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Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego and Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill Join Arbitron PPM’s MRC-Accredited Markets. The list of Media Rating Council-accredited markets for Arbitron’s PPM ratings service jumps to 18 with the addition of Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego and Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill. Arbitron EVP, service innovation and chief research officer Gregg Lindner says, “MRC accreditation for our PPM markets is an important priority for Arbitron, and we are pleased the MRC continues to recognize the progress we are making. Continuous improvement in our PPM, diary and other information services is our objective, and we remain focused on our efforts to maintain the MRC double checkmarks in our currently accredited PPM markets and to achieve service-wide accreditation for all PPM markets.” The MRC chose not to issue accreditation for the remaining 30 PPM markets.
Chris Tyler Assumes Brand Manager Post at Cumulus Media’s WSBA and WGLD, York. The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania radio pro becomes program director and brand manager for Cumulus Media’s news/talk WSBA and sports talk WGLD in nearby York. Tyler was the longtime program director and morning host at Clear Channel’s rock WRVV, Harrisburg “The River” before exiting in August of 2011. He then served as general manager, program director and morning host at crosstown rock WTPA – a Cumulus station the Department of Justice demanded the company spin off. Tyler fills the programming role vacated by Jim Horn who retired from WSBA as morning co-host and PD last year.
WQZQ, Nashville Flips to Sports Talk. Cromwell Radio Group drops the gospel on WQZQ, Nashville and begins simulcasting FM sports talker WPRT “102.5 The Game.” The station is being used to air conflicting programming beginning with the 3:00 pm hour of its George Plaster-led “Sports Night” program that got bumped from WPRT when the station became the local home of financial talker Dave Ramsey.
Sports USA’s Joe Morgan Show Re-Brands. The weekend sports talk show hosted by baseball and broadcasting legend Joe Morgan re-brands as “Conversations with Joe Morgan” to reflect the nature of the program. Sports USA states that the show “will continue to focus on Joe’s unique conversations with iconic legends and celebrity personalities. Previous guests have included Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax, former President George H. W. Bush, Jim Brown, Bob Costas, Charlie Sheen, Tom Seaver, John Madden, Al Michaels, and Johnny Bench. These conversations take listeners well beyond what they think they may know about the subjects.” Morgan says about his style, “These are conversations, not interrogations.” Sports USA indicates there will be added digital aspects to “Conversations with Joe Morgan” as well.
CRN Digital Talk Radio Launches CRN Digital Mag. Content provider and distributor CRN Digital Talk Radio is launching CRN Digital Mag, its own entertainment and lifestyle online magazine this week. The magazine launch coincides with CRN’s 30th anniversary celebration. CRN CEO and founder Mike Horn says, “Embarking on our 30th year is a major milestone for us. We are proud of all that we have accomplished and look forward to our future endeavors, including CRN Digital Mag. Our listeners have asked for more access to their favorite personalities, in-depth pieces on the topics we touch on CRN and CRN Digital Mag keeps your favorite shows going on your schedule.” The all-new magazine will include exclusive stories written by CRN personalities Fred Dryer, Barry Farber, Karel, Larry Manetti and many others who will write about recent shows, upcoming guests and other popular topics. Horn, who is also host of CRN’s highly popular “What’s Cookin’’ program, will also write a regular column on food, wine and the good life as featured on his show.
The Next Generation(s). Seated at the control board of Syracuse University’s student-run CHR WJPZ is general manager Corey Crockett. The studios will soon bear the name Envision Radio Networks Broadcast Center after Envision CEO Danno Wolkoff and COO Laura Orkin made a donation to acquire the naming rights to the newly renovated studios at the school’s Watson Hall. Wolkoff states, “There is no better classroom in the world than ‘Z-89’ and I’m thrilled the legacy will continue. Students who work at the station will benefit from learning the industry in a brand new space outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment including a new console, audio boards, touchscreen monitors and two new production studios.” Wolkoff is an alumnus of the school and he helped sign the FM station on the air in 1985. He began his career in radio as one of the original members of the “Cra-Z Morning Crew” and was inducted into the WJPZ Hall of Fame in 2009. The official opening ceremony for the Envision Radio Networks Broadcast Center will take place on March 1 in conjunction with the station’s 28th birthday banquet and annual WJPZ Hall of Fame induction ceremony on March 2.
WRKL, New York Goes on the Market. Owner of currently Spanish Christian WRKL, New York (class B AM at 910) Polnet Communications is retaining Media Services Group to “to identify, examine and consider a range of strategic options available including a possible sale of WRKL. The asking price for the station is $3 million. Polnet Communications Ltd. owns radio stations WEEF, WNVR, WPJX and WKTA and television station WPVN in the Chicago area. It also owns WRKL and WLIM in the New York City area and WRXB and WTMY in the greater Tampa-Sarasota, Florida area. Bob Heymann of the Chicago office of Media Services Group is the contact.
Budget Cuts/Tax Hikes Debate, Gun Legislation, Iran/North Korea Nuke Threats, and Deadly Force Drones Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/5). The debate in Washington over budget cuts and possible tax hikes; proposals for new gun legislation; the threat of nuclear weapons use from Iran and North Korea; and President Obama’s use of drones for deadly force on U.S. citizens were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Lessons Learned from the Merlin Meltdown. Consultant and former all-news programmer (WTOP) Holland Cooke offers several key reasons why Merlin Media’s all-news FMs in New York and Chicago failed to gain listeners as well as lessons to be learned from the story by all spoken-word radio management and talent alike.. He writes the operators made some crucial mistakes during the startup and ignored the primary aspect of how audiences use news radio. Read Holland’s piece here.
Arbitron Gets Accreditation for the PPM in Five Markets. Three of those markets are new: Los Angeles, Baltimore and San Antonio. The other two markets – Tampa/St. Petersburg and Riverside/San Bernardino – had accreditation at one point but lost it in January of this year. This gives Arbitron the Media Rating Council “seal of approval” for 14 markets being served by the Portable People Meter. Arbitron’s EVP of service innovation and chief research officer Gregg Lindner states, “We are pleased the MRC has recognized the progress we have made; at the same time we understand there is still work to be done. We will continue our efforts to maintain the MRC double checkmarks in our currently accredited PPM markets and to achieve service-wide accreditation for all PPM markets.”
Hubbard Radio Signs on with TuneIn. Minneapolis-based Hubbard Radio will make its 21 major market radio stations – including all-news giant WTOP, Washington; sports KSTP-AM, Minneapolis; and sports WXOS, St. Louis – available via the internet through aggregator TuneIn. Hubbard Radio president and CEO Bruce Reese says, “With their listener-first approach, TuneIn is the obvious fit for us as we continue to build upon our nearly 100 years of broadcasting excellence. Through this strategic alignment, all our great programming can be heard by anyone from anywhere around the country. With TuneIn, we’ve made a great leap onto the digital stage and look forward to inviting new listeners to our stations.”
WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware Morning Host/PD Dan Gaffney Exits. He tells WBOC-TV his sudden departure is not a stunt and that he has no issues with the Resort Broadcasting station or its management. But he says he’s been in discussions with the company for more than a year and their differences are not about money. Either way, program director and morning drive host Dan Gaffney leaves the news/talk station and Andrew Murr is the interim morning drive host.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. SiriusXM adds DirecTV/Premiere Networks’ “Nick & Artie Show,” featuring Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange, to its sports channels on both the Sirius and XM platforms…..ESPN’s total donations for The V Foundation for Cancer Research tops $1.8 million. The “Don’t Give Up ESPYs V Foundation Auction” raised $766,606 from the more than 250 items and experiences auctioned either online from July 1-11 or as part of the ESPN Radio 16-hour radiothon on July 11. That figure is added to the $1 million raised from the recent Celebrity Golf Classic…..Scott Lindy is promoted to operations director at Lincoln Financial Media’s Atlanta cluster that includes sports talk WQXI and the Atlanta Falcons Radio Network…..CNSNews White House correspondent Fred Lucas has just published his book, The Right Frequency: The Story of the Talk Radio Giants Who Shook Up the Political and Media Establishment (History Publishing 2012). In it Lucas delves into the depth, reach and power of the talk radio giants in the American political landscape and provides some insight into the personalities of those larger than life figures. Lucas is currently doing media interviews promoting the book and commenting on talk radio’s potential impact on the 2012 presidential election.
Good Old-Fashioned Book Burning! That’s the Alan Cox show crew from WMMS, Cleveland — (from l-r) Erika Lauren, Alan Cox and Chad Zumock – standing in the volleyball pit at a local bar preparing for a tongue-in-cheek burning of the popular adult novel 50 Shades of Grey (image from WKYC-TV). The idea came after a discussion of the improbably popular book prompted men to call Cox’s PM drive talk show and complain their wives and girlfriends are more thrilled by the book than they are by them. So, Cox responded with a good old-fashioned book burning to allow men (and some women) to express how they feel about the book.
Congressional Debate in Boston. WXKS, Boston – Talk 1200 – morning drive host Jeff Katz (r) moderates the live radio debate between three Republican candidates for Congress at the Clear Channel Boston studios on Wednesday, July 18. The three Republicans (from l-r) – David Steinhof, Elizabeth Childs and Sean Bielat – are battling in the Republican primary to face the Democrat candidate for the seat long held by retiring Congressman Barney Frank.
2012 Presidential Campaign, Bernanke Economy Testimony, Arpaio’s Obama Birth Certificate Conclusion, and Syrian Officials Killed Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/18). The Mitt Romney-Barack Obama battle for the White House; Fed chair Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress about the nation’s economy; Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio’s conclusion that President Obama’s Hawaii birth certificate is a fake; and the assassinations of major officials in the Syrian regime were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Arbitron Reports 2011 Revenue Increase of 6.8%; Expects 5%-7% Growth in 2012. That’s the news from Arbitron’s release of its financials from 2011. The company realized a fourth quarter revenue increase of 7.6% over the same quarter the year prior, telling radio operators who subscribe to the PPM what they probably presumed – the high cost of PPM is largely responsible for those numbers. “The increase was primarily due to increased cost of revenue associated with providing PPM and Diary services, operating costs incurred by Arbitron Mobile, as well as year-over-year increases in performance and share-based compensation,” Arbitron stated in its report. CEO William T. Kerr says, “For 2012 and beyond, we see our basic strategies as unchanged. We will pursue opportunities to improve performance and deliver compelling returns by leveraging our existing PPM and diary platforms, by continuing to seek out cost efficiencies and by deploying our financial and other resources to cultivate new markets. We will pursue these strategies with the goal of building long-term value for our customers, our employees and our shareholders.” The other aspect of the business the PPM and Diary services are paying for is the development of new products. The company is developing a digital measurement service that would track usage of services like Pandora and iHeart Radio but there is no timetable on when such a service would be available. Meanwhile, in Tuesday’s conference call, CFO Sean Creamer admitted the loss of accreditation for the five PPM markets that it announced recently was disappointing but Creamer says the company is determined to work with the Media Rating Council to earn accreditation for as many PPM markets as possible.
KRLD-FM, Dallas Sports Talk Host and Baseball Announcer Josh Lewin Named New Mets Play-By-Play Broadcaster. The New York Mets and WFAN, New York announced Josh Lewin will take his place in the broadcast booth alongside Howie Rose this season as the play-by-play announcer. Lewin has been part of Fox Sports baseball coverage since 1996. He was the Texas Rangers TV play-by-play man from 2002 through 2010 and most recently has been co-hosting the midday sports talk show at CBS Radio’s KRLD-FM – The Fan in Dallas. Lewin says, “It’s exciting to be part of the Mets broadcast team with Howie Rose, who is one of the best in the business. It’s a thrill to be able to come back to my roots in New York and call games for the team I rooted for as a kid on the pre-eminent sports talk radio station in the country.”
WDRC, Hartford PM Drive Talk Host Dan Lovallo Exits in Budget Move. Dan Lovallo has been with the Buckley Broadcasting outlet since 1996 and has been hosting his own PM drive talk show since 2006. He tells the Hartford Courant he was told by management that it is going in a different direction as part of a budgetary move. WDRC offers a simple statement to that effect on its Facebook page, noting it wishes Lovallo well. WDRC is part of Buckley’s four-station “Talk of Connecticut” simulcast that includes WMMW, Meriden; WWCO, Waterbury; and WSNG, Torrington.
A Bowlful of Dollars. The recent Super Bowl broadcast was again the annual bacchanal of ad spending: $3.5 million for a 30-second spot this year. But it’s the largest single-event audience in American media although it’s really a showcase – not so much a campaign. H&H Broadcasting president Al Herskovitz explains that talk radio sales pros should be able to turn this extravaganza on its head and be inspired to illustrate the economy and effectiveness of the reach, frequency and flexibility of a talk radio ad campaign. Read more here.
WOYK, York Sports Talk Host Adam McAllister Resigns from Afternoon Show. Telling the York Dispatch that his decision to resign from the four-month-old PM drive sports talk show stems from his “frustrations” with management, Adam McAllister says he plans to be back on radio somewhere else but he’s not sure where. McAllister was part of the M&M morning show with Jim Marlin that began in 2010. Last year the program moved to afternoons but in October, McAllister went solo. WOYK president Doug George tells the paper, “He sent me a message late last week saying he was resigning and his vision with the radio station didn’t agree with others. Things like that happen. I told Adam he’s certainly entitled to his own belief. I’m not sure there is a whole lot more for me to say.” WOYK will fill the slot with content from Yahoo! Sports.
Noted Radio Consultant Valerie Geller to Write Weekly Trade Piece. Leading talk radio consultant Valerie Geller – president of Geller Media International – begins writing the weekly News Talk Edge column for Radio-Info.com this Thursday. Geller is respected throughout the radio industry for her programming credentials, her consulting work with news, talk and personality radio as well as for her popular broadcasting books, including her latest, Beyond Powerful Radio – A Communicator’s Guide to the Internet Age (Focal Press 2011). Recently, Geller worked with the Independent Documentary Series advising the producers of the recently aired PBS documentary film, “Daisy Bates – First Lady of Little Rock.” TALKERS asked Geller about her involvement consulting a documentary film and she replied it’s a natural connection. “Filmmakers tell stories just as talk show hosts, news writers and good radio personalities do.”
Journal Broadcasting Names Michael Gay VP of Interactive. Michael Gay most recently served as corporate executive producer for digital media with Hearst Television. Now he joins Journal Broadcasting as vice president of interactive where he’s charged with designing and implementing the company’s digital initiative across its TV and radio properties.
KDWN, Las Vegas Talk Host Alan Stock’s Local TV Show Adds Evening Broadcast. Longtime Las Vegas talk show host Alan Stock – now heard from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on Beasley’s Broadcasting’s news/talk KWDN – announces his local TV show on KTUD-TV is airing at 1:00 pm and 10:00 pm PT. Stock tells TALKERS the evening broadcast of the program is getting ratings as he’s been interviewing all the movers and shakers – political, social, cultural and entertainment –in the Las Vegas and Nevada community. The program is taped in the KDWN studios and also serves to cross-promote the radio show.
Obama Budget, Iran Sanctions, GOP Primary Race, U.S. Syria Policy and Whitney Houston Funeral Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/14). The 2013 budget submitted by President Obama, the threat of new sanctions on Iran, the GOP primary race, the ongoing violence in Syria and questions about the U.S.’s role and the funeral of singer Whitney Houston were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Overnight: The Underexploited Daypart. Consultant Walter Sabo suggests more talk radio operators should take advantage of the overnight daypart – the one it wins by default. Citing a Media Audit report indicating talk radio has the largest overnight audience, Sabo contends that – contrary to conventional wisdom – there is money to be made there and other opportunities on which to capitalize. Read his exclusive TALKERS article here.
Can Radio Afford to be Rated Accurately? That’s really the question that should be asked as Arbitron loses accreditation for five PPM markets. The Media Rating Council is informing Arbitron, Inc. that accreditation for the Portable People Meter in five markets – Cleveland; Portland, Oregon; Riverside-San Bernardino; Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo; and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater – is being withdrawn. The MRC says its board of directors “reached this decision upon consideration of a recommendation from an MRC audit committee based on its review of the 2011 Arbitron PPM service audit results, which showed certain issues related to internal controls of the service and declines in service performance metrics.” Arbitron EVP, service innovation and chief research officer Gregg Lindner says, “Consistent with our long-standing priorities, we will work to retain accreditation where we have it, to regain accreditation where it was withdrawn and to achieve accreditation in our remaining PPM markets. As always, we will continue our work with the MRC in order to address their concerns.” Arbitron says it intends to have all 48 PPM markets undergo MRC audits this year. Currently, nine markets remain accredited: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Houston (DMA), Kansas City, Milwaukee-Racine, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and St. Louis. Although details remain vague, TALKERS suspects the problem faced by Arbitron in getting PPM off and running comes down to sample size – a two-fold challenge at this point. First: To get enough radio listeners to participate in the program and follow it diligently while busy and distracted; second, to expend the money required to have enough units and participants per market needed to achieve statistical accuracy – an investment that ultimately falls on the back of the financially strapped radio business.
CBS Radio Alters WINS, New York Top-of-the Hour Slogan. Some observers will call it a win for Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels who challenged CBS Radio’s use of the “New York’s One and Only News Station” for all-news WINS. After a back-and-forth of letters from lawyers regarding station slogans and positioning statements in which CBS Radio first asked Merlin to stop using a permutation of its “Give us 22 minutes and we’ll give you the world” slogan, it seems both sides may be moving forward with the business of doing news. That’s probably best since we’re assuming neither desire to spend more on lawyers than necessary. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says each side could have made a case. Weisman says CBS could reasonably argue that Merlin was infringing upon its trademark and Merlin could make a good argument that CBS’ use of the “one and only” phrase regarding its all-news radio product violated the Lanham Act (false advertising) in light of WEMP-FM’s existence.
Radio Pros Lee Abrams and Steve Saslow Plan Reinvention of TV News. Radio programming legend Lee Abrams and marketing and network radio pro Steve Saslow are teaming up with attorney Brandon Davis to form THINK TeleVisual Network, Inc. In a statement, the trio say they will “elevate the television news playbook into the digital age with a radical reinvention of the way news and information is produced and delivered.” THINK states its programming will be “designed to present one unified televisual news experience across every device category. It represents a profound rewriting of the news/information blueprint where a completely new style of presentation will merge with the magic of 21st century technology and modern American culture.” Lee Abrams says, “News and information is what is steering our 21st century America, the equivalent of what rock ‘n roll was forty years ago. THINK will merge this passion for information, knowledge and insight with the revolution in technology to create an interactive multi-media experience that will redefine how people are informed and enlightened.” Initially funded by the three principals, the venture is currently going through another round of fundraising in collaboration with the Boston-based investment firm Kaufman & Company.
Clear Channel’s KFBK Celebrates 90 Years of Serving Sacramento. News/Talk KFBK-AM/FM, Sacramento is celebrating 90 years on the air serving the people of the region. As part of the commemoration, the station is unveiling an online museum “that will showcase and honor the station’s rich and storied history. The museum will include audio clips, photos and videos that will transport listeners back in time to relive KFBK’s evolution.” Other events throughout the day include Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh joining KFBK morning news anchors Amy Lewis and Ed Crane live at 8:00 am where Limbaugh will reminisce about his time at KFBK. At 11:00 am, station staff will open a time capsule left by a past generation of KFBK employees and longtime KFBK talk host Tom Sullivan – now syndicated by Fox News Radio but still heard on the station – joining Kitty O’Neal during the KFBK Afternoon News to commemorate the occasion. VP/market manager Jeff Holden states, “The celebration today is recognition and confirmation that the commitment of the employees – past, present and future – is exactly what Sacramentans, at each point in time over the past 90 years, have so welcomingly accepted into their lives. I couldn’t be more proud to be part of such an illustrious and valuable asset to the region and a part of the team that is making history.”
Clear Channel Quad Cities AM Duo Moves to News/Talk WOC; Piped to WMT, Cedar Rapids. Morning show hosts Mark Manuel and Steve Ketelaar have been hosting the morning drive show on Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s oldies KUUL-FM, East Moline, Illinois for the past four years. Beginning February 20, the duo moves across the hall to handle the morning show on the cluster’s news/talk WOC, Davenport and will be simulcast at CC’s Cedar Rapids news/talker WMT. They’ll replace WOC program director Dan Kennedy as morning host. Kennedy stays in his PD post and will remain on the program as news anchor. Kirk Marske will produce the WOC morning show. According to the Quad City Times, WMT will provide its own news anchor during news cutaways. Clear Channel Davenport operations manager Jim O’Hara tells the paper, “A big thing with us over the past year with Clear Channel in general has been making the best use of our strongest people, our strongest programs. As I’ve thought about that over the last several months, it dawned on me that WOC is one radio station that needs more help, more people.”
Florida Primary Aftermath, Facebook IPO and Earnings Report, U.S. Afghanistan Combat Withdrawl Plan, and Syrian Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/1). The aftermath of Mitt Romney’s victory in the Florida primary, the announcement of a pending Facebook IPO and its first public earnings report, plans for an end to the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan and ongoing violence in Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.