Tag: "Mike Francesa"
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/