Tag: "Michael Graham"

Monday, May 12, 2014

| May 12, 2014

wyay logo newIt’s Official: Cumulus Shifts WYAY, Atlanta to News/Talk.  As you can see, the official brand still employs the word “news,” but the all-news format is gone as Cumulus Media’s WYAY, Atlanta becomes “Newsradio 106.7.”  The change comes with the debut of the Michael Graham show in the 8:30 to 12:00 noon slot today (5/12).  The other shows that are part of the station’s talk lineup include Cumulus Media’s John Batchelor show which airs from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am and “Red Eye Radio” in thegrahammichael overnight slot.  Both morning drive and afternoon drive will remain news programs.  The station is the home of Atlanta Braves baseball and partners with WAGA-TV “Fox Five” and The Atlanta Business Chronicle.  Cumulus EVP and co-COO John Dickey says, “‘Newsradio 106.7’ is Atlanta’s best resource for in-depth news and compelling, entertaining talk about the things that matter most in our lives.  Our five-star news team, in partnership with ‘Fox Five,’ tells listeners what’s happening locally, nationally and around the world.  Our fresh talk personalities, including Michael Graham and Kim Peterson, help the audience understand, respond and sometimes even laugh about those events.”

kkzn logoProgressive Talk to Disappear from KKZN, Denver.  The story from Clear Channel’s Denver station group is that the progressive talk format on KKZN is ready to be dumped, although an official announcement has yet to be made and what will take its place is not yet known.  KCNC-TV personality Gloria Neal had hosted the evening show on KKZN until last week when she was let go.  She posted on her Facebook page that the format would change and all current hosts would be gone from the station.

rutkowskikenSecond of Two-Part Special on “Business Rockstars” – Meet Quintessential “Connected” Host, Ken Rutkowski.  The second of our two-part series on “Business Rockstars” centers on the host of this daily, two-hour program who has a somewhat similar style to Charlie Rose and adroitly produces the same meaty results, although the centerpiece guests he gets to “hang out with” each day are “very cool people” who — in the business world — turn nothing into something.  “That is the angle I like,” comments “Business businessrockstars logoRockstars” host/co-founder (with Steve Lehman)/co-owner/president Ken Rutkowski.  “How many people can say that almost every one of the 1,500 people they have talked with in the last two years is ‘amazing’?  We have three or four ‘amazing’ guests on every day.”  Some have entire chapters of their life they have never shared, yet Rutkowski — named in 2009 as an intelligence analyst at the Oprah Winfrey Network — elicits nuggets from them.  “They have tips to help people,” he remarks. “By listening to the show, it is almost like getting a nice degree in business — but in a fun way.”  To read part-two of the TALKERS special feature on “Business Rockstars with Ken Rutkowski” by managing editor Mike Kinosian posted today (5/12), please click here.

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh Salutes U.S. Military with Tractor Giveaway.  With Memorial Day 2014 as the backdrop, Premiere Networks talk star Rush Limbaugh is teaming up with Mahindra USA to give away one Mahindra Max 22 tractor to an active duty or veteran of the U.S. military.  The winner will be selected in a random drawing on May 26.  Mahindra USA is an active supporter of the military and offers the “Mahindra Pride Military Appreciation Program,” recognizing the commitment of members of the armed forces.  The Military Appreciation Program offers an extra $200 rebate for active and retired U.S. military personnel with the purchase of a new Mahindra tractor and qualifying implement.  It also supports Operation Finally Home with its “Build To Rise” program, which provides custom-built, mortgage-free homes to our heroes and their families.  Limbaugh states, “I’d like to thank Mahindra, the world’s number-one-selling tractor, for their generosity.  And God bless all of you who protect our freedom.  We are pleased to join with Mahindra USA in giving away one of their spectacular tractors to a deserving active duty or veteran of our military.”

gallaghermikeCrowd-sourced Film Hits Goal on Mike Gallagher Show.  The drive to raise funds by a group of independent filmmakers to produce a film about controversial Philadelphia abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell hits its goal of $2.1 million – three days before their deadlineduring the Mike Gallagher show on Friday, May 9.  Gallagher says,I am so grateful and proud of our listeners who contributed literally tens of thousands of dollars today to help make this important movie a reality.”  Listeners to Gallagher’s program—as well as audiences of fellow Salem Radio Network hosts Bill Bennett, Hugh Hewitt and others—were asked to contribute start-up funds for the projectIf the $2.1 million had not been raised by midnight on May 12, all donations would have been returned to listeners and the film would not have been produced.

merlonilouWEEI-FM, Boston Tweaks Midday Talent.  A change in the midday lineup at Entercom’s sports talk WEEI-FM, Boston as Mike Mutnansky exits the “Mut & Lou” show and will stay with the company in another capacity to be announced later.  Joining Lou Merloni for the new midday show, dubbed “Middays with MFB,” is former NFL tight end Christian Fauria and New England native, 970 ESPN Pittsburgh sportsbenztim personality and Clear Channel Pittsburgh sports director Tim Benz.  The new lineup takes place later this month.  WEEI program director and brand manager Kevin Graham says, “We are thrilled with the new team we have assembled.  This show will be the only sports radio program in New England that offers listeners insight from a former major leaguer and a former NFL player.  When you add in fauriachristianthe sports radio experience of New England native Tim Benz, listeners will hear a brand new sound in the market.”  Fauria played four seasons with the Patriots earning Super Bowl rings at Super Bowl XXXVIII and XXXIX.  More recently Fauria has worked as a college football analyst for CBS, does color commentary for Patriots preseason games locally on WBZ-TV and hosts a pre-and-post-game show during the NFL regular season.  Benz was born in Boston and is a graduate of Syracuse University.  He served as a radio beat reporter for the Pittsburgh Steelers and also worked at stations in Columbus, Salt Lake City and Syracuse.

mohnjarlMohn Moving to NPR as President/CEO.  Current Southern California Public Radio (SCPR) chairman Jarl Mohn is appointed president and chief executive officer of NPR.  When Mohn begins his NPR term in July, he will be succeeding Paul Haaga Jr., who has been acting president/chief executive officer since last year.  NPR board chair/ideastream Cleveland chief operating officer Kit Jensen remarks, “We are delighted to welcome Jarl.  His background as a successful media executive and innovator makes him ideally suited to lead NPR as it continues to expand its reach and play a unique role in public service journalism and cultural programming. Jarl has a deep commitment to the public radio system, love of radio and passion for quality journalism.  He has demonstrated throughout his career a keen ability to identify media and consumer trends.  He has exhibited a strong track record on diversity and fairness.”  According to Mohn, “This is not a job for me – it is a mission.  I love public radio and NPR.  It is a national treasure and it is more important now than ever.  I want to make sure that the NPR staff, the member stations, and the others who make it happen have everything they need to do their best work.”  Mohn was the founding president and chief executive officer of Liberty Digital; president and chief executive officer of E! Entertainment Television (January 1990 – December 1998); executive vice president and general manager of MTV and VH1 (1986 – 1990); and was a WNBC-AM, New York on-air talent in the 1970s.

harrisheidiOdds & Sods.  Las Vegas talk show host Heidi Harris returns to the airwaves in the market hosting a daily, one-hour show on Silver State Broadcasting’s KBET, Las Vegas.  Harris tells TALKERS magazine the show begins this evening (5/12) at 6:00 pm…..At Kirkman Broadcasting’s news/talk WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina, the Bryan Crabtree show expands, adding the 7:00 am hour.  As of June 2, Crabtree’s program will air from 7:00 am to 10:00 am.  He says, “I have spent the past 15 years informing listeners how to solve our communities’ problems and find solutions to society’s challenges.  The response has been incredible andcrabtreebryan humbling.  We will continue to grow our audience in Charleston by focusing on the stories that matter to citizens of the Lowcountry of South Carolina.”…..Beginning July 1, Compass Media Networks becomes the exclusive advertising sales agent for the on-demand audio programming of CBS Radio News.  The programming includes audio podcasts of “60 MINUTES,” “FACE THE NATION,” “Weekend Roundup,” “CBS EVENING NEWS,” “What’s In The News,” “Tech Talk,” “Not Just Another Story” and “Reporters Notebook.”…..CBS RADIO news/talk outlet WCCO-AM, Minneapolis announces an extension in its partnership with the broomheadmikeUniversity of St. Thomas to broadcast Tommie football through the 2016 season.  WCCO-AM’s Dave Lee will continue to provide play-by-play for the Tommies, along with WCCO-AM’s Eric Nelson doing color commentary…..KFYI, Phoenix afternoon host Mike Broomhead partnered with U.S. Senator John McCain to hold a Town Hall meeting on May 9 at which they welcomed Arizona veterans and their families to discuss the Phoenix VA Health Care System and how it has recently affected them.  Case workers from McCain’s staff were on hand to answer questions and to help get veterans the services they need.

katzparadeBonAirKatz Serves as Grand Marshall.  WRVA, Richmond PM drive talk show host Jeff Katz is pictured here with his ride for the Bon Air Victorian Day Parade.  On Saturday, May 10, Katz served as the Grand Marshall for one of the oldest civic parades in Richmond.  Katz tells TALKERS magazine that although the official Grand Marshall’s hat was rather Victorian…the Grand Marshall’s ride, this cool 2014 Mustang convertible, was anything but.

Cool Job Opportunity.  Midwest Communications seeks news directorBelieve it or not there are still rewarding jobs in radio news. WHBL, Sheboygan, Wisconsin is looking for a news director who will be given the freedom to create and the tools to win.  You’ll spend as much time in the field as you do in the newsroom.  Wewhbl logo need someone who is a triple-threat: strong on-air skills, a good reporter, and a good writer.  We set the news standard in our market.  It’s on-air and on our website before it’s in the newspaper.  We do some enterprise reporting.  We do some investigative work.  If you have a passion for news, whether on the radio or online, we want to talk with you.  We offer a competitive salary and a full benefits package.  Send your resume and mp3 to WHBL brand manager Kelly Meyer at: kelly.meyer@mwcradio.com or snail mail to Kelly’s attention at: 2100 Washington Avenue, Sheboygan, WI 53081. No phone calls, please.  Midwest Communications is an Equal Opportunity Employer by choice.  Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

scanlandanRadio News Pro Dan Scanlan Dies.  Radio news pro Dan Scanlan died over the weekend after suffering a heart attack on Saturday morning at his northern Virginia home.  He was 74.  Scanlan’s career included stops at such storied radio news franchises as WINS, New York, AP Radio, Mutual/Westwood One (as both anchor and Senate correspondent), as well as freelance work for CBS Radio and WCBS, New York.  Most recently he was weekend anchor on NBC News Radio.  Earlier in his career he worked at WHYN-AM, Springfield, Massachusetts.

conwaysimonWHO, Des Moines’ Simon Conway Grabs Charity Drive Honors.  In a contest among a number of radio talk show hosts to see who could help raise the most cash for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society sponsored by talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs, WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway came in first after raising almost $4,500.  Wachs dubbed her talk host challenge FROST (fundraising radio host).  She says hosts wishing to considered for the next round of FROST, write to her at: doctordaliah@hotmail.com.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

| May 8, 2014

hannityseanMovement Afoot to Curtail Media’s Free Speech?  In a story by Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner, he writes that Federal Elections Commissioner Lee E. Goodman warns there is brewing sentiment within the FEC to support changing the exemption that the media enjoys regarding support of political candidates and/or issues.  Goodman tells the paper, “I think that there are impulses in the government every day to second guess and look into the editorial decisions of conservative publishers.”  The piece cites Premiere Networks talk star Sean Hannity and the movie division of Citizens United for effectively endorsing candidates.  As the story notes, all media currently enjoys the right to endorse candidates and promote them without being subject to limits or disclosure requirements.  It’s unlikely that such a move would pass legal muster but Goodman’s comments to the Examiner indicate frustration with conservative media on the part of liberal staffers at the FEC.

perryjenniferJennifer Perry Exits WYAY, Atlanta.  The former WGST, Atlanta afternoon news anchor had been the news director at Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY “All News 106.7” since its inception as a news station 16 months ago, but now the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports Perry is leaving the station for a position outside the radio biz.  The move coincides with the station’s addition of another talk show that begins Monday, May 12 – this one featuring Michael Graham in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot – to what had been a true all-news format.  There’s no indication the programming changes were part of Perry’s decision to exit.  Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson has been hosting a show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm since last fall.  Ho also reports that he hears the station will change its handle from “All News 106.7” to “NewsRadio 106.7” in the near future.

iheartradio newCCM+E Teams with Grupo Radio Mexico for iHeartRadio Hispanic Network.  It was a natural progression given Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s existing relationship with Grupo Radio Mexico syndicating “El Show Del Mandril” via Premiere Networks, but the additional ventures announced today (5/8) take the relationship much deeper.  The launch of the iHeartRadio Hispanic Network will mean listeners to the digital entertainment platformgruporadiomexico will be able to hear Grupo Radio Centro, Grupo Radio Mexico stations and “El Show Del Mandril.”   Grupo Radio Mexico owns and operates 51 radio stations across multiple formats in 13 Mexican markets — including the leading station cluster in Monterrey and Guadalajara.  As part of the deal, beginning later this year, iHeartRadio will become the exclusive digital ad sales provider for these market-leading Mexican stations.  In what CC is calling an industry first, it will replace all local Mexican station ads with consumer-targeted U.S. ads and that this also marks the first time iHeartRadio will provide U.S. listeners with radio broadcasts from leading stations throughout the Mexico Republic.  GRC chairman and CEO Francisco Aguirre says, “This is the second step in the groundbreaking partnership between our two companies.  Bob Pittman and I share a vision to expand both companies beyond their respective borders in a very fast paced and evolving digital landscape.  Our Mexico stations are market leaders across all demographics and we look forward to their natural expansion in the U.S. through the iHeartRadio Hispanic Network.”

lehmansteveBiz Biggies Rock On — The Colorful History and Present-Day Innovation of Industry Entrepreneur Steve Lehman.  Actually there are two stories here.  One is the colorful history about the birth and early days of Premiere Networks which was launched by noted industry entrepreneur Steve Lehman and his partners Tim Kelly, Louise Palanker, and Ed Mann in the mid-1980s and went on to become one of network radio’s greatest successes.  The second story is about the more recent launch of an extremely innovative multi-media, radio-based syndicated program called “Business Rockstars,” hosted by brilliant business expert and organizer of billionaires, Ken Rutkowski.  What is the connection between these two stories?  Steve Lehman.  In a fascinating two-part special feature written by TALKERS managing editor/west coast bureau chiefBusiness Rockstars Logo Mike Kinosian, we are taken on a radio journey that spans three decades from the early days of modern syndication and consolidation to today’s leading edge of multi-platform talk radio. “I saw the need for something that was not ‘old politics’ on talk radio,” declares Lehman, who was fascinated by an article that indicated there are 30 million “wantrepreneurs” in the United States. “I thought that is a great audience to try to educate and to entertain about something I am passionate about — entrepreneurship. ‘Business Rockstars’ is an entrepreneurial business platform that is driven by radio, television, and social media. Those are the springboards to the monetization model, which is live events, content and product sales, and membership.”   Part one begins today (5/8).  Read it by clicking here.

wheelchristianCRN Digital Talk Syndicates ‘Let’s Talk Tech.’  The weekly radio program “Let’s Talk Tech” with host Christian Wheel is now being syndicated nationally by CRN Digital Talk Radio.  The program airs live Saturdays 8:00 pm ET from home base KFWB, Los Angeles.  The show is described as covering everything from “smartphones to the internet, home theater to security, software to digital cameras.”  CRN CEO Michael Horn says, “Christian is fluent in things called ‘C/C++,’ ‘Visual Basic’ and ‘x86 assembly.’  But more important, he’s fluent in radio.  Christian explains tech-related topics so everyone can understand and enjoy them.”

ldrlogoHelp for the Industry from the Experts at LDR Interactive.  The company says that it is launching its #Engage Blog to offer “broadcast solutions to motivate, measure and monetize your audience.”  LDR Interactive says the #Engage Blog shares “perspectives from the leadership team behind the Listener Driven Radio phenomenon and the growing TopicPulse real-time social measurement platform.”   The LDR #Engage Blog will feature insights on motivating, measuring, and monetizing audience engagement by offering a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most successful implementations of real-time, social, local, mobile, and interactive programming across LDR’s partner stations.  LDR says it  will also share unique perspectives from its world-class team of software engineers, broadcast managers, sales managers, and programmers.  Blog posts have been published by CEO, Daniel Anstandig; director of sales, Tracy Gilliam; and TopicPulse support and client services manager, Dana Hall.

sullivanchuckSullivan Heads to Brew Town with Entercom.  From his most recent gig with Cumulus Media in Mobile, Chuck Sullivan heads north to the Dairy State to serve as VP/GM for Entercom’s Milwaukee cluster, taking over for Michael Keck who left for opportunities in the Twin Cities.  Sullivan will oversee CHR WXSS “103.7 Kiss FM,” hot AC WMYX “99.1 The Mix,” and sports talk WSSP “Sports Radio 1250.”  He says, “I couldn’t be more excited about this tremendous opportunity.  Entercom Milwaukee has some of the most powerful and iconic brands, from ‘Kiss FM,’ the most-listened-to station in Wisconsin, to ‘99.1 the Mix’ and ‘SportsRadio 1250.’”

mariottijayOdds & Sods.  The Ayn Rand Institute announces it will begin producing a weekly, two-hour talk radio program hosted by executive director Yaron Brook.  In addition to seeking AM/FM affiliates, the program will air on the digital Liberty Express Network and the Ayn Rand Institute’s own site, aynrand.org.   The show debuts June 9…..Sports talk personality Jay Mariotti expands his digital reach by joining with PodcastOne for distribution of his daily show.  Mariotti’s program is heard via Genesis Communications Network and on his own Mariottishow.com platform…..Lisa Namerow, former SVP of strategic partnerships and audio monetization at Slacker Radio is joining XAPPmedia as senior vice president of business development and publisher relations for the company that provides an interactive audio advertising service.

nielsen logoNielsen to Make Cuts at Three Call Center Locations.  The Baltimore Sun reports that Nielsen will make cuts to its call-out workforce at locations in Sarasota, Florida; Radcliffe, Kentucky and Columbia, Maryland.  The paper reports the call center cuts are part of the company’s efforts to consolidate operations since the acquisition of Arbitron by Nielsen last year.  Though no filing with the Maryland State Department of Labor has been reported, filings have been made in Florida and Kentucky with cuts of 220 and 237 workers being made respectively.

radioonelogoNet Revenue Up 12.1% at Radio One; Liggins Cautious.  The financials from Radio One, Inc. for the first quarter of 2014 are in and the company reports net revenue was approximately $111.1 million, an increase of 12.1% from the same period in 2013.  It reported a net loss of approximately $25.2 million or $0.53 per share compared to $18.1 million or $0.36 per share theligginsalfred same period a year ago.  Radio One president and CEO Alfred Liggins III says, “Reflective of the broader economy, we experienced a slowdown in revenue growth in Q1.  Adjusting for timing differences on major events, consolidated revenue was up by 5.4% compared to Q1 2013.  Looking across the segments, TV One achieved its highest-ever show ratings, with the “NAACP Image Awards Show.”  However, the benefits of the NAACP partnership will be felt over the longer term as during the first quarter, TV One had higher programming amortization associated with the initial telecast of the Image Awards.  Our internet business continued its profitable trajectory and had robust 27.6% revenue growth year-over-year.  Looking ahead, core radio revenue is currently pacing down mid-single digits for the second quarter, but we anticipate markets picking up momentum in the second half of the year as political spending ramps up.”

harrisondickeyCMW14Lew Dickey Is “Bullish on the Stick” – Shares Insights into the Big Picture of Cumulus Media’s Corporate Strategy at Canadian Music Week.  In a “Fireside Chat” between Cumulus Media president/CEO Lew Dickey and Talkers/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison held during the opening sessions of an international radio summit in Toronto, the head of the America radio industry’s second largest group said that he is “bullish” on radio when asked where the stick stands within his company’s long-term strategy.  The 40 minute-conversation took place at 9:30 am Wednesday (5/7) at “Radio Interactive: International Radio Summit” held as part of this week’s ongoing multi-media festival, “Canadian Music Week.”  Dickey made the comment when asked by Harrison how Cumulus plans to balance its attention between the traditional AM/FM federally licensed platform (the “stick”) and all of its many digital age assets. Harrison asked, “Considering the massive amount of capital you have invested in traditional radio, is there the danger of a conflict between the stick and your other media?  More importantly, how do you feel about the future of the traditional radio station in general in this rapidly changing environment?”  Dickey responded that – yes, “times have changed in the past five years alone faster than ever and will probably change even faster in the coming five years” but he is nonetheless “bullish on the stick” and that all of Cumulus Media’s projects and multi-media endeavors are based upon the foundation and strength of traditional radio.  He said, “What we are doing is building upon our radio assets as the foundation of our larger media reach, always keeping in mind the importance of radio as the base of this larger system.”  Dickey went on to say that he personally believes in the uniqueness, importance and future of radio as a vital audio medium and has great respect for the basics that drive its success – music, entertainment, information and especially talent.  He summed it up stating, “In today’s media marketplace, the size of your reach counts.  You can’t effectively compete with emerging and already-existing giants such as Google with limited audience reach – that’s why you have to be able to provide advertisers with a large, multi-media package for maximum exposure which even includes magazines that we have among our assets.  That does not mean we do not value the tremendous importance of radio or the radio station in particular.  It is just that the ability of each station to compete effectively is enhanced when it is connected to a larger set of platforms increasing the reach we can provide to advertisers.”  Acknowledging Harrison as one of the industry’s leading experts on talk radio, he praised the importance of the format “in its broader definition” – even as it applies to music radio — stating, “Talk radio is more than just the political talk that many tend to narrow it down to when referring to the format.  Talk radio is all over the radio in many different forms…it appears on rock and pop music radio as morning shows, it’s in the all-news broadcasts…it is certainly in sports talk and it is our very act of talking that makes radio programming of all formats really work.”  When Harrison complained that there doesn’t seem to be the same level of format innovation today as there was in the past – and that he can’t see how radio can survive if its owners and managers think today’s formats can exist in a ‘snapshot’ and not be replaced by new ones, especially when these rapidly changing times demand it, Dickey smiled and said, “You must have been a fly on the wall at one of our recent corporate meetings!  I specifically asked the question, ‘When was the last time we’ve seen a significantly new format emerge in radio?’  There is no doubt this is a concern that we care about greatly.  However, I want to point out that we have good programming people on our team and we encourage them to be creative in this regard.”  Dickey added, “However, keep in mind, formats DO evolve as the times demand… it is just not always as noticeable as the debut of brand new formats that mark a departure from those that came before them.”  Harrison asked Dickey about audience measurement stats and his view of the PPM in particular to which he responded that “PPM would be far more accurate if we had a larger sample and until that day we have to deal with the potential of large fluctuations that can cause problems especially when dealing with tight margins within the rankings of stations.”  When asked if he counters that with some emphasis on qualitative selling in addition to the quantitative approach – especially on the local level, Dickey responded, “Even on the local level advertisers want data – we are living in an age in which data and measurement play a critical role in just about everything.  So even in situations in which there are no ‘ratings’ per se, it is incumbent upon the sales force to come up with information that conveys something measurable.”  Immediately following the conversation with Dickey, Michael Harrison was asked how he felt it went to which he responded, “That guy is one smart dude!”  Prior to facilitating the chat with the Cumulus head, Harrison delivered the conference’s keynote address titled, “Staying Iconic in the New Pop Culture,” in which he reiterated his basic principles that for music radio to maintain its standing in society it must reclaim ownership of the music culture and not stray from the basic tenets of entertainment, magic, humanity and caring – trusting its future as much on instinct and courage as on research and fear.

Global Warming/Clean Air Act, Boko Haram Kidnappings, Monica Lewinsky Vanity Fair Piece, 2016 Presidential Race/Mid-Term Elections, House Holds Lois Lerner in Contempt, and Russian Aggression in Ukraine Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/7).  The Obama Administration’s push for tougher regulations on power plant emissions and the debate over global warming; the global community’s response to the capture of Nigerian school girls by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram; Monica Lewinsky breaks her silence about affair with President Bill Clinton; the potential candidates for president in 2016 and this fall’s mid-term elections; former IRS official Lois Lerner found in contempt by House; and continued concerns about Russian aggression in Ukraine were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

| April 17, 2014

grahammichaelMichael Graham to Middays on WYAY, Atlanta.  Talk radio pro Michael Graham is saying good-bye to Massachusetts and New England and heading south for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show at Cumulus Media’s WYAY, Atlanta “All News 106.7.”  Graham has been hosting a program on the New England Talk Network and on the Boston Herald’s digital audio project since Greater Media flipped WTKK, Boston from talk to urban contemporary (as WBQT).  Cumulus is getting away from the all-news on WYAY – it’s already added market pro Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson to the wyay logoschedule in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm shift – though there’s no indication it has plans to change the drive time news programming anytime soon.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports the changes but Graham himself bids a fond adieu to New England and a not-so-fond adieu to the Massachusetts political scene which he blames for WTKK’s demise.  He singles out Governor Deval Patrick and you can read that here.

beckglennGlenn Beck Talks About Film Projects to Hollywood Reporter.  Talk radio star and media entrepreneur Glenn Beck tells the Hollywood Reporter that there’s a reason he bought a movie studio in Texas – The Studios at Las Colinas in Irving: He has plans for three film projects with many more hopefully to come.  The facility, where such movies as “Robocop” and “JFK” were filmed, also serves as the base for his radio and digital operations under his TheBlaze banner but his Mercury Radio Arts film division has plans for the three films – one set in ancient history, one in modern history and a third “faith-based” project – that are underway.  Read the Hollywood Reporter piece here.  Meanwhile, Beck also appears irked that he’s pigeonholed as a political right-winger by the media, telling the magazine, “Everybody thinks they know who I am because of my stint on Fox – that was two years of my life.  I’m much more into culture than I am into politics, and that’s where I intend on making my stand.”

cclogoClear Channel Restructures Sales Efforts; Extent of RIF Unknown.  The prospect that Clear Channel Media + Entertainment intended to change the structure of its sales force has been rumored for some time and now the plan has been put into effect.  The exact nature of the realignment is not known but the company released the following statement: “As a policy, we don’t discuss personnel matters.  However, for the last several months we have been flattening our senior management organization to reduce overlap.  Now we are aligning our sales organizations to this new structure and to give more resources, authority, and accountability to the most productive members of our team so we can operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.”

kall logoJohnson to Replace Hanson at Broadway Media.  A number of changes taking effect at Broadway Media in Utah to report.  First, the company announces that its Salt Lake Radio Group market manager G. Craig Hanson is leaving the company after 37 years to enter the ownership end of the business in St. George, Utah.  Taking over for him will be Stephen C. Johnson.  He’ll serve as general manager and CEO of the Salt Lake Radio Group that includes: KXRK, KUDD, KUUU, KEGA, KYMV and KALL.  Johnson spent the last 35 years with Simmons Media.  Other moves include Broadway Media VP/administration Bret J. Leifson exiting to pursue other interests.  Joining the companies is John G. Kimball who will serve as general manager and CEO of Real Media – the division that operates Broadway’s digital, technical, event and entertainment, and outdoor media assets.  Kimball has worked in the market with Bonneville and Real Salt Lake.

nielsen logoSecond Round of March PPM Data Released.  PPM data from the second of four groups of 12 markets for the March 2014 period (February 27 – March 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio.  Those markets include: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here.  Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.

fccnewFCC Issues FNPRM for 2014 Quadrennial Review; Ownership Regs Proposed to Remain, Cross-Ownership Open for Consideration.  The Federal Communications Commission has released its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that initiates the 2014 Quadrennial Review and chief among the topics are the broadcast ownership rules.  The Commission is proposing to keep the current radio broadcast ownership rules in place but it is open to discussion about relaxing the radio-newspaper cross-ownership ban as well as the radio-television cross-ownership rules.  This has Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai furious in his dissent.  He takes the Commission to task for, 1) failing to complete the 2010 Quadrennial Review and; 2) putting proposals such as the radio-newspaper cross-ownership ban question into the 2014 review.  Here are his words: “Congress has instructed us to review the newspaper-paiajitbroadcast cross-ownership rule every four years and repeal or modify it if we determine that it is no longer in the public interest.  And here is the simple truth: The Commission has not been able to conclude since 2000 that the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule remains in the public interest.  And today, the Commission dodges the issue entirely, putting off the issue until 2016, sixteen years after our last determination! What’s the solution at this point?  While writs of mandamus are not to be issued lightly, I believe that the D.C. Circuit would now be justified in ordering the Commission to remove the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule from our books.  We have had plenty of opportunities to justify maintaining the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule, but instead we have chosen to punt — including today.”  Pai’s sentiment that the FCC works too slowly, especially in an era when changes in technology are happening at an ever-faster pace while government seems to work slower than ever, is one echoed by many in the broadcasting industry.  Consider the Commission’s conclusion regarding how digital media is affecting broadcast media.  It’s important to understand that the quote from the FNPRM is relative to broadcasters’ (TV also) desires to relax ownership regulations.  Whether you agree or not, it’s the Commission’s assessment of the current state of the audio entertainment landscape that indicates its willingness to only see one moment in time, without regard for the future.  “Despite broadcasters’ claims to the contrary, we tentatively find that, for purposes of the Commission’s ownership rules, non-broadcast sources of audio programming are not yet meaningful substitutes for broadcast radio stations with respect to either listeners or advertisers.  While alternate platforms such as satellite radio and Internet-delivered audio are growing in popularity, broadcast radio remains the dominant radio technology.  In 2012, 92 percent of Americans age 12 or older listened to broadcast radio, a figure that has remained essentially constant over the last decade.  Satellite radio still serves only a small portion of the population, even though its subscription rates continue to climb.  And though recent data suggest that a significant portion of adult U.S. broadband households (42 percent) listen to Internet-delivered audio programming, we note that millions of U.S. households continue to lack broadband connections.  In addition, only 14 percent of Internet radio listeners listen in their cars, where most broadcast radio listening occurs.   Thus, we tentatively conclude that Internet-delivered audio programming is not yet a meaningful substitute for broadcast radio listening for most listeners.  We seek comment on this tentative conclusion and invite commenters to provide any more recent relevant information and data.  We believe, moreover, that satellite radio and content delivered via the Internet generally are national platforms that are not likely to respond to competitive conditions in local markets.”  Even if you agree with these conclusions (which, obviously, many do not), will they still be true in 2015, 2016 (when the 2014 Quad is supposed to be delivered to Congress) or 2017?

biakelseyBIA/Kelsey’s New Study Explores ‘Reinvention of Audio.’  The full name of the study from BIA/Kelsey is “The Internet Radio Revolution Has Arrived: Platforms, Services, Audiences and Advertisers Reinvent Audio,” and as the title implies, it works to make sense of the state of audio entertainment and its relationship with the advertising world as it exists today, plus where it’s going in the near future.  The study authors note a five-step process that occurs when a major change affects the media: 1) Fundamental breakthroughs in enabling technologies occur, 2) Entrepreneurs and their investors experiment with getting the right value proposition into the market, 3) Consumers find the winning technologies and begin to use them, 4) Advertisers sensing a new opportunity for connecting with their consumers allocate “experimental budget,” and 5) Media companies and publishers take new platforms seriously.  The report states, “It is only when we reach this last phase that we really get a sense of how fundamentally a technology will impact us in the long run.”  It believes the audio business is entering this fifth phase.  Read the entire study here.

iheartradio newiHeartRadio Gets into Subaru’s STARLINK.  Japanese automaker Subaru was a little late to the party with a digital infotainment system but the new STARLINK is available on many of its 2014 cars and now Clear Channel Media + Entertainment announces its iHeartRadio will be included on the system.  The STARLINK infotainment system is being demoed at the New York Auto Show beginning tomorrow (4/18).  Subaru of America marketing strategy & launch manager David Sullivan, says, “We are thrilled to have iHeartRadio as our first content partner for the STARLINK cloud service application.  The award-winning service brings a huge amount of programming and custom content to Subaru vehicles with a great, easy-to-use interface.”

ObamaCare Criticism, IRS-DOJ Tea Party Connection, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Sebelius Senate Run, Tax Day, and Bloomberg vs the NRA Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/16).  Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the allegation that the Lois Lerner led department of the IRS contacted the Department of Justice about prosecuting the Tea Party; escalating aggression by Putin’s Russian forces in Ukraine; speculation that former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will run for the U.S. Senate; chatter about the complex U.S. tax code and the number of taxpayers supporting benefit takers; and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plans to battle the National Rifle Association were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, July 29, 2013

| July 29, 2013

bostonheraldradio logoBoston Herald Radio Launches August 5 at 6:00 am ET.  The concept of the full-blown, digital-age “media station” predicted and described for the past decade by Michael Harrison and other radio industry visionaries will be taking a giant leap toward coming to fruition at 6:00 am ET on August 5.  The Boston Herald newspaper is unveiling its ambitious new initiative “Boston Herald Radio” – a Boston-centric news/talk/sports radio station that will begin its life as a venue for four live three-hour shows running weekdays from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm.  These programs include:

katzjeffspeaks-          6:00 am to 9:00 am – “Live from the Newsroom with Jeff Katz” (Katz is a well-known talk industry personality most recently heard in Boston on WRKO and Talk 1200.)

-          9:00 am to 12:00 noon – “Morning Meeting with Jaclyn Cashman and Hillary Chabot” (Cashman is a former Springfield, MA TV anchor/reporter and multimedia consultant and Chabot is the chief political reporter with the Boston Herald.)

-          12:00 noon to 3:00 pm – “The Michael Graham Show” (Graham is a former WTKK host and current Boston Herald op-ed grahammichaelcolumnist.)

-          3:00 pm to 6:00 pm – “Sports Town with Jon Meterparel and Jen Royle” (Meterparel is a former WEEI personality and current Boston College play-by-play announcer and Royle is an Emmy-award winning Major League Baseball reporter, TV/radio host.)

This will be the first news/sports/talk radio platform in the Boston market backed up by a full multimedia newsroom under the brand of a major newspaper and one of a handful of such operations beginning to pop up around the country.  News reports will be provided capalboshattuckthroughout the broadcast day by Boston Herald editors and reporters.  Feature elements will include Boston Herald music, TV, movie reviews, political and business reports, style and food segments as well as live reports from staff reporters who travel with all four major teams and provide extensive high school sports coverage.  The stream will be managed by Backbone Networks (the same company working on the forthcoming mid-August launch of TalkersRadio) and carried by Tune In as well its home base on the Boston Herald website and its mobile news and sports apps.  The shows will be streamed from a studio adjacent to the Boston Herald newsroom.  The studio team includes executive producer Tom Shattuck (formerly of WRKO and WTKK) and two part-time producers (Shattuck pictured at right, is here with Backbone Networks VP of engineering development George Capalbo, at left).  Boston Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca tells TALKERS, “Consumers want news and information that is mobile, and they want to be active participants connecting and collaborating on the issues of the day, not passive receptors being lectured to.  That is our mission in print, online, in video presentations and now Boston Herald Radio.”  Sciacca adds, “I see myself not as a newspaper editor but as the leader of a news organization that creates high-quality, original content for use across platforms — whether it is print, web or broadcast.”   According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who was writing and speaking about the potential of newspaper websites providing radio broadcasters with powerful platforms to operate on the internet as long as 10 years ago,  “This amazing development in Boston marks the tipping point in the evolution of the digital-age news and entertainment platform.  The brilliant and obvious idea of newspapers and radio stations rubbing their two sticks together (literally and figuratively) will send sparks flying that will potentially proliferate into a  21st century ‘media station’ wildfire.  By ‘media station’ I mean an online platform that has the cultural stationality of a radio station, a television station, a newspaper and a magazine combined – all in one location – fueled and synergized by the combined resources of each.”  Harrison maintains that the internet alone is not a practical platform.  He says, “By itself, the internet has no form, no definition and no prestige, similarly neither do the so called ‘airwaves’ of 20th century audio and video media.  The key is to build prestigious, well-defined platforms that will sail across the internet — the way ships, yachts and ocean liners sail the seas and the way glorious theaters give Broadway its pizzazz or great stadiums separate the big leagues from sandlot baseball.  If an actor, dancer or musician is performing ‘on Broadway,’ that could mean they are doing their act on the stage of the Winter Garden or on the sidewalk in front of the Winter Garden.  It is the same thing with the internet.  Prestigious, well-resourced platforms give you a place to put the key to monetization: a box office!”  Walter Sabo, CEO of the New York City-based consultancy firm Sabo Media (whose clients have included SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Parade magazine and numerous leading radio firms and talent), says, “When Jeff Katz or Michael Graham are on the air doing their shows in a studio right next to the Boston Herald newsroom, they will be one door away from an-in house news gathering and processing operation that employs hundreds of journalists.  This is a brilliant move!”  Sabo adds that his firm has been developing a new division for the past several months that will specialize in advising newspapers in executing this kind of move, stating, “I have been hearing from a number of publications – dailies and weeklies – that are very interested in pursuing these exciting new opportunities, but they realize that they not only need people with on-air broadcast experience, but people who have broadcasting management insight as well.  The Boston Herald was smart to hire Tom Shattuck.”  Summing up the synergy aspect of his new media station, Boston Herald editor-in-chief Sciacca tells TALKERS, “Our multimedia reporters are producing award-winning purcellsciaccavideo reports every day, producing broadcast-quality segments with compelling interviews and streaming content.  Is this a TV newsroom?  An online newsroom?  A radio station?  A newspaper?  It’s today’s Boston Herald.”  He continues, “The power of Boston Herald Radio when it comes to breaking news will be incredible.  Listeners can be confident they will be not only engaged and entertained by our talk shows, but will be insiders on breaking news in real time.”  Boston  Herald publisher and president Patrick J. Purcell (pictured at left with Joe Sciacca, right, in the Boston Herald newsroom) says, “Internet radio is exploding and it makes sense that the Herald rounds out our multimedia platform with talk radio programming.  It’s perfect synergy.  Boston Herald Radio will be fast-paced, uncensored, entertaining, completely interactive and, most important, very respectful to our listeners.  We have a terrific team of seasoned hosts who are smart, respected and extremely versatile.  They live in our communities and fully understand and appreciate the complexities of issues folks care about.”

sabowalterMemo to Newspapers on the Verge of Launching Radio Stations on Their Websites:  Do it Correctly!  Noted radio consultant Walter Sabo is no stranger to working in the intersection between print media and talk radio.  In a new advice column posted today (7/29), he offers several key points from a list of essential ingredients that are required for talk-oriented media stations based on publication websites to achieve success and longevity.  He advises newspaper executives to hire experienced radio executives to lead the station as well as seasoned, accomplished talk hosts to execute it.  He suggests protecting and growing the brand by taking advantage of the traffic already on the website and creating programming that delivers topics in which newspaper readers are already interested.  Most of all, understand that talk show hosts are like newspaper columnists – more so than reporters.  Listeners realize this and do not expect the spoken word of opinion to mimic the printed word of editorial fact and objectivity.  To read Walter Sabo’s entire piece, please click here.

cumulusAnother Report of a Cumulus Split from Limbaugh and Hannity.  We’ve heard these rumors before about Cumulus Media dropping Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and the latest comes from Politico.  The mag reports that inside sources say Cumulus is not satisfied with the results of negotiations to reduce the cost of airing the Limbaugh and Hannity programs on their 40-some news/talk stations that carry them.  Both contracts reportedly are limbaughrushup at the end of this year.  As most industry insiders are aware, there are cash considerations as well as inventory that airs outside the actual programs associated with carrying Limbaugh and Hannity and that, presumably, is what the bone ofhannitysean contention is.  Politico does report that a Cumulus spokesperson said the company does not comment on negotiations with talent under contract.  Cumulus holds its Q2 conference call tomorrow morning but don’t hold your breath waiting for Lew Dickey to comment on the Limbaugh/Hannity issue.  The tone of the Politico piece makes it sound as though this is about the politics of Limbaugh and Hannity and whether the “Sandra Fluke case” is still haunting the sales efforts.  If that were the case, negotiations over the cost of the programs would be irrelevant.  Ultimately, the Dickeys’ decision will likely be based upon whether they make enough money off of Limbaugh and Hannity to justify the cost while considering what the company could do with personalities such as Michael Savage, Mark Levin and Mike Huckabee to cover the time slots now held by Limbaugh and Hannity.

millerchrisThe Social Media Trick You Don’t Know You Know.  Although the term “call to action” has a slightly different application in broadcasting than it does in social media, it is increasingly growing in importance as a concept to managing content in the digital arena.  In a new column posted today (7/29), noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller says that radio broadcasters can apply “call to action” concepts with which they are very familiar from their broadcasting experience to social media with merely a few tweaks and turns of a phrase.  To read Miller’s entire column, please click here.

kjce-am logoEntercom Splits KJCE-AM/FM, Austin Simulcast; New Lineup for KJCE-AM.  The FM side of Entercom’s KJCE, Austin becomes an urban AC outlet as the new “96 R&B” featuring Premiere NetworksSteve Harvey in morning drive.  KJCE-AM remains news/talk as “News Radio 1370” with some additions to the lineup, returning Talk Radio Network’s “America’s Morning News.”  Entercom Austin vice president and market manager Alan Kirshbom states, “By bringing back ‘America’s Morning News’ from 5:00 am to 8:00 am and moving Courtside Entertainment’s Laura Ingraham to live programming from 8:00 am to 11:00 am, KJCE once again proves it is Austin’s and Texas’ Talk Station.”  The station is also bringing back Dial Global’s Dennis Miller to air from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm followed by Dave Ramsey and Premiere NetworksSean Hannity.

kroi logoRadio One’s All-News KROI, Houston Partner with KHOU-TV for Weather.  Radio One all-news “News 92 FM” announces a partnership with CBS TV O&O “KHOU 11” for the latter to provide weather for KROI.  Radio One regional vice president Doug Abernethy states, “Why compete with the best when you can team up with the best?  KHOU 11 has built a stellar reputation as a local weather leader in Houston and we are thrilled to welcome KHOU 11 and their outstanding meteorologists to join our 24-hour ‘News 92 FM’ team to provide our audience the best, most accurate, up-to-the-minute weather coverage.”

michaelsbillSyndicated Bill Michaels Sports Talk Program Adds Madison.  Based at Entercom sports talk WSSP, Milwaukee, the statewide syndicated Bill Michaels program announces it will add Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s WOZN-AM, Madison “The Zone” beginning August 8.  The midday sports talk show airs live from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and is in its second year of syndication.  “We’re delighted to welcome another Mid-West Family Broadcasting station to the Bill Michaels Sports Network,” says Michael Keck, vice president and market manager for Entercom Wisconsin.  “Bill’s enthusiasm and talent is contagious and that’s a big reason we continue to grow.”  Michaels comments, “This is a dream come true.  I feel like I’m now able to reach all Wisconsin sports fans.  I’m anxious to connect with the strong sports fan base that is represented in Mad-town.”

jacksonkevin‘The Black Sphere’ Radio Show Gaining Traction.  The Kevin Jackson-hosted “Black Sphere Radio Show” announces it adds WEZO, Augusta, Georgia to its list of affiliate stations.  Earlier this year the program added Salem Communications’ WGUL and WLSS in the Tampa-St. Petersburg and Sarasota markets.  Program senior producer Mickey White says, “Kevin is gaining in popularity and we will be adding markets and new sponsors in the very near future.  Kevin’s blend of entertainment with politics is getting lots of attention.  We are in talks with stations across the country, including some large market stations in Nevada, Colorado and California and we expect to make a lot of big announcements in the near future.”

rhodesaustinMan Arrested After Threatening WGAC, Augusta’s Austin Rhodes.  A 25-year old Augusta, Georgia man was taken into custody last week and held on $2,600 bond after allegedly threatening WGAC, Augusta talk show host Austin Rhodes with bodily harm.  After Darnell Tyray Chambers made what Rhodes considered a threatening statement about him on Facebook, he reported the threat as per Beasley Broadcast Group company policy.  According to the Columbia County News-Times, police arrested Chambers on charges of making terroristic threats and acts.

handel20yearsKFI, Los Angeles Celebrates 20 Years of Bill Handel.  Clear Channel news/talk giant KFI, Los Angeles is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Bill Handel as the morning drive talk personality on the station.  Handel began hosting the program in July of 1993 but the station says it will officially celebrate the anniversary with an extravaganza for listeners in November but on Friday, July 26, Rich Marotta, Michelle Kube, Mike Nolan, Neil Saavedra and Gary Hoffmann reminisced about their favorite Handel moments during the 5:00 am hour of the program.  To say that Handel is important to the station’s success would be an understatement.  Handel is consistently one of the highest-rated daily talk radio programs in the country in terms of cume.

Monday, July 15, 2013

| July 15, 2013

Talk Radio Stations Answer Call for Live Radio After Zimmerman Verdict.  The number of talk radio stations that rose to the occasion after the George Zimmerman verdict late Saturday night and the following day was, according to TALKERS sources around the country, surprisingly large considering the time (especially in the East) that the verdict was announced.  Certainly there were many stations caught unaware at that late hour but even many of those that were not able to bring local talent in for a live program were prepared enough to air network coverage of the news.  Several TALKERS sources report hearing local talent take to the air in the Pacific Time Zone and put callers on the air to discuss the case.

madisonjoeSiriusXM’s Joe Madison Races to Cover Zimmerman Verdict; Broadcast Response to Case.  High-profile talk media personality Joe Madison lived up to his moniker “The Black Eagle” late Saturday night after the Sanford, Florida jury reached its verdict and found George Zimmerman not guilty of the charges against him in the death of Trayvon Martin.  Minutes after the verdict was announced, Madison went to the SiriusXM Washington, DC broadcast facility to do a live broadcast that aired from 11:00 pm Saturday evening to 1:00 am Sunday morning on the satcaster’s “Urban View Channel.”  Madison opened up the lines to callers to, as he said, “give people a platform to react and share their feelings.”  SiriusXM reports, “It was a powerful show.  Major figures joined the show by telephone – among them Rev. Jesse Jackson; Ben Jealous, president/CEO, NAACP; Marc Morial, president National Urban League; attorney Daryl Parks, co-attorney for the family of Trayvon Martin; and Roslyn Brock, chairwoman of the NAACP.  ‘Urban View’ then went into a special schedule all day Sunday, serving as a sounding board for listener response.  The channel aired live shows taking calls from around the country throughout the day.”

traduptomMedia Coverage of Zimmerman Verdict Analyzed and Criticized.  In the immediate aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict, the news/talk radio industry is analyzing media coverage of the case – especially from cable news/talk outlets and what some talk radio practitioners tend to call the “left-leaning mainstream media.”  In a somewhat high-profile incident, former temporary Associated Press staffer Cristina Silva, who had left the news organization before the incident, according to the AP, Tweeted: “So we can all kill teenagers now?  Just checking.”  Salem Radio Networks VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS magazine that after learning about this he, as a member of the TV Digital News Directors Association, as well as an AP subscriber, contacted AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll.  She informed Tradup that Silva was “a temp who no longer works for us.”  Breitbart.com reports Silva worked for the AP for the past three years with her last byline being July 9 of this year.  Tradup has more to say about the coverage he witnessed and the radio broadcasts he heard to those he saw on cable TV.  He writes, “Radio (gasp) simply covered the verdict.  ABC, SRN, CBS, local stations…all pretty much the same model:  No scary theme music, no weird camera angles, and no need to manufacture emotions or distort what happened.  Just the facts…Not on cable.  Kate Bolduan and Chis Cuomo on, of course, a special edition of CNN’s “New Day” program, reporting on the verdict with agonized scowls on their faces…presenting video of ‘major cities’ all over America where protesters marched after the verdict had been announced.  An objective viewing of the ‘protests’ revealed turnout to be literally dozens of people.  Cuomo physically wrung his hands as he opined that people nationwide are ‘disturbed’ by the verdict.  Kate Bolduan sat stoically next to him, nodding and grimacing over the jury’s verdict on this travesty of a ‘news’ program.  On MSNBC, Melissa Harris-Perry suggested that ‘all over America, African-American parents are hugging their children tighter’…implying that they are trembling in their homes as a result of the Sanford, Florida jury action.  What unsubstantiated baloney. How insulting to African-Americans.  How insulting to our entire legal system.  The state of broadcast journalism in America has always been pretty low, an occasional Edward R. Murrow notwithstanding.  But the deifying of Trayvon Martin by CNN and other cable myna birds simply to generate ratings makes me happy to instead operate in radio news…where actual facts still matter.  Our TV counterparts have served up disgraceful bias and doctored opinions disguised as ‘news coverage.’”

marconiawardSports Talkers Outshine News/Talkers in 2013 NAB Marconi Award Personality Honors Finalists.  The National Association of Broadcasters announces the finalists for the 2013 NAB Marconi Awards honoring personalities and radio stations for excellence.  The winners will be announced at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando on September 18.  This year, in the major market and syndicated categories, news/talk personalities are noticeably absent while sports talk talent is prominent.  Fox Sports Radio/Premiere Networks’ Petros & Money are finalists in the syndicated category and in the major market category, WFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton and KTCK, Dallas’ “The Musers” (George Dunham and Craig Miller) are finalists.  Clear Channel news/talk KFI, Los Angeles is up for Legendary Station, as is Entercom’s sports talk WEEI, Boston and CBS Radio all-newsers KYW, Philadelphia and WBBM, Chicago.  News/talk and sports are dominant in the Large Market Station of the Year category with CBS Radio’s WCCO, Minneapolis; Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence; Entercom’s WWL-AM, New Orleans; and CBS Radio’s WXYT-FM, Detroit all in contention.  View all of the finalists here.

sedanojorgeJorge Sedano to Exit WQAM, Miami to Join ESPN.  The Florida SunSentinel reports that WQAM, Miami program director and afternoon drive personality Jorge Sedano will leave the station he’s been with for 11 months to take a multi-platform position with sports giant ESPN.  The specifics of his new position with ESPN are unclear but he is expected to start there in the fall.  Sedano is a fixture in sports media in South Florida and has also worked at Lincoln Financial Media’s WAXY.  He took over the program director position at WQAM after four months away from radio in the market during which he pursued TV opportunities.  He replaced Lee Feldman who exited the WQAM PD post for opportunities outside the radio business.  Sedano also hosted the pre- and post-game shows for Miami Heat games on the Sun Sports telecasts.  Obviously, this opens up a great sports talk radio opportunity in South Florida.

imusdonMerlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia Replaces Lionel with Don Imus in AM Drive.  New York-based media personality Lionel – seen by New Yorkers both in the early morning and during evening news casts on WPIX-TV – waslionel piped in alongside former morning host Al Gardner when Merlin turned the station into a talk-formatted outlet after purchasing it from Family Stations, Inc.  Gardner exited the station in March of this year and Lionel remained in AM drive.  In addition to his work with WPIX-TV, Lionel also operates the successful internet venture lionelmedia.com.

millerchrisFeeding the Endlessly Hungry Mouth: Coming Up with Content for Your Social Media Outreach.  Content gathering is a massive headache for a lot of social media experts.  It can take over two hours a day to do it effectively.  Considering the fact that in radio there are a lot fewer full-time social media folks and a lot more people have added some social media duties to their already long job descriptions, it is even tougher to be consistently interesting, funny or helpful.  In a new column posted today by noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, he suggests several types of content.  These include 1) using a lot of photos (they are more convenient and often more effective than videos); 2) posting in-depth articles (all you need is to click to them); 3) posing questions about hot-button stories (talk radio is more adept at this than music radio); and 4) employing the services of Google Alert to help gather material.  To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, please click here.

kernenbobBob Kernen to Serve as VP/COO for jacAPPS.  Jabobs Media’s jacAPPS division – developer of mobile applications – announces internet veteran Bob Kernen will join the company as vice president and chief operating officer.  The company reports that “this move marks a major step in the growth of the company, ranked by Crain’s Detroit Business as the number #2 mobile application developer in Southeast Michigan, and the industry leader in the Business-to-Business category.”  President Paul Jacobs says, “Since its inception in 2008, jacAPPS has been on a consistent, upward trajectory.  As our company nears its fifth anniversary, we needed a visionary with the right blend of media and web experience – and Bob’s the guy.”  Kernen has served as VP/product development and data for Sharecare, creating a digital database, mobile applications, and a comprehensive back-end data system.  Prior to that, he was the co-founder of GrokMusic, oversaw digital product development for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, developed emerging media platforms for A&E Television Networks, and helped develop the digital strategies for Hearst’s Women.com and Microsoft’s Web TV Networks.

katzjeffspeaksJeff Katz Subs in Morning Drive at WRNO, New Orleans.  Former “TALK 1200” Boston (WXKS-AM) morning man Jeff Katz sets his alarm clock pretty early tomorrow morning — if only for a day – as he’ll fill in on Clear Channel’s news/talk WRNO-FM, New Orleans.  Katz provides a thrice-daily commentary heard on WCAP, Lowell-Boston and has recently been heard filling in for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated host Todd Schnitt and New England Talk Network regional host Michael Graham.

trautmannconradDial Global’s Conrad Trautmann Given ‘Engineer of the Year’ Honor.  Dial Global announces chief technology officer Conrad Trautmann has been named “Chapter Engineer of the Year” by the Society of Broadcast Engineers’ Chapter 15 (SBE 15), which serves the New York City metro area.  Trautmann is the first recipient of this new award, which recognizes the efforts of a specific individual who best furthers the goals and objectives of their SBE Chapter and provides an outstanding example of local/regional leadership and ethics.  SBE 15 chapter chairman Jeff Smith states, “We are thrilled to honor Conrad with our first ‘Chapter Engineer of the Year’ award.  Within Conrad’s 30-plus years of service to SBE 15, he was instrumental in reestablishing the chapter in the 1980s after declining membership and financial troubles caused the Chapter to cease operations.  Conrad is recognized for implementing a model that has made SBE 15 the largest and most financially stable SBE local chapter in the country.”  Trautmann oversees the company’s broadcast engineering, program distribution, back-office IT, and software development.  He is a nationally recognized and respected leader in the broadcast engineering field, with prior senior engineering positions at Dial Global, Westwood One, Metro Networks, Cox Radio, and Chancellor Media.

kroibarajasconductsHe Was Born in a Crossfire Hurricane.  All-news KROI, Houston’s Mike Barajas show off his conducting and Mick Jagger moves as he leads the Houston Symphony Orchestra in a rendition of the Rolling Stones’ classic “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”  The “News 92 FM” afternoon anchor received a little help from Symphony conductor Brent Havens as he assisted the performance of the works of the Rolling Stones at Jesse H. Jones Hall.  Photo by Robert Land Productions.

Monday, July 8, 2013

| July 8, 2013

manleytoddWGN, Chicago Names Todd Manley VP/Creative Content.  Todd Manley recently held the same title at CBS Radio’s crosstown triple A WXRT.  Now he comes to Tribune’s news/talk WGN with the title vice president/creative content.  This isn’t his first gig with Tribune, having been production director and creative director at the company from 1998 through 2008.  His programming experience also includes a term as PD at KTRS, St. Louis.  WGN still has not named a program director for the station after letting programming pro Bill White go shortly after the arrival of Jimmy de Castro as the station’s president and general manager in late May.

kleinaaronAaron Klein Does Weekly WABC, New York Show Despite Laryngitis. Not unlike a gimpy football player who takes to the field on game day even though his leg is in bad shape, Israel-based journalist and talk show host Aaron Klein didn’t let a case of acute laryngitis keep him off of WABC, New York last night (7/7).  Despite being told to rest his voice for the next two weeks, Klein couldn’t bring himself to call in sick for his popular 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm Sunday show.  He tells TALKERS, “The news cycle continues full force.  There’s a revolution in Egypt.  I read the full immigration reform bill and found some major unreported elements.  And I’ve got new information on Edward Snowden.  There’s just too much to talk about.”  Klein did give his voice a rest several times during the program by playing some previously recorded segments.

conclaveThe Conclave Special Rates Expire After Today.  The Conclave announces that the deadline for its $399 tuition for the 2013 Learning Conference taking place July 17-19 in Minneapolis has been extended to Monday, July 8.  Citing fiscal year budgets that don’t begin for many until July 1 and the conclusion of many stations’ second quarter budgets on June 30 – not to mention the recent Fourth of July holiday weekend – the Conclave Board of Directors has elected to extend the conference’s $399 tuition.  Executive director Bob Shannon says, “We received many inquiries regarding the June 30 tuition deadline, asking for it to be moved into July.  Because we want as many industry professionals, students and teachers interested in attending to be here, it was an easy call to make!”  After July 8, Conclave 38 tuition rises to its on-site rate of $499.  In addition to extending the tuition deadline, the Conclave announced that its specially priced sleeping room rate of $139 at the Doubletree Park Place Hotel would similarly be extended to those reserving rooms by Monday, July 8. After that date, any remaining Conclave rooms at the Doubletree will be offered to the general public at an increased rate.  For more on the 2013 Learning Conference, click on http://www.theconclave.com.

dial global sportsDial Global Names Three to Sports Sales Division.  Beefing up its sports sales division, Dial Global announces the hiring of Matthew Colborn as director of sports sales, West Coast; Dial Global account manager Julie Boruchov moves to the new role of director of sports sales, East Coast; and Amilia Poin assumes the role of sports coordinator.  Senior vice president/director corporate sports at Dial Global Michael Schreck boruchovjuliestates, “I’m thrilled to officially announce Matt, Julie, and Amilia in their new roles.  Collectively, they bring a tremendous amount of audio and integrated sales experience, which will supplement our already strong sports sales division and benefit our clients and marketing partners.  I look forward to working closely with Matt, who brings 15 years’ experience developing strategic ad campaigns for multiple high-profile categories.  Julie’s immeasurable knowledge of the industry coupled with success selling our sports assets and Amilia’s understanding of our sports programming have already proven to be invaluable to the success of our sports group.”  Colborn comes to Dial Global from US Interactive Media (USIM), where he was the director of client services.  Boruchov began her audio career as a sales assistant at Westwood One, moving up to sales planner and account executive.  Following Westwood One’s merger with Dial Global, Boruchov became an account manager.  Poin most recently worked in Dial Global’s traffic division where she acted as a liaison between sales and production to ensure proper placement and delivery of all commercials in Dial Global’s sports programming.

berryheadshaveTalk Host Michael Berry and Staff Help Raise $110,000 for Fisher House Foundation.  KTRH, Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry (also heard on nine other Clear Channel stations across the country) and his staff committed to shaving their heads if they were able to raise $20,000 for Fisher House Foundation.  Berry, pictured here getting his head shaved, tells TALKERS he’s proud to announce that he and his staff helped raise much more.  Prior to the Fourth of July holiday, Berry and his crew were soliciting donations to Fisher House and had hit the $50,000-mark until Russell Ybarra – owner of Gringo’s Tex-Mex and Jimmy Changa’s matched the total pushing it up to $100,000.  More donations upped the total to $110,000 and the money will help pay for a second Fisher House in the Houston area.  Fisher House provides housing for the families of American Armed Forces personnel who are being treated for injuries suffered in the line of duty so they can be near their loved ones while they recuperate.

grahammichaelMichael Graham Subs for Laura Ingraham Today and Tomorrow.  Talk pro Michael Graham sits in for Courtside Entertainment-syndicated talk show host Laura Ingraham on July 8 and 9.  Here’s an update on Graham’s work.  Graham exited Greater Media after it flipped longtime talk station WTKK, Boston to rhythmic AC earlier this year.  He’d been a host there for eight-plus years.  Shortly thereafter, he debuted his new show, “The Natural Truth” which airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daily on his creation, New England Talk Network.  Graham says, “My daily show is focused on local issues here in New England, giving local talk fans a place to speak out about everything from the Boston Marathon bombings to the Aaron Hernandez case to John Kerry‘s latest display of yachtsmanship.”  The program is currently heard on six affiliate stations: WBNW, Concord, Massachusetts; WCRN, Worcester; WPLM, Plymouth, Massachusetts; WCCM, Salem, New Hampshire; WXBR, Brockton, Massachusetts; and WESO, Southbridge, Massachusetts.  Graham, who is a frequent guest on Fox News Channel and other cable news channels and is a columnist for the Boston Herald, states, “It’s always an honor when a talk host is willing to share her audience with me.  The fact that Laura is the one of the most successful radio talk hosts in history just makes it that much more fun.”

huardbrockKIRO-AM, Seattle Sports Talker Brock Huard to Sponsor Third Annual Free Football Camp.  This Thursday, July 11, KIRO-AM, Seattle “710 ESPN” talk show host and former college and NFL star Brock Huard will participate in the third annual “Brock Huard Youth Football Camp,” where more than 150 youths, ages 8-18, will take the field at Renton Memorial Stadium.  The camp is a partnership with Sports in Schools, the station and former NFL players Dave Wyman and Damon Huard and will teach kids the value of teamwork, perseverance and hard work.  Brock Huard says, “For the third consecutive year, I’m thrilled to give back to the community that has given so much to me, and without all of our tremendous partners, none of it could happen.”

powersbillCalgary Sports Fans, Broadcasting Community Mourns Death of Bill Powers and Wife.  The Globe and Mail reports that Bill Powers’ stepson Derek Puffer has been charged with two counts of second degree murder in the death of the Calgary sports radio legend and his wife Donna.  The 71-year-old Powers, who retired in 2009, was the longtime voice of the Calgary Stampeders.  He worked as a print journalist before switching to radio.  He worked for many years at CHQR, Calgary and CKXL.

wachsbonaduceDr. Daliah and Danny Bonaduce.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs is pictured here with radio and television star Danny Bonaduce.  Dr. Wachs met up with Bonaduce while on her annual cruise – this time to Alaska – with listeners.  Wachs and her group enjoyed the opportunity to sit at the captain’s table, get a private tour of the bridge and more.  She says of meeting Bonaduce, “We were happy to know we were mutual fans. LOL!!!”

Monday, February 4, 2013

| February 4, 2013

kochedEd Koch the Broadcaster Remembered.  The passing of former New York City Mayor Ed Koch early Friday morning elicited some remembrances from two people who worked closely with him – John Mainelli, the program director of WABC who hired him, and Curtis Sliwa, one of his fellow talk hosts at WABC, New York.  Mainelli tells TALKERS magazine, “I hired him right after he left office.  It wasn’t long before he was #1 in his time slot (11:00 am to 12:00 noon).  There was asliwacurtis time when both he, Limbaugh and Bob Grant were #1 in their slots.  Ed wanted to know who was the leader of the three, asking me, “How #1 am I?”  He was A-No.1.  A great guy.  A nice guy.  A champ.  I really, really liked him.”  Curtis Sliwa says of Koch’s death, “The passing of Mayor Koch was not only a tremendous loss for our city, but a tremendous loss for the radio dial. Ed Koch was no fan of mine, nor were the Guardian Angels while he was Mayor.  While we were colleagues at 77WABC, and I was his lead-in with Lisa, our relationship improved but you wouldn’t call us friends.  When I got shot in June of 1992, the first image that I saw hovering over my hospital bed in ICU was that of Ed Koch.  Immediately, my first thought was that I’d died and gone straight to Hell without an asbestos suit.  I didn’t die though (I think Ed was almost as disappointed as the Gottis about that) and our relationship continued to improve over the years and for a long time, I’ve been proud to call him a friend.  He was a regular guest on my radio show on WABC and at ‘AM 970 The Answer.’  He was my colleague at NY1 and he was the only person I’d ever met who loved this city more than I did.”  SiriusXM broadcast the special program “Ed Koch: The Voice of Reason,” a two-hour tribute devoted to the life and career of Mayor Koch on its Bloomberg Radio channel on Friday, February 1 at 7:00 pm ET.

kinosianmikeComing to TALKERS This Week: The Talk Radio Watchdog.  There was a time in the early days of the modern talk radio era when most markets could lay claim to at least one talk show host considered to be the local “watchdog.”  He or she was feared by the power brokers in city hall and had a reputation for having the backs of the regular folks.  They are not as prevalent in the format as they once were but they are still out there.  Does the industry still value this breed of talk host?  Does the public still want to listen to them?  Do their station managers support them?  TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian speaks with some of today’s “watchdogs” to get answers to these and other questions about their craft.  His story comes to Talkers.com this week.

zach and rammerWXOS, St. Louis Adds Bob “Rammer” Ramsey to Mid-Morning Show.  Hubbard Broadcasting’s sports talk WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” moves Bob “Rammer” Ramsey to the mid-morning slot alongside Zach McCrite for the “Zach and Rammer” show.  McCrite has been on the air in the slot with “The Coach” Rick Venturi who exits the station to be closer to family in Indiana.  Ramsey moves to the slot from the evening show he co-hosted with Brian Stull.  Ramsey is also the “Voice of the Billikens” – a position he has held for the past 26 years – handling the play-by-play duties for Saint Louis University’s Men’s Basketball games, along with co-host and analyst Earl Austin, Jr.

grahammichaelMichael Graham Debuts Massachusetts-Wide Talk Show Today.  Former WTKK, Boston talk radio star Michael Graham begins a new, daily midday talk show today that will air on four stations across Massachusetts.  Graham’s program – airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm – will be heard on Money Matters Radio’s WBNW, Concord; WPLM-AM, Plymouth; and WESO, Southbridge as well as Carter Broadcasting’s WCRN, Worcester.  Graham hosted the mid-morning program on Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston until the station flipped to a music format after the New Year.

cookehollandHow to Pump Up Your Weekend “How-To” Show.  Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke says, “Few marketing opportunities can generate more new business than local talk radio…if you use it properly.”  Cooke says that weekend how-to shows that are done well provide listeners with two things: information and the chance for interaction.  And, he says the programs have a two-fold purpose. “The well-executed show sets the table for what marketers call ‘conversion,’ moving prospects through the sales funnel.  And the how-to hosts I coach aren’t just producing new leads.  Making what comes out the speaker as engaging and informative and relatable as possible also racks up more Average Quarter Hours for the station.”  Read Holland Cooke’s suggestions for producing quality weekend “how-to” programs here.

walusekmeredithOdds & Sods.  At CBS Radio’s sports talk WHFS, Tampa “98.7 The Fan,” Meredith Walusek exits her role on the Kirk & Dinger morning drive show to join the cluster’s rhythmic CHR WLLD for its Orlando & the Freakshow morning program…..Ryan Giles joins Hubbard Broadcasting’s sports talk KSTP, Minneapolis as director of marketing and promotions.  Giles previously served as promotions director and webmaster at Shamrock Communications’ alternative KMYZ “Z-104.5 The Edge” and classic hits KTSO “94.1 The Sound” in Tulsa…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington, DC is honoring the local Easter Seals chapter in its Charity of the Month program.  The Easter Seals serving DC, Maryland and Virginia will receive more than $30,000 in free air-time and in-kind contributions, including on-air promotions and content on WTOP.com.  The WTOP Charity of the Month program highlights one local charity every month in order to raise community awareness, support events and help with fundraising efforts…..WEEI, Boston’s play-by-play of Boston Celtics basketball games is being made available via free streaming on WEEI.com, the WEEI Live mobile app and the new Boston Celtics Mobile App.  WEEI’s Celtics broadcast will also be available via the TuneIn app.

haleyjeffA Conversation with Marketron President and CEO, Jeff  Haley.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison speaks with Jeff Haley, the president and CEO of media industry software solutions and service giant Marketron.  The conversation, which serves as the basis of today’s (2/4) posted TALKERS interview, covers a variety of subjects of importance to radio sales and administrative executives including re-energizing the advertising end of radio and guiding the medium’s evolution into creating integrated cross-platform buys in this new digital era. He talks about the cloud, as well as the new relationship between radio’s front and back offices, the need to reassess FCC regulations moving forward and the balance between local and national programming on the individual station level.   On the subject of dealing with the advertising industry’s reaction to controversy on news/talk radio, Haley tells TALKERS, ” Depends what you mean by controversy – and what your appetite is for it.  Benign controversy can pull listeners in. That said, controversy that reflects poorly on the station can be a turn off and cause advertisers to abandon.  Best to talk to your partners along the way, prepare them, and include them in your decision-making process.”  To read the entire TALKERS interview with Jeff Haley, click here.

bearmanethan“Nerd” Talk Show Host Shares Tips on Pulling Off an Expedient International Remote Broadcast.  One of the brightest young news/talk hosts on the rise today, Ethan Bearman of KSCO, Santa Cruz and Genesis Communications Network shares the story of his recent adventure in simple-yet-effective remote broadcasting in which he conveniently packed a bag of all the gear necessary to capture an interview with a Times of London reporter under the tightest of security restrictions at the Houses of Parliament in London to get an international perspective on the American presidential election.   Check it out by clicking here.

sexyliberalStephanie Miller Returns to Chicago with Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour.  Along with comedy (and radio) partners John Fugelsang and Hal Sparks, WYD Media nationally syndicated talk radio star Stephanie Miller brings her successful “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” back to the Windy City for a date at the historic Chicago Theatre on April 13.  The ongoing comedy tour has benefitted from cross-promotion on Miller’s radio program as well as her digital platforms.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

| January 16, 2013

michaelsrandyRandy Michaels Speaks About Tribune Company in Newspaper Piece.  Sam Zell declined to be interviewed for a four-part series in the Chicago Tribune about the parent company’s financial and legal odyssey but former Tribune CEO and radio executive Randy Michaels did contribute to the story.   The piece charges that both Zell and Michaels never really understood the business (newspaper) or the culture of the place they were trying to save.  But Michaels tells the Tribune he believed he had to get the newspaper’s staff to move quickly adapting to the digital age or it would be too late.  Michaels says, “I cared a lot about that company, and while I recognize that there’s plenty that people might disagree with, I worked hard to keep those brands relevant in a changing world.  We thought that by knocking down some of the walls, by bringing in a looser culture and getting rid of all the bureaucracy, that we had a chance to outperform.  I thought it was my role to challenge everything.”  The piece cites the reluctance among the Tribune staffers to accept the forced change in culture and highlights some of the resentment felt when Michaels’ former radio colleagues were brought into executive positions.

methenykevinProgrammer Kevin Metheny Named WJR, Detroit PD.  Programming pro Kevin Metheny is the new program director at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR, Detroit.  Metheny had been interim program director at Clear Channel’s country KMNB, Minneapolis “Buz’n 102.9” after leaving WGN, Chicago in November of 2010.  Prior to his stint at WGN, Metheny was operations manager a Clear Channel’s Cleveland cluster.  Metheny states, “I’ve long admired WJR from 90 miles across Lake Erie where I put 760 on a button the day I landed in Cleveland. ‘The Great Voice of The Great Lakes’ is a gold standard collection of impossible-to-duplicate treasures and I’m thrilled to join the Cumulus team.”   Cumulus news/talk/sports corporate programmer Jim Mahanay adds, “Kevin brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the spoken-word format to the legendary WJR.  We are excited to have him on the team!”

trn logoTalk Radio Network Unveils Seven New Weekend Programs.  In what Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters calls a focus “on helping our affiliated stations make more money,” the company launches seven new programs this weekend, beginning with “Making America Laugh with Louie Anderson.”  The comic brings “his brand of humor and warmth to the radio airwaves – covering topical news, taking listener calls, and riffing withandersonlouie comedic and celebrity guests.”  Other programs lifting off this weekend include: “Nutzz & Knight Radio” hosted by Gordon “Lug Nutzz” Stewart and actor Christopher Knight (Peter Brady from “The Brady Bunch”).  TRN calls it “a hysterical, fast-paced, and irreverent action/motorsports lifestyle and entertainment radio program, featuring interviews with personalities from NASCAR, the NHRA, and IndyCar to action sports athletes, musicians, and the entertainment industry.”  “All Action Sports Radio” is dedicated to complete coverage of the action sports industry – surfing, skateboarding, BMX, Motocross, skiing, snowboarding, and more.  “The Brian Oxman Show” features the former high-profile attorney for Michael Jackson and the Jackson family.  “Blueprint of a Champion Radio Show” is a proprietary goal-setting and success program for student athletes brought to life through radio hosted by Neil Mason, a standout college athlete, Olympic coach and successful entrepreneur.  “The Anthony Vultaggio Show” is a general issues talk program.  “The Hibbard Show” is hosted by husband and wife team, Dave and Marhnelle Hibbard and is geared toward helping people in both their professional lives and in their personal lives.

wspd logoScott Sands to Program WSPD, Toledo.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces programmer Scott Sands will take over the program director role at news/talk WSPD, Toledo and sister rock outlet WIOT.  Sands most recently was involved in launching CHR WWHX, Bloomington, Illinois with Vallie/Richards/Donovan.  He also partnered with Vallie/Richards/Donovan to launch and program Main Line Broadcasting’s modern rock WCLI, Dayton “Click 101.5.”  Until earlier in the fall, Brian Wilson had been serving as program director and afternoon drive host.

coxmediagroupCox Media Settles with Todd Schnitt; Jury Seated in Complaint Against Bubba the Love Sponge.  The Tampa Bay Times reports that the defamation suit by talk show host Todd Schnitt against long-time Tampa market rival Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) continues as a jury was seatedschnitttodd yesterday morning.  However, Schnitt’s suit against Cox Media (Clem’s employer) has been settled.  The paper reports that Cox Media and Schnitt reached a settlement on Friday, the terms of which were not disclosed.  Cox Media Tampa market manager Keith Lawless is quoted telling the Times, “(The settlement) was a business decision, but in no way reflects that we are not in support of Bubba.  It’s not such a bad thing that all our focus is now on defending Bubba.”  Meanwhile, a jury of six with four alternates has been seated in Schnitt’s suit against Clem but not without some drama as the Times reports both sides initially agreed to the make-up of the jury, then Schnitt’s lawyers asked to reconsider.  Immediately Clem’s attorneys asked for a mistrial but the judge declared the jury selection final and swore in the jurors.

campbellpatOdds & Sods. With Compass Media Networks talk host Todd Schnitt tied up in court in his suit against Bubba the Love Sponge, he’ll be missing some time on the radio.  KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive host Pat Campbell is subbing for Schnitt on his 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET program on Thursday, January 17…..Former WTKK, Boston talk host Michael Graham fills in for crosstown WRKO afternoon drive host Howie Carr on Thursday…..The big Oprah Winfrey interview with Lance Armstrong will air on Winfrey’s OWN cable channel on Thursday evening but SiriusXM will get the firstgrahammichael crack at distributing the audio of the interview on Friday on its Oprah Channel…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s  WTOP, Washington is hosting a special “Ask The Doctor” program featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, today at 10:00 am to help listeners learn more about the flu.  The hour-long Q&A session will answer a number of concerns related to this year’s harsh flu season and more with WTOP mid-day anchors Mark Lewis and Debbie Feinstein hosting and taking calls from listeners…..Michael Patrick Shiels, host of “Michigan’s Big Show,” will broadcast his syndicated morning show live from Monte Carlo, in the principality of Monaco, on Friday, January 25.  The special, international broadcast will originate from the historic Hotel de Paris next to the famed Casino de Monte-Carlo and guests on the program will include: actor Roger Moore, singer Shirley Bassey, residents of Monaco, as well as a representative of Monaco’s Royal Family.

dial global sportsDial Global Sports Distributes NFL Conference Championships.  The NFL’s conference championship weekend takes place on Sunday and Dial Global Sports brings affiliate stations exclusive radio play-by-play of the San Francsico 49ers vs Atlanta Falcons matchup and the Baltimore Ravens vs New England Patriots game.  The NFC Championship game is being called by Dave Sims alongside Hall of Famer James Lofton as analyst and Tony Boselli on the sidelines.  The AFC Championship game is being announced by Kevin Harlan with the play-by-play, Hall of Famer Dan Fouts as analyst and Mark Malone on the sidelines.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago and NHL’s Blackhawks Agree to Five More Years.  Now that NHL hockey is set to return, Tribune’s WGN, Chicago and the Chicago Blackhawks have announced they will extend their deal for the station to be the exclusive market radio home of the team’s play-by-play broadcasts.  The new, five-year deal will keep WGN as the team’s flagship station through the 2018-19 NHL season.  WGN Radio DOS and interim general manager Jeff Hill says, “We are proud to extend our relationship with the Blackhawks and bring the excitement of hockey play-by-play to our listeners.  The fast pace of the broadcasts provide an incomparable energy and we look forward to delivering the best hockey broadcasts for the next six years.”

Debt Ceiling Debate, Gun Legislation Proposals, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Controversy, ObamaCare Costs, and Lance Armstrong ‘Oprah’ Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/15).  The battle between the Obama Administration and Congress over raising the debt ceiling; threats by the president to use executive powers to write new gun legislation; the controversy over the movie “Zero Dark Thirty”; the costs brought about by the Affordable Care Act; and Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

| December 6, 2012

Day 1 from the Arbitron Client Conference.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke is covering the Arbitron Client Conference for TALKERS.  Three major points stuck out at yesterday’s sessions: 1) RAB president Erica Farber noting that agencies don’t have “radio” departments anymore, they have “audio” departments; 2) using social media is imperative but it must have a three-pronged purpose of creating brand awareness, expanding listenership and maintaining listener loyalty; and 3) stations in PPM markets must work hard to create more occasions of listening from P1s in order to build share growth.  Read Holland Cooke’s report from Annapolis here.

Clear Channel’s Ken Charles Moves from Miami to Sacramento.  The longtime Clear Channel spoken-word programmer – who also serves as the national brand coordinator for news/talk and sports – takes on the vice president of programming role at the company’s six-station cluster in Sacramento that includes news/talk KFBK and KSTE.  Charles has programmed Clear Channel Media and Entertainment news/talk stations in Atlanta and Houston in addition to his most recent post in Miami.  Sacramento market manager Dave Milner states, “We are extremely excited to have Ken leading the programming and brand strategies for Clear Channel Sacramento.  His experience and passion, combined with our excellent team of professionals will certainly make for a winning combination.”  Charles replaces Alan Eisenson who exited the Sacramento cluster last week.

Jim Bohannon Signs Contract Extension with Dial Global.  Washington, DC-based overnight and early morning talk radio personality Jim Bohannon signs a new contract to extend his national syndication deal with Dial Global.  Via his eponymous overnight talk show and the early-morning “America in the Morning” program, Jim Bohannon is heard on more than 500 affiliates across America.  Commenting on his new, multi-year extension, Bohannon says, “I’m delighted to re-up with Dial Global at a time of exciting new opportunities for our industry.  As the economy and marketplace forge ahead, I’m eager to work with the many fine sponsors and affiliates of the Jim Bohannon show and ‘America in the Morning.’”  Dial Global EVP of news and talk programming Bart Tessler states, “We are thrilled that the hardest-working man in radio is continuing his relationship with his loyal audience and sponsors from sunrise to, well, sunrise. Jim’s ‘militant moderate’ attitude is needed on radio now more than ever.”

Talk Pro Tom Becka Expands Program at KOIL, Omaha.  Last week Tom Becka announced he would be leaving his position at KRWK, Fargo “101.9 Talk FM” where he serves as program director and morning drive host.  Now, Becka and NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha make public his expanded program at the station.  Since moving to Fargo to work on KRWK, Becka had maintained an Omaha presence with an afternoon program on KOIL (piped in from Fargo).  Now, Becka returns to the city where he has family and friends and begins an expanded 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm afternoon show on January 2.  Operations manager Jeff Lynn says Becka’s program on KOIL has grown significantly on the station – the adults 35-64 demo is up 26% during the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot in which his show is currently airing.  Lynn states, “We have no doubt Becka will continue to deliver tremendous results due to his massive appeal with our listeners. He attracts a responsive audience that is loyal to the core and I am confident they will appreciate his expanded timeslot.”  On his return to Omaha, Becka says, “1290 has been an ideal home for me – I know Omaha, Eastern Nebraska, and the topics people care about in the local market. This station has provided me with an arena to not only engage our listeners in new ways, it has provided an outlet for talk and conversation that is more in-depth and comprehensive so listeners get what they want from the show.”

Opinion: Bob Costas Criticism Goes Overboard.  One of the hot topics of the week – on both sports talk and news/talk radio – is Bob Costas’ comments on the Jovan Belcher tragedy that aired on NBC on Sunday evening.  WFAN, New York host Richard Neer writes that much of the criticism – especially that which demands Costas be fired – is absurd.  “Are we at such a point in our public discourse that anyone who takes a stand with which we disagree should lose his job?  Can we not have a sane discussion about guns without evoking black helicopters and UN takeovers?”  Read Richard Neer’s entire piece here.

CBS Announces Plans for Super Bowl Park.  The image you see here is the entrance to CBS Super Bowl Park at Jackson Square in New Orleans as the company prepares to cover this year’s Super Bowl.  The broadcast giant’s eight subsidiaries — CBS Sports, CBS Entertainment, CBS News, CBS Sports Network, SHOWTIME Sports, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports Radio and CBS Television Distribution – will feature programming from the site of the NFL championship during the week leading up to the big game.  CBS Corporation president and CEO Les Moonves says this sets a new standard for the company, “The Super Bowl is the granddaddy of big event television, and our approach this year is unlike anything we have ever done.  For the first time, CBS Corporation will have week-long, round-the-clock Super Bowl coverage on more than a half-dozen platforms.  Creating CBS Super Bowl Park at Jackson Square as the center of all this activity will make it even more compelling, and also illustrate the collaborative efforts across the company.”  The broadcast center will consist of four outdoor sets inside Jackson Square shared across the various shows.  The sets were designed to reflect the history and architecture of New Orleans.  A fifth set will be located across the street in Washington’s Artillery Park for the CBS affiliates.

Clear Channel Tallahassee Names Jeff Wolf PD for WFLA-FM and WNLS.  Taking over for Matt Millar, who exited the radio business, Jeff Wolf comes to Clear Channel’s Tallahassee cluster from Border Media Partners’ Austin, Texas stations where he served as OM for the cluster.  Wolf will program news/talk WFLA-FM “Tallahassee’s Talk Radio” and sports talk WNLS “1270 The Team.”  Operations manager Jeff Horn says, “We are very excited that Jeff chose to come lead our talk brands in Tallahassee.”

Sabo Media’s Internet Radio Initiatives Signs Aircheck.US.  Sabo Media president Walter Sabo announces his company’s Internet Radio Initiatives division is working with Aircheck.US to help build the company’s business model and help identify new revenue and content opportunities.  Sabo notes that Aircheck.US – using skilled, entertaining radio performers – will be a viable opportunity for advertisers seeking a blended marketing opportunity of proven media talent and new digital platforms.  Every radio star has considered what they would do if they had complete on-air freedom. Historically experienced on-air celebrities produced the most cutting edge radio, such as free form in the 1960’s. Underground radio was launched by Top-40 stars such as Murray the K, B. Mitchel Reed, Tom Donahue and Scott Muni.  Sabo says he believes Aircheck.US CEO and founder Erica Lee “has given these proven performers a stage, respect and the freedom to use their expertise to build an audience around the world, online.  I look forward to helping her refine her business and achieve her goals.”

Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston to Broadcast Radiothon to Benefit Fisher House.  With the support of his fellow WTKK talk show hosts, Michael Graham is leading the “5th Annual News Talk 96.9 Fisher House Radiothon” today from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.  WTKK personalities Jim Braude, Margery Eagan, Doug Meehan, Michael Smerconish, and The Andelman Brothers from Phantom Gourmet will join Graham in the effort.  He says, “The war in Afghanistan may not be in the headlines, but our brave women and men are still there, serving at the front lines.  From Afghanistan to Yemen, we send our troops into harm’s way every day.  When harm does come, the Fisher House lets us take care of them.”  WTKK says Graham will broadcast from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm with wall-to-wall guests, including: Fisher House families, Senator Scott Brown, Bill O’Reilly, Dennis Miller, Glenn Beck, Ray Romano, Rob Schneider, Ted Nugent, former New England Patriots player Matt Light, Gold-winning gymnast Aly Raisman, Fox 25’s VB, Playmate of the Year Jaclyn Swedberg, Comedian Chris Zito and many more.

The Conclave Announces 2013 Scholarship Opportunities.  The Conclave’s 2013 Radio and Music Industry Scholarship Program provides more than $50,000 worth of opportunities for students.  The organization states that since 1979, in keeping with its mission of educating the broadcast industry, it has awarded over $1 million in scholarships to worthy students desiring an education in the radio and music industries.  The detailed scholarships are: to Brown College in Minneapolis, Specs Howard School of Media Arts in Southfield, Michigan, and to McNally-Smith College of Music in St. Paul.  The Brown College Dennis Becker Memorial Scholarship covers tuition for the Radio Broadcasting Associate of Applied Science Degree, and is worth $17,000. The Specs Howard Bill Gavin Memorial Scholarship includes tuition, application fees, and books for the Diploma Program in Radio-TV Broadcasting, and is worth $15,000.  The McNally-Smith Music Business Scholarship is valued at up to $20,000.  Conclave executive director Bob Shannon says, “In our current economy scholarship dollars are truly a gift with impact.  I’m thankful to the schools and organizations that have graciously stepped forward to help.  In a larger sense, the scholarships embody the very essence of the Conclave’s mission: to create a learning environment that actually makes a difference for those interested in 21st Century media.”  All Conclave scholarships will be awarded during the 38th Conclave Summer Learning Conference, July 17-19, 2013 in Minneapolis.

Cool Job Opportunity.  The major qualification for this position is the ideal candidate must be fluent in Mandarin.  This is a consulting opportunity for someone with experience in talk radio who speaks the Chinese dialect.  Send your relevant information to Michael Harrison at TALKERS magazine – michael@talkers.com – and we’ll pass it along.  All responses will be kept confidential.

Washington’s ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, Syria’s Chemical Weapons Threat, Egyptian Unrest, and Bob Costas Gun Comment Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5).  The ongoing debate in Washington over how to avoid the “fiscal cliff”; Syria’s readying of sarin gas and threats to use it on rebel forces; the violent protests against Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi; and backlash against NBC’s Bob Costas in response to his guns comments were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

| October 4, 2012

September PPM Numbers Continued: Highlights of Talk and Sports Stations.  TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian reports on the September PPM numbers rolling in and writes about the movement of some talk and sports stations.

  • In market # 11 Detroit…this is the second straight month that CBS Radio controls the top four spots; however, country WYCD (+.5 from August) trades places with sports sibling WXYT-FM, which is down one full share.
  • In market # 13 Seattle, Bonneville’s talk KIRO-FM remains in the top three with a slight jump (+.1 from August) to a 4.8 share while sister sports talk KIRO-AM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.8.
  • In Phoenix – market #14 – Clear Channel’s news/talk KFYI rises nicely one full share to a 5.3 while Bonneville’s KTAR-FM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.2.
  • In market #16 Minneapolis, news/talk WCCO tumbles seven-tenths to 6.4 (#3 to #5).  The last time the CBS Radio talk powerhouse had a 6+ stat that low was in July 2011 (6.4, as well).  Also, tied in August at 3.1, sports rivals Clear Channel-owned KFXN (+.3, #13) and Hubbard‘s KSTP-AM (-.4, #16) are now separated by seven-tenths.

For more PPM data and ratings analysis, visit our sister publication RadioInfo’s ratings section here.

KDWN, Las Vegas Talk Host Alan Stock to Host Special Election Season TV Program.  Morning drive host Alan Stock also hosts a nightly interview and news show produced for Vegas TV (cable 14/HD1014) airing at 9:30 pm called “Eye on Vegas with Alan Stock.”  This month, Stock will add a special weekly show to his work on Vegas TV called “News & Views 2012” set to air Wednesdays at 5:30 pm.  Stock tells TALKERS, “It is a special series for the election season only on during the month of October.  The great news is it is already sold out from an advertising standpoint.  The show includes a panel of four people – two liberals and two conservatives.  The first show aired on Wednesday the 3rd on the topic of the economy.  Other topics will include civil rights (gay marriage, etc.), illegal immigration, foreign policy and Obamacare/medical care in general although the topics might be modified depending on what news is breaking.”

WTKK, Boston Sells Out ‘Ultimate Town Hall Meeting.’  Greater Media news/talk outlet WTKK, Boston “News Talk 96.9” announces its “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” set for Saturday, October 13 at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall has sold out all 800 seats but the station will give away five Presidential Packages (including front row seats, exclusive meet-and-greets, and more) to listeners starting next week.  The “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” is moderated by WTKK morning hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan and includes a prominent panel of WTKK’s on-air hosts and contributors including local personality Michael Graham, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish, Cumulus Media Network’s John Batchelor, Compass Media NetworksRon Insana and the Boston Globe’s Brian McGrory.  Program director Grace Blazer states, “News Talk 96.9’s all-star panel will debate the ‘state of the state’ of the 2012 presidential election and the hotly contested Scott Brown-Elizabeth Warren Massachusetts Senate race.  Our entire team is looking forward to engaging in smart and entertaining debate for our audience and our advertisers.”

WGN, Chicago Honored at 2012 Radio Mercury Awards.  Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago won a 2012 Radio Mercury Award in the “Radio Station Produced” category for the “Shifty Eyes” spot created for local business Oak Park Natural Pet & Fish.  The commercial was written and produced by WGN Radio commercial services manager Jason Skaggs.  WGN vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “We’re honored as a station and proud to have such a talented person in Jason on our team.  Jason creates unique and memorable messages that deliver real results for our advertisers.  He gets it.”  The 2012 Radio Mercury Awards are part of the 2012 Advertising Week Conference in New York.  The Radio Mercury Awards, the only competition exclusively devoted to radio, was established in 1992 to encourage and reward the development of effective and creative radio commercials.  For more on other winners, see the coverage at our sister publication RadioInfo’s site here.

Changes at the Top at Blue Star Media Group.  Effective immediately, Blue Star Media Group president and CEO Michael Metter exits to pursue interests outside the radio business and former executive vice president Jeff Weber returns to the company to lead it as consulting operations executive.  Blue Star owns and operates Business TalkRadio Network; Lifestyle TalkRadio Network; WLFP, Pittsburgh; WGCH, Greenwich, Connecticut and recently sold KNUU, Las Vegas.  Weber, who resigned from Blue Star in December of 2011 after 10 years of running the operations, says, “What a great opportunity to return to work with our exceptional staff and the fine content product we provide our more than 1,000 affiliates and the outstanding programs our owned stations air for their listeners.”

Breaking with Your Church on a Secular Talk Station.  KDKA, Pittsburgh weekend talk show host Johnna Pro writes about a recent discussion about contraception on her program that led to, as she calls it, a crisis of faith.  Pro’s experience is one many religious talk show hosts who work on secular stations face – agreeing with or breaking with Church teachings in the course of discussing the issues and having an opinion – something talk show hosts must have to survive in this business.  Read Pro’s story of how one Catholic talk show host handled a real on-the-air conflict here.

Kuhner in Boston.  Washington Times columnist and host of “The Kuhner Report” on Entercom’s WRKO, Boston (airing from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon daily) Jeff Kuhner is pictured here in the Boston studios of WRKO.  Kuhner visited the station earlier this week.  WRKO assistant program director Bill Cooksey says, “The response to Jeff has been overwhelming.  He’s going to be a star in no time at all, and I’m glad he’s with us.”

Presidential Debate, Libya Consulate Attack Investigation, Obama ‘Race Speech,’ and Iran Nukes Program Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/3).  Anticipation of last night’s presidential debate; the ongoing analysis of the fatal attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya; controversy over the video of a 2007 Barack Obama campaign speech in which he questions why largely African-American Katrina victims were treated differently than other disaster victims; 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.

Friday, July 13, 2012

| July 13, 2012

Journal Broadcast Group Promotes Beverlee Brannigan to VP of Programming.  Milwaukee-based Journal Broadcast Group promotes KFDI, Wichita operations manager and program director Beverlee Brannigan to vice president of programming for the entire broadcast group.  In making the announcement, Journal EVP Steve Wexler states, “While Beverlee is best known for her country radio programming expertise, she has demonstrated her ability to apply sound strategic thinking across multiple formats and markets.  I am thrilled to welcome her to our corporate team and look forward to her contributions.  Many very talented programmers expressed interest in this position, so it is gratifying to be able to promote from within Journal.  This is a well-deserved promotion for one of our brightest people.”  Journal operates a number of news/talk and sports talk outlets including flagship news/talker WTMJ, Milwaukee.

Registrations Booking Fast for Talkers New Media Seminar/LA 2012.  Registrations for the West Coast installment of this year’s innovative two-part Talkers New Media Seminar are now being booked.  Based upon initial demand it will be an early sellout – just as the standing room-only New York installment this past June and last year’s experimental Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum.  The gathering is following the new format consisting of one solid, power-packed day, a drastically-reduced recession-friendly registration fee of $99 (including breakfast, lunch, refreshments and all sessions) and a limited seating capacity in an intimate setting.  Set for Thursday, October 11 between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm, the conference will take place at the historic Steve Allen Theater and again be presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club which is based out of that colorful venue.   According to TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, “Last year’s experimental Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum was a smashing success that set the stage for this year’s two-part bi-coastal national event.  The first part of this new version of the convention that was held in New York this past June was one of the most productive and well-received conferences in TALKERS magazine’s history.  LA will be equally if not more exciting a happening!  Attendees will enjoy a memorable day of dynamic networking and exposure to the most sought-after views and information about the industry’s hottest challenges, opportunities and issues.”  Full agenda details and hotel information will be posted here at Talkers.com in the coming days and weeks – but to assure registration, attendees are advised to sign up now.  Because it is open only to working media, there will be no online registration — only by telephone.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  Click here. for more details.

TuneIn Adds NPR Programming to Its Service.  Online audio aggregator TuneIn strikes a deal with NPR to expand the reach of the public radio broadcaster’s programming across the internet.  Users of TuneIn will be able to hear NPR programming – including “Morning Edition,”  “All Things Considered,” and “Fresh Air” – live as they are broadcast on member stations as well as archived via TuneIn’s array of more than 2 million podcasts.  NPR VP of digital media Zach Brand states, “The collaboration with TuneIn allows us and our member stations to attract more diverse audiences as audio streaming explodes across mobile devices.  Through TuneIn, loyal and new listeners will be able to seamlessly enjoy their favorite programs and stations, and discover new NPR shows wherever they are and whenever they want.”

WTKK, Boston Hosts “Cocktails & Conversation with Jonah Goldberg.”  That’s WTKK, Boston talk host Michael Graham on the left side of the dais speaking with author Jonah Goldberg on the right at a sold-out appearance by the author at the Café Escadrille in suburban Boston.  Attendees of the three-hour event got to hear an “unedited and unplugged” conversation about Goldberg’s new book, Tyranny of Ideas: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas (Sentinel HC 2012).  After the presentation, Goldberg autographed copies of his book for those in attendance.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  ESPN Radio is providing coverage of the British Open golf tournament beginning next Thursday, July 19 with a six-hour broadcast live from Royal Lytham & St. Annes beginning at 7:00 am ET…..New York talk host Steve Malzberg is busy this summer on the fill-in circuit.  He recently sat in for Chris Krok at WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas.  He’s in for Jack Riccardi at KTSA, San Antonio this week and he’ll be subbing for Chris Plante at WMAL-AM/FM, Washington next week…..KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh talk host Marty Griffin hosted a live broadcast in the borough of Bellevue combined with a “grillabration” at which more than 600 hot dogs and sausages were served to listeners protesting the borough’s new restrictions on outdoor grilling.  In the picture here, Griffin is behind the grill with Ernie Ricci from Ricci’s Italian Sausage…..Twin Cities radio personality Tom Barnard announces he’s signed a new four-year deal to remain with Cumulus Media’s classic rock KRQS, Minneapolis…..WVON, Chicago’s morning drive personality Matt McGill had Tia Norfleet as his guest co-host on the program today (7/13).  Norfleet is the only African-American female driver licensed to drive for NASCAR.  Norfleet brought her race car to the studios of WVON for the public to come by and check out.  After the program, she did a meet and greet with WVON listeners.

KTRH, Houston’s Michael Berry Hosts Premiere of Conservative Movie.  Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry (l) is pictured here with the producers of the new movie “2016: Obama’s America” at a theater in the Houston area.  Dinesh D’Souza (c) and Gerald Molen (r) appeared in town for the premiere at which more than 500 of Berry’s listeners attended.  The three held a Q&A session for the crowd as well.  Berry tells TALKERS this was the first showing of the movie to a public crowd and he says he believes the audience was encouraged and left the theater filled with the knowledge of where President Obama came from and where his vision for America was going to lead us.  “2016: Obama’s America” opens in theaters across the country over the next few weeks and Berry will be hosting the Nashville premiere at the end of July for his affiliate station WLAC.

Why I Love The Fan.  In light of the recent 25th anniversary of WFAN, New York, sports talk host Dan Sileo – afternoon drive host on Beasley’s WQAM, Miami – writes about why The Fan is such a special station and continues to be after all these years.  Read Dan’s piece here.

2012 Presidential Race Returns to #1 on the Talkers TenTM.  The 2012 presidential race was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of July 9 – 13, landing it atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s top stories.  Coming in at #2 was the Obama tax cut extension proposal.  At #3 was weak job numbers tied with financial markets activity and at #4 was the Euro Zone debt crisis.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from Talkers, and is published each Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Talk personality Leslie Marshall is added to the program schedule at WRVC, Huntington, West Virginia…..Fox Sports Radio Network is the affiliate network for WCCW-AM, Traverse City, Michigan as Fox Sports Radio 1310 will launch on August 30.  The station will air the network’s entire lineup including: Fox Sports Daybreak, Dan Patrick, Jim Rome, Loose Cannons and Petros & Money.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

| February 9, 2012

Cumulus Media Networks to Syndicate Daily Mike Huckabee Talk Show in Same Time Slot as Rush Limbaugh.  Former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has been producing a daily feature for Cumulus Media Networks and hosting his weekend show on Fox News Channel since shortly after the 2008 presidential race.  Now CMN decides to develop a three-hour talk show for Huckabee – based out of Florida – airing live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET and beginning April 2.  Already, industry watchers are viewing the move as Cumulus “taking on” Premiere Networks’ syndication dominance in the time slot with Limbaugh while Cumulus COO John Dickey tells The New York Times that it is positioning the show as an alternative to Limbaugh.  Huckabee himself defers to Limbaugh’s success telling Times writer Brian Stelter he doesn’t feel like a competitor, “He’s going to have an audience that will be very loyal and has been for over 20 years.  I doubt that will change.”  Within the industry, the big question is will Cumulus push Huckabee onto its news/talk stations that currently carry Limbaugh, especially at such major market stations as WABC, New York; WLS, Chicago; WJR Detroit; WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington?  All are markets where Premiere parent Clear Channel Media and Entertainment doesn’t have a news/talk outlet (or a strong-performing talk outlet) on which to move Limbaugh.  Huckabee is a good broadcaster with a personality all his own, great name recognition and is adept at taking on subjects outside the realm of politics.  He’s likeable and smart.  But Limbaugh has performed well for the aforementioned stations and it would be a gamble to make a change of such significance.  Perhaps far more concerned than Premiere are local talk hosts at the Cumulus stations not mentioned above who understand Cumulus is not making this move without a plan to roll Huckabee out onto as many of its O&Os as possible.

Sports Talk Host Scott Kaplan Admits Fault in Comments About Female Broadcaster.  Former XEPRS, San Diego morning drive talk host Scott Kaplan tells the San Diego Union Tribune that he needs to apologize to Mountain West sports broadcaster Andrea Lloyd for comments he made about her appearance that may have led to his and co-host Billy Ray Smith’s departure from the station.  Kaplan called Lloyd a “beast” and a “sasquatch of a woman” on the program and was let go from the station more than a week later.  Broadcast Company of the America’s VP/GM Tex Meyer had told the Union Tribune he’d spoken with Kaplan in the past about similar issues.  But Kaplan’s comments to NBC San Diego prior to being fired strike at the heart of the issue for edgy, sports talk hosts trying to reach a younger, male demo when he stated, “I don’t apologize for the fact that we’re a guy show, a locker-room kind of show.  There’s no apology for that.  This is what we do.”  The reality is that radio hosts targeting young men often comment on the appearances of women – often positively, but sometimes not.  It’s certainly the right of any operator to tolerate it or not but points to the fine line such hosts must walk in creating an edgy show and being savvy enough to realize who is “fair game” and who the public will perceive as an innocent undeserving of such criticism.  As for Kaplan, he says he can’t talk about his actual firing but tells the paper he doesn’t believe he was validly terminated from the station.

CNN Suspends Roland Martin for Super Bowl Tweets.  Numerous media reports indicate CNN is suspending commentator Roland Martin for tweets he sent during the Super Bowl – one of which in response to the David Beckham H&M underwear ad is being perceived by gay rights activists to have been homophobic.  In the tweet, Martin wrote, “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl” Martin responded that he was only making fun of soccer.  The Washington Post reports CNN issued the following statement about Martin’s status: “Roland Martin’s tweets were regrettable and offensive.  Language that demeans is inconsistent with the values and culture of our organization, and is not tolerated.  We have been giving careful consideration to this matter, and Roland will not be appearing on our air for the time being.”  TALKERS recently addressed the issue of talent using social media in a feature piece titled, “Social Media: Handle with Care.”  If you haven’t read it yet, check it out here.

WTKK-FM, Boston Talk Host Michael Graham Sponsors Candidate’s School.  Local talk show host Michael Graham broadcasts on Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston but he’s also an experienced GOP consultant.  Last night, Graham sponsored a non-partisan workshop at the Café Escadrille in suburban Boston in which Republican, Democratic and independent political professionals donated their time to help educate and train private citizens on becoming candidates in the 2012 election and beyond.  Graham says of the event, “We’re answering the question I’ve been asked thousands of times: ‘What can I do to make a difference?’  Here’s what you can do: Run.”  This is not Graham’s first workshop.  Since 2010 more than 500 New Englanders have attended Graham’s Candidate’s School.

Former Blue Star Media Group Exec “Doesn’t Own Feature Concepts.”  That’s the position of Blue Star Media Group president and CEO Michael Metter after former EVP Jeff Weber sent out an industry-wide press release on 2/7 accusing – though not by name – Blue Star’s Business TalkRadio Network and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network of not having the rights to a news feature and a music history vignette.  In the release, Weber references the music vignette “Pop Quiz” and the news feature “Heard Around Town” which he says are still available through his company, Jeff Weber Marketing.  Metter tells TALKERS when Weber left the company in December he asked that his name and voice be removed from all Blue Star content and the company complied.  Metter says his new features – “Heard Across America with Wendy Lowy Sloane” and “Rhythm & Pop with Tony Legg” – are “totally different names with the new content written by the talent.  These concepts are as old as radio itself.  What ownership does he have?”

Maryland Brewer Makes Beer to Honor the Late Ron Smith; Proceeds Benefit Cancer Research.  Brewer Jay Lampart at Johansson’s Dining House in Westminster, Maryland has created a beer call Reason Saison to honor the late WBAL, Baltimore talk host Ron Smith.  Lampart tells WBAL, “Ron has been part of my ride home since 9/11, which was also the time I moved to Maryland.  I learned a lot about Maryland politics and critical thinking from Ron.”  Lampart says proceeds from the brew will go to the Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center where Smith was treated for pancreatic cancer.  It’ll remain on sale at the restaurant through the end of the month or until supplies run out.  The name of the beer stems from Smith’s calling himself the “voice of reason” combined with the Belgian style of beer known as saison.

Deer Creek’s KCKS-FM, Chico, California Simulcasts Sports AM.  KEWE, Chico is Deer Creek’s “Fox Sports Radio 1340” and after a year of trying a CHR music format, the station returns being a simulcast for the company’s sports talk outlet.  Although San Francisco and Sacramento AMs get into the market, Chico doesn’t have another local sports talk outlet.

Syrian Violence Escalates, GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Election, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, and L.A. School Sex Abuse Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/8).  The international community’s growing conflict over the escalating violence in Syria; Rick Santorum’s victories complicating the GOP primary race and the beginning of President Obama’s campaign; Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the Los Angeles school sex abuse case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, January 9, 2012

| January 9, 2012

Talk Radio Hosts Invade New Hampshire.  The New Hampshire Primary election is tomorrow (1/10) and in what has become a talk radio tradition – the New Hampshire Primary Radio Row – is putting the candidates and the issues on the air for local listeners and national audiences alike.  The radio row event is organized by TALKERS magazine and the Talk Radio News Service and includes more than 45 programs broadcasting live from the Manchester Radisson.  National programs include: Dial Global’s Neal Boortz, Thom Hartmann and Michael Smerconish; Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock; Genesis Communications Network’s Kate Delaney; Syndication One’s Al Sharpton and Warren Ballentine; Main Street Radio Network’s Alan Nathan; “A Touch of Grey” with Carole Marks; Michael Skoda; Dr. Gina Loudon; and Ed Morrissey.  Local talk hosts include: WOR, New York’s John Gambling; WTKK-FM, Boston’s Jim Braude and Margery Eagan; WTKK’s Michael Graham; Stephen K. Bannon of KABC, Los Angeles; Marc Bernier of WNDB, Daytona Beach; Michael Berry of KTRH, Houston; Lee Davis of WYDE-FM, Birmingham; Scott Hennen of KNOX, Grand Forks, North Dakota; Mark Skoda of WMPS, Memphis; Lisa Wexler of WFAS, Westchester, New York; Ken Pittman and Phil Paleologos of WBSM, New Bedford; Richard Girard of WGAM, Manchester; Paul Westcott of WGIR, Manchester; Dan Mitchell of WKBK, Keene; George Russell of WSMN, Nashua; Mark Johnson of WDEV, Waterbury, Vermont; Steve West of WKVT, Brattleboro, Vermont; John Harper of WUVR, Dartmouth, New Hampshire; Tony Lopes of WVBF, Taunton, Massachusetts; and Jeff Santos of WWZN, Boston.

SCOTUS Hears Indecency Arguments Tomorrow.  This day seems like a long time coming but tomorrow the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments about the FCC’s handling of broadcast indecency.  The case comes to the Court with regard to television violations but the rules are the same for radio.  Recent fines against ABC and Fox were overturned by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals after the court ruled the regulations are vague and unevenly applied – especially concerning the difference between how the rules are applied to over-the-air broadcast versus cable and satellite.  That’s what ABC and Fox will argue tomorrow.  The FCC will argue that even in the current era, most Americans expect broadcast TV (and radio by extension) to be “relatively safe” media for family consumption.  Many legal observers believe that the likely ruling from the Supreme Court will be the request that the FCC make the indecency rules very clear and that its method of enforcement be just as clear.  Interestingly, former FCC chairman Michael Powell – who now works for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association – is quoted by Bloomberg saying if he were voting on the cases in question again, he would dissent this time.  “I’ve always been deeply troubled by the way the First Amendment changes when you change channels.”

Programmer Neil Larrimore Lands KFYI/KGME, Phoenix PD Position.  Clear Channel Phoenix names former KMBZ, Kansas City program director Neil Larrimore PD for news/talk KFYI and sports talker Xtra Sports 910 (KGME).  CC Phoenix director of operations and programming Smokey Rivers states, “Neil is the perfect complement to our Phoenix programming team.   He is totally immersed in the flow of news and sports.  In this ‘that’s so thirty seconds ago’ age, having a quality programmer focused solely on the output of our information products is essential to maintaining our quality edge.”  Larrimore, who recently exited Entercom’s Kansas City news/talk outlet, says, “Information is the lifeblood of all media, now more than ever.  The opportunity to work with these powerful brands and continue to evolve them on-air, on-site and online, is extraordinary!  I can’t wait to get started!”

Rick Barber Retires from KOA, Denver.  After 30 years on the air in Denver, Rick Barber retires from his late-night talk show on Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver.  The Clear Channel station is filling the time with Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM.”

Drew Steele Takes Over AM Drive on WFSX-FM, Fort Myers; Trey Radel Exits to Run for Congress.  Trey Radel announces his candidacy for Florida’s 14th Congressional District seat and exits the morning drive show at Meridian’s “92.5 Fox News” (WFSX-FM) in the Ft. Myers/Naples market.  Meridian hands the reins of the morning drive show over to Drew Steele.  Radel is a longtime media figure in the market serving as anchor on WINK-TV for years before joining “92.5 Fox News.”  Radel is running as a Republican for the seat being vacated by Connie Mack who’s running for the U.S. Senate.

ESPN Radio Celebrates 20 Years in Operation.  Once just a small part of the ESPN cable television-focused broadcasting company, ESPN Audio is now a major component of the ESPN brand.  In January of 1992, ESPN Radio consisted of weekday drive-time commentaries on about 100 affiliates.  The network now has 300 full-time affiliates and ESPN owns four stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas.  SVP of ESPN Audio Mo Davenport states, “In 20 years, we’ve gone from airing only weekday, drive-time commentaries on 104 radio stations, to the amazing success of “Mike & Mike,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” Scott Van Pelt, Doug Gottlieb, and having ESPN Radio become the most-listened-to sports stream on the planet.  Additionally, our local markets give fans the local angle on air and online. It is a tribute to our listeners and our team, which pushes us forward to greater success in serving the sports fan.”

Jim Rome Takes TV Show to CBS Sports Network.  There’s no official confirmation from ESPN or Jim Rome’s camp but Big Lead Sports is reporting that Jim Rome’s “Rome is Burning” show will soon disappear from ESPN2 and Rome will begin a TV presence on the new CBS Sports Network.  The site reports that Rome was offered a multi-year deal to remain with ESPN but he’s choosing to begin TV life anew with CBS’ new cable initiative.  There would appear to be no affect on Rome’s radio program with Premiere Networks as a result of this.

KNX, Los Angeles Business Series Offers “The Business of Going Green.”  The next event in all-news KNX, Los Angeles’ Business Breakfast Series is titled, “The Business of Going Green” and takes place Friday, January 20 at 8:00 am at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  CBS Radio Los Angeles says “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Mottek will moderate a discussion that will explore how a sustainability strategy can be good for generating revenue and why being socially responsible doesn’t have to mean being fiscally irresponsible.  The free event will include a resource expo, continental breakfast and expert panelists H. David Nahai and Paul Polizzotto.  Nahai was senior advisor to the Clinton Climate Initiative and is president of David Nahai Consulting Services which advises and assists public and private entities involved in the environmental sector.  Polizzotto is president of EcoMedia, a division of CBS Corporation, whose mission is to raise public awareness about environmental issues.

KIRO-FM, Seattle Debuts New Local Food Show.  Hosted by local restaurateurs Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau and produced by Tina Cole, “Seattle Kitchen” airs Saturday mornings at 8:00 and Sundays at 10:00 am.  As you’d expect, the program will feature restaurant reviews of Puget Sound eateries as well as recipes and, of course, fielding listeners’ questions.  Program director Larry Gifford says, “Tom and Thierry are a natural fit and great addition.  For the weekend chef, who better to learn from, laugh with and relax to than these guys?”