Tag: "Mike Francesa"
WFAN’s Mike Francesa Show to End Fox Sports Cable Simulcast. New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa told his WFAN listeners on Wednesday that his show would cease being simulcast on Fox Sports’ cable channel after this Friday. As the New York Post reports, Francesa had problems with the relationship almost from the beginning and griped to listeners about being pre-empted by soccer or moved to the FS2 channel. Francesa said, “First, let me say that the blame is mine. I tried to do something a little different. The Fox guys were eager and I’m not going to say money wasn’t an issue, because it was the biggest. I had some trepidation, but I saw some promise and it just didn’t work.” The Post reports that Francesa is beginning to look for a new cable simulcast partner and MSG Network is a possible destination.
Corral Named News Director at KGO, San Francisco. This is a promotion from assignment editor to news director for Angela Corral. She’s been with Cumulus Media’s KGO since October of 2013. She’s worked in news in the Bay Area for the past 17 years, having joined CBS RADIO’s crosstown all-news KCBS in 1998 as a production assistant. On her new gig, Corral comments, “It’s a true honor to be selected as news director of this legendary station. I’m looking forward to working with an amazing staff of dedicated journalists as we move KGO forward.”
Radio Pro Bob Dane Rises to Executive Director at FAIR. The Federation for American Immigration Reform announces Bob Dane is promoted to executive director of the organization after approval from the board of directors. Dane, whose years of experience in network radio, marketing and communications led him to join FAIR in 2006 as director of communications, will be just the fourth executive director of FAIR since its founding in 1979. In this new role, Dane will oversee the organization’s Washington, D.C.-based and national operations. FAIR president Dan Stein comments, “With nearly a decade of experience in FAIR’s media department, Bob has spearheaded valuable and unique initiatives, bringing to light the public’s often-overlooked concerns about immigration.” Chairman of the Board Donald Collins Jr. adds, “For many years, Bob has continually demonstrated media expertise, innovative ideas and able management.” During his career, Dane also served in a policy and budgeting position within the Reagan administration. He received a degree in public administration and management from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
Odds & Sods. After retiring from full-time work at Chicago all-news outlet WBBM-AM in 2004 after a 35-year career, Sheman Kaplan returned to the station on a freelance basis, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder. In a column today, Feder reports that Kaplan is again retiring from the station where he was co-anchoring midday newscasts and “The WBBM Noon Business Hour” alongside Kris Kridel…..Los Angeles-based talk personality Larry Elder will host presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson on his show today (9/10). Elder’s program airs on CRN Digital Talk Radio at 3:00 pm ET and on Salem-owned KRLA, Los Angeles at 9:00 pm PT…..United Stations Radio Networks is now offering a sports radio prep service called Total Sports Prep. USRN says it is intended for use by air personalities in sports talk or any programming that delves into sports content…..Bob Kempf joins TV and online public media producer WGBH Boston as vice president for digital services. Kempf was previously VP/general manager of digital services for NPR…..Saga Communications drops adult standards on KRNT, Des Moines and goes sports talk as “ESPN Des Moines.” In addition to carrying ESPN Radio programming, it will carry Chicago Cubs baseball, Drake University play-by-play, and be an affiliate of the Green Bay Packers Radio Network…..Entercom flips from business talk on KWOD, Kansas City to sports talk using both CBS Sports Radio and Fox Sports Radio.
WIP, Philadelphia’s Eagles Radiothon Raises $200,000. Another Eagles Radiothon is in the books and the event organized by the NFL club and CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM, “SportsRadio 94WIP raised $200,000 for the Eagles Youth Partnership. As part of the annual radiothon, Eagles fans and 94WIP callers were provided the opportunity to bid on exclusive experiences involving their favorite Eagles players and 94WIP radio personalities. Eagles Youth Partnership, Eagles Social Responsibility president Christina Weiss Lurie says, “We continue to be amazed each year by the generous contributions and devoted support from our fans during the Eagles Radiothon. As an organization, we are always looking to deliver one-of-a-kind experiences for our fans. The annual Radiothon provides us with the opportunity to do that, while also supporting the vital health and education programs of Eagles Youth Partnership. On behalf of EYP, I would like to express a heartfelt thank you to 94WIP for their steadfast commitment and support of this event.”
Salem Radio Network at 90 Minutes in Heaven Premiere. The new film 90 Minutes in Heaven – based on the New York Times bestselling book by Don Piper – opens this weekend and Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left) was in Atlanta this week for the media premiere of the film. Tradup says that on the heels of the Christian-themed film War Room being tops at the Labor Day weekend box office last week, fans of faith-based movies are also expected to turn out this weekend for the nationwide opening of 90 Minutes in Heaven. Tradup is seen here speaking with actress Kate Bosworth (right) who plays Piper’s wife Eva Piper. In a story based on Don Piper’s own experiences, she helps him recover from a car crash after being pronounced legally dead for 90 minutes. The film also stars Hayden Christensen and Fred Thompson.
Conspiracy Theory Gets Two Suspended from Scripps Springfield, MO Stations. The host and the on-air producer of the Sunday morning “Cracker Barrel” show have been suspended by E.W. Scripps after suggesting the on-air slayings of Roanoke TV crew Alison Parker and Adam Ward were a hoax designed to spur stricter gun control laws. Host Joe Rios and producer Rick Masters are heard on the both company’s country KTTS and news/talk KSGF-AM/FM. Station manager Rex Hansen apologized to the station’s listeners for the commentary. It’s not known how long the two will be suspended from the weekly community forum program.
Hillary Clinton Emails Apology, Trump Candidacy, 2016 Presidential Candidates, European Migrant Crisis, Brandon Marshall’s Brady vs NFL Racism Charge/ESPN Spygate Story, Iran Nuclear Deal, and Russia-Syria Military Connection Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/9). Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton apologizes for use of private email server for State Department business; the criticism and analysis of the top-polling Trump for President campaign; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the migrant crisis affecting European nations; the aftermath of the Tom Brady vs the NFL case and Brandon Marshall’s charge that Tom Brady is treated different because he’s white, plus the related ESPN Spygate story; the controversy over the Iran nuclear deal; and reports of Russia sending military aid to Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Nielsen on Voltair and PPM: The Morning After. Yesterday’s Nielsen Audio webinar with PPM client stations regarding upcoming changes to its PPM technology and the Voltair audio processor from Telos Alliance has the industry buzzing. As you know, Nielsen has been testing the Voltair unit and has concluded that it cannot “support” Voltair, saying it found nothing substantial to show the processor positively affects the PPM unit’s ability to pick up the watermark tone that credits listening. A number of managers and programmers have subsequently commented anonymously that they remain unconvinced by Nielsen’s research and presentation. One programmer tells TALKERS, “Their research proved without a doubt that Voltair recorded more listening in certain formats when the PPM was in a noisy environment. However, they did a flip-flop in their presentation, stating that ‘Voltair’s increased recording of listenership was inconclusive.’ Interestingly, at the same time they announced the rollout of an enhanced and more robust watermark which should be in the field by fall. If there was not a problem, then why the new watermark?” But broadcasting consultant Randy Kabrich writes in a blog post today in which, in this instance, he defends Nielsen’s response. He says it’s well known that PPM doesn’t hear all of the codes and because of the 15-minute Quarter Hour ratings method employed in the U.S., it doesn’t need to. “The Media Rating Council has examined every aspect of the PPM very extensively with their audits…[The] policies for stations to receive credit from the PPM codes were put in place many years ago after years of testing because it is known that the PPM meter misses codes! And yet, the results are statically valid. Otherwise no PPM markets would be accredited by the MRC. And don’t you find it interesting that the MRC has agreed to look at Voltair with stations who have gone to them based on their own observations? Look at it from the outside. What do those stations gain? It is almost as if they have post purchase dissonance and need someone to tell them they made the correct decision.” Read Kabrich’s interesting blog piece here.
What Would it Take to Reunite Mike Francesa and Chris Russo? That’s what New York sports talk fans are probably wondering after a passing question to Chris “Mad Dog” Russo by YES Network (and WEPN-FM, New York) personality Michael Kay about whether he’d considering working with WFAN, New York afternoon personality Mike Francesa again received the answer, “Yeah, I would. Definitely. I miss the camaraderie.” Francesa was asked the same question by Newsday and told the paper that he would consider it. Both Russo and Francesa are under contract to their respective employers – Russo through 2016 with SiriusXM and Francesa with CBS RADIO through 2017. It’s no secret that Francesa is unhappy with his relationship with CBS. NJ.com reports that Russo told Kay he handled his 2008 exit from WFAN and the Francesa partnership poorly and wishes he’d been more up front about the situation.
Dirk Van to Retire from Westwood One’s ‘First Light.’ For 26 years, Dirk Van has been the only host of Westwood One’s early morning news magazine “First Light,” but he announces that Thursday, July 30 will be his last day. The company says he “leaves with a legacy of accomplishments and awards.” Dirk also hosts “The Week in Review” news program and has anchored morning drive newscasts throughout his successful career. Van says of his 35-year radio career, “Radio is all about people, and I’ve had the great fortune to work with the best in the business, following in the footsteps of my father, Lyle Van – a radio legend at NBC and WOR — and others greats like Lou Adler, Nick Verbitsky, Tom O’Brien, Ron Nessen, and Bart Tessler. Hosting our morning magazine, ‘First Light,’ has been an amazing experience and has allowed me to work with talented broadcasters for more than a quarter century. Talking to listeners on a daily basis has kept me grounded, and hopefully provided a window into what America is thinking. And to think — we started way back when talk radio was ‘new.’ Helping to create an exciting, new product, Westwood One News, has been especially rewarding, and being a part of its success is a great way to cap a career. And talk about ‘sailing off into the sunset’— that’s exactly what I plan to do, with my beautiful wife, Paula, who has put up with those agonizing broadcasters’ hours all these years. To all my friends at Westwood One, thank you!”
Talk Host Phil Valentine Wins Screenplay Competition. Nashville-based talk show host Phil Valentine picked up first place honors at the Colorado Film Festival in the screenplay competition. The Westwood One-syndicated personality’s “Derek Dickens & The Dream” screenplay is a fictional story of one man’s mid-life crisis that turns him into an international pop sensation when he takes on an imaginary persona through which he lives out his lifelong dream. This 50-year-old fabricates a 20-something British band, with himself at the lead, and it takes the world by storm. He realizes no one is prepared for this kind of success, at any age. Noting that the Colorado Film Festival is watched by industry pros, Valentine jokes, “I’ve been sitting by the phone waiting for a call from Hollywood. I already have Robert Downey, Jr. planned for the lead.” This is not the first accolade for this screenplay; it was a finalist in nine other film festivals, including the Beverly Hills Film Festival, the American Movie Awards, and the Atlanta Film Festival. Valentine has been dabbling in film alongside his radio career for several years now. He recently wrote and produced the award-winning documentary, “An Inconsistent Truth.”
BizTV and BizTalkRadio Enter News Game. The business news reports that will be available to air from 9:00 am to 5:05 pm daily are being produced by Little Rock-based Independent News Network. It is a five-minute, top-of-the-hour product that gives stations the option of running the whole cast or choosing from headlines, market reports or business stories. BizTV and BizTalkRadio EVP Scott Miller says, “We felt there was a void in the marketplace for business news. There are several great resources for news, but our TV and radio affiliates wanted a news product that follows the stock market and provides business centered news stories.”
Odds & Sods. Morning show personality Sergeant Sam Cox is retiring from his gig at Emmis-owned news/talk KLBJ-AM, Austin. Cox has been with the station for 28 years. He served with the Austin Police Department for 31 years and retired from the force in 1995…..WKGN, Knoxville is flipping from regional Mexican to sports talk after Hodges Media purchased the station from Richardo Espinosa for $225,000. The station is using Fox Sports Radio Network programming in addition to local shows. The station will work with the Tennessee Volunteers platform GoVols247.com. Nate Hodges and executive producer Brad Matthews will host the 7:00 am to 10:00 am show and Tom Poisal will host the afternoon drive show…..Talk radio pro Adam McManus sits in for WPGP, Pittsburgh “AM 1250 The Answer” morning personality Rose Tennant August 17-21. He recently did fill-in work for KMJ, Fresno where PD Blake Taylor says, “Adam did a great job filling in at KMJ – lots of energy and thought-provoking topics. Generated tons of calls!”…..Three-time Super Bowl Champion and ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth begins producing a new, weekly podcast on PodcastOne called, “The Stinkin’ Truth.” PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “What a great addition to our network of sports programming. A great athlete and communicator, Mark joins Shaq, Dan Patrick, Steve Austin, Ross Tucker and so many more on that list. Mark’s podcast will be a stand out, and we expect it to deliver a significant audience and become a featured attraction in the podcast world.”
2016 Presidential Candidates, Iran Nuclear Deal, Chattanooga Killings Aftermath, New Planned Parenthood Video, Illegal Immigration-Kate Steinle Death, ‘El Chapo’ Escape-Mexican Corruption, and Sandra Bland Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/21). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the fragile state of the Iran nuclear deal and the response from nations around the world; the investigation into terrorist ties to Chattanooga shooter Mohammed Abdulazeez and the aftermath of the slayings; the surfacing of a second video showing a Planned Parenthood doctor haggling over the price of fetus body parts; ongoing talk about the state of the U.S.’s immigration policy and the death of Kate Steinle; talk about Mexican corruption in the wake of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s escape from prison; and the arrest and subsequent death in jail of Sandra Bland were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WTOP, Washington Names McMearty Program Director. Three months after former programmer Laurie Cantillo and Hubbard Radio parted ways, the company names 23-year staffer Mike McMearty program director for the multi-platform news operation. McMearty moves up from his news director post to the new position of director of news and programming. Hubbard Washington SVP/GM Joel Oxley comments, “Mike has been an integral part of our success for more than two decades. He has led the newsroom to hundreds of industry awards for excellence in journalism, including 18 National Murrow Awards and more than two dozen honors already in 2015. I look forward to him taking the department to new heights.” The station reports that Jim Battagliese continues his role as director of traffic, transit and weather. Mitchell Miller is promoted to senior news director managing the newsroom weekday mornings, Darci Marchese moves up to a full-time news director weekday afternoons, and Jamie Forzato now will manage news operations on the weekends as weekend managing editor. Meera Pal moves to social and digital engagement director reporting to Julia Ziegler, who moves from web and operations manager of FederalNewsRadio.com to become the news director of WTOP.com. All of the changes will take place over the next several weeks.
Talkers New York 2015 Videos Begin Being Posted Today (6/22). Starting today with WFAN, New York superstar Mike Francesa’s opening “Keynote Greeting,” TALKERS will be posting videos of each of the sessions that made Talkers New York 2015’s agenda one of the most successful in the convention’s 18-year history. A session will be added each business day for the next nine days in a row, in the order that they took place at the event, until the entire agenda, video-recorded by Art Vuolo, is posted in a special Talkers TV feature sponsored by independent station owner, Michael Zwerling’s KSCO, Santa Cruz. The entire feature will remain posted for the rest of 2015. To see the opening session with Mike Francesa, please click here. Tomorrow: “The State of Radio Ratings” panel moderated by Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel icon Sean Hannity.
Mike Francesa Opens Talkers New York 2015 on Upbeat Note – See Video Today! In a video posted today (6/22), legendary WFAN afternoon drive personality Mike Francesa sets the tone for what proved to be a realistic, but highly optimistic and solutions-oriented, agenda at the recent industry mega-conference, Talkers New York 2015 (6/12). The tell-it-like-it-is broadcaster – who has been ranked at #1 on the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio” for the past two consecutive years – blasted the pessimism that he says permeates the radio industry and offered his assessment of the tremendous opportunities available to radio in the digital era. Francesa drew applause form the packed house stating, “It’s amazing the amount of negativity that exists no matter what part of the business you’re in… I’m here to tell you that even though I am a little closer to the finish [of my career] than I am to the start, back [in 1987] when I was pounding on the door at WFAN with Jeff Smulyan – it took me 18 interviews to get hired, folks — I would be as bullish on radio and as gung ho about getting a career and feeding my family on radio NOW… as I was back then.” Francesa discusses the multi-platform nature of programming content today and the need/opportunity to monetize every element of it. He praises the spread of smartphones as being equivalent to a theoretical resurgence of the old transistor radio and thus providing radio with universal portability… something it hasn’t enjoyed in decades. He discusses the importance of branding in today’s media environment and vehemently champions the importance of “live and local” being the key to radio’s survival and purpose in the coming era. To see Francesa’s entire speech, please click here.
Westwood One Names Ron Russo EVP Northeast Sales. Radio sales pro Ron Russo is named EVP, Northeast Region for Westwood One’s network sales division. In this position, Russo will “manage and oversee the New York sales office and be responsible for revenue growth and multi-platform brand integrations across all Westwood One assets, including network sales, spot sales, platform, digital, and events.” Russo will report to Westwood One president Steve Shaw. In a statement from WW1, the company notes that Russo comes to them from iHeartMedia where he was general sales manager for the NYC station group. “In addition to building and overseeing the sales teams, he was instrumental in managing the transition when iHeart purchased WOR-AM from Buckley Broadcasting. He also played an important role in securing the station’s radio rights to the NY Mets.” He worked for CBS RADIO at hot AC WWFS, “Fresh 102.7” before joining iHeartMedia. Russo says, “I am really looking forward to working with this great team of sellers and collaborating throughout the organization as we look for innovative ways to drive and accelerate results for our clients.”
Rob Ellis Lands at WPEN, Philadelphia. Former WIP-FM, Philadelphia personality Rob Ellis debuts on crosstown Greater Media’s WPEN, Philadelphia, partnered up with Harry Mayes. Ellis exited CBS RADIO’s WIP in March after failing to come to terms on a contract renewal with the station. Ellis, who also hosts “Breakfast on Broad” on cable’s Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, takes over as co-host of the midday show for Eytan Shander, who remains with the company. Former WIP personality Anthony Gargano also joined WPEN late last year as morning drive personality.
Odds & Sods. Both FOX Sports and ESPN are reporting that former San Diego Chargers player and longtime radio play-by-play analyst Hank Bauer has been let go from the radio broadcast team. Bauer served a one-game suspension last season – missing the final preseason game – after he used a Jewish slur during the third preseason game. He later apologized…..Westwood One presents coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s College World Series Finals beginning this evening from TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Nebraska. The best-of-three championship series between Vanderbilt and Virginia is being covered by (pictured here in front of the famous Road to Omaha statue standing from left to right) Ted Emrich, Scott Graham, and Kevin Kugler.
Dr. Joy Browne Tours Israel as Guest of Prime Minister – Meets with Victims of Terror. Nationally-syndicated (GCN) talk show host and clinical psychologist, Dr. Joy Browne returns to New York today (6/22) after an intense week-long tour of Israel on a fact-finding/counseling mission that brought her into one-on-one encounters with Israeli victims of terror. Browne (right) is pictured meeting with Israeli citizens at the Jerusalem headquarters of the OneFamily organization during what has been her first visit to the Middle East democracy this week. According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, during the emotionally charged encounter, which was hosted by OneFamily CEO Chantal Belzberg, Browne met with former residents of the US, Canada, and the UK who were physically and emotionally scarred in terrorist attacks across Israel during the past few years. “I am delighted and honored to be here,” Browne tells the Post. “After experiencing the aftermath of 9/11, we all share a common echo and I am impressed with the resilience of the people here who have worked or who are working to transcend fear and are getting on with their lives.” The perennially popular radio personality, in addition to interviewing and counselling victims, also interviewed the organization’s various psychologists and therapists for a future segment on her widely heard program. Browne’s trip to Israel was sponsored by the Office of the Prime Minister and America’s Voices in Israel. (Photo courtesy of the Jerusalem Post and Sarah Levin.)
FOX News Commentators Ellen Ratner and Jim Pinkerton Honored by Grenada’s St. George’s University. Media personalities Ellen Ratner and Jim Pinkerton were recognized with honorary doctorates from St. George’s University in Grenada for their charitable works. Pinkerton and Ratner – who work together as conservative and liberal commentators, respectively, on FOX News Channel’s “FOX & Friends Weekend” on the “Long and Short of It” segment – are known for separate charitable efforts. Pinkerton has been working with the school assisting with its cure strategy for diseases. Ratner has been working for years to provide some of the basic tools for subsistence farming to people in South Sudan. Ratner (third from left) and Pinkerton (fourth from left) are seen here receiving their honorary degrees.
Dallas Newsman Bob Morrison Dies. Former KRLD-AM and WBAP-AM, Dallas newsman Bob Morrison died yesterday (6/21) after a long illness. Salem Radio Network VP, News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “When I served its VP/general manager, I hired Bob as news director of the USA Radio Network in 1999, and he brought a professional demeanor to reorganizing USA that was nothing short of amazing. His planning and execution of the national political conventions in 2000 remains a highlight, and nurturing his strong delivery and solid journalistic skills will always remain a highlight of my career.”
Baltimore Protests Turn Violent. Owing to that fact, Hearst talker WBAL-AM, Baltimore advanced yesterday (Monday, 4/27) to “continuous coverage,” after a weekend of “extensive coverage.” According to WBAL-AM president and general manager Cary Pahigian, “We are sharing resources with our sister station, WBAL-TV (Channel 11), which is flying their helicopter almost nonstop. Our goal is to keep the community up-to-the-minute and to provide an opportunity to discuss and analyze the situation with WBAL-AM talk hosts in a responsible manner. It is very fluid, so we are staying nimble and flexible.” The unrest in the Maryland city increased following the funeral of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died just over one week ago (4/19), after suffering spinal injuries while in police custody. At least one Baltimore building has been torched; several of the city’s police cars have been set on fire; and protesters have thrown bricks at Baltimore police officers. Six Baltimore police officers have been seriously injured in Monday’s violence. Maryland governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard, while Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake states every possible resource is being deployed to “gain control of this situation.”
WFAN Sports Giant Mike Francesa Is Extremely Bullish on Radio – Says the Medium Is Here to Stay on Michael Harrison’s “Up Close and Far Out” Podcast. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews WFAN sports talk superstar Mike Francesa on this week’s installment of the international hit podcast series, “Up Close and Far Out.” In an exclusive 30-minute conversation, Harrison and Francesa cover a variety of fascinating topics including authenticity in broadcasting, internet critics, digital era audiences, radio versus television, changes in pop culture, the phenomenal growth of sports and the future of radio in a world of screens. Francesa credits the authenticity, for which Harrison praises him, in part, to being on the air an unusually long five-and-a-half hours per day, pointing out that you can’t be live on radio that long every day without being your real self. According to Francesa, one of the big changes faced by hosts in both sports and general talk programming today is the audience has as much, if not more, access to information as you do – which means merely presenting news is not enough. A host’s success is dependent on having an interesting “take” on the events of the day. He says the internet has made it much easier to break into broadcasting but much more difficult to get noticed. Of his critics, he states the worst thing that can happen is to be ignored. “If you are ignored, you are dead.” Francesa tells Harrison that he very seldom responds to his critics – refusing to give them the exposure of his larger platform that they seek. In addition to having a growing national following due to television and radio syndication, Mike Francesa has long been one of the highest profile media figures in New York and has been ranked by TALKERS magazine for the past two years in a row in the #1 spot on its “Heavy Hundred” of sports talk radio (“The 100 Most Important Radio Sports Talk Hosts in America”). After several years of being carried by the YES Network, Francesa’s daily local radio show is presently simulcast nationally on Fox Sports 1. In comparing radio to television, Francesa says, “Television is a director’s medium. Radio is a performer’s medium.” He explains, “Radio is unvarnished. It is visceral. It is emotional. Television is more packaged and homogenized.” Regarding the survival and future of radio, Francesa states, “Radio will be here long, long past us. People have been trying to kill radio since the first days of television. They’ve tried to kill radio 40 different times in multiple generations. They will never kill it because its appeal of being live, local, personal and mobile will never be equaled.” Francesa sees the rise of mobile digital media as actually being a good thing for radio, acknowledging that “radio will change.” He confidently says, “It will be enhanced because of the smart phone. It is the new transistor radio. Who carried a transistor radio for the past 30 years? Now everyone does. THAT is an opportunity!” In describing Mike Francesa, Michael Harrison states, “I know Francesa has his share of critics – but that comes with the territory of being ‘out there’ the way he is and being a compelling radio talk show host in the modern era, sports or otherwise. What makes him so successful is he has that special ‘something’ that only a handful of performers have ever had in this business – he rises above technique! All he needs to do is bring his authentic, unique personhood to the airwaves each time he’s on and that – at least to this point – is enough. He is one of my handful of all-time favorites and I am delighted that he is still going strong.” To listen to Mike Francesa on “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” please click here or click on the special player box in the right hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports from Nepal for Westwood One. Internationally known medical doctor and media figure Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in Nepal doing both media work and helping doctors there deal with the overwhelming number of casualties from Saturday’s earthquake. In addition to his work covering the aftermath for CNN, Dr. Gupta is also doing live hits for Westwood One affiliate stations. His “A Better Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta” is syndicated by Westwood One. Dr. Gupta was called into action in the operating room, asked to help perform brain surgery on a 15-year-old girl in Kathmandu after a wall of her family’s home fell on her as she collected water outside.
SiriusXM 2015 Q1 Revenue Up 8%. Satellite radio operator SiriusXM delivered its 2015 first quarter financial numbers today (4/28) and, compared to the same period a year ago, revenue was $1.08 billion – up 8%. Net income was $106 million, up 12% from $94 million in the first quarter of 2014. Net income per diluted common share was $0.02 in the first quarter of 2015 and 2014. Adjusted EBITDA was $399 million in the first quarter of 2015, up 19% from $335 million in the first quarter of 2014. The satcaster says that it added 431,000 net new subscribers in the first quarter, a 61% increase from the 267,000 net new subscribers added in the first quarter of 2014. Sirius CEO Jim Meyer says, “The year is off to a fantastic start at SiriusXM. We are increasing our subscriber guidance to approximately 1.4 million net additions and revenue guidance to approximately $4.47 billion after reporting our best first quarter for self-pay subscriber additions since 2008. Our results demonstrate that SiriusXM’s bundle of live news and sports, exclusive talk and comedy, and curated, commercial-free music is resonating with more and more consumers every day,”
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated, WABC, New York-based morning personality Don Imus announced to his listeners his simulcast on cable’s Fox Business Network will end on May 29. The program has been airing on both since 2009. Though Imus didn’t elaborate on the reason for the change, The New York Daily News reports Imus and wife Deirdre plan to spend the summer at their new ranch in Texas and that property has no TV uplink facilities. Read the Daily News story here…..Atlanta real estate broker Bryan Crabtree is adding a daily show on Salem Communications’ business talk WAFS, Atlanta “biz 1190,” debuting May 4 and airing from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Crabtree and his wife Mackenzie have been hosting the “Housedog.com Real Estate Show” on both WAFS and sister news/talk WGKA on weekends and that show will continue on both outlets. WAFS station manager Adam Wattenbarger says, “We are so excited to bring Bryan aboard to add to our live and local lineup. biz 1190 is committed to giving the Atlanta community something we’ve been lacking for years – real talk about real issues affecting our neighborhoods.”…..Sports talk personality Tim Brando is wrapping his daily, eponymous show heard on SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation channel. The final show is this Thursday. Brando will continue to be heard on the radio via FOX Sports Radio as he’ll handle play-by-play for college football and basketball as well as the network’s coverage of this June’s US Open golf tournament…..The program “Entertainment This Week” is joining the America’s Talk Radio Network effective May 3. “Mr. Hollywood” Shannon Rose and co-host James Lowe will discuss Hollywood gossip, comics, movies, television, pro-wrestling, and so much more during the “fastest hour on national radio.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Helps Raise Funds for Accessible Playground Equipment. Last Saturday, Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee unveiled new accessible playground equipment at a local elementary school for which the station helped raise funds. The need for the equipment came after the station learned of eight-year-old Ben Nelson who uses a wheelchair due to his Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Ben’s family began raising funds for the equipment and WTMJ joined forces with the family and was able to – through the help of listeners – raise $50,000. WTMJ Radio VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “WTMJ firmly believes we do well by doing good. We serve Wisconsin – and we’re getting behind our air personalities by giving them a month where we use our resources to give back to our community. [Morning host] Jodi Becker is first on our team to lead in this new community betterment initiative. We are pleased to help – and we thank our listeners and great businesses for helping to build this wonderful playground.”
Limbaugh and Mahindra Partner on Tractor Giveaway. For the second year in a row, Rush Limbaugh and Mahindra USA have joined together to give away a Mahindra eMax 22HST with loader to an active duty service member or U.S. military veteran. The winner will be selected in a random drawing on May 26. Last year, more than 4,500 service men and women entered for an opportunity to win a Mahindra tractor. It was awarded to Lieutenant Colonel Mike Petzinger of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, who has served his country for 25 years in the Army.
Music and Pop Culture Figure Andrew W.K. to Host Weekly Show on TheBlaze Radio Network. New to the weekend lineup at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network is the show “America W.K.,” hosted by musician, writer, TV host and lecturer Andrew W. K. TheBlaze Radio Network says the show will be a “raw and penetrating discussion of what it is to be alive – meaning, motivation, mindset, and making dreams come true, all included in a celebration of life itself – and all with a positive and honest outlook. Andrew will also field questions and input from the audience, adding an engaging interactive component.” Andrew W.K. is probably most known for his 2001 rock album titled, I Get Wet, the cover of which featured a photo of him with a bloody nose. During his musical career he’s penned a number of rock anthems that have appeared in video games, movies and as pro sports team themes. Andrew W.K. (pictured here at left with Glenn Beck at right) says, “When Glenn asked me to do my own radio show on TheBlaze, I was shocked but excited, as I knew he would allow me the unrestrained freedom to say exactly what I wanted. I’m very dedicated to exploring and learning from different people in different places, and always with an open heart. If people never went outside their own box, life would be boring. After all, why would I only want to talk with people who already think exactly like me?”
Baltimore Protests, White House Correspondents Dinner, Bush Criticism of Obama Foreign Policy, Nepal Earthquake Aftermath, SCOTUS Hears Same-Sex Marriage Argument, Clinton Foundation Scrutiny, James Holmes Trial Begins, and the Bruce Jenner Transgender Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/27). The intensifying, violent protests in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody; the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner and President Obama’s performance; former President George W. Bush comments on Obama Administration’s foreign policy; the devastation in Nepal after Saturday’s earthquake; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments as anti-gay marriage statutes in four states are challenged; ongoing scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation financial operations; the opening of the trial of Aurora, Colorado movie theater killer James Holmes; and the chatter about Bruce Jenner’s sex change procedure and his recent interview were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Beasley Reports 2014 Q4 Pro Forma Net Revenue Dips 4.3%. Getting an accurate picture of the fourth quarter – not to mention the total of 2014 – is a bit dicey because of the asset exchange between Beasley and CBS RADIO. But as Beasley chairman and CEO George Beasley says in the press release, “On a reported basis, fourth quarter net revenue from continuing operations rose 23.5% and SOI [station operating income] increased 14.6%, while operating income of $1.8 million was impacted by $1.7 million of transaction and termination expenses related to the Asset Exchange and otherwise would have compared favorably with the $2.8 million in the comparable year ago period. However, given the required accounting treatment for discontinued operations, the results include only one month of operations from the stations we received in the asset exchange, while excluding the results of the stations we gave up in the transaction. As a result, we believe a pro forma presentation, which assumes the asset exchange occurred on January 1, 2013, better reflects the operating results. On a pro forma basis, fourth quarter net revenue decreased 4.3% to $28.9 million while SOI declined 8.0% to $9.2 million. Importantly, while the fourth quarter pro forma presentation allows for a comparison of the same stations during both periods, it does not reflect our recently initiated and planned format and personnel changes in Tampa as well as expense reductions in Tampa and Charlotte, the benefits of which we expect will be reflected in our results as we move through 2015 and into 2016.”
20 Years of KKFN Sports Talk in Denver Being Recognized. This Monday (3/9), Lincoln Financial Media will celebrate 20 years of sports talk in Denver on KKFN. The format is now heard on KKFN-FM “104.3 The Fan,” but debuted in 1994 on KKFN-AM. The special broadcast will feature several former personalities and athletes who have been part of the two-decade history. The station’s original lineup included: the Fabulous Sports Babe (Nanci Donnellan), Woody Paige & Todd Mansfield, Doug Moe & Tom Green and Jeff Reckard. On Monday the station will welcome back former Fan personalities Woody Paige, Tom Green, Dan Issel, Charles Johnson, Irv Brown and Joe Williams. They will be joined by Rockies radio announcer Jerry Schemmel. The station’s current lineup is: “The Fan Morning Show with Mike Evans, Nate Lundy and Vic Lombardi” (5:30 am to 9:00 am), Dan Patrick (9:00 am to 12:00 noon), Sandy Clough and Scott Hastings (12:00 noon to 3:00 pm), “The Drive” with Alfred “Big Al” Williams and Darren “D-Mac” McKee (3:00 pm to 9:00 pm) and “The Fan Late Night” with Ryan Edwards and Shawn Drotar (9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight). “The Fan” will also hold an anniversary party on Thursday, March 26, at the Sports Column in downtown Denver. Listeners will get the chance to celebrate with members of “The Fan” on-air staff and celebrities.
iHeartMedia Names Charlie Wilkinson Dallas Market President. Moving to Texas from his most recent position with the company as regional president overseeing Charlotte and Raleigh, Charlie Wilkinson becomes market president of iHeartMedia’s six Dallas properties. EVP of operations – Texas majors Kelly Kibler comments, “Charlie has exceeded expectations and consistently raises the bar. He has proven his ability to create and lead winning teams. I’m confident he will continue to deliver consistent integrated revenue growth for the Dallas cluster.” Former market president, Deidre Richter, will join iHeartMedia’s national sales team and will report to Jeff Howard, president of national sales. Richter will lead the South Central Connections Team.
Odds & Sods. At the Cromwell Group’s Nashville sports talk duo “94.9 The Game 2” — WQZQ-AM and W235BW – morning drive co-host Joe Dubin leaves the station and partner Greg Pogue to return to television sports as sports anchor on WSMV-TV, Nashville, effective March 30…..This weekend begins Westwood One Sports’ presentation of a slate of exclusive women’s college basketball broadcasts this month. It gets underway Sunday with the Pac-12 Women’s Championship game and culminating with the Women’s Final Four and National Championship in Tampa on April 7. On Tuesday, March 10, WW1 broadcasts the Big East Women’s Championship, live from Allstate Arena in Chicago. CBS Sports Radio talk-show host Amy Lawrence has the play-by-play, along with former University of Connecticut All-American Swin Cash as the analyst…..Salem Media Group New York brings Chief of Robotic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital, Dr. David Samadi, to the staff serving as chief medical correspondent for news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian talk WMCA “AM 570 The Mission.” Additionally, Dr. Samadi will host the new program “World Health News with Dr. Samadi,” airing Sundays from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.
Curtis & Kuby Roast Takes Place Monday in NYC. Gotham Comedy Club will be the site of the Curtis & Kuby Roast on Monday, March 9 at 7:00 pm. The duo – heard daily in middays on Cumulus Media’s WABC – will be in attendance as Roast Master Rich Vos (featured on Comedy Central, HBO, and Showtime) hosts a night of no-holds-barred comedy in honor of talk radio odd couple Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby. Comedians Kurt Metzger, Bonnie McFarlane, Geno Bisconte, Aaron Berg, and The Stone Brothers will all come out to roast the duo. Limited tickets are still available at www.wabcradio.com. The event is produced by Jeffrey Gurian in conjunction with Gotham Comedy Club and 77 WABC.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The sports programming from Yahoo! Sports Radio is now being heard on Word Broadcasting’s WVHI, Evansville, Indiana…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Freedom Feens” show is now being heard on affiliate stations WRMN, Elgin, Illinois (Chicago market) and on WPNN, Pensacola, Florida.
Netanyahu Speech/Iran Nukes Top Talkers TenTM for Week of March 2-6. The speech before Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the issue of a pact to allow Iran’s nuclear program to expand were tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. At #2 was the Supreme Court’s hearing a challenge to the Affordable Care Act. Coming in at #3 was the probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of private email for State Department business, followed by the Homeland Security Department funding battle and President Obama’s amnesty order at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio this week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Joan Hamburg to Host Weekend Show on WABC, New York. After a long career at crosstown heritage AM news/talker WOR, Cumulus Media announces that New York radio personality Joan Hamburg is joining its news/talker 77 WABC to host a weekly Saturday program to air from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Cumulus says on the show Hamburg “will continue discussing the most important social, economic and political issues that impact listeners’ lives each week. Hamburg will also interview major celebrities and powerful political figures on the program.” In addition, the deal calls for Hamburg to produce weekly features and exclusive programs available in digital formats. Hamburg comments, “How excited I am to join legendary WABC radio and work with Kim Bryant, Craig Schwalb and the rest of the Cumulus family. And what a treat to join their roster of the best talk talent in the country. New York get ready — the conversation is about to begin.”
Talk Host Jim Villanucci Resigns from KXL, Portland. There is little known at this time about what has transpired to cause midday talk show host Jim Villanucci to resign from his position with Alpha Media’s KXL, Portland but a Tweet from KXL’s Lars Larson states simply that Villanucci has resigned for “personal reasons” and that Larson wishes him well. Filling in during the daypart is Victoria Taft.
Tension Between WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Management Over Fox Sports Simulcast. According to a story by Neil Best in Newsday, WFAN, New York afternoon drive superstar Mike Francesa has been ordered by CBS RADIO management – under threat of lawsuit – not to gripe publicly about the simulcast of his show being bumped from cable’s Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 for live sporting events. Best reports that while Francesa didn’t talk specifically about the Fox Sports simulcast issues, he said on his radio show that in contrast to a corporate statement to the contrary, he has been threatened with legal action if he speaks publicly about anything that costs the company money, with the implication being the Fox Sports arrangement. In other words, he could be held liable for any income CBS loses if the Fox Sports relationship dissolves. Read Best’s piece here.
Cisco Cotto Joins CBS RADIO’s WBBM-AM, Chicago. Newsman and talk show host Cisco Cotto is becoming part of the staff at CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM-AM and WCFS-FM, Chicago, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder. Cotto has worked in the Chicago market his entire career. He started at CBS’ former all-news WMAQ and has served as news anchor at Cumulus Media’s crosstown WLS-AM (where he also went on to host a talk show) as well as at Salem’s news/talk WIND, and the Moody Bible Institute’s Christian talker WMBI. His position at WBBM and WCFS is anchor/reporter. Read Feder’s entire column here.
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Adds Comic Jim Krenn to Friday Program. Joining the “KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway” each Friday is Jim Krenn, a popular Pittsburgh radio personality and comedian. KDKA-AM program director Jim Graci says, “KDKA is delighted to have Jim Krenn on the station each Friday morning. It’s like adding another big bat to an all-star lineup, and will give KDKA listeners another reason to smile heading into the weekend.” Krenn is a Pittsburgh native who worked successfully in Steel City radio for 24 years. He is currently producing a weekly podcast titled, “Jim Krenn: No Restrictions.”
Dreyer Named Director of Integrated Media for NRG. Appointed to the newly created position of director of integrated media for NRG Media is Erica Dreyer. In making the announcement, NRG president and CEO Mary Quass noted that Dreyer recently served in the same post for both Maverick Media of Rockford, Illinois and Mid-West Family Broadcasting of Rockford for the past seven-plus years. Quass states, “Digital media offers the greatest potential revenue growth for radio today. Erica Dreyer has earned seven awards for excellence in the digital arena. Dreyer’s the maverick we need to lead this new department.” In this position, Dreyer will be responsible for infusing new inventory and pricing techniques into NRG’s interactive portfolio. Dreyer will also train and educate sales departments in the station group to produce more sophisticated, high-value integrated solutions for clients and help educate advertisers about integrated solutions for their business needs. Dreyer starts with NRG on September 30.
WPHT, Philadelphia Speaker Series Hosts Senator Ted Cruz. Tonight’s event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia is the latest in the WPHT Speaker Series and will feature Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) discussing the First and Fourth Amendments. The program takes place in observance of Constitution Day and WPHT morning drive personality Chris Stigall is moderating the discussion.
The Big Issue of the Day. Pictured here are ESPN personalities (from left to right) Jemele Hill, Jane McManus and Cari Champion in the studio during the production of the podcast “espnW Presents: The State of the NFL on ESPN Radio.” The show was a joint effort by espnW and ESPN Radio. Also appearing on the program were espnW personalities Kate Fagan and Sarah Spain. ESPN host Keith Olbermann and National Organization for Women president Terry O’Neill joined the conversation as guests.
The NFL and Domestic Violence, U.S.-Led Coalition Against ISIS, Mid-Term Elections, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential Run, New Benghazi Investigation, Ebola Virus Pandemic Threat, Scotland Succession Referendum, and Obama Amnesty Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/16). The ongoing furor over the domestic violence issues plaguing the NFL; debate over the potential effectiveness of the U.S.-led coalition to combat ISIS; the looming mid-term elections and how they may affect majorities in Congress; Hillary Clinton’s weekend appearance in Iowa and her possible run for president in 2016; the new Benghazi investigation; the status of the Ebola outbreak in Africa and the potential for a pandemic; Thursday’s referendum on whether Scotland breaks away from the U.K.; and Senator Ted Cruz’s effort to prevent amnesty action by President Obama were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Beasley Net Revenue Down 2.4% in Q1. Stating that the dip in net revenue comes primarily from “lower advertising revenue at the company’s Miami-Fort Lauderdale and Philadelphia market clusters,” Beasley Broadcast Group announces a Q1 figure down 2.4% on revenue of $24.2 million. But the taxman also bit Beasley as the company reports that a “$0.8 million, or 40.2% year-over-year reduction in first quarter 2014 interest expense related to lower borrowing costs and reduced amounts outstanding, was more than offset by a $1.3 million, or 128.8%, rise in income tax expense primarily due to a change to the company’s federal income tax rate. In addition, the tax rate in the comparable year ago period benefited from a change to the company’s effective state tax rate. As a result, net income and net income per diluted share for the 2014 first quarter of $0.7 million and $0.03, respectively, compared with $2.4 million, and $0.11, respectively, in the comparable year ago period.” Beasley chairman and CEO Geroge Beasley comments, “The first quarter decline in net revenue reflects several factors that primarily impacted our three largest markets, including the severe winter weather which had a negative effect on our operations in the Northeast. Overall, for our five markets that report to Miller Kaplan – which represent approximately 77% of total first quarter revenue – Beasley station cluster revenue declined by 4.3%, while the total revenue for all reporting radio stations in these markets decreased by 0.3% for the quarter. In Philadelphia, our cluster underperformed the market for the first time since mid-2012 as business was significantly impacted by the severe winter weather that pressured billings, particularly among our local customers, and caused our stations to close for the equivalent of approximately three business weeks during the first quarter. In Miami, the first quarter underperformance largely relates to the revenue decline at our AM sports talk station following the departure of a popular afternoon host (Jorge Sedano). On April 1, we addressed this situation directly by re-launching our afternoon drive programming with the addition of another highly rated Miami sports talk show host from a direct competitor in the market (Marc Hochman). Notwithstanding the challenges endured in the first quarter, our ratings and market position in both Philadelphia and Miami remain strong. A final factor which negatively impacted first quarter revenue results was the completion of comprehensive training for our sales team regarding our new digital and NTR initiatives. While this training took our sales teams away from customers for several days, we believe it was essential to drive growth in these areas of our business going forward. Our planned investments in sales and programming and the expansion of our digital offerings, combined with the revenue decline, led to a 12.2% decline in first quarter 2014 SOI compared to year-ago levels.”
Journal Radio Division Revenue Down 4%. While the company as a whole sees revenue climb 3.7% on the strength of TV and retrans, the radio division of Journal Communications was down 4% on revenue of $15.2 million. The company reports that “local advertising revenue, excluding political, decreased 3.2%, primarily due to a decrease in restaurant and financial advertising. Digital revenue, which is reported in local revenue, was $0.6 million, up 7.8%. National advertising revenue, excluding political, decreased 18.0%, primarily due to a decrease in automotive and financial advertising. Total revenue, excluding political revenue, was $15.1 million, down 4.2%. Operating earnings from radio were $2.1 million compared to $2.4 million, a decrease of 11.9%. Radio operating expenses decreased 2.6%, or 0.8% excluding a $0.2 million non-cash building impairment charge recorded in 2013, primarily due to lower programming rights fees.”
Lew Dickey Sounds Pleased with Cumulus Media’s Progress. During yesterday’s investor’s conference call on 2014 first quarter numbers, CEO Lew Dickey explained that Cumulus Media is well-positioned in the broadcast arena but is also heading in the desired direction of broadening its revenue streams and reaching beyond “just the advertiser.” Dickey said, “We’ve now become a very diverse national audio advertising and content platform. Our base is fueled by our strong core broadcast advertising category, anchored by our 460 owned-and-operated stations and again, amplified by now more than 10,000 broadcast radio affiliates throughout the U.S. Moreover, we are developing an emerging growth stream in digital advertising that is gaining real traction to our audio through our Rdio digital audio platform. Licensing also provides the company with a significant second stream of non-advertising-based revenue and should continue to grow nicely as we develop ‘NASH’ and other original content into multimedia brands with multiple revenue streams. Additionally, our content initiatives will provide us with new revenue streams originating from monetizing the consumer, as opposed to just the advertiser, through subscription services.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript, members can check out the entire conference call here.
DirecTV Cancels Artie Lange Show. With three months left on his contract with DirecTV, Artie Lange’s radio talk show is canceled. Lange told listeners to his Monday evening (4/28) show that it would be his last for DirecTV. The program was initially co-hosted by both Lange and fellow comic Nick DiPaolo but DiPaolo left the show last year. During his good-bye to listeners and viewers, Lange said DirecTV was very good to him and the parting, though unfortunate, was amicable. The program was simulcast on DirecTV’s Audience channel in addition to being syndicated on the radio.
Barry Farber’s Language Club Celebrates 30 Years. Talk radio legend Barry Farber’s “Language Club” celebrates its 30-year anniversary with a gathering on Monday, May 28, in New York City. Farber, who founded the club, will also be honored at the celebration, that begins at 6:00 pm at My Place Restaurant, 242 East 79th Street in Manhattan. Farber is currently syndicated nationally via CRN Digital Talk Radio. His program airs weeknights at 8:00 p.m. ET. A press release from CRN states, “Farber, who has been on the airwaves since the mid-1950s, nearly failed Latin in 9th grade. Since then, he has studied 28 languages. He created the Language Club so students and speakers of foreign languages could congregate in a pleasant, social environment and enjoy conversing with each other.” He is also the author of several books, including How to Learn Any Language – Quickly, Easily, Inexpensively, Enjoyably and On Your Own. Club members periodically meet for dinner and conversation at ethnic restaurants throughout New York City. Some members give basic language lessons to each other. CRN president and CEO Michael Horn says, “All of us have so much to learn from Barry Farber. Usually, it’s his takes on politics and life. But I hear he also gives good courses in Dutch, Mandarin, and Hebrew.”
Evans Broadcast Company Stations to Observe D-Day Anniversary Live from Normandy. This June 6, news/talk KKFT Reno, “99.1 FM Talk’ and sister country simulcast KCMY and K273AF “Cowboy Country 102.5” will broadcast live from Normandy in France to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Evans Broadcast president and CEO Jerry Evans tells TALKERS this year will be the last recognized by the Normandy Veteran’s Association.
Six Receive NY Hall Call. The 2014 New York State Broadcasters Association‘s Hall of Fame class includes capital region/Syracuse broadcaster John Cooper; Syracuse TV reporter Nancy Duffy; WFAN, New York sports talk host Mike Francesa; renowned sportscaster Marty Glickman; Buffalo television manager Chris Musial; and New York City TV journalist Marvin Scott. Cooper has been with Clear Channel since 2000, and is currently regional program manager for the company’s stations in Albany, Poughkeepsie, and Sussex, New Jersey. Duffy received the Syracuse Press Club‘s Lifetime Achievement Award; she passed away in 2006. All-American football player Marty Glickman had brief careers in professional football and basketball. He was the NBA‘s first TV announcer and the first broadcaster for the New York Nets before the ABA – NBA merger. In the 1960s, Glickman was the sports director of WCBS-AM, New York; he is a member of the Curt Gowdy wing of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Glickman – the voice of the NY football Giants for 23 years and the NY Jets for 11 years – was 83 years old when he died in 2001. While Musial was news director and president/general manager of Buffalo’s WIVB-TV, it was the highest-overall rated television station in the country from sign-on to sign-off. WPIX-TV, New York senior correspondent Marvin Scott is the recipient of seven Emmy awards. Before joining WPIX, he held positions as anchor, correspondent, and producer at CNN, Mutual Broadcasting System, and New York City’s WABC-TV. Regarding his selection to the Hall, Francesa comments, “I am humbled and excited to be recognized by the New York State Broadcasters Association; it is a great honor. Anything with ‘New York’ attached to it means all the more to me.” The afternoon drive (1:00 pm – 6:30 pm) talent recently agreed to a long-term contract extension with WFAN. CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason states, “Mike has earned his place in radio history as a great broadcaster. We are thrilled to continue our relationship with sports radio’s most celebrated host.” From 1989 to 2008, Francesa co-hosted the “Mike & Mad Dog Show” with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and has been overseeing “Mike’s On” since 2008. Francesa occupies the #1 position on TALKERS’ 2013 “Heavy Hundred” of Sports Talk Radio. The June 13 induction ceremony will take place during the Association’s summer conference in New York City.
Donald Sterling Case, Tepid Economy Data, John Kerry Israel ‘Apartheid’ Comment, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, and Chicago Gun Violence Epidemic Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/29). The lifetime ban and fine levied against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling in the wake of his racist comments recorded by a former mistress; weak economic news and the impact on the Obama Administration’s policies; the aftermath of Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement that Israel is in danger of becoming an apartheid state; Vladimir Putin’s continued military aggression in Ukraine; and the huge uptick in gun deaths in Chicago and the call for more gun laws were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CBS RADIO Puts Kibosh on WFAN-Francesa YouTube Channel. According to a piece in the New York Daily News, a fan channel for sports talk WFAN-AM/FM and PM drive host Mike Francesa will no longer present audio or video of the station’s programming after the operator of Twitter’s @WFANAudio agreed to cease and desist putting audio or video on his YouTube channel. The story says CBS reached out to YouTube to protect its copyright on the content and YouTube let the operator know it would suspend his account if he didn’t cease. The paper reports it connected with @WFANAudio who said he made no money off the venture. He says he’s merely a big fan of the station but he understands the copyright issue and will stop putting audio on YouTube.
‘The Ticket’ in Dallas Extends Norm Hitzges for Three Years. The Dallas Morning News has the story and it focuses on Norm Hitzges’ age – he’ll turn 70 this summer. If Hitzges stays through the end of his new three-year deal at the Cumulus Media station, he’ll be 73 when he signs off for good…if he does. Hitzges holds down the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot on the station that, the paper points out, is populated by younger hosts trying to capture that all-important men 25-54 demographic. As for Hitzges’ response to his success after 17 years on KTCK, Dallas, he simply says, “I landed in a really good spot.”
O’Donnell Set to Transfer to Clear Channel Springfield as OM/PD. In two weeks (5/12), Clear Channel Poughkeepsie program director Terry O’Donnell will relocate to Springfield, where he will become operations manager and program director of the company’s cluster in that western Massachusetts market. Regional programming manager Rob Anthony comments, “I am thrilled to have Terry joining the team in Springfield. His knowledge of the formats and track record of making great radio speaks for itself.” O’Donnell states, “I can’t thank my current team in Poughkeepsie enough. I am looking forward to this new opportunity.” O’Donnell will oversee news/talk WHYN-AM, hot AC WHYN-FM “Mix 93.1,” and WRNX “Pioneer Valley’s Country.”
Nielsen Presents Radio ROI Research to Group Heads in NYC. The meeting at Clear Channel New York headquarters announced on Friday took place as planned with Nielsen and the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) hosting an event featuring panel discussions and speakers titled “Nielsen Cracks the Code on Radio ROI. As noted in TALKERS/RadioInfo on Friday, the event was to focus on Nielsen’s ROI measurement tool for radio. Radio group heads attending the event were joined by key marketers and advertisers. Clear Channel chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and CBS RADIO president and CEO Dan Mason welcomed advertiser, agency and industry attendees. Nielsen EVP of global product leadership Steve Hasker presented the study’s findings. Two panel discussions followed — the first, moderated by Michael Kassan, chairman and CEO of MediaLink, discussed the power of radio for marketers and how it should best be considered in the marketing mix. Panelists from across the media landscape included: Gayle Fuguitt, president and CEO, The ARF; Matt MacDonald, BBDO; John Nitti, ZenithOptimedia; Ritu Trivedi, MediaVest and Mary Ellen Johnson Jalenek, American Express. The second panel was moderated by Bob Pittman and featured the heads of major radio groups, including Lew Dickey, CEO, Cumulus Media; David Field, CEO, Entercom; and Dan Mason. The group discussed Nielsen’s study and how they believe it will improve the perception of radio within the ad community.
Genesis to Syndicate Weekly Elizabeth Dougherty Show. The weekly “Dougherty Report” program, hosted by culinary expert Elizabeth Dougherty, will air live from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight on Saturdays beginning May 10 and will be syndicated by Genesis Communications Network. The company says Dougherty’s program “sends listeners on an adventure of good food, along with interviews and a unique take on the news of the day, for parents in particular.” It also says Dougherty has an extensive background in food writing and culinary arts training. The program is based out of flagship WAMT, Orlando.
BIA/Kelsey Delivers U.S. Local Spend Estimate for 2013-2018. Just what will local radio’s slice of the advertising pie look like in 2018? According to BIA/Kelsey’s “U.S. Local Media Forecast,” radio advertising accounted for 11.1% of the total $133.2 billion spent in 2013 (direct mail, newspapers, and TV led the category). The primary sources of revenue for local radio in 2013 were automobile dealers ($1.43 billion), wireless telecommunications ($650.8 million), and full-service restaurants ($647.8 million). Based on changes in the overall local media marketplace, BIA/Kelsey estimates that the overall local media market will grow faster than previously thought through 2018. By 2018 the total will be $158.6 billion, of which $16.7 billion – or 10.5% – will go to local radio. Obviously, the big growth is expected to be in digital. BIA/Kelsey predicts, “Digital media continues to increase its share of total local media revenues, growing from $31.7 billion (23 percent) in 2014 to $52.7 billion (33.2 percent) in 2018.” Find out more about the forecast here.
“Armed American Radio” Celebrates Fifth Anniversary. Last night (4/27) marked the benchmark broadcast for the Salem Radio Network-distributed and Mark Walters-hosted program. “It was no surprise to me that the time was right for a program of this type,” Walters comments. “While the mainstream media continues to promote an anti-gun agenda, millions of law-abiding gun owners have found a new home on the radio dial that talks about their decision to carry a firearm. We provide a hard-hitting, fact based, entertaining discussion about all things related to the pro-gun rights movement.” The now three-hour syndicated program was launched in April 2009 as a one-hour, Atlanta only-based show.
Odds & Sods. Six-year Sun Broadcast Group exec Steve Gallagher departs. Most recently, Gallagher was SBG’s executive vice president. He joined the company in February 2008 as vice president of programming. Gallagher’s prior credits include being director of operations for Citadel Communications Harrisburg (2005 – 2008); operations manager/program director of Nassau Broadcasting stations in Monmouth-Ocean, New Jersey (WOBM-AM, WOBM-FM and WADB) and in Allentown (WWYY “Lite 107”)…..Religious/Christian broadcaster Starboard Media Foundation (also known as Relevant Radio) agrees to acquire Multicultural Broadcasting‘s Spanish-formatted WNSW. Purchase price for the New York City AM outlet is reportedly $10.1 million. Michael J. Bergner (Bergner & Co.) was the exclusive broker for the transaction. Starboard owns stations in Chicago, Austin, and Providence, as well as several Wisconsin outlets in Madison, Green Bay, and Eau Claire…..The Public Radio Program Directors Association announces the association’s president and CEO, Arthur Cohen, has decided to retire effective January 1, 2015 after an orderly leadership transition process of eight months. The PRPD says Cohen, a veteran public radio programmer and manager will retire after a remarkable career of more than 35 years of service in public media.
August Dates Set for Rising Through the Ranks Course. The Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), and the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group (MIW) are presenting the seventh annual “Rising Through the Ranks” seminar, August 27-28, at the BMI Nashville headquarters in Tennessee. The organizations say that, as in years past, BMI will offer 20 scholarships for this year’s program. These scholarships cover the cost of the professional development course, which is designed to foster and educate emerging female radio sellers and managers within broadcast radio. This year’s course will focus primarily on women in the radio workplace and sales and management techniques; including problem solving, budget reviews, managing team personalities, and personal brand building. Scholarship winners will also have the opportunity to hear from leading radio industry executives across various station groups and industry backgrounds. Confirmed speakers include: Lynn Anderson, CEO, Integrated Media Solutions Group; Lindsay Cerajewski, general sales manager, CBS Radio; Tincy Crouse, market manager, Cromwell Radio; Erica Farber, president and CEO, RAB; Katie Gambill, president and general manager, 5-Star Radio; Kim Guthrie, executive vice president, Cox Media Group; Brandeis C. Hall, vice president, professional development, RAB; Emily Hunt, local sales manager, KSL Broadcast Group; Laurie Kahn, president and CEO, Media Staffing Networks; Sue McNamara, senior vice president, sales, CBS Radio; Kay Olin; partner, Olin & Associates; and Dan Spears, vice president, licensing, BMI. Kay Olin says, “’Rising Through the Ranks’ is the epitome of the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group. With the generous help from BMI and the RAB, this two-day training workshop allows us to continue to develop, and help foster female sales managers to senior positions in the radio industry.”
Gettin’ Jiggy with Gary Johnson. At the Kansas Libertarian Convention held over the weekend, internet radio personality Jiggy Jaguar a.k.a. James Lowe (right) sat down with the Libertarian Party’s former presidential nominee Gary Johnson (left) to discuss issues near and dear to the libertarians. Lowe’s program is heard via his own KJAGRadio.com and the Transmedia World Wide network.
WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa Gets Video Deal with Fox 1. After exiting the YES Network for the TV simulcast of his radio show in early February when his contract ran out, New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa’s WFAN show will land on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 in a deal just announced. The companies say they’ve reached a “multi-year, multi-media agreement.” Fox Sports 1 and 2 general manager and COO David Nathanson says, “We are thrilled to add Mike Francesa to our Fox Sports family of channels. Mike is without question one of the most popular sports personalities in New York and has maintained a significant national reputation through his syndicated NFL show and his WFAN program…He’s knowledgeable and opinionated with an ability to attract top-name guests who appeal to sports fans everywhere. This is a fantastic addition to FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2.” The simulcast begins on March 24 when it will air from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on Fox Sports 1 and then from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Fox Sports 2. It will also be streamed live via Fox Sports GO through participating video providers. Francesa will deliver the Sports Keynote Address at the Talkers New York 2014 conference on Friday, June 20, 2014.
Salk Exits WEEI-FM, Boston After a Year. The homecoming for Boston-bred sports talk personality Mike Salk lasted just about a year. Salk has left the station for a new gig elsewhere (reportedly back to KIRO-AM, Seattle where he was co-hosting with Brock Huard). The changes at WEEI-FM since former afternoon drive personality Glenn Ordway was forced out have been numerous: program director Jason Wolfe exited and the general manager who brought Salk to WEEI – Jeff Brown – abruptly left in September of 2013. Boston Globe writer Chad Finn analyzes the situation and states that although Salk was raised in the area and worked at other Boston AM signals for a time, “his homogenized style, honed during his time at ESPN radio, made him seem like an outsider.” Finn reports the station will begin pairing up a rotating cast of co-hosts for Michael Holley in the PM drive slot as is works to find a permanent replacement for Salk.
KTTH, Seattle Produces ‘Panel Series’ to Debate Policy Issues. Seattle news/talker KTTH is beginning a panel series aimed at “encouraging robust discussion of important issues in Western Washington,” and it will start with an April 9 debate over the proposed $15 minimum wage. Afternoon talk host Ben Shapiro will take part in the debate and morning drive personality David Boze will moderate. Also taking part in the debate will be Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, National Employment Law Project deputy director Rebecca Smith, and Washington Policy Center vice president for research Paul Guppy. The debate is open to the public.
WNYM, New York to Air ‘The Cats Roundtable.’ New York business mogul and former mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis begins hosting an hour-long Sunday morning program on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” this weekend. The station says the show will feature interviews, listener call-ins and John’s unique take on the news affecting New York. Catsimatidis is CEO of The Red Apple Group and Gristedes Foods. His first guests on the 3/16 program will include former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former New York Governor George Pataki. Catsimatidis comments, “I’m incredibly excited about this. After the mayor’s race, I was struck by how many New Yorkers from all walks of life were anxious to continue the conversation about how to improve our city. As a lifelong fan of local radio, I’m convinced that this is the best way to do that.”
Smith to Named to GSM Post at Cox Tulsa. Moving over from the television side of Cox Media Group’s Tulsa operations is Randy Smith who is named general sales manager for the group that includes classic rock KJSR, AC KRAV, news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, and country KWEN. Cox Tulsa general manager Gene Vidler says, “I am excited to have Randy join our radio cluster. I have known Randy for many years, first as a competitor and more recently as a colleague with our sister TV stations. Randy’s knowledge of the market and his relationships in Tulsa will be a great fit to help our radio cluster continue to grow. Randy is very well respected and well known in the media community.”
KNX, Los Angeles to Air Daylong Programming on Region’s Traffic Problems. Southern California’s traffic problems are legendary and CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX “1070 NEWSRADIO” is presenting what it calls a “comprehensive and unprecedented examination of Southern California’s infamous traffic congestion that often turns the region’s freeways and streets into a continuum of parking lots.” It’s a day-long series titled, “Driven to Gridlock: L.A.’s Never-Ending Sig Alert,” airing on Thursday, March 27 from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm. The station says, “Producers Charles Feldman and Laraine Herman, along with KNX 1070’s award-winning news staff, will explore the past, present and future of SoCal’s traffic situation with help from urban planners, civic leaders, technology experts, law enforcement and commuters. Among the topics to be covered in 26 special reports will be the evolution of our region’s car culture; why traffic congestion will likely worsen before it improves; the future of mass transit; the financial impact of traffic jams on business; coping with an aging infrastructure and growing population; the impact of past ‘solutions’ such as signal synchronization, car pool lanes, ridesharing, and toll lanes; and more-recent ideas like congestion pricing popular in Europe and flexible work schedules.”
Odds & Sods. Hard-working talk radio personality Simon Conway – afternoon drive host at Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines – is continuing his fill-in work subbing for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated host Andy Dean. Iron-man Conway is used to double-duty having hosted the morning show at WFLF, Orlando for six days earlier this month…..Public radio WNYC, New York welcomes Sean Bowditch to the organization as executive editor. Bowditch has served in the past as senior producer for “Marketplace Morning Report,” and producer at NPR and WBUR, Boston…..ESPN Radio is expanding its “SportsCenter All Night” program to seven nights a week. Joining veteran ESPN Radio “SportsCenter” host Jay Reynolds, who will continue to host SportsCenter All Night Sunday into Monday through Thursday into Friday, will be John Brickley, who will serve as host of the late Friday and Saturday shows.
Posh Palm Beach Pow Wow! Noticing that more than a handful of his talk radio pals were in Florida’s Palm Beach County at the same time, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy invited them all to dinner and conversation last evening (3/12) at Donald Trump’s palatial Palm Beach Island estate, Mar-A-Lago. The result was a real yak-fest. Among the many topics of conversation — which ran the gamut from industry gossip to the future of radio in the digital age – was inside-information about Newsmax’s forthcoming plunge into the news/talk television wars. Pictured (l-r): Rush Limbaugh show producer James Golden; WRKO, Boston personality Howie Carr; WFTL, Fort Lauderdale VP/GM Steve Lapa; former U.S. Rep. (R-AZ), talk show host and Newsmax TV contributor J.D. Hayworth; TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison; and Ruddy.
Katz Media Group Helps Raise $170,000 for Broadcasters Foundation of America. After its 5th annual membership drive to support the Broadcasters Foundation of America, Katz Media Group announces this year’s contributions bring Katz’s total support to more than $170,000. The BFoA provides financial assistance to those in the radio and television profession who find themselves in acute need. Katz Radio Group president Mark Gray states, “The Broadcasters Foundation does incredible work for those in need. Every year, our company looks forward to the opportunity to come together and make a difference. I’m enormously proud of our employees continued dedication, which to date has raised more than $170,000 over the past five years. The contributions have even more meaning for Katz as it supports the Stu Olds Memorial Fund, in honor and memory of our former president and CEO.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mystery, Obama vs. Putin/Crimea-Ukraine Crisis, 2016 Presidential Race, Winter Weather/Global Warming, and Overtime Pay Hike Proposal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/12). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane and the theories of its disappearance; President Obama’s standoff with Vladimir Putin over the Crimea-Ukraine crisis; speculation about possible candidates in the 2016 presidential election; the latest bout of winter weather hitting the East and debate over global warming; and President Obama’s proposal to enact mandatory hikes in overtime pay were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
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.
Sports Talker Dan Sileo New AM Host at ‘The Mighty 1090’ in San Diego. Sports talk personality Dan Sileo – who’s been working at stations in Florida for the past several years – joins Broadcasting Corporation of the Americas-operated XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” where he’s the new morning drive host beginning today (2/3). Sileo most recently was hosting a show at James Crystal Radio’s WMEN, West Palm Beach but was fired from that station in early November of 2013 after shooting off a controversial tweet. Sileo has also worked at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami and Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa. He takes over the morning show at “The Mighty 1090” from market pro Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton who will remain with the station in another capacity. Program director Mike Shepard says, “I am thrilled to welcome Dan to ‘San Diego’s Sports Leader, The Mighty 1090.’ Dan is a passionate, outspoken, engaging and incredibly knowledgeable sports radio personality. His track record of major market success is remarkable and Dan is a perfect addition to the Mighty 1090’s top-rated, all-star lineup.”
New Talk Station to Air in DC Market. The Laurel, Maryland-licensed WILC flips from Spanish music to a hybrid of talk and oldies. The ZGS-owned signal is being operated by Wallis Communications under an LMA and the new format debuts today (2/3). In a statement, the company says the program schedule is not complete but the station will be “libertarian and conservative talk radio.” Chief operating officer and general manager Bryan Berner says, “All of us at WILC and Wallis Communications look forward to serving the people of the region and bringing a common sense, fresh perspective to talk radio in the Washington, DC market.” Programming will include Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, Wallis Communications’ “The Dr. K Show,” “The Capitol Hill Show with Tim Constantine” and WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller. Overnights will showcase vintage radio as the digitally remastered Wolfman Jack will air.
Mike Gallagher Causes Stir with Hoffman Death Observations. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher’s observations in the aftermath of the untimely death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman caused such reaction that his post to his MikeOnline.com site logged more than 50,000 views and drew threats to him, his family and even his dog. Speaking about the suspected heroin overdose that took Hoffman’s life, Gallagher stated, “Another senseless death. This time, one of the greatest actors of our time. I wonder if he started with marijuana…If you want to get pot lovers mad, dare to even ask the question if an Oscar-winning movie star who is found dead in his bathroom with a needle stuck in his arm started with marijuana.” Gallagher has stood firm in his stance against the legalization of marijuana as some states move to legalize and decriminalize the drug.
To Get Listeners to Your Website, Don’t Threaten to Bore Them! Digital media consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller wonders why we tend to turn the marketing part of our brains off when we go “online.” We can write good, tempting ad copy for radio but all we’ve learned goes out the window when it comes to our websites. Miller says that one of the worst ways to get someone to your website is to offer them “all of the details” when they get there. Not very tempting is it? More details. Instead, put your marketing skills to work in the same way you would with a spot. “A good commercial will do a better job getting business through a client’s front door than a bad commercial will. It’s the exact same thing getting people to go from your broadcast to one of your digital platforms…or move from one digital platform to another. Opportunity is knocking.” Read Miller’s entire piece here.
Clear Channel Tweaks Lineup at WVOC, Columbia. The South Carolina news/talk station drops the early evening “Sports Talk” show syndicated by Learfield Sports that aired in afternoon drive and adds Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity for the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot. The “Sports Talk” program is hosted by Phil Kornblut, Kevin McCrarey and Tom Hayes. According to The State, Learfield’s “Sports Talk First Edition” – which aired on CC’s sister sports talk station WXBT “560 The Team” from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm – is also being replaced. A local sports talk show featuring former South Carolina footballer Rick Sanford will air in the time slot instead. Learfield tells the paper it is working to place the shows on new affiliates in the market.
Mike Francesa Fans (and a Few Critics) Gather for FrancesaCon in NYC. Sports talk pioneer Mike Francesa – afternoon drive host on CBS RADIO’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York – said after learning of the weekend event that the participants would probably be half fans, half critics. How the numbers came down is unclear but the fact that an estimated 400 gathered at an Upper East Side bar on Saturday (2/1) to celebrate, imitate and even mock Francesa, shows how big he is in New York. A piece by Jim Baumbach in Newsday tells the story but the short version is as follows: 23-year-old friends Michael Leboff and Ron Haraka came up with the idea of FrancesaCon as a gathering of Mike Francesa fans. Little did they know that not only would people show up in droves, but they came dressed as Francesa, carried the appropriate props (Diet Coke cans), and did some very good imitations of the man himself. Some even came dressed as Francesa’s longtime former partner Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and classic Francesa-Russo back-and-forths took place in the bar. Check out Baumbach’s story in Newsday here.
FCC Grants Tribune Cross-Ownership Waivers. The license renewals for several Tribune-owned television stations were being challenged by the United Church of Christ, the Media Alliance and the Teamsters. The commission handed down rulings on Friday that granted renewals for the licenses though it also granted the petition for reconsideration to the UCC and Media Alliance. The FCC also reaffirmed the permanent waiver for Tribune in the Chicago market where it owns the Chicago Tribune newspaper, WGN-TV, and WGN-AM. In making the decision, the commission ruled that “Given the ‘uniquely long-term symbiotic relationship between [Tribune’s] broadcast stations’ and the Chicago Tribune that provides a special benefit of continued cross-ownership, coupled with the slight cost to diversity in Chicago’s massive media market of continued cross-ownership, Tribune has in fact shown sufficiently ‘unique or special circumstances’ to justify the granting of a permanent waiver of the NBCO (newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership) Rule to its Chicago licensees.”
L&L Closes on Border Media Trust Stations. Seven Texas radio stations that were in the Border Media Trust are now owned by Larry Wilson’s L&L Broadcasting. The stations include San Antonio-licensed outlets news/talk KTSA, sports talk KZDC, adult hits KJXK “Jack 102.7 FM,” regional Mexican KLEY-FM, Jourdanton, regional Mexican KJAH-AM/FM, Pearsall, and CHR KTSM, Floresville. The station group cost L&L $31 million and puts the company into market #28.
‘ESPN New York 98.7’ Host Michael Kay to Simulcast on the YES Network. That’s the afternoon drive slot on the New York cable channel owned by the New York Yankees that’s been home to WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa for the past 12 years ( a portion of that with former co-host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo). This was not unexpected as the YES Network announces the multi-year deal that begins on February 3. This is a good fit for YES as Michael Kay has been the play-by-play man for YES’ New York Yankees telecasts, and the host of the network’s “CenterStage with Michael Kay” interview show, since the network launched in March 2002. He also hosts various programming specials on YES. Network president of production and programming John J. Filippelli says, “Michael Kay is a New York sports institution, having covered the New York sports scene for more than 30 years. Michael personifies the New York sports scene. He boasts a constant stream of A-list guests, and gives passionate New York sports fans a platform to exchange their views. Michael fits in perfectly with our programming lineup. We also thank Mike Francesa for his 12-year partnership with YES. Mike – along with Chris Russo when they co-hosted our simulcast for the first six years – played an important role in the launch and growth of YES. We wish him all the best.” Kay comments, “I’m really happy Don LaGreca and I are going to be simulcast on YES. We have a great time doing the ESPN Radio show and that will come through even more with the visual aspect. While it is still predominantly a radio show, I don’t think you should ignore the camera in the room and we are going to have fun with that. The national reach of YES is going to allow even more people access. And the people at YES, where I have worked since the onset, do everything first class so I’m sure the show is going to be presented in a great manner. I can’t wait.”
Nielsen’s ‘Connected Life Report’ Indicates Connected Car Becoming More Important. The results of a new study by Nielsen dubbed the “Connected Life Report” shows consumers buying new vehicles are increasingly aware of the connected car and for many it is an important feature in buying a new car. Nielsen says its study reveals “63% of connected car drivers said they looked for built-in features during the car-buying process. Among those who purchased connected cars, the features drivers said were important included internet-enabled navigation (79%), safety alerts (76%), vehicle diagnostics (74%), and entertainment connectivity such as voice controls for communications and streaming audio (80%).” When it comes to which connected car features were important to consumers, 42% stated that entertainment connectivity was “very important.” (Fifty-one percent said emergency connectivity was “very important” and 49% stated internet-enabled navigation was “very important.”)
Envision’s ‘Where Are They Now?’ Comes to Madison. At Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s sports talk WOZN, Madison, Envision Radio Networks’ “Where Are They Now?” with Ahmad Rashad joins the programming. The company says the daily, 60-second vignette “tracks down all of the big names in sports and gives you their whereabouts since leaving the game.” With “The Zone 1670 AM” now carrying the program, “Where Are They Now? with Ahmad Rashad” joins over 100 affiliates on the Envision Sports Network.
CBS RADIO’s WIP, Philadelphia to Broadcast ‘Wing Bowl 22’ in Spanish. In keeping with this year’s theme of “doubles” due to this being the 22nd “Wing Bowl,” the action taking place at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday, January 31 will also be broadcast in Spanish on WIP’s HD3 channel. WIP host Rickie Ricardo will be the Spanish play-by-play announcer for the world-famous chicken wing eating contest produced by the sports talk station. Ricardo comments, “It’s an honor for me to be the first Spanish-language voice of this grand event known as ‘Wing Bowl 22!'” Neither the World Series in baseball nor the postseason action of the NFL has the worldwide impact of the battle between Man vs Chicken Wing. This will be a monumental moment in my career as well as for the huge Hispanic fan base. I pledge to add the spice and heat of our culture to each mouthful.” Ricardo is a radio veteran of 33 years and one of the country’s most high-profile bilingual air personalities. Ricardo has been the play-by-play announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies Spanish broadcasts for the past seven years. He is also the Spanish-language voice of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles and programming consultant for cable’s Music Choice Television Networks.
Public Radio Chiefs Support FM Chip Push. The chief executive officers of both NPR and American Public Media co-authored an opinion piece in the public media trade mag Current.org in which they express support for the move to activate FM chips in smartphones. NPR acting president and CEO Paul Haaga and American Public Media CEO Jon McTaggart write that because of the public’s need to have access to information during emergencies, the need is critical. “Because of public radio’s role as a trusted media and information resource and an essential public-safety asset, we hope all stations will join us in calling upon the mobile phone industry to install and activate FM chips in all cellphones and smartphones.” The two ask public stations to do two things: sign their stations up for NextRadio so listeners already using the app can identify and listen to said stations; and encourage listeners to contact their cell carriers and request they install and activate FM chips in smartphones. Read the entire piece here.
Chris Christie Scandals Top Talkers TenTM. The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 20-24 was the Chris Christie scandals. Coming in at #2 was the scrutiny and criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. At #3 was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s attacks on conservatives and following at #4 was the Eastern freeze and Western drought tied with global warming. 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. To view this week’s entire chart, click here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Cumulus Media Networks announces the Mark Levin show is added to the schedule at KNTF, Chico, California and the “Red Eye Radio” show joins the programming at KKAT, Salt Lake City and KBHS, Hot Springs, Arkansas…..Radio America’s Peter Schiff show joins the following stations: KFNN, Phoenix; WCKG-AM, Chicago; KLPW, St. Louis; WRSB, Rochester; WBNR, Poughkeepsie; KRAC, Marysville, California; KWBG, Boone, Iowa; and WLNA, Beacon, New York…..The XtreMedia-syndicated Kevin McCullough show is now airing in PM drive at WSHO-AM New Orleans.
Cool Job Opportunity. The Journal Broadcast Group is seeking an executive producer, news/web for news/talk WTMJ Radio/WTMJ.com in Milwaukee. This full time job requires a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communication, media or related field. Skills required include: Strong news judgment; ability to work and make vital decisions under pressure; must have sound knowledge of journalistic standards and libel laws; excellent written and verbal communication skills necessary; strong interpersonal, organizational and leadership skills essential; digital/web skills; on-air abilities commensurate with market. Must have a minimum of 3 years as a reporter/anchor. Assistant news director, news director or similar background preferred. Duties will include: lead news staff and day-to-day operations of the news department. Ensure that news vision, disciplines and standards are effectively implemented and monitored. Schedule employees to ensure optimum staffing of the 24-hour news operation. Oversee story assignments. Report and anchor daily newscasts. Supervise and participate in severe weather coverage. Personnel management, maintain budgets and respond to other duties as assigned by the director of programming and news. Send cover letter, links and resume to: Tom Langmyer, 720 E. Capitol Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53212 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Journal Broadcast Group is an equal opportunity employer.
New York Losing Progressive Talk Outlet WWRL. Progressive talk host Karel – whose Long Beach, California-based talk show is heard on Access.1’s WWRL, New York – reports the station says it will flip to Spanish-language programming on December 27. The station airs progressive talk programming including Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Premiere’s Randi Rhodes, and Leslie Marshall as well as non-political shows including Radio America’s Dr. Joy Browne, WYD Media’s Phil Hendrie plus various health and wellness shows. New York’s Amsterdam News reports the station is telling employees “low advertising revenue” is the reason for the format flip.
Brown Boosted to Bonneville International President. KSL Broadcast Group president Darrell Brown is promoted to president of parent company Bonneville International. Brown will oversee Bonneville’s 12 radio properties in Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City, as well as Salt Lake City television outlet KSL-TV. “Bonneville International is known across the industry for its integrity and quality,” he comments. “As a group, these stations are committed to serving and building-up their local communities. I am honored to be part of Bonneville’s legacy.” Brown joined KSL last August, after having previously spent 28 years at McGraw-Hill Broadcasting.
Sports Talker WFAN, New York Sponsors Red Hot Chili Peppers-Headlines Show at Barclay Center. With the Super Bowl just across the river the next day, CBS Radio sports talk giant WFAN, New York is sponsoring a big event across the other river at the Barclays Center titled, “WFAN’s Big Hello to Brooklyn.” The announcement was made this morning as WFAN morning team Boomer Esiason (left) and Craig Carton (right) welcomed Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith (center) into the studio and announced his band will be headlining the show on Saturday, February 1, 2014. The concert will also include: New Politics, MS MR, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, and Basic Vacation. CBS calls it “the biggest weekend in sports and entertainment, and is the exciting conclusion to Barclays Center’s “Kickoff In Brooklyn” series which also includes championship boxing (1/30/2014) and a match-up between the Brooklyn Nets and the Oklahoma City Thunder (1/31/2014). CBS Radio SVP, strategic events and partnerships Amy Stevens says, “The intersection of sports and music is never bigger than during the weekend of the Super Bowl. Red Hot Chili Peppers are an American institution and rock ‘n’roll icons, and what better way to celebrate football’s championship than with this incredible lineup of artists for local fans and the thousands in New York from around the world.”
WFAN’s Mike Francesa to Exit YES Network. The New York TV simulcast of WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa will end on January 31 after the current contract expires and WEPN-FM afternoon drive host Michael Kay’s program will take over the time slot on the Yankees-owned cable channel. The New York Daily News reports that the change was a financial matter and that CBS Radio was asking more for the rights to the program than YES wanted to pay. The Daily News piece speculates that cable’s Madison Square Garden Network may have the “inside track” with Francesa as he’s considered close to Garden management. The story also notes that fledgling cable channel CBS Sports Network, which is airing WFAN’s Boomer & Carton morning show, is not enticing to Francesa because he fears he’d have to change his content to appeal to the national audience.
Steak Added to WCNN Menu. In addition to existing members Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran, “The Front Row” on Dickey Broadcasting, Atlanta’s WCNN “Sports Radio 680 The Fan” will be comprised of Stephen “Steak” Shapiro as well. Formerly the 17-year host of “Mayhem in the AM” on Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone,” Shapiro has won numerous Georgia broadcasting awards and starts his daily 9:00 am – 12:00 noon assignment on January 2. WCNN president/general manager David Dickey comments, “I am excited to have ‘Steak’ back on ‘The Fan.’ He is one of the best-known and most-talented sports personalities in the country. ‘Steak’ will become an important part of what is already the region’s biggest and most-experienced sports-talk line-up. His homecoming is yet another example of Dickey Broadcasting’s ongoing commitment to invest in the best talent, the best content and the biggest partnerships.” Shapiro, who replaces Ray Mariner, adds, “‘The Fan’ gave me my start and is the reason I moved to Atlanta [from Boston] almost 20 years ago. I am ecstatic to be back doing what I love. ‘The Fan’ has been the number one sports talk station in the south for so many years. To be able to be a part of such a winning team with so many folks I have worked alongside in the past and consider friends is really thrilling.” Shapiro founded Big League Broadcasting in 1997 and was its president for roughly 14 years.
Dare to be Crap-Free. When it comes to online content, it’s easy to think you have a staffing problem or a time management problem or a resources problem, when what you really have is a crap problem. In a new column posted today (12/16) by noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, he writes, “There’s stuff on your site that is irrelevant to your station and is keeping people from finding what they DO want to find there. Your social media is probably influenced more by what everyone else is doing in social media, rather than what will cause your biggest fans to love you all the more.” To read how Chris Miller can help you get crap-free and focused on results for 2014, please click here.
Odds & Sods. Connecticut talk show host Mary Jones announces she’ll retire from Buckley Broadcasting-owned news/talk station WDRC-AM, Hartford as of December 23 in order to spend more time with her husband and enjoy winters in Florida. Jones tells TALKERS it was a big decision but she is excited about the change….. WMAL-AM/FM, Washington “Mornings on the Mall” co-host Larry O’Connor is doing some double duty during the holiday season. O’Connor will sub for WABC, New York-based Geraldo Rivera beginning December 20 through the end of the year (and the end of his national syndication run) and will also sit in for WestwoodOne-syndicated personality Dennis Miller on January 2 and 3 – the last two days of his 10:00 am to 1:00 pm airing (the show begins airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on 1/6)…..“Libertarian-conservative” media personality Wayne Allyn Root will be guest host on Cumulus Media Networks’ “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage from December 23 – 30. Root is author of The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide (Regnery 2013) and serves as a commentator on Fox News Channel and TheBlaze.
KSCO, Santa Cruz Personality Ethan Bearman’s Profile Rising. Talk radio personality and writer Ethan Bearman is getting more recognition in the Santa Cruz market as his locally focused talk show on Zwerling-owned KSCO, Santa Cruz grows in popularity. Recently, Bearman was a go-to media voice for a KION-TV news piece (captured here) on the anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. View that video here. Also, Bearman, who has intensely covered the hot issue of dirty needles, trash and other refuse in the town’s parks that’s making it unsafe for people to use, was part of a clean-up crew that made the news for its work. Read about that issue in a piece in the Santa Cruz Patch here. Bearman is a visible example of a growing trend in news/talk radio in which talk hosts are eschewing monolithic political party doctrine and instead are approaching their programs on an issue-by-issue basis.
Hawkins Scores With CRN Special. Over the weekend (Saturday, 12/14), former NBA player Tommy Hawkins premiered his CRN Digital Talk Radio holiday special “We Wish You a Jazzy Christmas.” According to CRN chief executive officer Michael Horn, “‘We Wish You a Jazzy Christmas’ is filled with holiday-themed jazz music, along with Tommy’s infectious, warm personality. His love of jazz and the holidays combine for such a treat. It is the perfect accompaniment for an evening by a Christmas tree.” Following a standout collegiate career at Notre Dame (where he was a two-year All-American), Hawkins went on to play in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers and Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings). He later became vice president of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. For approximately 15 years beginning in 1970, “Hawk” was a staple on Los Angeles siblings KABC and KLOS. As part of his basketball-to-broadcasting transition Hawkins not only became KABC’s sports director, he also did “Sports Snorts” weekday mornings with remarkably talented Frazer Smith on KLOS. In addition to doing weekends on KKJZ “K-Jazz,” Los Angeles, Hawkins has written “Life’s Reflections: Poetry for the People.” His CRN special will play throughout the holiday season.
Over $120,000 Raised in KFXX Special Olympics Radio-thon. Entercom-owned sports outlet KFXX “1080 The Fan” afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) hosts Isaac Ropp (pictured here at left with some female fans) and Jason Scukanec (second from right) anchored the third annual 28-hour Special Olympics Oregon radio-thon, which brought in more than $120,000. Program director Jeff Austin comments, “We are proud to partner with Special Olympics Oregon. The overwhelming support of our station’s staff, our listeners, and advertisers was a testament to the bond Isaac and Suke have with their audience.” Scukanec (“Suke”) states, “We cannot thank our listeners enough – Portland is a special community and this is a very special cause. We talk about sports and high-powered athletes every day, but these Olympians are the real athletes. They are the real champions and we are privileged to honor their spirit and dedication.” Special Olympics Oregon chief development officer Kim Bergstrom adds, “We are honored to partner with [KFXX]. Isaac and Suke’s radio-thon helps raise funds to support year-round sports training and competition opportunities for thousands of individuals with intellectual disability. In addition, they generate immeasurable awareness of the importance of Special Olympics Oregon programs for athletes and their families.” This year’s $120,000 radio-thon total surpassed last year’s mark by more than $45,000.
Broadcast Electronics Bumps Up Bealor To President. Effective immediately, Broadcast Electronics executive vice president of product development Tim Bealor is upped to president of the Quincy, Illinois-based company. “I am honored to be asked to lead BE into its 55th year and the next phase of the company’s growth,” he comments. “Next year is going to be an exciting time for Broadcast Electronics and its customers.” Bealor began his Broadcast Electronics career as a technician in 1975. Over the past 38 years, he has held a variety of technical, support, product management, sales leadership, and marketing positions with the company.
Curtis Wright and George Bell to Launch Wilmington, NC Talk Station Monday. After splitting from Cumulus Media in late 2012 and partnering with area businessman and local Republican activist George Bell, Curtis Wright began producing his “On the Beat” internet talk program from the duo’s Talk Media TV studios in February of this year. Now, Wright and Bell are launching news/talk outlet “My Talker” on class A FM WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina at 106.7 on Monday July 22. The station will feature Wright’s program in morning drive followed by Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, Courtside Entertainment’s Laura Ingraham, and Premiere’s Sean Hannity. Other network shows to be carried include: TRN’s Andrea Tantaros, Premiere’s “Coast to Coast AM,” “Handel on the Law,” Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, Gary Sullivan, Leo Laporte and more.
Former Governor David Paterson Officially Joins ‘AM 970 The Answer’ in New York. The former governor of New York has been co-hosting the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show alongside Curtis Sliwa – dubbed “Curtis and the Gov” – for about a month now but Salem Communications announces David Paterson officially joins the WNYM in a permanent capacity. Sliwa, who’s been pulling double duty at the station for some time, will continue to host the morning show solo from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. After leaving the governor’s office, Paterson joined WOR, New York but exited that station when Clear Channel bought it from Buckley Broadcasting. He says of returning to the air, “I am ecstatic at the prospect of returning to talk radio at ‘AM 970 The Answer’ and co-hosting with one of the living legends in the business, Curtis Sliwa. Working with Curtis, as opposed to being a solo host, gives me a wider berth to air my opinions and strike up an interesting back-and-forth with an outspoken and articulate critic on everything.” WNYM VP/GM Jerry Crowley, who hired Paterson while working at WOR, states, “There was no more beloved or recognizable figure in talk radio than the Gov. It’s amazing how fast he became skilled behind the microphone. He created quite a buzz when he first started reading commercials and our clients simply loved it. He was a big part of our success.”
WFAN, New York Prepares to Launch 4th Annual Fantasy Phenom Challenge. CBS Radio sports talk WFAN, New York is kicking off its 4th annual Fantasy Phenom Challenge next week at Modell’s Sporting Goods on Columbus Avenue in New York City. This promotion is a contest for local listeners to show the station their sports talk chops and win a chance to host a program on WFAN. The contest begins Thursday at 12:00 noon at the Columbus Ave. Modell’s location, then moves to the Edgewater, New Jersey location on Saturday, July 27 and to the Plainview, New York location on Tuesday, July 30. At each location the station will audition up to 100 contestants who must deliver a 2-minute rant in front of the judges. Winners move on with the final five competing for the ultimate prize at Mike Francesa’s “End of Summer” bash and radio show broadcast live on-air and online at www.wfan.com from Bar A in Lake Como, New Jersey on Friday, August 23. WFAN operations manager and CBS Radio New York VP of programming Mark Chernoff says, “Once again it’s ‘Fantasy Phenom’ time on ‘The Fan.’ This year we’re partnering with Modell’s Sporting Goods to hold first round auditions at three of their area stores as we look for another grand prize winner who will receive a weekly air shift for a year on WFAN and this year as an added bonus, the winner will receive a two year lease of a brand new Lester Glenn Hyundai. Let the fun begin!”
Walter Sabo Interviewed by Bob Shannon at The Conclave. In a riveting one-on-one presentation, Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo was interviewed by The Conclave executive director Bob Shannon yesterday (7/18) during the conclusion of the second day of the three-day industry gathering in Minneapolis. Sabo discussed a number of the highlights of his colorful career in radio and explained his view of the evolving relationship between popular culture and video on the internet. The consultant also discussed radio’s need to take more chances on new concepts and stop the practice of playing follow the leader. The Conclave concludes today (7/19) with “Game Day” sessions geared to sports radio and a trip this evening to a Minnesota Twins baseball game.
NRG Media’s ‘1620 The Zone’ in Omaha to Launch Nick Bahe Show. Sports talker KOZN, Omaha “1620 The Zone” announces former Creighton University hoops star Nick Bahe becomes part of the lineup with a daily 11:00 am to 2:00 pm eponymous program. The station says Bahe’s program joins the “entirely live and local” lineup. Bahe’s show follows lead-in “Sharp & Benning” and is followed by “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” with hosts John Bishop and Mike’l Severe in afternoon drive.
Jeff Katz Takes Part in Boston Herald Online Program. Boston-based talk media personality Jeff Katz (most recently with Clear Channel’s former news/talk WXKS-AM, Boston) is pictured here on the set of the Boston Herald’s “Press Party” program that is part of the paper’s online initiative. Seen here (from l-r) are: Joe Battenfeld (formerly of FOX 25/Boston), Jaclyn Cashman (formerly of WWLP-TV/Springfield), Tito Jackson (Boston City Councilor), Katz, and Dr. Bob Rosenthal (Chairman of Suffolk University Communications Department).
Odds & Sods. ESPN Radio – which will broadcast 17 NFL games this season – announces it’ll kick off the season with Tennessee at Pittsburgh on Sunday, September 8…..Cumulus Media’s WWLS, Oklahoma City renews its deal with the NBA’s Thunder to continue serving as flagship station for the team. The two sides recently signed a multi-year agreement that provides for Spanish-language play-by-play on sister WKY.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. Pilot Media’s WRPW, Bloomington, Illinois adds “America Tonight” with host Kate Delaney to the program schedule….. WestStar MultiMedia Entertainment’s Kim Komando program adds new affiliates: WWIQ, Philadelphia; KSRO, Santa Rosa, California; KYKN, Kaiser, Oregon and KXLY, Spokane…..Sports talk show “From the Press Box to Press Row” with Donal Ware adds new affiliates KKNO, New Orleans and WVWI, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 15-19. The aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict landed atop the Talkers TenTM as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act – ObamaCare. At #3 was the IRS’ scrutiny of conservative groups and individuals and following at #4 was immigration reform and amnesty. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Arbitron/Edison Research’s Infinite Dial 2013 Indicates Radio Still Dominates In-Car Listening; the Smartphone Is the Hot Delivery Tool. Tuesday’s webinar from Arbitron and Edison Research provided a treasure trove of data for radio execs and sales personnel wishing to prove that radio is still a relevant medium in today’s world. But much of the data also showed that over the course of the past 15 years, it’s been easy to see the leaps and bounds by which digital media is gaining on the traditionals – AM/FM and broadcast television. Some of the key takeaways for talk stations:
- Of those surveyed (18+) who’ve ridden/driven a car in the past month, 84% used AM/FM radio; 63% used the CD player; 29% an iPod or mp3 player; and 12% used online radio.
Obviously, the online radio usage (defined as AM/FM stations over the internet as well as pure plays) will continue to rise as that technology becomes more available and easier to use.
- 58% of those surveyed report AM/FM radio as the medium used “almost all of the time” or “most of the time.”
- 72% of respondents do not have a Bluetooth connection in their car. A technology that would aid online usage in the vehicle. That will change quickly as manufacturers make them standard in new cars.
The Smartphone. Reaching potential listeners via smartphone technology is crucial to the future of content providers. Fifty-three percent of Americans (estimated to be 139 million) own a smartphone – up from 44% just last year.
- About 75% of persons 18-34 own smartphones
- Of all people (12+) who own smartphones, 44% have ever listened to online radio. Expect that number to grow rapidly.
- Although just 18% of smartphone owners listen to online radio daily, that’s still a big number – more than 25 million Americans (12+) – and that is also likely to grow exponentially.
Podcasting. Although podcasting listening has leveled out over the past two or three years – about 12% or 32 million Americans have listened to an audio podcast in the last month – more than 25% of weekly podcast users have listened to six or more during that period. The takeaway for stations/talk hosts/content providers producing podcasts is that loyal podcast users consume a lot of them. That’s good for sales to know. Also, the goal of converting P1s into podcast users is a worthwhile one since it appears they often become hooked on the format.
Some of the key observations by Arbitron’s Bill Rose and Edison’s Tom Webster from this year’s Infinite Dial research project include:
- Over the population, digital platforms do not appear to replace traditional media usage, they tend to enhance them;
- The smartphone is the most important device media businesses are dealing with and the smartphone is functioning as a “two-way” radio today;
- Online radio reaches 86 million people per week for an average of 12 hours, with so many choices it is imperative to have a strategy that cuts through the clutter;
- 66% of those surveyed who wake up to a smartphone use the alarm sound, not music to talk content, convince them to do otherwise!
Clay Hunnicutt to Receive 2013 “Humanitarian of the Year” Award at Talkers New York 2013. The 2013 recipient of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Broadcaster (also referred to as “Humanitarian of the Year”) has been selected by the TALKERS editorial board. This year’s recipient is Clear Channel Media & Entertainment EVP of programming, Clay Hunnicutt. The 25-year veteran of radio broadcasting has been selected for this important honor in recognition of the key role he has played in paving the way for the Fisher House Foundation to become one of the radio industry’s most actively spotlighted charities, thus providing invaluable support in the form of free housing to the families of service men and women injured in combat during their visits to them at the hospital. To learn more about Fisher House Foundation visit www.fisherhouse.org. While serving as CC’s SCP/Community Engagement he arranged for a company-wide 2010 Veterans Day initiative in support of Fisher House. Every CC station spotlighted Fisher House on that day and urged listeners to donate online or via text. That event was repeated in 2011. These campaigns alone (2010 and 2011) raised a total of $1.2 million for Fisher House. In addition, the company donated $3 million in PSA airtime around Veterans Day 2012. Fisher House representatives inform TALKERS that Hunnicutt has also helped them make vital connections at the local level. Hunnicutt tells TALKERS, “If you’ve never been to a Fisher House – you must go! Just one visit will change your life because they are making the lives of so many soldiers and sailors better. They took the challenge of helping the men and women that put their lives on the line for our freedom every day to a whole new level. It is a world class organization that delivers on everything they say they will do, and that always puts the needs of other first. This is something we should all aspire to do, and make a priority with our individual time and our stations.” Hunnicutt will be presented the award on Thursday, June 6 at Talkers New York 2013 during the afternoon “Freedom of Speech Award Ceremony.” The event, which is nearing a sellout, is open to members of the working media. Registrations can only be booked over the phone at 413-565-5413.
Dennis Miller Celebrates 6th Radio Anniversary. It’s been six years since comedian and Saturday Night Live alum Dennis Miller began a daily radio talk show on the old Westwood One radio network. On Friday, March 29, Miller celebrated his 6th anniversary on the Dial Global network hosting some friends from the old days. Fellow SNL cast members Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon, along with Seth Meyers appeared on the program as did fellow television star Tim Allen.
WDAE, Tampa’s Steve Duemig Returns to Air with New Deal. Tampa sports talk host Steve Duemig was taken off the air at Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa last week after the two sides hit some sort of snag in their contract negotiations. According to the Tampa Bay Times’ Eric Deggans, Duemig said he was asked to sign a new contract before the window that would allow him to speak with other companies opened. When he refused, he was taken off the air. Now, Duemig says he’s back with a three-year deal that, according to the paper, includes no new money. He tells the Times, “But am I happy? I won’t answer that.”
Proof of Performance, Transmitter Control and Other Technical Stuff Radio Station Staffers Should Understand…at Least a Little. In a page out of the Engineer’s Truth is Stranger than Fiction files, renown engineering wizard and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray cites a couple of “strange but true” examples of how crazy things can get in to today’s radio station environment when it comes to “little” things like which buttons to press when the transmitter goes haywire and avoiding trouble with the FCC by staying within compliance. In the process he sheds light on standard concepts like “proof of performance” and “turning a transmitter on and off” that programming-types really should know and in language that they can actually understand…we hope! To read Tom Ray’s column, click here.
Mike Francesa Signs Long-Term Renewal with WFAN, New York. American sports talk radio icon Mike Francesa inks a deal to remain the afternoon drive host on CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York for years to come. The exact term of the contract is not being disclosed but CBS Radio president Dan Mason states, “Mike has earned his place in radio history as a great broadcaster and we’re thrilled to continue our relationship with sports radio’s most celebrated host. WFAN and Mike Francesa are synonymous with the absolute best in sports programming excellence. These two powerful brands have endured the test of time, and remain a very relevant force in the industry nearly three decades after they first went on the air.” As part of the deal, Francesa’s long-running Sunday morning “The NFL Now” show will be aired on the CBS Sports Radio Network beginning this fall. Vice president, sports programming, CBS Radio Mark Chernoff states, “Mike represents the heart and soul of WFAN, and we’re proud he will continue to make the station his long-term broadcast home. Like no one else, Mike can take a story to the next level and involve his listeners in thought provoking ways with topical and opinionated conversation. He has set the standard for what represents an entertaining and informative radio program.” Francesa says, “I’m very proud of what we have accomplished at WFAN. I am also honored and thankful to CBS Radio for its continued commitment, and most of all to the listeners for their enduring loyalty.” Mike Francesa will be the sports talk keynote speaker at Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6. The event, which is nearing a sellout, is open to members of the working media. Registrations can only be booked over the phone at 413-565-5413.
Odds & Sods. WGAU, Gainesville, Georgia-based talk show host Martha Zoller announces the coming debut of her Georgia politics website called Zpolitics. Zoller states, “I am thrilled to announce the launch of my new website, Zpolitics. We created this online hub to satisfy the desire for relevant news, smart political commentary, and sharp analysis from Georgia’s top pollsters, strategists, and grassroots activists.”….. The “Mo’Kelly Show” celebrates its one-year anniversary on Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles this Saturday, April 6 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Show host Morris O’Kelly reports that over the past 12 months, guests have included NAACP president Ben Jealous, Pleasanton Tea Party president Dr. Bridget Melson, members of Congress, state leadership from both the Democratic and Republican parties and entertainment guests such as actresses Gabrielle Union and Tamara Tunie, comedian Cedric the Entertainer and musicians Joe Sample, Will Downing and Eric Benét. O’Kelly also hosts various mornings on sister progressive talk station KTLK and serves as American political correspondent for the BBC…..Sunrise Broadcasting flips oldies WGNY-AM, Newburgh, New York to sports talk using ESPN Radio. The company also plans to flip country WZAD, Wurtsboro, New York (Poughkeepsie market) as a simulcast soon.
The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Announces 2013 Legacy Inductees. The following Georgia broadcasters will be honored at the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame 7th Annual Induction Awards on October 19, 2013 at the Atlanta/Marietta Hilton Hotel and Conference Center. The Class of 2013 includes (in alphabetical order): Palmyra Braswell, the first black female disc jockey in Macon, Georgia (WBML ) and educator; George Crumbley, sales manager at WSB, Atlanta and father of The Peach Bowl; Jimmy Dunaway, WSB, Atlanta farm director and news anchor; Al Evans, Jr., WVLD, Valdosta owner, on air known as Danny Dee; John Holliman, WSB reporter and Peabody Award recipient; Don Kordecki, WKRW, Cartersville owner and civic leader; Royal Marshall, WSB, Atlanta talk show host and producer; Leonard Postero, creator and voice of weekly sports program “Leonard Losers”; and Annie Lee Small, WYTH, Madison co-owner and Atlanta’s first female announcer. The Legacy inductees join other honorees: James “Alley Pat” Patrick, 2013 Founders and Directors Award and Jim Woodruff, Jr., 2013 Elmo Ellis Spirit Award. Pictured here are: Top row (l-r): Palmyra Braswell, George Crumbley, Jimmy Dunaway, Al Evans, Jr., John Holliman. Bottom row (l-r): Don Kordecki, Royal Marshall, Annie Lee Small, Leonard Postero.
North Korea Threats, Gun Legislation, ObamaCare Effects, Illegal Immigration, and Rutgers Basketball Coach Fired Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/2). The ongoing concern over North Korea’s threats of military action against South Korea and America; the myriad gun legislation proposals; the effects of the Affordable Care Act; chatter over illegal immigration and amnesty legislation; and the firing of Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice after a video goes viral were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
How Do You Know It’s a Good Topic and That It Will Work Where You’re Broadcasting? That’s a great question with an increasing number of radio talk show hosts working “locally” by remote on more than one station or simply being syndicated across a region or the entire nation. So, TALKERS magazine went to a broadcaster who is eminently qualified to answer the question – Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, a member of the TALKERS Heavy hundred — who hosts mornings on KPRC, Houston; late afternoons on WOAI, San Antonio; weekends locally on KOA, Denver and weekends nationally on “The Weekend” show. He is also a major “go to” fill-in host for such hosts as Glenn Beck, Todd Schnitt and many others. Pags writes, “Many years ago, I thought it was easy to gauge. Whatever gets the phone ringing, right? Not so much. I take a lot of phone calls. I’d say more than you might hear on other shows. But, I insist they be of substance and advance the conversation or be really funny and entertaining. Making the phones ring, it turns out, is easy. ‘Abortion, for or against? Here’s the number.’ That’s sure to melt the lines down and guaranteed to be a horrible show. Those blinking lights are addictive and the interaction intoxicating, but I once heard a stat that showed 2% of all listeners will ever call into a radio show. How do you make sure you’re engaging the other 98% as well?” Read Pags’ entire article here.
WCCO, Minneapolis Adds Weekend Food Show. The CBS Radio news/talk station announces Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl brings her food writing talents to the WCCO lineup, hosting a one-hour show called “Off The Menu” beginning March 2. Grumdahl, is a senior editor at Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine, she’s been the top voice in Twin Cities food since her work as City Pages restaurant critic (1997 to 2008,) launched her to national prominence with a string of James Beard Awards, the highest award of the food world. WCCO program director Bob Shomper says, “WCCO has a long and rich history of food and nutrition, from the recipe shows and farm reports of the past to the latest dining trends and nutritional information of today. Dara is the Twin Cities’ premier expert on food. She will bring WCCO’s tradition of nutritional information to new heights, on all platforms, on-air, online and on mobile devices. We are thrilled to have her on the WCCO team.”
Talk Host Ralph Bailey Exits KNZR, Bakersfield. Afternoon drive talk host Ralph Bailey resigns suddenly from his position with the Buckley Broadcasting station and although he gives no hint of where he may surface, The Bakersfield Californian speculates he may be headed for American General Media’s crosstown KERN. Bailey wrote on his Facebook page, in part, “It was with a heavy heart that I tendered my resignation to Buckley Radio today. However, future opportunities and challenges make it virtually impossible not to seek out new adventures. I would like to thank Steve Darnell, Kathy Baker and, posthumously, Rick Buckley. To my colleagues, I hope I was a team player who made the station and the client top priority and someone who grasped the concept of pulling on one side of the rope. To my sponsors, I hope I played a small role in your success and thank you for your support!”
Boston Sports Talk Host Gets Terrestrial Outlet. Boston native Danny Picard – whose “I’m Just Sayin’” sports talk show appeared on recent editions of TALKERS magazine’s Frontier Fifty feature spotlighting internet-only talk radio hosts – gets his daily program added to the schedule at Blackstrap Broadcasting’s WUFC, Boston “NBC Sports Radio.” The show is a simulcast of his 9:00 am to 10:00 am internet program but Picard tells TALKERS it is “essentially the same show I do now, only I’ll no longer be broadcasting from my South Boston living room apartment. I’ll be broadcasting from the 1510 NBC Sports Radio Boston studios on Marina Bay.” Picard says he’s excited about the development. “I’ve been hosting this show for a while now, and it’s a thrill to finally be heard on an AM signal in Boston every weekday. I’m extremely passionate about what I do, and I look forward to expressing my passion to an expanding audience.” Picard began doing his program from his University of Massachusetts-Amherst apartment in 2006. He’s been covering all the major pro sports teams at Comcast SportsNet New England for the CSNNE.com site since it launched in 2009. Picard continues his role with Comcast SportsNet. Photo by Jennifer Bodnar.
The Tom Joyner Syndrome – without the Expensive Planes! Pictured here are two coast-to-coast broadcasting adventures. First, at left are KRLA, Los Angeles “Morning Answer” co-hosts Brian Whitman (left) and Ben Shapiro (right) from their studios at Salem Los Angeles (Heidi Harris also co-hosts the morning show on KRLA). On Thursday, February 21 the two pulled double duty by filling in on Salem’s New York news/talker WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” for Curtis Sliwa’s and Jeffrey Lichtman’s PM drive show as both were on vacation. At the same time, New York City-based Kevin McCullough (at right), whose nationally syndicated broadcast airs mornings on his longtime flagship AM 570 WMCA in New York, has been pulling double duty in Los Angeles on Salem’s Christian talk station 99.5 KKLA-FM in afternoon drive (4:00 pm to 7:00 pm PT). Kevin McCullough began doing the afternoon show in Los Angeles after the tragic Thanksgiving week motorcycle accident that eventually claimed the life of Salem personality Frank Pastore. McCullough is pictured here Thursday evening doing the KKLA-FM show from the studios of New York-based XtreMEDIA.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Compass Media Networks’ Lars Larson is added to the lineup at KQV, Pittsburgh…..Michael Patrick Shiels adds country outlet WQTX, Lansing, Michigan to his affiliate list for his statewide AM drive show. The add marks Shiels’ return to Lansing after exiting Cumulus Media’s WJIM a year ago and sitting out a non-compete…..Fox Sports Radio Network announces KGGS, Garden City, Kansas adds the network’s entire daily lineup as the station re-brands as “Big Dog Sports 1340”…..Dial Global and NBC’s NBC Sports Radio sign an agreement for Alpha Broadcasting’s KXTG-AM, Portland to carry their content…..Gow Broadcasting-operated Yahoo! Sports Radio adds affiliate KMZQ, Las Vegas for its sports talk programming…..“Right Turn Radio” – a program about addiction and mental health hosted by Woody Geissman and Abby Dean – now airs on WRKO, Boston Sundays at 7:00 pm. The show is a production of Right Turn, a local non-profit that provides innovative outpatient treatment and supporting housing for addicts…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds new affiliate KRDO-AM/FM, Colorado Springs.
Sequestration and Deficit Reduction Top Talk Radio Topics for Week of February 18-22. The battle in Washington over the looming sequestration and the related calls for deficit reduction were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was immigration reform. At #3 was soaring gasoline prices followed by the costs of ObamaCare at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio each week based on ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Grace Blazer Lands at Clear Channel Miami. Former WTKK, Boston program director Grace Blazer is the new PD at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WIOD and sports WINZ, Miami. She exited the Greater Media talk station when it flipped to rhythmic AC at the end of 2012. Prior to WTKK, Blazer programmed WPHT, Philadelphia. In a statement, Blazer says, “The depth of Clear Channel’s resources is phenomenal. Working for our industry’s leading media company and programming WIOD and WINZ is a superb opportunity. I’m excited to partner with Alex Tear, Lonny Anger and the talented staffs of ‘News Radio 610/100.3FM’ and 940’s ‘Sports Animal’ to grow these stations.” The programming position at WIOD and WINZ opened up when Ken Charles moved up to the VP of programming position at Clear Channel’s Sacramento cluster.
Hermain Cain Joins Fox News Channel as Contributor. Nationally syndicated talk show host Herman Cain becomes part of the Fox News Channel stable of contributors. Cain, who took over the late morning slot long held by talk radio pioneer Neal Boortz at Cox Media’s WSB, Atlanta and his national syndication distributed by Dial Global, will make regular appearances on FNC where EVP of programming Bill Shine says in a statement, “Cain’s impressive resume makes him a valuable addition to the Fox News and Fox Business lineup. As a political expert with business savvy, he brings an important voice to the nation’s debates.” In addition to his recent run for president, Cain also was CEO of the Godfather’s Pizza chain and held the CEO position at the National Restaurant Association.
NY Post Reports CBS Radio New York Weighing WFAN-AM/FM Options. The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick writes that the brass at CBS Radio in New York City is weighing its programming options for the sports talk tandem of WFAN-AM and FM as the company must be eager to get the fledgling CBS Sports Radio Network programming on in the largest market in the country. Currently, the full schedule of WFAN programming is heard on both signals but the need to get the new national network some Big Apple exposure is pressing. A statement from the company to the Post goes, “We have a number of great options and are closely examining each one.” At issue is the fact that WFAN-AM’s 660 signal is huge and the 101.9 FM signal is decent but nowhere near as far-reaching as 660 AM. Will the local sports talk remain on 660 AM and the national network appear on 101.9 FM? Will it be the other way around or a mixture of the two? As Mushnick hints, you can bet some of the WFAN stalwarts – including PM driver Mike Francesa and AM drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton – would like to stay on the huge 660 AM signal. CBS Radio is expected to make a decision within the next few months.
Dial Global to Cease SEC Reporting. The company cites, among other things, “the relatively limited historical volume of trading in the Company’s common stock and the applicable federal securities laws” as one of the reasons it will suspend its reporting obligations under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Dial Global’s board of directors determined that such action would be in the best interests of the company. It says, “In reaching this conclusion, the Company’s Board of Directors considered numerous factors including the compliance costs associated with filing periodic reports with the SEC and the diversion of management attention from other matters that result from being a reporting company.” Dial Global left the NASDAQ and its stock is traded on OTC Pink. It states, “There can be no assurance, however, that a trading market in the Company’s common stock through the over-the-counter market or any other market will be maintained.”
David Landau Gets Nice Severance from Dial Global. Technically it’s not a severance but regardless, former co-CEO of Dial Global David Landau will receive $600, 000 per annum for the next two years plus other unspecified benefits after the company decided to re-align its corporate management structure and make Spencer Brown sole CEO and former co-CEO Ken Williams president.
WPRO, Providence Lets Ron St. Pierre Go. In a move that appears to be about saving money, Ron St. Pierre exits his role as PM drive host Buddy Cianci’s sidekick/executive producer. GoLocalProv.com reports that this is the latest in a series of moves at the Cumulus Media station that began with the ouster of Andrew Gobiel from the WPRO morning show and the re-assignment of Tara Granahan from the AM show to other news duties. The station brought WJAR-TV anchor Gene Valicenti in to host the morning program. St. Pierre has served at WPRO as program director – the first time in 1988 – as general manager, and as host of the station’s morning show. Ron can be reached at email@example.com.
Good Writing Is at the Core of Digital Success. Writing for the internet is a very different art form than writing for the radio. Noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller says, “Good writing is at the heart of what we do online, and how we communicate with our fans. Don’t just do it for the art of it; do it because it can help stretch your few thousand Facebook fans into tens of millions of annual impressions. Do it because it will help get your tweets re-tweeted. We’re talking about building your numbers here!” Miller advises TALKERS readers to avoid three common mistakes in writing for the web: 1) over-selling; 2) being boring; and 3) social desperation. Read his entire piece here.
WINTER ADVICE: Be Sure to Install Deicers on your Antenna. It is not too late to do it or to be concerned. The failure to properly install deicers on your antenna to save a few bucks in the short term can not only interfere with the quality of your signal, it can put you off the air entirely, not to mention cause severe costly damage to your components and even create a major fire hazard. TALKERS technical editor and noted engineering consultant Tom Ray says, “While money is tight all over, the last thing you need is your transmitter and/or building to be a smoking hulk. Consult with someone qualified to guide you. Think of it like buying an insurance policy. You may not want to spend the cash, but it could save you a bundle in the long run. Read Tom Ray’s entire article here.
Trump-Maher Suit “Stretches Credulity.” TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes that the $5 million suit Donald Trump is filing against Bill Maher has no chance of success, little chance of getting a day in court and could incur sanctions against Trump and his attorney for filing a frivolous lawsuit. In case you missed it, Maher went on “The Tonight Show” in January and – based on the color of Trump’s hair – joked that he would donate $5 million to a charity of Trump’s choice if he would produce his birth certificate to show he is not the son of an orangutan. Read more of Weisman’s account about why this spat is still going on and upon what legal ground the complaint stands (or doesn’t as the case may be). It’s here.
XtreMEDIA Syndicated Host Dani Johnson Profiled in Forbes. The host of the weekly XtreMEDIA-syndicated Dani Johnson program was profiled on Forbes.com on Thursday and, according to XtreMEDIA CEO Kevin McCullough, the story went viral “with 15,700 shares on Facebook in a little more than a day. Heading into the weekend it was still the ‘Most Popular’ and ‘Most Read’ piece on Forbes.com.” McCullough tells TALKERS, “Her story as a broke homeless woman to becoming a multiple millionaire to even now helping others get out of debt, restore relationships, and expand their influence is a story that rocketed her from one affiliate station in January of 2012 to 95 stations and counting in January of 2013. Dani is the most important voice in all of American media – not just talk radio – that most of the nation still hasn’t heard from. Hundreds of thousands of lives changed for the better, only proves the point that she has something that real audiences are looking for… connection!” Read the Forbes story here.
“The Answer” Gets Manhattan Street-Level Presence. Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” has Manhattan street-level presence as the PM drive show featuring Curtis Sliwa and Jeffrey Lichtman are now hosting their show from a studio in the department-store type window setting at the historic Hotel Pennsylvania in Midtown Manhattan. Pictured here are Sliwa (r) and Lichtman (l) hosting a recent edition of their program. Salem Communications vice president director of spoken-word format Phil Boyce states, “This not only gives our hosts a bird’s-eye view of Midtown Manhattan, but allows literally thousands of daily passersby to see ‘Curtis & Jeffrey’ and ‘WNYM AM 970 THE ANSWER’ prominently displayed in the heart of our listening area. This marquee location on 7th Ave and 33rd Street, is located across from the Long Island Railroad, Penn Station, a subway hub, Macy’s and is around the corner from the NJ PATH train. The value of this degree of exposure and publicity for our station and two of our best known hosts is incalculable. It’s also across from the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, which on any given night might host the Knicks, the Rangers or innumerable other sporting and entertainment events.”
Russ Rollins and Dirty Jim Re-Up with WTKS, Orlando; Daniel Dennis Exits. The Monsters in the Morning program at Clear Channel’s hot talk WTKS, Orlando is one talent fewer after co-host Daniel Dennis declines to sign a new three-year contract with the station. Program founder and host Russ Rollins, along with co-host Dirty Jim, both signed new three-year deals to continue broadcasting the AM drive program on the station but Dennis tells the Orlando Sentinel he didn’t want the contract but would rather have continued as an at-will employee. He hosts a weekly internet talk show called, “A Mediocre Time with Tom and Dan” that can be heard at tomanddan.com.
Alan Eisenson Exits Clear Channel Sacramento. Talk radio programmer Alan Eisenson leaves his position as operations manager for Clear Channel’s Sacramento cluster where he served as operations manager for news/talk KFBK-AM/FM and talk KSTE. Eisenson was also in charge of programming at CC’s San Francisco talk outlets KKSF and KNEW.
Odds & Sods. SiriusXM brings iconic film star and polarizing historical figure Jane Fonda to its “Town Hall” series. The actress will be part of the “SiriusXM Town Hall” on Thursday, December 6 at 10:00 am when she’ll sit down with journalist Perri Peltz and speak about her new yoga DVD and take questions from the audience…..On Thursday, November 29, radio pro Turi Ryder will sit in for John Williams on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago on the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program…..ABC TV’s “Good Morning America” is preparing to do something it hasn’t done in 17 years: Win the coveted November sweeps. Broadcasting & Cable reports the show is beating NBC’s “Today” in both total audience and viewers 25-54 as the end of the sweeps approaches.
CNN Has a New Chief: Jeff Zucker. That’s not official but The New York Times and Deadline.com are reporting that Time Warner has agreed to terms with former NBCUniversal CEO and current executive producer of Katie Couric’s syndicated talk show, Jeff Zucker. The official announcement is expected to be made very soon. Zucker would replace Jim Walton at CNN. Walton announced he would leave the cable news channel at the end of the year. CNN has been roundly beaten up in the consumer press for its woes in the prime time ratings race but it should be noted that, ratings aside, CNN continues to be a profitable operation for Time Warner. Still, Zucker’s charge would be to revitalize its prime time ratings that have fallen farther behind Fox News Channel and are regularly challenged by MSNBC.
ESPN Begins Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research; Announces $1 Million Donation to the Cause. Yesterday began sports entertainment broadcaster ESPN’s Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research and the company announced it is committing $1 million to the fundraising effort for the endowment fund. ESPN executive chairman George Bodenheimer made the announcement on Tuesday, November 27 and Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg made it public via their radio and TV program that day. ESPN’s sixth annual Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research – a multiplatform initiative which drives awareness of and donations to The V Foundation for Cancer Research – tipped off yesterday at 7:00 pm ET with a simulcast of former NC State coach Jim Valvano’s 1993 ESPYs speech across ESPN domestic media networks, as well as on the ABC SuperSign in Times Square. The week will conclude with the Jimmy V Women’s and Men’s Basketball Classics Presented by Corona Extra on Monday, December 3 and Tuesday, December 4. For more information on Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research, visit ESPN Media Zone.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Launches Holiday Giving Campaign. The organization that exists solely to assist broadcasters in need is announcing the start-up of its Holiday Giving Campaign. The Broadcasters Foundation of America – which disbursed more than $675,000 in assistance last year – is urging broadcasters to become members and to spread the word about this campaign. BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo says, “The Broadcasters Foundation exists solely to provide financial relief to broadcasters in need. These are individuals who we have worked with over the years, and whose lives have been devastated by unthinkable circumstances. Aid from the Broadcasters Foundation can be life-saving, in many cases. I urge every broadcaster to consider making a donation or becoming a member.” Over the past 60 years, the Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars in aid to hundreds of broadcasters who lost their livelihood through a catastrophic event, debilitating disease, or unforeseen family tragedy. In addition, one-time emergency grants are provided in the aftermath of a devastating circumstance or natural disaster, like the Joplin tornadoes and Hurricane Sandy. Individual membership is only $150 a year and can make a difference in the life of a colleague who has fallen on desperate times. To become a member, make a personal donation to the Guardian Fund, or a corporate contribution to the Angel Initiative, please contact the Broadcasters Foundation at 212-373-8250, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website at www.broadcastersfoundation.org.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, OECD Global Economy Report, Black Friday/Cyber Monday Numbers, Benghazi Attack/Susan Rice-GOP Meeting, and Powerball Jackpot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/27). The battle in Washington over tax hikes and entitlement program changes; the OECD global economy report that predicts slow growth over the next two years; initial numbers from holiday season’s two big shopping days; the spat over U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice’s meeting with GOP leaders; and the $500 million Powerball jackpot in Wednesday’s drawing were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Radio Show Presents a Talk Radio Panel (or Was It Really an All News Radio Panel?). The NAB/RAB Radio Show presented a panel for the talk radio format semi-prejudicially titled “ Is News the New Talk for Radio?” featuring Phil Boyce, VP spoken word format, Salem Communications; Mark Masters, president/CEO, Talk Radio Network; and Ed Shane, CEO, Shane Communications. It was moderated by Jim Farley, VP news and programming, WTOP-FM, Washington, DC. Farley set the topic up by mentioning the Rush Limbaugh ad boycott and asked the question “[With big time advertisers shying away from talk radio and controversial products] is it time to consider all-news as the new talk for the future?” He referenced the success of WTOP which is undeniable. The station has been the #1 biller in the nation for two straight years. Ed Shane gave a case study for what they have done at “92 News” in Houston, a Radio One station. He said there were three things you have to have if you want to create an all-news station: guts, money, and patience. He talked about the expense of running that station, saying they took on $2 million in talent costs and had to re-build the radio station’s facility. Shane played some of the imaging for the station which uses the slogan “All News, No Spin.” TRN exec Jim Watkins subbed for Masters who was unable to attend at the last minute. Watkins said smaller stations can do the all-news format using his company’s America’s Radio News Network. He claimed 500 affiliates when you add them up. (Some are taking the top-of-the-hour product, just under 200 take the morning drive show and the other stations taking some of the other long-form shows, AARN has all-news product from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm.) BOYCE STEPS UP TO THE PLATE: After all the conversation about how talk is dead and all-news is the savior, Phil Boyce started by saying “I feel like the last man standing at the U.S. embassy in the Middle East, with the protesters outside calling for my head and chanting ‘Death to Talk’.” Boyce repeated the line “Listeners have a Vote” and did his best to convince the crowd that while there was some short-term damage from the Rush boycott, it did not hurt traditional talk radio. He mentioned that both Sean Hannity and Mark Levin told him this week their sales are up 20%-25% over last year, despite the boycott. “There is a website out there listing all the advertisers Rush still has on encouraging the protestors to go after.” Boyce mentioned some of them and said there were 68 of them on this list. “Not bad for a show that has 18 minutes a day of network commercial time.” He then pointed out, “The Premiere sellers have figured out that there are a lot of advertisers who are bullet-proof when it comes to ad boycotts. They just don’t care because they know talk radio moves product, and they know the 1,000 angry e-mails or Facebook posts do not come from their client base. If the angry tweet says, “We’ll never shop with you again,” they can check their database and discover they never shopped there in the first place. These direct advertisers are who we need to do business with. The transactional big-name advertisers may never come back, but there are plenty out there who can replace them.” Boyce went on to mention the new movie “2016 Obama’s America” had record box office business and used talk radio as its primary advertising medium. He said, “This ad boycott thing is nothing new. They tried to kill Glenn Beck two years ago, and at one point had a list of 100 advertisers who would not advertise with him and they claimed victory in driving him off the Fox News Channel, dancing on his grave. The problem was, he was not in that grave and one year ago this month he went out and formed his own TV news channel with 300,000 subscribers.” Boyce did the math for the panel…$32.4 million a year, from subscriptions. “That does not count his book sales, appearance fees, and the $100 million dollar five-year deal they just did with Premiere. What they meant to kill him only made him stronger.”
2012 Marconi Awards Presented at Radio Show. The 2012 National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Radio Awards were announced last night (9/20) at the annual NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show held at the Radio Show in Dallas. Winners in the spoken-word formats included: “Legendary Station” – KSTP, St. Paul; “Network/Syndicated Personality” – Dan Patrick, Direct TV/Premiere Networks; “Major Market Station” – WTOP-FM, Washington, DC; “Medium Market Station” – WHO-AM, Des Moines; “Major Market Personality” – Mike Francesa, WFAN, New York; “Medium Market Personality” – Jan Mickelson, WHO-AM, Des Moines; “News/Talk Station” – WTOP-FM, Washington, DC; and “Sports Station” – WEEI-FM, Boston. Marconi finalists were selected by a task force of broadcasters, and the winners were voted on by the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Selection Academy. The votes were tabulated by an independent firm.
NAB/RAB Radio Show Wraps Up Today. More than 2,000 radio broadcasters from around the nation are wrapping up their gathering and saying their goodbyes at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas this afternoon as the annual “Radio Show” jointly presented by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) comes to its conclusion. Most observers agree it has been a productive and successful three-day industry event. The main topics covered include radio’s pressing need for the smartphone radio chip to be “turned on” as well as debate and concern over music royalty fees; the pros and cons of streaming; the challenges facing commercial spot sales/programming; living in a PPM world; cross platform audience measurement; and the challenge of generating digital revenue. On a basic level, the underlying concern of the conference was the very survival of terrestrial radio in the unfolding digital era and mapping out a course to achieve the industry’s vitality and relevance in it.
Roger Hedgecock to Appear on Bill Maher’s “Real Time” Show on HBO Tonight. Radio America nationally syndicated talk show host Roger Hedgecock will get national TV exposure on a very popular HBO show as he’ll be one of the guests on “Real Time with Bill Maher.” Hedgecock will appear on the program with Chris Matthews, Salman Rushdie, Eugene Jarecki and Rana Foroohar. The program airs live tonight from 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET.
Mel Making Out Swell. According to an SEC report on insider trading Siruis XM CEO Mel Karmazin has exercised options and sold over 76.7 million shares of Sirius XM stock since April 18 – including 20.36 million shares on Wednesday (919). That brings his overall take to $172 million since April 18. Either he’s raising a lot of money for something, or he’s exercising options before he either leaves on his own or is asked to leave by Liberty Broadcasting head John Malone who has been adding to his stake in Sirius as Mel has been cashing in shares. Definitely fuels speculation that Mel’s days with Sirius might be numbered.
Advice for the Industry in Tough Times. Nationally syndicated talk radio sensation Dave Ramsey is pictured here speaking to a packed Wedgwood Ballroom inside the Hilton Anatole at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas yesterday (9/20). In this Super Session titled “Succeeding in This Economic Environment,” Ramsey delivered inspirational ideas and strategies for thriving in the radio industry. The Ramsey organization says the proven business concepts discussed were developed over Ramsey’s 20 years in the radio business.
WCOA, Pensacola PD and ND Allen Caudle Exits Station. TALKERS hears program director and news director Allen Caudle leaves Cumulus Media’s Pensacola, Florida news/talk outlet WCOA after four-and-a-half years on the job. He’s looking for his next opportunity and can be reached at 850-324-7149.
Tax Relief for New Jersey Town Credited to Governor’s Show on New Jersey 101.5. A bout of tax relief coming to residents of Monroe Township New Jersey is being credited to the monthly “Ask the Governor” show on Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5. Governor Chris Christie hosts the monthly show with NJ101.5’s Eric Scott and during the August program callers protested high property tax increases. Christie blasted Monroe Township Mayor Richard Pucci and promised to look into the matter. He recently reported on Jim Gearhart’s morning drive show on NJ101.5 that the tax hike violated the state’s property tax increase cap and all residents would be credited for the overage. Christie is pictured here at New Jersey 101.5’s studios. (Photo by Annette Petricionne.)
Premiere Networks Host Clyde Lewis Featured in Portland Magazine Piece. The very popular Portland, Oregon-based nighttime talk show host Clyde Lewis was the subject of a lengthy piece in the city’s About Face magazine on his radio show “Ground Zero” that’s being syndicated nationally by Premiere Networks. The extensive interview covers Lewis’ takes on any and all conspiracy theories and paranormal subjects that can be part of his show content. Lewis’ program is produced by Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland, airs nightly from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am PT and was put into national syndication by Premiere after it became one of the most-listened-to shows on Portland radio. Read the piece here.
New Studios Dedicated. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago will officially unveil its refurbished Allstate Showcase Michigan Avenue studio on the Garry Meier show this afternoon. This past May WGN announced the new partnership with longtime sponsor Allstate. Following the station’s move to the 7th floor of Tribune Tower this summer, the Allstate Showcase Studio underwent technical upgrades and an interior studio wrap featuring WGN Radio and Allstate graphics was installed.
Waikiki Weekend. Fox Sports Radio Network “Loose Cannon” Vic “The Brick” Jacobs (r) is pictured here with one of the winners of the show’s annual “Waikiki Weekend” contest getting ready for a canoe ride. “Loose Cannons” Jacobs, Steve Hartman and guest co-host and NFL Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson accompanied the winners to Waikiki last weekend for the trip that included a live broadcast and, of course, lots of fun Hawaiian-style.
Mitt Romney’s 47% Comments Top the Talkers TenTM for the Week of September 17-21. Mitt Romney’s comment that President Obama’s 47% support was dependent on government and the fallout from it was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Following at #2 was the anti-America protests tied with the Libya consulate attacks analysis. At #3 was the cost of ObamaCare for the middle class and at #4 was the presidential race polls. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See the charts in their entirety for this week here.
Tom Owens Out at Clear Channel. With the constant comings and goings of radio people these days – even executives – it’s tough to call anything a “shocker,” but Tom Owens has been part of the Clear Channel organization since its merger with the old Jacor back in 1998. Owens began with Jacor as programmer at rocker WEBN, Cincinnati and moved up to the top of the corporate programming ladder there before the merger. He was the head of Clear Channel programming until last fall when Tom Poleman was named president of national programming platforms and Owens was given the EVP of programming research and strategy title. During his time there, Owens was no stranger to the pink slip process – of course, participating in it from the position of handing them out. Now, as CC consolidates its programming research and ratings research groups into the national programming platforms division under Poleman, Owens leaves the company. The official word from Clear Channel is that Owens will still contribute to its strategic programming on a “consultant basis.” Sometimes in modern-day corporate jargon, that’s a nice way of saying, sayonara.
Emmis Picks Up Two Stations in Terre Haute. The purchase of sports talk combo WSDM-FM at 92.7 and WSDX-AM at 1130 (both licensed to Brazil, Indiana) from Crossroads Investments must be approved by the FCC but Emmis will be operating the duo under an LMA beginning September 1. Emmis Terre Haute general manager James Connor says in a statement, “We are excited to add the ESPN brand to the Emmis Terre Haute cluster of stations which includes WWVR-FM classic rock 105.5 The River and HI-99 WTHI-FM the Wabash Valley’s Country Station. We will continue to serve the listeners of Terre Haute, Brazil and the surrounding communities with quality programming and our continued commitment to community service.” In addition to ESPN programming, the combo airs local sports talk host Vaso Michels’ 5:00 am to 7:00 am program.
Talk Host Martha Zoller Loses Bid for Congress in Runoff Election. Gainesville, Georgia-based talk host Martha Zoller – who left her talk radio career to run for the new 9th Congressional District seat in Georgia – lost the Republican primary runoff to Georgia State Representative Doug Collins. In a message to supporters, Zoller stated, “I do not know what the future holds for me but I do know that there’s still work to be done. Don’t stop fighting for what you believe … don’t give up hope in the future of this great nation … and don’t for a second believe that your efforts over the last year were in vain.” Whether or not Zoller makes a talk host comeback is uncertain but she has hinted to the Georgia media that she is not done with her political aspirations.
Super Agent Eric Weiss Played Significant Role in Heidi & Frank/KLOS Marriage. One of the most prominent behind-the-scenes movers and shakers in the radio talent rep business, Eric Weiss of the LA-based Weiss Agency, first had the idea that Heidi and Frank would make a good fit in mornings at KLOS as far back as one year ago. According to Southern California radio historian Don Barrett of LARadio.com, Weiss had the idea that the duo would be perfect for mornings at the heritage LA album rocker when rumors began to surface that Mark & Brian might be heading into their final contract year before he even represented them stating, “I pursued the idea – spoke with both sides about it, and was able to help bring it to fruition.” There’s a huge lesson and insight in this for those who wonder how big time media talent agents operate. It is not just a matter of “get me a job.” Top agents smell potential connections and often put themselves in the mix as catalysts to a marriage before the main parties involved even think of it themselves. At RadioInfo and TALKERS, we are often asked by zealous-but-unproven talent yet to earn a track record if we can “recommend a good agent.” Our answer: “Any agent who would sign you as a client at this point in your career wouldn’t be a ‘good’ one.”
Karel Program to Air on CRN Digital Talk Radio. San Francisco-based talk host Charles Karel Bouley’s “The Karel Show” begins daily distribution via CRN Digital Talk Radio. The famously liberal and openly gay talk host began his talk career in 1998 on KFI, Los Angeles with his late partner Andrew Howard. Since then he’s also worked at KGO, San Francisco. CRN president and CEO Mike Horn states, “Karel raises questions, brings humor and creates compelling conversation with listeners and guests alike and we’re especially pleased to bring his outstanding show to CRN.” Karel has a national profile through his radio career, his books, blogs, syndicated columns (Huffington Post) and television appearances as both commentator and actor. He says, “CRN continues to blaze a trail in delivering content to listeners across America. I’m so glad they are taking the show. From the beginning, Mike Horn has been an advocate and I knew we’d get to this day.” The program airs live on CRN 2 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.
SiriusXM Board of Directors Sued by Shareholders; Suit Has No Merit Says TALKERS Legal Editor. The City of Miami Police Relief and Pension Fund, a SiriusXM shareholder, is contending that the SiriusXM board of directors has failed to prevent John Malone-led Liberty Media from assuming control over the satcaster. The suit, filed in Delaware Chancery Court, contends Malone and other Liberty-appointed members of the board are preventing other board members from “adopting anti-takeover provisions even if doing so would be in the best interests” of shareholders. Late yesterday, Delaware Chancery Court Judge Leo Strine ruled he would not stop Liberty from acquiring more shares as the plaintiffs had requested. He further stated he would hear expedited motions within the next month to decide if the investors’ case should go forward. But TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says what Liberty is doing is within its legal rights. In fact, Weisman says SiriusXM could be in breach of contract if it attempted to stop Liberty’s actions. Read Weisman’s exclusive analysis here.
Fox NFL Analyst Mike Pereira to Appear on KNBR, San Francisco This Season. NFL fans know former NFL VP of officiating Mike Pereira as the guy the Fox play-by-play team cuts away to when there’s a questionable call on the field that needs illumination. Now, Pereira will be part of the KNBR morning show with Gary Radnich and Larry Krueger for “The Rule Book” show Monday mornings at 9:30 during the NFL season. Program director Lee Hammer states, “We’re excited to have Mike join the KNBR family. In every NFL game, we see calls that leave fans in total disbelief. As the former head of officiating for the NFL, Mike will not only explain the rule, but try to explain why the official made the call. Mike no longer works for the league, so he’ll be critical when necessary and have the freedom to say when the officials clearly missed the call.” With the possibility of the league’s officials sitting out due to a contract dispute with the league and replacement officials working games, this could be a huge programming coup on Monday mornings for KNBR!
Mancow Chicago Video Simulcast a Done Deal. The “Mancow Experience” will be seen by Chicagoans on WPWR-TV – channel 50 in Chicago – from 6:00 am to 8:00 am beginning this fall . The Chicago Tribune reports what was teased earlier this summer is being confirmed by station management. The other aspect of this news for Erich “Mancow” Muller is that his show will have a new physical home base as production of the TRN nationally syndicated radio program will move to WPWR’s North Michigan Avenue studios. WPWR VP and general manager Mike Renda says, “This fall, Chicagoans will get a backstage pass into one of the most provocative radio programs in this market. Viewers will have unlimited access into Mancow’s madness, with a live, unedited simulcast that will bring this dynamic voice to life.” Mancow’s show is heard in the market on suburban WJJG.
New York’s WFAN Scores Eli Manning Appearances. New York Football Giants flagship WFAN, New York signs Giants QB Eli Manning to a multi-year deal to have Manning join PM drive host Mike Francesa at 5:05 the day after every Giants game during the season and the post-season. Vice president of programming for CBS Radio New York and WFAN operations manager Mark Chernoff says, “As the team’s flagship radio station, we’re proud to be the leading source of Giants news for football fans across the tri-state area. Having Eli every week is guaranteed to give listeners the best commentary, insight and discussion with a perspective only he can offer on the New York Giants. This will be appointment radio at its best.”
Salem Radio Network Gears Up for Convention Coverage. Dallas-based Salem Radio Network is prepping to cover the Republican National Convention in Tampa beginning on Monday. SRN vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup reports a full battery of SRN news staffers — including White House correspondent Greg Clugston and SRN U.S. Senate correspondent Linda Kenyon — will join SRN talk hosts Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and others at the network’s broadcast headquarters in the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Tradup tells TALKERS magazine, “We’ll either present superb Republican Convention coverage or the most over-staffed hurricane coverage in the history of 21st century radio…or both!” Tradup states the organization will also cover the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte the following week, and will include what it calls a “truth squad” led by former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett who hosts SRN’s “Morning in America” program.
NRG Media’s “The Zone” Omaha Sports Outlet Launches “Fully Interactive” Post-Game Show. Sports talk KOZN, Omaha announces the debut of the “Big Red Over-Reaction” post-game show that will immediately follow Nebraska Cornhuskers football games this season. The station is touting the program as “fully interactive” saying it “will immediately feature fan reaction via on-air and digital and social media, providing instant vent-and-release by Cornhusker fans nationwide via over-the-air call-in, Twitter tweets, Facebook posts, Huskermax.com and e-mails.” The show will feature The Zone’s legendary former Husker National Champion Blackshirt Jason Peter. Peter will be joined by “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” co-hosts John Bishop and Mike’l Severe and Jason’s morning show co-host Gary Sharp of “Sharp & Peter in the Morning.” NRG Media Omaha general manger Andy Ruback says, “We have the talent and the capability to deliver a program that the market has never seen before. Our personalities have a combined total of nearly 100 years of experience with Nebraska football and we believe that fans will appreciate our unique approach to post-game programming that they have never had before.”
Yahoo! Sports Radio Names Doug Russell and Mark Carman PM Drive Hosts. The slot opened up when Yahoo! host Travis Rodgers was moved to the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET slot on the network. Doug Russell moves up from the network’s evening program and Mark Carman has worked at Houston Texans flagship KILT, Houston as well as WGN, Chicago.
Organization Files Petitions with FCC to Deny Renewal of Fox-Owned TV Stations. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is asking the FCC to deny renewal of the broadcast licenses of three Fox TV stations – two in Washington, DC and one in Baltimore – because of News Corp.’s involvement in hacking scandals in England, according to The Hill. TV licenses, like radio broadcast licenses, come up for renewal every eight years and the three stations in question applied for renewal in June. Their licenses are set to expire in October. According to the story, CREW asked the commission to pull the licenses to all 27 Fox-owned TV stations back in May – citing the clause in FCC regulations that it only grants licenses to those of “good character” – but the FCC has taken no action. The commission rarely takes action in cases of ethics complaints and it is not expected to act on CREW’s complaint.
Presidential Campaign, Todd Akins Campaign Status, Prince Harry Naked Partying Incident, Merkel-Euro Zone Tensions, and Hurricane Threatens Tampa GOP Convention Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/22). The U.S. presidential campaign; Missouri Rep. Todd Akins campaign status in wake of “legitimate rape” comment; the fallout over Prince Harry’s naked partying in Las Vegas; German chancellor Angela Merkel’s difficult decision regarding Greece and the future of the euro zone; and the hurricane threat to next week’s GOP convention in Tampa were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Sports Talk King Mike Francesa Credits Colleagues at WFAN for his Success with Special Salute to Former Partner Chris Russo. In a special statement issued to TALKERS, afternoon drive superstar Mike Francesa – named the Most Important Sports Talk Radio Host in America in the recently released “2012 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk” — expresses his gratitude to “all the people who have helped make WFAN the iconic station it has become.” He congratulates his teammates at the station that also made the list and particularly credits his former on-air partner Chris Russo (currently at SiriusXM Satellite Radio) saying, “I wouldn’t be commanding the top spot in the Hundred without his enormous contribution to my career.” The TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk has generated enormous mainstream press and internet chatter propelling the Big Apple mainstay into the national spotlight. Here is Francesa’s complete statement: “I commend Talkers for recognizing the importance of sports talk as a viable and efficient format in radio programming. In this the 25th year of WFAN, there are over 600 sports talk stations across our nation. I am honored to have been chosen by your editorial board to top the list. It is a special distinction to be cited by professionals who understand our medium so well. I accept this honor for all the people who have helped make WFAN the iconic station it has become and congratulate my FAN colleagues who made the list – Boomer Esiason, Craig Carton, Joe Benigno, Evan Roberts, Steve Somers, and especially my partner of almost 20 years, Chris Russo. I wouldn’t be commanding the top spot in the Hundred without his enormous contribution to my career. Again, I am very grateful for the honor and wish you continued success.
All the best
2012 Marconi Award Nominees Announced; CBS Radio Sports Talk Hosts Mike Francesa and Angelo Cataldi Up for Major Market Personality of the Year. The winners of the 2012 NAB Marconi Awards will be announced on September 20 at The Radio Show in Dallas. This year’s nominees include sports talk radio personalities Mike Francesa of WFAN, New York and Angelo Cataldi of WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia for Major Market Personality of the Year. Both Francesa and Cataldi were named to the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk this week – Francesa at #1 and Cataldi at # 10. DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio Network personality Dan Patrick is the lone sports talk figure up for Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year. He’s up against talk hosts Neal Boortz and Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and music radio hosts Elvis Duran of Premiere Networks and Reach Media’s Tom Joyner. Other spoken-word nominees include: KYW, Philadelphia; WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte; and WFAN, New York for Legendary Station. Jan Mickelson from WHO, Des Moines is the lone talker up for Medium Market Personality of the Year. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is nominated for Major Market Station of the Year. News/talk WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville and sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit are up for Large Market Station of the Year. WHO, Des Moines and WTIC-AM, Hartford are nominated for Medium Market Station of the Year. The nominees for News/Talk Station of the Year are: KCBS-AM, San Francisco; KFGO, Fargo; WBBM-AM, Chicago; WGN, Chicago; and WTOP, Washington, DC. Nominees for Sports Station of the Year are: KTCK, Dallas; WEEI, Boston; WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia; WSCR, Chicago; and WXYT-FM, Detroit.
Glenn Beck Plans Major Expansion at TheBlaze. The talk media superstar and digital media pioneer tells WXKS-AM, Boston morning drive host Jeff Katz during a recent appearance on his program that he intends to hire as many as 200 new staffers for TheBlaze in the coming months. TheBlaze – the multi-media news and programming initiative of Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts – already has approximately 120 employees. The news came within the context of an on-air conversation between Katz and Beck about the state of business in America under the Obama administration. Beck also alluded to the ease with which he’s been able to build his business – and create jobs – since moving away from New York City to the Dallas, Texas area.
Tai Irwin Hosts Final Morning Show on Alternative Rock WFNX, Boston. Radio personality (and faculty member at The New England Institute of Art) Tai Irwin reprising the role he played for 10 years at alternative rock WFNX, Boston today (7/20) as the station broadcasts its final day of alt-rock before Clear Channel takes control later in the day. Irwin and other personalities were invited to do one last show and Irwin tells TALKERS WFNX “launched me into the national talk scene due to my talk show and industry convention presence where I met and befriended Gene Burns and Jerry Williams, before I eventually left to work for Kevin Straley at WRKO. During my time there I interviewed everyone from Noam Chomsky and Jerry Brown to Mitt Romney.” In addition to his work at the NEIA, Irwin is involved with tom Leykis’ New Normal where he’ll debut a new podcast called, “The Tai-rade” very soon. As for what Clear Channel will do with the new FM signal, speculation runs the gamut from an FM signal for news/talk WXKS-AM to a brand new classic hits format. We’ll know soon enough.
Washington, DC Talk Host Andy Parks Gets Multi-Media Marketing Initiative. Washington talk radio personality Andy Parks – a long-time figure on crosstown WMAL – is heard in PM drive on Metro Radio Inc.’s WTNT as well as on WashingtonTimes.com. The show is called “Andy Parks Live from the Washington Times” and the paper is devising a multi-media marketing ploy to create awareness of the show. Using the line, “Online. On the Air. On Your Doorstep.” The Times is promoting Parks’ show with a reference to President Obama’s controversial statement about jobs creation not belonging to builders of small businesses and employs the phrase, “Andy Begs to Differ” in bold print in an ad in the newspaper. The Times says it plans to begin a digital initiative using the same campaign technique in the near future.
Flip to Talk for Florence, South Carolina FM; Station Nabs Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh. Miller Communications moved its plans to flip to talk up a couple of weeks when Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh became available after crosstown WJMX-AM/FM dropped Limbaugh’s program. WFRK-FM added Limbaugh to the schedule three days after WJMX dropped the show declaring to SCNow.com that decreased listenership, advertiser skittishness and increased costs associated with the show forced the decision. WFRK-FM CEO Harold Miller says the station will launch as a talk outlet officially on August 1 but could only say “Kinard and Koffee in the Morning” will be part of the lineup as other deals for programming are still in the works.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Cox Media Group names Ben Reed vice president and market manager for its Atlanta station group that includes news/talk WSB-AM/FM. He takes over for Dan Kearney who moved south to become VP/market manager for Cox Media Group Miami…..Houston talk radio personality Matt Patrick hosts the final live debate between Texas Senatorial candidates Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and former Texas State Solicitor Ted Cruz on his PM drive show on The 9-5-0 KPRC this afternoon at 3:20. The primary election is July 31…..New England Patriots football great Gino Cappelletti announces he is retiring from his post as color man for radio broadcasts of Patriots football games – a job he’s held for the past 32 years. Cappelletti has worked alongside Gil Santos for the past 28 years. Comcast SportsNet is reporting WBZ-FM, Boston – 98.5 The Sports Hub – host and former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak will likely be named Santos’ partner in the booth…..Midway Broadcasting Corporation’s WVON, Chicago hosts the 2nd Annual Taste of WVON neighborhood festival tomorrow from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm at Lorraine Dixon Park in Chicago. The event features more than 60 food and craft vendors and live entertainment…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago has a weekend full of special broadcasts planned to celebrate the induction of Cubs legend Ron Santo into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. WGN’s Dave Eanet will report from Cooperstown throughout the weekend and a special Ron Santo Hall of Fame edition of Cubs Confidential will air Sunday from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm featuring broadcast clips from the Ron Santo Cubs Legend CD. The station will also delay broadcast the induction ceremony after Sunday’s Cubs game…..ESPN Deportes brings Mexican soccer great Francisco Gabriel de Anda aboard to join the network’s team of expert analysts. De Anda will be integrated into Futbol Picante’s table of analysts Fridays and Saturdays, and become part of ESPN Futbol Center, the program dedicated to Mexican and International soccer.
Talk Host Tom Becka Calls on Nebraska Listeners to Protest Penn State. November 10 is the date of the Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Penn State and Fargo, North Dakota-based talk host Tom Becka is rallying his listeners who hear his show from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on KKAR, Omaha to donate their tickets for the game to local kids who may never get the chance to see a big game. Becka says, “I am calling on my listeners in Nebraska to donate their Penn State tickets to any children’s group or give it to some kids in the neighborhood that normally wouldn’t be able to go. I’d love to see the stands loaded with children for any Penn State away game. That way kids get to see a game and the fans get to protest in a civil manner the neglect of Joe Paterno and the Penn State program.” The NCAA is currently reviewing the Penn State situation and although the “death penalty” is a possibility for the football program, it probably would not go into effect until next season.
2012 Presidential Race Remains Atop Talkers TenTM for Second Straight Week. The various storylines relative to the November presidential election were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of July 16 – 20. Coming in at #2 this week was the report of increased jobless claims. At #3 was Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress about the state of the U.S. economy and at #4 was President Obama’s unveiling of the $1 billion Master Teacher Corp program. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from Talkers. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
Mike & Mike on David Letterman. ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic recently made their 9th appearance on CBS TV’s “Late Night with David Letterman” and the day was documented by Greenberg’s wife Stacey – aka Mrs. Greeny – for ESPN Front Row, where fans get a behind-the-scenes look at their favorite personalities. Pictured here are (from l-r): Mike Greenberg, Stacey Greenberg, actress Kyra Sedgwick, and Mike Golic taken backstage.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” is added to the program schedule at Clear Channel’s WRDU, Raleigh and WERC-AM/FM, Birmingham…..The “Motley Fool Money” radio show featuring host Chris Hill adds affiliates WPLM, Plymouth, Massachusetts; WBNW, Concord, Massachusetts; and WESO, Southbridge, Massachusetts.
Merlin Media Abandons News Format in New York and Chicago. As indicated earlier today, Merlin Media held a major pair of staff meetings in New York and Chicago this morning and as speculated it was to announce a significant change in the operations of its two major properties in these markets. According to reports, the Randy Michaels-headed company flipped WEMP, New York‘s “FM News 101.9” shortly after 10:00 am ET to “New Rock 101.9.” Chicago’s “FM News 101.1” (WIQI) has been recast as a hot AC, “i101.” It has been less than a year since these all news formats were launched with a tremendous amount of industry buzz – but the ratings and critical evaluations fell terribly short of expectations.
Paul Finebaum, Citadel and Former GM Bill Thomas Settle Lawsuit. Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum, Citadel and former WJOX, Birmingham general manager Bill Thomas have reached an amicable settlement in their claims regarding Finebaum’s employment at the station, now owned by Cumulus. The terms are not being released but the upshot is Finebaum will work out his contract with the station that ends in January of 2013. Whether he will negotiate to re-sign with the station beyond that or seek to join another broadcast outlet is unknown. In a joint statement, Thomas and Finebaum say that claims were contested and the settlement in no way constitutes an admission by any party concerning the validity or invalidity of any claim, counterclaim, or defense raised in the litigation. Further, Finebuam says, “I am particularly pleased that the claims involving Bill Thomas are resolved. I have known Bill for many years and have valued his advice. We both regret that we became personally entangled in what was essentially a business dispute with former management and we look forward to repairing our relationship.” Cox Media’s crosstown sports talk outlet WZNN continues to express interest in acquiring Finebaum’s services after his deal with Cumulus runs out, as reported in the Birmingham News. But Finebaum’s attorney, Russ Campbell, says his client will issue no comment on his future intentions. The original legal claims included Finebaum’s contention that Thomas and Citadel coerced him into signing a contract addendum that worked against his best interests and Citadel claimed Finebaum negotiated with another party in violation of his contract. Finebaum’s show is heard in some 30 markets in the Southeast and is also available on SiriusXM.
Courtside Entertainment Group Breaks Simone Bienne Out with Daily Features. British psychosexual and relationship therapist Simone Bienne – a co-host on the nightly nationally syndicated “Loveline” radio show – is featured on a new twice-daily vignette called “Lovelink with Simone Bienne.” Each evening Bienne is part of the “Loveline” show with Dr. Drew Pinsky and Mike Catherwood. Now Courtside Entertainment offers what it calls “her unique professional insight with a distinctly female perspective through two, one-minute commentaries every weekday.” Courtside owner Norm Pattiz says, “Simone Bienne is a bottle rocket of energy, insight and intelligence. We are delighted to have lured her across the pond to the States and are confident American radio listeners will be as taken with her charm, wit and knowledge as we are.”
Staff Meetings at Merlin Media’s New York and Chicago Stations Scheduled for Today. As the two all-news FMs approach their first anniversary, the word on the street is that staff meetings have been called for this morning at WEMP-FM, New York and WIQI, Chicago. Industry watchers are aware the ratings for the two all-news stations have not budged much since their debut last August and although there is no insight into what staffers can expect to hear this morning, staff meetings like this usually indicate a major change of some sort.
Drew Anderssen Moves from KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa to WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando. Program director Drew Anderssen, who’s been programming Cox Media’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa for the past 12 years, moves to the company’s Orlando cluster to take the program director role at news/talk WDBO-AM/FM beginning August 6. Cox Media Orlando vice president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “Drew has had an incredibly successful track record leading the KRMG brand. His talent and passion for digital innovation will be a great asset not only for WDBO but for our entire cluster.” Anderssen replaces Steve Holbrook who left the Cox Orlando operations in June after almost 30 years with the company.
Scottie Nell Hughes Joins Cast of Politichicks. The online media site Politichicks.TV announces SNH Media president Scottie Nell Hughes joins the staff of the “all-in-one web destination that addresses the concerns of conservatives from the women’s point of view.” Hughes’ company handles PR for talk radio personalities Rusty Humphries, Michael Berry and Mark Skoda, among others. Now she becomes part of the Politichicks team. Politichicks executive producer Beverly Zaslow says, “Scottie Nell brings a valuable energy and passion to a group of dynamic women and her background in talk radio has taught her to think on her feet and not be afraid to ask hard questions.” Hughes joins the other “politichicks” – former “Dallas” cast member Morgan Brittany, “The Young & the Restless” cast member Ann-Marie Murrell, activist Sonnie Johnson and talk radio host Dr. Gina Loudon as co-host.
John Bishop Named Co-Host on KOZN, Omaha’s “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” Show; Gary Sharp Named Station’s Sports Director. There’s been another change in the lineup at NRG Media’s sports talk KOZN, Omaha after Matt Schick – the host recently named to replace Kevin Kugler on the show – accepted a position with ESPNU (ESPN’s college sports channel). John Bishop, most recently program director and co-host of the morning drive show at KOZN’s sister station KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska, will take over the co-hosting duties alongside Mike’l Severe on “Unsportsmanlike Conduct.” Kugler had announced he would be leaving the show to take a position with the Big Ten Network and will continue to contribute to KOZN on a limited basis. NRG Omaha operations manager Neil Nelkin says, “We hire great talent on the ZONE as it’s a station sports figures and leaders tune to. Bishop is well known throughout sports circles in Nebraska, namely as a distinguished sportscaster with decades of experience with Husker athletics, Creighton sports and the College World Series. Bishop more than has the credentials, experience and the chops for this role on The ZONE…now I want to keep him for a while.” Additionally, Nelkin announces Gary Sharp returns to Nebraska to take the sports director and morning show co-host position at sister station KZOT. Sharp most recently worked with Minnesota Twins minor league club the Ft. Myers Miracle. Prior to that he was sports director at the Nebraska Sports Network. He’ll co-host the KZOT morning show with Jason Peter. He says, “I am extremely excited for the opportunity to return to radio at a great station and most importantly to return to Nebraska. We’ve had some great success here in Fort Myers and I will miss the people and relationships I have developed in baseball. I am sure Jason is chomping at the bit to get started and I am sure we will have some spirited sports conversations that will make great radio.”
Clear Channel Seeks WHBA for Calls for Its New Boston FM. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will take over the operation of alternative rocker WFNX, Boston on Monday and the request of new call letters WHBA gives no clue as to what format the station will assume when the change takes place. The Boston Globe is planning to put the alternative format online and has already hired some of the WFNX staff to run it. Talk radio fans in Boston might like to see an FM signal for the company’s WXKS – Talk 1200 – but those calls certainly don’t seem very news/talky, do they? Regardless, the wait is on and let the speculation continue!
Cumulus Promotes Dave Crowl, Shuffles Market Managers. Cumulus Chicago market manager Dave Crowl adds more regional vice president duties in addition to continuing to oversee Chicago’s news/talk WLS-AM and classic hits WLS-FM but the company brings Donna Baker up from Houston to take over the market manager position in Chicago. Cumulus RVP Chuck Bortnick steps into Houston to oversee that market and will take on additional RVP duties for the region.
TALKERS magazine Publishes Debut “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America.” The editors of TALKERS magazine are pleased to announce the publishing of the first annual TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk. A companion to its “sister list” – the annual Talkers 250 Featuring the Heavy Hundred that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, present the debut class of this annual feature honoring the sports talk radio industry’s 100 most important hosts, duos or ensembles. In order to create this list, the editors took into account a combination of hard and soft factors and the results are, admittedly, subjective. Staying true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due. Those qualities include: courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness. View the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here.
A Tribute to WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa. The number-one ranked sports talk host on this year’s TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk is WFAN, New York PM drive host Mike Francesa, who’s spent the past 23 years as dean of sports talk in the nation’s biggest market. Fellow WFAN personality Richard Neer writes that Francesa’s “relentless curiosity and work ethic, along with his relationship with some of the biggest names in television broadcasting, gave him unique insight” that served as a foundation for a sterling sports media career. Read Richard Neer’s tribute to WFAN’s Mike Francesa here.
2012 Presidential Race, Penn State Report, Hillary Clinton in Egypt, Welfare Work Requirement Issue, and Weak Retail Sales Numbers Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/16). The 2012 presidential campaign; the Louis Freeh-led report on the Penn State-Jerry Sandusky case; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to post-election Egypt; the controversy over the Obama Administration’s relaxing of welfare work requirements; and weak retail sales figures were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
By Richard Neer
WFAN, New York
Talk Show Host
NEW YORK – Mike Francesa is the number one sports talk host in the country.
Although there are nationally syndicated names that may claim to have a wider cume than Mike Francesa, Mike is the king of sports talk in the number one market in the nation. He is appointment listening. Love him or hate him, New Yorkers need to hear his take on major stories. He cannot be ignored.
What does Francesa bring to the table? His years as a researcher at CBS television were merely a prelude of what was to come. His relentless curiosity and work ethic along with his relationship with some of the biggest names in television broadcasting gave him unique insight. He learned to dig deep into the numbers, but he also understood that the games have a heartbeat. They are populated by human beings – replete with all their flaws and all their glory. Mike dreamed of someday being able to share his knowledge behind the mic instead of behind the scenes. His opportunity came after ceaselessly lobbying the management at WFAN to give him a chance for his voice to be heard.
EXCLUSIVE: Sean Hannity’s New Media Seminar Keynote Address on TALKERS TV. The rousing speech delivered by Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel talk media superstar Sean Hannity at the start of the New Media Seminar in New York on Thursday, June 7 is now playing on TALKERS TV. Introduced by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, who described the upbeat talk show host as a “fine man who could be a governor or a president,” Hannity discusses a wide range of issues facing talk radio today from selling PPM numbers to the challenges of accurately rating a multi-platform medium to overcoming organized advertiser boycotts. See and hear this event in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page. Look for more video from the New Media Seminar to be playing on TALKERS TV at www.talkers.com in the coming days and weeks.
CBS Radio Sell-Off Talk Getting Heated Again. This time a piece by Richard Morgan in The Deal Magazine cites CBS president and CEO Les Moonves’ desire to make CBS a true player in Hollywood – with big studio muscles – as the reason the corporation may be considering selling its outdoor, print and radio assets. Morgan writes, “Investment bankers are confident that, after orchestrating a take-private, CBS brass could still muster resources to pursue what has long been the apple of Moonves’ eye (aside from Julie Chen, that is): acquire a movie studio, one along the lines of mini-major Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., the addition of which would transform half-decade-old CBS Films into a bona fide major.” Advertising-reliant media such as outdoor and radio, although they deliver cash flow, are not favorites because of their reliance on advertising. Morgan quotes a banker discussing CBS Radio, “Moonves doesn’t really like it that much but it delivers huge cash flows.” The banker states he believes the company’s 127 radio stations will eventually be sold. The theory is the outdoor, print (Simon & Schuster) and radio could fund a take-private move and give CBS the funds it needs to become a Hollywood pure player.
Robin Bertolucci Named 2012 Woman of the Year. The TALKERS magazine editorial board has announced the selection of KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci as the 2012 recipient of the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Talk Radio Industry by a Woman. The presentation will be made at the forthcoming Los Angeles installment of the TALKERS New Media Seminar at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood on Thursday, October 11, 2012. The event, presented by TALKERS magazine in conjunction with the Los Angeles Press Club, is the second half of this year’s innovative bi-coastal format for the talk industry’s most important and longest running national convention. The prestigious award is named in honor of the late Judy Jarvis – a pioneer in the independent talk syndication movement of the 1990s – who was stricken with lung cancer and died in the prime of her life and career in 2000. Since then, this award has been presented each year at the NMS to a series of outstanding industry women including Laurie Cantillo, Grace Blazer, Adriane Gaines, Randi Rhodes, Laura Ingraham, Lisa Evers, Gloria Allred, Lynn Distler, Kim Komando and Ellen Ratner. The award was first presented posthumously to Judy Jarvis. Last year’s recipient was Stephanie Miller who will participate in the presentation. Bertolucci began her luminous career in talk radio in 1987 as a desk assistant at KGO, San Francisco and was eventually promoted to that station’s executive producer position. She served as program director of KOA, Denver before joining Clear Channel in Los Angeles in 2002. According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “As a talk programmer, Ms. Bertolucci represents the best this industry has to offer – regardless of gender. All of us at TALKERS look forward to the day when there will not be a need to shine the spotlight specifically on women who set an inspirational example for others in this business. But unfortunately that day has yet to arrive and until it does, we will continue to present this award as an annual tradition.” TALKERS will begin posting detailed information about New Media Seminar/Los Angeles on Monday morning here at www.talkers.com. For information call 413-565-5413.
WNIR, Akron Talk Host Howie Chizek Dies at Age 65. The longtime WNIR-FM, Akron talk show host was travelling to Florida to take part in charity work when he suffered a heart attack. Howie Chizek had worked at WNIR-FM for the past 38 years, most recently hosting the station’s midday program and a Saturday show. WNIR-FM president Bob Klaus tells the Associated Press Chizek was travelling with underprivileged youths and chaperones to Walt Disney World as part of an annual charity program. Klaus states, “He was an absolutely amazing talent who had gigantic charisma. And behind the scenes he was a very warm, gentle man…He just loved to make the world a better place by giving kids an opportunity to develop and grow into productive members of society.”
WFAN Kicks Off Third Annual “Fantasy Phenom Challenge.” On Thursday, July 12 CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York begins auditioning sports talk radio fans who think they can do sports talk radio and, once again, the winner will have the opportunity to earn an air shift on WFAN. This year, the station is opening the contest to duos. For three consecutive weeks in July, a panel of judges will listen to up to 100 from each week’s auditions hopefuls do their sports talk shtick. Those who move to the next round are eventually whittled down to five finalists who will compete at Mike Francesa’s “End of Summer” bash on August 24. Last year’s winner – John Jastremski – was no stranger to media having gone to Syracuse University to study journalism and worked at campus stations. He still works at WFAN. Station OM Mark Chernoff says, “Our Fantasy Phenom enters its third year and it is bigger and better than ever. We look forward to our new twist of allowing teams of two to compete in Fantasy Phenom 3.”
Legal Scholars Debate ObamaCare. Salem Radio Network talk host – and Chapman University constitutional law professor – Hugh Hewitt (c) moderated a debate between two legal scholars over the outcome of the United States Supreme Court’s looming decision on the legality of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The event took place on Wednesday, June 13 at the Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California and was a standing-room-only success. At Hewitt’s left is constitutional law professor John Eastman, to his right is Erwin Chemerinsky. This photo is courtesy of the Whittier Daily News.
Greater Media’s Bob & Sheri Celebrate U.S. Army’s Birthday and Flag Day with Remote Events. WLNK-FM, Charlotte-based morning drive talk hosts Bob & Sheri wrapped up a patriotic week of live events that began the weekend of June 8-10 at affiliate WCTW-FM, Catskill, New York where Bob & Sheri participated in the Hudson, New York Flag Day Parade and the Hudson River Cruise (where they are pictured here with listeners aboard the boat). Listeners lined the streets to see Bob & Sheri pass by and select listeners were chosen to attend a private boat cruise. On Wednesday, June 13, the duo traveled to Fort Bragg near Fayetteville, North Carolina to help celebrate the 237th birthday of the U.S. Army. They participated in a meet-and-greet for affiliate station WQSM-FM. They broadcast live during the Army’s annual four-mile birthday run on the morning of June 14.
AM570 Fox Sports L.A. Celebrates Kings Stanley Cup Victory. KLAC – AM570 Fox Sports L.A. – the radio home of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings covered the team’s Stanley Cup celebration and parade with a day of live broadcasts. “Loose Cannons” Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman broadcast from the AM570 stage outside the Staples Center arena, while co-host Vic “The Brick” Jacobs walked the parade route taking photos with fans and sharing the excitement with listeners. Petros & Money took the parade route bus ride with the Kings players, providing fans with play-by-play of the action. The Loose Cannons then brought the broadcast into the arena’s visitor box, with live coverage of the rally celebration and post-reactions from key player Dustin Penner, head coach Darryl Sutter and AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke. Following the incredible events, Petros & Money hosted a three-hour local program that included reliving their memorable experiences and inviting listeners on-air to share their reactions. Pictured here is Loose Cannon Pat O’Brien interviewing Dustin Penner.
Atlanta Drops Two Positions in Arbitron Market Rank to #9; Philly and DC Move Up. Arbitron announced the Fall 2011 update of its market ranks based on populations changes compared to the Fall 2010 survey. Atlanta’s loss of population drops it to #9 with Philadelphia and Washington, DC moving up one position to market numbers 7 and 8 respectively. Other market moves of note include: San Antonio moves up three positions to market #28; San Jose drops three positions to market #37; and Jacksonville loses four positions to end up at market #50. Arbitron created a brand new metro called the Hudson Valley consisting of several counties just north of New York City that ranks #39. It also added additional counties to a number of metros causing big jumps. Markets benefitting from those additions (with their new rank) are: New Orleans, #47; Des Moines, #73; Portland, Maine, #90; Corpus Christi, #111; Fort Smith, Arkansas, #160; Amarillo, Texas, #169; Bryan-College Station, Texas, #198; Jonesboro, Arkansas, #229; and Albany, Georgia, #241.
More Local Sports Talk at WXOS-FM, St. Louis. Hubbard Broadcasting’s 101 ESPN (WXOS-FM) moves “The Late Shift” with Cliff Saunders to an earlier 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm airing and debuts a new 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm program on October 3 featuring former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Chris Duncan and station Cardinal’s insider Brian Stull. According to the station, the addition of the “Stully & Duncan” show means the station offers 13 consecutive hours of live and local sports talk programming. The new program and the time change of “The Late Shift” bumps ESPN Radio’s Brian Kenny show from the program schedule. Program director Kent Sterling says, “This is a dynamic pairing of a respected sports radio host/journalist Brian Stull and the former professional athlete Chris Duncan, who until six months ago was known only as a former Cardinal. Now, Chris Duncan is a radio host who has become a valuable member of the 101 ESPN team. His analysis of all sports – not just baseball – has been a boon for us over the past Cardinals season and he has demonstrated a work ethic and sense of fun that has been a great addition to the 101 ESPN brand.”
Troy Aikman Adds Radio Appearances to His Duties. The Fox Sports NFL broadcaster and Hall of Fame player begins weekly appearances on three major market sports talk stations through Fox Sports Radio. Aikman appears on CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York with Mike Francesa in the 5:00 pm hour each Friday; on CBS Radio’s WSCR, Chicago with Mike Mulligan and Brian Hanley during the 8:00 am hour each Monday; and on Fox Sports Radio’s KLAC, Los Angeles-based Petros & Money program during the 5:00 pm hour each Tuesday. Petros & Money is part of Fox Sports Radio’s lineup and is heard on some 245 affiliate stations across the country.
Harry Hurley Takes Morning Show to WENJ, Atlantic City. Yes, WENJ is Townsquare Media’s ESPN-affiliated sports talk simulcast (WENJ-AM/FM) but Harry Hurley’s local news/talk show will air in morning drive on the AM side (1450) beginning in October after five years at crosstown WIBG. Hurley tells The Press of Atlantic City, “The reasons I’m moving are because of the people I’ll be working with and the company I’ll be working for.” Still, Hurley thanks WIBG owner Rick Brancadora for his time there and says, “I’ve learned to take nothing for granted. You always earn it. I’ve been lucky to have the most fiercely loyal listenership in radio. I’m confident they will move with me.”
Jim Walsh Returns to KFYR, Bismarck. Walsh worked at the station in 2003 and 2004 and then went on to host programs at WILM, Wilmington and WASK, Lafayette, Indiana. He takes over the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program at the Clear Channel station full time beginning September 19. He replaces Scott Bachmeier who leaves his full-time gig at the station to focus on non-radio work but maintains his syndicated “Dakota Prairie Outdoors” program as well as the Friday afternoon “Energy Matters” program on KFYR.
Obama Jobs Bill, 9/11 Anniversary, and 2012 GOP Candidates Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/12). Criticism and analysis of President Obama’s jobs creation bill, the 9/11 anniversary and the 2012 GOP candidates for president – including anticipation of last night’s debate on CNN – were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Mohawk Valley Talk Host Publishes History Book. This is not a boring treatise on the history of a region. Instead, WVTL, Amsterdam, New York morning host Bob Cudmore has taken more than 40 of the most interesting and unusual stories about people and places in the Mohawk Valley he’s culled over the years for his weekly column in the Daily Gazette and put them together in this new book, Stories from the Mohawk Valley: The Painted Rocks, the Good Benedict Arnold and More (Nero Publishing 2011). Cudmore’s book includes tales about psychedelic philosopher Benjamin Paul Blood, actor Kirk Douglas, Fonda’s Queen Libby, “The Daiquiris” bandleader Alex Torres, controversial Amsterdam mayor Theron Akin, singer Arlene Fontana, banker Pasquale DiMezza and the unofficial Polish mayor of Amsterdam Michael J. Wytrwal. Cudmore has a book signing scheduled for this Saturday. Check out his website http://www.bobcudmore.com/