Johnson Joins WTEM as PD. More accurately, as of next Monday (2/15), Chris Johnson will again occupy the programming chair at Red Zebra Broadcasting sports outlet WTEM “ESPN 980,” Washington, DC – just as he did from 2005 to 2008. Red Zebra Broadcasting chairman Terry Bateman states, “We are excited to have someone with Chris’ experience and skill to help us build and grow ‘ESPN 980.’ We have a great lineup of talent and great content. We look forward to putting it all together to give our listeners the best sports talk radio in the Washington, DC market.” Most recently, Johnson covered MLB‘s Washington Nationals as a reporter for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. He previously was a producer of NFL and NCAA games for Westwood One; Johnson’s prior connection with WTEM lasted from 1996 – 2008. Down for the third straight ratings period (2.3 – 2.1 – 1.9 -1.6, 6+), “ESPN 980” finishes #20 in the “Holiday” 2015 report, while its format challenger – CBS Radio-owned WJFK-FM “The Fan” – also off for the third successive sweep (2.5 – 2.3 – 2.1 -1.9, 6+) – is #18. The market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary WASH (5.9 – 6.1 – 7.0 – 12.0, 6+).
New Hampshire Primary/Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 8-12. Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary and the activities of the candidates for president were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the Hillary Clinton email case investigation. Coming in at #3 was the recent financial markets activity and related concerns about a recession followed by the effects of the Syrian civil war 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 and it is published every Friday and Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Beasley Broadcast Group 2015 Q4 Net Revenue Up 6.2%. That figure is based on Beasley’s reporting of combined operations – both continuing and discontinued operations – and that’s relative to the 2014 Q4 asset swap with CBS RADIO that saw Beasley exchange five radio stations in the Philadelphia and Miami-Fort Lauderdale markets for 14 CBS stations in the Tampa-St. Petersburg, Charlotte and Philadelphia markets. Net revenue of combined operations for the whole of 2015 was $105.9 million, an increase of 4.4% over 2014. Beasley CEO and chairman George Beasley states, “Throughout 2015 we implemented a broad range of operating, programming, sales and local strategies intended to extract operating and financial synergies from the stations acquired in the 2014 Asset Exchange. I am pleased to report that we achieved our goal of our clusters outperforming the markets that report to Miller Kaplan for the first time in December 2015 and expect this trend to continue in 2016. Success with our integration and profitability initiatives is also reflected in fourth quarter 2015 station operating income of $9 million and an SOI margin of 31.7%, as well as net income of $3.3 million or $0.14 per diluted share.”
CBS RADIO Revenue Dips 5%. Radio is not the primary focus of CBS Corp. but new CBS chairman, president and CEO Les Moonves has always said he likes the radio business – especially its cash flow. Radio is lumped in with CBS Television Stations to make up the Local Broadcasting category, but the company breaks the two apart in these reports and radio’s revenue was down 5% on “continued softness in the radio advertising marketplace and lower political advertising.” The television sector was down 11% compared the same Q4 period in 2014 – a period that benefitted from mid-term election political spending.
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.
Ferguson Provides News/Talk Radio with Red Meat on Controversial Issues for Both Left and Right. The tragic events that have unfolded in Ferguson, MO have provided talk radio opinion leaders from the left, right and in-between with more than enough fresh material on mainstay topics around which to build their cases. Some see it as another horrific indication of unjust racial inequality in America and the troubling expansion of a militarized police state. Others see it as further infuriating evidence of the rise of crime, unwarranted playing of the race card and growing disrespect and lack of support for law enforcement. Almost all are concerned about its reflection of the declining state of journalism and increasing suppression of the press and First Amendment rights. Asked by Salem Radio Network VP news & talk programming, Tom Tradup (for a forthcoming article in September’s Townhall Magazine) his take on talk radio’s role in the matter and whether he sees it as negative or positive, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Ferguson contains a tempest of pressing and controversial American issues. There’s red meat for both the left and right in this tragedy. Talk radio – collectively – has played a positive role in responding to and covering it by airing all the different ideologies, including those that are politically incorrect, and moving the vital discussion forward. Some hosts have gone directly to the scene putting local people on the air to present real life perspectives, thus bringing the public closer to the disturbingly obscured truth.” The article will contain comments from Sean Hannity, Mike Gallagher, and SiriusXM personality David Webb who went to Ferguson where he interviewed a wide variety of residents including African American businesspeople. Tradup tells TALKERS, “I’m proud of our industry leading the national conversation on this issue, and look forward to highlighting the great work many shows did inviting audience members to experience the story-behind-the-headlines.”
Mike Gallagher: “I Can – and Will – Do Better.” On his Salem-syndicated talk program yesterday (Wednesday, 8/20), Mike Gallagher became embroiled with one of his callers (“James”). The two discussed James’ opinion that releasing surveillance video of 18-year-old Michael Brown robbing a convenience store prior to the shooting that took Brown’s life was, in and of itself, a “violent act.” There was considerable shouting between host Gallagher and caller “James” with the latter hanging up. Gallagher maintains the on-air exchange bothered him the rest of the day and it prompted him to write on Facebook Wednesday night, “Today on my radio show, my emotions got the best of me. I have been bothered by that exchange all day and I wanted to formally apologize. While I steadfastly disagree with [caller James’] contention that the surveillance video of Michael Brown robbing a convenience store was not a ‘violent act,’ I should not have interrupted James as I did. I will give a more detailed and specific apology on the air tomorrow, but I wanted to put it in writing tonight. I should not have reacted the way I did, and I certainly should not invite people to call my show and then disagree so passionately that I don’t give them much of a chance to talk. I am sorry. I can – and will – do better.”
Dan Mason To Cox Media Group Tampa As OM. To clarify, the Dan Mason appointed operations manager for three Cox Media Group Tampa facilities is the former WODS, Boston program director – not the CBS Radio president and chief executive officer with the same name. CMG vice president and market manager Keith Lawless comments, “Dan’s approach to programming is firmly in line with ours and he is a welcome addition to our team. I am confident his contributions will help us continue to compete and win.” Cox Media Group vice president of programming Steve Smith explains, “We took our time searching for the right fit, and Dan is that guy. He will add his expertise in management and talent development to some of our other super-brands in Tampa. We welcome Dan to the CMG family.” Mason – who begins his new assignment in about two weeks (9/8) – states that he is “thrilled” to join the “fantastic team” in Tampa on “three of the most exciting and unique brands not just within Cox Media Group, but the country. I am grateful to Keith Lawless and Steve Smith for the opportunity to lead the team.” Mason’s Tampa OM duties involve alternative WSUN “97-X,” CHR WPOI “Hot 101.5,” and talk WHPT “102.5 The Bone.” He will also be director of branding & programming for “Hot 101.5.” Mason’s previous programming background includes Clear Channel Miami CHR WHYI “Y-100”; Entercom Sacramento outlets CHR KDND-FM “107.9 The End” and hot AC KBZC “Star 106.5”; and Clear Channel Cleveland CHR WAKS, “96.5 Kiss-FM.”
CMG Talkers Clear “The Dana Show.” The agreement for Radio America‘s “The Dana Show” includes Cox Media Group talk outlets in Atlanta (WSB-AM); Orlando (WDBO-FM); Jacksonville (WOKV-AM/FM); Dayton (WHIO-AM/FM); Tulsa (KRMG-AM/FM); and Athens, Georgia (WGAU). Cox Media Group vice president of marketing/news-talk-sports format leader Nick Roberts comments that, “Cox Media Group strongly believes in growing new talk talent — people who can be the next superstars. We believe Dana has the ability to reach the next generation of listeners.” Radio America chief operating officer Mike Paradiso states, “The growth of ‘The Dana Show’ has been outstanding. Dana and all of us at Radio America are excited about her success across the country. It is a privilege to be working with a great company like Cox and their heritage stations.” Host Dana Loesch originates her daily program from Emmis St. Louis’ KFTK.
When Broadened Aspirations Deserve a Thank-You. For well over one-half century (1926 – 1983), New York City’s female-targeted WOR was America’s #1 rated radio station and the country’s top-biller. Similarly-programmed talkers KABC, Los Angeles and WGN, Chicago were typically second and third. Partnership pioneer Tom O’Neil understood that his business was show business and grew the crown jewel of the RKO Radio Network – WOR – by hiring major stars from other media. Nowadays though, when topflight radio personalities seek to broaden their horizons in other media, most radio managers try to quash such plans. Tipping his cap to the O’Neil model, Sabo Media chief executive officer Walter Sabo strongly suggests that when on-air personalities possess the ambition to do more than radio, management should reward them with a hearty “Thank-You.” Click here to read Sabo’s exclusive TALKERS article.
Donahue to Retire from KYW. After a five-decade Philadelphia broadcasting career, Harry Donahue is retiring. Tomorrow (8/22) is the last day on the job for the morning drive co-anchor at CBS Radio-owned all-news KYW. CBS Radio Philadelphia senior vice president and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “Harry’s voice is one of Philadelphia’s most familiar. His contributions to KYW are immeasurable. He is a consummate professional and will be sorely missed by those who have worked with him all these years, as well as our many listeners who set their alarms to 1060 each morning.” Donahue reflects that when he was hired at KYW, “I couldn’t believe it. It was, and remains, the preeminent radio station in Philadelphia. I have done what I always wanted to do. To work in my hometown and having been part of this iconic radio station – it just doesn’t get any better.” Donahue joined KYW in 1973. He began his career as an announcer for Philadelphia’s former WPBS (now WUSL) and as a manager of media relations for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Donahue is the longtime play-by-play voice for Temple University athletics – men’s football and basketball. The latter is heard on KYW’s talk sibling WPHT; he will continue those responsibilities.
Tree Media Releases Climate Crisis Film “CARBON.” Production company Tree Media is supported by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (DiCaprio is the film’s narrator). Made in collaboration with nationally syndicated, WYD Media progressive talk host (and recipient of the 2014 TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award) Thom Hartmann, CARBON explores crucial issues related to the climate crisis. Hartmann stresses, “We need serious action to address the most pressing issue of our time. Communities across the world have taken action in the most direct and effective ways possible by taxing and trading carbon. For us to beat this crisis, many more need to join.” According to DiCaprio, “97% of climate scientists agree: Climate change is happening now and humans are responsible. We cannot sit idly by and watch the fossil fuel industry make billions at our collective expense. We must put a price on carbon — now.” This is the first film in the “Green World Rising” series that will include three additional ones covering solutions to the climate crisis. Director Leila Connors explains, “This film is meant to be an asset for the climate movement and to generate momentum for the global reduction of carbon emissions. We must move toward renewable energy and to create a real solution.” CARBON was produced by George DiCaprio, Mathew Schmid, Roee Sharon and Earl Katz, and presented by Thom Hartmann.
Return of the Hochman Burger. For the second year, Beasley Broadcast Group Miami’s WQAM “Sports Radio 560” afternoon (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) driver Marc Hochman can go into a certain Boca Raton establishment – Red’s Backwoods BBQ – and order a burger that is named after him. “As a guy, I don’t think there is a bigger honor than [that],” he contends. “In my radio career, I have interviewed everyone from Hulk Hogan and Mike Tyson to Pat Sajak and Al Roker. As a program director, I have been nominated twice for ‘Sports Radio Station of the Year’ for the Marconi Awards, but I have never been more proud of anything than [this]. For the record, the “Hochman Burger” is accompanied with cheddar cheese, barbeque sauce, and is topped with Funyuns.
Los Angeles’ KFWB to Air NFL and NCAA Slate. Set to launch the station’s all-sports format early next month, KFWB, Los Angeles newly-named program director Owen Murphy reveals KFWB will carry a complete schedule of NFL and NCAA play-by-play. In addition, the hour-long USC sports spotlight “Trojans Live” will return for its second season. The Tuesday evening (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm) program devoted to USC sports features men’s head football coach Steve Sarkisian. This is KFWB’s fifth year as flagship of the NBA‘s Los Angeles Clippers and it becomes the exclusive Los Angeles home for Westwood One‘s coverage of all NFL Sunday night, Monday night and Thursday night games. That schedule begins in two weeks (9/4) when Green Bay takes on reigning champion Seattle. Murphy states, “With rumors swirling about the NFL draft coming to Los Angeles in 2015, and maybe an NFL team as well, we could not be more excited to deliver great Westwood One football programming to a football hungry town so deserving of its own team. There is no better product than Westwood One’s March Madness play-by-play and we are proud to have the opportunity to present it to the most passionate and knowledgeable hoops fans in America.” The station’s broadcast schedule will include the NFC and AFC Championship games, Pro Bowl, and next February’s Super Bowl.
“Ragz” To Program Portland’s “Game.” Alpha Media Portland sports outlet KXTG “750 The Game” names Mike “Ragz” Ragozino program director and afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) host. Executive vice president of programming Scott Mahalick comments, “‘Ragz’ is uniquely qualified to lead the staff of ‘The Game’ and practice what he preaches everyday on the air. He ‘gets’ the entertainment factor in sports radio like no one else in this business.” Ragozino reflects that ever since he got into the radio business, “It was always about taking a new challenge head on, without fear of failure, having fun and most importantly, entertaining the audience. Joining Alpha Media – and more specifically ‘750 The Game’ – offers me a chance to do what I love for an incredible company in a beautiful city that has the same passion for sports as I do.” The Queens, New York native has 12 years of classic rock programming/on-air experience at WNNJ, Sussex, New Jersey and WAOR, South Bend, Indiana. When WAOR flipped to sports in May 2012, it enabled “Ragz” to accomplish his dream of programming an all-sports station. In addition to programming it, he co-hosted a weekly one-hour show with Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown. Ragozino begins his Portland assignment in just over two weeks (Monday, 9/8).
BOB-FM to the Romantic Rescue. “You’ll hear all sorts of stuff” is the way BOB-FM positions itself and a recent audio clip from the station underscores that positioning statement. This particular BOB-FM though is not an adult hits outlet here in the United States, but a radio station broadcasting at 106.7 and 106.9 in Knebworth, Hertford, Ware, Hatfield, Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth Garden City, Welwyn Garden City and Watton-at-Stone. Knebworth most likely gave away the location as the United Kingdom. Reminiscent of something syndicated personality “Delilah” or Karen Sharp on her nightly “Love Songs” show on Los Angeles adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103” might do, BOB-FM morning talents (or “breakfast presenters,” as they are more elegantly called) Graham Mack and Amy Stevenson came to the aid of a young woman (“Sarah”) yearning to reconnect with her dream man (“Sam”). The back-story is that Sarah met Sam at a music festival that featured Justin Timberlake and it was love at first sight. The snafu was that Sarah didn’t get Sam’s number, so she did what was only logical – call BOB-FM to track him down. Her email to Mack and Stevenson recapped that part of the story and stated her desire to meet the 25-year-old, 6′ 5″ Hertfordshire dog trainer. It took Mack and Stevenson all of two days to locate him. Especially if you are a hopeless romantic, click here to listen to the complete interchange.
“Proactive” Patient Will Overcome Ovarian Cancer. That is what Robin Marshall optimistically writes on her Facebook page. Cumulus Media‘s “Sound Solutions” production manager states that, “Short and sweet,” she has stage two or slight stage three Ovarian cancer but “all was removed.” Doctors “did snippets” from her other organs for biopsy purposes and regardless of the results,” Marshall will be treated with “a very strong regiment of chemo.” As she laments, “It is nothing that anyone looks forward to.” Realizing she has a difficult road ahead, Marshall will remain in the hospital until this Saturday (8/23), but she declares, “I have hope.” At the “end of the day,” however, Marshall stresses, she will survive Ovarian cancer because, “I was proactive. There are no options – I want to live.”
ISIS Beheading, Ferguson Turmoil, Rick Perry Indictment, Gaza Crisis and ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Among Top Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20). The stories listed in this headline were some of the most talked about on news/talk radio yesterday However the breaking story of ISIS beheading American journalist James Wright Foley was by far the most-dominating conversation on American talk radio according to the ongoing research from TALKERS. Check here tomorrow for the complete top stories and most-talked-about people listings for the entire week.
Learfield Launches Spanish Network for Texas A&M Football. Beginning with next week’s (8/28) season opener against South Carolina, fans of the Texas A&M Aggies will hear complete Texas A&M pigskin game coverage in Spanish on Univision Radio Houston’s KLAT; Salem Espanol San Antonio’s KRDY; KAMA, El Paso; and MBM Radio McAllen’s KVJY. Aggies games will also be on SiriusXM Deportes en Vivo Channel 551. Chancellor John Sharp of The Texas A&M University System explains, “It is important we share the Texas A&M brand across the state, To do so, we need a Spanish language option for our fans. We believe this is a real step forward for Aggie sports as we begin our third season in the SEC.” The Texas A&M Spanish Network will feature Pedro Vela Almaguer on play-by-play and Alberto Rodriguez doing color commentary. There are 55 English-language radio affiliates on the Texas A&M Sports Network. All 12 Aggies’ regular season and any postseason games will be carried on the Texas A&M Spanish Network.
TALKERS Affiliate Roundup. Rich Beem & Sandy McIlree-hosted “Beemer & the Bald Guy” welcome Cumulus Myrtle Beach, South Carolina’s WSEA “100.3 The Team” as an affiliate to its Nineball Radio Networks-distributed Sunday morning golf show.
Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey9: Sports Talk Radio Users Big on New Media. There’s a logical trend among frequent users of sports talk radio: being comprised largely of younger men, they are very attached to their smartphones/cell phones and they are far more likely to be regular Twitter users than primary users of other radio formats. While this may not surprise sports talk programmers, the numbers, according to Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey9 are impressive. When it comes to technology usage, 69% of sports talk fans own a smartphone – up 14% over last year’s study; 42% own a tablet device – up 55% over last year; and 24% subscribe to SiriusXM – a hike of 16% compared to a year ago. Other takeaways from the study:
- Sports talk radio users are far more likely to check their email or turn on the TV as their first media occasion of the day than those who listen to other radio formats.
- Twitter usage increased among sports talk users compared to the previous year and continues to be the preferred social media platform for sports talk fans.
- Sports talk fans are heavy internet users.
- When it comes to reasons why sports talk fans give for listening to less AM/FM radio and throwing out the #1 response (lifestyle change), the second most cited reason is not enjoying the programming (25%) and third, listening to SiriusXM (23%).
- Linked In is also a very popular social media site for sports talk radio users.
Employing Digital-Only Sales Reps: Radio Business Lags Behind Other Media. From the recently released Borrell Research “2013 Update: Assessing Local Digital Sales Forces,” comes the news that radio stations are last among media in employing digital-only account executives with merely 11% of respondents to the study saying they employ such sellers. For perspective, among television station respondents, 44% state they have digital-only sales people. It appears some in radio have a less-than-rosy feeling about selling digital as one respondent stated, “We should be focusing on our strength, audio advertising, not selling our clients the pipe dream of ‘interactivity’ that digital has promised but seldom delivers.” The following is for all media – not just radio – but Borrell states it appears local media companies with digital-only reps: 1) average twice the online revenue of those without digital reps; 2) have a sales staff that exhibits greater ability to consult with and educate advertisers; and 3) have a sales staff with stronger capabilities to understand and sell digital products. Respondents to the study also indicate that having digital-only account executives allows them to respond and that those reps perform very well “with a ‘consultative approach’ to fit our products and services to the needs of our advertisers,” as well as having a very good “understanding of how our digital products and services can serve an advertiser’s needs.”
TALKERS Spotlight: Pharmacist Ben Fuchs Emerging as Interesting, “Alternative” Talk Host on the Rise. As host of the nationally syndicated Genesis Communications Network (GCN) radio program “The Bright Side,” Ben Fuchs has become a thorn in the side of the pharmaceutical industry by being an outspoken-but-charming advocate for better nutrition and a natural healing approach, because, as he says, “I look at the human body as a healing and regenerating system.” In an article posted today (5/30), TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay writes about this unusual host whom a number of radio movers from Michael Zwerling to Ted Anderson to Michael Harrison all think is worthy of being on the industry radar. Read the entire piece here.
TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award to be Renamed in Honor of Gene Burns. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine has announced that it has unanimously voted to rename the publication’s long-running annual Freedom of Speech Award to “The Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech.” The award, one of the most prestigious and high-profile honors presented to individuals in the talk media industry, has a colorful (and often controversial) history that goes back to the early 1990s when the modern era of talk radio began to emerge and the format became recognized as an influential forum of public policy and social change following the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine. In making the announcement, TALKERS VP and executive editor Kevin Casey states, “Gene Burns was the model by which the Freedom of Speech Award and the Annual State of the First Amendment Address delivered at our national convention were developed. It is only fitting that this institution bears the name of this great champion of the ideals and foundation upon which contemporary spoken-word radio is built.” The 2013 edition of the award and the first to bear the name of Gene Burns will be presented to Premiere Networks host Glenn Beck on Thursday, June 6 at Talkers New York 2013. SiriusXM talk show host Michael Smerconish will deliver the Annual State of the First Amendment Address at that same ceremony.
Compass Media Networks Announces Expanded Football Schedule. The slate of college and NFL football play-by-play available from Compass Media Networks this fall is being expanded with company general manager of sports Michelle Salvatore saying, “We will broadcast at minimum one Saturday college game each week plus a minimum of three NFL games every Sunday afternoon. If there are additional NFL games of interest, then we will add broadcasts as we deem necessary.” Compass opens the NCAA football season with Georgia at Clemson on August 31 and begins coverage of the NFL season on September 8 with three contests: Seattle at Carolina, Oakland at Indianapolis and Green Bay at San Francisco. Compass founder and CEO Peter Kosann says “The schedule speaks for itself. We are pleased to offer radio stations, our listeners, and our national advertisers such compelling games and breadth and depth of coverage.”
United Stations Radio Networks Ups Margaret Verghese to VP of Comedy and Prep Services. Margaret Verghese has been with United Stations Radio Networks since 2001 when she joined as an executive assistant. Most recently she’s been the managing director of Pulse content — the division that provides prep services, talent tours and web content — but now moves up to vice president/comedy and prep services. In this new role, Verghese will also lead the creative team that generates the dozens of comedy services produced by USRN. USRN president and COO Jim Higgins states, “Margaret has been single-handedly responsible for much of the growth in both our comedy product and our prep services over the years, and this appointment is well deserved. She is a tireless executive who brings creativity and dedication to her efforts every single day, and we’re thrilled to hand the reigns of these important areas of content creation over to her.”
More Investor Money for TuneIn. Audio content aggregator TuneIn announces it has raised another $25 million led by Institutional Venture Partners, with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Google Ventures and General Catalyst Partners. At the same time, the company reports that it surpassed one billion listening hours in the first four months of 2013, with more than 227 million listening sessions in the month of March alone, “solidifying the company’s position as the world’s number-one service for listening to live, online radio.” TuneIn CEO John Donham states, “This investment gives us the capital to accelerate the development of new technologies and support our ongoing expansion. We will use this funding to leverage our momentum, with a particular focus on growing ad revenues for our broadcast partners.” The company recently announced the release of its TuneIn Live, a major platform redesign that it says “provides a personalized way to find relevant radio stations, songs and live events from all over the world.” It also reports that “since its launch in March 2013, TuneIn Live has spurred a large uptick in listener engagement.” The company released TuneIn Live for its popular iPhone apps last week, making the updated interface available across all Android and iOS devices and web browsers.
WFAN, New York Morning Co-Host Craig Carton to Publish Book. The digital edition of Craig Carton’s new book Loudmouth: Tales (and Fantasies) of Sports, Sex, and Salvation from Behind the Microphone (Simon & Schuster 2013) comes out on June 4 and tells the story of Carton’s youth, his entry into the radio business and the career that brought him to WFAN’s morning show alongside Boomer Esiason in 2007. Like Carton’s radio personality, the book promises to pull no punches. According to a preview at BobsBlitz.com, Carton has plenty of WFAN stories to share, including how both midday host Joe Benigno and PM drive legend Mike Francesa both wanted Carton and Esiason to fail.
KYZZ, Salinas Deal Worth $1.15 Million. The sale of KYZZ-FM, Salinas, California that sends the station from Buckley Broadcasting to Saul Levine’s Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters is for $1.15 million in cash. Buckley has been simulcasting sports talk on KYZZ and KIDD. Buckley is keeping KIDD and it’s expected that Mt. Wilson will change the format of KYZZ to music but it’s not known at this time what Saul Levine’s plans for the signal are.
Odds & Sods. Doug Urbanski sits in for Rush Limbaugh on his Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk show today and tomorrow (5/30 & 31)…..Cable news/talk TV ratings are seeing dramatic changes from a year ago. The Hollywood Reporter, citing Nielsen numbers, indicates there’s been a big slide for MSNBC and much-needed gains for CNN. For Total Day, MSNBC drops 10% (Total Viewers) from May 2012 to May 2013 while CNN rises to second place behind first place Fox News Channel with a 61% increase. In Prime Time, MSNBC falls 20% during the same period (Total Viewers) and CNN is up 70%. The 8:00 pm ET slot was down 32% in Total Viewers for MSNBC. The network now airs “All in with Chris Hayes” where “The Ed Show” hosted by Ed Schultz used to air.
Cumulus All-News 106.7 Atlanta Celebrates One Year Anniversary. Pictured here is the programming, production and news staff of Cumulus Media’s WYAY, Atlanta “All-News 106.7” enjoying a lunch party to celebrate the station’s one-year mark as an all-news outlet. In May of 2012, Cumulus flipped classic hits WYAY to all news to capitalize on the lack of such a station in the Atlanta market with CEO Lew Dickey stating at the time, “As big a city as we’ve got and as diverse and cosmopolitan a community, not to have an all-news product creates a huge opportunity.”
New Jersey Broadcasters Association Annual Conference to Feature Programming Roundtable. The two-day 66th Annual Conference and Gala produced by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association in Atlantic City June 18 and 19 will feature, among its enticing agenda items the “Super Programming Session: The Future of Broadcast!” The session is being moderated by NJBA board member Salem Communications vice president/director spoken word format Phil Boyce. The roundtable will include: Scott Herman, EVP operations CBS Radio; Joe Puglise, president and market manager Clear Channel New York; Eric Johnson, program director Townsquare Media; Jeff Smulyan, CEO Emmis Communications; Walter Sabo, chairman of Sabo Media; Joseph Kerry, chief of staff, Mercury Radio Arts and the Glenn Beck Show; Steve Jones, SVP ABC News Radio and Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell Associates.
Cool Job Opportunity. Marshalltown Broadcasting seeks a news director – theirs is retiring in July. Marshalltown Broadcasting operates news/talk KFJB, Marshalltown, Iowa and sister country outlet KXIA “Kix 101” in the Des Moines market. If you are ready to be a news director at a strong small market news operation and maybe do a little sports, too, call Clark Wideman at 641-753-3361 or send your information to email@example.com.
DOJ Journalists Investigation/Holder Off-the-Record Meeting, IRS Scandal, Arizona Mom Held in Mexican Prison, Syria Tensions, and Jobless Claims Rise Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/29). Attorney General Eric Holder’s offer to meet off-the-record with news organizations about the DOJ’s investigation of journalists; the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups seeking tax exempt status; an Arizona mother being held in Mexico on allegedly manufactured drug charges; tensions over the ongoing violence in Syria; and the rise in jobless claims were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom News/Talk WRKO, Boston Picks Up Option on PM Drive Host Howie Carr. It was five years ago that Boston talk radio king Howie Carr had negotiated what was reported at the time to be a lucrative new deal to host morning drive on Greater Media’s crosstown WTKK, Boston after 13 years with WRKO. But WRKO laid claim to Carr’s services via language in his contract, a legal battle ensued and Entercom came out victorious, winning Carr’s services for another five years plus an option to have him even longer. Today, Entercom announces it is picking up that option. Entercom Boston VP of programming Jason Wolfe states, “Howie Carr is a Boston radio legend and I’m looking forward to having him continue to anchor afternoon drive. This is a great day for our listeners, affiliates and advertisers, and I’m excited that we’ve extended our relationship.” At the time of Carr’s attempt to join Greater Media five years ago, he made no bones about wanting to break away from WRKO, but that was before the recession hit and altered the marketplace for talk radio hosts – even ones with successful track records, loyal fans and satisfied advertisers. WRKO’s announcement states that in picking up Carr’s option, he’ll remain with the station “for the foreseeable future.”
CBS Radio Debuts Tampa FM Sports Outlet 98.7 The Fan. The flip from Hot AC to sports talk on WSJT, Tampa happened at 12:00 noon yesterday (8/2) and the lineup was announced at a press conference at the University of South Florida Sun Dome. The program schedule is: former Baltimore and Washington, DC personality Kirk McEwen alongside former Tampa Bay Lightning player Chris Dingman in AM drive; Tampa Bay Times columnist Gary Shelton and Justin “The Commish” Pawlowski (who is a carry-over from AM 1010 Sports format) are teamed up for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm shift; for PM drive, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Anthony “Booger” McFarland and Yahoo! Sports Radio and ESPN alum Todd Wright co-host; in evenings, former MLB Network and Tampa Bay Rays air talent Rich Herrera hosts from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm and in the overnight slot, it’s Fabulous Sports Babe Nanci Donnellan. At the press conference, CBS Tampa market manager Ben Hill announced the station would also serve as flagship for University of South Florida play-by-play. Mike Pepper is programming the station and producer Jerry Petuck is serving as assistant program director.
Industry Eyes on Atlanta as CBS Radio Prepares to Launch FM Sports Outlet. This week’s announcement that CBS Radio is flipping Triple A WZGC, Atlanta to sports talk in late September or early October has industry watchers speculating about what talent will fill the program schedule. CBS’ modus operandi is to go live and local and that will be the case in major market Atlanta. Rumors are already starting to circulate that programming architects are shooting for some “big talent” – at least some of whom will be considered to have “celebrity” status.
CBS Radio Reports Revenue Down 2%. CBS Corporation held its quarterly conference call yesterday to discuss results of Q2 2012 and talk about the future. CFO and EVP Joseph Ianniello reported revenue for the radio group was down 2%. “The radio revenue comparison was affected by the sale of the West Palm Beach radio cluster, which closed on April 1. Radio revenue for our top 10 markets was flat for the quarter. Local broadcasting OIBDA of $248 million was up 8%. And the OIBDA (operating income before depreciation and amortization) margin grew 2 percentage points to 35% driven by growth in high-margin revenue and lower programming costs.” Addressing the radio end, CEO Les Moonves stated, “At our radio stations, we remain focused on the formats that are performing best, especially news and sports. We’re particularly excited about the upcoming launch of our new CBS Sports Radio network, which right out of the gate, when we debut in January, will be the largest major-market sports radio network in the nation, with outlets in nine of the top 10 markets. This 24/7 network of sports radio stations will feature both national and local content and leverage the resources of CBS Sports, our CBS Sports Network, cable channel and content from our existing local sports radio stations.” Ianniello added, “The CBS Radio network, the sports radio — the radio sports business is probably $150 million market. So we’re going to be large coming right out of the gate so it’s all incremental. It’s not in dollars we play in today at the local segment, so we expect to gain our fair share of that…there’s very little incremental cost for us. A lot of the talent and the content, we’re already producing, so this made a whole lot of sense for us. And with the outlook with Cumulus, we do think it is a fantastic partnership with great content and great distribution. So we do expect some upside, again, starting in 2013.”
Radio One Will Be Patient with Houston All-Newser. Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins says, “We still believe the #6 radio market can support one all-news station.” Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports Liggins is bullish on the station it flipped from gospel last fall noting that, in that format, KROI was billing just $4 million a year and doing $2 million in cash flow on a facility for which the company paid $72 million. News 92 FM has been hovering around a 1-share persons 6+ in the Arbitron PPM ratings. Liggins says his consultant on the station believes ratings should start to rise above the 1-share mark in 2013.
“Sports Biz Today” Debuts on Business TalkRadio Network August 6. Host Fred Wallin and co-hosts Howard Bloom, Beth Silverberg and JB Kaye return to Business TalkRadio Network with their “Sports Biz Today” program that leans heavy on the business aspect of the sports industry. The program airs daily at 7:00 pm ET. Fred Wallin says, “In the past few years our sports industry has grown and grown and we want to make ‘Sports Biz Today’ the place where fans, and those in the business, can get together.” BTRN states, “Sports are big business, whether it’s the multi-million dollar contracts signed by players or the marketing and advertising behind the teams. Fans will be talking to Fred Wallin about money, events and people that make up the exciting world of sports.”
CRN Digital Talk Radio Launches Weekend Show for Future Hollywood Stars. It’s called “Breaking In with Rick and Jeff,” and features Hollywood pros Rick Shoemaker and Jeff Maxwell who’ll give aspiring filmmakers, actors, musicians and others a chance to learn what it takes to make it in Tinseltown. The program airs live Saturdays at 7:00 pm PT. Rick Shoemaker has served as president of Warner Chappell Music Publishing, where he helped develop the careers of such artists as Green Day, Sheryl Crow, Nickelback, Dr. Dre, Missy Elliott, Van Halen and many others. He later headed his own management firm that included clients like Loggins & Messina, Poco, Boz Scaggs, and others. Jeff Maxwell’s career began when he teamed up with a high school friend as part of a comedy duo that performed around the world for eight years. Ultimately, Maxwell would turn his attention to acting where he landed the role of Private Igor, the hapless mess cook on “M*A*S*H,” for nine years. In later years, Maxwell turned his attention to creating and developing a number of television shows and motion pictures.
Odds & Sods. New York City-based talk show host Steve Malzberg is unveiling his new video channel located on Spreecast.com – developed by the same company that founded StubHub.com. In one of Malzberg’s first productions, he interviews former Bush Administration defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld…..Georgia Beasley returns to her South Florida roots where she’ll take on the role of interactive sales manager for Beasley Broadcast Miami’s three stations that include sports talk WQAM. She spent the past year as GSM at the company’s WJBR, Wilmington, Delaware. Ms. Beasley is the granddaughter of Beasley chairman George Beasley…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Milwaukee cluster acquires the exclusive NFL and NCAA basketball play-by-play rights from provider Dial Global/Westwood One. CC has six stations in the market including news/talk WISN.
Rich Rapiti Exits Courtside Entertainment Group. Veteran affiliate sales executive Rich Rapiti is looking for his next opportunity as he leaves his senior director of affiliate relations position with Courtside Entertainment Group. Prior to working with Courtside, Rapiti worked in the affiliate relations department at Westwood One. He can be reached at 973-809-3049 or e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Presidential Campaign Returns to #1 Spot on the Talkers TenTM. The race for president in the 2012 election was the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio during the week of July 30 – August 3. Coming in at #2 this week was the Chick-fil-A controversy. At #3 was a tie between the rising jobless claims and the Fed’s announcement it will take no immediate action to spur the economy. Following at #4 was the Texas Republican primary victory for the U.S. Senate seat by Tea Party-supported candidate Ted Cruz. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio in America according to ongoing research from Talkers. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck is now heard on KFXR, Dallas…..Cox Media’s Clark Howard is added to the program lineup at KARS, Belen, New Mexico…..The XtreMedia-produced Dani Johnson show is added to the on-air lineup at WNYM, New York; KMET, Riverside-San Bernardino; KFNX, Phoenix; KKVV, Las Vegas; and KPRZ, San Diego…..CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson is picked up by WGUL, Tampa-St. Petersburg and WLSS, Sarasota-Bradenton…..Dial Global’s feature “Ask Dr. Phil” is added to WDNY-AM and WDNY-FM, Rochester. The company’s “Daily Dose with Dr. Oz” joins the program schedule at KIVA, Albuquerque; KLIV, San Jose; and WLPO, LaSalle-Peru, Illinois…..The “Rose Hollywood Report” with Shannon Rose is picked up by WZTC, Traverse City, Michigan.