Tag: "Long Island"

Sunday, June 7, 2015

| June 7, 2015

Mike Agovino“Back to the Future” Moments for PodcastOne’s Agovino. As part of his “weird-new” role as PodcastOne executive vice chair, Mike Agovino is discovering more “differences” in the podcast marketplace than “commonalities” to challenges encountered the last ten years by digital music and broadcast streaming entities. “It is much less about the science of advertising and it is much more about the art of advertising,” he remarks to Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey in a 30-minute, one-on-one interview during this past week’s hivio 2015 conference. Having spent ten years inside Triton Digital as its chief operating officer, Agovino recounts that the company had “an ad platform, a content delivery network, and it built apps for people. With hundreds of brand names across the canvass, there is a very scientific approach to connecting the right ad to the right person at the right time to create some kind of results,” he declares. “It is so much ‘science’ that, if you live in it long enough, you lose your feel for the ‘art.'” Approximately 27 years ago, self-described Howard Stern “freak” Agovino was living in New York and faithfully listened to the fabled morning man every day. When it was time for the former president of Katz Radio and ex-chief operating officer of Clear Channel Radio Sales to lease a new car, he drove 15 miles out of his way to the Long Island dealership for which Stern regularly voiced a paid endorsement. “That was me saying ‘thank-you’ to Howard,” Agovino emphasizes. “It was not me necessarily wanting” to give that particular establishment the business but “it was me giving appreciation to Howard for all the laughs.” Stern’s “influence” over Agovino to sign the car lease was considerable and as he hastens to add, that meant he had to drive that extra 30-mile (roundtrip) distance “forPodcastOne every service visit” for a three-year period. “It is love for a show,” Agovino insists. “That was not part of my last ten years but it is very much part of what we do at PodcastOne, so it is “back to the future.’ It is digital media, but it is one-to-one and back to the art form of what made me fall in love with radio advertising.” When Agovino gets together with his former Katz co-workers, he points out there is considerable laughter. “We enjoy what we went through back then and we talk about how much fun the business was. More times than not, when you get in a discussion with someone you have known for 25 – 30 years in the audio business, the closer you get to the present moment in the discussion, the less fun you will be having. That sucks for all of us and it is unfortunate.” He has, however, rediscovered the ‘art’ piece of the business and Agovino did not realize how much he missed it. What he has found to become important on the podcast side is that, “It is almost less about targeting a listener and more about making sure you have a great match of product to host. When you try to apply the science of audio impressions to what is happening right now in podcasting, none of the numbers work. They do not make any sense because … there are no rules. We might say to someone who is the right match with the right host we won’t let anyone else in because the credibility of this voice speaking about your brand will last as long as we can continue to make the acquisition of customers in that model an efficient thing for you.” PodcastOne is looking at having its hosts talk about an advertiser a minimum of two minutes throughout the course of an hour without, as Agovino explains, “doing it more than ten seconds at any point – and there is no copy. It has to start from a place of authenticity. The host has to ‘buy-into’ the product or you move onto the next host because it is not going to work for the long haul.” One of the “most traumatic” days in Agovino’s radio sales career occurred when his rep firm lost WMAL, Washington, D.C. but picked up cross-town WTOP the same day. For years, he had been proudly touting WMAL as “the voice of news” in the nation’s capital. “If you approach this with deep sincerity,” he remarks, “it is difficult” to suddenly knock on doors, talking up what had been the competition. “Traditional” ratings metrics, Agovino opines, will not matter that much in this space, although he concedes, “They will happen” and they are “easy enough to produce.” Much more important will be “attribution metrics and convergent metrics. There are many ways to analyze how a particular show produces results within a specific category.” The most recent stats Agovino has seen indicate there are 21.3 million hours of podcasting listening a day. “It is hard to know how big the universe is and how big a piece of that universe you have,” he mentions. A different economic model exists in podcasting since, as Agovino explains, “For the most part, the hosts are taking risks with you and they hivio 2015are not getting guaranteed seven-figure annual checks: We are in this together.” He suggests, “If you have a talent who has influence and impact on a ‘tribe,’ figure out a way to [do a podcast], but you cannot do what you did with streaming. You cannot move it over to digital and expect it to work. This is an infinite dial with niches and sub-niches. Expansion of shows will be tremendous. Things that we are doing and bringing up are ‘kid-in-a-candy store’ stuff for me.”

Richard LaemerPublic Relations Maven Defines “GMOOT.” After working as public relations director at the Columbia Business School, Richard Laermer founded RLM PR in 1991. He was among the participants at Los Angeles’ hivio 2015 seminar who maintains the audio world is in a state of flux. “Many brands underestimate their audience,” Laermer notes to Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey in a one-on-one interview. “There is no sense of teasing-out the information about that brand, starting with something small; building upon it; and getting people excited about it.” Referring to Google as the “ultimate PR player, author-media trainer-blogger Laermer states, “They have built upon one message, which is the democratization of everything – even their missteps have always been messaged as the democratization of ‘X,’ ‘Y,’ or ‘Z.’ I respect that a great deal.” One major problem with brands is that everything is short-lived. “In the PR and advertising world, we refer to it as ‘GMOOT,'” Laermer points out of the “Get Me One Of Those” acronym. People who stand behind things “get ahead much faster,” he states. “That seems like common sense but as Aristotle said, ‘There is nothing common about common sense.’ Every single person we interact with – regardless of age – is looking for something to talk about and something to report. If we are consistent, we have the ability to give them that.” It is Laermer’s contention that “public figures” such as on-air personalities and podcasters need to convey what they stand for, “what they believe in, and what they are certain about” because,RLM PR Logo “These are things that people actually care about. People do want to know what a ‘personality’ thinks about ‘the issues.’ In the land of the tease, you want to be certain that people will come back for more.” Advising that, “It cannot be about the technology,” Laermer states, “It has to be about who are you and what you are putting out there.” Featuring 11 Ramsey-conducted interviews and five presentations, the two-day hivio 2015 conference was held Thursday (6/4) and Friday (6/5) at Hollywood comedy club The Improv.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

| May 26, 2015

eastlanratings logoDick Broadcasting Signs with Eastlan Ratings for Triad Market Stations.  Certainly this is big news for the Bellevue, Washington-based ratings firm as Dick Broadcasting is the first broadcaster to sign on with Eastlan in a market served by Nielsen Audio’s PPM surveys.  This story doesn’t involve a spoken-word radio station as Dick operates only classic rock WKRR “Rock 92” and CHR WKZL in the Triad market, but it’s one broadcasters of all stripes find interesting.  According to a press release issued by Eastlan, under the terms of a new multi-year agreement, the company will field its initial audience measurement study in the Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem market this summer.  Dick Broadcasting VP/GM Dick Harlow comments, “I was surprised to learn that we are the first to make this switch in a PPM market.  The meter was supposed to be the savior and all it’s done is increase our annual payments to Nielsen.  And now we find out to win in the PPM game you need a magic black box to job the system.  At some point, enough is enough.  We look forward to working with Eastlan Ratings to see who people in the Triad choose to listen to rather than who they are exposed to.  Plus the sample size will be about triple the number of meters now in the market.”  Eastlan president and CEO Mike Gould adds, “After more than 16 years of providing radio ratings in markets coast-to-coast, we’re finding broadcasters and media buyers who don’t know the Eastlan story are few and far between.  Our methodological hybrid of telephone recall (landline and cellular) and e-surveys isn’t sexy but it’s fair and it’s reliable.  We are thankful that Dick and his colleagues trust Eastlan as their preferred ratings vendor.  We are going to help save them a lot of money by getting their ratings investment back in line with the realities of today’s radio revenue stream.”

kollinsdonKollins to Program KGMZ, San Francisco.  San Francisco sports talker KGMZ “95.7 The Game” has a new PD two-and-a-half months after Jason Barrett exited the position for family reasons.  Entercom announces Don Kollins assumes the post on June 12.  Company market vice president Steve DiNardo says, “After an exhaustive search, the best choice was located north of us – way north – in Canada!  We’rekgmzlogo excited to have Don join the San Francisco programming team.  He comes to us with an established record of success – specifically in sports and news/talk formats.  His experience in managing both play-by-play relationships with professional sports teams as well as personalities makes him the ideal choice for this position.  Under Don’s leadership, I’m confident that we will continue to build on the successes that Jason Barrett achieved during his four-year tenure as PD.”  Kollins comes to Entercom from Rogers-owned CJCL, Toronto “SportsNet 590 The Fan.”

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison and Richard Neer Reminisce About Their First Two and a Half Years in Radio.  There’s a whole lot of ancient radio and pop cultural history discussed in this week’s installment of the hit international podcast for media freaks, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” as the TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher is joined by his close friend and colleague of 48 years – Richard Neer – in an intimate conversation about how they met in 1967 at their first job at the same radio station, WLIR-FM, Long Island.  They were teenage broadcasters struggling to survive in their first toe-hold as pros (while still attending college) at a small beautiful/classical music-formatted FM station in Garden City where they served as staff announcers/news readers and engineers thatneerrichard fumbled their way through the challenging process of learning to run the board and announce records that were targeted to a far older audience while trying to avoid the wrath of a demanding owner.  By 1970, they had learned their craft under fire and actually became quite good at it, earning the respect of WLIR’s owner, John Rieger, who appointed Harrison program director and Neer music director of a new progressive rock format for the station that the duo suggested.  As it turned out, the station’s new format was an instant smash, WLIR-FM went from obscurity to national prominence, and Harrison and Neer were catapulted, within 10 months of the new format’s debut, to highly coveted, on-air positions at the legendary WNEW-FM, New York.  Both went on to colorful 48-year careers in music, talk and sports radio as well as trade publishing.  Neer subsequently wrote FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001) which still stands as a widely quoted reference work about the golden era of album rock broadcasting.  To hear the podcast in its entirety and enjoy descriptive insights into what it was like to be a couple of kids in small-time radio back in the late-1960s, please click here or the player box located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

ksfologoKSFO, San Francisco Raises $135,000 for Fisher House Foundation. During the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Cumulus Media-owned news/talker KSFO, San Francisco’s morning show with Brian Sussman, Katie Green and Sheri Yee helped raise $136,000 for the Fisher House Foundation.  The “KSFO Morning Show” broadcast live from the Palo Alto Fisher House Friday morning from 5:00 am to 9:00 am and featured interviews with soldiers and their families who have used Fisherfisherhouselogo House’s services.  Listeners donated online and by phone during the live broadcast and throughout the Memorial Day weekend.  KSFO supported the fundraiser through on-air recorded and live promotional announcements, listings on KSFO.com and a message from Brian Sussman on the KSFO newsletter.  This is the fifth consecutive year for KSFO’s Memorial Day weekend fundraising effort.  KSFO has raised more than $600,000 for Fisher House Foundation over the past five years.  Sussman comments, “Once again the KSFO audience has revealed its profound patriotism!  This kind of generous giving is representative of the American spirit.”

redstatetalkradioConservative Talk Digital Platforms Merge.  Effective June 1, the two conservative talk digital platforms Red State Talk Radio and WDFP Digital will become one network.  Red State Talk Radio program director Premo Mondone says, “Our goal is simple.  We will utilize the growing technology of digital broadcasting to produce the very best in grassroots, common sense, conservative programming.  This merger will allow Red State Talk Radio to move to the next level.  Put simply, I think that in time, we can establish ourselves as the dominant conservative Internet talk radio station in America.”  Joining the newly merged company will be WDFP’s Donna Fiducia (formerly of the Fox News Channel) and Don Neuen, co-host of “Cowboy Logic Radio.”  The result of the merger will be new programs joining the Red State network and the platform will broadcast two digital streams (Studio A & Studio B), which will allow the station more capacity and flexibility.  It also plans to bring new contributors on board.

westwoodoneLacrosse15WW1 Wraps NCAA Lacrosse Title Game Coverage.  The championship game for college lacrosse was played over the weekend at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia with the Denver University Pioneers beating Maryland to claim the school’s first title.  Pictured here is Westwood One announcer Jason Horowitz (left) interviewing winning coach Bill Tierney (right).

ISIS Progress in Iraq and Syria, Hillary Clinton Emails Case, 2016 Presidential Prospects, B.B. King Murder Allegations, Texas-Oklahoma Floods, Memorial Day Weekend, NBA-NHL Playoffs, and Anne Meara Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/25).   The military progress of ISIS taking territory in both Iraq and Syria; the ongoing talk about Hillary Clinton’s use of private emails for State Department business; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the allegation by B.B. King’s family that he was poisoned by two associates; the severe floods affecting parts of Texas and Oklahoma; the Memorial Day holiday; the weekend’s NBA and NHL playoff action; and the death of comedienne and actress Anne Meara were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

| December 24, 2013

TALKERS Magazine Compiles News/Talk Radio’s Most Talked-About Stories and People of 2013.  As is customary at year’s end, the research editors of TALKERS magazine compile the most-talked-about stories and people of the just-concluded 12-month period.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “2013 was an extremely colorful year with a diversity of subjects and people being discussed.  There was the usual mix of partisan politics, foreign affairs, economic policy and, of course, the shockingly unexpected such as the Boston Marathon tragedy.”  Casey continues, “The President of the United States has always been the most talked about person going back to the very beginning of this publication 24 years ago and George Bush’s involvement in the first Persian Gulf War.  Barack Obama, like his predecessors in the modern age of talk broadcasting, has not left talk show hosts wanting for hot material on a daily basis.”


1)   ObamaCare Rollout
2)   Benghazi Attack Investigation
3)   IRS Accused of Targeting Conservative Groups
4)   Debt Ceiling/Govt. Shutdown/Sequestration Battle
5)   NSA Domestic Spying/Edward Snowden Case
6)   Boston Marathon Bombing
7)   GOP 2014 and 2016 Strategy
8)   Gun Legislation Debate
9)    Iran Nuke Threat
10)  Syria Civil War
11)  Fed Stimulus Policy/Dow Surpasses 16,000
12)  DOJ Journalist Investigations
13)  Immigration Reform
14)  George Zimmerman Trial
15)  Afghanistan Security Withdrawl
16)  Egypt Violence/Instability
17)  N. Korea Nuke Threat
18)  Detroit Bankruptcy
19)  Pope Francis Replaces Benedict
20)  SCOTUS Gay Marriage Ruling


1)  Barack Obama
2)  John Boehner
3)  Nancy Pelosi
4)  Harry Reid
5)  Hillary Clinton
6)  John Kerry
7)  Rush Limbaugh
8)  Ted Cruz
9)  Chris Christie
10)  Paul Ryan
11)  Kathleen Sebelius
12)  Edward Snowden
13)  Vladimir Putin
14)  George Zimmerman
15)  Trayvon Martin
16)  Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev
17)  Kim Jong Un
18)  Pope Francis
19)  Ben Bernanke
20)  Eric Holder

Radio Industry Sees Major Developments and Changes in 2013.  The combined editorial staffs of RadioInfo and TALKERS magazines have posted the 10 biggest stories of importance to the entire radio industry (music and talk) that took place in 2013.  They are as follows in order of importance:

1)      Nielsen Acquires Arbitron
2)      Developments in Emergence of the Connected Car
3)      Network Sports Talk Radio Growth Explosion
4)      Radio Company-Label Deals/Digital Royalty Rate Issue
5)      Cumulus Acquires (Dial Global) WestwoodOne
6)      Growth of Digital Music Service Providers
7)      Limbaugh and Hannity Station Realignment Deals Negotiated
8)      FCC Announces AM Band Revitalization Strategy
9)      Progressive Talk Outlets Continue to Disappear
10)   Country Music Format Enjoys Resurgence

brooksstanIndustry Mourns WINS, New York Senior Correspondent Stan Brooks.  Legendary WINS, New York newsman Stan Brooks passed away yesterday (12/23) at his home at age 86.  He’d been serving as senior correspondent for CBS RADIO’s WINS, New York – the station he’d been with for the past 50 years.  Brooks started working for the station in 1962 when it was a top 40 station and stayed with it through its transition to all-news.  WINS director of news and programming Ben Mevorach says of Brooks, “Like every challenge he has ever faced, Stan met this final one with the same class, dignity and humility that defined every day of his almost 87 years on this earth. There will never be another one like him.”  EVP of operations for CBS RADIO Scott Herman adds, “Not only was Stan Brooks a walking encyclopedia on NYC politics he was one of the finest, decent and most dignified men who ever lived.  We were lucky to have him on 1010 WINS for the past 51 years and we will never ever forget him.”  Read about Brooks’ life and career in a piece from CBS New York here.

wrcn logoJVC Broadcasting Prepares for Launch of ‘Long Island News Radio 103.9’ on Thursday.  Long Island-based JVC Broadcasting announces the lineup for its soon-to-be former rock outlet WRCN, Riverhead, New York branded “Long Island News Radio 103.9.”  TALKERS reported two weeks ago that the station’s studio will be located in the terminal of the Long Island MacArthur Airports – a physical reminder of the local intentions of this new station for the Long Islanders who use the facility.  Now to the lineup: morning drive is being hosted by Jay Oliver; the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show is Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade and Friends; local host John Gomez is handling the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot followed by the local, one-hour show “Breaking it Down with Frank Mackay.”  Premiere Networks superstar Sean Hannity is in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot and Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

bowenrobbyRobby Bowen Upped at CBS RADIO’s ‘105.3 The Fan.’  Sales pro Robby Bowen is promoted to general sales manager for CBS RADIO sports talker KRLD-FM, Dallas “105.3 The FAN.”  Bowen joined CBS RADIO Dallas-Fort Worth in February 2005 as an account executive for the station, which was at that time KLLI-FM.  During his time there he has served as local sales manager and most recently was senior account director.

wjfkholdendannyChanges in Middays at WJFK-FM, Washington Raise Questions.  According to Dan Steinberg’s column in the Washington Post, the midday lineup at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington, DC is in flux after the station announced Holden Kushner will be moving to other duties including weekends, fill-in and participating in Washington Nationals coverage.  Kushner was paired up with Danny Rouhier who reportedly will host the show solo today (12/24) and then be on vacation through December 30.  What happens after that is uncertain.  The station is expected to announce plans for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm daypart in the New Year but already the news is cause for speculation.  With the arrival of Don Geronimo from the company’s KHTK, Sacramento earlier this fall (currently hosting evenings), DC radio fans are wondering if he’ll return to a daytime show on the station.  Geronimo and former partner Mike O’Meara held down afternoon drive at the station when it was a hot talker from 1991 through 2008.

walshmattMatt Walsh Exits WLAP, Lexington; Sean Hannity to Air in PM Drive.  Writer and talk show host Matt Walsh announces that his contract with Clear Channel’s WLAP, Lexington, Kentucky is up and as the station is filling the afternoon drive slot with Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity, he’s leaving AM/FM talk radio for good.  In a post on his blog, Walsh explains that although he has nothing but good things to say about his time at WLAP, he’s going to focus on his blog that he says has “between three and five million people” reading it every month.  As for his time at WLAP, he says, “WLAP took a chance on me, gave me a show, gave me the freedom to handle the topics in my own way, and surrounded me with a highly intelligent and passionate supporting cast.  I’m grateful for that, as these things are certainly not a given in this industry.”

nab logoNAB Acquires Two Events: CCW and SATCON.  The National Association of Broadcasters announces it has purchased the assets of the Content and Communications World (CCW) and Satellite Communications Conference and Expo (SATCON) events from JD Events.  The two events are held annually in November and are co-located at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.  In a press statement, the NAB says that “CCW is the leading media, entertainment and communications technology event of its kind in New York with a focus on content creation, management and delivery technologies.  SATCON offers education and exhibits serving companies in the satellite-enabled communications and content delivery industry.”  EVP of NAB Conventions and Business Operations Chris Brown comments, “We have made these additions to the NAB event family with the goal of growing both the attendee and exhibitor base of what has emerged as an important East Coast venue for the content community.  We look forward to developing this event and serving the unique needs of this very important media market.”

nielsen logoNieslen Audio December PPM Data Released.  The December 2013 PPM ratings data is being released by Nielsen Audio – currently numbers for the first 12 markets have been made public – and that information can be found at the site of TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo.  Check out the main page for managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian’s “Ten Takeaways” here or go straight to the full ratings data here.

musciovecchioOdds & Sods.  Premiere Networks-distributed 24/7 Comedy – the 24-hour, all-comedy format – will ring in the New Year with a countdown of the top 247 comedy bits from the top 247 comedians.  The program is compiled by staff and listeners who voted on 24/7 Comedy’s Facebook page or called the laugh-line at 218-Chuckle.  The countdown will air nationwide all day New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and will feature Chris Rock, Louis C.K., Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Aziz Ansari, Bill Engvall, Jerry Seinfeld and Rodney Dangerfield…..KFMB, San Diego weekend program “It’s Your Money and Your Life” picked up three first place awards from the San Diego Press Club for “Excellence in Journalism.”  The show currently originates from La Jolla’s prestigious La Valencia Hotel and airs Saturdays from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm, hosted by Richard Muscio (left) and Joe Vecchio (right).

Monday, November 18, 2013

| November 18, 2013

milhaventornadocoverageTornado Damage Reported Via Multi-Media on McGraw Milhaven Show.  The series of tornadoes that swept across the Midwest on Sunday left serious damage in New Minden, Illinois – about an hour East of St. Louis.  The photo you see here is from the video component of KTRS, St. Louis morning host McGraw Milhaven’s online platform.  Since the spring, Milhaven has been partnering with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s StlToday.com site to present his program in a video format.  Today, he used that medium to his advantage as reporter Michael Golde was able to report back to the studio via Skype and show viewers scenes from the storm-damaged town and converse with Milhaven and news anchor Kelly Jackson.  In posting the video on YouTube, Milhaven comments, “KTRS Radio in St Louis is the only radio station in the country to show live video of storm-damaged areas of Ill. to listeners on laptops, desktops and smartphones as well as the radio.”

wrcnlogoJVC Media to Flip Rock WRCN, Long Island to News/Talk After Christmas.  Longtime rocker WRCN, Riverhead, New York has stopped playing “everything that rocks” and has gone Christmas music through the holidays.  But after Christmas, the station will emerge as a news/talk outlet dubbed “LI News Radio 103.9.”  JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo explains the company’s thinking in a statement: “WRCN has a long history and heritage on Long Island – many of us have grown up with the station and it has become an intricate part of our lives.  But as our lives change so does our soundtrack.  What we listened to growing up is not necessarily what we listen to now and what was important to us as teenagers maybe doesn’t seem so important anymore.  That’s why we made the decision to change WRCN and develop and program a radio station that fits the needs of Long Island…Long Islanders are starving for local news and information.  Why should we have to wait 22 minutes to hear about the world when all we really want is Islip to Southampton?  What’s the traffic like on the 347 merge or Sunrise Highway in Oakdale?  This station will not only serve as your information source but it will be your sounding board for issues that influence your life, your community and your business.”  Talent that has been announced to be part of the new format includes Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Sean Hannity and Cumulus Media Networks personality Mark Levin as well as local hosts Ernie Fasio, Vic Fusco, John Gomez, Kevin Law, Steve Levy, Frank McKay, and Jay Oliver.

thomaslindaLinda Thomas to Exit KIRO-FM, Seattle.  Morning news anchor and reporter Linda Thomas announces she will be leaving Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle at the end of the year for a new opportunity that, as she says, “doesn’t involve being at work by 2:00 am.”  In a blog post at the company’s Mynorthwest.com, she writes, “My Bonneville Seattle bosses understand and support my decision too, even though they don’t want me to leave.  That’s what family members do.  I’ll always be grateful for them, and for you.”  Thomas first worked at KIRO in 1988 as an overnight editor and became morning drive anchor in 1993.  She left the station to work as a freelancer but returned to KIRO-FM as morning anchor in 2010.  She adds, “KIRO’s news, talk and online teams are the best in the business.  It’s been an honor to work alongside amazing talent.  I’ve learned a lot from all my co-workers.  They encourage me, challenge me, and make me laugh on a daily basis. I really do love them.”

wrightmichelleMichelle Wright Let Go from All-News WYAY, Atlanta.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho tips us that morning drive co-anchor Michelle Wright has been let go from Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY, Atlanta “All-News 106.7.”  Andy Rose remains in AM drive solo.  The speculation is that the recent hiring of Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson to host a talk show in middays and the acquisition of Atlanta Braves baseball required some cuts in other areas of the station and Wright was the unfortunate victim.  She was one of the original staffers when Cumulus decided to turn WYAY into an all-news station in May of 2012.  She had previously worked at Atlanta-based CNN Radio before joining Cumulus.

pittmanbobCEOs Make the Grade.  Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman and EmmisJeff Smulyan were both the subjects of feature stories in newspapers over the weekend – Pittman in The New York Times and Smulyan in thesmulyanjeff Indianapolis Star.  In a Q&A titled, the Value of Dissent, Pittman says he encouraged dissenters in his organization because they serve a valuable purpose.  “I want us to listen to these dissenters because they may intend to tell you why we can’t do something, but if you listen hard, what they’re really telling you is what you must do to get something done.  It gets you out of your framework of the conventions of what you can and can’t do.”  Read that piece here.  Jeff Smulyan tells the Star in his Q&A that the best piece of advice he’s received has to do with employer-employee relationships, “Attract the best people, treat them well, and let them do their job.  If you want people to go through walls for you, you have to go through more walls for them.”  Read that story here.

millerchrisThe View of Radio from the Digital World’s Perspective.  Noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller writes, “Those of us in digital media know that our world will continue to change drastically, over and over again.  We also know that we will be bigger and better three years…five years…10 years from now.  Plus, we hear how radio compares itself to online listening choices, and we see how you use your digital platforms.  And here’s what we think.”  In a new column posted today (11/18) Miller goes on to state that digital-only people still have “transmitter envy” and that even though more and more people and media are moving online, the stick is still a formidable asset.  Regardless, he points out that many digital-only professionals think that over-the-air radio companies are “crazy” for cutting talent, still selling 60-second commercials, and not being cognizant of just how much entertainment is changing.  He clearly explains what digital pros see as radio’s “dangerous assumption.”  He observes, “I look at a lot of different radio social media, websites, database emails and texting programs, and it’s clear you’re making some dangerous assumptions.  Digital content doesn’t work like you think it should.  It doesn’t work like you wish it did.  It works like it works.  We see you on Facebook and Twitter talking about almost anything…except what people really love about you.  Your websites are a mish-mosh of broad-based content, but if you look at your web stats, there are fewer than half-a-dozen features at your site that, combined, get the lion’s share of your page views.  There is nothing special or exclusive about the emails you send your listeners, and your open rates prove it.  Radio people know a lot about how people use radio.  Meanwhile, you are using all these other media as if knowing how they work doesn’t matter.  One key thing we’re doing to drive our online success is to track everything we can to see what really makes a difference.  We don’t have the luxury of having opinions about what should work.  Either the clicks are there, or they aren’t.  What we do either works, or it doesn’t.  If it doesn’t, you dig in, diagnose the problem, and adjust.”  To read Chris Miller’s entire column, please click here.

rhodesrandiPremiere Reverses Course; Keeps Randi Rhodes on Syndication Menu. There are no reports indicating just what happened between Randi Rhodes and syndicator Premiere Networks but the latter is confirming the widely reported news that Rhodes will continue to be syndicated by Premiere, at least through 2014.  Premiere SVP of affiliate relationspremierenetworks logo Peter Tripi emailed affiliates, “In a happy turn of events, we are pleased to announce that Premiere Networks will continue to produce and distribute the Randi Rhodes show.  In an industry of constant change, it’s a pleasure to provide good news about a talk talent we think so highly of.  We apologize for any inconvenience the previous announcement caused, but look forward to a very successful 2014 with the Randi Rhodes show.”  Several weeks ago, Rhodes began telling her audience she was foreseeing the end of her program and later Premiere notified affiliates the relationship would be ending.

herskovitzalIt’s Pop-Up Time.  No, not the kind of pop-up we associate with websites – pop-up ads – but those retail stores that “pop up” in vacant storefronts during the holiday shopping season.  Sales maven and H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz writes about getting these seasonal businesses advertising on your station this year.  He notes that many of these retailers are big name brands that choose to expand their physical space during this time of year and they include Vera Bradley, Louis Vuitton and the National Football League.  Read Al Herskovitz’s entire column here.

abcnewskennedyABC News Radio Offers Kennedy Assassination Programming.  As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, ABC News Radio is offering a two-hour special broadcast, “Three Shots Rang Out: An ABC News Special – The JFK Assassination 50 Years Later,” anchored by ABC News’ Diane Sawyer.  It’s an audio-only program that will be heard by ABC News Radio affiliates.  In addition, a special expanded show will be available via download at Audible.com as part of a new digital audio relationship between ABC News Radio and Audible.  The Audible.com version of this program will include an additional 40 minutes of historical audio available exclusively to Audible listeners.

ruthronRon Ruth Passes.  Former 19-year Radio Advertising Bureau executive vice president of stations Ron Ruth died early Saturday (11/16) in Florida of a heart attack.  The 75-year-old Ruth had been struggling with health issues the past two months.  CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason was among those quickly noting their sympathies regarding Ruth’s passing. “I just spoke with him at the Radio Show this past September in Orlando,” Mason writes on Facebook. “He was so up and happy – I am sad tonight.”  Also on that social media platform, Tom Birch notes, “Ron lived life to its fullest and was a joy and inspiration to everyone who had the opportunity to know him.  Ron was the midwife to Birch Research.  He opened doors for me, encouraged me and guided me.  I am deeply honored to have worked for Ron at WQAM, Miami in the 1970s, and to have remained friends with him for the next three decades.” According to former RKO General eastern vice president Perry Ury, “Ron Ruth was a friend and our house skeptic at RKO.”  Former Tele Media Broadcasting vice president and chief operating officer Ira Rosenblatt adds, “We’ve lost a friend and true broadcaster.”  Doing afternoon drive in Boston early in his radio career, Ruth roomed with two other on-air talents who went on to stardom – George Carlin and Jack Burns of Burns & (Avery) Schreiber.  He held sales manager positions for Unistar Radio Networks, as well as at the local level in markets such as New York (WOR-FM), Chicago (WNUS), Washington, DC (WGMS), and Buffalo (WYSL).  Ruth left Unistar to join the RAB in 1992.  Most recently, he was consulting the Radio Advertising Bureau.

wmalbonginoA Man of His Word.  The man having his head shaved live on the air on Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington, DC is former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino.  Not too long ago, Bongino said on the WMAL airwaves that he would shave his head if President Obama apologized for the gaffes in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.  And since the president did offer an apology of sorts, Bongino agreed to honor his statement live on the air and did so on Friday, November 15.