Lars Larson and ‘FM News 101 KXL’ Stay Together. Not that there were any expectations they wouldn’t, but Alpha Media and talk host Lars Larson announce the signing of a new long-term contract between the two. Larson – one of the hardest-working people in talk radio – hosts the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm local and regional show on KXL and 15 affiliates in the Oregon and Washington region. Additionally, he hosts a 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT program that is distributed nationally by Compass Media Networks. Alpha Media Portland CEO/president Bob Proffitt comments, “Lars is a Northwest and national talent in talk radio. I’m delighted to have him on board to help deliver content through our many channels at Alpha that is unique, compelling and thought-provoking. One of the many reasons Lars is so good, is an incredible work ethic I’ve witnessed over the past five years that is truly inspiring.” Larson received help in negotiating his new deal from Fred Schreyer, formerly with Nike‘s sports management division. Larson says Schreyer has represented such clients as: ESPN‘s Colin Cowherd, KXTG-AM, Portland’s John Canzano, and NBA stars Lebron James and Kevin Durant.
Paranormal Talker Clyde Lewis Re-Ups with Alpha’s KXL, Portland. The creator and host of “Ground Zero,” heard on Alpha Media-owned news/talker KXL, Portland “FM News 101” will remain with the station as he and the company sign an extension to that effect. Clyde Lewis’ program is also syndicated nationally by Premiere Networks. The program airs six nights per week from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight PT. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick comments, “Clyde offers a 7th dimension perspective and is the most compelling story teller I’ve ever met in this business. We’re happy to be at the epicenter of ‘Ground Zero’ in Portland and thrilled to continue our partnership with Clyde. He is a talk radio badass!”
Legal Analysis: Glenn Beck Libel Case. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman, in a story published today (12/4), writes about the recent court ruling on Glenn Beck’s request to dismiss Saudi student Abdulrahman Alharbi’s libel suit against him. As TALKERS reported yesterday, Alharbi was initially questioned by police investigating the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 but was quickly ruled out by police as being involved in the crime. However, for several weeks after that, Beck used his program to accuse Alharbi of involvement in the bombing. Beck’s attorneys argue that Alharbi was a limited-purpose public figure or an involuntary public figure by virtue of his being at the event and, however briefly, becoming part of the story surrounding the event by being investigated by authorities. In today’s story, Weisman explains the legal definitions of the three types of public figures and what threshold must be crossed to commit actionable libel. Read this important piece here.
CBS Sports Radio Network Announces 2015 Lineup. TALKERS reported earlier this week that current KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh personality Gregg Giannotti was going to be joining the CBS Sports Radio Network and that is confirmed as director of programming Eric Spitz announces the network’s new lineup. The new AM drive show will be hosted by Brian Jones (who moves down from the current evening “MoJo” program) and Giannotti. Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney move from AM drive to late morning (9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET). Jim Rome and Doug Gottlieb remain in their respective afternoon slots but Damon “D.A.” Amendolara moves from overnights to host the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET show. Amy Lawrence is promoted from her weekend show to the daily overnight show (2:00 am to 6:00 am). Off the daily schedule at the network with the changes are morning show co-host Dana Jacobson and evening show co-host Chris Moore.
Odds & Sods. As TALKERS reported earlier this week, at CBS RADIO’s KDKA-FM “Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan,” evening host Colin Dunlap is being elevated to the station’s morning show beginning Friday, January 2. He’ll partner with current morning hosts Josh Miller and Jim Colony…..San Antonio sports talker KZDC, San Antonio “ESPN San Antonio” is now simulcasting on translator K234CI at 94.5 FM. The Alpha Media station’s PD, Greg Martin, says, “I am thrilled that Alpha Media recognizes the importance of its AM properties having a presence on the FM, exposing our brand to a large audience who rarely uses AM.”…..Comic and radio personality Jimmie “JJ” Walker will be sitting in for KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno midday personality Ray Appleton on December 17 and 18. Walker hosted radio programs on news/talk stations during the 1990s – including on KKAR, Omaha; WHIO, Dayton; and WOAI, San Antonio…..At Premiere Networks, Tanya Juhasz is promoted to vice president, international business development. The company reports that in her previous role as executive director, international business development, she worked to “ensure Premiere’s industry-leading properties are represented throughout the world, and thanks to her efforts, they can be heard in 47 countries from Canada to New Zealand to China.”…..Recently retired ABC News Radio White House correspondent Ann Compton is being inducted into the Illinois Broadcasters Association’s Hall of Fame. The Winnetka, Illinois native worked more than 40 years with ABC News Radio before her September retirement.
Grand Jury Choke Hold Death Decision, Ferguson Aftermath, Amnesty Issue, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Bill Cosby Rape Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/3). The grand jury decision not to indict a New York police officer in the choke-hold death of Eric Garner and the Justice Department’s decision to open a civil rights investigation; the ongoing aftermath of the Ferguson grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown; the issue of amnesty for illegal aliens and President Obama’s executive order; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the fallout from renewed allegations of rape against Bill Cosby were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Steven J.J. Weisman
BOSTON – In a significant ruling, Judge Patti B. Saris denied Glenn Beck’s Motion to Dismiss a libel lawsuit brought against him by a 20-year-old Saudi Arabian student, Abdulrahman Alharbi. Alharbi was a spectator near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013 when bombs planted by the late TamerlanTsarnaev and his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is presently awaiting trial on numerous charges related to the bombing, were detonated. Alharbi was not just a witness to the bombing, he also was injured in the bombing. However, in the days and weeks following the bombing, Beck identified Alharbi on the air as an Al Qaeda “control agent,” “money man,” and co-conspirator involved with the attack.
Shortly after the bombings, Alharbi was indeed questioned by federal authorities and, with his permission, they searched his home. Shortly thereafter, these same federal authorities concluded that he had absolutely no involvement with the attack and news reports about a possible connection with Alharbi and the Marathon bombing ceased with the major exception of Glenn Beck, who continued for weeks to describe him as an active participant in the bombing.
Larry Elder Missing from KABC, Los Angeles Website. Rumors in Los Angeles are that Larry Elder has exited Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles where he’d been hosting the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program. No confirmation from KABC or Cumulus officials yet but Elder’s information has been removed from the KABC website and his name is missing from the program lineup. Elder returned to KABC in 2010 to host afternoon drive after a two-year absence. He’d been a personality on the station previously from 1994 through 2008.
Judge Rules Against Glenn Beck in Libel Case. Tuesday’s ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris on Glenn Beck’s request to dismiss Saudi student Abdulrahman Alharbi’s libel suit against him has been denied and the case could move forward if not settled. If you remember, Alharbi was initially questioned by police investigating the Boston Marathon bombing but was quickly ruled out by police as being involved in the crime. However, for several weeks after that, Beck used his program to accuse Alharbi of potential involvement in the bombing. Alharbi is suing for libel. Beck’s attorneys argue that Alharbi was an involuntary public figure by virtue of his being at the event and, however briefly, becoming part of the story surrounding the event by being questioned. But Judge Saris stated that simply going to a public event doesn’t make one a public figure and further that, even if Alharbi became an involuntary public figure during the time he was being investigated, that definition ended when he was cleared. Whether Beck’s camp decides to settle or not may take time but Judge Saris believes Alharbi has a legitimate complaint. She writes in her decision, “The facts alleged in Alharbi’s complaint easily permit an inference that the defendants were negligent as to the truthfulness of their reports after the authorities cleared his name.”
Sid Rosenberg and Lawrence Taylor to Host Show on WFAN, New York. Former WFAN personality (and current WMEN, Fort Lauderdale “640 Sports” morning host) Sid Rosenberg and New York Giants great Lawrence “LT” Taylor will host a special sports talk show on CBS RADIO’s WFAN this Saturday afternoon (12/6). News of the program was reported by the New York Daily news which says that Rosenberg and Taylor are working on a Florida radio project and that the idea was pitched to WFAN programmer Mark Chernoff who agreed to give the show an airing. Taylor’s agent – Mark Lepselter – tells the paper that his client became interested in doing a radio show and that his failed attempt as an analyst with TNT 20 years ago was exactly that: 20 years ago. Read the Daily News piece here.
Mike Florio to Take Over Midday Show on NBC Sports Radio. Beginning Monday, January 5, NBC Sports Radio debuts a new three-hour football-focused program featuring host Mike Florio. Florio is creator of ProFootballTalk on NBCSports.com and co-host of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN. NBC Sports Group and Westwood One say the show “will feature Florio’s critically acclaimed NFL insight, all-encompassing coverage of the league with the most current news and analysis, and thought-provoking debate. In addition, Florio will conduct interviews with a wide variety of NFL insiders, experts, players and coaches.” NBC Sports Ventures SVP Rob Simmelkjaer adds, “We are excited to bring Mike’s unparalleled NFL insight to our NBC Sports Radio team. The fan appetite for smart NFL talk is insatiable, and we are proud to bring them one of the most respected voices in the industry.”
Beasley Names Matt Smith to VP/Market Manager Post. Promoted from his interim market manager position at Beasley Broadcast Group’s Philadelphia stations WXTU and WRDW, Matt Smith is upped to vice president and market manager for the company’s Wilmington, Delaware FM adult contemporary WJBR and three Philly AM properties – sports talk WTEL (formerly WIP-AM), religion WTMR, and ethnic WWDB. Smith will report to Beasley Broadcast Group president Bruce Beasley.
Lessons Learned from Protests, Power Failures and Prolonged Snowfall. Three recent emergency events in different parts of the country are timely examples of the need for station operators to have comprehensive plans to broadcast in these situations, says ABC Television Network director, business continuity Howard B. Price. In a column published in TALKERS today (12/3), citing the unrest in Ferguson, the snow fall in Western New York and the major power outage in Detroit, Price writes, “If you wait for civil unrest to break out, wait until a blizzard is upon you, or wait until the lights go out before planning for and resourcing a response to these events, you have waited too long to make sure you can respond when your listeners and advertisers need you the most. Delaying the implementation of a robust emergency action plan – and properly resourcing it – exposes you to the risk of being ill prepared to respond quickly, competently and meaningfully. And a bad response – or worse, no response — may do irreparable damage to your reputation for reliability and service.” Read Price’s comprehensive and important story here.
KMOX, St. Louis Talk Host Charlie Brennan Challenges Missouri Traffic Camera Laws. The case of KMOX, St. Louis talk host Charlie Brennan is just one of three cases the Missouri Supreme Court heard earlier this week that are challenging the traffic camera citation policies in the state. Here’s the background: Brennan was cited with unsafe supervision of a vehicle – not the moving violation of speeding – after his car was clocked going 11 mph over the speed limit. He contested the ticket, insisting the city did not give him due process, violated state law, and could not demonstrate he was the driver. Brennan won his case in two lower courts. Now, the Missouri Supreme Court will issue a decision sometime in 2015 after hearing the three cases. Brennan says, “I challenged the speed camera ticket on several grounds. One of the big issues: the City of Moline Acres does not assess points, even though Missouri law requires such action for all moving violations. Some of us suspect the city does not assess points because it can’t identify the driver of the car!” Brennan is on vacation but says he’ll be back on Friday and his lawyers will appear on his show that day to talk about the matter that is irking many drivers across the country.
Odds & Sods. Bakersfield news/talker KERN is now heard on the FM band as American General Media begins simulcasting the station on translator K241CI, Bakersfield at 96.1 FM. AGM president Rogers Brandon comments, “The simulcast will allow KERN-AM and the excellent talent that we have on the station to be discovered by the vastly larger FM audience.”…..Ric Russo is named executive producer of the Bubba Radio Network – the syndication arm of the Bubba the Love Sponge program…..CRN Digital Talk Radio announces it is the new national radio home for Nancy Solari‘s radio program, “Living Full Out with Nancy Solari.” The program makes its CRN debut on Sunday, December 7 at 5:00 PM Eastern.
Kicking Off the Holiday Giving Season at Emmis. On Monday of this week, Emmis Communications chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan (left) kicked off the holiday season at the Emmis headquarters in Indianapolis. Smulyan is pictured here ringing the Salvation Army bell to initiate the Salvation Army Radiothon. He was joined by Emmis COO/CFO Patrick Walsh (right). This is the 20th year Emmis and news/talk WIBC, Indianapolis have hosted the Radiothon to support the work of the Salvation Army.
Ferguson Grand Jury Aftermath/Barkley Comments, Obama Amnesty Executive Order, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Extension of Tax Breaks, Sinking Oil Prices, and Bill Cosby Rape Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/2). The issues of police-African American relations and Charles Barkley’s comments in the aftermath of the Ferguson grand jury decision; the executive order by President Obama outlining a path to amnesty for illegal aliens; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the passing of legislation to extend tax breaks to millions of Americans; dropping oil prices and the effect on how much Americans are paying at the pump; and the fallout from the renewed rape allegations against Bill Cosby were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Joan Hamburg Show Cancelled at WOR, New York. When Clear Channel shuffled the daily lineup at news/talk WOR, New York to make room for Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity the long-running Joan Hamburg show moved to the weekend. Now, the company cancels the Saturday and Sunday version of the Joan Hamburg show. Hamburg had been a fixture on WOR since she joined the station in 1979.
Dave Elswick Lands at ’96.5 The Voice’ in Little Rock. Today, longtime Little Rock talk radio personality and programmer Dave Elswick begins hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show at Crain Media Group news/talk KHTE, England, Arkansas “96.5 The Voice.” (England is about 20 miles southeast of Little Rock). Elswick was most recently program director and afternoon drive host at Cumulus Media’s crosstown KARN-FM before exiting the station in early April.
Glenn Beck’s Lawyers Argue in Boston Libel Suit. In his case against Premiere Networks syndicated talk show host Glenn Beck, Abdulrahman Alharbi claims that Beck’s insistence that Alharbi financed the bombing attacks at the Boston Marathon in 2013 during on-air discussion of the incident reaches the level of libel. Alharbi claims that Beck’s continued assertion that he was part of the attacks after police questioned him and cleared him as a suspect caused him pain and suffering. Beck’s lawyers are not arguing Alharbi was part of the plot but they say the threshold for libel is very high and Beck’s actions do not rise to that level. The Boston Business Journal’s Eric Convey reports that Beck’s attorneys also argue that Beck’s speech is protected by the First Amendment. In the initial court filing, Alharbi claimed he was the target of harassment via the internet after Beck accused him of being a “bad, bad” person who financed the attacks even after police cleared him.
Entercom Names Abacast Digital Streaming Partner. The result of this partnership between Entercom and Abacast is that beginning in August of this year, Entercom stations will move to Abacast’s Clarity digital audio streaming and monetization platform. Entercom will use Clarity for ad insertion, campaign management and reporting, audience metrics, streaming, royalty reporting, and AbaPlay, The Everywhere Player. Entercom VP digital strategy & enterprise platforms Tim Murphy comments, “With the ultimate goal of offering the best listener and advertiser experience, Abacast was the clear choice. Abacast offers us the most innovative technology in the digital radio industry, and this partnership will allow us to continuously improve the end experience for listeners and advertisers as habits change and move toward mobile and targeted impressions.” In a statement, the companies say that Abacast Clarity provides Entercom with a cloud-based digital audio monetization service, enabling revenue from in-stream audio ads, synchronized banners for call‐to‐action campaigns, pre-roll video ads, and third‐party ad sales integration. Later this year, Entercom stations will be equipped with Abacast’s Skip Technology for Live Streams and MusicStart, offering features currently found only in playlist service to live radio streams. Abacast CEO Rob Green says, “We built our platform with unique targeting and streaming features to serve enterprise customers like Entercom and look forward to a strong partnership. With Entercom’s wide range of stations and reach combined with Abacast’s industry leading technology we look forward to serving Entercom and providing their entire listener base with a fantastic experience.”
Entercom Adds to FM Signals to ‘ESPN Upstate’ in Greenville-Spartanburg. Growing its “ESPN Upstate” sports talk brand, Entercom announces the addition of two FM signals to the multicast based at WORD-AM, Spartanburg and WYRD-AM, Greenville. The two signals are translators W290WB, Greenville at 105.9 and W246BU at 97.1 Spartanburg. The company says that “using optimized antennas and the most advanced broadcasting equipment available, ‘ESPN Upstate’ is now the most powerful and far-reaching sports station in the Greenville/Spartanburg market with two AM signals, 960 AM and 1330 AM; two FM signals, 97.1 FM and 105.9 FM; HD radio at WFBC-HD3; and 24/7 on-line streaming at www.espnupstate.com.” Entercom’s vice president and market manager Steve Sinicropi comments, “In three short months, ‘ESPN Upstate’ has become the fastest-growing and most powerful sports station in The Upstate. Adding the powerful ESPN brand to not only one, but two FM signals makes our already-powerful cluster of stations an even better advertiser choice to serve the important male audience. With 24-hour sports on ESPN Upstate, Clemson Football play-by-play on ‘93.3 The Planet’ and Carolina Panthers play-by-play on ‘Classic Rock 101.1,’ we deliver to an enormous audience.” In addition to ESPN programming, the stations air local sports talk shows “In the Huddle with Greg McKinney” and “Straight Up with Sturg.”
Doug Stephan and Dream Big America Celebrate One Year Programming Relationship. Over the course of the past year, Doug Stephan and Dream Big America have featured more than 100 startups on Stephan’s nationally syndicated “Good Day” every Tuesday during a special segment where entrepreneurs compete to win. Upon the recent partnership between Stephan’s Good Day and “My Cool Inventions,” the Dream Big America feature moves to Fridays from 9:00 am to 10:00 am ET joining Stephan and “My Cool Inventions” hosts Akos Jankura and John Cremeans. On June 6, three competing finalists from Monday-Thursday pitch their startup or product live on air. Listeners vote on their favorite, which is announced the following Friday. At the end of each month, those Friday finalists compete for the monthly grand prize of $20,000 worth of support and resources. Stephan says, “I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish this past year with Dream Big America. Helping others has always been a priority of mine and this is an ideal way to do that. These entrepreneurs have a voice on our show and a chance to achieve their dreams.”
Odds & Sods. It’s Monday morning of no sleeping in for WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk personality Simon Conway who tells TALKERS he’s proving once again that “sleep is overrated” as he fills in on Clear Channel’s sister news/talk WFLF, Orlando “Newsradio 102.5 WFLA” on the morning show today (6/2)…..Compass Media Networks announces its 2014 college football play-by-play schedule. The company notes it has a deal with Learfield Sports, which owns the local rights to more than 70 universities, and thus Compass can choose the games it wishes to make available. Some of the games Compass is offering this season include: Florida at Alabama on 9/20; Ohio State at Penn State on 10/25; and the Big Ten Championship game on 12/6…..“The Tailgate Tour” commences a new relationship with Yahoo! Sports Radio, after concluding a 14-year association with Fox Sports Radio. NFuse 360 Marketing managing partner Jay Freedman comments, “We are very excited to be working with Yahoo! Sports Radio. Many radio stations on ‘game day Saturday’ try to own the position that they are the ‘go-to home’ for sports, and that they are there with the fans but they are not. The Tailgate Tour will put Yahoo! Sports Radio into the heartbeat of the largest games in the country.” Gow Broadcasting chief executive officer David Gow states, “This is a great step for us. Jay and his team are the best in the field. We are delighted to be onsite with them at some of the biggest games of the season.” Gow Broadcasting – in partnership with Yahoo! Sports – owns and operates Yahoo! Sports Radio. The Tailgate Tour will kick off at the start of college football season and be on the road for 14 straight weeks reaching a schedule and fans in the SEC, Big 10, ACC and Big 12. As The Tailgate Tour’s official radio network, Yahoo! Sports Radio will have complete access to tours assets, as well as a joint promotional platform and sales channel…..Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is signed up to once again make regular weekly appearances on CBS RADIO‘s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan” for the upcoming NFL season. Roethlisberger’s show airs Tuesdays at 11:00 am during The Fan’s Cook & Poni Show beginning September 9. Program director Ryan Maguire comments, “We’re thrilled that Ben has agreed to join us once again every week during the football season. The Fan has become a destination station for Steeler fans during the week with insight on the team they can’t get anywhere else.”
Ten Added to Conclave’s 2014 – 2015 Board of Directors. Joining the board are Pittsburgh voiceover talent/producer Drake Donovan; Jacobs Media digital/social media strategist Lori Lewis; Lakeland Broadcasting president Steve Linder; Corus, Vancouver brand manager Ronnie Stanton; KEEZ, Mankato, Minnesota program director Brad Steele; sales broker Phil Strider; Nicolet Broadcasting Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin’s Roger Utnehmer; and RadioGeorge.com founder/CEO George Woods. Veteran smooth jazz programmer Michael Fisher and WCWI-FM, Adams, Wisconsin operations manager Bob Goff rejoin the board. Conclave board chair/RCS sales manager Mark Bolke remarks, “This newly reformed board is a direct result of the industry outreach the Conclave began over the winter, soliciting the help of interested individuals in helping the organization rise to new challenges. We are thrilled that so many extremely talented and respected individuals have chosen to come on board for the next year. The new members, including professionals who are actively engaged in ownership, management, programming, sales, production, research, and new media, add a wealth of experience and perspective to the Conclave.” Incumbent board members include Bolke; Jane Dyson; Vallie-Richards-Donovan consultant Harv Blain; Conclave executive director emeritus Tom Kay, and BMI vice president of industry relations Dan Spears.
Leslie Marshall Scores Role in Indie Sci-Fi Flick. Talk media personality Leslie Marshall has a part in a new indie sci-fi film called The App. The movie stars Sean Faris, Sarah Roemer, Frank Deal, James Saito and Marshall. According to Variety, production starts today in New York City. The story centers on “a brilliant mind’s descent into madness.” Variety writes that “the story was inspired by the massive use of new technologies which intersect with psychopharmacology for therapeutic purposes.”
Yalies Reunite in New Haven! An unlikely gathering of public figures is seen here as Salem Radio Network talk host Michael Medved (center) was in New Haven, Connecticut on Friday, May 30 for his Yale University class reunion. He was joined by several prominent fellow Yale alums including: longtime Connecticut Senator and 2000 Democratic V.P. nominee Joe Lieberman (second from left) and former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft (right). All joined Medved on his nationally syndicated radio show. Also pictured here are: Hadassah Lieberman (left), Dr. Diane Medved (third from left), and Janet Ashcroft (second from right).
By Steven J.J. Weisman
BOSTON –– The recent dismissal in California of soccer star, celebrity David Beckham’s libel lawsuit against In Touch magazine has brought attention to the nuances of American libel law. Beckham sued the magazine for an article that asserted that Beckham cheated on his wife with a prostitute in New York in 2007. Beckham provided affidavits to the court that indicated that on two specific instances stated in the In Touch article, he was not at the hotel she claimed. In one instance he was visiting his father in England.
But Judge Manuel Real was unmoved by Beckham’s arguments because to Judge Real, it was irrelevant whether or not the story was true or not. The only issue was whether or not the magazine had printed the story maliciously.