Tag: "Michael Harrison"

Catching Up with Lionel

| March 31, 2014

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast

 

kinosianLOS ANGELES — Recording artists running the gamut from Bing Crosby to Sam Cooke to Janet Jackson and Luther Vandross (among others) have wonderfully warbled to remind us that the “The Best Things in Life Are Free.”

A 1956 film that starred Gordon MacRae accentuated the point as well.

Offering a different take in the predominantly uplifting sentiment are the Beatles, who – while acknowledging the fact – nonetheless suggested those “free” things could be kept in exchange for “money” – but – that’s another story.

Smart, Funny, and Unedited

Back to the positive point: Words are free and no one in talk radio is more adroit, melodious, and astute in his splendidLionel large employment of the vocabulary than brilliantly witty Lionel, who generously remarks, “If you like my words – take them – they are not mine [anyway], they are yours. As a sesquipedalian and a logophile, I love the mother tongue. Do not marvel at the fancy words. It is part of who I am. I will never try to make people feel stupid. People love smart and funny – they crave it.”

These days, not only does Lionel get to demonstrate how deliciously lovely the language may be when utilized with panache, he also offers a veritable talk radio clinic.

On one hand, it is a fresh and innovative concept, while on the other, there is enormous simplicity to a back-to-the-basics approach. “It came about through the genius, foresight, and wherewithal of [TALKERS publisher] Michael Harrison,” Lionel comments of his Saturday, 9:00 am – 10:00 am ET TalkersRadio show. “It is just a joy and Michael is the preeminent voice in talk radio. Since the beginning, he has told me what I need to do must be the best.”

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

| March 27, 2014

hannityseanUnusual ‘Ratings Battle’ Between Savage and Hannity Heats Up.  Prior to the rollout of his WestwoodOne-syndicated talk show on Cumulus-owned news/talk stations – many of which had previously carried Premiere NetworksSean Hannity show – Michael Savage took an aggressive stance in both industry and consumer presssavagemichael proclaiming he would beat Hannity in the ratings.  Now, two Nielsen Audio PPM rating periods later, WestwoodOne is waging a PR offensive that many industry watchers note is rarely seen in the syndication business, going so far as to use words like “trounced” and “demolished” with respect to Savage’s ratings versus Hannity’s.  Reporting Nielsen Audio PPM data in the Persons 25-54 demo for major markets New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas, WestwoodOne shows Savage more than doubling Hannity’s AQH share there (NYC 1.1 vs .5, Chicago 1.2 vs .2, San Francisco 1.5 vs .5, and Dallas-Ft. Worth 1.3 vs .5).  Hannity’s camp responds with a memo from premierenetworks newPremiere Networks VP/operations and affiliate marketing for the Sean Hannity show Eric Stanger, who writes, “It’s puzzling that Michael Savage would want to brag about his listening audience.  Despite his claims, the numbers show that Savage is losing thewestwoodone logo audience that he inherited from Sean Hannity in droves, on the radio stations that Sean spent 17 years building.  In New York on WABC as well as on Dallas on WBAP, in the key demo of A25-54, Savage has lost a whopping 49% of the audience that he inherited from Sean Hannity.  Other key markets tell a similar story as you can see below.  All in all, Savage has bled away almost half of the audience on the key stations that were given to him in 2014 (In Los Angeles, where Cumulus has decided not to air the ‘Savage Nation,’ KABC-AM has dropped 27% without Hannity).  Meanwhile, Sean Hannity has more than doubled the total audiences where he has started on new stations after leaving Cumulus in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas (AQH percentage change December ’13 to February ’14 Persons 12+:  WOR, New York, +108%; KEIB, Los Angeles +172%; and KSKY, Dallas +128%).”  EDITOR’S NOTE:  TALKERS magazine maintains a general policy of not publishing ratings results of contests between individual hosts because there are so many potential situations taking place in the industry it would become editorially unwieldy and impossible to manage accurately and fairly.  This is especially true in regards to reporting on battles between syndicated hosts in which there is often inconsistency from market to market in terms of actual times and number of hours broadcast.  Plus, this publication avoids getting involved in situations hinting of personal vendettas and vitriol between personalities and even competing companies.  In the words of publisher Michael Harrison, “This industry faces enough competitive challenges these days from external sources for us to turn our guns on each other in anything more intense than healthy, sportsmanlike competition.”

eskinspikeCBS RADIO Ups Spike Eskin to PD of WIP-FM and WIP-AM.  Interim program director Spike Eskin is officially the PD at CBS RADIO’s “SportsRadio 94 WIP” and “CBS Sportsradio 610,” the company announces.  Eskin has been filling the role on an interim basis since Jeff Sottolano was named director of programming for CBS RADIO earlier this year.  Previously, Eskin served as sports editor for CBSPhilly.com and did part-time air shifts on WIP-FM, all-news KYW and CBS 3 TV.  Senior vice president and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “Spike is his own person.  He is tenacious, strategic and a proven winner.  We interviewed an extremely talented pool of national and local candidates.  Spike was clearly our best choice.”  Eskin comments, “My career in radio has taken me in many different directions, and has ultimately led me to a job that I feel like I was born to do and I am honored and humbled to have. I’m excited to work with the best air talent in sports radio, and our incredible staff to continue building the legend that is WIP.”

schembrijoeSchembri Upped to VP of Corporate Business Development, Sports Sales and Sponsorships.  This new corporate position lifts Joe Schembri from his VP of business development post.  Now, he’ll be working directly with clients to “create local, regional, and national campaigns that reach and engage consumers by utilizing multiple platforms to drive incremental revenue that include radio, sports play-by-play, event sponsorships, digital, database, mobile and social.”  Entercom station group president Weezie Kramer states, “For years, Joe has been a leader in our company and throughout radio, and I am proud to elevate him to this new position.  Sports has always been a strength of entercomEntercom and, under Joe’s leadership, we will bring a greater platform of products and greater results to our clients.”  Entercom serves as the radio broadcast partner for the Boston Red Sox, Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Kansas City Royals, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Saints, New Orleans Pelicans, Oakland Athletics, Oakland Raiders, San Jose Sharks and several NCAA teams, including this year’s #1 NCAA basketball seeds University of Florida Gators and Wichita State Shockers.  Schembri comments, “This is an exciting time for radio, sports and event marketing.  Entercom is powerfully positioned across the country to build dynamic, multi-platform campaigns that engage our fans, connect them to our clients and generate results that make a difference.”

nymrad logoNYMRAD Registers a +3.26%.  According to the Miller Kaplan New York Market Revenue Report, New York Market Radio (NYMRAD) advertising revenue for the first two months of this year increased 3.26%, when compared to last year’s figures.  Total revenue for February – including “digital” and “network”/”NTR”/”other” were up 2.3%.  New York Market Radio Broadcasters Association executive director Deborah Beagan comments, “The New York market is up, despite the series of storms.”  The “automotive” category there is up 11%, with over $10 million of spending.  Three rapidly growing such advertisers are Land Rover, up 153% from $166,000 last year to $420,000 this year; Tri State Ford Dealers – improving by 48% from $458,000 to $680,000; and Mercedes Benz, up 72% from $265,000 to $455,000.  The “communications/cellular” category sees a 20% gain, with over $8 million of spending.  Rapid such growers included Verizon, up 69% from $1.29 million to $2.17 million; Metro PCS – improving 95% from $1.28 million to $2.50 million; and AT&T, up 67% from $917,000 to $1.53 million.

scba logoLos Angeles Radio Revenue Grows in February.  According to data from Miller Kaplan Arase as reported by the Southern California Broadcasters Association, during February, the Los Angeles radio market saw revenue climb by 3.7% for the month and, on a year-to-date basis through February, the LA total market revenue growth is 3.1%.  SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “This substantial market growth reflects the dynamic power of Southern California Radio and our member radio stations’ determination to begin 2014 on very strong footing.”  On the digital side, the report indicates revenue for the reporting stations in February up 16.8% and a YTD growth rate of 14.7%.  The subsequent “X-Ray” report YTD also reveals substantial new business growth with 336 new advertisers spending $12.7 million.  Key category drivers include: insurance – up 141.7%, cellular/communications – up 45.8%, concerts/theatre/movies – up 34.7%, casinos/lottery – up 32.5%, and education – up 32.3%.

starkjaysonStark Reality for Philly’s WPEN-FM.  ESPN.com senior baseball writer – and Philadelphia native – Jayson Stark will host a one-hour eponymous show on select Mondays throughout the baseball season for Greater Media Philadelphia’s WPEN-FM “The Fanatic.”  The two-time Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year will continue to be a Wednesday afternoon contributor on the station’s “Mike Missanelli Show.”  Stark acknowledges that, “I may work for ESPN now, but I’m still a Philadelphian, so the only thing cooler than joining my buddy Mike Missanelli every Wednesday is getting my own personal hour of radio.  I will get to talk to my favorite Philadelphians about the Phillies and the sport they play, mix in a little trivia, and do our best to turn this extravaganza into a show that’s even more fun than spending a summer evening hanging out in Ashburn Alley.”  Stark’s program will emanate live from Newtown, Pennsylvania’s Green Parrot; the debut show is one week from Monday (4/7) between 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm.  Stark has written/reported about MLB for ESPN since 2000.  Before that, he covered the Phillies for the Philadelphia Inquirer.  He appears as an analyst on a variety of ESPN radio and television programs.

delcollianojerryJerry Del Colliano’s “Media Solutions Conference” Draws 100-plus to Philadelphia.  More than 100 radio broadcasters from across the country gathered at the classy Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia yesterday (3/26) to attend noted industry observer and analyst Jerry Del Colliano’s fifth annual “Media Solutions Conference.”  The attendees represented various levels of management, talent and ownership from a variety of radio companies — local, regional and national.  In addition to Del Colliano’s in-depth presentation of information about such topics as understanding the Millennial generation, disrupting radio before its media rivals do, separating radio’s main product into unique on-air and online categories, using video to generate additional revenue streams, reinventing the morning show, time-shifting radio, and reducing the liability of commercials while increasing their effectiveness, attendees were treated to presentations by WBEB, Philadelphia “More FM” owner Jerry Lee, Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk star Sean Hannity and TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison.  Jerry Lee discussed a number of tactics and philosophies employed by his company to make it one of the most successful ratings and revenue-generating, leejerryindependent music-formatted, stand-alone FMs in America.  He basically told the attendees that you have to spend money to make money and espoused the benefits of heavy promotion, research and putting together a top-notch team of talent and management in order to reap the rewards radio is still capable of delivering.  He also spoke extensively about the importance of creating effective, listenable commercials and limiting the number of spots perharrisonmichael hour to no more than 12.  Sean Hannity discussed the various keys to attracting younger listeners to the talk format on both radio and television (something he has proven to do very well) and was critical of today’s ratings system that largely ignores listenership to radio on the internet and satellite platforms.  Michael Harrison joined Del Colliano at the end of the conference for a free-wheeling Q&A wrap up of the day’s subject matter.  Harrison encouraged the attendees to trust in their own common sense and intuition, pointing out that all forward evolution in the arts and communication begin with someone taking a stand based on their gut instincts.  According to Harrison, “This was one of the most interesting, informative and well-organized conferences I have ever attended.”  Jerry Del Colliano will be a major speaker at the forthcoming “Talkers New York 2014” on Friday, June 20.  For information call 413-565-5413.

borrell logoBorrell Research Projects Hike in Recruitment Advertising.  Just what radio might realize from the projected 5.8% increase in dollars spent by employers seeking workers via broadcast isn’t certain and the category doesn’t break down radio, TV, and cable.  However, as the recruitment advertising report – subtitled The Long, Gray, Line – states, employers will spend $22.9 billion in the category this year.  “Of that, 84% is spent on online media, and of that, half is being spent on so-called digital services like developing websites, search engine optimization, and managing social media.  That services portion is growing at the fastest clip – nearly 50% growth in 2014 and potentially tripling over the next five years.  By 2018, we foresee a future where employers will spend 67% of their recruitment marketing budgets on digital services, 23% on classic digital advertising, and the remaining 10% on traditional media advertising.”  See more about the report here.

RIhof logoWOR, New York PD Tom Cuddy Leads Rhode Island Radio HoF Class of 2014.  The Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame announces the class of 2014 inductees and they include: current WOR, New York program director Tom Cuddy (who got his start in radio at WPRO-AM in 1980); air personality and programmer Rick Everett (served at WGNG, WSNE, WWLI, WWBB, WRX, and WCTK; current WRNI news anchor/reporter and host Dave Fallon; New England Tech teacher and 30-plus year radio station staffer Paul Perry; the late Carroll “Pappy” Philbrook, who began his career in Rhode Island radio in the 1940s as an engineer at WHIM, WHJJ and WHJY; easy listening pioneer Tony Rizzini; and entertainment icon Saucy Silvia who hosted an entertainment program on WADK for 26 years.  Additionally, the Shepard Award – created to recognize the founders of radio (John and Robert Shepard, owners of the Shepard Department Stores) in the Ocean State and to honor present-day contributors to the industry through leadership, dedication, achievement, innovation and spirit – goes to Janice Skelly.  Skelly began her radio career in 1978, working for WPRO-FM in the sales department, and for most of the next 36 years, she remained a fixture within the sales and business operations of WLKW-AM/FM and WSNE-FM through several ownership changes.

ObamaCare Criticism, SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Case, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, Obama vs Putin/Russian Aggression, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Fate, and NSA Data Collection Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/26).  Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the Supreme Court Case that will decide the scope of religious exemptions for employer-provided health care; speculation about the political ramifications of the mid-term elections and possible candidates for president in 2016; Russian aggression in Eastern Europe and criticism of President Obama’s handling of Vladimir Putin; the fate of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; and concern over the NSA’s bulk data collection program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

| March 18, 2014

graefejohnEntercom Ups Graefe to Chief Information Officer.  Twelve-year Entercom staffer John Graefe is promoted to a new post as the company’s first chief information officer, responsible for delivering a broad range of IT initiatives to support the company.  Graefe has been the vice president of IT and will continue to lead the team of employees overseeing the company’s IT infrastructure, as well as its strategy and partnerships.  In making the announcement, the company says Graefe is a tech leaderentercom with a unique view of IT innovation and its application in driving business objectives.  In this new role he will take over responsibilities for the company’s analytics and business intelligence initiatives.  He’ll report to EVP/CFO Steve Fisher, who comments, “John has demonstrated outstanding leadership in managing our IT organization while continuing to position IT as a strategic asset and business driver.  I am confident that, as CIO, he will continue to advance Entercom strategic platforms and strategies.”  Graefe says, “I am excited for the opportunity to continue leading the IT team at Entercom and further advancing our initiatives in analytics and business intelligence.   This will continue to enhance Entercom’s position as a leading broadcasting and marketing solutions company.”

rileyjulesRiley Returns to Journal Broadcast Group in Tulsa.  Most recently working as a consultant in the industry, Jules Riley is named operations manager for Journal Broadcast Group’s Tulsa operations, including news/talk KFAQ.  Tulsa VP/GM Bill Berry says, “We are very excited to welcome Jules back to Journal.  She has a stellar reputation in the industry and extensive experience with multiple formats.  I have no doubt that she will do a terrific job as our programming leader.”  Riley was the program director for Journal’s rock KICT “T95” and classic rock KFXJ “104.5 The Fox” in Wichita until 2001 before leaving to lead programming teams in St. Louis, Philadelphia and Phoenix.   She comments, “I am thrilled to rejoin Journal Broadcast Group and work with the phenomenal Tulsa team.  My thanks to Bill Berry, Beverlee Brannigan and Steve Wexler.”

“Trippin’ Out into the Future” with Michael Harrison.  The time has come for the rise of the MEDIA STATION.  When Jerry Del Colliano was asked what role TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison will play at his forthcoming “Media Solutions Conference” in Philadelphia on Wednesday, March 26 – the noted industry observer and analyst described Harrison as a “futurist” and stated “Michael and I will trip out into the future of radio and digital content.”  Harrison’s reaction to delcollianojerrythe comment was that he was extremely flattered by the remark, stating, “Wow, to be in this business for 48 years and still be called a ‘futurist’ is a compliment, to say the least.  Those who know me personally or have heard me speak and read my articles over the decades know that I maintain a very healthy respect for the past and radio’s pop cultural heritage – HOWEVER, they also know that I do so only from the perspective that they help us navigate the wild waters of the future into which we must always be bravely sailing.”  Harrison continues, “There are several things that I am looking forward to discussing at Jerry’s seminar that span my interest in both talk and music radio…but first and foremost, I believe it’s time for the industry to come to terms with the theoretical (and increasingly real) concept of the “media station”harrisonmichael because that is, in fact, where we are heading in terms of platform.  And while many people in this business are running around uttering the half-baked phrase ‘content is king’ and counting their chickens over the seeming ease of entry to the internet — those who have an understanding of media theory and elementary art appreciation understand that without ‘platform,’ content cannot be monetized.  The ‘media station’ will be the platform of today’s radio station (as well as most newspapers and magazines) before this decade is over.  Those who prepare for this and understand exactly what it entails will not only survive — they will thrive — and continue to successfully ride the traditional time-line of our glorious industry from one century to the next.  Those who do not will drown in the vast ocean of noise that is the undeveloped, platform-less internet.”  Harrison will be one of three special guest speakers at the conference.  Along with WBEB, Philadelphia (“More FM”) owner Jerry Lee and nationally syndicated Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk star Sean Hannity.  The intensive day-long workshop will focus on a wide variety of digital-era issues currently facing and challenging radio.  These include coming to a better understanding of the Millennial generation, learning to disrupt radio itself before its media rivals do, separating radio’s main product into unique on-air and online categories, effectively using video to generate significant amounts of revenue, reinventing the morning show, time-shifting radio, making commercials less of a liability and much more.  Harrison adds, “I am really looking forward to participating in this conference and tackling these crucial issues with a bunch of smart people from all ends of the business.  Jerry Lee has so much to share about running an independent station in an aggressive, winning way – we could sure use more Jerry Lees in this industry – and Sean Hannity is the very definition of a classy guy who rose to the very top of the talent ladder.  One of the things Sean brings to the table is the ability to attract younger listeners to traditional news/talk – he has done quite alright in already solving questions to which most people are actively seeking answers.”  The event takes place at Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Hotel.  For more information click here.

nielsen logoFirst Round of February PPM Data Released.  PPM data from the first of four groups of 12 markets for the February 2014 period (January 30 – February 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio.  Those markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  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.

wnfl logoOdds & Sods.  The station that will benefit from Midwest Communications’ purchase of the construction permit for an FM translator licensed to Howard, Wisconsin (W221DA at 92.1) is sports talk WNFL, Green Bay.  Midwest is buying the CP from David M. Stout for $65,000.  Howard lies northwest and adjacent to the City of Green Bay…..The mystery of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 has been a boon to the ratings of cable news/talk channel CNN.  The ratings woes of the channel are well known to industry watchers and the recent news has boosted the channel’s ratings above those of its competitors Fox News Channel and MSNBC in recent days.

Crimea Votes to Join Russia/Obama vs. Putin, Malaysian Airline Flight 370 Mystery, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, ObamaCare Criticism, Los Angeles Quake, and Lingering Winter Weather/Global Warming Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/17).  The Crimea-Russia case and criticism of President Obama’s handling of Vladimir Putin; the ongoing mystery of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370; the forecasting of political change with the mid-term elections and speculation about the 2016 presidential race; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; Monday’s Los Angeles earthquake and concerns about another one; and the chilly weather still affecting the Midwest and East and the global warming controversy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

| February 25, 2014

levinmarkMark Levin to Be Honored at CPAC.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin will receive the inaugural Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, March 6.  According to a story on Breitbart.com’s Big Journalism, Breitbart News editor-in-chief Alex Marlow will introduce Citizens United president David Bossie, who will present the award to Levin along with Breitbart News president and CEO Larry Solov and Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon.  Solov says, “Mark Levin fearlessly and passionately stands up for conservatives and everyday Americans whose voices the mainstream press often tries to marginalize or silence.  And like Andrew Breitbart, Levin has a way of cutting through the mainstream press’s filter with his words and is never afraid to have arrows slung at him by the institutional left on the front lines of the fight.”  David Bossie comments, “Levin is not only a friend, but supports and defends the vision of our Founding Fathers on his nationally syndicated radio program daily.  There is nobody better to receive this inaugural award and I am happy that he will be joining us at CPAC to accept it.”  Levin’s show is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks.

kkfn logoProgramming Additions at LFM’s Denver Sports Outlets.  At Lincoln Financial Media’s Denver cluster, changes are taking place beginning Monday, March 3 that will put Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick on KKFN “104.3 The Fan,” moving over from sister sports station KEPN “1600 The Zone.”  To make room, Sandy Clough leaves the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot where Patrick will air and joins Drew Goodman and Scott Hastings for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show.  Program director Nate Lundy states, “Like many in Denver, I’m a big fan of Dan Patrick.  As we take the next step in our evolution, it only makes sense to bring the number one national personality to ‘The Fan.’  His perspective and top-level guests will further solidify our commitment to the best sports talk in town.”  KKFN is also debuting a new evening show called “The Fan Late Night with Ryan Edwards and Shawn Drotar” that is airing from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  Lundy adds, “Sandy Clough has been part of The Fan’s success for over 17 years and putting him alongside two other outstanding Denver sports veterans will make for a great show for our listeners.  ‘The Fan Late Night’ will give fans of Denver’s four major pro sports teams a chance to sound off as part of their postgame experience.”  Lundy says a new lineup on KEPN will be announced in the near future as Patrick’s show transitions to “104.3 The Fan.”

mhnrbapanelMichael Harrison Speaks at NRB 2014 in Nashville.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (c) participated as a keynote speaker yesterday afternoon (2/24) at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) conference in Nashville in a general session focused on “Values in American Popular Media.”  The presentation included an opening address by Harrison followed by a spirited panel discussion in which he was joined by DeVon Franklin, SVP of production, Columbia Tristar Pictures (l) and Russell Moore, president, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (r).  Harrison used the platform as an opportunity to espouse his personal and professional philosophy that the combination of vigilant community service and high ethical standards equate to good and successful business strategy in the media industries – especially radio.  Harrison told the conference, “Radio of all formats – not just Christian specifically – should never miss an opportunity to be a hero and serve the true needs of humanity within its local, national and even global market reach.  Why wait for a hurricane or natural disaster to suddenly go into emergency mode?  Why limit our potential to just being the ‘Sterno’ of media?  Day-to-day life provides a nonstop series of emergencies, pain, fear, sorrow and loss on a very human scale that we have the power to calm and alleviate in addition to providing our regular menus of music and talk entertainment, information and discussion.  If we do this with sincerity and authenticity on a consistent level, the communities we serve will amply reward us with both ratings and financial support and the self-fulfilling prophecy about radio being a dying medium will be forestalled for decades to come.”  Harrison warned the crowd that “Christian and religious broadcasting has a head start on fulfilling this role because it is woven into the basic fabric of its service – however, in its passion and zeal to compete in the same marketplace of ideas and commerce co-occupied by secular media, it should be careful not to fall into the trap of stifling the First Amendment rights of dissenting voices and lifestyles nor succumb to the present-day widespread practice to seeking victory at the expense of truth for commercial and political advantage.”

meyersstevenSteven Meyers Heads Digital Strategy at Greater Media.  This is a promotion for Steven Meyers who joined Greater Media Philadelphia in 2012 as digital manager.  Now, in this new director of digital strategy role for all of Greater Media, he will be responsible for helping to grow Greater Media’s audiences and revenue by developing new digital platforms that deepen listener engagement while providing new opportunities to the company’s commercial partners.  He comments, “Greater Media understands that ‘digital’ isn’t just a separate line of business, but a foundational component of our brand experiences and client value.  I’m very excited to become a larger part of shaping that vision.”  Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth adds, “We look forward to having Steve share his valuable knowledge and insight with our teams as we continue to grow and drive our company’s interactive efforts into the future.”

fornicolajasonHubbard’s WFED, Washington Names Fornicola Director of Custom Media.  Coming to Hubbard’s Washington, DC talk and federal news outlet WFED is Jason Fornicola in the new position, director of custom media.  Fornicola recently worked as communications specialist for the American Federation of Government Employees.  He also hosted the weekly AFGE radio program “Inside Government.”  In a statement, director of federal sales Ralph Renzi comments, “We have worked with Jason for seven years and are impressed with his experience and success in journalism, as well as his innovative outreach.  Our investment in providing greater resources for our clients will help us solve more complex marketing objectives.”

edisonresearchEdison Research to Present ‘Infinite Dial 2014’ Next Week.  In a teaser for the free webinar from Edison Research and new partner Triton Digital, the companies report that data from this year’s study shows “31% of Americans 12+ report using the internet radio service Pandora on a monthly basis, up from 27% one year ago.  iHeartRadio is used by 9% monthly, while iTunes Radio, which debuted in 2013, comes in third with 8% monthly usage, followed by 6% using Spotify.”  The webinar takes place Wednesday,tritondigital March 5 at 2:00 pm ET.  Edison says this is the 22nd study in “The Infinite Dial” series, one of the longest-running research series covering consumer use of media, technology and digital platforms.  The webinar will be co-presented by Edison Research VP of strategy Tom Webster, and Triton Digital COO Mike Agovino.  Topics covered will include:  An update on Internet Audio usage, including new data on iTunes Radio, Beats Music, and other services; recent growth in podcasting; the growth in smartphone ownership, and how it has changed consumer behavior; updates on social media usage for services including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and more; and the connected car, and in-car usage of digital media.

alexanderbarbraFinancial Talk Host Convicted in Fraud Case.  A federal jury convicted Barbra Alexander Monterey, California on 28 counts of conspiracy and fraud for her role in a Ponzi scheme.  Sixty-four-year-old Alexander worked with APS Funding partner Michael Swanson to host “Money Dots” on Clear Channel-owned KION, Monterey and other outlets.  Prosecutors had alleged Alexander and Swanson bilked investors of some $4 million.  Alexander is expected to get a lengthy prison term.  Swanson was previously convicted.

pregnantNew Maternity Leave Policy for Cumulus Announced.  Radio giant Cumulus Media announces a change to its human resources policy by adding “the implementation of an industry-leading maternity leave policy providing new mothers with six weeks of fully paid time off in addition to the paid time off and disabilitycumulus logo benefits currently provided to employees.”  The company says the policy takes effect immediately and is available to all full-time, non-commission employees with at least one year of service.  Chairman and CEO Lew Dickey states, “Cumulus continues to grow and innovate thanks to the dedication of our colleagues across the country.  We are committed to providing benefits that recognize employees’ health and family needs, and providing fully paid leave to new mothers after they give birth is the right thing to do.”

nabcrystalawardNAB Crystal Award Finalists Announced.  The 50 finalists for the 2014 Crystal Awards have been announced and that list can be found here.  The National Association of Broadcasters states that since 1987, the NAB Crystal Radio Awards have recognized radio stations for their outstanding year-round commitment to community service.  Winners will be announced and the finalists will be honored at the NAB Radio Luncheon.  The Luncheon will be held Tuesday, April 8 during the 2014 NAB Show in Las Vegas.  During the luncheon, Yahoo tech columnist David Pogue will present a keynote address and popular national radio personality, television host and best-selling author Steve Harvey will be inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

kfwbcargiveawayThis Brand New Car Is No Mirage.  Well, actually it is.  It’s a 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage and it’s now the property of Anita Gowing of Whittier, California (right).  She was the winner of the KFWB, Los Angeles giveaway that took place at South Coast Mitsubishi on Sunday, February 23.  Gowing is seen reacting as her key starts the car.  Inside the car with her is KFWB afternoon news co-anchor Maggie McKay (left).  As part of the contest, 124 listeners won a pair of tickets to an upcoming LA Clippers game and got a key for a chance to win the car.

ObamaCare Criticism, NFL N-word Penalty, Arizona Religious Rights Bill, Ukraine Unrest-Russian Influence, Hagel’s Proposed Military Cuts, and Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/24).  Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NFL’s new rule penalizing teams for players’ use of the n-word during games; the Arizona bill that would allow businesses to discriminate for religious reasons; the political turmoil in Ukraine and the influence of Putin’s Russia; Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposed shrinking of the Army to its smallest size in 74 years; and a new round of winter weather for the East were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, February 17, 2014

| February 17, 2014

wgwg logoWGN-Programmed FM Debuts Today as Sports Talk ‘The Game 87.7.’  Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the scoop following Friday’s announcement that Tribune’s WGN, Chicago will LMA WKQX-LP at 87.7 beginning today.  Last week Feder tipped us that Jonathon Brandmeier would do mornings when Tribune begins programming the station, but now he informs us the station will be thewgnlogo market’s first FM sports talk station branded “The Game 87.7.”  In addition to Brandmeier in mornings, the rest of the lineup will be: current WGN evening sports host David Kaplan and Chicago Tribune sports columnist David Haugh in middays, followed by WGN’s Alex Quigley and Big Ten Network’s Howard Griffith hosting an early afternoon show.  Former WMVP personality Harry Teinowitz and Spike Manton will host late afternoons with WGN’s Mark Carman hosting the evening show.  Overnights will feature programming from NBC Sports Radio Network.  WGN’s Jordan Bernfield will serve as full-time sports reporter.  Making the move over to the FM from WGN, Kaplan is giving up his “Sports Central” show on WGN and late night host Pete McMurray is bumped into the 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm slot.  Read Feder’s entire column here.

vitalejill‘Flirty Flipper’ Returns to WABC to Produce ‘Curtis & Kuby.’  It’s a return to the studios at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York for Jill Vitale (a.k.a. Flirty Flipper) who served as Sean Hannity’s producer beginning in 1999 when he was a local NYC-only show.  During her time there she also produced John Gambling’s program before leaving in 2011.  Now, she returns to produce the midday show featuring Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby.

kevt logoTucson Talk Personality Jim Parisi to LMA KEVT.  Market talk radio pro Jim Parisi is taking over the operation of One Mart Corp.-owned KEVT under an LMA and is re-branding the former Spanish music station as news/talk radio outlet “Power Talk 1210.”  Tucson Weekly reports Parisi will serve as general manager in addition to hosting the 7:00 am to 10:00 am program.  Other personalities will include Providence, Rhode Island-based Steve Kass for 5:00 am to 7:00 am and John C. Scott for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program.  Fox Sports Radio Network programming will air in evenings and on weekends.  Parisi tells the paper, “I’ve come to a point that the only way to be happy is doing what I believe in.  I’m not doing anything that doesn’t reflect how I truly feel, so it will be the most genuine station I can be a part of.  We should have more local programming than most anyone in town.  We want to be as local, but as budget conscious, as we can so that we don’t go away.”

knbrlogoKNBR, San Francisco Takes Beating Over Olympics Coverage.  When Cumulus Media-owned sports talk outlet KNBR, San Francisco cut away from its coverage of the U.S.A.-Russia men’s hockey game during the shoot-out (which the U.S.A won!) to air “Hooked on Golf,” critics took to the internet to blast the station for the move.  The sports media critique site AwfulAnnouncing called the station out and posted a series of Tweets from fellow critics.  One Tweet came in from a Ryan Covay, who appears to be a KNBR staffer, saying, “I’m @ryancovay at home, not at station.  I imagine it’s because there are specific shows that need to air.  Apologies.”  It’s not been confirmed by KNBR but it appears the “Hooked on Golf” show is a brokered show that broadcasts live from a golf course in San Mateo.  That could explain the decision to cut away.

johnsondaniXtreMEDIA Expands Dani Johnson Show to Daily Format.  More than two years ago, the Dani Johnson show debuted on weekends on premier affiliate WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.”  Now, the program moves to a daily format beginning today (2/17) and Johnson’s program will be available seven days per week.  XtreMEDIA states that “Johnson’s brand of ‘No Excuses, Just Results’ is now heard/seen in more than 66 million television householdsXtreMedialogo nationally, heard in more than 112 terrestrial radio markets, cleared on SiriusXM, and streamed/accessed by hundreds of thousands of social media users on her wesbite, social media pages, and her proprietary smartphone app.  And now she is accessed seven days a week.”  Johnson adds, “I can’t believe how much fun I’m having doing a daily show.  My true desire is to continue to help push people to achieve results in all areas of their lives, so that they can take back control, build financial resources, build stable marriages and families, and ultimately feed orphans and help those who need it most.”  XtreMEDIA CEO Kevin McCullough comments, “Dani connects with people — especially in this hyper-partisan environment — in ways that few people can.  The beauty of her show is that it doesn’t matter where you are on the spectrum of success, if you apply exactly what she shows you, you achieve better results.”

nrb logoMichael Harrison to Speak in Keynote Session at National Religious Broadcasters Convention.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will serve as a keynote speaker next week at the NRB International Christian Media Convention 2014 in Nashville.  The event, which runs February 22-25 and is preceded by a one-day Digital Media Summit on February 21, is billed as an event that networks thousands of Christian communicators, from program producers to authors, pastors to engineers, directors to vendors presenting outstanding internationally known speakers and musicians and giving attendees the opportunity to attend numerous educational sessions on radio, TV, film, church media, internet and leadership, and receive helpful industry training.  Harrison, whose two-hour session will take place on Monday, February 24 at 2:00 pm, states, “I am really looking forward to participating in this event and spending time getting to better know people from the faith-based sector of the radio and media industries.  It will certainly give me the opportunity to embellish one of the key points of my own personal view of what radio needs to do to be a viable and productive entity in the digital era – and that is to never miss any opportunity to be a hero…to literally serve the community… to spread hope and inspiration…to talk about the many crisis and challenges facing people in everyday life and help them cope.  I recommend this course of action to all broadcasters – but this is a community where it is already proven to be a winning strategy.  I am honored to be a part of this event.”  The conference will take place at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville.  For more information please click here.

rothmanloriOdds & Sods.  On the Fox Business News cable TV simulcast of Cumulus Media NetworksDon Imus show, Lori Rothman is the new business news update reporter.  TVNewser reports that Rothman is moving into the morning role after serving as part of the early-afternoon “Markets Now” crew.  She’s joining FBN’s Connell McShane and Dagen McDowell…..Clear Channel names Brent Henslee operations manager for the company’s six-station Macon, Georgia cluster that includes sports talk WPLA “Fox Sports 1670” and all-comedy WIBB…..KCRW, Santa Monica personality Matt Miller announces he will run as a Democrat for the seat in Congress being vacated by the retiring Henry Waxman.  Miller is co-host of “Left, Right & Center” on the public radio station.  He’s also a columnist for the Washington Post.  Several Democrats are competing in the primary for the party’s nomination to run in the general election.

hendersonangeloDetroit Media Personality Angelo Henderson Dead at 51.  WCHB, Detroit talk show host Angelo Henderson passed away on Saturday (2/15) at age 51 after an illness.  The Radio One Detroit cluster issued the following statement on the WCHB website: “We at Radio One Detroit are devastated by unexpected news today.  We regretfully must confirm the passing of one of our on-air icons Angelo B. Henderson.  Henderson has been with Radio One Detroit for 15 years and was the host of the popular talk show “Your Voice with Angelo Henderson” on Newstalk AM1200/99.9FM WCHB for the past 6 years.”  Vice president and general manager Kathy Stinehour adds, “Angelo was a strong pillar in the community, I am saddened by his untimely passing and he will be greatly missed by the entire Detroit community and his Radio One Detroit family.”  In addition to his broadcasting work Henderson was a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

| February 6, 2014

gustinpeteImaging with Style and Class in a PPM World.  Your imaging should not try to beat the listener over the head with your message, says voice-over and creative services pro Pete Gustin. Instead, “when done right, your radio imaging will give your listeners the overall impression that you are exactly what you tell them you are.  It’s extremely powerful in fact.”  What’s the difference?  Gustin points out that “the local car dealerships scream about their deals and discounts.  The car manufacturers, however, brand their vehicle lines with high-end music, breathtaking imagery, top-notch actors and subtle innuendo.  Don’t be a local car dealer screaming at your listeners.”  Read more of Gustin’s useful pointers for getting station imaging tuned up for connecting with modern consumers here.

nielsenstateoffeb2014Nielsen Releases Audio Study Charting Use of Radio.  A new report from Nielsen titled “State of the Media: Audio Today 2014” is a graphics-intense, 15-page summary of the use of radio among the population based on data culled from the Nielsen RADAR 119 December 2013 and the Nielsen National Regional Database Spring 2013.  The study illustrates what most industry insiders probably already know – that the majority of radio listening among all demographics is done outside the home, and that Millennials listen to less radio during a given week than their older fellow media consumers.  But the report also notes that “overall, midday is the highest-rated daypart,” due most likely to high at-work listening, though the 7:00 am hour is still the one with the most people listening to radio.  The comparison of the three generations – Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials – shows the difference in the use of radio on a weekly basis.  Some may quibble with the results.  For example, the report states that 88.2% of Men 12-17 hear at least 5 minutes of radio during the week compared to 95% of Men 45-54 who hear at least 5 minutes of radio.  There are industry observers who will claim the 88.2% figure is probably too high – that fewer are actually listening to radio – but the figure doesn’t pretend to show heavy users of radio, just those who’ve heard at least 5 minutes during the week.  Regardless, the study does show the lower number of young consumers hearing AM/FM radio on a weekly basis compared to the rest of the population.  Nielsen promises to update and expand on the study on a quarterly basis.  See the entire study here.

clearchannelClear Channel and Horizon Media Enter into Cross-Platform Partnership.  Media services agency Horizon Media and Clear Channel are announcing a partnership they call a “$100 million multi-year, cross-platform” relationship.  In a statement, Clear Channel says this pact will create “first-to-market integrated marketing partnership opportunities for Horizon clients and exclusive access to select Clear Channel platforms including out-of-home, horizonmediabroadcast, mobile, events and digital.”  Horizon’s clients include such ubiquitously marketed products as Corona beer, GEICO insurance, The History Channel and Silk.  Clear Channel adds that the relationship will “provide Horizon Media with exclusive rights across key events and promotions, including select Artist Integration Programs, World Premieres, customized shows at Clear Channel’s iconic iHeartRadio Theaters in New York and Los Angeles, as well as special events created just for Horizon clients.  In addition, the agency will have access to the full array of creative talent at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment for special content creation opportunities.  The partnership will also allow for the co-creation of new psychographic targeting systems utilizing Horizon’s proprietary tools and insights fused with unique music and consumer research built on Clear Channel Media’s industry-leading national reach.  The valuable research insights developed throughout the partnership will fuel further media mix model development.”  Horizon founder and CEO Bill Koenigsberg states, “We’re excited about this ground-breaking partnership and the positive impact it will have for our clients’ business.  I’ve been impressed with the transformation of Clear Channel into a multi-platform company that can provide national reach while activating locally and providing measurable ROI.”

kapelmikeMike Kapel Named PD at WDAY, Fargo.  At the Forum Communications-owned news/talker WDAY, Fargo, market pro Mike Kapel takes over the program director position.  He’ll also host the mid-morning 9:00 am to 11:00 am program.  According to the Fargo Forum, Kapel is a native who’s worked in music radio for the past 20 years.  Operations manager Jim Manney says, “There is nobody that I trust more than Mike to take over the day-to-day operations of 970 WDAY.”  Kapel comments, “I am excited to lead the charge into a new era.  As someone who grew up here and as somebody who understands the importance of WDAY to the community, it’s an exciting place to be.”

stephanbignocapDoug Stephan Joins TalkersRadio in Development of New Show – “American Family Farmer” — to Launch This Weekend.  One of the longest-running syndicated personalities in the business, “Good Day” host Doug Stephan, is launching a new program into development on TALKERS magazine’s online radio station, TalkersRadio, this Saturday morning (2/8).  The one-hour program which will air Saturdays at 8:00 am ET with repeat broadcasts throughout the week is a significant departure from Stephan’s generalist weekday morning show, “Good Day” which is heard on hundreds of terrestrial stations and is one of the most-listened-to on-air talk shows in the country.  The new program is titled “The American Family Farmer with Doug Stephan” and it taps into a side of the seasoned broadcaster not often displayed publicly in his career thus far as a broadcaster – and that is his alternate career as a farmer.  Yes, Doug Stephan is an independent dairy farmer operating two family farms for a number of years in the Boston suburb of Framingham, Massachusetts.  In this capacity, Stephan is on top of the numerous issues — many of crisis proportions — facing today’s small farmer in America.  He tells TALKERS, “There is a pressing need for a no-nonsense talk show that serves as antalkersradio logo advocate for the interests of the small, independent, family farmer in this great country of ours that is being squeezed on all ends by the combined interests of the mega-corporate agricultural giants – backed by the government – economically and otherwise.”  Stephan continues, “This is an area close to my heart and because I am deeply entrenched in this business, as well as broadcasting, I know the issues first-hand and like the back of my hand.”  The program will feature commentaries and observations by Stephan, the latest information of value to family farmers and interviews with experts from agriculture, academia and government.  Stephan says, “We aim to make a big difference.”  On making the announcement of this new program’s launch, TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein states, “We are extremely focused on bringing this program to its fullest potential on the ‘experimental’ radio platform that is TalkersRadio.  The on-air syndicated potential of this show is absolutely enormous with literally hundreds of rural and small market stations across the heartland of America ripe to carry such a powerful vehicle with so important a mission.  Meantime, our job at TalkersRadio is to provide Doug Stephan with a ‘safe’ workout space to bring this project up to speed, as we are doing with the growing roster of hosts such as Alan Colmes, Lionel, Brent Seltzer, Meg McDonald, Robbie Student, the Gooches and their projects that are already incubating on this exciting stage.  And we are only just getting started!  Man, I am really loving this job!”

limbaughrushNot So Fast.  Attorney and activist Sandra Fluke will not run for the seat being vacated by Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) after all.  Fluke tells the Los Angeles Times that her filing papers in the state of California was a preliminary move and that she has decided that she can accomplish more of her goals in a “better way.”  Fluke’s national profile skyrocketed after Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” as part of a critique of the provision that Catholic organizations be forced to provide birth control to students and employees under the Affordable Care Act.  The incident ignited a backlash against Limbaugh and talk radio in general by special interest groups such as Media Matters for America.

wow-fm logoCool Job Opportunity.  Cumulus Media-owned news/talk WOW-FM, Des Moines is looking for a morning host/program director to lead the station to the next level of success.  This person will play a huge role in shaping WOW’s sound by generating great local content and overseeing the presentation of the station’s syndicated programming, imaging and on-air promotion.  The successful candidate will have the proven ability to host an information-intensive morning show along with a basic understanding of news/talk programming principles and a desire to develop professionally.  Salary is commensurate with experience and ratings history.  Resumes, ratings history, references and mp3 should be sent in confidence to cumulusradio.jobs@cumulus.com with the subject “Des Moines News/Talk PD.”  Cumulus Media is an EOE.

ObamaCare Criticism, Sochi Horror Stories, Hillary in 2016, Financial Markets Activity, Marijuana Laws, and IRS Targeting Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/5).  Continuing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; reports from the Winter Olympics site of widespread unpreparedness as the games get ready to open on Friday; the speculation that Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016; the selling of stocks in financial markets around the world on weak factory reports in the U.S. and China; controversy over the implementation of the new marijuana laws in various states and the effects the changes may be having; and the House hearing investigating allegations of the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, January 31, 2014

| January 31, 2014

westwoodone logoCuts at Cumulus-Owned WestwoodOne Happening; SVP Amy Bolton Exits.  The names of those being let go are coming out as Cumulus Media begins the cuts at WestwoodOne that have been expected since the acquisition of then-Dial Global closed.  Numerous high-level executives are beingboltonamy shown the door – in many instances where there are duplicative positions between WestwoodOne and the Cumulus Media Networks.  Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey is promising investors he can realize $40 million in synergies and eliminating these positions is one of the ways he hopes to accomplish that.  WestwoodOne  SVP and general manager of news & talk Amy Bolton – who’s been with the organization going back when it was Jones Radio Networks – is let go.  Also reportedly out in this round of cuts are: chief marketing officer Christina Albee; EVP/Eastern director Eileen Decker; and SVP of research Paul Bronstein.

lionelLionel Joins TalkersRadio in Development of New Show to Launch This Weekend.  One of the most original personalities in the business, radio talk show host Lionel, is launching a new program on TALKERS magazine’s online radio station, TalkersRadio, tomorrow morning (2/1).  The self-titled show “Lionel” will air live on the “experimental” talk show platform Saturday mornings between 9:00 am and 10:00 am ET and run as a regular weekly series.  It will feature the intellectually stimulating talk media star in an hour of free-form conversation and reflection about the wide variety of topics that fall within his realm of interest.  Lionel describes his plans for the new program as “spoken thought not spoken word” telling TALKERS, “The show will be the editorial cartoon versus the editorial.  Broadcast idea topiaries.  Stream of consciousness meets targeted subject selection.  No left-right paradigm blather.  No bumper sticker, talkersradio logoplaybook, echo chamber drivel.  As I feel, as I want, as I please.”  A veteran of such major outlets as WABC and WOR, New York among others, as well as being a podcast pioneer at lionelmedia.com, the quirky, satirical and extremely original observer of the human condition has been enjoying tremendous success conceiving, writing, producing and performing daily commentaries on the heritage WPIX-TV, Channel 11 in New York City.  The ex-prosecutor Lionel has also added his insight and experience as its resident legal analyst.  However, he has not forgotten his roots in and love for radio and promises that his 9:00 am to 10:00 am Saturday show will provide Lionel enthusiasts around the country with a version of his work that is “like nothing they have ever heard before.  This will truly be Lionel unchained!”  On making the announcement of Lionel’s joining the station, TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein says, “Lionel joining this ‘audio workout space’ is a perfect example of what TalkersRadio is about and hopes to achieve – and that is to provide select people in this business as well as potentially outstanding newcomers with the opportunity to try and develop things that are not being done in the traditional on-air space for the sake of moving the industry forward.”

kono-am logoCox Flips KONO-AM, San Antonio to Sports Talk.  The AM side of the KONO-AM/FM simulcast flips to sports talk using the CBS Sports Radio Network after more than 20 years airing the classic hits format of sister KONO-FM.  Cox Media Group San Antonio vice president and market manager Dan Lawrie states, “We’re excited to bring this level of quality sports programming to San Antonio.  Additionally, South Texas sports fans should be glad to welcome the return of the Jim Rome show after a two-year absence in the market.”  CBS Sports Radio program director Eric Spitz adds, “We’ve put together a tremendous lineup of experienced hosts with strong opinions and personalities who perfectly capture the passion and excitement of the sports fan.  With sports, the action never stops, and CBS Sports Radio provides listeners with cutting-edge analysis, high-profile interviews and late breaking news.”

harrisleslieWCKG-AM, Chicago Names Leslie Harris Director of Community Programming.  At the Matt Dubiel-run DuPage Radio LLC, market personality Leslie Harris is named director of community programming and host at the suburban talk station.  Harris recently exited NextMedia’s suburban rocker WERV “95.9 The River” and Dubiel comments, “Leslie was the full addition I made at WERV and I am over the moon excited to have a Downers Grove rock mamma as part of our local team.”

wtjk logoGood Karma Sells Janesville, Wisconsin Stations to Local Operator.  Two stations in the Janesville, Wisconsin market – rock WWHG “105.9 The Hog” and sports talk WTJK “ESPN Radio 1380” – are being sold by Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting to Scott Thompson who operates stations in nearby Monroe, Wisconsin and Freeport, Illinois.  The Janesville Gazette reports that Thompson plans to keep the staff already in place at both stations and possibly add an employee.  He tells the paper WTJK may air less ESPN content and more local news.  Thompson takes over under an LMA while the transaction works its way through the FCC approval process.

weeidirtywaterWEEI-FM, Boston Begins Friday Night Promotion.  In a partnership with local watering hole The Greatest Bar and local media sources Dirty Water TV and DirtyWaterNews.com, Entercom sports talk WEEI-FM begins broadcasting the “Planet Mikey” show with Mikey Adams live from The Greatest Bar Friday, February 7 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  The show will feature celebrity guests from the world of sports and entertainment.  WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham, citing the bar’s proximity to the TD Garden, states, “It’s a natural fit to partner with the Dirty Water brand and The Greatest Bar.  Combining Mikey’s unique entertaining style, the Dirty Water connections for guests and content, and the proximity to the TD Garden will make for a fun atmosphere and a great listen on ‘93.7FM WEEI’ and the WEEI Sports Radio Network.”  Bill Fairweather is co-owner of The Greatest Bar and creator of Dirty Water TV.  He says WEEI-FM is the perfect radio partner for Dirty Water’s growing array of media entities. “When we decided to add radio to the growing menu of media options that our brand delivers to Greater Boston and beyond, WEEI – with its strong sports focus – was a natural partner for us.  Entertainment and celebrity mix very well with sports and The Greatest Bar is the perfect location to bring those topics together.  We’re excited to have the opportunity to add these new dimensions to WEEI’s radio offerings.”

Odds & Sods.  In honor of Rosa Parks Day on February 4, the Premiere Networks-syndicated Comedy 24/7 format will air special clips of comics of the civil rights era talking about the issue.  African American comedians including Dick Gregory, Godfrey Cambridge and Slappy White were outspoken about necessary changes to be made in our society during that time and the format will air special tracks by these comedians and others as they spoke out in the language of the times at :57 after the hour all day on February 4…..Former NFL coach and executive Mike Holmgren will serve as a football analyst with Clear Channel’s sport talk KJR, Seattle next season after handling the same duties in 2013…..Milwaukee Brewers radio play-by-play voice Bob Uecker will step back a little bit from his duties with the team beginning this season as he’ll call fewer road games for flagship WTMJ, Milwaukee.  Uecker, who turns 80 this year, will still call all home games and be present for spring training in Arizona.

traduphaitiJoy and Hope Amidst the Misery.  Pictured here with children in Port Au Prince, Haiti is Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup.  He tells TALKERS he is there with Salem Radio News documenting conditions in Haiti on the fourth anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake that left 300,000 dead and millions homeless.  He’s embedded with the relief organization Food for the Poor and has been visiting slums, orphanages and feeding centers for the news network’s five-part special series on “The Poorest of the Poor.”  Tradup reports that Salem VP/director spoken word format Phil Boyce (who also is serving as operations manager of the New York stations) is there working on documenting the trip for a New York market broadcast.

deacesteveTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  New York-based XtreMEDIA announces a number of affiliates joining three of the company’s offerings.  First, the daily Kevin McCullough show is added to the program schedule at WCIS-AM, Morganton, North Carolina; WCST-AM, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia; WGEA, Geneva, Alabama; and KNLB-FM, Blythe, California.  The nightly Steve Deace program joins the lineup at WGTK-AM, Louisville; WTOH-FM, Columbus; and WWTC, Minneapolis.  Finally, the weekend “Baldwin/McCullough” show is now heard on WMRC, Milford, Massachusetts and WYPV-FM, Mackinaw City, Michigan…..The GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney joins the program schedule at WKVL, Knoxville.

The State of the Union Address Top Talk Radio Story This Week.  According to the Talkers TenTM, the president’s State of the Union Address was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 27-31.  At #2 this week was criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.  Following at #3 was new immigration legislation and the prospect of amnesty and at #4 was the extreme winter weather affecting much of the nation.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

| January 14, 2014

dollarsignJohn Hogan’s Exit from Clear Channel Cushioned with Cash.  Although the official line from former Clear Channel Media + Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan and the company is that he wanted to “spend more time with his family” and the time was right, a fair number of jaded industry watchers will never believe he wasn’t forced out – especially just seven months after he was moved to the company’s New York City offices to work more closely with CC Media Holdings chairman and CEO Bob Pittman.  The company’s 8-K filing details what Hogan is walking away with after his time leading the division.  Here’s what he can counthoganjohn on: $900,000, representing the amount previously earned by Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2012 performance; an annual bonus of $77,250 for performance during 2013; and a prorated annual bonus with respect to the days he was employed during 2014.  Pursuant to the Separation Agreement and in consideration of the extension by Mr. Hogan of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, the vesting of 93,076 restricted shares of Class A Common Stock of CCMH granted to Mr. Hogan on October 22, 2012 will be accelerated and CCMH will repurchase 83,938 of such shares (the aggregate repurchase amount of such repurchased shares, the “Repurchase Amount”), provided Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement.  Additionally, in exchange for the Separation Agreement, Mr. Hogan’s release of claims and the extension of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, and provided that Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement, CCB agreed to pay Mr. Hogan: $333,000, representing the remaining amount earned by Mr. Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2011 performance; an “equity value preservation payment” equal to $1,027,355, paid in a lump sum payment; a lump sum severance payment equal to (x) $1,538,000 minus (y) the Repurchase Amount; a severance payment equal to $3,297,000, paid over 36 months; and a payment of $1,000,000, paid over 12 months, beginning on the first anniversary of the date of separation.  Hogan is also entitled to receive continued healthcare coverage for 36 months, continued secretarial services for 6 months, $20,000 in outplacement services, and a housing allowance of $25,000 per month for up to 9 months, which amount is grossed up for certain applicable taxes; provided, that the housing allowance payments will stop if Mr. Hogan ceases to have obligations under the terms of his current lease agreement.  CCB also will pay up to $25,000 for Mr. Hogan’s reasonable legal fees incurred in connection with the negotiation of the Separation Agreement.

hannityseanSean Hannity to Air on Salem’s WDTK, Detroit.  The Motor City destination for Premiere NetworksSean Hannity show is Salem Communications-owned WDTK.  The program will air live in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot.wdtk logo  It previously was heard on crosstown news/talk WJR since its 2001 national debut.  WDTK general manager Chris MacCourtney states, “The opportunity to bring Sean Hannity aboard was one we felt we could not pass up.  Sean was an instant hit when he came to Detroit and he continues to be one of the most popular talk personalities in the market.  He will join an already solid lineup of talk talent on ‘News/Talk 1400.’”  Since the first of the year, Hannity’s program had been added to Salem outlets WIND, Chicago; WWRC, Washington; and KSKY, Dallas.

quigleyalexDouble Shot of WGN, Chicago News.  Two items from Tribune’s WGN, Chicago: First, as Chicago media writer Robert Feder reported over the weekend, assistant program director Alex Quigley has been upped to operations manager at news/talk WGN, Chicago.  Quigley worked in the market at former Emmis alternative rock WKQX as interactive program manager.  When he first came to WGN he hosted the weekend show “ChicagoNow Radio” and “Chicago Preps Plus.”  WGN vice president of creative content Todd Manley said in a memo to staffers, “This is a recognition of Alex’s role in our expanding future…He’ll be mentoring producers and searching for new talent that builds our farm system, coordinating special programming, scheduling, digging deep on ratings analysis, and dreaming big dreams.”  Second,jacobsonwalter longtime television news personality Walter Jacobson brings his “Perspective” commentaries to the station beginning this Thursday.  Robert Feder reports that the longtime WBBM-TV anchor who exited the station last February will present his 90-second feature on Thursdays during Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano’s midday show and they will be repeated on the weekend during “The Sunday Spin: Politics with Rick Pearson” program.  Jacobson will also appear as a contributor to various shows on WGN.  Jacobson tells Feder, “Having been listening to WGN Radio since the day I became a reporter, and believing it’s the best in the business, I’m thrilled to be joining the team.  For me, it’s a perfect fit at a perfect time.  The station’s coming back, and 2014 is going to be an intriguing and exciting year in Chicago’s wild and woolly politics.”

salemcommunicationsSalem Communications Buys Eagle Publishing for $8.5 Million.  It had been reported recently that this deal was on the way and now it’s official as Salem Communications enters into a deal to purchase the assets of Eagle Publishing that includes conservative book publisher Regnery Publishing, and digital properties RedState.com and HumanEvents.com.  In a statement, Salem CEO Edward Atsinger IIIeaglepub logo says, “Eagle is one of the most influential companies in the conservative media space.  Its addition to Salem brings together a unique portfolio of conservative media properties and fits with our strategy of integrating traditional media and new media assets all serving the same target audience.  The opportunity we like most about this acquisition is that each of Eagle’s businesses matches up so well with Salem’s extensive media platform.  With 102 radio stations and a dozen major national websites all targeting the conservative community, this provides a perfect marketing platform to promote Eagle’s products to a wider audience.”  The purchase price is $8.5 million and current Eagle CEO Jeff Carneal will exit the organization as a result of the acquisition.

sternhoward‘A-List’ Talent Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty Added to Howard Stern Birthday Broadcast.  The January 31 birthday bash broadcast for SiriusXM’s Howard Stern just added two more “A-list” talents as Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty will join Steven Tyler, David Letterman and Louis C.K. for the show to be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.  On his program, Stern announced, “We have told you on the music side of things that we have Steven Tyler coming by to do a little number in honor of my birthday, I’m so honored…[today] I am excited [to announce that]…Jon Bon Jovi is going to perform…I am very excited to see Jon and thank him for that.  And also one of my heroes will perform that night—one of the greats, the all-time greats.  A guy whose every record I bought when he was in Creedence Clearwater Revival, and later his solo stuff, John Fogerty will come by to perform two great songs – I won’t say what the songs are, [but] we’re really excited about that…the list just begins there, Robin, it just begins there [there is] a huge amount of musicians coming by to help us out…it’s great.”

dubayjeffSports Talk Host Jeff Dubay Exits KSTP, Minneapolis in Budget Move.  Twin Cities sports talk personality Jeff Dubay, who fought a public battle against drug addiction to return to the airwaves in the market on Hubbard Radio’s KSTP, has left the station in what he says is a budget-related move.  The Star-Tribune reports Dubay – who worked at Clear Channel’s “KFAN” sports talk brand for 10 years before a crack cocaine addiction sidelined him – sent social media messages indicating that he was let go from the late morning show he co-hosted with Judd Zulgad because of financial reasons.  The station posted a message on its Facebook page confirming the matter was financial and not performance related.  The paper reports KSTP waived Dubay’s non-compete and he is free to work in the market if the opportunity arises.

shannonmikecardsShannon Staying With the Redbirds. St. Louis Cardinals fans will continue to hear Mike Shannon as the voice of the National League team that appeared in the 2013 World Series, as the former MLB player signs a two-year contract extension.  This will be Shannon’s 42nd year as a Cardinals broadcaster and 56th year with the team.  According to club president Bill DeWitt, “Mike’s voice has become the soundtrack to St. Louis baseball.  We look forward to having him back in the booth this season and for years to come.”  It is anticipated that Shannon will call all Cardinals’ home games this year for St. Louis flagship KMOX and roughly 30 road games for the CBS Radio-owned talk station.  Fox Sports Midwest‘s Rick Horton and former lefty relief pitcher Al Hrabosky will do the remaining road games.  Shannon will continue his work throughout the year on KMOX pre-game, post-game, and morning drive call-in segments.

mhblasingamebookGreat Read!  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is pictured intensely absorbing the new book authored by independently syndicated talk show host Jim Blasingame titled The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance  (2014 SBN Books).  Blasingame is the longtime host of the very successful program “The Small Business Advocate Show” which is targeted to helping independent entrepreneurs and business owners cope with the day-to-day issues that face people running their own companies during this era of rapidly accelerating change.  This book, Blasingame’s third, is “his best work yet,” according to Harrison and “must-reading for anyone out there on the perilous high seas of today’s turbulent marketplace…especially those who are doing it independently without the backing of the Wall Street/banking/big-time money machine.”  Harrison goes on to say, “This includes those brave and hardy ‘Davids’ owning and operating independent radio stations and small groups, syndication companies and internet communications startups bucking the death grip of today’s mega-corporate ‘Goliaths.’”  The premise of the book is that small business owners are operating at a time that is so momentous it has never happened before.  Blasingame, a veteran of TALKERS magazine’s Heavy Hundred, identifies it as an epochal marketplace shift that’s causing the 10,000 year old Age of the Seller to be replaced by the Age of the Customer.  With an introduction by Steve Forbes, Blasingame’s book reveals how these two ages are existing concurrently in parallel universes, and how much time business-people have left to join the emerging universe.  He says relevance is replacing competitiveness and explains how to recognize when you arrive at the “moment of relevance,” how to connect with “new-influencers” who co-own your brand message; why you must be a good storyteller; the good, the bad and the ugly of social media; and he identifies the “killer app” that wasn’t a part of your past but will dominate your future.  Broadcasters interested in learning more about this book and perhaps scheduling Jim Blasingame as a guest can visit AgeoftheConsumer.com or email jim@jbsba.com.

cpb logoWHYY, Philadelphia-Led Local Journalism Center Awarded CPB Grant.  The recipient organization of a Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant for $1.5 million is the new multimedia local journalism center (LJC), Keystone Crossroads — a collaboration of Pennsylvania public media stations.  The new Keystone Crossroads is led by WHYY, Philadelphia.  Pittsburgh’s WQED and WESA FM, Central Pennsylvania’s WPSU and Harrisburg’s WITF will be partner stations.  The LJC will focus on the challenges the cities are facing, including a shrinking tax base and crumbling infrastructure, and enormous budget deficits.  The Corporation for Public Broadcasting  states, “By combining smart storytelling with energetic civic engagement, Keystone Crossroads will help Pennsylvanians see the challenges of their cities more clearly, understand how they are related, and create a forum for potential solutions at both the local and state levels.”  CPB president Pat Harrison adds, “Local Journalism Centers are really centers of collaboration comprising public media stations working together to report on local stories with significant impact.  This kind of focused collaboration ensures in depth reporting on issues of importance and concern to Pennsylvanians and of interest to all Americans.”  In addition to Keystone Crossroads, CPB  funds six other LJCs across the country, including:  EarthFix based in the Northwest; Fronteras in the Southwest; Harvest in the Midwest; Innovation Trail in upstate New York, the Southern Education Desk in the South, and most recently the Energy LJC in the Rocky Mountains.

Chris Christie Scandal, Hillary Clinton in 2016, New Congressional Spending Deal, ObamaCare Enrollment Status, A-Rod Suspension/Legal Challenge, and Golden Globe Awards Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13).  The ongoing analysis of the Chris Christie lane closure scandal and apology press conference; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s plans to run for president in 2016; the new $1 trillion spending plan approved by Congress; enrollment in healthcare plans via the Affordable Care Act; Alex Rodriguez 162-game suspension and his plans to challenge the arbitration ruling; and the aftermath of Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

TalkersRadio Hits the Ground Running for 2014 with New Hosts, Shows and Programming Directions

| January 10, 2014

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS
VP/Executive Editor

caseywriter (2)TalkersRadio logo 300SPRINGFIELD, MA – TalkersRadio, the “experimental” talk radio station launched last fall by TALKERS magazine to provide the industry with a “work out space” and “showcase for new talk programming concepts” has, according to its general manager David Bernstein, “hit the ground running” in 2014 with the announcement of several new hosts and shows scheduled to join its programming roster this month.

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Millennials, Music and Radio

| December 17, 2013

By Jerry Del Colliano
Inside Music Media
Publisher

EXCLUSIVE TO RADIOINFO AND TALKERS

delcollianoSCOTTSDALE — There are over 80 million “Millennials” coming of age the oldest of whom are already 30-years-old – 12 years older than the youngest 18-49 money demo cherished by advertisers.

Millennials have their own technology just as baby boomers had records, radio and TV.

Except technology has very little to do with the impact that “Generation Y” is making on media and just about everything else.

Sure there is Facebook that they went to college with, and Napster that helped disrupt the record business, iPads, apps, smartphones, Instagram and their latest devilish work – to unbundle cable and make Netflix the new standard for the on-demand content they, well – demand.

Radio consolidated about the time the first Millennials were in grade school and the industry just assumed that young listeners would always be there to like radio.

The music industry that consisted of old white men who were lawyers thought Napster needed to be sued out of existence – and they succeeded.

But the damage was already done.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

| November 22, 2013

kennedyjohnfNews/Talk Radio Remembers JFK.  As the nation commemorates the fateful, painful events of November 22 1963, the media at large - newspapers, television and, of course, radio — are focused across the board on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  Obviously, the subject is dominating conversation on news/talk radio today in the form of historical documentaries, as well as live talk shows in which every aspect of the almost mythical story is rehashed, retold, analyzed and memorialized.  Many shows are spending time giving listeners the opportunity to recall “where they were and what they were doing” when the horrible news was announced.  As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison points out, “This milestone serves as a powerful generational marker in our industry’s obsession with demographics that basically breaks audiences down to two significantly different categories — those who remember JFK and the events of November 22, 1963… and those who don’t.”

leykistomCompass Media Marketing Will Represent Tom Leykis.  As of the first of next year (January 2014), Compass Media Marketing will be the advertising sales agent for “The Tom Leykis Show.”  CMM will do similar duties for the talk show host’s NewNormalNetwork.com and BlowMeUpTom.com.  “We are appreciative to the tens of thousands of listeners who are tuning in daily to our show,” Leykis remarks.  “The time is right to start aggressively marketing the show to sponsorscompasslogo and we are thrilled to work with the Compass team.”  Compass Media Marketing president of advertising sales Paul Gregrey comments that Leykis is a “creative genius” with a “highly engaged and loyal audience.  There is limitless upside for growth, both in terms of listenership and sponsors.”  Introduced last year, the latest version of Leykis’ talk show is a streaming internet-centric call-in program, which is broadcast daily at 3:00 pm (PT) from Burbank.  This past Tuesday (11/19), we mentioned that Leykis put himself up for auction on eBay.  The stunt raked in $7,800 for his company and Leykis tells TALKERS, “This promotion worked perfectly for us because it engaged our audience, it brought press attention to our growing brand, and it brought us substantial revenue.  For The New Normal, it was nothing short of a homerun. [Furthermore, it] makes it hard to accept the whining of radio stations who say that they ‘can’t monetize’ digital.”

trn logoReports of Renewed TRN Activity Circulating.  There’s buzz in the industry that Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters is working to bring some of his talent back on the radio hosting live programs.  TALKERS sources indicate Masters and talk personality Jerry Doyle have come to terms that have allowed Doyle to return to his program immediately.  Doyle and other Talk Radio Network personalities have not been hosting regular livedoylejerry shows for most of the past month or so in the wake of a financial disruption at the company that involved staff layoffs at the Grants Pass, Oregon home offices and numerous legal actions between Masters and current and former employees.  Other rumors circulating purported that talk host Rusty Humphries is also soon to be returning to the program schedule at TRN but TALKERS sources report Humphries and Masters have not come to terms that would bring Humphries back to TRN.  TALKERS has reached out to Masters for comment but as of this posting there has been no response.  Stay tuned.

riverageraldoGeraldo to Remain with Cumulus Media.  Any rumors circulating the internet that Geraldo Rivera’s days with Cumulus Media are numbered are untrue says company COO John Dickey.  Geraldo – who is based at the company’s WABC, New York and is also heard on its Los Angeles news/talker KABC as well as 45 other news/talk outlets – airs live from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.  Dickey tells TALKERS, “Geraldo is going to be working even more closely with us next year – still anchoring 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on WABC – as well as spearheading our Putting America Back to Work (PABTW) initiative.”  Geraldo began his program on WABC, New York in January 2012.

pattiznormNorm Pattiz Discusses Podcasting and the State of the Radio Industry on TalkersTV. An exclusive video of Courtside Entertainment, LLC/Podcast One CEO Norm Pattiz‘s presentation at the recent Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference has been posted today (11/22) on TalkersTV (top panel of boxes on right hand side of this page).  In what was billed as a “keynote conversation,” with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, the noted industry pioneer, who founded the original Westwood One and created a veritable media empire from scratch, discusses the impact and meaning of podcasting as an extension of the radio industry as well as other important issues of the broadcasting business.  During the presentation he asks the provocative question, “When was the last time you can think of a national star that was created on network radio?  Been a while, hasn’t it!”  He goes on to state, “There’s a demographic national star created in podcasting every week.  That’s because in the podcasting world, the only people you have to satisfy are your audiences and consumers.”  To view the entire video presentation, see TalkersTV on the upper right side of every page on Talkers.com.

rabRAB: Third Quarter Radio Spot Revenue Up 1%.  The Radio Advertising Bureau reports its 2013 Q3 figures and states after two flat quarters, radio spot advertising rose 1% on sales of $3.684 million.  The report also notes thatfarbererica network revenue was down 11% while digital rose 19% and off-air was up 3%.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “The momentum we saw building at the end of Q2 has definitely translated into a positive Q3 for radio in many of our top 10 advertiser categories, led by communications/cellular with a healthy 24% increase.  Among key categories, automotive, professional services, health care, home furnishings, all showed substantial increases, as well.  Increases from these diverse ad categories illustrate radio’s cross-platform strength to drive traffic and sales – for large corporations to Main Street businesses.”

toddchuckChuck Todd Readies to Add Radio Duties.  “Unscripted with Chuck Todd” is the name of the one-hour (9:00 am to 10:00 am) Saturday show the veteran journalist will launch in two weeks (12/7) on SiriusXM‘s “P.O.T.U.S.” channel.  “In this day and age, people tend to think they have more access to newsmakers and politicians, when in many ways, they actually have less,” Todd comments.  “We will aim to help listeners get to know powerful people in a different way – as human beings, not as sound-bite machines.  I look forward to talking to many famous amateur political junkies out there who just happen to have day jobs in the worlds of sports, Hollywood, Wall Street and everywhere in between.”  According to SiriusXM vice president/general manager of talk programming Dave Gorab, “Chuck will go outside his normal field of reporting and delve into the personal passions and interests of not just politicians but leaders from virtually every field of interest. This show is new territory for Chuck, but will be built on his journalistic savvy and experience.”  Todd hosts MSNBC‘s “Daily Rundown” and is NBC News’ chief White House correspondent.

kravitzpinkyAtlantic City Talk Host Pinky Kravitz Celebrates 55 Years on WOND.  Atlantic City talk radio legend Seymour “Pinky” Kravitz is celebrating his 55th anniversary on WOND this afternoon with a special broadcast from the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.  The station notes that Kravitz has broadcast more than 169,000 hours of air time (that’s over 701 consecutive days!) from more than 20 remote broadcasting locations and more than a handful of time changes.  It boasts that 1400 AM is where South Jersey still turns for “informative and provocative conversation.  Pinky Kravitz has become one of thewond logo region’s most recognized, trusted and beloved media personalities through what has become the longest running radio program (on one station by one personality) in the country.”  Longport Media president Dave Coskey states, “It’s amazing that in an industry where longevity is often measured in months or years that we measure Pinky’s career on WOND in decades.  Pinky’s career spans not only decades but generations – generations of listeners all who have spent time in Pinky’s Corner.  And his brand is even stronger today than it was in 1958.”  Kravitz adds, “I’ve been blessed to not only have the support of my family, a radio station and city for all of these years but also the love and support of an entire region.”  In addition to his daily radio show on WOND, Kravitz also hosts a weekly television program on WMGM-TV and writes a weekly column for the Press of Atlantic City.

sagaSaga Communications to Pay Special Cash Dividend.  Saga Communications, Inc. announces its Board of Directors is declaring a special cash dividend of $1.80 per share on its Classes A and B Common Stock to be paid on December 12, 2013 to shareholders of record on December 2, 2013.  The aggregate amount of the payment to be made in connection with the special dividend will be approximately $10.3 million.  This special cash dividend will be funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet.

finebaumpaulPaul Finebaum Show to Air on SiriusXM’s ESPN Channel.  The formerly Birmingham-based sports talker – now calling Charlotte home and produced and syndicated nationally via ESPN Radio – joins the ESPN Xtra channel on SiriusXM effective Monday, November 25.  Paul Finebaum joined ESPN in August after years of success on Cumulus Media’s WJOX-FM, Birmingham.  Finebaum’s show airs live from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.

hdradio logoHonda Displays HD Radio Civic Pride.  The Los Angeles Auto Show is not typically where you would expect to find something noteworthy about the radio business.  That, however, is where HD Radio developer iBiquity Digital this week announced that the 2014 Civic is the first Honda vehicle to launch integrated audio and real-time traffic information using the HERE mapping service, BTC, and HD Radio technology.  iBiquity Digital chief operating officer Jeff Jury comments, “Honda is showing real leadership in bringing the benefits of digital HD Radio data to their vehicles.  This is another great example of a leading automaker integrating digital terrestrial technology as part of a connected vehicle strategy.”  Honda Civic navigation systems incorporate HD Radio audio and data features, including a way for listeners to view album art and other images on their radio screens.  There is subscription-free, real-time traffic information, showing flow patterns, construction alerts, and traffic incidents to drivers.  In addition to Honda, other automakers integrating digital traffic and data services include Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Toyota.  More than 30 automakers have announced plans to incorporate HD Radio in over 170 models by the end of this year.  Nearly seven-dozen models will feature HD Radio receivers as standard equipment.  The 2014 Honda Civic arrives at dealerships next month.

bfoa logoRon Ruth Memorial Fund Announced.  The Radio Advertising Bureau and the Broadcasters Foundation of America are announcing the creation of the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund in celebration of the life and work of Ruth and to benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America.  The BfoA’s mission is toruthron help improve the quality of life of men and women in the radio and television broadcast profession who find themselves in acute need.  Donations may be sent directly to the Broadcasters Foundation at 125 West 55th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10019 and please make note that the donation is for the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund.  Tentative plans by the RAB are underway to hold a celebration of life with Ron’s many friends sometime in the first quarter of next year and will be made public as soon as they are finalized.  RAB CEO and president Erica Farber states, “Ron was an ardent supporter of the Broadcasters Foundation.  We at the RAB couldn’t think of a more fitting way to honor and commemorate his life and work.”

ramseyNYCDave Ramsey Takes New York.  The actual event took place right across the Hudson River at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark but Dave Ramsey’s New York affiliate – Clear Channel’s WOR – was a partner in promoting the event.  Ramsey presented his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” last night (11/21) before a packed house speaking about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.  His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage.  WOR general sales manager Ron Russo says to the Ramsey team, “Thank you for creating an engaging event in an intimate setting where we have the opportunity to connect our listeners with our clients in a truly interactive environment.”  WOR sales manager Chris Borelli adds, “The event is not only impeccably prepared and executed, but entertaining and enjoyable.  We look forward to many more events like this as long term partners.”

ObamaCare Criticism Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 18-22.  The scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was President Obama’s sinking approval ratings.  Following at #3 was the talks with Iran about its nuclear policy and debate over economic sanctions on the nation followed by the GOP’s 2014 and 2016 strategy at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

| October 2, 2013

TalkersLA2013Eyes (and Ears!) on News/Talk Radio as Recent Ratings Trends Spur Criticism.  As the September PPM data continues to roll out, industry watchers and mainstream media writers and analysts are scrutinizing talk radio’s numbers – as well as its programming.  Citing a perceived slow-but-steady decline in ratings for the news/talk format in general, critics are wondering if the political “right-versus-left” programming philosophy has become tiresome to all but the staunchest news/talk radio fans and is resulting in the generally lower numbers in Nielsen Audio’s PPM and diary ratings.  Some high-profile cases have been cited, including KFI, Los Angeles’ kfilogodecline in 6+ PPM ratings over the past year from being one of the country’s best-performing news/talk stations in one of America’s most vibrant markets.  Just today (10/2), Chicago media writer Robert Feder writes about the state of Cumulus Media’s WLS, Chicago and its declining place in the wls-am logoratings race.  The reasons for the states of these stations are open to analysis – including, but not limited to, the possibility that Nielsen Audio’s PPM methodology is less than perfect – and could easily vary from market to market.  When talking ratings, what are usually not included in the recent criticism of news/talk as a format are: the #1 showing for Cox Media’s WSB-AM, Atlanta (which carries the oft-maligned Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity); wsb logoCumulus’ WMAL, Washington’s rise in the September PPM; CBS Radio’s high-flying KMOX, St. Louis; Bonneville’s steady-performing KIRO-FM, Seattle; Cox’s WOKV, Jacksonville; and the two Milwaukee news/talk outlets that have kmoxconsistently performed as two of the top six stations over the last year – Clear Channel’s WISN and Journal’s WTMJ.  Constant awareness and analysis of the sound and perception of one’s stations are the hallmarks of good operators and effective programmers should care about how the format is perceived.  But discovering what’s “wrong” with a format or a station is not easy and not always possible given the limited information available.  In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “The first people out there ready to proclaim news/talk radio as being dead are usually people who see the world primarily through a political lens who disagree with the ideology of the hosts they dislike.  Political news/talk radio is cyclical and will always come back from the brink when there’s inevitably a new chapter in contemporary issues.  Regardless, the good thing that hopefully will come out of this ratings down-tick will be some of the major operators giving consideration to different forms of talk and even news/talk that are just being ignored.  There are so many potential ways of doing ‘talk radio’ it is crazy for so many stations to bunch up around one predominant style.  Everyone should spread out and claim and develop new territory on the spectrum of possibilities.”  This topic will be one of those addressed at the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference taking place next Thursday, October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.

nielsen logoNielsen Begins Synergies; Sean Creamer and Debra Delman to Exit Ratings Giant.  Nielsen responded quickly to TALKERS last week after we reported that the “$20 million in creamerseansynergies” the company hopes to realize with the acquisition of the former Arbitron would cost jobs.  The company stated it had “no plans to reduce headcount at this time.”  Perhaps that applies to the rank and file and not the executive strata because it’s now being reported that former Arbitron CEO Sean Creamer and CFO Debra Delman will leave Nielsen at the end of the year.  Though Nielsen has not released a statement about the changes, it’s expected that other executives may also be headed for the door.  Both Creamer, Delman and most of the other high-level execs who might follow the two have clauses in their contracts that will give them very nice golden parachutes.  Creamer could realize almost $7 million in total compensation and Delman’s take is just shy of $2 million.

espndeportesESPN Deportes Radio Extends NFL Deal.  Sports giant ESPN reports that its ESPN Deportes Radio unit has reached a new multi-year agreement for media rights to the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 National Football League seasons.   Under the agreement, the network will have exclusive Spanish-language rights to Monday Night Football, the 2013-2014 National Football Conference Playoffs, the 2014 Super Bowl, 2015 Pro Bowl and the 2014-2015 American Football Conference Playoffs.  ESPN Deportes Radio general manager Oscar Ramos says, “We’re incredibly excited to add NFL to our diverse roster of programming.  U.S. Hispanics are becoming avid NFL fans and this new deal allows us to deliver the content they want in the language they prefer.”

warrenrobinsonMEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Diane Warren and Jean Robinson - MMTC Media Brokers (run by Bounceology).  In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media brokers Diane Warren and Jean Robinson of MMTC Media Brokers (run by Bounceology) located in San Antonio, Texas.  MMTC Media Brokers specializes in locating properties and selling them to potential minority, multicultural and women buyers. In addition to telling their fascinating story, they share several outstanding opportunities that they have among their listings that would be of interest to first-time buyers. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.

siriusxmcramerCNBC’s Jim Cramer Featured on SiriusXM ‘Town Hall.’  CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer (left) recently took part in SiriusXM’s “Town Hall” series for a Q&A with SiriusXM personality Pete Dominick (right).  The program will be aired on Friday, October 4 on its Indie channel.  The conversation – which took place before an audience of SiriusXM listeners – covered financial markets, fiscal trends, the economic state of the nation, and the story of Cramer’s personal road from hedge fund manager to popular CNBC host.  Dominick is a stand-up comedian who has opened up for Cramer on his “Mad Money Back to School Tour.”

millercheckTwo Weeks in a Kennel Reaps Rewards for KIDO’s Kevin Miller.  KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (right) is pictured here with ASPCA senior director Tami McReynolds (left) and Canyon County Animal Shelter director Barb Hutchinson (center) showing off the check for $35,000 the CCAS received after Miller helped get more than 300 animals adopted.  To achieve that and win the $35,000 prize, Miller spent two weeks living in a makeshift kennel from which he broadcast his morning program.  The contest is national in scope and – with Miller’s help – the CCAS is the only shelter to win the prize twice.

Government Shutdown, ObamaCare Enrollment Begins, Scrapped Hillary Clinton Programs, U.S.-Iran Relations, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/1).  The battle between the GOP and the Obama Administration and the government shutdown; the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act begins; two television projects on the life of Hillary Clinton are scrapped; possible diplomatic relations between Iran and the U.S. and the former’s nuclear program; and the effects of the government shutdown on the U.S. financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

| September 25, 2013

nielsenarbitronNielsen Says No Plans to Reduce Headcount.  In covering the Nielsen conference call with investors that took place on Monday, TALKERS took note of Nielsen CEO David Calhoun’s statement about realizing $20 million in synergies and, due to the fact that broadcasting companies often use that term to define the cost savings from elimination of duplicative positions and consolidation of duties after a merger or acquisition, interpreted his comment to mean the acquisition of Arbitron would mean exactly that for some of the Arbitron staff.  However, Nielsen tells TALKERS, “In fact, there are no plans to reduce headcount at this time, and as a growing business, we have many opportunities to redeploy talent.  Mr. Calhoun’s comment on a ‘logical and steady pace’ was related more to the pace of global expansion.”

wmyt logoTalk Media TV’s WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina Holds ‘Ribbon Cutting’ Tomorrow.  News/talk outlet WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina announces the “official ribbon-cutting ceremony” at its Wilmington broadcast studios — sponsored by the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce – taking placewrightcurtis show logo Thursday, September 26 at 10:30 am.  The station is owned by Talk Media TV principals Curtis Wright and George Bell who put the station on the air on July 22.  The two say they built the station to appeal to conservative talk radio listeners whom they believe had lost a voice in Southeastern North Carolina.  They add, “WMYT 106.7 FM has returned America’s top syndicated conservative talk, subject talk and spoken-word shows to FM and the region.  Since the launch of WMYT 106.7 FM, five new locally produced shows have been added to its lineup, while expanding its audio streaming on the web.”  Wright hosts his “On the Beat” morning drive show from 6:00 am to 9:00 am.  The station also features Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck and Sean Hannity plus Courtside Entertainment’s Laura Ingraham.  George Bell is the former Brunswick County GOP chair and a life-long business professional in the region.  Talk Media TV’s business plan includes acquiring additional radio stations, expanding its internet broadcasting capabilities, and adding cable broadcasting over the next several months.

pittmanbobBob Pittman Stands Up for Radio at Goldman Sachs Ad Week Conference. Clear Channel chairman and CEO Bob Pittman is working the “Advertising Week” events in New York this week and today (9/25) he laid down the case for what he sees as radio’s rightful place in an advertising mix at the “Goldman Sachs Communacopia” investor conference.  The Hollywood Reporter’s Georg Szalai is covering the event and reports Pittman is saying (about radio), “’The sector is way under-represented’ while TV is over-represented in marketers’ media mix…‘TV is wonderful, is very effective, but doesn’t deserve quite as much money as it has.’”  Pittman argues that TV gets three times the rate that radio does but “all the studies show the impact is about the same.”  He then explains how advertisers could benefit by moving 15% of their ad spend into radio.  Clearly, when Pittman says, “There is a huge opportunity in radio…We need to monetize it better, sell it better,” he is trying to get the message through at the agency level, where an industry-wide sea change must take place.

mhNAB2013Michael Harrison’s NAB/RAB Radio Show Address Now Posted on TALKERS TV.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison’s annual address at the NAB/RAB Radio Show drew a standing-room-only crowd and rave reviews from those in attendance.  The speech which runs 56:33 includes an information-packed “countdown” of the 10 most important things AM/FM radio must do to remain culturally relevant and thrive in the digital age of the 21st century.  In this ambitious and far-ranging overview of the state of broadcast radio, the man dubbed by the mainstream press as “The Wise Old Owl of the Radio Industry” connected the dots between Edward R. Murrow broadcasting live on rooftops from World War II bombing raids over London — to Murray the K anointing himself the “Fifth Beatle” — to today’s transitional period between the “old country” of the 20th century to the “new world” of the digital age – to the potential emergence of 21st century “Homo Technicus” listening to internet broadcasts piped directly into the temporal lobes of the brain via nanotechnology.  Harrison fearlessly speaks his mind about today’s debt-soaked radio mega-corporations that have emerged as a result of consolidation – to the dangers of mindless, product-less “branding” that plays to the shortcut mentality crippling today’s creative process in broadcasting. The speech received an ovation and was later described on the air by WSOY, Decatur morning host and Marconi Award winner Brian Byers as “sensational.”  Byers told his listeners it was “smokin’” and a “barn burner” saying, “He fired me up.  I looked around and the rest of the room was electric.  You could feel it in the air.  I can’t tell you how good it was!” To see Michael Harrison’s speech please check out the TALKERS TV box at the top of the right-hand column of this page.

sabowalterWALTER SABO: The Return of the Neat Idea.  Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo celebrates what he says it’s going to take to get radio back in a forward-moving position: the return to creatively operating the business.  In this new column, Sabo writes, “The current economic depression celebrates ‘operators’ — executives with shrewd ‘operating’ skills who are known for their ability to cut costs, cut staffs, sell their story to Wall Street and keep their company within its COMFORT ZONE.  They do not have, nor are they required to have, vision.  Knowing what’s next is the key to growth in any industry.  No vision, no growth.”  Sabo offers five steps to establishing an environment for the birth and implementation of neat ideas with pragmatic results.   Read this important column here.

cookehollandRadio Sales Lead: ObamaCare.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke says forget what people on the radio are saying about ObamaCare, start thinking about how your marketing department can get some of the advertising that’s coming from it.  He recommends a video webinar available from the RAB.  In it, Cooke says veteran broadcaster Dave Burke shares some of his research into the impact of the law on the stakeholders.  Cooke writes, “AP estimates that $684 million will be spent on the initial activation period; and Burke reckons that 2014-2015 and beyond will be even bigger than 2013-2014: ‘I believe that this category, all-in, could be the biggest category on your stations.’”  Read Holland Cooke’s column here.

kassof coContinuing Concern for Radio to Placate Men 18 – 34.  Something new can now be added to the growing list for those who grumble, “They don’t make them like that anymore.” Unfortunately, that item is radio.  A Mark Kassof & Company-conducted research project indicates that more than half (53%) of U.S. radio listeners aged 18 – 64 agree that, “Radio is not as good as it used to be.”  Approximately four in 10 (41%) disagree, while 6% are not sure.  “The perception that radio is not as good as it used to be seems pervasive in the industry,” Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Kassof comments. “This research reveals that a majority of listeners agree.”  The most criticism regarding radio’s overall quality can be found among those 18 – 34, with more than six in 10 (61%) concurring that what they are hearing these days through their radio speakers has slipped; 31% however disagree and the remaining 8% are neutral.  Men tend to be more pessimistic about the current state of the medium than women are.  Consistent with the above-stated trend – and highly noteworthy – Men 18-34 are the most negative, as two of every three in that demo (67%) are of the opinion that radio has seen better days.  Results of this Kassof study are based on slightly less than 1,000 online interviews conducted among U.S. radio listeners earlier this month (9/12 – 9/15).  Reacting to the findings of the Kassof study, TALKERS magazine sister trade, RadioInfo’s  music editor/director Duane Doobie states, “It reminds me of the famous line in Bob Dylan’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ that so powerfully says ‘you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.’”

wbenNo More FM Signal for News/Talk WBEN, Buffalo.  Entercom is dropping the simulcast on news/talk WBEN, Buffalo and will install a different format on WLKK 107.7 licensed to Wethersfield Township (some 30 miles southeast of downtown Buffalo) beginning Thursday, September 26 at 12:00 noon.  WBEN program director Tim Wenger tells Buffalo Business First that research tells the company 95% of the listening to WBEN is done on the huge 930 AM signal.

schnitttoddOdds & Sods.  Compass Media Networks syndicated and WFLA, Tampa-based talk host Todd Schnitt was in court on Monday suing his former attorney Phillip Campbell for legal malpractice.   Campbell was arrested for DUI while representing Schnitt in his defamation suit against Bubba the Love Sponge but the DUI case was dismissed in July after prosecutors agreed Campbell was set up.  Schnitt maintains it damaged his case.  Schnitt paid Campbell $1 million and owes another $1 million but he’s suing to get the first $1 million back, according to myfoxtampabay.com…..The Fourth Period continues its relationship with SiriusXM and the media site that calls itself “hockey’s only lifestyle destination” adds a program dubbed “The Players’ Lounge” to the SiriusXM NHL Network Radio channel airing Friday’s from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET.  This is an addition to “TFP Live” which returns to the channel airing from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET hosted by TFP editor-in-chief David Pagnotta and VP Dennis Bernstein.

Government Shutdown Threat, ObamaCare Defunding/Implementation, U.S.-Iran Talks, and Kenya Mall Massacre Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/24).  The looming threat of a government shutdown; the fight to defund the Affordable Care Act and the consequences of its implementation; relations between the U.S. and Iran; plus the ongoing stalemate after a massacre by militant Muslims at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, September 16, 2013

| September 16, 2013

merrillchrisKOGO, San Diego Debuts New Lineup; Chip Franklin Exits AM Drive.  After a six-year run at KOGO, San Diego, Chip Franklin exits the station as the programming lineup is tweaked at the Clear Channel news/talker.  Moving into AM drive is former afternoon personality Chris Merrill.  He’s followed by Rush Limbaugh.  At 12:00 noon, LaDona Harvey – who had been partnered with Franklin in AM drive – is on air solo from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Bob “Sully”franklinchip Sullivan moves from the early afternoon slot into PM drive.  Franklin came to San Diego after a long and successful run at Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore.  He tells the San Diego Union Times he has no hard feelings about the change. “I had a great run at KOGO, and they have and continue to treat me in a highly professional manner.  Believe it or not, I have been very lucky.  I still have a lot of great friends there and I sincerely wish them the very best.  The new morning guy, Chris Merrill, is a friend and a tremendous talent.  Don’t underestimate him.”

wnymlogoSalem Communications to Move New York Stations into Current WOR Facilities.  Salem Communications announces it will move its two New York properties – news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian talk WMCA – from their current New Jersey location to Lower Manhattan into what is now the studios of Clear Channel’s news/talk WOR in the Trinity Building next to Trinity Church at 111 wor710Broadway where WOR has been located since 2006.  Since Clear Channel bought WOR from Buckley Broadcasting more than a year ago, plans have been made for WOR to move into CC’s larger New York studios.  Salem VP director of spoken word format and regional VP for New York Phil Boyce says, “Salem has a major commitment to winning in New York and this move will help us take both stations to the next level.  We know for years great radio came out of this building when it housed WOR and now we have the opportunity to continue that tradition with both WMCA and ‘AM 970 The Answer.’  As an added plus, WMCA, known as ‘New York’s Christian Talk,’ will be re-locating next door to historic Trinity Church, founded in 1697,  as the oldest church in New York City.  There is some divine providence going on here,  as WMCA,  which is licensed to the city of New York now moves next door to the oldest church.”  The move is expected to be completed before the end of this year.

pendlchrisCHRIS PENDL: Help Your Best Clients Thrive in Local Searches.  Bonneville Seattle creative director Chris Pendl writes that some of radio’s best advertisers can be the most difficult to find when it comes to mobile-based local searches.  What’s more, there can be a huge difference between how one of your clients rates on a desktop search and where they rate – if at all – on a mobile search.  Pendl notes, “With smartphone ownership now 56% among American adults, searching on smartphones is increasingly becoming a part of the consumer’s journey before making a purchase.  A recent local search study revealed, there’s an 87% increase in local searches via mobile apps.  It is in this mobile space where some of radio’s best advertisers, local and regional businesses, have poor visibility and are often non-existent.”  Pendl offers simple solutions to help your valuable advertisers appear where they should in mobile searches.  Read his column here.

komovoiceofevilKOMO-AM/FM, Seattle Scores Exclusive Interview with ‘Green River Killer.’  This morning, Sinclair Radio’s KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle begins broadcasting an exclusive interview series with serial killer Gary Ridgway, conducted by the station’s Charlie Harger.  Titled, “Voice of Evil,” it begins with a special preview at 7:15 am (PT) on ‘KOMO Newsradio.’  Reports will be broadcast at 7:15 am, 12:15 pm and 5:15 pm all this week and mark the culmination of a near year-long investigation.  The station says “Harger spoke exclusively with Ridgway on six separate occasions in what are the killer’s only media interviews since his incarceration in 2001.  Ridgway was convicted on 49 counts of murder but reveals to KOMO that he committed many more.  In his conversation with Harger, Ridgway shares frightening details of his crimes, tells detectives where to look for additional remains and even explains why he did it.  Is he sorry?  KOMO posed that question to the man serving a life sentence at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla and his answer stunned the veteran reporter.”  Harger adds, “I think it’s important that people understand just why we’re giving voice to a guy like this.  People deserve answers and the families deserve some kind of closure.”  KOMO-AM/FM program director Paul Duckworth adds, “It’s also about justice.  There are a number of unsolved cases and we’re hopeful that our investigation will prompt the task force to reopen its investigation.”

knx logoKNX, Los Angeles to Present Health Care Town Hall.  CBS Radio all-news KNX, Los Angeles “1070 NEWSRADIO” is presenting an “unprecedented town hall event and day-long series of special reports, titled ‘KNX 1070 Healthcare Uncovered,’ on Thursday, October 3 giving Californians a broad range of information about choosing health insurance under the newly enacted Affordable Care Act.”  The station reports that more than a dozen guest speakers representing various entities involved with healthcare reform, from federal, state and local officials to health professionals and consumer advocates, will appear at the town hall forum at The Autry in Los Angeles from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm.  Guests will include Peter Lee, the executive director of Covered California, the state’s overseer and marketplace for health insurance coverage beginning in January 2014.  Also scheduled to appear are Herb K. Schultz, regional director for the Department of Health and Human Services; Carmen Balber, executive director of Consumer Watchdog; Victor Parker, district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration, Janice Rocco, California’s deputy insurance commissioner; Rocky Delgadillo, CEO of the L.A. County Medical Association, and many others including doctors and consumers of different demographics.  The event will be hosted and moderated by KNX news anchors Diane Thompson, Bob McCormick and Frank Mottek and investigative reporter Charles Feldman who is co-producing the event with Laraine Herman.  Feldman states, “This is the biggest change to our healthcare system since Medicare was rolled out in 1966 and a lot of people are confused.  Because this law is so new, we’re bringing together panelists with knowledge covering a wealth of issues so that whether you’re self-employed, a business owner, the head of household or just entering the workforce, we’ll provide answers to questions you’ve never had to think about before.”

nprHaaga Gets Nod As NPR’s Acting President/CEO.  Two-year NPR board member Paul Haaga, Jr. is named acting president/chief executive officer.  The appointment takes effect at the end of this month for Haaga, who most recently was vice chair of the board and finance committee chair.  He will succeed Gary Knell, who leaves for similar duties at thehaagapaul National Geographic Society.  “Paul has made many valuable contributions to NPR during his tenure on the board,” comments NPR board chair Kit Jensen.  “His intimate knowledge of our organization, his unwavering commitment to the highest quality of journalism and programming, and his financial acumen make him particularly well-suited to lead NPR as we begin our search for a permanent chief executive.”  The retired chair of the board of Capital Research and Management Company, Haaga is the former chair of the Investment Company Institute, and he was a senior attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission.  “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead one of the world’s leading providers of news, music, and cultural programming on an interim basis,” he remarks.  “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the board and senior leadership team to help this great organization build on its success.”  The former National Public Radio renamed itself NPR in July 2010.

wrso logoStar Over Orlando Retakes Control of WRSO, Orlovista, Florida; Doubles Transmitting Power.  Star Over Orlando operators Carl Como Tutera and his son Carmine announce they have taken back WRSO, Orlovista which operates as a sports talk outlet carrying CBS Sports Radio Network programming.  The Tuteras also announce that they have received FCC approval to increase the daytime power to 20 kw and the night-time power to 1 kw — double the power of its original license.  Earlier in the week, the FCC placed the Carl Como Tutera FM Translator application for Channel 226 in Orlando on a ‘singleton’ list for the operation of an FM on 93.1 with 250 Watts of Power.  The pair built the AM station in 2005 and it began operations in early 2006.  WRSO operates from a studio location in Altamonte Springs and at a tower site in Orlando.  They say CBS Sports will continue to be an affiliate and be heard on both the AM and FM.

sharelljerryJerry Sharell Stable After Being Held Hostage, Stabbed. The Los Angeles radio and music communities remain stunned this morning following news that broke last night involving former five-year (1987 – 1992) Westwood One senior vice president of talent marketing Jerry Sharell, who was reportedly held hostage and attacked in Woodland Hills (San Fernando Valley – Los Angeles).  Sharell was with his girlfriend when her ex-husband was said to have arrived with flowers and a machete at approximately 8:00 am yesterday (Sunday, 9/15).  He apparently held the couple hostage for more than three hours.  “Sometime during that time, [Sharell] had been stabbed repeatedly,” Los Angeles Police Department sergeant Jeff Nuttal told KABC-TV, Los Angeles.  The woman was injured when she tried to halt the attack, but was able to escape and called authorities.  Police say that owing to a history of domestic violence, she had a restraining order against her ex-husband.  Sharell, who hosts “Sundays with Sinatra” on Los Angeles public outlet KKJZ “KJazz” – is in critical, but stable condition at Northridge Medical Center with injuries to his head and neck.  The unidentified attacker turned the weapon on himself; his condition is listed as critical as well but both he and Sharell are expected to survive.  The alleged attacker is in police custody at the hospital.  Sharell was co-executive producer of Ronnie Milsap‘s 2004 Grammy-nominated “Just for a Thrill” album.  He began his career as a Mercury Records promotion rep, before joining Main Line Distributors in 1962.  Sharell held executive positions at Buddah Records and A&M Records.  He has helped the careers of artists such as Herb Alpert, Jackson Browne, Carpenters, Cars, Joe Cocker, Eagles, Curtis Mayfield, Joni Mitchell, Queen, Linda Ronstadt, and Carly Simon.  He is past president of City of Hope, Entertainment Division, and is on the advisory board of MusiCares.  From 2002 – 2010, he was president/CEO for the non-profit Society of Singers.  Sharell’s wife of 48 years, Joanne, recently died after losing her fight against cancer.

boomercarton‘Boomer & Carton’ Off MSG Network as Contract Expires.  Last week TALKERS reported that the Yankees-owned YES Network is in talks with WFAN, New York’s Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton to do a cable TV simulcast of their AM drive show on the CBS Radio sports talk station.  Up until last week, the duo had been seen on the Madison Square Garden Network (MSG), but that deal elapsed on Friday and for now, Boomer & Carton are only available on the radio.

weei logoOdds & Sods.  Entercom’s WEEI, Boston adds ESPN “Monday Night Football” play-by-play voice Mike Tirico to its stable of football experts.  Tirico will call in to the Salk & Holley show every Thursday afternoon at 4:30 throughout the season…..Plain Talk Radio Network’s internet radio show “Talk Live with Peter Gantenbein” – a “weekly news and commentary program that engages in straight talk not for the faint of heart,” has been recognized as must-hear radio with an “Editor’s Pick” recognition from Windows Media Guide…..Good Karma flips WEFL, Tequesta, Florida to Spanish–language sports talk using ESPN Deportes.  The company had been simulcasting English-language sports on WEFL and WUUB-FM, Jupiter and the latter remains English-language sports talk…..CRN Digital Talk Radio‘s popular wine dinners return to Los Angeles on Tuesday, September 17.  Tobin James of Tobin James Winery in Paso Robles pairs a variety of wines with a prixabcdwtsradio fixe menu at Colombo’s Italian Steak and Jazz Club at 1833 Colorado Blvd. in Eagle Rock.  CRN CEO and president Michael Horn says, “People still talk about our Tobin James wine dinner from a few years ago.  Toby brings a world-class selection of wines people enjoy.  He’s also a fun, down-to-earth person that everyone relates to.  Colombo’s provides a great atmosphere and delicious food that will make the night all that more special.”…..Today ABC Radio re-launches its popular “Dancing with the Stars” station on Slacker, providing fans with behind-the-scenes access to the ABC hit reality TV show. Now in its third season, “Dancing with the Stars” Radio will deliver an on-demand audio experience and unlimited access to key moments throughout the competition.  Each week “Dancing with the Stars” Radio will follow the Season 17 cast as they battle it out on the dance floor for the coveted Mirror Ball trophy.  Season 17 of “Dancing with the Stars” premieres on tonight on the ABC Television Network.

newhouse logoNewhouse School Presents Audio Industry Summit.  The half-day event will take place in New York City on Friday, September 27 and will feature two panels of experts from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon at Syracuse University Lubin House, 11 E 61st St.  The event is free and open to the public but seating is limited.  RSVP with your name and professional affiliation to Ed Gorham at ejgorham@syr.edu by Wednesday, September 18.  Newhouse Dean Lorraine Branham states, “Given the seismic shifts in radio and newer audio platforms, much attention is being paid to the medium’s future.  It is crucial that we understand where the industry is headed so we can appropriately prepare our students.  We want to hear from thought leaders in management, programming and other key areas so we can get a better handle on best practices in radio moving forward.”  Industry players attending will include: Jeff Smulyan, founder and CEO of Emmis Communications; Dan Mason, president and CEO of CBS Radio; Buzz Knight, vice president of program development for Greater Media; Chris Oliviero, executive vice president of programming for CBS Radio; Deon Levingston, vice president and general manager at WBLS Radio (New York); Kevin Straley, vice president of programming at TuneIn; and Ed Levine, president and CEO of Galaxy Communications, among others.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

| September 4, 2013

westwoodone logoDial Global Changes Name to WestwoodOne.  Making good on what had been rumored for a little more than a week, Dial Global, as it prepares to be acquired by Cumulus Media, announces the official change of its name to WestwoodOne (complete with cool, new logo).  CEO Paul Caine states, “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished as Dial Global.  Through our belief in the power of sound we are dedicated to continuously reinventing the industry and creating the most dynamic audio programming that connects people to their passions.  With the audio industry’s ever-changing landscape we know we’ve just scratched the surface of what’s possible for audio’s broad consumption.  By reclaiming and reviving an iconic audio brand name, we are not changing who we are, but accelerating thecainepaul great work we are doing to contribute to the growth of audio.”  In addition to the name change, the company reports it is commissioning “an industry study on the ‘power of sound,’ aimed at better understanding consumers, their behavior, and their interaction with audio.  The study builds on current recency data proving radio as the most-used medium closest to point-of-purchase and will explore trends in audio consumption based on behavioral tendencies among various demographics.”  The company says full study results are expected to be released in the fourth quarter of 2013 but states that preliminary findings further the notion that audio is an integral part of the new media landscape.

epictimes logoTRN’s Jerry Doyle Launches ‘Solution-Based News Destination’ EpicTimes.com.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Jerry Doyle – a former actor, voice-over artist, Wall Street trader and pilot, says he credits his varied background with instilling in him the obvious and growing need for a solution-based news doylejerrycommunity.  The Talk Radio Network personality is therefore launching his newest media endeavor, EpicTimes.com – what he calls “a solution-based news destination dedicated to putting cutting-edge news, resources, and answers in the hands of the public.”  He adds, “EpicTimes.com seeks to deliver insight from some of the most influential voices of our time, spanning a variety of expertise to share solution-based ideas and insights with a community that is focused on problem solving and results.”  Doyle says that to serve the knowledge of his online audience, he has assembled a diverse cast of contributors, whose collective goal is to offer clear insights into a range of issues, combined with hard-hitting commentaries and workable solutions to the issues that directly affect our lives.  “This unique view on the issues and news headlines is geared toward building an active community on the site.  All opinions are heard and commentary between readers and contributors and readers to readers is encouraged.  That kind of honest conversation is just what I believe people want.  My goal is for EpicTimes.com to not just publish relevant news, but to become a solutions community.”  Check out EpicTimes.com here.

rosenthalmarkKatz Radio Group Names Mark Rosenthal CEO.  Media rep firm Katz Media Group announces it has picked media executive Mark Rosenthal to head up the Katz Radio Group.  Rosenthal’s media experience goes back to the early days of MTV where he was one of the original team that created the cable TV channel.  He was also involved in the inception of Nickelodeon, VH1 and Comedy Central.  Katz says he “has been a leader in the media industry for more than 25 years, building advertising and marketing solutions for world-class media brands.”  KRG says Rosenthal will work with president Mark Gray to “ensure continued high-level performance in the transactional arena.  Rosenthal will also focus on KRG’s radio advocacy efforts and lead an accelerated charge to bring additional revenue into the radio sector.”  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan says, “We are thrilled to have such a well-respected media executive join Katz Radio Group.  Mark has an enormous range of experience across all forms of media, from traditional and digital media to the agency world.  Radio is a powerful national marketing platform.  Our goal is to continue to tell the success story of radio’s massive reach.  Mark joining the team signifies a very exciting step forward in our intensified effort to drive substantial growth for Katz clients by providing the most innovative media solutions available.”

foxnewsradioFox News and SiriusXM Re-Up; Content Added to SiriusXM Internet Radio.  After speculation over the summer that Fox News and SiriusXM were headed for a break-up, the two sides announce they have inked a deal to bring Fox News content to the satcaster through 2019.  In addition, as part of the new agreement, siriusxmSiriusXM will broadcast Fox Business Network.  SiriusXM will be the exclusive audio home for broadcasts of Fox News and Fox Business Network for its more than 25 million subscribers.  As part of the agreement, SiriusXM will add both channels to its SiriusXM Internet Radio channel lineup for the first time.  The new agreement also includes the addition of Fox News Talk to the SiriusXM Internet Radio service.  Fox News Talk, which offers news, analysis, listener call-ins, and commentary from popular Fox News personalities such as Brian Kilmeade, John Gibson and Alan Colmes, among others, will be available online at SiriusXM Internet Radio and through the SiriusXM Internet Radio App on smart phones and other connected devices.  Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes states, “Our viewers love the ability to keep the connection with Fox News Channel, even while they’re in the car with SiriusXM.  This agreement not only ensures that will continue but expands it to our Fox Business Network viewers and restores the Fox News Talk channel to SiriusXM subscribers on their computers and smart phones.  This is good for Fox News, for SiriusXM and for the people we both work for, the American public.”

conwaylelandLeland Conway Named Late-Morning Host at WHAS, Louisville.  Clear Channel’s heritage Louisville news/talker announces talk host Leland Conway will assume the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program that opened up when Mandy Connell moved to the company’s KHOW, Denver for the morning show earlier this summer.  Conway – a Kentucky native – currently hosts afternoon drive on CC’s WRVA, Richmond and will continue in that role as well.  Regional programming manager Kelly Carls states, “This is an exciting appointment for ‘84WHAS Radio’ and the Kentuckiana community.   We talked to many highly qualified and experienced on-air personalities, but Leland’s talents really shined brightly.  His wit, energy and longstanding Kentucky roots make him a great fit.  We’re extremely happy he’s returning to the Bluegrass State.”  Conway has served as a commentator on WTVQ-TV, and for six years hosted a successful talk show on WLAP, Lexington.  Conway adds, “It is an honor to join the WHAS team.  As a native Kentuckian, I grew up with WHAS.  It’s as much a part of the Bluegrass State as hot browns and horse racing.  I am excited to once again be a part of the lively conversation in Kentucky.”

radioshow2013Michael Harrison to Present Annual Address at NAB Radio Show.  In a popular “Info-Session” that has packed the room each year for more than a decade, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will address the forthcoming NAB Radio Show on the subject “The Vital Role Radio Plays in Popular Culture.”harrisonmichael  The info-session, sponsored by TALKERS, will be a power-packed hour touching upon a number of key issues that are vital to radio’s very existence – let alone artistic and financial well-being - in the rapidly advancing digital era.  Harrison says that for radio to remain iconic in the 21st century, it must maintain “ownership” of the scenes it addresses whether they are music, politics, news, sports or any other expression of the human condition.  He says radio must maintain a foreground, active position and avoid being marginalized as a passive delivery system and he gives solid examples and suggestions to make it happen.  Consultant Holland Cooke introduces what will be a riveting and inspirational hour.  The session takes place on Thursday, September 19 between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm in the very heart of the conference at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Gatlin E2 and is open to all attendees of the conference.

baxobrien‘Rock 102’ Springfield, MA Morning Talk Duo Bax & O’Brien to Do Live Performance at Local Theater.  The long-running morning drive powerhouse of Bax & O’ Brien (Michael “Bax” Baxendale and John O’ Brien) have been gathering huge on-air audiences in Western Massachusetts for more than 15 years and innovating advances in local webcasting worthy of national attention.  Now, they’ve added another facet to their arsenal of attractions.  The team has been booked into the downtown Springfield prestigious City-Stage theater for a one-night special performance on Thursday, October 17.  The show is being sponsored by local car dealership Curry Honda and will cleverly feature “guest” appearances by locally famous advertisers who will actually perform their live commercial reads during the program (great idea!).  In addition, guests will include local and regional personalities Paul “Fitzy” Fitzgerald, live performances from guitar legend Gary Hoey and Dr. Westchesterson plus special video presentations from comedians Lisa Lampanelli and Tom Cotter, and the promise of other surprises!  Tickets go on sale Friday September 6 at the City Stage Box Office or at Ticketmaster.com.  Fans of Bax & O’ Brien will be able to see it live in person or watch the show streamed live with their BaxandObrien.com membership.

nathanalanMain Street Radio Network Re-Brands Alan Nathan-Hosted Program.  The talk show that’s been known as “Battle Line with Alan Nathan” is now titled “The Alan Nathan Show.”  Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk states, “He’s the longest-running centrist radio show in the country and we’re delighted with the program’s evolution and direction.  As so many have said, ALAN is an important voice who needs to be heard!”  Nathan himself comments, “They’ve been calling it the ‘Alan Nathan show’ for years, so I learned how to take a hint.  Additionally, while there’s plenty of spirited debate (or battling) happening on the program, it’s also a guest-generated, panel-driven event that teases all who take themselves too seriously.”

costadinoDino Costa Moves to Mornings on SiriusXM’s New Sports Zone Channel.  As TALKERS reported yesterday (from a New York Daily News story), sports talk host Dino Costa is moving from the Mad Dog Radio channel at SiriusXM where he was the evening (Eastern Time) personality, to mornings where his show will be heard from 7:00 am to 11:00 am ET beginning September 5.  In a statement, Costa says, “When I joined SiriusXM nearly five years ago, my objective was to deliver listeners across North America a brand of sports commentary and opinion that they had never heard before, something that was a radical departure from the status quo.  I feel I have accomplished that and gained a more than appreciable audience over that time.  Creating and delivering the kind of a show I do would not have been possible anyplace other than SiriusXM and it is an honor and a privilege to be with what I consider to be the mightiest radio broadcaster on planet earth.  I enjoyed my time with Mad Dog Sports Radio and now I look forward to new challenges and conquests and feel more enthused than ever at the prospects of making SiriusXM Sports Zone a destination channel for our valued subscribers.  This is the start of something very big!”

mooreloriLori Moore to Retire from WKZO, Kalamazoo.  Retire might be too strong a word for AM drive host Lori Moore’s departure from Midwest Communications’ news/talk WKZO, Kalamazoo.  But Moore has worked at the station for the past 18 years (32 years in the market) and, to her faithful listeners, it might feel like retirement.  Still, Moore says she will remain close to the community and has “many projects” in the pipeline.  Morning host since 1995, Moore states, “I feel I have a special bond with my audience and advertisers.  I think I am able to connect with what people care about.  I talk about events because I go to them and I endorse products and services I actually use.”  Her last day is Friday, September 6.

Odds & Sods. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago adds more sports programming to its weekend lineup with a post-Bears game program called “Two and a Half Bears,” featuring NFL Hall of Famer and Chicago Bears alumnus Dan Hampton, his former teammate Glen hamptondanKozlowski and WGN’s resident football fanatic Pete McMurray.  The program will feature interviews with players, coaches, and front office personnel.  Additionally, Hampton will join WGN’s Steve Cochran every Monday and Friday morning at 7:40 to provide a Bears game recap and preview…..Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston announces its NFL and Patriots football-related programming to air on the station and its affiliate stations around New England.  The content again includes exclusive interviews with quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick on “Patriots Monday.”  As itcowherdcolin did last year, gameday coverage will originate from Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Patriot Place in Foxborough and include pre- and post-game programs.  Throughout the week, WEEI programs will be visited by numerous football experts, writers and Patriots players…..ESPN Radio sports talk host Colin Cowherd debuts a new program on ESPN2 titled “Colin’s New Football Show” that will air Sundays at 9:00 am ET.  ESPN vice president, original programming and production, Jamie Horowitz says, “’Colin’s New Football Show’ will be entirely from Colin’s perspective.  It’s a cool and alternative pre-game show with Colin, a football outsider on the inside, letting fans know the key stories of the day in his own style.”…..CBS Radio’s all-news WNEW-FM, Washington reports it is doubling its traffic alerts to keep commuters up to speed on the region’s roadways during drive time.  Dubbed “Beltway Fix on the Six,” in addition its traffic and weather together on the 1s, the station will add reports on the 6s between 7:00 am and 10:00 as well as between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm……CRN Digital Talk Radio host and well-known actor Fred Dryer is back on the big screen in a new movie titled “Snake and Mongoose,” that chronicles the careers of drag racers Don “the Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen.  In the film, Dryer plays Motorsports Hall of Fame member Ed Donovan, McEwen’s engine builder who coined the racer’s “Mongoose” moniker.

bernierimmigrationIllegal Immigration Forum.  Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) and former INS agent Michael Cutler appeared in “The President Speakers Series” on the subject of illegal immigration at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach.  The event was moderated by the talk show host Marc Bernier – who also serves as President’s special assistant at the university – and was broadcast on WNDB, Daytona Beach and carried by C-SPAN.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Bernier, ERAU president John P. Johnson, Rep. Barletta and Cutler.  The event was the 95th in the Town Hall Series.  Photo by Arthur J. Byrnes.

Syria Question Goes Before Congress, ObamaCare Implementation, Miley Cyrus Fallout and Jack Nicholson Retires due to Memory Loss Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/3).  Secretary of State John Kerry takes the question of whether the United States should begin military action against Syria to Congress; ongoing complications in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the fallout from Miley Cyrus’ risqué performance at the MTV Video Music Awards and Jack Nicholson’s retirement from making movies, reportedly due to memory loss were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, August 19, 2013

| August 19, 2013

mrc logoEight More Arbitron PPM Markets Gain Accreditation by MRC.  The Media Rating Council gives accreditation to eight more Arbitron PPM markets – making the total number of accredited markets 26.  In making the announcement, Arbitron notes that the MRC is not granting accreditation in the remaining 22 markets at this time.  The eight newly accredited markets include: Cleveland, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Denver-Boulder, Detroit, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood, Pittsburgh, Portland OR, and Nassau/Suffolk (Long arbitronIsland).  They join the 18 markets the MRC is voting to continue accreditation: Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Milwaukee-Racine, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Riverside-San Bernardino, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater.  Arbitron executive vice president, service innovation and chief research officer Gregg Linder states, “MRC accreditation for our PPM markets is a company-wide priority at Arbitron, and we are pleased the MRC continues to recognize our ongoing efforts to improve Sample Performance Indicators and other quality metrics in our Portable People Meter ratings services.  Continuous improvement remains our watchword, for PPM and for all our ratings and software offerings and we are focused on earning accreditation for the balance of our PPM markets.”

theblaze logoFormer CNN Producer/Reporter Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.  Steve Krakauer – former CNN digital producer and media reporter – is named vice president of digital content for TheBlaze.  In his work at CNN, Krakauer oversaw the social and digital output of the CNN domestic U.S. television programs.  He also managed the team that ran @CNN — the network’s flagship Twitter account.  Krakauer joined CNN in November 2010 as the digital producer of “Piers Morgan Tonight.”  At TheBlaze, Krakauer will be responsible for growing the network’s presence across all digital media.  TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “Steve was one of the first people to truly recognize the growing relationship between digital media and traditional television and has built a remarkable track record integrating the two media.  We are excited to have Steve join TheBlaze as we continue to be at the forefront of creating a television network designed for the 21st century.”

schultzedEd Schultz Returns to Weeknights on MSNBC.  It hasn’t been quite five months since MSNBC moved “The Ed Show” from weeknights at 8:00 pm to a Saturday and Sunday 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot with Ed Schultz saying the move was for personal and professional reasons.  Now, the Hollywood Reporter writes that MSNBC president Phil Griffin asked Schultz to return to weekdays in the 5:00 pm slot replacing the first run of “Hardball with Chris Matthews.”  Matthews’ show will only air at 7:00 pm beginning August 26 when Schultz returns to weekdays.  Griffin told the publication, “Ed has proven himself no matter where we’ve put him.”

nprCEO Gary Nell to Exit NPR to Head Up National Geographic.  NPR CEO Gary Nell announces he’s leaving the public radio company after 21 months on the job.  In a letter to staff, he says, in part, “As president and CEO, supporting NPR’s success – your success – has been my highest ambition.  Working together, we have put NPR on more solid footing to continue to deliver the highest-quality journalism and programming.  We have launched innovative new platforms and made meaningful strides in attracting new audiences and new funding.  We have promoted a series of collaborations in news gathering, development, and a digital future.  And we have an exceptionally strong leadership team in place that is charting an ambitious path for our future.  We also face challenges, including the mandate to bring NPR to break-even cash operations.  We are completing a plan to focus our limited resources which support our essential services to stations and audiences.  We will present that plan to the Board soon, go over it carefully, and make it a reality.”  Nell took over the reins of NPR in December of 2011 after the high-profile departure of former CEO Vivian Schiller.  During her tenure, Juan Williams was fired after making comments on Fox News Channel admitting to feeling nervous when seeing people dressed in Muslim garb on airplanes.  Also, NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller (no relation) was recorded denigrating conservatives at a lunch meeting.

grahamkevinBoston Herald Reports Kevin Graham Will Succeed Jason Wolfe at WEEI-FM, Boston.  There is no confirmation from Entercom Boston market manager Jeff Brown about the Boston Herald’s recent report that KFNZ, Salt Lake City “1320 KFAN” program director and afternoon drive co-host Kevin Graham will take over the program director post at the station.  According to his bio on the KFNZ website, Graham was one of the key architects of KFNZ back in 1996 and has worked as programmer at KTAR-AM, Phoenix; WXYT, Detroit and other sports talk outlets.  In addition to programming KFNZ, Graham co-hosts the Gunther & Graham pm drive show with Kyle Gunther.  Longtime program director Jason Wolfe exited the station last week and the Boston media is rife with speculation about the status of the station’s air talent – especially morning duo John Dennis and Gerry CallahanCBS Radio’s crosstown WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub” has been topping WEEI-FM in recent ratings reports.  Still, the Herald also reports that Dennis and Callahan have been assured that they are not on the chopping block at this point.

talkersradio logoBrent Seltzer and Meg McDonald (“Brent & Meg”) Sign Up as Charter Members of TalkersRadio Lineup.  The married couple team of “Brent & Meg” (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald, pictured below) join the initial lineup of the soon-to-be-launched experimental internet talk station, TalkersRadio.  They will be hosting a Monday through Friday, two-hour Los Angeles-based program titled, “The Brent & Meg Show,” that will stream live between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm ET with possible re-streams at other times during the following 24 hours.seltzermegbrent  According to TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein, “There never has been a ‘Brent & Meg Show’ prior to TalkersRadio.  They are coming together to do this specifically because the station is designed for these kinds of experiments.  Although they’ve been married for 28 years and have been in the media business doing everything from amazing short-form features to ground-breaking public relations campaigns for years, the idea of them being on the air live as a team hosting a long-form talk show is the brainchild of Michael Harrison who has been after them to do this for over two years now since hearing them bounce off each other in the ongoing short-form feature ‘Brent Seltzer, Still at Large.’  “I am excited about the potential of this show.  We envision it to be in the tradition of the classic husband/wife chat shows of the golden era – except with its focus fully planted on a 21st century foundation.”  The short-form feature “Brent Seltzer, Still at Large” — written, produced and performed by the couple — has accrued a dedicated multi-platform cult-following on Podjockey.com and XM Satellite Radio after having broken out in 2008 as a hot commodity at KSRO, Santa Rosa.  According to the couple, “Outraged by the cable TV political bloviates, we invented ‘Brent Seltzer, Still at Large’ as a panacea to the anger and complacency that radio was becoming.  We figured that since all the extreme right wingers and extreme left wingers were only preaching to their targeted choirs, we could have an extremely good time talking about anything to everyone.  It is our intention to continue that tradition on the ‘Brent & Meg Show.’  Absolutely no politician, celebrity, corporate business practice, social custom, anything or anybody will be safe from our scathing, biting and hopefully humorous and entertaining observations.  Hey, we just wanna have fun!”

Brent Seltzer is legendary in the annals of West Coast radio having worked as a personality “rock ‘n’ roll newsman” on two of the most storied signals in rock radio history – KMET, Los Angeles and KGB, San Diego — as well as  LA’s KZLA-FM/AM, KNX-FM, and KMPC. He has also been a popular radio writer working for years at companies such as Watermark (“American Top 40”) and its founder Tom Rounds’ celebrated international company, Radio Express.

Born into a Hollywood show business family, Meg McDonald’s mother was the popular character actress Elisabeth Fraser and her father was the dancer Ray McDonald.  Although a native of Santa Monica, her parents divorced when she was very young and her Mom moved to New York to co-star with Phil Silvers in his popular comedy, “You’ll Never Get Rich,” later known as “The Phil Silvers Show.”  As her mother went to work in many classic films, TV shows and Broadway shows, Meg found herself surrounded by gifted writers including Neil Simon, Norman Lear and Gore Vidal.  Returning to LA after a few years, Meg never thought of herself as a performer, so she majored in Journalism at LACC, but chose a career in public relations where she has forged an award-winning history as founder of her own shop, McDonald Media Services.  Strikingly beautiful with a big gorgeous voice, she always wanted to be on-air but was too shy to take the shot, until she met Brent Seltzer. “The Brent & Meg” show debuts on TalkersRadio Tuesday, September 10.  For more information about TalkersRadio call 413-565-5413 or email GM David Bernstein at david@talkers.com.  TalkersRadio streaming is powered by Backbone Networks.

wowoamshowWOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne Morning Show to Begin TV Simulcast.  Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne will begin a simulcast of one hour of “Fort Wayne’s Morning News with Charly Butcher on local NBC affiliate WISE-TV “NBC33″ on September 23.  The television outlet will air the 6:00 am hour of  Butcher’s program using several high definition cameras placed in the studio and newsroom at WOWO.  Program director Ryan Wrecker says, “What we’re doing is taking a historic show in the market and advancing it to a new medium.  Finding new platforms for our product is an important part of our station strategy, and we think this is going to make a big impact not only in the market but it’s what should be expected for news/talk stations looking for ways to gain a younger audience share.”  Butcher states, “We’re excited to bring a show we work very hard on every morning to NBC33.  It’s another way for listeners to get a behind-the-scenes look at what we do and get all the information they need every morning.  I’m not excited that I might need to start wearing make-up.”  Pictured above is the WOWO-AM/FM morning show in action (Butcher at right.)

MLB LogoSiriusXM and MLB Reach Six-Year Extension.  Satcaster SiriusXM and Major League Baseball have reached an agreement to extend their relationship for another six years.  As a result, every regular season and post-season game will be available on both Sirius and XM platforms through 2016.  The deal also includes select exhibition games and Spanish-language broadcasts.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein states, “Baseball has been an essential part of our programming lineup and we’re very happy to extend our relationship with MLB to deliver the games to our subscribers for many years to come.  We’re especially pleased to now offer the games to SiriusXM subscribers whether they listen through Sirius radios, XM radios, the SiriusXM App or online.”

NPR Producer Teshima Walker Dies at 44.  After a two-year battle with colon cancer, NPR executive producer Teshima Walker passed away on Friday morning.  Walker had been executive producer of the Michel Martin-hosted “Tell Me More” program since 2011.  She’d been with the show in various capacities for four years prior to that.  During her career she had worked at WBEZ, Chicago and served as a producer on the Tavis Smiley program.

Monday, August 5, 2013

| August 5, 2013

limbaughrush (2)hannity (2)CNN’s “Reliable Sources” Tackles the Cumulus-Limbaugh-Hannity Brouhaha. “It’s clearly a radio deal and it has nothing to do with the future of conservative talk radio.” Those emphatic words from TALKERS publisher/editor Michael Harrison were voiced yesterday (Sunday 8/4) on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” regarding why Cumulus might drop Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity from some of the radio company’s larger stations. “They are not going to be dropped from the air,” Harrison asserted of conservative talk radio superstars Limbaugh and Hannity. “If they don’t come up with a deal with Cumulus, they will be on Clear Channel stations or any other companies that would love to have the two biggest attractions in talk radio.” Also on the CNN program was liberal talk host Thom Hartmann, who indicated a boycott against Limbaugh’s show actually, “did a lot of damage to progressive talk radio” because many advertisers pulled out “of all talk radio.”  Salem syndicated host Michael Medved also appeared on the program strongly voicing his disapproval of advertiser boycotts targeted at either the left or the right – saying the practice is borderline “un-American.”  Interestingly all three guests were in almost total agreement on all aspects of the issue discussed.  To see the segment click here.
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Jeff Katz kicking off Boston Herald Radio Boston Herald Radio Launched This Morning at 6:00 am ET.  The concept of the full-blown, digital-age “media station” took a giant leap forward at 6:00 am ET today (8/5) as the Boston Herald newspaper unveiled its ambitious new initiative “Boston Herald Radio” – a Boston-centric news/talk/sports radio station that is beginning its life as a venue for four live three-hour shows running weekdays from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm.  These programs include:

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.)  Katz is pictured here on the air during the first moments of the new station’s first program.

 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 columnist.)

 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 is 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 are being provided throughout the broadcast day by Boston Herald editors and reporters.  Feature elements 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 is managed by Backbone Networks (the same company working on the forthcoming mid-August launch of TalkersRadio) and carried by Tune In as well as its home base on the Boston Herald website and its mobile news and sports apps.  The shows are 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.

Reports from the launch indicate that all has been going as planned.

Boston Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca tells TALKERS, “We’re launched and enjoying the ride! Today, the Herald’s unique voice is even stronger thanks to internet radio. For years, our content has set the table for talk stations and broadcast news anchors in this market and beyond. Now the daily  conversation is starting  in our own studio!”

kdka pintek CBS Radio, Pittsburgh’s Marcellus Shale Festival to Feature KDKA Town Hall Meeting. The free event will be held next Thursday (8/15) from 2:00 pm – 10:00 pm at Stage AE, which sits adjacent to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ , and is designed to celebrate what Marcellus Shale brings to the region. KDKA, Pittsburgh 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm personality Mike Pintek will host a 3:00 pm town hall meeting, “Marcellus Shale – A True Public-Private Partnership: Maximizing the Resource.” Panelists will include Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald; Pennsylvania State Rep. Jim Christiana; Pennsylvania State Sen. Tim Solobay; U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy; and Range Resources director of corporate communications and public affairs Matt Pitzarella. The Pittsburgh premiere of the movie “FrackNation” will be shown, and there will be a meet and greet with co-producer Ann McElhinney. Marcellus Shale is a unit of marine sedimentary rock found in eastern North America and is named for a distinctive outcrop near the village of Marcellus, New York.

Entercom ArbitronEntercom and Arbitron Sign Multi-Year PPM Renewal. Entercom Communications inks a multi-year, multi-market, renewal for Arbitron’s Portable People Meter (PPM) and diary radio ratings services. Entercom president/chief executive officer David Field comments, “We plan to continue to collaborate with Arbitron to demonstrate the incredible value of radio, to ensure broadcasters get full credit for their audiences and to enhance the high return to marketers on their advertising investment.” Arbitron president/chief executive officer Sean Creamer notes, “Our two companies have enjoyed a long and collaborative relationship. We will continue our joint efforts to demonstrate the strength of radio within the expanding media landscape.”

cookehollandLocal Radio News: Never More Opportune!  That is the educated opinion of noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke who will be devoting a special presentation at the forthcoming Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference on Thursday October 10.  Cooke says that the decades-long trend of firings and shrinkage at radio station and network news departments is about to do a turn around… and that those still plying journalistic craft in both talk and music radio should not lose heart.  Rather they should get prepared as quickly as possible for exciting new opportunities in the unfolding digital era. And those are not the only new jobs he foresees.  In a new column posted today (8/5), Cooke elaborates on this and more, offering handy tips for the presentation of stories and information on the radio including advice to understanding the difference between “correctness” and “newsworthiness.”  To read the entire piece, please click here.

NAB Radio ShowthemavericksThe Mavericks to Appear at Marconi Radio Awards Dinner Show. The Grammy-winning group will perform at this year’s National Association of Broadcasters Radio Show at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will sponsor the September 19 appearance. NAB executive vice president of radio John David comments, “The Mavericks’ infectious energy, passion, and chemistry will make this year’s Marconi Radio Awards Dinner an unforgettable evening. These guys are great entertainers and they are excited to join radio to salute the nominees and winners.” Self-described as, “the most interesting band in the world,” The Mavericks – with lead singer and front man Raul Malo – blend country, rock and Cuban influences. Their hits include “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down,” “Here Comes the Rain” and “Dance the Night Away.” Produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and the NAB, this year’s Radio Show will be held September 18-20; TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison is slated to speak about “Radio’s Evolving Role in Popular Culture.”

AnchorDashboardScreenshot_250Sabo Recommends:  Tomorrow’s Software Today.  Noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo offers a tip to personalities in both talk and music formats.  Check out the new software package created, developed and now used by all-news giant WINS, New York morning anchor Lee Harris (the most listened-to anchorman on all of radio).   One screen shows weather, traffic, any RSS feed, plus the ability for the producer or screener to put messages right in front of the talent.  It’s called ANCHOR DASHBOARD and it’s created by the most listened to anchorman on radio Lee Harris from 1010 WINS, New York. Most of the CBS-owned all-news stations use it. But Sabo points out, “It is NOT just for news stations. It would be a boon for any personality show.”  Harris Media (not to be confused with the giant Harris Corporation)sets it up any way you wish, with any ingredients you need. Then it works automatically. Sabo was so impressed with the Harris suite of support software that he agreed to help them come up with more products on a formal basis. To contact Lee Harris email  lee@harrismedia.com for a demo.

pagliarulojoe (2)Odds & Sods. If doing 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm each weekday on Clear Channel talk outlet WOAI, San Antonio; “The Weekend” for Premiere Radio Networks; and a Saturday show for Denver’s KOA, were not already enough, ever conscientious Joe “Joe Pags” Pagliarulo fills in all this week for Quinn & Rose’s Pittsburgh based “War Room” … KFAQ, Tulsa morning talent Pat Campbell is sitting in for Compass Networks syndicated host Todd Schnitt today (Monday, 8/5) and will do the same again this Friday (8/9).

WBUR_logoLanger Broadcasting Group to Purchase WBUR’s West Yarmouth, Massachusetts 1240 AM Repeater Signal. Langer’s new station will serve the Brazilian and Portuguese communities of Cape Cod and the Islands.  According to Langer Broadcasting Group president and chairman Alex Langer, “There is an appetite for more multi-cultural broadcasting in Massachusetts, especially in areas like Cape Cod where the Portuguese-speaking community is increasing every year.” Boston University-owned NPR affiliate WBUR-FM began simulcasting on Martha’s Vineyard outlet WBUA this past February; thus WBUR general manager Charlie Kravetz remarks, “We recognized that our 1240 AM signal was redundant in its coverage. We are pleased the station will now go to Langer Broadcasting.” WBUR-FM has simulcast programming on 1240 AM since it bought the station 16 years ago. The signal at 1240 was Cape Cod’s first radio station. Pending FCC approval, the changeover is expected to take place this fall.

Friday, August 2, 2013

| August 2, 2013

cclogoClear Channel Posts 2% Revenue Increase in Q2.  That’s for the Media and Entertainment division – the radio stations, Premiere Networks and Total Traffic Network – on revenue of $805.6 million for the second quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago.  During yesterday’s investors’ conference call, chairman and CEO Bob Pittman spoke positively about the growth of iHeartRadio and SVP of investor relations Gregory Lundberg noted that it has 34 million registered users and that represents growth of 162% year-over-year.  Regarding the makeup of the company’s revenue, he stated, “National sales for the stations grew 5%, with local up 1%.  Excluding the impact of political advertising, in both quarters, national sales rose 7% and local was up 2%.  Our strongest performing ad categories remained financial services, retail and telecom.  Digital sales continue to grow in the double digits as we monetize our station’s online presence and keep growing iHeartRadio, where total listening hours were up to 36% in the second quarter.  We also saw good year-over-year growth at Premiere Networks.  Partially offsetting this growth rate were revenue declines in the traffic business from lost contracts and from lower sales resulting from integration activities.  Operating expenses increased $42 million or 9%, reflecting a $21 million expense credit from one of our performance rights organizations, which we received in the second quarter of last year.”  He stated pacing for the third quarter for the stations was up 3% and up 1% for the division as a whole.  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript.  Members can read it all here.

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xmradio logoClear Channel Sells Its SiriusXM Interests for $135.5 Million.  Way back in 1999 when XM Radio was gearing up its operations, Clear Channel was an initial investor putting in $83.1 million and getting the right to program some of the satcaster’s music and talk channels.  Now, CC sells its interest in the company for $135.5 million – the value of the stock – and that means most of the CC-programmed content will disappear from the XM Radio platform.  That’ll include some of the company’s music FMs such as hip hop WGCI, Chicago; country signal WSIX, Nashville and hot AC WLIT, Chicago.  But two of the CC-radio channels are expected to stay on the XM platform – WHTZ, New York and KIIS, Los Angeles.  It also means the talk radio channel on the XM platform will see talent like Glenn Beck, Bob & Tom, Todd Schnitt as well as Fox Sports Radio programming go away.

arbitronArbitron Reports Q2 Revenue Rises 2.9%.  As it prepares to be acquired by ratings giant Nielsen, Arbitron issues its 2013 second quarter financial reports and states that on revenue of $107.4 million dollars it is reporting net revenue of $7.1 million or $0.26 per share.  The cost of the potential Nielsen deal ate into the company’s earnings before interest and income tax expense (EBIT) as it shelled out $6.1 million during the quarter in preparation for the acquisition.  President and CEO Sean Creamer states, “In the second quarter, we maintained focus on our long-term priorities: investing in and growing our core radio services, evaluating and implementing quality initiatives to enhance the value and utility of our offerings, and exploring emerging opportunities with an emphasis on those that allow us to highlight the power and advantages of radio.  As the media and advertising marketplaces continue to evolve and new technologies permit consumers to consume content virtually anytime and anywhere, it is important we keep pace with these changes to ensure radio gets full credit for its audience – regardless of the delivery platform.  Radio is growing and vibrant – and we are committed to helping the radio industry tell and validate its complete and compelling story.”

sabowalterThe Job of the Program Director in Five Years.  According to noted consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo, if you want to know which way the job of PD is heading in radio, just take a look at what has happened to the same titled position at television stations.  In a new column posted today (8/2) Sabo writes “As more on-air content decisions are made at the corporate level and delivered from a central source, the program director job will morph to meet the demands of the tasks that must be completed.  Smart companies will evolve the position to one that has been desperately needed: ‘Program and Public Relations Director.’”  Sabo goes on to list other combinations of tasks and responsibilities that will be added to the title “Program Director” on the radio station level.  To read his entire column, please click here.

kbme logoKBME, Houston Ousts Adam Wexler and Matt Jackson from AM Drive; Adds Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr to Middays.  In a realignment of programming at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s sports talk KBME, Houston, Adam Wexler and Matt Jackson have been let go from the station and their morning drive gig and Lance Zierlein and Adam Clanton take over the AM show.  Zierlein co-hosted the afternoon show with Charlie Pallilo but, as the Houston Chronicle notes, had also worked on the morning drive show alongside Wexler and Jackson in the past.  Adam Clanton has hosted sports talk radio in the market at CBS Radio’s crosstown KILT as well as having worked at KPRC-TV.  The addition of Fox Sports Radio’s nationally syndicated Jay Mohr to the lineup from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm forces some other changes.  Greg Koch and N.D. Kalu now air from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Charlie Pallilo hosts solo from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm; and Matt Thomas is on the air from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

radioshow2013Michael Harrison to Speak at NAB Radio Show.  In what promises to be a riveting and inspirational hour, TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison will address the forthcoming NAB Radio Show in Orlando (September 18-20) on “Radio’s Evolving Role in Popular Culture.”  Harrison, fresh off a rousing keynote speech at the Conclave, will further elaborate on the theme of the challenges facingharrisonmichael radio in its quest to remain societally iconic in the digital age of the 21st century at a specially scheduled Info-Session sponsored by TALKERS.  Harrison says that for radio to remain competitive with all the emerging “exotic” competition of this “wildly new era,” it must maintain “ownership” of the scenes it addresses whether they are music, politics, news, sports or any other expression of the human condition.  He says radio should maintain a foreground, active position that protects it from being marginalized as a passive delivery system and discusses options and opportunities to carry out the mission.  (To see a brief clip of Michael Harrison’s Conclave keynote speech addressing these subjects please click here.  The full speech will be posted to both RadioInfoTV and TalkersTV shortly, stay tuned.)  Consultant Holland Cooke introduces this popular annual NAB Radio Show session featuring the venerable programmer, air personality, entrepreneur and trade magazine publisher who has been accurately describing radio and popular media’s road ahead for the past 45 years.  The Info-Session is scheduled on Thursday, September 19 between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm and is open to all attendees of the NAB Radio Show.

davisbobClear Channel Makes Morning Changes at KTCN, Minneapolis.  Morning drive talk show host Bob Davis and Clear Channel Minneapolis part company and the station fills the morning drive slot with former evening hosts Jack Tomczak and Ben Kruse, at least for now.  Bob Davis had been paired up with Tom Emmer for mornings but Emmer exited the station in June to make a run for the congressional seat being vacated by Michele Bachmann.  Davis made national news when, during a discussion about gun control, he said on the air he would tell the Newtown families to “go to hell” for their role in shaping the gun debate.  He later apologized for the tenor of his comments.

radiatemedia logoRadiate Media Promotes Ivan Shulman to President.  Seven months after joining Radiate Media as executive vice president of sales and chief revenue officer, the company promotes Ivan Shulman to president.  CEO Chris Rothey states, “Ivan has a deep shulmanivanbackground in sales, marketing and media, and his leadership experience makes him a great fit for us.  Since joining us in November of 2012, we have experienced quarter-over-quarter revenue growth, including the launch of Radiate360 – our integrated marketing platform to drive hyper-local business.  Ivan will continue to lead that initiative as well as overseeing the day-to -day activities of our broadcast radio, TV and digital lines of business.”  The company is bullish on its new product Radiate360 which it describes as “an easy-to-use, online platform that empowers businesses to expand their reach and connect with their customers.  With Radiate360’s revolutionary suite of tools, businesses can establish an online presence, engage customers through social and mobile media, and promote to the local audience that matters most.”  Shulman says of his promotion, “I joined Radiate because I was excited about future opportunities.  Our growth on both the broadcast and digital side has been phenomenal and I look forward to working with broadcasters to help bridge the gap between digital and traditional media.”

sileodanDan Sileo Takes Over Midday Program at WMEN, West Palm Beach.  Florida sports talk personality Dan Sileo – most recently midday host at WQAM, Miami – moves into the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot at JCE Licenses’ WMEN, West Palm Beach “640 Sports” effective Tuesday, August 6.  Sileo – who worked for years at WDAE, Tampa prior to his stint with WQAM – is filling in for Travis Rodgers on KLAA, Los Angeles today and on August 5.  Sileo is, by his own admission, an edgy personality whose willingness to push the envelope has gotten him fired from his last two radio gigs.  He maintains he achieved excellent ratings while with Clear Channel at WDAE and that the station pulled in a lot of revenue from his program.

deggansericEric Deggans to Leave the Tampa Bay Times for Gig at NPR.  Journalist Eric Deggans has covered first music, then media for the Tampa Bay Times for the past 18 years.  Now, he exits the Times to become a TV critic and correspondent for NPR News.  Deggans has been a contributor to NPR in the past but joins the organization full time.  He states in a press release, “For many years, I have been a fan of NPR’s super-smart journalism and I often fantasized of what it might be like to join their ranks as a contributor.  A position like this one is beyond my wildest dreams; I’m honored and excited by the opportunity to help shape NPR’s coverage of television and pop culture.”  Deggans has been an excellent reporter covering the Tampa Bay media scene over the years but also could be viewed as a polarizing writer.  He’s been a critic of talk radio on a number of levels as indicated in his recent book Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation (Palgrave Macmillan 2012).  Photo by Carrie Pratt.

jacksonkevinOdds & Sods.  Dial Global announces it has signed an exclusive terrestrial, three-season deal with London-based talkSPORT to broadcast live coverage of Barclays Premier League, FA Cup and Capital One Cup.  The partnership includes play-by-play commentary of nearly 400 soccer matches per year, in both English and Spanish…..  “The Black Sphere” talk show host Kevin Jackson joins the advisory board of the Steamboat Institute, an institution that “defends freedom and advocates for liberty.”  Jackson says, “Witnessing the progress of the organization first hand, I am overjoyed to be part of the advisory board and play a role in the future direction of the Steamboat Institute, an organization that will undoubtedly mold political discussions and policy in the future.”

gillemdennyTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update.  Statewide syndicated sports talk host Bill Michaels is added to the lineup at WOZN, Madison, Wisconsin…..Kevin Jackson’s “Black Sphere Radio” show is now airing on WEZO, Augusta, Georgia…..Talk Media Network announces affiliate additions for three of its programs: “Fat Guys At The Movies with Kevin Carr & Kristin Dreyer Kramer” joins WKVL, Knoxville; “The Financial Fitness Show with Chip Cummings & Tony Rubleski” is added to WRSB, Rochester, New York; and “Frontlines of Freedom with Lt. Col. Denny Gillem” joins the lineup at WZFG, Fargo.

ObamaCare Implementation Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of July 29 – August 2.  The implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the cost of the program was the top news/talk topic during the week.  Following at #2 was the Anthony Weiner sexting case and the political fallout.  At #3 was the 2016 presidential race followed by the Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity contracts flap at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Radio from the Newspaper: Stop the Presses?

| July 31, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — The impending launch of a Boston Herald-based online audio stream points to an opportunity I’ve been recommending to local radio newscasters who’ve been getting fired right and left these past several years.  With hard copy media now so mature, yet still commanding such a big revenue share, rich media was always a logical line extension for newspapers.  They need it, they know it, and they know they don’t know how to do it as well as broadcasters do.

Even without the financial support and promotional heft a newspaper gives a netcast, non-AM/FM “radio” is exploding.

  • “The transmitter” has been there ever since we could save as .mp3.
  • “The receiver” became conspicuous a decade ago, when iPod was the shiny object.  Since then, smartphones have obsoleted such player-only non-AM/FM receivers.  As he’s described what he terms “the media station,” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has suggested that the P-O-D in podcasting might simply refer to “Programming on Demand.”

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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.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

| July 18, 2013

pendlchrisGet Credit for Your Hard Work, Audit Your PPM Encoding.  Bonneville Seattle creative director Chris Pendl writes in this TALKERS column that it’s a very wise move to take the time to audit your PPMppmunit encoding ASAP.  Pendl says, “With radio audiences fragmented on different distribution platforms, it’s important to confirm all of our published content has the proper encoding to receive listening credit.  Regardless if you’re simulcasting commercials on your digital platforms, if you’re not using PPM-encoded audio to distribute content you’re missing out.”  In this must-read piece targeted to programmers, Pendl details why this is so important and provides a step-by-step plan for working with the good folks at Arbitron to make sure your PPM encoding is up to snuff.  Read his entire column here.

noorygeorgeGeorge Noory to Stay with ‘Coast to Coast AM’ for Many Years to Come.  Premiere Networks announces it has signed a new, multi-year contract renewal with “Coast to Coast AM” host George Noory.  Premiere says that “Under the new agreement, Noory will continue his current role as host of ‘Coast to Coast AM,’ the most-listened-to overnight radio program in North America.  Heard by nearly 3 million weekly listeners on nearly 570 radio stations in the U.S., Canada, Guam and Mexico, the program is ranked #1 in several markets, including Los Angeles, Houston, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Sacramento, Cleveland, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Providence and Hartford.  In addition, Coast to Coast AM’s audience has grown 13% over the past two years, and in the past year alone, has experienced double and triple digit gains in major markets, including New York (+23%), Los Angeles (+25%), Houston (+121%) and Philadelphia (+167%).”  George Noory talks about his new deal, saying, “By renewing my deal with Premiere Networks, I’ll be around when astronauts land on Mars.  I want to thank Premiere and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment for having the confidence in me and our amazing team to take ‘Coast to Coast AM’ into the future.  I look forward to many more years of bringing riveting programs during the late-night hours to our millions of listeners around the world.”

harrisonshannonshomperThe Conclave Is Off and Running in Minneapolis.  The nation’s longest-running national radio conference is in full swing in Minneapolis.  Conclave 38 featured a multi-dimensional, all-afternoon presentation yesterday (7/17) by Fred JacobsJacobs Media titled “Jacobs Media Summer School.”  This morning (7/18), TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison delivered the keynote.  In it he addressed the future role of talent as radio continues to evolve and adapt itself to the new digital era.  He drew applause when he stated that music radio must bring back the active disc jockey and reclaim ownership of the music culture – just as news/talk radio has claimed ownership of the political culture and sports talk radio has claimed ownership of the sports culture – in order to survive.  Look for extensive coverage of the three-day event including a video of Harrison’s speech shortly in TALKERS.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Conclave executive director Bob Shannon; WCCO, Minneapolis, PD, Bob Shomper; and Harrison at the Conclave this morning.

baileyjasonJason Bailey Moves to Atlanta for AM Drive Gig on ‘92-9 The Game.’  CBS Radio announces Rick Kamla moves from “The Morning Grind” to the midday show alongside Jamie Dukes and former WTKS, Orlando personality Jason kamlarickBailey a.k.a. “Buckethead” (not the famous guitar player) partners up with Randy Cross and Kristen Ledlow for mornings.  WZGC notes that “some of Jason Bailey’s sports accolades include hosting the WYGM Pre-Game Show, voice of the Orlando Rage, and color commentary for Predators radio broadcasts.  Bailey has also been the sideline reporter for the Orlando Predators and Tuskers, as well as a host for WWE and TNA Wrestling.”  WZGC program director Terry Foxx says, “As we continue to position ‘Sportsradio 92-9 The Game’ for success, we are excited to have Jason join us to bring his unique and entertaining personality to our team.”

hortonstacyMedia Management Group Appoints Stacy Horton EVP of Sales and Affiliations.  Media affiliate sales pro Stacy Horton joins the team at Media Management Group as executive vice president of sales and affiliations.  The company states that in this new role, “Stacy will execute the affiliate growth strategy for the MMG Radio Network, as well as play an integral role in revenue growth and content development.”  MMG VP of business development Alan Eisenson says, “When we launched MMGRN in April with Warren Eckstein’s ‘The Pet Show,’ we had no idea it would grow so quickly.  There’s a great demand for quality, niche weekend programming, and Stacy will be invaluable in not only adding affiliates for Warren, but also as we continue to expand our roster of programs and services to affiliates.”  Horton comments, “This is an exciting time for the media industry and I’m thrilled to be joining the amazing team at MMG.  The company is ideally positioned at the nexus between talent, technology, and content.  My job will be to leverage those synergies, and create value to fuel growth for the company, our partner stations, and the personalities we represent.”  Horton started her radio career in the early 1990s as part of the marketing team that launched the Universal Studios Radio Broadcast Center, which hosted thousands of A-list radio personalities from around the world for live remote broadcasts during which Horton would join the guests for on-air banter.  Most recently she was VP of affiliate sales at the Business TalkRadio Network.  Prior to that, she was a producer and affiliate relations manager at Yahoo!, USRN, Launch Radio and Sony Music where she produced content and managed relationships with hundreds of stations around the United States.

pinchjonFinding Radio Advertising Solutions.  Radio is fighting for its piece of the American ad budget pie and numerous industry experts have been calling for better creative and better production in order to compete with the trend that ismarshallrobin moving tremendous amounts of ad dollars to the digital frontier.  In a piece published today (7/17), TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian offers a brief shout-out to a couple of the industry’s legendary creative talents and then spotlights Cumulus Media’s marketing initiative Sound Solutions.  In this story he speaks with EVP/COO Jon Pinch and production manager Robin Marshall about how the company is using this division to woo advertisers to a medium that has a strong history of creating memorable spots that deliver results.  Read his story here.

midwestcomm logoMidwest Communications Latest Company to Face Copyright Infringement Complaint.  The bottom line for radio station website operators here is that if you didn’t take the picture, pay the copyright holder for the photo or receive it as a promotional photo from the copyright holder or owner, then you don’t have permission to use it and you may end up negotiating a settlement that will cost you money.  That’s more than likely what Midwest Communications will end up doing after BWP Media filed a complaint in United States District Court Western District of Wisconsin alleging country WBFM, Sheboygan, Wisconsin “B93” posted a copyrighted photo on its website without permission.  As is usual in these cases, BWP is seeking $150,000 per infringement but it will probably be settled out of court for much less and that will remain confidential.  The photo in question was of Hugh Hefner’s girlfriend in a bathing suit with the caption “Hugh Hefner’s Girlfriend Looks Like a Pregnant Barbie Doll.”  Many station websites feature – or have in the past featured – these copyrighted photos and continued the practice because no complaint was filed.  Now more than ever though, companies such as BWP Media are actively patrolling the web to catch violators in order to protect their property.  Radio station digital brand managers must be vigilant in staying within the law.

kgme logoClear Channel’s KGME, Phoenix to Carry Arizona Men’s Sports.  IMG College owns the rights to University of Arizona football and Men’s basketball and the organization announces that Clear Channel sports talk outlet KGME, Phoenix “Fox Sports 910” will carry the play-by-play as well as coaches shows and affiliated programming under a newly signed deal.  CC Phoenix Scott Hopeck says, in a statement, “Teaming up with the Arizona Wildcats to provide full University of Arizona football and Men’s basketball coverage is a significant addition to our new ‘Fox Sports 910’ brand.  We are happy to serve the large base of fans and alumni who now have a new radio home where they can follow their Wildcats anywhere in the Valley.”

Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, Rolling Stone Tsarnaev Cover, Soaring Dow/Fed Policy, Eastern U.S. Heatwave, IRS Conservative Targeting Scandal, and Internet Sales Tax Proposal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/17).  The ongoing aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict; controversy over Rolling Stone magazine’s cover featuring the surviving Boston Marathon bomber; the high-flying U.S. financial markets and the Federal Reserve’s policies; the heat wave affecting the Eastern United States; the Internal Revenue Service’s scrutiny of conservative organizations and individuals; and the proposed tax on internet sales were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Ben Fuchs: An “Alternative” Approach to Health as Well as Radio Syndication

| May 30, 2013

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

5154164 croppedNEW YORK — While conservative political talk radio still dominates the AM/FM commercial spoken word air waves, pharmacist Ben Fuchs proves syndication, and talk radio in general, can come in many forms.  In the case of Fuchs, the host of the nationally syndicated Genesis Communications Network (GCN) radio program “The Bright Side,” he has become a thorn in the side of the pharmaceutical industry by becoming an advocate for better nutrition and a natural healing approach, because, as he says, “I look at the human body as a healing and regenerating system.”

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

| May 23, 2013

frontierfifty logoTALKERS Preparing 2013 Frontier Fifty for Publication this Summer.  The editorial board of TALKERS announces the long-awaited 2013 installment of the publication’s popular annual feature, “The Frontier Fifty,” will be reappearing after almost a year lay off with a number of new innovations and features.  TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We have renovated a number of the systems and basic formatting of this feature because it reflects an area of talk media that is undergoing the most rapid change.  That is why there had been no new ‘Frontier Fifty’ in 2012.  The Frontier Fifty was originally designed as a showcase for 50 interesting and outstanding internet talk radio hosts reflective of the diversity of styles and formats available on the internet – from long-form streaming shows to podcasts, from the traditional telephone talk/guest interview fare to the outrageous.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “Since we began this project, internet talk radio has exploded into a gigantic universe of literally thousands of individual performers, shows, networks, and concepts.  We needed to step back and do justice to this, or not do it at all.  The new incarnation of The Frontier Fifty will be based on a ranked listing of the ’50 Most Important Individuals Making A Difference in the Development and Growth of Internet Talk Radio’ as opposed to just being hosts of programs.  It will now include entrepreneurs and internet impresarios as well as individual hosts – people who are making a difference.”  Readers can expect to see the 2013 installment of The Frontier Fifty posted mid-to-late summer and are invited to send suggestions and “nominations” for individuals to be considered for inclusion to info@talkers.com.

mckeedarrenKKFN, Denver’s Darren McKee Signs Multi-Year Extension.  Afternoon drive co-host Darren McKee – who sits alongside former Denver Broncos star Alfred Williams on “The Drive with Big Al and D-Mac” – has signed a multi-year extension to remain with Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk KKFN, Denver “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.”  Program director Nate Lundy states, “As a PD, it’s always a great gift when you can be surrounded by talented people who are passionate about what they do.  D-Mac is a great asset to the station and its live-and-local lineup.  I’m thrilled to know he will continue to be a part of our success as we embark on our 18th year as ‘The Fan.’”

taylormikeClear Channel Makes Changes at Austin Sports Station.  Bucky Godbolt exits Clear Channel Media and Entertainment sports talk KVET, Austin “AM 1300 The Zone” where he was morning drive host.  In his place, CC pipes in KTKR, San Antonio morning drive host Mike Taylor’s 6:00 am to 8:00 am program.  The move allows KVET to clear Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick show and the Jay Mohr show live and shuffle Jon Madani to the PM drive “Sports Buffett” show which is expanding to five hours.  In a statement, CC Austin vice president of operations Jay Shannon says, “We’re excited to add Mike Taylor’s show to the KVET morning drive lineup.  He has proven his success in San Antonio and we’re thrilled to now have him on the Longhorn flagship station here in Austin.”

methenysmithFilmmaker and Internet Radio Trailblazer Kevin Smith Visits WJR, Detroit.  Filmmaker Kevin Smith — “Clerks,” “Chasing Amy,” “Dogma” – is pictured here with WJR, Detroit program director Kevin Metheny during a visit to the WJR studios.  Metheny states, “My favorite living film director, Kevin Smith.  We had a nice conversation about his movies and those of other directors.”  In addition to his film work, Smith has been a trailblazer in the internet radio and podcast realm with his Smodcast Internet Radio venture.  Smith and many of his Hollywood cohorts do regular internet radio shows via S.I.R.

slashmohrSlash Visits Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr.  Musician Slash is pictured here (left) chatting with Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr (right) in the FSR studios in Los Angeles during a visit to Mohr’s radio show on May 21.  The former Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist talked about his time with GNR, upcoming projects and how Cher – of all people – helped him quit smoking.  Slash is a big horror movie fan and has produced three such films.  He’s behind the new horror flick “Nothing Left to Fear.”

weismanhonorSteven J.J. Weisman Receives High Academic Honor.  TALKERS legal editor and Harrison Strategies senior partner, Steve Weisman received the 2013 Gregory H. Adamian Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Department of Law, Taxation and Financial Planning at Boston-based Bentley University where, in addition to his stellar radio industry career as a trade editor, legal advisor and talent manager, he is an esteemed professor.  Weisman (c) is pictured receiving the honor at the university’s recent commencement ceremony from Mike Page, provost of the University (l) and Greg Adamian, trustee and former president of Bentley (r). Professor Weisman’s many nominations from both graduate and undergraduate students over the years contain descriptions like “intelligent,” “motivating” and “inspiring.”  Several students noted that Professor Weisman not only cares about the course content but also about teaching his students to be good citizens out in the world.  We at TALKERS agree Steve Weisman is a mighty good fellow and are proud that he will be one of the more than 50 speakers appearing at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6 discussing key industry issues.  For more information about the conference click here.

cookehollandNew Rules for Email.  Radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke writes that “With enabling technology evolving so rapidly, technique is critical.  With new-tech comes a new etiquette; or, too often, a lack thereof.  You prove it every time you check your email.  I’ll bet you delete without reading more messages than you read.”  Holland advises that to be as effective as possible in business when using email, be sure to consider what you’re typing in the subject line, when to send more than one email and when not to email at all.  Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.

yourhigh coverNationally Syndicated Radio Personality Andy Greenberg Publishes New Book.  Omaha-based talk radio personality Andy Greenberg is heard on stations around the country via his Radio America-distributed vignette “Your Daily High with Andy Greenberg.”  Now, Greenberg and co-author Marian Shalander Kaiser have published a book called Your High (Tate Publishing 2013) based on Greenberg’s broadcasts.  Promotional material for the book states, “The book takes Greenberg’s loveable radio antics and puts them in easy-to-understand vignettes.  Every idea is new and unique, yet familiar.  Each vignette opens with a situation to which everyone can relate. It then transitions to a motivational technique that is easy to understand and implement.  According to the authors, life doesn’t have to be hard; individuals just have to look at it a little differently. Your High uses the popular style of Greenberg’s radio personality to show readers how to be successful in business, life, and everything in between.”

IRS Scandal, DOJ Journalists Investigations, Obama’s Guantanamo Closure Plan, Benghazi Attack Investigation, and Oklahoma Tornado Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/22).  The Internal Revenue Service scandal and the status of Lois Lerner’s testimony; the Department of Justice’s investigation into journalists and news organizations; President Obama’s move to close Guantanamo Bay; the Benghazi attack investigation and cover-up allegations; and the aftermath of the Oklahoma tornado were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Can the Radio Station Overcome Smothering Debt and Become
a Viable Business Again?

| May 2, 2013

Mike Kinosian, Managing Editor
RadioInfo and Talkers

LOS ANGELES — Chalk it up to misreading the economic tealeaves or perhaps to good old-fashioned avarice, but several radio groups have fallen victim to the, “(S)he who has the most toys, wins” hypothesis.

Debt #1Monopoly Board“Winners” managing to run the board in today’s all too real game of Radio Monopoly are rewarded by becoming further ensconced in deeper, darker, debt.

Administer sodium pentothal to a cross-section of radio managers and the overwhelming majority will vociferously state that, owing to its cookie-cutter nature and mounting pressure to deliver grossly unrealistic percentages to the bottom line, the business is no longer fun. Countless executives at high-billing, strong ratings performing outlets have been unduly placed in the gut-wrenching position of laying off personnel and making other vital cutbacks – forced to share the load of paying for what could be considered out-of-control acquisition sins at the corporate level.

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

| May 2, 2013

theblaze logoGlenn Beck’s TheBlaze to Be Available in Tri-State Area Via Cablevision’s Optimum TV.  Beginning later this month, Glenn Beck-founded TheBlaze network will be available to New York City and the surrounding area as it will be included in Cablevision’s Optimum Preferred, Silver and Gold Packages.  The channel is available to Optimum TV commercial customers with Optimum Business or Optimum Entertainment.  Cablevision VP of video product management, Bradley Feldman, states, “Optimum TV is the only cable provider in the Tri-State area to bring our customers original programming from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, and the independent network will add more diversity to our strong lineup, providing our customers with more choices that our customers appreciate.”  In a statement from Beck’s organization it says TheBlaze “offers a full slate of original news and opinion shows like ‘Real News,’ ‘Wilkow!’ and ‘For the Record,’ late night comedy like ‘The Wonderful World of Stu’ and ‘B.S. of A.,’ family-friendly programming like ‘Liberty Treehouse’ as well as thought-provoking documentaries and original specials. TheBlaze first launched on September 12, 2011 as GBTV and quickly grew into one of the world’s largest online streaming networks with over 300,000 subscribers.  One year later, TheBlaze became a television network.”

cbsradioCBS Q1 2013 Report: Company Up 6%, Radio’s Top 10 Markets Up 2%.  The bulk of the discussion during yesterday’s conference call centered around TV for CBS, as it usually does.  But CEO Les Moonves stated moonveslesup front that the company continues to build “on the terrific debut of the CBS Sports Radio Network.  We’ve added 20 affiliates to our roster since our last call.  In addition, CBS Radio played a major role in this year’s success of the Academy of Country Music Awards.  This is a show that perfectly complements our radio audiences, as evidenced by all the artists who mentioned the power of radio in their acceptance speeches.”  CFO Joseph Ianniello noted that, comparable to the same period a year ago, the top 10 radio markets were performing up about 2%.  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript.  Read more here.

thomasbillFormer Citadel/Cumulus Birmingham Cluster Manager Bill Thomas Sues Company for Unlawful Termination.  Add discrimination to that under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  Bill Thomas, a.k.a Michael Thomas Stainback, alleges in the complaint filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama that the company knew he had heart ailments that resulted from a 2009 heart attack yet he still performed his job well and even received bonuses based upon performance.  Thomas alleges that in February of 2012, after telling Cumulus corporate management that he’d been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, he was terminated by the company six days later.  He’s seeking unspecified damages as well as back pay.

freedomfeens‘Freedom Feens’ Show to Join GCN.  The “Freedom Feens” weekend talk show co-hosted by Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi will debut on the Genesis Communications Network on Saturday, May 11.  Dean and Vedadi describe their program as a “great-sounding, feisty weekend show about free markets, the police state, the war on drugs, the right to keep and bear arms, computer security, honest money, self-defense, self-employment, marriage, do-it-yourself media production, marketing, music and more.”  Regarding the title of their program, the duo explain, “‘Feen’ means ‘fiend,’ and the ‘Freedom Feens’ support the rights of the smallest minority, the individual.”

raytomTime to Do Some Spring Cleaning Out at the Transmitter Site.  For many of you who broadcast out of the Northwest, Midwest, North, and Northeast, this winter was a bear!  Snow, ice and wind can cause issues for your transmission facilities.  So it’s time to do a thorough inspection of your transmitter sites – both the main transmitter sites and anywhere you may have an STL transmitter or receiver.  In a timely article posted today (5/2) noted engineering consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray offers up an invaluable “to-do” list to make sure your transmitter remains happy in the coming spring, summer and fall months after enduring a pretty painful and damaging winter.  Get the whole story here.

carrhowieOdds & Sods.  WRKO, Boston afternoon drive talk show host Howie Carr broadcasts live from La Verdad Mexican restaurant near Fenway Park this afternoon from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm as he promotes his latest book , Rifleman (Frandel, LLC 2013), a true-crime story about infamous Boston mobster Steven Flemmi.  Carr will stay after his program ends to sign copies of the new book…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington is conducting its second annual “Communter Idle” contest through Friday, May 3.  The contest asks DC commuters to share their daily travel horror story to win prizes and possibly be the grand-prize winner who’ll receive $1,000 in gas money and a limo ride to work courtesy of Reston Limousine.  Runners-up will receive $150 gas cards…..It may be a sign of the times that one of the most popular shows on CNN is the new “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” travel and food program that airs on Sunday evenings on the cable news/talk channel.  But new CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker is so thrilled with the its performance that he’s already ordered another season of the show that will debut on September 15.

cinchcaastCinchcast, Inc. Establishes Strategic Advisory Board.  One of radio’s technological innovators and dynamic entrepreneurs of the new digital age, Alan Levy – founder and CEO of BlogTalkRadio and its “white-label” sister firm Cinchcast, Inc. – has announced the appointment of two well-known executives to Cinchcast’s new strategic advisory board: Tom Glocer, former CEO of Thomson Reuters and Steve Bornstein, former head of the NFL‘s digital media operations and ABC Sports/ABC, Inc. president and ESPN chairman.  Levy tells TALKERS, “It’s an honor to be working with Tom and Steve as we continue to build, develop and scale the Cinchcast and BlogTalkRadio businesses.”

humphriesreidKDWNPractically an Exclusive.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) doesn’t do a lot of conservative talk radio shows.  But Talk Radio Network star Rusty Humphries – who spent part of his earlier career at KKOH in Reno – was able to secure a no-holds-barred interview with Senator Reid at Humphries’ affiliate station KDWN, Las Vegas.  Reid was in his home state while the Senate is on recess and he spoke with Humphries about the hot issues facing Congress.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Humphries, Reid, and KDWN program director John Shaffer.

Suspects Arrested in Marathon Bombing, ObamaCare Implementation, Benghazi Cover-Up Charges, and Gay Athletes Flap among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/1).  The arrest of more suspects connected with the Boston Marathon bombing case; the cost and implementation of the Affordable Care Act; charges that the Hillary Clinton-run State Department covered up aspects of the Benghazi attack; and the flap in the media over gay athletes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

2013 NAB Show: “Metamorphosis:
The Changing Face of Media & Entertainment”

| April 9, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

cookeConnectedMediaWorld 150LAS VEGAS –  Even before 90,000 attendees step into the sprawling Convention Center, they expect change.  The Las Vegas Monorail robo-voice invites them to visit The Cloud Computing Pavilion.

Metamorphosis 200Atop the escalator, more evidence of the “Metamorphosis” that is this year’s NAB Show theme: Publication bins stacked with hard copies are being replaced by a wall-o-magazine covers.  Scan the QR code, and you get the digital version.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

| March 28, 2013

theblaze logoGlenn Beck’s TheBlaze Added to Blue Ridge Communications Cable System.  The push to get more cable TV carriage for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze continues and now the company announces it will be carried on Blue Ridge Communications’ system that serves the Poconos and the Central Pennsylvania region.  It is the nation’s 21st largest cable operator.  TheBlaze also entered into agreements with BEK Communications, Sweetwater Cable Television and Atwood Cable.  TheBlaze president, business development, Lynne Costantini, states, “We’re thrilled to welcome these independent operators into TheBlaze family of television affiliates.  These businesses understand the value of bringing TheBlaze’s original programming and unique perspective to their customers and their business.”  TheBlaze says that customers of these cable operators will now be able to watch its full programming lineup including The Glenn Beck Program, news program “Real News from TheBlaze,” opinion show hosted by Andrew Wilkow, current events show “Pat & Stu” featuring radio personalities Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere, kid’s show “Liberty TreeHouse,” comedy news show “The B.S. of A.,” news magazine “For The Record,” and comical news and current events show “The Wonderful World of Stu featuring Stu Burguiere.”  TheBlaze states that it is currently in carriage conversations with all major satellite, cable, telco and independent companies.

wtoplogoWTOP, Washington Stays #1 on List of Top Billing Stations.  The annual list of top billing stations according to BIA/ Kelsey has been released and Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is at the front of the pack once again with $64.6 million in revenue in 2012 – that’s up a fraction from the $64 million it grossed in 2011.  The rest of the top 10 – split by CBS and Clear Channel – are as follows (in millions):  Clear Channel’s KIIS, Los Angeles ($56.8); Clear Channel’s WHTZ, New York ($48.2); CBS Radio’s WCBS, New York ($47.2); Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles ($46); CBS Radio’s WBBM, Chicago ($45.7); Clear Channel’s WLTW, New York ($43); CBS Radio’s WINS, New York ($41.5); CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM ($41); and CBS Radio’s KROQ, Los Angeles ($39.3).

costadinoSiriusXM Sports Talker Dino Costa Subject of New Film.  Sports talk radio personality Dino Costa will be the subject of a feature-length film to begin production in April in Wyoming.  Chesapeake Films announces that it has started pre-production for a documentary to be completed in 2013 about the life of “controversial SiriusXM Radio personality, Dino Costa.”  The documentary film will be directed by Joel Franco, cinematography by Darko Nikolich, edited by Anthony Bernard, sound design by Karol Urban, and original music by Marianthe Bezzerides.  The film will begin shooting in Wyoming, where Dino Costa resides and produces his daily radio sports talk show.  The crew will then follow Costa to New York, to continue filming Costa’s hometown, friends, fans, and family.  Franco says he wanted to do the film because, “Dino is a breath of fresh air in the world of cookie-cutter sports talk radio.  He is fiercely independent, and connects with his audience like few can.  I just knew that under that big personality was a story waiting to be told.  I am so excited to begin.”  Costa comments, “When I embarked on my career as a talk show host, I wanted to achieve many objectives; I never thought about the possibility of someone wanting to do a film about my career and my life.  In speaking with Joel about his vision for this film, I’m confident that collaborating with the crew at Chesapeake Films will culminate in a documentary about my life that people will find interesting and compelling.”

billyfatbackVillanucci Producer Billy “Fatback” Cornelius Debuts Evening Show on KKOB.  The departure of longtime afternoon drive host Jim Villanucci from Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque, resulted in evening host Scott Stiegler moving into the PM drive slot.  That created an opening in the evenings and Jim Villanucci’s former on-air producer, Billy “Fatback” Cornelius, is now host of his own show airing in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot.  He’ll still produce Stiegler’s program but “Fatback” tells TALKERS magazine, “When asked about the new opportunity, I simply replied, ‘The Fatback Nation will rise.’”  His program debuts this evening.

gearhartjimNew Jersey 101.5’s Jim Gearhart to Be Inducted into the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.  Jim Gearhart has been the morning host on Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” for the past 23 years and now he’s being honored by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association with induction into its Hall of Fame.  Gearhart will be inducted at the Annual Awards Luncheon, which will be held during the NJBA’s 66th Annual Conference in Atlantic City this June 18-19.  NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson says, “Jim will be acknowledged for providing quality content, news, public affairs and diverse entertainment to New Jersey.  Jim’s contributions to the longevity and success of our industry in New Jersey will be recognized.”

miklaszbernieWXOS, St. Louis Host Bernie Miklasz to Leave Radio Gig.  Popular St. Louis sports media personality Bernie Miklasz will exit Hubbard Radio’s WXOS “101 Sports” when his contract wraps up next month.  In a piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Miklasz says he’s leaving the radio show (weekdays 11:00 am to 2:00 pm) to focus on his work with the Post-Dispatch and its STLtoday.com where he’s been a sports columnist since 1989.  He states, “I’ve always loved writing more (than radio), it’s my calling.  Whatever good things I have in my life professionally have been because of the Post-Dispatch. It has led to other opportunities.”  Miklasz says the stress of two jobs is wearing on him.  WXOS program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “He’s such a dynamic personality, but at the end of the day how can you be mad at a guy who’s going back to his roots and giving it his all?  He wants to do his part to help take an industry that has been down on an upswing.  It’s bittersweet (for the station) because what he is doing is very honorable and really cool, so it’s hard to be upset with him.  The guy is such an awesome personality.”  STLtoday.com hints it will be branching out into audio and video on the website and will use Miklasz for that purpose, as well.

thelearningconference logoThe Conclave Announces Agenda for July Learning Conference.  The Conclave announces its preliminary agenda for the July 17-19 “Conclave 38: The Learning Conference” taking place at the Minneapolis/Park Place Doubletree Hotel.  Executive director Bob Shannon states, “The very words ‘The Learning Conference’ implies that Conclave 38 will focus on teaching ideas our attendees can actually use.  Focusing on what works today and the tools we’ll need forshannonbob tomorrow, our faculty includes thinkers, visionaries and practitioners in a wide variety of disciplines including digital, marketing, mobile, programming, social media, and talent creation and training.”  Some of the speakers appearing this year include:  Ivan Braiker/HipCricket, Tim Bronsil/Point to Point Marketing, Jon Chelesnik/Sportcasters Talent Agency of America, Drake Donovan/Splice Video, Joel Folger/Folger Media, Les Garland/Afterplay Entertainment, John Gehron/AccuRadio, Bruce Gilbert/Clear Channel, Phil Hall/Audience Bakery, Michael Harrison/Talkers-Radioinfo.com, Dan Hill/Sensory Logic, Fred Jacobs/Jacobs Media, Randy Lane/The Randy Lane Company, Lori Lewis/Jacobs Media, Kipper McGee/Kipper McGee LLC, Kevin Metheny/Cumulus Media, Chris Miller/Chris Miller Digital, Tim Moore/Audience Development Group, Mark Shannon O’Neill/ROI Media Solutions, Bill Richards/Clear Channel, Larry Rosin/Edison Research, and Walter Sabo/Sabo Media.  Shannon reports that this year’s Conclave begins on Wednesday, July 17 with the fourth annual “Jacobs Media Summer School,” and ends July 19 with “Conclave GAMEDAY,” a day devoted entirely to sports that ends with a reception at KTWN-FM’s studio just before the Minnesota Twins/Cleveland Indians game at Target Field, home of the 2014 All Star Game.  For more information on the Learning Conference and Conclave educational programs, visit http://www.theconclave.com.

SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, North Korea Threats, Dr. Ben Carson Assault, Cyprus Banks Bailout, and Sequester Effects Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/28).  The two days of arguments before the Supreme Court on gay marriage; threats of military action from North Korea; the backlash against Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson; the bailout of Cyprus banks by the EU; and the effects of the sequester were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Keeping It Local is KSCO’s Key to Success

| March 15, 2013

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

SANTA CRUZ, CA — The news/talk radio station in question is not owned by a hedge fund or multi-billion dollar conglomerate.  Their ownership group doesn’t occupy the top floors of a big-city skyscraper.  You will not see the morning or afternoon show brandishing seven-figure contracts, nor the corporate PD flying into town on the company Lear jet, or the “brand manager” moving from market to market implementing new strategies to grow the market cluster.

The fact of the matter is none of the above elements – which have become somewhat commonplace in today’s radio industry – at this station exist.

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

| March 14, 2013

morrisdickCBS Radio’s WPHT, Philadelphia to Add Dick Morris for PM Drive.  The station is making programming moves in anticipation of Michael Smerconish’s departure to SiriusXM Satellite Radio in April and announces political consultant, author and media personality Dick Morris will begin hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm shift.  Currently, Smerconish is on from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm followed by Rich Zeoli and Steve Martorano from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  WPHT does not say if Zeoli and Martorano will remain with the station and be moved to the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot or if it has other plans yet to be announced.  CBS Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “Dick is a great addition to our lineup of live and local personalities, and provides a voice that will raise the audiences’ interest in what’s happening in politics today.  As someone who isn’t afraid to express his opinions or make bold predictions, his show won’t just be a win for Philadelphia and WPHT, it’s a win for radio.”

schultzedMSNBC’s Ed Schultz to Move to Weekend Slot.  News/talk personality Ed Schultz announced at the end of his Wednesday evening program that he will be vacating the 8:00 pm ET time slot on MSNBC to begin hosting a two-hour weekend program on both Saturday and Sunday – from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm beginning in April.  Saying it is “a big opportunity for ‘The Ed Show’ and my brand.”  Schultz said on the air that the five-nights-per-week gig isn’t for him and he’s looking forward to more time to prepare stories.  He told viewers, “I raised my hand for this assignment for a number of personal and professional reasons…My fight on ‘The Ed Show’ has been for the workers and the middle class.  This new time slot will give me the opportunity to produce and focus on stories that I care about and are important to American families and American workers.”  MSNBC offered a congratulatory statement from Phil Griffin but is not announcing just yet who will take over the slot leading into the channel’s prime time star, Rachel Maddow.  Schultz’s program has performed well for the network.  On Tuesday, March 12, for example, Schultz came in second to Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly but beat CNN’s Anderson Cooper in most demographics (in Persons 25-54 Schultz grabbed 195,000 to Cooper’s 170,000, according to TVByTheNumbers.com).  Schultz also fared better than his lead-in, Chris Matthews.  Schultz continues to host his nationally syndicated talk radio program.

longbrianBonneville Seattle Announces Programming Appointments.  Vice president and market manager Carl Gardner promotes KIRO-FM news director Pete Gammell to program director for news/talk KIRO-FM; KIRO-FM assistant program director Jason Antebi to PD of sister news/talk KTTH and sports talk KIRO-AM “710 ESPN” program director Brian Long to senior director of programming for the Bonneville Seattle stations.  Gardner says of Long, “Brian is a talented gammellpeteprogrammer and proven ratings winner. He brings experience, focus, and a leadership style that will be invaluable to our content teams on all three stations.”  The programming positions opened up when programmer Larry Gifford announced he would be leaving the KIRO-FM and KTTH stations back in early February.  On Gammell’s rise antebiJasonto PD, Gardner states, “Pete instinctively understands KIRO Radio.  He was born and raised in Tacoma, educated in Seattle, came up through the KIRO Radio newsroom and has been a leader in shaping KIRO’s distinctive blend of news and conversation.  More than anyone, Pete just gets the unique role this station plays in our community.”  Gammell began his radio career at KIRO Radio in 2000 and moved to San Francisco to work as associate news director at KCBS, San Francisco from 2006 to 2008.  Jason Antebi, who will run the day-to-day programming of KTTH and continue in his role as the architect of KIRO Radio Weekends, worked as a producer in Los Angeles at KLSX, KRLA and  KFI (2006-08).  He served as executive producer at Greenstone Media and as an executive producer of the TRN-syndicated Phil Hendrie show.

2013hh logo 3 inchesTALKERS magazine Unveils the 2013 Heavy Hundred.  The editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, present the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America –– a popular annual feature that has come to be known as the “Heavy Hundred.”  This is one of the most challenging tasks that TALKERS undertakes each year considering that there are thousands of talk show hosts across the country, ranging from national icons to those laboring in relative obscurity.  Aside from the hosts whose sheer numbers and fame demand their inclusion on this list, the selection process is subjective with the goal being to create a list reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor as well as giving credit where credit is due.  The TALKERS magazine editors who painstakingly compile this super-list draw upon a combination of hard and soft factors when evaluating candidates.  These include (in alphabetical order): courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, ratings, recognition, revenue, service, talent and uniqueness.  We acknowledge that it is as much art as science and that the results are arguable.  There is one concrete qualification for inclusion.  Hosts must be working at the time TALKERS magazine initially posts the list in order to be considered.  They must have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station at “press time.”  The list remains intact from that point forward until the next year’s edition.  In past years, TALKERS magazine has included sports talk hosts in the Heavy Hundred.  Last year, due to the massive growth in the sports talk genre, sports talk radio has earned a Heavy Hundred of its own, the 2013 installment of which will be published by TALKERS in the coming months.  TALKERS magazine salutes the fine broadcasters who made this year’s list.  To view it, click here.

zollermarthaMartha Zoller’s Gettin’ Busy.  Georgia talk show host Martha Zoller recently returned to the radio after an unsuccessful run for Congress last year.  She’s heard on Cox Media Group’s WGAU, Athens in AM drive with co-host Tim Bryant and – she tells TALKERS – now on about 10 affiliate stations across the state.

hrabechrisKMOX, St. Louis Brings Chris Hrabe in from Memphis for Evening Sports Show.  The 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight “Dave Sinclair Sports Hub” has a new host as KMOX brings Chris Hrabe in from Flinn Broadcasting’s WHBQ, Memphis, beginning April 4.  Hrabe (pronounced RAY-bee) will host Cardinals and Blues post-game shows in addition to the aforementioned shift.  He’ll also be responsible for contributing content to KMOX.com.  Director of programming and operations Steve Moore states, “Chris is a terrific addition to our sports team.  He’s a talented and accomplished broadcaster, with roots in the Midwest.  He’s well versed in Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and his recent career experience has provided him tremendous insight into the Southeastern Conference.  Sports fans in St. Louis will be pleased to hear his fresh insights and we are confident he’ll make an immediate impact on our programming.”

kpopeSavvy Texas Broadcaster Brings Pontiff Selection to Local Audience.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS about KTBB, Tyler, Texas owner Paul Gleiser’s taking ownership of the new Pope selection story.  He writes: Station managers across the US were already coping with ownership demands for digital and social media revenue as two news items this week complicated such planning: Arbitron issued a “Social Media Do’s & Don’ts” memo and the Federal Trade Commission issued guidelines for sponsored social media content.  Meanwhile, KTBB, Tyler owner/GM/pundit Paul Gleiser (pictured at left in Vatican City) spent a week in Rome…making money with internet content…in market #142.  Full disclosure: Paul is my longtime, long-suffering client; and, admittedly, his coverage of this week’s papal transition hit the ground running because he covered the same story eight years ago.  In both cases, he sold the sponsorship to – you guessed it – the local Catholic hospital.  And he’s a Methodist!  Other local advertisers fund his on-site coverage of the national political conventions every four years, and the full week he and his sports guy spend at the Super Bowl run-up, and other special stuff.  Those sponsors get extra bang for their buck when the local TV station Paul also filed for let him plug them on the tube.  Win-win-win.  All accomplished with equipment in checked luggage, and an assist from ABC News Radio, of which KTBB is an affiliate.  See/hear/read what Paul filed from Rome here, and ask yourself “Why not?”  What can you craft for advertisers that delivers them, and your listeners, something special?

KINB, Oklahoma City Flips to Sports Talk.  The Kingfisher, Oklahoma-licensed FM station had been airing a standards format for the past two years (it was an alternative outlet before that).  The station is part of the Last Bastion Trust including other stations Citadel had to jettison in order to complete the 2007 ABC Radio deal.  A proposed sale to Ferris O’Brien in 2010 never was consummated and the station’s remained in the trust ever since.  The flip from “105.3 The Martini” to “105.3 The Pro” using CBS Sports Radio Network’s programming happened on March 12.

olbermannkeithOdds & Sods.  Keith Olbermann settles with Current TV over his firing.  According to numerous media reports – including The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.com – though the details are confidential, Olbermann and Current TV have settled his $50 million suit against the Al Gore-owned cable network that’s in the process of being sold to Al Jazeera…..Clear Channel’s sports KTKR, San Antonio agrees to renew its deal with the Houston Astros to carry the team’s games during the 2013 season…..Mark Evans moves from adult contemporary WIKY, Evansville, Indiana to sunny San Diego to become the news man on the “Mornings with Chip and LaDona” AM drive show at Clear Channel’s KOGO.

Washington Sequester/Deficit Battle, New Pope Named, North Korea Threats, Upstate New York Shootings, and Gun Legislation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/13).  The debate in Washington over the sequester and moves to reduce the budget deficit; Catholic Church names new Pope; ongoing threats by North Korea; fatal shooting rampage in Upstate New York; and gun legislation proposals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

| March 12, 2013

podcastone logoPodcastOne to Distribute CBS Evening News.  Norm Pattiz-founded Lauchpad Digital Media’s new PodcastOne.com enters into an agreement with CBS to present the “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” as a podcast available at the destination website.  The PodcastOne.com site also features CBS products “CBScbseveningnews image Weekend Roundup,” “Face the Nation” and “60 Minutes.”  PodcastOne.com launched in February and the company says it is “home to over 200 popular podcasts including Adam Carolla, Dennis Miller, Ron Paul, Penn Jillette, Laura Ingraham, Maria Menounos, Tom Green, Dr. Drew and many more.”  On the deal with CBS, Pattiz states, “Anytime we can work with CBS Radio News on anything, we jump at it.  Our relationship with them at Westwood One goes back over two decades and we’re delighted to be working with them now in the on-demand digital world.”  CBS Radio News vice president Harvey Nagler says, “We are excited to work with Launchpad in expanding CBS Radio News’ on-demand audio offerings and making our newscasts available for audiences to enjoy whenever, wherever and however they like.”

radioonelogoRadio One Awards Bonuses to Founder Cathy Hughes and CEO Alfred Liggins.  In a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Radio One announces bonuses of $1.5 million for company CEO Alfred Liggins and $500,000 for founder Cathy Hughes.  The company’s compensation committee decided that ligginsalfredHughes’ involvement in sales activities of its One Solution division “resulted in significant advertising commitments and revenue generation.”  For Liggins, the bonus was based upon the radio division’s 2012 performance.  The committee decided that “the radio division had met its EBITDA plan for the calendar year 2012.”  The committee also noted that Liggins’ involvement in TV One – which saw revenue up 8% and the division’s EBITDA increased to approximately $40 million – was also reason for the bonus.

atsingeredSalem Communications Signs New Contract with CEO Ed Atsinger.  The new contract for CEO Ed Atsinger to continue in that role with Salem through 2016 takes effect after his current deal ends on June 30.  For the next three years, Atsinger will make base salaries of $925,000 in 2013-14, $950,000 in 2014-15, and $975,000 in 2015-16.  That contract will expire on June 30 of 2016.  As is usually the case with chief executive officers, Atsinger will be eligible for bonuses at the discretion of the board of directors.

kantar media logoRadio Ad Spending Up 3% Says Kantar Media; Network Radio Up 16%.  The figures for ad spending across all media according to research from Kantar Media were recently released and, according to the company, radio ad spending was up 4% in the fourth quarter of 2012 and up 3% for the whole of 2012.  For the year, local radio spending was flat; national spot radio was up 3% and network radio – despite a down fourth quarter (-2%) – was up 16%.  National spot radio spending enjoyed a very good Q4 – up 8%.  Kantar Media North America chief research officer Jon Swallen comments on ad spending across all media.  “The advertising market has grown for three consecutive years and in 2012 it added more than $4 billion in spend, with the Summer Olympics and political advertising contributing about one-half of the gain.  Large advertisers also played a significant role.  After reducing their media budgets in 2011 as a precaution against slowing economic growth, the top 100 marketers reversed course in 2012 and invested more.”

limbaughrushOn the Nashville Talk Radio Scene, Premiere Networks Begs to Differ.  Last week TALKERS ran an item from WWTN, Nashville-based talk host Phil Valentine in which he claims to have the highest-cuming talk show in the marketvalentinephil based on the Arbitron Fall 2012 survey and beats  Premiere Networks hosts Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.  Premiere tells TALKERS that, while technically that’s true, the claim is misleading.  The company states, “Valentine has five more hours of programming per week than Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity, and 10 more hours of programming than Glenn Beck — a key factor in Cume calculations; Rush has a larger Average Quarter Hour, Share and TSL; Valentine is on the FM dial during PM Drive in his home market; not only are they in different dayparts, but the Avg. Weekly Cume for the market is also greater during PM Drive than it is for 11:00 am to 2:00 pm; the PUR is also greater.”

grahammichaelTalk Host Michael Graham Announces Digital Initiatives.  Talk radio personality Michael Graham – who spent the past seven years hosting a show at Greater Media’s former news/talk WTKK, Boston – announces a new digital component to his brand to coincide with his recently announced Massachusetts-wide show heard on three Bay State signals.  Graham says his show is now able to be heard online and via smartphones through an app available at his site MichaelGraham.com.  That’s also where he’s operating his blog.

harrisonmichaelMichael Harrison Talks Candidly About Radio and its Future on WNYM (970 The Answer), New York.  In an interview conducted by weekend talk show host Frank Morano (morning host Curtis Sliwa‘s executive producer) this past Saturday morning (3/9), TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison discusses his views on the state and future of AM/FM radio.  In it Harrison states that the longevity of what is increasingly being marginalized as “terrestrial radio” will be determined by its broadcasters themselves and their dedication to preserving its legacy and pertinence to life in the 21st century.  Harrison offers his unfiltered remedy for radio’s problems and offers a simple-but-powerful formula for its continued relevance.  To hear Frank Morano’s interview with Michael Harrison click

 
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wachspawnstarDr. Daliah Wachs Becomes a Pawn Star!  Las Vegas-based medical doctor and nationally syndicated talk show host Daliah Wachs appeared on the March 11 edition of History Channel’s super-successful “Pawn Stars” show.  She’s pictured here with the show’s Rick Harrison during a break in the shoot.  During the program Daliah brought in an old pair of dental pliers used for tooth extraction and sold it for $170.  Members of the TALKERS editorial board who saw the show last night raved that Daliah was “articulate, charming, and her adorable self.”

KKOBbreakingbadBreaking Bad at KKOB.  Stars of the AMC hit series “Breaking Bad” visited Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque – the city in which the quirky and compelling series is set – to discuss the show’s final season and much more.  Pictured here are (from l-r): actor Bryan Cranston, who plays protagonist Walter White; actor Steven Michael Quezada, who plays DEA agent Steven Gomez; KKOB morning show host Bob Clark; and morning show producer Jeniffer Davis.

North Korea Threats, New York Soda Ban Stayed, Unemployed and Job Seekers Down, Papal Conclave, Washington Sequester Battle and Funding of ObamaCare Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/11).  North Korea’s nuclear threats and dismissal of 1953 truce; New York Mayor Bloomberg’s sugary drinks ban hits judicial roadblock; unemployment figures down along with numbers of unemployed still seeking work; the search for a new Pope; the ongoing battle in Washington over the sequester; and Republican funding attacks on the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, February 22, 2013

| February 22, 2013

pagliarulojoeHow Do You Know It’s a Good Topic and That It Will Work Where You’re Broadcasting?  That’s a great question with an increasing number of radio talk show hosts working “locally” by remote on more than one station or simply being syndicated across a region or the entire nation. So, TALKERS magazine went to a broadcaster who is eminently qualified to answer the question – Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, a member of the TALKERS Heavy hundred — who hosts mornings on KPRC, Houston; late afternoons on WOAI, San Antonio; weekends locally on KOA, Denver and weekends nationally on “The Weekend” show.  He is also a major “go to” fill-in host for such hosts as Glenn Beck, Todd Schnitt and many others. Pags writes, “Many years ago, I thought it was easy to gauge.  Whatever gets the phone ringing, right?  Not so much.  I take a lot of phone calls.  I’d say more than you might hear on other shows.  But, I insist they be of substance and advance the conversation or be really funny and entertaining.  Making the phones ring, it turns out, is easy.  ‘Abortion, for or against?  Here’s the number.’  That’s sure to melt the lines down and guaranteed to be a horrible show.  Those blinking lights are addictive and the interaction intoxicating, but I once heard a stat that showed 2% of all listeners will ever call into a radio show.  How do you make sure you’re engaging the other 98% as well?”  Read Pags’ entire article here.

grumdahldaraWCCO, Minneapolis Adds Weekend Food Show.  The CBS Radio news/talk station announces Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl brings her food writing talents to the WCCO lineup, hosting a one-hour show called “Off The Menu” beginning March 2.  Grumdahl, is a senior editor at Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine, she’s been the top voice in Twin Cities food since her work as City Pages restaurant critic (1997 to 2008,) launched her to national prominence with a string of James Beard Awards, the highest award of the food world.  WCCO program director Bob Shomper says, “WCCO has a long and rich history of food and nutrition, from the recipe shows and farm reports of the past to the latest dining trends and nutritional information of today.  Dara is the Twin Cities’ premier expert on food.  She will bring WCCO’s tradition of nutritional information to new heights, on all platforms, on-air, online and on mobile devices.  We are thrilled to have her on the WCCO team.”

baileyralphTalk Host Ralph Bailey Exits KNZR, Bakersfield.  Afternoon drive talk host Ralph Bailey resigns suddenly from his position with the Buckley Broadcasting station and although he gives no hint of where he may surface, The Bakersfield Californian speculates he may be headed for American General Media’s crosstown KERN.  Bailey wrote on his Facebook page, in part, “It was with a heavy heart that I tendered my resignation to Buckley Radio today.  However, future opportunities and challenges make it virtually impossible not to seek out new adventures.  I would like to thank Steve Darnell, Kathy Baker and, posthumously, Rick Buckley.  To my colleagues, I hope I was a team player who made the station and the client top priority and someone who grasped the concept of pulling on one side of the rope.  To my sponsors, I hope I played a small role in your success and thank you for your support!”

picarddannyBoston Sports Talk Host Gets Terrestrial Outlet.  Boston native Danny Picard – whose “I’m Just Sayin’” sports talk show appeared on recent editions of TALKERS magazine’s Frontier Fifty feature spotlighting internet-only talk radio hosts – gets his daily program added to the schedule at Blackstrap Broadcasting’s WUFC, Boston “NBC Sports Radio.”  The show is a simulcast of his 9:00 am to 10:00 am internet program but Picard tells TALKERS it is “essentially the same show I do now, only I’ll no longer be broadcasting from my South Boston living room apartment. I’ll be broadcasting from the 1510 NBC Sports Radio Boston studios on Marina Bay.”  Picard says he’s excited about the development.  “I’ve been hosting this show for a while now, and it’s a thrill to finally be heard on an AM signal in Boston every weekday.  I’m extremely passionate about what I do, and I look forward to expressing my passion to an expanding audience.”  Picard began doing his program from his University of Massachusetts-Amherst apartment in 2006.  He’s been covering all the major pro sports teams at Comcast SportsNet New England for the CSNNE.com site since it launched in 2009.  Picard continues his role with Comcast SportsNet.  Photo by Jennifer Bodnar.

whitmanshapiroThe Tom Joyner Syndrome – without the Expensive Planes!  Pictured here are two coast-to-coast broadcasting adventures.  First, at left are KRLA, Los Angeles “Morning Answer” co-hosts Brian Whitman (left) and Ben Shapiro (right) from their studios at Salem Los Angeles (Heidi Harris also co-hosts the morning show on KRLA).  On Thursday, February 21 the two pulled double duty by filling in on Salem’s New York news/talker WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” for Curtis Sliwa’s mcculloughhomestudioand Jeffrey Lichtman’s PM drive show as both were on vacation.  At the same time, New York City-based Kevin McCullough (at right), whose nationally syndicated broadcast airs mornings on his longtime flagship AM 570 WMCA in New York, has been pulling double duty in Los Angeles on Salem’s Christian talk station 99.5 KKLA-FM in afternoon drive (4:00 pm to 7:00 pm PT).  Kevin McCullough began doing the afternoon show in Los Angeles after the tragic Thanksgiving week motorcycle accident that eventually claimed the life of Salem personality Frank Pastore.  McCullough is pictured here Thursday evening doing the KKLA-FM show from the studios of New York-based XtreMEDIA.

larsonlarsTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Compass Media NetworksLars Larson is added to the lineup at KQV, Pittsburgh…..Michael Patrick Shiels adds country outlet WQTX, Lansing, Michigan to his affiliate list for his statewide AM drive show.  The add marks Shiels’ return to Lansing after exiting Cumulus Media’s WJIM a year ago and sitting out a non-compete…..Fox Sports Radio Network announces KGGS, Garden City, Kansas adds the network’s entire daily lineup as the station re-brands as “Big Dog Sports 1340”…..Dial Global and NBC’s NBC Sports Radio sign an agreement for Alpha Broadcasting’s KXTG-AM, Portland to carry their content…..Gow Broadcasting-operated Yahoo! Sports Radio adds affiliate KMZQ, Las Vegas for its sports talk programming…..“Right Turn Radio” – a program about addiction and mental health hosted by Woody Geissman and Abby Dean – now airs on WRKO, Boston Sundays at 7:00 pm.  The show is a production of Right Turn, a local non-profit that provides innovative outpatient treatment and supporting housing for addicts…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds new affiliate KRDO-AM/FM, Colorado Springs.

Sequestration and Deficit Reduction Top Talk Radio Topics for Week of February 18-22.  The battle in Washington over the looming sequestration and the related calls for deficit reduction were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Coming in at #2 was immigration reform.  At #3 was soaring gasoline prices followed by the costs of ObamaCare at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio each week based on ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, February 18, 2013

| February 18, 2013

blazergraceGrace Blazer Lands at Clear Channel Miami.  Former WTKK, Boston program director Grace Blazer is the new PD at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WIOD and sports WINZ, Miami.  She exited the Greater Media talk station when it flipped to rhythmic AC at the end of 2012.  Prior to WTKK, Blazer programmed WPHT, Philadelphia.  In a statement, Blazer says, “The depth of Clear Channel’s resources is phenomenal.  Working for our industry’s leading media company and programming WIOD and WINZ is a superb opportunity.  I’m excited to partner with Alex Tear, Lonny Anger and the talented staffs of ‘News Radio 610/100.3FM’ and 940’s ‘Sports Animal’ to grow these stations.”  The programming position at WIOD and WINZ opened up when Ken Charles moved up to the VP of programming position at Clear Channel’s Sacramento cluster.

cainhermanHermain Cain Joins Fox News Channel as Contributor.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Herman Cain becomes part of the Fox News Channel stable of contributors.  Cain, who took over the late morning slot long held by talk radio pioneer Neal Boortz at Cox Media’s WSB, Atlanta and his national syndication distributed by Dial Global, will make regular appearances on FNC where EVP of programming Bill Shine says in a statement, “Cain’s impressive resume makes him a valuable addition to the Fox News and Fox Business lineup.  As a political expert with business savvy, he brings an important voice to the nation’s debates.”  In addition to his recent run for president, Cain also was CEO of the Godfather’s Pizza chain and held the CEO position at the National Restaurant Association.

wfan logoNY Post Reports CBS Radio New York Weighing WFAN-AM/FM Options.  The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick writes that the brass at CBS Radio in New York City is weighing its programming options for the sports talk tandem of WFAN-AM and FM as the company must be eager to get the fledgling CBS Sports Radio Network programming on in the largest market in the country.  Currently, the full schedule of WFAN programming is heard on both signals but the need to get the new national network some Big Apple exposure is pressing.  A statement from the company to the Post goes, “We have a number of great options and are closely examining each one.”  At issue is the fact that WFAN-AM’s 660 signal is huge and the 101.9 FM signal is decent but nowhere near as far-reaching as 660 AM.  Will the local sports talk remain on 660 AM and the national network appear on 101.9 FM?  Will it be the other way around or a mixture of the two?  As Mushnick hints, you can bet some of the WFAN stalwarts – including PM driver Mike Francesa and AM drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton – would like to stay on the huge 660 AM signal.  CBS Radio is expected to make a decision within the next few months.

DG-logoHorizontalDial Global to Cease SEC Reporting.  The company cites, among other things, “the relatively limited historical volume of trading in the Company’s common stock and the applicable federal securities laws” as one of the reasons it will suspend its reporting obligations under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Dial Global’s board of directors determined that such action would be in the best interests of the company.  It says, “In reaching this conclusion, the Company’s Board of Directors considered numerous factors including the compliance costs associated with filing periodic reports with the SEC and the diversion of management attention from other matters that result from being a reporting company.”  Dial Global left the NASDAQ and its stock is traded on OTC Pink.  It states, “There can be no assurance, however, that a trading market in the Company’s common stock through the over-the-counter market or any other market will be maintained.”

landaudavidDavid Landau Gets Nice Severance from Dial Global.  Technically it’s not a severance but regardless, former co-CEO of Dial Global David Landau will receive $600, 000 per annum for the next two years plus other unspecified benefits after the company decided to re-align its corporate management structure and make Spencer Brown sole CEO and former co-CEO Ken Williams president.

stpierreronWPRO, Providence Lets Ron St. Pierre Go.  In a move that appears to be about saving money, Ron St. Pierre exits his role as PM drive host Buddy Cianci’s sidekick/executive producer.  GoLocalProv.com reports that this is the latest in a series of moves at the Cumulus Media station that began with the ouster of Andrew Gobiel from the WPRO morning show and the re-assignment of Tara Granahan from the AM show to other news duties.  The station brought WJAR-TV anchor Gene Valicenti in to host the morning program.  St. Pierre has served at WPRO as program director – the first time in 1988 – as general manager, and as host of the station’s morning show.  Ron can be reached at ron.stpierre@cox.net.

millerchrisGood Writing Is at the Core of Digital Success.  Writing for the internet is a very different art form than writing for the radio.  Noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller says, “Good writing is at the heart of what we do online, and how we communicate with our fans.  Don’t just do it for the art of it; do it because it can help stretch your few thousand Facebook fans into tens of millions of annual impressions.  Do it because it will help get your tweets re-tweeted.  We’re talking about building your numbers here!”  Miller advises TALKERS readers to avoid three common mistakes in writing for the web: 1) over-selling; 2) being boring; and 3) social desperation.  Read his entire piece here.

raytomWINTER ADVICE:  Be Sure to Install Deicers on your Antenna.  It is not too late to do it or to be concerned.  The failure to properly install deicers on your antenna to save a few bucks in the short term can not only interfere with the quality of your signal, it can put you off the air entirely, not to mention cause severe costly damage to your components and even create a major fire hazard.  TALKERS technical editor and noted engineering consultant Tom Ray says, “While money is tight all over, the last thing you need is your transmitter and/or building to be a smoking hulk.  Consult with someone qualified to guide you.  Think of it like buying an insurance policy.  You may not want to spend the cash, but it could save you a bundle in the long run.  Read Tom Ray’s entire article here.

trumpdonaldTrump-Maher Suit “Stretches Credulity.”  TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes that the $5 million suit Donald Trump is filing against Bill Maher has no chance of success, little chance of getting a day in court and could incur sanctions against Trump and his attorney for filing a frivolous lawsuit.  In case you missed it, Maher went on “The Tonight Show” in January and – based on the color of Trump’s hair – joked that he would donate $5 million to a charity of Trump’s choice if he would produce his birth certificate to show he is not the son of an orangutan.  Read more of Weisman’s account about why this spat is still going on and upon what legal ground the complaint stands (or doesn’t as the case may be).  It’s here.

johnsondanistudioXtreMEDIA Syndicated Host Dani Johnson Profiled in Forbes.  The host of the weekly XtreMEDIA-syndicated Dani Johnson program was profiled on Forbes.com on Thursday and, according to XtreMEDIA CEO Kevin McCullough, the story went viral “with 15,700 shares on Facebook in a little more than a day.  Heading into the weekend it was still the ‘Most Popular’ and ‘Most Read’ piece on Forbes.com.”  McCullough tells TALKERS, “Her story as a broke homeless woman to becoming a multiple millionaire to even now helping others get out of debt, restore relationships, and expand their influence is a story that rocketed her from one affiliate station in January of 2012 to 95 stations and counting in January of 2013.  Dani is the most important voice in all of American media – not just talk radio – that most of the nation still hasn’t heard from.  Hundreds of thousands of lives changed for the better, only proves the point that she has something that real audiences are looking for… connection!”  Read the Forbes story here.

You’re Fired? Timing is Everything.

| December 11, 2012

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — If you haven’t already noticed, you’ve got to see this.  Grab a copy of USA Today.  Any day will do, but it has to be the newsstand hard copy.  No digital version will work.

Radio is reeling from another Clear Channel bloodbath, just in time for Christmas.  It wasn’t the first, it won’t be the last, and it’s not just Clear Channel.  But heartless timing.  The nerve of ‘em.

In the words of Eric Stratton, Rush Chairman: “Let me tell you the story of another loser…”

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

| November 7, 2012

Conclusion of Election Raises Inevitable Questions.  The dramatic and contentious election of 2012 has finally come to a conclusion.  As President Barack Obama prepares to begin his second term as the nation’s chief executive with control of the House and Senate split between the parties, inevitable questions arise about the path and positioning of news/talk radio in the new political environment.  How does the re-election of Obama impact the agendas of conservative and liberal talk radio?  How long will it take before political presidential jockeying overtly begins as the periods between election cycles grow shorter?  What are the economic implications of this election?  How will the economy affect the radio industry in general?  Will the current advertising agency hostility toward conservative talk radio intensify or dissipate?  What will be the new, unexpected issues that dominate on-air conversation as we move beyond the deafening chatter of Election 2012?  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has already begun fielding these questions from the nation’s radio-watchers in the mainstream press.   According to Harrison very little will change in terms of the on-air party lines: “As much as I encourage talk radio to expand the menu of its subject matter and spread out into a diversity of formats and subjects – which I actually believe will happen in the coming year or two — don’t expect to see a sudden change or modification of positioning among the ranks of established, opinionated political hosts.  These next two years will be no picnic for the president.  If you look back at Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon – two polarizing figures in American politics – their second terms were far more turbulent generating more contentious media conversation than their first.  Even Ronald Reagan had his Iran-Contra issue in his second term.  You can probably expect the same with Obama.”  Harrison expects the next congressional election to start immediately and the next presidential election to begin shortly thereafter.  “Biden might be flirting with the idea of running in 2016 but you can count on all eyes and ears being focused on the Clintons and perhaps another Bush.”  As far as the economic picture is concerned, Harrison is optimistic stating, “I think things are destined to improve regardless of who is president.  Let us all do our best to make the radio industry relevant and prosperous in the exciting days and years ahead.”  Of course there will be a spectrum of contrasting views on this subject.  For example, TRN talk show host Jerry Doyle tells TALKERS that he plans to call out a number of his fellow conservative hosts on his show today for “being cheerleaders for the GOP and not questioning some of their positions that are tarnishing the Republican brand.”  He uses the analogy, “I love Corvettes, but I won’t be buying one because of all the as***les driving them today.  The same thing with the Republicans – I find it hard to call myself a Republican because of so many of their ridiculous opinions and terrible candidates that fly in the face of today’s reality.”

Will Obama’s Re-Election Cause Programmers to Reflect?  Consultant Holland Cooke makes strong statements about what the re-election of Barack Obama should mean to talk radio hosts and programmers.  He says, “Heavy early voting and long lines yesterday say ‘Hear me!’ to talk radio’s default I-talk-you-listen model,” and Cooke states that voters didn’t conform to the prevailing talk radio narrative.  Do you agree or disagree that there’s a lesson in the election results for talk radio?  Before you answer, read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.

Radio One to Flip WMOJ, Cincinnati to Sports in January.  Radio One’s rhythmic oldies WMOJ, Cincinnati “Mojo 100.3” has gone all Christmas but after the holidays the station will not return to “jammin’ oldies” but will be an outlet for CBS Sports Radio Network’s new 24/7 sports talk format.  Program director Steve Harris tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter that the opportunity to do sports on FM was too great to pass up.  The station is expected to carry the bulk of the national lineup – John Feinstein, Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb and Scott Ferrall – but Harris says there has been no decision made about whether to do a local AM drive show or take what CBS Sports Radio Networks has to offer in that daypart.  Cincinnati currently has two AM sports talk outlets – WSAI, a Fox Sports Radio Network affiliate, and WCKY, an ESPN Radio affiliate – in addition to news/talk WLW which airs a fair amount of sports programming as well.

New Jersey 101.5 Partners with Governor’s Office in Storm Relief.  Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is announcing its own “Restore New Jersey” and restorenewjersey.com are officially working with Governor Chris Christie’s and his wife Mary Pat’s “Sandy NJ Relief Fund.”  The station’s group marketing director Ray Handel says the station is immediately beginning to inform listeners about donation efforts.  He issues this statement: “New Jersey 101.5 will continue to be involved with restoring New Jersey from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.  We informed millions of Jersey listeners on news and survival information before, during and after the storm.  The station served as a lifeline to millions who lost power, and gave those millions a voice.  Now as our attention turns to long term recovery, we introduce ‘Restore New Jersey,’ an on-going fundraising effort that will be featured on New Jersey 101.5 and nj1015.com for at least the next six months.  We will be working with Governor and Mary Pat Christie so we can partner with their ‘Sandy NJ Relief Fund.’  Governor Christie is very much a part of NJ101.5, as he has a monthly show on our station.  The governor has received much praise in his leadership during this crisis.  This past Saturday the governor introduced this state wide charity, and we feel this will merge perfectly with the state wide help New Jersey 101.5’s ‘Restore New Jersey’ will provide.  All funds raised will stay right here in New Jersey, and we think New Jersey 101.5 can really take the lead with this effort.”

NAB ‘Licensed to Serve’ Newsletter Recognizes Broadcasters Covering Sandy.  The National Association of Broadcasters released its most recent “Licensed to Serve” newsletter detailing many of the efforts of broadcasters – both radio and television – that provided news and information to the regions affected by Hurricane Sandy.  NAB EVP of media relations Dennis Wharton and his staff have put together an excellent summary of the work done by over-the-air broadcasters in serving the needs of their communities.  Wharton is passionate about the role of radio and television broadcasters in times of crisis and the NAB’s work showcasing it in this regard serves the broadcasting community well.  See the NAB’s “Licensed to Serve” page here.

Radio Personality Robinson to PM Drive on KCJF, Jonesboro, Arkansas.  Tall Cotton Media’s new sports talk KCJF, Jonesboro, Arkansas “103.9 The Game” names radio personality Robinson PM drive host.  He comes to sports talk radio after a career in rock radio at Entercom’s Rochester, New York music outlets classic rock WCMF and rock WBZA.  Tall Cotton took over ownership of the outlet in September from Catherine Joanna Flinn.  The station is a Fox Sports Radio Network affiliate.

Red Zebra Extends Play-by-Play Deal with Georgetown.  The Hoyas will be heard on Red Zebra’s Washington, DC sports talk duo WTEM and WSPZ “ESPN 980 and SportsTalk570; Powered by ESPN” for seasons to come as the two partners extend their contract.  Under the terms of the deal, Red Zebra will broadcast the school’s men’s basketball games.  Red Zebra president and CEO Rick Carmean says, “We are excited to team with Georgetown University and Coach Thompson’s squad as they continue the tradition as one of the best teams the area has to offer.”  The Hoyas open their season Friday, November 9 aboard the USS Bataan in Jacksonville against the Florida Gators.  All Hoya games will be broadcast by Rich Chvotkin who is in his 40th season calling Georgetown games.

Longtime KSL, Salt Lake City Weekend Gardening Show Host Larry Sagers Dead at 63.  Horticulture expert and radio talker Larry Sagers, whose weekend gardening program the “Greenhouse Show” co-hosted with Tim Hughes was a mainstay for years on KSL, Salt Lake City has succumbed to his long battle with mesothelioma, a form of cancer often associated with exposure to asbestos.  Sagers was a horticulture agent with the Utah State University Extension and an extremely popular local figure.

The 2012 Election and Hurricane Sandy Aftermath Dominate News/Talk Radio Yesterday (11/6).  As is usually the case on a presidential election day, the election itself – not only the presidential race but the Senate and House races as well as controversial ballot issues around the nation – dominated the discussion on news/talk radio on Tuesday.  Additionally, there was still considerable talk about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, especially in the Northeast where New Jersey and New York are still recovering from the storm.

Friday, October 26, 2012

| October 26, 2012

Interviewing the Commander in Chief.  WYD Media nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish is interviewing President Barack Obama today at 12:00 noon ET for the seventh time and the fourth time since he took office in 2009.  He will be given 15 minutes with the president. Today’s interview will be broadcast on the Michael Smerconish program this afternoon at 1:00 pm ET.  Getting an interview with the chief executive, even by phone, is a major deal on radio but Smerconish is one of the few radio personalities to have the privilege to do a no-holds-barred discussion with the president about the issues in a rare sit-down session actually in the Oval Office.  In an exclusive interview with Smerconish conducted this morning at 9:00 am ET, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison speaks with the host about his mindset, the state of partisan news/talk radio, and about what goes into preparing for a discussion with the commander-in-chief.  Listen to their conversation here. (If you are on a mobile device – please click here).

To hear Michael Smerconish’s interview with President Obama, click below.

WQXI, Atlanta Promotes Keith Allen to APD.  The Lincoln Financial Media sports talk outlet announces “Mayhem in the AM” producer Keith Allen is adding the assistant program director duties to his responsibilities.  He’ll continue to produce the morning show.  Program director Bob Richards states, “Keith has produced the biggest brands in the market.  He understands our target demo and is one of the key factors in making ‘Mayhem in the AM’ the top-rated sports talk show in Atlanta over the past year.  Keith’s appointment to this position is one of many exciting changes taking place at ‘790 The Zone.’”  Allen came to WQXI three years ago.  Previously he served as producer at sports talk WBNS, Columbus.

WGN, Chicago’s Dean Richards Hosts 16th Annual Breast Cancer Special.  This will be the 16th year WGN, Chicago’s Dean Richards has hosted the multi award-winning breast cancer special.  It takes place Sunday from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and is presented by Walgreens.  WGN states, “The live, three-hour town hall meeting examines where we are in the fight against breast cancer featuring a panel of the nation’s leading medical experts, moving survivor stories, resources for cancer patients, the latest research and more.  Special guests include: breast cancer survivor and actress Maura Tierney; Dr. Kathy Albain, medical oncologist, Loyola University Medical Center; Dr. Claudia Perez, assistant professor surgery, surgical oncology, Loyola University Medical Center; Deborah Cornwall, author of the new book, Things I Wish I’d Known: Cancer Caregivers Speak Out; and LauraJane Hyde, chief executive officer of Gilda’s Club Chicago.

Get Well Wishes to WIBA, Madison’s Mitch Henck.  Morning talk show host Mitch Henck is off the air at Clear Channel’s news/talk WIBA, Madison this week after suffering a mild stroke early Monday morning.  The Wisconsin State Journal reports co-workers held a get-well-Mitch discussion on the radio this week and news director Robin Colbert said, “”He’s in the hospital, but he is recovering and getting stronger and better every day.”  Henck hosts the 8:00 am to 11:00 am show on WIBA.

Al Gore’s Current TV on the Block.  The New York Post reports the cable channel owned by former Vice President Al Gore, CEO Joel Hyatt and other private investors is up for sale.  Hyatt tells the Post, “Current has been approached many times by media companies interested in acquiring our company.  This year alone, we have had three inquiries.  As a consequence, we thought it might be useful to engage expertise to help us evaluate our strategic options.”  The story notes Current TV is interviewing investment banks but has yet to launch a formal sales process.  The Post reports ad revenue for 2011 for the cable channel was estimated at $16.9 million.  It is available in approximately 60 million homes.

Dave Ramsey Delivers in Denver.  Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey recently presented his brand new, intimate “Living a Legacy Live” event in Denver to a record crowd.  This presentation centers on “how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.”  Speaker and author Jon Acuff joined Ramsey on stage.  Local stations KLZ, Denver and KRDO, Colorado Springs benefitted from Ramsey’s appearance in the region.  KLZ station manager Mike Triem states, “The listeners of ‘560 The Source’ get to learn daily from Dave and they set aside that time each day and week to grow their knowledge about finances and about life.  The ‘Living a Legacy’ event gives our listeners the opportunity to learn from Dave ‘live.’  These listeners will be able to establish a lasting legacy for their children and what their friends and co-workers will ‘take away’ from knowing them.”  Pictured above are (from l-r): KLZ’s Mike Triem, Dave Ramsey, KRDO program director Mike Lewis, and Jon Acuff.

Welcoming the Candidates to Nevada.  KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive talk show host Alan Stock is pictured here with Governor Mitt Romney backstage at the Henderson Pavilion in Henderson, Nevada.  Stock was invited to welcome the crowd for the Romney/Ryan Rally in Henderson where some 8,000 supporters gathered.  KDWN program director John Shaffer says, “It’s always great to have your station and its talk personalities involved in the local community, but to have one be asked to participate in an event of this magnitude, makes me realize the integral role KDWN plays in Las Vegas.”  Stock was elated at the opportunity to welcome the candidates to Nevada, saying, “It was an incredible experience to be part of an historic event like this, to be in the presence of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and to feel the energy of the crowd that came out to support them.”

Odds & Sods.  Drew Belzer exits ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles where he’d been serving as a reporter/anchor and host after nine years with the station…..CBS Radio’s sports talk WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia inks a deal with Villanova University to carry play-by-play of the school’s men’s basketball and football that begins with the 2012-13 basketball season.  Games and special Villanova basketball and football talk shows will air on WIP’s AM 610 signal…..The Washington Post reports CBS Radio’s WJFK, Washington “106.7 The Fan” and Hubbard’s WFED, Washington “Federal News Radio” will share carriage of the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the NBA’s Washington Wizards.  Both teams’ games will air on both stations unless there’s a conflict, then the Capitals will air on WJFK and the Wizards will air on WFED…..A1R Psychic Radio earns a “special thanks” credit from the executive producer of NBC/Universal’s “Trisha Goddard Show” for its help contributing to the Halloween edition of the show dealing with psychics and mediums.

Washington Programmer and Personality Bernie McCain Mourned.  Bernie McCain was the first program director of Radio One’s WOL, Washington when it flipped to a talk format.  He also served as a personality on the station.  He came to WOL from crosstown WWRC.  McCain died of kidney failure on October 13 at the age of 75.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The WYD Media-produced and Dial Global-distributed Michael Smerconish program is added to the schedule at KGY, Seattle…..Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” is added to the program schedule at Cox Media’s WDBO, Orlando.  Other stations adding Dean include: KLFE, Seattle; WPGB, Pittsburgh; KFAB, Omaha; WELI, New Haven; and WSCC, Charleston, South Carolina…..Dial Global‘s’ “Jill on Money” with Jill Schlesinger is picked up by KJRB, Spokane and KNEZ, Reno…..WGDJ, Albany adds Cumulus Media NetworksMichael Savage to the program schedule…..Mass Wave Media Group’s “Scott and Tim” overnight talk show featuring Scott Chambers and Tim Sutton is added to the program lineup at WTDR, Talladega, Alabama and WGAD, Gadsden, Alabama…..KIVA, Albuquerque adds the “Out Loud Minute” by talk personality Malcolm Out Loud.

Presidential Race Polls Top Talkers TenTM for Week of October 22-26.  Talk of the numerous polls tallying support for the presidential candidates was the #1 story on news/talk radio this week, according to TALKERS.  The second most-talked-about story was the Benghazi attack controversy.  Coming in third was the aftermath of the presidential debates and at #4 was the Mourdock rape comments.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

| October 17, 2012

Creating Content Available Nowhere Else at Bonneville Seattle.  News/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle and parent company Bonneville announce a changing role for “Seattle’s Morning News” anchor Linda Thomas that puts the radio personality and journalist in the driver’s seat for bringing unique, local content to both KIRO-FM and the company’s digital space MyNorthwest.com.  Bonneville says Thomas will “devote 100% of her time and energy to original enterprise reporting for radio and digital channels in a groundbreaking new role announced today by KIRO Radio and MyNorthwest.com.  As senior features reporter at KIRO Radio and MyNorthwest.com, her role is to meet intriguing people and tell their stories.  In her role as digital journalist, Linda will continue her award-winning blog and file original reports to MyNorthwest.com covering topics from parenting and politics to technology and trends.”

During numerous presentations at industry gatherings, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has stated that what radio must do to survive this convergence of media and the changes in consumer behavior it is fostering, is to create content that is only available in one place – your radio station.  KIRO’s move combines this notion with the concept of a “media station” – a digital destination for unique multi-media content.  Bonneville’s radio and digital news director Peter Gammell says, “Original local reporting is what fuels KIRO Radio’s conversations and drives our users to visit MyNorthwest.com.  Linda has a proven ear for the compelling story, and she’s one of our most prolific reporters.  This role frees her to focus on what only she can do.”

Thomas relishes her opportunity to pursue her journalistic endeavors.  “I believe everybody has a story, and I want to know what’s yours.  I meet so many people whose stories have value, and someone hearing or reading them is going to have their life changed by their bravery and originality.”  Program director Larry Gifford states, “I’ve always been impressed with the compassion in Linda’s reporting.  She finds real, interesting people in the community, has a personal conversation with them and shares what she’s learned.  I can’t wait to hear who she introduces me to next.”

Thomas will continue her popular “News Chick” efforts.  Tweeting and posting on social media as “The News Chick,” Thomas is among the most-followed local journalists in the U.S., according to Bonneville.  The company says she promises her social media followers on Twitter @thenewschick and Facebook will continue to be fed her customary stream of sharable gems.  “The value of social media for me is connecting – in real life when possible – with people in the community, and being there when they want to interact with me.”  In addition to her longer-form radio and online feature reporting, social media are where she will continue sharing viral videos, photos, links to eye-catching stories from Seattle to Hollywood and around the world — along with Thomas’ famed fascination with her boots.

Cumulus Media Inks Agreement to Buy New York Market FM.  Pending approval from the FCC, Cumulus Media will have a third New York City station after closing on Family Stations, Inc.’s WFME, Newark, New Jersey.  Cumulus states in a press release that it will announce format plans for the Class B FM at 94.7 upon closing and expects that to happen sometime in the fourth quarter of this year.  Crain’s New York Business cites an industry insider saying Cumulus got WFME for a bargain: $40 million. Family Stations has undergone changes during the past year and is said to be cash-strapped after Family Stations chief Harold Camping’s apocalyptic predictions on the date of Christ’s reappearance last year failed on two occasions.  CEO Lew Dickey says, “This strategic acquisition of our second FM in the nation’s largest market will enable us to provide compelling new programming for our listeners and a powerful marketing vehicle for our advertising partners.”  Of course, although Cumulus is remaining vague about the specifics of its programming intentions with the new acquisition, industry observers are actively speculating as to what might be in store for the Big Apple’s soon-to-be competitive commercial FM.  For years, through several ownerships, WABC program directors have privately confessed that they wished talk-formatted WABC had a NYC FM outlet for its programming.  But the fact that its only sister FM, hot AC WPLJ (95.5) has been such a consistent ratings and revenue success put up a roadblock to that happening easily.  Now with the New York talk market in flux per Clear Channel‘s soon-to-be-completed takeover of WOR and Cumulus launching new high-profile syndicated talk shows such as Mike Huckabee and Geraldo Rivera, and with the end of their contracts with Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity shows looming – it makes sense that they would be looking for a new Gotham outlet for their considerably valuable talk properties.  Of course, this is just speculation.

Tavis Smiley Takes on WBEZ, Chicago in Open Letter After Public Station Cancels Weekend “Smiley & West” Program.  Talk media personality Tavis Smiley wrote an open letter to Chicago Public Media president and CEO Torey Malatia after the station cancelled his weekend program “Smiley & West,” co-hosted by Princeton professor Cornel West.  In the letter, Smiley reacts to his work being called “less than inclusive” and being compared to Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly but Malatia in response to WBEZ cancelling his program.  Read the entire letter here.

KTTH, Seattle Announces New Schedule; Names David Boze AM Drive Host.  Beginning in January, Seattle talk radio personality David Boze will have a new role with the Bonneville talk station.  Boze currently does a one-hour program at 3:00 pm on KTTH that serves as a local hour between Salem Radio Network’s Michael Medved and Premiere NetworksSean Hannity on the station.  In January, Boze will host the three-hour morning drive show and bumps Premiere’s Glenn Beck from the AM drive slot on the station.  Bonneville Seattle program director Larry Gifford states, “David is a stand-up guy with a traditional Northwest sensibility.  He’s someone you’d want as a neighbor – who happens to host a great radio show.  He always leaves me better informed and mentally energized.”  Boze, who began his talk radio career as a producer for Peter Weissbach at KVI in 1999, has been with KTTH for 10 years.  He says, “I try to live my life with the same traditional values as my listeners do; decency, liberty, hard work, and doing what’s right.  I want to create a friendly gathering place where people can digest the news and we can talk about important stories that other media misinterpret or miss altogether.”

Talk Radio’s Unique Sales Advantage.  H & H Communications president Al Herskovitz says the unique place talk radio occupies in the stew of formats is that it is a foreground format that brings a better value to its advertisers.  This is not a new concept but Herskovitz writes that talk sales staffers can be very creative in taking advantage of this in bringing new categories of advertisers to the format.  “It would be hard to believe that the Rolls Royce manufacturer or even the local Rolls dealer would want to buy a spot in that Sunday 5:30 am auto show,” Herskovitz states.  “But an Atlanta station saleswoman I know did sell that very program to a salvage yard in her market coupled with a weekday spot package and a handful of promos.  Now that’s creative salesmanship!”  Read Al Herskovitz’s entire piece here.

WHNZ, Tampa to Add Sports Talk from Fox Sports Radio.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WHNZ, Tampa – currently airing a combination of brokered local shows and syndicated news/talk fare, begins adding Fox Sports Radio content to the station beginning with the overnight “J.T. the Brick” program airing from 1:00 am to 5:00 am.  In 2013, the station plans to add FSRN’s “Petros & Money” and “Fox Sports Tonight” programs to the lineup.  Program director Steve Versnick states, “We are excited to launch the powerful brand of Fox Sports Radio on WHNZ in Tampa Bay.  This adds star power to the station for us.”

Fox Sports Radio Changes “Loose Cannons” Lineup; Vic “The Brick” Jacobs to KLAC Duties.  The trio of Pat O’Brien, Steve Hartman and Vic “The Brick” Jacobs – known as the “Loose Cannons” on Fox Sports Radio Network – will continue with just O’Brien and Hartman as Jacobs has been re-assigned to the sports news updates role at flagship KLAC, Los Angeles.  He’ll also serve as a reporter covering Lakers basketball.

Second Presidential Debate, Libya Attack Investigation, Malala Yousufzai Case, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/16).  The second presidential debate from Hofstra University on Long Island; the ongoing investigation and controversy over the attack on the Banghazi consulate; the case of Pakistani wounded teen Malala Yousufzai; Iran’s nuclear weapons program; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

| October 11, 2012

Sold Out Talkers New Media Seminar Takes Place in Los Angeles Today.  Talk media practitioners from all over the country are gathering in Los Angeles today for the West Coast installment of TALKERS magazine’s two-part New Media Seminar 2012 (the first part took place in New York on June 7).  The NMS Los Angeles agenda includes solo addresses, panel discussions and the presentation of the “Woman of the Year” award to KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci by last year’s recipient Stephanie Miller.  More than 55 speakers will be participating including radio talent, PDs, GMs, producers, syndicators and consultants.  Courtside Entertainment founder and CEO Norm Pattiz will keynote.  KFI, Los Angeles morning drive host Bill Handel will also deliver a solo presentation.  Some of the panel discussions to take place  include: “The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison; “The Challenges of Hosting a Talk Show in 2012” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian; “Making Money in Talk Radio: Challenges and Opportunities” moderated by PodJockey host Brent Seltzer; “The State of Talk Programming” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey; “The Modern Day Pioneers” moderated by KPCC, Pasadena personality Patt Morrison; “The Art of the Show” moderated by Bill Moran & Associates president Bill Moran; and much more.  There will be more than 50 speakers and approximately 250 attendees at this event. The TALKERS New Media Seminar LA takes placed today from 9:00 am and 5:00 pm in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.  Check out the full agenda here.  Look for coverage of the event in both RadioInfo and TALKERS in the days ahead.

CBS Radio’s Atlanta FM Sports Talk Announces Lineup and Start Date.  WZGC, Atlanta “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” will debut on October 24 and feature the following personalities in addition to Carl Dukes, whom we already reported is moving to Atlanta from Houston where he worked at Gow Communications’ KFNC.  Morning drive will be hosted by well-known TV NFL analyst and 49ers great Randy Cross, NBA-TV personality Rick Kamla, and former crosstown WBTS “95.5 The Beat” host C.J. Simpson.  The 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot will feature former CNN Headline Sports, Fox Sports Radio and Atlanta Braves and Hawks analyst Jerome Jurenovich paired with former Atlanta Falcon and NFL Network personality Jaime Dukes.  Joining Carl Dukes on the afternoon drive show will be Rachel Baribeau, most recently with Cox Media’s WZNN, Birmingham “97.3 The Zone” and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart.  The evening show is yet to be announced but TALKERS hears other personalities to be part of the station in either analysis or fill-roles include NBA analyst Bob Neal, former NBA star Dennis Scott, former Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, two-sport player with the Braves and Falcons Brian Jordan, and former Atlanta Falcon Ovie Mughelli.

Doug Stephan Syndicated Morning Show Reaches Quarter Century Milestone.  This month, Doug Stephan‘s “Good Day,” arguably the second longest running syndicated talk radio show in the country, begins its 25th year on the air.  Stephan and his crew will be celebrating this major milestone with an ongoing schedule of fun, games and trivia.  Every day for the next year, the show will feature clips offering a retrospective of the top news stories, songs, movies and TV shows from the past 25 years.  The celebration culminates in October of 2013 with contests that will be coordinated with “Good Day” affiliates enabling listeners from around the country to win trips and other assorted prizes. The show will also be highlighting other companies and organizations celebrating their 25th anniversary along with “Good Day.”  “‘Good Day’ is as relevant today as it was 25 years ago,” Stephan tells TALKERS, adding “The show’s success and longevity is a testament to our ability to keep it fresh and fun while keeping our audience informed.”

WLS-AM, Chicago’s Don Wade Preparing to Undergo Chemo and Radiation.  From the Windy City, Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that WLS-AM, Chicago morning drive host Don Wade – after a successful operation to remove a growth from his brain will undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment soon.  His agent, Eliot Ephriam, says the course is not indicative of any bad news but simply the next step in the procedure for the 71-year-old talk personality.  In a statement, Wade says, “I’m going to do everything the doctors tell me to do to beat this thing.  Nothing has altered my most positive and optimistic attitude.  When they say jump, I say: ‘How high?’”  Meanwhile, Wade’s wife and radio partner Roma, thanks the many who’ve sent well-wishes.  “The outpouring of caring from thousands of you, our radio family, has filled our hearts and our home, our coffee table piled high and overflowing with love.  Your letters, cards, emails, messages, flowers and, most important, prayers lift our spirits every single day.  Thank you.”

Clear Channel Sacramento Knocked Off Air by Software Glitch.  The cluster-wide loss of transmitting signal that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Sacramento stations experienced yesterday were caused by a software malfunction, according to coverage in the Sacramento Bee.  President and market manager Dave Milner tells the paper the cluster recently moved into new studios that have a state-of-the-art software system that went down on Wednesday morning around 7:00 and lasted until engineers could repair the problem around 9:00 am.  Milner says the office received a lot of calls from people wondering what happened to their radio stations.  “It’s never fun to go through something like this but it makes you aware of how much people rely on you.”  The company operates news/talk outlets KFBK and KSTE, classic hits KHLX, urban contemporary KHYL, and adults hits KQKJ.

Odds & Sods.  Journal Broadcast Group announces its “2012 Red, White and Blue Election Initiative” – a campaign that commits each of its television news operations and radio news/talk formatted stations to significant election coverage in the 30 days leading up to the November 6, 2012 general election.  News/talk stations taking part include: WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee; KTTS-AM and KSGF-AM/FM, Springfield, Missouri; KQTH-FM, Tucson; KFAQ-AM, Tulsa; KFDI-AM and KLIO-FM, Wichita…..Mark Mueller exits Clear Channel’s WRDU, Raleigh where he’s served as the midday news/anchor and reporter since 2009.

Correction!  Yesterday TALKERS published the news that the FCC has approved Buckley Broadcasting’s sale of WOR, New York to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  In the piece we wrote that WOR was New York’s oldest station, having gone on the air in February of 1922.  WGY, Albany program director Josh Everett writes to correct the record, stating that WGY-AM went on the air on February 20, 1922 – two days prior to WOR-AM signing on February 22, 1922.  Even though we were referencing WOR as New York City’s first station – we want to give credit where credit is due.  But wait! Former Citadel Wilkes-Barre chief engineer Phil Galasso writes to tell us we’re both wrong and that WABC – which first went on the air as WJZ – was first out of the gate on October 7, 1921 from the Westinghouse plant near Lackawanna Station in Newark, New Jersey.  He says WJZ changed its call letters to WABC on March 1, 1953.

Famous Dodgers Join “What’s Cookin’?” Broadcast.  CRN Digital Talk Radio’s “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” program recently broadcast from The Ranch restaurant in Anaheim and had some very special guests on the show.  Pictured here in the back row are: Former Dodger pitcher Charlie Hough, “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” host and master sommelier Michael Jordan, third base coach and former Dodger All-Star Tim Wallach.  Seated at the table are Hall of Fame Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda and “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” co-host Mike Horn.

Obama Confesses ‘Bad Night’ at Debate, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Consulate Attack Investigation, and Sandusky Sentencing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/10).  The Analysis of the first presidential debate and President Obama’s admission he had a ‘bad night’; the latest presidential race polls; the ongoing investigation into the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya; and the sentencing of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 1, 2012

| October 1, 2012

Lionel Joins Morning Show at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia.  Talk media personality Lionel – known for his years of expanding talk radio’s dimensions with successful stints in national syndication and in local markets gigs including New York City – joins the morning drive show at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia beginning today.  Lionel, who anchors Tribune’s WPIX-TV, New York’s “Morning News” from 4:00 am to 6:00 am and produces commentaries for the station that air on its 10:00 pm news, will join the program with Al Gardner from 6:00 am to 8:30 am.  In addition to these “traditional media” gigs, Lionel has been operating the digital media station LionelMedia.com for the past several years.

Gregg Henson Named PD at WPGB and WBGG, Pittsburgh.  Sports talk and news/talk pro Gregg Henson takes the programming reins at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WPGB, Pittsburgh and sister sports talk WBGG “970 ESPN.”  Henson most recently served as director of programming operations at Federated Media’s WOWO, Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Henson says, “I’m excited to return to the Clear Channel family and I look forward to working with the excellent staff at ‘FM News Talk 104.7’ and ‘970 ESPN.’  Pittsburgh’s passionate and loyal Steelers and Penguins fans make this an exciting new opportunity.”  CC Pittsburgh OM David Edgar states, “Gregg has the skills and passion to lead our sports, talk, and news programming on all of our brands in Pittsburgh to new levels of success.  His past experience will be a great asset to the Clear Channel Pittsburgh team.”  Henson replaces Jay Bohannon who exited the cluster last month.

Dave Ramsey Celebrates 20th Anniversary in Radio with Big Nashville Bash including Affiliate Meetings and Gala Live Broadcast.  This past Friday, September 28, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dave Ramsey marked his 20th year in radio with a special episode of “The Dave Ramsey Show.”  The program took place before a live audience of more than 2,000 listeners in a huge tent in the parking lot of Ramsey headquarters in suburban Nashville.  It included calls from long-time listeners and well-wishes from friends and celebrities such as Brad Paisley, George Stephanopoulos, Mark Cuban, Billy Gibbons, Piers Morgan, Zac Brown, Neil Cavuto, Darrell Waltrip, and Glenn Beck.  Video of the show was streamed live online.  Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam declared September 28, 2012 Dave Ramsey Day in the state of Tennessee.  He presented the proclamation to Ramsey during the first hour of the radio show (see photo).  The show was the culmination of Ramsey’s fifth annual Affiliate Executive Council (AEC) meeting held last week between Wednesday and Friday (9/26-28) in which he and his staff provided some 60 executives from his affiliates across the country with seminars, workshops breakout sessions and entertainment activities experienced in true Nashville fashion.  A highlight of the AEC event was an industry trade panel featuring professionals who have never been on one stage together.  The panel focused on current industry issues and events and was moderated by Radio Advertising Bureau CEO Erica Farber.  Al Peterson from NTS Media Online, Gene McKay from Inside Radio, and Michael Harrison from TALKERS and RadioInfo participated on the panel (see photo).  According to Harrison, “Attending the Ramsey event was an eye opener into how this amazing broadcaster and his superb staff have created a viable, productive partnership with their affiliate radio stations as well as a personal bond with them on a level unmatched by any other syndication company or network in the business.  Ramsey has created a business model and success story worthy of emulation, indeed!”

Syndicators Hit the Deck Running Today to Promote Shows to Stations Left Unprepared for Savage Exit.  After a weekend during which approximately 300 radio station managers who were affiliated with TRN’s Michael Savage Show (“The Savage Nation”) were trying to figure out what to put in the gaping vacancy left in their schedule by the sudden exit of Michael Savage from the airwaves this past Friday, the syndication and network community are readying a mad dash to get to them and have them consider taking any of a number of their available programs as its replacement.  Savage left the airwaves without warning after scoring a victory in a fierce legal battle with TRN to get out of his existing contract (see story below).  Talk Radio Network has teased that it will name Savage’s replacement (as “radio’s October surprise”) – at least within its stable of available hosts – sometime today.

Talk Host Michael Savage Produces First Internet-Only Broadcast.  Former Talk Radio Network nationally syndicate host Michael Savage – who won his arbitration case against the company last week to get out of his contract and left terrestrial immediately thereafter – produced his first Ustream-hosted webcast on Sunday evening (9/30).  Savage broadcast for about an hour.  His website encourages visitors to check back for announcements of future broadcasts.  The video is not being archived for repeat views at this time – so it must be watched live – and chatter on Ustream’s message board reveals some Savage fans are irked by that move.  Could it be that Savage is trying to create an appetite for a pay model?  The arbitrator’s decision voided Savage’s contract with TRN and allows him to work anywhere he likes.  Stay tuned!

TRN’s America’s Radio News Network Inks with Armed Forces Radio Network.  Talk Radio Network-owned America’s Radio News Network announces it has signed an agreement with Armed Forces Radio Network to serve as the top-of-the-hour news on the broadcast service for American military personnel.  American Forces Radio Network Worldwide director Jef Reilly, tells ARN, “The troops want news, not agendas, and I think you’re delivering that.”  ARN/ANN vice president for news John McCaslin says, “Our expanding team of news anchors, producers and board operators is extremely proud to enlist the trust of the millions of men and women of America’s armed forces, who every day put their lives on the line and sacrifice so much for those of us here at home.”

Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington Brings Del Walters Aboard Full Time.  Washington, DC’s all-news WTOP announces broadcast journalist Del Walters is promoted to a full-time position with the station.  WTOP states, “For more than two decades, Walters has been broadcasting in the Washington/Baltimore area, working as an anchor and investigative reporter for various stations including WJLA in Washington and WMAR in Baltimore.  Walters joined WTOP in 2010 as a part-time anchor and reporter but will now step into a full-time role.”

Clear Channel Flips WGST, Atlanta to Spanish Sports Talk.  Last week we reported that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment would be dropping the news/talk at heritage WGST, Atlanta and flipping to either a Spanish-language format or all-comedy.  CC chose to go with Spanish sports talk and debuted 640 ESPN Deportes on Friday afternoon.

Radio Vet Ron Cutler Shares Secrets of his Financial Success in New Radio Biz Book.  Radio veteran Ron Cutler turned a $15,000 investment in this industry into a $10 million payoff and now he’s written a book explaining how he did it.  The colorful radio and business book is titled How I Turned $15,000 into $10,000,000 (HIT) and You Can Too, and it serves up a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into the radio business.  The advice is based on Cutler’s colorful experience as a top-rated Philadelphia DJ “Ron Diamond”; as the original owner and creator of the legendary KOME, the San Jose FM radio station that he sold to Michael Wiener and Gerald Carrus who formed Infinity Broadcasting making KOME Infinity’s first station; as the creator of 15 hit radio shows and services, Cutler was instrumental in launching the national shows of Rick Dees, Tom Joyner and Cousin Brucie;  as the owner of Cutler Comedy Networks, a leading comedy programming company that serviced more than 4,000 radio stations and was acquired in 1996 by Premiere Radio Networks; and as an entrepreneur in numerous entertainment ventures.  He tells TALKERS, “My path wasn’t an easy one.  At this stage in my life, I’d like to help others get a leg up, particularly during this challenging economy.  Perhaps the lessons that taught me resilience, determination and self-reliance will resonate with others.”   For more information visit www.roncutlerbooks.com. To interview Ron Cutler contact Amir Forester at 310-857-6207 or e-mail  amir@foresterpublicrelations.com.

Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?

| September 19, 2012

By Michael Harrison
TALKERS Magazine
Publisher

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Survival is not enough.

Survival is already happening and it isn’t as much fun as it’s cracked up to be as a spectator sport on the Discovery Channel.  In the reality show called terrestrial radio, sooner than later, survival will run out of gas.  For terrestrial radio, “survival” is simply a slower form of imminent death.

It should be the goal of terrestrial radio to thrive in the digital era.

Thrive?  Is that even possible?

Read More

Monday, August 27, 2012

| August 27, 2012

Talk Hosts and News Operations Deal with Logistical Issues and Weather as Republican National Convention Begins in Tampa Today.  The Republican National Convention, a huge “radio row” and live broadcast draw for many radio stations and networks around the country, begins today and talk hosts, programmers and news staffers are dealing with what is already a complex couple of days of remote broadcasting being amplified by the threat from Tropical Storm Issac.  Today’s first day of the RNC is being canceled due to the storm and broadcasters are having to make contingency plans as a result.  From a logistical standpoint, hosts and news staffers may be forced to cram planned interviews and guest appearances originally scheduled across three days into two days on Tuesday and Wednesday.  As for live broadcasts scheduled from the convention center for today, that will depend on how quickly the storm moves through the area.  Salem Radio Network VP of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS SRN’s equipment on radio row is set up but its two early Monday shows – Mike Gallagher and Dennis Prager – will originate from Salem Communications O&O WGUL, Tampa and the Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt programs will broadcast from the convention center radio row later today.

Lincoln Financial Media Buys Miami FM for Sports Talk Simulcast with WAXY.  West Palm Beach FM WMSF at 104.3 will change hands from Palm Beach Broadcasting to Lincoln Financial Media for a reported $13 million and the latter will use the signal to give sports talk “790 The Ticket” WAXY an FM presence in the South Florida market.  Palm Beach acquired the station from CBS Radio earlier this year.  Palm Beach has applied to move the 104.3 signal from West Palm Beach to Miami and that application is still pending the FCC.  LFM will begin operating the station under an LMA prior to FCC approval of the sale.

Program Director Jay Bohannon Exits Clear Channel’s WPGB, Pittsburgh.  When Clear Channel fired up the Pittsburgh FM talk outlet in January 2004, Jay Bohannon was named the program director.  During his tenure at the station, he was responsible for working with morning show team Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent and bringing the program into syndication.  He also led news/talk branding and imaging for the company.  Bohannon is available for his next opportunity.  Reach out to him at radiojaybo@comcast.net.

Salem Communications to Buy WMUU, Greenville from Bob Jones University.  The station – owned by the Christian college’s Gospel Fellowship Association – currently programs a combo of Christian teaching and beautiful music but that will end when Salem Communications takes over and turns the Greenville, South Carolina FM at 94.5 into a news/talk outlet using programming from the Salem Radio Network.  No price has been announced nor has a start date for an LMA.

WOR Low Price Tag Cause of Angst for AM Radio Owners.  As the dust settles in the aftermath of the recently announced sale of Buckley Broadcastings’ heritage outlet WOR, New York to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, the cold hard reality of the low price tag is beginning to settle in and it is being perceived as a seriously bad indicator about the value and future of AM sticks.  Industry observers and players alike remember stories about the late Buckley Broadcasting CEO Rick Buckley turning down offers as high as $150 million for the station as recently as a decade ago.  In 2001, Disney paid then-owner The Forward newspaper $78 million for WEVD (1050 AM) to find a New York City outlet for ESPN Radio – a station with a significantly inferior signal than WOR’s.  An article in the New York Daily News reports on the topic: “One of the many nervous discussions in radio these days revolves around the future of AM stations — that is, if they have a future.”  Perhaps the revelations of the WOR deal will usher in an industry station deal cycle marked by what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as the “lesser fool” theory.

Former Eagles Star Brian Dawkins Joins 97.5 The Fanatic for NFL Coverage.  Former Philadelphia Eagles star Brian Dawkins will be part of the Friday coverage of NFL football on Mike Missanelli’s program each week at 4:10 pm on Greater Media’s WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia.  Program director Matt Nahigian says, “There is no one that Eagle fans love and relate to more than Brian Dawkins.  We had him on our air about a month ago and the response we received via Twitter and Facebook about wanting to hear him each week was staggering.  I am thrilled to bring his passion and insight to the Delaware Valley on a week to week basis.”

KLIN, Lincoln Nebraska Names David Dwinell AM Drive Co-Host; Kevin Thomas Promoted to PD.  Dwinell has been working at KLKN-TV, Lincoln as promotions director.  He leaves that position to return to radio where he’ll take the radio moniker Dave Miller as he sits beside Jack Mitchell on NRG Media’s Lincoln news/talker.  The slot on the station’s morning show opened up when John Bishop left the show to go across the hall and join NRG’s 1620 The Zone for its “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” program.  At the same time, KLIN PM drive host Kevin Thomas takes on the program director duties at the station that were previously held by John Bishop.  He’ll continue to host the 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm “Drive Time Lincoln” show.  Also, the sports director post – also previously held by Bishop – goes to Chris Whitney.

Buckley Broadcasting Flips KYZZ, Salinas, California to Sports.  The classic hits format disappears from KYZZ as the former “Z97.9” becomes part of the simulcast of “630 ESPN” KIDD, Monterey and becomes known as “97.9 ESPN Central Coast.”

Programmers Owe it to Themselves to See Obama Movie.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke says of the new movie “Obama’s America 2016,” “If you work in talk radio, you owe it to your audience to understand what all those network commercials in your show are selling.  And as an insider, you’ll recognize the event you’re attending as a theatrical ‘infomercial,’ a rented theater.”  Cooke says that regardless of your personal political viewpoint, as a content creator the film is instructive in numerous ways.  Read Holland Cooke’s analysis here.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Cuts Ribbon at NJ 101.5 Studio.  Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 celebrated the opening of its refurbished main studio on August 23 and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was on hand to cut the ribbon.  NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson reports the main studio got some brand new carpeting and – more important – new broadcasting equipment to bring the station into the digital era.  PM drive hosts Deminski &Doyle were on the air when the switch was made and the monthly “Ask the Governor” program followed.  Christie was there for the program and made the new studio “official” with his gubernatorial ribbon cutting and he even worked the new digital board (pictured here) during the station’s 8:00 pm newscast.

Dale “The Truckin’ Bozo” Sommers Dies at 68.  The cause of death is not yet public but Dale Sommers had been dealing with unspecified health issues since he left the WLW, Cincinnati overnight program in 2004.  Although he retired from the show at that time, he resumed the program on satellite radio and hosted it until earlier this year when he again gave it up.  As the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter reports, Sommers’ program made national news twice when it helped solve crimes.  The first time was in 1984 when he was talking off the air with a regular caller who went by the name of “Mississippi Lady,” a convenience store clerk in Camilla, Georgia “when he heard her tell someone, ‘You can’t come back here’ before quickly hanging up the phone.  Sommers called Camilla police, who were familiar with his ‘Bozo Show’ and a store clerk known as the ‘Mississippi Lady.’ Within minutes, an officer apprehended the robber.”  His program was also credited with assisting police is catching the DC sniper in 2002 after a listener heard Sommers give the car’s license plate number over the radio.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

| August 16, 2012

Sirius XM Stock Soaring While John Malone’s Liberty Media Inches Toward Control.  Yesterday’s $2.55 closing figure was satcaster Sirius XM’s (“SIRI”) best showing in more than four years.  That’s the good news for CEO Mel Karmazin and his crew.  The worrisome news, however, is the undeniable fact that John Malone’s Liberty Media – the company that rescued Sirius XM in 2009 by investing in 40% of the company at a bargain price – is closing in on acquiring the needed 50.1% ownership that would give it a controlling interest.  Subsequent to the 2009 bail out, Liberty has been buying Sirius XM stock on the open market recently purchasing about 90 million shares at around $2.50 each. According to TALKERS sister trade publication Radio-Info, those transactions plus a “forward sale” agreement would bring Liberty’s interest to about 48% creating a behind the scenes radio reality show nail-biter.

Rick Roberts Lands at America’s Radio News Network. Veteran radio talk show host Rick Roberts has been named news co-anchor at America’s Radio News Network.  Roberts, also a lawyer, has been heard in his 20 year career on such heritage outlets as KOA, Denver; KCMO, Kansas City; KRLD, Dallas; KOGO and most recently KFMB in San Diego. His is known for a distinctive style of getting the story “behind the story.”  Commenting on how pleased he is to be working with ARNN CEO Mark Masters, Roberts tells TALKERS, “He is a man of true vision.  Masters’ groundbreaking concept of journalism without agenda is needed in America now more than ever.” America’s Radio News Network, which offers 15 hours of syndicated long-form programming per week is now heard nationally on over 340 affiliates taking one or more of its five three-hour news segments.

Sandusky Scandal Impacts Pennsylvania Radio Station.  Political scandal and questionable talk host remarks are not the only form of controversy that impacts spoken word radio’s ability to sell advertising and maintain a balanced competitive image.  According to an Associated Press  report, after 20 years of faithfully broadcasting Penn State football games to its loyal fandom, talker WAEB, Allentown, Pennsylvania finds itself at a crossroads between airing the school’s upcoming season (which kicks off September 1 against Ohio University) and pleasing the overwhelmingly large percentage of listeners who have let the station know they want to hear the games — while dealing with timid sponsors who are less enthusiastic about being associated with the scandal.  Station management states they need about 10 sponsors to fund a full season of Penn State football.  Prior to the Jerry Sandusky scandal it was always an instant sellout.  So far they only have four.

Odds & Sods.  The Minnestota Twins will be moving their live broadcasts from Hubbard-owned 1500ESPN, Minneapolis at the end of the season and begin airing games on KTWN 96.3FM beginning with the 2013 season.  Their new radio home is owned by the Pohlad family – same folks who own the team.  This is the first time the Twins games will be aired exclusively on FM….None other than President Obama was interviewed on sports talker KXNO, Des Moines to talk sports but Politico reports he snuck in a bit of politics when asked how playing sports was similar to being president stating, “It also turns out that political reporters are a lot like sports reporters.  They’ve all got opinions, even if they didn’t play.”….Premiere Networks has launched a new satellite radio talk show featuring lifestyle expert and interior designer Moll Anderson heard Saturdays 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET on Sirius XM’s “Talk Radio” XM channel 168…Sports talker WFAN, New York’s annual talent search “Fantasy Phenom 111 Challenge”  has narrowed its field to five finalists who will vie for the Grand Prize of a chance to host a once a week air shift on the legendary station for one year.  The finals will take place on Friday, August 24 at Bar A in Lake Como, New Jersey.  All finalists are New York Metropolitan area locals and were chosen from thousands of fans and listeners who showed up at auditions held at area Simon malls in July as well as online entries.

Obama Leaks, Family Research Council Shooting, Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/15).  The ex-Navy SEALS video critical of President Obama for allegedly allowing dangerous leaks involving the shooting of Osama bin Laden and the shooting of a guard at the Washington, DC headquarters of the conservative Family Research Council, followed by the devastating effects of the drought brought on by the heat wave and violence in Syria were the most talked about topics on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing TALKERS research.

Monday, August 13, 2012

| August 13, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Clear Channel to Buy Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Buckley Radio announced today that Clear Channel is purchasing AM radio station WOR 710 from Buckley Broadcasting Corporation, pending FCC approval. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. “WOR is an iconic New York City brand with a rich history and an exciting future,” states John Hogan, chairman and CEO of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  “Clear Channel is excited to add WOR as a powerful, high potential complement to our New York brands.  We believe WOR makes our already incredible platform even more interesting for listeners, advertisers, and strategic partners and we look forward to the tremendous potential WOR adds to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment New York.”  Joseph Bilotta, president and CEO of Buckley Radio tells TALKERS, “For more than 23 years, Buckley Radio has been the steward of one of the most legendary radio stations in broadcasting history and I would like to sincerely thank all of the wonderful people who devoted their time, energy and efforts over the years to WOR Radio.”  He continues, “By passing the baton to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, WOR listeners, advertisers and employees will gain access to the unparalleled resources of a worldwide, multi-dimensional media and entertainment company.  We have had a great run with WOR and could not be more confident that it is poised for another great run as part of the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment team.”  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment currently owns five stations in the New York market including 103.5 KTU, Q104.3, Z100, 106.7 Lite fm and Power 105.1.

Speculation Abounds About the Implications of WOR/CC Deal.  Information about this deal was kept even more closely guarded than Romney’s plans to select Ryan as his VP choice. Insiders at the station report that the airstaff had no idea what was going to be announced at an emergency staff meeting called on Friday afternoon for this morning at 9:00 am.  Big news like this, however, travels fast once released in a small industry – the buzz being that Clear Channel has now gauranteed a number one market home for two of its major syndicated franchises, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity – currently cleared on Cumulus Media’s WABC.  All signs from Cumulus indicating its plan to take news/talk in a different direction lend credence to that speculation.  Stay tuned.

Romney’s VP Selection of Paul Ryan on a Saturday Reminds Programmers: Are You Prepared to Cover Breaking News?  How your news/talk station handles a breaking news event on any day of the week – either in your market or outside of it – often determines how the people in your market perceive your value as a source of news and even opinion.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Kevin Casey reports programmers and hosts across the nation who are dedicated to being the source of news, information and hosting that community “backyard fence” have very similar approaches to covering events such as the recent tragedy in Aurora.  It’s all about planning ahead, using the staff you have creatively and being that place where listeners can turn to talk when they need to vent.  Read Kevin Casey’s piece here.

Cumulus Rolling Out Geraldo Nationally Today.  After recent launches on its O&Os in New York (WABC) and Los Angeles (KABC), Cumulus Media’s syndication division goes national today with the Geraldo Rivera Show. Emanating from New York, the program, titled “Geraldo,” airs between 9:00 am and 12:00 noon ET.  Cumulus is banking on Rivera’s middle ground political stance to further underscore its apparent course to modify what some consider news/talk radio’s predominantly conservative and confrontational style.  This follows the company’s recent high-profile rollout of former Arkansas Governor/Republican Presidential candidate (and Fox News Channel host) Mike Huckabee’s “more conversational” brand of syndicated news/talk radio.  Rivera will reportedly debut on 45 stations including KLIF, Dallas and WCFO, Atlanta with another half dozen expected in coming weeks.  Rivera tells TALKERS, “I’m thrilled that just as the nation hurtles toward the highly charged and hard-fought 2012 presidential election, I’ll be coming on the air nationwide. Fasten your seat belts. With America divided along red/blue, right/left lines, I hope to occupy the militant middle and be a referee between ideologies. Everyone is welcome on the radio show, and the conversation is no holds barred.”

Rush Limbaugh Remains #1 on Top Talk Audiences Chart; Listening Dips Slightly in Spring 2012.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Rush Limbaugh keeps his long-held spot atop the TALKERS survey of the top talk radio hosts – based on audience data – for the spring 2012 period of March, April and May.  Listenership to many news/talk stations and hosts dipped to a small degree during the period in question, although that conclusion cannot be construed to be one that applies to all news/talk stations across the board nor all hosts.  The imperfect science of rating radio in and of itself provides caution to those wishing to come to concrete conclusions about the numbers.  Reasons for the “spring dip” are being attributed by some media observers to be the result of “political burnout” as the frenzy of the presidential primary season passes, as well as the easing into the traditionally different mindset listeners get into as summer approaches and schedules begin to change.  Regardless, news/talk stations typically enjoy a big bounce from presidential election years in the fall ratings periods illustrating the natural ebb and flow of talk radio listenership.  To view the entire Top Talk Radio Audiences chart for the spring 2012 period, click here.

Michael Harrison Receives 2012 Ethical Media Award.  TALKERS founder and publisher Michael Harrison was honored Friday (8/10) by the California Coast Venture Forum with its 2012 “Ethical Media Award” at the organization’s Fourth Annual Clean Business Investment Summit on the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara.  The award was presented to Harrison by Christie Communications CEO Gillian Christie who praised Harrison as displaying outstanding leadership in his 45 year career as a broadcaster and trade publisher in protecting and defending the principles of free speech in America.  In accepting the award, Harrison told the audience of approximately 250 socially responsible entrepreneurs and investors from around California that the precious opportunity in America to start a business or invent a product that bucks the establishment is akin to the rights guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the First Amendment and should never be taken for granted.

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Debuts Weekend Car Show.  Using in-house talent Vinnie Richichi and Rob Pratte, the CBS Radio news/talk station brings “Drivetime” to the air  on KDKA-AM Saturday mornings at 7:00 am.  Richichi (pictured here at right) is a midday personality on the company’s sports talk KDKA-FM – 93.7 The Fan – and Pratte ( at left) is a 30-year veteran of KDKA-AM where he’s a sports reporter and host of “Weekend Magazine.”  The station states, “‘Drivetime’ will be a weekly mix of ‘guy next door’ car reviews, interviews with interesting and informative guests from the automotive world and interactive calls from listeners.  Topics will range from selling a car, how to get the most out of your automotive experience and even include discussions on the best drive-in movies in Pennsylvania.  Richichi and Pratte approach the show with humor and the passion both feel about their wheels.”  Richichi has been reviewing cars for more than 25 years and produces a “Drivetime” radio feature that airs across America and Canada.  He says, “It’s a show that gives people who are into cars a place to talk about what they love with two guys who get grease under their fingernails before every show.”

Sid Rosenberg Returns to Miami Airwaves Today.  Trouble-prone (but extremely talented) sports talk show host Sid Rosenberg returns to the airwaves today as morning drive host on WMEN 640, Royal Palm Beach, Florida after losing his job at WQAM 560, Miami shortly after being hit with a DUI charge in April.  According to a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, that was only his most recent bout with drugs, alcohol and gambling, addictions that had sent him to rehab twice and cost him at least five jobs, by his count. “I don’t blame them. I fired myself. I’m accountable,” said Rosenberg, whose April case is pending. He said he hasn’t had a drink in four months and has attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings daily. He also attends Gamblers Anonymous meetings, going eight months since his last bet. (He lost $750 when Florida State didn’t cover the point spread in its 23-19 win over Miami on Nov. 12.) The report goes on to say that Rosenberg is “really trying” to be humble. That’s the first of AA’s 12 steps to a successful recovery.

Philadelphia Talk Host Dom Giordano Moderates Voter ID Law Panel.  WPHT, Philadelphia midday talk host Dom Giordano served as the moderator during yesterday’s “Winning in 2012: Maximizing the Vote and Minimizing the Fraud” panel discussion of Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law sponsored by the Independence Hall Tea Party Association and held on Independence Mall.  The program was headlined by American Spectator senior editor John Fund and included: political analyst and election law expert, Rich Zeoli; Linda Kerns, Esquire; a GOTV workshop conducted by Martin Gillespie, NE Regional Director of American Majority, and attorney Matt Rooney of SaveJersey.com.

Odds & Sods. Salem Radio Network morning drive host Bill Bennett has a special connection to newly-named Republican veep choice Rep. Paul Ryan.  Chairman Ryan once worked for Bennett years ago when he and Jack Kemp created the Washington think tank Empower America…..According to a report by The Press of Atlantic City the recent shooting death of New Jersey talk show host April Kauffman has sparked a marked increase in applications for gun permits in the city of Linwood.  Police there say the number of requests is on its way to doubling last year’s number – a trend they indicate has been prompted by the shooting. No arrests have been made in the case of 47-year-old Kauffman, a businesswoman and radio show host who was known widely as an advocate for military veterans.

Feliz Cumpleanos.  ESPN Deportes Dallas (KZMP-AM) celebrates its fifth anniversary as the first ESPN O&O to take the ESPN Deportes Spanish-language sports format.  To celebrate, the station broadcast live on August 9 from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm at Ojos Locos in Dallas.  Pictured here are: Back Row — fifth from the left (blue shirt) Pete Dits, VP/general manager, ESPN Dallas; sixth from left Rafa Ramos, host of Deportes’ Raza Deportiva;  seventh from left Tato Noriega, former Mexican National team player and ESPN Deportes TV personality.  Front Row – fourth from left (black shirt) Jim Roberts, senior director/Deportes Local Radio Group and ESPN Deportes Dallas station manager.

There’s No Business Like Show Business. Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher spent this past weekend appearing onstage in Los Angeles.  Gallagher, who—in addition to his daily SRN program and his duties as a regular contributor to the FOX News Channel—is a member of Actor’s Equity, was guest starring in the West Coast production of the Tony Award-winning “MEMPHIS: The Musical.”  As he was leaving his dressing room backstage at the historic Pantages Theatre, who walked up to greet Gallagher but legendary director and funnyman Mel Brooks. Brooks essayed the role of backstage theatre critic and gave Gallagher’s performance a big thumbs-up.

 

Coming Tomorrow.  Noted talk radio consultant Holland Cooke presents an informative and provocative piece exploring how you can tell a lot about a news/talk station from its weekend programming — or lack thereof.

 

 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

| July 18, 2012

Merlin Media Ends FM News Operations in New York and Chicago.  Industry watchers are beginning the post-mortem on Merlin Media’s all-news formats at WIQI, Chicago and WEMP, New York after yesterday’s announcement by the company that it is flipping the two signals to classic hits and alternative rock, respectively.  In making the announcement, Merlin president Randy Michaels stated, “It was a difficult decision to make, but after a year of minimal audience engagement, coupled with the format’s inherent expense, I felt it was time to make a change.”  Perhaps the most obvious challenge to the endeavor was the fact that in both Chicago and New York, Michaels’ stations were going up against entrenched news stations in markets that didn’t seem to be crying out for more radio news, primarily because they are already being served by well-respected and well-listened-to all-news outlets.  WBBM-AM/FM, Chicago and WCBS and WINS in New York were tough opponents to challenge in the radio news game – not to mention the public radio stations in both markets that have loyal audiences and dedicate resources to covering local news.  The ratings for the two stations seemed to bear that out.  The initial concept of trying to reach women with a news product fell flat.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison told the Chicago Tribune, “When you say, ‘This is for women and here’s what we’re talking about,’ it can come across as insulting.  It’s presumptuous.”  Harrison also told the paper, “To reinvent the wheel, when in fact the wheel is not broken, is difficult.”  He said the station’s focus on stereotypically female topics like cooking, fashion and child rearing also turned off listeners.  There are reports 27 staffers are out in Chicago with a similar number in New York, leaving a host of veteran radio news people looking for their next opportunity this morning.  Meanwhile, another wrinkle to this story pertains to industry rumors and speculation that Merlin had plans to eventually morph its New York and possibly Chicago all-newsers into traditional news/talkers.  The recent addition of Rush Limbaugh to Philadelphia property WWIQ after his departure from CBS Radio‘s WPHT had tongues wagging about the possibility of such a move happening in New York when Cumulus Media‘s contract with Premiere Networks for Limbaugh on WABC ends – especially with Cumulus developing Mike Huckabee (currently airing on crosstown competitor WOR) as a more “civil” alternative to Limbaugh.  This brings up another question: Are the Merlin moves to music just a temporary measure?

Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Draws Intense Traffic to Talkers.com; Testament to Sports Talk Format’s Popularity.  The recently published Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America, has generated so much traffic to Talkers.com that – at times – navigation on the site slowed to a crawl, forcing the IT staff at Talkers.com to increase the site’s bandwidth to accommodate the visitors.  This massive interest in America’s sports talk radio personalities is indicative of the format’s popularity with both consumers and from within the media industry.  TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey states, “Sports talk radio is off-the-charts popular in so many markets across the country – reflecting the importance of sports in American popular culture.  The interest in the Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk from people working within the business is one thing, but the attention from consumers of sports talk and the rabid sports blogosphere is astounding.  The passion that exists for the format, the personalities, as well as the games and athletes themselves, shows why this talk radio genre is such an effective marketing tool for businesses at the local and national level.”  The 2012 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk can be found here.

Cumulus Media’s WPRO, Providence Names Craig Schwalb Program Director.  Craig Schwalb comes to Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO and 99.7 (and sister WPRV) in Providence from SiriusXM where he served as senior director of talk programming.  He’s also worked at WKRK, Detroit; WNEW, New York; WRBZ, Raleigh; and EZ Communications, St. Louis.  He replaces Paul Giammarco who recently resigned from the station.  Cumulus SVP Mike McVay states, “We are excited to have Craig join Cumulus.  We want the freshest and best minds in the industry…and he is clearly among the best.”  Speaking about his new opportunity, Schwalb says, “The chance to program one of the country’s legendary radio stations, complete with great talent, a great news presence and great influence in a terrific city was a no brainer for me and my family.  I am looking forward to working with Providence market manager Barbara Haynes and of course John Dickey, Mike McVay, Jim Mahaney, and everyone at Cumulus.”

Recent Affiliate Adds Push America’s Radio News Network Past 300 Mark.  In fact, when combined with the TRN/Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” program, the affiliate total jumps past 320 for the news programming offered by Talk Radio Network’s ARNN.  The content syndicator notes that recent affiliate additions in Columbus, Ohio; Phoenix; Memphis; Ft. Myers/Naples; Charleston, South Carolina; and others for the five three-hour news block programs are indicative of the strong demand for quality news-oriented radio content.

Talk Host Andrew Wilkow to Host Prime Time Show on TheBlaze.  The online TV network TheBlaze – a digital product of Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts company – announces SiriusXM talk personality Andrew Wilkow will host a new, one-hour news and talk show to debut later this summer.  TheBlaze says the exact start date and the name of the program will be announced later.  TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “TheBlaze is building a primetime lineup filled with both established talent and the voices of the future. Andrew Wilkow’s strong independence and ‘no sacred cows’ approach to the news, issues and events of the day are perfect fits for TheBlaze as we continue to expand our programming.”  TheBlaze notes it already produces three hours of prime time shows including “the comedy news show ‘The B.S. of A,’ the reality show ‘Independence USA’ and other programming throughout the day led by Glenn’s show, the news show ‘Real News’ and the kid’s show ‘Liberty TreeHouse.’ The network airs over 35 hours of original programming per week and will soon provide video content on a 24/7 basis.”

Talk Icon Larry King’s Internet TV Show Debuts.  Larry King’s new internet TV show – a 30–minute news and interview show – debuted last night with Seth McFarlane as his first guest.  The program is a joint venture between Hulu and Ora TV.  Ora TV is a digital venture being funded by Mexican media magnate Carlos Slim Helu.  In a statement about the new program, Larry King says, “I have always been driven to innovate, from my time on radio, to the first call-in show on national television to being an early adopter of online columns and Twitter…I love being able to interact directly with audiences and digital TV allows me to do this in new and powerful ways.”  This evening, King’s guest will be Meghan McCain with actor Matthew McConaughey on tap for Thursday’s show.

2012 Presidential Campaign, Summer Heatwave/Crops Threatened, Negative Economic Forecasts, Global Debt Crisis and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/17).  The 2012 presidential campaign; the nationwide summer heat wave and the threat to the corn and grains crops; negative economic forecasts; the global debt crisis and the financial markets activities 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.

Friday, July 6, 2012

| July 6, 2012

Paul Ihander Named News Director at Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix.  Paul Ihander leaves his role as director of news, talk and sports programming at Clear Channel’s Albany cluster to take on the role of news director and assistant program director at Bonneville Phoenix Media Group’s “News/Talk 92.3 KTAR.”  Ihander states, “My career’s taken me to some incredible stations and cities across America, and my family and I are truly blessed to have the opportunity to join another first-class media organization.  I’m looking forward to joining the talented Phoenix crew – continuing KTAR’s rich traditions and establishing new ones.”  Bonneville Phoenix vice president of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says, “Paul is a team leader who raises the level of everyone around him and has been a proven winner everywhere he’s been.  His innovative spirit and vision of news for a new generation of consumers on radio, online, and on-the-go, make him the perfect fit for the KTAR brand.”

Rhode Island Supreme Court Clears WPRO, Providence Talk Host Dan Yorke of Slander Charge.  The state Supreme Court in Rhode Island upheld a lower court ruling that dismissed a slander charge against WPRO, Providence midday talk host Dan Yorke leveled by local restaurateur Robert Burke.  The case also involved a libel charge against the Providence Journal and writer Katherine Gregg.  Here’s the basic story:  Gregg wrote a piece in the Journal about a St. Patrick’s Day roast of local dignitaries and politicians that was held at Burke’s restaurant.  The press was invited but was told – unlike in previous years – that all jokes would be “off the record.”  On his radio show, Dan Yorke read Gregg’s article about the event, obviously critical of the “off the record” request, and teed off on Burke in what the court called “an acrimonious and childish on-air rant.”  Yorke himself referred to his rant as “a bit of a bender.”  Regardless, ultimately the court wrote that, “the plaintiffs failed to allege any intentional acts by Yorke or Citadel that were aimed at interfering with a potential client relationship.  The plaintiffs have pointed to nothing to suggest that the effect of Yorke’s comments – if any – was more than ancillary or incidental.  Because the plaintiffs did not allege any intentionally disruptive conduct by Yorke or Citadel, the count was correctly dismissed by the motion justice.”

Spoken Word Radio: The Big Picture.  One of the hottest panels at the recent TALKERS 2012 New Media Seminar/NYC was this discussion involving eight key industry leaders seen in the video in the Talkers TV box on this page.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison presented topics including the precarious nature of radio ratings, dealing with advertiser boycotts, employing damage control in the face of controversy, negativity about the formats’ ad models and more.  Taking part in this sizzling presentation were (from l-r in banner above and as you watch the video):  Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, WGN, Chicago; Phil Boyce, VP/director, spoken word format, Salem Communications; Nancy Abramson, executive director, The Wall Street Journal Radio Network; Chris Oliviero, SVP programming, CBS Radio; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Mark Masters, CEO, Talk Radio Network; Mike McVay, SVP programming Cumulus Media; and Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC.  The June 7 New York event was the first installment of the TALKERS bi-coastal 2012 New Media Seminar.  The second installment takes place October 11 in Los Angeles.  Details coming soon.  (Videography by Art Vuolo of Vuolo Video.)

WGN, Chicago Promotes Judy Pielach to Managing Editor of News.  Award-winning news pro Judy Pielach has been with Tribune’s WGN, Chicago since 1986 and she now moves up from her newsroom coordinator role to managing editor.  In her new post she’ll be leading day-to-day operations of the WGN Radio news department, handling news assignments, coordinating coverage and setting and implementing newsroom policy and procedures in conjunction with WGN’s director of programming and news, Bill White. She will also continue to be heard as the station’s midday news anchor.  Her 2008 series on her struggle with breast cancer, “Why Not Me?” and her 2007 series on suburban teen heroin addiction, “Smack in the Suburbs,” earned her two Edward R. Murrow awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association.  In 2007, she was also named best reporter by the Illinois Associated Press.

Mancow to Simulcast Radio Show on Chicago TV.  The Chicago Tribune reports Erich “Mancow” Muller is in the process of finalizing a deal to have two hours of his nationally syndicated Talk Radio Network morning radio show simulcast on Fox Television’s WPWR-TV channel 50.  The show will begin in the fall and air from 6:00 am to 8:00 am.  The Tribune story notes the Mancow show will replace infomercials and the national “Better TV” lifestyle program.

 

“Coast to Coast AM” Host George Noory Launches Anti-Obesity Campaign.  Premiere Networks personality George Noory is announcing the beginning of his campaign to encourage his listeners to lose 15 million pounds.  Noting that the Centers for Disease Control states one-third of adult Americans are obese, Noory will dedicate the first hour of his Thursday evening program in July to encouraging his millions of late-night listeners to improve their health, shed excess pounds and help fight weight-related diseases.  As part of the effort, he’ll welcome special guests to give advice on nutrition, weight loss, health benefits and much more.  Noory says, “Listeners of ‘Coast to Coast’ know that in addition to exploring the mysteries of the universe, I’m also interested in improving my health and wellness.  This ‘Shape Up’ campaign is a great opportunity for America to encourage and inspire each other to increase our longevity and live better lives.”

Talk Host Laura Smith and Cumulus Debut New Show on AC WFAS-FM, White Plains, New York.  Radio personality Laura Smith hosts “Living Better with Laura Smith” on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York on Saturday afternoons.  Now, Smith is resurrecting a show she hosted on SiriusXM back in 2008 called, “Above and Beyond with Laura Smith.”  Smith tells TALKERS the show is “a hybrid of psychics, mediums and self-help experts with the best music variety, in a Sunday night soiree.”  She says her guests will include the best and most renowned in the category, like John Edward, Susan Miller, Thomas John, James Van Praagh, Lisa Williams, The Feng Shui Guy, The 30-Second Therapist and countless others.  Smith goes on to say, “The country and world are starving for comfort, love, and advice and the number of people seeking it in ways that are a little less conventional, such as with psychics, mediums, astrologers, or life coaches, is unprecedented.”  It airs at 9:00 pm ET.

ABC News Radio Announces Olympic Coverage.  The 2012 Summer Olympics begin in London on July 27 and run through August 12 and ABC News Radio announces its schedule for affiliate stations.  The network is delivering one-minute updates at :10 and :40 from 5:10 am ET to 6:40 pm ET.  In London covering the games for ABC are news correspondents Alex Stone, Tom Rivers and Todd Ant.  ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones says there is no additional inventory for ABC News affiliates and ABC Sports affiliates to air the coverage that is being delivered for the duration of the games.

The Supreme Court’s ObamaCare Decision Aftermath Claims Top Spot on the Talkers TenTM.  The aftermath of the SCOTUS ruling on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of July 2-6.  Coming in at #2 was the 2012 presidential campaign.  At #3 was the Mid-Atlantic storm damage tied with the Colorado wildfires and at #4, the Fourth of July holiday tied with the summer weather.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published at Talkers.com every Friday.  View the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds WVKO, Columbus and WAMM, Woodstock, Virginia to its roster of affiliates…..The George Jarkesy show is added to the program schedule at KDOW, San Francisco; KYCR, Minneapolis; and KVCE, Dallas/Ft. Worth…..The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Wall Street Journal Reports” are now airing on the American Forces Radio Network’s “The Voice” channel as part of the top-of-the hour newscast…..“On the House” with the Carey Brothers and Rebecca Cole adds KPSI, Palm Springs, California to its affiliate list.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

| July 5, 2012

“Independence Day Wednesday” Provides Talk Radio with Interesting Programming Opportunities.  According to a TALKERS magazine survey of talk stations across the country, the rare occurrence of July 4th falling on a Wednesday this year and not lending itself to a convenient four-day weekend, gave talk radio programmers an array of options in filling the schedule.  Many gave their star performers the day off and replaced them with their own “best ofs.” Others used fill-in hosts – some cleverly taking it upon themselves to create their own Fourth of July “specials.”  Others just did their shows as per the usual schedule.  Almost all report that they spent extra time and attention revisiting the meaning of the holiday and the historic roots of American independence.  Independence Day gives radio stations the opportunity to become engaged with local military, public safety, emergency response, community service and charitable organizations in their regions.  WHYN, Springfield, Mass. morning co-host Brad Shepard performs his annual ritual of serving as master of ceremonies at the local East Longmeadow Independence Day Parade – a major two-hour regional tradition in Western Massachusetts drawing thousands of people.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, a resident of the area who attends the event each year, states, “Brad Shepard does a wonderful job announcing the details and color of this superb local parade for a large crowd of people who line the sidewalks and pack the town square in an idyllic New England small-town setting.  It is an example of a beloved hometown radio personality engaging in true community involvement and a joy to behold.”  Harrison (l) is greeted by Shepard (r) at the parade reviewing stand during a break in the action for a quick TALKERS photo.

When Is a Death Threat Free Speech?  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman explains some of the legal background in the murky area of free speech and language that can appear to be a threat to someone’s health or life.  In the wake of the case of Timothy Demeuse – a Milwaukee man charged with a misdemeanor for writing threatening language about WIBA, Madison-based talk host Vicki McKenna – Weisman says what is considered a punishable offense is not always easy to predict.  Read his column here.

Red Zebra’s Washington Redskins Radio Network Re-Inks Sam Huff and Sonny Jurgensen.  National Football League Hall-of-Famers Sam Huff and Sonny Jurgensen have both re-signed with the Washington Redskins Radio Network for the 2012-2013 football season.  The two will be in the booth with play-by-play man Larry Michael and WTEM, Washington’s Rick “Doc” Walker will serve as sideline reporter.  Due to the rigors of travel, the 78-year-old Huff will work 12 of the 20 games – all home games and two road contests.  Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff have been broadcasting Washington Redskins games together since 1981 – a span of over 600 broadcasts, including 25 playoff games and all three Super Bowl victories.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment promotes programmer Tony Travatto who moves from his post as OM and PD at CHR WNCI, Columbus to Detroit where he’ll serve as operations manager for the cluster that includes progressive talk WDTW and sports talk WDFN…..Spanish-language broadcaster Univision unveils the Univision America national talk radio network lineup that debuted on July 4.  The lineup – which is expected to be heard on all of the company’s AM talk stations – includes a morning drive news block; relationships expert Dra. Isabel; current events talk with Fernando Espuelas; political talk with Helen Aguirre; and a sports talk show featuring Rafael Hernandez Brito…..Carl Amari’s “Hollywood 360” weekly nostalgia and trivia show is being syndicated nationally via Syndication Networks Corp. and Salem Radio Networks.  The WIND, Chicago-based show is expected to be carried on many Salem Communications-owned stations.

Newspaper Decline Spells Opportunity for Talk Radio Sales.  The problems facing daily newspapers are opportunities for local talk radio sales executives writes H & H Communications president Al Herskovitz.  In this column, Herskovitz explains talk radio’s proven ability to drive traffic to the web combined with the unique personalities on the stations give it a one-two punch of marketing effectiveness.  Read Al’s column here.

Fourth of July Holiday, SCOTUS ObamaCare Decision Aftermath, 2012 Presidential Race, Mid-Atlantic Storm Damage, and National Malware Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/4).  Holiday topics discussed on news/talk radio on July 4th included the holiday itself; the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; the 2012 presidential race; the lingering effects of the recent Mid-Atlantic storms; and the threat of a nationwide malware attack on internet users, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

| June 12, 2012

WPHT, Philadelphia Announces New Limbaugh-Free Schedule; Names Buzz Bissinger and Steve Martorano PM Drive Hosts. With Premiere Networks talk star Rush Limbaugh headed across town to Merlin Media‘s new WWIQ-FM, CBS Radio‘s news/talk WPHT announces Pulitzer Prize-winning author and pundit Buzz Bissinger will take over PM drive with co-host Steve Martorano. Bissinger moves into PM drive as WYD Media‘s Michael Smerconish slides into the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot (his live air time for national syndication). CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP Marc Rayfield states, “With the presidential election only a few months away, there couldn’t be a better time to heighten our focus on how today’s issues affect our friends, relatives and neighbors. The addition of Buzz to the lineup and presenting Michael’s program live to the audience gives us an incredible advantage as a station created in Philadelphia by Philadelphians for Philadelphians. Buzz has one of the most compelling voices in Philadelphia today. He’s intelligent, honest and hard hitting. He doesn’t play favorites; his only goal is to pursue the truth and no one in local media is more qualified to do so.”

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Reorganizes Operating Management Team.  Two Clear Channel executives get promoted as the company restructures. Tom Schurr is named president of operations for major markets and Matt Martin is the new president of operations for regional markets. The changes also include the promotion of Tom O’Connell from SVP of operations for the Northeast regional markets to EVP of operations where he, along with EVP of operations Hartley Adkins, will report to Tom Schurr. Matt Martin was previously SVP of operations for the West region. CCME chairman and CEO John Hogan says, “As a company, we put a priority on recognizing our high performers with advancement opportunities to grow and develop their careers. The proven leadership, experience and performance results of Tom, Matt and Tom M. have shown that they are the perfect candidates to help continue to reinvent how our evolving markets operate.  They have all earned the opportunity to grow their careers and will be an integral part of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s exciting future.” As a result of the moves, EVP of the Western Region Susan Karis exits the company.

New Jersey Broadcasters Association Convention Begins this Evening.  The 65th Annual NJBA Conference and Gala kicks off this evening at Caesar’s Atlantic City. The event, considered by industry observers as one of the most innovative statewide radio conventions in America, begins at 6:00 pm with a spectacular opening reception overlooking the ocean and picks up tomorrow morning with a full schedule of speakers, sessions and presentations under the theme, “The Best is Yet to Come!”  Headline solo presentations will be made by Howard L. Green Humanitarian Award honoree Steve Forbes and TALKERS founder Michael Harrison who will address the topic, “How Terrestrial Radio Can Thrive in the Digital Age.”  Special presentations will be made by ratings expert Charles Sislen and marketing guru John Tkac.  For information call 800-345-7253.

Joy Behar Signs Up with Al Gore’s Current TV.  “The View” cast member Joy Behar will continue her role on that show but will begin a new 6:00 pm ET show – probably called “The Joy Behar Show” – in September. Until then she’ll make appearances on the network including filling in for Eliot Spitzer on “Viewpoint” next week while he’s on vacation. The program will feature a regular, rotating cast of pundits, experts and journalists as cast members to discuss political and social issues. Current TV founder and chairman Al Gore says in a statement, “Joy Behar is a beloved veteran television personality with her finger on the pulse of what viewers care about. Millions of Americans tune in daily to hear her take on the issues along with her inimitable style. We are honored that Current TV will be Joy’s new prime time home.” Until December of 2011, Behar hosted a prime time show on HLN.

MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan to Exit Cable Channel to “Walk the Walk.”  That’s not Dylan Ratigan‘s quote but that’s what the host of his eponymous MSNBC 4:00 pm ET show implies he plans to do. Ratigan, whose three-year-old program (he came over from CNBC in 2009) has often taken on the power structure in American politics – including the close ties between the banking industry and Washington – is quoted by The New York TimesBrian Stelter saying, “Once you’ve said your piece, you can either keep saying it – and then it’s a job, good job, pays well, everybody knows your name, it’s great – or you can decide what you’re going to do about it. And the answer is, I don’t know. But I do know, in order to figure it out, I have to dismount.” MSNBC will move Martin Bashir into the 4:00 pm slot and craft a new show for the 3:00 pm hour.

Gregg Hersholt Debuts as Co-Host of KOMO, Seattle AM Program.  Fisher Radio announces Gregg Hersholt returns to the Emerald City as co-host of KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle’s “The KOMO Morning News” alongside Manda Factor. Hersholt worked at Bonneville International‘s crosstown KIRO for 26 years before departing for Portland to work at KXL. Program director Paul Duckworth says, “We’re so excited to have Gregg join us. He’s a terrific storyteller, knows the news business and is a name that is synonymous with Seattle.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Radio talk show host Akos Jankura (whose show is heard Saturday afternoons on WFLA, Tampa), along with his father and daughter rode as “Team 3 Generations” in the 200 meter bicycle competition “Endridge Ride to Conquer Cancer” in Ontario, Canada. The event raised some $18 million to benefit The Princess Margaret Foundation…..Slacker Radio and ESPN team up to offer a collection of ESPN stations designed to stream ESPN shows and sporting events on Slacker’s service. Four of the stations will feature content from ESPN’s O&Os in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas…..In honor of Father’s Day, SiriusXM launches a week-long series of special programming with Men’s Health Radio. The channel will be hosted by Men’s Health editor Peter Moore and will spotlight a different topic each day: why guys don’t go to the doctor and why they should; how to eat like a man and not look like a Neanderthal; tips from the editor-in-chief David Zinczenko’s bestselling books Eat This! Not That!; and much more…..The “Bobby Likis Car Clinic” show is giving away “The Ultimate Father’s Day Gift Package” this Saturday that includes an Escort Radar detector and a subscription to Escort Live – “social networking for the road.”

Radio Newsman Chris Stanley Passes Away at 64.  Radio news pro Chris Stanley spent the last five years of his career at Fox News Radio. Prior to that he worked at CBS Radio‘s KNX, Los Angeles. Stanley, who died on Saturday, June 10 after a heart attack, had retired from Fox News Radio in April.

2012 Presidential Race, Jerry Sandusky Trial, Commerce Secretary Car Crashes, and Spain Bailout/EU Uncertainty Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/11).  President Barack Obama‘s campaign to win re-election in the face of Mitt Romney‘s challenge; the trial of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky; U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson takes medical leave after two auto accidents in Los Angeles; and a bailout for Spain and the uncertainty of the stability of the euro were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, May 18, 2012

| May 18, 2012

Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio Hits 10 Million Registered Users in Eight Months.  The digital media player that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has been vigorously promoting is growing, according to CC, “faster than nearly all other entertainment platforms, including Pandora, Facebook, Spotify and Instagram.”  The iHeartRadio player has more than 10 million users since the 10 million figure includes just registered users – only required for the custom station service.  Brian Lekamp, president of digital for CCME, states, “iHeartRadio has demonstrated incredibly rapid adoption, more than two times faster than other leading entertainment services – it’s mind-blowing.  We are thrilled with the consumer reaction and feedback.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, using the tremendous promotional power of our broadcast radio properties, has been able to drive this adoption like no other company could.  iHeartRadio offers a great product supported by unparalleled promotional capabilities.”

NPR Facing Fiscal Downturn; May End Year in the Red.  In a piece by Paul Farhi for the Washington Post, the challenging financial situation NPR is dealing with as the U.S. economy continues to struggle is brought to light.  New CEO Gary Knell tells Farhi NPR has operated at a deficit three out of the past four years and had to dip into its endowment fund to cover expenses.  This comes after the brutal 2008 fiscal year in which NPR was forced to cut 7% of its workforce after coming up $23 million short.  The situation for NPR is that corporate underwriting – or advertising – has fallen dramatically.  Instability in some of the corporate positions responsible for fundraising and underwriting have not helped the content provider, either.  NPR states that through March of this year, it was operating at a deficit of $2.6 million beyond what the endowment covers and when the end of its fiscal year rolls around in September, it may still be in the red.  Knell has told employees the last thing he wants to do is cut staffing and programming but he also states NPR cannot continue to operate as it is.  He tells the Post, “NPR has been withdrawing from the bank and we can’t keep doing that,” he said. “We have to be at break-even or be in a positive position on an annual basis, or I can tell you at some point we’re going to have to turn the lights off.”

CNN Suffers Lowest Prime Time Rating in 15 Years.  Time Warner’s CNN is getting more bad news after getting clobbered in the April Nielsen’s released last week.  Now, TVNewser reports “Piers Morgan Tonight” – which aired at 9:00 ET – pulled in just 39,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo on Tuesday, May 15.  The show garnered 284,000 total viewers which was not a record low.  The piece notes the program faced competition in the form of the season finale of “NCIS: L.A.,” “America’s Got Talent” and “Dancing with the Stars” which, all together, had 39 million total viewers.

WOWO, Fort Wayne Reporter Held in Contempt for Phone Use in Court.  WOWO, Fort Wayne news director Dave Wheaton was found in contempt at the Allen County Superior Court for using a station-owned iPhone while covering a guilty plea at a murder case at the courthouse.  Two sheriff’s deputies noticed Wheaton texting on the phone – a violation of court rules – and confiscated the phone.  Wheaton told Judge Fran Gull he did not see the numerous signs warning of the ban on phones in the courtroom to which the judge replied, “Candidly, I don’t believe you,” reports the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.  The ban has been in effect since 2007 after courtroom attendees were found taking photos.  The judge ordered the phone destroyed but allowed WOWO owner Federated Media to download the contents first.

The State and Future of News on America’s News/Talk Radio Stations.  The rise of digital news sources, today’s quickening news cycle and the economic realities of our times are forcing news/talk radio stations to evaluate their news product and adapt to continue to serve their listeners.  In a feature story by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey coming to Talkers.com next week, programmers speak on the record about their news philosophy and its practical application.  KMOX, St. Louis operations director Steve Moore says despite the factors some think puts radio at a disadvantage for news, it’s still a very important element.  “Local news is the foundation for everything we do and that includes providing content and information for our programming staffs.  That relationship goes both ways.  Talent use their connections to flesh out stories that are heard on our newscasts.  A strong, local news department should be the perfect complement to a good talk show host.”  Read what some of today’s top news/talk programmers are saying about the state of news on their stations and in the larger media mix at Talkers.com next week.

Michael Harrison to Speak at New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference.  June promises to be a busy month for Michael Harrison.  Less than one short week after the New Media Seminar in NYC, the publisher and founder of TALKERS magazine will deliver a special address at the 65th Annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference on June 13.  The address titled, “The Future of the Stick and the Shtick: How Terrestrial Radio can Thrive in the Digital Age,” will provide a realistic focus on the key issues and challenges facing AM and FM radio today as it finds its place in the new and exotic landscape of 21st century technology and culture.  One of the key points that Harrison plans to make is that even though talk radio broadcasters are licking their chops at the prospect of music radio’s demise, one of the keys to talk radio’s growth in the coming years will actually be the survival and revival of music radio as a commercial and cultural force.  Harrison says, “An AM and FM band of only spoken word programming will not be enough to keep terrestrial radio afloat.  For terrestrial radio of all formats to have a healthy place from which to operate, it must reclaim ownership of the music scene - no doubt a daunting task.”  Harrison goes on to say that this can actually be done.  “The music scene in America has a desperate need for big-time leadership in terms of breaking new artists and product as well as defining and creating a cultural environment in which a healthy and  purposeful industry can operate.  This is something that radio has historically done effectively and can do again in the new century.”  Harrison suggests the key to doing this is to bring back the disc jockey as a viable broadcasting art form and the plugged-in music director as a connection to the street and marketplace.  “When music radio gave up its franchise on personalities - on-air talents who can present, deliver, and ‘sell’ a song, it set in motion its own destruction as well as inflicting damage to the music business itself.  It is not too late to correct this.”  The 65th Annual NJBA Conference will take place at Caesar’s Atlantic City June 12-13.  For information call 888-657-2346.

2012 Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for 7th Consecutive Week.  The race for president between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney once again was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of May 14-18, 2012.  Following at #2 was the Greece and Euro Zone fiscal crisis; at #3 was world financial markets activity; and at #4 was President Obama’s gay marriage stance.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart of the top stories and people on news/talk radio here.

Commentators of the Year.  That’s ESPN’s Mike Golic – co-host of ESPN Radio’s and ESPN2’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show (c) – holding the awards given to him and co-host Mike Greenberg (not pictured) for being named Team ESPN’s Volunteer Commentators of the Year.  Next to Golic are ESPN EVP of production John Wildhack (l) and president of ESPN, Inc. John Skipper (r).  Golic and Greenberg were honored at a luncheon yesterday (5/17) with the award given to an ESPN commentator “who provides positive impact in the community through his or her volunteer efforts.”  The duo led the way on ESPN Radio for the “Don’t Give Up ESPYs V Foundation Auction” which raised more than $800,000 for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.  They have contributed their personal time to emcee the Jimmy V Basketball dinner, and visit military sites, like the Intrepid this year for ESPN’s Veterans Week.  Each received $1,000 to be donated to the charity of their choice and both elected to give it to The V Foundation.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

| May 1, 2012

Clear Channel’s WMMS-FM, Cleveland Disciplines Morning Talent for Off-Color Comment.  “Rover’s Morning Glory” cast member Dominic Dieter has been disciplined in response to comments made on the morning show – though the extent of the discipline is not known.  A father e-mailed the show stating he saw his daughter kissing another girl and asked what he should do.  Dieter responded he should have a friend “screw [her] straight.”  For obvious reasons, a bad joke about raping a young woman in response to her possible homosexuality raised the ire of some listeners and caught the attention of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.  To the credit of CC’s local management, it acted quickly.  The station met immediately with GLAAD representatives, took Dieter off the air (for how long has yet to be determined) and had him record an apology which included the following.  “I want to genuinely apologize to anyone who may have been offended by what I said.  I regret what I did say.  My comments were inappropriate.  They were inexcusable, and just downright stupid.  And I want to make it clear; there was absolutely no intention to promote physical or sexual violence.”  CC Cleveland operations manager Keith Abrams stated to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “We take matters of this nature very seriously; his comment was thoughtless and unacceptable, and we apologize to those who were offended.  We can assure you the appropriate disciplinary action has been taken, and Dieter has since apologized on air and is fully aware that what he said was unacceptable.  We also want you to be aware that during Friday’s broadcast, he was in fact immediately criticized on-air by the other hosts of the show, and the rest of the segment was dedicated to a productive discussion about the acceptance of all lifestyles.  It included call-ins and commentary from members and friends of the gay community.  WMMS supports the gay community and again, we deeply apologize.”  GLAAD’s Aaron McQuade tells the paper the station has also invited the gay rights group Equality Ohio to join its community advisory board.

Cumulus Media and Townsquare Media Pull Off Big Deal.  This deal gives each side what it wanted but it reportedly took about a year to finalize.  Here’s who gets what:  Townsquare Media gives its stations in Peoria, Illinois and Bloomington, Illinois to Cumulus plus $116 million while getting from Cumulus the stations in 11 small markets – Kileen-Temple, Texas; New Bedford, Massachusetts; Odessa-Midland, Texas; Binghamton, New York; Bangor, Maine; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Grand Junction, Colorado; Augusta-Waterville, Maine; Bismarck, North Dakota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Presque Isle, Maine.  Industry watchers are noting that Cumulus is very happy to get the cash infusion it needs after spending $2.4 billion on the Citadel deal and Townsquare Media is happy to focus on the local aspect of small and mid-size market radio.

Cumulus Media’s News/Talk KCMO, Kansas City Adds FM Signal.  Kansas City news/talker KCMO begins an FM simulcast on 103.7 – a translator that had been simulcasting the company’s classic rock KCFX-FM.  The signal is 250 watts but covers the heart of the Kansas City metro.  Cumulus Kansas City SVP and market manager Mark Sullivan states, “This is an exciting day for KCMO Talk Radio as it provides us a platform to continue to be successful into the future.”  In a statement, the company notes that John Dickey, co-chief operating officer for Cumulus commented in a recent article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle that “having this format on FM is really the future!”

Courtside Entertainment Group Adds Dr. Drew Feature to WTOP, Washington.  The “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew” finds a home on Hubbard Broadcasting’s major market WTOP, Washington.  DC joins New York, Los Angeles and Chicago in receiving Dr. Drew Pinsky’s latest media project – 60-second commentaries covering relationship advice and hot topics plus the latest news from the medical world.  WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo states, “In addition to breaking news, Campaign 2012, traffic, and weather coverage, WTOP brings listeners useful and relevant information on health, relationships, and consumer issues.  Dr. Drew offers practical, actionable content that’s appointment listening on WTOP.”

Greater Media’s Philly Sports Combo Grabs NHL’s Flyers for Multi-Year Deal.  There’s an aggressive acquisition of play-by-play rights going on in Philadelphia as Greater Media’s sports talk combo – WPEN-FM 97.5 The Fanatic and WPEN-AM 950 ESPN Radio – adds Flyers hockey to their programming beginning with the 2012-2013 season.  This comes just days after the stations grabbed 76ers basketball from CBS Radio’s crosstown WIP.  Flyers games will be broadcast on both sports outlets and a few will air on rock WMMR-FM.  Comcast-Spectacor (Flyers owner) president Peter Luukko says, “We’re thrilled to be working with a partner that is 100% committed and excited about the Philadelphia Flyers.  We’re also happy that the Sixers have moved over to Greater Media Philadelphia along with us.  Greater Media is an incredible partner that offers extensive promotional support for the Flyers on all their stations.”

CBS Radio Violated Sixers Contract Reports Philly Daily News.  The reason Greater Media was able to snag the 76ers for the playoffs this year though CBS Radio had the rights to the team’s play-by-play throughout this season is because CBS violated the contract, according to the Philadelphia Daily NewsDan Gross.  The paper reports CBS Radio failed to give the Sixers proper notice before bumping an April 3 game to classic hits WOGL-FM.  Gross writes that after the deal with Greater Media was consummated, Sixers CEO Adam Aron stated, “The Sixers’ rapidly growing fan base will no longer have to set their radios to ‘scan’ to find where their Sixers will be aired.”  CBS Radio market manager Marc Rayfield told the paper the two sides parted ways amicably.

Michael Harrison Set to Address 2012 Radio Show on State of Talk Radio.  In what has become an industry tradition running more than a decade, TALKERS magazine founder and publisher Michael Harrison will again deliver the annual “State of Talk Radio” address at the NAB/RAB Radio Show.  Harrison will speak on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:30 am and 11:45 am at a special Info-Session sponsored by TALKERS.  The national conference will take place this year September, 19-21 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas.  Harrison’s address is open to all 2012 Radio Show registrants.

Rush Limbaugh Helps Raise $3.3 Million for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh dedicated three hours of his nationally syndicated talk show on April 13 to raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Including a personal donation of $400,000, as of April 20 the cure-a-thon has brought in pledges of $3.3 million.  This is the 22nd year Limbaugh’s program has held the cure-a-thon and has helped raise more than $34 million for the organization during that time.

Federated Media to Add FM Simulcast to Sports WKJG, Fort Wayne.  Beginning June 4, Federated Media will flip Froggy 106.7 — WFGA-FM, Ft. Wayne (licensed to Hicksville, Ohio) to sports simulcasting WKJG – ESPN 1380.  At that time the station will also add a local PM drive show featuring sister rock WBYR-FM operations manager Stiller and WKJG PD and WOWO APD Brian LaMartina.  Federated Media COO Mark DePrez states, “The Stiller and Brian show is the first step toward combining the world renowned ESPN brand with an increased local connection.  Peter Drucker said concentration is the key to all economic success.  In Fort Wayne, we have gone from seven to five brands to serve this community more effectively, efficiently and most importantly more profitably.  It sounds cliché but it is true that when one door closes another opens.  We salute the staff of Froggy 106.7 for their years of dedication and commitment to community radio.”

2012 Presidential Race, Escaped Chinese Activist, EPA vs Oil and Gas Industries, White House Correspondents Dinner, and Bin Laden Death Anniversary Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30).  The 2012 presidential campaign; the case of escaped Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng on the eve of visit to China by Hillary Clinton; EPA administrator resigns after comments about making an example of oil and gas companies; the aftermath of the White House Correspondents Dinner; and the anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Dr. Daliah Wachs Helps Organization Raise $17, 000 for Autism Charity.  Las Vegas-based nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs helped the Finding Autistic Solutions for Tomorrow organization raise some $17, 000 during its FAST for Kids Gala on April 28 at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.  The event was hosted by local Fox TV news personalities Heidi Hayes and Ted Pretty.  Pictured here is Dr. Daliah Wachs (l) promoting the fundraiser on Fox 5 News.

Monday, April 9, 2012

| April 9, 2012

Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee Debuts Today.  The number of affiliates set to air the Mike Huckabee show is pegged at somewhere between 175 and 200.  The eager anticipation of Huckabee’s debut would not be so intense were it not for the facts that the show airs live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET – the same time period as Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh – and that the latter is recovering from the backlash and intense consumer media scrutiny that followed the Sandra Fluke controversy.  Regardless, the industry will certainly be watching how Huckabee’s Cumulus Media Networks program takes off but the consumer media appears to be salivating at the notion that Limbaugh has “competition.”  The fact, of course, is that every radio show has competition of one sort or another and Limbaugh has faced high-profile talent in his daypart in the past – most notably from Fox News Channel superstar Bill O’Reilly for a number of years.  Mike Huckabee will succeed if he hosts a compelling program that grabs listeners.  Broadcasters understand that will happen or not independent of what other talk show hosts are doing or whether they are facing a “crisis.”  As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison told Politico in a piece published over the weekend, “This isn’t an election, it’s an industry.  There’s room for both, just like there’s room for Letterman and Leno.  Yes, every competitor hurts Limbaugh.  But Huckabee is basically just another competitor.  If he takes a little away from Limbaugh, fine.  But he also has the potential to expand the talk radio audience.”

Rumors of Major Syndication Changes in Philadelphia and New York; Smerconish to Bump Limbaugh from WPHT.  And possibly more than that…but first things first.  A very hot rumor out of Philadelphia has WYD Media-produced Michael Smerconish’s nationally syndicated program airing live 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on CBS Radio’s news/talk WPHT– where Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh does right now.  Smerconish is currently delayed to PM drive on WPHT.  Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor wrote about the other part of this rumor in his morning blast on 4/6: Merlin Media may be planning to go talk and not all-news on WKDN-FM, Philadelphia  – its new property which is still airing Christian programming from prior owner Family Stations.  With former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte morning drive host (and Philly native) Al Gardner hired to program and possibly host mornings at WKDN-FM and Rush Limbaugh possibly soon-to-be-available (plus Premiere’s Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck available, as Tom Taylor points out), a move to talk would be much less personnel intensive and would enjoy the ability to grab three of the biggest news/talk personalities in the business.  But there’s more…other chatter coming out of New York is that Merlin Media has been talking to Premiere Networks about bringing Rush Limbaugh to its all-newser FM News 101.9 (WEMP-FM) if Cumulus Media decides to put new national syndication rollout Mike Huckabee on WABC in Limbaugh’s place.  Then one would have to ask the question, “Would Merlin do the same with WWWN-FM, Chicago if Cumulus bumped Limbaugh in exchange for Huckabee on its news/talker WLS?”  Stay tuned.

KFAQ, Tulsa Talk Host Pat Campbell Responds to Deadly Shootings.  KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive talk host Pat Campbell tells TALKERS his program responded very quickly to a series of shootings in the city in which five citizens – all African American – were shot and three died.  Campbell says he hosted a special Saturday noontime edition of his program to address the crimes and seek the public’s assistance in capturing suspects.  He tells TALKERS,I had the mayor in the studio urging calm but more importantly, cooperation with the police.  We urged listeners that might have any information to call the Crime Stoppers Hotline and the good news is that a tip came in around 4:00 pm that led to the arrest of the suspects early Sunday morning. This is an example of talk radio at its best!  Rather than becoming a wedge like we’ve seen in the Trayvon Martin case, 1170 KFAQ brought the community together and got the bad guys off the street.”

WQAM, Miami Standing By Sports Talk Host Sid Rosenberg After DUI Arrest Last Week.  WQAM, Miami afternoon sports talk host Sid Rosenberg was back on the air on Friday after spending most of Thursday in jail following an early morning arrest on DUI and driving on a suspended license charges.  Rosenberg, who has spoken publicly about past substance abuse issues and has talked of having twice been to rehab, is being supported by his superiors at the Beasley sports talk outlet.  The Miami Herald reports WQAM program director Lee Feldman stating, for now, Rosenberg is not being suspended.  WQAM general manager Joe Bell declined to comment to the paper.

Matt Lauer to Remain with NBC’s “Today.”  The months of speculation about the future of television talk host Matt Lauer have come to an end as NBC announced Lauer has signed a multi-year contract to remain with the network’s morning news magazine program.  The buzz in the industry included rumors Lauer would rejoin Katie Couric at rival ABC.  Though Couric is set to begin a new chapter in her career at ABC with her own daytime talk show, ABC’s “Good Morning America” has been closing the ratings gap between it and “Today.”  On Lauer’s signing, NBC News president Steve Capus tells The New York Times, “Matt is the franchise, and our franchise player has decided to keep leading our team.”  The Times story notes that “Today” has been in first place in the morning news show ratings for the past 16 years.

Fox News Channel Brings Santita Jackson Aboard as Contributor.  The daughter of Rev. Jesse Jackson left Midway Broadcasting’s WVON, Chicago due to budget cuts last fall.  Now, Santita Jackson is named a contributor for Fox News Channel.  Santita Jackson is also producer of Jesse Jackson’s weekly Premiere Networks-syndicated talk show “Keep Hope Alive.”

Raubin Pierce Leaves On-Air Position with WIBW, Topeka for Management Post at Manhattan Broadcasting.  Raubin Pierce co-hosted the “On the Other Hand” talk show with co-host Megan Mosack at Morris Communications’ WIBW, Topeka and served as the company’s director of information technology.  He’s left those duties to become operations director and head of new media at Manhattan Broadcasting in Manhattan, Kansas.  The company operates four stations in the Manhattan market including news/talk KMAN.  Pierce tells the Topeka Capital-Journal, “This was just a fantastic opportunity.  There was just no way that I couldn’t do this.”

Longtime South Florida Broadcaster Patricia Anderson Dies from Cancer at 54.  Trish Anderson was well known on South Florida radio.  During her career she worked as a producer, voice-over talent, sports reporter and traffic reporter at stations including WINZ and WIOD, Miami.  Anderson battled breast and bone cancer.  She passed away on March 31.

Johnny B at Wrigley Field.  That’s WGN, Chicago morning drive host Jonathon Brandmeier (center with sunglasses) surrounded by the Chicago band The Fold at the Captain Morgan club at Wrigley Field on Opening Day.  The Fold won the station’s contest to write an original song celebrating the Chicago Cubs.  The winning song – “Let’s Go Cubbies” – is being played at the beginning of each Cubs game broadcast on WGN this season.  The band was with Brandmeier on Opening Day to perform the song live at WGN’s pre-game broadcast and live remote.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

| March 22, 2012

Rush Limbaugh Camp Fires Back at Media Matters with Scathing Statement.  Embattled Premiere Networks talk radio star Rush Limbaugh, via his spokesperson Brian Glicklich in a commentary in Politico, yesterday afternoon issued an official response to the campaign being waged against the show by Media Matters.  This is the first lengthy, official statement made about the advertising issue by Limbaugh’s organization since the controversy began and it has the industry buzzing.  In Glicklich’s scathing attack on Media Matters’ tactics he writes the end result of the campaign hurts more people than Rush Limbaugh.  “By putting small business in the crosshairs of their war on expression, Media Matters is causing real harm.  They are hurting these businesses, their employees and their families.  As a business owner, imagine waking up one morning and being assaulted by hundreds of coordinated attacks from operatives who never were or will be your customers.”  Read Glicklich’s entire commentary here.

Los Angeles City Council Passes Resolution to “End Racist and Sexist Language” on Radio.  On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council – by a vote of 13 to 2 – passed a resolution that read: “NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that by adoption of this Resolution, the City Council urges all management of radio and television stations in Los Angeles to do everything in their power to ensure that their on-air hosts do not use and promote racist and sexist slurs over public airwaves in the City of Los Angeles.”  The wording of the resolution was broadened with an amendment.  The original intent and much of the discussion was targeted at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk KFI.  Though language on the radio was discussed by the council, other discussion involved accusations by critics that lack of diversity in staffing – too few minorities and women in on-air roles, specifically – is to blame for occurrences of what they call racist and sexist slurs.

WTOP, Washington VP News and Programming Jim Farley Named 2012 Recipient of Freedom of Speech Award.  The TALKERS editorial board has selected legendary radio news director Jim Farley as the 2012 recipient of the prestigious Freedom of Speech Award.  The award will be presented to Farley at the New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7.  Farley, recently interviewed by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison (see Talkers TV at right and story below), will address “the renaissance of journalism in the new digital broadcasting era” following the presentation of the award.  In a statement released Wednesday, March 21 Michael Harrison states, “We are witnessing the rebirth of committed journalism in America on the radio airwaves and its associated digital platforms.  WTOP proudly shines as the inspirational example of this positive movement, and Jim Farley’s visionary leadership in bringing it to life on a day-to-day basis would make even Thomas Jefferson proud.  The First Amendment is alive and well at WTOP.  Jim Farley is a remarkable broadcaster.”  The Freedom of Speech Award is a non-partisan honor that has been presented to a wide variety of talk media figures since 1990 whose work has demonstrated the First Amendment in action and raised awareness of its principles.  Past recipients have included Brian Lamb, Matt Drudge, Rush Limbaugh, Al Franken, Jack Anderson, Norm Pattiz, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Bob Grant, Alan Dershowitz, Bill O’ Reilly, Gene Burns, G. Gordon Liddy, Howard Stern and more.  Last year’s recipient was Juan Williams.

Scarborough Research Releases Study of Entertainment Spending by Baby Boomers.  It’s probably not too surprising that the favorite radio formats of the Baby Boom generation are, in order, AC (30%), news/talk (28%), and classic hits (25%).  The study includes statistics about how Boomers like to spend their free time – a nod to the types of ad clients likely to benefit from being heard on their favorite stations.  It notes, “In the past 12 months Baby Boomers have attended a professional sporting event (36%), attended live theater (22%), visited an art museum (14%), attended a rock concert (12%) and gone to the symphony or opera (9%).  And Baby Boomers don’t just have a hunger for entertainment – they are 11% more likely than all American adults to have eaten at a seafood restaurant or steakhouse in the past 30 days.”  EVP of commercial development Brian Condon says, “Baby Boomers remain an essential demographic since they reap the rewards of having had long careers and no longer have young children to care for.  Baby Boomers represent a segment of the American population that has a thirst for adventure, and the financial freedom to explore that passion.”

KGMZ-FM, San Francisco Adds Billy Beane and Bob Melvin to A’s Coverage.  Entercom’s sports talk “95.7 The Game” – KGMZ-FM, San Francisco – announces the addition of A’s general manager Bill Beane and manager Bob Melvin to the station’s coverage of the team.  Beane will become part of the Thursday PM drive show with Brandon Tierney and Eric Davis and Melvin will join “Rise Guys” Whitey Gleason, Mark Kreidler and Dan Dibley every Monday morning.  PD Jason Barrett states, “Bill Beane is one of the smartest baseball minds in America and has a unique perspective about the game that Bay Area baseball fans won’t want to miss.  Bob Melvin has his pulse on the finger of the Athletics and he’ll give Bay Area baseball fans a weekly glimpse inside the clubhouse like no one else.”

“Free Talk Live” Gets Major Market Clear on WWRL, New York.  The independently syndicated evening and weekend program hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge enters the New York City market with a Sunday morning clearance on Access.1 Communications’ progressive talk WWRL.  Freeman says of the addition, “There aren’t many issues-oriented talk shows that can cross talk platforms.  However, we’ve been doing it for years with conservative, progressive, business talk and hot talk stations all airing ‘Free Talk Live.’  I’m excited to announce that ‘Free Talk Live’ welcomes our newest affiliate in America’s largest market: WWRL 1600 in New York City.  Thanks to program director Rennie Bishop for allowing us the opportunity to entertain the people of NYC on the country’s most prominent progressive station.”

Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ, Fresno Celebrates 90th Anniversary Tomorrow.  1922 was a big year for the U.S. government granting radio station licenses and another heritage station is celebrating its 90th year on the air this week.  KMJ, Fresno is the 38th oldest licensed continuously operating radio station in the country.  It was originally licensed to San Joaquin Power and Light Corporation but was sold to McClatchey Newspapers in 1925.  CBS Radio bought KMJ in 1987 and then sold it to Peak Broadcasting in 2006.

WTKS-FM, Orlando’s “Monsters in the Morning” Sponsor Habitat for Humanity House.  The morning drive crew at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WTKS-FM, Orlando led by Russ Rollins is kicking off its First Annual Monster House project in conjunction with the Habitat for Humanity Seminole-Apopka and the City of Sanford.  Rollins and Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett, who on behalf of the City of Sanford, donated the property for the project made the recent announcement.  Rollins says, “This is a huge project with our national radio program teaming up with local government and Habitat for Humanity to benefit the community.  For every $1 spent on construction, $7 will go back into the local economy.  ‘The Monsters’ are looking forward to helping a local family fulfill their dream of home ownership with the First Annual Monster House.  We hope to make The Monster House an annual project in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.”

Romney Wins Illinois Primary/2012 Presidential Race, Iran Nukes Program, Saints Staff Penalized for Bounty Program/Tebow Traded to Jets and Afghanistan Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/21).  Mitt Romney’s decisive win in Illinois on Tuesday and the larger issues surrounding the 2012 presidential race; uncertainty over Iran’s nuclear weapons program; the NFL’s Saints, coaches and former coach penalized severely for ‘bounty program’; Tim Tebow is traded to the Jets; and continuing tensions in Afghanistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, March 16, 2012

| March 16, 2012

Ingstad Group Blows Up Classic Rock for FM Talk in Fargo-Moorhead; Tom Becka to Program and Host AM Drive.  James Ingstad’s Radio Fargo Moorhead group in the Fargo-Moorhead market turns classic rock KRWK-FM into “101.9 Talk FM” The Talk of Fargo Moorhead on March 19.  Talk radio pro Tom Becka – most recently with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFAB, Omaha as PM drive host – is named program director for the station and will host the morning drive show.  Syndicated programs will include Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade, Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.  Former Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth will host a 5:00 pm program for at least the first three weeks of the station’s new format.  Hayworth currently is hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show at Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco.  Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage and Genesis Communications Network‘s Jason Lewis will air in the evenings.  Tom Becka states, “This is such a great opportunity to help put a new FM talk station on the air and be the first doing it.  Radio Fargo Moorhead is a great independent company that still believes in the traditional radio approach that combines great programming and promotion with local outreach.  At the same time they have been leaders in embracing the new technological advances.  And about those winters?  They are taking up a collection to buy me a warm coat.”  The station, as well as sister news/talk KFGO, is being consulted by The Q Consulting GuysJon Quick, who says, “In these days of cutbacks, it is so gratifying that there are operators like the Ingstad group who still believe that hiring great people and promoting them properly results in both ratings and revenue.”  Quick also notes that Ingstad is retaining all of the Rock 101 staff.

Federated Media Drops Classic Rock on WFWI-FM, Fort Wayne; Simulcasts News/Talk WOWO.  The legendary WOWO, Fort Wayne, Indiana gets an FM simulcast for its news/talk format at the expense of sister classic rock “The Fort 92.3.”  Federated Media COO Mark Deprez states, “The move to FM is a natural enhancement for the WOWO brand that is synonymous with Fort Wayne.  WOWO is, and has always been, the one radio outlet that northeast Indiana can count on for breaking news, weather, traffic, information.  WOWO’s strong service commitment to our community, along with the entertaining and engaging personalities, has solidified WOWO in the hearts of many of our local residents.  The move to 92.3 FM will re-introduce WOWO to listeners that have migrated over the years to FM and also open WOWO’s brand to a new and younger audience.”

Rush Limbaugh Fires Up His Long-Dormant Twitter Account to Fight His Attackers.  It probably won’t be very long before Rush Limbaugh’s fans have his Twitter follower numbers through the roof and Limbaugh says he’ll use the account to counter the work being done by organizations such as Media Matters via the social media tool.  Politico reports that Limbaugh told his listeners on his Thursday program that he’ll be Tweeting info from time to time that his faithful can share.  “Everybody has been asking me what they can do to help in all of this, and I’ve been saying, nah, just do what you’ve been doing just, if you listen, keep listening, that’s fine, but…there’s an army out there that wants to be mobilized, and so, I figured, use Twitter for it.  I’m just going to put some things on Twitter that you can help us circulate.  It’s that simple you just retweet them.”  Limbaugh’s first Tweet after the show was a link to a piece by Cornell Law professor William Jacobson on Media Matters’ astroturfing the boycott against Limbaugh’s advertisers.  “Astroturfing” is using digital media to create the illusion of a “grassroots” movement.

Syndicated Talk Host Michael Smerconish: Advertiser Boycotts Won’t Kill Rush Limbaugh.  Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish writes in his column in the Philadelphia Inquirer that the advertiser boycott being waged against Rush Limbaugh ultimately will not topple him from his talk radio perch.  In the piece, Smerconish cites TALKERS and fellow radio trade Radio-Info on the status of the Limbaugh situation.  But Smerconish goes on to write that the hard-core, right wing talk hosts that occupy most news/talk radio station lineups serve exactly that audience – the very conservative, politically active segment of the radio-listening audience.  Smerconish states that studies indicate the nation as a whole is not as polarized as the media might make it appear and both Congress and the talk media are more extreme now than at any point in the recent past (based on voting records and host ideology, respectively).  Change in the flavor of talk radio, Smerconish argues, can only come from programmers.  Read his piece here.

RTDNF Presents Freedom of Speech Awards; Talker Jim Bohannon Honored.  At a gala black-tie dinner held last night at Washington, DC’s Ritz-Carlton hotel, the Radio Television Digital News Foundation (RTDNF) presented its 22nd annual First Amendment Awards including the Special Recognition First Amendment Award to Dial Global Radio Networks talk star Jim Bohannon (pictured here at left).  The award was presented to Bohannon by TALKERS founder and publisher Michael Harrison (r) who stated, “Jim stands tall and strong as a seeker of truth.”  Other awards were presented to NBC News president Steve Capus, ABC News senior foreign affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz, and Shurz Communications senior vice president Marci Burdick.  A special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented posthumously to Andy Rooney.  In a rousing speech, Jim Bohannon encouraged the hundreds of newspeople in attendance to promo free speech at every opportunity saying, “We should go out and kick some ass for the First Amendment!”

KCSP, Kansas City Goes All Local Sports Talk.  Entercom’s KCSP, Kansas City drops Premiere NetworksJim Rome from its midday slot and expands its existing sports talk shows.  AM drive hosts Bob Fescoe and Josh Klingler are now heard from 6:00 am to 10:00 am; midday host Danny Parkins gets the big bump, moving from 9:00 am to 11:00 am to 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and Carrington Harrison joins the program along with other contributors.  Nick Wright’s afternoon show remains in the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot.  Program director Ryan Maguire says, “Our listeners have wanted more local hosts talking about local sports.  With the start of an exciting Royals season only a few weeks away, ‘610 Sports’ has the best local lineup for our game broadcasts.  The passionate sports fans in Kansas City now have more than just one option in the middle of their day when it comes to local sports talk.  We’re excited that we can be all live, all local all day.”

GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Race Maintains Top Story Spot on Talkers TenTM.  The battle for the Republican nomination for president and the larger issues surrounding the 2012 campaign tied for the top spot as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of March 12-16, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Correspondingly, Rick Santorum tied with Mitt Romney as the #1 most-talked-about person followed by President Obama at #2.  The Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people of the week as discussed on news/talk radio is published here every Friday.  View this week’s chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity pick up new FM talker KRWK, Fargo-Moorhead…..Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade is added to KRWK-FM, Fargo-Moorhead…..Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis joins KRWK-FM, Fargo-Moorhead…..Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham returns to KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds WLBE, Leesburg-Eustis, Florida; and KTGO, Tioga, North Dakota…..Dial Global adds its sports Westwood One play-by-play sports – including NFL, NCAA men’s basketball and football, the Olympics, major golf events and more to Lincoln Financial Media’s WQXI, Atlanta.

Loose Cannons Live in Downtown L.A.  Fox Sports Radio Network’s KLAC, Los Angeles-based “Loose Cannons” recently kicked off March Madness with a live broadcast from the Hooters Downtown Los Angeles where the brand-new Fox Sports Radio remote broadcast studio is located.  Pictured here – along with a bevy of Hooters girls – are Vic “The Brick” Jacobs (l) and Steve Hartman (r).  Not pictured is the third “Loose Cannon” Pat O’Brien.

 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

| March 14, 2012

America’s Radio News Network Develops Second Radio Network Featuring 24/7 News Reports.  The long-form news venture crafted by Talk Radio Network known as America’s Radio News Network – which is successfully distributing three-hour blocks of all-news content to more than 275 affiliate stations – is announcing the creation of a second network dedicated to top- and bottom-of-the-hour news, breaking news bulletins, special reports and newsmaker interviews.  ARNN executive vice president for news John McCaslin states, “‘Journalism Without Agenda’ is not just a marketing phrase at America’s Radio News – it’s a code we live by – and the marketplace has responded so strongly to our long-form, all-news product that the second news network of our short-form top- and bottom-of-the-hour news (plus audio actualities, special reports, news maker interviews etc…) was a natural outgrowth of this demand.  We are honored to be the fastest-growing brand in news radio.  We truly are ‘Journalism Without Agenda.’  This is something stations not only deeply appreciate, but have a need for like never before.”  CEO Mark Masters says this means affiliate stations will not have to “break away” for news.  “Bottom line, ARNN is now the complete ‘go-to’ radio news network ­ for urgent breaking newscasts on the hour and half-hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, along with our intriguing and diverse lineup of newsmaker interviews in addition to our large array of three-hour, long-form weekday news blocks our listeners enjoy each weekday.”  The new service begins April 2.

Dan Sileo Let Go from WDAE, Tampa After “Monkeys” Comment.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Tampa Bay sports talk outlet has parted company with morning drive sports talk host Dan Sileo after he referred to three NFL free agents as “monkeys.”  During an exchange with producer Darek Sharp about whether the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should go after Cortland Finnegan, Jonathan Vilma and Vincent Jackson in free agency, Sileo reportedly said, “No! No!  If they get those three monkeys, I’m good!  I’m ready, man.  I’m ready.  I want those guys.  Those guys are great players.”  WDAE program director Steve Versnick confirmed to the Tampa Bay Tribune that Sileo is no longer with the station but would not comment on why due to the station’s policy of not discussing personnel matters.  The Tampa Bay Times reports the station apologized specifically for Sileo’s remarks.  As for Sileo, he tweeted to the TimesEric Deggans that he didn’t even realize what he’d said until someone told him.  Versnick told the Tribune Rock Riley will fill in for Sileo and the station is seeking a permanent replacement.  Dan Sileo has written about sports talk radio for TALKERS in the past.

Aggressive Agenda Being Set for New Media Seminar.  The first of several key panel rosters for the New York installment of this year’s New Media Seminar has been announced and it promises to provide a powerful overview of the state of talk radio.  Titled “Spoken Word Radio 2012, the Big Picture,” the lineup includes (in alphabetical order): Phil Boyce, VP/director, Spoken Word Format, Salem Communications; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; and Chris Oliviero,  senior VP programming, CBS RadioMichael Harrison, publisher of TALKERS will moderate.  According to Harrison, “This year’s New Media Seminar will tackle a number of pressing issues facing the industry during this most transitional and turbulent year.”  The 2012 version of the industry’s longest-running and most important national convention will feature a new, innovative format designed for the times – broken into two separate events:  New York on Thursday, June 7 and Los Angeles on Thursday, October 11.  Each will present a power-packed agenda and offer affordable, accessible registration fees to its attendees.  Registration, however, is limited and only open to members of the working media. For details, click here.

Dial Global and Dennis Miller Celebrate the Host’s Five-Year Anniversary with a New Contract.  The announcement from Dial Global doesn’t get specific – it calls it a long-term deal – but Dennis Miller’s gig as a nationally syndicated talk show host will continue.  He began in 2007 with Westwood One and is currently heard on more than 300 affiliate stations and, according to DG, in 24 of the top 24 markets.  Dial Global co-president/CEO David Landau says, “We are ecstatic about our relationship with Dennis and thrilled to be associated with a rock star and national treasure of this magnitude.”  Miller is a regular contributor to Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor.”  Miller and O’Reilly have been involved in a live event series dubbed the “Bolder & Fresher Tour 2011-2012” and have added new dates to that tour including June 22 in Indianapolis and June 23 in Chicago.  Miller says of his radio success, “It has been a fine five years with a great and growing audience that I enjoy riffing with.  As I bask in the glorious wake of modest achievement, I look forward to many more years behind the microphone.”

Saga Communications Reports Revenue Down 3.6% in Q4 of 2011.  But for the entire year of 2011, Saga Communications was down just a hair – to $127.3 million in net revenue.  The good news for Saga is free cash flow was up 3.6% for the quarter and 9% for the year.  Also, Saga was able to reduce its debt by $27 million to $69.1 million.  One thing Saga is enjoying that many other broadcasting companies surely covet is a healthy stock price.  Saga’s stock closed at $41.40 per share on Tuesday – up 6.7%.

Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington Locks Up Doc Walker for Three More Years.  The midday sports talk host was most recently partnered with John Thompson at WTEM but Thompson left his daily talk show host role at the station last month.  Now, Red Zebra vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says the company has signed Rick “Doc” Walker to a three-year contract extension and the station will feature Walker in a new 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm program beginning March 26.  Walker is also part of the broadcast team for the Washington Redskins Radio Network.  Red Zebra CEO Rick Carmean states, “Doc has become an integral part of WTEM and its success for the better part of 15 years.  We are excited for him to be a part of the new show and our Redskins broadcasts.”

Cumulus Media Networks Partners with APM Music for Production Library Services.  Music library giant APM Music – a joint venture of EMI Music Publishing and Universal Music Publishing – partners with Cumulus Media Networks to offer its music library services to client stations.  APM’s collection of music is described as offering “every imaginable genre including music from current indie bands to big sound orchestral trailer cues to a full classical music repertoire.”  CMN SVP of affiliate sales and broadcast operations Dennis Green says, “Cumulus Media Networks is proud to add the APM music production library to its growing stable of products and services available to stations all over the country.  APM’s library is the largest and best in the industry which will provide stations the foundation for outstanding commercial production.”

Dan LeBatard Show Markets Content via CDBaby.  The WAXY, Miami PM drive show Dan LeBatard with Stugotz & Hochman is marketing some of its best-of material via CDBaby.  The program has a sizable podcast following but this is the first foray in to digital media marketing.  As the deal is structured, the show and station owner Lincoln Financial Media both share in the revenue.  The “CD” is available through CDBaby.com, iTunes, Amazon and several other digital media sites.  Marc Hochman (who is currently also program director of WAXY but is stepping down to focus on the LeBatard show) reports LeBatard’s national profile has “grown exponentially since the debut of his daily TV show, ‘Dan LeBatard is Highly Questionable,’ on ESPN 2 which is aired every day at 4:00 pm ET.”  Pictured here is the “CD cover” of the digital download.  Hochman says there will be no physical CDs, just the download.

GOP Southern Primaries/2012 Presidential Race, Soaring Gas Prices, Afghanistan Killings Aftermath, and Iran Nukes Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/13).  Yesterday’s southern primaries for the GOP contenders and the 2012 presidential race in general; the nation’s soaring gas prices and its impact on President Obama’s approval numbers; the aftermath of the killing of 16 Afghanistan civilians by a U.S. soldier; and the ongoing tensions over Iran’s nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, February 27, 2012

| February 27, 2012

GOP Candidates Flocking to Talk Radio in Close Primary Race.  In a piece on Mitt Romney’s talk radio appearances in Michigan and Arizona prior to tomorrow’s primaries in those states at Politico yesterday (2/26), writer Keach Hagey speaks with local and national talk show hosts on candidates’ use of talk radio during a campaign like this.  The piece notes that Romney has historically been a bit aloof towards talk radio – unlike Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich – but with the race with Santorum particularly close, he’s been all over the medium.  Hagey quotes TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison offering the reason for this turn of events.  “When they’re ahead, they don’t like going on talk radio because they are afraid of making a mistake, and talk radio is a wonderful place for making a mistake.  If he were clearly the front-runner, then he would do less talk radio.”  During a GOP primary race when candidates are speaking to core voters on conservative talk radio-formatted stations, they use the medium to differentiate themselves from the others.  Hagey’s piece quotes Santorum national communications director Hogan Gidley saying, “Mitt Romney’s well-funded attack machine is on their seek-and-destroy mission, and talk radio is often the avenue Rick Santorum uses to dispel those false accusations.  We have been on talk radio probably more than any of the other candidates combined.”  With the Michigan and Arizona primaries tomorrow, Talk Radio Network-syndicated “America’s Morning News” with John McCaslin and Dana Mills is the beneficiary with interviews with  Mitt Romney at 8:15 am today and Rick Santorum at 8:30 am.

INNOVATIVE MODEL SET FOR NEW MEDIA SEMINAR 2012.  Plans have been set for the 15th annual installment of the New Media Seminar, the longest-running, largest and most important annual talk media industry convention.  This year’s version marks the innovative launch of an updated model sensitive to the tough economic and stressful conditions of the times. Significant restructuring has been applied to lower the costs of registration, accommodations and travel as well as moving the event from the weekend to a weekday.  According to TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, “Both conferences will be national in scope and regional in flavor, a recipe that worked amazingly well at last year’s successful experiment, the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum.”

NMS 2012 will consist of two one-day conferences.  The first will be held in New York City on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  The second – presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club – will take place on Thursday, October 11 in Los Angeles at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.

According to Harrison, “We learned a tremendous amount at last year’s ‘happening’ in L.A.  There is something very exciting, fulfilling and productive about one single, power-packed day with no time-wasting fat or money-wasting frills.  It was executed purposefully under the radar to test the waters for this new model on a national scale and it succeeded beyond our wildest expectations, reaching maximum registration capacity in a matter of days.  Although the New Media Seminar has actually grown consistently larger and has been a sell-out every year of its existence, we recognize that conditions are such that a change would eventually be necessary as well as beneficial to the working person in our business – at least during this stressful period of tight budgets and high industry economic uncertainty.  At TALKERS we insist on being ahead of the curve.  Industry conferences need to include and be accessible to professionals in the trenches as well as the corporate elite.  This new model is a gift to the business.”

Because quick sell-outs for each event are expected, registration will be limited to working media.  For registration and sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or e-mail her at barbara@talkers.com.  Further details, agenda updates and hotel information will be announced in the coming days here at Talkers.com and in the TALKERS morning headlines e-mailer.  Stay tuned!

NPR Announces Promotions and New Executive Structure.  NPR promotes Kinsey Wilson to the position executive vice president and chief content officer and makes Margaret Low Smith the senior vice president of NPR news, a position she’s been serving in the “acting” vein since last January.  NPR president and CEO Gary Knell states, “This is a time of great opportunity for NPR and our member stations.  In Kinsey and Margaret we have two journalists, strategists and leaders with a keen understanding of the craft that distinguishes NPR – and how we must continue to innovate and evolve.  Our collective aim is to work with stations to become an unrivaled leader in news and cultural coverage that reaches all Americans, no matter how they tune in.”  Wilson has been with NPR since 2008 as SVP and general manager of digital media.  NPR also announces Eric Nuzum steps permanently into the vice president for programming role.  Plus, vice president of diversity in news & operations Keith Woods is charged with broadening with member stations to support public radio’s drive for greater diversity in its audience, staffing and content.  Woods will work closely with vice president for membership and audience partnership Joyce MacDonald.

Ric Edelman’s Weekly Financial Talk Show Clears KFI, Los Angeles.  “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman” – the nationally syndicated financial talk show hosted by one of the nation’s top-ranked financial advisors – is added to the weekend lineup at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles airing Sundays from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  Edelman’s program is now heard in 54 markets, including 25 of the top 30 markets.  Edelman says. “I’m excited to join KFI’s outstanding lineup and look forward to bringing financial education to so many people in Southern California.”

KGO, San Francisco Makes Changes to Weekend Schedule; More News Content Added.  Responding to listener feedback, the Cumulus Media Group station announces changes to its weekend schedule that includes the addition of traffic reports every 10 minutes plus live weather reports with ABC 7 meteorologists to serve listeners out in their cars on the weekend.  News and program director Brian Hosley announces two new programs: “Cooking with Ryan Scott,” airing Saturdays from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and “The Monty Show,” hosted by Tim Montemayor and airing from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.  Hosley says Montemayor’s show will address local and timely issues.  Montemayor is an East Bay resident who has worked in Los Angeles, Chicago and St. Louis as well as being syndicated nationally with Sporting News Radio.  “He is a self-proclaimed ‘news junkie’ and is excited to talk with listeners about the stories that matter to them most.”

Cox Media Group’s WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia Prepares for Martha Zoller’s Congressional Run.  The station positioned as “Bulldog 103.7” – Cox Media Group’s talk and sports hybrid WXKT-FM – is running a contest for a fill-in for “one of our most popular hosts” who “will be occupied for a few months.”  The station doesn’t mention Martha Zoller by name but the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon host has said she’ll run as a Republican for the new congressional seat created by population changes and redistricting.  The station is asking, “Do you have strong ties to the Gainesville area?  Do you keep abreast of local, state and national issues?  Can you have civil discussions with those who hold differing viewpoints?  Can you keep talking and keep it interesting for hours on end?  Then Bulldog 103.7 has a microphone with your name on it.”  Applicants must write the station and in 100 words or less tell why they should get the gig.

Clear Channel’s Hartford Sports Talkers Split Affiliation.  The new FM sports talk station Clear Channel Media and Entertainment put on the air recently – WUCS 97.9 FM ESPN – has been simulcasting with AM sister WPOP.  Beginning March 5, WPOP will break off from the simulcast and affiliate with Fox Sports Radio.  It will also carry the DirecTV-produced and Premiere Networks-distributed Dan Patrick show.

Opinion: Richard Neer Responds to Phil Valentine.  Regarding the debate over the use of terms or phrases on broadcasts or in print historically regarded as ethnic slurs, TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer responds to Dial Global Nashville-based talk host Phil Valentine who wrote this opinion piece called “Controlling the Language” published by TALKERS on Friday (2/24).  Valentine was responding to Neer’s original column published last week here.  In his response, Neer contests the notion that “words can’t hurt” and points out humanity’s tendency toward ethnic pride as one of the underlying reasons why ethnic slurs exist in the first place.  Read Neer’s piece here.

Friday, February 24, 2012

| February 24, 2012

Big Promotion for John Hogan; Exec Moves Up to Chairman and CEO for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  Clear Channel Media Holdings continues to express its confidence in the man who was promoted from COO to president and CEO of Clear Channel Radio in 2002 after the departure of Randy Michaels.  In announcing John Hogan’s promotion and contract extension through 2015, the company touts Hogan’s record of developing the creative and successful integration of sales, promotional and programming initiatives across multiple platforms.  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman states, “Under John’s strong leadership and vision, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has integrated the company’s assets so that it is today the leading media and entertainment company in the U.S. with a greater reach than any other radio or television outlet.  It provides a one-of-a-kind national platform for partners in addition to the powerful local activation market by market and demo by demo.”  Hogan says, “I am pleased and honored to be named to this position, which is a clear endorsement of the soundness of our strategy, the value of our assets, and the depth of the incredible team we are building here.  I appreciate the energy and vision that Bob Pittman has brought to the organization and look forward to pursuing with Bob the vision we share as we continue to push the boundaries of the definition of entertainment, giving our audience what they want now and in the future.”

Bill Thomas Out as Market Manager at Cumulus Birmingham.  Cumulus Media Group regional manager John Walker is set to oversee the Birmingham cluster in addition to his responsibility for the Huntsville stations after the departure of Bill Thomas.  There’s no reason to believe that the ongoing legal battle between WJOX-FM, Birmingham personality Paul Finebaum and the company is the sole reason for Thomas’ exit but the possibility exists that Thomas’ role in how the situation was handled could have been a factor.  Remember that Finebaum claims he was strong-armed by Thomas into signing a contract amendment that was less beneficial to him.  That set the legal wheels in motion that includes Cumulus’ recent decision to countersue Finebaum claiming he violated his contract by engaging in negotiations with a competitor and sharing confidential company information.

Journal Broadcast Group Reports Positive Q4; Slight Uptick for 2011.  On the strength of increasing automotive in the fourth quarter of 2011, Journal Broadcast Group reports a revenue increase of 2.3%.  For the entire year, Journal’s revenue rose 1.6% on $70.4 million compared to 2010.  While those numbers aren’t staggering, they beat the negative reports that had become so common over the past few years.  Interestingly, unlike many other radio groups, Journal notes the fourth quarter of 2011 was its best quarter.

Phil Hendrie Ends Local KFI, Los Angles Saturday Show; Busy TV Schedule Cited.  Los Angeles-based radio and television talent Phil Hendrie tweets to fans he is ending his KFI, Los Angeles-only Saturday evening show after this weekend’s performance due to the increasing amount of TV work he’s getting combined with his nightly radio show syndicated by Talk Radio Network.  Radio trade AllAccess.com reports it has confirmed the news.  Hendrie is doing voice work on Fox Television’s “Napoleon Dynamite” and has upcoming work on Fox’s “New Girl.”  Hendrie thanks KFI program director Robin Bertolucci and the KFI staff for their help with the weekend show.

CBS Radio’s WQYK, Tampa Changes Midday Show.  “The King David Show” featuring Toby David and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Shaun King is off the air at CBS Radio’s 1010 Sports (WQYK), according to the Tampa Bay TimesTom Jones.  Jones reports that WQYK assistant program director Mike Pepper says the station is airing Yahoo! SportsTim Brando in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot for now but would like to fill that hole with a local show.  The station needs time to find the right show.  He didn’t rule out either David or King being part of the station in the future.  Toby David tells the paper, “I appreciated the time I worked with Shaun and have a great amount of respect for him.  I also enjoyed working at CBS Radio and have nothing but the utmost respect for those people and I hope to land on my feet locally.”

CCME Announces National Imaging Team.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment organizes the imaging of its radio formats under the Kelly Doherty-led National Programming Platforms group.  The function of this reorganization is to create 15 format-specific imaging coordinator positions and those experts will “produce and distribute compelling and diverse on-air promotional audio spots for Clear Channel’s National Programming initiatives, including format-specific creative efforts across iHeartRadio, Artist Integration Programs and large-scale contests and events including the iHeartRadio Music Festival.”  Doherty states, “This team includes the top producers in each format.  The talent, expertise and ingenuity that this new Imaging Team brings together is unmatched and I am excited to lead such a top-notch group.”  Scott Stanley is named news/talk imaging coordinator and Bob Schmidt is the sports imaging coordinator.

Thaddeus Matthews Off the Air at WPLX, Memphis After Court Ruling.  The case involving Memphis talk host Thaddeus Matthews and WPLX, Memphis owner William Pollack took another turn recently after Chancellor Arnold Goldin of the Shelby County Court denied an injunction Matthews had sought to continue broadcasting his program on WPLX.  Matthews made national news with a YouTube broadcast video of his on-air encounter with Republican congressional candidate Charlotte Bergmann which ended with Matthews refusing to shake Bergmann’s hand because he didn’t want her “whiteness” to rub off on him.  According to The Commercial Appeal, last week’s court ruling revolved around a dispute over money owed by Matthews to Pollack.  Matthews leases the time from Pollack and the latter claims he’s owed in excess of $85,000 in fees.  Matthews disputes that figure and vows to continue his legal battle while broadcasting his program on the internet.

Rob Otto Joins WCAR, Livonia, Michigan in Sports Director Role.  Detroit sports media pro Rob Otto joins Birach Broadcasting’s WCAR, Livonia (west of Detroit) as sports director for the reformatted station positioned as ESPN 1090, according to Michiguide.com.  The site reports Otto “will also be tasked with providing local, on-air sports updates for WCAR and helping the station establish local programming and marketing.  He’ll also be moving his sports-related blog from MLive.com to ESPN 1090’s website at espn1090.com.”  Otto has worked in the Detroit market at WXYT-FM, WWJ, WDFN and WHMI-FM.

Opinion:  Talk Host Phil Valentine Says Prohibition of Ethnic References Reeks of Controlling the Language.  Nashville-based Dial Global syndicated talk host Phil Valentine responds to TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer’s column (When it Comes to Ethnic Slurs, Just Don’t Go There, 2/23/12) that in this age of political correctness, what is said or written in the media – the ESPN/Jeremy Lin case is a great example – doesn’t have to actually be offensive, it just has to sound that way.  Read Phil’s column here.

GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 20 – 24.  The GOP primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign tied atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week.  The primary and the issues surrounding the campaign that leads up to the November 5 general election were #1 for the fourth consecutive week.  Landing at #2 was Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  At #3 was rising gas prices at U.S. pumps and at #4 was the protest in Afghanistan over the desecration of Korans at a U.S. base.  The Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio is published each week at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  See the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup.  Dial Global’s “Overnight America with Jon Grayson” picks up KFWB, Los Angeles for the 10:00 pm to 3:00 am slot…..Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” is added for the overnight slot at WPRO, Providence…..“Motley Fool Money” with host Chris Hill adds KPQ, Wenatchee, Washington and KPSF, Palm Springs – Money Radio 1200.

 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

| February 16, 2012

Deborah Norville to Host Broadcasters Foundation of America “Golden Mike Awards”; Fox’s Roger Ailes to Present.  The annual “Golden Mike Awards” to benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America takes place in New York City on Monday, February 27 at the Plaza Hotel.  Emmy-winning host of “Inside Edition” Deborah Norville returns as host of the gala event at which Fox Television Stations president of station operations Dennis Swanson will be honored with the Golden Mike Award.  Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes will also be part of the program as a presenter.  The Broadcasters Foundation of America provides assistance to broadcasters in need.  The charity describes its mission as “improving the quality of life and maintaining the personal dignity of men and women in the radio and television broadcast profession who find themselves in acute need.  The Foundation reaches out across the country to identify and provide an anonymous safety net in cases of critical illness, advanced age, death of a spouse, accident, and other serious misfortune.”  There has been a notable outreach to talk radio by the Broadcasters Foundation in recent months and an accompanying surge of interest in its work by hosts and programmers around the country.  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “I have witnessed firsthand just how wonderful this organization is as it clearly makes a difference in the lives of broadcasters who have fallen on hard times and even tragic circumstances.  These are tough times and each and every one of us is vulnerable to crisis and disaster due to health issues or any other threats facing the simple condition of being human.  I strongly encourage everyone in talk radio and beyond to join this organization or at least send a donation.  It truly is a matter of broadcasters helping broadcasters – in other words, giving back to the people of an industry that has given us such marvelous opportunities.”  For more information on the Broadcasters Foundation of America, to make a donation, or learn how to apply for a grant, please contact them at 212-373-8250, info@thebfoa.org or visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org.

CBS Corporation Revenue Down 3%; Radio Division Down 5%.  The lack of political advertising during 2011 compared to the year prior and the NBA lockout are being blamed for the drop in revenue CBS experienced last year.  In a conference call with analysts, CBS CEO Les Moonves reports improvement in auto advertising along with higher retransmission revenues helped ameliorate some of the negative effects of the loss of political and the NBA lockout.  Moonves did take some time to praise radio during the conference.  He cited both the growth at CBS Radio’s sports talk-formatted stations and the success of its all-news stations in major markets.  He also predicted this year’s political season would be a boon for broadcasters with radio getting a bigger share of that business than in previous years.

KIRO-FM, Seattle’s Ron & Don Help Raise Funds to Prevent Josh Powell from Being Buried Next to Children.  KIRO-FM, Seattle afternoon drive talk hosts Ron & Don helped raise the money necessary – more than $20,000 – to buy the cemetery plots adjacent to the two boys killed by their father in Graham, Washington.  The story of Josh Powell killing his sons Charlie and Brandon in a horrific explosion of the house during a supervised visit gained national attention.  When Crime Stoppers Tacoma-Pierce County learned the family of Powell was looking for a cemetery plot near the ones in which the boys would be buried, they intervened to buy the adjacent plots.  KIRO-FM’s Ron & Don hit the airwaves to help pay for the purchase.  Don O’Neill says, “When we heard this story at 3:00 pm today, we felt compelled to stop this tragedy from happening.  So, we asked our KIRO listeners to help us raise the funds to reimburse ‘Crime Stoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County.’”  KIRO-FM program director Larry Gifford states, “When the news and conversation on 97.3 KIRO FM impacts the hearts and minds of listeners like the tragic and shocking crimes involving the Powell family, the ‘Ron & Don Nation’ is always quick to answer the call and today was no different.  I’m continually amazed at the kind-heartedness and generosity of the people who make up our community.  They inspire, empower, and engage each other to help make a positive impact and I’m proud we were able to play a role in that today.”

Dave Ramsey and Daughter Rachel Cruze to Headline Live Los Angeles Benefit Appearance for Affiliate KFWB.  Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey makes a return to Los Angeles for a live appearance with his daughter Rachel Cruze for “An Evening on Family and Money” ” at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, April 3 at 8:00 pm in conjunction with Los Angeles affiliate KFWB.  A portion of all ticket sales will be donated to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles.  KFWB reports the evening’s program will include Ramsey sharing his key principles on handling money, navigating family relationships, communicating with family members more effectively and preparing children to be financially responsible adults.  Cruze will discuss how to teach your kids life lessons like the dangers of debt and the value of saving and giving.  The program will also include audience Q&A.  This will be Ramsey’s fourth live appearance in the L.A. area for KFWB.  He previously sold out the Long Beach Arena in September 2011 as well as prior appearances at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts and the Alex Theatre in Glendale.

Talk Host Steve Cochran Returns to Air at WIND, Chicago and KTRS, St. Louis After Health Scare.  Chicago-based talk show host Steve Cochran returned to the air at Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago and CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis after being forced off by what turned out to be a blood clot in an artery leading to his heart –the artery doctors call “the widow maker.”  Cochran shared his story with listeners after returning to the air.  On January 31, in the middle of his KTRS show (which he does from his home in Chicago), he told his producer he thought he was having a heart attack.  He drove himself to the hospital (something he doesn’t recommend) and eventually found out he had not had a heart attack but suffered from the clot doctors said they could treat with medication.  But it took him off the air for almost two weeks. Cochran is relishing his second chance after the serious health scare.  On the WIND website Cochran writes, “You may recognize a bit of you in my story.  If you do I want you to know you don’t always have tomorrow.  You need to change today.  I had spent almost all of my adult life working too much, sleeping too little.  Oh and I was also eating too much of all the wrong things, and working out…but not nearly enough.”

Ron Jaworski Re-Signs with ESPN but Exits “MNF” TV Role.  Former Philadelphia Eagles star Ron Jaworski will continue to work for ESPN – he’ll be seen on “Monday NFL Countdown,” “NFL Matchup” and be heard on the radio regularly on “Mike and Mike in the Morning” – but ESPN removes him from the cable TV broadcast of “Monday Night Football.”  The network is electing to go with a two-man booth with John Gruden and Mike Tirico for the 2012 season.  Jaworski says in a statement, “I am grateful for having the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of working on ‘Monday Night Football’ the past five seasons with Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and so many other talented people behind the scenes who make the show so great, and I look forward to bringing my passion and knowledge of the game to more fans in more places than ever before on any and all football topics.”

Tribune Succeeds in Removing Bogus Jonathon Brandmeier Tweeter.   Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that, although it took a little time, Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago was able to have Twitter shut down the account of a “rabid Johnny B. fan” who had many fans believing they were reading tweets from Jonathon Brandmeier via the @JBonWGN Twitter account.  Peter Hayman is described as an “occasional contributor to the show.”  Feder reports that WGN director of marketing and digital innovation Jackie Paulus responded to criticism the station took too long to act on the matter, “As opposed to us finally getting around to it, there were two complaints filed immediately – one by Johnny’s producer and one by the station.  Unfortunately, due to the volume of these incidences, it took Twitter that long to validate and process the request.”

GOP Primary Race, Syria Violence Issues, Iran-Israel Tensions, Obama Budget, Payroll Tax Cut Legislation, and Rising Gas Prices Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/15).  The GOP Primary race, steps to curb the continuing violence in Syria, tensions between Iran and Israel, President Obama’s 2013 budget proposal, Congressional legislation to cut the payroll tax and concern of rising gas prices were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Welcome Samantha Sabo!  Noted talk media consultant Walter Sabo – president of Sabo Media and Hitviews – and wife Katie welcomed Samantha Gloria Sabo (all 8 lbs. 7 ozs. and 21 inches of her!) into the world on February 14.  Walter reports that mother and daughter are doing very well and Samantha’s sisters Dorothy and Meredith are thrilled at the new addition to their family.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

| February 8, 2012

More Than 23 Million Tuned in to Radio Broadcast of Super Bowl According to Edison Research.  On the heels of the Dial Global-commissioned survey to determine the radio listenership to the NFC and AFC Championship games two weeks ago, DG follows up to ask Edison Research to study how many people listened to at least a portion of its Westwood One-produced broadcast of the Big Game.  Edison reports that via a live telephone interview survey conducted Monday after the game, “listeners accessed the live broadcast in multiple listening environments, including the home, while driving, at work and other locations, on over 680 stations nationwide.”  Given the money Dial Global spends for the rights to sports broadcasts throughout the year – and especially the NFL playoffs product – Co-president and CEO David Landau is delighted with the results.  “We are again excited, but not surprised, to see that our research findings highlight the strength of the Dial Global brand and the ongoing demand for radio broadcast coverage of live sporting events.  Dial Global is committed to showcasing the value of our content and exemplifying our commitment to being the most innovative, service focused company in the industry while supporting our affiliates and advertisers.”

Journal Communications Ups CFO Andre Fernandez to President.  The former NBC Universal SVP – with Journal Communications as chief financial officer since October of 2008 – keeps his CFO role but adds the president title.  Former president Steven Smith stays in his chairman and CEO position.  Smith says the new title recognizes the role Fernandez plays in the corporation.  “He has been instrumental in the continuing evolution of our business, the steady focus on building our local media brands and the sustained investment in our digital business.  Andre has also helped us maintain our strong financial disciplines which have led to Journal’s consistently improving balance sheet.  We look forward to Andre’s increased operational responsibilities across the company.”

WRKO, Boston Expands Midday Financial Show with Barry Armstrong.  The talk program hosted by the founder of the Armstrong Advisory Group is being renamed “The Financial Exchange with Barry Armstrong” and airs from 9:00 am to 11:00 am daily.  Vice president of AM programming for Entercom New England Jason Wolfe says, “Barry has done an excellent job with this program since its inception, and given the state of the economy in our country, I’m really looking forward to him being able to continue sharing his expertise in the business and financial arena, an arena that is still very top of mind for our audience.”  The station notes that Armstrong’s program regularly features heavyweight guests such as CNBC’s Larry Kudlow and Rick Santelli, Pimm Foxx from Bloomberg News, Fox Business’s Stuart Varney, and Eric Rosengren, CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.  The move means TRN’s Laura Ingraham airs in the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm slot and Jen Brien follows from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

Disney’s ABC News and Univision in Talks to Create New Cable News Channel.  The Wall Street Journal reports the two companies are in serious talks about creating a new cable news channel that would “broadcast in English, in an effort to keep pace with changing demographics among U.S. Hispanics and reach a new audience of English speakers.”  Neither company is commenting and the piece notes that the deal is far from done.  If it does happen, the operations center for the new channel would be based in Univision’s corporate home of Miami.  The initiative would be a departure for Univision by entering in to an English-language broadcast entity but an interesting aspect of the story as the WSJ notes the recognition that “U.S.-born Hispanics, who often speak English more than Spanish, are now fueling Hispanic population growth more than Spanish-speaking immigrants.”

American Jewish University in Los Angeles Presenting Talk Radio Discussion.   The fifth annual talk radio discussion presented by AJU is set to take place this Sunday, February 12.  Moderated by veteran broadcaster Bill Moran, the panel’s scheduled speakers include KFI, Los Angeles, personalities Bill Handel and Bill Carroll; Patt Morrison of KPCC-FM, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Radio; and Michael Harrison, founder of TALKERS.  Open to the public, the discussion will cover a variety of topics including Middle East tensions, health care, the economy, immigration reform, social media, the environment and a behind-the-scenes discussion about the talk media industry.  The event takes place between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm at the AJU’s Familian Campus, 15600 Mulholland Drive in Bel-Air.  Admission: $25.  For more information or reservations call 310-440-1246.

WEEI, Boston Super Bowl Party Benefits Boomer Esiason Foundation.  Entercom’s sports talk WEEI, Boston held a Super Bowl party on Saturday, February 4 at Buca di Beppo in downtown Indianapolis.  The event raised $10,000 for the Boomer Esiason Foundation to fight cystic fibrosis.  Esiason – morning drive co-host at CBS Radio’s WFAN and Dial Global play-by-play analyst for Monday Night Football broadcasts – is a regular contributor to WEEI appearing weekly with John Dennis and Gerry Callahan during the NFL season.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Rich Saultz, VP of operations for Buca di Beppo, Boomer Esiason, Entercom VP/market manager Jeff Brown and WEEI VP of programming Jason Wolfe.

Colorado/Missouri/Minnesota Races, Obama Health Care Law Birth Control Controversy, Syria Violence, and California’s Prop 8 Overturned Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/7).  The GOP primary and caucus races in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota, President Obama’s health care legislation and the mandatory birth control provisions that are creating controversy, ongoing violence in Syria and its role in the global stage, plus the overturning of California’s Prop 8 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, January 16, 2012

| January 16, 2012

Clear Channel Drops the “Radio”; Becomes Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  Clear Channel Media Holdings chief executive officer Bob Pittman announces the “radio division” of the company is changing its name to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment to reflect its mission to deliver content via means beyond just terrestrial radio.  “Over the last few years, I’ve watched as Clear Channel Radio has pushed beyond the traditional boundaries of radio to reach more Americans every month than any other media company through an unmatched combination of broadcast, satellite, online and mobile assets,” states Pittman.  “Under John Hogan’s continued strong leadership, the new Clear Channel Media and Entertainment brand underscores that we are taking our brands and content wherever our listeners expect to find it.  And, in the future, as new places emerge where people want to access our powerful brands and content, we’ll be there, too.”  At the center of Clear Channel’s initiatives to move beyond radio station transmitters is the iHeartRadio website and app that delivers audio from its O&O radio stations of all formats, offers user-customizable stations plus audio from Cumulus Media, and soon, Greater Media radio stations as well.  The company is clearly putting forth the iHeartRadio internet site and mobile and tablet application as its primary weapon in the battle for ears being waged by Pandora, Slacker, Spotify and others.  John Hogan states, “Radio is both our history and the foundation upon which we will grow our company moving forward.  That will not change.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment represents our evolution as we prove our relationship with our listeners is so much more than just our transmitters and towers.  We will continue to serve our increasingly diverse audiences and local communities with the best content – music, news, emergency information, and public service – wherever they expect it, while supporting advertisers, strategic partners, music labels and artists with creative, multi-platform marketing opportunities that reach, activate and engage target audiences like no one else.”  It clearly appears that this move on the part of the largest owner/operator of terrestrial radio station licenses crystallizes the reality of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison‘s forecast originally published in 2007 that the entity known as the “radio station” would evolve into something more aptly described as the “media station” — a multi-tiered broadcasting entity the ranks of which are comprised of both licensed and unlicensed outlets operating on the even playing field of the internet.  According to Harrison, “Hogan’s statement that ‘radio is both our history and the foundation upon which we will grow our company moving forward’ is quite revealing and says it all… basically that a ‘radio’ station that defines itself as being just that — a ‘radio’ station – is behind the times.  An audio-only media brand in this new era is as incomplete as a newspaper without photographs or a motion picture without sound and as limited in its accessibility as the old yellow pages.”  Harrison goes on to comment, “Stick owners should beware of this inevitable development.  Although strategic use of the internet and digital distribution expands the radio station’s brand and evolves it into the media station, it also serves as a catalyst for non-licensed media stations to share the same space and compete for the same audience while unencumbered by the debt of stick ownership.”

Boston Herald Blasts Entercom Chief David Field’s Memo.  This is one of those motivational missives that some will think is right on and others will shake their heads at, but the Boston Herald’s Jessica Heslam pulls no punches in criticizing a memo from Entercom CEO David Field in which he uses his recent African safari vacation as a backdrop and the animal kingdom as a metaphor for the working world.  Field writes about the need for all employees – including himself – to bring their “A-game” to work because the tough business world is a survival-of-the-fittest place just like the African savannah he witnessed on his trip.  He alludes to American society as pampering us and not always holding us accountable as the wild of Africa does to its inhabitants.  He beckons the reader to strive for greatness at every moment of each workday generously stating his belief in everyone’s “untapped potential.”  Critics of this memo will point to Field’s elitist use of a transcontinental holiday as the basis of his memo, an unwitting comparison of his employees as animals, the assumption that they are not “giving it their all” in the first place, and that they are quick to blame others for any lack of success.  Some might go so far as to point to Field’s naiveté in needing to witness the wild close up to be reminded that life and the business world are both challenging and unforgiving.  Still, supporters of Field’s action will state that he’s only trying to point out that harnessing our talents and pushing ourselves to succeed is what makes great companies great, and that whining about tough circumstances will achieve nothing.  Heslam’s criticism could also cause managers and employees alike to debate – either internally or out loud – whether this type of motivational memo is truly effective.  How do the majority of employees see it?  As a thought-provoking pep talk…or an insulting memo from “corporate?”  See Heslam’s story and the entire memo here.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to Impact Talk Radio Conversation.  Most Federal holidays cause slow-downs in the normal processes of running live radio in the form of fill-in hosts, repeats and a diversion from the serious issues of the day.  However, MLK, Jr. Day has a history of doing just the opposite.  Although Federal agencies and a number of private business offices close today – it is even more than “business as usual” on the radio talk show airwaves of America as the holiday inspires discussion of a wide variety of compelling issues including civil rights, social justice, race relations and more.

Former New Jersey 101.5 Host Tommy G Launches Internet Show.  As a growing number of terrestrial broadcasters who find themselves off the air are doing, former WKXW-FM, Trenton overnight host Tommy G (Tom Gordon) is taking his talk host talents to the internet.  Gordon says he wants to cut out the “middleman” and bring his programming straight to the listener digitally.  In an exclusive piece for TALKERS magazine, Tommy G explains his mission and how he’s making it happen.  Read it here.

Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels Beats OVI Rap.  Media executive Randy Michaels pled guilty to driving improperly in a construction zone and the prosecutor agreed to drop the charge of operating a vehicle while impaired after Michaels’ attorney Steve Adams argued successfully that the officer had filled out the citation incorrectly and failed to fix it within the allotted 90-day period.  Michaels was charged in October of 2011 after Middletown, Ohio police found his car disabled in a road construction area during a rain storm.  The officer recorded that Michaels smelled of alcohol and failed roadside sobriety tests although he declined to take a breathalyzer.

Talk Radio Network Names Dave Nourie National Affiliate Consultant.  TRN CEO Mark Masters makes the announcement that Dave Nourie is joining his team to grow Talk Radio Network programs that include Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, Rusty Humphries, Jerry Doyle, Phil Hendrie, Mancow and the America’s Radio News Network news blocks.  “We are all very happy to have Dave join the Talk Radio Network family of companies, with the incredible growth of the news network, we needed someone with his skills and expertise to help serve our ever-growing list of affiliated stations.”

KOA, Denver Talk Host Dave Logan Loses High School Football Coaching Job.  The former Denver Broncos great and current Broncos radio play-by-play voice and PM drive host on Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver is out of his football coaching gig after independent Catholic high school Mullen High chose to take a different road.  It wasn’t for lack of victories or Dave Logan’s popularity with the students and team – in nine years at Mullen, Logan’s teams won four state titles with a record of 110 – 12.  School CEO Ryan Clement tells the Denver Post that the issue was Logan’s celebrity combined with the school’s desire to have a full-time staff member serve as coach.  Logan worked the gig with no pay.  But the Post reports Clement said Logan “had become the face of the school and that’s not what the new administration wanted, especially from someone who didn’t work at the school full time.”  Some students protested the firing and the paper notes Logan may surface to coach somewhere else as other schools are already seeking to talk to him about coaching.

Newsman Kevin Patrick Leaves Chicago for Washington, DC.  Chicago Radio and Media is reporting that Kevin Patrick is leaving Merlin Media’s WIQI-FM, Chicago – FM News 101.1 – to take a position with CBS Radio’s new all-news outlet WNEW-FM, Washington.  Though the move hasn’t been officially announced by either CBS or Merlin, the site reports WIQI-FM overnight anchor Mike Wilson will move onto the daytime schedule to fill Patrick’s role.  It’s unclear exactly what Patrick’s new position at WNEW-FM will be.

Arizona Broadcasters Hold Two-Hour Tribute to Bill Heywood.  A little more than two weeks after Phoenix-market radio legend Bill Heywood and his wife Susan took their lives in a Scottsdale hotel room, numerous Arizona broadcasters who knew and worked with Heywood took part in a two-hour tribute broadcast to him on Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix.  Hosts and jocks taking part in the Friday afternoon broadcast included: Pat McMahon, Preston Westmoreland, Bruce Kelly, Tim Hattrick, Jeff Scott and Michael Dixon.  Susan Heywood had been ill for some time and friends say the couple had been beset by financial troubles.  A memorial service was held on Saturday for Heywood and his wife.

Friday, January 6, 2012

| January 6, 2012

2012:  Talk Media Industry Forecast.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison presents eight leading trends and factors facing talk media as we head into 2012.  As is usually the case, we have a mixture of the good, the bad and the in-between.  The challenges are indeed daunting – but the opportunities are great.  Read the story here.

 

WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans’ Bob DelGiorno to Retire.  Morning drive host Bob DelGiorno is retiring from radio after 34 years on the air in the Big Easy – most of it spent at Entercom‘s WWL-AM/FM.  DelGiorno says, “This place, this station has been very good to me…But, now it’s time to get off the road, to give up the daily responsibility and just enjoy waking up later and enjoying life.”  The station’s Tommy Tucker is being eased into the morning slot to succeed DelGiorno.

New Jersey 101.5 Ends Evening Relationship Show Hosted by Michelle Jerson.  The Townsquare Media station has been airing Michelle Jerson’s “After Hours” relationship program for a number of years but New Jersey 101.5 (WKXW, Trenton) program director Eric Johnson says, “Through audience research, our listeners made it very clear to us that they would like to hear the entertaining and informative Jersey-based topics that we discuss all day, in the evenings as well.  New Jersey 101.5 would like to thank Michelle Jerson for her service to the station and we wish her well going forward.”  Johnson says the station will be looking for a permanent host for the 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm show.  In the meantime, part-time host and Monmouth County native Steve Trevelise, who is also a candidate for the full-time position, will be hosting the evening show.  As for Jerson, she tells TALKERS, “I was at New Jersey 101.5 for three and a half years as the number one evening show in New Jersey (had been at the station twice before over the years).  My background includes hosting lifestyle talk shows on 106.7 WJFK, Washington and Sirius Satellite Radio, co-hosting morning shows on talk and top 40 stations, reporting for Howard Stern‘s news team – Howard 100 News – and working as a television travel correspondent for Travelzoo.com.  I am ready for my next big adventure and can be reached at michelle@michellejerson.com.”

Main Street Radio Network’s “Battle Line with Alan Nathan” Adds Third Hour; Nathan Takes Commentator Role with TalkSport Network.  Main Street Radio Network announces “Battle Line with Alan Nathan” adds a third hour to its program airing live from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.  The first two hours of the show are distributed on Lifestyle TalkRadio Network, the new third hour is distributed on sister Business TalkRadio Network.  Main Street president Jane Silk states, “Main Street is very excited with the addition of Battle Line on BTRN.  The team at BTRN is truly a professional group and we look forward to the continued relationship and the expansion of Main Street programs.”  Meanwhile, London-based TalkSport Network adds Alan Nathan as international commentator after regular requests to offer color commentary with TalkSport hosts Matt Forde and Mike Graham during which he offers listeners across the United Kingdom a view of American politics from the perspective American radio’s “aggressive centrist.”  Jane Silk says of Nathan’s new role, “Alan is truly someone who can succinctly and efficiently dispel someone’s misconceptions with an amazing grasp of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and, most importantly, logic and fact!  How wonderful to have “the Colonies” experience a true and gifted host and show!”

Dial Global Drops Westwood One Name from NFL Play-By-Play.  With the merger Westwood One and Dial Global now four months old, Dial Global is re-branding its NFL play-by-play product as the Dial Global Radio Network.  Dial Global has exclusive national radio rights to the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl.  Dial Global sports executive producer Howard Deneroff states, “Listeners will hear the same standard of play-by-play commentary and overall production that they’ve come to expect from Westwood One on the Dial Global Radio Network. We are extremely excited about the merger, our broader platform and the future opportunities it might provide.”

KPAM, Portland Parent Pamplin Media Group Partners with Local CBS TV Affiliate for News Content Sharing.  The deal between Pamplin Media Group and KOIN-TV (“LOCAL 6”) allows for sharing of content on its combined television, radio and print properties, as well as websites and mobile apps.  The agreement includes shared editorial access, opportunities for exclusive interviews, news support, cross-collaboration for specific marketing activities and the ability to promote exclusive media on a variety of platforms.  KPAM program director Dennis Glasgow states, “This is a watershed moment for the Pamplin Media Group that simply and clearly defines our group as the local news leaders in Portland.  There’s not one other media partnership in our city that can lay claim to the winning trifecta that is AM 860, The Portland Tribune and KOIN Local 6.”  KOIN-TV president and GM Tim Perry says, “We are very enthusiastic about entering this strategic partnership with such a talented group of media executives and committed journalists.  We look forward to deepening our tenured relationship with this community.”  Pamplin had been in a partnership deal with Fox affiliate KPTV-TV, Portland.  That deal ends today (1/6).

Goldline International and Leslie Marshall Enter into Advertising Partnership.  Renowned gold dealer Goldline International, Inc. and independently syndicated progressive talk host Leslie Marshall announce Goldline is becoming the exclusive precious metals sponsor of Marshall’s national radio talk program.  Marshall says, “I am looking forward to helping my listeners learn about diversifying their portfolios with gold.  I’ve met personally with Goldline’s senior management and visited their offices in Santa Monica, so I can confidently recommend Goldline to my listeners who are considering physical gold and precious metals.”  The consumer press has often wrongly associated precious metals dealers only with conservative news/talk programming but as Marshall’s new deal illustrates, that’s a misconception.  Goldline CEO Scott Carter states, Leslie’s longevity on the airwaves speaks to her ability to engage listeners across the political spectrum.  Goldline is proud to be a sponsor of the Leslie Marshall show.”

ESPN Radio Adds “Hill & Schlereth” Show to Evening Lineup.  The new evening program from ESPN Radio begins on January 10 airing Monday through Thursday through the Super Bowl and then five nights per week after the game.  Former NFL Pro-Bowler Mark Schlereth has been with ESPN since 2001 and Mike Hill is a current SportsCenter anchor.  The duo will host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program.  SVP of ESPN Audio Mo Davenport says, “Mike Hill and Mark Schlereth are already fan favorites.  Their ability to expand on their friendship, their experiences, and their knowledge of sports, combined with our listeners’ passion, equals great content that can be enjoyed on multiple platforms.”

Sports Talker Cliff Saunders Out at WXOS-FM, St. Louis.  As a result of the recent talent shuffle at Hubbard Radio’s 101 ESPN (WXOS-FM) in St. Louis, evening host Cliff Saunders is out and seeking his next opportunity.  Saunders co-hosted the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm show at the station.  He previously worked for Entercom’s WSSP, Milwaukee.  He can be e-mailed at cliff_saunders2000@yahoo.com.

 

KTRS, St Louis to Host U.S. Senate Primary Debate with Live Audio and Video Feeds on Facebook.  Morning drive host McGraw Milhaven tells TALKERS magazine he and St. Louis Beacon political writer Joe Mannies will co-moderate the January 10 GOP primary debate for candidates vying for the Republican ticket to face off against Democrat incumbent Claire McCaskill in November for her U.S. Senate seat.  The debate will take place in front of a live audience at the Missouri Athletic Club, be broadcast live on KTRS, KTRS.com and KTRS’ Facebook page at 9:00 am.  Milhaven says, “It is the first time ever that a radio station is airing anything on Facebook with both audio and video.”  Congressman Todd Akin and former Missouri State Treasurer Sarah Steelman are taking part in the debate.

Compass Media Networks’ Lars Larson to Broadcast from Israel.  Portland, Oregon-based regional and nationally syndicated talk host Lars Larson heads to Israel to broadcast his program from Jerusalem during the week of January 16.  Stating that America’s relationship with Israel will be a topic of debate in the 2012 presidential election, Larson comments, “This trip is sure to be an eye opener to my listeners who never imagined all the ways that their lives are impacted by conflicts in the Middle East.”  Larson plans to speak on his program with an array of diplomats, Palestinians, Israeli citizens, journalists and ambassadors.

Thom Hartmann Show Goes on the Road to Iceland and Sweden.  Dial Global’s Thom Hartmann takes his talk radio program across the Atlantic next week where he’ll broadcast live from Rekyavik, Iceland on January 9 and Stockholm, Sweden on January 12.  Hartmann says,We’ve booked a number of pundits, politicians and reporters, and are looking forward to hearing directly from the people involved how the Icelanders told the banksters to take a hike, and how the Swedes dealt with their bank failures 15 years ago and why their economy is doing so well now.”  Hartmann is keynoting a conference in Sweden on Psychiatry and ADHD – he’s published several books on the subject including The Edison Gene (Park Street Press 2003).

Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco to Host Show on WWBA, Tampa.  Genesis Communications’ WWBA, Tampa announces former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco joins the station’s programming department to host a weekly “business, public affairs and non-partisan political talk program beginning with a live debut from Malio’s Restaurant on January 9.  In a statement, VP of programming Len Weiner says, “We are thrilled to have Tampa’s former mayor Dick Greco join our news team.  His amazing background in politics and business will be an asset to our listeners.  This station has a powerful 50,000-watt signal that will carry Dick’s program throughout the state of Florida.”  Greco’s first guest will be current Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

Iowa Caucuses/2012 Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM Chart of Biggest Talk Radio Stories During Week of January 2-6.  According to ongoing research from TALKERS, the Iowa Caucuses and the 2012 presidential race was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week.  Coming in at #2 was Iran’s military ambitions.  At #3 was the world financial markets activity followed by euro zone instability at #4.  The Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio each week is published at Talkers.com every Friday.  See the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Doug Stephan’s daily “Good Day” program picks up KBYR, Anchorage; KWMO, Washington, Missouri; KBJT-KQEW, Fordyce, Arkansas; and KMMS, Bozeman, Montana…..Doug Stephan’s weekend “Talk Radio Countdown Show” is  added to WGDJ, Albany; KBYR, Anchorage…..Genesis Communications Network-distributed “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney picks up WLOB-AM/FM, Portland…..The Dr. Dahlia Wachs show is added to the lineup at KSIS, Sedalia, Missouri…..“Free Talk Live” with hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds KBRA-FM, Freer, Texas.

 

2012: Talk Media Industry Forecast

| January 6, 2012

By Michael Harrison
TALKERS MAGAZINE
Publisher

The bubble of optimism that envelops the industry during the first week of a new year received a stinging pinprick with the news of veteran Phoenix radio personality Bill Heywood and his wife Susan carrying out a death pact in a Scottsdale, Arizona motel room.  Heywood was deeply depressed.  His beloved wife suffered declining health.  They faced serious financial difficulties.  And he struggled with life as one of the radio homeless in the sad aftermath of an illustrious career as an elite local talent.

Hopefully, the Heywood’s grisly solution will not mark the beginning of an industry trend.  However, it does serve as a sobering reminder that the number one concern in this business will continue to be the dismal economy.  As the U2 song aptly puts it, “Nothing changes on New Year’s Day” – a poetic exaggeration of an esoteric truth.

Here are the eight leading trends and factors facing talk media as we head into 2012.  As is usually the case, we have a mixture of the good, the bad and the in-between.  The challenges are indeed daunting – but the opportunities are great:

Read More

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

| December 13, 2011

Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage Offers Newt Gingrich $1 Million to Drop Out of Race.  TRN nationally syndicated talk host Michael Savage says he’s putting his money where his mouth is and is offering former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich $1 million to drop out of the presidential race.  Savage says he’s been enumerating the reasons on his radio program why Gingrich cannot win a campaign against President Obama – only Mitt Romney can – and since that, in his opinion, is the most important problem the country faces, he’s making the financial offer.  “If Newt Gingrich really loves this country as much as he says he does, if he really wants what is best for America, he will set his ego aside, call me and accept my offer.  His continued candidacy spells nothing but ruin for conservatives, Republicans and all true American patriots.”  Savage is giving Gingrich 72 hours to accept.  There’s no word from the Gingrich camp but one competing syndication executive (who prefers to remain anonymous) says Gingrich better read the fine print, “It would be too bad if Newt deprives GOP primary voters of his ideas and energy, only to find out he’s getting $1 million worth of unsold Savage Nation t-shirts and jerky treats.”

Sacramento Occupy Protesters Target Clear Channel Sacramento.  Organized by activist Sue Wilson’s Media Action Center, people upset by the loss of progressive talk programming were encouraged to “occupy” Clear Channel stations across the country yesterday (12/12) by asking to see the stations’ public files to learn about complaints to the stations and about the stations’ sales of political ads to candidates.  About 11 protesters made their concerns known to KFBK, Sacramento management and, in an orderly fashion, inspected the station’s public file.  Sheriff’s officers were on hand and protesters were not allowed to occupy the station.  As is often the case, many people misunderstand a station’s obligation to provide programming that appeals to all citizens – a misunderstanding promulgated by the old Fairness Doctrine (now off the books).  Wilson is quoted in the Sacramento Bee saying, “All our voices need to be heard.”  But TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison puts it succinctly to a Bee reporter stating, “Fairness is not guaranteed by the First Amendment – freedom from government censorship is.”  In what is apparently a separate movement, some Bay Area residents are planning an Occupy KGO event on Thursday (12/15) to protest Cumulus Media’s recent changes at KGO, San Francisco, although their argument doesn’t seem to imply unfairness – just anger at the changes made to the station’s programming.

Geraldo Rivera to KABC, Los Angeles Too?  Respected Southern California radio trade writer Don Barrett is reporting that Don Imus said on his program that Geraldo Rivera – officially announced to be taking over the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show at WABC, New York in January – will also be heard on Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles.  Barrett writes that it wasn’t clear whether in which daypart Rivera would be heard but that it obviously raises the question of whom it may affect at KABC – specifically Larry Elder who hosts the late morning program there.  Stay tuned.

Clark Howard Clarification.  A number of industry readers may have glossed over yesterday’s story published by TALKERS about Dial Global financial talk host Clark Howard’s program and come away with an incorrect conclusion.  Howard’s show is still three hours long.  What’s changing is that Howard is repurposing some content for the third hour so that he can cut back on some of the long hours he’s putting in due to the multitude of media ventures in which he’s involved.

Bob Agnew Joins Carey Brothers as GM of On the House Media.  Longtime sports and talk programmer Bob Agnew has been named general manager of James and Morris Carey’s “On the House Media” syndication firm.  Agnew, who has served as program director of such diverse outlets as KNBR, San Francisco and KXNT, Las Vegas, will be responsible for developing the sales staff, managing affiliate relations, new business development and programming at the Brentwood, California firm that has syndicated the popular talk radio home improvement show “On the House with the Carey Bothers” for more than a quarter century.  He will also work closely with the operation’s PR firm Kleber and Associates with regard to media relationships, client services and the expansion of the website.  Upon making the announcement, James Carey tells TALKERS, “Morris and I and our entire team are thrilled to have Bob Agnew ‘take the reins’ and lead our media franchise as it enters its 26th year.  We have had the pleasure of knowing Bob for over 20 years and have enjoyed an enduring professional and personal relationship.  Bob’s unique combination of management, leadership and people skills make him superbly qualified to guide On the House Media in realizing its full potential.  As one of the leading radio programmers in the U.S., Bob ‘gets’ what local radio stations – programming and sales – need to make their businesses successful.  We are confident that Bob’s keen insight will be of tremendous benefit to our radio affiliates, marketing partners and audience.”  OTH is a multi-media operation with a four-hour live Saturday show, weekday tips, podcasts, accessible on iPhones and iPads with the new OTH app.  OTH has 140 radio show affiliates and 125 affiliates taking the daily tips.

Clear Channel Names Bob Stohrer Chief Marketing Officer for Clear Channel Digital.  Stohrer will work with Clear Channel Digital president Brian Lekamp.  He’ll oversee the national marketing plans, brand execution and social marketing efforts for CC Digital with an emphasis on iHeartRadio.  Lekamp states, “Bob’s extensive experience in both brand positioning and creative development brings the innovative vision and tactical expertise that will increase brand awareness, drive growth and unlock our full potential moving forward.  We look forward to the leadership and insight he will bring to the Clear Channel Digital team.”

CBS TV Expands “Face the Nation.”  Bob Schieffer announced that CBS TV is turning its “Face the Nation” Sunday morning issues program into a 60-minute program beginning in April.  The show has been a 30-minute production since its inception.  Schieffer said on last Sunday’s program that the show will expand, “because more and more of you have been turning to ‘Face the Nation’ during this campaign season, so we thank you.”

Holiday Program Available to Stations.  A three-hour program called “The Gift” is available to radio stations across the country for air between December 24 and 26.  The program is produced by the Fisher House Foundation and created especially for the holiday season.  It features interviews with wounded warriors Matt ZajacTammy Duckworth and Dale Beatty; the mother of an injured service member, Becky Ziegel; and a father who lost his son in combat, Robert Stanton.  The stories – equally heartbreaking and inspiring – are vehicles to a greater understanding of the sacrifices our military and their families make every day, so that our nation may be home, safe and with their own families during the holidays.  Fisher House Foundation chairman and CEO Ken Fisher says, “Just one percent of Americans serve in the military, protecting and safeguarding a population that does not fully appreciate the depth of sacrifice these people make.  These people are true heroes.  We want to let the world know just how much they do for us every day, and ensure that if they have a need, that it is met.”  The Fisher House Foundation raises money to create housing for the families of wounded service personnel so they have a place to stay near them while they recuperate.  Stations interested in carrying the program should contact Ron Rivlin at: ron.rivlin@cumulus.com.

Obama on “60 Minutes,” SCOTUS to Hear AZ Illegal Immigration Law Challenge, Weekend GOP Debate and Euro Zone Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/12).  President Obama’s interview on Sunday’s “60 Minutes” program, the Supreme Court’s agreement to hear arguments challenging Arizona’s illegal immigration law, the GOP presidential candidates debate that took place over the weekend and the ongoing euro zone debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

| November 23, 2011


Clear Channel Names Jason Furst PD at WHAM, Rochester.  Jason Furst adds programming oversight of Clear Channel’s news/talk WHAM, Rochester and sports WHTK-AM/FM to his duties.  Furst programs WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse and will continue in that role.  He will, however, give up the PD reins at CHR WWHT, Syracuse.  Furst fills the vacant programming position in Rochester that opened when Jeff Howlett was let go from the station he’d been working at for the past 25 years.

Emmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Partners with WRTV-TV for News and Weather.  Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis announces a partnership with McGraw-Hill’s local ABC affiliate WRTV-TV for news and weather coverage.  Emmis VP and market manager Charlie Morgan says of the new deal, “In our 21st-Century world of news and information consumption, it just makes sense for our TV and radio newsrooms to work together to ensure we are delivering the most relevant information to our consumers wherever they are…at home, at work, in their cars, wherever.  This partnership will allow us to provide Indianapolis viewers and listeners with the latest information wherever they are, whether they are listening to the radio, watching TV, going online or on their mobile phones.”  WRTV meteorologists Kevin Gregory, Todd Klaassen and Stephanie Ortmann will provide forecasts throughout the day on WIBC.  They will also provide live updates during severe weather situations.

Buckley Broadcasting Adds FM Signal to KNZR, Bakersfield.  The Buckley Broadcasting news/talk outlet at 1560 on the AM dial states on its website, “KNZR made Bakersfield radio history by being the first news/talk station in the market to simulcast on the FM dial.  Our market leading 1560 AM news/talk programming is now also heard on 97.7 FM.  The move to simulcast on FM allows us to better serve our local community as well as provide increased audience reach and value to our advertisers.”  To accommodate the move, Buckley drops AC music on KSMJ licensed to Shafter, California.

WTOP-FM, Washington Hires Former CNN Correspondent.  Jeanne Meserve worked at cable news giant CNN for the past 20 years – most recently as homeland security correspondent.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington brings her aboard as a freelance anchor.

 

 

KTRH, Houston’s Matt Patrick Has Busy Black Friday.  It’s safe to say KTRH, Houston morning drive host Matt Patrick will not be at the shopping mall on Friday.  Patrick hosts his regular AM drive show on KTRH from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, then fills in for Bill Cunningham on WLW, Cincinnati from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  But wait there’s more!  Patrick will sit in for fellow Clear Channel Houston host Michael Berry on KTRH from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Thanksgiving Holiday, 2012 Presidential Race, Euro Zone Debt Crisis, Super Committee Failure, Immigration Law Challenges Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/22).  The Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the GOP contenders for president in 2012, the ongoing Euro Zone debt crisis, the effect the Super Committee’s failure to address U.S. debt and challenges to states’ immigration laws were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, November 18, 2011

| November 18, 2011

A Complex Web of Debt.  There’s little reason to wonder why large radio companies are trying to find every available dollar – and that is most visible to the industry and the public in the form of reductions in force – when we read today’s news of Cumulus’ bankruptcy filings.  According to Bloomberg, a subsidiary of Cumulus Media Partners (which Cumulus Media Inc finished purchasing in August) — AR Broadcasting Holdings — was put into Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it owes creditors as much as $100 million with assets of between $10 million and $50 million.  AR Broadcasting Holdings consists of stations in San Francisco, Houston and Dallas.  AR Holdings states it has a prepackaged plan “supported by 100 percent of one class of creditors that voted for the restructuring proposal.”  Another Cumulus subsidiary, CMP KC LLC – owner of two stations in Kansas City and two in Houston – has been in default on debt.  It also is filing a pre-packaged bankruptcy protection plan that will cut the debt from almost $95 million to about $20 million and lenders in turn will end up with equity in the stations.

WBAL, Baltimore’s Ron Smith Ends Chemotherapy.  Baltimore talk radio legend Ron Smith announced Thursday (11/17) that he will continue to host his daily talk show on the Hearst news/talk station he’s worked at as a host for 27 years as long as he can, but he is ending his chemotherapy.  Smith announced on October 17 that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has spread to other organs.  The 69-year-old personality said at the time his doctors believed he had a chance to beat the disease with treatment.  However yesterday he told his listeners he would end chemo and receive only palliative care.

The RTDNA Asks for Electronic Coverage of SCOTUS Health Care Case.  When the United States Supreme Court hears arguments on the constitutionality of the Obama Administration’s health care law, the RTDNA hopes to be able to have TV cameras and audio recording devices in the chamber.  RTDNA chairman Kevin Benz writes to the Court, “Health care overhaul has divided the nation since it was signed into law.  The Court’s ruling undoubtedly will shape the 2012 presidential campaign and most certainly will serve to define Congress’ ability to address national issues.  There is no better time than in anticipation of this watershed case for the Supreme Court justices to suspend the ban on cameras in the courtroom and to allow live electronic coverage of this and other proceedings of keen interest and import to the American public.”  It’s unlikely the Court will allow this as it historically has had little interest in putting itself into the mainstream electronic public media landscape – no matter how convincing the argument for such coverage may be.

Canadian Freedom of Speech Case to Hit Courts.  Damian Goddard was fired from Toronto-based Sportsnet in May after firing off a Tweet that the only “true marriage” is that between a man and a woman.  Goddard is a devout Catholic and believes he has “2,000 years of Christian history” backing him up.  Sportsnet claims it intended to fire Goddard before the Tweet and has documentation of that but Goddard’s attorney says he’s yet to see any such documentation.  What this appears to come down to is Canada’s intense restrictions on free speech.  The six-year-old law that made gay marriage legal in Canada even contains a clause that clearly states citizens have the right to freedom of conscience, religion and speech with regard to this matter.  One attorney anonymously tells the National Post, “Hate speech needs to be related to inciting violence, not hurting feelings.”  The Canadian courts will eventually have to rule on whether citizens – including broadcasters – have the right to express their beliefs if done so responsibly.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Talk Radio Network/Washington Times produced “America’s Morning News” with John McCaslin and Dana Mills adds WLVJ, Boynton Beach, Florida; KEWI, Little Rock; WRCG, Columbus, Georgia; and WFDM, Fort Walton Beach, Florida…..America’s Radio News Network has its “Afternoon Edition” with Ernie Brown picks up WCFO, Atlanta; WFBL, Syracuse; and WUTI, Utica…..The “Free Talk Live” Sunday evening edition with Mark Edge and Stephanie is added to the schedule at WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina…..Dial Global’s Clark Howard joins the lineup at KVI, Seattle and WIBX, Utica…..Dial Global’s “Jill on Money” with Jill Schlesinger adds WMGG, Dunedin, Florida and WDNG, Anniston, Alabama.

Catching Up with Regis!  ABC News Radio’s Andrea Dresdale (r) interviews TV personality Regis Philbin (l) as he makes his way from an appearance on “The View” to the set of “Live with Regis and Kelly” for one of his final press conferences as co-host of the program.  Today is the 80-year-old Philbin’s last program as he retires from the daily morning talk program he’s hosted since it went from a local New York show into national syndication in 1983. Philbin successfully morphed from a game show host to talk show host and holds the Guinness Book of World Records top spot for most time spent on television – almost 17,000 hours!

‘Occupy’ Shutdowns/Protests Top Talk Radio Topic for Week of November 14-18.  The closing of many of the nation’s ‘Occupy’ encampments and the resulting protests landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week.  Following at #2 is 2012 presidential race. At #3 is the European debt crisis and the related financial markets activity followed by the Penn State scandal at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

| November 9, 2011

Courtside Entertainment Delivers Blockbuster O’ Reilly Special.  Bill O’Reilly’s “National Radio Election Town Hall” scored big Monday night on 169 top talk stations including WOR, New York; WPHT, Philadelphia; KLIF, Dallas; WTKK-FM, Boston; and WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta.  This marked the first radio special from Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group in the post-Westwood One era. The program featured O’Reilly’s live interviews with all of the major Republican presidential candidates, listener calls and a straw poll taken during the program.  The results showed #1 Herman Cain, #2 Newt Gingrich, #3 Mitt Romney, all tightly bunched at the top.  Courtside managing partner Norm Pattiz tells TALKERS, “It’s great to kick off our programming boutique with Bill O’Reilly doing a show of this caliber.  I’m also happy to be working with the folks at Dial Global who distributed the show.”  Courtside also owns and produces “Loveline” and is launching the “One Minute Clinic” with Dr. Drew Pinsky, which is already airing in New York and Chicago.  Norm Pattiz’s special address at the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum was a huge hit as radio professionals remain fascinated by his colorful history and extraordinary contributions to the business model of modern syndication.  In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Few people have shaped the radio business in the past 35 years like Norm Pattiz.  Even though he has stated that Courtside Entertainment is not designed to be another Westwood One – but simply a vehicle with which he can remain involved in radio and dabble in projects of special interest to him – we should all pay close attention to this latest endeavor of the master.  If this O’ Reilly project is indicative of things to come, we can expect Courtside Entertainment to be an influential force for positive industry growth and innovation.”

Dial Global and CBS News Renew “The Osgood File” Deal.  Dial Global and CBS News agree to an extension of their deal to distribute Charles Osgood’s “The Osgood File” to radio stations across the country.  The feature is heard four times daily on some 350 stations including in all of the top 25 markets.  Dial Global co-CEOs Spencer Brown, David Landau and Ken Williams comment, “Charles Osgood is a true media icon and it is our privilege to deliver his legendary voice to millions of radio listeners each day.  More than a valuable asset to Dial Global’s advertisers and affiliates, Charles Osgood is an asset to American journalism and we are proud to continue our partnership.”

KLAC, Los Angeles Honors American Service Personnel with Radio-thon.  AM570 Fox Sports Los Angeles (KLAC) is broadcasting its fourth annual commercial-free radio-thon and online auction to benefit the Paralyzed Veterans of America in honor of Veteran’s Day on Friday.  The broadcast takes place today (11/9) from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm PT on the station and special guests will include NFL great Eric Dickerson, Dodgers first baseman James Loney, Lakers guard Shannon Brown and NBA Hall-of-Famer James Worthy.  The station’s goal is to raise $120,000 for the PVA.  KLAC general manager Don Martin states, “This is a chance to give back to our family members, friends, neighbors and fellow Americans who have become paralyzed while fighting for our freedoms.  This is our way of giving thanks for their ultimate sacrifice.”

Cumulus Providence Stations Host Fundraising Luncheon for Female Veterans Facility.  News/talk WPRO & 99.7 FM in Providence (along with its sister music FMs) is hosting the inaugural Women’s Warrior Luncheon on Veterans Day on Friday to raise funds for the operation of the Holly Charette House.  Marine Lance Corporal Holly Charette was killed in action at age 21 while serving in Anbar province, Iraq.  She was the seventh Rhode Islander and the first Rhode Island woman to give her life in duty to her country in Iraq.  She was nicknamed “The Marine Who Brings Good News” for her cheery, positive spirit and military occupation as a mail carrier.  She had been assigned to checkpoints in Fallujah where she and a group of fellow Marines were struck by a suicide bomber on June 23, 2005 while returning to their base.  The Holly Charette House, located in Johnston, Rhode Island, was named in her memory and is a home that provides transitional housing for in-need female veterans.  WPRO program director Paul Giammarco says, “The Holly Charette House will forever be a reminder of our need to honor our returning woman heroines, and that freedom isn’t free.  WPRO is incredibly proud and humbled to be associated with such a worthy and noble event and we look forward to supporting the Holly Charette House and this event for years to come.”

Penn State Abuse Scandal, Euro Zone Stability/Berlusconi Resigns, Herman Cain Assault Accusations and Obama-Sarkozy Live Mic Incident Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/8).  The explosion of accusations of sexual abuse of young boys by a former Penn State football coach, the Euro Zone economic stability and the resignation of Italy’s Berlusconi, Herman Cain’s campaign and the sexual assault accusations against him plus Obama’s and Sarkozy’s griping about Netanyahu while unknowingly on live mics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Sedano Sandwich.  That’s WAXY, Miami morning drive host Jorge Sedano squished between pro wrestling legends Shawn Michaels (l) and Triple H (r).  The duo were in Miami at WAXY promoting the coming “Wrestlemania 28″ which will be broadcast from Miami in April of 2012.

Friday, October 21, 2011

| October 21, 2011

Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum Rallies So Cal Talk Media Industry.  Some 150 attendees and 30 speakers gathered yesterday (10/20) at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood to participate in the highly anticipated first-time event to discuss the state and future of talk broadcasting in Southern California.  Presented by TALKERS magazine in association with the Los Angeles Press Club, the power-packed, free event drew representatives from leading stations in Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Springs, Ventura, Fresno and even markets outside the region including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson and more.  Formats represented included news/talk, sports talk, all news, public radio, pop culture talk and a number of music radio personalities stopped by as well, adding to the color of a dynamic event described by many as a “grand slam home run.”  Solo speakers included Larry King, Norm Pattiz, Bill Handel, Don Barrett, Holland Cooke, Michael Harrison and a wide variety of leading program directors, operations managers, and air personalities discussing the gamut of issues facing the region specifically and industry in general.  There were technical displays presented by Comrex Corporation and C. Crane Company and a lavish breakfast and lunch for the attendees provided by the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company.  According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “There has never been a radio conference quite like this — geared to a specific region, short and to the point, and absolutely free ­­– perfectly suited to these challenging times.  All of us at TALKERS are extremely gratified by the outstanding turnout and positive response generated by this memorable six hour event.”  There will be extensive coverage of this historic talk industry happening in the form of stories, pictures and video coming to Talkers.com in the coming days and weeks.  Stay tuned!

Former KABC GM Bob Moore Launches Sales Consultancy.  Former KABC/KLOS-FM, Los Angeles president and general manager Bob Moore, who recently left his longtime position at the heritage Citadel outlets as a result of the company’s acquisition by Cumulus Media, attended the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum yesterday where he announced the launch of his new sales consultancy, Moore Money, LLC as well as TheVoicesNetwork.com.  Moore, a highly respected talk media management figure in Los Angeles for years, can be contacted at bobmoore27@gmail.com or 213-219-9856.

NPR Blamed for Firing of Documentary Program Host Over Protest Activities.  The problem is, according to NPR, it had nothing to do with the firing of “Soundprint” host Lisa Simeone.  Simeone was a freelancer for Soundprint Media Company which produces the “Soundprint” documentary program.  Simeone also hosts the WDAV-FM, Charlotte, North Carolina-produced “World of Opera” program from which she has not been let go.  That station states it has no problem with Simeone’s activities and her work with its opera program.  However, Soundprint Media distributes the “Soundprint” show to about 35 public radio stations via NPR and the company says it adopted NPR’s employee code for journalists because people associate it with NPR.  Simeone’s work with the Washington, DC-based protest group “October 2011” apparently violated that code.  NPR is making it a point to state that it had no contact with Soundprint management over Simeone’s relationship with the company.  Clearly, NPR wants to avoid another Juan Williams-like public relations problem.

Carl Anderson Named Clear Channel SVP of Programming for West Region.  Carl Anderson was most recently the senior vice president for programming and distribution at Citadel Media. He first joined Citadel as vice president of music programming in 2006.  Now he’s in charge of the programming for Clear Channel’s West Region stations and CEO John Hogan says, “We are thrilled to have Carl join the Clear Channel team.  He joins a growing number of the best and brightest programmers, on-air talent and researchers on Clear Channel’s incredible team.”

WWJ, Detroit Presents “Michigan Money Summit” Live Event.  CBS Radio’s all-news WWJ, Detroit is presenting a free program on Saturday, October 29 moderated by WWJ-TV business editor Murray Feldman titled “Michigan Money Summit.”  The program consists of three panel discussions featuring local financial and real estate experts designed to answer tough financial questions to which Detroit-area listeners are seeking answers.  WWJ program director Robert Davidek says, “The stock market has had some of its worst and best weeks lately and we feel this is a great opportunity for people to gain valuable insight from experts about what to do.  And we’ll also be talking about the economy for the coming year.”

Talkers Affiliate Roundup.  Dial Global’s Neal Boortz picks up WCNF, Dothan, Alabama…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street with Chris Markowski” adds KMZQ, Las Vegas…..Dial Global talk host Thom Hartmann’s program is added to KTOX, Needles, California…..Dial Global’s Clark Howard is now heard on WNDA, Louisville and KTOX, Needles, California…..Dial Global’s Michael Smerconish picks up KROF, Lafayette, Louisiana…..“America’s Healthcare Advocate” with Cary Hall is added to the program schedule at KFRM, Salina, Kansas.

The GOP Debate/2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 17-21.  The GOP candidates debate in Las Vegas and the 2012 presidential race landed at the top of the Talkers TenTM chart for this week.  Coming in at #2 on the chart is the ‘Occupy’ movement followed by the death of Moammar Qaddafi at #3.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the most-talked-about stories and people on news/talk radio during the course of the week according to ongoing research from Talkers and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  To view the entire chart, click on the banner below.

Qualitative aspects of the talk radio audiences

| October 20, 2011

By Michael Harrison
TALKERS MAGAZINE
Publisher

NEW YORK –– Continuing with a fall tradition, the latest numbers have been compiled for TALKERS magazine’s annual release of its Talk Radio Research ProjectTM (TRRP).  Primarily designed as an in-house vehicle to provide the TALKERS editorial staff with intelligence about the national talk radio audience as a resource for general background and to help answer basic questions from the press (such as “What kind of people listen to talk radio?”), the publication began honoring requests from radio stations to share this information.  It has proven extremely valuable as a supplemental sales tool that provides a thumbnail qualitative overview of several leading spoken word formats’ audience profiles including demographics, political orientation, income, education and consumer tastes, habits and disposition.  These include the mainstay news/talk format as well as the recent additions of the sports talk and pop culture talk genres.

The latest figures indicate that news/talk radio maintains its historic position as the most reliable attraction to draw adult audiences and inspire them to action in all audio broadcast media.  At present, the news/talk format predominantly focuses on discussion about politics, but it does reserve room within its scheduling for specialty programs about relationships, finance, health, technology and home improvement, among others which are taken into consideration when compiling these percentages.

News/talk radio is not alone in displaying these attributes.  So do the relatively recent additions of sports talk radio and pop culture talk radio (with several specific differences indigenous to these formats).  These spoken-word genres also deliver attentive and highly desirable audiences that consume foreground radio with passion and attention.  The people who regularly listen to news/talk, sports talk and pop culture talk radio are more than listeners –– they are radio fans!

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The era of intellectual property law

| October 19, 2011

By Matthew B. Harrison
Senior Partner
Harrison Strategies

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. –– In a recent article, Michael Harrison predicted that Intellectual Property Law would dominate talk radio’s legal concerns in the era that is unfolding.  (It is filed at www.talkers.com under Michael Harrison and is titled “The Ticking of the Clock.”)

As talk programming evolves into new means of digital distribution through advances in technology, so does our need to understand intellectual property.  While evolutionary, the nature of the rights themselves –– to control and exploit the products of one’s creativity and innovation –– remains consistent, the manner by which they are expressed and exchanged is constantly attempting to adapt to advances in technology.

The invention of, in turn, the printing press, the phonograph, radio and television broadcasting, cable, transmission from satellite, VCRs, CDs, DVDs, and now the internet has affected both the form and the substance in the interpretation of intellectual property rights.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

| September 29, 2011

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to Speak at Talkers Forum.  When the closing panel, “The Issues Facing Southern California – Challenges and Solutions” takes place at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum, not only will it have the eyes and ears of the local broadcasting and media community upon it — but the mayor of the nation’s second most populated city as well.  He will be in attendance preparing to deliver the concluding remarks at the first-time event that is aptly being described as a “who’s who of everybody who’s anybody in Southern California talk radio.”  Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be the closing solo speaker at the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club on Thursday, October 20 between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm rounding out what managing editor Kevin Casey calls “the most amazing roster of speakers we’ve ever seen crammed into a one-day radio industry event…this is a real happening!”  More than 30 speakers including Larry King, Norm Pattiz, Bill Handel, Don Barrett, eight program directors of the leading talk stations in the region and a star-studded array of talk show hosts constitute the roster of what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison terms “a new kind of industry gathering.”  Although already filled to capacity, a stand-by registration list has been set up to fill vacancies in the case of cancellations and the entire forum will be shown shortly thereafter on TALKERS TV.  For complete information click here.

Cumulus Does Some Management Restructuring in San Francisco.  Specifically, KGO and KSFO general manager Deidra Lieberman becomes vice president of sales for the six-station cluster that now also includes sports KNBR.  Cumulus manager Bill Bungeroth – already overseeing KNBR and music-formatted stations KFOG-FM and KSAN-FM – becomes market manager for the entire cluster.  So far this is a restructuring of management and there are no reports of positions being consolidated.

WKNR, Cleveland Makes PM Drive Show Changes.  Ohio Media Watch reports that Good Karma’s sports WKNR, Cleveland – unchallenged in sports talk programming until the recent debut of CBS Radio’s WKRK-FM – moves its current PM drive show “Afternoon R&R” with Michael Reghi and Kenny Roda to evenings and prepares to debut a new PM drive show on October 3 hosted by well-known market reporter Bruce Hooley and current WKNR staffers Greg Brinda and Chris Fedor.  Previously, Hooley covered Ohio State Buckeyes football for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and he also worked at RadiOhio’s WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus.

Artie Lange and Nick DiPaolo Program Set to Debut.  According to TMZ, former Howard Stern cast member Artie Lange and fellow comedian and one-time WFNY-FM, New York personality Nick DiPaolo have struck a deal with DirecTV to produce a pop culture-style talk show also heavy on sports for DirecTV and for radio in national syndication.  The show is reportedly to begin Monday, October 3 although the story doesn’t cite any affiliate radio stations for the program.  The report does state Lange and DiPaolo are to make $500,000 each per year of the three-year deal.

Buckley’s Joe Bilotta Named to BFoA Board of Directors.  Buckley Broadcasting president and CEO Joe Bilotta has been named to the Broadcasters Foundation of America board of directors.  Bilotta, who rose to president and CEO of Buckley Broadcasting after the passing of Rick Buckley this summer, says it’s an honor to serve on the board of an organization that gives back to the industry.  “Whether it’s an emergency grant for a broadcaster whose home was devastated while they stayed on the air during a disaster, or one who experienced a tragic and unforeseen debilitating accident, the Broadcasters Foundation is there to provide aid when there is nowhere else to turn.  I would encourage everyone to support this charitable mission of helping broadcasters in need.”

WGN, Chicago’s John Williams and Listeners Attempt Speed Golf World Record.  In the realm of goofy station promotions, this one is up near the top.  WGN midday talk host John Williams has recruited about 100 listeners to assist him in a speed golf relay format in an attempt to break the world record for the fastest round of golf played.  Dubbing it “King John & His Royal Court’s Speed Golf World Record Challenge,” the golfers are assigned locations along the course in accordance with their best club as they hit the ball to each other in progression.  The current world record is seven minutes and 56 seconds.  But Williams says, “It’s not just a world record we’re going after.  It’s a stupid world record, so that’s a natural for us.  I think of this more as an excuse to have a beer by 9:00 am.”

South Bend Broadcaster Turns to Public for Format Suggestions.  Artistic Media Partners has shut down the talk and sports format on WDND, South Bend after it and ESPN could not come to terms on a contract renewal to continue carrying ESPN content.  For now the station at 1620 on the AM dial is simulcasting the company’s FM sister Top 40 format but company president Arthur Angotti says that’s temporary and they’re willing to hear what listeners have to say.  “We’re trying not to make a decision in haste.  We’ve taken a lot of calls from people wanting to know what happened and they’ve had some interesting ideas.”

2012 GOP Candidates, Iran Military Ambitions, and Obama Economic Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/28).  The Republican candidates for president including the rise of Herman Cain in the polls, Iran’s military posturing and talk of new cruise missiles plus President Obama’s economic policies were all among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from Talkers.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

| September 28, 2011

Glenn Beck’s Bold Pioneering Media Station Draws Attention and Scrutiny from Consumer Media.  Glenn Beck’s new two-hour live video program that is the lynchpin of his online media initiative is just two weeks old but it is garnering significant attention from the consumer press as talk media and TV practitioners rightfully watch with intense interest.  Two important aspects of this stand out: the concept of a multi-media, specifically themed digital destination – a media station – once given thought as a quaint notion of what the future might hold is being developed by Beck full throttle; and the idea that everything on the internet must be free – because in a post-Napster world no one is willing to pay for any content on the internet – is being turned on its head.  There are obviously others who are crafting media stations that provide video, audio, text and more and Glenn Beck is not necessarily the first talk media personality to pursue this model (Dial Global progressive talk host Thom Hartmann and the maverick Alex Jones have gone down this pioneering path as well, among others).  However no one in the talk world with Beck’s media profile, large loyal following and tendency to get press is pushing this as zealously as he is.  Beck is the subject of a recent piece by McKay Coppins at the Daily Beast that outlines for consumers some of the inside-the-business details that make GBTV a case study to watch.  Since leaving Fox News Channel and launching GBTV, Beck has reportedly convinced some 230,000 P1s to pay $9.95 per year to view his content.  Although that audience is a fraction of his former FNC audience, Beck grosses almost $2.3 million from the venture.  If those subscriber numbers approach 1 million, Beck could be pulling in almost $10 million per year.  As the Daily Beast story reveals, Beck has many more content ideas he’s developing.  How many concepts make it to launch remains to be seen but it is clear that Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts company (a purposefully ironic name) is operating with the freedom to take Beck’s unique brand and run wild with it.  And as media professionals debate the future of radio and television as we know it, Beck’s own words to the Daily Beast indicate he believes he’s creating something different.  “What you see in the next 12 months on GBTV will transform the way news and information…is consumed,” Beck proclaims.  It may appear Beck is foretelling the death of cable news/talk TV with that statement but it is more likely that Beck is at the forefront of a wave of content creators who are building a new business model for a medium that will co-exist alongside the older media – radio and television.  And if that happens how long will they co-exist?  Only time will tell.  As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison puts it, “Talk media practitioners should put their personal opinions about the political and social specifics of Glenn Beck’s content aside and focus on the mechanics and methodology ‘clinic’ that he is demonstrating.  Regardless of whether or not he succeeds, what Beck is doing is a living example of where things are likely heading.”

Young Conservative Talk Up and Comer Andy Dean Joins Roster at Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum.  Premiere Networks syndicated newcomer Andy Dean is the latest high-profile talk star to join the stellar roster of more than 30 industry heavyweights set to speak at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum being presented in L.A. by TALKERS in conjunction with the Los Angeles Press Club on Thursday, October 20 between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm.  The young Premiere Networks syndicated host will join such luminaries as Larry King, Norm Pattiz, Bill Handel, and dozens of other movers and shakers including the program directors of the region’s top talk radio stations at this groundbreaking event that is being described as a “Who’s Who of Southern California Talk Radio.”  Dean’s remarks will be presented during his introduction of the panel “The State of Talk Radio in Southern California (and Slightly Beyond).”  Although the LARTF is already filled to capacity, unregistered media professionals interested in attending can put their names on an active standby list.  For complete details, click here.

TRN’s Michael Savage Clears in Chicago.  Just two weeks after Joseph J. Gentile-owned WJJG, Chicago announced TRN-FM’s Mancow Muller was returning to the airwaves in the Windy City, the station adds Michael Savage to its lineup.  WJJG general manager Matt Dubiel says the new lineup – beginning October 3 – will feature Mancow from 7:00 am to 10:00 am, Savage from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and Mancow again from 1:00 pm  to 4:00 pm.  In a release, Dubiel says, “It’s interesting that Dr. Savage has been pigeon-holed as a political talk show host.  Michael is an artist.  He’s a best-selling author and a storyteller who’s as likely to discuss making rigatoni as he is the events of the day.  We paint our radio shows and formats into a corner and then wonder why we struggle.  Chicago listeners enjoy Michael Savage so we’re giving them Michael Savage.  If Michael can sell millions of books, imagine what he can do for local businesses here!”  WJJG is a daytimer with 760 watts at 1530 on the dial.  Savage had aired on Salem Communications’ crosstown WIND but was dropped to make room for local personality Steve Cochran.

WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas General Manager Out as Cumulus Consolidates.  The industry is waiting to see how Lew Dickey follows through on his promise to create “$50 million in synergies” and a first wave of job consolidation is starting.  WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas general manager Keri Korzinewski is reportedly let go leaving Dan Bennett the sole manager for the six Cumulus properties in the Big D that also includes talk KLIF and sports KTCK-AM/FM.

John Gordon Calls Last Twins Game Tonight.  John Gordon has been the voice of the Minnesota Twins for the past 25 years.  At age 72, he’s hanging up his headphones to “see what’s outside the world of baseball” as he tells KARE-TV, Minneapolis.  Gordon and partner Dan Gladden are heard on the Twins baseball network based out of Hubbard Radio’s flagship sports station KSTP.

 

GOP Presidential Hopefuls, Iran Naval Maneuvers and Obama Jobs Bill Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/27).  The cast of GOP candidates for president in 2012, Iran’s plan to send warships to the Atlantic Coast of America and President Obama’s jobs bill were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

 

Monday, September 26, 2011

| September 26, 2011

Don Barrett’s “Labor of Love” Closes its Doors after 15 Years.  LARadio.com uploaded its final daily news on Saturday – actually the news was a goodbye from publisher Don Barrett.  Barrett started tracking and posting news of Los Angeles Radio People – LARP – in 1996 and his self-described “labor of love” was unique in the American radio scene: a regional radio-only news service for fans, insiders and Southern California radio history freaks.  While the service was appreciated by many current and former LARP and their fans, the times aren’t kind to a subscription-based business model and Barrett was forced to shut the daily news feeds down.  Los Angeles-based personality Doug McIntyre who hosts Cumulus Media’s nationally syndicated “Red Eye Radio” and WABC, New York’s “Talking the News,” wrote a letter to TALKERS magazine about the end of LA Radio.com published in the current print edition.  It reads:  “In radio as well as in life, change is the only thing that stays the same.  Shows get the axe, new shows try their luck, formats flip as battalion after battalion of consultants airlift in to fix mornings, tweak afternoons or transform imagining.  In Southern California, the man who kept track of it all wasn’t actually in the radio industry — he’s a movie publicist by trade — but harbored a deep love for the spoken word and those who do the speaking.  Don Barrett’s LARadio.com website was the morning must-read for 15 years in Los Angeles. Sadly, for his small army of fans, the final posting was uploaded on September 24th andLARadio.com is no more.  Focusing mostly on the Southern California radio scene, all formats were covered with countless breaking industry stories first reported by Barrett.  ‘LARadio.com was the glue that held the industry together,’ says KABC Los Angeles’ John Phillips.  ‘In an industry where people don’t get to see each other often, Don’s website created a community.’  And that community could sometimes be contentious, snarky, occasionally nasty, but always 100% real.  Barrett’s LARadio.com forum allowed radio professionals and partisans learn, leak and love the medium that has been sadly and inexplicably ignored by other media, despite the incredible reach and connection to its audience.  There are other great radio writers around America, including David Hinckley of the New York Daily News and Gary Lycan of the Orange County Register, but Barrett’s column went a step beyond reporting, it was in a way a shoulder to cry on; therapy for a community of professionals whose world was shrinking consolidation and recession and the fickle fate of changing tastes and trends.  Broadcasters down on their luck physically or financially always found a sympathetic ear from Barrett and his readers. Increasingly rare job openings were posted. Practical advice for career development or re-invention was offered on a daily basis. Profiles of working pros both on-air and off-air included put a spotlight on the many unheralded craftsmen who rarely got the respect they merited.  Making the ‘LA.Radio.com Annual Top 10 Readers Poll’ was always an honor, even though everyone knew Vin Scully would and should win. We were okay with fighting for 2nd place.  And of course, there were always rumors and personal feuds just to keep it fun.  After carrying the torch for a decade and a half, Don is ready to move on.  The Los Angeles radio community will miss our daily dose of Don, but will never forget his love for the art and craft of radio and those who make it happen.”  TALKERS is pleased to present Don Barrett as a special solo speaker at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum set for October 20. At that time he will be presented with a special TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award for what publisher Michael Harrison describes as “Don Barrett’s years of unique, selfless service and invaluable contributions to the Southern California radio broadcasting community.”  Harrison adds, “All of us at TALKERS appreciate just what intense dedication such a commitment demands.  Thus, we are honored to honor one of our own.”  For complete information about the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum click here.

Elite Broadcast Panel Discusses Social Media at SMW Panel in Chicago.  Social Media Week – last week’s international four-day, nine-city conference devoted to discussing the big-picture impact of social media – included activities in Los Angeles and Chicago.  These cities represented the U.S. among concurrent activities also taking place in Beruit, Berlin, Bogata, Buenos Aires, Glasgow, Milan, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, San Paulo and Vancouver.  The week closed in Chicago this past Friday evening with an insightful and often hilarious panel titled, “Reinventing a Media Career on Alternative Platforms.”  Panel participants included Emmy winning WGN-TV reporter, Nancy Loo; Robert Feder, the authority on the Chicago radio and television community for 28 years at the Chicago Sun Times, and now with his daily blog through Time Out Chicago; Richard Roeper, co-host of Roe/Roeper on WLS-AM, Chicago Sun-Times columnist, and former co-host of Ebert & Roeper “At the Movies.”  Completing the quartet was very-longtime Chicago talk radio host Steve Dahl who currently produces and hosts a subscription-based podcast.  Bill Adee, VP digital for the Chicago Tribune moderated the event and kept things rolling along quite effectively in spite of all the jokes and jabs among the panelists.  Some of the notable comments from this quartet of traditional media pros who have reinvented themselves to be received on alternative digital platforms include Steve Dahl stating, “CBS paid me to not work for two and a half years.  I started podcasting out of boredom for something to do.  It was either that or drinking.  I bought dahl.com in 1995 and paid a lot for it.  As a comparison, the Chicago Tribune bought their domain in 1998.  I can do my complete show in ninety minutes, vs. Roe (Conn at WLS) who takes a whole shift because of all of the commercials.  What is your time worth?  The podcast model does not support advertising because no one will sit there and listen to twenty minutes of commercials.  Content has always been king, even more so now.  Talent will win out.”  Robert Feder said, “There was a time when I had no cell phone and didn’t know how to text.  After 28 years at the Chicago Sun Times I had to learn a lot or call it a day.  I had to see media as part of the real world, get educated or get ready to take tickets at Disney World.  The Sun Times was happy with the way things were for 30 years.  You can’t depend on big media anymore.  They’re like the old Hollywood Studios that did everything.  Now we’re all independents.  Journalists have to find out where the audience is – where people are receiving their information.  Quality of content is what matters.”  Nancy Loo added, “Web metrics are as important as broadcast ratings.  Generation Z has never picked up a newspaper…all their info is from tablets and phones.” Loo then raised the question, “17% Twitter vs. 80% on Facebook — are twitterers the more influential crowd, the media elite, those with the ability to get their point across in a concise, clear fashion?”  Roeper shared his perspective: “I acquired the richardroeper.com domain in the late 90’s after a series of frustrating conversations with Disney who was reluctant to do original content on their website.  I activated it when I left “Ebert & Roeper” and in 2008 started tweeting from the Oscars.” Regarding people who comment, he asked, “How much time do these people have on their hands?  My favorite is YouTube because you get the global idiocy like the kid from Finland who wants to kill you because you gave ‘The Green Lantern’ a bad review.”  (Story covered for TALKERS by Beverly Padratzik)

Report:  Sports Talk War in Boston Hits WEEI’s Glenn Ordway in the Wallet.  A report in the Boston Globe states WEEI, Boston “Big Show” co-host Glenn Ordway took a big hit in the paycheck recently after a clause in his contract was exercised by Entercom that allows it to reduce his compensation based on the program’s ratings.  According to the piece, Ordway’s salary has been almost halved from its $1 million annual level.  Many programmers and talent are paid bonuses for hitting certain ratings goals but, according to the Globe report, sources say Ordway’s contract had a clause that allows the company to cut his pay if the show’s ratings dropped out of the top three in the Men 25-54 demographic in the Boston PPM.  It’s not clear how often the ratings are calculated for this purpose as Boston gets PPM ratings monthly, but the Globe’s report appears based on the seasonal Arbitron “books.”  It states “The Big Show” was #5 in that demo in the Spring Book.  CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM has given WEEI competition in the sports talk format in which it previously enjoyed a monopoly since signing on in August of 2009.  Ordway’s contract was signed in January of that year.

YouSendIt to Launch Half Million Dollar Talk Radio Advertising Campaign.   YouSendIt, Inc. – a leading business content collaboration service – has announced it is embarking upon its first national radio advertising campaign designed to reach professionals who listen to a wide range of talk radio programs while they commute.  The campaign utilizes five leading talk personalities who will share their own personal experiences using YouSendIt and recommend it to their listeners.  The campaign will run from today until the end of the year.  Participating hosts include Howard Stern, Sirius Satellite Radio; Jim Rome, Premiere Networks; Mark Levin, Cumulus Media; Neal Boortz, Dial Global; and Stephanie Miller, Dial Global. Sandra Vaughan, chief marketing officer of YouSendIt, tells TALKERS, “YouSendIt is well known for its file transfer service, but today we offer much more. By leveraging a proven medium such as radio, we are able to introduce our business content collaboration services and mobile application to a broader audience. Listeners will enjoy hearing how these radio personalities are using our new services.”

Westwood One Gets into the Web Content Game.  With its new WestwoodOneSports.com, the syndicator begins competing directly in the consumer content business with a website that offers sports fans network exclusive radio audio.  The company states the new site “features pregame interviews with coaches and players, exclusive online commentary from Westwood One broadcasters, including Boomer Esiason, Jim Gray, James Lofton, Terry Donahue, Eddie George, Mark Malone, Tony Boselli and more. In addition, WestwoodOneSports.com features broadcast schedules, announcer bios and a station finder to help fans locate local stations airing Westwood One Sports broadcasts.”  Other attractions include Tom Brady’s Monday Night Football pre-game conversation with Jim Gray, 1995 Heisman Trophy-winner Eddie George’s “Heisman Watch,” Hall of Fame wide receiver James Lofton’s interview with a fellow Pro Football Hall of Famer on “Legend to Legend,” and College Football Hall of Famer Terry Donahue’s coach’s perspective on NCAA Football in “T.D.’s Extra Point.”

Michael Savage’s Abuse of Power Debuts at #4 on NYTimes Bestseller List.  Talk Radio Network star Michael Savage’s new fiction thriller debuted at #4 on the New York Times Bestseller List this weekend. Abuse of Power (St. Martin’s Press 2011) – the story of a “smeared network journalist who uncovers a terrorist plot” — is Savage’s first novel.  He’s written 26 books over the course of his career with eight bestsellers to his name.  The book’s protagonist – Jack Hatfield – is a hardened war correspondent who’s “smeared as a bigot and extremist by a radical leftist media-watchdog group, he ultimately loses his job and finds himself working in obscurity as a freelance news producer in San Francisco.”  It is there he uncovers a terrorist plot that sets the story in motion.  Savage has said he used his experience being banned from Britain by former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith as a catalyst for his book.

CBS Radio’s WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia Deals Programming to Atlantic City Outlet.  Longport Media’s WBSS, Atlantic City and CBS Radio’s WIP-AM/FM Philadelphia have a deal in which the former is airing WIP’s programming 24/7 as the station flips from news/talk to sports.  The change took place on Friday (9/23).  There are no details on the financial structure of the deal.

Orlando’s Shannon Burke Goes “Internet Only.”  The former WTKS-FM, Orlando talk host – who served time on a weapons charge that cost him his job at the Clear Channel hot talk outlet – is leaving his current terrestrial radio job at Star Over Orlando-owned WEUS, Orlando to host the PM drive time slot on RadioIO.  He’ll be on the “Bubba’s Army” video channel, the same on which Bubba the Love Sponge’s program is distributed in morning drive.

Sage Analysis.  WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (l) covers the Fox News/Google GOP candidates debate with expert analysis from Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol (r) on his afternoon drive program.  Bernier was part of the radio row at the event held in Orlando, Florida.

 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

| September 14, 2011

Big Eddie: Walkin’ the Walk.  MSNBC and Dial Global progressive talk star Ed Schultz sits down with TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison and says he’s committed to the causes he talks about on his programs in a very hands-on way.  He’s personally worked to assist Katrina victims, stood behind the public union workers in Wisconsin and is organizing free health care clinics in New Orleans.  Schultz also tells Harrison he’s not afraid to criticize President Obama and often takes guff from fellow progressives when he does.  On his media experiences Schultz says he knows the life span of a cable TV talk host can be very short but he makes no excuses for being himself — both on the radio and on TV — and is very proud of his “upstream swim” to success.  Read the interview here.

Don’t Miss Michael Harrison at the Radio Show!  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison delivers his annual “State of Talk Media” address at the NAB/RAB-produced event in Chicago today (9/14) from 10:30 am to 11:45 am at the Hyatt Regency Chicago C/D.  Today Harrison will discuss the current state and immediate future of talk radio and its related venues and presents his “10 things broadcasters need to know about the enormous changes taking place in talk radio” right now.

Talk Radio Programming Pro Len Weiner Heads Florida Cluster.  The Genesis Communications-owned stations in the Tampa market – all-news WWBA, news/talk WMGG and sports WHBO – have a new programmer in radio pro Len Weiner.  His programming resume includes WGN, Chicago; WMVP, Chicago; KMPC, Los Angeles and a decade spent at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.  Now he heads south to take the official title market program manager at the Genesis cluster.

TRN’s Michael Savage Releases New Fiction Thriller.  Savage is no stranger to bestselling books – he’s penned eight of them.