Tag: "Michael O’Rielly"

Monday, October 23, 2017

| October 23, 2017

FCC Commissioner: It Is Time to Update Our Rules to Reflect the Current Media Marketplace.  Those are the words of Republican FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly in his FCC blog post titled, “Thoughtfully Modernizing the Commission’s Media Ownership Rules.”  In the post, O’Rielly points to reforms already made under current Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and names the reforms he thinks should be adopted next.  He writes, “If a form is not needed, it should be eliminated.  If a study is duplicative or useless, it should be junked.  When public notice requirements are outdated, at the very least they should be modified.  And when FCC rules are no longer necessary, they should be removed from our books.”  Noting that for almost 10 years the FCC has failed to adequately complete the Quadrennial Review, O’Rielly states, “It is time we fulfilled not only a congressional mandate but the congressional intent of keeping our rules current.  And this can and should be done thoughtfully, consistent with the fundamental propositions of localism, diversity, and competition.  We owe this not only to our broadcasting industry but more importantly, to the American people, who are paying for – in one form or another – market inefficiencies resulting from our rules.”  Among the five principles he outlines for media ownership reform are the elimination of the cross-ownership bans.  “As consumers demand innovative platforms and seamless experiences to consume content, the FCC imposes bans preventing broadcasters and newspapers from delivering synergies that could result in innovative products and more, not less local content.  Eliminating the restrictions on newspaper/radio, radio/television, and newspaper/television combinations is a crucial step.  Previous commissions and bipartisan legislation from Congress already recognized the need for an update.  It’s time to act.”  Read O’Rielly’s entire post here.

NYT: Former FOX News Channel Star Bill O’Reilly Paid $32 Million to Settle Sexual Harassment Case.  In an expose published in The New York Times over the weekend, it’s being reported that former FOX News Channel star Bill O’Reilly in January agreed to pay $32 million to longtime network analyst Lis Wiehl to settle sexual harassment allegations, a month before the network agreed to a contract renewal with O’Reilly that was to pay him $100 million over four years.  The paper reports that O’Reilly settled five other harassment allegations in years prior.  FNC tells the Times it was aware of Wiehl’s allegations against O’Reilly but says it was unaware of the amount of the settlement as that was a matter between O’Reilly and Wiehl.  The NYT piece notes that News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch and sons Lachlan and James had been working to convince both staffers and the public that they were trying to clean up the cable news channel’s image and had recently fired FNC president Roger Ailes in the wake of his sexual harassment troubles, and would let O’Reilly go as well.  This latest matter of workplace sexual harassment in the entertainment world comes as Hollywood is reeling from the Harvey Weinstein harassment scandal.  See the Times piece here.

Bruce Kelly Joins Grenax Broadcasting’s Flagstaff, AZ Cluster.  Radio pro Bruce Kelly is named director of programming and operations at Grenax Broadcasting’s Flagstaff, Arizona station group that includes news/talk KBTK “97.1 The Big Talker” and music outlets classic hits KFLX “Rewind 92.5/104.1,” country KSED “107.5 Kolt Country,” and classic rock KWMX “96.7 The Wolf.”  Grenax general manager Stan Pierce says, “[Kelly] is a talented programmer with a long history of on-air success and a creative thinker on the marketing front.  Bringing in someone of Bruce’s caliber reflects our commitment to provide our community of Northern Arizona with top-quality radio.”

Changes at WFOM, Atlanta ‘The Fan 2.’  According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho, the pairing of Larry Wachs and Bob Whitfield on Dickey Broadcasting-owned sports talker WFOM, Atlanta “The Fan 2” has ended with owner David Dickey stating he’s looking for a new show partner for Wachs on the newly reconstituted “Regular Guys” show on WFOM (2:00 pm to 4:00 pm).  He also says he wants to build a show around Whitfield with the possibility of adding local programming to WIFN “The Fan 3.”  Read Ho’s piece here.

Westwood One Unveils Kurt Warner Podcast.  New to the Westwood One Podcast Network is a weekly show featuring NFL great and football analyst Kurt Warner, titled “The Kurt Warner Quarterback Podcast.”  The program is delivered fresh every Tuesday morning during the NFL season and features Westwood One play-by-play voice Kevin Harlan.

North Korea War Talk, Trump Tax Plan, McCain-Trump Feud, New O’Reilly Settlement Allegation, Carter NYT Interview, Potential Uranium One Probe, James Toback Harassment Accusations, Mueller Investigates Podesta Group, Astros Win AL Pennant, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The saber rattling between North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump; the Trump Administration’s tax reform plan; the ongoing feud between Trump and John McCain and McCain’s shot at the president over Vietnam War draft deferments; new allegations of a $32 million settlement between Bill O’Reilly and a sexual harassment accuser; Jimmy Carter’s New York Times interview; Robert Mueller’s investigation into an Obama-era deal with Russian firm Uranium One; director James Toback is accused of sexual harassment by numerous actresses; the Houston Astros beat the Yankees to win the American League pennant; and Sunday’s NFL action and poor attendance at a number of stadiums were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Sally Quinn Guests on This Week’s Harrison Podcast.  Longtime Washington Post journalist, columnist, television commentator, Washington insider, author and legendary social hostess, Sally Quinn is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.”  She candidly discusses her Watergate-era, wildly romantic, extra-marital love affair, and subsequent enduring marriage of more than four decades to legendary Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee, as well as her idiosyncratic relationship with religion, sexual harassment in politics as well as media… and much more.  (She claims the late U.S. Senator John Tower tried to rape her in the back of a taxi.)  Quinn is currently promoting her new book, Finding Magic: A Spiritual Memoir (HarperOne, 2017) and Harrison was granted one of her first interviews.  To hear this fascinating podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  At Cumulus Media’s Detroit country station WDRQ “NASH FM 93.1,” Jessica Poxson exits her role as midday personality, assistant PD and music director…..There’s a new CHR station in the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville, North Carolina market as Curtis Media Group flips modern rock WXNR “99X” to rhythmic CHR as “HOT 99.5.”…..The morning duo of Jake and Tanner are back together at Woodward Radio’s WKSZ, Appleton, Wisconsin “95.9 Kiss FM,” effective today (10/23).  Jake Kelly and Tanner Jay joined E.W. Scripps’ country WKTI, Milwaukee for mornings in October of 2015.  Tanner Jay left the program earlier this year for family reasons and Kelly stayed on solo for a while before exiting the station as well.  The two were hosting the morning show on WIXX, Green Bay prior to joining WKTI…..Radio One celebrated the 40th career anniversary of legendary Washington, DC radio and television personality Donnie Simpson last night (10/22) at the Warner Theatre.  The star-studded concert featured Simpson’s favorite regional and national artists, including: Doug E Fresh, Big Daddy Kane, BBD, Chante Moore; and Rare Essence…..The Cumulus Media “neXt2rock 2017” national search for the nation’s newest rock star has so far drawn more than 1,800 submissions.  Emerging artists are being rated by Cumulus listeners through October 25.  Ultimately, the winner of this four-month-long competition will receive a record deal with Big Machine/John Varvatos Records and exposure via Cumulus radio stations nationwide.  Mentor judges for the competition’s finale include Big Machine Label Group president & CEO Scott Borchetta; musician, songwriter and producer Desmond Child; record producer Bob Ezrin; Sex Pistols guitarist and host of “Jonesy’s Jukebox,” Steve Jones; and Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

| January 24, 2017

It’s Official: Trump Names Pai FCC Chairman.  On the heels of news reports suggesting that President Donald Trump would name Republican Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai the new chairman, he’s done just that.  Pai will lead the three-member commission consisting of Pai’s fellow Republican Michael O’Rielly fccnewand Democrat Mignon Clyburn until two more commissioners are named to the body by Trump.  Pai’s statement was simple: “I am deeply grateful to the President of the United States forpaiajit designating me the 34th Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.  I look forward to working with the new Administration, my colleagues at the Commission, members of Congress, and the American public to bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans.”  While Pai has been a friend to the radio industry, serving as a commissioner who is sensitive to efforts such as AM revitalization, the speculation is that this FCC will reverse Tom Wheeler-era policies on net neutrality, broadband subscriber data privacy and others.

Rhode Island Talk Host John DePetro Returns to Radio on WADK, Newport.  A little more than a month after exiting Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence, longtime Rhode Island talk radio personality John DePetro returns to the airwaves via 3G Broadcasting’s WADK, Newport, Rhode Island for a show that launchesdeptrojohn tomorrow (1/25) from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  In announcing the news, DePetro states, “I am now the exclusive owner of the ‘John DePetro Show,’ which gives me full ownership of the content of the show and the freedom in the future to syndicate my popular, highly rated, entertaining program.  My listeners should get ready for the most entertaining radio I have ever done, and I will continue to tell it like it is.”  DePetro’s deal with the station includes a two-hour Saturday “John DePetro Show Week in Review.” Station owner Bonnie Gomes comments, “John DePetro and I have known each other since the late 80s when we worked together at a Providence radio group.  John has a well-known, entertaining program and it matches with our goal of making 1540 AM WADK completely live and local.  We are excited to welcome John to our broadcasting family and know that he will bring a new, exciting, entertaining twist to our current programming lineup.”

DGital Media and The Players’ Tribune Partner for Podcast Network.   Sports-themed media platform The Players’ Tribune partners with DGital Media to release its first podcast.  The Derek Jeter-founded podcast network will feature “oral histories, athlete-hosted podcasts, a flagship show and other topical series.”  The theplayerstribunefirst show is “Giant Steps,” an oral history podcast that chronicles the rise of the New York Giants’ first Super Bowl championship in 1986.  The 60-minute episode, narrated by Michael Strahan, features first-person accounts from Carl Banks, Harry Carson, Pepper Johnson, Leonard Marshall, George Martin, Elvis Patterson, Lawrence Taylor and Bill Parcells.  The Players’ Tribune president Jaymee Messler comments, “‘The Players’ Tribune’ has become a destination for thoughtful, insightful storytelling related to topics both on and off the field.  We’re excited to introduce another medium for athletes to share stories and discuss important issues through a unique and intimate listening experience.  DGital Media is a terrific partner on the launch of this newest extension of our premium content offerings.”

Trump Withdraws US from TPP, Women’s Marches Aftermath, Trump Federal Hiring Freeze, Deadly Southeastern Tornadoes, ‘SNL’ Writer Suspended, Parliament to Vote on Brexit, and Super Bowl LI Matchup Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/23).  President Donald Trump signs executive order withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal; the aftermath of the Women’s March in DC and in cities across the world; Trump enacts federal government hiring freeze; the deadly tornadoes that tore through the Southeast U.S.; a “Saturday Night Live” writer Katie Rich is suspended for her tweet targeting Barron Trump; Britain’s Parliament prepares to vote on the country’s exit from the European Union; and the Super Bowl matchup between New England and Atlanta were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Odds & Sods. WABC, New York late morning hosts Sid Rosenberg (left) and Bernard McGuirk (right) are both re-signingbernieandsid17 with the Cumulus station for new, three-year deals.  McGuirk and Rosenberg both still have their roles on the “Imus in the Morning” program.  The new deals pertain to their “Bernie & Sid” 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  Rosenberg tells TALKERS magazine, “I’m excited to spend the next few years at WABC!  [Market manager] Chad Lopez and [program director] Craig Schwalb have been a joy to work for and I’m blessed with the best, funniest and most talented partner in the business!”…..Philadelphia sports talker WIP-FM announces the schedule for its Phillies program “The Hot Stove” with Phillies play-by-play team Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen.  The hour-long show will air four consecutive Wednesdays at 6:00 pm beginning February 1.

McintyreMartin17Doug McIntyre and Steve Martin Sell Out Four Nights in Southern California.  Pictured above are film and comedy legend Steve Martin (left) and KABC, Los Angeles morning personality Doug McIntyre (right) on stage during one of four performances that took place January 8-11.  McIntyre hosts the Distinguished Speakers Series and Martin recently joined him at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, the Redondo Beach Center for the Performing Art in Redondo Beach, the Thousand Oaks Civic Art Plaza in Thousand Oaks, and the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena.  Previous guests in the series have included John Cleese, Betty White, Ron Howard and Robert Redford among others.  Photo: Sue Swan.

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RadioInfo Web bannerWestwood One Names Switzer VP/GM of Music & Entertainment – Country.  This is a return to the Westwood One fold for Bryan Switzer.  He served with then-ABC Radio Networks,switzerbryan Citadel Media and Cumulus Media Networks from 2006 through 2014 overseeing Nashville marketing, promotion, and affiliate sales for “American Country Countdown,” the 24-hour formats and more.  He returns to the media biz from his most recent executive post with JennsCo Chemical Solutions.  As vice president/general manager, music & entertainment-country for Westwood One, he’ll be in charge of the marketing and operations of all owned and represented country shows.

Renda Broadcasting Appoints Steve Granato PD for Fort Myers-Naples Cluster.  Taking over for Randy Savage, who left the program director position with Renda Southwest Florida to join Cumulus’ Wilkes-Barre cluster, is Steve Granato.  He’ll program the company’s four-station cluster including country WWGR “Gator Country 1019,” adult hits WJGO “1029BOBfm,” hot AC WSGL “Mix 104.7,” and news/talk WGUF “98.9 Naples FM Talk.”  Granato previously served with Renda Broadcasting programming the company’s Pittsburgh properties in the early 1990s.

WMMR, Philly Names Brent Porche Overnight Jock.  Philadelphia heritage rock outlet WMMR announces Brent Porche is named the station’s new overnight personality.  The Beasley Media Group-owned station notes porchebrentthat “it’s rare a radio station that goes eight years between full-time hires. It’s rarer still that the position is for a full-time, overnight air talent.”  Porche takes over for Jacky Bam Bam who recently was promoted to the 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show.  Porche says of his new gig, “It’s like a lifelong fan rooting for the Eagles and getting hired to play on the team – with all his favorite players!  I’m honored to join Preston & Steve, Pierre Robert, Jaxon, Jacky and all the DJs on such a legendary station.”

Jenkins to Lead Alpha Media’s Moberly-Macon, Missouri Station Group.  Thirty-year radio pro Mikejenkinsmike Jenkins is named market manager for Alpha Media’s Moberly-Macon, Missouri station group that includes, country KRES-FM, oldies KIRK-FM, Christian contemporary KTCM-FM, and news/talk KWIX-AM/FM.  Alpha Midwest Region EVP George Pelletier says, “We are pleased to welcome Mike Jenkins to our Alpha operations in Moberly.  Mike has a terrific track record of success everywhere he has worked.  His reputation of being a great leader, inspired broadcaster and client-oriented sales champion convinced us that he was the right kind of person to lead the Alpha team in Moberly, Missouri.”

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  San Diego CHR KHTS-FM “Channel 93.3 FM” names Ethan Cole evening personality.  Cole stays with iHeartMedia having spent that past two years producing the “Matty in the Morning” show for WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108 FM.”.…..Saga Communications names Mark the Shark afternoon drive personality at classic rock WKLH, Milwaukee WKLH-FM “Rock 96-5.”  It’s a return to Brew City for The Shark.  He served with former rock outlet WQFM (now AC WLDB) during the 1980s and 1990s…..The Cantore + Woods morning show with Chris Cantore and Steve Woods exits Entercom’s alternative KBZT, San Diego “FM 949” after 15 months in the daypart.  No word on the new morning drive show yet…..WNKS, Charlotte “KISS 95.1”wnksAMshow intern Whitney Thore and the “Maney, Roy and LauRen Show” are back on television for tonight’s (1/24) season premiere of the TLC Network show, “My Big Fat Fabulous Life,” starring Thore.  The show follows Thore, a passionate dancer on her way to maintaining a healthy life style through dance and a “No Body Shaming” policy…..iHeartMedia’s Fresno country outlet KHGE “102.7 The Wolf” is hosting the 2017 Acoustic Kick-Off Concert featuring live performances by country music recording artists Hunter Hayes, Casey Donahew and Lucas Hoge tomorrow night (1/25) at the Tower Theater in Fresno.  The Wolf program director Nick Cash says, “We love to connect our ‘102.7 The Wolf’ listeners with the hottest new country artists in a live and intimate setting.  Hunter has a big, young following in the Central Valley and we can’t wait to sing along with them in the crowd at Acoustic Kick-Off Concert!”

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

| September 20, 2016

FCC Commissioner O’Rielly: Future of AM Decided by ‘Demands of Listeners.’  Speaking at a luncheon of the Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly addressed the issue of AM revitalization.  He noted that the changes allowing the relocation of FM oriellymichaeltranslators is something of which a number of AM operators are taking advantage.  However, he said there’s still more work to do.  “For instance, I’d personally like to see us split off the relief for the main studio rule from the FNPRM so as to complete it before year’s end, and you are likely to hear more from me on this soon.  In addition, I am carefully considering the Commission’s proposal to reduce the protected daytime primary service contour for certain AM stations, and of course when doing so, the actual areas and levels of additional interference are of primary interest.”  But, O’Rielly also said that, in the final analysis, the “future of AM radio will be decided in the market by stations seeking to meet the demands of listeners, as it should be.  No amount of Commission action or government involvement is going to save the medium from irrelevancy if listeners and advertisers abandon stations, although I don’t see that happening in the immediate term.  From my conversations with AM radio license holders, that’s exactly how they see it too: they just want the Commission to eliminate some of the barriers to competition so they have the tools to win the hearts and minds of listeners and then let the chips fall where they may.”

Kitchin to Consult The Mix Group.  Radio exec Kraig Kitchin is entering into a consultant relationship withkitchinkraig radio imaging and production firm The Mix Group.  Kitchin is co-president of SoundMind LLC, which manages the businesses of high-profile broadcast personalities and companies.  He’s also the chairman of the National Radio Hall of Fame.  On joining The Mix Group, Kitchin says, “Once stations discover The Mix Group, there’s no turning back.  Jason [Garte] and his team of talented producers create an exceptional sound that differentiates a station from all others in the market.  The individual attention to detail for each station client is really remarkable.”

TalkersRadio Launches New International Talk Show Hosted by Award-Winning British Host Graham Mack.  The name of the show is “London Calling with Graham Mack” and it is the newest featured program exclusively heard on the TALKERS magazine experimental radio platform, TalkersRadio.  Graham Mack hosts a daily morning program on BOB-FM in London’s “Home Counties” region.  In this new program, Mack tells talkersradio-logoTALKERS, “I will present a weekly look for American listeners at what’s happening across the Atlantic – from princesses to prime ministers, from ‘Dr. Who’ to ‘Downton’ and from Beckham to Brexit – things that matter and some things that just don’t.”  The debut installment of the show features an exclusive interview with the legendary English actor, comedian, writer, and film producer – John Cleese.   According tomackgraham TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein, “We are very excited about this fabulous new show debuting on our experimental talk radio platform.  This show is totally major league right out of the box and I expect that it will have a major impact not only here in the states but around the world as well.  Graham Mack is an outstanding broadcaster and this show sizzles with information and entertainment.”  Mack has been awarded a number of honors over the years.  They include: “Best Radio Personality” New York Festivals International Radio Awards – 2013 Bronze;  “Best Talk Show Host” New York Festivals International Radio Awards – 2012 Finalist; “Breakfast Show of the Year” Sony Radio Academy Awards – 2011 Gold; and “Best Programme Presenter” Gillard Award – 2011 Gold among others.  TalkersRadio was launched several years ago to serve as an experimental workshop to develop new types of radio talk shows as well as provide a showcase for new concepts worthy of broadcast radio consideration.  “London Calling with Graham Mack” joins current TalkersRadio programs “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” and “Good for You Radio with Claire Carter.”  Past TalkersRadio programs have included “Vox Animali with Lori Lundin,” “American Family Farmer with Doug Stephan,” and others.  To follow the latest “London Calling with Graham Mack” show info and guests on Twitter: @GrahmMack.  Got a question about life in Britain and Europe? Send your question as an MP3 to graham@mackmedia.co.uk.  To listen to “London Calling with Graham Mack,” click here.

Odds & Sods.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Eddie Volkman – half of the highly successful, former Windy City radio duo “Eddie & Jobo” – is leaving his talk show gig with suburban WCKG-AM.  Volkman’s been doing a 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm show on the station since earlier this summer but declares he’s ready to try to get back on the air on a big Chicago signal…..“Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts is producing a podcast series based on her book, Robin Roberts: Everybody’s Got Something (Grand Central 2014).  Her production company Rock’n Robin Productions and ABC Radio are working together on the project.  Each show will be a 45-minute episode in which listeners will hear Roberts and her guests share “their incredible, real-life challenges that will inspire everyone to face their ‘somethings’ and believe in the power of resilience.”…..Westwood One News is providing live, anchored coverage of all three presidential debates and the vice presidential debate in late September and October, plus is providing live, special reports on each night the debates are held.  Coverage will be anchored by Chas Henry, with on-scene reporting by correspondents Bob Costantini, Steve Kastenbaum, Jim Roope, and Karin Caifa.  The first presidential debate is September 26 at 9:00 pm ET from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.

NJBA President Paul Rotella Reiterates Call to Activate FM Chip in Smartphones.  Citing the importance of receiving crucial information during emergencies, New Jersey Broadcasters Association president Paul Rotella is asking senators and congressman to again urge Verizon to activate the FM chips in njba-logosmartphones that it sells.  Referencing the bombings in New York and the bombs found in New Jersey over the weekend, he writes, in part, “One year ago to the day, I wrote to you to urge the adoption of a mandate to light up the FM chip in all smartphones. The tragic events this past week in our state and in New York now make this request a matter the highest urgency, as well as a matter of national security.  For almost a century, New Jersey’s radio broadcasters have been the primary source of critical information to the public in the event ofrotellapaul disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, tropical storms, floods, snowstorms, earthquakes, tsunamis, solar storms, terrorist violence, mass transportation accidents, and industrial or technological catastrophes.  This important role can be both before an impending event, to warn the public as we did before Hurricane Sandy, or help law enforcement through life saving AMBER Alerts, but most importantly, after a catastrophic event.  In an emergency, the role of broadcasters is even more important because they serve local communities with essential, fact-checked, reliable information, and they distribute it to all within the broadcast signal.  Today, the most common battery operated device readily available to our citizens may be a smart phone, but it is useless without cell service.  However, with an activated radio chip, a smart phone will function similar to the time-proven reliable transistor radios found in emergency kits around the globe, providing our citizens with information essential for survival.  This includes where food, water and shelter are available; where FEMA and other humanitarian assistance are located.”  Rotella is asking that bill be filed to make chip activation a reality.

The Presidential Race, Terror Attacks in NYC/NJ/Minn., Syria Civil War/U.S-Russia Tensions, Sunday’s Emmy Awards, NFL Action and MLB Playoffs Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/19).  The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the investigation of the terror bombings in New York, the pipe bombs found in New Jersey and the stabbings in St. Cloud, Minnesota; the resumption of violence in Syria and the military tensions between the U.S. and Russia in the region; chatter about the political speeches at Sunday’s Emmy Awards show; the weekend’s NFL action; and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

| October 30, 2013

cumulus logoLew Dickey: Cumulus to Hire 50 More Sales Staffers.  During the Cumulus Media Q3 conference call with investors yesterday, CEO Lew Dickey said the dividends of investing in the company’s sales strategy are paying off.  Dickey told analysts, “We’ve made a lot of investment in training over the last couple of years that is really now gaining traction…in fact, as we look into 2014, we’ve now given the order here to go and hire 50 more people as we get down to the end of the year based on anticipated demand as we get into ’14.  So we really have a very well-functioning sales organization today that is the byproduct of an awful lot of work on systems and training — everything from pricing to CRM to activitycbssportsradiologo management, improving coverage, ad packaging – all the different things that we’ve been working on to make us more competitive in the local market.”  When asked about radio’s share of the ad market versus television and other media, Dickey was very bullish, saying, “I would say that…radio in general is, I think, starting to experience a little bit of a renaissance as we’re starting to see a much greater buzz for the medium for audio advertising in general.  The space seems to be expanding.  And people are realizing the value of audio advertising and how efficiently they can do it on a mass market basis with great targetability using local broadcast radio.  So it’s a terrific value for advertisers and I think they’re starting to realize it…I think it’s a trend that’s going to take some time to play out. But I do think that it is a tailwind rather than a headwind, I think, that we’re experiencing as we move into 2014, and that’s all positive.”  Updating analysts on what he calls the company’s four key growth initiatives – CBS Sports Radio, Nash FM, Right Now Traffic and SweetJack – Dickey said the country brand Nash FM will finish rolling out across the country in early 2014 with all of the company’s country stations taking on the “Nash” brand.  He called WNSH, New York the “second-most-listened-to” country station in America.  He said the CBS Sports Radio Network exceeded expectations for 2013 and that upfront sales on the network for 2014 are “off to a strong start.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript.  Members can read the entire transcript here.

wheelertomSenate Confirms Tom Wheeler as FCC Chairman; Republican Michael O’Rielly Also Confirmed.  After being nominated by President Obama in May, the U.S. Senate finally votes on the confirmation of Tom Wheeler to replace Julius Genachowski as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.oriellymichael  Wheeler, former managing director at DC-based Core Capital Partners LP as well as a former lobbyist in the wireless and cable TV industries, states, “I am humbled by the Senate’s confirmation and I look forward to taking the oath of office in the coming days.  I am deeply grateful to President Obama for his confidence in nominating me for this position.  Chairwoman Clyburn has led the Commission with dedication and vision for six months.  We all owe Chairwoman Clyburn a huge thank you.  The Chairwoman, along with Commissioners Rosenworcel and Pai and the FCC staff dealt with important issues that kept policy and the country moving forward.”  Michael O’Rielly comes from inside Washington as he most recently was an advisor to Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn.  He fills the seat of Republican Robert McDowellNAB CEO Gordon Smith comments, “NAB strongly supported the nominations of both Tom Wheeler and Michael O’Rielly and we are pleased with their confirmation.  We also salute the superb job done by Mignon Clyburn during her tenure as acting chair.  Broadcasters look forward to working with a full complement of commissioners in the months and years ahead.”

tubbssteffanKOA, Denver Apologizes After F-Bomb Goes Out Over the Air.  Morning drive co-host Steffan Tubbs at Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver thought the mic was off when he made a comment about reality television star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi but his assessment about her appearance that contained the f-word went out over the air.  Listeners began commenting on the station’s Facebook page and the station issued the following statement: “We are aware of a recent inappropriate comment that was made on-air by Steffan Tubbs.  While Steffan made the comment in what he thought was a private conversation, it was still thoughtless and insensitive and we apologize to anyone whom it offended.  We take matters of this nature very seriously and we will take appropriate disciplinary action.”

tmzsports logoPremiere Expands Relationship with TMZ to Offer ‘TMZ Sports’ Program.  Premiere Networks has been working with entertainment news organization TMZ since the two partnered on the “TMZ Radio” vignette in 2011.  Now, the pair announced the development of “TMZ Sports” – a new one-hour, weekday radio program available to sports and news/talk stations.  Premiere states that the show is “an adaptation of the sports entertainment website, www.tmzsports.com – where TMZ is constantly breaking exclusive stories.  At ‘TMZ Sports,’ hits, runs and errors are totally out of bounds because it’s all about the personalities and athletes.  The show is centered around the ensemble of reporters in the TMZ newsroom who break these exclusive stories that have an impact on the players, their future and the teams.  ‘TMZ Sports’ also welcomes guests, athletes and people from all over the world sounding off on Skype, phones and various social media.”  The Hollywood-based show is available to stations between 7:00 pm and 12:00 midnight local time.  Stations adding the show so far include KLAC, Los Angeles;  WINZ, Miami; KBAD, Las Vegas; WHOO, Orlando; and KXIC, Iowa City/Cedar Rapids.  TMZ executive producer Harvey Levin says, “The show is going to attract people who love sports so they can learn more about the athletes they follow.  It will also attract lots of people who don’t follow sports but like watching the drama and the fun.”  Clear Channel SVP of sports operations Bruce Gilbert adds, “The launch of ‘TMZ Sports’ on radio and iHeartRadio is a natural extension of the powerful and relevant TMZ brand.  TMZ’s unmatched ability to break stories and present in-depth, unfiltered, entertaining information on all things sports will provide fans with great insight into the stories they are talking about with their friends.”

kinosianmikeMike Horn’s CRN Digital Talk Radio Celebrates 30th Anniversary.  Thirty years ago, Los Angeles -based radio broadcaster Michael Horn had what, at the time, was considered a wild, if not inconceivable notion of placing radio station audio onto cable television systems around the country. Whether or not such a wacky idea would survive threecrn logo decades down the road is not something over which Horn anguished.  Instead, he immersed himself in concentrating on doing something new and different.  As passionate as founder/chief executive officer Horn was regarding the idea of launching CRN (Cable Radio Network), no one could have predicted that it would morph into the juggernaut it has become today as CRN Digital Talk Radio.  Some transmutation of the long-standing cliché that television is simply “radio with pictures” perhaps triggered Cable Radio Network not only to come to fruition but also to thrive.  In addition to producing its own shows, CRN over the last three decades has collaborated with other broadcasters seeking cable coverage and has syndicated programs to terrestrial broadcast radio.  Across multiple networks, Horn’s 1983-founded property has originated/and or distributed dozens upon dozens of different programs.  Read TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian‘s special feature posted today (10/28) profiling Mike Horn and looking back at the colorful history of CRN by clicking here.

totaltraffic logoGary Larkin Joins Clear Channel as EVP of Total Traffic Network and Weather Network.  A statement from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment notes that Gary Larkin has spent much of his career with Fox Sports Media Group where he was SVP of digital sales.  Clear Channel states that its newly re-branded Total Traffic and Weather Network (TT+WN) “reaches more than 200 million monthly listeners across more than 200 markets, and the expanded division now includes weather reports and localized weather information such as surf and heat index reports to its portfolio as well as new sponsorship opportunities.”  CCM+E chairman and CEO John Hogan says, “Gary has a proven track record of driving revenue and achieving success in tough and demanding sales environments and will be a great leader for our Total Traffic and Weather Network sales division.  By working closely with our local and national sales teams, Gary will be able to seamlessly integrate the massive reach and unique assets of the Total Traffic and Weather Network’s platform into our offerings for clients.  We’re very pleased to have him on board in such a key position and eager to put his experience, expertise and leadership to work.”

meinersterryDefamation Suit Against WHAS, Louisville’s Terry Meiners Dismissed.  The defamation suit filed against WHAS, Louisville talk show host Terry Meiners by Louisville Metro Police officer Sam Cromity has been dismissed by a Jefferson Circuit Court judge.  The case goes back to March of 2011 when Meiners was pulled over by Cromity and issued a speeding ticket.  Meiners poked fun at the officer on his radio show because he felt Cromity was confrontational during the traffic stop and began referring to him as “Black Barney” – a reference to TV’s Barney Fife and the black Mustang Cromity was driving.  Meiners beat the speeding ticket in 2012 and Cromity filed his suit claiming that Meiners’ words on the radio were “irresponsible, reckless and dangerous.”  The judge ruled Meiners’ words were “non-actionable expressions of opinion.”

nationalradiotalentsystem logoConfer Radio Talent Institute to Take Place at Bloomsburg University Next Summer.  Dan Vallie’s National Radio Talent System is locating a Radio Talent Institute at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania next July 7 through 16.  Broadcaster Kirby Confer – owner of 70 radio properties – is sponsoring the program.  Confer says, “When I was asked to be the Kellar Radio Talent Institute keynote speaker at Appalachian State University a few years ago, I found myself engaged with dozens of young people vitally interested in all phases of radio.  The quality of the mentor teachers assembled for the 10 day ‘radio immersion’ was amazing.  I thought at the time, ‘this is just what our industry needs,’ and as the digital age is upon us, it couldn’t come at a more opportune time.  Art Kellar started something very important by sponsoring the Kellar Radio Talent Institute and I’m excited to be able to extend the National Radio Talent System to Pennsylvania and the Northeast United States starting next summer at Bloomsburg University.”  The mission of Vallie’s National Radio Talent System includes having a Radio Talent Institute on a college campus in every region or state in America so students can attend in their home state, and so radio stations can recruit from their own region of the country, or nationally.  The Institutes are taught by radio professionals, which insures students/young broadcasters learn what you need them to know.  Vallie says that 70% of the students who have completed the Institute have gotten their first job in radio or a related field and are working for CBS, Clear Channel, Beasley Broadcast Group, Entercom, Greater Media, Curtis Media, Centennial Broadcasting, CNN and others.

Odds & Sods.  Jay Vise exits the digital content manager position at Entercom’s news/talk WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans where he’s been for the past six years…..ESPN Radio announces that NBA veteran Jon Berry will serve as the lead analyst for the network’s coverage of NBA action for the next three seasons.  Berry will team with ESPN Radio’s Kevin Calabro during this season.  Also, ESPN Radio says that P.J. Carlesimo will work with Marc Kestecher on select NBA game broadcasts this season…..At SiriusXM, Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski returns to host his weekly “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K” this season with the first program airing tomorrow (10/31) at 6:00 pm ET on the SiriusXM College Sports Nation channel.

Florida Talk Host Bob Haa Dies at 65.  Longtime WWJB, Brooksville, Florida talk show host Bob Haa (pronounced Hay) passed away on Monday, October 28 after what is being reported as related to cardiac and respiratory complications.  According to the Tampa Bay Times, Haa missed several weeks of his program last year due to respiratory issues.  The paper quotes WWJB station manager Steve Manuel saying, “In my opinion, Bob was the best at what he did.  He had a passion for it and an edge that could stimulate callers and feedback.  And that’s what you want to have in this business.”

ObamaCare Implementation and Website Troubles, Staged Fallen Soldiers Ceremonies Controversy, State of the GOP, NSA Spying Case, and the World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/29).  The problems with the Affordable Care Act enrollment site and the rollout of ObamaCare; controversy over the Defense Department’s admission of the staged return of fallen American soldiers; the divisions within the Republican Party; the case of the NSA spying on heads of state; and the World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.