Tag: "Media Matters"

Monday, October 15, 2012

| October 15, 2012

Praise Pours In for Los Angeles Talk Conference - Video Coverage to Come.  It was a packed house sold out two weeks in advance as some 275 talk media broadcasters from across the country, with a distinct emphasis on the Western states, rocked the old Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood this past Thursday (10/11).  Approximately 50 speakers — including Robin Bertolucci, Phil Boyce, Kevin Casey, Holland Cooke, Jerry Doyle, Skip Essick, Ian Freeman, Bill Handel, Heidi Harris, Michael Harrison, Ron Hartenbaum, Sam Hasson, Michael Horn, Rusty Humphries, Karel, Mike Kinosian, Kraig Kitchin, Lars Larson, Kevin LaRue, Garret Lewis, Tom Leykis, Andy Ludlum, Carole Marks, Don Martin, Mike McVay, Stephanie Miller, Bob Moore, Bill Moran, Patt Morrison, Harvey Nagler, Norm Pattiz, Ken Rutkowski, Walter Sabo, Brent Seltzer, Dave Sniff, Eric Stanger, Doug Stephan, Shadoe Stevens, Alan Stock, Chuck Tyler, Jeff Wasserman, Eric Weiss, and Michael Zwerling – tackled a variety of hot industry topics including the economic, technological and cultural challenges facing talk radio broadcasters in 2012.  This full day event was part two of TALKERS magazine’s new 2012 format in which the New Media Seminar was broken into east and west coast segments.  The first was a sellout event held in New York on June 7.  The event has drawn praise from numerous attendees including the following quotes:

“Everybody’s talking about what a great day it was!”

- Norm Pattiz, CEO Courtside Entertainment

“A very interesting day of conversation and revelation from a whole lot of people.”

- Kraig T. Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind

“I was glad I attended.”

- Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media

“It struck the perfect balance of schmooze and panel-news and talk!”

- Patt Morrison, KPCC, Los Angeles

“Thanks very much for putting on a great event.”

- Jerry Doyle, TRN

“ It was well worth the trip from England.”

- Graham Mack, BBC, Wiltshire

“An awesome day. It was superb. Can’t wait till the next one.”

- Eric Stanger, VP Operations, Sean Hannity Show/Premiere Networks

“It was great and you know I will be there next time around.”

- Alan Stock, KDWN, Las Vegas

“A hell of a show!  Outta da park!”

Dr. Gina Loudon, Host, PolitiChicks

“What a great time I had. The event was a total success.”

- Shadoe Stevens, Host, MentalRadio, SiriusXM

“Great Event !”

- Steve Lehman, Business Rock Stars

“It was a memorable occasion!”

- Sam Hasson, CEO, LATalkRadio.com

TALKERS magazine will provide extensive video coverage of the event including including panels, special presentations and additional interviews conducted on site beginning tomorrow.  The photo above is of the “Big Picture” panel featuring (from l-r): Don Martin, Ron Hartenbaum, Phil Boyce, Kraig Kitchin, Mike McVay, Harvey Nagler and moderator Michael Harrison.  View a gallery of more photos from the TALKERS New Media Los Angeles here.

Syndicated Talker Lars Larson Say Companies Need to Put Money Back into Programming.  In an exclusive audio interview conducted by consultant Holland Cooke at the recent New Media Seminar in Los Angeles, talk show host Lars Larson says that the most important thing he and all talk show hosts need is to have additional resources to bolster the sound and quality of their on-air product.  The successful host heard in Portland, Oregon on KXL and nationally via Compass Media Networks says, “If you take care of your listeners they will take care of you, ratings-wise.”  Larson also discusses the tenets of what he describes as “talk journalism,” positioning what he does as “information and opinion built from today’s news — solid information, no insanity.”  Listen to the complete conversation here.

Journal Broadcast Group Announces “RightWisconsin” Digital Initiative.  With WTMJ, Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes taking a leadership role in the new venture, Journal Broadcast Group announces it will soon debut a new blog dedicated to conservative political thought called RightWisconsin.  According to a story by Duane Dudek in the Journal-owned Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sykes describes the effort as a “digital community, a rallying point, a one-stop source for conservatives on the front lines here.”  Sykes says the blog will have a full-time staff and “multiple platforms including mobile tablet and social media applications.”  It also promises commentary from around the state, as Sykes says, “key stories that other media won’t cover.”  In the story, Sykes is quoted saying, “We can do all of this because we have the resources of a major media company behind us, including the state’s biggest radio station and top-rated television station.  In other words, we have built-in platforms for promotion as well as the infrastructure.”  Media Matters called the new venture a “small-scale version” of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze digital media effort.  Journal VP of radio and television Steve Wexler says of Sykes and WTMJ, “One of the reasons we are successful is because of the many things we are able to do…that have nothing to do with politics.  The talk shows in the middle of the day are right of center, because that’s where the demand is…I am agnostic as a broadcaster about politics.  I look for where there is a demand, and the demand in talk radio is for a more conservative point of view.”  There is no start date announced for RightWisconsin but already, the company reports interest from the community based on early reports of the project.

Townsquare Media Flips WENJ-AM, Atlantic City to Talk.  The Atlantic City market gets a news/talk outlet as Townsquare Media’s WENJ-AM, drops its simulcast of FM sister 97.3 ESPN South Jersey.  According to the Press of Atlantic City, the station will feature regional media personality Harry Hurley in morning drive followed by a slate of syndicated programs that include: Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and Sean Hannity from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; John Batchelor from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am and “Red Eye Radio” for overnights.  The station will also return to its roots by taking back its original call letters WPG.  Hurley tells the paper, “The idea is that we are going to have a healthy blend of live and local that people enjoy and some of the biggest names in the country…Glenn Beck is not in this market. Sean Hannity is not in this market.  People are going to notice…We just love the idea of going back and reclaiming the heritage of WPG – for a new generation.”  The station plans to add more local programming between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm.

KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Fires Up Florida Campaign Effort.  Conservative talk show host Michael Berry is responsible for a call-to-action for conservative-minded people who want to spend time in Florida helping those who support Mitt Romney for president get out and vote.  Berry states, “I just threw the idea out there, and listeners across the country responded with an overwhelming willingness to do it.  I was half kidding, because the logistics of such a trip are a nightmare.  But we brought in 50 listeners to volunteer to coordinate this, and what they’ve done is nothing short of amazing.”  The leadership created a website within a couple of days — www.WinFlorida2012.org.  Since Berry’s flagship station KTRH is in Houston, the group will caravan from there beginning on October 28 and arrive in Pensacola, Florida that night.  They will spend the week driving vans to assist locals in voting for Romney during early voting.  One KTRH listener, Kyle Coplen, was tapped by Berry to be a vice chairman for the committee, but he was unable to pay his own expenses.  With a pregnant wife, and a new business cleaning swimming pools, he wasn’t able to spare the $1,000 from his family’s finances for the trip.  Berry offered to pay his expenses for him, but he decided instead to use this as a “teachable moment” and earn the funds through hard work.  Coplen says, “I just made a simple flyer, saying ‘Will Work for Romney,’ which I thought was catchy.  I put the flyer on the doors of houses that had Romney signs in the yards.”  Requests for his work came pouring in, mostly by people impressed by his work ethic and unique need for money.  He says he turned down every offer of a donation, explaining that he wanted to earn his way there, “just as we need to earn our way out of our nation’s problems.”  Michael Berry states, “The stories of people like Kyle amaze me.  There are plenty more.  People want to make this country great.  They refuse to lose this election.  It’s truly inspiring.”

WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall Hosts Debate Viewing Parties.  On the heels of a successful debate viewing party at the Philly sports bar Chickie’s & Pete’s, WPHT morning host Chris Stigall is taking it one step further for tomorrow’s presidential debate at Hofstra University.  WPHT listeners and political debate fans will converge upon the Xfinity Live entertainment district in the sports complex area of Philadelphia (where the Wells Fargo Center, Citizen’s Bank Park, and Lincoln Financial Field are located) to watch the debate on a 32-foot, high definition screen.  Stigall and WPHT hosted the previous party at Chickie’s & Pete’s (Stigall is pictured here speaking to KTW-TV from the event) and said it was fun watching presidential debates as you’d watch Sunday afternoon football – complete with bartenders, free appetizers, prizes, and of course wall to wall TVs with the sound blaring.  Stigall says the Xfinity Live center is designed for concertgoers and sports fans to gather pre- and post-event and is hopeful for a big, raucous turnout tomorrow night.

Tom Leykis Shows Off Impressive September Online Numbers.  No, Tom Leykis won’t actually be playing the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California as the press release teases – but the number of people who sampled the show during three weeks in September – 115,684 – is enough to practically fill the iconic football stadium.  Leykis began employing Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics, which measures unique ip addresses, on September 8.  Leykis states, “It’s great to have accreditation for what we are doing.  Everyone else who does a show on the net brags about having hundreds of thousands of listeners, but they never put their money where their mouth is.”  Leykis, who spoke about his web-based radio program at the TALKERS New Media Seminar in Los Angeles last Thursday (stay tuned for more from that event, including coverage of Leykis’ participation), began his new show on April 2 after a 37-month hiatus from radio.  He says, “I figure at the rate we are going, we should have over 175,000 unique people listening to our show every month.  Again, these will be accurate and honest numbers, not some random Arbitron sample.”

Beasley Talk Hosts Honored by Street Name; Raise Funds for Military Families.  WRXK, Ft. Myers, Florida talk hosts Stan and Haney had the street leading to the Beasley Broadcasting facility in Southwest Florida named after them.  More than 200 loyal fans of the program turned out to christen “Stan and Haney Boulevard” and share in live music, food and celebration. The duo turned the event into a worthy cause as proceeds from the sale of “Stan and Haney Blvd.” t-shirts raised $2,100 for the Stan and Haney D.R.A.F.T. Fund.  Stan says, “Haney and I started the DRAFT Fund nearly nine years ago along with Captain John Lazzaro (USNR).  Thanks to our listeners and the Southwest Florida community we have distributed nearly $40,000 in assistance to local troops and their families.”  The duo are pictured here drinking champagne and announcing the unveiling of the new street sign.

Odds & Sods. KDWN, Las Vegas takes home some awards from the Electronic Media Awards held in conjunction with the Nevada Broadcasters Foundation.  KDWN morning host Alan Stock is recognized with the “Best Radio Talk Show Host” honor and KDWN program director John Shaffer picks up the “Program Director of the Year” honor as well as the “Best Morning Newscast” award…..SiriusXM broadcast live from New York Comic Con 2012 this weekend.  The broadcasts included celebrity interviews, exclusive panels hosted by SiriusXM hosts and fan reactions from the floor – inviting listeners and fans nationwide inside the biggest comics and pop culture convention on the East Coast…..Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” broadcast an interesting program over the weekend on Saturday hosted by John B. Wells that included four of the most influential musicians from the dawn of rock and roll.  Paul Rodgers of Bad Company and Free, Leslie West of Mountain, Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull spoke with Wells discussing living through the heyday of rock and what it was like being at the forefront of a musical movement that is still significant today.

Live from South Bend, Indiana.  ESPN Radio’s nationally syndicated morning team Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg broadcast their program from the campus of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana on Friday, October 12.  Golic played football at Notre Dame serving as captain of the team during his senior year.  His sons Jake and Mike, Jr. currently play for the Fighting Irish and his daughter Sydney is a freshman on the swim team.  The duo broadcast in advance of Saturday’s contest between Notre Dame and Stanford from which ESPN’s “College GameDay Built by The Home Depot” also emanated.  In the photo, Golic and Greenberg are holding a pair of swim trunks – a gift from Golic’s daughter Sydney’s swim coach.

Friday, August 10, 2012

| August 10, 2012

Cumulus Q2 Revenue Dips; Major Market News/Talkers Singled Out.  Cumulus Media’s revenue shot up more than 350% due to the inclusion of the former Citadel stations and the former Cumulus Media Partners properties it folded into its portfolio, but on a pro forma basis, revenue for the company was down 1.7%.  During yesterday’s conference call, CEO Lew Dickey indicated 10 stations in the top 10 markets – many of them news/talk outlets were responsible for the company’s loss with three stations in particular accounting for $5.5 million of a $10 million revenue loss.  He said if those stations had been kept out of the equation the company would have seen revenue go up 2%.  Dickey promised the company is working on fixing those stations but cautioned it would take time – as much as four more quarters.  If the ultimate goal is to get other companies’ syndication properties off those major market news/talkers – and those fees can be very high – and replace them with Cumulus Media Networks shows to, a) cut the cost of the programming to those stations and, b) reap a much greater percentage of revenue from those shows, expect to see some lineup changes at those major market news/talkers over the next 12 months.

Lew Dickey Stands Behind Mike Huckabee.  Questions about the performance of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in syndication via Cumulus Media Networks were expected by analysts on yesterday’s conference call and when they were asked, Dickey strongly defended Huckabee – whose national program debuted in March – saying his team is doing an excellent job clearing the show and compares the venture to a “marathon.”  Dickey also said the company intends to sign more talent in the near future.  He told analysts that a lot of companies are locked in to current contracts with other syndicated programming so rolling out Huckabee (and Geraldo Rivera) will take time but, so far, he’s pleased with the results.

Herman Cain Takes to the Road on Fall “Truth Tour.”  Former presidential candidate Herman Cain – and heir to the nationally syndicated Neal Boortz show when Neal hangs up his headphones in January – will take to the road beginning September 5 in Iowa City for what he’s calling “The Truth Tour.”  It’s sponsored by Job Creators Solutions – an organization founded by Cain and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus.  The tour is billed as “an aggressive 30-day, 30-city schedule of events that aims to provide Americans with facts, information and resources to help them in their decision making process before hitting the polls in November.”  Cain says, “Bernie Marcus and I both know first-hand how important it is to have the facts when making business decisions.  We also know it’s just as important for Americans to have the facts when making decisions that will impact our communities, businesses and our nation.  This is why I’m proud to join forces with Bernie for ‘The Truth Tour.’”  Herman Cain will begin his nationally syndicated radio show on January 21, 2013 – Inauguration Day – and will be a regular guest on the Neal Boortz show on Mondays and Fridays at 10:35 am ET and is his primary fill-in host.

WSCR and WBBM, Chicago Host “Business of Sports: Life After the Game.”  CBS Radio sports talk WSCR and all-news WBBM are hosting the Comcast Business Class Newsmakers “Business of Sports: Life after the Game” panel sponsored by MB Financial on Thursday, September 20, at the House of Blues in downtown Chicago.  CBS Radio says the event will consist of the biggest names in Chicago sports, discussing their success in the business world after playing.  Panelists will include: multi-sport star Bo Jackson, Chicago football great Gary Fencik, and “Miracle on Ice” star and former professional hockey player, Jack O’Callahan with more to be added.  The event will be hosted by 670 The Score’s morning drive team Mike Mulligan and Brian Hanley (pictured here).  WSCR program director Mitch Rosen says, “We are looking forward to hosting what will be an all-star event.  I think the Chicagoland consumer, specifically people interested in sports business, will enjoy the all-star panel we have put together.  With Bo Jackson headlining this event, it will be a great opportunity to hear his business ideas and philosophies.  Bo is one of the greatest stories in the sports industry and has numerous accomplishments as a two-sport professional athlete.  For sports fans and business people alike, this will be a can’t-miss event.”

Media Matters Gets into the Talk Radio Game.  The anti-conservative media organization Media Matters for America is hitching its wagon to a new talk show on the SiriusXM Left channel called “The Agenda Powered by Media Matters.”  The daily show is being hosted by Media Matters senior advisor and Fox News critic Ari Rabin-Havt and debuts Monday, August 13 from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.  SiriusXM promotes the show saying, “Ari Rabin-Havt will lead the daily conversation of young influential progressive political insiders reviewing the day’s events and setting the tone for the next days’ news cycle. ‘The Agenda Powered by Media Matters’ will be a first-of-its-kind on-air meeting place where the new influencers of the progressive movement discuss the news of tomorrow in an informal setting that looks to inform, entertain, and engage.”

WBRP, Baton Rouge Names Clarence Buggs Midday Host.  Guaranty Broadcasting’s WBRP, Baton Rouge adds talk show host Clarence Buggs to the lineup as host of the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm program.  Buggs had worked in the market at Clear Channel’s crosstown WJBO.  Guaranty market manager Gordy Rush states, “We are thrilled about the addition of Clarence to our team.  We remain committed to being the news/talk leader in the Baton Rouge community with more live and local shows on Talk 107.3 FM than any other station in the greater Baton Rouge market.”

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  WAYY, Eau Claire, Wisconsin adds the third hour of WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish show…..WYM Media’s “Ring of Fire” with Mike Papantonio and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is added to the program schedule at WWRL, New York and WKKX, Wheeling…..“Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the program schedule at WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island and KBJT, Fordyce, Arkansas…..WVKO, Columbus, Ohio adds the “Best of Bill Press” to its weekend schedule…..The “Motley Fool Money” show with Chris Hill adds WKBK-AM/FM, Keene, New Hampshire…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” is picked up by: WRHL, Rochelle, Illinois; WFHR, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin; WKUL, Cullman, Alabama; and WDIS, Norfolk, Massachusetts.

Presidential Campaign Ads Controversy Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 6-10.  The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week broke out from last week’s general discussion about the presidential campaign and the specific story of the controversial ads being run by organizations backing President Obama was the top story this week on the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was the tepid economic data.  Following at #3 was neo-Nazi hate groups and the aftermath of the Sikh temple killings.  Coming in at #4 was the London Olympics.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

| May 21, 2012

The State of News in News/Talk Radio.  The rise of digital news sources, today’s quickening news cycle and the economic realities of our times are forcing news/talk radio stations to evaluate their news product and adapt to continue to serve their listeners.  In a feature story by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey, some of today’s top news/talk programmers speak on the record about their news philosophy, how they are integrating digital tools, news as a cume builder, the relationship between news and talk and their thoughts on the state of journalism.   Read this feature piece here.

NOW-Organized Protest of Rush Limbaugh at WMAL, Washington Fizzles.  The National Organization for Women-sponsored “Enough Rush” campaign got off to an ignominious start outside the studios of affiliate WMAL, Washington, DC Friday, May 18 as just seven protesters marched.  As reported by Fox News, NOW announced the campaign against the Premiere Networks talk radio superstar in April and has partnered with Media Matters for America to target affiliate stations and their advertisers.  Friday’s event in DC was part of a national protest scheduled for that day.  Reports of substantial protests at other Limbaugh affiliate stations have not surfaced.

Cox Media Offers to End Paul Finebaum Issue with Contract Buyout.  The Birmingham Business Journal is reporting that Cox Media – which put sports talk outlet WZNN-FM, Birmingham on the air last September – is again offering to buy out sports talk host Paul Finebaum’s contract with Cumulus Media and its WJOX-FM, Birmingham.  Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the ongoing legal battle between Cumulus and Finebaum that goes back to when the station was part of the Citadel group.  Finebaum’s popular sports talk show has been based at WJOX-FM and regionally syndicated.  While Cumulus would probably like to stop paying legal fees in the ongoing dispute, it may not want to have Finebaum working for a competing station in the market – at least not right away – however it’s likely he’ll end up working there eventually.  There’s no response yet from Cumulus on the offer.

RAB Reports Radio Revenue Up 1% in First Quarter of 2012.  The Radio Advertising Bureau issued a report on Friday, May 18 concluding advertising revenue for all of radio was up 1% for the first quarter of 2012 – the third consecutive Q1 increase – for total revenue of $3.814 billion.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Q1 2012 results confirm that radio commands a solid position in brands’ total marketing plans.  While advertisers continue to capitalize on radio’s spot and network efficiencies, they’re increasingly utilizing local digital capabilities and audience engagement that this medium affords.”  From a category standpoint, spot revenue was flat, network was up 8%, digital rose 10%, and off-air was up 3% for Q1 in 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  WXKS, Boston – Talk Radio 1200 – morning drive talk host Jeff Katz wins two Associated Press Awards – one for “Best Talk Show in Boston” and the other for “Best Public Affairs Broadcast” for his special remote from the Fisher House in Boston…..Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager co-hosts CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report” alongside Brian Sullivan tonight at 7:00 pm ET.  SRN states, “With the just-launched IPO for Facebook as well as the unfolding 2012 battle between Mitt Romney and President Obama, Dennis Prager brings his unique background as a talk radio host, author, lecturer and societal observer to CNBC in what will surely be an eye-opening experience for ‘Kudlow Report’ viewers!”…..SiriusXM announces veteran soccer commentator and former player and coach Ray Hudson will host ‘The Football Show’ alongside fellow soccer experts Charlie Stillitano, Neil Barnett and John Harkes.  Hudson has been a commentator for Gol TV since 2004 and is widely known for his elaborate and excitable play-calling style.  Also from SiriusXM, three-time SEC Coach of the Year Houston Nutt has joined SiriusXM as an analyst on its 24/7 college sports channel.  Nutt will host multiple shows each week on SiriusXM College Sports Nation including ‘College Sports Today’ with Mark Packer and ‘College Football Playbook’ with Jack Arute…..Former WGNU, St. Louis talk host Leonardo Drisdel was found guilty of the 2005 murder of Cassandra Kovack on Friday.  He’ll be sentenced on June 29.

Clark Howard to Help Break Ground for New Home for Joplin Tornado Victims.  Cox Media syndicated talk show host Clark Howard heads to Joplin, Missouri tomorrow along with a team of his listeners to break ground on a new home for a family that lost its home to last spring’s tornado that hit the city.  Howard will broadcast his Tuesday program live from the build site to recognize the one-year anniversary of the tornado.  Clark Howard is funding the Joplin home himself.  However, he joined forces with Cox’s KRMG, Tulsa to promote the build and KRMG even had advertisers chip in for a storm shelter for the house and due to the listeners’ overwhelming support for the build in Joplin, they teamed with Clark to build a home in Tulsa this past weekend.  The home is being funded by monies raised by listeners and Howard.  He says, “I love Habitat for Humanity because it is a hand up and not a hand out.  Homeowners have to meet strict qualification guidelines and put in hundreds of hours of sweat equity to build their own home and other Habitat homes.  It is not a free house.  It is a low-cost mortgage.”

Vic “The Brick” Jacobs Rides the Zamboni at L.A. Kings Game.  Yes, that’s Fox Sports Radio sports talk host Vic “The Brick” Jacobs – of the network’s “Loose Cannons” show – on the zamboni during last Thursday’s L.A. Kings NHL playoff game.  In addition to being at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the game, Jacobs (decked out in his Kings jersey and crown) did a post-game interview with Kings rookie Dwight King who scored the winning goal.

Monday, April 23, 2012

| April 23, 2012

Tom Leykis’ Return to Talk Draws Loyal Audience to Web-Based Content.  Off the radio for more than three years after CBS Radio blew up KLSX-FM, Los Angeles and his contract kept him from working for anyone other than CBS, Tom Leykis returned to the microphone on April 2 for an internet-delivered talk show.  The show is broadcast live at www.blowmeuptom.com at 3:00 pm PT and on a 24/7 streamed replay via major media players – Tune In, Windows Media Player, iTunes, iPhone, Shoutcast and Winamp.  Leykis says the numbers for the first week of the show were impressive: The total number of listeners from April 2 to Monday, April 9 was 401,180.  The average number of show listeners for that week in any 15 minute period totaled 1,575 and the average time spent listening by each listener was a half hour each day in the seven-day week.  “These numbers are way higher than what we’d anticipated.  We’re way farther along in our progress than I ever could have imagined.  Kind of makes you wonder what competing alternative content like this will ultimately mean for radio.”  Leykis, who will be speaking at the New Media Seminar in New York City on June 7, tells TALKERS that the combination of doing a daily show and running his own business has made him “more focused than ever” stating, “Now is the time for talk talent to think of themselves as more than employees…they must think entrepreneurially for their own survival.  The way to start is by developing a healthy relationship with your advertisers.”

Act Quickly!  Word just in from Bob Dane, event manager for this year’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row is that due to larger than expected demand, they expanded the number of broadcast booths.  As of 10:00 am ET this morning (Monday, April 23), Dane reports there is now one remaining, fully equipped booth in morning, midday and afternoon drive left.  And it’s first come, first serve.  This event is a must-attend-and-no-reason-not-to given that everything is turnkey and at no cost for the convenience of the participating broadcasters…and if you act fast, possibly a hotel room can be part of the package – but availability is extremely limited.  Hold Their Feet to the Fire 2012 is staged annually by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, this year, May 8-9 in Washington, DC focusing on immigration issues facing the candidates in this heated election year.  Contact Bob Dane at 202-328-7004.

Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly Close to Re-signing with Fox News Channel.  The New York Times reports it has confirmed through anonymous sources that Fox News Channel superstars Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly are ready – as early as next week – to sign contract extensions with News Corp.’s cable news/talk network that would keep them in the fold through the 2016 elections.  FNC is declining to comment on the story but the sources seem to indicate that the deals to keep the two most-watched personalities on the network in place for four more years are being cemented quickly and should be announced within the next week or so.  Sean Hannity’s national talk radio show is syndicated by Premiere Networks and Bill O’Reilly’s daily commentary is syndicated to talk radio stations across the country via Courtside Entertainment Group.

NOW Attempts to Inject Life into Anti-Rush Limbaugh Campaign.  The National Organization for Women is firing up a campaign called “Enough Rush” aimed at getting the Premiere Networks talk superstar’s show cancelled.   As these things usually do, the blowback suffered by Rush Limbaugh from his Sandra Fluke comments has all but disappeared.  But NOW – working in conjunction with the anti-conservative organization Media Matters for America – is reigniting its efforts to end Limbaugh’s program.  NOW president Terry O’Neill states, “For more than two decades, Rush Limbaugh has degraded women, people of color and anyone who doesn’t look or think like him.  Like bullies everywhere, Limbaugh uses the age-old tactic of savaging one woman for the purpose of intimidating all women away from the public square.  Rush’s hostile, hateful speech is destructive to our public discourse, our communities and our democracy.”  NOW is organizing rallies in a number of cities designed to build momentum for the campaign.  Meanwhile, PPM ratings for the month of March indicate publicity generated by the campaign against Limbaugh has actually increased his ratings in many markets.

Arbitron Drops Diary-Based Ratings in Seven Markets.  Lack of enough subscribers to make it profitable can be credited for Arbitron Inc.’s decision to eliminate the diary-based ratings in Saginaw-Bay City-Midlands, Michigan (market #139); Ann Arbor, Michigan (#155); Wilmington, North Carolina (#162); Dubuque, Iowa (#237); Columbus-Starkville-West Point, Mississippi (#261); Sebring, Florida (#276); and Mason City, Iowa (#283).

WPRO, Providence Talk Host and Former Mayor Buddy Cianci’s Daughter Dies.  The colorful two-time former mayor of Providence – and PM drive talk host at Cumulus Media’s WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence – Buddy Cianci has lost his daughter to an apparent drug overdose.  Nicole Cianci’s death at her home in the city was reported Friday and Cianci issued the following statement, “This is a tragic and emotional time for Nicole’s mother and I.  Our entire family appreciates your thoughts, prayers and sentiments.  We ask that our family’s privacy be respected during this difficult time.”  Nicole Cianci was Buddy Cianci’s only child and the mother of his three grandchildren.

TALKERS to Publish Four-Part Series by Walter Sabo on FM Talk this Week.  Sabo Media president Walter Sabo, one of the earliest and most accomplished proponents of FM talk, has written a powerful and informative four-part series on the hot topic that will run exclusively in TALKERS this week.  In the series, one of radio programming’s most prolific visionaries delves into such areas as mistakes to avoid, finding and inspiring great hosts, methods to develop cume, topic management, the differences between AM and FM “share”  and much more.  The series begins tomorrow (Tuesday, April 24) and will run every day this week through Friday.  Sabo will be a featured speaker at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in NYC on June 7.

WFLA-FM, Tallahassee AM Drive Show’s Eggers Exits to Join Think Tank.  Eric Eggers is producer and on-air co-host of the WFLA-FM, Tallahassee’s morning drive show hosted by Preston Scott.  He announces he’s leaving the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment station and the program he’s been producing for the past seven-plus years to join the Government Accountability Institute – a non-profit think tank based in Tallahassee and founded by conservative author Peter Schweizer.  Eggers tells Tallahassee.com, “Peter wrote his last book about insider trading in Congress.  And so it’s going to be more projects along the same vein in terms of focusing on corruption, cronyism, looking at some of the ways the current federal government system is broken and failing us — not looking out for the little guy.”

Ed Tyll Begins Regular Web-Based Talk Show Tonight.  Longtime talk radio host Ed Tyll begins a new regular talk program broadcast via the internet at TalkRadioX (http://talkradiox.com/) at 8:00 pm ET.  TalkRadioX was co-founded by Dan Delgado and Antubert Johnson – two personalities who’ve made the TALKERS “Frontier Fifty” list of internet talk show hosts blazing a trail in the world of web-based programming since the list began being published three years ago.  (The 2012 “Frontier Fifty” list will be published at Talkers.com in September.)  Tyll says TalkRadioX is “a 24-hour streaming talk station that boasts an original line up of enthusiastic talkers, reminiscent of when talk radio was both fun and informative.”  Dan Delgado tells TALKERS, “Getting someone of Ed Tyll’s caliber and stature in the industry is something we at TalkRadioX had been looking to do for some time.  We’re thrilled to be getting someone with his experience on the station.  What he brings in terms of talent and energy is something that will bring all of us to the next level.”  Tyll states, “TalkRadioX represents a key moment in the history of a format that I love hosting.  It’s the perfect place for what I do on the air.  I’m convinced that my success with the Casey Anthony trial in Orlando will be eclipsed by the enormous potential of this network’s unique combination of terrestrial radio and world wide web radio listenership.”  During his career, Ed Tyll has worked at numerous major market talk stations as well has having been nationally syndicated.

The Fight for Freedom in Afghanistan.  WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (l) is pictured here interviewing author and former Army Ranger Captain Sean Parnell (r) as the two discuss his new book Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan (William Morrow 2012).  The interview was conducted before a live audience at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is the 78th such event – broadcast live on WNDB – in Bernier’s live interview series.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

| March 29, 2012

Beasley Names Alan Stock KDWN, Las Vegas Morning Host.  Longtime Las Vegas media personality Alan Stock is officially named morning drive host at Beasley Broadcasting’s news/talk KDWN.  He takes over the show after the departure of Heidi Harris several weeks ago.  KDWN program director John Shaffer says, “We are extremely excited to have Alan in morning drive on KDWN.  He knows this town and the Las Vegas listeners can relate to him.  Alan has done a great job for us in mid-mornings and we look forward to him leading the KDWN on-air team.”  Stock spent more than a decade at KDWN’s crosstown competitor KXNT-AM/FM – and for several of those years partnered with Heidi Harris.  Of his new gig, Stock says, “I’m happy and grateful to be at the most supportive station I’ve ever worked at since beginning my career in radio over 25 years ago.  The warm environment at KDWN and Beasley makes everyone feel as if they are one big family.  Having worked with Tom Humm for many years, I’m pleased to be back working with him, as well as with program director John Shaffer and director of sales Cory Cuddeback.  Also, I can truthfully say that I’ve never worked for a radio station that allows as much freedom as I’m allowed at KDWN.”

Small Business Authority Starts Website to Assist Businesses Hurt by Conservative Talk Radio Assault.  The Small Business Authority is a subsidiary of Newtek Business Services – a publicly traded company that provides services to businesses including insurance and payroll.  It has started a website at defendsmallbusiness.com designed to help companies who’ve been negatively affected by Media Matters’ attack on conservative talk radio – especially those affiliated with the Rush Limbaugh program.  On the site it states, “Well-funded professional activists, led by the left-wing pressure group Media Matters, are waging a campaign across America to hurt small businesses like yours through strong-arm tactics and intimidation…They are actually trying to shut down businesses – tying up phone lines, crashing websites, bombarding Facebook pages or Twitter accounts, and preventing real customers from getting through.”  The site provides quick links to help small businesses and their supporters communicate with Media Matters about its tactics, reach out to legislators about how their businesses are being affected and contact the media with the same concerns.

Heavy Hundred Set for Monday, April 9.  The 2012 edition of the “TALKERS 250 Featuring the Heavy Hundred” will be revealed here on Talkers.com on Monday, April 9.  This new installment of the long-running annual feature – also titled “The Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – will be slightly different than those in the past in as much as this will be the first year in which it does not include sports talk show hosts.  Rather, a unique and separate version of the presentation will debut later in June of 2012 totally devoted to sports talk show hosts.  According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “Sports talk radio has become such an important subgenre within the talk radio universe, featuring so many outstanding local and national talents, that the editorial board of TALKERS feels compelled to create an entire Heavy Hundred totally devoted to it.  This serves the dual purpose of opening the door for even more deserving hosts to be included in the traditional Heavy Hundred while allowing so many great sports talkers to finally get the recognition due them as well.”

NPR Accepts Grant from CPB for Foreign News Bureaus.  The Corporation for Public Broadcasting recently awarded NPR $500,000 to help fund news bureaus in Beijing, Beirut, Cairo, Jerusalem and Shanghai.  In a statement announcing the grant, Corporation for Public Broadcasting president and CEO Patricia Harrison states, “Never has public media’s mission of providing the American people with information they need to understand the world around them been more important.  Journalism is a core mission for public media.  We are proud to support NPR’s foreign reporters, many of whom are women, who put themselves in harm’s way to bring us the information we need to understand our world events.”

North Carolina Association of Broadcasters Assists in Presenting Vietnam Veterans Event at Charlotte Speedway.  The North Carolina Association of Broadcasters is calling it “what will be the largest recognition of Vietnam Veterans in history” this Saturday, March 31 when the Victory Management and the Charlotte Speedway hosts the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Celebration.”  The event is the culmination of work by Senator Richard Burr and the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters working with USO North Carolina.  NCAB president John Idler states, “This celebration is the result of a great partnership.  We can’t say enough good things about USO of North Carolina, Victory Management at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, and, of course, Senator Burr, the driving force.  Not only is the event itself historic, the state’s radio and TV stations will be broadcasting the event across the state ‘live’ and providing various special broadcasts saluting Vietnam Veterans before and after the broadcast.”  North Carolina television and radio stations contributed over $1,000,000 in public service announcements to promote free tickets for all veterans and their families.

Supreme Court Hears ObamaCare Arguments, Trayvon Martin Case/Bobby Rush Hoodie Speech and GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/28).  The Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments on President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act, the issues surrounding the shooting death of Trayvon Martin including congressman Bobby Rush’s speech in a hoodie on the House floor, and the GOP primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign were some of the most-talked-about stories discussed on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Mr. Bernier Goes To Washington.  WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (l) is pictured here interviewing Senator John McCain (r) at the Senate Republicans’ radio row in Washington, DC on March 28.  The interview occurred at the same time as the United States Supreme Court was hearing arguments about the legality of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

| March 28, 2012

Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman Addresses Limbaugh Case in AP Interview.  In a far-reaching interview with the Associated Press given at the American Association of Advertising Agencies conference in Los Angeles, Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman answered questions about the controversy over the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke incident and the war being waged against Limbaugh and Premiere Networks by Media Matters for America.  Pittman – who hadn’t commented on the case since it exploded a month ago – told the AP Limbaugh is the “king” of radio and he’s sticking by him and he called the controversy “part of the normal day-to-day of talk radio.”  Pittman also said the resulting campaign by Media Matters and boycotts on sponsors has not had a major impact on the company nor has there been a move by stations to drop the show.  When asked about Cumulus Media Networks’ strategy of using the Limbaugh case to promote soon-to-be-syndicated talk host Mike Huckabee, Pittman stated, “It basically says Rush is the king.  Rush is certainly the leader, and we’re delighted to have him.”

Courtside Entertainment Lands Dr. Drew in Major Markets.   Courtside Entertainment Group announces the “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew” is picked up in Los Angeles by KFWB; KPTK, Seattle; KEXX, Phoenix; and KDWN, Las Vegas.  The feature is already heard in Chicago and New York on Merlin Media’s two all-news FMs.  Courtside president Bob Moore states, “‘Minute Clinic’ provides listeners with important information on medicine, relationships, and coping with the problems of everyday life.  It’s interesting, informative and entertaining from one of media’s most trusted and reliable experts – Dr. Drew Pinsky.  It’s exactly the kind of specialized programming that we are focusing on at Courtside.”  The feature is repped by Compass Media for ad sales and support.

Election Year Making FAIR’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” Radio Row a Hot Event.  The annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row sponsored by Federation for American Immigration Reform and taking place in Washington, DC on May 8 and 9 is packed with talk radio hosts and stations taking part but election year interest is prompting FAIR to expand the event and allow even more broadcasters to take part.  Event manager Bob Dane says, “The fact that this annual radio row has a history of providing access to A-list guests and includes all equipment, ISDN lines, engineering support and long distance at no charge is really increasing demand to participate.”  For those who think the event is for conservatives only, Dial Global talk host Thom Hartmann explains why he’s attended in the past. “I’ve attended because a core part of my show is bringing on people with whom I disagree so we can let listeners and viewers see/hear the issues in sharp relief and make up their own minds.  That said, I also – having lived and worked on several continents, and having had to go through arduous processes to get work permits in Germany and Australia – know how important it is to have a work force that matches the demand for labor, and the best ways to insure that are through rational/sane immigration and trade policies.  We have neither right now.”  WCBM, Baltimore talk host Tom Marr says, “After taking my show to the border twice, ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ is a chance for invaluable access to the folks on the front line of the problem that I did not see, while at the same time being with those in Washington, DC who make the policy to secure the border and if one desires to get another side.  Capitol Hill is a short walk across the street.  It also gives one the ability in free time to visit the Hill and talk with Members about other problems faced by our nation every day.  Would not miss it for the world.  Hands down the best organized event for people in the talk business if its kind.”  For stations whose P1s care very much about immigration issues, it’s a can’t miss, according to KARN-AM/FM, Little Rock talk host Dave Elswick, “I go every year to ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ because illegal immigration is a hot topic to my listeners but most importantly the issue impacts other important issues.  Welfare reform, importance of protecting each man’s vote, and health care reform to name a few.  Two strong days of experts dealing with all those issues can’t be missed.”  WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale talk host Joyce Kaufman says she’s used the event to connect with her audience and the Congress members serving her listener area.  “I get invited to a lot of ‘radio row’ events each year.  The only event that I participate in year after year is FAIR’s ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ rally.  From the first year when I dumped 5,000 ‘soles’ (shoes with listeners’ messages written on the sole) to subsequent years, my audience supports my effort and some even come along and lobby Congress.”  For information about the event, contact Bob Dane at 202-328-7004.

KKOB, Albuquerque Charges Local Pol with Slandering Station.  There are no legal charges being filed but Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque feels it’s the victim of a slur by City Councilman Ray Garduno.  Program director Pat Frisch reports that during a council meeting debate over a controversial road project of which KKOB morning host Bob Clark has encouraged listeners to call Garduno’s office about, Garduno referred to the station as K-K-KOB – a reference to the Ku Klux Klan.  In the audio, Garduno quickly corrects himself but Frisch says this isn’t the first time the station has been referred to as K-K-KOB by a local Democratic politician.  Frisch says State Senator Eric Griego did the same last year.  As for Garduno, Frisch states, “His racist remark is an attack on our listeners and to find a true racist, Garduno only needs to look in the mirror.”

JetBlue Pilot Incident Sparks Buzz on Talk Radio.  As talk radio hosts will tell you, one never knows when the next big story will come out of the “blue” and that is exactly the case this morning as talk show hosts of just about every format – political, lifestyle, pop culture, and medical – are feasting on the multi-dimensional aspects of yesterday’s frightening JetBlue pilot incident.  According to PodJockey.com resident psychiatrist Renee Kohanski, MD, “It is not like the experience of going to the airport and flying in today’s environment alone doesn’t foster an atmosphere of stress, yesterday afternoon’s unfortunate outburst by a pilot on the heels of a similar situation two weeks ago involving a flight attendant only serves to increase the level of passenger anxiety building across the nation.  From a medical and psychiatric perspective, this case is rife with questions and all sorts of speculation.  People want to know why things like this happen but the answers are not always immediately apparent!”  Dr. Kohanski is available today for phone interviews to discuss the story from a medical perspective citing the many questions and possible causes of yesterday’s shocking and disturbing story.  She can be reached at 860-334-4576.

Cumulus Media Providence Launches “Putting Rhode Island Back to Work” Campaign.  The cluster of Cumulus Media stations in Providence – including news/talk 630 WPRO & 99.7 – is beginning an on-air campaign titled “Putting Rhode Island Back to Work.”  With the support of sponsor Twin River Casino, the cluster is reaching out to and airing stories about Rhode Island businesses that have recently hired.  General manager Barbara Haynes says, “News Talk 630 WPRO & 99.7 FM, 92 PRO-FM, HOT106, Lite Rock 105 and 790 Business reach hundreds of thousands of listeners every day – we are excited to be able to highlight some of the companies helping refuel our local economy in front of our massive audience.”  The vignettes will also appear on the cluster’s digital properties.

Dial Global Partners with Yamanair Creative Worldwide.  Dial Global subsidiary TM Creative enters into a partnership with Yamanair Creative’s Cash by Creative production and creative service.  In a statement, DG notes TM Creative will serve as a creative arm to Cash by Creative, providing copywriting, commercial production and retail jingles.  This will further enhance Cash by Creative’s ability to offer world-class creative and production to its growing list of clients.  TM Creatvie VP/GM Chris Long says, “We are excited about this kind of creative partnership, as TM continues to expand its reach with both radio stations and advertisers.”

Entercom Portland Names Tim McNamara VP/Market Manager.  Tim McNamara is no stranger to the Portland, Oregon radio market.  He previously managed at Paul Allen’s Rose City Radio there and now he returns with Entercom to serve as VP/Market Manager for the company’s seven-station group that includes sports talk KFXX.

Supreme Court ObamaCare Hearing, Trayvon Martin Case, GOP Primary/2012 Presidential Race, Jet Blue Pilot Incident and Gas Prices Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/27).  The Supreme Court arguments over the validity of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act; ongoing scrutiny of the Trayvon Martin shooting; the Republican primary race and the larger 2012 presidential campaign; the case of the Jet Blue pilot; and soaring gas prices were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, March 23, 2012

| March 23, 2012

Media Matters Begins Paid Ad Campaign in Eight Markets Against Rush Limbaugh and Conservative Talk Radio.  The Associated Press is reporting that Media Matters for America will spend some $100,000 on an ad campaign in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Macon, Georgia and Cedar Rapids, Iowa asking people who hear the ad to call the Rush Limbaugh affiliate in their market and say, “We don’t talk to women like that in our city.”  Clearly, Media Matters is not backing off its attack on conservative talk media and any success it can claim for harming Limbaugh’s program – or conservative talk radio in general – will help bring in more donations to its cause.  And, according to Premiere Networks spokesperson Rachel Nelson, therein lays the rub.  “This is not about women.  It’s not about ethics and it’s not about the nature of our public discourse.  It’s a direct attack on America’s guaranteed First Amendment right to free speech.  It’s essentially a call for censorship masquerading as high-minded indignation.”  As this ideological and tactical war escalates, more important voices are entering the fray with a variety of takes on the issue.  For example, leading progressive talker of radio, television and live performances, Stephanie Miller tells TALKERS, “I, for one, as someone in radio for over 25 years, know that advertiser boycotts can cut both ways and hurt everyone in the radio business.  The other side can just as easily take something I said, or Ed Schultz said, and goes after our advertisers and stations, and then where does it end?  ‘You send one of ours to the hospital; we send one of yours to the morgue’?  If advertisers decide that talk radio in general is too controversial, we all lose!”  Miller tells TALKERS that she intends to extend invitations to both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to appear as guests on her nationally syndicated morning radio program (simulcast beginning Monday on Al Gore’s progressive Current TV) to present their side of the story in a non-confrontational  setting.  Dial Global-syndicated progressive talk host Thom Hartmann is also bothered by the anti-Limbaugh campaign.  “The Limbaugh boycott is bad for all talk radio; it’s harming progressive talk radio by shrinking the pool of companies willing to advertise on any type of talk radio.  If people want to be activists “against” or “for” a show, they should call station management, not advertisers.”

America’s Radio News Network Gives CNN Radio Affiliates Free Trial of its 24-Hour News Service.  With the CNN Radio news service going away after April 1, Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters says his company is offering the more than 1,100 CNN Radio affiliates the chance to take the America’s Radio News Network 24-hour top- and bottom-of-the-hour news service for 45 days contract and inventory free so they can make up their minds about their new news service without having to make a “snap decision.”  Masters says, “This is a simple courtesy extended to those former CNN stations giving them a six week ‘pressure relief valve’ where they could sample our fine product inventory free without pressure, giving them extra time to make the best decision.  Obviously we think that we are the best choice, but this offer was meant as a thoughtful courtesy to those stations that have not yet made up their minds – we don’t want them to be ‘high and dry’ on April 2.”  Masters says because of the growth of America’s Radio News Network’s long-form programming and the demand for short-form top- and bottom-of-the-hour news brought on by CNN’s sudden departure from radio news ARNN recently announced that it had moved up its schedule for the launch of its second news network to accommodate the needs of radio stations looking for “agenda free” short-form news.  ARNN EVP John McCaslin says, “We’re so confident that this is the best top- and bottom-of-the-hour news product on the air, we are willing to allow stations to air it, without inventory requirement contract free through May 15.  So, all you have to ask yourself is, ‘What am I going to do with over 700 extra minutes of local inventory, if I take ARNN up on its free sample offer?’”

All-News KROI-FM, Houston Fires Morning Anchor Scott Braddock.  It’s an unusual case but not unheard of and certainly becoming more relevant as intellectual property issues become more common in the industry.  Radio One’s KROI-FM, Houston recently dismissed morning drive news anchor Scott Braddock after he appeared on crosstown, non-commercial outlet KPFT-FM to discuss the Texas sonogram law and play audio of an interview that also had previously aired on his employer’s station.  He tells the Houston Chronicle he did so without asking permission and believes he had the right to air the audio, equating it with a reporter’s notes.  Radio One disagreed, stating it violated the terms of his contract – a contract Braddock says he had not signed – and it had no choice but to let him go.  Braddock says Radio One is overreacting and wonders why a station that worked hard to get him to come to Houston from Austin for the job would let one of its prime talent go as it works to get the nascent all-news outlet off the ground.

Denver Woman Charged with Felonies After Telling Tale of Escaping Jury Duty on KOA.  Last October Susan Cole appeared on KOA, Denver’s Dave Logan program and told the story of how she got out of jury duty by dressing bizarrely and pretending to suffer from mental illness.  Unfortunately, Denver District Court Judge Anne Mansfield was listening and, due in part to Cole’s memorable performance in court, investigators were able to figure out who she was.  According to the Denver Post, Cole used the name “Char from Denver” on the radio program and investigators linked her to her pen name Char Cole. She published a book that details her struggles with domestic abuse under the name and offered it to investigators to prove her life story and the mental illness claim, but she was unable to show she suffers from PTSD which she claimed at her jury appearance.  It’s unclear what penalty, if convicted, the 57-year-old Cole faces.

Sales: H&H Communications’ Al Herskovitz Announces the Winners of His 2012 Hersky Awards for Talk Radio Sales Excellence.  For the fifth year running, sales and marketing pro and TALKERS columnist Al Herskovitz recognizes some of the industry’s shining stars in the sales, commercial and ad copy arenas.  Read Al’s humorous yet insightful piece here.

KILT, Houston AM Drive Co-Host Marc Vandermeer to Leave Radio Show.  The NFL’s Houston Texans are taking their broadcasts in-house and current KILT morning drive co-host Marc Vandermeer will leave the CBS Radio sports outlet to become director of radio broadcasting for the team.  KILT serves as the flagship for the Texans and Vandermeer tells the Houston Chronicle he’ll still be affiliated with the station.  “It’s awesome to be able to work for an NFL team and to be involved in all aspects of their radio programming.  I’m not saying goodbye to Sports Radio 610, so I will still maintain my relationships there.  It’s the best of everything for me.”  Program director Gavin Spittle tells the paper Vandermeer will exit in late May or early June and he will begin looking for a replacement to work alongside co-host John Lopez.

KKFN, Denver Re-Ups with Talk Host Alfred Williams.  Lincoln Financial Media sports talk host (and former Denver Bronco star) Alfred Williams signs a contract renewal to remain in the co-host seat alongside Darren “D-Mac” McKee on the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program.  In a statement, Williams says, “I am excited to continue to be a part of ‘The Fan.’  I love getting to interact locally with the Denver sports fans everyday and am happy to know I’ll be able to do it for many years to come.”

WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach Host Tara Servatius Exits Blog Position After Controversial Image Draws Criticism.  Morning drive co-host Tara Servatius has left her position as a blogger for the non-profit John Locke Foundation after she used a doctored photo of President Obama in drag with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken in front of him to accompany the piece about the president’s opposition to the North Carolina marriage amendment.  Servatius apologized for the photo stating, “I am genuinely sorry my inclusion of the photo along with my blog post has caused controversy for the John Locke Foundation.  If it has offended anyone, I sincerely regret that.  That was certainly not my intention.  It was meant to illustrate Obama’s southern political strategy, nothing more.  An honest reading of the piece itself shows there is nothing offensive in it.”  WRNN-AM/FM owner Next Media Group says the issue will not affect Servatius’ status with the station.

Los Angeles Sports Talk Personalities Joe McDonnell and Doug Krikorian to Host Daily Internet Show.  Southern California sports talk personality Joe McDonnell, who’s been doing sports update work at KNX, Los Angeles, will begin a daily internet sports talk show with former radio partner Doug Krikorian, according to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan.  The McDonnell-Douglas show will air from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on a yet-to-be announced URL.  McDonnell was a major presence in the Los Angeles sports media scene going back to the 1980s but he disappeared from sports talk radio after leaving KLAC in 2008.  He made the local news after undergoing gastric bypass surgery and losing some 400 pounds several years ago.  The new show debuts on April 9 with a live broadcast from Legends Sports Bar in Long Beach.

Republican Primary/2012 Presidential Campaign Again Tops Talkers TenTM News/Talk Chart.  The GOP primary race and the greater 2012 presidential campaign again tied for the most-talked-about topics on news/talk radio during the week of March 19-23 landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart for another straight week .  Coming in at #2 was Iran’s nuclear weapons program tied with U.S.-Israel relations.  At #3 was soaring gas prices tied with President Obama’s approval ratings and at #4 was the controversy over the slaying of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the most-talked-about stories and people of the week as heard on news/talk radio across American based on ongoing research from TALKERS.  View the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge picks up major market affiliate WWRL, New York…..Dial Global’s Michael Smerconish adds Boise affiliate KYWN.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

| March 22, 2012

Rush Limbaugh Camp Fires Back at Media Matters with Scathing Statement.  Embattled Premiere Networks talk radio star Rush Limbaugh, via his spokesperson Brian Glicklich in a commentary in Politico, yesterday afternoon issued an official response to the campaign being waged against the show by Media Matters.  This is the first lengthy, official statement made about the advertising issue by Limbaugh’s organization since the controversy began and it has the industry buzzing.  In Glicklich’s scathing attack on Media Matters’ tactics he writes the end result of the campaign hurts more people than Rush Limbaugh.  “By putting small business in the crosshairs of their war on expression, Media Matters is causing real harm.  They are hurting these businesses, their employees and their families.  As a business owner, imagine waking up one morning and being assaulted by hundreds of coordinated attacks from operatives who never were or will be your customers.”  Read Glicklich’s entire commentary here.

Los Angeles City Council Passes Resolution to “End Racist and Sexist Language” on Radio.  On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council – by a vote of 13 to 2 – passed a resolution that read: “NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that by adoption of this Resolution, the City Council urges all management of radio and television stations in Los Angeles to do everything in their power to ensure that their on-air hosts do not use and promote racist and sexist slurs over public airwaves in the City of Los Angeles.”  The wording of the resolution was broadened with an amendment.  The original intent and much of the discussion was targeted at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk KFI.  Though language on the radio was discussed by the council, other discussion involved accusations by critics that lack of diversity in staffing – too few minorities and women in on-air roles, specifically – is to blame for occurrences of what they call racist and sexist slurs.

WTOP, Washington VP News and Programming Jim Farley Named 2012 Recipient of Freedom of Speech Award.  The TALKERS editorial board has selected legendary radio news director Jim Farley as the 2012 recipient of the prestigious Freedom of Speech Award.  The award will be presented to Farley at the New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7.  Farley, recently interviewed by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison (see Talkers TV at right and story below), will address “the renaissance of journalism in the new digital broadcasting era” following the presentation of the award.  In a statement released Wednesday, March 21 Michael Harrison states, “We are witnessing the rebirth of committed journalism in America on the radio airwaves and its associated digital platforms.  WTOP proudly shines as the inspirational example of this positive movement, and Jim Farley’s visionary leadership in bringing it to life on a day-to-day basis would make even Thomas Jefferson proud.  The First Amendment is alive and well at WTOP.  Jim Farley is a remarkable broadcaster.”  The Freedom of Speech Award is a non-partisan honor that has been presented to a wide variety of talk media figures since 1990 whose work has demonstrated the First Amendment in action and raised awareness of its principles.  Past recipients have included Brian Lamb, Matt Drudge, Rush Limbaugh, Al Franken, Jack Anderson, Norm Pattiz, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Bob Grant, Alan Dershowitz, Bill O’ Reilly, Gene Burns, G. Gordon Liddy, Howard Stern and more.  Last year’s recipient was Juan Williams.

Scarborough Research Releases Study of Entertainment Spending by Baby Boomers.  It’s probably not too surprising that the favorite radio formats of the Baby Boom generation are, in order, AC (30%), news/talk (28%), and classic hits (25%).  The study includes statistics about how Boomers like to spend their free time – a nod to the types of ad clients likely to benefit from being heard on their favorite stations.  It notes, “In the past 12 months Baby Boomers have attended a professional sporting event (36%), attended live theater (22%), visited an art museum (14%), attended a rock concert (12%) and gone to the symphony or opera (9%).  And Baby Boomers don’t just have a hunger for entertainment – they are 11% more likely than all American adults to have eaten at a seafood restaurant or steakhouse in the past 30 days.”  EVP of commercial development Brian Condon says, “Baby Boomers remain an essential demographic since they reap the rewards of having had long careers and no longer have young children to care for.  Baby Boomers represent a segment of the American population that has a thirst for adventure, and the financial freedom to explore that passion.”

KGMZ-FM, San Francisco Adds Billy Beane and Bob Melvin to A’s Coverage.  Entercom’s sports talk “95.7 The Game” – KGMZ-FM, San Francisco – announces the addition of A’s general manager Bill Beane and manager Bob Melvin to the station’s coverage of the team.  Beane will become part of the Thursday PM drive show with Brandon Tierney and Eric Davis and Melvin will join “Rise Guys” Whitey Gleason, Mark Kreidler and Dan Dibley every Monday morning.  PD Jason Barrett states, “Bill Beane is one of the smartest baseball minds in America and has a unique perspective about the game that Bay Area baseball fans won’t want to miss.  Bob Melvin has his pulse on the finger of the Athletics and he’ll give Bay Area baseball fans a weekly glimpse inside the clubhouse like no one else.”

“Free Talk Live” Gets Major Market Clear on WWRL, New York.  The independently syndicated evening and weekend program hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge enters the New York City market with a Sunday morning clearance on Access.1 Communications’ progressive talk WWRL.  Freeman says of the addition, “There aren’t many issues-oriented talk shows that can cross talk platforms.  However, we’ve been doing it for years with conservative, progressive, business talk and hot talk stations all airing ‘Free Talk Live.’  I’m excited to announce that ‘Free Talk Live’ welcomes our newest affiliate in America’s largest market: WWRL 1600 in New York City.  Thanks to program director Rennie Bishop for allowing us the opportunity to entertain the people of NYC on the country’s most prominent progressive station.”

Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ, Fresno Celebrates 90th Anniversary Tomorrow.  1922 was a big year for the U.S. government granting radio station licenses and another heritage station is celebrating its 90th year on the air this week.  KMJ, Fresno is the 38th oldest licensed continuously operating radio station in the country.  It was originally licensed to San Joaquin Power and Light Corporation but was sold to McClatchey Newspapers in 1925.  CBS Radio bought KMJ in 1987 and then sold it to Peak Broadcasting in 2006.

WTKS-FM, Orlando’s “Monsters in the Morning” Sponsor Habitat for Humanity House.  The morning drive crew at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WTKS-FM, Orlando led by Russ Rollins is kicking off its First Annual Monster House project in conjunction with the Habitat for Humanity Seminole-Apopka and the City of Sanford.  Rollins and Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett, who on behalf of the City of Sanford, donated the property for the project made the recent announcement.  Rollins says, “This is a huge project with our national radio program teaming up with local government and Habitat for Humanity to benefit the community.  For every $1 spent on construction, $7 will go back into the local economy.  ‘The Monsters’ are looking forward to helping a local family fulfill their dream of home ownership with the First Annual Monster House.  We hope to make The Monster House an annual project in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.”

Romney Wins Illinois Primary/2012 Presidential Race, Iran Nukes Program, Saints Staff Penalized for Bounty Program/Tebow Traded to Jets and Afghanistan Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/21).  Mitt Romney’s decisive win in Illinois on Tuesday and the larger issues surrounding the 2012 presidential race; uncertainty over Iran’s nuclear weapons program; the NFL’s Saints, coaches and former coach penalized severely for ‘bounty program’; Tim Tebow is traded to the Jets; and continuing tensions in Afghanistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, March 16, 2012

| March 16, 2012

Ingstad Group Blows Up Classic Rock for FM Talk in Fargo-Moorhead; Tom Becka to Program and Host AM Drive.  James Ingstad’s Radio Fargo Moorhead group in the Fargo-Moorhead market turns classic rock KRWK-FM into “101.9 Talk FM” The Talk of Fargo Moorhead on March 19.  Talk radio pro Tom Becka – most recently with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFAB, Omaha as PM drive host – is named program director for the station and will host the morning drive show.  Syndicated programs will include Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade, Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.  Former Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth will host a 5:00 pm program for at least the first three weeks of the station’s new format.  Hayworth currently is hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show at Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco.  Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage and Genesis Communications Network‘s Jason Lewis will air in the evenings.  Tom Becka states, “This is such a great opportunity to help put a new FM talk station on the air and be the first doing it.  Radio Fargo Moorhead is a great independent company that still believes in the traditional radio approach that combines great programming and promotion with local outreach.  At the same time they have been leaders in embracing the new technological advances.  And about those winters?  They are taking up a collection to buy me a warm coat.”  The station, as well as sister news/talk KFGO, is being consulted by The Q Consulting GuysJon Quick, who says, “In these days of cutbacks, it is so gratifying that there are operators like the Ingstad group who still believe that hiring great people and promoting them properly results in both ratings and revenue.”  Quick also notes that Ingstad is retaining all of the Rock 101 staff.

Federated Media Drops Classic Rock on WFWI-FM, Fort Wayne; Simulcasts News/Talk WOWO.  The legendary WOWO, Fort Wayne, Indiana gets an FM simulcast for its news/talk format at the expense of sister classic rock “The Fort 92.3.”  Federated Media COO Mark Deprez states, “The move to FM is a natural enhancement for the WOWO brand that is synonymous with Fort Wayne.  WOWO is, and has always been, the one radio outlet that northeast Indiana can count on for breaking news, weather, traffic, information.  WOWO’s strong service commitment to our community, along with the entertaining and engaging personalities, has solidified WOWO in the hearts of many of our local residents.  The move to 92.3 FM will re-introduce WOWO to listeners that have migrated over the years to FM and also open WOWO’s brand to a new and younger audience.”

Rush Limbaugh Fires Up His Long-Dormant Twitter Account to Fight His Attackers.  It probably won’t be very long before Rush Limbaugh’s fans have his Twitter follower numbers through the roof and Limbaugh says he’ll use the account to counter the work being done by organizations such as Media Matters via the social media tool.  Politico reports that Limbaugh told his listeners on his Thursday program that he’ll be Tweeting info from time to time that his faithful can share.  “Everybody has been asking me what they can do to help in all of this, and I’ve been saying, nah, just do what you’ve been doing just, if you listen, keep listening, that’s fine, but…there’s an army out there that wants to be mobilized, and so, I figured, use Twitter for it.  I’m just going to put some things on Twitter that you can help us circulate.  It’s that simple you just retweet them.”  Limbaugh’s first Tweet after the show was a link to a piece by Cornell Law professor William Jacobson on Media Matters’ astroturfing the boycott against Limbaugh’s advertisers.  “Astroturfing” is using digital media to create the illusion of a “grassroots” movement.

Syndicated Talk Host Michael Smerconish: Advertiser Boycotts Won’t Kill Rush Limbaugh.  Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish writes in his column in the Philadelphia Inquirer that the advertiser boycott being waged against Rush Limbaugh ultimately will not topple him from his talk radio perch.  In the piece, Smerconish cites TALKERS and fellow radio trade Radio-Info on the status of the Limbaugh situation.  But Smerconish goes on to write that the hard-core, right wing talk hosts that occupy most news/talk radio station lineups serve exactly that audience – the very conservative, politically active segment of the radio-listening audience.  Smerconish states that studies indicate the nation as a whole is not as polarized as the media might make it appear and both Congress and the talk media are more extreme now than at any point in the recent past (based on voting records and host ideology, respectively).  Change in the flavor of talk radio, Smerconish argues, can only come from programmers.  Read his piece here.

RTDNF Presents Freedom of Speech Awards; Talker Jim Bohannon Honored.  At a gala black-tie dinner held last night at Washington, DC’s Ritz-Carlton hotel, the Radio Television Digital News Foundation (RTDNF) presented its 22nd annual First Amendment Awards including the Special Recognition First Amendment Award to Dial Global Radio Networks talk star Jim Bohannon (pictured here at left).  The award was presented to Bohannon by TALKERS founder and publisher Michael Harrison (r) who stated, “Jim stands tall and strong as a seeker of truth.”  Other awards were presented to NBC News president Steve Capus, ABC News senior foreign affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz, and Shurz Communications senior vice president Marci Burdick.  A special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented posthumously to Andy Rooney.  In a rousing speech, Jim Bohannon encouraged the hundreds of newspeople in attendance to promo free speech at every opportunity saying, “We should go out and kick some ass for the First Amendment!”

KCSP, Kansas City Goes All Local Sports Talk.  Entercom’s KCSP, Kansas City drops Premiere NetworksJim Rome from its midday slot and expands its existing sports talk shows.  AM drive hosts Bob Fescoe and Josh Klingler are now heard from 6:00 am to 10:00 am; midday host Danny Parkins gets the big bump, moving from 9:00 am to 11:00 am to 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and Carrington Harrison joins the program along with other contributors.  Nick Wright’s afternoon show remains in the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot.  Program director Ryan Maguire says, “Our listeners have wanted more local hosts talking about local sports.  With the start of an exciting Royals season only a few weeks away, ‘610 Sports’ has the best local lineup for our game broadcasts.  The passionate sports fans in Kansas City now have more than just one option in the middle of their day when it comes to local sports talk.  We’re excited that we can be all live, all local all day.”

GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Race Maintains Top Story Spot on Talkers TenTM.  The battle for the Republican nomination for president and the larger issues surrounding the 2012 campaign tied for the top spot as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of March 12-16, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Correspondingly, Rick Santorum tied with Mitt Romney as the #1 most-talked-about person followed by President Obama at #2.  The Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people of the week as discussed on news/talk radio is published here every Friday.  View this week’s chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity pick up new FM talker KRWK, Fargo-Moorhead…..Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade is added to KRWK-FM, Fargo-Moorhead…..Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis joins KRWK-FM, Fargo-Moorhead…..Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham returns to KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds WLBE, Leesburg-Eustis, Florida; and KTGO, Tioga, North Dakota…..Dial Global adds its sports Westwood One play-by-play sports – including NFL, NCAA men’s basketball and football, the Olympics, major golf events and more to Lincoln Financial Media’s WQXI, Atlanta.

Loose Cannons Live in Downtown L.A.  Fox Sports Radio Network’s KLAC, Los Angeles-based “Loose Cannons” recently kicked off March Madness with a live broadcast from the Hooters Downtown Los Angeles where the brand-new Fox Sports Radio remote broadcast studio is located.  Pictured here – along with a bevy of Hooters girls – are Vic “The Brick” Jacobs (l) and Steve Hartman (r).  Not pictured is the third “Loose Cannon” Pat O’Brien.

 

Friday, February 17, 2012

| February 17, 2012

Unapologetic Progressive Talk Media Star Ed Schultz Wins Hubert Humphrey Award from Teachers Union; Forging Ahead Undaunted in Election Year.  Progressive talk media icon Ed Schultz – seen nightly on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” and heard daily on his nationally syndicated Dial Global radio program – recently accepted the 2012 Hubert Humphrey Humanitarian Award from the United Federation of Teachers at the organization’s Social Studies Conference on February 4.  Schultz was recognized for his work backing the stance of teachers unions in 2011.  Schultz says, “I’m just excited to receive this award and I’m very appreciative of the recognition.  We’ve worked hard in supporting teachers and public education and to have my name on the same plaque with Hubert Humphrey is certainly an honor.”  Schultz tells TALKERS magazine he makes no apologies for the fact that he operates a political talk show and he sees his role as disseminating the truth about President Obama’s record.  “I think people listening to liberal talk want to see the president defended.  There’s been so much negativity…I think we end up becoming a filtering house on what is the truth and what is the record.”  From an industrial standpoint, Schultz says he believes his program has all the elements it needs to keep an audience interested and he points to his nine years of success as proof.  He takes the opportunity to question the political motives of major broadcasting operators.  “There are companies out there that will not program any type of progressive talk.  You have a ceiling of maybe 100 stations, you have some independent owners out there…it’s still a right-wing industry.  Whether it’s Obama’s re-election campaign, no candidate is going to change the landscape of who owns signals.”  Schultz’s anger about the misconceptions he believes the radio industry holds about the potential of progressive talk is hard to miss.  He tells TALKERS, “Don’t give me this garbage that we don’t sell because we do, and I’m tired of that conversation.  I was supposed to last 90 days; I’m in year number nine.”

KFI, Los Angeles Suspends John and Ken for Whitney Houston Comments.  The Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan tips TALKERS that Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles is suspending PM drive duo John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou for comments about Whitney Houston.  The station says, “Effective immediately, KFI AM 640 hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou have been suspended for making insensitive and inappropriate comments about the late Whitney Houston.  KFI AM 640 management does not condone, support or tolerate statements of this kind.”  John Kobylt says in the statement, “We made a mistake and we accept the station’s decision.  We used language that was inappropriate and we sincerely apologize to our listeners and to the family of Ms. Houston.”  During a discussion of Houston’s passing and reported drug abuse John Kobylt said, “At some point you’re just sick of it all, and so is everybody else in the industry.  All her friends and hangers on, everybody who knew had to deal with her.  It’s like ‘Ah Jesus…here comes the crack ho again, what’s she gonna do?  Ah look at that she’s doin’ handstands next to the pool. Very good crack ho…’  After while everybody’s exhausted.  And then you find out she’s dead. It’s like, ‘Really?  Took this long?’”  The station reports John and Ken will return to the air on February 27.

Clear Channel Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Embroiled in Bizarre Legal Tangle Stemming from Alleged Hit-and-Run.  KTRH, Houston talk show host and former Houston city councilman Michael Berry is being accused of hitting another car outside a bar in Houston and taking off.  The accuser is the owner of the car that got hit but the complicating circumstances are the pub in question is a well-known gay bar in the city and the establishment’s security cameras appear to confirm the conservative Berry was inside the bar.  What’s complicating the issue further is the allegation the city’s hit-and-run division did not investigate the incident fully, perhaps because it involved Berry.  KPRC-TV reports the Harris County District Attorney’s office met with Houston Police Department officials for three hours on February 16 asking officers involved why a full investigation wasn’t done.  Police are being asked to reinvestigate the matter.  Berry said on his radio show that he can’t talk about it but that listeners should “just trust that there are two sides to every story.”  At issue according to KPRC-TV is that several witnesses say they told police they saw Berry behind the wheel but authorities maintain they were not told that during the initial investigation after which they decided not to file charges.

The Fox News-Media Matters Battle Heats Up; The Daily Caller Reports MM’s Tax Exempt Status Under Scrutiny.  The non-profit Media Matters for America organization makes no bones about its campaign against Fox News and its programming.  In May of last year the organization created the DropFox.com website designed to convince advertisers to end marketing campaigns on the cable news/talk channel.  Now, The Hollywood Reporter writes that Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel-founded The Daily Caller is supplying Fox News with “ammunition” from its own reporting alleging Media Matters “coordinates its messages with the White House, a no-no for a tax-exempt organization that claims to be nonpartisan.”  The Daily Caller also claims Republican lawmakers are looking into the tax status of Media Matters.  Tucker Carlson is a regular contributor to Fox News Channel and this relationship led the news and opinion blog Mediaite to ask if Fox and The Daily Caller are working to together to which Fox told Mediaite, “There is absolutely no coordination with The Daily Caller” and Fox doesn’t know what is motivating Carlson’s timing on the reporting.  The Daily Caller promises the next in the series about Media Matters alleges the organization has written scripts for NBC News.

Stacy Taylor Weekend Program to Leave KGO, San Francisco.  Rich Lieberman 415 Media reports San Diego-based talk host Stacy Taylor is off the weekend schedule at Cumulus Media Group’s KGO, San Francisco.  Lieberman says Taylor told him, “I’m disappointed, but that’s the way the business is today.” Taylor’s Saturday and Sunday afternoon program – which will air the final editions this weekend – is reportedly being replaced by a newsier program hosted by the station’s Pat Thurston.  Editor’s Note:  An earlier version of this story stated that Christine Craft was a co-host of the Stacy Taylor program and was also let go from KGO.  Craft is a fill-in host at KGO — not affiliated with Taylor — and remains at the station in that capacity.  TALKERS regrets the error.

“Coast To Coast AM” Host George Noory Helps Raise Funds for Contributor’s Medical Bills.  The host of the Premiere Networks late night program learned that frequent expert guest Mitch Barros – a weather/earth science reporter and creator of the “Earth Changes Media” podcast – was dealing with dreadful medical bills due to his newborn daughter Sophia’s heart complications.  George Noory enlisted the help of his loyal listeners and helped raise more than $18,000 to help Barros pay the outstanding bill.  Noory states, “I want to thank the “Coast to Coast AM” listeners for their generosity.  Thanks to them, Mitch and his family can focus on what matters most – Sophia’s continued health and wellness.”

WOR, New York Celebrates 90 Years on the Air.  Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, New York is celebrating its 90th year on the air in the New York City area.  The station first signed on February 22, 1922 from Bamberger’s Department Store in Newark, New Jersey.  Vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley says, “From the moment we first signed on the air with a broadcast of Al Jolson’s ‘April Showers,’ generations of listeners have counted on WOR for the best in information and entertainment.  We are not only proud of our rich history, but also of our present stature as one of the top talk stations in the country and home of New York morning radio’s top-rated show.  The years ahead look brighter than ever for WOR.”  The station says it will commemorate its 90 years of continuous broadcasting by airing a series of archival audio pieces over the next week and a half, as well as remembrances and reflections from its current air staff.  A larger celebration is being planned for later this year.

Ronnie “Night Train” Lane Exits Genesis’ WHBO, Tampa.  Afternoon “Prime Time” co-host Ronnie “Night Train” Lane has been let go by Genesis Communications’ sports talk WHBO, Tampa.  Lane tells the Tampa Bay Times he was very surprised by the move.  “I asked if the decision was performance based.  And all I was told was ‘We’re taking the show in another direction.’  That’s all I got.  That’s all I was told.”  Host Tom Krasniqi continues hosting the PM drive show solo.  The two had been together co-hosting the show for the past 18 months.  Last summer the station let third personality, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Mark Carrier, go from the program.

Conservative Talk Radio Documentary Getting Attention (and Ratings!) on Public TV in Milwaukee.  Former talk radio producer and talk show host Brien Farley’s new documentary film “Liberty or Lies?” examines the popularity of conservative talk radio in the Milwaukee market.  The film was initially a graduate level independent study that took off and eventually found a home on Milwaukee Public Television where a two-hour version of the film premiered on January 30 from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm and aired again on February 4.  Interestingly, Farley’s work on the film began just before Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Republican state officials faced recall elections in 2011 that put the state in the center of the national discourse about public policy relative to public workers’ labor rights.  Farley’s film covers talk radio in the market from the perspectives of its biggest local stars, its biggest media critics and many perspectives in between.  He tells TALKERS that local response to the film has been excellent noting that public television audience research firm TRAC Media Services reported the film garnered a 2.7 share for the January 30 airing.  Farley is an admitted fan of the format and says he believes the Milwaukee news/talk stations serve the market well.  “I think the Milwaukee market is a fantastic example of the vibrancy and power of news/talk radio when done right. The programmers at WISN and WTMJ are very tuned into their audiences and responsive to what the people want…which is the real power of the news/talk format.  They’ve also corralled some excellent homegrown talent which means a lot to local listeners.”  The question, “Why is conservative talk radio successful?” is an ongoing curiosity among many mainstream journalists.  In fact it’s a question TALKERS editors are asked almost daily by journalists working in the consumer media.  Farley says he believes his film, in many ways, shows Milwaukee to be a microcosm of news/talk’s success on the national level.  “AM radio is perhaps the lowest rung of the broadcast venues and yet the impact of the genre is huge!  In Wisconsin, this was manifest in the November 2010 election results in which we saw the most comprehensive turnover in power – from Democrat to Republican – of any state in the country.  This would not have happened without Milwaukee’s conservative talk radio.  And now with the attempted recall of Republican Governor Scott Walker, conservatives, right-leaning independents and converted Democrats are flocking to talk hosts like Jay Weber and Vicki McKenna of WISN and Charlie Sykes and Jeff Wagner of WTMJ to hear the latest and find out what they can do to join the fight.  Like it or not, Wisconsin is becoming a very different place because of conservative talk radio.  I believe the same can be said of our nation thanks to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin et al.”  Read more about Farley’s film and watch it here.

Phil Valentine’s “An Inconsistent Truth” Premiers in Memphis Tonight.  The independently produced film by Nashville-based talk show host Phil Valentine and director Shayne Edwards that challenges contemporary theories of global warming, premiers in Memphis after several weeks in Nashville where Valentine calls it the “top-grossing event in theatres” there.  Valentine is getting sponsorship and promotional help from MPS Broadcasting which operates news/talk WMPS, Memphis.  MPS Broadcasting president Mark Skoda – who also hosts his own show on the station – says, “Phil’s new film is both entertaining and informative. It not only offers insights into the scientific skepticism of the global warming debate, but entertains as well. I have to say that after watching a copy of the film, this is a completely enjoyable 90 minutes of fun.  And Phil brings his wit and sarcasm to the movie as few can. I hope our listeners will come out and join us for some fun in this premier event.”

Jacqueline Cohen Named National Account Manager at Dial Global.  Jacqueline Cohen comes to Dial Global after 11 years with Cumulus Media Networks.  She’ll be based in Los Angeles.  Dial Global EVP of national sales Chris Long states, “It’s exciting whenever you can add someone as talented as Jacqueline to your team.  She is a perfect fit for Dial Global and will do a great job representing us to the major agencies and advertisers on the West Coast.”

GOP Primary/2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 13-17.  The GOP primary race and the larger 2012 presidential campaign was #1 on the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio.  At #2 was the violence in Syria and America’s response.  Coming in at #3 was the Iran-Israel tensions and at #4 was President Obama’s 2013 budget.  The Talkers TenTM chart is the result of ongoing research by TALKERS and is published at Talkers.com every Friday.  See the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Dial Global’s “Overnight America” with John Grayson is added to the lineup at WMPS, Memphis…..WSJM, Benton Harbor, Michigan adds “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge to the weeknight lineup and WKZO, Kalamazoo, Michigan adds FTL’s live Sunday edition…..The independently syndicated Armstrong Williams show recently debuted on WTNT-AM/FM, Washington and WGNU, St. Louis.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

| September 22, 2011

Tara Servatius and Dave Priest New Morning Duo at WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach.  The Myrtle Beach Sun News reports former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte talk host Tara Servatius and radio pro Dave Priest replace Steve Porter as host of the station’s morning drive show.  NextMedia Radio market manager Barry Brown says in a release that the station is making changes to better serve the full-time residents of Myrtle Beach.  “WRNN is offering a fresh, new, unique voice to entertain and inform and a new conversation for Myrtle Beach from 6:00 to 10:00 weekday mornings.  WRNN extends a welcome to those who may not regularly listen with the addition of Tara Servatius.”  Porter, who would only say he wishes the station well and is moving on, invested in the station back in 1995 and has been involved in the programming since that time.

GHB Broadcasting’s Sports WIST, New Orleans Adds New Morning Host.  Former Times Picayune Saints beat writer Brian Allee Walsh hosts the morning drive show from 6:00 am to 8:00 am.  WIST general manager Dan Frazier says the show is followed by the Dan Patrick program with the rest of the day featuring local programs:  Larry Holder and New Orleans Hornets studio personality Gus Kattengell host the locally produced “Sports Hangover” show from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm followed by local host Eric Asher from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and local legend Kaare Johnson from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  The station – the flagship for Tulane University athletics – features a rotating cast of local sports experts and personalities for its weeknight evening programming.

Current TV Names Jason Odell EVP, Technology.  The commentary and information-intensive cable channel announces it brings aboard Jason Odell to oversee IT, web engineering and broadcast engineering.  The company states that Odell “brings two decades of experience in media systems management and broadcast engineering on a number of platforms to Current as the network ramps up its TV and digital programming with a focus on news analysis and political commentary.  Most recently, he consulted for CNN, and helped the network introduce innovations such as augmented reality, and the use of immersive graphics driven by election data, for use in election coverage.”  Odell reports to Current president David Bohrman and says of his new position, “I’m very excited to be a part of Current.  This network has innovation in its DNA.  With the election fast approaching, we have our work cut out for us, but I am confident that with this team and with David Bohrman at the wheel we can get this thing up to ramming speed, and provide viewers with the truth, and a unique, much-needed perspective on politics.”

Genesis Communications Network Adds Two Shows to its Lineup.  GCN begins syndicating the “Common Sense Club” hosted by Scott Hennen airing daily from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and the Mike Siegel show that airs daily from 11:00 pm to 1:00 am ET.  GCN says of Siegel, “He applies real world expertise delivering solutions to everyday problems.  Mike hails from Brooklyn, and is a communications consultant, a media giant, a big-mouth lawyer, a liberal-turned-conservative and an advocate of business.”  It notes that Hennen, “has been a guest host for Sean Hannity and Jason Lewis.  Named ‘The Rush Limbaugh of the Prairie’ by The Wall Street Journal, Scott has also authored a new book titled, Grassroots: A Common Sense Action Agenda for America about the game-changing force in American politics — the Tea Party movement.”

Media Matters Produces Weekly Show on Sirius XM.  The six-week, two-hour weekly program will air on Sirius XM’s Left channel live Saturdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon (with replays on Sunday) beginning September 24.  “Media Matters Radio” will be hosted by Media Matters EVP Ari Rabin-Hart and executive producer Bradley Herring.  The program promises to “systematically analyze a cross section of print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets for conservative misinformation and alert listeners to take action.”

GOP Candidates to Debate, Palestinian-U.N. Statehood Bid, Stock Market Activity and Obama Debt Reduction Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/21).  The 2012 presidential GOP candidates and their debate scheduled for this evening, the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations, Dow drops in trading and President Obama’s plan to reduce the nation’s debt were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research by TALKERS.

Bob & Tom Comedy Bus Tour Kicks Off.  The Premiere Networks syndicated Bob & Tom show kicked off the Bob & Tom Comedy All-Stars Bus Tour this week with an appearance at Cracker’s Comedy Club in Bob Kevoian’s and Tom Griswold’s home base market of Indianapolis.  The tour – now in its sixth year – features a rotating ensemble of comedians appearing on stages all across America.  This tour will hit cities including: South Bend, Indiana; Dubuque, Iowa; Colorado Springs; Salt Lake City; Boise; Richland, Washington; and more.  Pictured here are (from l-r):  Chick McGee, Dan Cummins, Kristi Lee, Bob Kevoian, Tom Griswold, April Macie, Donnie Baker and Shane Mauss.