Tag: "New Jersey 101.5"
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK — Bob McAllan is the CEO of Press Broadcasting. He put on the two most successful FM Talk stations in the world: New Jersey 101.5 — going into its 22 year — and WTKS-FM Real Radio 104.1 Orlando, launched 1994. Bob and GM John Dziuba made a strategic decision that enabled the station’s hosts to present the most controversial, often outrageous opinions with minimal fallout.
Their single decision gave management the freedom to sell advertising on the stations, defend the hosts and manage the talent in an environment void of fear. Bob and John decided that their STATIONS must never present an opinion or point of view. Simultaneously they realized that to have winning stations, the hosts must have well prepared, very strong points of view on every single topic.
After consulting and operating the largest talk stations in the world, I believe the paragraph you just read sums up the programming infrastructure for success.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Added to Blue Ridge Communications Cable System. The push to get more cable TV carriage for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze continues and now the company announces it will be carried on Blue Ridge Communications’ system that serves the Poconos and the Central Pennsylvania region. It is the nation’s 21st largest cable operator. TheBlaze also entered into agreements with BEK Communications, Sweetwater Cable Television and Atwood Cable. TheBlaze president, business development, Lynne Costantini, states, “We’re thrilled to welcome these independent operators into TheBlaze family of television affiliates. These businesses understand the value of bringing TheBlaze’s original programming and unique perspective to their customers and their business.” TheBlaze says that customers of these cable operators will now be able to watch its full programming lineup including The Glenn Beck Program, news program “Real News from TheBlaze,” opinion show hosted by Andrew Wilkow, current events show “Pat & Stu” featuring radio personalities Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere, kid’s show “Liberty TreeHouse,” comedy news show “The B.S. of A.,” news magazine “For The Record,” and comical news and current events show “The Wonderful World of Stu featuring Stu Burguiere.” TheBlaze states that it is currently in carriage conversations with all major satellite, cable, telco and independent companies.
WTOP, Washington Stays #1 on List of Top Billing Stations. The annual list of top billing stations according to BIA/ Kelsey has been released and Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is at the front of the pack once again with $64.6 million in revenue in 2012 – that’s up a fraction from the $64 million it grossed in 2011. The rest of the top 10 – split by CBS and Clear Channel – are as follows (in millions): Clear Channel’s KIIS, Los Angeles ($56.8); Clear Channel’s WHTZ, New York ($48.2); CBS Radio’s WCBS, New York ($47.2); Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles ($46); CBS Radio’s WBBM, Chicago ($45.7); Clear Channel’s WLTW, New York ($43); CBS Radio’s WINS, New York ($41.5); CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM ($41); and CBS Radio’s KROQ, Los Angeles ($39.3).
SiriusXM Sports Talker Dino Costa Subject of New Film. Sports talk radio personality Dino Costa will be the subject of a feature-length film to begin production in April in Wyoming. Chesapeake Films announces that it has started pre-production for a documentary to be completed in 2013 about the life of “controversial SiriusXM Radio personality, Dino Costa.” The documentary film will be directed by Joel Franco, cinematography by Darko Nikolich, edited by Anthony Bernard, sound design by Karol Urban, and original music by Marianthe Bezzerides. The film will begin shooting in Wyoming, where Dino Costa resides and produces his daily radio sports talk show. The crew will then follow Costa to New York, to continue filming Costa’s hometown, friends, fans, and family. Franco says he wanted to do the film because, “Dino is a breath of fresh air in the world of cookie-cutter sports talk radio. He is fiercely independent, and connects with his audience like few can. I just knew that under that big personality was a story waiting to be told. I am so excited to begin.” Costa comments, “When I embarked on my career as a talk show host, I wanted to achieve many objectives; I never thought about the possibility of someone wanting to do a film about my career and my life. In speaking with Joel about his vision for this film, I’m confident that collaborating with the crew at Chesapeake Films will culminate in a documentary about my life that people will find interesting and compelling.”
Villanucci Producer Billy “Fatback” Cornelius Debuts Evening Show on KKOB. The departure of longtime afternoon drive host Jim Villanucci from Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque, resulted in evening host Scott Stiegler moving into the PM drive slot. That created an opening in the evenings and Jim Villanucci’s former on-air producer, Billy “Fatback” Cornelius, is now host of his own show airing in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot. He’ll still produce Stiegler’s program but “Fatback” tells TALKERS magazine, “When asked about the new opportunity, I simply replied, ‘The Fatback Nation will rise.’” His program debuts this evening.
New Jersey 101.5’s Jim Gearhart to Be Inducted into the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Jim Gearhart has been the morning host on Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” for the past 23 years and now he’s being honored by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association with induction into its Hall of Fame. Gearhart will be inducted at the Annual Awards Luncheon, which will be held during the NJBA’s 66th Annual Conference in Atlantic City this June 18-19. NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson says, “Jim will be acknowledged for providing quality content, news, public affairs and diverse entertainment to New Jersey. Jim’s contributions to the longevity and success of our industry in New Jersey will be recognized.”
WXOS, St. Louis Host Bernie Miklasz to Leave Radio Gig. Popular St. Louis sports media personality Bernie Miklasz will exit Hubbard Radio’s WXOS “101 Sports” when his contract wraps up next month. In a piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Miklasz says he’s leaving the radio show (weekdays 11:00 am to 2:00 pm) to focus on his work with the Post-Dispatch and its STLtoday.com where he’s been a sports columnist since 1989. He states, “I’ve always loved writing more (than radio), it’s my calling. Whatever good things I have in my life professionally have been because of the Post-Dispatch. It has led to other opportunities.” Miklasz says the stress of two jobs is wearing on him. WXOS program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “He’s such a dynamic personality, but at the end of the day how can you be mad at a guy who’s going back to his roots and giving it his all? He wants to do his part to help take an industry that has been down on an upswing. It’s bittersweet (for the station) because what he is doing is very honorable and really cool, so it’s hard to be upset with him. The guy is such an awesome personality.” STLtoday.com hints it will be branching out into audio and video on the website and will use Miklasz for that purpose, as well.
The Conclave Announces Agenda for July Learning Conference. The Conclave announces its preliminary agenda for the July 17-19 “Conclave 38: The Learning Conference” taking place at the Minneapolis/Park Place Doubletree Hotel. Executive director Bob Shannon states, “The very words ‘The Learning Conference’ implies that Conclave 38 will focus on teaching ideas our attendees can actually use. Focusing on what works today and the tools we’ll need for tomorrow, our faculty includes thinkers, visionaries and practitioners in a wide variety of disciplines including digital, marketing, mobile, programming, social media, and talent creation and training.” Some of the speakers appearing this year include: Ivan Braiker/HipCricket, Tim Bronsil/Point to Point Marketing, Jon Chelesnik/Sportcasters Talent Agency of America, Drake Donovan/Splice Video, Joel Folger/Folger Media, Les Garland/Afterplay Entertainment, John Gehron/AccuRadio, Bruce Gilbert/Clear Channel, Phil Hall/Audience Bakery, Michael Harrison/Talkers-Radioinfo.com, Dan Hill/Sensory Logic, Fred Jacobs/Jacobs Media, Randy Lane/The Randy Lane Company, Lori Lewis/Jacobs Media, Kipper McGee/Kipper McGee LLC, Kevin Metheny/Cumulus Media, Chris Miller/Chris Miller Digital, Tim Moore/Audience Development Group, Mark Shannon O’Neill/ROI Media Solutions, Bill Richards/Clear Channel, Larry Rosin/Edison Research, and Walter Sabo/Sabo Media. Shannon reports that this year’s Conclave begins on Wednesday, July 17 with the fourth annual “Jacobs Media Summer School,” and ends July 19 with “Conclave GAMEDAY,” a day devoted entirely to sports that ends with a reception at KTWN-FM’s studio just before the Minnesota Twins/Cleveland Indians game at Target Field, home of the 2014 All Star Game. For more information on the Learning Conference and Conclave educational programs, visit http://www.theconclave.com.
SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, North Korea Threats, Dr. Ben Carson Assault, Cyprus Banks Bailout, and Sequester Effects Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/28). The two days of arguments before the Supreme Court on gay marriage; threats of military action from North Korea; the backlash against Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson; the bailout of Cyprus banks by the EU; and the effects of the sequester were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
November PPMs Generally Good to Talk Radio. You can call it the “election bounce” if you like but some of the news/talk stations that did well in Arbitron’s November 2012 PPMs were ramping up in October and before. Plus, the fall has traditionally been a good ratings period for news/talk whether there’s an election or not. Of course, Hurricane Sandy played a major factor for stations in the New York and Middlesex-Somerset-Union markets. Some of the stations worth noting include CBS Radio’s New York all newsers WCBS and WINS which jumped from a 3.8 to a 5.3 and a 4.0 to a 4.8, respectively. Clear Channel’s Los Angeles talk juggernaut KFI continues to thrive inching up to a 5.3 from a 5.1 the month prior. Cumulus Media’s Chicago news/talker WLS bounced back up to a 4.1 after posting a 3.7 in October. Likewise in Dallas-Fort Worth for Cumulus as WBAP-AM/FM pops up a half share to a 3.9. Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston rose from a 3.4 in October to a 4.1 in November. In Washington, DC Cumulus’ WMAL-AM/FM jumped from a 3.4 to a 4.2. In Philadelphia, Merlin Media’s WWIQ hopped from 2.7 in October to a 3.6 in November. Cox Media’s WSB, Atlanta – which has been maintaining healthy numbers in the PPM for some time – vaults from a 6.8 to an 8.3 this month. Cumulus’ Detroit talker WJR rose more than a full share from a 4.8 to a 5.9. Public radio outlet KUOW, Seattle claimed the top spot in the November PPMs with a 5.5 share. Clear Channel’s KFYI, Phoenix went up a full share from a 4.9 to a 5.9. Mixed results in Baltimore as Hearst’s WBAL fell from a 5.7 to a 5.0 while WCBM rose from a 3.0 to a 3.8 share. Good news for pubcaster KOPB, Portland which went from a 5.3 to a 6.2 while Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL jumped from a 4.8 to a 5.5 share. Clear Channel’s WPGB, Pittsburgh leaped a full share from a 6.9 to a 7.9 share while its Sacramento sister KFBK also enjoyed a significant rise from a 5.6 to a 6.8 share. In the New Jersey market of Middlesex-Somerset-Union, Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 (WKXW, Trenton) posted an outstanding 8.6 – up from a 6.2 in October – with help, no doubt, from Hurricane Sandy. TALKERS’ sister publication RadioInfo has all the PPM data including Mike Kinosian’s analysis of the numbers. You can find that here.
Laura Ingraham Back on Radio “Soon.” That’s what the author, pundit and talk show host told Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly. During one of Laura Ingraham’s regular appearances on Fox News Channel with O’Reilly, he questioned her status in the talk radio world and she told him she will be back on the radio with another syndicator (she left Talk Radio Network at the end of her contract on Tuesday) very soon. “I’m close to signing a new deal. I’m very, very close. But I’ll be back on the air probably in the next several days.” Ingraham told O’Reilly she informed TRN she would be “terminating the deal” months ago and that it was time to move on.
Talk Host Tom Becka to Exit KRWK, Fargo “101.9 Talk FM.” Talk radio pro Tom Becka has been serving as program director and talk show host at KRWK, Fargo since it flipped from rock to talk in March of this year. Becka tells the Fargo Forum he’s returning to Omaha where he’s worked for years and has family. Becka says any notion his departure has anything to do with the performance of the new format is not correct. “The station has grown every month. My experience with Radio Fargo-Moorhead was great and I’m proud of what we accomplished here in a short time. To say I’m leaving because of ratings would be erroneous.” Radio Fargo-Moorhead is selling its cluster of stations to Midwest Family Communications. The FCC has approved the license transfers but according to one source, the actual takeover may not happen until the spring.
Todd Schnitt Show to Leave Flagship WFLA, Tampa. Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt Tweets that his program – airing live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm – will be off longtime flagship WFLA, Tampa after the December 18 program. Schnitt further Tweets that the national syndication continues and is expanding under syndicator Compass. No word what CC has in mind for afternoons at WFLA. Currently, it delay-broadcasts Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm but may have plans to move Hannity to the live PM drive slot.
Jim Isabella Named Evening Host at WNIR, Akron. Journalist Jim Isabella has been doing fill-in work for WNIR for the past two years. He now takes over the evening show formerly hosted by the late Tom Erickson who died on November 3 after a long illness. Isabella most recently worked for the Akron Beacon Journal. Station owners Bob and Bill Klaus note in a press release that Isabella, who was a frequent caller to the show hosted by the late Howie Chizek who passed away suddenly in June, made them more aware of his talents during his fill-in time in addition to receiving positive response from the station’s listeners.
Odds & Sods. Watch for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean from the network’s “America Now with Andy Dean” on Fox News Channel’s “America’s News HQ” this Sunday at 4:45 pm ET as he sits in a panel discussing the latest headlines in news and politics…..SiriusXM brings the Major League Baseball winter meetings to listeners via its MLB Network Radio and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio channels. The meetings take place in Nashville December 2 through 6 and the satcaster will have front office experts Jim Bowden, Jim Duquette and Steve Phillips there hosting various programs with other special expert guests including former pitcher Jeff Nelson.
Bubba the Love Sponge Offers Reward for Arrest of Animal Abuser. After hearing about the case of a dog found in the Bradenton, Florida area that had been attacked by someone with an axe, radio star Bubba the Love Sponge put up $1,000 of his own cash on top of the $500 being offered by the Animal Network for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible. After hearing about the case, Tampa-area philanthropist Gary Kompothecras of the legal and medical referral service 1-800-ASK-GARY added another $1,000 to the reward to make the total $2,500. Bubba reports to TALKERS that the dog, named Axel, is recovering from his injuries and will be available for adoption once he is healthy again.
Los Angeles Broadcaster David Courtney Dies at 56. The Southern California radio community is mourning the loss of omnipresent “big voice” David Courtney, who passed away on Thursday, November 29. Many considered Courtney the voice of Los Angeles sports, since for the past 23 years, he was the public address announcer of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. He performed similar duties for MLB’s Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for 18 years and NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers since October 2008. Greater Los Angeles area radio listeners knew him for his frequent traffic and sports updates as part of the Total Traffic Network. Over the last 20 years, Courtney was heard on a number of major Los Angeles radio outlets including KABC and KSPN, as well as KOLA in the Inland Empire. His other radio background included stints at Houston’s KULF as executive producer of sports programming and that market’s KTRH, where he was weekend news anchor before landing a nightly, three-hour news/talk program. New York City-born Courtney moved to Los Angeles in 1963 when his father, Alan, became president of MGM Television. According to Courtney’s Twitter feed, he needed to miss Wednesday night’s Clippers game against Minnesota owing to the fact he was in the hospital awaiting an angiogram. The 56-year-old Courtney is survived by his wife, Janet Fisher-Courtney.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle Remains Top Talk Radio Topic for Second Straight Week. The struggle between the Obama administration and GOP congressmen to deal with impending tax hikes and spending cuts was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Benghazi investigation tied with the Susan Rice-GOP leaders meetings. Following at #3 was the Israel-Gaza tensions with the clean-up of Hurricane Sandy 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. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Radio Comes Through for Charity for Holiday Giving and in Times of Disaster. Radio is a business and making a profit is the first goal of any business. But radio stations and radio corporations have a documented history of giving back to the communities they serve through the organization of charitable giving. That service is evident even during difficult economic times as stations large and small regularly step up to the plate to take time out from creating entertaining programming while risking losing listener interest in order to do charitable work. This year the industry is seeing a confluence of disaster relief needs and the annual holiday charity programs. Relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Sandy include such assistance as: CRN Digital Talk Radio’s $2,351 donation to the cause; Townsquare Media-owned New Jersey 101.5’s ongoing “Restore New Jersey” campaign; Cox Media Group’s $75,000 donation to relief organizations; Geraldo Rivera’s recent live “radiothon” on Cumulus Media’s WABC; CBS’s radio and TV stations’ daylong phone bank; CBS Philadelphia partnered with Live Nation/Comcast Spectacor to offer concert tickets to the Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler show on November 19 in exchange for donations to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund that brought in $30,000; as well as Clear Channel’s planned 12-12-12 concert in New York City. Disaster relief is not the only cause that radio rises to assist. Radio’s charitable projects include aid to organizations that individual stations have chosen to work with regularly – such as KGO, San Francisco’s long-running annual radiothon to fight leukemia — plus regular holiday-oriented giving programs. The following are just a few that have come to our attention recently:
Cumulus Nashville to Program Radiothon for Local Rescue Mission. News/talk WTN, Nashville will host a radiothon on Monday, November 19 beginning at 5:00 am and running through 7:00 pm to raise funds for the Nashville Rescue Mission. Morning host Ralph Bristol begins the day and the fundraising continues with hosts Michael DelGiorno, Dave Ramsey, and Phil Valentine all committing their shows to raising funds for the Rescue Mission’s programs. In addition to his own show, Michael DelGiorno will participate with the other WTN personalities throughout the day. DelGiorno’s extra duties start by broadcasting live at the Rescue Mission from 7:30 am to 8:30 am with Ralph Bristol live from the studio. He then hosts Dave Ramsey from 9:00 am to 10:00 am at the station. His normal show then gets extended to 1:00 pm effectively preempting the Mike Huckabee show. And then to close out the Radiothon, DelGiorno returns for the final push from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Clear Channel’s KLAC, Los Angeles Raises $135,000 for Paralyzed Veterans. Sports talk outlet KLAC, Los Angeles held its fifth annual Paralyzed Veterans of America Live Radiothon and Online Auction recently, calling in local and national celebrities to help raise a record $135,000 for the charity. KLAC and Fox Sports Radio Network personalities Steve Hartman, Vic “The Brick” Jacobs, Petros Papadakis and Rob Dibble hosted the radiothon and were joined by Dodgers great Tommy Lasorda; rocker Eddie Money; Lakers legend James Worthy; model Leeann Tweeden; and boxing great Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, among others. Pictured here are (from l-r): KLAC’s Steve Hartman, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, KLAC’s Vic “The Brick” Jacobs and KLAC producer Sam Betesh.
WEEI, Boston Recognized for Cancer Charity Work. Entercom’s sports WEEI, Boston was recognized by the Lung Cancer Alliance of New England for its work bringing attention to and raising funds for the treatment and cure of the disease as part of its annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon held in conjunction with cable’s New England Sports Network each August. This past August, the 11th annual two-day event raised more than $3.3 million for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Entercom Boston VP of programming and operations Jason Wolfe says, “It’s an incredible honor to be recognized by the Global Lung Cancer Coalition and I’m so proud to accept this award on behalf of all of us at WEEI. Cancer affects us all, and we are blessed to have had such tremendous success shining a light on this terrible disease through the efforts of the Jimmy Fund radio-telethon. I want to thank everyone at the GLCC for their support. It means a great deal to our entire staff.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Wolfe; Rob Gronkowski, tight end for the New England Patriots; and Rich Monopoli, LCA New England co-director.
FCC Chairman Genachowski Asks Commission to Approve Cross-Ownership. The change in rules would be permanent for companies operating radio-TV-newspaper combos in the top 20 markets. Stations such as Tribune’s WGN, Chicago have been living on temporary exemptions to the law forbidding such cross-ownership for years. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is asking the commissioners to approve the move without a public meeting vote as soon as today and the change could take effect tomorrow (11/16). Bloomberg reports that for Tribune, the vote would be a requirement for the company’s exit from bankruptcy protection.
Conclave Names Seasoned Radio Pro Bob Shannon Executive Director. Veteran radio broadcasting executive Bob Shannon has been named the Conclave’s new executive director. He succeeds the organization’s first executive director, Tom Kay, who recently retired after almost four decades of service. In announcing the appointment, Conclave board of directors chairman Mark Bolke says, “There obviously is no replacement for Tom Kay and his shaping the Conclave organization for the past 37 years. The executive selection committee was presented with a list of excellent candidates from which to choose. Bob Shannon represents the consummate broadcasting professional with a shared vision and passion to move the Conclave into a new era. We are thrilled to name him as our new executive director.” Shannon, whose consulting company bobshannonworks is based in Minneapolis, is also president of SpotMedia Services, a former executive vice president at TM Century, and the author of Turn It Up! American Radio Tales 1946-1996. On accepting the position Shannon states, “As a student of radio I’ve long admired Tom and what he’s done at the Conclave. Moving forward my goal is to build on his vision by expanding our online activity and looking very closely at how radio and our learning conference are addressing changes in media. This is a very exciting time, ripe with opportunities for those who know how to create compelling content. Stay tuned!”
Newsmax Steps Up Audio and Video Content; Terrestrial Radio Programs in Development. Months ago TALKERS reported on the digital initiatives going on at conservative media firm Newsmax that include its video channel Newsmax TV. Now, the Chris Ruddy-led media organization is announcing the further development of these ventures. Newsmax says it will soon be expanding to an online 24/7 network. The online TV network will focus on simulcasting radio content online. It will also develop its own radio shows for Newsmax TV and broadcast these on terrestrial radio as well. In 2013, the company plans to significantly ramp up its online TV presence and radio activities and has constructed a state-of-the-art broadcast studio in its New York offices. Staff for the projects includes Chad Wilkinson as executive producer of programming; Tamara Karcev as director of affiliate relations for radio programming. In addition, former WABC, New York program director John Mainelli is consulting the project.
Wayne Powers Returns to WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. After four years as regular fill-in host at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte, Wayne Powers removed himself from the station’s roster in February in order to run as a Republican for an At-Large seat on the Mecklenburg County Commission. After a May primary win, Powers came up short in the November 6 general election. “It was tough to beat the huge straight-ticket Democrat vote here in the DNC convention city,” says Powers. He returns for Thanksgiving and Black Friday, guest hosting WBT’s Keith Larson show.
Petraeus Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Israel-Syria Conflict, and New Chinese Leader Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/14). The expanding David Patraeus-Paula Broadwell scandal; questions about the Benghazi attack and Petraeus’ role in the investigation; Congress and the Obama Administration begin tackling the ‘fiscal cliff’; the violent conflict between Israel and Syria; and the change in Chinese leadership as Xi Jinping succeeds Hu Jintao as secretary general were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Conclusion of Election Raises Inevitable Questions. The dramatic and contentious election of 2012 has finally come to a conclusion. As President Barack Obama prepares to begin his second term as the nation’s chief executive with control of the House and Senate split between the parties, inevitable questions arise about the path and positioning of news/talk radio in the new political environment. How does the re-election of Obama impact the agendas of conservative and liberal talk radio? How long will it take before political presidential jockeying overtly begins as the periods between election cycles grow shorter? What are the economic implications of this election? How will the economy affect the radio industry in general? Will the current advertising agency hostility toward conservative talk radio intensify or dissipate? What will be the new, unexpected issues that dominate on-air conversation as we move beyond the deafening chatter of Election 2012? TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has already begun fielding these questions from the nation’s radio-watchers in the mainstream press. According to Harrison very little will change in terms of the on-air party lines: “As much as I encourage talk radio to expand the menu of its subject matter and spread out into a diversity of formats and subjects – which I actually believe will happen in the coming year or two — don’t expect to see a sudden change or modification of positioning among the ranks of established, opinionated political hosts. These next two years will be no picnic for the president. If you look back at Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon – two polarizing figures in American politics – their second terms were far more turbulent generating more contentious media conversation than their first. Even Ronald Reagan had his Iran-Contra issue in his second term. You can probably expect the same with Obama.” Harrison expects the next congressional election to start immediately and the next presidential election to begin shortly thereafter. “Biden might be flirting with the idea of running in 2016 but you can count on all eyes and ears being focused on the Clintons and perhaps another Bush.” As far as the economic picture is concerned, Harrison is optimistic stating, “I think things are destined to improve regardless of who is president. Let us all do our best to make the radio industry relevant and prosperous in the exciting days and years ahead.” Of course there will be a spectrum of contrasting views on this subject. For example, TRN talk show host Jerry Doyle tells TALKERS that he plans to call out a number of his fellow conservative hosts on his show today for “being cheerleaders for the GOP and not questioning some of their positions that are tarnishing the Republican brand.” He uses the analogy, “I love Corvettes, but I won’t be buying one because of all the as***les driving them today. The same thing with the Republicans – I find it hard to call myself a Republican because of so many of their ridiculous opinions and terrible candidates that fly in the face of today’s reality.”
Will Obama’s Re-Election Cause Programmers to Reflect? Consultant Holland Cooke makes strong statements about what the re-election of Barack Obama should mean to talk radio hosts and programmers. He says, “Heavy early voting and long lines yesterday say ‘Hear me!’ to talk radio’s default I-talk-you-listen model,” and Cooke states that voters didn’t conform to the prevailing talk radio narrative. Do you agree or disagree that there’s a lesson in the election results for talk radio? Before you answer, read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.
Radio One to Flip WMOJ, Cincinnati to Sports in January. Radio One’s rhythmic oldies WMOJ, Cincinnati “Mojo 100.3” has gone all Christmas but after the holidays the station will not return to “jammin’ oldies” but will be an outlet for CBS Sports Radio Network’s new 24/7 sports talk format. Program director Steve Harris tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter that the opportunity to do sports on FM was too great to pass up. The station is expected to carry the bulk of the national lineup – John Feinstein, Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb and Scott Ferrall – but Harris says there has been no decision made about whether to do a local AM drive show or take what CBS Sports Radio Networks has to offer in that daypart. Cincinnati currently has two AM sports talk outlets – WSAI, a Fox Sports Radio Network affiliate, and WCKY, an ESPN Radio affiliate – in addition to news/talk WLW which airs a fair amount of sports programming as well.
New Jersey 101.5 Partners with Governor’s Office in Storm Relief. Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is announcing its own “Restore New Jersey” and restorenewjersey.com are officially working with Governor Chris Christie’s and his wife Mary Pat’s “Sandy NJ Relief Fund.” The station’s group marketing director Ray Handel says the station is immediately beginning to inform listeners about donation efforts. He issues this statement: “New Jersey 101.5 will continue to be involved with restoring New Jersey from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. We informed millions of Jersey listeners on news and survival information before, during and after the storm. The station served as a lifeline to millions who lost power, and gave those millions a voice. Now as our attention turns to long term recovery, we introduce ‘Restore New Jersey,’ an on-going fundraising effort that will be featured on New Jersey 101.5 and nj1015.com for at least the next six months. We will be working with Governor and Mary Pat Christie so we can partner with their ‘Sandy NJ Relief Fund.’ Governor Christie is very much a part of NJ101.5, as he has a monthly show on our station. The governor has received much praise in his leadership during this crisis. This past Saturday the governor introduced this state wide charity, and we feel this will merge perfectly with the state wide help New Jersey 101.5’s ‘Restore New Jersey’ will provide. All funds raised will stay right here in New Jersey, and we think New Jersey 101.5 can really take the lead with this effort.”
NAB ‘Licensed to Serve’ Newsletter Recognizes Broadcasters Covering Sandy. The National Association of Broadcasters released its most recent “Licensed to Serve” newsletter detailing many of the efforts of broadcasters – both radio and television – that provided news and information to the regions affected by Hurricane Sandy. NAB EVP of media relations Dennis Wharton and his staff have put together an excellent summary of the work done by over-the-air broadcasters in serving the needs of their communities. Wharton is passionate about the role of radio and television broadcasters in times of crisis and the NAB’s work showcasing it in this regard serves the broadcasting community well. See the NAB’s “Licensed to Serve” page here.
Radio Personality Robinson to PM Drive on KCJF, Jonesboro, Arkansas. Tall Cotton Media’s new sports talk KCJF, Jonesboro, Arkansas “103.9 The Game” names radio personality Robinson PM drive host. He comes to sports talk radio after a career in rock radio at Entercom’s Rochester, New York music outlets classic rock WCMF and rock WBZA. Tall Cotton took over ownership of the outlet in September from Catherine Joanna Flinn. The station is a Fox Sports Radio Network affiliate.
Red Zebra Extends Play-by-Play Deal with Georgetown. The Hoyas will be heard on Red Zebra’s Washington, DC sports talk duo WTEM and WSPZ “ESPN 980 and SportsTalk570; Powered by ESPN” for seasons to come as the two partners extend their contract. Under the terms of the deal, Red Zebra will broadcast the school’s men’s basketball games. Red Zebra president and CEO Rick Carmean says, “We are excited to team with Georgetown University and Coach Thompson’s squad as they continue the tradition as one of the best teams the area has to offer.” The Hoyas open their season Friday, November 9 aboard the USS Bataan in Jacksonville against the Florida Gators. All Hoya games will be broadcast by Rich Chvotkin who is in his 40th season calling Georgetown games.
Longtime KSL, Salt Lake City Weekend Gardening Show Host Larry Sagers Dead at 63. Horticulture expert and radio talker Larry Sagers, whose weekend gardening program the “Greenhouse Show” co-hosted with Tim Hughes was a mainstay for years on KSL, Salt Lake City has succumbed to his long battle with mesothelioma, a form of cancer often associated with exposure to asbestos. Sagers was a horticulture agent with the Utah State University Extension and an extremely popular local figure.
The 2012 Election and Hurricane Sandy Aftermath Dominate News/Talk Radio Yesterday (11/6). As is usually the case on a presidential election day, the election itself – not only the presidential race but the Senate and House races as well as controversial ballot issues around the nation – dominated the discussion on news/talk radio on Tuesday. Additionally, there was still considerable talk about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, especially in the Northeast where New Jersey and New York are still recovering from the storm.
Radio Show Presents a Talk Radio Panel (or Was It Really an All News Radio Panel?). The NAB/RAB Radio Show presented a panel for the talk radio format semi-prejudicially titled “ Is News the New Talk for Radio?” featuring Phil Boyce, VP spoken word format, Salem Communications; Mark Masters, president/CEO, Talk Radio Network; and Ed Shane, CEO, Shane Communications. It was moderated by Jim Farley, VP news and programming, WTOP-FM, Washington, DC. Farley set the topic up by mentioning the Rush Limbaugh ad boycott and asked the question “[With big time advertisers shying away from talk radio and controversial products] is it time to consider all-news as the new talk for the future?” He referenced the success of WTOP which is undeniable. The station has been the #1 biller in the nation for two straight years. Ed Shane gave a case study for what they have done at “92 News” in Houston, a Radio One station. He said there were three things you have to have if you want to create an all-news station: guts, money, and patience. He talked about the expense of running that station, saying they took on $2 million in talent costs and had to re-build the radio station’s facility. Shane played some of the imaging for the station which uses the slogan “All News, No Spin.” TRN exec Jim Watkins subbed for Masters who was unable to attend at the last minute. Watkins said smaller stations can do the all-news format using his company’s America’s Radio News Network. He claimed 500 affiliates when you add them up. (Some are taking the top-of-the-hour product, just under 200 take the morning drive show and the other stations taking some of the other long-form shows, AARN has all-news product from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm.) BOYCE STEPS UP TO THE PLATE: After all the conversation about how talk is dead and all-news is the savior, Phil Boyce started by saying “I feel like the last man standing at the U.S. embassy in the Middle East, with the protesters outside calling for my head and chanting ‘Death to Talk’.” Boyce repeated the line “Listeners have a Vote” and did his best to convince the crowd that while there was some short-term damage from the Rush boycott, it did not hurt traditional talk radio. He mentioned that both Sean Hannity and Mark Levin told him this week their sales are up 20%-25% over last year, despite the boycott. ”There is a website out there listing all the advertisers Rush still has on encouraging the protestors to go after.” Boyce mentioned some of them and said there were 68 of them on this list. ”Not bad for a show that has 18 minutes a day of network commercial time.” He then pointed out, “The Premiere sellers have figured out that there are a lot of advertisers who are bullet-proof when it comes to ad boycotts. They just don’t care because they know talk radio moves product, and they know the 1,000 angry e-mails or Facebook posts do not come from their client base. If the angry tweet says, “We’ll never shop with you again,” they can check their database and discover they never shopped there in the first place. These direct advertisers are who we need to do business with. The transactional big-name advertisers may never come back, but there are plenty out there who can replace them.” Boyce went on to mention the new movie “2016 Obama’s America” had record box office business and used talk radio as its primary advertising medium. He said, “This ad boycott thing is nothing new. They tried to kill Glenn Beck two years ago, and at one point had a list of 100 advertisers who would not advertise with him and they claimed victory in driving him off the Fox News Channel, dancing on his grave. The problem was, he was not in that grave and one year ago this month he went out and formed his own TV news channel with 300,000 subscribers.” Boyce did the math for the panel…$32.4 million a year, from subscriptions. “That does not count his book sales, appearance fees, and the $100 million dollar five-year deal they just did with Premiere. What they meant to kill him only made him stronger.”
2012 Marconi Awards Presented at Radio Show. The 2012 National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Radio Awards were announced last night (9/20) at the annual NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show held at the Radio Show in Dallas. Winners in the spoken-word formats included: “Legendary Station” – KSTP, St. Paul; “Network/Syndicated Personality” – Dan Patrick, Direct TV/Premiere Networks; “Major Market Station” – WTOP-FM, Washington, DC; “Medium Market Station” – WHO-AM, Des Moines; “Major Market Personality” – Mike Francesa, WFAN, New York; “Medium Market Personality” – Jan Mickelson, WHO-AM, Des Moines; “News/Talk Station” – WTOP-FM, Washington, DC; and “Sports Station” – WEEI-FM, Boston. Marconi finalists were selected by a task force of broadcasters, and the winners were voted on by the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Selection Academy. The votes were tabulated by an independent firm.
NAB/RAB Radio Show Wraps Up Today. More than 2,000 radio broadcasters from around the nation are wrapping up their gathering and saying their goodbyes at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas this afternoon as the annual “Radio Show” jointly presented by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) comes to its conclusion. Most observers agree it has been a productive and successful three-day industry event. The main topics covered include radio’s pressing need for the smartphone radio chip to be “turned on” as well as debate and concern over music royalty fees; the pros and cons of streaming; the challenges facing commercial spot sales/programming; living in a PPM world; cross platform audience measurement; and the challenge of generating digital revenue. On a basic level, the underlying concern of the conference was the very survival of terrestrial radio in the unfolding digital era and mapping out a course to achieve the industry’s vitality and relevance in it.
Roger Hedgecock to Appear on Bill Maher’s “Real Time” Show on HBO Tonight. Radio America nationally syndicated talk show host Roger Hedgecock will get national TV exposure on a very popular HBO show as he’ll be one of the guests on “Real Time with Bill Maher.” Hedgecock will appear on the program with Chris Matthews, Salman Rushdie, Eugene Jarecki and Rana Foroohar. The program airs live tonight from 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET.
Mel Making Out Swell. According to an SEC report on insider trading Siruis XM CEO Mel Karmazin has exercised options and sold over 76.7 million shares of Sirius XM stock since April 18 – including 20.36 million shares on Wednesday (919). That brings his overall take to $172 million since April 18. Either he’s raising a lot of money for something, or he’s exercising options before he either leaves on his own or is asked to leave by Liberty Broadcasting head John Malone who has been adding to his stake in Sirius as Mel has been cashing in shares. Definitely fuels speculation that Mel’s days with Sirius might be numbered.
Advice for the Industry in Tough Times. Nationally syndicated talk radio sensation Dave Ramsey is pictured here speaking to a packed Wedgwood Ballroom inside the Hilton Anatole at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas yesterday (9/20). In this Super Session titled “Succeeding in This Economic Environment,” Ramsey delivered inspirational ideas and strategies for thriving in the radio industry. The Ramsey organization says the proven business concepts discussed were developed over Ramsey’s 20 years in the radio business.
WCOA, Pensacola PD and ND Allen Caudle Exits Station. TALKERS hears program director and news director Allen Caudle leaves Cumulus Media’s Pensacola, Florida news/talk outlet WCOA after four-and-a-half years on the job. He’s looking for his next opportunity and can be reached at 850-324-7149.
Tax Relief for New Jersey Town Credited to Governor’s Show on New Jersey 101.5. A bout of tax relief coming to residents of Monroe Township New Jersey is being credited to the monthly “Ask the Governor” show on Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5. Governor Chris Christie hosts the monthly show with NJ101.5’s Eric Scott and during the August program callers protested high property tax increases. Christie blasted Monroe Township Mayor Richard Pucci and promised to look into the matter. He recently reported on Jim Gearhart’s morning drive show on NJ101.5 that the tax hike violated the state’s property tax increase cap and all residents would be credited for the overage. Christie is pictured here at New Jersey 101.5’s studios. (Photo by Annette Petricionne.)
Premiere Networks Host Clyde Lewis Featured in Portland Magazine Piece. The very popular Portland, Oregon-based nighttime talk show host Clyde Lewis was the subject of a lengthy piece in the city’s About Face magazine on his radio show “Ground Zero” that’s being syndicated nationally by Premiere Networks. The extensive interview covers Lewis’ takes on any and all conspiracy theories and paranormal subjects that can be part of his show content. Lewis’ program is produced by Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland, airs nightly from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am PT and was put into national syndication by Premiere after it became one of the most-listened-to shows on Portland radio. Read the piece here.
New Studios Dedicated. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago will officially unveil its refurbished Allstate Showcase Michigan Avenue studio on the Garry Meier show this afternoon. This past May WGN announced the new partnership with longtime sponsor Allstate. Following the station’s move to the 7th floor of Tribune Tower this summer, the Allstate Showcase Studio underwent technical upgrades and an interior studio wrap featuring WGN Radio and Allstate graphics was installed.
Waikiki Weekend. Fox Sports Radio Network “Loose Cannon” Vic “The Brick” Jacobs (r) is pictured here with one of the winners of the show’s annual “Waikiki Weekend” contest getting ready for a canoe ride. “Loose Cannons” Jacobs, Steve Hartman and guest co-host and NFL Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson accompanied the winners to Waikiki last weekend for the trip that included a live broadcast and, of course, lots of fun Hawaiian-style.
Mitt Romney’s 47% Comments Top the Talkers TenTM for the Week of September 17-21. Mitt Romney’s comment that President Obama’s 47% support was dependent on government and the fallout from it was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Following at #2 was the anti-America protests tied with the Libya consulate attacks analysis. At #3 was the cost of ObamaCare for the middle class and at #4 was the presidential race polls. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See the charts in their entirety for this week here.
Les Moonves Tells Investors Network Sports Radio Biz is “Found Money.” That CBS is bullish on sports is not news – CBS CEO Les Moonves has said that before. But he reiterated his company’s dedication to the industry and – citing the new CBS Sports Radio Network venture – called it $10 million to $15 million worth of “found money.” Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference in Beverly Hills yesterday, Moonves told the conference the sports radio network business is a $150 million industry, “With our deal with Cumulus, we have reach. We’re in nine of the top 10 markets. We have the capacity to put on a lot of stuff. We think right away we’re going to get about 10% of the market. That’s going to be a significant hit right away and that should grow. It’s a great marketplace; rather easy to do. As far as we’re concerned it’s 10 or 15 million [dollars] of found money that we think will grow.” CBS is entering into a fast-growing marketplace already dominated by ESPN and with entrenched radio players Fox Sports Radio Network, Yahoo! Sports Radio and new entrant NBC Sports Radio – a partnership between NBC and Dial Global. Sure, there’s a ton of money in sports media right now, but how fast this market gets saturated is a question industry watchers are pondering.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Gets Television Profile with DISH Network Deal. Talk show host and digital media pioneer Glenn Beck is soon to be seen on television after his TheBlaze, Inc. agrees to a deal with DISH Network to have his online 24-hour news, information and entertainment network available on the satellite TV provider. Under terms of the deal, TheBlaze will be available to DISH viewers on channel 212 as part of DISH’s America’s Top 250 package or a la carte for $5 a month. The channel launched Wednesday at 5:00 pm ET. It’ll be available as a free preview for all DISH customers through September 26. In a statement, Beck says, “TheBlaze has helped revolutionize television over the internet and now we are excited to bring the revolution back to traditional television. TheBlaze will be home to news, information and entertainment programming with the facts and stories people care about most and we look forward to kicking things off with DISH.” Mercury Radio Arts president Chris Balfe blogged about the success of Beck’s new venture and how this deal came to pass. “Prior to our initial launch I was often asked why we didn’t pursue a traditional cable channel. There were several factors, but the biggest was that we wouldn’t have been able to build the channel we wanted back then without giving up control. To get on the air we would have had to partner with a large media company that could provide us with the staff, infrastructure and distribution necessary to launch a new network. That was something that we simply were not willing to do. The whole point of starting our own network was to be free from outside influences — giving that independence up right away in exchange for distribution was a non-starter. And so we found another way. But now, a year later, everything has changed. Our subscribers’ enthusiasm and support has allowed us to make the necessary investments in programming and infrastructure, and we’re now in a position to launch a cable and satellite channel without losing control.”
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Promotes Julie Talbott. The president of content and affiliations for Premiere Networks is upped to a new post – president of content and affiliations for CC’s National Media Groups. Talbott retains her oversight of Premiere Networks but adds new duties as she’ll answer to Kevin Dorsey, president of the National Media Groups who, in turn, reports directly to chairman and CEO John Hogan. A statement from Clear Channel notes Talbott’s “new role will include leading and maintaining key affiliate relationships to sell and service Premiere Networks, Total Traffic Network and iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s industry-leading digital radio platform. The new position will provide the company’s affiliates with a simplified and streamlined point of contact for communicating and conducting business across Clear Channel’s diverse group of subsidiaries.” Talbott says, “I enjoy working with our clients and partners, and this alignment of our affiliate efforts will allow us to better serve and communicate with stations throughout the U.S. I’m looking forward to working with the amazing teams across the company as we continue to demonstrate the unique relationship CCM+E has with our audience.”
Cox Media’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Names Levi May Program Director. The PD post at KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa opened up when long-time programmer Drew Anderssen moved to Cox Media’s Orlando news/talker WDBO-AM/FM. Levi May served as WDBO’s assistant PD prior to his new position in Tulsa.
Talk Radio Weekends: Two Sure Shots. Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke offers advice on weekend programming for talk radio stations that fits in with the P1’s weekend lifestyle and has the opportunity for bringing in revenue. Sure, it’s lifestyle-oriented stuff but while many of those categories are well-serviced by nationally syndicated programs, Cooke says these two suggestions are tailor-made for local professionals. Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.
WVON, Chicago News Pro Sharon McGhee Loses Battle with Cancer. Journalist, writer and radio news director Sharon McGhee died in Columbia, Missouri on September 11 at age 54 after a long battle with ovarian cancer. She joined urban talk WVON, Chicago in 1997 and was promoted to news director the following year. She left the radio business to focus on her love of the arts and entertainment and in 2007, wrote the critically acclaimed “The Pocketbook Monologues” and subsequently directed multiple staged performances across the United States. McGhee returned to WVON in 2008 as news director and resigned from that position in 2010 due to health reasons. WVON president Melody Spann Cooper states, “Sharon McGhee was one of the most creative people I’ve ever known. Her determination, passion and drive brought her to Chicago where she excelled in everything that was on her professional and personal agenda. She was a rare breed determined to do it her way, and she did.”
Former Merlin Media News Pros Land with Virtual News Center. News staffers Veronica Carter and Katherine Kelly were two of the news pros who worked at Merlin Media’s FM news outlet in Chicago and exited the station when it flipped formats. They join the team at Virtual News Center which describes itself as “the largest independent provider of local news for radio heard on over 175 stations in nearly 80 markets.” The company works on a cash direct basis or via barter through Envision Radio Networks. Veronica Carter spent her 25 year radio career in Illinois, Indiana, and California, heavily involved in all facets of news reporting and anchoring. On her Merlin experience she says, “Working for Merlin Media was short lived, but an adventure to say the least! Glad to be with Virtual News Center, it’s actually fun doing newscasts all over the country!” Katherine Kelly worked in Peoria, Illinois and the Quad Cities as well as in Seattle and Chicago. Kelly anchored news as a part of some of the country’s top morning shows. She also helped launch the Oprah Radio Network on Sirius XM. She states, “I am incredibly honored to be joining the team at Virtual News Center. Now I can cover just as many cities without leaving home!”
New Jersey 101.5 Reporter Honored for Series on Teen Drug Abuse. The New Jersey Governor’s Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse honors New Jersey 101.5 reporter Stacy Proesbtle with its Community Service Award. Proesbtle is pictured here (from l-r) with NJ 101.5 brand manager Eric Johnson, NJ 101.5 news director Eric Scott, Proesbtle, and Council executive director John Hulick at the Council’s 21st annual Summit at the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick, New Jersey. Proebstle’s five-part series about the abuse of heroin and other opiates among New Jersey’s youth focused on prescription drug abuse, accidental overdoses, how abuse often begins at home and the fact that prescription drug abuse can happen to anyone. Proebstle talked to recovering addicts, parents, prevention specialists, substance abuse professionals and law enforcement officers to address current trends and issues along with possible solutions. On receiving the honor, Proesbtle says, “I’m absolutely delighted to receive this honor on behalf of the station and most genuinely grateful. It validates the importance of community service and giving back to one’s community.”
Cumulus San Francisco Inks 49ers for 12-Year Extension. Appearing on sports talk KNBR, San Francisco’s Murph & Mac morning show, Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey joined 49ers CEO Jed York to announce the stations and the NFL clubs have agreed to a 12-year contract extension to keep the team’s games on KNBR, news/talk KGO and rock KSAN in the market. During that appearance on the program, Dickey said, “While the trend in radio has been for shorter deals with sports teams, this 12-year partnership demonstrates the commitment of KNBR and Cumulus to the 49ers, and further cements KNBR as the ‘Sports Leader in Northern California’ for almost 25 years.”
WEEI, Boston Helps Celebrate Red Sox Broadcaster Joe Castiglione’s 30th Anniversary. Prior to last night’s Boston Red Sox game, Entercom sports talker WEEI celebrated the 30th anniversary of play-by-play announcer Joe Castiglione with an appearance at the WEEI studios by Castiglione on the afternoon drive “Big Show” with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley. The evening also featured a half-hour pre-game tribute show that included a video at Fenway Park and on-field recognition from the team.
Conservative Chuck Morse and Liberal Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan Split. Veteran Boston-based conservative talk host Chuck Morse and California-based liberal Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan have ended their left-right internet talk radio program, “Fairness Radio with Chuck Morse & Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan,” after it became impossible to work together, according to Morse. The two will host separate programs on the internet and affiliated radio stations.
Long-Running Speaker Series Continues with Author of ‘Fast and Furious’ Book. WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (at left) conducted his 80th “Town Hall” interview and live broadcast in The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University “President Speaker Series,” with Townhall.com investigative reporter Katie Pavlich (at right) before a live audience on Wednesday, September 12. Pavlich is author of Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up (Regnery 2012). Photo: Arthur J. Byrnes.
U.S. Ambassador Killed in Libya Strike, Cairo Unrest, Obama-Netanyahu Relations, and Chicago Teachers Strike Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/12). The death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens after a violent assault on the U.S. consulate; violent anti-American protests in Cairo; reports of President Obama’s snubbing of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Obama Administration’s Iran policy; and the continuing Chicago teachers strike were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talk Hosts and News Operations Deal with Logistical Issues and Weather as Republican National Convention Begins in Tampa Today. The Republican National Convention, a huge “radio row” and live broadcast draw for many radio stations and networks around the country, begins today and talk hosts, programmers and news staffers are dealing with what is already a complex couple of days of remote broadcasting being amplified by the threat from Tropical Storm Issac. Today’s first day of the RNC is being canceled due to the storm and broadcasters are having to make contingency plans as a result. From a logistical standpoint, hosts and news staffers may be forced to cram planned interviews and guest appearances originally scheduled across three days into two days on Tuesday and Wednesday. As for live broadcasts scheduled from the convention center for today, that will depend on how quickly the storm moves through the area. Salem Radio Network VP of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS SRN’s equipment on radio row is set up but its two early Monday shows – Mike Gallagher and Dennis Prager – will originate from Salem Communications O&O WGUL, Tampa and the Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt programs will broadcast from the convention center radio row later today.
Lincoln Financial Media Buys Miami FM for Sports Talk Simulcast with WAXY. West Palm Beach FM WMSF at 104.3 will change hands from Palm Beach Broadcasting to Lincoln Financial Media for a reported $13 million and the latter will use the signal to give sports talk “790 The Ticket” WAXY an FM presence in the South Florida market. Palm Beach acquired the station from CBS Radio earlier this year. Palm Beach has applied to move the 104.3 signal from West Palm Beach to Miami and that application is still pending the FCC. LFM will begin operating the station under an LMA prior to FCC approval of the sale.
Program Director Jay Bohannon Exits Clear Channel’s WPGB, Pittsburgh. When Clear Channel fired up the Pittsburgh FM talk outlet in January 2004, Jay Bohannon was named the program director. During his tenure at the station, he was responsible for working with morning show team Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent and bringing the program into syndication. He also led news/talk branding and imaging for the company. Bohannon is available for his next opportunity. Reach out to him at email@example.com.
Salem Communications to Buy WMUU, Greenville from Bob Jones University. The station – owned by the Christian college’s Gospel Fellowship Association – currently programs a combo of Christian teaching and beautiful music but that will end when Salem Communications takes over and turns the Greenville, South Carolina FM at 94.5 into a news/talk outlet using programming from the Salem Radio Network. No price has been announced nor has a start date for an LMA.
WOR Low Price Tag Cause of Angst for AM Radio Owners. As the dust settles in the aftermath of the recently announced sale of Buckley Broadcastings’ heritage outlet WOR, New York to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, the cold hard reality of the low price tag is beginning to settle in and it is being perceived as a seriously bad indicator about the value and future of AM sticks. Industry observers and players alike remember stories about the late Buckley Broadcasting CEO Rick Buckley turning down offers as high as $150 million for the station as recently as a decade ago. In 2001, Disney paid then-owner The Forward newspaper $78 million for WEVD (1050 AM) to find a New York City outlet for ESPN Radio – a station with a significantly inferior signal than WOR’s. An article in the New York Daily News reports on the topic: “One of the many nervous discussions in radio these days revolves around the future of AM stations — that is, if they have a future.” Perhaps the revelations of the WOR deal will usher in an industry station deal cycle marked by what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as the “lesser fool” theory.
Former Eagles Star Brian Dawkins Joins 97.5 The Fanatic for NFL Coverage. Former Philadelphia Eagles star Brian Dawkins will be part of the Friday coverage of NFL football on Mike Missanelli’s program each week at 4:10 pm on Greater Media’s WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia. Program director Matt Nahigian says, “There is no one that Eagle fans love and relate to more than Brian Dawkins. We had him on our air about a month ago and the response we received via Twitter and Facebook about wanting to hear him each week was staggering. I am thrilled to bring his passion and insight to the Delaware Valley on a week to week basis.”
KLIN, Lincoln Nebraska Names David Dwinell AM Drive Co-Host; Kevin Thomas Promoted to PD. Dwinell has been working at KLKN-TV, Lincoln as promotions director. He leaves that position to return to radio where he’ll take the radio moniker Dave Miller as he sits beside Jack Mitchell on NRG Media’s Lincoln news/talker. The slot on the station’s morning show opened up when John Bishop left the show to go across the hall and join NRG’s 1620 The Zone for its “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” program. At the same time, KLIN PM drive host Kevin Thomas takes on the program director duties at the station that were previously held by John Bishop. He’ll continue to host the 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm “Drive Time Lincoln” show. Also, the sports director post – also previously held by Bishop – goes to Chris Whitney.
Buckley Broadcasting Flips KYZZ, Salinas, California to Sports. The classic hits format disappears from KYZZ as the former “Z97.9” becomes part of the simulcast of “630 ESPN” KIDD, Monterey and becomes known as “97.9 ESPN Central Coast.”
Programmers Owe it to Themselves to See Obama Movie. Radio consultant Holland Cooke says of the new movie “Obama’s America 2016,” “If you work in talk radio, you owe it to your audience to understand what all those network commercials in your show are selling. And as an insider, you’ll recognize the event you’re attending as a theatrical ‘infomercial,’ a rented theater.” Cooke says that regardless of your personal political viewpoint, as a content creator the film is instructive in numerous ways. Read Holland Cooke’s analysis here.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Cuts Ribbon at NJ 101.5 Studio. Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 celebrated the opening of its refurbished main studio on August 23 and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was on hand to cut the ribbon. NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson reports the main studio got some brand new carpeting and – more important – new broadcasting equipment to bring the station into the digital era. PM drive hosts Deminski &Doyle were on the air when the switch was made and the monthly “Ask the Governor” program followed. Christie was there for the program and made the new studio “official” with his gubernatorial ribbon cutting and he even worked the new digital board (pictured here) during the station’s 8:00 pm newscast.
Dale “The Truckin’ Bozo” Sommers Dies at 68. The cause of death is not yet public but Dale Sommers had been dealing with unspecified health issues since he left the WLW, Cincinnati overnight program in 2004. Although he retired from the show at that time, he resumed the program on satellite radio and hosted it until earlier this year when he again gave it up. As the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter reports, Sommers’ program made national news twice when it helped solve crimes. The first time was in 1984 when he was talking off the air with a regular caller who went by the name of “Mississippi Lady,” a convenience store clerk in Camilla, Georgia “when he heard her tell someone, ‘You can’t come back here’ before quickly hanging up the phone. Sommers called Camilla police, who were familiar with his ‘Bozo Show’ and a store clerk known as the ‘Mississippi Lady.’ Within minutes, an officer apprehended the robber.” His program was also credited with assisting police is catching the DC sniper in 2002 after a listener heard Sommers give the car’s license plate number over the radio.
Programmer Jack Silver Exits Cumulus Los Angeles Post. The KLOS and KABC program director tells Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor that he’s leaving the position with “solid numbers” at the classic rock FMer KLOS. And it sounds as though he’s ready for his next opportunity as he says, “I’ve got many miles left on my odometer.” KLOS is facing a big change in the fall as one half of the quarter-century old AM drive team of Mark and Brian – Mark Thompson – will retire in August leaving a challenge for the station’s next programming team. As for news/talk KABC, Arbitron’s May PPM has the station in 22nd place (persons 6+) with a 0.9 share and a cume of 349,500. Bringing KABC back to ratings (and presumably) revenue relevance is considered one of the most formidable challenges in talk radio since the station faces competition in the form of Clear Channel’s perennial crosstown juggernaut KFI, whose May PPM numbers put the station in third place with a 4.5 share (persons 6+) and a cume of 1,105,300. There’s been no announcement by Cumulus Media about Silver’s replacement although industry observers speculate that the program director position will continue to be one person overseeing both outlets just as Silver had been doing and as the company recently instituted at its NYC combo, CHR FMer WPLJ and AM news/talker WABC.
Howard Stern to Be Inducted into Radio Hall of Fame. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports the Radio Hall of Fame steering committee voted to induct the legendary but controversial broadcaster into the Chicago institution at its November 10 ceremonies in the Windy City. As Feder writes, “The most conspicuous and embarrassing omission to the Radio Hall of Fame finally will be corrected this fall when Howard Stern takes his place in the Chicago-based shrine to radio’s all-time greats.” Chairman Bruce DuMont tells Feder, “There wasn’t any great controversy involving Howard’s induction because I think everyone has believed for a long time that he deserved to be inducted.” Feder says, don’t bet on Stern showing up to accept his award as he’s been outspoken in condemning the Hall as a “sham” and griped about being passed over four times in the past. Other 2012 inductees include: Gary Burbank, Ron Chapman, Art Laboe, Luther Massingill, Jack Cooper (posthumously), and NPR’s “Fresh Air,” hosted by Terry Gross.
WFAN, New York Hosts, Execs to Ring Closing Bell on the NYSE Today. As CBS Radio’s sports talk WFAN, New York prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary (and the founding of the sports talk radio format) on Sunday, July 1, representatives of the station are being honored by being asked to ring the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange this afternoon at 4:00 pm ET. Morning drive hosts Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton, and evening host and 25-year WFAN veteran Steve Somers will ring the closing bell. They’ll be joined at the podium by CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason, CBS Radio COO Anton Guitano, CBS Radio SVP of programming Chris Oliviero, and CBS Radio New York SVP and market manager Don Bouloukos.
Pollster Scott Rasmussen to Debut TV Show in September. Rasmussen Reports founder Scott Rasmussen – whose daily features are syndicated to radio stations across America via the WOR Radio Network – will begin production of a weekly TV show titled “What America Thinks with Scott Rasmussen” in September. So far, stations committed to airing the program include: WCBS-TV, New York; KCBS-TV, Los Angeles; KYW-TV, Philadelphia; WADL, Detroit and others.
Financial Talk Host Chris Markowski to Host Daily Program on Salem’s WGUL/WLSS, Tampa. Talk host and financial expert Chris Markowski – whose weekend talk show “The Watchdog on Wall Street” is syndicated on weekends by Talk Radio Network to more than 100 markets – returns to a daily talk program on Salem Communications’ Tampa-area simulcast of WGUL and WLSS. The show will air daily from 5:00 am to 6:00 am beginning Monday, July 2.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. The 8th annual “Don’t Give Up ESPYS V Foundation Auction” is being held Sunday, July 1 to Wednesday, July 11. The 11-day online and on-air public auction will feature hundreds of items and experiences for bid to raise money and awareness for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. Last year’s ESPN Radio “Don’t Give Up ESPYS V Foundation Auction” raised $810,000 in net proceeds for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. The event has raised more than $4.9 million in its seven years…..Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston announces Jim Braude and Margery Eagan will host the only radio debate between Republican U.S. Senator Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren. The date and time for the debate are being worked out…..SiriusXM is offering comprehensive coverage of MLB’s All-Star Week featuring Cal Ripken Jr. and Bill Ripken’s “Ripken Baseball” live from the MLB All-Star FanFest live on July 9.
Best of the Best. Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 (WKXW, Trenton) was honored with the “Best of the Best” award by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association for its “Ask the Governor” program that features New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The Governor was presented the award by the NJBA president and CEO Paul Rotella after the production of the June 28 edition of the program. Pictured here are (from l-r): Governor Christie, NJ 101.5 executive director news Eric Scott, Paul Rotella, and NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson.
Supreme Court Upholds ObamaCare Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 25-29. The Supreme Court’s ruling upholding President Obama’s Affordable Care Act – and the anticipation leading up to Thursday’s ruling – was the most-talked-about story of the week landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart. Coming in at #2 was the 2012 presidential race. At #3 was the Arizona illegal immigration law ruling and following at #4 was the Eric Holder contempt vote. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the week’s top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published each Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup. Premiere Networks’ “At Home with Gary Sullivan” weekend home improvement show hits the 200-station mark with recent affiliate additions that include WWIQ-FM, Philadelphia; WTAM, Cleveland; and KPHX, Phoenix…..The Kevin McCullough show adds new affiliates WMCA, New York; KCBQ, San Diego; and KKVV, Las Vegas. XtreMedia reports the addition of these affiliates pushes the Kevin McCullough show to the 245-affiliate mark…..Dial Global’s “Jill on Money” adds WCCO, Minneapolis to its affiliate roster. It also reports the CBS Radio-produced “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson is now heard on WAVH, Mobile, Alabama…..KFMB, San Diego adds CBS News Radio to its programming…..The Steve Deace show is added to the programming schedule at WNTP, Philadelphia.
WCHB, Detroit Morning Host Mildred Gaddis Investigated by Federal Authorities. According to a piece in the Detroit News, urban talk WCHB, Detroit morning drive talk host Mildred Gaddis is being scrutinized by federal agents for receiving $75,000 in payments to her ExCel Media company from two former public officials who have been indicted on charges of pocketing public money. Former Highland Park school board member Robert Davis and former Wayne County assistant executive Michael Grundy were regular guests on Gaddis’ program and authorities are investigating whether the two were buying influence through advertising on the station. Invoices to Gaddis’ company indicate the money was for “ads and interviews.” Spokesman Greg Bowens acknowledges firms operated by Davis and Grundy made payments to Gaddis’ company but says they did not receive favorable treatment as a result. The Detroit News quotes media lawyer and Michigan State journalism professor Jane Briggs-Bunting saying, “Ethically, there are big issues but as far as an FCC violation, I don’t see one.”
Pioneering AOR/Talk Program Director Pat Evans Dies. The woman who programmed the first FM station to feature Howard Stern in the morning and album rock the rest of the day, Pat Evans, has died in San Francisco after a two-year battle with lung cancer. Evans came to New York City from her home town of Detroit in 1985 upon being hired by then-Infinity CEO Mel Karmazin to program WXRK (“K-Rock”) where, in addition to working with an outstanding line up of AOR personalities such as Jimmy Fink, Tony Pigg, Meg Griffin, Marc Coppola, Jo Maeder and Maria Malito, she served as one of the first modern era music radio PDs to develop pop culture (“shock jock”) talk in the morning, handling the monumentally historic challenge of working with local AM drive host Howard Stern during his rise to prominence on FM. She later served as PD of the legendary K-FOG in San Francisco and VP of communications at public broadcasting’s KQED in that city. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who worked with Pat Evans in 1989 as co-producers of the ABC Radio Networks mega special “The Official History of Rock and Roll” states, “Pat was an extraordinary human being who has tragically been taken away from us while still in the prime of her life. Her love of radio, its music and personalities, was a powerful inspiration to me and so many others. Her work behind the scenes in facilitating Howard Stern’s early days as an emerging force on the FM dial was a vital component in shaping the course of things to come for decades in this field. She was one of the true greats of our industry.”
Sports Talk Listeners Very Tech-Savvy According to Jacobs Media Study. The results of its Techsurvey 8 indicate sports talk radio listeners are extremely tech-savvy and use digital technology to feed their appetite for sports. Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs states, “Sports radio fans are highly engaged, into gadgets, and especially likely to be connected via Twitter. They know how to access the sports news and happenings they crave and they deftly use the available tools. Radio needs to work hard to be their go-to medium.” Jacobs says the study reveals Twitter is a favorite of sports talk fans and says, “Sports talk fans lead the league for tweeting. Of those who use this platform, more than half follow a sports talk radio station and/or personality on Twitter.” Learn more about the study at JacobsMedia.com.
WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey Personality Jack Ellery Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award for NJBA. New Jersey talk radio personality Jack Ellery has spent close to 50 years of his career at Greater Media’s WCTC, New Brunswick – he started there in 1962 – and he was honored at the recent New Jersey Broadcasters Association conference on June 12 and 13 with the organization’s “Lifetime Achievement” award. Ellery was also one of eight broadcasters to be inducted into the inaugural class of the NJBA’s Hall of Fame.
Pandora Engages Local Newspapers to Sell Ads for its Service. The digital music service is entering into relationships with some local newspapers for a reseller program in which newspaper sales staffs sell ads on the Pandora platform. Papers including the Miami Herald, Salt Lake City Tribune, Tacoma News Tribune and U-T San Diego are working with Pandora on the project. Pandora has always stated one of its goals is to sell locally – something that sticks in the craw of local radio. And although Pandora – with its claims of large listening stats – certainly has the users to back up its presence, unlike radio, the more people who listen, the more Pandora must pay for its content. The service needs to find as much revenue as possible and this deal with local papers is a cost-effective way to get feet on the ground in local markets.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 is honored with two “Best of the Best” awards at the New Jersey Broadcasters Association annual convention. The station was recognized for “Best News” for its 100+ hours of coverage of Hurricane Irene and “Best Public Affairs” for its monthly “Ask the Governor” program…..Heritage St. Louis news/talk KMOX will soon move to new offices as CBS Radio consolidates its three stations – KEZK-FM, WYKY-FM and KMOX into one office in the Park Pacific building in downtown St. Louis. Currently, the two music outlets and KMOX are in separate buildings. KMOX will be the first station to move and should be there by the end of 2012…..SiriusXM announces it will cover every game of the 2012 NCAA College Men’s World Series beginning today through June 24 from TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. America’s Radio News Network adds news blocks to new affiliate WMNI-AM/FM, Columbus…..“Baldwin/McCullough Live” featuring Stephen Baldwin and Kevin McCullough joins stations KCBQ, San Diego; WORL, Orlando; WPNW, Zeeland, Michigan; and KAPE-AM/FM, Cape Girardeau, Missouri…..Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon joins the lineup at WMNI-AM/FM, Columbus…..The Leslie Marshall show joins the lineup at WRJN, Racine, Wisconsin…..Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” is added to the program schedule at WMCD-FM, Statesboro, Georgia; WKBZ, Muskegon, Michigan; WSNJ, Millville, New Jersey.
2012 Presidential Race Returns to Top of Talkers TenTM. The 2012 campaign for president was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio in America for the week of June 11-15 after dropping to #2 last week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Following at #2 was the Russia-Syria arms connection. At #3 was the GOP’s pressure on Attorney General Eric Holder in the ‘Fast and Furious’ case followed by the financial instability in the European Union at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
All-Hannity Stunt Points to New FM Talker in Philly. Merlin Media dropped the Christian talk on its new WKDN-FM, Philadelphia and began airing Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity round the clock. The move seems to back the speculation that Merlin will not follow the footsteps of its New York and Chicago FMs with an all-news format but will go news/talk. It’s expected the station will soon clear Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh and possibly Glenn Beck as well as it builds an FM talk station with Philadelphia native son Al Gardner as PD and morning drive host. Merlin also changed the call letters of the station to WWIQ-FM.
News/Talk KFI, Los Angeles Wins March PPM Battle. It’s not often a commercial news/talk station is ranked the top station in a PPM market, but Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles topped sister Top 40 KIIS-FM by a tenth of a point to win the March PPM contest with a 4.9 share. A few news/talk stations have landed in the top spot in the monthly PPMs – Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee has a track record of dominance in that market as does Cox Media‘s WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville – but for the most part, the number one slot is usually nabbed by a music or all-news station. It goes to show the astounding cume KFI has in the market.
Clear Channel Reorganizes Marketing Structure; Tim Castelli Replaces Charlie Rahilly. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment makes a major move to “unify and align its marketing offerings under one umbrella” with the creation of a new, unified sales and marketing group led by former AOL executive Tim Castelli. CC states, “This move, the latest in the company’s transformation to a fully integrated, multi-platform media and entertainment company, creates an unprecedented opportunity for partners to tap into the company’s unparalleled reach of 237 million people a month (the largest of any radio or television outlet in America) and unmatched collection of media assets.” CCME chairman and CEO John Hogan says, “This is an entirely new way to leverage the unmatched national reach with local engagement capabilities of Clear Channel Radio Sales, Strategic Partnerships, Clear Channel Connections, Digital, event sponsorships and Premiere Radio Networks Sales supported by innovative programs and world class custom marketing insights.” In addition to Castelli’s hiring, Clear Channel announces Condé Nast’s Holly Lang joins the company as senior vice president, marketing solutions. Lang is responsible for conceiving and implementing innovative marketing programs for national advertisers, with a special focus on consumer brands. Also, Chris Monteleone, formerly vice president of partner strategy at Madison Square Garden, has been named senior vice president, event sponsorship sales and development.
New Jersey 101.5 Gives Steve Trevelise the Evening Show. Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton – New Jersey 101.5 – announces part-time staffer Steve Trevelise is named permanent host of the evening show on the station. Trevelise has been sitting in hosting the evening program since the station parted ways with Michelle Jerson. Now, brand manager Eric Johnson states, “There are few in radio that I know who sound more Jersey than Steve! We are thrilled he is bringing his passion and knowledge of the state to weekday evenings on New Jersey 101.5. Having been here part-time for a few years now, he has worked hard to earn this position and knows how to relate to our more than 1 million listeners.” In addition to his radio career, Trevelise is a stand-up comic and has performed at comedy clubs throughout New Jersey. He currently owns and operates Sarcasm Comedy Club in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Midway Broadcasting’s WVON, Chicago Joins iHeartRadio. The Windy City’s urban talk outlet, WVON, is the latest station to join Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s mobile/digital radio service iHeartRadio. Midway Broadcasting chairman Melody Spann Cooper states, “I think this is a win-win for both WVON and iHeartRadio. We’ll reach a national audience, our listeners will have the benefit of taking the station wherever they go by using their smart phones, and iHeartRadio gets the benefit of our best-in-class urban talk format.” The station says it is embarking on an aggressive promotional campaign to introduce iHeartRadio and to educate its listeners on its usage.
Gabe Hobbs Named Strategic Advisor at Listener Driven Radio. Former Clear Channel news/talk and sports corporate programmer Gabe Hobbs joins Listener Driven Radio to spearhead the company’s LDR.TopicPulse – what the company describes as “a new system that offers real time social media topic tracking, so news/talk stations can see what local audiences are talking about up-to-the-second.” LDR further describes LDR.TopicPulse as “valuable real-time information to show producers and hosts on which topics and news stories are ‘getting buzz’ in their market on social media. The system scans all available news sources, local blogs, Facebook posts, Tweets and other social media. Then, producers can see a report – which is updated to the second – on the hottest trending topics and their shelf life.” On his new position, Hobbs states, “LDR’s team is the finest group of interactive innovators in the country. I’m proud to join the team to translate the success LDR is having at music radio to the news/talk/sports formats.”
Salem Radio Network Host Dr. Richard Land Responds to Plagiarism Accusations. Southern Baptist Dr. Richard Land – host of the “Richard Land Live” Saturday program syndicated by Salem Radio Network – responds to accusations he pulled direct commentary for a monologue about the Trayvon Martin case from an editorial by Jeffrey Kuhner of the Washington Times. Land admits he failed to provide verbal attribution on the program for using some content and apologizes. Land states he did not intend to deceive and always posts his source material on his program’s website. SRN VP of news and talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “SRN stands firmly behind Dr. Richard Land, whose ethical standards and intellect are recognized around the world. An oversight in giving an on-air mention to a source he clearly posted on his website hardly rises to the level of ‘plagiarism.’ That standard is reserved for individuals like Vice President Joe Biden, who was forced to abandon his 2008 presidential campaign when it was revealed he was recycling entire speeches from British Labour Policy figure Neal Kinnock. Or President Obama himself, who was found to be lifting entire sections of speeches formerly delivered by his friend DeVal Patrick, the Governor of Massachusetts. It says a lot about Richard Land that he has acknowledged that he can do better…and that he has pledged to do just that.”
Dial Global Names Michael Schreck SVP/Director of Corporate Sports. In his new position as senior vice president and director of corporate sports, Michael Schreck will be responsible for sports sales and marketing as well as league and team negotiations for Dial Global. Co-president and CEO David Landau states, “Michael has a proven track record of success in cultivating both advertiser and league partnerships. With his leadership, we are looking forward to continuing to define great moments for our advertisers and the millions of sports fans our broadcasts touch.”
Dave Ramsey Invades San Antonio. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey (pictured here on stage in San Antonio) addressed more than 6,000 fans during the presentation of his “Total Money Makeover Live.” Ramsey also spoke before some 1,000 local business people as he presented his EntreLeadership 1-Day event. Affiliate KTSA, San Antonio benefitted from Ramsey’s appearance in town. General sales manager Coreena Hazelett says, “One of the invaluable things about Dave’s Live Event visit is the time he puts aside for our sponsors. The clients really get the opportunity to connect one on one with Dave, and they are moved by his desire to see their businesses succeed. He’s not just a host on the radio, he’s a true partner who’s committed to the success of our station and our advertisers.”
Secret Service Prostitute Scandal, 2012 Presidential Race, ‘Buffet Rule’ Blocked by Senate GOP, GSA Wasteful Spending and ObamaCare Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/16). The backlash against the Secret Service after agents found in prostitution scandal in South America; the 2012 presidential race including the flap over Ann Romney homemaker comments; the Senate GOP’s blocking of the ‘Buffet Rule’ to tax the super rich; the investigation into wasteful spending by the General Services Administration and the legal status of ObamaCare were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Drops the “Radio”; Becomes Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. Clear Channel Media Holdings chief executive officer Bob Pittman announces the “radio division” of the company is changing its name to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment to reflect its mission to deliver content via means beyond just terrestrial radio. “Over the last few years, I’ve watched as Clear Channel Radio has pushed beyond the traditional boundaries of radio to reach more Americans every month than any other media company through an unmatched combination of broadcast, satellite, online and mobile assets,” states Pittman. “Under John Hogan’s continued strong leadership, the new Clear Channel Media and Entertainment brand underscores that we are taking our brands and content wherever our listeners expect to find it. And, in the future, as new places emerge where people want to access our powerful brands and content, we’ll be there, too.” At the center of Clear Channel’s initiatives to move beyond radio station transmitters is the iHeartRadio website and app that delivers audio from its O&O radio stations of all formats, offers user-customizable stations plus audio from Cumulus Media, and soon, Greater Media radio stations as well. The company is clearly putting forth the iHeartRadio internet site and mobile and tablet application as its primary weapon in the battle for ears being waged by Pandora, Slacker, Spotify and others. John Hogan states, “Radio is both our history and the foundation upon which we will grow our company moving forward. That will not change. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment represents our evolution as we prove our relationship with our listeners is so much more than just our transmitters and towers. We will continue to serve our increasingly diverse audiences and local communities with the best content – music, news, emergency information, and public service – wherever they expect it, while supporting advertisers, strategic partners, music labels and artists with creative, multi-platform marketing opportunities that reach, activate and engage target audiences like no one else.” It clearly appears that this move on the part of the largest owner/operator of terrestrial radio station licenses crystallizes the reality of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison‘s forecast originally published in 2007 that the entity known as the “radio station” would evolve into something more aptly described as the “media station” — a multi-tiered broadcasting entity the ranks of which are comprised of both licensed and unlicensed outlets operating on the even playing field of the internet. According to Harrison, “Hogan’s statement that ‘radio is both our history and the foundation upon which we will grow our company moving forward’ is quite revealing and says it all… basically that a ‘radio’ station that defines itself as being just that — a ‘radio’ station – is behind the times. An audio-only media brand in this new era is as incomplete as a newspaper without photographs or a motion picture without sound and as limited in its accessibility as the old yellow pages.” Harrison goes on to comment, “Stick owners should beware of this inevitable development. Although strategic use of the internet and digital distribution expands the radio station’s brand and evolves it into the media station, it also serves as a catalyst for non-licensed media stations to share the same space and compete for the same audience while unencumbered by the debt of stick ownership.”
Boston Herald Blasts Entercom Chief David Field’s Memo. This is one of those motivational missives that some will think is right on and others will shake their heads at, but the Boston Herald’s Jessica Heslam pulls no punches in criticizing a memo from Entercom CEO David Field in which he uses his recent African safari vacation as a backdrop and the animal kingdom as a metaphor for the working world. Field writes about the need for all employees – including himself – to bring their “A-game” to work because the tough business world is a survival-of-the-fittest place just like the African savannah he witnessed on his trip. He alludes to American society as pampering us and not always holding us accountable as the wild of Africa does to its inhabitants. He beckons the reader to strive for greatness at every moment of each workday generously stating his belief in everyone’s “untapped potential.” Critics of this memo will point to Field’s elitist use of a transcontinental holiday as the basis of his memo, an unwitting comparison of his employees as animals, the assumption that they are not “giving it their all” in the first place, and that they are quick to blame others for any lack of success. Some might go so far as to point to Field’s naiveté in needing to witness the wild close up to be reminded that life and the business world are both challenging and unforgiving. Still, supporters of Field’s action will state that he’s only trying to point out that harnessing our talents and pushing ourselves to succeed is what makes great companies great, and that whining about tough circumstances will achieve nothing. Heslam’s criticism could also cause managers and employees alike to debate – either internally or out loud – whether this type of motivational memo is truly effective. How do the majority of employees see it? As a thought-provoking pep talk…or an insulting memo from “corporate?” See Heslam’s story and the entire memo here.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to Impact Talk Radio Conversation. Most Federal holidays cause slow-downs in the normal processes of running live radio in the form of fill-in hosts, repeats and a diversion from the serious issues of the day. However, MLK, Jr. Day has a history of doing just the opposite. Although Federal agencies and a number of private business offices close today – it is even more than “business as usual” on the radio talk show airwaves of America as the holiday inspires discussion of a wide variety of compelling issues including civil rights, social justice, race relations and more.
Former New Jersey 101.5 Host Tommy G Launches Internet Show. As a growing number of terrestrial broadcasters who find themselves off the air are doing, former WKXW-FM, Trenton overnight host Tommy G (Tom Gordon) is taking his talk host talents to the internet. Gordon says he wants to cut out the “middleman” and bring his programming straight to the listener digitally. In an exclusive piece for TALKERS magazine, Tommy G explains his mission and how he’s making it happen. Read it here.
Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels Beats OVI Rap. Media executive Randy Michaels pled guilty to driving improperly in a construction zone and the prosecutor agreed to drop the charge of operating a vehicle while impaired after Michaels’ attorney Steve Adams argued successfully that the officer had filled out the citation incorrectly and failed to fix it within the allotted 90-day period. Michaels was charged in October of 2011 after Middletown, Ohio police found his car disabled in a road construction area during a rain storm. The officer recorded that Michaels smelled of alcohol and failed roadside sobriety tests although he declined to take a breathalyzer.
Talk Radio Network Names Dave Nourie National Affiliate Consultant. TRN CEO Mark Masters makes the announcement that Dave Nourie is joining his team to grow Talk Radio Network programs that include Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, Rusty Humphries, Jerry Doyle, Phil Hendrie, Mancow and the America’s Radio News Network news blocks. “We are all very happy to have Dave join the Talk Radio Network family of companies, with the incredible growth of the news network, we needed someone with his skills and expertise to help serve our ever-growing list of affiliated stations.”
KOA, Denver Talk Host Dave Logan Loses High School Football Coaching Job. The former Denver Broncos great and current Broncos radio play-by-play voice and PM drive host on Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver is out of his football coaching gig after independent Catholic high school Mullen High chose to take a different road. It wasn’t for lack of victories or Dave Logan’s popularity with the students and team – in nine years at Mullen, Logan’s teams won four state titles with a record of 110 – 12. School CEO Ryan Clement tells the Denver Post that the issue was Logan’s celebrity combined with the school’s desire to have a full-time staff member serve as coach. Logan worked the gig with no pay. But the Post reports Clement said Logan “had become the face of the school and that’s not what the new administration wanted, especially from someone who didn’t work at the school full time.” Some students protested the firing and the paper notes Logan may surface to coach somewhere else as other schools are already seeking to talk to him about coaching.
Newsman Kevin Patrick Leaves Chicago for Washington, DC. Chicago Radio and Media is reporting that Kevin Patrick is leaving Merlin Media’s WIQI-FM, Chicago – FM News 101.1 – to take a position with CBS Radio’s new all-news outlet WNEW-FM, Washington. Though the move hasn’t been officially announced by either CBS or Merlin, the site reports WIQI-FM overnight anchor Mike Wilson will move onto the daytime schedule to fill Patrick’s role. It’s unclear exactly what Patrick’s new position at WNEW-FM will be.
Arizona Broadcasters Hold Two-Hour Tribute to Bill Heywood. A little more than two weeks after Phoenix-market radio legend Bill Heywood and his wife Susan took their lives in a Scottsdale hotel room, numerous Arizona broadcasters who knew and worked with Heywood took part in a two-hour tribute broadcast to him on Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix. Hosts and jocks taking part in the Friday afternoon broadcast included: Pat McMahon, Preston Westmoreland, Bruce Kelly, Tim Hattrick, Jeff Scott and Michael Dixon. Susan Heywood had been ill for some time and friends say the couple had been beset by financial troubles. A memorial service was held on Saturday for Heywood and his wife.
By Tom Gordon
MANALAPAN, NJ – Over the years, I have read many great articles in TALKERS that, as a talk show host, gave me countless ideas. Some of my talk radio peers have been asking about the launch of my live, internet-based, New Jersey-oriented, drive time talk show. So, I figured: what better place to answer those questions than right here, in TALKERS?
In April, 2004, I was hired to do a four-hour, late-night show at the nation’s number one FM talk station, New Jersey 101.5. The hardest part of the job was getting used to the hours (11:00 pm – 3:00 am Sunday through Thursday) and the lack of calls. It was rough during those first three months, but, eventually, I was able to tap into Jersey’s busy late-night culture and build an extremely loyal following able to jam the phone lines for all four hours each night. As the years flew by, I started to do more events with the wildly popular Jersey Guys, Craig Carton (currently doing mornings on WFAN, New York) and Ray Rossi, which boosted my name recognition and exposure by leaps and bounds.
Fast-forward to 2009: the show was as busy and popular as ever. I had even won multiple awards for helping the police in Old Bridge, New Jersey save a lost, elderly man on a freezing night when one of my listeners managed to spot him. Yet, shortly after walking my daughter down the aisle that July, I was told that, because of financial difficulties, the live, late-night show was being cancelled; my position was eliminated. After sending out resume after resume and talking with radio executives who explained to me that local talk radio is an expensive format, it became apparent that live and local talk radio was going the way of the dinosaur — toward extinction. So, after more than five years of working at least eight hours a day in order to build such a loyal audience, it was over.
2012: Talk Media Industry Forecast. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison presents eight leading trends and factors facing talk media as we head into 2012. As is usually the case, we have a mixture of the good, the bad and the in-between. The challenges are indeed daunting – but the opportunities are great. Read the story here.
WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans’ Bob DelGiorno to Retire. Morning drive host Bob DelGiorno is retiring from radio after 34 years on the air in the Big Easy – most of it spent at Entercom‘s WWL-AM/FM. DelGiorno says, “This place, this station has been very good to me…But, now it’s time to get off the road, to give up the daily responsibility and just enjoy waking up later and enjoying life.” The station’s Tommy Tucker is being eased into the morning slot to succeed DelGiorno.
New Jersey 101.5 Ends Evening Relationship Show Hosted by Michelle Jerson. The Townsquare Media station has been airing Michelle Jerson’s “After Hours” relationship program for a number of years but New Jersey 101.5 (WKXW, Trenton) program director Eric Johnson says, “Through audience research, our listeners made it very clear to us that they would like to hear the entertaining and informative Jersey-based topics that we discuss all day, in the evenings as well. New Jersey 101.5 would like to thank Michelle Jerson for her service to the station and we wish her well going forward.” Johnson says the station will be looking for a permanent host for the 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm show. In the meantime, part-time host and Monmouth County native Steve Trevelise, who is also a candidate for the full-time position, will be hosting the evening show. As for Jerson, she tells TALKERS, “I was at New Jersey 101.5 for three and a half years as the number one evening show in New Jersey (had been at the station twice before over the years). My background includes hosting lifestyle talk shows on 106.7 WJFK, Washington and Sirius Satellite Radio, co-hosting morning shows on talk and top 40 stations, reporting for Howard Stern‘s news team – Howard 100 News – and working as a television travel correspondent for Travelzoo.com. I am ready for my next big adventure and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Main Street Radio Network’s “Battle Line with Alan Nathan” Adds Third Hour; Nathan Takes Commentator Role with TalkSport Network. Main Street Radio Network announces “Battle Line with Alan Nathan” adds a third hour to its program airing live from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET. The first two hours of the show are distributed on Lifestyle TalkRadio Network, the new third hour is distributed on sister Business TalkRadio Network. Main Street president Jane Silk states, “Main Street is very excited with the addition of Battle Line on BTRN. The team at BTRN is truly a professional group and we look forward to the continued relationship and the expansion of Main Street programs.” Meanwhile, London-based TalkSport Network adds Alan Nathan as international commentator after regular requests to offer color commentary with TalkSport hosts Matt Forde and Mike Graham during which he offers listeners across the United Kingdom a view of American politics from the perspective American radio’s “aggressive centrist.” Jane Silk says of Nathan’s new role, “Alan is truly someone who can succinctly and efficiently dispel someone’s misconceptions with an amazing grasp of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and, most importantly, logic and fact! How wonderful to have “the Colonies” experience a true and gifted host and show!”
Dial Global Drops Westwood One Name from NFL Play-By-Play. With the merger Westwood One and Dial Global now four months old, Dial Global is re-branding its NFL play-by-play product as the Dial Global Radio Network. Dial Global has exclusive national radio rights to the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl. Dial Global sports executive producer Howard Deneroff states, “Listeners will hear the same standard of play-by-play commentary and overall production that they’ve come to expect from Westwood One on the Dial Global Radio Network. We are extremely excited about the merger, our broader platform and the future opportunities it might provide.”
KPAM, Portland Parent Pamplin Media Group Partners with Local CBS TV Affiliate for News Content Sharing. The deal between Pamplin Media Group and KOIN-TV (“LOCAL 6”) allows for sharing of content on its combined television, radio and print properties, as well as websites and mobile apps. The agreement includes shared editorial access, opportunities for exclusive interviews, news support, cross-collaboration for specific marketing activities and the ability to promote exclusive media on a variety of platforms. KPAM program director Dennis Glasgow states, “This is a watershed moment for the Pamplin Media Group that simply and clearly defines our group as the local news leaders in Portland. There’s not one other media partnership in our city that can lay claim to the winning trifecta that is AM 860, The Portland Tribune and KOIN Local 6.” KOIN-TV president and GM Tim Perry says, “We are very enthusiastic about entering this strategic partnership with such a talented group of media executives and committed journalists. We look forward to deepening our tenured relationship with this community.” Pamplin had been in a partnership deal with Fox affiliate KPTV-TV, Portland. That deal ends today (1/6).
Goldline International and Leslie Marshall Enter into Advertising Partnership. Renowned gold dealer Goldline International, Inc. and independently syndicated progressive talk host Leslie Marshall announce Goldline is becoming the exclusive precious metals sponsor of Marshall’s national radio talk program. Marshall says, “I am looking forward to helping my listeners learn about diversifying their portfolios with gold. I’ve met personally with Goldline’s senior management and visited their offices in Santa Monica, so I can confidently recommend Goldline to my listeners who are considering physical gold and precious metals.” The consumer press has often wrongly associated precious metals dealers only with conservative news/talk programming but as Marshall’s new deal illustrates, that’s a misconception. Goldline CEO Scott Carter states, “Leslie’s longevity on the airwaves speaks to her ability to engage listeners across the political spectrum. Goldline is proud to be a sponsor of the Leslie Marshall show.”
ESPN Radio Adds “Hill & Schlereth” Show to Evening Lineup. The new evening program from ESPN Radio begins on January 10 airing Monday through Thursday through the Super Bowl and then five nights per week after the game. Former NFL Pro-Bowler Mark Schlereth has been with ESPN since 2001 and Mike Hill is a current SportsCenter anchor. The duo will host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program. SVP of ESPN Audio Mo Davenport says, “Mike Hill and Mark Schlereth are already fan favorites. Their ability to expand on their friendship, their experiences, and their knowledge of sports, combined with our listeners’ passion, equals great content that can be enjoyed on multiple platforms.”
Sports Talker Cliff Saunders Out at WXOS-FM, St. Louis. As a result of the recent talent shuffle at Hubbard Radio’s 101 ESPN (WXOS-FM) in St. Louis, evening host Cliff Saunders is out and seeking his next opportunity. Saunders co-hosted the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm show at the station. He previously worked for Entercom’s WSSP, Milwaukee. He can be e-mailed at email@example.com.
KTRS, St Louis to Host U.S. Senate Primary Debate with Live Audio and Video Feeds on Facebook. Morning drive host McGraw Milhaven tells TALKERS magazine he and St. Louis Beacon political writer Joe Mannies will co-moderate the January 10 GOP primary debate for candidates vying for the Republican ticket to face off against Democrat incumbent Claire McCaskill in November for her U.S. Senate seat. The debate will take place in front of a live audience at the Missouri Athletic Club, be broadcast live on KTRS, KTRS.com and KTRS’ Facebook page at 9:00 am. Milhaven says, “It is the first time ever that a radio station is airing anything on Facebook with both audio and video.” Congressman Todd Akin and former Missouri State Treasurer Sarah Steelman are taking part in the debate.
Compass Media Networks’ Lars Larson to Broadcast from Israel. Portland, Oregon-based regional and nationally syndicated talk host Lars Larson heads to Israel to broadcast his program from Jerusalem during the week of January 16. Stating that America’s relationship with Israel will be a topic of debate in the 2012 presidential election, Larson comments, “This trip is sure to be an eye opener to my listeners who never imagined all the ways that their lives are impacted by conflicts in the Middle East.” Larson plans to speak on his program with an array of diplomats, Palestinians, Israeli citizens, journalists and ambassadors.
Thom Hartmann Show Goes on the Road to Iceland and Sweden. Dial Global’s Thom Hartmann takes his talk radio program across the Atlantic next week where he’ll broadcast live from Rekyavik, Iceland on January 9 and Stockholm, Sweden on January 12. Hartmann says, “We’ve booked a number of pundits, politicians and reporters, and are looking forward to hearing directly from the people involved how the Icelanders told the banksters to take a hike, and how the Swedes dealt with their bank failures 15 years ago and why their economy is doing so well now.” Hartmann is keynoting a conference in Sweden on Psychiatry and ADHD – he’s published several books on the subject including The Edison Gene (Park Street Press 2003).
Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco to Host Show on WWBA, Tampa. Genesis Communications’ WWBA, Tampa announces former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco joins the station’s programming department to host a weekly “business, public affairs and non-partisan political talk program beginning with a live debut from Malio’s Restaurant on January 9. In a statement, VP of programming Len Weiner says, “We are thrilled to have Tampa’s former mayor Dick Greco join our news team. His amazing background in politics and business will be an asset to our listeners. This station has a powerful 50,000-watt signal that will carry Dick’s program throughout the state of Florida.” Greco’s first guest will be current Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
Iowa Caucuses/2012 Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM Chart of Biggest Talk Radio Stories During Week of January 2-6. According to ongoing research from TALKERS, the Iowa Caucuses and the 2012 presidential race was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was Iran’s military ambitions. At #3 was the world financial markets activity followed by euro zone instability at #4. The Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio each week is published at Talkers.com every Friday. See the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Doug Stephan’s daily “Good Day” program picks up KBYR, Anchorage; KWMO, Washington, Missouri; KBJT-KQEW, Fordyce, Arkansas; and KMMS, Bozeman, Montana…..Doug Stephan’s weekend “Talk Radio Countdown Show” is added to WGDJ, Albany; KBYR, Anchorage…..Genesis Communications Network-distributed “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney picks up WLOB-AM/FM, Portland…..The Dr. Dahlia Wachs show is added to the lineup at KSIS, Sedalia, Missouri…..“Free Talk Live” with hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds KBRA-FM, Freer, Texas.
Walter Sabo Leaves COO Position at Merlin Media. Noted radio consultant Walter Sabo has parted ways with Randy Michaels’ Merlin Media, the heavily venture capital-backed firm that acquired a majority share of three radio stations this past summer from Jeff Smulyan’sEmmis Broadcasting including WEMP-FM, New York and WWWN-FM, Chicago and is in the process of picking up a fourth from Harold Camping’s Family Broadcasting – WKDN-FM, in the Philadelphia market. Merlin launched a relatively experimental all-news format at these stations targeted to what Sabo described as “working families” with an emphasis on the 25-54 female demographic. The stations (FM News 101.9 in New York and FM News 101.1 in Chicago) received a tremendous amount of attention (and intense scrutiny) in the media before, during and after their launch prompted by former Tribune Company CEO Michaels’ negatively colorful and controversial profile, in addition to the fact that they were taking a startlingly innovative and youthful approach to delivering the all-news format. Sabo was recruited to serve as architect of this approach due to his impeccable reputation as a longtime champion of the concept of targeting female listeners on FM and proven track record for success with spoken word on FM as a longtime consultant for WKXW-FM, Trenton (New Jersey 101.5). When a notable rise in ratings failed to materialize in immediately subsequent survey periods coupled with widespread criticism by radio industry observers of the stations’ formats and execution – further exacerbated by Michaels receiving negative publicity in the midst of all this for being arrested on DUI charges – the heat was on and Michaels began facing enormous internal and external pressure to modify the programming approach. He succumbed and the Merlin stations began moving in a more traditional all-news direction putting them in head-to-head competition with CBS’s long-established, traditional and wildly successful all-news outlets in New York and Chicago (WINS, WCBS and WBBM). With this repositioning, the challenge of competing against successful, established news outlets has not produced increased ratings and the Merlin all-news initiative has become prematurely tagged throughout the industry as a monumental failure. Sabo’s withdrawal from day-to-day operational and programming decisions, including his subsequent departure from Merlin, has been quietly happening below the radar for some time now. Up until this article’s publication (1/2), there has been no official press release, acknowledgement or statement from either Merlin or Sabo confirming or commenting on his exit. However,TALKERS sources inside Merlin and close to Sabo confirm that it is indeed true with Sabo telling TALKERS,“At this time my work with Merlin is complete. The primary job was to build the most competitive team on and off the air – Merlin has the best. Our initiatives gave investors the confidence to buy a station in a third market and grow the company. GTCR deserves enormous credit for investing in the radio medium. FM spoken-word is so hot that the demand for Sabo Media services has never been greater. Our clients find that our decades of experience in the FM talk format protects their investment and shortens the profit horizon. More importantly my beautiful wife Katie is seven months pregnant during the holidays. That’s the news.” Sabo will continue to serve as CEO of his consulting firm Sabo Media and internet branding and marketing company, HitViews.
Fox Sports Radio Network Debuts New Morning Program Featuring Andy Furman and Artrell Hawkins. Today is the debut of Fox Sports Radio Network’s new morning show – “Fox Sports Daybreak” – heard from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET and featuring former Cincinnati sports talk host Andy Furman and retired NFL defensive back Artrell Hawkins. Furman’s resume includes an 18-year run hosting “Sports Talk” at WLW, Cincinnati and, recently, the PM drive show at WQRT, Cincinnati. Hawkins is a contributor to the Cincinnati Bengals Radio Network. Furman has been hosting a weekend show with former NFL star Lincoln Kennedy for more than a year and that Sunday evening program with Furman and Kennedy will continue. Fox Sports Radio VP/GM Don Martin states, “We couldn’t be happier to have Andy and Artrell hosting our new morning drive program. The combination of a sports talk pro like Andy and a former professional football player like Artrell will be a great addition to our weekday lineup.” Fox Sports Daybreak replaces the Zakk and Jack program on the FSRN schedule.
Cumulus Media Flips WMTI-FM, New Orleans from Oldies to Sports Talk. The Big Easy gets a new sports talk outlet as Cumulus Media drops the oldies on WMTI-FM and goes sports talk with programming from Fox Sports Radio Network, Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome and a PM drive show hosted by New Orleans Hornets broadcaster Gerry Vaillancourt.
New FM Talk Outlet for Little Rock. Crain Media Group drops the active rock on KKSP-FM, Bryant, Arkansas (located to the Northwest of Little Rock) and debuts a talk format it’s calling “Fresh Talk 93.3.” The lineup includes market news personality Neal Gladner in morning drive, Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham, Dial Global’s Clark Howard, Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” and more.
Progressive Talk Appears on WVKO, Columbus. The station at 1580 AM is owned by Bernard Ohio LLC and its website indicates it’s doing business as Clear Conscience Communications. The progressive talk lineup that debuted on January 2 includes Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann and Bill Press plus Mike Malloy and Leslie Marshall.
Chris Schoenewald Exits Virginia-Based “Daily Constitutional” Program. The regionally syndicated “Daily Constitutional” – based out of WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia and co-hosted by Joe Thomas and Chris Schoenewald – is undergoing changes as Schoenewald is leaving the program to run for office. He plans to announce which office he’ll seek soon. Thomas tells TALKERS the program will continue. “Adam Forster of Virginia Living Television and private investigator/TV anchor Nikki Lewis will be purchasing Schoenewald’s share and we’re hopeful to continue to grow and help stations in this area program locally oriented talk while freeing up their resources for news and marketing efforts.” The “Daily Constitutional” airs live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. In addition, Thomas hosts the morning drive program on WCHV-AM/FM.
Sam Malone in Israel. KSEV, Houston morning host Sam Malone is pictured here inspecting the cockpit of an Israeli F-16 during a tour of the Hatzor Air Force Base while on a trip to Israel. Malone broadcast his program live back to his Houston audience (via the very capable technology of the Comrex ACCESS) during which he interviewed numerous Houstonians serving in the IDF, important Israeli media figures and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. Malone tells TALKERS magazine his audience loved the content and his marketing department was able to get the broadcast event sponsored.
Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions, Holiday Sports Action and New Year Retrospectives Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/2). Today’s Iowa Caucuses for GOP candidates, the nuclear ambitions of the Iranian leadership, college and pro holiday sports action and 2011 retrospectives were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Downsizing at Dial Global/Westwood One; Rumors of Cuts at Clear Channel. The merger of Dial Global and Westwood One was bound to come with the elimination of some positions as both companies do pretty much the same thing: produce, affiliate and rep radio programs. There are no confirmed firings but the word on the street is that about 40 of the now-combined companies’ 600 employees were let go from its New York, Los Angeles and Dallas offices. Meanwhile at Clear Channel, the grapevine is producing chatter that layoffs in medium and small markets are coming based on the company’s hour-by-hour breakout of cost-versus-revenue in the programming departments of its stations. This could mean some local talent getting pink-slipped in favor of the company’s “Premium Content” – a euphemism for in-house syndication.
NPR’s Michele Norris Takes Leave from “All Things Considered” So Husband Can Work for Obama Campaign. After a couple of high-profile PR gaffes, NPR is out front on this one. Michele Norris’ husband Broderick Johnson accepted a senior advisory role with President Obama’s re-election campaign and in a quick response, Norris and NPR are agreeing that Norris will take leave from her co-host role on “All Things Considered” after Friday’s broadcast. Norris will continue to work for NPR producing segments and features but will not be involved in any type of election coverage. In a statement, Norris says, “This has all happened very quickly, but working closely with NPR management, we’ve been able to make a plan that serves the show, honors the integrity of our news organization and is best for me professionally and personally. I will certainly miss hosting, but I will remain part of the ATC team and I look forward to contributing to our show and NPR in new and exciting ways.”
Clear Channel Names John Ivey Senior VP of Programming; Robin Bertolucci Extends PD Responsibilities. Vice president of programming for the Los Angeles cluster John Ivey is promoted to SVP of programming for Clear Channel radio. Ivey has been PD at CHR KIIS-FM, Los Angeles since 2001 and in his new position he’ll assist with CHR programming and talent development across the entire CC Radio operation. At the same time, KFI program director Robin Bertolucci re-signs with the company to continue leading the mega-successful news/talk station and its sister progressive talk outlet KTLK into the future. Prior to joining Clear Channel Los Angeles, Bertolucci programmed the AM stations at Clear Channel’s Denver cluster. CC Radio CEO John Hogan says, “For the past two decades, John has made innumerable contributions to our company’s success, especially over the last 10 years in Los Angeles at KIIS-FM, and Robin has led the iconic KFI brand to unprecedented audience growth and engagement. As a company, we put a priority on recognizing our high performers with advancement opportunities to grow and develop their careers and we are pleased to have great programming management talent like John and Robin renew their commitment to the Clear Channel team.”
Syndicated Lex & Terry Morning Hosts Sue Seven Bridges WJXL, Jacksonville. This one’s a contract dispute. United Stations Radio Networks-syndicated morning hosts Lex Staley and Terry Jaymes were brought aboard Seven Bridges’ sports talk WJXL, Jacksonville in April of this year with what Lex & Terry say was a three-year deal. Their show was pulled from the air on October 10. The details of the contract aren’t clear but the duo have hired Jacksonville attorney John M. Phillips to handle the dispute. Ironically, Phillips hosted a legal call-in show on WJXL called “Sports & Courts.” Phillips states, “For months I have preached accountability on my radio show. Whether someone is injured at the hands of another…or someone wants to simply get out of a contract because of personal preference, the law enforces accountability. WJXL is accountable to Lex & Terry and hopefully this matter will be resolved soon.” Syndication contracts are usually pretty clear in stating the terms for ending the deal so it’ll be interesting to see what transpires in this case.
Clear Channel Promotes American Express’ Second Annual “Small Business Saturday” Initiative. The “Small Business Saturday” initiative is a campaign spearheaded by American Express to promote shopping at local, independent stores and businesses on Saturday, November 26. A six-point promotional campaign begins tomorrow and runs through November 26 that includes: a public interest campaign across Clear Channel’s 850 radio stations, on-air advocacy by popular station personalities, the telling of local small business success stories, promotion via social media and digital integration, local advisory board activities and community events in local markets along with initiative partner Women Impacting Public Policy. Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan states, “Our goal is to stimulate small business sales on the biggest shopping weekend of the year by reminding listeners of the impact on their communities. The campaign is also intended to give a bigger voice to small business owners.”
Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 and WJLK-FM, Asbury Park Host “Home Cooking” NTR Event. The two Townsquare Media stations are presenting the “Taste of Home Cooking Show” in conjunction with the popular food and entertaining magazine Taste of Home at Branches Catering in West Long Branch, New Jersey on November 1. Listeners can buy tickets – including a VIP ticket for $50 per person – to sample dishes and get cooking tips from the magazine’s culinary specialist Eric Villegas who will demonstrate 10 new recipes. VIP ticket holders will get a meet and greet with Villegas and an autographed copy of his new book, Taste of Home Christmas Cookies & Candy.
WWJ, Detroit Hosts “Resurrecting Detroit” Business Breakfast. This one’s not an NTR event but a community goodwill promotion. CBS Radio’s WWJ, Detroit produces the Great Lakes Innovation and Technology Report written by the station’s technology editor Matt Roush. The station has developed a program called the WWJ/GLITR UnWIRED coffee series and this particular breakfast is part of that. The event will be held at Lawrence Technological University’s ULTC Gallery on Thursday, October 27. Roush will moderate a panel discussion by local business leaders on ways to improve the city of Detroit and strengthen its business core. WWJ station manager Pete Kowalski says, “WWJ remains committed to Detroit and we’re proud to present another great business breakfast. This panel, with such stellar business leaders, will be discussing some truly innovative and transforming ideas for the city. It promises to be a very exciting and inspiring event.”
WTVN, Columbus “Morning Monarch” Bob Conners to Retire. Bob Conners has hosted the morning drive show on Clear Channel’s news/talk WTVN, Columbus since 1978 – he began working at the station in 1964. Now, Conners announces he’ll retire on November 30. He tells his listeners he’s honored and humbled to have been able to do what he loves for so long. WTVN program director Mike Elliott tells WBNS-TV, “Bob Conners has been a staple in Columbus radio for a very long time; consider the mold broken. Bob always said, ‘Radio has been good to me,’ but Bob Conners was good for radio.” Connors has been at it in AM drive so long his colleagues nicknamed him the “morning monarch.” WTVN Saturday morning host Joel Riley will take over the AM drive show on an interim basis in December.