Tag: "Mike Missanelli"

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

| October 14, 2014

bridgeratings logoNews/Talk Radio and the Oversaturated News Cycle – Study Reveals Listener Fatigue.  Highly respected media research firm Bridge Ratings has been annually monitoring the consumption patterns of news/talk radio and has just released its latest findings which shed light on the perceived softening of listenership to this format that remains one of the most popular broadcast radio formats among Americans.  The study, which analyzed perceptions and behavior from a national news/talk listener panel, uncovered a significant level of listener FATIGUE – not only with the format but with news coverage; more specifically, talk radio topics related to politics and the frequency with which they air.  To read the entire report on the study and how a general national news coverage malaise has affected American radio listening, please click here.

kogo-am logoKOGO, San Diego Gets Newsier.  The programming at iHeartMedia’s KOGO, San Diego was tweaked on Monday to reflect its “commitment to news programming,” according to program director Brian Long.  To accomplish that, the station shuffles some of the talk shows to different dayparts and moves talent accordingly.  LaDona Harvey leaves her midday talk show and is paired up with Ted Garcia to host “San Diego’s Morning News.”  Moving out of morning drive is Chris Merrill who is now heard from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  In afternoon drive, Bob “Sully” Sullivan vacates that daypart and is now heard from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and Ernie Brown and Marilyn Hyder are hosting “KOGO’s Afternoon News.”  Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh remains in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot.  Finally, former longtime program director Cliff Albert is back at the station hosting the 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm “KOGO’s News at Noon” program.  Brian Long comments, “We have assembled a fantastic lineup that will keep our audience informed on-air, online and through social media platforms.”

tantarosandreaTantaros and Talk Radio Network Settle.  The terms of the settlement will remain confidential as they almost always do in cases such as these, but a US District Court in New Jersey has dismissed the suit brought by Fox News Channel personality Andrea Tantaros against Talk Radio Network with prejudice after the two sides settled the matter.  Tantaros had claimed in her suit that Talk Radio Network had breached its contract with her and that it had misrepresented its operations – including its ability to market her radio talk show – and that it had neglected to make her aware of its suit against ad rep firms working with it when it wooed her to begin hosting a nationally syndicated program.  Tantaros is a host of “The Five” on Fox News Channel.

hancockjohnWBT, Charlotte’s John Hancock Videos Bold Look at Legal Pot.  The experience of WBT, Charlotte talk show host John Hancock buying weed at a legal marijuana shop in Colorado while on vacation has been chronicled on video and the Greater Media news/talk outlet posted the video on its site here.  TALKERS asked Hancock, who does a tremendous job walking the viewer through the process of buying legal pot and asking questions of the proprietor in the video, how his decidedly conservative audience has responded to his posting a video of himself buying marijuana to consume.  He says, “My older demo is either ‘disappointed’ in me, or vowing to quit listening.  The majority seem intrigued by the process of buying weed legally.  Many wonder how I enjoyed ‘experimenting’ again!  Bill Clinton may have never inhaled, I still haven’t exhaled…”  Hancock laughs when he tells TALKERS that a listener called in to say, “Can’t wait for the video of your trip to Nevada,” joking about exploring legal prostitution!

missanellimikeOdds & Sods.  At the Toledo operations of Cumulus Media, Norm Wamer exits his positions as host of “The Front Row with Norm Wamer” heard on sports talker WLQR-FM, and as program director for sister news/talk WLQR-AM, the latter a post he’d held for the past 14 years…..WPEN-FM, Philadelphia host Mike Missanelli is catching flak from the media, football fans and more after his Tweet following the season-ending knee injury of Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz.  Missanelli Tweeted, “Hey Giants Fans: Victor Cruz is over.  Dance to that.”  Missanellli removed the Tweet minutes later and apologized claiming he thought Cruz just dropped the ball and that he was unaware Cruz was injured on the play.

U.S. Ebola Cases/Pandemic Threat, Battle Against ISIS, Financial Markets Activity, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, Oregon ‘First Fiancee’ Scandal, NFL and MLB Playoffs Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/13).  The heightened concern over the CDC’s and U.S. hospitals’ ability to combat Ebola in America; the battle against ISIS and the Obama Administration’s ability to build a coalition of nations in the region to fight the organization; the dipping U.S. stock market and the state of the global financial markets; the looming mid-term elections tied with the prospects for the 2016 presidential race; the scandal plaguing Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and his fiancée; and the weekend’s NFL and MLB playoffs action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

| March 27, 2014

hannityseanUnusual ‘Ratings Battle’ Between Savage and Hannity Heats Up.  Prior to the rollout of his WestwoodOne-syndicated talk show on Cumulus-owned news/talk stations – many of which had previously carried Premiere NetworksSean Hannity show – Michael Savage took an aggressive stance in both industry and consumer presssavagemichael proclaiming he would beat Hannity in the ratings.  Now, two Nielsen Audio PPM rating periods later, WestwoodOne is waging a PR offensive that many industry watchers note is rarely seen in the syndication business, going so far as to use words like “trounced” and “demolished” with respect to Savage’s ratings versus Hannity’s.  Reporting Nielsen Audio PPM data in the Persons 25-54 demo for major markets New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas, WestwoodOne shows Savage more than doubling Hannity’s AQH share there (NYC 1.1 vs .5, Chicago 1.2 vs .2, San Francisco 1.5 vs .5, and Dallas-Ft. Worth 1.3 vs .5).  Hannity’s camp responds with a memo from premierenetworks newPremiere Networks VP/operations and affiliate marketing for the Sean Hannity show Eric Stanger, who writes, “It’s puzzling that Michael Savage would want to brag about his listening audience.  Despite his claims, the numbers show that Savage is losing thewestwoodone logo audience that he inherited from Sean Hannity in droves, on the radio stations that Sean spent 17 years building.  In New York on WABC as well as on Dallas on WBAP, in the key demo of A25-54, Savage has lost a whopping 49% of the audience that he inherited from Sean Hannity.  Other key markets tell a similar story as you can see below.  All in all, Savage has bled away almost half of the audience on the key stations that were given to him in 2014 (In Los Angeles, where Cumulus has decided not to air the ‘Savage Nation,’ KABC-AM has dropped 27% without Hannity).  Meanwhile, Sean Hannity has more than doubled the total audiences where he has started on new stations after leaving Cumulus in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas (AQH percentage change December ’13 to February ’14 Persons 12+:  WOR, New York, +108%; KEIB, Los Angeles +172%; and KSKY, Dallas +128%).”  EDITOR’S NOTE:  TALKERS magazine maintains a general policy of not publishing ratings results of contests between individual hosts because there are so many potential situations taking place in the industry it would become editorially unwieldy and impossible to manage accurately and fairly.  This is especially true in regards to reporting on battles between syndicated hosts in which there is often inconsistency from market to market in terms of actual times and number of hours broadcast.  Plus, this publication avoids getting involved in situations hinting of personal vendettas and vitriol between personalities and even competing companies.  In the words of publisher Michael Harrison, “This industry faces enough competitive challenges these days from external sources for us to turn our guns on each other in anything more intense than healthy, sportsmanlike competition.”

eskinspikeCBS RADIO Ups Spike Eskin to PD of WIP-FM and WIP-AM.  Interim program director Spike Eskin is officially the PD at CBS RADIO’s “SportsRadio 94 WIP” and “CBS Sportsradio 610,” the company announces.  Eskin has been filling the role on an interim basis since Jeff Sottolano was named director of programming for CBS RADIO earlier this year.  Previously, Eskin served as sports editor for CBSPhilly.com and did part-time air shifts on WIP-FM, all-news KYW and CBS 3 TV.  Senior vice president and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “Spike is his own person.  He is tenacious, strategic and a proven winner.  We interviewed an extremely talented pool of national and local candidates.  Spike was clearly our best choice.”  Eskin comments, “My career in radio has taken me in many different directions, and has ultimately led me to a job that I feel like I was born to do and I am honored and humbled to have. I’m excited to work with the best air talent in sports radio, and our incredible staff to continue building the legend that is WIP.”

schembrijoeSchembri Upped to VP of Corporate Business Development, Sports Sales and Sponsorships.  This new corporate position lifts Joe Schembri from his VP of business development post.  Now, he’ll be working directly with clients to “create local, regional, and national campaigns that reach and engage consumers by utilizing multiple platforms to drive incremental revenue that include radio, sports play-by-play, event sponsorships, digital, database, mobile and social.”  Entercom station group president Weezie Kramer states, “For years, Joe has been a leader in our company and throughout radio, and I am proud to elevate him to this new position.  Sports has always been a strength of entercomEntercom and, under Joe’s leadership, we will bring a greater platform of products and greater results to our clients.”  Entercom serves as the radio broadcast partner for the Boston Red Sox, Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Kansas City Royals, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Saints, New Orleans Pelicans, Oakland Athletics, Oakland Raiders, San Jose Sharks and several NCAA teams, including this year’s #1 NCAA basketball seeds University of Florida Gators and Wichita State Shockers.  Schembri comments, “This is an exciting time for radio, sports and event marketing.  Entercom is powerfully positioned across the country to build dynamic, multi-platform campaigns that engage our fans, connect them to our clients and generate results that make a difference.”

nymrad logoNYMRAD Registers a +3.26%.  According to the Miller Kaplan New York Market Revenue Report, New York Market Radio (NYMRAD) advertising revenue for the first two months of this year increased 3.26%, when compared to last year’s figures.  Total revenue for February – including “digital” and “network”/”NTR”/”other” were up 2.3%.  New York Market Radio Broadcasters Association executive director Deborah Beagan comments, “The New York market is up, despite the series of storms.”  The “automotive” category there is up 11%, with over $10 million of spending.  Three rapidly growing such advertisers are Land Rover, up 153% from $166,000 last year to $420,000 this year; Tri State Ford Dealers – improving by 48% from $458,000 to $680,000; and Mercedes Benz, up 72% from $265,000 to $455,000.  The “communications/cellular” category sees a 20% gain, with over $8 million of spending.  Rapid such growers included Verizon, up 69% from $1.29 million to $2.17 million; Metro PCS – improving 95% from $1.28 million to $2.50 million; and AT&T, up 67% from $917,000 to $1.53 million.

scba logoLos Angeles Radio Revenue Grows in February.  According to data from Miller Kaplan Arase as reported by the Southern California Broadcasters Association, during February, the Los Angeles radio market saw revenue climb by 3.7% for the month and, on a year-to-date basis through February, the LA total market revenue growth is 3.1%.  SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “This substantial market growth reflects the dynamic power of Southern California Radio and our member radio stations’ determination to begin 2014 on very strong footing.”  On the digital side, the report indicates revenue for the reporting stations in February up 16.8% and a YTD growth rate of 14.7%.  The subsequent “X-Ray” report YTD also reveals substantial new business growth with 336 new advertisers spending $12.7 million.  Key category drivers include: insurance – up 141.7%, cellular/communications – up 45.8%, concerts/theatre/movies – up 34.7%, casinos/lottery – up 32.5%, and education – up 32.3%.

starkjaysonStark Reality for Philly’s WPEN-FM.  ESPN.com senior baseball writer – and Philadelphia native – Jayson Stark will host a one-hour eponymous show on select Mondays throughout the baseball season for Greater Media Philadelphia’s WPEN-FM “The Fanatic.”  The two-time Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year will continue to be a Wednesday afternoon contributor on the station’s “Mike Missanelli Show.”  Stark acknowledges that, “I may work for ESPN now, but I’m still a Philadelphian, so the only thing cooler than joining my buddy Mike Missanelli every Wednesday is getting my own personal hour of radio.  I will get to talk to my favorite Philadelphians about the Phillies and the sport they play, mix in a little trivia, and do our best to turn this extravaganza into a show that’s even more fun than spending a summer evening hanging out in Ashburn Alley.”  Stark’s program will emanate live from Newtown, Pennsylvania’s Green Parrot; the debut show is one week from Monday (4/7) between 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm.  Stark has written/reported about MLB for ESPN since 2000.  Before that, he covered the Phillies for the Philadelphia Inquirer.  He appears as an analyst on a variety of ESPN radio and television programs.

delcollianojerryJerry Del Colliano’s “Media Solutions Conference” Draws 100-plus to Philadelphia.  More than 100 radio broadcasters from across the country gathered at the classy Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia yesterday (3/26) to attend noted industry observer and analyst Jerry Del Colliano’s fifth annual “Media Solutions Conference.”  The attendees represented various levels of management, talent and ownership from a variety of radio companies — local, regional and national.  In addition to Del Colliano’s in-depth presentation of information about such topics as understanding the Millennial generation, disrupting radio before its media rivals do, separating radio’s main product into unique on-air and online categories, using video to generate additional revenue streams, reinventing the morning show, time-shifting radio, and reducing the liability of commercials while increasing their effectiveness, attendees were treated to presentations by WBEB, Philadelphia “More FM” owner Jerry Lee, Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk star Sean Hannity and TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison.  Jerry Lee discussed a number of tactics and philosophies employed by his company to make it one of the most successful ratings and revenue-generating, leejerryindependent music-formatted, stand-alone FMs in America.  He basically told the attendees that you have to spend money to make money and espoused the benefits of heavy promotion, research and putting together a top-notch team of talent and management in order to reap the rewards radio is still capable of delivering.  He also spoke extensively about the importance of creating effective, listenable commercials and limiting the number of spots perharrisonmichael hour to no more than 12.  Sean Hannity discussed the various keys to attracting younger listeners to the talk format on both radio and television (something he has proven to do very well) and was critical of today’s ratings system that largely ignores listenership to radio on the internet and satellite platforms.  Michael Harrison joined Del Colliano at the end of the conference for a free-wheeling Q&A wrap up of the day’s subject matter.  Harrison encouraged the attendees to trust in their own common sense and intuition, pointing out that all forward evolution in the arts and communication begin with someone taking a stand based on their gut instincts.  According to Harrison, “This was one of the most interesting, informative and well-organized conferences I have ever attended.”  Jerry Del Colliano will be a major speaker at the forthcoming “Talkers New York 2014” on Friday, June 20.  For information call 413-565-5413.

borrell logoBorrell Research Projects Hike in Recruitment Advertising.  Just what radio might realize from the projected 5.8% increase in dollars spent by employers seeking workers via broadcast isn’t certain and the category doesn’t break down radio, TV, and cable.  However, as the recruitment advertising report – subtitled The Long, Gray, Line – states, employers will spend $22.9 billion in the category this year.  “Of that, 84% is spent on online media, and of that, half is being spent on so-called digital services like developing websites, search engine optimization, and managing social media.  That services portion is growing at the fastest clip – nearly 50% growth in 2014 and potentially tripling over the next five years.  By 2018, we foresee a future where employers will spend 67% of their recruitment marketing budgets on digital services, 23% on classic digital advertising, and the remaining 10% on traditional media advertising.”  See more about the report here.

RIhof logoWOR, New York PD Tom Cuddy Leads Rhode Island Radio HoF Class of 2014.  The Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame announces the class of 2014 inductees and they include: current WOR, New York program director Tom Cuddy (who got his start in radio at WPRO-AM in 1980); air personality and programmer Rick Everett (served at WGNG, WSNE, WWLI, WWBB, WRX, and WCTK; current WRNI news anchor/reporter and host Dave Fallon; New England Tech teacher and 30-plus year radio station staffer Paul Perry; the late Carroll “Pappy” Philbrook, who began his career in Rhode Island radio in the 1940s as an engineer at WHIM, WHJJ and WHJY; easy listening pioneer Tony Rizzini; and entertainment icon Saucy Silvia who hosted an entertainment program on WADK for 26 years.  Additionally, the Shepard Award – created to recognize the founders of radio (John and Robert Shepard, owners of the Shepard Department Stores) in the Ocean State and to honor present-day contributors to the industry through leadership, dedication, achievement, innovation and spirit – goes to Janice Skelly.  Skelly began her radio career in 1978, working for WPRO-FM in the sales department, and for most of the next 36 years, she remained a fixture within the sales and business operations of WLKW-AM/FM and WSNE-FM through several ownership changes.

ObamaCare Criticism, SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Case, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, Obama vs Putin/Russian Aggression, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Fate, and NSA Data Collection Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/26).  Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the Supreme Court Case that will decide the scope of religious exemptions for employer-provided health care; speculation about the political ramifications of the mid-term elections and possible candidates for president in 2016; Russian aggression in Eastern Europe and criticism of President Obama’s handling of Vladimir Putin; the fate of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; and concern over the NSA’s bulk data collection program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

| February 5, 2014

bennettseatedsmallStill Pioneering After All These Years – 74-Year-Old Alex Bennett Is Building New Platform and Inventing “New” Talk Format.  Some view their own age and/or that of others as a roadblock – a barrier to achieving an untold number of additional hopes and dreams.  To others, age – more correctly – is merely a meaningless number with no attached strings or restrictions.  It would have been quite easy and understandable for radio legend Alex Bennett to take leave and retreat from the business in which he has been an integral part for several decades. After all, the legendary broadcaster was 73-years-old when Sirius XM unceremoniously pink-slipped him last June after more than nine years of service at the satcaster (he turned 74 two months ago).  Notwithstanding an imposing and lengthy list of accomplishments and vitae, which the native Californian could trumpet as an entree to retirement, he has become an entrepreneur with “Alex Bennett’s Great American Broadcasts” being the centerpiece of his novel take on talk radio.  Bennett is innovatively and opportunistically using Skype to create “citizen panels” of up to 10 callers per clip interacting with him in on-air conversation at a time.  To learn more about this creative venture and the ongoing adventures of one of radio’s truly cooler characters, read TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s feature piece posted today (2/5) in its entirety by clicking here.

siriusxmSiriusXM Reports Revenue Up 12% in 2013.  During yesterday’s Q4 conference call, SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer told investors and analysts that the company delivered on all of its guidance for 2013 and enjoyed a revenue spike of 12% for the year plus saw its subscriber base rise to 25.5 million.  Meyer, like Mel Karmazin before him, is touting the company’s dedication to increasing free cash flow and, to that end, Meyer reports free cash flow was up 31% to $927 million for the year.  Looking back onmeyerjim 2013 Meyer underscored the importance of deals that get SiriusXM radios into new cars and stated the satellite service is now available in 71% of cars sold in the United States.  Meyer also spoke about the company’s strategy with regard to the “connected vehicle,” saying, “We’ve acquired a smart team of technology engineers who are accelerating development of our overall connected car architecture, including the combination of satellite receivers with LTE hardware, a strategy that should also yield benefits to our existing audio business…We expect connected vehicle services to deliver close to $100 million of revenue this year, and we expect to grow this at strong double-digit rates over the next many years.  We are in the process of fully integrating the CV business into SiriusXM, and its financial results are embedded in our guidance today.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript.  Members can check out the entire conference here.

missanellimikeGreater Media Suspends WPEN, Philadelphia’s Mike Missanelli for Gay Slurs.  This story goes to show how even a seasoned pro like Philadelphia sports talk host Mike Missanelli can make the mistake of engaging with a critic online.  Greater Media has suspended afternoon personality Mike Missanelli after he called a critic a “latent homosexual” in an email exchange.  The station issued the following statement, “We are aware of the email communications between Mike and one of his listeners.  This individual has been harassing Mike by email for several years, which is cause for concern, and we are working with Mike to try to identify this person and stop the abuse.  However, that does not excuse Mike’s conduct.  The content of his emails is unacceptable and does not reflect our values as a company.  Mike has been suspended and understands that future similar conduct will not be tolerated.”  The story broke after the email exchange was posted on Deadspin.com.

beasley logoBeasley Broadcast Group Beefs Up Digital Division.  In announcing the hiring of three new regional digital directors, Beasley reveals its dedication to digital sales efforts.  In a statement, vice president of digital Stacey Sedbrook speaks about the expectations after bringing Eddie Thorpe, Adam Meltzer and Carolyn Cope aboard.  “The formation of this team will surely be the foundation of our success.  Having the right people on my team is as important to me as having the right products and services to sell.  Eddie, Adam and Carolyn were hand selectedsedbrookstacey for their talents, capabilities and, most importantly, their nimble thinking.  Our objective is to drive revenues for our advertisers, especially those smaller businesses and growing brands in the communities we serve.  To achieve this goal, our regional digital directors will assist Beasley’s local market sales teams in creating enhanced advertising campaigns that include digital products and services tailored to the specific needs of our existing and new clients.”  Eddie Thorpe comes to Beasley from the Tampa Bay Times where he was senior digital director.  He’s responsible for the Miami and Fort Myers-Naples markets.  Adam Meltzer is responsible for the Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware markets.  He most recently was multimedia sales manager for Wicked Local.  Carolyn Cope also served with Wicked Local as senior digital account executive of major accounts and is now overseeing the Augusta, Georgia; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Eastern North Carolina markets (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville).  Sedbrook is responsible for the company’s Las Vegas group.

klattlenKlatt Yields the Winning Run.  In this case, that is a good thing as The Winning Run is the name of the full-service consultancy that Len Klatt is opening.  The former Premiere Networks senior vice president/director of research is gearing the new undertaking – which will have Los Angeles and New York City offices – to national media companies and talent, programming services and advertisers.  Among his clients are Sound Mind, Compass Media Marketing, Big Shoes Productions, Reel World, and The Blaze Radio Network.  “Len continues to do the best job industry wide in both interpreting audience numbers and explaining them to clients interested in exploring the value premise of audience engagement on radio, online, and in digital media,” comments Sound Mind president Kraig Kitchin, Premiere’s former president/chief operating officer.  “We are fortunate to have his talents for the benefit of our sponsors.”  Klatt remarks, “It is not just about columns and numbers, it’s about how they can be used to shape the story in such a way to advance my clients’ vision.  With The Winning Run, I want to cover all the bases.” Before the nearly two decades he spent at Premiere, Klatt was Westwood One‘s New York City-based director of research.  He began his media research career at Media Buying Services International.

learfieldsports logoLearfield Adds to Footprint with Nelligan Acquisition.  One of the leaders in college sports play-by-play rights is adding 41 schools to its roster with the acquisition of Nelligan Sports MarketingLearfield Sports will now hold the multi-media rights to 92 schools, which puts its total above that of its fiercest competitor – IMG Sports, which holds the rights to 79 schools.  Learfield president and CEO Greg Brown tells SportsBusinessDaily, “In some cases, this will open up new markets for us.  In other cases, it will further fortify what we’re doing…Early on in our discussions with Providence [Learfield owner Providence Equity Partners], we identified some strategic opportunities that would be productive for our business.  Nelligan is consistent with the business we’re already in.  This was right down the middle of the fairway for us.”  Nelligan Sports founder T.J. Nelligan will remain with the new company in a leadership role.  He comments that he doesn’t expect attrition with this merger.

wtoplogoOdds & Sods.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is helping the National Multiple Sclerosis Society by naming it the station’s WTOP Charity of the Month recipient for February 2014.  Through the program the MS Society will receive more than $20,000 worth of in-kind contributions to support Multiple Sclerosis awareness and programs, including 64 promotional announcements on WTOP and sister station Federal News Radio.  Additional content and exposure for MS Society will be included on WTOP.com and FederalNewsRadio.com throughout the entire month of February…..Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago announces the next in its “Blackhawks Live” series when forwards Kris Versteeg and Brandon Saad take part in the live event at the Old Town Pour House in suburban Oakbrook on February 24.  The event includes a photo op with the players, an autographed photo and dinner, tax and tip.  “Blackhawks Live” is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the year featuring current Blackhawks players, legends and management.  Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray host the event that includes a question-and-answer format between the hosts and the featured Blackhawks guests…..The New Jersey Broadcasters Association has created PSAs for member stations reminding drivers in the Garden State that it’s illegal to drive a vehicle that hasn’t had the snow and ice properly cleared off it.  Interested stations can visit www.njba.com for information…..The Radio Television Digital News Association names WBIR-TV, Knoxville news director Christy Moreno to its board of directors, representing Region 8, which includes Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia.

ww1sochiWestwoodOne to Present Exclusive Coverage of Winter Olympics.  When the 2014 Olympic Winter Games commence in Sochi, Russia on Friday, WestwoodOne will be the exclusive network for audio coverage.  WestwoodOne’s programing will include: shortform coverage Olympic updates three times an hour, 24/7, from February 7- February 23; longform coverage – “Today in Sochi” including two hours of longform coverage for 17 consecutive nights; coverage of all U.S. Olympic Hockey (Men’s and Women’s) plus the gold medal games in Men’s and Women’s hockey regardless of who is playing.

loeschtheviewDana Loesch Visits ‘The View.’  Conservative talk media figure Dana Loesch – who just entered national syndication for her daily talk radio show via Radio America – appeared on ABC TV’s “The View” on Monday in her stead as a host on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze where she hosts a daily, 5:00 pm program.  Pictured here (center) between the program’s Jenny McCarthy (left) and Sherri Shepherd (right), Loesch spoke about her conversion from a progressive liberal to her current conservative philosophy and fielded questions from the four co-hosts.

Obama Administration Splits with Some Democrats, Philip Seymour Hoffman Death/Heroin Use in America, Hillary in 2016, Immigration Legislation/Amnesty Component, ObamaCare Criticism, Financial Markets Activity, and Sochi Olympics Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4).  The reported rift between Democrats on Capitol Hill and the Obama Administration on some issues; the aftermath of the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and the light it’s shed on heroin abuse in America; the prospect of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016; the proposed immigration legislation working its way through Congress and the possibility of amnesty for current illegals; ongoing scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; activity on the U.S. and world financial markets; and reports of the problems Russia is facing getting Sochi ready for the Winter Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

| February 5, 2013

marksandbraceGreater Media’s Sports Talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia Tweaks Daily Lineup.  The Philadelphia sports talker promotes two from their Saturday program to a daily midday show.  Jon Marks and Sean Brace began holding down the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot on Monday.  Marks most recently co-hosted with Tony Bruno and Brian Baldinger, weekdays 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm respectively.  Sean Brace (as Jon did before him) also produced the Mike Missanelli show for the past year.  As a result of the move, Brian Baldinger moves to the evening show where he co-hosts with Joe DeCamera for the 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm program.  Program director Matt Nahigian says, “Jon Marks’ and Sean Brace’s on-air chemistry has been on display every Saturday morning for the past two years.  The two young and up-and-coming sports talk hosts have created a fun and irreverent show that the Fanatic Philadelphia fans enjoy.”

wjox logoMore Legal Tussles Between Cumulus and Cox Media in Birmingham.  Sports talk outlets WJOX and WZNN in Birmingham are at it again it court, this time over programmer Ryan Haney’s move from WJOX to WZNN.  At issue is the non-compete clause in Haney’s contract.  The Birmingham News reports that Citadelwznn logo (Cumulus) is arguing Haney is in breach of his contract with the company by leaving to work for direct competitor WZNN “ESPN 97.3 The Zone.”  Further, Citadel wants a temporary restraining order against Haney to prevent him from working while the case works its way through the system.  Citadel also wants the court proceedings blacked out to the media because in arguing its case it will have to disclose confidential and proprietary business information.  A judge is set to hear arguments this morning (2/5).  Haney’s non-compete was for the period of one year after exiting WJOX which he did in early January.  Haney had been with WJOX since 2004.

weismanstevenYour Radio Station is Vulnerable to Identity Theft.  We all are aware of the dangers of identity theft and many of us do our best to protect ourselves individually from the dire consequences of having our identities stolen.  But what about your radio station?  Does it even know that there is a problem?  Recently we have learned that both The New York Times and the Washington Post had their computers breached by Chinese hackers and this was not the first time.  The hacking into The New York Times and the Washington Post do not appear to be financially motivated, but that is of little solace.  Why would an identity thief hack into the computers of your radio station rather than attack the computers of big corporations such as Bank of America?  Well, the answer is that they are attacking the computers of the big corporations, but they also are looking toward the computers of small corporations as the low hanging fruit of computer hacking.  Radio stations make enticing targets.  Hacking into the computers of radio stations and other small corporations that may not be in the Fortune 500 not only can provide information that can be stolen to access your radio station’s bank accounts, but it can also provide personal information about employees (some of whom are famous and even controversial), such as Social Security numbers as well as billing and payment information about your advertisers and other companies with which you do business that can be used to make all of these people and entities victims of identity theft.  This is happening to small businesses every day.  One of the reasons that it is happening is that not enough businesses, small and large, but particularly small, are doing enough to safeguard the security of the data in their computers. According to TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman the problem is not as bad as you think.  It is far worse.  Read his important article addressing the problem and offering solutions here.

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Programming Pro Alan Eisenson Joins Media Management Group as EVP of Business Development.  Talk radio programmer Alan Eisenson most recently was in charge of programming Clear Channel’s Northern California news/talk stations: heritage KFBK-AM/FM and KSTE, Sacramento as well as KKSF and KNEW, San Francisco.  Now he joins New York-based Media Management Group as executive vice president of business development.  The firm states, “In his new capacity Eisenson will enable MMG to expand its range of services, including performance and tactical support, and maximizing client audience growth across all media and technology platforms.”  MMG president and CEO Jeff Schwartz states, “I have known Alan for over 12 years, since he was program director at WEVD here in NYC.  He is one of the most talented programmers and talent managers in the business and will enable us to offer additional value to our current and prospective clients.”

muellerchrisCBS Radio’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan” Promotes Two.  Late night sports talk host Chris Mueller is upped to the afternoon drive slot as part of the program hosted by Joe Starkey and Josh Miller weekdays from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Mueller is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad.  He has been with “The Fan” since its February 2010 debut.  About Chris Mueller, program director Ryan Maguire says, “In Chris, we feel we have a dynamic personality who really had great chemistry with Joe Starkey and Josh Miller.  That speaks volumes because we had some very talented candidates that we were looking at for this position.  He earned this, and we’re excited at what lies ahead.”  Moving into the late night slot is weekender Colin Dunlap, who was most recently hosting the 8:00 am to 11:00 am weekend program.  Dunlap is a former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports writer.  In addition to his on-air duties at “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan,” Dunlap will also serve as the featured sports columnist for 937thefan.com.

cookehollandHow to Pump Up Your Weekend “How-To” Show – Part 2.  Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke says, “Few marketing opportunities can generate more new business than local ‘how-to’ weekend talk radio…if you use it properly.”  In this follow-up to yesterday’s piece, Cooke offers four basic tips to maximizing the productivity and quality of these shows:  1) Stay relentlessly on topic; 2) Keep your information in layman’s language; 3) Don’t say “goodbye” at the end of the show; 4) Listen to the show yourself, after some time has gone by so you hear it more objectively.  Read Holland Cooke’s suggestions for producing quality weekend “how-to” programs here.

hillaustinAustin Hill and Brian Wiley Join KINF-AM/FM, Boise.  Impact Radio Group news/talk KINF-AM/FM, Boise brings talk pro Austin Hill aboard for the morning drive program beginning Monday, February 11.  Also being added to the program schedule is Brian Wiley who will bring his “Money Show with Brian Wiley” to the station for the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot.  Both Hill and Wiley previously worked at Peak Broadcasting’s crosstown KIDO.  Austin Hill’s weekend syndicated show “Austin Hill’s Big World of Small Business” airs on Saturdays on KINF.

Obama Gun Legislation Tour, Obama Cabinet Nominees, Super Bowl XLVII, Immigration Reform, and Death of Ed Koch Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4).  President Obama’s tour of the country to promote his gun legislation; cabinet nominations for President Obama’s second term; the aftermath of Super Bowl XLVII; the debate over immigration reform legislation; and the death of former NYC Mayor Ed Koch were among the top news/talk stories discussed on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

| August 28, 2012

Mark Masters’ TRN Companies File Lawsuit against Dial Global Claiming Monopoly Practices.  These companies, (usually referred to generally in the industry as Talk Radio Network (TRN), include The Original Talk Radio Network, Inc., Talk Radio Network Enterprises, LLC and Talk Radio Network-FM, Inc.   They have initiated the filing of a Federal action against Dial Global, Inc. and multiple other parties, asserting anti-trust, anti-monopoly and other claims.  In announcing that action, Mark Masters, CEO of the plaintiff companies, states, “This is a sad but necessary day for us.  But the steps we take today are for the sake of the entire community of independent spoken word syndicators, and independent radio networks who depend on outside sale representation for their very financial survival.  These independent producers, syndicators and networks serve America’s over 10,000 commercial radio stations, helping them save costs, and increase quality at a critical time to those stations’ survival in the current difficulties they face in navigating today’s national economic environment.  Today, we reluctantly are forced to bring this action, as the largest group of independent spoken word syndicators/networks in the United States.  In doing so, we hope this signals a beginning of the end to active monopoly and anti-competitive actions within radio’s independent spoken word syndication markets.”  In the suit TRN lists a variety of marketplace operational grievances against Dial Global citing the recent demise of CNN Radio News as a prime example: “The plaintiff companies note in particular that the recent destruction of CNN Radio (which was on over 1,100 radio stations in the US and had been operating for over 20 years), going into a presidential election, in favor of its immediate replacement by a branded news operation, at the election of its sales representatives, is a telling example of the threat posed by the ability of a small handful of unelected Wall Street executives who have achieved sufficient dominance in one sales market to force changes in the separate independent spoken word market, and the threat posed to other independent spoken word syndicators absent prompt corrective actions.”  Masters goes on to state, “The sudden death of CNN Radio News, after 20 years, and in a presidential election year besides, is a veritable canary in a coal mine for independent spoken word syndication in radio.”  The idea to file this lawsuit has obviously been brewing in the mind of Mark Masters for some time now.  Attendees at the recent industry gathering presented by TALKERSmagazine, “The New Media Seminar” in New York on June 7 might recall the TRN CEO hinting during his luncheon address about the possibility that his company might be taking unprecedented legal action against an alleged radio industry monopoly.  Seems he meant it.  TALKERS contacted Dial Global CEO David Landau who said, “No comment.”

Broadcasts and Interviews Abound as Talk Radio Shows Emanate from Tampa.  The official activities at the Republican National Convention may have been put on hold for a day but the skies cleared and planned broadcasting activities went on pretty much unabated at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Convention Center where the RNC will officially resume today.  Talk hosts, news professionals, celebrities and political commentators gathered and took advantage of the day to talk about the presidential race and all that goes with it.  Pictured here is Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher (r) speaking with actor Jon Voight (l) who spoke with Gallagher on the record for his nationally syndicated program.  Voight told Gallagher, “Much of the Hollywood community has ‘blood on our hands’ for taking leftist positions in the 60s and 70s.”  He says he’s “atoning” for that by supporting Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.  “He’s serious, he’s a problem solver and he’s been in public service all his life.”  Meanwhile, XtreMedia president and nationally syndicated talk host Kevin McCullough (l) had the opportunity to chat with Minnesota Senator and former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (r) on radio row inside the convention center at the Talk Radio News Service booth.  Cumulus Media Networks syndicated talk host – and career journalist – Geraldo Rivera (r) meets up with news colleague Sam Donaldson of ABC News (l) at the news organization’s booth inside the convention center.  Meanwhile, as Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast and moves straight towards New Orleans…

Gulf Coast Radio Stations Prepare to Keep Citizens Informed.  The people of Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf Coast are understandably nervous.  It has been seven years since Hurricane Katrina roared through this region making history and leaving an indelible mark on the lives of millions of people.   During that natural disaster — and a number of others both before and since – good ol’ terrestrial radio has risen to the occasion, in many cases putting competitive barriers aside, and served the community.  In preparation for the coming storm, Entercom’s WWL-FM/AM went into wall-to-wall coverage mode preparing its listeners with updates on the approaching storm’s direction and progress.  The radio station’s website this morning looks like something you would expect to see from the Weather ChannelGuaranty Broadcasting Group reports to TALKERS it is all over the storm today with simulcasts on their various formats in the market that began at 5:30 am.  Talk 107.3 FM began live simulcast coverage on Eagle 98.1’s 100,000 watt signal. Matt Kennedy and Brian Haldane are leading coverage with the Talk 107.3 FM morning show. Darren Gauthier and Scotty Drake will provide mid-day coverage. The husband and wife team of Bill and Karen Profita will anchor afternoon coverage. 104.5 ESPN’s Charles Hanagriff and Matt Moscona will take on coverage until midnight on the Talk 107.3/Eagle 98.1 simulcast.  Bill and Karen Profita will return with the overnight shift beginning at midnight.  The Talk 107.3 FM/Eagle 98.1 simulcast will continue throughout the hurricane as proves to be necessary.  The simulcast will also feature live coverage from Guaranty’s TV partner WAFB Channel 9 with continuous updates from chief meteorologist Jay Grymes.  Guaranty VP/market manager Gordy Rush tells TALKERS, “We are thrilled to bring unprecedented 24-hour live and local coverage to South Louisiana with the names and voices that carried this region through the likes of Katrina and Gustav.” (Image courtesy of NASA)

CBS Sports Radio Names Eric Spitz Director of Programming; Chris Oliviero to Supervise New Division.  WFAN, New York program director Eric Spitz is named the director of programming for CBS’ new sports talk radio network and the company announces CBS Radio SVP of programming Chris Oliviero will take on a supervisory role in the new sports talk venture.  Spitz is a longtime WFAN employee, beginning his tenure there as a desk assistant back in 1987 when the station first debuted.  Spitz split from WFAN for a period in 2002 when he was named vice president, operations and programming for Westwood One’s Shadow/Metro Traffic but returned to WFAN in 2005.  In a statement, Oliviero comments on the new management structure.  “Eric has a unique skill set ideal for building a sports radio network as proven by his tremendous success at WFAN.  Eric has been involved with the pioneering radio station since the beginning and watched the format grow from its infancy to what is now one of the most successful in the industry.  His perspective is exactly what’s needed to launch a sports radio brand that can stand the test of time.  And his selection for this critical position proves the value we are putting on leadership with a strong editorial track record in sports programming.  We are also fortunate to be able to call on the expertise of Mark Chernoff, who is without a doubt the most successful sports radio program director of all time.  Mark has been one of the principals helping to lay the foundation for CBS Sports Radio and his continued guidance will be a huge advantage as we craft programming we are confident will be of great interest to our affiliates around the country.”  The 24/7 sports programming network will launch on January 2, 2013 with Cumulus Media Networks as syndicator and sales partner.

WRKO, Boston Promotes Bill Cooksey to Assistant PD.  Morning show executive producer Bill Cooksey will keep his duties managing the production of the Todd Feinburg and Michele McPhee morning drive show at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston as he adds the assistant program director tag to his business card.  Cooksey will effectively take over the day-to-day operations of WRKO with this promotion.  WRKO PD Jason Wolfe says, “Bill has more passion for WRKO than anyone and has earned this promotion.  He’s smart, aggressive, and a true leader.  His efforts over the past several years have been outstanding and I’m really looking forward to working with him in this new capacity.”  Cooksey started at WRKO in 2006 and became executive producer of the morning show in 2010.  Of his promotion, Cooksey states, “I’m honored by this promotion and couldn’t be more excited about the future of WRKO.  We’ve made several big changes in recent months and top to bottom WRKO is a stronger radio station today than ever before.  WRKO has been home for me for the last six years. I am proud of what we accomplished and I look forward to building on those accomplishments in the future.”

Cincinnati Talk Host Eric Deters to Surface at Rock Trimulcast.  Just days after leaving Christian Broadcasting System’s WQRT, Cincinnati due to clashes with management, talk host Eric Deters (who has also worked at Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati subbing for Bill Cunningham and hosting his own weekend show) will take over the morning show at Class X – the classic rock trimulcast that’s heard on WMWX, Miamitown, Ohio; WKCX, Crittenden, Kentucky; and WYNS, Waynesville, Ohio.  No official start date for Deters has been given.

Local Fan Wins Eagles Season Tix in Celebrity Call-In Contest on WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia.  Kristin Lee of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania won Eagles season tickets in PM drive host Mike Missanelli’s Celebrity Call-In Contest in which listeners had to work their connections to urge a celebrity to call in to Missanelli’s program on 97.5 The Fanatic.  Lee convinced P-Diddy to phone in and she was awarded the tickets on Friday, August 24.  The impressive list of celebrities to call in during the contest included: actor Colin Quinn, actress Anne Hathaway, golfer Gary Player, model Cheryl Tiegs and musician Alicia Keys, to name a few.

Fox Sports Radio Develops Weekend Golf Show with Hank Haney.  The program will air live from 8:00 am to 10:00 am ET beginning Saturday, September 8 and FSRN has nabbed SupremeGolf.com as the title sponsor for the show.  Hank Haney – legendary golf instructor and author of a recent best-selling book – “will take listeners beyond the green to provide expert analysis on today’s players and events, talk with celebrities, insiders and golf fans, and provide insight on how to become a better golfer.”  Senior vice president, sports programming for Premiere Networks, Don Martin, states, “We’re excited to give listeners the opportunity to interact with one of the best golf instructors in the world every weekend.  Hank’s many years of experience and expertise in golf will provide our listeners with tremendous insight into the sport, and access to the best players on the course today.”

Republican National Convention, Tropical Storm Isaac and the Death of Neil Armstrong Were Among the Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/27).  The Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay; the effect of Tropical Storm Isaac on the convention and its path toward New Orleans; and the death of legendary astronaut Neil Armstrong were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, August 27, 2012

| August 27, 2012

Talk Hosts and News Operations Deal with Logistical Issues and Weather as Republican National Convention Begins in Tampa Today.  The Republican National Convention, a huge “radio row” and live broadcast draw for many radio stations and networks around the country, begins today and talk hosts, programmers and news staffers are dealing with what is already a complex couple of days of remote broadcasting being amplified by the threat from Tropical Storm Issac.  Today’s first day of the RNC is being canceled due to the storm and broadcasters are having to make contingency plans as a result.  From a logistical standpoint, hosts and news staffers may be forced to cram planned interviews and guest appearances originally scheduled across three days into two days on Tuesday and Wednesday.  As for live broadcasts scheduled from the convention center for today, that will depend on how quickly the storm moves through the area.  Salem Radio Network VP of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS SRN’s equipment on radio row is set up but its two early Monday shows – Mike Gallagher and Dennis Prager – will originate from Salem Communications O&O WGUL, Tampa and the Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt programs will broadcast from the convention center radio row later today.

Lincoln Financial Media Buys Miami FM for Sports Talk Simulcast with WAXY.  West Palm Beach FM WMSF at 104.3 will change hands from Palm Beach Broadcasting to Lincoln Financial Media for a reported $13 million and the latter will use the signal to give sports talk “790 The Ticket” WAXY an FM presence in the South Florida market.  Palm Beach acquired the station from CBS Radio earlier this year.  Palm Beach has applied to move the 104.3 signal from West Palm Beach to Miami and that application is still pending the FCC.  LFM will begin operating the station under an LMA prior to FCC approval of the sale.

Program Director Jay Bohannon Exits Clear Channel’s WPGB, Pittsburgh.  When Clear Channel fired up the Pittsburgh FM talk outlet in January 2004, Jay Bohannon was named the program director.  During his tenure at the station, he was responsible for working with morning show team Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent and bringing the program into syndication.  He also led news/talk branding and imaging for the company.  Bohannon is available for his next opportunity.  Reach out to him at radiojaybo@comcast.net.

Salem Communications to Buy WMUU, Greenville from Bob Jones University.  The station – owned by the Christian college’s Gospel Fellowship Association – currently programs a combo of Christian teaching and beautiful music but that will end when Salem Communications takes over and turns the Greenville, South Carolina FM at 94.5 into a news/talk outlet using programming from the Salem Radio Network.  No price has been announced nor has a start date for an LMA.

WOR Low Price Tag Cause of Angst for AM Radio Owners.  As the dust settles in the aftermath of the recently announced sale of Buckley Broadcastings’ heritage outlet WOR, New York to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, the cold hard reality of the low price tag is beginning to settle in and it is being perceived as a seriously bad indicator about the value and future of AM sticks.  Industry observers and players alike remember stories about the late Buckley Broadcasting CEO Rick Buckley turning down offers as high as $150 million for the station as recently as a decade ago.  In 2001, Disney paid then-owner The Forward newspaper $78 million for WEVD (1050 AM) to find a New York City outlet for ESPN Radio – a station with a significantly inferior signal than WOR’s.  An article in the New York Daily News reports on the topic: “One of the many nervous discussions in radio these days revolves around the future of AM stations — that is, if they have a future.”  Perhaps the revelations of the WOR deal will usher in an industry station deal cycle marked by what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as the “lesser fool” theory.

Former Eagles Star Brian Dawkins Joins 97.5 The Fanatic for NFL Coverage.  Former Philadelphia Eagles star Brian Dawkins will be part of the Friday coverage of NFL football on Mike Missanelli’s program each week at 4:10 pm on Greater Media’s WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia.  Program director Matt Nahigian says, “There is no one that Eagle fans love and relate to more than Brian Dawkins.  We had him on our air about a month ago and the response we received via Twitter and Facebook about wanting to hear him each week was staggering.  I am thrilled to bring his passion and insight to the Delaware Valley on a week to week basis.”

KLIN, Lincoln Nebraska Names David Dwinell AM Drive Co-Host; Kevin Thomas Promoted to PD.  Dwinell has been working at KLKN-TV, Lincoln as promotions director.  He leaves that position to return to radio where he’ll take the radio moniker Dave Miller as he sits beside Jack Mitchell on NRG Media’s Lincoln news/talker.  The slot on the station’s morning show opened up when John Bishop left the show to go across the hall and join NRG’s 1620 The Zone for its “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” program.  At the same time, KLIN PM drive host Kevin Thomas takes on the program director duties at the station that were previously held by John Bishop.  He’ll continue to host the 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm “Drive Time Lincoln” show.  Also, the sports director post – also previously held by Bishop – goes to Chris Whitney.

Buckley Broadcasting Flips KYZZ, Salinas, California to Sports.  The classic hits format disappears from KYZZ as the former “Z97.9” becomes part of the simulcast of “630 ESPN” KIDD, Monterey and becomes known as “97.9 ESPN Central Coast.”

Programmers Owe it to Themselves to See Obama Movie.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke says of the new movie “Obama’s America 2016,” “If you work in talk radio, you owe it to your audience to understand what all those network commercials in your show are selling.  And as an insider, you’ll recognize the event you’re attending as a theatrical ‘infomercial,’ a rented theater.”  Cooke says that regardless of your personal political viewpoint, as a content creator the film is instructive in numerous ways.  Read Holland Cooke’s analysis here.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Cuts Ribbon at NJ 101.5 Studio.  Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 celebrated the opening of its refurbished main studio on August 23 and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was on hand to cut the ribbon.  NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson reports the main studio got some brand new carpeting and – more important – new broadcasting equipment to bring the station into the digital era.  PM drive hosts Deminski &Doyle were on the air when the switch was made and the monthly “Ask the Governor” program followed.  Christie was there for the program and made the new studio “official” with his gubernatorial ribbon cutting and he even worked the new digital board (pictured here) during the station’s 8:00 pm newscast.

Dale “The Truckin’ Bozo” Sommers Dies at 68.  The cause of death is not yet public but Dale Sommers had been dealing with unspecified health issues since he left the WLW, Cincinnati overnight program in 2004.  Although he retired from the show at that time, he resumed the program on satellite radio and hosted it until earlier this year when he again gave it up.  As the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter reports, Sommers’ program made national news twice when it helped solve crimes.  The first time was in 1984 when he was talking off the air with a regular caller who went by the name of “Mississippi Lady,” a convenience store clerk in Camilla, Georgia “when he heard her tell someone, ‘You can’t come back here’ before quickly hanging up the phone.  Sommers called Camilla police, who were familiar with his ‘Bozo Show’ and a store clerk known as the ‘Mississippi Lady.’ Within minutes, an officer apprehended the robber.”  His program was also credited with assisting police is catching the DC sniper in 2002 after a listener heard Sommers give the car’s license plate number over the radio.

Monday, November 28, 2011

| November 28, 2011

Randy Michaels Gets $650,000 Settlement from Tribune Co.  Former Tribune Company CEO – and current Merlin Media LLC CEO – Randy Michaels is getting a $650,000 settlement from Tribune after being ousted from the company this past fall.  Michaels sought the pro-rated portion of his 2010 management incentive bonus — $900,000 – arguing he was terminated without cause.  Tribune considered challenging the assertion with which it disagreed but decided to settle to avoid a drawn out legal battle.  Michaels will also get $50,000 to cover his legal fees.  According to the Chicago Tribune, part of the settlement includes a non-disparagement clause, provisions to protect Tribune’s intellectual property and a limit of its future liability to claims brought by Michaels.

Report: NBC Still Negotiating with Howard Stern to Judge “America’s Got Talent.”  The New York Post is reporting that NBC is still in talks with Howard Stern to bring the Sirius/XM personality aboard its “America’s Got Talent” program to take the place of Piers Morgan who’s exiting to concentrate on his CNN duties.  Some industry watchers are skeptical that NBC would pay Stern $20 million and move the show from Los Angeles to New York to have Stern join the show but the Post says some sources close to the process say creator and executive producer Simon Cowell really wants Stern for the role.  Neither NBC nor Cowell are commenting stating their policy of not addressing ongoing negotiations in the media.

KTAR-FM, Phoenix Adds Two Local Programs to Weekend Schedule.  Bonneville’s KTAR-Phoenix announces the addition of two new local programs to the Saturday schedule.  Author and business owner Steve Henry hosts his eponymous program from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm focusing on small business and the role it plays in the country’s economy.  Henry states, “I couldn’t be more excited to bring our show to one of the best news stations in the country.  It’s time to take back control of our financial future by starting our own small businesses and investing in ourselves.”  Henry’s program is followed by current KTAR producer and on-air contributor Rob Hunter paired up with Phoenix market radio pro Mark Devine for the Rob and Mark show.  Hunter says, “Mark and I come from different perspectives in life as he’s a dad raising two kids and I’m recently married.  This dynamic will provide a fun, interesting and relatable Saturday afternoon show for the KTAR audience.”  KTAR-FM vice president of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says of the additions, “Unfortunately in our business, most media companies are filling weekends with more syndicated shows and less local programming to save money.  At KTAR, we see the world differently and believe strongly that weekends provide the perfect opportunity to develop new, engaging local content for our audiences regardless of expense.”

Seventh Annual Domestic Violence Radio Row Set for December 8.  For the seventh consecutive year, TALKERS magazine will present “It’s Time to Talk Day” — a massive radio row produced in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc.  Held in the fashion showroom of the Midtown Manhattan corporate offices of Liz Claiborne, Inc., the ambitious event brings together more than 20 talk media hosts from around the country who broadcast their shows live or record interviews for delayed broadcast speaking with a non-stop parade of experts, victims, celebrities and public officials from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on the insidious societal problems of domestic violence and teenage dating abuse.  This year’s participants include Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio; Dr. Joy Browne of WOR Radio Network; Mark Riley of WWRL, New York; Curtis Sliwa of WNYM (The Apple), New York; Roberta Facinelli of “Doug Stephan’s Good Day;”  John Fugelsang of “The Stephanie Miller Show;” Kevin McCullough of “The Kevin McCullough Show” and “Baldwin/McCullough;” Maria Bailey of “Mom Talk Radio;”  Gary Baumgarten of Paltalk; Lionel of WPIX-TV, New York Channel 11 and LionelMedia.com; Barry Farber of Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk Radio; Lisa Wexler of “The Lisa Wexler Show;”  Ken Pittman of WBSM, New Bedford, MA/Providence, RI; Dr. Renee Kohanski of PodJockey; Dan Patterson of KoPoint and  Ellen Ratner and Geoff Holtzman of Talk Radio News Service who will be broadcasting throughout the day to several hundred of the news service’s affiliates.  Joining the lineup this year will be representatives of college talk radio with WRHU, Hempstead of Hofstra University; WLIU, Brooklyn of Long Island University and WNEK, Springfield, MA of Western New England University in attendance. Included among those who will be taking live and recorded feeds from the event are Thom Hartmann of “The Thom Hartmann Show;” Dom Giordano of WPHT, Philadelphia; and Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” with several more to be announced.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “‘It’s Time to Talk Day’ is certainly one of our most important annual events.  It raises consciousness about a societal problem that impacts a frighteningly large segment of the population and it cuts across all gender, ethnic and demographic boundaries.  There isn’t a spoken-word format that doesn’t find the topic of domestic violence applicable to its audience and extremely compelling.  Most importantly, we get feedback each year that this radio row, upon reaching millions of talk radio listeners, really does make a huge difference in the lives of real people.  It doesn’t get better than that.  We are grateful to Liz Claiborne, Inc. for their public-mindedness in supporting such a valuable project.”  Talkers.com will provide full coverage of the event.

Connecticut Talk Host Lisa Wexler Joins WFAS, White Plains, New York; Station to Flip to Talk.  Cumulus’ WFAS, White Plains currently airs soft AC but will flip to talk soon and former WSTC, Stamford/WNLK, Norwalk, Connecticut talk host Lisa Wexler will host the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program.  Wexler exited WSTC and WNLK when Cox Media Group agreed to sell the two stations to Sacred Heart University which is taking them non-commercial.  Wexler will broadcast live from the “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row in New York City on December 8.  The event is designed to raise awareness of domestic violence and is produced by TALKERS magazine in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc.  Back to WFAS, the Westchester County station will reportedly also air Dial Global’s Clark Howard as part of the talk lineup.

WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia Brings Former Flyers Lindros and LeClair Together to Benefit Children’s Hospital.  Greater Media’s Philadelphia sports talk outlet “97.5 The Fanatic” is bringing former Philadelphia Flyers Eric Lindros and John LeClair back together for a series of events to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in conjunction with sponsor TD Bank.  Lindros and LeClair will appear on Mike Missanelli’s PM drive program from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on December 14; they’ll be part of a charity luncheon at Morton’s The Steakhouse the following day; and will appear at a public signing at the Granite Run Mall in Media, Pennsylvania on Friday, December 16.  One hundred percent of the proceeds from the events will benefit the hospital.  WPEN-AM/FM program director Matt Nahigian says, “It’s really going to be great.  For Eric and John to partner with the station and to do so for a terrific cause such as CHOP is really tremendous.  I know the listeners will enjoy the opportunity to attend these events.  We’re very excited.”

Milwaukee Media Writer Tim Cuprisin Passes Away at 53.  Tim Cuprisin covered radio and TV for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for 23 years before accepting a buyout from Journal Communications in 2009.  Since exiting Journal, he’d been continuing to cover the Milwaukee radio and TV beat via the blog OnMilwaukee.com.  The Chicago native died on November 23 after complications from advanced melanoma.