Tag: "Mike Mcvay"
Cumulus Sends The Vibe to Memphis. Score yet another transition to classic hip-hop as Cumulus Media Memphis jettisons talk on WKIM in favor of “98.9 – The Vibe.” Cumulus senior vice president of programming Mike McVay comments “The Vibe” is “designed to capture the spirit and complexity of Memphis. This city has birthed many music types of which this format is one more. ‘The Vibe’ is classic hip hop.” In addition to hosting mid-days on co-owned rocker WXMX “The Max,” Danni Bruns is programming “The Vibe” and she remarks, “Memphis has always been at the forefront of music. Now we have a new ‘Vibe’ – this is our party station.” Late last year, Flinn Broadcasting flipped Memphis alternative outlet WIVG to “throwback hip-hop” as “Bumpin’ 96.” The logo for Memphis’ “Vibe” mirrors that of Indianapolis sibling WRWM, although the latter is using “The Beat” rather than “The Vibe” as its handle. Naughty By Nature‘s “Hip-Hop Hooray” kicked off Friday’s (2/27) noontime launch of Memphis’ “Vibe.” Among persons 6+ in the latest (January 2015) Nielsen Audio PPM ratings report for Memphis, WKIM registers a 1.4, ironically tying it at #19 with WIVG. The 1.4 for WKIM is the station’s best (6+) performance in more than two years – it hit 1.8 in November 2012.
Marathon-Man Madison. While understandably “exhausted,” SiriusXM‘s Joe Madison achieved his goal of a 52-hour broadcast during which he raised more than $150,000 for the construction of the Smithsonian‘s National Museum of African-American History and Culture. “When you do something for the right reasons – and you have the support of others – you really can do anything,” Madison states. “I hope our SiriusXM broadcast helps cast a spotlight on the need to raise funds for the much needed [museum to be built on the National Mall in Washington, DC].” The Guinness World Record Organization is reviewing the broadcast as a new record. Madison began the marathon this past Wednesday (2/25) at 6:00 am (ET) and continued un-interrupted until Friday (2/27) at 10:00 am (ET).
DreX to Host New KGO, San Francisco Talk Show. Music radio personality DreX crosses into the news/talk realm with his new gig as evening host at Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco. The station notes that DreX worked in the market in the past at KSJO, San Jose – now “NASH FM 92.3.” DreX crafted successful CHR night shows in markets including San Antonio, Dallas and Philadelphia. He then shifted to mornings at signals such as WHYT, Detroit and WKSC, Chicago “Kiss FM.” Cumulus SVP of programming Mike McVay comments, “Drex brings a unique perspective to the news/talk format and an uncanny ability to entertain and inform in his own engaging style.” San Francisco VP/market manager Justin Wittmayer adds, “DreX brings his unique voice to KGO nights for a highly compelling program that is fresh, live and local. The Bay Area is in for quite an experience with DreX.”
Malzberg and Newsmax TV Extend Relationship. The new three-year deal keeps talk media pro Steve Malzberg hosting his Newsmax TV daily news and talk program that currently airs from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. Newsmax says in a statement that Malzberg is “a veteran TV and radio personality, [who] attracts a star-studded roster of news-breaking guests and delivers insightful commentary around topical, often-contentious issues that connect with audiences.” Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Steve Malzberg is a key member of our on-air team who brings a fearless and informed approach to news/talk programming. Our growing audience is truly responding to him and he will no doubt continue to deliver provocative talk and engagement with his guests as we enter into the pivotal, upcoming presidential election period.”
Mark Levin Show to Air on KRLA, Los Angeles. The Westwood One-syndicated Mark Levin show is moving to a prime spot in Los Angeles, airing live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT on Salem Communications-owned news/talk KRLA, effective February 3. With the change, Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt will move to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm timeslot. Salem SVP of spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “Rarely do you have the chance to add somebody of Mark’s quality in market #2, and we decided it was an opportunity we could not pass up. Hugh Hewitt is also a class act, so running these two back-to-back makes this lineup even stronger.” Levin states, “It’s an honor to join the wonderful lineup at KRLA. I know my great listeners, who include two of my biggest fans in the LA area (my kids, who live and work there!) will appreciate hearing the show LIVE, too!”
WNDB, Daytona Beach Producer Arrested on Child Porn Charges. According to a story by WKMG-TV, Orlando, WNDB, Daytona Beach executive producer Chand Worob has been taken into custody by Daytona Beach police on charges of receiving and distributing child pornography. The story reports police had been investigating the 25-year-old radio station staffer since October. They arrested him at the radio station where he works on the Marc Bernier morning show and served a warrant at his home where they reported finding a laptop with some 500 images on it.
CBS RADIO Ups Zeise at ‘Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan’ in Pittsburgh. The new evening personality at CBS RADIO sports talker KDKA-FM “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan” is Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sportswriter Paul Zeise. He’s been hosting programs at the station on a part-time basis since 2011. Program director Ryan Maguire says, “Paul has truly developed as a personality and we’re happy we could make him a larger member of our on-air team. Paul has strong ties within the local sports community and will provide unique insight and hard-hitting opinions that will resonate with our listeners.”
Fifth Annual ‘Imus on Broadway’ Happens on February 9. On Monday, February 9, New York radio legend and WABC morning drive personality Don Imus will present the fifth annual “Imus on Broadway” at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square. Ticket sales from the one-night only performance will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. New York Post theatre columnist Michael Riedel will join Imus as emcee. The evening will showcase live performances from some of Broadway’s top musicals including: Kinky Boots, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, It Shoulda Been You, Honeymoon In Vegas, The Lion King, Cabaret, Into The Woods, Les Miserables, Chicago and more!
WFAN, New York to Begin 5th ‘Fantasy Phenom Challenge.’ Next Sunday (2/8), CBS RADIO sports talker WFAN, New York kicks off the 5th “Fantasy Phenom Challenge” at the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station, New York in which contestants will have the chance to earn on-air shifts on “The Fan.” The station will register the first 100 contestants online and those will audition before a panel of judges at area shopping malls around the region. A change in this year’s competition will allow for finalists to receive personal coaching from one of WFAN’s on-air hosts! Up to 12 participants will move on to round two, where online voting will determine the top six contestants for the final. The finalists will be part of a special St. Patrick’s Day remote broadcast featuring WFAN’s Boomer and Carton show and simulcast on CBS Network. The Finals will be held in late March or early April on Mike Francesa’s afternoon drive show. “Fantasy Phenom” year 4 winner, Dimitri Adrahtas, is completing his one-year stint with the station broadcasting his show to Tri-State area listeners.
Odds & Sods. Longtime Los Angeles talk radio personality Marc Germain, formerly “Mr. KABC,” will host the evening show on CBS RADIO’s KXNT, Las Vegas all next week, February 2-6. Germain has been making his home in Sin City for the past five years and has been hosting a nightly live show and podcast from his TalkRadioOne.com base…..A new, four-year renewal between USC and ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA” means the station will continue to serve as the flagship radio outlet for Trojan football through the 2018-19 season. The deal also means approximately one-half of USC’s men’s basketball games will also air on “ESPNLA.”…..CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York begins its inaugural year of broadcasting the New York City Football Club with Tom Kolker, Glenn Crooks and Roberto Abramowitz handling the announcing duties. For English-language broadcasts, Tom Kolker is the new play-by-play voice and Glenn Crooks will provide in-game analysis. For Spanish-language broadcasts airing on WADO, they will be led by Roberto Abramowitz. A Spanish-language analyst will be named at a later date.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Dr. Joy Browne program – distributed nationally by Genesis Communications Network – is added to the program schedule at: WPTF, Raleigh; WDXR, Paducah, Kentucky; and WVFT, Tallahassee…..As noted earlier in the week, Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity joins the program schedule at Beasley Media Group’s KDWN, Las Vegas while Dave Ramsey moves to a live airing at CBS RADIO’s KXNT, Las Vegas…..The Kim Komando weekend “digital lifestyle” program is now airing on: Entercom’s WRKO, Boston; Townsquare Media’s simulcast KCHH and KBUL-AM, Billings, Montana; and WNBF, Binghamton, New York.
Northeast Blizzard Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 26-30. Winter storm Juno and the criticism of forecasters and government officials anticipating the event was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was the 2016 presidential race followed by ISIS threats tied with Taliban 5 developments at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Cumulus Detroit Elevates Wheeler to OM. WJR, Detroit program director Mike Wheeler is boosted to the newly-created position of operations manager for the heritage talker, as well as Cumulus Media‘s other three Detroit properties – hot AC WDVD “Today’s Best Hits,” country WDRQ Nash-FM,” and country WDRQ-HD2 “Nash Icon.” According to Cumulus senior vice president of corporate programming Mike McVay, “Mike Wheeler brings a wealth of experience to the table. His history in Detroit, abilities at coaching talent, and his knowledge of programming give us another strong programming presence within Cumulus. He is deserving of this promotion.” Detroit native Wheeler remarks that it is “a thrill to work with these great radio stations” and he is “grateful for the opportunity to drive the ‘fun bus’ in Detroit.” Overseeing programming for Cumulus’ four Motor City stations, Wheeler will work with in-place PDs Lori Bennett and Robby Bridges. Wheeler joined Cumulus three months ago after a five-year stint as regional program manager for iHeartMedia‘s Connecticut stations. He previously was regional vice president of programming for stations the company (then known as Clear Channel) owned in Atlanta, St. Louis, and Toledo. Wheeler has held on-air positions at Detroit stations WNIC, WABX, WHYT, and WCZY.
Ray Mariner to Program ‘106.1 The Ticket’ and ‘NASH FM 92.3’ in New Orleans. In a newly created management position at Cumulus Media’s New Orleans operations, programmer and air personality Ray Mariner begins leading the programming at country WRKN “NASH FM 92.3” and sports talker WMTI “106.1 The Ticket” on April 15. Mariner most recently was a personality on Dickey Broadcasting’s WCNN, Atlanta “680 The Fan.” He also served in the market as PM drive personality on Lincoln Financial Media’s CHR WSTR “Star 94.” Cumulus SVP of programming Mike McVay states, “Ray is a rare breed of programmer and talent. He has shown his programming acumen by performing and succeeding at the highest level. We’re excited to have him oversee the programming of both ‘NASH FM 92.3’ and ‘106.1 The Ticket’ in New Orleans.” Cumulus sports/talk format captain Jim Mahanay adds, “Ray Mariner is a strong addition to Cumulus’ programming team in New Orleans. He brings a great track record and tremendous talent to this important role at ‘NASH FM 92.3’ and ‘106.1 The Ticket.’ I look forward to having him lead our sports programming in this key market.”
Ron Jaworski’s WPEN, Philadelphia Show to Air Year Round. Former Philadelphia Eagles great Ron Jaworski has been hosting a weekly football show on Greater Media’s WPEN, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” during the regular NFL season but now the station makes his Wednesday evening 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm show a year-round deal. The station is kicking off the program with a live show from Riley’s Pub at Valleybrook Country Club in Blackwood, New Jersey tomorrow evening (4/9). Jaworski says in a statement, “I couldn’t be more excited to be extending the Ron Jaworski show to a year-round event. The NFL has become a 12-month league. It’s going to be fun talking with the Philadelphia fans about free agency, the draft, training camp and eventually when the games get started in September.”
NAB Show: Sound Bites from Sin City. Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting for RadioInfo from the NAB Show and here is some of what he’s gleaned from the convention. Cooke writes that although this convention is not a radio gathering – that’s in Indianapolis in September – he says, “The recurring theme radio people hear here is that stations can’t only be ‘in the radio business’ anymore.” Sales skills are probably the most important a broadcaster can have these days and there’s a lot of that kind of advice to be had. During the RAB’s Lunch-N-Learn session, CEO Erica Farber noted that three of radio’s sales mistakes are: being afraid to ask for “The Big Ask”; constant rep turnover; and selling to the same advertisers over and over. Read more of HC’s report here.
Syndication: Love or Money? Moving a radio program into the syndication realm is a challenging venture and it’s a move that can be started for the wrong reasons. In a column published today (4/8), Global Media Services founder Tony Garcia writes that for a show to have a chance at success in syndication – even one that is successful on the local level – there are a number of questions the producer of the show must answer before moving ahead. Garcia says, “If you are going to get the attention of program directors, your show and your pitch must to be relevant and compelling. What is it you are providing for the station and its audience? Are you solving a problem? Are you doing something that the station can’t easily do itself?” Read more about what Garcia suggests a potential show producer must be prepared to answer in his piece here.
Immigration Radio Row Takes Place in Washington Tomorrow. The annual radio row – organized by the Federation for American Immigration Reform – is dubbed “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” and the two-day event begins tomorrow at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill. FAIR says it features the largest gathering ever of talk radio hosts focused on a single issue. Dozens of hosts from across the country will spend two days discussing immigration policy with listeners, lawmakers, law enforcement, immigration experts, activists and members of the media live from radio row while broadcasting their shows back to their home markets. Credentialed members of the press are welcome. In particular, reporters covering the national immigration debate will have access to a wide variety of personalities and perspectives all in one location. For more information, contact Kristen Williamson, press secretary at: office 202-328-7004/cell 847-651-8611.
Q1 Radio Deals Top $300 Million on Strength of WBLS/WLIB Sale. According to SNL Kagan, first quarter 2014 radio deals topped the $300 million mark in value. This big quarter was largely the result of the $131 million (8.5 times cash flow) sale of urban contemporary WBLS and gospel WLIB from YMF Media LLC to Emmis Communications Corporation. The other big deal was the $74 million sale of 10 stations from South Central Communications Corporation to SummitMedia, LLC. SNL Kagan says that compared to the 2013 average of 7 times cash flow, the average radio cash flow multiple rose by half a point in the first quarter of 2014.
NRG Media Reports Completion of Change in Equity Investors. The change in equity investors that NRG Media, LLC announced in October of 2013 is complete. The company says the change solidifies “the new partnership between the Midwest-based media company and Cyrus Capital Partners, an investment management company that actively invests in debt and equity securities on a global basis.” Cyrus has approximately $4 billion in assets under management and its investor base is comprised of sophisticated long term institutional and high net worth investors. NRG CEO Mary Quass states, “We look forward to a long relationship with Cyrus Capital Partners and wish to thank Waitt Media and McCarthy Capital for their support over the last 9 years.”
Odds & Sods. Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated morning host Bill Bennett celebrates his 10th year with the network. His “Morning in America” program was visited on Monday by special guests including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, fellow Salem talk host Mike Gallagher and WestwoodOne personality Mark Levin…..Newsweb Radio adds local gay rights author and activist Wayne Besen to the weekend lineup at WCPT-AM/FM, Chicago to host a weekly Saturday afternoon program called, “I’ve Got Issues.” Newsweb president Charles Gross says of the progressive program, “We are excited about this hard-hitting new show that will debate the critical local and national issues that affect our lives.”…..CBS Radio News White House correspondent Peter Maer is being awarded the Merriman Smith Memorial Award for Presidential Coverage Under Deadline Pressure. Maer is receiving the honor for his reports at the Hampton Roads, Virginia shipyard where the president traveled to make his case on last year’s sequestration fight. The White House Correspondents Association says, “Peter Maer’s story on the potential impact of budget sequestration did what White House reporters too rarely do: It humanized a national political story, and managed to do so on an extremely tight deadline, no less.”
A Day at the Races. WBAP, Dallas talk show host Chris Krok (left) poses for a photo with “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson (right) at the Texas Motor Speedway during its “Duck Commander 500” race held over the weekend. Also in the photo is Krok’s son Isaac (center). Krok broadcast his program live from the speedway on Friday (4/4) and then hosted 80 listeners who bought tickets to be part of “Krok and His Flock” on Saturday. Krok and his listeners were able to tour the garage and pits.
ObamaCare Criticism, IRS Scandal, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Common Core Controversy, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Search, and Student Athlete Compensation/NCAA Championship Game Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/7). Ongoing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the move by House Speaker John Boehner to bring legal action against ex-IRS official Lois Lerner; Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine and fears he’s preparing to arm Iran; troubles with the Common Core standards as states drop the program; the continuing search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; and controversy over compensating student athletes and the run-up to the NCAA Championship game were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Bid4Spots: Auction an Alternative to Unsold Inventory. In a piece published today (7/23), TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian profiles Dave Newmark’s successful Bid4Spots digital auction initiative. There was a time when numerous players were getting into the business of using the internet to deal with unsold inventory on radio stations. Dave Newmark tells Mike Kinosian why the others failed and how he struggled to find the right business model that would eventually lead to success. It was during a casual conversation with a software developer when he had an epiphany. “I immediately thought of those ad exchanges and I realized what they all had wrong. They had the supply and demand equation backwards. Forward auctions work well only when the demand is high and the supply is low. If I could figure out when demand would be at its lowest point – when regular airtime buyers were pretty much gone from the store – it would be as close to ‘next week’ as possible.” Newmark’s road to success was not a smooth one. In this fascinating piece he details his trials and tribulations. He also explains why stations and advertisers are happy with his model of moving unsold inventory. Read it all here.
Are You a Thinker or a Feeler? More importantly, are your listeners and callers thinkers or feelers? In a new TALKERS column posted today (7/23) by branding specialist Dr. John Tantillo, he states that understanding the difference between these two approaches to the issues of the day can have an impact on your show and determine how effectively you orchestrate discussions of them on the air. Using the examples of the current Zimmerman verdict and Rolling Stone cover controversy, Dr. Tantillo examines the relationship between branding and controversy pointing out that the most important thing to focus upon is how the controversy directly impacts the customer’s (or fan’s) loyalty to the brand and nobody else’s. He says we should be less concerned about public relations and more interested in “targeted relations.” To read the entire column, please click here.
Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan Named Among ‘Giants of Broadcasting’ Honorees. This is the 11th annual staging of the “Giants of Broadcasting” that is sponsored by the Library of American Broadcasting. It celebrates “distinguished leadership or performance in television and radio” and will take place October 16 at New York’s Gotham Hall. Smulyan is among 11 honorees this year including Anne Sweeney, Alex Trebek, Barry Diller, Morley Safer, Dick Cavett, Robert L. Johnson, David E. Kelley, Richard E. Wiley, Richard Leibner and Carole Cooper. The Library of American Broadcasting is located at the University of Maryland and the organization states it is “entering its 42nd year serving as the national information resource for the radio and television industries and the academic communities that rely upon it for depth and expertise. Its collections of historic documents, professional papers, oral and video histories, books and photographs are among the nation’s most extensive.”
Red Zebra Re-Tools Afternoons on WTEM, Washington. Recently retired Washington Redskins star Chris Cooley becomes part of the new “The Drive with Cooley and Czabe” afternoon program on Red Zebra-owned sports talk outlet WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980″. Cooley – who just joined the station for Washington Redskins game broadcasts with the company – joins Steve Czaban and WTEM weekend host Al Galdi for the new program that will debut August 1 and will air from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Czaban currently hosts “The Sports Reporters” with Andy Pollin in the afternoon drive slot. Red Zebra says Pollin remains with the station and will sub for the vacationing Tony Kornheiser beginning August 5. About the new show, Czaban jokes, “I will work tirelessly to make Chris Cooley the second-most-beloved ex-Redskin tight end on radio in the DC market.”
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Mark Jorgenson of Jorgenson Broadcast Brokerage. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Mark Jorgenson of Jorgenson Broadcast Brokerage of Greenville, South Carolina. Jorgenson was a 12-year veteran of television sales and radio ownership in Southeastern markets before deciding that he liked putting deals together better than he did operating stations. He says, “I enjoy matching people up with great opportunities and that’s what the brokerage business is all about.” Jorgenson describes today’s radio station market as “sluggish due to a lack of capital to finance deals.” He says, “There are plenty of potential buyers and even more potential sellers but without institutional financing to make the deals happen, we won’t see the volume of transactions we’ve seen in the past. Brokers have to be creative and persistent to make deals happen in today’s financial climate.” He continues, “There are even radio deals where some portion of the purchase price might be handled with a seller note. The key is for the buyer to have access to at least some cash. Private investors, family, and friends are the most likely source to finance new ventures these days.” To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Is Set for Thursday, October 10. The third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention has been set for Thursday, October 10 and its outstanding agenda is shaping up to be a blockbuster. It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are very enthusiastic about the growth and positive impact of this Southern California gathering. It started out three years ago as an experimental LA regional get-together and blossomed into an exciting companion to our big New York convention.” The event – open only to members of the working media – will feature a power-packed day of panel discussions, keynote addresses, special presentations, technology and services exhibits, tremendous networking opportunities and abundant food and refreshments (lunch is sponsored by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity who will address the attendees from New York). Speakers already set include (in alphabetical order): Robin Bertolucci, PD, KFI, Los Angeles; Phil Boyce, VP spoken word format, Salem Communications; Holland Cooke, radio consultant; Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Erica Farber,CEO/president, RAB; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD/WYM Media; Rusty Humphries, host, Talk Radio Network; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Leykis, president, The New Normal; Don Martin, senior VP sports programming, Fox Sports Radio/Clear Channel Media and Entertainment; Kevin McCullough, CEO, XtreMedia; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News; Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment/Podcast One; Chris Pendl, creative director, Bonneville Seattle; Walter Sabo, CEO, Sabo Media; Eric Stanger, VP of operations and affiliate marketing, The Sean Hannity Show/Premiere Networks; Alan Stock, host, KDWN, Las Vegas; Paul Vandenburgh, president/GM/host, WGDJ, Albany; and Michael Zwerling, owner, KSCO, Santa Cruz with many more to be announced in the coming days. The latest broadcasting equipment and remote gear will be on display as presented by Broadcasters General Store and Comrex Corporation. Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone and the event is expected to be a very early sellout. So don’t wait – avoid being shut out. For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413.
WFAS, White Plains Afternoon Host Lisa Wexler to Run for Judicial Office. Lisa Wexler is an attorney and currently the PM drive talk host on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WFAS, White Plains, New York. She tells TALKERS magazine she’s being nominated to run as a Republican for the Probate Judge of Weston and Westport (Connecticut) in November. “I’ve practiced this area of law for many years, and I’m very excited to run and be able to serve the people with knowledge and compassion.” Wexler notes the position is part time and, if elected, she will be able to continue her radio work.
WRSB, Canandaigua, New York to Flip to Business Talk. The station was purchased earlier this summer by Genesee Media Corporation and has been serving the area south of Rochester with a religious format. According to YNN.com, GMC will brand the station “Business 1310” and will use programming from Bloomberg, NBC News and Marketwatch. The report also indicates that Genesee intends to add the programming to other AM signals in the region.
Sonoma Media Group Announces Kevin Wodlinger Is New Local Business Development Manager. The company says Kevin Wodlinger comes to its five-station Santa Rosa, California cluster from his most recent position in Grand Junction, Colorado as market manager for the Cumulus Media cluster that is now owned by Townsquare Media. Wodlinger replaces longtime employee Jeriann D’Elicio, who recently announced her resignation. Michael O’Shea, president of Sonoma Media Group, comments, “Kevin is the real deal – a consummate sales executive with a great track record of teaching, coaching and leading in local business development. We are delighted to have his expertise and leadership in our building.” The company operates news/talk KSRO, country KFGY “Froggy 92.9,” classic rock KVRV “97.7 The River FM,” hot AC KMHX “Mix 104.9,” and CHr KHTH “Hot 101.7.”
New Motor Sports Network to Begin Operations. The Midwest Racing Radio Network announces it is preparing to begin operations and has named Brian Douglas vice president of broadcast operations. Douglas also serves as host. The company states it will initially feature one two-hour motorsports show via live audio stream and podcast in a format for broadcast stations to air daily five days a week. Also, the network will feature a live one-hour Sunday evening program and a national highlights podcast show containing results, interviews, and the upcoming regional racing schedules as submitted from tracks across the country.
Cigar Dave Goes Live on TV. Nationally syndicated media personality “Cigar Dave” Zeplowitz is pictured here (at right) hosting the first-ever live televised broadcasts from the 2013 International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Convention at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas. The telecasts aired live on Sunday, July 14, Monday, July 15 and Tuesday, July 16. Cigar Dave reports his telecasts featured new premium cigar releases and accessories, interviews with premium cigar manufacturers and personalities, and presented viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the IPCPR Convention, that up to now, has been closed to the general public and only open to the trade. “Cigar Dave” says, “This marks the next evolution of the Cigar Dave Show as we transition into a digital, multi-platform provider of relevant content for Alpha Males. Eighteen years ago, I was the first broadcaster to host a radio show dedicated to cigars and the Alpha Male-lifestyle. This year’s live IPCPR telecasts commence a major expansion into televised and digital content that appeals to Alpha Males and a new generation of Millennial Males who enjoy cigars, spirits, manly pursuits, and the Good Life.”
Odds & Sods. Public radio station WKSU, Kent, Ohio drops some of the daily classical music programming to add NPR’s “The Takeaway” with John Hockenberry and “On Point” with Tom Ashford to the midday schedule…..Sun Broadcasting changes the news/talk trimulcast of WFSX-AM and FM and WNOG-AM in Fort Myers. It keeps WFSX-FM news/talk as “92.5 Fox News” and pairs up the AMs as a sports talk duo “The Fan.”
ObamaCare Implementation, Detroit Bankruptcy, Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Race, U.S. Syria Policy and British Prince Born Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22). The delay of the employer mandate and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the bankruptcy case of the city of Detroit; the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict; the potential candidates in the 2016 presidential race; the United States’ policy regarding Syria; and the birth of the son of Prince William and Kate Middleton were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Media Raises Close to $4 Million for Oklahoma Tornado Relief. This number could keep changing as more pledges come in after the Wednesday effort that saw all 525 Cumulus Media-owned stations soliciting funds for tornado relief via the United Way of Oklahoma City that so far has totaled $3.77 million. Cumulus SVP of programming Mike McVay reports the company’s 84 country outlets aired a special, one-hour edition of “American Country Countdown” hosted by Kix Brooks live from the “Healing in the Heartland” concert on Wednesday evening that aired on NBC-TV. Numbers aren’t final for pledges received during the televised concert fundraiser but are reported to be in the $6 million range.
Emergency Alert for Cell Phones PSA Violates FCC Regulations. TALKERS columnist and broadcast engineer Tom Ray of Tom Ray Consulting reports a public service announcement touting emergency alerts sent to cell phones that some stations may be airing violates FCC regulations. Ray tells TALKERS, “A PSA was released today about the emergency alerts you can receive on your cell phone. It uses the EAS two-tone alert. Airing this PSA would be a blatant violation of FCC regulation 47CFR11.45 which specifically prohibits the use of the EAS code bursts or the two-tone alert signal unless they are transmitted as part of an actual EAS alert or EAS test. And according to the Ad Council website…this PSA is sponsored by FEMA. Shame on them! They should know better.” Ray advises stations not to air the PSA.
Patent Holder Personal Audio Targets Podcasters; EFF Takes ‘Patent Troll’ Fight to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. If you’re a podcaster and you’ve been approached by a company called Personal Audio claiming you’re using patented technology and you have to pay up, you’re not alone. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), podcasters including Adam Carolla and “How Stuff Works” have been “shaken down” by Personal Audio which claims it holds a patent on technology used by podcasters. The EFF is fighting back, saying it is “is mounting a new, focused campaign to bust the dangerous patent” the company has been employing against end users – including podcasters. Here’s what EFF says: “Claiming it owns the patent that broadly covers podcasting technology, Personal Audio is the classic example of a patent troll that neither makes nor sells anything, but uses its patent as a weapon to threaten lawsuits and extort settlement fees.” EFF staff attorney Julie Samuels says, “Patent trolls have been wreaking havoc on innovative companies for some time now. But this particular breed of troll — targeting end users, small businesses, startups, and even individuals like podcasters for simply using everyday products — is a disturbing new threat.” Wondering what part of the process on which this company claims to hold the patent? The TALKERS legal department tells us that the patent generally relates to a system whereby a server provides media content to client devices over the internet. On the server, the provider maintains a ‘compilation file,’ which is essentially a list of available media files. The compilation file generally includes the URL for each available media file in a series and may also include descriptive text. This compilation file may be static, such as a simple web page with links to each available file to which new files are added, or may be customized for a particular user, perhaps only showing them content from feeds to which they have subscribed. The claim that has been asserted against podcasters to date is called Claim 31. The EFF goes on to say, “As with so many patent troll cases, the troll is asking for money despite having contributed nothing to the industry. By its own admission, Personal Audio tried and failed at its attempt to make an audio player. Having failed at actually making something, it became a shell company that does nothing but sue on its patents. And now it wants a handout from those who worked hard to create popular podcasts.” EFF is organizing a Help Save Podcasting campaign. You can find that information here.
Former KQRS, Minneapolis Personality Michael Gelfand Sues MetLife and Cumulus Media Over Disability Claim. Michael Gelfand was formerly part of the Tom Barnard morning show on Cumulus Media’s classic rock KQRS, Minneapolis. He exited the station after his medical condition made it impossible to function and now he’s suing Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and Cumulus Media for long term disability benefits. Gelfand suffers from delayed sleep-phase syndrome – a condition that throws off the body’s circadian rhythm – and prevents him from functioning well or maintaining physical health working the early morning drive shift. In brief, MetLife denied the claim and Gelfand is suing both companies seeking retroactive long term disability benefits.
Inga Barks Exits KMJ-AM, Fresno. Bakersfield-based talk show host Inga Barks recently joined the program schedule at Buckley Brodcasting’s KNZR, Bakersfield for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program but she’s no longer with Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM, Fresno where she’s been hosting a show since 2005. The Fresno Bee reports Peak management is not commenting on Barks’ exit but notes the station added Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin show in place of it.
Gracie Award Winning Talk Host Advises Colleagues to Add Writing to their Communications Toolbox. WFAS, Westchester host Lisa Wexler says that writing op-ed pieces for newspapers is an excellent way for talk show hosts looking to expand their net and make a difference. In a piece posted today (5/31) Wexler says, “If you are going to be a thought leader, then simply speaking on the radio is not enough. The written word carries a different kind of weight. Radio is a rush — there is nothing like the spontaneity of an actual conversation, the nuance and humor of the human voice communicating through the airwaves to the lone listener on the other end. But radio is also ephemeral; despite podcasts and the ease of reaching audio files, people rarely re-listen to the same broadcast. They do, however, read an article more than once, and pass it on to friends. Your column has the potential to go viral in a way your radio show may not.” To read Lisa Wexler’s entire article, click here.
KFWB, Los Angeles Sports Anchor Bret Lewis Retires. Today is the last day at KFWB, Los Angeles for sports anchor Bret Lewis who is retiring from the station. The longtime Los Angeles broadcaster will be replaced by Bill Seward, currently afternoon sports anchor. Bob Harvey will assume Seward’s afternoon role. During his career, Lewis has served as a sports anchor on the TV side at KNBC-TV and KCBS-TV. He also hosted a talk show at crosstown KLAC.
KNTK, Lincoln Names John Gaskins Program Director. Home Field Communications announces “Gaskins and Stephens” show co-host John Gaskins is named program director for sports talk KNTK, Lincoln “93.7 The Ticket.” The station also fills its PM drive slot with former KCSP, Kansas City personality Mike Welch who will host his “Drop the Mike” beginning June 5.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds new affiliates WPNN, Pensacola; KYRO, Troy, Missouri; and KCAA, Loma Linda, California…..Talk Radio Network-syndicated “Watchdog on Wall Street” with host Chris Markowski is added to the program lineup at WLEE, Richmond…..Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” with Eric Harley and Gary McNamara reaches the 200-affiliate mark with the help of recent partners KTAR-FM, Phoenix; KBET, Las Vegas; WTMJ, Milwaukee; WFTL, West Palm Beach; and KJCE, Austin.
DOJ Investigation of Journalists Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of May 27-31. The Department of Justice’s investigation of journalists – from Fox News’ James Rosen to the Associated Press – and Attorney General Eric Holder’s request for an off-the-record meeting with news organizations was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 this week was the IRS’ targeting of conservative organizations seeking tax exempt status. Following at #3 was the rise in the number of Americans on disability and at #4 was the Chinese hacking of U.S. weapons systems. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on talk radio during the week, is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Melissa Etheridge Brandishes Her Gracie. Musician and radio show host Melissa Etheridge (r) is pictured here with Rory Kennedy (l) (who won for her documentary film “Ethel” about her mother) at the annual Gracie Awards Gala in Los Angeles where she won a Gracie Award for her nationally syndicated program, “The Melissa Etheridge Show.” Etheridge won in the Outstanding Talk Show – Entertainment/Information category. Etheridge says, “I have won Grammys and an Oscar, but there is something especially meaningful about being recognized with a Gracie. I love radio, and it’s important to me to bring the voices of women to our audiences, as they share their respective truths about life, love and family—and as I share the same with them. It’s also a great pleasure to provide a forum where we can connect with each other about the music that moves us. I’m honored that people are responding to the show across the country and I thank the AWM Foundation for this award.” Etheridge’s five-hour daily show is syndicated by Benztown.
TALKERS Spotlight: THE WATCHDOGS
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Contrasted to national talk radio hosts who can sometimes get deeply mired in a monotonous right against left (or vice versa) onslaught, many of their local counterparts emerge as bona fide folk heroes for standing up against a coterie of injustices inflicted on their fellow residents.
Actions taken by this band of “watchdogs,” in the overwhelming number of instances, have nothing to do with political leanings or a partisan playbook.
Legendary for rooting out the “bad guys,” afternoon talk hosts “John & Ken” (John Kobylt & Ken Champiou) expose what they consider dirty dealings to their very large audience on Los Angeles’ KFI. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, WRKO, Boston’s Howie Carr is a thorn in the side of the “powers that be” in New England. Everywhere in between, intense professional satisfaction comes when they go toe-to-toe with pit bull-like tenacity against the establishment. In that same sort of imagery, “hold their feet to the fire” has actually become a talk radio slogan as on-air talents attempt to expose and defeat “the bad guys.”
By Kevin Casey
SPRINGFIELD, Ma. — The Newtown, Connecticut tragedy has stimulated a tremendous amount of talk about guns in America. Usually it is one of those topics — like abortion — that hosts and programmers try to avoid because there are seldom new angles and little give and take between sides. Sandy Hook has changed that. It is this week’s number one talk radio topic. So, how have talk hosts and stations been handling this issue?
Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity says, for him, it’s about more than the isolated issue of America’s gun laws and his programs are approaching it from a larger perspective. “On the specific issue itself for me it is simple; we protect our money with armed guards, we protect our elected officials with armed guards, and our “Hollywood stars” with armed guards. If we really want to keep our children safe in school, why not hire retired armed police officers? Do they deserve less? Many college campuses already have such guards. The other huge issue I am focused on is the abuse of power and an emerging imperial presidency. The Constitution is America’s rule of law, we have co-equal branches of Government, separation of powers etc…Obama making recess appointments when the senate is not in recess; Obama using executive orders to adopt amnesty provisions of the failed Dream Act; Biden threatening that executive orders will be used to bypass Congress on the Second Amendment. Imagine if George Bush tried to bypass Congress on a First Amendment issue! Pelosi and Democrats are encouraging the president to use the Fourteenth Amendment to bypass Congress and raise the debt ceiling. All examples of an executive branch power grab. I am also asking one simple question. If, God forbid, somebody breaks into your house or place of work, how will you protect yourself?
It’s Official: Tom Cuddy to Program WOR, New York. The rumor of former WPLJ, New York PD Tom Cuddy’s new gig as programmer of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WOR turns out to be true as the company officially announces his joining the station. He says of his new position, “I’m beyond excited to be joining a news/talk station that enjoys legendary status in New York. We have amazing plans to grow WOR and make it the hottest spot on the AM dial. WOR has one of the best signals on the East Coast.” Cuddy will work under former WABC, New York general manager Steve Borneman who recently joined WOR, as well.
Jolana Smith Named PD at Cumulus Media’s WFAS, Westchester, New York Combo. In her new position, Jolana Smith will program both the news/talk AM and the adult contemporary FM Cumulus is operating in Westchester. She comes to the stations from Cox Media’s AC WEZN, Bridgeport, Connecticut “Star 99.9” where she co-hosted morning drive and did the midday shift. In addition to programming both stations, Smith will host the midday shift on WFAS-FM. Smith states, “What an amazing opportunity to be part of the Cumulus programming ranks and to be working with SVP/programming Mike McVay and VP/AC format captain Emily Boldon…Somebody pinch me!”
David Sirota Exits KHOW, Denver. Progressive writer and columnist David Sirota exits Clear Channel’s KHOW, Denver where he’d been paired up with conservative Michael Brown for the past six months. Prior to that Sirota hosted the morning show at progressive talk sister station KKZN. The Denver Post reports neither side is saying much, obviously agreeing to not discuss the change in the press. But Sirota confirmed he’s no longer with Clear Channel and CC Denver VP of programing Greg Foster offered the obligatory “we thank him and wish him well” statement.
Rick Sanchez Lands Radio Gig at WIOD, Miami. Former CNN personality Rick Sanchez had been seeking a talk radio gig since his departure from CNN in the fall of 2010. Now, Sanchez takes over the afternoon drive slot at Clear Channel’s WIOD, Miami, replacing Rich Minaya. The hiring of Cuban-born and Spanish-speaking Rick Sanchez is interesting in as much as his media experience doing bi-lingual talk and news programs will give him a unique approach to connecting with the Miami audience. Sanchez was let go from CNN after making a comment on a radio program about Jews as minorities in the media business that was construed at politically incorrect.
Steve Deace Show Clears New York City. The Iowa-based Steve Deace talk show clears the Big Apple on Salem Communications’ WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” airing weeknights from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. Deace’s program is in its second year of national syndication. Deace states, “To go live in New York City after only 13 months in syndication is quite an honor. There are good hosts on hundreds of radio stations around the country who can’t get cleared in New York City, so I’m well aware of what this means for the future of our show.” Salem director of spoken-word format Phil Boyce says, “We’re excited to see what one of the real rising talents in our industry can do in the nation’s number one market. Many of us have been waiting for the next generation of talk radio to emerge, and Deace represents that next generation.” Deace hosted a local program on WHO, Des Moines prior to going into syndication. His national show is carried on WHO.
Daily Kevin McCullough Show Adds Nine Affiliates in 2013. The nationally syndicated Kevin McCullough show adds nine new affiliates including: WWRC, Washington, DC; WGKA, Atlanta; KRCN, Denver; and WCRU, Charlotte. The program is syndicated by McCullough’s XtreMedia Inc. and the recent additions put McCullough’s program over the 300-affiliate mark. XtreMedia also syndicates the Dani Johnson radio program as well as the weekend Baldwin/McCullough show featuring McCullough and actor Stephen Baldwin.
Sports Offers Social Success Templates. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show but prior to that, he took in the New Media Expo (formerly the Blogworld conference). Cooke reports on the nuances of understanding and using social media for radio station promotion after hearing Amy Jo Martin’s keynote speech. Cooke says Martin believes, “One of the fundamental adjustments broadcasters need to make the most of social media is to understand that tools like Facebook and Twitter aren’t just transmitters. They’re conversations.” And social media tools can help jocks and talk hosts be more authentic to their audiences. Read more of Holland Cooke’s analysis here.
Alex Jones Takes on Piers Morgan. Nationally syndicated talk show host Alex Jones appeared on CNN on Monday evening with host Piers Morgan to debate the gun control issue and the petition to have British citizen Morgan deported in the wake of his high-profile call for new gun laws after the Newtown massacre. Traditional talk show hosts tend to shy away from gun issues on their programs but the right to bear arms is a cornerstone of Alex Jones’ belief system and a regular topic on his program. The feisty exchange on CNN was good TV theater and raises Jones’ national profile. See the program here.
Obama Cabinet Nominations, Debt Ceiling Issue, NFL Playoffs, Gun Legislation Discussion and Aurora Theater Massacre Hearing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/7). President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel for defense secretary and John Brennan for CIA chief; the issue of the nation’s debt ceiling; the weekend’s NFL playoff games; debate over changes to the nation’s gun laws; and the hearing in Colorado for Aurora theater massacre suspect James Holmes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cool Job Opportunity. Townsquare Media has an opportunity for the position of operations manager in Wichita Falls. If you have experience in country, rock, CHR and news/talk formats this could be the job for you. The OM will also serve as brand manager for our CHR station, 92.9 NIN, and must have a track record in that format. You will also host an on-air shift on 92.9 NIN. In addition to a strong ratings record, candidates should demonstrate a deep, rich understanding of interactive branding including social media, loyalty programs, content creation, e-commerce, streaming platforms, mobile and texting. This job is much more than picking the hits. The successful candidate will be a great leader, a talent coach, and a highly organized strategist. You’ll need exceptional teamwork skills to produce results with experienced talent, programmers, sales and digital teams. Strong working knowledge of music scheduling systems, digital audio systems and online media platforms are required. You’ll manage multiple tasks at once, and great communication skills, attention to detail and a sense of humor are all a must. We work hard and have fun doing it! If you’re a fun, dynamic, creative, proven winner who loves working in media, contact Chuck Armstrong at Townsquare Media: firstname.lastname@example.org. Townsquare Media is an equal opportunity employer.
Sirius XM Stock Soaring While John Malone’s Liberty Media Inches Toward Control. Yesterday’s $2.55 closing figure was satcaster Sirius XM’s (“SIRI”) best showing in more than four years. That’s the good news for CEO Mel Karmazin and his crew. The worrisome news, however, is the undeniable fact that John Malone’s Liberty Media – the company that rescued Sirius XM in 2009 by investing in 40% of the company at a bargain price – is closing in on acquiring the needed 50.1% ownership that would give it a controlling interest. Subsequent to the 2009 bail out, Liberty has been buying Sirius XM stock on the open market recently purchasing about 90 million shares at around $2.50 each. According to TALKERS sister trade publication Radio-Info, those transactions plus a “forward sale” agreement would bring Liberty’s interest to about 48% creating a behind the scenes radio reality show nail-biter.
Rick Roberts Lands at America’s Radio News Network. Veteran radio talk show host Rick Roberts has been named news co-anchor at America’s Radio News Network. Roberts, also a lawyer, has been heard in his 20 year career on such heritage outlets as KOA, Denver; KCMO, Kansas City; KRLD, Dallas; KOGO and most recently KFMB in San Diego. His is known for a distinctive style of getting the story “behind the story.” Commenting on how pleased he is to be working with ARNN CEO Mark Masters, Roberts tells TALKERS, “He is a man of true vision. Masters’ groundbreaking concept of journalism without agenda is needed in America now more than ever.” America’s Radio News Network, which offers 15 hours of syndicated long-form programming per week is now heard nationally on over 340 affiliates taking one or more of its five three-hour news segments.
Sandusky Scandal Impacts Pennsylvania Radio Station. Political scandal and questionable talk host remarks are not the only form of controversy that impacts spoken word radio’s ability to sell advertising and maintain a balanced competitive image. According to an Associated Press report, after 20 years of faithfully broadcasting Penn State football games to its loyal fandom, talker WAEB, Allentown, Pennsylvania finds itself at a crossroads between airing the school’s upcoming season (which kicks off September 1 against Ohio University) and pleasing the overwhelmingly large percentage of listeners who have let the station know they want to hear the games — while dealing with timid sponsors who are less enthusiastic about being associated with the scandal. Station management states they need about 10 sponsors to fund a full season of Penn State football. Prior to the Jerry Sandusky scandal it was always an instant sellout. So far they only have four.
Odds & Sods. The Minnestota Twins will be moving their live broadcasts from Hubbard-owned 1500ESPN, Minneapolis at the end of the season and begin airing games on KTWN 96.3FM beginning with the 2013 season. Their new radio home is owned by the Pohlad family – same folks who own the team. This is the first time the Twins games will be aired exclusively on FM….None other than President Obama was interviewed on sports talker KXNO, Des Moines to talk sports but Politico reports he snuck in a bit of politics when asked how playing sports was similar to being president stating, “It also turns out that political reporters are a lot like sports reporters. They’ve all got opinions, even if they didn’t play.”….Premiere Networks has launched a new satellite radio talk show featuring lifestyle expert and interior designer Moll Anderson heard Saturdays 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET on Sirius XM’s “Talk Radio” XM channel 168…Sports talker WFAN, New York’s annual talent search “Fantasy Phenom 111 Challenge” has narrowed its field to five finalists who will vie for the Grand Prize of a chance to host a once a week air shift on the legendary station for one year. The finals will take place on Friday, August 24 at Bar A in Lake Como, New Jersey. All finalists are New York Metropolitan area locals and were chosen from thousands of fans and listeners who showed up at auditions held at area Simon malls in July as well as online entries.
Obama Leaks, Family Research Council Shooting, Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/15). The ex-Navy SEALS video critical of President Obama for allegedly allowing dangerous leaks involving the shooting of Osama bin Laden and the shooting of a guard at the Washington, DC headquarters of the conservative Family Research Council, followed by the devastating effects of the drought brought on by the heat wave and violence in Syria were the most talked about topics on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing TALKERS research.
Merlin Media Ends FM News Operations in New York and Chicago. Industry watchers are beginning the post-mortem on Merlin Media’s all-news formats at WIQI, Chicago and WEMP, New York after yesterday’s announcement by the company that it is flipping the two signals to classic hits and alternative rock, respectively. In making the announcement, Merlin president Randy Michaels stated, “It was a difficult decision to make, but after a year of minimal audience engagement, coupled with the format’s inherent expense, I felt it was time to make a change.” Perhaps the most obvious challenge to the endeavor was the fact that in both Chicago and New York, Michaels’ stations were going up against entrenched news stations in markets that didn’t seem to be crying out for more radio news, primarily because they are already being served by well-respected and well-listened-to all-news outlets. WBBM-AM/FM, Chicago and WCBS and WINS in New York were tough opponents to challenge in the radio news game – not to mention the public radio stations in both markets that have loyal audiences and dedicate resources to covering local news. The ratings for the two stations seemed to bear that out. The initial concept of trying to reach women with a news product fell flat. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison told the Chicago Tribune, “When you say, ‘This is for women and here’s what we’re talking about,’ it can come across as insulting. It’s presumptuous.” Harrison also told the paper, “To reinvent the wheel, when in fact the wheel is not broken, is difficult.” He said the station’s focus on stereotypically female topics like cooking, fashion and child rearing also turned off listeners. There are reports 27 staffers are out in Chicago with a similar number in New York, leaving a host of veteran radio news people looking for their next opportunity this morning. Meanwhile, another wrinkle to this story pertains to industry rumors and speculation that Merlin had plans to eventually morph its New York and possibly Chicago all-newsers into traditional news/talkers. The recent addition of Rush Limbaugh to Philadelphia property WWIQ after his departure from CBS Radio‘s WPHT had tongues wagging about the possibility of such a move happening in New York when Cumulus Media‘s contract with Premiere Networks for Limbaugh on WABC ends – especially with Cumulus developing Mike Huckabee (currently airing on crosstown competitor WOR) as a more “civil” alternative to Limbaugh. This brings up another question: Are the Merlin moves to music just a temporary measure?
Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Draws Intense Traffic to Talkers.com; Testament to Sports Talk Format’s Popularity. The recently published Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America, has generated so much traffic to Talkers.com that – at times – navigation on the site slowed to a crawl, forcing the IT staff at Talkers.com to increase the site’s bandwidth to accommodate the visitors. This massive interest in America’s sports talk radio personalities is indicative of the format’s popularity with both consumers and from within the media industry. TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey states, “Sports talk radio is off-the-charts popular in so many markets across the country – reflecting the importance of sports in American popular culture. The interest in the Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk from people working within the business is one thing, but the attention from consumers of sports talk and the rabid sports blogosphere is astounding. The passion that exists for the format, the personalities, as well as the games and athletes themselves, shows why this talk radio genre is such an effective marketing tool for businesses at the local and national level.” The 2012 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk can be found here.
Cumulus Media’s WPRO, Providence Names Craig Schwalb Program Director. Craig Schwalb comes to Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO and 99.7 (and sister WPRV) in Providence from SiriusXM where he served as senior director of talk programming. He’s also worked at WKRK, Detroit; WNEW, New York; WRBZ, Raleigh; and EZ Communications, St. Louis. He replaces Paul Giammarco who recently resigned from the station. Cumulus SVP Mike McVay states, “We are excited to have Craig join Cumulus. We want the freshest and best minds in the industry…and he is clearly among the best.” Speaking about his new opportunity, Schwalb says, “The chance to program one of the country’s legendary radio stations, complete with great talent, a great news presence and great influence in a terrific city was a no brainer for me and my family. I am looking forward to working with Providence market manager Barbara Haynes and of course John Dickey, Mike McVay, Jim Mahaney, and everyone at Cumulus.”
Recent Affiliate Adds Push America’s Radio News Network Past 300 Mark. In fact, when combined with the TRN/Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” program, the affiliate total jumps past 320 for the news programming offered by Talk Radio Network’s ARNN. The content syndicator notes that recent affiliate additions in Columbus, Ohio; Phoenix; Memphis; Ft. Myers/Naples; Charleston, South Carolina; and others for the five three-hour news block programs are indicative of the strong demand for quality news-oriented radio content.
Talk Host Andrew Wilkow to Host Prime Time Show on TheBlaze. The online TV network TheBlaze – a digital product of Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts company – announces SiriusXM talk personality Andrew Wilkow will host a new, one-hour news and talk show to debut later this summer. TheBlaze says the exact start date and the name of the program will be announced later. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “TheBlaze is building a primetime lineup filled with both established talent and the voices of the future. Andrew Wilkow’s strong independence and ‘no sacred cows’ approach to the news, issues and events of the day are perfect fits for TheBlaze as we continue to expand our programming.” TheBlaze notes it already produces three hours of prime time shows including “the comedy news show ‘The B.S. of A,’ the reality show ‘Independence USA’ and other programming throughout the day led by Glenn’s show, the news show ‘Real News’ and the kid’s show ‘Liberty TreeHouse.’ The network airs over 35 hours of original programming per week and will soon provide video content on a 24/7 basis.”
Talk Icon Larry King’s Internet TV Show Debuts. Larry King’s new internet TV show – a 30–minute news and interview show – debuted last night with Seth McFarlane as his first guest. The program is a joint venture between Hulu and Ora TV. Ora TV is a digital venture being funded by Mexican media magnate Carlos Slim Helu. In a statement about the new program, Larry King says, “I have always been driven to innovate, from my time on radio, to the first call-in show on national television to being an early adopter of online columns and Twitter…I love being able to interact directly with audiences and digital TV allows me to do this in new and powerful ways.” This evening, King’s guest will be Meghan McCain with actor Matthew McConaughey on tap for Thursday’s show.
2012 Presidential Campaign, Summer Heatwave/Crops Threatened, Negative Economic Forecasts, Global Debt Crisis and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/17). The 2012 presidential campaign; the nationwide summer heat wave and the threat to the corn and grains crops; negative economic forecasts; the global debt crisis and the financial markets activities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
“Independence Day Wednesday” Provides Talk Radio with Interesting Programming Opportunities. According to a TALKERS magazine survey of talk stations across the country, the rare occurrence of July 4th falling on a Wednesday this year and not lending itself to a convenient four-day weekend, gave talk radio programmers an array of options in filling the schedule. Many gave their star performers the day off and replaced them with their own “best ofs.” Others used fill-in hosts – some cleverly taking it upon themselves to create their own Fourth of July “specials.” Others just did their shows as per the usual schedule. Almost all report that they spent extra time and attention revisiting the meaning of the holiday and the historic roots of American independence. Independence Day gives radio stations the opportunity to become engaged with local military, public safety, emergency response, community service and charitable organizations in their regions. WHYN, Springfield, Mass. morning co-host Brad Shepard performs his annual ritual of serving as master of ceremonies at the local East Longmeadow Independence Day Parade – a major two-hour regional tradition in Western Massachusetts drawing thousands of people. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, a resident of the area who attends the event each year, states, “Brad Shepard does a wonderful job announcing the details and color of this superb local parade for a large crowd of people who line the sidewalks and pack the town square in an idyllic New England small-town setting. It is an example of a beloved hometown radio personality engaging in true community involvement and a joy to behold.” Harrison (l) is greeted by Shepard (r) at the parade reviewing stand during a break in the action for a quick TALKERS photo.
When Is a Death Threat Free Speech? TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman explains some of the legal background in the murky area of free speech and language that can appear to be a threat to someone’s health or life. In the wake of the case of Timothy Demeuse – a Milwaukee man charged with a misdemeanor for writing threatening language about WIBA, Madison-based talk host Vicki McKenna – Weisman says what is considered a punishable offense is not always easy to predict. Read his column here.
Red Zebra’s Washington Redskins Radio Network Re-Inks Sam Huff and Sonny Jurgensen. National Football League Hall-of-Famers Sam Huff and Sonny Jurgensen have both re-signed with the Washington Redskins Radio Network for the 2012-2013 football season. The two will be in the booth with play-by-play man Larry Michael and WTEM, Washington’s Rick “Doc” Walker will serve as sideline reporter. Due to the rigors of travel, the 78-year-old Huff will work 12 of the 20 games – all home games and two road contests. Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff have been broadcasting Washington Redskins games together since 1981 – a span of over 600 broadcasts, including 25 playoff games and all three Super Bowl victories.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment promotes programmer Tony Travatto who moves from his post as OM and PD at CHR WNCI, Columbus to Detroit where he’ll serve as operations manager for the cluster that includes progressive talk WDTW and sports talk WDFN…..Spanish-language broadcaster Univision unveils the Univision America national talk radio network lineup that debuted on July 4. The lineup – which is expected to be heard on all of the company’s AM talk stations – includes a morning drive news block; relationships expert Dra. Isabel; current events talk with Fernando Espuelas; political talk with Helen Aguirre; and a sports talk show featuring Rafael Hernandez Brito…..Carl Amari’s “Hollywood 360” weekly nostalgia and trivia show is being syndicated nationally via Syndication Networks Corp. and Salem Radio Networks. The WIND, Chicago-based show is expected to be carried on many Salem Communications-owned stations.
Newspaper Decline Spells Opportunity for Talk Radio Sales. The problems facing daily newspapers are opportunities for local talk radio sales executives writes H & H Communications president Al Herskovitz. In this column, Herskovitz explains talk radio’s proven ability to drive traffic to the web combined with the unique personalities on the stations give it a one-two punch of marketing effectiveness. Read Al’s column here.
Fourth of July Holiday, SCOTUS ObamaCare Decision Aftermath, 2012 Presidential Race, Mid-Atlantic Storm Damage, and National Malware Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/4). Holiday topics discussed on news/talk radio on July 4th included the holiday itself; the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; the 2012 presidential race; the lingering effects of the recent Mid-Atlantic storms; and the threat of a nationwide malware attack on internet users, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CBS Radio Announces Plans to Put Sports Talk on FM in Tampa. This one’s been long-anticipated with industry watchers speculating about which signal CBS Radio would use to put sports talk on FM in the market. So Hot AC WSJT-FM, will be replaced by sports talk in August as “SPORTSRADIO 98.7 The Fan.” Currently, CBS operates WQYK – 1010 Sports – with Mike Pepper serving as assistant PD and co-host of the “Hooters Nation Morning Show” with Lynne Austin. He is promoted to program director for the new combo. CBS Radio SVP and market manager Ben Hill states, “Never before has there been a station for Tampa Bay’s passionate sports fans with such reach and ties to the community as SPORTSRADIO 98.7 The Fan. Locally based on-air personalities and a programming team with years of experience in Tampa will help shape the station as a place listeners can trust for the most honest, engaging and interactive sports talk.” A release from CBS states hosts and reporters for the station will be announced at a later date. Currently, 1010 Sports airs DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick; “The Commish with Justin Pawlowski”; J.P. Peterson in PM drive and Toby David in evenings in addition to the morning drive show. It’s not clear how or if CBS will integrate the current programming heard on 1010 Sports. About the new FM signal, Pepper says, “Being this closely involved in a radio first for Tampa listeners has been one of the most exciting opportunities in my career. Our sports landscape has changed dramatically over the last 10 years highlighted by a Super Bowl Championship for the Buccaneers, a Stanley Cup for the Lightning, and an American League title for the Rays, as well as the rise of USF football. The timing couldn’t be better for the launch of SPORTSRADIO 98.7 The Fan.”
Glenn Beck Visits Dave Ramsey Show. It’s pretty unusual for talk show hosts of their stature to be guests on one another’s shows but that’s what happened yesterday as Premiere Networks star (and multi-media pioneer) Glenn Beck was a featured guest on the nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey show. Beck appeared to speak with Ramsey about his new book, Cowards: What Politicians, Radicals, and the Media Refuse to Say (Threshold Editions 2012). The two friends complimented each other on their success and Beck told Ramsey he constantly hears from fans of his who also listen to Ramsey and tell him how he’s helped them. Beck said, “You have changed millions of peoples’ lives…I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who said, ‘You know, I was out of control, started listening to Dave and thank God, he has changed my life. Congratulations.”
Listener Driven Radio Buys Out Mike McVay. Cumulus Media senior vice president of programming Mike McVay was one of four founding members and a shareholder of LDR – Listener Driven Radio. Now, in an effort to make sure the company is not confronted with issues of conflict of interest, the company has bought the shares McVay owns back from him. McVay left his seat on the board of directors when he took the Cumulus post last fall. In a statement, president and CEO Daniel Anstandig said, “Our LDR team is often involved in strategic discussions with our station partners. We want to be beyond reproach with our clients when it comes to confidential and proprietary information. Our move to buy out Mike McVay eliminates potential conflicts for McVay in his role as a senior manager for Cumulus.” LDR has created software that allows listeners to stations to have a say in the actual programming of the music as well as software that provides hot topic data for spoken-word stations.
Arbitron Shows Efforts to Satisfy Agencies’ Desire for ROI Data. Due to the nature of the way radio has always been rated, it’s been very difficult to give advertisers who bought time via agencies the data they desire about the effectiveness of their ads. Arbitron has been working on using its PPM technology to improve advertisers’ marketing mix models with what it calls more “granular” data. Arbitron’s Bill Rose told clients in a webinar yesterday, “Buyers want more specific information – granular – about who is listening when their spots aired.” Arbitron is working with Media Monitors to provide exact times spots aired. Using marketing mix models, advertisers analyze how effective their marketing is and Rose showed three case studies of specific products or services conducted over relatively long periods of time in which granular PPM data was able to improve the scores of radio ads relative to their impact on sales. Rose also notes that in the past, any attempt to provide marketers with data on radio’s performance was time consuming and labor intensive. PPM’s granular data changes that. “After two years of intense study and experimentation, we’re happy to see that the more granular radio data can improve our ability to evaluate radio’s contribution in marketing mix models.”
Talk Radio Mobile Service Aggregator Stitcher Unveils Redesigned App. The new Stitcher app for iPhone and Android operating systems includes some new functions – the coolest of which is what it calls “Smart Station.” The Smart Station function makes recommendations for shows to check out based upon the programming to which you’re already listening – sort of like a Pandora for spoken-word shows. Stitcher CEO Noah Shanok says, “Stitcher Smart Station is designed to give our listeners more tools for discovery and personalization. Our goal is to make talk radio more accessible than ever, and listeners are responding. Since our launch of the Stitcher Election Center in May, we’ve seen an increase in listening by an average of an hour per month. We’re hoping Stitcher Smart Station gives listeners just as much, if not more, access to new, relevant content within the app.”
Salem Radio Network News Covers Plight of Dalits. Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup is pictured here in a slum in Hyderabad, India getting a close-up look at the nation’s dalits – or “untouchables.” Tradup tells TALKERS magazine that, beginning next week, SRN News will present a weeklong series on the challenges these people – especially the children – face that include malnutrition, filthy living conditions and India’s sex-trafficking trade. SRN worked with the Dalit Action Network to cover this story. Tradup says, “The most amazing thing about these children is that with so little going for them in material terms their faith nevertheless remains strong and they are some of the most outgoing, loving youngsters I’ve ever met.”
2012 Presidential Race, ‘Fast and Furious’ Battle/Executive Privilege, Trayvon Martin Case/Police Chief Fired, and Obama’s DREAM Act Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/20). The 2012 presidential campaign; the Congressional battle over Attorney General Eric Holder’s contempt charges and President Obama’s declaring executive privilege in the ‘Fast and Furious’ case; the firing of Sanford, Florida police chief Bill Lee in the Trayvon Martin case; and President Obama’s DREAM Act and the expected Supreme Court decision on Arizona’s illegal immigration law were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
America’s Radio News Network Develops Second Radio Network Featuring 24/7 News Reports. The long-form news venture crafted by Talk Radio Network known as America’s Radio News Network – which is successfully distributing three-hour blocks of all-news content to more than 275 affiliate stations – is announcing the creation of a second network dedicated to top- and bottom-of-the-hour news, breaking news bulletins, special reports and newsmaker interviews. ARNN executive vice president for news John McCaslin states, “‘Journalism Without Agenda’ is not just a marketing phrase at America’s Radio News – it’s a code we live by – and the marketplace has responded so strongly to our long-form, all-news product that the second news network of our short-form top- and bottom-of-the-hour news (plus audio actualities, special reports, news maker interviews etc…) was a natural outgrowth of this demand. We are honored to be the fastest-growing brand in news radio. We truly are ‘Journalism Without Agenda.’ This is something stations not only deeply appreciate, but have a need for like never before.” CEO Mark Masters says this means affiliate stations will not have to “break away” for news. “Bottom line, ARNN is now the complete ‘go-to’ radio news network for urgent breaking newscasts on the hour and half-hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, along with our intriguing and diverse lineup of newsmaker interviews in addition to our large array of three-hour, long-form weekday news blocks our listeners enjoy each weekday.” The new service begins April 2.
Dan Sileo Let Go from WDAE, Tampa After “Monkeys” Comment. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Tampa Bay sports talk outlet has parted company with morning drive sports talk host Dan Sileo after he referred to three NFL free agents as “monkeys.” During an exchange with producer Darek Sharp about whether the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should go after Cortland Finnegan, Jonathan Vilma and Vincent Jackson in free agency, Sileo reportedly said, “No! No! If they get those three monkeys, I’m good! I’m ready, man. I’m ready. I want those guys. Those guys are great players.” WDAE program director Steve Versnick confirmed to the Tampa Bay Tribune that Sileo is no longer with the station but would not comment on why due to the station’s policy of not discussing personnel matters. The Tampa Bay Times reports the station apologized specifically for Sileo’s remarks. As for Sileo, he tweeted to the Times’ Eric Deggans that he didn’t even realize what he’d said until someone told him. Versnick told the Tribune Rock Riley will fill in for Sileo and the station is seeking a permanent replacement. Dan Sileo has written about sports talk radio for TALKERS in the past.
Aggressive Agenda Being Set for New Media Seminar. The first of several key panel rosters for the New York installment of this year’s New Media Seminar has been announced and it promises to provide a powerful overview of the state of talk radio. Titled “Spoken Word Radio 2012, the Big Picture,” the lineup includes (in alphabetical order): Phil Boyce, VP/director, Spoken Word Format, Salem Communications; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; and Chris Oliviero, senior VP programming, CBS Radio. Michael Harrison, publisher of TALKERS will moderate. According to Harrison, “This year’s New Media Seminar will tackle a number of pressing issues facing the industry during this most transitional and turbulent year.” The 2012 version of the industry’s longest-running and most important national convention will feature a new, innovative format designed for the times – broken into two separate events: New York on Thursday, June 7 and Los Angeles on Thursday, October 11. Each will present a power-packed agenda and offer affordable, accessible registration fees to its attendees. Registration, however, is limited and only open to members of the working media. For details, click here.
Dial Global and Dennis Miller Celebrate the Host’s Five-Year Anniversary with a New Contract. The announcement from Dial Global doesn’t get specific – it calls it a long-term deal – but Dennis Miller’s gig as a nationally syndicated talk show host will continue. He began in 2007 with Westwood One and is currently heard on more than 300 affiliate stations and, according to DG, in 24 of the top 24 markets. Dial Global co-president/CEO David Landau says, “We are ecstatic about our relationship with Dennis and thrilled to be associated with a rock star and national treasure of this magnitude.” Miller is a regular contributor to Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor.” Miller and O’Reilly have been involved in a live event series dubbed the “Bolder & Fresher Tour 2011-2012” and have added new dates to that tour including June 22 in Indianapolis and June 23 in Chicago. Miller says of his radio success, “It has been a fine five years with a great and growing audience that I enjoy riffing with. As I bask in the glorious wake of modest achievement, I look forward to many more years behind the microphone.”
Saga Communications Reports Revenue Down 3.6% in Q4 of 2011. But for the entire year of 2011, Saga Communications was down just a hair – to $127.3 million in net revenue. The good news for Saga is free cash flow was up 3.6% for the quarter and 9% for the year. Also, Saga was able to reduce its debt by $27 million to $69.1 million. One thing Saga is enjoying that many other broadcasting companies surely covet is a healthy stock price. Saga’s stock closed at $41.40 per share on Tuesday – up 6.7%.
Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington Locks Up Doc Walker for Three More Years. The midday sports talk host was most recently partnered with John Thompson at WTEM but Thompson left his daily talk show host role at the station last month. Now, Red Zebra vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says the company has signed Rick “Doc” Walker to a three-year contract extension and the station will feature Walker in a new 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm program beginning March 26. Walker is also part of the broadcast team for the Washington Redskins Radio Network. Red Zebra CEO Rick Carmean states, “Doc has become an integral part of WTEM and its success for the better part of 15 years. We are excited for him to be a part of the new show and our Redskins broadcasts.”
Cumulus Media Networks Partners with APM Music for Production Library Services. Music library giant APM Music – a joint venture of EMI Music Publishing and Universal Music Publishing – partners with Cumulus Media Networks to offer its music library services to client stations. APM’s collection of music is described as offering “every imaginable genre including music from current indie bands to big sound orchestral trailer cues to a full classical music repertoire.” CMN SVP of affiliate sales and broadcast operations Dennis Green says, “Cumulus Media Networks is proud to add the APM music production library to its growing stable of products and services available to stations all over the country. APM’s library is the largest and best in the industry which will provide stations the foundation for outstanding commercial production.”
Dan LeBatard Show Markets Content via CDBaby. The WAXY, Miami PM drive show Dan LeBatard with Stugotz & Hochman is marketing some of its best-of material via CDBaby. The program has a sizable podcast following but this is the first foray in to digital media marketing. As the deal is structured, the show and station owner Lincoln Financial Media both share in the revenue. The “CD” is available through CDBaby.com, iTunes, Amazon and several other digital media sites. Marc Hochman (who is currently also program director of WAXY but is stepping down to focus on the LeBatard show) reports LeBatard’s national profile has “grown exponentially since the debut of his daily TV show, ‘Dan LeBatard is Highly Questionable,’ on ESPN 2 which is aired every day at 4:00 pm ET.” Pictured here is the “CD cover” of the digital download. Hochman says there will be no physical CDs, just the download.
GOP Southern Primaries/2012 Presidential Race, Soaring Gas Prices, Afghanistan Killings Aftermath, and Iran Nukes Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/13). Yesterday’s southern primaries for the GOP contenders and the 2012 presidential race in general; the nation’s soaring gas prices and its impact on President Obama’s approval numbers; the aftermath of the killing of 16 Afghanistan civilians by a U.S. soldier; and the ongoing tensions over Iran’s nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Reports Net Revenue Down 5.6% in Fourth Quarter of 2011; Company High on Geraldo and Huckabee. Cumulus Media Group CEO Lew Dickey and chief financial officer J.P. Hannan appeared together on yesterday’s conference call to tell analysts the company’s plans for consolidating the former Cumulus Media Partners (former Susquehanna stations) it brought into the fold in August and the former Citadel stations it closed on in September are coming together allowing them to realize the “synergies” — $10.5 million worth — within the time frame originally predicted. As far as revenue is concerned, the company saw revenue down only 1% if you exclude political advertising from Q4 one year prior. Dickey told analysts there was growth in the automotive, financial services and retail sectors in Q4 and he – like many – expects this to be a big year for political dollars. Dickey addressed the coming launch of the Mike Huckabee program and stopped short of saying Cumulus could capitalize on Rush Limbaugh’s current PR challenge but told analysts his company sees a real upside for the April launch of Huckabee’s program for which it says it has about 110 affiliates lined up already. Dickey also said that Geraldo Rivera – currently heard on WABC, New York and KABC, Los Angeles only – is ripe for national syndication and calls the New York and Los Angeles placement a “precursor” to a national rollout.
Rush Limbaugh Takes Monday Off; Premiere Networks Suspends Airing of Barter Spots for Two Weeks. Things are quieting down with regard to the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke controversy but El Rushbo took yesterday (3/12) off to play golf with regular fill-in Mark Steyn sitting in the host’s chair. Public relations and crisis management expert Brian Glicklich is working with Limbaugh’s team and it sounds as though the day off was probably his idea. At the same time, Premiere Networks issued a memo to traffic departments at news/talk affiliates and is suspending the requirement that stations run barter spots – the ones that air in addition to the network spots actually contained within Limbaugh’s and other Premiere shows – for this week and next. Premiere gives no reason for this but one could surmise it doesn’t want to have any clients’ spots air within “controversial programming” and a cool down period like this will allow it to get a handle on where these spots are to air and where they should not.
Curtis Media Blows Up “FM Talk 101.1” WZTK-FM; Programming Changes Affect WPTF, Raleigh and WSJS, Winston-Salem. Curtis Media shocks the news/talk world with the sudden announcement that eight-year-old FM talker WZTK-FM, Burlington – serving both the Triad and Triangle markets of North Carolina is signing off its talk format and will re-emerge within a few weeks. But some of the talent heard on WZTK-FM is being spread out among Curtis Media’s other news talkers in the Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem/High Point/Greensboro markets. Here’s what’s happening: First, in the Triangle market of Raleigh-Durham, Curtis drops country on WKIX at 850 AM and will operate two outlets – NewsRadio 680 WPTF and TalkRadio 850 WPTF. WPTF VP/GM David Stuckey states, “NewsRadio 680 WPTF is where people will hear about the big events of the day, while TalkRadio 850 WPTF is where they’ll talk about those stories.” Stuckey says that while WPTF has proudly conservative roots dating back to 1924, the two stations will strive for balanced news coverage and an open exchange of all opinions across the ideological spectrum. “Unlike some media outlets, we’re not going to force-feed the same political agenda ad nauseum. We’ve seen ratings slippage on stations and channels with a hard-leaning approach, and more advertisers are telling us they want media platforms that are less toxic and more civil.” As far as talent is concerned, Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire survive the cut at WZTK-FM and will host PM drive on WPTF and WSJS. Dial Global’s Neal Boortz and Clark Howard are also landing on WPTF and WSJS. Shows that “didn’t make the cut” include local host Allan Handelman, TRN’s Michael Savage and Phil Hendrie and Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes.
Larry King to Host Show on Internet TV Network. American television and radio icon Larry King is returning to the interview desk with a start-up online TV network called Ora.TV being financed by Mexican media mogul Carlos Slim. A debut date for the site has not been announced yet but the Ora.TV website says it’s coming this year. The site states, “From its inception, Ora is an internet-based on-demand network producing a wide range of programs that transcend traditional formats. Our programs will resemble broadcast TV in terms of quality, but viewers will watch when and where they like with interactive capability.” Former News Corp. president of digital journalism Jon Housman will lead the network.
Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Holds “Insight 2012” with Major Political Guests. The annual “Insight 2012” program hosted by WTMJ, Milwaukee talk host Charlie Sykes has become a must-listen for Wisconsin political aficionados the morning after it takes place. The actual event is a ticket-holder-only live event the night prior – in this year’s case, last night. Sykes hosted fellow WTMJ host Jeff Wagner and other journalists plus Wisconsin State Senate candidates Jeff Fitzgerald, Tommy Thompson, Mark Neumann and Eric Hovde. Also appearing were U.S. Representatives Paul Ryan, Reid Ribble and Sean Duffy along with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Last evening’s event is being re-broadcast this morning from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon on WTMJ.
Tribune’s WGN, Chicago Signs on with TuneIn. The “Voice of Chicago” can now be heard around the world via the free, internet service TuneIn, which boasts 30 million monthly active listeners. TuneIn vice president of programming Kevin Straley says, “WGN is known all over the country and has a rich history in Chicago. Our goal is to share all of the best programming from around the world with over 30 million monthly listeners, and partnering with WGN brings us one step closer to that goal.”
KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh Announces Pirates Broadcast Talent. CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh announces former Chicago Cubs third baseman Kevin Orie will be paired with radio host Dan Zangrilli to handle the game-day shows before and after each Pirates baseball game throughout the season. The two will host a one-hour preview program and a one-hour post-game show. Pirates broadcasters (Greg Brown, Tim Neverett, Steve Blass, Bob Walk, and John Wehner) will continue to be featured during the pre- and post-game shows, as well as calling all the action during the games.
Report: 3MTR Abandons Talk Format in Melbourne. TALKERS Australia bureau chief Trevor Smith reports on the demise of talkback radio 3MTR in Melbourne. Smith notes the station had been having financial difficulties for months and was unable to compete with Melbourne’s talk 3AW. Read more here.
Afghan Civilian Massacre, 2012 Presidential Race, HBO Palin Movie, Rush Limbaugh Controversy and Iran Nukes Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/12). The case of a U.S. Army sergeant who killed 16 civilians in Afghanistan; the GOP candidates’ battle to win the nomination to face President Obama in November; HBO’s “Game Change” film about Sarah Palin and the 2008 presidential race; the ongoing controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh; and the Iran nuclear weapons issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Phil Hendrie Walks the Red Carpet. Sure, he’s not wearing a glitzy, designer gown but he is walking on a red carpet! That’s Talk Radio Network personality Phil Hendrie at the Los Angeles Animation Festival on Saturday, March, 10. Hendrie – whose voice appears in numerous animated films and TV programs – was a cast member in Trey Parker’s and Matt Stone’s “Team America” film. Hendrie states, “I was happy to be involved in any way that I could, because that was a great work experience for me…Every time that it’s mentioned that I was in ‘Team America,’ people instantaneously recognize it. They know the voice of I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E., they know the voice of the terrorist, they know the film, so it’s like my instant credibility button.”
Radio Talk Host Lynn Samuels Dies at Age 69. Longtime New York talk radio host Lynn Samuels passed away at her home in Queens on December 24 of apparent natural causes. Samuels, who had been working at Sirius XM, was found by police after she failed to show up for her radio show earlier on Saturday. There was no sign of foul play and friends tell authorities e-mails sent Friday indicate she didn’t appear troubled. Samuels broke into commercial talk radio in the 1980s after working at Pacifica’s hard-left non-com WBAI, New York. She hosted the Saturday 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program at Buckley Broadcasting‘s WOR, New York for a period of time. Then-PD John Mainelli was overhauling the programming at WABC, New York in 1988 when he brought her aboard. He tells TALKERS she was working for nothing at WBAI when he found her, “She used to say that WBAI considered her ‘too conservative’ for them but she pulled in more money than anybody during the fund-raisers so they kept her on. She was back-to-back with Rush Limbaugh on WABC for the first few years and their ratings grew precisely in tandem.” Mainelli says subsequent management moved Samuels around the WABC schedule, eventually to weekends, before letting her go. She held a daily show at Sirius XM for a number of years before being moved to the weekend. Mainelli says that, like many other talk hosts, she cut her teeth calling in to talk shows, “In Lynn’s case, she frequently called Bob Grant and always got him so mad that he would ultimately hang up on her with his trademark, ‘Get off my phooooooooone!’ She was a grenade-armed sweetheart and steel-clad softie, incredibly mentally alert and curious about everything. Endearingly quirky and funny as hell. Listeners could never predict how she’d approach brand new topics, which is so unlike the knee-jerk partisan predictables of 2011.” SiriusXM is honoring Samuels on a special edition of The Alex Bennett Program this morning (12/27), live from 7:00 am to10:00 am ET on SiriusXM Left/ch.127. Veteran broadcaster Richard Bey, a longtime friend and colleague of Samuels, is filling as guest host of the show December 27-29 while Bennett is on vacation. On Wednesday (12/28), they will join forces — with Bey continuing to serve as guest host and Bennett returning from vacation for one day to join him in studio — to salute Samuels’ life, ideas and legendary broadcasting career, throughout which, according to a SiriusXM spokesperson, “She spoke without a filter and with honesty, humor and passion.”
Kevin McCullough Appears on TALKERS TV. Kevin McCullough, host of the daily nationally syndicated “Kevin McCullough Show” and co-host of the weekend “Baldwin/McCullough Show” with Stephen Baldwin, is interviewed by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey on TALKERS TV. The conversation took place at the recent “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row presented by TALKERS in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and Liz Claiborne, Inc. to raise awareness about the widespread societal problem of domestic violence. The seventh annual installment of this major talk media event took place in the fashion showroom at Liz Claiborne, Inc.’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters. McCullough shows Casey and the TALKERS TV audience his fascinating array of portable remote equipment conveniently set up to allow him to communicate with his audience via several venues – radio and television – utilizing audio, video and digital elements, all operable by the host himself. This informative must-see video can be viewed on the right side of this page.
Rumor: Strong FM Signal Coming for WGST, Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho is reporting that Clear Channel may be moving toward a new FM simulcast situation for news/talk WGST, Atlanta. The station is currently simulcasting on a translator at 92.3 but the signal does not penetrate the northern suburbs of Atlanta. Ho reports Clear Channel is quietly cutting the staffing at Regional Mexican “El Patron” – WBZY-FM at 105.3 – possibly with plans to move the station to a different signal and simulcast WGST on the 105.3 frequency. Ho notes that WGST had an FM simulcast at 105.7 in the 1990s but that ended in 1999.
Clear Channel Combines Two FMs with AM in Mansfield, Ohio for WMAN-AM/FM. Gone are classic hits FMs WXXR-FM and WSWR-FM as Clear Channel combines them with existing AM WMAN (1400) to create WMAN-AM/FM. Market manager Bill Clark tells the Mansfield News Journal, “The motivation to make these changes is simple. Younger radio listeners, those under 35, rarely visit the AM band. Most were raised never having been aware that the AM band existed. This gives us the opportunity to expose younger listeners to the spoken word format.” In addition to Premiere Networks programs Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, the station also airs local morning drive host Rusty Cates and the early evening sports talk show “Sports Grill” with Aaron Hines.
KQV, Pittsburgh President and GM Robert Dickey, Sr. Dies at 84. All-news KQV, Pittsburgh was purchased by Robert Dickey, Sr. and Richard Mellon Scaife in 1982 when they formed Calvary, Inc. to operate the station they believed they were saving from extinction. Calvary has operated the station ever since with many of the station’s employees having worked there for decades. Dickey died at his home in Oakland, Pennsylvania on December 24 after suffering a brief illness. Dickey started in radio at KDKA, Pittsburgh in 1954. He worked his way up in the business and eventually became general manager of WINS, New York and earned his place as part of the management team that created the “You give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world” news format. Dickey moved back to Pittsburgh in 1976 to manage Taft’s WDVE-FM and KQV. When KQV’s all-news format appeared to be in trouble, he and Scaife formed Calvary and bought the station.
Will Howard Stern’s Role on “America’s Got Talent” Hurt NBC’s Ability to Sell Ads? By now you know that it’s official that Sirius XM’s Howard Stern is replacing Piers Morgan on the very successful summer talent search program, “America’s Got Talent.” It didn’t take long for the Parents Television Council to react (they probably had the press release ready weeks ago!). PTC president Tim Winter stated, “In an act of desperation for a flailing network, NBC has hired Howard Stern – a performer who is synonymous with shock, profanity and obscenity – as a judge on a prime-time talent competition. The once-proud broadcast network has lost its way and has made it clear it holds no concern whatsoever for children and families. It also risks losing millions in advertising dollars.” We are not sure about the “flailing network” part – “America’s Got Talent” was the number one non-sports program among the four networks last summer and NBC has probably seriously considered what Stern’s effect on the program will be. Certainly Stern won’t be interviewing porn stars on the TV show but he does come with a reputation and if the PTC and other groups decide to mount a serious campaign against NBC, will they be able to hurt the network over Stern’s reputation and not what actually transpires on the show? Stay tuned.
Occupy KGO Draws Protesters to San Francisco Studios. Earlier this week TALKERS reported the planned Occupy KGO event scheduled for yesterday (12/15) in reaction to Cumulus Media’s firing of Gene Burns, Ray Taliaferro, Gil Gross and several other talk hosts as the station moves to a newsier format. The protest took place and, according to Matthew Lasar of RadioSurvivor.com, there were about 50 people gathered outside the studios at the height of the activity (accompanying photo from RadioSurvivor.com), including recently dismissed talk host John Rothman. Lasar says Rothman told him, “Our hope is that Mickey Luckoff, our former president and general manager, is in the process of putting together a deal which would take all of us to one station and hopefully we will go with our advertisers, and we’ll begin all over again.” KGO issues the following statement regarding the protest: “KGO listeners are passionate about their station. We appreciate their input and feedback as we evolve from a news/talk format to more news and information.” Occupy KGO protesters say they’ll be back on December 30 for another march.
New KABC, Los Angeles Lineup: Geraldo in, Elder to PM Drive and More. The Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan reports reliable sources tell him the new lineup for Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles is set and will debut in January. Already known is that Doug McIntyre and Terri-Rae Elmer will host “McIntyre in the Morning.” Lycan reports that Geraldo Rivera – emanating from WABC, New York – will host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show on delay. Other changes include evening host John Phillips moving from his current slot to a one-hour 9:00 am to 10:00 am program. Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity remains in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot followed by Larry Elder, who moves to the PM drive daypart from late mornings. Current AM driver Peter Tilden moves to the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show following Citadel Media Networks’ Mark Levin in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm position.
Female Demo Innovator Debbie Nigro Targets 40-Plus Female Audience with “Still a Babe” Concept. One of the holy grails in talk radio programming is figuring out a dependable method of connecting with the underserved, under-reached female market. If anyone out there has experience and a degree of success in this arena, it’s radio pro Debbie Nigro of “Working Mom on the Run” fame. Now Debbie Nigro has turned her attention to reaching women ages 40-65 with her StillaBabe.com initiative. The veteran of WPIX-FM, New York and the aforementioned nationally syndicated “Working Mom on the Run” program which made a big buzz in the 1990s says the “Still a Babe” concept comes from the sum of her life’s experiences. She tells TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian, “It is about figuring out how to enjoy your life through it all and being around people who bring out the best in you. I have great instincts about people and have so much information to share. My revenue will come from media, product sales, offline events and licensing. This is a collective power of the purse. Women want to play with whom they trust. I let my guard down so they know who I am.” Nigro’s track record warrants industry attention. Read more and see her very cool video presentation here.
“Free Talk Live” Jumps into the Fray Between Mark Levin and Michael Savage. You already know that TRN host Michael Savage offered New Gingrich $1 million to quit the GOP race and, in response, Mark Levin offered Savage $100,000 to quit his radio program. “Free Talk Live” host and founder Ian Freeman isn’t asking either host to quit his job for money. Here’s his offer: “‘Free Talk Live’ will give $1,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital if Mark Levin and Michael Savage will have lunch with an Orthodox Muslim and also an undocumented immigrant that is working to feed his or her family. Levin and Savage will have to video record their encounters and do less than 40% of the talking in each conversation. Each host can earn up to $500 for St. Jude by submitting one video for their lunch with the Muslim and another for the immigrant. Upon public upload to YouTube and once verified that the host listened in a video to at least 60% of the conversation, $250 will be given to St. Jude. If by 2012 the hosts have not accomplished this goal, ‘Free Talk Live’ will raise at least $1,000 to be given to St. Jude in the name of peace, freedom, and compassion for other humans.” If you’re interested in hearing more about this offer from Freeman, e-mail him at email@example.com.
Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts Leases Irving, Texas Studio Space for Production and Live Events. Since moving his personal residence to Texas, Premiere Networks star Glenn Beck has been working to relocate his Mercury Radio Arts production company to the Lone Star State and now it appears he’s found the space. The Studios at Las Colinas is an existing facility that’s been home to the production of Hollywood films (“Robocop,” “JFK” and “Talk Radio” to name a few). Mercury Radio Arts will lease space there for his GBTV studios from Muller Entertainment Studio Operations. The site comes complete with a 500-plus seat theater for live performances and Beck will invite live audiences for tapings of his eponymous GBTV show. He will also produce his radio program from the location. In a release, Beck says, “I have come to know and respect the people of Texas and could not be more excited about GBTV studios – the future home of GBTV and a multi-platform destination for the fusion of entertainment and enlightenment. We are proud to become part of the Dallas-Fort Worth area and are eager to become good neighbors and members of the local community.”
Cumulus Media Networks Names Jerry King Director of Operations in Dallas. Mike McVay recently left his consulting firm McVay/Cook & Associates to take the SVP of corporate programming at Cumulus. Now another McVay/Cook executive joins the Cumulus fold as Jerry King leaves his VP of operations and programming post there for the director of operations position with syndication arm Cumulus Media Networks in Dallas. King will oversee the network’s Dallas operations, as well as the program directors and the 24/7 satellite delivered radio programming in fourteen different formats originating from Dallas beginning January 1. Mike McVay states, “Jerry’s multi-format experience and expertise of the radio industry makes him a perfect fit for running our worldwide satellite operations as well as our diverse programming.”
Greater Media Introduces Anthony Michaels as New WLNK-FM, Charlotte PD. The talk-intensive Hot AC station features Bob & Sheri in AM drive and Matt and Ramona in PM drive. Anthony Michaels is the evening host and has served as interim PD for the station. Now, Greater Media Charlotte VP and market manager Rick Feinblatt announces Michaels’ new role as program director. “Anthony has done an amazing job as interim PD, along with his duties as APD and a night air shift. We look forward to him taking the station to the next level under his leadership.” Michaels replaces Kris Abrams who exited the post four months ago.
2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 12-16. The battle between GOP primary candidates and the issues being discussed as part of the 2012 presidential race landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart this week. The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research into the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio across America and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. Also on the chart this week at #2 is the threatened government shutdown/payroll tax cut issue. At #3 is the Iraq troop withdrawl and at #4 is NTSB cell phone ban proposal. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Dial Global’s Dennis Miller is picked up by Pamplin’s KKOV, Vancouver, Washington…..“The Handyman Show with Glenn Haege” adds WGDJ, Albany; WILS, Lansing; WGHN, Grand Haven, Michigan; and KSZL, Barstow, California.