Tag: "Lew Dickey"
Kim Guthrie Named to Replace Retiring Bill Hoffman as President of Cox Media Group. After 38 years with Cox, Bill Hoffman is retiring from his Cox Media Group president post at the end of the year. Taking over in January will be current executive vice president of national ad platforms and president of Cox Reps, Kim Guthrie. Cox Enterprises president and CEO John Dyer says, “Kim has been with Cox for nearly 20 years and is an inspirational leader who has helped our media properties transform. She played a key role in the successful creation of Cox Media Group in 2008 and has been recognized as one of the media industry’s most influential leaders. She is a natural fit to ensure Cox Media Group continues to deliver innovative products and compelling news content.”
Report: CBS RADIO to Take on $1.5 Billion in Debt. This report from Reuters, says that sources are telling it that CBS RADIO is preparing to take on as much as $1.5 billion in debt ahead of its initial public offering that’s expected to take place but still has no firm time frame. According the report, the bulk of the proceeds would be paid back to parent CBS Corp. with the rest to be used by CBS RADIO for “general corporate purposes.” In its report, Reuters notes that “a radio company IPO may be a tough sale as new digital competitors have emerged and depressed advertising sales for the medium for years.” Read the Reuters story here.
Lew Dickey Pens Book on Changing Media Landscape. The book is published by Tourbillion International – a subsidiary of the Dickey family-owned Modern Luxury Media – and is titled, The New Modern Media – Remaking Media for a Mobile Culture. We now know what Lew Dickey has been doing since he was ousted from the Cumulus CEO role last year. The book is described as “an indispensable guide to the profound and disruptive changes rocking the media industry. It examines the implications of a new, mobile culture and challenges the widely held belief that most media companies’ true source of profits is their content. It makes the case for the importance of distribution as a key driver of firm value in the legacy media business model, be it a newspaper, magazine, record label, television network, local broadcast television or radio station.” In the book Dickey makes the case for why traditional “radio broadcasters will be unlikely to benefit from subscription revenue for their core service, leaving them highly exposed to the ad markets.” iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman is quoted reviewing the book, “I’ve spent my entire professional life in the media business, and today technology is enabling media to evolve at an ever-faster pace to meet consumers’ changing needs. Lew’s book is a timely resource for anyone working or investing in the media industry – shedding an important light on some of the critical challenges and opportunities inherent in today’s vibrant and complex media landscape.” Pittman’s iHeartRadio just announced a two-tier subscription service last week – clearly another step in the grand plan to transform iHeartMedia from a legacy radio company to a competitor in the digital entertainment industry. But getting back to Lew’s book, it’s a safe bet this will be the talk of the radio business this week.
Mike Gallagher Broadcasts from Hofstra University. In advance of tonight’s first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Salem Radio Networks syndicated personality Mike Gallagher broadcast his program from Hofstra University on Long Island, the site of tonight’s debate. Gallagher’s guests included pollster Pat Caddell, Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer, Trump campaign co-chair Sam Clovis, and, via telephone, vice presidential candidate Mike Pence. Gallagher says, “I’ve bird-dogged these candidates through the primaries and caucuses and both national conventions. So, it is a thrill to bring my audience into the final hours of preparation for this historic debate which is expected to draw 100 million or more via radio and TV.”
iHeartMedia Launches New Tucson Talk Station. This will be a sister talk station to iHeartMedia’s existing news/talk KNST and consists primarily of syndicated fare. KTZR flipped from Spanish music to talk this morning (9/26) as “The Talk of Tucson.” The programming lineup is: Premiere’s Glenn Beck in morning drive, followed by USA Radio’s “Trending Today USA with Rusty Humphries,” Westwood One’s “The Savage Nation,” KTRH, Houston-based, syndicated personality Michael Berry, local personality Rob Hunter, Premiere’s “AMERICA Now with Meghan McCain,” “Ground Zero,” “AMERICA Now Rewind,” and GCN’s Alex Jones.
Alan Henry Memoir Published. One of the progenitors of modern day talk radio and the all-news formats has written his memoir. Alan Henry’s new book is titled, A Man And His Medium: An Indelible Signature on Radio Television Cable. It was a young Alan Henry – charged with turning around Metromedia’s poorly rated KLAC, Los Angeles – who hired raconteur Joe Pyne to host the evening program. Pyne had just been fired by crosstown KABC. Henry and programmer Jim Lightfoot gave Pyne control over his show content and the program took off, eventually being syndicated to more than 250 radio stations. Henry’s influence continued when, after leaving KLAC, he joined Westinghouse in New York and proposed a new all-news format for WINS. He was named sales manager of the station and, although it took a while to bring advertisers around, history reveals its eventual success.
The Presidential Race/First Debate, Police Shootings of Blacks, Syrian Civil War/U.S.-Russian Military Tensions, George Bush-Michelle Obama Photo, Growing National Anthem Protests, MLB Playoff Push and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and the buildup to this evening’s debate; the aftermath of the recent Tulsa and Charlotte shooting deaths of black men by police; the Syrian civil war and Russia’s role in the bombing of Aleppo and air convoys; Saturday’s dedication of the African American History Museum in Washington and chatter about the widely published photo of Michelle Obama hugging George W. Bush; National Anthem protests spread to the college football ranks; the playoff push in Major League Baseball, and Sunday’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. There are changes in the air talent lineup at ESPN-owned/Cumulus operated KESN-FM, Dallas. Matt Mosley leaves the station and his afternoon drive partner Tim Cowlishaw. Midday personality Mark Friedman also exits the station where he co-hosted with Steve Dennis. There are rumors in the market that Dennis will join Cowlishaw in afternoons and Jean-Jacques Taylor and Will Chambers will take over the midday show…..Radiohio-owned sports talker WBNS, Columbus “Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan” extends its relationship with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets for another three seasons. WBNS’ partner – Southeastern Ohio Broadcasting System’s alternative WWCD “CD102.5” – will serve as the secondary signals for the team’s games…..GatesAir announces three important wins in Vietnam that signify the over-the-air TV and radio transformation taking shape across the Asia-Pacific region. Vietnam Television recently placed two orders for transmitter network expansions. On the radio side, Vietnam is investing in existing FM infrastructure with improvement and expansion projects. Voice of Vietnam, the national radio broadcaster, recently ordered five Flexiva air-cooled solid-state transmitters — two 5kW and three 10kW models — for VOV4, which serves as the broadcaster’s Ethnic Languages Channel.
The Yappy Tour Rolls On. Prolific radio talk show producer turned author Bernadette Duncan recently brought her “Yappy Tour” to the television viewers of Western Massachusetts by appearing as a guest on the WGGB-TV (ABC-40) “Western Mass News” to discuss her buzz-worthy book, Yappy Days; Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (AuthorHouse/Talkers Books, 2016). The book recounts Duncan’s 26-year career as a producer of radio talk shows working with such big-name talents as Larry King, Sally Jessy Raphael, Lou Dobbs, Tom Snyder, Gil Gross, Charles Osgood and many more during modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.” Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature. Above, Duncan (left) is pictured with newsman/show host Chris Pisano (right) on Channel 40’s “Western Mass News” midday talk show. Duncan’s national “Yappy Tour” will roll on through the remainder of the year. She has already appeared on more than 25 local and syndicated programs. Hosts and shows interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Cumulus Board of Directors Installs Mary G. Berner as CEO; Lew Dickey to Remain as Vice Chairman and Director. New Cumulus Media chief executive officer Mary G. Berner has been a member of the board of directors of Cumulus since May and she replaces company founder Lew Dickey as CEO – although Dickey will remain a director of the company as serve as vice chairman. The Cumulus board of directors states Berner is a “seasoned media business operator” who previous experience includes her most recent post as president and chief executive officer of the Association of Magazine Media. From 2007-2011, she was chief executive officer of Reader’s Digest Association and, before that, chief executive officer of Fairchild Publications. The press statement continues: “During the course of her highly successful career, she has led some of the world’s best known brands and content platforms, including Glamour, TV Guide, W, Women’s Wear Daily, Every Day with Rachael Ray and Allrecipes.com.” Cumulus board chairman Jeffrey Marcus – who also serves as a partner with Crestview Partners (which manages funds that own 27% of Cumulus stock) – says, “Under Lew Dickey’s leadership, the Cumulus team has built a formidable national and local footprint, becoming the second largest operator of radio stations in the country, with more than 460 stations across 90 markets, approximately 8,500 broadcast radio affiliates and numerous digital channels serving over 225 million listeners nationwide. However, maximizing the value of these assets requires making them work together effectively and efficiently. At a time when the media landscape continues to undergo seismic transformation, Cumulus needs a broad-based media operator who can leverage its outstanding resources – from its core strength in radio to its growing presence in digital, experiential and other emerging platforms – and capitalize on the industry’s strong fundamentals. The board has had the benefit of seeing Mary in action and is fully confident that she is the right leader for Cumulus.” Berner comments, “I am honored to have been asked to lead Cumulus Media and am eager to work with the board and the company’s talented teams to implement Lew’s vision of building the next generation multi-platform media company. As the director who led the Operations Review Task Force established by the board, I have insight into the issues that Cumulus faces, but I also know the operational leverage that can be generated by first focusing on execution. Radio is a powerful and unique medium – the number one mass reach medium in the U.S. – and Cumulus possesses all of the elements to be one of the industry’s winners. I look forward to bringing a renewed focus on operating excellence at all levels and in all functions to help Cumulus realize its potential and generate improved financial performance and increased value for shareholders.” The press statement makes no mention of the status of John Dickey, EVP content & programming, but the New York Post is reporting he has exited the company and a “huge reorganization” is impending. TALKERS has not confirmed those reports. Cumulus stock, which has been battered in recent months, closed today (9/29) at 68 cents per share.
Michael Harrison Interviews Harry Hurley About “All Things New Jersey” – Including Host’s Two-Year Tenure as Senior Exec at Trump Atlantic City Hotel. In a riveting one-one-one discussion about the various ways the Garden State has been recently evoked in the national presidential conversation, Michael Harrison interviews WPGG, Atlantic City “morning mayor” (and TALKERS Heavy Hundred member) Harry Hurley on the latest installment (9/29) of the Podcast One international hit, “Up Close and Far Out.” Prior to launching a stellar 25-year career as a major New Jersey radio personality, Hurley worked directly for Donald Trump as the senior executive of one of his four Atlantic City Hotels (a job for which “The Donald” personally interviewed and subsequently supervised him) and candidly discusses what it was like being with the current GOP front-runner during those heady days along the Jersey Shore. Hurley worked with Trump personally every weekend for two years and shares important first-hand insights into the billionaire’s management style, business instincts and character. In addition, the Jersey-born talker shares his insights, based on experience, into the economic role and cultural direction of casino gambling in the nation. He also talks about his personal on- and off-air encounters with Gov. Chris Christie (including insights to “bridgegate” and the Dallas Cowboys/Jerry Jones debacle) as well as the effect that the Miss America pageant (for which Hurley has served as a preliminary judge) has on the region. Michael Harrison states, “New Jersey is an enigmatic, colorful home to nine million with its own unique set of extraordinary assets, daunting challenges and notably engaged local media. I can think of no one more qualified to provide outsiders with an accurate explanation of this endlessly intriguing, largely misunderstood state and its compelling connection to current national politics than WPGG morning master Harry Hurley.” To hear the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Odds & Sods. Radio industry services start-up DGital Media launches a production division called DGital Media Studios. The company says the division “will focus on developing and producing proprietary audio content” and its first project is a fantasy sports platform called Fantasy Sports Voices…..AMG/Parade announces the launch of “Athlon Sports Radio” on SiriusXM. The Monday and Tuesday evening program will air from 7:00 to 9:00 ET on Sirius XM’s College Sports Nation. The program grows out of the company’s 10-plus preseason magazines covering college, professional and fantasy football, college basketball, professional baseball, golf and NASCAR. AMG/Parade was formerly Athlon Media Group which consists of the newspaper-distributed magazines Athlon Sports & Life, Parade, American Profile, Spry Living, and Relish…..British soccer legend Sir Alex Ferguson will sit down for an in-studio Q&A at the SiriusXM studios in New York as part of its “Town Hall” series. Sir Alex will chat with SiriusXM host Charlie Stillitano before a live, studio audience on Friday, October 9.
Trump Tax Plan, 2016 Presidential Race, Pope Francis Visit Aftermath, Boehner’s Exit from Congress, Obama-Putin Meeting, and Water on Mars Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/28). The unveiling of the Donald Trump tax plan; the activities of the rest of the candidates for president in 2016; the aftermath of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States; the state of the GOP in the wake of House Speaker John Boehner’s announced resignation from Congress; the tensions between Russia and the United States and President Obama’s meeting with Vladimir Putin at the UN on Monday; and NASA’s revelation of the discovery of water on Mars were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
National Radio Hall of Fame Voting Starts Today. After a five-year hiatus, listeners again have the opportunity to participate in selecting National Radio Hall of Fame inductees. For the next two weeks (through Wednesday, 8/26), voters can text 36500 with their one vote for the four nominees (each) in the “Music Format On-Air Personality” and “Spoken Word On-Air Personality” categories. National Radio Hall of Fame chair Kraig Kitchin declares, “These eight personalities are beloved by their listeners. Giving the audience an opportunity to participate in the process of acknowledging their favorite hosts for their contributions over the years just makes sense.” Nominees and text info for the “Music Format On-Air Personality” are Delilah (text “DELILAH” to 36500); Elvis Duran (text “ELVIS” to 36500); Steve Harvey (text “STEVE” to 36500); and Ryan Seacrest (text “RYAN” to 36500). Nominees and text info for the “Spoken Word On-Air Personality” are Sean Hannity (text “HANNITY” to 36500); Clark Howard (text “CLARK” to 36500); Jim Rome (text “ROME” to 36500); and Dr. Laura Schlessinger (text “DR. LAURA” to 36500). Listener-chosen winners will be announced at the end of this month (8/31), and we cannot forget that all-important fine print that “message and data rates may apply.” In addition to the two listener-voting categories, four categories are being voted on by a panel of 400 industry professionals. The induction ceremony takes place November 5 at the Museum of Broadcast and Communications in downtown Chicago.
IAB Gears Up For Debut Podcast Upfront Showcase. The one-day marketplace for advertisers and media buyers to preview podcast programming will be held next month (9/10) in New York City. Scheduled to present at Interactive Advertising Bureau‘s inaugural podcast upfront showcase include representatives from AdLarge Media, Midroll, NPR, Panoply, Podtrac, and WNYC. Industry Initiatives, IAB vice president Carl Kalapesi explains, “More and more advertisers are incorporating audio programming into their digital marketing strategies. The individual and intimate listening experience enjoyed by podcast listeners provides a unique vehicle for brands to connect with consumers. IAB is excited to bring so many digital audio leaders together to discuss their upcoming programming and the wide array of advertising opportunities available through podcasts.” Invited executives will get to preview content developments from each presenting company in 20-minute segments.
Cassell (Posthumously) Wins SCBA Radio Personality of the Year Award. The “State Television And Radio” (STAR) awards of the South Carolina Broadcasting Association honor “exceptional accomplishments of the state’s stations and their broadcast professionals.” Entercom-owned talk WYRD-FM, Greenville-Spartanburg host Russ Cassell (left), who passed away last year, won the “Radio Personality of the Year” award. Entercom market vice president and general manager Steve Sinicropi declares, “The broadcasting legacy of Russ Cassell lives on; our entire team is grateful for the SCBA recognizing Russ with this important award.” The cluster’s production director Stan Fisher received STAR recognition for best production-multi spot campaign on rock WTPT “93.3 The Planet” for local attorney Rob Ianuario. In the station’s first year in the format, WYRD-AM “ESPN Upstate” sports broadcaster Greg McKinney was recognized with a “Sportscaster of the Year award of merit at the event, which was held in Columbia, South Carolina over the weekend.
McCollim Heads to Colorado Springs as iHeartMedia’s Senior VP/Programming. Transferring from Spokane where he programmed iHeartMedia talker KQNT and KKZX “The Classic Rock Station,” Jason McCollim is appointed senior vice president of programming for the company’s Colorado Springs and Pueblo stations. Senior vice president of programming/regional markets Tony Coles states, “McCollim is one of our rising stars. He has done an incredible job for us in Spokane. His leadership skills and passion for programming will allow him to ramp up quickly and build immediate relationships with the programming and sales teams.” Colorado-Pueblo market president Darci Ewell comments, “Jason’s proven track record in Spokane and his versatile experience will make him an incredible asset to the Colorado Springs-Pueblo cluster. Jason brings a high level of energy and creativity that will greatly benefit our team.” McCollim remarks, “I am very excited about working with the fantastic iHeartMedia team in both Colorado Springs and Pueblo; thanks to Tony Coles and Darci Ewell for the opportunity to work in one of the most beautiful parts of our country.” McCollim spent more than 14 years at KQNT and KKZX; he is vice president of the Inland Empire Bloodhounds Search & Rescue. The Colorado Springs stations he will oversee are rhythmic CHR KIBT “The Beat”; hot AC KVUU “My-99.9”; adult contemporary KKLI “Sunny 106.3”; country KCCY “Y-96.9; and classic rock KDZA “Z-107.9.” The three Pueblo facilities are classic hits KPHT; KCCY “Fox Sports 1350″; and talk KCSJ.
Rdio Debuts Live Broadcast Radio. The global music streaming service begins with nearly 500 U.S. stations. Listeners can mark songs they like as a favorite, share the song, start a custom station based on the song or view more music by the artist. Paying subscribers to Rdio’s $3.99 and $9.99 plans can download songs for unlimited listening, add it to a custom playlist, listen to related songs from that artist or recently played songs on that station as often as they want. Rdio chief executive officer Anthony Bay comments, “We are committed to providing Rdio customers around the world with easy access to the audio content they want to hear through innovative features that enhance listening. Broadcast radio brands and talent continue to be the dominant tastemakers in music, so integrating live broadcast radio into Rdio’s critically acclaimed customer experience is an exciting development that we are thrilled to introduce.” Through a September 2013 partnership with Cumulus Media, Rdio has access to Cumulus’ programming and is promoted on Cumulus stations. Cumulus Media chief executive officer Lew Dickey states, “Bringing our national platform of stations to Rdio allows us to instantly create broader access for our listeners and new opportunities for advertisers to reach their target audiences. The combination of our premier broadcast assets with Rdio’s acclaimed user experience and music discovery features creates a full-service listening experience that is unparalleled.” In addition to music, live broadcast programming includes sports content from local stations as well as through Cumulus Media’s Westwood One. Featured stations include Cumulus Media-owned country WNSH, New York; rock KLOS, Los Angeles; triple-A KFOG, San Francisco; urban-rhythmic oldies WRWM, Indianapolis; and country WSM-FM, Nashville. Additional stations will launch later this year.
WOWO Producing 90-Year Retrospective. The Fort Wayne (Indiana) talk outlet is observing its 90th anniversary and – appropriately enough – is putting together a 90-minute documentary. Station executives are in the process of gathering interviews from former employees for the special, which will cover WOWO’s impact and reach. In addition to audio samples of historic and comical moments, Bob Sievers, Jack Underwood, Jay Gould, and Bob Chase are among those who will be featured. Program director Ryan Wrecker (Wrecker@WOWO.com) is seeking station memorabilia that can be displayed during the ongoing celebration, as well as memories past staffers or listeners would like to share. Those contributing will receive a preview edition of the special, which is scheduled to air on Federated Media-owned WOWO (Thursday) November 19.
KNX Schedules Second Annual Blood Drive. In light of the fact that blood donations typically dip during summer months, KNX, Los Angeles is joining the American Red Cross for the CBS Radio all-news outlet’s second annual blood drive. The five-day event at participating Red Cross blood centers starts two weeks from Saturday (8/29) and concludes the following Wednesday (9/2). CBS Radio vice president/Los Angeles market manager Dan Kearney comments, “KNX is proud to team up with the Red Cross once again as we expand our blood drive effort. We know summer is a challenging time for people to think about donating blood, and we hope to raise awareness so our listeners will lend their support and help the Red Cross maintain a safe and stable blood supply.” American Red Cross Southern California blood services external communications manager Tony Briggs notes that although many donors stepped up to give following a pressing call issued earlier this month, “The American Red Cross continues to have an urgent need for blood donors of all blood types to give before Labor Day.” Last year’s inaugural two-day KNX blood drive produced 834 pints of blood, which helped 2,502 patients. Greater Los Angeles/Southern California donation locations include Arcadia, Glendale, Santa Monica, Claremont, Downey, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Granada Hills, Los Angeles, Laguna Hills, Long Beach, Pasadena, Pomona, Rancho Cucamonga, Santa Ana, Santa Clarita, Thousand Oaks, Torrance, West Covina, Woodland Hills, and Yorba Linda. As an incentive (and while supplies last), blood drive sponsor – The Southern California Gas Company – will give blood donors a KNX emergency preparedness guide; two tickets to Hollywood’s Laugh Factory; a ticket to Madame Tussauds Hollywood; and a sample of Hawaiian Host chocolates.
Maranville Departs USA Radio Networks. One-year USA Radio Networks chief content officer-director of channel development Tim Maranville exits. He expresses thanks to “everyone at USA for all the hard work, especially show hosts Steve Deace, Kevin Jackson, Steve Noble, Jim Sharpe, Joe Messina, Chris and Emilee, Angie Austin, and Tony Perkins. The future is bright and I hope to have one, maybe two, announcements about my next contribution to the planet by mid-September.” Maranville joined USA after a nearly six-year run as vice president of programming at Westwood One. He previously was vice president and director of operations of the Denver Radio Company; vice president and director of operations of Sun City Communications; director of operations at KFRC, San Francisco; and director of operations of Phoenix stations KMLE, KOOL, and KZON. In addition, he owns/operates Mutations Media and he co-owns The Show Must Go On, an independent syndication consulting and affiliation company.
Donald Trump Continued to be the Second Most Talked About Person on News/Talk Radio Yesterday — a VERY close second to Barack Obama (8/11). Top topics include the Presidential Race, the Iran Nukes Deal, Immigration Reform and the Chinese Economy. According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continues to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America and people (and the media) remain fixated on Donald Trump. Other hot topics include the presidential election in general, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy and the global economic impact of China’s devaluation of its currency.
Pursuing Truth Amid Civil Unrest. Media outlets have experienced a number of situations recently that qualify as true “danger zones” in which to send their reporters and tech crews if they choose to cover the event first hand. ABC TV director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes today about the hazards radio news staffers are facing in situations similar to what’s been happening in Baltimore and – not too long ago – Ferguson, Missouri. He presents a plan for broadcasters to follow in preparing for coverage of such news events in the future. Read his entire piece here.
Lew Dickey, Cumulus, Agree to Continuation. The co-founder of Cumulus Media will be remaining in-place for at least another three years: Lew Dickey extends his employment agreement as the company’s president and chief executive officer. In addition, he will carry on as a board member through 2018. According to board member Jeff Marcus, “We are grateful that Lew Dickey, who has built Cumulus into a leading national media business, has renewed his commitment to lead the company into the future. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with Lew to build value for our shareholders.” In other news at the Atlanta-based company, Ridgemont Equity Partners‘ Robert “Trey” Sheridan, III, will retire from Cumulus’ board when his term ends at this year’s annual stockholders meeting; Association of Magazine Media (MPA) president and chief executive officer Mary Berner will be nominated to fill Sheridan’s vacated seat. Dickey comments, “We are fortunate to be adding Mary Berner to our board. Her insights and experience will be valuable as we continue to position the company for long-term success in the changing media landscape.” Elsewhere, Cumulus lead director, Jeffrey Marcus, is appointed non-executive board chair. Marcus has been a Cumulus board member since 2011. He is a partner with Crestview Partners, Cumulus’ largest stockholder.
Red Zebra Officially Names Dan Zampillo to PD WTEM, Washington. The company owned by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder announces former WXYT-FM, Detroit and SiriusXM program director Dan Zampillo is taking over the programming reigns at its sports talk WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980.” The PD position opened up after Chuck Sapienza exited in the middle of the on-off-on again addition of the new “Man Cave” morning show hosted by Chris Paul and Jason Reid. Red Zebra Broadcasting CEO Rick Carmean says, “When it comes to sports, we have the best on-air talent in the area. We look forward to having Dan join our team. He brings great leadership, experience and fresh insight.”
What News/Talk Fans Are Doing When They’re Not Listening To Your Station. In a piece prepared for TALKERS magazine by Jacobs Media based on data from the company’s recently released Techsurvey 11, company president Fred Jacobs presents a media and tech profile of news/talk P1s. He notes that while news/talk P1s tend to lag behind younger demos in the tech and social media areas, that’s changing. “Fans of the format are more likely to own a tablet, listen to podcasts, and subscribe to satellite radio. They are less apt to be social networkers. Compared to just a few short years ago, news/talk devotees are catching up tech-wise with their kids. The data show that six in 10 stream video at least weekly while nearly eight in 10 own a smartphone.” See how news/talk P1s choose to use social media and why they turn to broadcast talk radio. Read the entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. From the podcast genre comes news that PodcastOne is unveiling a new series featuring TV personality and entertainment reporter Katie Wagner, and international celebrity psychic Voxx Voltair. Dubbed, “InnerView with Katie and Voxx,” it promises to combine “the hottest news in Hollywood with astrology, clairvoyance, numerology, and Tarot readings and features the latest gossip, fashion trends, and secrets from celebrity guests.”…..At the same time CBS RADIO and CBS Local Digital Media announce some new on-demand programming on its Play.it platform. New shows include podcasts from SHOWTIME Boxing Commentator Paulie Malignaggi, ELLE Style correspondent Alia Ahmed-Yahia, TED.com speaker Julian Treasure, former CNN senior executive producer Michael Schulder’s “Wavemaker Conversations,” “The Marilu Henner Show”; and “Boomer & Carton” producer Al Dukes’ interview series with media moguls called, “Al’s Boring Podcast.”…..SiriusXM is launching “Let’s Talk with Abby and Ari,” a live, one-hour weekly, call-in show hosted by MSNBC The Cycle’s Abby Huntsman and Ari Melber. The show will entail Huntsman and Melber examining the news of the day first, and welcoming tastemakers and newsmakers for interviews in a relaxed, casual style. “The show will be a conversation at the cross-section of current events, politics and entertainment.”…..ESPN 2 “First Take” moderator Cari Champion is now hosting a new weekly ESPN Audio podcast called, “espnW Presents: Be Honest with Cari Champion.” It will feature the “straight-shooting, always-honest Champion talking sports and more with A-list athletes and celebrity guests.”
Salem Radio Network to Organize Aid Drive for Nepal Earthquake Victims. Via its Washington-based SRN News, Salem Radio Network launched a campaign on its 1,600-plus affiliates nationwide to encourage donations on behalf of victims of last Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal. The network is working with Oklahoma City-based nonprofit relief organization Project HOPE. SRN will generate funds to rush food and emergency supplies to the stricken area. The effort includes Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk hosts Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Eric Metaxas and Hugh Hewitt.
Fisher House Foundation Offers Memorial Day Special to News/Talk Outlets. As it has done in the past, Fisher House Foundation is offering news/talk radio stations a three-our Memorial Day Weekend program titled, “A Hero’s Best Medicine.” Fisher House says this year’s program contains “all-new, compelling and diverse storytelling. The show shares the role that Fisher House plays in military heroes’ recovery, giving family a safe place to stay just steps from their hospital rooms.” Some of the stories told include that of Marine Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, a Medal of Honor recipient, and his family in South Carolina. Carpenter threw himself on a grenade in Afghanistan to save a fellow Marine’s life. His parents spent nearly three years in a Fisher House; and Marine Cpl. Jake Schick, a wounded warrior who attracted the attention of Clint Eastwood and landed a role in the blockbuster film “American Sniper.” Schick met his wife in a military hospital. Throughout his recovery she stayed in a Fisher House. The program is hosted by KARN, Little Rock afternoon host Doc Thompson. For affiliation details on “A Hero’s Best Medicine,” news/talk stations should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word “radio” in the subject line.
Baltimore Protests, SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, Clinton Foundation Scrutiny, Nepal Quake Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Iranian Navy Intercepts U.S. Ship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28). The tactics to curb the violent protests in Baltimore and the political aspects of the event; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case challenging the anti-gay marriage laws in four states; the ongoing scrutiny of the financial operations of the Clinton Foundation; the aftermath of the earthquake that’s taken more than 5,000 lives in Nepal; the potential candidates for president in 2016 including new possibilities Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley; and the interception of a U.S-flagged ship in the Strait of Hormuz by an Iranian Naval vessel were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Nielsen Announces Q1 Financials; Revenue Up 4.4%. In announcing the numbers for the first quarter of 2015, Nielsen N.V. reports revenue was down 2.1% due to the impact of foreign exchange, but up 4.4% on a constant currency basis, compared to the first quarter of 2014. CEO Mitch Barns states, “Nielsen’s first quarter results again illustrate the consistency of our business model and strong execution, with 4.4% total company and 10.0% emerging markets revenue growth on a constant currency basis. These results reflect the 35th consecutive quarter of constant currency revenue growth. In addition, we were pleased to raise our quarterly dividend 12%, as we continue to deliver on our commitment to drive ongoing shareholder value.”
SSI’s Bob and Mary Carey Host Rudy Maxa’s World Travel Show from Iceland. Telling us that he guest hosts the program about every six weeks, Syndicated Solutions Inc. president Bob Carey says the latest show he co-hosted with his wife Mary was from the hot new destination – Iceland. Carey’s company syndicates the “Rudy Maxa’s World” weekly travel show. Among the things Carey discovered about the unlikely tourist destination of Iceland is that geothermal energy and technology make Iceland an ideal place to grow hothouse fruits and vegetables and that The Blue Lagoon geothermal health and wellness spa is becoming a popular destination for American and Canadian travelers who can get there in five hours from the East Coast of North America.
Odds & Sods. WTOP, Washington Capitol Hill correspondent Dave McConnell was honored at the Capitol for his many decades of journalistic service. McConnell was recognized by Congresswoman Eleanor Homes Norton by being entered into the Congressional Record. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Mark Warner also delivered thank you speeches in his honor. McConnell recently celebrated his 50th anniversary with the station. McConnell can be heard live each weekday morning and afternoon, just steps from the House floor, in his hourly “Today on the Hill” segments…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles will present a special program on the high cost of housing in Southern California on Thursday (4/23). The station says that “not only can fewer people afford to buy a house, LA has become one of the most unaffordable rental markets in the country. Add it up and it makes finding a place to live near your job unlikely and often prevents employers from attracting the most qualified candidates.” The show will feature special expert guests and will be hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman.
No Performance Bonuses for Cumulus Media Executives This Year. The Compensation Committee of Cumulus Media, Inc. awarded no annual incentive compensation nor long-term incentive awards to Cumulus executives in 2014, according to a Definitive Proxy Statement filed with the SEC. The filing notes that the Compensation Committee would have the discretion to grant the applicable target award if “Cumulus achieved budgeted EBITDA goals, and satisfied other objectives related to managing costs, developing content, achieving gains in market share, as well as successes in strategic planning and implementation and optimizing financial liquidity. In reviewing the performance and compensation levels of the executive officers for 2014 at the completion of that fiscal year, the Compensation Committee determined that the quantitative financial performance objectives were not met at the threshold level. As a result, no annual incentive compensation was paid for 2014.” The filing also reports that no equity incentive awards (stock) were granted either. “In light of the size and timing of equity award grants to the named executive officers in 2013, which awards were made in October of that year, as well as data provided by Meridian Compensation Partners LLC with respect to the compensation of the executive officers, general industry conditions and actual Company performance in 2014, the Compensation Committee did not grant any long-term incentive awards to the executive officers in 2014.” So, what did Cumulus officers make in 2014? Here are a few of the numbers: president and CEO Lew Dickey earned $1,456,000 in total compensation; SVP, treasurer and CFO Joseph Hanna earned $554,125; EVP of content and programming John Dickey earned $881,192; SVP secretary and general counsel Richard Denning earned $509,942; and recently retired EVP and co-COO Jon Pinch earned $757,851.
Raising Awareness for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) reports to TALKERS that she’s been assisting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with its spring campaign and was recently honored to work with six-year-old leukemia survivor Kennedy (left) as Dr. Wachs accompanied her to her first television interview on KSNV-TV.
Iran Nuclear Negotiations/Corker Bill, ObamaCare Subsidies Addressed by SCOTUS, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Baltimore Police Protests, Yemen Military Action, Ben Affleck ‘Roots’ Cover-Up Case, and Bryan Price Profanity-Laced Presser Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/21). The controversy over the Obama Administration’s role in negotiating a nuclear program with Iran and the bill drafted by Senator Bob Corker that would give Congress the ability to approve or disapprove the final deal; the case before the Supreme Court challenging the legality of health care subsidies as provided by the Affordable Care Act; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the protests against the Baltimore police after the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody; the ongoing Saudi strikes in Yemen and the U.S.’ naval presence in the region; chatter about Ben Affleck’s plea to leave his ancestor’s history of slave ownership out of the “Finding Your Roots” program; and Reds manager Bryan Price’s dropping of 77 f-bombs in a post-game press conference were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Six Tips for Success in Syndication. The syndication game in the radio business has gotten so much more competitive over the years that today one must have a well-thought out and almost flawlessly executable plan in order to successfully bring a radio show to a national audience. That warning doesn’t mean it can’t be done – it’s just gonna be real hard. But Global Media Services principal Tony Garcia – a veteran of the radio and syndication businesses – writes in TALKERS magazine that a quick rundown of his six-point checklist can let you know whether or not you have a reasonable shot. Point #1 is Know Your Product. Sound easy? Read more here.
Dave Ramsey Does Dallas. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar and New York Times best-selling author, Dave Ramsey is pictured here on stage at the Verizon Theater in Dallas where he hosted his “Smart Conference.” This day-long event took place on Saturday, March 28 and included Ramsey, along with Chris Hogan, John O’Leary, Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. Les Parrott, Dr. Meg Meeker and Michael Jr. providing attendees with essential information on how to win with money, strengthen their marriages, build parenting skills and excel in their careers. Ramsey also hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” in Dallas on Friday, March 27 during which Ramsey and Hogan spoke about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 400 employees. Ramsey partnered with CBS RADIO-owned local affiliate KRLD-AM “Newsradio 1080” to promote the appearances.
Mike Gallagher to Play Roles in Ferguson: The Play. Nationally syndicated talk radio pro Mike Gallagher – whose program is heard around the nation via Salem Radio Network – will take part in a controversial stage production in Los Angeles based on the shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson. Regular TALKERS magazine readers are aware that Gallagher is, in addition to his radio work, an accomplished stage actor. He appeared on Broadway in the musical Memphis and who took home a TONY Award as one of the investors in the 2014 Broadway revival of Pippin. In this production, based on the Grand Jury witness testimony, Gallagher will play three roles: a lawyer, a forensic toxicologist and a medical examiner. At the end of the production, the theatre audience will be asked to judge whether or not Darren Wilson should have been indicted. The play will be presented at the Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles for four nights – April 26-29. The producers of the Phelim McAleer-written and Nick DeGruccio-directed play hope to bring it to the stage in Ferguson itself.
Johnny B’s ‘Talk Unhinged’ Debuts on Westwood One Today. Stating that the program is debuting on 100 affiliate stations across the country, Westwood One announces the new Jonathon Brandmeier show is called “Talk Unhinged,” and the company says it’s “an entertaining, offbeat look at news, pop culture, and sports–from the big trending topics to the stories about to fall through the cracks–combined with celebrity interviews and free-wheeling audience interaction.” It airs live from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET and launches on such Cumulus Media stations as: home base WLS-AM Chicago; KABC-AM, Los Angeles; KLIF-AM Dallas; WWBA-AM, Tampa; KKAT-AM, Salt Lake City; WPRV-AM, Providence; and KTBL-AM, Albuquerque; among others.
Cumulus Media Recruits Tommy Page for New Executive Role. Former Pandora, Billboard and Warner Bros. Records exec Tommy Page is now with Cumulus Media as senior vice president of brand partnerships where he’ll focus live events for that division of the company. In this position Page will report directly to president and CEO Lew Dickey, who comments, “As an artist and marketer, Tommy is a natural choice to create meaningful connections between artists, brands and their passionate fans through immersive and measurable marketing experiences. Tommy has a deep understanding of the live experience and helping advertisers bring their brands to life with unique partnerships.”
Vea Promoted at KSL in Salt Lake City. The new title for Tanya Vea at Bonneville International’s KSL radio and TV is vice president and general manager of KSL-TV and KSL Newsradio. She has served as vice president station manager at KSL since April 2014, overseeing news, programming, marketing, operations and engineering. According to a story in the Deseret News, she now assumes responsibility for all operating departments, including sales. Bonneville president Darrell Brown comments, “Tanya will be an outstanding general manager. She has been a key contributor to many of the cross-platform initiatives, including the groundbreaking DMC combined newsroom for KSL and the Deseret News. Her expanded role as general manager of KSL will now allow her to have a greater impact on the entire organization.”
Ex-WJR Leader Fezzey Passes. Former WJR, Detroit president and general manager Mike Fezzey died of a heart attack on March 27 while on a business trip in Naples, Florida. The 58-year-old native Detroiter had been president/general manager of heritage talker WJR from 1994 to 2011, but for the past four years, was president of Huntington Bank‘s southeastern Michigan region. According to a WJR statement, “Mike Fezzey was a community leader; active in many charities and nonprofit activities in Michigan; and he was a leader in his church. Under [his] leadership, [Cumulus Media-owned] WJR maintained [its] position as Detroit’s preeminent radio station, and it became one of America’s leading news-talk stations.” Cross-town CBS Radio market manager Debbie Kenyon comments, “Mike was a leader in our industry for years. He was an inspiration to many in the way he transcended his career. He will be sorely missed by all of us.” Huntington Bank released a statement, which describes Fezzey as “an extraordinary member of the Huntington family who was highly committed to the Detroit area and making it a growing, vibrant community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike’s family.” A former president of the Detroit Advertising Association, Fezzey received a Peabody Award for broadcasting excellence from the University of Georgia and the Neal Shine Award for philanthropy in journalism. In July 1996, Feezey selected Paul W. Smith to succeed the late J.P. McCarthy as WJR’s morning drive talent. On Saturday (3/28), Smith voiced a WJR commentary regarding Fezzey. Prior to being elevated to president/general manager at WJR, Fezzey was an account executive and sales manager there. His wife, Suzy, and their three adult children survive Fezzey.
Brent & Meg Receive the Coveted ‘Poopy’ Award. Nationally syndicated husband/wife duo Brent & Meg (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald) were recognized by the Los Angeles City Council for their role in the “Studio City Beautification” program instituted by the Studio City Resident’s Association and the City of Los Angeles to keep the streets free of unwanted dog droppings. They are pictured at a special dinner honoring their community-mindedness at Carla’s Café, surrounding LA City Councilmember Paul Kerkorian of the second district (which includes major studios such as Universal and CBS). Meg and Brent are animal lovers and make sure that plastic mitt bags are available to “help dog owners keep our streets clean…not our movies…just our streets.” The Brent & Meg Show now airs Monday through Friday 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET on the Genesis Communications Network (GCN) as well as on its anchor affiliate WWPG 1450, Atlantic City, New Jersey. Brent & Meg will be serving as Official Masters of Ceremony at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12. To register, call 413-565-5413 before it, again, sells out.
Tom Lee Tapped to Lead LA’s ‘The Beast 980.’ Radio and sports talk pro Tom Lee is being given the programming reigns to KFWB, Los Angeles “The Beast 980” – the recently flipped sports talker owned by the KFWB Asset Trust. Lee says in a press statement that “Los Angeles sports fans are the greatest and perhaps the most underrated in America.” Lee will have the opportunity to help bring substantive ratings to a radio format that has historically never really achieved – from a pure ratings standpoint – much in the Los Angeles market. Lee continues, “Their passion, the distinct LA attitude and our great sports teams will all be represented by ‘The Beast 980.’” Lee certainly understands successful sports talk as his resume includes some of the industry’s most visible sports talk ventures. He launched FOX Sports Radio in 2000, leading the programming team that created and developed the 24/7 national sports network. Lee has also programmed KESN-FM, Dallas ESPN Radio, as well as sports radio stations WIP, Philadelphia and KJR, Seattle. KFWB Asset Trust Trustee Diane Sutter comments, “Tom has achieved some of the highest ratings of all-sports stations across the country. Our listeners will benefit from Tom’s invaluable skills in producing relevant content, top-notch talent and his experience in working with sports teams.” Lee begins his new gig on March 30.
Steve Goldstein Exits Exec Role at Saga Communications; Launches Podcast Venture. After a career with Saga Communications that spanned almost 30 years, Steven Goldstein leaves his executive vice president position and announces that he is forming a company called Amplifi Media, LLC which will specialize in “the development of digital audio-on-demand (podcast) content.” Goldstein adds, “As connected cars, Bluetooth and smartphones converge, time-shifted audio will grow exponentially. People will listen to content at a time and place of their choosing, just as is occurring rapidly in the television industry with Netflix, DVRs and on-demand video.” A press statement from Amplifi says the company will “concentrate on great storytelling, compelling content and fresh voices on a variety of popular subjects, and will adapt, craft and focus the product for the unique needs of the digital audio business.” Goldstein concludes, “The top of the iTunes podcast chart is dominated by NPR and affiliates. They have done a tremendous job but there is a world of mainstream topics yet to be explored for on-demand-audio. That’s where Amplifi will live.” Goldstein can be reached at 203-221-1400 or via email at email@example.com.
“Healed Planet” Hosted by Alan Colmes Exploring New Worlds of Radio and Listenership. One of the new program/projects launched on TALKERS magazine’s experimental radio platform TalkersRadio has been gaining notable traction in terms of expanded programming topicality and new listenership. “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” is an experimental talk show conceived and hosted by syndicated Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes and it serves as a prime example of TalkersRadio carrying out one of its primary missions as a “laboratory/workout gym” for proven talk show hosts to test new concepts and as a showcase for promising newcomers to present their work to the industry. A new “Healed Planet” program is produced at least once per month and is available to TalkersRadio listeners (primarily members of the radio industry) on demand. The program features the multi-platform, news/talk figure that gained international notoriety as the liberal co-host on the iconic left-right political discussion show “Hannity & Colmes” during its successful 12-year run on Fox News Channel in a role quite different than his regular followers might expect. (In addition to being heard nightly on his syndicated radio show, Colmes is also still seen on Fox News Channel as a contributing commentator.) “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” is an eclectic mix of science, metaphysics, unexplained mysteries, cosmic consciousness and everything else rolling around the fertile mind of Alan Colmes. He describes it as “presenting stimulating conversations with thought-leaders in the human consciousness movement.” At present, three episodes of “Healed Planet” are up and running featuring Colmes in conversation with authors Gabe Berman and George A. Hart, plus a discussion with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. On having this new vehicle of expression, Colmes tells TALKERS,” I love having a nightly forum where I can give my political views and takes on the issues of the day, and I love having a forum where politics doesn’t matter and we can all talk as human beings without any ideological prism.” According to Colmes, he is basically doing this for fun, stating, “Sometimes it is simply cool to do a media presentation just for the heck of it and explore subjects and styles that don’t necessarily fit into the understandably more-rigid confines of our day jobs, even though my daily radio show is on at night.” TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein states, “It is fun, fascinating, stimulating and informative for talk listeners and people in the industry to hear all the dimensions that make up the personality, creativity and interests one of the nicest and smartest guys in the business – beyond the paradigm of general news/talk radio and TV where – let’s face it – Alan is quite famous. And THAT is what TalkersRadio is all about!” To listen to “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes,” please click here.
WSCR, Chicago Host Apologizes for ‘Childish’ and ‘Crass’ Tweet. From the “haven’t they been paying attention” department comes this story, chronicled by Chicago media writer Robert Feder here. In a nutshell, WSCR veteran talk hosts Matt Spiegel and Dan Bernstein were Tweeting critically about the television presence of Comcast SportsNet Chicago anchor Aiyana Cristal when the two veered into the now-all-too-familiar territory visited by many media personalities these days: they commented on her breasts. To Spiegel’s (and to some degree Bernstein’s) credit, he seems to have realized his error and has apologized profusely via Twitter, admitting that he made a stupid, childish mistake. Feder reports that sources say Spiegel and Bernstein will not be disciplined for the incident.
WGN, Chicago to Induct 10 into Station WoF. When Tribune Media’s WGN, Chicago inducts its 2015 Walk of Fame class during the Steve Cochran show on Friday, May 29, 10 broadcasters will be honored. The ceremony and live broadcast will air from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm at the Tribune Tower. Those to be inducted include: Steve Bertrand, Lyle Dean, Dave Eanet, Steve King, Franklyn MacCormack, Lou Manfredini, Johnnie Putman, Ward Quaal, Ron Santo and Eddie Schwartz. They will be commemorated in bronze plaques placed outside the Allstate Showcase Studio.
Odds & Sods. Bringing a passion of hers to WABC, New York on Sunday nights at 7:00 is Laura Smith who tells TALKERS magazine she’s “psyched” to debut “Above and Beyond with Laura Smith” this weekend. Smith says the program is a revival of the program she hosted on SiriusXM and on WFAS-FM, Westchester several years ago. “It’s a passion of mine as it incorporates conversations with some of the world’s most popular thought leaders and then the biggest celebrity psychics, mediums and astrologers giving free readings live on the air. This Sunday, I have global phenomenon, spiritual teacher and four-time NYT best-selling author, Marianne Williamson plus celebrity medium Thomas John.”…..There’s now an FM signal to complement Delmarva’s news/talk WDEL-AM, Wilmington. The company announces it is using the newly acquired WJKS, Canton, New Jersey to create at trimulcast of the legendary news/talker. In the market the station can be heard on WDEL at 1150 AM, on WJKS at 101.7 FM and via HD-3 on WSTW’s 93.7 FM.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. More stations are airing the Compass Media Networks-syndicated Lars Larson show. New affiliate stations for the KXL, Portland-based talk personality include: WHBY, Green Bay; WLFJ, Greenville, South Carolina; WLEA, Elmira New York; WBRP, Baton Rouge; WNRP, Pensacola; KCRS, Odessa; WDRC-AM, Hartford; and KTIP, Porterville, California. Larson comments on his busy schedule, “I prep from 6:00 am to 12:00 noon on the Left Coast and talk from 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm. I’ll leave the mic when they drag me away. I’ll sleep when I get old.”…..Stephan MultiMedia’s “Good Day” with Doug Stephan is also adding affiliate stations and announces it’s surpassed the 300-station mark with the following new outlets: KTFL, Gilbert, Arizona; KVNU, Logan, Utah; WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island; WDNY, Dansville, New York; WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina; KBIZ, Ottumwa, Iowa; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; WEBY, Milton, Florida; KSCB, Liberal, Kansas; WFEA, Nashua, New Hampshire; and KQEW-FM, Fordyce, Arkansas…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge joins the daily lineup at KWOR, Worland, Wyoming.
Show Prep with Lew Dickey. When Cumulus Media president and CEO Lew Dickey is in New York, he’s more than ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work with the talent at legendary news/talk outlet WABC. Dickey (seated right) is captured here in the office of WABC midday talk duo Curtis Sliwa (seated left) and Ron Kuby (seated floor) as the executive gives Kuby a therapeutic massage to make him more relaxed on the air. Dickey did, however, draw the line when Sliwa demanded that his be a foot massage.
Germanwings Flight 9525 Tragedy Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 23-27. The downing of Germanwings Flight 9525 was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of March 23-27, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Following at #3 was the tense relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and, at #4, was the potential candidates for president in 2016. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS ‘Heavy Hundred’ for 2015 Delayed One Day – Coming Tomorrow Wednesday, March 25. TALKERS magazine has delayed the date for the posting of the 2015 installment of the publication’s annual feature, “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” which was originally set to be posted today. The list will be revealed tomorrow (3/25) at approximately 2:00 pm ET. This will mark the 20th consecutive year that the talk media trade journal (that is about to mark its 25th anniversary) has been compiling and publishing the list – also known as “The Heavy Hundred.” According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This year’s list will include a number of familiar faces (and voices) as well as new up-and-comers and several veterans whose continuing, successful careers our editors believe need acknowledgement on this list in 2015.” Casey continues, “Needless to say, compiling this list is extremely challenging – especially since it draws upon both objective and subjective factors – and is the source of heated debate every year among our editors for months leading up to its release.”
Savage Celebrates Milestone! Talk radio icon Michael Savage – now syndicated by Westwood One – is celebrating 21 years in radio today (3/24) with a special program that will reflect on his more than two decades on the air. Savage is recognizing his time on the radio by encouraging listeners to call in and share their favorite memories from past shows. He’ll also play rare archival show segments from over the years throughout the program.
Robinson to President Post at iHeartMedia Ventures Group. This is a promotion for iHeartMedia’s EVP of strategic development as Joseph Robinson is named president of the iHeartMedia Ventures Group in which Robinson will work “to develop high-value strategic opportunities with media, technology, and content companies.” He’ll report to iHeartMedia president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler, who states, “Joe has played an invaluable role in helping iHeartMedia explore new digital and technology opportunities for both consumer-facing and internal initiatives. I’m delighted that Joe is expanding his role with us; his new leadership position will be instrumental in our continued success as a 21st century media company — one that is both relentlessly forward-looking on the technology front and focused on using iHeartMedia’s cross-platform assets in creative ways that help redefine the future of consumer media and entertainment.”
Sutton to Program KCMO, Kansas City. Talk radio pro Steve Sutton is appointed program director for Cumulus Media’s KCMO-AM, Kansas City. Sutton is an experienced broadcaster who’s worked at CBS RADIO, iHeartMedia, ABC, and Air America (where he was co-creator and VP of programming and operations). Cumulus SVP of programming Mike McVay says, “We’re very excited to have Steve join us in Kansas City. He’s a multi-formatted programmer with amazing life experiences. I can’t wait to hear how he sets news/talk radio on its ear.” Sutton comments, “A life of amazing experiences continues in Kansas City at KCMO. We all do this because it’s fun and fulfilling. And now, thanks to Lew Dickey, John Dickey, Mike McVay, and Mark Sullivan, I get to do it again. Donna Baker and I arrive within a week of each other. We both can’t wait to start drawing on the easel.”
WEEI, Boston Re-Ups with Michael Holley. Boston sports talkers WEEI announces that PM drive personality Michael Holley is “in it for the long haul with his veteran partner, Dale Arnold.” Holley just signed a new, multi-year contract that will keep the duo together in the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm shift (along with recent addition Jerry Thornton). Holley comments, “I’m so grateful to be able to do a job that I love, in a region that I love, speaking and working with people that I love. There have been so many incredible stories in New England sports the past decade-plus, and I’m excited and humbled that I’ve been able to share in the journey on the radio. I look forward to many more great shows with Dale, Jerry and our producers Andy Massaua and Ben Kichen.”
WOLB, Baltimore Morning Host Larry Young Named TALKERS 2015 “Humanitarian of the Year.” Veteran radio talk show host and former Maryland State Senator Larry Young has been selected by the TALKERS magazine editorial board as this year’s recipient of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host. The prestigious honor – also known as “Humanitarian of the Year” — will be presented to Young during the Awards Presentation at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015. The presentation will be made by Carole Marks, CEO of Talk Media, Inc. WOLB, owned by Radio One, is an urban/talk-formatted station serving the Baltimore-area African American community. Young began his show and radio career on the station in 1998 hosting weekday mornings, 6:00 am to 10:00 am, after a turbulent and controversial career in Maryland state politics. Since then, he has accrued a number of honors celebrating his work in the community as a broadcaster including “Best Radio Station” by Baltimore City Paper in 2007, 2008 and again in 2009. He also has been the recipient of such awards as the 2007 Pinnacle Award presented by the American Development Consortium, the 2009 Ed Bradley Award presented by the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the 2011 Unsung Hero Award presented by the Grace Outreach fundraising committee and prestigious 2012 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award presented by the Greater Baltimore Urban League. Young, a longtime member of the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” is held in extremely high regard not only within the community served by WOLB, but by his co-workers as well. WOLB general manager Howard Mazer tells TALKERS, “Larry Young is the kindest and most helpful person I know. The word NO is not in his vocabulary. When anyone in the community calls Larry, he will go out of his way to help them. It does not matter the time or the day.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “I have had the personal pleasure of spending time with the folks at WOLB at the station’s community functions where I have witnessed this man in action first-hand and I must say – the work of Larry Young and the relationship he has with his listeners and co-workers is absolutely inspiring – makes me proud to be in radio. And it is not a single day, promotion or activity that we are talking about. Every moment of his work on and off the air involves the concepts of service and connection. Larry Young and WOLB are the very essence of ‘community’ as it applies to radio.” Talkers New York 2015 – the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention — takes place on Friday, June 12. As of today’s posting, it is 75% sold out. For complete agenda details and registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please click here.
Salem-Owned WIND, Chicago Debuts New Program Schedule; Dave Ramsey to Join the Station in June. The Chicago secular news/talk outlet WIND “AM 560 The Answer” announces its lineup changes that take effect on both Monday, March 30 and Monday, June 1 of this year. WIND has made official the addition of Dan Proft as permanent morning co-host, alongside Amy Jacobson, in which the duo will host the newly created, “Chicago’s Morning Answer,” from 5:00 am to 9:00 am. Station general manager Jeff Reisman comments, “Dan Proft is the perfect addition to our lineup. As the only talk radio station in Chicago dedicated to talking about politics, current events, and breaking news, Dan Proft provides the kind of analysis and insight that our audience has come to expect from us. ‘Chicago’s Morning Answer’ will be the go-to place in Chicago to get up to speed on what’s happening in the world each morning.” Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher will be added to the station’s lineup airing live from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Dennis Prager will follow from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, replacing Dennis Miller. Then, on June 1, nationally syndicated superstar Dave Ramsey will begin airing in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot, immediately following the Joe Walsh program that will air from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Finally, “This Morning with Gordon Deal,” (syndicated by Compass Media Networks) will debut on March 30 in the 4:00 am to 5:00 am slot.
Michael Harrison and Norm Pattiz Discuss a Wide Spectrum of Media Issues on PodcastOne. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and PodcastOne founder/CEO Norm Pattiz engage in an illuminating conversation about media and its impact on society in the third and latest installment of the podcast series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” The two iconoclastic media figures draw upon their radio industry experience and 38-year friendship in tackling such issues as net neutrality; new advertising techniques; the impact of consolidation on radio; differences between radio and TV; the evolving state of journalism; the effect of fractionalization on the national consciousness, problems and changes in music radio and the burgeoning state of podcasting. To hear the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
KKOH, Reno APD Phil Parriott Dies in Auto Accident. Tragic news from the Cumulus Reno station group after news/talk KKOH, Reno assistant program director Phil Parriott died early on the morning of March 21 from injuries sustained in a car accident. Station staffers are saying Parriott was an extremely valuable member of their team who will be deeply missed by current and past co-workers who call him a friend. KKOH program director Dan Mason states, “We report tragedy in the news every day and can easily forget that real people are involved. We’re reminded of that as we mourn our friend and colleague today. Our thoughts and prayers are with Phil’s family during this difficult time.”
Greater Media Named ‘Best in Philly’ Again. For the fourth consecutive year, Greater Media’s radio properties have been named among the “Top Workplaces in Philadelphia” by Philly.com. Hundreds of companies take part in the survey, but only a select few companies are awarded top workplace. The Greater Media Philadelphia station group consists of rock WMMR; classic rock WMGK “102.9 MGK”; adult hits WBEN-FM “95.7 Ben FM”; and sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.” The evaluation for the “Top Workplaces” program was based entirely upon feedback from an employee survey conducted by Workplace Dynamics in the fall of 2014. Greater Media Philly VP and market manager John Fullam comments, “Great companies start with great employees. We are fortunate to have such an extraordinary team dedicated to serving Philadelphia, our listeners and advertising partners every day.”
2016 Presidential Prospects, U.S.-Iran Nuke Negotiations, Obama-Netanyahu Relationship, UVA Rape Investigation, Battle Against Militant Islam, Russian Military Aggression, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/23). The potential candidates for president in 2016; the controversy over the negotiations between the West and Iran over its nuclear program; the strained relationship between Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama and the recent Israeli elections; the police statement that it failed to find corroborating evidence in the Rolling Stone-reported UVA gang rape story; the militant Muslim organizations waging war in the Middle East and Africa; concern over Russia’s recent uptick in military maneuvers; and the weekend’s NCAA tourney action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Bouvard Joins Cumulus Media as CMO. Former president of sales for Arbitron – Pierre Bouvard – is named chief marketing officer of Cumulus. The New York City-based media research, sales, and marketing expert will direct Cumulus’ strategy for its local and national brands. Cumulus president and chief executive officer Lew Dickey comments, “Pierre is one of the radio industry’s most effective advocates. He understands the power of our great medium and is uniquely positioned to leverage audience insights to help advertisers take full advantage of our platform to deliver national scale with local activation. Incremental data beyond ratings is rapidly becoming the most important component in advertising decisions; we are excited to have Pierre leading our effort to help our clients achieve a superior return on investment.” Bouvard – who begins his new assignment today (Wednesday, 3/18) – states that, “Cumulus is America’s fastest growing major radio group. Over the last ten years, their national revenues have grown tenfold from $50 million to $500 million. They have transformed themselves into a major market, cross-media national platform through the merger of Westwood One and Cumulus Radio Networks; launch of the ‘Nash’ country music lifestyle brand; and the Rdio online radio partnership. Radio is the soundtrack for the American worker and ‘king of the road.’ Cumulus has impressive solutions for advertisers and agencies to reach the right audience and accomplish their brand and sales objectives.” Most recently, Bouvard was senior vice president of sales for TiVo Research & Analytics. Prior to his lengthy Arbitron tenure, Bouvard was executive vice president of Coleman Insights.
Jack Taddeo Joins NRG Media’s Waterloo/Cedar Rapids Operations. Consultant and radio management pro Jack Taddeo is the new general manager for NRG Media’s Waterloo and Cedar Rapids, Iowa stations: rock KFMW, Waterloo; classic hits KOKZ, Waterloo; sports talk KWLO, Waterloo; and news/talk KXEL, Waterloo. NRG Media chief operating officer Chuck DuCoty comments, “We couldn’t be more pleased to have Jack Taddeo on board. He is an outstanding broadcaster who demonstrates strategic vision, outstanding coaching skills and great leadership.”
Larry Gifford: Radiodays Europe 2015 – Day Three. The overriding theme of the just-concluded three-day radio conference in Milan, Italy was the future of content distribution, according to consultant and talent coach Larry Gifford, who filed a series of special reports for TALKERS magazine. “Talk of the future of radio and audio was pervasive. ‘The connected age,’ ‘second screens,’ and ‘visualizing radio’ were some of the buzz phrases heard throughout the three days. Everyone seemed to be talking about how important it is to embrace video, studio cams, and social media,” Gifford writes. Get more of Gifford’s summary of the event, including some insight into how one Australian morning show is embracing the digital platform, here. (Pictured here is Gifford delivering his “30 Ideas in 45 Minutes” session on Tuesday. Photo by James Cridland.)
Bold Gold Media Forms Foundation for Training Tomorrow’s News/Talk Broadcasters. The broadcasting company that operates nine commercial radio stations in Northeast Pennsylvania and Upstate New York is announcing a new effort “to help prepare tomorrow’s frontline communicators.” Bold Gold Media Group is establishing the Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation – a non-profit organization that is an altogether separate and distinct entity from Bold Gold’s commercial broadcast operations. Bold Gold says the Foundation will focus its efforts on providing funding and resources to educational organizations that train tomorrow’s broadcast and media leaders. While the Foundation encourages young people in all areas of broadcasting, it is currently placing particular emphasis on supporting the advancement and training in the various spoken-word and informational formats such as news and talk. Bold Gold president Vince Benedetto states, “Radio broadcasting is the most powerful, informative, and persuasive medium in the world, and the news and talk formats are extremely demanding, and like all media, evolving… and we need the best and brightest communicators of tomorrow to begin preparing for these fields today. Investing in the future providers of our communication needs is imperative. The most trusted broadcasters have always been those who could provide timely, reliable and compelling information and entertainment you couldn’t find anywhere else… they were live and they were local. That’s still true and even more important than ever, but powerful broadcasting is now about being on-air, online, mobile, social, live and local! That’s what future leaders in our medium need to be preparing for, and the Foundation intends to support efforts that seek to do just that.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “This is a very exciting initiative. Vince Benedetto is a rising young star among station group owners who are passionate about radio and dedicated to having it continue to grow to the fullest extent of its potential.” The Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation will be having its Inaugural Fundraising Event on Tuesday evening the 19th of May at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and will feature citizen-journalist James O’Keefe, of Project Veritas, as the guest speaker. To support the work of the Foundation and to purchase tickets to the May 19th event, go to www.BoldGold.org, or email the Foundation at: info@BoldGold.org. Meet Vince Benedetto at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12. To register, call 413-565-5413.
Nielsen Audio Releases Second Round of February 2015 PPM Data. The second of four rounds of February 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington (D.C.), Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The February 2015 survey period covered January 29 through February 25. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Newsmax Feed Network Achieves 67 Million Uniques in February. According to data from comScore, Newsmax Media’s Newsmax Feed Network posted a record 67.4 million unique visitors last month. The Newsmax Feed Network is a proprietary syndicated headline box that is carried on more than 2,000 websites, making more than 1 billion page impressions monthly. The Feed Network box carries unique Newsmax content headlines along with sponsored advertisements. Newsmax reports that it “has gained enormous traction recently, and a bevy of well-known publisher brands make up the network, including National Review Online, Boston Herald, Breitbart News Network, dozens of local ABC, NBC, and CBS News affiliates via independent television station groups Gray, Nexstar, and Schurz Communications, as well as community newspaper networks Horizon Publications and Gatehouse Media.” Newsfeed Network manager Kevin Mallon comments, “We are very excited about the latest comScore numbers. More and more publishers are choosing to implement the Newsmax Feed because of the relevant and quality content we provide, while yielding them robust revenue from our sponsors.” Company VP of business development Matt D’Lando adds, “Our Feed Network focuses on a clear demographic of 45-plus baby boomers, the largest demographic group in the nation with the highest disposable income.”
WTOP PD Alumni Club. Two former program directors of all news WTOP, Washington, DC – Laurie Cantillo and consultant Holland Cooke — pose for a selfie today at Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano’s annual Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia. Cantillo is a guest speaker at the full-day event discussing methods of increasing radio station website traffic, something she has proven to be able to do quite well before leaving her position at WTOP last week.
Odds & Sods. The internet-based talk show “Behind Enemy Lines Radio” – hosted by NYC Republicans, attorney Gene Berardelli and Army combat veteran Russell Gallo – is joining the AM/FM platform as it will be heard Thursdays at 1:00 pm on Forsythe Broadcasting’s WNJC, Washington Township, New Jersey (Philly market). The show joins the “Conservative Commandos Radio Network” in creating a block of conservative programming heard every day from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm on WNJC…..CBS Sports Radio programming will emanate from Indianapolis beginning April 2 for coverage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four. Shows airing from the Indiana Convention Center will include Doug Gottlieb and Tiki & Tierney…..Joining the Yahoo Sports Radio national lineup for a daily 10:00 am program is former Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney and his sports talk radio partner Lanny Ford. Together, they host “Inside the Lines,” heard on WZGV, Charlotte “ESPN 730.”…..New to SiriusXM’s Insight channel is a new show called “The Briefing Powered by Dartmouth College,” – an “all-new radio show giving listeners a lively hour that dissects the history, facts, and perspectives shaping the week’s news.” The bi-weekly show will be hosted by Michael Mastanduno, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Nelson A. Rockefeller Professor of Government at Dartmouth.
Pluggin’ Podcasts on Boomer & Carton. Former pro wrestler Taz, a.k.a. Peter Senerchia (center), enjoys a mock choke-hold from Boomer Esiason (left) as he appeared on WFAN, New York along with Craig Carton (right) to promote his new wrestling podcast titled, “The Human Podcast Machine” that is available on Play.It, CBS RADIO and CBS Local Digital’s podcast platform.
Ken Birdsong Celebrates 50 Years in Radio. WENG, Englewood, Florida morning drive host Ken Birdsong is celebrating 50 years in radio on March 27. He started his career when he was just 15 at his hometown station KWOC, Poplar Bluff, Missouri. He then went on to work for stations in the Show-Me State cities of Kennett, Jefferson City, Moberly, and Osage Beach. He also put in a stint in Mt. Airy, North Carolina (the heart of Andy Griffith country) and did afternoons in Las Vegas. In 2002, he joined WENG and served as general manager until 2012.
Iran Nukes/GOP Letter, Israeli Elections/Netanyahu’s Future, Hillary Clinton Email Probe, 2016 Presidential Prospects, OU Racist Song Case, and Dick Cheney Playboy Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/17). Iran’s nuclear program and the controversy over the letter sent to the nation by GOP senators; the Israeli elections and Benjamin Netanyahu’s status on the world stage; the ongoing probe over Hillary Clinton’s use of private emails for State Department business; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the furor over an OU fraternity’s videotaped racist song and the university’s reaction; and Dick Cheney’s criticism of President Obama in his recent Playboy interview were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Media Announces Daily Feature Role for Mike Rogers. The announcement that outgoing Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and former FBI agent Mike Rogers would join Cumulus Media came earlier this year when Rogers said he would not run for re-election. Now, the company reports that Rogers will be the host of a new thrice-daily feature program called, “Something to Think About,” that will debut on January 5. Rogers says, “From the highest level national security discussion to the most inspiring American success story, I have seen it. I am excited to bring these stories to life. They are humorous, compelling, moving and most of all these stories will give us something to think about.” Cumulus says the features “will play an important role helping Americans better understand critical issues that impact their daily lives. Rogers will address the most-talked-about issues of the day and highlight smaller stories illuminating the concept of American exceptionalism. Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey adds, “After spending more than a decade dealing firsthand with the most sensitive issues facing our nation, Mike Rogers will now bring his invaluable insight and perspective to the American people each weekday on Westwood One. Mike is an exciting addition to our expanding national talk platform.” At this morning’s editorial meeting, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison reacted quickly to the announcement of Cumulus Media’s plans to roll out Rogers in a short-form feature instead of what had been widely anticipated by industry observers as a traditional two- or three-hour longform package. Harrison states, “The Dickeys are demonstrating that they are smart broadcasters who clearly learn from their experience. This is evidenced by the strategic way in which they are bringing a valuable property such as Rogers into the rough-and-tumble world of talk radio. This move indicates they are aware that, although a host or talent from outside the field of play might have tremendous credentials, connections, knowledge and insights into the subject matter at hand, he or she might not be ready for what it takes to execute the craft of actually hosting a competitive radio show. A new host – especially one who comes to this game as a big-timer from an adjacent field – needs time in nurturing their skills to reach full effectiveness. This will give Rogers the opportunity to get it right and I’m sure he will do just that considering the levels of intelligence and media savvy he brings to the table.”
Bob Frantz Begins WLQR, Toledo Gig Today. As announced last month, former WTAM, Cleveland evening host Bob Frantz is joining Cumulus Media to host a two-hour afternoon sports talk show on the company’s WLQR, Toledo “106.5 The Ticket.” Today (11/6), he begins his new 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm show on the station. Cumulus Toledo RVP and market manager Andy Stuart says, “Bob is a great sports talk talent and we are so pleased to have him join our roster of great, talent-driven stations. He will bring a new level of quality sports talk to Northwest Ohio that the audience will find very engaging.”
Buddy Cianci to Return to WPRO-AM, Providence After Failed Mayoral Bid. The former two-time mayor of Providence took leave of his afternoon drive talk show on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM simulcast in June to run for mayor of the city but failed as an independent to beat Democrat Jorge Elorza. He appeared on the afternoon show with station personality Tara Granahan (who’s been filling in for him during the campaign) on Wednesday and will resume his regular show on Monday, November 10. Cianci served as mayor of the Rhode Island capital twice before, once after serving time for a racketeering conspiracy charge.
Mike Huckabee to Independently Syndicate Daily Commentary. The daily feature former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has been producing for distribution via Westwood One both during and since the end of his daily talk show on that network is going independent. There are not a lot of specifics from Huckabee’s camp at this time but his organization says “The Huckabee Report” currently airs nationally on more than 500 affiliates and new distribution details will be announced in the near future. According to Huckabee, the three daily commentaries are delivered mornings, middays and afternoons and the reports are delivered in a modular format that allows stations to carry one or three minutes of content per report.
WRKO, Boston Talk Host Howie Carr Off Air After a Car Accident. According to a Boston Herald story, WRKO afternoon drive personality Howie Carr was involved in a car accident on the Massachusetts Turnpike on Wednesday afternoon prior to his radio show and, after being taken to the hospital and treated, was released later that evening. Carr’s wife Kathy tells the paper (for which Carr writes a regular column) that he’s in good spirits. It’s not clear when Carr will return to the air on WRKO. A statement from Entercom market manager Phil Zachary read, in part: “The Republican surge that swept across America was something Howie predicted and so urgently wanted to share with each of you on the air throughout the week. However, as a precaution, Howie will remain off the air and under observation to ensure a full recovery with no complications.”
CBS Corp. Reports Q3 Financials; Radio Division Up 2%. As is usually the case with CBS Corp. quarterly investor conference calls, very little time is spent talking about the radio division and yesterday was no exception. The company’s radio stations are part of the Local Broadcasting division and radio net revenue for the third quarter of 2014 was up 2%. CEO Les Moonves did discuss the station swap with Beasley and noted – not surprisingly – that the move is part of the company’s “big-market strategy.” The addition of country WKIS, CHR WPOW and sports talk WQAM in Miami and CHR WRDW and country WXTU in Philly adds to the company’s Philadelphia holdings and gives it a radio footprint in Miami. CBS already owns TV stations in the two markets. Beasley is getting CBS’ seven Charlotte and six Tampa stations.
Townsquare Media Q3 Pro Forma Net Revenue Climbs 7.1%. An investor’s conference call is taking place today but the press statement from Townsquare Media indicates a very positive third quarter for the media firm with pro forma net revenue up 7.1% compared to the same quarter a year ago. Pro forma local advertising net revenue increased 1.9%. On an actual basis, net revenue increased $27.9 million, or 41.7%, to $94.7 million, compared to $66.9 million in the same period last year. The big increase was due primarily to the acquisitions made during the second half of 2013, including certain assets of Peak II Holding, LLC, Cumulus Media Inc. and certain live events. Townsquare chairman and CEO Steven Price says, “We are pleased to announce solid results in the third quarter in line with guidance. In the third quarter, pro forma net revenue grew 7.1%, with strength across both our Local Advertising and Other Media & Entertainment segments. We continue to be pleased with the performance that has been delivered by our diversified revenue strategy.”
WRKO, Boston to Hold Fisher House Radiothon. On Monday, November 10, Entercom news/talk WRKO, Boston will partner with Fisher House Boston to host a radiothon to raise funds to benefit the Fisher House’s continued efforts to provide a safe and welcoming environment for veterans and their families as they stay in Boston to receive medical treatment. The radiothon will take place from the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center and begin at 6:00 am with “The Kuhner Report,” hosted by Jeff Kuhner, and continuing until 7:00 pm. Entercom VP and market manager Phil Zachary comments, “Fisher House serves an invaluable role assuming the care and housing of families who have already given so much. Time and again, WRKO listeners have demonstrated they’re true New England patriots in their love of country and support of our troops. There’s no doubt they’ll answer the bell next Monday.” Fisher House Boston is located at the VA Boston Healthcare Medical facility in West Roxbury.
Doug Stephan’s ‘Good Day’ Helps Pre-Register Breast Cancer Walkers. The nationally syndicated, Doug Stephan-hosted “Good Day” program teamed with AdLarge Media and the American Cancer Society to present, “Share in the Spirit,” a multi-platform promotional campaign that drove pre-registration for the “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walking events all across the country. Stephan’s show helped create a sense of community that encouraged listeners to share their stories on Facebook and Twitter, with a dedicated hashtag. Listeners were directed to a dedicated page on Stephan’s website for the chance to win a “Making Strides”-branded pink tote, baseball cap, and bracelet and become the grand prize winner of a trip to a walk of their choice. A link on the site re-directed Stephan’s listeners to the ACS’s MakingStridesWalk.org for pre-registration.
GOP Wins Senate Majority, President Obama’s Final Two Years, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Marijuana Ballot Initiatives, and Battle Against ISIS Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/5). The Republican victories in the mid-term elections, the gaining of a majority in the U.S. Senate and other state races; the referendum on President Obama’s presidency and what’s in store for his final two years in office; the prospects for the 2016 presidential race; the state ballot initiatives changing marijuana laws; and the battle against ISIS were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Pinch Postpones Retirement. Apparently, you can hold off buying a gold watch for Jon Pinch a bit longer. Cumulus‘ 14-year executive vice president and chief operating officer was scheduled to call it quits in late-November, but the company is installing him as market manager for its six-station Atlanta cluster. Cumulus president and chief executive officer Lew Dickey comments, “Jon is the consummate team player and will now be contributing in this new role. We are excited to have someone with his loyalty, talent, and experience leading our terrific team in Atlanta.” Pinch remarks that he is “honored” to lead “these great stations at this important juncture in the company’s growth. This makes perfect sense for the stations and for me – personally and professionally – so retirement will have to wait. To say that the position amounts to downshifting for me sounds almost comical. The lifestyle change, with far less travel, allows me to spend my time at home in Atlanta and continue to work in the industry I love. It is the best of both worlds. I am thrilled to work with the incredible team in place at our Atlanta stations to drive the continued growth of these vibrant radio brands.” The position has been open since April when Cumulus promoted Jeff Brown to corporate senior vice president. Cumulus’ Atlanta cluster consists of country WKHX “Kicks 101.5,” WNNX “Rock 100.5,” CHR WWWQ “Q-100,” country WWWQ-HD2 “Nash Icon 98.9”; news WYAY “News Radio 106.7,” and WWWQ-HD3.
Borrell Associates Study Highlights the Cost to Small and Medium Businesses of Digital Marketing. A study released today by Borrell Associates called the 2014 Digital Marketing Services Outlook focuses on the dollars spent by small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in America on digital marketing. This is relevant to radio inasmuch as it shines a light on what it really takes – in dollars – to support digital marketing that both competes with radio’s traditional on-air advertising and the digital marketing that is also offered by broadcasting companies. For instance, we often jump to the conclusion that digital advertising is less expensive – no transmitter needed, no printing press and mailing system – but as the Borrell study estimates, SMBs spend three of every five marketing dollars on digital marketing services for a national total of $501 billion this year. The study also concludes, “In fact, when it comes to what the typical local business spends on digital marketing, only 13% goes toward classic forms of online advertising such as banners, paid search or video. More than two-thirds of what they spend goes toward managing their digital media channels. The rest goes toward “promotions” — or all those creative activities such as contests, giveaways, coupons and two-for-one deals that flow from their newfound marketing finesse.” Note the Borrell graphic here laying out the industry’s digital media services expenditures. See more about the Borrell study here.
Watchdog Radio Debuts. The new offshoot of Watchdog.org – itself a project of Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity – is Watchdog Radio, a “new broadcast initiative at the state and national level, that aims to replicate the success of Watchdog.org’s online reporting.” The Illinois-based organization’s president, Jason Stverak, says, “Watchdog Radio is a chance for us to connect with a wider audience and bring them news stories that are impacting communities all over the country. It is our goal to discuss the issues that others don’t and keep Americans informed on waste, fraud and abuse at every level of government.” “National Watchdog Radio” will be syndicated on weekends. The show is hosted by reporters Eric Boehm and Matt Kittle. The two-hour show will focus on state and local governments across the states, as well as larger national trends. Kathryn Watson of Watchdog.org’s Washington, DC bureau will join the program to discuss the most interesting stories of the week from Watchdog.org.
Execs Named at iHeartMedia Atlanta. Following the just-announced departure of Matt Scarano from Atlanta to iHeartMedia’s Chicago station group, the company announces changes in the Atlanta cluster. Justin Schaflander is named market president and Jason Mosher takes on the VP of sales position. Schaflander moves up from his previous position as VP of sales for the cluster and Mosher is upped from his duties as GSM of WUBL, WGST and Total Traffic and Weather Network.
Round One of September PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of September 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was August 14 through September 10. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Katz-Commissioned Study: Radio Effective Way to Reach Swing Voters. A study commissioned by Katz Media Group shows swing voters are regular radio users – 81% of those identified as swing voters report listening to AM/FM radio regularly. Moreover, voters across the political spectrum report that radio ads are more credible than the ads they see on the internet by a 56-35 margin, which increases to a 62-38 margin among low-turnout voters. The survey was handled by Vox Populi Polling to examine how much influence radio has in the electoral marketplace. The sample size for the survey was 1,059 active voters. Other results from the study include: Swing voters spend 10% more time with radio daily than the average American voter; 67% of swing voters listen to FM regularly, while 14% are exclusively AM radio listeners; 65% of low-turnout Republicans and Democrats say they listen to FM music on a regular basis; and 61% of swing voters agree that radio is a good way for political candidates to reach them. KMG EVP of strategy, analytics & research Stacey Lynn Schulman says, “This research illustrates that radio is both a habitual and influential medium for reaching voters who can make the difference on Election Day. In the race for credibility, radio outshines online advertising by a wide margin in the minds of still impressionable voters.”
Odds & Sods. Former KDWN and KXNT, Las Vegas talk show host Heidi Harris is now the market manager for Blab TV Las Vegas – an online video talk platform…..Cross Platform Media Group, LLC announces former VP of programming for Westwood One, Tim Maranville, is named chief content officer and director of channel development for the company’s platforms that include: IRN-USA Radio Network and TEN Syndication, home to USA Radio News, “Daybreak USA,” the Steve Deace show, “Bill Martinez Live,” “Point of View,” and others…..John August exits his weekend position with Entravision’s country KNTY, Sacramento “101.9 The Wolf” to take on the fill-in host position for news/talk KNCO, Grass Valley, California’s daily “Swap-Shop” program…..ESPN Radio presents its 17th consecutive season airing MLB post-season baseball beginning tonight as Jon Sciambi and analyst Chris Singleton call the AL Wild Card Game between the Oakland Athletics and the Kansas City Royals.
Obama ’60 Minutes’ Interview, U.S. ISIS Strikes, Hong Kong Protests, Secret Service WH Security Breach Investigation, Mid-Term Elections, Hillary Clinton and 2016 Presidential Hopefuls, and Obama Amnesty Pledge Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/29). Analysis of President Obama’s interview on “60 Minutes” on Sunday evening; the U.S. military’s strikes on ISIS targets and controversy over President Obama’s statements that the U.S. has “underestimated” ISIS; Hong Kong residents protesting the tightening of rule on the Chinese island; the case of the man who entered the White House and the Secret Service’s ability to protect the president; the looming mid-term elections; the prospects for the 2016 presidential race, including Democrats Hillary Clinton and Jim Webb; the state of immigration legislation and President Obama’s pledge to create an amnesty policy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
NAB/RAB Radio Show and RAIN Summit coverage by consultant Holland Cooke
INDIANAPOLIS — We’re radio people. We think aloud. So gathering this many of us in one place is bound to produce plenty of sound bites. If you missed reports I filed earlier this week, here are my notes from:
* Tuesday: http://www.radioinfo.com/2014/09/10/radio-roundup-indy/
* Wednesday: http://www.talkers.com/2014/09/11/the-golden-age-of-audio-consumption/
The Radio Show wraps today. So if you couldn’t be here – or if you could, and were attending different sessions concurrent to those I hit – here’s more of what I heard that you also might find instructive.
Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck Return to KSFO, San Francisco. This move announced by Cumulus Media comes just a few days after local personality Spencer Hughes exited the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot at KSFO. Now, the company says Rush Limbaugh will occupy that show time while Sean Hannity will air from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm followed by Glenn Beck from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Michael Savage and Mark Levin will continue to air in the afternoons. Now the big question is what are Clear Channel’s plans for KNEW “960 The Patriot” after the three Premiere Networks shows jump across the street? A likely option would be to plug in Fox Sports Radio Network programming. We can expect Clear Channel to make its intentions known relatively soon. The start date for the changes is September 29.
Cumulus Media Realigns Executive Structure; Jon Pinch to Retire. Calling this move a part of the goal to “enhance the company’s strategic and operational focus and leverage its business platform,” Cumulus Media president and CEO Lew Dickey announces the company is eliminating the co-COO posts that John Dickey and Jon Pinch have shared for years, the assignment of John Dickey to the new EVP of content and programming position, and the retirement of Jon Pinch after a 45-year career in the business. Lew Dickey says, “Our vision has been to build the radio company of the future and that is exactly what we are achieving. Towards that end, we have strategically broadened the company’s scope and now have in place differentiated distribution channels and multiple content development platforms. To accelerate our plans, we are putting in place a new organizational structure to reflect the company’s strategic evolution, bringing clarity, focus and accountability to key leadership roles in both our station and network groups.” A number of changes will take place in addition to Pinch’s retirement. Cumulus has retained the services of the search firm Spencer Stuart to seek an executive vice president of radio. That person will be “focused on providing day-to-day operational and strategic leadership of Cumulus’ radio station group consisting of its 460 stations in 90 U.S. markets.” Steve Shaw has been promoted from his SVP Cumulus national sales post to president of Westwood One. As for John Dickey, his new position will entail focusing on developing and maximizing content and programming. The company says, “Establishing this focused position recognizes the critical importance of Cumulus’ development and promotion of content and programming across the company’s station group, Westwood One network and other media platforms including Nash and Rdio.”
Sandy Buttweiler Leaves KFGO, Fargo and Radio for Job Outside the Industry. As reported in Prairie Business Magazine, longtime Fargo radio personality Sandy Buttweiler has resigned from her talk show position to take a job outside the radio biz. Buttweiler co-hosted the Jack & Sandy show with longtime partner Jack Sunday at Midwest Communications-owned KFGO, Fargo. As the paper notes, Buttweiler joined KFGO in 1982 and has worked there during three different stints as well as at other stations in the market, including crosstown WDAY. She told listeners there were no problems at the station and that she “was presented with an opportunity about six weeks ago. After careful and thoughtful consideration, it just seemed like the right time to take on this new opportunity.”
‘The News That Makes You Think’ Hits 100 Affiliate Mark. The newest feature from XtreMedia and hosted by Kevin McCullough passes the 100 affiliate mark after just 90 days in production. McCullough’s program – “The News That Makes You Think” – is airing in markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Phoenix, Tampa, Portland, Nashville, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Las Vegas. McCullough tells TALKERS magazine that, when launched in June, his company believed there would be a market for this type of feature and he describes it, saying, “The content is designed to offer a substantive look at national, political, and human interest stories. But every newscast provides information important to families and people of faith. And at the end of the day it’s about telling great stories!” McCullough says that across the Monday-Friday XtreMedia platform, 413 unique stations are airing the company’s programming.
WGN, Chicago Re-Ups Steve Cochran. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN, Chicago morning drive personality Steve Cochran signs a four-year contract extension to continue with the Tribune Broadcasting outlet. As Feder points out, over the past year Cochran has performed well for WGN. In the most recent Nielsen Audio PPM survey, Cochran was #2 in the market (Persons 6+) with a 5.4 share. Cochran tells Feder, “Thanks to my amazing staff of Andrea Darlas, Dave Eanet, Orion Samuelson, Mary Vandevelde, Kevin Powell and my son, Ross, 5:00 am is actually fun. Working for Jimmy de Castro, Todd Manley and Larry Wert is as good as it gets — and I feel like we are just getting started.” Read Feder’s column here.
Round Three of August PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of August 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was July 17 through August 13. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Ethnic WCGO, Chicago Begins Shift Toward Issues Talk Format. The Evanston, Illinois signal has been an ethnic time-brokered station since 1978 but consultant Tim Disa says that with a newly approved power increase to 10,000 watts (daytime), the station is revamping the programming, starting with the 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm daypart. Franklin Raff – a 39-year-old former producer for the G. Gordon Liddy show – is now hosting the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm show, followed by Radio America’s Dana Loesch from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, and former crosstown WIND personality Geoff Pinkus hosting the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program. Additionally, the station is carrying Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory in the overnight daypart. Disa says the goal of the station is to create “new, more inclusive content – a bit more libertarian and we will be reaching out to a younger generation using humor and common sense.”
Odds & Sods. At the Salem Radio Network operations in Washington, DC, Jeff Matzka is named chief engineer. The operation includes the Washington, DC bureau of the SRN News and the studios of the Bill Bennett “Morning in America” show…..The new flagship station for the NBA’s Washington Wizards is CBS RADIO’s all-news WNEW-FM, Washington (licensed to Bowie, Maryland). The station reports that D.C. area play-by-play broadcaster Dave Johnson will return for his 17th season calling Wizards games, and is joined for the 7th year by analyst Glenn Consor…..Clear Channel’s news/talk WHJJ, Providence and classic hits WWBB “B101” will be the new flagship stations for University of Rhode Island football and men’s basketball this season. WHJJ will also air the 16 Dan Hurley shows featuring the Rams’ head basketball coach.
Celebrating Success. Nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Savage is pictured here aboard his family yacht in the New York harbor addressing representatives from syndicator Westwood One, Cumulus-owned WABC Radio, and several high-profile clients and partners. Using the occasion of the success of his latest book, Stop the Coming Civil War (Center Street 2014), Savage used the tale of his grandfather’s immigration from Russia almost 100 years ago to express why America needs to reward hard work and not take from those who are productive. This event on NYC’s Chelsea Pier also caught the eye of the New York Post’s Page Six.
Mike Gallagher Plays the Cowardly Lion. Regular TALKERS readers know one of Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher’s interests is the theatre – Gallagher won a 2013 Tony Award as an investor in the Broadway revival of “Pippin.” In addition to the numerous roles he’s played on the stage over the years, Gallagher (pictured here in full make-up for dress rehearsal) is currently playing the Cowardly Lion in the South Carolina Children’s Theatre production of The Wizard of Oz.
US ISIS Strategy and Journalist Beheadings Top Stories on News/Talk Radio for Week of September 1-5. The controversy over the United States’ military policy regarding the ISIS campaign in Iraq and the recent beheadings of two American journalists tied atop the Talkers TenTM for the week of September 1-5. At #2 this week was the Al Qaeda jihad threat tied with the missing Libyan airliners. Coming in at #3 was the mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential race followed by the Justice Department’s probe of the Ferguson, Missouri police department at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Journal Communications Announces Merger of Broadcast Operations with E.W. Scripps. In a surprise move – at least as far as the public is concerned – Journal Communications announced late Wednesday (7/30) that it has struck a deal with Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps to merge the two companies’ broadcast operations into one company and to spin off their respective print businesses and merge them into a separate company that will also be publicly traded. The Journal Broadcast Group will go away and the broadcast operations will continue under the Scripps banner. The newspaper and print businesses will operate under the Journal Media Group banner. This means an exit for Scripps from the print business. In a video message, Journal Communications chairman and CEO Steve Smith states, “These two independent companies will build upon the strong local brands Journal and Scripps have built over the years.” The newspaper company – with 14 dailies and affiliated digital media – will be headquartered in Milwaukee. Scripps owns only TV stations and, after the merger is complete, the new group will be the fifth largest television group in the country – with 34 TV stations in 24 markets – with Journal’s radio assets also in that group. Journal operates 35 radio stations in eight markets. WXYZ-TV, Detroit reports that Scripps CEO Richard Boehne states the companies will gain about $35 million in “combined transaction synergies” but he said it would be months before it would be known if there would be staff reductions or requests for employees to relocate. The deal, pending regulatory approval, is expected to close in 2015. Since Scripps owns no radio assets, there are no duplicative positions there but the question to be asked is how dedicated to the radio business will E.W. Scripps be? Will it ultimately put them up for sale? Only time will tell.
Cumulus Strikes Deal with CNN for Radio News Product. The product will not be branded CNN but will allow stations to make the content that comes from CNN Newsource their own. A statement from Cumulus Media today about the news service to be made available via Westwood One, says, this new service will offer radio stations nationwide access to broadcast, breaking news, wire service and digital content provided by CNN for use on the air and on their websites. Westwood One owns the patented STORQ technology that Cumulus says provides a local feel to syndicated content. “The addition of this new service will for the first time enable local radio stations to broadcast the latest national and international news acquired by CNN but branded with their own call letters and station slogans.” Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey says, “Our affiliates and advertising partners know they can count on us for news and information products that reflect how people today consume content through various platforms, and this exclusive access to CNN’s newsgathering will ensure we can provide stations nationwide an unmatched array of news formats.” Dickey described the service to the New York Post calling it a “differentiated product. For some who want hard news, this isn’t the service, but there are fewer of those types of stations across the country. The emphasis is more on shorter stories, less hard news and ‘give it to me when I want it.’” Cumulus Media’s Westwood One reps other news services – including ABC, NBC, CBS and CNBC Business Radio. CNN shut down the CNN Radio division two years ago.
Fox TV and Entercom Mend Fences – and Restore $$ — After Minihane Comments. Some industry insiders were critical of Fox TV’s dropping advertising on Entercom-owned stations after WEEI-FM, Boston’s Kirk Minihane made controversial comments about Fox TV reporter Erin Andrews – charging Fox with pulling the boycott strategy. However it appears the move by Entercom CEO David Field to apologize and to suspend Minihane for a week placated Fox and, according to a story by Chad Finn in the Boston Globe, the company will resume its advertising of its TV shows and movies on Entercom stations which is reportedly in the neighborhood of $1 million per year. Fox Sports SVP of media relations Lou D’Ermilio stated, “We appreciate Entercom’s recognition and response to the inappropriate comments made by the WEEI host. It is our sincere hope both organizations can now move forward.” Finn reports Entercom Boston VP and market manager Phil Zachary commented, “On our end, we consider the matter 100 percent resolved.” Read the whole story here.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: “The Talk Rumble.” Today (7/31) marks the 13th consecutive business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with a Talkers Conference tradition – “The Talk Rumble.” Moderated by the dynamic multi-media talk star Lionel of LionelMedia.com with a special introduction by syndicated icon, Dr. Joy Browne of Radio America, the freewheeling debate of today’s hottest talk radio issues features: Bubba the Love Sponge, Bubba Radio Network; Alan Colmes, Fox News Radio/FNC; Mike Gallagher, Salem Radio Network; Thom Hartmann, WYD Media; Joyce Kaufman, WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale; Kevin McCullough, XtreMEDIA; and David Webb, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. To view this spoken word extravaganza, please click here. The Talkers New York 2014 conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Questions About Political Correctness. WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer writes in an opinion piece published today at Talkers.com, that although he believes we should all avoid words or phrases that are likely to offend, he fears that “a ‘gotcha’ mentality is running amok, looking to punish anyone who has the temerity to take an unpopular stand.” Neer points to two recent cases – one involving Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, the other Stephen A. Smith’s current suspension from ESPN – in which both men went to great lengths to clarify statements that many people would, upon hearing the clarification, not find offensive. Still, the controversy continued and in Smith’s case, he was suspended. Read Neer’s insightful piece here.
Larry King Says Piers Morgan Failed Because He Was ‘Pompous.’ Appearing on Cumulus Media’s classic rock WGRF, Buffalo on the “Norton in the Morning” show via Envision Networks’ Guest Services booking service, radio and TV legend Larry King – promoting his “Larry King Now” daily interview show that appears on Ora.tv and Hulu.com – told the show’s listeners that Piers Morgan had a tough transition to replace him as host of the CNN interview show. “Any person who has been on for 25 years in one place and you have an audience who is used to you…it’s very hard to step into those shoes no matter who it is.” Speaking about Morgan, King said, “Personally, I like him fine, but it was all about him. It was the opposite of the way I interview. He was the opposite. So now they not only had someone who was British, different, but then he would use the word ‘I’ every other word…He became, I thought a bit, in my opinion, pompous, but that’s the way I looked at it. So I had trouble watching Piers Morgan’s show, and I guess a lot of other people did too.”
Dan Le Batard Denied LeBron James Ad by Cleveland Plain Dealer. It’s hard to say how far along ESPN and WAXY, Miami sports talk host Dan Le Batard was in actually trying to place an ad in the Cleveland Plain Dealer to get a dig in at LeBron James, but the paper forestalled any such plan by saying it would not accept the ad, according to a report in the Washington Post. The paper reports Le Batard was discussing the Miami Heat fans’ reaction to James’ departure for Cleveland and he suggested taking out an ad similar to the mock-up you see here that would razz James for not thanking Miami fans after his four-year stint with the Heat. Le Batard jokingly suggested a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money for the ad. Still, for Le Batard’s part, he got a fair amount of national press over the bit.
Odds & Sods. The nationally syndicated Leslie Marshall show – produced by WYM Media – permanently shifts its live broadcast time to 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET…..Red Rock Radio Corp. is flipping two stations – standards WXCE, Amery, Wisconsin and standards WHSM-AM, Hayward, Wisconsin – to sports talk using NBC Sports Radio effective August 4.
Obama Impeachment Chatter/House Obama Suit Vote, Ebola Outbreak Scare, Gaza Strip Violence, Flight 17 Probe/Russia’s Ukraine Aggression, Lerner’s Anti-GOP Emails, and Stephen A. Smith Suspension Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/30). The controversy over possible impeachment of President Obama and the Dem’s purported use of the threat in fundraisers combined with the U.S. House’s vote to sue the president for unconstitutional actions; the Ebola outbreak scare; Israel’s continuing attack on Hamas in the Gaza Strip; the investigation into the downing of Flight 17 and the complications due to Ukrainian instability and Russia’s involvement; the flap over IRS staffer Lois Lerner’s anti-GOP emails; and ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith’s suspension for his comments on the Ray Rice suspension were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Steve Shaw Named Westwood One President. Moving up from his post as SVP of Cumulus national sales is Steve Shaw who takes on the president role at the company’s Westwood One syndication and sales unit. The company says Shaw will “expand his role as head of national spot sales for Cumulus’ owned-and-operated stations to include all national and digital sales for WestwoodOne, effective immediately. In this new role he’ll oversee Westwood One Networks, Westwood One Sports, and Westwood One Digital, including Rdio and Cumulus National Sales, which will be renamed Westwood One Media Group. Shaw was previously president of Katz Radio Group and president of Cox Digital Solutions. Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey says, “Steve will drive the integration of our large stable of national media assets and advertising products under the Westwood One brand. His track record of success in both broadcast radio and digital media will be instrumental as Cumulus and Westwood One combine to provide a compelling new set of ad packages designed to meet the rapidly evolving needs of our advertisers.” Shaw comments, “Westwood One brings to listeners and advertisers an incredibly powerful combination of great content across a multitude of distribution channels. With many of the most established brands in sports, talk, news and entertainment, as well as emerging new brands including NASH and Rdio, the opportunities are significant. I am very excited to be working with the Westwood One team to create unique and effective solutions for our agency and client partners.”
WHPT, Tampa’s Mike Calta Re-Ups with Cox Hot Talker. Afternoon drive personality Mike Calta signs a contract renewal with Cox Media Group’s hot talk WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone.” The station says the “#1 afternoon drive talk show host” continues in his role as host of the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm show. The station’s director of branding and programming, John Brennan, comments, “Mike Calta has earned his place among the elite in radio. I’m honored that he will continue his dominance for several more years as part of The Bone’s team. This announcement shows CMG’s commitment to providing its communities with the most compelling content and personalities.” Calta says, “I’m excited to continue my radio career for the next five years right where it started 20 years ago in Tampa Bay. CMG has been a great company to work for and I look forward to growing the Mike Calta show with them.” Calta changed his air name from the high school nickname “Cowhead” that he used for years to his given name earlier this year.
Madison Talk Host Mitch Henck Out at WIBA-AM. Telling the Wisconsin State Journal he “probably milked (the radio job) as long as you could,” mid-morning talk host Mitch Henck says he was ousted by Clear Channel from news/talk WIBA-AM, Madison in a budget-related move. The host of the 8:00 am to 11:00 am “Outside the Box” program says the ratings were not a problem and that it was “a corporate thing.” Henck tells the paper he was neither right nor left in his approach to talk radio and he’s probably a “throwback.” He also says he’s not bitter about the exit and will focus on other interests including his night club act called The Big Show in which he performs songs from the 1950s and 1960s.
CBS RADIO Executes Cross Platform Sales Promotion in NYC. This promotion ties in the popularity of golf among a certain demographic, that demo’s passion for luxury cars and a popular sports talk personality. CBS’ radio, TV and digital platforms are executing a promotion involving the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Lexus dealers and the Metropolitan Golf Association (MGA) called the “Lexus Perfect Drive” that features WFAN morning drive personality Craig Carton. It was developed in collaboration with CBS Altitude Group and Team One, the ad agency for Lexus, to create excitement in the golf community through an engaging promotion implemented via original audio and video while also driving consumer awareness of the Lexus brand. Vignettes broadcast on sports talk WFAN-AM/FM, all-news WCBS-AM and classic hits WCBS-FM, plus WCBS-TV and featured on www.cbsnewyork.com offer an insider’s view into an array of renowned golf courses, and in-depth conversations with each club’s head pro as they reveal tips on what it takes to make par on the course’s most challenging hole. A different course will be highlighted each week of the 12-week campaign. During the promotion Lexus enthusiasts can visit one of 21 tri-state area dealerships where they can test drive a featured automobile or enter to win a VIP experience at a local golf club. One grand prize winner will receive a trip to a famed golf resort in Ireland. Altitude Group EVP Rich Lobel states, “We had a great time working with Team One and Lexus to create a campaign that highlights their pursuit of perfection and comes to life on a very local level. Craig is a known golf enthusiast with a distinctive ability to speak to sports fans and champion results for clients. He will be a great ambassador for Lexus as we execute this program.”
Talk Host Phil Valentine to Take Listeners on ‘The Great Loop.’ Nationally syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine is taking his listeners with him as he brings his newly purchased boat – a 1968 57-foot Chris Craft Constellation – home to Tennessee from Fort Pierce, Florida. He’s calling it Great American Vacation: Cruising the Great Loop and he’ll broadcast daily from the master stateroom of the boat he travels part of what’s called The Great Loop, also known as the Great Circle Route. That route runs from Chicago and the Great Lakes down to the Tennessee River then down to Mobile and the Gulf of Mexico through the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. From there it hugs the coast of the Panhandle down past Tampa then either across Florida via the Okeechobee Waterway or down around the tip of Florida then back up the East Coast to New York, up the Hudson then the Erie Canal and back into the Great Lakes. The entire loop is about 6,000 miles. Valentine plans to traverse approximately a quarter of the loop from Fort Pierce to Mobile then up to Tennessee. The Fort Pierce to Mobile leg will take approximately 8 to 10 days. The last leg to the Tennessee River will take another 4 days. The Westwood One personality says, “I’ve been looking for this particular boat for about eight years. I’ve dreamed of doing at least part of the loop and the part we’re doing is probably the most scenic in the country. The great news is our entire audience can vicariously join us for the ride.” Valentine has hired a captain and first mate to navigate the trip. Updates along with pictures and videos are being posted daily at http://CruisingTheGreatLoop.blogspot.com.
‘The Game 87.7’ Partners with Comcast SportsNet Chicago. The late morning sports talk show “Kap & Haugh,” heard daily on WGN Radio’s sports talk sister WGWG-LP “The Game 87.7,” will be seen on Comcast SportsNet Chicago beginning July 21. Tribune’s WGN Radio announces the show featuring David Kaplan and David Haugh will be simulcast live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and the deal will also include a one-hour “best-of” show that will air weeknights from 11:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. WGN and WGWG-LP president and general manager Jimmy de Castro states, “It’s been our focus to deliver sports talk like no one else. Combining the ‘Kap & Haugh’ radio broadcast with the TV powerhouse Comcast SportsNet is another piece that fits in our puzzle to bring a complete media experience to the Chicago sports fan.”
Kantar Media Reports U.S. Ad Spend for Q1 2014 Up; Radio Categories Dip. The Sochi Olympics were a boon for U.S. ad spend in the first quarter of 2014 but television was the beneficiary of that. However, even without the Olympics money, the U.S. ad spend was up just under 4% compared to the same period a year ago. As for radio, national spot was the only category – at a jump of 6.7% — was the only one to see an increase from last year. Local spot, network radio and Hispanic spot were all down with local radio dipping 4.7% compared to the same period a year ago. Kantar reports that both local radio and Hispanic local radio saw declines attributable to lower spending from the retail, auto dealer and restaurant categories. See the press statement here.
Holding Hands at the Talkers Conference. Sales maven Al Herskovitz writes that the recent Talkers New York 2014 conference provided the opportunity to meet in person with fellow talk radio sales people and compare notes about the current state of business. He says that during chats in the hallways, one topic kept coming up: the art of servicing the client after the sale has been made. Heskovitz writes that, aside from the ever-present medium and large market concerns about the inclusion of a digital component in marketing proposals, “every group member agreed there are steps that now must be taken to keep the nervous advertiser as comfortable as possible during the run of the spots.” Read Herskovitz’s suggestions for reminding your clients how important your vehicle is for getting their message to consumers here.
Odds & Sods. Whether the current spate of Clear Channel layoffs is a company-wide trend or just coincidence is not known for certain, but longtime WKBN, Youngstown, Ohio news director Jim Michaels has been let go after a 30-year career with the station, and according to WFMJ-TV, he was the last person left in the station’s news department…..Alaska talk show host Michael Dukes will become the new morning show host at Ohana Media Group’s KBYR, Anchorage in September. Currently he is host at Last Frontier Mediactive-owned KFAR, Fairbanks…..Talk show host Mark Wainwright will be sitting in for WSYR, Syracuse morning host Joe Galuski from June 30 through July 3. Wainwright says he’s available for fill-in work an can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org…..Speaking of fill-ins, Clear Channel talk personality Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo – WOAI, KPRC and KHOW – is being heard this week in the Crescent City as his show is airing in the afternoon drive slot where WRNO’s John Osterlind is on vacation.
Dr. Joy Browne Works to Support Cancer Survivors and Their Families. Nationally syndicated (Radio America) relationships host, Dr. Joy Browne – a past recipient of the TALKERS “Humanitarian of the Year Award” – continues her charitable ways. Immediately following her appearance at Talkers New York 2014, the perennial Heavy Hundred radio star participated in the second annual Manhattan Relay for Life presented between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am at Pier 36 (6/21-22) presented by the American Cancer Society in support of cancer survivors and their families. She is pictured here at Basketball City with the emcee of the event, Lehi Dowell.
Chris Christie Steps to the Plate for Boomer Esiason Foundation. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is pictured here at the plate at Yankee Stadium taking part in the fourth annual Bombers Boomer Broadway Softball Classic on Monday, June 23. Christie is a regular guest on WFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton morning show and he joined Boomer Esiason’s team for the charity softball game. Team Boomer, which consisted of WFAN personalities and Esiason’s noteworthy friends including Christie, played an exciting matchup against a host of Wounded Warriors and New York Yankees alumni, benefitting the Boomer Esiason Foundation. WFAN reports that in the 7th inning, with the bases loaded, the Governor’s fielding at third base contributed to leading his team to a 7-6 victory. Photo by Christian Conte/CBSNewYork.com.
Hillary Clinton Wealth Claims/Health Rumors, Iraq Turmoil-U.S. Assistance, Illegal Immigrant Influx, IRS Scandal, More VA Hospitals Allegations, Klein Clintons-Obamas Book, and World Cup Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/23). Ongoing claims by Hillary Clinton that she and Bill are not rich plus reports that she’s not in good health; the ISIS-perpetrated violence in Iraq and U.S. assistant to the Iraqi Army; controversy over the massive influx of illegals crossing the U.S. border in the Southwest; more testimony from IRS officials about the missing Lois Lerner emails; new allegations of mistreatment of patients at VA hospitals; the new Ed Klein book Blood Feud about the relationship between the Clintons and the Obamas; and World Cup action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research about TALKERS.
Talkers New York 2014 a Tremendous Success. Aside from the impressive numbers (60-plus speakers, hundreds of registrants, early sellout, 29 sponsors), the 17th annual installment of the longest-running, most-important national convention in the talk media industry was a crowd-pleaser in terms of issues addressed, solutions proposed, and connections made. Talkers New York 2014 has received praise not only for its agenda’s precision and well-balanced representation of the industry’s diversity — but the spectacular (India House) venue’s food, comfort and elegance as well. It was a power-packed day (6/20) without a second of downtime. From the opening “Breakfast with Hannity” networking social to the final “Farewell Cocktail Reception,” it stands out as what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “one of the really good ones.” In the words of Journal Broadcast Group’s VP/news/talk programming Tom Langmyer, “This is an incredible venue and the discussions are truly enlightening and powerful. Not only is the event informative, but also very inspiring. This is the juice we all need – and I am even more optimistic about the future of talk and the personal connection we can provide – across ALL platforms.” Consultant/programmer Greg Moceri, CEO of Moceri Media adds, “Just amazing to me how many of us in the biz all these years feel this is a ‘can’t miss’ event every year.” Courtside Entertainment/PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz describes Talkers New York 2014 as “a high-energy, super-pro, first-class conference.” Radio and WPIX-TV, New York commentator Lionel says, “It just might have been the most fruitful and beneficial to date, if that’s even possible.” Salem syndicated personality Mike Gallagher called it, “another wonderful gathering.” Kraig T. Kitchin, CEO of Sound Mind, LLC says, “A great environment for conversation, for interaction, and for shared ideas. I had a great time! I learned a lot – more than I anticipated. The camaraderie was very evident, industry-wide, and that was a true blessing.” Among the major issues addressed were the challenges facing radio (of all formats, including talk) in the 21st century digital age including the arenas of programming, sales, technology, audience measurement and economics. The very role and pertinence of radio in this new era was held up to the spotlight of scrutiny in terms of generational changes and expectations. The result in a nutshell: unbridled (but absolutely realistic) optimism! The two words that came up time and again throughout the day were “community” and “passion.” Perhaps, the general sentiment of the conference is best summed up by WAQY, Springfield, MA “Rock 102” morning show co-host Mike “Bax” Baxendale who wrote, “These seminars have always made me want to become a greater broadcaster. For that I am deeply grateful.” In the words of TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “The hours and hours of valuable content generated by this event are going to keep our editorial and audio/video production departments busy for weeks as we break it all out and organize it for presentation in the form of stories, news and video packaging.” Look for multi-media coverage of the event right here at Talkers.com in the days and weeks ahead. In the meantime, the staff and management of TALKERS want to express deep gratitude to the hundreds of individuals and companies who supported this event so solidly as registrants, speakers and sponsors. We are humbled by your precious friendship and confidence.
Sean Hannity makes point during morning keynote.
Sean Hannity addresses standing room crowd.
Phil Boyce (l) and Greg Moceri (c) interviewed by
Sean Hannity (r).
Mike Francesa delivers sports talk keynote.
Norm Pattiz accepting Lifetime Achievement Award.
Thom Hartmann accepting Freedom of Speech Award.
Julie Talbott accepting Woman of the Year Award.
Carole Marks presenting Joyce Kaufman with
Humanitarian of the Year Award.
Jim Bohannon emceeing the Awards Ceremony.
Not pictured, Kenneth Chandler, introducer.
Jerry Del Colliano delivering special address.
Erica Farber moderating “State of Radio Advertising
and Sales” panel.
“State of Radio Advertising and Sales” panel. (l-r):
Ron Furman, Julie Talbott, Joe Puglise, Kraig Kitchin.
Not pictured: Dr. Asa Andrew, introducer.
“Radio: The Big Picture Panel” (l-r): Tom Langmyer,
Mike McVay, Sam Kimball, Steve Goldstein, Tom Leykis.
Not pictured: Michael Harrison, moderator;
Dana Loesch, introducer.
“The State of Local Talk Radio” panel. (l-r): Jerry Crowley,
Larry Young, McGraw Milhaven, Mike “Bax” Baxendale,
Lee Harris. Not pictured: David Bernstein, moderator;
Ethan Bearman, introducer.
“The State of Talk Radio Programming” panel. (l-r):
Bill Hess, Craig Schwalb, Gabe Hobbs. Not pictured:
Kevin Casey, moderator; Phil Boyce, panelist.
“The State of Talk Radio Programming” panel, Andy Bloom.
“Developing and Managing a Talk Show Hosting Career”
panel. (l-r): Ron Hartenbaum, Tom Becka, Martha Zoller.
Not pictured: Mike Kinosian, moderator.
“Developing and Managing a Talk Show Hosting Career”
panel. (l-r): Tom Marr, Joe Piscopo.
“The Talk Rumble” (l-r): Mike Gallagher, Bubba the
Love Sponge, Joyce Kaufman, David Webb,
Kevin McCullough, Alan Colmes, Thom Hartmann.
Not pictured: Lionel, moderator; Dr. Joy Browne, introducer.
Howard B. Price delivering special address.
Cory Callewaert Named PD at CC’s Bay Area News/Talkers. Bay Area talk radio pro Cory Callewaert is promoted from his assistant program director post at Clear Channel’s San Francisco cluster to PD of news/talk outlets KKSF “Talk 910” and KNEW “960 The Patriot.” The latter station is largely conservative syndicated fare – Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Andy Dean – while KKSF features local and regional programming with Armstrong & Getty (based at KSTE, Sacramento), Frosty Stillwell in middays and Gil Gross hosting PM drive. Callewaert’s experience in the market includes a stint with CBS RADIO co-hosting the Cory & Lex show at former hot talker KIFR-FM “106.9 Free FM” and two years as APD at KKSF and KNEW from 2003 to 2005. He rejoined Clear Channel San Francisco in 2009.
NYT Magazine Spotlights Rogers, Huckabee and Political Talk Radio. In a piece by Mark Liebovich in The New York Times Magazine, current Fox News Channel/former WestwoodOne talk show host Mike Huckabee and soon-to-be WW1 talk personality (and current House Intelligence Committee chair) Mike Rogers (R-MI) chat about talk radio and politics. Rogers recounts meeting Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey at WJR, Detroit personality Paul W. Smith’s wedding. The two chatted and Dickey asked if he’d ever considered getting into talk radio. The rest, as they say, is (developing) history. Both he and Huckabee offer comparisons between politics and media and Huckabee sums it up telling Liebovich “If you have more votes than the other guy, you win; if not, you lose.” Same with ratings. “Anybody who thinks, Oh, I’m really smart and articulate, good for me…if he doesn’t have people who watch and listen to him, he’s gone.” Read the whole story here.
KXIC, Iowa City’s Dottie Ray to Retire. Iowa City radio personality Dottie Ray is retiring from Clear Channel’s KXIC “Iowa City’s News & Sports Leader” after a career that has spanned 64 years in the market. Ray hosts her daily eponymous show from 8:45 am to 9:00 am. The station says she began broadcasting her fifteen-minute program back in 1950 and since then has informed listeners about local organizations, artists and events. She has interviewed thousands of guests over the years, always focusing her program on the Iowa City community and non-profit organizations. To celebrate her contributions to the community, AM-800 KXIC will be broadcasting one final interview with Dottie Ray, flipping the microphone around to ask Dottie about her career. KXIC morning host Jay Capron will conduct the interview on Tuesday, May 13. The entire 9:00 am hour will be dedicated to Ray, with several special surprises planned for the program. CCM+E Iowa City OM JJ Cook says, “She is an amazing lady and a very passionate and involved broadcaster. Dottie is a true Iowa City icon and I’m lucky to have had the pleasure of working with her for the past 11 years.”
Entercom Introduces SmartReach Digital. Headed up by Stephen Gibbons, the Entercom division is intended to help local businesses navigate digital marketing options. Gibbons most recently was vice president of marketing and vice president of national sales at Dex One. Entercom president and chief executive officer David Field states that, “SmartReach Digital is an exciting and important expansion of our company’s product line and a perfect complement to our core radio business. Our goal is to be the preferred choice to meet the advertising and marketing needs of our local customers.” The new division will focus on designing and implementing integrated digital marketing strategies for local businesses. It will offer a number of products and services that “enable local businesses to attract, activate, and engage targeted leads.” Field adds, “We believe our new SmartReach Digital products will bolster our ability to deliver powerful and effective solutions for our customers.” As of April 1, SmartReach Digital has debuted in six Entercom markets; over the next 12 months, it will be rolled out in other markets where the company owns stations.
NFL Draft Day Draws Radio Coverage. The National Football League’s annual draft has become one of the sport’s prime events and – especially since it moved from being held exclusively on the weekend to the first two days happening on a Thursday and Friday – it’s become a major event for radio coverage as well. CBS Sports Radio announces it will be on hand and broadcasting live from Radio City Music Hall in New York to its more than 300 affiliate stations. The network says evening duo Chris Moore and Brian Jones of “The Mojo Show” will be live from 6:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET for round one of the draft and from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm on Friday for rounds two and three. CBS Sports Radio overnight host Damon Amendolara will serve as reporter. Over at NBC Sports Radio and WestwoodOne, that network’s Scott Graham will anchor the coverage with updates and one-on-one interviews throughout the night. Donovan McNabb will co-host “Under Center with McNabb & Malone” from Radio City. Later that evening, NBC Sports Radio crew of Jon Stashower, Amani Toomer, and Eytan Shander will go live with features, special reports, and expert analysis. NBC Sports Radio is a joint venture between NBC Sports and WestwoodOne. CBS Sports Radio is repped by WW1.
Salem Communications Reports Q1 2014 Revenue Up 12%. But that big hike includes the recent acquisition of Eagle Publishing, as CEO Ed Atsinger noted during the investors conference call yesterday. Atsinger says the company is very bullish on the acquisition of Eagle and what it can mean to the company’s multi-platform efforts. More on that shortly, first the numbers. Salem’s broadcast division was up 5.4% while its internet and e-commerce division revenue rose 32.9% and the publishing division went up 44%. Breaking down the radio numbers a bit, Atsinger said, “Forty of our radio stations are in the foundational Christian teaching and talk format. These stations contributed 45% of total broadcast revenue and increased 4% for the quarter. Advertising revenue was up 9% while block programming on this format was up 3%. We have 27 stations in news/talk and they increased 16% for the quarter, due to an increase in political revenue. Overall, these stations contributed 17% of total broadcast revenue.” Back to the integration of publishing with broadcasting, Atsinger says the addition of Eagle and imprint Regnery dovetails nicely with its stations’ conservative philosophy as well as with its digital properties including TownHall.com, HumanEvents.com and RedState.com. He said Regnery just published the book Blue Collar Conservative by former senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum – its first significant title – and it used its nationally syndicated news/talk shows and digital assets to plug the book. Regarding this, Atsinger says, “This marketing approach we think will help us boost sales, but I think it will also regularly provide additional leverage in terms of being competitive for signing up new attractive offers.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole transcript here.
Odds & Sods. The new radio play-by-play voice of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars is Frank Frangie, who replaces Brian Sexton as the team switches from former flagship WOKV-AM/FM to Seven Bridges Radio-owned sports talker WJXL “1010XL.” Sexton had called all 392 games in the franchise’s history. He’ll move to jaguars.com where he’ll serve as senior correspondent. Former Jaguars players Jeff Lageman and Tony Boselli will remain in the game-day booth as analysts…..Boston sports talk personality Glenn Ordway reports the app for his internet radio show is now available. The “Big Show Unfiltered” app makes its debut just months after Ordway launches his venture Sportstalkboston.com…..Former WNTA, Rockford, Illinois talk host Doug McDuff lands across the Illinois-Wisconsin border at WTJK, Janesville “The Big AM 1380” to host the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show, according to mystateline.com. WTJK is owned by Good Karma but is being operated by Big Radio under an LMA with the sale of the station to Big Radio pending.
Global Warming Debate, 2016 Presidential Race/Monica Lewinsky Interview, Obama Economic Legacy, Benghazi Aftermath, and Russian Aggression in Ukraine Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6). The reignited debate over climate change and the Obama Administration’s policy regarding power plant emissions; the 2016 presidential race and Monica Lewinsky’s piece in Vanity Fair in which she goes public about her affair with President Bill Clinton; the tepid U.S. economy and the Obama Administration’s fiscal legacy; continued investigation into the deadly Benghazi attack; Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and fears other former Soviet bloc nations have about Vladimir Putin’s motives were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TRN Companies and Cumulus Media Announce Amicable Westwood One Settlement. TRN Companies and Cumulus Media announced late Friday afternoon (3/7) that they have agreed to settle outstanding claims arising during previous ownership of WestwoodOne, acquired by Cumulus Media in December, 2013. Lew Dickey, president and CEO of Cumulus Media, said, “While Cumulus Media had no role in the lawsuits filed by TRN Companies, we are pleased to resolve these claims and move forward together. We remain supportive of each other and are optimistic for the future.” Mark Masters, CEO of TRN Companies, said: “We are pleased to ‘turn the page’ with the new owners of WestwoodOne and have put past issues behind us. As we build bridges together, we look forward to a mutually beneficial future working with our affiliated stations, customers, Lew and John Dickey and Cumulus Media.”
Emmis to Reward Employees with Stock. The company states that as part of its 2012 Employee Retention Plan, roughly 75% of its full-time employees are being notified they are eligible to receive what it is saying is “a sizeable stock award.” The company further states, “Emmis prides itself on being a destination employer in the media and digital industries, and as such, places a high value on cultivating a culture that allows us to attract and retain the best talent in our industries. The third of Emmis’ Eleven Commandments states: Be good to your people – get them into the game and give them a piece of the pie.” Eligible employees will receive a pro-rata share of approximately 976,000 shares of Emmis Communications common stock. Using Friday’s closing price, the 976,000 shares in the Retention Plan will deliver $3,240,000 in value to the 598 employees who qualify for the plan. To ensure a broad-based distribution, the Plan excluded executive officers and capped the level of salary credit at $50,000. As an example of the award size, a full-time employee of Emmis who has been with the company since April 2, 2012, with a salary of $40,000 per year will get approximately 1,480 shares. That equates to a market value of $4913.60, using the closing price last Friday, March 7 of $3.32. The awards will vest on April 2, 2014 and will be distributed to employees shortly thereafter. It will be their choice whether to hold or sell the stock.
KSFO, San Francisco Names Hughes Late Morning Host. Cumulus Media’s news/talk KSFO, San Francisco has been trying out talk show hosts in the late morning slot (billed on the station’s website as “KSFO Talk Show”) for the past several months. Now, the station names Spencer Hughes permanent host of the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Hughes’ resume includes stops at talk stations across America including WRKO, Boston; KGO, San Francisco; KTKZ, Sacramento; and KSRO, Santa Rosa.
WGN VP/GM Jimmy de Castro Talks Radio and More. The vice president and general manager of Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago and the new sports talk WGWG “The Game 87.7” spoke candidly with the Chicago Sun-Times for its online video feature “The Sit Down.” In the interview, de Castro throws out a number quips that’ll interest industry watchers. For example, he’s not trying to bring young listeners to WGN, “I don’t want a younger audience for ’GN. I want 35- to 65- or 70-year-old people.” He says he hasn’t committed a lot of money to his staff. “I don’t have one contract with one person on our station. Not one. They’re all here because of how they feel. Any time they want, they can walk out the door.” The one-time WLUP-FM leader also talks about his career and how he views life after all of his success. See it here.
Jack Roberts Dies at 62. Radio executive/on-air personality Jack Roberts died this past weekend in Los Angeles. Over the course of his career, the 62-year-old Roberts was a general manager, program director, on-air talk host, and producer. Most recently, the Boston College graduate and Massachusetts native was executive producer for CRN Digital Talk Radio programming, including “What’s Cookin’ Today.” CRN chief executive officer Michael Horn comments, “Jack truly understood and loved radio. He became an instant, caring friend to everyone he encountered.” Roberts thought he could get any guest or celebrity, and Horn remarks, “He almost always booked them. Guests and talent, but most especially the listeners, enjoyed what they heard. Jack’s legacy will live on through them and all of us. That would make him very proud.” Roberts was a senior producer on syndicated radio programs hosted by Dick Cavett, and Colonel Oliver North. He was in charge of production for “The Jerry Williams Show” and “The Doug Stephan Show.” His on-air experience includes stops at Boston’s WRKO, WMEX and WXKS; WPRO, Providence; and WDRC, Hartford – where he became general manager and program director. Roberts held those titles at WWRC, Washington, DC as well. Programmer Ron Jacobs writes, “Jack Roberts is great at shining the spotlight on others and not blowing his own horn.” Funeral services are pending for Roberts, who wrote a radio-themed blog – “HollywoodHillsGroup.com” – that highlighted industry achievements and gave publicity to on-air talent.
Twin Cities Star Tom Barnard Talks Podcasting in Profile Piece. Morning radio personality Tom Barnard – a 43-year Minneapolis-St. Paul market icon – is profiled by the Minneapolis Post. The star of Cumulus’ rock KQRS speaks about numerous topics – the death of the voice-over business, his rise to fame, and his decision to get more political after 9/11 – in the story and explains his separate business producing and selling ad time for his daily two-hour podcast. Barnard tells the Post that although he billed roughly $250,000 in 2013, the show is not in the black due to expenses including salaries and the cost of bandwidth. Barnard and partner Don Shelby (former WCCO personality) are not collecting a salary at this point. Barnard’s decision to sell ad time and not charge for subscriptions as well as to go after local ad dollars, flies in the face of the way many of the high-profile podcasters are doing it (think Tom Leykis and Adam Carolla). Read the entire Post story here.
Odds & Sods. In the Duluth market, Midwest Communications flips standards WGEE, Superior, Wisconsin to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio programming…..Sports radio pro Seth Everett becomes part of the New York Mets broadcasts on Clear Channel’s WOR, New York this season where he’ll be hosting the pre- and post-game programs…..Charlotte Knights minor league baseball will air on Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte this summer as the station will carry 10 Saturday night home games and two Friday evening home games.
Chris Stigall Broadcasts from CPAC. The annual Washington, DC gathering of conservative politicians dubbed the Conservative Political Action Conference involves an active radio row and WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (right) was in the middle of all the action last week as he broadcast his show from the event. He’s pictured here interviewing former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton (left).
WVBR Returns To Collegetown (Ithaca) in New, High Tech Studio Station to Hold March 15th Dedication Ceremony — Keith Olbermann Makes Major Donation. Proving that grassroots terrestrial radio is alive and well, WVBR-FM is returning home to Collegetown (a proud name sported by downtown Ithaca, New York – home of Cornell University and Ithaca College — per its reputation as being one of the best college towns in America) after a 14-year absence, with a newly-built, state-of-the-art studio. The new studio is located at 604 East Buffalo Street in Ithaca, next to the Carriage House Café and across from The Connection, Loco Cantina, and the Chapter House. WVBR has operated out of 957 Mitchell Street near East Hill Plaza after leaving its longtime home at 227 Linden Avenue in Collegetown in 2000. It will be officially dedicated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to take place this coming Saturday (3/15). WVBR-FM is a commercial, non-profit radio station that is owned and fully operated by the Cornell Radio Guild, a group of Cornell University students. Since 1935, this group’s stated mission has been running a radio station with the goal of training students in broadcasting. Since 1968, WVBR has been serving Ithaca and Tompkins Counties playing an eclectic mix of classic and modern rock under the banner, “Real Rock Radio.” WVBR broadcasts over 93.5 FM and 105.5 FM to Tompkins County and the surrounding area. The newly named Olbermann-Corneliess Studios was purchased with donations from station alumni, most notably ESPN host Keith Olbermann. Olbermann gave what has been described by station management as “a generous donation” with a request that WVBR’s new home studio be named in honor of his late father Theodore Olbermann, as well as the late Glenn Corneliess, his colleague during his years at WVBR who passed away in 1996. Olbermann, the Corneliess family, and Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick will be among those on hand for the dedication, as well as many station alumni, current staff, and management. A brand new set of professional equipment, a large vinyl library, a live performance space, three soundproof production booths, and two advanced on-air studios are some of the many highlights of the new space. “There is no doubt in my mind that 604 East Buffalo Street will feature the best college radio setup in the country,” says Drew Endick, president of the Cornell Radio Guild, Inc. and general manager of WVBR, telling RadioInfo, “We have been trying to expand our content production operations and provide better services for the local community, and we now have the facilities to meet these challenges.” The new studio will be home to two radio stations – WVBR, which broadcasts with a rock format over FM, as well as CornellRadio.com, which is being launched as a more student-centric, freeform online station. CornellRadio.com will feature pop, hip-hop, dance, and alternative music, as well as talk shows, comedy programming, and sports content provided by a partnership with the Big Red Sports Network. Each station will have its own cutting-edge studio within the building. “This move is extremely important to the goals of our station,” says Michael Mallon, senior vice president of communications. “The latest technology will not only allow us to create better content for our listeners, but it will also allow the students of Cornell University to learn and train on the same equipment as is used in the big stations in major cities.” The move is also significant as the station will now be a close walk for most students. “It’s a perfect location for us, both physically and symbolically,” Mallon continues, “The station is right between the students who operate the station, and the Ithacans who make up most of our listenership.” ASI Renovations managed the huge project. The space was already in great condition, but the design presented some big technical challenges. Sherpa Technologies wired the building for radio operations. Students and weekend staff led the move, bringing over the entire vinyl and CD collections, as well as other important articles from the old station.
Chattin’ with a Legend. WFTL, Fort Lauderdale late morning talk host Rich Stevens (right) entertains legendary disc jockey Cousin Brucie (left) in the station’s studios. Stevens tells TALKERS the pair chatted about numerous topics and took calls from listeners. While speaking with callers, a 92-year-old local listener phoned in to tell Cousin Brucie he remembers winning a contest 40 years ago that Cousin Brucie executed that sent him on a vacation. Brucie asked him if he was still there and needed money to get back!
Sittin’ in on WMAL, Washington. Former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell (left) is pictured here in the WMAL, Washington studios as she served as guest co-host on the “Morning On The Mall” program today (3/10). O’Donnell worked with co-host Larry O’Connor (right) while subbing for Brian Wilson.
Cumulus Posts Positive Q4 2013 Revenue News; Dickey Pleased with ‘Core Performance.’ The fourth quarter of 2013 and the year as a whole were seen in a positive light by Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey during yesterday’s investor conference call. Dickey noted at the outset that he was happy that the company was able to meet and, in some aspects, exceed its guidance through “core performance without any impact of” mergers and acquisitions. He also says the company achieved its goals despite 2012 political comps of over $20 million. The company reports Q4 net revenue up 4.5% over the same period in 2013. For the year of 2013, Cumulus net revenue rose 2.4%. Following up on previous conference calls in which he highlighted his expectations for sports and traffic, Dickey said CBS Sports Radio, NBC Sports Radio, NFL and NCAA play-by-play are “hitting their stride as national content brands. Both sports and traffic are currently exceeding expectations for 2014 and are taking share in their respective markets. And will again be substantial growth drivers as we expected them to be. We are very encouraged by the level of interest by both the advertisers and affiliates in these products, which is a testament to the high-quality nature of the content and again the efficacy of broadcast radio advertising on sports and traffic sponsorships respectively.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole call here.
Imus: Scott Shannon Will Get the Job. The Scott Shannon watch continues as the next radio home of the former, longtime WPLJ, New York morning co-host remains the subject of speculation in New York and across the country. This morning, WABC-based Don Imus was heard saying, “I’m told Scott Shannon will get the [WOR] job and I’m very happy about that.” Imus seemed sincere about his statement. TALKERS reported yesterday that the chatter has Shannon landing at either Clear Channel’s news/talk WOR for morning drive (where the company just ended the Elliot Segal simulcast from “DC101”) or at one of CBS RADIO’s music FMs – either classic hits WCBS-FM or CHR WNOW.
Clear Channel Promotes Rob Anthony in New England. Programmer Rob Anthony is named to the operations manager and program director position at Clear Channel’s Providence cluster that includes rock WHJY, news/talk WHJJ, classic hits WWBB “B101,” and hot AC WSNE “93.3 The Coast.” Anthony has been serving as regional programming manager for New England based out of the company’s Springfield, Massachusetts cluster. He will retain that title which has him overseeing programming at the Springfield, Worcester, and Manchester and Portsmouth, New Hampshire station groups. Anthony says, “I can’t even begin to express my excitement for the opportunity to work with such heritage brands as ‘Coast 93.3,’ ‘B 101,’ ‘NewsRadio 920’ and the mighty ‘94 HJY.’ This is truly an honor, and I can’t wait to get to work. Thank you to Clear Channel’s programming team and [market president] Rhonda Lapham for all their continued support and guidance.”
FCC to Rework Internet Regulation Rules; Republican Commissioners Question Move. FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler has announced the Commission will revisit the “net neutrality” issue by “proposing rules that will meet the court’s test for preventing improper blocking of and discrimination among internet traffic, ensuring genuine transparency in how internet service providers manage traffic, and enhancing competition. Preserving the internet as an open platform for innovation and expression while providing certainty and predictability in the marketplace is an important responsibility of this agency.” Wheeler states that the recent D.C. Circuit Court ruling affirms Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 giving “the FCC authority to encourage broadband deployment by, among other things, removing barriers to infrastructure deployment, encouraging innovation, and promoting competition. The court recognized the importance of ensuring that so-called ‘edge providers,’ those that use the network to deliver goods and services, can reach people who use the internet.” Republican Commissioner Mike O’Reilly disagrees, saying, “I am deeply concerned by the announcement that the FCC will begin considering new ways to regulate the internet. As I have said before, my view is that section 706 does not provide any affirmative regulatory authority. We should all fear that this provision ultimately may be used not just to regulate broadband providers, but eventually edge providers.” At the same time, Commissioner Ajit Pai adds, “When Congress told us to encourage broadband deployment by removing barriers to infrastructure investment, it also established the policy of the United States to ‘preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet . . . unfettered by Federal or State regulation.’ Whatever the Commission does as it moves forward, it must take that statutory command to heart. The internet was free and open before the FCC adopted net neutrality rules. It remains free and open today. Net neutrality has always been a solution in search of a problem.”
LDR Interactive Launches TopicPulse; Partners with TTWN for Sales. Interactive broadcast technology firm LDR Interactive announces the launch of an upgraded version of its TopicPulse, what it calls “a real-time social media monitoring system for newsrooms and content producers.” LDR Interactive explains: “TopicPulse scans social media including Twitter and Facebook, local message boards, comment boards, and news sources to track trending topics in a local market. In addition to tracking local and national topics, producers can also access trending video and images. The system then produces a user-friendly, real-time report that newsrooms can use to drive local, regional, and national content.” LDR CEO Daniel Anstandig states, “TopicPulse was inspired by feedback from the world’s leading broadcasters, who said they were in critical need of a better way to track and monitor social media to produce news content. With those needs in mind, we built and optimized TopicPulse for broadcast and digital newsrooms and released the system on beta to LDR’s media partners in 2012. Since then, we’ve seen tremendous momentum and positive results from media companies in all market sizes.” In addition to tracking trends, TopicPulse identifies which primary demo (gender and age group) is most inclined to engage with the topic on social media. Newsrooms also have access to a “glance” screen with trending topics for the brand’s target audience, which can be utilized as a “heads up display” of the market. A Tweet Map feature showcases the market’s most popular tweets and hashtags on a local map, enabling producers to create hyper-local content based on up-to-the-minute social trends. LDR Interactive is partnering with Total Traffic & Weather Network (TTWN) as the TopicPulse national sales partner. The TTWN sales team will serve as the major force behind local market integration of the platform in newsrooms across the U.S.
Lars Larson Show Added to CRN Digital Talk Lineup. The Portland, Oregon-based Lars Larson program is added to the program schedule at CRN Digital Talk Radio airing at 7:00 pm ET. Larson hosts a local show on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland in addition to a separate nationally syndicated program through Compass Media Networks. CRN will carry the national program. CRN president and CEO Michael Horn says, “Lars adds another unique, passionate voice to the CRN schedule. He’s a newsman, a reporter, and a host – so he brings extra doses of preparation and personality to his show.”
Former FCC Chair Richard Wiley to Receive BFoA’s Lowry Mays Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that Richard E. Wiley, chairman of Wiley Rein LLP and a former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, will receive the 2014 Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award to be presented during The Broadcasters Foundation of America Breakfast on Wednesday, April 9, at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas during the NAB Show. Wiley heads the 80-attorney communications practice. He served as chairman of the FCC from 1974 to 1977. Wiley played a pivotal role in the development of HDTV in this country, serving for nine years as chairman of the FCC’s Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service from 1987 to 1995. He represents a number of major communications-oriented organizations, including Verizon, AT&T, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Motorola, CBS, Belo, Gannett, Sirius/XM, Emmis, Gray Television, and LG. Wiley has been recognized by Washingtonian magazine as one of Washington’s 30 “Superstar” lawyers for his role as “the unofficial sixth commissioner” of the FCC (2011) and consistently listed as one of Washington’s “Best Lawyers” and “Top Lawyers” in the magazine. He was named the “most prominent telecommunications lawyer and lobbyist in Washington” by Broadcasting & Cable in 2005, and he was honored with the National Association of Broadcasters’ Distinguished Service Award in 2002.
Teen Radio Host Wins Student Category Gracie. The Alliance for Women in Media announces the winners of the 2014 Gracie Awards in the local, online, student and public categories and 16-year-old Florida radio talk host Pavlina Osta wins in the student category Outstanding Anchor – News or News Magazine for her “Pavlina’s Kidz Place Radio Show.” The Port Orange, Florida resident has been hosting a kids-targeted radio program since she was 11 and boasts an impressive list of celebrity interviews including: Katie Couric, Ed Sheeran, Carly Rae Jepsen, Sick Puppies, A Great Big World, and Steve Forbes, to name just a few. Now she can add Gracie Award winner to her resume!
Obama Executive Power Controversy, Winter Weather/Global Warming Debate, ObamaCare Criticism, Sochi Olympics, Ukrainian Unrest, and N. Korea Human Rights Abuses Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/18). GOP response to President Obama’s use of executive power; the onslaught of winter weather in much of the country and the debate over the global warming issue; the continuing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the Winter Olympic games in Sochi; the protests and political unrest in the Ukraine; and the global community’s concern over growing evidence of human rights abuses were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CEO Caine Set to Depart WestwoodOne. As WestwoodOne becomes a fully integrated Cumulus Media division, chief executive officer Paul Caine will leave later this month. According to Cumulus chief executive officer Lew Dickey, “Paul is an extremely talented media executive and did an excellent job of guiding WestwoodOne during a period of change. He positioned the company for future growth and played an instrumental role in driving a constructive transaction, which delivered value for his shareholders. We look forward to working with Paul in the next chapter of his impressive career.” Caine is “so proud of the team we’ve built and what we’ve accomplished” at the company. “In such a short time, we have proven the power of sound and its impact on the future of the audio industry,” he remarks. “I am confident that this great momentum will continue under Cumulus and the strong talent and leadership of Lew Dickey.” Less than one year ago (April 2013), Caine was announced as chief executive officer of Dial Global (now WestwoodOne) and as a member of the company’s board of directors. He previously spent nearly 25 years at Time Inc., where he led the development of digital formats.
New Media Expo and CES Update. “If I were Howard Stern I would go to a subscription podcasting model.” Those were the words of Courtside Entertainment Group and PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz speaking at yesterday morning’s keynote address at 2014 New Media Expo (formerly Blogworld). Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting for TALKERS magazine and he has more from Pattiz. Also check out his notes from the first day of the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show where he reports back on the new technology that is relevant to the radio and content business. Check it out here.
Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier Host Middays on WJFK-FM, Washington. Speculation that Don Geronimo would re-surface during the day on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington “106.7 The Fan” have been squelched as the station debuted its new midday show co-hosted by Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier (Geronimo remains with the station hosting the evening show). Rouhier had been working with Holden Kushner during the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot previously. Kushner remains with the station hosting weekends and participating in the station’s Washington Nationals coverage. Paulsen has been serving as the station’s Redskins beat reporter for the past four years.
WPRO, Providence Talk Host John DePetro Returns to Air; Critics Remain Steadfast. Providence talk show host John DePetro – host of the late morning show on Cumulus Media’s WPRO, Providence – returned to the air on Monday after being off for the month of December. DePetro and local union leader Maureen Martin – chairwoman of the anti-DePetro organization For Our Daughers RI – appear fated to continue their battle over DePetro’s employment with the station. DePetro recently rankled Martin and other Rhode Island union members after he referred to some of them as “parasites,” “cockroaches,” “hags” and “whores” during a rant about their participation in a protest. DePetro apologized for his choice of words but Martin is not backing off her campaign to oust DePetro from his position via boycott of the station’s advertisers and a petition drive. The latest news in the skirmish is Martin publicly claiming DePetro was accused of sexual assault in 2013. The Providence Journal-operated PolitiFact.com reports that it researched the matter to discover DePetro was accused of sexual harassment in 2012. After connecting with Martin, PolitiFact.com reports the organization changed the date – from 2013 to 2012 – on its petition but has not altered the accusation to harassment. Although harassment is a civil matter and assault is a felony, Martin insists to PolitiFact.com that an unwanted sexual advance is assault, according to the U.S. Department of Justice – which the news organization disputes. Regardless, DePetro appears ready for battle, addressing the issue upon his return Monday saying, “Politicians and unions should not interfere and try to silence public opinion. Period. That’s it…They want to silence the people. The last time I checked, this is still America.”
Comrex Names Raul Hun Latin America Sales Manager. Comrex Corporation announces the appointment of Raul Hun to manage Latin America sales for the company. Hun, a native of Panama, brings over 15 years of experience in providing studio and transmission solutions to broadcasters throughout Central and South America. He most recently worked for the Telos Alliance and Broadcast Electronics. Comrex director of sales Chris Crump comments, “Raul is one of the most well-liked gentlemen in our industry and we are thrilled to have him on our team. The great work that Jim Godfrey has done for us in the region will certainly be strengthened by the strong dealer and customer relationships that Raul has developed over the years in Latin America.”
Review: The Audio Technica AT2005USB Microphone. Whether you record podcasts or take your talk show on the road (or both!), a good portable USB mic is a very handy thing. Talk show host Michael W. Dean offers this thorough review of the Audio Technica AT2005USB mic. He writes, “This would be a great mic for hosts who travel a lot, and don’t want to bring a mixer and a whole bag of gear or an engineer. It’s a regular-sized dynamic mic that sounds fairly amazing. It has a built-in USB interface, and comes with a nifty collapsible tripod table stand and a USB cable. You could fit that all in a netbook case with a small laptop.” For the entire review, pics and a sound sample, click here.
Odds & Sods. Rich Summers is the new operations manager for Townsquare Media’s news/talk KIDO, Boise and its sister sports talk station KFXD “Sports Radio 630 The Fan.” Summers joined the station group as program director of country KAWO…..At Yahoo! Sports Radio, there’s been a lineup change: “Hit ‘Em Up with Geoff Ketchum” moves to the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET slot and a new afternoon drive program, “Prime Cut featuring Sean Salisbury and John Granato,” launches in the 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET timeslot…..In addition to yesterday’s news that the Clear Channel Media + Entertainment digital audio platform iHeartRadio will be available on some new car entertainment and information systems, the company is promoting the service will soon be available on Qualcomm’s multi-media AllPlay smart media platform, the new AT&T Drive auto platform and others. The announcement was made at day one of the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show.
MSNBC-Romney Controversy, Winter Cold Snap/Global Warming, Kerry’s Iran-Syria Solution, Colorado Pot Law Effects, Chicago Gun Ban Overturned, and SCOTUS Utah Gay Marriage Ruling Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/6). MSNBC’s forced apology after a program aired in which comedians made fun of Mitt Romney’s adopted, African-American grandson; the bitter winter weather affecting much of the United States and the controversy over its cause; criticism over John Kerry’s reaching out to Iran in an effort to solve the civil unrest in Syria; the effects of the new marijuana laws in Colorado; the overturning of Chicago’s ban on the purchase and sale of guns in the city; and the Supreme Court’s overturning of Utah’s gay marriage law were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Lew Dickey: Cumulus to Hire 50 More Sales Staffers. During the Cumulus Media Q3 conference call with investors yesterday, CEO Lew Dickey said the dividends of investing in the company’s sales strategy are paying off. Dickey told analysts, “We’ve made a lot of investment in training over the last couple of years that is really now gaining traction…in fact, as we look into 2014, we’ve now given the order here to go and hire 50 more people as we get down to the end of the year based on anticipated demand as we get into ’14. So we really have a very well-functioning sales organization today that is the byproduct of an awful lot of work on systems and training — everything from pricing to CRM to activity management, improving coverage, ad packaging – all the different things that we’ve been working on to make us more competitive in the local market.” When asked about radio’s share of the ad market versus television and other media, Dickey was very bullish, saying, “I would say that…radio in general is, I think, starting to experience a little bit of a renaissance as we’re starting to see a much greater buzz for the medium for audio advertising in general. The space seems to be expanding. And people are realizing the value of audio advertising and how efficiently they can do it on a mass market basis with great targetability using local broadcast radio. So it’s a terrific value for advertisers and I think they’re starting to realize it…I think it’s a trend that’s going to take some time to play out. But I do think that it is a tailwind rather than a headwind, I think, that we’re experiencing as we move into 2014, and that’s all positive.” Updating analysts on what he calls the company’s four key growth initiatives – CBS Sports Radio, Nash FM, Right Now Traffic and SweetJack – Dickey said the country brand Nash FM will finish rolling out across the country in early 2014 with all of the company’s country stations taking on the “Nash” brand. He called WNSH, New York the “second-most-listened-to” country station in America. He said the CBS Sports Radio Network exceeded expectations for 2013 and that upfront sales on the network for 2014 are “off to a strong start.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Members can read the entire transcript here.
Senate Confirms Tom Wheeler as FCC Chairman; Republican Michael O’Rielly Also Confirmed. After being nominated by President Obama in May, the U.S. Senate finally votes on the confirmation of Tom Wheeler to replace Julius Genachowski as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Wheeler, former managing director at DC-based Core Capital Partners LP as well as a former lobbyist in the wireless and cable TV industries, states, “I am humbled by the Senate’s confirmation and I look forward to taking the oath of office in the coming days. I am deeply grateful to President Obama for his confidence in nominating me for this position. Chairwoman Clyburn has led the Commission with dedication and vision for six months. We all owe Chairwoman Clyburn a huge thank you. The Chairwoman, along with Commissioners Rosenworcel and Pai and the FCC staff dealt with important issues that kept policy and the country moving forward.” Michael O’Rielly comes from inside Washington as he most recently was an advisor to Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn. He fills the seat of Republican Robert McDowell. NAB CEO Gordon Smith comments, “NAB strongly supported the nominations of both Tom Wheeler and Michael O’Rielly and we are pleased with their confirmation. We also salute the superb job done by Mignon Clyburn during her tenure as acting chair. Broadcasters look forward to working with a full complement of commissioners in the months and years ahead.”
KOA, Denver Apologizes After F-Bomb Goes Out Over the Air. Morning drive co-host Steffan Tubbs at Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver thought the mic was off when he made a comment about reality television star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi but his assessment about her appearance that contained the f-word went out over the air. Listeners began commenting on the station’s Facebook page and the station issued the following statement: “We are aware of a recent inappropriate comment that was made on-air by Steffan Tubbs. While Steffan made the comment in what he thought was a private conversation, it was still thoughtless and insensitive and we apologize to anyone whom it offended. We take matters of this nature very seriously and we will take appropriate disciplinary action.”
Premiere Expands Relationship with TMZ to Offer ‘TMZ Sports’ Program. Premiere Networks has been working with entertainment news organization TMZ since the two partnered on the “TMZ Radio” vignette in 2011. Now, the pair announced the development of “TMZ Sports” – a new one-hour, weekday radio program available to sports and news/talk stations. Premiere states that the show is “an adaptation of the sports entertainment website, www.tmzsports.com – where TMZ is constantly breaking exclusive stories. At ‘TMZ Sports,’ hits, runs and errors are totally out of bounds because it’s all about the personalities and athletes. The show is centered around the ensemble of reporters in the TMZ newsroom who break these exclusive stories that have an impact on the players, their future and the teams. ‘TMZ Sports’ also welcomes guests, athletes and people from all over the world sounding off on Skype, phones and various social media.” The Hollywood-based show is available to stations between 7:00 pm and 12:00 midnight local time. Stations adding the show so far include KLAC, Los Angeles; WINZ, Miami; KBAD, Las Vegas; WHOO, Orlando; and KXIC, Iowa City/Cedar Rapids. TMZ executive producer Harvey Levin says, “The show is going to attract people who love sports so they can learn more about the athletes they follow. It will also attract lots of people who don’t follow sports but like watching the drama and the fun.” Clear Channel SVP of sports operations Bruce Gilbert adds, “The launch of ‘TMZ Sports’ on radio and iHeartRadio is a natural extension of the powerful and relevant TMZ brand. TMZ’s unmatched ability to break stories and present in-depth, unfiltered, entertaining information on all things sports will provide fans with great insight into the stories they are talking about with their friends.”
Mike Horn’s CRN Digital Talk Radio Celebrates 30th Anniversary. Thirty years ago, Los Angeles -based radio broadcaster Michael Horn had what, at the time, was considered a wild, if not inconceivable notion of placing radio station audio onto cable television systems around the country. Whether or not such a wacky idea would survive three decades down the road is not something over which Horn anguished. Instead, he immersed himself in concentrating on doing something new and different. As passionate as founder/chief executive officer Horn was regarding the idea of launching CRN (Cable Radio Network), no one could have predicted that it would morph into the juggernaut it has become today as CRN Digital Talk Radio. Some transmutation of the long-standing cliché that television is simply “radio with pictures” perhaps triggered Cable Radio Network not only to come to fruition but also to thrive. In addition to producing its own shows, CRN over the last three decades has collaborated with other broadcasters seeking cable coverage and has syndicated programs to terrestrial broadcast radio. Across multiple networks, Horn’s 1983-founded property has originated/and or distributed dozens upon dozens of different programs. Read TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian‘s special feature posted today (10/28) profiling Mike Horn and looking back at the colorful history of CRN by clicking here.
Gary Larkin Joins Clear Channel as EVP of Total Traffic Network and Weather Network. A statement from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment notes that Gary Larkin has spent much of his career with Fox Sports Media Group where he was SVP of digital sales. Clear Channel states that its newly re-branded Total Traffic and Weather Network (TT+WN) “reaches more than 200 million monthly listeners across more than 200 markets, and the expanded division now includes weather reports and localized weather information such as surf and heat index reports to its portfolio as well as new sponsorship opportunities.” CCM+E chairman and CEO John Hogan says, “Gary has a proven track record of driving revenue and achieving success in tough and demanding sales environments and will be a great leader for our Total Traffic and Weather Network sales division. By working closely with our local and national sales teams, Gary will be able to seamlessly integrate the massive reach and unique assets of the Total Traffic and Weather Network’s platform into our offerings for clients. We’re very pleased to have him on board in such a key position and eager to put his experience, expertise and leadership to work.”
Defamation Suit Against WHAS, Louisville’s Terry Meiners Dismissed. The defamation suit filed against WHAS, Louisville talk show host Terry Meiners by Louisville Metro Police officer Sam Cromity has been dismissed by a Jefferson Circuit Court judge. The case goes back to March of 2011 when Meiners was pulled over by Cromity and issued a speeding ticket. Meiners poked fun at the officer on his radio show because he felt Cromity was confrontational during the traffic stop and began referring to him as “Black Barney” – a reference to TV’s Barney Fife and the black Mustang Cromity was driving. Meiners beat the speeding ticket in 2012 and Cromity filed his suit claiming that Meiners’ words on the radio were “irresponsible, reckless and dangerous.” The judge ruled Meiners’ words were “non-actionable expressions of opinion.”
Confer Radio Talent Institute to Take Place at Bloomsburg University Next Summer. Dan Vallie’s National Radio Talent System is locating a Radio Talent Institute at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania next July 7 through 16. Broadcaster Kirby Confer – owner of 70 radio properties – is sponsoring the program. Confer says, “When I was asked to be the Kellar Radio Talent Institute keynote speaker at Appalachian State University a few years ago, I found myself engaged with dozens of young people vitally interested in all phases of radio. The quality of the mentor teachers assembled for the 10 day ‘radio immersion’ was amazing. I thought at the time, ‘this is just what our industry needs,’ and as the digital age is upon us, it couldn’t come at a more opportune time. Art Kellar started something very important by sponsoring the Kellar Radio Talent Institute and I’m excited to be able to extend the National Radio Talent System to Pennsylvania and the Northeast United States starting next summer at Bloomsburg University.” The mission of Vallie’s National Radio Talent System includes having a Radio Talent Institute on a college campus in every region or state in America so students can attend in their home state, and so radio stations can recruit from their own region of the country, or nationally. The Institutes are taught by radio professionals, which insures students/young broadcasters learn what you need them to know. Vallie says that 70% of the students who have completed the Institute have gotten their first job in radio or a related field and are working for CBS, Clear Channel, Beasley Broadcast Group, Entercom, Greater Media, Curtis Media, Centennial Broadcasting, CNN and others.
Odds & Sods. Jay Vise exits the digital content manager position at Entercom’s news/talk WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans where he’s been for the past six years…..ESPN Radio announces that NBA veteran Jon Berry will serve as the lead analyst for the network’s coverage of NBA action for the next three seasons. Berry will team with ESPN Radio’s Kevin Calabro during this season. Also, ESPN Radio says that P.J. Carlesimo will work with Marc Kestecher on select NBA game broadcasts this season…..At SiriusXM, Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski returns to host his weekly “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K” this season with the first program airing tomorrow (10/31) at 6:00 pm ET on the SiriusXM College Sports Nation channel.
Florida Talk Host Bob Haa Dies at 65. Longtime WWJB, Brooksville, Florida talk show host Bob Haa (pronounced Hay) passed away on Monday, October 28 after what is being reported as related to cardiac and respiratory complications. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Haa missed several weeks of his program last year due to respiratory issues. The paper quotes WWJB station manager Steve Manuel saying, “In my opinion, Bob was the best at what he did. He had a passion for it and an edge that could stimulate callers and feedback. And that’s what you want to have in this business.”
ObamaCare Implementation and Website Troubles, Staged Fallen Soldiers Ceremonies Controversy, State of the GOP, NSA Spying Case, and the World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/29). The problems with the Affordable Care Act enrollment site and the rollout of ObamaCare; controversy over the Defense Department’s admission of the staged return of fallen American soldiers; the divisions within the Republican Party; the case of the NSA spying on heads of state; and the World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Holland Cooke
ORLANDO – Any NAB/RAB Radio Show attendees who had a little too much fun Wednesday night snoozed through a Thursday morning Leadership Breakfast everyone in radio needed to hear.
Each year, you could hear a pin drop when Wells Fargo Securities Managing Director Marci Ryvicker grades the radio industry. Last year, she gave us a B. This year, we get a B+, based on publically traded groups’ stock evaluations.
Other factoids and forecasts she shared:
NAB/RAB Radio Show Opens in Orlando. A delegation of editors, writers and reporters from TALKERS/RadioInfo is on hand at the massive Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando, Florida as day one of the 2013 NAB/RAB Radio Show kicks off with a battery of sessions and presentations. Initial observation of the event indicates a large turnout (official numbers to come) and the discussion of a wide variety of topics covering everything from music label/radio relations to the rise of sports talk radio including programming, marketing, sales and financial issues intrinsic to the radio industry. The underlying issue of radio’s integration into the digital era remains the prevailing theme of just about every subject being examined and scrutinized. Interestingly, in spite of the Florida heat and humidity, the crowd is particularly well-dressed in business attire (we take note of these things) indicating a no-nonsense seriousness in terms of the collective industry consciousness and mood on display in the city built by Mickey Mouse. TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison will be presenting his annual address at the conference tomorrow detailing 10 problems facing radio and solutions available to the medium in securing its vital pop cultural role in the new digital era. The address takes place in room Gatlin E2 between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm on Thursday and is open to all attendees of the show. Pictured here are (clockwise from top): TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison, CBS Radio News vice president Harvey Nagler, and H&H Communications president and TALKERS/RadioInfo sales maven Al Herskovitz.
Tap into Your Star Power. Earlier this morning at the NAB/RAB Radio Show, Cumulus Media senior vice president Mike McVay (far left) moderated the panel “Tap into Your Star Power and Build Your Brand.” The panel provided attendees the opportunity to “learn from the experts who, through the power of radio, have successfully branded themselves.” On the panel with McVay are (from l-r): ABC News Radio White House correspondent Ann Compton; Reach Media nationally syndicated radio personality D.L. Hughley; and Brand Like a Rock Star author Steve Jones.
RAIN Summit Coverage. Radio consultant Holland Cooke covered the RAIN Summit held here in Orlando held the day prior to the beginning of the Radio Show and he reports from the gathering of broadcasters and digital audio practitioners. Cooke says topics ranged from the ongoing problem of ad insertion to building a digital sales force to the drive to become the destination for listeners using their mobile device for audio entertainment. Read Holland Cooke’s analysis here.
WEEI, Boston Wins ‘Best Streaming Broadcast Station’ Award. At the RAIN Summit – traditionally held each year the prior to the kick-off of the NAB/RAB Radio Show – Entercom sports talk outlet WEEI, Boston was honored with the award for Best Streaming Broadcast Station. More than 100 services made entries for this year’s RAIN Awards and WEEI bested both WBZ-AM, Boston and ESPN Radio to take home the honor. Entercom vice president of digital strategy and enterprise platforms Tim Murphy, says, “This recognition centers on the quality of our audio programming at WEEI. This is a tremendous award for an amazing brand, and our incredible team of talent and producers who do an amazing job covering Boston sports. The entire WEEI team is incredibly innovative at distributing our content through industry leading strategies regarding search optimization, mobile distribution and social engagement.”
Lew Dickey Lays Out Digital Strategy. In a memo to his company (and the media), Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey explains the company’s digital audio strategy with regard to the recently announced partnership with Rdio. Part of the three-page memo includes the four-pronged plan for digital audio consisting of: on demand, custom playlist, internet radio/non-local radio, and local radio streaming. With regard to on demand, Dickey states that “people realize that it’s better to rent an unlimited library of content than it is to acquire limited pieces of content — be it music or movies. Rdio is positioned on the leading edge of this important media trend, enabling consumers to listen and discover virtually unlimited amounts of music on any device with a high degree of social engagement across the Rdio platform. Think of Rdio for audio as the equivalent of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon all combined for video. A free or paid subscription to Rdio gives you access to 20 million songs as well as nearly every new song that is released instantly. Your iTunes library now becomes obsolete.” Stating that the custom playlist aspect is Pandora’s only business and that Rdio offers the service, his company will assist Rdio in that. “We will help add an experienced professional programming element to curation that will further differentiate Rdio from what is Pandora’s singular business. In addition, Rdio draws from a vast library of 20 million songs – 20x that of Pandora.” In the internet radio/non-local radio category, Dickey says the best product out there now is SiriusXM – but he calls it expensive and not widely listened to. “Cumulus will draw upon our stable of iconic brands, content and talent to produce new, exclusive channels and short-form programs that give listeners an unparalleled listening experience on a single digital platform. Rdio will combine the best of iTunes, Pandora and Sirius in one app that can be accessed on virtually any desktop or mobile device.” Dickey says Rdio does not currently offer the local station streaming service that iHeartRadio does and his stations will continue their relationship with the Clear Channel service for now.
Ad and Media Expert Michael Kassan to Be Featured on WOR, New York During Advertising Week. The annual New York City Advertising Week event takes place next week – September 23 – 27 – and Clear Channel’s news/talk WOR, New York will feature content from renowned ad and media expert Michael Kassan, founder, chairman and CEO of MediaLink. Clear Channel notes, “Kassan will bring his unparalleled understanding of the advertising and media worlds to broadcast and digital listening audiences via WOR 710 AM, iHeartRadio’s WOR station and wor.com via an ongoing series of insightful reports, commentary, updates and interviews throughout Advertising Week, the world’s premier gathering of advertising, marketing and communications leaders. Among other features, Kassan will host a series of daily Advertising Week previews and updates; exclusive interviews with major media and advertising world figures; and commentary on significant advertising and media topics that emerge during Advertising Week events.” CCM&E chairman and CEO John Hogan states, “Michael Kassan is one of the most highly respected names in the advertising and media worlds. His incredibly well-informed reporting will illuminate Advertising Week for WOR listeners, as well as those listening to WOR over iHeartRadio and wor.com, bringing unparalleled insight and depth to the most important issues facing the industry as it prepares to address the future and prepare for its next stage of growth. We are thrilled to have an expert of this caliber play such a critical role in our Advertising Week lineup.”
Federated Media Chooses TuneIn for Mobile App. TuneIn becomes the official mobile app and online audio player for all Federated Media stations including Fort Wayne news/talk giant WOWO and rocker WBYR “The Bear.” Federated Media owns 15 radio stations in Fort Wayne, South Bend, and Warsaw, Indiana. TuneIn CEO John Donham states, “TuneIn is constantly focused on giving listeners access to the best content available, no matter where they are in the world. We are very excited Federated Media has chosen TuneIn as their full digital solution, offering listeners content via mobile, and web.” Federated Media programming has been available on TuneIn for months, but this new agreement makes TuneIn the broadcast group’s comprehensive digital solution for both mobile and desktop listening. Every Federated Media station will eschew their existing mobile apps in favor of the free TuneIn Radio app, and Federated Media stations will promote TuneIn on-air. Federated Media chief strategy officer James Derby comments, “With TuneIn, our listeners can now hear their favorite Federated Media stations at any time, no matter where they are – all through one app. TuneIn now provides all Federated Media stations additional digital distribution to reach our listeners through over 200 connected devices, ranging from mobile phones and tablets, to smart TVs and cars.”
Dave Ramsey in Orlando. Timing his appearance to coincide with the NAB/RAB Radio Show, nationally syndicated talk show star and New York Times best-selling author Dave Ramsey hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” in Orlando on Tuesday, September 17, to a packed house at Chapin Theatre. Ramsey spoke about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 350 employees. Ramsey joined with local affiliate WFLA, Orlando (WFLF) to promote the event. WFLA general sales manager Mark Kanak states, “On behalf of all of us at Clear Channel Orlando, it is a genuine pleasure to welcome a legend like Dave Ramsey. Dave has made an enormous impact on our listeners’ lives and his fans continue to grow.” Pictured above are (from l-r): WFLA PD Jim Poling, Kanak, Dave Ramsey and the WFLA sales team.
Townsquare Announces Stations Acquisition; Deal Worth Approximately $281 Million. Townsquare Media, LLC announces that it has executed definitive documentation related to three transactions with Cumulus Media Holdings, Inc. and Peak II Holding LLC which, upon consummation, will result in Townsquare acquiring assets including 71 radio stations in 15 markets. After the deal is consummated, Townsquare will own 312 radio stations in 66 markets and have operations in 25 states, making it the third largest owner of radio stations in the United States and the largest, “best-capitalized owner and operator of radio stations solely focused on small and mid-sized markets.” In a press release this morning, Townsquare reports it is acquiring assets including 53 radio stations (three of which will be assigned to a divestiture trust) in 12 markets (Battle Creek; Cedar Rapids; Danbury, Connecticut; Faribault-Owatonna, Minnesota; Kalamazoo; Lansing; Portland, Maine; Portsmouth-Dover-Rochester, New Hampshire; Quad Cities; Rochester, Minnesota; Rockford, Illinois; and Waterloo, Iowa) from Cumulus for cash. Townsquare is also acquiring Peak, which owns assets including 11 radio stations in two markets (Boise and Fresno) for cash and equity units of Townsquare. Finally, Townsquare will exchange certain assets including five radio stations, in Fresno it is acquiring from Peak, for Cumulus assets including 15 radio stations in two markets (Dubuque and Poughkeepsie) and a de minimis cash settle-up payment in favor of Townsquare. In total, Townsquare will be acquiring 68 stations from Cumulus, three of which will be assigned to a divestiture trust, and eleven Peak stations, five of which will be exchanged to Cumulus, resulting in a net increase of 71 stations. Townsquare expects to finance the transactions with a mix of secured and unsecured debt financing, Townsquare equity units and cash on hand. Townsquare has received debt financing commitments from its various financing partners in connection with the transactions and will complete its financing in compliance with the covenant package of Townsquare Radio, LLC’s existing Senior Unsecured Notes indenture. “These transactions represent the continued evolution of Townsquare Media into one of the nation’s largest local media companies and allow us to reach a scale which opens the door to new strategic opportunities,” comments Townsquare Chairman and CEO, Steven Price. “The assets we are adding to our portfolio are market leading brands with strong competitive positions in their respective small and mid-sized markets. We are excited by the opportunity to deploy our differentiated local-media strategy across a broader footprint in order to better serve our communities and our advertising clients.”
Cumulus Announces Expected Dial Global Acquisition. Cumulus Media Inc. issues a press release this morning announcing “a series of strategic transactions that solidifies the company’s position as a leading producer of high-quality content and continues to reshape its footprint focused on the top 100 markets.” The transactions announced today include:
• Acquisition of Dial Global, Inc. for $260 million in cash (consisting of approximately $45 million attributable to equity and the retirement of $215 million of debt)
• Sale of 53 radio stations in 12 small and mid-sized markets to Townsquare Media for $238 million in cash (inclusive of the acquisition of net working capital)
• Swap with Townsquare Media of 15 radio stations in two small & mid-sized markets in exchange for the receipt of five stations in Fresno, CA (market #68)
“These transactions give us the necessary scale to provide the marketing and enterprise solutions our advertising and affiliate partners require,” said Lew Dickey, CEO of Cumulus. “Our goal is to be the leading producer of premium audio content distributed through multiple platforms while continuing to build our broadcast platform in the top 100 U.S. markets.”
The acquisition of Dial Global will add sports, news, talk, music and programming services content – enabling Cumulus to provide a wider variety of options to approximately 10,000 U.S. radio stations, other media platforms and international platforms. New content acquired through the Dial Global acquisition will include NFL, NCAA, NASCAR, Olympics, AP Radio News, NBC News and other popular programming. Cumulus expects the transaction to be deleveraging based upon identified cost synergies of approximately $40 million, with additional upside from revenue growth potential through the creation of new content vehicles for broadcast radio advertisers. Additionally, Cumulus believes the opportunity exists to distribute premium, curated audio content across emerging new media platforms. Further, Cumulus intends to service broadcasters’ demands for premium content and enterprise solutions in Europe, the Americas and Australia.
WGN, Chicago Announces New Lineup. Yesterday (8/29), TALKERS reported the reuniting of Chicago radio personalities Wendy Snyder and Bill Leff on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago. Now, the station issues a release detailing the programming changes – some of which were reported a few weeks ago – that take place on Tuesday, September 3. As reported earlier, Steve Cochran assumes morning drive duties; he’s followed by Wendy & Bill from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; husband and wife team Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano (pictured at left) air from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and Garry Meier continues to host the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot. David Kaplan maintains his 7:00 pm show start but wraps at 11:00 pm when Pete McMurray, who expands his role with the station, starts hosting the 11:00 pm to 2:00 am program. As reported earlier this week, Nick Digilio becomes a full-time host with the station on the 2:00 am to 5:00 am slot. Weekends are spotlighted by the return of Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey (pictured lower right) to the station in the Saturday 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot beginning September 14. Other changes include: “The Design Dude with Frank Fontana” airing from 6:00 am to 7:00 am, followed by “Mr. Fix-it with Lou Manfredini” from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. When not affected by sports preemptions, Bill Moller will follow Kathy and Judy from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm and “Sports Central” will remain in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm time slot. The Sunday lineup will introduce a new show dedicated to the discussion of the Chicago political landscape. Chicago Tribune writer Rick Pearson will host “Chicago Way: Politics with Pearson” on Sundays from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. “The Dean Richards Sunday Special” will follow at 9:00 am, extending an additional two hours until 1:00 pm. In addition to his Saturday show, Bill Moller will air from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Brian Noonan remains in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot, followed by the return of Chicago treasure, Rick Kogan, from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Comedian and media personality, Patti Vasquez, will air from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am. Playing a feature role in the future of WGN’s new lineup will be “720 Snackables.” These spotlight segments will live online and on-air as interviews, video shorts, and podcasts. They’ll feature the WGN family of experts including Dean Richards’ “A-List Interviews,” “Legally Speaking with Karen Conti,” “Bertrand on Books” with Steve Bertrand, “Flavor HD” with Hannah Stanley & Dane Neal, “Steve Dale’s Pet World,” Paul Green’s “Paul & The Politicians,” “Good Cents with Ilyce Glink,” and more.
Chris Carl New RTDNA Chair. WDEL, Wilmington, Delaware director of news and programming Chris Carl is the new chair of the Radio Television Digital News Association. Pictured here is outgoing chair Vince Duffy of Michigan Radio (l) passing the gavel to Carl (r). Carl notes that for the first time in the organization’s history, the RTNDF chairman, RTDNA chairman and RTDNA chair-elect are all radio people as Duffy moves to the Foundation chair for the next year, and the membership elects Amy Tardif of WGCU-FM, Fort Myers as the chair-elect.
Odds & Sods. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is set to make regular appearances on CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan.” Every Tuesday he’ll join the “Vinnie & Cook” show at 11:00 am…..Guaranty Broadcasting’s KYPY, Baton Rouge flips from classic country to a simulcast of sister sports talk WNXX “104.5 ESPN”…..New Jersey Devils hockey will continue to be heard on CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM and beyond. The club signs a new, multi-year deal with the station to keep games on for the ninth straight season beginning in October…..Clear Channel moves Portland Trailblazers basketball from news/talk KEX to sister sports talk KPOJ for the coming season to avoid preemptions…..Bob Smith retires from his post as host of “1370 Connection” at pubcaster WXXI, Rochester, New York after a 25-plus-year career with the station. Smith suffered a stroke in April and is still undergoing rehabilitative care.
More Than $3.3 Million Raised in Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon. Entercom sports radio WEEI and regional cable sports channel NESN have teamed up for 12 years to air a two-day radio-telethon to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. This week’s event helped raise more than $3.3 million – about the same amount raised the year prior. This puts the 12-year total at more than $34 million. Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Jeff Brown states, “The outstanding generosity of our listeners across New England year after year not only supports a great cause but betters the lives of those who need it most. These past two days have been the most emotionally rewarding for the entire WEEI and Entercom Boston family this year. We remain both humbled and thrilled to have played a role in helping the selfless team at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in their fight against cancer.” A check was presented at last night’s Red Sox game. Pictured (from l-r) are: Red Sox owner John Henry, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino, Entercom Boston VP/market manager Jeff Brown, Jimmy Fund director Suzanne Fountain, WEEI executive producer Joe Zarbano, WEEI director of marketing Adam Ralston, NESN president Sean McGrail, and Wally the Green Monster.
Wilmington, NC Sports Talk Show Adds Saturday Edition. The weekly “Sports Connection” show hosted by Port City Daily sports writer Joe Catenacci adds a Saturday edition that begins a run on Sea-Comm-owned rock WBNE, Wilmington “103.7 The Bone.” Joe Cat’s show began as a co-operative effort between the Port City Daily and Sea-Comm news/talk WNTB and WLTT airing Monday evenings from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Beginning tomorrow (8/31) Catenacci and co-host Cori Stukes will broadcast live every Saturday from Hell’s Kitchen on Princess Street in downtown Wilmington. He says in the Port City Daily, “Over the last eight months, we have connected the local community with some of the top names in sports from across the country. Even with a focus on local, we continue to get some of the household names when it comes to industry. Locally, every high school football, basketball and baseball coach has made an appearance on the show at least once, as well as UNCW coaches and players.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is picked up by a number of new affiliate stations, including: WCKG-AM, Chicago; WBAT-AM, Marion, Indiana; KENT-AM, Parowan, Utah; WRSB, Canandaigua, New York; WASB, Bridgeport, New York; W286AE-FM, Fairport, New York; and WNZS, Bangor, Maine…..“Late Night Health Radio” with host Mark Alyn joins the programming lineup at KABC, Los Angeles…..Talk Media Network’s “Frontlines of Freedom” with Lt. Col. Denny Gillem is added to WFPA, Fort Payne, Alabama…..The “Unlock Your Wealth” feature by Heather Wagenhals is added to affiliate stations WPGR, Pittsburgh; KFIV, Modesto and KWSX, Stockton, California; and WEZO, Augusta, Georgia.
U.S. Syria Action Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 26-30. The question of whether the United States should take action against Syria was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the March on Washington anniversary tied with American race relations. Following at #3 was Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV VMAs and at #4 was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
More Q2 News from Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey. Yesterday TALKERS reported Cumulus Media’s second quarter revenue figures and the fact that Lew Dickey largely avoided the Rush Limbaugh–Sean Hannity flap by saying he wouldn’t discuss it because they are still in contract negotiations. He addressed other topics TALKERS readers may be interested in: those 10 “code red” stations (big news/talkers bringing down the rest of the company); the health of the CBS Sports Radio Network project for which Cumulus is handling affiliate and ad sales; and the state of network talk programming. First, Dickey told investors the number of “code red” stations is down from 10 to 1 but didn’t specify which station still lags. Second, he states the CBS Sports Radio format is on 300 affiliate stations and is exceeding its revenue plans. “We’re highly encouraged by our early success and expect CBS Sports Radio to be a material growth driver for our company in 2014 and beyond.” And third, addressing the state of the Cumulus Media Networks (which includes syndicated talk – Huckabee, Savage, “Red Eye Radio” – as well as a lot of music programming) Dickey reports it’s been a bit “choppy” but he sees it settling down. “It grew for us in the second quarter and we look for it to be positive in the back half of the year. It’s a pretty fragmented space that ultimately begs for more consolidations… it did turn in a positive performance for us in second quarter.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can see the entire conference call here.
Wall Street Journal Radio Network Executive Director Nancy Abramson to Exit Post. Radio management pro Nancy Abramson tells TALKERS the company is reorganizing its management structure and she is moving on. She says she’ll remain with the company through mid-September to assist with the transition. As for the rest of the staff with which the industry is familiar, Abramson says the affiliate team of Susan O’Connell and Susan Moran will continue to service the affiliates of “The Wall Street Journal Report,” “The Wall Street Journal This Morning,” “The Dow Jones Money Report” and “MarketWatch.com Reports.” John Wordock and Patrice Sikora will continue to oversee the news product for The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch.com Radio Networks. Abramson says she is excited about new opportunities and looking forward to the next adventure. Abramson has served with WSJRN since 1996.
Greater Media Promotes Jake McCann to Director of Sales for Detroit Stations. Jake McCann moves from Greater Media’s Philadelphia stations where he was general sales manager at sports talk WPEN “97.5 The Fanatic” and classic rock WMGK. In Detroit he’ll be in charge of sales for rock WRIF, classic rock WCSX and currently-AC-but-rumored-to-soon-be sports talk WMGC. The fact that McCann has experience selling sports talk could be part of the reason McCann is making this move if, as expected, WMGC flips to sports in August. In a statement, Greater Media Detroit market manager Steve Chessare says, “Jake is the right person to lead our three station sales operation in the Motor City. His passion, dedication and leadership are exactly what we need to take our three outstanding radio properties to the next level.”
Radio One Gives Up on FM Sports in Cincinnati. After seven months, WCFN, Cincinnati “FM 100.3 The Fan” has let go most of its staff, cut ties with CBS Sports Radio Network and flips back to an urban oldies format as “Old School 100.3.” The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter reports that production manager Rob Williams was the only staffer to survive the change. Tom Gamble, Richard Skinner, Will Chambers, Chad Brendel, Rick Ucchino, Rick Broering, Jeremy Lance, former Reds pitcher Joe Price, and Steve Harris all exited the station on Tuesday morning. Richard Skinner, who hosted “Two Angry Guys” along with Tom Gamble, tells Kiesewetter he’s not angry about the change, “Radio is so cyclical, that you know your time is coming (to get fired). They (Radio One) didn’t seem to have a plan of attack, and they’re pulling the format at a time of the year when all the people are listening for football and baseball.” Clear Channel operates two sports talk stations in the market – WSAI, a Fox Sports Radio affiliate and WCKY, which uses ESPN Radio programming – both of which air largely national shows.
Holland Cooke: Radio from the Newspaper. Radio consultant Holland Cooke adds to the discussion about newspapers entering into the digital talk radio streaming business that’s been a major part of industry chatter in the wake of the Boston Herald’s announcement about the creation of Boston Herald Radio coming Monday, August 5. Cooke has experience in this arena and he offers advice to publications considering the move. Among some dos and don’ts: don’t separate the studio from the newsroom (the sound of busy reporters is crucial!); don’t assume good reporters make good talk hosts; do promote you’re emanating from a storied newsroom; and do make content available for download and later playback. Read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.
‘News 92 FM’ and ‘Yahoo Sports Radio 1560’ in Houston Agree to Content Sharing Deal. Radio One’s all-news KROI and Gow Media’s sports talk KGOW in Houston agree to a content sharing deal that will have KROI producing newscasts for KGOW and the latter producing sports updates and actualities for KROI. Here’s how it will work: Beginning in early August, “News 92 FM” reporters will provide hourly, short-form news updates to “Yahoo Sports Radio 1560,” initially for use on nights and weekends, and ramping up to a full broadcast schedule shortly thereafter. In like manner, “Yahoo Sports Radio 1560” reporters will provide sports updates and actualities twice per hour for integration into the “News 92 FM” broadcast clock between 7:00 pm and midnight daily, and from 6:00 am to noon on weekends. Radio One RVP Doug Abernethy and Gow Media CEO David Gow began discussing the possibility earlier this year. Abernethy states, “Research suggests that news and sports stations have shared listener bases. So this makes sense for both stations. We have the best newsgathering and reporting resources in the city, and ‘Yahoo Sports Radio 1560’ enjoys an equivalent reputation in the world of sports. We’re leveraging our respective strengths so that the ‘News 92 FM’ listener can get a quick sports update from ‘Yahoo Radio 1560,’ and their listeners can get top-flight news from ‘News 92 FM.’”
ZWERLING: The Smartest Programming Move I Ever Made for My Radio Stations. You might be surprised to learn which syndicated host turned out to be so spectacularly successful for outspoken, independent radio station owner Michael L. Zwerling at his widely admired AM combo of KSCO and KOMY, Santa Cruz, California that he felt compelled to share it with the entire industry. Then again, you might not. Find out the answer and more in a new exclusive TALKERS opinion piece posted today (7/31) by clicking here.
‘Broadway Joe’ Joins Sports USA for Weekly Podcast. Sports USA announces NFL great Joe Namath will join the company to produce a weekly podcast for the company during the 2013 football season. Sports USA president Bob Moore says Namath’s podcast will begin in the middle of August and run through this year’s Super Bowl. Moore states, “It doesn’t get bigger than Joe Namath! Joe is extremely passionate about football and his insights are amazing. This podcast will give him the platform to reach all of his fans across the country and beyond.” Namath comments, “I’m thrilled to join the Sports USA team with my new weekly podcast. I look forward to expressing my opinions on both the NFL and college football each week from the beginning of the season all the way through the Super Bowl.”
WTKS, Orlando’s Russ Rollins to Face Bubba the Love Sponge in Wrestling Match. Yes, you read that right. As you see in the poster here, it’ll take place at the Arena Bowl in Orlando on August 17 and feature “The Monsters” vs “Bubba’s Army” as Russ Rollins & The Demon take on Bubba the Love Sponge & Kevin Nash with Marc Mero as a special guest referee. Rollins tells TALKERS it’s the “Battle of the #1 morning shows!” and pits Clear Channel against Cox Media in front of 15,000 to 16,000 screaming fans!
2016 Presidential Race, Weiner Sexting Scandal, NSA Surveillance Program, ObamaCare Implementation, and Bradley Manning Verdict Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/30). The possible candidates in the 2016 presidential election; the ongoing backlash from the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal; new developments in the NSA surveillance program case; the costs of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; and the verdict against Bradley Manning in the Wikileaks case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Peter Boyles to Debut New Morning Show at Salem’s KNUS, Denver. Longtime KHOW, Denver morning drive personality Peter Boyles joins Salem Communications’ KNUS, Denver for a new morning drive program beginning Monday, July 1. Boyles was let go from Clear Channel’s KHOW after a widely publicized incident of workplace violence in which he became physically aggressive with producer Greg Hollenback. Boyles took responsibility for his actions in a regular column he writes for the Cherry Creek Chronicle but, as the Denver Post reports, he also took the opportunity to slam Clear Channel saying, “Clear Channel is a culture of fear.” Regarding bringing Boyles aboard, KNUS vice president and general manager Brian Taylor tells the Post, “He’s a legend. He really cares about wanting to speak for his audience.” Boyles’ arrival at the station moves the Steve Kelley program to the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot on KNUS. In a statement from Salem, Boyles comments, “I believe we can change the face of Denver radio as well as the political future of Colorado. That’s how much I believe in this show and what we can do. I’m delighted to join the Salem team in Denver and help take KNUS to the next level. We’re going to do some great radio and I can’t be more excited.” Salem VP/director spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “There is no doubt Peter Boyles is a Denver talk radio institution. When the opportunity came for us to grab Peter’s show we wasted little time in making it happen. Denver radio needs this guy, who truly does a remarkable show.”
New Sports Talk Programming to Air on WGNU, St. Louis in August. Well, it’s not exactly new. According to Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, current KFNS sports talk personality Tim McKernan, via his company insideSTL Enterprises LLC, will lease time on 920 AM LLC-owned WGNU – currently airing urban talk – beginning on or around August 1. The lineup will be familiar to St. Louis sports talk fans as it will include many of the market’s well-known sports talk personalities who’ve worked at KFNS and at other stations: McKernan himself with Doug Vaughn and Jim Hayes; Frank Cusumano; Kevin Slaten plus (former MLB slugger) Jack Clark; and a new show featuring Post-Dispatch columnists Bryan Burwell and Joe Strauss plus KTVI-TV sportscaster Charlie Marlow. McKernan is undertaking the venture as KFNS owners are shifting the programming to a guy talk format. The programming will also be available on McKernan’s insideSTL.com, an important aspect of his business plan. McKernan tells Caesar, “What this opportunity provides us is a chance to see if this lineup, if this website and this business plan can indeed work and can set us up for the potential of purchasing a radio station in the near future.” McKernan is not leasing the weekend time from WGNU.
WPEN, Philadelphia’s Darren Daulton to Have Brain Surgery. Greater Media sports talk outlet WPEN, Philadelphia “The Fanatic” announces baseball talk show host and former MLB star Darren “Dutch” Daulton has been diagnosed with two tumors on his brain and will undergo surgery to have them treated next week. Daulton – a member of the 1993 pennant-winning Philles – hosts the nightly “Talking Baseball with Dutch” show that airs from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm during baseball season on WPEN.
Entercom’s WEEI, Boston Donates 1,000 Red Tickets to First Responders. As a way of saying “thanks” to the many first responders who came to the aid of those affected by the Boston Marathon bombing in April, Entercom’s sports talk WEEI donated 1,000 tickets to last night’s Boston Red Sox game versus the Toronto Blue Jays. The company says, “These groups and individuals will include those who have displayed acts of heroism and valor, and have shown us examples of courage.” Tickets were distributed to: First responders including the Boston Police, Fire and EMS workers; the Boston Athletic Association; the communities of Dorchester, Arlington and Medford; the Massachusetts State Police; the Massachusetts National Guard; Boston area hospitals. Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Jeff Brown states, “On behalf of Entercom and WEEI, we send our deepest appreciation for the bravery and service of these responders during our city’s time of need. We are forever grateful for their heroism and hope this small gesture brings a smile to some faces across Boston on Thursday evening.”