Tag: "Mel Karmazin"
Entercom Boston VP of Programming Jason Wolfe to Present Closing Keynote at Talkers New York 2013. In what promises to be a timely, pertinent and compelling conclusion to one of the most important industry conferences in modern memory, Entercom Boston VP of programming Jason Wolfe will deliver the closing keynote address. The address is titled “Reflections on a Tragedy and the Fundamental Role of Radio.” It will provide insight and first-hand recollections of the Boston Marathon bombings from the local perspective of a Boston radio group that found itself in the thick of the national crisis. In accepting the assignment, Wolfe tells TALKERS, “It was such a remarkable, emotional and dramatic situation that it is taking me weeks to sort out my thoughts and feelings on the experience. Our group was just one of a number of fine Boston-area radio stations that did an excellent job of being there for the people of the region with news and information about the unfolding drama. It was a remarkable time of sharing, of pooling resources among competitors, for the good of the community.” Wolfe, whose Entercom Boston outlets include news/talk WRKO and sports talk WEEI, continues, “…but it isn’t just about the presentation of news and information – talk radio provides a more complex and deeper service during times like this. And this includes many music stations that stopped playing songs and became, for all intents and purposes, talk stations themselves during the crisis. Talk radio provides the opportunity for people to vent and share feelings…to plug in directly to the human condition. It provides the opportunity for people to become connected into a community of fellow human beings linked together by common fears, pain, and confusion during a tragedy. Talk radio provides hope. Or at least, it should.” Wolfe sums it up: “I believe that we as broadcasters share a deeper more fundamental responsibility to the public than just being entertainers. We must use this precious opportunity we have to actually serve the public good on every level within our power.” Wolfe is one of more than 50 outstanding industry leaders who will be speaking at Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6. The event will be sold out by the close of business on Wednesday of this week. Registrations ($199) are only open to members of the working media and can be booked by phone with credit card at 413-565-5413. For the complete agenda and more details, click here.
Clear Channel Names Brian Kaminsky EVP of Operations for Digital. Coming over to Clear Channel from his most recent position as COO and general manager of The Huffington Post, Brian Kaminsky will join the company’s digital division as executive vice president of operations, effective immediately. Kaminsky will report to CC president of digital Brian Lakamp and will be based out of New York City. Kaminsky’s charge will be to oversee digital advertising operations, customer support, product analytics and partner operations across the suite of Clear Channel’s digital products including iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s industry leading digital radio service, and its vast network of station websites. His responsibilities will also include setting best practices for the management and modernization of digital ad inventory, and working with sales and product teams to define and develop new ad products. Lakamp states, “Having Brian on board as the EVP of operations illustrates Clear Channel’s commitment to hiring exceptional, innovative talent that will continue to strengthen our position as a market leader. His business management skills and experience in optimizing the use of digital advertising inventory within technology-driven organizations will be a great asset to both our advertisers and the Clear Channel digital team.” Prior to his work at The Huffington Post, Kaminsky was vice president of global revenue operations at Reuters Media, where he supervised yield management systems for desktop, video, mobile and digital out-of-home advertising products.
SiriusXM Names James Meyer CEO. James Meyer has been serving as interim chief executive officer for SiriusXM Satellite Radio since Mel Karmazin resigned from the position last fall. Now, the company gives him the job officially. SiriusXM chairman Gregory Maffei states, “After a thorough search of excellent candidates, we are delighted to name Jim as the CEO of SiriusXM, where he will continue to lead a very strong executive team. Jim is a highly qualified leader and operator and we look forward to working with him to build on SiriusXM’s position as the innovator in audio entertainment. He has been a vital part of SiriusXM for close to a decade, and his extensive knowledge of SiriusXM’s business and significant industry experience will be invaluable assets in the highly competitive market within which SiriusXM is thriving. Jim’s leadership, strategic vision and operating focus are exactly what SiriusXM needs today and in the future.”
Debate of Future of Dashboard Front and Center in Detroit. In a piece published in the Detroit News on April 29, the topic of the future of the AM/FM radio in the automobile dashboard was addressed and Gartner Inc. vice president Thilo Koslowski says he believes that by the year 2020 “I feel very confident that many consumers will consume radio content through avenues other than terrestrial broadcast.” Right now, the big three are still providing AM/FM radios in new cars and plan to do so for the foreseeable future but, obviously, they are also adding the digital technology that people want. Ford’s Jim Buczkowski says, “We’re trying to give them lots of different options.” As the piece points out, it costs money to listen to internet audio – it comes from the users’ data plans. Though Koslowski says he believes that it just makes more sense to listen via Wi-Fi or data plan and that carriers will “get more creative with their data plans” allowing people to listen more cheaply. When Detroit Electric unveils its first model in August of this year, it will not have an AM/FM radio. Users will plug in their smartphones. Still, other analysts say the free and simple nature of AM/FM radio is something that carmakers will be conscious of before they take the drastic step of eliminating it from the dash and risk alienating customers. Read the Detroit News piece here.
WNYM, New York’s Curtis Sliwa and Jeffrey Lichtman Debut Remote Mayoral Candidate Roundtable. Tonight is the first in a series of mayoral candidate roundtable broadcasts produced by Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “970 The Answer” and hosted by the station’s Curtis Sliwa (right) and Jeffrey Lichtman (left). This evening’s program will emanate from the Statler Grill on 33rd and 7th from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Sliwa states, “This is the first mayoral election in over a decade that has a wide open primary contest on both sides of the aisle, along with a viable independent candidate. Folks need to know what’s going on and it’s our duty as broadcasters and New Yorkers to bring it to them. All the viable mayoral candidates are invited.” WNYM vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley states, “It is this kind of live and local broadcasting that sets AM970 apart in the market. Curtis Sliwa is the quintessential New York broadcaster on New York’s radio home for live and local broadcasting.”
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington teams up with Allbritton Communications’ WJLA-TV, Washington “ABC7” on a joint traffic reporting partnership. Under the arrangement, WTOP will become the exclusive morning traffic home to ABC7. ABC7 reporter Amanda Meadows will be reporting live for ABC7 from the WTOP “Glass-enclosed nerve center” during ABC7’s “Good Morning Washington.” The reports will air six times an hour from 5:00 am to 7:00 am and two times an hour from 7:00 am to 9:00 am weekday mornings. Meadows’ reports will be produced by veteran traffic reporter/producer Rob Woodfork…..KYW, Philadelphia account executive Adam Baldwin is promoted to local sales manager for the CBS Radio all-news outlet. Vice president and director of sales Jim Loftus states, “Adam has excelled as an account executive at KYW, and in his pointing key clients across the CBS platform. He brings a fresh perspective to our management team. We look forward to his insight and talent in growing our family of advertisers, and further developing our sales team.”
KIDO, Boise’s Kevin Miller Gets Local Accolades. Morning drive talk host Kevin Miller – heard daily on Peak Broadcasting’s KIDO, Boise – was named best radio host by local television station KTVB as part of its “7’s Best” awards. Miller tells TALKERS magazine his program topped all of the other radio stations and their morning shows in the market. Miller (right) is pictured here in a piece that aired during KTVB’s news. KTVB’s Larry Gebert interviewed Miller and the two spoke at length about the community work Miller’s program has done including assisting local non-profits that aid the homeless as well as keeping the community aware of the plight of local Army soldier Bowe Bergdahl – the only American still held captive from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath, Middle East Turmoil, Cold Spring Weather, and NBA Player Comes Out Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/29). The ongoing investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing; military activity in Syria and Israel; the cold spring weather affecting much of the U.S.; and the coming out of NBA player Jason Collins were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group forms Podcast Giant Launchpad Digital Media. Courtside Entertainment Group CEO Norm Pattiz (pictured below at left) enters into a partnership with digital, online and podcast sales pioneer Kit Gray (below at right) to form a new division of Courtside Entertainment Group called Launchpad Digital Media. Courtside states that the podcast platform includes some of the biggest names in digital entertainment including: Adam Carolla, Bill Burr, CBS News, Afterbuzz TV with Maria Menuounos, Jay Mohr, Dr. Drew, Chris Hardwick (The Nerdist), Mark & Lynda, Brian & Jill, and Penn Jillette. Launchpad will also be home to the Sideshow Network, The Fake Mustache Network, Riotcast Network, Splitsider Network and the Toad Hop Network making Launchpad one of the industry’s largest players. Kit Gray will serve as president and COO of Launchpad Digital Media. In a statement announcing the new company, Pattiz says, “Podcasts represent one of the fastest growing segments of digital media. Kit Gray has a great track record of success in this important space and brings with him not only knowledge and energy, but the revenue and cash flow to prove it. He brings Courtside instant access not only for our existing programs but for the development of future programming that will live on the Launchpad platform.” Gray states, “Forming a partnership with Norm Pattiz, the founder of Westwood One, with his incredible vision and history of working with the top talent is an unbelievable opportunity. This partnership, as a division of Courtside, allows us to offer all of our existing clients more resources to expand their products and deliver more audience to develop the advertiser support that will benefit us all.” Speaking about this new effort, Patty Newmark of Newmark Advertising says, “The digital space for audio is growing exponentially and has allowed us to extend additional opportunities to our clients. Having a highly respected leader of the radio industry like Norm Pattiz form a new venture with Kit Gray, an expert in the area of digital media, is very exciting. These two innovators working together will create important opportunities within the changing media landscape.” Courtside notes that Kit Gray has represented programming that exceeds a half-billion podcast downloads annually. He’s worked with media agencies throughout the nation, served as a division manager for Clear Channel (Katz 360 Digital), was the director of advertising for Verizon’s EV-DO networks Amp’d Mobile and was the recipient of the “Seller of the Year” award for Katz Media Group.
Mel Karmazin to Leave SiriusXM in February. Just how and when Mel Karmazin was going to leave SiriusXM was really the question – that he was leaving was pretty much a foregone conclusion to most industry watchers. Now we know Karmazin will exit his CEO role with the satcaster and he will resign from the company’s board of directors on February 1, 2013. In a public statement, Karmazin says, “SiriusXM is an extraordinary company with an incredible team. It is an honor to come to work here every day where we truly deliver the best radio on radio. I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished. Given where we started, it is amazing that SiriusXM has grown to become the largest radio company in the world. With a deep bench of corporate talent, a roster that includes the most in-demand on-air personalities and a wide range of exclusive programming, SiriusXM has never been better positioned than it is today. We continue to grow our subscriber base to record levels and our financial position has never been stronger. Importantly, the commitment to delivering innovative new products and technologies is very strong. SiriusXM has a strong foundation to build on for the future and there is a great team in place to keep the company moving forward. I am confident that SiriusXM’s best years are ahead.” The press release includes a statement from SiriusXM board chairman Eddy Hartenstein. He says, “On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Mel for his significant contributions to the company. Under his leadership, the company underwent a transformative merger and a financial restructuring that has enabled SiriusXM to deliver significant value for shareholders. Our record breaking financial results are a testament to Mel’s leadership and strategic planning and we continue to exceed our expectations with all-time high subscriber numbers. Thanks to Mel, we are well positioned for long-term growth and value creation. We will miss Mel – and the board wishes him the very best in his future endeavors.”
More Changes at WGN, Chicago as John Williams to Leave Midday Show. John Williams will continue with Tribune’s WGN, Chicago through the end of the year but, beginning in January, he and his family will return to the Minneapolis area and Williams will give his full attention to his afternoon drive show at CBS Radio’s WCCO which he’s been doing from Chicago for some time. WGN program director Bill White states, “John is a great broadcaster and has been a valued member of the WGN Radio family. While we are sad to see him go, we are happy for John and his family that they are able to return to Minneapolis, where they lived before moving to Chicago. We wish him all the best and know that he will continue to shine in his role at WCCO.” Williams indicates this is a decision he’s been considering for a while. “I decided some time ago to do just one show – as well as I can – and that one will be at WCCO. Both stations and staffs deserve as much.” WGN is seeking his replacement and expects to name the new host of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program in the coming weeks.
Shamrock Communications Officially Announces Today’s Launch of KNEWS in Reno. Yesterday, TALKERS reported the debut of one of four new FM signals Shamrock Communications is putting on the air in the Reno market. The company officially announces the launch of KNEZ-FM “107.3 KNews” today and 13-year radio veteran Sean Patrick is a big part of the station. Patrick, who is the station’s news director, will also host the PM drive show as well as serve as the voice of Wolf Pack football and the Reno Bighorns. Director of broadcast operations for the station is Willobee Carlan. Sean Patrick states that with the ever-changing political climate, people want something new, “There’s too much confrontation on the airwaves and not enough conversation. We will bring a much more level-headed conversational tone to political talk. Neither side is 100% right nor 100% wrong. We want you to be a part of the conversation. KNEWS Reno is ‘The Conversation Station!’” The station will air Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck in AM drive followed by Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish and Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries in the evenings.
Mark Levin-founded Landmark Legal Foundation to Sue EPA. Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Mark Levin explained the Landmark Legal Foundation’s intent to sue the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency on his program on Monday. Levin stated the suit centers around new environmental rules set to kick in for which the public has not been given notice. According to The Examiner, the Landmark Legal Foundation requested the documents through the Freedom of Information Act months ago but the records have not been turned over. The organization also petitioned the federal court to block administrator of the EPA Lisa Jackson and her agency from issuing any new regulations until the agency releases the documents.
WEEI, Boston Debuts New Baseball Show. Playing the “hits” in New England on a sports talk station means talking about Red Sox baseball no matter what time of year it is. To that end, Entercom Boston vice president of programming and operations Jason Wolfe announces a new weekly program hosted by Kirk Minihane and WEEI.com Red Sox insiders Rob Bradford and Alex Speier called “Red Sox Hot Stove.” The one-hour program debuts tomorrow night and airs from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm Thursdays through February 14. Wolfe says the program will be focused exclusively on the Red Sox and will include regular interviews with Sox GM Ben Cherington as well as many other Sox beat writers and columnists who will provide unique information and insight. “This is has been a very difficult season for Red Sox fans, but it also means that the off season will be incredibly meaningful. There will be more Red Sox talk this off season than in any other in recent memory given the needs of the team, and this show will provide listeners with the most up to date information as it happens.”
Nationally Syndicated Host Dr. Ken Kronhaus Featured in AARP/Crest Health Campaign. As host of the nationally syndicated Stephan Multimedia weekend production “Good Day Health” and frequent contributor to Doug Stephan’s daily “Good Day” syndicated morning show, Dr. Ken Kronhaus is a well-known voice in health media. Now, he is working with AARP and Crest on a campaign featuring Dr. Kronhaus that includes custom content provided by him promoting the idea that the mouth is the gateway to your overall health. Dr. Kronhaus also serves as AARP health-editor-at-large.
Post-Debate Analysis, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Attack Controversy, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/23). Analysis of the candidates’ performance in the final presidential debate; the most recent polls of the presidential campaign, new information indicating the White House knew the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was terrorist related; and the turbulent week of activity in the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers New Media Seminar LA set for Thursday, October 11 is Sold Out! The agenda is basically set and most of the sponsors announced for the forthcoming Los Angeles installment of TALKERS magazine’s two-part New Media Seminar 2012 (the first part took place in New York on June 7). 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. Registration has only been open to working media. A registration “stand-by” list is being maintained until this Friday (10/5) for those willing to take a chance. Some sponsorships however are still available. For stand-by registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. The agenda for the event is as follows:
9:00 am – 9:50 am
Bagel Breakfast Party
Sponsored by Brent’s Deli
9:50 am – 10:00 am
Speaker: Michael Harrison, Publisher, TALKERS
10:00 am – 10:15 am
Speaker: Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment
10:20 am – 11:00 am
“The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio”
Moderator: Michael Harrison, Publisher, TALKERS
Panelists (in alphabetical order):
Phil Boyce, VP/Director, Spoken Word Format, Salem Communications
Ron Hartenbaum, President, WYD Media
Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC
Don Martin, VP Programming, Fox Sports Radio/OM KLAC, Los Angeles
Mike McVay, Senior VP Programming, Cumulus Media
Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News
11:05 am – 11:20 am
“Interactivity and Video: The Key to Your Business Future”
Speaker: Walter Sabo, Chairman, Sabo Media
11:25 am – 11:35 am
“The Radio Personality as Entrepreneur”
Introduction: Jeff Wasserman, President, Life Coach Media
Speaker: Ken Rutkowski, host, “Business Rock Stars,” KFWB, Los Angeles
11: 40 am – 12:20 pm
“The Challenges of Hosting a Talk Show in 2012”
Moderator: Mike Kinosian, Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief, TALKERS
Jerry Doyle, Host, Talk Radio Network
Heidi Harris, Host, KRLA, Los Angeles
Lars Larson, Host, Compass Media Networks/ KXL, Portland
Doug Stephan, Host, “Good Day”
Alan Stock, Host, KDWN, Las Vegas
Eric Weiss, president, The Weiss Agency
12:25 pm – 12:40 pm
“Woman of the Year Award”
Introduction: Carole Marks, CEO, Talk Media, Inc.
Presenter: Stephanie Miller, Host, WYD Media
Recipient: Robin Bertolucci, PD KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles
Sponsored by TuneIn
12:45 pm – 1:00 pm
“Database Your Tribe…Now!”
Speaker, Holland Cooke, Consultant, Holland Cooke Media
1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
Sponsored by Brent’s Deli
1:50 pm – 2:20 pm
“Making Money in Talk Radio: Challenges and Opportunities”
Introduction: Michael Zwerling, President, Michael Zwerling Media/Owner KSCO, Santa Cruz
Moderator: Brent Seltzer, Host, Podjockey
Bob Moore, President, Courtside Entertainment
Rusty Humphries, Host, Talk Radio Network/WGST, Atlanta
Michael Zwerling, President, Michael Zwerling Media/Owner KSCO, Santa Cruz
Sponsored by Michael Zwerling Media
2:25 pm – 3:05 pm
“The State of Talk Programming”
Moderator: Kevin Casey, VP/Executive Editor TALKERS
Panelists (in alphabetical order):
Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno
Kevin LaRue, PD KSL, Salt Lake City
Andy Ludlum, PD, KNX, Los Angeles
Garret Lewis, PD/morning host, KNST, Tucson
Dave Sniff, PD, KFMB, San Diego
Chuck Tyler, PD, KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles
Sponsored by Premiere Networks
3:10 pm – 3:45 pm
“The Modern Day Pioneers”
Moderator: Patt Morrison, Host/Interviewer, KPCC, Los Angeles; Columnist, Los Angeles Times
Panelists (in alphabetical order):
Ian Freeman, Co-Host, Free Talk Live
Sam Hasson, President/Founder, LATalkRadio.com
Michael Horn, CEO, CRN Digital Talk
Tom Leykis, President/Host, The New Normal
Shadoe Stevens, Host, Mental Radio, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio
Sponsored by CRN Digital Talk
3:45 pm – 4:20 pm
“The Art of the Show”
Moderator: Bill Moran, President, Bill Moran & Associates
Panelists (in alphabetical order):
Jerry Doyle, Host, Talk Radio Network
Bill Handel, Host, KFI, Los Angeles
Karel, Host, KGO, San Francisco
Neil Larrimore, PD, KFYI/KGME, Phoenix
Eric Stanger, VP Operations, The Sean Hannity Show, Premiere Networks
Sponsored by TRN
4:20 pm – 5:00 pm
Afternoon Sessions and Keynote
Americans for Limited Government, BMX/XtreMedia, Brent’s Deli, Christie Communications, Comrex Corporation, CRN Digital Talk, Federation for American Immigration Reform, Focus Communications, Inc., Free Talk Live, LATalkRadio.com, Life Coach Media, Podjockey, Premiere Networks, Talk Radio Network, Talk Radio News Service, TuneIn, WYD Media, Michael Zwerling Media.
September PPM Numbers: Some Talk and Sports Highlights. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian reports on the September PPM numbers rolling in and notes the movement of some stations of interest to talk and sports radio watchers.
- In market #7 Washington, DC, a nine-tenths August-September improvement helps propel American University‘s WAMU to #1, unseating Hubbard‘s WTOP-FM (#3), which slides -1.1 to 7.1, the news outlet’s lowest point since April’s 6.5.
- For the sixth straight month, Washington Nationals’ flagship WJFK-FM (CBS Radio‘s “The Fan”) bests Red Zebra format rival WTEM (“The Team”), however, WTEM (#20) gains one-half share and WJFK-FM (#18) is down one-tenth.
- In market #8 Philadelphia, gaining one-half share are CBS Radio’s “Sports Radio 94 WIP-FM” (3.7, #12) and public news/talk WHYY (3.5, #13).
- For the seventh straight month, “Newsradio 1060 KYW” is in the 6.1 – 6.7 range (6.5, -.2 from August) and, as in August, the CBS Radio-owned facility is #1.
- In market #9 Atlanta, in August, WSB-AM had a 4.8, which was its lowest 6+ share since registering a 4.2 in September 2010. The Cox Radio talk outlet bounces back though with a +.9 to 5.7 and ranks fifth, versus #9 in August.
- In market #10 Boston, remember “Rush Radio” on WXKS-AM? That was how the Clear Channel talk station positioned itself for about one year, beginning in March 2010. In mid-August of this year, Rush Limbaugh surfaced on cross-town WRKO and the Entercom talker gains nine-tenths to 2.4, its strongest 6+-share since March (2.5).
- For the first time in the last seven monthlies, New England Patriots flagship WBZ-FM (CBS Radio-owned “The Sports Hub”) overtakes Entercom format competitor WEEI-FM. The two sports properties were tied in March (3.5) with WEEI-FM holding the upper hand from April through August. In September though, WBZ-FM gains eight-tenths (4.5, #8) while Red Sox flagship WEEI-FM drops two-tenths (4.1, #9).
For more PPM data and ratings analysis, visit the ratings section at our sister publication RadioInfo’s site here.
FCC to Consider Liberty Media Control of Sirius. The FCC is calling for public comment on Liberty Media Corp.’s application to take de jure (legal) control of Sirius XM Radio. Sirius did not sign that application, filed in August, but the Commission is deciding to move forward anyway. Back in May, the FCC turned down a request for de facto (effective) control by Liberty, which now has an effective 48% stake in the satellite radio company. Petitions to deny are due November 1, initial opposition due November 13, and final rebuttals by November 20, likely to be followed by several weeks of FCC deliberation. The two companies have been at odds for a long time with John Malone’s Liberty looking to takeover Sirius. In 2009, Sirius received a $530 million loan from Liberty to avoid bankruptcy. There’s much speculation about Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin’s plans if Liberty gains control. His contract with Sirius is up at end of this year. As reported yesterday, Karmazin is speaking at Liberty’s 2012 investor conference in New York on October 10, just two weeks before the first public comments are due at the FCC.
Saga Declares Special Cash Dividend. The Saga board announces a special cash dividend of about $7 million — a dividend of $1.65 per Class A or B Common Stock. Shareholders of record on November 15 receive the dividend, funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet, on December 3. Ed Christian’s Saga, headquartered in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, owns or operates radio and TV stations in 26 markets and four regional radio networks.
Upgrade to FREE. Radio consultant Holland Cooke’s latest piece for TALKERS is about some of the tools of the media trade – namely netbooks and tablets. But it’s about more than that if you step back and look at the big picture. He points to digital app expert Beth Ziesenis – AskBethZ – as someone who cuts through with her message (and her business) because she’s clearly focused on her objective. Read what Holland Cooke has to say about these issues here.
Odds & Sods. SiriusXM will feature “Pete Dominick’s Electoral College Tour” on its POTUS channel prior to each presidential debate, beginning this evening in Denver. Dominick is a stand-up comedian and regular on the POTUS channel and his special shows will emanate from the University of Denver, Hofstra University and the University of Virginia in which he’ll host a special one-hour forum with students and faculty – before the presidential debate and live from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET – to talk about the issues that matter most to them in this election…..Chicago Bulls home basketball games will be heard in Spanish on Univision’s WRTO, Chicago “La Tremenda 1200” through the 2014-2015 season. Omar Ramos and Matt Moreno have the play-by-play.
Benghazi Security Request Controversy, Presidential Debate Preview, Pennsylvania Voter ID Rule Blocked, and Iran Nukes Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/2). Controversy over a report the U.S. consulate in Benghazi requested more security but was denied prior to the attack on the Libyan embassy; Wednesday’s coming presidential debate; a part of Pennsylvania’s voter ID law is struck down; and Iran’s nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talk Radio Wraps Up Major Week of High-Profile Broadcasting and News Gathering. The Republican National Convention week was a busy one for the country’s news/talk stations as well as more than 100 outlets that chose to broadcast live from radio row in Tampa and many more than that sent hosts, staffers and news people to the city to cover the convention and report back to their markets. According to a report issued to TALKERS by the Republican National Committee, this year’s radio row generated some 1,551 radio interviews smashing 2008’s record of 1,263. The convention radio row is not only fertile ground upon which to produce a live broadcast with a huge pool of political experts, candidates and surrogates available as guests in one compact location, but it is also an opportunity to get some national attention as Compass Media Networks’ Todd Schnitt did on Fox News Channel (upper left photo). Talk hosts in major markets and nationally syndicated stars certainly have the ability to book big-name guests via phone but the chance to actually rub elbows with big political stars, speak with them face-to-face and chat in a “live” situation is unique to this political season. It also provides members of the talk radio community with a place and reason to meet and network in a working situation conducive to enhancing existing relationships and forging new ones. The Ernest Istook program, hosted by the former congressman and produced by WYD Media, also emanated from the convention site this week and gave Istook the opportunity to chat with U.S. Rep. and former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (here at right).
Yankees Baseball Stays on WCBS, New York for at Least One More Season. The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick reported it earlier yesterday and CBS Radio confirms it in a release. Apparently the Yankees have rejected overtures from ESPN to join the company’s new FM-enhanced sports talk outlet WEPN for they will stay with WCBS for the 2013 season. Numerous industry watchers had expected to see a big bidding war for Yankees baseball and perhaps we’ll see that next season but if this report is correct, it’ll be another year before CBS Radio and Disney/ESPN battle it out for Yankees rights.
Bill Rehkopf Returns to KDKA, Pittsburgh. The former morning news man at CBS Radio’s KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh returns to the Steel City after being involved in the start-up of the company’s Washington, DC all-newser WNEW-FM. Rehkopf was the featured morning drive anchor at the station. Now, he’ll anchor KDKA-AM’s “KDKA Afternoon News” from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Current anchor Rose Ryan-Douglas remains with the station to work on the PM drive show. In a statement, Rehkopf says, “Working in the nation’s capital was extremely exciting and rewarding. However, my family and I have deep roots in Pittsburgh and this is a terrific opportunity at KDKA. It’s a perfect professional fit for me and works well for my family. I look forward to providing Pittsburgh with a quality program of essential news, information and entertainment to wrap up their work day.”
Reports of Mel Selling Sirius XM Shares Raises Eyebrows. In a release issued after yesterday’s closing bell, news from Sirius XM Satellite Radio that CEO Mel Karmazin will be selling an additional 30 million shares of the publicly traded company (Sirius XM SIRI) this fall has both Wall Street and radio industry observers speculating as to what it means. Considering the timing involved – Mel’s contract is up this year and major investor Liberty Media (LMCA) is closing in seeking control – there is evidence to support the educated guess that the company’s chief is heading for the door. Other possibilities include that Mel is simply cashing in his chips for a job clearly well done or that it is a maneuver to throw an obstacle in the way of Liberty taking control. The price to exercise the 30 million options shares is $0.43. This means the shares will cost Karmazin $12,900,000. If he were to sell them all at $2.50 the price would be a cool $75,000,000, delivering a profit of $62,100,000. Analyst Spencer Osbourne writes in the Seeking Alpha newsletter, “I can imagine that the news relating to an insider at Sirius XM selling 30,000,000 shares will not be well received by the market. Be prepared, because this news is going to cause some wild speculation and debate. I would not be surprised to see the stock price move down on this news. Between the Liberty cloud and now the Karmazin cloud, the uncertainty is building for Sirius XM.”
NBC Sports Radio Announces Affiliates for Next Week’s Launch. As NBC Sports Radio and partner Dial Global prepare to debut their late night and overnight sports talk radio shows and hourly sports news reports on Tuesday, September 4, the list of affiliates for the programming is being made public. The build-up to a national affiliate base with a big rollout is always a challenge and NBC is gearing up with a lot of medium and small market stations for its sports talk shows and has some major market clears on small or outlying signals. For example, The Amani & Eytan 10:00 pm to 1:00 am show will air in markets including Huntsville, Santa Barbara, Evansville and Roanoke. But it will also clear secondary signals in the Washington, DC, Denver and Charlotte markets. Both Amani & Eytan and the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm Erik Kusilias show will be heard on WPOP, Hartford. To see where the shows will debut, click here.
Emmis Delivers Good News to Staff in the Form of Bonuses. Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan issued an e-mail memo to staffers informing them that they would be receiving cash bonuses to reward their loyalty and dedication to the company during these tough economic times. Full-time employees will be getting a $1,000 bonus while part-time staffers will each get $250.
Salem Communications to Pay Q3 Dividend. The board of directors of Salem Communications declares a dividend for the third quarter of 2012 that will pay shareholders of Class A and Class B common stock 3 and ½ cents per share. The dividend will be paid to all shareholders of record as of September 14 and will be paid on September 28.
Katie Couric’s TV Talk Show to Debut on September 10. The show, titled simply, “Katie,” will be broadcast in syndication beginning on Monday, September 10 and all media eyes will be on the television legend as she begins a new chapter in her career. She was once the most popular personality in morning talk television but Katie Couric left to take the helm of the “CBS Evening News,” a job that even her harshest critics would admit is probably beyond anyone’s ability to succeed in this day and age. But as Howard Kurtz examines in his excellent piece in the Daily Beast, the question is whether Couric’s newsy approach to issues and distant personality will grab daytime TV viewers. Couric clearly appears to be bucking the trend in what makes successful daytime talk TV but she appears determined. Read Kurtz’s piece here.
Attention Radio Sales Staffers! Your Job Was Born 90 Years Ago This Week. This week marks the 90th anniversary of the first sale of radio time. It was back in 1922 when New York radio station WEAF – owned by Bell Telephone Company – sold a 10-minute commercial to the Hawthorne Court Apartments in Jackson Heights, New York for $50. At about 5:00 pm on August 28, 1922 a pitch for the apartment complex was made to anyone who happened to be listening and the business of commercial radio was born. It didn’t take off like a rocket, as radio historians will tell you, but it certainly was the beginning of an industry. NPR produced a fantastic segment commemorating this event. Listen to the segment or read the transcript at NPR’s site here. (Photo: MTM Enterprises)
The Economy, Health Care and Foreign Policy Issues Topped the Talkers TenTM for the Week of August 27 – 31. These issues, as related to the presidential campaign and set against the backdrop of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. Coming in at #2 on this week’s chart was the RNC speeches. At #3 was the mainstream media’s coverage of the RNC and the firing of Yahoo! News bureau chief David Chalain and at #4 was Tropical Storm Isaac. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top talk topics as discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon and “Jill on Money” join the program lineup at WZKT, Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland…..Benztown Radio Network morning show “The Todd N Tyler Radio Empire” hosted by Mike Tyler and Todd Brandt replaces the syndicated version of Mark & Brian at KXFM, Santa Maria/San Luis Obispo…..“Malcolm Out Loud” is added to the programming at KKYT, Ridgecrest, California.
Gow Communications to Pay $5.17 Million for KFNC, Houston. The sale of sports talk outlet KFNC, Houston to Gow and Educational Media Foundation that was announced in the spring is coming close to the finish line as David Gow and company should begin LMAing the station Cumulus put into bankruptcy protection as early as September 1. The station – positioned as ESPN 97.7 – is expected to continue to broadcast ESPN programming at least for a while. Gow also operates crosstown sports talk KGOW and Yahoo! Sports Radio and there have been some changes there with Travis Rodgers moving to the early afternoon slot on both KGOW and the national network. KGOW is preparing to debut Adam Clanton and John Wessling in the afternoon drive slot, according to David Barron of the Houston Chronicle. Clanton currently works for KPRC-TV but will wrap up his role with the station this weekend. As for the Yahoo! Sports Radio network, a new PM drive show is being developed and will be announced soon. The network’s Craig Shemon returns to weekends from the midday slot.
Heidi and Frank Return to the Terrestrial Airwaves in Los Angeles. Cumulus Media names Heidi Hamilton and Frank Kramer the new morning show on KLOS, Los Angeles, taking over for Mark & Brian beginning September 4. Brian Phelps surprised the industry last week announcing he would also be leaving the Cumulus classic rocker at the same time Mark Thompson would, although Thompson made his decision to retire public earlier this summer. Cumulus COO John Dickey told TALKERS over the weekend that Brian Phelps was “part of a large consideration pool” of candidates for the new morning program. In announcing “The Heidi and Frank Show,” Dickey states, “After a long and thoughtful search which overwhelmed us with great, established talent and new talent waiting to be discovered both in and out of radio, I couldn’t be more pleased with the selection of ‘The Heidi and Frank Show’ to continue on the tradition that Mark and Brian set in place with 25 years of Hall of Fame radio.” Hamilton and Kramer have been producing an internet radio show since CBS Radio shut down hot talk KLSX, Los Angeles in a format flip. The Frosty, Heidi and Frank program (with Frosty Stillwell) aired there successfully for years. They also worked at KABC after the demise of KLSX. Prior to the KLSX era Hamilton and Kramer hosted the morning show at crosstown Hot AC KYSR. On the new gig, Heidi Hamilton states, “KLOS is rock. KLOS is the definitive iconic rock radio station in the world. It’s one of those stations that evokes a feel good emotion while you’re driving in your car. I’m beyond honored that Frank Kramer and I have been invited to become a part of something so legendary! The ‘Heidi and Frank Show’ fans are second to NONE and I know they will be with us on this long fun ride together.” Frank Kramer comments, “If it would have been any other station than KLOS, I would have said no. We have a huge following across the world and only a station as large and iconic as KLOS could lure us back to radio. To be given this opportunity is an honor and a privilege. With the continued support from my partner, Heidi Hamilton, and the fans that never left us, and the fans waiting for us to return, the next 25 years are going to be one hell of a ride.”
The Battle for Control over Sirius XM Continues and the Momentum Seems to be Shifting in Favor of John Malone’s Liberty Media. Yes, what seemed like an odd story just a matter of months ago has developed into a high stakes big business drama. John Malone and Liberty Media, the company that rescued the merged satellite radio company from burning up in the atmosphere back in 2009 by gobbling up 40% ownership at what has turned out to be a super good deal for them has asked the FCC for approval to take outright control of Sirius XM Radio, noting it plans to raise its stake in the satellite radio company above 50%. The request follows disclosure earlier this week that Liberty, SiriusXM’s largest shareholder, was inching up its collection of shares in Sirius from approximately 46.2% to an aggressively postured 48%. In last week’s filing, Liberty said it will “have purchased sufficient shares of Sirius’s common stock and will convert its preferred shares such that the transfer of control will be completed within 60 days of commission consent.” Raising its stake above 50% and being granted FCC approval to take absolute control opens the way for Liberty to replace Sirius management and spin its Sirius stake off to Liberty shareholders. But would replacing Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin be a wise move? Probably not. Although coldly brash and hard-nosed as they come, Karmazin is an extremely effective radio broadcast executive and business strategist who has done a world class job of getting Sirius XM to its present state of health. Reports from inside Liberty indicate that John Malone recognizes that and is giving “Mel” wiggle room to back pedal off his earlier blurts that he wouldn’t work for anyone else. There is a huge lesson here for wannabe broadcast industry moguls (and there sure are a lot of them out there): When you turn to venture capitalists and outside big money investors to save your ass, they will likely wind up owning it.
In Search of the Effective Commercial. There’s a trend away from humorous commercials in radio, according to H-and-H Communications president Al Herskovitz. Research indicates Madison Avenue is questioning the effectiveness of funny ads and, as it applies to talk radio advertising, Herskovitz writes that the “recognizable spokesperson” – read, the talk show host – is much more effective. But there are still problems there that need to be solved. Read Al Herskovitz’s piece here.
Courtside Entertainment’s “Loveline” Clears Tampa Market. Cox Media’s FM hot talker WHPT, Tampa – The Bone – adds Courtside Entertainment Group’s “Loveline” featuring Dr. Drew Pinsky, Mike Catherwood and Simone Bienne for the 1:00 am to 3:00 am slot. “Loveline” becomes part of Cox’s young male-targeted talk outlet that features Bubba the Love Sponge in morning drive and Cowhead in PM drive.
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington hosts a special “school” edition of its “Ask the…” program today at 10:00 am. Mark Seagraves serves as moderator for the commercial-free hour featuring a Q&A session with superintendents and school board officials from Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Fairfax County and the District of Columbia…..Entercom’s New England sports talk juggernaut WEEI produces the 11th Annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon beginning today and running through tomorrow. The fundraising extravaganza takes place live from Fenway Park from 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight both days. Last year the event raised more than $3.3 million for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute…..Nationally syndicated radio host Phil Grande of the “Phil’s Gang” program will broadcast his show live from the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week with broadcasts starting at 3:00 pm ET. Grande will have special guests Donald Trump, Florida Governor Rick Scott and Sarasota Republican Chairman Joe Gruters plus many other guests. In addition, he will have up to the minute news, updates and of course his own commentary. The 2012 Republican National Convention is being held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum August 27-30, 2012.
CBS Radio News Announces Convention Coverage. Dial Global and CBS Radio News will deliver coverage from the two national conventions – the Republican National Convention in Tampa August 27 through 30 and the Democratic National Convention September 4 through 6. Coverage plans include anchored coverage, updates, special reports, special features, and one-on-one interviews with correspondents, pundits and political experts. CBS Radio News states it will “provide expert reporting and analysis, featuring an experienced lineup of respected and award-winning correspondents and commentators, including Howard Arenstein, Pam Coulter, Peter King, Dan Raviv, Peter Maer, Andrew Mollenbeck, Brian Montopoli and Professors Dotty Lynch and Leonard Steinhorn.
Los Angeles Radio Personality Paul Crosswhite Passes Away. Southern California newsman and DJ Paul Crosswhite died on August 17 after a long illness. Crosswhite served as a news person at both KFI and KNX-FM during his career. He also was an evening and morning drive host at KTWV, Los Angeles – The Wave – for 10 years. According to LARadio.com’s Don Barrett, “Crosswhite did news during most of his tenure in Southern California radio and has received Golden Mike Awards for documentary, feature and best newscast. He did news during the glory years of KNX-FM. During the Gulf War, he won the Associated Press Award for best newscast. When he moved to “the Wave,” he gave up news to become a DJ, originally in the evenings and, later, mornings after the female morning drive team collapsed.”
Romney-Ryan Team, Obama Medicare Cuts, Facebook Stock Plummets and Syria Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20). The Mitt Romney–Paul Ryan ticket hitting the campaign trail full-swing; President Obama’s cuts to Medicare; the sagging stock price of Facebook; and the ongoing violence in Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Sirius XM Stock Soaring While John Malone’s Liberty Media Inches Toward Control. Yesterday’s $2.55 closing figure was satcaster Sirius XM’s (“SIRI”) best showing in more than four years. That’s the good news for CEO Mel Karmazin and his crew. The worrisome news, however, is the undeniable fact that John Malone’s Liberty Media – the company that rescued Sirius XM in 2009 by investing in 40% of the company at a bargain price – is closing in on acquiring the needed 50.1% ownership that would give it a controlling interest. Subsequent to the 2009 bail out, Liberty has been buying Sirius XM stock on the open market recently purchasing about 90 million shares at around $2.50 each. According to TALKERS sister trade publication Radio-Info, those transactions plus a “forward sale” agreement would bring Liberty’s interest to about 48% creating a behind the scenes radio reality show nail-biter.
Rick Roberts Lands at America’s Radio News Network. Veteran radio talk show host Rick Roberts has been named news co-anchor at America’s Radio News Network. Roberts, also a lawyer, has been heard in his 20 year career on such heritage outlets as KOA, Denver; KCMO, Kansas City; KRLD, Dallas; KOGO and most recently KFMB in San Diego. His is known for a distinctive style of getting the story “behind the story.” Commenting on how pleased he is to be working with ARNN CEO Mark Masters, Roberts tells TALKERS, “He is a man of true vision. Masters’ groundbreaking concept of journalism without agenda is needed in America now more than ever.” America’s Radio News Network, which offers 15 hours of syndicated long-form programming per week is now heard nationally on over 340 affiliates taking one or more of its five three-hour news segments.
Sandusky Scandal Impacts Pennsylvania Radio Station. Political scandal and questionable talk host remarks are not the only form of controversy that impacts spoken word radio’s ability to sell advertising and maintain a balanced competitive image. According to an Associated Press report, after 20 years of faithfully broadcasting Penn State football games to its loyal fandom, talker WAEB, Allentown, Pennsylvania finds itself at a crossroads between airing the school’s upcoming season (which kicks off September 1 against Ohio University) and pleasing the overwhelmingly large percentage of listeners who have let the station know they want to hear the games — while dealing with timid sponsors who are less enthusiastic about being associated with the scandal. Station management states they need about 10 sponsors to fund a full season of Penn State football. Prior to the Jerry Sandusky scandal it was always an instant sellout. So far they only have four.
Odds & Sods. The Minnestota Twins will be moving their live broadcasts from Hubbard-owned 1500ESPN, Minneapolis at the end of the season and begin airing games on KTWN 96.3FM beginning with the 2013 season. Their new radio home is owned by the Pohlad family – same folks who own the team. This is the first time the Twins games will be aired exclusively on FM….None other than President Obama was interviewed on sports talker KXNO, Des Moines to talk sports but Politico reports he snuck in a bit of politics when asked how playing sports was similar to being president stating, “It also turns out that political reporters are a lot like sports reporters. They’ve all got opinions, even if they didn’t play.”….Premiere Networks has launched a new satellite radio talk show featuring lifestyle expert and interior designer Moll Anderson heard Saturdays 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET on Sirius XM’s “Talk Radio” XM channel 168…Sports talker WFAN, New York’s annual talent search “Fantasy Phenom 111 Challenge” has narrowed its field to five finalists who will vie for the Grand Prize of a chance to host a once a week air shift on the legendary station for one year. The finals will take place on Friday, August 24 at Bar A in Lake Como, New Jersey. All finalists are New York Metropolitan area locals and were chosen from thousands of fans and listeners who showed up at auditions held at area Simon malls in July as well as online entries.
Obama Leaks, Family Research Council Shooting, Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/15). The ex-Navy SEALS video critical of President Obama for allegedly allowing dangerous leaks involving the shooting of Osama bin Laden and the shooting of a guard at the Washington, DC headquarters of the conservative Family Research Council, followed by the devastating effects of the drought brought on by the heat wave and violence in Syria were the most talked about topics on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing TALKERS research.
Istook Enters Syndication Arena. Former 14-year Oklahoma City congressman Ernest Istook will host a daily 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET news/talk show – “Istook Live!” beginning July 16 that, according to its producers, will “drill deep into the hottest issues facing Americans.” A production of the media division of The Heritage Foundation’s sister organization Heritage Action for America, the show will emanate from Heritage’s Robert H. Bruce radio studios at the think tank’s Capitol Hill headquarters. Istook, well-regarded in talk radio circles as a sought-after guest and fill-in host, has been a Distinguished Fellow at the conservative think tank since 2007 and has represented and explained many of its positions on the issues on stations all across the country. Sources at Heritage tell TALKERS that in addition to “getting the real deal about the issues from the most relevant Washington players, Istook will also field calls from listeners across the country.” Istook tells TALKERS, “Amid the punditry and spin of the 24-hour news cycle, we intend to clarify the real threats to freedom and the American Dream, and talk about how American taxpayers can counter those threats.” Heritage Action for America CEO Michael A. Needham states, “Heritage Action worked tirelessly to promote individual liberty and the free enterprise system. Talk radio long has been a part of that effort. Now, ‘Istook Live!’ will further discussion of the biggest issues facing our country and provide Americans with a better understanding of the battle of ideas that shapes the news. We’ll give them virtual access to the halls of Congress and inner-workings of Washington.” The launch, production, syndication and sales of “Istook Live!” will involve the coming together of a variety of formidable forces that TALKERS founder Michael Harrison described as “what appears to be talk radio’s version of the dream team.” Ron Hartenbaum of WYD Media Management and Liz Laud of WYM Media Management will lead syndication and affiliate sales, Gary Shonfeld’s AdLarge Media will handle advertising sales and Gabe Hobbs of Gabe Hobbs Media will consult the project. The show initially will be broadcast via www.istook.com as affiliate stations are built out.
SiriusXM Enjoys Good Q2. The second quarter of 2012 has been good to SiriusXM. The satcaster reports adding 622,042 net subscribers during the period and more than 1 million in the first two quarters of this year. CEO Mel Karmazin says he expects revenue to approach $3.4 billion in 2012. “SiriusXM continues to demonstrate robust growth and strong operating execution despite a challenging economy. Our second quarter subscriber gains mark a record quarter of net additions since the merger of SIRIUS and XM in July 2008. While we continue to be conservative in the face of a weak U.S. economic outlook, customers continue to embrace our unparalleled programming lineup, allowing us to raise subscriber guidance for the second time this year.”
“Loveline” Gains Major Market Clear in Boston. The late night sex and relationships show “Loveline,” featuring Dr. Drew Pinsky, Mike Catherwood and Simone Bienne, is added to the evening schedule at Entercom’s rock WAAF-FM, Boston. The Courtside Entertainment-produced program show tackles listeners’ questions about love, relationships and sexuality with the help of its expert hosts and advice from a regular line up of popular guests. “Loveline” airs on WAAF-FM weeknights from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
CNN Enters Digital Audio News Realm with CNN Radio Soundwaves Destination. The digital arm of news giant CNN unveils CNN Radio Soundwaves – “the network’s online destination for news content formatted in an original listening experience.” CNN says this new audio beat will enhance the way users consume news by offering content in four forms: audio, text, photo and video. CNN Radio president Tyler Moody says, “Soundwaves is a new frontier for CNN Radio. Some stories are enhanced by an audio format, and we want to deliver a product that gives people that option. Also, being able to socialize Soundwaves gives us the opportunity to engage in two-way communication with our audience – not just broadcast to fans.” Powered by SoundCloud, users are able to embed sound clips across social networks.
Rusty Humphries Launches New Cigar Line. Talk Radio Network and WGST, Atlanta PM drive talk host Rusty Humphries adds a new product to his line of official Rusty items – the Rusty Humphries El Presidente cigar line and its first product, The George Washington. Humphries says the cigar line, only available in select cigar shops across the country and online via his website, has been met with immediate demand from cigar connoisseurs across the country. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (r), pictured here with Humphries (l) in Atlanta, is a big fan. Humphries has marketed numerous products bearing his name in the past, including beef jerky, Bar-B-Q sauce, salsa and more. He says the cigar venture just makes sense. “One of the reasons I decided to make a cigar line was because after visiting several cigar lounges around the country, I realized that patrons of cigar shops were very loyal not only to their favorite cigar but to talk radio as well. Why not combine the two together?”
Fox Sports Radio Network Talent Broadcast from London 2012 Olympic Games. Fox Sports Radio talent will be front and center when the 2012 Olympic Games begin on July 27. First, Dan Patrick, host of the DirecTV/FSRN sports talk show, and Pat O’Brien, co-host of the “Loose Cannons” show on FSRN, will serve as NBC anchors for the games. “Fox Sports Tonight” co-host (and six-time Olympic gold medalist) Amy Van Dyken will join co-host Rob Dibble with daily updates and interviews from the London games. Also, tennis star Andy Roddick – who co-hosts the “Roddick & Bones” weekend show on FSRN – will be competing in the games on the U.S. tennis team.
WCHV, Charlottesville-Based Joe Thomas to Broadcast from Freedom Fest 2012. Virginia talk show host Joe Thomas – based at WCHV, Charlottesville and regionally syndicated – will take his show on the road to Las Vegas where he will broadcast both his WCHV morning drive show and his regionally syndicated PM drive show from “Freedom Fest 2012” at Bally’s Hotel. Thomas states, “I’m looking forward to reinforcing my show’s theme of free markets, opportunity and liberty from this great annual event.”
CRN Digital Talk Host Larry Manetti Airs Ernest Borgnine Tribute Today. Actor and nationally syndicated talk show host Larry Manetti will pay tribute to his good friend Ernest Borgnine – who passed away over the weekend at age 95 – on his CRN Digital Talk program today. Manetti says, “We were close friends who shared a lot over the years so I’m happy to join with our other good friends and listeners in a tribute to Ernie’s life and work.” Manetti and Borgnine worked together on the upcoming film, “The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vincente Fernandez,” which turned out to be Borgnine’s final film. The film was directed by Elia Petredis, who will appear on today’s program along with actors Robert Wagner and Dennis Farina. Manetti’s program airs live at 4:00 pm PT.
Talk Star Mark Levin to Emcee WABC and WPLJ-FM Promotion. The promotion in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey is the 2nd Annual Bark in the Park being held Saturday, July 14 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm and is designed to allow dog owners and their pets to enjoy a day in the park. Dog lover, author and talk host Mark Levin will emcee the event that will include contests and activities for dogs, with various pet exhibitors, demonstrations and plenty of food and drink. There will be many puppies available onsite for adoption through the North Shore Animal League America and the Bergen County Animal Shelter. Mark Levin will be joined by Mark Simone of 77 WABC and Bill Evans, senior meteorologist for Channel 7 Eyewitness News and will also be broadcast on WPLJ-FM.
Obama Proposes Middle-Class Tax Cut Extension, Weak Jobs Creation Numbers, Affordable Care Law, and 2012 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/9). President Obama’s proposal to eliminate the Bush tax cuts for Americans making more than $250,000 per year; the weak job creation numbers and their effect on the financial markets; the Affordable Care law and how it will impact employers and families; and the 2012 presidential race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WCHB, Detroit Morning Host Mildred Gaddis Investigated by Federal Authorities. According to a piece in the Detroit News, urban talk WCHB, Detroit morning drive talk host Mildred Gaddis is being scrutinized by federal agents for receiving $75,000 in payments to her ExCel Media company from two former public officials who have been indicted on charges of pocketing public money. Former Highland Park school board member Robert Davis and former Wayne County assistant executive Michael Grundy were regular guests on Gaddis’ program and authorities are investigating whether the two were buying influence through advertising on the station. Invoices to Gaddis’ company indicate the money was for “ads and interviews.” Spokesman Greg Bowens acknowledges firms operated by Davis and Grundy made payments to Gaddis’ company but says they did not receive favorable treatment as a result. The Detroit News quotes media lawyer and Michigan State journalism professor Jane Briggs-Bunting saying, “Ethically, there are big issues but as far as an FCC violation, I don’t see one.”
Pioneering AOR/Talk Program Director Pat Evans Dies. The woman who programmed the first FM station to feature Howard Stern in the morning and album rock the rest of the day, Pat Evans, has died in San Francisco after a two-year battle with lung cancer. Evans came to New York City from her home town of Detroit in 1985 upon being hired by then-Infinity CEO Mel Karmazin to program WXRK (“K-Rock”) where, in addition to working with an outstanding line up of AOR personalities such as Jimmy Fink, Tony Pigg, Meg Griffin, Marc Coppola, Jo Maeder and Maria Malito, she served as one of the first modern era music radio PDs to develop pop culture (“shock jock”) talk in the morning, handling the monumentally historic challenge of working with local AM drive host Howard Stern during his rise to prominence on FM. She later served as PD of the legendary K-FOG in San Francisco and VP of communications at public broadcasting’s KQED in that city. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who worked with Pat Evans in 1989 as co-producers of the ABC Radio Networks mega special “The Official History of Rock and Roll” states, “Pat was an extraordinary human being who has tragically been taken away from us while still in the prime of her life. Her love of radio, its music and personalities, was a powerful inspiration to me and so many others. Her work behind the scenes in facilitating Howard Stern’s early days as an emerging force on the FM dial was a vital component in shaping the course of things to come for decades in this field. She was one of the true greats of our industry.”
Sports Talk Listeners Very Tech-Savvy According to Jacobs Media Study. The results of its Techsurvey 8 indicate sports talk radio listeners are extremely tech-savvy and use digital technology to feed their appetite for sports. Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs states, “Sports radio fans are highly engaged, into gadgets, and especially likely to be connected via Twitter. They know how to access the sports news and happenings they crave and they deftly use the available tools. Radio needs to work hard to be their go-to medium.” Jacobs says the study reveals Twitter is a favorite of sports talk fans and says, “Sports talk fans lead the league for tweeting. Of those who use this platform, more than half follow a sports talk radio station and/or personality on Twitter.” Learn more about the study at JacobsMedia.com.
WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey Personality Jack Ellery Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award for NJBA. New Jersey talk radio personality Jack Ellery has spent close to 50 years of his career at Greater Media’s WCTC, New Brunswick – he started there in 1962 – and he was honored at the recent New Jersey Broadcasters Association conference on June 12 and 13 with the organization’s “Lifetime Achievement” award. Ellery was also one of eight broadcasters to be inducted into the inaugural class of the NJBA’s Hall of Fame.
Pandora Engages Local Newspapers to Sell Ads for its Service. The digital music service is entering into relationships with some local newspapers for a reseller program in which newspaper sales staffs sell ads on the Pandora platform. Papers including the Miami Herald, Salt Lake City Tribune, Tacoma News Tribune and U-T San Diego are working with Pandora on the project. Pandora has always stated one of its goals is to sell locally – something that sticks in the craw of local radio. And although Pandora – with its claims of large listening stats – certainly has the users to back up its presence, unlike radio, the more people who listen, the more Pandora must pay for its content. The service needs to find as much revenue as possible and this deal with local papers is a cost-effective way to get feet on the ground in local markets.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 is honored with two “Best of the Best” awards at the New Jersey Broadcasters Association annual convention. The station was recognized for “Best News” for its 100+ hours of coverage of Hurricane Irene and “Best Public Affairs” for its monthly “Ask the Governor” program…..Heritage St. Louis news/talk KMOX will soon move to new offices as CBS Radio consolidates its three stations – KEZK-FM, WYKY-FM and KMOX into one office in the Park Pacific building in downtown St. Louis. Currently, the two music outlets and KMOX are in separate buildings. KMOX will be the first station to move and should be there by the end of 2012…..SiriusXM announces it will cover every game of the 2012 NCAA College Men’s World Series beginning today through June 24 from TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. America’s Radio News Network adds news blocks to new affiliate WMNI-AM/FM, Columbus…..“Baldwin/McCullough Live” featuring Stephen Baldwin and Kevin McCullough joins stations KCBQ, San Diego; WORL, Orlando; WPNW, Zeeland, Michigan; and KAPE-AM/FM, Cape Girardeau, Missouri…..Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon joins the lineup at WMNI-AM/FM, Columbus…..The Leslie Marshall show joins the lineup at WRJN, Racine, Wisconsin…..Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” is added to the program schedule at WMCD-FM, Statesboro, Georgia; WKBZ, Muskegon, Michigan; WSNJ, Millville, New Jersey.
2012 Presidential Race Returns to Top of Talkers TenTM. The 2012 campaign for president was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio in America for the week of June 11-15 after dropping to #2 last week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Following at #2 was the Russia-Syria arms connection. At #3 was the GOP’s pressure on Attorney General Eric Holder in the ‘Fast and Furious’ case followed by the financial instability in the European Union at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Merlin Media’s Philly FM Talker Debuts Today. News/talk outlet WWIQ-FM, Philadelphia (licensed to Camden, New Jersey) debuts its morning show today co-hosted by market TV news personality Larry Mendte (pictured here). Former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte morning host (and Philly native) Al Gardner is co-hosting the program with Mendte. Over the weekend Mendte posted a YouTube video promoting the new station being operated by the innovative Randy Michaels and his Merlin Media. In it, Mendte asks Philadelphians to submit suggestions for the new station (ideas used could win the people who submit them Phillies tickets!). He also suggests the current news outlets – other stations, the newspapers and TV are outdated and/or in trouble financially and he believes WWIQ-FM will give listeners what they need. In the video, Mendte is clearly ribbing CBS Radio’s all-news KYW even though he doesn’t mention the company or station by name. See Mendte’s video here. WWIQ-FM has been stunting with wall-to-wall Sean Hannity for several weeks and today it’s believed the station will debut with the morning show, Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. Rush Limbaugh is expected to move over from WPHT soon. Other programming has yet to be announced.
FCC Says “No Go” to Liberty Media’s SiriusXM Takeover Bid. Liberty Media had petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to take “de facto” control of SiriusXM after supplying $530 million to the satcaster in 2009 to help it avoid bankruptcy. But, as SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin said recently, “Forty percent is not the new 50 percent.” Liberty Media owns 40% of SiriusXM as a result of the 2009 deal but the FCC denied its request saying that Liberty’s filing lacked details and rejected its claim for control. During the recent SiriusXM Q1 conference call with analysts, Mel Karmazin stated the company’s relationship with Liberty was not “combative.” Liberty Media has five of the 13 seats on the SiriusXM board of directors.
WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas Names Ben Ferguson Late Morning Host. Cumulus Media’s WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas cut ties with market legend Mark Davis after the two sides were unable to agree on a new contract. Now, Memphis-based talk host Ben Ferguson is named permanent host of the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program. Ferguson had been filling in during the time slot since Davis left the air. He hosts the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm program at Cumulus Media’s WKIM-FM, Memphis and will continue to host that show as well. Additionally, Ferguson is the host of his own nationally syndicated weekend program that is heard on both WKIM-FM and WBAP-AM/FM. Ben Ferguson was the first recipient of the Young American Broadcasters‘ scholarship award given at the TALKERS New Media Seminar several years ago. Ferguson won the award while still in college and, due in part to winning the award, fulfilled his dream of becoming a working radio talk show host.
St. Louis Personality John Carney Joins News/Talk KTRS for Nights. Gateway City radio personality John Carney – son of the late KMOX, St. Louis legend Jack Carney – joins CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS to host the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight program beginning June 4. Carney most recently was a jock at CBS Radio’s crosstown classic hits KEZK-FM – Fresh 102.5 – until he exited that station in April. He also worked at KMOX for 11 years prior to KEZK-FM. Carney’s addition to KTRS comes as the station shuffles its programming. Chicago-based talk host Steve Cochran had been hosting two programs on KTRS – 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm – in addition to his afternoon drive show at WIND, Chicago. Cochran will continue to host the late morning show. John Hadley’s sports talk show slides down to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot and Martin Kilcoyne takes over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show formerly hosted by JC Corcoran.
KTAR-FM, Phoenix and News Director Part Company. Bonneville International and news director Adam Thomas part ways after less than a year together. Thomas joined KTAR-FM in June of 2011 – Thomas moving west from Minneapolis where he’s worked at CBS Radio’s WCCO. Thomas had also worked for Bonneville at KSL, Salt Lake City prior to joining WCCO. Details on Thomas’ exit from KTAR-FM are few but it appears there’s a news director position to be filled in Phoenix.
WTDY, Madison Promotes Amy Barrilleaux. Mid-West Family Stations announces WTDY-AM/FM, Madison afternoon anchor and “Everything@Five” host Amy Barrilleaux is promoted to news director for the station. WTDY-AM/FM program director Rex Charger says, “I am pleased to announce Amy Barrilleaux as WTDY news director. Amy has been instrumental in helping grow our news product and brand and I look forward to her continued leadership in the newsroom. Amy will continue to anchor afternoon newscasts and host ‘Everything@Five.’”
Media Personality Jack Rice Hosts Weekend Talk Program in Twin Cities. Talk media personality Jack Rice – who left the daily talk radio business more than two years ago – returns to a regular talk program with his Sunday morning show on KTNF, Minneapolis airing from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. Jack Rice is a former CIA agent, a practicing attorney in Minneapolis and is regularly seen on such news/talk media outlets as MSNBC, CNN and Al Jazeera offering expert analysis on issues, especially those surrounding foreign intelligence and terrorism. He previously hosted daily talk shows on WCCO, Minneapolis and KOGO, San Diego. His investigative style of talk radio, his travels to the world’s hot spots and willingness to put himself in harm’s way to get the story earned him the Freedom of Speech Award from TALKERS magazine in 2009. Of his new program, Rice states, “I’m very excited to be back on the air on a regular basis. This business gets in your blood and once you’re in, you’re in. And while I recognize the realities of the business, nothing allows for a deep connection with an audience like radio.” Rice tells TALKERS he is exploring the possibility of developing a national program dedicated to international events including terrorism, the economic collapse in Europe, the Chinese economic juggernaut, the drug wars in Mexico and more. He says his experience as a former CIA officer and international journalist give him a unique experience and take on such events.
Dave Ramsey Live in Grand Rapids. Nationally syndicated personal finance talk sensation Dave Ramsey filled the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids on Saturday, May 5 for his “Total Money Makeover Live” event there – more than 8,000 fans attended. Ramsey is heard on news/talk WOOD-AM/FM and Clear Channel Grand Rapids market manager Tim Feagan says, “Having another sellout with Dave is the only way I know of for a news/talk station to touch thousands of our core listeners. Music stations can sometimes do it by owning a concert, but when it comes to the talk format Dave is it!” Pictured here during Ramsey’s visit to Grand Rapids are (from l-r): Feagan, Ramsey, WOOD general sales manager Henry Capogna, and WOOD program director Phil Tower.
Sirius XM Reports Revenue Up 11%. SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin tells analysts the satcaster has seen subscriptions increase by 405,000 compared to the first quarter of 2011. Revenue for Q1 of 2012 was $805 million, an increase of 11% over the same period a year ago. Karmazin states, “SiriusXM is starting the year with tremendous operational momentum. We grew subscribers faster than any first quarter since our 2008 merger of Sirius and XM, and we improved our self-pay monthly churn rate to 1.9% despite implementing a price increase at the beginning of the year. Rising auto sales and our strong execution should enable us to exceed our prior 2012 subscriber growth guidance of 1.3 million, which today we are raising to 1.5 million.” The continued good news for SiriusXM includes: its subscriber growth rate accelerating to boost its subscriber base to an all-time high of 22.3 million; reduced its monthly churn to 1.9%; and was able to show positive free cash flow in the first quarter of a fiscal year for the first time – free cash flow was $15 million for 2012’s Q1. SiriusXM EVP and CFO David Frear states, “Our growing cash flow is reducing our leverage substantially and this improving credit profile should benefit stockholders as we refinance or pay down more than $1 billion of high coupon debt over the next 15 months.”
2012 Q1 Report: CBS Radio Down 2%. CBS Corporation announced its first quarter revenue for 2012 and although the company as a whole was up 12% on revenue of $3.92 billion over the same period a year ago, the revenue for the CBS Radio division was down 2%. Content licensing and distribution revenue were responsible for much of the company’s growth.
Harris to Exit Broadcast Business. Melbourne, Florida-based Harris Corporation employs some 17,000 people worldwide but the bulk of its revenue does not come from the radio equipment sector – not even close. And that’s why the company announces it is divesting itself of the Broadcast Communications arm. The company states a review of its business structure revealed, “the (radio) business is no longer aligned with the company’s long-term strategy. The plan to sell these assets supports our disciplined approach to capital allocation, and we intend to use the proceeds to return cash to shareholders and invest in growing our core businesses.”
KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Won’t Be Charged in Fender Bender Case. Former Houston City Councilor and KTRH, Houston talk host Michael Berry will not face charges of hit and run in connection with a parking incident outside an area bar that happened in late January. The District Attorney’s office tells the Houston Chronicle that based on its findings, there will be no charges filed against Berry. It appears there’s no evidence to show Berry’s vehicle hit the car of a club bouncer who told authorities a car matching the description of Berry’s car hit his. The incident happened outside of TC’s Show Bar in Montrose – a club known for gay clientele. The local media made a big deal out of the incident and, in addition to the connection between the conservative Berry and the gay bar, questioned whether the former city councilor received special treatment from authorities investigating the incident. Berry maintained his innocence and excoriated the local media on his radio show for running fast and loose with the facts. He blamed much of the attention he received from the incident on politics.
Merlin Media’s New York Programming Chief Is Mark Austin Thomas. “FM News 101.9” has been without an official programming chief since Liz Aiello was let go in December. Now, it’s being reported that former KABC, Los Angeles news director and news anchor Mark Austin Thomas is in the programmer’s chair. Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports an announcement from Merlin Media about Thomas’ status may come as early as this week. All-news WEMP-FM, New York has been holding steady with a .7 share in the monthly PPM ratings.
Dave Milner Named Market Manager at Clear Channel Sacramento. Reports of Jeff Holden’s departure from the building at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Sacramento cluster turned out to be true. The company announces Dave Milner takes over the president and market manager role. Milner has been serving as vice president of sales at Entercom’s San Francisco station group. He previously worked for Clear Channel in the Portland market. Clear Channel EVP of operations, Western Region Susan Karis states, “Dave brings an extensive track record of sales and management expertise with him to the Clear Channel Sacramento market. I’m excited to have him back with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment to lead our business in Sacramento to continued success.”
KFTK-FM, St. Louis Adds Tony Katz to Permanent Weekend Show. Emmis Communications’ KFTK-FM, St. Louis announces regular fill-in talk host Tony Katz gets a weekly Saturday afternoon show airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Katz is the go-to fill-in guy for midday talk host Dana Loesch. KFTK-FM program director Jeff Allen says, “Tony is a rising star and I am thrilled that we can launch a fresh, new talent into our Saturday evening line-up. Tony is passionate, informative and most importantly, fun to listen to!” Katz also hosts a regular internet talk program on allpatriotsmedia.com.
Commercials Are Content, Too. The phrase “content is king” may be a cliché but the sentiment is true. However, it’s important to remember that spots are content too and broadcasters should give attention to spot quality, according to H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz. In his latest column for TALKERS, Herskovitz cites examples of commercial copy gone wrong that could have been avoided. Read his piece here.
FM Sports Talker Coming to Twin Falls, Idaho. Lee Family Broadcasting principal Kim Lee tells MagicValley.com that he’ll drop the AC music on KMVX-FM for sports talk on May 24. The station will carry ESPN programming and be the local radio outlet for College of Southern Idaho sports. The school’s radio voice, Jonathan Drew, will join the station as sports director and PM drive host of a local sports talk show.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Bob Throndsen retires from his news director position at Fisher Broadcasting’s KOMO-AM/FM. Throndsen has worked at KOMO radio and KOMO-TV for much of the past 30 years…..The debut of Michael Patrick Shiels’ new morning talk show based at local Fox TV outlet WSYM-TV, Lansing, Michigan will come not this week but next, according to a piece in the Lansing State Journal. Shiels, who recently left his WJIM, Lansing based program after a contract dispute, plans to syndicate the new show to talk radio outlets across Michigan…..KBJR-TV, Duluth sports director Tom Hansen joins KDAL, Duluth-Superior as co-host of the late morning show alongside Dave Strandberg. Hansen maintain’s his position with the television outlet…..Talk show host Tom Donahue, host of Tom Donahue Reports, announces his new flagship network for his syndicated show is Orion Talk Radio. The program airs live from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm daily.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Announces Second Annual Stu Olds Memorial Golf Classic. The Broadcasters Foundation of America sets June 12 as the date of the second annual Stu Olds Memorial Golf Classic – the fundraiser named in honor of the former Katz Media head who died in December of 2010. Since its inception, the fund has raised more than $500,000 to benefit the foundation. The event costs $250 per player and proceeds go directly to the fund. Reservations to take part in the golf outing can be made by calling Jim Thompson at 212-373-8250 or e-mail email@example.com.
2012 Presidential Race, Obama Afghanistan Visit, U.S. ICE Scam and Ohio Bridge Terror Plot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/1). The 2012 presidential race; President Obama’s visit to Kabul, Afghanistan and the Taliban violence there; the Immigration and Customs Enforcement scandal; and the Ohio bridge terror plot were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rusty Humphries Has Movie Role in “Flicka” Film. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment just released the movie “Flicka Country Pride” starring Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black. Appearing in the role of the announcer at the championship horse competition is Talk Radio Network and WGST, Atlanta talk show host Rusty Humphries. Humphries spent several days last November in British Columbia filming his scenes. He says, “It was an honor to be asked to be a part of a major motion picture and to learn from some of the best talent in the movie making business.” In a scene from the film, Rusty is seen here in his announcer role at the judge’s table. Rusty Humphries’ star continues to rise on a number of fronts. He has proven himself over the years to be like “the little engine that could.” In addition to accruing steadily increasing ratings and affiliations, his marketing campaigns continue to attract industry attention with significant sales of such items as Rusty Humphries Beef Jerkey and Rusty Humphries cigars. His position on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred took a leap from #35 in 2011 to #20 in 2012. Meet Rusty Humphries at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7 where he will be appearing as one of the debaters on the Talk Rumble. The industry-only event is near a sellout. For reservations, hotel or sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.
SiriusXM Delivers 2011 Revenue Increase of 7%. Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin opened the Thursday conference call with positive news about 2011 and rosy predictions for 2012. Karmazin reports the satcaster added 1.7 million net new subscribers with revenue topping $3 billion for 2011. He told analysts the company has reduced programming costs by 27% over the past three years to bring them to 10.7% of adjusted revenue. And Mel’s favorite figure – free cash flow – was also a nice one: $416 million. Karmazin says he expects free cash flow to grow to $700 million this year due in part to the restrictions on subscription prices having been lifted. He projects revenue to hit $3.3 billion in 2012 with 1.3 million new subscribers added.
Nassau Broadcasting Agrees to Undergo Chapter 7 Liquidation. It was four months ago that Nassau Broadcasting Partners convinced U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross to allow its Chapter 7 liquidation being sought by its creditors to be converted into a Chapter 11 reorganization. Now, the company wants to liquidate itself and is asking the judge to approve an auction of its 49 stations. Nassau owes more than $280 million to its senior lenders which include Goldman Sachs Lending Partners LLC, P.E. Capital LLC and Fortress Credit Opportunities. Nassau’s spoken word stations include: WARK, Hagerstown, Maryland; WTSV, Claremont, New Hampshire; WEMJ, Laconia, New Hampshire; WVPO/WPLY, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; WEEX/WTKZ, Allentown, Pennsylvania; WSNO, Barre, Vermont; and WNHV, White River Junction, Vermont.
Dave Ramsey to Take Over Live Midday Slot on WOR, New York. The end of the nationally syndicated Lou Dobbs talk radio show is creating room for other hosts and programs across the country and in New York City at Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, independently syndicated Dave Ramsey moves from delayed broadcast status to airing in the live 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot beginning February 27. WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley states, “In these rocky economic times New Yorkers need a voice they can trust to guide them in their money decisions. We are proud to welcome the country’s top name in financial talk radio – Dave Ramsey – to our award-winning lineup.”
“Battle Line with Alan Nathan” Adds Two Hours on Lifestyle TalkRadio Network. Alan Nathan’s Main Street Radio Network-produced talk program is already distributed nationally via the Blue Star Media’s Lifestyle TalkRadio Network from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily. Now, with the departure of Lou Dobbs’ radio program from the network, “Battle Line” adds another two hours from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk says, “Main Street is very excited with the additional two hours of ‘Battle Line’ on LTRN. Our working relationship with the staff of BTRN/LTRN is a model on how companies can work together for the good of all involved!” Business TalkRadio Network CEO Michael Metter comments, “We are thrilled to be a part of the increase in Alan’s reach. We are looking forward to bringing our affiliates the brilliance of Alan’s informed, entertaining centrist views.”
Fabulous Sports Babe Nanci Donnellan Off WHBO, Tampa Due to Health Issues. The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that Nanci Donnellan – known as the Fabulous Sports Babe – is absent from her midday sports talk show on Genesis Communications’ WHBO, Tampa due to what is believed to be health issues. The station is not commenting. Donnellan, who hosted a nationally syndicated sports talk program on ESPN Radio in the 1990s and at Sports Fan Radio Network after that – left radio for a period to battle breast cancer before returning to the air in Florida, eventually settling at WHBO. Sitting in for her is former WDAE sports reporter Whitney Johnson.
Boston Radio Community Honors Memory of WBZ Personality Dave Maynard. During a 40-year radio and TV career Dave Maynard ruled the airwaves in Boston on WBZ during the 1980s. He’s being remembered for his warm personality that made his program such a success in the market. Maynard died at his home in Citrus Hills, Florida on Wednesday at age 82. He’d suffered with Parkinson’s for the past decade. WBZ director of news and programming Peter Casey tells the Boston Globe, “He was just a genuine, honest person on the radio. There wasn’t a Dave Maynard on the air and a Dave Maynard off the air. He made a career being Dave Maynard on the air, and that was the Dave Maynard who lived next door to you.”
Bell Media Cuts 16 Positions in Ottawa Radio/TV Cluster; Afternoon Talk Host Michael Harris Among Casualties. While the Canadian economy has not been hit as hard as America’s during recent times, it appears Bell Media is feeling the pinch and the need to restructure its Ottawa operations. According to the Ottawa Citizen, among those let go in addition to CFRA afternoon host Michael Harris on the spoken word side include CFRA reporter Gord McDougall, sports CFGO – Team 1200 – staffers Jim Jerome, Phil Melanson and Mike Sutherland. Harris had been a talk host at CFRA for the past 11 years. He tells the paper the moves appear to be financial in nature and management “went out of their way to say it had nothing to do with the quality of my work.”
GOP Primary Battle the Top News/Talk Story for the Week of February 6-10. The intensifying GOP primary battle between Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum (with Ron Paul sticking it out as well) landed atop the Talkers TenTM as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Right behind at #2 was the 2012 presidential race combined with the Obama Super PAC story. At #3 was the Syria policy and the closure of the U.S. embassy there as a result of the intense violence. And at #4 was the foreclosure abuse settlement signed by President Obama. The Talkers TenTM contains the 10 top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
In the Belly of the Beast. WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC morning drive team the “Morning Majority” broadcast live from the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC this week. Pictured here are “Morning Majority” co-hosts Brian Wilson (l) and Mary Katherine Ham (c) interviewing CPAC organizer Al Cardenas (r) of the American Conservative Union. Also broadcasting from the two-day event were WMAL morning co-host Bryan Nehman and midday talk host Chris Plante.
WNDB, Daytona Beach Talk Host Marc Bernier Moderates Carlson-Begala Debate. The Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce packed 600 people into the Daytona Beach Ocean Center for a debate of the issues of the election season between CNN analyst and Democrat Paul Begala and Fox News Channel personality and Republican Tucker Carlson. WNDB talk show host Marc Bernier served as moderator for the event. Pictured here are (from l-r) Paul Begala, Marc Bernier and Tucker Carlson.
Critiquing talk radio talent in the modern era proves challenging as the role of the PD and structure
of the industry undergo massive changes
By Mike Kinosian
Special Features Correspondent
“This could hurt your feelings, but it is being said for your own good.”
Quite possibly even more so than ever and as hyperbolic as it may sound, a program director supremely performing duties as a motivating talent coach is worth his or her weight in gold, silver, bronze and platinum.
“Directing” is, of course, a derivative form of the program director title. Analyzing on-air personalities while simultaneously providing key components of constructive criticism, positive encouragement and guidance was once a basic calling card for anyone aspiring to be an upper-echelon programmer. To say it is a dying, if not lost, proficiency is the height of understatement. It is however clearly a two-way process, deeply rooted on a foundation of reciprocated trust. If or when that is shattered, progression for the two parties becomes tenuous at best.
Achieving the elusive goal of “success” can have its downsides since that particular nebulous description can lead one to think he or she is above any form of critique or direction – especially from someone they perceive to be a “lowly” program director. Chaos becomes the inevitable and seamy result.