Alpha Media Closes on Digity Purchase. This is no ordinary acquisition as Alpha Media balloons to approximately 250 stations in 50+ markets by closing on in excess of 110 Digity properties. Over and above that, Alpha Media becomes the country’s third-largest broadcast company in terms of number of markets and fourth-largest regarding station count. Alpha Media chair Larry Wilson comments, “We are very pleased to get this remarkable transaction done. In our fold is now an exceptional stable of diversified stations and markets, serving not only their towns but surrounding areas and communities. It has been a tremendous pleasure to work with respected broadcaster [Digity chief executive officer] Dean Goodman and his management team. We look forward to joining forces with the phenomenal people at Digity doing radio the right way.” Goodman remarks, “I have been honored to work with the great broadcasters of Digity. They know their roots are in live and local and their future is dynamic. They will excel with Alpha as individual and collective entrepreneurs. We hand off a thriving company, up this year at the top of the industry. I wish Larry [Wilson] and his team all the best; they have assembled a great platform.” Only two of the 28 Digity markets are PPM-metros – San Jose and West Palm Beach. The other facilities are in Missouri: (Bethany-Cameron, Clinton, Farmington-Festus, Moberly-Macon, and Waynesville-Lebanon); Iowa (Fairfield, Fort Dodge, Grinnell-Newton, and Mason City); Minnesota (Albert Lea-Austin, Luverne, Mankato, and Redwood Falls); South Dakota (Brookings, Madison, and Watertown); Illinois (Aurora and Joliet); Nebraska (Columbus and Lincoln); Michigan (Saginaw-Bay City-Midland); North Carolina (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville); Ohio (Canton); South Carolina (Myrtle Beach); Texas: (North Dallas-McKinney); and Wisconsin (Kenosha-Waukegan). When this deal was first announced in August 2015, the purchase price was reported to be $264 million.
WFAN and Brooklyn Nets Extend Broadcast Rights Agreement. The multi-year deal between CBS Radio New York sports outlet WFAN “The Fan” and the NBA‘s Brooklyn Nets goes beyond NBA basketball to cover other parts of the business at Barclays Center, including select college basketball games, concerts, and live events. As it has since the 2004 – 2005 season, WFAN will continue as the team’s radio flagship. According to CBS Radio president Andre Fernandez, “CBS Radio is proud to continue our association with the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center. We have defined our position in sports broadcasting by delivering the most extensive coverage of local programming and events. We continue to make aggressive investments in exclusive content our audiences can’t find anywhere else.” Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment chief executive officer Brett Yormark comments, “Our relationship with CBS Radio continues to give us a major voice in the nation’s largest market. This new agreement comes on the heels of our recent extension with YES Network, providing the team with premium exposure on two of the country’s most popular sports outlets.” WFAN news sibling WCBS-AM will be the Nets’ secondary radio outlet. Prior to relocating to Brooklyn, the team was called the New Jersey Nets. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for New York City, WFAN ranks ninth (3.8, 6+); iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLTW “Lite FM” leads the field with a 6.7 (6+).
Hyde Heads to Entercom Sacramento as GSM. Fourteen-month Pandora account executive Corey Hyde joins Entercom Sacramento as general sales manager. Vice president and market manager Lance Richard comments, “It is exciting to add Corey to our team. He has an impressive track record of success and he brings experience in developing dynamic, integrated campaigns and long term partnerships for local clients. His leadership skills and experience in this market make him the perfect fit for Entercom Sacramento.” Hyde remarks, “I am thrilled to be joining Lance Richard and the team at Entercom Sacramento. Radio is stronger than ever, and we have the best local stations in the market. I look forward to using our wide array of marketing assets to drive real results for our clients.” In his 13-year radio career, Hyde spent nearly 10 years with CBS Radio Sacramento as a senior account executive and three years with iHeartMedia Sacramento as an AE. Entercom Sacramento consists of KCTC “ESPN 1320″; CHR KDND “The End”; alternative KKDO “Radio 94-7”; KRXQ “98 Rock”; classic rock KSEG “The Eagle”; and hot AC KUDL “Star 106.5.”
Baldwin Exits Weekend “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” Effective immediately, actor Stephen Baldwin departs “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” The two-hour syndicated weekend program carried by approximately 250 affiliates on Kevin McCullough‘s eight-year-old XtreMEDIA and simulcast on BizTV is rebranded “Radio Night LIVE.” As Baldwin’s work schedule increased the past few months, McCullough explains, “The more difficult it has become for him to make the show. For the past eight years, we have enjoyed the liveliest and – on most nights – the funniest weekend radio broadcast in America. Our listeners will immediately feel the impact of Stephen’s absence from the talk radio airwaves. To be realistic, however, because of his filming schedule in 2015, his workload severely prevented him from being with us even one out of two weeks. This is great for him because his passion is acting. Our staff, our sponsors, and listeners will miss Stephen’s unique humor and spunk. His personality is one-of-a-kind and Stephen will always be welcome to a microphone we have named in his honor; we are thrilled though at this chance to take our broadcast to another level. ‘Radio Night LIVE’ will take the signature humor we have developed over the years, add cutting edge ‘next generation’ guests, experts, and entertainers and explode Saturday night in ways previously unseen.” Baldwin comments, “God has been so good to me and all I want to do is to follow where He is leading me. My time doing the show is something I will always remember. Our listeners brought much laughter and insight into my life.” It is possible that McCullough will utilize a series of rotating guest hosts such as KRLA, Los Angeles’ Elisha Krauss; Karol Markowicz of The New York Post; YouToo America‘s Gina Loudon; as well as Ashley Papa and Kayleigh McEnany. McCullough continues hosting his weekday 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm “After Hours” show on Salem Media Group New York’s WNYM “AM 970 The Answer”; the “Kevin McCullough Show” for Salem Media Group; and “News That Makes You Think.”
Four More Years: WGN, Northwestern Extend Rights Agreement. The union between 50,000-watt WGN, Chicago and Northwestern University will keep Wildcats football and men’s basketball on the Tribune talker through the conclusion of the 2019 – 2020 season. In addition, the voice of Wildcats football since 1990 and men’s basketball since 1996 – Dave Eanet – signs a four-year contract. WGN Radio president and general manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We are proud to present Northwestern basketball and football anchored by Dave ‘Mr. Cat’ Eanet. We look forward to bringing our listeners the excitement of Chicago’s Big Ten team in the years to come.” According to Northwestern vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips, “The Northwestern Wildcats and WGN Radio have forged a special relationship over the last two decades. WGN not only is a broadcasting force, but a true Chicago institution. We have shared many thrilling moments through the years, and we look forward to many more memories with WGN Radio as the home of Chicago’s Big Ten team.” Eanet was inducted into the WGN Radio Walk of Fame last year. Former Chicago Bear Ted Albrecht is WGN’s football analyst on Wildcat broadcasts, while former college and pro head coach Joey Meyer provides analysis on basketball broadcasts. WGN has been the radio home of the Wildcats since 1996. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for Chicago, WGN ranks fifth with a 4.2 – its best showing since last June’s 4.3; CBS Radio‘s all-news WBBM-AM is on top with a 6.8 (6+).
Louisville Lineup Changes at WHAS, WKRD. Starting next Monday (2/29), former WKXW “New Jersey 101.5,” Trenton personality Mary Walter will oversee a weeknight 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm program on iHeartMedia Louisville talker WHAS. Of Walter, director of iHeartMedia Louisville’s AM programming Kelly Carls comments, “She is always prepared; keeps her finger on the pulse of the news; and she does a great job connecting with listeners. We are delighted she will be offering her unique perspectives every day.” A WHAS fill-in beginning in 2009, Walter remarks, “I am so excited to be with the WHAS audience on a regular basis. I have grown to love the local listeners over the years. They are so engaged and informed that it makes the job fun.” She previously worked at radio stations in Washington, DC; Phoenix; Denver; and Omaha. Meanwhile, at co-owned all-sports WKRD “790 KRD,” Howie Lindsey is named 7:00 am – 10:00 am host; contributors Matt Willinger and Katie George will join him. Another change there will find TheCardinalConnect.Com founder Nick Coffey taking on 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm duty. “We are very excited to expand our local sports coverage on WKRD,” notes Kelly Carls. “Mornings, mid-days and afternoons, we now have local sports fans covered with updates, insights, and compelling conversation about the teams and games that really matter.” Lindsey and Coffey will debut one week from Monday (3/7). Among persons 12+ in Nielsen Audio‘s winter 2016 book, WHAS ranks #1 (7.4) and WKRD is #12 (1.2).
Cumulus Media Dallas Sets Fourth Spring Job Fair. Jobseekers and hiring companies will come together in less than two weeks (3/9) as Cumulus Media Dallas presents its fourth annual Putting Texans Back to Work Spring Job Fair at the Plano Centre. In attendance will be representatives from over 100 companies in search of quality candidates from the Dallas, Collin, and Denton County areas of North Texas. No registration is required for job seekers; however, registration deadline for companies looking for qualified individuals is one week from Monday (3/7). The Cumulus Dallas cluster includes sports KESN “ESPN Radio 103.3”; talk KLIF-AM; CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3”; country KPLX “The Wolf”; KSCS “New Country 96.3”; sports KTCK “The Ticket; and talk WBAP.
BTC Begins HD Radio Data Services in Canada. A partnership between the Broadcaster Traffic Consortium (BTC) and exclusive mapping and technology data partner HERE leads to Canada’s first in-vehicle HD Radio Traffic service. Honda is the first brand to offer the service to its customers on certain 2015 and 2016 models. Broadcaster Traffic Consortium president Paul Brenner comments, “The BTC and all of our member stations are excited to be the first to market for HD Radio data services in Canada. Honda and HERE are valued partners that expect constant innovation and quality services regardless of our borders or radio station ownership. Unified broadcasters, collaborating to deliver a common service, bringing innovation solutions to automakers is better for the strategic and long-term viability of the broadcast radio industry. BTC is proud to be a leader in this space.” HD Radio Traffic enables drivers and passengers to view detailed information on local traffic conditions in real time on their vehicle’s audio display screen. The BTC has stations providing coverage in most areas within greater Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary; the service is expected to expand to additional Canadian markets. Originally founded in 2007 with eight broadcast groups – Beasley Broadcast Group; Bonneville International Corporation; Cox Radio; Emmis Communications; Entercom Communications; Greater Media; NPR; and Radio One – BTC has grown to include 23 broadcast groups in the United States and Canada. It builds a nationwide terrestrial broadcasting network to distribute local traffic and other map-related data via FM and HD Radio technology.
Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 22-26. Primary races and activities of presidential candidates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was Apple’s refusal to hack the phone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists. At #3 was the battle over the timeline for replacing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, followed by Islamic State’s reported threats against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week; it is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. View this week’s entire chart here.
BFA to Fete Fritts with “Excellence in Broadcasting” Award. Former 23-year National Association of Broadcasters president and chief executive officer Eddie Fritts is named this year’s Broadcasters Foundation of America‘s recipient of the Lowry Mays “Excellence in Broadcasting” award. Underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation, the award is given each year to a broadcaster, “whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.” Fritts’ past recognition includes “Broadcaster of the Year” awards at both the New York State Broadcasters Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. In addition, he is the past recipient of the Broadcasters Foundation’s “Golden Mike” and “Chairman’s” awards. Inducted into the Giants of Broadcasting’s Hall of Fame in 2010, he received the NAB’s “Distinguished Service” award one year later. Fritts – who launched The Fritts Group in March 2006 – will be honored with this particular acknowledgement in approximately two months (4/20) during the NAB Show in Las Vegas. The Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars to thousands of broadcasters and their families. Individual donations can be made to the Guardian Fund. Corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative; bequests can be arranged through the Legacy Society.
Cumulus Media Florida Outlets Aid in Tornado Recovery. Personal and household items, as well as monetary donations, are being collected by 14 Cumulus Media stations in Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Mobile, and Pensacola (Florida) for those affected by this week’s tornadoes in Century and Pensacola. Radio station staffers will be at various locations for six hours today (Friday, 2/26), nine hours tomorrow (Saturday, 2/27), and four hours on Sunday. Listeners are being asked to help tornado victims with water, personal hygiene items, household cleaning items, tarps, laundry detergent, diapers, wipes, book bags, crayons, pens, pencils, paper, clothing, and non-perishable food items. Cash donations should be directed to the Gulf Coast recovery effort through the American Red Cross and the United Way.
Cool Job Opportunities at CBS, Los Angeles. TALKERS has learned that CBS Radio Los Angeles is now looking to fill the following positions as soon as possible at all-news KNX 1070: news reporter, writer, and news production assistant. For more details and to apply, please click here: WWW.CBSRADIO.COM/CAREERS.
Odds & Sods. Pittsburgh-based “The Union Edge” adds suburban Minneapolis talker KTNF “AM 950 The Progressive Voice of Minnesota” as its 27th affiliate. KTNF president Chad Larson comments, “KTNF has been a longtime union advocate, covering labor issues since 2004 in the Twin Cities. We look forward to carrying another program focused on the many accomplishments labor has made for our nation as well as the modern threats facing working families and our ability to collectively bargain in the workplace.”
KFI’s Carroll Announces His Departure. With approximately 90 seconds remaining in Thursday’s (1/7) broadcast, KFI, Los Angeles midday talent Bill Carroll revealed he is leaving the iHeartMedia talk property effective immediately. In addition to sharing his reason for departing KFI (#9, 3.4, 6+, December 2015 Nielsen Audio PPM), Carroll implored his listeners to grant an election-day request. “Hey, I wanted to say one thing before I wrap up the show today,” Carroll began, as he sought to “explain” his “cryptic New Year’s Day tweet” which many people asked him about on Facebook. “[My wife Sylvie and I] have been considering this for a while and we came to the conclusion that it is time to get closer to home.” Carroll’s father passed away in 2010; Scotland born/Canada raised Carroll joined KFI in February of that year. “I did not get to see him much,” he lamented. “My mother is older so we are leaving. We still do not know exactly where we are going to land [but] this is my last show – maybe we will talk again in the future.” That led Carroll to rhetorically ask, “Can you just do one final favor for me? For God sakes, when I am gone, do not elect Donald Trump. You are better than that. Do not let anger sweep you away. Do not elect Donald Trump. I came to live among you because I admire you for your graciousness, your openness, and your religious freedoms. Don’t elect Donald Trump – I am begging.” It is unclear how long it will be before KFI program director Robin Bertolucci names a permanent replacement for Carroll; apparently, several guest hosts will be utilized in the station’s 10:00 am – 1:00 pm slot. Prior to his six-year KFI tenure, Carroll worked in Toronto at CILQ “Q-107,” and CFRB-AM. The 56-year-old Carroll appears at #47 on TALKERS’ 2015 “Heavy Hundred.”
Obama ‘Guns’ Town Hall Top News/Talk Story of the Week. Thursday night’s “town hall” on gun control presented by CNN and the White House along with President Obama’s announced plans to use executive power to alter some gun laws were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the presidential race. Coming in at #3 was the battle against Islamic State, followed by the Saudi Arabian and Iranian diplomatic break and the growing rift between Shiite and Sunni-majority Middle Eastern states at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
WTMJ, Milwaukee to Present Special Program ‘Beyond Making a Murderer.’ The Netflix original program “Making a Murderer” is attracting large audiences across the country but in Wisconsin, where film subject Steven Avery is currently incarcerated, the case is now the subject of a special program to be presented this weekend on E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee. The special, “Beyond Making a Murderer,” will present update coverage of the case of convicted murderer Avery. The station says it has covered the Avery story since the beginning. The Netflix series has sparked a petition demanding a presidential pardon, curious tourists are traveling to Wisconsin, and critics are claiming there’s more to the story. WTMJ vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “The story of Steven Avery is not only a big story in our backyard but also a story of national significance. WTMJ is Wisconsin’s Radio Station and we are leading the way with exclusive interviews and expanded local coverage to advance the story.” This weekend, “Wisconsin’s Morning News” host Gene Mueller will anchor a two-hour special “WTMJ Presents: Beyond Making a Murderer” that will air on Saturday at 7:00 pm and on Sunday at 11:00 am, immediately prior to coverage of the Packers vs Redskins playoff game. WTMJ executive producer of news Erik Bilstad will anchor coverage live from Manitowoc, Wisconsin with one-on-one interviews, videos and exclusive digital coverage. WTMJ program manager Eric Brooks adds, “‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station’ is working to go beyond the documentary, to talk with the people involved in the case and give our audience updated information. We are talking with family members, justices, jurors, law enforcement, and prosecutors to learn everything new we can. WTMJ is providing content for not only our Wisconsin audience, but for those interested worldwide.”
Radio’s Hot New (Old) Format: ‘The Puddle.’ In an opinion piece published today (1/8), ABC Television director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes about the sensational amount of global interest in Periscope’s “The Puddle” – a camera shot at a puddle of water in the U.K. Price says the people watching the puddle on their smartphones have “rediscovered the magic of radio…If you really believe all radio is local – and GREAT local radio is all about making compelling content out of the everyday events and observations in the communities it serves — then ‘the puddle’ can be seen as a metaphor for what radio’s core mission has always been, and which it used to execute better than any other medium.” Read his entire piece here.
Kibler Named iHeartMedia’s EVP Multi-Cultural Marketing. Executive vice president of operations for iHeartMedia‘s Texas major markets Kelly Kibler is appointed executive vice president of multi-cultural marketing. According to iHeartMedia chair and chief executive officer Bob Pittman, “Kelly has been a constant innovator in this company. She is the perfect choice to head up our focused multi-cultural advertising efforts at the market level. Her success as executive vice president of operations, as well as in her role as a sales leader and market president and her leadership of numerous iHeartMedia initiatives, have enabled her to grow her career with us. We look forward to her using all of her experience and relationships to build this new capability for our company.” The bilingual Kibler comments, “I could not be more excited to take on this new position at iHeartMedia, using the tools and experience we’ve developed in Texas and applying them across our 150 markets in a space that continues to grow in both importance and footprint across America.” Kibler began her career in 1991 at Telemundo. Before becoming iHeartMedia’s executive vice president of operations for the company’s major markets in Texas, she was a market president in Dallas, San Diego, and Las Vegas.
Emmis Confirms Layoffs; Executive Pay Cuts. After a fiscal third quarter report that showed a 5.1% drop in radio net revenue, Emmis Communications is confirming that it has laid off 32 company staffers and instituted pay cuts for corporate senior executives. During the recent conference call with investors, Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan stated, “We’ve made some changes and they’re very painful changes. This is always very, very hard for us.” The moves are designed to trim some $5.3 million from the radio sector’s budget.
Rich Broadcasting Adds Three Signals to News/Talk KID, Idaho Falls. The announced expansion of Rich Broadcasting’s heritage news/talk KID, Idaho Falls will expand the reach of the station within the Idaho Falls market and some 90 miles east to the Jackson, Wyoming market. The company says, beginning Monday, KID “Newsradio” will be heard on KQEZ-FM in Idaho Falls and to KSGT-AM, Jackson and translator K242BU at 96.3 in the Jackson market. KID, Idaho Falls is also simulcast on KIDG-FM, Pocatello, Idaho. Rich Broadcasting president Richard Mecham says, “KID has served the eastern Idaho market since 1928 and we are both pleased and excited to substantially expand its impact and coverage with the addition of three more frequencies, which not only will substantially expand its geographical reach but also, and very significantly, will enhance its nighttime coverage. With the addition of 106.3 FM, it now will be heard regionally from Ashton to Pocatello. Additionally, we are very pleased to expand the KID brand into the Teton County radio market, and in the process enhance the synergy between the eastern Idaho and Jackson markets. We look forward to providing to our listeners the very best in news and information for years to come.”
CES 2016 Wrap Up. Radio consultant Holland Cooke files his final report from Las Vegas where this week he’s been attending the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. Today he writes about the ubiquitous phone camera, drones, the head-on challenges facing television, and new technologies that are doing what radio stations traditionally helped people do. Read Holland Cooke’s entire report here.
Odds & Sods. The digital production field and studio tool suite Control Room Pro is now being used at stations including CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York; Bonneville’s WTOP-FM, Washington; iHeartmedia’s WIOD, Miami; and news/talk WHO-AM and sports KXNO-AM in Des Moines, The suite of tools is produced by Harris Media and is repped by AdLarge Media…..Next Thursday and Friday (1/14-15), (and for the second time in the last three weeks!) Sid Rosenberg and “Imus in the Morning” executive producer Bernard McGuirk are sitting in for “Curtis & Kuby” co-hosting the midday show at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York.
Pittman to Receive BFoA Golden Mike Award. Jackson, Mississippi native Bob Pittman began his radio career at the age of 15 and the iHeartMedia chair/chief executive officer is set to be honored with the Broadcasters Foundation of America‘s 2016 “Golden Mike” award. Broadcasters Foundation vice chair Dan Mason declares, “Bob is an extraordinary broadcaster. As an architect of today’s iHeartMedia, Bob’s focus on innovation – and his deep belief in broadcast radio – has expanded radio into new areas and platforms. We are proud to recognize his contributions to broadcasting.” Pittman states that, “Radio reaches more Americans than any other medium. [It is] the best friend in the seat next to them and their trusted companion and information source across multiple platforms. I feel extremely fortunate to be in broadcasting during the most exciting time in our industry’s history. I am grateful to the Broadcasters Foundation for this honor, and I thank them for their deep commitment to supporting our broadcast colleagues in their times of need.” Pittman programmed WMAQ, Chicago and famously became program director at WNBC, New York at the age of 23. Also included on his impressive, extensive resume is being co-founder/programmer of the team that created MTV; CEO of MTV Networks; AOL Networks; Six Flags Theme Parks; Quantum Media; Century 21 Real Estate; and Time Warner Enterprises. He was chief operating officer of America Online and later of AOL Time Warner. Pittman was named one of Advertising Age‘s “10 Marketers Who Changed American Culture”; received the Robert F. Kennedy “Ripple of Hope” award; and he was named one of LIFE Magazine‘s “Five Original Thinkers of the 1980s.” He will receive his “Golden Mike” award next month (2/29) at New York City’s Plaza Hotel.
Broadcaster Poe Declares Congressional Candidacy. Former Florida Democratic Party chair Bob Poe made his intentions official yesterday (Thursday, 1/7) that he is seeking to represent Florida’s 10th congressional district, which is based in west Orlando. The 61-year-old Poe comments that, “Many people are aware that I’ve been blessed with a tremendous amount of success in my life – but what most people don’t know is that my success had some humble beginnings. I come from this community. I became successful because of what I learned in this community, and I think I bring a very different perspective of how we grow the economy. I didn’t graduate from college, but I built a technology business that I’m proud of and that keeps people safe, because I never quit. Too many politicians today are too busy playing the game of musical chairs – running for one office and then another – to truly stand up and fight for us.” Prior to a nine-year run as president of Emergency Communications Network, Poe spent three years as vice president and general manager of WMMO, Orlando; four years as director of broadcasting and sponsorship sales for the NBA‘s Orlando Magic; and 12 years as vice president and general manager of Orlando talk station WKIS and the Florida Radio Network.
Trump Beats Obama! In one of the extremely rare occasions when someone other than the President of the United States tallies in as the most-talked-about person of the week on news/talk radio across America, TALKERS research indicates that Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has accomplished that very feat for the week ending today (8/10-14). According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “The reason it is hard to top the president in this survey is because the chief executive is intrinsically tied-in to so many of the top stories and topics discussed in the medium. Plus, there are quite a few hosts who base their entire programs for weeks, months and years at a stretch either criticizing or supporting the sitting president.” Harrison continues, “But Trump did it this week and quite handily at that.” Harrison cites the following elements driving ‘Trumpmania’ among the nation’s radio yappers: “First, he makes good copy and fun content – he’s extremely entertaining – and, let’s face it, competitive talk radio needs to be – or believes it needs to be — compelling and easy to digest to attract listeners in this increasingly noisy world. It might not be the most academic and productive form of journalism – but talk radio doesn’t claim to be ‘journalism’ – it leaves that to the TV news networks and newspapers. What’s their excuse for feeding on Trump’s reality show-style bait?” Harrison cites Trump’s “respect for the medium” as being the second reason for his domination of airwave discussion: “He clearly respects talk radio and exploits it for grassroots exposure. Unlike so many of today’s big-time politicians and candidates, he is not afraid of its spontaneous nature. He thrives on it. We are receiving calls and press releases from stations and shows around the country touting their ‘exclusive’ interviews with Donald Trump – many saying he simply ‘called in.’” Harrison says, “Obama’s strength as a conversational focal point or lightening rod is rapidly diminishing as this early election frenzy crystallizes his position as a lame duck. Let’s face it, Obama-bashing is getting boring. ‘Boring’ is bad for talk radio. And the problem for talk radio with Hillary Clinton – even as a target of criticism — is similar. She’s been around so long and everyone knows exactly what they’re getting… making her – from the perspective of talk radio potency – a lame duck even before she potentially gets elected.” Harrison sums it up, “The election cycle starts too early for serious voters to take it seriously. Most of the candidates are relatively boring – except for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump — from the almighty ‘entertainment’ perspective. Trump fills the vacuum quite beautifully. The other candidates would be wise to play this next few months very carefully and be prepared and in proper position for a run for the title for when the election becomes serious.”
Russillo, ESPN Radio Agree to Extension. Earlier this week, TALKERS reported details of Colin Cowherd‘s exit from ESPN Radio and his new deal at Fox Sports Radio. Now comes confirmation that ten-year ESPN Radio host Ryen Russillo is remaining with the sports network to do “Russillo & Kanell,” a daily three-hour (1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, ET) program with ESPN college football analyst Danny Kanell. ESPN Radio senior vice president Mo Davenport remarks, “We are happy to have Ryen at ESPN for the long-term. We look forward to utilizing his creative energy as we forge a smart, engaging and entertaining show, born from the natural chemistry between Ryen and Danny.” According to Russillo, “Danny is the perfect partner for an everyday radio show. Former athletes get labeled as one-sport guys all the time based on what they played [but] that isn’t fair. Danny can talk all sports and is one of the best college football voices in the country. Staying with ESPN and this time slot is a challenge I have been ready for.” Russillo – who was named co-host of ESPN Radio’s “Scott Van Pelt Show” in May 2009 – will have an expanded ESPN television presence across multiple studio shows, with a focus on NBA programming. For the past two months, he has hosted “The Russillo Show” with a group of alternating co-hosts, including Kanell. In addition to airing on ESPN Radio beginning two weeks from Monday (8/31), “Russillo & Kanell” will be seen on ESPNEWS.
She Said “Yes.” Someone must have mentioned to Mark Brill that, when done correctly, radio is perhaps the most effective one-one-one communications platform. In just 22 warm-and-fuzzy seconds, the loyal partisan of Hubbard Washington, DC all-news operation WTOP fully underscored that unique strength of the medium. WTOP was clearly the centerpiece and most integral participant in this story – which has several moving parts – but a few other key players aided Brill in the performance of his life. This past Saturday (8/8) at precisely 6:07 am, Brill and his girlfriend, Phyllis Liebman, were in Bethany Beach, Delaware. While not out-of-the-ordinary for Brill to be tuned to WTOP (in this case, more accurately streaming the station online), Liebman, ostensibly, thought she was doing so at the request of her employer MRP Realty. Liebman’s boss asked that she listen at that specific time to verify that an ad the company purchased on WTOP ran as scheduled. One slight detail: There was no MRP Realty spot. What Liebman – and every other WTOP listener – heard at that time, however, was this marriage proposal from Brill (listen here). Brill first saw Liebman three years ago (7/16/2012) at the concession stand of a tennis match. “Later, I saw her sitting behind me and it looked like she was looking at me,” he recalls. “I did get up the nerve to give her my business card and said if she wasn’t dating anyone to call me.” Several weeks later, the two had their first date and Liebman informed Brill she wasn’t looking at him but at Michelle Obama, who was seated a few rows opposite him. WTOP sales manager Skip Quast‘s responsibility was to have Brill’s proposal air exactly at sunrise, which that particular day was 6:07 am. Many businesses contact Quast regarding advertising information on WTOP (the market’s #1 station for the seventh straight month, 6+, Nielsen Audio PPM) but when he received Brill’s call in May, Quast states, “It was a first. Mark explained how WTOP was his favorite station and said he was planning to ask her [to marry him] in August. I let him know we might be able to help him out and asked him to give me a call when he was ready. I wasn’t sure I would hear back from him, but he called again in July and set a date. I am happy we were able to help and make it a special day for both of them.” Score another victory for the power of radio.
University of Vermont Partners with Learfield Sports. The pact between Learfield Sports and the University of Vermont will have the collegiate multimedia rights firm representing the “Catamounts” through 2025. School athletic director Dr. Bob Corran comments, “We are very fortunate to have developed such a wonderful partnership with Learfield Sports. This will allow us to focus greater efforts on promotions, communications, and brand building, while enabling Learfield staff to bring their considerable organization and experience to sponsorship and multi-media sales. We’re very excited about the future of Catamount athletics and Learfield’s role in helping securing that future.” Learfield is assembling staff for its local Vermont Sports Properties – under new GM Mike MacConnell – to work alongside Dr. Corran and his entire athletic administration. WVMT-AM, Burlington and WCPV “ESPN 101.3,” Burlington will continue to broadcast University of Vermont hockey and basketball games.
Historic Pop Media Figure Elliot Mintz Interviewed on Podcast One’s “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” One of the most complex and challenging processes in all of radio is the art of the interview. We hear interviews all the time – but how many of them are really good? How many of them bring the listener true insights into the mind and knowledge of the person being interviewed? How many truly represent the interests of the listener without ambushing or disrespecting the human dignity (or appropriate privacy) of the person being interviewed? Should an interview be a series of hard ball questions? Should it be conversational? Should it be confrontational? Should it be to promote a product? These are questions that any good interviewer faces every time they enter a public dance of dialogue with another human being… “Am I an adversary, an advocate or something in between?” The new installment of the hit weekly podcast geared to media freaks around the world, “Up Close and Far Out,” presents an interviewer (Michael Harrison) interviewing an interviewer (Elliot Mintz). Mintz was one of the original pioneers of FM rock radio back in the 60s – only he wasn’t a DJ, he was an interviewer – thus, he is also somewhat of a pioneering talk show host. Throughout the sixties and seventies, he became widely respected for the quality and prolific body of work (more than 2000 interviews) with the most famous and respected pop stars in the world of music, the performing arts, science and philosophy. In the 80s, he reinvented himself and became a consultant, advisor and publicist to some of the biggest names in the business including the John Lennon estate and a slew of others. He can truly be called a consummate show business insider and a legend in his own right. Now, Elliot Mintz has done something extraordinary. He spent more than a year of diligent detail work assembling his archives, that were packed away in fading and often unmarked boxes, into a museum-like website where the visitor can experience, at no cost, more than 150 hours of audio and video treasures culled from his encounters with some of the most fascinating characters of the 20th and early 21st centuries. It is www.ElliotMintz.com. To listen to the entire conversation between Michael Harrison and Elliot Mintz, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Mugging it up for the camera from the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits Golf Course in Kohler, Wisconsin are Westwood One Sports analyst/PGA member Charlie Rymer (left) and broadcaster Earl Forcey. Westwood One presents live, hole-by-hole coverage at 2:00 pm (ET) through Sunday.
Donald Trump Surpasses POTUS as Most Talked About Person on News/Talk Radio this Week (8/10-14). Top topics include the Presidential Race, the Fox-Trump Feud, and the Iran Nukes Deal. According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continued to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America this past week and the media remain fixated on Donald Trump. Very rarely does anyone top the President of the United States as the most-talked-about person for a day, let alone a week. Hot topics include the presidential election in general, the Fox News Channel-Trump feud stemming from the candidate’s dust up with debate moderator Megyn Kelly, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy, the Black Lives Matter movement, Jimmy Carter’s health issues and the global economic impact of China’s devaluation of the yuan. To see the complete listing of the 10 most-talked-about topics and people for this past week please click here.
PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian provides another thorough ratings assessment, as he updates the status of all-news outlets. You might recall that in January, the format – albeit with a qualifying database of approximately 20 stations in PPM markets – managed to do something rather astounding: It kept all of them out of negative “Holiday” 2014 – January 2015 territory. The natural question now is: Did the format keep this incredible momentum going? Using data from Nielsen Audio‘s February 2015 PPM survey, Mike examines the performances of all-news facilities in sweep-to-sweep and year-to-year comparisons, as well as charting them in terms of 6+ rank and 6+ market share. Additionally, we have a side-by-side look of the format’s ultra-impressive January numbers and – in some cases – ironically similar February stats. See the exclusive all-news analysis and overview here.
KOGO Adds DeMaio For Midday Duty. San Diego talker KOGO is pairing Carl DeMaio and Bob “Sully” Sullivan as co-hosts of the 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm “DeMaio – Sullivan Report.” KOGO program director Brian Long comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Carl DeMaio to our lineup. I have no doubt that, with his experience as a government watchdog and his inside knowledge of politics, this will be the most talked about show in San Diego.” According to DeMaio, “Our show will give San Diegans a vehicle to learn not only about important issues, but to get involved in making a difference and advancing solutions.” In addition to focusing on local news, the three-hour weekday program on the iHeartMedia-owned station will combine investigative journalism to examine stories behind the stories. The 40-year-old, Dubuque, Iowa-born DeMaio (Republican and openly gay) previously served four years (2008 – 2012) on San Diego’s city council representing district five. DeMaio lost to former congressman Bob Filner in San Diego’s 2012 mayoral contest and he was defeated by incumbent Scott Peters two years later in a race for California’s 52nd congressional district seat. He is a Georgetown University alum.
Mohr Wins Big By Horsing Around. As part of its March Madness “Celeb Pick ‘Em” series, USA Today‘s “For the Win” featured an interview with Fox Sports Radio host Jay Mohr. Within the piece, the star of the 2008 – 2010 CBS-TV sitcom “Gary Unmarried” (which co-starred Paula Marshall) revealed how a bet he made on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament netted him an unusual payoff. It was 16 years ago (1999) and St. John’s was making a run to the “Elite Eight” under head coach Mike Jarvis. Mohr was wagering with a friend who kept saying, “Double or nothing.” His friend – a jockey at Santa Anita racetrack – eventually ran out of money. If St. John’s went another round in the tournament, the friend told Mohr he’d give Mohr the horse on which he (the jockey) was sitting. St. John’s – and Mohr – won but since the actor/comedian had a small yard, the horse was not with him very long. For the record, the St. John Red Storm beat Maryland 76 – 62 in the infamous game-winning bet for Mohr, but lost to Ohio State in a squeaker (77 – 74) the next round. According to Mohr, the primary excuse someone should offer for missing work to watch the Final Four should simply be that you are going to watch the tournament. “If you are not in a sports-friendly work environment,” he says, “I would fake a birth.” It is Mohr’s contention that talk radio show callers should push the envelope and “make the host uncomfortable. The crazier they are, the more fun we have when we play it later when we run out of ideas of our own.” So – how did Mohr do with his NCAA brackets this year? Not bad. He correctly has Kentucky and Michigan State in the Final Four, but also included Iowa State and Ohio State, rather than Wisconsin and Duke. He had Duke losing to San Diego State in the third round and Wisconsin falling to Ohio State in the Elite Eight. His prediction for the final game is that Kentucky’s Wildcats will beat Michigan State’s Spartans.
Newsday Reports Tense Relations Exist Between WFAN Sports Talk Legend Mike Francesa and CBS Brass. According to a report yesterday in Newsday (4/2), sports talk WFAN, New York afternoon star Mike Francesa says his relationship with executives at the station’s parent CBS Radio have “never been worse.” In a story written by Neil Best, the iconic media figure who will be delivering the welcoming keynote at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12, has described his relationship with company brass as “very poor,” “awful” and “terrible.” According to the story, speaking during a break in his show at the Hard Rock Cafe in Manhattan, Francesa said that for legal reasons he cannot go into detail about the nature of the dispute. But he acknowledged one source of tension is his ongoing frustration over his often pre-empted simulcast on Fox Sports 1 and 2, and CBS’ inability or unwillingness to find a contractual solution. The story goes on to report, Francesa did not name the executives with whom he is at odds, but he specifically excluded CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves, who was a target of harsh criticism from him after Moonves fired Don Imus in 2007. What does Moonves make of Francesa’s status with CBS in 2015? “We love Mike,” he said. “He’s done a great job . . . Let him keep doing what he’s doing and getting the ratings he’s doing and I’m very happy with him.” TALKERS magazine’s annual feature “The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America” (also known as the “Talkers Sports Talk Heavy Hundred”) lists Francesa consistently as being THE most important radio sports talk host in the business — local or national – and has been described by Michael Harrison as “one of the treasures of the talk media industry, sports talk or otherwise.” Ironically, Harrison has also described the executives that run CBS Radio, with whom Francesa is likely at odds, as “among the smartest and classiest in the business.” So it would be to the benefit of all parties concerned, including Francesa’s legion of devoted fans and detractors alike, that this dispute is soon settled. To read the entire Newsday piece, please click here.
Proffitt to Pacifica Foundation Radio as Executive Director. In just over five weeks (6/11), former KUHF, Houston chief executive officer and general manager John Proffitt will take over as executive director of Pacifica Foundation Radio. Pacifica national board chair and interim executive director Margy Wilkinson states, “We have spent much of the past year stabilizing Pacifica after a turbulent time. Bringing on permanent, experienced leadership is the next step. While Pacifica still faces significant challenges, I am confident that John can see us through them and put our network back on a path of growth.” National board vice chair Lydia Brazon remarks, “John’s significant experience in radio broadcasting speaks for itself, but it is his recognition of Pacifica’s unique place in today’s media landscape that impresses most. I fully trust John Proffitt can and will rise to the challenge.” Proffitt comments, “I deeply admire the Pacifica commitment to independent news and feature reporting that tell the stories other media outlets frequently ignore or soft-pedal. Its leadership in broadcasting and promoting local art and performance is second-to-none, as is its grassroots support from the community. I consider Pacifica to be a national treasure and feel honored to work for its success.” Recording engineer and producer Proffitt spent 25 years at KUHF; more recently, he was a volunteer fundraiser/host (“Thresholds” and “Open Journal”) at Pacifica Houston’s noncommercial KPFT. He will be based in Pacifica’s Berkeley, California headquarters. The five noncommercial stations Pacifica operates are WBAI, New York; KPFK, Los Angeles; KPFA, San Francisco; KPFT, Houston; and WPFW, Washington, DC.
WABC to Report from the Final Four. In harmony with Cumulus Media sibling Westwood One, New York City talker WABC will have a presence during this weekend’s “Final Four.” Sports reporter Mike Gunzelman will broadcast from radio row in Indianapolis with extended sports reports within “[Don] Imus in The Morning,” “The Geraldo Rivera Show,” and “Right Now with Doug McIntyre.” According to program director Craig Schwalb,”With the continuing dialogue surrounding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and all the excitement that is college basketball, it is an important intersection; WABC will be in Indianapolis for all of it.” Reports will be featured in newscasts as well as in social media. WABC will produce two live streaming programs, which will debut tomorrow (Saturday, 4/4) and Sunday (4/5) at 12:00 Noon. Live sports streams are separate from the station’s main WABC Radio stream.
KFWB, Clippers to Host Fan Appreciation Night. Flagship outlet of the NBA‘s Los Angeles Clippers – all-sports KFWB “The Beast” – will present a fan appreciation night one week from Monday (4/13) when the Clippers play the Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Various prizes and merchandise will be distributed throughout the game, and a halftime presentation will acknowledge “Beast” on-air personalities and station executives. Performances from the Clippers Spirit will tap things off as part of a 5:30 pm fan festival. Among the prizes is an MVP package that includes Clippers playoff tickets in the private suite of “The Beast” and a meet/greet with a Clippers’ broadcaster.
NAB Reveals Radio Board Election Results. Those voted to the National Association of Broadcasters’ radio board include: Bill Coleman, owner, Team Radio Marketing Group of Ponca City, Oklahoma. Bruce Goldsen, president and general manager, Jackson Radio Works of Jackson, Michigan. Randy Gravley, president and chief executive officer, Tri-State Communications of Jasper, Georgia. Bill Hendrich, vice president and market manager, Cox Media Group Jacksonville. Ed Henson, president, Henson Media of Louisville. Beth Neuhoff, president and chief executive officer, Neuhoff Communications of Springfield, Illinois. Bob Proffitt, president and chief executive officer, Alpha Media of Portland (Oregon). Their two-year terms will begin in two months (June).
Albuquerque Picks Up A Sports Outlet. Newcomer to the format in Albuquerque is KXKS, which transitions to sports from a religious teaching format. According to general manager Eddy Aragon, “We are excited to bring the premier Fox Sports network to the most powerful sports radio signal in the Albuquerque market. Listeners will be able to tune to the 10,000-watt signal of KXKS [at 1190 AM], plus the simulcast signal on 107.5 FM.” Rock of Talk LLC operates KXKS under an LMA with licensee Wilkins Communications. The religious format that previously aired on KXKS moves to Wilkins’ KKIM. KXKS was not among the 21 stations listed in Nielsen Audio‘s fall 2014 ratings book.
St. Louis Sports Outlet Augments On-Air Lineup. Leased by web-based programming provider TalkSTL.com, sports talk KRFT, St. Louis brings in J.C. Corcoran for 7:00 am – 9:00 am duty and Kevin Slaten for 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm chores on the AM day-timer. In just over two weeks (4/20), former East St. Louis, Illinois-licensed WQQX talents Howard Balzer and Charlie “Tuna” Edwards will begin doing a daily 11:00 am – 1:00 pm program. TalkSTL.com co-owner and operator Scott Gertken comments, “We could not be more excited about the lineup we were able to finalize. We have done a whole lot in 10 days.” According to Corcoran, his morning drive show “will be exactly the same thing I have been doing. Anybody who listens to the show is going to hear J.C. Corcoran – they know what they are going to get. It will be a general interest talk show, entertainment, and a heavy dose of my twisted mind.” Gertken says he hopes to have KRFT as a 24-hour operation by next month.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The SBG-syndicated Marilu Henner program is added to the program schedule at: KINX-FM, Great Falls, Montana; WLAD, Danbury, Connecticut; WTHU, Thurmont, Maryland; and WOMI, Owensboro, Kentucky.
Religious Freedom Act Controversy Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of March 30-April 3. The chatter about Indiana’s religious freedom legislation and Governor Mike Pence’s promise to “fix” the law – along with Arkansas’ vow to pass a similar law – was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. Coming in at #2 was the Iran nuclear program negotiations. Following at #3 was the investigation into the downing of Germanwings Flight 9525, followed by the 2016 presidential prospects at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It’s published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
By Walter Sabo
When the topic of sports coverage and sports interest is discussed, the local media mavens always say the same things:
* “This is a very big sports town.”
* “Even women here are nuts about sports.”
* “You’ve got to understand that this is the biggest sports town.”
Wanna Buy a Fantastic Radio Station Mobile Studio? Well. If you do, here is a rare opportunity to pick up a real gem. The legendary WGN, Chicago is letting go of its phenomenal mobile broadcast studio and tow truck. Seems it is too big to be conveniently used in the congested Windy City. But in a market where there’s space to move around, it is a fully-equipped, mind-blower that could put your station in front of everybody, boost sales, and significantly increase the value of your broadcasting asset. To learn more, please click here.
KOY Transitions From Business Talk To Mainstream Talk. Clear Channel Phoenix replaces its one-year business talk format on KOY “1230 The KFYI Business Channel” with mainstream talk under the “KFYI 2: The Next Generation of Talk” moniker. As KOY’s handle underscores, the station continues its association with co-owned mainstream talker KFYI. Program director Neil Larrimore states, “This is an exciting brand to put under the KFYI umbrella. Our approach of heavy digital messaging, new hosts, and more moderate content is geared toward the evolution of the information format.” The on-air roster for “KFYI 2” is Armstrong & Getty (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Dana Loesch (10:00 am -1:00 pm); Casey Bartholomew (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); “America Now” (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); “TMZ Live” (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm); “Ground Zero” (7:00 pm – 10:00 pm); and Bloomberg Radio (10:00 pm – 6:00 am). Having the distinction of being Arizona’s first radio station, KOY received its broadcast license in 1922 with the calls KFCB – “Kind Friends Come Back.” KFYI ranks seventh this July (4.3, 6+); Bonneville talker KTAR-FM finishes #14 (3.0); and Rio Salado College‘s KJZZ (NPR) is #19 (2.1). KOY does not appear in the July 2014 report.
Forty-One and Done For Ann Compton. Being the first woman assigned to cover the White House fulltime by any network was — in Ann Compton‘s opinion — an advantage since the President could not miss seeing her. The Chicago native, who began covering that demanding beat nearly 40 years ago, wants to devote more time to other things, such as being a grandmother. So, on September 10 — the anniversary of her 41st year with ABC News — she will retire. Click here for an in-depth feature piece by TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian to find out what Compton believed were her most challenging things early-on; vivid reflections on 9/11/2001; and why — and who — made being inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame especially memorable.
Dr. Joy Browne Switching Networks to GCN. Longtime TALKERS Heavy Hundred syndicated star Dr. Joy Browne’s show will be moving from present distributor Radio America to Genesis Communications Network (GCN) beginning Monday, September 8. The program will continue to air during its regular time slot of 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET. GCN will also syndicate Dr. Joy Browne’s “Best Of” weekend program, which will air Saturdays, 1:00 am – 4:00 am ET. Browne, a licensed clinical psychologist, hosts the longest running relationships program of its kind in syndication, airing on over 100 stations across the country including WNYM, New York. Her show offers listeners advice on issues ranging from relationships and marriage to finance and career. (She even reviews movies and comments on theater.) Regarding Browne’s show, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “With interest growing among talk radio broadcasters in expanding the menu beyond politics and getting back to a number of areas that have long been mainstays of spoken word commercial radio during its golden days, I suspect we will see the stock of a show like Joy Browne’s take a significant upward turn. After all, she’s remained a serious player on stations across the country during a period in which relationship shows have had tough going. Considering she is still the best in the genre, watch out world – Dr. Joy will be riding high for years to come.” Interested stations can contact GCN affiliate relations at (877) 996-4327, Ext. 241, 148 or 123 for more information.
KFWB Recruits Murphy as PD. When KFWB, Los Angeles flips from talk to sports next month, the station will be programmed by Owen Murphy, who has been working as a talent coach and sports radio consultant for several hosts. KFWB Asset Trust trustee Diane Sutter comments, “Owen has built great relationships with some of America’s premiere sports talents. He has a unique perspective and will provide a fresh approach for sports radio fans in Los Angeles.” Murphy remarks, “I cannot adequately express how excited I am to be part of a team that is going to serve the Los Angeles sports radio audience in a manner never before heard. Having [CBS Sports Radio’s] Jim Rome as a centerpiece of the station’s new lineup is a thrilling base to build upon for the passionate sports fans of Southern California.” Rome will be heard on KFWB 9:00 am – 12:00 noon. Murphy’s resume includes a 2009 – 2010 stint programming KIRO-AM “710 ESPN,” Seattle. He previously was an ESPN Radio producer for “Mike & Mike in the Morning” and was executive producer of “The Dan Patrick Show.” Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio‘s July 2014 PPM report, KFWB ranks #42 (.2). Its all-sports competitors are KSPN (1.2 in July, #28); KLAC (.9, #32); and KLAA (.3, #40).
NBA, ESPN Audio – Teammates for a 20th Season. For the 20th successive year, ESPN Audio will broadcast games of the National Basketball Association. This year’s ESPN – NBA schedule — which will feature 29 regular-season games — tips off in slightly more than two months (Tuesday, 10/28), with Tim Duncan and the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs hosting the Dallas Mavericks. ESPN Audio will broadcast a Christmas Day doubleheader, which will showcase San Antonio against Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Immediately following that will be LeBron James’ first game back in Miami as the Cleveland Cavaliers visit the Miami Heat. ESPN Audio will air the NBA Playoffs and NBA Finals, as well as the 64th All-Star Game. Returning as ESPN Radio’s lead play-by-play voice and prime analyst are Kevin Calabro and Jon Barry, respectively. Calling/analyzing select games are Marc Kestecher and PJ Carlesimo.
Westwood One Taps Townsend as Senior Account Manager. Former Clear Channel New York sales manager Steve Townsend joins Westwood One‘s sales division as senior account manager. New York City-based Townsend reports to senior vice president of network sales Darrin Klayman, who states, “Steve has a proven track record and he comes with an immeasurable wealth of sales expertise. His multimedia experience and passion fit well into our desired DNA as we strive to build a team that will provide integrated multi-platform solutions for our clients.” Townsend meanwhile comments, “Westwood One is at the forefront of delivering solutions and driving revenue for clients. From its customized content, events, talent endorsements, local activations, digital initiatives, and geo-targeted programs, it is clearly the place to be; I am thrilled to be part of the momentum.” Townsend’s Clear Channel New York sales manager responsibilities were for adult contemporary WLTW “Lite-FM” and classic rock WAXQ “Q-104.3,” as well as managing sales for the “Automotive” category for the company’s entire New York group. He previously was sales manager in New York City for then-Citadel-owned (now Cumulus) hot AC WPLJ; CBS Radio‘s WXRK (now CHR WBMP); and he was an account executive and national sales manager for classic hits-oldies WCBS-FM.
Conclave Confirms Smith As Keynoter — Smulyan to Speak as Well. The 39th annual Conclave Learning Conference – presented in partnership with the Minnesota Broadcasters Association (MBA) – will feature a keynote address by National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) president and chief executive officer Gordon Smith. Conclave chair Mark Bolke comments, “Whether you are in programming, news, sales, or station management, what happens in Congress and at the Federal Communications Commission directly impacts our collective future. Gordon Smith’s keynote will instill in all of us the ongoing need to protect our industry’s interests and preserve its status as America’s premier source for music, entertainment, news, and emergency information.” MBA president and chief executive officer Jim du Bois states, “With the broadcasting industry facing unprecedented legal, regulatory, and competitive challenges, Gordon Smith and the NAB are leading the charge in Washington. We are honored that he is taking time from his busy schedule to share his insights on key issues facing radio and television broadcasters. We are also looking forward to hearing his vision for the industry’s future as it adapts to rapidly changing media consumption habits and a shift to mobile distribution platforms.” Smith is scheduled to deliver his keynote on (Saturday) November 15 at 9:00 am onsite at the Conclave, which will be held at Minneapolis’ Crown Plaza Hotel Airport. Smith is a former United States Senator. The Oregon Republican served two terms in the Senate and was appointed NAB president/CEO five years ago (9/2009). The Conclave’s day-and-a-half learning conference begins (Friday) November 14 with a “Radio & TV Career Fair and Air Check Clinic,” followed by a special keynote from Emmis president and chief executive officer Jeff Smulyan on the NextRadio mobile platform.
“Dr. Daliah” Accepts Daunting Task. Radio stations and personalities constantly are being enlisted to support a number of worthwhile endeavors. An especially challenging fundraiser involves Dr. Daliah Wachs. The syndicated talk show host and Las Vegas television personality has been asked to build the pediatric wing of Community Outreach Medical Center, which will serve thousands of underserved and uninsured Las Vegas children. “This is a huge undertaking but it will get done,” Dr. Wachs promises. A board certified family physician, Dr. Wachs (University of Nevada – Las Vegas, University of Nevada – Reno, and UCLA) originates her daily “Dr. Daliah” program from Las Vegas talker KDWN; iHeart Radio carries it daily 9:00 am – 12:00 noon PT. In addition to her radio show, Dr. Wachs is the medical expert on KVVU-TV, Las Vegas.
SBS Reports 12% Q2 Revenue Gain for Radio. Primarily owing to a boost in special events revenue and network sales, revenue for Spanish Broadcasting System‘s radio division increased 12% in the second quarter to $3.8 million. SBS’ consolidated net revenue grew from $36.1 million in 2013 to $40.9 million (+13%). Consolidated OIBDA fell 22% to $9.9 million, compared to $12.7 million; radio OIBDA decreased 10% to $1.5 million. Spanish Broadcasting System reported a net loss of $3.23 million (44 cents per diluted share), versus a loss of $1.23 million (17 cents) in the year-prior period.
Odds & Sods. After the success of his first non-fiction book, “FM, the Rise and Fall of Rock Radio” (Villard 2001), Richard Neer of WFAN, New York has written and published his first novel “Something of the Night” (Amazon 2014). It features a detective on the Jersey shore whose colleague and best friend is a radio talk show host. Originally tasked to find a missing small town author, the plot evolves into something much deeper, threatening the entire metropolitan region. A suspenseful page turner, the twists are non-stop. Neer has been told that social media is the only way to move books today. However he still believes in radio’s power and will promote it mainly through our medium. Interview requests will be honored by emailing email@example.com. To access the book, please click here. ….. Mark Wainwright is filling in this week (8/18 – 8/22) for morning host Joe Galuski at Clear Channel-owned talker WSYR, Syracuse.
New York Losing Progressive Talk Outlet WWRL. Progressive talk host Karel – whose Long Beach, California-based talk show is heard on Access.1’s WWRL, New York – reports the station says it will flip to Spanish-language programming on December 27. The station airs progressive talk programming including Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Premiere’s Randi Rhodes, and Leslie Marshall as well as non-political shows including Radio America’s Dr. Joy Browne, WYD Media’s Phil Hendrie plus various health and wellness shows. New York’s Amsterdam News reports the station is telling employees “low advertising revenue” is the reason for the format flip.
Brown Boosted to Bonneville International President. KSL Broadcast Group president Darrell Brown is promoted to president of parent company Bonneville International. Brown will oversee Bonneville’s 12 radio properties in Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City, as well as Salt Lake City television outlet KSL-TV. “Bonneville International is known across the industry for its integrity and quality,” he comments. “As a group, these stations are committed to serving and building-up their local communities. I am honored to be part of Bonneville’s legacy.” Brown joined KSL last August, after having previously spent 28 years at McGraw-Hill Broadcasting.
Sports Talker WFAN, New York Sponsors Red Hot Chili Peppers-Headlines Show at Barclay Center. With the Super Bowl just across the river the next day, CBS Radio sports talk giant WFAN, New York is sponsoring a big event across the other river at the Barclays Center titled, “WFAN’s Big Hello to Brooklyn.” The announcement was made this morning as WFAN morning team Boomer Esiason (left) and Craig Carton (right) welcomed Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith (center) into the studio and announced his band will be headlining the show on Saturday, February 1, 2014. The concert will also include: New Politics, MS MR, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, and Basic Vacation. CBS calls it “the biggest weekend in sports and entertainment, and is the exciting conclusion to Barclays Center’s “Kickoff In Brooklyn” series which also includes championship boxing (1/30/2014) and a match-up between the Brooklyn Nets and the Oklahoma City Thunder (1/31/2014). CBS Radio SVP, strategic events and partnerships Amy Stevens says, “The intersection of sports and music is never bigger than during the weekend of the Super Bowl. Red Hot Chili Peppers are an American institution and rock ‘n’roll icons, and what better way to celebrate football’s championship than with this incredible lineup of artists for local fans and the thousands in New York from around the world.”
WFAN’s Mike Francesa to Exit YES Network. The New York TV simulcast of WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa will end on January 31 after the current contract expires and WEPN-FM afternoon drive host Michael Kay’s program will take over the time slot on the Yankees-owned cable channel. The New York Daily News reports that the change was a financial matter and that CBS Radio was asking more for the rights to the program than YES wanted to pay. The Daily News piece speculates that cable’s Madison Square Garden Network may have the “inside track” with Francesa as he’s considered close to Garden management. The story also notes that fledgling cable channel CBS Sports Network, which is airing WFAN’s Boomer & Carton morning show, is not enticing to Francesa because he fears he’d have to change his content to appeal to the national audience.
Steak Added to WCNN Menu. In addition to existing members Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran, “The Front Row” on Dickey Broadcasting, Atlanta’s WCNN “Sports Radio 680 The Fan” will be comprised of Stephen “Steak” Shapiro as well. Formerly the 17-year host of “Mayhem in the AM” on Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone,” Shapiro has won numerous Georgia broadcasting awards and starts his daily 9:00 am – 12:00 noon assignment on January 2. WCNN president/general manager David Dickey comments, “I am excited to have ‘Steak’ back on ‘The Fan.’ He is one of the best-known and most-talented sports personalities in the country. ‘Steak’ will become an important part of what is already the region’s biggest and most-experienced sports-talk line-up. His homecoming is yet another example of Dickey Broadcasting’s ongoing commitment to invest in the best talent, the best content and the biggest partnerships.” Shapiro, who replaces Ray Mariner, adds, “‘The Fan’ gave me my start and is the reason I moved to Atlanta [from Boston] almost 20 years ago. I am ecstatic to be back doing what I love. ‘The Fan’ has been the number one sports talk station in the south for so many years. To be able to be a part of such a winning team with so many folks I have worked alongside in the past and consider friends is really thrilling.” Shapiro founded Big League Broadcasting in 1997 and was its president for roughly 14 years.
Dare to be Crap-Free. When it comes to online content, it’s easy to think you have a staffing problem or a time management problem or a resources problem, when what you really have is a crap problem. In a new column posted today (12/16) by noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, he writes, “There’s stuff on your site that is irrelevant to your station and is keeping people from finding what they DO want to find there. Your social media is probably influenced more by what everyone else is doing in social media, rather than what will cause your biggest fans to love you all the more.” To read how Chris Miller can help you get crap-free and focused on results for 2014, please click here.
Odds & Sods. Connecticut talk show host Mary Jones announces she’ll retire from Buckley Broadcasting-owned news/talk station WDRC-AM, Hartford as of December 23 in order to spend more time with her husband and enjoy winters in Florida. Jones tells TALKERS it was a big decision but she is excited about the change….. WMAL-AM/FM, Washington “Mornings on the Mall” co-host Larry O’Connor is doing some double duty during the holiday season. O’Connor will sub for WABC, New York-based Geraldo Rivera beginning December 20 through the end of the year (and the end of his national syndication run) and will also sit in for WestwoodOne-syndicated personality Dennis Miller on January 2 and 3 – the last two days of his 10:00 am to 1:00 pm airing (the show begins airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on 1/6)…..“Libertarian-conservative” media personality Wayne Allyn Root will be guest host on Cumulus Media Networks’ “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage from December 23 – 30. Root is author of The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide (Regnery 2013) and serves as a commentator on Fox News Channel and TheBlaze.
KSCO, Santa Cruz Personality Ethan Bearman’s Profile Rising. Talk radio personality and writer Ethan Bearman is getting more recognition in the Santa Cruz market as his locally focused talk show on Zwerling-owned KSCO, Santa Cruz grows in popularity. Recently, Bearman was a go-to media voice for a KION-TV news piece (captured here) on the anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. View that video here. Also, Bearman, who has intensely covered the hot issue of dirty needles, trash and other refuse in the town’s parks that’s making it unsafe for people to use, was part of a clean-up crew that made the news for its work. Read about that issue in a piece in the Santa Cruz Patch here. Bearman is a visible example of a growing trend in news/talk radio in which talk hosts are eschewing monolithic political party doctrine and instead are approaching their programs on an issue-by-issue basis.
Hawkins Scores With CRN Special. Over the weekend (Saturday, 12/14), former NBA player Tommy Hawkins premiered his CRN Digital Talk Radio holiday special “We Wish You a Jazzy Christmas.” According to CRN chief executive officer Michael Horn, “‘We Wish You a Jazzy Christmas’ is filled with holiday-themed jazz music, along with Tommy’s infectious, warm personality. His love of jazz and the holidays combine for such a treat. It is the perfect accompaniment for an evening by a Christmas tree.” Following a standout collegiate career at Notre Dame (where he was a two-year All-American), Hawkins went on to play in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers and Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings). He later became vice president of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. For approximately 15 years beginning in 1970, “Hawk” was a staple on Los Angeles siblings KABC and KLOS. As part of his basketball-to-broadcasting transition Hawkins not only became KABC’s sports director, he also did “Sports Snorts” weekday mornings with remarkably talented Frazer Smith on KLOS. In addition to doing weekends on KKJZ “K-Jazz,” Los Angeles, Hawkins has written “Life’s Reflections: Poetry for the People.” His CRN special will play throughout the holiday season.
Over $120,000 Raised in KFXX Special Olympics Radio-thon. Entercom-owned sports outlet KFXX “1080 The Fan” afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) hosts Isaac Ropp (pictured here at left with some female fans) and Jason Scukanec (second from right) anchored the third annual 28-hour Special Olympics Oregon radio-thon, which brought in more than $120,000. Program director Jeff Austin comments, “We are proud to partner with Special Olympics Oregon. The overwhelming support of our station’s staff, our listeners, and advertisers was a testament to the bond Isaac and Suke have with their audience.” Scukanec (“Suke”) states, “We cannot thank our listeners enough – Portland is a special community and this is a very special cause. We talk about sports and high-powered athletes every day, but these Olympians are the real athletes. They are the real champions and we are privileged to honor their spirit and dedication.” Special Olympics Oregon chief development officer Kim Bergstrom adds, “We are honored to partner with [KFXX]. Isaac and Suke’s radio-thon helps raise funds to support year-round sports training and competition opportunities for thousands of individuals with intellectual disability. In addition, they generate immeasurable awareness of the importance of Special Olympics Oregon programs for athletes and their families.” This year’s $120,000 radio-thon total surpassed last year’s mark by more than $45,000.
Broadcast Electronics Bumps Up Bealor To President. Effective immediately, Broadcast Electronics executive vice president of product development Tim Bealor is upped to president of the Quincy, Illinois-based company. “I am honored to be asked to lead BE into its 55th year and the next phase of the company’s growth,” he comments. “Next year is going to be an exciting time for Broadcast Electronics and its customers.” Bealor began his Broadcast Electronics career as a technician in 1975. Over the past 38 years, he has held a variety of technical, support, product management, sales leadership, and marketing positions with the company.
Sun Broadcast Group, Inc.
NEW YORK — It was another sad week for network radio as more great people: mothers, fathers, sons and daughters… dreamers of great ideas, writers of great content, communicators of the stories that shape our world, were sent to the unemployment line. Was it greed? Was it failure to evolve? Was it competition? Maybe. But in my humble opinion it was something simpler yet more devastating… Fear. Fear to be bold, fear to take risks and most important, fear to defend.
Big Changes Coming to WGN, Chicago; Cochran to AM Drive and an FM Signal in Tribune’s Future. The Chicago Tribune lays out some of the changes that will take place at Tribune Company’s legendary radio property on September 3. With the hiring of radio executive and former WLUP-FM chief Jimmy de Castro in the spring of this year, industry watchers knew changes were afoot. De Castro wasn’t hired to run things as they were. And now we know some of the ideas de Castro has been considering over the summer. Former midday host Mike McConnell – a WLW, Cincinnati alum brought in by former bosses Randy Michaels and Kevin Metheny – has already moved to the company’s online effort WGN-2. Now, Tribune reveals that air personality Steve Cochran – ousted from the station in 2010 – will return to host AM drive. Current AM drive host Jonathon Brandmeier will move to a digital property dubbed wgnfm.com until the company can acquire an FM signal on which to build a new station. The paper reports that husband-and-wife team Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano will likely host the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show and overnight host Bill Leff will be partnered with a player-to-be-named-later for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show. Garry Meier remains in the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot but is expected to take on a name partner soon. Another return of talent from the pre-Randy Michaels days are Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey (former midday “Girlfriends”) who will do a weekend program on WGN. The AM radio property will also build using blocks from its WGN-TV sibling, starting with the branding slogan “Chicago’s Very Own.” De Castro says the station will use WGN-TV personalities more often, including Dean Richards and Tom Skilling. As for the future FM property that will start as a digital station, de Castro says, “We’re going to create it as a radio laboratory. We’re going to build it up until we get an FM and then we’re going to put them all on a talk FM.” The story notes that any purchase of an FM will come after the company sheds its newspaper division. That may happen in 2014 if a buyer (or buyers) can be found.
Jim Watkins Returns to Talk Radio Network. Radio pro Jim Watkins served with Talk Radio Network for 13 years as director of affiliate relations and executive producer for the syndication company. Now, TRN Syndications, Ltd. announces it is engaging Watkins “to spearhead several new projects within TRN and to assist in the growth of the existing affiliate base of the multiple TRN networks and many radio stars that TRN syndicates.” The company states Watkins will oversee new business development and growth-strategy projects for the TRN Networks that distributes Andrea Tantaros, Jerry Doyle, Rusty Humphries, Erich “Mancow” Muller, Monica Crowley, “America’s Morning News,” Michio Kaku, Louie Anderson, Roy Masters and America’s Radio News Network, and a complete weekend lineup of a variety of talk programming. CEO Mark Masters says he’s thrilled to have Watkins leading his affiliate department at this most crucial time. “Jim is deeply entrenched in talk radio and has developed alliances with key programmers across the country. As the country ramps up into the mid-term elections, talk radio has never been more vital to facilitating the national debate. Jim really understands the vitality of talk radio better than most people in the industry today.” Watkins previously programmed news/talk stations for Clear Channel, as well as South-Florida based Meridian Broadcasting, and also served as producer for some of the top air talent in the country, including Michael Savage, Mike Gallagher, Barry Farber, and others. He adds, “Talk radio reaches the most affluent and loyal audience of any format, and it does so by allowing for a free exchange of ideas which can and does influence public policy in a big way. To have one of the best rosters of talent to be found anywhere gives me a great sense of pride.”
Nationally Syndicated Host Thom Hartmann Debuts Daily Caller Column. Liberal talk media star Thom Hartmann begins writing a weekly column for the conservative digital publication Daily Caller in which he addresses an issue from his own perspective followed by a conservative or libertarian rebuttal. In his first column – dubbed “Liberally Yours” – Hartmann asks the question: Should the Post Office be in charge of your e-mails? You can read the piece here. Hartmann – whose radio program is syndicated by WYD Media Management – was recently honored by TALKERS magazine ranked at #7 on the Frontier Fifty 2013 – A Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters (see that entire feature here). In addition to his AM/FM radio program, Hartmann’s digital efforts have earned him recognition by TALKERS for his forward-thinking business model that pushes his content into exciting new areas.
Scott Webb Joins Beasley South Florida as Production Director. Beasley Broadcast Miami announces the appointment of Scott Webb as production director for its three-station cluster that includes hip hop WPOW “Power 96,” country WKIS “99.9 Kiss Country” and sports talk WQAM “560 Sports Radio.” In this new post, Webb will be responsible for overseeing the voicing and production of commercials for the stations. Webb owns Scott Webb Radio Imaging based previously in Washington/Baltimore that he founded in 2001. Prior to launching his own firm, he was creative services director and morning co-host at WJMO, Washington, D.C. He has also served as creative services director at WHUR, Washington, WMMJ, Washington and KRBV, Dallas. WKIS operations manager Ken Boesen states, “Scott brings exceedingly strong production skills, top-quality voiceover abilities and a fun work ethic to Beasley Miami. He’ll be a great addition to the team and will help make our production department the strongest in South Florida.”
Boston Celtics and WEEI/WRKO Part Company; Will CBS Radio Swoop In? The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reports that Entercom and the NBA’s Boston Celtics have ended negotiations to continue airing games on sports talk WEEI-FM and news/talk WRKO this season after being unable to come to terms. Now the question is will CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” be able to secure the play-by-play rights? In the ongoing and bloody battle between the two sports talk stations, a snare of Celtics hoops would give WBZ-FM three of the four major sports in town: Patriots football, Bruins hockey and Celtics basketball – leaving WEEI-FM with Red Sox baseball (no small potatoes, obviously). As Finn notes in his piece, CBS Radio owns enough stations in the market to cover any conflicts between the several teams’ games. Finn writes that Entercom and the Celtics had a revenue-sharing agreement under the old deal but it’s unknown if there was also a rights fee. Historically, CBS Radio has been willing to pay big dollars for play-by-play rights if it believes it can justify the expense down the road.
Good Karma Lets Three Go at WKNR, Cleveland. In a report on Cleveland.com, Good Karma trims its staff by three as sports talk outlet WKNR “ESPN Cleveland” says goodbye to sports talk host Kenny Roda, Browns beat reporter Will Burge and Indians beat reporter T.J. Zuppe. Burge tells the news outlet that although he was a little surprised by the changes, he says, “I guess you can never be too surprised in this business when they say they want to meet with you about some big-picture changes.” Roda Tweeted to fans, “Thanks to all who have made the last 21 years at WKNR a remarkable, unforgettable & amazing journey. I enjoyed sharing it with you all.”
Art Versnick Named GM at WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Resort Broadcasting news/talk WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware “The Talk of Delmarva” announces Art Versnick joins the station to serve as general manager. In making the announcement, company president David Schoumacher states, “Art is a seasoned broadcast professional who brings great knowledge to our very important heritage radio station. It was imperative to secure the future of this franchise with a pro, and we’ve done that by bringing his talent to work with our staff.” Versnick comments, “I’m thrilled to be joining this heritage station – with its local air staff – almost unheard of today in news/talk radio. The dedication of this staff and ownership to provide Sussex County with quality and local programming will continue and move to the next level in providing listeners and advertisers a local forum.”
Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Begins Sponsored Live Broadcast Series. Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee announces the debut of the “We Love Wisconsin Tour” that will see the morning show broadcast live from sites across the state. Sponsored by All American Window & Door, the first live broadcast event will be Friday, August 23, at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend where “Wisconsin’s Morning News with Gene Mueller” will broadcast from 5:00 am to 8:30 am. The tour will continue in Wauwatosa in September, Madison in October and Green Bay in November. Journal Broadcast Group vice president of news/talk programming Tom Langmyer says, “As ‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station,’ WTMJ is excited to celebrate individual communities that make our region so special as a whole. Gene Mueller and his team will explore the history of each town, introduce listeners to special people and discover fun things to do along the way. We’re pleased to partner with All American Window & Door on this adventure.” During the live broadcast event, Terri Lodwick, owner of All American Window & Door, will present a $1,000 donation to a local charity.
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Radio Washington D.C. properties WTOP and Federal News Radio are honored with the 2013 Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility for the use of flexibility and other aspects of workplace effectiveness as a workplace strategy to increase business and employee success…..Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” agrees to a deal through Learfield Sports to carry University of Illinois football play-by-play for this season…..NFL Hall of Famer Joe Namath guests on Sports USA’s “Conversations with Joe Morgan” this week. Morgan’s program is heard on some 80 affiliates across the country. Namath’s podcast, produced by Sports USA, debuts next week…..Indiana Radio Watch tips TALKERS that Zach Bonahoom exits Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne where he hosted a Saturday talk show.
NSA Surveillance Program/UK Threatens Guardian, Egypt Violence, ObamaCare Implementation, OK Ballplayer Slaying, and Clinton Foundation Expenses Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20). The scope of the NSA surveillance program and the UK’s threats against the Guardian paper; continuing violence in Egypt and the U.S.’s relationship with its government; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the killing of an Australian baseball player by teens in Oklahoma; and the report of the Clinton Foundation’s travel expenses were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Jim Bohannon Says Good Relations with Affiliates Got Him the Shot Replacing Larry King. In an exclusive interview conducted with TalkersTV at the recent “Talkers New York 2013” (6/6), TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Jim Bohannon (r) tells interviewer Mike Kinosian (l) that the key to his being offered a shot at replacing Larry King, upon the legendary pioneer’s retirement from the Mutual Broadcasting overnight show, was his good relationships with the program’s affiliates. He explains that during the 11 years he served as King’s backup host he never missed an opportunity to visit an affiliate when on the road and offer to be of service to them. He often called affiliates on the phone and showed interest in their situations. When the time came to consider a replacement for King, the management of Mutual thought that they needed someone with a higher national profile than Bohannon – even though Bohannon was a proven, outstanding radio talent. It was the program’s affiliate advisory board that pressured Mutual into giving “Jimbo” the shot saying “he earned the right to fail.” Of course he did NOT fail and as the saying goes, the rest is history. Radio Hall of Famer Bohannon, who received the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from TALKERS celebrating his 53-year career in the industry, tells Kinosian he was “overwhelmed” by the honor. When asked if he was still having fun being on the air he said, “Doing talk radio was like playing shortstop… you never know what is going to come at you. If someone gets tired of doing a talk show it means they are tired of life.” To see the video of the Jim Bohannon interview, please click here.
WHAM, Rochester Fires Craig Schaller for Blog Post Comments. Commenting on the state of women’s golf after the final round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship in nearby Pittsford, New York, WHAM personality Craig Schaller wrote in a blog post comments about the ethnicity of many of the players in what he terms “tongue-in-cheek.” In the post he wrote, “…there are too many gosh darn foreigners on the tour and more specifically, I’m talking about Koreans and Asians in general…It’s hard to remember specific golfers when half of them seem to have names that sound like the sound you get when you bang pots and pans together.” Interviewed by local television outlet WHEC-TV, Schaller states, “I had an inkling it might be a little controversial. I actually said in the blog, I might offend some people I’m sure, but what I said I didn’t think was over the top…I regret the way it was taken. I meant it as a tongue-in-cheek kind of comment made for humor. I think a lot of people maybe not take things as light as they’re meant when you write them sometimes. That was definitely the case. I shouldn’t have said it that way. I admit that. It was poorly phrased and it was definitely offensive.”
CBS Radio’s KRLD-AM, Dallas Wins Edward R. Murrow Award. The station’s “KRLD Afternoon News” is named winner of the 2013 National Edward R. Murrow Award for “Best Newscast” for large market radio, the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) announced on Wednesday. CBS Dallas vice president of news, talk and sports programming Gavin Spittle states, “This is an amazing honor and a milestone in KRLD’s 87-year history. News director Paul Mann and the entire staff genuinely deserve this recognition.” Mann states, “I couldn’t be prouder of the work the KRLD News team produces every day and I’m thrilled to see that work acknowledged with such a prestigious award. It’s truly humbling.” The National Edward R. Murrow Awards will be presented at a gala on October 14 in New York City.
CBS Radio’s ’92.9 The Game’ Grabs Atlanta Hawks Basketball. CBS Radio and the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks announce sports talk WZGC-FM, Atlanta “92.9 The Game” becomes the official flagship station of the team beginning July 1. The multi-year agreement that begins with the coming season includes the station broadcasting all NBA regular season and postseason basketball games played by the Atlanta Hawks, all pre-game and post-game broadcasts as well as dedicated Hawks programming with their on-air basketball talent that includes Rick Kamla, Sam Mitchell and Dennis Scott. Long-time Hawks voice Steve Holman will continue his role as play-by-play announcer with the station, adding to his 2,050th consecutive game broadcast. Hawks president Bob Williams says, “Entering into a partnership with ’92.9 The Game’ will create exciting opportunities for both the Atlanta Hawks and our new flagship. CBS Radio’s sports talk investment in the greater Atlanta market, the NBA and the Hawks, boasting one of the most powerful signal strengths in the Southeast, means more Hawks fans than ever will be able to follow and support our team and interact with the basketball savvy on-air talent at ’92.9 The Game’ 24 hours a day, year-round.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Hawks PA announcer and “V-103” morning show host Ryan Cameron; Hawks CFO Andrew Steinberg, “92-9 The Game” program director Terry Foxx; senior vice president and market manager for CBS Radio Atlanta Rick Caffey; Hawks general manager Danny Ferry; and Hawks and Philips Arena president Bob Williams.
Playboy and PodcastOne Hook Up. PodcastOne announces it has struck a deal with PlayboyRadio.com to add the Playboy Radio podcast lineup to PodcastOne.com, via the PodcastOne mobile app, PlayboyRadio.com and iTunes. Additionally, Playboy Radio will be represented for advertising sales by Podcast One’s rep firm Launchpad Digital Media. PodcastOne and Launchpad Digital Media chairman and founder Norm Pattiz states, “Few brands are celebrated by so many, in so many places. In fact, the Playboy Advisor was one of the first radio programs in the original Westwood One syndicated radio lineup. It’s good to be back with old friends in the new age of cutting-edge, on-demand digital entertainment.” Available for download will be programs such as “The Playboy Morning Show with Andrea Lowell and Kevin Klein,” “Playboy’s Happy Hour with Jessica Hall” and “The Bachelor’s Bob Guiney,” and “Swing and Dark Matter with Dave Navarro.” Playboy Radio GM and program director Josh Cooperman says, “Playboy Radio is celebrating 10 years producing fun, sexy and sophisticated radio. We are excited to make our shows available through podcast and equally excited to be working with Podcast One on this project.”
NBC Sports Radio Network Adds South Bend Affiliate. The NBC Sports Radio Network announces it signs Talking Stick Communications sports talk outlet WAOR, Nappanee, Indiana “95.7 FM The Fan” to its affiliate list. The Dial Global/NBC Sports national syndication initiative is now heard on more than 265 stations across the country. WAOR program director Mike “Ragz” Ragozino says, “I knew one week after adding the NBC programs “Under Center,” Stashower, and Amani & Eytan, that we made a smart business decision. I am extremely confident that these shows give our station the best all-sports entertainment in Northern Indiana, from sun up to sun down.”
Frank Flores Appointed VP of Hispanic Marketing and Sales at SiriusXM. The satcaster announces Frank Flores is named vice president of Hispanic marketing and sales. He’ll oversee the marketing and advertising sales initiatives surrounding the SiriusXM Latino channels, which include ten exclusive commercial-free music channels covering a wide variety of music genres, and multiple Spanish-language sports and talk channels. President and chief content officer Scott Greenstein states, “We are excited to have Frank Flores join SiriusXM as we continue the expansion of our Latino subscriber initiative for a national audience of bilingual listeners. Frank will help lead the growth of SiriusXM Latino, which contains the most comprehensive Latin programming lineup on radio. He is a dynamic executive with deep experience and we welcome him to the SiriusXM team.” Prior to joining SiriusXM, Flores was SVP of sales marketing for National Latino Broadcasting.
Big Apple Beauty. Posing for the TALKERS camera with a big green apple in hand at the recent Talkers New York 2013 conference is none other than nationally syndicated Radio America star Dr. Joy Browne. The perennial Heavy Hundred relationship-talker was one of more than 555 industry luminaries who attended the smash event in the Big Apple last Thursday.
Zimmer Radio Buys FM Translator for KWOS, Jefferson City, Missouri. Zimmer’s KWOS, Jefferson City “News Radio 950” is acquiring FM translator K265CT from religious broadcaster Lifesounds Inc. for $35,000. The signal is a 250 watt FM with a construction permit to raise the height of the tower.
NSA Surveillance Case, Amnesty Legislation, Financial Markets Activity, and Zimmerman Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/12). The NSA data mining program and the case of Edward Snowden; the immigration legislation that includes amnesty for illegal aliens; the turbulent global financial markets; and the jury selection in the trail of George Zimmerman were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Miss Universe Credits Rhode Island Talk Radio with Inspiration. Miss Universe 2013, Olivia Culpo, (c) made a surprise appearance at Talkers New York 2013 last week (6/6) and told the attendees during a brief impromptu interview with Michael Harrison that she listened to talk radio growing up in her home state of Rhode Island and was inspired by it to hone her formidable speaking skills. She is pictured with TALKERS staffer (and Massachusetts “Miss Bay State” pageant winner) Emma Leigh Gilbert (l) and WPRO, Providence talk star John DePetro (r).
Pioneering Talk Radio Host Gene Burns Dead at 72. Longtime talk radio host and broadcasting pioneer Gene Burns has died, succumbing to a long illness marked by a series of strokes. In the words of TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison, “Gene was one of the greatest of the great and classiest of the classy – a true ‘wordsmith’ and gentleman who symbolized everything good about talk radio and served as one of the major engines that drove the ascent of its modern era.” Until recently forced by illness into retirement from on-air performing, Burns had spent a decade and a half as a key host on KGO, San Francisco where he did a general news/talk program as well as a very popular restaurant and entertainment show. The veteran of a number of great stations, he made his mark in the late-1980s and early-1990s as a member of the legendary lineup at WRKO, Boston that also included the late Jerry Williams. That was followed by a brief but high-profile stint at WOR, New York and national syndication on the WOR Radio Network. Harrison adds, “Gene Burns practiced a brand of libertarian-based, intellectual populism in his approach to political news/talk that set the standard for the format’s emergence as a voice for the average person to stand up to big government, big business, big media and big anything. Although ‘conservative’ in his orientation, he eschewed blatant partisanship, avoided banal cookie-cutter left-versus-right talking points and dealt with each issue in an academically probing and credible manner.” Burns’ ground breaking work in the early-1990s stood as the inspiration for TALKERS magazine’s annual Freedom of Speech Award and the tradition of the annual State of the First Amendment Address delivered at the publication’s conventions. He is ranked the 23rd most important radio talk show host of all time by TALKERS in its “Heaviest Hundred” feature which is updated twice a decade. Harrison concludes, “His rich, baritone voice coupled with the artistry of his word selection and ability to construct a logical argument was about as close to music as one could hear within a spoken word context.” A special honoring the life and work of Gene Burns aired on Sunday, May 26 on KGO hosted by David Weintraub and a special tribute will be presented honoring his legacy at Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6.
Adult Contemporary is a Relatively Low-Involvement Format on Facebook. According to digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, “There are several major-market adult contemporary stations on Facebook who have a ton of followers, but very little interaction going on. As a former AC programmer, I absolutely feel their pain; AC is a low-involvement format. At the same time, most of these stations have fallen into a rut about what they post. The quality of the post is in the level of engagement you get from it. When thousands or tens of thousands follow you, and you get two or three ‘Likes’ on your posts, you gotta shake up your thinking.” In a new column posted today (5/28) Miller suggests that although consistency is basically a good and necessary thing, there is a dark side to it and to avoid falling into a rut, radio broadcasters of all formats should make changes to approximately 10% of their posts on a regular basis. To read the details and Miller’s entire piece, click here.
Kent Sterling Returns to Indy on Sports Talk WFNI. News/talk and sports radio pro Kent Sterling re-surfaces on the air at Emmis’ sports talk WFNI, Indianapolis for a weekend program with Chris Hagan called, “Ahead of the Curve with Hagan and Sterling.” He most recently served with Bonneville at its St. Louis sports talker WXOS but exited that post to return to Indianapolis. Prior to his work at WXOS, Sterling served as program director at Emmis’ news/talk flagship WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. Sterling’s and Hagan’s weekend program airs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays.
NBA on Radio Is a Different Breed of Sports Play-by-Play. Major League Baseball is the sport that could be called radio’s best friend and the NFL’s astounding popularity makes its games and surrounding programming popular with listeners. While the NBA’s regular season games are not generally thought of as “programming gold” across the country, it appears that having even a moderately successful team combined with a flagship station with a strong nighttime signal, can be a recipe for success with basketball play-by-play. According to information from Arbitron based on PPM data from 27 NBA teams in 25 PPM markets, certain places are simply basketball towns – the Los Angeles Lakers rule Los Angeles on KSPN with average game estimates larger than the Dodgers, Angels, Kings and Ducks grabbing a 4.0 share with Men 25-54 (average of all 82 games). And perennial contenders the San Antonio Spurs dominated on WOAI with a 9.8 share with Men 25-54. However, less successful teams on strong flagships performed well during the regular season: the Milwaukee Bucks just squeaked into the playoffs but on heritage WTMJ garnered a 10 share with Men 25-54; the Cleveland Cavaliers missed the playoffs yet grabbed a 9.7 share (M 25-54) on WTAM; and the Detroit Pistons also missed the playoffs but notched an 8.0 (M 25-54) share on the highly rated WXYT-FM. Considering games in the East and Midwest air in the evenings, numbers for the stations cited above – and others not cited here – are impressive nighttime ratings.
Flagship Stations Should Capitalize on Cross-Promotional Opportunities within Baseball PBP. According to Bonneville Seattle creative director Chris Pendl, “If you’ve made the investment on play-by-play sports on your station, it’s important to maximize the return on your investment by trying to recycle that audience to another daypart on your station.” Arbitron reports that MLB drives cume increases as much as 50% to 65% during baseball season. Pendl tells TALKERS, “This influx of audience is one of the reasons we pay rights fees, share revenue, or give up inventory to carry this programming. In a climate with little or no external marketing dollars, I’ve often joked that our promotional time within baseball play-by-play is the closest thing we’ll get to an interstate billboard or TV campaign.” In an exclusive article posted today (5/28) Pendl describes and shares a production/promo technique conducted by Bonneville to cross-promote the station via the baseball audience that he calls “situation baseball return liners.” To read the entire piece and hear examples of its execution, click here.
Buckley to Sell KYZZ, Salinas, California to Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters. Buckley Communications announces it is selling sports talk KYZZ, Salinas, California to Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters. The price is yet to be announced. KYZZ is the FM side of the sports talk simulcast that also airs on Buckley’s KIDD, Monterey and Buckley says it will continue with its ESPN Radio affiliation on KIDD. Mt. Wilson has not announced its format plans for KYZZ. Saul Levine’s Mt. Wilson also owns country KKGO, Los Angeles and classical simulcast KMZT-AM, Beverly Hills and KMZT-FM, Big Sur, California.
WTOP Hacking: Why You Should Worry. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes about the recent hacking of the websites of Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington and its sister WFED “Federal News Radio.” Weisman is one of the nation’s foremost experts on scams, he operates the website Scamicide that presents up-to-date information about scams, fraud and identity theft, and is the author of The Truth About Avoiding Scams (FT Press 2008). In this column, Weisman explains the methods used by the WTOP hackers and explains the steps users can take to avoid becoming the victim of similar attacks. Read Weisman’s entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. Martz Communications’ WPDM, Potsdam, New York flips from a simulcast of FM sister WSNN to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network…..Wilks License Company’s sports talk WZOH, Columbus becomes part of the Cleveland Browns radio network based at CBS Radio’s WKRK, Cleveland…..WTOP, Washington crowns Nathan Stanford from Harrington, Delaware the 2013 winner of “Commuter Idle” – an “extreme commuter” competition for listeners experiencing the daily horrors of commuting in and around Washington. Stanford’s commute begins with a 3:00 am alarm and a one-hour drive. He then boards a commuter bus for a 90-minute ride from Kent Island to Foggy Bottom, rides the Metro, and hustles on foot to his office in Rosslyn. Stanford’s travels from Delaware to Virginia average more than five hours a day, though the commute can be much longer in the summer months with Friday beach traffic. He receives $1,000 in gas money and will enjoy a limo ride to and from work from Reston Limousine. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “The question that we hear most often is, ‘Why do these people do it?’ It’s fascinating to hear their personal stories and accompany them on their crazy commutes. We feel their pain, and as DC’s traffic authority we’re here to help.”
KOIL, Omaha’s Mulberry Lane Meets the Beach Boys and John Stamos. Musical act Mulberry Lane opened for the Beach Boys (which includes actor and musician John Stamos) in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Saturday, May 25. Pictured here are (from l-r): Bo Mulberry, Bruce Johnston, Rachel Mulberry, Mike Love, Allie Mulberry, and John Stamos. The Mulberry sisters – based in Nebraska – also host a weekend talk show on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha called the “Mulberry Lane Radio Show.” The station describes the ladies’ program saying the sisters “decided to bring their busy lives to live radio with a show based on sisterhood, womanhood, motherhood, and the humor and mishaps of trying to juggle it all – woven together with music, harmony and a dash of wit.” It airs Saturdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.
Longtime KNX, Los Angeles Anchor Harry Birrell Dies. Longtime Los Angeles news personality Harry Birrell died on May 26 after a battle with lung disease at age 85 in Thousand Oaks, California. Birrell was an anchor at all-news KNX, Los Angeles for more than three decades – beginning in 1968 when the station flipped to the all-news format and ending with his retirement in 1999. Birrell switched from his anchor role at the station to Ventura County correspondent in 1993.
Kevin Miller Stops By TheBlaze. KIDO, Boise morning drive talk show host Kevin Miller was visiting Dallas – home of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – and took some time to stop by the studios to check out the production of the Glenn Beck program. Here’s a shot of Beck (l) and Miller (r) inside the spacious former movie/TV studios that are home to Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts production facility.