By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — Now that the 2015 All Star Game is in the books, the “unofficial” start of the second-half of the baseball season is underway and we interpret that as our subtle cue to begin listing the performance of MLB’s radio flagships.
Among changes instituted in the 2015 baseball season are ways to speed up games, which typically take three hours during a season that extends from April through September.
Factor in pre-game and post-game shows, as well as a variety of sales-driven programming features, and it becomes crystal-clear how a MLB flagship can wind up devoting a sizeable chunk of its programming day and year to its hometown franchise.
Just as MLB implemented tweaks, several modifications are in effect since our previous series of baseball flagship scoreboards.
Here then are the disclaimers to the unique set of challenges of doing a MLB flagship overview.
For openers, the following scoreboards are for English-language flagships only.
In addition to their main flagship, some MLB teams have a secondary outlet and/or an emergency alternative. Rather than showing multiple stations, we are going with each team’s primary, 162-game flagship.
Key outlets of the two New York franchises (Mets and Yankees) appear in three PPM-rated markets (New York, Long Island, and Middlesex); the Angels’ flagship is listed in Los Angeles and Riverside; and key stations of the San Francisco and Oakland franchises (Giants and A’s) appear in San Francisco and San Jose.
In these instances, flagships for the Mets and Yankees have New York City ratings info only; Riverside ratings stats (only) are used for the Angels’ key station; and flagships for the two Bay Area teams have San Francisco ratings info only.
Thus, each team is shown with one flagship in one (only) PPM market.
The flagship for the American League East’s Blue Jays (CJCL) is, of course, located in Toronto, the only non-PPM market; no ratings information is shown here for CJCL.
With the fine print concluded, it is time to throw out the first pitch and play ball.
Major Market Swapping Among Entercom, LFM, Bonneville. Official settlement has been reached between Entercom Communications and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding Entercom’s acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media. The proposed transaction involving LFM properties in three markets was announced last December. Another player entered the mix, and as part of the DOJ resolution, Entercom gains entry into the second-largest market by exchanging four Denver stations with Bonneville. Somewhat resembling an MLB mega-swap conducted prior to baseball’s July 31 trading deadline, Entercom is cutting ties with adult contemporary KOSI “Continuous Lite Rock,” KYGO “#1 For New Country,” KKFN “Sports Radio – The Fan,” and sports KEPN “The Zone” in exchange for Bonneville Los Angeles classic rocker KSWD “The Sound” and $5 million in additional consideration. After the dust settles, Entercom will have facilities in four (new for them) top 20 markets – Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, and San Diego. Leading their respective stations there – and all having the Entercom title of vice president and general manager are: Peter Burton (Los Angeles); Mike Fowler (Atlanta); Doug Abernethy (Miami); and Bob Bollinger (San Diego). Amy Griesheimer remains in place as vice president and general manager of Entercom Denver; she has been with the company since 2002. Entercom president and chief executive officer David Field comments, “We are delighted to be moving forward on our long-delayed acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media and adding their terrific brands, markets, and people to our organization. We are also very excited to be acquiring ‘The Sound,’ the fastest growing radio station in Los Angeles, through our station exchange with Bonneville. Adding Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, and San Diego to our footprint will meaningfully enhance our ability to serve our listeners, customers, employees, and shareholders. This is a great day for Entercom that will enhance our competitive position and bolster our growth potential well into the future.” According to Entercom chief operating officer Weezie Kramer, “Lincoln Financial Media, Bonneville, and their teams have built world-class brands. We are excited about the opportunities to continue to grow these stations and to provide our listeners and customers with the best compelling local content and dynamic, integrated marketing solutions. I am excited to welcome Doug, Bob, Mike, and Peter to Entercom. They are great leaders and managers with a proven track record of success. As we enter these vibrant markets, we are thrilled to have such talented and experienced media veterans at the helm. Amy has been a tremendous leader for Entercom Denver. We know her experience, leadership, and vision will continue to drive ratings, revenue, and audience engagement for our stations [there].” Meanwhile, Bonneville president Darrell Brown remarks, “Denver is a vibrant, growing area where we see great opportunity. The stations we are acquiring are legacy brands and provide a powerful cluster in this market. They align well with our existing portfolio, allowing us to expand our regional footprint. Bonneville’s core mission is building and lifting the communities where we own broadcast properties. We have a commitment to provide quality sports, news, and entertainment products and we are thrilled to serve the Denver market.” After spending seven years as director of sales for Lincoln Financial San Diego, New York native Burton joined Bonneville seven years ago. Entercom Los Angeles will consist of KSWD “The Sound,” which in 12 of the last 13 Nielsen Audio PPM ratings periods, has been in the 3.0 – 3.9 range. In the most recent sweep (June 2015), it ranks sixth (3.7, 6+); “The Sound” registered a 3.9 in March, April, and May. Fowler most recently was director of sales for ESPN Chicago. The LFM cluster that Entercom is acquiring in Atlanta is comprised of hot AC WSTR “Star 94,” which has back-to-back increases (3.0 – 3.2 – 3.8, April-May-June, 6+) to finish #11, and WQXI “ESPN 790 The Zone” (.2, 6+). Abernethy joined Entercom three months ago, following ten years as a Radio One regional vice president. Among the three Miami stations Entercom is picking up from LFM is adult contemporary WLYF “Lite-FM,” which – in May – finally unseated Cox Media Group urban AC WHQT at #1. With consecutive up-trends (6.8 – 7.1 – 7.3, April-May-June, 6+), “Lite” remains at #1. The other two Miami stations Entercom is acquiring are classic hits-oldies WMXJ “Magic 102.7″ (4.4, #7, 6+, June 2015) and sports WAXY “The Ticket” (1.9, #20). It was just last week that Bolinger exited CBS Radio San Diego as senior vice president and market manager. As is the case in Miami involving adult contemporary WLYF, Entercom is getting a #1 station (6+) in San Diego with adult contemporary KIFM “Easy 98.1″ (5.5, #1, 6+, June 2015). In addition to “Easy,” the San Diego cluster-mates Bolinger will oversee are KSON “New Country” (4.5, #6) and alternative KBZT “It’s About the Music” (2.6, #16). June 2015 (6+) ratings performances for the properties leaving Entercom and joining Bonneville are 5.3, #4 (fourth successive up trend) for KYGO; 4.7, #6 for KOSI; and 2.0, #19 for KKFN; KEPN does not appear in the June sweep. Stations remaining under the Entercom Denver banner are June 2015 pacesetter classic rock KQMT “The Mountain” (6.6, #1, 6+); hot AC KALC “Alice” (4.0, #9); and adult standards KEZW “Studio 1430 – Timeless Music” (.5, #28). They will be joined by Lincoln Financial Media additions rhythmic CHR KQKS “KS-107.5″ (3.5, #12, 6+, June 2015); KYGO-HD2 “Comedy 103.1″ (#18, trending 1.7 – 1.8, 1.9 – 3.0, 6+); and KRWZ “Cruisin’ Oldies – AM 950″ (1.5, #23). Purchase price for Entercom’s Lincoln Financial Media acquisition is $105 million. Approximately three-quarters of it – $77.5 million – is in cash and the remaining $27.5 million in “Series A” perpetual convertible preferred stock held by Lincoln Financial Group. Time Brokerage Agreements will enable Bonneville and Entercom to operate the swapped properties immediately upon closing of the Lincoln Financial Media acquisition. It is anticipated that closing of the Lincoln Financial Media acquisition and beginning of the Bonneville-Entercom TBAs will occur within several business days. Entercom expects the Bonneville transaction will be finalized by fourth quarter.
Connoisseur Media Bought by Management and Petrus Holding Company. Westport, Connecticut-based Connoisseur Media has been bought in a joint effort by the company’s management and Petrus Holding Company, LP, a Perot Company. In a statement issued today, Petrus says existing management team will continue to operate the stations, with Petrus as their financial partner. Connoisseur Media operates 42 radio stations and digital assets in 12 markets across the U.S. Connoisseur CEO Jeffrey Warshaw states, “We are very excited to partner with The Perot Companies to continue our focused and disciplined growth strategy. It is important for us to have a partner who shares our values and supports our long-term growth strategy.” Perot Companies chairman Ross Perot, Jr. says, “The Perot Companies and Connoisseur share common values, an entrepreneurial culture and a long-term approach to operating and building world-class companies. Our investment will allow Connoisseur to continue investing in its people while ensuring it can remain prudently financed, locally focused and innovative.”
Premiere Networks Names Meghan McCain Host of ‘America Now.’ A new, young host has been named for Premiere Networks’ nationally syndicated radio talk show “America Now.” Media personality and author Meghan McCain takes over the role of permanent host of the show that first featured Andy Dean as host. He left the program in July of 2014 to focus on his ConnectPal digital platform. (San Antonio-based personality Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo has been hosting the show on an interim basis.) Premiere says the show will continue to be based in Los Angeles and air live from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET. McCain comments, “I can’t wait to engage listeners across the country as we shine a spotlight on the stories and issues that affect us all. Creating a dialogue to inform, inspire and entertain people is what’s always driven me, and hosting ‘America Now’ is an exciting opportunity to help drive the national conversation. I’m excited to be joining a network with such an amazing lineup of hosts.” Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott states, “Meghan is smart, enthusiastic and outspoken, and we’re excited to have her join our roster of industry-leading programs reaching diverse audiences across America. As talk radio continues to connect with and engage millions of people across multiple platforms, we’re confident Meghan’s unique perspective and experience in politics will resonate with America Now’s national audience and create powerful marketing opportunities for our partners.”
Ross Promoted to News Director at WBAP and KLIF in Dallas. Moving up from her assistant news director position at Cumulus Media’s WBAP and KLIF in Dallas, Freda Ross is the new news director for the stations. Ross has been with WBAP since 1994 and added KLIF duties after Cumulus acquired the station. She is heard daily on KLIF as midday news anchor. Operations and program manager Tyler Cox says, “Freda has earned the respect of her colleagues and is a long-standing, influential leader in the WBAP/KLIF news department. She was the natural choice for this promotion to news director.” Ross comments, “I’m excited to take on the responsibilities of being news director for WBAP and KLIF. Both are well-respected heritage stations that have served the DFW community for decades. I look forward to the opportunity to continue bringing honest, thought-provoking news coverage to our listeners.”
Cox Media Group Makes ‘Major Senior Leadership Changes.’ These executive moves affect the National Ad Platforms, radio and digital businesses of Cox Media Group. They include: Kim Guthrie being named EVP of National Ad Platforms and president of CoxReps, the country’s largest television advertising rep firm based in New York City; Bill Hendrich takes over for Guthrie as EVP of radio and CMG research, based in Atlanta; and Marian Pittman becomes the company’s EVP of digital strategy and will oversee digital’s content and sales from her base in Atlanta. Guthrie’s assumption of the CoxReps presidency comes as Jim Monahan retires from the company after 35 years. The company says new radio EVP Bill Hendrich joined CMG Radio in 1996 in Orlando and has led countless award-winning teams that have produced outstanding creative content for CMG’s radio audiences, quantifiable sales results for customers, and internal and external customer service satisfaction for CMG’s employees and clients. The company’s Orlando VP/GM Susan Larkin is promoted to regional VP of Jacksonville and Orlando Radio. Finally, Pittman makes her move after serving with the company as VP of news and marketing for television.
Jake Gyllenhaal Visits NBC Sports Radio’s Amani Toomer and Dan Schwartzman. The two co-host “Going Deep with Amani & Dan” from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET on the NBC Sports Radio Network and recently hosted actor Jake Gyllenhaal in the studio about his new movie, Southpaw. The film is the story of a boxer who fights his way to the top only to find his life falling apart around him and features Rachel McAdams and Forest Whitaker. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Schwartzman, Gyllenhaal, and Toomer.
Obama Strikes Nukes Deal with Iran, Prison Escape of Mexican Drug Lord, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Bill Cosby Rape Allegations, Illegal Immigration Policy-Kate Steinle Death, Greek Debt Issue, Caitlyn Jenner ESPYs Appearance, the MLB All-Star game, and NASA’s Pluto Mission Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/14). The West’s deal with Iran to end economic sanctions on the nation and allow its nuclear program to proceed; the controversial “escape” from prison of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the renewed chatter about allegations Bill Cosby drugged and raped women; the controversy over the U.S.’s illegal immigration policy, the sanctuary cities, and the death of Kate Steinle; the Greek debt solution and its effect on world financial markets; Caitlyn Jenner’s appearance on the ESPYs tonight and her receiving the Arthur Ashe Award; the MLB All-Star game; and NASA’s New Horizons flies by Pluto were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rush Limbaugh to Air on WNDE, Indianapolis and New Translator. Currently, the iHeartMedia-owned WNDE-AM is a sports talk outlet and there’s nothing in the press release from the company that indicates a format change is imminent – it says the Rush Limbaugh program will be airing along with the local sports talk show hosted by Jake Query and John Schultz as well as the FOX Sports Radio Network programming currently being heard there. The new translator – W248AW at 97.5 FM – is licensed to Franklin, Indiana (approximately 25 miles south of downtown Indianapolis) and should go on air at the end of June. It will simulcast with WNDE effective July 6. Earlier this year, Emmis-owned WIBC-FM announced it would not renew its deal with Premiere Networks to continue carrying the Rush Limbaugh show and will go with local programming in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot.
DGital Media to Acquire WYD Media Ad Sales. After last week’s announcement that former Dial Global and Westwood One execs Spencer Brown and David Landau are launching the audio engagement firm DGital Media comes news that the new company is acquiring WYD Media Ad Sales from founder Ron Hartenbaum. DGital Media says the deal “instantly expands its research, analytics and sales capabilities. As part of the deal, Hartenbaum is named managing director of DGital Media and WYD Media’s John Murphy joins DGital as president. DGital defines its role on the media space as one that “partners with media brands to create, distribute, and monetize spoken-word audio products.” To that end, Spencer Brown says this acquisition “expands DGital’s capabilities in the marketplace providing us with research, analytics accounting and, of course, a deeper sales force. We now have the ability to build creative audio content for client brands and personalities and monetize them on all three major audio platforms – broadcast, satellite and online.” The deal does not include Hartenbaum’s WYD Media Management or the Debbie Greenbaum-run WYM Media. In addition to New York-based WYD Media Ad Sales, new offices in Detroit and Los Angeles (the latter to be headed by Steven Cohen, SVP of West Coast sales) will open. WYD’s current client rosters includes a dozen brands and personalities including FOX News Radio, Thom Hartmann, Michael Smerconish, Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller, and others. Ron Hartenbaum says, “I have worked with co-founders Spencer Brown and David Landau before and look forward to this new association. Joining DGital gives us the opportunity to expand upon the work we have been doing by broadening our client roster and menu of ad sales solutions.”
NBC Sports Radio Finalizes Belmont Stakes Coverage. More than 175 stations will carry NBC Sports Radio‘s coverage of this Saturday’s (6/6) Belmont Stakes. The broadcast will be produced in partnership with Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN) and distributed by Westwood One. Having already won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, American Pharoah would garner horse racing’s “Triple Crown” with a victory; Affirmed (1978) was the last “Triple Crown” winner. Among those joining Jon Stashower on his pre-race show (2:00 pm – 5:00 pm, ET) will be American Pharoah trainer Bob Baffert; Steve Cauthen – the last jockey to win the Triple Crown (riding Affirmed in 1978); and racing analysts Hank Goldberg and Paul Lo Duca (a former MLB catcher). HRRN’s Mike Penna anchors coverage of the following two hours (5:00 pm – 7:00 pm, ET), which will include pre-race ceremonies, interviews, predictions, NBC Sports’ Larry Collmus’ call of the race, and post-race interviews. Analysts Jude Feld, and Kurt Becker, as well as former jockeys Sean Clancy and Jeff Bloom, will also be part of the coverage team.
KSPN, Los Angeles Names Mike Trudell Co-Host with Mychal Thompson. The midday show at KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA 710” is now composed of longtime personality and former Laker Mychal Thompson and veteran Lakers broadcaster Mike Trudell. Thompson has been hosting the show with a series of rotating co-hosts. Speaking about the new Thompson & Trudell Show,” ESPNLA VP/GM Scott McCarthy says, “We are thrilled to have Mike join our team as Mychal’s daily on-air partner. The duo of Thompson and Trudell will provide fans with an insightful and entertaining take on everything that matters to the LA sports fan.”
Odds & Sods. Good news for Salem Radio Network personality Michael Medved as he tells his listeners that he has been declared cancer free by his doctors. Medved took leave from his syndicated program from February through April to undergo treatment for throat cancer…..WCBS, New York afternoon news anchor Steve Scott is elected the new president of the New York Press Club, taking over for Larry Seary, who steps aside to assume a trustee role.
WHO, Des Moines’ Simon Conway Helps Raise $25,000 for Puppy Jake Foundation. The Puppy Jake Foundation acquires, trains and delivers service dogs to wounded combat veterans and it’s been the official charity of the Simon Conway show on WHO, Des Moines for the past year. Conway was left speechless during a remote broadcast from a local restaurant after a woman who wished to remain anonymous came in and donated $20,000 to the charity. Conway tells TALKERS, “I was numb for a few seconds. The lady wanted complete anonymity. Her dad was a Vietnam vet who had left her some money and she wanted it to go to a Veteran’s cause. She said she’d been listening to me for weeks and simply had to come in and make the donation. Just incredible.” The restaurant donated 10% of its profits from the broadcast to the cause. Conway is pictured here with a puppy that Puppy Jake Foundation named Simon, in Conway’s honor.
2016 Presidential Prospects, New Obama Approval Numbers, SCOTUS Headscarf Ruling, ISIS Military Progress, Hillary Clinton Email Issue, Caitlyn Jenner case, FIFA Scandal, and NBA and NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/2). The potential candidates for president in 2016 and the entrance of Democrat Lincoln Chafee into the race; new lower approval ratings for President Obama are published; the aftermath of the Supreme Court headscarf ruling; the military success ISIS is having in Iraq and Syria and questions about U.S. military policy in the region; the ongoing probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email for State Department business; the case of Bruce Jenner’s transformation into Caitlyn; the FIFA scandal and the exit of Sepp Blatter as president; and the NBA and NHL Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Doug McIntyre Returns to WABC, New York. A change to the afternoon drive programming is made at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York as KABC, Los Angeles morning drive personality Doug McIntyre begins hosting “Right Now with Doug McIntyre” on the station Wednesday, March 4. Cumulus says the new, hour-long talk show will be “focused on the most important stories and personalities in New York. As a native New Yorker, McIntyre brings with him a deep understanding of the Tri-State area’s most pressing issues and how they relate to the national headlines of the day.” McIntyre has appeared on WABC in the past. He created the “Red Eye Radio” show in 2000, first as a one-time post-election recap and then as a local overnight show in Los Angeles, expanding to become a nationally syndicated program in early 2010 with WABC as one of its flagship stations. McIntyre also previously hosted “Talking the News” on WABC in 2009, a weekday morning show that aired before “Imus in the Morning.” McIntyre will continue as host of “McIntyre in the Morning” on KABC “TalkRadio 790.” McIntyre says, “This is a real homecoming for me and I am genuinely thrilled to be returning to 77 WABC. There is no more dynamic and insane city on the planet than New York. The Tri-State area is like a nation unto itself, with its own politics, its own culture and its own sense of humor and I look forward to highlighting the city’s unique stories again.” Prompting this programming change at WABC is Rita Cosby’s decision to end her work hosting “The Ride Home with Rita Cosby.” Citing her “various TV commitments and international speaking engagements” that require her to spend more time away from her daily show, Cosby is stepping down from the daily show but will continue to be heard on WABC hosting her new weekend talk show that will debut on March 8. WABC program director Craig Schwalb says she will “continue to secure exclusive interviews with some of the biggest names making headlines in current events, politics and entertainment.”
PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an analysis of the performances of all-news-formatted radio stations based on data from the January 2015 Nielsen Audio PPM survey. Kinosian writes, “Historically horrible winter weather conditions and the cessation of all-Christmas music are most likely contributing factors to the truly stunning January 2015 performance of all-news outlets…Although not coming anywhere close to possessing the massive volume of talk outlets, the feat all-news stations accomplished in the most recent sweep is nonetheless exceptionally impressive: Not one news station on the panel of properties we tracked regressed (6+) from Holiday 2014 to January 2015. Read the entire report here.
Marathon-Man Madison. While understandably “exhausted,” SiriusXM‘s Joe Madison achieved his goal of a 52-hour broadcast during which he raised more than $150,000 for the construction of the Smithsonian‘s National Museum of African-American History and Culture. “When you do something for the right reasons – and you have the support of others – you really can do anything,” Madison states. “I hope our SiriusXM broadcast helps cast a spotlight on the need to raise funds for the much needed [museum to be built on the National Mall in Washington, DC].” The Guinness World Record Organization is reviewing the broadcast as a new record. Madison began the marathon this past Wednesday (2/25) at 6:00 am (ET) and continued un-interrupted until Friday (2/27) at 10:00 am (ET).
KSPN, Los Angeles Debuts Live and Local Show with Kelvin Washington and Travis Rodgers. The new program featuring radio and TV pro Kelvin Washington and sports talk radio’s Travis Rodgers will air live on ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA 710” from 5:00 am to 7:00 am. The show will continue until 9:00 am via ESPNLA.com and the ESPN Radio app. KSPN begins airing ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd at 7:00 am. Rodgers also hosts “Travis Rodgers Now” on Yahoo! Sports Radio and will continue in that role.
iHeartMedia: Study Shows Consumers Want AM/FM Radio in Cars in Traditional Format. From a press release by iHeartMedia comes news that, according to a research study conducted by Ipsos (a leading global independent market research company) AM/FM radio remains the overwhelmingly preferred audio entertainment option in the car. Further, “while consumers use new streaming services, virtually all consumers – 99% — are comfortable with the current AM/FM in-car radio operation. And 91% of consumers say they prefer physical AM/FM radio buttons and controls built into the car dashboard, rather than AM/FM being an app that appears in the car’s electronic interface (with only 9% saying they would want it changed into a dashboard app).” Other news from the study includes the finding that “while AM/FM radio remains paramount in the car, consumers use their in-car CD player three-and-a-half times as much as they use any digital music service.” Additionally, the report indicates that “AM/FM radio still dominates in-car listening as the top platform used, with 84% of consumers using it in the car, followed by CD players at 64% — but radio still maintains a huge leadership position over the next closest service choice, SiriusXM – which had 22%. Pandora was 18%; iHeartRadio was 8%; HD radio 7%; and Spotify was 7%.” The study, conducted by Ipsos for iHeartMedia in January 2015, surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1036 adults 18-plus.
KGMZ, Oakland A’s Extend Partnership. The deal between KGMZ “The Game” and MLB‘s Oakland Athletics keeps the AL West team’s broadcasts on the Entercom-owned flagship at least through the 2018 season. Market manager Steve DiNardo comments that “The Game” has, “grown as a brand – experiencing consistent ratings and revenue growth during our partnership with the A’s. We are delighted to continue serving as the destination for Oakland A’s radio broadcasts for the next four seasons.” Oakland A’s vice president of broadcasting & communications Ken Pries remarks, “It has been an amazing partnership so far. We look forward to many more seasons of A’s baseball on 95.7 FM and all of the affiliates across the A’s Radio Network.” The A’s primary broadcast team will again consist of Ken Korach and Vince Cotroneo, who are in their 20th year and 10th year, respectively, calling the team’s games. Joining them occasionally will be former MLB catcher Ray Fosse, entering his 30th consecutive season on A’s radio. KGMZ will broadcast all 162 regular-season A’s games and some spring training contests. The A’s and “The Game” first partnered in 2011.
Cumulus Sends The Vibe to Memphis. Score yet another transition to classic hip-hop as Cumulus Media Memphis jettisons talk on WKIM in favor of “98.9 – The Vibe.” Cumulus senior vice president of programming Mike McVay comments “The Vibe” is “designed to capture the spirit and complexity of Memphis. This city has birthed many music types of which this format is one more. ‘The Vibe’ is classic hip hop.” In addition to hosting mid-days on co-owned rocker WXMX “The Max,” Danni Bruns is programming “The Vibe” and she remarks, “Memphis has always been at the forefront of music. Now we have a new ‘Vibe’ – this is our party station.” Late last year, Flinn Broadcasting flipped Memphis alternative outlet WIVG to “throwback hip-hop” as “Bumpin’ 96.” The logo for Memphis’ “Vibe” mirrors that of Indianapolis sibling WRWM, although the latter is using “The Beat” rather than “The Vibe” as its handle. Naughty By Nature‘s “Hip-Hop Hooray” kicked off Friday’s (2/27) noontime launch of Memphis’ “Vibe.” Among persons 6+ in the latest (January 2015) Nielsen Audio PPM ratings report for Memphis, WKIM registers a 1.4, ironically tying it at #19 with WIVG. The 1.4 for WKIM is the station’s best (6+) performance in more than two years – it hit 1.8 in November 2012.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated talk host Laura Ingraham is being tapped to serve as the national chairman for the PAC Citizens for the Republic. The political action committee was originally founded by Ronald Reagan in 1977. A press statement says the PAC’s goal is to lead a “revitalized effort to advocate conservative principles and shine a light on government corruption.”…..Former WKRC, Cincinnati radio host Blake Seylhouwer was found guilty of two counts of negligent assault after an altercation outside his home during which he fired a rifle into the driveway and caused debris to spray up, injuring his wife. Seylhouwer is an area businessman who brokered time from the station for a weekend show…..A grand jury in Hackensack, New Jersey has indicted Alan “Dr. Al” Lupinacci on charges of practicing medicine and conducting surgery without a license. Lupinacci has brokered time from WMCA, New York for his “Learn to Be Healthy” program. His medical license had been suspended in 1995 after he pleaded guilty to 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct with female patients.
Getting It Partly Wrong and Absolutely Right. Disaster preparedness expert Howard B. Price – director, business continuity for ABC Television – writes in a piece in TALKERS today (1/27) that even though parts of the Northeast escaped the dire predictions of Winter Storm Juno, it’s better that people were overprepared. For those upset with officials for shutting down roads and, in some cases, entire cities, Price says, “No one should EVER blame the messengers for decisions governments and businesses take based on scientific facts that were trumped – as they sometimes are – by the forces of nature. Better to plan for what turns out to be unnecessary, then to be caught flat-footed when circumstances are worse than you anticipated.” Keep in mind that as we publish this piece on Tuesday, parts of New England are indeed getting a lot of snow, combined with high winds. Read more from Price here.
Carolyn Fox: My Prescription for Radio Success. Radio pro Carolyn Fox writes about the key tenets to help personalities succeed in the radio business – even in this era. In this piece she presents five points radio personalities should understand in order to have success in a business that’s contingent upon connecting with listeners. “Great radio is nothing more than real humans connecting with other real humans aurally,” Fox says, “Don’t overcomplicate the message because my kid is banking on you to resuscitate radio so he too can pay back his college loans.” Read Carolyn Fox’s piece here.
Tom Leykis’ The New Normal Reports 2014 Profit. It’s been three years since Tom Leykis – free from the confines of his old contract with CBS RADIO – debuted his own internet talk program via a digital platform operating within his company The New Normal LLC. Leykis says that his gross revenue for 2014 was $524,952, an increase of 60% over 2013’s gross, and a net profit of $2,187. He goes on to say that this profit “will most likely exceed the combined net profits of the radio industry’s two largest companies (representing 1,310 or 11% of all US commercial radio stations).” Pointing to the balance sheets of large radio operators iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media, Leykis says “iHeartMedia has not earned a net profit since at least 2008 according to its own 10K report. Despite recent claims of ‘accelerated growth,’ iHeart’s best showing since 2008 was the second quarter of 2010 when it showed a net of negative $204.2 million…Cumulus Media, which is number two to iHeartMedia in stations owned, has shown a slight profit in 2014, with earnings per share for 2014 so far reported at $0.04 per share and net revenue of $159.34 million as of the third quarter of 2014.” TALKERS editors note that while profits are certainly a challenge for companies with large debt service, it can be argued that the two companies mentioned (and the others not) employ thousands of people, support workers’ families and in turn contribute to the economy in a bigger way than a small company that actually earns a profit. Still, Leykis says his point is that it doesn’t take big corporate backing to produce a successful media venture. “In the end, this news doesn’t exactly make my day. I made a fantastic living in the radio business and I still have many friends in the industry who are afraid of what the future holds. I could have retired young and lived comfortably forever. This project is to show radio folks that there’s a future for them if they’re willing to work hard.”
Westwood One to Recognize Excellence in Audio Creativity. It has become an annual event for the syndicator to recognize the best radio commercials within perhaps the year’s biggest sporting event – the Super Bowl. Westwood One‘s senior vice president of sports sales & marketing Brandon Berman explains that the Cumulus Media division created the “Sound Awards” to “connect with – and to encourage – marketers, creatives, and brands to join forces and showcase the power of sound. Our Super Bowl broadcast is the perfect environment for advertisers to leverage their commercial creative, thanks to our incredible reach and sheer volume of audience across platforms. Following the crowning of a Super Bowl Champion, we look forward to crowning an advertising champion.” Westwood One’s play-by-play coverage of Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks originates this Sunday (2/1) from suburban Phoenix (Glendale). The “Super Bowl Sound Awards for Excellence in Audio Creativity” will feature national ads airing on Westwood One’s Super Bowl XLIX broadcast, as well as SiriusXM Radio, NFL.com/Audiopass, NFL Mobile from Verizon, and on the American Forces Radio Network. Last year’s winner, Motel 6, earned the top spot with a parody on how to use AutoCorrect. Other top vote getters were Tilted Kilt, Subway, Exergen, and Taco Bell. Voting opened yesterday (Monday, 1/27) at 3:00 pm (ET) and runs through next Tuesday (2/3) at 12:00 noon; winners will be announced next Wednesday (2/4).
XEPRS-AM, Padres Extend “Mighty” Agreement. The pact between Broadcast Company of the Americas’ sports outlet XEPRS-AM “The Mighty 1090″ and the National League West San Diego Padres covers this year’s MLB season and next year. BCA president Mike Glickenhaus comments, “We are very excited to continue our relationship with the Padres. We believe very strongly in the [team’s] vision for the future and we are looking forward to being a part of it.” Padres president Mike Dee remarks, “We are thrilled and excited because this really is a good partnership. ‘The Mighty 1090′ is where San Diego fans go for their sports and the Padres are glad to be part of it.” XEPRS-AM has been the Padres’ flagship since 2004; the station is licensed to Rosarito Beach, Baja California (Mexico).
Odds & Sods. Former Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Mike Rogers joins Hudson Institute as a Distinguished Fellow. In this role, he’ll focus on cyber-warfare and security, counterterrorism, and national security policy. Rogers currently hosts the nationally syndicated feature “Something to Think About with Mike Rogers” for Westwood One and is a CNN national security contributor…..At the Omaha cluster of NRG Media, AM radio operations manager Neil Nelkin announces he’s leaving the position and the station group he’s been at for more than two decades. The company’s Omaha AM properties include: sports talkers KZOT and KOZN, news/talk KOIL, and Spanish-language KMMQ…..There’s a changing of traffic reporters at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago as the station informs traffic service Radiate Media that it’s dropping 10-year personality Leslie Keiling and will replace her with Judy Pielach, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Ashley Lopez is named political reporter for Kentucky Public Radio’s WFPL, Louisville.
Johnjay and Rich Suggest Non-Traditional Super Bowl Accommodations. Capitalizing on the fact that this Sunday’s Super Bowl is being played in their flagship market, Phoenix-based syndicated morning talents Johnjay and Rich maintain they are prepared to rent out their studio. Emphasizing they are offering the “full Super Bowl experience,” the duo cites computers, buffet breakfasts/lunches, convenient parking, and color television as tongue-in-cheek selling points to would-be renters. According to a video they shot, the 3.5-day rate to rent their studio is approximately $160.
Busy Week in Arizona for Westwood One. Pictured here is the crew that covered last weekend’s NFL Pro Bowl game at University of Phoenix Stadium – also the site of this weekend’s Super Bowl XLIX. Westwood One is the exclusive national radio partner of the NFL. From left to right are: producer Aaron Cummins, announcer Scott Graham (the voice of NFL Films), executive producer Howard Deneroff, and NFL Hall of Famer Rod Woodson.
Obama Tax Plan, ‘American Sniper’ Film Controversy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, East Coast Blizzard, and Super Bowl/DeflateGate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/26). The proposal by President Obama to hike taxes on the rich to assist the middle class; the controversial responses to the film “American Sniper”; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the blizzard hitting the East Coast; and Sunday’s Super Bowl and chatter about the DeflateGate issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Todd Schnitt and Len Berman to Host Mornings on WOR, New York. Legendary New York news/talk station WOR announces it will debut the new morning program, “Len Berman and Todd Schnitt in the Morning,” effective January 26. iHeartMedia says the program will “focus on New York and feature interactive programming, showcasing what local listeners are talking about in news, sports, entertainment and pop culture.” Both Berman and Schnitt are native New Yorkers. Schnitt has been based in Tampa and currently hosts his nationally syndicated, eponymous talk show via Compass Media Networks, which he’ll continue to do in addition to the New York morning show. Berman is an “Emmy-Award winning sportscaster and New York Times best-selling author who has covered just about every major sports event including multiple Super Bowls, World Series and Olympics during his 40-year career in broadcasting. He was a long-time sports anchor for WNBC-TV, New York.” Regular TALKERS readers are aware that Schnitt, in addition to his syndicated talk show, hosted the “MJ Morning Show” on CHR WFLA-FM, Tampa for many years. iHeartMedia market president Joe Puglise says, “Len is a well-known sports reporter and this opportunity will also showcase his other skills and personality. Listeners will immediately engage with Todd’s quick wit and creative take on the things that impact New Yorkers.” Schnitt adds, “Len Berman is the perfect co-host, he is a well-known New Yorker and brings a ton of wit, wisdom and street smarts to the microphone. Together we are very excited to construct a new local, engaging and entertaining morning show for New York.” iHeartMedia tried simulcasting WWDC, Washington “DC 101” morning personality Elliot Segal on WOR after parting company with longtime morning host John Gambling, but that lasted only a month, ending in February of 2014. Regarding his move to NYC, Schnitt adds, “Locating our [Compass syndicated] show in the heart of New York City will be a huge benefit to our national listeners and help drive ratings for our affiliates. I look forward to continuing to work with Compass Media Networks, our affiliates and sponsors.”
Premiere Names Shapiro VP – Sports Programming. Former ESPN Radio program director Scott Shapiro joins Premiere Networks in a newly created position of vice president of sports programming. His duties will include overseeing daily execution of sports content, including the Fox Sports Radio Network. Premiere Networks senior vice president of sports programming Don Martin comments, “Scott’s experience producing some of the most successful, multi-platform sports programming speaks for itself. I am excited for the opportunity to team up with such a class act. His addition reaffirms our commitment to providing the best sports entertainment content the industry has to offer, along with unique and valuable opportunities for our partners.” Shapiro remarks, “I greatly look forward to working with the talented team in place. There is tremendous growth potential and a real opportunity to develop outstanding sports content. The sky is the limit in terms of the talent, infrastructure, and resources available.” In addition to programming ESPN Radio, Shapiro’s resume includes being producer of that sports network’s “Mike & Mike” morning show; he previously was assistant program director/executive producer of WQXI “The Zone,” Atlanta.
Daunais, Walker Get Westwood One EVP – Regional Sales Stripes. Atlanta-based Jim Daunais and Dallas-based Tim Walker are appointed executive vice presidents in Westwood One‘s network sales division. Daunais’ responsibilities are in the southeast region – Walker’s duties are in the southwest. Westwood One president Steve Shaw comments, “Hot off the heels of promoting Kim Bryant to lead west coast sales, we are on an accelerated path to building an exceptional, preeminent sales organization. Jim and Tim are uniquely qualified to lead our southeast and southwest regions. Their respective abilities to manage, strategize, and effectively deliver client solutions will drive more revenue success across our platforms.” Daunais is “excited for the opportunity to continue” his more than 10-year Westwood One career, where he works “alongside Steve and the rest of our incredibly talented management team, and to build upon the company’s rich history as the leader of all things audio.” Walker states he is looking forward “to leading the southwest region and bringing integrated solutions to our clients and agencies.” It is a promotion for Daunais, who joined the company in 2004. Most recently, he was Westwood One’s senior vice president, sales and vice president of southeast sales. His prior background includes being an account executive for MLB‘s New York Mets. Walker is rejoining Westwood One. He spent the last three years as Cumulus Media‘s director of national sales for the southwest region. Prior to that, Walker was national sales manager for Cumulus-owned stations in Dallas and Houston; he had a similar title for CBS Radio Dallas; and he was a Westwood One account executive (2000 – 2002) in the company’s Dallas office.
John McConnell Named EVP at Workhouse Media. Radio management pro John McConnell is named executive vice president for talent and content management company Workhouse Media. In this role, McConnell will oversee Workhouse Media’s East Coast offices and he will serve in a new senior management role for the company. A longtime ABC Radio executive, McConnell has been managing his own firm for the past six years. Workhouse Media principal and CEO Paul B. Anderson comments, “John comes to Workhouse Media with a powerful combined background in programming, syndication and strategy. His track record is both broad and deep, and the industry recognizes his impeccable reputation for integrity and results.”
Odds & Sods. Today (1/20) begins Steve Deace‘s relationship with the USA Radio Networks. With the move from Genesis Communications Network, Deace’s program moves from an evening live airing (9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight) to live in afternoon drive, Eastern Time…..Following the path of New York’s Christian talk WMCA, New York, Salem Communications-owned KKMS, Minneapolis takes on “The Mission” brand. Salem rolled out “The Answer” as the brand for its news/talk stations and it appears likely most if not all of the company’s Christian talk stations will become “The Mission.”…..Tomorrow (1/21) marks the fifth anniversary of the internet program the Nicole Sandler show at radioornot.com. Sandler began her digital program after the demise of Air America Radio in 2010.
Non-Comms Rocking the Boat. For those interested in bold, new developments in music radio, check out Jeff McKay’s piece in our sister publication, RadioInfo, exploring the non-comm stations creating targeted-yet-daring rock and pop formats for hungry audiences. Many listeners still see public radio as either left-leaning news/talk or jazz- and classic music-oriented. But stations such as KCSN, Los Angeles; WXPN, Philadelphia; KCMP, Minneapolis; and KKXT, Dallas are bucking that trend and drawing in younger audiences. Read more here.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Resonates Throughout News/Talk Radio. As reported yesterday (1/19), news/talk radio hosts, programs, stations and networks buzzed with conversation inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – memorializing the birthdate of the slain civil rights leader of the turbulent 1960s. Shows covering the spectrum of political and ideological approaches including urban, progressive and conservative positions all found pertinent subject matter for discussion to commemorate the annual Federal holiday, lifting race relations to the most-talked-about topic of the day. Pictured here is WOLB, Baltimore morning legend Larry Young (third from right) at a ceremony in Baltimore held last week on the actual birthdate of the historic activist. Young – a longtime member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred – tells TALKERS,“One of my proudest moments was to have planted in 1985 the only MLK Jr. tree on state house property in the USA. On his actual birthdate on January 15 we did a re-dedication and I said, ‘King put before us a serious vision that we would be one nation under God and indivisibly one America.’ And I want to believe that even today I can still believe in his vision.”
State of the Union/Obama Tax Plan, ‘American Sniper’ Film, MLK Jr. Day/‘Selma’ Film, ISIS Violence/Two Japanese Hostages Held, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and NFL Conference Championships Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/19). This week’s State of the Union Address and President Obama’s expected announcement of his tax proposal; the political arguments surrounding the film “American Sniper”; the observation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday and the concurrent release of the film “Selma”; the ongoing violence perpetrated by ISIS and its threat to execute two Japanese hostages; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the weekend’s NFL conference championships were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Industry Mourns Passing of Tom Magliozzi. One of the two hosts of the long-running NPR program “Car Talk” died yesterday. Co-host Tom Magliozzi passed away at age 77 after complications from Alzheimer’s disease. Industry insiders know the popular show has been airing reruns for the past two years after Magliozzi and younger brother Ray elected to stop producing new shows. The program was in national syndication from NPR for 25 years after beginning as a Boston-only show. Though the brothers were certainly knowledgeable about all things automotive, it was their infectious personalities and their ability to create hilarious dialogue with callers that made the show so popular. Read NPR’s piece on Magliozzi and “Car Talk” here.
Paul Duckworth to Retire from KOMO and KVI in Seattle. He’s been back at news and talk outlets KOMO and KVI in Seattle for two-and-a-half years, coming out of retirement to program the stations, but now he’s ready to “try my hand at that whole ‘retirement’ thing again.” Paul Duckworth jokes that his two previous retirements ended in a return to work so why should we believe him now?! He says he’s enjoyed his time with KOMO, KVI and the staff there but he’s going to try it again. “No promises, but I think this time it may stick. I love the business, but it’s time for a break…probably a nice LONG one. I’m leaving behind an unbelievable group of people here in Seattle. They’re the best!” Duckwork’s last day will be Friday (11/7). No word about his replacement yet.
2014 MLB Baseball Flagship Station Analysis. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents the fifth of a five-part series of analyses detailing the performances of MLB flagship stations this season – this time including October 2014 PPM data. Again, the flagships in markets where baseball has traditionally been good to its radio outlet and in markets where the team was performing well continue to benefit from increased listenership. In this report Kinosian tracks how flagship stations have performed over the past seven PPM surveys, compared to October 2013, how they rank in their respective markets, and how the stations stack up based on MLB divisions. Check out Mike Kinosian’s analysis here.
Westwood One News Sets Four Anchors. In place for its debut are four anchors for Westwood One News. Dirk Van will cover AM drive; Evan Haning will do middays; Molly Paige will anchor PM drive; and Barbara Kusak will cover evenings. Westwood One executive vice president of news and talk Bart Tessler comments that he is “thrilled” to debut Westwood One News “with some of the industry’s most respected and best-sounding anchors. Following up on our announcement of award-winning beat reporters, these broadcast journalists will enhance our product and add substantial power to our winning team.” Van hosts Westwood One’s “First Light” and “The Week in Review.” He previously anchored newscasts for NBC News Radio; was a reporter for WCBS-AM, New York; and news director of WHN, New York. Paige joined Westwood One’s Washington, DC news operation two years ago. She has worked for several Los Angeles stations; was an anchor/writer/producer for NBC News Radio; and frequently substituted for Jim Bohannon on “America in the Morning.” For nearly a decade, Haning was a reporter/anchor for Washington, DC’s WTOP and has been on-air in the nation’s capital for 30 years. Most recently, he anchored afternoon drive there for CBS Radio‘s WNEW-FM. Kusak was a reporter and Sunday talk show interviewer at Greater Media Detroit classic rocker WCSX; an anchor/reporter at CBS Radio Detroit all-news WWJ; a writer at MSNBC; associate producer at Fox News Channel; and a writer/assignment editor at CBS Radio New York all-news WINS, New York. Westwood One News launches at the end of the year.
Dr. Joy Browne Honored by City Harvest for Helping Provide Food for City’s Homeless. The humanitarian organization City Harvest rescues food from restaurants and stores and delivers desperately needed meals to shelters and underserved areas in New York. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar, Dr. Joy Browne of Genesis Communications Network (GCN) has been a high-profile donor for a decade working on numerous occasions at their distribution centers in addition to being the poster girl in their ad campaigns and as a spokesperson. She was recently honored by the group at a special food demonstration/dinner at the prestigious Institute for Culinary Excellence (ICE) in the Big Apple. Pictured at left: the philanthropic “party girl” having a good time at the event embraced by Ritz Corporation executive Lehi Dowell and at right, a Harvest City poster featuring Dr. Joy Browne at a NYC bus stop.
Ross Mathews Debuts on PodcastOne. Television personality and best-selling author Ross Mathews begins producing a weekly podcast program for the PodcastOne platform, starting Thursday, November 6. The host of E!’s “Live from E!” and the former “Tonight Show” correspondent debuts “Straight Talk with Ross Mathews,” a podcast that showcases “Mathew’s trademark voice and hilarious takes on the latest gossip, entertainment and celebrity news, in addition to featuring visits from his extensive network of celebrity friends.” PodcastOne president Kit Gray comments, “I’ve been a fan of Ross since his days at ‘The Tonight Show.’ His unique connection with celebrities, combined with his love of pop culture, brings a distinct flavor to entertainment gossip and news that consistently pushes the boundaries, which is perfect for podcasting.”
Denenberg Named Chief Technical Officer for iHeartRadio. There’s a new chief technology officer at the iHeartRadio Network as Adam Denenberg joins the company in that role. Denenberg comes to iHeartMedia from the Huffington Post and begins on November 17. In this role he’ll be responsible for the technology strategy and vision for iHeartRadio, the company’s all-in-one digital radio and streaming music service, including technical direction and research and development of new products; he will also oversee the technology infrastructure across iHeartRadio’s network of websites, including the more than 859 local radio station and talent-specific sites. Denenberg will also work closely with other divisions within the company to develop new technology initiatives that create dynamic experiences for iHeartRadio listeners, advertisers and partners.
Odds & Sods. There’s a big remote coming up for WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” as the Greater Media sports talker welcomes Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic of ESPN Radio to town for a live broadcast from XFINITY Live! The daylong broadcast on Monday, November 10 is free and open to the public. After the Mike & Mike show, “97.5 The Fanatic” will continue to broadcast from XFINITY Live! Harry Mayes and Brian Westbrook (10:00 am to 12:00 noon), The Jon & Sean Show (12:00 noon to 2:00 pm), and Mike Missanelli (2:00 pm to 6:00 pm)…..Kristina Quintos joins CBS RADIO as its new press representative. Quintos come to CBS from J. Walter Thompson where she’s been since January 2013. She was an intern at CBS Entertainment before graduating from New York University with a degree in media, culture and communications…..CBS RADIO’s KNX, Los Angeles presents its next “Ask the Mayor” program where listeners can call in and speak with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tomorrow (11/5). The program is hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman.
Michael Medved Honored by Police Union. Nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Medved is pictured here holding his 2014 Quill & Badge Award from the International Association of Police Unions, AFL-CIO. Salem Radio Network says that he received the honor in the wake of his on-air defense of Ferguson, Missouri police and several print columns he authored in USA TODAY.
Mid-Term Elections, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Brittany Maynard Suicide Case, Ebola Pandemic Threat, Battle Against ISIS, Navy Seals-bin Laden Slaying Controversy, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/3). Today’s mid-term elections and the possibility of a Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate; the potential candidates for president in 2016; controversy over the assisted suicide of Brittany Maynard; the ongoing concerns over the Ebola epidemic and the U.S. cases of the virus; the threat ISIS brings to a stable Middle East; the flap over the TV movie detailing the slaying of Osama bin Laden and the violation of the Navy Seals’ code of secrecy and humility; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Radio Roundup from Indy. Media consultant Holland Cooke is on the ground in Indianapolis reporting from the 2014 Radio Show. The three-day convention produced by the NAB and the RAB begins today but plenty was happening yesterday at the RAIN Summit. Some of the news from Indy includes: Nielsen Audio’s Jeff Wender swearing that measuring digital is the company’s biggest priority; RAIN’s Kurt Hanson explaining the problems with HD Radio and why online radio is about six years away from catching up with AM/FM in terms of listenership; and Podcast One’s Norm Pattiz declaring that “there’s no showbiz in radio anymore!” To read Holland Cook’s complete report, click here.
KFWB, Los Angeles Brings Safety Aboard. Coming to the new sports talk outlet from his most recent post as vice president of communications for the Los Angeles Clippers is Joe Safety. The station announces that the veteran sports broadcasting and communications executive will serve as director of strategic initiatives and partnerships for KFWB 980. KFWB Trustee Diane Sutter comments, “We’re extremely pleased to welcome Joe and the depth of sports experience he brings to us. His skill sets, relationships and incomparable knowledge of the LA market will help us deliver unique programming to our listeners.”
MLB Baseball Continues to Give Boost to Most Flagship Stations. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents his third analysis of the performances of MLB flagship stations this season – this time based on August PPM data. Again, the flagships in markets where baseball has traditionally been good to its radio outlet and in markets where the team is performing well continue to benefit from increased listenership. In this report Kinosian tracks how flagship stations have performed over the past five PPM surveys, compared to July 2013, how they rank in their respective markets, and how the stations stack up based on MLB divisions. Check out Mike Kinosian’s analysis here.
Wayne Power to Host Mornings on WKZO, Kalamazoo. Show business pro Wayne Powers is named morning drive host at Midwest Communications news/talk WKZO, Kalamazoo. Effective October 13, Powers replaces current morning host Jim McKinney who remains with the station to host the 5:00 pm show “Everything Kalamazoo at 5.” Powers’ career in show business includes playing roles on such TV shows as “Laverne & Shirley,” “Simon & Simon,” “Doogie Howser,” “Full House,” “Murder She Wrote” and many others. He also starred in the popular sitcom, “13 East,” on NBC for two seasons. Powers’ voicework includes nationally recognized characters as “Budman” for Budweiser and the voice of “Wayne,” the talking crow on the popular Windex TV commercials for over 13 years. He’s also an accomplished jazz vocalist. Most recently, Powers has been hosting shows in Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. Current morning show news anchor Andrew Green and producer Tim Abramowski will continue to be a part of the show. WKZO brand manager Jeremy Lawrence comments, “Building a winning, local team is what we have been focused on and the addition of Wayne Powers will allow us to get even more local. He is an interesting guy that people will love listening to. In addition, I couldn’t be more excited about what Jim will be doing weekdays at 5:00 pm. Jim is someone everyone in the area knows and I know they will enjoy hearing from him in this new role.”
Michael Harrison: “The Key to Attracting Millennials to Talk Radio is to Target Smart Young People in Need of Help.” Addressing the recent quarterly meeting of the trade publication’s editorial board at which the subject of lowering talk radio demos was being discussed, TALKERS magazine founder Michael Harrison stated that the way to create spoken word radio to attract the massive generation coming of age is to not talk down to them or pander to entertaining them with lowest common denominator programming, but rather “aim high, be smart, and most important, be helpful.” According to Harrison (who originally earned industry prominence in the 70s as a pioneer in programming for what was then referred to as the youth culture), “The gigantic Millennial generation is full of millions of absolutely brilliant young adults who are germinating a fresh point of view to the problems of society and are plugged into the technology and culture of the times. But they are in desperate need of help in actualizing these characteristics… and that is the key, we must help them!” Harrison elaborates, “They need help coping with an increasingly dangerous and stressful world – and that’s just for starters. They need guidance, advice and answers to the massive, seemingly-insurmountable problems they face economically, socially and even spiritually… they need to be encouraged and inspired.” Harrison continues, “This does not mean talk show hosts have to be young and pandering – at least not young for young’s sake… they must be wise and credible. You would be amazed how young people of all generations throughout history will turn their trust over to an older adult who speaks their language – but with the perspective of wisdom – and, most important, an older adult who empathizes with their challenges and plight.” Harrison drives home the point, “We must throw these kids a rope – a lifeline – and pull them out of the emotional and financial quicksand of living in their parents’ basements with nothing but a bleak future looming ahead.” The 48 year industry veteran sums it up – “Most importantly, we must not talk down to these emerging ‘natives’ of the 21st century. Do not pigeonhole them as having attention deficit disorder, simplistic consciousness and frivolous concerns. The Millennials are the ones who have triggered the TV binge watching craze and are attracted to complex multi-season television programs with multiple story arcs and complicated characters. We mustn’t allow TV to be more intelligent or hipper than radio. And don’t believe that they have completely given up on AM and FM. They have only largely given up on these platforms’ programming. They are masters of consumer technology and electronics. If the word got out that there was programming on AM and FM that can help them escape their way out of the murky darkness of this era, they’d rediscover traditional radio in a nano-second… at least the smart ones… and I assure you there are enough smart ones out there to give us a sizable young audience.”
Cohen Joins Cumulus DC as DOS. Washington, DC media pro Beth Cohen is named director of sales at Cumulus Media’s Washington, DC cluster for news/talk WMAL-AM/FM and CHR WRQX “All the Hits 107.3.” Cohen comes to Cumulus from Clear Channel’s crosstown operations where she was GSM for rock WWDC “DC101” and CHR WITH “Hot 99.5.”
Westwood One Adds Two to Affiliate Sales Staff. Saying that the move comes as it continues to boost its programming and station partnerships, Westwood One announces the addition of Tim Closson and Todd Alan to is affiliate sales team. Tim Closson will develop and manage Westwood One country radio syndication partnerships for “NASH Nights Live with Shawn Parr,” “Kickin’ It with Kix Brooks Overnights,” the newly announced NASH Icons, “American Country Countdown,” Lia, “Big Time with Whitney Allen,” “Country Weekly AM/PM,” “Country Gold with Randy Owen” and “Country Countdown USA with Lon Helton.” He’ll also help to affiliate Westwood One Sports products, including CBS Sports Radio and NBC Sports Radio. Todd Alan returns to Westwood One after serving as VP, affiliate sales and programming at Focus 360. He will work closely with stations and affiliating various entertainment shows and services, including the Bob & Tom show, “Pop Crush Hosted by Billy Bush,” “Nights Live with Adam Bomb,” “Flashback,” “Backtrax USA hosted by Kid Kelly,” “The Daly Download with Carson Daly,” “The Weekend Countdown with Billy Bush,” and prep services.
WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Check Presented. WEEI, Boston staffers are pictured here at Fenway Park prior to a Red Sox game helping present the ceremonial check from this year’s “WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon presented by Arbella Insurance Foundation” which raised more than $3.3 million for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The two-day broadcast took place on August 19 and 20. During the 13 years the radio-telethon has been taking place, more than $37 million has been raised for adult and pediatric cancer care and research at the institute. Pictured here are (from left to right): Sox co-owner Tom Werner, Entercom market manager Phil Zachary, WEEI program director Kevin Graham, WEEI and WEEI Network executive producer Joe Zarbano, NESN’s Sean McGrail, Arbella Insurance Foundation’s Beverly Tangvik, and The Jimmy Fund’s Suzanne Fountain.
Bubba the Love Sponge Foundation Aids Officer’s Fiance. After two Charleston, South Carolina County deputy officers were shot – one succumbing to his wounds – while responding to a disturbance, syndicated radio host Bubba the Love Sponge’s foundation responded by sending $10,000 overnight to Rhianne Hearn, the fiance of Deputy Joe Matuskovic. Bubba told listeners to his affiliate stations, “My foundation’s mission is to immediately offer financial relief for the families of fallen officers and deputies in our syndicated markets.” His show is heard on LM Communications’ “98Rock,” WYBB-FM. He also announced there will be a “Bikes for Badges” charity motorcycle ride set for October 4, 2014, with details to be announced WYBB. All funds above and beyond $10,000 will go directly to Rhianne Hearn.
President Obama’s ISIS Press Conference, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, Ray Rice Case, Bruce Levenson Racism Controversy, Scotland-U.K. Referendum, and Apple Announces New Products Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/9). The United States’ ISIS policy and President Obama’s Wednesday press conference on the matter; predictions about the looming mid-term elections and prospects for the 2016 presidential race; the NFL’s indefinite suspension of Ray Rice and talk about domestic violence in America; the controversy over Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson’s decision to sell his interest in the team after admitting sending a racially tinged email; the referendum that could see Scotland leave the UK; and the new products unveiled by Apple yesterday were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES —This is our third in a series of overviews for Major League Baseball flagship stations; we will chart the progress of these outlets all the way through the World Series.
Of the June, July, and August ratings analyses of MLB’s English-language flagships, August stats indicate the best average market rank (#13.70) and highest typical 6+ share (3.74).
Some flagship facilities appear in multiple markets, but we are only listing one PPM market – the team’s recognized “home” metro.
In cases where a team has two flagships, both stations are shown.
Over and above its main flagship, some teams have an emergency alternative, used in isolated cases to resolve programming conflicts; those backup facilities however do not appear here.
The lone non-PPM market within Major League Baseball is Toronto. Consequently, there is no available Nielsen Audio PPM ratings information for CJCL, the key station of the American League East division (Toronto) Blue Jays.
Dickey Broadcasting Company-owned WCNN is one of the Atlanta Braves’ flagships. WCNN is not a Nielsen Audio subscriber.
Local Radio Responds to Napa Earthquake. The most severe earthquake to hit Northern California in 25 years registered a 6.0 and was centered in Napa, California on Sunday morning. Local media responded and – although knocked off the air for about 30 minutes — Wine Country Broadcasting’s news/talk KVON, Napa (and sister hot AC KVYN, St. Helena) did return to the air to serve the region. Farther south in San Francisco, sources tell TALKERS magazine that local television went wall-to-wall with its coverage. As for radio, KSFO weekend personality Ethan Bearman says that competition KCBS-AM covered it “like a quality news network” while sister news/talk KGO covered the event and took calls until San Francisco 49ers football began. Bearman says, “I had my producer, Leigh Wolf, toss aside what we had planned. We started the show interviewing a rep from PG&E about power and gas in Napa, took a couple of callers, then interviewed Ross Stein, a geophysicist from the USGS about earthquakes and this one in particular. We had more callers sharing stories, then an interview with CHP officer Daniel Hill about safety and road closures, followed by more callers sharing stories. We also interviewed Yountville councillor Richard Hall about the damage in his town up the road from Napa, then many more callers.” Bearman tells TALKERS that what KSFO was able to do was use its two-way nature to do what TV couldn’t. “TV doesn’t provide more than a 10-minute loop. Straight news on KCBS-AM is just talking to the listener while we provided that human contact, that outlet of expression, that connection with others. It was really powerful and received a lot of positive feedback.”
Beck’s TheBlaze Negotiated with CNN for HLN Partnership. But, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal by Keach Hagey, the two sides could not come to an agreement on terms. Hagey’s report states that CNN executives recently held talks with agents from Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze about a partnership that would change the programming on the struggling HLN channel that would have seen TheBlaze content replace the current shows on HLN. It’s being reported that CNN is in talks with Vice Media about a similar partnership. The WSJ reports that HLN’s total viewership has declined 22% for the season to date, and dipped 19% in the 18 to 49 demo, based on Nielsen numbers.
KFWB Accelerates Talk-to Sports Transition. Los Angeles talker KFWB was expected to conduct its transition to all-sports early next month; however, this past Sunday at midnight, CBS Sports Radio Network programming took over the 980 AM dial position. Word quickly spread and there was plenty of activity/reaction on social media. Included in the commentary are two classy postings from people who have worked at KFWB. On-air talent Lisa Osborne writes on her Facebook page: “It is KFWB’s last weekday as a news/talk station – format flip next week to all sports. Tune in if you can today to this heritage news station. If you grew up in LA, you can sing the jingle – that is what everyone does when they find out I work here. I’ve worked with some real pros here including: Penny Griego, Phil Hulett, Bret Lewis, Rhonda Kramer, Ken Jeffries, Elaine Perkins, Bill Nesbitt, Paul Lowe, Michael Shappee, Maggie McKay, Philip Luther Nash, Michael Knight, Russ Spears, Donna Page, Andy Ludlum, Joe Guimond, Cyndee Maxwell, and plenty more. Iconic Los Angeles traffic reporter Kramer comments, that she was “only 26 years old” when she began reporting traffic on the station. “It has always been home and I have worked with some of the most talented individuals in the news broadcast business. It has been an honor to work with pros like Dan Avey, Charlie Brailer, Don Hurbert, Bob Howard, John Brooks Jack Popejoy, Judy Ford, Andy Ludlum, and most recently, Maggie McKay, Michael Shappee, Lisa Osborne, Penny Griego and Phil Hulett. Working here has been extremely rewarding, affording me the opportunity to win 18 Golden Mikes. I am proud of my work on KFWB and have made friends here who will be in my life forever. I wish nothing but the best for the new sports format. Thanks KFWB for the wonderful memories. You will always be a part of me.” Quite a few industry personnel who did not work at the station were partisans. “I was your biggest fan,” New Normal entrepreneur/talk host Tom Leykis writes. “Seriously. I grew up in New York listening to ‘1010 WINS.’ When I came to live in LA in the 1980s, KFWB, clearly modeled after WINS, became my new best friend…As a lifelong radio guy, I wanted to let you all know that, for me, you all were the best.” On one hand, advanced timing of the format flip is a bit of a surprise, yet on the other, there is considerable logic to it. The station has already secured a program director – Owen Murphy (from Seattle) – and it has cleared CBS Sports Radio programming. That lineup includes a well-known local quantity, Jim Rome, who will be heard 9:00 am – 12:00 noon. One more major piece to be added though is a locally originated morning show, which will likely debut in two weeks (Monday, 9/8). A format change was practically inevitable, as the station’s 6+ PPM shares thus far in calendar year 2014 have topped out at .3 (January, February, and May) and included .2 showings in March, April, June, and July. KFWB’s July ranking was #42. One year ago (July 2013), it ranked #39 (.5), still significantly lower from its all-news days. It actually would be ironic (or perhaps purposefully intended) if a morning show is installed September 8, as that will mark the five-year anniversary KFWB switched from all-news to all-talk. When CBS Corporation acquired KCAL-TV, Los Angeles (Channel 9) in 2002 (to go along with KCBS-TV Channel 2), it put them over the limit of radio and television properties in the same market. Three years ago, CBS Radio placed KFWB into a Diane Sutter-headed trust, under the name The KFWB Asset Trust. Director of news programming at CBS Radio Los Angeles’ all-news KNX – and formerly (and simultaneously) holding that same title for KFWB – Andy Ludlum posts on his Facebook page, “After 46 years of delivering news to the people of Southern California, the news watch has stopped for KFWB. I have been fortunate to have spent the past 25 years of my life working there with some of the most talented people to ever open a microphone or write a news story.” Ludlum posted the photo above showing the final minute of the final full newscast with Maggie McKay (right), Ted Sobel (center), and Michael Knight (left).
KTAR-FM, Phoenix Re-Brands; Tweaks Programming. The Bonneville news/talk station announces it is re-branding at the same time it is making programming changes and unveiling its new website designed specifically for mobile users. The station is now “KTAR News…on 92.3 FM and KTAR.com.” Bonneville Phoenix market manager Scott Sutherland states, “This re-brand and website re-launch lets the community know that our commitment to live and local news has never been stronger. And it also signals that KTAR News is a multi-platform media brand that distributes audio news and talk show content on FM Radio, KTAR.com and the KTAR App, as well as written, audio and video story content online across all devices.” Programming changes include more news content in middays with “Arizona’s Noon News and Karie Dozer” (from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm) and an earlier start (2:00 pm) for afternoon drive team Mac and Gaydos. Bonneville Phoenix VP of content and operations Ryan Hatch comments, “Our ‘mobile-first’ design will deliver a powerful, multi-media user experience on smartphones, where our online audience continues to migrate. Using the very latest technologies, the site also seamlessly adapts to tablets and desktops to deliver the same quality experience across all platforms.”
NRG Media, Woodward in Four-Station Transaction. The price for the latest NRG Media purchase – the quartet of Woodward Communications facilities in Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa – is $3.55 million. NRG Media chief executive officer Mary Quass is “delighted to have the opportunity” to add the stations to her company’s platform. “We continue to look for great radio properties that are located in the Midwest and are an integral part of the communities they serve,” she comments. “Regarding NRG, Woodward Communications president and chief executive officer Tom Woodward states, “It is a well-known, community-oriented radio broadcast company with a great Midwestern culture and presence. Our strategic plans and related growth goals positioned the sale of the Waterloo properties. We salute the loyal, talented and dedicated staff we were fortunate to work with. We will continue to operate, grow and enhance our award-winning, seven-station radio group in the Appleton-Green Bay, Wisconsin markets which we’ve owned since the late-1970s.” The deal is for KFMW “Rock 108″; KOKZ “Iowa’s Classic Hits”; KWLO “1330 ESPN“; and KXEL “Iowa’s News & Talk Station.” Woodward Communications has operated these outlets the past two years. Prior to that, Bahakel Broadcasting owned KXEL for 54 years (1958 – 2012); it owned the other three from 1996 – 2012.
Found: WLS-AM’s “Next Talk Star.” If you wonder where the next generation of talk radio personalities is coming from, the answer might be professional wrestling. John Chase Gregoles (pictured here) emerges as the winner of WLS-AM, Chicago’s “Next Talk Star” competition and the Lake Geneva, Wisconsin resident is a day trader who has a background in … sports entertainment. This represents the Cumulus Media-owned talk station’s third such promotion, with WLS-AM program director/operations manager Peter Bolger pointing out, “Our last two winners are still on the air with a weekend show and occasional fill-in. It is certainly possible we will be as fortunate with this year’s winner. What the finalists had to say about talk radio and the passion they have for it was instructive and extremely energizing.” Gregoles comments that he “wants to broaden the audience of talk radio.” Wannabes submitted auditions via the station’s website. WLS-AM narrowed the submissions to 10 semifinalists; the top five were then determined by online voting. Bolger; WLS-AM’s (9:00 am – 11:00 am) Kass & Cohn co-host Lauren Cohn; 2012 winner Stephanie Trussell; and 2013 winner Laura Kelly were among those judging the competition. Gregoles gets to host a two-hour WLS-AM show, receive a limo ride to/from the studio, and a trip for two to Mexico.
MLB Baseball Continues to Give Boost to Most Flagship Stations. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents his second analysis of the performances of MLB flagship stations this season – this time based on July PPM data. Again, the flagships in markets where baseball has traditionally been good to its radio outlet and in markets where the team is performing well continue to benefit from increased listenership. In this report Kinosian tracks how flagship stations have performed over the past five PPM surveys, compared to July 2013, how they rank in their respective markets, and how the stations stack up based on MLB divisions. Check out Mike Kinosian’s analysis here.
Sabo: It Is a Widespread Myth That “Ours Is a Very Big Sports Town.” As a globetrotting media consultant, Walter Sabo reports, “There is noticeable bravado in every city about the local level of sports fandom.” In a new opinion piece certain to spark disagreement on the part of many TALKERS readers, Sabo makes the case that even though most radio markets claim to be “big” on sports or even the “biggest” sports city in America, the “facts don’t match the roar of the crowd.” He writes, “According to the data presented from the major league national teams, every city is pretty much the same.” To read this informative and provocative piece in its entirety, please click here.
Lee ‘Hacksaw’ Hamilton Hangs Out Fill-In Shingle. West Coast sports talk pro Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton, most recently with Broadcast Company of the Americas-owned XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090,” announces he’s making himself available as a “radio free agent” for freelance work as “Hacksaw & Company,” as he says, “sports talk radio designed for your market, when you need a pinch-hitter.” Hamilton’s daily content can be seen at (www.leehacksawhamilton.com). He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arkansas Stations Swap Frequencies; AC Turns Conservative/Christian Talk. A pair of Arkansas FMs are swapping positions on the dial – John M. Dowdy-owned hot AC KKTZ moves from 93.5 up to 107.5 while AC KOMT moves to the 93.5 frequency. KKTZ will remain hot AC but KOMT flips to conservative/Christian talk using content from Salem Radio Network, Westwood One and Premiere Networks. The new talk station will air: Bill Bennett in AM drive followed by Mike Gallagher, Dennis Miller, Michael Medved, Mark Levin, Janet Mefferd and “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory.
Odds & Sods. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, radio pro Mike Stephen is joining WGN, Chicago for a weekend show called “Outside the Loop Radio” that will air from 6:00 am to 7:00 am Sunday mornings, effective October 4. The eight-year-old show is promoted as “Chicago’s Almost Above-Ground Audio Magazine,” and promises “interviews with local newsmakers on everything from arts and politics to the environment and food.”…..Sitting in for Jimmy Barrett on Clear Channel’s WRVA, Richmond in morning drive all this week is Mark Wainwright…..CBS RADIO’s sports talker WJFK-FM, Washington “106.7 The Fan” and IMG Sports Network agree to an extension that will allow Virginia Tech football and men’s basketball play-by-play to be heard on the station through the 2018 season.
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — This time last month, we introduced our overview of Major League Baseball flagship stations. We continue with how these stations did in July and will chart through progress all the way through the World Series.
The following scoreboards are for MLB’s English-language flagships only.
Some flagship facilities appear in multiple markets, but here it is only listed in one PPM market – the team’s “home” metro.
In cases where a team has two flagships, both stations are shown.
Some MLB teams have a main flagship and an emergency alternative. The latter is used only in isolated cases to resolve a programming conflict; those backup facilities do not appear here.
The key station for the American League East division Blue Jays (CJCL) is, of course, located in Toronto, the only non-PPM market within Major League Baseball. Consequently, there is no available Nielsen Audio PPM ratings information for CJCL.
One of the Atlanta Braves’ flagships is Dickey Broadcasting Company-owned WCNN. WCNN is not a Nielsen Audio subscriber and therefore cannot be included in print.
By Walter Sabo
When the topic of sports coverage and sports interest is discussed, the local media mavens always say the same things:
* “This is a very big sports town.”
* “Even women here are nuts about sports.”
* “You’ve got to understand that this is the biggest sports town.”
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — If for no other reason than owing to its adherence to an ambitious 162-game regular season commitment, the role – and potential ratings upside – of any MLB flagship is the most extensive of the four major sports.
Typical MLB game length is three hours during a season that extends from April through September. That, of course, does not count pre-season exhibition contests and any possible post-season play.
Factor in pre-game and post-game shows, as well as a variety of sales-driven programming features, and it becomes crystal- clear how a MLB flagship can wind up devoting a sizeable chunk of its programming day and year to its hometown franchise.
By and large, when they are not airing baseball play-by-play (or related offerings) MLB flagships carry spoken-word programming. There are, however, a few exceptions.
For that and several other reasons, doing an MLB flagship overview has its challenges.
The end result though is well worth it and, therefore, an in-depth analysis appears below.
There is, however, more than the usual fine print.
For openers, the following scoreboards are for English-language flagships only.
For these purposes, a flagship is only listed in one PPM market – the team’s “home” metro. In the case of the American League’s Oakland A’s, we are going with San Jose, rather than San Francisco (which we are using for the National League’s Giants).
In cases where a team has two flagships, both stations are shown.
Some MLB teams have a main flagship and an emergency alternative. The latter is used only in isolated cases to resolve a programming conflict; those backup facilities do not appear here.
The flagship for the American League’s Blue Jays (CJCL) is, of course, located in Toronto, the only non-PPM market. Consequently, there is no available ratings information for CJCL.
One of the Atlanta Braves’ flagships is Dickey Broadcasting Company-owned WCNN. That station is not a Nielsen Audio subscriber and therefore cannot be included in print.
Sun Broadcast Group, Inc.
NEW YORK — It was another sad week for network radio as more great people: mothers, fathers, sons and daughters… dreamers of great ideas, writers of great content, communicators of the stories that shape our world, were sent to the unemployment line. Was it greed? Was it failure to evolve? Was it competition? Maybe. But in my humble opinion it was something simpler yet more devastating… Fear. Fear to be bold, fear to take risks and most important, fear to defend.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — When considering there are more than one month’s worth of spring training contests; a grueling 162-game April through September regular-season schedule; and hopefully – the post season, no professional sport requires as demanding of a commitment for a flagship as does Major League Baseball.
Sandwich a typical three-hour game between pre-game and post-game programming and a station can devote approximately 20% of its 24-hour broadcast day to being a MLB flagship.
Other Defendants Named in Mark Masters’ TRN Lawsuit Against Dial Global Claiming Monopoly Practices. As reported yesterday (8/28) by TALKERS, these companies, 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 antitrust, anti-monopoly and other claims. The complaint, which demands a jury trial, is titled “Complaint for Violations of the Sherman Act and the Cartwright Act, and for Fraudulent Inducement, Interference with Contract and Interference with Prospective advantage.” In addition to Dial Global, it specifically names: Excelsior Radio Networks, Triton Radio Networks, Triton Media Group, Oaktree Capital Management, Verge Media Companies, Courstide, LLC, Compass Media Networks, Compass Media Marketing, and WYD Media Management. Individuals named include Spencer Brown, David Landau, and Ken Williams of Dial Global, Ron Hartenbaum of WYD, Peter Kosann of Compass, and Norm Pattiz of Courtside. To see the entire complaint click here.
Big Staffing Changes at Federated Media in Fort Wayne. Last week TALKERS reported the departure of WOWO, Fort Wayne program director Gregg Henson and his replacement by Woody Zimmerman. Now, after almost 18 years with Federated Media, chief operating officer Mark DePrez announces his departure from the company. Brad Williams, who had been overseeing the Indiana markets of South Bend, Elkhart and Warsaw, will also be in charge of the company’s Fort Wayne and Auburn, Indiana markets as he becomes COO. But that’s not all, as Indiana Radio Watch reports national sales manager Mary DePrez, production director Steve Starbrelz (this November would mark his 35th year there), classic hits WMEE, Fort Wayne middayer Zack Skyler, country WQHK, Fort Wayne GSM Suzee Leavell and several sales staffers have also left the building. IRW also reports Clint Marsh becomes GM of the South Bend properties. On his tenure with Federated Media, DePrez states, “After almost 18 years I’m leaving Federated Media. We accomplished great things in Fort Wayne but all good things must come to an end. I am grateful to the Dille family for the four promotions over those 18 years including my recent tenure as COO. For a decade it has been my distinct honor to be the custodian of such iconic brands as WOWO, WQHK (K-105) WMEE and more recently WBYR (98.9 The Bear). I am immensely proud of the talented team we assembled and know they will continue to do great things.” DePrez is available for his next challenge. He says, “For employers looking for an executive obsessed with top line performance and profit optimization they can contact me at email@example.com or 260-385-2574.”
ESPN and Major League Baseball Agree to $5.6 Billion Deal. The new contract between ESPN and MLB goes through 2021 and runs an average of $700 million per year for TV, digital, radio and other rights. ESPN is currently paying about $305 million per year for TV and about $50 million for radio rights. The new contract would almost double that but gives ESPN more flexibility, some playoff game rights as well as international rights. For radio it means increased ESPN Radio rights, including the additional right to co-exist during two Saturday windows per team, per year.
Patt Morrison’s Southern California Public Radio Show Cancelled. The popular Southern California public radio figure will remain with the organization but Patt Morrison’s six-year-old afternoon program will end on September 10. The move is part of a series of programming changes at KPCC, Pasadena that include the expansion of the Brand & Martinez program and the addition of the “BBC News Hour” and “The World.” KPCC VP for content Russ Stanton is quoted telling the Los Angeles Daily News, “While the show may be leaving, Patt isn’t. What we’re trying to do is take a lot of the segments that she’s produced – which are very popular with a large part of our listening audience – and spread those a little more throughout the programming day when there are a lot more listeners than there are in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot.” SCPR notes Morrison will still cover the Democratic National Convention for the organization.
NBC Sports Radio and Dial Global Announce More Sports Talk Hires. As NBC Sports Radio continues to prepare for the September 4 launch of the new network, more hosts and sports anchors are being hired. Former NFL star Amani Toomer will team with Eytan Shander (most recently with SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio) for a 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET sports talk show. Dan Schwartzman — who’s worked for WPEN, Philadelphia and ESPN in New York – will host an overnight show from 1:00 am to 5:00 am ET Tuesdays through Saturdays and Kay Adams joins the network as sports anchor working the 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm shift Monday through Friday. Dial Global is NBC’s partner in ad and affiliation sales and distribution.
Forbes Releases New Highest Paid Celebrities List. Four radio stars landed on the Forbes list of the most recent Highest Paid Celebrities. Of the 21 celebs noted this time around, Howard Stern is the highest at #7 (although he makes a ton of cash from his SiriusXM gig, the NBC TV job helps!); Glenn Beck comes in at #11; Rush Limbaugh lands at #15 and Ryan Seacrest follows at #19.
Larry King to Host Coverage of the RNC on YouTube’s Elections Hub Channel; Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean Joins King on Panel. Longtime CNN star and broadcasting icon Larry King is now working with Ora TV – the digital on-demand TV network funded by Mexican media magnate Carlos Slim Helu – and Ora TV is partnering with YouTube to produce the Elections Hub channel. Tonight, King will host coverage of the Republican National Convention live from Los Angeles featuring a roundtable of well-known celebrities and guests on the special series “Ora 2012 with Larry King” from 11:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean will take part on the panel.
Entercom and University of Florida Enter into Sales Agreement. The college and Entercom Communications have struck a deal which will have Entercom provide sales for the school’s two radio stations – country WRUF-FM and sports talk WRUF-AM. It’s a seven-year deal that begins in September. The university notes that the deal “will provide the College with a guaranteed monthly revenue. Additionally, the stations will participate in a revenue share agreement with Entercom that allows for additional revenue to flow to the stations based on monthly sales performances. In addition to the joint sales agreement, Entercom is launching an academic enhancement initiative to create internships and student opportunities for the College’s students at the company’s stations in Gainesville and around the country. These student involvement opportunities, subject to faculty approval, will include sales, digital marketing programming, news, sports, public relations, strategic communications and promotions.” The stations’ operations director, Jerry Butler, will stay on and co-ordinate the relationship between the stations and Entercom.
Hundreds of Talk Show Hosts from Across Country Broadcasting from RNC. The invention of the “radio row” – largely developed in the modern talk radio era by Washington, DC-based Talk Radio News Service – has really come into its own at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Numerous networks and syndicators have set up shop in elaborate clusters of tables, microphones, remote equipment, banners and, of course, big talking personalities on both sides of the mic. One of the biggest of these assemblages is again hosted by Talk Radio News Service for its affiliates which include the likes of Rusty Humphries, Phil Valentine, Roger Hedgecock and many more. TRNS bureau chief Ellen Ratner tells TALKERS, “We have more stations than ever – about 40 stations and programs. The RNC gave us a prime spot, right next to their booking office. We are not in the arena but in the building next to it that houses all the press. Other than press conferences, some longer television interviews and hall confrontations between the news media, radio row is the only place to have an in-depth conversation. Radio might have lost some of its audience to the internet, but you would never know it from radio row. Big time politicians want to be there and obviously feel they will get a chance to say what they want. It is still the spot to be and the place to be heard.”
WMAL Morning Hosts on the Scene in Tampa. The final day of the Republican National Convention is today and talk radio and the national press have been busy bringing the political talk home to their constituents. Pictured here are WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning drive team Brian Wilson (c) and Bryan Nehman (r) interviewing former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton (l).
Republican National Convention, Tropical Storm Isaac, and Iran-Syria Connection Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/28). The progress of tropical storm Isaac and the activity from the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay were two of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio. The growing connection between Iran’s military and the violence in Syria was also a major topic.
KGO and KSFO, San Francisco VP of Programming Jack Swanson and KSFO PD Ken Berry Exit Posts. In an e-mail to his staff, longtime KGO and KSFO, San Francisco programmer Jack Swanson bids adieu to the stations he’s worked at for as long as most people can remember. In the memo, Swanson – one of the most decorated talk programming veterans in the industry — praises his staff saying, “This has been a tremendous run. Cumulus is inheriting the greatest staff in the radio industry. To a person, they are all rock stars.” Ken Berry served as news director at KGO until taking the KSFO PD post in December of last year. Both are obviously victims of the Cumulus/Citadel consolidation ax. Swanson says he plans to take some time off and come back to the industry refreshed and recharged ready for his next opportunity. Meanwhile, the anxiety continues to grow among former Citadel employees currently on the Cumulus payroll as whispers of the dreaded word “bloodbath” grow louder in the hallways of the company. Last week, longtime KABC/KLOS, Los Angeles president/general manager Bob Moore was let go in similar fashion feeding into the mounting fear. Whenever there is consolidation between two recently merged companies there are going to be duplicative positions that common business sense indicates will require job cuts. However, it’s also obvious to many observers that some people are being ousted primarily because they are making more money than their new employer deems practical to pay. As the folding of Citadel into Cumulus takes place, TALKERS hears reports that some former Citadel station staffers find themselves meeting with Cumulus managers to basically “interview” for the positions they currently hold. Obviously, this is the downside of what can happen in business – especially during tough economic times and is basically unavoidable. However, because of the size of this recent acquisition and the number of stations and personnel it involves, the present state of affairs at Cumulus is significantly contributing to the jitters being felt throughout the radio industry. Stay tuned.
Liberal Activist Group Goes After Baseball for its Affiliation with Glenn Beck. The group Americans United for Change is firing up a campaign to convince Major League Baseball to stop providing Glenn Beck with the video streaming platform to bring his GBTV to the internet. It’s not common knowledge that Major League Baseball Advanced Media provides backend infrastructure, white label services, mobile app services and operational support to not only Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts but to ESPN3, March Madness on Demand, Tiger Woods.com among others and, of course, its own MLB.com. Through its “Strike Out Beck” campaign, AUFC hopes to convince MLB Advanced Media to drop its affiliation with the talk media personality it claims is a purveyor of “unhinged anti-government conspiracies, fear mongering for personal gain, sexist remarks, and race baiting.”
Doug McIntyre Ruffles Political Feathers in Hard Hitting LA Op-Ed Piece. Nationally syndicated Cumulus Media radio talk show host Doug McIntyre – also a regular columnist in L.A.’s second largest daily, the Daily News — wrote a page one editorial in yesterday’s Sunday edition blasting the Los Angeles city government as being “occupied by corruption.” Tying into his premise that the protestors participating in the “Occupy Los Angeles” demonstrations are naively being “duped” by local politicians that he claims are merely acting like supporters of the movement but actually embody all the negative qualities against which the demonstrators are protesting. McIntyre writes, “The Los Angeles City Council embodies everything that’s wrong with government in modern America. Our city is Exhibit A when it comes to special interest money tainting good government.” Read McIntyre’s full column here. McIntyre, whose “Red Eye Radio” late night program emanates from KABC, Los Angeles, will be a member of the panel titled “The Issues Facing Southern California: Challenges and Solutions” at the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum this Thursday, October 20. Moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison the panel also includes Roger Hedgecock of KOGO, San Diego and Radio America; Stephanie Miller of KTLK, Los Angeles and Dial Global; investigative reporter Charles Feldman of KNX, Los Angeles; Patt Morrison of KPCC-FM, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Radio; John Phillips of KABC, Los Angeles; Josefa Salinas of Hot 92.3 FM, Los Angeles; and LaFern Cusack of the Southern California Broadcasters Association and ESPN, Los Angeles. Considering the volatile nature of the issues facing the region which include immigration, economics, transportation, the environment and a slew of others, and the diversity of the panelists participating – the sparks will really fly! For complete details about the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum click here.
Entercom’s WMC, Memphis Flips to Sports. Speculation about the company’s plans for “Country Legends” WMC began last week when Entercom announced Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome show would move from sister sports WMFS-AM/FM to WMC. Now, Entercom will manage two sports talk stations in the market it calls the Memphis Entercom Sports Network – WMFS-AM/FM affiliated with ESPN Radio and producing live and local programming in the afternoons (Eric Hasseltine followed by the Gary Parrish Show with Geoff Calkins) and WMC affiliated with Fox Sports Radio Network and carrying Jim Rome.
Actress Janine Turner Begins Daily Syndicated Talk Show. The Texas-born actress has been hosting a two-hour weekend talk show on Cumulus’ KLIF, Dallas since 2010. Now, Janine Turner announces she’s beginning a daily program – “The Janine Turner Show – Where is Reason?” – that airs live at 2:00 pm ET and is available in national syndication via her eponymous radio network. The show can also be heard online at janineturner.com. Turner says, “I’m thrilled that the Janine Turner show has received such a positive response both from the critics and the listeners. I think what makes my show really unique is that it features thought-provoking analysis about ‘Where is Reason?’ in our country, plus an inquisitive and conversational forum with a great lineup of guests – everyone from presidential candidates and authors to actors and constitutional scholars. And I absolutely love the opportunity to include callers from the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and across the nation into the ‘Where is Reason’ dialogue.”