Tag: "Media Research Center"

An Open Letter to Talk Host Michael Smerconish

| May 13, 2014

By Lars Larson
Compass Media Networks/Alpha Broadcasting
Talk Show Host


larsonlars
PORTLAND, OR — Michael, I know you’re trying to squeeze some lemonade out of your career prospects but bashing fellow talk hosts as routinely and regularly lying to listeners isn’t the best way to sell a book or get more audience to a cable news network.

You went on the CBS morning news show last week (documented by the Media Research Center) to hock your wares (a book and a satellite radio show and your new show on CNN) and accused those of us still working in terrestrial radio of LYING to listeners while declaring that you ALWAYS tell the truth.

(CBS host) Gayle King, “I used to listen to these guys, Michael, and say, ‘They can’t possibly believe what they’re saying. It’s just is a way to just rile up the crowd.” (Smerconish) “…yes, that’s exactly the way that I believe that it is.” (Q-King) “Did you always believe what you were saying?” (Smerconish) “I believed what I was saying at all times.”

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

| September 26, 2012

Ronn Owens Disputes Reports of His Demise at KGO.  Addressing yesterday morning’s lead story on the TALKERS magazine morning headlines, attributed to San Francisco media blogger Rich Lieberman, KGO talk show host Ronn Owens tells TALKERS there is no truth to the report that his contract will be bought out before it ends on December 31 and that the station will replace him with a newsy program.  Owens also tells TALKERS he has no knowledge of Cumulus Media’s plans beyond his contract but says, “Cumulus has been totally nice to me.”  Owens says Lieberman “has been attacking me for over a year for the changes that have taken place at KGO,” referring to the dismissal of other talk show hosts and staffers that took place after Cumulus assumed control of the station.  Owens says Lieberman’s blog story is “totally made up.”  He says, in fact, his agent is not Don Buchwald but is David Katz.  He also says he does not make a seven-figure salary and never said that his ego is too big to be paid $300,000, as Lieberman reported.  Regarding his future at KGO, Owens tells TALKERS, “San Francisco is the crown jewel of places to live and whatever happens after December 31 happens.”

CBS Radio’s Atlanta Sports FM Will Be “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game.”  Set to debut in mid-October, CBS Radio’s new FM sports talk outlet – the soon-to-be-former Triple A WZGC, Atlanta will take the handle “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game.”  Media chatter around Atlanta is that the station may reveal its lineup as early as next week in order to give the sales staff something concrete to pitch to clients prior to the launch.  Earlier media reports alluded to the possibility that “Two Live Stews” Doug and Ryan Stewart – recently dropped from crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone” – might pop up on the station but TALKERS sources indicate that will not be the case.  The programming philosophy we’re hearing about for this station is being termed as “fresh.”  Stay tuned!

Nation’s Biggest Talk Hosts Sign On to Petition Against TV Networks for Biased Election Coverage.  The missive detailing a complaint against ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN for “rigging this election and taking sides in order to pre-determine the outcome,” is penned by the conservative Media Research Center’s L. Brent Bozell III but it is signed by some of the country’s top nationally syndicated talk show hosts.  Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh, TRN’s Laura Ingraham and Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin signed the open letter.  In it, Bozell writes, in part: “A free and balanced media are crucial to the health of this country.  It is your duty as journalists – as outlined in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics – to ‘distinguish between advocacy and news reporting,’ while simultaneously ‘seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.’  There is a reason why the media are viewed with such disdain by the American public, as evidenced by every recent poll on the issue.”

Armstrong & Getty Reportedly Suspended for Call to Criticize Islam.  The suspension has not been confirmed by Clear Channel Sacramento management but the duo of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty were off their KSTE, Sacramento flagship station as well as KKSF, San Francisco (where the show is simulcast) on Tuesday morning after the show sent out a press release promoting its call to listeners to post videos and photos critical of Islam and the prophet Muhammad to “flood the world with cartoons, movies and songs saying bad things about Muhammad until they finally grow up.  In other words, free speech,” stated Jack Armstrong.  The political blog The Right Perspective is reporting the duo have been suspended though it doesn’t state a period or confirmation of the sanction.  KTXL-TV, Sacramento produced a piece on the controversy and also was unable to get a comment on record from Clear Channel’s Sacramento management.

Radio’s Strengths in the Media Landscape.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke says the best session he attended at the recent 2012 Radio Show in Dallas was by Arbitron senior VP/marketing Bill Rose and highlighted how “Radio provides opportunities to reach consumers when advertising is relevant to what they are doing.”  Cooke says, “This document [the study cited] is a powerful selling tool, and real instructive to programmers and on-air talent…especially on-air talent that sells (and smart on-air talent does).”  The data Rose used in his presentation was from USA Touchpoints, a national sample that captures media usage, shopping behavior, emotional mindset, via smartphone app, every half hour, from 10-day panelists.  Read Holland Cooke’s report and analysis here.

WWNC, Asheville AM Drive Co-Host Jerri Jameson Moves On.  Morning drive co-host Jerri Jameson announces she will exit the Clear Channel station October 12 to pursue other interests.  Jameson writes on her station blog, “After more than 10 years with Clear Channel Asheville, it is time for me to move on from radio.  It was a difficult decision.  I have gotten to know some truly wonderful people in our great community and for that I will always be grateful.  Waking up each morning to share the daily goings on around town, the state and the world with you has truly been an honor I will treasure forever.”

The Young Guns of Talk Radio.  Ask anyone, especially those working for the consumer media, and they’ll tell you that personalities working as hosts on news/talk stations are all old, white men.  Radio’s general lack of a “farm system” doesn’t help that misconception much, but the truth is there are young people – some men and some women – working in news/talk radio today.  Tomorrow at Talkers.com, executive editor Kevin Casey writes about some of those broadcasters and their thoughts on being young and on the air in the news/talk business.

Willie Geist to Join NBC’s “Today.”  According to Brian Stelter’s Media  Decoder in The New York Times, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” cast member Willie Geist will become co-host of the 9:00 am hour of NBC’s “Today” program.  The deal has not been officially announced and Stelter reports Geist will still appear on “Morning Joe,” probably during the 6:00 am hour but will give up the “Way Too Early” 5:30 am newscast he’s been anchoring.  It’s also believed Geist will fill in for Matt Lauer when he is absent.

Rumors of Big Names Being Sought to Run CNN.  Sony chairman Howard Stringer is one of the executives rumored to be on the list of those being sought to take charge of struggling CNN when current chief Jim Walton leaves at the end of the year.  The New York Post reports a source inside CNN states, “We should know something in a month, perhaps before the elections. Unlike CNN International, we just don’t have someone with a mission.  We need our Roger Ailes.”  Other media execs reportedly being considered are former NBCUniversal president and CEO Jeff Zucker, former ABC News president David Westin, and former NBC News chief Neal Shapiro.

Odds & Sods. CBS Radio’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles takes its “KNX on Your Corner” live remote series to Glendale, California on October 19.  The day of programming will include features about Glendale’s history, current issues and plans for future growth. Coverage will include live interviews with city officials and other special guests.  The station will continue the series in Beverly Hills on December 7…..SiriusXM will present live coverage of the 2012 Ryder Cup golf tournament.  The biennial event pits the US against Europe and is being played this year at Medinah Country Club in Illinois.

Part of the Skyline.  CBS Radio’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia is now a part of the city’s skyline after the station put up a new, lit call letter sign atop its offices at 400 Market Street in downtown Philly.  The KYW logo and the iconic CBS “eye,” were hung over this past weekend and faces east, making it visible from Camden, New Jersey, I-95 and the Ben Franklin Bridge.  The station notes this was not a simple building procedure.  “The difficult process of hanging an illuminated sign above street level, particularly in the downtown area, took five years before receiving city zoning and art commission approval.  KYW is now the only radio station in Philadelphia County to be granted this right.”

Obama on ‘The View’ and at the UN, Iran’s Bluster, Criticism of Religious Figures, Libya Aftermath, and NFL Replacement Officials Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/25).  President Obama’s Appearance on ‘The View’ and his speech at the United Nations; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s blustery speech at the UN and his appearance on Piers Morgan; criticism of religious figures; analysis of the aftermath of the Libya attack and furor over the NFL’s replacement officials were some of the most-talked-about-stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

| March 15, 2012

Rush Limbaugh Controversy Brings Political Attack Tactics to Talk Radio.  Perhaps it’s because the nation is in the grips of a still-stagnant economy during a contentious election year or maybe it’s just a sign of the times.  But, the talk radio industry is being invaded by political special interest groups and their hard-nosed tactics and it appears some broadcasters are playing along.  Broadcasters – and radio stations more specifically – have traditionally competed with each other intensely on many levels.  But going after each other’s advertisers with threats of guilt-by-association in order to hurt the other’s business is something in which they have rarely engaged.  The reason is simple: It pollutes the same body of water from which all broadcasters drink.  If one day your programming is poison to sponsors, who’s to say my programming won’t be tainted next week.  And the special interest groups are noticing this and employing it as well.  Media Research Center founder and president L. Brent Bozell III has written an open letter to MSNBC president Phil Griffin taking the cable news/talk network to task for what he terms its hypocrisy.  Bozell notes MSNBC talent Ed Schultz, Al Sharpton and Lawrence O’Donnell spent part of their March 13 programs “attacking Rush.”  He then lists statements made by Ed Schultz over the years as “vile, repugnant venom coming out of Schultz’s mouth.”  Bozell promises he’s not going to let up on MSNBC, either.  So, what are some broadcasters guilty of with regard to this case?  Potentially bringing harm to the entire talk media industry – especially the already hard-hit radio side – by willingly allowing special interest groups that do not represent the actual listeners of these programs to provide ammunition against one of their own (a broadcaster) for the sake of what is really a political goal and not a business goal.  Broadcasters willing to join the political battle at the expense of maintaining the integrity of their broadcasting business model may find out down the road that attempting to serve two masters – politics and the business of broadcasting – is a very difficult task to handle successfully.  If you wish to read Mr. Bozell’s piece, it’s here.

Problematic Data: Bloomberg Poll Concludes America Wants Limbaugh Fired.  That’s the result of a Bloomberg poll of 1,002 Americans conducted from March 8 to 11 asking questions about the GOP candidates, how they feel about the birth control coverage issue and, whether Premiere Networks star Rush Limbaugh should be fired for his remarks about Sandra Fluke and her testimony.  According to the Bloomberg data, 53% of Americans believe Limbaugh should be fired for his remarks and 30% of those who expressed that point of view were Republicans to boot!  TALKERS is not questioning Bloomberg’s polling techniques but as alluded to in the story above, it should be underscored that the poll in question doesn’t survey Rush Limbaugh’s regular listeners.  It doesn’t even survey regular talk radio listeners.  Therein lays the problem.  Consumer media will grab hold of the result of this poll and conclude that the end is near for Limbaugh since a majority of the country wants him fired.  But as TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has been telling the dozens upon dozens of media outlets he’s spoken with on this issue since it began, Rush Limbaugh doesn’t broadcast to a majority of the country.  He broadcasts to a niche audience – a sizeable one to be sure – but a niche nonetheless.  Asking a sample of all Americans how a talk radio station should be programmed is analogous to asking the same sample about how to program the Golf Channel.  Read the Bloomberg poll story here.

First Spot on Tom Leykis’ New Talk Show Sells on eBay for $1,225.  FishbowlLA reports the first spot on Tom Leykis’ soon-to-debut talk show that will hit the internet on April 2 has been purchased by Stitcher chairman Noah Shanok for $1,225.  Leykis tells FishbowlLA’s Richard Horgan, “The winning bid, in my view, proves what I have always believed, which is that the reason that some people say that internet content cannot be monetized is because they try to sell advertising for new platforms the same way it’s sold in so-called ‘old media.’  What these new platforms really require is out-of-the-box thinking and a completely different approach.”  Leykis has been paid by CBS Radio since his program based at the former hot talk KLSX-FM, Los Angeles was dropped along with the rest of the format.  Leykis’ The New Normal will broadcast his new talk program as the CBS contract comes to an end.

Buckley Broadcasting Chief Rick Buckley to Be Honored Posthumously by Broadcasters Foundation of America.  At the Broadcasters Foundation of America breakfast held in conjunction with the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas on April 18, the late president and CEO of Buckley Broadcasting will be honored with the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award.  The award honors an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.   It salutes its namesake Lowry Mays and is underwritten by The Clear Channel Foundation and Wiley Rein, LLP.  The BFoA states, “Rick Buckley was a beloved and highly respected broadcaster who passed away suddenly this past July from a brain embolism.  For more than four decades Buckley led the family-owned Buckley Broadcasting, which includes renowned WOR Radio in New York.  He was a longtime member of the Broadcasters Foundation Board of Directors and served as its treasurer for many years.  In recognition of his commitment to the charitable mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, The Rick Buckley Memorial Fund was established shortly after his passing.”

ESPN Montana to Provide Local Focus.  The Montana Radio Company is bringing the Worldwide Leader in Sports to Montana – a state without any professional sports franchises.  Tucker Sargent is project manager for ESPN Montana and he tells the University of Montana’s Montana Kaimin they are developing a website that will serve as the web hub for the three FM stations that will be simulcast in the Helena, Missoula and Great Falls markets.  Ben Cately, who does play-by-play for the Missoula Osprey minor league baseball team is hosting the morning drive show that will be featured across the network.  Sargent says the network will cover local schools as well, “High school sports have been pretty much completely ignored everywhere in the country.  Most other places with an ESPN station are in major markets that have professional and college teams that dominate the scene.  And while we still think that the professional teams need to be talked about, the high school sports matter quite a bit and need to get reported on as well.”

GOP Primaries/ 2012 Presidential Race, Afghanistan Civilian Massacre Aftermath, Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program, Syria Violence and Soaring Gas Prices Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/14).  The tightening GOP primary race after Rick Santorum’s Tuesday victories and the 2012 presidential race in general; the fragile state of the Afghanistan operations after the killing of 16 civilians by a U.S. soldier; ongoing concern over Iran’s nuclear weapons projects; the Syrian violence against its citizens; and the American public’s concern with rising gasoline prices were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.