Former Dial Global/WW1 Execs Launch Program Sales and Distribution Firm. Former Dial Global and Westwood One executives Spencer Brown and David Landau announce they are partnering with Michael Rolnick to form the firm DGital Media. They describe it as “an audio engagement company that partners with media brands to create, distribute, and monetize spoken-word audio products.” The company’s first venture will be the creation of the Re/code Radio network in partnership with Revere Digital LLC. Re/code is a tech news web destination founded by journalists Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. The first program to be rolled out will be “Re/code Decode” with host Kara Swisher, expected to go live in June. Revere Digital COO Lorenzano Kennett comments, “With the proliferation of mobile devices and the popularity of podcasts, we want to make sure our content is available to our audiences wherever they are – in the car, in the office, etc. By partnering with DGital Media, Re/code will be able to leverage our authoritative content and brand with outstanding audio programming, distribution and monetization.” DGital Media co-founder David Landau adds, “Partnering with Re/code as a brand accomplishes exactly what we set out to do – which is to amplify media brands through audio. The Re/code Radio network will bring the same excellence in reporting and analysis to readers through the spoken word.” Also joining the company as chief content officer is Chris Corcoran, former EVP for content at Dial Global/Westwood One, and as executive vice president for sales and strategy, Grace Carrick, formerly vice president of sales at Dial Global/Westwood One.
Talkers New York 2015 to Mark 25th Anniversary of TALKERS Magazine. The forthcoming 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2015 – will also serve as the publication’s 25th “birthday party.” TALKERS was launched by publisher Michael Harrison in June of 1990 with the first issue of TALKERS: The Information-Radio Newspaper hitting the streets on July 23rd of that year. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This is an important milestone, not only for us, but for the talk radio and media industries as well. That little trade publication provocatively named ‘Talkers’– that dared to refer to the relative handful of spoken-word stations that existed at the time as an ‘industry’ — has chronicled, championed and inspired one of the most colorful and historically significant chapters of American broadcasting ever gathered and archived in one continuous collection. This year’s conference will serve as a milestone honoring that achievement and rich body of work.” Casey adds, “Not only will Talkers New York 2015 have features that make note of this history but we will be publishing a number of retrospectives looking back at the past quarter-century in the days and weeks surrounding the conference and leading up to the official anniversary date in July.” Talkers New York 2015 is sold out but a few choice sponsorship opportunities remain available. For information, please call 413-565-5413. To see the latest updated agenda, please click here.
Alpha Media to Pay $38,250,000 for Morris and JMJ Stations. From a filing with the FCC, we learn the price for the 36 stations that Morris Communications and JMJ operate in Topeka and Salina, Kansas; Amarillo, Texas; Palm Springs and Victor Valley, California; Anchorage and Wasilla, Alaska; Grays Harbor-Hoquiam, Washington and Wenatchee-Columbia River, Washington: $38,250,000. This is not an all-cash deal. Morris will receive $20 million worth of Alpha Holdings private stock (8,196,722 units in the aggregate), $6,585 worth of Alpha Holdings II private stock, and $18,250,000 in cash.
Kate Delaney Joins NBC Sports Radio for Weekend Shows. Sports and news/talk radio pro Kate Delaney is adding weekend talk duties at NBC Sports Radio to her plate as she takes over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm Saturday and Sunday shows from Anita Marks, who left the network to join WEPN-FM, New York “ESPN New York 98.7FM.” During the week, Delaney is host of the GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” late night news/talk show. NBC says Delaney’s show will feature “players, coaches, experts and analysts…from the locker room to the playing fields and beyond.” Delaney’s sports pedigree includes being the first woman to host a solo sports radio talk show on WFAN, New York City and KRLD, Dallas. She’s covered 15 Super Bowls, 10 U.S. Opens, and 15 Final Fours. She has also been to the Kentucky Derby 10 times along with the other two Triple Crown races, the Preakness and the Belmont. NBC Sports Radio program director Jack Silver comments, “It’s a major coup for us to have Kate with us on the weekends. She connects really well with sports fans. She’s smart, funny, and she knows her way around the world of sports. Kate brings great energy, insight, and opinion to our weekend lineup.”
Odds & Sods. Joining the lineup of weekend talk shows at Talk Media Network is the “Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline” program. In welcoming the almost-20-year-old program to the company’s roster, Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng says, “The ‘Into Tomorrow’ team travels the globe to deliver the most comprehensive technology discussion available on radio, each and every week. Talk Media Network is proud to offer radio stations this valuable program via satellite, for easy automation and scheduling.”…..Journalist and talk show host Michele McPhee – formerly with Entercom’s WRKO, Boston – is the new afternoon drive personality at WMEX, Boston, the daypart held briefly by Howie Carr before WRKO again became his syndicated program’s Boston affiliate.
2016 Presidential Prospects, ‘Is FOX News Bad for GOP?’ Flap, Hillary’s Role in Benghazi, Clintons Finances Scrutiny, ISIS Successes in Iraq and Syria, Amnesty Order Loses Round in Court, Obama Accuses Russia of Aggression, FIFA Scandal, Deadly Texas and OK Floods, and NBA/NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/26). The activities of the potential candidates for president in 2016; reaction to historian Bruce Bartlett’s contention that FOX News is “self-brainwashing” conservative voters; more debate over Hillary Clinton’s role in the deadly Benghazi attack; ongoing scrutiny of the Clintons’ financial dealings and income reporting; the success of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and questions about America’s Iraq policy; President Obama’s amnesty order loses round at the Appeals Court level; Obama accuses Russia of military aggression; a report of widespread corruption at FIFA – soccer’s governing body; the deadly flooding in Texas and Oklahoma; and the NBA and NHL playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Phoenix Programmer Neil Larrimore Joins Speaker Roster at LA New Media Seminar. Sellout Expected by Wednesday. The lineup of outstanding industry speakers scheduled for the forthcoming West Coast installment of the TALKERS New Media Seminar continues to grow as Phoenix broadcaster Neil Larrimore, PD of NewsTalk 550 KFYI and XTRA Sports 910 KGME joins the roster. The total number of speakers for the power-packed, one-day event has now surpassed 50. Seminar organizers state that it will be completely sold out by the end of business on Wednesday – perhaps sooner. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “The venue is intimate and even kind of funky, making for a very relaxed and informal environment – conducive to the kind of communicative and networking environment we hope to achieve. The problem, however, is that unlike industry events that are held in convention centers and big hotels, we are working with a finite amount of seating and space which we are obligated by city regulations not to exceed.” TALKERS New Media Seminar LA is scheduled for Thursday, October 11 between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. Because it is open only to working media, there is no online registration — only by telephone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. A detailed up-to-the-minute agenda will be posted here tomorrow.
Greater Media to Sell WPEN-AM, Philadelphia to Harold Camping’s Family Stations. The simulcast of Greater Media’s sports talk WPEN-AM/FM will continue until the deal is complete but Greater Media clearly sees no need to have its “97.5 The Fanatic” heard on both the AM and FM bands. The sale price for the Philadelphia-licensed outlet has not been made public yet. In a statement, Greater Media’s Philadelphia vice president and market manager John Fullam says “Greater Media looks forward to focusing on the growth of ‘97.5 The Fanatic,’ the best sports talk station serving the market and the new home to Sixers and Flyers play by play.”
John Gehron to Leave Merlin Media. As reported by Time Out Chicago’s Robet Feder, radio management and programming pro John Gehron — who serves as the chairman of the advisory board of Merlin Media – will step down from that role at the end of this month. Gehron, who also serves as COO of AccuRadio, tells Feder, “It was a fascinating experience. I worked with some wonderful people.”
WGN, Chicago Moves Dean Richards to Sunday AM Slot. With Tribune columnist and WGN talk host Rick Kogan leaving his radio show to take the PM drive slot at Chicago Public Radio’s WBEZ, WGN program director Bill White announces the station is moving Dean Richards’ Sunday program into the early morning slot held by Kogan’s “The Sunday Papers” program. “Dean Richards’ Sunday Morning” will air from 6:30 to 11:00 on Sundays beginning October 7. White states, “Dean’s show has been a staple on Sunday mornings since 1994, and this new timeslot will give him an earlier start — avoiding sports broadcast pre-emptions — while still airing during part of his longtime timeslot. As a Chicago native, Dean truly embodies the WGN hometown quality and we’re excited to expand the show.” Addressing Kogan’s new role on WBEZ, White says, “Rick is a true Chicago legend and has been a mainstay on WGN for the past 13 years. We expect him to have a great experience in his new endeavor, but the door is open for future projects down the road at WGN.”
Three Steps to Digital Power. Digital media consultant Chris Miller says that part of radio’s beauty is that it is the original targeted medium and radio brands can use their digital components to even further capitalize on the value of radio’s targeted nature. Miller states, “Having digital inventory to sell on our streams and websites only makes us a stronger business partner for clients who want to hyper-focus their message.” But Miller believes there are three steps stations should follow to effectively work the digital medium: build for it, commit to it, and train for it. Read Miller’s entire piece here.
Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership 1 Day Event Simulcast to 200-Plus Locations. Nationally syndicated financial talk radio star Dave Ramsey presented his EntreLeadership 1 Day Event live from the People’s Church in Franklin, Tennessee last week. The program included author Jon Acuff and speaker Chris LoCurto, speaking about how to run a business using the same common-sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 300 employees. This particular presentation was also simulcast to more than 200 additional locations across the country. The Dave Ramsey show reports that flagship station WWTN, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7 WTN” reaped big benefits. Station GSM Timothy Meagher states, “It’s a win for our clients by providing an excellent business-to-business marketing opportunity at the event; it’s a win for our listeners by providing a great way to learn and be educated on sound financial principals from Dave and his team; and it’s a win for ‘Super Talk 99.7’ by providing a solid branding opportunity in the market for our community of listeners and station brand.”
Alex Cohen Replaces Madeleine Brand on SCPR Talk Show. Southern California Public Radio announces personality Madeleine Brand exits the 9:00 am to 11:00 am talk shot she co-hosted with A Martinez to pursue other professional endeavors. Her spot on the show will be filled by Alex Cohen who has been serving as KPCC, Pasadena’s anchor for the afternoon block that includes “All Things Considered” and “Marketplace.” Vice president of content Russ Stanton says, “We are very fortunate to have in Alex a co-host with the combination of news judgment, experience and a lively, energetic on-air presence. She has a range of experience in public broadcasting and journalism that few can match; she is smart, tenacious and insightful.”
Pasta Promotion. The 29th Newsradio 1020 KDKA Spaghetti Breakfast was held on Friday, September 21 in downtown Pittsburgh. Thousands of Pittsburghers stopped by the annual hosted by the CBS Radio station event to feast on spaghetti before continuing on to work. Pictured here at the serving line are (from l-r): KDKA personality Vinnie Richichi, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Ernie Ricci and KDKA talk show host Mike Pintek.
Clear Channel Forges into Future of Entertainment; Names John Sykes President of Entertainment Enterprises. If there comes a time in the future when radio companies are forced to address why their business plans failed as technology and media tastes were changing all around them, for Clear Channel it certainly won’t be for lack of trying to use its enormous radio station base from which to move forward. On the heels of last week’s announcement of the name change – jettisoning the “radio” part and tacking “media” and “entertainment” onto its name – the company announces it is bringing entertainment pro John Sykes aboard to serve as president of entertainment enterprises. In announcing the hire, CC states, “Sykes will use the unparalleled assets of Clear Channel – including its 238 million monthly broadcast radio listeners, the 141 million people it reaches with Outdoor in the United States and the 374 million internationally, as well as the more than 75 million monthly listening hours for its digital properties – to develop new businesses for the company across a range of media, including television and live events, as well as create value for Clear Channel advertisers and key partners.” Sykes has served as president of VH1, president of network development for MTV, CEO of the old Infinity Broadcasting, president of Champion Entertainment, president of Chrysalis Records, and an agent for Creative Artists Agency. Most recently he was with the private equity firm Pilot Group – the connection to Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman. Pittman says of Sykes, “John’s experience and relationships in so many sectors of the entertainment and media business make him the perfect choice to lead this new initiative.” Clear Channel doesn’t have a lot of time. It has some $20 billion in debt hanging around its neck that comes due in chunks over the next four years and the pace at which media and technology is changing is faster than anyone can anticipate – including those new-tech operators who say they’re ahead of the game. But, in so many words, Clear Channel is making the statement it is bound and determined to use its large base of radio listeners to build something that will exist – and hopefully make money – in the future. And bringing in connected players from outside the traditional radio business could be the strategy that helps it survive.
CBS Radio Detroit Brings Bob Wojnowski and Jamie Samuelsen Back to the Airwaves on “The Ticket.” Detroit sports media pros Bob “Wojo” Wojnowski and Jamie Samuelsen are being paired up for a 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show on WXYT-FM “The Ticket.” Both have worked on sports talk radio in the market previously on Clear Channel’s WDFN. WXYT-FM program director Jimmy Powers says, “We are extremely pleased to have Jamie and Wojo join our line-up. They are a natural fit. They have been dialed into the Detroit sports scene for many years, giving fans information on their favorite teams. Jamie and Wojo will continue to entertain listeners on their way home from work or to the stadium.” Wojnowski is also currently a columnist for the Detroit News and Samuelson is a regular blogger for the Detroit Free Press.
KMBZ, Kansas City Makes PM Drive Changes. Mike Shanin leaves his role on the “Shanin and Parks” afternoon show at Entercom’s KMBZ, Kansas City and takes the business editor role at the station. The station says it will continue to rely on Shanin’s “expertise and knowledge for political commentary.” Filling his seat alongside Scott Parks is KCTV-TV investigative reporter Dana Wright. She says of her new radio role, “This is really a dream opportunity for me. Journalism is my passion and I look forward to this exciting new step in my career.”
When Radio Was Insanely Fun. Beleaguered by the contemporary world of corporate radio? Pining for the days when radio stations were inhabited by creative and (quite possibly) unstable personalities? Talk radio host, WPIX-TV, New York commentator and LionelMedia.com “podcast titan” Lionel re-lives a bit of crazy radio history from his uniquely skewed perspective and personal experience. Prepare to laugh your tuchus off and click here.
CBS Radio’s WNEW-FM, Washington Launch Delayed. Various trade and consumer reports indicate the launch of CBS Radio’s new all-newser in Washington, DC will be Monday, January 23 and not tomorrow as had been planned. The cause is being reported as engineering issues related to the new studios.
Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington, DC Adds College Hoops Expert. ESPN 980 (WTEM) announces former University of Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams joins the station to serve as its college basketball insider. Williams takes the temporary post through the NCAA finals during which he’ll join the station’s “Sports Fix” with Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro and “The Sports Reporters” with Andy Pollin and Steve Czaban for weekly college basketball reports. PD Chuck Sapienza says, “Adding Gary to our team solidifies our dominance in the area of college basketball coverage. He is ‘must listen-to radio’ and adding his expertise on the entire sport of college hoops is a big win for ESPN 980’s listeners.”
ESPN Audio Re-Aligns Management. At ESPN, Jim Roberts moves from his senior director, affiliate sales to senior director, Deportes local radio group. He’ll continue to lead the Deportes Dallas Radio station and in addition be responsible for the on-going relationship with all Deportes Radio affiliates. Patrick Polking, senior director audio national accounts, will transition to senior director II, distribution and business development. Polking will oversee the development and execution of strategies to further monetize ESPN Audio’s products. The company also says that because of the growth in usage of ESPN Audio properties, Scott Masteller, senior director II, radio content, will collaborate with Dave Austin, who was recently promoted to manager, ESPN Digital Audio Group, to ensure ESPN Audio is aligned in the production of its digital audio.
GOP Primary Race, Internet Anti-Piracy Bills, European Debt Crisis and Italian Cruise Disaster Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/17). The battle to win the GOP presidential primary race, the internet anti-piracy bills being debated in Washington, the continuing European debt problems and the Italian cruise ship disaster were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Internet talk media has become the terrestrial radio farm system
By Michael Harrison
NEW YORK –– On page 23 of this issue of TALKERS magazine we are pleased to launch the third annual installment of a relatively new feature titled, “The Frontier Fifty: A Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters.”
It is an alphabetical list of 50 talk “acts” consisting of a wide variety of hosts, teams and shows representing a cross section of the important pioneering work taking place in the burgeoning world of internet talk media. The continuing publication of such an “editorial staff’s choice” in this magazine marks another evolutionary milestone as, together, we experience the fascinating transition between the AM/FM/VHF/UHF (“terrestrial”) domination of pop culture during the second half of the 20th century and the emerging internet media’s (“stickless”) reign over the first half of the 21st –– already more than a decade underway. We thank our friends at Broadcasters General Store for their continued sponsorship of this ambitious and optimistic feature. Their faith in it is a sign that there is, in fact, a “new industry” of enormous potential proportions emerging before us all.