Tag: "Lincoln Kennedy"

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

| January 3, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 7, 2011

| October 7, 2011

KFI, Los Angeles Cancels Meeting with Immigrant Rights Group.  Clear Channel Los Angeles market manager Greg Ashlock tells the Los Angeles Times he canceled a meeting with heads of regional immigrants’ rights advocacy groups because their request to meet became an ultimatum that John & Ken be fired.  The groups became upset after KFI PM drive hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou gave the cell phone number of activist Jorge-Mario Cabrera over the air telling listeners to let him know how they feel about his support for California legislation called ‘The Dream Act’ that would provide educational financial assistance to illegal aliens.  Cabrera says he received more than 400 phone calls – some very angry and filled with foul language.  KFI management had initially agreed to meet with activist leader to discuss the issue but Ashlock tells the Times, “I’m more than happy to sit down with anybody who has a concern and talk it out but we’re not going to be held hostage to demands that are outlandish.”  Leaders of the groups say they will boycott the John & Ken show.

Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix to Debut New Local Show.  Yesterday we told you Premiere’s Glenn Beck was joining the lineup at Clear Channel’s crosstown KFYI.  That’s because he’s leaving KTAR-FM and Bonneville responds by getting back to “its old roots” with an “all-local-news daytime focus.”  The Karie & Chuck show hits the air later this month in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot featuring 20-year KTAR staffer Karie Dozer and market sports talk personality Chuck Powell.  Powell and on-air partner Vince Marotta have been hosting the AM drive show at Sandusky’s sports KDUS since January.  Powell, Marotta and sales pro Lee Rosenthal formed GOAT Media Group to create, produce and sell the program to the station.  Powell is wrapping up that deal before joining KTAR-FM.  Bonneville Phoenix VP for news and sports content Ryan Hatch says of the new show, “The chemistry between Karie and Chuck is off the charts.  They are two distinct, smart and fun personalities who bring unique perspectives from their life experiences.  This show will connect emotionally and intellectually with our audience in a meaningful, relatable way.”  The new program is described as being “built around conversations on current events and the biggest news stories of the day.  It features local and national news stories, political issues, pop culture and entertainment along with regular interviews with newsmakers.”

Willy Daunic Exits Cumulus’ WGFX-FM, Nashville.  Willy Daunic worked alongside longtime WGFX-FM PM drive host George Plaster since 2003 on “The Sports Zone” program.  Now, just a month after Plaster left the station, Daunic fails to come to contract terms on a renewal of his deal that expired August 31 and he exits.  The Tennessean reports Daunic says of his exit, “My time at 104.5 The Zone was the best eight years of my radio career.  The success that we’ve had and the fun that we’ve had is something I’ll always cherish.  Starting the show from scratch and seeing it build into what it is today was tremendously rewarding.”

Premiere Networks to Distribute DIRECTV’s “Nick and Artie Show.”  The sports/comedy program featuring comic personalities Artie Lange and Nick DiPaolo, being produced by DIRECTV and currently being streamed on the web is being offered to radio stations via Premiere Networks.  DIRECTV says a video simulcast of the program will be added to its Audience Network “next year.”  The program was developed over the summer with Lange and DiPaolo doing some sub work for the Tony Bruno show on Fox Sports Radio.  However, the program is not airing on Fox Sports Radio Network.  FSRN filled Tony Bruno’s old 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot with “Fox Sports Tonight” hosted by Mike North and Lincoln Kennedy.  The “Nick and Artie Show” also airs live in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am time slot.

NRG Omaha Adds Two Veteran AEs to its Sales Team.  NRG Media general sales manager Heather Gossett announces Omaha market sales pros Vickie Majorek and Kim Earl join the sales staff at its seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KKAR and sports KOZN.  Gossett states, “Vickie’s and Kim’s passion and love for radio makes them the problem solvers for clients in the Omaha Metro Area.  They never fail to make a difference in the life of a client and their business.  They strive to provide results in all that they do…it’s truly what makes the difference at NRG Media in Omaha.”

TALKERS Affiliation Roundup.  Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck joins KFYI, Phoenix for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot…..Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis picks up WVNJ, Oakland, New Jersey as an affiliate…..KCJJ, Iowa City signs United Stations Radio NetworksLex & Terry for middays at the station…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with Chris Markowski adds KNIF-FM, Boise…..The Dr. Dahlia show joins the Genesis Communications Network and picks up affiliates KBOZ, Bozeman, Montana; WSRJ, Traverse City, Michigan; WSRT, Petoskey, Michigan; and WGGH, Marion, Illinois…..“Gun Talk” with Tom Gresham is added to the program schedule at KZYM, Joplin, Missouri; WHUB, Cookeville, Tennessee; KVFC, Cortez, Colorado; KNPT, Newport, Oregon; and KBSZ, Apache Junction, Arizona…..Delta Media’s “Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds the program to affiliates WEBY, Milton/Pensacola, Florida; KJJR, Kalispell, Montana; and KWKC, Abilene, Texas…..“The Rose Hollywood Report” with Shannon Rose picks up CKTB, St. Catharines, Ontario.

Obama Jobs Bill/Economic Policy Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 3-7.  President Obama’s jobs bill and his administration’s economic policy was the topic that landed at the top of the Talkers TenTM this week.  According to ongoing research from TALKERS, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests were the #2 story of the week.  The 2012 presidential race was #3 and coming in at #4 was the European economic jitters and the strike and violence in Greece.  The Talkers TenTM is published weekly at Talkers.com.  To view the week’s entire chart, click on the banner below.