Alpha Media Closes on Digity Purchase. This is no ordinary acquisition as Alpha Media balloons to approximately 250 stations in 50+ markets by closing on in excess of 110 Digity properties. Over and above that, Alpha Media becomes the country’s third-largest broadcast company in terms of number of markets and fourth-largest regarding station count. Alpha Media chair Larry Wilson comments, “We are very pleased to get this remarkable transaction done. In our fold is now an exceptional stable of diversified stations and markets, serving not only their towns but surrounding areas and communities. It has been a tremendous pleasure to work with respected broadcaster [Digity chief executive officer] Dean Goodman and his management team. We look forward to joining forces with the phenomenal people at Digity doing radio the right way.” Goodman remarks, “I have been honored to work with the great broadcasters of Digity. They know their roots are in live and local and their future is dynamic. They will excel with Alpha as individual and collective entrepreneurs. We hand off a thriving company, up this year at the top of the industry. I wish Larry [Wilson] and his team all the best; they have assembled a great platform.” Only two of the 28 Digity markets are PPM-metros – San Jose and West Palm Beach. The other facilities are in Missouri: (Bethany-Cameron, Clinton, Farmington-Festus, Moberly-Macon, and Waynesville-Lebanon); Iowa (Fairfield, Fort Dodge, Grinnell-Newton, and Mason City); Minnesota (Albert Lea-Austin, Luverne, Mankato, and Redwood Falls); South Dakota (Brookings, Madison, and Watertown); Illinois (Aurora and Joliet); Nebraska (Columbus and Lincoln); Michigan (Saginaw-Bay City-Midland); North Carolina (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville); Ohio (Canton); South Carolina (Myrtle Beach); Texas: (North Dallas-McKinney); and Wisconsin (Kenosha-Waukegan). When this deal was first announced in August 2015, the purchase price was reported to be $264 million.
WFAN and Brooklyn Nets Extend Broadcast Rights Agreement. The multi-year deal between CBS Radio New York sports outlet WFAN “The Fan” and the NBA‘s Brooklyn Nets goes beyond NBA basketball to cover other parts of the business at Barclays Center, including select college basketball games, concerts, and live events. As it has since the 2004 – 2005 season, WFAN will continue as the team’s radio flagship. According to CBS Radio president Andre Fernandez, “CBS Radio is proud to continue our association with the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center. We have defined our position in sports broadcasting by delivering the most extensive coverage of local programming and events. We continue to make aggressive investments in exclusive content our audiences can’t find anywhere else.” Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment chief executive officer Brett Yormark comments, “Our relationship with CBS Radio continues to give us a major voice in the nation’s largest market. This new agreement comes on the heels of our recent extension with YES Network, providing the team with premium exposure on two of the country’s most popular sports outlets.” WFAN news sibling WCBS-AM will be the Nets’ secondary radio outlet. Prior to relocating to Brooklyn, the team was called the New Jersey Nets. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for New York City, WFAN ranks ninth (3.8, 6+); iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLTW “Lite FM” leads the field with a 6.7 (6+).
Hyde Heads to Entercom Sacramento as GSM. Fourteen-month Pandora account executive Corey Hyde joins Entercom Sacramento as general sales manager. Vice president and market manager Lance Richard comments, “It is exciting to add Corey to our team. He has an impressive track record of success and he brings experience in developing dynamic, integrated campaigns and long term partnerships for local clients. His leadership skills and experience in this market make him the perfect fit for Entercom Sacramento.” Hyde remarks, “I am thrilled to be joining Lance Richard and the team at Entercom Sacramento. Radio is stronger than ever, and we have the best local stations in the market. I look forward to using our wide array of marketing assets to drive real results for our clients.” In his 13-year radio career, Hyde spent nearly 10 years with CBS Radio Sacramento as a senior account executive and three years with iHeartMedia Sacramento as an AE. Entercom Sacramento consists of KCTC “ESPN 1320″; CHR KDND “The End”; alternative KKDO “Radio 94-7”; KRXQ “98 Rock”; classic rock KSEG “The Eagle”; and hot AC KUDL “Star 106.5.”
Baldwin Exits Weekend “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” Effective immediately, actor Stephen Baldwin departs “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” The two-hour syndicated weekend program carried by approximately 250 affiliates on Kevin McCullough‘s eight-year-old XtreMEDIA and simulcast on BizTV is rebranded “Radio Night LIVE.” As Baldwin’s work schedule increased the past few months, McCullough explains, “The more difficult it has become for him to make the show. For the past eight years, we have enjoyed the liveliest and – on most nights – the funniest weekend radio broadcast in America. Our listeners will immediately feel the impact of Stephen’s absence from the talk radio airwaves. To be realistic, however, because of his filming schedule in 2015, his workload severely prevented him from being with us even one out of two weeks. This is great for him because his passion is acting. Our staff, our sponsors, and listeners will miss Stephen’s unique humor and spunk. His personality is one-of-a-kind and Stephen will always be welcome to a microphone we have named in his honor; we are thrilled though at this chance to take our broadcast to another level. ‘Radio Night LIVE’ will take the signature humor we have developed over the years, add cutting edge ‘next generation’ guests, experts, and entertainers and explode Saturday night in ways previously unseen.” Baldwin comments, “God has been so good to me and all I want to do is to follow where He is leading me. My time doing the show is something I will always remember. Our listeners brought much laughter and insight into my life.” It is possible that McCullough will utilize a series of rotating guest hosts such as KRLA, Los Angeles’ Elisha Krauss; Karol Markowicz of The New York Post; YouToo America‘s Gina Loudon; as well as Ashley Papa and Kayleigh McEnany. McCullough continues hosting his weekday 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm “After Hours” show on Salem Media Group New York’s WNYM “AM 970 The Answer”; the “Kevin McCullough Show” for Salem Media Group; and “News That Makes You Think.”
Four More Years: WGN, Northwestern Extend Rights Agreement. The union between 50,000-watt WGN, Chicago and Northwestern University will keep Wildcats football and men’s basketball on the Tribune talker through the conclusion of the 2019 – 2020 season. In addition, the voice of Wildcats football since 1990 and men’s basketball since 1996 – Dave Eanet – signs a four-year contract. WGN Radio president and general manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We are proud to present Northwestern basketball and football anchored by Dave ‘Mr. Cat’ Eanet. We look forward to bringing our listeners the excitement of Chicago’s Big Ten team in the years to come.” According to Northwestern vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips, “The Northwestern Wildcats and WGN Radio have forged a special relationship over the last two decades. WGN not only is a broadcasting force, but a true Chicago institution. We have shared many thrilling moments through the years, and we look forward to many more memories with WGN Radio as the home of Chicago’s Big Ten team.” Eanet was inducted into the WGN Radio Walk of Fame last year. Former Chicago Bear Ted Albrecht is WGN’s football analyst on Wildcat broadcasts, while former college and pro head coach Joey Meyer provides analysis on basketball broadcasts. WGN has been the radio home of the Wildcats since 1996. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for Chicago, WGN ranks fifth with a 4.2 – its best showing since last June’s 4.3; CBS Radio‘s all-news WBBM-AM is on top with a 6.8 (6+).
Louisville Lineup Changes at WHAS, WKRD. Starting next Monday (2/29), former WKXW “New Jersey 101.5,” Trenton personality Mary Walter will oversee a weeknight 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm program on iHeartMedia Louisville talker WHAS. Of Walter, director of iHeartMedia Louisville’s AM programming Kelly Carls comments, “She is always prepared; keeps her finger on the pulse of the news; and she does a great job connecting with listeners. We are delighted she will be offering her unique perspectives every day.” A WHAS fill-in beginning in 2009, Walter remarks, “I am so excited to be with the WHAS audience on a regular basis. I have grown to love the local listeners over the years. They are so engaged and informed that it makes the job fun.” She previously worked at radio stations in Washington, DC; Phoenix; Denver; and Omaha. Meanwhile, at co-owned all-sports WKRD “790 KRD,” Howie Lindsey is named 7:00 am – 10:00 am host; contributors Matt Willinger and Katie George will join him. Another change there will find TheCardinalConnect.Com founder Nick Coffey taking on 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm duty. “We are very excited to expand our local sports coverage on WKRD,” notes Kelly Carls. “Mornings, mid-days and afternoons, we now have local sports fans covered with updates, insights, and compelling conversation about the teams and games that really matter.” Lindsey and Coffey will debut one week from Monday (3/7). Among persons 12+ in Nielsen Audio‘s winter 2016 book, WHAS ranks #1 (7.4) and WKRD is #12 (1.2).
Cumulus Media Dallas Sets Fourth Spring Job Fair. Jobseekers and hiring companies will come together in less than two weeks (3/9) as Cumulus Media Dallas presents its fourth annual Putting Texans Back to Work Spring Job Fair at the Plano Centre. In attendance will be representatives from over 100 companies in search of quality candidates from the Dallas, Collin, and Denton County areas of North Texas. No registration is required for job seekers; however, registration deadline for companies looking for qualified individuals is one week from Monday (3/7). The Cumulus Dallas cluster includes sports KESN “ESPN Radio 103.3”; talk KLIF-AM; CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3”; country KPLX “The Wolf”; KSCS “New Country 96.3”; sports KTCK “The Ticket; and talk WBAP.
BTC Begins HD Radio Data Services in Canada. A partnership between the Broadcaster Traffic Consortium (BTC) and exclusive mapping and technology data partner HERE leads to Canada’s first in-vehicle HD Radio Traffic service. Honda is the first brand to offer the service to its customers on certain 2015 and 2016 models. Broadcaster Traffic Consortium president Paul Brenner comments, “The BTC and all of our member stations are excited to be the first to market for HD Radio data services in Canada. Honda and HERE are valued partners that expect constant innovation and quality services regardless of our borders or radio station ownership. Unified broadcasters, collaborating to deliver a common service, bringing innovation solutions to automakers is better for the strategic and long-term viability of the broadcast radio industry. BTC is proud to be a leader in this space.” HD Radio Traffic enables drivers and passengers to view detailed information on local traffic conditions in real time on their vehicle’s audio display screen. The BTC has stations providing coverage in most areas within greater Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary; the service is expected to expand to additional Canadian markets. Originally founded in 2007 with eight broadcast groups – Beasley Broadcast Group; Bonneville International Corporation; Cox Radio; Emmis Communications; Entercom Communications; Greater Media; NPR; and Radio One – BTC has grown to include 23 broadcast groups in the United States and Canada. It builds a nationwide terrestrial broadcasting network to distribute local traffic and other map-related data via FM and HD Radio technology.
Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 22-26. Primary races and activities of presidential candidates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was Apple’s refusal to hack the phone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists. At #3 was the battle over the timeline for replacing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, followed by Islamic State’s reported threats against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week; it is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. View this week’s entire chart here.
BFA to Fete Fritts with “Excellence in Broadcasting” Award. Former 23-year National Association of Broadcasters president and chief executive officer Eddie Fritts is named this year’s Broadcasters Foundation of America‘s recipient of the Lowry Mays “Excellence in Broadcasting” award. Underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation, the award is given each year to a broadcaster, “whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.” Fritts’ past recognition includes “Broadcaster of the Year” awards at both the New York State Broadcasters Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. In addition, he is the past recipient of the Broadcasters Foundation’s “Golden Mike” and “Chairman’s” awards. Inducted into the Giants of Broadcasting’s Hall of Fame in 2010, he received the NAB’s “Distinguished Service” award one year later. Fritts – who launched The Fritts Group in March 2006 – will be honored with this particular acknowledgement in approximately two months (4/20) during the NAB Show in Las Vegas. The Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars to thousands of broadcasters and their families. Individual donations can be made to the Guardian Fund. Corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative; bequests can be arranged through the Legacy Society.
Cumulus Media Florida Outlets Aid in Tornado Recovery. Personal and household items, as well as monetary donations, are being collected by 14 Cumulus Media stations in Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Mobile, and Pensacola (Florida) for those affected by this week’s tornadoes in Century and Pensacola. Radio station staffers will be at various locations for six hours today (Friday, 2/26), nine hours tomorrow (Saturday, 2/27), and four hours on Sunday. Listeners are being asked to help tornado victims with water, personal hygiene items, household cleaning items, tarps, laundry detergent, diapers, wipes, book bags, crayons, pens, pencils, paper, clothing, and non-perishable food items. Cash donations should be directed to the Gulf Coast recovery effort through the American Red Cross and the United Way.
Cool Job Opportunities at CBS, Los Angeles. TALKERS has learned that CBS Radio Los Angeles is now looking to fill the following positions as soon as possible at all-news KNX 1070: news reporter, writer, and news production assistant. For more details and to apply, please click here: WWW.CBSRADIO.COM/CAREERS.
Odds & Sods. Pittsburgh-based “The Union Edge” adds suburban Minneapolis talker KTNF “AM 950 The Progressive Voice of Minnesota” as its 27th affiliate. KTNF president Chad Larson comments, “KTNF has been a longtime union advocate, covering labor issues since 2004 in the Twin Cities. We look forward to carrying another program focused on the many accomplishments labor has made for our nation as well as the modern threats facing working families and our ability to collectively bargain in the workplace.”
PPM Analysis: News/Talk (Part 1). TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents the third in a four-part series of reports analyzing the performances of spoken-word radio stations based on January 2015 PPM survey data from Nielsen Audio. This story focuses on commercial news/talk stations. Kinosian writes that the first reports published “presented overviews of the truly astonishing January 2015 PPM ratings performances turned in by news and sports outlets. Those extraordinary stats notwithstanding (especially with all-news), we have quite possibly saved the best for last in analyzing the most omnipresent genre under the spoken-word umbrella, talk stations. For several reasons, we have separated “talk” into two groups – commercial, and non-commercial/public. The January 2015 ratings overview of commercial talkers appears today, while the companion piece for non-commercial/public talk stations will be posted tomorrow. Either way you slice it though, it was a strong sweep for both groups and the numbers will confirm that as being the height of understatement.” Check out the analysis here.
Covering the Boston Marathon Bombing Trial. With one of the nation’s most-watched trials beginning in Boston, CBS RADIO’s WBZ-AM, “Newsradio 1030” is announcing its coverage plans that include a weekly podcast produced by WBZ reporters Lana Jones and Carl Stevens called, “The Boston Marathon Bombing Trial Podcast: U.S. v. Tsarnaev.” The station says, “WBZ NewsRadio 1030 will have comprehensive reporting in newscasts throughout the day as well as digital and social media real-time reporting while court is in session. In an effort to reach those listeners who need their news ‘on-demand,’ WBZ debuts today a weekly podcast of the highlights of the ground-breaking trial.” The podcast will be published each Friday morning. Pictured here outside the WBZ Mobile Newsroom are (from l-r): Stevens, Jones, and studio producer Peter Clarke.
Mitch Henck Returns to Madison Airwaves with iHeartMedia. After exiting iHeartMedia’s news/talk WIBA, Madison in June of last year, Henck began producing his own daily webcast. Now, he returns to the Madison airwaves on WIBA’s sister WXXM-FM daily 8:00 am to 11:00 am. Additionally, he’ll also be available via the iHeartRadio platform. Henck says, “I’m thrilled to be returning to the iHeartMedia airwaves where I got my start in talk radio.” The station says that “politics, culture, history, media, education, religion, along with Mitch’s favorites – standup comedy, professional golf, and college basketball – will be daily fare on 92.1FM beginning Monday, March 23.”
Chris Mac to Exit WGAN/WZAN Brand Manager Post; Plum Gig Opens. After some 25 years with Saga Communications’ talk stations WGAN and WZAN in Portland Maine, brand manager and news director Chris Mac is exiting the radio business for a post at a local financial institution. That means a really cool gig is opening and here’s how Saga is advertising it: Portland Brand Manager/News Director. Saga Communications has an opening to lead its top news/talk radio WGAN and its sister brands in beautiful Portland, Maine. Successful candidates will exhibit an ability to lead a five-person news department, develop and coach local talent, direct programming, develop and curate a contemporary sound for the entire station in delivery and production. Please send your resume and supporting material to Bob Adams, general manager, Portland Radio Group Badams@portlandradiogroup.com. EOE/MF.
Radio Apps Built by Radio People. In a story published today (3/5), TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay focuses on a company that is designing and servicing apps for radio stations that are affordable and custom-tailored to each client’s station. Jack of Trade Apps is headed by principals Paul Varga and Andrew Davis. Varga tells McKay, “Our app is developed for the traditional radio station cluster or stand-alone. With every app there’s a content management system, and it is an extension of the unique brand you are building. We’ve priced it for the independent owner or cluster or regional owner to make it affordable. We know budgets are tight and the importance of return on investment is paramount.” Read more about Jack of Trade Apps here.
Netanyahu Speech, Hillary Clinton Email Probe, SCOTUS ObamaCare Hearing, Homeland Security Department Funding, Amnesty Issue, and 2016 Presidential Prospects Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/4). Wednesday’s speech before Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the Iran nuclear threat; the investigation in Hillary Clinton’s using private email for State Department business; today’s hearing at the Supreme Court on the Affordable Care Act; the funding of the Homeland Security Department through September and John Boehner’s decision to not fight the amnesty order via funding; and the potential candidates for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dave Ramsey Hits the Big Screen. Regular TALKERS readers are kept up-to-date on the live events that nationally syndicated talk star Dave Ramey presents in cities around the country. Now, Ramsey is taking his presentation to the big screen as Fathom Events will produce “Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze Present: The Legacy Journey” for select cinemas nationwide for one night only on Wednesday, November 19 at 7:00 pm local time. The production is from the recent event in Grand Rapids that was taped before a live audience. The event will be presented in nearly 600 select movie theaters around the country through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network. Fathom Events is listing the participating theaters on its website. Ramsey states, “‘The Legacy Journey’ is about you taking control of your money; being debt-free, saving and investing. When you start to see your future becoming secure, you will naturally become concerned with the next generations of your family. When you do the things we teach, your vision expands and you start to see the world’s needs and how you can make a difference.” Ramsey’s daughter Rachel Cruze is a seasoned communicator and presenter. She recently published a new book titled, Smart Money Smart Kids, co-authored by Ramsey.
Net Revenue Dips 5% for Beasley During Third Quarter. That figure is for continuing operations – the stations Beasley is keeping, excluding those slated to be sold to CBS. Due to the pending transaction between Beasley and CBS in which it’s trading five of its stations for 14 CBS signals, the company is required to report both continuing operations and discontinued operations. The net revenue from the combination of both continuing and discontinued operations was -5.9%. The company reports that the decline “primarily reflects lower advertising revenue at the Company’s Wilmington and Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville market clusters which more than offset net revenue increases at the Company’s Las Vegas and Ft. Myers market clusters.” Company chairman and CEO George Beasley comments, “We don’t believe third quarter operating results from continuing operations reflect the strength, ratings and local relevance of our platform, as the lower level of reported net revenue from continuing operations is temporarily mismatched with certain expenses that will be better amortized across the Company’s larger revenue base once we complete the asset exchange with CBS Radio. We are very excited by the potential presented by the CBS transaction…The planned asset exchange with CBS Radio addresses these strategic objectives and upon completion, we will expand our owned and operated station base by nine stations increasing Beasley’s portfolio to 53, including 33 FM and 20 AM stations, in 12 markets with approximately 7.7 million weekly listeners. Importantly, we will add completed clusters in the Tampa and Charlotte markets which complement our already strong mid-Atlantic presence.”
Nielsen Q3 Revenue Up 14%. That’s on a constant-currency basis. The company reports that its core top-line growth (excluding the Arbitron and Harris acquisitions) was 3.4%. Nielsen CEO Mitch Barns says that increase was “driven by strong growth in Audience Measurement, double-digit growth in Ad Solutions and double-digit growth in the emerging markets, offset somewhat by anticipated softness in our Insights business in North America.” Barns adds that “Adjusted EBITDA was up nearly 20% or 22% on a constant-currency basis, reflecting the impact of our Arbitron acquisition as well as great execution by our operating units…And our free cash flow of $289 million was up 17% in the quarter versus the prior year.” During yesterday’s investors conference call, Barns discussed the integration of ratings systems for television and digital but only spoke of radio and digital ratings integration in passing, saying the company is “making progress” and it would keep the industry “posted.”
Madison Talk Personality Mitch Henck Returns with Internet Show, Broadcast Plans. After being let go from iHeartMedia’s Madison news/talker WIBA in June, Mitch Henck says he’s been “hounded” by fans to get back behind the mic. Starting Monday, October 27, Henck begins an internet-based talk show airing live daily from 8:00 am to 11:00 am CT. Podcasts of the show will be available after the conclusion of each live show. The program will be web only for the rest of the year but Henck has plans to roll out the show into AM/FM syndication in 2015. The show will take live callers and feature guests. Henck says, “It’s exciting to be back with a great team in place. We’re committed to bringing you the highest quality programming every day. And I can’t wait.”
Former Talk Host Warren Ballentine Convicted in Chicago Mortgage Fraud Scheme. The Chicago-based real estate lawyer was syndicated nationally by Radio One and his talk show was carried by as many as 37 affiliate stations before he was indicted on real estate fraud charges. The Chicago Tribune reports that Warren Ballentine will be sentenced in January and could face up to 30 years in prison for bilking lenders out of some $10 million as part of the fraudulent loan scheme. Ballentine’s attorney says they will appeal and that his client knew nothing of the fraud and served only as the closing agent, accruing about $8,000 in fees for the real estate transactions. He also noted several of Ballentine’s co-defendants testified against him after striking deals with prosecutors. See the Tribune piece here.
Michael Harrison to Serve as Keynote Speaker at College Radio Conference – Agenda Includes Presentation by Holland Cooke. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (pictured here) will deliver the keynote address at the 7th Annual Intercollegiate Broadcasting System East Coast Radio, Webcasting & Media Conference held tomorrow (10/25) at Simmons College in Boston. Harrison’s speech is titled “The Precarious Position of Audio-Only Media in the Age of Video Screens.” Harrison will discuss the psychological processes at play in the different ways in which the human brain processes various forms of sensory stimulation. According to Harrison, “I enjoy speaking at events with college broadcasters because they are still, shall we say, academically inclined and it gives me the opportunity to put on my media theorist hat and address some of the abstract concepts underlying general communications in our electronically accelerated relationships. I believe it is very important for people involved in anything having to do with the aurally based art forms of ‘radio’ and music to at least have an understanding of the mind’s different relationships with the eye and the ear.” Harrison also plans to include a serious discussion of the sensitive relationship between form and content in the art and science of media in his address. Also speaking at the event will be noted media consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke whose address is titled, “The Future of Talk Radio: YOU – The Revolution is Over.” He will identify the major challenges facing talk radio in this new era and offer solutions and encouragement for young broadcasters entering the field. For more information about the one-day event, please click here.
Odds & Sods. The new SiriusXM program hosted by Jenny McCarthy debuts on Monday, October 27. The show is called “Dirty, Sexy, Funny with Jenny McCarthy” and is set to air daily from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET…..NBCSportsRadio.com is unveiling its first-ever digital-only show called “The 2 Robbies ‘Football’ Show”, a Premier League-focused program which stars NBC Sports Group analysts Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe. The soccer show launches tomorrow at 5:00 pm ET…..Sports talk KWTO, Springfield, Missouri “98.7 The Jock” is changing network affiliations, moving from Fox Sports Radio Network to ESPN. The Meyer Communications station inked a three-year deal with ESPN.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the weekend program schedule at WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. The program also recently began airing on KFNN, Phoenix; and KCOX, Jasper, Texas…..The GCN-distributed “Freedom Feens” show is added to the lineup at WSRQ, Sarasota…..The “Motley Fool Money” radio show is part of the weekend programming at WAFS, Atlanta.
Ebola Pandemic Threat Tops Talkers TenTM for Third Straight Week. Discussion about the threat of an Ebola pandemic and the Obama Administration’s handling of the matter was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of October 20-24. At #2 this week was the terror attacks that happened in Canada. Coming in at #3 was the battle against ISIS in Iraq followed by the looming mid-term elections at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
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 email@example.com…..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.
Cumulus Ups Jeff Brown to SVP. There are new corporate SVP stripes for Jeff Brown as Cumulus Media promotes him from VP/market manager of its Atlanta cluster to senior vice president, Cumulus Corporate. In this new post, Brown will be responsible for regional operations oversight in 26 Cumulus markets and he will report to EVP and co-COO Jon Pinch, who comments, “We are thrilled to be able to promote from within for this high level position. Jeff has the energy, intellect and experience that will make him a valuable resource for our market managers.” Brown states, “It is a tremendous honor to be asked to play a larger role in the development of our ever-expanding platform and the execution of our key strategies. I am truly excited to help drive the continued growth and evolution of Cumulus, as it creates and distributes the very best in entertainment products and services for our listeners, communities and advertisers.” A search for Brown’s replacement at the Atlanta cluster is underway.
Davis Joins Heller in Wisconsin Sports Talk Simulcast. Milwaukee Bucks radio play-by-play voice Ted Davis is becoming part of the Mike Heller show heard on Clear Channel’s WOKY, Milwaukee “The Big 920 Milwaukee” and WTSO, Madison “The Big 1070 AM.” Heller’s program airs from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Davis will join from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The company says Davis will bring 26 years of NBA play-by-play experience to Mike Heller’s show. CCM+E regional market president Jeff Tyler comments, “We are extremely excited to have a pro like Ted join Mike Heller and the rest of our great on-air team. Ted will bring another dimension to the best sports talk line up in Madison. With Ted Davis, the exclusive Wisconsin Badgers broadcast franchises, and more exciting plans on the horizon, we know Madison will continue to embrace ‘The Big 1070’ as Madison’s choice for sports talk and play-by-play.”
Cumulus Q1 Revenue Up 3.7%. For the first three months of 2014, Cumulus Media reports net revenue, on a pro forma basis, was up 3.7%. The company reports “net revenue increased $10.5 million to $292.0 million, from $281.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2013. The increase was due to $3.1 million in broadcast advertising revenue, of which $2.2 million was from an LMA in Chicago entered into in January 2014 (the ‘Chicago LMA’), offset by a $9.9 million decline in network spot sales and the loss of approximately $2.2 million of third party network station compensation. Broadcast advertising revenue growth also benefited from $13.0 million of reduced producer revenue shares at WestwoodOne. Digital advertising increased $4.5 million due to revenue from our partnership with Rdio and revenue increases from our streaming and digital commerce initiatives. There was a $1.3 million increase in political advertising revenue; and a $1.6 million increase in affiliate license fees and other non-ad-based revenue.” In a statement, CEO Lew Dickey says, “This quarter was marked by the accelerated integration of WestwoodOne. We now expect to complete the two-year integration approximately three quarters ahead of time and will exceed the stated synergies by 5% to 10%.”
NAB Radio Board Makes Appointments. Named to two-year NAB Radio board seats are: Lincoln Financial Media president/chief executive officer Don Benson; Radio One chief executive officer Alfred Liggins; CBS Radio president/chief executive officer Dan Mason; Hubbard Radio chair Ginny Morris; Clear Channel chair/chief executive officer Bob Pittman; and Federated Media vice president Tony Richards. Those appointments take effect in June. Meanwhile, NRG Media president/chief executive officer Mary Quass is unanimously elected to the first vice chair seat of the NAB’s executive committee. Eagle Communications general manager Gary Exline is appointed to fill a vacant board seat, while Jawco Inc. owner John Wharff is appointed to serve until June 2015.
AdLarge Media, Motor Racing Network Team for Exclusive Sales Agreement. The pact is for national advertising sales representation of Motor Racing Network’s NASCAR racing on radio and digital audio platforms. It includes all MRN flag-to-flag coverage, including 51 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and qualifying events; 21 NASCAR Nationwide Series events; 22 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events; and 13 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar championship events. AdLarge Media chief executive officer/co-founder Gary Schonfeld states, “This outstanding addition to the sports properties we represent drives our company forward in network radio sports, and places us at the forefront of auto racing on radio and digital audio. If it has four wheels and goes really fast, you can buy the audio advertising from AdLarge.” The firm’s president/co-founder Cathy Csukas comments, “Each week, millions of radio listeners hear MRN’s vivid descriptions of exciting, fast-paced NASCAR racing action. Their live coverage and in-depth programming produces the kind of consistent listener engagement that national advertisers want. We are excited to partner with MRN again and to deliver their passionate NASCAR audience to our advertisers.” According to MRN president/executive producer David Hyatt, “With Gary, Cathy, and their excellent team, national advertising sales representation is a collaborative partnership that generates success for advertisers and affiliates. Their independent status allows them to be adaptable and innovative. They create customized campaigns that connect advertisers with NASCAR fans.” AdLarge is seeking a sports sales executive who will be dedicated to this undertaking. Chief revenue officer/radio sales Don Wachsmith remarks that, “It is imperative we expand our sales management to include a focused sports sales leader to spearhead our national advertising sales efforts with MRN’s motor sports coverage.” This is MRN’s 45th consecutive year covering NASCAR; more than 600 radio stations carry the broadcasts.
Cool Job Opportunities. “Think CNN with a hint of the Daily Show!” We’re on the hunt for America’s SMARTEST, most authentic, engaging, entertaining news personalities – real people who can react to, comment on and amplify the news… and do it in short, 3-minute segments. These are NOT “anchor” positions, we’ve got that covered. It’s not a talk show. It’s a true INTEGRATION of news and personality. If you…are a world-class storyteller, talk TO the listener, not AT them, eat, sleep and breathe news, are smart (but not cerebral), have a point of view but aren’t an ideologue, understand what “shareable” content is, know how to integrate social media, are comfortable with the fact that NEWS is the DNA of the radio station (your job is to generate TSL), are a winner and a team player and want to work in a highly desirable LARGE market…send cover letter, resume and mp3 of your work to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Odds & Sods. New York market traffic reporter Joe Nolan is recovering after suffering a heart attack over the weekend. Nolan does traffic on WCBS-FM on the Scott Shannon program…..In conjunction with cable’s Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports Radio will provide coverage of the 2014 NFL Draft beginning Thursday, May 8 live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Jay Glazer and anchor Don Bell will cover the first three rounds on Thursday and Friday. Weekend coverage will showcase the final four rounds that take place on Saturday…..NBC Sports Radio – the WestwoodOne and NBC Sports Group joint venture – is celebrating a major milestone today as the network announces it has passed the 400 station mark. WestwoodOne COO Charles Steinhauer comments, “We are very proud of the tremendous growth the NBC Sports Radio Network has experienced since inception. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of our top-rate talent, producers, and affiliate sales team we are able to continue to extend the reach of this outstanding sports talk content for our listeners and advertisers.”
Nielsen Study Reports Radio Listening at ‘All-Time High’; Hispanic and African America Audience Makes Up Almost 30%. In its quarterly State of the Media: Audio Today report, Nielsen concludes radio listening in the United States reached an all-time high with 244 million Americans listening to the radio each week – that’s 92% of all Americans 12-plus. But this report dives into the numbers of Hispanic and African American listeners. The increase in total 12+ cume for each demographic was not dramatic – Hispanic listening went up 1.4% from last March to this, and African American listening rose just 0.6% during the same period. But the report notes interesting conclusions about usage. For example, the top daypart for listening by Hispanics is the midday 10:00 am to 3:00 pm and the average time spent with radio each week is 12 hours and 13 minutes. For African Americans, midday is also the top daypart for listening and the time spent with radio each averages 12 hours and 10 minutes. Check out the study here.
Sponsors Quickly React to Less-Than-Sterling Remarks. Fallout over racist comments attributed to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling continues, as CarMax, Kia, State Farm, and Virgin America pull advertising support from the NBA team. According to a CarMax official, “These views [by Sterling] directly conflict with CarMax’s culture of respect for all individuals. While we have been a proud Clippers sponsor for nine years and support the team, fans and community, these statements necessitate that CarMax end its sponsorship.” A Kia official states, “Comments allegedly made by Clippers owner Donald Sterling are offensive and reprehensible. They are inconsistent with our views and values. We are suspending our advertising and sponsorship activations with the Clippers. Meanwhile, as fans of the game of basketball, our support of the players and the sport is unwavering.” Two high-profile Clippers players are spokespersons for two of those advertisers: NBA Players’ Association president Chris Paul for State Farm and Blake Griffin for Kia. A State Farm representative notes that, “The remarks attributed to the Clippers’ owner are offensive. While those involved sort out the facts, we will be taking a pause in our relationship with the organization. We are monitoring the situation and we will continually assess our options. We have a great relationship with Chris Paul and will continue supporting the ‘Born to Assist’ advertising campaign involving Chris and now other NBA players.” The Clippers on Sunday lost game four of its playoff series to the Golden State Warriors. It was the highest-rated game of the playoffs so far (ABC-TV), registering a 5.0 overnight rating. In San Francisco (the Warriors play in Oakland), the game had a 9.8, the third-highest-rated first round game on any network in more than a decade.
Indulging in Local Customs. That’s “Into Tomorrow” host Dave Graveline enjoying a shisha while visiting Turkey. Graveline tells TALKERS he’s been in the Mediterranean to serve as moderator at the annual Global Press Conference for IFA – the big consumer tech show that takes place in Berlin every September, from which Graveline broadcasts his show. He explains, “Each year in April, they bring nearly 400 journalists from around the world to a venue in the Mediterranean to talk about the latest trends in consumer electronics, leading up to that trade show. This year I was asked to be emcee for the event.” Graveline says he moderated several panels in addition to the press conference.
Donald Sterling Racist Recording, Obama Asia Trip, Midwest Tornadoes, Kerry Israel ‘Apartheid’ Comments, Russian Aggression/Sanctions, and ObamaCare Criticism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28). The case of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s recorded racist rants; President Obama’s trip to Asia; the deadly tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest on Sunday; controversy over Secretary of State John Kerry’s comment that Israel runs the risk of becoming an apartheid state; new sanctions being levied against Russia and Vladimir Putin’s continued aggression in Ukraine; and scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Boston Marathon Bombing Spectator Suing Glenn Beck for Defamation with Malice. Almost a year after the Boston Marathon bombing, spectator Abdulrahman Alharbi – a then-20-year-old student – is suing Glenn Beck, TheBlaze Inc., Mercury Radio Arts and Premiere Networks in United States District Court, District of Massachusetts for defamation and slander. The complaint states that Alharbi was questioned by authorities investigating the attack, he allowed them to search his apartment and officials quickly concluded he had no involvement. At that point, other media reports ceased. The complaint continues, saying that Beck, with the active participation of the distributor defendants, repeatedly and falsely identified Alharbi as an active participant in the crimes, repeatedly questioned the motives of federal officials in failing to pursue or detain him and repeatedly and falsely accused Alharbi of being a criminal who had funded the attacks and says the statements were made widely and publicly and caused grave injury to the plaintiff. Alharbi says he’s received numerous messages, internet postings and other communications based on Beck’s false statements accusing him of being a murderer, child killer and terrorist. He’s requesting a jury trial and is seeking unspecified damages, interest, costs and attorney’s fees.
Rep. Mike Rogers Talks About Radio Gig on ‘Fox News Sunday.’ Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers shocked the political world last week when he announced he would not seek re-election in the fall and will begin a radio career with Cumulus Media after his term ends. It was politically surprising because he is chair of the powerful House Intelligence Committee. As radio industry watchers see it, he’s certainly a known commodity in the political news/talk scene due to his frequent media appearances, but many are viewing his deal with Cumulus with a wait-and-see attitude. In general, politicians-turned-radio-hosts don’t have a great track record of long-term success in the business. On yesterday’s “Fox News Sunday,” Rogers spoke about the radio gig, telling host Chris Wallace, “You know, it was an interesting opportunity when you see the level of debate today, Chris, on national security issues and foreign policy. It worries me for the future of this country like nothing I’ve ever seen. So, when someone walked in and said ‘Hey, we’re to give the opportunity to have a discussion in people’s cars, living rooms and kitchen, every single day from California to Iowa to New Hampshire to South Carolina, we think that you can change the needle on this debate.’ And I thought long and hard about it and I think they’re right…this is a great program, it’s a sophisticated program, that you have, but we need to broaden that audience to have discussion so that we can put America on solid footing as we move forward in a very troubling world.”
WOR, New York Names Pete McCarthy Host of Mets Show. The New York Mets open the 2014 campaign at home today (3/31) at Citi Field versus the Nationals and begin their first season being heard in NYC on Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WOR, New York. As part of Mets programming, the station announces Pete McCarthy will begin hosting “The WOR Sports Zone,” tonight from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The new sports talk show will be heard weeknights on Mets game days before and after each game. McCarthy joins WOR after more than eight years at MLB.com and five years at SNY-TV, where his duties included sports anchor, play-by-play announcer, color analysis, radio talk show host and sideline reporter. McCarthy says, “I am very excited to be joining WOR and becoming a part of the new flagship station for Mets baseball. As a lifelong and die-hard Mets fan from Long Island, it is a dream come true to be on the radio in New York City talking sports.”
Madison Talk Host Sues Wisconsin Capitol Police. In what could turn out to be a precedent-setting legal case in Wisconsin, WXXM, Madison “92.1 The Mic,” talk show host Dominic Salvia is suing the state’s Capitol Police in federal court after he was arrested last summer while covering protests at the State Capitol. Dominic is co-host of “The Devil’s Advocates,” heard from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm daily on the progressive talk outlet (alongside co-host Mike Crute). In the complaint, Salvia says he was taking photos and observing the protest scene in the Capitol Rotunda for about five minutes when Capitol Police arrested him. He informed the officers he was a working journalist and should not be arrested, to no avail. Civil rights attorney Jeff Scott Olson is handling the case in which Salvia is seeking damages from the three officers. In a related case, the state of Wisconsin is appealing the dismissal of a charge against co-host Mike Crute who was cited for not having a permit to engage in a sing-along protest at the Capitol Rotunda. Last summer, a judge ruled the permit required was unconstitutional. Olson is representing Crute in that appeal. Regarding the first case, it’s expected the state will argue Salvia was not a working journalist. Given the expanding nature of media and journalism, the definition of a working journalist is up for debate and this case will likely revolve around that question.
WGWG, Chicago’s Kaplan to Host Sports Memorabilia TV Show. Chicago sports talk personality David Kaplan – heard daily on Tribune Company’s new sports talker WGWG-LP, Chicago “The Game 87.7” – is going national as host of the WGN-TV produced show, “A Piece of the Game.” As Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports, the show, created and produced by Don Dupree, is getting a national distribution deal. The program features historically significant sports memorabilia and invited fans to have their historic sports items appraised on the program. The show begins taping at the end of April and is expected to begin airing nationally in June.
Odds & Sods. Former NFL star Donovan McNabb extends his partnership with the WestwoodOne and NBC Sports Radio where he’ll continue to co-host the “Under Center with McNabb & Malone” alongside partner Mark Malone…..The Premiere Networks-syndicated 24/7 Comedy format announces comedian and actor Greg Proops is the special guest host all this week. “The Smartest Man in the World” is giving listeners a peek behind one of comedy’s most alluring and intelligent acts, and is highlighting some of his most popular stand-up bits. Proops is also one of the stars of the CW Network’s improv comedy show “Whose Line Is It Anyway.”…..Las Vegas-based talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs reports her “FROST contest” is about to get underway and she has radio hosts from all over the country participating in the contest to be the top fundraising host for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Some of the hosts include: Doug McIntyre, KABC, Los Angeles; Simon Conway, WHO, Des Moines; Alan Stock, KDWN, Las Vegas; Jesus Marquez, KLAV, Las Vegas; Eddie Floyd, Dennis Romeo, Brooke Santina & Debbie McCarthy of America Matters, Reno; Josh Tolley of the ‘The Josh Tolley Show,’ GCN Network; and Steve Sanchez, Steve Sanchez Show, GCN Network. Dr. Wachs says she’s adding some extra spice by giving the top fundraising host a $1000 Southwest Airlines Gift Card. The actual campaign begins in two weeks and hosts can still join in by reaching out to her at: email@example.com.
Inside SportsTalkBoston.com. The surprising exit of longtime WEEI sports talk personality Glenn Ordway last year and the departure some months later of station programmer Jason Wolfe saw big changes in the Boston sports talk scene. Those changes are becoming even more high profile with the debut of Ordway’s new multi-platform sports talk destination SportsTalkBoston.com. Regular TALKERS readers are aware Wolfe is signing on with the venture to serve as chief content officer. In this exclusive story, Wolfe goes into a bit more detail about not only what the future will bring to SportsTalkBoston.com, but he writes about Ordway’s place in the hearts and minds of Boston sports media fans and how that plays into the execution of the content. As Wolfe says, “Personality breeds engagement. Engagement breeds loyalty. Loyalty breeds ratings and ratings breed revenue. That is the formula hosts and shows need to embrace today if they want to win.” Read this entire piece here.
WTOP, Washington Takes ‘Top Biller’ Crown for Fourth Year Straight. The annual top radio billers report from BIA/Kelsey is out and although Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington dropped a little over $1 million in billing from 2012 to 2013, at a reported $63.5 million it still was the nation’s #1 biller, beating Clear Channel’s CHR KIIS-FM, Los Angeles by about $2 million. KIIS-FM had a good year, adding almost $5 million to its revenue total to report in at $61.6 million. Rounding out the top 10 for 2013 were: Clear Channel’s CHR WHTZ, New York “Z100” at $51 million; CBS RADIO’s all-news WCBS-AM at $50 million; Clear Channel’s AC WLTW, New York “106.7 Lite FM” at $45.5 million; CBS RADIO all-news WINS at $45 million; Clear Channel’s hot AC KBIG, Los Angeles “104.3 MYfm” at $44.5 million; CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York “The Fan” at $43 million; CBS RADIO’s alternative KROQ, Los Angeles at $42.8 million; and CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM, Chicago wraps the top 10 at $42 million.
Entercom Loosens Load on ‘ESPN Upstate’ Personality Greg McKinney. In addition to his work at Entercom Greenville’s sports talk duo WORD-AM/WYRD-AM “ESPN Upstate” where he’s host of “In The Huddle with Greg McKinney” from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, McKinney had been doing mornings on sister AC WSPA “Magic 98.9.” (He also handles anchoring the “College Football Today” pregame show on rock WTPT “93.3 The Planet.”) The company adds “Murphy, Sam and Jodi” on WSPA for morning drive and relieves McKinney of the daily double duty. Entercom Greenville VP and market manager Steve Sinicropi comments, “Our sports coverage in terms of talent, teams and signal coverage is unmatched in this market. We are thrilled that the person who will become the local face of ‘ESPN Upstate’ was already in our stable. Putting Greg McKinney on ESPN with a live and local show, not only plays to his strengths and talents, but it provides our clients with an additional and valuable touch point to connect with a highly sought after consumer.”
Entercom Sets Milwaukee and Madison Managers. Former Cumulus Mobile vice president/market manager Chuck Sullivan is tapped for similar duties at Entercom Milwaukee, while Entercom Madison director of sales Ed Schulz is elevated to vice president/market manager of that Wisconsin market. They succeed Michael Keck (see next story), who was overseeing both markets. Regional president Michael Doyle comments, “Entercom is proud to add two of the strongest people in radio to our leadership team. Chuck and Ed bring with them a wealth of experience, unique perspectives and a passion to make their powerful brands and their clusters not only the strongest in the state, but in all of radio.” Meanwhile, Sullivan remarks, “Entercom Milwaukee has some of the most powerful and iconic brands from [CHR WXSS] ‘Kiss-FM’ to [hot AC WMYX] ‘Mix’ to [WSSP] ‘SportsRadio 1250.” Schulz adds, “Madison is a special place and Entercom has distinct brands that not only connect with the community, but deliver results for our clients. I am proud of what we have accomplished in Madison and am excited for the future. Before joining Cumulus, Sullivan spent nine years as managing partner of Wilmington, North Carolina’s Ocean Broadcasting. Schulz joined Entercom two years ago and will be responsible for adult alternative WMMM “Triple M,” classic hits WOLX, and hot AC WMHX “Mix 105.1.”
CBS RADIO Twin Cities Names Keck VP/DOS. As referenced in the story above, sales pro Michael Keck moves northwest from Entercom Milwaukee to the Twin Cities where he’s the new vice president/director of sales at CBS RADIO Minneapolis, effective April 7. The company says that in this role, he will be responsible for overseeing sales in the market for news/talk WCCO, adult hits KZJK “104.1 Jack FM,” and country KMNB “BUZ’N@102.9.” Keck will work closely with Michael Weiss, CBS RADIO’s president of sales and report to Mick Anselmo, senior vice president and market manager for the Minneapolis cluster. Keck comments, “I am thrilled to be coming back to the Twin Cities. It’s a tremendous privilege to be associated with two powerful FM stations and one of America’s most legendary and successful AM brands in WCCO. I can’t wait to be a part of the CBS RADIO team in this vibrant radio and media marketplace.”
Sun Broadcast Group to Rep Envision Networks’ Spanish Content. An exclusive ad sales agreement has been struck between Sun Broadcast Group, Inc. and Envision Networks for Sun to rep Envision’s Spanish-language inventory that includes: CNN en Español, Fox Deportes and AccuWeather en Español. Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff states, “Jason Bailey and his team at Sun Broadcast will increase our presence in the Spanish advertising arena. They will represent our programming, services and online audio product lineups to Hispanic advertisers and maximize the scope of our network’s reach and frequency and the amount of impressions it delivers for clients.”
Beasley Honors Pretzello with President’s Club Award. This in-house sales award for the calendar year 2013 goes to Beasley Broadcast Augusta senior account executive Debbie Pretzello for the third time. The President’s Club consists of Beasley sales executives inducted annually for their abilities to meet or exceed individual and market goals, attain accreditation from the Radio Advertising Bureau as Certified Radio Marketing Consultants (CRMC), and over-deliver their clients’ expectations on a daily basis. One account executive in each market in which Beasley operates is named to the Club monthly. At year’s end, each market names a winner based on overall performance. Additionally, the individual with the highest ranking from this notable pool of top-performers is named Beasley’s “President’s Club Overall Winner” for the previous calendar year. Beasley EVP of sales Heather Monahan says, “We are thrilled that Debbie Pretzello continues to lead our Augusta sales team and is recognized for her third time as our ‘Overall President’s Club Winner.’ Retaining talent in our business is of the utmost importance to Beasley. Debbie forges ahead year after year, raising the bar for our sales organization. Her ability to win multiple awards signifies her vast talent for delivering results for her local clients. Debbie Pretzello earned the title ‘Overall President’s Club Winner’ again this year by providing ROI for her customers, that’s something that makes us very proud.”
Odds & Sods. When the New York Yankees’ season kicks off on April 1, Spanish-speaking listeners in the New York area will be able to hear the games in Spanish on Univsion-owned WADO, New York. CBS RADIO’s WFAN-AM/FM – the new rights holder for Yankees games, agrees to the deal that will have WFAN producing the games with Rickie Ricardo and Francisco Rivera in the booth for the Spanish-language broadcast…..WMBD, Peoria afternoon duo “Robbins & Markley” – (pictured here) Scott Robbins (l) and Jamie Markley (r) – are sitting in for the vacationing Jim Villanucci on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland this week…..The weekly two-hour “Both Sides Now” program – hosted by Mark Green and featuring talk media personalities including: Ron Reagan, Katrina van den Heuvel, Eliot Spitzer, Bob Shrum, Jonathan Alter, Mary Matalin, Erick Erickson, David Frum, Rich Lowry and Torie Clarke – signs up with Focus 360 to handle ad sales for the program.
Tackling Big Issues. KARN-FM, Little Rock program director and afternoon drive host Dave Elswick (right) poses for a photo with former Israeli Ambassador Yoram Ettinger (left) after two spoke on Elswick’s program about Israel and the country’s complex relationship with the U.S., Iran and the Palestinians. Ettinger served as Minister for Congressional Affairs at Israel’s Embassy in Washington. Elswick will be speaking on the “Big Picture” panel at Talkers New York 2014 in New York City on Friday, June 20.
ObamaCare Criticism, Michelle Obama in China, Hague Nuke Summit, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Fate, Mid-Term Elections/ 2016 Presidential Race, NSA Bulk Data Collection Policy and Nick Cannon ‘Whiteface’ Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/25). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; coverage of First Lady Michelle Obama’s trip to China and her speech about America’s discriminatory past; President Obama’s comments about Russia and a possible NYC nuclear threat made at the Nuclear Security Summit at the Hague; the possible fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; prognostication about the fall mid-term elections and the 2016 presidential race; the fate of the NSA’s bulk data collection policy; and musician/TV personality Nick Cannon’s “whiteface” photo controversy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.