Tag: "Mike Mcvay"
Cumulus Media Appoints Dimick Vice President/Programming Operations. Former Lincoln Financial Media senior vice president of programming and operations John Dimick joins Cumulus Media as vice president of programming operations. Cumulus Media senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay remarks, “John Dimick brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this position. He joins Doug Hamand and Greg Frey as a [vice president of programming operations]. Those three, along with our format specialists and analysts, will provide even more tools to our managers and program directors to employ when programming their stations.” Dimick – who begins his new assignment next Wednesday (6/1) – jokes, “I am very happy that Mike McVay would not buy my ‘retirement from the industry’ thinking. The new senior management team at Cumulus is building [something that] is extraordinary and compelling. I am flattered [corporate believes] I can help advance the growth and success of the stations and the remarkable Cumulus platform. Joining the corporate programming team with people like Greg Frey, Doug Hamand and the other pros at Cumulus is very exciting.” For the past 11 months, Dimick was franchise owner of the Dimick Automotive Group. In addition to Lincoln Financial stations in San Diego, Dimick has programmed Emmis rhythmic CHR WQHT “Hot 97,” New York; KPLZ, Seattle; KISN, Salt Lake City; and WNCI, Columbus.
WPGG, Atlantic City Morning Host Harry Hurley Donates $1,000 to the Broadcasters Foundation of America. This year’s recipient of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host (“Humanitarian of the Year”), Harry Hurley of WPGG, Atlantic City, capped off his acceptance speech last Friday (5/20) at TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations by making a donation of $1,000 to the Broadcasters Foundation of America (BFOA). For almost a decade, Harry Hurley has used his successful morning show in Atlantic City, New Jersey as a platform for the numerous fundraising activities of his Hurley Morning Show Foundation that have raised more than a half million dollars in support of more than 100 New Jersey charities and service organizations. And he has an outstanding track record of philanthropic activities going back years prior to that. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes Hurley as, “The quintessential local radio talk show host – entertaining, community-involved, well-connected and philanthropic – a veritable charity machine!” Harrison recently email blasted a powerful video plea on behalf of the BFOA to thousands of industry professionals that has drawn strong reaction and donation pledges of thousands of dollars. According to Harrison, “Radio is one of the only forms of mass media and entertainment in which charity and community involvement are part of its fundamental fabric. How many other forms of media are so quick to raise money for victims of disaster as radio? A significant percentage of the stories we cover in the trade press are about radio broadcasters rising to the occasion to help people in need – sick children, homeless veterans, single moms, victims of natural disasters, catastrophic illnesses. Helping people is a key part of all our formats. It’s what we do. But who’s out there to help individual broadcasters when WE are stricken by tragedy and have the rug pulled out from under us? That’s when the Broadcasters Foundation of America steps up to the plate. I know this for a fact, not just by reading press releases, or going to golden mic dinners and golf tournament fund-raisers – but by the personal experience of seeing, on more than one occasion, the Broadcasters Foundation of America step in and rescue sick, destitute and almost-completely broken people – who were, at one time, important players in this game – from literally being thrown out into the street.” To view a video recording of Harry Hurley’s acceptance speech and donation to the BFOA, please click here. To view Michael Harrison’s personal message on behalf of the BFOA, please click here.
Edison Research Webinar on Podcasting: Podcasting Now “Mainstream Media.” The firm Edison Research presented a webinar yesterday (5/26) on the state of podcasting conducted by its VP Tom Webster and covered for TALKERS by media consultant Holland Cooke. During the webinar, Webster stated, “It’s safe at this point to call podcasting ‘mainstream media.’” Cooke comments, It’s always puzzled me how talk radio demonizes that term, while sales reps have been telling prospects that their stations ARE mainstream. What advertiser wants to utilize FRINGE media?” Admitting he’s wary of making predictions, Webster did venture that “Podcasting has been a medium of slow, steady growth. This year, we saw a spike we haven’t seen before. If we’re looking for that ‘hockey stick pattern,’ I’m willing to give you a confident ‘maybe’.” For full details of the information-packed webinar, see Holland Cooke’s coverage by clicking here.
MLB Flagships: Part Two. In the second of a multi-part series, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian recaps the performance of Major League Baseball‘s radio flagships. In a ratings overview based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2016 PPM survey period, Mike highlights each key station’s 6+ share; 6+ market rank; month-to-month and year-to-year fluctuations; and a special breakout chart featuring the flagships by league/division. Whereas all five NL Central key stations can be found in the April 2016 top ten (6+), no AL West flagship finishes higher than #20. Three AL East flagships reach the top ten in April 2016 (6+), as do three key stations of AL Central teams. See the second edition of this exclusive special feature piece about MLB flagships here.
“Sugar Mom” Marshall’s Meaningful Marking. While “voiceover artist,” “audio producer,” and “author” are apt summations of Robin Marshall, the most important depiction of the Dallas-based talent is that she is a one-year cancer survivor. Marshall will release recordings of “Lemons to Lemonade” blogs, which she wrote while undergoing aggressive ovarian cancer treatment. Those episodes will be part of the “Sugar Mom” podcast, leading up to National Cancer Survivors Day next Sunday (6/5). Starting next month, Marshall will distribute her audio book “The Diary of a Sugar Mom: Don’t Tell the Kids” free via her “Sugar Mom” podcast on various podcast directories. Marshall comments, “I want women and men who subscribe to my podcast and/or visit my Facebook page to understand what the concept of a ‘Sugar Mom’ really is, and more importantly, what it is not. If you can try one new thing a day, you are headed towards becoming who you used to be and now want to be again.” The “Sugar Mom” podcast releases new episodes Tuesdays and Thursdays. Marshall spent 20 years as a New York City on-air talent and she is the imaging voice for several radio stations. Since being diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer, she underwent weekly chemotherapy treatments in Dallas; she is in full remission.
Millennials Account For 66.5 Million Radio Users. This is not a homogeneous group with a common set of beliefs, interests, and behaviors; ungrouping millennials can help advertisers, agencies, and radio stations understand each group more closely. Nielsen‘s Q4 2015 “Total Audience Report” separated 18-34s into three groups: “Dependent Adults” (those living in someone else’s home); “On Their Own” millennials (those living in their own home without children); and “Starting a Family” millennials” (those living in their own home with children). The data shows 97% of 18-year-olds live in someone else’s home. By their mid-30s, 90% of millennials live in their own home, and more than half have children. Radio is an important part of a millennial’s life and they listen to it in many ways. In the average week, radio reaches about 92% of “Starting a Family” millennials; 90% of “Dependent Adult” millennials”; and 89% of “On Their Own” millennials. CHR is the number one format for all three groups, but “Dependent Adult” millennials, who tend to live at home with their parents or another adult, listen to more classic rock, classic hits-oldies, and urban AC than the overall millennial group. “Dependent Adult” millennials listen to these formats because they are exposed to them by older adults in the home. “On Their Own” millennials are the least ethnically diverse group and they show a preference for non-ethnic formats like hot AC and alternative. They also listen to sports stations more than the other two millennial groups. Radio reaches 90% of all 18-34 African-Americans each week with urban AC the top format among this group. “Starting A Family” millennials include the highest percent of Hispanic and Spanish-speaking listeners. In this group, regional Mexican has the third-highest share of listening time. Overall, 16% of this group’s listening is spent with a Spanish language format. That is more than three times the amount of “On Their Own” millennials.
All Roads Lead to the “Pothole Derby.” A constant critic of the legislature’s “lack of action” regarding South Carolina road conditions – which station executives classify as being a “wreck” – Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg talker WYRD-FM “Word” announces a contest focusing on the Upstate’s pothole crisis. Operations manager Mark Hendrix remarks that his station’s listeners are “fed up with our terrible roads, huge potholes, and auto damage, so we are paying them to document how bad our roads really are. We are grateful to have the support of First Class Halt to help us with the ‘Pothole Derby.'” Listeners who submit photos of the biggest, deepest, potholes could win $500 in repair services from the station and their promotion sponsor. Approved pothole pictures will be posted on the WYRD-FM “Word” website. In addition, listeners are encouraged to contact the South Carolina Department of Transportation to file complaints about potholes. Only eight stations (four owned by SummitMedia and four iHeartMedia properties) are listed in Nielsen Audio‘s winter 2016 book for Greenville-Spartanburg (market #59). SummitMedia urban AC WJMZ “107.3 Jamz Today’s R&B” ranks first with an 11.0 (12+).
Getting Together with Smaldone. For almost 24 years, Valerie Smaldone was the mid-day talent at market dominant adult contemporary WLTW “Lite-FM,” New York. More recently, she has been hosting/producing a variety of projects. The latest for the imaging voice of CBS Radio New York all-newser WINS is “Hit Makers: Music Icons in Performance and Conversation”; Tommy James (“Tommy James & The Shondells“) was her first guest and he sang several of his hits. In addition, Smaldone interviewed him about his book “Me, The Mob, and the Music,” as well as his days with Roulette Records. For the past two years, Smaldone’s weekly, three-hour Envision Networks’ talk show “America Weekend with Valerie Smaldone & Friends” is heard in 15 markets.
KCMO-AM Slots Mysterious Saturday Morning Show. The unusual and the unexplained will be explored on the weekly, one-hour (6:00 am – 7:00 am) Wendy Garrett-hosted “Wendy’s Coffeehouse” that debuts next week (Saturday, 6/4) on Cumulus Media Kansas City talker KCMO-AM. Garrett “guarantees” the program will, “cover information and material you will not hear in the normal run of the news. It will address the unusual, under-reported, unexplained, and the mysterious.” Topics to be covered include UFO sightings, near-death experiences, innovative living strategies, and government disclosure issues. Among those already booked are “Children of Roswell” authors Thomas J. Carey & Donald R. Schmitt, who will discuss the aftermath and lifetime impact Roswell has had. Robbie Holz (“Secrets of Aboriginal Healing”) will explain beliefs and principles of the 60,000-year-old healing practices of the Australian Aborigines, who claim their techniques can help cure arthritis and cancer. Nick Redfern (“Weapons of the Gods”) will provide “evidence” that ancient civilizations developed and thrived until they “moved to self-destruction, using weapons with terrifying power.” Prior to working for KCMO-AM, Garrett – who claims to live in a haunted house – has been a reporter, host, and anchor on Kansas City outlets KCKC, KFKF, and KRVK. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio‘s April 2016 PPM ratings period, KCMO-AM is in a three-way tie at #20 and is down or flat for the fifth straight time (1.9 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.2); Entercom hot AC KZPT is at #1 (6.9, 6+).
Presidential Race/Trump Protests Top Talkers TenTM for Week of May 23-27. The activities of the candidates for president and the violent anti-Trump protests in New Mexico and California were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week. At #2, the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the FBI’s investigation of Virginia Governor and longtime Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe for alleged campaign finance improprieties were tied. And following at #3 was President Obama’s trip to Vietnam and the related increase in Chinese naval activity. 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 magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Beasley Broadcast Group Board Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend. It is for $0.045 per share of its “Class A” and “Class B” common stock. The dividend is payable on July 8 to shareholders of record on June 30. While Beasley Broadcast Group intends to pay regular quarterly cash dividends for the foreseeable future, all subsequent dividends will be reviewed quarterly and declared by the board at its discretion.
Odds & Sods: WHO, Des Moines afternoon driver Simon Conway pulls off a triple play today. In addition to doing his 9:00 am – 11:00 am show on WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids (Iowa) and hosting his 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm program on WHO, Des Moines, he will fill in on Joe Pagliarulo‘s syndicated “Joe Pags Show.”
Price: Weighing Public Safety vs Risk of Assisting Threatmongers in Reporting to Your Listeners. The recent terroristic threats against the New York City and Los Angeles public school districts – which turned out not to be true – present a bit of a potential problem for radio stations and news organizations. ABC Television director, business continuity Howard B. Price writes today in TALKERS, “Critical to the discussion is the hard reality that those who make these threats are banking on a response from both authorities AND the media. Thankfully, even in these troubled times, most threats are hoaxes made to seize on public fear. The hoaxers find out about that response the same way the rest of us do – through the media. SO what to do? As with most professional challenges, the process begins with an internal conversation, specific to your station and market. For example, do you have a policy document to guide your decision making in such dynamic breaking news situations?” Read more here.
Cumulus Media Names Suzanne Grimes to President of the Westwood One Division and EVP of Corporate Marketing Roles. According to Cumulus Media, this new role of president of the Westwood One Division “creates a unified structure that maximizes opportunities across the division’s national content and sales platform.” Steve Shaw, president of Westwood One, will continue to lead ad sales, and Charles Steinhauer, COO of Westwood One, will continue to lead operations, both reporting directly to Grimes, who in turn reports to company CEO Mary Berner. Grimes was most recently president and COO of Clear Channel Outdoor. Berner states, “When it comes to anything in media, Suzanne’s the full package. With 30 years of experience building content businesses into high-performing brands, she brings valuable perspectives from leadership roles in outdoor, mobile, social, digital, print and experiential sectors for both public and private companies, so she’s a natural choice for these important roles. I look forward to her contribution as we build a stronger, more operationally focused organization.”
Newly Re-Organized Corporate Structure at Cumulus Includes Tommy Page and Mike McVay Taking on New Responsibilities. As part of her memo to Cumulus Media staff of Suzanne Grimes’ new role, CEO Mary Berner also explained some of the other changes atop the corporate structure at the company. Working for Grimes will be the company’s chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard and VP of social media Lori Lewis. Berner announces Tommy Page’s new title will be SVP of brand partnerships & NASH in which he’ll continue his role as leader of platform events initiatives and brand partnerships, corporate marketing function, and new duties including the development and execution of the NASH brand strategy. Berner says the company is creating a new Office of Programming in which SVP of content & programming Mike McVay will operate to “lead our content strategy across the platform, including talent recruitment and development and label relations.” Tom Schurr, SVP of operations, will work with McVay in a new role overseeing the business aspects of programming, including organization and prioritization, resource allocation, and budget responsibilities. Berner concludes, “Our belief with regard to ratings is that more local insight and more effective corporate support will result in an improved outcome. The new Office of Programming will be responsible for executing this strategy to drive ratings growth and will be rolling out more details in the coming weeks.”
Jim Bohannon to Exit ‘America in the Morning’; Continues Late Night Show. Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim Bohannon is cutting back on his duties for Westwood One and is leaving the hosting role for “America in the Morning” after the December 18 broadcast. He is continuing his work as host of the late night Jim Bohannon show. He signed a multi-year contract extension with Westwood One in February of this year. Bohannon has been the sole host of “America in the Morning” since its first broadcast in 1984. The morning magazine program airs on more than 250 stations nationwide. Taking over for Bohannon is the show’s regular guest host John Trout. He officially begins on Monday, January 18, 2016. Bohannon comments, “It’s time for me to cut back the daily schedule a bit and focus my attention on the research, interviews, and calls for my weeknight Jim Bohannon show. But I’ll still be contributing my daily feature, the ‘Offbeat,’ and my newsmaker interviews to ‘America in the Morning.’ Listeners will love John Trout as host. He’s got a stellar track record and he’s been a terrific fill-in. The show is in great hands and I wish him much success.”
Tom Leykis’ New Normal Projecting Another Profitable Year. New Year’s Eve will be the sixth anniversary of The New Normal – the audio content company founded by radio legend Tom Leykis after exiting his CBS RADIO talk show in 2009. Leykis has long been a vocal proponent of the digital delivery system for taking audio content into the future. Today, he reports that as 2015 winds down, The New Normal is financially continuing on an upward trend. Leykis tells TALKERS that revenue is up for the third straight year. Profits will increase from $23,000 in 2014 to almost $100,000 in 2015. He adds, “This means that, for the second year in a row, we will be more profitable than the top two radio companies combined.”
Odds & Sods. Are there wrinkles in the future of the Bob & Tom Show post-Bob Kevoian? TALKERS sources are hearing that negotiations between the syndicated program’s management and staff are hitting snags. Kevoian announced his retirement at the recent Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony and although the show is moving forward with Tom Griswold continuing his role, rumors are that negotiations for contract renewals with longtime cast member Kristi Lee and contributor Ron Sexton are facing challenges…..Software platform provider Mediaocean announces it is integrating iHeartMedia within its Spectra platform. As a result, within one central system, ad agencies are able to seamlessly manage, research, and buy local digital audio inventory across the iHeartMedia digital platform. Mediaocean says users will be able to compare iHeartMedia’s audience data side-by-side with other digital audio platforms to better plan campaigns and engage the right audiences at the local level.
Covering the GOP Debate. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is seen here gesturing as he makes a point while speaking with Salem Radio Network personalities Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager and Michael Medved (who are out of the picture to the right) while SRN VP news & talk programming Tom Tradup holds the mic. The exchange took place during SRN’s exclusive radio distribution of the Republican presidential debate. SRN talk host Hugh Hewitt appeared on the CNN debate panel asking questions of the GOP hopefuls.
Run-Up to Last Night’s GOP Debate/2016 Presidential Race, Refugee and Immigration Policy, Los Angeles and New York Schools Terror Threats, Battle Against Islamic State, Freddie Gray Trial, Government Shutdown Threat, and New Star Wars Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/15). The build-up to last night’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas and the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; debate over policy regarding refugees from Syria and over immigration in general; terror threats against the New York and Los Angeles public school districts and criticism over LA’s decision to cancel school; the battle against Islamic State; the wait for the verdict in the case against the first of six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray; the move in Congress to avert a government shutdown; and the hype over the new Star Wars film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Paris Attacks Aftermath and Brussels Tensions Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris, the question of how to deal with Syrian refugees and specific threats to Brussels, Belgium were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend. The Paris aftermath and the Syrian refugee question ended last week as the top stories, landing atop the weekly Talkers TenTM chart, and they continued to be top points of discussion for news/talk outlets that featured live and local programs or carried live national shows over the weekend.
Cumulus Expands Bill Hess’ Role in DC to Operations Manager. Programming pro Bill Hess – currently serving as program director for news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington and Cumulus Media corporate PD/talk – is adding operations manager duties for the Washington. DC cluster. Hess’ 38-year radio career has provided him with experience across numerous radio formats. In addition to his news/talk and sports radio programming experience, he’s also programmed ACs WSNE, Providence; WHYN-FM, Springfield, MA; and WASH, Washington and classic rock WBIG, Washington. Cumulus SVP, content and programming Mike McVay says, “Bill is an exceptional programmer. The growth that WMAL has experienced under his direction is nothing short of astounding. He has excelled as a corporate PD and will continue in that role. Bill is deserving of this recognition.” Hess says of his new duties, “On the heels of our team’s success at WMAL, I’m thrilled to be working with Louie Diaz on the rebirth of Washington’s legendary ‘Mix 107.3.’ Thanks to Gary Pizzati, Mike McVay, Jake McCann and Beth Cohen for this opportunity.”
Bill Spadea Replaces Jim Gearhart on New Jersey 101.5 AM Drive Show. Back in September, WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” morning drive personality Jim Gearhart suffered a severe concussion at his home while on vacation. Recovery from the injury has been difficult, putting Gearhart on an extended leave of absence. Now, Townsquare Media announces that Gearhart will not be able to return to his duties with the station and that Bill Spadea is assuming the role of host of the morning show. Gearhart had been with the station for the past 25 years and is a member of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Spadea has been Gearhart’s chief fill-in since 2014 and voices the station’s daily feature “Bill Spadea’s New Jersey.” Spadea says, “I’ve always looked up to Jim Gearhart as a legend in New Jersey media. His shoes are too large for me to ever fill completely, but I am honored and humbled and will try my best to live up to his legacy of unequaled radio and service to the people of New Jersey.”
Detroit Lions Deny Trying to Silence WXYT-FM’s Mike Valenti. Usually when a radio station ceases to be a pro sports team’s flagship, it’s because of money – either the rights got too expensive or the station was outbid. But CBS RADIO Detroit market manager Debbie Kenyon says in a statement that Lions management wanted to pressure the station into firing talk host Mike Valenti for his staunch criticism of the team’s performance. Kenyon issued the following statement, “CBS RADIO and the Detroit Lions are parting ways. ‘97.1 The Ticket’ has served as the flagship station for the Lions for more than a decade. CBS RADIO says it has been negotiating with the Lions a long time. It is sad to say goodbye, but in the end it came down to the integrity of CBS — the refusal to be censored in talking about the team and making honest assessments on the air about this team.” Crain’s Detroit Business reports the team says that isn’t true. It quotes Elizabeth Parkinson, Lions’ SVP of marketing and partnerships, saying the mandate to fire Valenti in order to get a renewal with the club is “categorically a lie” and that Cumulus simply offered a better deal. But in the Crain’s piece, Valenti’s manager, Mort Meisner, said the team made Valenti’s firing part of the conditions for renewing with the team and that team officials were regularly calling Kenyon to complain about Valenti’s criticism of the team’s performance and its management. Read it here.
Odds & Sods. Conservative talk pro Steve Malzberg – seen nightly on Newsmax TV – is sitting in for Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett on his morning drive show, “Bill Bennett’s Morning In America” this Friday (11/27)…..The NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers will remain with iHeartMedia in the Steel City as the team and the company come to terms to keep games airing on rock WDVE and sports talk WBGG-AM/W292DH-FM. The renewed deal extends through the 2018 season and contains elements of promotional support for the Steelers via iHeartMedia’s six Pittsburgh stations.
Legendary WCCO, Minneapolis Personality Charlie Boone Dies at 88. As one half of the morning radio team “Boone and Erickson,” Charlie Boone was a fixture on Twin Cities radio for some 40 years, literally owning the daypart during the halcyon days of AM radio from the 1960s through the 1990s. He died on Sunday (11/22) at the age of 88. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports he and Roger Erickson worked together for 37 years before Erickson’s retirement in 1998. Boone continued to host a solo Saturday morning show from that point until 2010. Boone arrived at WCCO from his previous gig in Fargo in 1959. He and fellow air staffer Erickson hit it off personally and management put them together on the radio in 1961.
Bill Payne Dies at 76. Oklahoma broadcaster Bill Payne passed away in Tulsa on Friday 11/20 at the age of 76. Payne was the founder of the Oklahoma Academy of Radio. Payne was a pioneer in the field of FM broadcasting putting KWHP-FM, Edmond, Oklahoma on the air in 1962. His Payne Radio Group operates 13 stations across eastern Oklahoma. The company continues to be led by Payne’s son Will Payne.
L.A. Times’ Plaschke Joins Sports Talk KFWB, Los Angeles for Mornings. The KFWB Asset Trust-owned sports talker operated by CBS RADIO announces Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke (left) is being partnered up with sports journalist Jeanne Zelasko (right) to co-host the station’s new morning drive show titled, “Plaschke and Zelasko.” The morning show has been anchored by Zelasko since the station flipped to sports talk last year as “The Beast 980.” KFWB program director Tom Lee states, “‘Plaschke and Zelasko’ will be one of the most dynamic and freshest morning shows not only on sports radio but on L.A. radio in general. Bill is the ultimate fit for the one sports station truly devoted to Los Angeles fans and it will be exciting to get three hours of him every day.” Plaschke has written for the L.A. Times since 1987 and has been the Associated Press National Sports Columnist of the Year five times. He is a regular panelist on ESPN‘s “Around the Horn” talk show and has written five books.
Michael Harrison Gets “Up Close and Far Out” with 1970s Media Icon Jo Ann Pflug. She was one of the most beautiful and versatile media stars of the 1970s – a motion picture and TV actress, prolific game show panelist, and former LA television talk show pioneer at KHJ-TV (in the late 1960s). During the height of her popularity, she had roles in some of the most iconic films of the day (she burned up the screen as Lt. “Dish” in the original motion picture version of “MASH” as seen at right) and worked with a seemingly endless parade of cinema legends such as Yul Brynner, Peter Sellers and many more. Today Jo Ann Pflug is still going strong. Based in Palm Beach County, Florida, the 70-something, still-gorgeous, dynamo occasionally appears on local radio interviewing the many stars (past and present) that live in or pass through the Palm Beaches, teaches commercial acting, provides politicians and public speakers with media training, lectures about her immensely colorful career, and is putting the final touches on a soon-to-be published book of personality profiles and anecdotes. Michael Harrison states, “The fabulous Ms. Pflug was one of the most fun interviews I’ve conducted thus far for this podcast series [Podcast One’s international hit “Up Close and Far Out”]. I tied it into my take on the wonders of YouTube where, of course, endless archives of historic videos of classic film, TV, commercials, and news events continue to grow and where the work of such iconic media figures as this amazingly cool woman will live forever.” To listen to this podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Hofstra University’s WRHU, Hempstead Part of Islanders Radio Network. For the sixth season, Hofstra University radio station WRHU will serve as a play-by-play outlet for New York Islanders hockey. Concurrent with the team’s move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn as its new home, the Barclays Center announces the formation of the New York Islanders Radio Network that also includes NYC Media-owned WNYE and JVC Media’s news/talk WRCN, Riverhead. Chris King continues his role as play-by-play announcer and Greg Picker becomes color analyst.
Odds & Sods. Satcaster SiriusXM is presenting MLB post-season play-by-play. Additionally, Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo is hosting his daily show, “Mad Dog Unleashed,” live from the ballpark before each World Series game – 4:00 pm ET. Russo’s MLB Network show, “High Heat with Christopher Russo,” which simulcasts daily on MLB Network Radio, is also being broadcast live on location at 3:00 pm ET before every World Series game…..Cumulus interim EVP/programming Mike McVay (right) is pictured here during a visit to news/talk WABC, New York where he was greeted by midday program co-host Curtis Sliwa (left) of the Curtis and [Ron] Kuby show…..KXL, Portland and Compass Media syndicated talk host Lars Larson is hosting the USO Northwest 5 Star Gala on Saturday, October 10 in Seattle. The event supports the men and women of our armed forces through an evening dinner and auction. Larson states, “My mother and father both served in the Navy. In fact, I was born on a military base in Taiwan. That’s the kind of sacrifice a lot of military families make to serve their country. I’m delighted to be able to help out in any way, an organization that services 600-thousand service members and their families in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.”
KKOB’s Presence at the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival. The KKOB hot air balloon is seen here landing in a local neighborhood during the ongoing Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The event began on October 2 and runs through October 11. This world-famous festival was created by KKOB in 1972 as the station celebrated its 50th anniversary. KKOB is the official radio station of Balloon Fiesta.
Oregon College Massacre Aftermath/Gun Control, 2016 Presidential Race, Russia’s Military Campaign in Syria, GOP House Leadership Battle, South Carolina Floods, U.S. Bombs Afghan Hospital, Obama Trade Deal, Violent Air France Employee Protest, and NFL and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/5). The aftermath of last week’s deadly shooting at an Oregon community college and the greater topic of gun control; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; Russia’s military actions in Syria; the contentious battle for Speaker of the House among GOP Representatives; the bombing of an Afghanistan hospital by U.S. forces; criticism of the Obama Pacific trade deal; the violent assault on Air France executives by workers; and the weekend’s NFL and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Alpha Media Airs Public Service Campaign for South Carolina. Radio’s Alpha Media has engaged a public service campaign to assist the American Red Cross in its work helping those affected by the flooding in South Carolina. The company is airing PSAs, promos and social media posts in all 35 Alpha markets. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick comments, “All of us here at Alpha Media are in shock and devastated by the loss our fellow Alpha family members are experiencing. Words cannot begin to describe what they are going through, it’s unbelievable. We are appreciative of the Red Cross and what they are doing and want to continue to ask everyone to help out any way they can; by texting REDCROSS to 90999 or by helping run PSAs to support the efforts of the Red Cross.”
Wheatstone Brings VoxPro into Family with Audion Labs Acquisition. Digital audio editor VoxPro is now part of the Wheatstone family of radio products as the company acquires VoxPro producer Audion Labs. Audion will remain a separate brand under the Wheatstone banner. Wheatstone CEO Gary Snow states, “This is a terrific little company that, with one product, has made a big difference in the day-to-day operations of most radio stations.”
BMI Foundation Announces Scholarship Competition. A new scholarship competition is now open to radio broadcasting students nationwide as the BMI Foundation announces the establishment of the BMI Founders Award. Broadcast Music, Inc. is funding the scholarship “for the purpose of cultivating future innovators of broadcast radio.” A $5,000 scholarship will be awarded for the best original essay response entry. Aspiring radio newscasters, announcers, sales executives, program directors, etc. are encouraged to apply. BMI Foundation president Deirdre Chadwick says, “Broadcast Music, Inc. was founded by a group of radio industry leaders in 1939 as the only American performing rights organization to welcome and represent creators of all genres of music. The BMI Founders Award honors the architects of this groundbreaking mission, while identifying and supporting future trailblazers of radio broadcasting.” Competition entrants must be current students at accredited U.S. colleges or universities, between the ages of 17 and 24, and degree candidates in Broadcast Communications or related majors. Applicants will be evaluated based on their essay response, letter of recommendation, and academic record. Online applications open October 1, 2015 and must be completed no later than February 15, 2016. For more information, please visit www.bmifoundation.org/broadcast.
Logan adds WFTW Programming Duties. One-year hot AC WNCV “Coast 93.3” program director and morning talent “Logan” takes on similar responsibilities within the Cumulus Media Fort Walton Beach (Florida) cluster for talk WFTW. Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “Logan has done an outstanding job since joining the Fort Walton Beach/Destin cluster. It has been a pleasure watching him work to make a significant impact in both ratings and revenue with WNCV. I am very excited we are recognizing his talent and affording him additional opportunities to grow with our company.” Corporate program director for news-talk-sports Jim Mahanay remarks, “I am excited anytime we can have a programmer with a fresh perspective enter the news/talk format. Logan has proven himself as a strong music PD and he now has that opportunity in news/talk.” Logan offers a “big thanks” to DeSimone, Mahanay, and Cumulus Media senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay. “Cumulus has given me opportunities – I am going to grow with them,” Logan states. “I am a huge fan of the news-talk format, and I cannot wait to get audio from Michael Savage.” Prior to joining WNCV, “Logan” spent eight years as morning host/assistant program director/music director for Philadelphia hot AC WISX “Mix106.1.” His resume also includes stops in New York City at CHR WHTZ “Z-100” and in Dallas at hot AC KDMX.
Nielsen Audio Releases Final Round of July 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio July 2015 PPM ratings data has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The July 2015 survey period covered June 18 through July 15. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. In addition, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods: This past Monday (8/3), Westwood One host Mark Levin surpassed the one-million level of Facebook “Likes.” His book, “Plunder and Deceit,” was released the following day (Tuesday, 8/4) and it has reached #1 on Amazon‘s “Best Seller” list…..In an October 13 simulcast with CNN, Westwood One will be the exclusive radio provider of coverage from the first Democratic primary debate of the 2016 presidential race. The debate will take place in Nevada, with exact location details to be announced later. CNN will serve as moderator and exclusive national broadcaster of that debate.
Rick Lewis Hits Quarter Century Mark Hosting “Talky” Mornings at Classic Rocker, KRFX, Denver. For over two decades the “Lewis & Floorwax Show” dominated the morning airwaves on iHeartMedia’s KRFX-FM (The Fox), Denver. The show was an excellent example of the widespread genre of music radio morning shows that lean heavily on pop cultural talk content. Suddenly in January of 2014, co-host Michael Floorwax retired from the airwaves, by his own choosing, due to an ongoing chronic health issue that began acting up. His co-host Rick Lewis was encouraged to keep the show going as it had a very loyal fan base and was an extremely dependable “revenue machine.” Lewis re-tooled the mostly spoken word show (that plays approximately two songs per hour), renamed it “The Rick Lewis Show” and forged ahead. Fans were happy and relieved that the show continued. Advertisers continued their support and The Rick Lewis Show has more than survived, it has thrived. Nielsen Audio spring PPM numbers indicate that “The Fox” is the market’s top station among adults 25-54. Ratings are up from 2014 and so is revenue. On July 31, 2015 Rick Lewis celebrated 25 years as the morning radio host at the station – a rarely achieved milestone in the radio industry. Lewis tells TALKERS, “I have many people to thank including my long-time friend and radio partner Kathy Lee who really stepped up her game. Thanks to my long-time partner Michael Floorwax for a helluva run, you are missed!” Lewis adds, “Also the support of the rest of the crew in the morning, Colfax, Dragon Redbeard and Robbyn Hart has been significant. Thanks also to Michael Harrison, a visionary man who gave me my first big break at KMET, Los Angeles in 1984. I was just out of college, working at that heritage radio station with some legendary radio performers. Mike believed in me and gave me my first full time job in LA.” Harrison recalls, “I recognized immediately that this earnest young man was the total package. He had movie star looks, a command of album rock and its culture, and most importantly the ability to adeptly punctuate his jock work with listener calls and artist interviews – a quality I always looked for in DJs during my rock PD days.” KRFX is the FM home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos and the multi-faceted Lewis also hosts the official Denver Broncos pre-game show every week during the football season. And if that isn’t enough Lewis has a band, The Rick Lewis Project, featuring some of the most acclaimed musicians in the region. As a drummer for the band, Lewis has played as opening act with legends such as BB King, James Brown, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Def Lepard, and The Who among others. When he is not on the radio or playing in his band, Lewis finds time to perform in the Denver area as a stand-up comic. He also recently shot a TV pilot called “Ride Away,” a motorcycle adventure show. The show is currently being shopped and produced by reality TV’s famous bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman and his wife Beth. Lewis believes “the secret to longevity in the business is to have many irons in the fire.” He tells TALKERS, “I still get up every morning and can’t wait to get behind the microphone and entertain the fans in Denver. For years, I always thought KMET in LA would be the pinnacle of my radio career, man was I wrong!”
Beasley Broadcast Group Reports Q2 Results. Second quarter net revenue is up $1.1 million ($25.9 million to $27 million), but Beasley Broadcast Group‘s net income is off by $500,000 ($3 million to $2.5 million). This past December, Beasley and CBS Radio completed a 14-for-five swap involving three markets. CBS Radio acquired two Philadelphia stations (WRDW and WXTU), as well as three Miami outlets (WKIS, WPOW, and WQAM). In exchange, Beasley picked up one Philadelphia station (WIP-FM); six Tampa facilities (WHFS-AM, WHFS-FM, WLLD, WQYK, WRBQ, and WYUU); and seven Charlotte properties (WBAV, WBCN, WFNZ, WKQC, WNKS, WPEG, and WSOC). According to Beasley chair and chief executive officer George Beasley, the company’s second quarter results “reflect a continuation of recent overall industry and market trends.” On a pro forma basis, net revenue decreased 6.0% while SOI declined 8.4%. “The decline in pro forma revenue is primarily attributable to overall weakness in Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Wilmington [Delaware], which resulted in reduced operating leverage and ultimately impacted SOI,” Beasley comments. “We were able to partially offset the revenue decline, however, through cost reductions that resulted in a 4.9% – or $1 million – reduction in station operating expenses. We also made further progress on our debt reduction efforts during the quarter, while continuing our commitment to return capital to shareholders.” Addressing the station swap with CBS Radio, Beasley remarks, “It substantially broadened and diversified our local radio and marketing solutions platform. Since closing, we have been initiating strategies to extract operating and financial synergies. We are actively implementing integration, cost efficiency and operating plans while remaining true to our value proposition by focusing on targeted localism and delivering quality programming, effective online marketing solutions and dedicated service to listeners and advertisers in these markets.” As far as the future is concerned, he notes the company remains “focused on operating our station clusters to match or exceed their market’s revenue performance while further strengthening our balance sheet. We believe our integration, programming, personnel, cost-efficiency and operating changes are now showing progress.”
Barack Obama and Donald Trump were the Most Talked About People on News/Talk Radio this Week. GOP Debate(s) on Fox, the Iran Nukes Deal and Immigration Reform Lead the Topics Discussed. According to TALKERS research, the just-concluding week of August 3-7, 2015 has been dynamic to say the least as the brewing interest in the presidential race of 2016 reached its first major boiling point with yesterday’s (8/6) long anticipated GOP debate(s) on the Fox News Channel and Fox News Radio gathering enormous attention and conversation. Other hot topics included the Iran nuke deal, ISIS activity, immigration reform, race relations, the Planned Parenthood funding issue, Hillary Clinton’s emails, and the Nashville theater attack. To see the entire list of the week’s most talked about topics and people, please click here.
Michael Harrison Chats with Former FEMA Director (and Current KHOW, Denver Talk Host) Michael D. Brown as 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Approaches. It was almost a decade ago (August 23-31, 2005) that Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast of the United States with winds of up to 175 mph and flood waters of biblical proportions rising from the ocean and falling from the sky — leaving in its wake almost 1,900 fatalities, $108 billion in damages, and countless casualties and lives upended. Michael D. Brown – the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the time and Under Secretary of Homeland Security (“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”) became the official poster boy for everything that went wrong with the federal government’s too-little-too-late response to one of the greatest disasters in American history. Some of the criticism that fell upon Brown was deserved – but much of it wasn’t. After all, it was an epic crisis and involved numerous overlapping agencies, governments, and politicians charged with making things right. Brown took a severe beating from the media as well as a proverbial bullet for the team and stepped down from his position with the Bush Administration. A lawyer by trade, Brown went on with his life, taking away an enormous amount of wisdom and experience from the episode. Undaunted, he began speaking to groups around the country about the insidious side of politics, and the human complexity of management and team play. He wrote a candid book about his role (and responsibility) in Katrina — Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm, Hurricane Katrina, the Bush White House, and Beyond (Taylor Trade, 2011). He also began a successful talk show hosting career in Denver – first at KOA and then at KHOW, where he presently presides over a daily program 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm MT. In the newly posted installment of the weekly international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” (8/4), Brown is interviewed by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison about inside-Washington politics, the war on terror, the nature of the political mind, the psychological profile of presidents, the general state of media and journalism as well as what his life is like as a big market talk show host 10 years after Katrina. To hear this must-listen conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Cool Job Opportunity. Salem Radio in New York is looking for a dynamic individual to join the sales team for “AM970 The Answer,” which is news/talk format, and the legendary WMCA “AM570 The Mission, New York’s Christian Talk.” Compensation is commensurate with degree of experience and skills. This is a fabulous career opportunity for the right individual with one of the finest broadcasting companies in America. Salem Media Group is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Sales experience involving media is a must. Undergraduate degree required. A unique opportunity to work closely with Jerry Crowley and Phil Boyce, two proven winners and innovators. For more information and to apply, click here.
Packed Talkers New York 2015 Conference a Hit with Attendees. Talk media industry practitioners jam-packed the India House in Manhattan’s Financial District on Friday, June 12 for a full day of presentations, panels and speeches as TALKERS magazine celebrated its 25th anniversary serving the talk radio industry at its 18th annual New York-located national conference. The day began with a continental breakfast and reception titled, “Breakfast with Hannity,” sponsored by the Premiere Networks-syndicated talk radio superstar. WFAN, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa kicked off the presentations with a powerful and informative welcoming speech. Panel discussions included such topics as “The State of Radio Ratings,” “The Big Picture,” “Generating Talk Radio Revenue,” “Programming Talk Radio in 2015,” “Variety, The Spice of Life,” and “Navigating a Talk Host Career.” The program also included a one-on-one “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Cumulus Media EVP, content & programming John Dickey, plus the TALKERS Awards Presentation during which WOLB, Baltimore morning host Larry Young received the “Humanitarian of the Year Award,” Howard Stern co-host Robin Quivers received the “Woman of the Year Award,” CBS Radio News VP Harvey Nagler was presented the “Lifetime Achievement Award,” and ABC Television, director, business continuity Howard B. Price received the “Freedom of Speech Award.” Michael Harrison states, “We are deeply gratified, humbled and grateful by the SRO turnout and the tremendous love and support we have consistently received that has allowed TALKERS and all its various projects to make it to the quarter-century milestone. This conference exuded a level of confidence about the future of the talk industry held by its key players that we haven’t seen in years!” Video of each of the sessions and presentations will be made available online via Talkers TV, along with detailed story and photographic coverage of the conference, beginning next week. Above right, FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade, WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Sean Hannity share a joke. Lower left, Premiere Networks’ Julie Talbott (left) presents the Woman of the Year Award to Robin Quivers (right).
iHeartMedia to Create New Boston Home for Rush Limbaugh on WKOX. Dropping the Spanish music format “Mia 1430,” iHeartMedia will launch “Talk 1430” WKOX on Monday, June 29 with Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh as the centerpiece along with company stalwarts Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck surrounding him. WKOX is licensed to Everett, Massachusetts and its primary signal covers the city of Boston and reaches many of its suburbs. iHeartMedia is going with a sports and talk hybrid using FOX Sports Radio content in addition to syndicated talk programming. Here’s the lineup: “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North” in AM drive; Glenn Beck from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Limbaugh; Sean Hannity from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; “America Now” from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; Westwood One’s Mark Levin from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight; and FOX Sports Radio during overnights. iHeartMedia Boston market president Alan Chartrand says, “We are excited to bring this powerful lineup of talk show hosts to our cluster here in Boston. We are confident that the biggest names in the talk radio format will serve our listeners and advertisers well.”
Canada’s Numeris Orders Voltair Units Disabled Until Further Notice. Canada’s Numeris – formerly called the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement – has ordered all Canadian radio stations to disconnect their Voltair units from their audio chains. The audio processor manufactured by 25-Seven – a division of TelosAlliance – has been a controversial topic within U.S. broadcast circles recently for reportedly enabling stations in Nielsen’s PPM markets to “amplify” the encoding that PPM receivers use to “hear” in order to give stations credit for listening. As was discussed at the Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday (6/12) on the “State of Radio Ratings” panel, Voltair is currently being tested by Nielsen but no such edicts have been issued here. Canada’s Numeris states in a letter to station owners that the order to shut off Voltair comes because of the “importance of a level playing field.” Numeris admists it doesn’t know if the technology is affecting ratings or not but that it expects to have an analysis of Voltair done within 60 days.
Cumulus Media Elevates Hess to Corporate PD of News/Talk. A session moderator at last Friday’s (6/12) “TALKERS New York 2015,” Bill Hess takes on corporate responsibilities in addition to his role as program director of Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talker WMAL-AM/FM. According to Cumulus executive vice president of content and programming John Dickey, “Bill is one of the format’s best minds. We look forward to sharing him within our company.” Senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay comments, “This promotion enables us to take advantage of Bill’s previous experience as a corporate programmer and rewards him for the amazing job that he is doing at WMAL.” Hess remarks, “I deeply appreciate – and am incredibly energized by – this opportunity to work with John Dickey, Mike McVay, and our team of talented programmers as we continue to drive the success of the industry’s leading platform of news-talk brands, both on-air and digitally.” Formerly senior vice president of programming for Air America Radio, Hess was brand manager for Clear Channel/iHeartMedia and was PD of talk stations in Providence (WHJJ); Springfield, Massachusetts (WHYN-AM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (WTAG), as well as operations manager of Washington, DC progressive talker WWRC, sports WTEM, and conservative talk WTNT. The Philadelphia native has programmed FM music stations in Washington, DC (adult contemporary WASH and classic rock WBIG); Providence (hot AC WSNE and classic hits-oldies WWBB); Springfield, Massachusetts (hot AC WHYN-FM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (adult contemporary WSRS).
New Course Set at WRKO, Boston. In a press statement announcing the hiring of Alison Harris as sales manager for Entercom’s news/talk WRKO, Boston, VP and market manager Phil Zachary says filling this two-year-vacant post signals the station’s readiness to forward with the next step in its evolution. He comments, “Like every talk radio station in America, WRKO has been evolving with the changing media habits and demographic shifts in our society. We did not want to fill this important position until our course was set for the future and we found the perfect candidate. I’m thrilled we’re now at that point and that Alison was available to us.” Harris is a 22-year media pro who was most recently with Clear Channel Outdoor’s Washington, D.C./Baltimore Division as vice president of sales. The Boston news/talk will part with Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh next month and says it will announce its new, official lineup a little later this month.
Odds & Sods. Boston journalist and talk show host Michele McPhee told her listeners on Friday afternoon that she expects to beat the charges leveled against her after a late night incident on Thursday that resulted in her being arrested for DUI, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer. McPhee – heard on WMEX, Boston in afternoon drive – says she can’t comment specifically on the advice of her attorney. She was pulled over after a police officer reported seeing her car swerve on I-93 in South Boston. The Boston Herald reports she became belligerent with the officer and even sustained a head injury while the officer was arresting her…..Salem Media Group names Randy Bush general manager of its Little Rock station group that includes Christian contemporary KKSP, Christian teaching KDIS and news/talk KHTE “96.5 The Answer.”…..Townsquare Media announces Mike “Sandman” Sanders is the new operations manager for its Billings, Montana cluster that includes news/talk KCHH “Newstalk 95.5.” He was most recently with Riverbend Communications as music director and afternoon personality at adult contemporary KCLE, Idaho Falls “Classy 97.3.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of May 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of May 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The May 2015 survey period covered April 23 through May 20. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
NJBA Conference and Gala Begins This Week. The annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference and Gala opens this week in Atlantic City with his year’s theme: “Broadcast Has New Attitude.” NJBA president & CEO Paul Rotella states, “We’re going to hear from a variety of voices during this conference which will provide you with the latest and most substantial evolution in research, technology and advancement in audience measurement.” During the conference, the NJBA will be honoring FOX News’ Judge Andrew P. Napolitano as its recipient of the Howard L. Green Humanitarian of the Year. Also, Greater Media’s Peter Smyth will induct Dan Finn, Harry Hurley, Dick Swetits, and Kevin Williams into the NJBA Hall of Fame.
‘Get Well’ Wishes to Gabe Hobbs. Longtime radio pro and Gabe Hobbs Media principal, Gabe Hobbs is recovering from a ruptured disc in his lower back. He writes to the industry that he’s been largely unable to communicated while literally “on his back” in the hospital for the better part of the last two weeks. He writes, “As some of you may have heard, I have been hospitalized with a ruptured disk in my lower back for a couple of weeks. My back just seemed to explode on the afternoon of May 26th and I’ve been largely unable to answer emails, phone calls or texts ever since. I couldn’t even sit up or walk for 9 days. I’m finally able to do a little work on the computer and have somewhat cogent phone conversations at this point…My apologies as I know many of you are wondering if I just dropped off the face of the earth. Everyone at TALKERS wishes Gabe a speedy recovery.
Shannon Succeeds Pinch at Cumulus Atlanta. Former vice president and market manager for Entercom Sacramento – Sean Shannon – is tapped to replace Jon Pinch in a similar position at Cumulus Atlanta. Cumulus senior vice president Jeff Brown comments, “Sean has a track record of innovation and topnotch results. He is a passionate marketer and a strong, determined coach. We are excited to be adding Sean to our talented team in Atlanta.” Shannon remarks, “I could not be more excited about the opportunity to lead these world-class brands in this world-class city. I love this medium and am honored to have a chance to lead this team.” Prior to his Sacramento duties, Shannon, who holds an MBA from the Foster School at the University of Washington, was director of sales for Entercom Seattle. He begins his new assignment in Atlanta next Monday (4/20). Pinch announced his retirement on April 16. He retired from his previous corporate role at Cumulus five months ago but was coaxed into leading the company’s Atlanta station group.
WEEI-FM, Boston Morning Host John Dennis to Enter Alcohol Rehab. In a public statement released to the media, morning personality John Dennis announces he will take time away from the “Dennis & Callahan” show on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston in order to enter a treatment facility for alcohol addiction. Here’s the text of his statement: “After some long and thoughtful soul searching, I’ve decided to deal with a personal issue once and for all. The role of alcohol in my life is something I’ve wrestled with on and off for more than a few years. I’ve made the decision to take serious steps to eliminate the role alcohol plays in my life before it impacts my health. I’m told it’s an arduous undertaking, but it’s one I’m willing to embrace. I know it can be a lifelong battle, but it’s one I want to fight. To that end, I’ve decided to take some time away from WEEI, tackle this head-on, and set a smart and informed course for a long and healthy life. I want to thank the management at WEEI for their understanding and assistance in this matter, Gerry (Callahan) and Kirk (Minihane) for their unwavering support, and of course Kathy, for her love, patience and compassion. This is the last I will speak on this matter, as I have much work to do, and that’s where my concentration and focus will be. Talk to you all down the road.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of Mach 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of March 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The March 2015 survey period covered February 26 through March 25. You can find the complete 6+ ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods. Longtime Chicago television news anchor Robin Robinson has been hired by CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM, Chicago. Robinson spent more than 30 working in television news in the Chicago market. She exited WFLD-TV “Fox 32” in November of 2013…..There’s a new news presence at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media the company hires regional news pro Matt Pitta to serve as news director for the station group. In this role, Pitta will be in charge of news content for all the radio stations and its CapeCod.com website. Pitta previously worked for Cape Cod Broadcasting, exiting back in 2002. He takes over for Laura Reckford who moves up to news editor at CapeCod.com…..A programming change at Cumulus Media’s KSCR-AM, Eugene, Oregon will eliminate the business talk format and begin airing a regional Mexican format…..NBC Sports Radio now has a place on SirusXM. A deal between the sports talk network and the satcaster gives the former its own channel. NBC Sports Radio program director Jack Silver says, “We are thrilled to have SiriusXM join our roster. They bring a whole new audience and a wealth of avid sports fans who can now access our content and interact with our hosts no matter where they are around the country.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “The Costa Report” with host Rebecca Costa adds six new affiliate stations including: WZGM, Asheville, North Carolina; WBCF, Florence, Alabama; WHFS, Tampa; WTHU, Thurmont, Maryland; and KKGM, Dallas-Fort Worth…..Both the Stephanie Miller show and Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” are added to the program schedule at KJOZ, Houston. WYM Media Management’s, Debbie Greenbaum comments, “It’s terrific that Houstonians will now be able to listen and interact daily with both Doug Stephan and Stephanie Miller. The combo of ‘Good Day’ leading into the Stephanie Miller show is the perfect way to kick off mornings in Houston.”
2016 Presidential Prospects Top News/Talk Story During Week of April 13-17. With the news of both Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio announcing their intent to run for president next year, the chatter about the 2016 presidential prospects landed atop the Talkers TenTM this week. At #2 were the Iran nuclear negotiations. Coming in at #3 was ISIS military action in Iraq and following at #4 was Obama’s Cuba policy. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on the radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Cumulus Media and Programmer McVay Renew Vows. With Cumulus Media since September of 2011, programming and management pro Mike McVay agrees to a contract extension with Cumulus Media in which he takes on the new title senior vice president, content & programming for the company. His old title was SVP, corporate/programming. McVay reports directly to EVP, content & programming John Dickey. In a press statement, Cumulus notes that McVay is “a 40-year programming professional with consulting, management, ownership, sales, programming and on-air experience, and has developed and launched several nationally syndicated programs. He has programmed more than 800 stations around the world, including stations across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Grand Cayman and Puerto Rico. In 1984, McVay and his wife Doris McVay launched McVay Media, a programming consultancy recognized around the world as the leader in its field. He has also owned or managed radio stations in Honolulu, Cleveland, Naples, Key West and Flint, Michigan. McVay was also one of the founding partners of Listener Driven Radio (now Futuri Media). McVay comments, “I’m thrilled to continue to work for John and Lew and with the entire corporate programming team. Cumulus has added, and continues to add, some brilliant minds to the management and programming teams. The platform we have, the products and brands we’re developing, and what’s on the horizon makes this one of the best companies to work at in this industry…worldwide. We’re having fun!”
Dwight Douglas Pens Provocative Work of Theological Fiction. Noted veteran broadcaster and writer Dwight Douglas – VP marketing, RCS Sound Software — has written and published a fictitious book that takes on and explores some of the core issues of theology and philosophy. Titled, If God Could Talk… The Diary of a TV Journalist (CreateSpace 2015), the story involves a fictitious cable TV talk show in which the concept and question of what God would say if He could talk through the vehicle of such a platform is explored. In it, Douglas amply displays his knowledge about modern talk media in addition to his personal thoughts on the deeper issues of existence. He presents the questions why do most of the world’s great religions act as middlemen and interpreters of what God intends for humanity? Why can’t God just speak for Himself directly and if he did, what might he say? TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Dwight Douglas has always been an extremely independent and creative ‘idea guy’ all the way back to his days as a major rock radio programmer. He really shines as a writer – as indicated by this powerful, courageous book — and as a marvelous guest discussing it on both radio and TV talk shows. Considering the central role religion plays in most of today’s tense international issues, this book couldn’t be more timely for talk radio conversation.” To learn more about If God Could Talk… The Diary of a TV Journalist and scheduling Dwight Douglas as a talk show guest, please click here.
Odds & Sods. There’s a new local voice on iHeartMedia’s KOGO, San Diego “News Radio 600.” The station has brought former City Councilman Carl DeMaio aboard to partner up with current afternoon personality Bob Sullivan and host the newly re-titled “DeMaio-Sullivan Report” from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. De Maio is a 40-year-old Dubuque, Iowa native who served one four-year term on the City Council as a Republican from District 5…..Cumulus Media splits the simulcast of sports talk on WSJZ-FM and WLZR-AM in Brevard County Florida. Sports remains on WLZR-AM but WSJZ-FM flips to rock…..Cumulus Media promotes Mike Fadelli to vice president, sales for the San Francisco music stations KFOG, KSAN and KSJO. Previously he oversaw sales at Cumulus sports talkers KNBR, KTCT and Entercom‘s sports KGME-FM.
Michael Harrison Discusses Monica Lewinsky’s TED Talk, Rips Presidents and Politicians of Both Parties, and Interviews Linda Ronstadt. The fourth in the new weekly podcast series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” is posted at PodcastOne (PodcastOne.com). It presents the publisher of TALKERS and RadioInfo reflecting upon the recent TED Talk delivered by Monica Lewinsky. The famous – perhaps, infamous — White House intern who found herself embroiled in the center of one of the most sensational presidential scandals in history surfaces with compelling personal insights about her experiences as a 22-year old from the perspective of being a 40-year old, and sheds new light on the internet’s impact on what she describes as the “shame industry.” Harrison, known for his steadfast adherence to a non-partisan political posture other than his staunch support the First Amendment, springboards off Lewinsky’s remarks and shares provocative comments about his distrust of politicians – left and right – and admonishes the media that ganged up on Lewinsky for giving “figurative oral sex” to presidents and politicians of both parties for years. Harrison also presents his recent, compelling interview with Linda Ronstadt and talks about his days as a golden-eared radio PD who has come to recognize how difficult it is to accurately predict what kind of music anyone will really like in a media-fractured marketplace. The podcast can be heard directly by clicking here or by clicking on the special “Up Close and far Out with Michael Harrison” player located in the right hand column of both the TALKERS and RadioInfo websites.
Indiana’s Religious Freedom Act, Iran Nuclear Negotiations, Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah Flap, New ISIS-al Qaeda Violence, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Germanwings Flight 9525 Investigation, California Issues Water Restrictions, and Cynthia Lennon’s Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/1). The controversy over the religious freedom law passed in Indiana and a similar law proposed in Arkansas; the tenuous negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the flap over perceived anti-American jokes made by new ‘Daily Show’ host Trevor Noah; recent spates of violence perpetrated by ISIS, al Qaeda, and Boko Haram; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the investigation into the downing of Germanwings Flight 9525; new water restrictions for California and its worst drought in recent history; and the death of John Lennon’s first wife Cynthia were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TALKERS ‘Heavy Hundred’ for 2015 Delayed One Day – Coming Tomorrow Wednesday, March 25. TALKERS magazine has delayed the date for the posting of the 2015 installment of the publication’s annual feature, “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” which was originally set to be posted today. The list will be revealed tomorrow (3/25) at approximately 2:00 pm ET. This will mark the 20th consecutive year that the talk media trade journal (that is about to mark its 25th anniversary) has been compiling and publishing the list – also known as “The Heavy Hundred.” According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This year’s list will include a number of familiar faces (and voices) as well as new up-and-comers and several veterans whose continuing, successful careers our editors believe need acknowledgement on this list in 2015.” Casey continues, “Needless to say, compiling this list is extremely challenging – especially since it draws upon both objective and subjective factors – and is the source of heated debate every year among our editors for months leading up to its release.”
Savage Celebrates Milestone! Talk radio icon Michael Savage – now syndicated by Westwood One – is celebrating 21 years in radio today (3/24) with a special program that will reflect on his more than two decades on the air. Savage is recognizing his time on the radio by encouraging listeners to call in and share their favorite memories from past shows. He’ll also play rare archival show segments from over the years throughout the program.
Robinson to President Post at iHeartMedia Ventures Group. This is a promotion for iHeartMedia’s EVP of strategic development as Joseph Robinson is named president of the iHeartMedia Ventures Group in which Robinson will work “to develop high-value strategic opportunities with media, technology, and content companies.” He’ll report to iHeartMedia president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler, who states, “Joe has played an invaluable role in helping iHeartMedia explore new digital and technology opportunities for both consumer-facing and internal initiatives. I’m delighted that Joe is expanding his role with us; his new leadership position will be instrumental in our continued success as a 21st century media company — one that is both relentlessly forward-looking on the technology front and focused on using iHeartMedia’s cross-platform assets in creative ways that help redefine the future of consumer media and entertainment.”
Sutton to Program KCMO, Kansas City. Talk radio pro Steve Sutton is appointed program director for Cumulus Media’s KCMO-AM, Kansas City. Sutton is an experienced broadcaster who’s worked at CBS RADIO, iHeartMedia, ABC, and Air America (where he was co-creator and VP of programming and operations). Cumulus SVP of programming Mike McVay says, “We’re very excited to have Steve join us in Kansas City. He’s a multi-formatted programmer with amazing life experiences. I can’t wait to hear how he sets news/talk radio on its ear.” Sutton comments, “A life of amazing experiences continues in Kansas City at KCMO. We all do this because it’s fun and fulfilling. And now, thanks to Lew Dickey, John Dickey, Mike McVay, and Mark Sullivan, I get to do it again. Donna Baker and I arrive within a week of each other. We both can’t wait to start drawing on the easel.”
WEEI, Boston Re-Ups with Michael Holley. Boston sports talkers WEEI announces that PM drive personality Michael Holley is “in it for the long haul with his veteran partner, Dale Arnold.” Holley just signed a new, multi-year contract that will keep the duo together in the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm shift (along with recent addition Jerry Thornton). Holley comments, “I’m so grateful to be able to do a job that I love, in a region that I love, speaking and working with people that I love. There have been so many incredible stories in New England sports the past decade-plus, and I’m excited and humbled that I’ve been able to share in the journey on the radio. I look forward to many more great shows with Dale, Jerry and our producers Andy Massaua and Ben Kichen.”
WOLB, Baltimore Morning Host Larry Young Named TALKERS 2015 “Humanitarian of the Year.” Veteran radio talk show host and former Maryland State Senator Larry Young has been selected by the TALKERS magazine editorial board as this year’s recipient of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host. The prestigious honor – also known as “Humanitarian of the Year” — will be presented to Young during the Awards Presentation at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015. The presentation will be made by Carole Marks, CEO of Talk Media, Inc. WOLB, owned by Radio One, is an urban/talk-formatted station serving the Baltimore-area African American community. Young began his show and radio career on the station in 1998 hosting weekday mornings, 6:00 am to 10:00 am, after a turbulent and controversial career in Maryland state politics. Since then, he has accrued a number of honors celebrating his work in the community as a broadcaster including “Best Radio Station” by Baltimore City Paper in 2007, 2008 and again in 2009. He also has been the recipient of such awards as the 2007 Pinnacle Award presented by the American Development Consortium, the 2009 Ed Bradley Award presented by the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the 2011 Unsung Hero Award presented by the Grace Outreach fundraising committee and prestigious 2012 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award presented by the Greater Baltimore Urban League. Young, a longtime member of the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” is held in extremely high regard not only within the community served by WOLB, but by his co-workers as well. WOLB general manager Howard Mazer tells TALKERS, “Larry Young is the kindest and most helpful person I know. The word NO is not in his vocabulary. When anyone in the community calls Larry, he will go out of his way to help them. It does not matter the time or the day.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “I have had the personal pleasure of spending time with the folks at WOLB at the station’s community functions where I have witnessed this man in action first-hand and I must say – the work of Larry Young and the relationship he has with his listeners and co-workers is absolutely inspiring – makes me proud to be in radio. And it is not a single day, promotion or activity that we are talking about. Every moment of his work on and off the air involves the concepts of service and connection. Larry Young and WOLB are the very essence of ‘community’ as it applies to radio.” Talkers New York 2015 – the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention — takes place on Friday, June 12. As of today’s posting, it is 75% sold out. For complete agenda details and registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please click here.
Salem-Owned WIND, Chicago Debuts New Program Schedule; Dave Ramsey to Join the Station in June. The Chicago secular news/talk outlet WIND “AM 560 The Answer” announces its lineup changes that take effect on both Monday, March 30 and Monday, June 1 of this year. WIND has made official the addition of Dan Proft as permanent morning co-host, alongside Amy Jacobson, in which the duo will host the newly created, “Chicago’s Morning Answer,” from 5:00 am to 9:00 am. Station general manager Jeff Reisman comments, “Dan Proft is the perfect addition to our lineup. As the only talk radio station in Chicago dedicated to talking about politics, current events, and breaking news, Dan Proft provides the kind of analysis and insight that our audience has come to expect from us. ‘Chicago’s Morning Answer’ will be the go-to place in Chicago to get up to speed on what’s happening in the world each morning.” Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher will be added to the station’s lineup airing live from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Dennis Prager will follow from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, replacing Dennis Miller. Then, on June 1, nationally syndicated superstar Dave Ramsey will begin airing in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot, immediately following the Joe Walsh program that will air from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Finally, “This Morning with Gordon Deal,” (syndicated by Compass Media Networks) will debut on March 30 in the 4:00 am to 5:00 am slot.
Michael Harrison and Norm Pattiz Discuss a Wide Spectrum of Media Issues on PodcastOne. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and PodcastOne founder/CEO Norm Pattiz engage in an illuminating conversation about media and its impact on society in the third and latest installment of the podcast series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” The two iconoclastic media figures draw upon their radio industry experience and 38-year friendship in tackling such issues as net neutrality; new advertising techniques; the impact of consolidation on radio; differences between radio and TV; the evolving state of journalism; the effect of fractionalization on the national consciousness, problems and changes in music radio and the burgeoning state of podcasting. To hear the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
KKOH, Reno APD Phil Parriott Dies in Auto Accident. Tragic news from the Cumulus Reno station group after news/talk KKOH, Reno assistant program director Phil Parriott died early on the morning of March 21 from injuries sustained in a car accident. Station staffers are saying Parriott was an extremely valuable member of their team who will be deeply missed by current and past co-workers who call him a friend. KKOH program director Dan Mason states, “We report tragedy in the news every day and can easily forget that real people are involved. We’re reminded of that as we mourn our friend and colleague today. Our thoughts and prayers are with Phil’s family during this difficult time.”
Greater Media Named ‘Best in Philly’ Again. For the fourth consecutive year, Greater Media’s radio properties have been named among the “Top Workplaces in Philadelphia” by Philly.com. Hundreds of companies take part in the survey, but only a select few companies are awarded top workplace. The Greater Media Philadelphia station group consists of rock WMMR; classic rock WMGK “102.9 MGK”; adult hits WBEN-FM “95.7 Ben FM”; and sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.” The evaluation for the “Top Workplaces” program was based entirely upon feedback from an employee survey conducted by Workplace Dynamics in the fall of 2014. Greater Media Philly VP and market manager John Fullam comments, “Great companies start with great employees. We are fortunate to have such an extraordinary team dedicated to serving Philadelphia, our listeners and advertising partners every day.”
2016 Presidential Prospects, U.S.-Iran Nuke Negotiations, Obama-Netanyahu Relationship, UVA Rape Investigation, Battle Against Militant Islam, Russian Military Aggression, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/23). The potential candidates for president in 2016; the controversy over the negotiations between the West and Iran over its nuclear program; the strained relationship between Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama and the recent Israeli elections; the police statement that it failed to find corroborating evidence in the Rolling Stone-reported UVA gang rape story; the militant Muslim organizations waging war in the Middle East and Africa; concern over Russia’s recent uptick in military maneuvers; and the weekend’s NCAA tourney action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Beasley Reports 2014 Q4 Pro Forma Net Revenue Dips 4.3%. Getting an accurate picture of the fourth quarter – not to mention the total of 2014 – is a bit dicey because of the asset exchange between Beasley and CBS RADIO. But as Beasley chairman and CEO George Beasley says in the press release, “On a reported basis, fourth quarter net revenue from continuing operations rose 23.5% and SOI [station operating income] increased 14.6%, while operating income of $1.8 million was impacted by $1.7 million of transaction and termination expenses related to the Asset Exchange and otherwise would have compared favorably with the $2.8 million in the comparable year ago period. However, given the required accounting treatment for discontinued operations, the results include only one month of operations from the stations we received in the asset exchange, while excluding the results of the stations we gave up in the transaction. As a result, we believe a pro forma presentation, which assumes the asset exchange occurred on January 1, 2013, better reflects the operating results. On a pro forma basis, fourth quarter net revenue decreased 4.3% to $28.9 million while SOI declined 8.0% to $9.2 million. Importantly, while the fourth quarter pro forma presentation allows for a comparison of the same stations during both periods, it does not reflect our recently initiated and planned format and personnel changes in Tampa as well as expense reductions in Tampa and Charlotte, the benefits of which we expect will be reflected in our results as we move through 2015 and into 2016.”
20 Years of KKFN Sports Talk in Denver Being Recognized. This Monday (3/9), Lincoln Financial Media will celebrate 20 years of sports talk in Denver on KKFN. The format is now heard on KKFN-FM “104.3 The Fan,” but debuted in 1994 on KKFN-AM. The special broadcast will feature several former personalities and athletes who have been part of the two-decade history. The station’s original lineup included: the Fabulous Sports Babe (Nanci Donnellan), Woody Paige & Todd Mansfield, Doug Moe & Tom Green and Jeff Reckard. On Monday the station will welcome back former Fan personalities Woody Paige, Tom Green, Dan Issel, Charles Johnson, Irv Brown and Joe Williams. They will be joined by Rockies radio announcer Jerry Schemmel. The station’s current lineup is: “The Fan Morning Show with Mike Evans, Nate Lundy and Vic Lombardi” (5:30 am to 9:00 am), Dan Patrick (9:00 am to 12:00 noon), Sandy Clough and Scott Hastings (12:00 noon to 3:00 pm), “The Drive” with Alfred “Big Al” Williams and Darren “D-Mac” McKee (3:00 pm to 9:00 pm) and “The Fan Late Night” with Ryan Edwards and Shawn Drotar (9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight). “The Fan” will also hold an anniversary party on Thursday, March 26, at the Sports Column in downtown Denver. Listeners will get the chance to celebrate with members of “The Fan” on-air staff and celebrities.
iHeartMedia Names Charlie Wilkinson Dallas Market President. Moving to Texas from his most recent position with the company as regional president overseeing Charlotte and Raleigh, Charlie Wilkinson becomes market president of iHeartMedia’s six Dallas properties. EVP of operations – Texas majors Kelly Kibler comments, “Charlie has exceeded expectations and consistently raises the bar. He has proven his ability to create and lead winning teams. I’m confident he will continue to deliver consistent integrated revenue growth for the Dallas cluster.” Former market president, Deidre Richter, will join iHeartMedia’s national sales team and will report to Jeff Howard, president of national sales. Richter will lead the South Central Connections Team.
Odds & Sods. At the Cromwell Group’s Nashville sports talk duo “94.9 The Game 2” — WQZQ-AM and W235BW – morning drive co-host Joe Dubin leaves the station and partner Greg Pogue to return to television sports as sports anchor on WSMV-TV, Nashville, effective March 30…..This weekend begins Westwood One Sports’ presentation of a slate of exclusive women’s college basketball broadcasts this month. It gets underway Sunday with the Pac-12 Women’s Championship game and culminating with the Women’s Final Four and National Championship in Tampa on April 7. On Tuesday, March 10, WW1 broadcasts the Big East Women’s Championship, live from Allstate Arena in Chicago. CBS Sports Radio talk-show host Amy Lawrence has the play-by-play, along with former University of Connecticut All-American Swin Cash as the analyst…..Salem Media Group New York brings Chief of Robotic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital, Dr. David Samadi, to the staff serving as chief medical correspondent for news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian talk WMCA “AM 570 The Mission.” Additionally, Dr. Samadi will host the new program “World Health News with Dr. Samadi,” airing Sundays from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.
Curtis & Kuby Roast Takes Place Monday in NYC. Gotham Comedy Club will be the site of the Curtis & Kuby Roast on Monday, March 9 at 7:00 pm. The duo – heard daily in middays on Cumulus Media’s WABC – will be in attendance as Roast Master Rich Vos (featured on Comedy Central, HBO, and Showtime) hosts a night of no-holds-barred comedy in honor of talk radio odd couple Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby. Comedians Kurt Metzger, Bonnie McFarlane, Geno Bisconte, Aaron Berg, and The Stone Brothers will all come out to roast the duo. Limited tickets are still available at www.wabcradio.com. The event is produced by Jeffrey Gurian in conjunction with Gotham Comedy Club and 77 WABC.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The sports programming from Yahoo! Sports Radio is now being heard on Word Broadcasting’s WVHI, Evansville, Indiana…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Freedom Feens” show is now being heard on affiliate stations WRMN, Elgin, Illinois (Chicago market) and on WPNN, Pensacola, Florida.
Netanyahu Speech/Iran Nukes Top Talkers TenTM for Week of March 2-6. The speech before Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the issue of a pact to allow Iran’s nuclear program to expand were tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. At #2 was the Supreme Court’s hearing a challenge to the Affordable Care Act. Coming in at #3 was the probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of private email for State Department business, followed by the Homeland Security Department funding battle and President Obama’s amnesty order at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio this week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
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.