Tag: "Mark Levin"
What’s Next for Talk Radio? At this week’s post-election editorial meeting, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison shared his response to the most-frequently-asked question he has answered since it was announced on Election Night that Donald Trump cracked the 270 electoral votes threshold – What’s next for talk radio? Harrison says, “The answer is simple… talk radio will continue to talk about whatever is happening in society.” Harrison adds, “When things of common interest stop happening, well…that will mark the end of talk radio. Until then, you can be sure this format will keep on yapping!” According to Harrison, “It is important for talk broadcasters not to allow SWA (‘spoken word audio’) – the broader genre to which talk radio belongs – to become synonymous in the public’s perception with any singular subject (such as ‘politics’) or with any specific take on a subject (such as ‘conservative’ politics). This election did talk radio and its hosts a big favor by shaking up dissent among the ranks and even putting broadcasters in challenging struggles with their core audiences.” Harrison strongly suggests, “Respectful disagreement and unpredictability in search of truth are the engines that power not only talk radio – but democracy in general. They key word here, however, is ‘respectful.’”
NAB Show New York. Media consultant Holland Cooke is in New York City reporting from the second year of the NAB Show New York. He notes that although this is not a radio conference, there’s a lot there from which radio can learn. Cooke reports that Facebook’s Bob Gruters said the following: “‘Mobile has changed us’ and ‘mobile has changed business’ he proclaimed. When he shared that the average person looks at his/her smartphone 30 times a day — and young people 127 times – I felt young again.” Read Cooke’s report here.
iHeartMedia Madison Bids Adieu to Progressive Talker “92.1 The Mic.” Management isn’t saying anything about WXXM, Madison – the former progressive talker “92.1 The Mic” and now, all-Christmas as “92.1 BEST FM” – other than it’s Christmas music through December 25. There’s no hint of what the format might be after that. The Wisconsin State Journal reports that mid-morning host Mitch Henck says he’s not too worried about losing his slot on the station – he streams his show online and says he’s working on getting more radio affiliates. Ditto for the afternoon program “Devil’s Advocate” with hosts Dominic Salvia and Mike Crute. Their show is streamed and the paper reports they plan to debut on 20 new affiliates in January. “92.1 The Mic” had bounced around in the Nielsen ratings (12+) recently, notching a 1.7 share in the Fall 15 book, a 2.9 in the Winter 16 book, a 1.5 share in the Spring 16 survey, and a 2.1 in the recent Summer 16 book.
Comic and Talk Host Steven Crowder Joins CRTV. Former Fox News Channel contributor, comic, and talk show host Steven Crowder is joining media company CRTV. CRTV is producing the CRTV Digital Network that is the home of the video talk show LevinTV – hosted by Mark Levin – and new shows soon to come hosted by Michelle Malkin and Mark Steyn. Now, CRTV announces the “Louder with Crowder” host – “notorious for pushing the comedic envelope and ‘triggering’ modern leftists” – is joining the network. CRTV chief content officer Chris Crane says, “We are excited to have Steven Crowder on the CRTV team. He is a rare talent that can entertain and educate at the same time. He is very popular with young audiences, and reaches them in a unique way that very few conservatives can.”
PodcastOne Launches ‘The Chick Show.’ Leading podcast platform PodcastOne announces the launch of “The Chick Show,” featuring actresses (and working moms) Lisa Ann Walter – “Bruce Almighty,” “The Parent Trap” – and Rosa Blasi – “Strong Medicine” “The Thundermans.” PodcastOne says, “With a 15-year friendship under their belts, the hosts let loose and help each other through cheating husbands, online dating, falling in love, vacations with kids, single-parenting, blended families, and most importantly, balancing life as working moms – all in front of an audience who can learn from the duo’s experiences and advice.” The first guests to drop by the show are The View’s Sherri Shephard, and Chrissy Metz from the critically acclaimed NBC-TV show, “This Is Us.”
FOX Sports Radio Brings Chris Broussard Aboard. Sports media pro Chris Broussard joins FOX Sports Radio as a host, opinionist and NBA analyst. The company says that in addition to making frequent appearances across the network as a guest and contributor, Broussard will launch the first of two weekend programs this Saturday, November 12. Co-hosted by FSR personality Brian Noe, the two will broadcast from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET on 200 stations nationwide, plus several digital platforms, including iHeartRadio. Broussard will add a Sunday radio program in 2017 and will continue his role as FS1’s new NBA analyst. Broussard says, “I want to thank FOX Sports Radio and FS1 for providing me with the platform to share my sports views and opinions, which have been developed over my 20 years of covering professional sports, particularly the NBA. I can’t wait to hit the airwaves in my new role with Brian Noe. Together, we’ll bring listeners a show that is smart, entertaining and insightful.”
Odds & Sods. The ad sales firm Regional Reps Corp. announces the hiring of Grace Agostino as East Coast regional manager. New York-based Agostino will cover the East Coast territory for Regional Reps, calling on clients, stations, and advertising agencies. The firm says Agostino started her sales career with Katz Media Sales in 1996. She’s also worked for iHeartMedia, Interep, and SBS…..Westwood One announces new partnerships with Nashville-based musician, TV personality and podcaster Caroline Hobby and KQRS, Minneapolis morning host Tom Barnard. Both have joined the network’s podcast and on-demand platform via audioBoom. As part of the deal, Westwood One is providing exclusive ad sales representation for “Hyper Caroline Hobby” and “The Tom Barnard Podcast.”…..Galaxy Communications CEO Ed Levine is named chairman of The New York State Broadcasters Association for 2017. NYSBA president and executive director David Donovan says, “NYSBA is fortunate to have the most respected and dynamic executives in broadcasting serving on its board of directors. Through their leadership, NYSBA will help ensure that radio and television stations in New York meet the challenges of today’s hyper competitive marketplace.”…..College hoops expert Seth Davis is producing an eponymous podcast that’s being made available via a partnership between DGital Media and Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated Group…..Pictured at left is Cumulus Media Des Moines director of marketing, NTR & integrated sales Elizabeth Stewart at last Sunday’s world record-setting “FriendsGiving” event. Held in conjunction with Prairie Trail and Jethro’s Barbecue, more than 600 people came out to set a Guinness World Record for the “Largest Number of People Breaking Bread” and enjoyed a traditional holiday meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pie, as well as games and live music. The event benefited Hope Ministries, which feeds about 450 people a day. Image: WOI-TV.
Trump Defeats Clinton in Presidential Race and GOP Retaining Control of House and Senate Dominated Discussion on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (11/9). The victory of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton for president and the GOP’s retaining control over the U.S. House and Senate were the stories that dominated the discussion on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Ramsey Hosts Smart Conference in Atlanta. Syndicated talk show host Dave Ramsey hosted a daylong “Smart Conference” in Atlanta this past Saturday (10/8) at North Point Community Church. Promoting the event was Ramsey’s Atlanta affiliate, iHeartMedia talker WGST. “These events certainly increase tune-in and listenership as we lean into them,” comments iHeartMedia Atlanta region president Justin Schaflander. “Far more importantly, they truly impact the lives of our listeners as it helps them find inspiration and answers on everything from finances to parenting and just life in general. The events create a deeper relationship between our listeners and Dave’s team, which in turn, create a far more beneficial connection between our sponsors and clients as they interact with Dave’s audience. It is a win on all fronts.” Along with Ramsey were Chris Brown, Rachel Cruze, Chris Hogan, Inky Johnson, Dr. Meg Meeker, Anthony O’Neal, and Dr. Les Parrott. Attendees were provided information on how to win with money; strengthen their marriages; build parenting skills; and excel in their careers.
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. Based on data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2016 PPM survey period, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of Major League Baseball flagships. In this special feature report, you will find charts listing stations by format and (6+) AHQ share; ratings fluctuations from August 2016 to September 2016; ratings comparisons from September 2015 to September 2016; how MLB key stations ranked in their respective markets; and how they did by league/division. See it all here.
Hughes’ Howard University Honor. In a ceremony that will take place one week from this Sunday (10/23), Howard University‘s School of Communications will be renamed the Cathy Hughes School of Communications, as a tribute to Radio One‘s founder and chairperson. The announcement comes after a multi-million dollar gift to the Washington, DC school from Hughes’ son, Radio One president and chief executive officer Alfred C. Liggins III. Howard University president Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick comments, “The Howard community is thrilled that Mr. Liggins has chosen to honor his mother in this manner for her pioneering work in the field of communications. The gift will have a transformational impact on the school’s commitment to serve the communications industry and as a high-level producer of diverse media specialists.”
Cox Media Group Tampa Boosts Caldwell to Digital Sales Manager. Two-year Cox Media Group Tampa digital media strategist Megan Caldwell is promoted to digital sales manager for the company’s six-station cluster. Vice president and market manager Keith Lawless remarks, “Megan knows the digital space, knows our marketing partners, and knows what it takes to compete and win in this competitive, fast moving space.” Director of sales Jason Meder comments, “We are so excited to have Megan lead our digital sales efforts in Tampa. With a background in digital content, Megan brings unique experience to this role. Her knowledge – combined with her ability to create solutions for advertisers – is an amazing resource for Cox Media Group Tampa.” Caldwell adds, “I am beyond excited to be leading our team in digital. As the digital sales manager, I will be focused on driving initiatives that help us continue to build long-term relationships with our clients.” The 2012 University of Central Florida graduate previously spent two years as Cox Media Group Tampa’s digital producer and was social media manager for New Age Skincare. With their September 2016 Nielsen Audio PPM 6+ AQH share and market rank in parentheses, CMG Tampa consists of adult contemporary WDUV “Lite Favorites” (9.3, #1); WXGL “Classic Hits 107.3 The Eagle” (6.0, #3); adult contemporary WWRM “Magic 94-9” (5.3, #6); CHR WPOI “Hot 101.5” (4.7, #7); talk WHPT “102.5 The Bone” (2.3, #18); and alternative WSUN “97-X” (2.3, #18).
WHO’s “Puppy Jake Foundation” Raises $22,000. Last Friday’s (10/7) third annual “Puppy Jake Foundation” fundraiser brings in more than twice as much as the combined total of year one ($4,000) and year two ($6,000). WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talent Simon Conway staged a free sandwich giveaway in the parking lot of the iHeartMedia talker and – in two hours – collected more than $22,000 to benefit the charity, which acquires, raises and professionally trains service dogs for physically and mentally wounded veterans. Conway states he was “speechless for about two seconds. People drove long distances; handed over huge sums of money; and donated enough to acquire, train for two years and ultimately hand over for free a service dog for a wounded veteran.” Thus far this year, the charity has given 11 dogs to veterans; nine more canines will graduate the program next March.
NBC-TV Suspends Bush. By now, you know it was a rough weekend for former radio talent Billy Bush, who was believed to be groomed as a possible replacement for Matt Lauer on NBC-TV‘s “Today Show.” The network has suspended the ex-“Access Hollywood” host for his role in a 2005 video with Donald Trump that surfaced on Friday (10/7). Bush is heard laughing and encouraging the now Republican presidential nominee as they engaged in a vulgar conversation about women. The Washington Post published the tape of Trump, who is heard on a hot microphone boasting to Bush about kissing, groping, and having sex with women, saying that, “When you’re a star, they let you do anything – I don’t even wait.” At first, it seemed Bush was going to appear on “The Today Show” this morning (10/10) to apologize, but by last night, NBC decided he would not go on the show; instead, executive Noah Oppenheim issued the suspension. There is no immediate information about how long it will last. “Let me be clear,” Oppenheim writes in a staff memo, “There is simply no excuse for Billy’s language and behavior on that tape. NBC has decided to suspend Billy, pending further review of this matter.” In a statement he released on Friday, Bush notes he is “embarrassed and ashamed” of his role in the 2005 video. “This happened 11 years ago. I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along.” His weeknight (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm) “Billy Bush Show” debuted on April 14, 2008; Westwood One ended production of it in late-December 2014. Prior to that radio project, a mix of music and celebrity banter targeted to CHR and hot AC stations, Bush did wakeup duty on WWZZ “Z-104,” Washington, DC (now Radio One‘s WPRS “Praise 104.1”). In advance of starting his senior year at Maine’s Colby College, Bush scored a summer internship at Bill O’Shaughnessy’s WVOX in Westchester, New York.
J.T. the Brick Hosting Local Show on ‘95.7 The GAME’ in San Francisco. Nationally syndicated sports talk star J.T. The Brick begins hosting a 10:00 am to 12:00 noon local show on Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco “95.7 The GAME” today. J.T. The Brick, a.k.a. John Tournour, is syndicated by FOX Sports Radio live from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET with co-host Tomm Looney. Speaking about his station’s new show, KGMZ program director Don Kollins says, “I am excited to welcome J.T. back to the local market and to the ‘95.7 The GAME’ family. He’s an accomplished radio and television personality with high energy, strong Bay Area ties and stronger opinions. I think he brings appointment listening back to the 10:00 am-12:00 noon time slot.” J.T.’s ties to the Bay Area include six years as host of the Oakland Raiders pre- and post-game radio shows in San Francisco, host of “Behind the Shield” and the “Raiders Report” for Silver and Black Productions on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area as well as numerous guest appearances on FOX, CNBC and MSNBC network television programs. He will continue his syndicated radio show.
Jon Marks to Exit ‘97.5 The Fanatic’ in Philly. According to Philly’s Crossing Broad, morning drive personality Jon Marks – who currently co-hosts sports talk WPEN-FM’s “Mornings with Anthony Gargano” – is exiting the station when his contract expires in October. There’s some speculation in Philadelphia about the future of WPEN-FM after Beasley assumes ownership from Greater Media. We know for sure based on Beasley’s recent presentation to lenders that it intends to realize $6.2 million in synergies from the combination of the two companies, but there are no specific plans announced for the sports talk outlet. Philly.com’s Rob Tornoe reports that Beasley interim CEO Caroline Beasley told the Philadelphia Inquirer’s John Takiff that the company has no plans to change the formats or talent of the Philly stations. While WPEN-FM scored a 1.5 share (persons 6+) in the August PPM survey against competitor WIP-FM’s 3.8 share, it’s unknown how revenue at WPEN-FM stacks up against expenses.
Salem’s KRLA, Los Angeles Hosts Town Hall Forum in Pasadena on 2016 Election. An all-star panel of talk radio talent appeared at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium last night (9/18) as Salem Media Group’s KRLA, Los Angeles “AM 870 The Answer” presented the latest in its TOWNHALL 2016 series titled, “Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump – Who Will Best Lead Our Country over the Next Four Years?” In the photo above are (from l-r): moderator Hugh Hewitt, KRLA’s Brian Whitman, KRLA’s Elisha Krauss, SRN’s Larry Elder, SRN’s Mike Gallagher, Westwood One’s Mark Levin, SRN’s Michael Medved, SRN’s Dennis Prager, and KRLA’s Ben Shapiro.
Harvey Nagler and Radio Journos Honored by RTDNF. Pictured here accepting the Barney Oldfield Award from the Radio Television Digital News Foundation is CBS RADIO News vice president Harvey Nagler (left). Nagler is pictured with the RTDNF chair Amy Tardif (right). The award is named for the founder of the Radio Television Digital News Foundation and presented to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the success of the Foundation. Nagler is departing the board after serving two terms as a director at-large. He was a recipient of the Association’s John F. Hogan Award in 2014. Also honored this year was KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City news director Sheryl Worsley, who received the Bob Priddy Award, named for the Association’s longtime board member and two-time chairman. Worsley serves as RTDNA’s region 3 director and chairs the Association’s digital committee.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated talk show host Chad Benson is now airing on Cox Media Group’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa. The Radio America-syndicated program is airing in the early morning, leading into KRMG’s “Morning News with Dan Potter.” Potter comments, “The next generation of talk radio is here right now, and his name is Chad Benson. KRMG is enthusiastic about adding the Chad Benson show to a weekday daypart, leading into our NAB Marconi Award winning local programming.”…..A new podcast titled, “The Tackling Life Podcast” with NFL great Ray Lewis and emotional management expert Dr. Christian Conte is launching. It’s being exclusively repped by AdLarge Media. The podcast will help “listeners set goals, overcome obstacles, and achieve happier, more successful lives.”…..Greater Media senior vice president Heidi Raphael is named among the class of 2016 Women of Influence in Western New York by Buffalo Business First, a leading business publication. She’s being honored at luncheon on Thursday (9/22) at the Millennium Hotel in Buffalo. The recipient selection process was based on professional success and community involvement. Raphael is an avid philanthropist in her hometown of Buffalo. She’s involved on a number of boards, including the Board of Trustees of Medaille College and serves as president of the board of directors of the Buffalo Broadcasters Association and vice president of the Buffalo History Museum board of managers…..The NAB Education Foundation and the Broadcast Education Association are announcing the winners of the Freedom of Speech Public Service Announcement Contest for college communications students. The winners are being awarded a $2,500 scholarship for their submissions of 30-second spots that creatively address, “What Freedom of Speech means to me.” Felicia Tonga of Andrews University won in the television category for “Protect Our Future,” and Melvin Johnson III of American Broadcasting School won in the radio category for “More Than Words.” Stations are encouraged to run the spots during Free Speech Week, October 17-23…..Houston-based radio pro Doug Harris, founder of the digital broadcast platform Radio Brave, is putting a call out for the next star podcaster. Not only that, he’s putting his money where his mouth is and offering a $5,000 cash prize plus a one-year development, distribution and promotion contract with Radio Brave. Harris says, “Radio Brave’s purpose is to bring new content, from new people, to new audiences. We began with weekly, one-hour shows, but since our studios and crew are perfectly suited to produce and distribute shorter formats, we’re making podcasts, podcasting, and podcasters our focus.” Radio Brave’s Master ‘Caster Talent Search will begin accepting entries on October 3 Slam@RadioBrave.com. Official rules are posted at the bottom of the home page at RadioBrave.com…..Fans near and far (from Houston, Dallas and Washington DC) came out for late talk show host Jerry Doyle’s tribute that happened at No Regrets Bar in Las Vegas on Saturday night (9/17). Radio people in attendance included Wayne Allyn Root, Heidi Harris, Alan Stock, Talk Media Network’s Josh Leng, KDWN GM Tom Humm, and KDWN PD John Shaffer. GCN-syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs (pictured above with Root) helped organize the event and tells TALKERS, “We miss our beloved Jerry so much and hope he is at peace, though we made a helluvalotta noise!”
The Presidential Race, Saturday’s Manhattan Bombing/Minnesota Stabbings, Putin Party Wins Russian Elections, Syrian Civil War/U.S.-Russia Tensions, Sunday’s Emmy Awards, NFL Action and MLB Playoffs Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the Saturday night bombing in NYC, the bombs found at a New Jersey train station, and the ISIS-inspired stabbings in Minnesota; Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party wins a majority in parliamentary elections; the unsteady Syrian cease-fire, the U.S.’ bombing of Syrian troops, and the tensions between the U.S. and Russia; Sunday evening’s politically charged Emmy Awards ceremony; Sunday’s NFL action and the playoff push in Major League Baseball were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WTMJ, Milwaukee to Air Two-Hour ‘Community Conversation.’ In the wake of the violence and protests over the shooting death of an armed black suspect by Milwaukee police last weekend, Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ is presenting a community conversation on the city’s social unrest this afternoon (8/17) from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Station VP/GM Tom Langmyer says the special will create a forum for local residents, clergy, politicians and police to gather in the same studio to talk about life in the most challenged areas of the city. “The violence that erupted this week is a reminder of the struggles many face in our community. WTMJ Radio will lead the way for a productive listening session, where leaders can get together and offer solutions. Now is not a time for finger pointing, it’s a time to listen.” “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News” host John Mercure will moderate the program. In addition to being aired on WTMJ, it will be streamed at wtmj.com and via “Facebook Live” at Facebook.com/wtmj.
Dave Hooker Joins WGOW-FM, Chattanooga’s ‘SportTalk.’ Back on July 4, Chattanooga market sports media legend Gary Haskew, a.k.a. Doctor Basketball, died unexpectedly. Now, Cumulus Media introduces air personality Dave Hooker, who is joining the “SportTalk” show to fill the void left by Haskew’s passing. WGOW interim program director Bill Lockhart says Hooker joins “SportTalk” hosts Scott McMahen, a.k.a. Quake, and Joe Varner, a.k.a. Cowboy, on the show. “It’s rare to find someone of Dave’s talent that perfectly meshes with the existing on-air chemistry of the show. Tennessee and SEC athletics are key components of ‘SportTalk’ and Dave will add a fresh new dimension to a show that’s been an afternoon destination for Chattanooga listeners for more than 27 years. Dave’s knowledge and contacts, plus his radio, print, and digital experience will usher in a new era in Chattanooga radio.”
iHeartMedia Launches Re-Tooled Afternoon Show on WDFN, Detroit and WMAX, Grand Rapids. Detroit radio pro Gregg Henson is partnered up with Big Drew and Jim Costa (co-hosts of the former “It Is What It Is” show on WMAX) for the new “Gregg, Big Drew and Jim” show on iHeartMedia’s WDFN, Detroit and WMAX, Grand Rapids “ESPN 96.1.” The show airs in afternoon drive effective today (8/17). Henson also serves the company programming its sports talk WBGG, Pittsburgh.
MSG Acquires 12% of Townsquare Media. The acquisition doesn’t put any cash into the hands of Townsquare Media, but The Madison Square Garden Company’s purchase of 3.2 million shares of GE Capital’s Class C Common Stock in a private transaction means MSG now has approximately 12% common equity interest in Townsquare. Upon closing, the stock immediately converted to Class A shares. Townsquare chairman and CEO Steven Price says, “We are thrilled that MSG has elected to become a shareholder of our company and we look forward to collaborating with them in the future. MSG is a leading provider of live entertainment with world-class venues and there is no doubt that we will benefit from having their support.” In addition to New York’s Madison Square Garden and The Theatre at Madison Square Garden, MSG also operates Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theatre; the Forum in Inglewood, California; The Chicago Theatre; and the Wang Theatre in Boston. MSG president and CEO David O’Connor comments, “Using its diversified portfolio of radio stations, digital assets and live events, Townsquare creates compelling content that brings people together and builds communities. We understand and share their belief in the value of exceptional, live experiences, and look forward to working together through this new partnership – which is another opportunity that our partner, Irving Azoff, brought to our attention – to drive additional value and growth for both businesses.”
WAPI, Birmingham Presents Signed Flag in Support of Dallas Police Department. In the photo here, WAPI, Birmingham morning show personalities Matt Murphy and Andrea Lindenberg of the “Matt and Aunie Show” present an Alabama state flag signed by hundreds of listeners and Birmingham police officers to representatives of the Dallas Police Department in support of the force after the shooting deaths of five Dallas officers last month. Matt and Aunie also broadcast their program live from Cumulus Media Dallas studios on Monday (8/15).
Scott Shannon to Emcee National Radio Hall of Fame Induction in November. Just two months after emceeing the NAB’s Marconi Radio Awards, legendary WCBS-FM, New York morning personality Scott Shannon will host the 28th Annual National Radio Hall of Fame Induction ceremony at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago on November 17. National Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “Scott Shannon adds a whole lot of fun and energy to an already electric and emotion filled evening. He’s a 2006 National Radio Hall of Fame Inductee himself, so he knows just how meaningful this evening is for our Class of 2016 Inductees and will bring the perfect tenor to the ceremony.” This year’s inductees include: George G. Beasley, Delilah, Jeff & Jer (Jeff Detrow & Jerry Cesak), Eric & Kathy (Eric Ferguson & Kathy Hart), Steve Harvey, Bob Kingsley, Kidd Kraddick, Tony Roberts, Neil Rogers, and Michael Savage.
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of stations that serve as flagships for Major League Baseball based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2016 PPM survey. In this report you’ll find charts listing: stations by format and (6+) AHQ share; ratings fluctuations from June 2016 to July 2016; ratings fluctuations from July 2015 to July 2016; and how stations ranked in their respective markets. See it all here.
Mike Gallagher Joins Michael Harrison on Weekly Podcast. This week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” posted today (8/16), features a wide-ranging, intimate interview with Salem Radio Network syndicated star Mike Gallagher. Harrison and Gallagher get into an array of subjects guaranteed to fascinate the program’s growing audience of “media freaks” around the world. These include the changing nature of the human nervous system in the increasingly frenzied digital era, the impact of Donald Trump on American political discussion, the dark side of political bias in today’s left/right debate, and both men’s lifelong love affair with the theater. Gallagher talks about balancing his tremendously successful radio career with his accomplishments on the professional stage. In a segment about the decline of politeness in contemporary society, Gallagher touchingly reveals the personal anguish he suffered after a momentary lapse in judgement resulted in him fat-shaming singer Kelly Clarkson on the air. According to Harrison, “Mike Gallagher is not only one of the most talented and durable news/talkers in the business – he is also one of the nicest. Whether or not you agree with his political stance, his warmth and love of humanity are universal qualities with which any human being of decency can relate. I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing him on this podcast and am proud to share it with our listeners.” To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Odds & Sods. Veteran college football analyst, talk show host and former UNLV head football coach Harvey Hyde begins hosting a new mid-week college football talk show on KLAA, Los Angeles effective September 7. “College Football Mid-Week Review” will air Wednesdays at 7:00 pm and will focus on USC, UCLA, the Pac12 Conference and the College Football Playoff selection committee process…..Alpha Media’s rock WFXH, Savannah-Hilton Head “Rock 106.1” is airing Carolina Panthers football this season, including the Monday night “Panther Talk” show featuring head coach Ron Rivera…..ABC Radio is offering three news/talk-oriented programs for airing during Labor Day weekend. They are: “ABC News Radio’s Powerhouse Politics: 5 Things to Know” with Brad Mielke, “Back to School Survival Guide” with Alex Stone, and “ABC Radio’s 10% Happier with Dan Harris.”…..Entercom sports talk station WAXY, Miami “AM 790 The Ticket” is bringing University of Miami and NFL star DJ Williams to the airwaves to appear on three of the station’s shows. Williams will be heard on Mondays from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm alongside Ethan Skolnick and Chris Wittyngham; Tuesdays from 7:00 am to 8:00 am with Zaslow, Romberg and Amber; Wednesdays from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm with Beast and Leroy; and Sundays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on The Ticket’s “Aqua and Orange Pre-Game Show.”…..New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker will appear on WEPN “ESPN New York 98.7” every Tuesday during the NFL season with Alan Hahn and Rick DiPietro on “Hahn & Humpty,” beginning August 30.
The Presidential Race, Milwaukee Protests, Louisiana Floods/SoCal Wildfire, Aetna to Exit Many ObamaCare Exchanges, France Burkini Controversy, Ellen DeGeneres’ Usain Bolt Tweet, London Muslim Cleric Convicted, John McLaughlin Dies, Rio Oylmpics, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/16). The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the aftermath of the police killing of an armed black man in Milwaukee; the devastating floods affecting Louisiana and the wildfires in Southern California; insurer Aetna’s decision to exit 11 of the 15 health care exchanges in which it’s currently participating; France outlaws the burkini claiming its use has the potential to cause disturbances; Ellen DeGeneres receives flak for her posting of and image of her riding on Usain Bolt’s back; London Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary is jailed for his ties to Islamic State; conservative TV talk host John McLaughlin – creator of “The McLaughlin Group” – dies at 89; the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Annual ‘Bark in the Park’ Events Finds Homes for 20 Dogs. The 6th annual “Bark in the Park” promotion from Cumulus Media’s news/talk WABC, hot AC WPLJ, and country WNSH, New York took place on Saturday (8/13) at New Jersey’s Overpeck Park, hosted by WABC’s Mark Levin and personalities from all three stations. The day featured a wide array of vendors, services, great food, agility courses, doggie pools, demonstrations, a cooling station, and activities for families and dog lovers alike – including the always popular “My Dog Looks Like Me” contest! More than 20 dogs were adopted on site during the event from North Shore Animal League America and other area rescue organizations. Pictured here are (from l-r): WABC’s Ron Kuby, Levin, and WPLJ’s Jayde Donovan.
Jarnigan Named OM at Cumulus Knoxville. The three-station Cumulus Media cluster in Knoxville, Tennessee has a new operations manager as Jeff Jarnigan is appointed to the post. The company says Jarnigan has more than 30 years of radio broadcasting experience in the Knoxville market and more than 20 years of experience in programming management. Cumulus operates country WIVK, news/talk WOKI-FM, and sports talk WNML “The Sports Animal.” Jarnigan says, “Being associated with the legendary WIVK, as well as the flagship station for the Vol Network, sports radio WNML, and the home of Phil Williams and Hallerin Hilton Hill, ‘NewsTalk 98.7,’ is akin to winning the radio lottery. These stations are each dominant in their respective formats and have defined success in East Tennessee radio for decades. I am excited to partner with the station teams to continue that success and drive their future growth.”
TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations – Mark Levin Receiving Freedom of Speech Award Video Posted Today. The Livestream video recording of the Freedom of Speech Award presentation – one of the many highlights of the recent TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations convention – has been posted today (7/13) to Talkers.com. The 19thannual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important convention took place on Friday, May 20 on the fabulous campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. The video shows the opening round of the Awards Ceremony segment of the gathering in which Cumulus Media/Westwood One syndicated host Mark Levin was presented the 2016 Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech. The ceremony includes remarks by GCN syndicated host Dr. Joy Browne, Awards Ceremony emcee and Cumulus Media/Westwood One host Jim Bohannon, and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. To view the video, please click here. More videos from the convention will be posted to Talkers.com in the days and weeks ahead.
The Presidential Race/Bernie Endorses Hillary, Police on Black Violence/Dallas Cop Slayings Aftermath, AG Lynch Stonewalls Congress, May to Become British PM, Hague Rules Against China, and MLB All-Star Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/12). The activities of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, including Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of Clinton for president; police violence against black men and the related killing of five Dallas police officers; Attorney General Loretta Lynch refuses to answer questions from a congressional panel about the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server; the expected naming of Home Secretary Theresa May as the next Prime Minister of Britain; an international tribunal’s ruling against China in the matter of its development of a South China Sea military installation; and the Major League Baseball All-Star activities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Rare Ancient Limbaugh Audio Interview Discovered. A 26-year-old audio transcription of a telephone conversation between Rush Limbaugh and Michael Harrison conducted during the summer of 1990 for a print article was discovered in the TALKERS archives this week during a routine “housekeeping” in the trade publication’s warehouse. The interview originally served as the basis of a story in the third issue of TALKERS back in August of 1990 and has never-before been heard publicly as an audio conversation. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This dusty cassette, originally implemented as the reference for a print piece, contains talk radio history gold. The conversation between Rush and Harrison provides seminal information, issues and insights that set the stage for the basic foundation upon which the modern era of talk radio has been built. It is fascinating, to say the least, and must-listening for any present-day student or practitioner of radio broadcasting. The authenticity and passion expressed in their conversation lends a dimension to the material that could never be conveyed in print.” At the time of the recording, Limbaugh’s nationally syndicated show, only in its second year at that point, was already considered a phenomenon having cleared almost 240 stations and challenging then-existent notions about the role of syndication in major market radio. Harrison was in the process of publishing the first issue of TALKERS (originally described as “The Information-Radio Newspaper”) that summer and was gathering material ahead for the second and third issues. The Limbaugh conversation was set for the third installment of the then-bi-weekly publication. After the conclusion of the interview, the recording contains several minutes of ongoing conversation between the two discussing the new trade publication and Harrison’s vision of what it would be. According to Harrison, “I was thinking totally print when conducting the interview – so I tossed the cassette in box of unfiled random stuff after it was transcribed for the newspaper not thinking that 26 years later the concept of ‘TALKERS’ would be an online ‘media station’ with elements of not only text and graphics – but audio and video as well. And as far as my weekly podcast is concerned, this strikes at the core of what it is all about!” Harrison is pictured here holding a copy of the original issue of TALKERS containing the interview. The entire conversation is being made public on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne program “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” To listen to it in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Odds & Sods. The radio play-by-play rights for University of Michigan athletics are staying with CBS RADIO’s all-news WWJ and sports WXYT-FM in Detroit. This new contract between CBS RADIO and rights holder IMG is an extension of the current deal and will keep the school with CBS RADIO Detroit for years to come. WWJ continues to serve as the flagship station for Michigan football and WXYT-FM will simulcast select games. Men’s basketball will air on WWJ and hockey will air on WXYT-AM. Additionally, “97.1 The Ticket” will air the weekly interview with Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh…..ESPN Radio announces Marc Kestecher is being named the lead play-by-play commentator for the NBA on ESPN Radio beginning with the 2016-17 season. He’ll work with analysts Jon Barry, PJ Carlesimo and Kara Lawson as well as Basketball Hall of Famer Hubie Brown on the NBA Conference Finals and the NBA Finals. Kestecher is a 17-year ESPN vet who will continue to call NFL, college football and college basketball games on ESPN Radio, and will also remain as a studio host for other programming, including the pre- and post-game shows for the College Football Playoff Semifinals and Championship and select ESPN TV events…..SiriusXM is airing a special program recorded at the Washington, DC studios titled, “Protect America: A SiriusXM Forum on Stopping Gun Violence.” This special panel discussion on curbing gun violence in America will be moderated by SiriusXM host Ari Rabin-Havt and will feature Senator Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson, New Republic senior editor (and gunshot survivor) Brian Beutler, and Miya Rahamim Tandon, whose father was a victim of gun violence. The studio audience will be comprised of members from the organization Everytown for Gun Safety, as well as individuals directly affected by gun violence. The program will air on Friday, July 15 on “The Agenda with Ari Rabin-Havt” at 8:00 am ET on SiriusXM Progress, channel 127.
PodcastOne to Launch ‘The Skinny Confidential Him & Her Podcast.’ This new show is from blogger and “digital influencer” Lauryn Evarts – founder of The Skinny Confidential. It features Lauryn Evarts and her husband Michael Bosstick who will co-host and provide the male perspective on a variety of topics, including branding, blogging, entrepreneurship, relationships, wellness, travel, marketing and social media, and more. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Lauryn has built an extensive digital brand with The Skinny Confidential. It’s great to be able to work with someone who has become such a strong impact in the digital space, and provide a new, on-demand and intimate outlet for fans to connect with Lauryn and Michael.”
FCC’s Wheeler Refuses to Loosen Cross-Ownership Regulations. Perhaps it’s not shocking, but broadcasters are disappointed by the news that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is not going to relax the newspaper-radio cross-ownership ban. Wheeler announced to the rest of the commission his intentions for the 2010/2014 Quadrennial review and rules. Wheeler says that if these rules are adopted, they “will take into account the evolving media marketplace and the Commission’s obligation to conduct timely review of the rules.” Many broadcasters would disagree that Wheeler’s unwillingness to budge on the cross-ownership ban takes into account the evolving media marketplace. The NAB issued the following statement: “We’re disappointed that Chairman Wheeler continues to ignore the will of both the courts and Congress by proposing to retain broadcast ownership rules that long ago outlived their usefulness. It is shocking that regulators who bless mammoth mergers like AT&T/DirecTV and Charter/Time Warner Cable would still bar common ownership of two TV stations or broadcast/newspaper combinations in a local market. Ultimately, NAB hopes the five-member FCC, Congress, or the courts end this indefensible FCC charade, and that meaningful ownership reform is adopted for the benefit of the millions of Americans reliant on free and local broadcasting.”
Salem to Operate KTRB, San Francisco; Will Air SRN Programming on ‘860 AM The Answer.’ In the San Francisco market, Salem Media Group announces it is entering into an LMA with Susan L. Uecker, Receiver of the estate of Pappas Radio California, to operate KTRB. Salem will air the entire slate of Salem Radio Network on the full-market AM as “860 AM The Answer.” This is the 26th station Salem has branded “The Answer” and Salem Media Group president David Santrella says, “We are thrilled and excited to enter market #4 with a station that reaches the entire metro population. Just in time for the run-up to the biggest presidential election of our lifetime, we’re adding the entire lineup of Salem’s outstanding network talk talent.” The lineup will be: Hugh Hewitt, 3:00 am to 6:00 am; Mike Gallagher, 6:00 am to 9:00 am; Dennis Prager, 9: 00 am to 12:00 noon; Michael Medved, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Larry Elder, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; and Steve Deace, 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.
What Exactly IS a Podcast? On the new episode of the PodcastOne award-winning weekly program, “Up Close and Far Out,” host Michael Harrison opens the show with a discussion about the very definition of the term “podcast” itself. Harrison expresses two perspectives on the concept. The first is the current popular view – that a podcast is a pre-recorded program (mostly audio) delivered directly and instantaneously to the consumer on a digital device via the Internet and available for play “on demand” without delay or interference from a radio station schedule, transportation vehicle or brick-and-mortar store. He then takes the broader approach to the concept showing how video and text files (programs) also enjoy that same convenience in the digital age – making the point that a file containing a movie, song, article or book are similarly “podcasts” although we don’t necessarily call them that. Harrison says that the vinyl phonograph record was an early version of a pre-Internet-era podcast insomuch as the consumer could buy the file and then have access to play it on demand without having to make an appointment or be subject to the whims of a DJ or playlist by waiting to hear it on the radio. Harrison says this is basically obvious but he is surprised by the number of people who still find podcasting “mysterious and daunting” and ask all kinds of questions about how they can go about hearing his show. They ask questions like, “Do I need special equipment to hear it?” or “How do I find it?” According to Harrison, he is even asked these kinds of questions by people already in the broadcast business. “How do I record a podcast?” “Do I need a special microphone or device?” “What’s the secret?” Part two of this week’s episode contains excerpts from earlier episodes of the “Up Close and Far Out” series including conversations with pop legend Linda Ronstadt, planetary scientist Alan Stern, former governor Jesse Ventura, cosmic consciousness guru Deepak Chopra, former FEMA director (now talk show host) Michael Brown, talk host Mark Levin, sports talker Mike Francesa and “digital goddess” Kim Komando. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
‘Brexit’ Vote Aftermath, the Presidential Race, SCOTUS Abortion Ruling, U.S. Immigration Policy, SCOTUS Overturns McDonnell Bribery Conviction, and MLB Action Among Top News/talk Stories Yesterday (6/27). The aftermath of Britain’s referendum vote to leave the European Union, including the effects on the world’s financial markets; the activities of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; the Supreme Court overturns abortion regulations enacted by Texas; the ongoing conversation about immigration policy in the United States; former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s bribery conviction is overturned by the Supreme Court; and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
KARN, Little Rock News Anchor Donna Kelley Dies at 66. Little Rock radio news pro Donna Kelley – a longtime anchor and reporter for Cumulus Media’s KARN “Newsradio 102.9” – died at her home on Sunday (6/26) from natural causes. Cumulus Media Little Rock VP/market manager Keith Liesmann made the following statement: “All of us at Cumulus are tremendously saddened by the sudden and shocking passing of Donna Kelley. Donna was an outstanding reporter/anchor who served with the highest degree of journalistic integrity at KARN for a decade-and-a-half. Donna was at her happiest when she was working on a news story and never let anything keep her from getting her job done. She was a friend to everyone she worked with. We will all miss her.” This is the second death at KARN in a month. Morning news personality Gary DiGiuseppe died in a car crash on June 1 after a driver traveling the wrong direction on I-430 crashed into his car.
Herskovitz: Yelling and Obfuscation. Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes today about the rampant “yelling and obfuscation” he’s hearing (and seeing) too much of in today’s advertising. He suggests that what might serve clients better than the cryptically worded claims or annoying splash ads is a well-done radio campaign using the techniques that have worked so effectively for the medium over the years. Read Al’s piece here.
Health and Wellness Syndicated Host Optimistic About State of Radio Industry in Mixed Media Environment. Long-running talent/entrepreneur Danielle Lin, C.N. – host and producer of the successful, independently syndicated program, “The Danielle Lin Show: The Art of Living and the Science of Life” – believes that the combination of old media, new media and specialized, targeted programming with built-in advertising prospects is a winning combination for successful radio going forward into the digital age. In an exclusive article posted today (6/28) in TALKERS, Lin states, “Advertisers and agencies see the marriage of terrestrial radio with streaming, as the perfect way to enhance audience continuity. Quality weekend programming is seeing an increasing audience and the locking in of frequencies.” To read the entire article, please click here.
Odds & Sods. Three nationally syndicated shows from Genesis Communications Network add new affiliates: Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” morning program is now airing on Cumulus Media’s KBGG, Des Moines; the “Daren Streblow Comedy Show” is added to the program schedule at Northeast Colorado Broadcasting’s KPRB, Fort Morgan, Colorado; and “America’s Health Care Advocate” joins the lineup at Eastern Sky LLC’s WZXI, Lancaster, Kentucky…..This Friday (7/1), WEPN-FM “ESPN New York 98.7FM” is presenting “The Ultimate Kickoff Party” with “The Michael Kay Show” and “Hahn & Humpty” to mark the beginning of summer. The event is being held at Martell’s Tiki Bar in Point Pleasant, New Jersey from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm and will feature the hosts of both shows – Michael Kay, Don LaGreca, Peter Rosenberg, Alan Hahn and Rick DiPietro – will welcome guests including Yankees great Bernie Williams, Super Bowl champion and former New York Jet Willie Colon and entertainment provided by Willie Wilson and the 98.7 All Stars.….Producer Tom Delach (left) and host John Trout (right) show off their Bronze Trophy from the New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards. The Westwood One program “America in the Morning” was honored with the trophy for its achievements in the “News Magazine” category.
TALKERS 2016 Video Presentations Launch Today! A special feature presenting Livestream video recordings of the recent TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations gathering launches today on Talkers.com. The 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important national convention took place on the fabulous campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on Friday, May 20. Beginning today, the industry will be able to view the event’s main panels and presentations kicking off with three outstanding sessions – event emcee, Dr. Joy Browne’s “Welcoming Remarks;” media consultant Holland Cooke’s presentation, “Talk Media: The Next Generation;” and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel talk radio and television star Sean Hannity being interviewed by Michael Harrison in a one-on-one “Fireside Chat.” More speeches, panels and presentations from the dynamic event including WFAN, New York icon, Mike Francesa’s “Morning Sports Radio Keynote;” the TALKERS “Awards Ceremony;” the “Talk Rumble” and much more will be added in the days and weeks to come. To view this must-see presentation, please click here.
TALKERS 2016 Conference Wraps; Coverage of Annual Talk Media Event Forthcoming. The 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention took place at Hofstra University on Long Island on Friday (5/20), drawing a sell-out crowd of several hundred talk media professionals. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations was presented by TALKERS magazine in association with Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and WRHU Radio. The full day of panel discussions and speaker presentations was video streamed live by Livestream. Detailed coverage of the event, including archived video from the Livestream content, will be presented here on Talkers.com in the coming weeks. Reflecting on the event, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This was one of the smoothest and productive content-laden installments of this historic convention in its storied 19 years of service to the radio industry. We are grateful to all the speakers, panelists, displayers and sponsors for making it so. We are especially grateful to Dean Evan Cornog of Hofstra’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and WRHU (Radio Hofstra University) station manager Bruce Avery and operations director John Mullen for their phenomenal support as partners in the successful event.” Pictured here are: (top, left) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity engaging in a “fireside chat”; (top, right) Westwood One star Mark Levin accepting the annual Freedom of Speech award; (above, left) Hubbard Radio CEO Ginny Morris accepting the 2016 TALKERS Woman of the Year Award; and (bottom, right) WFAN, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa addressing the attendees.
Donald Trump Seeks to Build Support from WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes. Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes and several other Wisconsin talk radio personalities were publicly chastised by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump during that state’s primary election for their opposition to his candidacy. Now, Trump is seeking to bring the influential WTMJ host around. The image you see here is a copy of The New York Times with a hand-written note from Trump to Sykes. It references an article in the paper about groups that’ve previously been against Trump reversing their course. The note to Sykes reads: “Charlie, I hope you change your mind. Looking forward to coming back on your show. I WILL WIN!” WTMJ posted the photo and an accompanying story in its website. Sykes comments, “He’s reaching out. I’m surprised that he would reach out to somebody who has been as critical. Obviously, he understands the need to unify the Republican party and reach out to some conservatives. I figured maybe there would be some conservatives who would be beyond the pale, including #NeverTrump guys like me, but apparently he’s doing that. I will give him credit for reaching out to people that I did not think he was going to reach out to.” Read the WTMJ piece here.
The Presidential Race, EgyptAir Crash Investigation, TSA Efficiency Issues, Facebook Anti-Conservative Bias Allegations, Islamic State Calls for Civilian Attacks, and NBA and NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president; the investigation into the downing of EgyptAir flight 804; efficiency issues plaguing the TSA in screening airline passengers and statements from the agency that lines will get worse this summer; the controversy over allegations that Facebook manipulates its trending stories to downplay conservative issues; a high-ranking Islamic State official’s call for renewed attacks on European and American civilians; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
Odds & Sods. KBET, Las Vegas-based talk show host Wayne Allyn Root will appear on this Friday’s edition of HBO’s “Real Time” with Bill Maher. Also on the show will be Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders. Root tells TALKERS his role will be to defend Donald Trump…..Two Fox News Radio programs are being made available on the CRN Digital Talk Radio platform. “Kilmeade & Friends” with Brian Kilmeade and the Alan Colmes show are both the CRN 2 “Bulls and Bears” channel…..The GCN-distributed “Freedom Feens” show with host Michael W. Dean adds new affiliate KZLS, Enid, Oklahoma.
Herskovitz: Hall Talk 2016. Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes today in the aftermath of last Friday’s TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations conference. He says the sales pros attending the conference with whom he spoke all agreed that political advertising and digital sales were the hot topics this year. He says, “The unusual circumstances surrounding the current national candidates are posing unique sales problems. Yes, just about all with whom I spoke, acknowledged that they benefited from the ad wars affecting the primary season. But now local and regional battles are upon us. And numerous aspiring candidates are not allying themselves with the traditional wings of their political parties. Some candidates with no clearly defined affiliations are emerging.” Read Herskovitz’s column here.
WFAN, New York Personality Richard Neer Publishes Second Mystery Novel. Did you know that The Martian began as a self-published book? As did Still Alice and Legally Blonde. Do you think you’ve written a great book but the publishing industry won’t give it the attention it deserves? Richard Neer of WFAN, New York has just released the second of his Riley King series of mysteries through Amazon and CreateSpace — cutting out the middleman. Both are selling briskly without a traditional publisher. “Publishers are skeptical that radio, other than a few syndicated giants, can sell books. I’m happy to be proving them wrong,” Neer says. His traditionally published book, FM, the Rise and Fall of Rock Radio was released in 2001 by Villard, and Neer believes that it wouldn’t stand a chance with a major publisher today. “I’ve had radio friends with great stories to tell inform me that their manuscripts have been rejected because there aren’t enough sordid tales of sex and drugs. They’re not interested in great writing — just sensationalism and what seems trendy today.” The Master Builders is the title of Neer’s latest effort. As a result of promoting it on his WFAN sports talk radio show, his first novel, Something of the Night, is also selling well. Both are murder mysteries featuring private investigator Riley King and his radio sidekick Rick Stone as they battle crime and corruption up and down the Eastern Seaboard. “Just like with the music and film industry, there’s a revolution in publishing where traditional gatekeepers are less important. People can be introduced to fine work that otherwise might be ignored. It’s a lot more democratic. Sometimes those books can be as important or entertaining as the big blockbusters,” Neer says. “As much as I lament the demise of many great bookstores, most readers are buying online these days.” Richard is available for interviews about the business of publishing your own work and can be contacted at Rneer@wfan.com. All his books can be purchased at Amazon.com here.
National Radio Hall of Fame 2016 Nominees Announced. Today, industry voting begins for the 2016 National Radio Hall of Fame inductees. The 24 nominations in six categories were determined by the organization’s nominating committee. Four of those categories will be voted on by a voting participant panel comprised of 400 industry professionals, while the other two will be voted on by the public. Public voting commences June 20 for eight nominations for Music Format On-Air Personality and Spoken Word On-Air Personality. National Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “The sheer depth of talent in our industry never ceases to amaze me. After much discussion and deliberation, our nominating committee is very proud of this year’s class of nominees. We’re all looking forward to seeing the voter outcome from our industry peers and listeners nationwide.” Inductees will be announced July 11. The induction ceremony will be held Thursday, November 17 at the Museum of Broadcast and Communications in downtown Chicago. Nominees are: Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more): Jeff & Jer (Jeff Detrow & Jerry Cesak), San Diego; Charles Laquidara, Boston; Bobby O’Jay, Memphis; and Garland Robinette, New Orleans. Active Local/Regional (10 years or more): Tom Barnard, Minneapolis; BJ & Migs (BJ Shea & Steve Migs), Seattle; Eric & Kathy (Eric Ferguson & Kathy Hart), Chicago; and Preston and Steve (Preston Elliot & Steve Morrison), Philadelphia. Networks/Syndication (10 years or more): American Top 40 & On-Air With Ryan Seacrest, Ryan Seacrest; The Fabulous Sports Babe, Nanci Donnellan; The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Steve Harvey; and Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, Peter Sagal. Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more): Delilah, Delilah; Gospel Traxx with Walt “Baby” Love, Walt “Baby” Love; The Jim Rome Show, Jim Rome; and The Kim Komando Show, Kim Komando. The following are to be voted on by listeners. Music Format On-Air Personality: Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton; Tom Kent; The Kevin & Bean Show (Kevin Ryder & Gene Baxter); and Bob Kingsley. Spoken Word On-Air Personality: Diane Rehm; Mike Francesa and Chris Russo; Michael Savage; and Sean Hannity.
Gracies Awards Ceremony Take Place Tomorrow in Beverly Hills. The 41st annual Gracie Awards are taking place tomorrow (5/24) in Beverly Hills and actress Marika Domińczyk will serve as host. Also, Grammy Award-nominee Andra Day will perform her hit, “Rise Up.” The Gracie Awards honor outstanding individual achievement and programming by, for and about women. Alliance for Women in Media Foundation chair and SVP, Global Content Operations at Discovery Communications, Kristen Welch, says, “The talent that Marika holds, along with her contagious energy and sense of humor, makes her an ideal host for the Gracie Awards Gala. In the spirit of The Gracies, our host, presenters and performances will be unapologetically diverse, loud, personal, funny, emotional and bold.” The Gracie Awards Gala will be live streamed in partnership with Cumulus on websites nationwide.
KGO, San Francisco Announces New Programming; Ronn Owens to Remain on KGO After All. Citing listener outcry (who saw that coming?), Cumulus Media is changing its plans to move Bay Area talk legend Ronn Owens to drive time on sister talker KSFO and will keep him on KGO (with an hour trimmed off) from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. Beginning tomorrow (4/5), the new KGO lineup begins with KSTE, Sacramento-based Armstrong & Getty – Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – in morning drive. After Owens is Ethan Bearman from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. Bearman has been hosting weekend shows for KGO and sister KSFO for the past few years. Brian Copeland, a longtime weekend host at KGO, follows Bearman from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Chip Franklin is now afternoon drive host from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm and DreX remains the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm personality. Last week, the company moved away from its newsy heritage, dismissing most of its news personnel in this move to re-make KGO a live-and-local talk station. Program director Mike Anthony states, “We couldn’t be more excited about the new direction KGO 810 is taking, and we believe our listeners will love what they hear. Ronn’s audience made it very clear to us yesterday that he belongs at KGO — so we listened.”
The Presidential Race, Syrian Conflict/Battle Against Islamic State, European Jihadists Investigation, European Migrant Issues, and the Final Four Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president in advance of Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary; the Syrian civil conflict, weekend attacks on al-Nusra leaders and the battle against Islamic State fighters; the investigation into the jihadists responsible for the Paris and Brussels terror attacks; the issues European nations are dealing with as they absorb refugees from Syria and other Middle East nations; and the Final Four games were some of the stories discussed on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Amber Wilson Joins WAXY-AM, Miami’s ‘Zaslow & Romberg’ AM Show. Florida broadcaster Amber Wilson is joining Entercom’s WAXY-AM, Miami “Sports Talk 790 AM The Ticket” as a member of the on-air team on the “Zaslow & Romberg” show with Jonathan Zaslow and Brett Romberg. Entercom notes that Wilson is “a veteran sports broadcaster, who began her career hosting a weekly sports television show, ‘Sports Bang’ on WFOR-TV alongside ESPN’s Jon ‘Stugotz’ Weiner. She has previously appeared on a variety of sports radio programs, including CBS Network’s ‘The Players Club’ and as an anchor, reporter and writer for Open Sports Inc. and CBS Sports Interactive.” Entercom South Florida VP and market manager Doug Abernethy states, “Amber has it all: in-depth sports knowledge and expertise, a fan’s enthusiasm and a lively on-air presence. Her chemistry with Jonathan and Brett will be a winning combination that will resonate with our audience and our ad partners. Listeners will benefit from her proven track record providing real time commentary and sports analysis.”
Todd Schnitt and Wife Lose Case Over Unpaid Legal Bills. Talk show host Todd Schnitt and his wife Michelle were handed a legal defeat in a Tampa courtroom when the jury decided that the couple must pay their former legal team the fees it charged to sue former Tampa radio rival Bubba the Love Sponge. The Schnitts had argued that they were deceived by former attorney Philip Campbell and would not have sued Bubba if not for “bad advice” from Campbell. The Schnitts lost their bid to win a defamation case against Bubba. In the end, the jury found the Schnitts had not been deceived by Campbell and they are being ordered to pay $669,000 in legal fees.
PPM Analysis: Public Radio Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the third of three format analyses of spoken-word radio based on the February 2016 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio. Previously we published reports on all-news and news/talk. Today’s report focuses on non-commercial news/talk. No public radio talk station ranked first in its market in February, however six stations finished in the top five: WAMU, Washington (#2); KOPB, Portland (#2); KQED-FM, San Francisco (#3); WUNC, Raleigh (#3); KCFR, Denver (#4); and KPBS, San Diego (#5). In this report you’ll also find a chart comparing the performances of all-news, news/talk, and non-commercial talk. See it here.
Odds & Sods. According to a report from Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago is flipping the air times of Westwood One syndicated talk programs “The Savage Nation” with host Michael Savage and the Mark Levin program. When the shows aren’t being pre-empted or partially pre-empted by White Sox baseball, Savage will be heard at 9:00 pm and Levin will go on at 6:00 pm. Both shows will be streamed when baseball is airing…..Media sales pro David J. Halberstam has just published his new book titled, The Fundamentals of Sports Media and Sponsorship Sales: Developing New Accounts. Halberstam – who began his career with Katz Media and spent a decade as EVP of sports for Westwood One – currently heads up the Halby Group. He tells TALKERS the book is being released in both hardcopy and electronic forms via Sagamore Publishing. Halberstam says, “The title is a first of its kind; a step-by-step handbook on developing new sports media and sponsorship accounts. Corporate sports account executives, veterans and rookies alike, should find the text of interest. From identifying prospects to closing a piece of business and the emotional roller coaster throughout the process, they are all covered.”…..Hard-working Iowa personality Simon Conway – heard on WHO, Des Moines in afternoons and on WMT, Cedar Rapids in mornings – is tripling up this week as he is also being heard on iHeartMedia’s WFLF, Orlando in morning drive today through Wednesday…..Bill Bennett officially passed the baton to new Salem Radio Network morning drive host Hugh Hewitt, who replaces Bennett in the daypart. Hewitt had U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) on his program and he wished Hewitt well, “Congratulations, welcome to mornings…you have some big shoes to fill!”
WOWO, Fort Wayne’s Pat Miller to Undergo Kidney Transplant. Afternoon drive talk host Pat Miller recently shared with his listeners his battle with Chronic Kidney Disease and the news that a matching kidney donor has been found. He said, “God miraculously has made a kidney available for me. There’s a donor that has selflessly put themselves on the line…” Miller is scheduled to undergo the transplant on May 24.
WBBM-AM, Chicago Reporter Dies in Car Crash. A Sunday morning automobile accident in Merrillville, Indiana took the life of 60-year-old WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago reporter Dave Mitchell. Mitchell had been with the CBS RADIO all-news outlet since 1992. Chicago media is reporting Mitchell leaves behind a wife and four children.
Beck Under Investigation for Trump Threat? According to a story published by KTVT-TV, Dallas, the Secret Service is following up on what it has construed as a possible threat by Premiere Networks syndicated talk host Glenn Beck against GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump. During Beck’s Friday program, Beck was speaking about what he would do if here were in Trump’s competitors’ shoes. Beck show cast member Stu Burguiere jokingly asked, “Was it gigantic shoes?” To which Beck replied, “If I was close enough and I had a knife. Really. I mean the stabbing just wouldn’t stop.” Beck and Burguiere said afterward that Beck was clearly making a humorous threat against his co-host but the Secret Service is looking in to whether it was a threat against Trump. See the KTVT-TV story here.
Super Saturday Primaries/Clinton-Sanders Debate, Nancy Reagan Dies, North Korea Nuclear Threats, and Peyton Manning Retires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The presidential race, Saturday’s primary elections and caucuses, and the Hillary Clinton–Bernie Sanders debate; the passing of former First Lady Nancy Reagan at 94; North Korea’s renewed threats of nuclear force; and the announced retirement of NFL great Peyton Manning were some of the most-talked-about stories discussed on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
KOIL, Omaha Unveils Programming Changes; New Brand. Recent programming changes at NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha include the addition of Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity to the afternoon daypart leading into Westwood One’s Mark Levin, plus the arrival of Matt Tompkins hosting the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm show. Tompkins – who replaces the recently departed Bob Bruce – hosted at KOIL in the past and is also the co-host/co-creator of “Omaha Live,” a sketch comedy TV show that airs immediately after “Saturday Night Live” on WOWT-TV, Omaha. Additionally, the station changes its brand from “The Mighty 1290 KOIL” to “News Talk 1290.” Station operations manager Dave Tepper states, “Matt provides his listeners with a young, entertaining and fast-paced view of local and national politics and is Omaha’s only local weekday news talk show from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. The addition of Sean Hannity provides Omaha with the best election and national news coverage we can and the move to ‘News Talk 1290’ is a clear description of what we are.”
Delmarva Re-Aligns Programming on Delaware Talk Stations. Wilmington news/talker WDEL-AM/FM and Milford, Delaware talk outlet WXDE-FM have gone through a programming realignment. Here’s what’s changed: Susan Monday is now 9:00 am to 12:00 noon host simulcast on both stations, replacing Al Mascitti on WDEL; the Rick Jenson show is also being simulcast from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on both stations; Jared Morris is hosting the afternoon show on WXDE-FM and Allan Loudell anchors the afternoon news program on WDEL.
Pagliarulo Syndication Building at Healthy Clip. Heavy Hundred member Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo continues his momentum since going into independent national syndication last August. He’s up to 41 affiliates now and TALKERS has learned that a number of stations are looking to add the show this spring and summer. He broadcasts live between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm ET. Stations interested in the program can learn more by contacting Susan O’Connell at Compass Media Networks at SOConnell@compassmedianetworks.com. To read Mike Kinosian’s recent TALKERS feature about Joe Pags, please click here.
The 2016 Hersky Awards. Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz presents the winners of the 9th annual Hersky Awards for excellence in talk radio advertising. In this annual feature, Herskovitz gives his nod to what he considers the best in several categories: national commercial of the year, best ad campaign of the year, best national live read, best local spot by a national host, best website ad, and, of course, the Nosey Award for the ad or ad campaign that “needs improvement.” See the winners here.
WIP, Philadelphia’s Big Daddy Graham Diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation After Marathon Hiccup Attack. Overnight sports talk personality Big Daddy Graham was smitten with a bout of hiccups that wouldn’t go away while doing his show on WIP-FM, Philadelphia. At first he thought it was kind of funny but when it didn’t stop, he became concerned. According to a story from CBS Philadelphia, he went to the hospital and was subsequently diagnosed with atrial fibrillation – an abnormal heart rhythm. The doctor that treated Graham says the hiccups are not a normal sign of atrial fibrillation but sources of stress can set the hiccups in motion and can do the same for atrial fibrillation. Graham’s hiccups have subsided but not gone away entirely after a three-day stay in the hospital. But he’s back on the radio and back to his standup comedy gigs as well. Read the CBS story here.
Odds & Sods. WGOW, Chattanooga afternoon talk host Brian Joyce recently emceed a live auction at the “HulaBowloo” – an annual event hosted by the Chattanooga Area Food Bank. Joyce reports that the event was a smashing success; more than 700 people attended and it’s expected that $105,000 will be raised for the food bank that helps provide more than 420,000 meals for low-income kids…..CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York “Sports Radio 66AM and 101.9FM” and the New York Yankees announce John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman will continue serving as the radio broadcast team for New York Yankees games this season. Sterling and Waldman have called Yankees games on the radio for the past 11 years…..Pictured here is KHTE, Little Rock talk host Dave Elswick (right) speaking with Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe (left) at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington…..WGN, Chicago announces it has signed a contract extension with personality Lou Manfredini through December 31, 2020. Manfredini began his career at WGN in 1995 as a guest on the Bob Collins show when he was given the nickname “Mr. Fix It.” He hosts the Saturday morning program, “The Mr. Fix-It Show.”
Carolyn Fox Candidate for WPRO-AM, Providence PM Drive Gig. That is according to a report from WJAR-TV, Providence. The station published a feature story about the Providence-born radio pro who’s been – among other things – working lately in the real estate business. Carolyn Fox, known in the Providence market for her time at rock WHJY, told the television station that she is under consideration for the drive time show at the Cumulus Media news/talker. It’s part of a “where are they now” story that presents Fox’s colorful radio history in the Northeast. The afternoon drive show opened up after longtime political figure and radio host Buddy Cianci died in January.
Presidential Race, Run-Up to Academy Awards, Apple vs FBI Case, Syrian Ceasefire, and Britain’s Looming EU Exit Vote Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president; the controversy over the slate of nominees for Academy Awards; the battle between Apple and the FBI over the company’s refusal to hack an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists; the civil conflict in Syria and the brokered cease fire; and Britain’s June referendum on exiting the European Union were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cooke: Engage in Unconventional Convention Coverage. For news/talk stations planning to cover the Democratic and/or Republican conventions this summer, radio consultant Holland Cooke has some advice: don’t duplicate the national coverage. In other words, make your coverage unique and interesting to your listeners and don’t sound like the network news your station is probably also carrying. Cooke also cautions against airing live reports, instead using your technology to air produced reports with interesting elements. Read more here.
Townsquare Media’s Pro Forma Net Revenue Up 5.4% for 2015. The acquisition of North American Midway Entertainment and the robust performance of Townsquare Media’s live events division contributed to a net revenue increase of 20.4% in the fourth quarter of 2015. However, for the fourth quarter local advertising net revenue was basically flat (down 0.4%). Chairman and CEO Steven Price says, “We believe our diversified strategy remains sound, demonstrated by the stability of our local advertising business and the outsized growth in our other businesses. In addition, we further diversified our business, with approximately half of revenue now derived from sources other than the sale of terrestrial radio advertising.” For all of 2015, local advertising net revenue (excluding political) increased 1.9% compared to 2014.
Odds & Sods. Sports talk personality Dino Costa will serve as host of the morning drive show on Randy Markel-owned KFNS, St. Louis “590 The Fan,” although a start date for the show has not been announced. Costa is currently broadcasting a live, three-hour nightly show via the internet…..Promoted from vice president of sales for the Cumulus Pensacola, Florida cluster to vice president/market manager is Davey Willhoit…..Nationally syndicated talk media personality Leslie Marshall is now part of the Worldwide Speakers Group, which describes itself as “a leading global professional services firm providing distinctive performance and innovative solutions in the global lecture industry to corporate, trade, education, and commercial customers worldwide.”
Mark Levin Launches New Show on Digital Television Platform. WABC, New York-based, nationally syndicated radio talk star and best-selling author Mark Levin is broadening his media presence with a new TV show in partnership with CRTV. LevinTV is a subscription-based digital television platform that Levin calls “America’s new televised Town Hall meeting” and “the next step in the evolution of digital conservative media.” Beginning March 7, the LevinTV program will stream live at 9:00 pm ET and episodes will be available to subscribers on demand. There’s no green screen for Levin; his show will emanate from the “state-of-the-art studio built exclusively for the show” that you see pictured here. (It looks like a legal eagle’s man cave, complete with pool table and a bar.) As for the program itself, Levin and CRTV say it will be “a commercial-free explosion of Mark Levin’s engaging personality, unique intellect and passionate commentary about history, economics, philosophy and the latest political and current events. The show will also feature exclusive, long-form interviews with compelling guests from all walks of life.” Levin comments, “I have the greatest audience in the world and I give them my best every night. I am thrilled we are expanding our Town Hall meeting place for patriots, by taking TV broadcasting to a new level on multiple platforms where I will speak directly to my audience — uncensored, without middlemen, and commercial free.” The regular, full-year price for access to LevinTV is $69 per year or $7.99 per month.
Presidential Race Continues to Ride Top of Talkers TenTM. For another week, the activities of the candidates for president and the issues comprising the election season were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 were the nation’s immigration and refugee policies. Coming in at #3 was the Middle East military escalation including Turkish-Kurdish violence in Iraq and the ongoing Syrian conflict followed by the replacement of Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court and theories about his death 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.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Names Radio Hosts to Elections Advisory Committee. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick – former talk radio personality and owner of KSEV, Houston – has appointed six members of the media to the state’s Elections Advisory Committee. Each will serve a two-year term on the committee, whose objective is to “evaluate the reporting and tabulation of unofficial election returns in both primary and general elections. The committee then makes recommendations to the office of the Texas Secretary of State.” KSKY, Dallas talk host Mark Davis and KFYO, Lubbock’s Chad Hasty are two talk personalities serving on the committee. The others are: Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune, Pedro Rojas of Univision, Mike Ward of The Houston Chronicle, and Jason Whitely of WFAA-TV.
Round Three of January PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of January 2016 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was December 31 – January 27. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Top Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Zidarevich Upped at Premiere Networks. Sixteen-year FOX Sports Radio manager Annie Zidarevich is promoted to vice president, West Coast operations for Premiere Networks. She’s been with FOX Sports Radio since its inception in 2000, most recently as VP, network operations. In that role she also managed studio operations and program staffing needs for Premiere in Los Angeles. In this new role Zidarevich will oversee all West Coast programming operations for Premiere.
Odds & Sods. Pro soccer comes to CBS RADIO’s Houston cluster after it signs a multi-year deal to broadcast Houston Dynamo matches. Both KILT “Sports Radio 610” and KIKK “CBS Sports Radio” will air games with KIKK serving as the primary outlet for MLS matches. KIKK will also air ancillary programming including “The Players Show” and “The Coaches Show.”…..Podcasting pioneer Carl Kozlowski – founder of the podcast platform RadioTitans – is expanding into live event production and is one of the organizers of FERRIS FEST – a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the release of the John Hughes film, Ferris Beuller’s Day Off. The festival takes place the weekend of May 20-22 in the Chicago area. The highlight of the weekend will be a special screening of the film, accompanied by film cast members and hosted by Chicago Sun-Times film critic (and talk radio pro) Richard Roeper.
NYMRAD Reports New York Spot Revenue Up 3% in Q4 of 2015. That figure is based on data from Miller, Kaplan & Arase and the increase was fueled by growth in the communications, health care and food & beverages categories. Getting more specific, the New York Market Radio report indicates wireless carriers increased their radio spend in the market by 10% during 2015 and public utilities spent 22% more during the year. Health care advertising on radio was up 10% for the year as was the food and beverage category.
Don Imus to Be Honored with the TALKERS 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. The TALKERS editorial board announced today (2/11) that one of the most colorful, controversial, and venerable radio personalities of all time, John Donald Imus Jr. – mononymously known as Imus – has been named the 2016 recipient of the prestigious TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award. The 75-year-old legend has been heard on radio since 1968 on a variety of heritage stations including WGAR and WHK in Cleveland as well as WNBC and WFAN in New York. He has hosted cable TV shows on MSNBC and more recently Fox Business Channel. He presently hosts his long-running show “Imus in the Morning” on WABC, New York. Imus, author of numerous books and performer on several hit comedy albums, is a complex broadcasting figure known both for being a politically incorrect insult-artist as well as being a humanitarian and philanthropist, particularly in the battle against childhood cancer. Imus has won four NAB Marconi Awards, three for Major Market Personality of the Year in 1990, 1992 and 1997 and one for Network Syndicated Personality in 1994. He inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1989 and was named one of the 25 Most Influential People in America by Time magazine in 1997. In 2002, TALKERS magazine ranked Imus as one of the 25 Greatest Radio Talk Show Hosts of all Time. In making the announcement on behalf of the board, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “If Don Imus doesn’t deserve this spoken-word radio award, no one does. His unique position, diversity of styles, capacity for reinvention – not to mention influence on the industry, pop culture and politics – stand out among a rarified handful of bold performers who have made broadcasting history.” The award will be presented to Imus at the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations convention set for Friday, May 20 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. It is hoped that he will be in attendance to receive the award personally, despite his challenge with health issues and present home-base in Texas. True to form, the legend tells TALKERS, “My wife thinks I should do this – be gracious and accept your idiotic award.”
Cumulus and Mark Levin Agree to ‘Lifetime Extension.’ Both Westwood One EVP of news/talk Bart Tessler and talk radio star Mark Levin jokingly use the term “lifetime” to describe the new contract extension between the two parties, but nine years seems like a lifetime in the world of radio contracts. Levin says, “I could not be more pleased to extend my radio partnership with Cumulus/Westwood One. For the next nine years — an unprecedented long-term relationship in the broadcasting industry — I am committed to continuing to bring the best possible program, both substantive and entertaining, to my millions of beloved and loyal listeners each and every day.” Tessler adds, “To know that we’ll be working together for so many years is a Mark Levin show primary victory and a big win for affiliates, advertisers, and listeners. Mark’s tenure will now exceed that of a two-term president and that means continued excellence on the air on a nightly basis.” The company says Levin’s show “not only covers the most critical events of the day, but delves into history, economics, philosophy, and the constitution – and continues to be an enormous ratings and revenue winner for Westwood One and for the more than 300 stations that broadcast the show.
Entercom Reports 2015 Net Revenue Up 8%. 2015 was a good year for Entercom. The company reported net revenue for the fourth quarter was $117.7 million – up 16% from the same period a year ago. For the year of 2015 net revenue was $411.4 million, an increase of 8%. These figures include the impact of the transaction with Lincoln Financial Media and the station exchange with Bonneville International Corporation which started in July. But the impressive revenue hike is not just the result of additional signals; president and CEO David Field notes that the company’s stations performed well. “I am pleased to report that Entercom’s performance continued to accelerate into the fourth quarter, capping a very successful 2015…Fourth quarter same-station revenue increased by 5%, excluding political advertising. This marked the second straight quarter of mid-single digit organic growth. We are very well positioned for success in 2016 with an expanded market footprint, strong station ratings growth, and enhanced digital and customer marketing capabilities. Our pacings look strong and we are optimistic about our potential to deliver excellent results for our shareholders in 2016 and the years ahead.”
Greater Media’s ‘Detroit Sports 105.1’ Moves Baligian, Mazawey & Fellhauer to Mornings. The trio of Sean Baligian, Tom Mazawey and Marc Fellhauer is currently heard in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot on Greater Media’s WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1.” Beginning Tuesday (2/16), they will move to morning drive, replacing ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike. ESPN’s Ryan & Rico will now be heard from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and the afternoon drive show co-hosted by Matt Dery and Drew Sharp will start at 2:00 pm. Station program director Dave Shore says, “We feel this new lineup will give our dedicated motor city sports fans a more local sports experience. We are very grateful to ESPN’s Mike & Mike for their contributions to the station.”
Five iHeartMedia Programmers Boosted. Trading in their titles of senior vice president of programming to become division executive vice president of programming for iHeartMedia‘s national programming group are Tony Coles, Steve Geofferies, Andrew Jeffries, Thea Mitchem, and Meg Stevens. Along with fellow division executive vice president of programming Gene Romano, they will report to iHeartMedia national programming group executive vice president and general manager Brad Hardin. According to national programming group president Tom Poleman, “Great programming is the foundation of our stations. We are fortunate to have an amazing group of local program directors leading our brands. The collaboration between local programming and the iHeartMedia national programming group unlocks the unparalleled scale and assets of iHeartMedia, providing us with unmatched resources which benefit each and every one of our stations.” Formerly organized into major and regional market groups, iHM is now comprised of four geographic divisions, each led by a division president. Jeffries and Geofferies are working in the West division with Greg Ashlock; Coles is in the Central with Matt Martin; Mitchem and Stevens in the Northeast with Hartley Adkins; and Romano is teamed with Tom McConnell in the Midwest-Southeast division.
NH Primary Aftermath/Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Record Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, Iran-U.S. Navy Incident, U.S. Afghanistan Forces Strengthened, European Refugee Problems, Zika Virus Concerns, and Beyonce Super Bowl Performance Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). The analysis of Tuesday’s New Hampshire presidential primary and the activities of the candidates for president; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; the continuing downward trend in oil prices, the world’s financial markets activity, and concerns about a new recession; Iran’s gloating over the incident with a U.S. Navy patrol; the U.S. increases peacekeeping troops in Afghanistan; the troubles European nations are experiencing dealing with Syrian refugees; concerns about a Zika virus pandemic and reports of cases in 20 U.S. states; and ongoing criticism of Beyonce’s performance at the Super Bowl were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. KEIR, Idaho Falls is expanding its local content. Riverbend Communications general manager Bill Fuerst tells East Idaho News that the station wants to give more voice to its listeners. “Idaho’s Morning News with Dylan Carder” will expand to two hours – airing from 7:00 am to 9:00 am – and Mark Richardson will host a new, hour-long afternoon show at 3:00 pm…..Podcasting and audio-video streaming experts StreamGuys are attending “Proclaim 16” – the NRB International Christian Media Convention and Exposition – to share their expertise to assist worship communities extend their reach. StreamGuys says Matt Kellogg (who joined the company from the recently shuttered Live365) will lead the company’s engagements with houses of worship and religious organizations…..ESPN Radio will present radio coverage of the NBA’s 65th All-Star Game on Sunday (2/14) from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. This will be ESPN Radio’s 20th year covering the game. In the booth will be Kevin Calabro and Jon Barry with reporters Marc Stein and Shelley Smith. Marc Kestecher will host the pre-game and halftime coverage with analyst P.J. Carlesimo.
Michael Harrison and Tom Leykis Chat About the Past, Present and Future of Audio Media. Legendary broadcast radio performer and pioneering online radio entrepreneur Tom Leykis joins TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison as this week’s guest on PodcastOne’s international hit, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” The two engage in an extensive, one-on-one discussion about Leykis’ colorful career that spanned decades as a talk show host on some of America’s highest-profile radio stations and during which time his on-air persona ranged from outrageous “shock jock” to edgy “progressive” political news/talker. Today, Leykis approaches the fourth anniversary of his successful online radio enterprise, The New Normal – a multifaceted platform upon which he streams his daily, live, listener call-in program, “The Tom Leykis Show,” as well as a podcast for radio talents Gary & Dino. A separate iteration of The New Normal delivers two streaming music channels – pop and rock – personally curated by Leykis. Leykis discusses his leading-edge business model that includes a mix of advertising, subscriptions, merchandising and live events – now generating upwards of $600,000 annual gross revenue. The two venerable pros talk about targeting Millennials, the nature of “authenticity” as it applies to today’s younger demos, the scope of non-traditional revenue and various aspects of media theory as it applies to 21st century communications. To listen to this entire uninterrupted conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Curtis Media and WPTF, Raleigh to Fill Exiting Brian Freeman’s Roles. Relocating to the Naples-Ft. Myers area where his family owns a home is Brian Freeman who’s been morning drive personality at Curtis Media news/talk flagship WPTF, Raleigh. Freeman was also PD for the station and director of spoken word formats for the company. Announcing his exit via Facebook, Freeman says he’s seeking work in the Naples-Ft. Myers market. “My time at Curtis Media Group has been one of the best experiences of my lengthy career. Special thanks go out to Don Curtis, Trip Savery, David Stuckey, David Lewis and all my fellow co-workers.”
David Kantor to Head Radio One’s Radio Group. Radio executive David Kantor moves from his position as president and CEO of Radio One’s syndication arm Reach Media to CEO of Radio One’s radio division, putting him in charge of the company’s 54 stations in 16 markets. In making the announcement, Radio One president and CEO Alfred Liggins comments, “I’ve been partners with David (and Tom Joyner) in Reach Media for 11 years. I highly respect his work ethic and intelligence. David’s skill set, his business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit are second to none. I’m excited about his leadership of our network and local radio business and I have every confidence that he will do an outstanding job.”
Odds & Sods. A new talk station launches in the Mobile market after Cumulus Media splits the simulcast of Gospel WXQW and WGOK and turns WXQW into “660 News/Information.” The lineup includes Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” in morning drive, WMAL-AM/FM, Washington-based Chris Plante for late mornings, Westwood One’s Phil Valentine in PM drive, Mark Levin in evenings plus WW1’s “Red Eye Radio,” “America in the Morning” and “First Light” programs…..A new Sunday program launches on Salem Media’s WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” on October 25. “Effective Radio with Bill Samuels” is the creation of New York activist Bill Samuels and promises to be a show “about action.” Samuels says the show will be a potent vehicle to “channel the collective energy and brainpower of New Yorkers to actually do something about” the city’s problems. The show airs from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon and will be produced and co-hosted by Morgan Pehme, executive director of Samuels’ nonprofit advocacy organization EffectiveNY. WNYM’s Frank Morano will serve as supervising producer…..SiriusXM’s “Town Hall” series of Q&As before a live studio audience continues, this time from Jay Leno’s garage in Los Angeles with Jamie Foxx serving as host. During the show, Leno speaks with Foxx and answers questions from SiriusXM listeners about his career, his years hosting “The Tonight Show” and his new CNBC series “Jay Leno’s Garage.”…..Red Zebra Broadcasting reports that just two months after making its WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980” station app available to listeners, it’s been downloaded more than 23,000 times. Red Zebra Broadcasting president and CEO Rick Carmean says, “The way people are consuming radio is changing. In the near future, the primary method of reaching listeners will most likely be through their mobile device. The mobile app should give sports talk formats a big advantage going forward if the radio station provides good content and strong talent.”…..The Halloween eve tradition continues on Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” as host George Noory welcomes paranormal expert Rosemary Ellen Guiley. She’ll discuss the mystical powers of black mirrors for the first hour of the program, followed by three hours of ghost stories and open-line callers as “Ghost to Ghost AM” takes to the airwaves.
DIRECTV Making ‘Undeniable With Joe Buck’ Available to Radio Stations. The new weekly DIRECTV program, “Undeniable With Joe Buck,” is being made available to sports and news/talk radio stations. DIRECTV says that new episodes of the show will air each Wednesday evening and radio partners will be able to re-broadcast the audio the following day. The one-hour program will be formatted to allow stations to sell time during the show. The guests being interviewed by Joe Buck this first season of the program include: Derek Jeter, Abby Wambach, Troy Aikman, Chuck Liddell, Michael Phelps, Jimmy Johnson, Wayne Gretzky, Bob Baffert, George St. Pierre, and Jerry Jones.
Claire Carter Launches New Show on TalkersRadio. Veteran talk pro Claire Carter, founder of The Good For You Network – an internet venture that provides news and information that is “good for you to know about” (personal, national and global well-being) – has launched a new radio program titled, “Good For You Radio,” that debuts today (10/20) on TalkersRadio. TalkersRadio is an online platform hosted and operated by TALKERS magazine to serve as an experimental lab and showcase for innovative new concepts and shows in development in talk radio programming. Carter’s career experience includes hosting television shows for FX Cable and CNBC, guest hosting on the ABC and CBS Radio Networks, writing for PARADE magazine, providing media training and teaching “The Art of Interviewing” for the New School for Social Research. Carter’s debut installments feature an in-depth, personal conversation with noted life coach Mike Jaffe — author of Wake Up! Your life is Calling: Why Settle for Fine When So Much More is Possible? (Author House, 2011) — about how the events of 9/11 transformed his career and life; an informative wake-up call with Dr. Peter Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, about the vulnerability of America’s grid to terrorist attack; and an interview with Dr. Mark Liponis, corporate medical director of Canyon Ranch, about new ways of dealing with catastrophic diseases. On announcing the launch of this new program, TALKERS GM of broadcast operations David Bernstein says, “Working with Claire Carter on this project is deeply satisfying to me as both a broadcaster and a human being. She is an extraordinarily intelligent, articulate and sensitive conversationalist who goes deep into her subjects and creates a meaningful listening experience about the truly important stuff of life. Like so many shows that have gotten their start on TalkersRadio, I am confident that ‘Good For You Radio’ has a bright future.” To listen to the program, please click here.
Native Son Visits KNML, Albuquerque. UFC fighter Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit (center) poses for a photo in the KNML, Albuquerque studios with “The Opening Drive” personalities Jeff Siembieda (left) and JJ Buck (right). Condit is an Albuquerque native and resident who will fight for the UFC welterweight title in Las Vegas on January 2, 2016.
2016 Presidential Race, Looming Clinton Benghazi Testimony, Liberal Party Sweeps Canadian Elections, Syria and ISIS Military Campaigns, Israel Violence, Release of Truth Film, and MLB Playoffs and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/19). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; Thursday’s testimony from Hillary Clinton about the deadly Benghazi attacks; Canada’s Liberal Party led by Justin Trudeau sweeps Canada’s elections; the military campaigns being waged in Syria and against ISIS by Russia and the U.S.; ongoing violence between Palestinians and Israelis; the release of the film Truth detailing CBS’ investigation into George W. Bush’s Texas National Guard Service; and the MLB playoff games and the weekend’s NFL contests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Mark Levin Comments Cited in Atlantic Piece About Trump-GOP Relationship. The story by David Frum in The Atlantic is titled, “The Republican Revolt,” and addresses the “frustration” rank-and-file GOPers are having with longtime party leaders and how that’s affected Donald Trump’s candidacy. In the piece, WABC, New York-based and Westwood One nationally syndicated talk host Mark Levin is quoted from a segment on his radio show. Levin is quoted, in part, saying, “Senator Mitch McConnell and Representatives John Boehner and Karl Rove and their ilk …. You’re sick of them. You’re sick of them not doing what you elected them to do. You’re sick of them lying to you. You’re sick of them attacking everybody who doesn’t agree with them through their surrogates. You’re sick of how they treat people who dare to challenge them in Republican primaries… You’re tired of so-called conservative commentators on TV and elsewhere who serve as their surrogates… You don’t feel you have a home and you don’t feel that there’s a party that stands up for you.” This consternation within the GOP has been an underlying theme on conservative news/talk radio since before Donald Trump announced his candidacy, although talk hosts who broach this topic and reference Trump now that the nation is in campaign mode, are often labeled in the consumer media as “Trump supporters.” Read The Atlantic piece here.
WW1 Podcast Study Cited in AdAge Piece. A story in Advertising Age by Felicia Greiff cites a study commissioned by Westwood One titled, “State of American Podcasting.” The piece notes that WW1’s study consisted of data from an Ipsos custom study and Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” quarterly study. Edison created “a cross tabulation of 500 podcast listeners using three recent studies that showed the audio source, time of day, demographic profile, devices used to listen and types of content used by consumers.” WW1’s Pierre Bouvard says the study confirmed that podcast listening is led by Millennials as it concluded the median age of podcast users is “30, versus 45 for AM/FM radio and 57 for broadcast television networks.” Further, “personalities and talk shows are the leading content consumed by podcast listeners, taking up 66% of total podcast listening, followed by news podcasts with 22%.” Read the whole AdAge story here.
Nielsen Audio Announces 2015 Radio Market Survey Rankings. Some of the changes in rank for radio markets as defined by Nielsen Audio include major markets Atlanta and Philadelphia swapping positions – Atlanta slides up to #8 and Philly drops to #9. Las Vegas makes another leap, moving from #38 to #31. Raleigh-Durham moves up from #42 to #40. Milwaukee slides back to #41 and Oklahoma City dips from #48 to #50. Another diary market – the growing Chattanooga area – jumps from #110 to #88. See the entire Nielsen report here.
PodcastOne Adds Six New Shows to Menu. On-demand audio content giant PodcastOne announces six new programs that are being added to its menu of shows. New sports programs include: “Name Dropping with Ian Fitzsimmons,” “Total Soccer Show,” and “Mohr Sports Los Angeles” with Jay Mohr. Two new programs in the fitness category are: “Bulletproof Radio” and “Ben Greenfield Fitness.” The final addition is a podcast called “NRP” featuring celebrity blogger Nik Richie. All six shows will be available at PodcastOne.com, the PodcastOne app and iTunes.
Joey Harrington Assumes PM Drive Co-Host Gig at ‘750 The Game’ in Portland. Former Oregon Ducks and Detroit Lions quarterback Joey Harrington joins Alpha Media’s KXTG-AM” 750 The Game” (also heard on K275CH at 102.9 FM) to co-host the afternoon program from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm alongside Fletcher Johnson. Alpha Portland SVP/market manager Milt McConnell comments, “We are thrilled to add Joey’s Ducks and NFL expertise and analysis to our afternoon drive show.” About his new gig, Harrington adds, “I’m excited for the opportunity to join the ‘750 The Game’ team and Alpha Media. What a perfect way for me to be able to share my passion for all things football and Portland, than over the airwaves on the best station in town.”
Odds & Sods. More additions to the CBS RADIO podcast platform Play.it are announced. New shows include “Cosmo Happy Hour” hosted by Elisa Benson of Cosmopolitan.com; a weekly one-hour show from comic Tom Green; “The Brouhaha with Ana Marie Cox” from the Wonkette founder; a weekly football podcast hosted by Jason Fitz; and “The Global Travel Conspiracy” with Gary Arndt, who has been traveling non-stop since 2007 and has visited more than 100 countries across all continents…..WGN, Chicago legend Orion Samuelson will go in for heart valve surgery on Monday (9/14), according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder. The 81-year-old Radio Hall-of-Famer says he hopes to be back on WGN by September 25, his 55th anniversary with the station…..ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike kicked off their 4th annual Fall Football Tour today with a live broadcast from the New York Jets training center. In honor of the anniversary of 9/11, New York City first responders were in attendance for the closed-door broadcast, and hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic welcomed attendees at a special brunch after the show.
Donald Trump Candidacy Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 7-11. The top-polling presidential candidacy of Donald Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the Hillary Clinton emails controversy and her apology. Coming in at #3 was the activities of the rest of the 2016 presidential candidates followed by the Iran nuclear deal 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 and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
T-Mobile Will Activate FM Chip. The decision by T-Mobile was issued Friday (8/14) via Twitter by president and chief executive officer John Legere, whose actual “tweet” reads, “Hey @NextRadio app – We heard you! We’re saying yes to FM and will push our OEM partners to support!” Expanding his remarks, Legere states, “We are excited about T-Mobile joining Sprint and AT&T as the first carriers to officially request their handset makers activate FM radio chips with NextRadio in their device specifications. Activating the FM chip, already present in every Smartphone in America, allows users to download the NextRadio app and engage in a visually compelling, interactive experience with local radio stations, without the data charges and battery drain of streaming.” NextRadio/Tag Station president Paul Brenner instantly and directly replied to Legere with a video message by commenting, “Hey John, we saw your ‘tweet’ and you made our day. It was so great to see T-Mobile say ‘yes’ to the FM chip. The American radio industry is excited to be behind this effort and to work with T-Mobile going forward to make this a great experience for your customers. We have tens of thousands of T-Mobile customers respond to this program. Just like you always said you would do, you listened to those customers. Thank-you and we look forward to working with you in the future.” T-Mobile’s parent company is Deutsche Telekom.
The Howie Carr Northeast Regional Juggernaut Rolls On — Adds WPOP, Hartford. The independent Howie Carr Radio Network, just over a year old, has added iHeartMedia outlet WPOP, Hartford to its ever-growing roster of affiliates in New England and the Northeast. That raises the total to 23 with more reportedly about to be signed. The network is built around the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET daily program of legendary broadcaster/newspaper columnist/author Howie Carr who tells TALKERS, “We have a lot of listeners in Hartford and now they have an easier way to hear the show on 1410 WPOP.” The network’s VP/sales and marketing Kathy Carr adds, “We are excited to add WPOP in Hartford. WPOP is a great addition to the network and will greatly benefit our sponsors.” Stand by. More affiliates to be added shortly.
WPOP Flips to News/Talk. It was the flip from sports talk to news/talk that opened up the door for Boston-based Howie Carr to get his show cleared on WPOP, Hartford as noted in the story above. The iHeartMedia station returns to news/talk after almost 18 years away from the format. Morning drive features “The Vinnie Penn Project” with host Vinnie Penn – a Connecticut broadcasting pro, comic, and writer who’s worked in local radio on CHR WKCI, New Haven “KC101” and news/talk WELI, New Haven as well as on SiriusXM. The rest of the station’s lineup includes: Boston-based “The Financial Exchange” with Barry Armstrong; Bloomberg Radio; Westwood One’s Mark Levin; and Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Meghan McCain.”
Sun Broadcast Group Recognized by Inc. Magazine for Second Year in a Row. The company will be honored at Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 Conference and Awards Ceremony in Orlando later this year for being one of the fastest-growing companies in America. Sun Broadcast Group also is receiving recognition as the fastest-growing company in the broadcast radio industry and the 11th fastest-growing company in all of media. The annual list ranks the country’s fastest-growing private companies according to percentage of revenue growth over three years. Sun reports during that time its revenue jumped more than 629%. It also has added 18 full-time positions between its New York City and Boca Raton offices. SBG CEO Jason Bailey comments, “When we were given the honor of making the Inc. Magazine list in 2014 you could have knocked me over with a feather. Making the list for a second year and being in the top 20% among some of the most incredibly innovative companies in this country is absolutely mind blowing. I’m so proud of the incredible team here at Sun and so thankful to the clients, producers and agency partners who have supported us over the last seven years. The journey has been a mighty one but we always have and will continue to do it our way for the better of our partnerships and for this incredibly industry. Onward!”
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents this year’s second analysis of the performances of stations serving as flagships for MLB play-by-play – this time based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2015 PPM survey (6+). As is often the case, MLB teams that appear to be headed for playoff contention (even in June and July) tend to boost ratings for their flagships. The continuing resurgence of the Kansas City Royals has certainly been good for KCSP – the station performed three full shares better in 2015 than during the same period a year ago. Although interestingly, the division leading Houston Astros have only nudged flagship KBME up 0.3 share (1.3 share, 6+) from a year ago. View Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
‘98.5 The Sports Hub’ Morning Show Now Seen on Comcast SportsNet New England. The WBZ-FM, Boston morning show “Toucher & Rich” – hosted by Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb – is now being simulcast on regional cable channel Comcast SportsNet. The CBS RADIO sports station currently has an agreement with Comcast to simulcast the station’s afternoon drive show, “Felger & Mazz.” Comcast has sold the title sponsorship to UNO Pizzeria & Grill. Comcast SportsNet New England president Bill Bridgen says, “‘Toucher & Rich’ have been incredibly successful by mixing sports and pop culture into one creative daily show. We are thrilled to expand our relationship with ‘The Sports Hub’ into the morning and further establish Comcast SportsNet as the go-to television source for Boston sports programming.”
Odds & Sods. Late Friday afternoon (4:00 pm, 8/14), Cumulus Media Minneapolis flipped trimulcast WGVX, WRXP, WGVZ, “Sports Talk 105 The Ticket” to classic hip hop as “The Vibe 105.” The latest (July 2015) Nielsen Audio PPM figures for the Twin Cities indicate that “Sports Talk 105 The Ticket” ranked #25 of the 25 stations listed with a .1 (6+). Locked on .3 from January to May, “The Ticket” dipped to .2 in June and then to .1 in July. The other two sports stations in Minneapolis-St. Paul are iHeartMedia‘s KFXN “K-Fan” (4.2, #11) and Hubbard‘s KSTP-AM “1500 ESPN” (1.1, #19)…..ESPN Audio announces the return of its “Fantasy Focus” podcast for a ninth season. Field Yates joins as the new co-host with Matthew Berry. Stephania Bell continues her role as a contributor to the podcast, which is produced daily throughout the NFL regular season. “Fantasy Focus” has also accumulated almost 30 million downloads – second all-time among ESPN podcasts.
Townsquare Media to Add to its Live Events Business with NAME Acquisition. The 2015 second quarter net revenue figure for Townsquare Media, Inc. rose 10.5% on the strength of its Live Events division, which saw a year-over-year increase of 50.4%. Now, the company announces it has entered into a definitive purchase agreement to acquire North American Midway Entertainment, LLC (NAME) for approximately $75.5 million (subject to certain working capital and other adjustments). In a press statement, Townsquare says, “NAME entertains more than 15 million people on an annual basis as the owner and operator of amusement attractions, including over 200 state-of-the-art rides, custom-designed food concessions and family-oriented games at approximately 150 fairs per year across the United States and Canada.” NAME’s management team will join Townsquare and become part of its Live Events division. Townsquare chairman and CEO Steven Price states, “We are excited to partner with NAME’s management team and add NAME’s market-leading mobile amusement parks to our Live Events portfolio. Nearly half of NAME’s current events are within 100 miles of a Townsquare market and fit squarely within our core stated strategy of providing affordable, family-friendly entertainment content.”
Levin (Again) Lands At #1. Syndicated talk host Mark Levin’s “Plunder and Deceit” will reportedly debut at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list across all three categories of hardcover nonfiction, e-book nonfiction, and the combined list. This will be his fourth consecutive #1 New York Times bestseller. One of Levin’s previous books, “Liberty and Tyranny,” spent 38 weeks on that bestseller list and sold over one million copies. In a statement to Breitbart News, however, Levin emphasizes that he doesn’t “write books for The New York Times – I write them for people who love their country, want to learn about their country, and want to save their country. ‘Plunder and Deceit’ is a particularly important book. It is intended to stir the citizenry, particularly younger people, to understand what big government is doing to them and how its policies are destroying their liberty and prosperity.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison asked Levin, “What is the key to your success as a best-selling author so we can share it with other talk hosts who write books.” Levin immediately acknowledged that he is not the only accomplished author among the ranks of radio talk show hosts – then added, “It takes me a year or more to write a book. It involves extensive research and scholarship. You have to be willing to commit a lot of time to it — most weekends, early mornings, and late nights. I don’t have ghostwriters or co-authors, etc. There’s a difference between being an author and having your name on a book.” Landmark Legal Foundation president Levin is syndicated through Cumulus Media‘s Westwood One; “Plunder and Deceit” was released last Tuesday (8/4).
Hoping His Herd Heads with Him to Fox, Premiere. Speculation has become reality now that one of the worst-kept secrets in recent history is official: After a 12-year association with ESPN (the last two days there being controversial owing to his on-air comments questioning the intelligence of Dominican ballplayers), Colin Cowherd will indeed join Fox Sports and Premiere Networks in just over three weeks (Tuesday, 9/8). That is when he will begin hosting “The Herd,” a three-hour program, which will air simultaneously on Fox Sports Radio Network and Fox Sports1 (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm, Eastern). Fox Sports Radio is produced/distributed by Fox Sports and iHeartMedia subsidiary Premiere Networks. “Colin is one of the most powerful and talented personalities in sports media today,” asserts Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. “His addition to Premiere’s lineup demonstrates our continued commitment to reaching diverse audiences with the best talent the industry has to offer. We are excited to join with Fox Sports in bringing Colin’s passionate and engaging brand of sports entertainment to millions of people across multiple platforms. By leveraging our combined reach, we’ll have the opportunity to connect with more sports fans than ever before, while delivering unmatched results for our partners.” Cowherd states that, “It is hard to put into words how much fun it is for me, as a broadcaster, to build something with really smart, talented people. I cannot wait for this next chapter in my career to start. Fox Sports is the perfect spot for me at this time in my life.” On Sunday mornings during the NFL season, Cowherd will be part of the Fox-TV “NFL Kickoff” crew. According to Fox Sports national networks president Jamie Horowitz, “Colin is the first person I hired for my first daily studio show at ESPN, so it’s fitting that he’s the first one I’m hiring at FS1. Colin is a unique voice in sports media with a loyal following of fans. We are looking forward to building our daytime programming around him.” Before joining ESPN, Cowherd did a morning drive sports show on KFXX, Portland; was sports anchor at WTVT-TV, Tampa; and sports director of Las Vegas TV station KVBC. He began his career as the play-by-play voice for the Pacific Coast League’s Las Vegas Stars.
Alpha Media and Robbins & Markley Ink Multi-Year Renewal. Heard weekdays on talk siblings KXL, Portland (9:00 am – 12:00 noon) and WMBD, Peoria, Illinois (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm), Scott Robbins and Jamie Markley extend their deal with parent company Alpha Media. Executive vice president of programming, Scott Mahalick states, “Robbins and Markley bring a contemporary style and entertaining flare that connects with the audience in a big way – we are proud they are on our winning team.” Alpha Media Portland senior vice president/market manager Milt McConnell notes, “Robbins and Markley have made a tremendous showing in Portland. Scott and Jamie are two of the best communicators in our business, and we are thrilled to have them for years to come.” Meanwhile, Alpha Media Peoria market manager Mike Wild remarks, “Scott and Jamie reflect real-life, day-to-day; they are [two] of the most genuine personalities anywhere. Their chemistry is unique and they both have an amazing sense for content. The show is a completely fresh approach to talk radio.”
Circle Next Thursday as National Radio Day. Especially when considering that some offbeat things – including specific foods – somehow garner their own special day, it is rather odd that there has not heretofore been a border-to-border celebration dedicated to the medium of radio. That will change one week from today (Thursday, 8/20) when non-commercial radio stations in more than 30 U.S. cities will participate in Seattle-based “not-just-for-profit social enterprise” Brown Paper Tickets’-formulated “National Radio Day.” This year, the FCC has awarded construction permits to nearly 2,000 low-power FMs and as National Radio Day “lead organizer” Sabrina Roach explains, “This is a great opportunity to get to know the new low-power stations by working on a common project together. A low-power FM is like community glue. These new media outlets can become powerful resources that help neighbors to organize, share, and find solutions together. I wanted to introduce an opportunity for all kinds of non-commercial stations to work together and to engage their communities by celebrating radio with listeners and independent producers.” Stations can promote National Radio Day (August 20 is also “National Lemonade Day”) on social media using the hash tag “#NationalRadioDay.” Brown Paper Tickets will provide promotional assistance and support for National Radio Day events organized by all participating U.S. stations. By the way, the significance of choosing August 20 as National Radio Day (which has actually been observed since the early-1990s) is to honor the day in 1920 that Detroit news station 8MK (now CBS Radio-owned WWJ – and still all-news) was licensed by the FCC. On August 31, 1920, 8MK aired the first news radio broadcast featuring local election results. WWJ’s Pittsburgh sibling KDKA-AM debuted on November 20, 1920 and, of course, has long claimed to be the “world’s first commercial radio station.”
NBC Selects Seacrest to Host Late-Night Rio Coverage. With less than a year to go until the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, NBC-TV announces that its host of live late-night coverage will be KIIS “Kiss-FM,” Los Angeles morning personality/”American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest. During the 2012 London Games, Seacrest was a correspondent and he co-hosted the closing ceremony. NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell promises that, “The late-night atmosphere will be electric. We are thrilled to have Ryan Seacrest in the middle of it all capturing Rio’s unique flavor, talking to Olympic athletes, and telling the stories of the day.” Seacrest reflects, “Joining the NBC Olympics team at the 2012 London Games was an exhilarating experience. I appreciate Jim Bell’s confidence, along with everyone at NBC Sports. I can’t wait to reunite with the team of broadcasters and producers for the 2016 Rio Olympics, and I look forward to hosting the live late night show.” Bob Costas hosted NBC’s primetime and late-night Olympic coverage at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and he has been primetime host for every NBC-covered Olympic Games since 1992. Mary Carillo previously hosted Olympics late-night coverage. The Summer Games from Rio begin August 5, 2016.
Answers From a Presidential Hopeful. During his visit to Arkansas’ GOP headquarters, Republican presidential candidate/junior Texas senator Ted Cruz did on on-air interview with KHTE “The Answer,” Little Rock afternoon drive host Dave Elswick. The two commemorate the occasion with a selfie.
Ready for his Close-up. Part of the enjoyment industry people derive when watching television shows or movies is trying to identify an announcer’s voice when the radio plays in the background, or spotting radio talents used as “extras.” In the country’s #7 film this week, “Rikki and The Flash,” Meryl Streep’s rock singer character struggles and fumbles operating a cash register as a part-time checkout clerk. The camera catches fellow employee “Chris” grimacing at the next register. Portraying “Chris” is Salem Radio Network east coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh, who shot his scenes in Westchester County, New York. Advanced film buffs might recognize Bligh from his appearances in “A Beautiful Mind,” Cloverfield,” and “Man on a Ledge.”
Odds & Sods. Two sports programming notes from SiriusXM that take effect next Tuesday (8/18). Former University of Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke will host – alongside Mark Packer – SiriusXM “College Sports Today” twice a week (9:00 am – 12:00 pm ET) throughout the college football season. In addition, former PGA tour professional/television analyst Mark Lye will join radio personality Bruce Murray on the satcaster’s weekly “Let It Fly with Murray & Lye.” The one-hour (8:00 pm – 9:00 pm) program will air every Tuesday night, starting next week. Lye has previously been an analyst on SiriusXM’s pre- and post-round coverage.
Donald Trump Surpasses POTUS as Most Talked About Person on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (8/12). Top topics include the Presidential Race, the Iran Nukes Deal, Immigration Reform and the Chinese Devaluation of the Yuan. According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continues to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America this week and people (and the media) remain fixated on Donald Trump. Very rarely does anyone top the President of the United States as the most-talked-about person for a day, let alone a week. We will know how Trump fares versus Barack Obama by tomorrow morning (8/14) in terms of this week’s survey. Other hot topics include the presidential election in general, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy and the global economic impact of China’s devaluation of its currency.
Logan adds WFTW Programming Duties. One-year hot AC WNCV “Coast 93.3” program director and morning talent “Logan” takes on similar responsibilities within the Cumulus Media Fort Walton Beach (Florida) cluster for talk WFTW. Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “Logan has done an outstanding job since joining the Fort Walton Beach/Destin cluster. It has been a pleasure watching him work to make a significant impact in both ratings and revenue with WNCV. I am very excited we are recognizing his talent and affording him additional opportunities to grow with our company.” Corporate program director for news-talk-sports Jim Mahanay remarks, “I am excited anytime we can have a programmer with a fresh perspective enter the news/talk format. Logan has proven himself as a strong music PD and he now has that opportunity in news/talk.” Logan offers a “big thanks” to DeSimone, Mahanay, and Cumulus Media senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay. “Cumulus has given me opportunities – I am going to grow with them,” Logan states. “I am a huge fan of the news-talk format, and I cannot wait to get audio from Michael Savage.” Prior to joining WNCV, “Logan” spent eight years as morning host/assistant program director/music director for Philadelphia hot AC WISX “Mix106.1.” His resume also includes stops in New York City at CHR WHTZ “Z-100” and in Dallas at hot AC KDMX.
Nielsen Audio Releases Final Round of July 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio July 2015 PPM ratings data has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The July 2015 survey period covered June 18 through July 15. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. In addition, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods: This past Monday (8/3), Westwood One host Mark Levin surpassed the one-million level of Facebook “Likes.” His book, “Plunder and Deceit,” was released the following day (Tuesday, 8/4) and it has reached #1 on Amazon‘s “Best Seller” list…..In an October 13 simulcast with CNN, Westwood One will be the exclusive radio provider of coverage from the first Democratic primary debate of the 2016 presidential race. The debate will take place in Nevada, with exact location details to be announced later. CNN will serve as moderator and exclusive national broadcaster of that debate.
Rick Lewis Hits Quarter Century Mark Hosting “Talky” Mornings at Classic Rocker, KRFX, Denver. For over two decades the “Lewis & Floorwax Show” dominated the morning airwaves on iHeartMedia’s KRFX-FM (The Fox), Denver. The show was an excellent example of the widespread genre of music radio morning shows that lean heavily on pop cultural talk content. Suddenly in January of 2014, co-host Michael Floorwax retired from the airwaves, by his own choosing, due to an ongoing chronic health issue that began acting up. His co-host Rick Lewis was encouraged to keep the show going as it had a very loyal fan base and was an extremely dependable “revenue machine.” Lewis re-tooled the mostly spoken word show (that plays approximately two songs per hour), renamed it “The Rick Lewis Show” and forged ahead. Fans were happy and relieved that the show continued. Advertisers continued their support and The Rick Lewis Show has more than survived, it has thrived. Nielsen Audio spring PPM numbers indicate that “The Fox” is the market’s top station among adults 25-54. Ratings are up from 2014 and so is revenue. On July 31, 2015 Rick Lewis celebrated 25 years as the morning radio host at the station – a rarely achieved milestone in the radio industry. Lewis tells TALKERS, “I have many people to thank including my long-time friend and radio partner Kathy Lee who really stepped up her game. Thanks to my long-time partner Michael Floorwax for a helluva run, you are missed!” Lewis adds, “Also the support of the rest of the crew in the morning, Colfax, Dragon Redbeard and Robbyn Hart has been significant. Thanks also to Michael Harrison, a visionary man who gave me my first big break at KMET, Los Angeles in 1984. I was just out of college, working at that heritage radio station with some legendary radio performers. Mike believed in me and gave me my first full time job in LA.” Harrison recalls, “I recognized immediately that this earnest young man was the total package. He had movie star looks, a command of album rock and its culture, and most importantly the ability to adeptly punctuate his jock work with listener calls and artist interviews – a quality I always looked for in DJs during my rock PD days.” KRFX is the FM home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos and the multi-faceted Lewis also hosts the official Denver Broncos pre-game show every week during the football season. And if that isn’t enough Lewis has a band, The Rick Lewis Project, featuring some of the most acclaimed musicians in the region. As a drummer for the band, Lewis has played as opening act with legends such as BB King, James Brown, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Def Lepard, and The Who among others. When he is not on the radio or playing in his band, Lewis finds time to perform in the Denver area as a stand-up comic. He also recently shot a TV pilot called “Ride Away,” a motorcycle adventure show. The show is currently being shopped and produced by reality TV’s famous bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman and his wife Beth. Lewis believes “the secret to longevity in the business is to have many irons in the fire.” He tells TALKERS, “I still get up every morning and can’t wait to get behind the microphone and entertain the fans in Denver. For years, I always thought KMET in LA would be the pinnacle of my radio career, man was I wrong!”
Beasley Broadcast Group Reports Q2 Results. Second quarter net revenue is up $1.1 million ($25.9 million to $27 million), but Beasley Broadcast Group‘s net income is off by $500,000 ($3 million to $2.5 million). This past December, Beasley and CBS Radio completed a 14-for-five swap involving three markets. CBS Radio acquired two Philadelphia stations (WRDW and WXTU), as well as three Miami outlets (WKIS, WPOW, and WQAM). In exchange, Beasley picked up one Philadelphia station (WIP-FM); six Tampa facilities (WHFS-AM, WHFS-FM, WLLD, WQYK, WRBQ, and WYUU); and seven Charlotte properties (WBAV, WBCN, WFNZ, WKQC, WNKS, WPEG, and WSOC). According to Beasley chair and chief executive officer George Beasley, the company’s second quarter results “reflect a continuation of recent overall industry and market trends.” On a pro forma basis, net revenue decreased 6.0% while SOI declined 8.4%. “The decline in pro forma revenue is primarily attributable to overall weakness in Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Wilmington [Delaware], which resulted in reduced operating leverage and ultimately impacted SOI,” Beasley comments. “We were able to partially offset the revenue decline, however, through cost reductions that resulted in a 4.9% – or $1 million – reduction in station operating expenses. We also made further progress on our debt reduction efforts during the quarter, while continuing our commitment to return capital to shareholders.” Addressing the station swap with CBS Radio, Beasley remarks, “It substantially broadened and diversified our local radio and marketing solutions platform. Since closing, we have been initiating strategies to extract operating and financial synergies. We are actively implementing integration, cost efficiency and operating plans while remaining true to our value proposition by focusing on targeted localism and delivering quality programming, effective online marketing solutions and dedicated service to listeners and advertisers in these markets.” As far as the future is concerned, he notes the company remains “focused on operating our station clusters to match or exceed their market’s revenue performance while further strengthening our balance sheet. We believe our integration, programming, personnel, cost-efficiency and operating changes are now showing progress.”
Barack Obama and Donald Trump were the Most Talked About People on News/Talk Radio this Week. GOP Debate(s) on Fox, the Iran Nukes Deal and Immigration Reform Lead the Topics Discussed. According to TALKERS research, the just-concluding week of August 3-7, 2015 has been dynamic to say the least as the brewing interest in the presidential race of 2016 reached its first major boiling point with yesterday’s (8/6) long anticipated GOP debate(s) on the Fox News Channel and Fox News Radio gathering enormous attention and conversation. Other hot topics included the Iran nuke deal, ISIS activity, immigration reform, race relations, the Planned Parenthood funding issue, Hillary Clinton’s emails, and the Nashville theater attack. To see the entire list of the week’s most talked about topics and people, please click here.
Michael Harrison Chats with Former FEMA Director (and Current KHOW, Denver Talk Host) Michael D. Brown as 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Approaches. It was almost a decade ago (August 23-31, 2005) that Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast of the United States with winds of up to 175 mph and flood waters of biblical proportions rising from the ocean and falling from the sky — leaving in its wake almost 1,900 fatalities, $108 billion in damages, and countless casualties and lives upended. Michael D. Brown – the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the time and Under Secretary of Homeland Security (“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”) became the official poster boy for everything that went wrong with the federal government’s too-little-too-late response to one of the greatest disasters in American history. Some of the criticism that fell upon Brown was deserved – but much of it wasn’t. After all, it was an epic crisis and involved numerous overlapping agencies, governments, and politicians charged with making things right. Brown took a severe beating from the media as well as a proverbial bullet for the team and stepped down from his position with the Bush Administration. A lawyer by trade, Brown went on with his life, taking away an enormous amount of wisdom and experience from the episode. Undaunted, he began speaking to groups around the country about the insidious side of politics, and the human complexity of management and team play. He wrote a candid book about his role (and responsibility) in Katrina — Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm, Hurricane Katrina, the Bush White House, and Beyond (Taylor Trade, 2011). He also began a successful talk show hosting career in Denver – first at KOA and then at KHOW, where he presently presides over a daily program 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm MT. In the newly posted installment of the weekly international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” (8/4), Brown is interviewed by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison about inside-Washington politics, the war on terror, the nature of the political mind, the psychological profile of presidents, the general state of media and journalism as well as what his life is like as a big market talk show host 10 years after Katrina. To hear this must-listen conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Cool Job Opportunity. Salem Radio in New York is looking for a dynamic individual to join the sales team for “AM970 The Answer,” which is news/talk format, and the legendary WMCA “AM570 The Mission, New York’s Christian Talk.” Compensation is commensurate with degree of experience and skills. This is a fabulous career opportunity for the right individual with one of the finest broadcasting companies in America. Salem Media Group is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Sales experience involving media is a must. Undergraduate degree required. A unique opportunity to work closely with Jerry Crowley and Phil Boyce, two proven winners and innovators. For more information and to apply, click here.
By Chris Stigall
Talk Show Host
PHILADELPHIA — A listener called the show today to define talk radio as he saw it. He called it a place where average Americans of all means, politics and professions can discuss and explore important issues. It’s not a matter of being famous, or being a member of an editorial board or Congress. It’s not a nightly news anchor reading the teleprompter, delivering their version of the news. Talk radio is of the people, by the people, and for the people, he said.
Simply, it’s the purest form of honest dialogue available in all of media.
Earlier this week at a live event, a listener explained the importance of talk radio in her life. Not only does it help her through her days as her parents’ full-time caretaker, but she honestly believes there would be no publicly available opposing view to most media coverage today.
Cumulus/Westwood One Star Mark Levin Continues to Gain Syndication Steam. Dubbed “The Great One” by Sean Hannity, Cumulus/Westwood One syndicated host Mark Levin continues to grow in stature as one of the elite stars in the talk radio industry. Levin, who has written a number of best sellers and is respected as an outstanding constitutional attorney and scholar, has added over a dozen new stations to his affiliate roster of 300-plus in the last quarter alone including KRLA, Los Angeles; WPGP, Pittsburgh; WREC, Memphis; WRVA, Richmond; KTSM, El Paso; KWSX, Stockton; KFIV, Modesto; WBUV-FM, Biloxi; WPGG, Atlantic City; WTKS-AM, Savannah; KWHN, Ft. Smith; WDAK, Columbus, GA; and WFEA, Manchester, MA. According to Michael Harrison, “Levin doesn’t always get the credit he deserves as the true heavyweight he is – but the numbers don’t lie. He has one of the largest audiences of all the political news/talkers in America and is positively adored by the millions of individuals and organizations that make up the heart of the fundamentalist, Constitutionalist core of the conservative movement.” Levin is ranked by TALKERS as #6 on the Heavy Hundred (the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America) and tied with Glenn Beck as the fourth most-listened-to radio talk show host in the nation.
Nielsen Audio Releases Third Round of April 2015 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of April 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The April 2015 survey period covered March 26 through April 22. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Talkers New York 2015 Will Be Sold Out Today. Based on the diminishing number of registrations still open and the rate at which they are being filled, Talkers New York 2015 – the 18th annual installment of the talk media’s longest-running and most important national convention — will be declared sold out at the end of business today (5:00 pm EDT), a day earlier than anticipated earlier this week. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “We are gratified by the strong response this event is receiving and we clearly do not like to turn folks away – however, we must abide by New York City’s building codes, not to mention be sensitive to the comfort and safety of our attendees.” Casey continues, “There will be no general registrations sold after 5:00 pm EDT today Thursday, May 14.” The event will be located at the historic India House Club dramatically situated at One Hanover Square in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district. It is an all-day event – 8:45 am to 6:15 pm. Registrations, priced at $299 per person and only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees will be the allowed limit. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. They are not refundable or transferable. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. To see the latest agenda, please click here.
Vacca Upped to Executive Producer at WOR, New York. Promoted from producer to executive producer of the “Len Berman and Todd Schnitt In The Morning” show at iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR, New York is Natalie Vacca. Vacca has been on the WOR staff for the past 18 years, producing such personalities as John Gambling, Barry Farber, Joan Hamburg and Alan Colmes. She says of her new gig, “I have had the honor to work with some of the best talent in talk radio over my career. To add Len Berman and Todd Schnitt to the list couldn’t be more exciting.”
Salem Radio Network to Participate in Conservative DC Conference. The annual “Road to Majority” conference is organized by the Faith and Freedom Coalition and this year Salem Radio Network will broadcast from the event that takes place in Washington, DC June 18-20. SRN personalities Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher and Michael Medved will host a special VIP “preview dinner” on the eve of the conference and will broadcast their talk shows from Washington’s Omni Shoreham Hotel during the conference. The political event will include appearances from 2016 presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio as well as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Texas Governor Rick Perry plus Gary Bauer, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and FOX News Channel contributor Todd Starnes. SRN VP news & talk programming Tom Tradup states, “The mission of the Faith and Freedom Coalition – that, in essence, the greatness of America lies not in the federal government but in the character of our people…the simple virtues of faith, hard work, marriage, family, personal responsibility, and helping the least among us – dovetails perfectly with the values we hold at SRN. We are proud to partner with Ralph Reed and his team.”
Odds & Sods. This evening (5/14), CBS RADIO SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield will be honored by the Philadelphia Police Athletic League as one of the city’s most distinguished business leaders. Along with SugarHouse Casino general manager Wendy Hamilton and PECO SVP and COO Michael Innocenzo, Rayfield will be feted at PAL’s awards dinner for his “extraordinary contributions in support of PAL’s mission of ‘Cops Helping Kids.’”…..Westwood One News correspondent Bob Costantini is serving as the radio pool reporter today (5/14) from the Camp David Summit as President Obama convenes with six Gulf state leaders to discuss the nuclear deal with Iran.
WSYR, Syracuse’s Joe Galuski Loses Battle with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Off the air at iHeartMedia news/talk WSYR, Syracuse since last fall as he battled non-Hodgkin lymphoma, longtime morning host Joe Galuski has died, the station announced this morning. Galuski, 64, had been with WSYR since 1988 and served as the station’s morning drive host since 1998.
iHeartMedia Recognized at Festival of Media Global Awards. Two honors are bestowed upon iHeartMedia at the Festival of Media Global Awards 2015 – a media industry event that recognizes innovation and leadership in the global advertising field. The awards ceremony took place on May 12 at the Rome Cavalieri in Italy. iHeartMedia was honored with the “Best Media Vendor of the Year” award, which recognizes the creative efforts of a media owner to connect advertiser clients with their audiences, for its work with Diet Coke and Taylor Swift. The multi-platform campaign simultaneously launched Diet Coke’s “Get a Taste” advertising campaign and Taylor Swift’s 1989 album. The program generated approximately 500 million press impressions and 200 million on-air, digital and social impressions for Diet Coke. Taylor Swift’s album 1989, predicted to sell 800,000 units before the iHeartMedia campaign, sold nearly 1.3 million albums in just the first week, and became the No. 1 best-selling album of 2014. iHeartMedia was also named the Silver Winner in the “Best Media Owner Sales Team Initiative” category, which honors a media owner’s local or regional sales teams for their innovative and creative sales packages implemented within the market. In this category iHeartMedia was recognized for its partnership with Bank of America for World AIDS Day. iHeartMedia’s comprehensive cross-platform program across radio, digital, social and outdoor delivered more than 100 million media impressions in 24 hours for “A (RED) Thank You,” a special World AIDS Day event that took place in New York’s Times Square. Additionally, iHeartMedia drove on-air and social conversation, helping to generate over 10 million views of the YouTube (RED) concert video, the most views on (RED)’s YouTube channel in its history, ultimately raising $1 million in donations to (RED) on one day.
Obama Georgetown Speech, Philadelphia Amtrak Crash, Baltimore Riots and Protests Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Obama Trade Bill, Iran Nukes Program, and ‘Deflategate’ Penalties Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/13). The scrutiny of President Obama’s speech at Georgetown, including his statements about changing how the media reports; the continuing investigation into the cause of the Philadelphia Amtrak derailment; the ongoing political and legal effects of the Baltimore riots and protests; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the divisiveness in Congress over President Obama’s Pacific Rim trade bill; concern in the Middle East over the Iran nuclear program negotiations; and criticism of the NFL’s sanctions against the Patriots and Tom Brady over the “deflategate” matter were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Pursuing Truth Amid Civil Unrest. Media outlets have experienced a number of situations recently that qualify as true “danger zones” in which to send their reporters and tech crews if they choose to cover the event first hand. ABC TV director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes today about the hazards radio news staffers are facing in situations similar to what’s been happening in Baltimore and – not too long ago – Ferguson, Missouri. He presents a plan for broadcasters to follow in preparing for coverage of such news events in the future. Read his entire piece here.
Lew Dickey, Cumulus, Agree to Continuation. The co-founder of Cumulus Media will be remaining in-place for at least another three years: Lew Dickey extends his employment agreement as the company’s president and chief executive officer. In addition, he will carry on as a board member through 2018. According to board member Jeff Marcus, “We are grateful that Lew Dickey, who has built Cumulus into a leading national media business, has renewed his commitment to lead the company into the future. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with Lew to build value for our shareholders.” In other news at the Atlanta-based company, Ridgemont Equity Partners‘ Robert “Trey” Sheridan, III, will retire from Cumulus’ board when his term ends at this year’s annual stockholders meeting; Association of Magazine Media (MPA) president and chief executive officer Mary Berner will be nominated to fill Sheridan’s vacated seat. Dickey comments, “We are fortunate to be adding Mary Berner to our board. Her insights and experience will be valuable as we continue to position the company for long-term success in the changing media landscape.” Elsewhere, Cumulus lead director, Jeffrey Marcus, is appointed non-executive board chair. Marcus has been a Cumulus board member since 2011. He is a partner with Crestview Partners, Cumulus’ largest stockholder.
Red Zebra Officially Names Dan Zampillo to PD WTEM, Washington. The company owned by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder announces former WXYT-FM, Detroit and SiriusXM program director Dan Zampillo is taking over the programming reigns at its sports talk WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980.” The PD position opened up after Chuck Sapienza exited in the middle of the on-off-on again addition of the new “Man Cave” morning show hosted by Chris Paul and Jason Reid. Red Zebra Broadcasting CEO Rick Carmean says, “When it comes to sports, we have the best on-air talent in the area. We look forward to having Dan join our team. He brings great leadership, experience and fresh insight.”
What News/Talk Fans Are Doing When They’re Not Listening To Your Station. In a piece prepared for TALKERS magazine by Jacobs Media based on data from the company’s recently released Techsurvey 11, company president Fred Jacobs presents a media and tech profile of news/talk P1s. He notes that while news/talk P1s tend to lag behind younger demos in the tech and social media areas, that’s changing. “Fans of the format are more likely to own a tablet, listen to podcasts, and subscribe to satellite radio. They are less apt to be social networkers. Compared to just a few short years ago, news/talk devotees are catching up tech-wise with their kids. The data show that six in 10 stream video at least weekly while nearly eight in 10 own a smartphone.” See how news/talk P1s choose to use social media and why they turn to broadcast talk radio. Read the entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. From the podcast genre comes news that PodcastOne is unveiling a new series featuring TV personality and entertainment reporter Katie Wagner, and international celebrity psychic Voxx Voltair. Dubbed, “InnerView with Katie and Voxx,” it promises to combine “the hottest news in Hollywood with astrology, clairvoyance, numerology, and Tarot readings and features the latest gossip, fashion trends, and secrets from celebrity guests.”…..At the same time CBS RADIO and CBS Local Digital Media announce some new on-demand programming on its Play.it platform. New shows include podcasts from SHOWTIME Boxing Commentator Paulie Malignaggi, ELLE Style correspondent Alia Ahmed-Yahia, TED.com speaker Julian Treasure, former CNN senior executive producer Michael Schulder’s “Wavemaker Conversations,” “The Marilu Henner Show”; and “Boomer & Carton” producer Al Dukes’ interview series with media moguls called, “Al’s Boring Podcast.”…..SiriusXM is launching “Let’s Talk with Abby and Ari,” a live, one-hour weekly, call-in show hosted by MSNBC The Cycle’s Abby Huntsman and Ari Melber. The show will entail Huntsman and Melber examining the news of the day first, and welcoming tastemakers and newsmakers for interviews in a relaxed, casual style. “The show will be a conversation at the cross-section of current events, politics and entertainment.”…..ESPN 2 “First Take” moderator Cari Champion is now hosting a new weekly ESPN Audio podcast called, “espnW Presents: Be Honest with Cari Champion.” It will feature the “straight-shooting, always-honest Champion talking sports and more with A-list athletes and celebrity guests.”
Salem Radio Network to Organize Aid Drive for Nepal Earthquake Victims. Via its Washington-based SRN News, Salem Radio Network launched a campaign on its 1,600-plus affiliates nationwide to encourage donations on behalf of victims of last Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal. The network is working with Oklahoma City-based nonprofit relief organization Project HOPE. SRN will generate funds to rush food and emergency supplies to the stricken area. The effort includes Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk hosts Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Eric Metaxas and Hugh Hewitt.
Fisher House Foundation Offers Memorial Day Special to News/Talk Outlets. As it has done in the past, Fisher House Foundation is offering news/talk radio stations a three-our Memorial Day Weekend program titled, “A Hero’s Best Medicine.” Fisher House says this year’s program contains “all-new, compelling and diverse storytelling. The show shares the role that Fisher House plays in military heroes’ recovery, giving family a safe place to stay just steps from their hospital rooms.” Some of the stories told include that of Marine Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, a Medal of Honor recipient, and his family in South Carolina. Carpenter threw himself on a grenade in Afghanistan to save a fellow Marine’s life. His parents spent nearly three years in a Fisher House; and Marine Cpl. Jake Schick, a wounded warrior who attracted the attention of Clint Eastwood and landed a role in the blockbuster film “American Sniper.” Schick met his wife in a military hospital. Throughout his recovery she stayed in a Fisher House. The program is hosted by KARN, Little Rock afternoon host Doc Thompson. For affiliation details on “A Hero’s Best Medicine,” news/talk stations should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word “radio” in the subject line.
Baltimore Protests, SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, Clinton Foundation Scrutiny, Nepal Quake Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Iranian Navy Intercepts U.S. Ship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28). The tactics to curb the violent protests in Baltimore and the political aspects of the event; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case challenging the anti-gay marriage laws in four states; the ongoing scrutiny of the financial operations of the Clinton Foundation; the aftermath of the earthquake that’s taken more than 5,000 lives in Nepal; the potential candidates for president in 2016 including new possibilities Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley; and the interception of a U.S-flagged ship in the Strait of Hormuz by an Iranian Naval vessel were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
DreX to Host New KGO, San Francisco Talk Show. Music radio personality DreX crosses into the news/talk realm with his new gig as evening host at Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco. The station notes that DreX worked in the market in the past at KSJO, San Jose – now “NASH FM 92.3.” DreX crafted successful CHR night shows in markets including San Antonio, Dallas and Philadelphia. He then shifted to mornings at signals such as WHYT, Detroit and WKSC, Chicago “Kiss FM.” Cumulus SVP of programming Mike McVay comments, “Drex brings a unique perspective to the news/talk format and an uncanny ability to entertain and inform in his own engaging style.” San Francisco VP/market manager Justin Wittmayer adds, “DreX brings his unique voice to KGO nights for a highly compelling program that is fresh, live and local. The Bay Area is in for quite an experience with DreX.”
Malzberg and Newsmax TV Extend Relationship. The new three-year deal keeps talk media pro Steve Malzberg hosting his Newsmax TV daily news and talk program that currently airs from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. Newsmax says in a statement that Malzberg is “a veteran TV and radio personality, [who] attracts a star-studded roster of news-breaking guests and delivers insightful commentary around topical, often-contentious issues that connect with audiences.” Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Steve Malzberg is a key member of our on-air team who brings a fearless and informed approach to news/talk programming. Our growing audience is truly responding to him and he will no doubt continue to deliver provocative talk and engagement with his guests as we enter into the pivotal, upcoming presidential election period.”
Mark Levin Show to Air on KRLA, Los Angeles. The Westwood One-syndicated Mark Levin show is moving to a prime spot in Los Angeles, airing live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT on Salem Communications-owned news/talk KRLA, effective February 3. With the change, Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt will move to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm timeslot. Salem SVP of spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “Rarely do you have the chance to add somebody of Mark’s quality in market #2, and we decided it was an opportunity we could not pass up. Hugh Hewitt is also a class act, so running these two back-to-back makes this lineup even stronger.” Levin states, “It’s an honor to join the wonderful lineup at KRLA. I know my great listeners, who include two of my biggest fans in the LA area (my kids, who live and work there!) will appreciate hearing the show LIVE, too!”
WNDB, Daytona Beach Producer Arrested on Child Porn Charges. According to a story by WKMG-TV, Orlando, WNDB, Daytona Beach executive producer Chand Worob has been taken into custody by Daytona Beach police on charges of receiving and distributing child pornography. The story reports police had been investigating the 25-year-old radio station staffer since October. They arrested him at the radio station where he works on the Marc Bernier morning show and served a warrant at his home where they reported finding a laptop with some 500 images on it.
CBS RADIO Ups Zeise at ‘Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan’ in Pittsburgh. The new evening personality at CBS RADIO sports talker KDKA-FM “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan” is Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sportswriter Paul Zeise. He’s been hosting programs at the station on a part-time basis since 2011. Program director Ryan Maguire says, “Paul has truly developed as a personality and we’re happy we could make him a larger member of our on-air team. Paul has strong ties within the local sports community and will provide unique insight and hard-hitting opinions that will resonate with our listeners.”
Fifth Annual ‘Imus on Broadway’ Happens on February 9. On Monday, February 9, New York radio legend and WABC morning drive personality Don Imus will present the fifth annual “Imus on Broadway” at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square. Ticket sales from the one-night only performance will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. New York Post theatre columnist Michael Riedel will join Imus as emcee. The evening will showcase live performances from some of Broadway’s top musicals including: Kinky Boots, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, It Shoulda Been You, Honeymoon In Vegas, The Lion King, Cabaret, Into The Woods, Les Miserables, Chicago and more!
WFAN, New York to Begin 5th ‘Fantasy Phenom Challenge.’ Next Sunday (2/8), CBS RADIO sports talker WFAN, New York kicks off the 5th “Fantasy Phenom Challenge” at the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station, New York in which contestants will have the chance to earn on-air shifts on “The Fan.” The station will register the first 100 contestants online and those will audition before a panel of judges at area shopping malls around the region. A change in this year’s competition will allow for finalists to receive personal coaching from one of WFAN’s on-air hosts! Up to 12 participants will move on to round two, where online voting will determine the top six contestants for the final. The finalists will be part of a special St. Patrick’s Day remote broadcast featuring WFAN’s Boomer and Carton show and simulcast on CBS Network. The Finals will be held in late March or early April on Mike Francesa’s afternoon drive show. “Fantasy Phenom” year 4 winner, Dimitri Adrahtas, is completing his one-year stint with the station broadcasting his show to Tri-State area listeners.
Odds & Sods. Longtime Los Angeles talk radio personality Marc Germain, formerly “Mr. KABC,” will host the evening show on CBS RADIO’s KXNT, Las Vegas all next week, February 2-6. Germain has been making his home in Sin City for the past five years and has been hosting a nightly live show and podcast from his TalkRadioOne.com base…..A new, four-year renewal between USC and ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA” means the station will continue to serve as the flagship radio outlet for Trojan football through the 2018-19 season. The deal also means approximately one-half of USC’s men’s basketball games will also air on “ESPNLA.”…..CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York begins its inaugural year of broadcasting the New York City Football Club with Tom Kolker, Glenn Crooks and Roberto Abramowitz handling the announcing duties. For English-language broadcasts, Tom Kolker is the new play-by-play voice and Glenn Crooks will provide in-game analysis. For Spanish-language broadcasts airing on WADO, they will be led by Roberto Abramowitz. A Spanish-language analyst will be named at a later date.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Dr. Joy Browne program – distributed nationally by Genesis Communications Network – is added to the program schedule at: WPTF, Raleigh; WDXR, Paducah, Kentucky; and WVFT, Tallahassee…..As noted earlier in the week, Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity joins the program schedule at Beasley Media Group’s KDWN, Las Vegas while Dave Ramsey moves to a live airing at CBS RADIO’s KXNT, Las Vegas…..The Kim Komando weekend “digital lifestyle” program is now airing on: Entercom’s WRKO, Boston; Townsquare Media’s simulcast KCHH and KBUL-AM, Billings, Montana; and WNBF, Binghamton, New York.
Northeast Blizzard Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 26-30. Winter storm Juno and the criticism of forecasters and government officials anticipating the event was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was the 2016 presidential race followed by ISIS threats tied with Taliban 5 developments at #3. 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.
Senate Commerce Committee Chair Thune Seeks Communications Act Overhaul. Speaking before an audience at the American Enterprise Institute, Senate Commerce Committee chairman John Thune (R-SD) said he will kick-start the process of reviewing and updating the country’s communications laws, last done in 1996. From a story at The Hill, Thune admits his efforts will require support from Democrats but says it’s very early in the process. He told the crowd the very legal framework that could allow broadband internet to be classified a utility is obsolete. He criticized the FCC’s rulemaking process with regard to “net neutrality” and said its agenda is being nudged by “an increasingly imperious president.” He said, “With the FCC poised to reclassify broadband due to a lack of clear statutory authority, we can readily see the consequences of that obsolescence and the need for action.” Getting support from Democrats prior to the 2016 election may be all but impossible but Thune says trying to update the Act that was last modernized when the Internet was in its infancy is necessary.”
Westwood One Locks-In Levin. A contract extension between Westwood One and Mark Levin will keep the talk show host with the Cumulus Media-owned syndicator through 2020. Cumulus executive vice president of content and programming John Dickey states, “Mark has established himself as a pillar in talk radio with his sharp and witty commentary. We look forward to expanding his program’s reach.” Levin comments, “I am delighted to continue working with Cumulus and Westwood One. I look forward to further developing the show over the next five years. I am passionate about challenging the mainstream media and educating the public on the most pressing political and legal issues of our time and maintain my commitment to doing so.” Flagship WABC, New York launched Levin’s 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm show in 2003; a third hour was added six years later (2009). Previously an advisor/administrator to several members of president Ronald Reagan‘s cabinet, Levin is president of the Landmark Legal Foundation, a non-profit Washington, DC-based advocacy group.
LeBon Named to Co-Host ‘America Continues’ on USA Radio Networks. Joining host Jim Sharpe on his “America Continues” program – to be syndicated live nightly from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET beginning February 2 – is Cherylyn Harley LeBon. She is president and CEO of public relations firm KLAR Strategies and is national co-chair of the leadership network, Project 21. On joining USA Radio and working with Sharpe, LeBon says, “It is a wonderful opportunity to co-host with Jim Sharpe on ‘America Continues’ to share with our audience the unique stories happening around our country. We want to talk about the stories that are not being told and highlight reasons why America is still so great.” LeBon previously served as a political appointee in the George W. Bush Administration; as a spokesman at the Republican National Committee; and as senior counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. She is also a contributor to BlogHer, TheBlaze, and She Owns It.
WEEI.com Benefits from DeflateGate Controversy. Fans of the New England Patriots may be sick to death of the “deflategate” flap but the story has been a boon for Entercom’s WEEI, Boston and its digital destination, WEEI.com. The station reports that the story has “crushed all previous engagement records for ‘Sports Radio WEEI’ and its digital assets. Between January 19, the day the allegations of tampering with some of the AFC Championship footballs were first announced, and January 25, WEEI.com racked up the following eye-popping statistics: Over 1 million unique users to WEEI.com; over 4.3 million page views in that same time frame; The WEEI Facebook page reached more than 6.1 million people in one week with more than 1 million of those engaging and participating in a WEEI post; on Thursday, January 22, more than 280,000 unique visitors and 1 million page views were tallied for the Tom Brady and Bill Belichick press conferences, the largest day in site history; and those press conferences peaked at over 22,000 users on the WEEI audio stream. The station’s previous record-setting day for streaming was a peak of 15,000 for a Tom Brady interview last fall. WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham comments that “you don’t post numbers like that unless sports fans know you’re the digital destination for timely and credible information. I’m very proud of the combined efforts from our on-air and digital content teams in reporting this ever-changing story. We have been at the forefront of coverage from the beginning and been the go-to station for national media outlets such as ESPN, The CBS Evening News, FOX News and CNN, to name a few.”
Odds & Sods. At non-commercial triple A and news/talk hybrid KCRW, Santa Monica, California, Matt Miller puts the wraps on his “Left, Right & Center” program, producing the last episode on Friday, January 30…..This evening is the official “weigh-in” broadcast on WIP-FM, Philadelphia prior to Friday’s Wing Bowl 23 – the annual chicken wing eating contest, this year being held at the Wells Fargo Center. The 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm broadcast today takes place at Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia. The station’s Al Morganti and Rhea Hughes are hosting the broadcast…..WGN, Chicago will air the memorial service for Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks on Saturday, January 31 from 10:00 am until its conclusion. Sports director Dave Eanet will host the broadcast. The station will make the Kathy & Judy show available via wgnplus.com and will join that show in progress after the Banks memorial service…..The medical talk show “Mayo Clinic Radio” is now being represented for national syndication by Chicago-based Syndication Networks Corp. The program is a weekly, one-hour show hosted by physician and longtime broadcaster Dr. Tom Shives with veteran radio host Tracy McCray.
Talk Personality Ethan Bearman Co-Founds Government Watchdog Site. The new organization and its website – Community Action for Government Efficiency, or CAGE – is a Santa Cruz, California-based one that seeks to help keep politicians accountable, according to co-founder and talk radio personality Ethan Bearman. He’s pictured here (center) appearing on KSCO, Santa Cruz’s “Good Morning Monterey Bay” program with host Rosemary Chalmers (right) and CAGE co-founder Vincent Perez (left) to announce the debut of the site Cagesc.org. Bearman says, “Our goal is to provide a clear and simple pathway of information to the people and business community of Santa Cruz County. CAGE provides a forum for a common-sense approach to impacting change in economic, political and social issues.” He says, “Users of the site can find information on relevant topics that impact our business community; share concerns that impact our community; participate in the discussion forums related to these issues; and influence positive behavior from our local politicians by holding them accountable.” Bearman is host of the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm program on KSFO, San Francisco on Saturdays and Sundays.
ISIS Captives/Threat to President Obama, Obamas Saudi Visit, Obama Administration Tax Plan, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Immigration Reform/Amnesty Issues, and Super Bowl Hype/DeflateGate Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/28). The potential swap of captives between Jordan and ISIS and the group’s threat to President Obama in beheading video; Barack and Michelle Obama’s visit with the Saudi royals; the administration plan to hike taxes on top earners; the potential candidates for president in 2016; immigration reform proposals and the amnesty policy championed by President Obama; and the build-up to Super Bowl XLIX and the deflategate flap were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talk Radio Observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Although an official federal holiday, most talk radio personnel are working today and many are honoring or simply acknowledging the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his work leading the civil rights movement of the 1960s. For example, the first hour of iHeartMedia superstar Sean Hannity’s national radio show is devoted to talking about the historic civil rights leader’s legacy and relevance to today’s headlines. Given the racial tensions brought about by recent high-profile cases involving fatal confrontations between police and African American men, this year’s observance of Dr. King’s birthday is even more relevant than in recent years. Sirius XM Satellite Radio “Urban View” host Karen Hunter says, “Every day I honor the legacy of Dr. King on my show. So every day we do something special to honor him. Today I will be playing snippets from a speech he gave at UCLA in 1965. I will also be talking about Selma. And I have already spoken to someone who marched today in New York to the UN.” African American news/talk hosts have a variety of perspectives on Dr. King. Charles Butler who hosts a daily syndicated show on Genesis Communications Network writes on his daily blog, “Today is the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and since 2008 I have conducted a show called ‘The Other Side of MLK,’ and on this eighth show I added several new perspectives. Dr. King evolved over the period he was actively involved in the civil rights movement…I have a very difficult time listening to people that use the sanitized and domesticated version of Dr. King, ‘my children would be judged by the content of their character…,’ while ignoring his call on America to end racism. Today, the prevalence of black high unemployment, income and health disparity, poor schools and environments, criminalization of black Americans, institutional racism, and systematic undermining of the attainment of the American Dream.” At Salem Communications’ secular news/talk stations, many hosts are devoting a segment or two to Martin Luther King. Salem SVP/spoken word format and Salem Radio Network Phil Boyce tells TALKERS magazine, “‘The Morning Answer’ in Los Angeles [KRLA] presented a great segment discussing the difference in the language and rhetoric of MLK vs the race baiters of today. I think conservative hosts are generally more appreciative of Dr. King now, as we have seen what others have said and done who are attempting to take his place.” Much of the commentary planned by hosts has been designed to specifically address their criticism of “so-called” civil rights leaders who have come after the late Dr. King – described to TALKERS by Cumulus heavyweight host Mark Levin as “people who exploit race by putting forth their own attitudes and wrongly use Dr. King’s good name to back up their own take and self-interests.” WFTL, Fort Lauderdale/Miami afternoon star Joyce Kaufman tells TALKERS, “I will be spending today’s show listening to excerpts of his speeches…asking listeners to weigh in on when and why the relations between the black community and the white community fell apart. Jews, for instance, natural allies, now arch enemies. Black pastors who have stopped preaching the gospel to preserve the first black President’s relationship. Would Dr. King have embraced Kwanzaa? I think not. He was a Baptist preacher.” Westwood One/WYD Media syndicated progressive opinion leader Thom Hartmann reports, “We did three hours on it today. The movie ‘Selma’ was perfectly timed, and clearly demonstrates the importance of citizens’ movements. From the Tea Party pushing Republicans to Occupy pushing Democrats; from John Quincy Adams leading the anti-slavery movement in the House to the Suffrage movement nationwide; from the labor movement (with the Ludlow massacre and the Flint Sit Down Strikes) to the gay rights movement – every time America has moved, it’s moved because of an informed, motivated, and activated populace. And the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the greatest teachers of that in modern times.” Fox News Radio syndicated liberal icon Alan Colmes tells TALKERS, “Today’s news cycle proves how prescient Martin Luther King, Jr. was. King, in his most controversial speech, ‘Beyond Vietnam,’ delivered at the Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967, spoke these words:
‘This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind… I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: “Let us love one another (Yes), for love is God. (Yes) And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. . . . If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us.” Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day.’”
Colmes concludes, “On our show, we’re are talking about the relationship between the Bible and the Koran, to show that no one religion is superior to another, that there are more similarities than differences, and that tolerance is a key tenet of our republic. That is how we are honoring the legacy of this revolutionary.” Joe Madison of Sirius XM Satellite Radio – consistently one of the most influential thought-leaders in talk radio on the subject of race relations and civil rights — shares, “We aired the results of an essay contest that asked young high school students to assess the political climate in the world today, analyzing the racial challenges that exist and to compare to Dr. King’s life and deeds.” Madison adds, “I actually spoke this morning in Tampa, Florida at the 35 annual Tampa Organization of Black Affairs Breakfast (I was their first speaker 35 years ago). I addressed the three-year gap between the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965 and his assassination in 1968. I asked the question: ‘How would talk radio portray Dr. King?’ His last three years on earth, he alienated many of his allies and antagonized his enemies further. He was portrayed as an extremist and an arsonist as he waged war on poverty, racism and militarism. I suspect most talk radio would not be very supportive of Martin Luther King, Jr.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison responds to Madison’s last statement by telling him that “a number of conservative hosts interviewed for this story say they have been increasingly appreciating and respecting Dr. King as the years go by – especially when compared to some of his high-profile successors in the civil rights movement.” Madison fires back, “I wonder which King they respect? Certainly not the MLK that encouraged the redistribution of wealth, affirmative action and voting rights, especially Sections 4 and 5 which were recently struck down by the SCOTUS.”
Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg Sets New Roles for Hendrix, Stone, McLain. Several noteworthy personnel moves take place at Entercom-owned stations in Greenville-Spartanburg, a South Carolina cluster the company refers to as “Entercom Upstate.” For openers, rock WTPT “93.3 The Planet” and WROQ “Classic Rock 101.1” operations manager/program director Mark Hendrix takes on additional duties as operations manager for talk WYRD-FM “Word 106.3,” as well as the sports simulcast of WORD-AM and WYRD-AM. He will continue to program WORD-AM and WYRD-AM, both branded as “ESPN Upstate.” He succeeds Bob McLain as OM for “Word 106.3”; however, McLain carries on as the station’s 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm talent and is named operations manager emeritus. Meanwhile, “Classic Rock 101.1” assistant program director Jay D. Stone is boosted to program director. Stone continues as APD of “The Planet” and maintains his “Classic Rock 101.1” 12:00 noon – 6:00 pm “The Stoneman” on-air shift. According to Entercom Greenville vice president and market manager Steve Sinicropi, “Mark Hendrix has done an outstanding job programming ‘Classic Rock 101.1’ and ‘93.3 The Planet/WTPT-FM.’ He has coached ‘The Rise Guys’ on ‘The Planet’ to the top of many key morning demos. Hendrix will build on Bob McLain’s excellent work on ‘Word 106.3,’ developing stimulating local talk. I am also pleased that Bob will continue his very popular show. I am happy Jay D. Stone has been elevated to the well-deserved position of program director at ‘Classic Rock 101.1.’ He is the heart and soul of that station.” Hendrix comments, “I am thankful for the great opportunities that Entercom has afforded me over the years. I look forward to working with our talented staffs to deliver exceptional, locally focused programs to our upstate audiences.” McLain remarks, “Entercom Upstate has given me great opportunities to engage with listeners, discuss controversial and important issues, and establish a thought provoking radio brand.” Stone declares that, “Having the opportunity to head up the legendary call letters of WROQ is a big deal. All I can say is that, after working with the top-shelf staff at Entercom Upstate for the past 12 years, the winning tradition will continue at ‘Classic Rock 101.'” Hendrix has been with the company since August 2001, when he became program director of WTPT. McLain began his career at Winston-Salem’s WTOB. Stone was named music director of “Classic Rock 101.1” in 2003, after holding similar duties at Des Moines classic rocker KGGO.
Marshall’s Multiple Roles with MacDonald Garber. Simultaneous with being named operations director for all MacDonald Garber Broadcasting AM stations, Greg Marshall is appointed general manager for the company’s Cadillac, Michigan cluster. President and chief executive officer Trish MacDonald Garber comments, “Greg’s vast experience with broadcasting and his great passion for it can only contribute to our continued success. As the current acting general manager in Cadillac, I am leaving Greg in capable hands with an upward trajectory that I know he and the team will capitalize on.” Marshall states, “I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with the great staff at the Cadillac stations and the AM radio stations in the company. I am looking forward to this amazing opportunity.” Among the stations in the Cadillac group are hot AC WLXV “Mix 96,” sports WKAD “93.7 FM The Ticket,” and talk WATT “Rush Radio 1240.” Over and above these two new duties, Marshall will continue doing his daily 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm talk show on the company’s WMKT “The Talk Station,” Traverse City-Petoskey, Michigan; the program will soon be simulcast on WATT as well.
Salem Re-Brands Christian Talk WMCA. As had been predicted based upon some recent domain name acquisitions by Salem Communications, Christian talk WMCA, New York – for the past 25 years called “New York’s Christian Talk” – takes on the new slogan “AM 570 The Mission.” The company put together a short video to highlight the charitable work done by the station and its listeners that underscores the reason for taking on the “Mission” moniker. You can view the video here.
Odds & Sods. A report in the Boston Globe by Chad Finn indicates current WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” midday personality Andy Gresh will exit the station soon. He co-hosts the program on the sports talk outlet with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak and hosts the pre- and post-game shows for Patriots football, for which WBZ-FM serves as flagship. Finn reports that Marc Bertrand of the PM drive “Felger and Massarotti” show will join Zolak on the midday show…..CBS RADIO’s Los Angeles all-newser KNX is presenting special programming this week surrounding the State of the Union Address. In addition to airing the address live at 6:00 pm PT, the station will present a special program on Wednesday (1/21) titled, “Healthcare Uncovered,” from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. The show will examine “the state of Obamacare as the Affordable Care Act enters its second year,” hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman.
Bob Wilson: Former Bruins’ Radio Voice Passes. Rabid New England sports fans are known for embracing their professional sports franchises, as well as developing a fondness for those who call the games on radio. For well over two decades – including a 1971 – 1972 Stanley Cup-winning campaign – Bob Wilson was behind the radio microphone for the Boston Bruins. The Arlington, Massachusetts native, who retired in 1995, has passed away. Boston Bruins president – and former Bruins’ star player – Cam Neely comments, “For a generation of New England hockey fans, Bob’s legendary voice was synonymous with the Bruins. He will always be a part of our club’s history. Our thoughts are with [Wilson’s widow] Nancy and their children during this difficult time.” Jack Edwards is the club’s play-by-play announcer on cable television’s NESN and he remarks that Wilson was “my greatest inspiration.” Entercom sports WEEI-FM, Boston personality/NESN Bruins host Dale Arnold states that Wilson was “one of the iconic sports voices of our time. He was a kind and classy gentleman – my hero.”Dave Goucher has been the team’s radio voice the past 15 seasons, but Goucher insists that Wilson “is the radio voice of the Bruins.” In 1987, Wilson received the Foster Hewitt memorial award, earning him a place in the broadcasters’ wing of the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2007. Wilson was at the TD Garden (home of the Bruins and the NBA‘s Boston Celtics) nearly four years ago (March 26, 2011) when the Bruins officially named the home radio facility “The Bob Wilson Radio Booth.” Bob Castellon (his real name) was 85.
Your Note to “Radio’s Best Friend” Couldn’t Hurt. One of the genuinely great people in the industry isn’t doing well. Just like giving a bowl of chicken soup to someone with a cold or the flu, sending a get-well wish to Art Vuolo certainly couldn’t hurt, and based on a message he posted today (Sunday, 1/18) on his Facebook page, it might go a long way in boosting the spirits of the man widely-regarded as “Radio’s Best Friend.” Coming off organizing yet another wildly successful Los Angeles radio get together, Vuolo underwent knee replacement surgery this past Tuesday (1/13), but he admits, “I hurt a lot. It is difficult for me to sit up in bed to type these words. Hoping I will feel better soon, but right now, my pain level is elevated. All prayers are welcomed.” One of radio’s greatest ambassadors and a countless times videographer of record, Vuolo is in room #154 of the Maple Manor Rehabilitation Center,31215 Novi Road, Novi, Michigan 48377.
Cumulus talk outlet regaining prominence in nation’s Capital Region
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — Even if not somewhat excusably misused, “heritage” is among the buzzwords many broadcasters hyperbolically invoke when proudly discussing their station and/or a particular on-air talent.
Not limited to a particular genre, it could apply to any format, although scores within the industry still choose to link “heritage” to dominant, institutional, full-service stations with larger-than-life personalities.
In the nation’s capital, for instance, the mighty morning team of “Harden & Weaver,” who beginning in 1960, prevailed in DC for approximately three decades, reinforced WMAL as “heritage” calls there.
Simultaneous with “Harden & Weaver” solidifying their own place in radio history (Frank Harden is now 92 — Jackson Weaver passed away in 1992), they were largely aiding to foster the station’s legacy — the Cumulus Media-owned talker is flourishing in 2014.
Morning mall entertainment
Overseeing then Citadel-owned WMAL from Chicago, where he programmed sister talker WLS-AM, Drew Hayes in August 2010 brought in former Air America programming honcho Bill Hess as assistant program director. Approximately one year later, Cumulus acquired Citadel and Hess was elevated to program director.
To Reach Millennials, Get Real. In a column posted today (9/29), media consultant Holland Cooke reports from the recent Maine Association of Broadcasters conference where a major topic of conversation was reaching the Millennial generation. Cooke writes that the news for radio operators today with regard to this generation is a good news/bad news scenario: The good is that Millennials like the idea of an audio-only medium but the bad news is they don’t want it to sound like it did for generations past – they have very different media sensibilities. “Keeping it real” is the mantra for this generation as comments from the “How Millennials Use Media” panel indicate. Cooke reports college-age panelists said things like, “People our age find radio gimmicky,” and, “Authenticity is a huge factor.” Read Cooke’s entire column here.
Talent Rant in Chicago. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, a war of words was started over the weekend after Windy City radio legend Steve Dahl broke out the heavy verbal artillery against WGN, Jimmy de Castro and pretty much everyone who works on air at WGN. Apparently sparked by his take that WGN president de Castro is a “glory hog” (for appearing in the front row during a group photo of the staff and WGN Walk of Fame honoree Pat Hughes), Dahl let loose with his opinion of the personalities and the station. That brought a return volley from WGN morning personality Steve Cochran who wrote an open letter published by Feder in which he asked, simply, “Why so bitter, Steve?” You can read Feder’s coverage of the Dahl podcast rant here and check out Cochran’s reply here.
Kansas City Woman’s Court Victory at Entercom’s Expense Serves Up Lessons for Broadcasters. Friday’s court victory for a Kansas City law student who was incorrectly identified as a “local porn star” by the “Afentra’s Big Fat Morning Buzz” show on Entercom’s alternative KRBZ “96.5 The Buzz” provides more lessons for broadcasters in how to avoid falling victim to a (in this case) $1 million dollar penalty for something that could have been avoided. As you are probably aware by now, Ashley Patton was misidentified by the morning show as a “local porn star” after confusing her name with that of a text-message suggestion by a listener who wrote to the show that Ashley Payton put pornographic images of herself online. On Friday, the jury awarded $250,000 in actual damages and the two sides agreed to punitive damages of $750,000, which Entercom will not appeal. Entercom had believed that its hosts had not actually engaged in negligent behavior since the identification of Patton was accidental and the station fixed the mistake as soon as it found out about it, as reported in the Kansas City Star’s coverage of the case. But that’s not exactly what happened. It stands to reason the station may have been able to avoid further angering Patton – and avoid the subsequent lawsuit – if it had acted quickly when Patton spoke with program director Scott Geiger hours after the bit aired. According to court records, during that conversation, Geiger questioned Patton’s statement that she was not a porn star, even asking her, “How do you know that you’re not a porn star?” He also promised to call her back after investigating the incident but never did.
Radio America to Syndicate ‘Financial Myth Busting.’ The weekend program “Financial Myth Busting with Dawn Bennett” is being syndicated nationally by Radio America. The show is described as being “designed to help Americans separate financial facts from fallacies.” Host Dawn Bennett is the CEO of Bennett Group Financial Services and she says, “Our message of being true to what is really happening in the financial world as it relates to geopolitical events has struck a chord with listeners. We’ve brought an array of guests on the show to report on subjects that deserve more attention. Partnering with Radio America allows us to take these important ideas to a much larger audience, and I couldn’t be more excited.” Radio America COO Mike Paradiso adds, “Dawn has a way of cutting through the noise and providing clarity in the cluttered world of financial and economic opinion.”
Accepting the Buckley Award for Media Excellence. WABC, New York-based and nationally syndicated talk personality Mark Levin is pictured here accepting the William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence from the Media Research Center at its 2014 Gala on Thursday, September 25, 2014. Levin joins conservative broadcasters Rush Limbaugh, the late Tony Snow, and Brit Hume as a recipient of the award. During his acceptance speech, Levin made a case for Republican candidates to return to the conservative principles of Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley.
Odds & Sods. In honor of the 25th anniversary of news personality Brian Lehrer’s time with WNYC, the New York public radio outlet is airing a special program titled, “25 Years in 25 Days: Then and Now with Brian Lehrer.” The “five-week series takes a look back at the defining global and local news stories from each year that Lehrer has been on the air.”…..The United Nations Department of Public Information announces the debut of audio news available to broadcasters via its new in-language mobile app. Audio content from the United Nations in eight languages is now accessible. Covering meetings and events at UN Headquarters in New York, UN Radio also produces news features and analyses on a variety of social, political, economic, development and cultural issues involving the UN and its work.
By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
WASHINGTON, DC — In the era of industry-wide consolidation and moves to cut costs with syndication over local talk hosts, longtime radio and media veteran Kirby Wilbur could be the poster child for reinventing a career while helping others to start their own. Washington, DC-born and Seattle-raised, Wilbur made a name for himself in the Pacific Northwest not from his job as a real estate appraiser, but as a frequent caller to talk shows, a non-paid “hobby” that ultimately led him to his own talk show on KVI in 1993. For the next 16 years, he was a staple on Seattle airwaves, along with numerous appearances on TALKERS magazine’s “Heavy Hundred” list of the most important radio talk show hosts in America, and also as a fill-in host for the Sean Hannity Show, until he was cut loose from KVI in October, 2009.
Fortunately for Wilbur, his Republican ideology, political activism and ability to articulate points allowed him to move directly into politics, becoming the chairman of the Washington State Republican Party. During his tenure, Republicans picked up majorities in the Washington State House and State Senate. However, an offer came his way that has not only changed him, but is also developing a new generation of members of the media.
Mark Levin to Be Honored at CPAC. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin will receive the inaugural Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, March 6. According to a story on Breitbart.com’s Big Journalism, Breitbart News editor-in-chief Alex Marlow will introduce Citizens United president David Bossie, who will present the award to Levin along with Breitbart News president and CEO Larry Solov and Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon. Solov says, “Mark Levin fearlessly and passionately stands up for conservatives and everyday Americans whose voices the mainstream press often tries to marginalize or silence. And like Andrew Breitbart, Levin has a way of cutting through the mainstream press’s filter with his words and is never afraid to have arrows slung at him by the institutional left on the front lines of the fight.” David Bossie comments, “Levin is not only a friend, but supports and defends the vision of our Founding Fathers on his nationally syndicated radio program daily. There is nobody better to receive this inaugural award and I am happy that he will be joining us at CPAC to accept it.” Levin’s show is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks.
Programming Additions at LFM’s Denver Sports Outlets. At Lincoln Financial Media’s Denver cluster, changes are taking place beginning Monday, March 3 that will put Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick on KKFN “104.3 The Fan,” moving over from sister sports station KEPN “1600 The Zone.” To make room, Sandy Clough leaves the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot where Patrick will air and joins Drew Goodman and Scott Hastings for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Program director Nate Lundy states, “Like many in Denver, I’m a big fan of Dan Patrick. As we take the next step in our evolution, it only makes sense to bring the number one national personality to ‘The Fan.’ His perspective and top-level guests will further solidify our commitment to the best sports talk in town.” KKFN is also debuting a new evening show called “The Fan Late Night with Ryan Edwards and Shawn Drotar” that is airing from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Lundy adds, “Sandy Clough has been part of The Fan’s success for over 17 years and putting him alongside two other outstanding Denver sports veterans will make for a great show for our listeners. ‘The Fan Late Night’ will give fans of Denver’s four major pro sports teams a chance to sound off as part of their postgame experience.” Lundy says a new lineup on KEPN will be announced in the near future as Patrick’s show transitions to “104.3 The Fan.”
Michael Harrison Speaks at NRB 2014 in Nashville. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (c) participated as a keynote speaker yesterday afternoon (2/24) at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) conference in Nashville in a general session focused on “Values in American Popular Media.” The presentation included an opening address by Harrison followed by a spirited panel discussion in which he was joined by DeVon Franklin, SVP of production, Columbia Tristar Pictures (l) and Russell Moore, president, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (r). Harrison used the platform as an opportunity to espouse his personal and professional philosophy that the combination of vigilant community service and high ethical standards equate to good and successful business strategy in the media industries – especially radio. Harrison told the conference, “Radio of all formats – not just Christian specifically – should never miss an opportunity to be a hero and serve the true needs of humanity within its local, national and even global market reach. Why wait for a hurricane or natural disaster to suddenly go into emergency mode? Why limit our potential to just being the ‘Sterno’ of media? Day-to-day life provides a nonstop series of emergencies, pain, fear, sorrow and loss on a very human scale that we have the power to calm and alleviate in addition to providing our regular menus of music and talk entertainment, information and discussion. If we do this with sincerity and authenticity on a consistent level, the communities we serve will amply reward us with both ratings and financial support and the self-fulfilling prophecy about radio being a dying medium will be forestalled for decades to come.” Harrison warned the crowd that “Christian and religious broadcasting has a head start on fulfilling this role because it is woven into the basic fabric of its service – however, in its passion and zeal to compete in the same marketplace of ideas and commerce co-occupied by secular media, it should be careful not to fall into the trap of stifling the First Amendment rights of dissenting voices and lifestyles nor succumb to the present-day widespread practice to seeking victory at the expense of truth for commercial and political advantage.”
Steven Meyers Heads Digital Strategy at Greater Media. This is a promotion for Steven Meyers who joined Greater Media Philadelphia in 2012 as digital manager. Now, in this new director of digital strategy role for all of Greater Media, he will be responsible for helping to grow Greater Media’s audiences and revenue by developing new digital platforms that deepen listener engagement while providing new opportunities to the company’s commercial partners. He comments, “Greater Media understands that ‘digital’ isn’t just a separate line of business, but a foundational component of our brand experiences and client value. I’m very excited to become a larger part of shaping that vision.” Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth adds, “We look forward to having Steve share his valuable knowledge and insight with our teams as we continue to grow and drive our company’s interactive efforts into the future.”
Hubbard’s WFED, Washington Names Fornicola Director of Custom Media. Coming to Hubbard’s Washington, DC talk and federal news outlet WFED is Jason Fornicola in the new position, director of custom media. Fornicola recently worked as communications specialist for the American Federation of Government Employees. He also hosted the weekly AFGE radio program “Inside Government.” In a statement, director of federal sales Ralph Renzi comments, “We have worked with Jason for seven years and are impressed with his experience and success in journalism, as well as his innovative outreach. Our investment in providing greater resources for our clients will help us solve more complex marketing objectives.”
Edison Research to Present ‘Infinite Dial 2014’ Next Week. In a teaser for the free webinar from Edison Research and new partner Triton Digital, the companies report that data from this year’s study shows “31% of Americans 12+ report using the internet radio service Pandora on a monthly basis, up from 27% one year ago. iHeartRadio is used by 9% monthly, while iTunes Radio, which debuted in 2013, comes in third with 8% monthly usage, followed by 6% using Spotify.” The webinar takes place Wednesday, March 5 at 2:00 pm ET. Edison says this is the 22nd study in “The Infinite Dial” series, one of the longest-running research series covering consumer use of media, technology and digital platforms. The webinar will be co-presented by Edison Research VP of strategy Tom Webster, and Triton Digital COO Mike Agovino. Topics covered will include: An update on Internet Audio usage, including new data on iTunes Radio, Beats Music, and other services; recent growth in podcasting; the growth in smartphone ownership, and how it has changed consumer behavior; updates on social media usage for services including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and more; and the connected car, and in-car usage of digital media.
Financial Talk Host Convicted in Fraud Case. A federal jury convicted Barbra Alexander Monterey, California on 28 counts of conspiracy and fraud for her role in a Ponzi scheme. Sixty-four-year-old Alexander worked with APS Funding partner Michael Swanson to host “Money Dots” on Clear Channel-owned KION, Monterey and other outlets. Prosecutors had alleged Alexander and Swanson bilked investors of some $4 million. Alexander is expected to get a lengthy prison term. Swanson was previously convicted.
New Maternity Leave Policy for Cumulus Announced. Radio giant Cumulus Media announces a change to its human resources policy by adding “the implementation of an industry-leading maternity leave policy providing new mothers with six weeks of fully paid time off in addition to the paid time off and disability benefits currently provided to employees.” The company says the policy takes effect immediately and is available to all full-time, non-commission employees with at least one year of service. Chairman and CEO Lew Dickey states, “Cumulus continues to grow and innovate thanks to the dedication of our colleagues across the country. We are committed to providing benefits that recognize employees’ health and family needs, and providing fully paid leave to new mothers after they give birth is the right thing to do.”
NAB Crystal Award Finalists Announced. The 50 finalists for the 2014 Crystal Awards have been announced and that list can be found here. The National Association of Broadcasters states that since 1987, the NAB Crystal Radio Awards have recognized radio stations for their outstanding year-round commitment to community service. Winners will be announced and the finalists will be honored at the NAB Radio Luncheon. The Luncheon will be held Tuesday, April 8 during the 2014 NAB Show in Las Vegas. During the luncheon, Yahoo tech columnist David Pogue will present a keynote address and popular national radio personality, television host and best-selling author Steve Harvey will be inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
This Brand New Car Is No Mirage. Well, actually it is. It’s a 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage and it’s now the property of Anita Gowing of Whittier, California (right). She was the winner of the KFWB, Los Angeles giveaway that took place at South Coast Mitsubishi on Sunday, February 23. Gowing is seen reacting as her key starts the car. Inside the car with her is KFWB afternoon news co-anchor Maggie McKay (left). As part of the contest, 124 listeners won a pair of tickets to an upcoming LA Clippers game and got a key for a chance to win the car.
ObamaCare Criticism, NFL N-word Penalty, Arizona Religious Rights Bill, Ukraine Unrest-Russian Influence, Hagel’s Proposed Military Cuts, and Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/24). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NFL’s new rule penalizing teams for players’ use of the n-word during games; the Arizona bill that would allow businesses to discriminate for religious reasons; the political turmoil in Ukraine and the influence of Putin’s Russia; Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposed shrinking of the Army to its smallest size in 74 years; and a new round of winter weather for the East were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa Show to Air on Cable’s Fox Sports 1. According to a report by Neil Best in Newsday, sources indicate the cable TV simulcast of New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa’s afternoon drive sports talk program will be Fox’s fledgling Fox Sports 1 cable channel. The deal that had Francesa’s program simulcast on the Fox-owned and Yankees-operated YES Network for the past 12 years ended last week and though the MSG Network was anticipated being the eventual destination for Francesa’s show, the official news of the Fox Sports 1 deal could come sometime this week. Best writes that Fox presumably wants Francesa’s show to help raise its visibility even though it’s a New York-centric show. Interestingly, WEPN-FM’s afternoon host Michael Kay is now seen in Francesa’s old slot on YES and if Francesa does land on Fox Sports 1, the two shows will appear on side-by-side channels 69 and 70 on New York’s Cablevision system.
Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks Outsource Affiliate Relations and Marketing to Compass Media Networks. Executive editor for the Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks John Wordock says in a memo to affiliate stations, “We are deeply committed to our audio business and appreciate our partnership with your station…The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks will continue to provide the best money news coverage in the business, from Wall Street to Main Street to your street. Together, Dow Jones and Compass look forward to working with you and your station and we’re both dedicated to providing top-notch customer service.” This move to take the affiliate relations and marketing department out of house is not entirely unexpected after the cuts the company made in the fall eliminating executive positions within that department.
Mark Levin to Keynote Tea Party Anniversary Celebration. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin will serve as the keynote speaker at the five-year anniversary celebration of the Tea Party Patriots taking place in Washington, DC on February 27. Levin, whose program is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks, says, “The Tea Party, which consists of millions of hard-working taxpayers, is to be celebrated not condemned. The ruling class must be trounced and its media cheerleaders must be exposed if the republic is to survive. The Tea Party is our only hope. It’s a great honor to be asked to speak to such outstanding and courageous patriots.” Other high-profile participants include: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.
Todd Schnitt: Not the Same-Old, Same-Old. Nationally syndicated talk show host Todd Schnitt credits his background in CHR radio and his passion for finding the topics that intrigue him that he believes will also intrigue his listeners for making his show a different-sounding sort of conservative talk radio show. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s profile of the man who worked for years as the successful “MJ Kelli” at Clear Channel’s WFLZ, Tampa before branching into drive time talk radio at sister station WFLA delves into the mind of a personality working to grow his national program in the post-Sandra Fluke era. Schnitt says, “My feelings have been bolstered by many experts and consultants in the field regarding the burn on conservative talk radio…You hear the same pounding on Democrats and liberals every single day. It is to the point with a bunch of hosts in my space where you can pull one of their shows from last month and it would sound the same as what they are saying today. I have always approached a talk radio show so that it fits on any conservative radio station, but with more of an intrinsic entertainment value.” Read Mike Kinosian’s story here.
TALKERS Launches Three-Part Special Today, Tomorrow and Wednesday (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks. Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production. Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations. Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year. It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide. When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiere Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations. However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel. Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio. His vision was “Envision Radio Networks,” (now simply “Envision Networks”) — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that creates over four dozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates. It was a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line. What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry. He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows. His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets. Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication. In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward. I’ve seen this movie many times before. Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.” To read part one of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here.
CBS Reports Record Digital Traffic Month. It’s a new record for a single month as CBS Local Digital Media reports its websites and mobile applications attracted 56.8 million unique users during January topping the previous all-time high of 50.6 million in April 2013. The January 2014 number was up 37% compared to a year ago. CBS Local is happy with its performance in this arena last year reporting year-to-year growth of 21% in average unique users per month. CBS Local Media COO Anton Guitano says, “Our continued integration of digital into all parts of our local business is yielding dividends. The great mobile presence our stations have via mobile websites, Radio.com and CBS Local apps creates a presence that gives the consumer a great user experience.”
Lars Larson’s Busy Week: Subbing for KVI’s John Carlson; Keynoting Nevada Republican Dinner. There are few in the talk radio business who work harder than talk show host Lars Larson. Lars tells TALKERS that in addition to his regular radio programs – middays on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland and nationally syndicated from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET via Compass Media Networks – he’s filling in on morning drive today and tomorrow (2/10-11) on KVI, Seattle for John Carlson. This evening he’ll be hosting a station event for KXL and then heads to Reno on Thursday to do both regular shows from affiliate KKFT-FM before keynoting the Washoe County Republicans’ annual Lincoln Dinner on Friday. Lars reports he’ll be able to fly home in time on Friday to spend Valentine’s weekend with his “very patient wife,” Tina.
Michael Smerconish Jumps to CNN. The SiriusXM talk show host is leaving MSNBC and will join up with CNN for a role that includes regular appearances during the week providing analysis and commentary plus a weekly Saturday morning program, reports the Washington Posts’s Eric Wemple. In a release, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker says, “We are thrilled to have Michael join CNN. At a time when the cable news landscape has become increasingly polarized, his independence and passion for reasoned dialogue makes him the perfect fit for CNN.” Smerconish joins CNN at a time of flux. Zucker has been making programming changes to reverse the cable news/talk channel’s floundering ratings. CNN announced recently it is cancelling Anderson Cooper’s “AC 360 Later.”
Honoring Ann. ABC News Radio White House correspondent Ann Compton (left) is pictured here at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s 70th Annual Congressional Dinner on February 5 at which she was honored with the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes an individual whose outstanding accomplishments promote the journalistic profession and enhance the role of women journalists.
Odds & Sods. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that weekend and fill-in host Bob Early resigned from his position with WNIR-FM, Akron after a disagreement over a guest for his weekend talk show. Early hosted the Saturday and Sunday evening show on the station and he tells the paper he and management were not in agreement about Early booking the owner of an erotic goods chain on his program. Read the whole story here…..Patrick Ryan joins Magnum Broadcasting to serve as general manager for talk WEEO-FM, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania/ Hagerstown, Maryland and corporate brands strategist. Ryan was most recently local sales manager at Albany Broadcasting. He says, “I’m thrilled to put my talk radio expertise back to work and look forward to buying-building new brands with Michael Stapleford and his incredible team.”…..KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh morning host Larry Richert announced that Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly will serve as the keynote speaker at his “Larry Richert Honors Our Hometown Heroes” event at the Lexus Club at PNC Park on Thursday, March 6. The annual even created by Richert honors five ordinary individuals in the community who have done extraordinary things and it benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.