Tag: "Michael Smerconish"
By Lars Larson
Compass Media Networks/Alpha Broadcasting
Talk Show Host
PORTLAND, OR — Michael, I know you’re trying to squeeze some lemonade out of your career prospects but bashing fellow talk hosts as routinely and regularly lying to listeners isn’t the best way to sell a book or get more audience to a cable news network.
You went on the CBS morning news show last week (documented by the Media Research Center) to hock your wares (a book and a satellite radio show and your new show on CNN) and accused those of us still working in terrestrial radio of LYING to listeners while declaring that you ALWAYS tell the truth.
(CBS host) Gayle King, “I used to listen to these guys, Michael, and say, ‘They can’t possibly believe what they’re saying. It’s just is a way to just rile up the crowd.” (Smerconish) “…yes, that’s exactly the way that I believe that it is.” (Q-King) “Did you always believe what you were saying?” (Smerconish) “I believed what I was saying at all times.”
John Brennan Upped to Director of Branding and Programming at ‘102.5 The Bone’ in Tampa. The promotion lifts John Brennan from his content manager position to director of branding and programming at Cox Media Group’s WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone, REAL.RAW.RADIO.” In this post he’ll be responsible for all programming operations for WHPT, including talent selection, coaching, scheduling, imaging, brand development, digital strategy and more. Cox Tampa VP and market manager Keith Lawless states, “In his previous role as content manager for WHPT, John demonstrated his clear understanding and vision for this unique format. I am confident in his leadership capabilities and proud to have John in this important role.” Brennan comments, “I am extremely excited to be named the director of branding and programming for ‘102.5 The Bone.’ ‘The Bone’ is one of the most unique stations in radio, with some of the most polarizing and talented personalities in the world, and I get to work with them every day. I am honored that Kim Guthrie, Steve Smith and Keith Lawless have such confidence in me to continue the great success of this station. I feel genuinely lucky to be working for a company that encourages such originality and creativity!” In addition to his previous content manager position, Brennan was also executive producer of the Mike Calta show.
WGN, Chicago Celebrates 90th Anniversary with ‘Walk of Fame.’ As Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago celebrates its 90th year of service to the market, the station will spend the month of June honoring its history with several commemorative projects, videos, “Throwback Thursday” social media posts, and on-air programming featuring highlights throughout the decades. The station says the anniversary celebration culminates on Friday, June 27 when Tribune Media unveils the “WGN Radio Walk of Fame.” Plaques will be installed outside the Allstate Showcase Studio at the Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue. The 2014 induction will recognize 10 beloved and legendary hosts from the station’s long list of distinguished talent including: Jack Brickhouse, Bob Collins, Roy Leonard, Judy Markey, Spike O’Dell, Kathy O’Malley, Wally Phillips, Milt Rosenberg, Quin Ryan and Orion Samuelson. Bios and career highlights of the inductees can be found at wgnradio.com. The ceremony will broadcast live from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm followed by an anniversary special broadcast, “90 years in 90 minutes” from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm. WGN VP of content Todd Manley says, “Our inaugural Walk of Fame class represents all nine decades of WGN Radio’s life in Chicago. We look forward to honoring even more names who have helped make us the fencepost of conversation for 90 years.”
Bob Pittman Explains Radio’s Resilience to Bloomberg. In a piece for Bloomberg TV, Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says the reason 92% of Americans tune in to radio at least once per week is because good radio operators know the audiences they are trying to reach and present the content in a way that attracts them. In the piece, he asks Bloomberg’s Cristina Alesci, “Do you think we’re so dumb that we spend hundreds of millions of dollars per year to program radio stations versus just playing the music if that would work?” The piece also features media experts who address radio advertising and how that is evolving to try to keep revenue coming in as more and more advertisers move ad dollars to digital. View the three-minute segment here.
CC Ups VP of Sales Wilcox to SF Market President Post. After yesterday’s announcement that longtime market manager JD Freeman would be retiring from the Clear Channel Media + Entertainment San Francisco cluster, the company announces it is promoting vice president of sales Katie Wilcox to the market president position. Wilcox has been VP of sales since 2009 leading a team of more than 50 sellers, managers and staff to identify opportunities for the seven station cluster. She comments, “Although I have big shoes to fill, my past experience with my partners in programming and operations give me great confidence that this talented team will continue to thrive in the future. I am energized by the challenge ahead and look forward to serving the expanding needs of our listeners, clients and staff.”
Red Zebra Inks Kevin Sheehan to Three-Year Extension at ‘ESPN 980’ Washington. Midday show co-host Kevin Sheehan re-ups with Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington, DC “ESPN 980” for another three years. Sheehan works with Thom Loverro on “The Sports Fix” that airs from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. VP of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “Kevin has become a fixture in Washington, DC radio and his ratings dominance is a testament to his hard work and preparation.” Sheehan will also continue to host the “Official Redskins Pre-Game Show,” contribute to the Tony Kornheiser show and co-host “Monday Morning Quarterback” after each Redskins football game. Red Zebra CEO Rick Carmean adds, “Kevin Sheehan, Thom Loverro, Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell give us one of the strongest midday lineups in the industry. We are ecstatic to have Kevin in the fold for the next three years.”
An Open Letter to Michael Smerconish from Lars Larson. Nationally syndicated and regional talk radio personality Lars Larson – Compass Media Networks and Alpha Media’s KXL, Portland – writes an open letter to SiriusXM and CNN talk media personality Michael Smerconish, criticizing him for “bashing fellow talk hosts as routinely and regularly lying to listeners.” Larson writes in response to Smerconish’s recent appearance on CBS TV in which he promotes his new book called Talk: A Novel, the protagonist of which is a conservative talk host who ignores his conscience to get a big syndication deal. Read Larson’s open letter here.
First Round of April PPM Data Released. PPM data from the first of four groups of 12 markets for the April 2014 period (March 27 – April 23) 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.
The Connected Car Ain’t Cheap! As advertisers attempt to follow the consumer to the next hot destination – mobile – the saving grace for traditional media just may be the expense of data. The Wall Street Journal’s Tom Gara writes about GM’s new option for 4G LTE connectivity in some models that turns your vehicle into a Wi-Fi hot spot. But it’s not cheap. Certainly consumers with lots of disposable income may splurge but others are likely to balk at paying up to $50 a month for 5 GB of data on top of their smartphone data plans and other monthly media bills. There are other options: $5 per day for 200 MB – not good enough for video but fine for surfing the web. Still, while its possible data may get less expensive down the road, providers are showing no signs of dropping those prices in the near future. Even though advertisers are feverishly trying to figure out how to reach all those 25-39 year olds glued to their smartphones, the fact that radio is free and easy to use is still what keeps many people tuning in.
Getting to the Heart of it with Carlos Santana. While appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to promote his latest album Corazon, guitar legend Carlos Santana (right) spent some time backstage talking with ABC News Radio’s Andrea Dresdale (left) whose report was available to affiliates.
Timothy Geithner Book, Boko Haram Mass Kidnapping, Ice Melt Prediction/Climate Change, New Benghazi Hearings, NFL Draft, and Donald Sterling CNN Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/12). Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s memoir and the controversy over interpretations that Geithner was asked to twist the truth about the factors contributing to the federal deficit; the kidnapping of Christian schoolgirls by militant Islamist organization Boko Haram and its request for a prisoner swap with jailed fellow militants; predictions about Antarctic ice melt and the debate over climate change; the effort to hold new hearings on the Benghazi attack; the NFL draft; and the interview Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling gave to CNN’s Anderson Cooper were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cool Job Opportunity. Journal Broadcast Group is seeking a part-time producer for WTMJ, Milwaukee’s midday show with Charlie Sykes. Education:College degree in related field preferred. Skills:Excellent verbal and social communication skills; strong radio news background; effective problem-solving abilities; high work ethics, news judgment and production skills; ability to meet deadlines and detail orientation; ability to read and decipher news source material; operate studio equipment; follow program logs; computer proficiency in digital audio programs. Minimum of one year experience in broadcasting, preferably news/talk radio. Duties:Assist show planning for midday with Charlie Sykes – including show prep materials, audio production and guest booking; develop and maintain extensive contacts; help communicate show material and coordination with Right Wisconsin staff; maintain station commercial log; facilitate breaking news, severe weather and traffic coverage for southeast Wisconsin. Send resume and cover letter to: Eric Brooks, Newsradio 620 WTMJ, 720 E. Capitol Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53212. Email to: email@example.com.
Nielsen to Present Radio ROI Study to Group Heads. Using phrases such as “they’ve finally cracked the code” and “radio’s ability to deliver sales lift of more than $6, for every dollar spent,” Clear Channel president and CFO Rich Bressler spoke during yesterday’s investor conference call glowingly about the recent Catalina Solutions group study that shows excellent return on investment for consumer packaged goods (CPG) advertisers using radio. He announced that on Monday (4/28), radio group heads will gather for a conference at CC’s New York offices to see a presentation by Nielsen’s Catalina Solutions group that Bressler also called “the first-ever, single source ROI study in the radio sector…Finally, we have the definitive proof of radio’s value.” If you remember, the study in which Nielsen worked with Clear Channel measured the sales impact for the specific media buys of 10 brands, each of which had different combinations of radio networks. Nielsen says that this group of 10 brands, which included eight CPG and two retailer brands, provided the foundation for the first normative database for radio effectiveness. Another key finding was that radio delivers a strong consumer sales response close to the time of purchase. The closer the exposure is to purchase, the higher the response. On another note, Bressler did not respond directly to the recent cuts in the sales departments at Clear Channel but made reference to them in describing the state of the company’s executive structure. “From an organizational standpoint, we create a new major market structure under which four of our senior operating executives are reporting directly to Bob Pittman and myself. This major markets operating group will collaborate directly with our local market management to oversee our operations in our largest and highest revenue generating markets from our core broadcast radio stations to our digital mobile and events business as well as a more expanded coordination with Clear Channel Outdoor.”
SiriusXM Q1 Revenue Up 11%. It was another good quarterly report for satcaster SiriusXM as CEO Jim Meyer reported that his company’s subscription total is up to 25.8 million – an increase during the quarter of 267,000. The all-important free cash flow figure was up 56% on $223 million. Meyer told analysts on Thursday, “Our solid subscriber growth, even faster revenue growth and high contribution margins have produced dramatic growth in adjusted EBTIDA and free cash flow — exactly what you would expect from SiriusXM’s highly scalable business model. We are the world leader in monetizing audio entertainment, and the way this monetization translates in cash flow is also unmatched. Our radios today are only in about 20% to 26% of the cars on the road today. So we believe the opportunity for long term growth remains significant.”
Post Piece Highlights Smerconish’s Drive to Capture Center. In a feature piece by Manuel Roig-Franzia in the Washington Post, media personality Michael Smerconish is profiled and his quest to find a political center that is hot to talk about the issues of the day is front-and-center. The story details Smerconish’s entrance into the media world, his syndicated radio career, his cable TV gigs and his decision to leave AM/FM radio for SiriusXM last year. In discussing this move and critics’ assertions that there is no centrist audience to be found in talk radio, he tells the Post, “I’m the referendum, aren’t I?…I’ve put my livelihood on the line to prove that you can.”
Indianapolis Welcomes Dave Ramsey. Talk radio superstar and best-selling author Dave Ramsey visited Indianapolis yesterday (4/24) as he presented his Legacy Journey LIVE! event at Traders Point Christian Church to a packed house. The event was promoted by Ramsey’s Indy affiliate WFDM “Freedom 95 Radio.” Pilgrim Communications VP and general manager Randy Tipmore says, “As usual when Dave Ramsey comes to Indianapolis, excitement and enthusiasm go up in the entire area as do station sales. Every time Dave comes to town we sell out in record time for record amounts. The Dave Ramsey show is the number-one selling tool we have at ‘Freedom 95.’ Dave Ramsey is pictured here (second from right) with members of the “Freedom 95 Radio” team.
‘ESPN Upstate’ Adds Local Evening Show. Sports media personality Mark Sturgis is tapped to host a live and local evening program on the Entercom-owned multi-cast serving northern South Carolina (the signals include WORD-AM, Spartanburg; WYRD-AM, Greenville; W246BU, Spartanburg on 97.1 FM and WFNC-HD3, Fayetteville, North Carolina). Sturgis moves from his two-hour show on Byrne Acquisition Group-owned sports talk WCCP-FM, Clemson to a 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm nightly show on “ESPN Upstate.” He follows the new “In The Huddle” show with Greg McKinney that airs in afternoon drive. Entercom VP and market manager Steve Sinicropi states, “Our sports coverage in terms of talent, teams and signal coverage continues to get stronger and stronger. ‘ESPN Upstate’ has become the most dominant sports network in the market. Mark has a great live and local show right now, he has a network of sports contacts and he brings a passion for sports, strong knowledge and tremendous energy to the fast-growing ‘EPSN Upstate’ audience. When you have a powerful brand like ESPN and the largest portfolio of radio stations in the Upstate to cross promote, it’s no wonder listeners and talent are coming to ‘ESPN Upstate.’”
Stephanie Miller’s ‘Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour’ Hits Chicago Tomorrow; Albuquerque and Minneapolis Next. Talk show host and comic Stephanie Miller’s comedy roadshow – the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour lands in Chicago tomorrow and there are still a limited number of VIP tickets available for the event. The show – featuring Miller, John Fugelsang, Carlos Alazraqui, and Stephanie Miller show family members Chris Lavoie and voice deity Jim Ward – is also traveling to Albuquerque on May 10 and rolls into Minneapolis on June 7.
Premiere Networks President Julie Talbott Named Woman of the Year. The editorial board of TALKERS has named Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott as the 2014 recipient of the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Talk Radio Industry by a Woman. The honor, also known as “Woman of the Year,” will be presented to Talbott by last year’s recipient, Heather Cohen, EVP of The Weiss Agency, at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2014 conference on Friday, June 20 as one of the highlights of an awards ceremony at which presentations will also be made for “Lifetime Achievement,” Humanitarian of the Year,” and Freedom of Speech (the recipients of which have yet to be announced). In addition to Cohen, past recipients of this prestigious award include Robin Bertolucci, Stephanie Miller, Laurie Cantillo, Grace Blazer, Kim Komando, Laura Ingraham, Randi Rhodes, Lynn Distler, Adriane Gaines, Ellen Ratner, Gloria Allred, Lisa Evers and its namesake Judy Jarvis, the late independent talk radio syndication pioneer for whom it was first presented posthumously. Upon announcing the board’s choice of Julie Talbott, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We all look forward to the day that a special award to a female member of the talk radio community is no longer relevant or necessary – but if you look at the breakdown of the numbers of men versus women in the business, it is clear that we have not yet reached that day.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “We couldn’t be more delighted having the opportunity to honor Ms. Talbott for her achievements and contributions to not just talk but the entire spectrum of popular radio over the years. She is a bright, creative, dignified and extremely inspirational role model for young women looking to build a career in the radio broadcasting industry.” Julie Talbott started her career in advertising at BBDO, where she spent five years as supervisor of media planning and buying. Her love of radio took her to MJI Broadcasting, where she spent 19 years. As COO of MJI Broadcasting, Talbott was instrumental in growing the company from five people to more than 150. In 1999, Premiere Networks acquired MJI Broadcasting. At that time, Talbott joined Premiere as senior vice president of integrated marketing solutions, focusing on advertising sponsorships. In 2003, she was promoted to executive vice president, affiliate relations. In that role, she oversaw a staff that increased affiliations for programs hosted by Jim Rome, Glenn Beck, George Noory, Bob and Tom, Steve Harvey, Keith Sweat, Elvis Duran, Fox Sports Radio and others. In 2009, Talbott was named VP, content and affiliate relations for Premiere Networks and then promoted in September 2012 to extend that title to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s National Media Groups. In January of this year, she was promoted to president of Premiere Networks. In her current role, Talbott continues to oversee the operation of Premiere Networks radio programs and services and manages business partnerships with talent, while leading and maintaining key affiliate relationships to sell and service Premiere Networks, Total Traffic & Weather Network and iHeartRadio. A native of Kentucky, Talbott received her B.A. from the University of Kentucky and attended the Business Strategy Program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in 1996. Talbott lives with her husband and three children in New York. For information about registering for Talkers New York 2014 please call 413-565-5413.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” is added to the program lineup at the following stations: KAOK, Lake Charles, Louisiana; KFIV, Modesto, California; KWSX, Stockton, California; WCHS, Charleston, West Virginia; and WBBA, Pittsfield, Illinois…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is picked up by new affiliates KQAM, Wichita; WBKV, West Bend, Wisconsin; WHIR, Danville, Kentucky; and WRMN, Elgin, Illinois…..“Into Tomorrow” with Dave Graveline’s weekly program is picked up by KNOX-AM/FM, Fargo.
Dean Cain Visits ABC News Radio. Actor Dean Cain goofs with ABC News Radio entertainment correspondent Joi Marie McKenzie during a visit to ABC News Radio studios to promote the new season of his VH1 series “Hit the Floor” that returns on May 26 at 9:00 pm ET.
Russian Aggression in Ukraine/U.S. Troops in Poland Top News/Talk Stories During Week of April 21-25. The turbulent political state in Ukraine, Russia’s aggression in the region and the arrival of U.S. troops in Poland were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act. Following at #3 was the 2016 presidential race tied with Chelsea Clinton’s pregnancy and at #4 was the deadly attack on Americans at an Afghanistan hospital tied with drone strikes on suspected al Qaeda in Yemen. 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.
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — Tremendous temptation surfaces in the years of profiling talk radio personalities to make an occasional obligatory James Brown-inspired reference.
Specifically, a justifiable desire eventuates to compare certain talk hosts to the late entertainer (as opposed to the CBS-TV and former Sporting News Radio broadcaster of the same name) who – in addition to “The Godfather of Soul” was often dubbed the “hardest-working” person in show business.
Not that those in other genres of this medium are slackers – Ryan Seacrest represents the definitive textbook example of a supremely ambitious music radio star – but a select group of talk radio hosts do the improbable of overseeing multiple long-form weekday programs (often back-to-back).
That handful of Herculean talk realm performers has at various times included, among others, the likes of Thom Hartmann, Rusty Humphries, Lars Larson, Michael Smerconish, and Ed Schultz. Some such as Alan Colmes and Sean Hannity have had and continue to have a daily radio/daily TV mix.
As laudatory as that most assuredly is, someone in Tampa took conscientiousness and mindboggling to an even more impressive level.
WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa Show to Air on Cable’s Fox Sports 1. According to a report by Neil Best in Newsday, sources indicate the cable TV simulcast of New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa’s afternoon drive sports talk program will be Fox’s fledgling Fox Sports 1 cable channel. The deal that had Francesa’s program simulcast on the Fox-owned and Yankees-operated YES Network for the past 12 years ended last week and though the MSG Network was anticipated being the eventual destination for Francesa’s show, the official news of the Fox Sports 1 deal could come sometime this week. Best writes that Fox presumably wants Francesa’s show to help raise its visibility even though it’s a New York-centric show. Interestingly, WEPN-FM’s afternoon host Michael Kay is now seen in Francesa’s old slot on YES and if Francesa does land on Fox Sports 1, the two shows will appear on side-by-side channels 69 and 70 on New York’s Cablevision system.
Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks Outsource Affiliate Relations and Marketing to Compass Media Networks. Executive editor for the Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks John Wordock says in a memo to affiliate stations, “We are deeply committed to our audio business and appreciate our partnership with your station…The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks will continue to provide the best money news coverage in the business, from Wall Street to Main Street to your street. Together, Dow Jones and Compass look forward to working with you and your station and we’re both dedicated to providing top-notch customer service.” This move to take the affiliate relations and marketing department out of house is not entirely unexpected after the cuts the company made in the fall eliminating executive positions within that department.
Mark Levin to Keynote Tea Party Anniversary Celebration. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin will serve as the keynote speaker at the five-year anniversary celebration of the Tea Party Patriots taking place in Washington, DC on February 27. Levin, whose program is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks, says, “The Tea Party, which consists of millions of hard-working taxpayers, is to be celebrated not condemned. The ruling class must be trounced and its media cheerleaders must be exposed if the republic is to survive. The Tea Party is our only hope. It’s a great honor to be asked to speak to such outstanding and courageous patriots.” Other high-profile participants include: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.
Todd Schnitt: Not the Same-Old, Same-Old. Nationally syndicated talk show host Todd Schnitt credits his background in CHR radio and his passion for finding the topics that intrigue him that he believes will also intrigue his listeners for making his show a different-sounding sort of conservative talk radio show. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s profile of the man who worked for years as the successful “MJ Kelli” at Clear Channel’s WFLZ, Tampa before branching into drive time talk radio at sister station WFLA delves into the mind of a personality working to grow his national program in the post-Sandra Fluke era. Schnitt says, “My feelings have been bolstered by many experts and consultants in the field regarding the burn on conservative talk radio…You hear the same pounding on Democrats and liberals every single day. It is to the point with a bunch of hosts in my space where you can pull one of their shows from last month and it would sound the same as what they are saying today. I have always approached a talk radio show so that it fits on any conservative radio station, but with more of an intrinsic entertainment value.” Read Mike Kinosian’s story here.
TALKERS Launches Three-Part Special Today, Tomorrow and Wednesday (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks. Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production. Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations. Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year. It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide. When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiere Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations. However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel. Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio. His vision was “Envision Radio Networks,” (now simply “Envision Networks”) — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that creates over four dozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates. It was a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line. What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry. He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows. His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets. Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication. In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward. I’ve seen this movie many times before. Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.” To read part one of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here.
CBS Reports Record Digital Traffic Month. It’s a new record for a single month as CBS Local Digital Media reports its websites and mobile applications attracted 56.8 million unique users during January topping the previous all-time high of 50.6 million in April 2013. The January 2014 number was up 37% compared to a year ago. CBS Local is happy with its performance in this arena last year reporting year-to-year growth of 21% in average unique users per month. CBS Local Media COO Anton Guitano says, “Our continued integration of digital into all parts of our local business is yielding dividends. The great mobile presence our stations have via mobile websites, Radio.com and CBS Local apps creates a presence that gives the consumer a great user experience.”
Lars Larson’s Busy Week: Subbing for KVI’s John Carlson; Keynoting Nevada Republican Dinner. There are few in the talk radio business who work harder than talk show host Lars Larson. Lars tells TALKERS that in addition to his regular radio programs – middays on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland and nationally syndicated from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET via Compass Media Networks – he’s filling in on morning drive today and tomorrow (2/10-11) on KVI, Seattle for John Carlson. This evening he’ll be hosting a station event for KXL and then heads to Reno on Thursday to do both regular shows from affiliate KKFT-FM before keynoting the Washoe County Republicans’ annual Lincoln Dinner on Friday. Lars reports he’ll be able to fly home in time on Friday to spend Valentine’s weekend with his “very patient wife,” Tina.
Michael Smerconish Jumps to CNN. The SiriusXM talk show host is leaving MSNBC and will join up with CNN for a role that includes regular appearances during the week providing analysis and commentary plus a weekly Saturday morning program, reports the Washington Posts’s Eric Wemple. In a release, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker says, “We are thrilled to have Michael join CNN. At a time when the cable news landscape has become increasingly polarized, his independence and passion for reasoned dialogue makes him the perfect fit for CNN.” Smerconish joins CNN at a time of flux. Zucker has been making programming changes to reverse the cable news/talk channel’s floundering ratings. CNN announced recently it is cancelling Anderson Cooper’s “AC 360 Later.”
Honoring Ann. ABC News Radio White House correspondent Ann Compton (left) is pictured here at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s 70th Annual Congressional Dinner on February 5 at which she was honored with the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes an individual whose outstanding accomplishments promote the journalistic profession and enhance the role of women journalists.
Odds & Sods. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that weekend and fill-in host Bob Early resigned from his position with WNIR-FM, Akron after a disagreement over a guest for his weekend talk show. Early hosted the Saturday and Sunday evening show on the station and he tells the paper he and management were not in agreement about Early booking the owner of an erotic goods chain on his program. Read the whole story here…..Patrick Ryan joins Magnum Broadcasting to serve as general manager for talk WEEO-FM, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania/ Hagerstown, Maryland and corporate brands strategist. Ryan was most recently local sales manager at Albany Broadcasting. He says, “I’m thrilled to put my talk radio expertise back to work and look forward to buying-building new brands with Michael Stapleford and his incredible team.”…..KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh morning host Larry Richert announced that Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly will serve as the keynote speaker at his “Larry Richert Honors Our Hometown Heroes” event at the Lexus Club at PNC Park on Thursday, March 6. The annual even created by Richert honors five ordinary individuals in the community who have done extraordinary things and it benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.
KFI’s Internal Shuffling “Replaces” Limbaugh. Rather than bringing in another host to cover the gaping hole left by Rush Limbaugh, it looks like Clear Channel, Los Angeles talker KFI will adjust the times of some of its existing personalities. Morning talent Bill Handel will apparently get to sleep an extra hour, as he will handle 6:00 am – 10:00 am duties (from 5:00 am – 9:00 am), while Bill Carroll will adjust to 10:00 am – 2:00 pm from 12:00 noon – 3:00pm. In place of their 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm shift, afternoon drivers John & Ken will extend one more hour to 7:00 pm. Tim Conway Jr. remains at 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, with syndicated talent George Noory following until 5:00 am. As of today, Gary Hoffmann debuts the 5:00 am – 6:00 am “Wake-up Call.” These moves are necessitated owing to Limbaugh transitioning from powerhouse KFI to co-owned, newly re-branded KEIB “The Patriot” (formerly KTLK-AM).
Gann Going to San Antonio as WOAI – KTKR PD. Brian Gann is leaving Journal Broadcast Group Tulsa to program Clear Channel San Antonio news/talk WOAI and sports KTKR “The Ticket.” According to president and market manager Marlene Trevino, “We are very fortunate to have Brian join our team in San Antonio. He brings a wealth of experience to WOAI and KTKR and we look forward to the bright future ahead under his leadership.” Gann comments, “I am excited to have the opportunity to help lead WOAI and ‘The Ticket.’ There is a terrific team in place there and I am honored to be able to join them.” While in Tulsa, Gann was operations manager of adult hits KBEZ “Bob FM,” KFAQ “Tulsa’s Talk Radio,” CHR KHTT “K-Hits,” KVOO “Today’s Country Variety,” and classic country KXBL “Big Country.” He starts his San Antonio assignment in one week (1/30).
Mark Arum Gets Nightly Show at WSB, Atlanta. Traffic reporter Mark Arum is taking over the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight daily show at Cox Media Atlanta’s news/talk WSB after handling weekend and fill-in roles at the station. This new gig comes in addition to his traffic reporter roles at WSB-TV, news/talk WSB-AM and hot AC WSB-FM “B98.5.” As reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho, Arum replaces Adam Goldfein who exited the late show role at the end of 2013 for personal reasons. Arum tells Ho that he’s been wanting a daily show since his arrival at WSB in 1997. Cox Media did give him a chance to host a daily show at its Stamford and Norwalk, Connecticut stations back in 2008 and he says it provided “invaluable experience.”
Learfield’s Worsham, Boman, Heim Elevated to Senior Positions. Missouri-based Learfield Communications promotes Aaron Worsham, Tom Boman, and Jennifer Heim. Worsham advances from vice president to senior vice president of affiliate relations and operations; broadcast manager Boman is boosted to vice president of broadcast operations; and corporate controller Heim becomes vice president/corporate controller. Worsham and Boman manage the company’s sports operations division, which oversees all aspects related to broadcast talent and station relationships for Learfield Sports’ radio networks as part of its multimedia rights partnerships with university athletic programs. Senior vice president/chief content officer Joe Ferreira comments, “Aaron and Tom have exhibited outstanding leadership and execution skills throughout their tenure at Learfield Sports and have taken our industry-leading audio business to great heights. Producing and managing thousands of broadcasts annually for our 50-plus networks, key flagship and affiliate partners and digital distribution networks is a daunting task. These well-deserved promotions reflect growth and success in all areas.” Meanwhile, chief financial officer Matt Hupfeld states, “Jennifer is a true professional who has proven to be an excellent asset to Learfield. She is well deserving of assuming the vice president role and we know she will continue to do an outstanding job.” Worsham has been with Learfield since 1999. Prior to joining the company in 2006, Boman was a producer with the Los Angeles Dodgers Radio Network and Fox Sports Radio in Los Angeles. CPA Heim’s background includes being a financial manager for Brookstone and a senior auditor for several companies.
Michael Smerconish to Publish First Novel About Conservative Talk Show Host. The book is titled, Talk (Cider Mill Press 2014) and is due out in May. But as Michael Smerconish tells the Washington Post, “My highest purpose is to entertain…a lot of it is fake.” Still, readers of the book about a fictional conservative talk host from Florida who finds himself in the thick of a hotly contested presidential race, will probably find a lot of what transpires culled from the reality of the talk radio business in which Michael Smerconish has dwelt during his career. Now working at SiriusXM after years on AM/FM radio, Smerconish ruffled some feathers when he left for satellite radio saying, in effect, he felt the requirement talk hosts on AM/FM be easily pigeonholed was holding him, and the industry, back. Previews of the book indicate that while this is fiction, Smerconish just may be taking a few shots at the facet of the industry he left behind as he tells his story.
Opinion: Hang On A Minute, Bill. Weighing in on the Bill O’Reilly’s recent “promotion” for Pandora, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian observes: “On the positive side, Bill O’Reilly last week let known his partisanship for one particular iconic American vocal group on his Fox News Channel television program. Conversely, terrestrial music radio programmers just might remember certain comments he made should O’Reilly ever look to them to plug his next book or project on that platform. In an approximately 45-second “Tip of the Day” segment, the “O’Reilly Factor” host gave a thumbs-up to Pandora over terrestrial radio. “Do you like music,” he queried. “I do [and] there are plenty of free ways to get it. The easiest way is to turn on the radio.” So far, so good. Then O’Reilly said, “The problem with the radio is that for every good song there are three bad songs. So, you can hear [good songs] like The Beach Boys‘ ‘Help Me Rhonda,’ [and] ‘Fun, Fun, Fun.’ [Those are] good songs, but then you’ll hear ‘Hang on Sloopy’ – painful.” Off-camera laughter was audible as O’Reilly winced at the thought of The McCoys‘ song. His advice was to have his audience “check out” Pandora.com’s free website. In amazement, he remarked about the logistics of typing “the song you like and you get the song played to you. Then, you get other songs similar to it [so] you are basically creating your own radio station. Let me know what you think.” After having mentioned Pandora by name three times in under one minute, O’Reilly insisted he “had no interest in that website at all.” His motive was to tell his audience because, “I like you.” Not to nitpick the host, but his mention of “Help Me Rhonda” and “Fun, Fun, Fun” sounded like one run-on title, especially since he said, “That is a good song.” Moreover, he was only able to cite one “painful” tune, compared to two good ones. Whether or not by coincidence, the three specific titles O’Reilly mentioned were from the mid-1960s. We wonder if he has heard of YouTube yet.
Plans Underway for Ron Ruth Memorial Benefit. The event celebrating the life of Ron Ruth will take place next month (Tuesday, 2/25) at the New York Friars Club and is being organized by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) in conjunction with the Broadcasters Foundation. Actively arranging the festivities for their late broadcast colleague are The Friends of Ron Ruth Memorial Benefit Committee consisting of Erica Farber, Norm Feuer, George Hyde, Bill Moyes, Herb McCord, Jeff Smulyan, Jim Thompson, and Erle Younker. A portion of the proceeds from the $250 ticket price will be donated to the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund at the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Ruth was executive vice president of stations for the RAB for 19 years. He held sales manager positions for Unistar Radio Networks, as well as at the local level in markets such as New York (WOR-FM), Chicago (WNUS), Washington, DC (WGMS), and Buffalo (WYSL). Ruth left Unistar to join the Radio Advertising Bureau in 1992. Most recently, he was consulting the RAB. He died of a heart attack this past November 16 in Florida.
New York Festivals International Radio Competition Announces Call for Entries. Now through March 19, the New York Festivals is accepting entries for the 32nd annual “World’s Best Radio Programs” competition. This competition is unique in that entries are received from between 30 and 50 nations across the globe each year. Competition executive director Rose Anderson tells TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian that global scope is important, “One thing that is most important to us is that we make New York Festivals Radio Program Awards a destination for people all over the world who are creating radio that is interesting, innovative, and of very high quality.” Anderson adds that the grand jury members (judges) enjoy the high quality of radio they review. “They have consistently written comments that the quality of the entries is fantastic. People are entering material in drama, news, documentaries, talk, and music that continues to make new ways of telling stories. We have had entries from Radio Free Asia; from folks on the scene who described the riots in Cairo; and people from Romania who submitted amazing audio of drama.” With 130 headings, the scope of the competition is wide. To find out more about the New York Festivals Radio Program Awards, click here.
Cumulus ‘Big Game’ Party. The scene here is the Roseland Ballroom in New York City yesterday as Cumulus Media’s hot AC WPLJ; country WNSH “Nash FM 94.7,” and news/talk WABC come together to put on a ‘Big Game Party’ in honor of the NFL’s championship being decided in the nearby Met Life stadium in two weeks. Sunday’s event was hosted by Todd Pettengill of WPLJ. The venue was filled to capacity with over 3,000 guests enjoying a sports expo, playoff viewing party, station games, and food. Former New York Giants wide receiver and NBC Sports Radio Network personality Amani Toomer was on hand meeting the many loyal listeners! Pettengill states, “The first annual Cumulus Big Game Party was an absolute example of synergy. Three radio stations with different audiences, air staff’s, came together to make the perfect circle of success. I can’t wait for next January!” The evening concluded with a performance by Daughtry.
WCBS, New York Producer/Engineer Silva Dies. Radio producer and engineer Carlos Silva died at age 50 after a battle with stomach and esophageal cancer in Lutz, Florida on Sunday (1/19). Silva worked for CBS RADIO’s WCBS, New York where he produced New York Yankees broadcasts. He had also worked game broadcasts for ESPN Radio, the Orlando Magic, Philadelphia Phillies Spanish-language broadcasts, and the old New Jersey Nets.
Cool Job Opportunity. Syndication Specialist Needed – The Dave Ramsey Show, now the 3rd largest syndicated talk show in the nation with more than 530 affiliates, is in need of a Go-Getter willing to take on this growing demand. This person will work with our small- and mid-sized markets. Duties will consist of new market development as well as serving existing affiliates and building relationships. Our organization has been voted Best Place to Work in Nashville for six years in a row for a reason. If you think you have what it takes and are interested in working in an environment where you can learn and grow, we need to talk. Interested candidates apply at: http://www.daveramsey.com/company/view-all-jobs/
Boston’s Radio Stations to Observe Moment of Silence on Monday. Boston radio stations are planning a moment of silence on Monday, April 22 to honor the victims of this week’s Boston Marathon bombing. The 60-second tribute will air at 2:50 p.m. – one week from the moment of the detonation of the first bomb – on local radio stations, including those owned by CBS Radio, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, Entercom and Greater Media. National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who were impacted by the horrific act that took place in Boston. This moment of silence will serve as a time of reflection, honoring those lost and injured in this tragic event, and recognizing the countless acts of heroism and kindness that we saw on Monday and which continue today. As first informers in times of crisis, broadcasters want to take this opportunity to salute the first responders and the many unsung heroes who do so much during emergency situations.”
WFTL, Fort Lauderdale Talk Show Host Joyce Kaufman Honored at Hold Their Feet to the Fire. Some 50-plus radio talk show hosts from around the nation are gathered on Capitol Hill for the annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row designed to galvanize both citizen and media pressure upon lawmakers to take meaningful action on immigration policy in the United States. The event, organized by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), began yesterday and continues today (4/17-18) conveniently coinciding with the controversial Amnesty Bill currently being pushed through the U.S. Senate by the so-called “Gang of Eight.” Critics of the bill claim that it would have a disastrous effect upon this country’s already-dysfunctional immigration policy and deal yet another terrible blow to the American worker. The radio row is bringing several hundred guests including lawmakers, government officials, experts, law enforcement officers and border state ranchers to the airwaves of America. During the course of presentations at last evening’s cocktail reception at the event, WFTL, Fort Lauderdale talk show host and highly influential Florida political voice Joyce Kaufman (pictured here) was honored as the recipient of one of FAIR’s highest honors, the “We the People” award, for her longtime commitment to and measurable impact upon the immigration reform movement. Media industry and political observers have long recognized the leadership role conservative news/talk radio has played in the immigration reform movement and by the looks of things at this year’s rally this influence is continuing to be a significant factor in the issue.
Mr. Larson Goes to Washington. Compass Media Networks syndicated talk host Lars Larson – who’s also regionally syndicated in the Pacific Northwest from home base KXL, Portland – is pictured here (r) with Congressman Lou Barletta (l) at the “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row in Washington, DC. In addition to hosting both programs from Washington yesterday and today, Larson will head to affiliate WCHV, Charlottesville, Virginia to broadcast his programs on Friday, April 19.
Dr. Joy Browne Returns to NYC Airwaves. After more than two decades as a staple on New York City talk radio, Radio America-syndicated psychologist Dr. Joy Browne returns to the city’s airwaves on Access.1’s WWRL, New York beginning Monday, April 22. WWRL general manager Adriane Gaines comments, “We are very pleased that Dr. Joy Browne is joining the ‘RL lineup and bringing her on-air advice to our listeners. Joy’s unique blend of wisdom, balance and practical solutions to coping with life’s challenges has made her one of America’s leading clinical psychologists.” Radio America calls Dr. Joy Browne’s program “the longest running of its kind in syndication,” and reports it is airing on more than 125 stations across the country.
Odds & Sods. WGN, Chicago partners with the Illinois Department of Transportation to raise awareness for “Work Zone Safety Week.” The photo you see here is the Tribune Tower lit up in orange to help raise public awareness of the construction season and the need to drive safely to help save lives. The promotion also includes WGN’s Allstate Showcase Studio where three interactive kiosks positioned around the tower will accept safe driving pledges and photos that can be taken and shared with loved ones…..CNN Radio’s Emma Lacey-Bordeaux was honored by the Atlanta Press Club on Tuesday, April 16 with the 2012 Excellence Award for her digital/online reporting. Her body of work on Soundwaves, CNN Radio’s audio blog, was cited for the award with a specific call-out on a story about deportation and immigration reform…..WTOP, Washington was honored with six Virginia Associated Press Broadcasters Awards receiving a first place finish in every category it entered. In addition to being honored with Best Website for wtop.com, WTOP was also recognized with accolades in the Continuing Coverage category for “A Date with Sandy,” the Documentary/In-Depth category for “Battleground Virginia,” the Feature category for “Keeping the Drive-In Alive” and in the Editorial category for “Core Values.” The station was also awarded Meritorious in the Feature category for “Commuter Idle.”…..Salt Lake Community College’s The Grand Theatre will be the broadcast site for KUER public radio’s presentation of NPR’s “Science Friday” on April 19, 2013. The live broadcast will be heard by more than 1.3 million listeners via hundreds of public radio stations across the United States. Randall Irmis, Brooks Britt, and science writer Brian Switek will discuss paleontology during the show’s first hour. Irmis is an assistant professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Utah and the curator of paleontology for the Natural History Museum of Utah. Brooks Britt is an associate professor of geological science at Brigham Young University. He is the former director of the Stewart Museum in Odgen, Utah and the curator of paleontology for the Museum of Western Colorado in Grand Junction, Colorado. Brian Switek is a science writer whose new book My Beloved Brontosaurus was released on April 16 by Scientific American & Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Smerconish Continues SiriusXM Show Launch Blitz. During the first week of his new program on SiriusXM’s POTUS channel, talk media personality Michael Smerconish (r) is moving full-steam ahead promoting the switch. He’s pictured here in the Washington, DC studios of SiriusXM with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews (l) discussing – what else? – the public relations issues the two believe the Republican party is having dealing with the Obama Administration and the electorate. That wasn’t the only issue the two discussed but Smerconish and Matthews spent a good portion of their time analyzing the Republican party of today and comparing with the Republican part of the Ronald Reagan era. Smerconish’s new program airs from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. He left AM/FM radio, including home base WPHT, Philadelphia to join the satcaster.
NJBA President Paul Rotella Responds to Smerconish in Letter to Philly Inquirer. In a letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer addressing talk show host Michael Smerconish’s exit from WPHT and move to Sirius Satellite Radio – which Smerconish writes about here — , New Jersey Broadcasters Association president Paul Rotella responds to that editorial expressing “dismay that a former broadcaster could have such ‘sour grapes’ for the industry that has given him some fame and probably some fortune.” Rotella goes on to say that broadcast radio is the standard by which “successful radio broadcasters judge their achievements. Look at Ryan Seacrest, Rush Limbaugh, and so many other radio superstars. They have managed to create vast audience niches that exemplify their talent…they didn’t have to run away from the dial.” No word if the paper will print Rotella’s piece.
Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath, Immigration Legislation, Gun Law Proposals, and Ricin Letters Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/17). The aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing; proposals for new immigration legislation – including amnesty to illegal aliens; proposed gun laws and the defeat of an amendment to extend background checks to gun shows and internet sales that was defeated in the Senate; and the ricin-tainted letters sent to Washington, DC were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Weekend Talk Host Pete Sheppard Quits During WEEI, Boston Saturday Program. Telling listeners that he’s no longer happy working for the company, WEEI, Boston weekend talk host Pete Sheppard abruptly quit on-air during his Saturday evening show. Sheppard, who was a long-time fixture on the former Glenn Ordway-hosted PM drive “Big Show” and was fired from that post due to budget cuts in 2010, was hired back for part-time duties about a year ago. Sheppard even went so far as to tease his on-air exit by Tweeting that he had something special coming up. He also specified that his problem was with Entercom management and not program director Jason Wolfe.
Legal Analysis and Brief Historical Background of “Stern Versus Sirius” Suit. Sometimes it is, as Mel Brooks commented in his movie “The History of the World, Part One,” good to be the king. But other times it is not. Howard Stern, the self-proclaimed “King of All Media” took a hit last week when the dismissal of his lawsuit against Sirius XM Radio, Inc. in which he sought more than $300 million in stock awards was upheld by the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court. In order to understand Stern’s lawsuit, which he filed in 2011, it is important to review the history of Stern’s relationship with Sirius. In an illuminating article posted today (4/15) TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman explains both the background and legal tenets of this important, high-profile (and big bucks) radio industry case. To read it, click here.
Bonneville’s KIRO-AM, Seattle Names Danny O’Neil Late Morning Co-Host. Bonneville’s “710 ESPN Seattle” names market sports journalist Danny O’Neil co-host of the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program alongside Brock Huard. O’Neil replaces Mike Salk who moved to WEEI, Boston earlier this month. The “Brock & Danny Show” debuts today. The station states that in addition to his on-air duties, O’Neil will write a daily Seattle-focused sports column/blog on 710Sports.com. During the NFL season, O’Neil will cover the Seattle Seahawks to provide fans with an inside perspective on the team. O’Neil did three stints with the Seattle Times (1996-97; 1999-2002; 2006-2013) and also wrote for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer from 2002-2006. KIRO-AM vice president and general manager Dave Pridemore states, “We are extremely excited about teaming up Danny O’Neil with Brock Huard on 710 ESPN Seattle. I’m sure our listeners will appreciate the combination of an athlete’s insight and analysis with a journalist’s curiosity and straight forward perspective.” Program director Brian Long says, “Brock and Danny have a natural chemistry and genuine likability that will make for a smart entertaining listen for the Seattle sports fan.”
Encouragement and Advice for Lonely Digital “True Believers” at Radio Stations. Noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller says, “True Believers are the radio folks I talk to who just know deep in their heart of hearts that the brilliant use of our digital tools could help radio be the best it could possibly be. When I talk with them, they often just see so clearly how to fit all our different platforms together and how to use them. Most of them seem to feel a level of frustration, too. I suspect that’s because they are often the one person at work who is both knowledgeable and passionate about the potential of these tools.” If you think that describes you, in an article posted to today in TALKERS, Miller serves up several good ideas on how to lessen your frustration level as well as help position you as the radio/digital expert in your workplace and help accomplish your goals. He suggests starting small, pressing for constant improvement and creating an industry-wide community of like-minded broadcasters. To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, click here.
Glenn Beck Named Recipient of 2013 Freedom of Speech Award. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine has named Premiere Networks syndicated radio host, CEO/founder of Mercury Radio Arts, and founder of TheBlaze, Glenn Beck the recipient of the 2013 Freedom of Speech Award. The award is one of the most prestigious honors presented annually in the talk media industry. The award is presented to an individual in the talk media industry who courageously demonstrates the First Amendment in action, productively promotes its vitality, and inspires increased public awareness of its tenets. It has an extremely colorful history, sparking heated controversial battles on some occasions, and accruing a roster of outspoken, dynamic recipients as diverse as the medium itself. Past honorees include Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Michael Savage, Bob Grant, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Al Franken, Juan Williams, Joe Madison, Matt Drudge, Norm Pattiz, Brian Lamb, Jim Farley and more. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This is a tough award to present – especially when the recipient is a politically controversial figure — because people who view the world through the lens of partisan politics immediately see the award as an endorsement of the position expressed by the recipient, as opposed to its deeper, principled meaning. The only political position held and espoused by TALKERS magazine is our devotion to the tenets of the First Amendment. Otherwise we are about as non-partisan as you can get.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “This year’s recipient deserves the award for several reasons: First, he has shown enormous courage and creativity in expressing extremely controversial views on both talk radio and cable television; second, he stood up to the powers-that-be at his biggest single platform and dared to risk (and eventually lost) his lucrative job in the process; three, he demonstrates the vital role of showmanship and entertainment in artfully executing his craft within the commercial marketplace while still getting his points across (which is what this business is ultimately about); and four, he has intelligently designed a model of independent broadcasting through his pioneering development of an entrepreneurial ‘media station’ that serves to inspire others, create jobs and pave the way for the next generation of talk show hosts to carve their meaningful niches in the new 21st Century digital reality.” The 2013 Freedom of Speech Award will be presented to Glenn Beck at Talkers New York 2013. To see the entire up to the minute agenda, click here.
Salem Communications Re-Brands WHK, Cleveland “The Answer.” Following the trend in branding taken by its news/talk stations in New York, Los Angeles, Riverside, Dallas, Houston, Columbus, and Chicago, Salem Communications announced WHK, Cleveland becomes “AM 1420 The Answer.” Salem VP director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “As our listeners are preparing to write Uncle Sam that fat check, I can’t think of a better day to give Cleveland ‘The Answer’ to why their taxes are so high. We have the answer for little things like ‘why am I stuck in traffic’ to bigger things like what can conservatives do to win back the White House.” The on-air lineup, consisting of Salem Radio Network programs, remains the same. The station adds morning news anchor Jim McIntyre, “one of the most trusted news voices in Greater Cleveland,” as part of its local news, traffic and weather team. The station is adding a new late night program dubbed, “The 11th Hour,” hosted by McIntyre and Cleveland talk host Tom Kelly that will air at 11:00 pm. The station says the show “will focus on both local and statewide stories that affect the WHK audience, with news updates and interviews of the day’s newsmakers and journalists.” Station general manager Mark Jaycox states, “These are very exciting times at Salem Communications of Northeast Ohio. To be able to take a station like WHK – one rich in Cleveland heritage and Ohio tradition and celebrating its 91st birthday this year – and make it even more relevant and current, while maintaining that strong identity, we are confident our WHK listeners will be pleased with this change.”
Mid-West Family Broadcasting Acquires Wisconsin and Illinois Stations from Maverick for $15.5 Million. Just days after Connecticut-based Maverick Media announced the sale of its Santa Rosa, California stations to Lawrence Amaturo-led Sonoma Media Group, we learn that Mid-West Family Broadcasting is buying Maverick’s Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Rockford Illinois clusters. The stations in the Rockford market are: adult hits WRTB “Bob FM 95.3,” AC WGFB “B103 FM,” rock WXRX, and comedy WNTA-AM/FM “Funny 1330.” In Eau Claire, the stations are: news/talk WAYY, sports talk WEAU “ESPN 1150,” classic rock WECL “92.9 The Big Cheese,” AC WIAL, “I-94,” adult hits WDRK “Bob FM 99.9,” and country WAXX. In a statement, Mid-West Family Broadcasting president Tom Walker says, “We have wanted to grow our company for some time and want to bring the ideals of locally owned radio back to these two cities. The stations in both Eau Claire and Rockford will continue serving their local markets with the quality programming Mid-West Family brings to all its stations.”
Milt McConnell Joins Alpha Broadcasting’s Portland Cluster as SVP and GM. Former Cumulus Albuquerque market manager Milt McConnell is named the senior vice president and general manager at Alpha Broadcasting’s Portland, Oregon cluster. McConnell was part of a recent exodus of staffers from the Albuquerque operations that included longtime KKOB talk host Jim Villanucci. On his new post in Portland overseeing properties including hot AC KBFF “Live 95.5,” triple A KINK, country KUPL “98.7 The Bull,” sports KXTG-AM “750 The Game,” news/talk KXL “FM News 101,” and talk KUFO “Freedom 970,” McConnell says, “I am just thrilled to get back to live and locally owned radio. What Larry Wilson and Bob Proffitt have crafted with these premier brands at Alpha/Portland is incredible and I am excited about growing our influence in this dynamic city. The Alpha culture is very reminiscent of the boom years when we were growing Citadel. The cherry on top is that I get to work with formats that I have experience with and am extremely passionate about.”
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio’s WPHT, Philadelphia debuts its new PM drive program hosted by Dick Morris. The show is airing from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm…..Meanwhile, longtime WPHT personality Michael Smerconish makes his move to SiriusXM Satellite Radio today. The program airs on the POTUS channel from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET….Speaking of SiriusXM, the satcaster began a six-week run of a special program hosted by Breitbart News Network chairman Stephen K. Bannon called “Breitbart News Sunday with Stephen K. Bannon” last night at 7:00 pm ET on its conservative talk SiriusXM Patriot channel. The three-hour call-in show is said to feature commentary and analysis on the stories and narratives that will drive the upcoming week’s news cycle from the editors and contributors of the Breitbart News Network.
Bernie Miklasz to Appear on WXOS, St. Louis Daily. When WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” midday talk host Bernie Miklasz announced he’d be leaving his daily program on the Hubbard Broadcasting sports talker to focus on his work with the St. Louis Dispatch, the station said it hoped to still have him contributing on a regular basis. Now, it’s announced that Miklasz will be a regular guest and will be featured at the following times: Monday afternoons at 4:30 on “The Fast Lane,” Tuesday mornings at 9:30 with “Zach and Rammer,” Wednesday evenings at 5:30 on “The Fast Lane,” Thursday mornings 10:30 with “Zach and Rammer,” and Friday afternoons at 12:30 on the new midday program. Program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert states, “We are thrilled that Bernie Miklasz will still be a part of the ‘101ESPN’ team. His experienced analysis regarding the local St. Louis and national sports scene is immeasurable, and our listeners really value his comments and opinions.”
Longtime Denver Talk Host Rick Barber Facing ALS Battle. Rick Barber was a talk show host on KOA, Denver for more than 30 years. He exited the station in January of 2012 and was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease — amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – several months ago. Now, former fellow Denver talk host Peter Boyles is helping alert the industry to Barber’s situation and providing information where people can make donations. Find that on Boyles’ KHOW, Denver page here.
Greater Media’s Peter Smyth Honored by Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus. Greater Media chairman and CEO Peter Smyth is pictured here at the 12th Annual Good Guys Awards on Thursday, April 11 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston. The awards event was produced by the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus which honored Smyth for his continued support of women and families in Massachusetts. Smyth is an active philanthropist working with many organizations that advocate for women and families including the United Way of Massachusetts, the New England Baptist Hospital and Emerson College. In addition, he is a supporter of GRLZ Radio, a radio station giving young women a voice in their community. MWPC executive director Priti Rao states, “We were very excited to honor Peter Smyth as one of our Good Guys. His dedicated advocacy to advance women serves as a role model to our community. His support of programs and initiatives that improve the welfare and safety of women and families has been indispensable.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Greater Media VP of corporate communication Heidi Raphael, “HOT 96.9” morning show co-host Pebbles, Greater Media Boston market manager Rob Williams, Smyth, “Hot 96.9” APD and digital media brand manager Jill Strada, WROR general sales manager Matt DiRoberto and Greater Media VP of program development Buzz Knight.
CBS 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.”
MSNBC’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.
Bonneville 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 programmer 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 to 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.
TALKERS 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.
Martha 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.
KMOX, 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.”
Savvy 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.
Odds & 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.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND — To local radio talkers, syndication is The Promised Land. So when an accomplished, high-profile personality relinquishes his hard-won 80-affiliate roster to migrate to satellite radio, my phone rings. I’m being asked:
- Should I pitch his affiliates? Should I pitch his network?
- Should I try to get on SiriusXM?
- IS it over?
Power-Packed Sales Panel Set for Talkers New York 2013. The agenda for the forthcoming 16th annual installment of the talk radio industry’s largest and longest-running convention – Talkers New York 2013 – continues to grow as the speakers for a major sales panel have been named. Titled “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales,” the session will be moderated by RAB president and CEO Erica Farber and feature (in alphabetical order): Spencer Brown, CEO, Dial Global; Jeff Smulyan, CEO, Emmis Broadcasting; Jerry Crowley, VP/general manager, WNYM (The Answer), New York; and Dan Metter, SVP/network advertising and sales, Premiere Networks. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We always try to bring the element of sales and revenue generation into these conferences, but this year with advertising and the element of ‘monetization’ being such a crucial issue not only in talk radio – but the entire spectrum of radio – we organized a panel that we are proud to say covers all bases. It should be enlightening and certainly productive.” Talkers New York 2013 takes place Thursday, June 6 and is on track to being an early sellout. Because of space limitations, registration is only open to working members of the media and can only be taken via telephone at 413-565-5413. Among those already announced as speakers include morning keynoter, Sean Hannity; sports keynoter, Mike Francesa; special guest speaker, Norm Pattiz; “State of the First Amendment” address presenter, Michael Smerconish and Arbitron‘s Jon Miller who will deliver a special report on “The PPM and Spoken Word Radio.” Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more agenda details about speakers, panels, presentations and award recipients coming in the immediate days ahead.
Traffic Reports on Radio Attract Listeners Says Research Director. A study of five PPM markets in Canada done by Research Director, Inc. and commissioned by the Canadian Traffic Network indicates “traffic reports on the radio attract listeners and boost ratings during the time that the reports air,” the company says. Research Director says this is the fourth study of PPM data in the five Canadian markets and the most recent study continues to show positive results for traffic reports. The company says some the highlights of the study include: 1) The three minutes around the traffic report have higher listening levels compared to non-traffic periods; 2) This was the case in each of the five markets examined; 3) On average for Persons 18+, Canadian Traffic Network’s reports deliver 20% greater audience than when traffic is not being broadcast; and 4) Among Adults 25-54, traffic reports deliver an even greater audience (+20%) than non-traffic times. This data comes as the industry debates the future value of general traffic reports in an era when smartphones and other in-car services are able to deliver real-time traffic information for specific routes to commuters.
Is Radio Losing Audience or Gaining It? And What About the Kids? If you add in the HD multicasts and AM/FM/HD streaming stations, as Arbitron did for its just-released March 2013 RADAR 116 National Radio Listening Report, “radio’s audience increased year over year, adding more than 1.6 million weekly listeners. Radio now reaches 242.8 million listeners on an average weekly basis.” Furthermore, Arbitron states, “Teens aged 12 to 17 shows the largest gains among the major age demographics. Radio now reaches nearly 23 million teens in an average week. Radio listening also remains steady among Adults aged 18 to 34, reaching 66.5 million people, or 92%, in this demographic.” The ratings company reports that “the data shows that radio is using new platforms effectively to reach more listeners. According to the RADAR March 2012 report, HD multicasts reach nearly 3.6 million persons aged 12 and older. Streams of AM/FM/HD radio also reach a broad audience. More than 5.4 million persons aged 12 and older tune into AM/FM/HD streams during an average week. Adults aged 18 to 49 make up the majority of this audience, with more than 3.5 million people in this demographic accessing streaming AM/FM/HD stations in an average week.”
The CBS Radio Product “World News Roundup” Celebrates 75 Years on the Air. The longest-running radio newscast – CBS Radio News’ “World News Roundup” – celebrates 75 years on the air this month. The company will honor the occasion tomorrow and Wednesday with special programs. The network will look at that first broadcast in 1938, its significance at the time and how the “Roundup” has evolved to remain an important source of information three-quarters of a century later. Vice president of CBS News, Radio, Harvey Nagler, states, “In an era with so many choices for the latest news, 75 years is truly a remarkable milestone. We are so proud that this broadcast that started it all is still something millions of Americans depend on every day. By combining the great traditions of CBS News with technology, our affiliates and their listeners receive relevant, accurate, immediate information they can trust, every day. From shortwave to satellites and from the Murrow Boys to multimedia platforms, ‘The World News Roundup’ is still setting the standard for quality journalism.” CBS says the program made broadcasting history on March 13, 1938 when it aired a riveting 38-minute program, anchored by Robert Trout, that reported the Nazi invasion of Austria. Revolutionizing news coverage, “The World News Roundup” gave listeners access to live reports from multiple reporters on the field, including a young CBS executive making his on-air debut in Vienna that night, Edward R. Murrow. In the following decades, the program was anchored by legendary CBS journalists, including Douglas Edwards, Dallas Townsend and Christopher Glenn. The current program is anchored by Steve Kathan and is produced by Paul Farry. Bill Whitney anchors the Late Edition of the “World News Roundup” which is produced by Greg Armstrong.
J.D. Hayworth to Co-Host AM Drive on Sports “The Mighty 1090” in San Diego. Former Arizona congressman and longtime issues talk host J.D. Hayworth takes an interesting turn in his radio career as he joins Broadcast Company of the Americas’ sports talk XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” to co-host the morning drive show with Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton beginning March 18. The station says the pairing of Hayworth with Hamilton completes a three-month search that spanned “six time zones.” Program director Mike Shepard states, “We really appreciated all the ‘players’ who gave their time to this search and in the end, J.D.’s extensive background in radio, and true chemistry with Hacksaw made the difference. When the two of them were on together it was what we call ‘lean forward and listen’ radio. San Diego’s sports fans will truly be entertained every morning.” Hayworth, who’s been doing a lot of fill-in work in issues talk radio over the past year or so, says, “Hacksaw and I go way back. As a TV sportscaster in Phoenix, I got to know Lee during his days at KTAR, which was his radio home before he came to San Diego years ago. The preparation and dedication that Lee brings to his broadcasts impressed me then, and inspires me now. What an honor to become his partner. We will not rest until we are the best sports morning show in the country!”
Loan Investigation Ends for WWL-AM-FM, New Orleans Talk Host Garland Robinette. Federal prosecutors are ending a probe into allegations the River Birch company paid bribes to close two New Orleans landfills so that its own facilities could receive the bulk of debris from Hurricane Katrina. WWL-AM/FM talk host Garland Robinette became involved in the probe after he received a personal loan from River Birch owner Fred Heebe. Robinette had also used his program to criticize the re-opening of the landfills that would have taken business from Heebe’s company. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Friday’s announcement puts to an end the investigation that included scrutiny of Robinette’s $250,000 interest-free loan from Heebe. Robinette’s attorney issued this statement: “I’m happy to announce that we’ve received notice that the Department of Justice in Washington has concluded their investigation regarding Garland as it relates to the River Birch case…and the matter is now closed. We want to thank the Public Integrity section for reaching the right result and for considering all the information. As Garland said from the beginning he never had done anything wrong. Garland and his family are glad they can now put this behind him.”
St. Louis Sports Stations KFNS and KXFN to Flip to Guy Talk and Ladies Talk in May. The Grand Slam Sports-owned AM stations will take a different programming tack in May under the leadership of new company president Dan Marshall. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KFNS will alter its programming to reduce the sports talk content to about 30% with “guy talk” comprising the other 70%. Marshall tells the paper’s Dan Caesar the announcement of who will be the new morning host on KFNS will be made on SiriusXM’s Howard Stern show today, leading to the conclusion that Stern pal Bubba the Love Sponge’s Tampa-based program will take over mornings. Other show hosts will be announced between now and May 1. Marshall is owner of a wireless communications company in the St. Louis area that’s been buying time on sports talk. Marshall’s company made an investment in Grand Slam Sports under the condition he would take over as general manager with control over programming. Current GM Katy Pavelonis stays on as sales manager. As for KXFN, how the move to female-targeted talk will be realized is less clear, although Marshall says, “I’ve already interviewed a few people who seem excited. And I believe our future advertisers will be excited to reach a women’s audience.” The current morning show at KFNS is hosted by Tim McKernan, Jim Hayes and Doug Vaughn and is owned by insideSTL Enterprises LLC and apparently brokers the time on KFNS. McKernan tells the paper insideSTL Enterprises is investigating the possibility of working with outside investors to put a new station on the air. The company operates insideSTL.com.
Strategizing Facebook’s Plans to Decrease Clutter. On Thursday, the social media giant announced a new format for their news feed, which Mark Zuckerberg referred to as “the best personalized newspaper in the world.” The big change? Pictures are going to get even bigger. That’s a bigger change than it sounds like. The headline Facebook puts on it is, “Goodbye, clutter.” According to radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, “This is good news for radio stations and other brands that are doing a good job using social media as loyalty content marketing. It will be easier for your fans and their friends to see what you post and enjoy it!” Today in TALKERS Miller offers five quick guidelines to help you make the most of your Facebook posts, especially once the new news feed kicks in for everyone. To read Chris Miller’s piece, click here.
Is Michael Smerconish’s Departure from AM/FM to Satellite the Canary in Talk Radio’s Coal Mine? Radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke thinks it might very well be the case. In an extremely candid look at the meaning behind the highly profiled defection, Cooke advises industry professionals how to read the message this move conveys in addition to dissecting the impact it will likely have on Smerconish’s career. To read this article by Holland Cooke, click here.
A Not So High-Tech Solution to a High-Tech Headache. Sometimes the remedy to what seems like a complex technical disaster can be found in cleverly utilizing the services of a commonly found, everyday low-tech product. Noted radio engineering wizard and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray had one such situation pop up recently and he shares how he solved it using…would you believe it…cat litter! Check out the story by clicking here.
Acquiring Arbitron Adds to the Total Media Mix for Nielsen. At day two of the Deutsche Bank DbAccess 21st Annual Media and Telecom Conference, Nielsen president of Global Media Products & Advertiser Solutions Steve Hasker says that the acquisition of Arbitron will add another two hours per day to its understanding of the media to which consumers are exposed. “If you think about media consumption here in the U.S. as one geographic example, we cover about five hours per day for the average consumer through television audience measurement…That is the bedrock of our ‘Watch’ business. To that, we hope to add radio, which is another two hours of consumers’ time. And we felt that this was a very important part, both of understanding the media exposure and what consumers watch and what they listen to, but also a very important part of the overall media mix particularly for local advertisers. And so the ability to capture this data and combine it with our TV data and our digital information, which is online and mobile through products like ‘Online Campaign Ratings,’ ‘Brand Effect’ and the ‘Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings,’ put it all together and we’re covering around about eight hours of a consumer’s time per day exposed to media…think about that as coverage of everything except for print and we think that those are the most valuable parts of the media mix and are central to our proposition of understanding consumer behavior at a very, very deep level.”
Salem’s WIND, Chicago to Air Evening Show with Former Congressman Joe Walsh. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that one-term Tea Party congressman Joe Walsh will begin a two-hour early evening talk show on Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago on March 18. Although Salem was not commenting officially, Walsh spoke openly to Feder. The “Joe Walsh Unplugged” show will air from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm and will often emanate from locations around the state as he indicates his recent travels to push the Tea Party ideals are part of his desire to create a movement. He tells Feder, “We are going to make this a real grass-roots push and advocacy thing, and the radio show is going to be a key part of that.” Feder reports the show is expected to be officially announced on March 14 when Walsh appears at “Obama 2.0: The Road Ahead,” a public event sponsored by WIND. Expected to be there with Walsh will be WIND afternoon host Steve Cochran, Salem Radio Network host Michael Medved and Illinois Policy Institute’s John Tillman.
Cumulus Media Names Steve Shaw SVP of National Sales. In his new role with Cumulus Media, the former president of Katz Radio Group will be based out of New York. Steve Shaw most recently served as president of Cox Digital Solutions where he founded the digital rep group Cox Cross Media. Cumulus executive vice president and co-COO Jon Pinch says, “Having run Katz Radio for years, Steve is the natural choice for this position. He understands the national marketplace, has key relationships with buyers and sellers, and is well known for high integrity and an intense work ethic. Steve will work closely with our team of national sales managers, our partners at Katz, Mike Pallad, myself, and other senior management at Cumulus.” On his new position, Shaw states, “I am thrilled to be joining Cumulus Media – they operate some of the best brands in radio and I look forward to helping design and implement great solutions for our national advertising partners. Our combination of scale and quality programming will allow us to deliver great results that drive our customers’ businesses.”
RAB Names Brooke Trissel Senior Vice President, Membership. The Radio Advertising Bureau announces that, as part of its mission to serve its members, it is appointing Brooke Trissel senior vice president, membership. In this position Trissel will partner with the RAB’s Membership team to enhance and communicate the organization’s core membership benefits to existing and new members. She’ll report to president and CEO Erica Farber and will be based at RAB Dallas. Farber states, “I’m thrilled for Brooke to join the RAB in this capacity where she brings her vast experience in radio broadcasting to super-serve our growing membership. Brooke is the consummate radio executive who will work closely within the organization and our members to meet their needs in a changing radio and media landscape.” Trissel grew up in a radio family that owned and operated Oklahoma-based Omni Media Group. She served in many roles within the company including sales manager for KWOX-FM/KMZE-FM and station manager for KOMI-TV in Woodward, Oklahoma. Most recently, she has been overseeing marketing and sales as the vice president of News/Talk/Sports MediaOnline with prior experience selling advertising and sponsorships at Radio & Records. Trissel also worked in affiliate sales with ABC Radio Networks in Dallas. She says, “I’ve long been a fan of the RAB’s products and services and I’m excited to partner with Erica and the Membership team to share all the exciting enhancements taking place at the organization with our members.”
Neal Boortz Pens Talk Radio Memoir. The title of the book is Maybe I Should Just Shut Up and Go Away (Carpenters Son Publishing 2013). In it, iconic formerly Atlanta-based talk radio legend Neal Boortz looks back at his 42 years on the radio as a talk show host. The promotion for the book says, in part, Boortz “shares the often-hilarious reality of what happens behind the scenes when you’re a talk radio icon. Longtime friend with national radio greats Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, he tells how those relationships began in the hot seat of competition…Though early predictions by those who knew him in his youth cast Boortz as a sure prospect to become a preacher, he took a different route to educating the masses. Longtime listeners are certain to become enthusiastic readers as Boortz finally tips his hat to more than four decades of teeing up controversy, political education and general entertainment for audiences across the country to enjoy—and tells all they’ve been wanting to know but couldn’t get anyone to share until now.”
Arbitron to Present “Special PPM Report on the State of the Spoken Word” at Forthcoming TALKERS Conference. The agenda for the forthcoming “Talkers New York 2013″ continues to grow as Arbitron, Inc. has joined the roster of presenters with a special in-depth statistical insight into the research company’s findings about the news/talk, sports talk, all-news, and NPR formats’ performance in a PPM world. It will also include a special look at listening habits and listener direction trends on the AM dial. The presentation will be delivered by Arbitron’s director of programming services Jon Miller who spearheaded a similar presentation analyzing country radio at the recent CRS in Nashville. In making the announcement, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “We were so impressed with the extraordinary value of the country conference presentation we checked out to see if they have a similar study pertinent to talk radio. As it turns out they do and we are delighted to make it available to our attendees.” Talkers New York 2013 is the 16th annual installment of the industry’s longest-running and most important national talk radio convention. It will take place on Thursday, June 6 and is open only to members of the working media. Registration is $199 per person which includes all sessions, attractions and food services. An advance sellout is expected. For registration (phone only) and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more exciting agenda details to be announced in the coming days.
WXOS, St. Louis Crowns ‘Sportscaster Factor’ Winner. Hubbard Broadcasting’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” announces it finished its first-ever “Sportscaster Factor” competition on Saturday, March 2 and has named Brett McMillan winner of the inaugural competition for which he gets bragging rights and a weekend show on the station. McMillan, a student at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, beat out 175 other competitors in the competition. During Saturday’s final round at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, 101ESPN’s Randy Karraker, PD Kent Sterling and APS Chris “Hoss” Neupert trimmed the 38 semi-finalists down to 16 finalists, and then to the eight who competed for the coveted spot. Sterling says of the promotion. “This was a great competition. We never had any inkling that there were so many talented broadcasters in St. Louis. Everyone knows this is a great sports town, but it’s also a great broadcasting city. When this started, we would have been really happy with any of the final eight – and most of the rest of the sixteen finalists. In Brett, we think we have found exactly what this competition was designed to find – a host that is really good today, will be better down the road, and someone we would not have found otherwise. I fully anticipate doing this again. It was fun for the contestants and for us. Not only did we find a solid host, we found several who might end up working for 101ESPN one day.”
Odds & Sods. Montana talk host Aaron Flint gets props from the Washington Post for his political blog “The Flint Report” as part of the paper’s “Best State-Based Political Blogs” piece. Flint, who broadcasts a daily talk radio show that airs on 17 stations across Montana, including Connoisseur Media’s KYYA, Billings, is an officer in the Montana Army National Guard and served three tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa. Of his media work, he says, “Every day, I hope to take a wide range of experiences to show audiences the bigger picture, or to give them a side of the story they won’t get anywhere else.”…..Programmer Peter Bolger is promoted to director of AM programming at Clear Channel’s San Antonio cluster. Bolger has served as program director for news/talk WOAI and sports talk KTKR since joining the cluster in 2007……CBS Sports Radio Network’s John Feinstein debuts a weekly hour-long segment called “One-On-One” as part of his late morning show on the network in which he interviews a sports newsmaker. The first installment is today from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon with Bob Costas. Upcoming guests for the segment include sports figures and celebrities such as NBA Commissioner David Stern, professional golfer Tom Watson and NBA champion Steve Kerr…..Talk radio pro Jeff Katz sits in for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated host Todd Schnitt on his Monday, March 11 and Wednesday, March 13 programs.
Curtis Sliwa Boasts Five-Hour ‘Commemoration’ of Hugo Chavez. WNYM, New York “970 The Answer” talk personality Curtis Sliwa tells TALKERS magazine his was the only station to “commemorate” the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez yesterday. Sliwa states, “We got the news yesterday afternoon and did two hours on the “Curtis & Jeffrey” show from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm and then continued this morning from 6:00 am to 9:00 am on my solo show. Additionally, we discussed his career as a TV and radio talk show host as the host of “Alo Presidente.” You may think that we were comrades in arms because of our red berets and our battles with cancer. That couldn’t be further from the truth.” Pictured here is Sliwa in Cuba several years ago leading an anti-Castro and anti-Chavez chant among like-minded Cuban citizens.
Sequester Impact, Hugo Chavez Dies, Iran/North Korea Nuclear Threats, and High-Flying Dow Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/5). The impact of the sequester and the ongoing battle over federal budget issues; the death of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez; Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear threats; and the still-soaring Dow were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
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 Networks’ Michael 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.
Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group forms Podcast Giant Launchpad Digital Media. Courtside Entertainment Group CEO Norm Pattiz (pictured below at left) enters into a partnership with digital, online and podcast sales pioneer Kit Gray (below at right) to form a new division of Courtside Entertainment Group called Launchpad Digital Media. Courtside states that the podcast platform includes some of the biggest names in digital entertainment including: Adam Carolla, Bill Burr, CBS News, Afterbuzz TV with Maria Menuounos, Jay Mohr, Dr. Drew, Chris Hardwick (The Nerdist), Mark & Lynda, Brian & Jill, and Penn Jillette. Launchpad will also be home to the Sideshow Network, The Fake Mustache Network, Riotcast Network, Splitsider Network and the Toad Hop Network making Launchpad one of the industry’s largest players. Kit Gray will serve as president and COO of Launchpad Digital Media. In a statement announcing the new company, Pattiz says, “Podcasts represent one of the fastest growing segments of digital media. Kit Gray has a great track record of success in this important space and brings with him not only knowledge and energy, but the revenue and cash flow to prove it. He brings Courtside instant access not only for our existing programs but for the development of future programming that will live on the Launchpad platform.” Gray states, “Forming a partnership with Norm Pattiz, the founder of Westwood One, with his incredible vision and history of working with the top talent is an unbelievable opportunity. This partnership, as a division of Courtside, allows us to offer all of our existing clients more resources to expand their products and deliver more audience to develop the advertiser support that will benefit us all.” Speaking about this new effort, Patty Newmark of Newmark Advertising says, “The digital space for audio is growing exponentially and has allowed us to extend additional opportunities to our clients. Having a highly respected leader of the radio industry like Norm Pattiz form a new venture with Kit Gray, an expert in the area of digital media, is very exciting. These two innovators working together will create important opportunities within the changing media landscape.” Courtside notes that Kit Gray has represented programming that exceeds a half-billion podcast downloads annually. He’s worked with media agencies throughout the nation, served as a division manager for Clear Channel (Katz 360 Digital), was the director of advertising for Verizon’s EV-DO networks Amp’d Mobile and was the recipient of the “Seller of the Year” award for Katz Media Group.
Mel Karmazin to Leave SiriusXM in February. Just how and when Mel Karmazin was going to leave SiriusXM was really the question – that he was leaving was pretty much a foregone conclusion to most industry watchers. Now we know Karmazin will exit his CEO role with the satcaster and he will resign from the company’s board of directors on February 1, 2013. In a public statement, Karmazin says, “SiriusXM is an extraordinary company with an incredible team. It is an honor to come to work here every day where we truly deliver the best radio on radio. I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished. Given where we started, it is amazing that SiriusXM has grown to become the largest radio company in the world. With a deep bench of corporate talent, a roster that includes the most in-demand on-air personalities and a wide range of exclusive programming, SiriusXM has never been better positioned than it is today. We continue to grow our subscriber base to record levels and our financial position has never been stronger. Importantly, the commitment to delivering innovative new products and technologies is very strong. SiriusXM has a strong foundation to build on for the future and there is a great team in place to keep the company moving forward. I am confident that SiriusXM’s best years are ahead.” The press release includes a statement from SiriusXM board chairman Eddy Hartenstein. He says, “On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Mel for his significant contributions to the company. Under his leadership, the company underwent a transformative merger and a financial restructuring that has enabled SiriusXM to deliver significant value for shareholders. Our record breaking financial results are a testament to Mel’s leadership and strategic planning and we continue to exceed our expectations with all-time high subscriber numbers. Thanks to Mel, we are well positioned for long-term growth and value creation. We will miss Mel – and the board wishes him the very best in his future endeavors.”
More Changes at WGN, Chicago as John Williams to Leave Midday Show. John Williams will continue with Tribune’s WGN, Chicago through the end of the year but, beginning in January, he and his family will return to the Minneapolis area and Williams will give his full attention to his afternoon drive show at CBS Radio’s WCCO which he’s been doing from Chicago for some time. WGN program director Bill White states, “John is a great broadcaster and has been a valued member of the WGN Radio family. While we are sad to see him go, we are happy for John and his family that they are able to return to Minneapolis, where they lived before moving to Chicago. We wish him all the best and know that he will continue to shine in his role at WCCO.” Williams indicates this is a decision he’s been considering for a while. “I decided some time ago to do just one show – as well as I can – and that one will be at WCCO. Both stations and staffs deserve as much.” WGN is seeking his replacement and expects to name the new host of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program in the coming weeks.
Shamrock Communications Officially Announces Today’s Launch of KNEWS in Reno. Yesterday, TALKERS reported the debut of one of four new FM signals Shamrock Communications is putting on the air in the Reno market. The company officially announces the launch of KNEZ-FM “107.3 KNews” today and 13-year radio veteran Sean Patrick is a big part of the station. Patrick, who is the station’s news director, will also host the PM drive show as well as serve as the voice of Wolf Pack football and the Reno Bighorns. Director of broadcast operations for the station is Willobee Carlan. Sean Patrick states that with the ever-changing political climate, people want something new, “There’s too much confrontation on the airwaves and not enough conversation. We will bring a much more level-headed conversational tone to political talk. Neither side is 100% right nor 100% wrong. We want you to be a part of the conversation. KNEWS Reno is ‘The Conversation Station!’” The station will air Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck in AM drive followed by Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish and Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries in the evenings.
Mark Levin-founded Landmark Legal Foundation to Sue EPA. Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Mark Levin explained the Landmark Legal Foundation’s intent to sue the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency on his program on Monday. Levin stated the suit centers around new environmental rules set to kick in for which the public has not been given notice. According to The Examiner, the Landmark Legal Foundation requested the documents through the Freedom of Information Act months ago but the records have not been turned over. The organization also petitioned the federal court to block administrator of the EPA Lisa Jackson and her agency from issuing any new regulations until the agency releases the documents.
WEEI, Boston Debuts New Baseball Show. Playing the “hits” in New England on a sports talk station means talking about Red Sox baseball no matter what time of year it is. To that end, Entercom Boston vice president of programming and operations Jason Wolfe announces a new weekly program hosted by Kirk Minihane and WEEI.com Red Sox insiders Rob Bradford and Alex Speier called “Red Sox Hot Stove.” The one-hour program debuts tomorrow night and airs from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm Thursdays through February 14. Wolfe says the program will be focused exclusively on the Red Sox and will include regular interviews with Sox GM Ben Cherington as well as many other Sox beat writers and columnists who will provide unique information and insight. “This is has been a very difficult season for Red Sox fans, but it also means that the off season will be incredibly meaningful. There will be more Red Sox talk this off season than in any other in recent memory given the needs of the team, and this show will provide listeners with the most up to date information as it happens.”
Nationally Syndicated Host Dr. Ken Kronhaus Featured in AARP/Crest Health Campaign. As host of the nationally syndicated Stephan Multimedia weekend production “Good Day Health” and frequent contributor to Doug Stephan’s daily “Good Day” syndicated morning show, Dr. Ken Kronhaus is a well-known voice in health media. Now, he is working with AARP and Crest on a campaign featuring Dr. Kronhaus that includes custom content provided by him promoting the idea that the mouth is the gateway to your overall health. Dr. Kronhaus also serves as AARP health-editor-at-large.
Post-Debate Analysis, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Attack Controversy, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/23). Analysis of the candidates’ performance in the final presidential debate; the most recent polls of the presidential campaign, new information indicating the White House knew the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was terrorist related; and the turbulent week of activity in the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Tom Langmyer Exits Tribune’s WGN, Chicago After Eight Years. The vice president and general manager of Tribune’s only radio property – WGN, Chicago – left his position yesterday. Tom Langmyer didn’t comment specifically to TALKERS about the reason for the move but the change appears to have been WGN’s and not Langmyer’s choice. Langmyer joined WGN as general manager in March of 2005 after rising from program director to vice president and general manager of CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis. Now, Langmyer exits after a meeting Monday with Tribune Broadcasting president and CEO Nils Larsen. Langmyer issued the following statement to his staff upon his exit: “I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated the privilege of working with you. WGN is a very special place, and I’m very lucky to have spent nearly eight years as part of it! . . . Looking forward to new challenges ahead!” Like many major market radio stations, WGN has been a turbulent place over the past eight years with four program directors during that time and four different morning drive hosts – not to mention the Sam Zell-engineered takeover of Tribune that brought former Clear Channel radio president Randy Michaels to the helm of the company and the financial trouble that put Tribune into bankruptcy. Langmyer’s departure comes as Tribune nears a long-awaited exit from bankruptcy. There is speculation Tribune will attempt to sell some of its properties and the lone radio station in its portfolio may go “on the block.” As far as management is concerned, director of sales Jeff Hill will serve as general manager in the interim. You can reach out to Tom Langmyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Talk Outlet Debuts in Reno. After eight years of work and a fair amount of resources invested, Shamrock Communications goes live with one of the four FM stations it is building for the Reno, Nevada market. KNEZ-FM “107.3 K-News” features a mostly syndicated lineup consisting of Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish, local talk show host Sean Patrick, and Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries.
Michael Savage Re-Enters National Syndication Tonight. Following a protracted battle to get out of his contract with Talk Radio Network, talk host Michael Savage signed with Cumulus Media Networks to distribute his program. The new syndication effort begins tonight as Savage’s live broadcast time moves to 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.
America’s Radio News Network Names Lori Lundin Mid-Morning Co-Anchor. Talk Radio Network-operated America’s Radio News Network adds news pro Lori Lundin to the 9:00 am to 12:00 pm ET news block as co-anchor alongside Ernie Brown. Prior to joining ARN, Lundin was anchoring mornings nationally on Fox News Radio for over four years. Before that, she was an award-winning reporter on news/talk KFBK, Sacramento. She received the Northern California Radio and Television News Directors Association award for her breaking news coverage while reporting for the station. ARN EVP of news and programming John McCaslin states, “I first heard ARN’s new co-anchor, Lori Lundin when she was anchoring top-of-the-hour and breaking news stories on Fox News Radio. ARN is extremely fortunate to have somebody of her caliber join the team – a news anchor who possesses a rare, unwavering reputation for accurate, complete, and unbiased reporting. Lori Lundin is the exception, not the norm, for members of the Washington Press Corps.”
Business Talk WZAB, Miami Host Sentenced in Pot Growing Case. Edward Woodson, who hosts the 7:00 am to 8:00 am hour on Salem Communications’ business talk WZAB, Miami “880 The Biz,” pleaded guilty to running a marijuana growing operation out of his Miami Shores, Florida home. The 50-year-old lawyer and real estate investor will serve three years’ probation, one of those under house arrest and pay some $25,000 in fines. Woodson brokers the morning drive hour for his program and is not an employee of Salem Communications, but a client.
7 Talk Radio Takeaways from Presidential Debate. Consultant Holland Cooke explains how what is shaping up to be a very close presidential contest – not to mention some hotly contested congressional races – should be played for the “tight game” it is. Holland says, “Smart talk stations promoted debate coverage by reminding that, “IF YOU’LL BE IN THE CAR TONIGHT…” Certainly anyone with the choice would have watched rather than listened. And going forward, it continues to make sense to approach campaign coverage as car radio. Assume that you’re sharing attention.” See more of Holland Cooke’s 7 takeaways here.
Calling in the Experts. Talk host Michael Castner (r) is pictured here with intelligence expert Lieutenant Colonel Tony Shaffer (l) during Shaffer’s visit to The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s studios. Shaffer appeared on “The Daily Wrap from the Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” to discuss the controversial Benghazi attack that took the lives of four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Compass Media Networks Announces College Hoops Schedule. Beginning with the December 6 Vanderbilt vs. Xavier matchup and running through the March 9 Duke vs. UNC game, Compass Media Networks is offering 15 regular season men’s college basketball games this season. The network also has exclusive radio coverage of the Big Ten Conference tournament. Compass says it has an exclusive, multi-year agreement with Learfield Sports – one of the country’s largest broadcast rights holders with colleges and that the deal enables it to pick from among the best games to broadcast (using Compass’ own unique production and broadcast crew); “virtually all basketball games Compass is broadcasting feature top-ranked teams and compelling matchups.” Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann states, “Kudos to our team for selecting such incredible games. From the opening tip to the culmination of our coverage in March as the Big Ten Tournament returns to Chicago, this will be a great season.” See the entire Compass college basketball schedule here.
ESPN’s Dan Shulman Re-Ups. The voice of ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” will continue with the sports media giant after agreeing to a multi-year deal. In addition to Dan Shulman’s role on “Sunday Night Baseball,” Shulman will continue with his play-by-play work for men’s college basketball as well as his ESPN Radio duties calling the post-season games and the World Series. Regarding the 2012 NSSA Sportscaster of the Year, ESPN SVP and executive producer Jed Drake states, “Dan’s one of the most talented and versatile play-by-play commentators in our industry. Dan’s voice has become unmistakable, his storytelling ability is top notch and his penchant for making his colleagues better is an incredible asset to ESPN and to sports fans.” Shulman (r) is pictured here with ESPN’s Doris Burke (l) and Dick Vitale (c).
The Final Presidential Debate, the Latest Poll Numbers, the Continuing Investigation into the Benghazi Attack, Anita Dunn ‘Conflict Issue’ and Lance Armstrong Stripped of Tour de France Medals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/22). The buildup to the final presidential debate before the November 2 election; the latest poll numbers concerning the presidential race; the ongoing investigation of the Benghazi attack that took the lives of four Americans; former Obama Administration communications director Anita Dunn’s controversial status handling PR for firms lobbying the White House; and Lance Armstrong’s being stripped of his seven Tour de France medals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talk Host Michael Smerconish Takes “Angry is Over” Campaign on the Road. WYD Media nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Smerconish is known for being independent minded and not locked into party ideology. Smerconish has been making it known via his radio show, TV appearances and newspaper columns that he believes the country is in real trouble due to the intensely divisive political climate both in Washington, DC and in the media. He writes in part, “Recently, I have been engaged by many corporations, trade associations and academic institutions to address the cause of the polarized climate and how it can be fixed. I’ve been calling my speech ‘Angry Is Over,’ and in hearing what I have to say, many audiences are surprised (but not doubting) when I cast significant blame on the talk radio and cable television industry. Well, it’s true.” Now, Smerconish is taking his “Angry is Over” message on the road with a live appearance in Scranton, Pennsylvania on November 9 at the Scranton Cultural Center in what he terms the first live appearance of the tour.
Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Names Jason Furst PD. The Charlotte news/talker announces programmer Jason Furst will take over the program director role at WBT-AM/FM on Monday, October 29. He’ll replace Carl East who exits the station tomorrow. Furst comes to WBT from Clear Channel’s upstate New York outlets WHAM and WHTK, Rochester and WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse. Greater Media Charlotte market manager Rick Feinblatt says, “We are excited to have Jason join the Greater Media Charlotte family. His experience made him the perfect choice to lead the WBT-AM/FM team.”
Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno to Replace Premiere Shows with Local Talent. Stating that the “expansion of its local programming will be phased in over the next 90 days,” Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM/FM says it is accelerating its commitment to live and local programming. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-owned Premiere Networks is not renewing its deal with the stations for Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other programs. Peak and KMJ SVP and market manager Patty Hixson states, “We value program exclusivity and have long anticipated the opportunity to control our own programming locally rather than rely on national talk shows available in so many other places that can be taken from us at the whim of their owners. Adding 105.9 KMJ-FM over three years ago allowed us to expose our local news and talk shows to the largest available radio audience with crystal clear reception. Building KMJ NOW, our on-line local news platform, as well as KMJ’s Apple-delivered mobile app have given us tremendous reach to every computer and smartphone on the planet. KMJ’s future lies in its local programming, and we know we have the best people in the business making it right here in Fresno 24/7.” The move by Premiere Networks not to renew with Peak signals Clear Channel is preparing to flip an FM to news/talk in the near future. Currently, CC’s lowest-rated FM is country KHGE. But it also has three FM’s airing rhythmic AC, soft AC and modern AC in the market.
Radio Legend Bob Grant Retires, Then Unretires. Talk radio legend Bob Grant, currently heard weekly on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York on Sunday afternoons, teased that yesterday’s broadcast would be his last but changed his mind several hours later. According to the New York Daily News, the 83-year-old Grant posted a message on his website on Friday stating, “I am not sick, I am just a tired of [being a] life member of the chorus…I will miss you as much as you say you miss me.” He apparently had a change of heart and later stated that he would broadcast for the foreseeable future.
Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart Host “The Rumble 2012.” “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart and Fox News Channel star (and host of the Courtside Entertainment distributed “Talking Points” feature) Bill O’Reilly squared off in a debate of the issues on Saturday at George Washington University. The event was broadcast via a web-only $5 pay-per-view. A testament to the popularity of these two performers came in the form of numerous people being unable to get through to the server to access the live feed. Dow Jones’ Peter Kafka, who writes the AllThingsD column, reports that many people had trouble viewing the show but states he was able to watch without much trouble. At one point Nox Solutions, which hosted the webcast, Tweeted that due to demand, the servers had been overloaded.
Dave Ramsey Packs Long Beach Convention Center. Nationally syndicated financial talk star Dave Ramsey presented his only Total Money Makeover Live program of the fall season to more than 9,000 fans in the Long Beach Convention Center for affiliate KFWB, Los Angeles. Station general manager Valerie Blackburn says, “Yet another great Dave Ramsey event for KFWB! Having such a successful day with over 9,000 people in attendance is a huge win for us. We continue to value the close relationship we have with Dave and his team.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Rachel Cruze, speaker; Diane Sutter, trustee for KFWB; Valerie Blackburn, general manager for KFWB; Dave Ramsey; Danielle Mosher, marketing for KFWB; Rosemary Hernandez, general sales manager for KFWB; Jon Acuff, speaker and author; and Andy Ludlum, program director for KFWB.
Don’t Overlook the Unique Value and Power of Email. Leading broadcasting digital media consultant Chris Miller advises radio programmers and marketers not be so blinded by social media that they “fall out of love” with good old simple email. He writes in TALKERS today that email is still a powerful tool to communicate with your listeners, especially if you target adults. He suggests 1) Make your email a thing of value; 2) Give the listeners something to keep; and 3) Write it very simple and concise. He also points out the inherent ability email has as a vehicle to carry advertising – something far less convenient to pull off on Facebook and Twitter. To read Chris Miller’s entire article, click here.
Talk Host Debbie Nigro Begins New Venture Today. Talk radio pro Debbie Nigro launches a new talk initiative today on Cumulus Media’s WFAS, White Plains, New York and online via the WFASam.com website. Calling it “innovative female-driven but gender-friendly talk radio,” the new program is the brainchild of the woman who brought her “Working Mom on the Go” syndicated talk show to stations across the country during the 1990s. This new show airs at 1:00 pm ET four days per week on WFAS.
Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce Operating Internet Radio Station. The Hunterdon Chamber of Commerce in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania is operating what may be the country’s only chamber of commerce-owned internet radio station. Radio host Richard Gerstner is the only employee of the station – and a part-time employee at that – but it’s been on the air for a year with the goal of driving new, local business relationships. The station drew 12,000 unique visitors in its first year and chamber president Chris Phelan believes that means about one in every 10 or 11 county residents tuned in at some point. According to a story in the Express-Times, the station currently airs only 10 hours of fresh programming each day, including its 8 am to 10 am daily “Good Morning Hunterdon” flagship program and 38 other shows hosted mostly by Hunterdon business owners. The rest of the airtime is filled by re-runs. Phelan says the station is helping to achieve the chamber’s main goal with the station: to build a sense of community.
Odds & Sods. Opie & Anthony alumnus Rick Delgado begins a regular internet talk show called the “Ugly American Radio Show” via inravio.com. Delgado most recently was producer and “third mic” for the “Paul and Young Ron Morning Show” at Clear Channel’s WGBB, Miami. Delgado was executive producer of the Opie & Anthony show at WNEW-FM, New York from 1998 to 2002…..John Andariese retires from his position as the radio voice of New York Knicks basketball. Andariese has been involved with Knicks basketball since 1972, serving as the play-by-play voice since the 1998-99 season. A statement from MSG Networks says Andariese is stepping down to spend more time with his family and to focus on his advertising business. Brendan Brown will take over the Knicks radio broadcasts…..The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron writes that former Houston Astros player and broadcasters Alan Ashby and Larry Dierker are among two of the possible candidates for the Astros radio booth next season. The team announced Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond would not return next year. Former MLB pitcher Steve Sparks is also on the list of possible broadcasters for the club…..SiriusXM is bringing actor/director/writer Chazz Palminteri aboard for his own four-week series called “Ask Chazz.” The acclaimed star of stage and screen will answer questions about show business and will offer advice about the entertainment industry, as well as business, sports, life and anything else on listeners’ minds.
September PPM Numbers Continued: Highlights of Talk and Sports Stations. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian reports on the September PPM numbers rolling in and writes about the movement of some talk and sports stations.
- In market # 11 Detroit…this is the second straight month that CBS Radio controls the top four spots; however, country WYCD (+.5 from August) trades places with sports sibling WXYT-FM, which is down one full share.
- In market # 13 Seattle, Bonneville’s talk KIRO-FM remains in the top three with a slight jump (+.1 from August) to a 4.8 share while sister sports talk KIRO-AM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.8.
- In Phoenix – market #14 – Clear Channel’s news/talk KFYI rises nicely one full share to a 5.3 while Bonneville’s KTAR-FM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.2.
- In market #16 Minneapolis, news/talk WCCO tumbles seven-tenths to 6.4 (#3 to #5). The last time the CBS Radio talk powerhouse had a 6+ stat that low was in July 2011 (6.4, as well). Also, tied in August at 3.1, sports rivals Clear Channel-owned KFXN (+.3, #13) and Hubbard‘s KSTP-AM (-.4, #16) are now separated by seven-tenths.
For more PPM data and ratings analysis, visit our sister publication RadioInfo’s ratings section here.
KDWN, Las Vegas Talk Host Alan Stock to Host Special Election Season TV Program. Morning drive host Alan Stock also hosts a nightly interview and news show produced for Vegas TV (cable 14/HD1014) airing at 9:30 pm called “Eye on Vegas with Alan Stock.” This month, Stock will add a special weekly show to his work on Vegas TV called “News & Views 2012” set to air Wednesdays at 5:30 pm. Stock tells TALKERS, “It is a special series for the election season only on during the month of October. The great news is it is already sold out from an advertising standpoint. The show includes a panel of four people – two liberals and two conservatives. The first show aired on Wednesday the 3rd on the topic of the economy. Other topics will include civil rights (gay marriage, etc.), illegal immigration, foreign policy and Obamacare/medical care in general although the topics might be modified depending on what news is breaking.”
WTKK, Boston Sells Out ‘Ultimate Town Hall Meeting.’ Greater Media news/talk outlet WTKK, Boston “News Talk 96.9” announces its “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” set for Saturday, October 13 at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall has sold out all 800 seats but the station will give away five Presidential Packages (including front row seats, exclusive meet-and-greets, and more) to listeners starting next week. The “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” is moderated by WTKK morning hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan and includes a prominent panel of WTKK’s on-air hosts and contributors including local personality Michael Graham, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish, Cumulus Media Network’s John Batchelor, Compass Media Networks’ Ron Insana and the Boston Globe’s Brian McGrory. Program director Grace Blazer states, “News Talk 96.9’s all-star panel will debate the ‘state of the state’ of the 2012 presidential election and the hotly contested Scott Brown-Elizabeth Warren Massachusetts Senate race. Our entire team is looking forward to engaging in smart and entertaining debate for our audience and our advertisers.”
WGN, Chicago Honored at 2012 Radio Mercury Awards. Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago won a 2012 Radio Mercury Award in the “Radio Station Produced” category for the “Shifty Eyes” spot created for local business Oak Park Natural Pet & Fish. The commercial was written and produced by WGN Radio commercial services manager Jason Skaggs. WGN vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “We’re honored as a station and proud to have such a talented person in Jason on our team. Jason creates unique and memorable messages that deliver real results for our advertisers. He gets it.” The 2012 Radio Mercury Awards are part of the 2012 Advertising Week Conference in New York. The Radio Mercury Awards, the only competition exclusively devoted to radio, was established in 1992 to encourage and reward the development of effective and creative radio commercials. For more on other winners, see the coverage at our sister publication RadioInfo’s site here.
Changes at the Top at Blue Star Media Group. Effective immediately, Blue Star Media Group president and CEO Michael Metter exits to pursue interests outside the radio business and former executive vice president Jeff Weber returns to the company to lead it as consulting operations executive. Blue Star owns and operates Business TalkRadio Network; Lifestyle TalkRadio Network; WLFP, Pittsburgh; WGCH, Greenwich, Connecticut and recently sold KNUU, Las Vegas. Weber, who resigned from Blue Star in December of 2011 after 10 years of running the operations, says, “What a great opportunity to return to work with our exceptional staff and the fine content product we provide our more than 1,000 affiliates and the outstanding programs our owned stations air for their listeners.”
Breaking with Your Church on a Secular Talk Station. KDKA, Pittsburgh weekend talk show host Johnna Pro writes about a recent discussion about contraception on her program that led to, as she calls it, a crisis of faith. Pro’s experience is one many religious talk show hosts who work on secular stations face – agreeing with or breaking with Church teachings in the course of discussing the issues and having an opinion – something talk show hosts must have to survive in this business. Read Pro’s story of how one Catholic talk show host handled a real on-the-air conflict here.
Kuhner in Boston. Washington Times columnist and host of “The Kuhner Report” on Entercom’s WRKO, Boston (airing from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon daily) Jeff Kuhner is pictured here in the Boston studios of WRKO. Kuhner visited the station earlier this week. WRKO assistant program director Bill Cooksey says, “The response to Jeff has been overwhelming. He’s going to be a star in no time at all, and I’m glad he’s with us.”
Presidential Debate, Libya Consulate Attack Investigation, Obama ‘Race Speech,’ and Iran Nukes Program Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/3). Anticipation of last night’s presidential debate; the ongoing analysis of the fatal attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya; controversy over the video of a 2007 Barack Obama campaign speech in which he questions why largely African-American Katrina victims were treated differently than other disaster victims; and Iran’s nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
ESPN Radio Extends Michael Kay’s Contract with WEPN-FM, New York. “ESPN New York 98.7” announces Michael Kay signs a three-year contract to remain the PM drive host on the ESPN O&O. Station VP/GM Dave Roberts says, “We’re very happy to have extended Michael’s contract for multiple years. He’s been a mainstay at the station and in the New York sports scene for more than a decade. Having him continue to anchor our afternoon drive programming alongside Don La Greca is a huge plus for ESPN New York.” Kay has worked at the ESPN sports talk station for the past 11 years and also serves as the play-by-play announcer for Yankees baseball on the YES Network.
The James T. Harris Show Moves to PM Drive on KQTH, Tucson; Jon Justice Gets TV Simulcast. Talk show host James T. Harris moved from Journal Broadcasting’s Milwaukee news/talk flagship WTMJ – where he did weekend and fill-in shows – to the company’s KQTH “104.1 The Truth” last October to begin hosting the two-hour midday show. Now, program director Ryan McCredden reports Harris is taking over the PM drive slot and he says that change in the lineup “will give ‘The Truth’ listeners an unprecedented seven hours of local talk, and the only live and local FM talk show in the afternoons. By moving James T. to our afternoon drive time, we’re continuing our commitment to providing the best local talk programming in Tucson. His energy, passion and dedication is the right fit for the top-rated talk station in Southern Arizona.” In other KQTH news, the Jon Justice morning drive show is now being seen in addition to being heard in Tucson. KWBA-TV “CW 58” simulcasts the 7:00 am to 9:00 am hours of Justice’s program. Justice says, “I’m very excited to be able to expand on the success of the show and be able to offer the listener another dimension to what we do on ‘104.1 The Truth’ every day.”
Careful What You Say. Radio consultant Holland Cooke says radio personalities – especially those in PPM markets – should remember there are some words and phrases that will cause parents with kids in the car to dump your show. “If you’re in a PPM market, awareness drives use. So, either way, being thought of as R-rated will cost you what Arbitron calls Occasions of Listening and Time Spent Listening.” Find out what Cooke says is one of the most “offensive” phrases to parents in today’s piece. But wait, there’s more. Perception is reality and if you or your talent are using some of the incorrect words or pronunciations Holland lists here, you could be jeopardizing your reputation and, yes, listenership. Don’t be punished by Arbitron and choose your words carefully. Read Holland Cooke’s entire story here.
Bidding War for Indians Baseball in Cleveland Pits CC Against CBS. A story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer illustrates the bidding going on between CBS Radio and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment for the radio broadcast rights to Cleveland Indians baseball. The story quotes the Indians senior director of communications Curtis Danburg saying, “We are in the bidding process for our radio rights. We are making strides, but it’s hard to put a date on when we’ll get a deal done. Nothing is imminent.” Clear Channel’s WTAM currently has the broadcast rights but it’s believed that the team wants the winning bidder to commit to a longer deal than the current two-year contract Clear Channel is finishing up. CC has had the Indians since 1998 but CBS Radio would like to put the Tribe on its new FM sports talk WKRK “Sports Radio 92.3 The Fan.” How important the FM signal is to the team is now known since it is playing the negotiations very tight-lipped but one has to assume CBS will play the FM card very seriously. The Plain Dealer reports that not only do the Indians sell the broadcast rights, the deal allows the team to keep revenue garnered from game broadcasts.
Michael Smerconish Announces “Book Club” Live Events. Philadelphia-based WYD Media nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Smerconish has been bringing high-profile authors to the Philadelphia area for live events that draw his book-consuming P1s to venues for several years. He is announcing his fall lineup that begins with the September 27 appearance of two-time Pulitzer Prize winners Donald Barlett and James Steele to the historic Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope in support of their provocative new bestseller, The Betrayal of the American Dream (PublicAffairs 2012). Smerconish says, “There could not be a more timely read in the midst of the 2012 election from the men who two decades ago wrote America: What Went Wrong. In a methodical assessment, Barlett and Steele drill down on the confluence of economic policy and politics that has jeopardized the American middle class. One wishes that Messrs. Obama and Romney would be in attendance to hear what Barlett and Steele have to say!”
TuneIn Announces New Partnerships Bringing News, Talk and Music Content to the Web. Digital content aggregator TuneIn announces a number of partnerships with terrestrial and digital radio companies that expand the company’s slate of content. Some of the companies that are providing their audio to TuneIn for listeners to hear include: Public Radio International; C-SPAN Radio; ABC Australia; the Hearst Corporation; myvradio; WFMU, East Orange, New Jersey; WSM, Nashville; KDHX, St. Louis; KXT, Dallas-Fort Worth; Wu-Tang Radio; Israel Sports Radio; My Cool Inventions Radio; and others. TuneIn CEO John Donham says, “After reaching the 40 million monthly active listener milestone earlier this month, we are more committed than ever to serving our growing listener base by offering as many quality content options as possible. Aligning with renowned and respected news organizations like C-SPAN and PRI will be a fantastic and effective way for both TuneIn and these broadcasters to continue to build and expand our audiences.”
Presidential Campaign, Obama China Complaint, Anti-Muslim Film Violence, Occupy Wall Street Anniversary, Chicago Teachers Strike and iPhone 5 Mania Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/17). The 2012 presidential campaign; the Obama Administration’s complaint about illegal Chinese subsidies; the repercussion in the Islamic world from the now-infamous anti-Muslim internet film; the anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street protests; week two of the Chicago teachers strike begins; and records sales of Apple’s new iPhone 5 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
ESPN Responds to CBS Sports Radio Announcement. Well, not specifically to last week’s announcement by CBS of its planned CBS Sports Radio network division, but it may have been a factor (wink, wink). ESPN sends a reminder to the industry underscoring it how pervasive the sports media organization’s audio content is, signed by SVP production, business divisions Traug Keller, who states, “We’re used to competition. ESPN Audio has built an unparalleled mix of high-quality events and national sports talk programming over the last 20 years. We are well positioned in the marketplace through our diverse audio platforms.” The release goes on to note it counts 700 affiliate stations in the U.S. – 300 of which it terms full-time affiliates. It also says it reaches 24 million listeners each week.
Programming Changes at Merlin Media’s WIQI-FM, Chicago; Greg Jarrett to AM Drive. According to Chicagoland Radio and Media, Merlin Media is making changes to the lineup at “FM News 101.1” beginning today with the arrival of Greg Jarrett in AM drive. Jarrett, the news pro who most recently served as morning host at Tribune’s crosstown WGN, joins the morning drive program co-anchoring with Monica DeSantis. The move bumps Rob Hart and Mary Ellen Geist to the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon shift. The site also reports Merlin is adding some “expanded news” programming – apparently a euphemism for “talk show” – to the schedule with John Czahor beginning a 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show. And there is still a lot of chatter in Chicago about Erich “Mancow” Muller getting an afternoon talk show on the station. He, and others including Jeff Pinkus, Kevin Matthews and Jim Laski, have been taking turns hosting talk shows in the afternoons on the station. But so far there is no official word about the permanent addition of any talk show to the lineup.
New York Public Radio Names NY Times Editor Jim Schachter News VP. WNYC-FM, New York announces The New York Times associate managing editor Jim Schachter will exit the paper and become the pubcaster’s vice president of news on July 9. He’ll be responsible for WNYC, the New Jersey Public Radio stations it recently acquired, the data news unit and the political site, It’s A Free Country. President and CEO Laura Walker says of Schachter, “He has a vibrant vision, an appetite for innovation, and a keen understanding of engaging audiences. This will bolster our ambitious plans to grow our news content and increase our reporting capacity across all platforms. We’re delighted that he is joining us at a moment when the need for serious journalism has never been more urgent.”
Digital Audio Service TuneIn Adds Fox News Radio and Bloomberg to Its Stable. The global digital audio service is quickly reaching deals with major radio and internet audio content providers and now announces it has added Fox News Radio and Bloomberg Radio to its affiliate list. TuneIn tallies more than 20 major broadcast groups as partners and the addition of Fox News Radio means TuneIn users can hear the network’s top- and bottom-of-the-hour newscasts as well as longform talk shows “Kilmeade and Friends,” John Gibson, Tom Sullivan, Alan Colmes, “Fox Across America with Spencer Hughes” and more. TuneIn CEO John Donham states, “We are committed to achieving the varied goals of our broadcast partners, whether they’re growing their audiences, monetizing their streams or growing their digital footprint. Broadcasters have already responded enthusiastically to our current offerings. We will continue to innovate – as we always have – to ensure the best experience for broadcasters, and listeners, everywhere.”
Six Leading Radio Networks Organize Network Radio Compliance Council. Six of the top American radio networks are announcing the formation of the NRCC – Network Radio Compliance Council – whose mission is to “establish best practices, providing advertisers, agencies and radio stations with better tools for the placement and reporting of commercial audio.” The NRCC consists of the six RADAR-rated network organizations: American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Cumulus Media Networks, Dial Global, Premiere Networks and United Stations Radio Networks. The council elects Meg Montury of Premiere Networks as chair and Chris Buehler of Dial Global as vice chair. In a statement, the council will host quarterly meetings with invited guests, including radio vendors, ad agencies and additional network radio companies. Montury says, “Given the vast industry experience of members of this council, we are excited to be working together as an industry to enhance the accountability of network radio. Technology over the past five years has enabled us all to deliver even more precision and accuracy for our clients. The NRCC can only further solidify these efforts.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles is honored with two Southern California Journalism Awards for editorial excellence from the Los Angeles Press Club at yesterday’s 54th Southern California Journalism Awards dinner. KNX won in the “News” category for its “Shutdown Occupy L.A.” piece and in the “Investigative” category for “The Strange Case of Dr. Ehab Mohamed.”…..La Crosse Radio Group flips WLFN, La Crosse, Wisconsin from standards to talk with local host Bob Schmidt in AM drive, WIBA, Madison-based Vicki McKenna in PM drive plus Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish…..CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis is sponsoring a lunch and live broadcast to honor first responders and benefit the St. Louis County Police Welfare Association. Along with local sponsors Lane House Construction and CiCi’s Pizza, the former will buy lunch for all first responders who join the event on Thursday, June 28 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm during which the station’s Martin Kilcoyne and Trish Gazall will broadcast live and donations to the association will be accepted…..Boston jazz buffs are lamenting the imminent disappearance of WGBH-FM, Boston’s evening jazz programming as the non-com announces it will add more spoken-word content to the program schedule this summer. There’s no official evening programming schedule announcement yet but the station has recently added expanded programming from NPR…..“Car Clinic” radio host Bobby Likis says he’s extended his collaboration with the Renewable Fuels Association on its ethanol educational outreach. The outreach includes the “Calling All Technicians…20 Facts About Ethanol” feature on the Car Clinic Network, which is designed to enlighten, educate and energize automotive technicians with verifiable facts, studies and statistics on ethanol…..Galaxy Communications’ classic rock simulcast of WTKW-FM, Bridgeport, New York and WTKV-FM, Oswego, New York are the new central New York affiliate stations for Buffalo Bills football games this season…..Al Warren retires from his weekend morning program at Cumulus Media’s WICC, Bridgeport, Connecticut on July 1. Warren began working with WICC in 1965.
KDOW, San Francisco Producer Wins Award for “Phil’s Gang” Promotion. Salem Communications’ KDOW, San Francisco producer Mark Morris is recognized in the 2011 International Radio and Production Awards for his production work on the “Waltzing with Phil Grande” promotion. The business talk-formatted station carries the nationally syndicated “Phil’s Gang” talk program hosted by Phil Grande. Grande states, “We are proud of Mark and thankful for all his hard work for the ‘Phil’s Gang’ radio show. This high-level award is the crème of the industry and everyone at ‘Phil’s Gang’ congratulates Mark on this leading international award honoring his excellence in broadcasting.”
10 Things You Need to Know About Live Endorsements. The live endorsement is one of the most powerful advertising vehicles talk radio has to offer. But KTRH, Houston talk show host and TALKERS Heavy Hundred member Michael Berry writes that advertisers and sales personnel too often force the talent into making mistakes that undermine its effectiveness. For starters, Berry says that forcing the talent to work with a script takes away from his or her ability to put the message in unique terms. The best way is to have the talent use the good or service and like it. “We can sell what we like because then it’s not ‘selling.’ It’s simply sharing what we like, and it’s what we do. Make sure your endorser understands you, the individual who owns the business.” Read Michael Berry’s 10 points about live endorsements here.
WYD Media Management Announces Formation of Sister Firm for Affiliate Sales and Marketing. WYD Media founder Ron Hartenbaum states the formation of WYM Media Management LLC will serve the purpose of handling the affiliate marketing strategies for its planned expansion of new talk programming. “WYM is a natural expansion of the business. WYD manages and produces programming, while WYM will focus on multiple platform distribution of that product.” Industry pro Liz Laud joins the company as the first affiliate sales and marketing associate. Hartenbaum says, “Liz is an accomplished industry veteran whose track record from Westwood One, Jones Radio and Dial Global speaks for itself. We are absolutely ecstatic with Liz on the team as WYM’s first affiliate sales & marketing associate.” WYD Media Management has been a key figure in the growth of talk shows such as the “The Stephanie Miller Show,” “The Thom Hartmann Program” and “The Michael Smerconish Show.” Ron Hartenbaum has also worked with numerous highly successful talk talent including Rush Limbaugh, Dennis Prager, Neal Boortz, Mike Malloy, Clark Howard, Mike Gallagher, and “Ring of Fire” with Sam Seder, Mike Papantonio and Robert Kennedy Jr. WYM Media will be based in New York and Los Angeles and is expected to announce new programming shortly. Liz Laud says, “This is a wonderful opportunity to participate in new, fun, informative, and entertaining long form programming and to participate in the growth of WYD as a key player in national radio programming.” She can be contacted at Lizlaud@mac.com or 310-625-9753.
Former San Diego Sports Talk Host Scott Kaplan Joins U-T San Diego TV Initiative. The San Diego newspaper U-T San Diego – formerly known as the Union-Tribune – is developing TV programming for cable and the web and one of its first efforts is a roundtable program designed to discuss San Diego topics. Scott Kaplan (pictured here at left), who most recently worked hosting the AM drive sports talk show at XEPRS, San Diego, is part of the cast alongside Amber Mesker (c) and Billy Ray Smith (r). U-T San Diego CEO John Lynch is quoted in the U-T saying, “We’re going to be, every moment of the day, talking about San Diego. We realize that we have a very valuable asset and that is unique, exclusive content that is hyper-local and all about San Diego — from sports to business to the news.” U-T San Diego was purchased by hotelier Doug Manchester in November of 2011 and so far has spent $3 million constructing a professional studio and hiring about a dozen of the 50 people it will need to operate the station.
Mike Scott Named OM/PD at WCAR, Detroit. Mike Scott previously served as assistant program director and midday host at CBS Radio‘s country WYCD-FM, Detroit. He recently left the market to take the programmer’s post at KZKX-FM, Lincoln, Nebraska but exited that position after just four months. Now, he returns to the Motor City market as operations manager and program director of Birach Broadcasting‘s sports talk WCAR, Livonia, Michigan.
Comrex Corporation’s STAC VIP Gains Skype Certification; Paves Way for Hi-Fi Skype Calls on Talk Radio. The engineers at Comrex Corporation are celebrating the fact that their Comrex STAC VIP VoIP Call Management Systems has passed qualification by Skype to allow it to process Skype calls alongside all other calls for radio call-in shows. This certification means the STAC VIP meets the guidelines to be called “Plugged into Skype” and can carry the Skype logo. What it means to radio talk shows is the ability to have one unit that processes calls from numerous formats – including Legacy POTS, ISDN, VoIP, IP-based PBX systems and now Skype – into the call screener and control unit and onto the radio. Skype provides “studio quality” sound for users. Comrex technical director Tom Hartnett states, “Skype support was an important factor in development of the VIP product. Skype, by its nature, carries very high-fidelity audio when being used between Skype clients. Skype support means stations that use STAC-VIP for their call-ins can take wideband calls from anyone who has Skype installed on their PC or smartphone.”
Talk Radio Legend Barry Farber Featured on TALKERS TV. Pioneering talk radio host Barry Farber – currently heard in national syndication via Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk – was honored at the recent New York City edition of the TALKERS New Media Seminar on Thursday, June 7 with a “Lifetime Achievement Award.” During the event, Farber found time to sit down in front of the Talkers camera and speak about his craft and his career. View the video in the TALKERS TV box on this page.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Independently syndicated talk show host Leslie Marshall is named one of the Top 50 Fabulous Women by Pasadena, California’s THE Magazine. The publication recognizes Marshall for her charity work to build schools and provide education, especially for girls in Islamic countries such as Pakistan, through various charities such as “Shine For Humanity.” She was also recognized for using her talk show to bring people together on issues and to raise awareness of human suffering worldwide in order to change it…..KNX, Los Angeles continues its Business Breakfast series with a June 22 event dedicated to creating a winning culture in the workplace. “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Motek moderates a discussion that includes: Chester Elton, co-author of the New York Times bestseller All In; G.J. Hart, the chief executive officer and president of California Pizza Kitchen; Jodi Walker, president of Success Alliances; and Yvonne Trupiano, director of talent acquisitions at Avis Budget Group…..Michigan-based talk host Michael Patrick Shiels broadcasts his morning drive radio and TV show (heard on WDTW, Detroit; WTKG, Grand Rapids; and seen on Fox 47 TV in Lansing) from Kennebunkport, Maine today, the day after former President George H.W. Bush‘s 88th birthday party. Shiels will interview Bush family and friends at the Cape Arundel Golf Club where the former president’s charity is holding a golf outing…..Tampa-based talk host Bubba the Love Sponge‘s charitable foundation is assisting local mother Christine Dean in paying for her trip to Los Angeles this summer to take part in a fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s Children’s Cancer Research. Gary Kompothecras – founder of the attorney and doctor referral service 1-800-ASK-GARY – heard Dean on Bubba’s program talking about her child’s leukemia diagnosis and her desire to go to L.A. for the event. He donated the $1,000 necessary to make the trip.
Sports Talker Dan Sileo Addresses Power of the NFL in Shaping its Coverage. WQAM, Miami afternoon drive talk host Dan Sileo writes about the problem sports talk hosts – and sports journalists – face covering the mighty National Football League, especially in light of controversies such as the recent Saints bounty case in which several players received suspensions. Read his column here.
Attorney General Eric Holder Under Fire, 2012 Presidential Race, Jerry Sandusky Trial, Texas Beating Death and Los Angeles Kings Win Stanley Cup Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/12). Republican scrutiny of Attorney General Eric Holder in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program; the 2012 presidential campaign; testimony from alleged victims in the Jerry Sandusky case; the beating death of an alleged child molester in Texas; and the Los Angeles Kings’ first franchise Stanley Cup were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Beasley Las Vegas Helps Raise $165k for Children’s Miracle Network. That’s KDWN, Las Vegas-based talk host and physician Dr. Daliah Wachs (r) appearing at the recent radiothon interviewing an unnamed guest. Dr. Wachs reports to TALKERS that Beasley Broadcast Group‘s Las Vegas stations partnered with St. Rose Dominican Hospitals for the cause and brought in $165,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network – a foundation raising money for specialized medical equipment, family needs, and more for pediatric patients.
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 Times‘ Brian 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.
Right and Left Come Together at the TALKERS New Media Seminar to Denounce the Practice of Organized Advertiser Boycotts. They might not agree on many things but a love for the business of talk broadcasting and its role as a vehicle for the practice of the First Amendment can indeed make for strange political bedfellows. In a rare display of unity, two of the highest-
profile and distinctly politically opposite talk show hosts in the business condemned the increased practice of organized advertiser boycotts by political organizations as a means of shutting down voices on radio and television with which they disagree.
Conservative host Sean Hannity (Fox News Channel and Premiere Networks) and progressive host Ed Schultz (MSNBC and the independently syndicated Ed Schultz show) delivered their powerful remarks at the TALKERS New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7. Hannity included the statement as part of his keynote address which opened the conference. Schultz presented his opinion while delivering the event’s “Annual State of the First Amendment Address.” During his presentation at the non-partisan, industry-wide gathering, Hannity played excerpts from a variety of well-known talk show hosts making controversial statements on the air that subsequently resulted in calls for advertiser boycotts and/or the firing of the hosts. The clips included hosts from all over the spectrum – left, right and popular culture (still referred to by many as “shock jocks”) – with ear-perking clips from Don Imus, Howard Stern, Opie & Anthony, Mike Malloy and more. Both Rush Limbaugh’s reference to Sandra Fluke and Ed Schultz’s description of Laura Ingraham as “sluts” were included to underscore the point that no single faction of the talk radio universe was exempt from participating in the practice of political or artistic controversy. Hannity’s remedy: Change the dial. Schultz concurred. Both made their cases for the sake and survival of the talk radio industry as well as protecting the spirit of the First Amendment. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for complete coverage of the New Media Seminar in the coming days and weeks.
Cumulus Media Officially Announces Geraldo Rivera Rollout. This has been expected since shortly after Geraldo Rivera made his talk radio debut on Cumulus Media‘s WABC, New York and KABC, Los Angeles in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Now, Cumulus says it will expand the show to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET time slot and begin a national rollout on August 13. In a statement, Cumulus Media COO John Dickey says, “When Geraldo agreed to host shows for Cumulus stations in New York and L.A. we had a hunch there’d be substantial national listener interest in his incisive and insightful style. And now we’re thrilled that with Geraldo such a success in those two markets, the show will be available across the country.”
Glenn Beck Renews with Premiere Networks for 5 Years and a Reported $20 Million per Year. That figure is according to The New York Times‘ Brian Stelter who cites a “person with direct knowledge” saying the deal will pay Glenn Beck $100 million over the course of the new, five-year deal. In addition to handling affiliate and ad sales for Beck’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET nationally syndicated radio show, Premiere Networks also assists in ad sales for some of Beck’s non-radio efforts including his internet video channel GBTV on which his daily afternoon talk show is broadcast.
NBC Partners with Dial Global for Syndication of Sports Radio Content as NBC Sports Radio Network. According to what Rob Simmelkjaer, senior vice president of NBC Sports Ventures and International tells USA Today, the new project will start with hourly sports updates and a couple of short-form features. But Simmelkjaer says NBC hopes to have two three-hour evening sports talk shows (one each for 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm ET starts) ready for syndication by fall. He says, “The goal is to start with a beachhead of programming and gradually expand to 24 hours per day, seven days per week maybe in 3 to 5 years.” Dial Global will handle affiliate and ad sales for the service and Simmelkjaer says it will be sold in tandem with Dial Global’s NFL radio broadcasts.
Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire Surface at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. Talk show hosts Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire had most recently hosted the morning drive show on Curtis Media Group‘s WZTK-FM, Burlington, North Carolina before the station flipped formats to Spanish music earlier this year. Now, the duo will replace Vince Coakley in the PM drive slot beginning July 2. In June of last year, Coakley took over the afternoon show for Tara Servatius who currently hosts mornings on WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. WBT program director Carl East says, “These guys bring a great sense of energy and fun to the air. Those who have been in Charlotte for a while already know what Brad is capable of. They are very clever observers of the issues of the day, whether they are local or national. The audience is going to love engaging them.” Brad Krantz previously hosted afternoons at WBT alongside Richard Spires for four years from 1999 to 2003.
KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Names Chuck Meyer News Director. CBS Radio‘s news/talk KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas brings news pro Chuck Meyer aboard as news/director and anchor for the station’s PM drive news block. Meyer previously served as news director at WIOD, Miami and KING, Seattle and as program director at KVET, Austin and KCUB, Tucson. KXNT-AM/FM program director Andrew Paul says, “Chuck brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our staff. We are thrilled to have him lead our news team on multiple platforms.” The move allows former news director Joe Gillespie to focus on his duties as host of the station’s morning drive news program.
Jay Cutler to Join WMVP, Chicago for Weekly Appearance. ESPN Chicago announces Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will be live in the studio with ESPN 1000′s Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman each Monday from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. In announcing the multi-year deal, ESPN 1000 president and general manager John Craven states, “ESPN Chicago could not be more excited to welcome Jay Cutler to our already solid on-air lineup. Waddle & Silvy’s extended access to Jay will give Bears fans his insights into the game and a glimpse of his personality they have never heard before both on air and online.” ESPN has sold the show to Miller Lite, the official beer of the Chicago Bears.
Talk Host Michael Smerconish to Welcome NAB Crystal Radio Award Winners Tonight. Nationally syndicated WYD Media talk host Michael Smerconish will use the “magic” of technology to gather together all 10 NAB Crystal Radio Award winners at the NAB Education Foundation’s “Service to America” black-tie fundraiser taking place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC this evening. Smerconish will welcome the winners to the stage and acknowledge their accomplishments.
The End of an Era as NPR’s “Car Talk” Hosts Retire in September. Hosts of the ubiquitous weekend public radio show “Car Talk” on NPR – brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi – will retire in September and record no more calls from Americans with questions usually having to do with their cars. But the show will go on for at least a few more years. NPR will continue to produce the show with previously aired audio from the show’s dense library of content. TALKERS magazine spoke with “Car Talk” producer Doug Berman several years ago for a feature story about the production of weekend talk programs. Unlike many shows, car talk is not a “live” call-in show. Calls are recorded during the week or callers are asked to call in at specific production times. As a result, the show has probably gathered more content than necessary at times and, in addition to “repurposed” content, there may be some calls to “Car Talk” that have not seen the light of day. Also, Berman tells the Boston Herald that they’ve reviewed the ratings for new shows and repeats and have found no difference. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was asked about the future success of “Car Talk” by the Los Angeles Times and he stated, “Not many shows that are maintenance, how-to shows can carry it off where people listen to be entertained. That makes the show extremely potent.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Cox Media Group‘s WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta nabs 11 from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. Among the accolades WSB picked up include “Station of the Year” large market and “Best Radio Program” and “Best Talk Host” honors for WSB-based nationally syndicated star Neal Boortz…..Beasley Broadcasting‘s news/talk WGAC, Augusta, Georgia wins the Georgia Association of Broadcasters “Radio Station of the Year” award in the mid-sized market category. The station’s personalities also were individually recognized with coveted “Gabby” Awards: News director and morning show host Mary Liz Nolan won “Best Newscast; sports director Ashley Brown won “Best Sportscast” and “Best Sports Story or Series” and Dallas Reece was honored for the year’s “Best Commercial.”…..WBZ, Boston news anchor Joe Mathieu interviews “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley at the WBZ NewsRadio Business Breakfast about his first year as anchor of CBS’ evening news program Tuesday, June 12 at 8:00 am…..Fox Sports Radio continues its coverage of mixed martial arts with simulcasts of FX‘s “UFC on FX: Fight Night.” FSRN simulcast last Friday’s program and will do it again on June 22 at 9:00 pm ET with a two-hour post-fight call-in show beginning at 11:00 pm ET.
You’re Never Too Old…to Play Pro Football. That’s 50-year-old Stan Nawalaniec of the Stan & Haney PM drive show on Beasley Broadcasting‘s hot talk WRXK-FM, Bonita Springs, Florida – 96 K-Rock Talk That Rocks – suited up with two unidentified players on the United Indoor Football League‘s Florida Tarpons. Stan signed on for a one-game deal with the undefeated team and was a member for its last regular season game Saturday, June 9 played at Southwest Florida’s Germain Arena in Estero.
CBS Radio’s WPHT Touts New “Live and Local” Lineup. With WYD Media talk show host Michael Smerconish soon to air live on his flagship station WPHT, Philadelphia as he replaces Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh, CBS Radio is promoting its dedication to “live and local” talk radio on the Philly news/talker. Philadelphia market manager Marc Rayfield states, “We pride ourselves on being local and serving Philadelphians first. Having Michael broadcast live is another example of our commitment to the audience. The November election is one of the most important ever and WPHT will continue to offer a local platform no matter what side of the aisle you sit on.” WPHT’s morning show (for years hosted by Smerconish) is hosted by Chris Stigall, Dom Giordano is late morning talent, Smerconish takes over 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, Gary R’nel hosts evenings and the station promises to bring a new live and local PM drive show to the station to replace Smerconish’s delayed broadcast.
BIA/Kelsey Reports Radio’s On-Air Revenue Flat in 2011. The quarterly “Investing in Radio Market Report” from BIA/Kelsey indicates revenue from over-the-air radio rose a modest 0.4% over 2010 numbers to $14.1 billion in 2011. While the revenue for over-the-air was basically flat, digital revenue rose 15.1% to reach $439 million. In the report, BIA/Kelsey predicts online revenue will continue to grow at a fast pace to $505 million in 2012 and to $767 million in 2016. Political spending in 2012 is also expected to boost total radio revenue by as much as 3.5% over 2011 figures. BIA/Kelsey VP and chief economist Mark Fratrik says, “Although radio’s revenue ascent has been slow since its bottoming in 2009, the industry always picks up steam in an election year and is continuing to prove itself as a valuable local advertising medium, particularly as the integration between over-the-air and online improves. News stations, in particular, continue to be leaders in many markets by creating comprehensive over-the-air and digital portfolios of ad products and formats to drive deeper advertiser engagement and prove their value in the ad buying mix.”
All-News WCBS Tops New York Revenue Pile for Third Straight Year. Although revenue was actually down from year-to-year – billing dropped from $49 million in 2010 to $47.5 million – all-news WCBS was still the top biller in the Big Apple, according to Crain’s New York Business. The story includes analysis of the BIA/Kelsey report in the story above. The top five revenue-generating stations in New York for 2011 were: WCBS, CHR WHTZ-FM, lite rock WLTW-FM, all-news WINS, and sports talk WFAN.
Sports Talk Host Dan Sileo Takes Over PM Drive at WQAM, Miami. Former WDAE, Tampa talk show host Dan Sileo is joining Beasley Broadcasting’s sports talk WQAM, Miami to replace Sid Rosenberg as host of the PM drive show. Sileo exited Clear Channel Media and Entertianment’s WDAE several weeks ago after a number of years with the station. Beasley Broadcasting VP/market manager Joe Bell tells TALKERS, “I have followed Dan’s career for years and am very excited about his joining our team! Dan has a passion for sports, has demonstrated ratings success and at heart is a “Miami guy” having played on two UM National Championship football teams.
Production Talent Changes at Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM.” With longtime production voice Ross Mitchell leaving the show to pursue other interests, Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” announces Dick Ervasti and Charles Thomas join the program. The network states, “Dick Ervasti now lends his voice to the program’s introductions, while Charles Thomas voices on-air announcements and promos, as well as “Somewhere in Time with Art Bell.” Based in Minneapolis, Ervasti is a veteran voice actor with credits ranging from “America’s Most Wanted” and the blockbuster film “Transformers,” to The History Channel and the CBS hit drama “NCIS.” Thomas also has a wide range of credits, which include commercials for Samsung, Chevy Silverado, The Home Depot, the Syfy original series “Warehouse 13” and Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Talk Radio Pioneer Bruce Williams Returns to Biz Via Podcast. Iconic talk radio star Bruce Williams, who left his regularly aired radio show several years ago, is returning to the business with new podcasts available three days per week. The podcasts are being produced from calls to Williams during other times. Fans with questions for Williams are being asked to call during specific times when Williams will be able to record their conversations – today from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm ET, for example. An e-mail blast from his office states, “Remember, this Wednesday April 11 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm ET, Bruce will be taking calls off the air which will air next Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday, April 17 and Thursday, April 19 of next week he will be live taking calls from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET. For now this will be the weekly schedule. Think of all those questions you wanted to ask him for the last two years and were not able to and give him a call, even if it’s to just welcome him back. The call in number is 855-85-CALL TAE (855-852-2558). The show will also be on iTunes with the past seven shows available. All shows will be available at www.taeradio.com.
WGOW-FM, Chattanooga Names Brian Joyce Midday Host. Brian Joyce most recently worked at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston hosting a weekend talk program. His bio lists his varied work experience including: truck driver, bartender and stand-up comic, among others. Joyce tells the local Nooga.com that he considers himself part of the “radical center.” “This is the new movement, especially in my head, for politics. There will be issues where I will fall far to the left or far to the right. And maybe people won’t understand it at first. I don’t think media addresses this currently.” WGOW-FM news director Kevin West says Joyce’s hiring sends a signal about how they’d like the station to sound, “I want it to be a place where it is not predetermined what you’re going to get with any issue. I think Brian is going to surprise a lot of people.” Joyce’s program airs from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on the Cumulus Media news/talk outlet.
“The Wall Street Journal This Morning” Airs in Denver. The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s morning drive – or early morning drive in Mountain Time – program “The Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal” clears large market KOA, Denver. Station operations director Greg Foster states, “‘The Wall Street Journal This Morning’ helps reinforce 850 KOA’s news image during the early ‘executive drive time’ hours. More than just money news – ‘The Wall Street Journal This Morning’ is a perfect lead-in to our ‘Colorado’s Morning News.’”
NBC May Be Preparing to Give Matt Lauer More Air Time. News of “Today” show star Matt Lauer’s contract extension with NBC to remain with the program for many more years broke over the weekend. Now, it’s being reported that NBC is considering expanding the Lauer franchise – possibly by developing the “Today’s Professionals” segment in which Lauer bats around the hot topics of the day with talent such as Star Jones, Donny Deutsch and Dr. Nancy Snyderman – into either a fifth hour of “Today” or another show altogether. TVGuide reports the details are not set in stone but it also reports Lauer’s new deal with NBC gives him a share in the ownership of any new show outside of “Today.”
Santorum Drops Out of GOP Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Facebook Buys Instagram, North Korean Rocket Test, Trayvon Martin Case and Ozzie Guillen’s Castro Flap Among Top Stories on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (4/10). Rick Santorum’s suspension of his campaign for the GOP nomination and the larger 2012 presidential race, Facebook’s $1 billion purchase of Instagram, North Korea’s new rocket test, the Trayvon Martin case and Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen’s Castro comments were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Current TV Fires Back at Keith Olbermann. Fledgling network Current TV is countersuing former “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann in the wake of his messy departure from the operation. Entertainment Weekly reports the Al Gore-founded network is calling Olbermann’s $70 million suit against the network “frivolous” and “riddled with falsehoods and distortions.” “Current seeks a determination that it is no longer obligated to pay Mr. Olbermann who, having already been paid handsomely for showing up sporadically and utterly failing to keep his end of the bargain, now seeks to be paid tens of millions more for not working at all.” The complaint also refers to Olbermann’s April 3 appearance on “Late Night with David Letterman” during which he stated the situation was “my fault” and admitted “I screwed up.” Current TV filed its complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Rumor Confirmed: Limbaugh to Leave WPHT, Philadelphia; Michael Smerconish to Air Live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Yesterday (4/9) TALKERS reported the rumor that Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh would leave longtime affiliate WPHT and be replaced by WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. CBS Radio is confirming that switch will take place with Premiere Networks saying Limbaugh will appear elsewhere in the market, though neither source is giving specifics on when the changes will take place. Absent another major signal talk outlet in Philly, speculation is that Merlin Media will take new acquisition WKDN-FM, Philadelphia (licensed to Camden, New Jersey) news/talk in the near future and put Limbaugh on the station. Meanwhile, Michael Smerconish returns to a live broadcast (he’s currently being delayed to PM drive) on WPHT, the station where he hosted a very successful AM drive program for many years.
WSCR, Chicago’s Dan McNeil Clears Air with Listeners About Absence. Chicago sports talk host Dan McNeil told his listeners his absence from CBS Radio’s WSCR for the past six weeks was due to what he could best describe as a nervous breakdown that resulted from his ceasing to take the mood stabilizer Lamictal. McNeil says after he stopped taking the drug he became depressed and sought treatment for depression and substance abuse. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports McNeil was open and honest with his listeners saying, “I know with you listeners I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust, as I’m doing with the most important people in my family. And I hope you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt and give me a chance to re-earn that trust.” McNeil co-hosts the midday show at WSCR alongside Matt Spiegel.
Sid Rosenberg to Be Off WQAM, Miami This Week. After an arrest on Thursday of last week on DUI and driving with a suspended license charges, WQAM, Miami talk host Sid Rosenberg was on the air last Friday. But he was not hosting his show yesterday and the Miami Sun-Sentinel reports WQAM program director Lee Feldman stating he’ll be off the air all week. It’s unclear what Rosenberg’s status with the station is – whether he’s been suspended or is out for medical reasons – but he is not expected to return to the station this week.
CRN Digital Talk Radio Expands into the Hawkeye State. Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces it has struck a deal with Iowa Network Services to bring its six audio HD channels to cable subscribers in the state. CRN chief executive officer and founder Michael Horn states, “We are pleased to join with Iowa Network Services and provide their customers with our top-rated and highly entertaining talk radio programming.” Iowa Network Services is based in Des Moines and serves 57 independent telecommunications firms providing internet, data, telephone and cable television service throughout Iowa. INS video content manager Sarah Roeder says, “INS is excited to bring CRN Digital Talk Radio to Iowa. The diverse programming will add value to our existing content.” CRN Digital Talk Radio states it offers more than 100 original shows along with a stellar roster of top syndicated programs hosted by radio veterans such as Lou Dobbs, Barry Farber, Dennis Prager, Cindy Laverty, Laura Ingraham, Mancow, Michael Savage and Doug Stephan among others. “Iowa Network Services subscribers will also enjoy the popular Robert Conrad show, featuring the TV legend, as well as the Larry Manetti show, starring the former ‘Magnum P.I.’ star.”
KNST, Tucson Hosts Arizona Congressional Race Debate. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KNST, Tucson is hosting a debate among the four Republican candidates vying for the Congressional seat vacated by former Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords earlier this year. KNST morning host Garret Lewis will moderate the debate along with National Republican Committee member Bruce Ash. Candidates Frank Antenori, Jesse Kelly, Martha McSally and Dave Sitton will face off in the April 17 primary to determine who will battle Democrat Ron Barber and Green Party candidate Charlie Manolakis in the June 12 special election. The debate will take place Thursday evening at the Quail Creek Country Club and will be broadcast live on KNST and 97.1 FM.
Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED, Washington Wins “Headliner Award” for Website. Hubbard Broadcasting’s Federal News Radio announces it has been honored with a 2012 National Headliner award for a second place win in the category of Radio-Affiliated Website. Federal News Radio web manager Julia Ziegler states, “What makes FederalNewsRadio.com so successful is the fact that everyone on our staff contributes to the web product – from our reporters and web staff, to our producers and anchors. Our most innovative web projects always come from staff members bringing their individual skills, knowledge and ideas together.” WFED, Washington program director Lisa Wolfe says, “We offer a lot of interactivity with our surveys, multi-media features, radio interviews on demand, photo slide-shows and videos. We have improved the graphic experience with some excellent data visualization. The goal is to push our capabilities to be in the vanguard of digital journalism.”
KQTH-FM, Tucson Morning Host Jon Justice Hospitalized for Heart Surgery. Jon Justice hosts the morning drive show at Journal Broadcasting’s news/talk KQTH-FM, Tucson. He suffered a heart attack in 2009 and explains via the station’s video blog (pictured here) from the ICU that doctors will operate on him to fix a prior valve replacement that needs repair. Justice says doctors expect him to recover quickly and he hopes to be home from the hospital by the weekend.
Jerry Doyle Live on the Strip. That’s Talk Radio Network star Jerry Doyle broadcasting live from the Suncoast Hotel and Casino on April 6. Doyle and flagship station KDWN, Las Vegas co-produced the appearance which will become a monthly live broadcast at which Doyle’s fans can take part in what he calls “radio magic.” After Doyle’s three-hour broadcast, he took questions from fans and talked about “the things they won’t let me talk about on the radio.”
GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Tepid Jobs Report/Stock Market Activity, Status of Obama Care, Syrian Violence and Mike Wallace Passes Away Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/9). The Republican primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign; the falling Dow on the heels of a weak jobs report; the Supreme Court’s Obama Care hearing and analysis of the law’s impact on the nation’s deficit; an increase in Syrian violence; and the death of journalist Mike Wallace were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Take Me Out to the Ballgame. That’s Bob Kevoian of the nationally syndicated Premiere Networks Bob & Tom show at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati on Opening Day leading the fans in the traditional 7th inning stretch singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Bob & Tom produced a live remote broadcast from the Whiskey Bar in downtown Cincinnati on Opening Day. Members of the Bob & Tom crew, including Tom Griswold and Kristi Lee, participated in the Opening Day parade in Cincinnati. Griswold and Lee rode in affiliate Fox 92.5’s car in the parade.
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 Networks’ Rush 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.
Cumulus Makes Changes at KLIF, Dallas. The move toward more news in commercial spoken-word radio continues. Cumulus Media Group announces talk station KLIF, Dallas will add morning and afternoon drive news blocks and changes its slogan to “News & Information 570 KLIF.” The AM drive news block begins today (3/26) and features Amy Chodroff (from sister WBAP) and Dave Williams co-anchoring the program. Williams most recently worked at Merlin Media’s all-newser in Chicago. The PM drive news block is expected to begin on April 2. The changes mean morning drive talk host Jeff Bolton is out and PM drive talk host Chris Krok will move to sister WBAP-AM/FM for an evening talk show.
Current TV’s Bill Press and Stephanie Miller Simulcasts Debut Today. The new one-two punch of progressive radio talk stars hitting the air at Al Gore-founded Current TV begins this morning (3/26) as Dial Global syndicated talk hosts Bill Press and Stephanie Miller air TV simulcasts of their morning drive radio programs on Current TV. “Full Court Press: The Bill Press Show” airs from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET and “Talking Liberally: The Stephanie Miller Show” follows from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm ET. The network announces that Senator Chris Coons, (D-DE); Nia-Malika Henderson of the Washington Post; Faiz Shakir of Think Progress; and Lara Setrakian of ABC News and Bloomberg are all scheduled to appear during the premiere week of “Full Court Press.” The first week of “Talking Liberally” will feature Senator Byron Dorgan (ND – Former U.S. Senator and Chairman of The Senate Committee on Energy), as well as comedienne Kathleen Madigan.
Hubbard Broadcasting Names Emily Kopp WFED Morning Anchor. Hubbard Broadcasting announces a permanent addition to the morning drive show on WFED, Washington – the station dedicated to serving the many federal government workers living in the region. Emily Kopp joins host Tom Temin on the morning drive program. Kopp joined Federal News Radio in 2011 after living in the Netherlands where she reported on a freelance basis for various radio network and print outlets. Prior to her promotion, Kopp served Federal News Radio as a federal workforce reporter. Since July 2011, Kopp has produced several compelling series that focused on key human aspects of working for the federal government. WFED program director Lisa Wolfe states, “Emily had been filling in as co-anchor while we’ve been conducting our talent search for the next morning anchor. Her talents were obvious and when we got together to discuss the possibility of making it permanent, it just made sense. I look forward to Emily bringing her well-crafted interview style to mornings. I think she will uncover a lot of news.”
WTEM, Washington Launches New Afternoon Sports Talk Show Today. Red Zebra-owned WTEM, Washington announces the debut of “Inside the Locker Room with Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell” today (3/26). The show teams up former Washington Redskins Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell along with broadcast pro Scott Jackson. Walker continues with the station after 15 years, most recently serving as co-host of the John Thompson show. Both Mitchell and Jackson return to WTEM after several years’ absence. VP of programming Chuck Sapienza states, “With Doc and B-Mitch, ESPN 980’s lineup includes the two most prominent former players in Washington, DC media today. Listeners of the show will receive opinions and insight from professional athletes that is rarely offered on local radio. In addition, Jackson gives the show a ‘point guard’ that every successful program needs.” The show airs from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
KXTG, Portland Re-Signs John Canzano. “The Bald Faced Truth” host re-ups with Alpha Broadcasting’s sports KXTG on a multi-year deal to remain with the station. John Canzano also writes a column for the Daily Oregonian and is a commentator for KGW-TV, Portland. Upon announcing the deal, Canzano commented, “Sports talk listeners of ‘The Bald Faced Truth’ radio show are smart, educated, good looking, influential and relevant. I love my audience, my sponsors and this station. I’m staying right here because ‘The Game’ is the place to be. Period.”
Southern California Public Radio Names Melanie Sill Executive Editor. The former editor at the Sacramento Bee and the Raleigh News and Observer takes over the executive editor role at Southern California Public Radio. Her duties include overseeing the daily news gathering operations across KPCC, Pasadena’s broadcast, digital and social media platforms. KPCC VP for content Russ Stanton states, “Sill brings a wealth of news and managerial experience to this new position. Most importantly, she has been a force of change in two newsrooms, leading efforts to restructure staffs to better compete in the digital age.” The Southern California Public Radio website announces the non-profit is aggressively working to build out its online news service with ambitions to become the region’s pre-eminent source for information across multiple media.
Jacksonville Gets FM Simulcast for Sports WJXL. Seven Bridges Radio LLC buys the former Gospel WFJO-FM, Jacksonville (a class A FM signal at 92.5) from receiver Scott Savage for $1.95 million and begins an LMA immediately simulcasting its sports station 1010 XL (WJXL). The station was formerly owned by Tama Broadcasting.
Smerconish Visits Boston. Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish (center, standing) chats with WTKK-FM, Boston listeners at a private meet & greet on March 20 prior to the national screening of his movie, “Book Club with Michael Smerconish Featuring Chris Matthews’ Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero.” In addition to the meet & greet, Smerconish conducted a curtain call speech before the showing of the film at the Cinema De Lux in Dedham, Massachusetts before a sold out theater. The film appeared at more than 100 theaters across the country on that evening.
Peak Broadcasting Emerges from Chapter 11. The pre-packaged Chapter 11 restructuring plan Peak Broadcasting entered into in January has been executed and the company comes out of it with new owners: Oaktree Capital Management and GE Capital. CEO Todd Lawley and CFO Tim Lyons remain in their management positions. In a statement, Lawley says, “By significantly reducing the amount of debt outstanding on our balance sheet, this transaction provides Peak with the flexibility to invest in our business to ensure that we continue to provide best-in-market audio programming to our consumers and marketing solutions to our clients.”
New York Festivals Radio Program & Promotion Awards Extends Entries Deadline. The world-renowned New York Festivals Radio Program & Promotion Awards is extending the deadline for entry submissions for the 2012 contest through April 2. The 30-year-old competition honors the most innovative work in radio broadcasting, with entries from radio stations, networks and independent producers from around the globe. Executive director Rose Anderson says, “Even as distribution platforms multiply across the airwave spectrum, one thing remains constant: the power of the individual voice. Just this past year, winners in our talk categories – a diverse group from Howard Stern to Marvin Kalb in the U.S. to Radio Pasfarda (Iran) and Writers & Company (Canada) – engaged their audiences’ curiosity with intensity. We here at New York Festivals are very proud to recognize the creativity, innovation and quality exhibited around the world in radio today.” Categories in the talk radio realm include: Best Regularly Scheduled Talk Program, Best Talk/Interview Special, Best Radio Personality: Local Market, Best Radio Personality: Network/Syndicated, Best Talk Show Host, Best Information/News Talk Show (AM drive), Best Two-Way Telephone Talk/Interview Show (AM drive), Best Online Talk Program, Best Satellite Talk Program, Best Satellite Radio Personality, Best Radio Personality (student), Best Artist Interview/Performance (student), Editorial or Viewpoint Program, plus numerous awards in the radio news and sports categories. Find complete information about the awards, categories and how to enter by visiting http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/. New York Festivals Radio Program & Promotion Awards Grand Jury enlists jurists from all over the world, representing some of the most recognizable voices and captivating programming producers in the industry. Entries are judged on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity and use of the medium. The International Radio Program & Promotion Awards will honor 2012’s winning entries on June 18 at an awards ceremony at Manhattan Penthouse in New York City.
Michael Smerconish Visits Boston Affiliate WTKK-FM for Movie Premiere. Dial Global nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Smerconish is bringing his ‘Book Club’ live event series to the silver screen and he’s in Boston today for a premiere screening for Greater Media affiliate WTKK-FM. “Book Club with Michael Smerconish featuring Chris Matthews’ Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero” premieres at the Showcase Cinema De Lux in suburban Dedham. Smerconish will welcome the crowd and conduct a curtain call speech prior to the movie. Smerconish states, “Over the last several years, I have hosted many A-list authors for live gatherings of what I call my ‘Book Club.’ Never have any of these made it to the big screen. My interview with Chris Matthews concerning his New York Times bestseller Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero was recorded in High-Def and I am thrilled it will be shown on screens all across the country on March 20. Where can you find me that night? Boston!”
CCME Names Radha Subramanyam EVP of Sales and Marketing Research. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan says Radha Subramanyam is “recognized as an industry leader in consumer insights and research and I am excited to have her on our team.” She previously served as senior vice president of media and advertiser insights and analytics as a thought leader across media forms for The Nielsen Company. In her new role with CCME, Subramanyam will be responsible for “developing, aggregating and analyzing consumer data to help illustrate and support the unique ability Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has to provide advertisers with national reach and local activation.”
WHAS, Louisville Talk Host Terry Meiners Sued by Local Cop for Slander. Longtime Louisville talk radio personality Terry Meiners is facing a civil suit for slander by the Louisville Metro Police officer who gave him a speeding ticket in March of last year. Meiners contested the ticket and was found not guilty in October. The officer, Sam Cromity, alleges Meiner took to the airwaves where he called him “Black Barney,” he played belittling songs about the highway patrol and called him a liar at least 15 times. Meiners says Cromity was threatening during the traffic stop – something Cromity denies. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WHAS is also named in the suit.
C-SPAN Founder and CEO Brian Lamb Steps Down from CEO Post. The man who founded C-SPAN 33 years ago is stepping down from his day-to-day role as chief executive officer of the cable TV federal government news channel that reaches some 100 million homes. Brian Lamb, who was honored with TALKERS’ Freedom of Speech Award, will become executive chairman of the board at C-SPAN and will still host the weekly “Q&A” interview show. He will hand over the CEO reigns to Rob Kennedy and Susan Swain effective April 1.
KWTX, Waco, Texas Hosts Debates for Local Races. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-owned KWTX, Waco reports the recent debates it sponsored and broadcast drew some 450 citizens to the University High School auditorium on March 7. The races were the GOP primaries for McLennan County Sheriff and the Texas House of Representatives, District 56. Morning drive host Shane Warner moderated the debates and states, “To have this many people show up in the middle of the week to hear some local politicians talk about local issues is quite an accomplishment. We were hoping for a good turnout but the interest from the community was beyond anything we could have imagined – and this was just for a primary election! As the only local talk show in the Waco market, I felt this was the kind of event that only News Talk 1230 and talk radio could pull off. This illustrates the power of local talk radio to help inform the community about what’s going on in their own backyard and bring voters and listeners access they otherwise wouldn’t have.”
Dave Ramsey Live in Orlando…and Beyond. Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey is pictured here at the University of Central Florida arena delivering his “Total Money Makeover Live” program before 7,500 people on March 17. This was also simulcast to 200 other locations. Ramsey spent the weekend in Orlando and presented his “EntreLeadership 1-Day Event” to nearly 1,000 business leaders. He also met with sponsors of the event and affiliate WFLA staff. Clear Channel Orlando market manager Linda Byrd says, “The personal attention and customer service we get from Dave Ramsey and his team is nothing short of stellar. It’s amazing that in spite of having 500+ affiliates he makes us feel so special. Truly feels like he’s a member of our local team. Dave does syndication the right way.”
Phil Hendrie Distributes Content Via Pandora. Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated radio personality Phil Hendrie can now be heard on Pandora. Hendrie’s bits, including characters Jay Santos, Chris Norton, Bobbie Dooley, David G. Hall and Ted Bell, are now available on the content distribution service. Hendrie joins Premiere Networks’ Bob & Tom, Steve Harvey’s Nephew Tommy and The Jerky Boys, all of whom rotate in the user-created “Phil Hendrie Radio” station. Hendrie’s tracks will also come up on user-created stations for morning radio artists, comics and political satirists.
GOP Primary/2012 Presidential Race, Afghanistan Tensions, Iran Nuclear Weapons Program, Syria Violence, and Peyton Manning to Denver Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/19). The GOP primary race and the issues in the 2012 presidential race, the continuing tensions in Afghanistan after a U.S. soldier is charged with killing 16 civilians, Iran’s nuclear weapons program, continuing Syrian violence and Peyton Manning’s joining the Denver Broncos were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
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 Networks’ Rush 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 Guys’ Jon 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 Networks’ Jim 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 Networks’ Rush 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.
Lou Dobbs Syndicated Radio Show to End in February. Word has emerged from inside sources at United Stations Radio Networks that the syndicator has sent letters to the affiliates of the Lou Dobbs Show informing them that the four-year-old program is coming to an end in February. Citing a decision reached with Dobbs by “mutual agreement,” the sources close to the program state that the veteran newsman/commentator wants to devote more of his busy schedule to his nightly program on the Fox Business Network, one of that cable operation’s top-rated shows. United Stations will also cease production and distribution of Dobbs’ syndicated short-form features but sources close to Dobbs indicate that the former CNN icon might continue that enterprise independently.
Two More Pubcasters Join iHeartRadio Platform. Popular Southern California public radio outlets KCRW-FM, Santa Monica and KUSC-FM, Los Angeles begin streaming their audio via Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio app. KCRW-FM is a hybrid news, talk and music outlet while KUSC-FM is a classical station. KCRW-FM, general manager Jennifer Ferro states, “KCRW is always looking for exciting partnership opportunities knowing that even among hundreds of radio stations, what we offer is entirely unique. By combining our compelling content and iHeartRadio’s vast reach, we’re inviting a new audience to discover and engage with KCRW.” CC Digital president Brian Lekamp says, “We want to be everywhere our listeners are with a variety of programming options to appeal to the widest possible audience, and adding these public radio stations to iHeartRadio offers listeners an even more interesting and diverse listening experience.”
Missouri Authorities Consider Charges Against Man for Threatening Language on the Radio. Police in Arnold, Missouri spoke with a local man who made what could be considered threats against St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke while calling into the McGraw Milhaven show on CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis. The discussion surrounded Kroenke’s announcement of Jeff Fisher as new head coach of the Rams and Kroenke’s apparent refusal to state he would not consider moving the Rams out of St. Louis. The caller reportedly stated, “I, I ain’t gonna say nothin’, but the only thing I could put into it other than jack is lead like the dude in Kirkwood. I don’t blame him a bit for what he did.” The caller was referencing the killing of six people at the Kirkwood, Missouri town hall in 2008. KTRS alerted police who’ve interviewed the man. No charges have been filed yet but prosecutors are considering charges.
Cumulus Media Erie Sports Talk Host Exits; Cites Compensation Issues. Until Friday, Mike “Chico” Boorman hosted a popular sports talk show on Cumulus Media’s WRIE, Erie – ESPN 1260. But Boorman tells the Erie Times – News that recent pay cuts and management’s unwillingness to negotiate his salary left him no option. Boorman is quoted in the paper saying, “They weren’t going to pay me what I felt I needed to continue doing what I was doing. I was making $40 a day. As I told a buddy of mine, that’s a nice name for a show on The Food Network, but it’s tough to make a living that way.” Cumulus Media Erie management declined to comment specifically on Boorman’s contract but GM Jim Riley told the paper, “We regret his decision to depart. We think we had a very popular show with him and we had a good response from listeners.”
CBS Radio Launches WNEW-FM, Washington on Sunday Afternoon. CBS Radio took the opportunity of a Sunday afternoon with bad weather approaching to launch its new all-news FM outlet in the Nation’s Capital. The company moved the hard launch from Thursday, January 19 to this morning (1/23) due to some engineering issues but opted to test the new equipment with staffers yesterday afternoon.
KOGO, San Diego Adds Lynda Martin as News Anchor. The former XETV-TV and KSWB-TV, San Diego reporter and anchor Lynda Martin becomes part of the news staff at Clear Channel’s KOGO, San Diego morning drive show hosted by Chip Franklin.
Smerconish Book Club Plays Hardball. Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish (l) interviews author and MSNBC personality Chris Matthews (r) during one of the Smerconish Book Club live events before some 1,000 attendees at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, New Jersey on January 19. The event, in which Smerconish interviewed Matthews about his recent book Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero (Simon & Schuster 2011) was co-presented by affiliate WPHT, Philadelphia.
Radio Rows Have Talk Hosts Focused on Hot-Button Issues. Talk show hosts from around the nation converged on South Carolina prior to the state’s primary election on Saturday for a two-day radio row organized by Talk Radio News Service and SupportPopularVote.com. In South Carolina, talk hosts including Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries, Radio America’s Rodger Hedgecock, Nashville-based talk host Steve Gill, Clear Channel Texas host Michael Berry, North Dakota-based talker Scott Hennen and others brought the primary race and 2012 presidential election issues home to their listeners through interviews with people such as former senator and presidential candidate Fred Thompson, tax policy expert Grover Norquist, former candidate Herman Cain and GOP candidate Rick Santorum. Earlier in the week, more than 20 talk show hosts from around the country took part in the Families USA Radio Row in Washington, DC from the organization’s Health Action Conference. Hosts including Dial Global’s Thom Hartmann; WWRL, New York’s Mark Riley; “America Tonight” host Kate Delaney; independently syndicated Leslie Marshall; nationally syndicated “Good Day” host Doug Stephan; and nationally syndicated host Carole Marks from “A Touch of Grey” talked health care issues. The event offered radio hosts a unique opportunity to interview key administration officials, numerous members of Congress, health care advocates from across the country, and leaders within the progressive community while broadcasting live from Families USA’s Health Action Conference.
Foreground Nature of Talk Radio and Emotional Intensity of Content Make it Desirable Environment for Advertisers. 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 FAQs 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. 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! In a nutshell, the foreground nature of commercial spoken word radio indicates that sponsors receive approximately three times the bang per advertising buck on talk radio than they do on music radio. Other interesting aspects of this illuminating information include: sports talk listeners are culturally (and ethnically) diverse. Caucasians constitute only slightly more than half the sports talk audience (51%) followed by African Americans (26%) and Hispanics (19%) making it one of the most multi-ethnic/racial buys in radio. This is a crucially important aspect/asset of the sports talk audience that for the most part is lost on advertising agencies and radio sales departments which are still glued to selling demos as opposed to mindsets. The ethnic diversity of sports talk radio’s listenership is a rare and valuable quality of the format that sets it apart from the rest of radio! And if advertisers wish to reach “younger demos” via the power of spoken word, they simply need to turn to popular culture talk radio (still erroneously referred to as “shock jock” radio) strewn across the FM dial as talkative morning shows on otherwise music-formatted stations. See the complete data here.
Clear Channel Announces National Programming Platforms Personnel. In concert with its latest round of company-wide layoffs of staff at the station level, Clear Channel introduces the corporate staff that is charged with creating programming for multiple platforms for its stations that is ostensibly designed to “improve local programming in smaller markets by using assets and resources in those markets that their competitors don’t have.” Recently, Tom Poleman and Darren Davis were brought aboard to serve as president of national programming platforms and SVP/GM of national programming platforms, respectively. They will be joined by the following staff: Guy Zapoleon, vice president of digital music programming; Dennis Clark, vice president of talent development; Zena Burns, VP of digital programming platforms; Darren Pfeffer, VP of music & entertainment marketing; Alissa Pollack, EVP of integrated music marketing at Mediabase, expands her role to include national programming platforms; Marissa Morris is manager, artist relations and promotions; and Melissa Webb, senior director at National Programming Platforms. Tom Poleman states, “Clear Channel already has unmatched scale and promotional power. Our competitive advantage is strengthened by our mission to be everywhere our listeners are with the products and services they want and expect. Now, I’m proud to say that we’ve assembled an equally unmatched group of talent to lead our new National Programming Platforms division. This division will enable us to be even more relevant and effective for our audiences, partners and advertisers, and build our national scale and reach by putting together products, events and relationships that nobody else can.”
KABC, Los Angeles PD Jack Silver to Program Sister KLOS-FM. With the recent firing of KLOS-FM, Los Angeles PD Bob Buchmann, KABC PD Jack Silver tells Orange County Register columnist Gary Lycan he’s been named PD of KLOS-FM. There’s no indication the assignment of duties to Silver is temporary but the rumors are starting in Los Angeles that changes may be coming to the classic rock outlet. Those kinds of rumors often start after a round of firings but AM drive team Mark & Brian are very successful and although the production directors for both stations were also let go, it may just be that Cumulus has other plans for saving money in the production department at the stations.
Talk Host Michael Smerconish Signs with WYD Media; Renews Distribution and Sales Deal with Dial Global. The effect on affiliates – as well as listeners – should not be noticed at all as talk host Michael Smerconish’s program is now produced by Ron Hartenbaum’s WYD Media Management while Dial Global continues to handle affiliate sales and ad sales for the show. Smerconish says, “We’re entering the most fascinating election cycle ever. And yet, despite the intense media coverage, there remains a void when it comes to clear thinking and independent viewpoints. I’ve been charting a course to fulfill that role. I know Ron Hartenbaum shares my outlook. For several months we’ve been speaking about the need to grow the talk radio tent by offering a forum not predicated on ideology or anger, and now we’ve decided to pursue that goal together. I intend to rely heavily on his vast experience over the span of many years. Industry-wide he is known for being smart, engaging and personable, and I think big things are about to happen to us both.”
Dave Ramsey Clears 500th Affiliate; KTTH, Seattle. Independently syndicated financial talker Dave Ramsey announces his national program has hit the 500-affilliate mark with a deal to air on Bonneville International’s KTTH, Seattle from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am daily. Vice president of affiliate relations Suzanne Simms says, “The fact that the Dave Ramsey show now has 500 radio affiliates indicates the staying power that we have and have been touting all along. The loyalty of our listeners coupled with the growth of our brand on a national level has contributed to this milestone. The future bodes well for the Dave Ramsey show!” Ramsey is currently touring the country promoting is latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011).
Lars Larson Flips Seattle Affiliates. Compass Media Networks’ Portland, Oregon-based Lars Larson show moves to a new affiliate in Seattle. As Dave Ramsey takes over the late-night slot at Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle, Larson’s program takes up residence in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot at Inspiration Media’s “Freedom 1590” – KLFE, Seattle. Station general manager Andrew Adams says, “All of us at ‘Freedom 1590’ are excited to have Lars as part of the station. Lars Larson has a larger-than-life persona in Seattle and we are already getting positive listener response to the move.”
On the Campaign Trail. Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is pictured here to the left of presidential candidate and former U.S. Congressman Newt Gingrich (at center) as he’s interviewed on the campaign trail. Gallagher is “embedding” with several GOP candidates during the run-up to the primary elections in order to give his listeners a taste of the campaign trail. Gallagher broadcast “from the road” in Cedar Rapids, Iowa yesterday (10/27) and will host Gingrich for a “live-from-the-campaign-trail” interview at High Cotton Restaurant in upstate South Carolina today on his program. Salem Radio Network VP/news and talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Mike Gallagher’s unique, up-close-and-personal approach to the candidates will give SRN listeners a better understanding about the people seeking to become the next President of the United States. This will go beyond sound bites and photo ops and take our audience behind the scenes for a perspective unavailable anywhere else in American broadcasting.”
Alan Stock to Emcee Las Vegas Veteran’s Day Parade. For the past 12 years, Las Vegas talk show host Alan Stock has emceed the nation’s second largest Veteran’s Day parade in Sin City and he’ll do it again this year on Friday, November 11. Stock hosts the late-morning show on Beasley’s news/talk KDWN, a corporate sponsor of the parade.
OWS Movement Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 24-28. The ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement is number one on the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories heard on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from Talkers. The Talkers TenTM chart is published every Friday at Talkers.com. Coming in at #2 this week is the 2012 presidential race. At #3 is the Euro Zone stability/financial markets activity and following up at #4 is the Obama Administration’s economic policy. View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.
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 email@example.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.
WOR Looking to Launch New Evening Show in 2012. Pardon the mixed fruit metaphor, but plum talk show jobs like this don’t come up that often in the Big Apple as WOR tips TALKERS to its plans to fill 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm with a new show at the beginning of the year. According to program director Scott Lakefield, the legendary station is completely open to all ideas as it looks to bring in someone or something new to fill that cool two-hour slice of its evening schedule. Lakefield tells TALKERS that the timing of the move is being designed to coincide with forthcoming changes at the end of the year in the business relationship between Dial Global and Philadelphia-based talker Michael Smerconish whose syndicated program is currently in that slot. Lakefield points out that in keeping with the station’s present direction of focusing on locally-originated talent with a broad-based political/social agenda, the station would most-likely hire a non-syndicated talent such as it offers in morning drive with John Gambling and the recent addition of former New York Governor David Paterson in afternoons. “We are very encouraged by the response we are getting with these shows and feel that the station is filling a real programming void in New York news/talk radio programming.” Meantime, in light of this development, TALKERS checked with Dial Global to ascertain the status of the syndicated Michael Smerconish program learning that the changes ahead will simply pertain to the production and ownership of the successful show and not to its continuation as a syndicated offering in the new year. According to Dial Global vice president Amy Bolton, “It’s moving from a Dial Global-owned product to being a repped product owned by an outside producer. We hope to announce the details shortly. But it is all good. In essence, nothing changes as we would still handle ad sales, affiliate sales and distribution.” Michael Smerconish is a perennial member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred and generally recognized as not only being the leading news/talk talent in Philadelphia but one of the hottest rising stars on the national talk media scene.
Clear Channel to Restructure Management in Medium and Small Markets. Scuttlebutt in the industry that Clear Channel’s regional managers meetings in Atlanta would reveal some sort of management reorganization plan appears to be true and, though concrete details are still few, it appears the company will be employing more regional market managers to oversee its medium and small markets. Sources close to the story indicate that each regional market manager will oversee anywhere between 10 and 15 markets in order to give each manager less to focus on than the current system which has fewer regional vice presidents responsible for many stations. The new setup reportedly also includes a programmer to assist each regional market manager. What this means for local talent and local programmers remains to be seen however, it would not be unusual to see some sort of programming consolidation where management feels it can contain costs without harming the on-air product.
WTKK-FM, Boston Expands Morning Simulcast with Regional Cable News Channel. Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston shaves an hour off the Jim Braude and Margery Eagan-hosted morning drive show and adds another hour of its audio simulcast of New England Cable Network’s “NECN Morning News” program to the schedule. The Braude and Eagan show now begins at 7:00 am. WTKK-FM has been airing NECN’s “First Thing in the Morning” starting at 4:30 am followed by the “NECN Morning News” show from 5:00 am to 6:00 am. Program director Grace Blazer says they added the additional hour due to positive listener response. “Commuting New Englanders now have found a whole new way to start the day. 96.9 FM’s expanding commitment to local and breaking news, traffic, and weather followed by Jim and Margery’s perspective, live audience interaction, and real time attention to topical issues creates a listening experience not available anywhere else. This seamless integration of content created by NECN and 96.9 FM represents the next generation of news and information delivered over multiple platforms for the benefit of listeners in a ‘right now’ world. Greater Media Boston is proud to be a part of this innovation that will benefit its advertisers, listeners and the communities we serve.”
Monticello Media Helps Bring Concert to Region for Earthquake Benefit. WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia PD and morning drive host Joe Thomas tells TALKERS his station and sister country outlet WCYK-FM spearheaded a drive that culminated with the town of Louisa, Virginia winning a nationwide competition for a free Alan Jackson concert to benefit families whose homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in the August 28 earthquake. Thomas says, “It was an overwhelming response. Since FEMA turned Governor McDonnell down, I’m glad Louisa and all of Central Virginia was able to do something to help our own.”
GOP Debate/Cain’s 999 Plan, Iran Assassination Plot Allegations, ‘Occupy’ Protests, and Obama’s Jobs Bill Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/12). The GOP candidates debate and Herman Cain’s ‘999 plan,’ the allegations of an Iran-sponsored assassination plot, the ‘Occupy’ protests and the status of President Obama’s jobs creation legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dave Ramsey’s Book Tour/Live Events Continue to Draw. Nationally syndicated talk host Dave Ramsey’s continuing bus tour of the country to promote his latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011), drew 750 fans to this book signing in Katy, Texas on October 7 with metro affiliate KSEV, Houston a partner in the event. The next day, Ramsey attracted about 8,000 listeners to his “Total Money Makeover Live” program at Houston’s Reliant Arena in Houston.
Video Thrilled the Radio Star. Something radio people seldom, if ever, worried about has rapidly become an extremely potent arrow in their stations’ proverbial quivers. In varying degrees, programmers and on-air talent are becoming increasingly more knowledgeable about –– and adept at integrating –– video components on station and individual websites. TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian explores the video strategies of some of the industry’s leading talk personalities as they discuss target demos, video quality, product placement, the concept of “radio on video,” relevance and more. Read the entire piece here.
KFI, Los Angeles Hosts John & Ken Targets of Hispanic Organizations. Several Southern California-based Hispanic organizations want KFI’s John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou off the air after one activist’s cell phone number was given out over the air. The Los Angeles Times reports immigrant rights activist Jorge-Mario Cabrera is leading the charge after the duo gave his cell and office numbers out over the air and suggested listeners call him to express how they feel about his support for the California bill that would create state tuition assistance for illegal immigrants. Cabrera reports receiving as many as 400 phone calls, many filled with coarse, hateful language. KFI program director Robin Bertolucci wouldn’t comment to the Times but says she’ll meet with representatives of the activist groups. The groups have sent letters to Clear Channel corporate and local management requesting the John & Ken show be taken off the air. That’s not likely to happen but this incident illustrates the heated nature of immigration topics on Southern California talk radio. This is a topic that will be addressed at the coming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum in L.A. on October 20 presented by TALKERS in cooperation with the L.A. Press Club.
Dial Global’s Michael Smerconish Scores Interview with President Obama. Nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Smerconish will broadcast an interview with President Obama on his Dial Global program today at approximately 1:40 pm ET. Smerconish, an independent conservative, has interviewed the president five times before. He has obviously established a good rapport with the White House as a fair interviewer. Needless to say, as sitting presidents don’t often do interviews with talk radio hosts, this is a coup for Smerconish.
Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership Hits #1 on NYTimes Bestseller List. Nationally syndicated talk star Dave Ramsey lands his latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011), at the top of the New York Times Bestseller List in the hardcover how-to, advice and miscellaneous category for the week ending September 24. Ramsey is currently on a cross-country bus tour to promote the book in cities where his radio program airs.
USRN Names Matthew Warneke Senior Account Executive. United Stations Radio Networks announces the addition of Matthew Warneke to its ad sales department in New York City. Warneke, most recently with Omnicom Media Group as group director/national audio, becomes a senior account executive with the syndicator. USRN EVP Rich Baum states, “We’re thrilled that Matthew has joined us at United Stations. Given his background and experience, Matthew brings an unparalleled understanding of the needs of our advertising clients to our team and we look forward to having him help us deliver great results for our marketing partners.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with Chris Markowski is added to the program schedule at KSEO, Durant, Oklahoma…..The Cigar Dave show picks up new affiliates WWTN-FM, Nashville; WRZN, Hernando, Florida; and WKEI, Kewanne, Illinois….. Sports USA’s Joe Morgan show adds KLAA, Los Angeles to its roster of affiliates…..RadioLinx’ “For Your Ears Only” with David Alpern is added to KFPW, Fort Smith, Arkansas; WLSC, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and WVOX, New Rochelle, New York.
Obama Economic Policies Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 26-30. President Obama’s economic policies including his jobs bill was #1 on the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was the 2012 presidential race. At #3 was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s speech at the Reagan Library followed by European economic jitters at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the week’s top talk radio topics based on ongoing research from Talkers and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. To view the entire chart, click the banner below.