as presented by Broadcasters General Store and Comrex Corporation. Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone and, AGAIN the event is approaching  a very early sellout which is projected to happen within about a week.  So don’t wait – avoid being shut out. For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413.

AFFILIATE ROUNDUP. Free Talk Live Adds WCKG, Chicago to Affiliate Roster.  Free Talk Live (FTL) is now heard live every weeknight on Chicago’s WCKG-AM.  FTL co-hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge tell TALKERS, “It’s a major addition to our affiliate lineup and it’s great to be on live in such a big market.  Thanks to station manager Matt Dubiel for making it happen.  We’re excited!”  That along with several other new stations brings the maverick show out of New Hampshire that has become a staple of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred up to a total of 125.  New ones include: WBAT-AM, Marion, IN; KENT-AM, Parowan, UT; WRSB-AM, Canandaigua, NY; WASB-AM, Bridgeport, NY, W286AE-FM, Fairport, NY, and WNZS-AM, Bangor, ME.  Also, existing affiliate WAVH-FM, Mobile, AL has expanded FTL to weeknight overnights and existing affiliate WGAN-AM, Portland, ME has added a simulcast on WMGX-HD2.

Monday, July 29, 2013

| July 29, 2013

bostonheraldradio logoBoston Herald Radio Launches August 5 at 6:00 am ET.  The concept of the full-blown, digital-age “media station” predicted and described for the past decade by Michael Harrison and other radio industry visionaries will be taking a giant leap toward coming to fruition at 6:00 am ET on August 5.  The Boston Herald newspaper is unveiling its ambitious new initiative “Boston Herald Radio” – a Boston-centric news/talk/sports radio station that will begin its life as a venue for four live three-hour shows running weekdays from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm.  These programs include:

katzjeffspeaks-          6:00 am to 9:00 am – “Live from the Newsroom with Jeff Katz” (Katz is a well-known talk industry personality most recently heard in Boston on WRKO and Talk 1200.)

-          9:00 am to 12:00 noon – “Morning Meeting with Jaclyn Cashman and Hillary Chabot” (Cashman is a former Springfield, MA TV anchor/reporter and multimedia consultant and Chabot is the chief political reporter with the Boston Herald.)

-          12:00 noon to 3:00 pm – “The Michael Graham Show” (Graham is a former WTKK host and current Boston Herald op-ed grahammichaelcolumnist.)

-          3:00 pm to 6:00 pm – “Sports Town with Jon Meterparel and Jen Royle” (Meterparel is a former WEEI personality and current Boston College play-by-play announcer and Royle is an Emmy-award winning Major League Baseball reporter, TV/radio host.)

This will be the first news/sports/talk radio platform in the Boston market backed up by a full multimedia newsroom under the brand of a major newspaper and one of a handful of such operations beginning to pop up around the country.  News reports will be provided capalboshattuckthroughout the broadcast day by Boston Herald editors and reporters.  Feature elements will include Boston Herald music, TV, movie reviews, political and business reports, style and food segments as well as live reports from staff reporters who travel with all four major teams and provide extensive high school sports coverage.  The stream will be managed by Backbone Networks (the same company working on the forthcoming mid-August launch of TalkersRadio) and carried by Tune In as well its home base on the Boston Herald website and its mobile news and sports apps.  The shows will be streamed from a studio adjacent to the Boston Herald newsroom.  The studio team includes executive producer Tom Shattuck (formerly of WRKO and WTKK) and two part-time producers (Shattuck pictured at right, is here with Backbone Networks VP of engineering development George Capalbo, at left).  Boston Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca tells TALKERS, “Consumers want news and information that is mobile, and they want to be active participants connecting and collaborating on the issues of the day, not passive receptors being lectured to.  That is our mission in print, online, in video presentations and now Boston Herald Radio.”  Sciacca adds, “I see myself not as a newspaper editor but as the leader of a news organization that creates high-quality, original content for use across platforms — whether it is print, web or broadcast.”   According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who was writing and speaking about the potential of newspaper websites providing radio broadcasters with powerful platforms to operate on the internet as long as 10 years ago,  “This amazing development in Boston marks the tipping point in the evolution of the digital-age news and entertainment platform.  The brilliant and obvious idea of newspapers and radio stations rubbing their two sticks together (literally and figuratively) will send sparks flying that will potentially proliferate into a  21st century ‘media station’ wildfire.  By ‘media station’ I mean an online platform that has the cultural stationality of a radio station, a television station, a newspaper and a magazine combined – all in one location – fueled and synergized by the combined resources of each.”  Harrison maintains that the internet alone is not a practical platform.  He says, “By itself, the internet has no form, no definition and no prestige, similarly neither do the so called ‘airwaves’ of 20th century audio and video media.  The key is to build prestigious, well-defined platforms that will sail across the internet — the way ships, yachts and ocean liners sail the seas and the way glorious theaters give Broadway its pizzazz or great stadiums separate the big leagues from sandlot baseball.  If an actor, dancer or musician is performing ‘on Broadway,’ that could mean they are doing their act on the stage of the Winter Garden or on the sidewalk in front of the Winter Garden.  It is the same thing with the internet.  Prestigious, well-resourced platforms give you a place to put the key to monetization: a box office!”  Walter Sabo, CEO of the New York City-based consultancy firm Sabo Media (whose clients have included SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Parade magazine and numerous leading radio firms and talent), says, “When Jeff Katz or Michael Graham are on the air doing their shows in a studio right next to the Boston Herald newsroom, they will be one door away from an-in house news gathering and processing operation that employs hundreds of journalists.  This is a brilliant move!”  Sabo adds that his firm has been developing a new division for the past several months that will specialize in advising newspapers in executing this kind of move, stating, “I have been hearing from a number of publications – dailies and weeklies – that are very interested in pursuing these exciting new opportunities, but they realize that they not only need people with on-air broadcast experience, but people who have broadcasting management insight as well.  The Boston Herald was smart to hire Tom Shattuck.”  Summing up the synergy aspect of his new media station, Boston Herald editor-in-chief Sciacca tells TALKERS, “Our multimedia reporters are producing award-winning purcellsciaccavideo reports every day, producing broadcast-quality segments with compelling interviews and streaming content.  Is this a TV newsroom?  An online newsroom?  A radio station?  A newspaper?  It’s today’s Boston Herald.”  He continues, “The power of Boston Herald Radio when it comes to breaking news will be incredible.  Listeners can be confident they will be not only engaged and entertained by our talk shows, but will be insiders on breaking news in real time.”  Boston  Herald publisher and president Patrick J. Purcell (pictured at left with Joe Sciacca, right, in the Boston Herald newsroom) says, “Internet radio is exploding and it makes sense that the Herald rounds out our multimedia platform with talk radio programming.  It’s perfect synergy.  Boston Herald Radio will be fast-paced, uncensored, entertaining, completely interactive and, most important, very respectful to our listeners.  We have a terrific team of seasoned hosts who are smart, respected and extremely versatile.  They live in our communities and fully understand and appreciate the complexities of issues folks care about.”

sabowalterMemo to Newspapers on the Verge of Launching Radio Stations on Their Websites:  Do it Correctly!  Noted radio consultant Walter Sabo is no stranger to working in the intersection between print media and talk radio.  In a new advice column posted today (7/29), he offers several key points from a list of essential ingredients that are required for talk-oriented media stations based on publication websites to achieve success and longevity.  He advises newspaper executives to hire experienced radio executives to lead the station as well as seasoned, accomplished talk hosts to execute it.  He suggests protecting and growing the brand by taking advantage of the traffic already on the website and creating programming that delivers topics in which newspaper readers are already interested.  Most of all, understand that talk show hosts are like newspaper columnists – more so than reporters.  Listeners realize this and do not expect the spoken word of opinion to mimic the printed word of editorial fact and objectivity.  To read Walter Sabo’s entire piece, please click here.

cumulusAnother Report of a Cumulus Split from Limbaugh and Hannity.  We’ve heard these rumors before about Cumulus Media dropping Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and the latest comes from Politico.  The mag reports that inside sources say Cumulus is not satisfied with the results of negotiations to reduce the cost of airing the Limbaugh and Hannity programs on their 40-some news/talk stations that carry them.  Both contracts reportedly are limbaughrushup at the end of this year.  As most industry insiders are aware, there are cash considerations as well as inventory that airs outside the actual programs associated with carrying Limbaugh and Hannity and that, presumably, is what the bone ofhannitysean contention is.  Politico does report that a Cumulus spokesperson said the company does not comment on negotiations with talent under contract.  Cumulus holds its Q2 conference call tomorrow morning but don’t hold your breath waiting for Lew Dickey to comment on the Limbaugh/Hannity issue.  The tone of the Politico piece makes it sound as though this is about the politics of Limbaugh and Hannity and whether the “Sandra Fluke case” is still haunting the sales efforts.  If that were the case, negotiations over the cost of the programs would be irrelevant.  Ultimately, the Dickeys’ decision will likely be based upon whether they make enough money off of Limbaugh and Hannity to justify the cost while considering what the company could do with personalities such as Michael Savage, Mark Levin and Mike Huckabee to cover the time slots now held by Limbaugh and Hannity.

millerchrisThe Social Media Trick You Don’t Know You Know.  Although the term “call to action” has a slightly different application in broadcasting than it does in social media, it is increasingly growing in importance as a concept to managing content in the digital arena.  In a new column posted today (7/29), noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller says that radio broadcasters can apply “call to action” concepts with which they are very familiar from their broadcasting experience to social media with merely a few tweaks and turns of a phrase.  To read Miller’s entire column, please click here.

kjce-am logoEntercom Splits KJCE-AM/FM, Austin Simulcast; New Lineup for KJCE-AM.  The FM side of Entercom’s KJCE, Austin becomes an urban AC outlet as the new “96 R&B” featuring Premiere NetworksSteve Harvey in morning drive.  KJCE-AM remains news/talk as “News Radio 1370” with some additions to the lineup, returning Talk Radio Network’s “America’s Morning News.”  Entercom Austin vice president and market manager Alan Kirshbom states, “By bringing back ‘America’s Morning News’ from 5:00 am to 8:00 am and moving Courtside Entertainment’s Laura Ingraham to live programming from 8:00 am to 11:00 am, KJCE once again proves it is Austin’s and Texas’ Talk Station.”  The station is also bringing back Dial Global’s Dennis Miller to air from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm followed by Dave Ramsey and Premiere NetworksSean Hannity.

kroi logoRadio One’s All-News KROI, Houston Partner with KHOU-TV for Weather.  Radio One all-news “News 92 FM” announces a partnership with CBS TV O&O “KHOU 11” for the latter to provide weather for KROI.  Radio One regional vice president Doug Abernethy states, “Why compete with the best when you can team up with the best?  KHOU 11 has built a stellar reputation as a local weather leader in Houston and we are thrilled to welcome KHOU 11 and their outstanding meteorologists to join our 24-hour ‘News 92 FM’ team to provide our audience the best, most accurate, up-to-the-minute weather coverage.”

michaelsbillSyndicated Bill Michaels Sports Talk Program Adds Madison.  Based at Entercom sports talk WSSP, Milwaukee, the statewide syndicated Bill Michaels program announces it will add Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s WOZN-AM, Madison “The Zone” beginning August 8.  The midday sports talk show airs live from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and is in its second year of syndication.  “We’re delighted to welcome another Mid-West Family Broadcasting station to the Bill Michaels Sports Network,” says Michael Keck, vice president and market manager for Entercom Wisconsin.  “Bill’s enthusiasm and talent is contagious and that’s a big reason we continue to grow.”  Michaels comments, “This is a dream come true.  I feel like I’m now able to reach all Wisconsin sports fans.  I’m anxious to connect with the strong sports fan base that is represented in Mad-town.”

jacksonkevin‘The Black Sphere’ Radio Show Gaining Traction.  The Kevin Jackson-hosted “Black Sphere Radio Show” announces it adds WEZO, Augusta, Georgia to its list of affiliate stations.  Earlier this year the program added Salem Communications’ WGUL and WLSS in the Tampa-St. Petersburg and Sarasota markets.  Program senior producer Mickey White says, “Kevin is gaining in popularity and we will be adding markets and new sponsors in the very near future.  Kevin’s blend of entertainment with politics is getting lots of attention.  We are in talks with stations across the country, including some large market stations in Nevada, Colorado and California and we expect to make a lot of big announcements in the near future.”

rhodesaustinMan Arrested After Threatening WGAC, Augusta’s Austin Rhodes.  A 25-year old Augusta, Georgia man was taken into custody last week and held on $2,600 bond after allegedly threatening WGAC, Augusta talk show host Austin Rhodes with bodily harm.  After Darnell Tyray Chambers made what Rhodes considered a threatening statement about him on Facebook, he reported the threat as per Beasley Broadcast Group company policy.  According to the Columbia County News-Times, police arrested Chambers on charges of making terroristic threats and acts.

handel20yearsKFI, Los Angeles Celebrates 20 Years of Bill Handel.  Clear Channel news/talk giant KFI, Los Angeles is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Bill Handel as the morning drive talk personality on the station.  Handel began hosting the program in July of 1993 but the station says it will officially celebrate the anniversary with an extravaganza for listeners in November but on Friday, July 26, Rich Marotta, Michelle Kube, Mike Nolan, Neil Saavedra and Gary Hoffmann reminisced about their favorite Handel moments during the 5:00 am hour of the program.  To say that Handel is important to the station’s success would be an understatement.  Handel is consistently one of the highest-rated daily talk radio programs in the country in terms of cume.

Monday, July 8, 2013

| July 8, 2013

manleytoddWGN, Chicago Names Todd Manley VP/Creative Content.  Todd Manley recently held the same title at CBS Radio’s crosstown triple A WXRT.  Now he comes to Tribune’s news/talk WGN with the title vice president/creative content.  This isn’t his first gig with Tribune, having been production director and creative director at the company from 1998 through 2008.  His programming experience also includes a term as PD at KTRS, St. Louis.  WGN still has not named a program director for the station after letting programming pro Bill White go shortly after the arrival of Jimmy de Castro as the station’s president and general manager in late May.

kleinaaronAaron Klein Does Weekly WABC, New York Show Despite Laryngitis. Not unlike a gimpy football player who takes to the field on game day even though his leg is in bad shape, Israel-based journalist and talk show host Aaron Klein didn’t let a case of acute laryngitis keep him off of WABC, New York last night (7/7).  Despite being told to rest his voice for the next two weeks, Klein couldn’t bring himself to call in sick for his popular 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm Sunday show.  He tells TALKERS, “The news cycle continues full force.  There’s a revolution in Egypt.  I read the full immigration reform bill and found some major unreported elements.  And I’ve got new information on Edward Snowden.  There’s just too much to talk about.”  Klein did give his voice a rest several times during the program by playing some previously recorded segments.

conclaveThe Conclave Special Rates Expire After Today.  The Conclave announces that the deadline for its $399 tuition for the 2013 Learning Conference taking place July 17-19 in Minneapolis has been extended to Monday, July 8.  Citing fiscal year budgets that don’t begin for many until July 1 and the conclusion of many stations’ second quarter budgets on June 30 – not to mention the recent Fourth of July holiday weekend – the Conclave Board of Directors has elected to extend the conference’s $399 tuition.  Executive director Bob Shannon says, “We received many inquiries regarding the June 30 tuition deadline, asking for it to be moved into July.  Because we want as many industry professionals, students and teachers interested in attending to be here, it was an easy call to make!”  After July 8, Conclave 38 tuition rises to its on-site rate of $499.  In addition to extending the tuition deadline, the Conclave announced that its specially priced sleeping room rate of $139 at the Doubletree Park Place Hotel would similarly be extended to those reserving rooms by Monday, July 8. After that date, any remaining Conclave rooms at the Doubletree will be offered to the general public at an increased rate.  For more on the 2013 Learning Conference, click on http://www.theconclave.com.

dial global sportsDial Global Names Three to Sports Sales Division.  Beefing up its sports sales division, Dial Global announces the hiring of Matthew Colborn as director of sports sales, West Coast; Dial Global account manager Julie Boruchov moves to the new role of director of sports sales, East Coast; and Amilia Poin assumes the role of sports coordinator.  Senior vice president/director corporate sports at Dial Global Michael Schreck boruchovjuliestates, “I’m thrilled to officially announce Matt, Julie, and Amilia in their new roles.  Collectively, they bring a tremendous amount of audio and integrated sales experience, which will supplement our already strong sports sales division and benefit our clients and marketing partners.  I look forward to working closely with Matt, who brings 15 years’ experience developing strategic ad campaigns for multiple high-profile categories.  Julie’s immeasurable knowledge of the industry coupled with success selling our sports assets and Amilia’s understanding of our sports programming have already proven to be invaluable to the success of our sports group.”  Colborn comes to Dial Global from US Interactive Media (USIM), where he was the director of client services.  Boruchov began her audio career as a sales assistant at Westwood One, moving up to sales planner and account executive.  Following Westwood One’s merger with Dial Global, Boruchov became an account manager.  Poin most recently worked in Dial Global’s traffic division where she acted as a liaison between sales and production to ensure proper placement and delivery of all commercials in Dial Global’s sports programming.

berryheadshaveTalk Host Michael Berry and Staff Help Raise $110,000 for Fisher House Foundation.  KTRH, Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry (also heard on nine other Clear Channel stations across the country) and his staff committed to shaving their heads if they were able to raise $20,000 for Fisher House Foundation.  Berry, pictured here getting his head shaved, tells TALKERS he’s proud to announce that he and his staff helped raise much more.  Prior to the Fourth of July holiday, Berry and his crew were soliciting donations to Fisher House and had hit the $50,000-mark until Russell Ybarra – owner of Gringo’s Tex-Mex and Jimmy Changa’s matched the total pushing it up to $100,000.  More donations upped the total to $110,000 and the money will help pay for a second Fisher House in the Houston area.  Fisher House provides housing for the families of American Armed Forces personnel who are being treated for injuries suffered in the line of duty so they can be near their loved ones while they recuperate.

grahammichaelMichael Graham Subs for Laura Ingraham Today and Tomorrow.  Talk pro Michael Graham sits in for Courtside Entertainment-syndicated talk show host Laura Ingraham on July 8 and 9.  Here’s an update on Graham’s work.  Graham exited Greater Media after it flipped longtime talk station WTKK, Boston to rhythmic AC earlier this year.  He’d been a host there for eight-plus years.  Shortly thereafter, he debuted his new show, “The Natural Truth” which airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daily on his creation, New England Talk Network.  Graham says, “My daily show is focused on local issues here in New England, giving local talk fans a place to speak out about everything from the Boston Marathon bombings to the Aaron Hernandez case to John Kerry‘s latest display of yachtsmanship.”  The program is currently heard on six affiliate stations: WBNW, Concord, Massachusetts; WCRN, Worcester; WPLM, Plymouth, Massachusetts; WCCM, Salem, New Hampshire; WXBR, Brockton, Massachusetts; and WESO, Southbridge, Massachusetts.  Graham, who is a frequent guest on Fox News Channel and other cable news channels and is a columnist for the Boston Herald, states, “It’s always an honor when a talk host is willing to share her audience with me.  The fact that Laura is the one of the most successful radio talk hosts in history just makes it that much more fun.”

huardbrockKIRO-AM, Seattle Sports Talker Brock Huard to Sponsor Third Annual Free Football Camp.  This Thursday, July 11, KIRO-AM, Seattle “710 ESPN” talk show host and former college and NFL star Brock Huard will participate in the third annual “Brock Huard Youth Football Camp,” where more than 150 youths, ages 8-18, will take the field at Renton Memorial Stadium.  The camp is a partnership with Sports in Schools, the station and former NFL players Dave Wyman and Damon Huard and will teach kids the value of teamwork, perseverance and hard work.  Brock Huard says, “For the third consecutive year, I’m thrilled to give back to the community that has given so much to me, and without all of our tremendous partners, none of it could happen.”

powersbillCalgary Sports Fans, Broadcasting Community Mourns Death of Bill Powers and Wife.  The Globe and Mail reports that Bill Powers’ stepson Derek Puffer has been charged with two counts of second degree murder in the death of the Calgary sports radio legend and his wife Donna.  The 71-year-old Powers, who retired in 2009, was the longtime voice of the Calgary Stampeders.  He worked as a print journalist before switching to radio.  He worked for many years at CHQR, Calgary and CKXL.

wachsbonaduceDr. Daliah and Danny Bonaduce.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs is pictured here with radio and television star Danny Bonaduce.  Dr. Wachs met up with Bonaduce while on her annual cruise – this time to Alaska – with listeners.  Wachs and her group enjoyed the opportunity to sit at the captain’s table, get a private tour of the bridge and more.  She says of meeting Bonaduce, “We were happy to know we were mutual fans. LOL!!!”

Thursday, June 27, 2013

| June 27, 2013

dahlsteveSteve Dahl and Garry Meier to Be Inducted into National Radio Hall of Fame.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that the Chicago-located National Radio Hall of Fame is announcing the class of 2013 feature Chicagomeiergarry radio personalities and former partners Steve Dahl and Garry Meier in addition to other inductees Blair Garner, John Lanigan, Paul W. Smith, Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo, Charley Steiner, and (posthumously) radio manufacturer Powel Crosley, Jr.  Dahl, currently busy with his own podcast venture, and Meier, hosting afternoon drive at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago, were superstars in morning drive at WLUP-FM for 14 years before an acrimonious breakup in 1993.  Dahl continued to work with other cast members while Meier eventually partnered with Roe Conn at WLS before joining WGN.  The Radio Hall of Fame states, “They became the most-talked-about radio team in the city’s history, representing a generation and ushering in an era of content envelope-pushing that was imitated nationwide.”  Blair Garner is hosting “America’s Morning Show” at Cumulus Media’s country WNSH, New York.  Paul W. Smith hosts the morning program on news/talk WJR, Detroit.

whfs logoStaff Additions at CBS Radio’s ’98.7 The Fan’ in Tampa.  WHFS, Tampa “98.7 The Fan” program director John O’Connell announces additions to the staff at CBS Radio’s Tampa Bay sports talk station.  First, veteran sports announcer Jim Lighthall joins Justin Pawlowski on “Fan Interference with Justin Pawlowski and Jim Lighthall” from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and that show is now being produced by Jeff “Pants” Pantridge who moves up from his position producing the “Kirk and Dinger Morning Show.”  Lighthall is a 1990 graduate of the University of South Florida and has been a sports announcer for over 21 years.  He is the play-by-play voice of USF men’s basketball, a member of the USF Football broadcast team and has been the station’s 20/20 sports update reporter since the station’s launch.  Taking Pantridge’s place producing the AM show is Ed “Special Ed” Grube who joins the station from CBS Radio’s sister hip hop outlet WLLD “WiLD 94.1.” to be head producer for the program featuring Kirk McEwen, Chris “Dinger” Dingman and Roxanne Wilder.  O’Connell states, “We are very excited about these additions and what Ed brings to the table.  His quick wit, creativity and great sense of humor will bring a new dimension to the ‘Kirk and Dinger Morning Show.’ Ed has the ability to help take the show to the top of the ratings, and like Jim, he’s a big basketball fan who offers a unique perspective.”  Also producer Bryan Drake shifts from production duties in middays to the evening “Fabulous Sports Babe Show” airing from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

newsjunkie logoMidday Changes at WTKS, Orlando.  Shawn Wasson “The News Junkie” takes over the 11:00 am to 3:00 pm show at Clear Channel’s hot talk WTKS, Orlando “Real Radio 104.1” after Jason “Buckethead” Bailey exits the station.  Bailey commented on his departure via Facebook saying he has nothing bad to say about the people or the station.  “Can I explain the whole thing and how it panned out? Nope…not right now.  It’s not as easy as some people seem to think it is.  Will I miss ‘Real Radio?’  More than anyone will ever know.  The ‘Real Radio’ gig was a dream come true for me…”

wbtlogoGreater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Named Station of the Year by NCAB.  Greater Media Charlotte announces WBT-AM/FM was named the 2013 Station of the Year award (large market category) this past week during the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters (NCAB) Annual Convention in Greensboro.  The winners of this year’s top station awards were determined by a distinguished panel of out of state media executives. The Station of the Year Award was given to radio stations with achievements during 2012 that highlight innovative programming, with an emphasis on audience involvement and promotion, and a commitment to their local community.  Greater Media Charlotte vice president and station manager Trip Savery states, “It is fitting that North Carolina’s first and most legendary radio station, WBT would win the inaugural NCAB station of the year award.  We are very proud to receive this honor from NCAB.”

trn logoTRN Files New Suit Against Courtside Entertainment and Dial Global.  In the original suit TRN filed against numerous radio syndication and ads sales organizations alleging antitrust violations Courtside Entertainment was a defendant but a California judge removed Courtside from that complaint ruling it was not connected to the antitrust allegation.  Now, TRN files a complaint in United States District Court District of Oregon Portland Division against Courtside and Dial Global alleging tortious interference with both TRN’s contract with Michael Savage and Laura Ingraham.  The suit seeks unspecified damages plus legal fees other and further relief.

nhl logoArbitron Releases NHL Radio Play-By-Play Stats.  Outside of Canada, NHL hockey on the radio has never been considered a radio goldmine in broad terms.  But a strike-shortened season may have been a factor in increased interest where the mindset is that every game counts, according to analysis from Arbitron.  The ratings company released average game cume (6+) and average game share (Men 25-54) data and draws some conclusions about the sport’s effect on radio audience.  Probably most notable is that the teams that performed best for their flagship stations are largely East Coast and Midwest teams that have a long tradition in the league and their fan bases go generations deep in the markets.  For example, the top seven teams in terms of average game share (Men 25-54) were (in order): Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, and the Philadelphia Flyers.  Pittsburgh, whose flagship is Clear Channel’s alternative rock WXDX-FM, was far and away in first with a 33.3 average game share in that demo.  Arbitron notes that the young male-skewing alternative flagship station helped achieve this.  Also keep in mind that the top two teams, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, have no NBA franchise in their markets with which to compete for audience during the winter months.  Arbitron also wonders where the help for radio flagships is from the NHL.  “Try finding any radio information on the teams web pages and it’s almost nonexistent.  Download a schedule for Outlook, or an Apple product and TV information is everywhere…radio is likely nowhere to be found.”

DM&MDrew Lane Begins Podcast Venture.  One half of the former WRIF, Detroit Drew & Mike morning drive show – Drew Lane – has partnered up with producers Mike Wolters and Marc Fellhauer to begin producing a podcast called DM&M podcast.  Lane’s and Mike Clark’s contracts were not renewed at the Greater Media rock station and former alternative CIMX, Windsor, Canada duo Dave and Chuck the Freak were brought in to take over mornings last month.  So far, Mike Clark is not part of the podcast venture.

archerrobOdds & Sods.  Rob Archer is the new midday news anchor at Clear Channel’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles after the exit of Chris Lane…..At Advanced Media Partners’ Peoria, Illinois stations that includes sports talk WZPN, Stephanie Blue is the new production director…..SiriusXM Radio and Rural Radio LLC announce the debut of Rural Radio, a 24/7 channel devoted to providing a wide variety of programming for and about rural American life, the western lifestyle and agribusiness interests.

rutherforddaveCalgary Talk Host Fired After Criticizing Station Flood Coverage.  CHQR, Calgary talk show host Dave Rutherford, about whom TALKERS wrote yesterday regarding the looming end of his long-running radio program, was taken off the air on June 25 after criticizing the Corus-owned station for its coverage of the local floods.  Rutherford tells the Calgary Sun he’s still not sure of his status but says he was told his program will not return after he lashed out at management for not broadcasting locally on CHQR when the station was evacuated due to flooding and instead piped in programming from CHED, Edmonton.

SCOTUS Gay Marriage Rulings, Obama Climate Change Policy, George Zimmerman Trial, Aaron Hernandez Case, NSA Surveillance/Snowden Asylum, and Obama Africa Trip Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/26).  The striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 by the Supreme Court; the emissions limits to be set by the EPA under the president’s direction; the trial of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin; the case against former Patriots player Aaron Hernandez; the NSA surveillance program and the case of Edward Snowden; and President Obama’s African trip were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Catching up with Laura Ingraham

| May 13, 2013

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

Westwood One LogoLOS ANGELES — An even dozen years has elapsed (April 2001) since Westwood One filled its 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm ET slot with a then-36-year-old, meteoric-rising, dynamo.

TRN revAssociation with the Norm Pattiz-founded syndication powerhouse would last more than two years, before the conservative-slanted talk talent segued to 9:00 am-12:00 noon duties for Talk Radio Network in September 2003.

Read More

Monday, May 13, 2013

| May 13, 2013

huckabeemikeMike Huckabee Sounds Positive About Radio to Newsmax.  After appearing to sound less than eager to continue his talk radio career in a piece published in Arkansas Business last week, Cumulus Media Networks talk host (and former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate) Mike Huckabee tells Newsmax he’s hoping to continue his daily talk show.  “I’m hoping that we’re going to continue right on.  That’s my plan and my hope and so there’s nothing to report other than I’ll be on the air today and next week and, as far as I know, for the long term to come.  I’ve enjoyed it.  It’s been a terrific outlet for me.”  In last week’s piece, Huckabee sounded as though he was considering the cost and benefit of his daily radio show when he told Arkansas Business, “Within the next month, I’ll decide if I want to continue it or not.  I’ve got to always weigh how much time I’m putting in it and what the return is.  How long it will take to make it what I call hopefully, disgustingly, profitable.  That’s what one always hopes for in a deal like this.”

ingrahamcasualCatching Up with Laura Ingraham.  A dozen years have elapsed (April 2001) since Westwood One filled its 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm ET slot with a then-36-year-old, meteoric-rising, dynamo.  Association with the Norm Pattiz-founded syndication powerhouse would last more than two years before the conservative-slanted talk talent segued to 9:00 am – 12:00 noon duties for Talk Radio Network in September 2003 where her star continued to rise to national prominence for the next decade during which time she ascended to the position of the most listened-to female political radio talk show host in the country.  As of the first of this year though, five-time author and TALKERS magazine “Woman of the Year” recipient  Laura Ingraham has reunited with Pattiz, as the illustrious broadcaster, 2009 Radio Hall of Fame inductee, and iconic Los Angeles Lakers fan is distributing Ingraham’s daily talk program through his recently minted Courtside Entertainment Group.  “I was off the air for six weeks and I needed to build back my station base,” Ingraham recounts.  “We are doing a pretty good job of that thus far.  It has been fun, and we have a great team spirit.  I treasure that and think we are onto something quite special.  Norm and I have known each other since I started in radio, so we have come full-circle and are good friends.  After all these years, it is exciting that he and I have started this new venture together.”  Multi-media talker Laura Ingraham is not only one of the most successful talk show hosts in America, she is an extremely interesting human being.  Read about this attorney’s, cancer survivor’s, and single adoptive mom’s colorful past, transitional present and bright future in an in-depth profile by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian posted today (5/13) by clicking here.

benandskinBen and Skin Take Over PM Drive on “105.3 The Fan” in Dallas.  As many in the Dallas market had predicted when Greg Williams and Richie Whitt were let go from the afternoon drive show on CBS Radio’s KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan” a month ago, it’ll be Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade – Ben and Skin – hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm shift at the sports talker beginning this afternoon.  CBS Radio Dallas vice president of news/talk/sports Gavin Spittle says, “We are really excited to bring the energy and excitement of the Ben and Skin Show to our listeners.  They are a perfect fit for our lineup and are well known in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, having spent their whole lives here cheering on and suffering alongside fellow sports fans.”  Ben and Skin were most recently heard in the Dallas market on ESPN O&O KESN-FM.  They exited that station earlier this year after failing to come to terms on a new contract with KESN-FM.

conclaveMichael Harrison Tapped to Keynote 38th Annual Conclave Learning Conference.  “Radio in the Digital Age: Where Does Talent Fit In?”  In what will be a comprehensive-yet-fast-paced overview of the state of broadcast radio and its integration into the digital media world of the 21st century, Talkers publisher Michael Harrison approaches these issues of this new environment from the perspective of the changing role of talent in a keynote address that will take place during Conclave Learning Conference 38 on Thursday, July 18 at 9:00 am.  Conclave executiveshannonbob director Bob Shannon says of Harrison, “A visionary, an inventor, a trailblazer, and a writer of powerful words and ideas.  Michael is all of these things and more, and the Conclave is very lucky to have him on our teaching faculty this year.”  Upon being named keynote speaker at this year’s Conclave Michael Harrison states, “It is an honor to be involved with such a positive organization and participate in its mission to educate and inspire the upcoming generation of radio broadcasters.  I can’t think of a better use of all these years of experience that I have been blessed with attaining in such a wonderful industry.”  Harrison’s presentation is of importance to both radio personalities and management alike and will examine and offer solutions for what he describes as:  1) The number one problem threatening the survival of FM/AM radio, as we’ve known it – harrisonmichaelDEBT – along with several other existential threats facing the medium. These include generational/cultural shifts, exotic new media competition, audience measurement shortcomings, and emerging obstacles impairing commercial placement and presentation; 2) The increasing importance of intellectual property as a bargaining chip in talent/management relationships and negotiations. “Who owns what?” will be a key question and consideration in all radio business relationships including those between employees and employers; 3) Talent as entrepreneur.  The new media offers today’s talent the opportunity to go into business for themselves on a level never enjoyed by their predecessors of the age gone by; and 4) The human element.  Harrison provides an uplifting and inspirational case for radio’s greatest asset – human-to-human communication – as its most vital tool in maintaining a purpose for the medium to continue to play an important role in society and continue to be needed as a cultural institution for many years to come.  Michael Harrison is the editor and publisher of two of the radio industry’s leading trade publications, TALKERS and RadioInfo.  Mr. Harrison founded Talkers in 1990 and today manages its many divisions and services which include its website, its annual conventions, its regional conferences, and its positive social initiatives.  In late 2012, Mr. Harrison assumed the duties of publisher of the major broadcasting trade journal, RadioInfo, which serves a wide spectrum of popular music formats.  Among the initiatives being promoted in the revamped publication are a call for radio stations to “reclaim ownership” of the music culture by restoring and nurturing the DJ to prominence as well as the development of music charts that are “specifically targeted to the interests and needs of radio listeners and presentations.”  He is an influential pioneer in the radio trade publishing field having served as the first managing editor of Radio & Records during its formative years and radio columnist/record chart consultant for Billboard in the early 1980s.   A graduate of Hofstra University where he currently sits on its Department of Communications Advisory Board, Michael Harrison’s background in radio broadcasting and trade journalism is extensive.  In a career dating back to 1967, he has served as an on-air program director of such heritage stations as WLIR-FM, Long Island; KPRI-FM, San Diego; KMET-FM, Los Angeles and WZLX-FM, Boston. He was an owner/operator of WSPR in Springfield, Massachusetts.  He has been an air personality on a range of stations including the legendary WNEW-FM in New York as well as WCBS-FM and WPIX-FM in the Big Apple, plus, WTIC, Hartford, WWRC, Washington, DC and others.  He has hosted and produced hundreds of hours of syndicated radio series and specials for most of the leading networks and syndicators.  Conclave Learning Conference 38 takes place in Minneapolis July 17-19, 2013. For more information on the Learning Conference and Conclave educational programs, visit http://www.theconclave.com. Also found on the Conclave website is hotel room reservation information for the Doubletree Park Place Hotel.  The Conclave, a 38-year-old 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation offers year-round learning to the industry including webinars, a Speaker’s Bureau, and the annual national media summit Summer Learning Conference.  Since 1979, The Conclave has provided over $1 million in media scholarships.

iheartradioClear Channel’s iHeartRadio Claims 30 Million-plus Registered Users.  The digital audio platform iHeartRadio developed by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has surpassed the 30 million registered users mark, according to the company.  CC states that iHeartRadio has achieved this in less than two years since its launch.  Further, since iHeartRadio listeners are not required to create an account to stream broadcast radio stations, the number of registered users reflects only a small snapshot of the service’s overall reach, particularly given the175 million downloads of the iHeartRadio mobile app and more than 60 million monthly uniques across its digital network.  Clear Channel president of digital Brian Lakamp states, “iHeartRadio sets the standard for how radio continues to fit into lakampbrianpeople’s everyday lives.  This latest milestone is another clear indication how our full-featured iHeartRadio experience resonates with tens of millions of people — with more coming every day.  Being able to draw on Clear Channel’s unparalleled range of resources allows us to continually innovate and improve on the user experience, while giving listeners access to both live radio and custom stations.  When you combine this with the strong promotional power of Clear Channel’s broadcast properties across the nation, iHeartRadio is well-positioned to continue or even surpass our current adoption rate.”

cookehollandHave You Hugged a Lawyer Today?  Radio consultant Holland Cooke asks this metaphorical question because if you haven’t, you may be missing out on a great sales – and programming — opportunity.  He suggests you consider a targeted approach to pitching attorneys to advertise on your talk radio station, in this case, a female lawyer who specializes in family law (a.k.a. divorce).  He even provides some pretty compelling copy in this piece.  But it shouldn’t stop there, as Cooke says, “Admittedly, divorce is the legal category’s low-hanging fruit.  It’s the back end of ‘The Wedding Industrial Complex,’ fueled by human nature and recession resistant.  But there’s plenty else lawyers do that radio sells quite well, and radio has lots more to offer ‘em than :60s.”  Find out more, read Holland Cooke’s piece here.

wtoplogoWTOP, Washington’s Websites Get Clean Bill of Health.  The websites of Hubbard Radio’s WTOP and WFED in Washington were the victims of cyber attacks that left some users of Internet Explorer vulnerable.  Hubbard reports that as of Saturday, May 11, the sites were deemed safe for users no matter which browser they use.  Hubbard Washington SVP and general manager Joel Oxley states, “Getting the websites back up and running safely for all users has been our top priority.  We take our users’ privacy very seriously, and we have taken steps to prevent similar occurrences.  We apologize to our user community for any inconvenience that this incident has caused.”  The company says that when the attacks were discovered, an investigation was launched immediately, the malicious code was removed, additional security measures were installed, and federal law enforcement officials were notified of the incident.  Hubbard is recommending that users of their sites run security scans on their computers.

compasslogoCompass Media Networks Announces College Football Schedule.  The 2013 college football broadcast schedule for Compass Media Networks is being announced and the 17-game schedule kicks off on August 31 with Georgia at Clemson and ends with the Big Ten Championship game on December 7.  Compass notes that all of the games lined up this season include top-ranked teams from the ACC, BIG TEN, SEC and PAC-12.  Other big match-ups on the schedule include Alabama at Texas A&M (9/14), Oregon at Stanford (11/7), and LSU at Alabama (11/9).

dickeybloombergLew Dickey Talks Limbaugh on Bloomberg TV.  Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey went on Bloomberg TV on May 9 and he spoke – although not in detail about the ratings and sales numbers at his news/talk stations that carry the Rush Limbaugh program – but about the general effect Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke comments had on his stations.  About the loss, he told Bloomberg’s Betty Lu, “It was in the millions of dollars and what we said was our news/talk segment…represents about 10% of our business and it’s indisputable that it took a hit because of those events.  We’ve moved on, we’re growing again.”  Speaking to charges that Limbaugh says Dickey is still blaming him for news/talk problems at Cumulus stations and he might take his program elsewhere when the contract is up, Dickey says, “Sometimes contract negotiations get handled in public, we prefer not to do that…we have the premier talk distribution platform in the business and if you want to be on a big stage in this game, you need to be on our stations in the largest markets.  They’re the biggest signals, the heritage brands and everybody knows that.”  In what might have been a move to downplay the importance of Limbaugh’s midday show to his stations, Dickey stated that half their revenue comes from morning drive.  Lu asked Dickey if he thinks conservative talk hosts are not as big as they used to be and he answered, “I think everything has to evolve…we have to make sure these radio stations do a wonderful job of reflecting the local communities in which they compete and that’s what we’re focused on.”

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

| March 12, 2013

podcastone logoPodcastOne to Distribute CBS Evening News.  Norm Pattiz-founded Lauchpad Digital Media’s new PodcastOne.com enters into an agreement with CBS to present the “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” as a podcast available at the destination website.  The PodcastOne.com site also features CBS products “CBScbseveningnews image Weekend Roundup,” “Face the Nation” and “60 Minutes.”  PodcastOne.com launched in February and the company says it is “home to over 200 popular podcasts including Adam Carolla, Dennis Miller, Ron Paul, Penn Jillette, Laura Ingraham, Maria Menounos, Tom Green, Dr. Drew and many more.”  On the deal with CBS, Pattiz states, “Anytime we can work with CBS Radio News on anything, we jump at it.  Our relationship with them at Westwood One goes back over two decades and we’re delighted to be working with them now in the on-demand digital world.”  CBS Radio News vice president Harvey Nagler says, “We are excited to work with Launchpad in expanding CBS Radio News’ on-demand audio offerings and making our newscasts available for audiences to enjoy whenever, wherever and however they like.”

radioonelogoRadio One Awards Bonuses to Founder Cathy Hughes and CEO Alfred Liggins.  In a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Radio One announces bonuses of $1.5 million for company CEO Alfred Liggins and $500,000 for founder Cathy Hughes.  The company’s compensation committee decided that ligginsalfredHughes’ involvement in sales activities of its One Solution division “resulted in significant advertising commitments and revenue generation.”  For Liggins, the bonus was based upon the radio division’s 2012 performance.  The committee decided that “the radio division had met its EBITDA plan for the calendar year 2012.”  The committee also noted that Liggins’ involvement in TV One – which saw revenue up 8% and the division’s EBITDA increased to approximately $40 million – was also reason for the bonus.

atsingeredSalem Communications Signs New Contract with CEO Ed Atsinger.  The new contract for CEO Ed Atsinger to continue in that role with Salem through 2016 takes effect after his current deal ends on June 30.  For the next three years, Atsinger will make base salaries of $925,000 in 2013-14, $950,000 in 2014-15, and $975,000 in 2015-16.  That contract will expire on June 30 of 2016.  As is usually the case with chief executive officers, Atsinger will be eligible for bonuses at the discretion of the board of directors.

kantar media logoRadio Ad Spending Up 3% Says Kantar Media; Network Radio Up 16%.  The figures for ad spending across all media according to research from Kantar Media were recently released and, according to the company, radio ad spending was up 4% in the fourth quarter of 2012 and up 3% for the whole of 2012.  For the year, local radio spending was flat; national spot radio was up 3% and network radio – despite a down fourth quarter (-2%) – was up 16%.  National spot radio spending enjoyed a very good Q4 – up 8%.  Kantar Media North America chief research officer Jon Swallen comments on ad spending across all media.  “The advertising market has grown for three consecutive years and in 2012 it added more than $4 billion in spend, with the Summer Olympics and political advertising contributing about one-half of the gain.  Large advertisers also played a significant role.  After reducing their media budgets in 2011 as a precaution against slowing economic growth, the top 100 marketers reversed course in 2012 and invested more.”

limbaughrushOn the Nashville Talk Radio Scene, Premiere Networks Begs to Differ.  Last week TALKERS ran an item from WWTN, Nashville-based talk host Phil Valentine in which he claims to have the highest-cuming talk show in the marketvalentinephil based on the Arbitron Fall 2012 survey and beats  Premiere Networks hosts Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.  Premiere tells TALKERS that, while technically that’s true, the claim is misleading.  The company states, “Valentine has five more hours of programming per week than Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity, and 10 more hours of programming than Glenn Beck — a key factor in Cume calculations; Rush has a larger Average Quarter Hour, Share and TSL; Valentine is on the FM dial during PM Drive in his home market; not only are they in different dayparts, but the Avg. Weekly Cume for the market is also greater during PM Drive than it is for 11:00 am to 2:00 pm; the PUR is also greater.”

grahammichaelTalk Host Michael Graham Announces Digital Initiatives.  Talk radio personality Michael Graham – who spent the past seven years hosting a show at Greater Media’s former news/talk WTKK, Boston – announces a new digital component to his brand to coincide with his recently announced Massachusetts-wide show heard on three Bay State signals.  Graham says his show is now able to be heard online and via smartphones through an app available at his site MichaelGraham.com.  That’s also where he’s operating his blog.

harrisonmichaelMichael Harrison Talks Candidly About Radio and its Future on WNYM (970 The Answer), New York.  In an interview conducted by weekend talk show host Frank Morano (morning host Curtis Sliwa‘s executive producer) this past Saturday morning (3/9), TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison discusses his views on the state and future of AM/FM radio.  In it Harrison states that the longevity of what is increasingly being marginalized as “terrestrial radio” will be determined by its broadcasters themselves and their dedication to preserving its legacy and pertinence to life in the 21st century.  Harrison offers his unfiltered remedy for radio’s problems and offers a simple-but-powerful formula for its continued relevance.  To hear Frank Morano’s interview with Michael Harrison click

 
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wachspawnstarDr. Daliah Wachs Becomes a Pawn Star!  Las Vegas-based medical doctor and nationally syndicated talk show host Daliah Wachs appeared on the March 11 edition of History Channel’s super-successful “Pawn Stars” show.  She’s pictured here with the show’s Rick Harrison during a break in the shoot.  During the program Daliah brought in an old pair of dental pliers used for tooth extraction and sold it for $170.  Members of the TALKERS editorial board who saw the show last night raved that Daliah was “articulate, charming, and her adorable self.”

KKOBbreakingbadBreaking Bad at KKOB.  Stars of the AMC hit series “Breaking Bad” visited Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque – the city in which the quirky and compelling series is set – to discuss the show’s final season and much more.  Pictured here are (from l-r): actor Bryan Cranston, who plays protagonist Walter White; actor Steven Michael Quezada, who plays DEA agent Steven Gomez; KKOB morning show host Bob Clark; and morning show producer Jeniffer Davis.

North Korea Threats, New York Soda Ban Stayed, Unemployed and Job Seekers Down, Papal Conclave, Washington Sequester Battle and Funding of ObamaCare Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/11).  North Korea’s nuclear threats and dismissal of 1953 truce; New York Mayor Bloomberg’s sugary drinks ban hits judicial roadblock; unemployment figures down along with numbers of unemployed still seeking work; the search for a new Pope; the ongoing battle in Washington over the sequester; and Republican funding attacks on the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, February 25, 2013

| February 25, 2013

nms2013logoMike Francesa to Address Industry at Talkers New York 2013.  The list of major speakers continues to grow as WFAN, New York afternoon drive sports talk goliath Mike Francesa joins the roster of industry leaders who will be speaking at “TALKERS New York 2013,” the 16th annual installment of talk radio’s longest-running and most important francesamikeannual convention.  Francesa will deliver a solo keynote address titled, “The Sports Talk Radio Phenomenon.”  He will discuss how sports talk fits into the general radio industry, where it is going both locally and nationally and how it operates within the business model of the PPM world.  Francesa, who has been a major host on WFAN since the late 1980s, is also seen across the nation on the YES Network simulcast of his radio show and hosts a syndicated weekend program “The NFL Now” in addition to participating in numerous other sports broadcasting projects.  He is currently ranked number one on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio Hosts holding the position as the Most Important Sports Talk Radio Host in America.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The addition of Mike Francesa as the sports talk radio keynote speaker at this year’s conference puts it over the moon.  One of the big buzzes of the business is the relentless growth of this exciting branch of the talk radio universe.  Who better than the king of the format to give insights into the genre’s place in the scheme of things?  We are delighted!”  More headliners will be named in the coming days along with the 50-plus speakers that will be participating in the conference.  The event is set for Thursday, June 6, 2013 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  Registration for the day including all activities and food service is $199 per person.  An advance sellout is expected due to space limitations.  Registration is limited to members of the working media and can only be taken via telephone.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  Complete agenda details are being posted daily.  Stay tuned.

schnitttoddTodd Schnitt Not Giving Up on Bubba the Love Sponge Lawsuit.  The Tampa Bay Times reports talk show host Todd Schnitt has fired his legal team, hired a new lawyer and is continuing to pursue legal action against former crosstown rival Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem).  The first trial ended in a victory for Bubba as the jury decided not to awardbubba Schnitt and wife Michelle damages for defamation over a series of criticisms and accusations Bubba leveled at Schnitt when he competed with Bubba in morning drive as MJ Kelli.  Now, Schnitt has fired C. Phillip Campbell and Jonathan J. Ellis and has hired Wil Florin to represent him and his wife.  Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the bizarre elements of the previous trial:  Campbell being pulled over for DUI while driving the car of a young paralegal who, unbeknownst to him, worked for Bubba’s lawyer’s firm; the tip-off to police that Campbell was driving the car was made by someone from that same firm; and Bubba’s lawyers had possession of Campbell’s briefcase for 18 hours (though they say they didn’t open it).  That missing briefcase is the basis for the new suit.  How this will end is anybody’s guess, but one thing is for sure: Both Schnitt and Clem are spending a lot of money on legal fees.  Yes, they are getting a lot of publicity for their radio programs but it is very expensive publicity.

ingrahamlauraLaura Ingraham Added to American Forces Network.  Courtside Entertainment Group announces today that the Laura Ingraham show is being added to the American Forces Network with the opportunity to be heard by more than one million U.S. service members and their families.  Ingraham states, “It is fantastic to be back on the air – and it feels even more special knowing that all of our friends listening on Armed Forces Network can hear us around the globe.  The energy and enthusiasm from listeners, affiliates and advertisers since I returned to the airwaves has been overwhelming.  From Tucson to Jacksonville, from Washington, DC to Seattle, Americans are energized and enthusiastic about our daily conversation about our country’s past, present and future.  Politics is important – but so is the culture around us.  As a single parent of young children and a cancer survivor, I have a unique perspective that connects me with listeners of all political stripes.  Our conversation is a fun-filled ride that moves beyond the Beltway to the real-life ups and downs we all face.”

constantinilynneVeteran Media Executive Lynne Constantini Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.  The former EVP of affiliate sales and marketing at Scripps Networks Interactive and SVP of programming at Time Warner Cable joins TheBlaze as president of business development.  In her new position Lynne Constantini will oversee the growing network’s content distribution efforts, as well as affiliate marketing, advocacy, business affairs and business development initiatives.  She previously negotiated TheBlaze’s successful carriage deal with DISH as an outside consultant.  Constantini says, “As a cable industry executive and consultant, I have been attracted to the rare independent network that has strong, unique content and a passionate engaged audience that drives results for operators and that is what I have found with TheBlaze.  TheBlaze is unlike other start-up networks; it has a built-in loyal audience, a full slate of live, original programming, speaks to an underserved and growing conservative audience and has extensive marketing reach through affiliated media assets including on radio and on the web.  I am excited to work with Glenn, Chris Balfe and the rest of the team on building TheBlaze and continuing the network’s success in improving the businesses of its distribution partners.”

cookehollandListeners Are Busy and Talent Is Spooked.  That’s the assessment of radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke who asks broadcasters the provocative question:  “RU@Speed-of-Life?’  In today’s article, Cooke says radio programmers must get up to speed (literally) with the intense pace of modern life which, when coupled with the PPM, puts tremendous pressure to manage air time in a way that is in keeping with today’s breakneck tempo.  For example he advises hosts not to begin their shows by listing all the things they’ll be doing before the show ends.  He says programming clock designers should go the extra step in designing transitions between programming elements (such as newscaster to talk show host segments) in a completely seamless manner.  Never stop the action through over-explanation.  Don’t miss this timely and informative piece.  Read it here.

baileyralphTalk Host Ralph Bailey Begins KERN, Bakersfield Program Next Monday.  After quitting his talk show at Buckley Broadcasting’s crosstown KNZR on Thursday after an eight-year stint, Ralph Bailey will take over the PM drive program on American General Media’s KERN.  Bailey wrote on his Facebook page, “It is official!!!  I signed a contract today to join American General Media.  I’ll be Scott Cox‘s guest today at three and begin my own 3-6 p.m. drive time show on Monday, March 4.  I could not be happier!  I have security in a business that is not that secure and for the first time in my life I’m making a little scratch!  I’d like to thank Rogers Brandon and Toni Snyder.  It is great to feel wanted and appreciated.”

californian logoKERN, Bakersfield’s Scott Cox to Anchor The Californian-AGM Morning Show Endeavor.  Talk radio personality Scott Cox is moving away from the PM drive slot that Ralph Bailey is taking over in order to host a new morning program that is a joint effort of American General Media and The Bakersfield Californian.  The show – “First Look with Scott Cox” – will emanate from The Californian newsroom in which a radio studio has been built.  While KERN will coxscottprovide the producers and technical expertise, the newspaper’s reporters will be regular guests during talk segments.  Californian CEO Richard Beene says of the initiative, “The Bakersfield Californian has always prided itself about being on the cutting edge of technology (our website bakersfield.com was launched back in 1995) and we are keenly aware that readers and advertisers are finding new ways to obtain content and reach their advertisers.  That’s why change is part of our company culture, and serving our readers and advertisers on multiple platforms is something we talk about every day.”  The program will also be streamed live in high-definition video on the paper’s website.  Beene writes in his editorial in the paper, “’First Look’ will add to The Californian‘s existing video programming, which includes ‘BVarsity Live,’ live local sports and breaking news.  The Californian plans to expand its live video programming later this year.  So yes, newspapers are alive and well, changing and evolving.  Join us in March for ‘First Look.’”

millerchrisNot All That Glitters is Gold.  According to radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, broadcasters should avoid falling under the spell of Facebook “likes” and the impulse to “go viral” — which he describes as “shiny, distracting objects.”  He advises, “The number of Facebook ‘likes’ you have is almost completely without meaning.  In addition, working to have something go viral is probably taking you away from what you should be doing!”  Read Chris Miller’s informative and valuable article here.

benandskinESPN O&O KESN, Dallas Parts Company with Ben & Skin.  Sports talk KESN, Dallas and midday personalities Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade were not able to come to terms on a new contract and the duo have left the station.  They wrote on their Facebook page. “We have declined a final offer from ESPN on a new deal.  We’re parting ways with them for now.  Future is unwritten.  Thank you for your support throughout the years.  We are eager to write the next chapter of our adventure.  Stay tuned.”

sweeneyjohnJohn Sweeney Exits WGDJ, Albany.  The former Republican congressman from New York began a one-hour daily talk show at Capital Broadcasting’s “Talk 1300” two weeks ago but has left the station.  The Albany Times-Union reports John Sweeney’s exit comes after it became apparent that the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon time slot was too much for the attorney and political consultant.  Owner and GM Paul Vandenburgh told the paper too many unforeseen scheduling conflicts have made the show untenable.

raytomTECHNICAL WATCH: Radio Moves Beyond ISDN to Deliver Studio Quality Remote Audio.  Welcome to the Age of the IP Codec.  Back in the “good old days,” if you wanted to get audio from point A to point B you had basically two choices: a dedicated land line from good old Ma Bell (a.k.a, the phone company) or you sent a tape.  Then, Ma Bell decided to get rid of dedicated equalized services – at least interstate.  These days, it’s very difficult if not impossible to get a dedicated broadcast service even in the same city.  This prompted devices like the Comrex two-line and three-line frequency extender systems.  These allowed someone to utilize two or three dial-up lines to get audio from one place to another with reasonable audio quality.  The next step was ISDN – a digital dial-up service.  With the development of devices such as the Telos Zephyr, FM quality audio was easily passed, with very little audio delay, between two locations.  This has been the norm now for close to 20 years.  Enter the IP codec – essentially ISDN on steroids.  IP codecs utilize the internet as the transport medium.  Now, for just the cost of the internet service you already have installed, you can literally transport audio all around the world – in many instances with slightly more round-trip delay than with ISDN, but that is easy to work around using mix minus.  Noted radio technical consultant and TALKERS columnist Tom Ray brings us all up to speed on this new era in remote audio delivery in a must-read clear and concise article, here.

tradupguatemalaSalem Radio News Series Spotlights “The Poorest of the Poor.”  SRN vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (pictured here in Guatemala) spent the last week in that Central American country as Salem Radio News prepared a news series titled, “The Poorest of the Poor.”  Speaking about his experience there, Tradup tells TALKERS, “Guatemala is only a few hours by plane from the U.S., but living conditions for youngsters are light years away.  And the statistics take on heartbreaking new meaning when you actually spend time with children there.  We embedded with the American relief agency Food for The Poor to cover both the tragedy and the hope for impoverished children in Guatemala.”  Tradup says Guatemala has the highest malnutrition rate of any country in the Western Hemisphere.  The week-long SRN News special series will profile the challenges facing government and private agencies targeting ways to reverse the grim statistics on malnutrition and infant mortality in Guatemala.

bloomlisaOdds & Sods.  Lisa Bloom – daughter of former radio and television talk show host (and high-profile attorney) Gloria Allred – is joining NBC’s “Today” show as a legal analyst says TVNewser.  Bloom hosted the CourtTV show “Lisa Bloom: Open Court” from 2001 to 2009…..Arbitron’s Carol Hanley is named to the Allliance for Women in Media board of directors.  Hanley serves as SVP, chief sales officer for Arbitron.

kdkaharlemshakeHarlem Shake Takes Over KDKA.  The YouTube phenomenon “Harlem Shake” invades the newsroom at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh.  This still shot is from a video posted on the KDKA-TV website and shows late morning talk host Marty Griffin (in the Santa hat) leading the rest of the crew – including morning hosts Larry Richert and John Shumway and Shelley Duffy, PM drive host Bill Rehkopf, midday host Mike Pintek, sports reporter and weekend host Rob Pratte and creative services director Kelly Pidgeon – in boogeying to the tune.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

| February 21, 2013

nms2013logoNorm Pattiz to Address Industry at Talkers New York 2013. The list of major speakers continues to grow as Courtside Entertainment CEO Norm Pattiz joins the roster of industry leaders who will be speaking at “TALKERS New York 2013,” the 16th annual installment of talk radio’s longest-running and most important annual convention.  Pattiz will deliver a solo address titled, “From Westwood One to Podcast One.”  He will pattiznormdiscuss the challenges facing broadcast radio companies as they integrate their product lines into a workable balance between on-air and digital venues with the focus being monetizing radio on the internet.  In the past year, Westwood One-founder Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment has shown aggressive growth – offering such personalities as Dr. Drew Pinsky, Laura Ingraham, Bill O’Reilly and more to its affiliates.  The company’s recent signing of Ron Paul to a talk radio deal has been a big source of buzz and the industry anxiously anticipates the coming internet launch of Podcast One – an online initiative of Pattiz’s Launchpad Digital Media.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The subject of balancing the interests of on-air and online radio broadcasting with the focus on revenue generation has never been more important in the radio industry conversation than it is right now.  Norm Pattiz brings extraordinary historical background as well as future-based vision to the discussion.  His participation adds to this being the most important TALKERS event ever.”  More headliners will be named in the coming days along with the 50-plus speakers that will be participating in the conference.  The event is set for Thursday, June 6, 2013 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  Registration for the day including all activities and food service is $199 per person.  An advance sellout is expected due to space limitations.  Registration is limited to members of the working media and can only be taken via telephone.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  Complete agenda details are being posted daily.  Stay tuned.

madisonjoeSiriusXM and WOL, Washington Talk Host Joe Madison to Interview Barack Obama Today.  Assuming the president’s schedule doesn’t take a sudden turn in another direction, SiriusXM-based Joe Madison, whose AM drive show is also heard on Radio One’s WOL, Washington, DC, will tape an interview with him for airing, presumably tomorrow.  The subjects covered will include Black History Month, a follow-up on the State of the Union and other topics.  President Obama — certainly not considered the most radio-friendly president by conservatives – has actually done a lot more radio than many of his recent predecessors.  The president has appeared on Madison’s show in the past, been interviewed by WYD Media-syndicated personality Michael Smerconish and has appeared on numerous music-formatted morning programs.

sabowalterRadio Station Staffers Pre-occupied with Job Security. This gets in the way of paying attention to important trends and information vital to competing and growing successfully during these times of rapid technological and cultural change.  Noted consultant Walter Sabo makes this key point in his latest article for TALKERS in which he cites five significant trends of importance to radio broadcasters.  They include the importance of video to radio online and sales presentations, the radio host as owner of intellectual property, the still-untapped female market in spoken word radio, and the emergence of the listener as a media star.  Sabo suggests not asking listeners to “like” you on Facebook or “follow” you on Twitter.  Instead, he says you should be offering to like and follow them! Read the entire article here.

backusdonDon Backus Named Eastern Region Sales Manager for Broadcast Electronics.  Broadcast Electronics (BE) announces the promotion of Don Backus to Eastern Region sales manager.  In this new role he’ll represent BE’s RF and studio lines, which include AudioVAULT, Commotion and The Radio Experience (TRE) studio brands as well as BE’s AM, FM and HD Radio™ transmitter lines to customers in the East.  Previously, Backus represented Commotion, a Broadcast Electronics company, as vice president of global market development.  Backus will continue his efforts with Commotion, increasing the company’s presence in new global markets.  BE VP of studio products Ray Miklius says, “Don’s education, experience, and extensive knowledge of the radio industry will serve radio broadcasters well as they look to improve their operations.”

Father-Son Sports Talk Webcast to Get Terrestrial Outlet in Las Vegas.  The Las Vegas Review-Journal spotlighted a local father-son team who have been hosting a weekly, two-hour sports talk podcast on the local Las Vegas internet site lvrocks.com.  Now the duo of Bryan Feldman and his son Jaycob are planning to have their Sunday evening show air on Lotus Broadcasting’s KLAV, Las Vegas beginning March 3.  Bryan Feldman previously worked in radio for CBS/Infinity.  His bio says he’s hosted talk shows and worked as a marketing specialist with pro sports teams including the Detroit Lions, Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings.

cookehollandHolland Cooke to Speak About Social Media at NAB Show in Las Vegas.  Consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke confirms: “Take it literally!  We’ll FEED YOU” at the Lunchtime Social — as in Social Media — Wednesday, April 10, at the National Association of Broadcasters NAB Show convention in Las Vegas.  NAB will provide box lunches to attendees at this interactive 90-minute session, where HC will demonstrate how radio stations and radio and netcast talent are using Social Media “to grow audience reach, deepen the relationship you have with ‘your tribe,’ and MAKE MONEY.”  For more information, click here.

goldenmike2013The Broadcasters Foundation of America to Honor David J. Barrett at Golden Mike Award Ceremony.  The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces it will present its 2013 Golden Mike Award to David J. Barrett, chairman and chief executive officer of Hearst Television Inc., at a gala to benefit the Foundation on Monday, February 25 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  Legendary sports broadcaster Jon Miller will host the event, which will include presentations by comedian, author and talk show host Steve Harvey and “America’s Doctor,” Dr. Mehmet Oz.  Iconic singer and actress Darlene Love will perform.  The annual gala is the year’s top fundraiser for the Foundation, which supports broadcasters who can no longer work due to a catastrophic event, illness or family circumstances.  The Award honors exemplary service to the industry.

koil logoNRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha to Host Mayoral Debate.  The five candidates in Omaha’s mayoral race will take part in a debate to be held at the University of Nebraska-Omaha on Thursday, March 14 7:00 pm and the event will be broadcast live on NRG Media’s KOIL.  NRG Media personality Mike’l Severe will serve as moderator and KOIL personalities Tom Becka and Clint Bellows along with KETV City Hall reporter Todd Andrews will question the candidates.  KOIL program director Neil Nelkin says, “This is a hotly contested race for mayor as we have several critical issues in the city of Omaha that will dictate the future direction of the city including employment and education.”  The station says a limited number of tickets will be available to the public via the KOIL website and that Tom Becka will provide listeners with free tickets during his program.

Odds & Sods.  Former Vice President Al Gore will appear on SiriusXM’s “Town Hall” series to promote his new book, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change (Random House 2013).  He’ll be interviewed before a studio audience by Ari Rabin-Havt, who hosts “The Agenda” on the satcaster’s progressive talk channel…..MLB’s Oakland A’s ink a multi-year deal with CBS Radio’s KHTK, Sacramento to air their games on the sports talk station…..The National Association of Broadcasters are announcing that CBS TV journalist Bob Schieffer will receive the NAB Distinguished Service Award during the 2013 NAB Show.  Schieffer will accept the award at the opening keynote session on April 8 in Las Vegas.

Sequester Issue, Gun Legislation, Jesse Jackson, Jr. Guilty Plea, Oscar Pistorius Case, and Storm Q/Climate Change Debate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/20).  The battle in Washington over the sequester issue; ongoing debate over gun legislation proposals; Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s guilty plea in his illegal campaign funds usage case; the Oscar Pistorius murder case and Winter Storm Q/climate change controversy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, January 7, 2013

| January 7, 2013

cosbyritaRita Cosby to Host PM Drive at WOR, New York; PD Rumors Abound.  As Clear Channel Media and Entertainment continues crafting its new New York City talk radio station – on Friday, TALKERS told you about Mark Simone’s moving from WABC to WOR to host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show – we now know that Rita Cosby is in place to host the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program.  The journalist, TV news anchor and current correspondent for CBS’ syndicated “Inside Edition” television program has been subbing on Big Apple talk radio recently.  As for programmers, the speculation is that former hot AC WPLJ, New York program director Tom Cuddy is in place to program WOR.  If that’s the case, it’s interesting that CC has gone outside the realm of talk radio programmers for this signal.  One thing’s for sure, Cuddy certainly knows the New York market.

kleinaaronWABC, New York’s Aaron Klein Gains Big December PPM Audience.  The host of WABC, New York’s Sunday evening “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” program was the most-listened-to personality on the AM band during the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm among Men 35-plus.  Klein’s show was #3 in the market in that demo and during that time period behind only classic rock WAXQ and AC WLTW with a 7.0 share.  Klein tells TALKERS magazine, “This clearly demonstrates that there is hunger for live weekend talk radio programming if the content is compelling, exclusive, news-oriented and entertaining.”  Klein’s program beat out sports WFAN as well as the market’s two all-newsers in the Men 35-plus demographic.

ingrahamlauraLaura Ingraham Talks About New Show.  In case you missed it, Courtside Entertainment-syndicated talk host Laura Ingraham spoke with Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s Diane Brady last week about changes in her life and work as she left Talk Radio Network for a new deal with Courtside.  She told Brady, “After 11 years at TRN, it was time to retool how I approached the business.  That meant everything from whom I partnered with and how the show is delivered to the topics I cover.  Pounding on the same people and themes doesn’t expand an audience. Conservatives limit themselves when they just look at the world through a political lens.  Politics is an important part of what I do — my core beliefs haven’t changed — but people are disillusioned with it.”  She also pointed to her personal life as a reason for massaging the direction of her program.  “I’m a single mother to three young kids; I’ve been treated for breast cancer; I’m caring for my aging father.  There’s a lot more that unites us than divides us.  I want the show to be livelier, funnier, newsier, more unpredictable.  The personal connection with listeners is more satisfying than political conversations.”

cbssportsradiologoCBS Sports Radio Network Debuts Weekend Lineup.  Three days after premiering its weekday national sports radio network, CBS Radio brings its weekend lineup to the airwaves.  Kicking off on the first weekend of the NFL playoffs, the network’s schedule was as follows (parentheses indicate talent’s home base): Saturday/Sunday 2:00 am to 6:00 am Amy Lawrence (joins CBS Sports Radio from ESPN Radio); Saturday: 6:00 am to 10:00 am Marc Malusis (WFAN-AM/FM New York); 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Brandon Tierney (CBS Sports Radio); 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm Gregg Giannotti (KDKA-FM Pittsburgh); 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm Jody McDonald (WIP-FM Philadelphia and WFAN); and Saturday/Sunday 10:00 pm to 2:00 am Adam The Bull (WKRK-FM Cleveland).  Sunday: 6:00 am to 10:00 am John Kincade (WCNN-AM Atlanta); 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Vinny Cerrato/Rob Long (WJZ-FM Baltimore); 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm Jody McDonald/Kris Jenkins (former NFL player, and sports analyst); 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm Josh Innes and Ted Johnson (KILT-AM Houston); and Sunday/Monday 10:00 pm to 2:00 am Amy Lawrence.

liebermanrichBay Area Media Blogger Rich Lieberman to Host Afternoons at KOMY, Santa Cruz.  Rich Lieberman – who’s been writing the Rich Lieberman 415 Media blog for more than 10 years – had recently been doing some holiday fill-in work at Michael Zwerling-owned KOMY, Santa Cruz over the holidays.  Now Zwerling announces Lieberman has been hired to be permanent host of the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm program.  Zwerling states, “Rich has been blogging about media, sports, and entertainment for more than a decade and has built an amazing audience, including MANY famous people who crave mentions and acknowledgement by this new media sensation. This reminds me of how people would die to be mentioned in Herb Caen‘s column in the San Francisco Chronicle for nearly half a century.”

valentinebobbyBobby Valentine Joins NBC Sports Radio as Weekly Contributor.  Baseball’s Bobby Valentine is becoming part of the NBC Sports Radio network as a contributor to its coverage of Major League Baseball beginning this month.  The network says Valentine will call in weekly to affiliated stations and NBC Sports Radio talk hosts with his candid thoughts and observations on baseball.  In addition, Valentine will become a part-time co-host of a soon-to-be-announced daily Monday through Friday talk show that will debut in April as the network expands its programming lineup.  The NBC Sports Radio network is being distributed and supported with ad sales by Dial Global.  Valentine says, “I can’t wait to get started on NBC Sports Radio.  I’m looking forward to talking to our affiliates and network shows, and to being a major contributor to the network.  I always state my honest opinion and I can’t wait to share it with NBC Sports Radio listeners.”

millerchris“I Knew You’d Like This and That No One Else Would Show it to You.”  This is the attitude that digital consultant Chris Miller says delivers higher quality content when using social media such as Facebook.  In this piece for TALKERS, Miller explains how programmers can optimize their gains from Facebook using its EdgeRank algorithm.  Miller says EdgeRank “works to show you what they think will matter most to you.  It’s like a programmer picking songs; they want the good stuff to show up most often, and they don’t want to show you the stuff you don’t care about.”  Miller explains the three elements that make up the algorithm and offers some tips how to capitalize on it.  Read his piece here.

metalsheenaSheena Metal Celebrates Four Years at LA Talk Radio.  Los Angeles radio personality Sheena Metal is celebrating her fourth anniversary at the Sam Hasson-founded LATalkRadio.com.  Metal was a long-time evening personality at CBS Radio’s old hot talk KLSX, Los Angeles before the station underwent a format change.  Sam Hasson says, “Since she launched her daily radio show ‘The Sheena Metal Experience’ in January 2009, Sheena has grown tremendously in every way and built a respectable audience that is loyal and devoted.  We anticipate more great entertainment and intriguing guests in the coming year.  LA Talk Radio is proud to call Sheena Metal one of our own.”  In addition to “The Sheena Metal Experience,” she co-hosts two weekly talk programs: the paranormal hit “Haunted Playground” alongside psychic/medium Danielle Egnew (Tuesdays from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm) and the spicy “Two Chicks Talkin’ Politics” alongside actress Susan Olsen (of “The Brady Bunch” fame) airing Mondays 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  For music lovers, Sheena Metal can even be found hosting her weekly “Music Highway” show on Wednesdays from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

| December 12, 2012

Don Imus Signs Extension with Cumulus to Remain on WABC and in Syndication.  Radio legend Don Imus inks a deal that will keep him in the morning slot on WABC, New York for another three years.  The 72-year-old broadcasting icon has been hosting mornings on WABC for the past five years.  Cumulus chief operating officer John Dickey says in a statement, “I am delighted that our listeners and advertisers have the certainty of knowing Don and his amazing team at ‘Imus In The Morning’ will remain on 77 WABC for at least three more years.  Don is a radio legend and is an important part of our team.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was quoted in The New York Times addressing the quality of the Imus audience when asked by reporter Ben Sisario about Imus’ ratings relative to other big-name talk hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.  Harrison told the Times, “Although ratings count, they don’t count as much with Imus.  He’s always had a very loyal and upper-echelon clientele.  They’re active, affluent, and tuned in to politics, business and popular culture on the kind of level that radio companies and ad agencies like.”

The Laura Ingraham Watch Continues; Cumulus Denies Rumors of Ingraham Deal.  Rumors of where talk media personality Laura Ingraham will surface with a new, nationally syndicated talk show after parting from Talk Radio Network several weeks ago continue to pop up.  But Cumulus Media COO John Dickey tells TALKERS there is no truth to the rumor she is joining his company for a national syndication deal.  TALKERS sources are hearing rumblings that instead of hooking up with a broadcasting corporation that also owns stations (Clear Channel, Cumulus), Ingraham is busy working on a project for a new radio talk show with legendary syndicator Norm Pattiz in that effort.  Ingraham mentioned on Fox News Channel on December 7 that she would announce something this week but, as most broadcasters know, issues can pop up that delay these types of announcements.

“The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio” Panel from LA Seminar Now on TALKERS TV.  One of the main panels at the recent TALKERS magazine New Media Seminar 2012 held in Los Angeles is now playing on TALKERS TV.  “The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio” features an outstanding lineup of industry leaders from various points on the spectrum of talk radio programming including Don Martin, VP programming, Fox Sports Radio/OM, KLAC, Los Angeles; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media/WYM Media; Phil Boyce, VP/director, Spoken Word Format, Salem Communications; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; and Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News.  The panel is moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who describes the session as “a sweeping overview of the key issues facing talk radio in 2012.”  To view it please see the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.

Red Zebra Suspends Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin for “Intolerant” and “Insensitive” Language.  Afternoon drive hosts Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin – hosts of the “Sports Reporters” program on Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980” – were suspended for two days this week after they were deemed to have engaged in “intolerant” and “insensitive” behavior while talking about a transgender athlete.  The segment centered around an article about 50-year-old Gabrielle Ludwig, a junior college basketball player who wants to get back into organized sports to set an example for others.  During the conversation, Czaban and Pollin referred to Ludwig as “it.”  Director of programming Chuck Sapienza wrote in a statement, “We strongly believe two of our employees crossed the line when discussing a transsexual person on their program last Thursday. Such intolerance and insensitivity will never be tolerated by this company.  Due to the nature of their conversation, the pair have been temporarily removed from ESPN980’s ‘Sports Reporters’ program.”  On Monday’s program the two read an apology on air.

KCSP, Kansas City Names John Hanson Program Director.  Entercom’s sports talk KCSP, Kansas City “610 Sports Radio” announces John Hanson is the new program director, taking over for Ryan Maguire who exited to take the PD post at CBS Radio’s sports outlet KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh.  Hanson comes to KCSP from the Minneapolis market where he has worked with KSTP-TV and KSTP-AM “1500 ESPN.”  Previously he programmed both KBAD “ESPN Radio 920” and KENO “Fox Sports Radio 1460” in Las Vegas.  Entercom vice president and market manager Dave Alpert states, “Kansas City is a highly competitive sports radio market.  I know that John’s drive and passion for sports radio, along with his extensive radio and broadcast experience, will build on the station’s success and take it to the next level.”  On taking the gig at KCSP, Hanson says, “I’m leaving an excellent situation in my own hometown to take this opportunity at ‘610 Sports Radio.’  That sums up how much I think of what has been built there, and what can still be accomplished.  Kansas City and ‘610 Sports Radio’ are simply too great for me to pass up.”  Hanson begins his new post on January 14.

Odds & Sods.  SiriusXM gives comedian and Opie & Anthony co-host Jim Norton his own weekly advice program on the O&A channel.  Norton, who also hosts a music show called “Norton’s Obsessed” on Ozzie’s Boneyard channel, begins his one-hour, call-in show at 10:00 am today (12/12)…..WOLB, Baltimore morning drive host Larry Young will do a live broadcast at The AFRO headquarters from 6:00 am to 10:00 am for the 12th Annual Toy Teddy Bear and Clothing Drive.  Young says, “I’m always excited about Christmas and being able to help others, especially the children.  Last year we took care of more than 500 kids and we expect to at least match that this year.”…..Vox Radio Group eliminates the news anchor position of 16-year market veteran Tom Conklin who handled morning news duties at WBEC-FM, Pittsfield, Massachusetts and WSBS, Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Fighting Golic.  ESPN Radio and ESPN2 morning show co-star Mike Golic gives the camera his best “Fighting Irish” pose after being presented with a 50th birthday cake in the same image.  Golic’s alma mater Notre Dame — for which his two sons currently play — is facing Alabama in the National Championship game January 7.

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, NC ‘Choose Life’ License Plate Flap, Syria Violence, Egypt Protests, and North Korea Rocket Launch Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11).  The fight in Washington over solving the “fiscal cliff” problem; the political controversy in North Carolina over the court’s ruling on its “choose life” license plate; continuing violence in Syria and the threat of chemical weapons use; protests in Egypt and the region’s instability; and North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, November 30, 2012

| November 30, 2012

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 NetworksSean 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.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Cumulus Media NetworksMichael Savage is picked up at Cumulus O&Os WABC, New York and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington for the 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm shift.

‘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.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

| November 27, 2012

Whither Laura Ingraham? Affiliates Hear Tammy Bruce Today.  The Talk Radio Network star has left the air amidst saying that she is leaving TRN, perhaps with plans to be back via another avenue in the near future.  Although the departure seems abrupt, it comes as no surprise to industry observers who have long known of the not-so-secret friction that has existed for years between Ingraham and TRN’s top management.  TALKERS has reached out to Talk Radio Network for information but has yet to receive a response.  Former TRN syndicated talk host and current popular internet talk personality Tammy Bruce is filling in on the network slot where Ingraham’s program aired.  On her website, Ingraham has posted the following message.  “After more than 9 years with the distributor Talk Radio Network, I decided it was time to move on.  After much thought and reflection, I have decided to pursue my first loves — modern dance and the xylophone.  In the highly unlikely event that these efforts do not prove fruitful, I intend to return to radio.  Seriously — to the more than 300 stations that carry the Laura Ingraham show and to all my loyal listeners, I feel the time is right to expand and retool my radio program and to explore other syndication options, which I am now actively pursuing.  During this brief hiatus, my team and I will continue to deliver thought-provoking and entertaining analysis via my website.”

Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco Names Chris Townsend PM Drive Co-Host.  With the departure of Brandon Tierney to CBS Radio Sports Network for the morning show beginning in January, the Entercom sports talker fills Tierney’s spot as co-host of the afternoon “The Drive” show with midday co-host Chris Townsend.  He’ll partner up with Ric Bucher in the afternoon slot and Matt Steinmetz will host the late-morning “The Pulse” solo, at least for now.  Townsend was upped from his evening show at “95.7 The Game” in September to the late-morning slot.  In addition to his daily talk show work, he hosts the Oakland A’s radio pre-game show “The Dugout.”

WBEN, Buffalo Talk Host Tom Bauerle Shares Cardiac Diagnosis with Listeners.  Last week, long time Buffalo talk host Tom Bauerle told his audience that he’ll be undergoing a procedure to have a pacemaker/defibrillator put in after being diagnosed with Brugada syndrome – or as Bauerle describes it to TALKERS – the “he was so healthy and he just dropped dead” disease.  Bauerle says he’s always believed in being honest with his audience.  “I have a very close bond with people who’ve listened to me because I do not pretend to be something I am not and the real people appreciate the truth in the era of spin.”  So he explained that he had a routine EKG prior to planned elective surgery when doctors discovered he has the syndrome that can cause a sudden and fatal arrhythmia.  Bauerle, still in his 40s, recently signed a long-term contract extension with Entercom’s WBEN back in October.  We at TALKERS wish him the best in dealing with this condition.

Bay Area Media Blogger Rich Lieberman Debuts Weekend Talk Radio Show.  San Francisco-based media blogger Rich Lieberman’s 415 Media has been the source of opinions and news scoops for Bay Area media (and beyond) for years.  He’s also made a number of enemies in the region who don’t like his style or his willingness to publish speculation about their business.  Now, Lieberman is taking to the air at Michael Zwerling-owned KOMY, Santa Cruz with a three-hour weekend program that airs on Saturday and Sunday evenings.  Lieberman tells Fishbowl LA the show will be guest-oriented.  He opened the first program speaking to KTVU-TV, Oakland evening news lead anchor Frank Somerville who discussed his adopting a black daughter.  He also interviewed KKSF talk host John Rothmann.  Lieberman tells Fishbowl LA, “Next weekend, I will be talking with actor Patrick Warburton as well as Alan Colmes, formerly of ‘Hannity & Colmes.’  Colmes has a new book out, and we’ll also take a look back at the 2012 presidential election…The show is guest-oriented right now.  I wanted to charge it up during the holidays and start with a splash.  But in the long run, the zeitgeist of ‘The Rich Lieberman Show’ is going to be my rants and opines, and talking about those topics with callers.”

Bonneville’s Arizona Sports 620 KTAR-AM Adds Mixed Martial Arts Program to Lineup.  The fast-growing popularity of mixed martial arts (MMA), especially among young men, has a number of sports enterprises exploring the possibility the sport can draw audience on a level worthy of dedicated programming.  Bonneville’s “Arizona Sports 620 KTAR-AM” is adding a new program to its lineup beginning Saturday, December 1 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm called “The Power MMA Show” hosted by Jim Grieshaber, along with world-class MMA fighters and former ASU wrestling stars Ryan Bader and Aaron Simpson (pictured here, Bader at left, Simpson at right).  The station describes the show as one that “will focus on the biggest stories of the week, the lives of fighters – from superstars to local talent, the growth of Arizona into an MMA hotbed and more.”  Written and video content will be hosted on a new MMA section at ArizonaSports.com, with a team of Power MMA contributors providing local and national coverage.  Bonneville Phoenix vice president of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says, “MMA is one of the fastest growing and most exciting sports in the world.  We’re thrilled to launch the first-ever show of its kind in this market, hosted by world renowned experts and top notch fighters. This is going to be fun.”

Sports Talk’s Dino Costa Sparks ‘Battle’ with Chris Russo at SiriusXM.  Sports talker Dino Costa – whose program airs on Chris Russo’s “Mad Dog Radio” on SiriusXM – has been getting some attention lately for his on-air jabs at the channel’s namesake and founder Chris Russo.  A two-part interview with Costa appears on ShermanReport.com and Costa speaks frankly with publisher Ed Sherman about his battles with Russo – admitting to calling him a “has-been” on the air – and their strictly “professional” relationship.  The bomb-throwing is even more interesting since Russo operates the channel and could oust Costa if he wanted.  Costa is also not shy about expressing his desire for a bigger role in the sports talk world.  Read the entire interview here.

Washington Tax Battle, Post-Sandy Clean-Up Costs, Liberty University-ObamaCare Case and Morsi’s Egyptian Power Grab Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/26).  The struggle between the Obama Administration and House Republicans over coming tax hikes and spending cuts; the price tag for cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey; the Supreme Court’s ordering lower court to reconsider Liberty University’s argument ObamaCare violates school’s religious freedom; and the power grab by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

| October 25, 2012

Radio in the Northeast Should Be Prepared for a Potential Perfect Storm.  Last year, it was the Halloween Snowprise – an early cold snap fed by a lot of moisture that produced a foot of snow in some places, and felled leaf-laden trees and power lines, blacking out parts of the northeast US for days.  This year – Halloween Week could bring a trick some meteorologists are already calling “potentially historic” – a strong tropical storm or hurricane named Sandy, with the Northeast again in the crosshairs.  This rare climatic event could be what one network weather anchor called an “atmospheric bomb” – produced by a hurricane colliding head-on with a strong cold front. The jet stream bows northward as it approaches the coast, sucking the storm closer to land, instead of pushing it out to sea.  The scenario is eerily reminiscent of the 1991 “Perfect Storm,” which left 12 people dead and more than $200 million in damage after it slammed into the East Coast. Power outages and flooding were widespread.  Now is the time to prepare.  Howard B. Price of ABC News urges broadcasters in the Northeast to learn the lessons of two radio group operators, who faced serious operational challenges following the EF-5 tornado that leveled a third of Joplin, MO in May 2011, and Hurricane Irene in August 2011, whose impact was felt across the Northeast for days.  To read his timely and informative article click here.

CBS Radio’s Atlanta Sports Talker Debuts.  WZGC-FM, Atlanta “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” sprang to life yesterday afternoon at 2:00 pm ET with the PM drive show “Game Time” with Carl Dukes, Kordell Stewart and Rachael Baribeau the first show to hit the air.  The trio talked Georgia sports, national sports and introduced the rest of the air staff to the listening audience.  The station lineup consists of: “Opening Drive” hosted by Rick Kamla, Randy Cross and C.J. Simpson in morning drive; Jerome Jurenovich and Jamie Dukes from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; “Mac & Jason at Night” with Mac McDonald and Jason Goff from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm; “Overtime” with Jim Murray from 10:00 pm to 2:00 pm; and “The Mitch Evans Experience” from 2:00 am to 6:00 am.  Programming the latest CBS Radio sports talk FM to go on the air is Terry Foxx.

KJRB, Spokane Drops Talk Shows for All-News Programming.  Mapleton’s news/talk KJRB, Spokane, Washington is eliminating most of its talk shows for an all-news approach.  The station drops TRN’s Laura Ingraham and Jerry Doyle and Cox Media’s Neal Boortz for TRN-operated America’s Radio News Network news blocks airing from 3:00 am to 7:00 pm.  The station maintains its local financial program from 12:00 noon to 12:30 pm and the KHQ-TV local news simulcast from 5:00 pm to 5:30 pm.  It also continues to air The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “Daily Wrap” with Michael Castner in the evenings and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” program.

Columbus Sports Talker Fired After Inappropriate Tweet.  Dispatch Broadcast Group has fired sports talk host Scott Torgerson about a week after he Tweeted, jokingly, that he wished for the firing or death of ESPN’s Desmond Howard.  Torgerson – former co-host of “The Common Man & The Torg” PM drive show on WBNS, Columbus “Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan” – was initially suspended after the Tweet began to create a firestorm of criticism.  Ironically, the station used Twitter on Wednesday (10/24) to notify its fans that Torgerson was no longer with the company.  As AwfulAnnouncing.com’s Matt Yoder notes in his blog, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit – a former Ohio State quarterback and still beloved personality in Columbus – got involved in denouncing Torgerson’s Tweet and that probably added to the momentum necessary to make Dispatch let Torgerson go.  The fact that WBNS is an ESPN affiliate may or may not have been a contributing factor.  As of now, Mike Ricordati continues to host the PM drive show solo.  This is not the first case of a talent being fired for an insensitive or inappropriate Tweet and it won’t be the last.  Hosts who are hired to push the envelope and also use social media to do so for the purposes of promoting their act and their program have to be careful.  There are certain subjects that must be avoided.  Wishing death, injury or some other personal assault on someone – even as a joke – is likely to get the host in trouble and probably fired.

Larry King’s Third Party Candidate’s Debate Produced by Ora TV.  One way to look at it is that broadcasting legend Larry King’s days of hosting A-List politicians and celebrities for his interviews and debates is over as he has moved to the digital television network Ora TV.  But others might see fledgling internet TV stations as the future and all it will take is a smash internet TV show to capture the public’s interest and the medium will begin to compete seriously with broadcast and cable TV.  Now, Ora TV seems to be shooting for niche programming and Tuesday’s broadcast of King moderating a third party candidate’s debate provided that.  King hosted Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, Jill Stein of the Green Party, Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party, Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party for a program in which the four largely explained how they differ from the Democratic and Republican party candidates.  The debate was broadcast from the Chicago Hilton Hotel with a live audience.  King explained at the start, “We think all voices should be heard.  I think this is a noble cause.”  CSPAN did air the program on cable TV in the U.S.  Pictured here are Kristina Tobin, chair of the Free & Equal Elections Foundation (l) and Larry King (r).

Karel Joins Huffington Post Live Web Program.  Long Beach, California-based talk host Karel – heard on KGO, San Francisco and in syndication across the country – appeared on the Huffington Post’s half-hour roundtable talk show “HuffPost Live.”  The webcast program is hosted by Huffington Post’s Jacob and Alyona and usually features talent from afar piped in via web video batting around the issues of the day.  Karel is pictured here in his home studio via webcam on the “HuffPost Live” program.

Odds & Sods.  CBS Radio extends its deal with the NFL’s Chicago Bears to continue airing Bears play-by-play and other Bears-related programming on its Chicago signals.  The games will continue to be heard on all-news WBBM-AM/FM with programming such as “Bears All Access” airing on sports talk WSCR “The Score.”  The terms of the new deal was not announced…..Legendary college basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski returns to SiriusXM for his weekly “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K” program.  This is the eighth season Krzyzewski has hosted the program on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog channel.  For last night’s season opener, Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino were guests…..Emmis’ KFTK, St. Louis “FM NewsTalk 97.1” is working with Americans for Prosperity on a promotion to sell gas to 200 lucky listeners for the “pre-Obama Administration” price of $1.84 per gallon.  FM NewsTalk 97.1’s Randy Tobler will broadcast live from the Country Club Car Wash in O’Fallon, Missouri from 8:00 am to 10:00 am on Saturday, October 27.

WPRO, Providence Hosts Rhode Island Candidates Debate.  Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM in Providence hosted the candidates for the 1st Congressional District in Rhode Island for an hour-long, uninterrupted debate.  Pictured here at left is Democratic Congressman David Cicilline and, at right, Republican challenger Brendan Doherty in the studios at WPRO.  Not pictured is moderator and WPRO news director Bill Haberman who facilitated the contest.  In addition to airing the debate live on the radio with analysis during the Matt Allen program that followed the debate, WPRO provided a video stream and a live, interactive Tweet chat at 630wpro.com.

Benghazi Terrorism Question, Presidential Race Polls, Debate Aftermath, World Series and Hurricane Sandy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/24).  The conflicting reports of who knew the Benghazi attack was an act of terrorism and when they knew it; the presidential race polls; analysis of the presidential debates; the Giants-Tigers World Series; and the looming threat to the U.S. from Hurricane Sandy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

| September 26, 2012

Ronn Owens Disputes Reports of His Demise at KGO.  Addressing yesterday morning’s lead story on the TALKERS magazine morning headlines, attributed to San Francisco media blogger Rich Lieberman, KGO talk show host Ronn Owens tells TALKERS there is no truth to the report that his contract will be bought out before it ends on December 31 and that the station will replace him with a newsy program.  Owens also tells TALKERS he has no knowledge of Cumulus Media’s plans beyond his contract but says, “Cumulus has been totally nice to me.”  Owens says Lieberman “has been attacking me for over a year for the changes that have taken place at KGO,” referring to the dismissal of other talk show hosts and staffers that took place after Cumulus assumed control of the station.  Owens says Lieberman’s blog story is “totally made up.”  He says, in fact, his agent is not Don Buchwald but is David Katz.  He also says he does not make a seven-figure salary and never said that his ego is too big to be paid $300,000, as Lieberman reported.  Regarding his future at KGO, Owens tells TALKERS, “San Francisco is the crown jewel of places to live and whatever happens after December 31 happens.”

CBS Radio’s Atlanta Sports FM Will Be “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game.”  Set to debut in mid-October, CBS Radio’s new FM sports talk outlet – the soon-to-be-former Triple A WZGC, Atlanta will take the handle “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game.”  Media chatter around Atlanta is that the station may reveal its lineup as early as next week in order to give the sales staff something concrete to pitch to clients prior to the launch.  Earlier media reports alluded to the possibility that “Two Live Stews” Doug and Ryan Stewart – recently dropped from crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone” – might pop up on the station but TALKERS sources indicate that will not be the case.  The programming philosophy we’re hearing about for this station is being termed as “fresh.”  Stay tuned!

Nation’s Biggest Talk Hosts Sign On to Petition Against TV Networks for Biased Election Coverage.  The missive detailing a complaint against ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN for “rigging this election and taking sides in order to pre-determine the outcome,” is penned by the conservative Media Research Center’s L. Brent Bozell III but it is signed by some of the country’s top nationally syndicated talk show hosts.  Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh, TRN’s Laura Ingraham and Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin signed the open letter.  In it, Bozell writes, in part: “A free and balanced media are crucial to the health of this country.  It is your duty as journalists – as outlined in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics – to ‘distinguish between advocacy and news reporting,’ while simultaneously ‘seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.’  There is a reason why the media are viewed with such disdain by the American public, as evidenced by every recent poll on the issue.”

Armstrong & Getty Reportedly Suspended for Call to Criticize Islam.  The suspension has not been confirmed by Clear Channel Sacramento management but the duo of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty were off their KSTE, Sacramento flagship station as well as KKSF, San Francisco (where the show is simulcast) on Tuesday morning after the show sent out a press release promoting its call to listeners to post videos and photos critical of Islam and the prophet Muhammad to “flood the world with cartoons, movies and songs saying bad things about Muhammad until they finally grow up.  In other words, free speech,” stated Jack Armstrong.  The political blog The Right Perspective is reporting the duo have been suspended though it doesn’t state a period or confirmation of the sanction.  KTXL-TV, Sacramento produced a piece on the controversy and also was unable to get a comment on record from Clear Channel’s Sacramento management.

Radio’s Strengths in the Media Landscape.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke says the best session he attended at the recent 2012 Radio Show in Dallas was by Arbitron senior VP/marketing Bill Rose and highlighted how “Radio provides opportunities to reach consumers when advertising is relevant to what they are doing.”  Cooke says, “This document [the study cited] is a powerful selling tool, and real instructive to programmers and on-air talent…especially on-air talent that sells (and smart on-air talent does).”  The data Rose used in his presentation was from USA Touchpoints, a national sample that captures media usage, shopping behavior, emotional mindset, via smartphone app, every half hour, from 10-day panelists.  Read Holland Cooke’s report and analysis here.

WWNC, Asheville AM Drive Co-Host Jerri Jameson Moves On.  Morning drive co-host Jerri Jameson announces she will exit the Clear Channel station October 12 to pursue other interests.  Jameson writes on her station blog, “After more than 10 years with Clear Channel Asheville, it is time for me to move on from radio.  It was a difficult decision.  I have gotten to know some truly wonderful people in our great community and for that I will always be grateful.  Waking up each morning to share the daily goings on around town, the state and the world with you has truly been an honor I will treasure forever.”

The Young Guns of Talk Radio.  Ask anyone, especially those working for the consumer media, and they’ll tell you that personalities working as hosts on news/talk stations are all old, white men.  Radio’s general lack of a “farm system” doesn’t help that misconception much, but the truth is there are young people – some men and some women – working in news/talk radio today.  Tomorrow at Talkers.com, executive editor Kevin Casey writes about some of those broadcasters and their thoughts on being young and on the air in the news/talk business.

Willie Geist to Join NBC’s “Today.”  According to Brian Stelter’s Media  Decoder in The New York Times, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” cast member Willie Geist will become co-host of the 9:00 am hour of NBC’s “Today” program.  The deal has not been officially announced and Stelter reports Geist will still appear on “Morning Joe,” probably during the 6:00 am hour but will give up the “Way Too Early” 5:30 am newscast he’s been anchoring.  It’s also believed Geist will fill in for Matt Lauer when he is absent.

Rumors of Big Names Being Sought to Run CNN.  Sony chairman Howard Stringer is one of the executives rumored to be on the list of those being sought to take charge of struggling CNN when current chief Jim Walton leaves at the end of the year.  The New York Post reports a source inside CNN states, “We should know something in a month, perhaps before the elections. Unlike CNN International, we just don’t have someone with a mission.  We need our Roger Ailes.”  Other media execs reportedly being considered are former NBCUniversal president and CEO Jeff Zucker, former ABC News president David Westin, and former NBC News chief Neal Shapiro.

Odds & Sods. CBS Radio’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles takes its “KNX on Your Corner” live remote series to Glendale, California on October 19.  The day of programming will include features about Glendale’s history, current issues and plans for future growth. Coverage will include live interviews with city officials and other special guests.  The station will continue the series in Beverly Hills on December 7…..SiriusXM will present live coverage of the 2012 Ryder Cup golf tournament.  The biennial event pits the US against Europe and is being played this year at Medinah Country Club in Illinois.

Part of the Skyline.  CBS Radio’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia is now a part of the city’s skyline after the station put up a new, lit call letter sign atop its offices at 400 Market Street in downtown Philly.  The KYW logo and the iconic CBS “eye,” were hung over this past weekend and faces east, making it visible from Camden, New Jersey, I-95 and the Ben Franklin Bridge.  The station notes this was not a simple building procedure.  “The difficult process of hanging an illuminated sign above street level, particularly in the downtown area, took five years before receiving city zoning and art commission approval.  KYW is now the only radio station in Philadelphia County to be granted this right.”

Obama on ‘The View’ and at the UN, Iran’s Bluster, Criticism of Religious Figures, Libya Aftermath, and NFL Replacement Officials Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/25).  President Obama’s Appearance on ‘The View’ and his speech at the United Nations; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s blustery speech at the UN and his appearance on Piers Morgan; criticism of religious figures; analysis of the aftermath of the Libya attack and furor over the NFL’s replacement officials were some of the most-talked-about-stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, September 14, 2012

| September 14, 2012

Bryan Nehman to Take Over Morning Drive on WBAL, Baltimore.  Anne Arundel County, Maryland native Bryan Nehman is named the successor to the morning drive show at Hearst’s news/talk WBAL, Baltimore after Dave Durian – who’s been with the station for 20 years – steps down from his position this fall.  Nehman has been half of the “Brian and Bryan” show on Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington with Brian Wilson but tells the Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik the WBAL job is too good to pass up.  “Number one, it’s a great station, and I love the fact that they’re local, local, local.  It’s very hard to find that in radio these days.  Almost everywhere you go, it’s syndicated in radio.  The company is fantastic from everything I heard.  And then, there’s the city.  I’m a Maryland boy through and through.”  WBAL program director Dave Hill tells the paper, “Bryan is one of the brightest young men that I’ve met, and he is the guy who’s going to lead WBAL into the next 20 years of broadcasting.”  Durian’s last day hosting the AM drive show is not certain – though mid-October has been suggested.  Durian will remain with the station to do special assignments.

Trip Savery Upped to VP/General Manager at Greater Media Charlotte.  Director of sales Trip Savery is promoted to the vice president and general manager position at Greater Media’s Charlotte cluster that includes news/talk WBT-AM/FM and personality AC WLNK.  Savery joined Greater Media in March of 2010.  He’ll continue to perform director of sales duties and will now serve as acting market manager under senior vice president and general manager Rick Feinblatt who says of Savery, “Trip’s outstanding performance as DOS of Greater Media Charlotte has earned him this well-deserved promotion.”

August Sports Scoreboard.  Sports talk radio is one of radio’s hottest formats right now.  It has the kind of listener engagement that advertisers crave, it brings adult men with disposable income to the table and its content focuses on one of the hottest aspects of American pop culture in the early 21st century – professional sports.  Sports as a radio moneymaker is evidenced by the recent launching of not one but two new players in national sports talk content – CBS Sports Radio Network and NBC Sports RadioTALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian has taken a look at the ratings of 40 of America’s sports talk outlets and compiled them in this “scoreboard-style” feature.  Check out the rankings in Kinosian’s piece here.

Killer Endorsement Spots: Advertisers’ (and your) Best Buds.  Consultant Holland Cooke says the best way radio can fight the competition for ad dollars (Google, Pandora, et al) is for personalities – talk hosts and jocks – to use the credibility and relationships they’ve built up to their advantage.  Cooke says, “Radio is an intimate medium, with decades of cred’ to the two generations which control most retail spending.  So the local DJs and talkers who will survive the ongoing bloodbath do so by being more than just voices.  Properly applied, the trust you have earned with listeners can sell-sell-sell, in a way that makes Arbitron numbers irrelevant.”  How to do that?  Holland has some suggestions.  Read his piece here.

Re-Branding Drives Success for Home Improvement Host Danny Lipford.  Mobile, Alabama-based home improvement talk show host Danny Lipford says his weekend program is gaining new affiliates since he re-branded his program.  Now called “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford,” the former “Homefront” show is garnering renewed interest, according to Lipford.  “SuperTalk Mississippi was the first group to come on board with our name change from ‘Homefront’ to ‘Today’s Homeowner.’  The response to the name change has been tremendous.”  Danny Lipford has made over 150 television appearances on shows such as “Rachael Ray,” “Live with Regis & Kelly,” “CNN’s Your Bottom Line,” and “The Early Show on CBS.”  He also produced a television program of the same name.

Talk Hosts Play Role in Family Research Council “Values Voter Summit.”  This weekend’s Family Research Council “Values Voter Summit” in Washington, DC will feature a number of high-profile talk show hosts.  Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett will introduce GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.  The congressman once worked for Bennett at the think tank Empower America before he entered public service in the Congress.  SRN talk personality Dennis Prager will serve as a keynote speaker with his speech addressing “the need for American values to triumph around the world.”  Other talk personalities appearing this weekend will include Premiere Networks star Glenn Beck, Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham and Cumulus Media Network’s Mike Huckabee.

WGN, Chicago’s John Williams to Attempt New Speed Golf World Record.  WGN midday host John Williams and a group of his listeners will attempt to break the world record for the fastest round of golf on Sunday at Carriage Greens Country Club in Darien, Illinois.  Dubbed “King John & His Royal Court’s Speed Golf World Record Challenge,” this will be the second attempt at a world record by Williams and crew after last year’s inaugural event.  Williams has assembled a team of 200 listeners for this Sunday’s event, which will play out in a speed golf relay format.  Golfers will be assigned locations along the course based upon their best club and will hit the ball to each other in progression. The current world record is 7 minutes, 56 seconds.

Leslie Marshall Represents America Progressive Talkers in Dublin.  Nationally syndicated progressive talk host Leslie Marshall will be in Dublin, Ireland next week where she says she’ll “represent the Left/Democrats at an international debate on the U.S. Presidential race at the U.S. Embassy, in Dublin, Ireland.”  She’ll also appear at Dublin’s Boston College as well as speaking at the Women For Election luncheon about women in the U.S. Election.  Additionally, she’ll be a guest on Dublin’s “The Right Hook” talk radio program on Monday, September 17.

Talk Radio Pro Roger Fredinburg Re-enters Biz with “Homeland Security Radio.”  Roger Fredinburg was nationally syndicated by Talk Radio Network back in the 1990s.  His program was the lead-in to “Coast to Coast AM” back when it was hosted by Art Bell.  Fredinburg exited the business in 2004 after saying he became “frustrated with redundant voices and re-packaged news, each agonizing hour of talk radio parroting the last.”  He got into the national advertising agency business.  Now, Fredinburg tells TALKERS he’s getting back into the talk business due to his concerns over recent developments in the Middle East.  He says that, combined with his recognition of a growing communications gap between the public sector and private citizens as relates to Homeland Security, has awakened his passions and he is determined to make a positive difference using talk radio.  He’ll keep the focus and a watchful eye on Homeland Security and bring HS insiders to the airwaves to connect with average Americans via talk radio.  Genesis Communications Network is syndicating the program on Sundays from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET.

Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeaderhip Hits Indy.  Nationally syndicated talk host Dave Ramsey (pictured here third from the left) brought his super-successful EntreLeadership Seminar to Indianapolis on Wednesday in conjunction with the launch of the new AM/FM simulcast of his affiliate station, “Freedom 95.”  Here he poses with the station’s staff.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  XtreMEDIA’s Kevin McCullough adds five new affiliate stations: WLES, Richmond, Virginia; KTIA, Des Moines; KUTR, Salt Lake City;  WCRU, Charlotte; and WBRG, Lynchburg, Virginia…..Also, the XtreMEDIA-produced Dani Johnson show is added to WETR, Knoxville, Tennessee and WHKT, Norfolk, Virginia…..The nationally syndicated talk show “Phil’s Gang,” with host Phil Grande, is added to the program schedule at KFNN, Phoenix and KPSF, Palm Springs, California…..Fox Sports Radio Network adds its daily lineup of sports talk shows to KVNS, Brownsville, Texas…..”The Captain’s America” host Matt Bruce announces a new flagship home — WXJB-FM, Homosassa, Florida (“News-Talk For The Nature Coast of Florida”) — for his program that is syndicated by Phoenix Broadcasting…..The weekly military talk radio program, “Frontlines of Freedom” hosted by Denny Gillem, LTC, US Army (Ret) is added to the weekend schedule at Midwest Communications’ WKZO, Kalamazoo, Michigan and its simulcast WZKO, Portage, Michigan.

Libya Consulate Strike/Obama Foreign Policy Record Top News/Talk Stories for Week of September 10-14.  The violent attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the assessment of President Obama’s foreign policy record tied for the most-talked-about-stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 was the anti-American violence taking place in the Muslim world tied with President Obama’s relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  At #3 was President Obama’s “convention bounce” in the polls and at #4 was the rise in jobless claims.  The Talkers TenTM is a ranking of the top people and stories discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

| August 30, 2012

Fisher Communications Re-Aligns News and Talk Programming in Seattle; KOMO to Air More News, KVI to Return to Conservative Talk.  After 20 months away from conservative talk programming, Fisher Communications’ KVI, Seattle – reputed to be the first station to intentionally program all-conservative talk in America – returns to that format with local talk host John Carlson moving over from KOMO to host morning drive at KVI.  When the lineup is finally in place, Carlson will be followed by TRN’s Laura Ingraham; Compass Media NetworksTodd Schnitt; Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin; Compass’ Lars Larson; TRN’s Michael Savage; and Cumulus Media’s “Red Eye Radio” and Don Imus will round out the overnight period.  PD Paul Duckworth states, “KVI stands for the best in conservative talk in Seattle.  This is going to be one of the most hotly contested elections in history and people need a place to hear about it and talk about it.  Get set for an exciting ride!”  Meanwhile at KOMO-AM/FM, Bill Rice anchors the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart and Brian Calvert anchors the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot.  Ken Schram – who had been hosting a talk show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm—remains with Fisher in his role as commentator on KOMO 4 television.  Both Carlson and Schram will continue to provide daily commentaries on KOMO Newsradio.

Is Jim Rome Leaving Premiere Networks for CBS Radio Sports?  That’s what Deadline.com is reporting.  Jim Rome has been syndicated by Premiere Networks since he debuted nationally back in 1996.  Recently he left ESPN – the cable giant that produced his television program – and signed on with the upstart cable venture CBS Sports Network.  Now, Deadline is reporting Rome will leave Premiere when his contract is up and join the CBS Radio Sports network when it debuts in January and that the deal will also allow him to cover NFL, NCAA basketball and U.S. Open Tennis Championships, and other events.

Dial Global Responds to Mark Masters’ TRN Lawsuit — Calls it “Frivolous,” “Spurious.”  In a statement issued to the radio industry trade press, Spencer Brown, co-chief executive officer of Dial Global, states: “Despite the comments in Mr. Masters’ e-mail to the press distributed yesterday in which he announced his company Talk Radio Networks (TRN) is suing Dial Global, at this time, Dial Global has not been served a complaint. We have provided outstanding service to TRN for over 10 years and continue to represent several of TRN’s programs today. Based on the information contained in the complaint distributed by Mr. Masters to the press, which complaint was filed by a law firm run by Ron Severaid, TRN’s own internal legal counsel, we believe the complaint is entirely frivolous. We are confident we will defeat these spurious claims, assuming they are ever heard in a court of law.”

Lincoln Financial Media’s Sports WAXY Takes Over 104.3 in West Palm Beach.  As reported last week, the announced sale of WMSF, West Palm Beach to Lincoln Financial Media for use as an FM signal for sports talker WAXY would give LFM the right to operate under an LMA until the sale is approved by the FCC and that happened yesterday at 5:00 pm ET.  The 104.3 signal remains in the West Palm Beach market while the application to move it to the Miami market sits in Washington, DC with the commission.  Until the time that move happens, the station cannot broadcast Marlins or Heat games on the FM signal as Good Karma’s WEFL, Tequesta, Florida has the rights in the West Palm Beach market.

Crawford Broadcasting to Purchase Non-Comm WNED, Buffalo.  Western New York Public Broadcasting Association announces it is selling WNED-AM, Buffalo at 970 to Denver-based Crawford Broadcasting for $875,000.  The pubcaster purchased WBFO-FM, Buffalo from the University of Buffalo in March for $4 million and president and CEO Donald K. Boswell says the corporation no longer needs the AM frequency for its programming.  He also states the cash from the sale will go to pay down debt on the WBFO-FM purchase.  WNED also owns WNED-FM that airs a classical music format and WBFO-FM carries the corporation’s news and information programming.  Crawford programs both Christian and secular programming and has not signaled its intent for WNED-AM after the sale is approved.

Entercom’s 95.7 The Game Names Ric Bucher PM Drive Co-Host.  With Eric Davis leaving KGMZ, San Francisco to join The NFL Network, Entercom’s 95.7 The Game brings Ric Bucher aboard to co-host the PM drive show with Brandon Tierney.  Program director Jason Barrett states, “Ric Bucher’s credentials in our industry speak for themselves and he’s instantly recognized locally and nationally for his great work with ESPN.  Bay Area sports fans are going to learn quickly that he’s a 20-year Bay Area native and his passion and knowledge for our local teams is outstanding.  Ric and Brandon Tierney will be an absolute must-listen during afternoon drive for Bay Area sports fans.”  Bucher will continue his role with ESPN as a Bay Area NBA reporter and senior writer covering hoops for ESPN The Magazine.  He begins at KGMZ on September 6.

WFAN, New York Crowns Fantasy Phenom 3 Winner.  CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York announces the winner of its third annual local talent search who receives a weekly sports talk program on the station beginning in September.  Joe Giglio of Howell, New Jersey bested his competitors to claim the prize in the summer-long promotion.  WFAN operations manager and CBS Radio New York vice president of programming Mark Chernoff says, “We’ve been very pleased with our first two winners and look forward to Joe doing a great job this time around.  We thank all of our participants and special kudos to our five finalists, who had to perform both for a huge radio audience on WFAN, but also to our online listeners at WFAN.com, our YES TV viewers and the few thousand people who saw them live at Bar A.”

Hubbard Radio’s ESPN 101 St. Louis Presents Inaugural Speaker Series Event with St. Louis Rams Today.  WXOS, St. Louis is launching its speaker series with today’s “Game-Day Luncheon” with the St. Louis Rams from 11:30 to 1:30 at the local Patrick’s Restaurant & Sports Bar.  Fans can pay $25 per head to attend and hear St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, general manager Les Sneed, and executive vice president of football operations/chief operating officer Kevin Demoff talk about the new season.  Rams Radio personalities and NFL commentators D’Marco Farr, coach Rick Venturi, Tony Softli and Steve Savard – along with other 101 ESPN on-air personnel – will be on-hand at this special game day gathering with the Rams.  The event takes place on the same day as the Rams’ last pre-season game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Odds & Sods.  Former Miami Dolphin great Jason Taylor begins a stint on WAXY, Miami’s Dan Le Batard PM drive show.  He’ll join Le Batard each Monday to talk NFL football during the season…..David Todd is the new 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm host on Clear Channel’s sports talk WBGG, Pittsburgh…..“Watchdog on Wall Street” host Chris Markowski begins a regular guest shot on the “Butler on Buisiness” program on WAFS, Atlanta.  He’ll join the program each Wednesday at 11:35 am…..Washington, DC-based talk host Chris Core – for years a star on WMAL and currently doing commentary on WTOP – will fill in for Michael Castner, host of “The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” tomorrow…..Retired NFL star LaDainian Tomlinson signs on with SiriusXM to host weekly shows on the SiriusXM NFL Radio and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio channels.

Republican National Convention, Isaac Stalls Over Gulf Coast, SEAL’s Bin Laden Book and Syria Among Top News Talk Stories Yesterday (8/29).  The Republican National Convention and election issues dominated the news/talk radio airwaves yesterday.  However, other topics that were discussed included Tropical Storm Isaac stalling over the gulf Coast and bringing devastating rain to the region, the Navy SEAL’s book about the death of Osama bin Laden and the ongoing strife in Syria.

 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

| August 2, 2012

Chick-fil-A Controversy Fires Up Conservative Talk Hosts; Sparks Movement to Support Fast Food Chain.  The issues of gay marriage and First Amendment rights have been front and center on news/talk radio this week in the wake of Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy’s comments in a Baptist publication about his support for the Biblical definition of marriage that’s grown into a major news story.  Some view his statement as bigoted and divisive while others see this as a free speech issue.  The case has spurred planned demonstrations by same-sex couples and their supporters as well as conservative media personalities who have encouraged their listeners and viewers to support the fast food chain.  Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher is pictured here (at left) in his studio preparing to enjoy his Chick-fil-A lunch and has been encouraging listeners to post pictures of themselves eating at the restaurant on Facebook.  Salem Communications O&O WNYM, New York – AM 970 The Answer – organized a call for support at the Paramus, New Jersey Mall where the station reports some 200 listeners had lined up by lunchtime to support the store.  At right is talk show host Kevin McCullough (l)  – whose weekend talk show is heard on WNYM – with Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce (r) as they prepare to enjoy a sandwich.  In the panoramic photo below.  The Answer morning drive host Curtis Sliwa can be seen at the far right speaking with a listener while the line of customers spreads across the photo to the left.

Bill Handel’s “Cash Mob” Supports SoCal Toy Store.  A “cash mob” organized by KFI, Los Angeles morning drive host Bill Handel put some $9,000 in the register of struggling Corona del Mar toy store Toy Boat, Toy Boat, Toy Boat.  Handel appeared at the store from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm but Handel’s listeners patronized the store all day long after hearing Handel speak on the air about the state of the struggling local business.  Handel show executive producer Michelle Kube reports many of the people who bought toys donated them to Children’s Hospital of Orange County.  Kube states, “This was just the first.  We plan to do more of these across all day parts on KFI over the next few months all over the Southland as our amazing listeners have responded with so many requests to help local small business owners!”

Clear Channel Reports Radio Revenue Up 3%.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – of course, now a private company but one that still publicly reports financials – gives its 2012 Q2 financial report and states revenue was up from $771.8 million in the second quarter of 2011 to $793 million in the second quarter of this year.  CFO Tom Casey reports much of that increase was due to national and in categories including automotive, telecommunications, financial services, political and entertainment.  Casey noted that national business rose at roughly double the rate of local business.

Comedian and Stephanie Miller Show Cast Member John Fugelsang Gets Current TV Show.  Regular Stephanie Miller radio show cast member – and one third of Miller’s “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” – John Fugelsang will have his own Current TV program beginning in the fall.  Talk radio host Stephanie Miller’s show is simulcast on the Al Gore-founded cable TV network in which Fugelsang gets some face time, but now he’ll have a solo gig there.  In a statement, Al Gore says, “We at Current are eager to bring John’s unique perspective on politics and the world around him to primetime.  He’s been a part of the Current family for a while now and we see just how much his voice resonates with our audience.  His new show will nicely complement our growing lineup.”  Fugelsang has guest-hosted prime time shows on the network including Eliot Spitzer’s and Jennifer Granholm’s programs.  The network has not announced what time the show will air.

WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina Flips to Talk.  The Kirkman Broadcasting station drops oldies for news/talk and airs largely syndicated programming with the exception of local PM drive host Rocky D.  Programming consists of: Cumulus Media NetworksImus in the Morning; Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher; Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and Jim Bohannon; and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson.

California Couple Sentenced in Real Estate Ponzi Scheme; Infomercials Aired on KVTA, Port Hueneme.  It’s almost a mystery how stations keep selling infomercials to “investment gurus” who go on to swindle people out of their life savings…but they do.  The latest case in this oft-repeating story is that of Kenneth Powell and Kathryn Rose who pleaded guilty to numerous counts of felony fraud related to a real estate investment Ponzi scheme that scammed some $3 million out of 15 people in Southern California.  The two broadcast shows called “Academy of Real Estate,” “Money Intelligence” and “The Ken & Katie Show” on KVTA.  Investors were asked to put money into real estate development or loans secured by real estate but all investment cash went to pay off previous investors until the scheme went bust.  59-year-old Powell received 18 years in prison and 63-year-old Rose will serve 12 years, 8 months.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Journal Broadcasting’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee gave away a fully restored 1969 Chevy Camaro (pictured here) to winner Aaron Guenterberg in its annual “Free Ride” promotion that saw more than 10,000 people enter the contest…..A Saturday morning talk show hosted by Tony Stiles debuts on news/talk KOIL, Omaha this Saturday…..Jacksonville-based sports talk show “Courts and Sports,” hosted by attorney John Phillips, moves from WOKV to crosstown WFXJ, Jacksonville on August 9.  Phillips’ regular co-host for the program is Jacksonville Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings…..SiriusXM presents “College Sports Nation Camp Tour” on its College Sports Nation channel beginning today.  Hosts Eddie George, Gino Torretta, Rick Neuheisel, Houston Nutt, Randy Cross, Gil Brandt, Jack Arute and Mark Packer will visit 13 camps in 16 days and report to listeners.

20 Gallons of Hat.  WLAC, Nashville-based talk host Steve Gill (r) is pictured here with music legend Charlie Daniels (l).  Daniels appeared on Gill’s syndicated talk program on Tuesday, July 31 and the two talked politics and the state of the country.

Presidential Race, Chick-fil-A Case, Ted Cruz Texas Primary Victory, Fed Economic Report/Financial Markets Activities, and London Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/1).  The campaign for president, the outpouring of support for Chick-fil-A and the issue of same-sex marriage; Tea Party candidate Ted Cruz’s Republican primary victory for U.S. Senate in Texas; the Fed’s economic report and financial markets activities; and the London Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, June 11, 2012

| June 10, 2012

Right and Left Come Together at the TALKERS New Media Seminar to Denounce the Practice of Organized Advertiser Boycotts.  They might not agree on many things but a love for the business of talk broadcasting and its role as a vehicle for the practice of the First Amendment can indeed make for strange political bedfellows.  In a rare display of unity, two of the highest-
profile and distinctly politically opposite talk show hosts in the business condemned the increased practice of organized advertiser boycotts by political organizations as a means of shutting down voices on radio and television with which they disagree. 
Conservative host Sean Hannity (Fox News Channel and Premiere Networks) and progressive host Ed Schultz (MSNBC and the independently syndicated Ed Schultz show) delivered their powerful remarks at the TALKERS New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7.  Hannity included the statement as part of his keynote address which opened the conference.  Schultz presented his opinion while delivering the event’s “Annual State of the First Amendment Address.”  During his presentation at the non-partisan, industry-wide gathering, Hannity played excerpts from a variety of well-known talk show hosts making controversial statements on the air that subsequently resulted in calls for advertiser boycotts and/or the firing of the hosts.  The clips included hosts from all over the spectrum – left, right and popular culture (still referred to by many as “shock jocks”) – with ear-perking clips from Don Imus, Howard Stern, Opie & Anthony, Mike Malloy and more.  Both Rush Limbaugh’s reference to Sandra Fluke and Ed Schultz’s description of Laura Ingraham as “sluts” were included to underscore the point that no single faction of the talk radio universe was exempt from participating in the practice of political or artistic controversy.  Hannity’s remedy: Change the dial.  Schultz concurred.  Both made their cases for the sake and survival of the talk radio industry as well as protecting the spirit of the First Amendment. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for complete coverage of the New Media Seminar in the coming days and weeks.

Cumulus Media Officially Announces Geraldo Rivera Rollout.  This has been expected since shortly after Geraldo Rivera made his talk radio debut on Cumulus Media‘s WABC, New York and KABC, Los Angeles in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Now, Cumulus says it will expand the show to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET time slot and begin a national rollout on August 13. In a statement, Cumulus Media COO John Dickey says, “When Geraldo agreed to host shows for Cumulus stations in New York and L.A. we had a hunch there’d be substantial national listener interest in his incisive and insightful style. And now we’re thrilled that with Geraldo such a success in those two markets, the show will be available across the country.”

Glenn Beck Renews with Premiere Networks for 5 Years and a Reported $20 Million per Year.  That figure is according to The New York TimesBrian Stelter who cites a “person with direct knowledge” saying the deal will pay Glenn Beck $100 million over the course of the new, five-year deal. In addition to handling affiliate and ad sales for Beck’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET nationally syndicated radio show, Premiere Networks also assists in ad sales for some of Beck’s non-radio efforts including his internet video channel GBTV on which his daily afternoon talk show is broadcast.

NBC Partners with Dial Global for Syndication of Sports Radio Content as NBC Sports Radio Network.  According to what Rob Simmelkjaer, senior vice president of NBC Sports Ventures and International tells USA Today, the new project will start with hourly sports updates and a couple of short-form features. But Simmelkjaer says NBC hopes to have two three-hour evening sports talk shows (one each for 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm ET starts) ready for syndication by fall. He says, “The goal is to start with a beachhead of programming and gradually expand to 24 hours per day, seven days per week maybe in 3 to 5 years.” Dial Global will handle affiliate and ad sales for the service and Simmelkjaer says it will be sold in tandem with Dial Global’s NFL radio broadcasts.

Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire Surface at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  Talk show hosts Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire had most recently hosted the morning drive show on Curtis Media Group‘s WZTK-FM, Burlington, North Carolina before the station flipped formats to Spanish music earlier this year. Now, the duo will replace Vince Coakley in the PM drive slot beginning July 2. In June of last year, Coakley took over the afternoon show for Tara Servatius who currently hosts mornings on WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. WBT program director Carl East says, “These guys bring a great sense of energy and fun to the air. Those who have been in Charlotte for a while already know what Brad is capable of. They are very clever observers of the issues of the day, whether they are local or national. The audience is going to love engaging them.” Brad Krantz previously hosted afternoons at WBT alongside Richard Spires for four years from 1999 to 2003.

KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Names Chuck Meyer News Director.  CBS Radio‘s news/talk KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas brings news pro Chuck Meyer aboard as news/director and anchor for the station’s PM drive news block. Meyer previously served as news director at WIOD, Miami and KING, Seattle and as program director at KVET, Austin and KCUB, Tucson. KXNT-AM/FM program director Andrew Paul says, “Chuck brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our staff. We are thrilled to have him lead our news team on multiple platforms.” The move allows former news director Joe Gillespie to focus on his duties as host of the station’s morning drive news program.

Jay Cutler to Join WMVP, Chicago for Weekly Appearance.  ESPN Chicago announces Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will be live in the studio with ESPN 1000′s Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman each Monday from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. In announcing the multi-year deal, ESPN 1000 president and general manager John Craven states, “ESPN Chicago could not be more excited to welcome Jay Cutler to our already solid on-air lineup. Waddle & Silvy’s extended access to Jay will give Bears fans his insights into the game and a glimpse of his personality they have never heard before both on air and online.” ESPN has sold the show to Miller Lite, the official beer of the Chicago Bears.

Talk Host Michael Smerconish to Welcome NAB Crystal Radio Award Winners Tonight.  Nationally syndicated WYD Media talk host Michael Smerconish will use the “magic” of technology to gather together all 10 NAB Crystal Radio Award winners at the NAB Education Foundation’s “Service to America” black-tie fundraiser taking place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC this evening. Smerconish will welcome the winners to the stage and acknowledge their accomplishments.

The End of an Era as NPR’s “Car Talk” Hosts Retire in September.  Hosts of the ubiquitous weekend public radio show “Car Talk” on NPR – brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi – will retire in September and record no more calls from Americans with questions usually having to do with their cars. But the show will go on for at least a few more years. NPR will continue to produce the show with previously aired audio from the show’s dense library of content. TALKERS magazine spoke with “Car Talk” producer Doug Berman several years ago for a feature story about the production of weekend talk programs. Unlike many shows, car talk is not a “live” call-in show. Calls are recorded during the week or callers are asked to call in at specific production times. As a result, the show has probably gathered more content than necessary at times and, in addition to “repurposed” content, there may be some calls to “Car Talk” that have not seen the light of day. Also, Berman tells the Boston Herald that they’ve reviewed the ratings for new shows and repeats and have found no difference. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was asked about the future success of “Car Talk” by the Los Angeles Times and he stated, “Not many shows that are maintenance, how-to shows can carry it off where people listen to be entertained. That makes the show extremely potent.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Cox Media Group‘s WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta nabs 11 from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. Among the accolades WSB picked up include “Station of the Year” large market and “Best Radio Program” and “Best Talk Host” honors for WSB-based nationally syndicated star Neal Boortz…..Beasley Broadcasting‘s news/talk WGAC, Augusta, Georgia wins the Georgia Association of Broadcasters “Radio Station of the Year” award in the mid-sized market category. The station’s personalities also were individually recognized with coveted “Gabby” Awards: News director and morning show host  Mary Liz Nolan won “Best Newscast; sports director Ashley Brown won “Best Sportscast” and “Best Sports Story or Series” and Dallas Reece was honored for the year’s “Best Commercial.”…..WBZ, Boston news anchor Joe Mathieu interviews “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley at the WBZ NewsRadio Business Breakfast about his first year as anchor of CBS’ evening news program Tuesday, June 12 at 8:00 am…..Fox Sports Radio continues its coverage of mixed martial arts with simulcasts of FX‘s “UFC on FX: Fight Night.” FSRN simulcast last Friday’s program and will do it again on June 22 at 9:00 pm ET with a two-hour post-fight call-in show beginning at 11:00 pm ET.

You’re Never Too Old…to Play Pro Football.  That’s 50-year-old Stan Nawalaniec of the Stan & Haney PM drive show on Beasley Broadcasting‘s hot talk WRXK-FM, Bonita Springs, Florida – 96 K-Rock Talk That Rocks – suited up with two unidentified players on the United Indoor Football League‘s Florida Tarpons. Stan signed on for a one-game deal with the undefeated team and was a member for its last regular season game Saturday, June 9 played at Southwest Florida’s Germain Arena in Estero.

Monday, April 16, 2012

| April 16, 2012

Heidi Harris Named Morning Drive Host at Salem’s Re-Branded KRLA, Los Angeles and KTIE, San Bernardino.  Salem Communications announces its Southern California news/talk outlets KRLA, Los Angeles and KTIE, San Bernardino are being re-branded “The Answer,” following the same plan recently instituted at the company’s WNYM, New York.  At the same time, rising talk media star Heidi Harris joins the stations to serve as AM drive host.  Harris, a Las Vegas native, most recently hosted the morning drive program at Beasley Broadcasting’s KDWN, Las Vegas.  Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says the new morning show and the new name and positioning will make both stations more competitive, with more attitude in the imaging and more opportunities to position the stations in their markets.  “We have been using the name ‘The Answer’ in New York since March 12, and could not be happier with the response.  The on-air attitude and positioning is much more positive and we decided we could do something similar for KRLA and KTIE.  The addition of Heidi Harris to the morning show is a major investment in the future of these stations, so the timing was perfect to combine the new show with the re-branding effort.”  Heidi Harris says of her new gig, “I am thrilled and excited to join Salem Communications, a company that has quickly become one of the most respected places to work in radio and a company with a huge commitment to what I do: the news/talk format.  I can’t wait to get back on the radio and to do my thing in Los Angeles and the Inland Empire – two great markets for talk – and two great stations.  With a teeny bit of talent, 13 years of busting my butt, and most importantly the Grace of God, I have landed my dream job.”

Florida’s Magic Broadcasting Buys Tallahassee Market WGWD-FM; Flips to News/Talk.  Panama City, Florida-based Magic Broadcasting II announces it has completed the purchase of classic country WGWD-FM, Gretna, Florida (Tallahassee market) and will flip the station to news/talk today as “Talk Radio 93.3 FM” WGWD.  CEO Don McCoy tells TALKERS magazine the station will feature state-syndicated talk hosts Burnie Thompson (12:00 noon to 3:00 pm) and Derrell Day (7:00 am to 10:00 am).  Thompson’s guests on today’s program will include Governor Rick Scott, upcoming Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, Florida’s next Speaker of the House Will Weatherford, and U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Tallahassee).  McCoy says the company is bringing “Florida’s year-round Town Hall right to the Capital City.”  He calls the new format “live, local, fun and exciting!  We’re focused on state programming as well as national issues …and always for Floridians.”  The station will also air Talk Radio Network/Washington Times-produced “America’s Morning News,” TRN’s Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage and Rusty Humphries, Cox Media’s Neal Boortz and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America with Jon Grayson.”

WNYM, New York’s Curtis Sliwa Featured in New York Post Story About Fiancé and Children.  Consummate New Yorker, Guardian Angels founder and talk media personality Curtis Sliwa is a local celebrity in New York but few knew of his home life until a piece in the New York Post this weekend shed light on that aspect of Sliwa’s life.  The short version is that Sliwa and fiancé Melinda Katz plan to marry soon and continue raising their two sons – Carter and Hunter – in their Forest Hills, Queens home.  Sixteen years ago Katz asked former boyfriend Sliwa for a sperm donation intending to raise any children she bore alone.  While pregnant with Hunter, Katz developed complications and called Sliwa – out of her life for years at this point – and he came to her aid and the relationship grew from there.  There’s far more to this human interest story featuring one of talk radio’s colorful characters.  Read it here.

KBME, Houston Brings N.D. Kalu and Greg Koch Aboard for Mid-Morning Show.  When former NFL players N.D. Kalu and Greg Koch left CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talk KILT last month, it was rumored the two might reappear at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s crosstown sports talk KBME.  That has been confirmed.  The two will host the 10:00 am to 11:00 am “In the Trenches with Koch and Kalu” beginning today (4/16).  Koch and Kalu had been hosting a weekend program on KILT and served as commentators on other station programs.  Kalu works in real estate in the Houston area and Koch is an attorney.

KOMO, Seattle Morning News Anchor Bill Yeend Retires.  Pacific Northwest broadcaster Bill Yeend finished his last airshift at Fisher’s KOMO, Seattle on Friday and begins enjoying his retirement – and probably sleeping in for the first time in a long time – today.  For the past 10 years, Yeend has co-anchored the morning news at KOMO with Manda Factor.  Yeend began his career at rock KBBX-FM, Seattle in 1968 and moved to crosstown KIRO in 1970.  There, he won five Edward R. Murrow Awards for journalistic excellence.  Taking over at KOMO alongside Factor is KOMO sports reporter and Seattle Mariners public address announcer Tom Hutyler.

WLS, Chicago Changes Imaging Voices; Drops Jeff Davis and Brings Aboard Scott Fisher.  Chicago radio fans are well aware of Jeff Davis’ history with Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS.  He started with the station in 1974 when it was the big hit music outlet in the city.  He remained with the station through the late 1980s.  Davis has been the voice of the station for most of the last 20 years but Cumulus has decided to change the station’s imaging and chooses not to renew Davis’ contract and signs on with Scott Fisher Productions.

Sports KFNC-FM, Houston to Be Hawked at NAB.  Station trustee and broker Larry Patrick of Maryland-based Patrick Communications tells the Houston Chronicle he will be actively looking for potential buyers for sports talk KFNC-FM, Houston and its sister Triple A KHJK-FM at this week’s NAB in Las Vegas.  KFNC-FM is one of four Cumulus Media stations in the market that went through a pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy deal to eliminate its debt and make it more attractive to potential buyers.  The station is still operated by Cumulus Media but Patrick owns more than 75% of the station.  According to Patrick, KFNC-FM boasted $2.4 million in ad sales in 2011.  Patrick tells the paper, “The staff is aware of what is happening, and the former owner has every right to bid and buy the stations back.  I’ve had inquiries from five or six people and I think there will be real interest.”

Dave Graveline in Croatia.  That’s “Into Tomorrow” talk host Dave Graveline (l) and producer Rob Almanza (r) standing on the (usually) sunny Adriatic coastline of Croatia.  Graveline and Almanza are there producing the weekend consumer electronics show while Graveline serves as moderator of the Global Press Conference for IFA – that’s the big Consumer Electronics & Appliance show that he broadcasts from in Berlin every September.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

| April 10, 2012

Current TV Fires Back at Keith Olbermann.  Fledgling network Current TV is countersuing former “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann in the wake of his messy departure from the operation.  Entertainment Weekly reports the Al Gore-founded network is calling Olbermann’s $70 million suit against the network “frivolous” and “riddled with falsehoods and distortions.”  “Current seeks a determination that it is no longer obligated to pay Mr. Olbermann who, having already been paid handsomely for showing up sporadically and utterly failing to keep his end of the bargain, now seeks to be paid tens of millions more for not working at all.”  The complaint also refers to Olbermann’s April 3 appearance on “Late Night with David Letterman” during which he stated the situation was “my fault” and admitted “I screwed up.”  Current TV filed its complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Rumor Confirmed: Limbaugh to Leave WPHT, Philadelphia; Michael Smerconish to Air Live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  Yesterday (4/9) TALKERS reported the rumor that Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh would leave longtime affiliate WPHT and be replaced by WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart.  CBS Radio is confirming that switch will take place with Premiere Networks saying Limbaugh will appear elsewhere in the market, though neither source is giving specifics on when the changes will take place.  Absent another major signal talk outlet in Philly, speculation is that Merlin Media will take new acquisition WKDN-FM, Philadelphia (licensed to Camden, New Jersey) news/talk in the near future and put Limbaugh on the station.  Meanwhile, Michael Smerconish returns to a live broadcast (he’s currently being delayed to PM drive) on WPHT, the station where he hosted a very successful AM drive program for many years.

WSCR, Chicago’s Dan McNeil Clears Air with Listeners About Absence.  Chicago sports talk host Dan McNeil told his listeners his absence from CBS Radio’s WSCR for the past six weeks was due to what he could best describe as a nervous breakdown that resulted from his ceasing to take the mood stabilizer Lamictal.  McNeil says after he stopped taking the drug he became depressed and sought treatment for depression and substance abuse.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports McNeil was open and honest with his listeners saying, “I know with you listeners I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust, as I’m doing with the most important people in my family.  And I hope you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt and give me a chance to re-earn that trust.”  McNeil co-hosts the midday show at WSCR alongside Matt Spiegel.

Sid Rosenberg to Be Off WQAM, Miami This Week.  After an arrest on Thursday of last week on DUI and driving with a suspended license charges, WQAM, Miami talk host Sid Rosenberg was on the air last Friday.  But he was not hosting his show yesterday and the Miami Sun-Sentinel reports WQAM program director Lee Feldman stating he’ll be off the air all week.  It’s unclear what Rosenberg’s status with the station is – whether he’s been suspended or is out for medical reasons – but he is not expected to return to the station this week.

CRN Digital Talk Radio Expands into the Hawkeye State.  Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces it has struck a deal with Iowa Network Services to bring its six audio HD channels to cable subscribers in the state.  CRN chief executive officer and founder Michael Horn states, “We are pleased to join with Iowa Network Services and provide their customers with our top-rated and highly entertaining talk radio programming.”  Iowa Network Services is based in Des Moines and serves 57 independent telecommunications firms providing internet, data, telephone and cable television service throughout Iowa.  INS video content manager Sarah Roeder says, “INS is excited to bring CRN Digital Talk Radio to Iowa.  The diverse programming will add value to our existing content.”  CRN Digital Talk Radio states it offers more than 100 original shows along with a stellar roster of top syndicated programs hosted by radio veterans such as Lou Dobbs, Barry Farber, Dennis Prager, Cindy Laverty, Laura Ingraham, Mancow, Michael Savage and Doug Stephan among others.  “Iowa Network Services subscribers will also enjoy the popular Robert Conrad show, featuring the TV legend, as well as the Larry Manetti show, starring the former ‘Magnum P.I.’ star.”

KNST, Tucson Hosts Arizona Congressional Race Debate.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KNST, Tucson is hosting a debate among the four Republican candidates vying for the Congressional seat vacated by former Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords earlier this year.  KNST morning host Garret Lewis will moderate the debate along with National Republican Committee member Bruce Ash.  Candidates Frank Antenori, Jesse Kelly, Martha McSally and Dave Sitton will face off in the April 17 primary to determine who will battle Democrat Ron Barber and Green Party candidate Charlie Manolakis in the June 12 special election.  The debate will take place Thursday evening at the Quail Creek Country Club and will be broadcast live on KNST and 97.1 FM.

Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED, Washington Wins “Headliner Award” for Website.  Hubbard Broadcasting’s Federal News Radio announces it has been honored with a 2012 National Headliner award for a second place win in the category of Radio-Affiliated Website.  Federal News Radio web manager Julia Ziegler states, “What makes FederalNewsRadio.com so successful is the fact that everyone on our staff contributes to the web product – from our reporters and web staff, to our producers and anchors.  Our most innovative web projects always come from staff members bringing their individual skills, knowledge and ideas together.”  WFED, Washington program director Lisa Wolfe says, “We offer a lot of interactivity with our surveys, multi-media features, radio interviews on demand, photo slide-shows and videos.  We have improved the graphic experience with some excellent data visualization.  The goal is to push our capabilities to be in the vanguard of digital journalism.”

KQTH-FM, Tucson Morning Host Jon Justice Hospitalized for Heart SurgeryJon Justice hosts the morning drive show at Journal Broadcasting’s news/talk KQTH-FM, Tucson.  He suffered a heart attack in 2009 and explains via the station’s video blog (pictured here) from the ICU that doctors will operate on him to fix a prior valve replacement that needs repair.  Justice says doctors expect him to recover quickly and he hopes to be home from the hospital by the weekend.

Jerry Doyle Live on the Strip.  That’s Talk Radio Network star Jerry Doyle broadcasting live from the Suncoast Hotel and Casino on April 6.  Doyle and flagship station KDWN, Las Vegas co-produced the appearance which will become a monthly live broadcast at which Doyle’s fans can take part in what he calls “radio magic.”  After Doyle’s three-hour broadcast, he took questions from fans and talked about “the things they won’t let me talk about on the radio.”

 

GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Tepid Jobs Report/Stock Market Activity, Status of Obama Care, Syrian Violence and Mike Wallace Passes Away Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/9).  The Republican primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign; the falling Dow on the heels of a weak jobs report; the Supreme Court’s Obama Care hearing and analysis of the law’s impact on the nation’s deficit; an increase in Syrian violence; and the death of journalist Mike Wallace were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame.  That’s Bob Kevoian of the nationally syndicated Premiere Networks Bob & Tom show at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati on Opening Day leading the fans in the traditional 7th inning stretch singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”  Bob & Tom produced a live remote broadcast from the Whiskey Bar in downtown Cincinnati on Opening Day.  Members of the Bob & Tom crew, including Tom Griswold and Kristi Lee, participated in the Opening Day parade in Cincinnati.  Griswold and Lee rode in affiliate Fox 92.5’s car in the parade.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

| January 10, 2012

Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio to Feature Greater Media Stations.  First it was Cumulus Media striking at deal with Clear Channel to have its radio stations available nationwide via the iHeartRadio digital radio platform, now Greater Media climbs aboard.  Beginning in April, Greater Media’s 22 stations in Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, New Jersey and Charlotte will be available via the iHeartRadio app.  Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth states, “We are thrilled to be able to provide our listeners with even greater access to our stations  anywhere they may be listening throughout the country with this exciting platform.”  Clear Channel president and CEO John Hogan says, “Adding Greater Media to iHeartRadio only improves our leading digital destination for consumers, expanding their ability to find the best and most complete online radio experience anywhere.  Clear Channel Radio and Greater Media understand that radio connects local businesses to consumers like no other medium can, and this agreement offers more choices for our listeners which is what they want.”

Don Martin Promoted to Senior Vice President, Sports Programming for Premiere Networks.  This is a promotion from his role as vice president and general manager for Fox Sports Radio Network which has been a division of Premiere Networks since it began collaborating on sports programming with Fox Sports more than 10 years ago.  In this new role, Martin oversees all sports programming and operations for Premiere.  Martin reports to Premiere president of content and affiliations Julie Talbott who says, “This is a well-deserved promotion, as Don’s leadership has been instrumental in the growth and strength of the Fox Sports Radio Network.  His expertise, as well as his passion and dedication to this industry, make him a tremendous asset as we expand in the sports arena.  With Don at the helm, I’m confident we will continue to see the positive impact and success of our programming.”  Under Martin’s watch, FSRN has reached an all-time high of 400-plus affiliates.  He continues in his role as general manager and program director of Clear Channel’s KLAC, Los Angeles.  TALKERS magazine’s Mike Kinosian recently spoke with Don Martin about his work with Fox Sports Radio and KLAC.  See the video in the Talkers TV box on the right side of this page.

KFTK-FM, St. Louis Adds More Local Talk;  Expanded Shows for Dana Loesch and Dave Glover.  Emmis Communications’ news/talk KFTK-FM, St. Louis is adding more live and local programming to its daily schedule with the expansion of the Dana Loesch and Dave Glover shows.  Loesch moves from the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot beginning January 30.  Dave Glover, the station’s longtime PM drive host, adds an hour to make his show live from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Program director Jeff Allen says, “Now with more Dana and Dave we can better cover the issues that matter to our St. Louis listeners.  This is just another step in our commitment to respond to the local audience and to better cover breaking news anytime it happens.”  The expansion of the two shows means TRN’s Laura Ingraham program will exit the station.  Dana Loesch also does a live hour on Emmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm and Allen says that will continue.

Compass Media Marketing Announces Executive Staff.  The newly formed advertising representation firm being organized by Compass Media Networks founder and CEO Peter Kosann announces Paul Gregery is installed as president of sales & marketing; Mary Giesen is named VP of sales planning; and Laura Peyer is New York account manager.  The appointments are effective immediately and Peter Kosann says, “We are extremely fortunate to have these executives join us.  This is a tremendous first step for our sales organization.”  Paul Gregery served at Westwood One for more than eight years in a variety of capacities, including president of sales.  Before that, he managed West Coast sales for the AMFM Radio Networks prior to its being acquired by Premiere Networks.  Gregery also worked for more than a decade at the ABC Radio Network in a variety of sales positions.  He will work out of Compass’ Los Angeles offices.  Mary Giesen also worked at Westwood One where she quickly rose through the sales management ranks, ultimately serving as VP of sales planning, traffic & continuity, managing the sales planning staff and overseeing the management of the commercial inventory.  She will work out of Compass’ New York offices.  Laura Peyer previously served as the sports network sales executive at Skyview Networks, managing advertising relationships with clients throughout the New York, New England and the Midwest markets.  Prior to Skyview, she held positions as national broadcast supervisor at MPG and sales planner at Westwood One.  She also will work out of Compass’ New York offices.

Glenn Beck’s GBTV to Debut New Roundtable Show.  In association with Glenn Beck’s internet news site The Blaze, GBTV will feature “Real News from The Blaze” airing weeknights from 7:00 to 8:00 beginning January 18.  GBTV personality Amy Holmes will moderate the roundtable discussion of the day’s news.  Participants will include Blaze editor-in-chief Scott Baker, Buck Sexton, Will Cain and S.E. Cupp.  GBTV president of programming Joel Cheatwood says, “While GBTV is and will remain an information and entertainment network, we saw a real opportunity to provide the news that our audience is looking for and is too often ignored by the mainstream media.  We are passionate about offering our audience a deeply reported and engaging look at the news and are excited to be able to draw on the incredible editorial resources at The Blaze.”

WIP, Philadelphia Brings Brian Haddad Aboard for Creative Services Director Post.  The former KDKB-FM, Phoenix morning drive host is named creative services director and part-time host at the CBS Radio sports talk station.  Operations manager Andy Bloom says, “We embarked on a three-plus month search to find the person who would make WIP the best-produced station in the country.  There is no question we found the most creative mind and talented person to help us accomplish that goal.  We view Brian as our new secret weapon.”  Brian “Sludge” Haddad joined Sandusky’s rock KDKB-FM in June of 2010 to host the morning show.  Previously, he’d worked at Cox Media’s WDYL-FM, Richmond.

KFNS, St. Louis Host Kevin Slaten Goes Solo After Ashlee Feldman Exits.  The PM drive show on Grand Slam Sports’ KFNS, St. Louis will go with Kevin Slaten solo for a while after former MTV reality show star Ashlee Feldman exited the program.  STLToday.com reports Feldman – a former college basketball player and star of MTV’s “Real World New Orleans” – missed her family in the East and decided to leave the program after a year.  Slaten tells the site he’s not certain if he’ll remain solo or be paired up with another partner.

Fisher Communications’ KVI, Seattle Loses PD Travis Box to Home Life.  Program director and producer Travis Box announces he’s leaving Fisher Communications to begin the most difficult job he’ll ever undertake – stay-at-home dad!  Box has been producing the KOMO-AM/FM “Newsline” program and programmed KVI as it made the recent transition from oldies back to talk.  KVI talk host Scott Carty will serve as interim PD.

New Hampshire Primary, Iran Nuclear Ambitions/American Sentenced to Death, Obama Chief of Staff to Exit and Tebow Rallies Boncos Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/9).  The GOP New Hampshire Primary race, Iran’s nuclear weapons program and its sentencing to death  American Amir Mirzaie Hekmati on charges of being a spy, the Obama Administration’s chief of staff Bill Daley to exit and Tim Tebow’s rallying the Broncos to victory over the Steelers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

| January 3, 2012

Walter Sabo Leaves COO Position at Merlin Media.  Noted radio consultant Walter Sabo has parted ways with Randy Michaels Merlin Media, the heavily venture capital-backed firm that acquired a majority share of three radio stations this past summer from Jeff Smulyan’sEmmis Broadcasting including WEMP-FM, New York and WWWN-FM, Chicago and is in the process of picking up a fourth from Harold Camping’s Family Broadcasting – WKDN-FM, in the Philadelphia market.  Merlin launched a relatively experimental all-news format at these stations targeted to what Sabo described as “working families” with an emphasis on the 25-54 female demographic.  The stations (FM News 101.9 in New York and FM News 101.1 in Chicago) received a tremendous amount of attention (and intense scrutiny) in the media before, during and after their launch prompted by former Tribune Company CEO Michaels’ negatively colorful and controversial profile, in addition to the fact that they were taking a startlingly innovative and youthful approach to delivering the all-news format.  Sabo was recruited to serve as architect of this approach due to his impeccable reputation as a longtime champion of the concept of targeting female listeners on FM and proven track record for success with spoken word on FM as a longtime consultant for WKXW-FM, Trenton (New Jersey 101.5).  When a notable rise in ratings failed to materialize in immediately subsequent survey periods coupled with widespread criticism by radio industry observers of the stations’ formats and execution – further exacerbated by Michaels receiving negative publicity in the midst of all this for being arrested on DUI charges – the heat was on and Michaels began facing enormous internal and external pressure to modify the programming approach.  He succumbed and the Merlin stations began moving in a more traditional all-news direction putting them in head-to-head competition with CBS’s long-established, traditional and wildly successful all-news outlets in New York and Chicago (WINS, WCBS and WBBM).  With this repositioning, the challenge of competing against successful, established news outlets has not produced increased ratings and the Merlin all-news initiative has become prematurely tagged throughout the industry as a monumental failure.  Sabo’s withdrawal from day-to-day operational and programming decisions, including his subsequent departure from Merlin, has been quietly happening below the radar for some time now.  Up until this article’s publication (1/2), there has been no official press release, acknowledgement or statement from either Merlin or Sabo confirming or commenting on his exit.  However,TALKERS sources inside Merlin and close to Sabo confirm that it is indeed true with Sabo telling TALKERS,“At this time my work with Merlin is complete.  The primary job was to build the most competitive team on and off the air – Merlin has the best.  Our initiatives gave investors the confidence to buy a station in a third market and grow the company.  GTCR deserves enormous credit for investing in the radio medium.  FM spoken-word is so hot that the demand for Sabo Media services has never been greater.  Our clients find that our decades of experience in the FM talk format protects their investment and shortens the profit horizon.  More importantly my beautiful wife Katie is seven months pregnant during the holidays.  That’s the news.”  Sabo will continue to serve as CEO of his consulting firm Sabo Media and internet branding and marketing company, HitViews.

Fox Sports Radio Network Debuts New Morning Program Featuring Andy Furman and Artrell Hawkins.  Today is the debut of Fox Sports Radio Network’s new morning show – “Fox Sports Daybreak” – heard from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET and featuring former Cincinnati sports talk host Andy Furman and retired NFL defensive back Artrell Hawkins.  Furman’s resume includes an 18-year run hosting “Sports Talk” at WLW, Cincinnati and, recently, the PM drive show at WQRT, Cincinnati.  Hawkins is a contributor to the Cincinnati Bengals Radio Network.  Furman has been hosting a weekend show with former NFL star Lincoln Kennedy for more than a year and that Sunday evening program with Furman and Kennedy will continue.  Fox Sports Radio VP/GM Don Martin states, “We couldn’t be happier to have Andy and Artrell hosting our new morning drive program.  The combination of a sports talk pro like Andy and a former professional football player like Artrell will be a great addition to our weekday lineup.”  Fox Sports Daybreak replaces the Zakk and Jack program on the FSRN schedule.

Cumulus Media Flips WMTI-FM, New Orleans from Oldies to Sports Talk.  The Big Easy gets a new sports talk outlet as Cumulus Media drops the oldies on WMTI-FM and goes sports talk with programming from Fox Sports Radio Network, Premiere NetworksJim Rome and a PM drive show hosted by New Orleans Hornets broadcaster Gerry Vaillancourt.

New FM Talk Outlet for Little Rock.  Crain Media Group drops the active rock on KKSP-FM, Bryant, Arkansas (located to the Northwest of Little Rock) and debuts a talk format it’s calling “Fresh Talk 93.3.”  The lineup includes market news personality Neal Gladner in morning drive, Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham, Dial Global’s Clark Howard, Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” and more.

Progressive Talk Appears on WVKO, Columbus.  The station at 1580 AM is owned by Bernard Ohio LLC and its website indicates it’s doing business as Clear Conscience Communications.  The progressive talk lineup that debuted on January 2 includes Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann and Bill Press plus Mike Malloy and Leslie Marshall.

Chris Schoenewald Exits Virginia-Based “Daily Constitutional” Program.  The regionally syndicated “Daily Constitutional” – based out of WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia and co-hosted by Joe Thomas and Chris Schoenewald – is undergoing changes as Schoenewald is leaving the program to run for office.  He plans to announce which office he’ll seek soon.  Thomas tells TALKERS the program will continue.  “Adam Forster of Virginia Living Television and private investigator/TV anchor Nikki Lewis will be purchasing Schoenewald’s share and we’re hopeful to continue to grow and help stations in this area program locally oriented talk while freeing up their resources for news and marketing efforts.”  The “Daily Constitutional” airs live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  In addition, Thomas hosts the morning drive program on WCHV-AM/FM.

Sam Malone in Israel.  KSEV, Houston morning host Sam Malone is pictured here inspecting the cockpit of an Israeli F-16 during a tour of the Hatzor Air Force Base while on a trip to Israel.  Malone broadcast his program live back to his Houston audience (via the very capable technology of the Comrex ACCESS) during which he interviewed numerous Houstonians serving in the IDF, important Israeli media figures and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.  Malone tells TALKERS magazine his audience loved the content and his marketing department was able to get the broadcast event sponsored.

Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions, Holiday Sports Action and New Year Retrospectives Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/2).  Today’s Iowa Caucuses for GOP candidates, the nuclear ambitions of the Iranian leadership, college and pro holiday sports action and 2011 retrospectives were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

| October 5, 2011

 

Merlin Faces Pressure after Disappointing Arbitrons.  The upside of having a high-profile roll out for the launch of a new format is gaining the thrust of free publicity generated by lots of consumer press and enjoying the accompanying media/advertising buzz that generates early believers and revenue.  The downside is facing the instantaneous criticism that comes with unrealistic expectations when they are not fulfilled – an insidious process that can quickly erode the confidence of investors, advertisers and employees, setting in motion the radio equivalent of an unharmonious locker room in sports and frightened ownership.  That is the price Merlin Media and its colorful, controversial CEO Randy Michaels are facing in the wake of two early but extremely disappointing report cards issued by Arbitron reflecting the anemic initial audience numbers of their innovative all-news properties, FM News 101.1 in Chicago (0.2, 6-plus) and FM News 101.9 in New York (0.5, 6-plus).  The “ouch factor” is especially biting in Chicago where FM News 101.1 is being measured against CBS Radio O&O WBBM’s 105.9 FM simulcast which launched a pre-emptive competing all news format on FM and garnered a solid 1.0, 6-plus share on top of its big AM numbers for the same period.  Whereas much of this “chatter” has remained contained within under-the-radar industry conversations and media blogs, the hard facts surfaced big-time publicly this morning in an all-too-blunt article by reporter Robert Channick in the Chicago Tribune headlined “FM News 101 finds meager audience, early ratings show” describing what happened in the following terms: “The first full month of ratings for Chicago’s two FM news stations didn’t bring good news for Merlin Media. Its FM News 101.1 (WWWN-FM) ranked 48th, with a minuscule 0.2 share for September, according to Arbitron results released Tuesday. The station was trounced by CBS Radio’s simulcast of WBBM-AM 780 on sister station 105.9 FM, which garnered an additional 1.0 share. The combined AM-FM listenership for WBBM Newsradio was 6.4, topping the Chicago market. The survey covered Aug. 18 to Sept. 14.”  The article goes on to quote a confident Michaels as stating, “It’s a work in progress; it’s very, very early.” Michaels adds, “You’re looking at the very first couple of weeks after we blew up a rock station, and I can’t think that too many people who were listening to (Q101.1) would be listening to spoken word.”  The story reports that Michaels is urging patience in assessing the Chicago station’s success offering the revealing explanation, “I think that we’re still in the process of revamping and finding the right approach.”   Seasoned talk media industry professionals know that Michaels is correct in his ongoing assertion that it takes time for a spoken word format to gain ratings traction.  However a larger question spawned of the times looms – in today’s PPM world in which listener loyalty and station image take a back seat to instantaneous, real-time listening, set against the backdrop of a very uncertain economy, and exacerbated by an impatient media’s hunger for the instantaneous results of a high-profile business launch, does Michaels have the time to bring his ambitious endeavor to fruition before his nervous investors start pressing the panic button?

Cumulus Watch: Bob Moore Out in Los Angeles.  KABC and KLOS-FM, Los Angeles general manager Bob Moore is out at the Cumulus stations and former Spanish Broadcasting System chief revenue officer Marko Radlovic rejoins the company he worked for almost a decade ago.  Radlovic resigned from his post at SBS on September 28 where he also served as senior vice president and general manager at the company’s two Los Angeles stations.

Townsquare Media Steals One from Cumulus.  Townsquare Media hires Matt Hanlon for the newly created position of vice president of sales in which he’ll oversee all aspects of the company’s sales efforts.  Hanlon leaves his Michigan-based position as regional vice president for Cumulus to join Townsquare.  He was an RVP for Citadel – now Cumulus – in charge of some 85 markets in the Midwest.

Beck, Ingraham, Levin and Bennett Featured Speakers at DC Summit.  The Values Voters Summit takes place this weekend at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC and joining numerous conservative speakers, Republican officeholders and most of the GOP presidential candidates are Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck, Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham, Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin and Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett.  The event is co-sponsored by a number of conservative action groups including the Family Research Council and the American Family Association  as well as conservative think tanks including The Heritage Foundation.

Bell Media Launches TSN Radio in Montreal and Winnipeg.  With a continued focus on local sports, The Team 990 in Montreal (CKGM) is being rebranded as TSN Radio 990 and Sports Radio 1290 in Winnipeg (CFRW) becomes TSN Radio 1290.  The stations debut just in time for the launch of the NHL season.  Both TSN stations promise to feature extensive live NHL hockey coverage with TSN Radio 990 airing Montreal Canadiens games and TSN Radio 1290 the home of the Winnipeg Jets.  Both stations are available nationally online at TSN.ca and on TSN Mobile.  The newly re-branded TSN Radio stations will work closely with Bell Media‘s market-leading all-sports radio stations in Vancouver and Ottawa.

Canada’s Radio Regulator Rules Broadcasters Must Identify Repeat Programs.  Acting after a complaint about a 2010 edition of the CFRB, Toronto program “Friendly Fire,” the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council recently ruled that repeat broadcasts of call-in shows must be identified as such.  The CFRB show in question was a repeat of a program that encouraged listeners to call in or text questions to program participants.  In its ruling, the CBSC wrote, in part: “At the very least, it would be courteous to the audience’s sensibilities to advise them that a program or an episode of a program is being repeated…Where, however, it is a part of the original broadcast that persons were invited to contact the station, as in any call-in show, the lack of courtesy in failing to advise listeners not to call becomes an inconvenience if not an annoyance.  Where, as in the matter at hand, listeners are invited, not just to call, but also to text the station, the inconvenience turns to expense.”

2012 GOP Candidates, ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ U.N. Syria Resolution and Bernanke Testimony Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/4).  The GOP candidates for the Republican nomination in 2012 – including Herman Cain’s rise in the polls, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests, Russia and China’s veto of a U.N. resolution against Syria and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Old Friends.  Salem Radio Network’s “Morning in America” host Bill Bennett (r) and his producer Chris Beach (c) bump into presidential candidate Herman Cain (l) outside the Fox News Channel studios in New York City.  Cain, who hosted a talk radio program on WSB, Atlanta before giving up the show to run for office, had been a regular fill-in host for Bennett’s show.  Bennett told Cain he’s welcome back on the show anytime if his presidential campaign doesn’t end up victorious and Cain replied Bennett is welcome to visit him in the White House if he wins.