Clear Channel Posts 2% Revenue Increase in Q2. That’s for the Media and Entertainment division – the radio stations, Premiere Networks and Total Traffic Network – on revenue of $805.6 million for the second quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago. During yesterday’s investors’ conference call, chairman and CEO Bob Pittman spoke positively about the growth of iHeartRadio and SVP of investor relations Gregory Lundberg noted that it has 34 million registered users and that represents growth of 162% year-over-year. Regarding the makeup of the company’s revenue, he stated, “National sales for the stations grew 5%, with local up 1%. Excluding the impact of political advertising, in both quarters, national sales rose 7% and local was up 2%. Our strongest performing ad categories remained financial services, retail and telecom. Digital sales continue to grow in the double digits as we monetize our station’s online presence and keep growing iHeartRadio, where total listening hours were up to 36% in the second quarter. We also saw good year-over-year growth at Premiere Networks. Partially offsetting this growth rate were revenue declines in the traffic business from lost contracts and from lower sales resulting from integration activities. Operating expenses increased $42 million or 9%, reflecting a $21 million expense credit from one of our performance rights organizations, which we received in the second quarter of last year.” He stated pacing for the third quarter for the stations was up 3% and up 1% for the division as a whole. Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read it all here.
Clear Channel Sells Its SiriusXM Interests for $135.5 Million. Way back in 1999 when XM Radio was gearing up its operations, Clear Channel was an initial investor putting in $83.1 million and getting the right to program some of the satcaster’s music and talk channels. Now, CC sells its interest in the company for $135.5 million – the value of the stock – and that means most of the CC-programmed content will disappear from the XM Radio platform. That’ll include some of the company’s music FMs such as hip hop WGCI, Chicago; country signal WSIX, Nashville and hot AC WLIT, Chicago. But two of the CC-radio channels are expected to stay on the XM platform – WHTZ, New York and KIIS, Los Angeles. It also means the talk radio channel on the XM platform will see talent like Glenn Beck, Bob & Tom, Todd Schnitt as well as Fox Sports Radio programming go away.
Arbitron Reports Q2 Revenue Rises 2.9%. As it prepares to be acquired by ratings giant Nielsen, Arbitron issues its 2013 second quarter financial reports and states that on revenue of $107.4 million dollars it is reporting net revenue of $7.1 million or $0.26 per share. The cost of the potential Nielsen deal ate into the company’s earnings before interest and income tax expense (EBIT) as it shelled out $6.1 million during the quarter in preparation for the acquisition. President and CEO Sean Creamer states, “In the second quarter, we maintained focus on our long-term priorities: investing in and growing our core radio services, evaluating and implementing quality initiatives to enhance the value and utility of our offerings, and exploring emerging opportunities with an emphasis on those that allow us to highlight the power and advantages of radio. As the media and advertising marketplaces continue to evolve and new technologies permit consumers to consume content virtually anytime and anywhere, it is important we keep pace with these changes to ensure radio gets full credit for its audience – regardless of the delivery platform. Radio is growing and vibrant – and we are committed to helping the radio industry tell and validate its complete and compelling story.”
The Job of the Program Director in Five Years. According to noted consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo, if you want to know which way the job of PD is heading in radio, just take a look at what has happened to the same titled position at television stations. In a new column posted today (8/2) Sabo writes “As more on-air content decisions are made at the corporate level and delivered from a central source, the program director job will morph to meet the demands of the tasks that must be completed. Smart companies will evolve the position to one that has been desperately needed: ’Program and Public Relations Director.’” Sabo goes on to list other combinations of tasks and responsibilities that will be added to the title “Program Director” on the radio station level. To read his entire column, please click here.
KBME, Houston Ousts Adam Wexler and Matt Jackson from AM Drive; Adds Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr to Middays. In a realignment of programming at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s sports talk KBME, Houston, Adam Wexler and Matt Jackson have been let go from the station and their morning drive gig and Lance Zierlein and Adam Clanton take over the AM show. Zierlein co-hosted the afternoon show with Charlie Pallilo but, as the Houston Chronicle notes, had also worked on the morning drive show alongside Wexler and Jackson in the past. Adam Clanton has hosted sports talk radio in the market at CBS Radio’s crosstown KILT as well as having worked at KPRC-TV. The addition of Fox Sports Radio’s nationally syndicated Jay Mohr to the lineup from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm forces some other changes. Greg Koch and N.D. Kalu now air from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Charlie Pallilo hosts solo from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm; and Matt Thomas is on the air from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
Michael Harrison to Speak at NAB Radio Show. In what promises to be a riveting and inspirational hour, TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison will address the forthcoming NAB Radio Show in Orlando (September 18-20) on “Radio’s Evolving Role in Popular Culture.” Harrison, fresh off a rousing keynote speech at the Conclave, will further elaborate on the theme of the challenges facing radio in its quest to remain societally iconic in the digital age of the 21st century at a specially scheduled Info-Session sponsored by TALKERS. Harrison says that for radio to remain competitive with all the emerging “exotic” competition of this “wildly new era,” it must maintain “ownership” of the scenes it addresses whether they are music, politics, news, sports or any other expression of the human condition. He says radio should maintain a foreground, active position that protects it from being marginalized as a passive delivery system and discusses options and opportunities to carry out the mission. (To see a brief clip of Michael Harrison’s Conclave keynote speech addressing these subjects please click here. The full speech will be posted to both RadioInfoTV and TalkersTV shortly, stay tuned.) Consultant Holland Cooke introduces this popular annual NAB Radio Show session featuring the venerable programmer, air personality, entrepreneur and trade magazine publisher who has been accurately describing radio and popular media’s road ahead for the past 45 years. The Info-Session is scheduled on Thursday, September 19 between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm and is open to all attendees of the NAB Radio Show.
Clear Channel Makes Morning Changes at KTCN, Minneapolis. Morning drive talk show host Bob Davis and Clear Channel Minneapolis part company and the station fills the morning drive slot with former evening hosts Jack Tomczak and Ben Kruse, at least for now. Bob Davis had been paired up with Tom Emmer for mornings but Emmer exited the station in June to make a run for the congressional seat being vacated by Michele Bachmann. Davis made national news when, during a discussion about gun control, he said on the air he would tell the Newtown families to “go to hell” for their role in shaping the gun debate. He later apologized for the tenor of his comments.
Radiate Media Promotes Ivan Shulman to President. Seven months after joining Radiate Media as executive vice president of sales and chief revenue officer, the company promotes Ivan Shulman to president. CEO Chris Rothey states, “Ivan has a deep background in sales, marketing and media, and his leadership experience makes him a great fit for us. Since joining us in November of 2012, we have experienced quarter-over-quarter revenue growth, including the launch of Radiate360 – our integrated marketing platform to drive hyper-local business. Ivan will continue to lead that initiative as well as overseeing the day-to -day activities of our broadcast radio, TV and digital lines of business.” The company is bullish on its new product Radiate360 which it describes as “an easy-to-use, online platform that empowers businesses to expand their reach and connect with their customers. With Radiate360’s revolutionary suite of tools, businesses can establish an online presence, engage customers through social and mobile media, and promote to the local audience that matters most.” Shulman says of his promotion, “I joined Radiate because I was excited about future opportunities. Our growth on both the broadcast and digital side has been phenomenal and I look forward to working with broadcasters to help bridge the gap between digital and traditional media.”
Dan Sileo Takes Over Midday Program at WMEN, West Palm Beach. Florida sports talk personality Dan Sileo – most recently midday host at WQAM, Miami – moves into the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot at JCE Licenses’ WMEN, West Palm Beach “640 Sports” effective Tuesday, August 6. Sileo – who worked for years at WDAE, Tampa prior to his stint with WQAM – is filling in for Travis Rodgers on KLAA, Los Angeles today and on August 5. Sileo is, by his own admission, an edgy personality whose willingness to push the envelope has gotten him fired from his last two radio gigs. He maintains he achieved excellent ratings while with Clear Channel at WDAE and that the station pulled in a lot of revenue from his program.
Eric Deggans to Leave the Tampa Bay Times for Gig at NPR. Journalist Eric Deggans has covered first music, then media for the Tampa Bay Times for the past 18 years. Now, he exits the Times to become a TV critic and correspondent for NPR News. Deggans has been a contributor to NPR in the past but joins the organization full time. He states in a press release, “For many years, I have been a fan of NPR’s super-smart journalism and I often fantasized of what it might be like to join their ranks as a contributor. A position like this one is beyond my wildest dreams; I’m honored and excited by the opportunity to help shape NPR’s coverage of television and pop culture.” Deggans has been an excellent reporter covering the Tampa Bay media scene over the years but also could be viewed as a polarizing writer. He’s been a critic of talk radio on a number of levels as indicated in his recent book Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation (Palgrave Macmillan 2012). Photo by Carrie Pratt.
Odds & Sods. Dial Global announces it has signed an exclusive terrestrial, three-season deal with London-based talkSPORT to broadcast live coverage of Barclays Premier League, FA Cup and Capital One Cup. The partnership includes play-by-play commentary of nearly 400 soccer matches per year, in both English and Spanish….. “The Black Sphere” talk show host Kevin Jackson joins the advisory board of the Steamboat Institute, an institution that “defends freedom and advocates for liberty.” Jackson says, “Witnessing the progress of the organization first hand, I am overjoyed to be part of the advisory board and play a role in the future direction of the Steamboat Institute, an organization that will undoubtedly mold political discussions and policy in the future.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. Statewide syndicated sports talk host Bill Michaels is added to the lineup at WOZN, Madison, Wisconsin…..Kevin Jackson’s “Black Sphere Radio” show is now airing on WEZO, Augusta, Georgia…..Talk Media Network announces affiliate additions for three of its programs: “Fat Guys At The Movies with Kevin Carr & Kristin Dreyer Kramer” joins WKVL, Knoxville; “The Financial Fitness Show with Chip Cummings & Tony Rubleski” is added to WRSB, Rochester, New York; and “Frontlines of Freedom with Lt. Col. Denny Gillem” joins the lineup at WZFG, Fargo.
ObamaCare Implementation Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of July 29 – August 2. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the cost of the program was the top news/talk topic during the week. Following at #2 was the Anthony Weiner sexting case and the political fallout. At #3 was the 2016 presidential race followed by the Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity contracts flap at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Latest Gallup News Poll Puts Radio at Back of the Pack. The just-released Gallup poll of Americans’ news consumption habits provides good news for television but not such good news for radio and print. According to the study, among persons 30 to 49 years old, 50% named television as their preferred news medium, 28% said the internet was their first choice; 7% said radio and 6% said print. Among the 18 to 29 demographic, radio fell behind print at just 3%. While this study will be interpreted by some as another nail in the coffin for radio news, the reality is it’s not as cut-and-dried as that. First, even radio practitioners would be hard pressed to expect radio to be considered a primary news source across a broad spectrum of the population in this day and age. It’s hardly surprising that television and the internet are first and second, respectively. It’s the very reason that forward-thinking radio news operations are moving into the digital world. Most radio news people would admit that they are focused on serving people during their commute – something that television cannot do although is something that the internet is becoming better at doing as it gains access to moving vehicles. Other factors to be considered are more nebulous. In major markets with heritage radio news operations radio probably enjoys a better place in the minds of news consumers. Survey the top 10 media markets only and radio may fare a bit better on a percentage basis. Also, as part of a morning radio show (in just about any format), the news segment may not even be thought of by the listener as a “news program” yet it remains an indispensable part of most radio morning shows.
And Speaking of News. Longtime radio programmer and media creative officer Lee Abrams is preparing to debut his new video news service called TouchVision. Abrams, along with co-founders Steve Saslow and Brandon Davis are calling the new service “the revolutionary way to reach America’s new mainstream on all devices with a complete re-imagination of news and information.” The live, 24/7 channel will differ from most news platforms in that it will feature no anchors. Content airs simultaneously online, on TV, on phones and tablets. TouchVision says, “The story is the star.” TouchVision also states the programming is “a partnership with broadcasters on a DMA-exclusive basis using their digital assets.” The programming clock indicates time for local news, weather and sports in addition to the unique programming elements and world and national news coverage. You can check out TouchVision’s site here.
Audience Research: The Dunkin’ Donuts Method. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from his summer tour of client stations across America. He writes that programmers can learn a lot from eavesdropping on conversations at donut shops and lunch counters. He predicts, “You’ll note a disconnect between what you hear, and lots of what talk radio is trying to force-feed ‘em. Example: While cable and radio pundits are shocked…SHOCKED…by revelations about beyond-Patriot Act NSA surveillance, coffee gulpers shrug that they’ve suspected it all along. I’ve overheard parents say they’re using the story as an opportunity to wag a finger in their kids’ faces about what they disclose online.” Read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Jerry Proctor of The Proctor Group, Inc. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Jerry Proctor of The Proctor Group, Inc. Proctor brings years of experience to the broker business and describes the deal scene as follows: ”Television is undergoing a consolidation revolution such as occurred in the radio business a few years ago. Consequently, television station prices are returning to pre-recession levels and the consolidations continue with prices still climbing. Radio is still suffering some of the lingering effects of the recession. Station prices are recovering but that part of the broadcast industry is being held back due to the lack of available financing. That’s one of the reasons you see so many LMA opportunities….many with purchase options attached. The larger and dominant companies in radio are primarily trading among themselves with some small amount of consolidations continuing. That leaves the lower tier of stations more available to smaller operators. Many owners in this tier of stations are now retiring and want to sell. I view NOW as being an excellent time to acquire those stations….if the buyer can find the financing to buy. Unfortunately, a buyer today MUST have more than two nickels to rub together if they’re going to boot-strap a station purchase!” To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
KCBS, San Francisco’s Hal Ramey Returns to Work After Lengthy Vocal Problem. Sports anchor Hal Ramey returned to work at KCBS, San Francisco on July 1 after almost four months off the air due to a nodule on his vocal cords. The Walnut Creek Patch reports that back in February, Ramey noticed his voice was getting a little hoarse. Doctors advised him to give it a little rest but it just got worse. He was told to rest it completely – no talking at all – but after a while it only shrank 60% and doctors decided to operate. The non-cancerous growth was removed on May 9 and Ramey was able to return to work seven weeks later.
Odds & Sods. WHP, Harrisburg afternoon drive host Bob Durgin will retire from his position there on August 2 after a 24-year career at the station. Clear Channel is beginning a search to replace Durgin…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles announces the next in its “On Your Corner” series in which the all-news outlet will spotlight San Pedro and the Palos Verdes Peninsula on Friday, July 19 with a day of live broadcasts from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm. The station says it will focus on key issues and happenings in San Pedro and the Port of Los Angeles, along with the peninsula communities of Palos Verdes, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates. Civic leaders and other guests will be featured during the special broadcast to give Southern Californians insight into the unique attributes, history and future development in the area.
‘Radio and the Connected Car’ Super Session Scheduled for 2013 Radio Show. The National Association of Broadcasters and the Radio Advertising Bureau announce the 2013 Radio Show in Orlando will feature a Super Session titled, “Radio and the Connected Car” taking place on Thursday, September 19 at 9:15 am. The NAB and RAB say the panel will feature “leading strategists, analysts and researchers discussing developments in the connected car, what consumers want and where the technology is headed. This session will reveal data from surveys, focus groups and consumer clinics along with sneak peeks at what car makers and their suppliers have in store for the dashboard of the future. Participants will offer specific recommendations on what radio can do now to maintain its prominence in the automobile for years to come.” Participants will include: Roger C. Lanctot, associate director, Global Automotive Practice at Strategy Analytics; and Fred Jacobs, president of Jacobs Media. Bill Rose, senior vice president, marketing at Arbitron, will provide introductory remarks.
Charlie Vogt Appointed CEO of Harris Broadcast. Charlie Vogt comes to Harris Broadcast from his most recent position as president and CEO of GENBAND where he led a company transformation that encompassed six acquisitions, including Tekelec SSG, NextPoint Networks and Nortel’s VoIP Business. Harris Broadcast, recently acquired by The Gores Group, defines itself as “a global supplier of networking, routing and software solutions that create, manage, transmit, distribute and monetize multimedia content.” Vogt succeeds Harris Morris, who was appointed president of Harris Broadcast when it was a subsidiary of Harris Corporation in 2010, led the company through its divestiture process and guided the transition period to The Gores Group ownership, including the completion of fiscal year 2013. Harris Broadcast chairman and board member of Dish Network, Carl Vogel, states, “Charlie’s proven track record of taking companies with powerful and promising technology to the next level uniquely positions him to lead this business. His decision to join Harris Broadcast as president and CEO likewise reflects the promise and potential behind the company’s market-leading technology, marquee customers and exceptional employees. Charlie will bring to Harris Broadcast vision, leadership, creativity and operational discipline as well as an entrepreneurial and customer-first culture.” Vogt says of his new position, “I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about joining Harris Broadcast, especially at a time when broadcasters, cable networks and multi-channel content distributors are experiencing so much change – from the impact of on-demand to content delivery on multiple screens and the digital transition to video and audio over IP. I have spent my professional career building businesses, fostering an entrepreneurial culture and introducing disruptive technologies that transform business models. I look forward to leading the Harris Broadcast team to accelerate innovation in areas that will enable the company to experience market-leading growth.”
ESPN Radio Begins Annual ‘Don’t Give Up ESPYS V Foundation Auction.’ ESPN Radio announces it is presenting the “9th Annual Don’t Give Up ESPYS V Foundation Auction” going on now through July 17. The online and on-air public auction features hundreds of items and experiences for bid to raise money and awareness for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. The event has raised more than $5.7 million over the first eight years of the fundraiser. A majority of the nearly 200 experiences and items in the auction will be available online via www.espnradio.com or ebay.com (now through July 17) while a total of 18 fan “experiences” will be auctioned live on air across ESPN Radio’s national shows on July 17 from 6:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. Listeners can call 1-800-4JimmyV or log onto www.jimmyv.org to both donate and bid on items and experiences in the radio-thon, with the highest bidder at 59 minutes past each hour winning the experience.
Asiana Air S.F. Crash Landing, Egypt Turmoil, ObamaCare Criticism, Immigration Reform/Amnesty, and Eliot Spitzer Comptroller Candidacy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/8). The crash landing of an Asiana Airlines jet at the San Francisco airport; the violence and turmoil in Egypt after a military-forced change of regimes in the Middle Eastern state; ongoing concerns over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; legislation addressing illegal immigration and a proposal for amnesty for illegals already here; and former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s plans to run for comptroller of New York City.
Peter Boyles to Debut New Morning Show at Salem’s KNUS, Denver. Longtime KHOW, Denver morning drive personality Peter Boyles joins Salem Communications’ KNUS, Denver for a new morning drive program beginning Monday, July 1. Boyles was let go from Clear Channel’s KHOW after a widely publicized incident of workplace violence in which he became physically aggressive with producer Greg Hollenback. Boyles took responsibility for his actions in a regular column he writes for the Cherry Creek Chronicle but, as the Denver Post reports, he also took the opportunity to slam Clear Channel saying, “Clear Channel is a culture of fear.” Regarding bringing Boyles aboard, KNUS vice president and general manager Brian Taylor tells the Post, “He’s a legend. He really cares about wanting to speak for his audience.” Boyles’ arrival at the station moves the Steve Kelley program to the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot on KNUS. In a statement from Salem, Boyles comments, “I believe we can change the face of Denver radio as well as the political future of Colorado. That’s how much I believe in this show and what we can do. I’m delighted to join the Salem team in Denver and help take KNUS to the next level. We’re going to do some great radio and I can’t be more excited.” Salem VP/director spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “There is no doubt Peter Boyles is a Denver talk radio institution. When the opportunity came for us to grab Peter’s show we wasted little time in making it happen. Denver radio needs this guy, who truly does a remarkable show.”
New Sports Talk Programming to Air on WGNU, St. Louis in August. Well, it’s not exactly new. According to Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, current KFNS sports talk personality Tim McKernan, via his company insideSTL Enterprises LLC, will lease time on 920 AM LLC-owned WGNU – currently airing urban talk – beginning on or around August 1. The lineup will be familiar to St. Louis sports talk fans as it will include many of the market’s well-known sports talk personalities who’ve worked at KFNS and at other stations: McKernan himself with Doug Vaughn and Jim Hayes; Frank Cusumano; Kevin Slaten plus (former MLB slugger) Jack Clark; and a new show featuring Post-Dispatch columnists Bryan Burwell and Joe Strauss plus KTVI-TV sportscaster Charlie Marlow. McKernan is undertaking the venture as KFNS owners are shifting the programming to a guy talk format. The programming will also be available on McKernan’s insideSTL.com, an important aspect of his business plan. McKernan tells Caesar, “What this opportunity provides us is a chance to see if this lineup, if this website and this business plan can indeed work and can set us up for the potential of purchasing a radio station in the near future.” McKernan is not leasing the weekend time from WGNU.
WPEN, Philadelphia’s Darren Daulton to Have Brain Surgery. Greater Media sports talk outlet WPEN, Philadelphia “The Fanatic” announces baseball talk show host and former MLB star Darren “Dutch” Daulton has been diagnosed with two tumors on his brain and will undergo surgery to have them treated next week. Daulton – a member of the 1993 pennant-winning Philles – hosts the nightly “Talking Baseball with Dutch” show that airs from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm during baseball season on WPEN.
Entercom’s WEEI, Boston Donates 1,000 Red Tickets to First Responders. As a way of saying “thanks” to the many first responders who came to the aid of those affected by the Boston Marathon bombing in April, Entercom’s sports talk WEEI donated 1,000 tickets to last night’s Boston Red Sox game versus the Toronto Blue Jays. The company says, “These groups and individuals will include those who have displayed acts of heroism and valor, and have shown us examples of courage.” Tickets were distributed to: First responders including the Boston Police, Fire and EMS workers; the Boston Athletic Association; the communities of Dorchester, Arlington and Medford; the Massachusetts State Police; the Massachusetts National Guard; Boston area hospitals. Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Jeff Brown states, “On behalf of Entercom and WEEI, we send our deepest appreciation for the bravery and service of these responders during our city’s time of need. We are forever grateful for their heroism and hope this small gesture brings a smile to some faces across Boston on Thursday evening.”
The Conclave to Feature Performance by Recording Artist Keaton Simons. The Conclave’s first-ever “GAMEDAY,” a day devoted entirely to sports, will wrap with a performance by Best Revenge Records recording artist Keaton Simons (pictured here). It’ll take place at a reception at KTWN, Minneapolis’ studios just before the Minnesota Twins vs Cleveland Indians game at Target Field. The Conclave says that the Los Angeles Times termed Simons “a triple threat” captivating audiences with an authentic voice, compelling and soul-baring songs, and a true command of both acoustic and electric guitars in every genre. Simons’ second album “Beautiful Pain” is co-produced by Mikal Blue who has also worked with Colbie Caillat and One Republic, and includes songs co-written with friends and peers including Jason Mraz and others. Conclave executive director Bob Shannon says of Keaton, “‘No Rain In The Forecast’ is the tune I’m singing. His appearance at the KTWN rooftop party during Conclave 38 will be a night of great music, baseball and beer. How could it get better than that?”
The NAB Announces Panelists for Leadership Breakfast. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) announce the panelists for the 2013 Radio Show Leadership Breakfast, titled “Opportunities in a Changing Economy,” presented by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. The event will be held Thursday, September 19, from 7:15 am to 9:00 am at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando. The Leadership Breakfast will feature a panel discussion about expanding opportunities in radio for acquisitions and revenue in a growing economy. Panelists include Lew Dickey, CEO of Cumulus Media; Mary Quass, CEO of NRG Media; Jeff Warshaw, CEO of Connoisseur Media and Larry Wilson, CEO of Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting. The panel will be moderated by Lew Paper, a partner with Pillsbury, and will be preceded by opening remarks from Marci Ryvicker, managing director, senior equity analyst, for Wells Fargo Securities, LLC.
Centennial Stations Win Virginia Association of Broadcasters Awards. Centennial Broadcasting II, LLC’s Fredericksburg, Virginia, hot AC WBQB “B101.5” and “NewsTalk 1230” WFVA (formerly adult standards during the contest period), won five First Place awards at the 76th Annual Virginia Association of Broadcasters Awards Banquet held June 21 at the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel. WBQB won the following awards in the Medium Market category: 1st Place – Outstanding Website; and 1st Place – Best Commercial – Steamers Seafood Grill and Bar Star Search. WFVA won the following awards in the Medium Market category: 1st Place – Outstanding News Series: “Battle of Fredericksburg”; 1st Place – Best Human Interest Series: “Teen Violence Turns Personal”; and 1st Place – Best Documentary Or Public Affairs Program: “Sniper: 10 Years Later.” Market manager Tom Hamilton states, “I am so proud of the sensational, award-winning talent at B101.5 and NewsTalk 1230 WFVA. This is certainly a reflection of their passion for creating great radio and their dedication to the Fredericksburg community.” WBQB and WFVA operations manager Chuck Archer says, “There is one word that comes to mind when I think of the individuals involved in the creation of these award winning pieces and that’s ‘passion.’ They eat, drink, breathe and sleep great radio and constantly find ways of making it better.”
Odds & Sods. SiriusXM talk show host Michael Smerconish calls his most recent story about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s chances of winning the White House in 2016 published Philadelphia magazine “neither a valentine, nor a hit piece, but rather an analytical look at what impediments he will face if he runs.”…..SiriusXM announces music, TV and movie icon Cher will answer fan questions during an intimate Q&A session with an audience of listeners as part of its “Town Hall” series. The program will be moderated by original Studio 54 doorman Marc Benecke and Myra Scheer, executive assistant to former Studio 54 co-owner Steve Rubell, and current hosts of the Marc and Myra show SiriusXM’s Studio 54 Radio.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” with co-hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the program schedule at WBLF, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania and WBAT, Marion, Indiana….. Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at WGAW, Gardner, Massachusetts and WLSC, Loris, South Carolina…..GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” with host Kate Delaney adds affiliates WLEE, Richmond, Virginia and WTLS, Tallassee, Alabama…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” featuring Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete is added to the program lineup at CKLW, Windsor/Detroit and WADB, Asbury Park, New Jersey…..“The Commercial Real Estate Show” with Michael Bull adds affiliates KIVA, Albuquerque and WGKA, Atlanta.
SCOTUS Gay Marriage Ruling Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 24-28. The Supreme Court’s striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and dismissing and appeal of California’s Proposition 8 on jurisdictional grounds was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the Obama emissions policy. Following at #3 was the NSA surveillance program and the case of Edward Snowden and at #4 was the death of the Texas anti-abortion bill. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
NEW YORK — Greetings from 29,000 feet over Colorado. I’m returning from the NAB Show in Vegas and there were some very interesting items to see this year. I am going to wait until next week so I can put together a good article regarding IP codecs, so please stay tuned for that. I moderated a session in the Broadcast Engineering Conference on Sunday, April 7, called “IP for Radio”. A lot of good information came out of that session – I need to go back and review my notes.
By Holland Cooke
LAS VEGAS – Even before 90,000 attendees step into the sprawling Convention Center, they expect change. The Las Vegas Monorail robo-voice invites them to visit The Cloud Computing Pavilion.
Atop the escalator, more evidence of the “Metamorphosis” that is this year’s NAB Show theme: Publication bins stacked with hard copies are being replaced by a wall-o-magazine covers. Scan the QR code, and you get the digital version.
News/Talk Sees Uptick in Post Holidays Audience. According to TALKERS magazine’s research as expressed in the monthly Top Talk Audiences chart found here, the audience for news/talk radio is growing again. Whether from post-election “burnout,” the popularity of holiday programming on music FMs or other seasonal factors, news/talk stations across the country in general, saw their audience appear to decline in December and through the Holiday ratings period. However, beginning with Arbitron’s February PPM data and following through to other sources, the trend of the news/talk audience appears to be on the upswing with nationally syndicated talk show host audiences in the first eight positions on the Top Talk Audiences chart rising .25 million or more. Also, a new addition to the Top Talk Audiences chart in April is Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean, whose ongoing addition of affiliates combined with performance has lifted him into the 1 million-plus listener tier.
Talk Show Personality Mary Walter Returns to the Air in New Jersey; Soon to Be Syndicated Nationally via WYD Media. Well-known media personality Mary Walter returns to the New Jersey radio waves on Longport Media’s classic hits “Kool 98.3” WTKU, Petersburg, New Jersey in the Ocean City market for an evening talk program beginning Monday, April 8. The show, “Life! With Mary Walter,” will air from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Walter is a New Jersey native who spent the majority of her career hosting “Passion Phones” on NJ 101.5 (WKXW) in Trenton. That show was a combination of relationship-based talk topics and relationship advice and was the first program to simultaneously impact both the Philadelphia and New York radio markets. She also became the state’s first female morning-drive radio host when she took over the morning slot at New Brunswick radio station, WCTC. Recently, Walter has been serving as a guest host for a variety of stations across the country including Fox News Radio filling in for Brian Kilmeade, Spencer Hughes, Tom Sullivan and John Gibson. She also appears as a guest on the Alan Colmes show. She’s is also seen on Fox News Channel as a guest commentator on the Sean Hannity show and “America Live with Megyn Kelly.” On the new program, Walter says, “I love the opportunities that being a guest host affords me, but there’s nothing better than being back on a regular basis so I can build a relationship with the listeners. With a full-time show, we can get to know each other and it becomes more personal for both them and me!” Longport Media is also partnering with WYD Media Management with plans to launch the show into national syndication in the coming months, with KOOL 98.3 serving as the flagship station.
WPRO, Providence’s Buddy Cianci to Be Inducted into the RI Radio Hall of Fame. WPRO, Providence and 99.7 FM talk show host and former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci is headed for the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame. On May 9, Cianci will be inducted along with Bill Corsair, a popular personality from the 1960s and 1970s on WICE-AM, and Mike Gonsalves, who went by the radio name ‘‘Doctor Metal’’on WHJY. Gonsalves died in the fire at The Station nightclub in 2003. Prior to his work at WPRO, Cianci worked at WHJJ during the 1980s.
Digital Will Drive Radio’s Fortunes…Or Not. BIA/Kelsey last week reported radio’s over-the-air revenues edged slightly upwards in 2012, increasing to $14.3 billion, a 1.5% increase over the prior year, while online radio ad revenues reached $491 million, or 3.3% of the combined $14.791 billion. By contrast, the Radio Advertising Bureau in February reported total radio revenues (including over-the-air, digital, and off-air sources) totaled $16.482 billion, a 1% increase over 2011 numbers. In that report, the RAB said digital accounted for $767 million, or 8% of the radio industry’s total revenue. The differences in figures obviously are due to varying accounting methodologies, and whichever numbers you look at, the facts are clear: without the inclusion of digital advertising revenues in the overall mix, the radio industry would be experiencing low single-digit decreases every year instead of slight upticks. As the BIA/Kelsey analysis indicates, radio station revenue mix will continue to shift somewhat and income from online advertising is expected to rise at a rate of about 10.8% annually over the next five years versus 2.5% from over-the-air.
While many radio broadcasters still feel uncomfortable with the digital realm – often viewing it as “outside their core business” – the clear evidence shows that any real growth will be coming from online – and particular on-mobile – sources. With the U.S. economy improving at a 1-2% annual rate it is illogical to believe that over-the-air business will increase at a faster pace, especially when more and more marketers are shifting dollars from traditional budgets to digital platforms. In the long run, no matter whether the RAB figures or BIA/Kelsey numbers are more accurate, the fact remains that traditional advertising will continue to experience an upheaval over the next few years. As Google SVP and chief business officer Nikesh Arora recently said at the “D: Dive Into Media” conference in New York, 50% of ads will be online by 2018. “That’s a very large number, but online advertising accounts for less than $100 billion of that number, and there is a reasonable probability that over 50% of advertising goes online in the next five years. The big tipping point we’re waiting for is internet-connected televisions…We’re waiting for things going from ‘nice-to-have’ to ‘must-have.’” Yes, radio reaches 92% of the 12+ U.S. population each week. And no, this percentage isn’t about to shrink dramatically in the near future. But the media world is experiencing epic change that’s occurring at a near-logarithmic pace, and the dollars that are shifting to new platforms aren’t suddenly going to return to traditional media. The radio industry is in a transitional phase that requires an ever-increasing mix of old and new thinking, and that means expanding well beyond the comforts of maintaining one’s core business to better serve listeners and advertisers. This situation is analyzed in detail in an article posted today (4/2) in RadioInfo written by veteran media executive Reed Bunzel, president of Bunzel Media Strategies, who joins RadioInfo as special business correspondent. To see Reed Bunzel’s entire article, click here.
Sabo Sez: Radio Should Learn About “Hyperlocal” Marketing. In an eye-opening piece posted today (4/2) about a relatively new digital sales and marketing concept known as “hyperlocal,” noted consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo explains how it is a perfect tool for the advertising initiatives of commercial radio. For example, if your station offers an app with hyper-local commerce capabilities, a listener carrying that app could pass by a Dunkin’ Donuts, and through GPS, the app could signal the listener that they can walk into DD and receive a free donut. That’s hyper-local marketing at its simplest. To read Walter Sabo’s entire article, click here.
The NAB Announces Radio Board Officers. The National Association of Broadcasters announces the results of the recent elections for the radio boards. The two-year term begins in June for the following officers: Mike Boen, managing partner, BL Broadcasting, Inc; Bill Coleman, owner, Team Radio; Bill Hendrich, vice president and marketing manager, Cox Media Group Jacksonville; Ed Henson, president and owner, Henson Media, Inc.; Julie Koehn, president, Lenawee Broadcasting Company; Jessica Marventano, SVP, government affairs, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment; Mike Novak, president and CEO, K-LOVE/Air1Radio; Frank Osborn, president, Qantum Communications; Bob Proffitt, president and COO, Alpha Broadcasting Company; Heidi Raphael, vice president corporate communication, Greater Media Inc.; Paul Tinkle, president, Thunderbolt Broadcasting; and Dana Withers, president, Dana Communications.
XtreMedia CEO and Talk Show Host Kevin McCullough Spearhead’s ‘Do Much Good’ Campaign for Clean Water in Haiti. Kevin McCullough, whose nationally syndicated talk show is heard across the country, also is CEO of XtreMedia which syndicates the weekend “Baldwin & McCullough” program (featuring actor Stephen Baldwin) and the weekly Dani Johnson program. McCullough announces the Do Much Good coalition he’s organized is setting its 2013 goal on installing three water purification systems in three of the hardest to reach areas of Haiti. He says the systems can pump more than 10,000 gallons per-day. And the manufacturer promises that on all systems installed they will guarantee the systems to work or to replace them at their own cost. McCullough says, “As a father whose very first son was adopted from Haiti, I’ve seen the tragedy of Haiti’s economy before the 7.3 earthquake that rocked the tiny nation. They were already the poorest nation in our hemisphere before losing 200,000 victims to the initial quake and its subsequent 59 aftershocks. The bacteria, chemicals, and fecal matter that have now poisoned the water sources as a result of the earthquake are now killing one in every eight children before the age of five. My son’s younger sister — who I was also attempting to adopt — lost her life because of something that we believe she drank. Helping these children hits very close to home for me!” McCullough welcomes nationally syndicated talk show host Steve Deace to the coalition of media personalities assisting in the effort. McCullough continues, “We invite our brothers and sisters in talk radio, regardless of their partisan viewpoints, to join us in doing something we can all agree on. And that is to end the suffering of children whose only crime was being born in the wrong place. $100 to give a child clean water for life? That’s like .0078 cents a day — just how stingy can we be?”
Producer Steve Ciaccio Exits WEEI, Boston AM Drive Show. The AM drive Dennis & Callahan program on Entercom’s WEEI, Boston loses producer Steve Ciaccio who takes a position outside of the radio business. Ciaccio had been with WEEI since 1997.
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North Korea Threats, Texas Lawmen Killings, Gun Legislation Proposals, Stockton Goes Bankrupt, March Madness/Gruesome Leg Injury Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/1). The increasing threats by North Korea; the rash of murders of Texas prosecutors and the possible link to Neo-Nazi groups; the plethora of gun legislation proposals across the country; the bankruptcy of Stockton, California; and the NCAA tournament and Kevin Ware’s gruesome on-camera leg injury were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell to Step Down. Republican FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell announces that he will exit his seat within the next few weeks – 14 months before his term was set to expire. The National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith says of McDowell, “Robert McDowell has been a remarkably gifted public servant during his seven-year tenure at the FCC. His good humor and grace have been matched only by his ardent support for fair media ownership rules and full-throated support for a vibrant First Amendment. Commissioner McDowell will succeed in whatever path he chooses, and NAB wishes him well.”
New York Public Radio Shows Repped by Launchpad Digital Media; Available on PodcastOne.com. The Norm Pattiz-founded Launchpad Digital Media and digital content site PodcastOne.com work out a deal with New York Public Radio-produced content including “Freakonomics,” “RadioLab,” “Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin” and “On the Media.” The podcasts of these shows will be represented for advertising sales by Launchpad and available on PodcastOne.com. Launchpad says, “PodcastOne.com is already home to over 200 popular podcasts including CBS News, Adam Carolla, Dennis Miller, Ron Paul, Penn Jillette, Laura Ingraham, Maria Menounos, Tom Green, Dr. Drew and many more.” Westwood One founder and Launchpad/PodcastOne.com chairman Norm Pattiz says, “New York Public Radio produces some of the most compelling, popular programming and we are proud to welcome these powerhouse audience magnets to the Launchpad/PodcastOne.com family.” Director of digital underwriting for NYPR Sarah van Mosel states, “We’re so excited that Launchpad Digital Media has recognized the value of reaching the on-demand audience. By harnessing this amazing content, Launchpad is paving the way for brands to finally connect intimately with listeners on a grand scale.” According to Launchpad president Kit Gray, “These four podcasts alone are already downloaded more than 10 million times every month. We are delighted to give our clients access to this loyal, educated and affluent audience that will continue to grow.”
NBC Sports Radio and Dial Global Name Brian Kenny Late Morning Host. Filling the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET slot on the national sports talk radio network will be former ESPN personality and well-known sports media figure Brian Kenny. The NBC Sports and Dial Global 24/7 sports talk network project debuts on April 1. Kenny hosts “Clubhouse Confidential” on MLB Network and covers boxing for Showtime. NBC and Dial Global say Kenny is a “respected interviewer who will go one-on-one with some of the biggest names in sports. Additionally known for his adept skill as a ‘numbers cruncher,’ he will also go beyond the scores and delve into the data, breaking down the analytics of the games.” Kenny hosted his own show on ESPN Radio and also anchored “SportsCenter” and “Baseball Tonight,” and called play-by-play for ESPN’s “Wednesday Night Baseball” and the “World Baseball Classic.” Kenny was named “Media Personality of the Year” by SI.com in 2004. He states, “I’m thrilled to be joining the team at NBC Sports Radio and Dial Global and I am excited to be back on the airwaves. We look forward to building a show that fosters intelligent sports conversation with in-depth analysis. It’s going to be a blast.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Personality Charlie Sykes Hosts Annual “Insight 2013” Event. The annual “Insight” live program is a big promotional event for Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee and late-morning personality Charlie Sykes. “Insight 2013” takes place at a local hotel from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm on Wednesday, March 27, is broadcast live on WTMJ and features Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, United States Senator Ron Johnson, United States Congressman Paul Ryan and other office holders and media personalities. Sykes’ own RightWisconsin.com – a digital destination for conservative content – is sponsoring the event. In addition to being broadcast live, the program will be recorded and re-broadcast on Sykes’ 8:30 am to 12:00 noon show.
Eric Deters Leaves Morning Show Role on ClassX in Cincinnati. The practicing attorney and well-known Cincinnati talk radio personality is leaving his role as morning host at Spryex Communications’ classic rock duo WMWX, Miamitown, Ohio and WKCX, Crittenden, Kentucky. Eric Deters’ law practice is growing too much for him to dedicate the time necessary to hosting a three-hour morning program, ClassX manager Bill Spry tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter. “Eric is taking a sabbatical possibly through the end of the year due to his law business exploding. He may be doing a weekly show, or possibly a daily morning segment. We’re not sure.” Deters, who’s hosted shows for Clear Channel on WLW and Christian Broadcasting Systems’ former talk WQRT, began hosting the morning show in September of 2012. Spryex brings Snake & Carson aboard to host the 6:00 am to 9:00 am program.
TuneIn and Dial Global Agree to Sports Programming Deal. Digital content aggregator TuneIn and Dial Global strike a deal for the former to feature select Dial Global-produced sports content. The arrangement begins with full, live coverage of the 2013 NCAA College Basketball Tournament. TuneIn VP of programming Kevin Straley says, “TuneIn is excited to align with a company known for delivering superior programming. We’re thrilled by the opportunity to deliver exciting play-by-play basketball to all our listeners around the world.” TuneIn will also feature Dial Global’s play-by-play coverage of the Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, Men’s Frozen Four, the Men’s and Women’s College World Series and the Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship semifinals and championship.
Arbitron and Edison Research to Offer ‘Infinite Dial’ Webinar. Scheduled for Tuesday, April 2, “The Infinite Dial 2013: Navigating Digital Platforms” from Arbitron and Edison Research will address the latest trends in consumer use of media, technology, and digital platforms. Some of the issues to be reviewed include: the growing penetration of smartphones and tablets and the ways people use these devices; radio’s continuing role in the lives of the digital consumer: at-work, in the car and as the “last word” before shopping; the continued growth of online radio usage and time spent listening; an update on social media use by brand and age demographics; and the devices people use to wake up in the morning.
Sequester Effects, Obama in Israel, Dr. Ben Carson-mania, North Korea Bluster, ‘Honors Night’ Cancellation, and the Soaring Dow Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/20). The effects of the sequester; President Obama’s trip to Israel; the sudden popularity of Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson among conservatives; North Korea’s bellicose posturing; the cancellation of “honors night” at a Massachusetts High School; and the high-flying Dow were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Ronn Owens Signs New Deal with KGO, San Francisco. The iconic Bay Area talk radio fixture begins his 38th year in the radio business after signing a two-year guaranteed deal with an option for a third year. Ronn Owens was reported by Bay Area media blogger Rich Lieberman to be on his way out at the Cumulus Media heritage talker back in the fall – a story TALKERS picked up on – but that did not happen and it appears Owens is likely to mark his 40th anniversary in the business at KGO in a couple of years. At a time when legendary personalities across the country are being ousted from their programs due to budget cuts and programming changes, it’s nice to see a figure of Owens’ magnitude sign up for a new tour of duty!
Boston Media Personalities Margery Eagan and Jim Braude Land at Pubcaster WGBH. Boston Herald columnist Margery Eagan and Boston TV and radio personality Jim Braude will begin hosting a daily 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm talk program on public radio outlet WGBH, Boston beginning February 25, almost two months after they exited Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston due to a format change. Eagan and Braude hosted mornings at WTKK for much of the 13 years they were at WTKK. The Boston Herald reports the current midday hosts at WGBH – Callie Crossley and Emily Rooney – will be featured on the new program as well.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai to Address AM Band at NAB Show in April. The National Association of Broadcasters announces FCC Commissioner Ajit V. Pai will lead a session on AM radio revitalization at the NAB Show in Las Vegas on Monday, April 8. The NAB states, “Broadcasters are exploring the challenges and opportunities related to revitalizing AM radio while continuing to provide the popular, local programming that millions of listeners rely on daily. This session, held within the Broadcast Management Conference, will address possible options for sustaining and enhancing AM radio as a unique entertainment medium. Commissioner Pai, who has expressed special interest in the future of AM radio, will moderate a panel of AM radio leaders, engineers and policy experts.”
Trevor Oliver Exits Premiere Networks. After 15 years with Premiere Networks, Trevor Oliver exits his SVP of operations position. Oliver tells TALKERS magazine he leaves the company on very good terms and that he’s looking forward to his next opportunity. Oliver, who joined Premiere in 1998, has an excellent reputation in the industry and TALKERS has no doubt he’ll put his numerous talents to use in the business somewhere very soon.
Talk Host Sam Malone to Return to Houston Airwaves (and Cablewaves!). Houston radio personality Sam Malone – most recently heard in the market on Dan Patrick-owned news/talk KSEV – will begin a new program on Phonoscope Cable and the show will be simulcast on a local talk radio station to be named later. The Houston Chronicle reports that Malone, who is serving as president of Phonoscope New Media, says the idea for a video and audio show grew out of his experience with Phonoscope. “This is where radio will be going in the future. We need to get the message to smartphones and iPads, not just car radios.” In addition to KSEV, Malone has also worked at music outlets KRBE and KHMX in Houston. He tells the Chronicle he’ll announce the radio station he’ll be on next week but says it’s a station he has not worked for in the past.
Former Congressman John Sweeney to Host Albany Talk Show. Four-term Republican Congressman John Sweeney begins a daily one-hour talk show on Capital Broadcasting’s WGDJ, Albany “Talk 1300.” Sweeney joined president and general manager Paul Vandenburgh on his morning program to announce he’ll begin the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon program on Monday, February 11. Sweeney says, “One of the things I miss about being in the public eye is my day-to-day interaction with the people.” Vandenburgh states, “John has consistently been a leader in the Capital District. Our goal from day one has been to provide a local product on a daily basis and John will be a marvelous addition.”
Dave Ramsey Knocks ‘em Dead in Knoxville. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey presented his “Building Your Legacy” event to a sold-out crowd in Knoxville recently. Ramsey talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence and worked with his daughter Rachel Cruze, who joined him on stage for the presentation. Ramsey teamed up with local affiliate WNOX-FM to promote this event. WNOX general manager Ed Brantley states, “Dave Ramsey’s ‘Building Your Legacy’ was a huge success not only for WNOX-FM and our sponsors but for the community. Dave’s up-close-and-personal approach captured the sold-out crowd.”
LA Talk Radio Celebrates 5th Anniversary. The Los Angeles-based internet talk radio station is celebrating its fifth year “on the air.” Founder Sam Hasson says, “LA Talk Radio has found its success in emerging radio talent in Los Angeles and the rest of the world. We now provide over 80 shows of quality programming, giving ambitious hosts a vocal platform where they can build their listening audience.” LA Talk Radio was born on February 4, 2008, as BBS Talk Radio launched in a “small but comfortable office” in a luxurious high-rise building in downtown Los Angeles. It wasn’t long before Hasson had three daily shows and six weekly shows and soon thereafter began broadcasting 24 hours a day.
KTRH and KPRC, Houston’s Matt Patrick Faces Off with Piers Morgan on Gun Issue. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment personality Matt Patrick (r) – whose programs air on KTRH, Houston in AM drive and on sister KPRC in afternoons – is pictured here at a live remote broadcast from Tactical Firearms in Houston. Patrick tells TALKERS magazine the remote was a “spirited and interactive show to a live audience of listeners.” Patrick’s program aired live before CNN personality and gun legislation advocate Piers Morgan (c) brought his television show to the same location later that evening to argue for the proposed ban on high volume semi-automatic weapons. “Piers Morgan Tonight” aired from Tactical Firearms after Morgan agreed to come and use the gun range and try to experience why Texans love their guns. Morgan agreed to appear on the final segment of Patrick’s program in front of a live audience.
KYKN, Salem, Oregon’s Bill Post Draws Crowd to Gun Rally. Willamette Broadcasting’s KYKN, Salem helped draw a crowd of some 3,000 to the Oregon State Capitol on January 19 for a rally dubbed, “Guns Across America.” A key speaker at the event was 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk host Bill Post (at the mic) who addressed the crowd about the gun legislation issue. The station reports that requests for autographs and photos with Post were overwhelming.
Deficit Reduction Debate; Obama Drone Killing Controversy; Gun Legislation Proposals; Chris Christie Weight Flap and Obama Care Costs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6). The debate in Washington over reducing the deficit via tax and spending cuts; President Obama’s insistence on the right to use drones to kill U.S. citizens; the move to enact new gun control legislation; the media flap over Governor Chris Christie’s weight; and the looming costs of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Conclusion of Election Raises Inevitable Questions. The dramatic and contentious election of 2012 has finally come to a conclusion. As President Barack Obama prepares to begin his second term as the nation’s chief executive with control of the House and Senate split between the parties, inevitable questions arise about the path and positioning of news/talk radio in the new political environment. How does the re-election of Obama impact the agendas of conservative and liberal talk radio? How long will it take before political presidential jockeying overtly begins as the periods between election cycles grow shorter? What are the economic implications of this election? How will the economy affect the radio industry in general? Will the current advertising agency hostility toward conservative talk radio intensify or dissipate? What will be the new, unexpected issues that dominate on-air conversation as we move beyond the deafening chatter of Election 2012? TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has already begun fielding these questions from the nation’s radio-watchers in the mainstream press. According to Harrison very little will change in terms of the on-air party lines: “As much as I encourage talk radio to expand the menu of its subject matter and spread out into a diversity of formats and subjects – which I actually believe will happen in the coming year or two — don’t expect to see a sudden change or modification of positioning among the ranks of established, opinionated political hosts. These next two years will be no picnic for the president. If you look back at Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon – two polarizing figures in American politics – their second terms were far more turbulent generating more contentious media conversation than their first. Even Ronald Reagan had his Iran-Contra issue in his second term. You can probably expect the same with Obama.” Harrison expects the next congressional election to start immediately and the next presidential election to begin shortly thereafter. “Biden might be flirting with the idea of running in 2016 but you can count on all eyes and ears being focused on the Clintons and perhaps another Bush.” As far as the economic picture is concerned, Harrison is optimistic stating, “I think things are destined to improve regardless of who is president. Let us all do our best to make the radio industry relevant and prosperous in the exciting days and years ahead.” Of course there will be a spectrum of contrasting views on this subject. For example, TRN talk show host Jerry Doyle tells TALKERS that he plans to call out a number of his fellow conservative hosts on his show today for “being cheerleaders for the GOP and not questioning some of their positions that are tarnishing the Republican brand.” He uses the analogy, “I love Corvettes, but I won’t be buying one because of all the as***les driving them today. The same thing with the Republicans – I find it hard to call myself a Republican because of so many of their ridiculous opinions and terrible candidates that fly in the face of today’s reality.”
Will Obama’s Re-Election Cause Programmers to Reflect? Consultant Holland Cooke makes strong statements about what the re-election of Barack Obama should mean to talk radio hosts and programmers. He says, “Heavy early voting and long lines yesterday say ‘Hear me!’ to talk radio’s default I-talk-you-listen model,” and Cooke states that voters didn’t conform to the prevailing talk radio narrative. Do you agree or disagree that there’s a lesson in the election results for talk radio? Before you answer, read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.
Radio One to Flip WMOJ, Cincinnati to Sports in January. Radio One’s rhythmic oldies WMOJ, Cincinnati “Mojo 100.3” has gone all Christmas but after the holidays the station will not return to “jammin’ oldies” but will be an outlet for CBS Sports Radio Network’s new 24/7 sports talk format. Program director Steve Harris tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter that the opportunity to do sports on FM was too great to pass up. The station is expected to carry the bulk of the national lineup – John Feinstein, Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb and Scott Ferrall – but Harris says there has been no decision made about whether to do a local AM drive show or take what CBS Sports Radio Networks has to offer in that daypart. Cincinnati currently has two AM sports talk outlets – WSAI, a Fox Sports Radio Network affiliate, and WCKY, an ESPN Radio affiliate – in addition to news/talk WLW which airs a fair amount of sports programming as well.
New Jersey 101.5 Partners with Governor’s Office in Storm Relief. Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is announcing its own “Restore New Jersey” and restorenewjersey.com are officially working with Governor Chris Christie’s and his wife Mary Pat’s “Sandy NJ Relief Fund.” The station’s group marketing director Ray Handel says the station is immediately beginning to inform listeners about donation efforts. He issues this statement: “New Jersey 101.5 will continue to be involved with restoring New Jersey from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. We informed millions of Jersey listeners on news and survival information before, during and after the storm. The station served as a lifeline to millions who lost power, and gave those millions a voice. Now as our attention turns to long term recovery, we introduce ‘Restore New Jersey,’ an on-going fundraising effort that will be featured on New Jersey 101.5 and nj1015.com for at least the next six months. We will be working with Governor and Mary Pat Christie so we can partner with their ‘Sandy NJ Relief Fund.’ Governor Christie is very much a part of NJ101.5, as he has a monthly show on our station. The governor has received much praise in his leadership during this crisis. This past Saturday the governor introduced this state wide charity, and we feel this will merge perfectly with the state wide help New Jersey 101.5’s ‘Restore New Jersey’ will provide. All funds raised will stay right here in New Jersey, and we think New Jersey 101.5 can really take the lead with this effort.”
NAB ‘Licensed to Serve’ Newsletter Recognizes Broadcasters Covering Sandy. The National Association of Broadcasters released its most recent “Licensed to Serve” newsletter detailing many of the efforts of broadcasters – both radio and television – that provided news and information to the regions affected by Hurricane Sandy. NAB EVP of media relations Dennis Wharton and his staff have put together an excellent summary of the work done by over-the-air broadcasters in serving the needs of their communities. Wharton is passionate about the role of radio and television broadcasters in times of crisis and the NAB’s work showcasing it in this regard serves the broadcasting community well. See the NAB’s “Licensed to Serve” page here.
Radio Personality Robinson to PM Drive on KCJF, Jonesboro, Arkansas. Tall Cotton Media’s new sports talk KCJF, Jonesboro, Arkansas “103.9 The Game” names radio personality Robinson PM drive host. He comes to sports talk radio after a career in rock radio at Entercom’s Rochester, New York music outlets classic rock WCMF and rock WBZA. Tall Cotton took over ownership of the outlet in September from Catherine Joanna Flinn. The station is a Fox Sports Radio Network affiliate.
Red Zebra Extends Play-by-Play Deal with Georgetown. The Hoyas will be heard on Red Zebra’s Washington, DC sports talk duo WTEM and WSPZ “ESPN 980 and SportsTalk570; Powered by ESPN” for seasons to come as the two partners extend their contract. Under the terms of the deal, Red Zebra will broadcast the school’s men’s basketball games. Red Zebra president and CEO Rick Carmean says, “We are excited to team with Georgetown University and Coach Thompson’s squad as they continue the tradition as one of the best teams the area has to offer.” The Hoyas open their season Friday, November 9 aboard the USS Bataan in Jacksonville against the Florida Gators. All Hoya games will be broadcast by Rich Chvotkin who is in his 40th season calling Georgetown games.
Longtime KSL, Salt Lake City Weekend Gardening Show Host Larry Sagers Dead at 63. Horticulture expert and radio talker Larry Sagers, whose weekend gardening program the “Greenhouse Show” co-hosted with Tim Hughes was a mainstay for years on KSL, Salt Lake City has succumbed to his long battle with mesothelioma, a form of cancer often associated with exposure to asbestos. Sagers was a horticulture agent with the Utah State University Extension and an extremely popular local figure.
The 2012 Election and Hurricane Sandy Aftermath Dominate News/Talk Radio Yesterday (11/6). As is usually the case on a presidential election day, the election itself – not only the presidential race but the Senate and House races as well as controversial ballot issues around the nation – dominated the discussion on news/talk radio on Tuesday. Additionally, there was still considerable talk about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, especially in the Northeast where New Jersey and New York are still recovering from the storm.
Entercom’s Sports WEEI Splits AM and FM Signals Today. The AM and FM signals of Entercom’s Boston-based sports talk radio giant WEEI split earlier this morning with the Boston FM signal at 93.7 continuing the local talk with the established lineup of Dennis & Callahan, Mut & Merloni, “The Big Show” with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley, and “Planet Mikey” with Mike Adams. The AM signal at 850 is now “ESPN on WEEI” and features the lineup of ESPN Radio sports talk shows beginning with “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” SVP & Russillo, “ESPN Today,” Hill & Schlereth or play-by-play, “SportsCenter Tonight,” and “SportsCenter All Night.” Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic are broadcasting from Gillette Stadium this morning to celebrate their arrival in the Boston market. ESPN senior vice president, production business divisions Traug Keller states, “We’re pleased to team with Boston’s preeminent sports radio outlet and one of the nation’s best radio broadcasting companies in Entercom to bring the number one national network into New England. This move, coupled with the existing presence of ESPNBoston.com, provides Boston’s passionate fans the best of ESPN’s national and local coverage and analysis.”
Cox Media Group to Debut Georgia News Service in January. The multi-media service will be based out of Cox Media Group’s WSB, Atlanta studio and bring together the assets of WSB, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and ABC TV affiliate WSB-TV to produce news content. Scott Smith – market manager for Cox Media in Athens, Georgia – is being charged with heading the operation. Cox Media Atlanta vice president and general manager Ben Reed says, “The Cox name has long been synonymous with excellent news coverage throughout the state of Georgia. This gives us the opportunity to bring our experience and assets together in order to provide a high-quality news service to outlets across the state of Georgia. We believe the Georgia News Service will very quickly become an invaluable audio, visual, and digital resource for news outlets across the state. We look forward to providing them with the high-caliber news coverage that has become a Cox tradition.” Clear Channel has been operating the Georgia News Network out of former news/talk WGST’s studios but is closing down the bureau.
ESPN Radio Extends Contract of Ryen Russillo; Changes Name of Afternoon Show to ‘SVP & Russillo.’ Ryen Russillo has been the co-host of the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET Scott Van Pelt show on ESPN Radio since May of 2009. Now, the sports entertainment giant extends Russillo’s deal and, to give him more visibility, changes the name of the show from “The Scott Van Pelt Show” to “SVP & Russillo.” He says, “Over the last three years ‘The Scott Van Pelt Show’ has been my number one priority, and I couldn’t be happier that, for the next few years, it will remain my priority. I believe in the direction of this show and am really looking forward to where we are going.” In addition to his co-hosting duties with Van Pelt, Russillo also hosts the 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm ET edition of College GameDay during the football season.
Dave Ramsey Goes West. Nationally syndicated talk radio sensation Dave Ramsey was in Phoenix and Fresno this week for two live events. First, Ramsey presented his brand new, intimate “Living a Legacy Live Event” in Fresno for the benefit of the audience and affiliate KMJ-FM. Ramsey discussed how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage. Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-FM saw the direct benefits of the live event for their audience and their station. PD Skip Essick says, “Dave Ramsey has an incredible, loyal following, and selling out Saroyan Theater not only speaks to the quality of talent we have in him, but the drawing power of ‘105.9, The FM KMJ.’” Ramsey hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” in Phoenix on Wednesday for a packed house at Central Christian Church. Brett Rogers is the sales manager for affiliate KTAR-FM and he says, “KTAR is proud to be a part of bringing this unique training to Arizona’s business community. Through this event, we’ve been able to bring some of our best local partners and provide them the opportunity to change their business and also personally meet Dave Ramsey and have a money-can’t-buy experience. This event has given us the opportunity to engage with our clients in a unique, personal environment.” Dave Ramsey is pictured here with the sales staff of Bonneville’s KTAR-FM.
Brown Corners Hickenlooper. That’s KHOW, Denver talk show host (and former Undersecretary of Homeland Security in the Bush Administration) Michael Brown in the center with the microphone trying to get Democratic Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (left) on the air on KHOW during the live broadcast prior to Wednesday’s presidential debate at the University of Denver. Brown co-hosts “The Rundown” with author, columnist and talk host David Sirota during PM drive on KHOW and program director Dan Mandis tells TALKERS the duo have had a hard time getting Governor Hickenlooper to appear on their program so Brown took advantage of the governor’s appearance at the event to ask some questions. However, shortly after this photo was taken the governor had to make other appearances and promised to stop by the KHOW remote broadcast booth later but did not.
WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia’s Angelo Cataldi Donates to Heart Association. Making good on his pre-season pledge to donate $10 to the American Heart Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania in honor of Richie Ashburn Memorial Homeruns for Hearts for each home run hit by the Phillies this season, WIP morning drive host Angelo Cataldi is pictured here writing the ceremonial check for $1,580 dollars matching the Phillies’ 158 homers. The Homeruns for Hearts event was designed to give ordinary citizens the chance to live out their major league dreams. It made its debut in 1997, after the sudden passing of Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn, who succumbed to heart disease. In addition, the event also honors longtime Phillies announcer Harry Kalas, who also died of heart disease in 2009.
Stitcher Launches Podcast and On Demand Radio Awards. The web aggregator Stitcher has announced the launch of the Stitcher Awards, to celebrate the best of on demand radio and podcasts for 2012. Listeners can nominate their favorite shows across 20 different categories – from Best Comedy to Best New Show. Stitcher now has over 10,000 different shows streaming on demand. Nominations will be open until October 19th. Fans can nominate their shows every day for the next two weeks at www.stitcher.com/stitcherawards or on the company’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stitcherradio. The finalists will be announced shortly afterwards for each category and the winners will be named live in San Francisco in December.
Rick Kaplan Joins NAB as EVP, Strategic Planning. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that former top FCC staffer Rick Kaplan has been hired as executive vice president, Strategic Planning. In this newly created position that will deal primarily with television, Kaplan will lead NAB’s efforts related to spectrum and innovation policy. His first day is Oct. 22. “We are delighted to announce the hiring of Rick Kaplan, whose credibility and integrity are well-recognized both at the Commission and in telecom circles in Washington,” says NAB president/CEO Gordon Smith. “His expertise on spectrum issues will benefit broadcasters greatly as we work with policymakers to ensure a robust local television business for decades to come.”
Odds & Sods. Mixed martial arts is a big draw for the young male demo and “UFC on FX” has been good to the Fox-owned cable channel. Fox Sports Radio Network has been simulcasting “UFC on FX” and continues with tonight’s “UFC on FX: Browne vs. Bigfoot” live from the Target Center in Minneapolis. After the fights, mixed martial arts expert Larry Pepe hosts a Fox Sports Radio wrap-up show with interviews and call-ins from 7 pm to 10 pm PT…..Talk host Tom Donahue announces he’s ending his daily live internet talk show due to financial considerations but will continue with various multi-media projects including his new YouTube channel, podcasts and blog. Donahue says he remains available for guest hosting and for guest interviews…..Dave Raymond and Brett Dolan are out as the radio play-by-play announcers for Houston Astros baseball. The club announces it is beginning the search for their replacements immediately. Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston is the club’s flagship station.
NJBA Comments Incorporated into Federal Legislation. Pro-radio crusader Paul S. Rotella, president/CEO of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, reports positive progress in his organization’s efforts to influence the interests of the radio industry in government circles. The House of Representatives recently passed the FEMA Reauthorization Act of 2011 (H.R. 2903), which authorizes the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) and makes improvements to the system including language that broadcasters requested in several key areas: 1. The bill creates an IPAWS Advisory Committee to ensure that the various federal agencies that have a part in the governance of the IPAWS are conducting an ongoing dialogue with message disseminators. (Broadcasters will be represented on the IPAWS advisory committee); and 2. The bill establishes a comprehensive and periodic training program to instruct and educate Federal, State, Tribal, and local government officials in the use of the Common Alerting Protocol enabled Emergency Alert System. Importantly, the bill requires that this training be integrated into the National Incident Management System, which is the Department of Homeland Security’s emergency management doctrine used across the United States to coordinate emergency preparedness and incident management and response. By incorporating the NJBA’s comments regarding EAS training into the National Incident Management System, state and local emergency managers will have to participate in EAS training in order to receive federal homeland security grant funding. The bill now heads to the Senate, which has been considering its own IPAWS bill.
14.8 Million More Americans Watched the Presidential Debate. According to a report from TVbytheNumbers, the first presidential debate of the 2012 campaign on Wednesday evening saw a big spike in the number of people who tuned in compared to the first debate in 2008 between Barack Obama and John McCain. Then, 52.4 million Americans tuned in. On Wednesday, 67.2 million people watched the debate on one of the 12 networks that carried it. Of the big three networks that carried it, ABC grabbed the most viewers with 11.2 million.
First Presidential Debate Victory Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 1-5. The build-up to the first presidential debate and the post-debate analysis was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week and landed atop the Talkers TenTM. The investigation of the Libya consulate attack that claimed the life of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and others was #2. At #3 was the controversy over President Obama’s 2007 speech before a black audience in which he questions why the largely African-American victims of Hurricane Katrina didn’t receive the same assistance as victims of other disasters. Following at #4 was analysis of the presidential campaign polls. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top people and stories discussed on news/talk radio during the week, based on ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Programmer Jack Silver Lands at New NBC Sports Radio. Programmer Jack Silver is named the program director for the sports talk radio network set to launch this fall. Silver most recently programmed Cumulus Media’s news/talk KABC and classic rock KLOS in Los Angeles and, prior to that, spent many years at the helm of CBS Radio’s hot talk KLSX, Los Angeles. NBC Sports Radio EVP and general manager Chris Corcoran says, “It’s a pleasure to announce that Jack will be joining our NBC Sports Radio team. Everyone in radio is familiar with his success in programming and his many accomplishments in the industry. We’re looking forward to bringing his talents to Culver City.” On his new position, Silver states, “I have a world of experience in programming to the daily consumer of sports radio. This is an exciting launch for the sports radio consumer and we’ll add PPM winning strategies and best practices to ensure a huge success.” Silver takes the helm of the programming department at the NBC Sports Group and Dial Global initiative as the sports talk radio universe gets a little more crowded. Four months after the NBC Sports Radio network debuts, CBS Radio launches its national sports radio platform, CBS Sports Radio.
Journal Communications Reports Boffo Second Quarter. The parent company of Journal Broadcast Group announces second quarter operating earnings up 17% compared to the same quarter one year ago. Revenue from the broadcast group was up 16.5% when excluding the recently acquired Tulsa stations – 18.4% with their revenue. The company is reporting revenue of $95.5 million for the quarter, an increase of 6% over the same period a year ago. When it comes to Journal’s radio properties, the company posted revenue of $19.4 million, an increase of 11.5%, largely from a boost in automotive and political.
ABC News’ Aurora-Tea Party Goof Addressed at Television Critics Association Press Tour. The speculation by ABC News’ Brian Ross – very early on last Friday morning’s coverage of the Aurora, Colorado shooting – that there’s a Jim Holmes in Aurora on the local Tea Party site who may be the same Jim Holmes taken into custody, reared its head at the Television Critics Association press tour on Thursday, July 26. The Washington Post reports ABC News chief Ben Sherwood was asked about the error that happened on the network’s “Good Morning America.” The Post reports Sherwood said, “We put something on the air that we did not know to be true and the part that we needed to be true was not germane to the story we were covering…It was a mistake; we recognized it immediately and owned it immediately…we corrected it immediately, and we apologized.” Sherwood said Ross contacted the Jim Holmes in question and apologized to him. Sherwood also stated the reporting did not live up to ABC’s standards and he takes responsibility for it.
Boston Public Media Company WGBH Merges with Public Radio International. The Minneapolis-based Public Radio International will continue to operate independently as a tax-exempt non-profit from its Minneapolis base but PRI is now an affiliated company of WGBH. The two companies have been working together for years, in one instance producing PRI-distributed “The World” out of WGBH studios in Boston for the past 16 years. The company is not being specific about how this will affect employees but it admits, now that the deal has closed, it will be looking for some “efficiencies” and some staffers could be affected. PRI CEO Alisa Miller states, “As with all transactions like this, we will be looking for places that WGBH might have capacity we could take advantage of. While we haven’t made any final decisions, we do think that there might be a few positions that could be affected.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Nationally syndicated morning drive host Tom Joyner will be the keynote speaker at the NAB- and RAB-sponsored Radio Show Luncheon in Dallas on Friday, September 21…..A couple of sports-related notes from satcaster SiriusXM today: former Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook becomes part of the NFL Radio channel where he’ll host the Sunday evening “NFL Rewind” show and be part of other shows throughout the NFL season, including the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm “Movin’ the Chains” program. Also, SiriusXM will broadcast from all 32 NFL training camps for its preview of the coming season…..Pamplin’s KPAM, Portland becomes the flagship for the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks. The deal includes the broadcast of a weekly coach’s show, all 72 regular season games plus promotional opportunities and charity partnerships.
Red Thread Named Winner of KYW, Philadelphia’s Small Business Challenge. CBS Radio’s KYW, Philadelphia announces Red Thread – a company that designs and creates the best clothing and solutions to improve the quality of life for all breast cancer survivors – is the winner of the inaugural 2012 Small Business Challenge and wins a $25,000 advertising campaign on KYW Newsradio, and a one year lease of professional private furnished office space located at one of the seven American Executive Centers in the Delaware Valley. Company president, physician and cancer survivor Debra Kimless-Garber says, “I’m a physician, I’m a survivor. I know what survivors are going through. I created these products to make myself feel whole again. I want to share that with all the other 2.6 million survivors that live in the United States.” CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “KYW Newsradio is proud to use the power of its voice and expertise in the Philadelphia market to showcase a small business that is beginning to find its way in the market place. We hope our campaign will help Red Thread become the business that it rightfully deserves and aspires to be.”
Aurora Theater Massacre Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 23-27. Discussion about the tragic shooting at the premiere of “Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado late last week was the most-talked-about story on news/talk stations across America this week. Rounding out the top four on the weekly Talkers TenTM chart were: at #2, the gun laws issue; at #3 the presidential campaign; and at #4, the backlash against President Obama by conservatives for his speech about small business. The Talkers TenTM – a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio – is the result of ongoing research from Talkers and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
Finebaum Case Far from Settled Says Cumulus. Contrary to the story published here earlier today (6/1), there is no settlement on the horizon for Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum and Cumulus Media in their contract dispute. Cumulus COO John Dickey tells TALKERS the reported agreement that would end the lawsuits each side is filing against other and allow Finebaum to work out his contract at Cumulus’ sports talk WJOX-FM, Birmingham that ends in January of 2013 and then go to work at Cox Media’s crosstown sports WZNN-FM if he chooses are categorically untrue. “He will never work for Cox in Birmingham,” Dickey says. Jefferson County Circuit Judge Robert Vance had asked the two sides to resume negotiations to settle the contract dispute and report to the court by May 30.
Battle for Control of SiriusXM Heating Up. John Malone‘s Liberty Media is again filing a request with the FCC to give it “de facto” control of satellite broadcaster SiriusXM. The Commission denied its first attempt back on May 4 but Liberty has since acquired another 6-plus percent of the company’s stock, pushing its total above 46%. It’s petition for reconsideration with the FCC reportedly contains additional information to the Commission. In a filing with the SEC, SiriusXM states, “We’ve been engaged in discussions with Liberty Media to explore possible transactions with respect to its ownership interest in Sirius, although we have not reached agreement with respect to a specific transaction that would be mutually beneficial to both our common and preferred stockholders. There is no assurance that these discussions will result in any specific action or transaction. We do not expect to disclose developments with respect to these discussions.”
Scott Hennen Turns to Listeners for Funding for WZFG, Fargo. Talk show host and businessman Scott Hennen is exploring alternative sources for funding his purchase of The Flag 1100 (WZFG) in the Fargo market. The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead‘s Marino Eccher reports Hennen has created a program whereby fans become “founding fathers” and buy into one of four clubs – Faith, Family, Freedom, and Free Enterprise – for $1,000 (each club limited to 400 members). He’s seeking a total of 1,600 such “founders” to come up with $1.6 million. Hennen tells the paper he has traditional funding sources but decided to seek less traditional forms of funding after sensing his listeners “desire to be part of something bigger.” These fans will not be shareholders or part owners but instead will have input on the station’s weekend programming, behind-the-scenes updates and $1,000 advertising credit. Hennen tells Eccher Tea Party activist Mark Skogerboe will serve as director of the clubs and be an on-air contributor.
NEW MEDIA SEMINAR/NYC Sold Out but Agenda Keeps Growing. Thursday, June 7 is going to be a big day for talk radio in the Big Apple as some 400 professionals from all aspects of the business converge on the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side for a one-day conference containing the content mass of a two- or three-day convention. “Although we have reached capacity in terms of registration,” explains TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “doesn’t mean the agenda is not continuing to grow.” Casey continues, “This conference has all the aspects of an old fashioned ‘happening’ with a program lineup that is so outstanding, it is attracting a growing number of industry leaders wanting to contribute as speakers and panelists.” According to conference director Michael Harrison, “We attribute the positive response to this event not only its powerful and relevant agenda, but to the fact that it is so efficiently tuned to the times in terms of its affordable registration fee and compact time demands. With another one set for Los Angeles in October, this June 7 event has the convenience of a regional conference while delivering the bang of a major national convention.” Although space is limited for those who will participate in person, the content of this forthcoming NMS which will be video recorded from beginning to end will reach a far wider audience via TALKERS TV in the weeks and months following June 7. For information call 413-565-5413. To see the up-to-the-minute agenda, click here.
WEUS, Orlando to Be LMA’d with Intent to Purchase. Star Over Orlando‘s talk outlet WEUS, Orlando is entering into a deal with MultiCorp International to have the latter’s subsidiary – Rivalz Sports Group – operate the station as a sports talk outlet beginning on July 30 with the intent to buy the signal. MultiCorp intends to change the calls to WRSG and hopes to move the stations operations “within a restaurant facility” so diners can enjoy “a first-class restaurant/media experience.” The company states it hopes to expand this model to other markets.
Dr. Laura Launches Online Jewelry Business. SiriusXM talk show host and talk radio pioneer Dr. Laura Schlessinger unveils her “Dr. Laura Designs,” – an online boutique featuring her personally designed and handcrafted jewelry, glass and polymer clay art. The site offers ready-made items or people can commission custom made pieces. Dr. Laura initially began selling jewelry to assist the “Operation Family Fund,” a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to families of those who are injured or killed while fighting the war on terrorism, and raised more than $1.5 million. Dr. Laura has had a passion for jewelry – making it and glass art that started when, during a particularly difficult time for her family, her then-little son suggested that a new hobby would be helpful. She states, “I never thought I had one ounce of artistic ability, and couldn’t think of what I could do.” After a listener suggested she visit a local bead fest, she says, “I walked by a table filled with Tibetan ornaments and my brain just exploded with creative images. I bought books on jewelry-making and purchased tools, wire, beads and stones and got started.” Dr. Laura’s program currently airs from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET on the Sirius Stars channel.
Dave Ramsey to Lead NAB-RAB Radio Show Super Session. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey will lead a Super Session at the September 19-21 Radio Show in Dallas being produced jointly by the NAB and RAB. The panel, titled “Succeeding in This Economic Environment,” taking place on Thursday, September 20 at 9:30 am and, as its title implies, will focus on steps radio station operators can take to achieve success in these tough economic times.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. The Society for Professional Journalism and the Radio Television Digital News Association announce registration is open for their September Excellence in Journalism Conference taking place the 20th through the 22nd in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The conference offers more than 50 professional development sessions…..Former college football coach Rick Neuheisel (UCLA, Washington and Colorado) joins SiriusXM‘s College Sports Nation channel where he’ll appear on the “College Football Playbook” show and co-host the daily “College Sports Today” show with Mark Packer…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment‘s WFLA, Tampa begins simulcasting on an FM translator at 105.9 licensed to West Tampa…..Las Vegas-based nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs has a small role in an upcoming Showtime reality program. She tells TALKERS, “It’s a one-time small part on a Showtime reality show but it’s a start!” Wachs says it’s super secret and she can’t even tell us the name of the show, yet.
Stormy Times at Fairfax Media. American media companies are not the only ones dealing with difficult financial situations. TALKERS Australia bureau chief Trevor Smith reports on one of Australia’s major talkback radio-formatted operators – Fairfax Media – as it deals with corporate power struggles and underperforming revenue. Read Smith’s entire piece here.
Rusty Among the Politichicks. That’s Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated talk show host Rusty Humphries on the set of the internet TV show “Politichicks.” Humphries appeared with co-hosts Dr. Gina Loudon, Ann-Marie Murrell, Sonnie Johnson, Morgan Brittany on the recent episode titled, “The Fairness Doctrine: There’s Nothing Fair,” to discuss the “current environment of talk radio as well as why conservative talk radio has become a focus of attack by the mainstream media and liberal politicians. At the end of the segment, Rusty was formally honored with the title, “PolitiStud.” It’s obvious to see why.
2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 28 – June 1. The 2012 presidential contest was #1 on the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the ninth week in a row. At #2 this week was the Syria massacre aftermath. Following at #3 was Iran’s nuclear ambitions and at #4 was the Euro zone crisis and the global financial markets’ activities. The Talkers TenTM is based on ongoing research from Talkers magazine and consists of the top stories and people discussed on America’s news/talk radio stations during the week. View this week’s entire chart here.
Crue Visits the Cannons. Motley Crue bassist and host of the Premiere Networks-syndicated “Sixx Sense” radio program, Nikki Sixx (r), is pictured here with Fox Sports Radio‘s “Loose Cannons” co-host Pat O’Brien (l). Fox Sports Radio and Los Angeles Dodgers flagship AM 570 Fox Sports LA (KLAC) invited Sixx to throw out the first pitch at a recent Dodgers game. Prior to the first pitch and Sixx’s appearance on the “Loose Cannons” nationally syndicated program, Fox Sports Radio offered listeners the chance to win travel accommodations and tickets to a stop on this summer’s Motley Crue/KISS tour.
Cumulus Makes it Official: WYAY-FM, Atlanta to Go All-News in May. The Atlanta Business Chronicle confirms what’s been rumored as Cumulus Media COO John Dickey announces the company’s classic hits WYAY-FM – licensed to Gainesville, Georgia – will flip to all-news in mid-May. Dickey tells the Chronicle, “As big a city as we’ve got and as diverse and cosmopolitan a community, not to have an all-news product creates a huge opportunity. It was an easy decision for us to take advantage of it…Pop culture, celebrity news and entertainment news have really become news today. That has intermixed with hard news to create a different product.” Atlanta had WCNN – now SportsRadio 680 the Fan – operating as an all-news outlet in the late 1990s but that was on AM and Cumulus believes now is the right time to put an all-news product on the FM band.
KTRS, St. Louis Cancels JC Corcoran PM Drive Show. Veteran St. Louis radio personality JC Corcoran exits CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis after hosting the PM drive show for the past 18 months. St. Louis Today’s Deb Peterson reports management at the station was not returning calls seeking comment but that other sources indicate that KTVI-TV, St. Louis sports director and former KFNS, St. Louis talk host Martin Kilcoyne will take over the program. Corcoran’s sidekick Trish Gazall is reportedly remaining with the station. Other changes including a slight shift in programming as John Hadley moves his late-night show to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot allowing Chicago-based Steve Cochran to host just his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program at the station (he had been doing a split shift with an early evening show as well).
Feature Series – Part 4: Innovation Sets You Free…to Make Money. Sabo Media president Walter Sabo concludes his four-part TALKERS series on FM talk. In this piece, Sabo discusses the importance of creating time and a place to innovate. Sabo notes that radio has no laboratory for experimentation. “If you come up with a new format or promotional idea, where and how do you test it? Success in a live medium depends on a specific dynamic with a live audience. As a rule you can’t ask people how they want to be entertained. You can present them with entertainment and see if they applaud.” Sabo offers several ways to test new programming, including your HD channel. “Finally, a good use for HD channels: Experimentation. If you want listeners to try a new medium, give them something new to listen to. It doesn’t cost more money to play different songs. The promise of HD radio is breathtaking. New programming attracts early adopters and that’s what new hardware demands.” Sabo says this article is a preview of 15 action-packed minutes that he will deliver at the New Media Seminar in New York on Thursday, June 7. This exciting industry-only event will be a certain sellout. For registration information call 413-565-5413. Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.
FCC Decision to Require Political Ad Info Posted Online for TV Stations Has Radio Execs Watching DC. For now, only television stations in the top 50 markets in the country are being required to post their public files – including their political ad rates – online. But some radio operators are nervous about this cascading to their medium. This decision is only popular with some political groups that believe too much money is spent on politics and is tarnishing the process. The NAB is not pleased and states, “NAB respectfully disagrees with today’s FCC decision and we’re disappointed that the Commission rejected compromise proposals proffered by broadcasters that would have brought greater transparency to political ad buying. By forcing broadcasters to be the only medium to disclose on the internet our political advertising rates, the FCC jeopardizes the competitive standing of stations that provide local news, entertainment, sports and life-saving weather information free of charge to tens of millions of Americans daily. We appreciate Commissioner McDowell‘s thoughtful and compelling dissent, and we will be seeking guidance from our Board of Directors regarding our options.” Some communications law observers believe there are problems with this new policy and we’re likely to see this end up in court.
Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels to Host New TV and Radio Show Beginning in Early May. Michael Patrick Shiels previously hosted the morning show based at WJIM, Lansing and was heard on other markets via the Michigan Talk Network. His relationship with WJIM owner Cumulus ended and now he announces he’s struck a deal with WSYM-TV, Lansing to produce and distribute a new morning show that will be simulcast on WSYM-TV and on the radio in markets yet to be announced. WSYM-TV VP/GM Gary Baxter states. “FOX 47 is proud to continue its partnership with Michael Patrick Shiels and launch his new program. There is simply no one like him on radio or TV in the state of Michigan. Michael Patrick’s show allows us to have the biggest names in politics, business and Michigan sports on our air every morning. Our viewers might see Governor Snyder and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford on the same show — what great television!”
Tom Joyner Vows to Stay Connected with Tri-State Fans Via Digital Media. The Emmis-ESPN deal and consequent merger of the Kiss FM format with WBLS-FM, New York leaves his nationally syndicated urban morning show in the lurch. But Tom Joyner believes very strongly in the power of Black radio and the need for shows like his in the Black community. In a memo to Kiss FM listeners, he writes, “I am saddened that an important Black voice is going silent in New York City, especially during this important election year. Along with the Tom Joyner “Morning Show,” the Michael Baisden show and Rev. Al Sharpton’s Sunday program will also be off the air in NYC in this transition. Black radio has been and always will be an extremely important motivational force in the community. Although social media currently gets a lot of credit and rightfully so, nothing can replace the role Black radio plays in empowering, informing and entertaining Black people. You can’t believe everything you read on social media but studies do show that most people believe what they hear on black radio. That makes me feel proud and reminds me of my responsibility to be there for them each morning.” Joyner encourages his audience in the Tri-State area to listen via his smartphone app or via BlackAmericaWeb.com.
Compass Media Networks’ “At Home with Bob Vila” Debuts Today. The new daily feature hosted by home improvement icon Bob Vila and produced and distributed by Compass Media Networks hits the air today at affiliates including KOGO, San Diego; WTKK-FM, Boston; KMJ, Fresno; KFNN, Phoenix; KVON, Napa, California and more. Compass Media Networks VP affiliate sales Adam Wilbur states, “Stations in all formats – sports, news/talk, all-news, country, AC and classic hits have signed up for Vila. In another week, we will announce additional stations in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Washington, DC. With over 90% name recognition with Americans, program directors appreciate the power of Bob’s brand – and sales managers love the ability to sell the feature locally.”
Actor Stephen Baldwin, TV-Radio Host Dani Johnson and Talk Host Kevin McCullough Announce Effort to Aid Starving Orphans. The 2012 in 2012 charity effort is named that because, as XtreMedia CEO and principal Kevin McCullough states, the goal is to rescue 2,012 orphans from starvation during the year 2012. McCullough’s weekend radio show partner Stephen Baldwin and television and radio host Dani Johnson are partnering to spearhead this program. Baldwin says a child can be fed for a mere 25 cents per day. “When I toured the places these children sleep and live in, I couldn’t help but be moved to do something about it. My whole family saw with our own eyes children who were dying or would die soon, simply because they had no food. It is imperative to me, my media company, my family, my business partners, and every one I come into contact with to let them know how vital 25 cents can be. It can literally feed a meal to a child who literally will die without it.” Kevin McCullough says, “Our partners are delivering life-healing food for the rate of feeding an orphan for an entire year, for just $92 – this is how simple it is to save a life? How can we get more people involved? How can we rescue more children? These questions haunt me each night…” McCullough and company are teaming up with two charities experienced in feeding children – Food for Orphans and King’s Ransom Foundation and they are seeking other media partners for this quest. “If you are a television, radio or new media personality who has a passion to help hungry kids, we would love for you to join us in this amazing quest. We will link arm in arm with anyone and everyone who is moved to do this, to be part of it, and to see orphans fed.”
Nationally Syndicated Radio Feature Host Akos Jankura Develops New Weekend Show; Seeks Products or Inventions from Public to Feature. Inventor and international presenter Akos Jankura – who writes and produces the nationally syndicated radio feature “Akos the Solutionist” – teams up with John Cremeans to create a weekend radio show based at WFLA, Tampa on which they will make it possible for one inventor to pitch their product or invention. The show will premiere Saturday, May 5 at 4:00 pm on WFLA and people with products or inventions are asked to visit MyCoolInventions.com to submit their entry. Jankura says, “Many people don’t know that one of our most successful TV shopping channels actually began on radio. I’ve teamed up with John Cremeans also known as ‘The Doctor of Shopolgy,’ John has logged over 25,000 hours of live television shopping and is a pioneer in our industry. He is skilled at getting arm-chair inventors to make their best pitch for their product which is so important in the early development process.” Jankura says together the two have more than $2 billion in sales. The team is poised to identify products and inventions that can become the next great hit. Their hands-on process invites everyday inventors or people with great ideas to join the inventive group at MyCoolInventions.com and sign up to receive information and tips that will guide them through the process of taking a product to market.
In Memory of a Radio Pioneer: Pete Fornatale. TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer worked closely with rock radio legend Pete Fornatale who passed away last week at age 66. Although, as Neer writes, Fornatale was not a talk host as we traditionally define it in radio, “When he did crack the mic, you couldn’t find a more intelligent voice observing pop culture than the late Pete Fornatale.” Neer notes that Fornatale became synonymous with the genre of radio hosts who did more than quickly intro or backsell a record – something that many argue is missing in music radio these days. “He was probably the first real musicologist on commercial radio who presented rock and folk music as an intellectual as well as emotional experience.” Read Richard Neer’s memorial to Pete Fornatale here.
Big Eddie: Walkin’ the Walk. MSNBC and Dial Global progressive talk star Ed Schultz sits down with TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison and says he’s committed to the causes he talks about on his programs in a very hands-on way. He’s personally worked to assist Katrina victims, stood behind the public union workers in Wisconsin and is organizing free health care clinics in New Orleans. Schultz also tells Harrison he’s not afraid to criticize President Obama and often takes guff from fellow progressives when he does. On his media experiences Schultz says he knows the life span of a cable TV talk host can be very short but he makes no excuses for being himself — both on the radio and on TV — and is very proud of his “upstream swim” to success. Read the interview here.
Don’t Miss Michael Harrison at the Radio Show! TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison delivers his annual “State of Talk Media” address at the NAB/RAB-produced event in Chicago today (9/14) from 10:30 am to 11:45 am at the Hyatt Regency Chicago C/D. Today Harrison will discuss the current state and immediate future of talk radio and its related venues and presents his “10 things broadcasters need to know about the enormous changes taking place in talk radio” right now.
Talk Radio Programming Pro Len Weiner Heads Florida Cluster. The Genesis Communications-owned stations in the Tampa market – all-news WWBA, news/talk WMGG and sports WHBO – have a new programmer in radio pro Len Weiner. His programming resume includes WGN, Chicago; WMVP, Chicago; KMPC, Los Angeles and a decade spent at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. Now he heads south to take the official title market program manager at the Genesis cluster.
TRN’s Michael Savage Releases New Fiction Thriller. Savage is no stranger to bestselling books – he’s penned eight of them. Now he’s out with a fast-paced fiction thriller titled, Abuse of Power (St. Martin’s Press 2011) – the story of a “hardened former war correspondent… smeared as a bigot and extremist by a radical leftist media-watchdog group…who uncovers a chilling terrorist plot.” A release states that Savage’s own experiences – including being banned from Britain by former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith – influenced this work.
Citadel Media Very High on Hot ABC Digital Product. Citadel Media says the ABC Digital service from ABC News Radio is one of the network’s fastest-growing products with 350 affiliations to date. The service that delivers customized, format-specific news and music/entertainment feeds directly to radio station websites has inked affiliation deals with several broadcast companies in the past month including Midwest Communications, Merlin Media, Three Eagles Communications, Journal Broadcast Group, Next Media, Times-Shamrock Communications, and JVC Broadcasting. ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones says, “When we break news, we alert our key radio station contacts so they can promote their leadership position on-air and drive listeners to their station’s site. This is a strong engagement feature that helps our customers increase their digital audience while seamlessly linking the on-air and online experiences.” ABC Digital offers brief stories from news categories such as World, National, Politics, Business, Entertainment and Health/Lifestyle, which are produced and updated 24 hours a day. Photos, slides and graphics accompany each story. The service can also be tailored for music-formatted stations to focus on stories about key artists for the major radio music formats.
Tea Party GOP Debate, Obama’s Sinking Approval Ratings, Jobs Bill and Race for Weiner Seat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/13). The performances of the GOP contenders for president at the Tea Party Debate, President Obama’s low approval ratings, the jobs bill Obama is presenting to Congress and Republican Bob Turner’s victory for the New York Congressional seat held by disgraced Democrat Anthony Weiner were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Dancing Cheek to Cheek. That’s Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher cutting the rug with Minnesota Congresswoman and GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann in Tampa. The photo was taken at the presidential debate “Watching Party” sponsored by Salem Communications news/talk outlet WGUL, Tampa that catered to an “overflow crowd.” Several candidates stopped by the party — emceed by Gallagher — after the debate. Salem Radio Network VP of news and talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Anytime you can herd hundreds of WGUL listeners together with a half dozen presidential candidates and everyone leaves smiling, I’d call that a successful station event!”