Tag: "Michael Zwerling"

Talk Station that “Doesn’t Need to Sell Advertising to Make Lots of Money” Looking for Ad Sales Heavyweight to Make Lots MORE Money

| July 28, 2014

By Mona Lipschitz
TALKERS
Staff Writer

 

lipschitzmonawriterSANTA CRUZ — Michael Zwerling, the eccentric owner of one of the nation’s leading independent local talk radio stations, KSCO AM 1080, Santa Cruz/Monterey/Salinas/Silicon Valley, is looking for a general manager/sales manager to bring his station’s monthly ad billing up from “a laughable $30,000 per month” (his words not ours) to a “more respectable and completely doable $300,000 per month.”

Asked how a station billing only $30,000 in monthly ad revenue could be considered anything even REMOTELY deserving of being described as “one of the nation’s leading independent local talk radio stations,” Zwerling retorts, “Easy — ad sales have never been our focus in the past; we have done and continue to do very well, thank you, with our ‘royalties from radio’ revenue model we have employed for nearly 18 years.  Yet we continue to serve our communities FAR better than most corporate-owned stations, and far better than most other independent stations that can’t AFFORD to serve their communities.”

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Monday, March 24, 2014

| March 24, 2014

businessrockstars radioBusiness Rockstars Radio to Debut. Via a strategic alliance with the Wall Street Business Network, “Business Rockstars Radio” will premier its national radio syndication effort on March 31 on 10 major market stations. Business Rockstars Radio, hosted by Ken Rutkowski, features “rockstar” CEOs, entrepreneurs, and start-ups and targets the 30 million “Wantrepreneurs” in the U.S. The March 31 rollout is the “launchrutkowskiken pad” for the national rollout of the program. Salem Radio Division president David Santrella states, “Salem is excited to be adding more compelling and relevant content to our Wall Street Business Network. We thank the Good Life Network for their efforts in securing the Business Rockstars Radio program for our growing business-format platform, and look forward to a long and mutually successful relationship with both the Good Life Network and Business Rockstars Radio.” The program will air live from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET and debut on: KDOW, San Francisco; KVCE, Dallas; KTEK, Houston; WZAB, Miami; WAFS, Atlanta; KKOL, Seattle; WBZW, Orlando; KYCR, Minneapolis; KSAC, Sacramento; and KGU, Honolulu. Business Rockstars Radio co-founder Steve Lehman comments, “Business Rockstars Radio is loaded with powerful entrepreneurial content presented in a fun, fast-paced, two-hour daily show. The program has big name CEOs, entrepreneurs and start-ups that discuss their adventures in starting, growing and funding businesses. These stories inspire and educate listeners, from billion dollar start-ups to business train wrecks.”

greatermedia logoGreater Media Philly Named a Top Workplace. This is the third successive year the company has earned such recognition from an annual survey conducted by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com.  Hundreds of companies take part in the survey and as Greater Media Philadelphia vice president/market manager John Fullam states, “Great companies start with great employees.  We are fortunate to have an extraordinary team dedicated to serving Philadelphia, our listeners, and advertising partners every day.”  Judges are employees and evaluation for the “Top Workplaces” program is based upon feedback from a fall 2013 employee survey conducted by Workplace Dynamics.  The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a special publication insert yesterday (3/23) to announce the honor.  Greater Media’s four-station Philadelphia cluster consists of adult hits WBEN-FM “95.7 Ben-FM,” WMGK “Philadelphia’s Classic Rock,” WMMR “Everything That Rocks,” and sports WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.”

agasepaulCumulus Nabs Agase for VP Sales Post in Chicago.  Chicago market sales pro Paul Agase is named vice president of sales for Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM “Chicago’s Talk Leader” and classic rock WLUP “97.9 FM The Loop.”  Most recently, Agase was general sales manager at CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM.  He’s also worked in the market at sports talk WSCR “The Score,” triple A WXRT, WKSC “103.5 Kiss FM,” and WBBM-FM “B96.”  Cumulus EVP and co-COO John Pinch comments, “Paul has made a significant impact driving sales for Chicago radio.  His talents are an ideal match for Cumulus Chicago’s iconic stations and we are excited to welcome him to the company.”

comrexComrex Welcomes Torelli as Market Development Manager.  Multi-disciplined media pro Joe Torelli joins Comrex Corporation as market development manager.  The company says that in this role, Torelli will spearhead awareness and drive acceptance of the Comrex LiveShot products in the broadcast, education, worship and government markets.  Comrex managing director Kris Specht states, “Joe comes to Comrex with extensive experience on both sides of the broadcast industry starting as a photojournalist at WFLA-TV, Tampa where he first used Comrex products.  Capitalizing on his field experience there and over a decade at NBC News covering world events, he transitioned to design and delivery of market focused products at Avid, Quantel and, most recently, Apple products that became standards in the industry.  That background will help Comrex grow the acceptance of the LiveShot products.”  Torelli says, “I see LiveShot as truly amazing technology and I’m no stranger to highlighting new technology and differentiating features to the market.  I’m excited about the opportunity to help extend LiveShot’s appeal and acceptance.”  Comrex LiveShot delivers live video and audio over a range of IP networks.  LiveShot is used by TV stations and networks to deliver high-quality, low-latency, full-duplex video and audio from anywhere internet access is available.

bearmanethan2Ethan Bearman Adds KGO, San Francisco to His Roster of Radio Homes.  Multi-platform talk show host Ethan Bearman, one of the 2014 first-time members of TALKERS magazine’s newly published “Heavy Hundred,” has just been named regular host of the Sunday 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot on KGO, San Francisco.  Bearman has also been retained by the Cumulus San Francisco cluster to do fill-in at KGO’s sister station KSFO where he’ll be keeping the mic warm next week for morning host Brian Sussman (also a 2014 Heavy Hundred inductee) between 5:00 am and 9:00 am on April 3 and 4.  The hard-working Bearman also has a two-hour weekend syndicated show carried by Genesis Communications Network (GCN) and is a regular member of the air staff at Michael Zerling’s nationally famous KSCO, Santa Cruz where he hosts 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm weekdays.  Bearman tells TALKERS, “I am blessed and honored to be working with some of the best professionals in the industry – Michael Zwerling is one of the most ardent examples of a broadcaster dedicated to serving the local community and creating breakthroughs in modern marketing techniques.  Ted Anderson is a dynamo of entrepreneurial innovation, who has built GCN into a powerhouse among the up-and-coming syndicators.  And now, the mighty Cumulus, where I am honored to work at one of the truly legendary sets of call letters in America – KGO – with a staff that is the very embodiment of broadcasting professionalism.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has been quoted as saying, “I have heard one of the major voices of talk radio’s future and it emanates from a young man named Ethan Bearman.”

cookehollandMedia Usage Research (and What You Can Do With It).  Media consultant Holland Cooke pens a brief synopsis of some of the recent media usage research that’s been published recently and takes it a step further and offers some advice that station operators can use to put their best foot forward.  Smart owners and programmers are not getting depressed about the changing media landscape; they are doing their best to adapt to how people are using media.  Cooke offers some thoughts about working with that mindset.  Read it here.

sorbosamSam Sorbo to Launch Daily Talk Show.  Actress/author and True Feminist CEO Sam Sorbo is beginning a daily, three-hour talk show on Wednesday (3/26).  A press statement says she’s being “tapped by America’s Talk Network, Inc. to host a new daily talk show that will be syndicated and exclusively represented by Talk Radio Network Enterprises.”  The eponymous show will air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.    CEO Mark Masters says Sorbo is “an ‘independent conservative,’ an accomplished entrepreneur, who has an uncanny ability to connect with the listeners on a visceral level.”  Sorbo states, “I view it as a privilege to be behind the microphone…Ronald Reagan understood the power of humor, satire and good-natured ridicule in ways that created a massive ‘Big Tent of Voters.’  My goal is to follow that model in creating a ‘Big Tent of Listeners’ for ratings success for our stations.”

kcoh logoHouston Judge Allows KCOH Suit Back Before Court.  The months-long dispute between former KCOH, Houston talk show host Michael Harris and South Houston Community Development Corp. president Jesse Dunn will return to the courts after being dismissed last month.  Harris claims Dunn made false representations to induce Harris into obtaining personal lines of credit totaling $130,000 to finance radio station equipment and operations.  Last month the case was dismissed but Harris’ lawyer Robert Collier argued he was unaware of the motion for summary judgment and didn’t have time to respond.  The suit was reinstated on March 11 and, according to the Houston Chronicle, Collier will ask that the court put KCOH assets into receivership for accounting and control.

eastlanratings logoEastlan Adding Three Markets. Tallahassee, Florida; Columbus, Georgia; and Hammond, Louisiana are the metros that the ratings company will begin surveying this spring.  Eastlan president/chief executive officer Mike Gould comments that, “As Eastlan rolls into our fifteenth year, we are grateful to the small and medium market radio leaders who have recognized the value in carefully scrutinizing their radio ratings/vendor relationship.  We never imagined we would be fortunate enough to become the senior radio ratings provider in the United States.” Nielsen Audio is already measuring Tallahassee and Columbus; Hammond was an unrated metro.  Roughly five months ago, Eastlan added 11 other markets in Texas, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, and Arkansas.

stigallswiftChris Stigall and Taylor Swift Goofing in NYC.  WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive personality Chris Stigall (right) takes what he calls the “ultimate selfie” with pop and country superstar Taylor Swift (left) at the 8th Annual Taste of Hope Wine Dinner to support City of Hope in New York City’s Tribeca on March 20.  This event is just one of the fundraising projects City of Hope produces to help raised funds to cure — and ultimately prevent — cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases.

millernooryCoast to Coast AM from Boise.  Nationally syndicated late-night star George Noory (left) poses for a photo with KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (right) backstage at the Egyptian Theater in Boise during a visit to the city.  The Premiere Networks-syndicated “Coast to Coast AM” personality was in town for a live show at the Egyptian Theater.  Also pictured here is Noory Productions president Tom Danheiser (c).

BTC logoHD Radio Cited in Growth of Broadcaster Traffic Consortium Revenue.  The Broadcaster Traffic Consortium (BTC), is a nationwide broadcasting network that distributes location-based data — including: local traffic, weather, and fuel prices via radio technology to navigation devices and automobile in-dash systems.  The consortium reports that revenue for 2013 continued to grow and it anticipates more growth in 2014.  The consortium was established in 2007 and since that time its total revenue compound annual growth rate is 50.8%.  The addition of HD Radio technology for traffic data in 2011 comprises 20% of the BTC’s total revenue.  Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth says, “Greater Media is now seeing a return on our investment in BTC.  The transmission of traffic data via our HD signals allows us to be an integral part of the digital dashboard.  We are pleased to see that revenue growth is exceeding our expectations.”  Getting traffic data via HD Radio allows users to avoid eating up their allotted data on bandwidth-intense activities like traffic.  The BTC says, “The smooth launch with auto manufacturers Honda and Mitsubishi last year has opened the door for additional automakers to realize the value of HD Radio Data real-time traffic.”  The founding members of the BTC include: Beasley Broadcast Group; Bonneville International Corporation; Cox Radio, Inc.; Emmis Communications; Entercom Communications Corp.; Greater Media; NPR and Radio One.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

| January 15, 2014

scba logoEye-Popping Southern California Broadcasters Association Traffic Data. It would only state the obvious that the love affair Southern Californians have with their cars continues; nonetheless traffic data the Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA) developed in cooperation with the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and the California Household Travel Survey (CHTS) is quite impressive.  It reveals a record-breaking 16.5 million vehicle trips are made each weekday from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm in Southern California.  SCBA president Thom Callahan remarks, “This level of hourly driving activity dramatically showcases the immense mobility and density of Southern California driving habits and the critical role that driving has in our daily lives.  Southern California is a massive car-driving region with our driving population making multiple vehicle trips throughout the working week.  Our region’s astounding amount of daily vehicle trips exceeds the entire populations of most west coast metro areas including San Francisco, Seattle, and Sacramento, as well as multiple state populations including Illinois.  This critical data takes on increased urgency as advertisers wrestle with the best ways to invest their media budgets.  The case for radio advertising has never been stronger.  This data offers 16.5 million compelling reasons why Southern California radio is the solution for any advertiser.”  The Southern California region includes Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, and Imperial counties. Vehicle trips are defined as origin-destination driving and were then aggregated for average weekday by hour for the entire region.

kywmonetti13CBS RADIO’s KYW, Philadelphia Teaches and Rewards the Next Generation.  For more than 47 years, KYW, Philadelphia has been giving high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to learn the radio news business from the pros.  This year, for five weeks beginning in October, students from high schools throughout the Delaware Valley region came to KYW to learn news writing, reporting, ethics and interviewing skills from station managers, editors, reporters and anchors.  After the fall program ends, the station rewards the student deemed to have the most enthusiasm and potential with the Richard Monetti Scholarship – a $2,000 cash award.  This year’s recipient is Avon Grove High School senior Alicia Stearn (pictured here at center).  Stearn was one of 105 students to graduate from the 2013 Fall Newstudies program.  The scholarship was named in honor of the 1986 Newstudies graduate who was killed in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.  Pictured here with Stearn are Monetti’s parents Bob and Eileen Monetti.  CBS RADIO Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “KYW Newsradio is proud to continue the annual tradition of introducing high school students to the broadcast industry.  Our hope in rewarding these exceptional students is that they will continue pursuing a media career and become tomorrow’s leaders.”  Rayfield is also a former Newstudies graduate.  At the same time, the station announces Christopher Jastrzembski of La Salle College High School, was recognized with the Mark Drucker Internship Award in honor of KYW Newsradio reporter Mark Drucker, who met an untimely death in 2005. Jastrzembski will spend the summer working in the KYW Newsradio newsroom.

ksco logoAll Hell Breaks Loose On Air at KSCO, Santa Cruz Over Impromptu Duck Dynasty Parody.  While some listeners thought it was a set-up, extremely reliable inside sources assure TALKERS that the wildly emotional outburst that erupted on air at KSCO, Santa Cruz yesterday afternoon (1/14) was in fact quite real.  San Francisco-based 415 Media blogger Rich Lieberman, who also does a show on the independent Michael Zwerling-owned local news/talk outlet, was filling in as host on the afternoon program for rising star Ethan Bearman who was up the road doing some fill-in of his own on KSFO, San Francisco.  During a conversation with his producer/co-host Dave Michaels, Lieberman launched into an impromptu “San Francisco-style” parody of the hit reality TV show “Duck Dynasty” in which he depicted its controversial star Phil Robertson as being gay and having “anal” interest in the mailman.  After a few minutes of the risqué on-air antics, station chief engineer Bill Graff was so offended and concerned about the legality of the broadcast that he burst into the studio and began screaming at Lieberman to stop immediately because he was allegedly in violation of FCC rules regarding indecency and that HE (Graff) would take the blame because as the station’s chief operator he was legally responsible for the transmitter at the time of the broadcast and thus accountable for any offensive language that was broadcasted during his watch (not necessarily legally accurate but that’s another story). He threatened to turn the station off the air if the routine was not halted.   In the meantime, adding to the chaos, station-owner Michael Zwerling, who had not heard Lieberman’s “Duck Dynasty” comments, HAD, however, just received a strongly-worded, very critical email about Lieberman in general from a regular listener that prompted him to go into the live studio to read the email on the air to Lieberman and invite comments from callers (yes, folks, there still ARE stations out there like this).  On the way he encountered the very upset Graff who insisted that Lieberman immediately be pulled off the air and banished from the station for all time. Zwerling explained to Graff that he must first listen to a recording of Lieberman’s comments to determine whether such harsh (or any) punishment was warranted — and (ever the showman) then invited Graff to go on the air to discuss this issue which prompted Graff to burst in on the show.  After he listened to the entire segment, Zwerling concluded that while he respects and appreciates Graff’s position and concern for the welfare and reputation of KSCO, Lieberman’s comments and delivery were “funnier than hell, extremely entertaining, and not requiring any discipline directed at Lieberman.”  To hear a 16 minute audio clip of the radio fireworks, including its setup, please click below to hear the audio.

 

bearmansussmanMeantime, While All the Chaos Was Breaking Out Down the Highway at KSCO (see story above)… Rising star Ethan Bearman – dubbed by Michael Harrison “One of the most exciting new ‘independent’ voices to come along in news/talk radio in years,” took a two day leave from his program at the Santa Cruz news/talker to do a mid-morning fill-in stint at Cumulus O&O KSFO, San Francisco where he received rave reviews.  No surprise, Bearman is a special talent.  He’s pictured here (right) during the changing of the shifts with KSFO morning host and Bay Area media icon Brian Sussman (left).

stockalanTalk Hosts Broadcast from S.H.O.T. Convention in Las Vegas.  Two radio talk show hosts will set up their remote equipment in Las Vegas tomorrow and Friday in Las Vegas convention hall space at the Shooting, Hunting andlarsonlars Outdoor Travel show – S.H.O.T.  Local talk host Alan Stock – heard on Beasley’s KDWN – tells TALKERS magazine the private/closed trade show contacted him several months ago to participate and broadcast live and he says he couldn’t say no.  Nationally syndicated talk host Lars Larson – who also does a regional show from his home base at KXL, Portland – says he’s broadcast from the show in the past and is looking forward to this year’s show where he’ll also be broadcasting on both days.  Larson says rocker and hunting enthusiast Ted Nugent will be on his program to kick off the day-two broadcast on Friday.

deacesteveTalk Hosts Tryout on WNYM, New York.  Syndicated talk radio host Steve Deace is sitting in on the afternoon program at Salem Communications’ New York City news/talk station WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” this week (Monday through Thursday).  The daypart is open since the departure of Curtis Sliwa to crosstown WABC at the beginning of this month.  On Friday, the Baldwin/McCullough program – featuring actor Stephen Baldwin and talk show host Kevin McCullough – will air in the afternoon slot.  Baldwin and McCullough also hosted the show for two days last week.

NFL Championship Sunday Doubleheader on WestwoodOne. With the exception of the Super Bowl itself, this coming Sunday (1/19) is the biggest day of the NFL season. That is when the AFC championship game matches up the New England Patriots versus the Denver Broncos at 2:00 pm Eastern, followed at approximately 6:15 pm by the NFC championship contest pitting the San Francisco 49ers against the Seattle Seahawks. WestwoodOne Sports will broadcast both ends of the “Championship Sunday” doubleheader, as each winner advances to the Super Bowl. The network’s Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst) and Tim Ryan (sidelines) will handle the Patriots-Broncos game, while Kevin Kugler (play-by-play), James Lofton (analyst) and Mark Malone (sidelines) have the 49ers-Seahawks assignment. Scott Graham hosts pregame, halftime, and postgame shows for both broadcasts.

siriusxmdiazActress Cameron Diaz Appears on SiriusXM in Live Audience Interview Program.  Hollywood star Cameron Diaz (left) sat down with SELF magazine editor-in-chief Lucy Danziger (right) before a live studio audience at SiriusXM’s New York headquarters recently to talk about health and nutrition and her new book, The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, the Power of Knowledge, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body (HarperWave 2014).  The program received its initial airing today and will be re-broadcast this weekend and early next week.

Gates Book Controversy, Florida Movie Theater Killing, Net Neutrality Overturned, New NSA Spy Tactics, John Kerry Middle East Mission, Chris Christie Scandal Fallout, and Obama Executive Order Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/14).  The controversial criticism of a sitting president by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in his memoirs; the shooting death of a Florida moviegoer by a retired police chief; a court’s overturning of the FCC’s net neutrality policy; new computer spy tactics being used by the NSA; criticism by Israeli officials of Secretary of State John Kerry’s mission to secure an Israeli-Palestinian peace solution; ongoing fallout for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie after the bridge traffic scandal; and President Obama’s threat to use executive orders to enact policies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

The Smartest Programming Move I Ever Made for My Radio Stations

| July 31, 2013

By Michael L. Zwerling
KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz
Owner

zwerlingksco (2)SANTA CRUZ — It was February 2009.  KSCO-AM 1080, Santa Cruz-Salinas-Monterey-San Jose was being called by every radio syndicator in the country trying to bend our ear about taking their program to replace The Radio Factor with Bill O’Reilly who was terminating his daily syndicated radio program on Feb 27.

I had instructed our staff to inform such callers that the replacement would be live and local, which they did.

This information was met with both surprise and disbelief, because that was (and IS) certainly not the trend for local radio stations; in fact just the opposite was and is true.  But at KSCO, we like to be different; and it helps to be located in a part of the world with more unusual, interesting, and FASCINATING characters per square inch than in any other part of the planet.

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

| July 31, 2013

cumulusMore Q2 News from Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey.  Yesterday TALKERS reported Cumulus Media’s second quarter revenue figures and the fact that Lew Dickey largely avoided the Rush Limbaugh-Sean Hannity flap by saying he wouldn’t discuss it because they are still in contract negotiations.  He addressed other topics TALKERS readers may be interested in: those 10 “code red” stations (big news/talkers bringing down the rest of the company); the health of the CBS Sports Radio Network project for which Cumulus is handling affiliate and ad sales; and the state of network talk programming.  First, Dickey told investors the number of “code red” stations is down from 10 to 1 but didn’t specify which station still lags.  Second, hedickeylew states the CBS Sports Radio format is on 300 affiliate stations and is exceeding its revenue plans.  “We’re highly encouraged by our early success and expect CBS Sports Radio to be a material growth driver for our company in 2014 and beyond.”  And third, addressing the state of the Cumulus Media Networks (which includes syndicated talk – Huckabee, Savage, “Red Eye Radio” – as well as a lot of music programming) Dickey reports it’s been a bit “choppy” but he sees it settling down.  “It grew for us in the second quarter and we look for it to be positive in the back half of the year.  It’s a pretty fragmented space that ultimately begs for more consolidations… it did turn in a positive performance for us in second quarter.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript.  Members can see the entire conference call here.

abramsonnancyWall Street Journal Radio Network Executive Director Nancy Abramson to Exit Post.  Radio management pro Nancy Abramson tells TALKERS the company is reorganizing its management structure and she is moving on.  She says she’ll remain with the company through mid-September to assist with the transition.  As for the rest of the staff with which the industry is familiar, Abramson says the affiliate team of Susan O’Connell and Susan Moran will continue to service  the affiliates of “The Wall Street Journal Report,” “The Wall Street Journal This Morning,” “The Dow Jones Money Report” and “MarketWatch.com Reports.”  John Wordock and Patrice Sikora will continue to oversee the news product for The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch.com Radio Networks.  Abramson says she is excited about new opportunities and looking forward to the next adventure.  Abramson has served with WSJRN since 1996.

mccannjakeGreater Media Promotes Jake McCann to Director of Sales for Detroit Stations.  Jake McCann moves from Greater Media’s Philadelphia stations where he was general sales manager at sports talk WPEN “97.5 The Fanatic” and classic rock WMGK.  In Detroit he’ll be in charge of sales for rock WRIF, classic rock WCSX and currently-AC-but-rumored-to-soon-be sports talk WMGC.  The fact that McCann has experience selling sports talk could be part of the reason McCann is making this move if, as expected, WMGC flips to sports in August.  In a statement, Greater Media Detroit market manager Steve Chessare says, “Jake is the right person to lead our three station sales operation in the Motor City.  His passion, dedication and leadership are exactly what we need to take our three outstanding radio properties to the next level.”

wcfn sports logoRadio One Gives Up on FM Sports in Cincinnati.  After seven months, WCFN, Cincinnati “FM 100.3 The Fan” has let go most of its staff, cut ties with CBS Sports Radio Network and flips back to an urban oldies format as “Old School 100.3.”  The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter reports that production manager Rob Williams was the only staffer to survive the change.  Tom GambleRichard SkinnerWill ChambersChad BrendelRick UcchinoRick BroeringJeremy Lance, former Reds pitcher Joe Price, and Steve Harris all exited the station on Tuesday morning.  Richard Skinner, who hosted “Two Angry Guys” along with Tom Gamble, tells Kiesewetter he’s not angry about the change, “Radio is so cyclical, that you know your time is coming (to get fired).  They (Radio One) didn’t seem to have a plan of attack, and they’re pulling the format at a time of the year when all the people are listening for football and baseball.”  Clear Channel operates two sports talk stations in the market – WSAI, a Fox Sports Radio affiliate and WCKY, which uses ESPN Radio programming – both of which air largely national shows.

cookehollandHolland Cooke: Radio from the Newspaper.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke adds to the discussion about newspapers entering into the digital talk radio streaming business that’s been a major part of industry chatter in the wake of the Boston Herald’s announcement about the creation of Boston Herald Radio coming Monday, August 5.  Cooke has experience in this arena and he offers advice to publications considering the move.  Among some dos and don’ts: don’t separate the studio from the newsroom (the sound of busy reporters is crucial!); don’t assume good reporters make good talk hosts; do promote you’re emanating from a storied newsroom; and do make content available for download and later playback.  Read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.

kroi logo‘News 92 FM’ and ‘Yahoo Sports Radio 1560’ in Houston Agree to Content Sharing Deal.  Radio One’s all-news KROI and Gow Media’s sports talk KGOW in Houston agree to a content sharing deal that will have KROI producing newscasts for KGOW and the latter producing sports updates and actualities for KROI.  Here’s how it will work: kgow logoBeginning in early August, “News 92 FM” reporters will provide hourly, short-form news updates to “Yahoo Sports Radio 1560,” initially for use on nights and weekends, and ramping up to a full broadcast schedule shortly thereafter.  In like manner, “Yahoo Sports Radio 1560” reporters will provide sports updates and actualities twice per hour for integration into the “News 92 FM” broadcast clock between 7:00 pm and midnight daily, and from 6:00 am to noon on weekends.  Radio One RVP Doug Abernethy and Gow Media CEO David Gow began discussing the possibility earlier this year.  Abernethy states, “Research suggests that news and sports stations have shared listener bases. So this makes sense for both stations.  We have the best newsgathering and reporting resources in the city, and ‘Yahoo Sports Radio 1560’ enjoys an equivalent reputation in the world of sports.  We’re leveraging our respective strengths so that the ‘News 92 FM’ listener can get a quick sports update from ‘Yahoo Radio 1560,’ and their listeners can get top-flight news from ‘News 92 FM.’”

zwerlingmichaelZWERLING: The Smartest Programming Move I Ever Made for My Radio Stations.  You might be surprised to learn which syndicated host turned out to be so spectacularly successful for outspoken, independent radio station owner Michael L. Zwerling at his widely admired AM combo of KSCO and KOMY, Santa Cruz, California that he felt compelled to share it with the entire industry.  Then again, you might not.  Find out the answer and more in a new exclusive TALKERS opinion piece posted today (7/31) by clicking here.

sportsusa‘Broadway Joe’ Joins Sports USA for Weekly Podcast.  Sports USA announces NFL great Joe Namath will join the company to produce a weekly podcast for the company during the 2013 football season.  Sports USA president Bob Moore says Namath’s podcast will begin in the middle of August and run through this year’s Super Bowl.  Moore states, “It doesn’t get bigger than Joe Namath!  Joe is extremely passionate about football and his insights are amazing.  This podcast will give him the platform to reach all of his fans across the country and beyond.”  Namath comments, “I’m thrilled to join the Sports USA team with my new weekly podcast.  I look forward to expressing my opinions on both the NFL and college football each week from the beginning of the season all the way through the Super Bowl.”

rollinsvsbubbaWTKS, Orlando’s Russ Rollins to Face Bubba the Love Sponge in Wrestling Match.  Yes, you read that right.  As you see in the poster here, it’ll take place at the Arena Bowl in Orlando on August 17 and feature “The Monsters” vs “Bubba’s Army” as Russ Rollins & The Demon take on Bubba the Love Sponge & Kevin Nash with Marc Mero as a special guest referee.  Rollins tells TALKERS it’s the “Battle of the #1 morning shows!” and pits Clear Channel against Cox Media in front of 15,000 to 16,000 screaming fans!

2016 Presidential Race, Weiner Sexting Scandal, NSA Surveillance Program, ObamaCare Implementation, and Bradley Manning Verdict Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/30).  The possible candidates in the 2016 presidential election; the ongoing backlash from the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal; new developments in the NSA surveillance program case; the costs of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; and the verdict against Bradley Manning in the Wikileaks case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

| July 23, 2013

kinosianmikeBid4Spots: Auction an Alternative to Unsold Inventory.  In a piece published today (7/23), TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian profiles  Dave Newmark’s successful Bid4Spots digital auction initiative.  There was a time when numerous players were getting into thebid4spots logo business of using the internet to deal with unsold inventory on radio stations.  Dave Newmark tells Mike Kinosian why the others failed and how he struggled to find the right business model that would eventually lead to success.  It was during a casual conversation with a software developer when he had an epiphany.  “I immediately thought of those ad exchanges and I realized what they all had wrong.  They had the supply and demand equation backwards.  Forward auctions work well only when the demand is high and the supply is low.  If I could figure out when demand would be at its lowest point – when regular airtime buyers were pretty much gone from the store – it would be as close to ‘next week’ as possible.”  Newmark’s road to success was not a smooth one.  In this fascinating piece he details his trials and tribulations.  He also explains why stations and advertisers are happy with his model of moving unsold inventory.  Read it all here.

tantillojohnAre You a Thinker or a Feeler?  More importantly, are your listeners and callers thinkers or feelers?  In a new TALKERS column posted today (7/23) by branding specialist Dr. John Tantillo, he states that understanding the difference between these two approaches to the issues of the day can have an impact on your show and determine how effectively you orchestrate discussions of them on the air.  Using the examples of the current Zimmerman verdict and Rolling Stone cover controversy, Dr. Tantillo examines the relationship between branding and controversy pointing out that the most important thing to focus upon is how the controversy directly impacts the customer’s (or fan’s) loyalty to the brand and nobody else’s.  He says we should be less concerned about public relations and more interested in “targeted relations.”  To read the entire column, please click here.

smulyanjeffEmmis CEO Jeff Smulyan Named Among ‘Giants of Broadcasting’ Honorees.  This is the 11th annual staging of the “Giants of Broadcasting” that is sponsored by the Library of American Broadcasting.  It celebrates “distinguished leadership or performance in television and radio” and will take place October 16 at New York’s Gotham Hall.  Smulyan is among 11 honorees this year including Anne Sweeney, Alex Trebek, Barry Diller, Morley Safer, Dick Cavett, Robert L. Johnson, David E. Kelley, Richard E. Wiley, Richard Leibner and Carole Cooper.  The Library of American Broadcasting is located at the University of Maryland and the organization states it is “entering its 42nd year serving as the national information resource for the radio and television industries and the academic communities that rely upon it for depth and expertise.  Its collections of historic documents, professional papers, oral and video histories, books and photographs are among the nation’s most extensive.”

cooleychrisRed Zebra Re-Tools Afternoons on WTEM, Washington.  Recently retired Washington Redskins star Chris Cooley becomes part of the new “The Drive with Cooley and Czabe” afternoon program on Red Zebra-owned sports talk outlet czabanpollinWTEM, Washington “ESPN 980″.  Cooley – who just joined the station for Washington Redskins game broadcasts with the company – joins Steve Czaban and WTEM weekend host Al Galdi for the new program that will debut August 1 and will air from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Czaban currently hosts “The Sports Reporters” with Andy Pollin in the afternoon drive slot.  Red Zebra says Pollin remains with the station and will sub for the vacationing Tony Kornheiser beginning August 5.  About the new show, Czaban jokes, “I will work tirelessly to make Chris Cooley the second-most-beloved ex-Redskin tight end on radio in the DC market.”

bergmansandiMEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Mark Jorgenson of Jorgenson Broadcast Brokerage.  In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Mark Jorgenson of jorgensonmarkJorgenson Broadcast Brokerage of Greenville, South Carolina.  Jorgenson was a 12-year veteran of television sales and radio ownership in Southeastern markets before deciding that he liked putting deals together better than he did operating stations.  He says, “I enjoy matching people up with great opportunities and that’s what the brokerage business is all about.”  Jorgenson describes today’s radio station market as “sluggish due to a lack of capital to finance deals.”  He says, “There are plenty of potential buyers and even more potential sellers but without institutional financing to make the deals happen, we won’t see the volume of transactions we’ve seen in the past.  Brokers have to be creative and persistent to make deals happen in today’s financial climate.”  He continues, “There are even radio deals where some portion of the purchase price might be handled with a seller note.  The key is for the buyer to have access to at least some cash.  Private investors, family, and friends are the most likely source to finance new ventures these days.”  To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.

TalkersLA2013Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Is Set for Thursday, October 10.  The third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention has been set for Thursday, October 10 and its outstanding agenda is shaping up to be a blockbuster.  It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm.  TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are very enthusiastic about the growth and positive impact of this Southern California gathering.  It started out three years ago as an experimental LA regional get-together and blossomed into an exciting companion to our big New York convention.”  The event - open only to members of the working media – will feature a power-packed day of panel discussions, keynote addresses, special presentations, technology and services exhibits, tremendous networking opportunities and abundant food and refreshments (lunch is sponsored by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity who will address the attendees from New York).  Speakers already set include (in alphabetical order):  Robin Bertolucci, PD, KFI, Los Angeles; Phil Boyce, VP spoken word format, Salem Communications; Holland Cooke, radio consultant; Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Erica Farber,CEO/president, RAB;  Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD/WYM Media; Rusty Humphries, host, Talk Radio Network;  Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Leykis, president, The New Normal; Don Martin, senior VP sports programming, Fox Sports Radio/Clear Channel Media and Entertainment; Kevin McCullough, CEO, XtreMedia; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News; Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment/Podcast One; Chris Pendl, creative director, Bonneville Seattle; Walter Sabo, CEO, Sabo Media; Eric Stanger, VP of operations and affiliate marketing, The Sean Hannity Show/Premiere Networks; Alan Stock, host, KDWN, Las Vegas; Paul Vandenburgh, president/GM/host, WGDJ, Albany; and Michael Zwerling, owner, KSCO, Santa Cruz with many more to be announced in the coming days.  The latest broadcasting equipment and remote gear will be on display as presented by Broadcasters General Store and Comrex Corporation.  Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone and the event is expected to be a very early sellout.  So don’t wait – avoid being shut out.  For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413.

wexlerlisaWFAS, White Plains Afternoon Host Lisa Wexler to Run for Judicial Office.  Lisa Wexler is an attorney and currently the PM drive talk host on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WFAS, White Plains, New York.  She tells TALKERS magazine she’s being nominated to run as a Republican for the Probate Judge of Weston and Westport (Connecticut) in November.  “I’ve practiced this area of law for many years, and I’m very excited to run and be able to serve the people with knowledge and compassion.”  Wexler notes the position is part time and, if elected, she will be able to continue her radio work.

WRSB, Canandaigua, New York to Flip to Business Talk.  The station was purchased earlier this summer by Genesee Media Corporation and has been serving the area south of Rochester with a religious format.  According to YNN.com, GMC will brand the station “Business 1310” and will use programming from Bloomberg, NBC News and Marketwatch.  The report also indicates that Genesee intends to add the programming to other AM signals in the region.

wodlingerkevinSonoma Media Group Announces Kevin Wodlinger Is New Local Business Development Manager.  The company says Kevin Wodlinger comes to its five-station Santa Rosa, California cluster from his most recent position in Grand Junction, Colorado as market manager for the Cumulus Media cluster that is now owned by Townsquare Media.  Wodlinger replaces longtime employee Jeriann D’Elicio, who recently announced her resignation.  Michael O’Shea, president of Sonoma Media Group, comments, “Kevin is the real deal – a consummate sales executive with a great track record of teaching, coaching and leading in local business development.  We are delighted to have his expertise and leadership in our building.”  The company operates news/talk KSRO, country KFGY “Froggy 92.9,” classic rock KVRV “97.7 The River FM,” hot AC KMHX “Mix 104.9,” and CHr KHTH “Hot 101.7.”

douglasbrianNew Motor Sports Network to Begin Operations.  The Midwest Racing Radio Network announces it is preparing to begin operations and has named Brian Douglas vice president of broadcast operations.  Douglas also serves as host.  The company states it will initially feature one two-hour motorsports show via live audio stream and podcast in a format for broadcast stations to air daily five days a week.  Also, the network will feature a live one-hour Sunday evening program and a national highlights podcast show containing results, interviews, and the upcoming regional racing schedules as submitted from tracks across the country.

cigardaveTVCigar Dave Goes Live on TV.  Nationally syndicated media personality “Cigar Dave” Zeplowitz is pictured here (at right) hosting the first-ever live televised broadcasts from the 2013 International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Convention at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas.  The telecasts aired live on Sunday, July 14, Monday, July 15 and Tuesday, July 16. Cigar Dave reports his telecasts featured new premium cigar releases and accessories, interviews with premium cigar manufacturers and personalities, and presented viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the IPCPR Convention, that up to now, has been closed to the general public and only open to the trade.  “Cigar Dave” says, “This marks the next evolution of the Cigar Dave Show as we transition into a digital, multi-platform provider of relevant content for Alpha Males. Eighteen years ago, I was the first broadcaster to host a radio show dedicated to cigars and the Alpha Male-lifestyle.  This year’s live IPCPR telecasts commence a major expansion into televised and digital content that appeals to Alpha Males and a new generation of Millennial Males who enjoy cigars, spirits, manly pursuits, and the Good Life.”

Odds & Sods.  Public radio station WKSU, Kent, Ohio drops some of the daily classical music programming to add NPR’s “The Takeaway” with John Hockenberry and “On Point” with Tom Ashford to the midday schedule…..Sun Broadcasting changes the news/talk trimulcast of WFSX-AM and FM and WNOG-AM in Fort Myers.  It keeps WFSX-FM news/talk as “92.5 Fox News” and pairs up the AMs as a sports talk duo “The Fan.”

ObamaCare Implementation, Detroit Bankruptcy, Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Race, U.S. Syria Policy and British Prince Born Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22).  The delay of the employer mandate and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the bankruptcy case of the city of Detroit; the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict; the potential candidates in the 2016 presidential race; the United States’ policy regarding Syria; and the birth of the son of Prince William and Kate Middleton were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Keeping It Local is KSCO’s Key to Success

| March 15, 2013

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

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

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

Read More

Monday, January 7, 2013

| January 7, 2013

cosbyritaRita Cosby to Host PM Drive at WOR, New York; PD Rumors Abound.  As Clear Channel Media and Entertainment continues crafting its new New York City talk radio station – on Friday, TALKERS told you about Mark Simone’s moving from WABC to WOR to host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show – we now know that Rita Cosby is in place to host the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program.  The journalist, TV news anchor and current correspondent for CBS’ syndicated “Inside Edition” television program has been subbing on Big Apple talk radio recently.  As for programmers, the speculation is that former hot AC WPLJ, New York program director Tom Cuddy is in place to program WOR.  If that’s the case, it’s interesting that CC has gone outside the realm of talk radio programmers for this signal.  One thing’s for sure, Cuddy certainly knows the New York market.

kleinaaronWABC, New York’s Aaron Klein Gains Big December PPM Audience.  The host of WABC, New York’s Sunday evening “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” program was the most-listened-to personality on the AM band during the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm among Men 35-plus.  Klein’s show was #3 in the market in that demo and during that time period behind only classic rock WAXQ and AC WLTW with a 7.0 share.  Klein tells TALKERS magazine, “This clearly demonstrates that there is hunger for live weekend talk radio programming if the content is compelling, exclusive, news-oriented and entertaining.”  Klein’s program beat out sports WFAN as well as the market’s two all-newsers in the Men 35-plus demographic.

ingrahamlauraLaura Ingraham Talks About New Show.  In case you missed it, Courtside Entertainment-syndicated talk host Laura Ingraham spoke with Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s Diane Brady last week about changes in her life and work as she left Talk Radio Network for a new deal with Courtside.  She told Brady, “After 11 years at TRN, it was time to retool how I approached the business.  That meant everything from whom I partnered with and how the show is delivered to the topics I cover.  Pounding on the same people and themes doesn’t expand an audience. Conservatives limit themselves when they just look at the world through a political lens.  Politics is an important part of what I do — my core beliefs haven’t changed — but people are disillusioned with it.”  She also pointed to her personal life as a reason for massaging the direction of her program.  “I’m a single mother to three young kids; I’ve been treated for breast cancer; I’m caring for my aging father.  There’s a lot more that unites us than divides us.  I want the show to be livelier, funnier, newsier, more unpredictable.  The personal connection with listeners is more satisfying than political conversations.”

cbssportsradiologoCBS Sports Radio Network Debuts Weekend Lineup.  Three days after premiering its weekday national sports radio network, CBS Radio brings its weekend lineup to the airwaves.  Kicking off on the first weekend of the NFL playoffs, the network’s schedule was as follows (parentheses indicate talent’s home base): Saturday/Sunday 2:00 am to 6:00 am Amy Lawrence (joins CBS Sports Radio from ESPN Radio); Saturday: 6:00 am to 10:00 am Marc Malusis (WFAN-AM/FM New York); 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Brandon Tierney (CBS Sports Radio); 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm Gregg Giannotti (KDKA-FM Pittsburgh); 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm Jody McDonald (WIP-FM Philadelphia and WFAN); and Saturday/Sunday 10:00 pm to 2:00 am Adam The Bull (WKRK-FM Cleveland).  Sunday: 6:00 am to 10:00 am John Kincade (WCNN-AM Atlanta); 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Vinny Cerrato/Rob Long (WJZ-FM Baltimore); 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm Jody McDonald/Kris Jenkins (former NFL player, and sports analyst); 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm Josh Innes and Ted Johnson (KILT-AM Houston); and Sunday/Monday 10:00 pm to 2:00 am Amy Lawrence.

liebermanrichBay Area Media Blogger Rich Lieberman to Host Afternoons at KOMY, Santa Cruz.  Rich Lieberman – who’s been writing the Rich Lieberman 415 Media blog for more than 10 years – had recently been doing some holiday fill-in work at Michael Zwerling-owned KOMY, Santa Cruz over the holidays.  Now Zwerling announces Lieberman has been hired to be permanent host of the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm program.  Zwerling states, “Rich has been blogging about media, sports, and entertainment for more than a decade and has built an amazing audience, including MANY famous people who crave mentions and acknowledgement by this new media sensation. This reminds me of how people would die to be mentioned in Herb Caen‘s column in the San Francisco Chronicle for nearly half a century.”

valentinebobbyBobby Valentine Joins NBC Sports Radio as Weekly Contributor.  Baseball’s Bobby Valentine is becoming part of the NBC Sports Radio network as a contributor to its coverage of Major League Baseball beginning this month.  The network says Valentine will call in weekly to affiliated stations and NBC Sports Radio talk hosts with his candid thoughts and observations on baseball.  In addition, Valentine will become a part-time co-host of a soon-to-be-announced daily Monday through Friday talk show that will debut in April as the network expands its programming lineup.  The NBC Sports Radio network is being distributed and supported with ad sales by Dial Global.  Valentine says, “I can’t wait to get started on NBC Sports Radio.  I’m looking forward to talking to our affiliates and network shows, and to being a major contributor to the network.  I always state my honest opinion and I can’t wait to share it with NBC Sports Radio listeners.”

millerchris“I Knew You’d Like This and That No One Else Would Show it to You.”  This is the attitude that digital consultant Chris Miller says delivers higher quality content when using social media such as Facebook.  In this piece for TALKERS, Miller explains how programmers can optimize their gains from Facebook using its EdgeRank algorithm.  Miller says EdgeRank “works to show you what they think will matter most to you.  It’s like a programmer picking songs; they want the good stuff to show up most often, and they don’t want to show you the stuff you don’t care about.”  Miller explains the three elements that make up the algorithm and offers some tips how to capitalize on it.  Read his piece here.

metalsheenaSheena Metal Celebrates Four Years at LA Talk Radio.  Los Angeles radio personality Sheena Metal is celebrating her fourth anniversary at the Sam Hasson-founded LATalkRadio.com.  Metal was a long-time evening personality at CBS Radio’s old hot talk KLSX, Los Angeles before the station underwent a format change.  Sam Hasson says, “Since she launched her daily radio show ‘The Sheena Metal Experience’ in January 2009, Sheena has grown tremendously in every way and built a respectable audience that is loyal and devoted.  We anticipate more great entertainment and intriguing guests in the coming year.  LA Talk Radio is proud to call Sheena Metal one of our own.”  In addition to “The Sheena Metal Experience,” she co-hosts two weekly talk programs: the paranormal hit “Haunted Playground” alongside psychic/medium Danielle Egnew (Tuesdays from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm) and the spicy “Two Chicks Talkin’ Politics” alongside actress Susan Olsen (of “The Brady Bunch” fame) airing Mondays 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  For music lovers, Sheena Metal can even be found hosting her weekly “Music Highway” show on Wednesdays from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

| November 27, 2012

Whither Laura Ingraham? Affiliates Hear Tammy Bruce Today.  The Talk Radio Network star has left the air amidst saying that she is leaving TRN, perhaps with plans to be back via another avenue in the near future.  Although the departure seems abrupt, it comes as no surprise to industry observers who have long known of the not-so-secret friction that has existed for years between Ingraham and TRN’s top management.  TALKERS has reached out to Talk Radio Network for information but has yet to receive a response.  Former TRN syndicated talk host and current popular internet talk personality Tammy Bruce is filling in on the network slot where Ingraham’s program aired.  On her website, Ingraham has posted the following message.  “After more than 9 years with the distributor Talk Radio Network, I decided it was time to move on.  After much thought and reflection, I have decided to pursue my first loves — modern dance and the xylophone.  In the highly unlikely event that these efforts do not prove fruitful, I intend to return to radio.  Seriously — to the more than 300 stations that carry the Laura Ingraham show and to all my loyal listeners, I feel the time is right to expand and retool my radio program and to explore other syndication options, which I am now actively pursuing.  During this brief hiatus, my team and I will continue to deliver thought-provoking and entertaining analysis via my website.”

Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco Names Chris Townsend PM Drive Co-Host.  With the departure of Brandon Tierney to CBS Radio Sports Network for the morning show beginning in January, the Entercom sports talker fills Tierney’s spot as co-host of the afternoon “The Drive” show with midday co-host Chris Townsend.  He’ll partner up with Ric Bucher in the afternoon slot and Matt Steinmetz will host the late-morning “The Pulse” solo, at least for now.  Townsend was upped from his evening show at “95.7 The Game” in September to the late-morning slot.  In addition to his daily talk show work, he hosts the Oakland A’s radio pre-game show “The Dugout.”

WBEN, Buffalo Talk Host Tom Bauerle Shares Cardiac Diagnosis with Listeners.  Last week, long time Buffalo talk host Tom Bauerle told his audience that he’ll be undergoing a procedure to have a pacemaker/defibrillator put in after being diagnosed with Brugada syndrome – or as Bauerle describes it to TALKERS – the “he was so healthy and he just dropped dead” disease.  Bauerle says he’s always believed in being honest with his audience.  “I have a very close bond with people who’ve listened to me because I do not pretend to be something I am not and the real people appreciate the truth in the era of spin.”  So he explained that he had a routine EKG prior to planned elective surgery when doctors discovered he has the syndrome that can cause a sudden and fatal arrhythmia.  Bauerle, still in his 40s, recently signed a long-term contract extension with Entercom’s WBEN back in October.  We at TALKERS wish him the best in dealing with this condition.

Bay Area Media Blogger Rich Lieberman Debuts Weekend Talk Radio Show.  San Francisco-based media blogger Rich Lieberman’s 415 Media has been the source of opinions and news scoops for Bay Area media (and beyond) for years.  He’s also made a number of enemies in the region who don’t like his style or his willingness to publish speculation about their business.  Now, Lieberman is taking to the air at Michael Zwerling-owned KOMY, Santa Cruz with a three-hour weekend program that airs on Saturday and Sunday evenings.  Lieberman tells Fishbowl LA the show will be guest-oriented.  He opened the first program speaking to KTVU-TV, Oakland evening news lead anchor Frank Somerville who discussed his adopting a black daughter.  He also interviewed KKSF talk host John Rothmann.  Lieberman tells Fishbowl LA, “Next weekend, I will be talking with actor Patrick Warburton as well as Alan Colmes, formerly of ‘Hannity & Colmes.’  Colmes has a new book out, and we’ll also take a look back at the 2012 presidential election…The show is guest-oriented right now.  I wanted to charge it up during the holidays and start with a splash.  But in the long run, the zeitgeist of ‘The Rich Lieberman Show’ is going to be my rants and opines, and talking about those topics with callers.”

Bonneville’s Arizona Sports 620 KTAR-AM Adds Mixed Martial Arts Program to Lineup.  The fast-growing popularity of mixed martial arts (MMA), especially among young men, has a number of sports enterprises exploring the possibility the sport can draw audience on a level worthy of dedicated programming.  Bonneville’s “Arizona Sports 620 KTAR-AM” is adding a new program to its lineup beginning Saturday, December 1 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm called “The Power MMA Show” hosted by Jim Grieshaber, along with world-class MMA fighters and former ASU wrestling stars Ryan Bader and Aaron Simpson (pictured here, Bader at left, Simpson at right).  The station describes the show as one that “will focus on the biggest stories of the week, the lives of fighters – from superstars to local talent, the growth of Arizona into an MMA hotbed and more.”  Written and video content will be hosted on a new MMA section at ArizonaSports.com, with a team of Power MMA contributors providing local and national coverage.  Bonneville Phoenix vice president of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says, “MMA is one of the fastest growing and most exciting sports in the world.  We’re thrilled to launch the first-ever show of its kind in this market, hosted by world renowned experts and top notch fighters. This is going to be fun.”

Sports Talk’s Dino Costa Sparks ‘Battle’ with Chris Russo at SiriusXM.  Sports talker Dino Costa – whose program airs on Chris Russo’s “Mad Dog Radio” on SiriusXM – has been getting some attention lately for his on-air jabs at the channel’s namesake and founder Chris Russo.  A two-part interview with Costa appears on ShermanReport.com and Costa speaks frankly with publisher Ed Sherman about his battles with Russo – admitting to calling him a “has-been” on the air – and their strictly “professional” relationship.  The bomb-throwing is even more interesting since Russo operates the channel and could oust Costa if he wanted.  Costa is also not shy about expressing his desire for a bigger role in the sports talk world.  Read the entire interview here.

Washington Tax Battle, Post-Sandy Clean-Up Costs, Liberty University-ObamaCare Case and Morsi’s Egyptian Power Grab Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/26).  The struggle between the Obama Administration and House Republicans over coming tax hikes and spending cuts; the price tag for cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey; the Supreme Court’s ordering lower court to reconsider Liberty University’s argument ObamaCare violates school’s religious freedom; and the power grab by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.